Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2015 Daily Planner by Sue Hooley, A Review

May not be good,
But there is
Something good
In every day.

I am so excited to share this with my readers! I was chosen to review the 2015 Daily Planner, a homemakers best friend! Here it is! Introducing Sue Hooley's newest planner!

2015 Daily Planner
List Price: $13.99 with free shipping on three or more|
Format: 6x9 Spiral bound 

"A homemaker’s life consists of innumerable details. Appointments, church activities, school schedules, and homemaking in general, repeatedly demand her time and attention. Written tasks help to organize our days and duties and it frees the mind to focus on what is most important.

        The Daily Planner was designed by Sue, wife of Dan for 24 years and mother to six lovely children, two girls and four boys ages 5-21. The planner was developed after several years of motherhood and homemaking. Sue understood that a homemaker's day can rarely be scheduled and structured the same as the one before – not every task can fit neatly into the time-slot allotted by other planners. Since her first publication in 2010, thousands of homemakers have benefited from the daily planner.

This daily planner is divided into the following seven sections:

Yearly Calendar
Monthly Calendar
Weekly Planning
Tasks List
Projects and Events
Shopping Lists

Some helpful tips on using the Daily Planner from Sue;

yearly calendar

This is for jotting down upcoming events,or making note of a special happening. To remember the one-year anniversary of the death of a friend’s husband, just post it in the appropriate space of the following year. If passports expire in October of 2016, make a note for future reference.

monthly calendar

Make an entry of all the upcoming events such as church meetings, weddings, school activities, appointments, reunions, holidays, etc. on the Monthly Calendar. It is helpful to see at a glance what will be happening over the next several months.This becomes useful for weekly scheduling.

weekly planning

       Under the heading Tasks for this Week are spaces to jot down things that need to be done such as phone calls, appointments, balancing the checkbook, etc. It’s beneficial to take time to sketch out the weekly tasks in advance. If a dentist appointment needs to be scheduled, write it down. If laundry is the biggest event on Monday, write it down. Look for short slots of time to do small projects. It only takes a few minutes to schedule a dentist appointment or to send a card. If it is written down, you are more apt to grab those precious few minutes when the opportunity arises. If a suit needs to be taken to the dry cleaners, jot it down so it isn’t forgotten on the next trip to town. If cleaning is consistently done on Friday, then consistently write it down. As monotonous as that may seem, it is still a big accomplishment.

       Plan the basic menu for the main meal each day. This can be done before the week arrives or it can be decided on a daily basis. Deciding on the type of meal for each day will lessen the choices. Example: casserole on Monday, soup on Tuesday, meat and potatoes on Wednesday… When Monday comes, just decide what type of casserole to make.
 To make the current weekly layout easy to find, clip the top corner of the page on the dotted line. Write with a pencil so daily tasks can easily be erased and rearranged to accommodate the unpredicted issues that come along. Written tasks are to serve as a guide so you can plan what is reasonable and comfortable. Freely modifying a schedule is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a mark of strength. This approach will help to make wise choices that are best for you, your husband, and your children.
To view more on how to use the Daily Planner just click over to their website under How To Use The Daily Planner.

My Thoughts: This planner is fantastic! I was given the 2014 planner to begin using right away to prepare for this review and I have loved it! It is portable and fits right into my diaper bag! It is thick but not too bulky. The pages stay intact despite being tossed in my bag and being on the go. I use it for planning meals, carpool, play dates, essential oil classes, field trips, trainings, journaling, recipes, grocery lists, and so many more things! I have NEVER been a planner type of person but have always wanted to be more organized. This was the perfect planner to set me on the right path toward being the type of mom, wife, homeschool teacher, and friend I long to be. 

The beautiful artwork on the front of the durable cover makes it a joy to take out and schedule events in my calendar. There is a lovely photo and scripture on the front that reminds me to always put God first in all of my preparations. Only He holds the plans of my life, I can only prepare. This planner helps me to be more diligent in helping me to live my life on purpose not just let life events roll on by.

