Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Plain Wisdom book review

Plain Wisdom was an insightful read into the lives of two friends spanning not only distance, but time. Cindy and Miriam are from two different worlds. Cindy is a typical American woman, wife and mother. Miriam is a typical Amish woman, wife and mother. They met through a mutual friend and soon learned that they had a lot in common. Over the years of getting closer, they began to see the similarities of their lives, in spite of the differences of living. In the book, they each share stories from their families, life, homes, etc. It was a very pleasant read.

Per back of the book:
Best-selling novelist Cindy Woodsmall might seem to have little in common with Miriam Flaud, a woman immersed in the culture of Old Order Amish. But with nine children and almost sixty years of marriage between them, Cindy and Miriam both have found the secrets to facing life with strength and grace. Whether enduring financial setbacks, celebrating new babies and times of prosperity, grieving the crushing losses in the deaths of family and friends, or facing disappointments with their respective communities - through it all they find guidance for each day by looking to God. 
With poignant recollections, unexpected insights, and humorous tales, the two women welcome you into their unique friendship. You'll also gain a rare glimpse into the traditions and ways of the Amish as Miriam recalls special occasions and shares family recipes throughout the book. 
Plain Wisdom is a heartwarming celebration of God, womanhood, and the search for beauty that unites us all. So grab your cup and your quilt and settle in for a soul-comforting read with Plain Wisdom.

*I received this book from WaterBrook Press in exchange for my honest review*

Let's Do Lunch book review

I love inspirational stories, and this is one of them! Roger Troy Wilson lost 230 pounds and 24 inches, and explains how in his book, Let's Do Lunch. The first half of the book is his story, testimonials, and of course the encouragement to see your doctor before beginning a weight loss program.
The second half of the book is how he lost the weight, a sample 14 day plan and recipes! I have to say, that I have yet to try any of the recipes, but I do look forward to it. They all look great and I love trying new foods/meals. I have been stubborn in not wanting to make the effort to loose the extra weight I have, and I've definitely been inspired by this book to actually do it now.

Per the back of the book:
With Let's Do Lunch, you eat until full in all the food groups, including all you want of unprocessed starchy carbs, the sweetest fresh fruits and fruit smoothies, lean red meat, corn thins, cheese, healthy fats, veggies, whole-grain cereals and crispbreads, dark brown and wild rice, snacks, dressings, condiments, and sauces. But because these foods stabilize your blood sugar, your body forces you to become less and less hungry with each passing day. Thus, you begin to eat less and less, consume fewer and fewer calories, and lose all the weight you want.

*I received this book from the BookSneeze Books for Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.*

Monday, July 25, 2011


Ack! I can't believe I'm already starting a post about the school year! It's getting closer - just a few more weeks.
My son is 4, he'll be 5 in March and he loves to learn :) I've noticed that we (like so many others) do much better in a structured schedule.
So after much thought and prayer, we have decided to begin Kindergarten this fall. We've chosen to homeschool year round (more on this later) so I'm not going to rush or push anything. We'll be working at his pace - if he's flying through something, we'll keep moving. If he's struggling in an area, we'll slow down and focus more.
I am so excited about this :) I was homeschooled from 3rd grade all the way through high school graduation.
I'm looking forward to being on the other side of the desk and teaching my children. I will do a post in the coming weeks about which curriculum we will use and our schedule, but know that it all came together after many, many searches, conversations, and prayers!

So, when do you children start school? Will you be homeschooling or are they attending a traditional school?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I didn't disappear...

While I have been away from the blogosphere for a while now, I haven't completely gone away. My husband has been traveling so much lately, and certain things had to give so that I could focus more on our house and family.  :) However, I miss it...I love writing (in any form) and will definitely be finding a way to fit this back into my schedule! So, although, there are very few people who actually read my blog - I will be coming back! And even if no one sees it, I will write for myself!

Until then...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

becoming a review blog

Well, it seems as though I can't keep up with this blog the way I would like to. Who knew that would be so difficult with two kids? Ha :-)

So, since I love to read, and I get these books for review from publishing companies, I figure this is turning into a review blog.  Which is fine with me...I will also be searching out other companies that will offer products for review. And when I get something new, or find something that I feel will help my friends, I will share my opinion about that as well!

There you have it, another change. But isn't that what life is about too? We are constantly changing and learning new things!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Serendipity book review

This was a sweet book. It was not one of my favorites, and I had a hard time staying focused with the story. However, it was a quick read and had some really touching moments, as well as humorous ones.
I'm not sure if it was the story line - Maggie Rose is the only woman left in Carver's Holler, taking care of her uncle and the rest of the men. She's perfectly content with her life, but her uncle feels it's time for her to marry and start a family of her own. She says that she'll listen to God or a groom, but she's not going willingly.
Then along comes Todd Valmer. His mother is ill and they have no where else to go, so they end up at Maggie's house. As Maggie cares for his mother during the week they wait for the train to come back, Todd begins to realize that he needs a wife. After some convincing, she agrees and goes back to Texas with him.
But, will this be a match made in heaven? Or did they make a terrible mistake?

