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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Paris Connection by Anna Alden-Tirrill- A Homeschool Moms Dream!

My Thoughts:

Homeschooling, art thieves, danger and true friendship all take place in My Paris Connection!  It's a mystery/adventure involving Annie, a 13 year old, living in Paris with her parents.  While touring Le Louvre museum, she accidentally sees something she's not supposed to and her life is plunged into danger!  Throughout the whole story, Annie and her family trust in the Lord for his guidance and protection.

My Paris Connection isn't just a story, it's also a quick tour of Paris, a mini course on the French language as well as a Bible study.  It's a homeschool moms dream!  I enjoyed the mystery and the relationship that Annie had with her parents.  At the beginning we find out that Annie, a polite and thoughtful young lady, is adopted and feels quite special as her parents "chose" her.  I loved this.  I also appreciated the educational aspect of the book- the tour of Paris and the introduction of French words.  There are pictures on every page so the story is engaging even for younger children that aren't quite reading yet.  The art thieves are intimidating and cunning which kept my daughter and I engaged.  We wanted to know what was going to happen to Annie!  What made the book shine is the faith that Annie and her parents have in God.  The Bible is quoted often, "Lord, You've promised to keep us in perfect peace when we trust in You" (Isaiah 26:3) and God reigns supreme!  But what happens when an on-line friend is not who they pretend to be?  The game of cat and mouse kept me guessing!  You'll have to read this book to see what happens after Annie gets kidnapped!

My Paris Connection is one in a series of five books.  It's similar to the American Girl series except Annie is homeschooled (my 10 year loved this!) and the stories are focused around God.  The pictures aren't the best quality but it didn't distract us from the story line which was enjoyable and exciting.  I'd recommend the books for ages 7-12.  They would make a wonderful Christmas gift!

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

My Thoughts:

The Christmas Quilt offers a glimpse into the lives of two Amish couples.  Leah and Adam are expecting their first children- twins- and life has become quite stressful as they prepare for their arrival.  Annie, Adam's sister, and Samuel, on the other hand, have a close relationship and are praying for Leah and Adam.  They sense that something is wrong but they don't want to intrude.  

My favorite characters were Annie and Samuel.  They are important members of this Amish community, offering care to those in need, whether it's assistance with a heart attack or tending to a woman in labor.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading how Annie and Samuel worked together- in their marriage as well as when they helped others.  Their easygoing nature and love of the Lord made them engaging as well as inspiring.

On the other hand, I had a much more difficult time warming up to Leah and Adam.  I had a really hard time with this:

Adam's jaw clenched and he snapped the reins, signaling to their pretty black gelding to continue down the lane. "Ya. We'll be staying and you'll act like a happy fraa, whether you feel like it or not."

To be fair, this was at the beginning of the book, but I almost didn't want to read any more after that statement!  It was way too harsh for my taste.

Adam and Leah are experiencing marital stress- like all couples do at some point- and a lack of communication on top of that.  Not a good combination.  Adam, in particular, goes through a dramatic transformation throughout the book which makes for a satisfying ending.  Those that enjoy Amish fiction will be pleased.

About the book: Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie's sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Meet the author: Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

In honor of their new Quilts of Love releases, The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose, authors Vannetta Chapman and Lisa Carter are gearing up to ring in the Christmas season with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th with fellow Quilts of Love author Lynette Sowell!


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX

  • The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

  • Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. Winner will be announced at the "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th. Connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Vannetta Chapman, Lisa Carter, and Lynette Sowell, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, Christmas traditions and gifts, PLUS get an exclusive look at January's Quilts of Love book!

    So grab your copies of The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose and join Vannetta, Lisa, and Lynette on the evening of December 10th 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 December 10th!

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

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    big 11.

    big 11.
    a night to remember!

    props were created.

    happy birthday, boo!

    daddy acted as chauffeur.
    and butler.
    and chef.
    and all around awesome guy.;)

    the rooms were booked.
    embassy suites rocks!

    the door was decorated.

    room was stocked.
    had to fill those 14 hours!

    balloons functioned as place cards.

    loved the polka dots!

    once the girls arrived we headed for the pool!

    such sweethearts.


    picnic with chik fil a nuggets & fruit. (did you know their fruit tray comes with caramel sauce?  yum.)
    daddy went to taco bell for our little vegetarian friend and also bought gluten free nuggets for our celiac friend.  (thanks, sweetie.)

    i hated how my phone pics were all yellow.  so i tried it with the flash.

    there.  much better.
    i think i saw eyes like this in a horror movie once.

    but seriously, it was such a fun evening!

    one of my favorite group shots.

    bathing beauties.

    my favorite moment captured.
    this picture says it all.:)

    remember those props?
    time to put them to good use!

    it's all about the photo bomb these days...

    katie did an amazing job with the masks.
    glitter and feathers are every girl's dream!

    yep, they played headbandz, too.

    i shut down the show at 3 am.
    didn't want the girls to miss the amazing breakfast in the morning!

    i highly recommend slumber parties at the embassy suites.
    my advice:
    -reserve adjoining rooms early
    -attend the manager's reception (free fun snacks and drinks) 5:30-7:30
    -request empty rooms on either side of you- just in case
    -request extra towels to be brought to room (you'll need them)
    -arrive early to decorate rooms and relax
    -have fun!

