Monday, April 23, 2018

Weekend Trip To Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

This past weekend my husband took us up to Navron, Pennsylvania. It was my Valentine's Day present from him. He planned our buggy ride and got us a bed & breakfast minus the breakfast. Well, they had a breakfast, we just didn't realize it. Next time!



We headed up to Pennsylvania on Friday and made it to Navron which is part of Lancaster County. Fred made reservations at Churchtown Inn Bed & Breakfast. We didn't stay at the main Inn. They have two cottages and we stayed at the Covered Bridge Cottage at the Poole Forge Estate. It's on 23 acres and used to be the Paymasters and is from the 1700s. They have all the comforts of the 21st century, but as soon as you pull up to the stone cottage, you're transported to the past.


We went to the Windmill Family Restaurant which was just outside of town. Cute on the outside and the food was good. Fred got the spaghetti and meatballs which he seemed to love. I got my typical burger and it was delicious! It was huge so I couldn't eat the entire thing.


In the morning we headed out to Ronks which was where we were going for our very first buggy ride. We used A is for Amish Buggy Rides. They have several options for rides: Amish Paradise Trail, Amish Family Tour, Amish Farm Tour, and Custom Amish Tour. As soon as you get to the location, they have petting zoo. When we were there they had 2 llamas, 2 pigs, 2 goats, and a pony. You can get a tiny handful of food to feed them while you wait. We opted for the Amish Farm Tour. Our buggy wasn't really a buggy, but more of a wagon. I'd say there were about 15 of us in it along with our driver, David. He regaled us with stories about Amish life and cracked a ton of jokes.


I had this view of Amish being staunch, cranky, and standoff-ish with Englischers. He wasn't that way at all. He was absolutely delightful! He brought our wagon to the Lapp family farm. David walked us around the farm where we were able to pet horses & calves and hold chickens! Seriously, I was living the dream. I held baby chicks and a hen! It was wonderful.



After our little tour we hopped into the wagon to head back. The buggy rides share the same spot as the Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant. We've already decided that the next time we go back we're going to stay in one of the cabooses. We took a tour and they were really cool! 6 people could fit inside with 4 bunks and a queen size bed.



We drove back to the Lapp farm to take a look around at all of their goodies. They had everything you could possibly imagine: aprons, snacks, dish towels, furniture, and so much more. One of the reasons Fred brought us up there was because we've been wanting to get new bedroom furniture. Thankfully there was a single bedroom set there and we loved it. We also found some wall cabinets that would be perfect in our living room! Of course I saw a fabulous dining room table and chairs. So many things...


The man who builds them was at a meal so we decided to go out to eat lunch. Apparently smorgasbords are the "thing" in Lancaster County. Nothing like 8 soups to choose from, a good dose of homemade breads, and a buffet of salad options. We filled up and headed back just in time to speak to the gentleman who does the furniture. Let's just say we're excited about the possibilities!

Thankful for our handy dandy packet the sweet folks at the Inn created for visitors, we found some delicious places to stop on our way back. To say we bought our weight in baked goods is putting it mildly. One little shop was alongside the road (these are dotted everywhere) and I got my first sampling of chicken pot pie - which is crustless and more like soup, chocolates, and homemade triple berry jelly. On the map was Sadie's Bake Shop. It wasn't far from our cottage. We got some fresh donuts and I picked out a half lemon pie. It was interesting because it had a cake type topping with a small layer of lemon cream. So delicious!



After we got back to the cottage, we chilled out for a little bit and then headed to Shady Maple. This was a smorgasbord that Fred's dad recommended and was also in our packet. Now, I will say that I didn't want to stay because the place is gargantuan from the outside and so was the line! Fred read the website and it showed not to be intimidated by the line. We were probably in line for 15-20 min before we were seated. The food was incredible. The fried shrimp I could've gone back for hour after hour. They had an older gentleman playing the accordion walking around and stopping at a variety of tables. They have an enormous store downstairs that had everything under the sun. As you walk out of the restaurant section there's a little bakery with pie prices better than you'll find anywhere! I'm still regretting not coming home with the chocolate cream pie. BUT, here's where we totally scored...as we were window shopping downstairs, we heard an announcement that any of the baked goods on the table were half off. I pretty much dragged Fred back upstairs and we came home with 2 loves of specialty bread for under $4!!


