Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Awakening by Tracy Higley

by Tracy Higley
Publisher: Stonewater Press
Pages: 366
Published: 2014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990600503

I was so happy to find some time to read today. I'd started this book a few weeks ago, and then hadn't had much time to fit in getting back to it. I had downloaded it to my son's tablet, and I'm not much for reading on a tablet. It was rather funny when I first started reading the book because at one point, I wet my finger to turn the page. Imagine my surprise when I hit the glass of the tablet.

I've read several of Tracy's books, and have loved all of them. She has got such an amazing way of pulling us into the past. You'd swear she was one of these characters she writes about. Tracy paints a picture with her words that I could never even in my wildest imaginations create. I love that my mind's eye creates wonderful images with the words on Tracy's pages.

Awakening starts off in the hustle and bustle of NYC. When I first started reading, I felt a little lost. It's so interesting because of the character we're introduced to immediately, Kallista. She's a woman without a past, at least one she doesn't remember. Her boss is Judith, a woman who is a calculated woman, but seems to care for Kallie in her own way. Judith introduces Kallie to Dimitri who has a common passion for the ancient Minoans.

What I love is that in true Higley fashion, we are thrust into the world of Kalliste in the Greek islands. Chloe is a princess who just wants to live her life peacefully, and enjoying her studies. Unfortunately life doesn't always go as we expect, and there's an adventure lying before her that she'll have to dig deep to see if she's up for the challenge.

I love the back and forth between the modern time and ancient times. The only thing that drove me crazy was when I was involved in one story, I didn't want to switch to the other one. hahahaha There were several times I was tempted to only read the chapters that dealt with the ancient times, and then go back and read the modern day ones. This is the best self restraint I've shown reading a book that sucks me in! I'm glad I did because I was able to enjoy the book  as a whole.

Of course, there's romantic tension in the storyline, and it's one that builds as you read. I enjoy novels where the author builds the romance to a crescendo. I felt like hugging the tablet when I got to the first kiss. It was at a great part in the book, and sakes alive the tension continued even after the kiss lol

Now, the only issue I had with the story was how much gods and goddesses were discussed in comparison to Christianity. Now, there's the Horn of Truth that Chloe is searching for, but it's not until the end of the book that we really understand what she's looking for. I don't know, I wish God would've been more part of the story, and even at the end, not to subtly alluded to. I feel like a non-Christian might not necessarily be pointed to the Truth, but think the Oracle or a god/goddess gave the answer.

Bottom line, readers will enjoy the story from beginning to end. You'll fall in love with Kallie, and enjoy the journey you travel with her!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Enjoying Chick-fil-A For The Holidays & A Giveaway #ChickFilAMoms

So, when it comes to life, I can be a wee bit selfish. This is especially true when it comes to Chick-fil-A. I'm just being honest. lol I LIKE my Chick-fil-A. I never had any idea what I was missing until I moved to the east coast. Of course, not long after we moved from Minnesota, they built the first one there!

I'm excited to share that I'm going on my second year of being a Chick-fil-A Mom. That means they occasionally send us a little something so we can treat ourselves. That's a totally perk because I regularly get their Frosted Lemonades and Cobb Salads. I maaaay have gained a reputation this past spring/summer for enjoying a Frosted Lemonade or two...dozen. heh heh heh

A photo posted by Mimi N (@mimibakermn) on

This winter, I've now been introduced the Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake! Wow, that was a surprise. There was a peppermint crunch in every sip! One winter item that I haven't tried yet, but will be this Wednesday, is their Chicken Tortilla Soup. Doesn't that sounds like perfect comfort food?

Are you planning any get togethers or Christmas parties? Did you know that Chick-fil-A caters?! Oh snap! Guess who will be doing my son's graduation party with their food in a year and a half? This mom! Anyhow, if you're planning a party, check out this checklist. It'll be a great help!

As a Chick-fil-A mom, I just received some fun promotional cards to try both of those items. Since I received two of each, I decided to give a couple of them away! Heck, why not, right? You will win a promotional card for one Chicken Tortilla Soup and one card for a Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hallmark Ornaments For Christmas & Giveaway! #KeepsakeIt #LoveHallmark

One of my greatest treasures are my tubs of Christmas ornaments. My oldest daughter is 24, and I have an ornament from the Christmas before she was born. You can see behind this bunny a lot of my Hallmark ornaments!

