Tuesday 28 August 2012

Book review: Short Straw Bride By Karen Witemeyer

Karen Witemeyer has done it again in her newest historical romance Short Straw Bride.

"No one steps on archer Land" Not if they Value their life.

 Meredith Hayes is infatuated with the eldest archer brother, Travis. After experiencing a childhood  accident which involves Travis rescuing her she is left to wonder and pine over her "hero".

When Meredith over hears a plot to harm the Archers, she sets out to warn the brothers.
This ends poorly for her and to save her reputation she must marry one of the brothers.

The men devise a plan to draw straws to decide which one will marry Meredith.
Meredeth is thrilled to be "forced" to marry Travis Archer.

 Unfortunately  years of seclusion and mistrust have hardened the eldest archer brother and he is no longer the "hero" Meredith thinks she remembers.
 Can they ever find true love, or will she always be viewed as the short straw bride?

This book was everything I expected and so much more. As always Karen Witemeyer's characters were spunky, lovable, realistic and so very colourful. I found the book so engaging I read half the book in one night, I just could not put it down.

The thematic twists and turns of this book keep you on your toes, and begging for more.
The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it ended. The book makes you wish for more, but I guess we will just have to watch for the next  Karen Witemeyer release!
Don't wait on this one though, run out to your local Christian book store,
you will not regret it!

This book was graciously given to me for review purposes by Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing Group) Thank you so much Bethany House!


About Karen

Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.
After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.
Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House.

10 things to do with Kale.....

In my quest to find healthy things for my family to eat, I have happened upon a green leafy vegetable yep it's Kale.
Kale seems to be something that grows really great in this climate. So here are 10 things you can do with this green calcium packed veggie. Ready, set go!

Top 10 Things to Do with Kale  
  1. Chop it up, saute’, and scramble with eggs.
  2. Add a handful to yogurt, berries, and blend to make a green smoothie.
  3. For a healthful addition to a cold pasta salad, add chopped kale to the pasta the last 10 minutes of the boil. Drain. Add pesto or your favourite oil and vinegar dressing and additional chopped vegetables (a great way to get rid of those random vegetables!)
  4. Kale chips.
  5. Add to your favourite stir fry recipe.
  6. Add to any soup.
  7. Greens in peanut sauce.
  8. Saute’ and add to your favourite hummus recipe (pretty AND nutritious!)
  9. Confetti Kale.
  10. Kale Potato Soup.
What are your favourite kale recipes?

And here are some expressive pictures of my kale smoothie I forced my kids and dear husband to drink.

Monday 27 August 2012

I am a mother, friend, teacher, wife, and country girl all wraped up in one. Can I do it all?

So I officially did It, yep I am crazy. I am feeling completely unprepared and slightly uneasy about my decision. I mean I am not teacher material. Preschool is fun and easy, loved it in fact but home school?

I have tossed around the idea for years now, and always came up with the same answer. Leave it with the professionals, they know best. But do they?

So one week from school and I am getting extremely antsy. My last one leaving the nest.
But it is not just that.
 It is the fact that I can't stand my kids being taught things I truly disagree with.

 I feel like  every thing I teach at home then gets undone at school. The teachers are great at our local school and I love the diversity, I just want a little more involvement. I want my faith to be part of their school life too.
well I guess I got my wish, today after our family praying about it and pondering it for a whole, like, ....day.....I registered.
Then I went and got a peek at the real live home school curriculum.
Insecurities are swirling through my mind and I am not 100 % sure I have done the right thing, I mean what if I wreck them for life, what if I have denied them from getting a good education, this is serious stuff friends!

So here I am confessing to you I don't know if I really did the right thing, but time will tell and funny thing is the children seem very on board with the concept.

 I will do my best. Guess that's all a mom can do in the end right?
So if you think of me pray for me, pray that God grants me the wisdom and patience to pull this off.

I am off to a grand new adventure that is sure to stretch and grow me in new ways!