Sunday morning we woke up leisurely to check out at the Inn. I took a few pictures of the little street they're on. Actually, across the street is an Episcopal church that the Inn owner mentioned President Washington attended in the 1700s. Pretty cool.


We took off and headed to a church one of Fred's college friends attends. It's a huge church and their coffee bar/bakery was incredible. The drive home was pretty great. We took back roads and stopped at a terrific little antique shop. Sadly, their computers were down and we'd spent our cash back in Lancaster. I think Fred & I need to do more trips and one being where we visit all of the antique shops we can find. Those and bakeries! Trust me, I'm still recovering from all of the baked goods!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Prone To Wander Smartphone Review & Giveaway

A year ago I was fed up with my nearly 4 yr old phone and since my dad was getting an upgrade, he gave me his two year old Samsung S6 Edge. Now, I'm the kind of gal who likes to have her phone completely encased in case anything happens to it. With an Edge, they don't make cases that completely encase it. So, I modified one for a regular Edge. I could only deal with that for so long.


I finally took the case off and I've been caseless for about 2 months. Two very long and scary months. Then the expected happened. I've dropped it a few times, but this time the back cracked. UGH! I haven't told my dad yet, either. I've never cracked a phone in all the years I've had one. Of course a week later I received a beautiful set of three Prone To Wander LA phone cases for review!


My phone cases have always been rather...dull. The previous one was blah white. The one for my 4 yr old phone that my son now has sported my favorite football team. Who knows before that. None of my cases have been feminine. None of them were inspirational or faith based which is where these come into play!


Have you ever seen so many amazing options of an item you're looking for and find it's nearly impossible to pick which one you want? lol That's what it was like when saw my 3 set options. I finally just said, "send me whichever ones because I love them all!" Checking out the beautiful Prone To Wander LA phone cases was, well, heavenly.




I've actually been using the Blessed cover since the day they came. I kept forgetting and forgetting to ask my husband to take pictures for me with his phone because, well, I can't use my phone to take pictures of my phone. HA! We finally got to go out of town for vacation where I got him to snap some pics for me.


The website has more than just phone cases. They also have items for the home. They have pillow covers, canvas banners, letter boards, and prints. Their phone cases are made for most iPhone and Samsung models. I don' know how much longer I'll have my dad's old phone before I finally decide to upgrade, but when I do, I'll be grabbing one of these covers for it.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to enter the GIVEAWAY to get a cover for your phone!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Refuge Assured By Jocelyn Green

A Refuge Assured
by Jocelyn Green
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764219078

As you know, I'm a lover of historical fiction. I really enjoyed author Jocelyn Green's first book The Mark of the King a year ago. When I saw A Refuge Assured come up for review, I jumped at the chance.

Summary:

Fleeing One Revolution to the Aftermath of Another, She Seeks and Dreams of Peace
Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

My Review:

I haven't read many books that are set or based in France. My hope was that A Refuge Assured would be similar to The Mark of the King. While it's begins in France and the characters make their way to the United States, that's where the similarities end. This time refugee, Vivienne Rivard ends up in Pennsylvania instead of the south.

Vivienne is able to escape France during it's tumultuous revolution. She ends up completely alone and penniless. All she has to help her get started with her new life is the lace she was able to smuggle out of France. Vivienne takes a job at a boarding house by learning how to bake. One of the women who has a room next to her also has a little boy, and it turns out he may be the next king of France!

As people begin to think Henri could be the hidden king, Vivienne ends up taking care of him and seeking refuge in the small town of Asylum. Before escaping there, she had taken a new job that introduced her to Liam. He wants to live a simple life on his farm, but everything seems to be conspiring against him to not allow that to happen. Liam helps Vivienne and Henri get to Asylum, but things don't go quite as planned.

While I liked the story, some parts didn't work for me. First the author goes back and forth with using Vivienne and Vienne, sometimes 2-3 times on the same page. It took me a little bit to figure out it was the same person. The start and stops with the chapters were kind of rough for me. It seems like very different writing from the first book.

About the Author:

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the KingWedded to War, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. Jocelyn lives with her husband, Rob, and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Dating Project Movie & Giveaway



Talking to my kids about dating was always a priority for me as a mom once my kids hit middle school. My girls have been out of school for about 9 & 7 yrs! Hard to believe. My sons are now at that age and things have even changed since my girls were in schools. The Dating Project sounds like it will be a great movie for us to see together since the dating landscape has changed for this generation.

