Sunday, December 07, 2014

An Amish Second Christmas - four novellas - a book review

This is a collection of four novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller,  Ruth Reid,  and Tricia Goyer all centered around the Amish tradition of the Second Christmas.  Christmas Day is reserved for remembering Jesus’s birth and the Amish try to keep it low keyed and faith centered.  The next day is what they call Second Christmas.  This is the day they ‘let loose” and celebrate.

Each novella is a stand alone story, long enough to be interesting and short enough to be a quick and easy read.  You’ll find smatterings of mystery, forgiveness, love, surprises, unexpected romance and most of all,  the thought that God always knows what is best even when it’s not what we expect.

At the end of the collection there is a section of recipes that are mentioned in each of the stories and at the end of each story there are questions for discussion groups.

This is what the publisher says:

"Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances. 
“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine  begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid
Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer
Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait."

This is a perfect book to read during this busy holiday season.  You can read one novella then come back later and read another one without feeling like you’ve been interupted.

You can purchase this book here or on Amazon by using the search box on the right side of this page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman - a book review and blog tour

Julie Lessman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  Her writing is imaginative, insightful and thorough.   This is the third book in her Heart of San Francisco series and focuses on the lives of the McClare family.  This story is basically a story about two women, Megan and her mother, Cait.  Each woman is wooed by two men and has to make a choice between them.  Lessman does a very good job of involving the reader in all the emotions that these women feel.  She develops the characters so completely that we feel we know them.  At the half way point in the book she has presented each man in a way that we are left to wonder who each women will choose.  At this point, each man, while imperfect, is likeable and a reasonable match for them.  I’m not going to tell you which man each woman chooses.  You’ll need to read it to find out.  The publisher says this:

She can turn the head of the man who spurned her--but can she turn his heart?

When Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris, no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty. But on the other side of the Atlantic, this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams. When she returns to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney's office, she's thrilled that her life is taking shape. But the exciting opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers she'll be working alongside Devin Caldwell, who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.

Bram Hughes is the best friend to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice. But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell, Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man? “

The story is set in the early 1900’s and it’s obvious by the descriptive passages, that the author researched the time period. She even goes into detail about how an early automobile is started.  I will definitely be reading the first two of the series.

I encourage you to go HERE and read an excerpt then look around Lessman's blog and learn more about her other books.

You can buy this book by going to the Amazon search box on the right of this page or by going directly to the publishers website.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and Baker Publishing Group through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

How I turned and old window frame into a kitchen pot rack

I've always loved the look of those kitchens with the hanging pot racks, showing all their shine-y pots and pans.  Unfortunately, with the type of ceiling we have in our kitchen, a hanging one is out of the question.  So I've been 'racking' my brain (pun intended)  to come up with a solution for my cast iron pans.  They have lived on my stove top forever lately and I wanted them off but still handy. Those suckers can be heavy and awkward to lift the older I get.  I also wanted my fourth burner back! Here's what I came up with.  I started with this:
An old window frame with the broken glass removed.  It had been stacked outside behind our garage for several years but was still in good structural shape.  It just needed the old flakey paint brushed off.
My next step was to give it a coat of paint.  I wanted to use latex indoor semi-gloss but I couldn't find my can. (I know it's here somewhere)  So I used an interior/exterior latex enamel high gloss.  I love the high gloss finish.  I had originally bought this paint to use on the doors and trim in my kitchen but after painting 2 doors with it, I went out and bought the aforementioned, mysteriously missing semi-gloss.  The enamel was more difficult to work with, it's much thicker than semi-gloss and builds up on the paint brush very quickly.  It does, however, leave a glass like shine and a finish that is really easy to clean.  I like the look of weathered shabby you can get just by rubbing the paint on the wood leaving an irregular finish, but since this is an old  piece, it more than likely has lead paint in it and I wanted to completely seal it.
I covered my dining room table with newpapers and got to work.  I figured I'd also paint the paper towel holder while I was at it.  They required 2 coats and probably could have benefited from a third but I was ok with how they looked after 2.
My husband kindly cut me two pieces of peg board to fit in the spaces.

The picture on the right above shows how I used nails to hold the pegboard in.  I used about 3 nails on each edge. I just hammered them in on the back side at an angle and then wacked them flat.  
Almost done!  See those two little holes at the top?  There was some sort of locking mechanism there that I removed when I painted it. I liked the look of it so I ended up putting it back on.

The next step was to finally hang it on the wall.  I made sure the screws I used were long enough to get a good hold, since cast iron is pretty heavy.  My wall is plywood,  (yep,  plywood) so I didn't have to worry about finding a stud to screw it into.  I bought a variety of peg board hooks to use but ended up just using a couple types of them.  The ones on the left are what I used for the pans.  I also used another type that isn't pictured.  I don't know why, but I'm really intrigued by the ones in the center but I couldn't think of how I would use them.  I bought the screw in ones to use along the sides for pot holders or small utensils but as of now, I haven't needed them.

Are you ready???

Ta-da !!!
And, because I'm so happy with it, I took more pictures.......

