Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Spring Brides

2:38 PM 0 Comments
Happily ever after begins today. The honor of your presence is requested at three spring weddings . . .

A March Bride by Rachel Hauck

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon a Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, Susanna s heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God's plan for her.

An April Bride by Lenora Worth

Bride-to-be Stella Carson cannot wait another day to marry soldier Marshall Henderson. But when Marshall returns home to Louisiana, it becomes clear to them both that he is not the man he used to be.

With only weeks until the wedding, Stella and Marshall must choose between a marriage built on the past and faith in long-ago love or a very different future than the one Stella imagined.

A May Bride by Meg Moseley

Ellie Martin, a country girl living in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life, but she's missing a key ingredient to her plans for the future: a groom. Then Ellie meets Gray Whitby at a wedding of all places. But when Ellie jeopardizes her own future for the sake of her sister, Gray feels like he'll always be second to Ellie's family. Can Ellie and Gray find their own way together amidst the demands and perceptions of others, or will their romance end before it has truly begun?"

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These may seem familiar to you. That's because I reviewed these individually at this time last year! That's right, last year's year of wedding novellas have now been bundled up into four books! I don't have much to tell you that I didn't tell you last year except that even now, rereading them was a total joy and a great way to spend my time while recovering from a spring cold. I love that these are bundled up so those of us who read the digital editions can get the print editions for our shelves and all of the novellas will be right there at our fingertips!

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Product Review: Dial® Baby Body & Hair Wash and Dial® Kids Foaming Hand Wash

2:17 PM 0 Comments
Dial sent me sample bottles of both Dial® Baby Body & Hair Wash and Dial® Kids Foaming Hand Wash recently and while I always have hand soap on hand (no pun intended!), I didn't have any fun foaming hand wash so I thought this would be a fun treat for the bathroom. Of course, I also don't have any babies on hand, but since the boys' stepmom is due any day, she will, so I thought it might be fun for us to try out something that might help her out!

A couple of things about these products:
  • Dial® Baby Body + Hair Wash is gentle on babies’ and kids’ skin.
    • Dial® Kids Foaming Hand Wash was developed with pediatric dermatologists and is gentle on hands and kids’ skin.
    Now, being the kid at heart that I am, I had to try out the hand soap right away and I confess that I loved it. The foaming action is fun and the smell was great. I don't know that my teenage boys were impressed but they're all about manly smells right now. Boys, there's just no pleasing them. ;)

    As for the body and hair wash, I still occasionally will buy this for myself because I've found that it still does wonderful things for my hair and even on the grungiest, sweatiest of days, this particular one had my hair feeling clean and shiney.

    So, these are both products that I can completely get behind and encourage you to track down for yourselves!

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    I received these products for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.

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    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    Book Review: The Healthy Mind Cookbook

    2:27 PM 0 Comments
    A collection of more than 120 recipes formulated to optimize brain health, boost memory, improve mood, sharpen the central nervous system, and more.

         Between digital overload, sleep deprivation, and the stress of modern life, most people's brains are constantly in flight-or-fight mode, with levels of cortisol and other hormones and neurotransmitters out of whack. Brain conditions ranging from childhood ADHD and adult depression to memory impairment are on the rise, and medications for brain conditions, if available, do only a mediocre job while generating a host of debilitating side effects. Fortunately, Rebecca Katz has harnessed the latest research on brain functioning to identify how the foods we consume can improve the brain's ability to control cognition, emotion, and physical function--all of which dictate memory, mood, and motion. These 120 recipes translate the very best of this science into the kitchen, incorporating nutrient-dense foods that best promote brain health and development from childhood through the golden years.

