Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fall Into Reading Wrap-up

Well, it's Christmas day and I am finally getting around to my Fall into Reading Challenge wrap-up post. I am happy to say I at least started every book on my list. I used this challenge to shrink my to-be-read pile down to a slightly more manageable size. is my list and how I rated each book.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff  ~ 4/5
Jillian Dare by Melanie M Jeschke ~ DNF
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom ~ 5/5
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith ~ DNF
Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton ~ DNF
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz ~ DNF
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee ~ 5/5
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner ~ 4/5
A Distant Music B J Hoff ~ DNF
Bad Ground by Dale Cramer ~ 4/5
In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett ~ DNF
The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz ~ 4/5
I really enjoyed Demon: A Memoir. It was very different, and gave me a lot to think about. In the non-fiction department, I enjoyed The Hiding Place. I had never read it before. It was a very uplifting story. Some of it was sad, but it gives so much hope in the middle of very bleak circumstances. I highly recommend it.
Well that's it for fall. I can't believe the year is almost over. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and have a happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: Lonestar Angel

I was recently given a copy of Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble to review on my blog. This is the forth novel in the Lonestar series. Overall, I enjoyed this story. It isn't my usual genre, but it had an interesting plot, and characters with good chemistry.

In the beginning of the book, Eden is reunited with her estranged husband Clay. He has received information that their daughter, who was abducted as an infant, is living on a ranch for foster children. Clay and Eden take the position of dorm parents for a house full of five and six year old girls. They only know that one of the girls is theirs, but they don't know which one. The rest of the book deals with their relationship and trying to solve the mystery of their missing daughter. One issue I did have with the story was the lack of police involvement. Eden and Clay found themselves in some very dangerous situations, and law enforcement was barely mentioned.

As I said earlier, this is book four in a series. I haven't read the three previous books. I thought this book worked fine as a stand alone, but I could tell I had missed a lot of back story on some of the secondary characters. Overall, I liked this book. I would recommend it to someone who enjoys romantic suspense.

I received this book free from Book Sneeze for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

Today, for dinner, I'm making Slow Cooker Lasagna. Whenever I say that I make lasagna in the slow cooker, I get funny looks. Yes! You can make lasagna in a slow cooker. Yes! It tastes good. My family actually prefers it made this way instead of the traditional on the stove then into the oven method. I personally have never met a lasagna I didn't like, so I'm flexible on the preparation method. This way is very easy, though, and you get it going early in the day. The house smells great all afternoon, and you just set the plates out at dinner time.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
8 lasagna noodles
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/3 cup water
1 lb cooked hamburger or sausage
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Break 4 of the noodles into pieces and put in the bottom of the pot. Combine the water sauce and meat. Put half of it on the noodles. Drop half the ricotta cheese by spoonfuls on top of the sauce mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese. Repeat all the steps with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 5 hours. Very good and very easy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review:Jesus Calling Devotional Bible

Recently, I was given an opportunity to read and review the Jesus Calling Devotional Bible edited by Sarah Young. This Bible includes 260 prayers with devotional answers from Sarah Young's books, scriptures highlighted throughout the text, and an index to the devotions. The copy I received is a hard cover, NKJ version.

I have found the set up of this Bible  to be fairly easy to follow. The devotions are organized into subjects and indexed in the front. Some of the subjects are abiding, brokenness, hope, joy, peace, and worship. You simply choose the subject you want to read and go to the indicated page. The devotions are on a two page spread with a prayer on the left side and the devotion on the right. Sarah Young's devotions are unique, because they are told in the first person from God's point of view. I really enjoy this writing style. It's very personal, and has given me a new perspective on God and his word. The only problem I had with this Bible came when I was looking up particular passages. The devotion pages are not numbered, and the prayer pages are numbered halfway down the page. This cause a little confusion, but overall I liked the set up.

This is a beautiful devotional Bible that I think most Christians would enjoy. I think the writing style would be preferred by women, but men might enjoy it, too. It would make a lovely gift, and, because the devotions are not dated, it can be given at anytime of the year.

I received this book for free from Book Sneeze for the purpose of review.

Book Review: A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

I recently read A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner. This is the Third book by her that I have read, and I have enjoyed them all She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The story is about ghosts, a creepy house, second chances, and letting go of the past. It is set in two time periods, the present day and the Civil War. The author uses both of these setting to tell a interesting story that spans generations. One of the most important characters in the story is Holly Oak, an antebellum mansion that has been in the same family for generations. It seems to have a mind and personality of its own. I really enjoyed this book. It was part mystery, part love story. I would recommend it to readers who like historical fiction.