When I was given the opportunity to do a review of a personalized ornament this year, I jumped at the chance. How could I not? Hallmark ornaments are a part of our Christmas every year.

In the past, my reviews have been of ornaments I've given to my kids. This year, since I already knew which ornaments I was going to give my kids, I decided to give Fred's parents a photo ornament. They love that kind of personal gift.

But, before I get to that, can I show you some of the ornaments I've gotten my kids over the years? When they were first born, I got them the yearly ornaments. I'm missing two, and hope to find them one day. Do you know how terrible it is to not have full sets? You can also see how they changed over the years. What I just noticed as I'm writing this is, the first two sets (for my girls) are all bears, and the next two sets (for my boys) are dogs.

From these sets I went on to different ones. My oldest daughter got quite a few of the Barbie ones. After a while I decided to get them something that went along with their past year or something they were into.

So, no more puppies and bears. I started getting sports ornaments, Marvel, NFL, hobbies, etc. Oh so many to choose from. And that's where I'm still at with my kids. I still get my oldest kids ornaments, and if possible stick them in their stockings.

This year has been a bit harder to pick something for my girls. My oldest loves all kinds of things, but the one I've settled on is the Disney Inside Out "Joy" ornament. My second daughter spent a year overseas on a mission trip & the summer as a head camp counselor. lol I know she used to love sock monkeys, so that will be perfect for her. My boys dog eared my Hallmark catalog so I could choose one from the ones they picked.

Now I'm excited to show you the one we ordered for Fred's parents, and it's the same one you'll be able to get as well! This photo is a couple years old, so we'll need to update it this year with a new one, but how precious is it?

If you love that, you'll love all of the other personalized ornaments as well!

Now you have the opportunity win an ornament like the one I got for my in-laws. You have to know, you may not be able to receive it before Christmas if you're going to be giving it as a gift. Once a winner is chosen, I'll send a code for the winner to order one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pictures On Gold Photo Charm Expandable Bracelet Review

You may have noticed I've shared a bit about our trip to Peru in October. What an amazing week that was. When we were down there, just like last time, I bought a sweatshirt as a memento. Unfortunately, that sweatshirt, along with the other sweatshirt, shrank.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to review an Photo Charm Expandable Bracelet! Now, with my beautiful PicturesOnGold.com bracelet, I can keep our team with me whenever I wear it. The photo I sent had me a little worried. It was kind of a large photo, and it had 11 of us in it! This is what the photo looked like to begin with:

When I sent them the information, I asked of there was any way they'd be able to get everyone together in the locket. That was the whole point of me sending this photo. Well, thankfully, that's what they do! They have a "Special Instructions" section so "You'll be able to add "special instructions" about your photographs to your order later. For ex: Bring people closer together. Remove Background. Remove red eye, etc." For $10 they'll even merge two photos so you can have people in different photos on one charm!

I have really started to love bracelets, and I love how simple this one is. It will go with anything I wear, and it will make a fabulous conversation piece. Yes, I could've gone with the traditional picture of my kids, or I could've done one of me and the hubster, but as I was scanning through my photos, this one just grabbed my heart.

Now, the first photo is a super close up, so the faces are kind of blurry, but it should give you a great idea of how awesome the charm is.

As you can see, the image isn't in the exact replica of the original. There's no way it was going to be, and I knew that. But you can see they bunched everyone together like we're set up in the top photo. When I saw this, I actually had to go back and forth to realize what the differences were.

I was just thrilled to know they could get all 11 of us in! C'mon, it's the size of penny! It makes my heart (and wrist) happy to know I'm carrying our team around with us. =)

If you're looking at personalizing a gift this year, this sweet bracelet would be a great way to go. Use code famguide10 to save 10%!

Who would you personalize your charm for?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Exergen Thermometer Review & Sweepstakes

You know what time of year it is. It's that time when everyone around us is getting sick. My oldest daughter called from Minnesota saying she couldn't talk and she felt terrible. I don't think it's possible, but a couple of days later, both of my boys were complaining about not feeling well. I suppose siblings can have that crazy bond that stretches across states so they end up feeling sick at the same time.

Well, my hubby decided to take my youngest's temperature while I wasn't looking, and when I came downstairs I saw him sitting there with this old, digital thermometer sticking out of my mouth. By my reaction, you'd have thought my son had grown a second head.

