Saturday 29 August 2015

Home School Confessions Of A Summer Loving Mama

The summer has flown by. I am sitting here procrastinating over getting all the books organized, the school space cleaned up, and the kids prepared. Ever feel like digging in your heels and saying NOOOOO?

Quite frankly I love summer vacation just as much as the kids do. I mean I'm just getting into the groove of this summer gig of sleeping later, making big country breakfasts, taking river swims during the day and gleaning our meals from our weed and grass invaded garden. Do I really have to go back to the routine?

Think about it friends, endless driving of kids from here to there, school meltdowns over assignments, endless cries of I'm hungry when is break time?
Ugh I cringe just thinking of it.

But alas the time has come.

So in my vain attempt to make this exciting we go shopping for a few new clothes. Did I mention Home-schooled kids generally aren't all that fashionable? OK perhaps it is just my kids.

You would think I was asking them to give up there left kidney (I stole that saying form Andrea, hey thanks.)
The effort to find a few shirts and some matching pants was enough to make me wither. No wonder I don't shop with them! Who cares if they wear pants three inches too short and stained hoodies every day, is it integral to their learning adventures?

Um yes, because I have to look at them and even though we learn in our home I would like them to be well presented, well dressed, OK just dressed is dandy, teeth brushed and hair, ah forget the hair. We are not even going to talk about the hair.

So friends there you have it my confession is noted. I don't want summer to end, I don't want routine to crowd out our time together and I don't want miserable kids. What am I going to do about it? NOTHING. I am going to paste on my smile, and make the traditional Welcome back to School pancake breakfast, take the beginning of the year picture and jump in with both feet.

Why? Because I love my kids and know even though I may not love all that routine and business, this is life and life must go on. I will however decide on what activities are important and say no to unnecessary commitments and protect our time with God, family and friends with a fierce intensity.

Life's rush to have the bigger house, the newer car the successful business, the smartest kids is just not worth missing out on the opportunity's God blesses us with every day.
~The kind words to the Tim Horton's cashier, the continued prayer for the prostitute on the street corner, the shared laughter of good friends

...Really, lets not let September steal the joy and the opportunities given each and every day. I refuse to buy into the rat race belief society touts as the norm. Dinner in the car on the way to Cadet's is not "family time".
I just really want to remember to carve out enough time every day; time to look at each person in the eye and really see them, hug them and know them.

Do I hear a Amen sister?

Happy September friends Blessings to a new school year!

Book Review: Not By Sight

Cover Art

From the Back:

"Downton Abbey meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in Kate Breslin's wonderful historical novel set amidst the drama of England's World War I home front."--award-winning author Elizabeth CamdenIn the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.

My Reflections:

Downton Abbey is one of my favourite TV series, so when I saw the synopsis on Kate Breslin's newest book I was sold right away. Her last book "For Such a Time" remains to be one of the most recommended on my book shelf, so needless to say I was intrigued.

I must admit it took awhile for me to really sink my teeth into this book, I was annoyed by Grace's lack of insight. Her awareness is limited and  her attitude is very self centered and self righteous, she was unable to see others situations and circumstances.
That kind of rubbed me the wrong way for the first half of the novel. Perhaps this was part of Breslin's master plan, because my patience was rewarded by a book filled with espionage, romance, danger and coming of age wisdom.

Grace Mabry an idealistic patriot who yearns to do what she must for the cause, misguidedly hands Jack Benningham a wealthy Heir a white feather. Her simple action opens up Pandora's box and sets off a chain of events that unleash life and death consequences.

Breslin doses a exquisite job of entwining history with fiction fusing together a beautifully mastered story. After my initial response I was extremely thankful to have read this book, and would recommend it to others, with a twee bit of caution if you have issues with snobby characters :-)

I received this book free of charge from Gaf Martin Communications in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Graf Martin!

About The Author

  1. Kate Breslin
    ©Samantha Panzera Photography

    Kate Breslin

    A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is the author of For Such a Time and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at
    Continue reading about Kate Breslin

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Book Review: The Love Letters

Cover Art

From the Back:

Marlena needed time to let things sink in. It was beyond her how all this could possibly work out--adding the care of an infant to her daily routine. Fortunately, it would just be until Luella returned home from the hospital and was stronger.No more than a couple weeks, surely.

