Friday, December 28, 2012

A Happy Harrison Holiday

Our Crazy Christmas Card for this year. Sure beats getting everyone to smile at the same time!

We have had a lovely Christmas so far.  The kids slept til 8:30 on Christmas morning which is a present for us! We heard Eóin wake up and use the bathroom and then the crazy kid went back to bed to wait for everyone else :-) Soon after, Aidan woke up and we heard the boys talking to each other:

Aidan: Eóin, it's sunny out! (generally his cue that he can get out of bed). Do you think Santa is here?
Eóin: No - you can't see him - he's invisible.
Aidan: Oh - can we open presents now?
Eóin: Well we have to wait until lunch time to open Grandma's when everyone is ready. We have to wait for everyone.
Aidan: I don't like waiting for everyone.

Soon after they came into our room and we got Molly for our traditional prayer time on our bed to say Happy Birthday to Jesus. Molly heard us mention praying and shouted "Amen" the continued to say "Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat!" I think she was ready for breakfast :-) Finally after two more rounds of waiting while we changed Molly's diaper and Daddy went to turn on the tree lights, the boys charged out to open their presents. Jonathan took some video but it's on his phone so I need to wait til he uploads it before I can post it. 

 Sleepy Christmas Faces

Molly got a bed for her baby, but once she opened her new cups in her stocking, she wouldn't play with anything until she got a drink :-) 

We got ready and skyped with my fam then headed over to Eric and Christina's for round two of presents. The kids were thrilled with all their gifts - I'll post some pics in another post very soon! 


 Reading the Christmas Story with Grandpa on the iPad

The strollers were a big hit!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Adventures of Brown Blanket

Whenever Aidan meets a new person, his conversation generally goes like this...

"Hi, I'm Aidan. I have a brother Eóin. He's 5 so he's in school. I'm only 3 so I have to wait to go to school. This is our baby. His (no I did not mistype it) name is Molly. She (sometimes he) is OUR baby."

This is pretty much verbatim what he told the librarian this morning.

Next comes..

"I have a brown blanket. It's at home. I got it when I was a baby."

EVERYONE he meets knows he has a brown blanket! Any time he is not moving, you better believe brown blanket will be with him. It has travelled to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ireland, and pretty much anywhere we go for any length of time. Playing games on the iphone, reading, watching tv - brown blanket is NECESSARY to enjoying any of these activities! It also comes in handy for using his imagination. It has been a road for cars, a sleeping bag for camping, wrapping for "presents" and these - my two personal favorites...

being JESUS!


a superhero :-)

I was laughing at how it is such a part of family life, and how often it shows up in pictures I take of the kids all the way from the first week of his life :-) And now you know about Brown Blanket.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

I always get excited when I see another book by Siri Mitchell come up for review and I have yet to be disappointed! I have enjoyed that each book I read by her is on a different set of people and how their lives are different to others.

This story takes place during the Revolutionary War and centers on Hannah Sunderland, a Quaker, or as they would call it a Friend. Hannah is confident in the belief that friends do not get involved in war or conflict in any way, but then her brother joins the colonial side and gets taken prisoner. Now Hannah is faced with a difficult decision - aid her brother and go behind the backs of all those she cares about, or let her brother live out the consequences of his actions, even if it means his death.
Just as Hannah is facing this crisis, Jeremiah Jones needs a spy to get into the jail, but no-one can get in there - unless a poor quaker girl just wants to see that her brother is well. Together they form a plan to see to the well being to the prisoners, but Hannah is determined to do right and not tell a lie - which does not really suit spy work! Somehow they need to find a way to work together, and see past their pre-concieved notions of the other to rescue the men before they die!

I thoroughly LOVED this book and stayed up way too late reading it :-) I always love that I learn something new about history and people groups when I read Siri Mitchell's stories. The only downside was that although it mentioned God a lot, and the Friends' relationship to him, their theology is a little flawed and does not really mention the gospel as recorded in the Bible. I would be careful before giving this to a new Christian or unbeliever to read as it could come across as a little confusing that way. The story is brilliant though - and I would recommend it to lovers of historical fiction who are confident that the way to God is through Christ and Him alone!

