Archives for June 2013

On My Bookshelf: Kiss My Aster by Amanda Thomsen

I received a book to review for this post. The opinions shared are 100% mine.

I realize that this is anathema to say in print, but some people just take gardening too seriously.  We have a neighbor who prunes and picks at his yard daily, leaving piles of brush right on the road.  How does he even have anything left to work on?!  Then there’s my other neighbor.  She sings and plays her harp to her plants, moving from area to area until each flower has had a serenade.  I’m sure they’re really fond of me.  (Dripping sarcasm in that statement, in case you missed it.)  I’m the gardener who throws some seed down and hopes for the best.  If it doesn’t grow, I just repeat and again hope for the best.    The wild, overgrown look is what I rarely go for but usually end up with.  Here’s the general appearance of my “flower beds”:

Kiss My Aster!!

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On My Bookshelf : Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung

I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

I have a bad habit of reading reference books from cover to cover. It happened again with Homegrown Herbs. Just look at the cover. It is Pinterest worthy, is it not? I just want to smell every photo and taste each concoction. Gardeners, consider yourself warned. Your families won’t see you for days after reading this book. You’ll be too busy to bathe or eat because you’ll be searching for places to sow these seeds of wisdom in your garden.

While I have been busy in my vegetable garden this summer, my herb garden has been miserably neglected. The once prolific parsley and basil plants struggled along while I’ve been distracted by snow peas and spinach. [Read more…]

I can’t believe it’s already the end of June.

I can’t believe it’s already the end of June.   Where has June gone?  It seems like school just dismissed last week.  Already a month has passed and I really have nothing to show for it.  Well, except for the very large dent in my To-Be-Read pile of books.  Of course, those open spots keep getting replenished with new books that I want to read, so that point is basically moot.   We did manage to get through two weeks of swimming lessons and one week of fossil camp.  Still, my grand plans of cleaning out closets and inviting friends over just haven’t come to fruition as of yet.  I still have July, right?

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Cover Madness Giveaway Hop featuring Home to Heather Creek Series by Kathleen Bauer

Enter to win the Cover Madness giveaway hop!

Welcome to the Cover Madness Giveaway Hop hosted by Alluring Reads and Xpresso Reads.  This giveaway event runs from July 1-14 and gives you the chance to win books that have recently revealed their new and exciting covers!   At Savings in Seconds, you have the chance to win 2 ARC copies of the upcoming Home to Heather Creek series.  The giveaway prize is being supplied by Litfuse Group so be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook to say thank you!!


The Home to Heather Creek books by Kathleen Bauer are in a new series published by Guideposts.  The first two books will be released this fall, so you are among the first lucky people to view the beautiful covers!  I’ve been a Guideposts reader for years.  I remember the first copy I picked up at my grandmother’s house.  We always had a quiet afternoon on Sundays after church when I visited her, and she kept the recent Guideposts issued on the coffee table.  When I read the first story, it instantly had me longing for more.  I loved the inspirational stories, the heartbreaking experiences, the challenges, and the prayers.  This was a publication that I was practically raised on.  In my house, it wasn’t easy to be a Christian.  My parents weren’t believers and they sometimes made it difficult for me to grow in my faith.  My grandmother planted seeds in my heart and watered them with Guideposts.  I’m so excited to read the upcoming Home to Heather Creek series.  I just know it will be a feast for my spirit. Enter these giveaways, too!
I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway. The opinions stated here are 100% mine.

What’s in YOUR emergency preparedness kit ?

I received product samples to facilitate this post.  The opinions shared here are 100% mine.

Today I want to share some cool products to add to your emergency preparedness kit — you do have one, right?   Don’t be ashamed if you don’t, because we didn’t have one either.  When the recent F-5 tornado swept through Oklahoma, it opened our country’s eyes to the helplessness one feels after a natural disaster.  While we can’t change what the weather will bring, we CAN take measures to prepare for it.

We recently had a tornado warning near our area and my daughter sprang into action.  She decided that we needed to head down to the basement and take cover.  First, though, she wanted to take the survival kit.  I was embarrassed to admit to her that we didn’t have one.  She got on her iPad and found a list telling her what to put together.  Here’s what she came up with:

What's in YOUR emergency preparedness kit? Hmmmm….something tells me this is not going to get us very far.  Fortunately for us, the tornado warning never reached our county.  We have a little more time to put together a proper emergency kit.  According to the TIME article I read about the May 31 disaster, residents only had 16 minutes’ warning to prepare for the arrival of the fatal tornado.   Sixteen minutes….I spend longer than that on a Pinterest binge.   It’s going to take a few hours, days, or even weeks to get a kit prepared for our family.    While you can find many lists that tell you what to pack in your kit, here are a few cool products that I plan to keep in ours. [Read more…]

On My Bookshelf: I Call Shotgun by Tommy Newberry (plus some freebie Nook and Kindle downloads)


