Friday, April 29, 2016

Mars with Venus Rising Book Review

I picked this book because it just caught my eye.  I didn't understand the title but who could pass up on the colorful cover!  Mars...with Venus Rising by Hope Toler Dougherty was an obvious choice when I started reading and found out that they lived in a town called Mars.  I was ready to learn about the rest of the story as soon as I started!!

A meddling horse, paper bag floors and a flying saucer on the town square. The little town of Mars has it all—including a brand new resident who might spell heartache for one of its own. Twenty-something Penn Davenport yearns for an exciting life in the big city and wants to shed the label of orphan that she's worn for years. To achieve that dream, she must pass the CPA exam then move away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash. When John Townsend—full of life and the joy of living—moves to town, he rattles Penn's view of herself, her life, and her dreams... which isn't such a bad thing until she falls for him and discovers he's a pilot.

I was hooked from the start on this great book!!  The writing and the characters are wonderful.  I loved Penn and John and couldn't wait to find out what happened next in their relationship.  I was totally amused by the meddling aunts Winnie and Jancie (it took me 100 pages before I knew that it wasn't Janice).  They were so funny with their cooking and meddling in Penn's life.  The small town was the perfect setting for these wonderful characters and it made you feel like you were right in the middle of it.  It was heartwarming to see the town supporting each other and made you really want to live in this cute little small town of Mars (yup, weird name but adds to the cuteness).  The best part of the book is there are some funny and lighthearted parts and other very serious parts which really balance each other out for a well rounded book.  I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did!  I know that I am looking for other books in the series to read soon!!

**I received a copy of this book for my review and opinion.  All opinions here are my own.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Join Becky Wade for a Facebook Party on May 5th

wade event promo - fb 

A female bodyguard plus her star NFL client plus danger equals a great recipe for romance! Her One and Only, book four in Becky Wade's Porter Family novels, releases May 3. To celebrate, Becky is hosting an author chat party on her Facebook page on May 5 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EDT. Join Becky for an evening of book chat with other bookworms and prizes.

Plus a portion of all pre-sales and sales the release week of Her One and Only will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. For more details on how to purchase a copy, click here.

wade 400 - fallen heroes

About the Book

After ten years in the NFL, super star Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt–none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she’s determined to find Gray’s stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives — and their hearts — to one another.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 4/25

Monday- Chicken Panini Sandwiches
Tuesday- Pasta
Wednesday- Garlic Herb Chicken Wraps
Thursday- Chicken fries, Popcorn Chicken with homemade fries
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Little Caesars Pizza for Lunch after soccer/ Tacos
Sunday- Probably Family Meal before my mother in law leaves

I can't believe how quickly another month has gone by!!  I am so glad that I plan everything at the beginning of the month because I totally wouldn't have enough time this month to do weekly meal plans. 

However, this week is a little difficult because I have no idea when we are going to be serving just us or my mother in law or my sister in law and brother in law too.  I am certainly flexible to try to fit in a few more people into the plan but my husband's family doesn't really plan ahead so they are usually just here at dinner time.  I know that it will be a lot to manage with a full week of work but I imagine that we are going to be moving these meals around based on who is showing up at the house on a given day.  Cross your fingers for me this week that I make it through :)

I hope that you have a tasty week!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Simple Pleasures Book Review

I picked this book because I love Amish fiction books so I decided that Simple Pleasures: Stories from My Life as an Amish Mother (Plainspoken, Book Four) by Marianne Jantzi was the perfect next book to read.

Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family's life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.  Hear straight from Amish people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes A Day in the Life of the Author and the author s answers to FAQs about the Amish.