I still need to paint over the dark screws in the corners but that will only take a few minutes.
What do you think?    I LOVE it!

I'd love to hear about your latest projects.  Leave me a comment and let me know.

I'm linked up here:

My Turn for Us
City Of Creative Dreams
Creativity Unleashed link party!
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten - a collection of Christmas cheer

Where Treetops Glisten is a collection of three charming novellas centered around the Turner family. Each story is a heartwarming telling of the Turner family at Christmas time in the WW2 era told by authors Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin. Each author focuses on a different member of the family and tells their Christmas story. They take us on a nostalgic journey back in time, with all the stress and heartache that accompanied that time in history.  Through all the loss that war brings, we’re also reminded of the love and connection that family brings, especially at Christmas.  You’ll laugh, cry and rejoice together with the Turners as each of their stories brings them together in love and in faith. If you like the old movies form the ‘40’s, you’ll really like this collection.  Here is what the publisher says:

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime

Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?”

Each one of these stories as just long enough to engage you in the character’s story but short enough to fit into your busy holiday schedule.  So turn off the TV Christmas romance movie. You know the ones I’m talking about.  It will be on again anyway (wink, wink),  DVR it or if you still have a VCR like I do, tape it for later. Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and settle in for a touch of Christmas spirit.  You’ll be blessed!  Merry Christmas !

You can purchase this book from Amazon by going to the search box on the right side of this page. 

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, November 07, 2014

Honor by Lyn Cote - a book review

This story opens with the main character, Honor, at her dying grandfather’s bedside.  She has been raised a Quaker and has adopted her father’s belief that owning slaves is wrong.  Her grandfather is more concerned with keeping their plantation alive.  As a result, they disagree and her grandfather disinherits her.  He leaves his plantation to her cousin, who also marries Honor’s intended.  I won’t tell you how, but circumstances occur and Honor finds herself married and moving to the west.  Her husband is deaf and has held himself separate from most people because of his handicap.  As the story unfolds, we are drawn into a very distasteful part of our history.  Honor embarks on the dangerous path of abolition and bravely becomes involved in the underground railroad.  This story is very emotional and shows us the amount of courage the ‘conductors’ had, many of them women. We are taken on a journey filled with emotion, faith, suspense and love.

This is what the publisher has to say about it:
When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation—and the slaves she hoped to free—and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child.

A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly—though secretly—involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife?

Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.”

Click on the Amazon link on the right side of this page to go there when you're ready to putchase this book,  Thanks!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fruit flies are not my friends !

It's grape harvesting season here in my neck of the woods.  You can smell the sweet fragrance the minute you step out of your front door - yummy !  When you're driving down the road you're likely to see all sorts of grape-y equipment, trucks, tractors, pickers, etc...  The trucks are lined up in front of the processing plants loaded with tons of sweetness.  However, along with all this sweet goodness comes what I like to call, the scourge of the harvest - the awful, horrible, pesky, creepy, yucky fruit fly.  They are EVERYWHERE !  To say I hate them would be an understatement.  Now, before all the bug-lovers of the world start freaking out, I don't begrudge their existence.  They just need to exist outside, not in my kitchen!

I have learned not to leave fruit out during this season.  The little buggers can converge on a bunch of bananas like, well, like flies on fruit.

This is how I handle them.  I've looked on-line for solutions. If you've looked you have probably found the same well publicized DIY solution.  The cider vinegar in a bowl thingy.  If that worked for you - great.  It was not effective for me.

I started thinking...if they attack a bunch of bananas as ferociously as they do, why not just give them fruit?  So, I smashed up a piece of over ripe banana and put it in the bottom of a paper cup. At this point I tried the paper cone method that is used in the previously noted vinegar trap.  Again, didn't work for me.  This is what I ended up doing.  I stretched a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the cup.  I used a round toothpick and punched about 12 holes in it.  Then I stretched a second piece over that one and punched 3 or 4 holes through both layers.  I wiggled the toothpick a little to make these hole a smidge bigger.  Note: If you try this, don't make them too big.  Fruit flies aren't the sharpest critters and will easily find their way in but seldom find their way out, unless the holes are too big.  I made the mistake of making them too large the first time and watched the little buggers fly in , eat their fill, and fly right back out again.  Then I take a rubber band and put it around the cup to hold the plastic wrap on.
Caution:  the next picture is gross!  Really creepy !  So if bugs creep you out, don't look. 
This is what my trap looks like:

The grape-y color around the bottom are the grapes I used as bait, getting all nice and ickey.
And here's a shot of the numerous little devils that fell victim to my trap.

I keep my trap on the back of my sink.  Did you know fruit flies are also known at drain flies?  Apparently they like to live in sink drains. When it really starts to gross me out, I just throw it away (in a ziplock bag just to make sure there are no escapees) and make a new one.  I used grapes this time as bait but bananas seem to work the best and one time I tried tomatoes.  They were not as successful.

Let me know if you try this method and how it works for you. It's not the most attractive kitchen accessory but it does the trick for me!

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