Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook

Healthy-Family-Blog-Banner

About the book:

Feed your family the foods they love—with a healthy twist.

Everyone knows slow cookers are a busy mom’s best friend, but it can be a struggle to find healthy Crock Pot recipes your kids will actually eat. Not anymore.

These delicious family-sized meals are perfect for parents and kids alike.

  • Chicken and Artichoke Fettucini
  • Teriyaki Pulled Pork
  • Cajun Rice with Shrimp
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Quesadillas

You’ll even find some tasty ideas for sugar-free desserts, like the Blueberry Pudding Cake. And every single recipe can be made in the morning and ready to eat by dinnertime. With a little prep and planning, you’ll soon be enjoying nutritious, healthy, home-cooked meals every night of the week!

Review:

Most of the time, making a healthy meal seems like more of a chore then of a pleasure.  So when I was given the chance to review a book for a slow cooker cookbook, I leapt at the chance. 

I am certainly glad that I have.  The recipes are so easy to follow.  Most of them require very few steps, which make them quick to prepare and then just leave them throughout the day.  Very little thinking about what is going on.  You mainly just throw the ingredients into the crockpot and you are set for the day.

I think the worst part is smelling the delicious food cooking all day!  Last night I had made the Pepper and Lime Pork Tacos.  They were so simple to make and yummy!  We ended up not having any leftovers though.  They were that good!

I can't wait for the weekend, we are going to our local farmer's market to get some nice fresh veggies to make the Steak Fajita Salad.  It looks great and will be a nice light summer meal.  There are some great soups that I can't wait to try when it gets colder out again.

Click on the banner above to see what some of the others on the tour thought about the recipes and to see which ones they tried out.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Magic Path of Intuition

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Description

Florence Scovel Shinn was a gifted teacher who shaped the fields of personal transformation and spiritual growth. Her practical, straightforward style empowered countless people to trust their inner knowing and overcome their challenges. With an Introduction by self-help luminary Louise Hay, who credits Florence as one of her early inspirations, this simple yet poignant book can help you positively transform your life. Powerful affirmations will show you how to cultivate your intuition and release any resistance, fear, and doubt. Florence said, “You must live fully in the now to make your dreams come true.” Are you ready to follow your own magic path, your divine wisdom, and realize your dreams? Goals or wishes that seem far off or unattainable are just waiting for you to believe in your potential and innate ability to manifest your desires.

Review

This book is from a "found" manuscript that was written decades ago.  The author passed away in 1940.  The author was truly ahead of her time!

Many of the concepts that she wrote about back in the 20s & 30s are just as relevant today as ever.  In fact, some of the concepts are being presented by other authors as new or fresh.  However, Florence first wrote about them long before these authors were even born.

This book is truly magnificent.  It is simply written and easy to apply to your life.  Plus, Louise Hays has found the most beautiful illustrations to accompany the lessons.  If you plan on getting this book, I would suggest spending the extra few dollars and getting a hard copy and not an ebook.  You will want to be able to enjoy the artful displays that accompany it.

In one lesson, Florence talks of a mother who manifests an illness to avoid eating at her daughters house because she swore she would never eat there again.  I have seen similar things happen.  One of my sister's is constantly creating negative things in her life to avoid things she doesn't want to deal with.  Instead of trying to attract what she does want.  So this was a great reminder for me.

I had read this book awhile ago, unfortunately, I just realized that a bunch of posts that I had written never got uploaded. So I am just getting around to that now. So if you start noticing a ton of posts that are for books that have been published for awhile, this is the reason.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

Monday, January 5, 2015

No One's Angel

Description

Tess used to spend more hours than she’d care to admit playing her favorite computer game, using the nickname Angel. She could pretend her life was different, and she could pretend Arion was just a friend. But a girl needs more to keep her warm at night than pixels and she traded her virtual heaven for a real life hell. Now she’s on the run from a past she won’t talk about, and the only place she has to go is the doorstep of the friend she’s never actually met.

When Angel disappeared from their nightly games, it nearly destroyed Arion. He threw himself into work and women, but he can’t help knowing the one night stands will never compare to the angel who haunts his dreams. At first, when she shows up soaking wet and scared-shitless on his doorstep, he thinks his prayers have been answered.

But the more Arion tries to keep Angel close, the more her fear drives her away. If they are ever going to have a chance for a future, they’ll first have to deal with the past that hasn’t forgotten her any more than she’s forgotten it, and Arion will have to learn how to let her go.

Review

Wow!  Awesome book that really sucked me in! 

This book has it all!  Video games, love, intrigue... 

Angel and Arion met online in a video game.  I have never fallen for anyone in a game, but I have developed really great friendships with some awesome people in them.  Some of them I still keep in contact with even though the game servers are long since shut down.  So I can definitely attest to the fact that it is easy to form friendships and possibly more in a video game.  Plus I had guild mates that met in a game, fell in love and married.  We couldn't believe that between the wedding and reception, they logged in just to say hi to everyone in the guild.

