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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer Review

Heart on the Line

Heart on the Line
by Karen Witemeyer
Ladies of Harper's Station Novel


About this Book:

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

My Thoughts on This Book:

Second book in the Ladies of Harper's Station, you will find this book full of adventure, drama, love and friendship. I was drawn in from the first chapter. I love Karen's writing style. Starting of the book tragedy strikes Grace and her father. She travels to TX to live at Harper's Station, a community of women helping women. As she continues her daily life as their Western Union Operator, she meets Amos, call sign A through the wires and becomes fast friends. After he overhears that something is wrong with Grace he travels to Harper's Station to help in anyway he can.

Can an over the wire relationship turn into something real during a time of turmoil? Will Grace finally find peace after witnessing her father's death? Will she finally find love after hiding her life and feelings? You will enjoy this wonderfully written story from page one. I couldn't put this book down until I was done. One day read and now can't wait to pick up Karen's next book.

About the Author:

Karen Witemeyer

Karen Witemeyer, a 2014 Christy Award Nominee, two-time RITA finalist, winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Texas with her husband and three children.


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

Friday, June 30, 2017

True to You by Becky Wade Book Review

Cover Art

True to You
by Becky Wade
A Bradford Sisters Romance

About this Book:

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. However, when John, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry.

John enlists Nora's help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side by side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?

My Thoughts on This Book:

I fell in love with this story the instant I started reading it. Nora was quaint, charming and relatable. The beginning of the story shows how John and her met. Nothing like a little emergency to make a heart go pitter patter. As you learn more about these two characters, you fall more in love with them.

Nora's sisters were great to get to know. The way the three interact was a delight. Finding out that John's adopted was easy to hear for Nora as she too was adopted after her mother passed away when young. As she helps John locate his birth mother they find the perfect dynamic. She falls for him but does he fall for her? The story takes you on a journey of discovery for both Nora and John. You don't want to miss this book in the Bradford Sisters Series.. What a treat!

About the Author:

Becky Wade

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at www.beckywade.com.

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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Graduation Decorating & Gift Idea

I had fun decorating for my son's high school graduation. We decided to hold it at the same location I had my daughter reception back in 2013. I booked two days for the room so I could set up the day before and just come the day of and put out food. Since the ceremony was that morning and I didn't get out until after 3:30pm and the reception started at 5:30pm, I am so glad I did that!

I made my son a little gift since his main present from me was his class ring and party! I found a cute idea of giving lottery tickets as a gift. I found this cute 2017 grad bag and some skewers and attached 10 lottery tickets and two gift cards to the skewers with paper clips. I lined the bag with grad tissue paper.

1

A party wouldn't be a party without a PHOTO BOOTH! Well at least for me!!!

2
I decided to order cupcakes and a mini cake instead of trying to make one with all that was going on. Since I was also coordinating the graduation I seriously had no time.. The cake was decorated in my son's favorite color.. YELLOW!

3

Thought it would also be fun to add some other sweet treats as well as the cupcakes.. Nothing like some graduation  Ho Ho "DIPLOMAS".. Some "SMARTIE PANTS" Smartie candies, "CLASS RINGS" Ring Pops, and Some "BOOK WORMS" gummy worms.

4

I did some simple table decorations since my son didn't want anything fancy or splashy.  I took 6 of his favorite senior photos that I took of him back in March had them printed out and double backed them onto skewers. I then added felt cap stickers onto the top on both side to give them a topper. I bought the containers they were in from the Dollar store and crinkle paper in black/white/yellow to fill them.

5

I found the yellow paper placemats at Party America to give the table some yellow splash since it was my son's selected color.. I found the black cap/gown centerpieces at Party America as well for just a couple bucks..

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Never Give Up by John Mason Review

Cover Art

"Never Give Up"
You're Stronger Than You Think
by John Mason

About This Book:

Everything you want is on the other side of not giving up
Anything worth doing is going to have some obstacles. Some people look at setbacks as evidence that whatever it is they've been striving for just wasn't meant to be. But according to bestselling author and master motivator John Mason, the moment most people give up is the moment of their greatest opportunity.

In this inspiring book, Mason gives you fifty-two keys to never giving up on your dreams. He shows you how to move forward when you're on the verge of quitting, how to avoid unnecessary trouble, and how to keep your energy level up in the face of setbacks.

Whatever your dream--whether you're building a portfolio, a family, a business, or relationships--you'll find the strength and motivation to go on, break through, and claim the prize.

