Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When Calls the Heart Season 2 on DVD! GIVEAWAY! Ends Sunday, January 3

I know many of you are "Hearties!"  It's so nice to see a show that is family friendly and also has a good story line as well as some romance, mystery and adventure.  I've reviewed all of Season 2 episodes that were put on DVD, but you can get all these and more in this exclusive set for Season 2.

When Calls the Heart Complete Season 2 10-DVD Collector's Edition 

Synopsis from the back of the package:
Elizabeth Thatcher is a strong-willed teacher who has foregone the life of the big city and found a job, a home and a bit of unexpected romance with a handsome Mountie named Jack in the small frontier town of Hope Valley.  But life on the frontier can hand you many tough turns and so it is for Jack and Elizabeth as they face their very different upbringings and pressures put upon them by family, rival suitors and even various criminal counterfeiters and kidnappers in their quest to find their place in this remote and rugged land.

So come join Erin Krakow (Elizabeth Thatcher), Daniel Lissing (Jack Thornton), Jack Wagner (Bill Avery) and Lori Loughlin (Abigail Stanton) and a whole cast of characters for When Calls the Heart Complete Season 2 10-DVD Collector's Edition

The Complete Season includes 10 discs:
1. Trials of the Heart
2. Heart and Soul
3. Heart of the Family
4. Heart and Home
5. Follow Your Heart
6. Episodes 1-5
7. Episodes 6-10
8. Special Features
9. Journey to Jamaa
10. Winter in Hope Valley

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD set for review.  All opinions are my own.  Giveaway is my personal choice.  The DVD set is brand new.*

When Calls the Heart Season 2 on DVD
Open to valid addresses in US only.
Please fill out this FORM with the following information.
1. Answer this question-  Who is your favorite character(s) on When Calls the Heart and why?
2. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.  
Extra entries:
Follow my blog on Facebook
Subscribe to my channel on YouTube
Follow me on Pinterest
Sharing on any of the above plus Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc.
Giveaway ends: SUNDAY, January 3 at midnight.
Thanks and good luck, Shonda

Monday, December 28, 2015

What I did in 2015 and My Plan for 2016

Hi everyone!  It's Shonda! I know I don't post often and I do have to tell you that blogging needs to take a back seat in my life.  I truly want to pour into my family and home in this season of life.  I am very busy at home with homeschooling, cooking, decluttering and spending time with my husband.  I have learned that I can't fit it ALL in.  But I do like to jump on here from time to time and share what I like, some reviews and various other things.  Thanks for hanging out with me.

What I did in 2015:
*I read 24 books and tracked them on Goodreads.  It was fun to make a challenge that worked out to be 2 books a month.  I have a variety of fiction, non-fiction, parenting, marriage, outreach, self-help, Bible study and more. I will share some of my favorite books next month.
2015 Reading Challenge

*I did 2 fitness challenges with Bikini Body Mommy.  I really enjoy her workout routines.  I usually write them in a spiral notebook and track my repetitions.  Every 15 days she does a "fit test."  It's great to see progress.  I hope to do the new 5.0 challenge that is coming up soon.  LOL, I don't look like that, but when I do the workouts I definitely feel more fit, more energy and happy!

*I also did an Ageless Woman Detox this fall which I blogged about.  But I wasn't able to continue the full re-entry program as we started to get ready for our trip to Mexico.  I just can't seem to juggle too many things at the same time.

*I memorized 24 verses with Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore) Siestas. 

*I donated bags and bags of stuff 6 times to the Goodwill pick up drivers this year.  And I still have MUCH more to declutter!  I am going to work through  the 52 weeks challenge at Home Storage Solutions and also grab some ideas from Organize 365.  I really like the podcasts from Lisa Woodruff.
52 Week Organized Home Challenge
*One really significant change I made this year was to have a weekly review where I take out my Sunday Basket and go through it (mail, bills, etc. that I stick in there during the week that can be handled in one day), make a meal plan, sketch out my week in my Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner and keep current with the budget, pictures to download, errands to run, people to contact, small business things to write on my task list and more.  This is a great way to prepare for the week and keep my days, weeks and months organized.

These are just a few of the things that are keeping me busy.

Here is my plan for 2016 on the blog:
*I am going to share my top 5+ book picks from 2015 and share in a video in January.

*I will share about our Mexico trip.

*I will be sharing a few book reviews, products I love and other tidbits throughout the year.

I am super busy homeschooling and trying to declutter my home.  This blog is a fun place to hang out when I'm not reading, homeschooling, memorizing, working out and traveling! 

PS.  If you want to check out my homeschool blog, come visit Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow.

I hope you have had a fantastic year and  that you are looking forward to the coming year.

