Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why I'm Not Blogging Much

You may have noticed that this blog has been pretty quiet these past few months.  It has been on purpose.  I am going to be very frank: Blogging takes up WAY too much of my time that I would rather be spending with my family.  I didn't realize this when I began blogging.  It was a new hobby and it was quite fun learning how to cut and paste, add pictures and links and write about things I loved.  But then it began consuming my every thought and action.  I couldn't wait to get up in the morning to write more posts or I would think about posts I wanted to write (even when I was at church!) and make lists.  I could never keep up with those lists and I still have a huge list of drafts that may never get written. 

You see, I am mom of two precious little kids and when I am on the computer, I shut out my "real life."  Not only that, with reviews, I was reading several books at a time, writing reviews and having giveaways that took up HOURS of my time.  I felt stressed and I just hated that I was always thinking about the blog. 

It's been on my heart for several months to stop blogging.  I am even resisting signing up for new blog tours.  I am turning requests away.  This is huge for me!  I love books, but I love my family more!  This is not to say I will completely stop blogging, but I might do 1-2 posts a month. 

Here are some of the things I am doing instead of blogging:
*Playing with my kids
*Finding creative ideas and going on dates with my husband
*Reading books I have sitting on my shelf that I "want" to read
*Getting ready for homeschooling
*Bible study
*Going to parks with my kids and connecting with friends
*Sleeping! Yes, I have taken several naps lately.
*Cooking...well, I do have a cooking post I really want to share!
*Spending time praying for my family

I have to choose these things first!  I am so thankful for all my readers and I'm sorry that I just can't keep up with the blogging world.  I promise I won't go away, but I honestly need to put up boundaries and this is one area I can say no and not feel guilty.

Blessings to you, Shonda

PS. I have a cooking post I will share and I have another book blog tour in August, but I will probably stay pretty quiet in July!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dinner is Ready: 30 Meals in One Day by Deanna Buxton Book Review and Giveaway

Dinner is Ready - 30 Meals in One Day by Deanna Buxton is a book with great tips, a detailed plan for making 30 meals in a day and 150 recipes to choose for slow cooker, stovetop, oven and assemble.  Deanna walks you through step by step from why to freeze, choosing recipes, what to do the day before, cooking day, freezing, thawing, other options and shortcuts.  There are so many reasons why cooking a large amount of food in one day is a way to discover a new kind of freedom.

I absolutely love cooking, but I feel like I'm always in the kitchen. I can't seem to figure out how to make enough meals to last so that I don't have to cook everyday.  I would love to be able to make a lot of food, freeze it and have it handy for those nights that I just don't have time to cook because we had a busy day or that my toddler wants me to hold her all afternoon.  There is just something about knowing what is in the freezer to pull out and place on the table for dinner. 

So I decided to take one day and make 5 meals.  Then I will be 5 meals closer to feeling less stress on one of those nights that I just don't want to cook or can't fit it in.  I chose 1 slow cooker meal (Chicken Cacciatore), 1 oven meal (Porcupine Meatballs), 1 stovetop meal (Beefy Spanish Rice) and 2 assemble meals (Chicken and Dressing, Corkscrew Chicken).  So I prepped all the veggies and cooked the chicken the day before.  I set out all the ingredients and recipe cards in areas around my kitchen.  The great thing about these recipes is that I already had most of the ingredients. 

The CD-ROM that came with this package has quick tools for recipes, menus and shopping lists.  Choose a recipe for your menu and it adds all the ingredients to a shopping list.  You can print recipes and freezer labels as well.  This is very user friendly and adds a great bonus to making cooking 30 meals in a day a snap!

So I finished getting my recipes together and I'm so pleased how the day went.  I followed the plan set up in the book and it was easy to follow.  I'm so glad that I now have 5 meals in my freezer!  It took me about 2 hours including cleanup to make these 5 meals except for the cook time of the slow cooker.  It was so fun to create all these meals at the same time. I'm really looking forward to using these meals for dinner soon!  I definitely will make a plan to make several meals in a day.

 Here are some pictures of my day: 

Setting up my stations: 

Finished Products:
Corkscrew Chicken; Porcupine Meatballs
Chicken and Dressing; Beefy Spanish Rice
Chicken Cacciatore
What I really liked:
*I liked having all the ingredients ready to go the day before, that is the KEY!!
*I liked using the different cooking methods all at the same time- slow cooker, oven, stovetop, assemble.  I think I can do this a few times a month and work up to adding more meals.
*Easy and yummy recipes from the book (I sampled all the ones I made!).

