Striving to create a home strong in the foundations of love, respect, and God's truths ...

Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - April 30, 2012

The weather is to be BEAUTIFUL this week, and we're going to be spending much of it outside!  With yard projects happening, a few playdates, and a field trip to a baseball game, we're going to make the most of the gorgeous weather coming our way.  Oh - and we're going strawberry picking, too!

With all of that in mind, I'm going to serve simple meals that I can prep ahead of time or pull together quickly to maximize our together time.  Since we ended up eating turkey all of last week, we're continuing our eat-from-the-freezer challenge, too.

So, this is on the menu this week:

- Strawberry streusel muffins
- cereal, bananas
- homemade breakfast sandwiches, fruit

- Hugs-and-kisses banana bread pancakes

Lunches will be our usual assortment of leftovers and sandwiches with fruit or veggies and yogurt or cheese.

- Sweet and sour meatballs with peppers and onions over brown rice
- A new take on the grilled cheese sandwich - recipe coming May 7th!

- Grilled fish wraps with mango salsa, baked corn, salad
- Mexican lasagna, salad

- Pizza, zucchini cakes
- Family dinner out
- Dinner at church

I think we'll need some snacks for the playdates and a possible road trip, so I think we'll try these semi-healthy bars.  Maybe we'll try these, too.

What are YOU cooking up this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

This is one of my favorite quick-and-easy meals to throw together.  It smells great, comes together quickly, and it's fairly healthy.  Everyone in my family likes this dish, and it's versatile enough for them to customize it on their own plates.  THAT makes me happy!


  • bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
  • your favorite BBQ sauce
So to make your own slow cooker BBQ chicken, try this:
  1. Put your chicken in your slow cooker and add just a bit of the sauce.  Doesn't need to be much - I pour on maybe 1/2 cup or so, just enough to be on the outside of the chicken but not enough to sit in the bottom of the dish.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is done.
  3. Turn off the slow cooker and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so.
  4. Using forks or a stand-alone mixer, shred the chicken to your preferred texture.
  5. Stir in enough BBQ sauce to flavor the meat.  I also add in some of the juice from the slow cooker.  Stir together.
  6. Add to buns or tortillas with all your favorite toppings - onions, cheese, spinach, lettuce, tomato, etc.
  7. Enjoy!
With some steamed broccoli - or even carrot sticks if you're in a big rush - this is a complete, hot meal that everyone will love!

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Cravings" by Carey C. Bailey

After having children, author Carey C. Bailey discovered that her previous devotional time just didn't happen anymore - and she missed it.  Wanting to find quiet time with God fit somewhere into her day, she created the Craving system - a cute resin cupcake holder with 40 mini devotionals, perfect for on a kitchen windowsill or bathroom mirror.  Each devotional features a scripture reference, a "thoughtlet" to get you started, and then an action step to help you carry that scripture into your day.
 Cravings.  We all have them.  Usually we think of pregnant women wanting pickles and ice cream or a stressed-out person screaming for chocolate, but we all have another, stronger, yet quieter craving within us: a craving for our Creator.  
I love the premise behind this devotional.  While spending hours with God is priceless, sometimes we moms just can't get up any earlier and still be functional with our families.  Sometimes our schedules is so erratic - with young infants, sick children, being the do-all for our families - that although we want time with God, we're not sure how to make it happen.  This devotional is the answer to that problem.
Because each devotional is so short, it can be read on the run - while brushing your teeth, washing dishes, or waiting in the car line after school.  The scripture references are printed right onto the card so it's not necessary even to have your Bible with you - with each card, you're guaranteed at least one verse with a question applicable in some way to a mom's life.  Best of all, there's an action step, short in time requirement, that you can ponder and pray about as you go throughout your day.
I love the cute, feminine appearance of the holder and set itself.  The fun cupcake shape is something that most moms can relate to, and the resin material is sturdy and appealing.  My set is going onto the windowsill just above my kitchen sink - and I look forward to reading through each devotional again as I do dishes in the weeks to come.
What about you?  Do you struggle to find time to spend with God in your day?
To read other reviews of this product, visit the blog hop schedule.  You can also purchase Cravings here.

