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Monday, December 29, 2014

Strong is the New Skinny

9780804140515 

STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY
How To Eat, Live, and Move To Maximize Your Power
by Jennifer Cohen and Stacey Colino

My Thoughts on This Book:

For 2015 my Word for the Year is "STRENGTH". When I got the opportunity to read this book I was excited. For most of my life, my focus has been weight. When I was a child, I was skinny. It was when I had kids starting at age 20 did my weight become a yo yo. Three kids later over a 7 year time span my body has been through it all. Over all this time, I spent focusing on the number on the scale. Which leads me to this past year getting disappointed when the scale told me I weighed 10 pounds higher after losing 35 lbs back in 2011/12. I was depressed. 

Then I saw this book.. Focusing on my strength to help me reach my physical goals.. Starting at the first chapter, this book helped motivate me to work towards strength. Even though I've been working on fitness for years, this book opened my eyes to areas that I may have neglected. The biggest thing.. your mind.. If your mind isn't in the game, your body won't be either.. 

You will get the tools necessary to succeed. Starting off with finding out your current fitness level to then set goals for your future health. You will then work on focusing on your diet. They say 20% of your success is in the gym and 80% is your diet. Very true. This book will show you how to change your eating for the better so you will be strong on the inside and the outside.

The book then finishes up by giving you a workout plan that anyone could do. From beginner's to intermediate. With written instructions and a photo to help you reach your fitness goals.

I highly recommend getting a copy of this book so you too can be strong for 2015..

About The Book:

LEANER, STRONGER, FITTER…FASTER
Sick and tired of hearing what’s wrong with you and your body?  You’re not alone.  It’s time for a new conversation—and a new plan for treating, feeding, and moving your body in ways that build on your strengths inside and out. Strong is sexy. Strong is powerful. Strong is achievable. 
With STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY you can say goodbye to body-bashing and physical faultfinding, and instead learn to embrace, not just how it looks, but what your body can do—from pushups to pull ups and box jumps to rope climbs, nothing is out of your reach.  Strong Is the New Skinny offers a reality-based diet, lifestyle, and fitness program (the “SINS” plan, for short) so you can: 

   • Maximize your potential, as well as your energy, vitality, and power.
   • Train your brain—develop resilience and mental fortitude in every area of your life.
   • Add muscle, increase speed, and enhance flexibility.
   • Strengthen your arms, back, core, and legs—and crank up the challenge when you’re ready for the next level.
   • Torch fat with Strong Moves:  a series of heart-healthy H.I.I.T. workouts that take as little as 10 minutes.
   • Kick-start your Get-Fit, Get-Fierce plan with the Strong Seven—7 days of 7 power foods.

Whether you’re just getting started or training for a challenging physical event, this book gives you all the tools you need to become leaner, fitter, and stronger: nutritionally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
GO HARD OR GO HOME…
 
I received an e-book copy of this title for free in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given..

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

One Word 2015

It's that time of year again. The time to choose my one word that I will focus on for the next year.. 2015. 

I've been living by the One Word approach since 2011 when my first word was Simplify. 2012 was Balance, and 2013 was Renew. Now hitting my fifth year, I really feel these words each year have truly helped form the person I am today.

One Word 2015


For 2015 my chosen word is STRENGTH.

I chose this word for several reasons. Physical and Mental. I've struggled since puberty with a self image issue. I've never liked myself physically and even though I was never overweight as a child, I never felt like I was good enough. After having three children and yo yo of weight off and on because of it, that self image problem just got worse in my head. Always worrying about what the scale said and basing my mood for the day on if it was a good number verses a bad one.

Too many years I've wasted worrying about my weight so this year my focus will be on my Strength. How far can I go physically to be stronger this year. Not worrying about how much my body weighs but how much I can lift, how far I can run, how long can I exercise to name a few. 

I'm also focusing on the strength of my will power. My strength as a mother. My strength as a wife. My emotional and spiritual strength. My strength to keep fighting for healthy food to eat, and the strength to train my children to be all they can be in their lives while having the strength to be there for all my family.

I look forward to seeing this word in action in my life this coming year.

Do you have a ONE WORD that helps you each year? I'd love to hear it.. Thanks for stopping by..

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Blog Goals

December is flying by. I can't believe we are almost mid month with Christmas just 14 days away. I haven't posted much over the past month because I'm trying to figure out where I want to go with the content of my blog for the future. Since my life has changed over the past year and isn't much the same as it was years ago when I started blogging, I find myself wanting to simplify my blog more and focus on key areas to write about.

In the new year, my main focuses are going to be on Health, Fitness, Organization and D.I.Y projects.

So what does this mean for the future of the blog as a reader?

Topics about Health:

Health meaning, unprocessed, real food, such as recipes, health tips, make from scratch ideas that will improve health. Articles that will help show the importance of eating healthy.

Topics about Fitness:

Fitness meaning, workout challenges, workouts that work and I've tried, fitness tips that work, my fitness journey,

Topics about Organization:

I think I'm a little obsessed with organization. Ever since I organized my home I can't live without  everything having a place. I look forward to adding ideas, projects and ways you too can get organized in your life

Topics about D.I.Y Projects:

I love doing things myself if I can. This not only saves money but improves my mind and helps me learn new things. This topic can mean anything from cake decorating tips, ideas, & photos, to household projects, crafting, you name it.

