Monday, December 31, 2007

Unintentional Goal Met for 2007

I didn't start off the year of 2007 making any resolutions. I never keep them, so what is the point? I tend to make goals, so I guess I'm actually making resolutions, but with a different name.

I will post some of my goals for 2008 sometime this week. But I made some very positive changes this year, and they weren't even really a goal when the year started.

I have had a feeling for many years that I wanted to be eating differently, and I wanted my family to be eating differently. I played around with whole foods, but that just didn't seem to be quite it. It was a beginning, but didn't really get to the heart of what I was after.

For the last couple of years, we have purchased our honey from a guy that sells at our farmer's market. We were out of honey in the middle of May, so we went to the farmer's market to get some. While we were there, I stopped by a booth and got some information on a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). When I got home I went online and did some research, and everything started to click. In addition to eating more whole foods, I wanted us to eat more locally grown foods, and foods in their proper season. I wanted to preserve foods during their freshest season in order to eat more of a variety year-round.

So we joined the CSA and the rest has been wonderful. We are eating many more vegetables, some I had never cooked or eaten before this. I am consciously reading labels and getting away from foods with additives, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup. I recently read IN DEFENSE OF FOOD by Michael Pollan, and am even looking at labels for added soy products now as well.

We used to drink a ton of diet coke, and now we drink none. We drink lovely water, tea, coffee, and organic milk.

It has been an extremely positive step for us, one that I hope to keep with and improve during the coming year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Movies Watched in 2007

Here are the movies we watched--most of them are DVDs we got from the library or from Netflix. A couple we actually went to the theater to see :) Ratings are from 1 (horrible) to 5 (fantastic) scale

1. Lady in the Water (3)
2. The Shaggy D.A. (4)
3. Invincible (4)
4. Little Miss Sunshine (3)
5. The Night Listener (3)
6. The Waltons, Season 1 (5)
7. The Illusionist (4)
8. A Scanner Darkly (2)
9. World Trade Center (3)
10. U2 Vertigo 2005 Live (5)
11. Gridiron Gang (3)
12. Flushed Away (4)
13. Zoom (3)
14. All the King's Men (3)
15. Jimmy Buffet: Live at Wrigley Field (4)
16. Casino Royale (4)
17. Flyboys (4)
18. Facing the Giants (5)
19. House Season 2 (5)
20. Happy Feet (3)
21. Eragon (3)
22. The Guardian (3)
23. The Holiday (3)
24. In Search of the Castaways (4)
25. St. Elsewhere Season 1 (4)
26. Mee-Shee The Water Giant (4)
27. The Pursuit of Happyness (4)
28. Thr3e (3)
29. Dreamgirls (4)
30. Deja Vu (4)
31. Durango Kids (3)
32. Catch and Release (2)
33. Arthur and the Invisibles (3)
34. The Departed (4)
35. Alex Rider:Operation Stormbreaker (3)
36. Kidnapped the complete series (5)
37. The Last Sin Eater (4)
38. Hot Lead and Cold Feet (4)
39. Fingersmith (2)
40. Ghost Rider (3)
41. Stranger than Fiction (4)
42. Bridge to Terabithia (4)
43. Plain Truth (3)
44. The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (3)
45. The Astronaut Farmer (3)
46. See Jane Date (3)
47. Premonition (2)
48. Perfume:The Story of a Murderer (2) (I didn't like the book either)
49. 5 Children and It (3)
50. Keeping the Promise (3)
51. Pan's Labyrinth (4--more like 4 1/2)
52. The Ultimate Gift (4)
53. The Queen (4)
54. The Final Homecoming (2)
55. The Champagne Club (1--couldn't even finish)
56. Wild Hogs (4)
57. Unaccompanied Minors (3)
58. The Sopranos season 6 part 1 (5)
59. Laura (4)
60. Fracture (4)
61. Snowball Express (4)
62. We are Marshall (5)
63. Shooter (3)
64. Evan Almighty (3)
65. Next (3)
66. Zodiac (3)
67. Mr. Brooks (3)
68. Summer Magic (3)
69. Amazing Grace (4)
70. Pirates of the Caribbean At World's End (3)
71. Shrek the Third (3)
72. Enchanted (4)
73. Talladega Nights (3)
74. Mr. Bean's Holiday (4)
75. The TV Set (3)
76. Deck the Halls (3)
77. Georgia Rule (4)
78. 1408 (3)
79. Anne of Green Gables (4)
80. Flight 29 Down Vol 1 and 2 (4)
81. National Treasure Book of Secrets (4)
82. Ocean's 13 (3)
83. Maxed Out (3)
84. Underdog (3)
85. Hairspray (4)
86. Ratatouille (5)
87. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (4)
88. The Invisible (3)
89. Reign Over Me (5)
90. Surf's Up (3)
91. Are We Done Yet? (3)
92. Firehouse Dog (3)
93. The Number 23 (3)
94. Miss Potter (3)
95. Perfect Stranger (3)
96. Meet the Robinsons (5)
97. Idiocracy (2)
98. The Prestige (3)
99. Hollywoodland (3)
100. Becoming Jane (3)
101. One Night with the King (4)
102. The Second Chance (4)
103. Transformers (4)
104. TMNT (3)
105. Blades of Glory (3)
106. Knocked Up (4)
107. Epic Movie (1)
108. Music and Lyrics (3)
109. Dinner with Friends (3)
110. The North Avenue Irregulars (3)
111. The Last Mimzy (2)

I will add more if I think of them. I need to start keeping a movie journal like I do a book journal.

Reign Over Me

Yesterday, we watched the movie Reign Over Me. I have had so many emotions flowing around in my brain since it finished, I struggle even now to put them into words.

I read the reviews on Netflix and Amazon both, and they are quite mixed. People are either blown away by the movie or think it's frenetic and uneven.

After pondering it...I think that if a person has experienced a gut-wrenching grief in their life, then that person will find Reign Over Me incredibly realistic, moving, and heartfelt. Otherwise, I think a person would have difficulty identifying with the characters.

Adam Sandler plays a man who lost his wife and three daughters on September 11. His college roommate, played by Don Cheadle, runs into him on the streets and the two reconnect. Adam's character is very odd. He doesn't remember (or pretends not to remember) certain parts of his past. He refuses to talk about anything involving his family. He goes nuts if anyone brings it up. Everyone in his life, including Cheadle after a time, think he needs therapy, needs help, needs to be fixed.