This was an interesting book of Amish life.  I don't think that I understood that this book was going to be a journal type book instead of a story of her life.  I thought when it was saying the stories that it would be lots of fun stories of the Amish life connected through time with this family instead the book is categorized by subjects including the following:

Little House Beside the Big House
Winter Blows Cold
Pajama-Clad Little Ones
Of Blankies and Band-Aids
It's A Small World
Garden of Plenty
It Takes A Community
From the Jantzi Shoe Box

As soon as she started a story and I got into it, she moved to the next one.  Some of them only a few sentences long.  The benefit is that it is a book that you can pick up for a short amount of time because you can read a passage of two quickly and then move on to other tasks you need to do that don't involve reading.  Although this book illustrates the reasons that all of us are going through the same struggles of messy closets, crazy child antics and never having enough hours in the day, it still didn't seem like a cohesive story for me because I want to be sucked into a story and not be able to put it down.  Each chapter is made up of lots of small anecdotes of living in this family in Canada all grouped together by the subject.  The book ends with a day in the life of the author which gives you more of the structure that I was hoping for out of the whole book because it gives you a glimpse into the families life.  The best part for me is the recipes at the back of the book because they are always my highlight!!  I hope that you check out this book and see how you like it and please let me know!

**I received a copy of this book from my review and honest opinion.  All opinions here are my own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Atonement Book Review

I love Beverly Lewis and even though I didn't have a clue what series this book went with, I jumped at the chance to review it.  I laughed when I found it was also on my reserve list at the library.  I kept my spot in the library just in case I got to the top of the list before the review copy was mailed but the review copy won the race.  I was eager to read this new book as soon as it arrived.  The Atonement
by Beverly Lewis was the next book that I read even though there were a few other books ahead of it in my pile because I had to know what was going to happen in this wonderful book.

Jah, Lucy thought. Tobe would have known what to say. "But what would he say to me if he knew the truth?" she murmured into her hands, leaning on the desk.

Alas, that was something she could not afford to find out.

The mistakes of the past haunt Lucy Flaud, now twenty-five and beyond Amish courting age. Instead, Lucy focuses on volunteering in both the Plain and fancy communities of Lancaster County. Yet no matter how hard she strives, she never feels she's doing enough. Then her father strikes up an unexpected friendship with an Englischer in search of a simpler way of life. Lucy forms a connection of her own with the thoughtful young man even as she rejects courtship with her longtime Amish friend. Is it too late to embrace redemption . . . and the power of love?
I loved the book and spent a lot of the beginning of the book trying to figure out the secret of the past that was being hidden.  It seems that most of the people who gave it bad reviews thought that it moved slowly because of this mystery but I thought that there was a lot of character development which lead to the wonderful ending of the book.  You can't appreciate the end of the book if you don't have the beginning to get to know the characters.  This book was written a little differently then the other books written by Beverly Lewis and I found that refreshing.  With so many authors writing everything with the same format, books by wonderful authors sometimes become so predictable and cookie cutter but this book was unique.  Lucy is having trouble coming to grips with the mistakes of her past which are revealed through the book.  The hard part for Lucy is that she spends the book punishing herself and thinking that she doesn't deserve happiness because of her problems in the past.  I think that everyone can relate to this even if they haven't made the same mistake as Lucy because no one is perfect and finding someone to love doesn't mean that you have to be perfect.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I have!!  It is a heartwarming story of forgiveness to others and oneself which I couldn't put down and I really enjoyed.  I hope that you read it and see for yourself the great characters and wonderful writing of Beverly Lewis.

** I received a copy of this book for my review and honest opinion.  All opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Perfect Parent Book Review

I am not sure how I ended up with this book from the library but it has a new sticker on it so I either grabbed it off the new shelf or reserved it from the new books section.  Either way, I am glad that I got The ''Perfect'' Parent: 5 Tools for Using Your Inner Perfection to Connect with Your Kids by Roma Khetarpal because there are so many useful tips in this book.

Get ready for a parenting makeover!
If you're a parent today, you face extreme pressure to get everything exactly ''right''--a pursuit of perfection that probably makes parenting feel hard. It encourages you to worry about whether you re doing a good enough job, and to wonder if your kids will turn out okay.   In The ''Perfect'' Parent, Roma Khetarpal puts all of that agony to rest. She explains that the key to a fulfilling parenting experience is to stop chasing an ideal and instead use your inner perfection to nurture a strong, communicative connection with your children--which will lead them to be happy, think positive, and do good.

