• Sleeping with the Enemy – Book Review

    Love historical books? Love romances? Love strong characters with a good plot line? Then this is the book for you. Sleeping With The Enemy was a book that had it all! It has mystery, characters that are well developed, a story line that keeps you hooked. And best of all, a great ending (yes I could have read more about these characters, but the story wrapped up very nicely).

    Jackie Barbosa is an amazing story teller. You can see every place that she is talking about. She is a story teller that doesn’t tell you about what is going on, she shows you what she is wanting you to see. There is a lot of setting the scene, no detail is spared. However, she isn’t to wordy about it. It is to the point, with each word being very calculated and planned. I love that you feel that you are transported into the book.

    All of the characters, feel life like. They are people that you feel you have known for your all your life. While Barbosa does a good job at keeping mystery around some of the characters, they are very well developed with many many layers. The leading lady is one of my favorite characters in this book. Which is hard to do. With it being a time period piece, many female leads tend to be submissive, polite, and shallow. But here Barbosa was able to develop her into a very formidable woman.

  • Inside the Sun Book Review

    The third book of the 8th Island Trilogy. If you liked the first and the second, then you can’t miss Inside The Sun. It was the perfect ending to the book series. And it will keep you turning the pages from start to finish.

    Alexis Chute is an amazing story teller. She has an ability to not just tell a story, but let’s you feel that you are there. She takes you to this alien world without so much as a hick-up. It is so vivd, that you swear you can actually see the environment.

    We get to dive deeper into each of the characters, making them more and more relatable. Some of the characters that were more guarded suddenly spring to life and you now fully understand where they were coming from. There is a sense of understanding about them that this chapter of the series makes clear

  • Below The Moon

     

    This is the second book in the 8th Island Trilogy set. The first one “Above the Star” was amazing. It was a page turner that I could not put down. (Even being a busy mom, I found the time to read that one) “Below The Moon”, is no different. It was a good read from start to finish, and worth the time to read. The characters are well developed, there are a few little side story lines to keep you entertained, and the author is a brilliant story teller. You can really picture this world exactly.

    While in “Above the Star”, I felt the mother character was a bit flat, she came to life in this book. I really enjoyed learning more about her and her past. It made her so much more relatable. And I loved her always wanting to “chat” with Ella on topics that most teenagers don’t want to talk to their mom about. Their relationship was very much a real life mother-daughter relationship. Even in the alien world, even with the challenges that they are facing, even with plotting against a king. They are very down to Earth. Loved reading them bicker back and forth

  • Restaurant Style Insta Pot Refried Beans

    insta pot refried beans

     

    Lets talk about the best Mexican food side of all time. It’s the refried beans. Who is with me? We specifically pick which restaurant we get take out food from, based on the beans. It’s all about the beans (well and the tortillas but that is a post for another time). Making amazing refried beans use to be really hard, and time consuming. Lets be honest, who got time for that? I certainly don’t. With this hack, you can make restaurant quality refried beans in your insta pot. Thats right insta pot refried beans.

    Who is with me, this kitchen gadget is the best thing since sliced bread (oh you want to make that too, check out this post for the easiest bread recipe ever). I must admit, I am a bit of “collector” of the insta pots. We have them in all kinds of sizes. For the house, and for the RV. This thing makes cooking so easy. If you don’t have yet, I would HIGHLY recommend that you get one pronto. You won’t regret it.

    Now there is a big debate, do you soak beans or not. Personally I soak them, because I really feel that it makes the beans easier to mash after you cook them. I know of a lot of people that don’t and their beans turn out just as amazing as these. The preference is completely up to you. IF you choose to soak them, I just do a quick soak. Put the beans in a bowl of hot water and cover. Leave it for about an hour or up to 5 hours, really makes no difference. If I remember I do it in the morning and let it soak all day. BECAUSE the kids get excited knowing that mom is making beans for dinner and they tend to behave better knowing that it is coming with dinner. But if you don’t remember till sometime after lunch, no sweat.

  • Amazing Easy No Kneed Bread

    Easy No Kneed Bread

    Lets talk about home made, straight from the oven bread. Is there anything better? In my world, there is nothing better. The house smells amazing all day long, the payoff for the wait is amazing, and it is a little piece of heaven right there on the table. If you can even get it where it is still a little warm, oh thats the stuff that dreams are made of. Well, here is an amazing, easy, no kneed bread that will wow even the harshest of critics (the kids I mean).

    I love carbs, not even going to try to hide that. I love them them in all forms: pasta, rice, cereal. But my favorite is hands down bread. Sourdough, French, Italian, that super dark that you can get at “fancy” restaurants; there is yet a bread that I don’t love. When it is warm, right out of the oven; simply perfection. But who has time to make home made bread every day? And who even knows HOW to make bread right out of the oven? Yes, some of us fancy bread making machines. Those are great and make lovely home made bread; but it is still not that fresh out of the oven bread.