Carey Bailey is a recovering perfectionist, wife, proud mama and Family Life director for her church in Surprise, Ariz. On the side she loves party planning, crafting, and pursuing her dream of writing. She has a degree in religion from Westminster College and writes at her blog at  

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • $50 gift card to Erin Condren Shop (Your one-stop-shop for all things awesome!)
  • $50 gift card to Victoria's Secret® (For something pretty.)
  • $25 gift card to Bath & Body Works® (For a little spa treatment.)
  • 2 Sets of Cravings - The Devotional (For you and a friend.)
  • Scentsy Plug In and 2 Bars (A lovely scent for your space.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/12/12. The winner will be announced 5/14/12 on Carey’s blog!

Win a Minute-for-Mom gift pack from Carey Bailey! "When I became a mom I lost my God time," says Carey Bailey. "I couldn't figure out how to fit it in, since everything but that time was a priority. So I made note cards that I set around my house with scriptures written on them. Even when my arms were too full of babies, laundry, and diapers to pick up a Bible, I could easily read God's words of encouragement that I was starving for"

And Cravings--The Devotional was born. Celebrate with Carey by entering her Minute-for-Mom Giveaway!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Carey's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

I received a free copy of Cravings from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"The Wedding Dress" by Rachel Hauck

Charlotte Malone owns a wildly popular wedding dress boutique.  Her newfound business success is keeping her shop hopping, but she can't seem to find the perfect dress for her own wedding - or even peace about the groom.  When she inadvertently buys an beat-up antique trunk at an auction, she breaks the lock to find a beautiful wedding dress inside.  Her fascination with the dress and who might have worn it in the past compels her to find the previous owner of the trunk and, ultimately, to learn the stories of the women who wore the dress.  Will this dress, which has stood the test of one hundred years, yield its history to Charlotte's search?  Will this dress prove to be the the answer to Charlotte's own personal questions of life and love, faith and significance?

The Wedding Dress is my very favorite kind of historical fiction - a history mystery that follows a single thread through time, unearthing answers that have been hidden by years of heartache and questions.  Hauck did not write this story in a linear fashion; the story starts in the modern day with the finding of the dress and then zips back and forth through time, bouncing between the dress's troubled creation and the other women who wore it.  While it sounds chaotic, Hauck transitions smoothly between time periods and allows you to see the parallel between Charlotte and the situation of the original wearer.  Because the reader can see both time periods at once, she can at times guess what will happen next - until Hauck adds a surprising and fun twist at the end, wrapping up not only the dress mystery but Charlotte's own historical loose threads, as well.

Ultimately, the characters were fun but real - deep but flawed, beautiful but not perfect, true products of their pasts.  The story itself was fascinating and I couldn't wait to find out exactly who had worn this mysterious dress - and how it revealed itself to each wearer.

I am definitely a new Rachel Hauck fan.  I can't wait to read more of her books!

I received a free copy of The Wedding Dress from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

If you would like to read other reviews about this book, you can find a listing of some here.  If you're rather go ahead and purchase your own copy, you can do so here.

Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of Carol Award winner Sweet Caroline, and RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels.

She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pets.

Rachel earned a degree in Journalism form Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She is the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now sits on the board as an Advisor. Visit her web site to reader her blog, and to follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GratiTuesday - Birthday Celebrations

On Sunday morning My Little Man turned 5.

Exactly five years ago we were in the hospital after a long night of getting nowhere, with heart monitors screaming and oxygen masks necessary for keeping his heart rate under control.  With doctors and nurses bursting into the room, anxiously waiting to see if emergency surgery would be necessary.

All of that after months of waiting to see if the two brain cysts found during a routine exam would remain or dissolve.  If still there, anything from learning disabilities on out could be the result.  What would our baby be like?  Would he be able to learn "normally" - play, learn, develop, grow?  And what is normal, anyway?

Five years later, I remember that crazy night with thankfulness that My Little Man has no memory of our traumatic night - and we played hard to celebrate.

He chose a play day with family at Duke Gardens.

(I think he got a bit frustrated with all of my picture-taking, but he tried to be patient.  Gotta love that.)

I love how curious he is - he wants to explore everything.