Marlena Wenger's life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.

My Reflections:

A sweet story of love, redemption, and the hurtles met to come to that place.

The courage to overcome tragedy and loss are not something that can be prepared for, only God can hold us and carry us, equipping us with the tools and people in our lives to overcome such brokenness. 

This story touched me deeply because of the raw emotions attached to the subject matter. on more than one occasion I had to put the book down and just ponder the story. The main character Marlena Wenger dose this often through the novel, you become well informed with her inner thoughts. I felt this gave the story depth and substance.

Marlenea's life jump the rails when she learns of her sister's death. Stricken with grief she makes the momentous decision to care for her sisters baby. Marlene decides to stay with her grandmother to help out where she can, but being so far away from her beau Nat Zimmerman, caring for her niece and being separated from her old order faith have set Marlena's life upside down. 

I so enjoyed all the little side stories in this novel from little Jay, to the vagrant, these tidbits really kept the story going for me. Heart warming and tender a perfect summer read! 

If you are looking to top off your vacation with a book that is moving and encouraging pick this one up, I'm sure you won't regret it.

I received this book free of charge in return for my honest review, from Graf Martin Communications. Thank you Graf Martin!

The Author

  1. Beverly Lewis
    Photo courtesy of Gene Photography

    Beverly Lewis

    Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has...
    Continue reading about Beverly Lewis

Saturday 15 August 2015

Book Review: Faithgirlz Bible

From The Back:

Bestselling NIV Faithgirlz! Bible with a fun, new magnetic closure binding.
This special binding of the NIV Faithgirlz! Bible offers a trendy and unique magnetic closure. Packed with exciting features that help tween girls better understand themselves and Scripture, the NIV Faithgirlz! Bible teaches girls that the Bible is real, relevant, and, best of all, that the story of God and his people is also their story. With in-text features written by tween expert Nancy Rue, the NIV Faithgirlz! Bible uses the bestselling New International Version (NIV).

My Reflections:

Faithgirlz Bible caught my eye right away with the attractive eye catching cover, perfect for the young lady in your life. This is a hardcover, sturdy NIV version with a handy magnetic flap to keep the pages secured. Absolutely love the look, feel and quality of this bible, some of my girls favorite colors as well, I am sure it will be a hit!

Some of the features this Bible includes are: 

Book Introductions- this is where you can get a synopsis of what the book will include. I love this feature as it is always great to get an idea of what will be included in the book you will read.

Dream Girl- this section lets your child imagine what it would be like to be in the story. It really helps our children to think about what they are reading and come up with questions they may have. I loved this section! It is pretty and eye catching as well.

Bring It On- A fun section where your child can take quizzes. Who wouldn't want to take a quiz? I mean think about it? This is the tool popular magazines draw our kids in with. I'm glad it is biblicaly based and not quizzes about the latest greatest trends in fashion that I often see these on the grocery store shelves.

Is There a Little (Eve, Ruth, Isaiah) In you?- Another self check section where your kids can compare themselves to biblical people of the past, and the actions they took. Another great tool to keep your kids thinking and digging deeper within themselves.

Words to Live By- My favorite as a homeschooling mama! I want them to hide scripture in their hearts, and this section encourages them to memorize selected passages, Hoary! I am thinking of getting my daughter to create flash cards as she works her way through the Bible and using these to continually memorize these scripture passages.

What Happens Next?- I love how interactive Faithgirlz material is. In this section kids get the opportunity to gather information, make notes, and tell the story in their own words. What a great writing activity! I know everything is school related. Ah well it is perfect!

The last section is: Oh, I Get It- This is probably the most eye catching with the side notes. It is what caught my eye right off. Bordered with pretty pink ink, featuring the verse at the bottom, the font is fun and hip. These kinds of tools are awesome. This is a space to explore the answers to questions you have, and have always wondered about. 

This is such a fun and engaging way to present the Bible to our kids. The color, the hip font, the interactive sections really make this Bible stand out, I am sure kids 9-14 would be thrilled to have this Bible to facilitate their spiritual growth.

I highly recommend purchasing this bible for any young lady in your life be it your daughter, granddaughter, friend, sister or student in your youth group, this Bible is well worth the price.