Topics I Will Write On But Not Frequently:

Right now my passion is to write about the topics I've listed above. Things that I've written about in the past were about my children and them growing up. Now that my season of raising kids is coming to an end in a few short year, having one adult and one a couple years from adulthood and the last entering his teen years this month, I feel like I'm ready to embark on more than momhood  and share my passions with others outside parenting. I will write about parenting teens when/if I find something interesting but this topic won't be something that I will write about often.

This year I'm come to realize that the love of literature has gone down. I'm not overjoyed like I was in years past about sitting down to read mainly due to my other hobbies taking up my free time. That doesn't mean I still won't find a great book to sit down and read, it just means it might take me a little longer to finish it. With that said, I will still continue to review Christian Fiction and Non Fiction books on occasion, but not like I did in the past.

Even though I'm a homeschool mother, I'm no longer going to post about our homeschooling adventures. Since I have just one more kid at home, schooling, one in public school and one adult, I feel this isn't an area that I really want to write about anymore. We are not using any spectacular curriculum and have let up on the hands on projects now that my youngest is in 7th grade.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you all will stick around for the new blog content I'm looking forward to sharing with you in the New Year. If you are new to the blog, I hope the content I discussed here today is something that interests you and you would like to follow me.. I'd love to have you stop by.. 

Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy 2015.. See you in the New Year....

Monday, November 24, 2014

Swept Away-Quilts of Love Series Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Swept Away
Abingdon Press (November 18, 2014)
by
Laura V. Hilton
and
Cindy Loven


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award winning author Laura V. Hilton has penned many novels, including the Amish of Seymour series, the Amish of Webster County series, and the forthcoming Amish of Jamesport series. A member of ACFW, Laura is also a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. A pastor’s wife, stay-at-home mom, and home school teacher, Laura and her family make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

A lifelong reader, Cindy Loven is an active church wife of a minister and mother to one son who is a home school graduate. Cindy and her family reside in Conway, Arkansas.




My Thoughts On This Book:

Sara Jane finds out that her grandmother hires a 'mountain man' to help fix her house up. Trying to find reasons why he shouldn't be around, she ends up getting to know the new Mr. Fix It, Drew. Even though sparks fly between the two, Drew doesn't want to get involved because of his past. Sara decides to get to know him the only way she can, threw his hiking journals that he posted online. 

While she reads about Drew's past, grandma is trying to bring them together. Sara Jane starts to wonder if something is wrong with her grandmother as she begins to forget things and not making any sense. Can she understand and accept what's going on with Drew and her grandmother or can she find a way to love them both?



ABOUT THE BOOK


Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter.

Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hunting Encounters More Than You Think

Hubby took the first week of November off so we could go out each day to hunt. With our hunting tags this year we could get white tail does or bucks and mule deer bucks. We were excited to broaden our reach because last year white tail was forbidden when a large population of them died due to a midge infestation.

The first days out, we saw bucks and deer galore, and had some opportunities to harvest a couple but conditions weren't ideal so we waited. We decided to find a really nice piece of state land about an hour northwest of where we live and explored it for a couple days. The first day we got there we saw a lot of white tails so knew it could be possible to find one to bring home so we kept scouting. 

After a day of scouting we ran out of light so we came back the next day and found another area in the state land. We saw them bright and early but were too late before they ran into the very thick brush on the edge of the field. We decided to come back that afternoon and set up where we saw them enter the brush, hoping they would re-emerge. After sitting quietly in a large section of sage brush, the light was waning and I thought it was getting too dark. I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to stand up where I was so I did. I looked in my binoculars around the area to see if deer were nearby so I wouldn't scare them. This took seconds... I then put the binoculars down to turn to my left, and about 50 yards away a small doe stood there and was staring at me. She looked at me, I looked at her and then seconds later two more does tried to emerge from the brush behind her, urging her to move into the field where I was because they didn't see me, she pivoted on her heels and took the two with her back into the brush.

I was so upset with myself because the buck was with them as he was that morning and I could of just waited two more minutes and they would of came out and I had a clear close up shot of them. After a minute to think on it, I decided to crouch down again to see if maybe the buck would come out since only one deer saw me. About 2 minutes after I lied back down, I heard three grunts coming from the brush to the left of me.

My first instinct was "That sounds just like a bear".. So I got up grabbed my gun, and binoculars and headed back to the truck to meet up with my hubby. He was waiting for me just around the brush area. I told him about my encounter and he thought it might be a buck letting me know he was there so I went back half way and crouched down next to the brush to get a good view of the field. A couple minutes later I heard heavy foot prints in the brush to my left. I couldn't see anything but heard twigs cracking and leaves rustling. I told myself.. I'm done! I don't know what that is, and don't want to find out..

We decided to call it a day and come back before sunrise and see if we could see the deer before they headed into the brush for their afternoon nap. As I settled into the same spot I was in that morning, a truck kept driving past me on the road nearby. After three passes I was getting irritated because I thought he was trying to disturb my hunt. After the third pass, he rolled his window down and got my attention.

