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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Beautiful Wife Blog Tour and giveaway!

    The Beautiful Wife  is the instruction manual every woman needs!  Written by Sandy Ralya, it's a "book for the gloriously messy woman who has serious and not-so-serious questions about her role as a wife".  I love how Sandy addresses issues such as Taking Care of Yourself, Living as the Genuine Article (take off the Wonder Woman mask!), Inviting Romance, Managing Money, and so much more.  As you read the book you will feel like you are spending time with your best friend- the one who truly cares about you.  Ms. Ralya shares her personal marriage experiences, both good and bad, and it's quite refreshing.  
   I looked forward to reading this book every day as I learned so many ways to improve my life, my marriage and my relationship with the Lord.  I was doing so many thing wrong and just accepting that was the only way!  Gently and with lots of encouragement Sandy Ralya has put me on the right path.  This book is life changing!
   I was particularly impressed with the chapter called "Living as the Genuine Article".  I want, like many women, to wear "The Perfect Ten Mask".  You know, the one that tells the world that everything is just perfect in your world.  You've got everything under control.  Yeah, right.  We are encouraged to take off this mask and "be authentic".  "By sharing our wounds and weaknesses it will open us up to Christ's healing and strength and it will invite others to share openly with us as well". What a relief to just be real!
   I recommend The Beautiful Wife to all women- married and single.  I am sure that you will find that this book was written just for you, as I did.  Marriage doesn't come with instructions but The Beautiful Wife would certainly fit the bill!

About the book:

The Beautiful Wife uses these inspiring stories along with biblical principles to guide and encourage any wife looking for God's best in her marriage. The Beautiful Wife answers serious questions women have about their roles as wives. Discussing everything from romance and money to beauty, communication, and sex, Sandy challenges women to open up and share their journeys so that together they can see God's plan for their marriages. "It is my passion to help women discover God's heart for their marriage, just as the other women helped me," writes Sandy. "When women share with each other the details of their journeys with God as wives, it's a beautiful thing indeed." The Beautiful Wife has two companion resources - Prayer Journal and Mentor's Guide.
About Sandy Ralya: 
Sandy Ralya is the founder and director of Beautiful Womanhood, a marriage mentoring ministry based near Grand Rapids, Mich. Her marriage testimony was the focus of a popular three-day interview on FamilyLife Today, TV's Walking by Faith, and Time Out for Women. Sandy is a sought-after speaker, presenting Beautiful Womanhood seminars to hundreds of women each year at MOPS groups, women's retreats, and church leadership conferences across the country and in Canada. Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980, and have a growing number of grandchildren.  www.beautifulwomanhood.com

One beautiful winner will receive:
  • A Brand new Kindle Touch with Wi-Fi
  • The Beautiful Wife by Sandy Ralya
  • The Beautiful Wife Prayer Journal and Mentor's Guide by Sandy Ralya
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/7/12. Winner will be announced at Sandy's "Beautiful Womanhood" Facebook Party on 3/8. Sandy will be hosting an evening of chat, laughter and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, prayer journals, gift certificates and a live chat with Sandy for your Bible study or small group!
So grab your copy of The Beautiful Wife and join Sandy and friends on the evening of March 8th for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!

Video Links:
1.      Sandy’s Testimony. This is directed primarily at wives. Sandy speaks to the mentors for a few seconds near the end, but her testimony will be one that resonates with wives as well.
2.      About BEAUTIFUL WOMANHOOD Ministry. This uses Sandy’s experience to speak directly to the marriage mentor to encourage and equip her role as a mentor.

*I was given a copy of The Beautiful Wife, the prayer journal and mentor's guide from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

The Guardian Duke review and giveaway!!

The winner of The Guardian Duke is Robin!  Congratulations!

About the Book:
The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.
Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.
When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.
About the Author:
When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.
The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.
As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.
Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in herhead for a long time, so the story went fast.
Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.
Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.
If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”

My Review- I loved the setting of The Guardian Duke and the letters written in correspondence between Lady Alexandria and Gabriel.  I enjoyed the adventure and the fact that it is a historical romance.  I also liked the fact that God was mentioned quite a bit and given an important role in the main character's lives.  The only problem is that I didn't warm to Alexandria or Gabriel.  I found them to be a bit immature (mostly Alexandria) and lacking in depth.  The Guardian Duke is enjoyable enough but I don't believe I will place it on my list of favorites.

