Monday, March 26, 2012

Eyes of Justice: A Triple Threat Novel... a book review AND Giveaway


Lis Wiehl with April Henry
ISBN: 9781595547088
Thomas Nelson Publisher
Available: April 3, 2012

Eyes of Justice is the fourth novel in the Triple Threat Series from Lis Wiehl with April Henry.  In the first novel Face of Betrayal, we meet the ladies who make-up the 'Triple Threat':' Nicole - an FBI agent, Allison - a federal prosecutor, and Cassidy - an investigative crime reporter.  Even though the three girls attended the same private high school in Portland, they did not run in the same circles.

Years later, their careers bring them back to Portland and into each other's lives.  In this fourth novel, the crime they are investigating becomes very personal.  After one of the three is murdered, the remaining two vow to bring the perpetrator to justice.... no matter what.  To help them in their investigation, Olivia - a quirky private investigator - joins the team as its newest ally.

Eyes of Justice is a fast-paced mystery that will hook you right from page one.  The twists and turns along with the personal storylines makes this a must-read for all mystery fans!

Lis Wiehl has written another best seller!  I look forward to reading the first three novels in the Triple Threat series.  The only downside is that I know the future.

Now... onto the GIVEAWAY!

To enter this drawing to win this terrific book,
follow me on GFC and/or Twitter and leave a comment below. 

The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on April 15, 2012. 

I will use to choose a winner on April 16! 

Good luck and happy reading!

(US Residents only)

I received a complimentary ebook of Eyes of Justice from Thomas Nelson Publisher and their BookSneeze Blogger program for my honest review.

Posted at Hip Homeschool Moms Giveaway.



Spring Garden 2012

The lettuces are barely holding on.  With temperatures into the low to mid-80's for the better part of 3 weeks, they haven't got a chance.  I've continued watering the best I can, but we haven't yet enjoyed a salad from this garden.     {insert SIGH here}

These radishes are just about about 10-14 days old.  I hope to enjoy these in 2-3 weeks! 
I planted 60 seeds... good thing I really like radishes!

Our azaleas are bursting forth.... beautiful!

Due to no paycheck since February lack of funds,
I just managed to finish the strawberry plants and seasonings. 
Check it out...

I planted 9 everbearing STRAWBERRY plants.  These are supposed to bear fruit from now until fall.  There are already two berries on one of the plants.  We shall see!

I replanted last year's OREGANO which is all ready to be harvested!

Replanted PARSLEY.... this is also ready to harvest.

I have temporarily planted them in these pots.  Hopefully, we will have a paycheck in the next two weeks, and I'll replant these in one of those large wood half-barrels!

My new back porch container garden!

One last surprise... look closely and you will see a cardinal!
Cardinals and Blue Jays are my favorite birds!

Upcoming plans:

keeping the lettuces alive
purchasing bell peppers to plant
looking into planting tomato plants
(my luck... we would have a freeze!)

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Happy Gardening!

This post may be linked to Tuesday Garden Party and Bloomin' Tuesday.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vanilla Butter Frosting


No, no... your eyes are not deceiving you.  This is a chocolate frosted Bonnie Butter Cake.  This frosting is a sweet one.  So, if you are not a fan of sweet, sugary heaven, leave your cake naked!


2/3 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' (10x) sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 TBS milk or until desired consistency


1)  Blend butter and sugar.

2)  Stir in vanilla and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.

Note:  This generously frosts a 13x9-inch cake or two 8- or 9-inch layers.


Chocolate Butter Frosting:  Add 1/2-3/4 cup cocoa powder or desired taste.

Orange (or Lemon) Butter Frosting:  Omit vanilla and substitute orange (or lemon) juice for the milk; stir in 2 tsp grated or orange (or 1/2 tsp grated lemon) peel.

Pineapple Butter Frosting: Omit vanilla and milk; stir in 1/3 cup well-drained crushed pineapple.

Peanut Butter Frosting: Substitute peanut butter for the butter; increase milk to 1/4 to 1/3 cup.

