About Me

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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, October 31, 2013

Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter

Synopsis for
Carolina Reckoning
By Lisa Carter

Alison wanted her cheating husband gone, not dead...

When 30-something housewife, Alison Monaghan discovers proof of her husband's infidelity in a photograph with a mysterious woman, she must decide how to confront Frank when he returns home from work. Despite the influence of her best friend Valerie, a strong Christian, Alison remains aloof from God and is determined to handle this crisis her own way. But Alison may not get that chance.

Frank never makes it home. Soon his body is found on a lonely back-country road in antebellum Weathersby Historic Park where Frank served on the board of directors and where Alison, with a degree in landscape design, was a volunteer garden docent. Homicide detective Mike Barefoot, a Cherokee native from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, immediately puts Alison at the top of his suspect list. He finds himself drawn to her--and not just because she had motive for the crime. As an army veteran, Mike usually keeps his emotional walls high. And as a detective, he knows not to get involved with murder suspects. So why he is so attracted to Alison? Can he fight his feelings for her—and the stirrings in his heart toward God?

My Thoughts:

Carolina Reckoning is an engaging mystery with a cast of interesting characters and a constant focus on the Lord.  I appreciated how the main characters were able to find peace and guidance through God in spite of the danger that surrounded them.  Shots fired, anonymous phone calls and silent intruders set the scene for chaos and suspicion!  You just never know what's going to happen next...  A few of my favorite characters were Valerie, Alison's best friend, and Hilary Munro, another dear friend.  I admired their strength and the fact that they stuck by Alison while the world judged her as a killer.  Alison and her children are determined to find Frank's murderer and detective Mike Barefoot is on a quest to make sure they stay alive while searching for clues.  I thought it was sweet how Mike Barefoot became so protective of Alison and her children but also felt that their adult relationship was a bit rushed and not overly believable.  The ending was quite a surprise, though...

*I was given a copy of this book by Abingdon Fiction in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren- The thrilling conclusion of The Grand Tour!

My Thoughts:

Glittering Promises, the third book in the Grand Tour series by Lisa T. Bergren, is filled with breathtaking beauty, ruthless deception, and all the romance of Europe!  Cora Kensington is quickly becoming the richest woman in the United States, but at what price?  As if that isn't overwhelming enough, two handsome gentleman are desperately competing for her heart.  Pierre de Richelieu- the rich, handsome French prince and William McCabe - the dashing and brave (but penniless) "bear" of her Grand Tour.  The elusive Ethan Hawke is still in the picture, too, having unsuccessfully kidnapped Cora and her younger sister in Grave Consequences.  Cora and her siblings must watch their every step and be wary of whom they trust...

I found the beginning of Glittering Promises to be a bit slow, but it quickly gained momentum.  The love triangle of Cora, Pierre, and Will, was compelling in itself!  I wasn't ever sure who Cora was destined to marry.  But my goodness, the end was an absolute surprise to me!  Through her words, Lisa T. Bergren painted vivid images of Europe on every page.  The history, architecture and stories of the Grand Tour is a delightful education for readers!  Oh, but don't let me forget the passion!  The baths at Saturnia- be still my heart! Will and Cora's interlude at Cascate del Mulino made my pulse race…  

About the book: Lisa T. Bergren's popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.
America's newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade---"Copper Cora," the rags-to-riches girl---and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn't going to claim Will's heart, she might just try . . .
About the author: Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

Learn more about Lisa here:http://lisatawnbergren.com.

Lisa T. Bergren is celebrating the release of her new book, Glittering Promisesby giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th.


One winner will receive:

  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door

  • The three-book Grand Tour set

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Glittering Promises" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa's next book.
So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 29th!

*I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Giveaway! Talking With Your Daughter About Best Friends and Mean Girls by Dannah Gresh- 8 Great Dates!

The winner is #5- JENNIFER W.!!!!!

