Monday, February 08, 2016

Book Review: Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble


Mermaid Moon is written by Colleen Coble and is published by Thomas Nelson.

Right off the bat, I have to admit that Colleen Coble is one of my favorite Christian authors. Not only does she weave a very good story, but she also lives close to my hometown in Indiana. I almost feel as if I share a link with her somehow, even if it is just through our mutual love of the written word and story writing. 

Mermaid Moon is the second in a series called the Sunset Cove. I must confess that I have not yet read the first, The Inn at Ocean's Edge, but I do intend to. The third book in the series, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, is due to come out in September.

Coble had me drawn in from the very first chapter of this suspenseful story. Mallory Davis, a woman running from her past and hopelessly trying to deal with guilt and shame, receives a phone call from her father who receives a fatal blow to the head while still on the phone. Before he dies, her father tells Mallory to find her mother, a mysterious plea since the woman had died years prior. This leads Mallory to go back to Mermaid Point to find out what happened to her father. As she searches for answers, Mallory finds herself and her daughter in danger. She also finds that her feelings toward her former boyfriend, Kevin, have not changed but have intensified. 

By the time I reached the final page of the novel, I learned that I had found myself wrapped up in a phenomenally written story filled with everything that makes for a good plot. I was never bored while reading it and was actually sad that it ended. Kudos to Colleen Coble for keeping her writing fresh after all of these years of plunking out bestselling novels.

*I received a copy of Mermaid Moon in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Menu Plan Monday - February 8


Here's the plan for the week:

Monday

Chili
Gluten-free Dinner Rolls

Tuesday

Ham
Baked Potatoes
Peas

Wednesday

Scalloped Potatoes
Corn
Applesauce

Thursday

Pork Loin Chops
Rice

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers
Hash Brown Pancakes
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, February 01, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - February 1


I have had a bad week. We all have those days, weeks, years that wear on us and seem to drag us down. For me, this last week was it. My mom has been housebound for some years and suddenly became worse, is now bedridden. She lives 5 hours away from me and I have struggled with when to go there. It won't be this week, as yesterday I received a call from my bank's fraud department. Someone captured my debit card information and took my husband's entire paycheck - they tried to get more but we are poor and did not have it. We are awaiting our account to be refunded, but it may take a bit of time. I am praying it is very soon. That mishap determined that I cannot go to Indiana to see my mother this week - no gas money (our van is also in need of brake pads). Tomorrow night and into Wednesday is predicted a very large snowstorm with amounts well over 12 inches for our location. That, too, makes it very unlikely that I could drive 5 hours south. So......this is a week for me to focus on prayer and the blessings that God has given me. I am trying to look at it as a learning time - I can do nothing else.

For the menu plan this week:

Monday

Baked Steak in the Crock-pot
Mashed Potatoes
Cumin Roasted Potatoes (Simple & Delicious, Feb/March 2016)

Tuesday

Taco Salads
Chips & Salsa

Wednesday

Gnocchi
Corn
Salads

Thursday

Roast Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers
Roasted Root Vegetables
Salads

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, January 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - January 25


I hope you are having a good day and start of the work week. We are having milder weather once again above freezing. It is on again, off again winter up here in the north this year. I don't mind it, but it sometimes makes the roads more of a mess than if it just stayed cold. 

A lot of my menu choices this week comes from the Clean Eats Cookbook (I put an asterick behind them). My menu plan is as follows:

Monday

Seasoned Pork Loin Chops (grilled)
Corn
Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday

Zucchini Noodles*
Grilled Herbed Buffalo Burgers* (using beef)
Salads

Wednesday

Shredded Chicken*
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Blueberry Muffins

Thursday

Homemade Vegetable Soup
Steaks on grill
Seven Layer Salad (using vegan mayo)

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers on the grill
Potato Salad
Roasted Potatoes & Carrots

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, January 18, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - January 18


Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! May each one of us remember that we are all of one blood and that there really are not races, just people of varying shades of color. Together we are beautiful!

