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Monday, June 30, 2014

Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer

A past filled with shame can be washed away with a love that conquers all
Born  to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid  seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in  every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her  dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in  an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn’t old enough, her only  option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in  Florence, Kansas. Eager to put everything behind her, Dinah feels more  worthless than ever, based on a single horrible decision she made to  survive.

The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but  blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her  past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show  interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a  sullied woman like her.  Despite his self-consciousness about his  handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah  Christ’s love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs?

You can read Chapter One HERE

My Thoughts on This Book:

I love reading stories by Kim Vogel Sawyer. The way she writes draws me in every time. This was no different. The characters came to life right upon the pages. Dinah grew up in a brothel. I couldn't imagine how easily your innocence can be swept away by just existing in a place like that. Her mother, a prostitute, was dying and by the time Dinah was 17 she needed a way out and a new life but didn't know how. With no money and still needing to take care of her mother, she does the unthinkable. 

Thinking moving away from the area would bring her a new life, it does in the beginning but nightmares and things that trigger her memories cause her grief. She finds favor in a chicken farmer named Amos. A wonderful, gentle man, wanting to court her. Can her past be kept in the past or will it all come back to her when she least expects it?

Very well written and a page turner until the end..

Kim Vogel Sawyer 
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling, award-winning author highly acclaimed  for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her  books are currently in print. She lives in central Kansas where she and  her retired military husband, Don, enjoy spoiling their ten  grand darlings. Visit her website HERE.

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Curriculum Choices Grade 10

If you've been following my blog this past year, you will know that we placed our middle child, DS15 in public school for his freshman year of school. This was a really hard decision to make but was well worth it. After an entire year of  'seeing the grass on the other side of the fence' my son is really looking forward to returning home to school with us for his sophmore year. So I'm excited to share what we will be doing with him starting in August for his 2014-15 year.

You can check out what we will be using for our youngest son for his first year in middle school GRADE 7


Exploring America Curriculum Package | Main Photo (Cover)

My son will be going through Notgrass Exploring America. This curriculum will give him a credit in all three subjects of History, Bible and English.


In 8th grade we switched from using Apologia to using Alpha Omega Publications Lifepacs for Science. It was easier for my son to understand since Apologia was a bit too advanced in terminology etc and this curriculum is something he looks forward to using.

Lifepac Grade 10- Biology

To help him with understanding the experiments I've purchased the companion DVD that shows him how to do the lab work. He used this in grade 8 as well. 


Saxon Algebra 1 with Saxon Teacher Algebra 1.


Learn to Write the Novel Way Text | Main photo (Cover)

I used this curriculum with my daughter when we were homeschooling her for her high school. My son wants to learn how to write a novel so this is just perfect. It will allow him an English credit for high school graduation.

Foreign Language:

We are still looking for a good inexpensive German curriculum for him to use. We do have a lot of supplemental materials and will have Mango Languages online for a few months into the year before we have to think of other ideas or whether we stay with Mango Languages for him to finish a complete year. We will see. 


He took a Semester's worth of Guitar 101 at the public school and he loves it so we will have him continue with this for at least another Semester so he can get a full year credit and then go from there.

This is what he will be working on for 2014-15 school year. I look forward to seeing how well he does this coming year...

Monday, June 23, 2014

30 Day Squat Challenge

It's time to get some sweat on. For the month of May I took the 30 Day Squat Challenge below. Starting on Day 1 with 50 squats and at day 30 ending at 250 squats. I couldn't believe the difference I felt in my legs after this challenge was up but I knew I needed to do more. I started feeling my muscle tone and less jiggle and that was awesome.

If you are wanting to start a squat challenge for the 1st time, I highly recommend this one from  After 30 days, you are ready for what I started six days ago.. Look below...

I'm now working on the 30 Day EXTREME SQUAT challenge.. Starting right where I left off on the May challenge, at 250 squats and at the end of this 30 days which will end on July 17th, I'll be at 500 squats.

This is my trouble area for me. The back of the thighs, butt and backend area.. My goal is to be in a comfortable size 6 and to get to that goal, I must work my legs and the best exercises out there are the ones that use your own body weight. These are also great for those folks who don't have a gym membership or space for equipment. All you need is a little space for you to squat right where you are and then you're on your way to a slimmer back side, thighs and legs.