This book was given to me free by Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011

Well, today is the first day of fall. That means cooler weather should be coming our way...eventually. I'm planning on lots of Starbucks this fall and lots of reading. Callapidder Days is hosting the Fall Into Reading challenge again and I have my list ready. I picked most of these books randomly, so there really isn't much rhyme or reason to my list.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff
Jillian Dare by Melanie M Jeschke
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee
A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
A Distant Music B J Hoff
Bad Ground by  Dale Cramer
In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett
 The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz

I've had some of these books a ridiculously long time, so I am looking forward to getting them read. Or at least deciding not to read them. We'll see how it goes. I'll give an update and some book reviews in December when the challenge is over. Wow! By then it will be almost Christmas! Oh well, happy fall and happy reading.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: The Skin Map

Kit Livingstone always thought his grandfather Cosimo had deserted his family. He went to the market one day and never returned. Imagine Kit's surprise when Cosimo shows up almost one hundred years after his disappearance and tells Kit and amazing story of traveling through time. Kit is a little skeptical, until he makes the journey for himself. This is how The Skin Map begins.

The Skin Map is a fun beginning to The Bright Empires series by Stephen Lawhead. Throughout the story, the characters travel through "leys" which are roads that lead to parallel universes. All of these universes have been mapped out by a previous traveler and tattooed on his body. When he died, the map was removed and eventually lost. Kit and his friends must find the map before it falls into the wrong hands.

The Skin Map is a fast paced, enjoyable story. The time travel element makes it easy for characters to show up in unexpected places, and, some times, to get lost. I had some trouble keeping track of everyone. I had to go back a couple of times to figure out who was where and what they were doing, but overall it was a fun read with enough suspense to make me want to read the next book. I would recommend The Skin Map to anyone who enjoys the Science Fiction or Alternate History genres.

I received this book free from BookSneeze for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: Desiring God by John Piper

Well...I am going to come right out and say it. I really struggled reading this book. I agree with with what the author is saying, but I found it very difficult to read. It came highly recommended by my father-in-law who is a pastor, so I know it's good. I have read two other books by John piper that I really enjoyed. He has a very warm writing style. I think the content was a little too technical for me right now.

I received this book for free for the purpose of review from Waterbrook Multnomah.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Can't Mess Up Kindergarten

I was talking to my niece a few weeks ago about home schooling. She has a pre-schooler and she  was sharing some of her concerns about starting up, so I thought would share some of the resources I've used over the years. I don't do formal schooling until kindergarten, and even then I keep it light and fun. I have home schooled 2 Kers, and they have both turned out fine. My mantra is "you can't mess up kindergarten". are some of my favorite resources and curricula.

Five in a Row: This is what I use as my spine. It uses literature based unit studies to cover social studies, language arts, fine arts, applied math (I don't do formal workbook math until 1st grade), and science. There is a list of picture books in the front of the book. Each week you choose a book. Everyday you read the book and cover one subject. There are several lessons to choose from. You can do as many as you want or only do one. I have used this since the first day I home schooled. I love it.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: This is the reading curriculum I used. It's pretty dry, but it gets the job done. After the whole manual is completed your child should be reading at about a 2nd grade level.

A Reason for Handwriting: This is a traditional handwriting approach. It uses scripture for practice which makes it easy to incorporate Bible memory into your routine.

That about sums up how I did kindergarten. We were always done by lunch time, which left the afternoon for rest, free play, and lots of snuggling on the couch with a good book. As far as socializing goes, I never did much outside of church activities and programs. If your church doesn't have much for school age children I would recommend finding an AWANA program or something similar in your area. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have about home schooling. Just remember: You can't mess up kindergarten!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July Reads

I had a great reading month. I love looking back over what I read and seeing what I liked and didn't like. Did I read all about one time period, or was my reading diverse? This month it was pretty diverse, and that always gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And, without further ado, here is my reading list for the month of July.

*She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems by Caroline Kennedy
This was a really beautiful book. Caroline Kennedy collected the poems and put them into different categories such as love, work, marriage, motherhood, etc. I appreciated the fact that she chose to include several passages of scripture like 1 Corinthians 13, Song of Songs 2 and 3, Proverbs 31, and Ruth 1:16-17. She also included a prayer by St. Theresa of Avila and The Shaker Hymn. There was a section with poetry about lovemaking that made blush, and several rather blunt poems about menopause and a young woman's coming of age.

