Monday, May 31, 2010

Somewhere to Belong, by Judith Miller

Have you ever lived in one type of “world” and was put into another one? Or lived in one place and chose to visit another? In a sense, that is what happens to the two girls in this story, Somewhere to Belong, by Judith Miller. This is the first book in the Daughters of Amana Series, which is set in the Amana colonies in 1877.

Johanna Ilg, a 24 year old girl, has lived in one of the seven Amana colonies all her life. Much like the Amish community, they dress in solid dark colors, eat in communal settings, and rely heavily on God. Johanna’s older brother has chosen to move away from the colony and live in Chicago. This peaks her interest, but her parents don’t approve of her wanting to visit Chicago. The only form of the outside world that she gets are visitors to the area, until the Schumachers move in.

Berta Schumacher, a 16 year old girl who hails from Chicago, has moved to the Amana colonies with her parents. She is devastated that she has to live in an area where life is pretty much dull compared to what her life was like in Chicago. With her stubborn ways, she wrecks havoc in her new world.

Johanna is chosen to show Berta the ways of the Amana colonies and has a hard time getting the young girl under control. Throughout their up and down times together, they become closer than expected and learn to confide in each other. Little by little secrets start to come out and unexpected situations arise. These are what leave Johanna and Berta to make the biggest choices in their lives.

I highly recommend this book. It was a great read. Judith Miller’s writing makes you dive into the book and has you feeling as though you are right there experiencing everything that the people are going through in the book.

This book was given to me by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Food Allergy False Positives, Maybe, But I Don't Think So.

Just the other day, I was flipping through the television channels when I came across a news snippet about kids and food allergies. For a brief moment they talked about how kids can have false positives and not even be allergic to half of the things that the tests are saying they are allergic to. They were trying to warn parents to be careful with some of these test because half of them don't come out right.

Well, I beg to differ. I have a daughter who has been tested a couple of times and I can say for a fact that she IS allergic to the items listed on her results. I have seen her react to some of the nuts or seeds or even beans. It is not a fun thing to go through when you see your child's facial expression change from happy to sullen. It is scarey to think that can this be the moment when I am going to have to use the epi pen. Now, I don't mean to harp on anybody, but some of these people who are going on the news and saying that "kids and food allergies" aren't real, really piss me off. They don't have to talk to people before their child eats something. They don't have to sit and worry if their child is going to be okay when they are at school. If they had to, I bet they would sing a different tune.

I remember being on the internet and looking at some other people's posts to see what they had to say about food allergies and you would be surprised how many people I found who thought food allergies was just in the brain and not real. Once again, shocking, but true. It really amazes me how this is becoming a topic of discussion. At least, a little bigger than it should be.

Now I have heard of people who have had a bad reaction to food and then went for testing and it came back negative. But I have never heard of anyone who tested positive for a food allergy and then was able to eat it. I know they have different levels of food tolerance and maybe that is what they are talking about. And if it is, they need to say so instead of saying food allergies aren't real. Maybe it is just me, but I know I have enough Twitter/Blog friends to know that food allergies are REAL and not just something that is made up in one's head. Because I am not the only one, who has to worry about themselves or their child and food.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Friendship For Grown-Ups: What I Missed & Learned Along The Way, by Lisa Whelchel

Lisa Whelchel, wrote this book about how, as adults, we still have to deal with the ups and downs of having to make "true" friends.

This book is basically her journey and what she had to go through and come to terms with when trying to make and keep friends in her adult life. You read about how she came off to some people as though she was 100% perfect, even though she had a ton of major flaws that she let rule her life. You also read about how she opened up to others to the point of crying so much that they could no longer be around her. Along the way she writes about how she had to rely on God tremendously in order to get over the emotional friendship break-ups that she had to go through. She talks about the people who mean the most to her and why and also about the people who really weren't there for her too.

Even though she wrote the book based on her personal life, it is my belief that it was intended to help the reader in finding "true" friends in their own life. I do recommend this book to be read by others. I'm not sure that everyone will benefit from it, but it still makes a good read.

Disclosure: I received this book in return for a honest review from Booksneeze.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Melvin the Magnificent Molar, by Julia Cook and Laura Jana, MD.

