Saturday, October 31, 2009

The New Me

Mommy :: drawn by N1
Is it just me or do I look like a character from Peanuts? :) Maybe that's okay since we'll be watching It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown tonight! Whether or not your family trick or treats, celebrates Reformation Day, or ignores the candy altogether, I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday with family!

The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

I've enjoyed the writings of Mike Mason ever since I discovered The Mystery of Marriage while engaged. When I heard that he had written a children's/young adult book, I was eager to see what he would do with it! The Blue Umbrella tells the tale of young Zac who is orphaned after his mother's tragic (and weird!) death. He is sent to live in a small town with his two spinster aunts and that is just the beginning of the strange things that start happening to him!

The start of this book reminded me so much of the Lemony Snicket books. (I've only read the first couple of those). Everything is going wrong. Everything. Even when you think it might not get stranger or worse, it does! However, from what I read, this book is a great option for kids if you are looking for a Lemony Snicket-look-alike from a trusted Christian author.

I would say more about the book - because I was very much enjoying it - but my own tragedy befell me while reading this book ... I left it in the hotel in Memphis when we went to the zoo! *gasp* Imagine my shock and sadness when I got home to finish this and couldn't! :) So, this book will be going back on my list to add to my library for my girls when they get older AND myself so I can see how it ends!! :)

For the official preview, read on. Thanks to David C. Cook for sending me a copy of this one, and I'm sorry I lost it!!


What would happen if all the world’s weather was controlled by one man with a blue umbrella? If your mother had been killed by lightning, would you trust this man? This is the decision facing 10-year-old Zac Sparks in Mike Mason’s new page-turning fantasy novel, The Blue Umbrella (David C Cook, October 2009). Probing the depths of good and evil, the first in Mason’s series for 9 to 12 year olds is a superbly written children’s story with deep spiritual resonance.

When Zac Sparks’ mother dies, he’s sent to live in Five Corners with his cruel old Aunties. It isn’t long before Zac knows something strange is going on. Five Corners is populated with weird characters—a midget butler, a girl who doesn’t speak, a blind balloon seller, and a mysterious singer who is heard but not seen. Then there’s the Aunties’ father, Dada. Zac’s first encounter with Dada is so terrifying he faints dead away.

The one bright spot is Sky Porter, the proprietor of the general store across the street, a friendly soul who encourages Zac—when the Aunties aren’t looking—and shows him a kindness that is sadly lacking from his dismal life. But Sky isn’t what he seems either, and when Zac learns Sky’s amazing secret he realizes, to his dismay, that this wonderful man may have a very dark side as well.

Discovering that Dada is an evil magician who is intent on stealing the ultimate treasure, Zac knows many lives are at stake, including his own. With time running out, he must turn to the one person who might be able to help: Sky Porter. Can Zac trust him?

In the vein of Lewis and Tolkien, Mason has crafted a fantasy that will certainly appeal to fans of Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, Lemony Snicket, and The Chronicles of Narnia. “In this era of climate change, when weather is arguably the most important issue facing the world, a story that dramatizes the human role and responsibility in creating weather is highly relevant and timely,” says Mason. “The Blue Umbrella is permeated with a sense of awe at the power and beauty of weather, and it asks the question: Who is behind all this?”

Author Bio: Mike Mason is the best-selling, award-winning author of The Mystery of Marriage, The Gospel According to Job, Practicing the Presence of People, and many others. He has an M.A. in English and has studied theology at Regent College. He lives in Langley, BC, Canada, with his wife, Karen, a family physician. They have one daughter, Heather, who is pursuing a career in dance and the arts. The Blue Umbrella is Mike’s first novel.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

It is August 1944 and the Gestapo is mercilessly rounding up suspected enemies of the Third Reich. When Joseph Engel, a German physicist working on the atomic bomb, finds that he is actually a Jew, adopted by Christian parents, he must flee for his life to neutral Switzerland. Gabi Mueller is a young Swiss-American woman working for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) close to Nazi Germany. When she is asked to risk her life to safely "courier" Engel out of Germany, the fate of the world rests in her hands. If she can lead him to safety, she can keep the Germans from developing nuclear capabilities. But in a time of traitors and uncertainty, whom can she trust along the way? This fast-paced, suspenseful novel takes readers along treacherous twists and turns during a fascinating--and deadly--time in history.