    =================
    Cookbooks...one of my few major weaknesses... This popped up on my screen and I couldn't hit yes fast enough. As someone who desperately needs to focus more on her health, not just body but also mind, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to pick up a tool that could help in that. Now, I have to say that nutrition science seems to be changing nearly every day, but the core of what's good and what isn't never changes. Plus, this book opens up with not one, but two chapters talking about the science behind everything. Then, there's a chapter devoted just to taste and flavor. That's right, there are three chapters packed full of information before you even get to the recipes. If I have one complaint, it's that not every recipe has a yummy photo to go with it. However, the photos that are there are stunning and made me want to run to the store more than once. Luckily for my gas tank, the reminder that the store was a good 15 miles away put a stop to me running around the countryside.

    If you love a well put together cookbook that is full of recipes that may or may not be good for your brain, but will certainly be good for your body and your tummy, I recommend The Healthy Mind Cookbook.

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    Book Review: Every Bride Needs a Groom

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    Small-town girl Katie Fisher is planning her wedding. Sure, her boyfriend hasn't managed to pop the question just yet, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't enter a contest in "Texas Bride" magazine to win the dress of her dreams, right? But when her boyfriend breaks up with her and takes a job in another town--the very same day Katie wins her dream dress--her world is turned upside down. Should she claim her prize? And will the hunky former pro-basketball player who runs the swanky Dallas bridal shop--yeah, you read that right--catch on to her humiliation if she does?
    Janice Thompson designs a romance sure to delight, with plenty of fish-out-of-water moments, a hilarious supporting cast, and more of the wedding biz world her readers adore.

    ================================
    Janice Thompson writes the sweetest love stories and Every Bride Needs a Groom is no exception. While the story itself was fairly predictable, I still enjoyed the characters and how every one of them had their own smaller story within the main story. Katie was sweet and honest to the bone, her family so incredibly small town that it was a bit like being back where I grew up, and those big city folks? Well, they're a whole bundle of fun all in themselves. The book moves at a quick pace, but not so quick that you feel as if you've been left behind. I especially appreciated the epilogue and how the book ended. I can't tell you why though. You're just going to have to read it yourself to find out.

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    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Crockpot Monday: Italian Chicken

    12:00 PM 0 Comments
    Let's keep up the International flavor, shall we? Let's skip all the way across the ocean from Mexico to land in Italy with some yummy chicken, shall we? We've found this especially delicious served over some pasta with a salad on the side.

    How are you enjoying this new segment? Don't hesitate to leave comments or to share the posts with your friends and family! Also, if you haven't noticed yet, there is a recipe link now at the top of the page which will take you to a listing of all of the recipes posted!

    Italian Chicken

    Ingredients:
    1 small onion, chopped
    28 oz can of diced tomatoes
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    1/4 cup honey
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1/2 teaspoon parsley
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    Add all ingredients to a gallon sized freezer bag. Squeeze out as much excess air as possible. Freeze.

    Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator. Place ingredients in the crockpot and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook on low for 8 hours.



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    Book Review: Thick as Thieves

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    Girls will love Andrea's new adventures in Circle C Milestones, the continuation of Susan K. Marlow's two popular Circle C series

    It's no secret that Andrea Carter would rather ride her beloved palomino, Taffy, than do anything else. Now Taffy's having her first foal, and Andi can't wait to train it to become as good a companion as its mother. The only distraction from those delightful plans is the fear that something may go wrong. When her foaling fears are realized, Andi is grateful for her brother Chad's intervention. It looks like smooth sailing from now on!

    Unfortunately, life as a teenager might not be all fun and games after all. There's a new girl at school assigned to sit beside Andi--but Macy Walker is nothing like the other girls. She's homeless and ill-bred, and her mistakes do more than make Andi uncomfortable; they put her life in danger. Meanwhile, cattle rustlers have suddenly descended on the Valley and the Circle C ranch is a target. These outlaws mean business--and their business is theft.

    When the thieves change from stealing cattle to stealing horses, it means heartbreaking loss for Andi. Her unpleasant classmate Macy may hold the key to getting Taffy's foal back. Can Andi trust Macy to do the right thing? Does she have a choice?