"My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" Exodus 33:14 This scripture graces the cover of the 2015 edition of the Daily Planner. May we all sense the Lord's presence in our daily lives as He grants rest to our weary minds by writing our days down!

Grab one for yourself before January, details below. Let your comings and goings be a testimony and light for the Lord each time you open your Daily Planner! God bless!

2015 Daily Planner
List Price: $13.99 with free shipping on three or more|
Format: 6x9 Spiral bound
Order at: http://www.homemakersfriend.com

I received a free 2014 and 2015 planner in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Let My Light Shine, Julie Kinscheck A Review

I am so excited to write this review for all of you! I was so happy to be chosen as one of the twenty fabulous women who got the chance to write a music review and set aside our books, (for a short bit anyway)! This is SO COOL!


"Let My Light Shine" by Julie Kinscheck & LIFLIGHT is Gospel-Jazz with an infusion of pop-rock and country. 

Julie's music reflects a Christian world-view, sometimes boldly, but is really about the hope God can provide- especially to women and Mom's- expressed with some humor, SCAT solos, lush arrangements and depth of heart.

This music is her ministry to shine God's light in a dark world.

Purchase Her CD HERE!

Singer-songwriter, folk, country/ gospel with Jazz on top!

 Recently called "An ambassador for unfortunate children in the world and for what faith in God can do!" by a representative from Hope Worldwide. Julie Kinscheck has written songs and/or performed for Hope Worldwide and Compassion International. 

Named one of the most promising unsigned writers by the National Academy of Songwriters, Julie has played across the US and Europe. She has been honored to play on large stages such as Madison Square Garden, NYC and the Fleet Center, Boston and also many conferences, small churches, restaurants, weddings and coffee houses.

Raised with folk roots in Ithaca N.Y., she launched a street tour of Europe, followed by a few years training at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. At last she landed at Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full scholarship. Some fans have named her the : Queen of SCAT!

“Julie Kinscheck’s songwriting and outstanding vocal work will satisfy you to your soul…” - Metronome Magazine Jan 2010

I really enjoyed the different styles of music Julie sings on this CD, "Let My Light Shine".
Just after enjoying a country style song, "Nothing Like the Love", talking about the love of children, and an even softer country style song in "Jesus Wept", Julie breaks out the guitars in "Waiting on You". 

I loved the words in Julie's songs. In "I'm a Mess", she sings how she can't even get her eight year old to bed, "I'm a mess!" My favorite song was "Love Life Like I Should". It is a fun, light-hearted song about living life with less worries, with lots of fun scat singing. "Oh, oh, oh, gonna love life like I should, Zabbie at, zabbie at do day"! (Or something like that!)
While my family didn't care all that much for Julie's singing coming out of my laptop speakers, I can  just imagine her live in concert she would probably really get the crowd hopping with her songs about children, life, love, and Christ!

"Oh, oh, oh, gonna love life like I should, zabbie at, zabbie at do day"! (Or something like that!)

I received a link to review Julie kinscheck's music in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Essential Oils? How Is That Going To Help Me?

What is the deal with essential oils? 

"Few people in mainstream medicine will want me to share this post with you. First, they’ll say it’s because they have an aversion to all things quackery. Then, they’ll have a change of heart and try to classify essential oils as “medicine,” of which nobody else can give advice on because these oils are used to “prevent or treat disease” – along with carrots, garlic, herbal tea, and wheat grass.

Then, they’ll make an exception for reading package inserts and make up one on the spot to warn you about the potential atrocity that could result from you using something natural that has little to no side effects and is responsible for zero hospitalizations and deaths each year. While they’re busy scaring your socks off, they’ll forget to tell you they’ve had no training on essential oils and have no clue what they’re talking about.
No worries. I’m not going to diagnose you with a disease today, nor am I going to treat you. I’m not going to try to sell you essential oils either. I’m just going to sell you on them because really, life just seems incomplete without a good essential oil in your back pocket.

I know what you’re thinking…what are my qualifications for speaking on this “trend?” No worries guys. My quack degree in quack medicine taught me everything I needed to know, and what I didn’t pick up in one quack school I picked up at another, and what I didn’t pick up there, I picked up from Google University. Rest assured, you are in good hands.

