Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mom's Journey: Practical Tips for Raising Kids ~ A Review

A great, fun read is Mom's Journey: Practical Tips for Raising Kids - full of sound, practical ideas and tips for raising kids. I really wish I had had this book around when my kids were little - now they are pretty much grown.

I felt like I was sitting down having coffee with a dear friend as I read. Great flow and very conversational.

It's full of plenty of tips:
  • talk to your babies, don't use babbling baby talk. It might sound cute but it does nothing to help your baby talk
  • minimize and have a neat environment so calmness prevails
  • diet
  • how to criticize effectively and how to give plenty of love and praise
But the #1 idea from this book - and the most important parenting advice you may ever receive - "It does not matter if your kid is talented or not, pretty or not, fat or skinny, intelligent or not; you have brought him into this world and it’s your role to give him as many tools as you can to go out into this world. Your kid is 100 percent your responsibility.
The best tool you’ll ever give him, more than any education, languages, or literature, is simply to love him just the way he is, to hug him and praise him..."

It is very refreshing to read a parenting book that pulls no punches and tells it like it is. I really appreciated that!

I would recommend this book for new parents - as well as some older parents who may need a refresher. After all, we may be grandparents one day!

I received this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. All opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Francois et Mimi 50oz Glass French Press ~ Product Review

Time for another product review!

I was given the opportunity to try out a Francois et Mimi French Press coffee pot and I was super excited to do so! I've heard the hype about these "machines" but have never experienced coffee brewed in one before. I was not disappointed!

My oldest daughter is our resident coffee connoisseur so she did the dirty work and showed me how to make our pot of coffee. We ground some fresh beans (Starbucks...) and put them in the bottom of the press.

Step 2 was to heat the water to boiling and once it boiled, pour it into the pot. Let it steep for about 3 to 5 minutes. The aroma at this point was wonderful!

Then you push the press down so you can pour out your coffee without getting any grounds. Boy, was this a great cup of coffee! Bold and robust and full of flavor.

This is a great coffee press. It is well constructed and not flimsy at all. The carafe is glass and the metal is all stainless. The mess inside is very fine so it will allow water to go thru but keep your grounds safely at the bottom. And, it is a generous 50 oz which makes a FULL pot of coffee - not a single cup - but a full pot than can be shared with a few others (depending on how big your cups are!).

All in all, I was very happy with this item and highly recommend it! I look forward to many more pots of fresh brewed coffee and also using it for tea (not sure how that would work but am betting it will work find with tea leaves).

**Full disclosure - I received this product in exchange for my fair and honest review. All opinions expressed in this blog post are solely my own.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ancient Feminine Wisdom ~ A Book Review

I was recently offered an ebook for review titled "Ancient Feminine Wisdom" by Judith Jungman Saadon. This ebook is considered "A Spiritual Journey of Growth".

From the introduction, Ms. Saadon, a psychologist, invites you "to tap into venerable, hidden feminine knowledge, letting you walk in biblical women's footsteps, to discover more about yourself, to help you on the way to fulfilling your dreams and wishes."

The outline of the book is fairly simple: the author takes 9 women of the Bible and gives each woman a chapter. Within each chapter you have a retelling of their Biblical story, the feminine perspective, four insights for personal growth on your spiritual journey (a "how-to" if you will) and a story from the author's clinical days, giving you a modern day look at someone's personal journey.

The Biblical women discussed: Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rachel, Leah, Tamar, Naomi, Hannah and Esther.

So, my thoughts? I enjoyed the break down of each Biblical woman - the retelling of her story directly from the Bible. The book is laid out concisely and you know what you are getting in each chapter. It was also nice to read a modern day clinical example - whether they are fact or fiction is really neither here nor there (ie - the names changed to protect the woman, which I assume (!) they are). It's an example to show you how using the stories of Biblical women can enhance your journey to your dreams.

What I didn't enjoy? The book was a little too mystical and feministic for me personally. Please know that this is solely my opinion. Also, since there was not a conclusion, or any kind of ending really - the author ended at the last woman's story. Period. Fini. The end. Nothing else. - I felt like it just ended. You know, that "wait, that's it?" feeling. Sort of fell flat at the end for such a well thought out book.

I would recommend this ebook if you are looking for a journey of self-reflection and you lean more toward feminist values.

**Per FTC and Amazon guidelines, I was provided a copy of this ebook in exchange for my fair and honest review. All opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Danish Dough Whisk ~ Product Review

Recently I was sent a Danish dough whisk to review. I had never heard of a "Danish Dough Whisk" and thought, "why not?".

Let me tell you, this whisk has fast become my favorite new kitchen tool. Why you ask? Because it makes mixing biscuits a breeze!

You see that round metal piece? That's the whisk - strange, huh? That round piece of metal moves your dough and mixes it with ease. I was very impressed - and I'm not easily impressed!

There is little "give" in the whisk itself. It is very sturdy with little to no flexibility. The handle, that I originally thought was going to be too long and odd to hold was quite the opposite. The handle fit just right in my hand and I had no issue at all stirring up my garlic cheese biscuits (from a mix...!). The wooden handle is solid too - not cheap or chintzy in any way.

