Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baroness-book review

About the book

Baroness Roaring 20s Kindle Fire Giveaway from @SusanMayWarren! Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the family empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But following their dreams -- from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers -- will take all their courage.  And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Celebrate with Susan by entering her Roaring 20s Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Baroness and Heiress by Susan May Warren

But hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/7/12. The winner will be announced on 5/9/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

The Author

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

 A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at
My Opinion

Baroness is the 2nd book in the Daughter's of Fortune series and I really wish I had read the first book Heiress because I've heard from other friends that it is a better read if you've read Heiress first.  This book is packed full of turmoil, drama and some great characters named Rosie and Lily.  You will not want to miss what happens with these girls and hold on to your hat it's a whirlwind!  I love all the drama and just day to day living that happens in this book and I love how Warren shows how God can guide, mold and shape our lives.  If you enjoy historical fiction then you will really enjoy this book, it drew me in and I just didn't want to put it down.  Now, I'll backtrack and read Heiress and I can't wait!
I give Baroness 4 out of 5 stars for all of the great History.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Get your kicks on Route 66

A couple of weeks ago we were headed for Oklahoma City so the kids could compete in a dance competition but the REAL reason was so we could see some of our best friends the Garnett family.  If you've read my blog for very long then you have probably heard me talk about my friend Mika (she blogs at Mika's Pantry), we met through our adoption journey's.  The Garnett's adopted Bailey around the same time that we adopted Makenzie, we were at the same orientation meeting and ended up meeting them at a Dillon Fall Festival and as they say...the rest is history!  Here's a picture of Mika and Bay and Kenzie and I at a Dillon picnic.

On our drive to OKC we decided to stop at Pop's for lunch.  Pop's is a restaurant/gas station on historic Route 66 and has become very "pop"ular!  This is a picture of the 66 foot tall soda bottle or POP bottle, at night it lights up with different colors of neon.  A storm was brewing the day we were there.

660 W. Highway 66

Arcadia, OK 73007

(405) 928-POPS (7677)

Pop's specialty is their Soda Ranch that offers over 500 different types of soda pop, we had fun picking out the perfect kind while waiting for a table in the restaurant area.  The food was actually pretty good for a gas station and very reasonably priced. The POPS restaurant/cafe menu serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it includes burgers, hot dogs, chicken fried steak, shakes and much, much more. In addition, you can get any of the store's soda pops. The eating area contains booths, tables and a patio area.

Garnett's and Wedemeyer's enjoying a meal at Pop's

POPS is located along historic Route 66 near Arcadia, Oklahoma, just outside of Edmond. From Oklahoma City, take I-35 to 2nd Street in Edmond, also called Edmond Road (Exit 141). Follow 2nd Street east for 5 miles. POPS will be on the south side of the highway.

The "Soda Kiosk" allows visitors to send the unique POPS sodas anywhere in the United States. The touch screen display allows customers to custom order from more than 700 types of soda and have them shipped immediately using FedEX.

While in the Arcadia area you can drive less than a 1/4 mile from Pop's (a lot of people walk to it) and see the famous
Arcadia Round Barn.  Isn't it beautiful?  We didn't get out and go inside they were very busy with a huge yard/tag sale going on but it was really cool to see it! Admission is free.  The barn is open 7 days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The upstairs loft can be reserved for special events. For information, call 405-396-0824 or visit the Round Barn website.

I guess since Arcadia is located on Route 66 they have several things to do and see, you could make a whole day of it by stopping by OK County 66-John Hargrove's Place.  He's got it all, the blue whale like Catoosa, a VW Beetle buried in the ground as homage to Cadillac Ranch in Texas, another VW Beetle sticks out of a 2nd story wall and even a teepee!  Stop by and check it out.

OK County 66

Address:Route 66, Arcadia, OK

Directions:Just north of Oklahoma City. I-35 exit 141, then 7.5 miles east on Rte 66. North side.


OK fast forward a couple of weeks later and I decided to continue our exploration of Route 66 after our friend Christy told me that the Blue Whale is once again open to the public.  We packed a picnic lunch and headed to Catoosa to explore.