Thanks so much to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

The Archer Brothers NEVER leave their land, and anyone wanting to step on it better beware!

Meredith Archer has been dreaming about Travis Archer since he rescued her when she was little, and feels that it is time to pay back her debt to him by warning him of a plot against his home. When she sacrifices everything to try to help his family, Travis must again rescue her by marrying her.

Life with the Archers is certainly different, but Meredith soon finds her way into the family, but she wonders if Travis will ever see her as more than an obligation - a short straw bride, and if she will ever lay claim to his heart.

I always like the stories when people who have married for other reasons find a way to love, and this is a very sweet one. The story is pretty predictable, but I still enjoyed it and would probably read it again down the road sometime :-)

Thanks so much to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes

Cassandra Bainbridge is not your average English lady. She would happily spend her day reading Greek or designing hot air ballons over balls, parties, and other normal pursuits for young ladies in her position. Despite that, Geoffrey Giles, Earl of Whittaker still loves her madly. In fact maybe even a little too much. As their wedding date nears, Cassandra and Geoffrey have a hard time keep their feelings, and their hands, to themselves.

After a tragic accident, Cassandra thinks that God may be giving her a wake up call to better obedience, and so she breaks her engagement to the man who caused her to stray, persuaded that she will now stay to the straight and narrow path, concentrating only on her ballooning to keep her amused. But that is not so easy when there is danger, intrigue and embers of love to deal with as she tries to recover.

This is the second story in the Daughters of Bainbridge series, and while it does allude to the first book, it gives enough of the details to not need to have read the first story (though I would like to read the story of the first sister now). While I did enjoy the story, I didn't feel that pull to be rushing through to read what happens next, even though there are twists and mystery involved. It was a good story, and I appreciate that even though it dealt with physical temptation as a topic, it was not overly graphic. I thought it had a good balance in that area where many books are lacking.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: A Promise to Love, by Serena B. Miller

Ingrid Miller, has finally realized her dream of coming to a new world. She left her home in Sweden behind and now all that is left is to meet her brother and begin their new lives together. But when her brother never shows up at their meeting place, Irena is left wondering what happened to him, and what she is going to do to survive until she finds him.

After leaving a horrible working situation, Irena finds herself proposing to a young widow she hardly knows. She needs a way to survive, and he desperately needs help with his young family. Serena now must face the challenges of building a loving home for this broken family, and finding her brother for whom she fears the worst!

I cannot tell you how much I LOVED this story!!! This will definitely be on my re-read list! I especially loved when I got to the end and read the author's notes, finding out how much of this story is based on actual events! It just made the story even better. There are enough twists and turns, happiness and sadness, to keep me turning pages well into the night! I highly recommend this one.

A BIG thank you to Revell publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review: Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan

Jess Gifford is a hard worker who is content in his life as a bachelor, even if things are a little unorganized in his life. So when not one, but two mail order brides show up on his doorstep, he is at a loss for what to do with them. He certainly did not order them!

Greta Olsen and Cora Johnson are two beautiful women, each believing they are arriving in Colorado to meet a man whom they have become friends with through the mail. They find it hard to swallow that not only is Jess Gifford not expecting them, but they are not the only bride to show up for him to marry!

This was such a cute story of "surprises, misunderstandings, and tender romance" as the back of the book describes it.  It did not take me long to finish the story as I quickly turned the pages to find out what was going to happen next :-) It is the second book in the Blue Willow Brides series and I found that it read well as a stand alone book as I have never read the first book. After reading this story though, I may just look for the first one as I enjoyed this one so much!