Again, this is an immensely moving movie to me, because having experienced a raw sort of grief like this character, I can identify with wanting to close that part of your life off and not wanting to deal with it or remember any of it.

We talked about this movie (and cried some more) for an hour after it was over. I think it's so real and the writing is phenomenal.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Laced With Grace Giveaway

Details of this wonderful package from Laced With Grace

The package will include a Women of Faith study Bible (NIV/Hardcover); Lisa Whelchel’s Bible study tool for busy moms; a coffee mug from “Mugs of Truth“; the DVD “The Nativity Story“; the book “Love and Respect“; and a music CD by Becky Knight, who just released her first CD.

I encourage everyone to go visit and enter! If you have not read Love and should! I place it up there as one of the top books about marriage and making your relationship work.

Friday, December 28, 2007

No Credit for Christmas

For the first time---ever---this year we did not use credit cards to pay for Christmas gifts. I know beyond a doubt that no one felt like they missed out on any gifts, in fact our kids made out like bandits.

Remembering back to October when we went to see Dave Ramsey, got on a budget, and cut up our credit cards. We didn't know it would be quite so difficult, since Christmas was just around the corner. But we saved where we could, spent all extra money on gifts, and were very creative with shopping and gift giving in general.

Let me say, it feels so incredibly good to leave the month of December and not be dreading the January bills. And we didn't even use LeeRoy's Christmas bonus to buy gifts like we usually do also...because he didn't even know if he was getting one until the week before Christmas.

We are just celebrating here, because we are on an incredible journey to get out of debt and stay there.

New Year, New Goals

The new year is quickly approaching. I have been thinking a lot about my goals for the new year, and am excited to post them as I work them out. 2007 has been an interesting up and down year for me in many different ways, especially with family issues that aren't resolved yet.

I look forward to sharing my goals and to getting some accountability for following through with them each month.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Children's Reviews Posted Today

When My Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four

The Legend of St. Nicholas

Free Polly Pocket at Walgreens!

Here's a great deal I got today at Walgreens.

I got a Polly Pocket Activity Pad, hanging up in the toy section. It is regular priced at $4.99. Print out this coupon for $5.00 off and you make a penny on the deal! I got one today but I printed out another coupon and am going back tomorrow.

Excellent stocking stuffer!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2008 TBR Challenge

Here are the books from my TBR Piles that I plan to read in 2008--one per month.

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
2. The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel
3. Blinded by Travis Thrasher
4. Miss Invisible by Laura Jensen Walker
5. Practically Perfect in Every Way by Jennifer Niesslein
6. Love, Greg and Lauren by Greg Manning
7. A Seahorse in the Thames by Susan Meissner
8. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
9. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
10. The Ultimate Reality Show by Clay Jacobsen
11. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
12. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

And for Extra Credit:
1. Chat Room by Linda Hall
2. Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins
3. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
4. The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne
5. Cookooff by Amy Sutherland
6. Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer
7. Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
8. Inside My Heart by Robin McGraw
9. Strange but True by John Searles

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Review

High School Musical 2

This is a totally cute seven year old LOVES it...she cannot quit dancing and singing along.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cookie Exchange

So, I am going to not one, but two cookie exchanges this year. I am just itching to make a cookie that everyone will want to eat!

At the second exchange, they have a "contest" where people taste a sample of each cookie and vote on their favorites to win a prize. I went to this exchange last year and was totally ignorant of the voting and how stiff the competition was. This year I have vowed to make something delicious.

I want to know...does anyone have anything tried and true that they would be willing to share? I have things that my family loves, but that doesn't mean they are great for a cookie exchange.

November Reads

161. Your Chariot Awaits by Lorena McCourtney C+
162. Wild Child, Waiting Mom by Wendi Hayden English and Karilee Hayden B
163. The Will of Wisteria by Denise Hildreth B+
164. Chasing Destiny by Eric Jerome Dickey D+
165. Someday by Karen Kingsbury B-
166. My Soul to Keep by Melanie Wells C+
167. Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn B-
168. Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate B-
169. The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen B-
170. Payback by Melody Carlson B
171. Sisters, Ink by Rebeca Seitz C+
172. Fallen by Matthew Raley C+
173. Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck B
174. Picket Fence Promises by Kathryn Springer B
175. Blue Heart Blessed by Susan Meissner B+

16. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill B-
17. Hide by Lisa Gardner B
18. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson B

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Reviews

A Prince Among Dogs

Giver of Gifts

The Will of Wisteria

Finding Father Christmas

My favorite of the bunch is The Will of Wisteria. A great story!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Book Prize Pack Giveaway

I am offering up a prize pack of three brand new Navpress titles!

Around the World in 80 Dates by Christa Ann Banister
From the Back Cover
Sydney Alexander is a travel writer. She's a very well-dressed travel writer--hasn't yet met a shoe or clearance sale she could pass up. She's funny. She's got a great relationship with her sis. She's got a hilarious best friend, Rain, who happens to be a hippie. And she's got a wonderful relationship with God. So what's missing?

A decent date. A date where she doesn't have to pay because he's "between jobs." A date where she's not fabulously fashionably ready to go only to learn "the band just got a last-minute gig" and he has to cancel. A date she wants to kiss good night--not run screaming from.

My Beautiful Disaster by Michelle Buckman

Book Description
Dixie Chambers is an average high school girl who's just been granted access into the popular crowd. Sucked into a world that resembles one big party, Dixie falls into an intimate relationship with local rock star Vince Evans. But as his nice-guy facade begins to slip, she discovers that Vince is a better actor than musician.

Making matters much worse, Dixie learns that she's pregnant. Terrified of her family's response, and fearful of what her friends will think, she faces a tough decision that will change her life forever.

Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson

From the Back Cover
Scotty Dawn has all the freedom a fifteen-year-old girl could want. As she and her mom, Charley, travel to movie sets for Charley's work, Scotty's allowed to go anywhere and be anything. But there are costs to such a life. Scotty doesn't know who she is, where she comes from, or who to trust. And who is the mysterious man they've been running from? Does he hold the clue to Charley's big secret?

Scotty writes in her Hollywood Nobody blog, and the answers she finds are darker than she had expected. Will she discover who she can trust and finally make sense of her world?

To Enter, leave a comment below, including a way for me to contact you.
If you are unable to leave a comment, send me an e-mail at parcelhome[at]comcast[dot]net with your name and e-mail address.
I will close entries on December 2 and draw for a winner. Good luck!

Congratulations to Gayla for winning this drawing!!
Everyone else, be on the lookout for more in the future.

