About Me

My photo
Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dive Into Your Imagination- TOS review

We just got back from a trip to the beach and miss it terribly!  When I arrived home I was thrilled to see that my "Who Lives in the Sea?" Dive Into Your Imagination DVD had arrived in the mail! "Ocean" Annie Crawley has created an amazing and beautiful set of DVDs (with educator guides!) that teach your family about the ocean and the creatures that live there.  

The DVD is geared towards children ages 3-8 and my 9 year old felt that some of the songs were a bit "babyish" but when the movie started showing the fascinating ocean creatures she stopped with the criticism!  The movie is absolutely stunning and covered so many things that we are studying in Science right now.  It's one thing to read about animals but so much more exciting when you can see them in action!  "Who Lives in the Sea?"  features whales, sea lions, turtles, birds, sharks, nudibranchs (ocean snails!) and more all captured in all their glory.  Awesome.  Other DVDs available in this series are: "Dive into Diversity", "Visions of the Sea", "Explore Coral Reefs",  and "Dive Into California".  Available here for $19.95 each.


Not only that, the DVDs come with educator guides!  Movies and learning are such a great combination at my house.  You purchase the guides separately.  There are two sets- one for Pre-K and the other for 1-3 grade.  I was really impressed with all that they include- lots of ideas, printables, tips and more. Each guide covers 8 chapters with 6-7 activity stations per chapter.  Your children will learn literacy, science, math, geography and more! They are available here in print for $299.00 for all 3 or PDF version for $69.95 each.  Free shipping through the month of June. 

Annie Crawley is more than passionate about the ocean and it's inhabitants.  She seeks to educate the world so that we can learn about the sea, care for the sea and experience the sea through her eyes.  I believe you and your family will really enjoy Dive Into Your Imagination!

See what other TOS Crew members thought about Dive Into Your Imagination here.

*I was given a copy of Who Lives in the Sea? and the educator guide in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was received.*

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Big Bottom Blessing Book Review and Giveaway!

My Big Bottom Blessing, by Teasi Cannon, is a book for every woman.  Large, small and everyone in between who struggle with low self esteem.  Hand in the air over here!  At one time or another- perhaps daily- we are not pleased with what we see in the mirror.  But you know what?  God is. He sees into our hearts and the outer "flaws" don't mean a thing!

Teasi Cannon is so real!  She shares moments in her life that scarred her.  Made her doubt herself.  I cried for her and thought of my own childhood memories that still haunt me.  Teasing, bullying and abuse are hard to shake and burrow deeply- only to reemerge later in life.  You can heal, with the Lord's assistance.  Teasi shows us in her book how she was able to forgive the man that abused her at the tender age of 7.  If she can forgive that, then surely I can forgive the hurtful words that I still carry with me from grade school.

Teasi Cannon is also very, very funny!  Her grocery store "field trip" had me laughing until I cried!  Fresh fruits and veggies are only for the thin, beautiful women (because they won't allow them to rot in a drawer) and the bakery items call her name as she walks by.  I have been there, Teasi!  So many of us have been there.  Thank you for being willing to share your stories.  

One BIG thing I learned, and I learned quite a bit from this book, was how to be a Daughter and not have Orphan Ways.  It's not exactly what you are thinking, but boy is it important.  Orphan Ways are used by people that are jealous and competitive.  They need to be needed.  They find it very hard to rejoice when others rejoice.  They feel afraid and alone.  

I have Orphan Ways and use them more than I should.  I was ashamed to realize this as I was reading.  Just for a minute, though.  I immediately went to the Lord and asked Him to help me.  My heart was changed.  God has big plans for me- and you!  Why not rejoice for others?  Be happy for others and more than likely they will be happy when your time comes for a bit of sunshine.:)

The Daughter Way is when you serve God and others because you want to- not to impress.  You feel secure and loved and this allows you to love with no strings attached.  You know you have value and worth.  Freeing, isn't it?:)

Each chapter in My Big Bottom Blessing is a devotional and helps you to look deep within yourself.  The book is a delight to read!  I read it all in one day and would love to give Teasi Cannon a hug for writing this special book that spoke to my heart.

It's not about changing your outer appearance.  It's about changing your heart.  God is patiently waiting.:)

Why not read the first chapter right now?  Here.

**Even better.  Would you like to win a copy of My Big Bottom Blessing?** 

1)  Leave a comment on this post for one entry.
2) If you are a follower of my blog, leave another entry telling me so.

That's it!  I will choose a winner next Wednesday, the 6th.  Good luck!

