Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Book Review: Scarlet

Good-evening! I’ve been pulled in a few different directions this month and wasn’t sure if I’d finish this book before the month end. Work is beginning to pick-up and the kids schedules picked-up. This is. of course, absolutely wonderful….except that it takes a bit away from my hobbies, like reading.

I’m guiltily sitting up here in my bedroom as my kids and husband think I’m watching one of my favorite shows which isn’t kid friendly. My wonderful husband is getting the kids into bed. In my defense, I THOUGHT my show was on right now. As it turns out, I’m an hour late! GAH! Guess I’ll have to stream it tomorrow night.

But my loss is your gain. Here’s my book review!

Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is now trying to break out of jail. If she manages to do this,
she will be the Commonwealth’s most wanted. Halfway around the world,
Scarlet’s grandmother is missing. Scarlet meets wolf and believes he
may hold the secret to where her grandmother may be. As Wolf and
Scarlet begin to unravel the mystery abduction, they find themselves
drawn to each. Cinder meets Wolf and Scarlet which throws them into
another mystery, waiting to be solved.

Meyer does a great job of building her characters. Each one has its
own uniqueness which makes them seem real. Scarlet’s character is
strong, independent yet dependent at the same time. Cinder is
determined, sassy, and kind. Wolf is cunning, intelligent and focused.
Personally, I can’t wait to see more of Scarlet’s and Cinder’s
interactions in the next book.

I love the new twist on the fairy tales. This one was the focus on
Red Riding Hood. The wolf in this story is cunning and daring. It
is hard to figured out which side he is on. Just when I thought I
knew, some new twist would make me question.

This book is excellently written. I loved the story and the characters.
I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the YA genre, mysteries,
or Sci-Fi. There are hints to romance, but it is very appropriate for
an audience of teens.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Have you red this book? If so, what did you think? What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you.


Book Review: God of Tomorrow

God of Tomorrow by Caleb Kaltenbach

It doesn’t happen very often when you read a book at just the right time. For me, this book was it. I read one chapter of this book at a time because I wanted to absorb the information. It addresses the issues of today by focusing us on the Bible and providing Bible passages to help guide us.  He helps us find hope today and tomorrow. Culture today is very polarized and it can seem hopeless. However, Kaltenbach reminds us God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is consistent. And many of the issues today were issue in Biblical times. In realizing this, the Bible can be a great resource when we are feeling worried and stressed today.

I found this book to be a fantastic read and incredibly timely in its release.

I give this book a 5 out 5 bookends.

I did receive a free copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review.

Book Review: Cinder

I’m working on my one book a month goal for 2018. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love to read. I’ve taken a bit of a break due to graduate school and studying for my certification test. That decrease, was part of the reason I wanted to make my goal of 12 books in 2018. I’ve missed reading. However, like anything, I had to get back into the habit of relaxing and reading. So, without further ado, I present to you, my book review.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Earth faces a potential intergalactic war with the mysterious 
Lunar people. The fate of Earth falls on one young girl....

Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who is considered a second-class 
citizen. She was adopted by a man who shortly died from the plague 
leaving her as a ward to an unkind woman. Cinder's life becomes 
intertwined with Prince Kai's, it becomes complicated by duty, 
loyalty, and freedom. 

This was the first book by Marissa Meyer that I've read. She has a 
wonderful writing style which pulls the reader into the story. I 
immediately was intrigued by this new approach to the timeless 
Cinderella story. I found myself rooting for the young cyborg as 
she discovers her identity and her role in history. 

The only downfall of the story is it was pretty easy to figure out
how Cinder fits into the Lunar vs Earth conflict. Although this 
was pretty easy to guess, it wasn't officially written in the book 
until the end. As an adult reading this book, I reminded myself 
this book was written for a younger population. Therefore, a 
younger reader may not pick-up on this as quickly. 

This book was written for a younger age group. I love how the 
developing romance and the cruelty of the step-mother was very age 
appropriate. This makes it so a slightly younger person can read 
it safely. 

This story was cleverly written and is certain to become a 
favorite in the young adult genre. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who reads and enjoys young 
adult stories. The language and story is appropriate for a 
slightly younger reader,children as young as 14 could read this 

I give this book a 5 out of 5 book ends. 

So that’s most recent read. I’m planning to start the second in the series soon. So look for that review.

What are you currently reading? I’d love to hear about it or post a link to a book review.


Food Storage Made Easy

One of the easiest ways to prep for unplanned events is building up your food storage. This is a great idea for everyone. I look at the recent natural disasters that occurred this year including the fires, mudslides, and hurricanes and I’ve realized that life can change without notice. Loss of income can also come along with little notice and can impact the ability to purchase food. Having a stocked pantry can help decrease the blow to any of those things.

There are plenty of websites and blogs that can give you a list of things to stock-up on. These lists can be a good starting point. Keep in mind, each person/blogger prepares for different things and their food list/pantry guide will reflect this. So I recommend looking at several lists and determine what you want to be prepared for and plan your pantry accordingly.