Walgreens savings today

I got some great deals at Walgreens today. Thanks to Money Saving Mom for getting me pointed in the right direction!

Glucerna cereal $4.49, you get $4.49 register rewards (coupon good for that price on your next visit. So it was free, stacked it with a $1.25 off coupon, and made $1.25 on the deal.

Hersheys Special Dark Candy Bars. Used coupon from the Walgreens ad 4/$1. Stacked with a coupon from this Sunday's paper for Special Dark B1G1, which made the total 2 for .25

Sunsilk Creme TLC--$1.89 on clearance, I used a $2.00 off coupon I had clipped quite a while ago and made .11 on the deal .

L'Oreal Vive Conditioner--$2.19 on clearance. I used a $2.00 off coupon I had received when I got a free sample of this in the mail, so I got the conditioner for .19.

Fasprin--$3.99 mail-in EasySaver Rebate. I bought it with a coupon for $1.00 off that I found in Parade magazine yesterday. So when I get my rebate, I will have made $1.00 (minus the cost of the stamp)

Coffee Mate creamer. B1G1 coupon from Walgreens ad--made it 2/$2.19, stacked on a .50 coupon and got them for .85 each.

I need to start being more diligent about going there. I also got a great deal on the very expensive Shaper hairspray that I love...the super-giant can was on sale for $11, which is the price I usually pay for the regular sized can on sale (if I can find a sale). I was very pleased about that deal too.

Cows Unite!

During this past year, we have totally switched over to organic dairy products, and Organic Valley is one of our preferred brands. They have a new "Cows Unite" website (see ad at sidebar). It is free to join and if you do, please use me as a referral (so I can win some coupons or even free milk) parcelhome[at]comcast[dot]net

The cows will thank you!

If you want more information about why you should switch to organic dairy products, check this out: There is some great info about organic foods and why to switch.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

I saw this on the Martha Stewart show last week and it looked so good I had to try it!

It's a really moist, delicious cake, but could probably stand a little bit of frosting. A cream cheese frosting drizzle would be really good.

For the pumpkin, I used the remainder of the pie pumpkin that I had bought and cooked up. Yum. I saved the seeds and am going to plant some and see if I can get them to grow.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake
From Martha Stewart Show
Nonstick cooking spray, for pan
4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 14-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Dust with flour, and tap out excess.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
3. Beat butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until just combined. Add pumpkin puree, and beat until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake cake until golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully turn cake onto rack too cool completely. Before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar.
First published November 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scavenger Hunt

There's a fun scavenger hunt going on...check out the link at the side of the page!


We get a lot of kale, collard greens, swiss chard, turnip greens, whatever greens in our CSA share. I have tried quite a few ways to make it and although my family will eat anything I make, they haven't loved it...until now. This recipe was a HUGE hit with everyone in the family, and I even had to divide it between their plates so that one person didn't eat it all. I got this from a farm blog:

Garlicky Braised Kale with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 2

Braising softens kale, which will be a little tough and leathery if undercooked. Unfortunately, kale also loses its bright green color when properly cooked. As a variation, try using the pretty new variety of kale called cavolo nero, or Tuscan kale, in this recipe. Or use young turnip greens. You can also vary this recipe by sautéing onions or bacon with the garlic, or by adding red pepper flakes.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, cut in half, smashed, and peeled
2 Tbs. finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, well drained ( I used my own, reconstituted)

7 oz. stemmed kale leaves (from about 1/2 large bunch kale), washed and cut into 1-inch ribbons
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup low-salt chicken stock (canned is ok)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 ounce crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a 3- to 4-qt. soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 min. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the kale, tossing to coat it well with the oil. Season with the salt and a few grinds of pepper, and continue stirring until all the kale is wilted. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the kale has softened, about 8 min. Uncover, turn the heat to high, and boil away the remaining liquid, stirring frequently, until the pan is almost dry. Take the pan off the heat. Season with the vinegar and stir to combine. Transfer to a small serving dish or plates. Top with the crumbled goat cheese, if you like.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

September and October's Reads

135. Passing Gas and Getting Paid for it by Bart Borsky B
136. Miss Match by Eryn Mangum B-
137. The Year of the Goat by Margaret Hathaway B-
138. Woman in Red by Eileen Goudge B-
139. Momzillas by Jill Kargman C+ TBR
140. Posh by Lucy Jackson C+ TBR
141. Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury B-
142. Chill Out, Josey! by Susan May Warren B-
143. Within This Circle by Deborah Raney C+
144. What Lies Within by Karen Ball B
145. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks B- TBR
146. Every Woman's Battle by Shannon Etheridge B+ TBR
147. Mediterranean Summer by Dave Shalleck B TBR
148. Living in a Foreign Language by Michael Tucker C
149. Healing Stones by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn A
150. Waiting to Surface by Emily Listfield C+ TBR
151. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen B TBR
152. Solemnly Swear by Nancy Moser C
153. Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs B- TBR
154. For Better or For Worse by DiAnn Mills C+
155. Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear by Sharon Dunn B-/C+
156. Reluctant Smuggler by Jill Elizabeth Nelson B-
157. Wishpers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark B+
158. Skizzer by AJ Keisling C+
159. Double Blind by Hannah Alexander B-
160. The Good Nearby by Nancy Moser B- TBR

13. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini B
14. In the Woods by Tana French C
15. Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard B

What's Up With Me?

Thought I'd provide a long-overdue update. Here's what is going on in my life right now.

1. Still reviewing a lot. I am way overloaded with books, despite my best intentions to slow down and stop requesting so many books, I am still doing it. I guess it is a little better, but not so much that I would really notice. And I have slowed way down on my reading too...I have read 13 books for Aug, Sept, and October, where in those months last year I averaged 15 books. Fall is definitely slower for me than summer because I'm much more busy with school, volunteering, and such, but I just feel slower with reading than usual.

2. Our family situation is still tenuous. We're a little more distanced than we were in August and September, but it's still painful and truly deeply needing prayer. God is the only one who can help us through it, and only He can work the miracle that needs to be done.

3. We have embarked on Dave Ramsey 's Total Money Makeover plan. At the beginning of October, we went to see Dave live in Portland. It was totally inspirational, and since we already had the books we have been motivated to jump in full force. We had already completed baby step 1, which is set up a $1000 emergency fund. At the end of October, we made a budget, and after bills we are using cash for food and everything else. We cut up our one credit card, and are making steps to not create further debt as well as pay off our current debt using the debt snowball method. This is very exciting, because for the first time we are both on the same page about this.

