Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wishing On Willows - Review

I talked about Wishing on Willows Here too.
Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?
A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa,  she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances.
*Blurb taken from the website.*


I loved this book. 
Wishing on Willows paints a beautiful picture of a small town.  Katie's words draw you in and make you want to read more and more.  I was worried very close to the end of the book that I was going to be left wanting more.  That was not the case. Katie finished the book perfectly and I was able to close the book feeling like Robin and Ian were a small part of who I am.  Don't you love books like that?

If you want a copy of this book you can pre-order it right now and get a gift!  Find more details on the website HERE and place your order.

Want to preview the book before you buy?  Guess what! YOU CAN!  Find the preview of Wishing on Willows HERE  (at the bottom of the page).

Don't forget to sign up for your welcome packet while you are on the website.

I was given an advanced copy of Wishing on Willows to review and promote.  The opinions expressed are my own.  A positive review was not required.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspired Wednesday 2/27

Welcome back to Washed Up Inspired Wednesday.  If you missed last weeks link up you can find it HERE and make sure to check it out HERE as well.

Let me inspire you:
This week I want to talk to you about family fun night!  I must admit that it has been a while since our family has had a family fun night.  It is something I want to take place each week but my family is not very good about keeping a schedule.  We are more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of family.  Last night we just picked up and drove 40 minutes to the Bass Pro Shop to grab a few deals they have during their Spring Fishing Classic.  Since we left before dinner we even ate at the restaurant inside the store.  It was a special treat for our kids since we do not eat in restaurants very often.  

Last month we had a ton of fun playing Electronic Monopoly together.  Even though the kiddos are small and the game lasts a very long time, they really had a great time.

A while back I made a batch of cupcakes.  I pulled out the decorating kit and we all went to town decorating our own cupcakes as a family.  We had a ball doing it and had a yummy snack when we were done.

It is easy to find fun and special ways for your family to connect.  Supper around the table as a family, day time trips, board games, etc...  The point is, make sure you are taking the time to have family time.  It is important that you get together and enjoy each others company.  You wont regret it!

What fun things do you do as a family?  I would love more ideas to start doing with my family.  Share them in the comments below and make sure you link up to the post!!!  After linking up make sure to grab the button from the page in the menu above "Inspired Wednesdays" so you can show others that you linked up!

Featured Post from 2/20:
In this post, she talks about how her family works out a cleaning schedule and sticks to it.  I know that is something that my family needs.  Go check out her post and be inspired!
Make sure to grab the "I was featured" button from the page above.

Giveaway this week is -
A Customizable All-In-One Planner from yours truly!  I created my planner out of necessity.  I needed something that I could open and go right to what was to happen that day/week without using several other planners.  I tried it all from a paper planner I found at WalMart to the My Well Planned Day.  I love my planner and hope that the winner will enjoy theirs as well.
After entering the giveaway on my blog PLEASE make sure that you hop over to A Nest in the Rocks blog and see what she is doing for Washed Up Inspired Wednesday.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Learning Along

Today N, my 5 year old son, got angry.  He wanted to do math like his older sister.  He wanted to do addition and subtraction.  If you have followed along for any length of time you know that he is just kind of trotting along with the flow doing school here and there.  He is not enrolled and I am not pushing him to do work along side her.  So, today when he was upset about not being able to do her math with her we seized the moment and got to work on counting and number recognition.  These are the moments that homeschool moms live for!  The ones where the child leads the way and shows that he/she is ready to learn a new concept.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Draw the Circle: 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson

Draw the Circle: 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson is a follow up book to The Circle Maker.  The 40 days come from when Jesus set off into the wilderness to pray when he was being tempted by satan. I must admit that this is the first book by Mark Batterson that I have read.

I was drawn to the title because I am constantly struggling with prayer.  I struggle with when and how long and sometimes with even what I should pray about.  I have found that this book is a great tool for people like me.  Mark lays out exactly how we should pray, when we should pray (not a set schedule), and who we should pray for.  He shows great examples of his faith throughout the book in his own stories and stories that others have sent to him.  He parallels each of the days lessons, if you will, with a Bible verse.