Thanks to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review: When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason

Serena Hopkins in a medical examiner who is used to looking at death objectively. But when she starts recognizing victims, things get a lot more personal, especially when she could be the next body! Working along side her childhood crush, Dominic Allen, is just as unnerving. When it seems that someone is very intent on getting to Serena, she must decide if the secret she has been keeping is worth risking her life, or if she should share it with Dominic before she runs out of time.

I have been looking forward to this book coming out since I read the first book in the Deadly Reunions Series.  Generally when you read suspense books, even in a series, things tend to resolve within that book and the next focuses on a new character and story line. What I really enjoy about these stories is that while each book does focus on a different character, the stories are connected. I like that when I finish this book, I still don't know the ending and I am already looking forward to the last book in the series - I can't wait to see this mystery unravel.

Thank you so much to Revell Publishing for a free copy of this book to review.

Available October 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

A Love Surrendered

Annie Kennedy is ready to grow up. Just about to turn eighteen, Annie gives herself a new name and a new beginning. But her new friends at Ocean Pier may be a little more than she is ready for. During a time of prohibition, they play to fast and free for Annie's conscience. It doesn't help that she is quickly falling for Steven O'Conner who is insistant on protecting her innocence, yet runs with the same mischievous crowd.  To top it all off, if Steven ever finds out the truth about who she really is, it could break her heart, and his!

I can't really decide what I think about this book. While it's theme about staying pure and obeying God in physical relationships is admirable, it is pretty graphic in describing the struggles the characters go through. I'm not sure I would want my daughter to read it before she was married. I also have such a hard time with the relationship between a barely turned eighteen year old and an older man, even though that was totally normal back then. Still, I like the O' Conner family and their human-ness. I especially loved seeing how things turned out for some of the characters from the other books in the series.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Book Review: Life with Lilly by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher

I have really enjoyed reading books by Suzanne Woods Fisher in the past, so I was pretty happy to see that she had written a book for children. These ladies have done a lovely job of explaining how Amish children grow up in a sweet story about Lilly Lapp.

The book begins when Lilly is only age 5 which I will admit I thought was a little young for a main character since the book is aimed at children who are a little older. I did find though that the book covers a few years of Lilly's life though, so it does eventually catch up to it's readers. While it does deal with some tough subjects like serious illnesses in a family, I still feel it was a very simple book, and not sure it would hold the attention of a 12 year old. The conflicts were mainly small and dealt with it a couple of chapters.  It's been a while since I was that age though so I may be wrong :-) I think that it would be a great story to read to your child as it would be a great way to open conversations on those hard topics.

I am certainly going to read this with my Molly as soon as she is old enough - I think it will make a lovely bed time story to read together.

Thank you so much to Revell Publishers for a copy of this book to review.

Available October 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Being Little

While Aidan usually enjoys the status of big brother and growing up, yesterday he managed to use the small card for getting out of work - I just wanted to record the funniness of his little self :-)

We have a pre-school workbook that we pull out whenever he is in the mood. I'm not pushing it with him because he is a kid and he'll have enough of all the stuff when he gets to school, but I'm all for learning letters and numbers when he is up to it. Anyway, he was supposed to draw a line from one letter to another, but instead he just wanted to color them. I said we should try to follow the instructions and he says "I'm just a kid, mom. I think I should just color it."

Later that day, I told him it was time to clean up the toys he was playing with. He'd made quite a mess so it was a daunting task. He looks a me and says, "you know I'm only three - I think you should probably do it." Fat chance little man :-)

I love his funny little personality develop (even though it doesn't get him out of cleaning up his toys!)

