Thursday, December 31, 2009

A new challenge

I came across this earlier today on Coupon Geek's site and am going to give it a go for the month of January. I have so many odds and ends in the pantry and watching my mother last week make cream of chicken soup from scratch using no recipe, I know I can use what I have in my cupboards to make several meals this month. I'll be taking a different spin on this challenge as I will still be purchasing items like meat (only when on sale) throughout the month so I don't have a bare freezer and pantry come February (I would have to spend a whole lot more to stock it and would defeat the whole purpose of saving money).

So here are my goals:

1. Plan ahead so I won't be tempted to stop on the way from work to get dinner.

2. Only buy milk, eggs, produce, and meat (on sale) throughout the month.

3. Spend only $200 for the entire month (we'll see how this goes as groceries are so much more expensive here and my children are growing by leaps and bounds).

4. Put leftover money towards debt.

If you'd like to read more about it or link up to others who are doing this, head over to Money Saving Mom and join the challenge! Here's to a new year!

Goodbye and hello

There were the most heart wrenching hardships scattered with warm surprises.
More uncomfortable stretching along with God-moving choices.
Forgiveness, love-deepening, hard conversations, intermingled with prayer, prayer and more heaven sent prayer.
New milestones, new adventures, new jobs.
Old struggles to sift through laced with stale feelings that needed to be let go for good.

A new year brings a clean breath of freshness.
New beginnings.
New memories.
New adventures.
More hopes.
More organization.
More changes.

I need to not wish this coming year away but embrace each day.
Each choice.
Each hardship.
Embrace my husband.
My kids.
My friends.

The slate is ready to be added to.
Will I cling white knuckled to it or will I offer it willingly and open handed to my Maker?
That is the question I take into the new year.
Happy 2010 everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review of The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble

When I saw this book on Thomas Nelson's website to be able to review, I snatched it up as Colleen Coble is one of my favorite authors. The day it came to the house, I started reading it.

Here is a short description:
Growing up as the lightkeeper’s daughter on a remote island at the turn of the century, Addie Sullivan has lived a hardscrabble life. When a long-lost and wealthy relative finds her and enlists her to work as a governess at a lavish estate, she hopes to discover the truth of her heritage. But at Eaton Hall, nothing is as it seems. Not the idyllic family she hoped for, not the child she was hired to help, not even the aloof man she’s immediately attracted to. Soon she must turn for help to Lieutenant John North, a man who views her with suspicion.

I jumped right into the book, but had a hard time finding a rhythm and flow to it. Not until the last 1/4 of the book did it start to become interesting with the twists and turns Colleen is known for.

I was actually a bit disappointed this time around. It just wasn't up to par with her other books. There was more fluff romance than normal and it just didn't grab me like her books usually do. If the entire book was like the last 1/4, it would have made it much better.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Review of The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

I was sent this complimentary book from Revell Books to review.

This was a short, sweet, heart warming read that went pretty quick. Not really a whole lot of depth to it, but I don't think it was supposed to be a deep thinking book. It was pretty predictable, but again, very heart warming.

I did find myself being frustrated with the grandmother and wondering why she worried so much and continued to jump to conclusions all the time. But then I wondered how often that really happens in life with the elderly. Probably more than I think.

Here's a short excerpt from the book:
Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations? Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about.

So all in all, a cute book that gives the warm fuzzies during the Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Review of The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh

I received a complimentary copy of The Unfinished Gift from Revell Books to review.

This book was set during the Christmas season during WWII. A book about a grandfather, his grandson and the past. It was a very sweet book that made you feel like you were right there sitting in the cold room with the blizzard raging outside. It was also a little glimpse into what life was like for families during the war. With grocery shopping, rations and the lengths people went to just to survive.

"Everything else in the room had suddenly gone out of focus. There was only the wooden soldier." Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is the engaging story of a family in need of forgiveness. With simple grace, it reminds us of the small things that affect powerful change in our hearts--a young boy's prayers, a shoe box of love letters, and even a half-carved soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart.

A great read during the Christmas season as a reminder of what is important in life. This was a quick, easy book that warmed the heart.