I asked Fred, "what is that sticking out of his mouth?!" Another example how Fred and I are blending our homes, and how we parent differently. I honestly can't even tell you the last time my kids had their temperature taken by mouth. To me, even though we're family, it's still so gross and unsanitary. HA! I've come a long way in my thinking since my girls were little.

I was sent an Exergen Thermometer to review, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Actually, this isn't my first rodeo with the Exergen. I had one for years when my boys were really little. Unfortunately, it didn't make the move to Maryland very well. So, when I had the opportunity to try out this updated one, I was happy to!

Now, the feature I love about the new one is that it has a light that allows it to glow orange. Bonus there is that at night, you don't have to turn the light on in a room to read the temperature! The double bonus is, you can also put it into a silent mode. It won't beep and flash when it's done scanning. Pretty nifty if you've got your sick kiddo in bed with you and don't want to wake up your spouse, too.

I don't know if you're anything like me, but I'm terrible at remembering what someone's temperature was the time before. And no, I never write it down. I'm just not that responsible. lol The Exergen (which is made in the USA) has 8 Temperature Memory.

We all know it's just a matter of time before someone gets the first cold of the season! Be sure to have this Exergen thermometer in your medicine cabinet.

Now, you see how cool this thermometer is! Now you have the chance to enter the Exergen Covers You Sweepstakes through 1/1/16 at 11:59pm ET! 

Enter the Exergen Has You Covered Sweepstakes weekly for a chance to win a prize pack designed to keep you comfortable, confident and stress-free including:
  • Exergen TemporalScanner™ Thermometer – For accurate, reliable temperature readings that provide peace of mind...
  • Exergen Stadium Blanket – Keeping you comfortable for the entire game, even in a chilly overtime...
  • Exergen Time Out Gift Card – Because confident moms and dads can relax a little more!
Has anyone in your family gotten sick yet this fall?

Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 Christmas Giveaway


I'm so excited to share my blogging buddies' giveaway! There's something for everyone here! I don't know about you, but I'm totally behind on my Christmas shopping! So if you win, hopefully this will get you a bit closer to having your list finished! Good luck.

Hosted by: Kay from The More The Merrier Amy from This Mamas Life


                          GreenTreeJewelry - 3 Pairs of earrings chosen by sponsor - $44 Value

*One Lucky Reader will receive the items shown above *Prize Package Valued at More than $200.00 *Giveaway starts November 30, 2015. *Giveaway will end at 11:59pm est on December 14, 2015 *Giveaway is open to US only * You must be 18 or over to enter * Winner will be chosen at random via GiveawayTools * Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. * The lucky winner will be notified by email at the end of the Giveaway. * Participating blogs are not responsible for prize shipment or fulfillment

  *Disclaimer: The More the Merrier & This Mamas Life received the items above in exchange for reviews & this giveaway. All opinions expressed are those of our own.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wheelchair Distribution Day

Our last day in Peru was doing the wheelchair distributions. We started off at the location where we put them together the day before, and one by one, took them down the two flights of stairs, and across the street to a soccer field.

Jenny was awesome. Initially we were all trying to get across the traffic by the skin of our teeth. Leave it to Jenny to walk out to the middle of the traffic, and stop it every time one of us needed to cross. Believe it or not, they all stopped!

We got most of the wheelchairs over when we were told we had to move them all onto the grassy field. lol That was totally ok because we were there just to help! After we had gotten them moved, I realized they had a large band there playing songs. Before the distribution, they sang the national anthem. Turns out it was about 5 minutes long. HA!

People started showing up, and the ones who needed assistance were carried in on plastic chairs. At this point, Fred's back was shot, but he continued to carry in person after person.

The process for getting a wheelchair is, they have to start off with the legal paperwork. The government is involved to make sure things are legit. From there, they hear the gospel, and then they are given a wheelchair.

The wheelchairs are fitted to each person so that they're comfortable. Here, Denny is adjusting it for Jesus (14). It was so cute and tender to watch the interaction. The children I think believed he was Santa (Papa Noel). In the 3rd frame below, he's touching Denny's beard.

He is paralyzed, but I'm not sure why. He lives with his grandma because his mom abandoned him. She's living in the jungle because she couldn't deal with his disability. Jesus goes to a special school. He can hear, but can't speak.

Paige gave us the task of getting stories from some of the people we were serving. Pastor Trent said, "Ok, pick who we're going to talk to." I saw this little girl, and he dove right in! The little girl below is Donna. She is 5 yrs old. Back in June she had an accident. While playing she touched an electrical outlet, and was electrocuted. She no longer had muscle coordination. Her mom said that she had been an active little girl, and was in school. The reason they were there to get a wheelchair was so she could get to therapy.