1 Month of School!

We have completed a whole month of school and so far Eóin is still loving it! I guess I didn't have to be worried about it being such a long day - he is still not tired when he gets hom and has lots of energy left over to wrestle with Aidan :-)
He will still say that his favorite part of the day is lunch time, but he does really enjoy PE, Maths, and Performing Arts.  He is loving counting to 100 by 1's, 5's and 10's. He is also doing really well with sight words and reading too! We have been reading sentences for a few weeks now! The "scholars" learn a lot of spelling and facts through song which is so much fun! His teacher is so enthusiastic about learning - I can tell by the great phrases he brings home like "WA-HOO" :-)
They have been going to the Kansas City Public Library once a week which is an AWESOME building and tomorrow they get to go to the Folley Theatre to watch the American Dance Theater group. I'm so glad he gets to be a part of so much downtown!
Well that's it - just a quick update on our little scholar :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book Review: With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Extreme introvert, Lt. Mellie Blake has been told that if she wants to be a flight nurse, she will have to put effort into making friends and reaching out to others. Part of that includes the dreaded task of writing to an officer as part of a morale building program. She certainly has nothing to offer a man - not good looks, flirty ways, or social know-how but still she writes, thankful that at least it is anonymous.

Lt. Tom MacGilliver is liked by everyone, but is friends with no-one as he puts up walls to block the pain of his name associated with horrific events. He welcomes the opportunity for someone to get to know him without the past standing in his way.

Writing back and forth, a warm open friendship is built as they face the awfulness of WWII together. When they are stationed near each other, will they be able to tear away their masks and form a relationship in real life, or will their past hold them back?

Sarah Sundin does a great job of building depth into her characters and making them flawed - just like every one of us. Sometimes I think fiction has a way of making at least one character seem overly perfect, but I like how she portrays everyone as having a deep need of God in their life. I am generally not great on my war history beyond the more well known events, especially the African part of WWII, so it was interesting to read about that, but it probably would have meant more if I have a clue about it in the first place. I don't usually read books from this time period, but I really enjoyed this one! I received it in the mail at lunch time yesterday and finished it just after lunch time today :-)

Sarah Sundin is also hosting a giveaway to celebrate her new book so pop over to her facebook page and RSVP for her party on Thursday! Learn more here.

Enter Today - 9/10-9/27! Sarah Sundin With Every Letter Kindle Nook Giveaway

Thanks to Revell publishing for a free copy of this book to enjoy and review!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Molly talking - couple o' videos

Molly is such a chatter box these days! It's so hard to get a video of her talking though because first of all, I lost my camera. Second of all, I have to use my phone so whenever I take it out, she just wants to play with it!  I managed to get her saying "Elmo" the other day when she was reading.
She also loves saying "uh-oh" - in fact she will throw things all the time now just so she can say it :-)
I will plug in my video camera and try to get a few clearer ones soon. These are pretty blurry - I have a really crummy phone :-) Oh well!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Week of Kindergarten

I can't believe this time is here already, but baby number one started school last week! I actually thought it was going to be harder than it was, but I could tell her was ready for the challenge. He was getting tired of our normal routine, less patient with the two other kids who were just acting their age, and certainly was not up for watching any "baby shows" on tv. (Though I will catch him watching sesame street, but hey - I even catch myself watching it too :-)

 I didn't even cry his first day - he didn't even really seem that nervous so neither was I.

He is really enjoying it so far, even though it is a very long day. I would say his favorite subject is math, at least that is the one he talks about the most. They sing a song called "The Number Rock" and it ends with "oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah." One night he was singing it so much that even Molly was saying "oh yeah" by the end of the night :-)
When I put him to bed that first night and we talked about going back the next day, he just smiled and said, "I can't believe I get to go there EVERY DAY!"

Some of his thoughts so far:

What is your favorite thing at school: Snack time and walk time.
No, I mean what is your favorite LEARNING thing at school : I do learn at snack time - I have to learn how to eat FAST!
What do you do at walk time: We hold hands with a partner and have to walk in a straight line - it's very hard to do that! The teacher has a stop and go sign and we have to pay attention.
Did you have science today?: Yes
What do you do in science: oh you know, talk about stuff (seriously - it's like trying to milk a rock getting details from this kid sometimes :-)

He really enjoyed PE, where they were learning jump rope.
He also really enjoys the bus ride and after a very long wait the first day, they have gotten pretty fast at getting home and it only takes half an hour to get to our stop which is not much longer than if I had to wait in line at the school to pick him up so it's a win win :-)

His teacher is such a sweetheart and is a great communicator. I really feel like I know what is going on in the classroom and I love it! It's going to be a great year :-)

Here are a couple of pics (some I took, some his teacher sent)

standing in line to go to class

 Performance Arts Class

Nice, son! 