4. We finished our summer of the CSA and decided to keep with it through the winter. Overall, it doesn't end up much more expensive than buying organic vegetables from the store, and it forces me to be creative in incorporating vegetables into our daily diet.

5. Other than the above things, volunteering at the kids' school, driving kids to and from gymnastics, as well as teaching women's Bible study, has kept me incredibly busy this fall.

I really hope to keep this more up to date, but I won't make any promises.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finally an update

Here are my latest reviews, sorry I have been so lax at updating this. Life just tends to get away from me.

Woman in Red
In Jesse's Shoes
For Parents Only
One Tough Mother
Elvis Presley: The Family Album

Monday, September 10, 2007

Reviews this week

The Noah Confessions

Ivy Briefs

Miss Match

I have loved having extra time to read review books for my online sites. I am trying to be more choosy about Romantic Times books and "spreading the wealth" to the other reviewers.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

August Reads

122. Never Look Back by Kathy Herman B-
123. Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern B (TBR)
124. Married to a Stranger by Patricia MacDonald B- (TBR)
125. Family Secrets by Judith Henry Wall C
126. On the Loose by Jenny B. Jones B-
127. Ivy Briefs by Martha Kimes B
128. Better by Atul Gawande B-
129. Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund C+ (TBR)
130. Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins B
131. The Other Daughter by Miralee Ferrell B
132. The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall B
133. From Bad to Worse by Todd and Jedd Hafer C-
134. Confessions of a Good Christian Girl by Tammy Maltby A (TBR)

Newest Reviews

I have had a few reviews posted lately:

From Bad to Worse
On the Loose
Nine Months in August
It's Not My Wedding (But I'm In Charge)
The Women's Daily Irony Supplement
Just Grace

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Looking Up

Things are looking up...not exactly the way I would have hoped, but the heaviness and dreariness of the situation seems to have lifted for the moment.

I want to publicly thank the ladies from the Friendly Anchor yahoo ladies are my prayer rocks in times of trouble! If anyone out there is interested in a high volume, high participation group, this group of women is for you! Don't go by the yahoo stats about posting, we do most of our posting through google groups. But if you want to join we'd love to have you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Today's Song

Here are today's meaningful song lyrics...keep praying for us please

Every Time I Breathe
Big Daddy Weave

I am sure all of heaven's heard me cry
As I tell You all the reasons why
This life is just too hard
But day by day
Without fail
I'm finding everything I need
And everything that You are To me

Every time I breathe
You seem a little bit closer
I never want to leave
I want to stay in Your warm embrace
Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face
And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart
I realize it's true
That You are so marvelous God
And I am so in love with You

Now how could I after knowing One so great
Respond to You in any way
That's less than all I have to give
But by Your grace
I want to love You not with what I say
But everyday In a way that my life is lived

Every time I breathe
You seem a little bit closer
I never want to leave I want to stay in Your warm embrace
Oh basking in the glory shining from Your face
And every time I get another glimpse of Your heart
I realize it's true
That You are so marvelous God
And I am so in love with You

Wrapped in Your mercy
I want to live and never leave
I am held by how humble
Yet overwhelmed by Your majesty
Captured by grace and now I'm finding I am free
You are marvelous God
And knowing You is everything

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick Update

I am sorry I haven't been posting much. Without going into detail, life has thrown us a huge loop right now and I don't have time for much of anything. I am emotionally drained and stressed. I would love it if anyone reading this would pray for us and what we're going through. God knows all of the details and I am trusting that He will work through this mess and make something beautiful out of it, although I can't see what it would be.

Trust His Heart
All things work for our good
though sometimes we can’t see how they could.
Struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blind us to the truth.
Our Father knows what’s best for us;
His ways are not our own.
So, when your pathway grows dim,
and you just can’t see Him,
Remember He’s still on the throne.

God is too wise to be mistaken.
God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don’t understand,
when you don’t see His plan,
When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.

He sees the Master plan.
He holds the future in His hands.
So don’t live as those who have no hope.
All our hope is found in Him.
We walk in present knowledge,
but He sees the first and the last.
And like a tapestry,
He’s weaving you and me
to someday be just like Him.

God is too wise to be mistaken.
God is too good to be unkind.
So when you don’t understand,
when you don’t see His plan,
When you can’t trace His hand,
trust His heart.

Friday, August 03, 2007

July Reads

96. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich B
97. Not Buying It by Judith Levine C
98. Frenemies by Megan Crane B-
99. How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean B
100. Wedding Bell Blues by Linda Windsor B-
101. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella B-
102. Boo Humbug by Rene Gutteridge B-
103. Heather by Debra White Smith C-
104. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer B
105. Nine Months in August by Adriana Bourgoin B
106. Dedication by Nicola Kraus/Emma McLaughlin C+
107. Time Lottery by Nancy Moser B
108. It's Not My Wedding, But I'm in Charge by Sharon Naylor C+
109. The Noah Confessions by Barbara Hall C
110. The Women's Daily Irony Supplement by Judy Gruen B
111. Perfume by Patrick Suskind C
112. One Fell Swoop by Virginia Boyd C-
113. The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck B
114. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling A
115. Finding Marie by Susan Page Davis B-
116. After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart C+
117. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson B+
118. Around the World in 80 Dates by Christa Banister C+
119. A Promise to Remember by Kathryn Cushman C+
120. A Crooked Path by Annette Smith B-
121. Every Secret Thing by Ann Tatlock B

11. The Good Guy by Dean Koontz B+
12. The Keep by Jennifer Egan B-

TBR Books--Charlotte Sometimes, Time Lottery

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tonight's Dinner

Tonight's dinner was excellent, except for the corn on the cob...we bought it at the farmer's market with great expectations, but I think it's a bit early because it really didn't have any flavor at all unfortunately.

Here are the recipes I used. The top of the plate is roasted CSA cauliflower (absolutely to die for delicious) Turkey cutlet--using the garlic scape pesto, CSA tomatoes, walla walla sweet onion from farmer's market, and goat cheese from farmer's market. Swiss chard gratin--CSA Swiss chard, farmer's market goat cheese.

Roasted Cauliflower (from

1 head of cauliflower

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced

1 lemon

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Add garlic. Squeeze a lemon over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has. Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes, until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.