How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser
This is a fictional biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her relationship and marriage to Robert Browning. It was a little slow in the beginning, but picked up once Robert started coming around. I learned some interesting things about Elizabeth. She was very sickly most of her life, and her father was a controlling tyrant who wouldn't let any of his children marry. This was an excellent follow up to She Walks in Beauty.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
In my old age, I have grown tired of beautiful people falling in love with beautiful people. There is none of that in Jane Eyre. She is plain and he is downright ugly, but she is the only truly good thing in his life, and he is dark and mysterious. They can't help but fall in love. If you've never read Jane Eyre, I would recommend you do. It's long, and you may not like it, but please give it a try. Watching a movie version is not enough. So much scripture is quoted throughout this book, and they never put that in the movies. It was also wonderful to see a heroine committed to doing what was right even though it brought her grief. I read this book in high school, and enjoyed it. I read it as an adult and adored it. I want to be Jane Eyre when I grow up.

*The Virginian by Owen Wister
This was a very different book for me. It's a romantic western set in the 1890's.  The language was a little hard to get used to, but ,overall, I enjoyed it. That Virginian was quite a man.

*Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
This was my first Maeve Binchy book. I had been meaning to read her for a while, but had never gotten around to it. So many books.... Her books are all set in Ireland. This one was set in a small community in Dublin. I liked the book and it moved along quickly. It was about a young man who finds out he has fathered a child. The mother dies and wants him to raise the baby. The story centers around him and the people in the community who help him get his life together so he can keep the little girl. It isn't a romance. It's just a book about people and their lives, but I found it charming.

Unspoken by Francine Rivers
This was not my favorite Francine Rivers book. It is about Bathsheba and David and all that mess. A quick read, but not a great one.

Fireflies In December by Jennifer Valent
I didn't know much about this book going in, but it turned out to be a really great read. It's a coming of age story about a girl in the depression era south. She and her family take in her best friend after she is orphaned. Her best friend is black. This causes problems in their (racist) community. It was a great story, although sometimes I felt the protagonist was a little stupid, and I wanted to shake her. I cut her some slack since she was only 13. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

*Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosney
I was worried this book was going to be one of those books you have to slog through. You know the kind...heavy, depressing, and preachy. It wasn't any of those things. It centers around a journalist's investigation of the round up and deportation of  French Jews by the French government. The Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Most of them were children and most of them were killed. The journalist's discoveries change her life and the lives of the people around her. It was a very bittersweet story. I'm still thinking about it.

*This is not a Christian book. There may be some bad language and other "stuff " in it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Reads

Here is the lowdown on my reading this month.
Dearly Loved ~ Bonnie Blythe ~ B
Cute chick-lit/romance. I got it for my Kindle for 99 cents. I think it was self published, but still a good read. A man walks back into a woman's life. They were 'friends' in high school. She was a nice girl, he was a player. Now he wants to settle down and get serious.

Last Light ~ Terri Blackstock ~ B
Good, fast paced thriller/mystery. I got this one free for my Kindle. Something causes all technology world wide to stop working. The book focuses on one family learning how to survive with no electricity, cell phones, xbox, get the picture. There are three more in the series that I want to read eventually. I will say the writing was not all that great, and one of the characters was really annoying, but the story was fun.

Dug Down Deep ~ Joshua Harris ~ A
Review here.

On Who is God ~ Mark Driscoll ~ A
Another Kindle Cheapie. Very good, short, easy to read explanation of  God and why we believe what we believe. There is a series of these books on different aspects of the Christian faith, and I hope tho read them all. Highly recommended.

The Great Divide ~ T. Davis Bunn ~ B-
I originally gave this book a C+, but I decided that was a little harsh. It is a political/legal thriller which aren't really my cup of tea. It is about a lawyer who takes on an unwinable case against the Chinese government and a large American corporation. There is a good twist at the end.

The Potluck Club ~ Linda evens Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson ~ B+
Kindle freebie. I liked this book. It reminded me of The Yada Yada books. A group of friends meet every month to 'pray' together. Mostly they eat and gossip. By the end of the book they begin to know what real prayer looks like, and have grown closer together. There are some yummy sounding recipes at the end of the book too. I plan to read the next 2 in the series as soon as I can get my hands on them.

