Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Grand Prix Races

Tonight at Awana they had the Grand Prix. The boys painted their cars this afternoon (nothing like last minute at our house!) and even though Noah didn't actually get to race he still ran his car down the track.

Cory came in second after 3 rounds of elimination and was just a little bit proud of himself!

Sorry for no pictures of the actual track, too many kids I don't know in those pics to put them online.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book: Paige Turned (with giveaway!)

Despite her valiant efforts, Paige Alder seems stuck in chaos. Her new job as youth intern keeps her hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop all summer long, but at least she’s loving the one-on-one time she gets to spend with the girls.

The unfortunate side-effect is that now, four weeks of laundry fills her apartment. Plus, she barely has time to help her sister and best friend with their weddings! And even worse? Something is definitely wrong between her and Tyler. She apologized for what he thought he saw happen with Luke. Can’t they move past it?

Or could there be something he’s not telling her—something that could change everything?


This is the third book in the trilogy of Paige Alder.  It seemed like this was a light chic lit type of read, but there was just something there that made you think a little deeper.  I really enjoyed these stories.  And I'm giving away my set of 3! 

If you'd like to enter please leave a comment and make sure I have an email address to get a hold of you!


If you'd like to read the first chapter of Paige Turned, go HERE.

A few things about Erynn Mangum:

So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!

Giveaway open for one week, US addresses only.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book: A Promise in Pieces

After the end of World War II, Clara Kirkpatrick returns from the Women’s Army Corp to deliver a dying soldier’s last wishes: convey his love to his young widow, Mattie, with apologies for the missed life they had planned to share.

Struggling with her own post-war trauma, Clara thinks she’s not prepared to handle the grief of this broken family. Yet upon meeting Mattie, and receiving a baby quilt that will never cuddle the soldier’s baby, Clara vows to honor the sacrifices that family made.

Now a labor and delivery nurse in her rural hometown, Clara wraps each new babe in the gifted quilt and later stitches the child’s name into the cloth. As each new child is welcomed by the quilt, Clara begins to wonder whatever happened to Mattie—and if her own life would ever experience the love of a newborn. Little does she know that she will have the opportunity to re-gift the special quilt—years later and carrying even greater significance than when it was first bestowed.


I'm about half way through this book, it's a quick read, but really caught my attention from the first chapter.  It's actually told in flashbacks so you meet Clara's future family before the old story starts.

The author does a superb job of this flashback, keeping you in both "presents" easily.  Stories about war are never "easy" to read, and this one from a nurse's point of view.  But as a first time author, Emily keeps you in it without overwhelming you.

This is another addition to the Quilts of Love series.


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Promise in Pieces, go HERE.

A Word from the Author:

I’m Emily, and I’m honored and humbled to meet you, friend. We’re all stumbling along on this journey and you can approach me about anything okay? I’m an open book, with dog-eared pages and a worn cover.

I’m mama to two boys, ages two and four, and married to a farm-boy-turned-math-teacher. We live in a small Dutch hamlet with three churches, one Co-Op and no stop lights. There are a lot of fields out here, there’s a lot of space and sky for breathing and running and writing.

We foster two boys in addition to our own two, and before I had kids, I took care of my Mum who had brain cancer. She fought back and has recovered, all glory to God, and my pastor-father still holds her hand while they go for daily walks.

I battled anorexia nervosa as a child, and then again as a newly married woman, and I write a lot about body image now and have a passion for women to learn to love themselves.

My husband and I have battled infertility and are currently trying to adopt our third child through the local Alberta government.

I hurt for the church, and believe in it, and pray for it, as I’ve grown up inside its walls and have heard its groanings.

I have a heart for Africa, particularly Uganda, and went there in January on a bloggers’ trip with World Help.

My favorite things to do are read literary novels, play guitar, snowboard, paint with oil and acrylics and hug my babies.

I am the author of two books on eating disorders, a novel releasing this spring, and a memoir coming out this summer.