The Catoosa Blue Whale is a famous iconic Route 66 landmark and has now been restored to her former glory, she's a beauty with her glossy bright blue paint.  This was a favorite swimhole for locals back in the 70's and 80's but is no longer open for swimming.  You can fish but just know that it's a catch and release pond ONLY.  The park is open 8am-sunset, they have restrooms, picnic tables, and a gift shop that will open in May.  A lot of times smells will trigger a memory for me and from this day forward I will always associate the smell of honeysuckle with our picnic at the Blue Whale.  When we were finished taking in the sites we started exploring and searching for the geocache "Thar she blows" and yes we found it!

I wonder where our next Route 66 adventure will take us?  Any suggestions?

Thanks for reading,

Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus-a book review

This book can be purchase at most Christian book stores and at Amazon by clicking here.

About the Book

Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she's getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia ... until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they're right. Four x-rays later, Harriet's ankle---and her heart---are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She's doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it's time for her to be put out to pasture---God has a different plan.

The Author
Joyce Magnin is the author of the popular and quirky Bright's Pond novels. She is a frequent conference speaker and writing instructor. When she's not writing or reading Joyce enjoys baseball, needle arts, video games and cream soda but not elevators--especially glass ones. She listens to many kinds of music, shamelessly confesses to enjoying American Idol, has never eaten a scallop or sky dived. Joyce has three children, Rebekah, Emily and Adam and three grandsons, Lemuel, Cedar and Soren and one son-in-law, Joshua. Joyce lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania with her son, Adam and their crazy cat, Mango, where she cares for an eighty-year-old onion plant.

My Opinion
This book was a delight to read from start to finish, I just loved Joyce Magnin's quirkiness in all of her little details!  As I was reading about Harriet's adventure I could just imagine my Grandma (we call her Gigi) doing most of the same things.  Gigi even went skydiving last year for her 83rd birthday.  If you love to read light hearted adventure's with a great message then this is the book for you!  I give Harriet Beamer Rides the Bus 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dropps-laundry detergent review and giveaway

I received Dropps fresh scent and Dropps baby and I love the simplicity of just throwing a pack in my front loading HE washer and that was it. 
 No measuring, pouring, nothing else at all.  
This is a low sudsing detergent which is perfect for front loaders but is not limited to only front loaders, they can be used in ANY type of washing machine. 
They work on ANY type of clothing. 
They also work on ANY color.
I think these would be wonderful specifically for college students that live with room mates or in a small dorm room and don't have very much room.  Dropps don't take up as much room as the heavy jugs or boxes of laundry detergent.
 You can purchase Dropps at many retail stores or online by clicking Dropps

Now Dropps even offers laundry softener packs, I haven't tried these yet but I'm sure they are wonderful!
One lucky reader will win a pack of the laundry softener packs, your choice of Lavender, Orange Blossom or Wild Orchid.
Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below and enter to win!

The Forgiven Duke-a book review and giveaway

The Forgiven Duke will be released in July 2012

About the Book:
Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.
Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.
The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

The Author

When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything.
Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.
The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.
As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she home schooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.
Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in herhead for a long time, so the story went fast.
Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.
Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.
If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!"

My Opinion

I was so excited to review Jamie Carie's latest book in the Forgotten Castle series.  If you read my review of the previous book The Guardian Duke then you are aware of the fact that Carie left us with a cliffhanger!  This is a story about intrigue, mystery and of course romance.  You won't want to miss this book since it's the 2nd in her Forgotten Castle series and even if you haven't read the first book I feel you could read this one and be just fine. Jamie did a great job of filling in the back part of the story for you.  I give this 4 out of 5 stars for all the mystery and intrigue in this action packed book.  I can't wait to see what she writes about in her next book!

