Monday, March 3, 2014

A book review

I just put the most recent book released by Lisa Wingate down after three evenings of  reading.
I read the " firefly Island" last year and had forgotten that " wildwood creek" was part of the Moses Lake series. Thankfully this book will stand alone so if you haven't read "Firefly Island " not to worry! In this book, we are introduced to two young ladies on the verge of adulthood. Both Bonnie Rose and Allie Kirkland are facing similar challenges in life despite the drastic differences in Eras they live in. These two young women have dreams for their future and a past that haunts them in some way. Both Bonnie Rose and Allie Kirkland have to make the decision whether to allow hardship and fears hold them victim or actually push through while praying for Gods will to be done.
I  loved the in depth characters that Lisa Wingate creates, the plot is perfect- a bit of suspense a dash of romance and heart issues we all find ourselves navigating from time to time make her books just perfect. This book will get five out if five stars on once again like to thank Bethany House publishers for the opportunity to review this book. This is my personal opinion and I was not compensated for this review 

It's already the first of March and we are enjoying the cool weather because once it gets hot outside Lil G will be staying inside, she doesn't sweat so it makes warm weather quite a challenge. Here are a few of my favorite photos:

             Staying the night at grandparents means everyone needs a bed.

Purple owl hats are perfect for any occasion! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's going on in my studio?

                        I made a commitment,
                       "Paint just one hour a day."


                                                         Little did I know,
                                        That commitment plus sharing photos
                                           Would open up a big can of worms.


                        I've had requests each day for the painting or one like it.
                                             This is not what I had intended. 
                                       It's quite overwhelming for this introvert.


                                           I dreamt of being an artist one day.
                                           I wanted to illustrate children's books.
                                   (I even have one written and the ideas sketched out.)
                                                  But how to sell a book? Ugh.


                                                         I  just enjoy painting.
                                            (Of course Id love to support my habit)
                                                          Money for supplies.
              Maybe have some tucked away for Graces needs not covered by insurance.

                                       I'd like to know,how do you make it work?
                                                            Business cards?
                                                             Etsy? Pay Pal?
                                    Business website or a business Facebook page?
                                                         What works for you,
                                                          and what doesn't?

                      Linking up with Jen and the ladies at " what's in your studio" 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

What's going on in my studio

I used to belong to a group of sweet artists that would link up on Fridays,
We encouraged one another in the creative process.
Just a bunch of sweet ladies.
I loved linking up and sharing what I had been creating.
Well fast forward and I've dusted my drafting table off
And I am painting again.

                        Between everything else I have pulling at me for attention
                      I've decided I would set aside at least one hour to nurture my creative self. 


Things have been a little out if balance so Im going to put forth some effort.
I also made a comment about taking care of my physical being
My husband took that little mention
And ran with it,
I am now signed up for yoga classes.
Yes. Me. Shaking in my shoes.
No turning back.
The hours, days, and weeks add up.
I have to start somewhere.


        This little bird paid a visit while I was reading over at Incourage with Ann Voskamp today.
                                       I  thought this might look sweet behind it. 

                                                              Matthew 6:25,26 

                                 a photo of Little G in case you are wondering how she is
                                 We braved the Fl cold and went to her Yearly physical.
                                                                  We love her Dr.

                                                      We then got her glasses fixed.
                                                              Quite a productive day.
                                                            Of course if you are little G 
                                    no stressful day would be complete without French fries.


                                             I  hope this finds you and yours doing well.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reading and Down Syndrome

Dr. Seuss. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. 
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

Now that I am on top of all my book reviews,
Whew! That was crazy.......
Id like to update you where we are 
and a bit about the process.

We have still been working hard on reading. 
For so long it felt like we were never going to actually be able to " read".
I've been using these flash cards purchased at the $ Tree for a single dollar per pack!
When I can I purchase two packages of each category-
This really helps when we want to play a matching game or I can add both words to our stack
Then when using the fast flash method I can go through the set twice easily. 

