Friday, December 19, 2014

Masterpiece Marriage Book Review

I was given the chance for another Quilts of Love book!!  I really have enjoyed all of the books that I have read but I hesitated because this one was set in the past.  I am much better with current books then historical fiction but the story sounded so good that I couldn't turn it down.  I requested Masterpiece Marriage: Quilts of Love Series by Gina Welborn through the publisher.  I was excited when it came in the mail and had trouble putting the book down when reading it so it turned out to be a great choice.


After a flood damages the looms and fabric at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble starts when his aunt has already agreed to help the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs to draw some pictures for her report which is due in 10 days. Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus agrees to attends the summer Quilting Bee to help his aunt by doing whatever she needs. Mary is also working for his aunt in order to pay off the debt of the drawings.  The aunt is trying to work her magic to get Zenus married to the one that he asked for who also happens to be person who greatly looks up to Mary, Arel Dewey.  Find out what happens in this great love story by reading it yourself.

I loved everything about this book.  The characters were great and made even more life like by the great writing of the author.  It was set in the past but other then traveling by horse, it could have totally happened in current day.  There was some of the old world magic happening since it is a lot less likely for people to get set up for marriages and marry so quickly.  The characters at the quilting bee were just as interesting as the main characters and added so much to the story and the outcome.  I hope that you get this book and check out the great story and characters.  I know that you will fall in love as much as I did!!!

** I was provided this book for my honest opinion and review from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Menu Plan Monday






Monday- Sloppy Joes with mac and cheese
Tuesday- Leftovers
Wednesday- Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday- Chicken nuggets and homemade fries
Friday- Pasta
Saturday- Leftovers/Chinese
Sunday-???

I had the week planned out and then I found out that we had company coming earlier then expected so things moved around again.  We need to eat the leftovers in the fridge in order to make room for all the stuff that my mom brings with her for her to eat.  We are hoping that doing leftovers for one night will make that happen but if it doesn't, then we will replace one of our other nights with leftovers of things are going into the freezer.  I have a bunch of things that can be frozen if it comes to that.  I am hoping to have a good week because I know that next few weeks are going to be crazy because I have to feed 5 people breakfast, lunch and dinner and I have only four days planned.  It is going to be a busy way to spend the new year.  Here is hoping that you have a calm week too!!!

The Homecoming Book Review

I had this book on reserve for a long time because there was a long wait.  It was new and then I had to wait for the other people to read it in line before me at the library.  Although I love the library system, sometimes the wait makes me want to run out and buy the book but  The Homecoming (Thunder Point)  by Robyn Carr came in!!  I read a bunch of other books while I was waiting so no real loss.  I was super excited to get started after I got it from the library.







In a small town, reputation is everything and Seth is returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live.  At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point while in high school. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.



Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he's been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he's become a better, humbler version of his former self.



Winning over his father isn't the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he's finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?



I loved it!!!  I love the characters, town and writing of Robyn Carr!!  As always, she isn't one to disappoint but these characters were instantly in my heart.  I totally related to their situations and was pulling for the characters to have a happy ending.  The best part of her books is that they involve characters that you already know from previous books but add new characters you haven't met as the main characters to bring them into the fold of the small town that you already know and love.  I am going to try to get some of her older books since I have read all of her new books and all the books in the series.  I can't wait for the next one to come out but I am putting her old ones on my library reading list for next month.  I hope that you check out any of her books especially this one.  Not every book had a happy ending but I love the way that things are resolved regardless.  I hope that you add this to you reading list soon.  Let me know what you think of this one and any of her other books.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: What did I Do This Week?

I have had a hard time coming up with new ways for you to save money since I have been doing this for so long so I haven't been writing a Thrifty Thursday post.  I was going to go back and write some of my old ideas over again because some of my early posts are really bad but I decided after reading a new blog that I found that I should write a list of things that I did during the week to save money.  Normally this post would be on Thursday but since I was trying to figure out what I did for the week, I just used this week and didn't do it from Thursday to Thursday.  I will try to do better next week!!!

Thrifty


-Returned library books on time with no late fees and got new books to enjoy

- Went to Lego Kids Club at the library so that my son could play Legos with other kids 
  • I got to write a few blog posts and return some library books while he was in there and he had a blast!

