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Monday, March 16, 2015

Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3 Review and Give Away!

I love reading. I read all kinds of books. My favorite are the kind I can recommend to my daughters. There are plenty of books out there that I would blush to tell people about; but, thankfully these books are NOT those kind.

The Texas K-9 books are great reads. When I picked up the first book I was instantly drawn in. Sometimes it takes me a few pages or chapters to really care about characters but with the first book I was hooked by the end of the first page.

Plus, there are dogs in the story. I mean, come on, who doesn't love reading about dogs? Right?!

Then there is the romance. As women we all love to read a good romance novel and this series delivers. They deliver good romance that I would allow my 17 yo to read. I can't say that about too many romance novels.

If you want to check them out, head over to Amazon and buy the set for $11.99!

Here is a little more about the books and the authors

Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking JusticeDetection MissionGuard Duty (Available at Amazon)

Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can't remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer's target.

About the authors:

Shirlee McCoy

Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn't until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.

Margaret Daley

Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn't working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.

Sharon Dunn

Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.

Check out the Facebook Page!

***I also have a book to GIVE AWAY!! Leave a comment and tell me your favorite dog breed to be entered. I will draw a winner Monday March 23rd. Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you! The drawing is for the book "Protection Detail."

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification."





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Homeschool Planet Review

In talking with several homeschooling moms lately I have discovered more than one thing in common with them. A lot of us hate to keep grades. Some of the ladies I talked with don't until high school and a very few didn't at all. They know what their kids are doing, what they know, and how well they know it; why assign grades?

Well, my nature is such that I need grades to fill in the forms. I like forms filled in and blanks to not be empty. Plus, it makes me feel better seeing all those forms filled in!


Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to find an online planner that is easy to use and has all the features you want. Homeschool Planet just might be the thing you are looking for.


Homeschool Planet includes:

*A Calendar View that lets you see anybody's or everybody's calendars at once

*A Planner View with a simple list of everything you need to do and when

*Automatic Rescheduling -- A class time changes? You miss a few days to illness or vacation? No problem! Homeschool Planet automatically reschedules all the affected classes and assignments.

*Separate logins for kids to view their assignments and check them off when completed.

*Daily Digest emails to everyone in your family with their own schedule, assignments, and chores for the day

*Email and text message reminders to help everyone stay on schedule (Some limits apply.)

*Lesson plans with assigments, web links, notes, and more

*Easy attendance tracking, grading and transcript creation

*To Do lists for everyone in your family

*Shopping lists (one each for Target, Safeway, etc.) that you can text to your spouse or have sent to your smartphone when on the go

*Widgets you can use to do research, send text messages, and more. These are really cool!

*Mobile Version -- Ability to view and edit (with some limitations) your calendar on SmartPhones and tablets

*Calendar sharing -- View the contents of your spouse's Google Calendar inside Homeschool Planet, and vice versa! This also works with Apple iCal and other online calendars.

*Lesson Copying -- Copy any lesson for use at a later time by another student.


Homeschool Classifieds is offfering a FREE 30 day trial! Head over Here and check it out. You DO need to be a member of Homeschool Classifieds but membership is FREE as well!


Now for what I thought of Homeschool Planet. I like it. It is fairly easy to use and doesn't have a ginormous learning curve like a few other programs out there. There are many scheduling options, re-scheduling, chores, appointments, multiple students, etc. to choose from. It is a pretty exhaustive list of options. Almost too many? I'm not sure. It would take a while to use this program to its fullest I think. Homeschool Planet would be your one-stop shopping for scheduling school and your life.


You can sign up to get Daily and Weekly Digests of the upcoming events. It can goes to email and I had it sent to my kids as well. It can be printed out for them to use as a guide for getting the work done. I thought that was pretty cool!

I am going to show you some pictures from my tablet of how things look and some of the options.

The picture above is pretty self-explanatory, really. You are creating an event! It is straightforward.

You choose what to add or Copy an Existing Class-that one is HUGE people!

Rescheduling assignments because life gets in the way can be a pain but Homeschool Planet makes is doable.

Display options for how your planner will look. I like options!