    This was something that I really wanted to learn to do. With the world as it is, I have some extra time on my hands. (You know when not trying to entertain four little human beings, or keep them from killing each other while stuck at home too) Time though. Who has the time? Where do you start to learn? Well, my wonderful amazing neighbor must have heard my thoughts. She brought me over a lovely, hot, fresh loaf of bread for our dinner one night. I was in love!

    This bread is so easy to make. It doesn’t take all day to make. You won’t be spending hours kneeding the dough. And you will have a perfect, lovely loaf of bread for your dinner table. (Best part, is this actually makes 4 loaves, so you will have bread ALL WEEK by making it once)

  • Above the Star – Book Review

     

    Okay, so who out there is a busy mom who doesn’t have time to pee let along read a young adult book. (My hand would be going up here) Above the Star is the first book in the 8th Island Trilogy, and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Totally worth the time to devour this.

    This book, is one that grips you right from the start. I must admit that once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Seriously read the entire book in about 2 days. I immediately fell in love with Ella, she is very much your typical 14 year old girl. Lots of sass, eye rolling and conflict with mom, but all done in a way that she isn’t disrespectful. Her mother was one, that took me a few chapters to really relate to. However, as her story and side was revealed; she is certainly someone that you can understand her struggles.

    This book is very much the magical adventure of Narnia meets a feel good family story. I love the new world that the author, Alexis Marie Chute, was able to create. Her ability to create all of these characters, and a completely different world was gripping. There was never a question of what Jarr-Wya looked like, or the journey that the characters have taken. It was detailed enough to really paint the picture, yet open enough for you to put your own touches on the place, it was wonderful for the imagination.

  • Healthy Lunch Ideas

    10 Quick and Healthy Lunches Even Your Kids Will Love

    What is the hardest meal to get on the table for your family? For us it is hands down lunch. Breakfast, my kids are old enough to be on their own for. They know what they can eat, and they can get it all put together themselves. Dinner is always a sit down as a family event, so that is always planned out a few days a head of time. But lunch…. Lunch always is a scramble last minutes. Do we make sandwiches (again)? Should we try to get leftovers a new chance? Hey, maybe just snack through lunch? No… If you are anything like me, here are 10 sure fire, quick, easy and healthy lunches; that even the pickiest of eaters will eat. (Yes I have tested them on my kids)

    Here they are (in no particular order)

  • Kids and Chores

    We all want our kids to do chores. Have them done without nagging. How about having your kids do them without a fuss? And lets be honest…. do them correctly. And then you wonder, do you give your kids to much? Do you have to pay for them, or should they do them since they are part of the family? Always so much guilt around this. So lets talk about how to do them.

    Okay lets tackle the biggest question first. Do you pay them for the chores? Kara and I talked about this in depth on our Family Room Chat over on FaceBook. (If you missed it you can check it out here) We came to the conclusion that for our families, we are choosing not to pay for chores. That chores are part of being in the family. You help out and pitched in. There isĀ  no monetary gain for helping our family. So then, what are chores for?

  • The Ups and Downs of Raising Chicks ~ Weeks 0-1

    We FINALLY got chicks!!!! Let me tell you how incredibly excited I am about these little babies. We (well me) have wanted chickens for years. Seeing them in the feed stores this time of year, every year, and not being able to get them has been heartbreaking. Okay okay; I “MAYBE” going a bit far, its wasn’t really heartbreaking but I did really want them. After years of hinting at wanting them, my amazing husband. Gave us the go ahead!

    We researched everything. From what types of chicks, to the types (and how many) eggs, to the types of food that they would need, to what we would need at home for them to be happy healthy chicks. We KNEW everything about chicks and about raising chicks. Yep we got this.

    Till it came time to order, then everything went sideways

  • Raising Grateful Kids

    What is something that you are wanting for your kids? How can we promote happiness to our kids? What can we (as parents) do to cultivate positivity in our children. Is this something that we can even do? The simple answer is YES!!! You can 100% raise children that are happy, that are grateful, that are positive people. And its not as hard as you would think. That being said, your children will copy what you do. So for your kids to be grateful, they will need to see you as a grateful person.

    I have found that to be the hardest part. With all this craziness that is going on in then world right now, it is easy to get all caught up in the madness. Even without the current crisis, just daily life can speed by. It is easy to wrapped up in the “To-Do Lists”; the bills that need to get paid; the grumpy co-worker that you have to deal with. So before you can expect your children to be naturally grateful, you have to practice that. They will copy what they see, you are their role model.

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