GIVEAWAY:  The authors of Dinner is Ready are pleased to offer my readers On The Side cookbook which is a great companion to Dinner is Ready as a giveaway.  If you order the book before the giveaway ends, and you win, you will get a credit of $20 toward anything you would like to purchase.

Special for my readers: FREE standard shipping ($4.95) with any shipped order.  If you order pans, shipping is a little more, but you still get a $4.95 discount.  Use Discount Code LUCKY.

Giveaway...In the comments tell me why you would like to make 30 meals in a day. Be sure to include your email address.  Don't forget to visit Dinner is Ready for more information about their great products.  Giveaway ends Wednesday, June 26.

*I was given this book as a complimentary copy from Dinner is Ready.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Positive Life Principles for Women by Karol Ladd Book Review

Positive Life Principles for Women: 8 Simple Secrets to Turn Your Challenges into Possibilities by Karol Ladd is very quick read to discover 8 principles that are foundational for moving toward a positive lifestyle.  Karol visits with 8 Biblical women who went through some tough challenges, yet were able to make wise choices beyond human capacity because of their solid faith in God.  Although,  some of these women did not discover their true calling and are used a example of what not to do.  The topics (chapters)  covered are dealing with doubts, changing our focus, living with contentment, guarding our mouths, stepping forward with courage, thinking beyond ourselves, responding with wisdom, and trusting God.  Each chapter ends with a Positive Truth, a Plan of Action, how to Pay it Forward, a Bible verse to Place it in Your Heart and Discussion Starters. 

Karol has wonderful way of drawing a positive spin on everything she writes.  That is why she is the Positive Lady.  I am always uplifted when I read her books.  This book was unique in that she took the challenges of several Biblical characters and tied them to the things we face as modern day women.  They are not too far apart!  In fact, we have so much in common with women of the Bible.  But what I found most helpful was the Plan of Action at the end of each chapter.  I love principles, but I need to know how to implement them in my life.  Karol gave many good ideas to make these truths come alive in my heart and life.  She also included many stories of her own and other friends that have gone through similar situations.  I recommend this book as a great handbook to look through and really begin to make positive changes to your life.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Harvest House Publishers for my review.  All opinions are my own*

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Confession by Beverly Lewis DVD Review

Katie Lapp, English born, but Amish raised has been reunited with her birth mother, or has she?  Katie Lapp desperately wants to connect with her birth mother and takes a journey to find her.  Before she arrives, the husband of her birth mother, Laura Bennett has some indiscretions to cover and hires an actor be "Katie Lapp."  Katie is very distraught and assumes the role of a hired maid to stay close to her mother.  Unbeknownst to her, her former love whom she thought had died is now seeking to find her.  Katie is torn between wanting to reveal herself to Laura and being asked to remain silent through promised threat.  There is love, mystery and the chance of true happiness waiting for Katie, but will she have courage to follow her heart?

I was a little disappointed that the some of the main actors from The Shunning were not in this film, but Katie Leclerc does a fantastic job of portraying Katie Lapp.  Her sweet face and charming ways drew me to her immediately. And all the actors give a great feeling of authenticity to their roles.  This movie was based on the book The Confession by Beverly Lewis and directed by Michael Landon Jr.   I honestly don't remember the book, but I remember the first movie and I think that it makes a good transition. This movie does leave an unresolved conclusion so I will be anxious to hear about a third movie to complete the set. 

This releases on DVD on June 11.

I was given this DVD as a complimentary copy for Edify Media. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30 Quick Tips for Better Health by Don Verhulst Book Review

30 Quick Tips for Better Health by Dr. Don Verhulst outlines 30 tips to bring you ideas for taking better care of your health.  The author is a teacher, ordained minister, speaker and hosts a television program Hope for Your Health.  He uses principles of God's Word to share many healthy lifestyle choices.  He covers topics on what to eat, drink, how to exercise, improving memory, get better sleep, emotional health and how to prevent certain diseases.  He begins each chapter with a Bible verse and simple tip.  He shares a way to make a change, a prayer and section to write down how you will make that change today. 

I really enjoyed this quick read with a surprising number of new thoughts about how to make better choices for my health.  He shared many good scientific facts regarding sleep, exercise, heart disease, cancer, water, vitamins and foods from the Bible.  He also gave some yummy recipes that I want to try.  This book has so many wonderful ideas and I like that they are broken into 30 short segments.  Read one every day for a month.  The key to this book is to make the change.  The section to make notes is highly important to making a lasting change.  I also like the Bible verses for each chapter that really focused on what God desires for our health.  I plan to keep this little book very handy as I go about my day and I know that I will start making changes to make my health better so I can live the full life that God has planned for me.  Start your journey today too!

*I was given this book as a complimentary copy from Booketeria for my review.  All opinions are my own.*