He began explaining that a grizzly bear was found in this area two days ago and that just this morning was spotted wandering around in the brush.. After I was done talking to the local land owner, I high tailed it out of there and said I'm done! What I heard the evening before was exactly what I thought it was... A BEAR.. I thought it was probably a black bear though not a grizzly so I was a bit disturbed when I heard it was a grizzly.. A very scary encounter that put me on edge the rest of the week.

The next day hubby wanted to try some Forestry land where a friend told us white tailed does are. This area is also grizzly country so I didn't want to get out of the car after my encounter. Luckily we didn't get very far until hubby and I spotted three does and he was able to get a clean shot of one of them.

While my hubby took care of the deer I stood over him, one hand holding my gun the other bear spray because I didn't know if there was any nearby and some grizzlies know when they hear gun shots that there will be a gut pile to snack on.. We rushed and drug the deer out as quickly as we could.. WOW! This was a stressful hunting week for sure. I still have my tag left and hopefully I'll decide to go back out and try to fill it before hunting season is up on November 30th. 

It's so cold here after a snow and cold weather system moved in on Monday and gave us 3 inches of snow and negative temps to add to it. It doesn't look like the cold weather will be leaving us for at least another week so not sure if I'm ready to embark the cold to find a deer. We'll see!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An October Bride by Katie Ganshert

 

An October Bride
by Katie Ganshert

A Year of Weddings Novella

About This Book:

She wants to make her father's dream come true. She doesn't realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.

Emma Tate isn't a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they're getting married-so Emma's dying father can walk her down the aisle.

While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications-the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father's dreams with her own dreams for love and for her future.

My Thoughts on This Book:

Emma finds out that her father is dying. She feels hopeless to help him until she finds out that she can fulfill a wish he wrote down in a bucket list. To walk her down the aisle. The problem is, she told her ex-fiance' goodbye two years earlier after her father was diagnosed with cancer. So what does she do? Her long time friend Jake comes to the rescue to be the stand in 'fake' groom.

After convincing the entire small town that the wedding of the year is happening and real, preparations are put in place. But can they both go through with it for her father? Will real emotions become a factor? Will true love become the real reason or will the wedding be called off? Read this book to find out.. Excellent read.. This series gets better and better each book I read.. Loved it!

 About The Author:


Katie Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband, their young son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she's not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption. Visit her website at katieganshert.com.

I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A September Bride by Kathryn Springer

 

A September Bride
by Kathryn Springer

A Year of Weddings Novella

About This Book:

 
Annie's always wanted a home and a family. But will pretending to be a bride get her closer to her dreams?
All Annie Price has ever wanted is a place to call home. Growing up in the foster care system, that dream seemed far away, but now Annie's dream may be coming true. A friend she met in an online book group wants to retire and has offered Annie a fresh start managing her little bookstore. Believing the opportunity is an answer to prayer, Annie packs her suitcase and moves to Red Leaf, Wisconsin.

The residents of Red Leaf welcome Annie into the fold . . . everyone except the bookstore owner's son, Jesse Kent. But Annie refuses to let the handsome deputy keep her from embracing her new home with open arms. She even volunteers to help the local historical society refurbish an old church and agrees to be the "bride" for a special reenactment celebrating the museum's open house.

Jesse Kent can't believe his mother has handed the keys to her business over to a woman she met on the Internet. Annie's beautiful, of course, and smart as a whip, but what do they really know about her, anyway? What if she's come to their town just for his mother's money? The only way to see if his suspicions about Annie Price are true is to keep a close eye on her-even if it means he has to marry her! Planning their mock wedding will give him the chance to uncover Annie's motive for moving to town. But as the day of the wedding approaches and secrets come to light, Jesse must face the truth. He wants Annie to be his September bride . . . for real.

My Thoughts on This Book:

Another great book in the Year of Weddings Series. They just seem to be getter better and better each month. If you've been following this series then you will definitely want to read this one. You will learn about Annie. A newcomer to the small town of Red Leaf. Trying to make a new start as a bookstore manager, she decides to get involved with the community by joining the historical society. After helping restore the church, the community wants to re-enact the marriage of two historical people from the town's past. Annie volunteers but didn't realize that hunky Jesse, her bosses son, will be playing the groom. 

Sparks fly and memories come flooding from the past. Can they both put the past in the past and make a future together? Read this awesome e-book to find out!!

I received this electronic e-book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Mom's Prayers for Her Son

Cover Art 

A Mom's Prayers for Her Son
by Rob & Joanna Teigen

About This Book:

 From the moment your little boy was born, you knew you were going to be doing a lot of praying. So you may wonder, What exactly should I be praying for?

Now the authors of A Dad's Prayers for His Daughter show you how to pray for every area of your son's life. Rob and Joanna Teigen give you a strong foundation to build a lifelong habit of prayer for your son with a collection of specific prayers you can use to get started right now. With engaging stories from well-known authors such as Kathi Lipp, Pam Farrel, Lisa Samra, and others, you'll learn how to pray for your son's development of character, courage, self-control, forgiveness, and more.

