Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! :)

I let the kids put the lights on the tree this year. It was their first time.

They also did most of the ornament hanging. Most of our ornaments are candy canes, a few handmades from prim friends, and a lot of handmades by Anabelle. We do miss all the ornaments we have stored in Colorado. But we'll get to see them next Christmas!

Life has been very... crazy, sad, and stressful this month, more than usual. On the bright side, our family is okay! We'll get through this, thank you Jesus. :)

P.S. My PIFs to Canada and Finland went out earlier this month.
I hope they get to their destinations before the New Year.
I am still working on one.
Yes, I am disappointed in myself. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

{{WINNER}} The Greatest Gift is Love Blog Hop Giveaway

And the winner of my snowman ornie and candy canes is...

Lecia from Farmhouse Prims!!

Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and leaving comments, I wish I could send each of you something. I hope you'll stick around because giving things away is fun! ;)

Thank you Brenda for hosting the blog hop! And thank you to all the other blog participants for making this a great blog hop!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

{{CLOSED}} The Greatest Gift is Love Blog Hop Giveaway

Welcome to The Greatest Gift is Love Blog Hop Giveaway!

Below you will find the links of all the blogs participating.
I hope that you will pay each of them a visit to sign up for their ornament.
While you are on their blogs be sure to follow them as well!

I am giving away one of my snowman ornaments and two candy canes. You will find the details at the bottom of this post for signing up for my ornament here on my blog.

Check out all the ornaments being given away!

Visit the other twelve blogs at the links on this list to sign up for each of their ornaments!

Brenda of
Lisa of
Terra of
Cindi of
Danice of
Cynthia of
Suzan of
Karen of
Tracy of
Judy of
Anne of
Laura of

That is Correct, this blog hop is a bit different.
You will go to each blog to sign up for their ornament.

You can sign up for my donation of the snowman and candy canes by:
1. Following my blog.
2. Leaving a comment on this post.

If you are a no-reply blogger, PLEASE leave me a way to contact you. The winner will be notified by email and posted here on my blog.

Please feel free to post about this giveaway on your blog or sidebar!
The giveaway is only open for one week, so hurry and leave a comment!

Thank you Brenda for hosting this wonderful blog hop!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Goodbye November

We got our Christmas tree yesterday.

It's a Douglas Fir and it smells SO good! My great-grandmother always got a Douglas Fir, so we've been getting that variety since we've been out here. I do miss our Colorado pine trees!

Anabelle had to get her picture as the reindeer. :)

There was even a Santa at the store we got our tree from. Anabelle didn't want to get her pic with him at first, but there were no kids around and he was just sitting there all happy.

Poor guy is going to roast in the sun like that!

Justin and Uncle Bill went with us, but they weren't up for posing with Santa or sticking their head into the hole.

The kids are getting ready to decorate the tree tonight. I'm sure Anabelle will be making more ornaments for it soon. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Long time no post. My laptop's hard drive died on me. :( Only had it a year!! My husband and his brother got it working again for me with a borrowed hard drive. But we need to reinstall Win 8.1 because I'm currently on 10.

I feel bad that I've only posted some book reviews lately, but we don't have a decent back up for me to use and I have to post reviews by a certain time. Blogging from my phone is too tedious, I don't know how some of you put up with that. LOL. I used my son's old macbook to post, but that thing is soooo sssslllooowww and it randomly shuts off so I rarely use it. He needs a new one.

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving. Gary's family is coming here for dinner so we'll be busy cooking and baking around here!

I've got a cold. :( And poor Justin has it too. Thankfully it is pretty mild. We had to miss our homeschool park day yesterday though, didn't want to pass it on to others. Littles and sick do not mix!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you going out or staying home?

I just signed up for Brenda's blog hop giveaway which begins on Dec 1. So be sure to check back then! And also check out Brenda's blog to sign up!

((I'm already excited for the Christmas season!))

Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review: Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, a Mother’s Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace

Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, a Mother’s Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace by Terri Roberts.

This is an amazing book of forgiveness, grace and love!

Terri is the mother of Charlie Roberts, the man (a son, brother, husband, and father!) who went into an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, PA and shot 10 of the school girls, five of whom died. Then Charlie committed suicide. This is Charlie's mother's story. How does a mother forgive her son of his unspeakable actions? It is an amazing testimony of surrender to God. Terri has so many questions that will never be answered this side of Heaven. The Amish played a major role in this family's healing, we can learn from their actions in this story.

You will need some tissues because Terri's book will make you cry at times. It is a very honest and intimate story.

I very highly recommend this book!

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Streams of Mercy

Streams of Mercy by Lauraine Smelling.

This is book three of a series, which did make it a bit confusing to get into fully because I don't know what happened in the last two books. There are lots of characters with side stories who are already established characters in previous books. With that said, this book was still enjoyable once I got through the first half and it wasn't so confusing.

The book is a little more hefty with almost 400 pages. The synopsis on the back of the book focuses on Anji and Thomas, but there is so much more to the story with the many other characters and events. One big event is that a circus comes to town, and unfortunately brings with it a horrible sickness that threatens the town of Blessing.