About Talking with Your Daughter about Best Friends and Mean Girls
Gresh adds to the popular Secret Keeper Girl 8 Great Dates series by offering eight dates for moms and daughters focused on key relationships and true love. Each one and a half hour date has a different friendship focus but follows the same general format, including special audio messages, mom-daughter discussion time, and a fun challenge activity, including a sleepover, scrapbooking, shopping, and ding-dong-ditching neighbors. Dates can be done one-on-one or as part of a small group of moms and daughters. The first date looks at what true friendship looks like, based on the Bible, with the following dates focused on specific people or groups such as loving your neighbor, your best friend, and your parents.

My Thoughts:
Have you ever thought of planning a date with your daughter?  Special time for just the two (or more!) of you- but with a focus?  Talking With Your Daughter About Best Friends and Mean Girls is a unique and well thought out book that helps moms recognize good and healthy friendships for themselves and for their daughters.  Face it, even as grown-ups we encounter mean girls (almost) every day.  While enjoying sleepovers, shopping, random acts of kindness, and more you work towards learning and teaching what true love is.  This book would make an amazing Christmas gift!

I absolutely loved this book.  Each of the 8 dates was well planned out with thorough instructions- no stress for mom!:) There was a clear focus on the Bible and a precious message.  My girls and I completed the first 2 dates together.  Date #1 involved a sleepover (which can be enjoyed at a hotel, camping in a tent, or simply at home), an easy but crazy fun game (below) and a thoughtful craft.  (We had some difficulty playing the online message before our date, but that may be a temporary situation.)  Besides that we had a lot of fun!

Date #2 was about loving your neighbor and involved completing a random act of kindness (below).  My girls were more than up for the challenge!  The beauty of this book is that you can complete all the dates with friends, sister siblings or just mom.  (There's even a special date with Dad!)  The point is to have fun- and we did!

We can't wait to complete the rest of the dates together!  Note: The book is created for tweens (ages 8-12) but I felt it was more than appropriate for my teenage daughter, too. :)

About A Girl’s Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls
Gresh, and Secret Keeper Girl tour leader and youth educator Suzy Weibel, have written a book that is part self-help, part Bible study helping girls think through important issues such as what it looks like to be a friend and how to choose friends. It also teaches girls the importance of meditating on God’s Word on a daily basis. Their desire is to help girls see that Jesus is the ultimate friend and the perfect example to follow when it comes to understanding how to be a friend.

My Thoughts:
My 10 year old daughter really enjoyed working on A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls.  She used it as a Bible study.  The stories and activities were a delightful addition and truly enriched our dates.  The Secret Keeper Girl series is new to us and we are definitely planning on looking for more in the future!  

*Wouldn't you love to enjoy these with your daughter?  Of course!  I have the amazing opportunity to give away a copy of both of these books to 1 lucky reader!*

Here's what you need to do to enter...
#1-Leave a comment on this post telling me how you deal with mean girls. (1 entry)
#2-Follow my blog. Leave a separate comment telling me this. (1 entry)
#3-"Like" Secret Keeper Girl on facebook.  Leave a comment stating you did this. (1 entry)

*I'll randomly choose a winner next Monday, October 29th.  Good luck!*

About Dannah
Dannah Gresh has sold well-over one million copies of her booksmaking her one of the most successful Christian authors targeting teens and tweens today. She is the author and creator of Secret Keeper Girl, a line of mom/daughter connecting resources and live events aimed at tween girls and their moms. Dannah and her husband, Bob, have three college-age children—Rob, Lexi, and Autumn. She is shamelessly in love with her labradoodle, Stormie, and lives in State College, PA.

*I was given these books from Side Door Communications in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Reichenbach Problem by Martin Allison Booth- Inventive Mystery Filled with Intrigue!

My Thoughts:

The Reichenbach Problem, written by Martin Allison Booth, is a richly inventive mystery filled with intriguing characters, gorgeous surroundings in the mountains of Switzerland, and a seemingly random acquaintance who evolves into much more than he first appeared to be...

