Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: When Sparrows Fall

What can I say about When Sparrows Fall? I enjoyed every minute of it. I spent two nights reading till 2am because I didn't want to stop reading and break the spell. 

Miranda is a widow with 6 children.. When she finds herself in the hospital after a fall, her long lost brother-in-law becomes the caretaker for his nieces and nephews. Jack is a university professor who gets a taste of culture shock when he shows up to take over Miranda's household. The whole fiasco makes for an engaging story.

When Sparrows Fall takes place in the North Georgia Blue Ridge mountains. Our family lived near there for 9 years and the author has presented the area to a "T". Everything from the accents to the "down home" hospitality and "backwoods" superstition are easily reminiscent of where my husband grew up.

The characters, Miranda and Jack are some of my recent favorite. The author took great pains to make the characters 3-dimensional and the labor paid off. The interactions are believable and the dialogue was very realistic.

This book comes highly recommended. Put this book on the top of your summer reads list!

Just so you know, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. And you get get free books too through Blogging for Books.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Granny's Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

(source) - this is not a photo of my cookies. I only make them at Christmas, as they are too deadly to have around.
This is an all time family favorite. I make these cookies every year for Christmas and cookie exchanges. I've heard them called everything from "Cow patties" to "PooPoo Cookies" but we always called them Chocolate Oatmeal cookies.

This is the recipe that my Granny always used. I have never had these not turn out right. So here ya go.

Granny's Chocolate Oatmeal "No-Bake" Cookies

2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
1/4 stick of butter (2Tbsp)
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of oatmeal
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring (I have on occasion used hazelnut flavoring)

Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, then the vanilla and oatmeal. Make sure to to mix it well. Then drop spoonfuls of the mixture on to wax paper/parchment and let them harden. Done!

A couple notes:
  1. If when you finish mixing it seems really, really runny (like syrup) add some more oatmeal. 
  2. These take very little time to make. However, if you need the setting time to go faster, like maybe you are suppose to be at a cookie exchange in a few hours :) , pop them in the freezer for a few minutes.
  3. These things are seriously deadly. Don't keep them around the house because you will seriously eat too many. 
So there ya go. Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Free Printable: Tic Tac Toe Board

Well for us the summer has started. And even though we probably aren't gonna be taking any major trips, I know sometimes it helps to have something to keep the kiddos busy when we do. I made this printable for that reason. My middle kid likes to play tic tac toe. So this is for my monkey.  Printable Tic Tac Toe Board

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson

In this continuation of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, we follow the story of Ida Sinclair. Ida is the oldest of the Sinclair sisters. She comes to Cripple Creek to find work the the legendary businesswoman Mollie O'Bryan. And while Ida is not looking for a husband, love seems to find her none the less.

I very much enjoyed this story. Even though I haven't read the first book, I believe this story can stand on it's own. That said it did take me some time to get in to this story. It was enjoyable but took a while to get going. And having not known the characters from the previous book, I felt like I was trying to play catch-up.

I love the character of Tucker Raines. I also have found a love of fiction set in Colorado. When I learned that Cripple Creek is a real life town in Colorado (Just 2 hours from me) I told my husband we just have to visit.

I recommend it! It was a fun read. And I can not wait for the next book. Now off to get the first book.

Check out this video by the author, it made me really wanna go visit Cripple Creek:

Just so you know, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. And you get get free books too through Blogging for Books. There's a link on the sidebar. -->

Monday, May 2, 2011

Teachers Appreciation: Sticky Note stands

So it's that time of year again. The time when we thank the ladies and gentlemen who work so hard to teach our kids. And even though we homeschool, my kids attend science classes through the local school district. So I thought I'd share what we've made for the teachers this year to show our appreciation.

I've seen these on blog linkies and I'd love to post the link to where I've seen them but I've forgotten. (sorry) If it was you let me know. I'd love to give you credit.

Here's what you need: plastic photo frame, some paper (I used scrapbook paper), sticky note pad, double stick tape, ribbon and I also used a label maker but you can use whatever you want or have on hand.

I got all of this at the dollar tree. Except the label maker obviously. The frames I used were the 3.5 by 5 inch ones. I didn't do anything fancy. Attach the sticky pad to the frame with a couple pieces of double stick tape. Cut a piece of scrapbook paper 3.5 x 5 inches and place it in the frame. I tied a ribbon around the top and I printed little labels with their names. I'm going to place them in see-through goody bags with a colorful pencil and tie them off with a ribbon. These take almost no time and they are so easy.

If you wanted to shake things up a bit you could let the kids draw a picture and use that in place of the scrapbook paper. And here's the finished product in both the vertical and horizontal frames.  What are you making for your kids teachers this year? Leave me a link!

I linked this at Made By You Monday and Craft Catwalk !