Maple-Nut Butter Frosting: Substitute 1/2 cup maple-flavored syrup for the vanilla and milk; stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts.

Recipe adapted from the 1969 Betty Crocker Cookbook.

This recipe may be linked to these food blog hops.



Monday, March 19, 2012

The God Box... a book review

Cowboy Father
Available: April 17, 2012
ISBN: 9781608323609

How do you 'give all your problems to God?'  I know I need to leave my problems, worries, anxieties, etc. at the foot of the cross, but what does that look like in real life and how does one accomplish it?

Well, The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan is a beautiful picture of her mom's faithful walk with God.  She lived the last 20 years of  her life, petitioning and praising God in small notes and gave them to God in her 'God Box.'  "Her requests, penned on scraps of paper, were presented without expectation - the ultmate expression of letting go."

To Watch the Book Trailer: Click Here

After her mother passed away, Mary Lou found her mother's God Boxes.  As the family read through these heartfelt prayers and praised, they realized that no concern was ever too small for God.  Not only did these notes show the love of a mother, but of a friend for the lost and hurting.

Do you have a God Box?
Click Here 

Thanks to Mary Lou for sharing her mother's journey with me.  I am going to start my first God Box and can't wait to see how God works in and through me.

Thank you to Greenleaf Book Group and for my complimentary copy of The God Box for my review.



Miracle for Jen Giveaway Winner is...

Miracle for Jen: A Tragic Accident, a Mother's  Desperate Prayer, and Heaven's Extraordinary Answer  -     
        By: Linda Barrick

# 3: Mountain Mama

Congratulations and happy reading!



Illusion... a book review AND Giveaway!





One horrific accident

Humans playing "god"

Dane and Mandy shared their love of all things magic!  Having met during a carnival magic show in 1970, they knew they we meant for each other... both professionally and personally.  After 40 years of marriage, a single life-changing car accident shatters their idyllic life.

The year: 2010.  Mandy physically dies.  Dane emotionally dies.

As Dane mourns the loss of his beloved wife, Mandy awakes in the present (2010) as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970.  Confused and lost, she is admitted to a mental ward.  While there, she discovers an ability to "walk through space" to a different time/place and frees herself from the hospital.  This is the beginning of a search to find normalcy and answers to her strange situation.

Frank Peretti has crafted an intricate storyline part love story and  part science fiction.  He has woven God's story of love and life, loss and restoration, with the twists and turns of a page-turning mystery.

If you're interested in getting your hands on the first 20 chapters of Illusion,
click here to access them through Franks Inner Circle facebook page or HERE to go directly to the Illusion webpage.

If you have enjoyed Frank Peretti's previous books: This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness, House, The Oath and/or The Visitation, you will not be disappointed.  Illusion is his first release in seven years and could easily become the next New York Times Bestsellers book!

Now... onto the GIVEAWAY!

If  you would love to win this great, new book, leave a comment below. 

The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on March 31, 2012. 

I will use to choose a winner on April 1! 

Good luck and happy reading!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon & Schuster and Howard Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Posted at Hip Homeschool Moms Giveaway.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Giveaway reminder...

Miracle for Jen: A Tragic Accident, a Mother's  Desperate Prayer, and Heaven's Extraordinary Answer  -     
        By: Linda Barrick

Miracle for Jen

Giveaway ends

March 18, 2012

11:59 PM

Come on by and throw your name in the hat
at the Miracle for Jen Giveaway post!

{Do Not Leave Comment on This Post!}



Bonnie Butter Cake


What are your cherished birthday memories growing up?  Mine is the CAKE!  Mom would make whatever we wanted for dinner on our birthday.  I always asked for (and received) homemade spaghetti sauce and Bonnie Butter Cake, but... not at the same time!  To this day.... many, many years later... I still make this cake for my birthday!  If my family is lucky, I'll make it on theirs, too!


2/3 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk


1)  Heat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour (or PAM) baking pan, 13x9x2 or two 9-inch or three 8-inch round layer pans.

2)  In large mixer bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy.  Beat 5 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

3)  On low speed, mix in flour, baking powder, and salt alternately with milk.