    Picking up the story line of Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth, Thick as Thieves sees Andi growing up just in time for her loyal readers to grow alongside her. The Circle C Milestones series will follow Andi from age 14 to 17, as she begins to tackle the more serious issues facing an older audience and--eventually--discovers love.

    ==================================
    It's been a while since I've read anything geared towards teenagers, but this book wasn't a disappointment. Filled with action, family and some great lessons, Thick as Thieves kept me reading. I remember a time when a book that included horses would have kept me reading well past bedtime and I think if you have a child who loves them, this one could do the same thing. My only complaint is that while this is book 1 in the series, it does come after other books so I did feel a bit lost when it referenced things from the past. All in all though, I think this book is perfect for the tween set, especially if they love horses, adventure and a whole lot of excitement.

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    Friday, April 24, 2015

    Book Review: Kidnap: Part 1 of Guy Erma

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    I don’t want to go… Do I have to go?

    13-year-old Prince Teodor of Freyne knows his duty to the memory of his father and his kingdom. Always, he must help those less fortunate than himself. Yet a frightening nightmare fills him with foreboding, but still he must do - into the Dome.

    13-year-old Guy Erma lives in the shadow of the Dome, he has no father and no mother and his future is uncertain, he must start earning a living when he turns 14. He knows not where he will live or even how he will eat, and his only dream is to enter the military academy - at the heart of the Dome.

    Two boys as different as any two boys might be. One act of cruelty will throw their lives together, but who dare they trust?

    ===========================
    I know what you're thinking... "But you just reviewed this!" and you'd be right, except for one teensy tiny detail. The author has decided to break down the book into segments that are going to be available as ebooks! That means that I now have the opportunity to share with you my opinions on each segment. I know you're excited about this. You might as well admit to it.

    In Part 1, I love the science fiction and fantasy elements. Not to mention that the descriptions completely captured my imagination. I was really getting into it when suddenly I realized I was on the last page. Thank goodness there are more parts coming because just like the last time I read it, I'm looking forward to the next part of the adventure!

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    I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Book Review: Bridges of Paris

    10:00 AM 0 Comments
    Bridges of Paris is a large-format photography book with over 350 original color images which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you've experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again. Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

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    Normally, I veer away from large, cumbersome books. They don't fit nicely on the shelf and quite often, they're not something that I want sitting on my coffee table long term. This book completely defied all of my normal "rules" and before I knew it, I was lost in Paris. I've never been there, but I'm a lover of architecture and of history and this book combines both of them into one marvelous volume. With over 350 beautiful photos, I found that I couldn't put the book down. I couldn't wait to see which bridge he had spent so much time at next and all of the information about it. Honestly, if the tourism industry in Paris doesn't take this book and run with it, they're crazy. I mean, if this girl from the midwest suddenly has dreams of exploring bridges in Paris, then there have to be a lot of others who would enjoy that experience.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


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    Monday, April 20, 2015

    Crockpot Monday: Mexican Chili with Cornbread

    12:00 PM 0 Comments
    I can't believe how fast the time flies by! Before we know it, the kids will be home for summer break and the temperature will start climbing! The summer is one of my favorite times to pull these meals out of the freezer and toss them into the crockpot. It helps keep my house far cooler than if we had to use the stove top or heaven forbid, the oven! Plus, we can toss dinner in first thing in the morning and I can haul the boys off to their various sport and band practices, knowing that after a long day, dinner will be waiting!

    This week, I want to introduce you to another of our long time favorites. The boys have loved this recipe from the time they started eating! Cripes, I won't tell you how long ago that was!

    Mexican Chili with Cornbread

    Ingredients
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/2 green pepper, chopped (more if you like the flavor)
    1 cup frozen corn
    1 package taco seasoning (I use low sodium)
    10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup
    1/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese
    1 box jiffy corn muffin mix

    Place all ingredients -except- cheese and corn muffin mix into a gallon sized freezer bag. Place cheese into smaller freezer bag and place in larger bag. Squeeze out excess air and place in the freezer.

    Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Follow directions on corn muffin mix. Shred chicken and then top with cheese and cornbread batter. Cook on high for an additional hour.

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    Friday, April 17, 2015

    Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl-Part 4: Illegal Aliens

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    Aoléon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.

    After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoléon’s parents are being held captive.

    After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

    Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoléon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

    Read part 4 to find out!

    Join Aoleon and Gilbert in this exciting middle school sci-fi adventure!

    ==========================
    I cannot believe that this series is almost over! With his amazing graphics and action packed storytelling, Brent has kept me captivated for this entire series. His imagination pulls you in and before you know it, another segment of the story is done and you're eagerly awaiting the next one. Sadly, for this series, the next one will be the final one. Fingers crossed that he doesn't stop writing though! I want to learn about new worlds, new creatures and chuckle some more at the funny acronyms that he comes up with. Honestly, with his amazing grasp on how to write dialogue and ways to share his technical knowledge without boring the reader, I think children and adults could and will enjoy his stories for years to come.

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    I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    Book Review: More Than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids' Go-To Person about Sex

    9:01 PM 0 Comments
    A youth expert reveals how to become your kids' key source of information about dating, temptation, purity, and sex by engaging them in open, ongoing conversations.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ahh...the talk. The conversation that every parent "looks forward" to having with their children. I'm going to be honest. There wasn't really anything that surprised me with this book. Then again, I've also discovered that I am a lot more open about these things than some other people. That being the case, people, including young folk, tell me a lot of things.

    All of that being said, this is a pretty good book to attempt to prepare you for this defining moment in your child's life. There's a lot of quality information.

    Check it out...buy it...read it...write your own reviews of it. ;)


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    Book Review: Guy Erma & the Son of Empire

    2:09 PM 0 Comments
    Guy Erma and the Son of Empire is a swash-buckling, roller-coaster, action adventure thriller for boys and girls. 

    The story should appeal to those of you who enjoyed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Harry Potter books by J K Rowling. 

    The story begins when 13-year-old Prince Teodor and heir to two thrones lifts his voice to lead a children's choir and instead of music, a violent explosion marks the start of a vicious kidnapping... The immediate fall-out will be dead infants and murdered teachers... 

    Teodor has fallen into the hands of the ruthless yet charismatic Chart Segat, a populist politician, he is also head of the military crack space troops: the Dome Elite. 

    Teodor’s mother, Regent Sayginn of Freyne 2 will use every resource at her disposal to find and free Teodor … The only question is can they get to Teodor in time? 

    Meanwhile in the shadow of the Dome, living a life of desperate poverty is another boy: 13-year-old Guy Erma. His only dream is to join the Dome Elite, and the only way he can do that is by ‘doing whatever Chart Segat says.’ Whatever he says!

    ==============================
    Just when I'm ready to say that science-fiction isn't really my thing, along comes a book that proves me wrong yet again. Guy Erma & the Son of Empire, while geared towards teens, certainly didn't let this grown up down. Filled with a brand new world and all sorts of new characters, I had a hard time putting this book down. Honestly, if you enjoy sci-fi, then this could be the perfect rainy day afternoon read for you. That, or plan on staying up late because you're not going to want to put it down until the very end.
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    a Rafflecopter giveaway


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    Book Review: Resisting Redemption

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    This is the third book in a series where the plot points carry over. All plot points will be resolved by book FIVE - the end of the series.
    This is a sweet style romance.

    With her heart at war with her mind, Lisa’s need to chase dangerous fun over boring responsibilities tugs at her emotions. Love is the last thing she expects to find, especially with her past revolting against her future.

    The only love Ryan’s heart has room for is for his motherless son. But, when he finds himself yearning for Lisa, Ryan has to convince himself and her that he’s all the thrill she’ll ever need.