My Thoughts on This Book:

I was happy to receive a copy of this book to review. When I saw the title I was feeling a bit discouraged with life. A bit overwhelmed with things I've placed upon my schedule and also dealing with outside friendships. I was amazed that when I started reading this in hopes to find encouragement to "never give up" I started seeing encouragement to help my family, especially my teen son. He is embarking on a new journey of adulthood and not sure where his life is leading him.
Page by page I felt this book calling to him. "READ ME" and also to help me overcome some mental blocks.

 Each nugget takes just a few minutes to read. 52 in all. You can read this book all the way through probably in a days time. I did. You can also take your time and who knows, digest each nugget by the week. One nugget each week for an entire year's worth of Never giving up!. A great way to take each nugget, apply it to your life one step at a time to really feel the impact.

Broken into three parts.. Looking Inward, Looking Outward and Looking Upward.  First 21 Nuggets deal with looking inward, the next 18 nuggets work with Looking Outward and the remaining nuggets are looking upward.

Do you want to quit? Life, family, job? This book is for you. Feeling like you can't go forward..
Each nugget will draw you towards God, bring your life into perspective and give you hope where you never thought possible.

Does failure go to your head? Does the devil know you I am? What good things have you committed to but have quit doing? These and 22 more questions the author asks us as we seek to never giving up! You will find value in every page so take the time to pick up a copy this Summer.. You won't regret it!

About the Author:

John Mason is a minister, a speaker, and the bestselling author of many books, including You Can Do It--Even if Others Say You Can't and You Can Be Your Best--Starting Today. He is the founder and president of Insight International and Insight Publishing Group, organizations dedicated to helping people reach their God-given dreams. He lives in Oklahoma.

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

Memorial Day Weekend Adventures

My husband had a four day weekend over Memorial Day weekend so we decided to get out of town and do some exploring. We've been pretty much home bound since Winter started so it was really nice to go see things in our beautiful state of Montana.

Since we live centrally it's nice to be able to go pretty much anywhere in a days drive. We decided though to take two days to see several things..

Libby Dam Koocanusa Bridge

We had a blast driving up to see Libby Dam and the Kookanusa Bridge. The lake/river was pretty low so no water was coming over the dam. That was okay. The dam was beautiful regardless. Huge and worth a photo!

LDBG Ross Creek Cedars

During our two days away we drove to see large cedar trees along a breathtaking hike in the forest. Ross Creek Cedars is well worth the trip to see. Reminds me so much of Yosemite National Park.

Kootenai Falls Swinging Bridge

Along our drive through Kalispell, MT we stopped to see the Kootenai Falls. This time of year it was magnificent to see. Just beyond the falls is a swinging bridge to go across. I was surprised that it didn't freak me out since I'm terrified of heights and the raging water underneath normally would of given me the excuse not to go across. I conquered it and enjoyed the journey!

Columbia Falls Dam Schoolhouse Fishing Pole Noxon Dam

Before heading home we went to see two more dams, Noxon Dam, and Thompson Falls Dam. Each time the water was raging past and was a beautiful sight to see. Outside of Troy, MT there was a cute fishing pole overhanging the river. Had to stop to get a photo with it! As we neared Missoula we found a beautiful one room schoolhouse so had to stop to photograph it for memories.

It was wonderful to get away for a couple days.. After we returned, we stayed home on Day 3 to get some house stuff completed and then hubby and I ventured out for a day hike at Refrigerator Canyon.


ldbg canyon hike

We decided to go for a little more than a 6 mile hike. 3.25 miles in and then back. We were followed by lots of bumble bees and saw chipmunks and a squirrel. Other than that it was quiet and the scnery was heavenly. We enjoyed the cool temps in the canyon, the amazing views and serene quiet, just the two of us! After being married almost 20 years, you grab any opportunity you can to enjoy time together and since we love to get out of dodge and explore, what a better way to spend a day!

Class of 2017- Homeschool Graduation

On May 20th my oldest son, middle child, graduated high school. We have been blessed to be able to homeschool him for his education and had the opportunity to present him with a diploma and enjoy his special day together.

I decided back in November after the original coordinator for the graduation's stepped down to take over the roll for the year to give my son a wonderful ceremony/reception. After 7 months of planning and prepping we finally came down to the special day. 20 graduates for this occasion. The biggest our community has had graduate at one time.

