Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Becoming Bea book review and Kindle Fire #giveaway

This was such a sweet book!  A late bloomer's "coming of age" story.  As a fellow lover of words, the way the author wove Bea and Ben's spelling bee experiences of their school years into the story made me smile.

I've always found the Amish rumspringa tradition a little odd, and an incident in the story confirms that things can and do go wrong with that.  Ben couldn't have thought he saw Bea kissing someone else if there weren't any couples kissing in the woods in the moonlight, you know?

Becoming Bea shows the main character going through a tremendous amount of personal growth, both in the area of reclusive shyness and in competitive pride.  Although this book is part of a series, it stands on it's own.  I haven't read the other books, and I didn't have any problem picking up the story.

Sometimes, at the end of a book, you feel like, "Well, they're together for now, but..." when the characters have behaved badly or overcome really difficult circumstances.  I didn't have that feeling with this book.  I really felt that Bea and Ben are well suited for each other, and should do well together.

Leslie Gould is back with the latest book, Becoming Bea, in her Shakespeare-inspired series, The Courtships of Lancaster County. Don't miss the other books in the series, Courting Cate (retelling of The Taming of the Shrew), Adoring Addie (inspired by Romeo and Juliet), and Minding Molly (inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Leslie is celebrating the series with a Kindle giveaway and a Facebook party on November 11th.


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy each of the entire The Courtships of Lancaster County series: Courting CateAdoring Addie, Minding Molly, and Becoming Bea.
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 11/11. Winner will be announced at Leslie's 11/11 Becoming Bea Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Leslie and Amish fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

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Quilted by Christmas book review and Kindle #GIVEAWAY

Am I allowed to have 2 favorites in this series?  Because I really really liked this book.  I know I said earlier that Rival Hearts was my favorite Quilts of Love book, but I think it might be a tie between these two.

Quilted by Christmas is a heart warming tale of two people with a Past, whose paths cross after a prickly break up 12 years ago.  Justin has been off in the military, and Taryn has gone through college and become a teacher.  When his first words to her after all that time were "This was a bad idea," it's understandable that they continue to be edgy, hesitant, and tenuous around each other.  But he keeps coming around, offering to help with a project Taryn's grandmother dumps in her lap after she is injured and unable to finish it herself.

Author Jodie Bailey weaves a tale that made my chest ache.  Taryn has a secret, and she's not sure Justin would ever forgive her if he finds out.  It turns out, Grandmother has a secret, too.  How would things have been different if both women had told the truth long ago?

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey. October’s QOL release is a warm Christmas tale of God's steadfast love.

Enter to win a Kindle HDX, and RSVP for the “Merry Quilted” Quilts of Love Facebook party on December 9th.


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Two copies of Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey (One for you and one to give away as a gift!)
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 17th at the Quilts of Love blog.

Wait! There's more! RSVP for the "Merry Quilted" Quilts of Love Christmas Book Chat Party on December 9th and connect with some of the Quilts of Love authors. Jodie Bailey, Laura V. Hilton, Cindy Loven, Cathy Elliott, and Gina Welborn will be hosting a "merry" evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, prizes, and more!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on December 9th!

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Trouble in Paradise book review and $25 #giveaway

Last summer, I got to review Deception in Paradise, by Deborah Brown, which I really enjoyed!  I jumped at the chance to review Trouble in Paradise, as well.

Trouble in Paradise brings back all your favorite characters from the first two books, in tense and hilarious escapades.  Madison has built her community well.  She's got Fab, the unlikely best friend; Zach, the boyfriend; Creole, the backup boyfriend; and an assortment of seedy people that get her into and out of trouble!  Oh, and let's not forget her Mother, who shoots somebody in this book!

I enjoyed Trouble in Paradise every bit as much as the first two books in the series, and I'm looking forward to the next two books, as well.  If you're lamenting the change to cooler weather, get away to sunny Florida in these great escape books.