Per the back of the book:
The only remaining woman in Carver's Holler, Maggie Rose has cared for a ragtag of old men for years, bartering for a living and making soaps, lotions, and perfumes from a special rose recipe passed down for generations. She hasn't wanted to marry...at least that's what she thought. But when a strapping young man arrives on Maggie's doorstep, searching for a doctor for his ailing mother, life suddenly changes for the dark-haired beauty. 

Todd Valmer is in a desperate situation. His mother needs a caretaker, and he's barely hanging on to his Texas farm. Maggie seems to be the obvious solution. She can cook, care for Ma, tend his house while he works the fields...and she's comely, as well.
But instant attraction does not a marriage make.
As a clash of cultures and a battle of wills ensues, is there any hope that true love will blossom between a free-spirited woman and her uncompromising husband?

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers Book Review Program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Head in the Clouds book review

My name is Ariel and I'm a bookaholic. There, that's better :-) I love to read! Always have, always will!
Karen Witemeyer wrote a book that I recently read, A Tailor-Made Bride, so I was eager to read her next story. And I wasn't disappointed!
Head in the Clouds was a sweet love story! Adelaide is a hopeless romantic ready to settle down with Mr. Satisfactory. She knows he's not the man of her dreams, but Henry is available and attentive. When she decides to take matters into her own hands, and follows him to Ft. Worth, she gets an unexpected (and unwelcome) surprise. Now left alone, and without a job, she seeks God's path for her next steps. Happening across an advertisement for a governess, she starts her new journey.
She arrives at the ranch determined to have a new start. Adelaide is prepared to teach her new charge, but is not prepared for the young girl's father. Gideon Westcott is a British lord who has come to America to find his way in the wool industry. Agreeing to be the guardian of a young girl, he had no idea what he was getting into.
And between the new governess and Isabella's uncle trying to claim her - and her money, Gideon certainly has his hands full!
Will Adelaide get the storybook ending she's been looking for? Will Gideon look past propriety and face his feelings?

Per  the back of the book:
When a recovering romantic goes to work for a handsome ranch owner, her heart's not the only thing in danger!
Adelaide Proctor longs to find a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a governess position on a remote Texas sheep ranch and vows to keep her silly romantic yearnings behind. 
Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, never expecting to end up with a child. To his dismay, five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon-and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions.
When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the girl-and her inheritance-Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. Soon, neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Silent Governess book review

When Olivia Keene flees her home, she has no idea where her journey will lead. Keeping a terrible secret and fearing the worst, she finds herself facing several trials along the way to a school, seeking a position as a teacher.
After an unfortunate incident of eavesdropping, she finds her problems further complicated. Now she seems to have two secrets to keep. Will there be more? What else will she discover at her new post at Brightwell Court?
An intriguing story from the very beginning, this book was hard to put down! Julie Klassen did an excellent job with this tale! I look forward to reading more of her books.

Per the back of the book:
Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his.
But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything - his reputation, his inheritance, his very home. He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something 

Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.

*I received this book from Bethany House Book Review Program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

The Preacher's Bride book review

A beautiful look into the world of Puritan England in the 1600's, this was a fascinating story! Jody Hedlund shares that she based the characters off of the love between John Bunyan and his wife, Elizabeth.
While she starts with the basics of their story, most of this novel is fiction. However, it was wonderfully done!  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and this book did not disappoint! It was a tale of loss and love. Of fear and determination. And above all, the amazing mercy of God!

Per the back of the book:
No matter the sacrifice, Elizabeth Whitbread would serve a wounded family. 

No matter the danger, John Costin was determined to speak God's word.

Neither expected to fall in love.

As enemies threaten to silence Costin -and those close to him-will following their hearts cost John and Elizabeth everything?

*I received this book from Bethany House Book Review Program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Sixteen Brides book review

I enjoyed this book greatly! It was a fun look at like for a single woman in the late 1800's. Whether single by choice, or circumstances out of her control, it can be a hard time for a woman. Stephanie Grace Whitson took on a huge task in writing several stories in one. She follows the journeys of women, from many walks of life, all seeming to have something to hide. Yet, with one thing in common, a promise of a homestead in Nebraska for willing single women. Friendships form in unusual circumstances as the Ladies Emigration Society make their way from St. Louis, by train. And when they near their destination and find out that their guide was less than truthful, the women must make a choice. Should they continue on the journey to be brides for the lonely men in Dawson County, or stay in Plum Grove and find a life for themselves? Stephanie did a wonderful job in weaving together separate stories into one interesting tale! 

Per the back of the book:

When sixteen brides step off the train in Plum Grove, Nebraska, 
the town may never be the same again! Join Stephanie Grace Whitson 
for this spirited tale of courageous women 
who risk everything for the dream of owning land 
and finding love on the prairies of Nebraska. 