I have no idea what challenges my older son will face that are different than my daughters. I'm guessing mostly the fact that social media will play a bigger role for him and his brother. My youngest son is in his first year of high school and dating isn't on his radar. He's got other priorities as did all of my other kids. Literally, thank God!


About the Movie:
Half of America is single. The way people seek and find love has radically changed. The hook-up, texting and social media culture have profoundly altered the dating landscape. Traditional dating has become “outdated,” yet men and women still seek meaningful relationships. People are frustrated in love, but does anyone really know how to connect in today’s virtual world? 


THE DATING PROJECT is a new non-fiction film from executive producer Steve McEveety (The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart), produced by Paulist Productions, Mpower Pictures and Family Theater Productions that follows five single people ages 18-40 as they navigate beyond the hookup culture to traditional dating. Professor Kerry Cronin from Boston College is featured throughout as she teaches ad encourages her students to return to traditional dating. There is no script. There are no actors. These are real people trying to find love and happiness in an age of swiping left or right.

For Tickets & More Info, visit: TheDatingProjectMovie.com

This movie is ONLY in theaters April 17, 2018.



You have the opportunity to win 2 tickets to the movie! Be sure to enter TODAY and follow the social channels to keep up with everything going on with the movie.

Website: https://www.thedatingprojectmovie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDatingProjectMovie/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dating_project/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dating_project 
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMp5QeouxPmI4Ja9YgIQUwg

Monday, April 2, 2018

2nd Annual Spring Showers Giveaway


Spring is FINALLY here and what a better way to celebrate than with a giveaway! Andersons Angels, The More The Merrier, This Mamas Life and Woven by Words have teamed up to bring you a FUN Spring Showers Giveaway Hop! I don't know about you but I am always looking to win some fun and new stuff!

I'll be doing a giveaway of my recently reviewed Aromatherapy with Essential Oils Diffusers and a $5 Amazon gift card!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Aromatherapy With Essential Oil Diffusers

Aromatherapy With Essential Oil Diffusers
by Karin Parramore
Publisher: Robert Rose
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0588-5

I'm excited to be partnering with a new publisher based in Canada! I chose two books to review: 1 for me and 1 for the guys. Today will be the book I was excited about, Aromatherapy With Essential Oil Diffusers. It will benefit my whole family, but the guys were more interested in the 150 Best Donut Recipes. That will be coming soon.

Summary:

Diffusing essential oils can improve your health and well-being.
Aromatherapy and essential oils are more popular than ever, as more and more people discover that concentrated aromatics can be used in a therapeutic way, to address imbalances in our bodies that can lead to poor health.
In this perfect companion book to your favorite diffuser, Karin teaches you how to diffuse essential oils, from ammi to ylang ylang, to improve your physical, mental and emotional health and to destress your time, your work space and even your car.
Part 1 covers the history of aromatherapy, explains the different types of diffusers and teaches you how to choose, use and store essential oils.
Part 2 provides detailed instructions on diffusing essential oils to treat various health conditions and offers over 160 formulas for specialized oil blends.


My Review:

About a year ago I purchased my first essential oils kit and diffuser. I'd heard so much about the benefits of essential oils, I figured I'd make the investment. My only issue? I had no clue what I was doing or how to use the oils. So, I used them a few times and that was pretty much it. Fast forward to this month and I've learned a lot from this book!

The author starts by talking about the history of essential oils. She talks about scent memories in Saudi Arabia, and having lived there for 2 summers, I could relate to visiting the souk and the "heady scent". I think my first scent memory is going to Catholic church with my mom and the altar boys carrying the thurible filled with incense. Wow, that was overpowering too!

Also, did you know there were so many different types of diffusers or ways to diffuse essential oils? I clearly didn't. Let me just say, there's a lot to learn. A lot of beneficial ways to incorporate them into your life. As expected, how essential oils are created is pretty fascinating. I like that I can now read a bottle and understand how it was created. I also love the large section detailing a variety of essential oils used in the book.