Writing in their journals 

 Carpet time. His teacher said he always has a lot to say during this time. Shocker ;-)

Friday, September 07, 2012

Book Review: Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz

The last time I read a book by Laura Frantz, I enjoyed it, although it wasn't a story I would want to go back and read again and again. This story is soooo much better! I loved the characters and the plot twists and well... everything!

Silas Ballantyne has less than a year to finish his apprenticeship and plans to keep his head down and work hard so that he can fulfill his dream to move west and begin his new life. He has no plans for distraction or romance or anything else that might stand in his way. Unfortunately for him, Liege Lee, is a hard man to work for and intends to get everything he can from Silas, including Silas himself, by marrying him off to one of his daughters. An old tradition holds that the apprentice marries into the family of the master, and Silas soon finds himself having Elspeth pushed toward him over and over.

On the other hand, Eden Lee is sweet and seeking God, and a friendship of sorts forms between them - still there can be no romance getting in the way of Silas' plans to move west. But so many other forces are at work, and not many of them are friendly. Silas must make some hard choices about love, work and his future!

Thank to again to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review - I loved it and can't wait for the next one :-)

Available September 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book Review: Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney

Cate Kincaid has been through a LOT of jobs - from teacher to christmas elf and now finds herself helping out her Private Investigator uncle while she looks for a "real" job. Her assignment seems easy enough that even she can't mess up. Confirm that a girl lives at a certain address. Easy.
Except when she arrives at the house, nothing is easy - including the dead body she discovers! Not wanting to fail at yet another job, Cate finds herself mixed up in a web of lies and old ladies (he he)!

I really enjoyed this book - kind of like a grown up Nancy Drew :-) It is mystery, romance, and humor. I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times! I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

Thanks to Revell Publishing for a free copy of this book to review.
“Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Molly is 1

Where did this year go? I cannot believe my little girl is one already! I totally love having a little girl - already there are so many difference between her and her brothers although she can certainly hop in with their wrestling matches no problem :-)
At her checkup, she was in the 30% for weight, 35% for height and 97% for head size - lol. The doctor said she must be putting all her food in her head (just like Aunty Sandra!).
Here are some of Molly's favorite things right now:

Favorite Song: B-I-N-G-O or anything from her Mommy and Me video. She loves music!
Favorite Toy: She is really enjoying her Little People dollhouse. The toilet makes a flush sound and the phone rings - there are a couple of other sounds, but those ones make her laugh :-)
Favorite Food: She is not really too picky about food, but she did really enjoy her first warm chocolate chip cookie not too long ago - takes after her mommy! She also loves pasta of any sort.
Favorite Game: She loves to play Peek-A-Boo around the end of the couch - she thinks she is so funny when she hides :-)
Favorite People: She is really starting to come out of her shell which is fun for me, because she was a mommy-magnet up until recently. She really loves her Daddy and uncle Eric. Whenever I open the door she starts waving and saying "Hi" to anyone who will listen!
Words: She says Mommy, Daddy, Hi (favorite one), Cheese, Out, Up, and she said Grandad (dad-dad) today for the first time when she saw my dad on the computer!
Walking: Molly started walking well by herself about a week or so ago, but she will still cheat ad crawl a lot of the time. It's probably about 50/50 walking/crawling, but I can tell she is enjoying walking more and more :-)

Here are Molly's Birthday Minute Pics

 Molly Hope Harrison
8/4/2011 12:26pm 

Molly Hope Harrison
8/4/2012 12:16pm

Win a Kindle Fire or Nook Color from @SuzanneWFisher in "The Haven" Giveaway! RSVP for Live Video Chat on 8/30!

