Book Review: Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman

I don’t usually read Amish Fiction and I was a bit hesitant to even read this book (I had won a free copy and was not required to do anything with it), but I am glad that I read it.  While yes, the book does focus on Amish culture and beliefs, you can easily strip it down and it is just like any other romantic novel I would have read.

Lillian’s mother was born in to the Amish community, but after rebelling and becoming pregnant with Lillian she decided to leave and go out in the world to raise her child.  Lillian, at 27, decided to look for herself and inner peace and heads to her grandparents home in Lancaster County, PA.  Early on she meets one of her grandparents neighbors – Samuel.  It was quite clear to me that this man who recently lost his wife would end up striking up a relationship with Lillian and in fact I announced that if they ended up together in the end I would be mad that I had “figured out the book” very early on.  While they do end up together, it was not an easy decision for them to make – Lillian with her worldy ways and Samuel who was trying to raise an eleven year old son, David.

Lillian helps her grandmother tend to the home and aid her ailing grandfather, who is quite sick with cancer.  Meanwhile, her grandmother is also teaching her how to accept God and become Amish and all the Amish traditions and guidelines.  At first Lillian questions just about everything her grandmother tells her is the way of life.  Eventually she comes around and decides that maybe being Amish is the right decision for her – even though she and Samuel are not on speaking terms – she wants to do this for herself, not so she can try and impress / get Samuel as a husband.

Lillian’s mother also eventually comes for a visit (as well as Lillian’s ex boyfriend – completely unannounced and unwanted!) And for a while there it seems like they are on the right track to being one big happy family. There are ups and downs along the way and in the end I am quite glad that the 3 pages of translated words that were presented in the beginning of the book didn’t completely scare me away.  And, better yet, there is a recipe for Shoofly Pie in the back of the book! I might have to consider trying to make that…

About the Book

A search for peace in Amish country proves anything but simple for a woman on the run from life…and herself.  On the rolling plans of Lancaster County, PA., Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents’ house..and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she’s turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself.

As she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family’s farm and his attractive widowed father, Samuel Stolzfus.  Despite Lillian’s best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel–and his for her–deepen.  Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be be forced to return to her former life?

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I received a free copy of this book in a contest sponsored by Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a review, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the book with my readers.

Contest Ending This Weekend!

Our Peaceful Housewive e-book giveaway is ending on October 1 at 12:01 am.  There will be 2 winners and right now we have NO entries so check it out and be sure to enter – your chances of winning are really good right now!

This ebook gets straight to the point. Each of the book’s 13 pages is JAM PACKED with all the recipes you will need for just about anything and everything you will need to clean. The ebook is “a collection of gentle, environmentally-friendly cleaners from our peaceful home to yours” and is written by Jenny Deramo, the peaceful housewife! Be sure to check out her website for natural household cleaners Almost all the recipes include items you most likely have around the house already, but if not you can easily make a list of what you need to pick up.

Some of the recipes included are:
Powdered Laundry Detergent
Fabric Softener
Hand Soap
Dishwasher Detergent
Glass Cleaner
Furniture Polish
Pet Sprays
Make up brush cleaner
Granite Cleaner

… and that is just to name a few. There are more than 30 listed total in this book (and in only 13 pages – amazing!)

Blackberry Battery

When I had my blackberry curve, I had an extra battery that I would keep charged and keep in my purse and then if I was out and about for the day and the first battery was low, I could switch it out.  This came in handy on concert days or days I took a trip in to NYC as usually the battery was dead by the train ride home. (Too much twitter use!)

When I got my blackberry torch, I once again bought a replacement battery before I headed out to Tulsa in May – to make sure I could keep in touch with anyone at any time since I’d be traveling and didn’t know how many opportunities I’d have to charge my phone during my trip. However, blackberry seems to be against me in this and there is a little adapter I need to put both batteries in and wait for the green light to light and then I can switch batteries.  I don’t know exactly what this little green light does, but without it, I have a battery with a red X through it, and a phone that has no use to me except for maybe as a paperweight.

It is a bit of a pain in the butt to do this when switching out batteries – but it is even MORE of a pain in the butt when the X battery shows up *every* time I need to reboot due to an upgrade.  I recently did the recommended software update and it took hours because I had to keep taking the battery out, letting the green light go on, putting it back in, letting it do its thing… then it would reboot and I’d have to do the process all over again!

It seems like if I go from new to old, I don’t need the green light but if I go from old to new then I do.  I am not sure the purpose of this at all and if anyone knows and could explain it to me I would greatly appreciate it because at least if I got a good reason for why I needed to do this – it wouldn’t seem like such a hassle!