Alice's Tulips ~ Sandra Dallas ~ B+
Disclaimer: This is not a Christian book. That being said I really enjoyed it. It is clean, and I don't remember any bad language. There are some adult themes, and the author gets her opinion about abortion in a couple of times.The story is set during the Civil War in Iowa. It is told in letters between Alice and her sister. Alice does a lot of growing throughout the book, which is good, because she starts out rather petty and selfish. Even though it is not a Christian book, Christianity is present and treated respectfully for the most part. I plan on trying out another book by this author at some point.

Well, it looks like the best books I read this month were theology books. I added my favorites to the side bar. If you read any of these let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Bless the Rains Down in Africa

Anna and I ended the school year in Botswana, Africa. It was a lovely visit, and we didn't even have to leave our home. We used a Five in a Row style unit study from Home School Share based on Honey, Honey, Lion by Jan Brett. It was a great end to the school year. The highlight of the study was making papyrus paper and drawing "hieroglyphs" on it. Here are some pictures and a list of the books we read for our study.

Lions ~ Gallimard Jeunesse

Anna and I had lot of fun learning this year. It is hard to believe she will be a 4th grader. This year really reaffirmed my love of literature unit studies. I plan to continue them next year, but with chapter books. I can't wait!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011 ~ Conclusion

Spring is over, and so is the Spring Reading Thing challenge at Callapider Days. I did pretty well this year. I had 10 books on my list, and I read most of them, gave up on a few of them, and am still reading one of them. Here is a break down of my list and how I rated each book.

Books I completed:
Sing ~ Lisa T Bergran ~ C
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ ~ John Piper ~ A
The Shadow Women ~ Angela Hunt ~ A
Thin Places ~ Mary DeMuth ~ A
The Pirate Queen ~ C-
Life in Defiance ~ Mary DeMuth ~ A

Books I gave up on:
The Moment Between ~ Nicole Baart
Paradise Valley ~ Dale Cramer
Green Rider ~ Kristin Britain

Still reading:
Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte

I had a lot of fun and read some great books. You can check out what the other participants did here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

I recently read Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris. It is a very readable and understandable study of systematic theology. The author has an engaging writing style, and effectively uses stories from his own life to get his message across. His explanation of the basic doctrines of Christianity is easy to understand. I would recommend this book to any one who wants to know more about their faith, and why we believe what we believe. I think it would be an excellent study for youth and young adults, and I plan to have both of my teens read it.

This book was given to me free by Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Swimming With the Penguins

Anna and I have spent the last few weeks doing a penguin unit study. We have have studied not only penguins, but also their habitats, predators, Antarctica, the Arctic, and the men who explored Antarctica and the Arctic. When we do a unit study, we incorporate as many subjects into it as possible. Instead of just doing science when we do an animal study, I find ways to work in social studies and language arts as much as possible.

We read lots of books when we do a unit study. I had a picture of the 14 library books I had checked out for Anna to read. Russty deleted it. He says he thought they were EBay pictures. Honestly! Here is a list of them: 
Antartica~Wendy Viero
Life Under ice~Mary M.Cerullo
Summer Ice~Bruce McMillan
Sir Earnest Shackleton~Hal Marcovitz
What's a Penguin Doing in a Place Like This~MiriumSchlein
Penguins~Gail Gibbons
Penguins and Polar Bears~Sandra Lee Crow
 The Emperor's Egg~Martin Jenkins
Penguins and their chicks~Margaret Hall
Penguins and Antarctica~Mary Pope Osbourne
Eve of the Emperor Penguin~Mary Pope Osbourne
Mr. Popper's Penguins~Richard and Florence Atwater
Black Whiteness~Robert Burleigh

Yes, Anna read them all. We also blubbered through March of the Penguins together. Anna has inherited my low tolerance for nature documentaries. For written work, I printed worksheets from Homeschool Share which is a wonderful resource for unit studies. Lots of free stuff. We put them in the scrapbook she has been working on this year. Here are some pics.