Now, let's get into the practical side of diving into using these products. First of all, it's quite an investment. Initially purchasing the oils you may want to opt for a kit or else build up your supply little by little. Keep in mind that the prices of different oils can vary greatly. You may end up with some sticker shock. Also think of how you want to do most of your diffusing. I think the one I have is an ultrasonic diffuser. I need to try one of the passive ways for my car.

It was kid of funny going through all of the blends. Typically I had at least 2 of the eo's and always needed that third one. I've entered that fun stage of pre-menopause, and have had a delightful time with night sweats. I'll need to get some bay laurel to try this blend out. One I'd like to try for my son is for his acne. For that one I need eucalyptus citriodora. Of course as soon as I started writing this review one of my sons and my hubby had cold symptoms. I really need to get stocked up for colds and allergies!


Now that I understand how to better use aromatherapy around our home, I plan on doing it more in different rooms. I've typically only used one in my bedroom. I'm also going to use my essential oils for cleaning around the house. I'd love to go chemical-less! I can't wait to put more of the blends in the book to use.

About the Author:

KARIN PARRAMORE, LAc, CH, is the owner/formulator of Luminous Presence facial treatments and skin care products. She teaches at both the National University of Natural Medicine and Ashford University in the Bachelor's of Complementary and Alternative Health program.
Karin obtained Chartered Herbalist status from Dominion Herbal College in 2001 and has a degree in Chinese Medicine from the National University of Natural Medicine. She has been a practicing aromatherapist since 2002. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Drawn Together By Minh Lê

Drawn Together
by Minh Lê
Illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
ISBN: 9781484767603

I love having a partnership with Disney Publishing! They've got such a wonderful selection of books that appeal to all families. Children of all ages will love reading this book when it comes out in June. I was able to receive an advance copy to check it out before it's actually released.


Summary:

heartwarming story of a grandfather and his grandson as they learn to overcome their language barrier through a shared love of art and storytelling. When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens—with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

My Review:

Sometimes grandparents and grandchildren have a hard time relating to each other. Imagine not even speaking the same language as your grandparent. A young boy spends time with his grandpa. Neither of them speak the same language. Frustrating to say that least for each of them.


It turns out they have something in common that goes beyond words. The grandson draws with color and grandpa pulls out his inkwell and a pen. They come together to tell a story that incorporates both of them. Just when they think they're being drawn together that great divide begins to show up, but this time they each have a new perspective which can bring them close together again.


The artwork is incredible! I love how the story is told through art. The vivid colors and the contrast of the black & white work wonderfully together to tell the different views and life experiences of the grandson and grandpa. There are a few words, but that's to guide the reader to know what's happening in the grandson's mind. I think multicultural families would be able to relate to this if they have family members who don't speak the same languages as the younger generation.



About the Author:

With spare, direct text by Minh  and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picturebook about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Disney•Pixar’s “COCO”

I was so busy at the end of last year, I wasn't able to see Coco while it was in theaters. I kept hearing about how great it was and couldn't wait for it to come out on DVD. When I had the opportunity to review it for my blog, I jumped at the chance. I actually got to watch it on my own the first time because I brought it with me to Minnesota at the beginning of the month.


This was such an incredibly cute movie! I mean, I'm pretty sure Disney•Pixar has cornered the market on the cutest animated movies! I was surprised (but really shouldn't have been) at how touching the movie was.

If you're one of the few people who have yet to see it, check it out.

Miguel's family has banned all music. He loves music. More specifically, he plays the guitar, which is an absolutely no-no. His grandma catches Miguel with a guitar right before a competition and breaks it. Sadly, Miguel doesn't quite understand why everyone is against the music. After he finds a guitar that's "special" he ends up in the Land of the Dead along with his crazy dog, Dante.

They set off on an adventure to find singer & guitar player Ernesto de la Cruz, and end up partnering with Hector who is in a race of his own to be remembered by his family so he doesn't disappear from that world altogether.

I think director, Lee Unkrich has cornered the market on putting sentimental pieces into his movies (remember sobbing during Toy Story 3?)! When Miguel spends time with his great-great-grandma Mamá Imelda I couldn't help but welling up with tears. Sakes alive he knows how to pull on the heartstrings. Maybe it's because of everything going on with my family that it made such a deep impact on my heart. Our ancestors are so important to our family history. Altogether I think this was a fun family movie, good for the littles and the bigs!