Live Action Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyTk2MQw04s

* Would you like to read The Guardian Duke? Propellor has generously given me a copy to give away to one of my readers!  Just leave a comment on this post.  If you are a follower I will give you one extra entry- just leave a separate comment!;)  Good Luck!  The giveaway ends March 8th...*

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it 
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally 
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance 
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the 
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Weight Watchers Day 2!

New Peanut Butter Cheerios (3/4 cup) with a dash of milk = 3 points
(If you don't stick your head in the box and inhale.  They are beyond delicious!)

Skinny Caramel Macchiato (Starbucks) = 3 points

Broccolli Cheese Soup (Panera) = 7 points
Make your own here!
(Bread not included in the points)

Heart Turkey Chili (Weight Watchers recipe)
Serving 1 cup = 6 points

Cooking spray
1 tsp. canola oil
1 large uncooked onion
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 pound uncooked 93% lean ground turkey
2 medium uncooked carrots (sliced into rounds)
2 TB chili powder
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cumin
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups kidney beans

Coat a large pot with cooking spray; place over medium heat.  Add oil and onion; saute onion until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and carrots, cook garlic until soft- about 1 minute.  Add turkey; brown meat- about 5 minutes.  Add chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, and beans.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat and vegetables are tender- about 30 minutes.  Yields about 1 cup per serving with 6 servings.

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert.:) = 4 points

It was a good day!

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall Blog Tour

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, written by Julie Klassen, is delightful!  Margaret Macy is an intriguing heroine who proves throughout the course of the book that there is much more to her than meets the eye.  An unscrupulous stepfather is intent on gaining her inheritance through dishonorable means and she has no choice but to "disappear" from society. Margaret reappears as a maid named "Nora" (unwittingly) in the home of the gentleman, Nathanial Upchurch, who proposed marriage to her years before.  The same man whom she cast aside.  The plot thickens when her stepfather comes looking for her.  He will leave no stone unturned...

   The cast of characters are so wonderfully written that I felt they were truly real people.  I especially loved Helen Upchurch and the relationship she has with Margaret.   Betty Tidy is a dear and the tale of her chatelaine brooch was heartwarming.  Margaret Macy grows and changes as she sees life from "the other side".  Julie Klassen enchants her audience with romance, history, secrets, adventure and even a Poet Pirate!  If you love Downton Abbey you will love The Maid of Fairbourne Hall!

About the book:
To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?

About Julie:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:

A brand new Kindle Fire
A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14. Winner will be announced at Julie's "Fairbourne Hall" Facebook Party on 3/15 . Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek at her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for an evening of fun.
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 15th!

The Blog Tour Schedule is here.

*I received a copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall from Litfuse Publications in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Monday, February 27, 2012

Disney's Newest Attraction

The weather was perfect at Disney.
Isn't it always that way?
(A bit of foreshadowing here)

We got up early one morning for Magic Kingdom Magic Hours.
8:00 AM- in the park and ready to go.
8:00 AM does not (normally) exist in my world.

But we were at Disney and I was not going to miss getting there an hour before the rest of the world!
(For those that don't know, if you stay in a hotel on Disney property they offer Magic Hours at certain parks on certain days.  Only on-site guests can go at these times.)

We rode the Tea Cup ride about 10 times- in a row.

Then my parents and sister came (all the way from Switzerland!) to join us!

The boat ride from the Wilderness Lodge directly to Magic Kingdom is beyond fabulous.

One day I thought we had lost my older daughter and she told me she wasn't worried a bit.  She just planned on taking the boat back to the hotel.
At some point.
No worries!

Yep, that's us.
Something about the Buzz Lightyear ride makes us ridiculous.:)

It's not easy taking pictures backward on the race cars.
Had to do it, though.

I took quite a few.:)

One ride I will NEVER go on.

It was even hot this day.
It's always nice in Florida, right?
(more foreshadowing)

Alladin ride.
Love, love, love it.
Camels spitting on your unsuspecting neighbors that have never ridden before.
Press the scarab button, my friends.
Just not on me.

That sky is getting a bit ominous, don't you think?