The whisk cleaned up easily and made it's way into my kitchen tool caddy where it will stay waiting to lend its assistance on my next batch of biscuits. My next venture will be to try it out on gravy and see how it does.

All in all, I was very pleased with this whisk and am happy that I was offered this to try.

You can purchase your own Danish Dough Whisk here (affiliate link):

**As disclosure, I was provided this product in exchange for my fair and honest review. All opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Waves of Romance ~ An Ebook Review

This is ebook two of the Holiday Beach Read series, written by Lori Ann Mitchell and is the continuation of the seaside surf love story of Sage and Derek. What happens when surfer boy Derek is confronted with a young beach beauty? Will he turn his back on his romance with the older Sage?

You can read more about ebook one - Waves of Love - here. Since ebook two, Waves of Romance, is a continuation, you should probably read ebook one first so you have a little background and know more of what is going on.

Let me just say that this is NOT g-rated reading material. And, that's all I'm going to say about that!

This ebook is a very quick read. I read it in about 2 hours over the course of 2 days. Not much depth here really - just a lot of ... well, not g-rated material!

If you read the description of the ebook on Amazon, the story is nothing new - older woman/younger man romance going good - new, younger beauty comes into the picture and sparks fly between her and the guy.

After conflict there is resolution, of course, which I think ended up very neat and tidy and very quickly. I might have enjoyed this more if there had been more depth to the story. I felt let down by the character of Sage as I had perceived her to be stronger than how she eventually ended up (don't want to give too much of the ending away).

My opinion - if you can read it for free, I would take it to the beach and read it in an afternoon. Otherwise, I'd probably skip it.

**I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. All opinions herein are my own. I was not compensated in any way.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Leaffusion ~ Product Review!

I love a good cup of tea on a cold, snowy day. Well, actually, I love a good cup of tea anytime! Do you?

Recently, I was invited to review the Leaffusion Tea Infuser and I'm so happy I accepted! This is a great infuser, is easy to use, has plenty of extra small holes for infusion and is super easy to clean.

The Leaffusion Tea Infuser is made of food grade silicone and stainless steel. It is also BPA free and is heat resistant. It leaves no funny "plasticky" aftertaste behind either. You will need to wash it thoroughly before you use it for the first time - who doesn't do this?

Here is the infuser sitting in its little drip tray - this was before I made my cup of Earl Grey - how cute is that? I love the drip tray! How many times have you used your infuser and then had to run over the sink to lay the infuser down so you didn't have tea drippings everywhere? No? Well, maybe that's just me?

The infuser holds about 1 tablespoon of loose tea. I find it easiest to use a spoon and put the tea in the infuser - at least for tea with larger leaves and pieces. With the Earl Grey I made, the leaves were small enough I could scoop the tea directly into the infuser and snap on the silicone leaf top, which makes a nice handle to bring the infuser back to it's drip tray.

I really enjoyed the Leaffusion Tea Infuser and foresee that I will be using it quite often.

A perfect cup of tea!

**I was provided the Leaffusion Tea Infuser in exchange for my honest review. All opinions herein are my own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waves of Love (ebook) by Lori Ann Mitchell ~ A Review

In the mood for a quick beach read in the middle of winter? Then this is definitely the ebook for you! 

Waves of Love is the story of Sage and Derek, two wounded souls making their way in a little beach town. Sage is the owner of the local bookstore and bakery. Derek is a writer/surfer drumming up business for his latest book.

So, you can see where that is going, no? The wrench in the machine...Derek is 10 years younger than Sage. Do they overcome this? You'll have to read the ebook to find out!

I enjoyed the characterization of Sage and Derek. They were both believable characters, Sage especially but that may be because she was older and more mature. Derek seemed an "old soul" which didn't really fit the mold of surfer dude.

This was a very quick, fun read. If you are a fast reader, you could probably enjoy it in an afternoon. I'd suggest a frozen drink with an umbrella to help set the scene (and you might need it to cool off after a few of the scenes!).

A great book for the beach or poolside. Although it definitely helped to chase away the winter chill!

One note - if you do not like explicit scenes, then you might want to pass on this one. It's not the basis of the book, but it is there.

All in all, I enjoyed it and would read more books by Lori Ann Mitchell. Waves of Love is Book 1 in the Holidays Beach Read. I'm not sure if that is a series but I'd check them out for a fast read.

This ebook can be purchased here on (affiliate link): 

**Disclosure ~ I received this ebook for free in return for my honest review. All opinions herein are 100% mine.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers ~ A Review

My book club recently read Francine Rivers' latest novel - Bridge to Haven.

First, let me say, that while I enjoy Francine Rivers' books, she is not my "go-to" writer for Christian fiction. I know others think EVERYTHING she does is great but I'm not one of them. Don't get me wrong, she's good but not my favorite. I don't gravitate toward her books - they don't call to me. That said, I absolutely LOVED Redeeming Love. It was a wonderful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea and had some meat and depth. A good story stays with you for a long time which, I'm sure, is the hope of many writers.