My son performed with a friend of his from youth group at our church. She wrote the lyrics and my son wrote the music and they had the opportunity to perform during the ceremony. It was so beautiful!

My husband did the talking as I was an emotional wreck watching my son walk down the aisle, see his slideshow of him growing up and now before me all grown up receiving his diploma. He wrote him a poem that was very fitting for the occasion.

Grad 1

My daughter came up from her duty station in Utah to see her brother graduate. It was so nice to have all my family together even for a few days.

grad 2

All the graduates with the cake which had all their names on it.

Throwing their cap/gowns outside and my son with his memory table.. Each graduate had the opportunity to put together a table of their childhood/school memories... It was so nice to see them all..

My son is now working on his future. Looking for a full time job right now while seeking options for a future career. He is interested in ministry. Youth or Music so while working on these details he will be saving money and preparing for a future career.

We can't be more proud of him and his accomplishments..

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller Review

Cover Art

The Chapel Car Bride
by Judith Miller

About This Book:

After a sheltered life in Pittsburgh, Hope Irvine is ready for a new adventure. When her father takes a position as a preacher in a railroad car converted into a traveling church, she's thrilled at the chance to accompany him. While accommodations in their new chapel car home are tight, Hope couldn't be happier putting her musical skills to good use and ministering to the people of West Virginia alongside her father. But when their chapel car arrives in Finch, West Virginia, they find a coal mining community that has hit hard times and is suspicious of outsiders.

Luke Hughes works for the coal mine when he can, but the struggling company doesn't always offer steady work. When Reverend Irvine and Hope arrive in town, Luke is intrigued by what the reverend can teach him--and by the lovely and kind Hope.

When Hope's desire to bring supplies and Sunday school classes to neighboring counties leads to her traveling with a flirtatious young mine manager, Luke is hard-pressed to suppress his jealousy. But when he begins to suspect the manager's motives are less than charitable, can he prove it without hurting Hope, or worse, putting her in danger?

My Thoughts on This Book:

Hope travels with her father in a chapel car on the railroad line to find them in Finch. A mining town where they settle down while waiting for a church to be built. During their stay she makes a friend from a gentleman working the local mine named Luke. A faithful man wanting nothing more than to look out for Hope, to keep her safe and hopefully some day call her his own.

The mining companies son shows up and causes trouble with the residence of Finch. Will his troubled life come to light or will his secrets stay hidden and show negative results to Hope and all those that live in the small mining town?

This book brings you to the past where folks struggled living in a dirty mining town, making ends meet in a company owned home and where food and supplies must be purchased through the company. Will a Union help the conditions of the mine and the families that live there or will things continue to get worse because the owners want a profit and anyone's expense...

Great read and Judith did a wonderful job showing us the characters of this story. Look forward to reading the next book by Mrs. Miller!

Judith Miller

Judith Miller is an award-winning writer whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her family make their home in Kansas. Learn more at www.judithmccoymiller.com.

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


My Teenage Zombie by David L. Henderson, MD Review

My Teenage Zombie: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home

My Teenage Zombie
Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home

by David L. Henderson, MD

About This Book:

A must-read guide for parents and grandparents who want to practically and successfully help their teenager navigate the ever-lengthening stage of adolescence launching, them into society with confidence, vision, and success.

Zombies are not just found in horror movies, sometimes they’re lying on your living room couch. These are undead adolescents whose psychological and social development have come to a screeching halt. Torn by their yearning for freedom and their fear of surviving the outside world, they have stalled in their maturity, motivation, and purpose in life, hijacked by a helplessness and fear of responsibility. Parents often feel ill-equipped to love, support, and guide them—especially when they may be facing a midlife crisis of their own and battling some of the same issues in their own lives. Is it really possible to escape this “undead” state of being?

In My Teenage Zombie board-certified psychiatrist and medical doctor David L. Henderson explains the parts of a teenage zombie (their brain, heart, and spirit), how they got into this undead state, and how to resurrect them back to life. Using real-life examples of families he has counseled, he describes both their physical and psychological characteristics and offers practical suggestions on how to deal with, and in many cases avoid, having an undead adolescent in your home.

The book is divided into three helpful sections:

  • The Rise of the Undead: Understanding the Nature of a Teenage Zombie
  • The Fear of the Undead: Facing the Anxiety of Confronting a Teenage Zombie
  • Resurrecting the Undead: Restoring Your Teenage Zombie to a Life Worth Living

  • If you are the parent of an undead adolescent, there is hope for you and your child. Or maybe you have children who are not yet adolescents. It’s never too early to prepare for the challenges that await you. Either way, stay calm and start resurrecting zombies!