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Monday 20 August 2012

Book review: Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

Inescapable, Nancy Mehl, 978-0-7642-0927-7

OK so this book rates my top fiction read for the summer Inescapable by Nancy Mehl has it all suspense, drama, a love story and so much more!
I fell for this story right away and just could not put it down.

 It is about Lizzie Engel who grew up in a traditional Mennonite community with a father who was extremely ridged and overbearing.
When Lizzy finds herself pregnant out of wedlock she runs away to start her own life far from the confines of her stuffy little town of Kingdom.
Trouble soon finds Lizzy in the way of threatening letters and a mysterious man following her, not to mention a disaster at work.
 Lizzy decides the only way to escape is to return to Kingdom, the last place on earth she wants to be.

On arriving she is met with a very different town of Kingdom, seems change is in the air.
She finds lost friends, family and a acceptance that was not present when she fled her small town.
Just as Lizzy and her daughter are getting settled she realizes the danger she ran from is closer than ever.
Lizzy must do what it takes to protect her daughter and herself, even if that means settling for second best.

The twists and turns of this book will keep you flipping the pages well into the night.
So go get the book and be ready to be sleep deprived until the end.
Nancy Mehl does it again with a superb novel can't wait until book two of the Kingdom series!

This book was graciously given to me free of charge by Bethany House Publisher for my honest review. Thank you so much Bethany House!

About the Author
 Nancy Mehl, the author of 12 books, received an ACFW Carol Award in 2009 for her novel For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Wichita, Kansas, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Visit her website at www.nancymehl.com.

Thursday 16 August 2012

poo poo deodorizer, ah ya That's what I said!

The Oil Magic Trick That Hides Number too

Given everything we know about the harmfulness of the ingredients in almost all store-bought air fresheners: Including phthalates that affect hormones, formaldehyde and petroleum distillates, and other VOCs that can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems, here is a most excellent post on how to rid the throne of that embarrassing odor.
So don’t just cover stinky poo with even MORE stinky toxins. Pick up eucalyptus oil or peppermint essential oil and use teensy-tinsy amounts that pack a huge poo-fighting punch instead. Just as a reminder, you can buy eucalyptus oil on the cheap at just about any local natural foods store – it’s not hard to find!

The Oil Magic Trick that Hides #2

How many of you work with other people? Raise your hands.
How many of you live in close quarters with other people? Raise your hands.
How many of you find yourself in a public place now and then? Raise your hands.
Okay. You should all have raised hands at this point, which means you can’t scroll down anymore. So put your hands down.
Thank you.

The real kind.
The stinky kind.
The kind you don’t want anyone to know about.
I have exciting news. I have something you can do to get rid of evidence of #2!

It works, people. It really, really works. It doesn’t just halfheartedly mask odors (or toxic up the quality of your air) like bathroom sprays do. It traps them before they can even become an issue. It’s fresh and clean as the morning breeze.
And nontoxic, so you’re not putting anything (but your own, um, issues) into the water supply.
AND it’ll only cost you – at most – $5 for a bottle that’ll last months.

Eucalyptus Oil For Preventative Bathroom Measures

That’s right. Eucalyptus oil.
Two to three drops in your toilet water, before doing your business, will nearly completely eliminate any odorous evidence that you’ve done anything.

How to Use Essential Oil to Cover Your Tracks

  • Before sitting on the toilet, place 2-3 drops of oil into the water in the bowl
  • Do, you know, it
  • Flush
  • Walk out of the bathroom, confident that you’ve left no evidence of what you did in there
Now, of course sometimes you (or your husband, who I’m very certain is probably going to be encouraged to use this the most) will overpower the abilities of the oil to some degree. But those times will probably only be after a Indian food binge – and you’ll feel so terrible anyway, it’s not like you’ll be in public. 
And – you don’t HAVE to use eucalyptus. Peppermint, lemon, wintergreen … any relatively fresh and clean scented essential oil will do the trick. Heck, you could even mix some to tailor to your preferred scent.
 Using eucalyptus oil is the example because a) it’s the strongest-smelling essential oil I know, b) it smells to me like a bathroom SHOULD smell, c) I like to spell out the word eucalyptus and d) it’s one of the least expensive essential oils.