Monday

Guacamole 
Chips & Salsa

Tuesday

Broiled Pork Steaks
Applesauce

Wednesday

Chili
Corn Muffins

Thursday

Waffles (gluten-free)

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers
Fruit Bowl

Sunday

On Your Own

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: War for the Waking World by Wayne Thomas Batson


War for the Waking World  is written by Wayne Thomas Batson and published by Thomas Nelson.

This is a book written for teenagers or mature middle graders. It is the third book in a series. While I have not read the first two, I was surprised to find that it is okay to jump right to the third. What had happened in the previous books is either explained or "shown" beautifully. The gist of this science fiction thriller is that a fifteen-year-old named Archer Keaton can actually get inside his dreams - physically entering them and interacting with them. He is one of three people who have that gift. The Dreamtreaders have one goal in mind: to protect the world that is awake and real from an evil Nightmare Lord who would destroy everything.

I see this story as almost a parallel to the reality of Satan versus the Christian. Satan is a nightmare lord who would destroy all who are in the reality of God's grace through Jesus Christ. I don't know if that is what the author intended when he wrote it, but it is what came to my mind.

This book is fast paced and a great read for those of the younger generation who like science fiction but are tired of the paranormal stuff out there that does not glorify God. It's great to see writer's offering alternatives that are fun while being well-written. I find this third book to be interesting and engaging enough to keep anyone who needs a break from Christian romance novels or other genres. I don't think it is a kid's book only.

Now that I have read War for the Waking World, it's time for me to get the first two in the trilogy.

*I received War for the Waking World  in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Monday, January 11, 2016

Menu Pan Monday - January 11


I love this picture of a reindeer that we saw back at the children's hospital in Grand Rapids when my son was very ill and had a stay. It was JUNE! We are really getting blasted with snow and frigid temperatures - it's 11 degrees F right now. I hope you're staying warm wherever you are today. My plan for the week's suppers is:

Monday

Tacos
Chips & Salsa (and guacamole)
Cottage Cheese

Tuesday

BBQ Chicken Thighs (slow-cooker)
Rice Pilaf
Cornbread
Applesauce

Wednesday

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits
Hash Browns

Thursday

Ham & Beans (slow-cooker)
Baked Potatoes
Salads

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers & Fries
Fruit

Sunday

On Your Own

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Monday, January 04, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - January 4


Happy Birthday to my oldest child, Joshua! I can't believe how the time has flown. The older I get, the quicker the months (and years) pass. I am looking forward to a new year with new goals and new dreams. With all of the horrible stuff going on in the world today, we must be as diligent as ever to pray and then act when God asks us to. A great way to jump start a sluggish spiritual life is to read God's Word daily. A "read through the Bible in a year" Bible is a wonderful way to get through the Scriptures in a year. I have begun my 15th year doing this and I have to tell you that I am amazed how God's Word speaks fresh to me every day. It never gets stale. I am using the NIV Chronological yearly Bible this year, as I did last year. It helps me put the timeline in perspective. There are lots of other yearly Bible versions, including the KJV. Find one you like and stick to it. It's not too late to begin.

As for our menu plan this week, I am having to be creative. Grocery prices just keep climbing and I'm having a lot of trouble trying to make the budget balance in the right direction. I have found that going through recipe books to find meals for which I actually have the ingredients (or can afford them), is the best method for meal planning - for me. You might have other ideas that work for you. The best part of meal planning is that you have control over your menus and your budget. Don't wait until the last minute to stare at an open refrigerator (and allow electricity or gas to waste because you're letting out too much cold air) or a pantry cupboard. Also, when you plan your meals ahead of time, you are less apt too reach for bad-for-you quick fixes. The experts are all declaring that convenience foods are among the worst for the body and for the checkbook.

Our meals this week are planned as:

Monday

Bacon for those who want to add it to the chowder
Left-over Christmas Cookies

Tuesday - Josh's Birthday Party

Chipotle Beef Fajitas (Country Living Magazine)
Spanish Rice
Chips & Salsa
Cake and Ice-cream

Wednesday

Spaghetti & Crumbled Hamburger
Green Beans
Salads

Thursday

Baked Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Carrots

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Savory Mini-meatloaves
Baked Potatoes
Vegetable (I haven't decided yet)

Sunday

On Your Own