Remember: you may not always understand your son, but God does! Start asking for his guidance, protection, and blessings today.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This book is a fantastic resource to help you pray for your son or son's. You have an option to read it cover to cover or pick a topic using the convenient table of contents to pray a specific area in your son's life. As a mother of two boys, now both teenagers I feel the importance more than ever to be praying for each of them. This book helps me tackle some issues and areas that may be heavy on my son's mind that I may overlook as a Mom or woman. 

Some topics that I found helpful include: 
Standing up for what is right
When he's afraid or angry
When he's looking for God
When he's going through a storm
When he's proud
When he needs to honor his parents
When he's stressed or rejected
When he's discontent

This book tackles 77 areas where we can pray daily for our son's. With categories of:

His Blessings
A Mom's Story
His Relationship with God
His Failures
His Purity
His Relationship with his Mom

Each topic starts off with scripture that pertains to the area in which we will be praying over our son, and then a prayer for us to pray out loud to God.

I will be keeping this book handy and using it when certain topics come along for one or both of my son's where they need a specific prayer.. I highly recommend this book for those who seem to not find the words to pray for our son's. A great resource to help you in your journey to pray for our son's regularly and to also build a better relationship with God for ourselves alongside our children.

About the Author:

Rob and Joanna Teigen are the authors of 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates and A Dad's Prayers for His Daughter. Rob is also the author of several joke books, including Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids (under the pseudonym Rob Elliott). The Teigens are the parents of a son in college, a son in preschool, and three beautiful daughters in between and live in West Michigan.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

An August Bride by Debra Clopton

 

An August Bride
by Debra Clopton

About This Book:


Kelsey vowed never to love a cowboy again. But then she meets Brent.

After a cowboy broke her heart, Kelsey Wilcox traded in her boots for flip-flops and a bistro on the beautiful sandy beach of Corpus Christi. Two years later, still not believing in happy endings, she is about to endure a weekend of torture at her cousin's beach wedding. Not only will she be forced to watch yet another wedding, but her great-aunt and her two best friends-aptly nicknamed "the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow"-are coming to the wedding, and Kelsey is sure to be on their radar.

Brent Corbin has had his share of bad luck with women and isn't looking for love or looking forward to the weekend of wedding festivities as a groomsman for his friend. When he sees a commotion on the beach and what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he doesn't hesitate to dive to the rescue. His attention is instantly captured by the woman he's saved and it turns out they're part of the same wedding party. But the instant Kelsey spots his soaking wet boots she wants no part of him.

Thrown together through the weekend and with the meddlesome encouragement from the matchmakers, Brent is determined to pursue Kelsey and change her mind about cowboys. Sparks fly at this August wedding as Kelsey and Brent dance a rocky Texas two-step toward a beach wedding of their own.


My Thoughts on This Book:

I've truly loved reading each of the Year of Brides series. This book takes place in the month of August, as Kelsey heads to her cousins wedding to celebrate with her as part of the wedding party. When she gets sucked into the ocean and then rescued by a hunky cowboy her world turns upside down. After vowing to never fall in love with a cowboy after being left at the alter by one two years earlier, she goes to great lengths to distance herself from Brent to keep her feelings under control. 

This book was a treat to read. The storyline did move quickly which I believe has a lot to do with it being a novella, but I did find the romance part a bit quick for me since I love to read more realistic storylines.. Other than that I loved the whole overall story and the two main characters.. A great read for sure..

I received this ebook novella free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chocolate Cage Birthday Cake w/ Tutorial

Tomorrow, which is Halloween, and my daughter's 20th birthday. I wanted to make a special cake for her as she hits this wonderful milestone in her life. Leaving the teen years behind her and embarking on the next season of her life..

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I made her this pink chocolate cage cake.. I've been hearing about this technique for awhile now and never thought I'd be interested in adding it to any of my cakes I've made. I almost decided to order a cake for my daughter's birthday thinking I was going to be knee deep into hunting season but I saw a cake photo online with this technique and knew I wanted to do this. It's simple.. a lot simpler than frosting techniques so I was game..

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I started out by making a pink camo cake and frosted it with milk chocolate frosting as you can see above. (when I make cakes, the cake itself usually matches the theme of the outside) I smoothed out the frosting to form a clean edge.

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After I frosted the cake, I placed it in the refrigerator to harden the frosting a bit and get it nice and cold. I then gathered the necessary supplies to make the chocolate cage. I rolled out parchment paper and measured it to the width of each of my layered cakes. I then took a ruler and measured the height of each layered cake and drew a line across the parchment paper to form the top of where I wanted the chocolate to go. I decided one inch higher than the cake top to form a nice border around the edges since I knew I wasn't going to add anymore frosting.

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I also purchased some sprinkles and pearls for some added BLING which I sprinkled on once the cake was put together and added the pearl candies to the edging around the top layer....

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Candy Melts.. This is what I used to make the chocolate cage. The cake photos I saw online and on Pinterest used semi sweet chocolate but I knew I didn't want the cage to be brown since I was frosting the cake with chocolate frosting.