One Lucky reader will win a copy of this adventurous book!  Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Christian Kids Explore Science-chemistry

Bright Ideas Press is a company that publishes curriculum that moms love.  They have promised to publish Christian oriented curriculum that fits into a busy life.  They also say their curriculum is easy to use with children of all ages and is affordable.  So far everything sounds great to me!  Raise your hand if you if you like affordable and easy to use with children of all ages, I'll raise both hands for that one.  As I was looking through the Bright Ideas Press website I found history, literature, geography, science and a couple of things that I'm not familiar with like wonder maps and illuminations. So I dug a little deeper and found out that illuminations is an all inclusive curriculum and wonder maps is a customizable collection of over 350 maps.  Both of these sound wonderful!

I was getting really excited about the Christian Kids Explore Chemistry now that I'd had time to explore different parts of the Bright Ideas Press website and I found this description of Christian Kids Explore Science:

“This user-friendly, unabashedly Christian science curriculum includes teaching lessons, gorgeous coloring pages, hands-on time, review sheets, and an awesome supplemental book list! ”

and specifically for chemistry they said the following:

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, Grade Levels 4-8 contains units on the basics of chemistry, atoms and molecules, the nature of chemistry, states of matter,and organic chemistry.

Chemistry is $39.95 for the book and the resources CD is $9.95 

My Opinion

My kids love science and are always asking for more and more science.  We flew through Chemistry with ease and my kids really enjoyed it.  It did seem to be very simple and almost too easy for both of my kids, they are 4th and 6th graders.  They did learn some things they didn't know though and enjoyed the curriculum but were longing for more experiments.  We easily completed this curriculum in about a month and worked on it about 2-3 times per week, we did NOT follow the recommended time frame of 1 lesson per week because it was just too simple for my children.  We did enjoy that it was centered around God creating the universe and all the compounds and matter around us.  I also love that the lesson plans were well organized, this makes for one happy mommy in this home school!
I would recommend this curriculum for younger children or families that haven't completed a lot of science.

If you would like to see what other members of the TOS Crew have to say about Christian Kids Explore Science please click here.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vita Rocks

Do you remember the candy Pop Rocks? I loved them as a kid they were one of my absolute favorites!  I even tried pop rocks and soda pop together and no I didn't explode, I'm still here to tell about it, LOL.

Well, I've found something for my kids that's even better than Pop Rocks!  It's called Vita Rocks and they can have their "candy" and get their vitamins at the same time.  I never have to remind my kids to take their vitamins anymore, now they automatically get up and want to take the best tasting vitamins first thing in the morning. We were sent the three flavors that are available

Grape Gusher

Cherry Blast

and both of my kids favorites Lemon Burst
Vita Rocks can be purchased online by click on any of the above links they are $9.95 for a box of 14 packets.
Most of you know that I homeschool so I don't have to pack a lunch everyday for my kiddos but for those of you that do pack a lunch this would be the perfect lunch box treat!

Getting healthy nutrients into a picky eater’s diet has never been easy. Children require vitamins and minerals to nourish a growing, developing body but don’t often get those nutrients in the foods they enjoy. VitaRocks™ can help! VitaRocks™ offers an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, D, & E as well as minerals in the form of an all-natural, great tasting, popping candy! Kids love it! And so do their parents! VitaRocks™… Vitamins that POP!

My Opinion
Vita Rocks are the best things since Pop Rocks were invented, my kids love the great flavors and they love have fun it is to take their vitamins in the morning.  This product is pure genius, especially for a picky child that might now like taking vitamins.  I tried them and they do taste very similar to Pop Rocks and don't have a vitamin taste to them at all.  I love knowing that my kids are taking their vitamins on a daily basis now and thanks to Vita Rocks I don't even have to remind them! 
In the next week or so I will be reviewing several more products from To Go Brands!

One of my lucky readers will get a sample of the 3 Vita Rocks flavors.  Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 09, 2012

AIMS-From Head to Toe

AIMS is a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping teachers give students a solid conceptual understanding of math and science.  I love AIMS because it's easy for me to understand as the teacher and they make it fun by offering a wide array of worksheets, CD Rom's, workbooks and any type of experiment items that engage your child and make them want to learn.  Since receiving From Head to Toe to review both of my kids are asking if today is a science day every single day, they love AIMS that much!

