Sunday, June 29, 2014


Last week while we were waiting for Old Faithful to go off in Yellowstone, I struck up a conversation with another lady who also used to work at Canyon Village. We were reminiscing about living in the Park. It's an experience like no other.

She now works in tourism for Montana and gave me a few of these Get Lost stickers. It occurred to me later that there are different ways to get lost. They're promoting getting lost physically in nature, which here in Montana is a pretty awesome thing to do. (Seriously, if it wasn't so far from family and well, everything, I could live here! There's a reason they call it Big Sky Country!)

But you can be lost emotionally and spiritually as well. SO many of my coworkers in the park were very lost, the seasonal work does not lend itself to stability. And I was fairly lost the first summer I was here, emotionally. It was the first time I'd really been away from home and stuck it out. I came knowing no one and most of the other staff did not share my views on life.

Into that situation came two things. First, a closer relationship with the Lord because I had no one else to fall back on (there's still no cell service in the Park if that tells you anything). And secondly, the ACMNP team in my location who adopted me even though I hadn't applied to be part of their staff that year.

Maybe it was easy to see, but maybe not. There are lost people all around us. Will we take the time to be community to them?

This is a post prompt from Lisa-Jo. Join in? If you don't have a blog or don't want to write there I'd love to have you write with me, even in the comments!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Activities for Adventures in Odyssey Fans

*This is a sponsored post, I have been compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own. 

 Adventures in Odyssey is officially geared towards kids ages 8-12, but my 4 and 7 year olds have been enjoying listening to the episodes at night when they go to bed.

It's just like when I was a kid and it was on the radio... only better!  You're not tied to one very specific time and you can listen even if you don't get great radio reception (like us) because it's streaming to your computer or Apple device.

So the following activities would have required complete supervision from me and since we're packing for a road trip we didn't get to them.  Younger kids can check out Clubhouse Jr for more age appropriate activities. 

Did you know?  Each subscription to the Odyssey Adventure Club includes a subscription to the Clubhouse magazine where these activities originally appeared!

Don't forget, it's only $5 to sign up for your first month and check it all out!


Summer is officially here! Don't let your kids' boredom run rampant. Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day. Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun? For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5! More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading. Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge. Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on? Create Matthew in 3-D! Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math. If that's the case, have them solve Eugene's Sudoku!

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away. But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo. Let them take a whack at Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure. That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book: Rival Hearts

Rival Hearts

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter's Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests.

Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?


This is another in the Quilts of Love series and while I haven't had a chance to get to it yet it looks like fun.  Actually, I might have read it by the time this post goes up, but we are road tripping with very little internet access at the moment!  If I get a chance I'll leave a review!


If you would like to read the first chapter of Rival Hearts, go HERE.

Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. After finding Romantic Times magazine in a bookstore many years ago, she found information about writing organizations. Soon after, she joined Romance Writers of America. She located the local RWA chapter and immediately attended her first meeting. There was no stopping her after that!

Through Tampa Area Romance Authors, Tara learned all about the business of publishing, starting with the craft of writing to behind the scenes of publishing. She served as contest coordinator for four years and served as President for one year, enjoying the organization and the lasting friendships made there.

When not writing, Tara owns a business with her husband and stays busy with her two daughters. She lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Uncles are Cool

On Father's Day we had lunch with my parents and then crashed a BBQ at my brother's house (he invited my parents and didn't realize we were there too!)

After everyone was appropriately fed the kids got to check out the bulldozer he was using to level some ground.

Even the girls had to get in on it, but when he was going to start it up they came off and good thing too as Joy started shaking in my arms.

We were standing in front of it, but about 15 feet back, but I guess it was too much and she was pointing back towards the house so they went in.

The boys however... got a ride!

And then they got to drive!

I don't know anything about driving a bulldozer, but I guess there are multiple things you have to do at the same time.  So they got to work the pedals.

Watch out, little man driving!

I love how you can just see Noah's eyes over the top!

Having a cool uncle around is fun stuff!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Welcome to the Odyssey Adventure Club

*This is a sponsored post, I have been compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own.

How many of you remember listening to radio drama in the car as a kid? Come on, raise your hand!

Well, one of the staples in our car was Adventures in Odyssey.  You can still collect all their episodes on CD, but now they have something simpler, the new Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) online and app for Apple (Android coming soon).

I'm so excited to listen to these again, my boys and I listened to the first episode this weekend and they are just at the perfect age to get started! 

Check out all the info below on how you can join too, there's even a special for new members!


For a limited time, you can join HERE for only $5 (regular monthly membership costs $15 for up to six users)!