Why This Is the Coolest Weird Trick Ever

These bottles are SO small, you can hide them anywhere:
  • Tuck a bottle in your purse for on-the-go emergencies
  • Keep a bottle in your desk drawer for unfortunate workday calls
  • Tape a bottle to your husband so he doesn’t forget
  • Tuck a bottle on the back of your toilet or bathroom cabinet 

(PS – Eucalyptus oil should never be ingested, so keep out of the reach of your little ones.)

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

I did not come up with this idea all by myself. Crunchy Betty is my "Natural Blog post queen", this is her very, interesting idea! I love sharing her ideas, thanks Betty!

Sunday 12 August 2012

all work and no play makes a very dull country girl!

what am I doing?
No really what the heck am I doing?
Here I am making a go of this country jig and what do you suppose I do I buy more chairs...they were on sale, and ahem, you know me I just can't pass up a sale. Never mind that I NEVER sit down and relax unless it is to peck out a wee blog post. Or read at midnight, while every other sane person is sleeping.

So silly me, Super Store has a huge sale and you know what I do I buy like 4 lounge chairs, they were $25 bucks down from $100. Then I buy cushions to match because they too were on sale. I think I have a problem.
Yep you guessed it I need company to use these chairs because I will never use them, too much to do.

Hmhmm I sat my sorry self down when I got home and wrote up a to-do list for my self because the guilt of buying something I will not use was just a little too much.
Here is my list, I know so exciting Haha....

1) fix door knob, we currently have not had one since April.
2) paint fence
3) fix toilet
 I had no idea how to fix this so I wrapped the hose thingy with a towel, bad idea leaked onto ceiling, now....
4) fix ceiling, paint it...
5) put together 4 new chairs (why do they have to make instructions so hard to read!)
6) fix new lawn mower (too many rocks ops)
7) fix my short temper, oh wrong list sorry!
7) install under ground dog fence. ugh.
8) teach chickens to feed them selves, and forge for their own food, come on chickens it's the country!
9) kill grass in garden so that I can work on a winter garden, now that I have ducks to eat slugs.
10) Hull all the sawdust to the chicken coop, clean out coop, and poop.

So there you have it friends my to do list.
Wish it was a honey - do list, but nope it is up to me to fix all this stuff.
Some times I look at my self and see my mom Ahhhhh enough to make a girl go running to her bed and never come out!
But even though she didn't know how to care for us well she tried, and did the best she knew how to do with the skills she had.
This takes the pressure off a little because look I survived.
So what if the toilet leaks, or we don't have a door knob. Life goes on and memories are made in the little things any way, trips to the river, suppers together, working as the "Brown Family Team" to get things done. Simple so very simple.

All those details, is your to do list preventing you from sitting down and really looking at your children, and listening to what they say?
If I were honest with you, which you can clearly see I am LOL, you would see that I am so bent on getting my to do list done that my life is passing me by.

What are my children going to remember of me? That I was too busy?
That my head was under the toilet trying to fix the leak instead of hearing about scar face the chicken with the cross beak who finally got that worm? (true story)

So perhaps I need to relax, just a little, look my wee ones in the eyes and give them a monster hug and tell them just how much I love them.
Then we can all work together to put the chairs together and sit on them.
Second thought that might make me have to go and look at #7 on the "other list" and then I will not have accomplished much.
Midnight sounds like a fine time to assemble useless chairs, don'tcha think? 
Did I mention I got another Duck today? It was free.........

1 Corinthians 12:17-20 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 

I thought this was kinda like a family, don't you think? we all have different gifts and talents in a family which make it work as a team, hence my nick name for us "The Brown Family Team"

Saturday 11 August 2012

Book Review : Help for the Fractured Soul.

