Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Better Breakfast Month #Hormel

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
Did you know that September is Better Breakfast Month? I was not aware, but curiously, we had a conversation at lunch today about all of the National 'this' Day and National 'that' Day and who is it that determines these things. So, when I learned that it was Better Breakfast Month, it only made sense that I do a checking to see who declared it. You know what? I found lots of articles and posts, but none seemed to cite where it originated.

I have always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. One article I found, shared about a report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 2010 Study, that showed that children who eat breakfast perform better academically in school, behave better in school, have a more positive attitude toward school and are more likely to stay alert. I imagine, that good for you doesn't just apply to kids but is good for adults too.

Admittedly, breakfast is one of my favorite meals. So much so that we often enjoy breakfast for dinner. (although, I'm sure Better Breakfast Month is more about the time of day than the food.) Pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon and sausage are all dinner time favorites. We've even been known to enjoy a bowl of cereal or oatmeal at dinner too (especially on hectic nights).

So back to the breakfast day part, not just the food...

When I was younger (before I had children), I had a routine in the morning that involved a bowl of cereal and the morning news before heading out to work. Now that I am older (have children), it seems that I am squeezing so much into the morning (workouts, dishes, laundry), that breakfast is usually eaten in stages and frequently on the go or at work for me. Typically, my breakfast will consist of a protein bar or shake or a bowl of oatmeal and a banana. I used to rely on overnight oatmeal or a packet of oatmeal, but having tried a Hormel Compleats Good Mornings Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal a while back, it has become a regular option for a warm, hearty breakfast that I can enjoy at home or work.
(My family also enjoys the Hormel Compleats Sausage Gravy & Roasted Potatoes, as well.) For the kids, I make sure that they have breakfast before I head out the door for work. Most mornings, their breakfast is cereal or oatmeal.

What is your favorite breakfast? Do you eat breakfast type foods for lunch or dinner?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product and some of the information for this post.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me. 
I have been very fortunate to have some free time lately to be able to spend time reading. There is something that is so relaxing about reading. Now that the kids are back to school, I am able to find time to read in the evening.
Most recently, I finished reading Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray. This is the third book in her Return to Sugarcreek Series. As with the last book, it was nice to be able not only to explore the story of the two main characters, Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Nolt, but also to spend some time catching up with Judith and Ben and their foster child James and the other characters that were included in the first two books. But don't worry, there is no requirement to have read the first two to be able to enjoy this story.

There is something so appealing about the characters that Gray develops. As I read the book, I couldn't help but feel a connection to them, to want to influence the situations in their favor. The strength of the bonds that they share with their family is something that I admire. Having come from a large extended family, I love spending time with family and love to see that in the book.

The themes of love, loss, self discovery, and celebration are universal, the fact that the characters are Amish seemed to be more of a backdrop or setting for the story than something that was a focus.

If you enjoy a good romance, then you will enjoy this book.


Joyful

by Shelley Shepard Gray
Avon Inspire
Amish Fiction

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray's final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm's needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious---and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse---to stay far away from the man who hurt her---but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she's older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her---or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth---or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Meet the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

You can find her on Facebook and she has a website.

Find more reviews and info here.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me. 
The weather here has been a little cooler than normal for this time of year, but when I picked up Christmas at Rose Hill Farm and started to read it, it felt a little strange to think about reading a Christmas story in September. I was glad as I started to read to learn that Christmas was part of the setting, and not part of the story.

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm was the first book that I read by Suzanne Woods Fisher and I found it very enjoyable. She does a good job of developing the lead characters, providing some other characters to provide some additional color on why the lead characters are who they are. I liked how she pulled in the back story in bits to help the reader understand some of the motives and actions and allowing the story to continue to advance in an uninterrupted style.

As with many of the Amish books that I have read, I really felt like the fact that the characters were Amish was just a part of the setting and that the story itself was very universal and could happen with any community. The characters faced many of the dilemmas that we all face - drawing conclusions from incomplete information, running from rather than facing your fears, finding it in your heart to forgive those you love most, and recognizing the guidance and protection your faith can provide if you turn to it in times of need.

