Saturday, January 29, 2011

The book you've been "searching" for ....

If you're looking for a good read, look no farther ... I have just read The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher and have to say it was excellent.  It was one of those books that once you begin reading it, you just can't put it down. 

I recently received my own copy of The Search from LitFuse so that I could read and post a review of this fabulous book.  Because I knew this was the third in a series called Lancaster County Secrets, I immediately thought to myself that I should read the first two books before starting this book.  After searching on my Kindle, I discovered I already owned the first book (having grabbed it at when they were offering it free during a promotional period in October.)  Once I finished that one, I knew I had to purchase the second ... and then, I even bought the third for my kindle because I loved the first two that much.  So, I am going to be giving the copy that I received from LitFuse away to one lucky blog reader.  (All you need to do is leave a comment either here or on the networked blogs post on FB.  I will choose one lucky person via next Saturday morning, February 5th.

Mrs. Fisher again pulls at our heart strings when she has us meet up with Bess Reihl, a young teen who is spending her summer with her grandmother at Rose Hill Farm in an Amish community in Pennsylvania.  Bess is living the Amish life already, with her widowed father at their farm in Ohio, where they moved shortly after Bess' mother was killed in a buggy accident when she was an infant.  We see the bond between grandmother and granddaughter grow as well as unexpected twists and turns with the reintroduction of Lainey O'Toole to the community that she left years ago when her mother died after birthing her baby sister, leaving her along in the world.  As in her other two books in this series, Mrs. Fisher guides our hearts through young love, family bonds, forgiveness and healing ~ wonderful principles that we can all apply to our own lives, no matter what our age. 

This book is a fabulous stand alone book, the first two books (The Choice and The Waiting) need not be read before this book in order to understand it.  Although I highly recommend reading them - they, too, are worth the read!!  The Search is a wonderful book for young and old, and all ages in between.   Again, a great choice for your book clubs too - I am certainly going to be recommending this to the ladies at my Church, I think they will fall in love with the characters and the themes throughout the book.  Another 5 star Amazon book review! 

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the author is hosting her own giveaway, through Facebook and Twitter, of an iPad -- I have put all of the information HERE on another post, for you to read at your leisure, but read it quickly - the contest ends VERY SOON and the winner(s) will be drawn on February 3, 2011. 

I am one of the last to post my review on the Blog Tour for The Search.  If you would like to read other blogger's thoughts on The Search, please check them out.  Blog Tour Schedule:  

Happy Reading!

iPad Giveaway by Suzanne Woods Fisher (info)

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search,  is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Facebook Party:

Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm dreaming of a white ....

Wednesday?  Good gravy.  Yesterday morning, before I left for work, I was assured by the local meterologist on my favorite morning news channel that today's precipitation would be an "all rain" event for our area.  She did cover her a$$ by saying that ...temperatures will drop during the evening hours on Wednesday which will make things a little slick ... (not her exact words but you get the idea.)  I spent a lot of the day yesterday assuring my colleagues at work that we would not have a delayed opening nor a snow day (of which we have neither) and that maybe a delayed opening on Thursday due to the icy conditions the weather girl alluded to in her forecast.

Yesterday afternoon, one of the girls I worked with pulled the storm forecast from the  They put NJ in a Winter Storm Warning area and gave a few tidbits of info such as: 

Issued by The National Weather Service

Philadelphia, PA
3:31 pm EST, Tue., Jan. 25, 2011



* PRECIPITATION TYPE: MIXED SNOW... SLEET... FREEZING RAIN AND RAIN IS EXPECTED WEDNESDAY... TURNING TO A PERIOD OF HEAVY SNOW BY WEDNESDAY EVENING BEFORE ENDING BY THE START OF THE THURSDAY MORNING COMMUTE.   Update:  No precipitation at 5:30 a.m. but at 6:30 a.m. there was 1/4 inch of snow on my driveway, car, front and rear walks, as well as my street and yard ... pretty much, everywhere.  9:35 a.m.  It's still snowing.  11:46 a.m. - lunchtime - i can't tell if it is still snowing or not with all of the snowballs being thrown by the kids heading towards the busses for their (already scheduled for exams) early dismissal. 

* ACCUMULATIONS: 5 TO 8 INCHES OF SNOW... WITH A COATING OF ICE POSSIBLE EMBEDDED WITHIN THE EVENT. Added:  Lovely, just peachy.  Exactly what we are looking for!