The rest of us had trouble keeping up with him - he took on all 55 acres at a run.

When he finally stopped running, it was to play football with Daddy.

And then we hiked some more.

Explored some more.  Mommy took more pictures.

As it began to rain, we ran through the Asian Garden, stopping only for a few more pictures and to check out the distinct cultural elements of this section of the Garden.

He asked for a dino cake, and so this is what I came up with - a peanut butter cake with a chocolate cheesecake volcano.

I think he liked it.  He stopped and studied it for a while before asking to take the dinos off to play with them.

It always feels good to give a present that brings out a smile - and this dino book did the trick.

Watching my Little Man run and play, explore nature and study the science of dinosaurs makes me indescribably happy.  He's truly growing into the (very) young man that God created him to be - and nothing makes me happier than to watch that transformation.

Happy birthday, My Little Man!  I can't tell you how happy I am to be your mommy.

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - April 23, 2012

It's been a big weekend around here - My Little Man turned 5!  We've had a house full of company and special birthday foods, and with the freezer still quite full as summer approaches, it's time to make room for fresh summer produce.  For the next few weeks, we'll be eating our way through our own pantry and freezer challenge in preparation for fresh produce.  I can't wait!


- Perfectly Pumpkin Pancakes

- Fruit Parfaits with Cinnamon Almond Granola
- Spinach Quiche

Lunches will be our usual assortment of leftovers or sandwiches with cheese or yogurt and sliced veggies or fruit.

- Tomato soup and grilled cheese/turkey sandwiches

- Spaghetti with Easy Bolognese and steamed broccoli
- Turkey enchiladas with black beans, spinach, and pineapple
- Family dinner out
- Black bean burgers, roasted carrots, fresh fruit
- Fish filets, baked potatoes, green beans
- Grab it and Growl

We still have ice cream and peanut butter birthday cake left over for dessert, so I won't be doing any baking in the next few days.  Besides, between Easter and the birthday, I think we need a sugar break!

What are you cooking up this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Baroness" by Susan May Warren

Baroness, Daughters of Fortune Series #2

Lilly and Rosie are cousins and heiresses to their respective family fortunes.  While summering in Paris during the Roaring Twenties, they each wish to break free of the social mores restraining them - Lilly to return to her beloved ranch in Montana, and Rosie to become an actress like her French idol.  Each has the resources and skill necessary to follow their dreams - but do they have the courage to follow their dreams all the way to fruition, no matter the cost?

I identified with Lilly right off the bat.  Raised on a ranch in Montana before being sent to Paris for a summer of refinement, she felt like a fish out of water amongst the luxury and excess of Paris in the '20s.  Her desire for simplicity and close family relationships drew her to me, while I had trouble connecting with the more flamboyant Rosie.  Wanting to experience every wild flavor of Paris, she affected a carefree manner even when she didn't feel it in order to be more like the flappers she favored.

I must admit, that within a few chapters the cousins' strong desires to chase their dreams in sneaky, underhanded fashions, without regard for why they were surrounded with rules for their care or for the feelings of those around them irritated me.  It made these young ladies appear shallow and childish - and yet, aren't most of us in our mid-teen years?  Despite their seeming simplicity, these characters were anything but - and they each have a complex, emotional backstory that both adds to their drama and their depth. It's this desire to find their own ways and to do what is right that ultimately made me love them both.

You might expect that, with two main characters, each so closely entwined in leading the story, that they would remain in close proximity or that the story would span a short time period, but neither is the case.  Warren seamlessly weaves a tapestry of heartache, love, longing, forgiveness, and redemption across the Western Hemisphere with no contact between Lilly and Rosie for years, and yet the plot remains tight and unforgettable.  

One of my favorite aspects of this story is the unique setting.  While there are many historical fiction stories on the market, and many 'poor little rich girl' books on the shelf, as well, few detail the dangers of wing walking during the early years of aviation like Baroness.  The same is true for the life of a baseball player.  This attention to detail makes this book leap away from the others.

Baroness is the second in the Daughters of Fortune series.  I'm interested in reading the first to find out exactly which events molded Lilly and Rosie into the young women I met in Paris - and even more eager to read the third and find out what ultimately happens to them.