When I had the chance to review I Call Shotgun by Tommy Newberry, I wasn’t sure how I felt about reading a compilation book of father-to-son letters. I decided that I would give it to my husband to see if he would enjoy it. Well, that didn’t happen. As soon as I got the book, I had to open it up. Then I couldn’t stop reading. While the letters do almost seem to be a private reflection, musings of a dad to his boy, the message was clearly there.  It’s a dad’s job to impart his experiences and wisdom upon his children.  So many kids in this generation don’t get the luxury of having both parents in their lives.   For single moms, I Call Shotgun might be a good reference book to know which topics to bring up with their boys.  The verbiage in parenting boys is so different from that with girls.  This book really helps to draw that line.  Additionally, it could be used as a jumping-off point for parents.   I don’t suggest handing this to your son and having him read it.  That completely defeats the purpose of sharing your values with your children.  Instead, consider the advice and ideals expressed in each letter.   Write your own thoughts in the margins, highlight the phrases you loved, mark out what you don’t believe.  Then take your ideas and share them with your child—either in conversation or write your own letters.  Either way, you and your child will both benefit by sharing a closer relationship.

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This month’s make-up — my favorites!

I received samples to facilitate this review. The opinions and experiences shared here are 100% mine.

This month’s make-up has been really fun to try.  In the summer I really pare down my style.  If you see me at the grocery store, you’ll probably be shocked at my beach bum look.  There’s very little make-up going on, with minimal effort on my hair, and the t-shirt/shorts combo does nothing for the overall appeal.  Oh well, that’s how I make summer relaxing.  In the reality, I do take a little more time on my skincare routine in the summer.  For one thing, we’re outside all the time so I have to remember to use sunscreen regularly.  Also, my skin gets super oily in the summer (yuck) and it takes extra product to keep it from being disgusting.    As I’ve aged, my pores have really started to show up.  My dad always had gigantic crater-pores and, hooray for me, I seem to have inherited that trait as well.   [Read more…]

On My Bookshelf: The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson

When I received my copy of The Quarryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson for this book tour, I kind of sighed.  Another Christian romance novel, I thought.   Although reading Christian fiction is one of my favorite past times, sometimes the storylines get played out.  Boy meets girl, they fall in love, a few Bible verses are sprinkled in throughout the story, the end.  Not so with The Quarryman’s Bride.  This book explores cultural differences of late 19th century immigrants, the development of unions, and the understandings of mental illness during the turn of the century.  Does that sound like your typical Christian romance novel?  I didn’t think so, either. [Read more…]

How we will help our family by buying food in bulk #sponsored by Zaycon

Most of us are cutting costs these days.   A few months ago, a friend of mine offered to share a side of beef with us at a very low cost.  There was so much meat that we couldn’t use it all, so my sister-in-law purchased some too.  We had most of our share ground up since that’s what we tend to use the most.  It seemed like we just had way too much, so when my husband’s parents visited a few weeks ago I sent them home with most of our beef.  I knew they would use it because they have extra people at home to feed on a limited budget.   I realized that we could share the savings on other bulk purchases.  Although most people try to split the costs, our parents just aren’t able to do that.  If we can help by making the initial purchase, it still benefits both families.  How we will help our family by buying food in bulk on meat?  I plan to explore the options that Zaycon Foods offers.  They will be sending me a large box of chicken breasts and I know that will come in handy the next time my in-laws visit.  We’ll be able to invite the rest of the family to eat at our house without worrying about the cost because we got such a good deal with Zaycon Foods.    We’ll probably send some of it home with them, too!  Now I just need to find a few new chicken recipes….maybe something on the grill?

Zaycon Foods -- have you tried it?

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Would you eat better if someone cooked for you? #Sponsored by Diet-to-Go

Did Hades freeze over?  Because I just had an AWESOME lunch from a diet dinner.   In fact, I am so stuffed that I can’t eat the accompaniments to go with the meal.  Someone check my temperature!!  And while you’re at it, we’ll have to check my weight in a few days too since I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have some weight loss after sticking with this plan.  Stepping out of my comfort zone and eating a mail-order diet meal wasn’t really on my radar.  I was pretty skeptical about trying it.  Boy, am I surprised and excited about the possibility of the Diet-to-Go program!   I’ve long said to my husband that I would eat healthier if I had the time to make my own separate meals.  Since that’s probably  not going to happen, I tend to just eat what my kids are having.  Okay, in your head you’re probably saying that I should just make them healthier meals, too.  You’re right of course.  In the long run, though, my kids are just meat-and-potatoes type children who wouldn’t touch a mushroom strata if they were paid to do it.  On the other hand, that’s exactly my cup of tea.  I just never have the time to prepare something like that for myself.  On a restaurant menu, you can be sure that it’s going to be the super fat laden recipe because that’s how most food is prepared at a restaurant.   With Diet-to-Go, it’s easy to have a healthy, delicious meal.  So easy, in fact, that you don’t even have to step out of your house to get it!  I received a sample of their meal program and couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it.

Would you eat better if someone cooked for you?  Check out Diet-to-Go. [Read more…]