Anyway, developing trust online is something that is extremely plausible.  So I was able to get past that notion in order to enjoy the book.  The main characters were well crafted.  I was definitely rooting for them to get together and overcome the odds. 

There were times when I wanted to just slap Angel because she was pushing Arion away, but it is understandable because of everything she had been through.  So even though he was the only one she could trust, it is harder to trust someone with your heart and your emotions. 

I will definitely be keeping my eye on this author.  I hope to read more from her in the future.

I had read this book awhile ago, unfortunately, I just realized that a bunch of posts that I had written never got uploaded. So I am just getting around to that now. So if you start noticing a ton of posts that are for books that have been published for awhile, this is the reason.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Counterfeit Countess

Description

John comes back to an inheritance he doesn’t want and a wife he didn’t know he had!


After Waterloo, John Dalkington-Smythe travelled overseas to Canada to find some peace and make his fortune. A frantic visit from his cousins, the Earl of Graywood and his brother brings him back home, but a tragic incident aboard ship leaves John the new heir.


In London, John meets the woman calling herself his widow. Except he isn’t dead and he’s not married. When he discovers the impostor is the woman he’s desired for years, he decides to persuade her to keep the position of Countess of Graywood.
Faith spent years trying to ignore the presence of Lieutenant-Colonel Dalkington-Smythe, her husband’s military commander. Finding herself in dire straits after Waterloo, she poses as his widow. She only ever meant it as temporary. To find that John is alive comes as a severe shock, but her feelings for him are as strong as ever. The passion John and Faith discover together is worth fighting for.


Someone is threatening to expose Faith’s deception and destroy John’s fortune and position in society. If they don’t discover the identity of their unknown enemy and thwart the schemes, John and Faith could lose everything—title, fortune and even their lives.

 

Review

Historical Romances are typically my first choice to read unless they deal with a time or historical person that really interests me.  However, something about this book drew me to request it from Netgalley.  So I decided to take a chance and read it.

I was pleasantly surprised.  I wasn't sucked in to the point of not wanting to put it down, but I definitely wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. 

The characters were delightfully written.  There were a few points in the book where I felt things should have been a little more bumpy for the main characters.  In a way, there wasn't enough tension between the two of them.  All-in-all it was a nice little read. 

I had read this book awhile ago, unfortunately, I just realized that a bunch of posts that I had written never got uploaded.  So I am just getting around to that now.  So if you start noticing a ton of posts that are for books that have been published for awhile, this is the reason.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Feyland: The Dark Realm

Description

What if a high-tech computer game was a gateway to the dangerous Realm of Faerie...

WHEN A GAME

Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn't suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch -- or that she'll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.
TURNS REAL
Tam Linn is the perfect hero -- in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he's the only one who can help her.
WINNING IS EVERYTHING
Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen... before it's too late.

Review

As a long time gamer, I know all too well how it can often times feel so real when you are playing a game.  Often times, I will even have dreams where I am interacting with some of the NPCs from the various games I play. 

So when I saw that this series was about a girl who ends up inside a computer game that her father created.  Of course, my mind travelled to Tron the original being sucked into a computer game story.  However, this is very different. 

This was more fairy tale fantasy then sci-fi like Tron.  That being said, the author really handled the plot and characters wonderfully.  I loved this book and look forward to reading more in the series.

I had read this book awhile ago, unfortunately, I just realized that a bunch of posts that I had written never got uploaded.  So I am just getting around to that now.  So if you start noticing a ton of posts that are for books that have been published for awhile, this is the reason.

Any book bought through the Amazon link below will have a portion of the sale go towards the Unitarian Fellowship of South Florida.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Genealogy Hack: How to find out wife's last name

I know that this tip works for all of the UK.  I have not tried it with any US people since I don't have very many in my list. 

We have all had those instances where we see on the census records the family, but we don't know the wife's maiden name.  And without it, we can hit some serious stumbling blocks as to tracing those lines back further.   Well, I have discovered a way to find this information out quickly and for free!  Yes, you read that right.  FOR FREE!

I will use an example of one that I had just done.  This way you can see how it works.  Then run (don't walk) to your family tree and try it for yourself...

I had located Harry Balderson on the 1901 England census with wife Jessie and daughter Annie.  Now I had no clue what Jessie's maiden name was.  So I needed to look it up.  I opened up my browser to http://www.findmypast.co.uk.  You will need an account to search, but you don't have to subscribe to it for what I am going to show you.

On the top bar, hover your mouse over "Search records" until the drop down menu opens.  Then select "Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records". 

Untitled

Now click on the down arrow nest to "All Collections" and choose "Marriage and Divorces".  Then in the "Who" section in the "First Name" field, type the wife's first name  In my case it would be Jessie.  (Trust me on this one.  Think of it as reverse lookup).  Then down in the "Spouse Field" in the "First Name" type in the husband's first name.  In my case it would be Harry.  Then again in the "Spouse Field" type the husband's last name in the "Last Name" spot.  In my case it was Balderson.  I left the "Where" section at the default of Britain and didn't fill in anything else.

image

Finally click on "Search Marriages & Divorces in Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records".  Their search will now show all Jessie's that are listed in the same marriage certificates as any Harry Balderson.  Now if they are both common names, then you may have to scroll through a few pages of listings or you could narrow down the search by typing in the year of birth as it appeared in the census.  If you do that then I would suggest changing the "Give or take" section to -/+ 5 years.