Pleasantries aside. Let’s talk.

Essential oils are not a trend. They’re not voodoo, woo woo, or foo foo. They’ve been around a long time, are mentioned over 188 times in the Bible, were referenced in Chinese manuscripts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and were even used during the time of the ancient Egyptians as medicine. People survived the bubonic plague thanks to this stuff. No joke.

An essential oil is a volatile liquid carefully extracted from a plant that’s used medicinally for all sorts of health imbalances. Once carefully extracted these oils can be used for inhalation, ingestion, absorption, and are used for all sorts of household and personal products like laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, and lotion. It’s the chemical properties in these oils that provide the benefit and once applied to the skin these benefits hit the blood stream within three seconds.

Essential oils are amazing. They’re powerful, and they’re safe when used appropriately. You shouldn’t take my word for it though." Read the rest here.  www.livingwhole.org

Help nurture your family today! http://www.mydoterra.com/jennifersmith20147311848/

Join the essential oil discussion! Sing Over Me Essential Oils

Friday, August 15, 2014

Come Back To Jesus And Don't Bring Your Blackberry by Tanya Logan A REVIEW


ISBN-13: 978-144978207-8  |List Price: $14.46 |Format: Softcover | Page Count: 120

Finding time to be in God's presence with seven children can be at many times very challenging. Just as I'm about to sit down in the morning and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and my Bible I seem to have a little one eager to greet me with "hello" and hugs and kisses.

I mean seriously! Look at those cheeks!

 My kids are truly a great source of joy and also a distraction. What drew me to this book was a conviction in my spirit to the things in my life that maybe I was the problem and I need to be the solution. "I am my own worst enemy" I mumbled to myself recently. Maybe God was speaking to me to reach for greater things, instead of easy things, like Facebook to pass my time. Why not teach my daughter to cross-stitch while she is little? Do I have the time?

For. God's. Word.
For His Heart.
For His Love.
For His Time.
If God can make time for me, maybe I can find a little time for Him!

So with a little reservation, and a humble heart I signed on to review this book to take a look into the things that might be getting in my own way of deepening my relationship with God. Maybe you too have similar issues?

"Have you drifted away from the Faith? Or has life gotten in the way? 

If any of these:


have held you up, you need Come Back to Jesus.

Renew your love of Christ and your joy in building on the gifts God gave you. STOP just going through the motions. Find the time-stealers and replace them by starting afresh with prayer; center yourself in The Word.

Explore the things that could lead you off the "narrow path." Practice opening up to God, being in His presence....

Experience the love of the Lord like you may never have before. Read the book as a personal growth guide, or use it as a 6-week Bible study and share insights and encouragement with your small group."

Week One opens with a question to the reader, "Who Is My God?"  This week is followed by five more weeks titled "Seduced by the World", "A Week Without My Little Gods", "A Week with the (Di)Vine", "Responsibilities of Salvation (How to Remain Pruned)", finishing with, "Staying Free in an Idolatrous World". Each week contains five days of devotional studies for a total of 30 small devotional studies leading to ways to stay free from idols and come back to Jesus!
In addition to sharing her own journey in coming back to Jesus, the author uses plenty of scripture quotes and describes Biblical characters and their flaws and strengths to draw the reader into identifying their own weaknesses and areas that need improvement.
I enjoyed the study and there is plenty of room to write your own convictions answers in the spaces provided.
At the end of the book is also a helpful Leader's Guide that anyone can use to lead discussions in order to do this Bible study in a small group setting. This would be a wonderful way to dig deeper into the study by sharing in the journey with others!
Don't let the "And Don't Bring Your Blackberry" subtitle sway you though.  The title seemed a little outdated to me, but the book is still very relevant.

Purchase on Amazon Here

Check out a sample here!


