March 31, 2014

a very long march...


Well hello there!  No, I did not fall off the face of the planet.  No, I was stuck in the month of March.  But, since I see that we are now on the last day of the month, I felt confident in coming back to this space after a bit of a break.  I had been writing about balance before I abruptly stopped writing, and it was because of those balance posts I decided to take a much needed break.

This winter has been difficult.  It has been extremely cold.  Yes, I should expect this living in New England.  But, as the months wore on, it became a little too much.  So taking a step back from the blog was necessary.

What have I been doing these past few weeks?  Dreaming of summer of course!  We are so close, I can almost taste it.  Emma and I have been talking daily about the veggies that we want to grow in the garden this year.  I always like to involve the kids in the garden, but this year Emma seems to be taking a particular interest in what we are planting.  We have to make sure and plant as many purple veggies as possible, purple peppers, purple tomatoes, purple beans, they will all have a presence in the garden this year.  

We are thinking about chickens again maybe around Easter, maybe the beginning of May.  Whenever it is, my kids will be very happy to have baby chicks in the house again.  Matt wants to work on the chicken coop, give it a good clean out, fix the fence, try to make it more critter proof.  There are a lot of projects to be done around the ol' homestead.  Typically we have an opportunity to get outside in March and start on some of those projects, even if it is just for a couple days.  But, it hasn't happened this year yet, so we wait.  And our list gets longer.  But, I think once the warm weather arrives we all will be so excited we will plow through our chores and to-do lists to get to the fun of springtime and summer!

How has this winter treated you?  Are you moving closer to spring, or already in the thick of it?  I can see a lot of mud in our future here!

March 25, 2014

teach your kids electronics with EEME's project kits!


I think in this day and age, the value of learning electronics from the very earliest point is incredibly important.  Luckily, I had the opportunity to try out one of EEME's project kits with my kids.  Let me tell you, they were incredibly excited at the prospect of putting together something with little wires involved!


It was actually incredibly easy.  I was a little concerned that it might be too complicated for my oldest who is almost 6 (eek!), but she was a champ.  In the mail you receive the entire kit, with everything you need.  Then all you need to do is go online and watch the video instructions.  The videos are thorough, which is important for kids (and adults that may not do this kind of thing on a regular basis!).  Once you complete a step, you move on to the next video.  In the end you end up with a great little smart light, one that comes on in the dark and turns off when it is light.  The kids have been going back and forth between their little secret corners of our home to try it out.

Overall, this is a wonderful project to do with the kids, and one that I look forward to adding to our homeschool curriculum for the fall.  

EEME makes hands-on project kits teach kids about electronics. Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only teach kids how to assemble the light, buzzer projects, but also to teach them how circuits and electronic components such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, LEDs works.

From EEME:

Project Genius Light is the first project in our monthly project subscription. With the Genius Light project, you will assemble a simple LED circuit system that does the smart thing - lights up when it is dark and dims when it is light.
The project kit will be shipped with all the materials needed to build the Genius Light (a breadboard, resistors, circuits, LEDs, battery).

Sign up for FREE at http://eeme.co to access EEME's virtual electronics learning platform and to preview EEME's video curricula. If you think EEME is the right fit for your family, email dad@eeme.co for the latest promotional offer towards their monthly subscription. Just let them know you came from my blog to get $5 off your first month's subscription!

I received this project for free along with compensation to provide my review.  The opinions are my own.

March 17, 2014

updates on snow and chickens and food, oh my!


Goodness I needed my little vacation last week.  No, I didn't actually go anywhere, but I took the week off from blogging, and I didn't feel bad about it!  Baby steps, I know.  My husband was actually traveling for work, so the kids and I were a little off balance all week.  But, he is home safe and sound now, and our family feels much better for it.

We still have a very large amount of snow on the ground, last week we had another large storm with a lot of rain, and then the temps dropping causing a lot of ice, and an additional 6 inches of snow.  This winter has been relentless.  Because of that, I have been feeling extremely unmotivated in the kitchen.  I finally turned to looking at pretty pictures of recipes that would take a little initiative to make (buying the right ingredients).  I rarely follow recipes, but I did this weekend!