I hope you’ll connect with me on Facebook or if you prefer, Twitter: @emily_wierenga. I’d love to have a virtual glass of wine, or cup of coffee, with you.

Peace to you friends,


Monday, April 21, 2014

What Stitch Fix Sent Me

I try to shop on a budget. But sometimes I need a little help in the style department. So if you haven't heard of Stitch Fix (referral link) it's a company where you fill out a survey about your personal style (what is that anyway?) and then they send you some clothes to try on that a stylist picks out for you.

So I've tried it three times.  I need some advice.  After each "fix" you fill out a survey saying what you did or didn't like and why.  They're supposed to get better as they get to know you.  However... the first two pieces out of the box were this tank top and jeans...

Tank is way too tight across the top and then flowy at the bottom.  I should have taken a front on picture because I felt like I was pregnant again.  Oh, and the whole pregnancy thing?  Yeah, after 3 of them these pants won't be staying up without a belt.  The tank I pulled up to my natural waist, not that I wear them there, but so you get an idea of just how low rise they are.  Also, I don't do skinny jeans at all.

Double fail.

This top I think I may keep although I'm not 100% sold on the blaring fuschia pink.  Also the cowl neck is heavy.  But I like the style and think it's miles better than the outfit above (now in my own jeans).

Then this cardigan.  Wasn't sure I liked the length and I'm really not sure I like the price... for $78 I could have bought 3 of them at the Rack last month.  Ugh.

However, in pictures I think I like it better than the one I got in December (also from Stitch Fix and the only piece to date I've kept from them). 

And finally I think they goofed when packing my box because this was listed as a dress... that's one short dress! ;)  But while the fabric is similar this is not a dress with a tie waist, it's a shirt.  I think I like the style, but the fact that I can't lift my arms more than about 40 degrees away from my body makes it a no go.

I know these types of style houses are limited by what they have on hand, but I do wish they would have more on hand to cater to the large portion of American women that have HAD children!  You know, we do like to at least try and be stylish at times too!

So... opinions please?  What should I keep?  Why?  Do you think you'd try Stitch Fix?

*I was not compensated in any way for this post, but the referral links will earn me a few dollars towards clothes if you make a purchase after signing up through me.

Love Me Some Tea Collection

This is an affiliate post, if you click on the links and make a purchase I will make a small amount.

In the last year or so I've come to love the unique styles and patterns of a clothing company called Tea Collection.  Twice a year they choose a new country to base their clothing collection off of.  Right now it's Morocco, and starting in the summer it will be Germany.

I especially love the choices for the girls, but they have some fun, age appropriate t-shirts for the boys too.

For new customers there is always a 10% off deal and if you shop the sale section you can sometimes find some amazing bargains!

If you're looking for unique clothing that will last check it out now!

You can see photos of my kids wearing Tea in these four different posts as well as our header photo!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Real Easter Pics

As opposed to years past where I manage to not take any pictures or take them not on Easter!

We're all still smiling, mostly, even though it's after church and before lunch!  Sadly, the girls' tights didn't even make it this long.

The boys wanted to be sure the dog got in the photo.  And I think I forgot to edit one of the whole family, whoops!

Hope's first egg, she just wanted to open it and not look for more

This is the first year for the girls to hunt eggs.  Cory filled and hid them for his little sisters, so fun!

Joy carried her basket around on her arm like a purse!

We had to show them where to look, but they figured it out pretty fast. 

Hope had to stop and eat a piece of candy (M&M's and Skittles) out of EACH one of her eggs.

Joy unfortunately opened her own and promptly lost most of her candy on the ground.

Cory was a blur finding his share of the eggs while Noah wasn't feeling well so he took his time and I actually managed to get him in a picture.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2014

St. Louis: 250 Years (Or, what's with all the cakes?)

We picked a good year to visit St. Louis, even if it was a bad week (tornadoes and record breaking rainfall, what?).  This year marks 250 years since the founding of the city.