Calendar or Planner view, I can never stay on just one. Homeschool Planet offers both!


What I didn't like about Homeschool Planet was the mobile version. I am a gal that likes the desktop version of just about everything I see. I just do. It is a personal preference and I know that. Homeschool Planet does not offer a desktop version on a tablet at this point. There are options for the desktop not available on tablets and the set up looks different than the desktop version. Now, my husband will tell you that most people don't care about such things but I do and so I mention it. Just in case you care about that little thing as well! ****The Widgets are pretty cool on the desktop version-don't neglect checking those out!****

I wouldn't let that be a deterrant if you like what you see. Try it out!


If you want to order a subscription after your FREE Trial, it is $65 for 1 year. You can head over Here to sign up!

Find them here:


Head over to Home & School Mosaics and see what everyone else thought of Homeschool Planet.




Monday, January 5, 2015

It started out...




We had our last Christmas celebration on New Year's Day with my family. We met at my sisters' family's ranch. Did that make any sense?! We spent the day playing games, eating great food, and visiting.


The weather looked like it was going to be ugly as it rained and sleeted on us as we drove out there but cleared up quickly. It was cold but beautiful. The kids had a great time playing with cousins and Maggie, our dog, was just about perfect.


It really couldn't have been a better day!


We did have to drive home that night and got home around 11ish. Not too bad, really. The next day, Steven and I, were heading to a hotel for a get away. Woohoo! We left early and ate a late lunch then went to the movies. We saw Interstellar and actually really enjoyed it. It reminded me of the sci-fi I read in high school. We had some pretty good conversation afterward.


We went back to our hotel and were pretty much ole foggies! He did have my wedding ring fixed and re-proposed to me. It was very sweet and the ring is so nice back on my hand.


The next morning we checked out of the hotel and went for breakfast.


Time out here. Everything was pretty great until this point. Okay, back to story.


We were eating breakfast-I won't tell you what I had because the thought makes me feel sick-and I started not feeling right. The food stopped going down and I had to stop. We went for coffee at Panera, a treat for us, and headed home. (yeah, we are those people that just really love being with our kids!)


By the time we got home the fireworks had started. I'm not talking the pretty 4th of July ones here folks. I mean the grumbly, painful kind that have you cryin' for your momma.


You get the picture?


I tried to mind over matter the whole throwing up thing and won for a few hours. Until I.just.couldn'


Have you seen those movies where the person throws their heads back and a firehose of vomit is shooting from their mouths? That was me. It was not pretty.


In fact it was hideous.


It made me regret pretty much everything I had done in the last few days. The coffee I only had a few sips of? Yup, there it was. So not tastey the second time around.


It was bad, people.


I thought when the eruption was over that I was okay. I felt better after the shakes were gone and got comfy on my bed. I was doing pretty well until the shakes started. The sweating came on so suddenly that I panicked and almost hyperventilated. I started begging God to keep me from throwing up.


No, seriously I did.


He did not grant me that request.


Mt. St. Helens made an appearance this time. I thought I was going to break a blood vessel. It was violent. I kept myself from crying, because that just makes the goo down the back of your throat worse, but just barely. I begged God some more and made STeven get me some anti-nausea medicine. the taste of that medicine was almost too much too bear but I kept it down.


For about two hours.


And it seriously happened again. I am not even joking. This time I almost passed out. No lie. I couldn't catch my breath. This time it might have been a tsunami, I don't know because I kind of checked out. I remember standing there over the porcelain throne thinking of all the things I had eaten and done in the last few days wondering why on earth I would do that and promising myself never to do it again. Ever.


It was a surreal moment in my life I wish never to repeat.


Only it wasn't to be. I repeated the natural disaster that was my bodily function that night and cried out to God. Only Bethany heard me and came running! It was so violent that she thought I was pounding on the wall for help.


Yeah, that happened. It ain't pretty but it's my life.


I assured her that I was indeed alright and ushered her back to her bed. I crawled into my bed, barely making it into the cocoon of blankets. I proceeded to spend the next two hours begging God to make it go away.