If you notice the first picture of the lady being carried in, this is who we spoke to next. She was such a sweetheart, and just cried and cried when we spoke to her. I don't remember her name, but she was 74, and had terrible knees. She was in a lot of pain, and her medication wasn't helping. Thankfully, her daughter lives with her, and helps take care of her.

Next we came across the cutest little baby, Matias! He had a Goofy helmet on because his head had a flat spot, but thankfully he wasn't in need of a wheelchair. He was there with his mom, who was there to help her 67 yr old mom get a wheelchair. She was on dialysis, and the wheelchair will help her get to her appointments.

Last photo (but not my last story) is 5 yr old Brisa, and her mom, Oliva. When she was 3 months old, she started having convulsions which have progressively gotten worse. She's an only child, and has to be carried everywhere. Olivia is a single mom living with her parents high in the mountains. They have no money to take her to therapy. She needs an eye exam badly. Her mom sells corn, and leaves Brisa with her mom.

I'd say the stories were overwhelming, and they were, but I just had so much joy in my heart for these people who were being loved on, and helped. I was thankful we were able to spend the day getting to pray for these families.

While we were chilling out, Pastor Trent showed me where we were serving. We were about an hour away from Lima. I had no idea the name of the town.

We weren't able to finish distributing all of the wheelchairs because we had to go back to Pastor Danny's to get all of our stuff, and head to the airport. Before we left, we were able to eat a delicious lunch! Moises went around and told each of us how we had touched his life. It was very thoughtful. I wish I had video taped it to remember his words.

When we got back to Pastor Danny's I took a picture with Denise as a farewell photo. I just really came to love this lady so much throughout the week!

And we couldn't thank Toby enough for the time and care he took with driving us everywhere. Such a pleasant guy! We were thankful to know that since the last time we'd been down two years ago, he had come to know the Lord!

We'll be back again next October! I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Our Home Away From Home In Peru

When I woke up on our last morning in Lima, I couldn't believe our week was already gone. We were going to have a very busy day, so I knew it would keep my mind off of what was looming at the end of the day.

I think what I'm going to do is split this last day up into 3 posts. For this first post, I wanted to show you where we stayed. The Gutierrez family was so amazingly welcoming. I was so thankful for the time we stayed with them.

So this is the highest point at the house. I'd even call it a compound. There are three rooms at the very top, and they're filled with bunkbeds. That trampoline is totally American. It's from a Do It Best store! HA! It would've been cool if the pool would've been filled. lol I don't think I ever saw any other pools during all of our drives.

I don't remember the swing sitting there. I wish I had seen it because it would've been a great place to hang out in the evening. The sitting area behind it was nice to relax at and chat.

There were 7 of us who stayed up here. The ladies and our room had bathrooms in them. Under our room, which I never looked around at, there's a bathroom that the guys used. So many nooks and crannies of living space here. You would've never believed there was so much back here from the road.

This is under where the swing in the top photo is. See that gate? I sort of walked about halfway over to it, figuring it was a gardening storage or something. I really didn't get close because I didn't want to be very nosey. But really, how exciting can a garden shed be?

Welllll, let me tell you, it wasn't a garden shed. The night before I was sitting on the top step in the picture above just chilling out. I heard something at the bottom of the stairs. Not the bottom of those ones, but further down. I had been looking at my phone so I was blind looking into the dark.

I kept hearing something and thought it must be their dog. Whew, nothing to be scared about. Imagine my surprise when I saw a girl almost right before my eyes. lol Turns out, that "shed" was actually a room. The Gutierrez family has a couple young ladies living with them, and this is their room. HA! Glad I didn't get too nosey. In all of the days we'd been there, I'd never seen those girls go to bed. lol

I just loved all of the greenery throughout their home. There were spots of color every where we turned. I want our home to be like theirs. It's big enough that they're able to bless others!

I loved those purple flowers. I think the yellow and other colors interspersed is Lantana. Everywhere I turned there was more color, and birds in the trees and bushes. I could never see them though. lol

Can you imagine how much all of this stone work would cost back here in the States? Something I love about the climate in Peru, at least as an American, is that the weather is so nice, this veranda.

I can't wait to go back in less than a year!

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.