Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Book Review: As the Tide Comes in

First off, sorry for the two posts in one day. Or, maybe I’m not….I dunno. I guess, I’m sorry if it seems like too many posts for you and not if you enjoy hearing from me twice in one day…And this could be an irrelevant start to my post if you are reading this after the initial day…(insert awkward silence)…..

Ok, then! Moving right along. I finished this book actually a couple of weeks ago. I was very lucky to get chosen to be part of the launch team and did get a pre-release copy of the book. With that, I wanted to wait until closer to the release date to actually write my review. But, y’all! This was such a great read! I had a really hard time waiting to tell you guys about it. It is released in 1 month! Or August 21st. This is one of those books, that you’ll want to put on your must-read list.

Without Further Ado, here is my review.

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As the Tide Comes in by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Tara Abbot was raised in the foster care system and as an adult took on the responsibility of raising her half-brothers. When the unthinkable happens, she decides to go North Carolina. More specifically, St. Simons Island. She finds herself confused and scared and in the care of women who identify themselves as the Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter.

First off, make sure you have lots of tissues handy. This book brings the onions like no other I’ve read in a long time. It reached down and not only touched my heart but pulled and pulled until I walked away feeling as emotionally tugged on, exhausted, and thrilled as the characters in the story.

Woodsmall once again delivered an amazing story. I tend to read a lot of historical novels and novels with similar story lines. This was a refreshing change. This one takes a completely different approach and adds whole lot of heart to the story. The characters are rich and well-developed. They have some quirkiness which helps them seem more real, odd but real.

It’s nothing short of a work of art. Buy it. Read it. Thank me after you’ve let the tears (sorrowful and happy) flow. You won’t regret it.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I recommend this book for young adults or adults who love contemporary fiction and heartfelt stories that tug (and pull) on those heartstrings.

I did receive this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher as part of the launch team in exchange for an honest review.

What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you.

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Book Review: Jane of Austin

We just got back from a busy vacation to Chicago. I really love family vacations. I love it from beginning to end, the packing up the car to unloading it, the early mornings to late evenings, and the are we there yet moments to the finally we’ve arrived moments. I also love that it gives me time to read a book. It never fails, I’m either up before everyone because my internal alarm clock doesn’t quit or I’m up after the kids have fallen soundly asleep. This really shouldn’t surprise me. I’m almost always awake stirring around a quiet house. The nice thing about vacation is, I’m up stirring but I don’t have any charts to work on. And that’s a HUGE blessing.

So while in Chicago, I read Jane of Austin it was a wonderful escape. Here’s my review.

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Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

The Woodward sisters find themselves out of a home and their teas salon without a roof. This paired with their ever-looming father’s reputation, the girls must look for a new home and a new store front. In order to escape their father’s poor choices, they move from California to Austin, Texas to live with their cousin Ian. There they meet extended family, a Texas charmer, and a retired Marine captain.

This book has it all! It has a fantastic story backdrop of starting over and rebuilding lives in an unknown city. It artfully mixes in relationships both family and love interests. Toss in some love of baking and tea and you have a best selling, (quite) unique book.

At its core, is a theme of love, family and hard work. Despite the unfair circumstances, these girls learn the ongoing importance of family and honesty. They also learn a lesson on caution and not everyone is who they seem. Hard work is always there, whether its learning about a new-found disability, running a business, or working at relationships; it takes hard work.

What I love about this story is the uniqueness it brings to the Austin favorite. At the end of many chapters, the author has added recipes. Being a self-acclaimed baker and chef, I loved ready through and making note of which ones I would be going back to try. I also loved the added tea bits. There’s not a lot of this, so don’t worry it doesn’t take over the story. But it’s sprinkled in nicely.

This modern day spin on the classic Sense and Sensibility is well-written and certain to delight. The wit and charm will pull-you in and keep you reading.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I would recommend it to anyone who loved Jane Austin, contemporary novels, stories of starting over, or light romance. This book would be appropriate for young adults and older teens.