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After I formed the line and made the parchment paper the right size I melted the chocolate according to package instructions and placed it into a Wilton frosting bag. I cut the tip off to form a small hole and went to town making circular designs making sure not to make them too thin and to overlap to cause the cage to assemble together.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE:
If you are using Candy Melts like I did.. Be advised. This stuff hardens quickly!! I thought I had time to make both layers since one bag of candy melts was more than enough to make both cages. By the time I got back to the first chocolate cage to place it on the cake it was already hardening... fast... So I would advise to do one layer at a time and then place the frosting bag with the candy melts back in the microwave for 20 seconds on 50% to remelt it.

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Then very carefully wrap it around the cake. DO NOT MOVE IT! Line it up where you want it before placing it against the frosting. It will break if you try to shift it. The paper as you can see above literally comes right off and I had no issue with the chocolate sticking to it when I removed it.

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Here you can see it all put together on the cake layers...

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I decided to add a little extra to the cake. On a separate sheet of parchment paper, I wrote a 2.. and a 0... let it harden, then I flipped it over and retraced it so it was whole on both sides. I also added a couple little candy designs to go next to the numbers on the top. All made from the candy melts. I added a row of the pearl candies around the top layer and the cake is done..

This was a fairly simple cake to make and it looks like you spent a ton of time making it.. I'm sure you will get some nice compliments when making this.. I can't wait now to show it to my daughter for her birthday tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Quilted by Christmas
Abingdon Press (October 21, 2014)
by
Jodie Bailey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A note from the Author: Well, I’m a regular ol’ person. Who just happens to write. A lot. Probably more than I should. I firmly believe that God created me to be a writer. From the time I learned how to string letters together into words I’ve been making up stories. Believe me… I have a very rich imagination. I used to think I was weird; now I know God just put me together that way. I can’t even watch commercials without expanding them into stories in my head. I am humbled and honored all at the same time that God looked down from heaven on me and said, “Jodie, do what you love.” Wow… how awesome is that?


I have always loved to write. I have stories that I wrote when I was in first grade. I used to sit at my grandmother’s yellow electric typewriter for hours, banging out my own little stories. When I was eleven, she bought me a typewriter of my own (It was 1984, okay?) and I would write and write on it. I wrote stories out by hand, and they ran to hundreds of pages. I got my first computer when I was eighteen, and the first thing I did was write a story on it. I wrote for school. I wrote for fun. I wrote for my friends. I’d get them on the phone and make up stories for them. (I earned the nickname “Dreamweaver” for that one. Nobody calls me that anymore, but it still stands as the coolest nickname I ever had.)


My Thoughts on This Book:

WOW! Another fantastic Quilts of Love story.. Each one gets better and better. I just love how each author implements the use of a quilt. Pulling the story together one thread at a time. This story takes us to a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, just before Christmas. Taryn, a high school history teacher, is living life the way she feels was meant to be. Alone. After making a mess of her relationship with Justin, her high school sweet heart 12 years earlier, she feels her life is doomed to be lived alone. 

All she has is her wonderful grandmother, Jemma. After Jemma takes a tumble and lands in the hospital, Taryn has to pick up the pieces where her grandmother left off to put together a quilt for her cousin before she ties the knot with her fiance'. As the quilt pieces are put together, Taryn's life feels like it's coming unwound as her ex-boyfriend comes home and turns her life upside down.

Can Justin and Taryn, mend their relationship and put their pasts behind them to have a future together? You will want to know once you pick up the book. I couldn't put it down until the last page. Read it in one day it was that good! Can't wait to see what the next book is about in this Quilts of Love series...


ABOUT THE BOOK

Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Quilted by Christmas, go HERE.

I have received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears

Cover Art 

A Bride in Store 
by Melissa Jagears

About the Book:

 Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.

Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store--where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he ever will be.

The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams--or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

My Thoughts on This Book:

Loved how this picked up from her first book "A Bride for Keeps" but allowed it to stand on it's own. You were introduced to Eliza, her desire to own her own store after spending her childhood alongside her father and then managing her father's store when grown. After her father dies and leaves the store to her brother, Eliza needs to find a better life for herself. When she finds Axel, a bachelor in Kansas, who owns his own Men's Emporium, Eliza sees this as an answered prayer.

After arriving early and losing all her money, she meets Will, Axel's friend and business partner. Sparks fly between the two but kept at bay as she prepares to marry her groom as his mail order bride. Things go wrong and her life turns upside down. Can Eliza pick up the pieces and change course to better her life and find true love?

Fantastic read. You won't want to put it down until the end!

About the Author:
 
Melissa Jagears

Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. A Bride for Keeps is her first novel. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Something New.. Something to Think On..

Turning 40 has shed a new light on my life. I've had so many things in the past that have defined who I am and I've held onto for many years because it was who I was. When I had my 40th birthday back in August, I started to re-evaluate my life. Hobbies, likes, dislikes, journey's, goals, dreams...

I made a huge revelation with my card crafting hobby back in September and liquidated all of my stuff. It felt great to set that part of my past free. All my supplies are gone now. In it's place is a brand new D.S.L.R camera so I can work more on my photography hobby. 

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That's not all my card crafting hobby gave me.. I also received a new double oven and a new dishwasher to help with my ever growing passion for cooking/baking..