    Will Lisa’s past destroy their future before either of them can accept the true meaning of love?

    ========================
    Let me start out by reminding everyone that this is the 3rd book in a 5 part series. Before you read this one, make sure you've read Romancing Redemption and Riding for Redemption. These are the first two books in the series and since this one picks up pretty much where they leave off, I think you'll thank me for it. Personally, I'm glad that we got to find out Lisa's story. It was good to see her softer side and not just the aloof personality that we had seen up until this point. Honestly, y'all know by now that I'm a big fan of Bonnie's. It can be quite a stretch to find something in one of her books that I don't care for and for this book, it's only me being unsure that Jesse (who was born with spina bifida) could walk unaided the way he does in this part of the tale. Since that's not even close to a deal breaker, I suggest you pick up Bonnie's latest because who doesn't need some good romance in their life?

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    Monday, April 13, 2015

    Crockpot Monday: Beef Roast and Carrots

    12:00 PM 0 Comments
    Welcome back! It's week two here in my kitchen and today's recipe is one that even my teenagers never turn their noses up at! In fact, when I say I'm going to make it, they give me the standard ewwws and grosses. Then, when I hand them their plates, they devour it and always ask for seconds. Plus, since beef roasts have been on my favorite food listing since I was a child, the entire family is happy. You can't beat that!


    Beef Roast and Carrots

    Ingredients
    2 pound boneless beef chuck roast
    1-2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (or baby carrots)
    3 Tablespoons olive oil
    2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 seasoning packet of your choice - I used the brown sugar bourbon the last time I made this and it was so good!

    Add all of the ingredients to your bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.

    Cooking instructions: Thaw in refrigerator. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 8-12 hours.

    Simply delicious!


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    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Book Review: The Creole Princess

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    All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter--though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie--and somehow keep Lyse's family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

    With spectacular detail that brings the Colonial South alive, Beth White invites readers into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known side of the American Revolutionary War. Her richly textured settings and characters delight while fast pacing and closely held secrets will keep readers turning the pages.

    ===========================
    The Creole Princess is the second book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles series, but it works beautifully as a stand alone novel. Taking place during the American Revolution, the author managed to pull me into another historical novel full of the worlds of politics and people. The characters are well developed and the ways that their threads intertwine kept me turning page after page. If I had any complaint it was that the ending felt slightly rushed..or maybe that was just me not wanting it to be over quite yet.

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    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    Book Review: Mimi's Adventures in Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies

    9:30 AM 0 Comments
    mimi's adventures banner

    Discover a whole new way of learning how to bake! Embark on a baking adventure with Mimi where she will measure, mix and bake her way to the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies! This fun storybook cookbook enables adults and children alike to not only learn the fundamentals of baking, but to have fun at the same time. If Mimi can do it, so can you!        
    Buy on
    Amazon | B&N | Book-A-Million | Mascot Books
    4475337    Mimi's Adventures in Baking has received the Mom's Choice Award in the Picture Book category! MomsChoiceAwards.com        




    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Alyssa SparkleAlyssa Gangeri is a Pastry Chef in New York City. She’s loved baking even from a young age. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America she traveled north and south working for companies such as The Ritz Carlton to gain knowledge and experience of the ever-growing hospitality industry. She has also competed on The Food Network’s Sweet Genius. She developed Mimi’s Adventures in Baking as a new way of learning for the younger generation of bakers. Her love for baking shines through in this storybook cookbook. In her eyes baking should be a fun experience adults and children can share together. What better way to do that then with an interactive story that makes learning your way around the kitchen exciting and easy! When she is not making specialty cakes and pastries for her business AllyCakesNYC, you can find her in Central Park with her lively Jack Russell Terrier, Rudy and the love of her life, Jonathan.
    Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Literary Addicts | Goodreads | Website | Ally Cakes
     
    Reviewed by www.mikishope.com This is a perfect 1st cookbook for children to start learning the art of baking. There is only one recipe but it comes with a storyline. Mimi wants to bake cookies and Grandma is going to teach her the correct way!! What fun--you have to be real careful with the measurements and ingredients and you also have to know when to let a grown up take over! This little book has it all covered. Actually I might even be able to bake cookies after having read this!! This is only one in a series of books with recipes-one to a book that this chef author has written. I suggest you read about the author below-it is intriguing. Then go and pre order this book for your little chef/baker!

