Monthly Archives: September 2012

Be Still my Soul by Joanne Bischof

Be Still my Soul
By Joanne Bischof

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

(From the back cover)
About This Book

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.

My Review:

This book is set in a time period as well as an area where the culture of the time was more backwards. Lonnie was young, innocent and just out to find romance when she allows womanizer and flirt, Gideon, to kiss her good night after walking her home. Unknown to her, her father sees the kiss, but the not the punch to the jaw that followed it.
Forced at the point of a shotgun to marry, Gideon and Lonnie are both miserable, Gideon is just a jerk. Violent, manipulative, and naively cruel, he uses Lonnie and keeps her around only because he is forced to. He believes she is only there to irritate him and sees no value in her at all, other than to be used for what he wants. Lonnie doesn’t take it sitting down though, but still, too tired to defend herself, God brings an angel of mercy into their lives to save both of them.

The author really had me pulled into the story from the beginning! I am not sure how common shotgun weddings were in that area or time period, but I would think in the culture of that area, it would make them more common. I struggled with a few facets of the book, but was glad that she basically gave him no options to continue treating her the way he did after she realized she had another option. I felt like she was so young, she really didn’t know how to handle it, which was fairly true to life. The other facet of the book I struggled with was that she got pregnant so fast and was supposedly sick already when she would have only been like barely 5 weeks pregnant. The author however, did an excellent job with the labor scene, but struggled to actually convey a good timeline of how far along she was.
Overall, the writing in this book was well written, the story was fascinating, and the culture very well conveyed.

I hesitated with the idea that abusive men can turn around, love their wives, but I think the lesson we can learn and take from this is they cannot do it on their own.

First off their wives have to step up and be ready to make boundaries and second of all, there has to be someone willing to make them accountable for what they have done and not allow it. I loved Jeb! He was the impersonation of what all abused woman dream of! A father figure with a shotgun and a willingness to make the guy pay if he doesn’t follow through! If only there were more Jeb’s in the world, I think more Lonnie’s would be saved…
I believe Gideon was redeemable because his wickedness was more of just doing what he thought was normal and right. He was not taught well by his parents on how to treat women.

So, to wrap up the world’s longest book review…. this was a worthwhile book to read, when you think about the full picture and not just as a romantic story.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”


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Letting Go of SuperMom by Daisy Sutherland, DC

My Review:
I am busy trying to be Supermom, so I managed to only get half of this book read, but what I read, I was amazed at how many good tips were in this small book! I especially like the 10 minute Emergency Clean, which I read aloud to my friends and they laughed too, because it was so true!
This book is going to be a handy guide for everyday when I am feeling overwhelmed. It will help me see how to balance all the things we try to do in life. -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Publisher: Siloam (August 7, 2012)
***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Daisy Sutherland is the founder and CEO of Dr. Mommy, LLC. She is a doctor of chiropractic by profession, wife, and mom to five children, whom she has homeschooled for the past twelve years. She hosts a weekly Blog Talk Radio show called Family Talk and is the featured parenting expert on Mom Talk Radio, a nationally syndicated radio show that airs on more than fifty stations, reaches 50,000 moms, and has been recognized in The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Day, USA Today, and Parenting. Women all over the country have benefitted from “Dr. Mommy’s” health, parenting, and career management tips and godly advice. She is the voice and advocate for every mom and says she is blessed to be able to help so many.

Visit the author’s website.


This guide will include time-management and organization tips, how-tos for handling stress, nutrition and general wellness advice, parenting and relationship tools, and ways to stay spiritually refreshed and highly productive without losing it! Dr. Mommy will also share her best tips and tricks from her personal experience of being a homeschooling, CEO mom.

Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Siloam (August 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616384638
ISBN-13: 978-1616384630

AND NOW…A SAMPLE (Click on pages to see them better):

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Menu plans

I am working on getting back to having a written plan for my meals as basketball life is about to start again! Which means…..crockpot meals, staying on top of making snacks to go with us, and high protein ones at that.

I am finding that I plan on making a little extra dinner each night, for the after dinner snack. More of the boys are needing a snack at about 8 pm. before bed….and they can polish off whatever we had for dinner! Last night we had burritos, so I added extra beans to the ground beef/taco filling and they had quesadillas before bed. I started buying tortillas again, and not just corn ones, as I got the packages of flour ones for $1 each. It is not my favorite thing to do, but I run out of time to do everything.

I grated a bunch of zucchini and froze it, so quick breads, here we come! Eggs have gone up in price lately, so baking has been to a minimum. I turned to my old turkey ham standby last week to add cubed turkey ham to breakfast scrambles, and sandwiches for protein filler. $1.99 a pound, it is one of the cheapest sandwich meats!