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Isn't it beautiful! I've lived in my home over 7 years now and have been battling an oven that wouldn't keep the correct temperature. When I purchased this one, I fell in love. I now have two extra burners on top and a double oven so I can cook different temps at the same time or use both to double and even triple my batches and get more done in a smaller amount of time..

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My dishwasher was on the fritz. Some of the buttons didn't even work and the racks were falling apart. This was a dream come true as well to purchase this alongside the oven. It's so quiet and I can even set it up to run in the middle of the night if I want to. I'm officially spoiled!

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I was also able to purchase three more items. Two more to help in the kitchen and one to help with my fitness goals. I needed a new food processor since mine was well loved. Now that we are a full blown hunting family and have processed our own meat each deer season, we were in need of a good food saver so we can keep our meat fresh in our freezer.

Now that I've laid this 'defining thing' to bed, I'm able to really see who I am now and not who I was 17 years ago when I picked up the hobby. A lot has changed in the years of my marriage. It's nice to sit down once in awhile and look back on yourself and see if you are still on the correct path for your life.

God has blessed me in the ability to cook/bake and I'm loving that. He's given me the talents to make my own cakes for my family and love doing that too. He has also blessed me with the eye of photography and find passion to continue to pursue these gifts/talents. 

I also have some new loves that have come to light over the past few years. Hunting, fitness, health, and eating right. I have a passion for all of these and look forward to working on building them up in my life.

I'm now coming to blogging. Why am I blogging? What am I getting out of blogging? I've been blogging since 2005. I started blogging to find an outlet from being a stay at home mother, homeschooling two young boys and I was alone. Of course, I had my wonderful husband but the days were long and lonely when he was at work and I was home taking care of two young boys and also worrying a lot over my daughter and my very tasking court custody with my ex husband.. 

Life has surely changed with this situation as well. My daughter will be 20 on Halloween, and my two boys are no longer little.. My oldest son is now 15 and my youngest will be turning 13 in December. When I started blogging for an outlet, my life was different then. It has changed a lot over the years. At one point I was blogging to share my homeschooling experiences but my family dynamic has changed there as well, with one child in college now, the other in public school and homeschooling only one now. Not much to talk about there anymore.

I also loved to review books and share my findings on my blog. I still do that but I've cut back dramatically because my passion to read all the time has changed as well. I find using my time in different ways more satisfying than a book on the couch. I do love to read now but I'm limiting my selections and picking my books more carefully.

So with that, I'm re-evaluating the reasons behind my blog. What I want to get out of it and where do I want to take it. So with that, I'm going to be thinking about the direction I would like to see my blog go. More personal posts, more informational posts, etc..

What are your thoughts on what you'd like to see in my blog? Sometimes I wonder if anyone is really reading my posts. I've had my blog for years and only very few ever leave comments... Am I leaving an impact in the cyber world? Should I continue or let it go? That's the question!!

We will see here soon as I look over my options and see where God wants to take me and my blog..

A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Love Undone
WaterBrook Press (September 9, 2014)
by
Cindy Woodsmall



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written fifteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.


She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

(Since that last line sounds sad and bare, I thought I’d add an “epilogue” of sorts. Our two oldest sons are married and live only a couple of miles from my empty nest, and below are my three adorable grandchildren! ♥)


ABOUT THE BOOK

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.

A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.

How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?



At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.


As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Love Undone, go HERE.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

October Unprocessed Begins Soon...

October Unprocessed 2014


Last year I took the October Unprocessed Challenge. We've been eating mostly unprocessed for a few years now but sometimes things go awry and the nasty food slips back into your life even if it's a little bit. Last year that's what happened. So taking the challenge helped me reset my eating habits and my shopping list.

I'm taking the October Unprocessed Challenge again this year. Mainly for the same reasons as last year but also for some new ones. It's been a hectic year with remodeling a couple rooms and selling off 17 years of hobby supplies that I let some unhealthy food into our home. I've then corrected that by taking it back out. 

I want to use this month to try new wholesome recipes, along with some new foods. I've gotten myself in a dinner food rut. I've found about a dozen recipes I keep switching around and my palette is getting real bored of these meals. So I would like to use this month to introduce more unprocessed options, help kick the sugar habit that I have, and hopefully shed some more weight.

I would like to post over the next month some new recipes that I've tried and love as well as some canning recipes that I've been working on over the Summer. 

Are you interested in taking the October Unprocessed Challenge? It's never to late to get involved. It's official start date is October 1st.. Check out the website HERE and take the challenge with me..

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Carroll- Quilts of Love Series

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hidden in the Stars
Abingdon Press (September 16, 2014)
by
Robin Caroll




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.


When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

My Thoughts on This Book:
Are you looking for a little suspense with a dash of romance to read for your next book adventure? Look no further. This book grabbed me from the first page. After being attacked by two men that Sophia doesn't know, but her mother did, she is in the hospital trying to put the pieces of the event in order to help the detectives. When finding out that the attack took the life of her mother, she starts to unravel memories of her past and things her mother said to her. Finding out her grandmother is alive after her mother said she died when Sophia was younger, the mysteries of her mother start to unfold. This is one of my favorites in the Quilts of Love Series.. Loved it!