Anji is a widowed mother of four who came to Blessing from Norway. Thomas (a priest) arrives in Blessing to work and you wonder if the two of them will end up together?! I love that the characters trust in God. I appreciate books with a good Christian foundation.

Christian romance and historical fiction fans will like this book, but maybe read the first two in the series before starting this one! I wish I had!

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion.

Book Review: The Photograph

The Photograph by Beverly Lewis.

The story is about three Amish sisters, Eva, Frona, and Lily. Their brother Menno has decided to move into the family farmhouse with his wife after the death of their widowed mother. Unfortunately this means he is forcing his unmarried sisters to move out.

The youngest sister, Lily, disappears in the middle of the night leaving a note that she does not want to be found, she has decided to go "fancy" and leave her Amish life for the English life. Will they be able to find her and convince her to come home?

Jeb travels to Lancaster County from Ohio as a buggy shop apprentice. On the train he finds the book "Little Women" with lots of notes in the margins that Jeb finds intriguing. Inside the book is a photograph of an Amish girl! On the same day, he meets Eva at a gathering and thinks it is her in the photo, and her notes in the book that he feels a connection to. But is it really Eva he is feeling connected too?

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read for me because I didn't want to put it down, the story flowed well and I love when a book does that. I liked all of the characters, except for Menno! I did not like Menno's character at all, he is so arrogant and holding no compassion it seems.

I hope we will see the other two sisters stories evolve in the next books!

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Thank you Jaana

Thank you Jaana for the notebook you made me for PIF 2015! I love it and can't wait to put it to good use!

This travelled all the way to California from Finland!

The back:

Inside it is bound with different papers.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Thank you Vicky!

Looky what I won from Vicky at Paintspots and Splinters!!

I am so excited to win one of her handmades. She makes lots of wonderful treasures which you can see at her Etsy shop!

Thank you so much Vicky for this sweet kitty and pumpkins, I love them! And thank you for being so generous!

Isn't Booboo Kitty adorable! He and his pumpkin patch are sitting in a bowl full of acorns.

(Excuse the flash, but this house has terrible lighting.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Longing for Autumn

I've put out some of my pumpkins and other fall decorations. There isn't a lot since our stuff is still so far away, but I love the things I do have here! Thanks in part to my two swap partners, last year and this year.

Autumn is my favorite, but we don't have much "fall" in my neck of the woods, so it's nice to have some pumpkins and other fun stuff lounging about to remind me it is really autumn! :)

Today is my son's 15th birthday! I can't believe my little boy is growing up so quickly. My daughter also recently turned 11! She has grown up so much in the 2 years we've been living here in CA. I wish I could slow down time sometimes!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Harvest Swap 2015

For this year's Harvest Swap, I was paired with Becky from Ginger Creme Hollow! Visit her blog post here to see what I sent her!

She sent me lots of wonderful goodies!!

Prim Notepad.
Some fall leaves.
2 pumpkin pie wax tarts.
Package of cinnamon wax crows.
Sweet scarecrow. (made by Becky)
Fall magnets that Becky's neighbor made.
Autumn Blessings pillow. (made by Becky)
Trick or treat kitty ornament. (made by Becky)
2 recipes and some crow recipe cards made by her daughter.
Jack o lantern box with a tea light battery candle. (painted by Becky)
Package of fixins with putkas, rosehips, a crow (made by Becky), clothespins and spools dressed in fabric.

(I hope I didn't forget anything?!)

I did take a picture of the magnets on my fridge, as well as what I sent Becky, but I apparently deleted the folder with those pictures in it. :( I am so sad to lose some pictures!! I thought I transferred them to my hard drive, but they aren't on there either. There were some family pics in that folder too so I am bummed. I will retake the magnet pic tomorrow and add it to this post. They are cute!

ETA: aren't they cute!?

Thank you to Amy for hosting these fun swaps!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Review: Refining Fire (Brides of Seattle)

Refining Fire (Brides of Seattle) book 2
by Tracie Peterson
Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage. What respectable man would have her? But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own.

Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?

This was my first Christian romance historical fiction novel and I have to say I wasn't impressed.

Refining Fire has four main characters, Abrianna, Militine, Thane, and Wade. The women live in a Bridal School in Seattle with Abrianna's "aunts." Wade and Thane are friends of the Bridal School, helping escort the girls to and from wherever it is they need to go. Of course romance ensues just for these four, as you would expect. The first half of the book was a bit slow and I almost wanted to give up reading. Abrianna's character was tedious to read about. Thankfully the story picked up a little halfway through.

The synopsis for this book is about the character Militine, but her friend Abrianna is in the story more than dear Militine is. There were a couple hints that I thought would play out for Militine's character, but no. Passing through each chapter I wondered why the synopsis was solely based on Militine and her beau! I was disappointed that her character and Thane's character were not more developed. The book focused mostly on Abrianna.

I did enjoy the historical parts of the book. Reading about the fire in Seattle was interesting, as well as the mannerisms of that era. Abrianna is a servant of God and I loved how she got the food house going and I enjoyed the tidbits about the men she served.