Celebrate the newest book in the Stoney Ridge Seasons series with Suzanne by entering her 4 eReader Giveaway and Facebook Party and RSVPing for the Live Video Chat on 8/30! 

See what folks are saying about The Haven!

Four grand prize winners will receive:
  • A Brand new Kindle Fire or Nook Color 
  • $25 or Barnes& Gift certificate 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 29th. Winner will be announced at Suzanne's Live Author Chat Party on 8/ 30. Suzanne will be hosting an author chat (party will start on Facebook AND then be Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and several Burt's Bees® Nourishing Radiance Kits!!

So grab your copy of The Haven and join Suzanne on the evening of the August 30th for a fun chat (both on Facebook and via Live Video), trivia contest and lots of giveaways. 

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the
RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Review:Lethal Legacy by Irene Hannon

Kelly Warren is not one bit convinced that her father's death was a suicide, even when all the evidence supports it. Something is just not right, and finally, she gets something that may prove murder. Detective Cole Taylor has to deal with the daughter in denial, which might not be such a bad thing considering she is quite pretty. Still, it seems that no matter how pretty she is, it can't make the evidence support her theory. In fact it's not until someone seems to want Kelly out of the picture, that he keeps digging and finds a very dangerous secret. Now he needs to get to the bottom of the secret before it's too late for Kelly!

As the third book in the Guardians of Justice Series, I think it would be better to read the others before reading this, as she does refer to the people from past books quite a bit. Still, you could read it as a stand alone novel and get to know the main characters without them. I usually can guess who the bad guy is pretty early in these books (even though you do find out early on in the story anyway) - but it does make it suspenseful and keeps you turning pages well into the night! I usually read these in one day :-) My only problem with these books is how early the characters always seem to fall for each other - I prefer the action part over the romance parts but it doesn't bother me enough to stop me reading them!

Thanks to Revell publishing for a free copy of this book to review.

Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I was so delighted when I saw this book come up for review! I really enjoyed the first book in the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and found myself eagerly waiting for the next book to be published. It is here and it was worth the wait!

The second book follows the second sister in the Lapp family, Sadie. She has just come back from visiting Julia and Roman, and she arrives back at the farm with a big surprise! (I won't tell you what it is - you'll have to read it for yourself :-) She is greeted with not one, but two romantic interested which, for such a quiet reserved person, is a lot to handle. Besides all the drama and action in her life, the book also follows the rest of the family, which is another thing I love about the books. Everyone in the family is so unique and they are such great, deep characters. I am already looking forward to and guessing what's going to happen in the next book!

Thanks and thanks again to Revell publishers for a free copy of this book to review.
Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
 a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Bible Stories Gone Awry!

Yesterday I was talking to Eóin about what he learned in junior church. He went through what they did in class and when he got to the Bible story, he said it was about an oven. It took me a few minutes to think of what the story could be, and then I asked if it was about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo. He said yes, and we kind of went through the story again. When I asked him why he thought they didn't get burned up, he said, "hmm maybe they forgot to turn the oven on" ;-) I think this story needs a little more review!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Book Review: A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Fannie Rousseau's sheltered life is about to come to an abrupt end. Faced with being alone, and tired of keeping up the appearance of wealth, she decides to leave it all behind on a journey to find a mysterious aunt she has never met. With only her faithful maid and friend Hannah beside her, she heads off to the wild west.
On her travels she meets up with Samuel Beck, who is in love with God and wants to tell everyone he meets about him. An unlikely friendship blossoms and maybe something more, but they are from different worlds and each brushes the possibility aside. But maybe God has bigger plans than either of them could have imagined.

I really enjoyed this story, even though it was a little slow getting into it. I have found that with this author's books in the past too. But once you get into them, it's worth the read. One of my favorite things about it was that although it has romance in it, the whole plot doesn't revolve around that aspect. In fact the main characters are not even together for a lot of the book. I loved the characters and the individual journeys they take.
Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review. 