-Made American Sandwich Bread for sandwiches
  • I try to make a loaf every Sunday but this week we had a little bit of bread left because we used two loaves last week instead of two so I didn't have to make until Monday.  recipe found here
-Cut coupons
  • I was so behind on cutting coupons with three inserts that I needed to get cut and I still have this weeks in the pile but I got caught up.
-Got coupons for free
  •  I went to the library and got the free local paper so that I would have the coupon inserts this week at no cost. 
-Went to store for only one item that we needed
  • People say that the biggest way that they loose money is that they go to the store for one thing but get tons.  I don't get anything that isn't on my list unless it is an amazing deal.  We needed some ham lunch meat for my husband so I got the one that was on sale and used my coupon to only pay $2.50.
-Flavored oyster crackers to have a yummy snack
  • I get cheap oyster crackers at Aldi and then I use the Kernel Popcorn seasonings (got on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond) and Molly McButter (free after coupon) in order to flavor the crackers to make them a happy treat in my husband's lunch instead of sending his favorite Cheese-Its because they are expensive.  My husband ate them all because they were so good but sadly we are out of his favorite seasoning which was the Garlic Parmesan which was the Kernel's seasoning with the purple top.  recipe found here

-Made loaf of applesauce bread
  • I got a bunch of applesauce free with coupons at Harris Teeter during the last super doubles and I have been using them to make yummy applesauce bread.  There are some with the cinnamon that I used this time which adds a little extra flavor to the bread but either is wonderful.  Super great if you have some apples getting mealy too.  recipe found here
-Made Homemade Cookies
  • As a thank you gift, I made a batch of mint chocolate chip cookies and we got to eat the "extras."  I made that kind because I had a bag of the special chocolate chips in the freezer and I wanted to use them up.  I am going to make another batch because I have to delivery 2 dozen cookies to the teachers on Monday.
-Leftover Nights
  • We were going to get pizza before going to see Santa because there wasn't a lot of time but I got my son food (leftover Spaghetti) on the table and made food for my husband (Buffalo Chicken Rice) to take because he was holding us a space in line.  We also creatively used the leftovers the next night to have chicken Parmesan and waffles..for different people not on the same plate.  It is always great to use all the leftovers in the fridge so that you don't waste any money.
-Spent Kohl's money
  • Super excited about this great win because there was a new item added to the list for Santa and it was on sale and I used the money to get a $30 toy for $1.43.   

Frugal Flops


-Haircut for everyone in the family before pictures with Santa
  • We all really needed to get some haircuts because we were starting to look a mess and each of us get a haircut for under $20 but it is still a big expense so we try to stretch it out as far as we can between cuts but this is our only time that we get a family picture during the year so we are all set.
-Went through the Spice and Seasoning Cupboard to clean out
  • I had to throw out sliced almonds because I put them in the cupboard instead of in the basket where we put the salad toppings because I was using them for another recipe so they never got used.  I also made a bread crumb mixture with cashews and corn flakes that was for a chicken tender recipe that I used to use and I didn't use them before the nuts went bad.  Super sad to trash and not use things in the proper time but that happens.
How did your week go??  Overall, I think that ours went well.  I know that I am trying my hardest especially at this expensive time of year.  I have gotten almost all of the Christmas presents wrapped and I am going to try to finish tonight if I stay awake.  Here is hoping that I can get everything dropped off where they need to go before the holidays with only one week left before school break!!  Are you ready for the holidays??  What did you do that was frugal this week?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Love Without End Book Review

I am not sure what caught my eye on this book but I thought that it had a great cover when I got it.  Love Without End (A King's Meadow Romance) by Robin Lee Hatcher has a field with horses and a couple holding hands.  It looked like a great book and I wasn't disappointed.


For two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.
Kimberly Welch lost her husband to a heart attack in the blink of an eye. But she’s losing her daughter slowly, in the day-to-day tension. In three difficult years, Kimberly has gone from Seattle socialite to Kings Meadow charity case, and her daughter is not responding well to the changes. She’s becoming a sullen, cantankerous teen.
Chet Leonard lost his teenage son in a car accident. Then his wife abandoned him and their two remaining boys. He tries to keep his mind on the family ranch, but if the last two years have taught him anything, it’s that sometimes you just have to let the memories hurt. Let the memories hurt, and leave well enough alone.
But when Chet volunteers to help tame Kimberly’s daughter’s horse, everyone gets more than they bargained for . . . especially when eighty-four-year-old Anna McKenna shows up.
Nana Anna has reappeared in Kings Meadow after decades away, bringing with her the magnetism and transformative joy that come from a life well lived . . . just the kind of magic that a couple of unlucky-in-love single parents need to conjure up a little courage and raise a new family from the ashes of tragedy.

