Sunday, May 22, 2011

Desert gift... a book review

Desert Gift, Side Roads Series #2   -     
        By: Sally John
Him: a well -respected podiatrist. 
Her: an up-and-coming Christian writer and speaker on marriage. 
Together: a marriage tumbling out of control.

In Desert gift, Sally John introduces us to Jack, the doctor, and Jill, the motivational speaker.  Throughout their 24 years of marriage, Jill has been honing her gift of communication.  She has been studying marriages and relationships, interviewing experts in this field, and speaking on the topic on radio, at women's conferences and Sunday school.  Now - just as her first book tour is about to begin - Jack informs her that he wishes a divorce!

Sally John has brought a difficult topic to the table.  How many Christian marriages end because of non-communication or miscommunication?  As we watch Jill unpack the many truths about her own shortcomings, we can take a few steps back and examine our own hearts.  Through the introduction of different characters, Jill is finally able to admit her faults/sins, seek God on a truly intimate level, and ask His forgiveness.  All the while, Jack is realizing that his life is not all that he thought is was.

I enjoyed Desert gift and the chance it gave me to examine my own heart and motives.  I could relate to the characters and the difficulties they found themselves in.  I did have a hard time with the names chosen, Jack and Jill.  I feel the author could have chosen more appropriate names for the main characters.  Sally John did play on the nursery rhyme throughout the book.

Click HERE to read an excerpt from Desert gift!

Star rating: 4 out of 5

I received a complimentary copy of Desert gift from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review.


Scripture Sunday


Psalm 1


The Lone Cypress

 1 Blessed is the one
   who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
   or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
   and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers.
 4 Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff
   that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Comin' Around the Mountain...

Introduction to
Live Steam Locomotives
and working roundhouse

Boy Scout Troop 2 working on the
Railroad Merit Badge



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homekeeper's Journal ~ May 17


This week’s Journal is all about Home and Garden


This week in my kitchen ………. Not a whole lot since we are setting up to go to camp on Friday.  I did make spaghetti sauce for the freezer and a loaf of bread today.  Does that count?

My gardening thoughts this week ……. The snow peas are beginning to climb the trellis along with the tomato plants.  I have about 6 green tomatoes and can't wait for them to ripen!  After a close inspection of the broccoli, I believe we are actually going to harvest some this season.  The romaine lettuce and baby spinach is begging to be eaten along with the radishes!  I'm enjoying watching everything grow... each day I'm amazed with the garden!

What I’d like to can, freeze or put up this year …… snow peas, green beans, and anything else I can get to grow this spring/summer/fall.  I must admit... I've never canned, froze, or in any other way "put up" vegetables and/or fruit.  I'm doing a lot of reading now!

My plans for my home this summer  …….. Fixing the two bathrooms (fans, take down wall paper, and paint).  I'd like to get the house painted inside and out, but "methinks" it may be out of the budget.  We have too many repairs to do on the outside to just paint over them.   : (

This absolutely, positively has to be done to my home this year …. a few more raised garden beds need to be made and put to work!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Mexi-Chicken Bake



1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 txp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
Mexican or mild cheddar cheese


1)  In a large skillet, heat oil and  butter.  Add chicken, onions, and green pepper;  cook and stir until the chicken is browned and vegetables are tender.
2)  Stir in the remaining ingredients.
3)  Transfer to a lightly greased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish.  Cover and bake at 375 F for 55 minutes or until the rice is tender.  Remove foil; add cheese and return to oven until melted.  Serve.

** Personal changes:

I cooked the chicken first for 5 minutes THEN added the onions and green peppers and sauted them for 5 minutes only.  This keeps the vegetables crisper!

Since I am not a mushroom lover, I used Cream of Celery.  Cream of Chicken soup would also work.  To increase the heat, increase the chili powder and/or add cayenne pepper.  Enjoy! 

(adapted from

This post is linked to: 
This Week's Cravings      Hunk of Meat Monday      Delectable Tuesday      Totally Tasty Tuesday      Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays      Tasty Tuesdays      Tuesdays at the Table      Tasty Tuesday      Tuesday Night Supper Club      Slightly Indulgent Tuesday      Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday      Hearth and Soul Hop, What's Cooking Wednesday      What's for Dinner?      Foodie Wednesday      Real Food Wednesday      What's On the Menu Wednesday      What's Cooking Wednesday      Full Plate Thursday      Fun with Food Friday      Tuesday Tantalizing Taste      Sweets for a Saturday


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Scripture Sunday


"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  For,
   'All people are like grass,
   and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
 but the word of the Lord endures forever.'"

1 Peter 1.23-25


The One-Day Way... a book review


How many of us can relate to the yo-yo diets of losing weight only to regain back all (plus 5 lbs)?  Then add menopause to the mix which kindly adds even more unwanted extra .... um.... cushion.  I know I dream of regaining a healthy weight not only to look better but, more importantly, to become healthier.  If you are like me, I am tired of failing in my own eyes and letting myself and my family down.

This is some of the "baggage" I carry with me when trying to lose weight.  Chantel Hobbs has written One-Day Way to help people like me overcome our emotional baggage and our weight.