Give me a good historical fiction novel and you will suck me in every. time. This book (while definitely it's own creation and original work) reminded me so much of the Brock and Bodie Thoene series that came out almost 20 years ago. Full of history yet with well-developed and written characters, this is the kind of book that I want to be able to hand to my teenage girls as we study World War II (after we have done the factual study). Two thumbs up on this one. :)

This book was provided for review by the Litfuse Publicity Group.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

eye of the god by Ariel Allison

A little National Treasure-ish story revolving around the tragic history of the Hope Diamond, woven in with modern day characters.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

eye of the god

Abingdon Press (October 1, 2009)


Ariel Allison


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at

From Ariel:
I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingles meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have
grown to love many others since.


eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's on My Nightstand ::: October '09


There are so many things on my nightstand right now, it's not even funny! (Well, to me ... maybe a little). :) I have been doing a good bit of reading lately and found some new treasures.
  • The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright. These are stories revolving around 4 children: Rush, Mona, Randy & Oliver and of course they get into all sorts of adventures. :) I've read the first book, The Saturdays, and loved it. The Saturdays is about the adventures that the children have on Saturdays - they come up with the idea to pool their allowance money so that they can take turns doing something that they REALLY want to do on their Saturday. One goes to a concert, another goes to a museum, and, of course, adventures happen. These books were written in the early 40's so the children have more freedom (i.e., able to do these things without parental supervision) that children today wouldn't have. Right now, I'm reading The Four-Story Mistake and already enjoying it. These books really are wonderful and I am going to look forward to adding them to my library for my girls.
  • I've also been reading a few of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series (previewing them for possible gift-giving to my niece). I reviewed book one a few weeks ago here, and just finished book 2, The Sea of Monsters. I think these are ones that I am going to recommend passing on. In my Bible study last week (we are studying Isaiah), we read and discussed Isaiah 57:3-4: But you, draw near, sons of the sorceress, offspring of the sdulterer and the loose woman. Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit..." As soon as we started talking about these verses, I thought of this series. Every character in this series, EVERY ONE, is a product of immorality (a Greek god or goddess and a human/mortal). It is just so casually there in the story that it didn't even dawn on me at first. As I mentioned in my review, we will study the Greek gods and their stories as they intertwine with history some day, but to read about them as if they are flesh and blood and how they so casually "stick out their tongue" at the things of the Lord ... I'm not sure that I want to hand those over to my children so casually.
  • So ... :) N1 and I have also been reading Tumtum and Nutmeg as our chapter read-aloud the last few weeks and have loved it! I'll (hopefully) blog this one more as part of Hope is the Word's Read Aloud Thursdays, but safe to say, this would be a great one to pick up for a young reader this Christmas!!
  • Lastly, I am reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kennison. I'm only about two chapters into this non-fiction book, but I have a feeling I will be copying several (many) quotes from this one into my journal. All about simplicity (a theme I always seem to gravitate to), enjoying the ordinary day and choosing to slow down and enjoy it. Not letting these daily moments that I usually take for granted and rush through them without noticing them at all.
For more nightstand posts, head over to Five Minutes for Books!

Previous Nightstands posts, if you still need more ideas of what to read:

The Tween

The Tween

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crockpot Comfort Food ::: Angel Chicken

This is a recent family favorite that I discovered in the Kraft Food & Family Magazine. (By the way, if you are not subscribed to this free magazine, you should be! They have great recipes in there ... did I mention free?) :)

Anyway, being a big fan of the crockpot, I tried this one out and it's a winner.

Angel Chicken

4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened (I've used regular and fat-free, both are fine!)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (regular or fat free is fine here, too)
1/4 cup italian dressing
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used cooking wine)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta, uncooked
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Beat cream cheese, soup, dressing and wine with whisk until blended; pour over chicken in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on High 2-3 hours (or on low 4-5 hours).

Cook pasta as directed on package about 15 minutes before chicken is done; drain. Serve topped with chicken mixture and parsley.