Through this book I have found a new way of journaling my prayers and feel as though my prayers are more personal and more in tune with how God would like me to pray.  Thanks to his prompting of me to journal I am also able to keep up with prayer requests of people that I come in contact with throughout the day.  I just write it down and pray over them during my prayers.  I am able to go back and see how God has answered my prayers.  I look forward to going through this book time and time again to reveal new truths each time I read it.

If you are struggling with prayer or want to draw closer to God in how you pray I do recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, February 22, 2013 - Review

*image from

A family member subscribed to for N to use.  I was thrilled because I had been eyeing it for some time I just wasn't sure if we should move ahead with it or not.  Have you hear about  I will tell you a bit about it. is a computer based Pre-K - K learning website.  It is subscription based and does not have pop-up ad's or insite purchases.  If you are like me, that is a huge relief.  Children are engaged in fun activities from singing songs, completing puzzles, to building a hamster cage.  You can set up the program so that you child may earn tickets for each task they complete.  Some tasks earn more tickets than others.  The tickets can then be spent "shopping" for fish supplies, hamster supplies, or decoration for their virtual room.  It is fun stuff!  N loves his hamsters.  He has a collection of 3 with different tubes and tunnels.

*image from

How we use it:
N is required to complete a lesson a day.  The lessons are found in the learning path and are made up for fun activities for him to complete.  Once he completes the entire lesson he is then allowed to go back and explore the map, do extra lessons, go "shopping", or take care of his fish and hamster.  He has free reign of the game after the lesson is complete for about 30 minutes or so.  

What N thinks:
Most days I only mention that it is time for him to complete his lesson and he gets right on it.  He is able to use the laptop or the iPad (it syncs to his progress).  He gets a kick out of the fun songs and puzzles.  He is currently working on making a habitat for his hamsters and is collecting tickets to earn more tubing for their mazes.

What I think:
I love this program.  It seems like a fun and solid way for children to learn without spending hours and hours of drilling.  N seems to be picking up on things that he just wasn't "getting" before this.  It is fun and engaging for him since it is on the PC.  With it being a computer program I am able to turn it on and go about my business.  I am then able to go back in as a parent and check his progress and see what he has complete, what needs work, and print off fun worksheets to go along with what he has already learned.
I feel like this program is doing exactly what I had hoped it would do.  I plan to continue with this program through til the end.

If you are thinking about using this curriculum for your children I think it is a great idea and I highly recommend it.

I was NOT asked to review this program.  I have no affiliation with  I just wanted to share my opinion about this curriculum with other moms out there who may be on the fence or are just looking for something fun for their littles to do.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Right now you can get PICKnSPELL for kids for iPhone for free!!

My Heart

It is no secret that I didn't want to homeschool my children.  I would look at homeschooling moms and wonder why in the world they ever made that decision.  Why would they keep their children home and not around other children?  Wouldn't the children suffer some sort of social delay?  Would they really learn anything?  I bet their moms have perfectly clean homes, bake their own bread, sew up their own clothing.

Then one day while out to lunch, with 2 very special women, God spoke to my heart.  He convicted me right then and there about homeschooling my children.  I came home and half expected my husband to laugh at my notion.  To shoot me right down and insist they our children attend public school.  You know what he did?  He said he couldn't agree with me more and was completely on board.  I set out that evening researching and connecting with other homeschool moms.  Guess what!  Turns out that most homeschool moms have messy kitchens, laundry piled high, finger prints on their front doors and full hearts.  They are busy teaching, leading and working with their children.  Most of the moms I have spoken with say they wouldn't trade one day of homeschooling their children for anything.