Book Review: The Doctor's Lady by Jodi Hedlund

Priscilla White is looking forward to her life, serving God in India. She is the perfect candidate, dedicated to God and burdened for the souls of others.
Dr. Eli Ernest is on the road, raising support for his work among the Native Americans in the West. Headstrong and rugged, he is the perfect candidate for work in the harsh conditions.
But the perfect candidates are not perfect enough for the mission board - they are not married and the board decides to no longer send single candidates to the field.
With their dreams of serving God and winning people to him looking more bleak, by the minute, Priscilla and Eli join together in a marriage which will allow them both to serve God. A marriage by name only, for the purpose of winning souls.
But on the harsh trip out West, they are challenged by hardships which will test their commitment to their cause and to their marriage of convenience.

I really did enjoy this story, especially the descriptions of the journey out west during that time period. I live just 20 minutes away from Liberty, MO and love to imagine the trip along the river that people took back then. The struggle between Eli and Priscilla creates a tension that keeps the pages turning to see what will happen with them. Between that and all the physical hardships, there is enough to hold your attention for the whole read!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

If you were the only person in the world...

Aidan's class was learning about the first family that God made. His teacher asked "If you were the only person in the world, what would you do?"

Some kids would play with the animals but Aidan said "I'd be naughty." I think I believe him :-)

Later, they were talking about Cain and Abel being brothers. Aidan said, "I have a brother too, but we have a sister too so we are better than them."

They are getting to that age when we kinda dread what they are going to say in class ;-)

Father's Day Funnies

It's been pretty busy around here trying to keep up with a mobile little girl who loves mischief! I also have been spending my evenings trying to clear out the basement so blogging has taken a back seat. Time for a bit of catch up.

Eóin's class at church made these cute booklets about their dads and Eóin's gave us a good laugh. Here are some of the things in his book (It was fill in blank - his answers are bold):

My daddy is 4 years old. He has black hair and blue eyes. He is 7 feet tall.

My daddy works at the front yard. At his job he plants flowers.

My daddy loves to eat scrambled eggs and toast.

My dad likes to wear underpants.

My dad us SO strong, he could lift a computer.

My dad really loves mommy. (awwww)

If my dad had time he would go to work.

He is smart because he knows how to get pants on.

If I could give my dad anything, it would be a big dinner like a chicken butt. (nice)

They love their dad :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: Don't Panic: Quick, Easy and Delicious Meals for Your Family

Alternative Title to the Post: Why I would never make it as a food blogger ;-)

First off let me say, this post is sooo late! I was supposed to post this the week before we left for Ireland and somehow I totally forgot! Partly, because honestly I stocked up on the cheapest food I could find that week to squeeze every penny out of our budget for our trip. Also partly, because when I excitedly opened up the book when it arrived, I didn't see anything in the contents that screamed "cook me right now!" so I put it on the shelf to go through again, and there it sat in the midst of vacation getting readiness, all alone and forgotten.

So, as I have mentioned, although there are some recipes in the book that look ok, I was disappointed that nothing really stood out to me as something I was dying to try. My general rules of thumb for new recipes are that it has to contain mostly ingredients that I would have around the house, we have to already like the general idea of it, and has to be kid friendly.  Quite a lot of these recipes, I found, either didn't sound as good as I already make it, or had too many ingredients that I would have to buy specifically for that meal.

Now - there are some things that I may still try in here (and I have already tried some - pics to follow). There are some great things about the book, like the keys at the top which at a glance can tell you which dishes are lighter fare, the author's favorites, have minimal ingredients, are great for entertaining and freezable meals. I really like that. I also like that on the freezable meals, there are notes for how to make multiple batches for freezing. Great idea!

Now for your entertainment purposes - here are some pics of a meal I made from this book :-)

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken (p121)
 First I seasoned the chicken, then browned it in butter...