Author BIO:Tanya Logan found herself drawn to Christ while on a cloud-gazing walk at the age of 9. Since then, she has seen His hand in nature from her native East Tennessee to Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA and now Southwest Florida. A writer all of her life, Come Back to Jesus—and Don’t Bring your Blackberry is her 4th book. She has also freelanced extensively and is the ghost author of 11 books, 2 of which are required reading for college courses.

“If I never have another word from God, this one is enough: Go tell the people to get the “stuff” out of the way so they can worship Me better,” Logan says. Thus the 6-week study Come Back to Jesus was born.

Tanya's Website

Book Website

Author's Facebook

Author's Twitter

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Surviving Camp on a THM Diet! 10+ THM Style Camping Meals

It's time to get ready for our annual camping trip!
     We can't wait to get back and make some more memories! Swimming, fishing, boating, 4-wheeling, and lots of relaxing and EATING!
Since starting Trim Healthy Mama back in March both my son and I have lost 20 pounds each! Yep, that's 40 lbs of flab gone! (All with minimal "exercising" mind you. Just THM'ing life)

     It's been an interesting THM journey to say the least! I've learned what GGMS, MIM, CIB, gluccie, and "doonk" mean. Learning how to make all the foods we love so my kids are growing and satisfied while my son and I lose weight has been more than a challenge. There were days I would stand in front of the open fridge and cry, "I can't eat anything in here! Ugh!"

     But I've learned to come up with some of my favorite "go to" meals and snacks.
My favorite "go to" snacks are:
cheese sticks
mixed nuts
Greek yogurt
cottage cheese
skinny chocolate
protein shakes

But this blog entry is going to be about getting ready for CAMPING!

How do I take all the delicious THM recipes on the road and still make the week FUN and YUMMY? Here are some meal ideas I have put together to get me through our week of camp eating! 
Who knows, maybe our other kids will want to join in on our THM meals too?!

For our camping trip, we have access to modern conveniences such as fry pans, stove, and even an oven! We have a small refrigerator and coolers to keep food cold. We have a camp fire for cooking too.


campfire breakfast burger by Jelly Toast #BurgerWeek
jellytoastblog.com has a great recipe for morning breakfast. I will take this recipe and sub out the regular biscuit for the two on the THM diet and use THM Muffin in a Mug for the biscuit. Almond meal and coconut flour biscuits with whole egg and sausage patty will make this a very satisfying camp breakfast, S style! Yum! 

rolls_final_sm  2. Walking In Light has a great recipe called Raspberry Cheescake Rollups with Cinnamon and Sweetener. I will use Joseph's Lavash wraps and this will stay in S territory thanks to the yummy fat in the cream cheese. Just warm the wrap and spread some cream cheese and roll and cut then roll in truvia blend sweetener with cinnamon!

24/7 Low Carb Diner has a fun recipe for mini sausage bites.  I'll buy precooked sausage links and bake these up in our camp oven. Serve these with some scrambled eggs and spinach, a yummy S breakfast!

Cottage Cheese Scrambled Eggs (S) 4. Cottage Cheese Scrambled Eggs Speaking of scrambled eggs, this is a really yummy recipe with lots of extra protein thanks to the cottage cheese. Easy too! I'll serve these with fried French Style green beans maybe some bacon or sausage. Yum!


Lunches for us at camp often have to be portable because we are usually boating or out on the ATV's. When not having leftovers, these will be great go to lunches!

Chicken Tortilla Rollups (S) *Use low carb wraps

5.  Low Carb Chicken Wraps These look really yummy. I can make these with Joseph's Lavish Wraps. Serve with some pork rinds and celery while everyone else eats Doritos and I will be a happy camper! Taste and crunch needs satisfied!

6. Taco Salad Three Ways This is s a great recipe for making a taco salad three different ways, S, E, or FP. Î will probably eat this a couple times and try it in the different versions to keep my body guessing while on vacation! I sure would love to come back from vacation and have lost weight, not gained. This recipe will be a great way to shake things up. The kids will eat taco meat in flour tortillas. I may even enjoy this salad filling inside a Joseph's Lavish as a taco wrap one day! Lunch anyone?!
Taco Salad 3 Ways (S, E or FP) with a Venn chart for the visual learners and some tips

7. I couldn't find the link to this gorgeous wrap, but it looks pretty straight forward. Turkey, bacon, cheese, and lettuce all on a low carb wrap equals one yummy S lunch!