And those unsocialized children?  They are some of the most polite, well behaved, and respectful children I have met.  Seriously!  My mom commented the other day that a homeschooling family came into the hospital where she works and the teenage son spoke to her with respect.  He helped his mother with his younger siblings and conducted himself in a manner most of the staff in her office was not accustomed to.  She said she beamed when he told her that he was homeschooled.  That day she got fully on board with our families decision to homeschool.  Would you believe that my in-laws are my biggest cheerleaders?  It is true.  I was blessed with 2 amazing parents-in-law.  They have supported our decision 100% and back us up.

God gave me a calling 2 years ago to stay home and teach my children.  He set this in motion and saw to it that my support system was completely in place.  I pray that this is your situation but if it is not, I pray that God will give you an awesome support team.  Reach out to other homeschooling mamas (you are welcome to shout at me!) for help.

Remember we are in this together.  God created us to lift each other up, to come along side each other, and lend a hand.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Inspired Wednesday 2/20

Welcome back to Washed Up Inspired Wednesdays.  If you missed last weeks link up, find it HERE.

This week I want to talk to you about thinking outside of the box - the curriculum box!  
If you are like me each year before school starts you have a nice list of all of the curriculum you are going to use for the upcoming year.  You purchase it, stack it nice and neat and start making plans.  Then school starts.  You work away at your plans and then the bumps start.  Then you hit the road blocks.  The days end in tears (and your child is crying too!).  Sound familure?  Well I have been there.  As a matter of fact I was ready to throw my hands in the air recently and so I stopped and prayed.  Then it hit me... I am homeschooling!  I call the shots!  I can change things up to make school work for us not us work for school. So I talked to S.  She told me what she liked about our current situation and what she didn't.  Turns out what  I thought she was enjoying was no fun at all for her.  So we cut out lapbooking and the way we were doing reading.  Instead we started using notebook packs (I got the horse one from Hands of a Child - more on that in another post) and we got a 1 year subscription to Reading Eggs (more on that in another post as well).  So far we have had great success in our homeschool days.  Saturday S joined me in the classroom, fired up her laptop and started a reading lesson.  When her Daddy stepped in from outside she was none to happy with me for allowing her to do school work on a Saturday!  lol!!  That just tells me that she is liking the new direction we are heading.

I say ALL of that to say this... Do not let your curriculum drive the bus.  If things are not working do not be afraid to change them up.  How do you change things up if things are not working for you?  I would love to hear about it.  Please leave me a comment...

Also, don't forget to grab our button from the page "Inspired Wednesdays" in the nav bar above!

Featured Post from 2/13-
I loved this posted because I use routines instead of schedules myself.  I am not one to be tied to the clock on a daily basis.  It just doesn't suit my personality.  To learn more about how she uses a routine in her homeschool and her daily life go check out her post. 
Make sure to grab your "I was featured" button from the "Inspired Wednesdays" page in the nav bar to put on your blog! 

Winner of the Custom Blog Siggie Is:
Renee Gotcher - Renee, you will be contacted via email by Amy at A Nest in the Rocks.

This week our giveaway is from Amy at A Nest in the Rocks, and let me tell you, it is AWESOME!  She is graciously giving away 2 copies of Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson.  (I am currently reading and reviewing his new book about prayer! ;) )  Enter below and make sure to go to A Nest in the Rocks and thank her for this great giveaway!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Inspired Wednesdays 2/13

Welcome to the second installment of Inspired Wednesday's.  If you missed last week (our launch) go check it out HERE.

Today I want to share a fun and super easy craft project with you.  If your kids can draw or color they are capable of completing this project.

While shopping the other day we saw some Crayola Brand Fabric Markers ($3 and change for 10 markers!) in the coloring isle and my S just had to try them out.  So we found a tShirt ($3 and change in the craft department) and decided that we could try them out.
The front of her shirt.  I am sure you are not shocked that it is horses!!
The back of the shirt.

The directions on the box are simple... put something between the layers of the shirt (we used cardboard).  Color until your design is complete and then heat set.  They offer 2 ways to heat set on the box of markers we bought but I suggest you read the directions on your box and follow them for color retention.