ABOUT THE BOOK


Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.


Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden in the Stars, go HERE.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sickness and In Health

It has been a roller coaster of a September for me. After deciding to finally let go of my card making hobby of 17+ years, I've been gathering, pulling out and categorizing my stuff to get it all for sale. I started trying to sell it locally but ended up putting it all on Ebay which seems to be doing well. I'm not done though. After over a week of posting daily I've had to come to a slow crawl. My teen son got the flu over the weekend and this thing is not letting up. He's still down with it after 4 days and not sure when he'll be back to his old self again.

I have a large amount of posts I want to share but need to finish up with selling off all my card making supplies so I can get back to some form of normalcy. With my son sick, he's taken up all my free time trying to nurse him back to health and this mama is tired. I stopped posting my items on Ebay for the past couple days and I know I need the energy to get back and finish this up. It's been going on long enough. I'm ready to move on, and put this in the past.

Even though I'm at a slow crawl with selling because of my son's sickness, I'm happy that it's going well. I look forward to the next chapter of my life. Some of the 'proceeds' of my crafting sales is going to buy an upgraded camera. A DSLR. I'm so excited. I'm researching models and finding the perfect camera that will fit my needs for today and the future. I want this to be the camera I will have for years to come. One that will adapt as I gain more and more knowledge with my digital photography. I've had a photography blog for years and have shared photos I've taken but now I want to take my photography to the next level and work towards becoming more professional. Maybe even bring it to a business for the future when my kiddos are grown.. Something to think about...
 
I also want to devote more time to my blogging. I have a lot of recipes, D.I.Y projects and homeschooling ideas to share... so stay tuned...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A July Bride by Beth Wiseman

 

A July Bride
by Beth Wiseman


About the Book:

Can she forgive the man who left her at the altar?

Alyssa Pennington dated Brendan Myers for three years before she accepted his proposal. For almost a year, Alyssa's friends and family helped her plan a lovely wedding to take place in the church she'd grown up in. It was the happiest day of her life when she walked down the aisle to be united with the man of her dreams. But when Brendan left her at the altar, Alyssa was consumed by humiliation, embarrassment, and a broken heart that wouldn't allow her to trust anyone. Especially Brendan.

Brendan Myers knows he will spend the rest of his life regretting what he did to Alyssa, the only woman he's ever loved. Without her, his life is empty. In one fateful moment, he'd panicked, destroyed their future, and ruined everything. Now he plans to win her back.

But winning back his bride might prove much more difficult than he can imagine. And even if he does get her to the altar again, will she think turnabout is fair play?

My Thoughts on This Book:

What would happen if you were left at the altar? That's what happened to Alyssa. After dating her boyfriend, the love of her life for years, the wedding date approaches. Not realizing that it would not be a happily ever after moment for her, Alyssa tries to start over by dating her brother's friend Dalton. Can Alyssa move on and let go of the hopes and dreams of marrying her best friend Brendan, or accept her fate of learning to love another? Fast paced story that you will want to read all the way until the end.

I received an ebook copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Out With the Old, In With the New

For the past year I've been feeling like it's time to let go of some things that I've been holding onto, mainly because it's been a huge part of my life for over 17 years, it's familiar, and for the longest time has brought me joy.. For the past year though, it really hasn't. Your probably wondering what I'm talking about? Well, it's card making. The first year of my marriage I decided to start making homemade cards for family and friends. First starting out with Christmas cards, then adding birthday, thank you's, thinking of you's and then branched off from there.

When my youngest son was born three days before Christmas, I even changed the time period for making my Christmas cards to July or August of each year and have been doing that for 13 years now. I've devoted a lot of time, money, resources and energy to this hobby, and not wanting to leave out space as well.. (it takes up about 60% of my office)

I've been unhappy with this hobby for sometime and didn't really put much thought to it until my birthday. I had a few people tell me they couldn't possibly send me a birthday card because it couldn't compare to the ones I make. Yes, that was a complement but it hurt. I don't judge people and have never done so when people have sent me store bought cards. My son gave me a birthday card this year on a post it note. Was it less important than the one's I make? Absolutely not! He made that card out of love. I received store bought cards each year from my extended family and love each and every one of them. 

I know I should of brushed off the comment but unfortunately it's been said to me on more than one occasion over the years. I've also heard lots of praises about how they love 'receiving' my cards but it seems nobody out there pays much attention to the fact that I may want to 'receive' cards, notes, letters in the mail from them.

So for 17 years, I've devoted our extra finances, my time and energy to put together cards with notes, etc and sending them out to I can't even begin to remember how many people and get back a handful over the years. In the beginning it was the feeling of brightening people's day by sending them a little note in the mail or wishing them a Happy Birthday but as I'm getting older, I'm realizing the one way street of relationships has worn me down. 

So with that being said, I'm ready to move onto other things. Hobbies that will impact me more personally. Card making impacts those I give too. Yes, I enjoy the process of making the cards but need a recipient to make the full circle, if that makes sense. I need hobbies that only involve me.