If you're a flapper at heart - or always wanted to be - don't miss Baroness.

I received a free copy of this book from the LitFuse Group in exchange for an honest review.

Ready to read it for yourself?  You can buy this book here.

susie chairback new sm.jpg

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. 

She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the family empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But following their dreams -- from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers -- will take all their courage.  And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Celebrate with Susan by entering her Roaring 20's Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Baroness and Heiress by Susan May Warren

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Applesauce Muffins

I mixed up these muffins during the morning rush one day, and everyone stopped as they came through the kitchen.

"What's that smell?"  they all asked, stopping and sniffing some more.  "It that our breakfast?"

With cinnamon and apples wafting on the air, they hurried to the table, eager to sample these muffins.  My Big Helper didn't have time to add one to her already-full breakfast plate, and upon the promise of one after school, marched off.

When she returned, she walked in the door, immediately asking for her muffin.  Apparently it was on her mind all day.

When the mere smell of something sticks with you throughout seven hours of classes and crazy testing, it must be good.

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. white-wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. applesauce
To make your muffins, just:
  1. Cream the sugar and the butter.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add alternately with the applesauce. 
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.
Makes 1 - 1 1/2 dozen muffins.

What are you serving for breakfast today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thank You for Second Place!


I have fun competing in the Crazy Cooking Challenge each month.  It began 8 months ago as a way to meet other bloggers and find great recipes for a common recipe, and it has definitely lived up to those expectations for me.

I never expected to win, however; and yet we have consistently done pretty well in one way or another each month.  For several months, we've had the most traffic.

This month, we placed SECOND in the whole competition - out of nearly 100 bloggy recipes!  (And we were behind first place by only three votes.)

This is very exciting to me.  I love cooking and sharing new recipes, and knowing that others are interested in those recipes makes the process even more fun.  Thanks for reading about my nest and for checking out my recipes.

Next month's challenge will feature a grilled cheese sandwich - made on any bread, with any cheese, with any extra ingredients.  If you have a blog and want to share your recipe, please send me a link - I'd love to check it out and consider your recipe for next month's challenge!

If you missed the Better-than-the-Bakery Blueberry Streusel Muffins, you can check them out here.  I can't wait to make them again - they're yummy!

GratiTuesday - Keeping Up

When I was little my parents made a washing machine for me out of a box and covered it in yellow contact paper.  I stored my dress up clothes and doll clothes in there, and I loved it - I thought it looked just like my mom's washing machine.

One of my dress up items was an old tank top, a white one with a shiny stripe across the front.  I remember it as being my dad's cross country jersey, although maybe I just made that up as a kid, but I loved that shirt.  I wore it and wanted to be a strong runner like him - wanted to be able to run long distances and set records like he did.  I wanted to be able to run with him and keep up.

Unfortunately, I didn't inherit those running talents.  I wanted to ask to run with him, but after injuring his feet, he's not supposed to run anymore, and I didn't want to risk a re-injury.  Besides, after someone told me that I didn't know how to breathe when running, I gave up - if I couldn't handle breathing, something that should come easily, how would I ever handle the tough task of running?

Then last week we went to the beach for spring break.  It was beautiful, though a bit chilly some days, and we were all excited to be there.  After checking in, we immediately went exploring and walked to the beach.

The kids, of course, couldn't be still and darted all over the sand.  With the tide out, our part of the beach was exceptionally wide.  My Little Man ran in circles to the water and back, chasing birds and shells and a football he kept tossing gleefully.

My Big Helper was enthralled with it all and kept taking off running.  They couldn't hear us over the pounding of the surf, so I kept having to run to keep up with her.  After a few minutes, I asked if she wanted to run and watched her eyes light up.

We  ran just at the water's edge, where it stretched its highest on the sand, keeping our feet mostly out of the water.  We ran for short spurts, stopping to pick up pebbles brushed smooth by the waves, and then taking off again.  Eventually, with hands full of rocks and shells, My Big Helper said that she was tired and wanted to walk - and I realized that I had kept up!  Our interval-running had kept me going and I could have gone further.

I was never so excited about exercise.  :-)

Later in the week I decided to test this a bit more.  I ran down the beach, planning to count to 60 while running, then to 30 while walking and to find out what happened.