PS. I will share my updated Homemaking Binder via video soon too!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Make Over Your Mornings! SALE from December 26-January 8 for only $9

The Makeover Your Mornings Course is now on SALE for only $9.
The great thing about this course is that you can take it whenever it's convenient for you.
  When you register you will get a password to access the website.
You can download the workbook and there are 14 videos to watch.
I would suggest that you watch 1 video per day.  You can do 14 days in a row or every other day.
Whatever works for you.
This course covers more than what to do in the morning.
It's about rearranging your time to make a better life both for your days, weeks, months and year. 
You can get Day 1 for free!
And if you purchase the course and you are not satisfied there is a 30 day money back guarantee.
Take a look at Day 1 and decide if this would be a good fit for you.
I personally have benefited from Crystal's ideas for making my life more intentional and fulfilling by implementing her strategies for helping my day start and end well and thinking about my future goals and things I want to accomplish.
I will be doing it again this January.  I'm excited to make goals for this new year!
SALE from December 26-January 8
Only $9

*I am an affiliate for this course and I am pleased to endorse it.  Any purchase you make is no extra cost to you.  Thanks for your support.*

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Knowlton's 2015

Merry Christmas!
Some highlights this year:
*My son lost his first tooth
*I got to see Beth Moore in the elevator at a women's retreat!
*We went on a marriage retreat.
*We finished our first year of homeschooling.
*We celebrated my husband's 40th birthday (and 12 years the day we met).
*We had a family reunion in Mexico.
It was a great year and I look forward to 2016!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our home to yours.  May God's blessings abound in your life.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Make Over Your Mornings with Crystal Paine BIG SALE! December 26-January 8 for only $9!

Make Over Your Mornings is much more than about morning time. 
I am so excited to share that this online course is on sale for $9 for 2 weeks.
It's normally close to $20.

I bought this course last August and I was amazed at all the different ways that I can be more productive in my day by changing a few things at night. 

Each day there is a short video and an assignment.
This course will not only revamp your mornings, but your evenings and also your yearly goals.

Check out this website and get access to DAY 1 for FREE!
Make Over Your Mornings

There is a 100% money back guarantee for 30 days.

What you receive:
*14 videos
*daily projects
*printable worksheets

Before I took this course I felt frustrated and worn out from doing the same thing over and over that wasn't working.  Crystal makes some very specific suggestions for small changes to make a big impact in my day.  I really like her short videos and projects that gave me a simple task to accomplish and implement in my daily routine.

Make Over Your Mornings
Available for only $9 from December 26-January 8

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Homemaker's Depot 20% off SALE this week until 12/5

OK, friends!  The Homemaker's Depot is having a storewide sale for 20% off until December 5.  So you can not only get the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner for a deal, but you can find other good deals as well.  BUT I really encourage you if you have not yet purchased a planner, then take a look again at this one.  This planner is a GREAT deal.  I have seen one about 3x as much.  And that was the sale price!

I am currently filling out my new 2016 planner and I will feel ahead when 2016 starts!  When I first got this planner last year, it was like wearing a new shoe.  I tried it out and as I used it more, it became a part of my day.  What I really like about it are the many sections that I use on a regular basis. 

At the beginning of each week, I go through my Sunday Basket and then write down all my tasks for the week.  I fill in my activities and appointments and then I plan my menu and write down what to make on each day and what the prep work will be. Then I write out my shopping list in the back.  I write everything in my planner in pencil so I can erase and move things around.  It's easy to see a week at a glance and be sure to keep on target with the tasks I have for the week. 

So, if you are still thinking about this planner, look again and treat yourself to a great year!  I promise.

See this blog post for more information on the planner. 

Visit Homemaker's Depot today!  Sale ends December 5.

SAVE 20% off your order with this code:

*I am an affiliate for this company.  Any purchase you make costs nothing extra for you, but gives me a very small commission.   Thanks!*

Monday, November 16, 2015

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp Book Review


Last year I signed up for Kathi Lipp's 21 Day Get Organized for Christmas challenge and I was able to get organized for Christmas in a much better way than I ever had before.  I got my Christmas cards ready, I found recipes to make, I wrote gift lists and I collected addresses.  Now, they are all stored in my binder that I made on the first day.  It was simple and easy.  The projects were fun and practical.  Best of all, I had a Christmas that was finally enjoyable!

This year, Kathi packaged up her 21 Day Challenge along with host of other ideas into her new book:  Get Yourself Organized for Christmas.  This book has 21 projects, a few bonus and catch up days and a 5 day plan to put Christmas away.  She included tips from her faithful readers for gift ideas, food ideas, family fun, ideas to refresh yourself.  Each project also includes a way to make it a clutter free Christmas.  This is a great book to keep handy when planning for Christmas as it covers so many areas that might be forgotten.  It helps to set in motion a Christmas planning time that will be less stressful and more fun every year because most of it will already be done for you!

I really enjoyed reading this book.  I tend to get a little anxious about the holidays and what exactly needs to be done, but this little book gave me 21 projects that were short and purposeful.  Do you want to get organized this Christmas?  Pick up this little book and go for it.