Josh Gracin Wolf’s Den 9/25/11

Sunday night Josh Gracin played the Wolf’s Den at Mohegan Sun.  The Wolf’s Den is a 21+ venue and the shows are free, but seating is limited.  The first time I went to see Josh I wasn’t able to get in, the second time I was in the outer area of the Den and Sunday night I made it to the floor! (Only because I went alone and they had 1 spot to fill at a table down there!)

The show was supposed to start at 7, but it got started a little bit late.  Josh has released 2 albums as well as an EP, but his new release will be coming out November 1.  He did a mixture of all the songs, though the majority were newer songs that will be on the new album and he mixed in a decent amount of covers as well.

One of the covers he did was of John Mayer’s “Edge of Desire”, he mentioned that he had been really into John’s stuff lately and that he liked to remake a song on each of his albums and he asked John if he could put Edge of Desire on his next one, and John agreed!

For the encore, Josh’s band introduced each other while Josh was nowhere to be found.  Then they started Don’t Stop Believing and Josh came in through the back of the venue (where we all entered) and walked all around snapping photos, giving hugs, high fives, etc as he made his way through the crowd and back up to the stage.

Once his set was over, a decent amount of people were hanging around hoping he would sign.  He had thrown out drumsticks which I guess meant he had intended to come out and sign them all after?  The staff kept saying he would not be coming out and while in my experience I have seen the staff “lie” (or be greatly misinformed) in the past… but I decided to call it a night and try to get home relatively early instead, so I don’t know if he did end up coming out or not.  I do still want to get a photo with him… but hopefully he’ll come back after the album is released and do a proper signing somewhere so I’ll have another chance!
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Stuff to Scrap: Tropical Paradise

Lately I’ve been trying to dabble a bit in digital scrapbooking. The header of the blog was made from a digital scrapbook kit (though not by me) and a couple of the headers I have used on the blog were done from the same kit.

But until recently, I never actually used a kit for its intended purpose – to create a scrapbook page (or two.. or more!) To be honest, I am kind of wondering why I did not start sooner because the photos I am about to show you of my layout took me roughly 25 minutes. If I were to do this “in real life” at my scrapbook table? It would probably take three times as long.

Stuff to Scrap hooked me up with one of their Mega Collabs – Tropical Paradise. For a while I wasn’t sure what I would scrap but then I decided to go with the last time I was in a Tropical Paradise and scrapbook my cruise from 2009 – The Rock Boat.

Now, I am sure everyone has their own techniques for digital scrapbooking, but I’ll run down how I made the decisions I did. First, I chose the letters for the page. I decided to go in all capital letters,but the kit does have capital and lowercase and several styles to choose from. Then I chose my paper. I opted to use the same paper twice, I just flipped it horizontally for the right side of the layout. The Mega Collab comes with 9 sets of papers, so you will have plenty to choose from for all of your layouts.

This part was probably backwards – but then I went through the 3 folders of embellishments and pulled out several that I wanted to use. Then I thought about how many photos I wanted to use and decided between 6 and 8, but I pulled more than that in to photoshop just in case certain ones didn’t look good with the color scheme, etc.

I laid out my photos how I wanted them and then added in the embellishments that I had chosen. There was still some empty space so I rearranged things a bit and then I went through the embellishments again to see if anything else would fit and grabbed a couple more items to add. I thought that the tag on the right side of the layout looked blah sitting there so I used my photoshop skills (how minor they may be!) and added a drop shadow to the tag and I thought that made it “POP”!

While I am not sure I want to exclusively switch over to digital scrapbooking, I have to say, the Mega Collab from Stuff to Scrap gave me a TON of options and moving stuff around was SUPER easy! No need to pull out all my scrapbook papers, clear a spot on the table, etc. And I will definitely consider doing digital scrapbooking again – especially when I go to an event or on a vacation where there is no ticket stub! (There is also the option of scanning in the stub and using it on the page for those of you who may not have much free time and are looking to exclusively digitally scrap!)

I received a free Mega Collab of my choice from Stuff to Scrap in exchange for a review on their product.  All opinions are 100% mine and I was not asked to write a favorable review.

Kicking Daisies Ridgefield Playhouse 9/23/11

Friday night, Kicking Daisies played a hometown show of sorts at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT.  Shortly before the show started the band had posted on facebook that the show was officially SOLD OUT!

The first band opening up the night was a local band from Ridgefield, The Distractions.  They were made up of 3 young guys – all dressed up in a t-shirt and a tie.  After a couple of songs they called everyone up to the front and at one point tried to get people to come up on stage, but that was shot down pretty quickly by the staff.  I thought that their music was decent, but I wasn’t sure the singers voices were able to hold up throughout their entire set.  Maybe that will come in time.