 After throwing PLACING the chicken in the crock pot, I mixed water, lemon juice, garlic and bouillion to the pan and brought it to a boil, then covered the chicken with the sauce.

Here you may imagine a picture of an ugly flowery crockpot which to save your eyes from the shock, I did not add a picture of. Although, you may imagine a yummy lemony chicken smell here...

I also made the Glazed Snow Peas Recipe on page 73 and I LOVED those!

That's all there was to it folks! It wasn't bad - not as lemony as I would have hoped and a little dry. If I made it again, I would shorten the cooking time and add more lemon, but I LOVED the snow peas (in fact I may have eaten all my kid's helping of those ;-)

If you enjoy cooking, you should at least glance through the contents of this one, because they are all pretty quick to put together and not everyone is as picky as me so I bet you will find a few winners :-)

PS - This book was written by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia (I just felt the title was already so long it might break the title bar:-) )

Thank you SO much to Revell publishing for a free copy of this book to review, and their patience with me in posting it! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Aidan is 3!

It was different this morning. When you climbed into bed beside me you didn't fit into me the way you used to, all tiny and snuggly. You have moved from toddler to little boy and now you take up much more space in my bed :-) It's hard to believe you are three already, but on the other hand, it's hard to believe you are only turning three now because you have a pretty big vocabulary for such a little dude.
This morning, when we were getting breakfast, I was waiting for you to do something to help me and trying to get you to hurry. You turned and looked at me just like I look and you and said, "Can you just be patient?" in the same tone I use when I say it to you. Funny man.

You are a very physical person, and while that means you get in trouble for always hanging out of people, it also means you give the best hugs EVER!

You love your sunglasses, and wear them everywhere like a little superstar. You don't really have a favorite show or toy right now, but you enjoyed Disney junior shows at Granny's house and love to pretend to be things with Eóin. You are really going to miss Big Bro when he goes to school. Hopefully you and Molly will become good buddies too.

You're name means little fire and you certainly live up to that name. You are a fiery little guy, and we hope that God can use that fire to do great things for him as you are growing up!

Here are Aidan's birthday minute pictures so far:

June 2, 2007 3:07pm

June 2, 2010 3:07pm

June 2, 2011 (nap time) 3:07pm

 June 2, 2012 3:07pm

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Book Review: The Ride of Her Life, by Lorna Seilstad

It's summer again at Lake Manawa, and this year, Lilly Hart is working hard to take care of herself and her son. She bravely stood up to her in-laws after her husband passed away, but now must fight to prove that she can take care of her family. But working as a cook does not meet her in-law's standards of what is proper for their only reminder of their son. When Nick Perrin comes to town to build a new roller coaster for the resort, he really wants to help Lilly and her son, but Lilly struggles to trust after her great loss. But he gradually starts to wear down her walls and take her on the ride of her life :-)

I was excited to see this book come up for review after reading the first two books in the series already. I think Seilstad does a great job of mixing history of the area, romance and usually a little twist or two. She also usually provides a spiritual lesson that the character is learning and I enjoy following their journey of faith. Once again, I think the cover is a little corny and if I wear to judge if I would read it based on the cover, I probably would have passed, but I'm glad I didn't because these books make great summe reads. Though I think this would be ok to read as a stand alone book, I think it would be worth your while to start at the beginning and follow all three girls through the books together.

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport

Lucy Banning is set up for life - a comfortable home, loving family, and wealthy finance who has been waiting since childhood for Lucy's hand. But it's not enough for big hearted Lucy. Between her work with the orphans, the women's movement, and her secret university classes, she is not content with a dull life of leisure. But all the sneaking around can't last forever, and when she meets Will, she may have finally met someone who she doesn't have to hide from.
I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me a bit of Downton Abbey (on PBS), with it showing both the lives of the wealthy and the people who serve them. I also loved seeing a little bit into the history of the World Fair. It had some nice twists and kept me involved in the storyline right up to the end!

Thank you so much to Revell Publishing for a free copy of this book to review. 

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.