Sunday 25 August 2013

Book Review: The Scarlet Letter (A Guide to)

Hawthorne's <i>The Scarlet Letter</i>

About Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

We’ve all heard about the classics and assume they’re great. Some of us have even read them on our own. But for those of us who remain a bit intimidated or simply want to get more out of our reading, Crossway’s Christian Guides to the Classics are here to help.
In these short guidebooks, popular professor, author, and literary expert Leland Ryken takes you through some of the greatest literature in history while answering your questions along the way.
Each book:
  • Includes an introduction to the author and work
  • Explains the cultural context
  • Incorporates published criticism
  • Contains discussion questions at the end of each unit of the text
  • Defines key literary terms
  • Lists resources for further study
  • Evaluates the classic text from a Christian worldview
This guide opens up the signature book of American literature, Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, and unpacks its universal themes of sin, guilt, and redemption.

My Reflections:

This little book holds a handy little guide to the original book of the Scarlet Letter. Since the hard copy book boasts 200 pages of action paced material this guide would be helpful for Christians to get more meaning out of the book as a study guide tool.

The study guide is just shy of 75 pages long, and starts with an introduction and then goes chapter by chapter. I thought the study or reflection questions were quite good.

As I have only watched the movie the scarlet letter and not read the book It was a little hard to get the most out of this study, but that being said I thought this book would make a handy reference for homeschooling moms and older teens who are wanting to delve a little deeper into this classic novel.

Other "Christian Guides to the classics" include: Homer's The Odyssey, Milton's Paradise Lost, and Shakespeare's MacBeth.
Others, Dicken's Great Expectations and Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress are coming Spring 2014.

This may be just what you are looking for in your classroom, simple, concise and compact.

I recommend you check it out at Crossway ( here:

I received this book free of charge from Crossway and Homeschool Book Review Program in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Crossway!

Tuesday 13 August 2013

50 Common and Uncommon Uses for Coconut Oil

50 Uses for Coconut Oil                          

Ok so if you know me well you will also know that I use coconut oil for just about everything. Have you watched the Big Fat Greek wedding, if you have you will remember how Windex was used for everything. 

Well my family jokes about how I treat almost every ailment with coconut oil. Got a mosquito bite rub on some coconut oil, your eczema's acting up grab the coconut get the picture. well here is 50 scientific or not so scientific uses for my favorite substance!

 Some of them may surprise you....

Cooking and Eating

1) Cooking at High Heat - Some oils are unsafe to cook with at high temperatures, coconut oil is a great alternative. 

2) On Toast Instead of Butter - Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.

3) Eat it by the Spoonful - Coconut oil is that delicious and healthful. Enjoy one spoonful each morning.

4) Smoothies - Add one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy with the oil's.

5) Fry Eggs - Lightly coat the bottom of your skillet with coconut oil to create a non-stick surface and delicious eggs.

6) Popping Popcorn - A sweet twist on a classic snack! To make stove top popcorn, you need a heavy-bottomed pan. First, add the coconut oil and popcorn to the pot. Coat the area of the pot with the oil, and use just enough popcorn to make a single layer over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a little shake to make sure all of the kernels are coated with oil. Next, place the pot over medium heat. Put the lid on the pot, leaving it slightly open so that steam can escape. It should take about five minutes for the popcorn to pop completely.

7) Popcorn Topping - Instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn. Then sprinkle lightly with crystal salt.

8) Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice sweet potatoes to about 1/8” thick.  Place slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown.  Add salt to taste, and serve with salsa or dip. (Or just eat them plain – either way they’re delicious!)

9) Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking - Next time you make your favorite brownie recipe, replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil. Your friends will be begging you for the recipe.

10) Pan Frying - Next time you fry up a batch of sweet potato fries or a piece of chicken, use coconut oil.

11) Grilled Cheese with Coconut Oil - No need for butter the next time you are making a grilled
cheese sandwich. 

12) Coconut Oil Coffee - Adding a spoonful to your coffee is a delicious way to start your day with a huge energy boost.

13) Homemade Granola

14) A Spoonful in Tea - Allow some coconut oil to melt and mildly flavor your next cup of tea. 

15) Salad Dressings

 Skin Care

16) Cheekbone Highlighter - Apply a small amount on cheekbones over makeup.

17) Shaving Lotion - Close shave and a moisturizer at the same time.

18) Facial Scrub - Combine coconut oil with crystal salt and apply to face each night. Washing it off is optional.

19) Body Scrub - Combine coconut oil and sugar.

20) Makeup Remover - Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!

21) Homemade Deodorant

22) Homemade Lip Balm or Lip Gloss

23) Diaper Rash Cream - Apply regularly to the baby's bottom to improve skin health.

24) Sexual Lubricant 

25) Stretch Mark Preventer During Pregnancy - This safe, healthy oil can be applied multiple times each day to help moisturize your stretching skin.

26) Nipple Cream During Breastfeeding - Coconut oil is a popular choice for nursing mothers because it is a natural safe product.

27) Massage Oil - Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a massage oil. Not too greasy and with a relaxing scent.

28) Body Moisturizer - Apply directly after showering. 

29) Fade Age Spots - Rub on hands or other areas daily.

30) Sunburn Care - A great moisturizer to use after you've gotten a bit too much sun.

31) Facial Moisturizer - After you wash your face, massage a light layer on your skin.