I'll admit that this isn't a light or easy read, and I was a bit intimidated as I ventured through the first pages.  Up for the challenge, I plunged ahead and was soon rewarded for my efforts.  The story beings with Arthur Conan Doyle, eager for solitude and a bit of anonymity, leaving on holiday to Switzerland.     While on the train, a stranger enters his life and Doyle can't seem to get rid of him.  The stranger, Holloway, insists on accompanying Doyle (much to his dismay) on his vacation!  Soon after their arrival, a fellow tourist is discovered dead...

I found Arthur Conan Doyle and Holloway's relationship to be quite entertaining.  Holloway is absolutely incorrigible!  It's almost as if he knows exactly how to get under Doyle's skin and sets out to accomplish that at every opportunity.  Once Peter Brown's body is discovered, Holloway begins to toy with Doyle and the plot begins to quickly thicken.  I also enjoyed meeting the other characters in the book as they were all cleverly created and unique.  Monsieur Plantin, Father Vernon, the lovely Eva and the mysterious Frau von Denecker were a few of my favorites.  The Reichenbach Problem is a book that I enjoyed in small portions as I needed to slowly process the dialogue, situations, circumstances, etc.   This allowed me to really enjoy it's richness, vocabulary, and humor.  I'm a quick reader and occasionally skim through pages, but there was none of that going on here.  The Reichenbach Problem needs to be savored to fully engage it's secrets.  I'm anxious to read the next book in this series!


Arthur Conan Doyle is on the run from his own fame. Taking a much-needed holiday, Doyle escapes to a picturesque village in Switzerland nestled beneath the imposing Reichenbach Falls. There he hopes to find anonymity, but even in this beautiful rural setting, peace eludes him when he finds himself immediately recognized and involved in the investigation of a mysterious death of a fellow traveler.
All too soon, Doyle's somewhat unwilling, gentle probing into the case causes the finger of suspicion to turn towards him. But can the creator of the famous detective actually do the sleuthing himself? As Doyle learns more and more about the famous character he penned, he finds he is less like Sherlock and more like his sidekick, Watson. Can the "sidekick" see enough of the picture to solve the case for once?

*I was given this book by Kregel in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time to Dream

Take a minute and dream with me, would you?

Checkered floors in the laundry room?
Yes, please.

The floor tile, the light fixtures, the peek into the bedroom...
Sighing yet?

Looks like a reader lives here.
I'd like to live here, too.
The colors are yummy and the vignette on the wall?

(I tried to sneak these pics when the realtor wasn't watching.  Who was I kidding??  He knew exactly what I was doing.)


Digging the light fixture, too.
And the cozy pillow and chair.
I love it all.

The kitchen.
I nearly fell over.
A huge farmhouse kitchen sink, the color on the cabinets, and the door on the pantry!
Can't. Take. It.

The wood floors.
And we were only getting started.

The light/dark contrast.

The windows!  Light filled the house.
My daughters squealed when they saw this.
I think I did, too.

The armoire.
Too bad the house doesn't come furnished.
Not like we're going to buy it, but we're dreaming right now so I am buying it furnished.;)

Built ins everywhere.
All through the home.
I think I know someone who likes books, too.
Just a little bit.

Every space was thoughtfully planned out.

A place for the pets.
See what I mean?

A sleeping porch.
One of my dreams.
There were window seats, too.

More built-ins.

The cow over the fireplace?
I call dibs.

These are the neighbors.:)

Isn't it fun to dream?

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer

My Thoughts:

A Christmas Gift for Rose takes place during World War II in the Amish community of Berlin, Ohio.  It's Christmas time and Rose is anguished over the return of her boyfriend from the war.  Though Amish young men aren't allowed to serve in battle, Jonathan (her intended) broke tradition and chose to tend to the soldiers that were wounded.  Rose is mortified and feels that they can no longer marry, even though she truly loves him.  As the book moves on, life takes a surprising turn for Rose when she discovers that she wasn't born Amish.  Her birth family gave her to the Amish Yoder family to raise as their own. Rose, who so harshly judged Jonathan as behaving like Englisch people, is really Englisch herself.  