What are you reading now? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re reading and if you are enjoying it! I love to hear from you.

Beginning Prepper: Weekly Prep

Being pretty new at prepping, I try to do something weekly. This sometimes includes buying products or reading an article or inventorying my pantry. I’ve found doing a little each week, it feels less overwhelming.

This last week I made two purchases and I invested in my kids. My purchase this week was a paracord bracelet and laminated brochure about edible plants in the US. These purchases obviously have a lot of benefits. The paracord is a standard in most preppers bags. It also has benefits for hiking or camping. The edible plants brochure also has benefit for camping and hiking. It can also be helpful if you are playing at the park and want to identify if berries are safe.

The second activity I did was an investment in my kids. I took them fishing. I plan to repeat this next weekend. This was not only a fun activity but it is helping teach them a helpful skill. I truly enjoy spending time with the kids and seeing the joy on their face when we caught a fish.

Dear New House

Dear New House,

We’re very excited to have you join our family. We are, really. Even though we’ve only met you twice and the first time was just two weeks ago. We are anxious to make our relationship with you official. I hope this isn’t too fast for you.

It’s a bit fast for us. We had just started looking for you. My daughter is having some difficulty adjusting. You see, she loves the old house. Its all she’s known. She has so many memories with our old house. I know she’ll grow to love you too. I know the old house will soon become a memory. She is passionate and (sometimes) a bit stubborn. But until then, be patient with her. Be kind with her. And know. she will come around.

My son, he’s excited. I think you’ll find him a bit more rambunctious and easy going. He’s loved our old house too. Its also been the only house he’s known. But, he’s a bit more accepting to change. He will be teary, I’m certain with saying good-bye to the old house. And he’ll have days when he wants to go back. But I’m confident, he’ll be filling you with laughter and curiosity.

I and my husband are nervous. Anytime there’s such a large investment. We are get nervous because we too love this old house. We wonder, will the new be good for us? Will it be what our family needs? Will the neighbors accept us? Most importantly, will our children adjust?

So you see, we are very excited and a bit nervous to add you to our family. Thankfully we have a very short 1.5 months to adjust to the idea and say our tearful good-byes. We will be preparing and are looking forward to officially meeting you very soon.

Yours Truly,

A very excited (and nervous) future family

Book Review: Secrets by the Knoll

I stopped by a local bookstore several weeks ago and they were hosting local authors. This was a great surprise! Not only did I have the opportunity to purchase new books but I also had the opportunity to meet three local authors. One had written a child’s book, so I didn’t purchase it as I have no children at that age. The other two were murder mysteries. I have since finished one of the two books and starting the second one today.

Secrets by the Knoll by Julie Metros

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In the early 1900’s, Highland Park in Des Moines, Iowa was shocked by the murders of two children. The children were returning home following evening church when they were brutally attacked. This murder remains unsolved.  The Secrets by the Knoll is loosely based off this murder.

This story starts off modern day as a young women begins to learn about her family history. The reader is then transferred back in time and the story starts with you getting to know the family. Its a fun glimpse into the local history. It is obvious Metros spent a lot of time researching the area. I enjoyed her description of 1900’s neighborhood and city activities.

The characters are varied making the story interesting and easy to keep them straight in my head. I feel the male characters are best fleshed out. The dad’s love for his dead son is palpable. The middle son seems shady at best. I enjoyed how even some of the least important characters (like the coroner) got their own voice in the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading a bit of local history woven into a murder mystery. I’ve not read many local stories so this was a fun escape. Its a quick read for a sunny afternoon on the porch.

I give this book a 4/5 bookends. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a local read or an historical fiction. There is mild violence, alcohol suggestion. It would be appropriate for an older teen.

Meeting the local authors and getting a signed copy of their books was a lot fun! This was only the second I’ve had the opportunity to meet an author and have it signed. I would love to do this more. I need to track down a good way to find and connect with authors!

