Posted in Christmas, family, Fresh Produce, Holidays, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Band, Uncategorized

Monday Musings

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So last week was a very busy week around our home.  We were preparing for our Band and Strings concert.  Our youngest son was supposed to have a tennis class.  Plus, my husband and I went on a partial weekend date to San Antonio – primarily so we could pick up a produce order from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday morning before we rushed home to play in the concerts.  Here are some pictures of our Bountiful Baskets produce.

But before I write more about the concert I have to talk about our date weekend.  This weekend we went someplace we had never been before – which is Wimberley, Texas.  This place amazed and astounded us.  Having moved to Texas from the mountains of Pennsylvania, the views and scenery around Wimberly took our breath away.  Even though it rained and was cloudy, we were still able to take a short walk to see the river/stream in Wimberley.  Here are some pictures.

 

The problem with all of our family members being in the band and strings groups is that it makes it difficult to take pictures.  Also, because I am one of the moms who helps coordinate things like the food for after the performances, it is even harder to get pictures of our whole family.  This time I failed completely at getting any pictures at all.  Here is one picture another mom took of us during the beginner strings performance.

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So now the Homeschool Band and Strings program are both on break until after the first of the year, but Nathan, Dennis (my husband) and I still have two performances this coming Saturday with the Community Band.  So be watching for updates next week about how that goes.  This Thursday we have a Christmas party for the tennis group as long as the weather cooperates.  Then Dennis, Nathan and I will be heading to Austin/Round Rock to go to Ikea and more.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the image below.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Holidays

Review of A Tale of Two Hearts by Micelle Griep

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About the Book

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Book Title: A Tale of two Cities

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: September 1, 2018

Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life. She saves every penny to attend a finishing school, dreaming of the day she’ll become a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming rogue but penniless. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his puritanical cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t as she comes to love the old man. And when the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such a deception?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

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Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle

Victorian Christmas Foods

So, it’s September, and you know what that means? It’s back to school. Pumpkin spiced everything is just around the corner. And it’s nearly time for cardigans and colored leaves. But besides all these autumn staples, it’s also time to start thinking about Christmas, because it will be here before you know it. How about this year you plan ahead to serve some traditional Victorian food?

In my newest release, A Tale of Two Hearts, the heroine’s father is known for his annual oyster stew that he serves on Christmas Eve. Here’s a bit of the background on that tasty soup.

Victorian Oyster Stew

Oysters have been savored in Britain since the days of the Romans. By Victorian times, industrialization cheapened oysters to the point of them becoming a staple of the poor man’s diet and were a frequent fare served in public houses. This, however, depleted their abundance, and by the mid 1800’s, the natural oyster beds became exhausted, making it harder to find good oysters. While other foods were served as well on Christmas Eve, oyster stew was as common as goose or turkey.

Another Victorian favorite that goes great on a crisp evening is good ol’ hot chocolate, though in Dickens’ England, it would’ve been called something else.

Drinking Chocolate

What we now call cocoa or hot chocolate was called drinking chocolate in the mid 1800s. This beverage was a favorite among Victorian ladies. You can find recipes for it even from the Regency era (early 1800s) and here is one for you to make at home.

And last, but not least, who hasn’t heard of Christmas pudding? To our American ears, that sounds like a tasty dish that you’d eat with a spoon and slap a little whipped cream on top. Actually, it’s more like a fruit cake.

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is quite a production, one that begins well before Christmas Day. In fact, it begins on Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent (which is five weeks before Christmas). This is why when Mina, the heroine in A Tale of Two Hearts, returns home from dinner at Uncle Barlow’s, and though it’s not yet Christmas, she sees the pudding moulds on the kitchen table.

If these tastes and the accompanying smells still aren’t quite enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, then snatch yourself up a copy of the second book in the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series. A Tale of Two Hearts is sure to get you in the mood.