    Reviewed by Kirstin Pulioff at www.kirstinpulioff.com My Review - 5 Stars Since my daughter wants to be a chef when she grows up, I have read several cooking books and cookbooks with her, but nothing comparable to Mimi's Adventure in Baking Chocolate Cookies. What a fabulous book! Not only does this book describe the technique and recipe for baking cookies, but it also focuses on a story. There are many ways to read this story. You can simple read it as a wonderful book. You can focus on the bright illustrations. The ingredients and steps make for the perfect math focus... and it also reads as an activity book that you can read while you bake. In every way, this book earns my 5 star review... And now, I'm going to bake some cookies.

    ==================
    Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? Seriously, if you don't, well...I'll still love you, but I might look at you weird. This is a great first cookbook for the kiddo in your life who just wants to learn how to make something delicious! With bright illustrations and a wonderful story, this book will capture your child's imagination and with a yummy recipe and measuring, it will please any parent who is looking for a secret educational tool. As for me, my boys may be a bit too old for this, but they're never too old to learn a new recipe or to devour an entire tray of freshly baked cookies!

    As a small, fun bonus... here's our favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe!

    2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup light brown sugar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 cups milk chocolate chips


    DIRECTIONS

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl, mixing until pale yellow and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla until combined.

    Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips. Portion 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie and roll together to form a ball, spacing the dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

    Bake until the edges just start to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


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    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    Book Review: A Sparrow in Terezin

    12:41 PM 0 Comments
    Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection in Kristy Cambron's new book, A Sparrow in Terezin. Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear—even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

    Kristy is celebrating by giving away a basket filled with goodies inspired by her new book!

    sparrow terezin - 400 

    One grand prize winner will receive:
    • A set of poppy notecards
    • A poppy pin
    • A copy of I Never Saw Another Butterfly
    • A copy of the Mrs. Miniver DVD
    • Literary tea bags
    • Tumbler
    • A copy of A Sparrow in Terezin
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    Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 28th. Winner will be announced April 29th on Kristy's blog.

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    {NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}


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    If you're a lover of really good books, then Kristy Cambron is an author that you should check out. In her second book of the Hidden Masterpiece series, Kristy kept me up far too late into the night with a book that I just couldn't put down. After reading The Butterfly and the Violin, I didn't think that there was a chance for her to successfully pull off another masterpiece, but I am thrilled to say that I am wrong. With two stories interwoven (modern times and World War 2), it's almost like getting two for the price of one. Honest to goodness, I cannot say enough good things about this book or this book series. I have my fingers crossed for more!

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    Book Review: Donkey's Kite

    9:54 AM 0 Comments
    The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

    In Horse Valley it is a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey's kite doesn't turn out very good. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground.

    How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? Well, a friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

    In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. They all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

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    What can I say? Liana-Melissa Allen has another wonderful book on her hands. The illustrations are still fantastic, the writing still fun and at a level that children can understand and there are even more lessons to be learned and talked about. The illustrations alone are going to hold a child's attention with their colorful storytelling. At this rate, little Harrison is going to have one fantastic library and he isn't even here yet!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Crockpot Monday: Tips, Tricks & Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

    12:00 PM 0 Comments
    Welcome to a brand new segment here on Life With Katie! I've realized that over the past couple of years the site has gotten more and more away from my life and almost strictly book reviews. Well, it's time to change that. Starting today and with any luck (and hard work) continuing every Monday, I'll be posting a new crockpot freezer recipe. These are fantastic yummy meals where you do all of the prep work in advance, toss it all into a ziplock bag and then toss it into the freezer. The night before you want to eat it, you thaw it in the fridge and then that morning toss it into the crockpot and walk away!

