Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Raspberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

I have really been inspired by Lynn at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures and all of her baked oatmeal recipes.  I have come up with a combination of my own that I have fallen in love with.

We had 37.5 lbs of raspberries on our bushes this year so I have developed this baked oatmeal recipe with raspberries.

3 c. quick oats
1/2 brown sugar
1 c. milk
2 T butter or oil
2 eggs
2 t baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 t. vanilla

Add: 1 cup raspberries (can be frozen or fresh), 3 mashed bananas, 3 T flax meal and 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.

Mix altogether and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  YUMMY!

After cooling, cut and freeze on cookie sheets (flash freeze), transfer to a bag and in the morning just take out what you want and heat up or let thaw for a healthy breakfast.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

31 Days to a Happy Husband by Arlene Pellicane Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Arlene Pellicane is an author, speaker, and formerly served as the associate producer for Turning Point Television with Dr. David Jeremiah. Her audiobook and website Losing Weight After Baby has helped many moms achieve their physical and personal goals. Arlene and her family make their home in southern California.

Visit the author's website.


What does a man need most from his wife? Arlene Pellicane has identified five keys that will give wives a new appreciation and understanding of how to love and care for their mates along with practical instruction to motivate and equip wives to provide their husbands what they long for.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736946322

ISBN-13: 9780736946322


Are You Still Dreaming?

The year was
1999 and my big moment had finally arrived. I stood holding my father’s arm,
ready to make my grand entrance into the church. James and I had decided to
have one of his favorite seminary professors marry us. Ours was only his second
wedding to officiate, but we didn’t care about his inexperience.

Just as
I approached the door leading into the sanctuary, I was shocked to hear the
sound of our professor’s voice, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to bring
James and Arlene together in holy matrimony.” The only problem was, I was still
standing in the hall with all the bridesmaids. Our professor mistook a break in
the music as his cue to begin the ceremony.

couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. Our dear professor got all the way through
his introduction before realizing his error. When he got to that famous line,
“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” there was complete silence.
Our friends and family didn’t know whether to laugh or be mortified.

At this,
my aunt started playing the piano, and I was thrust through the door of the
church to join my ceremony
in progress
. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d miss
the beginning of my own wedding, but it sure has given us many laughs over the

Do you remember
the day you said “I do”? I hope the ceremony didn’t start without you. Remember
walking down the aisle, feeling like the happiest woman in the world? Your
heart was full of dreams for the future. Are you still dreaming today?

Keep Honeymooning

So many
couples told us after we tied the knot, “Just wait until you’ve been married a
few years. You won’t be so lovey-dovey anymore.” But there was one lone voice
who gave us the opposite advice. “Never let the honeymoon end,” he said. “It’s
much easier to keep love alive than to try to revive something that has died.”
We vowed to follow his advice.

the tape twelve years to our aha moment. James and I were teaching a
young-marrieds class at our church. On the first day of class, we noticed there
was not a centimeter of space in between these newlywed couples. Wives were
superglued to their husbands’ sides. Eyes were locked, hands were held, hair
was twirled. I looked over at my James who was sitting about a foot away from
me. We, the sage teachers, needed a refresher course on touch, affection, and

likely you know what I’m talking about. The heat of passion turns into the
warmth of companionship. But that warmth, if we don’t take time to stoke the
embers, can slowly turn into a cool disengagement between husband and wife. And
before you know it, you’re two roommates sharing a home, a bank account, and

I don’t
want that dull fate and neither do you. Three kids later and in our forties,
James and I are learning to flirt again. The good news is you can relearn how
to do all the things you used to do when you were dating. Except that instead
of being lovers on cruise control, you might have to step on the gas pedal once
in a while for the ride of your life.

Time to Dream Again

remember driving down the freeway and seeing a pickup truck with these bold
words printed on the back window: “Happy to be here, proud to serve.” I’d like
you to imagine those words hanging in a frequented place in your home. When you
can say about your home, “Happy to be here and proud to serve,” your husband
will want to hurry home every day because it’s the place he feels most valued
and loved.

book will help you create that kind of place for your man. It’s divided into
thirty-one daily readings grouped into five simple sections that will help you
demonstrate to your husband the love that hooked him in the first place. The
titles for each section form the acrostic DREAM. After all, the marriage of
your dreams doesn’t have to be a fairy tale that will never come true. You can
experience the kind of marriage most people dream about by following these five

  D = Domestic Tranquillity—Your
husband needs a

peaceful haven (Days 1-5).

  R = Respect—Your
husband needs to be honored in

his own home (Days 6-11).

  E = Eros—Your
husband needs a fulfilling sex life

(Days 12-19).