Here is what the final page for the search for Jessie who was married to Harry Balderson looks like.

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And since I know that this is where they were living, I now know the maiden name of Harry Balderson's wife is Jessie Pickering.

I have done this multiple times and have been able to verify this is correct.  I have even tried it on one's where I do have a confirmed last name just to verify that this method worked properly. 

Have fun & Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Embellished to Death

 

Description

“A delightful mystery no person who loves crafts should miss. A little town, a little romance, a little intrigue and a little murder. Join heroine Faith and find out exactly who is doing the embellishing—the kind that doesn't involve scrapbooking.” – Leann Sweeney, Author of the New York Times Bestselling Cats in Trouble Mysteries

When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture.

Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.

Books in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Cozy Mystery Series:

CROPPED TO DEATH (#1)
DESIGNED TO DEATH (#2)
EMBELLISHED TO DEATH (#3)

Review

I have to start by saying that I have not read any of the other books in the series.  It certainly would have been nice to have read them since they made mention of characters that were sort of not in this book except in passing.  So it would have been nice to "know" who they were talking about.  However, it definitely wasn't necessary to read the prior books in order to enjoy this one. 

This was a thoroughly thought out and well written book.  There were so many red herrings, that I kept flip flopping back and forth on who I thought committed the murder.  I love it when a book keeps you guessing.  I don't like knowing right up front who did it because that takes away from the fun of reading a mystery. 

I know that I definitely want to go back and read the first two books in the series.  And I definitely want to read any more that come out.  I want to find out what happens with the relationship between Faith and her boyfriend Steve. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mr. Miracle

Description

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber celebrates the most wonderful time of the year in this heartwarming Christmas novel of romance, hope, and the comforts of home—coming soon as a Hallmark Channel original movie!

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.

Review

So I actually received this book back in June.  Of course, since it was a Debbie Macomber book, I could not wait until closer to the review date to read it.  So I started in on it right away!  OMG!  This book was so wonderful.  I wrote my review right away so I wouldn't forget anything.  However, I did hold back on posting it until it was closer to the release date. 

First off, Debbie introduces us to a new angel.  Well, technically, he isn't a new angel since he has been an angel for a long time, but he is new to us readers and this is his first assignment on earth.  Being new on earth has its ups and downs for Harry Mills.  He isn't sure what he is supposed to be doing with his charges.  And he certainly doesn't know how to handle human emotions.  They are completely confusing to him.

Not only do we get to meet the angel, but there is a whole cast of characters that we get to find out about.  The person that Harry was sent to work with is Addie.  However, there were several other characters that were introduced that could really use some help.  I would love to read a story about anyone of them, but none  more so then Dr. Conceito.  He was a real piece of work, but you just know that there is a major heart break of a story behind his nastiness. 

There was mention that this book has been contracted to be a Hallmark movie.  I can't wait.  They always do such nice jobs on their movies and TV shows.  I am completely addicted to the Cedar Cove series.

I just hope that we see more of Harry Mills and his misfit class of students.  

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tots

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Upside Down, Countdown & Take Down

 

Review

I have been sitting here for a few days attempting to figure out how to write this review.  Fern Michaels is one of my beloved authors.  I can't get enough of her books.  However, I really feel that these fell short. 

The plot was great in Upside Down, but it really ended abruptly.  And that is mainly because this is the first in a series about the guys behind the sisterhood.  This book is only a partial story.  This and the next two books (which will be published shortly after this one) are all part of the same story.  In fact, I didn't even feel like this was done because the story was extremely involved and needed to be broken down into 3 separate novel length books.  Instead, these books felt more like novellas to me. 

I am really not quite sure who decided upon breaking them up.  I really wished that they hadn't.  So I would suggest getting this book, but waiting until you can get all three at once.  Otherwise, you will just be frustrated if you can't read them back-to-back. 

In fact, I am really having a hard time trying to come up with writing three separate reviews on what should have been one book. 

Now that I got that part of the review over with.  I am going to treat the three books like all one book. 

OMG!  When read together as one story, it is freaking awesome!  So yes, if you are in love with the sisterhood series & love the guys, then you must read these books.  The guys aren't nearly as brutal as the women in the sisterhood.  Then again, they did usually get a little squeamish when the women would dole out their brand of justice.  But that doesn't deter them from attempting to dole out some of their own.  Heck, even hard core Harry would cringe at some of the things that they had done.

I hope that Fern Michaels writes more about the guys.  I would like to see a full novel and not have the story broken up into 3 books.  I guess technically the third one can be considered a separate story in a way since it was against a different corporation.  However, this third plot was discussed in the first two books.  And was really brief.  Like I said earlier, these three books could have all been in one novel. 

Don't bypass these stories because of their length or that the story is chopped up.  You will definitely want to read them since they are still part of the sisterhood mythos. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.