Here are my 3 tips for beginner food storage

  1. Store what you like to eat. Let’s face, if you don’t like eating it now, you probably won’t like eating it in an emergency situation. If your kids don’t want to eat it now, they won’t like eating it for 3 days straight. I like to buy a little extra of the things we normally eat to put away.
  2. Start with essentials first. A good place to start is with the basics. Start thinking about a 3 day supply just in case there’s a bad storm. What do you need to survive for three days. You’re most certainly going to need water and basic easy to prepare food. Tackle these first. Then move on to add either variety or quantity to your storage.
  3. Canned food is your friend. Canned food is a great staple to your food storage. Canned foods are cheap. Sometimes I can get 4 cans for $1. It can store for long periods of time. Its easy to store by stacking. You can easily rotate the food so you are eating the oldest first. All sorts of food comes canned. You can get canned meats in the form of tuna or chicken, an assortment of vegetables, lots of fruits, juices, potatoes, etc. Its pretty amazing what you can easily stock-up on.

These tips are pretty simple and common sense. I know when I first looked into building up my food storage, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the options and people’s opinions. This was my starting point.

Have you been building a food storage? What are your beginner tips? Did I miss a basic tip you think should be included? Let me know what you think!

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Book Review: The Proving

My first book finished in 2018! If you’ve been following my blog, you know one of my goals is to read/finish at least 1 book a month. I’ve also started my second book for the year.


The Proving by Beverly Lewis

Amanda Dienner has run away from her Amish roots and living in the Englisher world. She was surprised when she found out her mother had died and she will inherit the Amish bed and breakfast. The one caveat is she must successfully run the bed and breakfast for 1 year. Trina has been mourning the loss of her fiance. She found comfort in caring for an elderly woman. When the elderly woman fell and was unable to return home, Trina found herself out of job. With time on her hands, she decided to go on a mystery vacation which landed her in an Amish bed and breakfast.

Lewis is a gifted story teller and this book is no exception. Her characters have colorful and varied. The story focuses around Amanda and Trina. Their unlikely friendship helps guide both woman to healing. Trina is a bit rough around the edges sometimes as she tends to say what she’s thinking. But she has a helping heart and helps Amanda not only with her physical needs but also with emotional needs to help heal. Amanda is kind and hardworking but is impulsive and tends to hold a grudge.  Lewis uses her story telling skills to help us gently see potential flaws and ways to improve on them.

Sense this is an Amish book, one should expect references to church, God and praying. This book does a good job intertwining the story with Christian activities. The book also has several Christian themes. These include the importance of family, trusting God, and forgiveness.

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Disclaimer: I did receive this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read this book? If so I’d love to hear what you thought of it. What are you currently reading? Share your reviews as a comment and maybe I can find my next book!

Book Review: Sweet Potatoes

Oh boy! Here is a review of a cookbook I received this fall. I am a bit late in my review and I apologize.

Sweet Potatoes by Mary-Francis Heck

This book has 60 recipes. These recipes vary from simple to more complex. The recipe ingredients are basic and traditional to less traditional such has chocolate or coconut milk. It has recipes for different types of Sweet Potatoes.

Before reading this book, I had not realized there were any other types of sweet potatoes besides the orange fleshed ones. The book is thin so it’s easy to add it to your collection of recipe books. It has beautiful pictures. I tried two of the recipes. They both turned out good and my family ate them well.

My only disappointment is thinness of the book. Overall, I really like my cookbooks to have a bit more thickness to it. I do know this was a very focused cookbook but I would have liked a bit more from the book.

Overall, this is a good cookbook. I give it a 4 out of 5 on the scale of 1-5 book-ends.

I did receive this book for free from the publishers for an honest review.

New Year 2018: 1 Word, Goals, and Bible Verse

I can hardly believe its almost 2018. This last year has gone by quickly. As every new year approaches, I find myself reflecting a bit on the previous year and what’s possible in the next. I had so many changes last year and a few more to come in the beginning of next year as well. 2017 brought me a graduation and a new career. It brought me some new friends and time to re-connect with some old friends. It brought me laughter and tears. Overall, 2017 was a good year. I’m facing 2018 with ongoing faith of the greatness of a new year and (hopefully) some grace to face the challenges.

I have some pretty BIG goals for 2018. Some will be easier than others. Some will require some Grit. And others will require some flexibility.  Some will just take some time. All are with it.

My Goals
1) Read 1 book a month
2) Complete 2 half-marathons (after I start running again!)
3) Approach change with optimism
4) Take time to REST
5) Re-connect with friends and family

Every year I try to come up with a word that I want to use to keep me grounded in my goals. I use it as a way to refocus myself. The word becomes a mantra of sort. It helps push me toward my goals. In the previous years, this word helped define how I look at my circumstances.

My word this year is confidence.

Confidence: self-assurance; certain one can do something. 

I chose this word because I need to remind myself to be confident. I’ve started a new career and I find myself often questioning myself. This is part of the process, but boy do I wish I was a bit more confident. I also feel like I need to be more confident in my social interactions. I feel so socially awkward and feel like some of my new relationships have me feeling insecure. I want to feel confident in my interactions. Finally, I’m re-entering the running world. I know the struggle ahead of me to accomplish that will take confidence.

With my word now chosen, I now need to choose a Bible verse for the year. I really wanted a Bible verse that not only helped me gain some confidence but also helped remind me who I am in Him. I wanted something to encourage me and move me. Here is what I picked.

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him
- Ephesians 3:12

So there it is. My New Years goals, word and Bible verse.

Do you have New Years Resolutions? Do you pick a word or Bible verse? I’d love to hear all about your new year plans.