Here we go!  
The new attraction I was telling you about.

They don't even have a name for it yet.
You have to go to the Fire Station (at the entrance to Magic Kingdom) and ask about it.
There is a sign saying "Sorcerers Wanted" but you walk right past it on Main Street.

When you sign up the give you a set of 5 Super Cool Cards with characters on them
TIP: If you sign up as a Team of 1 (instead of a team with 3, 4, or more people) person you will each get 5 cards.  There is a maximum of 5 cards per Team.  Get it?  More teams, more cards.  They will be selling them in the shops soon.

You also get a map to show you where the quests are and a key (Mom is holding key in above picture)

Quick stop at Pooh Bear's House.
Darling play area for the kids- and grown ups!
Almost better than the ride!

Great place to hang out when it's raining.
Hint, hint...

The above picture shows the medallion you will look for when doing your quests.  You are attempting to defeat the villains that are trying to take over the Magic Kingdom.  My older daughter defeated them all. Yes, m'am!  Yzma, Scar, chunky guy in Pocahontas (name??), Jafar, Sea Witch, Malificent, etc. and ultimately Hades from Hercules.    

You are given clues by way of pictures around the park and when you find the location, you use your key on the "lock".  (You press the key card to the lock.)  Then magically a picture appears in a window (shown above).  It's quite impressive!

You keep going from location to location until you have completed your mission.
What's really neat is when you get the information you need the picture/movie completely disappears!

Oh, yes!
You use the cards to cast a spell on the villains!
You can choose any cards you like (sometimes you need more than one).  The card dictates what happens.  For example, if you use the Cinderella card, pumpkins (like Cinderella's carriage) fall on the villain.  Clever!

Picture of the lock that you use your card key on.

This was the weather during our last day...
and then a storm struck.

Oh my goodness!  It was so COLD!

But it was our last night and Magic Kingdom was open until midnight.
Yep, we stayed.
How could we not?

Still smiling even though it was frigid.
Disney just does that to ya.

1 Peter Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times- Week 8

   As we go through our days it's easy to forget that time is fleeting.  1 Peter 4: 7-19 reminds us that "The end of all things is near."  This passage became very really to me recently when a family member was hospitalized.  As we traveled out of state to be near our loved ones we were afraid.  Thankfully, things are under control now, but the end of life on earth is not something any of us like to talk about. Yet it is so very real.  We are not to fear death but to let it be a reminder to us to use our time wisely.  We are to use our God given gifts even in the midst of difficult times.  1 Peter 4:8 states, "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins."  

Whatever your spiritual gifts are, be it speaking, serving, cooking, cleaning, teaching, etc. do it with all your heart for the Lord.  There is no guarantee there will be a tomorrow on earth but there will be a future in heaven!  Peter's message to you is that "When Jesus returns to the earth faithful believers will enjoy God's acclamations and rewards."  Amen! 

*I was given 1 Peter Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times by Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.*

Weight Watchers!

Today is THE DAY!
So excited for this new adventure!

What are your favorite recipes?

Do share!
You guys always know the BEST things!:)

Off to the store to get ingredients for their Zero Points Soups!  Yippee!

1 Peter Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times- Week 7


   Week 7 in my 1 Peter study of Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times covers 1 Peter 3:13-4:6.  How are we supposed to stand strong when wronged?  Most react in kind and this only fans the flames, so to speak.  It's not easy to rise above bad behavior, as we all know, but we are commanded to do just that.  1 Peter 3:17 says,"For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong."  I am going to really try and remember this Bible passage as I walk through life.  I am, for the most part, a non confrontational person but I suffer inside when I feel that I am being treated badly.  It affects many parts of my life and God doesn't want me to feel this way.  He wants me to do my best and make every effort to do good.  When I look at the way Jesus suffered for all of us it humbles me.  He didn't fight back or try to plead his case as He knew He was doing nothing wrong.  He lived a sinless life and was forgiving even as He was being beaten and eventually killed.  How small my worries and complaints are.  

Read an excerpt of the book here.

*I was given a copy of 1 Peter Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.*

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reading Eggs- TOS review

Reading Eggs is an engaging online program that introduces children to the world of reading.  Created especially for ages 3-7, it offers games, stories and more that teach and encourage kids to want to come back again and again.  The alphabet, phonics and even simple stories are presented in a way that makes learning fun. 