I loved the book and had trouble putting it down once I started.  I loved the characters and writing in this book.  This is the first time that I have read this author but I love the series and can't wait to read the next one!!!  I was routing for ranch and all of the family but mostly Chet finding love with Kimberly.  I loved Nana Anna who wasn't even part of the family but was adopted into the family and knew all of the history of the ranch and members of the family.  There are lots of ups and downs in the story with the baggage that each person brought into the relationship but it is great to see all of the changes in the people and situations.  I hope that you pick up this book and see what happens!!  I promise you won't be disappointed from beginning to end.  You will be with me waiting for the second one in the series to come out!

** I was provided this book for my honest opinion and review of this book from Litfuse Publishing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Puffy Sugar Cookies

I found a new recipe for Easy Sugar Cookies and I added it to my list to make immediately.  Check out the original recipe on Cleverly Simple because she has a lot of great recipes!!  I thought that it would be perfect to make for Thanksgiving dessert.  I was making pies but I know that my son doesn't do pies and some other kids might not either so I figured that cookies would be good. 

Put in the sugar and the butter to cream together in the mixer.


After they mixed together, they were really creamy but not fluffy.



After the eggs were incorporated, the mixture was light and fluffy.


I added the vanilla and it just turned a little brown which made it look like all of my other cookie batter.


The different ingredient that I only use in snickerdoodles was the cream of tartar.  I bought it after my husband declared that they were his favorite cookies and haven't used it since so I decided this was a good idea to try.  I added the dry ingredients and mixed together.  I know you are supposed to mix dry ingredients together first but I don't like to do extra dishes so I always put them in the mixer directly and haven't had any problems.  If you want to save dishes too, try it!


The dough looks like the base of chocolate chip cookies or some sugar cookies but it was mighty tasty!  It was hard to stay out of.  I put it straight into the refrigerator to cool and make sure that it gets a little more solid.  I know that it is horrible to eat raw dough but I can't help it!!!



After the dough is cold and more solid, I used the cookie scoop to make even sized cookies.  I used orange sprinkles to roll them in but you could also use regular white sugar.  I wanted to make something festive since I was bringing these to Thanksgiving dinner for the kids after dinner.


I put them on my Silpats to make sure that they didn't stick and because I always cook on them.  My son helped me with this step so there was a lot of sprinkles that ended up on the Silpat too.


After they cooked, they were still puffy and stayed puffy even after cooling.  The addition of the cream of tartar really changes the texture of the cookie and how they react to baking.  I think that next time I will take them out a little earlier because I left them in a little longer because they were larger then called for in the recipe but they were still super tasty.


The cookie has the sprinkles all the way around and has a nice shine to them to make them look like they are coming from a fancy bakery.  They would be perfect in red and green for Christmas so I will probably be trying them again soon.


I got a whole big container full and enjoyed eating the few that wouldn't fit in the top.  I just wanted to make sure that I tested them hot out of the oven as well as after they cooled so that I could give you my best review.




Puffy Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 c margarine
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2¼ c all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tarter
Instructions
  1. Cream sugar and margarine.
  2. Add egg and mix well.
  3. Add the vanilla.
  4. Combine flour, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer. Mix well.
  5. Chill the dough for at least one hour or when you have enough time to make them.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop a small amount of dough into your hand and roll the dough.
  7. Roll the ball of dough around in sugar until fully covered.
  8. Place on cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat and  bake in a 375 degrees oven for 10 minutes.
Notes:
-Use parchment paper or Silpat to avoid sticking to the pan. 
-Chill dough in between batches if not making them quickly to maintain thick dough

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Swept Away Book Review

I was excited to see another Quilted book in the series so I signed up for it quickly when
Swept Away: Quilts of Love Series by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven came on the list.  I was excited to get it but it wasn't showing up.  It was a week before I was supposed to put up the review and I still didn't have the book.  I wrote the publisher and asked if I was on the tour and should be expecting the book.  She said that they were mailed but something happened with the post office.  I ended up getting it later through UPS so I guess there was something really wrong with the first delivery.  I was excited to see it arrive and I thought that wouldn't be able to read it in time but that wasn't a problem.  I picked it up and couldn't put it down!!



In 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 his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew 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 researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

I enjoyed the book and read it way too fast.  It was a great book with great characters.  I immediately loved Sara Jane and Andrew and was rooting for them to get together.  Who wouldn't love Grandma!!  She was everything that anyone would want in a grandmother and you could see how she would tell other people to call her grandma and they would.  With ups and downs in the book, there was a lot of happy moments and sad moments (a few that needed a tissue).  Feeling the characters means that it is a good book with great writing and this had both.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the Quilted series.  I know that you will enjoy it!!!

** I was provided a copy of the book for my honest opinion and review from Litfuse Publishing.