32) Mix in Bath Water - Melt about 1/4 cup in the microwave and add it to your bath water and soak.

33) Tanning Oil - Put in a spray bottle and bring to beach. Spray on to keep skin moisturized.

34) Dry Feet Treatment - Mix with salt to form a foot scrub.

35) Elbow Rub - Helps manage the dry skin on your elbows.

Hair Care

36) Leave-in Overnight Conditioner - Looking for a deep conditioning hair treatment? Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at ends), comb through and put hair in a loose bun before bed, and wash out in the morning.

37) Hair Flyaway Tamer - Use very sparingly on ends or areas with flyaways.

38) Defrizzer of Split Ends - Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.

39) Static Reducer - Rub your hands together with a little bit of coconut oil on them and run them through your static-y hair.

Other Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil

40) Homemade Toothpaste - Combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Sweeten with stevia and flavor with your favorite essential oil.

41) Aromatherapy - Whether you like coconut or not, the soothing aroma of coconut oil is pleasing to us all and can help us wind down after a long, stressful day.

42) Wound Care - Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.

43) Metabolism Booster - 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.

44) Thyroid Supporter - Regular coconut oil consumption has been shown to support healthy thyroid function.

45) Energizer - 1 teaspoon can give you a burst of energy instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink.

46) Oil Pulling - Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes before brushing.

Using Coconut Oil Around The House

47) Season a Cast Iron Pan   

48) Use it as a lubricant on small motors/electronics

Coconut Oil for Animals

49) Feed it to your Dog or Cat - Coconut oil isn't just healthy for humans.

50) Put It On Your Cat's Paw - Put half a teaspoon on your kitty's paw to keep a shiny coat and cut down on hairballs.

 There you have it friends a lot of ways to use my favorite product...coconut oil!

Modifications have been made to this post to suit my preferences, Original post can be seen at Swanson Thank you :-)
links to page:

Book Review: Welcome To Last Chance

Cover Art 
ISBN: 9780800722463
 From the back:

She's learned you can't count on anyone--but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

My Reflections:

Welcome To Last Chance is a sweet coming of age saga that pulls at your heart strings, yet keeps you grounded at the same instant.

Lainie is a tough, yet emotionally fragile character who finds herself stranded in a tiny town of eccentric and quirky individuals ready and willing to help. I quite enjoyed this slow paced book for its savory small town feel and the budding relationships forged, in quite unlikely places. The book has everything you would expect romance, mystery and a tad bit of suspense.

This book is a wonderful debut for author Cathleen Armstrong, she has painted small town living very accurately. I quite enjoyed all of the characters and the depth, and faith they portrayed. I am looking forward to Armstrong's next book in the "A Place to Call Home" series.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the Author:

Cathleen Armstrong is the author of Welcome to Last Chance, winner of the ACFW Genesis Award for Women’s Fiction in 2009 and the first volume in the series “A Place to Call Home.” She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives.
 Cathleen Armstrong

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Book Review: The Amish Canning Cookbook

book title front 
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4899-9

From the Back:

Plain and Simple Living at Its Homemade Best

From the author of The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook comes a great new collection of recipes, hints, and Plain wisdom for everyone who loves the idea of preserving fresh, wholesome foods. Whether instructing a beginning canner or helping a seasoned cook hone her skills, certified Master Food Preserver Georgia Varozza shows people how to get the very best out of their food. Here, readers will find…
  • a short history of canning
  • lists of all the tools and supplies needed to get started
  • basic instructions for safe canning
  • recipes for canning fruit, vegetables, meat, soups, sauces, and more
  • guidelines for adapting recipes to fit personal tastes
With its expert advice and warm tones, The Amish Canning Cookbook will become a beloved companion to those who love the tradition, frugality, and homestyle flavor of Amish cooking!

Here are some pictures of my canning journey: Pictured here is my home made Strawberry Rhubarb jam:
Mixing and cooking the jam
You have to love the satisfaction of "home made"

The final result Beautiful easy strawberry rhubarb jam!

 My Reflections:

As you can see by the pictures I absolutely love my new Amish Canning cookbook!
As soon as I received this book I read it front to back, devouring the abundance of information contained within its spiral bound pages.

I really didn't know there were so many "rules" to canning. In the past I have canned with my good friend and she was, to me the guru of canning. Not knowing the rules I just followed along. Our efforts always turned out beautiful delicious preserves, but I had no knowledge of what not to do.

Now that I have moved my dear canning buddy can not guide me in my efforts.
So as you can imagine I was thrilled to review this book, and even happier that it was easy to read, well organized and included everything I needed to know regarding canning.
With this book novice and seasoned cooks alike can prepare home canned products, with ease and safety, within their own homes.

I would definitely recommend this book!
This is one book that I will have for many years, and I am sure my family and I will delight in the abundance of our garden well into the winter months!

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my review, from Harvest House Publishers.
Thank you Harvest House!!

About the Author

Georgia Varozza

Georgia Varozza

Georgia Varozza, author of the popular Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook (more than 55,000 copies sold), is a certified master food preserver. She teaches people how to prepare and preserve healthy foods, live simply with integrity, and get the most from what they have. She works in publishing and lives in a small Oregon community. Georgia loves being with her kids and grandkids and enjoys cooking, spinning, and knitting.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...