S sporting her newest creation.
The back of her creation.
After the shirt was heat set S wore it all day long!  She loved the project so much we went that next evening and bought another shirt for her and one for her brother.

N's tShirt.  He has taken up a liking of turtles.
The back of N's shirt.  I helped him with the word Turtles.  Otherwise it is his own creation.
NOW!  On to the fun stuff...

Today's Featured blog is............
She writes about a great giveaway she was hosting last week.  She shared one of her favorite artists and giveaway his CD.  Go check it out.  You may find a new music artist to listen to.

GIVEAWAY!!!  You can enter here to get a CUSTOM blog siggie designed by yours truly!!!
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Off the Hook - No crochet this time.

My clever way of keeping up with my dusting cloth that I use daily at my computer desk.
I love microfiber cleaning cloths.  They clean EVERYTHING.  I use them wet and dry.  I use them with cleaners and with just plain ol' tap water.  I love to use them on my electronics because they do not scratch but they buff and shine the screens.

I keep one at my desk to clean my computer monitor, cell phone screen, dust the desk, clean my glasses, you get the point.  The trouble is, I often cannot find it!  So I decided tonight that I would fix my problem with one quick stitch!

1 Microfiber Cloth - I a pack of 2 at the Dollar Tree for $1!
4" piece of ribbon
Sewing Needle
Thread to match the ribbon/cloth.

I heat sealed my ribbon piece.  That keeps it from raveling on your finished piece.

Decide where the ribbon would work best.  I decided to put it in the corner .  I thought about maybe the middle of one side but changed my mind.

Add a few stitches.  I went in a crisscross fashion and then back and forth.  Its a bit caty-wampas.  :)

Hang it close to your desk.  I used the nob of the door that incloses my PC tower.  I think I will get a 3M hook for the inside and tuck it in there so I don't have to fold it up on itself.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Let's Pull Together to Help One Another

This is a guest post and giveaway from a dear friend of mine.  Her family has been struck with sickness and she in need of YOUR help.  Read more below and find out what you can do to help and how you can enter to win...  Thank you all!

"Hey everyone! If you "like" {S}DGB on Facebook, or read this blog post, then you know life has taken some amazing twists. And with those twists, many changes.....many, big, scary, amazing, expensive, exciting, crazy, God-led changes.
Please, read up on that post and the CaringBridge site for my husband's sister, Sarah, that it leads to. That will explain this giveaway and why we need you to help us, help Sarah! {go ahead! I'll wait here while you go read....take tissues!}

Ok.... Read it all? Got the tears dried up? Isn't Sarah amazing?! Isn't GOD unfathomably amazing?! We, as in my hubby and our four kids are leaving everything {job, friends, much of my family, band, church, home, weekly night out with my BFF, regular help with kids from nana, beaches, disney and sea world passes that that we devoted our entire entertainment budget to month, many of our belongings and all our furniture, and so much more} and just recently decided also giving our puppy, that we got just a couple months ago, a new home was best now.  {He has an amazing new home with another Christian homeschool family that sends us email updates with thankful for them!}
In turn we are getting the blessings of obeying in these things even when it's hard! And this adventure is just beginning! There are needs though as the expenses of leaving a job, moving equipment, traveling with kids, fuel, traveling to and lodging in Texas for interviews, penalties for early break of our apt lease, our entire entertainment budget still being taken up with those passes for several more months (even though there is no budget for entertainment anymore..ha!), day to day living with no income yet, medicine/medical care (still have to get my stuff taken care of!) and then our final move into Texas will bring more is all overwhelming. We know God wants us there to help Sarah and her three babies though, so we know he will provide! And we know as the Body of Christ, there are so many out there that want to help, but don't know how. This is a BIG how!
Here is the fun part! If you would like to be part of His provision and give a little, then you can enter this giveaway to win a lot! Heather of We Choose Virtues is providing a family kit to giveaway to one sweet family! Every dollar helps us, help Sarah. Every one!
Another way to help is to visit my affiliate links to make purchases you would already be and in the future! They are linked from the tabs and in the sidebar. Sharing this post and those links will also help!
And the biggest way to help, obviously, is prayer! For her healing, our journey to get there, and His provision to make that happen  and in the day to day.

