Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review: Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

The year is 1944 and France is so close to being free from German rule.  But as France is busy fighting, some Nazis are planning ways to get out of the net that is closing around them. Art-lover, and second in command of the Nazi army, Hermann Goring, has hatched a brilliant plan - steal the Mona Lisa and use her as a bargaining chip to escape the doom that is sure to come.
Lucky for the Venetian Lady, there are people who are willing to put everything on the line to see her safe and sound in the new, free, France. But can they get there in time to save her?

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in this read. It wasn't awful, but it did not draw me in the way I was hoping. It was a great idea for a story line, but I think they took too long to get into the main plot. It was probably about a third of the way into the book before the Mona Lisa was really even mentioned. I know the authors wanted to make it true to fact and history, but I think there were almost too many details to keep my attention. I also felt there were a few too many sub-plots going on and a few references to a former book that seemed a little awkward having not read the previous book.  It was just an ok read, unfortunately.

Even though it wasn't my favorite book, I want to thank Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Sweet Boys

I just wanted to write down a few sweet things the boys have said/done lately before they got lost in my brain :-)

The other night, Jonathan was out for dinner so I fed the kids alone. When Aidan was finished, he cleared off the table and put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher without even being asked! It's his new favorite job - you are welcome future daughter in law :-)

Tonight, as I was getting Aidan ready for bed, he gave me a big hug and said "Mommy, you are my best, best friend!" Let me just say, if you are loved by Aidan, he will never let you forget it :-)

Eóin and Molly are such little buddies. She smiles and laugh whenever he walks into the room. Tonight, Eóin was in bed and i stopped by to check on him. He said, "Tonight I am thinking about Molly, because I just love her so much!" (He likes to plan what he is going to think about so he doesn't have bad dreams :-))

Here is a pic of the boys tonight. Daddy was at a friends wedding so we had pizza and cookies and a few games of Hi-Ho-Cheerio or as Aidan calls it "the apple game."

So thankful for their unique and special personalities!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Book Review: The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Julia Lapp cannot wait for her wedding day to Paul Lapp. She has been planning to marry him for what seems like forever, especially after he postponed their wedding just weeks before their last date. But now it seems like they have hit yet another roadblock when Roman Troyer comes to town and puts more doubts in Paul's mind.

Roman Troyer, or the Bee Man, lives a nomadic life, travelling with his bees and nothing else. No attachments to anywhere or anyone. But this year when he arrives at Windmill farm, he finds Julia's father, Amos, very sick and decides to stick around to help the family much to Julia's dismay.

It seems like everyone at Windmill Farm has some growing to do in discovering that what we plan for our life, and what God plan are sometimes very different indeed!

Suzanne Woods Fisher has done it again! I enjoy her writing so much and this book is another wonderful example of how she takes a pretty common theme (amish life) and takes it to a while new level. I love how deep her characters are and how she slightly changes her narration to match their personalities. I also enjoy that even though her characters are Amish,  they still live in the 21st century and still act and think like normal people. She has a great ability to make me laugh and usually cry too. I would highly recommend this book!

 Stop by the Keeper facebook party on January 17th, and sign up here for a chance to win an iPad2!

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

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

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Top 10 of 2011 and New Year's Eve

We had a lovely relaxing New Year's Eve as a family this year. The boys went to the library to pick up some new books, followed by a trip to the zoo because it was such a lovely day, and finishing up with dinner at Culvers.

We are thankful for all the blessing from 2011 - here are the top ten events from the year and a few pics from New Year's Eve.

Bought a new van
Eóin turned 4
Jonathan takes and passes his CFP test. He is now a Certified Financial Planner!
Trip to Watertown for 4th July
Aidan turned 2
Molly is born!
I turned 30 :-/
Mam came to visit
Aidan is potty trained 
Trip to Indiana for thanksgiving

Looking forward to what next year holds :-)

Ha ha - Jonathan and Aidan have the same face ;-)

Aidan's friend/enemy he made at the park :-)

Christmas Day 2011

Christmas morning was so much fun this year. The kids actually slept pretty late from a few busy days the night before. Eóin was up first and just came in a snuggled with me for a while. As he was laying there he says, "I wonder if Santa came last night." I told him he probably did. "I think Aidan ate all his cookies," he added. I said that I thought Aidan was asleep the whole night. "I bet he got up, ate the cookies, and then went back to sleep." he he he

When Aidan showed no signs of waking soon, we went in to wake him up. "It's not Christmas," he said. "Christmas is in the pond." I think he was still quite sleepy :-)

Next we sat on our bed to read the Christmas story and pray to say Happy Birthday to Jesus. Funniest story ever! Went kinda like this:

It started out pretty normally until we got to the shepherds - then it kind of went downhill from there...

Jonathan: So the shepherds were out taking care of their sheep at night. Then the angel appeared to them. Do you think you would be afraid if it was dark and a bright shiny angel appeared?

Eóin: No. Sometimes it is dark in my room and a light comes, but it is just a car.

Aidan: I think Jesus was driving the car.

Jonathan: The angel told him not to be afraid but to go see Jesus lying in a manger.

Aidan: He has birthday cake because it's his birthday (not really part of the story, but he got the birthday bit down at least :-)

Jonathan: finishes the story with some more funny interjections. I wish I wrote them down sooner because they were hilarious but these were the ones I could remember.

Anyway - then we went and opened presents, went  to church and then over to the Stanley's for dinner and presents there. A lovely Christmas Day :-)

Christmas Story Time

Finding presents. This is Eóin's thinking face. Aidan half dressed from the day before...oh well :-)
Molly's Present

Eóin's camera
Eóin asked for a train

Aidan asked Santa for chocolate - so voila :-)

Sweet Christmas Gift

Aidan opening Eóin's present - sly little monkey!

Eóin making his first real lego!

sweet matching cousins :-)

Christmas Eve 2011

Well I didn't get caught up by New Year's Day but I am working on it now. Just a few more from 2011 :-) I really want to put them up because I love looking back so it's worth the time to go back and get everything up. And so...a few pics from the days leading up to Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Eve itself.  The Harrisons arrived so we did a few activities with them (which of course included going back to the trains AGAIN). Christmas Eve we opened stockings and tried to head home early. The boys both feel asleep on the way home but Eóin woke up enough to put his stocking out and some cookies for Santa :-) He tried soooo hard to fall asleep even though he was so excited - it was cute to peep in and see him squeezing his eyes closed.

3 Harrison Men (Aidan was off exploring)

True Love :-)

Christmas Eve Shirt (says "for santa, not daddy")



Noise Makers were a big hit :-)
even with the big kids :-)

Book Review: Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

To say that Georgie Gail was annoyed when the telephone company send a new man to work with her would be an understatement. After all, she has been managing fine by herself for so long and is proud of her independence.
But there is more to Luke Palmer than meets the eye. In fact, there is so much more to the quiet little town than meets the eye. Somewhere, hiding among the innocent townspeople are a gang of notorious train robbers and it's Luke's job to find them.
Twists and turns abound in this fun and exciting story!

The thing I really enjoy about Deanna Gist is that she finds little gems from the past to base her stories on.  I love that she bases her characters on real people as it makes them so much more interesting - just those little details that bring life to the story.  I really enjoyed Georgie's interest in birds and some of the history about women's fashion and independence from the early 1900's.  A fun read for historical fiction lovers :-)

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

Monday, January 02, 2012

Molly's First Food

We interrupt the holiday pics for a quick video of big girl Molly eating her first cereal. She ate the whole bowl with no problems at all. I knew she was ready because she was getting mad every time she saw us eating and staring at our food :-) She knows what she wants alright!