This blog is all about getting real with my fitness. Being accountable for my bad days and happy in my good days. To be that way, I have to show who I am, and who I wish to become. So with that, I plan to post photos of my journey along the way. I want to journal the progress and see where I need help and to see what works. To accomplish that, I have to take pictures even the problem areas of my body. 

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This is the area that I'm concentrating on this month. With the squat challenge I wanted to see how this challenge will change my overall look of my back side, thighs and legs. So here is a picture I took six days ago on Day 1 of my Extreme Squat challenge. I didn't take a before/after picture when I participated in the first challenge. I wish I did though so I could compare, but I do know that my legs just under my butt are more firm and less jiggle and gravity isn't taking it downward so I'll take it..

FYI: I am in a size 8 pants and a size 6 shorts for those interested in knowing what pant size I'm currently wearing. 

I'd love for anyone who's interested to join me in this challenge. You can start whenever.. Just comment below when your day one is, and we'll keep each other accountable along the way. I will be blogging weekly on this challenge and if I see progress, I'll share photos along the way.

Who's with me? Would love to hear if you will be joining alongside me. Let me know if you'll be taking the 30 Day Challenge or the 30 Day Extreme Challenge..

Rival Hearts by Tara Randel

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rival Hearts
Abingdon Press (June 17, 2014)
Tara Randel


Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. After finding Romantic Times magazine in a bookstore many years ago, she found information about writing organizations. Soon after, she joined Romance Writers of America. She located the local RWA chapter and immediately attended her first meeting. There was no stopping her after that!

Through Tampa Area Romance Authors, Tara learned all about the business of publishing, starting with the craft of writing to behind the scenes of publishing. She served as contest coordinator for four years and served as President for one year, enjoying the organization and the lasting friendships made there.

When not writing, Tara owns a business with her husband and stays busy with her two daughters. She lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery. Enjoy!

My Thoughts On This Book:

After working for Master's Publishing as their editor of "Quilter's Heart" for many years, Molly gets an opportunity to become editor in chief of a new magazine, "American Legend", the company plans to launch. BUT, there is a catch, a big one. She must compete against nature boy, Ben, another editor from Master's Publishing who works on their "Outdoor Adventures" magazine. Their boss, Mr. Masterson decides a challenge is in order to find out who will be the new editor-in-chief of this new magazine. How? By switching places. He quilts a blanket and she goes out into the great outdoors for a kayaking adventure.

During the challenge Molly and Ben spend a lot of time together. Getting to know one another. The challenges take these two onto an adventure each their own and who will come out the winner in the end? I couldn't put this book down until it was done. Engaging, the story was light, airy, and fun to read.. One of my favorites in the Quilts of Love Series..


Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests.

Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rival Hearts, go HERE.

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

An April Bride by Lenora Worth


 An April Bride
A Year of Weddings Novella
By Lenora Worth

Book Description

War changes everything . . . even their love.

Bride-to-be Stella Carson can't wait to marry her longtime sweetheart Marshall Henderson. But Marshall has been away serving his country and has suffered a head wound. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he has distanced himself from Stella, asking her not to visit him in a Washington, D.C., hospital. Marshall returns to Louisiana just four weeks before the wedding, but as the big day draws near, Stella wonders if the man she's loved for most of her life has become someone else.
Can true love conquer all for Stella and Marshall, even the tragedy of war?

My Thoughts on This Book:

A wedding is such a beautiful time in a couples life. Planning and preparing for their lives together. Add in a little stress of your soon to be husband overseas in the Army, Stella engrosses herself in wedding planning while Marshall is away for 10 months. When she finds out her fiance' is injured her plans turn upside down.

After finding out he can't remember her he still feels like the wedding must go on. Can Stella hold on to hope that her fiance' will remember her in time for their big day?  

I've come to love this wonderful bridal series. I've read December through April so far and each one tells a beautiful story surrounding weddings. This one pulled at my heartstrings as I read how Stella struggled with the wedding planning, the feeling of loss since her fiance' doesn't remember and the choices she needs to make even though her whole life has been with Marshall. Great read!

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino

 She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?

Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother.

With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas's secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary's world is upended. How could she possibly leave her papa and her dear sister?

And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband's broken heart?