If you are new to teaching reading to little ones with Down Syndrome
This book was a great place to start.
It now comes with a CD so if you have an old version like I did 
You can purchase the CD separately.
It's really great to print off what you might need.
If you know where the CD is.......

I have found that adding five new words at a time works best for us.
Always using positive reinforcement, I never say "No". 
If she misses a word or pauses more than a few seconds,
 I just say the word and move on. 
When she knows those five words I add in new ones. 
I try to add words that don't resemble others visually at the same time. 
So maybe words that begin with a different letter? 
Not sure if this makes sense but she is learning how to read these visually 
and that is one of her weak areas, since she is legally blind, 
I want success as often as possible! 
She loves clapping and cheering when she is successful 
we want school / learning to stay fun, positive and upbeat.

We started using these sentence strips when we had a limited vocabulary
Reinforcing left to right tracking.
These were also purchased at $ Tree!
You can see there are other colors and currently I have left the pink and yellow for later.
I don't want her to see a yellow card and memorize what is on that strip.
Yes, she does that. 
Some of the word cards are light blue-
she will say the word without " reading it".
She knows its either "do" or " but" 

These were some of the first sentence strips

                                             This is what she read yesterday. 
                      ( I would love to add bold, large typing, and italics, and undlerine to that sentence)

Quickly, and with ease.
I think the most exciting part is that she did it verbally and with ASL.
Her speech has come so far!

 We also have this flip book and are working on phonics
In addition to sight words. She is doing phenomenal with this!
I've seen on pinterest an idea for making your own flip books using spiral bound 3x5 cards.


My next project is making some books without pictures using her words
I'm going to use these books I bought for $1 at T@rget!

Reading is possible!
She is 8 years old 
But when you take into consideration that at 4.5 years of age she was on an airplane
No spoken language,
Only comprehended Spanish.........
Legally blind.......
Quite amazing if you ask me.
I'm quite humbled to think of all the tears I shed.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What a great Christmas vacation!

So, without further ado,
Photos from our trip to Ks
We braved the ominous Weather Channel forecast 
And left Saturday the 20th and enjoyed a week of winter wonderland.
It was beyond words.
Of course we ended up sick.
And feel behind the 8 ball now that New Years is past and life back to normal is on the agenda.
But hey, we made some incredible memories.

                                   ( this is what the Florida girl saw when we arrived! )


                                                   My husband and I 

                                   Little G, her big sister, and her sisters boyfriend.

                              A Christmas Eve battle - soldiers from the Nutcracker tree.

                                                     Ice skating
                                                And snowball fights!

          I pray you and yours found plenty of moments to pause and savor the little things,
                    I am finding the ones that seemed little are quite big in hindsight. 


Monday, January 6, 2014

Forever Friday

As promised I have a book review to share today. 
I just read " Forever Friday" by Timothy Lewis.
I didn't know what to expect because this is a new Author for me.
 I love a good book with well developed characters and this book did not let me down. The author chose to have two plots, a past and present with two main characters moving forward in time simultaneously. He did a great job at keeping my attention and I didn't find myself favoring one plot above the other. The main central theme happens to be "Hope" which is the word I chose as my word for this New Year. I love how the author offers hope to young and old, relationships can and do last even in this disposable society, we just need to choose faith, hope, and love. I look forward to reading more by Timothy Lewis, thank you to Blogging for books for providing the free copy for review purposes. This review is my honest opinion and I was not compensated in any way for this positive review. 

If you are interested go read the first chapter over at blogging for books here:

I will also include a photo of Lil G.
You can see here that she is being an efficient secretary,
I'm not sure about you but I sure could use one of those as I navigate 
Insurance company nonsense,
School stuff,
Church, hobbies........

Two book reviews to end the year!