4)  Pour into pans.

5)  Bake oblong 45-50 minutes, layers 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool.

6)  Frost cake. 

Note:  I make homemade frosting using softened butter, 10x sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Vanilla Butter Frosting Recipe coming next week!

My youngest son's 16th birthday! 
He must have been really good to get this treat!

Recipe from: Betty Crocker Cookbook (1969)

This recipe may be linked to these food blog hops.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Halflings... a book review


ISBN-13: 9780310728184
Ages: 15-18
Fiction - Fantasy

After choosing to read Halflings and even after receiving it from, I questioned myself why I agreed to read it.  Why?  I'm not a big fan of the Fantasy genre of books.

Well, can I tell you I was blown away?  I didn't want to put the book down but, unfortunately, I had to do housekeeping and mom chores (as well as sleep).  Ask my hubby, I laid in bed last night trying to figure out the last 60 pages of the book!

So, what is a "Halfling?"  One who is half man and half angel, of course.  Simple, right?  No.  These wonderful fictional beings live neither in heaven nor earth and are neither heavenly beings or earthly beings.  Since they "live between' two worlds, they consider themselves "Lost Boys - Raven, Mace, and Vine."

They have been sent to the earth realm to protect Nikki Youngblood, a typical fun-loving 17 year old.  What has she done to be the target of such evil needing protection?  As Nikki and the boys, along with their overseer Will, work to keep her safe, new surprises surface around each corner.  Will she find the safety she needs?  Will she be able to protect her heart and Mace's soul?

This is the first book of the Halfling Trilogy.  I look forward to reading the next installment later this year.... none too soon if you ask me!

Click HERE to read Chapter 1!

I received a complimentary e-book from  Zondervan Publisher and for my honest review.  Thanks!



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Homemade Apple Sauce


I know fall is the normal time of having an abundance of apples, but I was 'gifted' a huge number of apples and needed to find recipes to use them before I lost them.  After perusing through many recipe books, I located a terrific recipe for applesauce that can be frozen for later enjoyment.  I also made two Apple Crumbles and we enjoyed them with vanilla ice cream!


4 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup water
1 TBS lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg


1)  In a large, heavy saucepan, simmer apples in water over low heat until tender but not mushy.

2)  Add lemon juice.

3)  Stir in sugar.  Cook and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Depending on the tartness of the apples, the amount of sweetener may be adjusted.

4)  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before mashing.  I used a potato masher for this job and it worked great!

5)  Enjoy!

May substitute 3 cups cranberries or blueberries for 1 pound of the apples.  May substitute peaches, pears, plum, or apricots for half of the apples.

To Freeze... cool the applesauce and then transfer to a freezer bag.  Freezes well for up to 9 months.  To serve, thaw and serve chilled or warmed over stovetop.

Notes... I made this in the afternoon and let it sit in the pot until dinner.  It was still warm and delicious!  I stored the leftovers in the refrigerator and it was fine 3 days later.  This will also make a great ice cream topper!

Recipe adapted from Fix, Freeze, Take & Bake.  This recipe may be linked to these food blog hops.



1 Peter 5 Bible Study


As this 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times comes to a close, I am amazed at what God is showing me, both personally and for my immediate and church families.

In 1 Peter 5, Peter is calling to the elders, wiser older men, in the faith community to step up as leaders to their local church body.  He is reminding the elders of their responsibilities and characteristics of good leadership.  Elders provide supervision, protection, discipline, instruction and direction to other believers.  How they carry out these responsibilities is just as important.

In 1 Peter 5.2-4 states, "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."

Are your church leaders following these instructions?  I have been in two churches that the senior pastor did not adhere to these seemingly simple directions.  One of the churches split apart.  The other one was then ruled by elders who felt control was the answer to the problems.  This only served as a catalyst for people to leave the church as the elders would not truly listen to the wisdom of those around them.

I believe there is no simple solution to problems in the church.  Churches are not perfect and neither are its members.  But what I see in the Bible is that we are to listen to each other and learn from each other.  By seeking godly counsel, churches can heal and have a deeper impact on its members and to the local community.