You can also sign up for Kathi's 21 Days to an Organized Christmas email list: http://www.kathilipp.com/21-day-christmas-challenge-sign-up

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner for 2016- Get It Now!

If you are still sitting on the fence about buying this planner, I have a quick tip.  Get it now!  Yes!  Did you now you can start using it this December?  Yes, you can.  Get your new year started off right and get your Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner for 2016 right now and start using it. 

I just realized this and so I will be transferring all the stuff I've written for this December on the 2016 planner.  It can't get any easier than that.  And do you remember that I use this planner for everything, everyday?  And I love the new cover and colors.  I look forward to having another fantastic year with this planner.  I hope you do too!

Check to see if you have any friends who would like one too.  There are specials on "bulk" orders.
1 for $13.99
3 or more $12.99 each
5 or more $11.99 each
10 or more $10.99 each

click above to order

*I am an affiliate for this product.  Thanks for supporting me at no extra charge.*

Friday, November 6, 2015

When Calls the Heart : Follow Your Heart DVD Review

When Calls The Heart: Follow Your Heart
This is the last movie in the second season and definitely leaves you on the ledge at the end.  Elizabeth is now back in Coal Valley full time and trying to navigate life with Jack.  She can't quite figure out where they stand since their little confrontation in Hamilton, but she is determined to make amends.  Meanwhile, Abigail is still trying to avoid Bill Avery who continues to want to talk with her.  She is very angry that he lied to her.  She is also doing fun outings with the new pastor as well as cooking dinner for him.  Could there be a spark?  And Rosemary is jealous that Lee has started seeing Molly since she didn't exactly give him a reason to stay with her.  She tries very hard to win him back.  Elizabeth goes to Jack's office to write him a note and accidentally leaves the door open and Rip the dog escapes.  She and Jack run off to the mine to find him.  They end of spending a very intense night talking and discussing their relationship.  They both finally begin to understand each other.  But when they arrive back in Coal Valley a surprise awaits both Jack and Elizabeth. 
This is going to be a long wait for Season 3 to begin!
*I was given this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 7

OK, it's my last day!  I can't believe I did this for 7 days.  I tried something like this earlier this year, but I didn't like the food nearly as much as this detox adventure. 

I would like to share some pros and cons that I thought of this program.

*Dedicated health coaches- Danna and Robyn
*Comprehensive workbook
*Recipes (that were yummy!)
*Complimentary website with a wealth of resources
*Blog with cooking videos and podcasts
*Worksheets to keep myself accountable
*Very doable!
*I would do this again and it's recommended that I do!
*Indepth re-entry guidelines
*Ingredients are easy to find

*Takes time to read through the workbook and set up the week for success (I suppose that is just the way it is with any program).
*I really can't think of any more!

What did I learn about myself?
*I can live without sugar, wheat and dairy for a week!
*Cooking is still fun.  I just love to be in the kitchen so this was a delight to try some new foods.
*I can stick with a program that is well laid out with all the resources I need.
*It's harder just to start. 

What changed in my body?
*Honestly, I don't feel any more energy or and didn't have better sleep. (I'm a mom of 2 crazy kids and I stayed up late some nights).
*I lost some weight.  Happy dance!
*I feel better in my skin!
*I feel more confident about striving for a healthy lifestyle.

What I ate today: 1/2 banana mug cake, scrambled eggs with taco meat, tomatoes, and avocado, salmon patties, sliver of berry berry good cake, chicken veggie soup and creamy chicken spaghetti squash. 

So, is this something you want to try?  I dragged my feet for quite awhile before I tried this because I wanted to have the perfect timing and be able to carry it out successfully.  Also, planning meals and making things that are different just takes time.  But I'm very glad I did and you can be too!

Check out my video HERE: https://youtu.be/iXeKI3I0xu4

Come join the Ageless Woman Living community! 

Thanks for sharing this week with me!

Blessings, Shonda

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 6

As I said, I would share a little bit more about re-entry.  Danna and Robyn have written an indepth description of each food that you will introduce for 3 days after your detox ends.  They give the order, information about the food, symptoms and recommendations.  I highly recommend you listen to the podcast I mentioned earlier in the week- 9 foods Holding You Back from Health and Weightloss.

Re-entry is probably the most important aspect of this program.  I think that when I first did the program I just wanted to get the detox days done so I could go back to my "normal" eating. But to truly get the benefit of the detox and start to live a healthy and vibrant life there needs to be a more deliberate approach. 

I honestly didn't want to do this right before a big trip I'm taking, but it just worked out that way and so I'm still on the adventure.

Watch my video HERE: https://youtu.be/oxB8Z8nK4p4

What I ate today: 1/2 banana mug cake, sweet potato hash with scrambled eggs, pumpkin pancakes, kale potato soup, zucchini pancakes and taco lettuce wraps.  I also had a small piece of the chocolate coconut truffles. 