* IMPACTS: THE WEDNESDAY MORNING COMMUTE MIGHT BE AFFECTED BY FREEZING RAIN. IF THIS BECOMES MORE OF A THREAT, A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR THE MORNING COMMUTE MAY BE ISSUED TONIGHT. THE WEDNESDAY EVENING COMMUTE SHOULD BE AFFECTED AS ACCUMULATING SNOW FALLS WITH GREATER IMPACTS AS THE EVENING COMMUTE PROGRESSES. THE THURSDAY MORNING COMMUTE SHOULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BECAUSE OF RESIDUAL CLEAN UP OF THE WINTRY MESS EXPECTED WEDNESDAY.  Note:  this is my favorite paragraph of the entire report.  Unfortunately, we were expecting rain, not snow when we left for work.  I guess that would have spelled ice storm, so maybe I am happy that it is only snow?  Love the use of "wintry mess" as used by the National Weather Service.  They definitely hit that on the nose. 


PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Added:  Stay the hell off the roads if you are able to!!  It's a slick mess out there. 


I will continue to monitor the latest forecasts as well.  (Hubs just sent me one that said potential for 10" before ending at 2:00 a.m.???)  It is wonderful training for my next career move - in weather predictions and forecasting.  I wonder who would listen to me??

Update: 2:00 p.m. - pouring down rain.  i can't wait for the drive home. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm baaack...

A fun weekend.  Scrapbooking.  With the girls.  Family.  Old friends.  New friends.  Just plain fun!  I might have been talking a lot more than I should have which hindered my progress but, really, although I am disappointed in the number of completed layouts I brought home, I cannot say I am disappointed in the weekend itself. 

My new friend LG - did a bang up job of running a 3 day, 2 night crop for 100+ ladies!  Some came from as far away as 3 hours to Ocean City, New Jersey - to the beautiful Flanders Hotel - an icon on the island.  The crop room was open 24 hours a day from 1:00 p.m. on Friday through 3:00 (? I left early, at noonish) Sunday.  I was not strong enough to stay up all night for two nights.  I hit the hay about 2 o'clock on Friday night (Saturday a.m.) and around 1 o'clock on Saturday night (Sunday a.m.) but I was downstairs working again by 7:30 a.m. both mornings.  Crazy, right?  Food was in abundance and very tasty - dinner Friday night, breakfast, lunch, dinner and an ice cream bar on Saturday night, and a delicious brunch on Sunday morning.   Vendors galore available too - selling scrapbooking/stamping supplies, jewelry and even handbags.  Some of the vendors did free make and takes and some had pay-to-play layout classes.  I only participated in one make and take but my Mom attended a cool summer themed layout class. 

It was our 5th year in a row of attending a weekend crop and our first with this brunch of gals.  They were fabulous!  We even brought three new friends with us to give the weekend crop thing a try.  I think the general consensus at the end of the weekend was that we all loved this one and will be back again next year. 

I did get the text on Saturday night telling me that SweeTart had coughed herself sick again.  YUK.  Hubs said that once she puked, she was feeling better and able to sleep the rest of the night without any coughing.  I am so over this winter cold!!  Last night we did what the doctor prescribed plus a little extra.  Dimeatapp, nasal spray, cool mist humidifier, and vicks chest rub on her socked feet before she got in bed.  I am not sure which of the above did the trick but once she fell asleep, she slept through the night with no coughing fits.  Yay!!  We'll just have to follow the same protocol tonight. 

Busy week this week:  gymnastics practice 2xs for Twink and her first meet on Saturday afternoon; wrestling practice 1x (he'll miss the 2nd one) plus a match on Saturday morning (roll call is bright and early at 7:30 a.m.); and Twink's first performance - an Orff Ensemble Concert on Thursday night.  She has been practicing once a week for about two months.   She gives up her lunch recess every Friday to practice.  She's pretty excited!  And even more excited that it will be held at the local high school instead of her school's cafeteria so that more than just Hubs and I can go. 
If you're interested in attending next year's crop weekend, you can get more information at their website it will be the same week 2012 (geez, that seems weird to write.)