My Thoughts on This Book:

Mary loves her family and her desire to marry for love overtakes her emotions. When she finds out that her father is arranging a marriage to someone she doesn't love or like, she looks to other solutions. When she finds Barnabas, the local baker needing a wife so she could help raise his two boys, she sees her love growing towards him. Her father isn't liking the idea of her marrying him at first, seeing his faith different than theirs and that his position in society may not be enough for his daughter.

After much persuasion from his two daughters, her father blesses the union and they marry. Mary love Barnabas but he is stuck on the love from his previous marriage with Ann. His oldest son Joseph also finds it hard to love Mary and can't let go of his mother's memory.

Even though Mary wants all of them to continue to remember Ann, and to love her after her death, it seems like nobody wants to let her go, keep her as a memory and move on. I found that part of the story so hard to understand but know that it would be hard in this time period to not have a spouse when you have young children. Mary is full of compassion, and patience, waiting for her husband and his two boys to love her.

With her love she decides to embark on the journey to the New World with her husband, following him, with the promise that life will be better.

I loved the storyline, but sometimes it felt like it was moving so quickly. One chapter was one year and 10 pages later we are 3 years into the future.. I still liked the overall storyline and loved the development of the characters and the time period. I would recommend everyone to read it.

Image of Rebecca DeMarino

 When Rebecca DeMarino traveled to Horton Point, Long Island, with her mother, Helen Jean Horton Worley, in 1999, passions collided: her love of faith, family, travel, history, and writing. Rebecca's debut novel, A PLACE IN HIS HEART, is a historical romance based on Mary and Barnabas Horton, Rebecca's ninth great-grandparents. Set in 1600's Southold, Long Island, book one of The Southold Chronicles will be released by Revell in June, 2014. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and when not writing, she enjoys family and genealogy, travel, reading, running, baking and gardening. Rebecca is represented by Greg Johnson of WordServe Literary Agency.

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

Entryway Flooring

On our journey to remodeling and updating our home, we purchased our flooring to finish up the laundry room and three bathrooms along with our entry way as you can see below. The flooring before was a dull grey and no matter how much you tried to clean it, it always looked dirty. I disliked it a lot.

I put this floor together and hubby installed it with new carpet trim. We will be getting a new threshold here in the near future and still want to get a new front door..

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Before with old flooring

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After.. with new flooring and carpet trim. Doesn't it look so warm and inviting. I love it. It goes really well with our walls and trim that were installed last Spring.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert

 Cover Art

 About This Book:

You never know what you're really made of until you lose everything.

Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream--designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living.

Author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers a story both poignant and emotionally gripping that celebrates the kind of fortune that lasts.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This book made me think how important truth and family really is. 30 + years with a loving, devoted husband and father but behind another closed door he is doing shady business deals and stealing money from friends and family. Claire knows none of this is going on, living in her rich bubble of a happy life, going on trips and buying whatever she desires. When her world comes crashing down and everything she has ever known stops, she now needs to reinvent herself. Her old life is no longer, her family is torn into pieces and healing begins. With one true friend to stand by her side and a new friend, Brian to help her get back on her feet again.

I loved this story. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It was well written, full of anticipation with realistic characters that come alive on the page.

Kellie Coates Gilbert

Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who investigated the largest cattle fraud case in US history. Her legal experience gives her an insider's view into how people react under pressure. Gilbert explores the complexity of relationships in her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances. The author of Mother of Pearl, she currently lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband. Learn more @

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

Monday, June 2, 2014

6th Grade Graduation- Pencil Cake

My youngest, DS12, just completed his sixth grade which here in Montana means he's completed Elementary School, and ready to embark on the middle school years come Fall.

When my older son DS15 now, graduated elementary school I made him a cake to celebrate. I felt it very fitting to make my other son one as well. I found this great idea for this pencil cake HERE and knew this was the cake to make.

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This was very simple to make. Mike & Ike candies for the erasers, yellow frosting for the pencils, brown frosting for the wood portion at the top of the pencil and mini chocolate chips for the lead. I frosted it with a crumb coat of white frosting. The cake is lemon- two 9" cakes

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A close up of the top of the cake where you can see the pencils

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My son loved it and thought it was really neat. It was actually perfect timing since I finished it yesterday and we were going to enjoy it after dinner. Then I received a message to come over for a BBQ at the neighbors and we brought it over to share with everyone. It fed over 20 people and had three slices left. It was a hit!

Congratulations to my son for finishing elementary school. He's now ready to start his new journey in his education... 7th grade as a homeschooler..