Wednesday: Pasta alfredo, Salad, Cucumbers
Thursday: Cauliflower cheese soup, pumpkin muffins, tomato and cucumber salad (I have lots of tomatoes)
Friday: Breadstick and pizza casserole, salad
Saturday: Possibly camping……
Sunday: Sandwiches, popcorn, brownies
Monday: Wild rice soup, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, sliced tomatoes
Tuesday: Baked potatoes with toppings like ham, cheese, sour cream, broccoli etc. Big salad…

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Filed under Bargain Dinners, Recipes

Spicy Tomato Basil soup


Our tomato picking today!

My fridge feels like it is filling up with tomatoes and peppers! It is fun though!! Tonight I used some of the riper tomatoes to make a tomato basil soup.

Spicy Tomato Basil/Tarragon soup

About 15 tomatoes halved
2 Hungarian peppers
Place on cookie sheet
Drizzle with about 2 T. olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and salt.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until skins crinkle.
Blend in blender until smooth.
Heat in sauce pan.
Add about 1 t. of chopped fresh herbs like basil, tarragon etc. and about 1/2 c. chicken broth.
Heat through. Serve with cheese and toasted baguette.
Salt and pepper to taste.

It was really yummy with a slight spice to it from the peppers.


If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, because it is the middle of winter, you can use this recipe that tastes very similar.

1 -2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1 garlic clove
Blend in the blender until finely pureed.

Heat in the pan until warm, when warm, slowly add 1 cup of half and half if desired or whole milk. You can add more, but I don’t like it too rich. Stir carefully while pouring to prevent curdling. Season with salt, pepper.


Filed under Bargain Dinners

Fourth Week of school

We finished one whole month or four weeks of school!! That is an accomplishment!!
Two boys finished one small unit of their schoolbooks….that was a great accomplishment as well!

One of the completed books!

We have had some nice weather still hanging around, but it is really smoky out, which makes everything harder. It feels like your lungs have to work a bit harder to breathe. One of the hikes we went on this week felt like we swimming through mud.

I did not take pictures of all our activities this week….imagine that!

We took a walk through a river bed to collect samples of things to look at under the microscope.

The river was full, but there was a diverted path that was dry and had lots of fun things to look at and collect!

Animal tracks

We were not certain if this was an algae or rust.

We didn’t end up looking at this one as my friend looked it up and there was a possibility that it was the dangerous blue green algae. So, instead we learned about the dangerous kind of blue green algae. We are planning a later field trip to the Environmental Agency that would possibly teach us about this. (And yes, that is really me!)

We also started hunters Safety in the evenings this week, almost every night! I have been going with them and it has been interesting! I am catching up on reading, but learning at the same time.
Going somewhere every evening for three hours though, is so tiring!!!
It was funny to watch the instructor trying to figure out who I actually was. Student? Aunt? But mother was not the first thought!

We had a day with short reports and looking at our collections under the microscope. L. spoke about a book he enjoyed, a Geronimo Stilton book.

Helping brother out

Playing with balls
H. spoke about one of his books…we need a little more practice doing a good book report, but it was good practice!

P. presentation….the smelling experiment


Hmm….it smells like vanilla!
Friend’s report on Runescape

T. report sharing about his art picture
We then did microscope viewing including spiders, spit and algae! It was very, very fun!

We went up the mountain the next day in the afternoon to build forts, but it was so smoky, it was a hard hike! It is only a 3 mile one, but it was difficult!
The kids had fun though….

Hunters Safety each evening made life busy….and we had field day today…

Here are three kids!!
Scary, isn’t it??



So, we survived the fourth week…..= ) Barely!
We were also blessed to have company again this week. A good friend and her husband, with children were able to spend a couple of nights here at our house, which is always nice to be able to see friends and lend a bed!

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Third week of school

I was exhausted this week! I really was surprised at how well it went though for as tired as I was.
Our schedule is coming more second nature now….I found something that works and I think we will stick to it. We have a lot of outside things coming up, which is going to make life interesting, but it is good too!

We have a new nephew and cousin in the family…so they learned a lot just in general about baby care and like last week about the placenta, they were hearing a ton about breastfeeding and other topics this week.

Art Practice..

Science experiment on temperature


Both in the medium water…
The experiment had you use hot water and ice water and then when you put them both in room temperature water, you could still feel the cold hand and warm hand.

They all had fun doing it!


Some of our books in the sunshine….we love having the sun when we do school!

H. notebook….

F.’s bus….

They got to go to a survival class this past week on how to survive in the woods.


This was the list they were learning about.
Jaw bone, I believe…


Out of the classroom to do some hands on work….

Building a shelter…




They really enjoyed this! They learned a lot about survival in the woods and since we enjoy hiking in the woods, it is very practical.

We also had more Russian practice when family members dropped in to visit from out of town.