Since this post is being published on Monday, January 24, 2011, a big shout out to my sister:  Happy Birthday!! and to Matt who is turning 5 today - I can't believe it!!  I hope you both have super days!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

In the words of

my Hubs ... "this storm was a dud" ...  We had snow in the front yard on the pavers but not in the back.  Go figure.  We didn't get the 2-4 inches of snow anticipated.  We drew the warm air from the ocean in and got a wet, heavy, melty type snow.  Then ... the temperatures dropped and turned all of the 'wetness,' as Hubs called, it into ice.  A skating rink.  I can't imagine how many people are falling on their bums today thinking they're on a wet pavement when it is really black ice.    

Wonder what the forecasters have in mind for us next week?   They've got "snow" on the forecast for Tuesday.  And, "snow showers" for Wednesday.  Any betting peeps out there?   I've got my hopes on a foot of the powdery white stuff - although they haven't given us any clues other than "snow".  See what I mean?  A vague forecast for Tuesday, an incorrect forecast for today ... I covet the jobs of the meterologists. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When did I move to Vermont???

The day after Christmas, we had a blizzard.  The next week, snow.  The following week, more snow.  Our kids have already had a snow day from school and a 2 hour delayed opening.  Tonight, we're gearing up for more snow.  Not much, mind you.  I am sure the peeps in New England will get a nice wallop but they're in New England, not New Jersey!! 

Our snow for tonight, as of early this morning (because, quite frankly, I'm afraid to look at the forecast again) is supposed to start around 9ish and isn't scheduled to stop until around 6 a.m. - ish ... we're expecting 2-4 inches.  Do you think we should expect another 2 hour delay for the kidlets? 

On the horizon, another storm brewing, heading our way, scheduled to visit NJ on Tuesday-ish.  Notice all of the 'ishes.  That is meterolgist talk for "I don't have any idea what the heck is going on."  In my next career, I am going to be a meterologist and work for a Philly based station.  Why?  Because I can be wishy-washy and although everyone will complain, they'll still come back to me each time they have a weather related question. 

Scrapping on the brain ....

As my friends and I prepare for our annual Scrapbooking Retreat @ the beach in NJ - yes, I said the beach in NJ (where it has been cold, snowy, icy and we're gearing up for more snow and cold as I type ... have I moved to Vermont??) ... I am trying to figure out how to get my entire December 2010 Disney Trip scrapped in one weekend.  I have a feeling I am going to fail.  Especially because I am finding more and more cool ideas that I want to incorporate into this scrapbook.  Check this neat idea out.  How cool is that? 

Do you know that I have almost 700 pictures printed and ready to go?  That doesn't even include all of the PhotoPass pictures that I have resigned to digitally scrapbooking with Close to my Heart's Studio J.  In my spare time, after the weekend crop.  (Really, I swear, I want a FINISHED scrapbook!) 

I think we'll leave around 4 - 4:30 on Friday, takes about an hour to get there, get settled, have dinner then get to work around 7:00?  7:30?  8:00?  We all know that I am certainly not a night owl.  I am up with the birds, even before the birds many mornings.  (I've given this gift to SweeTart who made her Daddy get out of bed on Sunday morning because the "sun is up!!")  In years past, I've gone downstairs to the crop room before any of my friends are out of bed (generally at the same time my alarm at home would be going off - Note to self: remember to turn alarm off on Friday so that it doesn't scare the bejeezus out of the fam on Saturday and Sunday mornings) and get a few good layouts done before anyone else rises for breakfast.  Now, part of the reason everyone else sleeps in is because they're up til 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning - something I just cannot do (well.)   Sunday, I'm looking foward to leaving for home around 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon so that we get home in time to unpack and see our families for dinner on Sunday. 

Besides just getting the Disney book done, I am looking foward to spending time with my friends.  The times that we get together (kidless, stress free) are few and far between.  Gotta enjoy the free moments while we can.  A special shout out to the Hubs who makes it all possible.  He'll have the kids for almost 48 hours by his lonesome.  He really rocks!!

PS - CAN YOU VIEW THIS PDF - if you can, get scrapping!!  Its from one of the Close To My Heart Scrapbook layout books - (that I don't have!!)

PS #2 - Linking up with Traci66 and Heck of a Bunch for the

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The second in the Lancaster County Secrets series, which (since I have now read 1, 2 and 3 ... more about three on January 29th - don't forget to come back!!) I have fallen in love with!  I actually purchased the Kindle version of this book after I read the first and received the third to review - I wanted to be on top of things and boy, did I make the right choice in purchasing this book!