Tricia Goyer always delivers an entertaining and heartwarming story and A Christmas Gift for Rose is no exception.  Christmas time, the Depression and the love of family create the perfect setting for this tender tale of forgiveness and redemption.  I adored Jonathan and the Yoder family from the beginning, although I had a harder time warming to Rose.  I soon realized that Rose had to undergo a transformation and her heart had to soften in order for her to be truly happy.  Once the secret of her past was divulged, her healing could begin- if she would only allow it.    

About the book: Rose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War 
II---only to discover she's an Englischer herself. Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own 
kind---Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

About Tricia: USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and "Lead Your Family Like Jesus," (co-written with Ken Blanchard). She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.comand MomLifeToday.com. She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show. Tricia and family live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children. 

You can find out more about Tricia atwww.TriciaGoyer.com.

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novella, A Christmas Gift for Rosewith a Christmas Gift giveaway! 

Enter to win a NEW Kindle Fire HDX for you AND one for a friend!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX and one to give away to a friend!

  • A Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer for you and your friend!

Four second place winners will receive:

  • A Christmas Gift for Rose Christmas pack (includes a recipe card, bookmark, a signed book plate, discussion questions, and a Gathering & Giving handout!)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. All winners will be announced October 21st at Tricia's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Tricia's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

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

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Audrey Bunny Book Review and Giveaway! A Precious Message of God's Love

The winner is #6- Christy White!  Congratulations!!

My Thoughts:

Audrey Bunny, written by Angie Smith, captivates from the minute you see the cover.  Breezy Brookshire engages children and adults with her sweet images and rich colors.  My 10 year old couldn't wait for me to read it so she dove right in and read it to me!  (My 15 year old read it as soon as she saw it, too.  Pics below)  Oh my, how it touched all our hearts!  After each page we'd stop and look at each other like, "Oh, how sweet!" You know that feeling you get deep inside when you know you're going to cry- yep, Audrey Bunny made it's way there.  I was a mess at the end- and I loved every minute.  This is the kind of book that makes you stop and think of what's really important in life.  None of us are perfect, even if we appear that way on the outside.  The beauty of this is that God loves us no matter what.  He created us to be just the way we are.:).  I wish I could give copies away to all my friends!  Audrey Bunny, along with her sweet friend Caroline, is that wonderful

But I can do the next best thing. ;)
(see below...)

I'm so pleased to be able to offer a copy of Audrey Bunny to one of my readers!  Here's what you need to do to enter...

#1- Leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite toy as a child. (1 entry)
#2- Leave a separate comment if you're a follower of my blog. (1 entry)
#3- Leave a comment on Angie Smith's Youtube video and leave a separate comment on my blog. (1 entry)

I'll randomly choose a winner next Saturday, the 19th, so be sure to enter before that!:)

About Audrey Bunny
From best-selling women’s author Angie Smith (I Will Carry You, Mended) comes this sweet children’s book about a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She'll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.

[Also included]: The Parent Connection (last page of the book) shares discussion questions and activities reinforcing God's love for us.

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award winning group Selah), best-selling author of MendedI Will Carry You, and What Women Fear, and one of the most popular speakers and blog writers in the country. She holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.

Written by: Angie Smith
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Hardcover with jacket:  32 pages 

*I was given a copy of this book by FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.* 

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower- An Amish Appleseed Creek Mystery

My Thoughts:

I am SO excited to introduce you to mystery author Amanda Flower!  You've probably heard of her before, perhaps read a few of her books, but I must've been hiding under a rock because this is my first encounter!  Where have I been?!  This lady can rock a mystery- with a delightful smattering of humor, a touch of romance and a suspenseful story line that will keep you guessing until the last chapter.  Oh, and her characters?  You'll definitely love them and love to hate them, if you know what I mean.;)  A Plain Disappearance takes place in the Amish community of Appleseed Creek, Ohio.  A murder has been committed (young Katie Lambright is found buried in the snow on Christmas Eve.) and the Amish and English must work together to catch her killer. It's complicated, as the Amish are known for being very private, but Chief Rose requests the assistance of Chloe Humphrey (AKA: The Amish Whisperer).  Chloe is one tough cookie (with a big heart) when it comes to solving a mystery.  Brave, endearing and persistent, she shows no fear (even when she's quaking in her boots!).  Chloe and Nancy Drew would have been BFF's.  