  A = Attraction—Your
husband needs to be attracted

to you (Days 20-26).

  M = Mutual Activities—Your
husband needs to have

fun with you (Days 27-31).

Ask any
husband if he would be happy having these five things in greater measure, and I
can assure you his answer will be a resounding yes! And you just might find
yourself enjoying these things too.

Notice Him, Nurture Him

doesn’t take much time or effort to see that our culture is pessimistic about
marriage. A happy marriage seems more like a fairy tale that Pollyanna dreamed
up fifty years ago. Today’s wives are complaining left and right about their
husbands’ many shortcomings. In fact, many women would never pick up a book
like this. Why should a wife make her husband happy when he’s not
making her
happy? I like what host Bob Lepine of Family Life Today says,
“Our role is not to figure out how to fix our spouse. Our role is: How do we
reflect Christ in the marriage?”  1

check out this insight from one husband:

When a woman is
engaged to be married, she pours all her nurture into her man. She holds him,
kisses him, and talks sweetly to him. They have fun together, do interesting
things together, and enjoy the physical affection of first love. Then after
they marry and have kids, all that nurture that went originally to the husband
is suddenly transferred to the children. The kids benefit from all the maternal
instincts and become the primary focus of all her tender nurture. The husband
is just as needy for that nurture, but he is too proud to admit it.

When you
look at your husband, you’re probably thinking he looks pretty self-sufficient.
The other people in your life vying for your attention are truly needy (your children,
grandchildren, aging parent, depressed friend). Look again. Your husband craves
your affection and care but doesn’t want to ask for it. He bites the bullet
because he’s supposed to be the strong one. Yet he desperately wants tender
loving care just as you do.

How to Get the Most Out of This Book

thirty-one happy husbands I interviewed for this book will serve as your
insider guides for the next thirty-one days. Here are a few suggestions for how
best to glean their insights as you read through this book:

to reading a chapter every day for one month.
Choose a month to soak your husband in
tender loving care. Maybe choose his birthday month or your anniversary month
to make it extra special and more memorable. But don’t worry—if you want to
start today and his birthday isn’t for months, I’m sure he won’t mind! If you
fall behind one or two days, don’t give up on the “Happy Husband” month. The
chapters are short so you can easily catch up and get back on track.

it in five chunks.

Maybe you want to tackle more than one day’s reading at a time. Once you’re
settled in your comfortable chair to read, you want to keep going. Then I
suggest you divide your reading into sections. Begin with Days 1-5, which cover
Domestic Tranquillity. This way you can concentrate your focus on one key DREAM
factor at a time. After you’ve completed the action steps suggested, you can
move on to the letter R
for Respect (Days 6-11), and so on.

the affirmation for happy wives aloud once a day.
You’ll find this daily affirmation on
page 179. Put your affirmation on your bathroom mirror and read it out loud
every morning. Expect to feel uncomfortable doing this at first. But after a
few days, not only will you believe the words you are saying, you will be living
them out. It’s tempting to skip this step, so when you’re done reading today,
turn to page 179. Photocopy, scan, or type out the page and put it on your
bathroom mirror tonight.

a “Wives of Happy Husbands Discussion Group.”
Read the book together with a group of
friends who also want to add some sizzle to their marriages. Use the discussion
guide on pages 185-192. Plan to meet weekly for five weeks to discuss what
you’re learning. I promise these will be lively coffee dates or meals together!

the action steps.
you just read the book without trying any of the action steps, your husband
probably won’t be able to tell you’re reading a book about how to love him
better. At the end of each day’s reading, you’ll find these two recurring

·      Notice Today —You’ll
be invited to take a close look at your husband. It will take only a few
moments, but it will make a big difference. When you notice something positive
about your husband instead of taking him for granted or rehearsing his faults,
you’ll experience a change of heart and greater warmth for your man.

·      Nurture Today —You’ll
get to put your attitude into action through the daily steps to nurture him.
Remember, if you don’t do
anything differently this month toward your spouse, your thirty-one-day journey
to marital bliss isn’t much more than wishful thinking.

day of your life, you’re either building your husband up or tearing him down.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house,

but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” In the next thirty-one
days, you’re going to launch a full-force, no-holding-back, life-changing
building program for your marriage. Let other things slide while you make your
husband the number one priority for the next thirty-one days. Your only agenda
is to overwhelm him with attention and affir­mation.

Roll up
your sleeves. It’s time to build and dream again.

Marriage Quiz

Do You Have a Happy Husband?

you begin reading Day 1, take this self-assessment to discover what areas in
your marriage need the most attention. Be honest in your answers. You’re not
trying to impress anyone here. Your goal is to gain valuable insight about your
husband’s current level of happiness in your marriage.

environment of my home is warm and peaceful on most days.