This Bible was provided free of charge in return for my honest review from Book Look Bloggers. Thank you so much Book Look!

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Book Review: Gone Without A Trace

From the Back:

The past is repeating itself--and time is running out
It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts her concerning a senator's missing granddaughter who was last seen in Logan Point, Livy notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. With self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of the self-assured PI, she's finding this investigation an uphill battle. But with the prospect of finding her cousin on the horizon, she'll have to find a way to work with Alex--before it's too late.

My Reflections:

Gone Without A Trace is the third book in the Logan Point series, and I must say Patricia Bradley has seceded to make her name onto my "favourite Author" list. 

I absolutely loved getting reacquainted with characters form A Promise to Protect and Shadows of the Past. It is simply fantastic how Patricia Bradley is able to intertwine characters from her series and seamlessly continue the story-line with depth and a multi layered storyline.

Livy Reynolds a Memphis homicide detective. She is a woman who is dedicated, and pushes through tough situations on a daily basis, thing is she just can't seem to dodge the effects of a fatal incident with an unarmed teenager.
Needing a distraction from her own issues she heads to Logan Point, where she meets a certain PI, Alex Jennings who proves to indeed be a distraction. This coupled with an intriguing case sets the stage for an enjoyable and very unpredictable suspense!

Alex Jennings has to prove himself as a reputable PI or else.... He refuses to buckle under the pressure from his family. Can he solve the mystery of where the senator's missing granddaughter is? Is her disappearance the act of a serial killer? Time is of the essence and clues are hard to come by in this small town where there seems to be several plausible suspects.

Riveting suspense and non stop action make this book a pleasure to read.
I must admit I was a tad creeped out by the villain in this novel. Though the scenes are not by any means graphic, you do get a glimpse into the sinister mind of the bad guy, and let me tell you it's not pretty!

One thing that stands out in this book is you really can't predict who the bad guy is. I really thought I had a clue but Bradley is a master at twisting the story so that the reader is kept in the dark. A nice change from most predictable suspense stories where you pretty much know where the story is going. Fabulous job Patricia Bradley, I am waiting eagerly for book 4..

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Graf-Martin Communications.
Thank you Graf Martin!


  1. Patricia Bradley

    Patricia Bradley

    Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the PastA Promise to Protect, and Gone without a Trace. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley...
    Continue reading about Patricia Bradley

Monday 3 August 2015

Our First Trip With An Autism Assistance Dog Guide

Beautiful painted bikes sit in front of the quaint homes on this beautiful island.

Time flies, commitments linger over heads, deadlines quickly swallow up family time. Sound familiar?

We needed a break. Time away from the phones, time to look in each others eyes without the distractions of hand held devices. It was high time, our bodies were weary are minds numb and cluttered.

We decided that somewhere quiet, quaint and restful was exactly where we should end up, after all we only had 3 days.. max.
After a quick Internet search I came up with Malcolm Island. A sweet little Island off of the Northern end of Vancouver Island....ahhh perfect!

Jan's place looked like a home away from home, affordable, comfortable and had everything we needed right at our finger tips, and they were comfortable having Waylen our Autism Assistance Dog Guide come along.

Waylen ready to go

It amazes me how well Waylen has fit into our lives, he is no trouble at all and has become an extension of our son. He follows him everywhere, comforting him with his very presence. Most of all he enables us to enjoy life to the fullest!

The view from Jan's Place

Since most everything is closed on this island from Sunday to Tuesday we brought all our own food, and because the room has a full kitchen it was perfect!

The Co Op "hub of the town"

This Co Op is the go to place for shopping in this small town, when it is closed your next option is the gas station. Check out the still used diesel pump.

When you go to the beach covering up is essential. We thought it was hilarious that Waylen wore his hat.

I can't put in words just how much this dog has changed our lives. Some may look at our family and think "why would you need an assistance dog?"

Some people have invisible barriers, and judging or asking too many questions is just plain painful. So when you encounter a service dog, please don't ask why do you need a dog? or what's your dog doing for you? Questions like these are counter productive.

Below is one of the best pictures I have to describe our very first vacation with our service dog.
Perfect in every way!

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