I was introduced to Melvin the Magnificent Molar, by Julia Cook and Laura Jana, MD. through Twitter Moms, and I'm glad I was. It is a great book to introduce your children as to what happens with their teeth.

Greatly illustrated, Melvin takes you through the process of what your child needs to do to keep their teeth healthy and clean. As in, brushing the "green sleeping scummies" off their teeth, a well drawn out description of what happens when they go to the dentist, and your child writing the tooth fairy a letter. There also is a really great song for your child to sing while they are brushing their teeth.

My daughter LOVED the book. The minute she saw it, she sat down and read it. Then she brought it over to me and asked me questions about the different things in it that she did not understand. I think the writing style and pictures are perfect for children to read and look at and understand on their own. Even though my daughter has already started going to the dentist, she enjoyed the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a child that is going to the dentist or even has already been to the dentist.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's a Social Parade! Wednesday Link-up!!!

It's Social Parade Time!!!
I had a lot of fun with this last week, so I am going to try it again this week.
Follow me and I will follow back ~ Comment and I comment back!!!

It's a Social Parade - Wednesday Link-up is a weekly link-up hosted by Smart and Trendy Moms . We created it for socializing and to get new followers, fans, subscribers, readers without feeling overwhelmed. Every week will be a new link-up that will focus on one of the ways you connect with people through your blog! We will rotate through gaining followers, fans, Networked blogs and more. Link-up and focus on one thing at a time. Its about fun one follower,fan and reader at a time! And don't worry you do not have to carry this button or any button of ours on your side bars. Your blog sidebars are great real estate and we respect that : ) The button needs to be posted in your participation post only.

How it works.

Grab the link-up button and post It's a Social Parade!! Wednesday Link-up. Every Wednesday a new linky will be posted with that weeks exchange info.

Smart and Trendy Moms

This week is Google Friend Connect Round Up!!

It went so well last week and had so many link up that we wanted to do it again this week to give everyone a chance to visit more blogs:)

To participate
•Follow the blog in the first spot via Google Friend Connect. I will follow all on the linky! All blogs participating must post about Social Parade and link to that on the linky:)

•Link-up your blog post for "It's a Social Parade" that you made on your blog.

•Follow as many as you like commenting on their POST as you do so they can follow back!

•If you do not make a post and link that up, it is unlikely that someone will search around for a post to comment on.

So stop by and feel free to comment on any posts that you see here!!!!

Life Is Too Short To.....

I was on Twittermoms a little while ago and saw a contest for Lisa Quinn's book, "Life is Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets: Your Ultimate Guide To Domestic Liberation". What I have to do is write about what I feel life is too short to do.

I think life is too short to try to be a stay at home mom.
When I was younger I always felt that it was important to be a SAHM. But after I had my daughter, I became a single parent. I have been able to stay at home for her for quite some time. But as time goes by, I realize if I want us to have a great life, I need to go back to work. There are so many things that I want to get for her/ do for her that can't be done if I don't go back to work. One important thing is horse back riding. She wants to learn how to ride horses and in the future (distant if you ask me) own her own horse.

I think life is too short to try and please everyone.
If you spend most of your time trying to make every one else happy, you are going to wind up neglecting yourself and the most important person that you need to make happy, first and foremost, is yourself. If you are truly not happy, then you cannot make anyone else happy.

I think life is too short to try and keep a spotless home.
Don't get me wrong, I do believe in a clean house, but spotless is another thing. I have a daughter who can get very hyper at times and jumps from activity to activity. She also thinks that cleaning up is throwing stuff around her room (I am working on this right now). I do try to keep everything in it's original place, but I realize that it will not necessarily stay. Nor important for it to stay in that one place. Just as long as the house looks nice, it doesn't matter where items are placed.

Traveling With Food Allergies

I was on the internet the other day reading various articles on traveling with food allergies. I love to travel, but it does make it somewhat harder when taking my daughter's allergies into consideration.