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Memphis Zoo

Several of you asked about our trip to the Memphis Zoo - we loved it! :) Nashville's zoo is a work-in-progress and while it is growing and changing, we enjoyed the different animals that we saw in Memphis! The size was just perfect for a day trip. We were able to walk the whole thing in one day and even BBoo was able to keep up (for the most part.) :)

One thing that I really like about the Memphis Zoo is that they have some of their animal exhibits grouped by region. All the animals that are native to an area are housed together and even the architecture and building reflect that part of the world. The pandas, for example, are housed in a building that reflects Chinese architecture and there are statues and carvings that go along with this. Their new exhibit, Teton Trek, gives the feeling that you have walked right into Yellowstone National Park. This section has grizzly bears, wolves, antelope - all animals found in that part of the country. I especially loved this section as it brought back great memories of our honeymoon at Yellowstone. I can't wait until my girls are old enough to take there!

If you want to see some of the photo highlights from our trip, I've uploaded them to Flickr and they are here. My husband also worked some of his video magic and you can see a short video of some of the things we saw (as well as hear some of the kids' commentary which is pretty funny). This was a great trip for our kids (plus cousin Bubby who tagged along with us) and I will look forward to making a return trip down the road.
MemphisZoo Layout

The first layout of (I'm sure) several from our day-trip to the Memphis Zoo. This is a free digi photoshop template from Shimelle and the font is CK Man's Hand.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

"Wait," I told Chiron. "You're telling me there's such a thing as God."
"Well, now," Chiron said. "God - capital G, God. That's a different matter altogether. We shan't deal with the metaphysical."
"Metaphysical? But you were just talking about-"
"Ah, gods, plural, as in, great beings that control the forces of nature and human endeavors: the immortal gods of Olympus. That's a smaller matter."
"Yes, quite. The gods we discussed in Latin class."
"Zeus," I said. "Hera. Apollo. You mean them."

A few weeks ago when we rented a movie, I saw a preview for the movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightening Thief. I had never heard of the series of books by Rick Riordan and was intrigued enough by the trailer to reserve the first book, The Lightning Thief, at the library. This is my somewhat convoluted review. :)

This book is the story of Percy Jackson ... a kid who is in and out of schools and doesn't really fit in anywhere. Between his dyslexia and penchant for finding trouble, he is branded as a misfit. Little does he know, he is a misfit for a good reason. Through a series of misadventures (some with tragic results), Percy finds himself at Half-Blood Camp - a summer camp for children who are half-bloods. Each has one mortal (or human) parent; their other parent is a Greek god or demi-god (think Zeus, Athena, etc.) You can imagine Percy's shock at finding out that the gods of Olympus weren't just the myths that he learned about it his Latin class ... and that he was related to them!

Once Percy finds this out ... and finds out who his Olympian father is ... he is called to embark upon a dangerous (most likely fatal) quest to find a missing object and settle a quarrel against the gods before war breaks out. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction – Zeus’ master bolt. Along the way, he must face a host of mythological enemies determined to stop him.

This story is very well written - full of adventure and excitement and an incredibly original storyline, in my opinion. If one enjoys the likes of The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Eric Rex books, Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, etc., then these would be right up your alley. The part that I question is how heavy the books are into Greek mythology. Yes, this is fiction. Yes, the gods of ancient Greek are history and part of any classical education. I'm sure this is something that (down the road) N1 and I will spend some time reading about and discussing. However, there is a difference between studying something and rubbing it all over yourself and letting it become part of you, which is sort-of what happens to me when I find myself in a good book.

All that said, this was a really, really good book. I'm going to hold off final judgment a bit and read the second book in the series, but if I was a parent of a 5th/6th/7th grader, I would preread this series before handing it over to my child.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: October 16

Things that make me happy:

- my coffee
- jacket and long sleeve weather
- dried fruit (we have been on a little binge eating dried cherries/berries)
- my purple comfy couch
- a weekend with (practically) empty squares on the calendar
- little noses that are NOT runny anymore (for the time being) :)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Children's Classics ::: Island of the Blue Dolphins


My husband recently bought me a used copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell while we were out one Saturday. He had asked me if I had read it and while I had, it had been a LOOOOOONG time ago. This weekend, we took a quick over-night road trip to the Memphis Zoo and I popped this book in the bag and read it on the way down. I enjoyed this book and was glad to be reminded of it!