*I am NOT an affiliate for this program.  I just want to share my journey with you.*

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 5

Today was the day I was going to have as my last day before I start re-entry partly because my husband was gone and just came home (sometimes it's easier do things like this when he's away) and because the re-entry is supposed to be 27 days and I have less than that before we leave to Mexico.  BUT, I'm deciding to still keep with the program (even though my husband brought home a bunch of yummy fudge!) for 2 more days to get the full benefit and I will tailor the re-entry to my time frame.

Today I wanted to share a little about the daily devotions included in the Ageless Woman Detox website.  See video HERE: https://youtu.be/ZSdxQKjcUa4

What did I eat today: English muffin and blueberry smoothie, some zucchini pancakes, taco wraps, apples and chicken vegetable soup (pictured above) and a little slice of berry berry good cake.  I'm almost to the end of this journey.  Well, re-entry will be a lot like this only adding some of the food back in that I used to eat.  I'll share more about that tomorrow!

Check out Ageless Woman Living Detox Lite Adventure.

*I am NOT an affiliate for this program.  I just want to share my journey with you.*

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Homemaking Ministires Conference 2015

Last year I was incredibly blessed to purchase and watch the Homemaking from Scratch online conference hosted by Jami Balmet from Young Wife's Guide.  There were so many great speakers with both practical application and principles to guide a homemaker.

This year they are offering another online conference.  I have been able to watch a few sessions and I have gleaned so much to help me in my quest to be the homemaker God has called me to be.

The best thing about this conference that is actually happening right now is that when you purchase it, you get a lot of free downloads, but you also have access to this online conference FOREVER!  So, if you miss it, you can still view at your convenience.  That in itself is incredibly freeing! 

This is the last day of the online conferences, but as I said, you can have access to these videos forever.

Some of the speakers include:
Jami Balmet
Marci Ferrell- love this mentor mom
Jennifer Ross- creator of the Homemaking 101 and 201 video series
Hilary Bernstein
Trisha Gilkerson- Intoxicated on Life
and many more!

Be sure to register today for complete access with some great downloads to add to your homemaking library.

*I am an affiliate for this program.  Your purchase gives me a small income at no additional cost to you.  Thanks!*

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 4

I have really enjoyed this detox program.  In fact, I don't feel deprived at all.  There are so many choices that I want to eat everything today!  Just kidding!  Well, this program definitely is something I will repeat in the future.  I also have lost a few pounds as well.  But I am still curious if I will have any reactions to foods.  I have an inkling, but I will wait for re-entry.

So what is re-entry?  Robyn Thomson (one of the authors of the Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure program) has a 27 day re-entry food plan.  She goes into detail in the program guide.  She basically gives you 3 days to introduce each of the nine foods.  She explains common symptoms and gives some recommended products.  She also says why these food are considered allergy foods. 

I found this section to be full of great information and I'm looking forward to using it.

Check out my video HERE: https://youtu.be/EK_F9_Bn1gk

Today I had: Jolly Grain Free English muffin (pictured above), hard boiled egg, chocolate banana shake, creamy chicken spaghetti squash, berry berry good cake, apple slices and sweet potato hash.

And guess what?  I have also lost a few pounds since I started!

*I am NOT an affiliate for this program.  I just want to share my journey with you.*

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 3

You may wonder why I'm doing this detox adventure.  Is it to lose weight?  Is it to get more energy?  Is it to discover any food sensitivities?  Well, it's a little bit of all of those.  What I really appreciate about this program is the information for why certain foods are eliminated during the detox and how to introduce them back in.  I listened to this very informative podcast with Danna and Robyn: 9 Foods Holding You Back from Health and Weightloss.

As much as I want to see change on the outside of my body, I also want to discover what is going on inside my body.  Are certain foods causing reactions in me that I don't need to live with?  I have not felt that I have any food sensitivities but I might have some based on how this detox goes.  I'm curious!  Aren't you? 

When I first read the 9 foods that I needed to eliminate, I groaned.  I eat all of these and like them too!  What could I possibly have besides these?  Thankfully, Danna and Robyn have created this great program guide which answers all my questions and guides me in creating a good meal plan and also how to reintroduce these foods back into my diet.  I will share more on that later.

Watch my video HERE: https://youtu.be/vYqJTYEtW_o

What did I eat today?  Pumpkin pancakes, hard boiled egg, orange smoothie, carrot/apple salad, snickerdoodle muffins, turkey taco wraps and a taste of chocolate truffles (yes, they are detox friendly if you have a small bit!).

Special Facebook offer: Click on the image on Facebook and you will get 5 Detox tips and 3 Detox Lite Recipes. 