I am now working on a lion/Africa unit study to finish out the year. I'm so excited! I'll do a post on it when we're done.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Review:31 Days of Power by Ruth Myers

I received a free copy of 31 Days of Power by Ruth Myers from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review. This is the 2nd "31 Days" devotional book I have read, and I have enjoyed both of them. The focus of 31 Days of power is spiritual warfare. Every devotional reading is a scripture based prayer that focuses on a different spiritual warfare theme such as the power of God's goodness, victory, overcoming the world, etc. Ms. Myers has provided the scripture she used when writing each prayer for easy reference. At the end of the devotional is a short Bible study on the dynamics of spiritual warfare.
I think any Christian would benefit from reading this book. It is very practical, and easy to apply in daily life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saul:The Incredibly Tall, Shrinking Violet

I have been reading through the Bible this year, and I have finally made it to 1 Samuel. I have read about King Saul many times before, but I noticed something different this time. Saul had low self image problems. It says so in 1 Samuel 15:17: " And Samuel told [Saul], 'Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The LORD has anointed you king of Israel.' "

I have been thinking about this today. 1 Samuel 9:1-2 says Saul was tall, rich, and handsome, yet for some reason, he was never able to see himself as others did.The Bible portrays him as as a disobedient coward consumed with jealousy.

I have always found Saul to be a rather unsympathetic character. He is the antagonist in the story. I have always felt badly for his children who have to pay for his misdeeds. But, after reading what Samuel says to him, I wonder how often that can be said about me. How often does God look at me and say, "Jill, even though you may think little of yourself, haven't I anointed you to do my work?"

I don't want to be like Saul. I don't want to think little of myself and be unable to do the things God has anointed me to do. I don't want to be so busy looking at what others are doing that I am unable to accomplish His work. I want to see myself as God's child, chosen for his purpose, to do his will.

Thankful Thursday
unexpected gifts
being able to share God's word with my children
patio furniture

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: The Pirate Queen

Recently I read The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman. I was given this book for free by Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review. I really wanted to love this book, but I didn't. The premise was interesting. A southern socialite decides to leave her husband after 27 years of marriage because of his cheating. On the day she is planning to leave, he comes home and tells her he is dying.

The book deals with life and death, regret, forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. The writing is beautiful. Unfortunately, I just was never able to make a connection to the characters or the story. I expected to cry at the end, but I didn't. I didn't really feel anything for these people. I was also disappointed in the spiritual aspect of the story. It seemed  a little wishy-washy, and lacked any real answers. I got the impression the characters were searching for God, but so little time was spent on the search that I didn't buy into any decisions that were made regarding salvation and eternity.

 The Pirate Queen was a quick read, and the plot moved along nicely. Ms. Hickman has a lovely way with words. I just wish the characters and plot were a little more developed. I would give it a C-.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Penguins, Digestion, and Thankfulness

Another busy week is almost over. The girls have had a good week back in school, and Adam has been finishing up the tennis season in Ponte Vedra at districts.

Anna and I did a small unit study on food, nutrition, and digestion yesterday and today, and I am amazed at how intricate our bodies are. Did you know if our stomachs were not lined with mucus they would digest themselves? I'm glad God is detailed oriented! Next week we study penguins and the Arctic. I love penguins, so this should be fun. I checked out almost every book the library had on the arctic. I am hoping to end the week with March of the Penguins. I hope it isn't too sad. I don't do well with nature documentaries. They make me cry.

 Next week is a big week. Elin will be turning 14 on the 16th! That kicks off the official birthday season of the Hoke family. I will pretty much be baking cakes and cooking favorite meals from now til the end of may. Can't wait.

Here is this week's Thankful Thursday list:
long talks with Adam
a dogwood tree in bloom
being shown my flaws so I can correct them
laughing girls
my stomach lining
I would love to know what you are thankful for. And if you know of any great penguin resources, please share them!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday ~ March 31, 2011

I can't believe it's the last day of March! We're a quarter of the way through the year already. It was Spring Break for us this week which was nice. I really needed a break. I am ready for the school year to be over. I already have most of our curriculum for next year, and I'm ready to start organizing it. However, that seems a little premature with two months of school left.

I didn't do a Thankful Thursday post last week. We were out of town for the weekend, so I didn't get on the computer much. Here is this week's list:

seeing the moss on trees
spending less at the store than I thought I would
laughing with Russty
 people that love to praise the Lord
spending my Saturday ministering to others

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chick Flicks Part 2

Here is the continuation of the Hoke ladies' chick flick list. These are movies that got a thumbs up from all three of the the Hoke girls. We love to watch these again and again.

As you can see, we are big Disney fans. What movies do you like to watch with your girls?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011

Katrina over at Callipidder Days is hosting the Spring Reading Thing 2011 challenge. I love reading challenges, so I thought I would participate this year. I have chosen 10 books to read or finish (or eliminate) from my reading pile by June 21. I do reserve the right to change my list or just bail entirely if I feel like it.