Fierce battles were part of the game!

Can pyramid building, learning balance and symmetry…

On a walk in the woods this week….we found some mint growing along the river/slough…


We found this weird growth on a thistle plant as well!

Shelf mushrooms…I am not sure what they are really called, I should look them up!

L. picked, harvested, dried and made big cups of mint tea for us to enjoy when we got home.

H. mosaic…Can you see the picture?

There were little papers everywhere!

Cat spider in the corner

Observing ants



T. watching ants

Afterwards, they all wanted a dip in the lake…which was cold, but they enjoyed it!


It was beautiful out there!

So, that was some of our week of school, minus the pictures of math, Language arts, and all….I just included the interesting things! Pre-algebra started this week and next week, we have more classes as well as Hunter’s safety or gun safety class two of them are taking. We are also planning a microscope day.

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365 Things Every New mom should know

My Review:
I am late posting this as it came right at the right time though! My little sister had her first baby and we read through the days of this book together! This is a great little book with practical and short snippets of advice for the new mom! I am going to be looking to buy some extra copies of this book to give as baby gifts! This is a great little book to help remind that mom of the things to look forward to or watch for each day of the first year of her baby’s life! – Great Job! –

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (April 2012)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House for sending me a review copy.***


Linda Danis has a degree in marketing and spent five years in hotel
management before staying at home to run a hotel of a different
sort—guests ages 3, 6, 9, and 11. Linda has written Sunday school
curricula, started a co–op preschool, and leads a Moms in Touch prayer
ministry at her children’s school.  She lives with her husband, Dave,
and children in California.

This daily guide to the first year of a baby s life combines prayerful, playful, and practical information to energize new moms. Features weekly devotionals and daily activities that foster a baby s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual growth.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-2382-8


My child, you
hold the whole of my heart in your small hands.
Author Unknown
Week 1
Day 1
After all these long months, your precious little baby has finally
arrived. The child you have longed for is here to hold, to look at, and to
touch. Your baby will look up at you and recognize your familiar voices. You
are the ones he has been longing to meet—his mommy and daddy! Get to know your
sweet little baby—hold him, rock him, smell his skin, gaze at him, marvel at
his tiny fists, caress him. Treasure this awesome miracle!
Day 2
On the day you bring your baby home for the first time, have
everyone in your family place their hands on her and pray for her. This will be
a precious moment for your family to share together as you welcome her into
your family and give thanks to God for this wonderful gift!
Day 3
If you have older children who want to hold their new sibling, use
a nursing “donut pillow” to help them support your baby’s head. Have your child
sit all the way back on the couch. Place the semicircle nursing pillow around
his waist. Set your baby on the pillow with his bottom wedged in between your
older child’s tummy and the pillow. Rest your baby’s head on your older child’s
arm that is resting on the pillow. Even if your child lets go of the baby, his
head will still be secure on the pillow. Of course, you should always be
sitting right next to your new baby, monitoring his safety. This also works for
young visitors, but I would suggest waiting a week or two before letting a
nonfamily-member child hold your baby.
Day 4
Despite what all the books may say, most
women experience some soreness (or a lot of soreness!) in the first weeks of
nursing. Try using your Lamaze breathing when your baby latches onto your
breast. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, blot them dry with a cotton
diaper after you have finished nursing. Saliva has enzymes that can irritate
sore nipples. After you have dried the saliva off, express a little milk and
rub it on your nipples. Let them air dry. Also, do not look down at your baby
the entire time you nurse. This position can strain your neck and cause tension
headaches. If you can persevere through the first two weeks of nursing, things
will get better.
Day 5
Sometimes as a new parent it’s hard to tell whether or not you
should call your pediatrician. If you are reluctant to call your doctor in the
middle of the night, you can usually call the nursery at the hospital where you
gave birth. The nurses are awake and can advise you as to whether you should
call your doctor right away or if it can wait until the morning. Do not
wait if your baby has a fever higher than 99.9 degrees rectally (this is the
most accurate way to take your baby’s temperature). Call your doctor
Day 6
Drink water every time you nurse to stay hydrated and to maintain
your milk supply. Always keep a water bottle close at hand. It is a good idea
to set up a “nursing station” wherever you will be nursing the most. Have
everything you need right at hand—a water bottle, a burp cloth, a nursing
pillow, a book or magazine to read, and nursing pads.
Day 7
When your baby startles while lying on her back (the Moro reflex),
gently but firmly hold her hands together close to her chest to calm her and
make her feel more secure. Say, “It’s okay, sweetheart. Mommy will help you.”
This reflex will disappear by four months.
Reflections on the Week
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
Samuel 1:27
Before I formed you in the womb I knew
you, before you were born I set you apart.
An Incredible
You have had your baby only one short week and yet you can hardly
remember what life was like without him. You prepared for months for his
arrival—read books, set up the nursery, went to prenatal classes—yet nothing
could prepare you for the overwhelming love you feel for this child. There are
no words quite powerful enough to describe the emotions you feel.
Then the impossible happened; each day you grew to love him more.
The sheer magnitude of love takes your breath away. Can there be anything more
wonderful than when he gazes into your eyes, when you feel his small body
curled up in your arms, when you feel his warm breath on your cheek, when his
little fingers wrap tightly around yours? Your heart is ready to burst with
this new miracle in your life.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first or fifth child, the
profound love you feel for your new baby never changes. I remember during my
second pregnancy, I secretly worried that I might not love this new baby as
much as my first. How could I ever love another child as much as I loved her?
But the moment I held my new baby, I knew immediately I had worried for
nothing. There was no difference in my love. It was as amazingly wonderful and
intense as the love I had for my first. It happened again when my third and
fourth children were born. We don’t have to divide our love between our
children. Our love actually multiplies, giving us even more love to share. It
is one of the ways God’s love works in motherhood. We just have more and more
love to give away!
Dear God, thank You for this precious little baby. He is
everything I prayed for. Everything about him is perfect. Words can hardly
describe how much I love him. Because of him, I have a better idea now of how
much You, my heavenly Father, love me. Please help me adjust to all the changes
I will face as a new mother. Amen.