    My Thoughts on This Book:

    I was approached to read this book and write a review on it. When I read the title and the back of the book describing what it was about, I thought. "Wait, I think I have a teenage zombie." As much as I love my children and my teenage boys, I have noticed over some time the lack of enthusiasm and self motivation my now 18 yr old has. School was the first issue we've had and has gone on for many years and adding lack of cleaning room, keeping up with chores and always wanting to use spare time and money for video gaming or trading cards, I couldn't wait to read more on how I can be a more active participant and helping my son be a better person for himself as well as for his future out in the world.

    This Book is made up of three parts.

    Part 1: Understanding the Attack
    Part 2: Facing Our Fear of Zombies
    Part 3: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent

    If you are looking to help your teenager be more present, awake in the world, and alive in your family, I highly recommend this book to read. It gave me practical advice that I could easily implement in my life to help my son and to show him my love but still being a parent that he craves deep down!

    About the Author:

    Dr. David Henderson is a board certified psychiatrist, author and speaker. He is the founder and president of Four Stones PLLC, a mental health consulting practice in Dallas, Texas. For five years, Dr. Henderson served as the Department Chair of Psychology and Counseling at Criswell College, rebuilding its Masters in Counseling Program and starting the undergraduate major in Psychology. He also helped to develop a fully online counseling curriculum for the school. In addition, Dr. Henderson has served as an adjunct professor of Psychology and Counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is a member of the board of directors for Drug Prevention Resources, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing youth substance abuse. Dr. Henderson has presented nationally and internationally at conferences for the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, The Christian Association for Psychological Studies, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association. For more information, you can visit his website, www.drdavidhenderson.com.

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

Miles and Miles & a Half Marathon...

It has been a very productive couple months. I hit 600 miles on my 2,017 miles in 2017 challenge back on April 11th. Just 17 days later I crossed over the 700 miles number.

600 miles LDBG

700 miles collage

These 200 miles have been full of some fun races to add to my running memories.
Icebreaker Collage

Late April I ran the Icebreaker 5 mile Road Race. I have been working hard training to run this race under an hour. First time doing the 5 mile one since I have always ran the 3 mile race. This day was full of cold and rain but that didn't stop me. Crossed the finish line in 57:39 min.. Super excited to beat my goal time by almost 3 minutes...

color run LDBG

I had a blast getting colorful with a Color Run 5K to help child abuse. My friend's daughter ran the race as well. We met afterwards and snapped a colorful photo of us together! The next day though on my weekly long run (training for my half marathon) I feel and banged up my knee... So my running came to a slow crawl for a few days while getting my movement back.

800 miles


During my recovery I managed to walk/run to 800 miles. I was bummed though that I had to stop all my long runs while I recovered with my knee since it was bandaged after being scraped and bruised pretty good. Through it all I was able to make it to Half Marathon Day!

bloomsday

During my half marathon training I signed up to run the Bloomsday 12K Race in Spokane WA. This was my first race of this length. 7.47 miles.. I met a local friend there and we started the race together. My goal was to run it in an hour and a half. That was my before fall time so I wasn't going to hold my breath. Well I did pretty good. I ran it in 1 hr 33 min. Only 3 minutes slower than what I wanted so I was super excited. I hope to run this again next year and try to beat my time. Praying no injury just a week before!

half marathon

May 21st was the big day. My first ever half marathon. I knew because I stopped long runs at 10 miles which ended up being 3 weeks earlier, I was afraid time was not going to be record breaking. That's okay because I signed up to do this to complete it, not to beat anything. I went out, did my best and crossed the finish line!

My hubby and my daughter came to cheer me on. They met me at the 3 mile mark, 10 mile mark, 13 mile mark (daughter) and hubby at the finish line!

Tomorrow I will be hitting the 900 mile marker! I am getting close to half way to my 2.017 mile goal for the year! This challenge has really helped me grow as a runner, take more challenges including running a half marathon! Have had this race idea on my bucket list for 3 years and thanks to this Run the Year challenge I put it on my agenda and worked hard to train for the past 5 months.