2018 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS ® WINNER FOR BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

BONUS FEATURES*

Blu-ray & Digital:

  • Deleted Scenes with Introductions - Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of “Coco.”
    • Día de los Muertos - In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Día de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.
    • The Way of the Riveras - A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Día de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.
    • Celebrity Tour - Héctor, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.
    • The Bus Escape - The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and Héctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz.
    • Alebrije Attack - Miguel and Héctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije.
    • The Family Fix - After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home.
    • To the Bridge - As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Día de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.
  • Filmmaker Commentary – Presented by Lee Unkrich (director), Adrian Molina (co-director) and Darla K. Anderson (producer).
  • The Music of “Coco” - Collaborating with musicians of Mexico and some unique instrumentation, this documentary explores the beautiful fusion of music essential to the story of “Coco.”
  • Paths to Pixar: “Coco” - Explore how the film crew’s personal stories resonate with the themes of the movie itself.
  • Welcome to the Fiesta - A musical exploration of the skeletons that make the Land of the Dead in “Coco” so wondrous and intriguing.
  • How to Draw a Skeleton - Pixar artist Daniel Arriaga gives a lesson on the quick and easy way to draw skeletons using simple shapes.
  • A Thousand Pictures a Day - Join the “Coco” crew on an immersive travelogue through Mexico, visiting families, artisans, cemeteries, and small villages during the Día de los Muertos holiday.
  • Mi Familia - Developing the Riveras was a labor of love that took the cast and crew on a deep dive into the meaning of family.
  • Land of Our Ancestors – Watch Pixar artists lovingly construct layer upon layer of architecture from many eras of Mexican history, bringing the Land of the Dead to life.
  • Fashion Through the Ages – The cast of characters in “Coco” are from many different eras, making for some magnificent costuming opportunities.
  • The Real Guitar – The majestic guitar that spurs Miguel on his journey through the Land of the Dead is a unique creation. Watch as it is initially designed by a Pixar artist and ultimately realized as a real instrument by a master luthier in this poetic ode to craftsmanship.
  • Dante - How the crew fell in love with the uniquely Mexican breed of Xoloitzcuintli (or “Xolo”) dogs that inspired Dante.
  • How to Make Papel Picado - Join Pixar artist Ana Ramírez González as we learn how papel picado is made traditionally, and then try your own approach to this beautiful art form.
  • Un Poco “Coco” - A montage of original animated pieces used to promote “Coco.”
  • “Coco Trailers” - Trailers include “Feeling,” “Dante’s Lunch,” “Destiny,” “Journey” and “Belong.”
DVD:
  • Filmmaker Commentary 
  • Dante

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Song Unheard By Roseanna M. White

A Song Unheard
by Roseanna M. White
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764219276

You know when you begin a series and can't wait for the next book to come out? As soon as I saw A Song Unheard was available for review from Bethany House, I requested it as quick as you can click a link! Thankfully I was chosen to do a review

Summary:

If Betraying Her Heart Means Saving Countless Lives, Will She Find the Courage?
Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I--to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales. 

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won--until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't--that she must betray him and find that key, or her own family could pay the same price his surely has.

My review:

I know some people loved this book. Well, I didn't. I LOVED - LOVED - LOVED this book! When I started reading A Song Unheard, I was drawn back to the early 1900's and espionage again. Willa is approached by Mr. V just like her sister was in A Name Unknown. Somehow that Mr. V knows the right sibling for the next job he has in mind. Of course before I was even finished with the book I was wondering (and hoping) that Barclay would be next.

As I started into Willa's story, I became more invested in the characters than I thought. I really enjoyed Lukas' sister because she was wise beyond her years, but also incredibly smart. I didn't know anything about Germany invading Belgium, so it was sad to envision what they were all going through at the time and how dangerous it was.

The intrigue of Willa having to learn about a cypher key, and how others wanted her to get it for the Germans, had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Mr. V might've been fine in book 1, but maybe he wasn't one of the good guys after all. Maybe he was a double agent. I think you almost have to question everyone when it comes to spying!

A Song Unheard had everything I look for in a novel. The pace was really good (I wanted to finish it and not finish it at the same time), the characters were so believable, and the storyline was a new one to me! I'm looking forward to book 3, and honestly, it can't get here quick enough.