She has a few series already published and based on this book, I would love to read a few of her other works.

About the book:

Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.

When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy---and Amos, too---that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

"Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit."

Purchase a copy of the book here.

About the author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

Download Suzanne's free app!

Find Suzanne online: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest


Read more reviews on the blog tour page for Christmas at Rose Hill Farm.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shelley Shepard Gray is heading back to Sugarcreek in JOYFUL! {Book giveaway.}

No compensation was received for this post. I received this information as a participant in the Litfuse Blogger Program.

Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: "A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming."



Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley's Return to Sugarcreek series! 

Winner announced on Shelley's blog on 9/30.

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No compensation was received for this post. I received this information as a participant in the Litfuse Blogger Program.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

CHRISTMAS AT ROSE HILL FARM iPad Bundle Giveaway & sign up to host a Book Club Brunch!

No compensation was received for this post. I received this information as a participant in the Litfuse Blogger Program.

Join best-selling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm will charm readers into the holiday spirit.


Suzanne is hosting a "Christmas Rose" iPad bundle giveaway and a nation-wide Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch in November. Enter the giveaway below and sign up to host a brunch HERE.

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TWO grand prize winners will receive:


  • An iPad
  • A Rose-patterned iPad case
  • A Rose-patterned phone case (for any model phone)
  • A Christmas wreath
  • A set of Christmas hand-towels
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Five second place winners will receive:


  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 28th. All winners will be announced September 29th at Suzanne's blog.


rosehill-brunchbuttonHost a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch! This fall Suzanne is inviting book clubs across the nation to throw a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch. Sign up here between now and September 29. If you’re selected as one of the 50 hosts, you’ll receive a copy of the book plus two other Revell titles (give them away as party prizes or door prizes or keep them for yourself), a complete party kit, and a discount code to purchase copies of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm for your book club at a discount. Suzanne is also encouraging each book club brunch to collect non-perishable items for their local community shelter. She will be making a donation to her favorite charity (helping abused women and children) for every brunch that meets their goal. Click here for more details and to SIGN UP!



Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)


No compensation was received for this post. I received this information as a participant in the Litfuse Blogger Program.

Train - Bulletproof Picasso Review #Bulletproof Picasso #O2O

No compensation was received for this post. I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

The Grammy award winning band Train is releasing their 7th album, Bulletproof Picasso on September 16th.

This San Francisco based group is best know for hits like "Hey Soul Sister" and "Drops of Jupiter". And you may have already heard the first single from the new album, "Angel in Blue Jeans", on the radio.


I have had the opportunity to listen to a review copy of the album over the past week. I already was familiar with Angel in Blue Jeans (didn't know I was familiar until the first time through the album) and have really enjoyed listening to the album. I find that several of the tracks are very catchy and I find myself singing and dancing along in the car (the dancing is somewhat subdued, as I am buckled in and driving - maybe more of a steering wheel tapping).

The other day, my son had been riding in my car and I had on the album. Then later we went out in my husband's car and we put on the album so that my husband could check it out. When the song came on that had been playing in my car earlier, my son remarked I know this song. Of course, since it wasn't the first single, it helped confirm just how catchy the songs were.

I think my four favorite tunes (in no particular order) are - Bulletproof Picasso, Angel in Blue Jeans, Wonder What You're Doing For The Rest Of Your Life and Just A Memory.

Tracklisting for Bulletproof Picasso:
1. Cadillac, Cadillac
2. Bulletproof Picasso
3. Angel In Blue Jeans
4. Give It All
5. Wonder What You're Doing For The Rest Of Your Life
6. Son Of A Prison Guard
7. Just A Memory
8. I'm Drinkin' Tonight
9. I Will Remember
10. The Bridge
11. Baby, Happy Birthday
12. Don't Grow Up So Fast

You can preorder your copy on iTunes and Amazon.

You can also find Train here:
* Official Train Website
* Twitter
* YouTube
* Facebook

No compensation was received for this post. I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.