From Head to Toe is recommended for 5th-9th graders but my 4th grader is enjoying it and hasn't said one thing about it being to hard for him.  AIMS offers this in a book form and a PDF so you can download it and not have to wait on shipping but I prefer the book form because it comes with a CD ROM and you can print several worksheets off at one time.  The cost for either option is $24.95.  There are 27 activities in this 288 page book and it will guide students in explorations of the systems and senses of the human body. Students will look at each of the following systems:

 They will also explore how our sensory organs provide us information about our world.

Students will be engaged as they create models for each system and see firsthand how things really work. In the activity “Breathe In, Breathe Out,” students will use a two-liter bottle, balloons and straws to build their own set of “lungs” and to see what happens as air is inhaled and exhaled. Here's our picture of this activity.

Whether building a model heart or acting out the actions of neurons as they transmit messages to and from the brain, From Head to Toe provides a broad, complete look of the human body that will engage students as they learn about their magnificent bodies.

If you would like to see what other TOS crew members had to say about AIMS and see what other products were review click here.

Thanks for reading,

Kitchen flood

Please excuse me while I take a couple of days off from blogging. Our dishwasher flooded our kitchen and it made a mess and the smell is horrible!  Any ideas on how to get rid of the smell?  I've tried vinegar, candles, Scentsy tarts...
This isn't our actual dishwasher, I didn't get pictures of it because we didn't find it for almost a full day after it flooded! 

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Write with WORLD

The first thing that Makenzie (my 11 year old) and I noticed was that this curriculum has you write about real world topics.  This really appealed to Makenzie, she's written letters to Grandparents, made up imaginary planets, and numerous other writing exercises in the past but the current relevant topics in this curriculum really appealed to her.  Write with World is a middle school writing curriculum that was developed by media and education professionals.  Makenzie was exposed to different forms of media and is learning to develop critical thinking. The  contemporary subjects really caught her interest and captured her imagination and I loved the fact that it was based on a thoughtful and meaningful Christian worldview and that she's learning to write with a purpose. A lot of times students entering college are deficient in their writing skills, this can hurt a student's performance especially in courses that require composition skills.

Write with World will help your child be connected to writing professionals while they are learning to write with purpose and the assignments encourage your child to discuss ideas and language with you, the teacher.  The first year you have a teacher book and a student book.  The student textbook is divided into 4 units and 16 key lessons.  They will learn concepts of comparative and critical reading, writing fundamentals, narratives, reporting, reviewing, critique and opinion.  The teacher handbook explains the objectives, methodology, and evaluation for each unit.  Each child will need their own notebook for the writing assignments because the textbook is non-consumable.
You can purchase Write with WORLD by clicking here
the price is $95.00 per year which includes 1 Teacher Textbook w/Online Access and 1 Student Textbook or you can purchase both years for $165.00

My Opinion

I love the fact that Write with WORLD is written by 20 WORLD staff members from the editors, publishers, correspondents and even photojournalist were able to contribute.  This is the best middles school writing curriculum that I've been able to find and I've searched high and low for one.  I love that they actually teach the kids to think before writing.  To many times we just write and write so we can finish a blog post or our children write so they can finish school.  What does this accomplish?  Yes, we do finish what we started out to do but does it build up our hearts and minds for Christ?  Does it communicate the gospel effectively with grace and power?  Usually it's a big fat NO.  I'd like my children to learn this skill and as I was reading through the Write with WORLD website I read their purpose and it really spoke to me.  This was taken from their website:
Christians in particular should try to be the best communicators. They possess the truth and need to articulate a biblical worldview. Just as important, today's students must be discriminating media consumers - able to read, hear, and watch what the world is saying and to recognize the truth.

If you would like to see what other TOS crew members had to say about Write with WORLD please click here.
Thanks for reading, 

The Flirtation Experiment-book review and giveaway

About the authors:  Lisa Jacobson  is an author, a podcaster, and the founder of, an online community of Christian women aut...