I remember one time when we flew to Seattle, Washington for a visit. We were out walking around and it was close to dinner time and we hadn't eaten yet. She was getting hungry, so I stopped by the nearest McDonald's (this is a treat for her because we do not do fast food places). In the middle of our order she noticed that the buns had seeds on them. Where we live they don't have them on the kid's buns, so I assumed it would be the same there. I was wrong. I should have inquired before placing an order. This just goes to show you that just because it is the same "restaurant" they may not prepare their food the same way.

I also read where some people were talking about traveling to different countries and having to deal with food allergies. Sometime ago I was thinking about moving to Scotland for awhile (just the thought of it makes me want to hop on a plane). So I thought to do extensive research on the types of food that they had in restaurants over there.  Most of the places she would be okay to eat in. I also looked into what types of grocery stores they had to offer also. I primarily shop for organic foods, so that would have to be a big option for me. It makes you realize how easy it is for people who don't have to worry about food can just up and go pretty much where they want. But for those who have food allergies or have kids that have them, must take an extra step in order to make sure their lives or their love one's life is safe.

During further reading, I discovered that in some countries it can take up to two months to get an epi pen replaced. It would be terrible to be somewhere and have used the epi pens that you have and not be able to get a replacement for them. I know of one person who traveled to another country and took about 4 epi pens with her family so that they could be covered. Now if you are a neurotic mother like me when it comes to the food that passes your child's mouth, then 9 out of 10 times you probably won't need to use the epi pens, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Even though my daughter's food allergies aren't as severe as other kids, I still take it seriously and try to protect her as best as I can. I feel that it is highly important for her to be well traveled and will not let her food allergies stop that from happening. I just tend to be extra cautious and take as much food with me, that is safe for her, that they will allow me to carry in our suitcases.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Mommy Files: Secrets Every New Mom Should Know, by Jen Klein

From the moment you find out that you are pregnant to the moment you see your child off to school, you have a ton of questions running through your mind. The responses to those very questions are answered in a book called, The Mommy Files, written by Jen Klein and presented by

The Mommy Files, packed with a ton of whimsical quotes, is broken down into three major sections. First being Pregnancy, second is Your Baby, and third is Your Child. Every section has a plethora of information for new mothers (and old alike). You learn about the different approaches one can take from the moment you find out you are pregnant, leading to when your baby comes home from the hospital, to dealing with how other people respond to you raising your child. Of course, there is much more information than just that. Also scattered throughout the book are various websites you can refer to and quotes from people who have actually gone down this very road. The information is presented in a way that keeps you engaged and wanting to read more. Even though my child is way past the baby stage, I actually learned some new things from the book.

I highly recommend this book for every new parent to read and am currently looking for someone I can refer this book to. I wish I had a copy of it when I first had my child. It would have been very beneficial. It is a book that you will want to pass on to your relative, neighbor, friend, or even a co-worker.

Disclosure: I thank Caitlin, from FSB Associates, for providing me with  a copy of this book to review.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tempered Justice by Helene J. Smith

Isn't it amazing how one decision can change the overall span of everyone's lives around that person? In Tempered Justice, written by Helene J. Smith, that is what happens.

Dan, at one time young and in love, took it all for granted. Now he is living with his wife Amy and three kids and is extremely unhappy. In order to deal with life he starts spending more time in the city. One day he runs into an old friend, Steffi. They decide that they still have strong feelings for each other and start to kindle a relationship. This prompts Dan to leave his family and reside in the city. This in turn, leads to Steffi becoming pregnant.

Back on the farm, his family is left to fend for themselves. Amy can't seem to handle Dan's disappearance and retreats into a solemn state leaving their three kids to fend for themselves. After sometime, she comes out of her state and looks for a job in the city. Low and behold, she happens to find a job working for a man by the name of Jake. The twist is that Jake is Steffi's husband.

This story, produced by Dorrance Publishing Co., takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book at first, but wound up really loving it. You start to really feel for the characters in the story. And the author has a way of writing that keeps you wanting to find out what happens to everyone at the end. I do recommend this book.

Disclaimer: I was provided  a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's A Social Parade

Smart and Trendy Moms

I just found this great Wednesday link up. Every week they have a different way to link up and find new people to follow!! So if you follow me, I promise to follow you back! Leave a comment. I love reading and responding to comments!