* I was given a copy of My Big Bottom Blessing from Worthy Publishing and Handlebar Marketing in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wait No More Book Review

I love my family.  The four of us make a great team.  I sometimes wonder if God intends for us to have more children, though.  The thought of adoption is both thrilling and scary.  Life would change (a lot), but when God is in control I know it would be for the better!  I saw the book, Wait No More by Kelly and John Rosati and knew that I had to read it.  

Kelly and John Rosati were led by the Lord to foster and adopt four wonderful children.  Through their book they share that the experience was not simple and they were often frustrated and angry.  Without God they would have given up, but through His guidance they built the beautiful family that they have today.  

Wait No More illustrates an amazing life journey.  I was touched deeply and the idea of adoption once again called to my heart.  God commands us to help those in need.  It takes courage to open your home and I have begun to pray for guidance in this matter.  Perhaps fostering or adoption are in your future?  I recommend reading Wait No More and see if it touches your heart, too.:)

*I was given Wait No More by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gone to Ground Book Review and Giveaway!

The winner is #5- Amy!  Congratulations!!

My head was buried in this book all weekend.  I could not put it down.  You all know how much I love a good mystery and Gone to Ground was a great one.  Over the past three years, six women have been brutally murdered in the small town of Amaryllis, Mississippi.  People are terrified and suspicious of everyone.  Three women think they know who the killer is- but each one suspects a different man. 

Deena, Tully and Cherrie Mae reminded me of characters in the book, The Help.  They are Southern women on a mission.  Cherrie Mae was my favorite.  5 feet tall and 62 years old, she heads up this team of women determined to do what the local police have not- solve the mystery.  She cleans houses for a living- including the mayor's.  She stumbles across something in his home one day while dusting that chills her to the bone.  20 year old Tully is due to have a baby any day.  Her life would be lovely if she wasn't married to an abusive man.  He also may be cheating on her.  To make matters even worse, her husband is out late one night and she finds blood on a door handle the next day.  Where did it come from?  She is beyond vulnerable but determined to do the right thing.    Deena is a hair dresser with a brother who has special needs.  He comes to her one night with blood covering his clothes.  What is going on??

Gone to Ground had me in it's grasp and would not let go until I read the last page.  It was suspenseful and the main characters were believable and endearing (always important to me!).  Brandilyn Collins also includes God in her stories along with prayer.  Cherrie Mae, Tully and Deena look to the Lord for direction and safety.  I don't believe I've ever read a mystery that gives God the credit He is due.  It was refreshing!  Brandilyn Collins has now been added to my favorites and I cannot wait to read more of her books!

About Brandilyn Collins:
Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is a three-time American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award Winner and has also received Inspirational Reader’s Choice and Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice honors. Brandilyn and her family have homes in California and Idaho.

Read an excerpt of Gone to Ground here.


Do you love mysteries?  Would you like to read Gone to Ground?  It would make an incredible beach/vacation read!  PR by the Book has generously given me a copy for one of my readers!  

Here is what you need to do:

#1- Leave a comment on this post telling me the name of your favorite mystery and/or favorite mystery author.
#2- Let me know if you are a follower of my blog for a second entry.  (Please leave a separate comment.)

That's all!  Good luck!  Giveaway ends next Monday, the 28th!

*I was given a copy of Gone to Ground from PR by the Book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Wish You Were Here book review and giveaway!

 Remember how Snow White awoke from the witches spell when the Prince kissed her?  There's a similar beginning in Wish You Were Here, by Beth K. Vogt.  It's the story of a young lady, Allison Denman, who feels her life is quite perfect until she "awakens" (with a kiss!) and realizes it's just... well, not.  Postcards from around the world, llamas, Colorado, and a runaway bride all play an interesting part in this quest for happiness.  Wish You Were Here is not a simple romance.  Secrets are uncovered, the past makes an appearance and our heroine is even rescued!  There is also the tiny complication of being in love with two brothers.  Or is she?  I loved the references to Colorado Springs as we vacationed their last year and fell in love with the area (especially our stay at the Broadmoor hotel!).  When I started this book I couldn't even imagine how anyone could ever be a runaway bride.  As I read the story I began to see things differently.  Marriage is forever (intended to be) and not a choice to be taking lightly.  Beth Vogt does a remarkable job in getting to the heart of her heroine, Allison.  Even when all appears fairy tale perfect to the rest of the world, a happy ending isn't possible until you find what and who you are truly looking for in love.

About the book:

Wish You Were Here
| Beth K. Vogt

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom's brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison's life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a "Runaway Bride" complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend's car doesn't seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

About Beth: 

Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. She's a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Beth has discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." She writes contemporary romance because she believes there's more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They've been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and - thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a "daughter-in-love" and "son-in-love," enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website:http://bethvogt.com

Blog Tour Schedule here!