Turkey Cutlet Parmigiano (From Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 Walla Walla Sweet onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and pepper

3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 pounds turkey breast cutlets

1 pint grape tomatoes (I used four small regular tomatoes, sliced and halved)

1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock (I used wine)

1 cup good quality pesto sauce

Sliced mozzarella cheese (I used goat cheese)

For the tomato topping, preheat a medium size skillet over medium high heat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent.

While the onions are cooking (or if you are me and would burn the onions, after the onions are done and removed from the heat for awhile) set up the breading station for the turkey cutlets. Place the flour in a shallow dish, in another dish beat together the eggs with a splash of water. In a third dish, combine bread crumbs and parmesan. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium to medium-high heat. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper on each side, dredge through flour, then eggs, then breading. Cook in a single layer for 3-4 minutes each side, until juices run clear and breading is evenly browned. Remove the cooked cutlets to a plate lined with a paper towel.

To the skillet with the onions, add the tomatoes and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to burst and the wine has reduced by half.

Preheat the broiler.

Arrange the cooked cutlets on a cookie sheet. Top each with a little of the warm tomato topping, top that with a little pesto, and top that with slices of cheese. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler and broil until the cheese warms and melts, but has not browned. Serve immediately.

Bright Lights Chard Gratin (From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison)

2 pounds chard, including half of the stems

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped (I used part of a Walla Walla sweet onion)

sea salt and ground pepper

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons chopped dill or parsley

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup milk or cream or a mixture of cream and stock

1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

Separate leaves and chard stems. Wash lthe leaves in plenty of water, then coarsely chop them. Trim the ragged edges off the stems, wash them well, then dice them into small pieces.

Melt half the butter in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has begun to brown a bit, about 20 minutes. Add the chard leaves, sprinkle with salt and cook until they are wilted and tender, about 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 and lightly oil a 2 quart baking dish. Melt half the remaining butter in a small skillet and add bread crumbs, garlic, and dill. Cook, stirring for about a minute, then scrape the crumbs into a bowl and return the pan to the heat.

Melt the last tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour, then whisk in the milk. Simmer for 5 minutes, season with salt and add to the chard mixture. Add the cheese, then taste and correct for seasoning.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover with bread crumbs. Bake until heated through and golden on the surface, about 25 minutes.

Kids Cooking--Lasagna

We had our first adventure with Kids Cooking Summer Camp online. This week's theme was Italian. Here are the kids making the lasagna:

Vegetable lasagna (my modifications from the cooking camp recipe)

Lasagna noodles, uncooked

1 small/medium zucchini, sliced thin

2 carrots, shredded

1 small/medium yellow summer squash (we used patty pan)

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 cups spaghetti sauce or large jar (we used two jars of organic Ragu sauce, we love sauce)

1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

15 oz or 2 cups cottage or ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons dried parsley

2 large eggs

1 cup mozzarella cheese, for the top

Saute garlic in olive oil and add vegetables and spaghetti sauce. Let simmer about 8-10 minutes until vegetables are tender. In separate bowl mix cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, mozzarella cheese (save some for sprinkling on the top) and eggs. Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of a 8x11 or 13x9 pan. Lay lasagna noodles on bottom of pan. Spread cottage cheese mixture over top of noodles. Spread more sauce on top of noodles. Continue layering in pan until the pan is full. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake covered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until noodles are tender.

They also made bruschetta (the only modification I added was that I added a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, which I think makes bruschetta taste better)
1 Loaf Italian bread cut diagonally in slices
1 Garlic clove; minced
2 Tablespoon Olive oil
2 Large Tomatoes; peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/2 Cup Chopped fresh basil
On a cookie sheet place sliced bread. Broil several minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile stir garlic and olive oil together. Brush each bread slice with garlic oil. Spread chopped tomatoes on top of each bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Warm in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and serve.
They also made biscotti:
Italian Biscotti
This Italian cooking lesson is making biscotti which is like a hard cookie often served with a beverage.
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup almonds chopped
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
dash of lemon or orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl including flour, baking soda, salt and nuts. Set aside. In mixing bowl beat together eggs, sugar, butter, zest, vanilla and almond extract. Slowly stir in flour mixture. Blend together. Place dough on a floured surface and divide in two. Shape dough into a long loaf. Lay both loaves on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until firm and lightly golden brown. Cut loaves diagonally into slices. Place on cookie sheet and bake another 10-15 minutes turning over once. Biscotti will become crisp and you can cool on wire rack.


Here's a couscous recipe where I used some zucchini and patty pan summer squash. I ended up using a whole small-medium zucchini and a whole medium yellow patty pan squash. It wasn't overpowering at all. I also sprinkled some feta cheese on the top. It is some goat cheese we purchased at the farmer's market. Yum!
Blue Rose Dairy is the vendor we purchase the cheese from.
Basil Couscous with Summer Squash
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup couscous
1 cup zucchini -- 1/4" dice
1 cup squash, yellow -- 1/4" dice
1 cup basil -- slivered
1/4 cup Almonds -- toasted and sliced
Bring the chicken stock and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in salt and couscous. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. Saute the zucchini and yellow squash in the remaining oil. Add vegetables, almonds, and basil to couscous and mix well. Serve immediately.Or carve out centers of zucchini or squash and steam shells. Fill with couscous. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.


Here's this week's veggies. I didn't take a picture last week, it was just too busy. We had a funeral and the kids were out of town so we had a couples' weekend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Reviews

Here are the newest reviews I have posted. Hopefully later today I'll post some more about what I've been cooking lately. The kids made dinner last night and it turned out really well!

Madame Mirabou's School of Love

Method Man

If I could just find the time to write reviews (and more time to read) life would be grand. But it's terribly busy around here with all of the summer activities.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Newest Reviews and Last Month's Reading

Here are my newest posted reviews. Summer is so busy! I have been cooking but not taking pictures, bad me. I'll be better later this week I promise.

There is More to the Secret

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls


Wedding Bell Blues

My June Reads:

83. There is More to the Secret by Ed Gungor B
84. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin B- (From TBR)
85. The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard B- (From TBR)
86. And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers A- (From TBR)
87. Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Hunt B
88. The Baby Chronicles by Judy Baer C
89. Days and Hours by Susan Meissner B
90. Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson B-
91. Sushi for One? by Camy Tang B
92. Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd B-
93. Echoes by Kristen Heitzmann C+
94. An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson C+
95. Just Beyond the Clouds by Karen Kingsbury B-

10. The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld C

So I got three down from the tbr mountain, like it even made a dent--no--books are added much more quickly than they are taken away. But I am sticking with my goal to read them.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Garlic Scape Pesto and Bread

So, I made a pesto from the garlic scapes. I used all of them I had--probably 12? and put them in the food processor with some asiago cheese (I don't know how much, most of a block) and some olive oil. Really, I was just looking at consistency, not for any strict proportion. turned out fantastic. It is absolutely delicious!

