Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Working Puzzles Together


Well look at me posting!  I tell you what – I didn’t think I was ever going to fully recover from all the holiday season goodness.  But here in a blink of an eye it’s going to be Valentine’s season tomorrow.  Where does the time go???  (And before I go on, does anybody else miss the goodhearted humor of Gomer Pyle?  What a lovable goofball!



Here’s where some of our evenings are spent now – our kitchen table with a 1000 piece puzzle – what was I thinking?  I loved the sound of evenings doing a puzzle together, but I’m quickly discovering that I should have started with fewer pieces.

I don’t remember doing family puzzles growing up, but since I have one of the worst memories ever I called my mom to ask her.  She said no, we didn’t really do that.  So where I got this idea I don’t know.  But I’m so glad I did because Keith got to talking about some of his childhood stories while we sat and worked the puzzle.  Very good evenings, conversation with the one you love – priceless.

I will admit that we need to get moving on this so that we can scooch the puzzle to one end of the table and start eating again at the other end.  Right now there’s like 10 million pieces at the bottom of the picture that you can’t see.



The colors in this upper corner remind me so much of a Monet painting and it makes me giggle every time I think of that.  I’m about as far from high brow as a person can be, so it’s not very often I have a “Monet Moment.”

Please don’t burst my bubble if you don’t agree with my assessment of the colors…….   LOL!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

{Review} Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

chasing mona lisa sm

Chasing Mona Lisa
by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey
322 pages
Revell Publishers


ABOUT THE BOOK:   It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci's masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers' adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on--and the runners are playing for keeps.

Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here. http://www.triciagoyer.com/historicalfiction.html#ChasingMonaLisa


MY REVIEW:  In a book that definitely should be Hollywood bound, the authors deftly send us back to the Nazi German occupation of Paris during WWII.  From the very beginning of the book we are kept on the edge of our seat during this adrenaline pumping story.

Through the mad rush to see who reaches the Mona Lisa first we meet both the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ and there is never any problem deciding who to root for.  This seriously was a book I hated to set aside and kept saying to myself “Just one more chapter and then I’ll……”

Another plus to this book was learning about the tremendous effort during the war to protect and preserve the great art classics.  This is something I knew absolutely nothing about and it was so fascinating to me.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:  Tricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss Courier as well as the author of many other books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Arkansas. For more about Tricia and her other books visitwww.triciagoyer.com

Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including The Swiss Courier and the bestselling Every Man's Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California. For more about Mike  and his other books visitwww.mikeyorkey.com


Win an iTouch SPY Prize Pack!

Enter 1/16 - 1/31. RSVP for Party today!

Win an iTouch SPY Pack in the Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway from @triciagoyer

Chasing Mona Lisa is the continuing tale of Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler (first introduced in The Swiss Courier). This time the due are on a relentless quest to save the most famous painting in the world  - the Mona Lisa. You can help Gabi and Eric with your very own spy pack when you enter The Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway!

One passionate protector will receive:
  • iTouch (The must-have device for any spy. Camera, Maps & Music.)</ li>
  • Starbucks Gift Card (For all those late nights.)
  • Moleskin Notebook (For those important notes.)
  • Invisible Ink Pen (Don’t want anyone reading those important notes.)
  • Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey (Great handbook and intriguing tale for any spy-in-training!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on January 31st. The winner will be announced at the Chasing Mona Lisa Facebook Party on 1/31. Tricia and Mike will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from Tricia's website) and giving away their books and a Book Club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Tricia and Mike.)

So grab your copy of Chasing Mona Lisa and join Tricia and Mike on the evening of the 31st for an author chat, spy training (do you know how to pick a lock? ) and lots of giveaways.

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Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday’s Fave Five #174

fff winter button

I hate to be a cliché, but I sure am finding that the older I get the faster time seems to go by.  Case in point, wasn’t it just Friday and here it is again!  Time to share some blessings of the week – thanks again to Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

1.  Great Wolf Lodge – Oh.My.Word.   We had the best time ever last weekend!  Still getting pictures edited, but expect a post soon.  Suffice to say that it is one of the best weekends we’ve ever had as a family and I highly recommend it.