One element of the story left me hanging, so I hope the third book will close the door on that. (*ahem* Mr. Welby - I won't post a spoiler, but you are a real slime ball.)

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review: How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird

How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird
By Amy Lively

When I first received this book I wasn't too sure about it. I mean, how much interesting information can there be about going out and meeting your neighbors?

Then I read this book!

There is a wealth of knowledge and advice in this book. It is the kind of book you will want to keep handy so you can refer back to it for encouragement.

So many neighborhoods are filled with people who don't know each other. Not even the people living right next door to them.

Jesus commands us to love our neighbors. This book gives you the support to do that. Yes, it is scary to put yourself out there. But what if someone in your neighborhood needs you? What if you need them too, but you'll never know because you never knocked on their door and said hello? Don't wait for a disaster to strike to meet your neighbors. Believe me, I have been there!

We are missing out on serving and obeying because we lock ourselves away in our houses.

Are we all not starving for fellowship? I know I am all the time. How amazing would it be to have women living around you to have that fellowship with? It would be a huge blessing!

I highly recommend this book as a tool to reach out and minister.

I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion.

State of the Garden Address {2}

The garden is doing mediocre. LOL.

The bush beans fell over. So I used a tomato cage to prop them up a bit. Next time I will make sure to use small cages for these.

Cucumbers are still growing and starting to have male flowers.
Also pictured is some lettuce in a pot that I used in my salad today!
I weeded this area finally. I left all the columbines from seeds we tossed in here (top of pic).

We're still waiting to see if these bell peppers will grow anymore fruit. There is some new growth on the bottom right one!

The strawberries I am not sure about. They look like they are producing tons of berries all of a sudden, but they don't look very good. I do cover them with picnic food covers. Darn birds.

Hubby vacuumed the pool this morning. Daughter and cousins are going to be playing in it for the next few days.

Two volunteer cherry tomatoes popped up, but I pulled one out (it was in a bad spot). I will let this one live and see what it does.

New Zealand spinach is growing! I used some of this one in my salad today too! There are three of these, one is right under the tomato so I don't know if it will grow well there. It was there before the tomato! Sorry for the blurryness.

One lonely lettuce. I forget the name of it. It was the freebie from Seeds Now.

Two of the snap peas are growing very slowly. I used some yarn to get these buggers to climb up. Sorry for the blurryness.

Anabelle planted these baby watermelons and is taking care of them all by herself!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

State of the Garden Address {1} and Stuff

Our garden is slowly growing. So far we only have plants that we planted from seed. I did not seed start inside.

These are our cucumbers, all planted on the same day.

Pushing up the earth!

(Same plant as above.)

Cucumber poking out!

My birthday columbines are coming back!

Anabelle planted lettuce seeds in the pot. (She is sitting where the cucumbers are planted.)

Bell pepper flowers.

Mums and violas. And weeds. I need to do lots of weeding!

Our strawberries. We started out with two last year and now have six!

The habanero plant is still producing.

The bell pepper next to is still trying too, but I think it will be a goner soon. This brick planter has issues. Nothing grows here well because it's always wet. This planter also has snap peas, two lettuces, and spinach seeds planted. I hope they like this planter better than the "heat" plants.

Chives with new growth.

Rogue onion plants. They are nice to look at, but a pain to mow around (plus the backyard will reek of onion!) These were here before us and no, nobody harvests them. We aren't even sure how long they've been there!? Years!

My poor pot of white and purple alyssum looks horrible. The sprinkler for this pot has stopped working so I have to hand water it now, which isn't bad, but I keep forgetting!

A bucket of water from the shower that I will use in the garden. California is in a very bad drought and there are new water restrictions.

There are a bazillion birds here. All sizes, breeds, and colors. We don't see many at a time though we can hear them. Nobody needs an alarm clock around here. The birds will wake you up at 5:30am, I hope that's the time you wanted to get up!

A random succulent blooming.

Now onto our bush beans. This is plant #2 for this spot. And I was sad to see that divot in the stem. I hope it will be okay! (The first one somehow got mangled up, Anabelle thinks it got stuck under the newspaper, but I am not sure.) I had a plan for the bush beans, to plant in succession and all that jazz, but that was not God's plan apparently! I'm learning.

At least two of the bush beans look great!

Anabelle playing peek-a-boo in the garage.

Anabelle on a broken stationary bike. (She always wants me to take her picture!)

Inside the worm bin. One of the rotted potatoes started growing so I pulled it out of the castings hoping to stop that nonsense. The white things are potato sprouts. I can see that the worms have been hard at work! The bin level was at the top the last time I "fed" them scraps and layered it up to the top with shredded newspaper and leaves. Worms make the best compost!

I started a Ginger Bug today!

Anabelle has been learning about our solar system in science. She had to make a diagram (she chose to use paper) and then she had to tell us something about the sun and planets. I recorded her presentation, but I haven't uploaded to youtube yet. :)

The purple thing is the Milky Way. And yes, she knows that poor Pluto was demoted.