We are brought back to the Zook family whom we met briefly in book 1, The Choice, and are knee deep in Amish life in the late1960's/early 1970s, the Vietnam War Era.  Segregation abound.  Many twists, plot turns, and interesting characters drive this story.  Death, War, Post Traumatic Stress, Alzheimers, and most importantly LOVE and Faith in God.  As pointed out, loss is prevalent in this story but faith in God is stronger and the healings of many hearts because of this strong faith is shown well again.

Ms. Woods Fisher portrays life in the Amish town in Pennsylvania well and with great detail.  Without spoiling the book, I do have to tell you that I loved the twists and turns and could almost see through the window of the one-roomed schoolhouse or the beauty of the horses foaling. 

Another fabulous read for any and all ages - I'd say from 7th grade up ... but in no means is this a "young adult" book.  Excellent, again, for book groups looking to explore Amish, family dynamics and/or faith.  I rated this 5 out of 5 stars on

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

amazon deal of the day: EPIC MICKEY FOR Wii

Each and every day, offers a "deal of the day".  Some are okay, some are downright dreadful but today's "deal" rivals one that I got right after Christmas on EMU boots.  Today, the deal is:  (drumroll!!)  EPIC MICKEY for Wii. 

Our son got this game for Christmas.  No doubt the gift giver is reading this blog and cringing in her shoes because the game is almost half of what she might have paid for it, pre-Christmas time pricing. 

DinoBoy, is a 9 year old loving gaming boy.  He also got an XBox 360 for Christmas and loves to play gory, war games on that.  This Epic Mickey game, though, gives those war games a run for their money!  He loves it!!!  He would play it for hours on end if we would let him.  And, let him we would, if the Wii wasn't attached now to the main TV in the house and is needed for other things (you know, like watching Nick Jr. and Sprout) besides gaming. 

I don't think you'll be disappointed if you purchase this game for a kidlet or even for your own Wii.  DinoBoy told me it has really good tutorials so that you can figure out what you're needing to do and which commands on the controllers will make your Mickey do just that.  (Huh? - Exactly, but the 9 year old understood completely and got irritiated with his non-gaming mom.) 

Hope you get in on this fabulous deal!! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Choice by Suzane Woods Fisher

I loved this book! I was able to grab it during a promotional period in October when it was availble on Kindle for Free.

I am not sure why it took me so long to actually sit down and read it. Once I started, I could not put it down. Suzanne Woods Fisher does a fabulous job of showing us inside an Amish family ... something I had not experienced until now. The Choice shows the general interactions between the Amish and God, the Amish and the English and the Amish amongst themselves.

In particular, we follow the main character Carrie though her many turmoils (at such a young age) and her trust in God ... and in her Amish family.

It is simply a superb book and easy for anyone, any gender, any age,  to sit down and enjoy. Especially great for book clubs wanting to delve even further into the meanings behind the story.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

To My Kindle Friends - FREEBIE COOKBOOKS

Get them while you can, Kindle friends - Click on any of these links to get one or all three of the free Gooseberry Patch "Circle of Friends" cookbooks:  meatloaf, mac 'n cheese and/or chocolate chip cookies! 

Tomorrow, we'll all get back in the swing of things and will be back to our "usual" school/work, sports/practices routine.  The holiday week went very quickly - a little too quickly if you ask me BUT - I can say for certain that my kids are ready to go back to school - they need the routine - and the interaction with their friends - it's been a little crazy the past few days ... they have been at each other's throats!  But -- such is life.  :-)

If you download any of these books, let me know what you think.  I am off to download all three for my Kindle now!

PS - Kindle just started "book sharing" - let me know if this is something you'd be interested in doing with me!  Not all books are available to share per the Publisher but many, many are!!  Drop me a note!! 

*One more thing:  I will have a few more book reviews in the coming weeks - I received three (yes Three!!) more during break that I have to open and get into:  1) UNSTUFF: Making Room in Your Life for What Really Matters by Hayley and Michael DiMarco; 2) The Search (book 3 of Lancaster County Secrets) by Suzanne Woods Fisher; and 3) Mystic Connecticut: A Woman's Hundred Year Journey to Heaven by Bryan James Lockett.  I can't wait to find a few free minutes to give each of these books the attention they deserve!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 1-1-11

1.1.11 - It just looks cool to write it!  Hope that everyone has a wonderful, happy, prosperous and healthy new year!