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay- Losing Yourself in Jane Austen

    My Thoughts:

    A 23 year old orphan, an anonymous benefactor and a hidden past.  A life tucked safely within the pages of books.  Dear Mr. Knightley, written by Katherine Reay, is a modern day story that fantastically unfolds through the art of letter writing. "George Knightley" is willing and able to provide the full tuition to Northwestern for Samantha Moore and all that is required of her are letters detailing her progress.  Simple enough, right?  Perhaps at first.  As the story moves along, though, we are given the privilege of seeing into Samantha's heart, mind and dreams.  We soon discover that distancing herself from people is a form of self-preservation. In the pages of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Emma, Samantha feels safe. 

    Dear Mr. Knightley is a gem of a story.  Samantha Moore is an enigma to all who know her and I couldn't stop reading until I discovered what her back story was.  What was she so afraid of??  Why did she appear so emotionally shut down?  Reading her letters revealed parts of Samantha that the world just couldn't reach- love and pain that were locked deeply inside her.  Watching her metamorphosis was painful and lovely at the same time.  Beautifully written.  I also enjoyed all the supporting characters, particularly Kyle (14 year old orphan with his own troubled past),  Father John (believed in Samantha when no one else did), and Professor and Mrs. Muir- they were my favorites.:)  Dear Mr. Knightley is a book that would be enjoyed by Austen and Bronte fans- and also those that don't gravitate toward that particular genre of book.  I fall into the second category and was swept away by this modern day Jane Eyre.

    About the book: Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others-namely her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story-by giving that story to a complete stranger.
    Growing up orphaned and alone, Sam found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens, and the Bront├ź sisters. The problem is that she now relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.

    Sometimes we lose ourselves in the things we care about most.
    But life for this twenty-three-year-old is about to get stranger than fiction, when an anonymous benefactor (calling himself "Mr. Knightley") offers to put Sam through the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

    As Sam's program and peers force her to confront her past, she finds safety in her increasingly personal letters to Mr. Knightley. And when Sam meets eligible, best-selling novelist Alex Powell, those letters unfold a story of love and literature that feels as if it's pulled from her favorite books. But when secrets come to light, Sam is --- once again --- made painfully aware of how easily trust can be broken.

    Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.


    One winner will receive:

    • A Kindle Fire HDX

    • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

    • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 

    • Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

      But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

      So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, 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, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!

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

      1 Girl Nation! Funky, Fun and FABULOUS! GIVEAWAY!!!

      The winner is #7- Heather!!

      About 1 Girl Nation:
      Landing in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac, 1 Girl Nation is an exciting blend of upbeat pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living life for God, even while you’re young. 1GN, as they’ve already been dubbed, stars Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn Taylor and Lindsey, five girls with a passion for telling their fans about Christ through their music. Their first single, “While We’re Young,” can be heard on radio stations across the country and their self-titled debut album is available now!

      My Thoughts:
      WE LOVE 1 GIRL NATION!!!  My daughters, ages 10 and 15, and I immediately loved the sound of this high energy, praise-worthy, get on your feet girl band!  Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn, Taylor and Lindsey have a message to deliver for the Lord- and we hear them loud and clear!  Their fast paced pop music gives me chills in the most wonderful way (Vertical and While We're Young) while their slower songs touch my heart and even bring tears to my eyes through their message.  Role models in the music industry are rare but these young ladies encourage us all to choose the right path, be kind, live for the Lord and have fun at the same time!  So refreshing!  1 Girl Nation is currently touring and we are hoping, hoping, hoping that they perform somewhere near us!  They are definitely worth a road trip.  Watch the above music video and you'll see what I mean!  A friend of mine (mom of 4 boys) told me she dances around the house with 1 Girl Nation playing.  Makes perfect sense to me!:)

      SO EXCITED to be able to offer a GIVEAWAY of 1 GIRL NATION's MUSIC CD!!!  WOO HOO!  You can dance around the house, too!  And this would make an AMAZING Christmas gift!!  READY??!!  Here's what you need to do to enter….

      #1- Leave a comment on this post for 1 entry.
      #2- Leave a comment telling me you're a follower of my blog for 1 entry.  (If you're not a follower, now's the perfect time to start!;)
      #3- Like 1 Girl Nation on Facebook for 1 entry.  (Let me know you've done this.)

      *I'll randomly choose a winner next Thursday, November 21st.  Good luck!*

      Stay Connected:

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

      Tuesday, November 12, 2013

      what a girl needs

      And the winner is #1!  Noteable Scraps!  Congratulations!  (Contact me at toosillysisters@cox.net)

      Do you have a minute?  Pretty please?
      I need your help.

      If you were me, which picture(s) would you choose to create into canvases?
      For my home...

      (Everyone that votes will be entered to win a little goodie!)
      Are you in?

      #1 (red bow)

      #2 (straw hat)

      #3 (ladybugs)

      #4 (Little Mermaid)

      #5 (ring around the rosie)

      #6 (sisters sliding)

      #7 (breaking boards)

      #8 (lollipops)

      #9 (ballerina)

      #10 (Dora)

      #11 (Ruby)

      #12 (snowy woodpile)

      #13 (pool)

      #14 (leg warmers)

      #15 (flapper)

      #16 (driftwood)

      #17 (colored bottles)

      #18 (spools of thread)

      #19 (Surprise!)

      #20 (walking through the field)

      #21 (Father's Day)

      #22 (my loves)

      #23 (up in a tree)

      #24 (blue eyes)

      #25 (bridge)

      #26 (tunnel)

      #27 (green penguin)

      #28 (polka dot headband)

      #29 (Snookie)

      #30 (thinking)

      #31 (on the bench)

      #32 (Missy the cow)

      #33 (sunflower)

      #34 (stormy sky)

      #35 (Reading Girl)

      #36 (bluebirds)

      #37 (painting nails)

      Thanks so much for your help.
      Can't wait to see what you think.:)