Families will be able to stream the Adventures in Odyssey library, plus listen to exclusive new monthly episodes.  Busy families will find 24/7 access to the content through the Odyssey Adventure Club mobile iPhone app.

Children can also read daily devotions, interact with hands-on activities and view video documentaries featuring a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the Adventures in Odyssey stories. Parents can feel confident their children are safe on the Odyssey Adventure Club website — Focus on the Family staff will be monitoring all comments before they’re publicly posted.

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership will benefit Focus on the Family partner relief organizations, including Christian Veterinary Mission, Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International. This provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

Coming in July, Odyssey Adventure Club members get to listen to the brand new album, "The Ties That Bind," FIRST before it's available ANYWHERE ELSE!

Click here to join for only $5!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book: The Hatmaker's Heart

For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stammer she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.

But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.


I love period fiction and this story was awesome!  I couldn't put it down.  Fashion details about the 1920's and the way society functioned.  Roles of women... I kept wondering why Nell didn't just go out on her own and start her own business, but I forget how little respect women got back then for doing something in a man's world.

This was also the era of prohibition so there were some references to the way that affected life.  I love getting a glimpse into another era and I think Carla did a wonderful job filling in all the details to give us a picture of what life would have been like almost 100 years ago.

My only critique of this novel would be that it would have been great to have a short fashion guide at the beginning listing all the styles of hats and giving some description and maybe a diagram of a hat's parts.  There is a lot of technical stuff about hats and seeing as how I'm not really up on the world of hats (hate wearing them) I was having a hard time picturing something I know nothing about!


You can enter to win a copy and a fun period themed prize package at Carla's blog.

Purchase your own copy or read other reviews.

Carla Stewart is the award-winning author of four novels. With a passion for times gone by, it is her desire to take readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called "home." She and her husband live in Tulsa and have four adult sons and six grandchildren (with one on the way!).

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

Tea Collection: Semi Annual Sale! + Extra 30% off!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

It is here! 

Just in time for pool parties, backyard barbecues and summer adventures; Tea Collection's Semi-Annual Sale is featuring the entire Morocco line at up to 50% off! And now an extra 30% on top of that, use code MORE30 at check out!

This line is bold, filled with the brilliant hues found in the Marrakech medina, and buzzing with patterns that line Morocco's streets in the intricate tiles. And now, all of these beautiful styles are on sale—desert and surf inspired graphic tees for boys, twirly patterned dresses for girls, colorful floral onesies for babies and more—all filled with the magic of Morocco.

The styles from Morocco are so pretty!  Patterns and florals with that unique tile inspired look!

And while you're there, check out the new line from Germany!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: So Long, Farewell

Some wonderful friends are moving away this week. Our kids are like puzzle pieces, all just a bit older and younger than each other and we are going to miss them so much!

Best wishes, friends, and hopefully we'll see you soon!

Thanks for being such wonderful friends and hosts these last few years!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Cozy Wall Art Review

I have a Cricut and a few years back I bought some vinyl to make my own wall decals.

Do I have any of those decals on my walls?  No.  I simply don't have the time or the patience to do those kinds of projects these days!

So, there are plenty of companies that will make custom wall art for you, one of them being Cozy Wall Art.

Sherry was a pleasure to work with and provided me with a custom piece of lettering for my home.  I even said I wanted some words bigger than others and her designers did it perfectly.

I picked this verse out for my bedroom because it's important to both me and my husband and it's what I originally intended to put up years ago!

The directions were quite simple and honestly it probably took about half an hour to put the whole thing up.  The only tool you might need is a level!

Unfortunately, I got distracted halfway through and didn't finish the last line until a week later!  Which meant I did it WRONG and ended up with one word crooked. (as you can see above "your" slants down)  Thankfully, the stickers are re-positionable to a small extent and after a few tries it's at least acceptable to my type A personality!

Overall?  A fabulous experience at some of the best prices I've seen for unique wall art!

A few more technical notes.

  • Goes up quick
  • highly customizable
  • non-permanent for rentals 
  • easy installation IF you follow the directions!

  • Non permanent - not good for anywhere little fingers might like to peel
  • May not stick well on highly textured walls without an extra step - see this article on the Cozy site. (mine are borderline, but since it's in a place that no one will ever touch it I'm not going to do the extra step)

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cozy Wall Art ( All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 06, 2014


When I saw the theme last night I wondered, how do I write about hands?  Especially after reading the featured post where the author talks about her mother's hands.  It's sweet and nostalgic and lovely.

And then my toddler decided to color all over the couch this morning...