Have you ever walked through a serious disagreement in your church?  How has godly leadership brought peace and healing to those involved?

This study has reminded me that I will endure hardships and trials in this life.  BUT, I will never be alone.  God will walk through these with me and teach me in the storms of His love, grace, and mercy.

On the study itself... I prefer Inductive Bible Studies over other styles since I am learning directly from scripture.  I want to hear God speaking to me, not an author telling me what it means.  I learned a lot and enjoyed being in God's Word daily.  The only negative I found was not have a small group to discuss what we learned and how God is working in each of our lives.

Thank you to Kregel Publications for the complimentary copy of this study and to Sue Edwards for sharing yourself with us as we walked through 1 Peter together.



Monday, March 5, 2012

Early Spring Garden 2012


Ahh, spring gardens are popping up all over the Chattanooga area.  I'm a bit behind the rest... so what's new!  Since I was, ummm, sort of late, I bought my romaine, buttercrisp lettuce and spinach plants from Lowe's.  Then, just when I was ready to get them planted, our area was scheduled for 2 severe storms over a 5 day period.  Ok, so now we wait.  Finally I was able to get them in the square-foot garden on Sunday (3/4/12).  As I sit and type, we are now expecting frost tonight with a low around 26 F.  Can you say I feel jinxed?!?!  So now my garden looks like this....

On the bright side, our two relatively new Red Maple trees survived our crazy winter weather.  Aren't these blooms and seeds amazing?

Well, that's all I have to report this week. 

This weekend's plans:
potting strawberry plants
planting radishes in the garden
planting herbs indoors to transplant later
praying the lettuces make it through the crazy weather

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Happy Gardening!

This post may be linked to Tuesday Garden Party and Bloomin' Tuesday.



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Miracle for Jen... a book review AND Giveaway!

Miracle for Jen: A Tragic Accident, a Mother's  Desperate Prayer, and Heaven's Extraordinary Answer  -     
        By: Linda Barrick

On the night of November 5, 2006, the Barrick family was driving home from church when their van was struck by a drunk driver. Fifteen-year-old Jen suffered multiple skull fractures and severe brain trauma and was not expected to survive the night. But against all odds, she did. As she lingered in a coma, doctors warned that if Jen ever woke up, she would be cursing and screaming in confusion due to her brain injuries. Instead, after five weeks she opened her eyes and began praying and praising God. Jen didn’t remember her middle name, recognize her parents, or recall that she had a little brother—but she remembered Jesus and every word to every praise song and scripture she had hidden in her heart before the accident. As any loving mother would, Jen’s mother Linda wanted God to heal Jen—make her like she was before. Normal. But a loving God had something else in mind—instead of making her normal, God is making Jennifer—and the whole Barrick family—extraordinary, miraculous. Miracle for Jen is the remarkable true story of a family who overcame tragedy and learned to trust God's plan for their lives in a whole new way.  ~ Tyndale book description

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Jennifer Barrick had no idea how God would use her life for His glory.  At 15, she had been keeping prayer journals / letters to God asking Him to "use her life" and make her a bold witness for Him.  Little did she know, He was about to answer her prayers in a very real way.

Miracle for Jen is a living memoir of the tragic accident and ongoing recovery of Jennifer Barrick and her family.  How would you react if your whole family suffered serious injuries due to a drunk driver?  Would you find the hope and strength to live or would you surrender to the pain and injuries?  With the body of Christ upholding them in prayer and in service, the Barricks, especially Jennifer, was kept before the throne of God.  So much so, that Jen spent intimate and personal time with God during her earthly coma.  Because of her time with God, she has become the bold witness she had prayed for before the accident.

Click HERE to read Chapter 1!

View the book trailer...