 Skinny Turkey Ranch Club (S) *Wrap with low carb tortilla


Classic Burgers (S) 8. BURGERS! We will most likely eat burgers several nights while at camp. While everyone eats theirs on white buns, I'll be eating mine inside a Joseph's Pita. So good! Low-carb deliciousness, keeping a burger, even with bacon and avacado in S territory for a slimming meal!

Jalapeno Popper Pizza (S) 9. PIZZA! These are a great go to meal I use at home and can easily make while at camp.

Atomic Buffalo Jalapeno Poppers (S) 10. Jalepeno Poppers! These will make a fun appetizer staying in the S zone. I will probably leave out the little sausages.

Fall Off the Bone Oven Ribs Recipe: these were incredible. They were sweet and smoky and sticky... I used Sweet Baby Ray's sauce and they were perfect. They fell off the bone and I was incredibly impressed! Definitely a keeper! 11. Fall off the bone RIBS!!! I'll make these when our company comes for dinner! I. CAN. NOT. WAIT!!! Camp Dobsee here we come!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Esther Queen of Persia by Jim Baumgardner, A Review

I've been busy homeschooling my kids and getting ready for our oldest to graduate from our homeschool, but thought I might get another review in for you, my readers! I read a couple of books over the winter that were really great and inspiring. I was looking for something inspiring again, maybe empowering too as I conquered oodles of paperwork to get my son ready for college. Something historical I thought, because I love history, since history is after all, His Story. So something also biblically based, but not necessarily a dry history book sounded just right. When I read about this book Esther Queen of Persia I was excited to dive in and see what it was all about. It did not disappoint.

ISBN: 978-0988410718| List Price: $16.95 | Format: Softcover & ebook | Page Count: 304

About the book:

Hadassah, the beautiful, Jewish teenager from the city of Susa in Persia, is taken by force to the palace of King Ahasuerus. His command to find the most beautiful virgins in his kingdom, and bring them to the house of women, has placed Hadassah under the supervision of Hegai, the king's custodian of women. Hegai and his servants, have one year to prepare each virgin for one night with the king. Although Hadassah was taken from her home by force, she refuses to become bitter. She accepts being called Esther, but inside remains always, Hadassah. She continually wonders why she is there, yet remains faithful to her God, and to her identity. It is years before the answer is revealed. Her people face annihilation, and it falls upon her shoulders to stop it. Her first thought is to shirk her duty, but Mordecai, her cousin, will not allow it. His words, '"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"' brings her to her senses.

Unlike many of the novels written about Esther, this book seeks to remain true to the Biblical account, while supplying additional historical information from the time period 486-473 B.C. The book has a five page Introduction, which gives insight into some of the things found in the story. It has a page, listing the months of the Jewish sacred calendar and the corresponding month of our modern calendar. Also in the back of the book is a listing of Scriptures mentioned in each chapter, along with a listing of works consulted in research for Esther Queen of Persia.

About the Author:

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Jim Baumgardner, raised by Christian parents, gave his life to Christ in 1957. The author continues to reside in Wichita with his wife Linda. They have three children and nine grandchildren. Jim has seven published books. Four are known as the Sarah books, which tell of the adventures of a girl named Sarah, set in the 19thCentury. The other three are Bible novels, including the author’s latest release Esther Queen of Persia. All of Jim’s books are primarily written for his grandchildren’s benefit.

You can learn more about the author by clicking on the websites below.
The Author was also nominated for:

You can purchase your copy on Amazon.