Island of the Blue Dolphins tells the story of Karana, a young Indian girl. She is about 12 when the story starts, living with her tribe (and family) on the island. Because of a series of events, her tribe decides to leave the island and start over somewhere else. However, as the ship is sailing away, she sees her brother left behind on the island and she jumps over the side to stay with him. The ship will return for us, she tells him. Unfortunately, he meets with a tragic accident soon after and she is alone on the island for nearly eighteen years!

As I was telling my husband about the story, I was amazed by how resourceful she was for such a "young age." Then I had to remind myself that at 12, in her Indian culture, that wasn't probably so young! She knew how to catch her food, prepare it and store it for the winter. She made weapons (bows & arrows, spears) to catch and clean her fish and to fight off the wild dogs on the island ... one of which later becomes her beloved companion. She builds her own house, makes her own clothes, and all the while watches for the return of the sails and her people returning to get her.

I didn't realize until I read the author's note at the end of the story, that this book was based on true events. There was a young girl who lived alone on an island for 18 years, from approximately 1835-1853! This was a very interesting return to a childhood read and I'm glad to be reminded of it. (My niece will turn 12 this winter and I think she may get a copy of this book!) For more Children's Classics, visit Five Minutes for Books.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10 on the 10th


We have had a week of sickies here (still a couple of us left) so not a lot has been accomplished this week! Well, I take that back ... N1 and I did school. She and I also had her first Girl Scout Daisy meeting, although that involved some scrambling as we were supposed to host it and couldn't because of the germs. We did get out yesterday and run a few errands, unbeknownst to us that girl #3 was coming down with the bug.

All that to say! :) This list is what I would like to try and get done on this cool cloudy Saturday while taking care of my littlest munchkin and blowing my nose every two minutes.

1. Make cinnamon rolls for my girls. Our Saturday morning tradition, whether sick or well.

2. Clean the bathroom. It just needs to be done today!

3. Make a going away card for Mr. Bob. Mr. Bob is an older gentleman who has been part of our church family for many years. He is moving next weekend to a retirement facility in Florida and our church is very sad to see him go. Tomorrow is his last Sunday with us. Mr. Bob and his wife were missionaries for many years in Korea and his knowledge of Scripture is so inspiring and encouraging. We will miss him muchly.

4. Work on my Christmas notebook. Yes, it's time. Every year I debate whether it should be a separate little notebook or something as part of my everyday listy journal that put a hodge-podge of everything else it. Today I will decide and move. forward. :) As a Christmas side-note, I would love to buy this for my nephew for Christmas. How cool is that?! May have to forward that idea to the grandparents...

5. Think happy thoughts. This may sound random, but today a bunch of my friends (including my BFF) are at the Living Proof/Beth Moore conference in Memphis. I realllllllly wanted to go, but because of many reasons I couldn't and I'm a little bummed to be missing it. Especially after a week of sickness, it sounds even more fun.

6. Pack! Why, you ask? Well, as part of N1's birthday (unbeknownest to her) we are taking her, her cousin Bubby, and the girls to the Memphis Zoo very, very soon! (There will be pics next week, I'm sure). I am very excited - the Memphis Zoo has PANDAS! and PENGUINS! and their new exhibit opens this weekend featuring GRIZZLY BEARS!

7. Fold the bulletins. Nothing glamorous here. :) Every Saturday night I fold the bulletins for church on Sunday. One of the perks of being in a small church - we don't outsource these jobs! However, for the most part I don't mind. It's about 30 minutes after the girls go to bed where I can sit and listen to something on my iPod or veg.

8. Plan a time to watch Anne of Green Gables. It's Fall and I'm feeling the need for some time in Avonlea. That movie, Sense and Sensibility, Runaway Bride, and You've Got Mail are my fall movies that I seem to gravitate too this time of year.