Help for the Fractured Soul, Candyce Roberts, 978-0-8007-9532-0

Candyce Roberts in her new book, “Help for the Fractured Soul” published by Chosen Books helps us Experiencing Healing and Deliverance from Deep Trauma.

From the back cover:

 The Most Effective, Hopeful Approach to Healing for Survivors of Abuse
When a person is subjected to severe, intentional abuse, the damage is devastating. It is not unusual for the minds of those victimized in childhood to fracture or fragment into different personalities. As a result, adult survivors struggle to function normally, and trust few who attempt to help them–let alone a God who, in their minds, allowed the abuse to happen. So how can they find true healing? And how can you help them?
Candyce Roberts has devoted her life to working with the highly traumatized. In this remarkable book she offers hope and encouragement to those struggling to get free–and to those helping them. She also lays out effective, real-life strategies and tools, including the top ten keys to overcoming trauma that you can put into practice right away, making this a must-have resource for counselors, pastors and healing ministers.

Reading this book has given me a new perspective on the lives and minds of individuals who have experienced deep trauma. I was deeply touched by the author’s honest, simple and straightforward writing style. Having read a lot of "self-help" books over the years which focused on overcoming childhood abuse, I can honestly say that this book is one of the best I've read. Candyce Roberts scripturally based approach is not only in keeping with my beliefs but is also well-thought out and researched. While so many books focus solely on the trauma, this book delves deeply into how scripture has offered the assistance many of us have overlooked.
The book clearly outlines the complexities and often fragmented pathways of the mind of traumatized people. This widespread problem is often times looked on by professionals as unresolvable and untreatable but Candyce Roberts shows with prayer ministry anything is possible with a willing heart.
This book is easy to read and is interspersed with personal stories from Candyce’s own Prayer Ministry. It will prepare you with a solid understanding on helping and praying with hurting people.  I absolutely would recommend this book for your church leaders, counselors, and people in the helping profession.  

About the Author:

Candyce Roberts has spent the last fifteen years in inner healing ministry to survivors of abuse, leading them into the presence of the Lord to experience emotional, spiritual, and physical wholeness. Candyce and her husband, Ray, are committed to living in Kingdom community in Campbellsville, Kentucky, sharing life with their three daughters and sons-in-law and eight grandchildren.

I graciously received this book from Chosen Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review of the book. Thank you Chosen for this opportunity!

Thursday 9 August 2012

Chinese Fried Rice

About This Recipe

"This Chinese fried rice has the flavor those other recipes are missing.
 Make sure you season your rice with salt before it cooks. Add some butter to the cooking water, as well. Other seasonings should be added before you cook, as well, so it has time to get inside the rice. If you like sesame flavor, add 1 tsp. of it after you add the green onions, but do not use it as a cooking oil because it easily burns."


    • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
    • 1 eggs, lightly beaten ( or more eggs if you like)
    • 3 drops soy sauce
    • 3 drops sesame oil
    • 8 ounces cooked lean boneless pork or 8 ounces chicken, chopped
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots ( very small)
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 4 cups cold cooked rice, grains separated ( preferably medium grain)
    • 4 green onions, chopped
    • 2 cups bean sprouts
    • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce ( add more if you like)


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok; add chopped onions and stir-fry until onions turn a nice brown color, about 8-10 minutes; remove from wok.
  2. Allow wok to cool slightly.
  3. Mix egg with 3 drops of soy and 3 drops of sesame oil; set aside.
  4. Add 1/2 tbsp oil to wok, swirling to coat surfaces; add egg mixture; working quickly, swirl egg until egg sets against wok; when egg puffs, flip egg and cook other side briefly; remove from wok, and chop into small pieces.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok; add selected meat to wok, along with carrots, peas, and cooked onion; stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  6. Add rice, green onions, and bean sprouts, tossing to mix well; stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  7. Add 2 tbsp of light soy sauce and chopped egg to rice mixture and fold in; stir-fry for 1 minute more; serve.
  8. Set out additional soy sauce on the table, if desired. Enjoy!!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Haha funny!