The picture above is part of the initial testing that your child will encounter.  This is done so that your little one will be placed exactly where they need to be.  Nothing too simple or too complicated which saves time and discourages frustration.  Love that.  

Learning is through play, as you can see from the above picture.  My daughter LOVED this program and asked to come back and play again and again! Since she is 9, I placed her in Reading Eggspress, which is another part of Reading Eggs World.  Reading Eggspress is created for older children- ages 7-12.  It encourages advanced reading and reinforces comprehension, dictionary skills, alphabetical order, drawing conclusions, finding the main idea in a paragraph and more!

In Reading Eggspress your child creates a person to represent themselves and through games and reading they earn eggs which can be used for clothes, pets, furnishings in their home (they get one of those too!) and more.  My daughter's favorite game was Quote Quest.  Using clues and an online map she discovered words that completed quotes from books.  It was kind of like a treasure hunt and I loved playing it with her!:)

I was really impressed with all that Reading Eggs has to offer.  I love that it is created for ages 3-12 so that your children are constantly challenged to learn more.  

Reading Eggs offers a free 2 week trial here.  If you are hooked (as my daughter is) you can purchase a 1 month membership for $9.95, a 6 month membership for $49.95 or a 12 month membership for $75.00.  If you have an additional child that would like to enroll, too, their cost is half the cost of your first child.

Read what other TOS members thought about Reading Eggs here.

*I was given a free trial membership to Reading Eggs in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Three Hearts movie review and giveaway!

          The winner of the Three Hearts movie is #7- Julie!  


   I just finished watching an incredible movie called Three Hearts.  It has inspired me to live every minute to the fullest, and to not take for granted one second of the wonderful life that God has given to me.  You will be moved as you watch 3 precious young lives (and their families) being changed in front of your eyes.  
   The Children's Heart Project run by Samaritan's Purse is something I had never heard of before.  It provides medical procedures to people in other countries- a chance at life.  Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of Billy Graham, had heart surgery as a teenager and this cause is very dear to her.  Along with Cissie you will meet a young man in Texas that was also saved through heart surgery and learn how he raises money to help other children have that same opportunity.  

   There are literally hundreds of children waiting for the phone call that will mean a trip across the world.  The journey is a dream come true but it's also frightening and uncertain.  I was in tears as I saw three children from Mongolia go through heart surgery to save their lives.  Not only were their hearts healed in the operating room, they were also saved through Jesus Christ as they learn how much the Lord loves them.  The people that dedicate their lives to hosting, teaching, mentoring, healing these precious souls truly inspired me!  God needs all of us and I am praying that He will show me where He can use me the most.  This movie was absolutely beautiful and a must see for your whole family.

Three Hearts DVD
Youtube Trailer Links: http://youtu.be/sMUA8lbbkDU 
Youtube Trailer Links: http://youtu.be/1aUxbJd15fk  

About Three Hearts:
A passionate team of people work to save the lives of three Mongolian children with life-threatening heart defects.
Graduating college senior, Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham, takes on an internship at Samaritan’s Purse working with the Children’s Heart Project. This project is dedicated to saving the lives of children by providing medical procedures that aren’t available in many countries. Cissie is charged with supervising the arrival and surgeries of three Mongolian children suffering from fatal congenital heart defects. 
But the task is not easy and filled with unexpected challenges.  Cissie balances responsibilities as a newly married wife to a professional football player and her tasks with the internship.  Meanwhile the Children’s Heart team turns to a Texas family who travels to Mongolia for the adventure of a lifetime to help bring the children to San Antonio for their surgeries.  In Texas, two host families make sacrifices to care for these children and their mothers, while a team of doctors and nurses volunteer their time only to stare directly into the face of life and death. How far would you go to save a life?
It’s a fight for survival, a fight of faith, and a fight for a new life for these three hearts.

*Propellor has generously given me a copy of Three Hearts DVD to give away to one of my readers!*

-If you would like a chance to win, leave a comment on this post for 1 entry.
-Let me know (in a separate comment) if you are a follower of my blog for 1 entry. (Giveaway ends March 3rd)

*I was given an opportunity to watch Three Hearts from Propellor in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*