Okay, back to the review of her current book.

Bridge to Haven tells the story of Abra Matthews, a tormented soul who spends much of her young life convinced she is not wanted. We read how Abra runs from everyone who loves her, most importantly God. We watch, sometimes painfully, as Abra travels a rocky road and we rejoice at the predicted conclusion.

Astute readers will know exactly how this books plays out before they read what happens. As I was reading through it - and it is a very quick read - I kept thinking it would make a great made-for-TV movie! And that was a major disappointment for me. Too much fluff and not enough meat. It was way too predictable.

There is some great character development with the manager, Franklin and with Abra herself. And a nice portrayal of life in 1950's Hollywood. Some big Hollywood names are tossed in - Lana Turner, Elvis Presley and Ronald Reagan. This gave the story some credibility and I enjoyed reading about the parties and the pitfalls of movie stardom back then.

So, would I recommend this book? Yes, if you've never read Francine Rivers before and are looking for a quick read. No, if you're a Francine Rivers fan and expect something along the lines of Redeeming Love or The Scarlet Thread. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

**This review is my opinion only. I was not paid for nor asked to post this review. I did not receive any compensation for it nor did I receive a book in exchange for a review. I purchased the book myself.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Are you a scent junkie?

I love trying new things. One of my favorite things to try are perfumes, colognes and body sprays. You know, those inexpensive sprays you pick up on clearance after holiday sales. Yes, that's me.

I perused Wal-Mart's after Christmas sale aisles like a ninja looking for deals and ridiculously marked down goods. Some things I found - stickers, lip balms, photo boxes and baking supplies plus lots of smelly fun! You know those little stocking stuffer perfumes that guys pick up on Christmas Eve to fill the stocking? Yes, those!

The highlights? Exclamation by Coty. I remember when this came out back in the '80's but I didn't wear it then. I was more of a Love's Baby Soft kind of gal but that doesn't scent doesn't do much for me today and that memory has to stay there!

I digress. Exclamation is a nice everyday scent - not too heavy and stays with me thru the day. I also found a small bottle of Chantilly. This one is a bit stronger but still nice.  Sort of reminded me of something my Grandma would wear.

My vanity holds a crazy amount of sprays from the semi-annual Bath & Body Works sale. 75% off is very seductive. Lotions, sprays, shower gels, oh my! No particular favorite there - I love them all! And I picked up more than I should have. I've also purchased Bath & Body Work sprays from estate sales (hello Velvet Tuberose!) and thrift stores (Vanilla Bean Noel - a 2 pack for $2.99...why, yes, I will take that. Thank you!).

While I would love to be able to wear my Estee Lauder Beautiful on a daily basis, my budget just doesn't allow for that luxury. Beautiful is saved for the special outings - a date with my husband, church, dinner with friends and so on.

In the meantime, I'm happy to indulge my scent obsession with all those little spray bottles bought on the cheap!

 Do you have a favorite scent? How do you indulge in little luxuries without spending a fortune?

**The opinions in this post are solely my own. I was not compensated in anyway for this post.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Revamping the content and plan for this blog as I go in a different direction. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Solomon's Puzzle by Loris Nebbia

Solomon's PuzzleSolomon's Puzzle by Loris Nebbia

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this for my book club...doubt I would read it again as it was very long and felt very tedious for me. We had mixed reviews in our club. Some liked it, some had issues with the storyline (I did - too many rabbit trails and unanswered questions!).

The story did draw you in at first. School boy (Ben) is being abused by his dad (Max) and the question of Ben's parentage is a mystery. Is Max the real dad or is it Tom, someone who knew Max and his wife around the time Ben was born? While the reader knows who the real mom is, Ben doesn't find out until the end (sorry if that is a spoiler!). My biggest beef is that if Ben had been told the truth from the beginning, instead of the adults all waiting for him to guess his true parentage, it would have alleviated a lot of the pain this kid went through...and a lot of the text of the book!

I had a hard time relating to any of the characters. Certainly not either Max or Tom nor the wives, Donna and Mrs. McBride (who came across as a more perfect image of Martha Stewart than Ms. Stewart herself - I had to remind myself that this was fiction!). Maybe to the teens - Joe the goof-ball, Ben the serious one or Bonnie Jean, near perfect herself.

One good thing about the book, if you are local, you could really picture much of the scenery as you were reading.

Might make a good beach read for someone but it was definitely not a favorite!

View all my reviews

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review - Same Kind of Different as Me

"Same Kind of Different as Me" by Denver Moore and Ron Hall is the study of two very different men, from two very different worlds who are brought together - rather begrudingly - because a woman wouldn't let either of them go. As I read this book, I realized how truly ignorant I was to American History. I am sorry to say I did not realize sharecropping was a part of our country after the Civil War ended. This book was such a stark depiction of modern day slavery. But it is also the story of love, forgiveness, grace, determination and how, if you truly believe in someone and the power of the human spirit, anything is possible. I absolutely loved this story - so much in fact that it was my top pick of the 40+ books I read in 2010.

Many thanks to the Book Sneeze team for providing me with a copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.