Friday, September 29, 2017

Simple Weekend Beauty

Collect some nature goodies to create some beauty inside your home! I cut beauty berries from our backyard and cut goldenrod from the parking lot at the orthodontist!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Afternoon Adventuring

Rachel, Samuel and I had such fun last Saturday afternoon just doing a little local adventuring!

It all started with free museum passes from Smithsonian Free Museum Day. Check this out because it is an annual event that allows entry to dozens of museums nationwide. You can find a list of participating museums on their website by state or zip code. It seems like they are different from year to year as well so check back even if you have looked before!

Anyway, there was one option in our small town and we hadn't been before so it was a perfect opportunity to try it out! The house we toured was built in 1804 and had history in the Civil War, growing of cotton and the original family came to the United States seeking religious freedom. So interesting!

From there, we headed to our local visitors center (still boarded up for Hurricane Irma) which we have never been to. We discovered that a local area has been picked up as a new National Park and were able to read about it and complete an activity for Junior Ranger Badges!

It was time for a little treat after that of frozen yogurt and then we swung through the library book sale for a few minutes. We were able to walk to all of these things just parking in one spot and it was so fun to just wander and adventure together!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Slow Day

My children have been wanting to play Chopped again for quite some time so as part of our Family Fun Day - I let them go for it! Moms, take note: if you have limited ingredients and limited energy and your children are begging to cook - LET THEM! Ha! It was great and I was so impressed with their creativity.

I took photos of each dish as some day I bet they will laugh hysterically about all of this!

Appetizer Round: {Emily, Rachel, Samuel - photos in order from top to bottom} They were required to use tortillas, parmesan cheese and lettuce.

Entree Round - required ingredients were turkey lunch meant, french bread and dijon mustard. Again in same order as above:

Dessert Round - required ingredients were a chocolate popsicle, whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. Samuel named his dish "Chocolate Volcano" and I think that is accurate for all three!

The kitchen aftermath:

And then Quiet Time:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cherished Mercy: Review and Giveaway

It's been a while since we talked books - so let's do so today! It seems that during the school year, Christian historical fiction is my favorite and just the relaxing thing I need at the end of a busy day. I typically read a lot more non-fiction in the summer when my brain has more margin and capacity!

I've long admitted that the main way I choose books at the library is by looking at the spine and seeing who the publisher is. It is getting a little bit harder to do that with publishers changing their style a little but still - it is a real thing for me.

My number one favorite publisher for Christian fiction is Bethany House. If that spine has Bethany House on it, the chances are I'm going to enjoy reading it. I don't worry about a book I pick up from Bethany House and have never been disappointed. And I wrote and told them that!

In the process, I stumbled upon how to get on their email list for books available for review each month! It is hard to get a book as I've had several months come and go where I didn't get my request in quickly enough to be able to receive a book but this month I finally got my first one.

I received Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson. This is book three in the Heart of the Frontier series. I'd read Treasured Grace in March of this year so it was fun to come back to this series.

The book is set in the Pacific Northwest at a time when Native Americans are being pursued by the US government and either captured or killed in an effort to reclaim the land they are using and relocating many to reservations. It is hard to read about how we as Americans treated the native people who were here before we were.

Mercy is one of three sisters, with Grace and Hope being older. Each book of the series focuses on one of the three sisters. Mercy leaves the family farmland to help a friend in need who is on bedrest during her pregnancy. Her adventures include helping with their home and daughter Faith, teaching school in the mission for the local tribe of Native Americans and living out the meaning of her name with beauty and peace. And, yes, there is a bit of romance involved!

Many Christian historical fiction books may be pronounced "predictable" and perhaps they are but I find that reassuring and comforting in many ways. Enough of life around us is unpredictable and hard and it is great to read a story which includes a lot of hard truths yet some of the predictable qualities that we can count on. At the end of a busy day and as someone who struggles with bad dreams anyway, I can't really handle too much mystery or intensity in a before-bed read!

I like that this book is historical. It is a great way to continue to flesh out or enhance my learning on a certain time period but without being a heavy or heady text book. It is real life and the characters are immersed in living through the time period they are placed in.

I loved that the main characters in this book are ones who are filled with character and virtue.I'm especially partial to books where there is a really godly character that influences another for eternal good. I want to fill my mind and heart with good and true and pure things and seeing these character qualities fleshed out are good reminders to me.

Tracie Peterson has written many books that I've enjoyed before and I also enjoyed In the Shadow of Denali earlier this year.

I've finished the book and want to pass it on to one of you! If you would like to be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment with what you are reading right now! And please include a way to reach you if you win! I can only ship within the Continental US. Entries will be accepted until Friday, September 29, 2017 at noon EST.

A bonus recommendation is A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. She is also a Bethany House author and I've so enjoyed all of her books but I think this one is my favorite!

**Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for sharing an honest review. The giveaway is not sponsored by Bethany House.
*Amazon affiliate links provided above.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Discover New Inspiration

One Sunday morning I saw a photo of an apple cider donut cake on Instagram Stories - I quickly followed a couple of links and discovered a lovely new feed full of the beauty of nature and gorgeous light and yummy food. I dug into her blog: honey and jam and Instagram and now want to make any and all of these things:

Carrot Cake with Honey and Cream Cheese Frosting
Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Maple Compote
Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Muffins

Oh, and did I mention she has a cookbook?! Seriously beautiful cover! 

And for a feast for your eyes - when I did a Google search for apple cider donut cake, the images that popped up were a dreamy mix of inspiration and beauty. I mean. Really. It's like a Fall vacation without getting off your couch!

I haven't been able to find the book at our library yet but am eager to try a new recipe or two so you might just see some slow fun in the days ahead if I dive in to the above inspiration!

What is your favorite new inspiration lately?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Simple Weekend Beauty

Sweet little idea for your weekend - find a small pie pumpkin or faux pumpkin at the craft store and grab a Sharpie! Decorate your pumpkin for your fall decorating enjoyment!

Inspiration to draw on my pumpkin from this photo.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Annual Avonlea Picnic

Our family is big on tradition and it seems that Fall is especially full of special things we enjoy doing together! I've been eager to carry on the tradition of watching some Anne and having cozy food along with!

Typically we do this for lunch or dinner and I don't think we've ever done a breakfast before but it just worked this time! My sister sent me a link to a free pancake mix and that was just the push I needed!

We had watched Anne of Green Gables this summer at my parents house, so watching the second movie seemed like a great choice. And ever since I saw a photo in a cookbook this summer with a little bunting on pancakes - I've wanted to try it for myself!

Working hard the day before to clean up yard debris, unpack, get housework taken care of and more was a good choice and after declaring that Family Work Day I promised the next day would be Family Fun Day if we got a lot done and worked well. It was the perfect reward! We did not have school, stayed in our pj's until noon and just enjoyed the lingering, slower pace.

*Amazon Affiliate Links provided