I also made pesto bread from the pesto. I made my typical sourdough bread that I make every week, rolled it out, spread with pesto, then rolled into a loaf. I cannot begin to tell you how fantastic it smells and tastes!

Here is where I got my sourdough bread info to start with:

I did not use yeast for my starter, I just let it sit on my counter and gather the natural yeast in the air. I have had it going for a few months now and it still works wonderfully. I use honey rather than sugar in my recipe and look at how great it turns out!

I have made three loaves of the pesto bread so far and my family can't get enough of it.

CSA This week

Note the fabulous basil! I forgot to take pictures of anything I made this camera has been with Kimber at VBS so you'll just have to deal with my descriptions.

I made a chicken pot pie using the stir fry veggies and a carrot. I got the recipe from here:

Experimentation of taste

Chrispy’s Super Easy Pot Pie

1 large pie or 8-10 individual pies
2 ½ - 3 pie crusts – use your basic recipe with a little more butter or shortening.
2 T butter
Mixture of spices – these change with my mood, but just pick the spices you like.
2 C medium chopped vegetables ( I used 1 stalk of celery, 3 carrots and the stir fry mix)
2 C shredded cooked chicken (you can get a rotisserie or cook one yourself)
3 T all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
2 -14.5 oz cans of low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450 F with rack in the center.
Make pie crust mixture and cut into rounds to place in muffin tin, ramekins or pie pan. The individual pies will take up about 1 ½ pie crusts for the bases. Bake the crusts until browned, about 7-8 min. Remove. Reduce oven to 350 F.
While the pie crusts are baking, melt butter over medium heat. Add the vegetables and spices and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for about a minute until it is warm. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, then season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the flour is incorporated. Add the broth to the pan; increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens slightly, about a minute or two.
Pour the mixture into the just baked pie shells. Cover with remaining pie crusts, crimping the edges so they stick some. Make one slit into the top of each individual pie and several in a main pie.
Bake the pies on a baking sheet until golden brown and bubbly. 15-20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, let rest for 10 min, and then serve

Next time, I might consider making a roux first...this was a little runny but the leftovers were awesome.

I also made a quick pasta with mozzarella cheese, garlic, fresh basil, fresh tomato, and olive oil. It was fantastic with the pesto bread (more about that in the next post)

Friday, June 22, 2007

I figured it out!

I was perusing several CSA blogs that have recipes, and I discovered what the pointy things are--garlic scapes! Yay, how exciting that I know what they are. I found a bunch of recipes too, one of their main uses is in pesto.
I'll post the recipe and a picture when I make it. I need to get some cheese and some more olive oil.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Salad in a Bread Bowl

A number of years ago, I went to a Pampered Chef party where the demonstrator made a bread bowl for salad baked on their big stoneware bowl. I am not even sure they make that bowl anymore, and there was no way I was going to shell out the money for it, so I decided to try to make it on a large (4L) Pyrex bowl. It worked wonderfully. The recipe calls for a canned French Bread dough--like from Pillsbury--but it is a TON cheaper and probably a lot healthier to make my own. Here is the finished product. I brushed the outside with olive oil and sprinkled it with dry ranch dressing mix. I want to try to make my own dry ranch dressing mix the next time, but I still have some in my cupboard as of now. I'm going to fill it with salad greens/romaine, grilled shrimp, and fresh parmesan cheese.

Week 2 CSA

Sorry I have been tardy with my updating. First week with the kids home from school for the summer, it's been a bit crazy and difficult to get on a schedule. Next week is VBS, so our schedule will be even crazier.

This week we got eggs too, which is$3 extra, but totally worth it. Some monster carrots too! If anyone knows what that pointy green thing is in the front, could you let me know? It smells like an onion, but I have no idea what it is.

We had a few veggies left from last week, so I combined some together and made roasted veggies. They have lasted quite a few days, I made omelettes, put them in spaghetti sauce, and just eaten them plain as a side dish.

The next thing I made was a green gratin. I took all of the greens from the past two weeks--beet greens, chrysanthemum greens, swiss chard, collard greens, and chopped them up. Put them in a baking dish with some parmesan, ricotta cheese, smashed crackers, and some garlic salt and baked them in the oven. Surprisingly, they were a HUGE hit with everyone in the family.

Speaking of greens, I found a great site that is helping me to identify some of the veggies we have been receiving (except for the pointy green ones) It is The Cook's Thesaurus

That's all for this post. I have another picture, but it's from another day and I wanted to make a separate post for it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Beets, Sage, and Stir Fry Veggies

Today I went "simple" with the veggies.

I started with roasting the baby beets in the oven, wrapped in foil, at 400 for about a half hour. I sliced them up, put them on top of spinach, sprinkled with blue cheese and a bit of balsamic vinegar dressing.

Next, I made a package of Annie's All Natural macaroni and cheese. Right at the end of the cooking time for the noodles, I mixed in half of my package of stir fry veggies. Drained, then mixed with the cheese. I was going to make homemade mac and cheese, but I totally ran out of time today. This was a huge hit...everyone ate tons and even the kids ate all of the veggies, didn't even pick them out.

Finally, I had some organic chicken breasts that I put in a 13 x 9 baking dish. I sliced up a lemon and put it in the bottom. Crushed two cloves of garlic with some olive oil and some sea salt (made a kind of aoli) and spread it over the chicken. Chopped up fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary and put it on top of all the rest. Then I baked it at 350 for 45 minutes. The first 30 minutes covered with foil, the last 15 without.

I got a yogurt making machine today, and I'm going to try for my first batch of yogurt tonight. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Green Garlic and Green Onions

Today I used the green onions in a salad and the green garlic and russet potatoes in soup. Both were pretty good. The salad needed a little "something" so I added some balsamic vinegar and that definitely helped. I sprinkled in a little raw sugar also, which gave another dimension to it.
Janet Fletcher, San Francisco Chronicle
Adapted from Richard Olney's leek and potato soup in ``Simple French Food.''