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure is only $25

*I am NOT an affiliate for this program.  I just want to share my journey. *

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 2

Hi everyone, I'm on Day 2 of my Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure.  It was a tougher day to get in all the things I needed as we had our homeschool co-op.  In fact, I left my snacks at the house and had to come back, but it's only 5 minutes away so that was good. 
So the week before I started this program I decided to cut out sugar and wheat.  It's not something I normally do, but in order to get prepared and get the full benefit of this program, I felt it was good to do this as these are two of the foods that I eliminate during the detox. 
One thing that I am really enjoying is making new recipes.  I've been drooling over this book since August and wanting to make some of these yummy foods.  Today I had a blueberry smoothie, a few zucchini pancakes, a snickerdoodle muffin, apples, creamy chicken spaghetti squash, salmon patties and kale potato soup (pictured above).  I also am drinking LOTS of water. 
As I mention in the video I did make a meal plan and I bought all the food, but I'm actually rewriting my plan as my tastebuds want different things and my schedule dictates that I make quicker things at better times. 

Some of these recipes can be found on Danna's blog and here are some that I have tried that I like:

Blueberry Smoothie
*I am NOT an affiliate for this program.  I just like to share my journey.*

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure Day 1

As you know I am doing a detox program called Ageless Woman Detox Lite Adventure to jumpstart my metabolism for weightloss.  I think I have been really confused how weightloss can happen for my body.  I thought if I just start exercising and eating salads everyday I would lose weight.  But I don't want to eat salads all the time.  I tried something like that and it didn't stick.

So, I started my program today and it was actually very fun!  I am a foodie and there are definitely some yummy recipes in this program.  For me, if you just say, be sure to eat protein, some fruits and vegetables, I would knock that program flat in the face.  I need specifics and recipes!  Thankfully, Danna and Robyn (the authors), have provided recipes and so much more.

Before I started I did some preparation work like making broth and cooking up some muffins and pancakes.  Yes, you can eat real food (grain free and sugar free!).  There are actually so many good choices, that I'm trying to fit them all in my menu plan for the week. 

Today for breakfast I had eggs with avocado and a 1/2 of banana mug cake.  For lunch I had 2 salmon patties, a zucchini pancake, an apple and 1/2 banana mug cake.  For dinner I had the most delicious meal ever- creamy chicken spaghetti squash.  And for snacks I had a berry smoothie and a chocolate macaroon.  So I had lots of veggies, fruits and few sweet treats.  Along with that I drank a LOT of water and took my detox drink (recipe in the program guide) and had my nighttime drinks to promote digestion. 

I was very conscious of what I ate and it was all very good and satisfying.  I didn't seem to have any cravings today.

Here's a short video of my thoughts about day 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps7RY7aX21A

Blessings, Shonda

*I am NOT an affiliate for this product.  I just wanted to share my journey with you.*

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ageless Woman Living- Detox Lite Program Introduction

About 8 months ago I found this podcast by Danna Demetre called The Makeover Mentor.  I started listening.  I realized that this beautiful woman had a lot of great ideas for women who were 40+.  I turned 41 in September and I definitely feel like my body has changed not only from having kids, but also by not bouncing back the way it used to.  I have been working out and eating mostly real food, but I honestly haven't found the key to giving my metabolism a jumpstart to actually lose the weight that I really want to not see anymore.
After I had my son in 2008, I lost all my baby weight within 18 months, and then I got pregnant again.  I did not take care of myself well with my second pregnancy.  I craved sweet foods and I ate a lot of them!  I gained 40 lbs.  I was totally miserable.  I have been able to lose about 30 lbs, but I have about 10 stubborn pounds that I can't lose.  Like I said, I have been working out (a lot more than I used to), but I've read it's 80% diet and 20% exercise.  I also have no food allergies and so it's been hard to limit myself. 
About 6 months ago, Danna and her friend Robyn (who created the Ageless Woman Living resource), started a program to detox our bodies to get us ready for weightloss.  I was intrigued by this idea.  I never thought about detoxing before.  I did try to do it for 3 days and I quit.  It seemed a little too hard for me.  They were still in the beginning stages of the program and wanted initial feedback. 
This summer I've been continuing to listen to their podcasts and cooking shows (oh, yum, they make delicious food!) and when I saw they had made a book and created a website, I decided to take the plunge and enroll in the program.  The great thing about it is, you can do it anytime you want.  All the resources are right there for you.  It's called Ageless Woman Detox Lite (Metabolism Jumpstart).
The best thing about it, is that you get everything for $25 and access for life.  (read more about the program in the link above)
I really like Danna and Robyn even though I haven't talked to them personally, they interact on the Facebook page and their cooking shows and podcasts have such excellent information.  I honestly am so glad I discovered these gals right when I needed this kind of direction in my life. 
I always thought I would float through life like I always did, but I'm finding out a lot about my body and the food and exercise that I need to do to maintain and have a healthy and vibrant lifestyle.  It's not easy and it takes work and planning and I'm trying very hard to fit this in to my very busy life of a homeschool mom.  But I'm up for the challenge. 
Now I am ready.  I have the workbook, the website and I've been pouring over the recipes and plans.  I made a loose menu plan and I made a whole bunch of food.  I'm excited to start (and a little anxious too).
I will be sharing my journey in the coming days so stay tuned. 
Check out my Pinterest board with most of their cooking shows and recipes:
Blessings, Shonda
*I am NOT an affiliate for this program.  I am just sharing my journey with you.*

Friday, October 16, 2015

2016 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner- SALE!