Blog Stops

Kat’s Corner Books, October 2

Creating Romance, October 2

Just the Write Escape, October 2

The Avid Reader, October 2

Genesis 5020, October 3

The Power of Words, October 3

Just Commonly, October 3

Baker Kella, October 3

Among the Reads, October 4

Fiction Aficionado, October 4

Godly Book Reviews, October 4

Inklings and Notions , October 4

Captive Dreams Window, October 5

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, October 5

Proud to Be an Autism Mom, October 5

Multifarious, October 6

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 6

The Christian Fiction Girl, October 6

Texas Book-aholic, October 6

Remembrancy, October 7

Splashes of Joy , October 7

Blossoms and Blessings, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Back Porch Reads, October 8

A Reader’s Brain, October 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, October 8

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 8

Simple Harvest Reads, October 9 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, October 9

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, October 9

Carpe Diem, October 9

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, October 10

Britt Reads Fiction, October 10

Luv’N Lambert Life, October 10

A Baker’s Perspective, October 10

By The Book, October 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 11

Book by Book, October 11

Bigreadersite, October 11

More Of Him, October 12

Pause for Tales, October 12

With a Joyful Noise, October 12

Have A Wonderful Day , October 12

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 13

Bibliophile Reviews, October 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 13

Vicky Sluiter, October 14

Daysong Reflections , October 14

To Everything A Season, October 14

Henry Happens, October 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, October 15

Reader’s Cozy Corner, October 15

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, October 15

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d4ef/a-tale-of-two-hearts-celebration-tour-giveaway

My Thoughts

As October begins, I find myself looking for new books to read and especially ones about Christmas.  Having moved to Texas over two years ago, I need something to help get me into the Holiday spirit. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep.

Last year, I read the first book in her Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series entitled 12 Days at Beakley Manor.  After reading the first book and being completely drawn into the story, I could not wait to open this second book up and begin reading.

The main female character, Mina Scott, wants nothing more than to escape the life she has been born into, which she finds mundane.  The main male character William, who is a gentleman’s son desires to escape his penniless existence by inheriting his uncle’s fortune.  However, he has another cousin who is equally determined to obtain the fortune.  Percy and his wife seek to acquire the fortune by any means necessary, including having their uncle locked away in a mental asylum.

William’s uncle believes William should be married and settle down. So William pretends to do just that by asking Mina to pose as his wife.  Mina jumps at the opportunity. The characters and the story set in 1853 in London truly portrays what comes to mind when I hear “Dickens” and Christmas put together.  I definitely recommend you check out the book for yourself.

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Posted in Church, cooking, family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Thoughts for Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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This past week our son started working as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  He seems to really be doing well and enjoying his work.  Because of the 4th of July, we did not have band or piano lessons.  We celebrated Independence Day with a quiet day at home.

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Here are some tasty dishes we had during the past week.  We had spaghetti with homemade sauce, stuffed shells, manicotti, and shrimp kebabs.  All in all it was a good week of eating.

 

Over the weekend, we got in contact with a Primitive Baptist Church in our area and decided to attend there this Sunday.  Here is a picture of the hymnal they use.  The church is having a four-day meeting this weekend, so we plan on going to the meeting Thursday night.   One of my favorite things about attending a Primitive Baptist Church is that all the singing is acapella.  So the harmony of voices tends to be amazing.  This church was no exception.  It was the first time in over 4 years that we were able to attend a Primitive Baptist Church and we look forward to returning to visit.  Only our youngest son was able to attend on Sunday, but it was still a wonderful time.

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One of the other good things about Primitive Baptist Churches is the way they welcome visitors.  Although we did not know anyone when we walked in, we walked out feeling like we were part of their family.  The other good thing is that when they serve a meal (which they did after the services), everyone is always welcome to come and the food is always amazing.

So what has been going on in your world?  I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew have been up to, click here or on the graphic below.

Posted in cooking, family, Holidays, Home School Review Crew Posts

Thoughts for Tuesday

So this past weekend we had a four day weekend.  Friday, my husband spent putting up about 38 quarts of potatoes. Then Saturday morning, our oldest son, our youngest son, my husband and I had choir practice for our Easter cantata.  Then Sunday we attended church which included our Easter cantata.  Then we came home and had a friend over for Easter dinner. Here are some pictures of our dinner.

We ate collard greens with ham, Black-eyed peas with ham, macaroni salad, deviled eggs and a fruit salad.