About the Author:

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two kids, designing book covers, editing, and pretending her house will clean itself....
Continue reading about Roseanna M. White

Friday, March 9, 2018

My Aunt's Brain Bleed

I haven't been around much. Not much blogging going on around here. Sorry about that. Blogging to a back seat to life. Let me explain.

A bit of history... My biological father has 5 sisters. All of them have "B" names. Barb, Betty, Bonnie, Becky, and Bethany. When the girls and I moved to Minnesota back in 1998 we lived with her for several months and then spent many holidays together. She was probably my closest extended relative because I'd never gotten to know any others growing up.


On New Year's Day, I spoke to my aunt on the phone. She told me she was in the hospital because she was dehydrated. I check in with her by phone a couple of days later, but she didn't answer. I called again the next day, and still no answer. I headed to facebook to see who I could reach out to because I had NO numbers to call or people to ask who knew her.

I finally got hold of my aunt's best friend from college who has remained her best friend. She told me my aunt had been medi-vaced from Wisconsin to Minnesota and she was in the hospital. None of us will ever really know what happened, but some point between the night she was released to the next morning, she probably fell, hit her head, and ended up with a brain bleed - a type of stroke. It's been mentioned that maybe something with her pacemaker might've been the start of it all.

So, she was in the hospital for a week or so then released to a rehab so she could start to recover. I think within a week she was back in the hospital, possibly because of an infection. Again, we're not really sure. She was released to a different rehab which is where she's at currently.


This has been an incredibly hard time for the family. She's the first aunt who has had major health issues. She has never been married or had children. That part has been difficult as well because when her point of contact (POC) lives in another state and isn't able to communicate well or often, other family isn't helping, and the person who's in charge of her finances having stuff going on, it leaves other people taking care of things they "shouldn't" be. My daughter, my aunt's great niece, took on a lot more than she should've.

After my aunt was released to the 2nd rehab, I went out to Minnesota. I had wanted to go out in January and the beginning of February, but was counseled to wait. When I got out there, I really didn't want to leave her. I feel a responsibility to her that I didn't expect. I visited her every day and I have now become the POC, and I'm thankful for that role. In a month she'll be moving to assisted living. I'm not sure if I'll be going back out, but if she needs me to, I will.

This has been a HUGE wakeup call to me. I have life insurance and I have a will. I don't have long term care insurance, and I think it's vital that we get started on that or at least learning about it. My aunt has it so hopefully we'll figure out how that works for her.


What have I learned? You have SERIOUSLY got to think of who will be making decisions for you if you can't do it yourself. My aunt was 100% on board with me becoming her POC. It was never something we talked about before. My daughter asked me if I knew what her financial situation was. I had no clue. Why would I? How do you bring up with your aunt who you see every few months, "Hey, Aunt Becky, how are you doing the cash department? Got all of your affairs in order?" I don't know how you do it, but it needs to be done.

My aunt is physically able to get around, she can talk just fine, and she's working on her fine motor skills again, but she's got a long road ahead of her. She has a hard time writing. She won't make any important decisions for herself, but will make small ones. My aunt is one smart cookie. She couldn't remember if she was DNR. She refused to sign any papers before she knew for sure. She was presented with a form about paying a small fee to have a single room, but because finances were involved, she refused to sign. She would ask me first and I would find out the answer.

Things happen VERY quickly.  More quickly than you'd expect. She was in rehab for a week and a half before they were talking about her having to leave and go to assisted living. When we heard about it, we were told her therapies would be ending the next week. Well, they moved her to a different floor the NEXT day! She was still having her therapies done, but on a different floor. You've got to realize that you have to be available and ready for anything.


Something that has really impacted my aunt is anxiety. She gets confused very quickly and her anxiety skyrockets. What has helped us is when we learn of something new, I talk to her about what her options are, that the options she hopes for might not be possible, and what we'll do if the options don't pan out. For her, as long as she knows she's got people on her side who have her best interests in mind, she's "ok" with what might come next. We also try to encourage her and point out the positives every day!

Next week my daughter will be taking her to visit one of the assisted living homes that she's on a waitlist for. Oh, and speaking of assisted living, you would NOT believe how expensive those are. $3900/month and then on top of that, all of the specialized care a person might need.