2.  Common goals – Keith and I have decided it’s high time to start being healthy so that we can continue to enjoy the kids and granddaughter.  We’ve changed the way we eat and we’ve been exercising every single night.  It’s so nice to have a goal with the one you love.  :)

3. Sugar Free Jello – We have been eating quite a bit of this lately and it is so good!  You can also add the whipped cream in a can and it’s a very low calorie dessert that doesn’t seem like it.

4. Beautiful Weather – Believe it or not we hit 77 degrees today!  Now I love winter as much as the next person, but when you get a stunning day like this smack dab in the middle of January there’s really nothing you can do but celebrate.  Driving along today I had the windows open and singing praise songs and just praising God for this great gift.

5. 3 Day Craft Retreat! – I’m sure there will be a real post about this later, but I’m at a crafting retreat right now with girlfriends and laughing, talking, eating and having the time of my life.  I *adore* these ladies!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

{WIP} Wednesday

Today’s projects are all about fabric!  It’s also a great opportunity for me to check my list for packing.  You see, this weekend I’ll be going on a retreat with friends and I’ll be sewing my little heart out.  Either that or I’ll be eating and talking… 




Apparently I really am one to take my time and savor the process.  I first showed the fabric for this American Girl Doll dress on August 31, then it sat for a while before taking a ride to a friend’s annual New Year Craft Day where I did actually cut out the pieces as shown above.  I adore the Hayden Dress pattern and it will be the first thing I work on this weekend.




I mentioned the Bloggers Block of the Month on October 12 and I left the zippy bag in the photo to show that I really have cut some of the pieces out, but no sewing has been done.  I’m hoping to get a little further on this one over the weekend.


New Projects – Always New Projects…..


This will be project #2 for my weekend, mostly because it should only take a few minutes to finish.  It will be a Valentine Tea Towel and I’ll be using this tutorial, which proves once again that Pinterest is more than just another pretty face to me.  :)




And last, but never least, I’ve had this pattern and fabric for quite some time.  I plan to make the pajama bottoms for Brooklyn and am thinking a white t-shirt with moon and star applique.  Cute, no?  It will involve getting measurements, but I’m thinking that’s doable.


** I’m linking to Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday Series.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{Review} The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren


The Shadow of Your Smile
by Susan May Warren


ABOUT THE BOOK: A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage.

After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember?

Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/books/the-shadow-of-your-smile.


MY REVIEW:  It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Susan May Warren books, but don’t let that keep you from believing my review!  And I’m not going to tell you it’s my favorite book so far this year since the year is so new and you’d just shake your head.  What I will tell you is just how much I loved this book.

Have you ever wondered about the path you’ve taken in your life – and wondered what your younger self would think of it?  Noelle Hueston is faced with those thoughts when she recovers from an accident that erases her memory. 

As she learns more about the life she’s created she also discovers that an earlier tragedy in her marriage has caused a giant rift between she and her husband.  Have you ever wondered about second changes?  Noelle gets a second chance to make her marriage work – if that is what she chooses.

This truly was a book I had trouble putting down.  The dialogue between characters makes you fall in love and care about all of them, both with the primary story and the secondary stories. 

The Deep Haven novels continue to be favorites and I hope we soon get to meet more of the residents!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com.



Come Back to Deep Haven and Win a $200 Visa Card from @SusanMayWarren! Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand alone story.

Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great books!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books
The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles</ a>! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK</ a> or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter



** Thank you to Litfuse for providing a copy of this book for my review.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Eating With the Kids

As we chatted about what to have for dinner last night the best plan ever was presented by my beloved - meet the kids for dinner! Fortunately none of them had pressing plans and were able to join our spur of the moment plan.

A four year old at the dinner table cannot help but bring lots of happiness. She spent time with Grandpa, sat on my lap and chatted, then went and had a grand time with her Aunt Lynne'.

This photo tickles me - I had taken several pictures and she asked me to take a picture of her taking a drink. I did, she grinned, and all was good.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday’s Fave Five #172

fff winter button

Somehow with the busyness of life I haven’t done any Friday Fave posts for a very long time!  I’ve decided to jump back in because I miss them and they do give me a brief recap on what’s going on in my life.  I just spent a fun few minutes looking at past posts and remembering.  Thankfully Susanne at Living To Tell The Story is still doing them!