Thank goodness these are the washable crayons and not big brother's crayons that don't wash out.

But then it occurred to me that hands are the things that do everything.  Hands can be used for good or bad, to hurt or to help, to create or destroy.

Our mouths may tell what's in our heart, but with our hands we carry out the things that we choose to do.

Do we hug or hit? (remember, toddlers in the house)  Do we make or break?  Do we help out or ignore?

I know my girls aren't really old enough to understand intentions and they certainly don't understand the messes they make that are so frustrating to me!

But it makes me think, what are the intentions behind my hands today?

This is a post prompt from Lisa-Jo. Join in? If you don't have a blog or don't want to write there I'd love to have you write with me, even in the comments!

Book: Meant to Be Mine

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school---irresistible. When their paths cross again after college---still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?


Now this was a fun read!  Made better because of the fact that the first part of the book was set in my in-laws hometown so I could really picture it.

I always wonder about those Vegas weddings and this story takes an interesting spin on one.

I do appreciate the way the author draws out the relationships in the story too.  Some characters don't get much development, but not here.  The mother's love that Celia has and the way she is a mother ring true.


Purchase your own copy here and read other reviews here. This is also apparently the second in a series, but you'd never know it and it doesn't lack for detail like some other sequels do if you read them out of order.

Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

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

Book Contest

Becky Wade's latest novel, Meant to Be Mine, is a keeper! 

Celebrate with Becky by entering her "Dream Come True" $200 Visa cash card prize pack giveaway and RSVP for her June 10th Facebook party!


One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. Winner will be announced at the Meant to Be Mine Facebook author chat party on June 10th. Connect with Becky for a fun evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Meant to Be Mine and join Becky on the evening of June 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Worn Out

Is it just this time of year I wonder?  The fact that everything needs to get done in the next week and a half before school's out?

Or is it more.  Have I taken on too many projects (again)?  I'm facing a summer where we will be gone more than we're home and it's scaring me a little bit.  I'm reminded of 2009 where we were gone for 3+ weeks and slept in 7 different beds during that period.

If I'm so tired going INTO summer, how will I feel at the end?

I don't have any margin in my life right now and as cute as my girls are, they are twin terrors at the moment.  I can't take my eyes off them for 30 seconds before they will get into something (all the wipes out of the box, eating the chip or pretzels or cereal they can find, coloring on anything that isn't paper).  I can't baby proof my entire house and even if I could I'm afraid they would still find something to get into!

So most days I take a shower while they're eating breakfast if I have to go somewhere, if not, it's more like lunch or nap time.  Oh, and that's after I've spent an hour sitting in their room so they will go to sleep and not climb the walls or wake up the one that has gone to sleep.

I think I'm whining at this point, but I'm not sure where to start.  By the time they are asleep I still have mountains of laundry or ironing or maybe letters that should be written, but I have no energy.

I want to hope that this is just residual effects of the garage sale this weekend - you wouldn't think sitting around for 2 days was that tiring, but somehow it is!  But I'm afraid it's more than that.

Garage sale Cory

Someone who had twins told Brian they didn't remember the first 5 years of their life.  I'm afraid that may be true and I still have almost 3 to go.

I guess now you know why the blog has been pretty neglected lately.

Book: Aloha Also Means Goodbye

Aloha Also Means Goodbye is the story of a girl, Jo, who heads to Hawaii to renew her wedding vows with Jordan, the man who saved her when she was beyond broken. When she arrives on the island she discovers that Andy, part of the reason she needed fixing, is there too. With the help of her two best friends, and despite the meddling of her mother, Jo has to face down her past in order to move on with her future.


This was such a fun read!  It's a little longer than average at just over 300 pages, but I read the whole thing this weekend while we were having our garage sale.

So, I expected the book to turn out a certain way, but I was pleasantly surprised, just when I thought for sure I had it figured out it changed, just enough to keep me on my toes!

I also expected this to be a really light read and while it was fun and easy, I appreciated that the characters had depth and reasons behind what they did rather than just being shallow.

The whole story takes place in less than a week, but because you see events through multiple sets of eyes it feels like much more time has passed.  The majority of the story is told by Jo, but her best friends, her ex, and her husband all get to share their point of view as well.

This is a story about relationships, what it takes to make them work, and how to keep them when things go badly, very very badly.

I recommend it!

Aloha Also Means Goodbye is currently available in Kindle format and should be out in paperback soon!


Jessica Rosenberg is a blogger and social media maven that I've had the pleasure of knowing online for quite a few years.  You can find her at It's Jessica's Life.

I was provided this book by the author so I could share my review.