*I received this book from Bethany House Book Review program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Read the Bible

Ok, so several months ago I attempted to read through the Bible in 90 days. I was so excited...and then stopped. I got about half way done, and I'm not real sure why I quit, I just did. Well, at the same time, my cousin was finishing up with the same reading plan. Fast forward to now, we're both in a Bible study with some awesome women who have all agreed to do this together! She's modified the schedule to allow for a little more time, seeing as most of us are moms with small children and wanted a little wiggle room :). So, it's the same plan, just 122 days - 5 days of reading with 2 grace days. These days can be used to catch up, for extra study/prayer, or a rest to process what you've read.
Rachel timed herself when she did this last year, and it averaged out to about 46 hours to read the entire Bible.
We can do this! Why don't we? Why do we spend so much time with mindless activities (facebook, tv, video games) and so little time reading the Words of the God we serve? She put it so well today, when she said, "I don't want to stand before my son and say, this is what I believe...well, the parts I know." How true is that? How can we say we believe the Bible, when most of us don't know half of what's written there?

Today marks day 1. I really welcome your prayers and encouragement.  And, I welcome your company. Join with me, with us. Rachel has posted the modified schedule on her blog - http://www.thewadefamily-rachel.blogspot.com/ feel free to check it out and start this journey as well!

I will be posting updates along the way - for encouragement and support.

Please leave me a comment if you want some more info and I'll be happy to fill you in with more details as you need them!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

daily blogging...

I haven't been blogging every day, like I thought I would do :) I don't have enough to say daily...or I don't think it's interesting enough for people to read. I'm ok with that. I will leave the daily deals to the more experienced bloggers, and post when I find something really interesting. And I'll keep giving some updates on what's going on in my life from time to time. But I won't stress about it if I don't get to post every day. Maybe as I get things into a better routine and prioritize my time well, I will have more time to focus on this blog. Until then, I'll be around and will post when I have something worth saying!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

one of those days...

So, today has been one of those days around here...and then I stumbled across this blog, and it made me laugh.
I'm sharing with you, in case you need a pick me up too...

Cake Wrecks

and if you want more funnies and awkwardness...

Awkward Family Photos

Free E-Book

Today you can download David Bach's book Debt Free for Life

Thanks to Couponing to Disney for this link!

Monday, January 3, 2011

These are a few of my favorite...

I decided to start the year off with a list for you: a list of some of my favorite blogs.
These are the sites that I check weekly, sometimes daily, for everything from couponing to date night ideas!

Southern Savers
Faith, Family, Frugality
Hey, It's Free!
The Thrifty Mama
The Happy Housewife
From Dates to Diapers
Tatertots and Jello
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Heavenly Homemakers
The Dating Divas

So, there you have it, a nice little list of blogs for almost anything you'll need!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Tailor-Made Bride book review

A Tailor-Made Bride is Karen Witemeyer's first novel and I must say, it was a good one! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! The story starts with Hannah Richards, a seamstress in Texas, 1881. She works for a very wealthy woman who is preparing her estate for her passing. After assisting with the woman's final dress, Hannah finds herself on the way to Coventry, Texas with a very unexpected bonus! When she arrives, she meets J.T. Tucker, but she can't quite decide if he likes her or not. Meeting Hannah has brought up pain and fear from J.T.'s past, that he thought he left behind. And Hannah is trying hard to fit into her new town and role as shop owner, but when she tries to help a friend, it begins to cause more problems than anyone could have expected! Karen did a great job of keeping the story interesting and adding several elements of excitement as well as laughter! I look forward to reading her future novels.

Per the back of the book:
When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!
Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He's all too familiar with her kind-shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. 
Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?
When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau-leading to consequences neither could have foreseen-will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

*I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

The 2011 To-Do List

To-Do in 2011...what are your plans? What would you like to accomplish? Anything you want to change or add to your list?

Since it's only January 2nd, I haven't gotten very far on a list, but here's what I'd love to see done before the year is over:

1. Be debt free! We've been so close before, but then something comes up and we fall right back into debt, I'd love to get rid of it once and for all this year!
2. Take a family vacation :) hopefully Disney World, but we'll see if number one happens first.

And that's it so far...let's see what else gets added before the year is up!

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome to a new year!

Hello, and welcome to 2011!

Can you believe it?! It seems like December just flew right by, and I hardly noticed. I was horrible at keeping up with this blog throughout the end of last year, so in an effort to stay focused I have joined a Blog Dare! (Cause who can say no to a dare?)  I will be trying to post every day for 2011 (wish me luck!).

Starting today with my New Year's Resolutions:
1. Get my diet back on track.
    I really need to get back to eliminating sugars and processed foods, for my sake and my family's. I know we all need to be eating better - so it starts again this week!
2. Get my family on a schedule.
    I'm great at making schedules, terrible at following them. So, starting this week, we're actually going to follow a schedule!

I think if I start with those two, everything else will fall into place!
What are your resolutions? Anything you're looking for in 2011?