The second band was Carly & Eliza, another local band.  They did 7 songs and mentioned that their soccer team was in attendance and in the front row.  While the director of the theater tried to get everyone to go back to their seats for the start of this set, everyone made their way back up to the front as soon as they could.  Their voices went really well together and I really enjoyed their set.  I tried to keep track of most of their songs – Fighting Fate, Wonderwall (Oasis Cover), Broken Glass, Never Felt So Free, Forever, Livestrong, Rollercoaster.  I may have gotten some of the titles wrong, but I think they mentioned most of them.

Next up was Kicking Daisies.  They are from my hometown and I first saw them opening up for Hanson in PA and was hooked.  While they may be young they are also super talented beyond their years and most of all – FUN!

You can tell that they are having a great time up on stage – running around and always smiling during all the songs. The beginning of their set was basically just them jamming for a few minutes while the crowd screamed for them.

It had been a while since I have gone to a show with such a young audience – and it was amusing to see parents taking out their small children before the show was over because it was past their bed time and they just couldn’t stay awake any more. (For that reason I was thinking it was odd to have 2 openers, but the teens obviously were able to hang in there the whole night) It was also funny to see all the extra cars in the parking lot when the show ended – all the parents picking up the kids they had dropped off for the night! (And fortunately when they saw that I needed to get out of my parking spot they were ready and willing to move for me)

The band hung around after the show to meet with fans, but considering there were a few hundred people waiting I opted to leave and head home. I’m not a fan of driving in the rain and in the dark and I didn’t want to be doing that too late at night. (I guess I’m getting old)

Kicking Daisies shows are always so high energy… I am now planning when I will get to see them again. (They are playing with Action Item in New Jersey in November so I am thinking that may be the winner, especially since the show starts so early…)
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Book Review: There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B Jones

There You’ll Find Me is about a young girl named Finley Sinclair, who is an heiress (though not obnoxious like Paris Hilton) and decides to take a trip to Ireland.  The trip was previously taken by her brother Will, who was killed in Afghanistan a couple of years earlier. Finley thinks that by taking his travel journal and visiting all the locations that he did she will finally be able to let go and accept the fact that is is gone, as well as find God.

While on the plane to Ireland she is seated next to Hollywood Heartthrob Beckett Rush who is in several popular vampire movies (and therefore I pictured him as Robert Pattinson throughout the whole book).  She is not impressed by him and does not want an autograph or a photograph with him and in fact, would prefer to have nothing to do with him.

When her host family is too busy to take her site seeing, it is all too perfect that Beckett is staying at their B&B as well while filming his latest vampire installment.  He offers to take Finley around to see the sites if she will be his assistant and help him read lines.  Reluctantly, she agrees, not sure she’ll be able to see everywhere she needs to if she doesn’t go with him.

Meanwhile, for her class assignment she has to spend 20 hours with a woman in a nursing home.  She gets paired with Cathleen Sweeney, a mean old woman who is very ill with cancer and does not have much time left.  Although she wishes she did not have to be around death (again), she pushes through and tries to become friendly with this woman.

Throughout the book her relationships with the people around her change, Finley begins to find God and deals with some other struggles as well.  The whole point of the trip is to find a grave stone that her brother took a photo of and left as the last page of his journal.  Will she find it? Why is it significant? Find out in There You’ll Find Me!

Book Description

Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.

Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She’s witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.

She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will’s travel journal. It’s the place he felt closest to God, and she’s hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.

Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She’s the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.

Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?

Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she’s been looking for has been with her all along?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Get Glue July – Part 2

Ball of Fire Champ
Chelsea Handler
Chopped Fan
Chris Cleave
David Pogue
Edgy Chef
Good Eats
David Baldacci – Hell’s Corner
Dexter Masuka
E:60 Overtime
Radio Head
Sara Bareilles
Speed Reader
Steve Martin
The Next Iron Chef Fan
Dexter Third Cut

Get Glue Stickers July

I’m honestly not sure if these are my July or August stickers. I requested July 9th or thereabouts and nothing showed up. I requested again on August 10. Based on what stickers I got last time they arrived, I am led to believe these are July.. but who really knows for sure.. not me!

This batch of stickers includes:

The Voice – Blake Shelton
The Voice – Cee Lo Green
David Cook Fan
David Cook The Last Goodbye
David Cook The Last Goodbye Video
The Hangover Part II – Stu
The Hangover Part II – Doug
The Hangover Part II – Phil
Ryan Seacrest
Randy Jackson
Jennifer Lopez
Top 5 Idol Results
Top 4 Idol Results
Top 3 Idol Results
Top 2 Idol Results
Glee – Prom Queen
Night Owl
Glee – Funeral
Glee – New York

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