Back to poor Katie.  She was young and oh so pretty. All the young men wanted to court her.  Was the killer a jealous boyfriend or perhaps (gasp!) her own father, who was known to have a terrible temper?  What about Billy Thorpe who has suddenly disappeared??

I wouldn't even think of telling you.  That would be cruel.  

You see, since I'm your friend, I'm going to let you find out for yourself in the most wonderful way.  You'll just have to read it.  Yep.  (That's what friends are for.)  A Plain Disappearance is the perfect book to snuggle up with as the fall weather descends.  Go ahead and get out your coziest blanket, brew up a pot of tea and indulge in some homemade chocolate chip cookies.  You're going to be busy for awhile.:)  When you're done, I'll bet you'll put A Plain Death and A Plain Scandal on your Christmas wish list.  

I know I am.:)

Back Cover:

A Plain Scandal, A Plain Death, A Plain Disappearance
It's Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date. 

Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy's friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence. 

Amanda Flowers writes for children, too!  Andi Unexpected (above) is one that I can't wait for my 10 year old to read.  It sounds awesome.

*I was given a copy of A Plain Disappearance from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Roasted Tomato and Corn Soup & Crock Pot Apple Sauce- Fall is HERE!

Roasted Tomato and Corn Soup 

(Note to tomato haters- My husband *despises* tomatoes and he liked this soup!  For tomato lovers you'll be in heaven!  Mmmmm...)

3 cups canned corn
6 large tomatoes, halved
2 TB olive oil
6 bacon slices
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 cups chicken broth

1) Preheat broiler.  Toss corn and tomatoes in olive oil and place on aluminum-foil lined baking sheet.  Broil 8 inches away from heat about 5 minutes or until corn and tomatoes are golden brown and tender.  Remove tomato skins and set aside.

2) Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Remove bacon and set aside.

3) Add onion to bacon drippings and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in garlic and next 5 ingredients; cook 2 minutes.  Stir in broth and reserved corn, (set aside a few kernels) tomatoes, and liquid from baking sheet.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Transfer mixture, in small batches, and puree until smooth.  Stir in bacon (set aside a few pieces).  Ladle soup into bowls and top with reserved corn kernels and bacon.

(I believe I found this in Sunset magazine)

Crock Pot Apple Sauce

Peel and cut up approx. 9 apples (You want to get close to filling up your crock pot.)  Add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon and 1 cup of water.  Set on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.  Stir occasionally.  Your house will smell amazing and the apple sauce is delicious!

Let me know what you think!;)

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate- Steel Magnolias on Hatteras Island

"There are all different kinds of sisters, Tandi.  Not just the ones you're born with."

My Thoughts:

The Prayer Box is an emotionally riveting combination of Steel Magnolias, Sleeping with the Enemy and The Help.  Through a collection of hidden letters, the inspirational message is one of forgiveness, hope and new beginnings.  Tandi Jo Reese (along with her two children, Zoey and J.T.) is on the run from an abusive husband.  She finds a temporary haven in Iola Anna Poole's rented cottage on Hatteras Island but soon after that the elderly woman passes away.  Tandi has no idea or direction until she discovers 81 decorated prayer boxes hidden in a closet.  The boxes are filled with amazing history and a life story that will change Tandi Jo Reese forever.

It took me awhile to get into this book but I'm so, so happy that I did.  The Prayer Box is one of those stories that you wish would be made into a movie.  The lives of Tandi Jo and Iola Anne are ones of hardship and sadness but that's what shapes them into such incredibly strong and loving women.  I adored Iola Anne.  She called upon the Lord through her letters and asked what she could do for others, not what they could do for her.  Misunderstood by many, she endured even when people judged her and looked down on her.  She was full of grace, but only through the Lord.  I don't want to tell you what she did exactly, as that would ruin the surprise for you, but my goodness, she has a story to tell!  (BTW, I'd cast Viola Davis as Iola Anne.)

