Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

*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.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day has always been a 'fun' holiday. How can it not be? There are parades, rivers are turned green, there is food, there is beverage, there are Irish jigs.

When I was a child, I went to St. Patrick's Elementary School - I had a connection from a young age. I remember wearing green and people having buttons and shirts that said "Kiss Me I'm Irish".

There are some traditions that many consider to be part of St. Patrick's Day.

  • You always wear green on St. Patrick's Day.

  • You always have green beer on St. Patrick's Day.

  • There's always a parade on St. Patrick's Day.

  • You always have corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day.

I never was a fan of beer, let alone green beer, so that is one tradition that hasn't stayed with me (although I gave it the old college try, back in my college days).

I have limited green clothes in my closet, but I make an effort to wear green.

I don't live in a community with a parade and aside from getting stuck in some parade traffic in a nearby community last year, usually don't head out to see one.

I do usually make an effort to get some Corned Beef on St. Patrick's Day. I really enjoy Corned Beef Hash and Reubens or straight-up Corned Beef sandwiches. I prefer my Corned Beef Hashed crispy, like my bacon. I think it really pulls out the flavor.

Unfortunately, I'm the only one in my family that really enjoys Corned Beef, so I am generally on my own. I've never made homemade Corned Beef Hash, but have found that the HORMEL® MARY KITCHEN® Corned Beef Hash is a great way to enjoy it at home. You can enjoy it prepared as is, by simply frying it up in a skillet, or check out one of the recipes featured on their website - Sunshine Hash or Cheesy Corned Beef both sound good to me.

Do you have St. Patrick's Day traditions? Is there a family favorite Irish dish you enjoy on St. Patrick's Day?

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, March 16, 2015

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
The other day, my husband asked "How can you enjoy a book when you only get to read it in 5 minute increments?". The answer is that when I enjoy a book I want to read it whenever I can, even if it is only 5 minutes at a time. This is exactly the way that I felt about How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck.
In this third book in the Royal Wedding Series, we learn the story of Corina Del Ray and Prince Stephen of Brighton. You don't need to have read any of the earlier books to enjoy this story, although one book was about Prince Stephen's brother, King Nathaniel and his wife Susanna and the other story is mentioned a couple of times in the story.

Corina Del Ray lost her twin brother 5 1/2 years ago and has only recently started to really move beyond the grief. Prince Stephen is dealing with his own grief through denial and ignoring it by putting his whole self into rugby. As the story progresses, we get to see the power of faith in helping them each to heal and to move towards realizing their dreams.

I found that the author did a great job of developing the characters, allowing the reader to develop perspective and then reframe that perspective with the additional detail that is revealed over the course of the story. I felt that this helped me feel a connection with the characters and wanting the best for them.

The love story was part fairytale and part modern. I liked the mystery surrounding the Manor and Adelaide and Brill and their role in the story.

I would recommend this book to others and look forward to reading other books by Rachel Hauck in the future.

About the book:

How to Catch a Prince (Zondervan, February 2015)

She caught her prince once. Can she catch him again?

American heiress Corina Del Rey's life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she's shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.

But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen's pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?

Yet, true love has a destiny all it's own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

Purchase a copy here.

About the author:

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.

Find Rachel online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Find additional information and other reviews on the Blog Tour Landing Page.

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, February 22, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

I'm not sure how things are in your part of the country, but around here, it has been a cold, snowy winter. I enjoy winter, but I think I am about done with it at this point. The kids have enjoyed their snow and cold days away from school, but as with most children, they have reached the point where being cooped up in the house is too much. I was so thankful for a day with reasonable temperatures on Sunday, so that my daughter could go out and play in the snow. She was able to stay out too long, but at least she got outside and got fresh air, sunshine and a chance to run around. A nice welcome break from movie, tv and game marathons over the past few weeks.

Spring isn't yet here, but with the different sports practices, sports banquets, and meetings that we have this week, the schedule feels more typical of a spring/summer week than a winter one. I have decided to try out a few new recipes this week on the nights that there is time to make dinner before or after events and stick with tried and true on nights where dinner has to be quick to table.

lunch out

Swim Banquet

Qrunch Burgers and Chicken Patty Sandwiches

Lime Cilantro Chicken

Ranch Cheddar Chicken

Brazilian Shrimp Stew


For the kids, breakfast will be cereal, oatmeal or toast most mornings and lunch will be a mix of the hot plate lunch at school or a packed lunch from home. My husband and I will stick with our standard routines.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

CVS Deals - 2/22

I had really good intentions of going to CVS last weekend, because I had a $5/$15 coupon that I had received by e-mail. Of course, the weather here last weekend was awful and I never had a chance to go and the coupon expired. I tried to call and see if they would reactivate it, but they were closed. This weekend, I got a $4 ECB offer e-mail. I decided I didn't want to miss out on the free money, so I headed to the store this morning.

1 - M&M Speckled Egg
1 - M&M Milk Chocolate
1 - CVS Liquid Nutrition drink

-$1 M&M mfg coupon (coupons.com)
-$1 M&M mfg coupon (coupons.com)
-$1/2 M&M CVS coupon (CVS website, printable coupons)
-$4 ECB

$0.25 OOP. Earned $1 and $1.25 ECBs for the deals that I bought. Got to love when you are paid to shop!

Savings on my receipt are listed at 98%. I think I might go back and pick up the Colgate toothpaste deal that printed. My only question is can I stack the coupon from the paper? I noticed that the coupon from the coupon machine says MFG on it...does that mean it's considered a Mfg coupon vs a CVS coupon? Has anyone tried the deal?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

May you be surrounded by love.
Today and every day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
I have really been enjoying Historical Fiction lately. Most of the Historical Fiction that I have been reading is set in England, so when I was given the chance to check out a new book by Elizabeth Camden set in Washington D.C. in the late 1890s called Beyond All Dreams, I jumped at the chance.

The book jumps right in to the story in the first chapter, introducing Anna O'Brien and Luke Callahan. We are also given just a bit of background to help set the stage. The story starts out a little bit slow, but then quickly gathers momentum pulling the reader into the story.

I felt that the story really said a lot about being content and what happens when you push beyond normal boundaries and experiences. The outcome of doing so certainly is not always what you had hoped or expected, but as the title suggests, sometimes the outcome is beyond all dreams.

I really enjoyed the balance of historical fact inter-mixed with the fictional tale. You could tell the author had done her research, from the opening of the new building for the Library of Congress to the Tourmaline mine in Maine. The history going on around the story helped to make the characters and events in their lives more real to me as a reader.

The story is told in third person, yet there are plenty of insights offered by the narrator into what the characters are thinking. This really helped me as a reader get to know the characters and allowed a nice balance of learning about more than just one character's inner thoughts.

I really enjoyed the book and found the experience of reading it satisfying. I would recommend the book to others that enjoy historical fiction or romance.

I haven't read any of Elizabeth Camden's other books, but based on my enjoyment of this book, look forward to reading others.

You can learn more about the book and author, as well as find other reviews on the blog tour landing page.
About the book:
Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1BbxWeR

About the author: Elizabeth Camden is the author of six books and a RITA and Christy Award winner. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida.

Find Elizabeth online: website and on Facebook

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.