9. Celebrate my nephew's birthday. Today is his "friend" party for his birthday - kind of a SpongeBob/Star Wars cross-over theme. Not something we normally pick around here. :)

10. Rest. And with that my list is done. I am going to try and rest a bit today so this cold doesn't beat me and I can enjoy the weekend (and more) with my family.

Hope you all have a great one! If you have any lists of 10 laying around that you are dying to post, head over to Mer's and link up!

The Last Word by Kathy Herman

I was recently sent a copy of The Last Word by Kathy Herman. This is the second book in the Sophie Trace Trilogy. (I reviewed the first book, The Real Enemy, here.)

This book is another good example of well-done Christian mystery/suspense fiction. The main character Brill Jessup is still the police chief of Sophie Trace. This time, however, the threat that has entered the town is looking for her. An old case from her past has return, leaving injured (and worse) officers in its wake. Unfortunately, Brill is unable to focus on fully on the case at hand. At the same time officers are been attacked under her watch, there is an upheaval on the homefront which blindsides both her and her husband.

This is a book where it is obvious that the author is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is played out surprisingly in the last pages of the book. (Not giving away any secrets here). :) I found myself rooting for and sympathizing with the characters.

If you are a fan of authors like Dee Henderson or Terri Blackstock, I heartily the suggest Kathy Herman's Sophie Tracie Trilogy. At least books 1 and 2! I'm glad that there is one more book in this trilogy to look forward to ... I'm enjoying them!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have received no compensation for this review other than a copy of the book to read and review!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Felicities :: October 9


  • Libraries and books on hold waiting for me to pick up
  • memorizing verses with N1
  • that while I now have a stellar head cold, I didn't catch the flue that T & N2 did
  • for full cabinets and cupboards which folks were under the weather
  • the privilege of praying for and with friends, both in person and online
  • fall temperatures (the high tomorrow is 64*!)
  • family movie nights
  • going to bed early-ish and sleeping all through the night

For more felicities, visit Becky!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday :: October 8


It's been a while since I've been able to participate in one of Hope is the Word's Read-Aloud Thursdays. We are home from Bible study this morning with a sick munchkin and that gives me a few extra minutes before needing to start our day. :)

This week our Five in a Row book has been The Glorious Flight. This is the story of Papa Bleriot who is the first man to pilot a plane over the English Channel. The story follows his dream of building an airplane after seeing one fly over the town of Cambrai where he lived with his wife and five children. The shows several of his works-in-progress: the airplane known as Bleriot I flapped like a chicken and wasn't big enough to hold anything but the family cat. (And she didn't want to go for a ride). :) Bleriot IV would only travel in beautiful circles. However, Bleriot VII can really fly!

While this book is probably not something that I would have initially picked up on my own at the library, N1 and I have enjoyed the story and have talked about Papa Bleriot's perserverance in learning to fly, even though it wasn't easy. A reminder that even I need on occasion. (Okay, a lot of the time). :)

For our chapter book, we are engrossed in Tumtum & Nutmeg, a book recommended to me by Sarah at In the Midst of It. I'll wait and hopefully review it another week, but so far it is wonderful! N1 and I fit in another chapter last night after she got home from Awana and had to cut ourselves off so she could get to bed. I'll keep you posted. :)

For more Read-Aloud Thursday, visit Hope is the Word!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling

When this book appeared on my review list, I jumped at the chance. I have long been a fan of Snelling's North Dakota series of books, and this is the first installment of a new series featuring the same characters. In this book, Astrid struggles with knowing what God would have her do ... go to Chicago for more medical training or stay home? Go to Africa and serve on the mission field or return home? She also wrestles through questions she has about her faith, wondering why some of her patients still die, even when she has prayed and prayed over them?
If you like historical fiction, these books set it North Dakota are excellent! I have enjoyed every single one of them and am thrilled to add another to my shelf.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Measure of Mercy

Bethany House (October 1, 2009)


Lauraine Snelling


Eighteen-year-old Astrid Bjorklund has always dreamed of becoming a doctor. She had intended to study medicine in Chicago or Grand Forks, but when a disaster wiped out a major portion of her family's income, Astrid stayed home instead, receiving hands-on training from Dr. Elizabeth.

Joshua Landsverk left Blessing two years ago, but he's never forgotten Astrid. Returning to town, he seeks to court her.