My Thoughts:

Before reading this book, I went and reread the book of Esther to brush up on the biblical facts of the life of Esther. I found the book followed the biblical account of Esther but from a fictional perspective. In our homeschooling we have really enjoyed reading historical fiction to gain a better understanding of the time period we are studying. I think this would be a great book to read alongside the Ancient History time period during the rein of King Ahasuerus. It is a very descriptive account of Esther's time in the King's palace and how she is chosen to become Queen and ultimately helps her Jewish people. I have always loved stories of simple people God uses in big ways. While this is a fictional account of the life of Esther, it does follow the Biblical account and is a good read. I would recommend you pick up a copy and check it out!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Week Two On My Trim Healthy Mama Journey

So here I am drinking my Bulletproof Coffee diving head first into week two. This is still very much a learning process for me as I basically deconstruct my diet on this path toward wellness and hopefully lose some weight! If you missed my Week One post you can click below and read why I started this book and what I learned in Week One.


On to week two!

The things I'm learning this week have to do with how the food I eat breaks down at the cellular level. I noticed the first time I drank a full can of coconut milk as a shake (yes, I really drank the full can!) I started feeling tingly all over my body. It felt like I had just stepped into a warm milky bath, except on the inside. The can reads that it contains five servings at 22 Fat Grams per serving. Now obviously I need to drink this in a better moderation but my body actually is craving this healthy fat! In the first few chapters of THM the authors talk about how eating fat does NOT make you fat. Carbs and sugar make you fat! Our bodies need fat, therefore if we don't eat enough fat our bodies will convert our excess carbs and sugars INTO fat.  THM also addresses vitamins and supplements toward the end of the book. I'm not ready to dive into all that but I am gathering information while I still try to get a handle on "S" and "E" meals versus a Fuel Pull or a Crossover meal. PHEW!
I found this interesting article on Natural News about iodine.
Iodine is essential in producing thyroid hormones. Unbalanced thyroid hormones lead to weight gain, infertility, and many other issues. I have suffered many years with infertility even though I now have seven children!

I'm planning to add some Himilayan Salt to my next shopping trip! Now I'm not looking to necessarily improve my fertility (ha ha), but I am looking at how to heal my body so my hormones are more stable.

This week I am loving all the extra advice in following this diet I have found through Facebook. I've joined three different THM Facebook groups and my newsfeed is constantly buzzing with ladies asking questions very similar to what I am asking myself! The THM for beginners and the Nursing and Pregnant THM groups have been wonderful resources. They have places where people upload their own documents like menus or recipes. I've "met" some great women in these groups and been really encouraged by them and their testimonies of their own THM journey. Who knew buying a book would open so many doors to information of how to live this THM lifestyle?!

For week two however, I did go "off plan" twice. We had chinese food one night which was so nice so I didn't have to cook. A few days later, we celebrated my son's 16th birthday out to the movies with burgers and sweet potato fries! Other than those two meals however I have tried to stay "on plan" as far as I can tell. I tried to think of my two eating out meals as "crossovers" and not beat myself up too badly over them. I'm still nursing a baby so I don't want to lose weight too quickly and hurt my milk supply.

My favorite recipes I tried and loved this week were the Bread in a Mug recipe, Oven Flax crackers, Ultimate Chocolate Cake and chocolate frosting, Chocolate Cake in a Mug (that one is seriously amazing!), Lemon Fat Bombs, Berry Cottage Whip, and Berry Waffles with bacon! Am I on a diet? Seriously, look at this amazing breakfast I made this morning!

(This is an "S" meal, I think, still learning! ;)  Two slices of bacon, one bread in a mug recipe cooked in my waffle maker, cottage cheese, berries sweetened with Truvia, small dollop of Redi-Whip. I even get to put real butter on my waffle! Yum!)

 Overall I am feeling great and while I would love to say I lost 10 lbs on this diet in the first two weeks, I have not. I have lost about 2 lbs though. Chapter 12 in the THM book was a great reminder, slow and steady is a much healthier way to lose weight. I wish I had taken measurements though because I did notice a difference in how my clothes feel at the end of week two. My stomach feels less flabby and my pants fit better. Here are my two week changes, subtle, but changes to say the least. I noticed that my shirt hangs lower on me now there is less gut! I also noticed when I went to put my hand on my waist like I did in last week's photo, I actually had a waist!

On to Week Three!