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Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

Band of Sisters
By Cathy Gohlke


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

When the death of a family member brings Maureen O’Reilly home, she is given a way to save her sister from the same life of shame that she has faced.
Finding herself on a boat to America, with a sister that hardly knows her, the many unknowns facing her seem insurmountable.
After coming through the strict inspections of Ellis Island, she discovers that the benefactor that was to help her and her sister has passed away and wicked men are here in America as well. Desperate for anything to survive, she makes a decision to accept help from the wrong source, which catapults her into a life of danger and secrets, once again.
Olivia Wakefield, when she realizes what her father promised to the O’Reilly family, seeks to find the sister’s, but faces family disapproval, mistrust from Maureen and other obstacles stand in her way.
When women begin to vanish from the department store where Maureen works, she is desperate to find someone she can trust and someone to help. Can she break down the barriers she has put up on her heart all these years and learn to trust in another human being as well as a Savior?

This book is set in New York City, 1910. The setting and people are different, older fashioned, yet the age-old problem still remains. Women, children and evil play a role as commodities. The weak, the ones no one will miss, are treated no better than slaves in a nation where slavery is supposedly illegal.
This book will touch you in a place as you draw lines between 1910 and 2012, burdening your heart to be a Caleb or a Joshua and play a role in the rescue of these forgotten ones.
Cathy Gohlke once again brings us a novel that addresses heart issues, the pain of family hurts, judgment among Christians, but above all challenges us to look beyond the outside picture. This was another book that I would highly recommend! It is not a thriller or a fast paced book, but it will pull at your heartstrings and get you thinking about how you can get involved in helping the victims of not just human trafficking, but abuse victims that get entrapped in lives they did not set out to be in. –

Visit Cathy’s Website

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Second week of school

I knew that this week could get interrupted at any time, so I tried to focus as much as possible on learning and getting things done.
We ended up only missing one day….= )

I didn’t take as many pictures of our bookwork this week! Here are some of the hands on science, geology and others that we did!

Learning in a hands on way!

Refilling water bottle after steep hike

Always a smile!

Science hike to check on our bone….

We had 14 children and 4 mothers…

There it is!!!

Looking and learning about decomposition and maggots

The captive audience

A very active bee hive we walked by quickly!


A tree that I would like to identify…

Also, for part of Russian class we attend a Russian speaking church on Sundays. This past Sunday was a baptism…

I am short so seeing was a problem!

Some of the young people singing

Part of the family group picture afterwards….

We then had a new nephew born, so I had to miss Friday for the labor….
I kept this one tasteful for queasy readers, but we used the placenta as a science lesson, learning about veins, blood vessels and how the baby survives inside a mother.
The midwife teaching the boys…

That concluded the week! We spend a lot of time enjoying our study of Rome, learning new math and reading. My son was working on his first book report and enjoying it!!! We have tried before and it did not go well! So this was something to rejoice about!

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Filed under Daily Happenings, Doula

Sometimes life happens…

and that means changes to the schedule and menu plans!
I missed a couple days of being home for a lovely young man that was very stubborn about being born!

His first slumber party…..most of those lumps are his sleeping aunts.


Our new little nephew – 7 lbs. 11 oz. finally decided to make his appearance after putting his mom through some hard labor. He also put his aunts through some emotional distress while coaching the hard labor.

The happy mom and baby!

Hardworking dad

I will be back on track tomorrow!!!

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