The second half of the year will be more 5K's, hiking and at least one 10k in August. I love looking around the area for races to run that aren't in town so hopefully I can find some fun ones to conquer before the end of the year!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Too Deep for Words by Andrea Boeshaar

Image result for too deep for words andrea boeshaar

Too Deep For Words
by Andrea Boeshaar

Shenandoah Valley Sage Book 2

About This Book:

North meets South in the second installment of this popular Civil War series. Carrie Ann Collier has been a newlywed for nineteen blissful days--as blissful as life can be in the midst of war, that is. Soon that war will take a toll she never expected. When her new husband, Peyton, goes missing during battle, she refuses to believe he is dead, and must find a way to move forward with everyday life in the face of fear.

As Carrie struggles with how to welcome her estranged sister, Margaret, back into her life, another new arrival appears on her doorstep--her husband's best friend, and rebel officer, Eli. Wounded and bitter, Eli is nonetheless committed to keeping his promise to Peyton: take care of the Collier women, no matter what. But to Carrie, he's a painful reminder of her lost love. Then unexpected news makes Carrie wonder if miracles do happen. If Carrie infiltrates the enemy once again, she might find out what really happened to the love of her life. Will Eli be able to keep his promise to keep her safe? Can they forgive each other if promises are broken?

As fans of Boeshaar's books have come to expect, Too Deep for Words is a meticulously researched novel. Readers are taken directly into the heart of the realities of the Civil War and reminded how, even in the darkest circumstances, faith in Christ offers hope.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This is the second book in the Shenandoah Valley Saga. This book leaves off just a few days later from the end of book 1. We follow Carrie Ann, a new wife to Yankee husband Peyton. Recalling her blissful new life with her husband, tragedy overcomes her. She finds him missing in action and presumed dead.

Everyone around her wants her to throw on black clothes and mourn the loss of her husband but Carrie Ann refuses to give up hope that he may be still alive. She finds Peyton's friend, a rebel officer the executor of her husband's estate pending his death and now he is in her life, stealing her heart away from her sorrow. Can Carrie Ann believe that her husband is indeed gone and follow her heart to a life with her husband's best friend, Eli?

This book brings you back to the days of fighting during the Civil War. This book gives you the perspective of the Confederate Army. Seeing it through their eyes. Book 1 showed the Civil War through the eyes of the Yankees. Gripping from page one since you are left right back where the first book left off you grab the story quickly and it takes you away until you are done with the very last page.

About the Author:

Andrea Boeshaar

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar has been married for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three adult sons, daughters-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. Andrea's educational background includes the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied in English, and Alverno College where she studied in Professional Communications and Business Management.

Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn't until 1984 that she started submitting her work for publication. Eight years after that, she was convicted about writing for the Christian market. She read books in her genre (Inspirational Romance & Women's Fiction), studied the market, and worked hard to hone her craft.

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson Review

Cover Art

Treasured Grace
Book 1 Heart of the Frontier Series
by Tracie Peterson

About This Book:

In untamed Oregon Country, one young woman fights to keep her family safe.
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy, became her responsibility. A hasty decision to head west seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start but has instead left Grace in a precarious position. When missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife agree to let Grace and her sisters stay at their mission for the winter, Grace is grateful. Until they hear from their uncle in Oregon City, the three sisters have nowhere else to go.

As Grace adjusts to life in the West, she meets a fur trapper named Alex Armistead who intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure. But when a measles outbreak threatens lives at the mission and among the native Cayuse who live nearby, it is Alex who helps Grace use the natural healing remedies she learned from her mother to help where she can, despite Dr. Whitman's disapproval. As the death toll rises, so do tensions between the settlers and the natives, and Grace soon finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

My Thoughts on This Book:

Grace travels West with her two younger sisters to find a better life than they left back East. After a huge tragedy befalls her sisters, Grace tries to put the pieces back together of her dreams for her and her family. Torn on whether she should follow her heart or put love aside and follow the path that gives her and her sisters stability and a permanent roof over her head.

The story shows tragedy, faith, forgives and restoration.

I found this story very gripping. I have read many novels by Tracie and this one was full of page turning intensity. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series if they are anything like this one.

About The Author:

Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. Learn more at www.traciepeterson.com.

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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Weight Loss Update

size 6 jeans
I haven't posted in awhile about my weight loss journey. Been so focused on running my 2,017 miles that I haven't taken the time to see in the mirror my progress.

A friend gifted me a pair of new jeans not long ago. They were a size 6. I didn't think I would fit in them but when I tried them on, they did and very comfortably. You can see me in them above.

It's been a long journey to get where I am today. From everything that I've done and between the things I've tried and failed, I know one thing that has ALWAYS worked!

Exercising and monitoring my food intake.

Two simple things to pay attention to and most often are neglected. I use MyFitnessPal app on my phone. It's so easy to have there and quick to log my food as I eat throughout the day. The best part of this app is if you happen to eat something in a package there is a barcode scanner and VOILA it has all the info placed in your log for you.

I also use MapMyRun or you can use MapMyFitness or MapMyWalk since they are all the same. I log all my activity onto this and it transfers over to my food journal.

Since January 1st, logging the miles has really helped me build muscle and lean down. For the longest time the scale wasn't moving but I was getting smaller so that kept me going.  I started at 134 lbs at the New Year. I stepped on the scale this week and I'm down to 126.8 lbs.

I haven't been this small since when I met my husband 20 years ago so I'm super excited. At this point anything I lose is a huge bonus... Now it's all about toning, maintaining and building physical endurance to get me across the finish line of my half marathon in May.

Starting April 1st I will be adding more strength training to my weekly workouts so I can tone up what's left and help build muscle so I can run longer distances.. Can't wait to share with you as I progress...

Boob, Bowling & Zelda Cakes

I made my husband a boob cake for his birthday this year. He's been hint joking about this kind of cake for a couple years but I felt a little weird making one. I decided to give it a go and here you go..
boob cake collage 1
I think it turned out pretty good. He really liked it so that's an A+ in my book.

bowling cake collage
My son just turned 18 this month. He wanted to have his friends over to go bowling so I made him a bowling cake. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.. Super excited about learning how to use fondant..

zelda cake

I made my youngest son a Zelda cake for his 15th birthday back in December. This was a buttercream frosted cake.

500 Miles and Counting...

Medal earned

I posted back the first of January that I was taking on a year long challenge to run/walk 2,017 miles in 2017. I had great intentions to post weekly on my journey but life tends to keep me off the computer.  Well we are finishing up the third month of 2017 and I am happy to say that I reached 500 miles three days ago. It has been a huge accomplishment to see this number. In 2016 I ran/walked 600 miles in the entire year and here I am in just the third month and have almost hit that number.

500 miles

One thing that has kept me going is I'm training for my very first half marathon. This will take place on May 21st. I am 8 weeks away from this special occasion and working hard to do my best.

Speaking of best... I'm super excited about sharing my 1st race of the year's results. I ran a 5K Clover Bud St. Patrick's Day Race a couple weeks ago with my hubby. This race was my first ever back in 2011 when I just started out running so it has a little sentimental value to it.

With all my running training I wanted to see how good I could run this. In the past my average was about 12 1/2 min miles. This time I did it in 32:59 which averaged a little over 10 minute miles. Not only did I add speed, but was able to run this without stopping and have little issues.. It was awesome!

The best part... I actually WON a medal. I was 2nd in my age division..

5k race collage

My next race is coming up on April 9th. It's a color fun run so not really out to break records since these are mainly to get messy. Still will try to work on my timing since these events are good at checking times..

Here is a list of my races that I've signed up for up until my Half Marathon in mid May..

April 9th: Color Fun Run 5K
April 15th: Trail Run 5K
April 23rd: Icebreaker 5 Mile
May 7th: Bloomsday 12K
May 21st: Half Marathon

It's going to be a busy Spring Running Schedule. I am happy to see this many races to choose from since my area typically is limited with races throughout the year. Mainly one a month so I'm excited about the line up..

Here's to my next 100 miles.....

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Polygamist's Daughter by Anna LeBaron Review

Packaging

The Polygamist's Daughter
by Anna LeBaron
w/ Leslie Wilson

About This Book:

My father had thirteen wives and more than fifty children . . .

This is the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. Ervil’s criminal activity kept Anna and her siblings constantly on the run from the FBI. Often starving, the children lived in a perpetual state of fear—and despite their numbers, Anna always felt alone. Would she ever find a place she truly belonged? Would she ever be anything other than the polygamist’s daughter?

Filled with murder, fear, and betrayal, The Polygamist’s Daughter is the harrowing, heart-wrenching story of a fatherless girl and her unwavering search for love, faith, and a place to call home.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This book was an eye opening experience and I read it in just one day. Once I picked it up her story was so riveting, I couldn't put it down until the end. You follow the life of little Anna. Just 9 years old when the story starts and living the life of polygamy with her mother, her mother's sister wives and over 40 siblings. The life of fear, death, looking over your shoulder and living in foreign countries, Anna lived a life of poverty so her mother could continue her life as the 4th wife of the famous Ervil LeBaron. Left to fend for herself and at times a child slave worker, she endured huge hardship for the sake of her families chosen life. Her father, a man who believed himself to be a prophet, lived his life to find followers and to cause harm to those that fell away from his religion even after his death.

Anna lived a life on the run, packing up frequently and with little personal possessions. By the age of 10 she found out that he father wanted to marry her off to another polygamist and was being groomed to do so when she was older. This story of a little girl searching for love and a desire to be wanted, grew up faster than she should of and saw more than any child or adult should see. This story will truly pull at your heartstrings.. Faith plays a huge factor in Anna's adult life with the ultimate grace of God.. Great book!

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The words depicting in this article are my own. No other compensation was given to me.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot Review

A Stolen Heart  -     By: Amanda Cabot

"A Stolen Heart"
by Amanda Cabot
Book 1 Cimarron Creek Trilogy

About This Book:

From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners--like her. Lydia won't let that get her down, though. All will be well when she's reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared--and that he left behind a pregnant wife--Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?

Bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites readers back into Texas's storied past to experience love and adventure against a backdrop of tension and mystery in this first book in a brand-new series.

My Thoughts on This Book:

As we venture in this first book in the Cimarron Creek series we get to know Lydia, a Yankee from New York coming to Texas to marry her fiance'. Until she realizes he has already married and he's missing. Lydia decides to stay in Cimarron Creek even if it's just to find out what happened to Edgar. She didn't realize that she was in the middle of a town mystery. Things aren't right and the new sheriff is trying eagerly to put an end to all the crime and place order back in their small town.

One thing leads to another and love and mystery are full in this wonderful first book by Amanda Cabot. You will not want to put it down until you've read the last page and even then you can't wait to read the next one. I know I am..

About The Author:

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com.

I received a copy of this book free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all my thoughts and comments regarding this book is my own.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller Review

The Elusive Miss Ellison (Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace, #1)

About This Book:

"Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions."  
That's the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister's daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won't take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia's pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother--who stole the most important person in Livvie's world.
Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he's just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there's already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect. 
That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn't the only heart that needs to change.
These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.
Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love. 

My Thoughts on This Book:

Set in the early 1800's in Great Britain, this charming story tells the tale of a reverend's daughter Miss Lavinia Ellison. After tragedy hits her at a young age and losing her mother, her heart is a bit hardened towards the family responsible. When the brother shows up and tries to charm his way into her life she holds a wall up with her whitty come backs and her charismatic expression.

She devotes her life in helping the poor in her little country village and tries to enjoy her simple life without a beau or prospect of one. Can Nicholas, Lord Hawkesbury, show her she is worthy of attention and love or will her feelings of his family and her mother cause her not to find true love..
A well written story. The characters came to life on the pages and found myself often chuckling at their ways of speaking to each other. I look forward to the rest of the books in the series.

About the Author:

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's previous novels have won several contests, including the 2014 RWA "Touched by Love" and 2014 ACFW Gensis contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review. My thoughts on this book were my own and I received no other compensation for this review.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Senior High Class of 2017

I have been hard at work preparing for my son's upcoming graduation. In November I took on the roll of the Homeschool Graduation Coordinator since the one that was doing it for years 'retired' with her youngest graduating. I figured I could coordinate until my youngest graduates in 2020. This year it's my middle child, DS18 that is graduating in mid May.

Coordinating has brought on a LOT of to do lists, since we have 20 graduates this year.. A good size Homeschool Graduation! Aside from getting the group together, lists checked off, I needed to take the time to think of just my graduate..

So over the weekend I took him out to take his Senior Photos. I am showing you the ones I found to be my favorite.. What are your thoughts?

Pittstop Photography is my copyright and all photos are owned by me..

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Hopefully here in the next week or two the cap and gown will be in from our order and will take him out one more time to capture the famous cap/gown photos.. I think these turned out great displaying his love of his guitar... So proud of his accomplishments and look forward to his special event soon!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mystery of History Curriculum Sale Now



On sale now at Christian Book. Click on photo above to get savings.
Through February 14th save 30%.