Written in a conversational style, you feel like she is sitting next to you advising and encouraging you on!  Who doesn't desire a personal trainer?  As she shares her own feelings of inadequacy and being overweight, you realize that you are not alone.  She has lost and maintained a 200 lb weight loss!  Throughout the book, she doesn't bash your previous failures, just sets you on the road to achieve your goals.  Here is how she simply explains it:

"You never need to worry about long-term meal plans and fancy workout strategies.  The simplicity of the One-Day Way program grows out of the idea that what you did yesterday doesn't really matter.  It plays no part in your actions and choices for today.  With each new day you have new choices to make and more chances to make the right choices.  Every day you take advantage of a new opportunity to live well and be your best."

I agree that you cannot change the past, but you can learn from it and make every effort not to repeat it.  True, you can only be 'in control' of your decisions and choices for today, so make the best of them!

This book reminded me of God's promises from Lamentations 3.22-23, "22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Click HERE to read Chapter 1.

I am planning on re-reading this book - with pencil and highlighter in hand - to mine all the gems out of it I  possibly can.  From dealing with your past and taking it one day at a time (both setbacks and CELEBRATIONS) with daily/short term goals, to making your food work for you, I know there is so much more for me to glean from this book!

Star rating: 4 out of 5

I received this book free from the Blogging for Books program, a part of the WaterBrook Press, for my honest review.


Nick of Time... a book review


The Bug Man is getting married on Saturday... if his fiancée can find him.

Forensic entomologist Nick Polchak lives in a world of maggots and blow flies and decomposing bodies.  No wonder he is still single.

But Nick has finally found a woman as strange as he is - dog trainer Alena Savard, a woman who is odd, reclusive, and can seemingly talk to animals.  It was a match made in heaven.

Nick and Alena are scheduled to be married on Saturday - just a mere 4 days away- Nick finds himself driving to Philadelphia for the monthly meeting of the Vidocq society. Being among a group of forensic professionals consulting on cold cases will surely allow him to feel useful and normal.

But while there he discovers that a close friend has been murdered . . . Nick begins to follow the trail of evidence rather than returning to his fiancée. Fearing that his one-track mind won't lead him home by Saturday, Alena and three of her dogs go to track him down.

When she finally finds him, nothing is as Alena (or Nick) expected . . .

 (summary adapted from the publisher)

Picture a forensic entomologist and an avid dog lover sitting in a wedding planner's office.  Neither know truly what they desire, but Nick sure knows all of this is a waste of time.  He heads to his monthly meeting in Philadelphia against the wishes of his intended, 4 days before their wedding.  Fast forward -----> He finds his trusted friend and colleague murdered ------> Who else cares enough to solve this mystery?  No one but him! 

Click HERE to read the first THREE chapters!

I enjoyed the this book.  The story line and characters were well developed.  Tim Downs did a superb job in crafting this book to keep you questioning what is around the next corner.... or on the next page!

Nick of Time is the sixth book in the Bug Man series.  I did  not have any trouble picking up on Nick's character, but I do look forward to reading the previous books.  There is even one written around New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina!

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Note: I received a free copy of Nick of Time from BookSneeze® for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Garden 2011


I am so excited with the progress my garden has made!  Up until last year, I was a self-proclaimed "black thumb."  No green thumb here.  "What happened?' you ask.  I spent a lot of time reading and learning about Square Food Gardening, AND asking a lot of people a lot of questions!

Here is how the rest of it is going....

I enjoyed my first strawberry yesterday and radish today!  Can you say DELICIOUS!?!?  Thankfully, I didn't try to eat both at the same sitting!!

Happy Gardening!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Creamy Chocolate Glaze

On Mother's Day, I made this Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Glaze for my mom and me.  I know, angel food cake is healthy,  until you add the wonderful, yummy, chocolate!  The cake below never had a chance.  Since we had an early dinner (2 PM), the cake was totally consumed on Sunday night during "fend for yourself" dinner!


1/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar (10x)
2 oz. cocoa or unsweetened chocolate, melted and cool
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2-4 Tbsp hot water


1.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Do not let it brown!

2.  Blend in sugar, vanilla, and cocoa.  Stir in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is of proper consistency.

3.  Glaze cake.  To make the drips on the side, you may have to add a few more drops of hot water so it will "drip" down!

4.  Enjoy!



This post is linked to: 
This Week's Cravings      Hunk of Meat Monday      Delectable Tuesday      Totally Tasty Tuesday      Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays      Tasty Tuesdays      Tuesdays at the Table      Tasty Tuesday      Tuesday Night Supper Club      Slightly Indulgent Tuesday      Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday      Hearth and Soul Hop, What's Cooking Wednesday      What's for Dinner?      Foodie Wednesday      Real Food Wednesday      What's On the Menu Wednesday      What's Cooking Wednesday      Full Plate Thursday      Fun with Food Friday      Tuesday Tantalizing Taste      Sweets for a Saturday

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday Scripture


"Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates."

Proverbs 31:28-31

I remember my mother's prayers
and they have always followed me.
They have clung to me all my life.

~ Abraham Lincoln

Happy Mother’s Day!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Split Pea Soup

One of my favorite cool weather dinners!


Ham bone
2 bags of dry split peas
4 carrots, diced
Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Cover ham bone with water and boil for 1 hour.
2.  Remove bone and take meat off.  Put meat back into ham stock/water.
3.  Add 2 bags of split peas, diced carrots, and salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Cook until peas are dissolved.  If soup is too thick, add water to desired consistency.

Great served with rye bread for dipping... Enjoy!

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