The above is a delicious waldorf salad.  We had it for breakfast this past weekend.  Lots of apples and chopped celery, some dates and walnuts, I mixed in a container of lemon greek yogurt and a little drizzle of maple syrup, it was to die for!  The kids both loved it and had seconds...and then asked for it again in the afternoon for snack. 


The second dish is Mediterranean pasta.  I wasn't sure anyone besides me would enjoy this one.  Surprisingly everyone enjoyed it.  The kids weren't a huge fan of the sundried tomatoes, although when I told them to close their eyes and I gave them bites of everything together, they both loved it.  Apparently the key to eating new things is to close your eyes.

Finally an update on our chickens.  We have decided to process our chickens.  We will be taking them on Tuesday night, and then picking them up on Wednesday.  It probably would have been smarter to do it in the fall or early winter, instead of feeding them for so long without getting many eggs.  But, you live and learn.  And honestly, I don't think the kids were ready for us to process them before now. 

What does that mean for our little farm?  Well, we are planning on getting chickens again.  We haven't decided if we will do layers or meat chickens or both.  I would like to do both, although I am not sure how that would work considering we only have one chicken house, and I believe they have to eat different feed.  Any ideas from my more experienced chicken farmers? 

How is everything going in your neck of the woods? 

March 16, 2014

Sunday Quotes


"It can't beat us!" Pa said.
"Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly.
"No," said Pa.  "It's got to quit sometime and we don't.  It can't lick us.  We won't give up."

Then Laura felt a warmth inside her.  It was very small but it was strong.  It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.

~Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

March 9, 2014

Sunday Quotes


Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.
~Thomas Jefferson

March 8, 2014

The Boxcar Baby and a giveaway!

Boxcar Baby


The Boxcar Baby by J.L. Mulvihill Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB'Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it's up to AB'Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB'Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa's spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB'Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries ... and that monsters come in all shapes and forms. The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.   Praise for The Boxcar Baby “Miss AB’Gale Steel, is a pure spitfire girl, full of strong-minded grit, who draws strength out of adversity, and endures hardship by bracing herself against self-pity.” – Jorie Loves a Story “One thing I really loved about this one was it was fast paced and moved quickly. Mulvihill did an amazing job making realistic characters.” – Bee’s Knees Reviews “J.L. Mulvihill is quite a talented writer and I think she has such a creative mind to come up with this Steampunk Southern American Adventure.” – Book and Movie Dimension


The Boxcar Baby Excerpt I have always loved the sound of the train whistle, especially when I hear it from far away; the moaning echo across the valley gives it a sorrowful sound like a Piper bird calling for its mate. Sometimes I can imagine the sound is a mournful spirit seeking its long lost love. Sad as it may sound, it calms me when I hear it at night and lulls me to sleep, or wakes me peacefully in the early morning. Every two weeks when I hear the train, I know it’s time for Papa to come home. But one morning about five weeks ago, Papa didn’t come home. I’m pretty sure my Granny is going to ask me to go to New Joplan to look for Papa. I don’t really mind going to New Joplan, the city is way jigin’, but I’ve never gone to the city alone before, and I’m sure there’s creepers there. Of course Granny will have it all worked out for me to stay with a friend of hers, but I will still have to go it alone. I need to go, though, because I have to find out what happened to my Papa. We ain’t heard from him or the railroad since Papa left for work last; he usually works a few weeks on and a couple weeks off, but this time he’s been gone longer than ever. If Papa doesn’t come back, I can’t say what will happen to Granny and me. Granny and I waited four weeks for Papa but when he still hadn’t come home we got worried. Granny decided maybe we should go on into Jasper and sell the eggs and milk like we usually do when Papa comes home. So we hitched up the ponies and loaded the cart up and head into town.  
Author

Author J.L. Mulvihill: Born in Hollywood and raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past fifteen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaing fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing. The Boxcar Baby, the first novel of her Steel Roots Series, was released by Seventh Star Press in the summer of 2013. J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, among them "Chilled Meat", a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass, anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and "The Leprechaun’s Story", a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology, Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing) J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.