I have two book reviews to end the year. 
They were both good books.
First I will share my review about the Miners lady.
I have read several books by Tracie Peterson and was glad to be chosen to read this one. I really enjoy a good historical novel. I enjoyed the small mining town and reading about the Italian families settled there, the feud between two families stretching back so far back that the current generations didn't even know the details of how the discord started. It made me really think about family dynamics and forgiveness. I also enjoyed the love story and how they were willing to do anything for love. It was much like Romeo and Juliet yet the plot just wasn't as heartfelt as I would have liked.. I did feel like much of the story could have used some deeper details and the characters seemed undefined per se. I found myself reading it just to get to the end of the story not really Savoring the process. For those reasons I will give this book three out of five stars.

The second book, " An elegant solution" was not a read- in -one - night - sitting book. It took putting the little one to bed and burning the midnight oil while the rest of the house was sleeping. The author did an impeccable job of developing the plot and characters. I love a book that really requires thought and where details matter, this book was quite a surprise and gave me something to chew on and look forward to each evening. Many of the books I read this past year I wouldn't recommend to my husband or sons, but this one would really be something to hold their attention. ( Especially my engineer / mathematician bent son)  If you enjoy a book with suspense, well researched historical content, and well developed characters I would highly recommend you read this book. I will give this one five stars on Amazon.

Thank you to Bethany House publishers for the copies of these books for review purposes. The review are my honest, personal opinions and I am in no way compensated for my review.

Edited to add: it does not sit well with me to open my blogger tool to find an error message " retry publishing" which means this post sat for two plus weeks without being posted. I've had many blogger friends switch to another format and Im highly considering it for myself. I will spare you the book review I was signing on to publish and do that tomorrow. 

Here is a photo to share what we did over the Christmas break.
Come back tomorrow and I will share more!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving week with the family

Yesterday I posted about how FULL the Fall has been. 
I was mostly consumed with Lil G's educational needs
But interspersed with learning and creating
I've been reading. ( see my reviews at the end!) 

( Lil G and her Uncle Matt, pastor, and father of the groom)

I think I've been sharing my knitting projects,
I also promised my sister in law that I would decorate the rehearsal dinner for her sons wedding.
So, last week we had Lil Gs birthday, driving to Tampa for Thanksgiving and a wedding,
Plus driving home - all in one week.

         ( Lil G loves a nice tie. She is pointing out the blue one her brother is wearing)

All this week I have been cleaning and bringing out Christmas decorations,
As well as packing away wedding decor.
Add to it, a reminder from the publisher for book reviews that have been sorely neglected! 
I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from the wedding.

Lil G and her beloved Papa playing a game, sun setting in the background.

( if you are sensitive to noise this is a perfect way to enjoy the party!) 

I thought I might tell you about a book or two I read this Fall too! 
I'm saving my most favorite for last though!

I can't remember which one arrived in the mail for me to review first so I will start with this one,
" Blood and Bone" by Don Hoesel. This book is very different than many of the books alive read this year. I will say I enjoyed the change in pace immensely. This is the third book in a series but thankfully it stood alone quite well. ( I hadn't read the first two and was able to figure out what was going on thanks to the flashback scene that started the first chapter.)  I enjoyed the family aspect of this book - most books I've read in this genre don't include dragging a family into the adventure. The main character has two sons, one of which has CF which  touched my heart since we too have a child with medical needs. I wish the author had gone into more detail about the main characters family and personal life. There was room for that given the situation. I felt like I didnt get to know the characters on a deep level as I do with other novels. ( This all my personal opinion though ) Overall I enjoyed this book since the plot was engaging- from the first page to the last! If you are looking for a suspense filled read without blood, gore and sex this one should be on your list! I will give this book four out of five stars.

The next book I read was by one of my most favorite authors, Dee Henderson.
 I will say that I was ecstatic to be chosen to review this book. The author has a way of writing a suspense novel without the blood, gore, and scenes that really turn me off- yet still keep the integrity of the story. "Unspoken " was not a disappointment. I enjoyed the characters immensely, the main character was a bit more difficult to get to know than other novels she has written but I felt that added to the story and was done on purpose. Dee Henderson has a way of writing that draws the reader in - even staying up way past a decent bedtime to find out what is next when knowing full well it might not be in their best interest.( just one more chapter-ing it till 2 am!)  Full of suspense and action, add a dash of romance and intrigue and you have a Dee Henderson novel. If you have never read one of her books I highly recommend " Unspoken" as a place to start. I rarely give a book five stars but will not hesitate with this one! 