For the fruit salad, I combined blueberries, apple pears from Costco, pears from our Bountiful Baskets order, apples, and oranges, kiwi fruit. I mixed the fruit with some sugar and pure vanilla extract. It was delicious.

So what have you been cooking? I would love to hear from you. If you would like to check out what other members of the Home School Review Crew are up to, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Christmas, family, Holidays, Uncategorized

What a Couple of Days

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This verse is very appropriate for this past week.  Our family was supposed to take part in our Christmas skit at our church.  Initially, the four children were supposed to participate.  Then, my husband and I were asked to portray Mary and Joseph.  But then, every single member of our household – from my daughter, our three sons, myself, my mother (who lives with us) and my husband became sick.  Our oldest wound up not participating in the skit.  So my husband took his role.  Our director found new people to play Mary and Joseph and I became an observer. Then to top it all off, we had adventures with our plumbing.  It was not the way I thought our Christmas weekend would go.  Here is a picture of my husband and two of our children playing Carolers, while our youngest son played a cookie.  All in all the skit went amazing.

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With everyone sick, we decided to have a quiet day at home for Christmas.  We had a good dinner.  And then spent the rest of the day relaxing.

Today, I am glad to say the plumbing is fixed.  Some members of the family are on the mend.  So we will pray the new year begins better than the way 2017 is going out.

So how was your Christmas?  I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Christmas, Church, Holidays, Homeschool Band, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Uncategorized

Holiday Stress and Amazing Grace

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Holidays bring a lot of different things along with the happiness and joy that should come with the time of the year. Celebrating our Savior’s birth brings along numerous events, activities, practices, performances and more.  Last week, we had play practice for our Christmas program at church, band rehearsal for our Homeschool Band concert on Thursday and then the actual band performance Saturday night.  Along with the concert itself, which my middle two children, myself, and my husband played in the band, I had to help coordinate the food for the reception afterward.  Afterall, if we wanted people to attend our concert, the moms felt the people should be fed afterward. All of this brings a certain amount of stress.

But, then something happens to remind us of the joy of the season.  As all the moms entered the church, a remarkable thing happened.  All of the moms and especially the five moms who were playing in the band showed up wearing red tops and black bottoms.  Prior to the event, none of us communicated with each other.  So it was truly divine intervention.  Then some levity also happens, such as us all agreeing on what the color combination should be for the spring concert.  Or when everyone who attended the concert said how much they enjoyed the concert.

Now this week, we had play practice this evening, dress-rehearsal Saturday morning and then the actual performance during the Christmas Eve evening service.  Y’all, we have six, count them, I said six members participating in the program.  This means four children plus the two parents, who need not only costumes but also to learn line positions and more.  Our youngest son is playing a Christmas cookie, our other three children are playing Christmas carolers while my husband and I are playing Mary and Joseph.  By the time Christmas morning gets here, I think we will all be glad to sit back and enjoy the quiet Christmas Day we have planned.

But this is the things Christmas memories are made of and I know next year we will look back fondly on them.  It does not matter if everything is perfect.  It matters that we spent time as a family, participated and remembered that Jesus Christ was born, lived and died to save us all from our sins.

So how does your family handle stress at the holidays?  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read more posts from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Christmas, Holidays, Homeschool Review Crew Posts

Our Holiday Traditions

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So our family is still getting ready for Christmas.  We have several traditions that we try to keep every year.  The first tradition is starting to decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  Usually, our tree goes up first.  Every year we try to buy the children a new ornament with significance to that particular year.  For example, this year I will be on the hunt for a saxophone for our youngest son and a baritone for our second son.  They have both started playing in our local homeschool band along with their father and me.

Another family tradition is going to a Candlelight Church service on Christmas Eve.  Being military, we have moved several times in the last eight years, so that does not necessarily work all the time.  Fortunately, this time last year, we found a new church that does have a Christmas Eve service.

Finally, another tradition our family enjoys is driving around to look at Christmas lights in the area where we live.  So of course, we have to put up Christmas lights outside ourselves.

What are some traditions your family enjoys at Christmas time?

This post is part of the Homeschool Review Crew’s look at our family traditions.  If you would like to check out some other posts, click here or on the graphic below.

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