Besides landing in a rather deep "creek" area of the beach when I tried to hop over it, it worked out pretty well.  I ran far up the beach, saw lots of beautiful shells, and returned out of breath half an hour later.

After driving the same path the next morning, I realized that I had (mostly) run for 2 miles!

I may never be able to run with my dad - he really shouldn't risk re-injuring his feet - and I don't suppose I'll ever be able to keep up with his cross-country, up-and-down Appalachian ridge abilities.  But I learned last week that I can do more than I think I can.  That maybe my recent attempts at exercise are paying off.  That maybe, someday, my short intervals can stretch into bigger and better ones.

For now, I can keep up with my Energizer-Bunny kids.  That works for me - and it was lots of fun, too.

Maybe someday, they'll want to run with me.

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - April 16, 2012

Now that spring break is over, it's back to the grindstone here.  We're prepping for another birthday celebration weekend, returning to work and school, and I'm participating in a consignment sale - so I'll be making a few trips out of town.  It's going to be a busy one - so I'm planning carefully this week.


- Perfectly Pumpkin Pancakes
- Scrambled Eggs, fruit, toast
- Cinnamon Scones, fruit
- Spinach quiche, fruit

- Fruit and Cinnamon Almond Granola

Lunches will be our usual assortment of leftovers or sandwiches with yogurt or cheese and sliced fruits or veggies.


- Ham, green beans, and potatoes
- Grilled chicken wraps, pears
- Fish, scalloped potatoes, carrots
- Roasted turkey breast, roasted potatoes, limas, applesauce

- Quick and healthy stir fry

- Pizza, fruit, salad, ice cream
- Birthday Brunch out, cake and ice cream later

For more Menu Plan Mondays, visit OrgJunkie.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Heart Echoes" by Sally John

Heart Echoes

Teal Adams is lost - and it's a first.  Usually very confident, since experiencing a horrible earthquake on her way home in LA, she's suffered from PTSD, and with her family members traumatized, as well, it takes little for her to run to her childhood home with her daughter, Maiya.  With Maiya wanting to find her biological father and Teal hoping to avoid any more of the verbal abuse heaped on her by her stepfather growing up, their visit doesn't promise to be rosy.  Can they find their way through this emotional mindfield and land on the same side of the fence?

Teal Adams was very appealing to me.  A no-nonsense kind of woman, she was beautiful and friendly, but she didn't let many people get close.  She was a hard worker and had transformed life from an unhappy childhood to being a successful lawyer, wife, and mother - maybe in that order.

Even with a new relationship blossoming with her sister, I found it curious that Teal wanted to return home to Oregon when disaster struck. In the midst of emotional chaos, why return to the scene of so much former pain - and add stress to a great marriage?  Yet facing her past burdens was exactly what Teal needed to do, and seeing the normally unflappable lawyer being tossed about made for a dramatic, draw-you-in read.

I couldn't wait to read the end of the story.  I so hoped that Teal resolved her past, was able to restore her relationship with her daughter, and save her marriage.  If you like books that do more than scratch the surface, the kind that make you really examine your own heart issues, then Heart Echoes is the perfect book for you.

I received a free copy of Heart Echoes from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chicken Corn Soup

At home in Pennsylvania this soup is really popular, and whenever I'm hungry for home I make Chicken Corn Soup.  There isn't anything simpler, but it's sweet and comforting and hearty without being heavy.

As My Little Man moved from being a toddler into the preschool years, I began to make soup again (I unconsciously avoided them before that - maybe because it was just too difficult to feed to young children).   To my dismay, he abhorred soup and complained about each and every variety - except this one.  As a corn addict, he thought this soup was awesome.  I crushed crackers in it to make it easier for him to eat, and he cleaned his bowl each and every time.