--1 pound green garlic-- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter-- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes-- Salt and pepper to taste-- 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS: Discard the dark green leafy parts of the green garlic, leaving the white and pale green parts. Cut each garlic in half lengthwise, then mince.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper, then add chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender enough to mash with a wooden spoon, about 40=20 minutes

French Bean and Berries Salad

contributed by Chelsea Lincoln
2 cups cooked Kamut Berries Organic
2 cups cooked Flageolet Beans (I used Edamame here)
1 cup Green Onion, chopped
1 cup Tomatoes, diced
2 cups Spinach, chopped
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Shallots, minced
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Tarragon
1 tsp. Parsley Flakes
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
Soak Flageolet Beans (about 1 cup) overnight. Drain water and rinse off beans. Place beans in pot covered with plenty of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, placing lid on pot. Cook until beans are soft, about 1 hour.Place Kamut Berries (about 1-1/2 cups) in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and place a lid on the pot. Cook until berries are soft, about 1 hour.While beans and kamut are cooking, mix vinaigrette ingredients together in a large bowl. Slice veggies and place in the bowl.Drain beans and berries and rinse in cold water. Measure out 2 cups of both the beans and the kamut and add them to the other ingredients in the bowl. Blend together all ingredients with vinaigrette and chill for a few hours or overnight.Makes 10 servings.

Our CSA Adventure

This week was our first week being members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Here are some pictures of our bounty of goods from our mini share that we received this week.
We got a bag of salad/mixed greens and edible flowers and her special homemade garlic basil dressing. Broccoli. Carrots. Green onions. Green garlic. Baby beets. Stir fry mix. Russet potatoes. Collard greens. Baby bok choi. Bag of mixed dark salad greens. Italian parsley. Sage.
I'll be posting pictures and recipes from what I make with the bounty!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Reviews and the rest of May's books

Newest reviews:

The 310: Life as a Poser


Royal Koi and Kindred Spirits

The rest of the books I read in May:

77. Only You by Deborah Bedford C
78. Abomination by Colleen Coble B-
79. Notes from a Spinning Planet: Mexico by Melody Carlson B-
80. Jacob's List by Stephanie Grace Whitson B-
81. Playing With Fire by Melody Carlson B
82. Trouble in Paradise by Robin Lee Hatcher C+


9. Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes B

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More reviews

I'm feeling down...I am hoping that a few days at the beach will cure my depression. Things just aren't going right lately, and I can't seem to get unstuck from where I am. Kimber's not going to the beach with us because she has to work, but at least we get to go.

Newest reviews:

The Velvet Rope

I Do But I Don't: Walking Down the Aisle Without Losing Your Mind

We have our annual women's ministry board meeting next weekend. I have been brainstorming different ideas of new things to start and some things to change. I have been looking at different church websites to see things other women's ministries offer. I have been wanting to start a book discussion group for a long time, this year I'm definitely going to do it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Books Read in 2007

I thought I'd give an update as to the books I've read so far in 2007

1. Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher A
2. The Myth of the Perfect Mother by Carla Barnhill B
3. The Bridesmaid by Hailey Abbott B
4. Reading Between the Lines by Rick Hamlin B-
5. Replay by Ken Grimwood B-
6. Sliver of Truth by Lisa Unger B+
7. Prints Charming by Rebeca Seitz B-
8. Tribulation House by Chris Well B
9. Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace C+
10 Beyond Reach by Melody Carlson B
11. Bittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake C
12. Coral Moon by Brandilyn Collins B
13. Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney B-
14. The Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner--Anthology C+
15. Love Me if You Must by Nicole Young C+

16. Ever Present Danger by Kathy Herman B
17. A Bigger Life by Annette Smith B
18. My Heart's in the Lowlands by Liz Curtis Higgs B-
19. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz B+
20. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield B
21. The Potluck Club by Shepherd/Everson B
22. The Potluck Club: Trouble's Brewing by Shepherd/Everson B
23. Death, Deceit and Some Smooth Jazz by Claudia Mair Burney C+
24. The Potluck Club Takes the Cake by Shepherd/Everson B
25. Finder's Fee by Alton Gansky B
26. Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury B
27. Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck B-
28. False Witness by Randy Singer B-
29. Snitch by Rene Gutteridge B-

30. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling by Neta Jackson B+
31. The Invasion of the Widows' Club by Joyce Livingston C+
32. Diva Nashvegas by Rachel Hauck B-
33. Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini C
34. The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford C
35. Over Her Head by Shelley Bates B
36. Going ot the Chapel by Janet Tronstad C
37. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak A
38. Return to Me by Robin Lee Hatcher B
39. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult B
40 A Quarter Past Tuesday by Jo Kadlecek C-
41. Day by Day by Delia Parr B
42. Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin A
43. All I'll Ever Need by Harry Kraus C
44. As I Have Loved You by Nikki Arana C
45. Summer Breeze by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman B-/C+
46. Like Always by Robert Elmer B+

47. These Boots Weren't Made for Walking by Melody Carlson B
48. The Surrogate by Judith Henry Wall B-
49. Desperate Pastors' Wives by Ginger Kolbaba and Cindy Scanlan B
50. Reclaiming Nick by Susan May Warren B-
51. Through Every Storm by Sharlene MacLaren C
52. Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty B
53. The Restitution by M.L. Tyndall B
54. Au Paris by Rachel Spencer B-
55. Give it Up by Mary Carlomagno C-
56. The Elevator by Angela Hunt B-
57. True LIght by Terri Blackstock B-
58. The Cure by Athol Dickson C
59. Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell B
60. The Scribe by Francine Rivers B
62. Echo by C.L. Kelly C+
63. The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson C
64. Thr3e by Ted Dekker B

65. Catch a Rising Star by Tracey Bateman C+
66. A Shred of Truth by Eric Wilson C+
67. Full Tilt by Creston Mapes B
68. The Road by Cormac McCarthy B
69. The Woods by Harlan Coben B
70. Knocked Up by Rebecca Eckler B-
71. Wiped by Rebecca Eckler B-
72. Madame Mirabou's School of Love by Barbara Samuel B
73. Marley and Me by John Grogan A
74. Summer by Karen Kingsbury B+
75. All in One Place by Carolyne Aarsen C
76. Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume Anthology B

Audio Books
1. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz B
2. The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett B
3. The Men I Didn't Marry by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnburger C+
4. Red River by Lalita Tademy B-
5. The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian B
6. Mommies Who Drink by Brett Paesel B
7. Ricochet by Sandra Brown C
8. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve B

From now on, I will just update as I finish them.

