Susan May Warren

Ah…another trip back to Deep Haven, one of my favorite places to escape to in a book.

In this book, we tag along with John and Ingrid Christiansen. Now that their house is empty and their children are scattered across the globe, they’re trying to figure out life with just the two of them, something they haven’t experienced in many years. Since none of their children are planning to be home for Christmas this year, John plans to surprise Ingrid with a trip to Europe for just the two of them.  They’ll go visit their daughter who is currently living there, but more importantly they’ll get to take the romantic vacation John has been dreaming of for a while.  John has the whole thing planned, he just has to keep it a secret and surprise Ingrid at just the right time.  Unfortunately, things don’t go as he’s planned. John and Ingrid get put in charge of the Christmas program at church, their dog, Butterscotch, gets needs expensive surgery and family needs their help in ways they’d never expected. To top it all off, Ingrid reveals that she’s been harboring anger and resentment against John for years. What was supposed to be an amazing holiday season quickly unravels and it seems like every time J0hn tries to “fix” it he ends up messing something else up.  Will life ever be the same for the Christiansen family?

This is one of my favorite books in the Christiansen Family series so far, while the other books focus on the lives of the Christiansen children it was fun to be able to read about the two people that tie the whole family together. The book is shorter than the rest, a novella, but it doesn’t tell any less of a story than any of the other books in the series. The depth of the story of John and Ingrid’s life together is so great and Susan May Warren did a great job of capturing their love and the way it has ebbed and flowed over their many years of marriage. I also liked that we got to meet a few new characters in this book, hopefully we’ll see them again in the future.

If you’re looking for a good book to read and maybe start getting you in the holiday spirit, this is the book for you!


I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Cookbook Review: The Nourished Kitchen

The Nourished Kitchen
Jennifer McGruther

The Traditional Foods movement is something that is gaining in popularity here in the US.  If you’re unsure of what this movement is, here’s how NourishedKitchen.com defines traditional foods:

“Traditional foods are those foods which nourished our ancestors throughout history and prehistory prior to the advent of the industrialization of food. The industrialization of food largely began in the 19th century and entrenched itself in standard diets of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Deeply nourishing, traditional foods as our ancestors knew them were unprocessed, naturally raised, largely raw and decidedly unrefined. These foods represent the natural diet of humankind and, as such, nourished the natural growth and evolution of the human species for thousands of years prior to the industrialization of food.”

It sounds simple enough, but when you start reading about it, it can be a bit overwhelming.  It’s interesting to learn about what how our ancestors prepared food before the industrialization of food, while none of it is hard it does some take some time and forethought.  Eating traditionally is a little more complicated than just going to the grocery and coming home to make dinner. Because the processing of food was done by individual families, it was done a bit different than it’s now done on a large scale. What researchers are finding out, however, is that our bodies really prefer when foods are traditionally prepared rather than when they are mass processed.

I’ve read a bit here and there about traditional foods and have tried to put some of the methods into practice.  Some of these have been easier for me than others, my biggest problem is taking the time to think ahead so that I can get foods prepared. When I was checking out books available for review on bloggingforbooks.com I was excited to find The Nourished Kitchen on the list.  I have checked out Jennifer’s website from time to time and am a sucker for a new cookbook, so I figured this was a win-win situation. :)

The Nourished Kitchen is a beautiful cookbook filled with pictures, science and amazing insight from the author.  While some of the recipes are not ones that appeal to me, they all seem to be things that are simple to prepare even when employing traditional methods. I’m currently in the process of making sauerkraut from the recipe in the book, but I can’t comment on it’s taste since it’s a months long process. I really like the fact that at the beginning of each section the author, Jennifer McGruther, takes the time to explain a bit about the traditional preparations of foods in that section as well as how to find the best quality supplies.

Though not all of the recipes seem appealing to me, I can’t wait to try out some more of them and lead our family further down the path toward healthier living.


I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Won’t You Join Me?

I’m so excited to join Lisa Jo Baker’s Surprised by Motherhood Back to School Book Club for Moms! It’s a totally easy undertaking; only a couple chapters a week and NO HOMEWORK!


I ordered this book when it first came out and started to read it, it was incredibly good but I soon found life super busy and haven’t gotten more than a couple chapters in.  I’ve checked out the schedule for this book club and I think I can finally read the whole thing, especially with the peer pressure of committing to the book club!

My intent is to write up a post once a week or so to share what I’m learning, as well as helping to process it all.  I’d love to have some of you join me!

If you decide to join me on this journey, leave me a comment so I know I’m not alone! :)

Quilts of Love: A Grand Design

This review is part of a blog tour, to see what others are saying about A Grand Design, click here.