On to Tandi Jo.  She's a bit harder to love- at first.  She appears to be self-centered and not quite the most nurturing mother, if you know what I mean.  But as her story unfolds, you'll see where she's come from and will marvel at how far she's managed to get in life.  The loving people she meets on Hatteras Island (adored the Seashell Shop sisters!) save her, in a sense.  Her kindred spirit friend, Iola Anne, helps set her straight on life's journey through the prayer box letters.  It was truly a joy to watch Tandi's transformation.  (I'd cast Kristen Stewart as Tandi Jo.)

Some of my favorite parts were:
#1- Iola Anne's letters
#2- Tandi's memories of her grandfather
#3- Tandi's adventures with the cat ;)
#4- The Seashell Shop sisters
#5- "Hawaiian shirt" Paul :)
#6- The surprise ending!

Back Cover:
When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi. 

*I was given this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dig It! Games Mayan Mysteries review- Learning Through Play!

Dig-it Games On-line App photo dig-itgames-mayanmysteries_zps7a4409ab.jpeg 

My Thoughts:

Mysteries and history are two of my favorite things!  I couldn't wait to play Mayan Mysteries by Dig It! Games with my girls. :)  The Mayan Mysteries on-line game ($5.49) and iPad app. ($9.99) were designed for children ages 9 and up, approximate grades 5-9.  Players travel to Central America and join "Team Q" in an attempt to capture the elusive artifact thief Ladrone.  The graphics and music are fabulous (see above trailer) and the activities are truly challenging (I was even stumped a few times!).  My girls loved the "comic book" portions of the game as they were visually engaging and fun.  Learning through play is always the best way and Dig It! Games does it well.  Some of the topics covered in this game are as follows:

-visiting Mayan sites
-"digging up" and analyzing artifacts
-decoding glyphs
-exploring the Mayan calendar
-learning the Mayan math system

and more!

There is quite a bit of reading and answering of questions but it's broken up nicely with games and challenges. At every turn in the game there are opportunities for earning points which brings you closer to catching the thief!  There is also mapping, archaeological digging, searching for clues, matching symbols, etc. I appreciated that the game allows you another chance to answer if your response was incorrect.  This encouraged my girls rather than giving them a sense of failure.  I also liked that it saves your progress and frequently shows your progress in the game. Lots of positive reinforcement.:)  

We're still playing the game and haven't caught Ladrone yet, but we're not giving up!  We love playing detective and traveling through time!  Mayan Mysteries as an exciting supplement to our history lessons.  As I mentioned before, learning through play is the best way!  Would you like to try Mayan Mysteries?  Click here for a free demo!

Dig-it Games Logo photo dig-it-games-logo_zps61887cb9.png

*Dig It! games was kind enough to let me try their fabulous game in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October is my favorite

October is my favorite.

  #1- Pumpkin Spice is back, baby.  Already sold out at my Target but I'll be stalking the aisles.;)

#2- Fall TV is in full swing.  Below is my newest addiction.  I'm on Season 1 but will soon be caught up to Season 3 (started Sunday).  I want to sit and watch for hours on end while eating peanut butter M&M's and Red Vines licorice.  Ice cold Mountain Dew would be nice, too.  Don't judge.

#3- Time for Fall Fancies!  (Recipe for Trash here.)  Any ideas you'd like to share?  We may be too late for the apple picking this year.  Perhaps we can still head north...

#4- Leaves are changing and soon they'll blanket the ground with their spectacular colors.  We cannot wait...

 #5- Orange is everywhere!  Such a warm and wonderful color...

#6- Blankets are all over my house encouraging snuggling and nap time.  Cooler temperatures are almost here. :)

Do you love October as much as I do?