I've decided to embark on my photography skills. Getting more involved in learning more about digital photography and working on building on what I already know to become a better photographer. I also have other hobbies that over the past decade have been stronger on my mind than card making and feel holding onto this is dragging me down and not allowing me to use that time and energy to work on these other things I have a passion for.. including:

  • Canning (have a ton of recipes to share soon)
  • Cooking, baking
  • Cake making and decorating ( I want to take courses at the local craft store to better my skills)
  • D.I.Y projects
  • Running, Fitness, Health
  • Hunting
As you can see I'm not lacking in the hobbies department. I have plenty of things to keep me occupied and look forward to spending more of my free time indulging in them.. 

I plan on liquidating my stamping supplies this week. I'll be selling most all of it on Ebay and you can check out what I have to offer at this link @ http://www.ebay.com/usr/creative_cardmaker.  If anyone here is interested in expanding your card making, paper crafting, scrapbooking supplies, this will be the place to look. I have over 17 yrs of supplies, all in excellent condition and a lot brand new.. Stampin Up products and more..Check back daily... As I liquidate and add items as fast as I can, homeschooling, being a mother etc tends to take up some time each day so be patient.. I have a lot to offer so keep checking..

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homeschool Week 1 in Review

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I'd like to post a Homeschool Week in Review each week for 2014-15. I'll be sharing some of their hands on projects, and experiments that they've completed each week.

We finished up our first week of school on August 29th. Since it was the first week nothing spectacular happened. With their science books, the experiments will start coming this coming week so I'll have more to post on that.

This week DS12 did a hands on project for his history "America the Beautiful" from Notgrass. He made a Longhouse while studying about American Indians.

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We'll see what Week 2 has in store for us. We didn't do anything on Monday since it was Labor Day and hubby had it off so we are back to school today and the rest of the week..

Monday, August 25, 2014

Front Yard Makeover

I decided to redo the front yard. The area next to the house and grass. It was looking worn out, old bark, the border wasn't straight and we had random large rocks just placed haphazardly.. I needed a cleaner, fresher look. 

So I kept the existing pots I had (which in the past I couldn't get the bulbs to grow so they've been empty for a couple years), and purchased some hostas plants and some other part shade plants that would be easy maintenance. It took me a few days to get this completed.

Thanks to my kids for hauling all the rocks away (which we gave to our friends to use as a walkway to their front door), and my two neighbors for coming over a few times to either keep me company while I worked or getting down on the ground and helping me out. 

Here below is the end result. I'm very happy and it looks so clean now.

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What I Used:

Hostas plants to go in pots (purchased at Walmart)
Two kinds of shade plants that I planted. Every other after each pot. (Purchased at Walmart)
Rubber mulch and weed barrier (Purchased at Home Depot)
Rubber L shaped border- (Purchased at Home Depot)
 (this now allows me to run my lawn mower up to this without the need to trim)

I absolutely love the new look and now I just hope and pray my plants will survive in the pots and will continue to come back each year. All the plants I have are perennials or bulbs so they will return again next Spring..

Celebrating the Big 4..0..

This month I turned the big 4..0.. I know I'm probably one of the select few that's embracing getting older. I've come a long way since the 70's. Had my kiddos in my twenties, in my thirties I've worked towards becoming healthier, by eating right, exercising and taking up running. Now it's time to hit the 40's and do it with style. I'm going to keep exercising, running and eating healthy. I look forward to the years ahead. Each year giving me the many blessings of seeing my kids grow up, being in love with my wonderful husband and enjoying what God has in store for me..

I thought I'd show you some pics of my birthday and party I had below...

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On my actual birthday, the family and I celebrated by going bowling. I scored a 168 in my first game. I was so excited. My daughter gave me a wonderful apple slicer/corer which I have already taken advantage of recently making some yummy canned applesauce for our pantry. Hubby gave me this awesome camo shirt that I wore on my birthday and then had to snap a photo with two of my kiddos while we were bowling.

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Since my birthday is in August, it was in the low 90's so what a great time to have fun at the pool and water park. Took the kiddos there for an afternoon of fun while hubby went to work. We met up with my hubby for dinner and celebrated with a meal out...

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My birthday party came two days later. I love having a fun photo booth. Got all my friends and family involved. Don't you love it!

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While waiting for the food to BBQ we sat on the deck and enjoyed each others company and of course enjoying the silliness of my kiddo who decided he wanted to wear ALL the props from the photo booth..

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My birthday cake I made

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Enjoying the cake.. mmm... And another goofy pic of my youngest son..

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Opening gifts.. My friends and family know me really well..

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Friends together, my hubby and son being silly and me sporting my awesome 40 sign! 
What's a party without some games! I put together three fun games to play that were themed to fit the big 40..

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I put together this game above. Found 16 pictures of myself when I was younger and my guests had to figure out how old I was in each picture..

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Another game was Guess Who's 40? 10 famous folks, 4 of which are 40 this year.. My guests had to figure out which 4..

I also had another game which I didn't take a picture of. It was 36 items that were fad's from the 70's, 80's, 90's and 2000's. The years since my birth.. That was fun walking down memory lane of things we used to wear or have.. 

I had a blast ringing in the next decade of my life with wonderful friends and family.. Great memories for sure..