A Grand Design
Amber Stockton

About the Book

On a dare, Alyssa Denham enters a contest to win a free honeymoon trip to Mackinac Island.  It sounds like a fantastic trip, especially since her grandmother lives there and she has many memories of summering there while growing up. The only problem is that she’s single, with no wedding in site. Much to her surprise, Alyssa wins the contest  and invites a friend to join her for a relaxing trip full of strolling and shopping.  While on the trip, Alyssa’s grandmother sends the women on a quest to collect quilt squares from various residents of the island, giving them a glimpse into the parts of island life that most visitors never see.

As the women collect the squares, Alyssa learns a lot about her grandmother’s past and also catches the eye of island resident, Scott Whitman. As she begins to fall for Scott, Alyssa must deal with memories of her last trip to the island over a decade ago, memories that make it hard for her to trust any man.

My Thoughts

This is another great book from the Quilts of Love series, the story told is an amazing story of love, forgiveness and grace.

I’ve always wanted to travel to Mackinac Island, to witness the past meet the present in a beautiful setting. Amber Stockton made me feel like I was right there traipsing the island with Alyssa. The way she described the settings and crafted the character interactions had me lost in the story, as if I were traveling the island via carriage with them collecting quilt squares. I enjoyed following the twists and turns of the story, even if I wanted to smack some sense into some of the characters at times. :)

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Quilts of Love | A GRAND DESIGN – Kindle HDX Giveaway & “Fall into Fall” Facebook Party!

Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, A Grand Design by Amber Stockton. Who hasn’t struggled to let painful memories go and move into God’s healing? You’ll be sure to love this heartfelt and encouraging tale set on historic Mackinac Island.

Celebrate August’s release by entering to win a Kindle from Quilts of Love and RSVPing for the “Fall into Fall” Facebook author chat party.

Quilts of Love Kindle HDX Giveaway, Amber Stockton, A Grand Design

One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 16th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog. Plus make sure you RSVP to the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!

Cookbook Review: Kitchen Confidence

Kitchen Confidence
Kelsey Nixon

Back when we had cable I was slightly addicted to cooking competition shows.  Top Chef, Next Food Network Star, Cupcake Wars, you name it, it was probably in my DVR lineup. When I saw this book pop up on the list of options available for review, I recognized Kelsey right away.  She came in fourth on season 4 of Next Food Network Star. I remember watching her and rooting for her throughout the season. Her bubbly personality and simple, yet sophisticated style made her someone I could see being successful on Food Network.  She didn’t win the show, but she still ended up with her own show on the Cooking Channel. I haven’t watched it since we don’t have cable, but I was excited to be able to “catch up” with her while reading through Kitchen Confidence.

Kitchen Confidence is a beautiful cookbook. Not every recipe has pictures, but that doesn’t take anything away from the book. Each recipe is accompanied by a little blurb about why Kelsey chose it and many have additional tips and tricks. There are also pages devoted to certain techniques, these range from braising to pan roasting to quick pickling. While not every recipe is something that sounds appealing to me, there are many I can’t wait to try including cinnamon buns with cream cheese glaze, fried homemade pickles and honey corn. I’d highly recommend this cookbook to anyone looking for some simply delicious recipes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Odyssey Adventure Club iPad Mini Giveaway!


The end of summer is in sight, and OAC is giving away an iPad Mini back-to-school bundle!
It might seem like summer just began for your kids, so if they need some added motivation to get their homework done, remind them they can jump on the Odyssey Adventure Club after their papers are written and their math problems are solved.

As members, your kids can also listen to Album 58 before the album is released to the public! Sign up today for just $5!

Here’s what part one is about (which you can listen to for free HERE):

It’s a time of surprises as Wooton becomes the celebrity guest at Comic-Connellsville and Whit finds himself in conflict over the upcoming “Let’s Get Together Festival” in Odyssey. Plus, hear an interview with writer-director Paul McCusker about the entire 14-part series.

Album 58 was inspired by Focus on the Family’s The Family Project, a 12-session small group experience that explores the theological, philosophical, and cultural underpinnings of the traditional family, and combines that information with inspiring stories and practical tools to help 21st-century families thrive.
Plus, here’s a sneak peek of a new episode called “The Lone Lawman”!

LoneLawman_Final 2

Jason, Whit, Red and the gang rustle up herds of fun while performing a new Kids’ Radio show set in the Old West. “The Lone Lawman” features a confused boy getting mixed up with a shifty band of bank robbers. Can a hero on horseback set things right? See just how wild the West can get in this action-packed send-up of old-time radio dramas.

NOW . . . on to the iPad Mini back-to-school bundle.
One grand prize winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. All winners will be announced August 28th on the widget on this page.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit this page again on the 28th to see if you won! (You’ll see the winner’s name in the widget.)