2016 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner
I am so excited to have discovered this daily planner last year.
I ordered the 2015 planner and I keep this planner with me and write everything in it!
This has definitely been my "friend" this year.
Please see my video review HERE.
Here is what I like about this planner:
*It's a convenient size- I can fit it in my purse, but it's big enough that I can write in it (no shorthand).
*The weekly task list is vital to my organization.
*I can record my menu plan.
*I can plan birthday parties, trips, summer ideas and book lists.
*I can record gifts to buy, cleaning ideas, and use the tear out shopping lists.
*I can make a master shopping list in the back.
*I can keep loose notes in the back pockets.
*I can see a month at a glance.
*I can record good quotes from podcasts.
*If I lose this planner, I will lose my brain (I'm not kidding!)
I have REALLY enjoyed this planner.  I am so glad to have used it this year.
I have felt more organized, I can see what I've done and the different areas are great for taking lots of notes and lists.
RIGHT NOW there is a SALE:
Get $2 off your first order with code HF200 until October 31
Click Homemaker's Depot to get your copy of the 2016 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner

*I am affiliate of this company.  Any purchase you make is greatly appreciated with no extra cost to you.*

From the website:
The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner was designed by Sue Hooley. The planner was developed after several years of motherhood and homemaking. Sue understood that a homemaker’s day can rarely be scheduled and structured the same as the one before, nor can every task fit neatly into the time-slot allotted by other planners. Since her first publication in 2010, thousands of homemakers have benefited from the daily planner.

The Planner is spiral bound for easy use and the cover is laminated for durability. Two pockets included. It has seven sectional tabs as follows:

  • An overview of the year by month.
  • Two-page spreads for entries each month.
  • Two-page spreads for entries each week. This allows you to sketch out an entire week, day by day.
  • A section to enter projected tasks.
  • A section to enter specific projects.
  • A section to keep a listing of personal contact information.
  • A perforated shopping list section allows you to take the list with you.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky Book Review

Carrie Turansky has released her final book in the Edwardian Brides series and it's one you do not want to miss.  It's 1915 and the world is at war, but families seek to find hope and love in the midst of such desperation and destruction.  The Ramsey family has now added many new members.  Kate Ramsey married Dr. Jon Foster and they have taken in several children from the streets of London.  Kate's sister Penny is living with the family and enjoys being a part of caring for the children.  But Penny has a longing herself to one day be married and raise her own family.  Penny meets Alex Goodwin, a pilot and friend of Dr. Jon.  Alex gets assigned to a base in St. Pol, France.  But he and Penny agree to exchange friendly letters.  Meanwhile, the bombing in London is so bad that Kate and Jon move the family out to Highland Hall to be safe.  Lady Julia and Sir William are glad to have their presence, but it does create some conflict between Andrew, the son of Sir William and some of the Foster children. 

Alex enjoys his letter conversations with Penny, but cannot divulge his secret missions.  He gets assigned a dangerous task and ends up in critical condition.  Penny is desperate to find out how to contact him, but when he finds out he has lost some vital functions and that he is scarred for life he refuses to accept Penny into his heart.  Penny is heartbroken, but tries to put on brave face.
Despite the cold shoulder, Penny asks Alex to come live at Highland during his recovery and to help get order among the boys.  Alex steps into the position and eventually starts to open up his mind to a future with Penny despite his limitations.  Then a scary event occurs and he must make a brave decision to fight for the woman he loves.
This book was a page turner especially after Alex's injuries.  I was riveted to the end!  Carrie weaves a story of sweet love, hope, tragedy, triumph and true character that lasts beyond the external and to the eternal.  There are also many other stories that keep this novel churning and another romance that is not to be missed!  This was a delightful end to a wonderful series. 
Be sure to check out my other reviews for the first two books and enjoy reading!
Visit Carrie Turansky's website for more information and chance to read the first chapter of A Refuge at Highland Hall.
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book from the author.  All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, October 11, 2015

When Calls the Heart : Heart and Home DVD Review

When Calls The Heart: Heart And Home
In the next episode of When Calls the Heart: Heart and Home things are heating up not only between Elizabeth and Jack (and not in a romantic way), but also between parents and children (Elizabeth's sister Julie is in a car accident with Jack's brother, Tom).  Elizabeth and Jack begin taking sides to protect their siblings, but become at odds with each other. But they come together to rescue their siblings when Tom and Julie try to run away together.   Meanwhile, back in Hope Valley, Rosemary and Lee begin hatching plans to get the railroad to come directly to Hope Valley.  But Mayor Gown continues to try to foil those plans.   Abigail says goodbye to Bill Avery, but the women of the town continue to gossip about her. And the new pastor catches some fish and offers them to Abigail for her café in exchange for dinner with her!  And Charles continue to pursue Elizabeth despite her constant assurance of just a friendship. 
This had a lot of different stories going on, but it was very exciting to see some tension and some new relationships possibly forming.  This episode had some good twists and turns that made for a good movie.  I really liked the way Jack does business with every one around him.  Even though he is not "cut from the cloth" of the elite, he seems to have a very firm confidence in himself and makes pure decisions that keep him on solid ground.  I feel very hopeful for Abigail, but also a little anxious.  She is finally getting beyond Bill, but it seems that the Mayor is dead set on bringing her down and trying to get her to sell her café.  Well, there was so much going on during this show, that I just can't begin to cover all the great moments.  This was an episode not to be missed!
*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Friday, October 9, 2015