Today was a really funny kinda day.

I mean really I drove 7 hours to pick up and deliver chicks, not the girl kind the fluffy noisy ones..OK I realize this could describe both types, well you get the picture. 7 hours on the road, the next two days are the same..

Things that happened on the drive,

#1-  child #3 decides she has to pee while I am on freeway.

#2- My Chickens keep escaping the box, and I nearly get into an accident because one decides to peck my bare baby toe thinking it something to eat. I was wearing flip flops...Very very scary feeling!

#3- a escapee decides to run under my gas pedal and just sit there, I have to extract it, while driving on the highway, Holding my Ice cappuccino... The true city girl turns country scenario, yep, I know...stop laughing!

#4- Child #3 keeps asking if we are on the free road and when she can go pee again.

#5- when I finally arrive home I realize that I need to make rice to finish supper that was in the crock pot, supper at 7pm is priceless with three very hungry miserable children. Smile and grit my teeth.

#6- finally kids are all in bed..sigh...but there are like 12 flies dive bombing me...time to get the swatter out!

Ahhhh deep breath, cleansing air gotta love days that fly by Hahaha....

But really what do you do when you have a day like this. I know you are saying I would never have these kinds of experiences, guess I am just blessed.

I am choosing to laugh, I mean really it is hilarious when you think about it I an doing chicken care instead of child care both CC.

I thought today about how this day is all I have. Right here right now. I don't know how many more I will be given and yesterday is dead and gone. So I should live. Really live, so today ..Sorry just killed a fly... I am smiling and laughing at my funny day. Life is far too short not to.

Hope you also smile, and think of the funny things that you experienced in your life today.
I will say a wee prayer for you tonight that you find something in your life that is crazy and laughable, remember today is all you really have, make the most of it!

Psalm 126:2 

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Monday 6 August 2012

Book Review: You're Stronger Than You Think The Power to Do What You Think You Can't

You’re stronger Than you Think by Dr. Les Parrott

In You’re Stronger Than You Think, psychologist Dr. Les Parrott helps you access the power to do what you feel you can’t. With practical insights and hard-earned wisdom, he shows you that by changing how you think, understanding what you feel, and using the power that lies untapped deep in your soul, you can summon strength you didn’t know you had—strength that ultimately comes from God. The secret to tapping into your inner strength is not about positive thinking or pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Instead, it’s about leveraging your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses to reveal a surprising inner-power that God has placed deep in your heart. Using a counterintuitive approach to overcoming hardship, You’re Stronger Than You Think will help you find the unexpected power you need to pass through both the everyday and extraordinary tests of life.

This is an easy to read book with a fabulous layout.
It is comprised of three parts and 6 chapters.
Some of the topics are: Think simply, Think Expectantly, Feel Vulnerable, Feel connected, Be emptied, and Be Bold.
Purchasing the work book would definitely help readers dive deeper into their healing experience.

While I found the book to hold sound widely used mental health practices, I was often left wishing that Les Parrott used a more biblical approach in his book.

 He often quoted medical evidence and backed up his stories with medical accounts and personal stories. More scripture references would have made me give this book a higher rating.
All in all I found “You’re stronger Than you Think” a solid book, but was left feeling a little let down by the lack of Biblical references and slant towards popular psychology.

I was graciously given this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Thank you Tyndale!

About the Author:
Image of Les Parrott

Les Parrott
Les Parrott, PhD, is a New York Times number one bestselling author. He is cofounder, with his wife, Leslie, of the Center for Relationship Development on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. He is the author of such books as High–Maintenance Relationships, Love Talk (with Leslie Parrott), 3 Seconds, The Hour that Matters Most (with Leslie) and the award–winning Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (with Leslie). Dr. Parrott is a sought–after speaker and holds relationship seminars across North America. He has been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. His many television appearances include The View, The O'Reilly Factor, CNN, Good Morning America, and The Oprah Show. Les lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons.

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