Drawing from the fields of personal growth and emotional intelligence and distilling cutting-edge scientific research, Khetarpal leads you through five communication tools designed to help parents strengthen their bond with their kids and handle the doubt, guilt, worry, and fear that often accompany the challenges of raising children. Along the way, she shares helpful, humorous real-life stories taken from the popular parenting classes she's taught for years, as well as easy-to-remember exercises--such as ''Dealing with the Feeling'' and ''Take Five''--for use in common family situations.

With this short, useful, and enjoyable guide, you will be equipped with the simple tools you need to build a relationship with your kids that lasts a lifetime. Includes a ''Perfect'' parent toolbox! 
National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) GOLD Award Winner!Parents' Choice Recommended Award Winner! and Mom's Choice Gold Award Winner!
I thought it was a great book with lots of tools to improve your relationship with your children.  There are five tools including honorable parenting, approachable parenting, sensible parenting, reasonable and responsible parenting, and enjoyable and memorable parenting.  The chapter gives lots of examples and other stories that are easy to relate to and grow from.  At the end of each chapter there is an affirmation reminder like "I am an Honorable and confident parent doing the best that I can.  I accept and respect myself and my child just as we are."  There is a section with quick takeaways for what you learned in the chapter to summarize again.  I think that this is a good book to pick up every once in awhile to make sure that you are on the right track because I was definitely more aware while I was reading it.  There are many ideas that will help dealing with all friends and families in addition to your children.  I thought that it was well worth the read and I hope that I am going to improve some of my behaviors in time for spending the whole summer together!!  I hope that you check it out and enjoy it too!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Four Trips and a little extra to Harris Teeter Super Doubles

I went to Harris Teeter after taking the morning to rest up after hurting my knee so that I could get a few more deals but the shelves were either very bare or I just didn't have the right coupons.  Maybe both!!  I don't think that I was in the best frame of mind to head to the store but I knew that I would regret it if I didn't make it there to at least check.

After finding very little, I decided to use my rain check for more granola bars in conjunction with the $3 off $15 from Wegman's so I just needed to get a few more things.  I grabbed some chicken that I had a coupon for that brought it down to same or lower then Aldi's prices.  Then, I found some fries that I still had coupons that were close to expiring and they would be free because of the sale and the doubles so I thought it would be nice to try them.  I went to the check out and two of the coupons didn't scan so the customer service person came over and he refused to scan either one because they said not to double on the coupon so instead of putting it in like every other customer service person does, he made it seem like I was trying to get away with something and the cashier was dumb and lazy.  He was super rude and I left feeling worse then when I came in and I made them take the two items off the bill because I wasn't getting the items when the bill was $6 higher then it should be!!  I am sure if this has happened to you that you can understand my frustration... it is fine if you want to refuse something but to talk down to me or your employee is just not the right move.  Lucky for her, I was her last person and she got to take a break.  I wonder if you have to let it roll off you if you work there or what because I couldn't take someone talking down to me in front of others without speaking back.

Although beaten down by this new customer service person, I still decided to go to the other store that is just a few miles away.  They were out of the Windex, tea and most of the other items that I wanted to get.  I didn't want to use the coupons that had to be overriden at the other store because I couldn't take it twice in the same day.  I bought 3 boxes of pasta for total of $0.30.  There were only 3 more boxes on the shelf but I put everything in the car and went back in to get the last three boxes with exact change and my reusable bag in hand.  I am glad that I did because who knows when they are going to get them in again and my son eats pasta at least twice a week and will only eat Penne regardless of the whole pantry of other pasta.

Anyway, long story to tell you that this picture does represent three check outs at two different stores.  I am certainly glad to be done with that for the day and hoping that tomorrow is the customer service person's day off so that I don't have to see him after going through with dental work first thing in the morning.

Total Retail $48.01
Total Savings $13.47 +  4.56 + 11.46 += $29.49
Total OOP $17.92 + $0.60= $18.52