Taming the To Do List by Glynnis Whitwer Book Review

In Glynnis Whitwer's new book Taming the To Do List (How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day), she addresses the problem of procrastination and how to take back your schedule and be proactive rather than reactive.  The constant need to respond to the urgent notifications we receive instead of focusing on our set priorities is a struggle most people are facing today.  But what do we do about this?  Glynnis offers several practical suggestions.  The first half of the book shares the reasons why we procrastinate and the last half shares how to combat it.  At the end of the first chapter the author invites the reader to pick two areas where they want success- a regular routine and a personal goal.  After each chapter there are questions to answer in regard to those two areas.  The goal of this book was to take all those "to do list" tasks and help identify the right strategies to accomplish them in the best way possible.

I chose to review this book because I have an overwhelming to do list not only daily, but also in large quantities.  I feel like my projects are always on my list and never get done.  For me this book was hard to read, but also very good.  I felt convicted to make different choices in how I prioritize my to do list.  It's going to take some discipline and my thinking needs to change.  I really liked the practical application after every chapter, but I didn't accomplish anything in my two areas, but I certainly thought a lot about them.  I would suggest reading this book in slow chunks and really taking time to think and implement the strategies.  There are a lot of good nuggets of wisdom and this is a great book to pick up and find what chapter is most applicable to your situation at the time.

I think the biggest problem I have is getting distracted and not focusing on exactly what I set out to do. 

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Heart of the Family DVD Review

Just when you think that nothing could separate people who care for each other, think again.  Elizabeth returns to Hope Valley and takes care of a homestead while the father is away from his two children.  She doesn't seem to be able to handle all that the life offers, but at least Jack steps in to help out.  Also, now that Clara is now in Hope Valley, Abigail employs her at the café.  Clara is asked to an ice cream social, but feels so shy and unsure that she refuses the invitation.  Then Charles Kensington comes to Hope Valley on business, but also to spend time with Elizabeth and Bill Avery gets involved with a counterfeit ring and becomes very mysterious in how he wants to handle it.  All of this and more happens in the latest release of When Calls the Heart.
I must say that I like all the different story lines and angles.  It's interesting to watch how the new characters connect with the old.  I still have a sweet spot for Jack and Elizabeth, but I think they are still trying to figure out what will work for them.  I'm interested in the all of the intrigue with Bill Avery and how his ex wife is involved.  But I guess I will have to wait for the next episode.  Until then, keep watching When Calls the Heart!
*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Find a Way DVD Review

A community is rocked when a superstar high school football player never wakes up one morning. His friends are wondering why this happened to such a promising young man.  The football coach whose son happened to be a good friend of the young man that died felt that his father favored the one who died more than his own son.  It was tragic to hear their conversations and even more when the son needed to decide which parent he should live with.  A young lady who knew the boy who passed tired to ignite the need in her family to see others for who they truly are and to be aware of the needs of others instead of focusing on themselves.  These two young people experienced pain and separation in the midst of a crisis in the community, but they eventually did find hope and peace.

This movie was full of regrets and hurts, but eventually as hearts were healed, relationships started to mend and true healing began.  This movie made me think about how I live my life and what I need to do daily to keep God first and give my family the best of me.  It was interesting to see how one person could affect a whole community.  Each person had to find a way to make sense of the situation and deal with the upheaval in their family.  This movie had a good message of hope in the midst of sorrow.
*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Monday, August 10, 2015

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin Book Review

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin is her newest book set right before the beginning of WWII.  History, romance and mystery make this a page turning novel.  Mary Stirling is a secretary at the Boston Navy Yard and encounters a high school friend, Jim Avery,  who is now an officer and is eager to start his career in the Navy.  Jim and Mary catch up from old times and quickly discover a sabotage plot among the workers in the shipyard.  Mary works undercover with the FBI to track down suspects.  As she and Jim spend more time together they start to fall for each other, but don't let on that they feel this way.  Jim is shipped out for a month and when he returns he is in for a surprise.  The plot thickens as the saboteur gets more daring and Mary releases her fear of being too prideful to save the lives of co-workers and risk her safety.