1. New Calendar!  I know I used this last year, but it’s just as wonderful this year.  I love choosing calendars for us in all parts of my life.  AND…. I just got an email that one of my favorite people has put a calendar in the mail to me and that is exciting!

For my desk again this year I’m using the monthly calendar by Trina Clark that you print at home.  I *love* this!!!  And right now it’s on sale for only a dollar!!!



2. Silver and Gold Friendships – I went to the annual New Year’s Day Crafting Event at a dear friend’s house and am struck anew, as I am most times I’m with friends, how important old and new friends are.  Such a wonderful, fulfilling day and it was made even better as plans for future gatherings, trips, restaurants were made.  Even if some don’t actually come to fruition that’s ok because the planning can be just as much fun – I’m a list girl through and through!!!

3. A New Dog??? – When a beloved pet passes away there can be some guilt at the thought of getting another one.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have been talking with us and emailing us and honestly helping us to get our heads on straight through the entire process of losing Joe.  We’re almost to the point of not tearing up when we speak of him (time really does heal) and have begun the process of deciding what we should do next.  So many things to consider:  puppy/adult; rescue or not; one or two dogs, etc.   This is only step 1, but once we get these things ironed out we can be on the lookout for the right dog for us.

4. Getting Healthy – Part of the whole New Year changes we’re making is to eat better and move more.  With that in mind we headed out and bought an elliptical machine.  Keith got it all put together last night and did his time, then it was my turn.  I kid you not, it was a true struggle to stay on for a total of 5 minutes!!!  In telling a friend about it this morning I told her that I’m giving it plenty of room when walking in the room as it kind of scares me now.  ;)  She suggested I give it a name, specifically Thor, and I really kind of like that idea.  Now when I fear it at least it will have a name!  Fortunately it is recommended that you only use it 3 times a week so I don’t have to do it tonight…. <happy sigh>

5. Orchestra – I was so excited to hear that our daughter has joined the orchestra and choir at church!  She played the viola all through school, but really once you are an adult there’s not as many opportunities to play.  When she was talking to the choir director she discovered they are going to be using more of an orchestra at some of the services and Lynne’ instantly signed up!  I was chatting with her a few minutes ago and she got her first music last night at church and will be doing some practicing prior to the first formal practice next Wednesday.  I can’t wait to see her play again!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Happy New Year

January 1st has always been a favorite day of mine, which is kinda funny since we don’t usually do much for New Year’s Eve – a dichotomy I tell you!  There is just something about having the whole year in front of you – a blank slate ready to be filled with all kinds of wonderful days, events and moments!

For New Year’s Eve my brother and sister-in-law flew into town and we went with them, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter out to eat, where amazingly we ran into our daughter and her roommates!  Even if you’ve never been to the DFW you must surely realize the odds are against just running into anybody as it’s a large city.


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We went to Texas de Brazil for dinner and it’s the first time Keith and I had ever been there.  Our little granddaughter was seasoned pro since she’d been already – LOL!  This photo is my sister-in-law Michele and granddaughter Brooklyn…. and the remnants of the communal chocolate cake for dessert.  :)

After dinner we headed back to our house and chatted a bit, then everybody left for their own homes.  I tried my hardest to stay awake until midnight, but ended up drifting off on the sofa.  I did, however, wake up just seconds after midnight due to all the fireworks in the neighborhood going off!

Today I spent the day with friends at a 2nd Annual Craft Day at one friend’s house.  I was there for pretty much the entire day and evening and the only thing I accomplished – besides a lot of talking and some eating – was cutting out the fabric for an American Girl doll dress!  Never even plugged in the machine!  But oh what a grand time I had.


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Crazy, but this is the only picture I took today!  One of the things she served was vegetables in a cup and they were fantastic.  It has dressing at the bottom, then all these vegies ready to go in a clear flower pot looking container.  A fabulous way to serve veggies and they were sensational!

On the drive home I kept thinking about how wonderful 2012 is looking to be.  And I wish the same for all of you.  Smile