Astrid is attracted to him, and when the opportunity unexpectedly opens for her to go to Chicago for medical training, she finds it difficult to leave. Love blossoms through their letters, but upon arriving back home, she makes a heartbreaking discovery. She learns he's left town--again. Believing Joshua no longer loves her, Astrid makes an impetuous, heart-wrenching decision.

Will she regret the choice she's made? Will she have to give up love to pursue her dream?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Measure of Mercy, go HERE

Monday, October 05, 2009

This Weekend

This picture about sums up our weekend.

Lots of time running errands with Daddy. (Which is WAY more fun that errands with Mommy).
Church Fall Festival.
Face painting.
Three helpings of cotton candy.
More birthday.
Exhausted sugar induced slumber.
Sunday church.
More birthday with grandparents, aunt/uncle, cousins.
A family run in the van to take trash to the dump, in the rain.
A couple errands. One to Toys R Us with a birthday gift card.
And, again, the sweet sugar induced slumber that marks a happy childhood.

It's been a good weekend. I even managed to get a couple unheard of hours on our back deck, 70* degree weather, with a diet coke and good book before the Fall Festival while the little girls were napping and N1 was with her Daddy.

Today, it's back to our regular routine with the addition of some unpleasant dentistry this afternoon (part 1 of some crown work for me). On the plus side, we are having dinner with my friend and her family (she's keeping the girls while I'm at the dentist) and we're pooling our resources to feed everyone. That will definitely have this day ending on a high note. :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: October 2


This week's Friday Felicities is focused on my biggest girlie - N1 - as we prepared to celebrate her 6th birthday this weekend! These are things about her that make me happy. :)

  • thankful for the gift of N1 herself
  • her love for writing stories
  • her amazing smile when it is in full bloom
  • her unbridled enthusiasm and loyalty to those she loves
  • how much she LOVES to read and have her nose stuck in a book
  • the way her blanket has to be just so at night
  • that it doesn't take much to make her happy - some chicken nuggets and ketchup, a few doritos. She's not hard to please. :)
  • she is a great big sister

For more Friday Felicities, visit Becky!

    Thursday, October 01, 2009

    The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren (with giveaway)

    I have one copy of this book to give away! Please a comment on this post (and make sure I have a way to contact you) and I will draw a winner next Wednesday! Also, if you have not entered on this post to win a copy of Daily Readings from the Life of Christ by John MacArthur, you have until Saturday!

    This was a fun book to read! Christmas becomes a little crazy for the Wallace family this year as Marianne plans the best Christmas ever. She doesn't realize that stepping up to chair the women's Christmas tea at church and her son's team's run for state football champtionship are going to throw a little kink in her plans. As her plans begin to fall apart, she is able to she that it is His plans that will ultimately come together and be the perfect one.

    About The Great Christmas Bowl:
    Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship. Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot-the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea. When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come home for Christmas.As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?

    About Susan:
    Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:

    The Great Christmas Bowl website: website features a note from the author, fun updates from Big Lake Gazette, info on how to host your own Great Christmas Bowl Tea to benefit a local ministry or charity and a fun Recipe Exchange contest!

    CONTEST: Be a part of the Great Christmas Bowl recipe exchange! Susan loves getting recipes from friends, and sharing the delicious cookies, soups, breads and other fun fixings that go with celebrating the Christmas season. More than that, she loves the crazy stories about favorite Christmases – serious, touching, funny…whatever. Find the recipe contest here: Will you share your story and recipe with Susan and the readers of the Great Christmas Bowl? She will post your story and recipe on the FRONT PAGE of the Great Christmas Bowl website, and send you a link when it goes up so you can tell all your friends. Then, at the Great Christmas Bowl party (December 5th, 10am, online! Details TBA) she’ll make the entire cookbook available for download!For every recipe/story you submit (up to 3), you will be entered in a drawing to receive one of SMW’s collections (Noble Legacy, Team Hope, Heirs of Anton, Deep Haven Series, Josey series, or THE ADVANCED COPY of Sons of Thunder – Susie’s brand new epic World War 2 novel, due out in January 2010!)