This week is Google Friend Connect Round Up!!

To participate

•Follow the blog in the first spot via Google Friend Connect. I will follow all on the linky! All blogs participating must post about Social Parade and link to that on the linky:)

•Link-up your blog post for "It's a Social Parade" that you made on your blog.

•Follow as many as you like commenting on their POST as you do so they can follow back!

•If you do not make a post and link that up, it is unlikely that someone will search around for a post to comment on.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Have you ever had a plan for your life that didn't work out the way that you intended it to? I'm sure you have. I know I have. Did you have a plan b? Unfortunately I didn't. Most people don't think they need a back up plan for their life, but they should.

In the book Plan B, written by Pete Wilson, he parallels regular people's lives with those in the Bible. He writes how they have gone through a lot of the same things that we have and if you look to God, he can help you through. He gives a lot of examples from people he has met along the way and also his life too. Some of the people he refers to in the Bible are David, Joseph, and Abraham.

Unfortunately, this book did not sit well with me at all. I felt as though his writing style was too simplistic for a topic like this. I also didn't agree with the way he referred to some people in the Bible as "dude". I understand he was trying to reach the young generation also, but you can do that without stooping too low. I really wanted to like this book because the whole idea of it is really good, but I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Happy Child Is A Hyper Child or Is It ADD/ADHD?

I am sitting here looking at all the paper work that I have to fill out for my daughter's ADHD evaluation and I am thinking, 'Oh, boy. What have I gotten myself into?' You see, her teacher (not being able to outwardly say) has hinted around (along with some family members and maybe a friend) that she might have ADHD. I have been told over and over again to get her tested instead of dealing with everything that I have to go through with her. For sometime it has been a running joke with my family (no disrespect to those whose children do have it) because of her constant hyperness. I kept telling them, 'a happy child is a hyper child'. At least that is what I had read somewhere.

When I really think about it, there are some attributes that she does possess, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything. One time when she was around 3 or 4 I had her in a library program and would take pictures. I remember looking at one of the pictures and wondering why I didn't see her in the picture. Oh, but she was there! She was the one lying on her back with her legs sticking straight up in the air in the middle of all the kids. Or just recently in her Taekwondo class, where she was looking at the lights in the ceiling, talking to herself, and moving her finger up and down toward the lights instead of listening to her instructor.

At home and in public (i.e. the supermarket or walking down the street) I get most of the hyperness. I remember people would look at me and be like WOW and my response would be, 'and to think I don't give her sugar!' and they would be shocked. It was just pure natural hyperness (from happiness). At home she likes to jump on the beds (normal), climb on the railings (inside and outside), run through the house (normal), fall on the couches from the steps, swing on the counter tops, etc. The list could go on forever. And don't get me started about the stuff she throws around her room. Oh, and her new found screaming. She just recently started to scream out loud for no apparent reason. You ask her why she is doing it and she says she doesn't know. She does have little issues that boggle me. She can't have the sown part of the sock below her toes. It has to be above or she can't put her shoes on. She also can't have a certain pair of tennis shoes on if a small part of it is bent inside. She will literally fall out on the floor crying if she can't get them just right.

At the beginning of her schooling, I didn't pay attention to it too much either. You see, she was always ahead of her pupils. She was reading before any of her friends and also learning how to speak Spanish among other things. But once she got into kindergarten, her teacher told me she had to keep telling her to get her work done. She said she would always be the last one to complete her work. And now that she is in first grade, her teacher has to deal with some of the same things. One thing that struck her teacher as odd was when she got up from her desk and put her jacket hat on her head and walked around the classroom. I asked her what was she doing walking around the classroom instead of doing schoolwork and her response was that she wasn't walking around the classroom; she was just trying to get to the other side.

When I look at the questions that they ask, I want to fill it out honestly, but I really don't want her to come across as having a real severe problem or even being 'crazy'. It is bad enough that she has to deal with food allergies and to have this also.... When it was a running joke, that was one thing, but if it turns out to actually be true (which I don't think it will) it will be a little sad and also offer me a lot of relief at the same time.