{Enter to win an iPad!}

Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!
One "happy" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad2 with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's Website
Just click one of the icons below to enter. Tell your friends about Beth's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

*I was given a copy of Wish You Were Here by Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.*

Friday, May 18, 2012

Forever Hilltop Book Review and Giveaway!

Forever Hilltop, by Judy Baer, is part of a heartwarming trilogy that takes you to the wilds of North Dakota.  Hilltop Township is filled with endearing characters that have imperfectly (and often very funny!) wonderful story lines.  The town is in the middle of nowhere but once you visit you will never want to leave.  (You may even start thinking about moving to North Dakota- I know I did!)  I was immediately intrigued when I saw that lutefisk and lefse were mentioned on the cover of the book.  They are traditional Swedish dishes that my family "enjoys" at Christmas.:)  I have yet to acquire a taste for them but found the mention of Scandinavian traditions utterly charming!  This book will make you feel good.  Really good.  Like a warm flannel blanket on a wet, cold day kind of good.  I found myself savoring each page and not wanting the stories (An Unlikely Blessing and Surprising Grace are both in this book) to end.  Forever Hilltop is a bit like the Mitford series by Jan Karon and I believe it would appeal to all ages.  It's delightfully entertaining! Judy Baer also features fabulous recipes in the books- can't wait to try making Nancy's Devonshire Cream!
About the book:

The charming and often hilarious Forever Hilltop series follows the experiences of former city dweller Alex Armstrong as he settles into his new role as pastor of a Scandinavian community in rural North Dakota. Alex is sometimes baffled by his parishioners and their colorful ways, but he comes to appreciate their simple wisdom. One thing's for sure -- life in Hilltop Township is never dull! This new two-in-one format features An Unlikely Blessing along with its sequel, Surprising Grace.

In An Unlikely Blessing, Alex Armstrong is a former city dweller who has just accepted his first parish assignment to a small community in the wilds of North Dakota. In Hilltop Township, Pastor Alex becomes familiar with the residents and their odd traditions, from julebukking to King Oscar's fish balls. And then there's the excitement the single pastor creates among the unmarried women in the community! Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he has to teach them.

In Surprising Grace, Alex Armstrong is settling into his new role as pastor of Hilltop Church, and he's even starting to understand the strange ways of the people who populate this barren stretch of North Dakota prairie. But he also finds that his flock needs help and counsel like he never imagined. In this cozy and entertaining read, Alex must choose between the woman he once loved -- and the home he's come to love.

About Judy:

Judy Baer was born and grew up on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota, experiencing many of the same things as her Hilltop characters. An only child, she spent most of her days with imaginary people-either those she read about or those she made up in her head.

Baer graduated from Concordia College with majors in English and education and a minor in religion. While at the time, she was simply studying what interested her, Baer later realized that she was educating herself for her future career as a Christian writer. She certainly put her education to use as she is the author of more than 75 books.

A certified professional life coach now certified in three coaching disciplines, Baer coaches primarily professional and aspiring writers. She is also a faculty advisor in the Department of Human Development at St. Mary's University in Minneapolis, MN. Baer has two daughters and three step children. She and her husband live in Minnesota.

She invites you to visit her at her web site www.judykbaer.com for more information on her and her books. 

Blog Tour Schedule here!

{More about the Kindle Giveaway}

Celebrate with Judy by entering to win a Kindle for you and a friend!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Touch for you AND one to giveaway to the friend of your choice
  • Forever Hilltop by Judy K Baer for you and a one for a friend
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/22/12. The winner will be announced 5/24/12 on Judy’s blog
Just click one of the icons below to enter. Tell your friends about Judy's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

*I was given a copy of Forever Hilltop by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Kingdom Dance, Juliet and Summer Break

Summer break is almost here.
We home school all summer, though.

My poor girls.

Loving picking flowers in my garden.
The colors are thrilling!

To me they are better than a florist- any. day.

A work of art that deserved to be framed.

The beads have come out to play.
I have missed them.

Teachers gifts...

Flowers in fabric form.

End of the School Year.

Dressing Up.

Friends of all ages.

Sign Language Class.
Such a lovely form of communication.

Kingdom Dance.
Wish I knew how to post videos.

This group is such good friends.
A true and lovely blessing.

They danced to the Kingdom Dance song from Tangled.

My friend, Angel, made the costumes.  She is incredibly gifted!

These boys are incredible- and smart.
Definitely in the minority when it comes to ballet.
So many girls!
They'll never be lacking for a dance partner in life.
Remember Patrick Swayze.:)

Our own Juliet.
Shakespeare, how could you?
What a tortured young lady.
My oldest delivered.
She showed such angst and emotion to the crowd.
"Tell me not friar, that thou speakest of this!"