This book will have you searching your own faith and dependence on God.  Are you living for yourself, or are you living to glorify God and bring Him thanksgiving and praise?  Do you roll out of bed and drop to your knees thanking God, praising Him, dedicating the day to serving Him, asking Him to fill you with His strength to do what you can never do on your own?  And, do you pray at the end of the day, "Lord, did I meet all of Your expectations today?  Did I fulfill all that You had for me today?" (miracle for Jen, p. 162, 203)

I have been eternally changed by Jennifer's testimony of God working in and through her.  As a mom I can relate to Linda's prayers for healing and wholeness for her daughter.  This isn't only about living your faith out loud, but also a reminder for "embracing life one day at a time, letting go of past regrets and leaving tomorrow's problems for tomorrow.  It's the story of giving up the dreams I had for the reality I have.  It's the story of celebrating the overflowing blessings God has given me rather than mourning what I've lost.  It's the story of resting in the Lord and finding contentment in my life today."  (Linda Barrick, miracle for Jen, p. 203)

The encouragement I received from the book is amazing.  I want my life to be a witness for God in all I do and say.  This book will become an intimate friend for years to come.

Read more on Jennifer Barrick and her ministry at Hope Out Loud.

Now onto the Miracle for Jen book giveaway!

Tyndale has sent me a certificate for a free copy of miracle for Jen to share with one of my readers.  Please leave a comment on this post.  This giveaway will end on March 18, 2012, at 12 midnight EST.  The winner will be chosen by random number generator at  Good luck!

I received a complimentary copy of Miracle for Jen from Tyndale Publishers for my honest review.

Posted at Hip Homeschool Moms Giveaway!



Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oven Fried Chicken


I did not grow-up eating "deep-fried" chicken.  Not sure why, but as the mom, I do not like cleaning up after oil or grease splatters... YUCK.  I guess the butter keeps this recipe from being truly healthy, but it does taste so good!  My favorite part is the crispy skin... yeah, I know, not the healthy part of the bird.


Chicken pieces like breasts, drumsticks, thighs (with bones)
1 stick of butter
1 cup flour or biscuit mix (Bisquick)
salt and pepper to taste
paprika to taste


1)  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2)  Place unwrapped butter in a 13 x 9 baking pan and put in oven to melt.  Do not let it brown.  Since I am currently cooking for 5 adults, I use the bottom pan of my double boiler.

3)  Rinse chicken and let drain on paper towel.

4)  In plastic bag, add flour and seasonings.  Shake well to mix.  Remember to close the bag first!  Wonder how I know that!

5)  Add chicken pieces one at a time to flour mixture and shake well to coat.  Again, don't forget to close the bag BEFORE shaking!

6)  Place chicken skin-side down in the melted butter.  Continue coating until all chicken is in the pan.

7)  Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes, then flip the chicken over.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes.

8)  Enjoy!

Notes: There is no end to the seasonings you can add.  If I want a spicier chicken, I'll add cayenne pepper to the flour bag.  Making a cold Italian pasta side dish, delete the paprika and add Italian spices.

Cook's Family Recipes.  Chef / Author: Ellen Cook

This post may be linked to the following food blog hops!



1 Peter 4.7-19 Bible Study


In our 1 Peter Bible study this week, we were reminded that as Christians we are to persevere with the end in mind.  What does this really mean and how are we to incorporate this thinking / living into our daily walk?

For me this means that I die to my will and seek God's will for my life.  Prayer is the first step to putting God first.  Without having daily time with God to 'plan' my day, I wouldn't know where to start; thus, I would be living in the flesh... not the spirit.

I have to admit... Prayer is not the first thing I think of on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, I have slid in my 'quiet time' and Bible study.  This study on 1 Peter has put the spark back into my study time and is reminding me how much I love spending time in God's Word.

Another way to persevere through the trials is to share my spiritual gifts with the body of Christ.  My spiritual gifts are leadership, exhortation, serving, giving, knowledge, and teaching (strongest first).  Ask my family, I have NO problem in the leadership department.  I do love to be in charge!  The exhortation caught me off-guard as I feel very ill-equipped to witness for Christ.  What I have learned is that I witness through my gift of service.  Praise the Lord!

Next week is our last week for this study.  If you are following along in 1 Peter, what has God been showing you?

Thank you to Kregel Publications for this complimentary copy of 1 Peter to complete my reviews.


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