I really enjoy Sarah's history novels and this one was a treat with a mystery twist.  I really like how all parts of this story work together to create a unique plot that continued to keep me guessing and longing for a good outcome.  Sarah throws in plenty of surprises and lots of history to help the reader feel the mounting tension leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941.  I really enjoyed the sweet romance between Jim and Mary despite some of the mistakes they made and the misunderstandings.  Another prize winning story from the queen of WWII fiction and more coming in the series! 

Check out Sarah's blog post on Through Waters Deep and video of the making of the cover. 

Sarah Sundin Facebook Page
Sarah Sundin Pinterest Board for Through Waters Deep
Sarah Sundin Blog

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Revell for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Trials of the Heart (Movie 1) and Heart and Soul (Movie 2) DVD Review

As the second season of When Calls the Heart begins, Jack and Elizabeth travel back to Hamilton to take Elizabeth home to help care for her mother.  They do not anticipate Charles, a family friend,  to start to rekindle a "romance" with Elizabeth.  Jack returns to Coal Valley, a trial begins to clear Noah Stanton's name in the mine tragedy and Abigail suspects Bill Avery of not being completely honest about his past.  Rosemary pokes her nose in everyone's business and becomes interested in the new man who comes to start a logging business in place of the mining business.  There are love triangles, mystery and uncertain moments for all characters as this new season starts. 
I am so glad to continue this journey with Jack and Elizabeth, but in these two DVD's they were not really together at all.  I did see lots of other people adding to the mix of characters that can add some excitement and maybe some frustration for the leading couple.  I am very interested to find out what happens with Abigail and Bill Avery.  Abigail does a fine job of giving a cold shoulder to a very dishonest man who continues to pursue her.  I would totally do what she does!  I think Elizabeth is very naïve in her relationships with men.  She seems to really like Jack, but spends a lot of time with Charles in intimate conversations and she doesn't seems to think that he has much interest in her beyond being a friend.  Oh, I know how I want things to end, but I guess I will have to wait.  

*I was given a complimentary copy of these DVD's for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Uncommon DVD Review

Synopsis:  When the students of Rosewood High lose their drama department due to budgets cuts, they decide to create their own! Equipped with unique talents, they bond together to prepare the perfect production with a modern take on the Bible’s parables. Fighting overwhelming challenges, the teens defend their privilege to worship, meet and perform.  Armed with expert legal counsel and unexpected help from Christian music’s finest, these teens realize what it means to be…UNCOMMON!

My review:
Aaron's brother dies and his parent's marriage is on the rocks. He and his mother move to a new town and he starts in a new high school.  Aaron is unsure of his faith, but as he gets involved with his cousin's drama group and is befriended by the school janitor (played by Erik Estrada), he comes to realize that God wants him to be bold and different and stand up for his beliefs and fight for what's right.  When the students of Rosewood High are declined the opportunity to have the drama club, they enlist the help of Mark Garcia, the school janitor, as their sponsor.  He not only he supports the students, but he gives them a chance to learn to serve others as well.  The drama group has a hard time coming up with their program until Aaron shares some ideas he gleaned from his brother's journals.  They start to rehearse their Uncommon play, but they are stopped by the principal.  They go to court and fight for their religious freedom and win with plenty of restrictions, but they pull it off.

I found this movie to be very inspiring for young high school students.  In this day of many cultural versus biblical clashes, kids need to keep focused on the one true God and sometimes defy the odds and be bold to stand for what's right and true.  This movie had a lot of good twists and turns.  I like how most of  the teenagers respected the adults and the adults that cared really helped the kids to achieve their goals.  I liked how the kids persevered under trial and even when they gave up for a time, they still really wanted to continue their dream.  There was good music, humor, drama, resistance and a cast of remarkable people who proved to give this movie a good foundation for Christian young men and women. 

Visit their website for more information: http://www.uncommonfilm.com/.
*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.*

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane Book Review

31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane is her latest book addressing the happiness of moms.  She explores the way moms should be feeling, thinking and doing so that their happiness is not dependent on the ups and downs of motherhood, but rather on a solid foundation of the these 5 keys: Healthy, Action-Oriented, Prayerful, Perseverant and Yes-Filled.  It's not easy being a mom and Arlene knows that full well with her house of three active kids.  This book takes you on a 31 day journey and so each day there is a Bible verse, a relatable story from Arlene's family, some quotes from other experienced moms, some words for step moms and single moms, an energy boost and a prayer for the day.  Each day has a practical application to help the reader make it personal and profitable.  She also includes a list of Bible Verses for the Happy Mom and a short discussion guide.

I was thrilled to be able to review another book from Arlene Pellicane.  Each one focuses on a different aspect of who we are as women and this one was specifically for moms.  I like how I can really relate to Arlene's stories and actually apply her suggestions to my every day life.  Toward the end of the book I really felt challenged to step out of my shell and comfort zone and pursue some things that would benefit not only me, but also my children.  After 31 days of reading this book, you will begin to see that you can be a happy mom.  It's an intentional choice and one that you will not regret.

See this video featuring Arlene and her children!

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