    Since this is  the very first post, I'm going to give you a few tips on how to get started and then follow up with our very first recipe!

    1. Start your prepping session by laying out everything that you're going to need, including your gallon sized freezer bags and a dark colored Sharpie.

    2. Write out the name of the recipe, either the use by date (3 months from freezing) or the created on date and any cooking instructions right onto the outside of the bag.  Some people use labels, but for me, it's an unnecessary added expense. I like to do all of my bag writing before I start loading the bags that way my hands are clean and dry and I don't smudge what I just wrote!

    3. Keep a list of what meals you have in the freezer. That way you don't have to dig through it every time you want to pull one out! If you're like me, your memory isn't perfect. I keep a list on the side of my fridge that has a list of what meals we have, how many we have of them and which freezer they're located in (fridge freezer or our small deep freeze). Then, when one is used up, I simply cross it off the list and make a note of if I want to make it again!

    Now, on to our first recipe!

    Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

    Ingredients:
    3-5 pound pork roast
    1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    2 cans Dr. Pepper (or 3 cups)

    Place all ingredients in bag. Squeeze out as much excess air as possible. Freeze.

    Cooking instructions: Thaw in fridge. Once thawed, dump into crockpot and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Shred meat using a fork and place onto tortillas using a slotted spoon so that some of the juices drain off. Top with taco toppings of your choice and enjoy!


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    Saturday, April 4, 2015

    Cat Review: Temptations Snacky Mouse

    12:30 PM 0 Comments
    Around here you're probably used to reading book reviews and not much else. Well, today we have a surprise for you! The cats received a special box in the mail and they couldn't wait to try it out and to share their opinions with all of you.

    Opening up the box, we discovered this cute toy and a pack of cat treats! The cats were all about just diving into the treats, but I held them off long enough to add some of them to the toy itself. Since the picture doesn't make it totally clear, the mouse's head unscrews and you pour the treats in. I do suggest that you cover the bottom holes as much as you can. Otherwise, you end up with a lap full of cat treats...and then cats... Once it's filled, simply put the head back on and place the toy on the floor. As the cats swat it around, it rolls about (think weeble people for those of you as old as I am) and dumps out a few treats at a time onto the floor. My cats mastered this quickly and after that, every time I entered the bathroom, they were requesting that I add more. The one night that I didn't, they decided to tear open the treat bag and eat all of the treats! So, overall, this fun little toy was a total success and one that the hoard here will enjoy for ages to come.

    Now, since I rarely post pictures or even video of the kitties, Dorian insisted that I show off him demonstrating the toy to Mittens... Enjoy!





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    We received this toy/treat combination in exchange for this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own....and the cats'....
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    Friday, April 3, 2015

    Spring Into Books!

    1:39 PM 1 Comments
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    Welcome to Literary Addicts' Spring into Books Event. It takes place March 25 - April 27!
    Pick up a great read, enter to win prizes, and follow along on Literary Addicts for Fun Interviews, Guest Posts, and Exclusive Excerpts!
    Click over to buy these fantastic reads!
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      SpringgiveawayPrizes - Kandle Candle from author Tawdra Kandle Signed Outsystem and A Path in the Darkness paperbacks and swag from author MD Cooper Survivor Swag pack from author Bonnie R Paulson Signed 15 Minutes paperback and Swag from author Jill Cooper $15 Amazon Gift Card from Literary Addicts Secret Harbor paperback ARC from Taking Time for Mommy Open to US residents 18 +. Ends 4/27/15 Fill out the form to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway



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