So if you'd like to make your own Chicken Corn Soup, here's what you'll need:

  • chicken - I like to use split chicken breasts
  • several cups of corn - I use the corn that we bagged and froze last summer
  • water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of creamed corn (optional)
To make your soup, just:
  1. Boil your chicken.  I put it in a Dutch oven and bring it to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for an hour.  This will both cook your chicken and create yummy broth for your soup, all at the same time.
  2. Remove the chieken from the broth.
  3. Cool the chicken, then shred with forks.
  4. Chill the broth.  I just put the whole pot in the fridge until the next day.
  5. Skim the fat off the top of the broth.  This can be done easily with a slotted spoon or a spider.
  6. Return the pot to the stovetop.  Add the chicken back into the broth, adding a cup or two of water if necessary.
  7. Add the corn to the pot.  If you'd like it to be a bit thicker and sweeter, add canned creamed corn.  (My husband prefers it this way.)
  8. Let your soup simmer for about ten minutes and serve with crackers.
I love to make this soup as we head into spring.  The sweet corn flavor just promises summer and warm days ahead!

What's your favorite meal for these back-and-forth spring days??


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

“The Homeschool Experiment” by Charity Hawkins & Giveaway!

****  Becky H, you're our winner!  Please check your inbox for an email about how to receive your book.  Congrats!

The Homeschool Experiment 
Julianne Miller and her husband John have agreed that homeschooling is the best way to educate their three little ones, and having survived the first year of kindergarten with a newborn, Julianne is ready to tackle Year Two: with one active son in first grade, a precocious four-year-old fashionista ready to learn, and toddler Michael, who just wants attention.  Between meltdowns and blow-ups, projects and housework and doubting relatives, is homeschooling really a viable option for this family?

I LOVED this book.

If you’ve ever homeschooled (I’ve only homeschooled for preschool thus far), thought about homeschooling, wondered what it might be like, then you MUST read this book.  Not only does Charity write about homeschooling adventures in a completely realistic (I’m assuming much of this was real) fashion, but she does so with humor and Biblical wisdom thrown in. 

It’s rare that I want to take notes when reading fiction, but this book made me want to pull out my highlighter.  Charity ponders the homeschool vs. public school vs. private school debate openly, honestly, and logically, giving fantastic advice to others who might be struggling with this decision.  The mentors from whom Julianne seeks advice do the same: they are able to help Julianne find strategies and resources to solve the problems that she’s having, providing valuable insights to any of us reading the book.

In the back Charity includes a study guide for homeschool groups, making this a fantastic possibility for your next book club meeting or Mom’s Night Out get together.  My favorite part of this was that along with questions, she includes resources relating to issues in the book, so if something resonates with you, you are then able to seek out more information on that topic easily.

Charity shares about how the decision to homeschool is about more than academia:

If I teach my children nothing else, I want to teach them to recognize true treasures – not jewels or palatial mansions, but this amazing world God created, the precious people around us, and His eternal Truth.  For where my children’s treasures are, there their hearts will be also.

Though this computer addict hates to admit it, technology now plays a major role in most people’s lives – and that’s drastically changed the way that families relate to each other and to the outside world.  After being around others who are more “connected” than her little family is, Julianne decides that:

I want to raise children who know how to be still, how to sit, how to think.  I want my children to have hearts for people, not things, and to live to serve, not to be entertained.  And, ultimately, I want them to learn to listen: to family and friends, to their own hearts, and to that Voice that doesn’t beep and flash, that doesn’t always thunder in a whirlwind or burn with fire, but that comes in a gentle Whisper. (p. 116)

Of course, along with being a voice of wisdom and experience, this book is flat out funny.  From fire trucks and hotel visits to who-can-amass-the-most-McD’s visits per month, Julianne’s story will definitely tickle your funny bone.

And who doesn’t need some more of that?

New author Charity Hawkins generously provided a second copy of this book for me to give away – for which I’m very happy, as I’m not ready to release my hold on my copy just yet.  If you want to win your own copy, signed by Charity Hawkins herself,  do any or all of the following by noon on April 24th (leave a separate comment for each):

  • Leave a comment on this post sharing whether you homeschool or not.
  • Follow this blog in any form (GFC, Networked Blogs, etc.) and leave a comment for each.
  • Share about this giveaway via your favorite social media.  Leave a comment for each.
 Please be sure leave a contact method.  Winner will be responsible for replying within 48 hours of contest ending or a new winner will be chosen.

I received a free copy of "The Homeschool Experiment" from Charity Hawkins in exchange for an honest review.