Here is my spring reading list:
Sing: A novel of Colorado ~ Lisa T. Bergren
The Shadow Women ~ Angela Hunt
Thin Places ~  Mary DeMuth
The Pirate Queen ~ Patricia Hickman
Life In Defiance ~ Mary DeMuth
The Moment Between ~ Nicole Baart
Paradise Valley ~ Dale Cramer
Green Rider ~ Kristin Britain
Jane Eyre ~ Carlotte Bronte

You can check out what the other participants are reading here. I'll let you know how I did at the end of the challenge.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chick Flicks

My girls and I love to watch movies together. We compiled a list the other day of our favorites. These are movies all three of liked or loved. If anyone turned their nose up at the suggestion, it didn't make the list. We found that we like a lot of movies, so I'm going to split them into two different posts. Here is the first list in no particular order:

As you can see, we are somewhat partial to Jane Austen adaptations and fairy tales. I will post the rest of the list next week. I know you will be waiting on the edge of your seats.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Here are some more things I am thankful for:

seeing bunnies run across the yard
little boys learning to be good
how happy Adam is when he wins
teenagers with clear skin
hearing the  mocking birds sing

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

For the past few weeks I have been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Ann is a home school mom, farmer's wife, and blogger. I have enjoyed reading her blog posts for a few months, so when her book was published I grabbed it as soon as I could. It came from her experience of counting her blessings and finding things to be thankful for even in the midst of trials. While I was reading, I was inspired to start my own thankful journal. I thought I would share some of these blessings on Thursdays. Here are some of the first ones on my list.

~seeing the first robins of spring
~new growth on the maple tree
~signs of spring
~free books
~God wants to share his wisdom and love with me

I am looking forward to sharing with you. It is amazing how much my perspective changes when I concentrate on how blessed I am. Feel free to share your blessing s as well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Favorite Movies

I am a movie buff. I like nothing better than going to the theater and seeing a really great movie with my family. This doesn’t happen very often, because the cost of a movie ticket is ridiculous. Most often we watch our movies at home. I have noticed lately it is getting harder to please everyone in my family with our movie choices.I guess it's the age spread. It seems there is always someone bored or unhappy or rolling their eyes. I have found a few movies we all can agree on. I thought I would share them with you in case you needed some ideas for a family movie night. These are all G or PG rated and fairly non-controversial:

These were movies that got a thumbs up from all five of us. What are some of your favorite family movies?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review

By  Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long, and Kathleen Fuller
Published by Thomas Nelson

Recently I read An Amish Love, a collection of three Amish novellas. Each of these stories follows an Amish couple and their struggle to find love and forgiveness in their daily lives.

Healing Hearts by Beth Wiseman deals with Levina and Naaman Lapp who have been married for thirty years. They have been trying to get to know each other again now that their children have all left home and started families of their own.

In A Marriage of the Heart by Kelly Long, Abigail Kauffman gets more than she bargained for when she tells a lie and finds herself married to a handsome newcomer with a secret past.

What the Heart Sees by Kathleen Fuller shows us that true love and forgiveness come in God’s time.

I really enjoyed reading this collection of stories. They were easy and quick to read, but still contained messages to think about. The characters were realistic and well developed. The book also has a glossary of Amish words and definitions, and recipes for several of the dishes mentioned throughout the book.  I would recommend An Amish Love to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction or romance.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://booksneeze®.com/> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Books

I know this is a little late since we are 12 days into 2011, but I wanted to list my favorite books from last year. I would say I have been too busy to post, but that wouldn't be true. I'm never really that busy. I just haven't gotten around to it. So now I am. I read a total of 54 books last year, and my faves were:

                                              Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers
                                              After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
                                              Summer Snow by Nicole Baart
                                              Beneath the Night Tree by Nicole Baart
                                              Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
                                              Home To Harmony by Phillip Gulley
                                              The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
                                              Blue Like Play Dough by Tricia Goyer
                                              Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
                                              Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin
                                              The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck
                                              The Restorer's Journey by Sharon Hinck
                                              Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
                                              Daisy Chain by Mary Demuth
                                              Radical by David Platt

Some new authors I discovered that I have really enjoyed are Nicole Baart, Mary Demuth, and Susan Meissner. Check them out if you have some extra time. What were your favorites last year?