Friday, April 9, 2021


RAISED IN THE KITCHEN by Carrian Cheney. Well, I have to admit that I was blown away by this cookbook. I started out by having my 3 year old choose some recipes based on their pictures. He picked a couple seemingly sporadic ones before finally pointing at all of them. So I tried the first one he chose and it was a hit with everyone in the family. Can I just say that rarely if every happens?! Then the next one had the same results as has everyone we've tried since. Most of my Easter dinner consisted of recipes from this book. It's amazing. They are easy to follow. I would have no problem handing it over to my 10 year old and saying, "Have at it!" The 'pro tips' are very clear and easy to understand. This is one I will return to often. 

:) :) :) :) :)

From the time her children were toddlers, family cooking blogger Carrian Cheney found creative ways to get her children interested in cooking, partly to teach them basic kitchen skills so they could be part of the solution when they were hungry and partly to instill in them a joy of creating and presenting delicious meals, as her own mother had taught her.


From food prep to clean-up, this unique cookbook guides the way through every step, including meal lists and easy-to-follow recipes, and features dollops of heartwarming family stories, insights, and kid-friendly food activities to keep young chefs focused on fun in the kitchen.

The book includes 75 recipes that begin with basics such as fried eggs, pizza dough, and baked potatoes. As new cooking skills are learned, the recipes progress to guaranteed kid favorites like chocolate chip pancakes, steak fajitas, and apple dumplings. Recipes are joined with tips to help home chefs master the art of cooking, from stocking a pantry to proper kitchen etiquette and safety to how to add flair to a table setting—even how to coax a picky eater by tempting their tastebuds.


Raised in the Kitchen is a cookbook for parents and kids about much more than learning to love to cook. It’s about bringing families together with cooking memories that will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


THE WORLD CAN WAIT FOR MOMS by Julianne Heywood. This cute picture book was a breathe of fresh air. It highlights the joys of being a mother, even when the world sends the message that your talents should be used otherwise. It also reminds children that moms can choose to do other things, but they are choosing to spend time where they want to. It is a book everyone should take a look at to remind them of what their own mothers did for them or what moms are choosing to do now.

:) :) :) :)

Time will come and go the years will fly away, but I'm so glad to be here while we enjoy today! Moms don't get awards or paychecks for being a mom. They get something even better - time with their children. This sweet book depicts how mothers use all their wonderful talents right at home with their own beloved children as they fulfill the vital work of motherhood.

Shared from the perspective of a mother's heart, a child will feel their unique and irreplaceable place in her world as they see and read about how she enjoys spending time with them.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

COME, SWEET DAY by Julianne Donaldson


COME, SWEET DAY by Julianne Donaldson. This is a beautiful compilation of poems that bring light to the dar corners of life. It shows that we are not alone and gives one an upward push when needed. For me, this book would be most enjoyable as a hard copy versus an electronic copy. If you're needing a "pick me up" kind of book, this one's for you. 

:) :) :) :)

Compiled from years of inspirational words of encouragement to herself on social media—and even bits and pieces of random musings written on scrap paper, this is a unique writer’s journey through a life passage marked by cancer, a bitter divorce, legal battles with her ex-husband, mental illness, and persistent feelings of rejection and abandonment which also rendered her unable to pick up her career as a writer to support herself and her family. Overwhelmed by sadness and almost paralyzed into inaction by despair, she slowly finds her way back to her writer’s toolbox, unpacking the pain and sharing her innermost feelings as if revealing a character’s thoughts in a novel. In her writing she begins to find rays of understanding and acceptance and eventually finds strength from knowing that God’s love and His grace and guidance give greater meaning to our suffering and light the way to hope.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

STELLA by McCall Hoyle

STELLA by McCall Hoyle. What a brillantly done book. From the viewpoint of a traumatized dog who is given one last chance. The relationship between Stella and Cloe is beautiful and so incredible. I know a family who is currently hoping to get a dog like Stella, which has made this story mean so much more. What a life-saving service these dogs provide. This is another must read this year.

:) :) :) :) :)

Even dogs deserve a second chance.

Ever since she was a puppy, Stella was trained to use her powerful beagle nose to sniff out dangerous chemicals and help her handler keep people safe. But during a routine security inspection, Stella misses the scent of an explosive. The sound of the blast is loud and scary. Unable to go back to work because of her anxiety, Stella is retired as a working dog.