Welcome to the Florida Keys! Get ready to go on vacation and lose yourself in this action packed read.

What is big news in small town Tarpon Cove? An accidental drowning or perhaps a ruthless murder? When a dead fisherman rolls up on shore, Madison cannot resist jumping into her new role as Private Investigator. But she soon discovers the people in The Cove who normally gossip about everybody's business are unusually tight-lipped.

The bad tenant radar still not working, the cottages continue to be full of riffraff. Madison gets arrested, shot at, and outsmarted. She teams up with her best friend – the Glock carrying Fabiana. Together they take on cases no other investigators would ever touch!

Trouble in Paradise, is the third novel in Deborah Brown's Paradise series, can be read as a stand alone book.

"'Trouble' is captivating from the first paragraph.  The stories are a true adventure!" - review from Amazon

"This book continues the drama as it can only occur in South Florida, with a host of truly fun, unique characters." - Author Kim Cano

Buy the book from.....

About the Author
The Paradise series, are Florida Keys mysteries, "great as stand-alone reads, but they're like won't be able to devour just one!"

I've been writing, in one way or another for as long as I can remember; writing poetry, short stories, a romance novel secretly stashed under the bed and sappy love letters. Fiction should be fun. I wanted to create the perfect beach book, to make the reader laugh, cry and cheer... and then run out and tell their friends about it.

My love of reading began when I was seven, the day I opened the cover of my first Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book. Mrs. P gave lessons to other children in how to behave and to me I learned to love the written word. I live with my family and demon children aka rescue cats in South Florida.

Follow the Author.....

Also available in the Paradise Series

Follow the Book Tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


Win a $25 Giftcard or Paypal Cash
(winners choice)
Open Worldwide
Ending on Thursday 4th December at 11.59pm EST

Enter Below and Good Luck !!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Katie's October Tot Trays

I'm finding "tot trays" to be less and less of a good description of what Katie does all month, but I haven't come up with an alternative.  Suggestions?

Hannah has gone back to school, so I found myself needing to entertain Katie a bit more.  I'm very blessed that my girls play so well together most of the time.  Puzzles in the school room are a good, quiet way Katie can hang out with us while we're doing school.

I pulled out the Color Wonder coloring book and markers from our road trip this summer.  I can see why these appeal to moms, with the NO MESS factor, but honestly, I think regular coloring pages and markers are better for kids like Katie who aren't deliberately destructive.

I shared before about all the fun we had with the Montessori By Mom box, pouring and mixing colors.  We're still using the tools from our box for other forms of play and learning.

Notice the bandage on Katie's hand in the photo above and no bandage in the photo below?  She's doing GREAT post surgery.

More puzzles.  She's pretty good at them.

The day we made "redneck shrinky dinks" Katie saw me draw a pumpkin, so she wanted to draw a pumpkin, too.

And here's her finished pumpkin, after shrinking!

Dripping color on coffee filters was super fun!  I've saved the pile of dried filters, and I think we'll hack them up for snowflakes in a month or so.

In honor of fire safety month, the kids colored these cute pages from Kidorable.

Did I mention we're still having fun with our Montessori By Mom box tools?

This was a super cool unexpected treat.  The turtle lacing card came as a bonus with something I ordered as a special project for the girls.

There's a new company called Cuts By Laser doing lots of interesting wood products.  Stay tuned for pictures of the special project I'm working on.

A little seasonal coloring.  Katie told me this morning, "I like my pumpkin in my room!"  She got a little pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, and it's up on her dresser.

These are the coolest blocks.  They're Uncle Goose Chinese Character Blocks.  One side makes a picture of a dragon and a map of China, the other sides show characters and how to write them correctly.

Combining our colored rice with our MBM tools was fun, too.

Well, fun until Hannah spilled it in the carpet, anyway.  ;)

The water beads are fun to pour, too.  Unfortunately, some of our colored rice ended up in the water bead tray, which then started to get icky, so we had to toss them.  But we got to play with them for a couple weeks.