There was a special exhibit at the History Museum with influential things from five categories.  50 people, 50 moments, 50 images, 50 places, and 50 objects.  I'm sure it was a hard job to pick just 50 from 250 years, but it gave a really nice overview to the city for someone who'd only passed through once before when she was 16!

In honor of those 250 years there are also 250 large birthday cakes all around the city and metropolitan area in front of large/famous buildings.  I saw 6 while we were there, but one was in passing as I was driving so I got photos of only 5.  It would make for a really fun scavenger hunt as I believe they will be up all year.  Each one is unique and I loved seeing how they related to the building they were in front of.

At the back entrance of the history museum

I was also quite surprised by the heavy influence of the fleur de lis on a lot of them.  I didn't realize that St. Louis had so much French influence, but I suppose it makes sense when you read the history and how closely they are tied to New Orleans since they share the same mighty river.

The history museum is located in Forest Park, which was the site of the 1904 World's Fair.  This cake is in front of the Grand Basin and up on the hill behind is the art museum, the only building left from the fair.  There is one open air pavilion as well though.

For size reference, they were pretty big, and look, I was there!

This one was in front of our hotel, The Cheshire Inn, which is just off the corner of Forest Park.

Yes, we did visit Budweiser, but mainly to see the horses!

This is actually the first one we saw, at the corner of the Arch, but I got a much better picture on the last day there, and I also realized the significance since I'd seen so many by then!

Happy Birthday St. Louis!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Greetings from St. Louis

The weather was not so fabulous the first two days we were there, 
but then it finally cleared up! 

250 years of St. Louis history this year, commemorated in a special exhibit 
at the MO History Museum.

We finally made it back to The Arch and up on top after all these years!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Book: Dancing with Fireflies

A Chapel Springs Romance

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.


This is the second in a series although it could probably be read as a stand alone.  I always like to at least know when I'm starting in the middle so the references to "history" make more sense.

I also found I was able to connect with the main character in this book better, maybe because we have a little more in common, life experience wise (the pregnancy part).

This story was about family ties.  The ones that are important, how they play out, and how they can be broken and healed again.  And family doesn't always have to be blood relations, it's more about how you care for the people in your life.

This was more than a light romance and I enjoyed it thoroughly.


Purchase your own copy and read other reviews.

Denise Hunter is an internationally published best-selling author. Her books have won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and was a RITA finalist. In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all of her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too. When Denise isn't writing, she's busy raising three heroes-in-the-making with her husband.

I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Blog Party 2014: Welcome to the Circus!

Hi!  I'm so glad you've dropped in!  I've been writing here at this 'ole blog for over 8 years now.  It started off as Welcome to Married life and has kind of devolved into the circus!  That's what having 4 kids in 5 years will do to you I guess!

I've also partied with 5 Minutes for Mom for 7 of those 8 years, only missing one as we'd just come back from an epic trip to Saudi Arabia.  It's pretty cool to look back and see the way our family has changed in those yearly snapshot party posts.

So what's it like around here?  Well, March is birthday month so we've just come down from the high of multiple parties.  It's also spring break this week so I'm actually off touring St. Louis with my parents right now - a special trip for my dad where I get to play tour guide.  Unfortunately the weather is NOT cooperating, but we're having fun anyway.  I'm so thankful to my husband for just stepping up and manning the circus all week by.him.self!  He knows it's crazy town!

Other than that we do a lot of family stuff, take pictures, review some books, and almost every Friday I write with Lisa Jo for 5 Minute Friday.  I really love this time to reflect on things bigger than the 4 walls of my home sometimes.

Thanks for stopping by to visit, I love to make new friends.  You can also connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.  Maybe one of these days I'll get a smartphone so I can actually make use of my Instagram account too.

Please make sure you leave your link in the comments since Blogger doesn't always take me to your blog (I know, I should switch, in all my free time ya'know!).

Happy hopping!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014