He still did not answer me. Well, not exactly. Or not in the way I wanted. There were 'other' issues that popped up and caused some distress. I won't regale you with those're welcome.


Let's just say it was not safe to be around me for a while. That is all on that subject.


I spent all day Saturday and Sunday in bed or the bathroom. There I said it. You knew it was happening anyway, I just needed to get it out in the open. ;-) By Monday, this morning, I was as weak as a kitten and hungrier than a lion. But alas, I could not eat.


Did you hear that? I had my bowels excavated by some poisoned food, lost more than 3 pounds, and suffered embarrassing bodily functions and I can't refill my body. I tried a saltine. Rebellion. 7up stayed down only if it was ice cold.


I finally remembered my mom's homemade bread and asked for a slice. Bingo! It stayed down and didn't cause me to question my life. I had never loved my mother so much in my life as I did at that point. I ate three more pieces of this heaven on Sunday with some of her homemade peach jam. Strange, but it worked.


Monday it was more of the same. Jam and bread...sounds like a song in there somewhere.


But, tonight? Tonight I ate a piece of pizza. A very small piece with very little toppings but a piece none the less. And I kind of wish I hadn't. It is staying down and not causing too much of a ruckus but it doesn't feel the best.


As long as it stays down I'm good.


We will have to reschedule our Family Carnival Night to another night and pray this never happens again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's What's for Dinner

One of our favorite meals around here is Black Bean Taco Chili. I don't know where I got the recipe but we adore it. We usually make ourselves sick everytime we eat it! It is a hardy meal that is crazy simple to make. A definite must for a young person newly out on their own or a newly married couple.

Here it is:

Black Bean Taco Chili

(we double this entire recipe except for the onions and taco seasoning)


1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

1 medium onion, sliced

1 pkg taco seasoning

16 oz frozen corn

1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 14 oz can diced, stewed tomatoes

1 8oz can tomato sauce



Brown meat and onion, drain. Pour all ingredients into crockpot, stir. Cook until hot.


Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream and guacamole. (we usually only make it to the cheese and chips before we are devouring it!)


That's it. It is a great go to meal when you need to throw it together at the last minute or a simple meal to have ready at the end of the day.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hello, Again, Hello

Yeah, my blog is all but dead. I always mean to post but can't find the time to sit down and do it. How lame is that?

I actually do have the time I have just chosen not to.

Because I am lazy.

And I don't manage my time well.

And I got so behind that I just shut down.


This year is going to be different. I am going to slowly catch up on everything. It will take time but it is going to happen.

It probably won't be pretty but it will happen.


Starting with Christmas.

We celebrated Christmas a little differently this year. Bethany and Steven sang at all three Christmas Eve services this year. I was not happy about it. I guard Christmas Eve and keep it for our immediate family only. We open our pajamas, watch a movie, and eat snacks. It's what we do.

I would like to say that I was a mature adult about it when they told me but honestly, I was trying not to cry. It wasn't one of my finer moments. I walked away and thought about something else. I came to terms with it and they said yes.

Little did we know that Bethany would get sick right before Christmas. Really sick. She had to work a five hour shift on Christmas Eve and then go straight to church to sing. For almost three hours. She barely survived. Seriously. We gave her ibuprofen, EmmergenC, and tons of water. And lots and lots of prayer.

By the time she came home she was feverish and coughing up a lung. It was awful. For her and us!


Christmas day was even worse. She was feeling horrid. I started her on antibiotics and we set off for my in-laws. Beth stayed in a room sleeping most of the day but at least she was there, right? It was a really great day filled with food, family, and laughter.

That night was not so great. Bethany got worse and Steven and I got a stomach bug. Which Bethany caught a little later that night. Seems that it spread through the entire extended family. No lie. So Bethany was coughing up a lung with bronchitis and throwing up her guts from a stomach bug. Good times.


The next day we took her to the doc and got steroids to speed up the healing but it wasn't quick enough for her to go to work on Saturday. She spent four days in bed, literally.


The rest of us worked around the house and stayed away from the sickies. Yes, I was one of them but I kept working and rejected the feeling of throwing up. Yes, I said that. I refuse to throw up until it erupts out of me. I.hate.throwing.up.with.a.deadly.passion.