It was a challenge and she rocked it.

The hair.
Oh, my.
My friend, Tonya, did not disappoint.
I took so many pictures in hopes that I could some day duplicate this.

Sweet memories caught with a camera.

I hope they stay friends forever...

Crazy Dangerous Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Whispers came at her out of the dark.  From the first sentence in Crazy Dangerous, I knew I was in for a wild ride.  I had to skim the first chapter because my heart was racing and I was having a hard time catching my breath!  Andrew Klavan is a master at building suspense and at the same time he also has a clever sense of humor.  This delightful combination made Crazy Dangerous really hard to put down.   

Sam Hopkins is a wonderful main character.  Quick wit, a big heart and courage are all part of who he is, though he loses his focus in life (through a series of "unfortunate" wrong turns) and longs to find his way back to what is right.  Jennifer Sales wanders into Sam's neck of the woods (literally) and things get complicated very quickly.  What are her bad dreams all about?  Is she insane or is there something much more sinister going on?  

Crazy Dangerous is Juvenile Fiction.  I would recommend it for ages 16 and up due to certain topics covered (demons, bombs, juvenile delinquents, mental illness, murder) in the story.  I really enjoyed it and am way past 16, lol!  I have a 14 year old, though, and I think it would be a bit too much for her to handle.  

I really appreciated that Andrew Klavan credited God with being in control throughout Crazy Dangerous.  He shows that Christian fiction never has to be boring!  This is a deliciously suspenseful story with wonderful characters.  A wild ride with crazy twists and turns and a good dose of humor to ease the bumps!  Can't wait to read his next book!

Crazy Dangerous
| Andrew Klavan

"You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and-oh yeah-the weird murder . . . you're definitely going to want to hear about that."

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it's only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here's the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies--prophecies of something terrible that's going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.

With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

About Andrew: 

Andrew Klavan was hailed by Stephen King as "the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich." He is the recipient of two Edgar Awards and the author of such bestsellers as True Crimeand Don't Say a Word.

His books and screenplays have been turned into films directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Michael Douglas, Ed Burns, Michael Caine among others.

Hometown: Santa Barbara, California

Celebrate with Andrew by entering his Crazy Dangerous giveaway and connecting with him during the Author Chat Party on 5/29!
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A $100 Visa Cash Card
  • A copy of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan for YOU and 5 of your Friends!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 28th. Winner will be announced at the "Crazy Dangerous" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/29. Andrew will be hosting an Author Chat, testing your survival trivia skills, giving away books and gift certificates to iTunes and Amazon.com! Don't miss a second of the "danger"!
Grab your copy of Crazy Dangerous and connect with Andrew on the evening of 5/29/12 for an author chat and lots of giveaways.

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Blog Tour Schedule here!

*I was given a copy of Crazy Dangerous from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.*

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fiber One Chewy Granola Bar review and GIVEAWAY! Mmmmmm!

                The winner is Shawnee!  Congratulations!!

I received this amazing package of Fiber One and Summer Fun goodness today!  Wanna win a package just like it from Fiber One?  Stay with me.:)

I am a HUGE fan of Fiber One granola bars.  HUGE.  They are delicious and fiber is something we all need help with in our diet.  I like to enjoy mine with chocolate personally.:)  Fiber One has just created new CHEWY bars.  Mmmhmm....  They are divine.  DIVINE.  Chocolate (coated in chocolate!) and Strawberry PB & J (coated in peanut butter!) flavors!  So, the whole family can enjoy.  My younger daughter loved Chocolate (my fave) the most and my older daughter enjoyed Strawberry PB & J the most.  

These little packages of yumminess and goodness will not last long at my house.:)

Fiber One Chewy bars contain 20% of the Daily Value of fiber and 10% of the Daily Value of calcium.  They are between 100-110 calories each, with only 7-8 grams of sugar.  No high fructose corn syrup.

Now for the fun!

One person will win the following in a fabulous prize pack from Fiber One!

-Box of Fiber One Chewy Chocolate Bars

             -Box of Fiber One Chewy Strawberry PB&J Bars             
             -Drawstring Sack Pack
             -Water Bottle
             -Flexi Flyer
             -Soccer Ball
             -Sidewalk Chalk

*Here is how to enter....
1) Leave a comment on this post for 1 entry.
2) Be a follower of my blog (let me know in another comment) for 1 entry.

That's all!  Winner will be chosen next Tuesday, the 22nd.
*I was given a prize package from General Mills in exchange for my honest opinion from My Blog Spark.  No other compensation was received.*