This took a lot of wind out of my sails. I didn't want to do anything other than work, read a book, talk to my daughter about any updates, and sleep. I'm hoping to be coming out of that funk and will be back to blogging as much as I can.

I want to close by encouraging you to give serious consideration to how you're saving your money, who you want to be your POC (who will regularly update people and take care of needs), and who will be in charge of your money (to pay your bills and make sure they'll handle your money honestly). I know it's a cruddy topic, but please don't put it off!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring Fever Giveaway Event

I'm trying to wrap my brain around the fact that it's the beginning of March! Seems like it should only be the second week of January. Oh how the time flies. To celebrate our spring fever, please join us in our Spring Fever Giveaway Event!



Spring is almost here and what a better way to celebrate than with a giveaway! Andersons Angels, The More The Merrier, This Mamas Life and Woven by Words have teamed up to bring you a wonderful Spring Prize Package with a ARV: $367.95! I don't know about you but I would love to win this wonderful prize package.


Hosts & participating event bloggers of the Spring Fever Giveaway Event are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill prize obligations!




Monday, February 26, 2018

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren Review & Giveaway

Keturah
by Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN:

I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who feels elated to start the first book in a series. So much anticipation before I turn the cover open to begin reading. When I saw Keturah come across my email I was hooked immediately by the cover (isn't it always the cover), the author, and the synopsis of the story! Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review it and set out on a journey.

Summary:

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father's estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.
Although it flies against all the conventions, they're determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined-and that's just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.
Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.
To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

keturah pin2


My Review:

I'm all about the historical fiction. If it's well written, don't bother trying to talk to me because I'll be entwined in the story! That's exactly how it was from the first page of the first chapter in Keturah! From the start it was quite an adventure.

Keturah is a character I can relate to. Her past has caused her to rely on herself and certainly never ask a man for help. Her and her sisters' present puts them in a situation that almost forces them to rely on the men around them. I enjoyed getting to know Ket, Verity, and Selah because it sets us up to want more when the next books come out! I was ready for book two by the time the sisters set sail on the Redemption.

We also meet Gray Covington. My first thought was, "He must be a rake!" Something seemed shifty about him from the start. Guess that should teach me to judge someone by the first few sentences I read about them. Just like any of us, Gray made some poor choices and is doing what he can to redeem himself.

What Keturah (along with her sisters) and Gray have to go through to try and revive the plantations they own in the West Indies is more than most could bear. It's clear that it's going to be even harder than either one of them expected, and more dangerous.

I loved everything about this story from beginning to end. The characters drew me in, rooting for and against them with a lot of fervor! I guess if there is any "negative" I felt like the story spent quite a bit of time on the ship, which meant it seemed like they were doing or talking about the same thing. Of course, if you're spending 6 weeks on a ship heading to your destination a lot can happen during that time. I'm already looking forward to book two!

Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!



About the Author:

Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She's the author of the Christy Award-winning "Waterfall," RITA®-finalist "Firestorm," bestselling "God Gave Us You," and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She's also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.
Find out more about Lisa at http://lisatawnbergren.com.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Valentine's Day Gifts For Her

What does the lady in your life want for Valentine's Day? Don't have a clue? I've got some great ideas! These would be perfect for your wife, mom, sister, aunt, and daughter! it's entirely possible a couple of these might be on my wish list!

The last item, the metal bookmark is actually one I got from one of my bosses for Christmas. I love it and thought any reader in your life would love, too! I've got a super old hand mixer, and as much as I'd love a stand mixer, it's probably something I'll have to ask for at Christmas.

This past Christmas my mom gave me a wonderful plant stand, but I think I need a bigger one to make sure all of my plants get the sun they need! Who knew I'd be able to keep indoor plants alive? I actually brought in three of my outdoor plants inside to see if I could keep them alive over the winter! So far so good.


Keurig K15 Single Serve


Bluetooth Speakers, COMISO


Professional Skin Care Face and Body Brush System

URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser



KitchenAid KHM512IC 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer



Plant Flower Stand Rack Shelf



JBL E45BT On-Ear Wireless Headphones


Hydro Flask



PopSockets 707030






Have you figured out what to get the ladies in your life yet? Hopefully these ideas helped. If you find anything else, be sure to let me know because I have quite a few ladies in my life!

 
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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.