Katie and Hannah playing with the animal toob bucket.  I'm going to put a toob in each of the girls' stockings, since they enjoy these so much.

You can see that October was the month of weather change for us, since Katie goes from short sleeves and tank tops to long sleeves and pants.  I'm guessing next month will bring more holiday related projects as we careen toward Christmas.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Clued In Kids treasure hunts

Our family got the chance to review for Clued in Kids, makers of awesome treasure hunts.  We received both the Multiplication Dragons Treasure Hunt (2X-6X tables), and the Halloween Treasure Hunt.

We had a fabulous time with these!  As the parent, I love that the clues are all laid out, so the work is all done for me, yet I can still be creative in how I apply hints like, "in or on a lamp."

I had the boys stay in their room while I hid the clues, so they got to learn where their siblings shoes and pajamas are kept.

It was fun to lead them all over the house searching, and they practiced their times tables without even realizing it.

"A clue!  A clue!"  (Yes, I parented through the Blue's Clues era.)

I wish you could hear the fits of giggling as they were fighting over who was going to read the newest clue.

One of the things I liked about these hunts is that each one had something the kids had to draw in order to receive their next clue from the hunt master (that would be ME).

One hunt had them draw nests of dragon eggs.

Another hunt had them draw 4 headed dragons!

Focused on figuring out where to hunt next.

When I first got the review, I thought, "Oh, I have to come up with a LOT of prizes.  That's going to be hard."  But what I discovered is that it wasn't that difficult after all.  The prize above was a craft.  I got the boys blank bags and stickers, foamies, washi tape, etc. to decorate loot bags to use at the harvest festival.

Other prizes included a gold panning kit, a game, a new book to read aloud together,

and candy was a favorite, of course.

The hunts I received are printable, so you can get started as soon as you download and print them.

Clued in Kids also sells some pre-printed hunts.

They have a gluten free hunt, and a happy tummy hunt, for kids with special dietary issues.

The Multiplication Dragons hunt set (which is several hunts in one download) sells for $19.99.

The Halloween hunt sells for $5.99.

Our mailbox is down the street, so we even got some fresh air during our hunts.

Drawing dino eggs.

One of the amusing things that happened was when one of the clues was "gloves."  Paul keeps a box of gloves out in the garage, so I hid the clue there and when the boys were a clue or two ahead of this one, I took the camera out to the garage to wait for them.

Turns out, I should have brought a book with me!  It took them forever to find me (and the gloves) out in the garage.  We had a good laugh, and I hope it encouraged them to think outside the box a bit more.

Sometimes the clues need to be read in a mirror.

I really loved how easy these hunts were to set up.  It literally took 10 minutes or less to hide all the clues and the "treasure" at the end for each hunt.

And the boys had a fabulous time!  We had a lot of laughs while they were hunting.

One of the nice things about this being a printable resource is that I can use the hunts again with girls when they're old enough.

Here's a list of the hunts currently available from Clued in Kids:
Baseball (printable)
Christmas Treasure Hunt Greeting Card
Gluten-Free Treasure Hunt (printable)
Halloween (printable)
Happy Tummy Treasure Hunt (printable):
Homework Reward Treasure Hunt (printable) Receive this treasure hunt for free by subscribing to the Clued in Kids newsletter!
Multiplication Dragons (printable)
Pirate Clue Book
Playdate Clue Book
Princess Clue Book
Slumber Party Clue Book
Thanksgiving (printable)
Winter (printable)

Some of the hunts can be used by kids as young as 4.  Treasure hunts are fun for a huge span of ages,  they are great to use with siblings, and teens can even set up a hunt for younger siblings.  My "hunters" were 10 and 13, and the hunts suited them well.

To read reviews from other Crew families about the various hunts listed above, just click the box below!  You can connect with Clued in Kids on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, or on their blog.

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