Be sure to visit the other bloggers on the entries to show thanks to them for helping to promote our efforts to follow God's leading!"

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013


WELCOME to the very first Inspired Wednesday Blog Hop, brought to you by A Nest in the Rocks and Where He Leads We Follow.  Go ahead and grab our official button to put on your blog!
Where He Leads We Follow

This week I wanted to share something fun and new with you to help you get inspired!!!  FLY LADY!  Who here has heard of her.  Raise your hands.  WOW!  Ok.  Let me introduce you.  Marla Ciley the FlyLady, started a cleaning program for those of us living in C.H.A.O.S. (Can't have anyone over syndrome) out of necessity.  She lived it and has found a way to fight through the CHAOS and to get our homes ready for visitors.  Each day you get a very short mission to accomplish.  The mission usually only takes about 15 minutes at most.  Yesterday it was to scrub the trash can clean inside and out.  See, short!  I know that if that reminder was not given to me my trashcan would be dirty and stinky still.  There is a weekly home blessing hour that really helps to keep me on task.  It involves all of the mundane weekly tasks that you need to do.  There is a great feature on the website called the LAUNCH PAD with all of the information you need to get started!  That is my favorite feature.  There is even a challenge for your kids.  They have daily reminders available and they are affiliated with Cozi (a free online calendar).  Cozi inputs each mission right into your calendar and you just look it up and go from there.  Great feature huh?

I hope to talk to you more and more about Fly Lady and how I use it in my home.  Today I wanted to introduce you to what helps me stay inspired to clean my home through the week!

SO, what inspires you?! I cannot wait to hear!!!

Ready for a giveaway?!  Well, Amy from A Nest in the Rocks, is so graciously giving away a copy of one of her daughters favorite books!!!  How nice is she?  Please make sure you go to her blog to check out how she used this blog in her homeschool.  To enter fill out the raffle copter widget bellow...
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Off the Hook

Here are a few things that I have worked on this past week.  I love that I have learned to crochet but my poor hands are protesting!  lol

A cute hat for myself.

Some coaster, face scrubbies, and a washcloth.

A hat for S and a 3 layer flower.

TOMORROW is the launch of our Inspired Wednesdays Blog Hop.  Do you have your posts ready?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wishing on Willows

Did I tell you guys that I am taking part in a book launch? I have never really participated in anything like this before and I am very excited to be part of it.  The book I am helping launch is called Wishing on Willows by Kate Ganshert.  She is also the author of Wildflowers from Winter.  Both books are Christian fiction.  I had hoped to be further along in the book than I am but since I took up crochet I have been devoting a lot of my spare time to that. That is NO indication of how I feel about this book.  So far this book has been very captivating.  Here is a bit about the book...
"A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa,  she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances."    ~Wishing on Willows
Doesn't that sound like a great read?!  Want to read a sneak peak of part of the book?  Well you can do that HERE.  

Here is the info about publication:
Release date: March, 19th 2013
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
ISBN-10: 0307730409 
ISBN-13: 978-0307730404

Do you want to pre-order?  You can and you should.  Everyone who places a pre-orders gets a FREE copy of the devotional that goes along with this book.  Find out more HERE.  (Offer only good through March 18, 2013)

I hope to have completed the book by the end of the week.  My hands are aching so I have to take a break from my crocheting projects anyway.  ;)  As soon as I complete the book I will have up a complete review so you can hear my final thoughts on this book.

If you want to know more about this book or about Kate Ganshert please go HERE to her website.  You can also follower her on Facebook HERE.

DISCLAIMER- I was sent an advanced copy of the book Wishing on Willows to review and help launch. No favorable review was required.  Each opinion expressed is my own.