             Yes  No

drop other things (even with my kids) to make time for my husband if he needs

             Yes  No

never say unkind things about my husband to others.

             Yes  No

there’s a decision to be made, my husband has the final say.

             Yes  No

enjoy having sex and look forward to making love to my husband.

             Yes  No

husband and I talk regularly about ways to improve our sex life.

             Yes  No

make an effort to look attractive with my clothes, hair, and makeup even on days
when I see only my husband.

             Yes  No

am a healthy body weight and exercise at least three times a week.

             Yes  No

husband and I go on a date at least once a month.

             Yes  No

still enjoy romance, kissing once a day for at least five seconds.

             Yes  No

Total the number of
yes answers:

1-4: Your relationship is on shaky ground.
There are some critical areas of unmet needs that you must identify both for
yourself and your husband. Reading this book is perfect timing.

5-7: You have some good habits and attitudes to build on. As you
make a few key changes this month, you and your husband will be laughing,
flirting, and enjoying each other’s company more.

8-10: You have a happy husband. By the time you finish reading
this book, he will be ecstatic. You’ll be moving from good to great (or great
to unbelievable). Be on the lookout for other women to encourage and mentor

My Review:
Arlene Pellicane's new book 31 Days to a Happy Husband: What a Man Needs Most from His Wife has personal stories, engaging interviews and practical ideas.  She begins each chapter with a Bible verse and a funny anecdote.  Then she seriously addresses the topic of the chapter including findings from her research from many married men who had a lot to share about the topic.  At the end of each chapter, Arlene develops some practical application through her activities for Notice Today and Nurture Today.  There are 31 days of fantastic ideas to help wives learn to meet the needs of their man and also to make marriages stronger.  Arlene divides the chapters to cover the DREAM guidelines (Domestic tranquility, Respect, Eros, Attraction and Mutual activities).  And there is also a great discussion guide for a book club for wives who want to have happy husbands.

This is the second book I have read by Arlene.  Her first book was 31 Days to a Younger You (see my review).  Arlene is candid, funny and very creative.  She seeks to motivate wives to pay attention to their marriages and bring back the things that brought them together in the first place.  I love all the different perspectives of the men who were interviewed and how their stories as well as Arlene's unique "coaching" style of writing made my want to try this 31 day journey.  This is an excellent book to create a new spark in your marriage today!

Visit Arlene's awesome WEBSITE and subscribe for a great monthly newsletter too!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Book Giveaway Blowout Take 2!

Did you miss my first announcement that I am giving away SIX books that I know you will want to read? Please refer to my Summer Book Giveaway post so you can enter to win by Aug 31.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whisk Bliss Shirley J Product Review

Have you ever wanted to whip up something quick that was yummy and easy?  Well, I was very impressed with Whisk Bliss.  

"Whisk Bliss is a unique UNIVERSAL COOKING BASE that creates quick and delicious sauces, soups, and endless savory sensations that are healthy for you and your family.
Try Some! Pasta Alfredo, Old-Fashioned Sausage Gravy and Broccoli and Cheddar Soup all become easy, quick and healthy thanks to Whisk Bliss. The proof is in the taste , and satisfaction is 100% guaranteed."

I wanted to make chicken and veggie alfredo (pictured above) which I never make because I feel like it's too hard to mix all the ingredients right for the sauce.  But with Whisk Bliss, all I did was pour the packet into 2 cups of water, boil and whisk around, add a little bit of parmesan cheese and it was done!  I added a little garlic with my noodles, chicken and veggies and all I can say is, EASY and YUMMY!  I could quickly whip this up while my kids ate a sandwich and it was ready for my husband.  Now, isn't that a product you would like to have in your kitchen?

This product takes the place of cream sauces and canned soups.  And it is very versatile.

Just visit Shirley J's Products at

*This product was provided to me free of charge by Media Guests for the purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this product and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Thursday, August 16, 2012

When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts by Cindi McMenamin Book Review

When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts: Discover the Healing and Wholeness God Has for You by Cindi McMenamin is sensitive book for women want to discover that healing and wholeness from God.  Cindi is an award winning writer and speaker who takes great care to address women where they need help the most- deep in their heart and soul.  She uses stories from real women who have been through some tough situations in life, but chose to find healing in God despite all the difficulties.  In Part 1, Cindi uncovers the wounds.  In Part 2, she unravels the lies and Part 3 is unveiling a new heart.  Each chapter ends with a step toward healing and wholeness, a study section with questions and a heartfelt prayer to pray.  The appendix offers a self-assessment and a special section of Scriptural Encouragement for Hurting Hearts.