BookBlast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.    a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 5, 2014

knitting and reading


I finished the cowl!  Yay!  We have had a bit of a cold running through our house the past several days, so it gave me a little more time to sit with my knitting.  I'm really happy with how this turned out.  Especially since it is still so cold outside!  I don't know if I will keep it or if I will give it away yet, I guess it depends if it gets much colder or not...and if Emma decides to declare it as her own, which is also very possible. 

As far as reading goes, I just started a new book - Growing up Duggar.  I'm not sure what it is about the Duggar family, but I do find them fascinating!  I am only about half a chapter in at this point.  I'm not sure it is exactly what I expected it to be, although I am only a little ways in.  I think I was expecting more memoir and less how-to.  But, I am sure it will be an enjoyable read.

I am on the waiting list for a few books at the library.  I love that I have a library I can request e-books from, but I wish that they had more than one digital copy available.  It seems to me, if it is digital, there should be many copies available.  Of course I know that is not realistic, but a girl can dream!  I have been doing a lot of late night reading, so e-books have been working best lately.

What are you working on this week?  Any new books?

March 4, 2014

The Leland Dragon series and a giveaway!

Reclamation


Redheart Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land. As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in. A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series.  

  Praise for Redheart “Redheart is a captivating and enthralling book.”- Evie Bookish “Gamber has written a hypnotic tale that lulls you into a dreamy state of ethereal bliss, as you enter into the world of the Leland Dragons!” – Jorie Loves a Story “I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a great fantasy novel.” – Jess Resides Here “The story itself is very beautifully told, and Gamber does a phenomenal job creating personable characters and down to earth themes, all dealing with different aspects, such as social, psychological, feministic, archetypal, and philosophical issues.” – A Book Vacation


Excerpt from Redheart Kallon soared. He thrust his crimson wings to chase the clouds, tethered to the earth by only his massive shadow. He flew faster, but his shadow could not be outrun. He felt it below him, dragging across the dusty field like an anchor, pulling him downward. With a defiant twist of his wings, he veered straight up into the cobalt sky. The sky was where dragons were meant to thrive, and it was the place they returned to when they died. At least, according to his father. Kallon had believed it once. He had believed the stories of dragon valor in a world where humans and dragons worked together toward a common future. But that was long ago. Kallon didn’t believe in anything anymore. It became harder to breathe, and Kallon’s eyes burned and watered. His wings resisted moving. He’d gone as high as he could go. He paused. As far as he could see, the sky was the same unlimited blue. There was no rail, no net. There seemed nothing to keep him from going forward, yet there he was forced to stop, as every dragon before him stopped. With a groan of regret, Kallon hung his head and descended. He followed his shadow across a field of withered meadow grass. The field gave way to sand, and the sand to stones, then bulging fists of granite welcomed him home to the foothills of the Leland Mountains. Then he heard something. Instead of disappearing into his cave, he swooped above a high cliff and circled back. He dropped down to his feet, curled in his wings, and stood still as the mountains to listen. A scream. From somewhere beyond the next peak came a human scream. He snorted. Too bad it wasn’t something more interesting. His ears had long since grown deaf to the cries of humans. Then the scream came again. It was the sound of terror; the kind he used to hear from children as his shadow passed over the ground near them. He shuddered, and found himself turning toward the sound. He hadn’t wanted to go home yet, anyway. He supposed it wouldn’t hurt just to look. He flew low over the meadow until he caught the human scent. No, not one human—several. He landed quietly and loped toward a grove of ancient firs, some of which were taller than his head. Careful not to rustle any branches, he poked his face through the trees. There he saw the humans and discovered the source of the scream. Three men stood around a female, who crouched in the center of them. There was a leader, it seemed, who cackled an evil laugh and was goading the two younger men toward her. His voice was louder than the others, and his stringy hair was the color of dung. “Go on,” he said, and shoved his friend toward her. The woman shrieked and lunged, stabbing a knife at the air. The man jumped away, but the leader darted behind the woman and grabbed her wrist, then wedged the inside of his elbow against her throat. “Give me that little toy,” he snarled. The woman struggled. The leader yanked away the knife and pushed her to the ground. He slapped her face. Kallon could see her shoulders heave as she whispered in a hoarse voice, “Please. Don’t do this.” Kallon was still considering what he ought to do, when there was a sudden shout. “Dragon!” cried one of the men. “Bloody ‘ell!” yelped another. The leader just stood gaping, his bottom lip flopping up and down like a beached carp. “Run!” The man near the female jumped to his feet, and hollered again. “Run!” The leader finally moved. He flung up the knife, and it tumbled through the air to bump Kallon harmlessly on the nose. Kallon growled, anyway. The leader stumbled back. Kallon sucked in a deep breath and bellowed like thunder. The man wailed, and bolted after the others. The men collided with trees and smacked into each other in their panic. Kallon stopped bellowing to smile. Cowards. Then he swung his face to the woman. He found her gaze locked on him, and his smile dissolved, taken aback by the look in her eyes. He had grown accustomed to screams, shouts of fear, and the look of terror in the eyes of humans. But this woman reacted to him with none of these. Her face seemed to register… relief. Then her eyes closed and she fell backward onto the ground. Kallon inched forward through the trees. He bumped her shoulder with his snout. She didn’t respond. “You dead?” he asked. He nudged her again. She was breathing. Blood trickled from her nose and mouth. She smelled more pleasant than he thought a human could smell, like the musky forest path drenched in sunshine. He sniffed her again. He knew he should leave her right where she laid. She was no business of his, and he didn’t know the first thing about tending to her anyway. But she’d looked at him differently than most humans, and it stirred something within him he couldn’t explain. He lifted a claw to his cheek and rubbed, unsure of what to do. Then he mumbled, “Going to regret this.” He grasped her with his forelegs and soared off toward home.  