What are you reading? Do you read local authors? If so, how do you find them? Leave a comment and let’s chat!

Five Prepping Things You May Already be Doing

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. The kids were done with school this last Thursday. Something  I didn’t realize until this year is how much prep work and “tying things up” occurs at the end of the year. I’m not sure if I just didn’t notice it in previous years or if it’s just because my daughter is older and just finished 4th grade (which was an intensity I also wasn’t expecting but is for another blog post). That paired up with soccer season led to a very tired mama.

However, today I wanted to get a couple of posts up. One of those being a list of prepping things many people are already doing. I think when people hear the term “prepper” they automatically think of the extreme. Part of this is because of how television has portrays prepping. This makes it hard to talk to people about prepping if that’s what they are thinking about.

This list, I’m hoping, will help those who want to open-up conversation with non-preppers about prepping, provide information for those who are prepping-curious, and give others a starting point.

So without further ado, I present to you my list.

5 Prepping Things You Most Likely Already do
1) Shop bulk at Cosco or Sams Club. Shopping in bulk just 
makes sense, right? Most people shopping at the big warehouse 
stores are only there for the deals. Buying enough toilet paper to 
last one month is a convenience, right? Whether its toilet paper 
or canned foods, buying in bulk and having some stockpiled is one 
of the key ways people prep. 
2) Create weekly meal plans. Busy mom's everywhere will say meal 
planning is key to having healthy food on the table most nights.
Many who routinely do this will also say it helps to decrease 
waste as they are using the food more efficiently. The fact is, 
meal planning is a form of prepping. You are preparing for the 
week and planning ahead. That is truly the goal behind prepping, 
planning for the future. 
3) Keep blankets in the car during winter. If you are lucky to 
live where it snows or gets really cold in the winter, you've 
most likely been told by your parents, grandparents, and 
(sometimes) even the news to make sure there are extra blankets 
in your car. Most likely, you have a blanket (or two) in the 
backseat. Heck, you may even have a change of clothes if you 
commute outside of town just in case you get snowed in. If you do 
this, embrace your beginner prepping skills. 
4) Buy medications for 90 days instead of 30 days. In most cases 
getting a 90 day supply of medications just makes sense. It often 
times savesyou money but most importantly, it saves you time. You 
don't have to go to the pharmacy nearly as often. Well, in the
prepping world, having more medication on hand is incredibly 
useful and could save your life in case of a natural disaster. 
5) Go camping. Lots of people love camping. I was just at a 
campground last night and all of the 122 camping spots were full. 
Camping helps teach a lot of valuable skills such as starting and 
maintaining a fire. A good fire can help cook food and keep you 
warm. Camping can also help you begin to recognize plants like 
poison ivy.

So that’s my list. What do you think? Anything you add to this list? What do you do as a prepper that most non-preppers do? I’d love to hear from you.

BeeKeeping: Hive Inspection 1

Today I completed my first hive inspection. My goal was to find the queen and look for brood or proof of a laying queen. I saw the queen go into the hive with the installation. Overall, I feel quite comfortable she was still in there somewhere. However, with a new hive, losing the queen would be tremendous set-back.  So I need to make sure she is there.

Hive inspections through the year will look the same in process. However, the reason for hive inspections will vary. The main reasons to do an inspections are listed below.

The purpose of hive inspections
1) Check for a laying queen
2) Check for brood disease
3) Check for swarming signs
4) Check honey stores
5) Learn to recognize brood pattern
6) Learn to recognize drone vs worker brood

I was able to find my queen and she is laying well. I was excited to see brood cells which means she’s laying. We are good shape to start the season. I was pretty lucky to have honey frames from my husband’s hive to “jump start” mine.

Here are a few pictures from my inspection.

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Queen Abaddon and the girls 

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Me removing the first fram 

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Just Abaddon and some bees

That was my inspection today. I’ll probably check it again in a week to make sure we’re doing well. If the bees continue to grow well, I’m hoping to add an additional box in the next couple of weeks.