I only have one more book left from this Fall to complete. It has been a little more difficult to review but I am hoping it will be well worth it. The writers style has me captivated one moment and frustrated the next!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to review these books. The review is completely my own humble opinion and I am in no way compensated or expected to write a positive review.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eight years old!

Since my last post Lil G has played ball on the Miracle league team,

 dressed up for our church Fall festival,

Grown at least another inch,

Celebrated her eighth birthday,
          ( playing with her new baby doll) 

And  celebrated her fourth Thanksgiving.

        ( having a conversation with Uncle Matt)

We have so much to be thankful for don't we?!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kitting projects - and a book review

QI've been getting some baby knitting done. 
The babies have been born and I am still knitting away. 
The first outfit was a beautiful variegated blue/ purple.
My best friend from high school, and my maid of honor 26 years ago, just had her first Grandbaby.
I babysat for her and vice versa when we were young married folks.
It's hard to believe her daughter is now married and has a daughter of her own.
The baby looks so much like her mama did.
If you are on Ravelry the pattern I used is called Helena.

While I was knitting that sweater I was also reading the books  " Splitting Harriet"  by Tamara Leigh and  " A simple change" by Judith Miller.

I will start with my review for "splitting Harriet".
It was a great quick read!
I loved the main character.
She is a preachers daughter and now trying to reconcile the mistakes she made in her past
And how they affect her now. Of course we learn from our mistakes but they are NOT who we are.
It is a huge lesson that each of us have to learn.
Unless we are perfect! Since I don't have any experience in perfection I can't speak on that topic. Can I repeat, I  loved the main character- she is so spunky and young-this was such a great read. The church politics and a few other situations gave me some perspective in my own life.  I just love the author Tamara Leigh and recommend her writing! Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book.I was provided a copy for review purposes but in no way compensated for this review. The opinion expressed here is completely my own.

 The second review is for a book called "A simple change" by Judith Miller. I thought this was going to be another Amish story but was surprised to find she had written about the Amana colony. My daughter has lived out in KS for a little over a year so I was intrigued to read this book and found myself checking the mailbox for its arrival. I was not disappointed. This book dealt with many life situations that we all deal with, maybe with different names. Health issues with close family members and how we are going to Deal with it emotionally and physically. Aging parents,Career choices, and loyalty to friends and family to name a few. Since my children are now in the midst of these situations- trying to figure out their life calling, figuring out their faith for themselves, and moving cross country many of the topics resonated with me. If you are looking for a historical novel this would be a good choice.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.I was provided a copy for review purposes but in no way compensated for this review. The opinion expressed here is completely my own.

The next little baby hand knit was a dress and hat.
I have never held a baby under 6 lbs so I kept worrying this would be too small.
The mama told me she would be approx 6 lbs so I knit accordingly.
The baby was born weighing 5 lb and 6 oz. !
She has been in the hospital since she was five days old.
She is one very sick little girl.
Pneumonia, MRSA, and at one time we were praying because it seemed she would need a lung transplant.
I am not sure if this is still the case or not.

I've just completed another baby sweater that also has a leaf motif on the neck and is knit from the neck down. I have enjoyed how this sweater has knit up. Very easy knit for sure!
I am going to cast on for a little hat since this baby lives in Colorado. I know a hat will come in handy.
She came a month early so I am behind the 8 ball on this one!

Next I will start a 9 month sized sweater for my cousins little girl.
She was born late Spring and lives in Florida.
I wanted to wait until closer to the time she would be wearing it to actually knit it.
Some babies grow quicker than others and I didn't want a hand knit to be too small.
My Grandmother crocheted a gift for each of us / our babies so I wanted to knit something for this little one - like on my Grandmothers behalf.