When a young girl named Cloe wants to adopt Stella, the beagle knows this is her last chance to prove her worth. But how? When Stella smells a strange chemical inside Cloe’s body, a scent that surges just before the girl has a seizure, Stella’s nose makes the connection. But how can Stella warn her new family without them thinking she’s having an anxiety attack? How can she convince others that she can be a new kind of service dog and hopefully save Cloe’s life?

Told from Stella’s perspective, this story is about a special dog who must find the courage to overcome her fears in order to help save a young girl with epilepsy.

Thursday, March 4, 2021


 A CAPTAIN FOR CAROLINE GRAY by Julie Wright. I just love Julie's books. Her characters are so strong and sure on the outside, but inside there is a vulnerability about them. Caroline and Captain Thomas are no different. How they learn to grow and trust each other inspite of each other is wonderful to see. I love seeing a different aspect of this era that is not as often shown. It is a wonderful read that I would recommend to everyone.

:) :) :) :)

Caroline Gray would rather be daring and intelligent than demure and insipid, which is why she is still unmatched after her third season in London. Her family’s threadbare finances leave Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend is willing to consider an engagement to her.

Captain Thomas Scott loves the open sea as much as he despises the three-month, twice-yearly trip his ship makes as he ferries young English girls across the ocean. He can’t imagine what family would allow an innocent young woman to be matched up with the Englishmen  of questionable reputation who work and live in India.

But when Miss Gray boards the HMS Persistence, all of Captain Scott’s plans are upended. Miss Gray’s fiery spirit can’t be contained, and he is shocked and secretly delighted at her boldness—and her beauty. But the rest of his passengers aren’t so kind.

Caroline finds herself an outcast among her peers, but Captain Scott becomes an unlikely ally. They share the same passions and interests, creating an undeniable attraction. But they both know any relationship between them is impossible. After all, Caroline has obligations to fulfill in India.

Caroline has until the end of the voyage to decide if she is going to marry a man she has never met or be brave enough to love a sea captain who just might break her heart.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

REAL by Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard

REAL by Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard. What an amazing story. Having the story told from the viewpoint of an autistic teenager was amazing. It gives such a depth and insight to someone living with autism that you would be hardpressed to find anywhere else. There is such a stigma and so many things we do not know about children who are autistic and this book opens up that world for people, as well as the good, the bad and the ugly. It causes a lot of reflection in how you interact with others. I would say this is one of the must reads of the year. 

:) :) :) :) :)

Charity may have mad math skills and a near-perfect memory, but with a mouth that can't speak and a body that jumps, rocks, and howls unpredictably, most people incorrectly assume she cannot learn. Charity's brain works differently from most people's because of her autism, but she's still funny, determined, and kid. So why do people treat her like a disease or ignore her like she's invisible?

When Charity's parents enroll her in a public junior high school, she faces her greatest fears. Will kids make fun of her? Will her behavior get her kicked out? Will her million thoughts stay locked in her head forever? with the support of teachers and newfound friends, Charity will have to fight to be treated like a real student.

Inspired by a true story, Real speaks to all those who've ever felt they didn't belong and reminds readers that all people are worthy of being included.

Thursday, December 31, 2020


GEORGANA'S SECRET by Arlem Hawks. Wow. What a different way to have a love story. It was so fun to get to see the view from a ship in that time. And to have a woman pose as a cabin boy would be crazy, not only today but especially then. I loved to see how the ship was run and the true kindness in most people's hearts. I loved Lieutenant Peyton taking the cabin boy under his wing and the budding romance that developed in disguise. In the end, it's a perfect match for so many reasons. This would be a great story to kick off the new year with.

:) :) :) :)

Georgana Woodall dreams of freedom—freedom from her past and freedom from her secret. She has been living on her father’s ship for years, disguised as a cabin boy named “George.” But hiding her true self is becoming more difficult, and she yearns to break free of her life on the sea. She’s already missed too many seasons in London, and her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are slipping away.

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When Lieutenant Peyton sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he takes the boy under his wing.

Georgana quickly loses her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care, but needing to maintain her disguise as a cabin boy, she is convinced nothing can come of her affection.

Georgana’s Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.