Cindi delicately delivers a beautiful message of freedom for hurting women.  The women who tell their stories in this book were abused, rejected, abandoned and dealt with death.  You will cry and rejoice as you read how God brought them from the depths to the top of the mountain.  You may relate to these women on some level and here in this book you will find a way to discover the place God has for you.  This is a perfect book for women who have experienced life's hurts and want to move toward peace and joy with God.

*This product was provided to me free of charge by Harvest House Publishers for the purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back 2 School Survival Guide by Susan Heid (The Confident Mom)

It's Back to School time!

How do you get all your little critters together, the school supplies bought, new clothes picked out, food they like and still stay sane?  Sometimes the beginning of the school year sends shivers down the backs of parents as they try to summon courage to get the kids on the right track without losing their minds! 

But never fear because Susan Heid's Back to School Survival Guide is just the key to helping you create a smooth transition from summer to school.

I found The Confident Mom when I was desperate to create a good routine, but didn't know where to start.  Susan is the queen of detailed lists of which I am truly grateful.  I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish, but I just can't seem to get it all written on paper.  That's where Susan comes in and does ALL the hard work for me!

Her Back 2 School Survival Guide is an 80 page ebook with a ton of printables that will help get your school year fun and organized in meaningful ways.  I was really impressed by all the step by step practical instructions and the action steps included for each task.  It makes the duties for the beginning of the school year not so daunting.  In fact, you can sit back and relax knowing that you are ready to rock the school year.  This planner is adaptable for both homeschool and those heading back to school.  I especially loved all the different ways that Susan trains parents to make the most of morning, afterschool, dinner, evening and bedtime routines.  There is no better way to start school than with a workable plan that all the work is mostly done for you!

A downloadable PDF, the Back 2 School Survival Guide is available to download immediately after your purchase so you can begin preparing right away. Your guide will include:
  •       Back 2 School Survival Guide eBook
  •       Student Planner
  •       Master Family Planner
  •       Routine Checklists
  •       School Information Sheet
  •       Schedule Adjustment Worksheet
  •       Countdown Maze
  •       My Favorites Lunch Planning Worksheet
  •       Grocery Planner
  •       Family Fun Worksheet
  •       Family Meeting Agenda
  •       School Goals Worksheet
  •       Classmate Contact Sheet
  •       Important Dates At-A-Glance Sheet
  •       Lunchbox Notes, Jokes, and Quotes
  •       Note to Teacher Form

“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.” —Garrison Keillor

Get your planner today and enjoy a great time of getting ready for back to school! 

Oh, and the owls are SO cute!!

*I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook for my review.  All opinions are my own.*

Summer Book Giveaway Blowout!

Hello Friends!  I haven't been having too many giveaways lately, but I have a bunch of books stacked up to go to new homes.  I decided to try something different this time.  I am having a big book giveaway (well, 6 books at once).  Here's how it works:  Click on the book link you are interested in, leave a comment with your name and email by Aug 31.  You can comment on as many book posts as you want.  Please tell me why you want to read the book.  That's it!  I will email the winners and you may get more than one book.  :)

Here are the books:

*The Stars Shine Bright

*After All

*Shadowed in Silk

*A Wedding Invitation

*Far From Here

*Faithful to Laura

Step 1:  Click on the link of a book that you think you might like.
Step 2:  Comment on that book post with your name and email about why you want to read the book.
Step 3:  Do as many books as you want by Aug 31.
For US only.  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller Book Review

Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller is the second book in the Middlefield Family Novel series.  Laura has been in a serious accident caused by her ex-fiance and now lives life bearing scars on her face.  She has run away from home and lives with another Amish family in Middlefield, Ohio so she can plan her revenge.  Sawyer is a young man adopted by an Amish couple after his parents died so he wouldn't have to live in a foster home.  He works with his father at a woodshop in town.  Sawyer meets Laura when he is looking for a new bookkeeper.  Laura jumps at the job as she needs money to pay back her parents for all the wrongs committed by her ex-fiance.  Meanwhile, Sawyer finds out that he has a very wealthy grandmother in New York and must choose to either become fully Amish by joining the church or take his place as the heir of a profitable business in New York.  Sawyer is distraught as he begins to care for Laura.  What decision will Sawyer decide to make?

Because this was the second novel in the series, it took me a few chapters to figure out how all the people related together.  I was very interested in Sawyer and Laura's story and even more intrigued when the New York grandmother appeared on the scene.  However, there was a second story line that really did not add to the story, but I think it was a continuation  from the first novel.  But I really did enjoy how the author weaved the story of Sawyer and Laura and between Amish and English.  This novel adds a few details of Amish life that are always so interesting to me.  Kathleen in a new author to me, but I would like to read more of her books.

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.”