DVD Reviews

One of the sites I review for,, has started a DVD review site Since we like to watch movies almost as much as we like to read, this is a great fit for me :)

Here are my first few reviews for that site:

The Departed

Arthur and the Invisibles

Catch & Release


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And new reviews again

I actually had some time this past week to type up some reviews, so here they are:

The Art of Worship

Dream: Have You Caught God's Vision?

Back to the Family

Pivot Point

I have been knocked out with strep throat the past few days, and today I'm finally feeling a little bit human again, although I'm still not feeling 100%. After I get caught up on my e-mail I have quite a few more reviews to write. Then it's on to my RT reading for the month.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I forgot three!

I forgot three books I had also read from my shelves this past month. I did really well!
I also read The Surrogate by Judith Henry Wall, Desperate Pastors' Wives by Ginger Kolbaba and Cindy Scanlan, and Au Paris by Rachel Spencer.

I hope to keep the momentum next month. I do need to get to my backlogged review books from the websites, but it feels good to get to the tbr books also.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Two books from the TBR

Ok, at the beginning of the year, I made a goal to read some books each month from my tbr shelves. Well, with reviewing getting in the way, I haven't been doing a very good job with that, but I have been doing some reading from the shelves, just not in the order I originally planned.

In January, I read The Bridesmaid by Hailey Abbott.

February: I read The Potluck Club and The Potluck Club: Trouble's Brewing by Shepherd and Everson

March: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--I don't know if this one really counts though, because it never really made it out of the pile next to my bed and onto the tbr shelf. But it was a book I own, so I guess I can count it.

April: Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty and Thr3e by Ted Dekker (has been on my shelf a very, very long time!)

So I am making progress, albeit quite slowly.
I really want to keep with this for the coming months. I am doing two things to help myself with that:
1. I am cutting back on the amount of reviewing I'm doing. I cannot keep up this pace.
2. All of my books are now on shelves, I am making a point to choose from the shelves.

But books are still coming in at a much faster pace than they are going out, so I need some motivation to keep plugging away at the tbr shelves.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


We have a new bunny here in our house. It's Grace's technically, but it's turning into a family bunny. She lives in the house in her hutch, and we are probably going to litter box train her. She's currently 8 weeks old:

She's a Holland Lop and Grace is now ready to join 4-H and enter her in the fair.

She's got a great personality and is getting along really well with the other animals.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh, a new review!

I forgot I had a new review posted:

Laguna Cove

Not a good reading week

I haven't had a very good reading week. Not sure why, I need to stop myself from having such high expectations of what I'm about to read.

First book I read--

Give it Up by Mary Caromagno. The premise sounds so interesting. She chooses one thing to give up for each month of the year (alcohol, cell phones, tv, eating out, etc) and then writes a chapter about it. Unfortunately for her...she learned absolutely nothing from her experiences. She just went back to the same old, same old after the month was up. And I wasted reading time for this?

The Elevator by Angela Hunt. Decent book. Dont' get me wrong, I actually rated it a B. The message was good, and it did give me a lot to think about. But after her last couple of books (Uncharted, The Novelist, Unspoken) I was expecting so much more from this one.

True Light by Terri Blackstock. The first two books of this series were fascinating and I was gripped while reading them. They made me ponder what I would do if there was no more electricity or mechanical items. Could my family survive? But this one was basically a straight forward mystery with only passing notion to the fact that the world is without power. It wasn't a focal point of the story, which was disappointing.

The Cure by Athol Dickson--Just a confusing story about an alcoholic ex-pastor/missionary who ends up with a cure for alcoholism and the havoc it wreaks on his life. The plot was not told in a very straightforward way, which confused me.

I'm hoping for some better books in the coming days.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I've been tagged

I haven't been doing many reviews except for Romantic Times, so I haven't had any links to post.
Daphne tagged me I'd better get back to blogging a little more often.

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

10. I sang a solo in my 6th grade music program

9. My parents still live in the house I grew up in

8. I am an incredibly great speller, but a horrible typist. My errors are typos, not because I don't know how to spell something.

7. I have been diligent about keeping a journal since I was a young child

6. I have never been able to memorize any piano music, even after playing a song hundreds of times over.

5. I have always loved to eat ice, and I think it's genetic because my kids love to do it too. Even though it's horrible for our teeth.

4. There are four oldest children in our family of five. (Confused? Both hubby and I are oldest. Kimber is oldest from her family, Logan is the oldest born to me)

3. I really dislike gardening and working in the yard.

2. I hate making decisions, especially about where to eat out.

1. I am one of the biggest control freaks I know :)

Ok! Is everyone happy I finally posted something?

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Reviews

Wow, it's been awhile. I have been so buried doing the RT reviews that I rarely have time to write up any others.
Here are my latest though:

The Bounty Hunter and the Bride

Chocolate Beach

Hopefully there will be a few more soon! I have got to learn how to handle all of these different reviewing sites and balance with the magazine. It's difficult, because there are so many books that look so good! I just want to read them all, and it's hard because I just can't.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Long time no see!

It has been awhile, hasn't it?
Life has been busy, both with reviewing, coordinating reviews, and going on a cruise to Mexico :)
It was wonderful and very relaxing.

Here are the latest reviews that have been posted:

A Bigger Life

My Heart's in the Lowlands

Red River (audio book review)

Reading Between the Lines

Hopefully I will have more time to read for both my TBR challenge (which has fallen by the wayside) and for website reviews soon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nothing new

I haven't had any new reviews posted lately. I have a couple to write up, but I have mostly been focusing on my RT books because we're leaving on a cruise in a couple of weeks.

As soon as I get something written, I will surely post!

Friday, January 05, 2007

TBR Challenge

I just completed the first book in my "Cut down the TBR Stacks" challenge. I completed The Bridesmaid by Hailey Abbott, which was the first book on my shelf.

I now must read another review book, Reading Between the Lines by Rick Hamlin.

The next book after that, on to a "B" author, is The Miss America Family by Julianna Baggott

Then I have to start on the April RT books. Sigh. I just finished last month and here's this month knocking at my door.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Year

I cannot believe how quickly time passes. I just wish there was a way to slow things down so I can enjoy them more.

I have had one review posted recently:
The Christmas Bus

My big news is that I have been named Senior Inspirational Reviewer for Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine. I'm thrilled...I am sorry that Bev is going, but excited for a new opportunity for me.

I am currently doing a buddy read (re-read for me) of one of my favorite books:
Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher. It is a comfort read, even though it is massively long. The characters are so endearing and enduring.