Steven and I started some projects on Saturday in betweeen napping and eating saltines. He worked on transferring my pantry to the walk-in closeet and building more shelves. He got it transferred but still needs to add in a few more shelves. I worked on the Reading Room.

We have had the reading room for a while but as of late it became a catch all for everyone's stuff. It started out that no one was allowed in my room but slowly it was overrun by kids and their stuff. I was just too busy to do much about it.

I was longing for a quiet place so I started on it Saturday. I rearranged the furniture and made the kids collect their crap stuff. I dusted and removed tables I didn't want anymore. It became a room I can't stay out of! I love it. It is once again my room and my quiet place.

It was worth the queasy feeling throughout the day to be able to sit in there and relax.


Sunday we stayed home and slept and watched movies. Bethany stayed in bed almost all day unable to eat or walk without coughing. Bug came back after being gone all last week and we returned to normal.


We have one more Christmas and then the season will be at an end. The sickness will hopefully stay away and we can enjoy Steven being home.


Monday, November 10, 2014

3D Fiberlash Mascara Review

What girl doesn't love a good mascara? How about one that makes your lashes look longer and thicker? Yeah, I thought so!


Younique has a mascara that does just that. Moodstruck 3D Mascara is basically a wonder product.

"Our simple three-step process combines Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers to help create the appearance of incredible thickness and volume to your existing lashes. Watch as your lashes transform into something you have only dreamed of! The 3D Fiber Lashes are water resistant but easily wash off with warm water and facial cleanser at the end of the day. Try it! It will quickly become your favorite makeup must-have!"

I have FIVE girls in my house. Only three of them use mascara regularly but one of the younger ones needs mascara for theater. We go through a lot of mascara come showtime. I don't like fake eyelashes (I can't figure them out!) and I can't imagine putting them on a 9 year old anyway. So Moodstruck 3D Mascara is the perfect alternative.

When my package arrived I was thrilled at the packaging. It is a pretty little case that is so classy looking! The package has the Transplanting Gel and the Natural Fibers tubes. They are sleek black and a nice shape in my hand. Yes, that is important to me.

I immediately pulled it out and used it. Who could wait? I read the instructions, which are very easy to understand, and got started. After putting on a light coat of my own mascara I pulled out the Transplanting Gel and applied it. I wasn't sure if I was getting it on every lash, though. It was a little hard to tell but after doing it a couple of times I got the hang of it. Right after the Transplanting Gel is on you put on the Natural Fibers.

Now, I am going to be honest and tell you that I had a hard time with this. I like to have a clean wand/brush and tried wiping the brush on the tip of the tube. That doesn't work very well. It bothers me to have the fibers just hanging there...but that is probably just me! I applied the fibers and could instantly tell a difference. My lashes looked longer and thicker. I put another coat of the Transplanting Gel on and they were set.

It was amazing! I showed my girls and they practically swooned. This was going to change our lives. Okay, maybe not change them but definitely make our eyes stand out!

My 15 year old has crazy long lashes already but they are very blonde and hard to see. When she put Moodstruck 3D Mascara on it was crazy. Well, you can see for yourself!


I will tell you that I cried at one point while wearing Moodstruck 3D Mascara (not because I was so happy, although that did cross my mind) and it did not run. It didn't last as long but I did not look like a racoon or have black streaks down my cheeks. Score another for Moodstruck 3D Mascara.

I did get some of the fibers in my eye and it did burn. But, I was able to get them out easily and there were no lasting pain or redness. My 16 year old wears contacts pretty often and has had no problem wearing this mascara. Which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

Younique is selling Moodstruck 3D Mascara for $29. That might seem like a lot but it is totally worth it. I am seriously getting more for our theater productions. You can buy your own at their website. While you're there, check out the other great products they offer. Raquel Dunn has been working with us on these reviews and has been so helpful and knowledgeable. Head over now and check out this fantastic mascara!


While you are at it, head over to Home and School Mosaics and see what everyone else though of Moodstruck 3D Mascara.