sela


Sela Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland's mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that's not all. Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds. In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland's Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back. Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected. In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?


Reclamation cover


Reclamation The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series! Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council. All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons. Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined. Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken. War is here. The stakes? Perhaps the whole world.


  JackieAuthor Jackie Gamber As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion. Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.


book blast button     Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/24/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 2, 2014

Sunday Quotes


March roars in like a lion
So fierce,
The wind so cold,
It seems to pierce.

The month rolls on
And Spring draws near,
And March goes out
Like a lamb so dear.

By Lorie Hill

March 1, 2014

From Gods by Mary Ting and a giveaway!

From Gods New


From Gods by Mary Ting Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? Don't blame Mother Nature. Skylar Rome should have been having the best summer ever, before heading off to college. Suddenly her whole life changes while visiting her cousin, and meeting the Grand brothers; Mason, in particular. Though she's sure he is someone she should stay away from, the attraction was undeniable. Strange things begin to happen, throwing Skylar's life into turmoil. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world where the descendants of ancient gods have super powers, and evil beings are after her. Not only are her discoveries difficult to accept, but now she is running out of time and running for her life, while trying to unravel the mystery of what they want from her. Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will Skylar find the answers she seeks, or will she die trying?

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  Praise for From Gods “A fast paced adventure full of mystery, action, magic and romance! Readers won’t be able to put this book down!” ~InD’tale Magazine   “From Gods takes mythology to a whole new level of imagination with its incredible plot and amazing characters. It’s full of hotness that you never want to end!” ~Michele, Insane About Books   “From Gods by the AMAZING AUTHOR Mary Ting is OMGods good!! If you even LIKE Greek Mythology, set aside some time because you will DEVOUR Mary Ting's Demi Gods and Vultures!!!” ~Mindy, Books Complete Me   “This book is “electric” as it blends paranormal romance, mythology (which I love), action and suspense together for an amazing read. Mary Ting, you’ve done it again! This book exceeded my expectations and I was literally blown away as if I were struck by lightning!” ~Vanessa, Fairiechick’s Fantasy Book Reader

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From Gods Poster

mary tingAuthor Mary Ting Bestselling/award-winning author Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.  

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  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/23/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway