Sunday, May 29, 2011

Solution Sunday--EcoSafe Kitchen Compost Catcher Review

We received a wonderful product in the mail this week from

Within the past month or so, we have begun composting our food waste.  Until this week, we were using just a basic plastic bag, and to be perfectly honest, it was a pain!  The bag was always getting in the way, and we had to remember to tie and untie the bag each time.  

My mom had asked me for a while now to look online and find something that would work better for our kitchen compost.  I saw all sorts of compost bins, but when I found this one at such a reasonable price ($9.99), I figured it would be ideal for us.  After all, it is dishwasher safe, has a lid that snaps closed, and has a nice handle for transporting it back and forth.  So we ordered it!

Since it arrived, we couldn't be happier.  The clasp is a little stiff now and then, but once it snaps down, it actually works.  It keeps out the smells and the bugs.  And it holds a lot!  

I really like the company website.  Their slogan is "ZERO WASTE."  While I am not an over-the-top environmentalist, as a Christian, I do believe that God charged humanity to take care of this earth.  So I feel that when I do something "green" like this, I really feel good about it.  

Just so you know, I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all comments in this post are completely my own views.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Click N Go Pack Giveaway (ends 6/19) (Closed)

Do you remember when I reviewed Click Espresso Protein Drink?  Well, I contacted the company, and guess what?  They have offered up their Click N go Pack!  One reader will receive what you see in the picture!  It looks fantastic to me--in fact, I'm jealous.  When I won a giveaway of their last year, I only received one sample pack!  (I guess that was all it took to get me hooked!)

So now onto the giveaway.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry and a way to contact you (having your e-mail visible in your google friend connect profile is fine--otherwise, leave your e-mail). Giveaway end Jane 16 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  Only open to U.S. entrants.

How to enter:

1.  Follow me via google friend connect/RSS/e-mail. (1 comment for each you do.)
2.  Like my facebook page.  Please leave your user name in the comment.
3.  Follow me via twitter.  Please leave your user name in the comment.
4.  Share this giveaway via any means once per day.  Leave any applicable links so I may verify them.
5.  Follow Click's official facebook page.  Please leave your user name in the comment. (5 entries, 5 comments)
6.  Suggest Click's facebook page to your friends. (3 entries, 3 comments)

Unlimited entry--Share anything you learn or like on Click's website. There is a ton of information from recipes, where to buy it, and much more.  Anything you want to share is great!  Just make sure that everything you share is in a separate comment. Enjoy!

And I almost forgot!  The wonderful people over at Click has given my readers a wonderful BOGO offer!  Be sure to check it out!

tCLICK Espresso Protein Drink

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fortified Friday--"Crock Potting" It This Week!

First of all, to my wonderful readers, I am so sorry that I did not post last night.  It was  rough, emotional night.  I just couldn't deal with anything.  And then on top of that, some of you are having blogger issues.  I did clear the cache on my browser like the blogger help area suggested, and it took care of the issue--I use google chrome.  I don't seem to have a problem now.

Secondly, my recipes last week were fantastic! For the most part. The oven stir fry was not so great--mainly because I could not find the shake n bake glaze, so I had to substitute.  The BBQ cheddar roll-ups will be made tomorrow.  The potatoes and ham were fantastic tonight!  And the cheesy beef corn skillet was wonderfully easy!  I highly recommend the mojito pie--the banana dessert will be made this weekend.

And finally, this week's recipes are from the following book:

I love this book.  I have just ordered her second--got tired of waiting for it from the library.   I randomly chose recipes this week--I have to remember to go back and put in desserts, if I find I need them.  But here goes.

Meal 1:  Albondigan Soup p. 170; bread

Meal 2:  Applesauce Chicken p. 239; veggies and stuffing

Meal 3:  BBQ Beef and Bean Sandwiches p. 299; quinoa

Meal 4:  Asian  Peanut Butter Pork p. 298; rice

So here's to a great week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Review

Summary from Goodreads:
Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawford's influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen's most profound works. 

Mansfield ParkMansfield Park by Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before reading this novel, I had only read one other Jane Austen book--Pride and Prejudice.  I read that book as a teen, and I enjoyed it so much I read it twice.  But I only became a fan of that book after seeing one or two movie versions.  I dearly love it now, and it is one of my favorites.

Perhaps the same thing will happen with this book. This was not a light read, and for the first 100 pages or so, I was only mildly interested.   This book requires great perseverance, but I will tell you one thing. The end result is very much worth it. This book has a lot more meat in it, and Austen throws in some surprises that even I did not see.

The main plot of the story revolves around Fanny Price. (I could not help thinking of 20th century Burlesque star of a similar name--Fanny Brice!)  She comes to live with her aunt and uncle who are quite well off. I think that Austen's theme comes out quite well through the entire book.  Or at least one of the themes. It is not so much about your biological family. After all, we have no control over that. It is more the environment in which we are reared that decides our personality and fate.

I thought that Austen's characterizations were fantastic.  I think something that more modern authors tend to miss sometimes is taking the necessary time to develop characters in intricate detail.

My hat also goes off to Austen for dealing with issues that were rather taboo back then.  Though handed with immense delicacy, issues of infidelity, divorce, and slothful parenting figure strategically into the plot of the story.

If you do choose this book, know that you are going to have to be committed to it.  It is not a quick, romantic  read.  You have to be in it for the long haul.  But I think you will definitely reap the rewards in the end.  I would not have missed the opportunity of reading this book for anything.

View all my reviews

About the Author

While the literary art of Jane Austen is remarkable, the facts of her biography, at first glance, are not. The contrast has long intrigued Austen readers and scholars, and interest in her life is today almost as keen as interest in her works. Dating back to her own time, when Austen's first four novels were published anonymously, sources of information about her life still exist — some of her letters (those her sister Cassandra did not destroy after her death), and A Memoir of Jane Austen, written by her nephew J.E. Austen-Leigh in 1869. These sources reveal that Austen did lead the quiet life of an unmarried clergyman's daughter. She found early encouragement for her art within her family circle, and a starting point for her novels in her personal and family history.
Born in 1775 to George and Cassandra Austen in the English village of Steventon, Jane Austen grew up in a highly literate family. Austen's father was an Oxford-educated clergyman and her mother was a humorous, aristocratic woman. Educated only briefly outside of her home, Austen read freely in her father's library of 500 books, which left her better educated than most young girls of the time. While her family never anticipated she would be a published writer (not considered an appropriate profession for a young lady of her background), within the walls of their household she was encouraged to write. In this lively intellectual household the 15-year-old Austen began writing her own novels; and by age 23 she had completed the original versions of Northanger AbbeySense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice. Her own delight in reading and her ironic mocking of its impact on young girls comes alive in Northanger Abbey.
After Austen's father died in 1805, Jane, her mother, and sister Cassandra lived in a small house provided by her then-wealthy brother Edward in the village of Chawton. When Jane received a proposal from the wealthy brother of a close friend, for whom she felt no affection, she initially accepted him, only to turn him down the next day. This was a painful decision for her, as she understood deeply that marriage was the sole option women had for social mobility. She further understood the vulnerability of single women without family estates who depend on wealthy relatives for a home. This subject is at the heart of Sense and Sensibility.
Austen keenly observed the shifting of social class during her day. Two of her brothers were in the Royal British Navy, and she saw first-hand the rise of naval officers in class-conscious British society. Those who returned from the Napoleonic wars with both wealth and notoriety were able to break through class barriers that were previously impenetrable. She wrote elegantly about this sea change in her last novel, Persuasion.
Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817, at age 41. She never wrote a memoir, sat for an interview, or recorded whether she had herself felt the joys and disappointments of love. The biographical facts may never adequately explain the quick wit, the sharp insight, and the deep emotional intelligence she brought to her novels. Perhaps that is impossible; it is likely that the novels will continue to transcend our understanding of where they came from.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Splash Into Summer Book Giveaway Hop (ends 5/31) (CLOSED)

I am highly honored to be a part of the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Page Turners.  I am glad that the weather here in Western Washington is finally beginning to seem sunny.  After all the rain we have had, I do hope that we will have a nice summer.

I am planning to give away a lot of wonderful books.  I do hope that you will find something here that strikes your fancy.  All giveaways are open internationally unless otherwise stated.  The giveaways will all end on May 31 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  Please leave a comment for each entry, and also be sure to either leave your e-mail address or make it visible in your google profile.

All books are used unless otherwise stated, and all descriptions/pictures are from 

Prize Pack #1:  (Mystery Pack)
"The horror of one night is forever etched in Matt Hunter's memory: the night he innocently tried to break up a fight - and ended up a killer. Now, nine years after his release from prison, his innocence long forgotten, he's an ex-con who takes nothing for granted. With his wife, Olivia, pregnant and the two of them closing on a house in his hometown, things are looking up. Until the day Matt gets a shocking, inexplicable video call from Olivia's phone. And in an instant, the unraveling begins." A mysterious man who'd begun tailing Matt turns up dead. A beloved nun is murdered. And local and federal authorities - including homicide investigator Loren Muse, a childhood schoolmate of Matt's with a troubled past of her own - see all signs pointing to a former criminal with one murder already under his belt: Matt Hunter. Unwilling to lose everything for a second time, Matt and Olivia are forced outside the law in a desperate attempt to save their future together.


Sherlock Holmes Mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--22 stories

Prize Pack #2: (Crafty Pack)

9 Flower Calendars with places for pictures--they are for this year, but a "crafty" person could reuse them.


Prize Pack 3:  (New York Times Bestseller Pack)

One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless—bordering on masochistic. Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employers Hermès bag. Those who take it personally need not apply.
Who wouldn’t want this job? Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn’t work, cook, clean, or raise her own child has a smooth day.
When the Xs marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humor. Over nine tense months, Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.


An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption. And it is also about the power of fathers over sons -- their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvasses of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subject -- the devastating history of Afghanistan over the past thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful debut.
Author Biography: Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, the son of a diplomat whose family received political asylum in the United States in 1980. He lives in northern California, where he is a physician.The Kite Runner is his first novel.

Prize Pack #4:  (Janette Oke/Christian Fiction Pack)

This saga of life and love follows Elizabeth, a lovely young teacher from the east, who braves the Canadian frontier to teach in a one- room schoolhouse where she meets Wynn, A Royal Candian Mountie, who becomes her husband and partner. (2 books are put together in hardback, and the other 2 are in paperback form.)


Responding to an advertisement, Kathleen O'Malley crosses an ocean to meet a total stranger and become a mail-order bride.Donnigan waits restlessly on his prairie farm for her arrival.

Methods of Entry
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When you are done entering on my site, be sure to hop along and enter the rest.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Music Monday--No CD to review tonight, but...

I bet you're tired of hearing that I don't have a CD to review tonight, aren't you?  My problem is that I am listening to double CD's, and  I am trying to get through them.

However, I am in the process of becoming a writer for ZME music.  They are dedicated to reviewing music, so I sent off my first review to them for them to read and hopefully submit.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm looking forward to getting some more exposure for my blog.

And for fun tonight, I am posting a link to a survey about one of my all-time favorite music events--Jeff Wayne's War  of the Worlds.  Check it out, if you like science fiction and/or know  Jeff Wayne's musical work.  I would love to see  it live in England, but I doubt that will ever be.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Solution Sunday--Watch My Giveaways!

For those of you who follow my blog closely, you might have noticed that my giveaways suddenly got extended. Well, I have a big giveaway coming up Tuesday night, and I thought that it would make more sense to have the giveaways end at roughly the same time.  So now three of them end the end of this month.

It has been a hard weekend, but God got me through.  No, not because the world has ended or I was worried about that.  It is mainly home stress yet again.

I am looking forward to getting my big giveaway out there.  I know my blog traffic has been down lately, but I am not worried.  It is bound to go up this week, and I can hardly wait to really give this blog the love it really needs.  The summer is coming, and I plan to give this blog all the love it needs.  And I guess my year blogoversary must be coming up some time soon.  I have a lot to think about.  For now, have a good evening, and check out my giveaways!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fortified Friday--I Am Ready to Plan!

I am ready to plan out my meals tonight.  I am so glad the school year is winding down.  Last week's recipes  were a stretch for me at best.  Basically good if I can read how to make Thai noodles that I have never made before.  And if I did not have to chop up so many vegetables.  The fajitas were the best.  I have yet to make the dessert (the candy), but everything else was basically fine.  ea

I have decided I must make easy recipes, so that is what you will see until summer arrives!

Meal 1:  Shake 'N' Bake Quick Oven Stir Fry

              I plan to add beans and probably use chips that I have on hand that would be healthier.  I will probably add more veggies as well.

veggies and possibly fries--we'll see.


In addition to the candy, I would like to make one or two really easy desserts.  Low-calorie, low-fat.

Dessert 2:  Mojito Pie

I plan to make this over to a degree, but I have some mint leaves to use since I did not make something from last week.  I actually made Pavlova from this great blog!  I lightened it up some,  and it was fantastic!  Thank, Robyn!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday--Turner Classic Movies Review

I guess I am just beginning to realize how much I may not have told my readers.  There are so many interests in my life, and sometimes I forget that you do not know me as well as I might think.  And I have a love of something that goes right along with tonight's review--classic films. In fact, as I write this, I have on my favorite station for classic films.
Turner Classic Movies

For as long as I can remember, I have loved old movies--especially musicals.  I think my first experience with old movies was The Wizard of Oz.  And then I followed this up with The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Singin' in the Rain, and the list goes on and on.  I used to read books on famous movie stars of the golden era:  Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, Gene Kelly, and the list goes on and on again.  I used to know more about the actors and actresses of old Hollywood than any of the people with whom I went to school.  I still remember little facts here and there, but I am not as nearly obsessed.  I also enjoy watching classic films that are not musicals.  I love James Stewart, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and again, the list goes on and on.

The problem I have had till now is that Turner Classic Films shows movies at odd times that do not figure into my schedule.   Recently, our family got a DVR, and that has certainly solved some problems.  I can record things during the day, and see some of the films I have never seen and see some old favorites.  Like tonight, we watched National Velvet.  I had not seen it in years, and it was so good!  With the recent death of Elizabeth Taylor, it was neat to see, but Angela Lansbury and Mickey Rooney are still alive!  Good gracious!

In addition to a fantastic channel, it is worth your while to check out  On their site, you can watch videos, play games, learn about your favorite stars, and see their movie schedule.  It is kind of scary to be nearly 36 and know more about movies from well before my time than the time during which I grew up.  I often tell people that I am just now discovering the 1980's because I didn't pay any attention to that era as I was growing up.  

So if you fancy going back in time to a simpler time, be sure to check out TCM!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well-Spoken Wednesday--My Experiences as a Child/Young Adult Novelist

I bet this caught your attention.  You probably did not know that the blogger you are now reading has written several novels.  Actually, it is a little known fact.  Whenever they do those silly games where you share something about yourself that most people don't know, I always share this.  And they are always  shocked.  Oh, did I mention that they are unpublished novels?  I think that little adjective slipped my mind.

As I began to think about what to write tonight, I realized it would make perfect sense to share this little known part of my life with you, my wonderful readers.  And so I shall.  I will share this portion of my life within several posts when I have no book to review on Wednesday nights.

It's hard to say when I first realized that I was a writer.  I can remember writing poetry in fourth grade, but I am sure I began writing before that.  My first poems were very silly.  I can even remember one of the early poems.

The Face
Eyes are so useful
They're not at all toothful
Noses are fun 
Though you can't roll them up in a bun
Mouths are made for singing
They are not made for clinging
And that's the face
Please don't put it in a case.

My fourth grade teacher was a great influence on me.  And it continued into fifth grade and sixth.  We had a weekly writing assignment, but short stories were never easy for me.  I was extremely verbose (okay, I still am, but I am better).  But I was also immensely creative.  So maybe that sounds very prideful, but I don't mean to sound like that.  When it came to stories, I was (and still am) quite creative.

The book that changed everything for me was Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.  My best friend got me interested in reading the series.  I was enthralled.  Yes, I saw the film, too, but I much prefer the books.  I read most of Montgomery's books--I enjoyed them immensely.  And they got me to thinking--maybe I could write a book like that.  I had written many short stories about orphans, but I enjoyed the way this series told the story.  I was also a Little Orphan Annie fan.

When I was in eighth grade, I was in a history class of only five students.  I had been thinking about writing a book for a while, and I finally had my idea.  And so I began my very first novel Doctor Jane.

I'll leave you to take guesses about what that might be, but I will tell you the book ended up being about 380-some pages and has two sequels called Mother Jane and Grandmother Jane.  I actually was going to publish my book.  I had a copy of the Writer's Market.  I was a serious teenage author.  I just never got around to it.  Music became the most important thing to me.

I will certainly share more at another time, but just know that the woman who writes this could be the next great American novelist.  Okay, probably not, but you never know!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twinkle Tuesday--Click Espresso Protein Drink

I don't know about you, but I often feel so worn out and run down at the end of a busy day.  Up at 4:30, hour drive back and forth to work, daughter's swimming lessons at 6 P.M., and fit in dinner when you can.  And somehow I am supposed to lose weight and eat healthily.  When dinner is not until after 7 P.M. on these hectic days, what is a mom to do?

Well over a year ago, I discovered a magical drink called Click.  It is a fantastic protein powder that has espresso (caffeine) in it.  All you do is mix it with hot or cold water, and you have a fantastic drink that gives you a super dose of protein (15 grams per serving) and a low dosage of calories (120 per serving).  And you have your choice--vanilla or mocha.  They even have the all-natural yet which I have yet to try.

There is an area on their site which provides recipes to use with Click.  I have not tried one of their official recipes, but I love this in the summer with ice cubes or frozen berries.  Adding peanut butter and/or frozen/regular yogurt.  It is a very versatile protein powder.

I first learned about Click through a giveaway I won, and I tell you that I have not found anything else to tide me over.  I have used this to give me energy on long car trips, and sometimes it is just a sweet afternoon treat that gives me energy to make it through the rest of the day.  My mom (who is in her 60's) also know the great benefits of this drink mix.  (She often forgets about it unless I make it for her.)

Just so you know, all this review is completely my own opinion, and I have not been compensated in any way by anyone.

Check out where to buy your own Click.

Follow Click on facebook and twitter.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Monday--Meant to Post This Last Week

I know I am somewhat behind in posting these reviews.  Next month, I'll have to take inventory and see how close I am getting to my goal.

I listened to James Blunt's first CD, All the Lost Souls.  I think the first James Blunt song I heard was You're Beautiful.  I did not know who he was, but I knew I liked that song.  I kept forgetting to look him up.  Then I saw him on Fox News, and I was impressed.  So I requested all his CD's at the library.  This was the first one to come in.
Now, I will say that I am not a huge fan of this CD.  His voice is fantastic--don't get me wrong.  He sounds great on all the songs, but it seems that tracks #1-#7 are very strange and sometimes ethereal.  They sometimes seem very dark.  

Ah, but then we get to track 8:  Shine On.  Oh my goodness, I can't say enough about this song.  It is extremely sensual and highly emotional.  It spoke to my heart, and all I could think about was the guy in my life.  And tracks 9 and 10 are pretty nice, too.  It seems that it took most of the album for James Blunt to find his style and who he is as a singer.  I am sure people would disagree with me, but that is my opinion.  I look forward to listening to his next two albums--his second is currently in my car waiting for my listening ears.

If you are curious to find more information about James Blunt, look no farther than here.  I think you will find him an impressive young man with a simple talent that he uses for the good of others.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Solution Sunday--I Have Been Busy

This has been a very successful weekend for me.  I can see the floor of my bedroom for the first time in weeks!  At this point, I do not plan on rejoining the 52-week organizing challenge, but I do plan to set some goals for myself as the summer comes.

This site is back in my life again.  I examined all my options, and this is the website that I keep going back to.  They have the easiest online food diary, and they even have a mobile web app for smart phones.  I need to update my sparkpage, but here is the link for now.  You can see where I came from!  I did lost about one to one and a half pounds this past week, and hopefully I will be just as successful this week.

Now to my other challenges.  When did I last update you?  I do not remember!  I am behind on updating.

I believe I can link up the following reviews in addition to reading Revelation and reading Crosswalk devotionals.

I cannot link up there yet, but this book counts for this challenge too:

I can finally get around to linking this review up for this challenge:

I will be updating my map for this challenge right after this post is published, so check it out.

I guess I wasn't as far behind as I thought.  So another week is before me.  Very early risings all week, but I have a week long job, so I can't really complain.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Satisfied Saturday--The Diet is Working

The good news is that I did lose around a pound this week.  So it is working.  Slowly, but surely.  I highly recommend all the recipes from last week.  They were easy and tasted good.  I still have the first chicken meal to make, but that will be made tomorrow night.

For this week, I am planning recipes from the current Family Circle magazine.  I am not sure if only members can access the recipes online, but I will link to them in case you can.

Meal 1: Chicken Veggie Noodle Bowl
Cucumber Radish Salad (both on p. 178)

Meal 2:  Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (p. 179)
French Bread

Meal 3:  Turkey-Vegetable Fajitas
Avocado Tomato Salsa (both on p. 183)

Meal 4:  Fish Sticks
Berry Sweet (p. 170)
Fish Sauce (p. 170 also)
Roasted Baby Carrots


Chocolate Pretzel Clusters  (also called Fruity Chocolate Clusters p.11)

Hope you can access at least some of the recipes.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Free-Wheeling Friday--Nice to Have My Blog Back

Yes, we here use blogger know the issues that arose yesterday--it was kind of maddening.  Now, I could say to switch right now, but I also know that every site has its share of trouble.  I have seen many blogging sites down for various reasons here and there.  But I certainly missed my blog and many other blogs during the outage.

I should be back to regular posting tomorrow.  I have my recipes for the week already planned out.  Have a great evening!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Johann Sebastian Bach by Rick Marschall Review

Summary from Goodreads:

Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.
Johann Sebastian Bach is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. He enriched his generation, and beyond, with his prolific ability to survey and bring together the principal styles, forms, and national traditions that had developed during preceding generations. He left a corpus of sacred music to cover the entire liturgical year, including Latin Masses written for the Catholic Court of Dresden and spent much of his working life as a church music director in Germany. He was a highly respected organist during his lifetime, but he wasn't recognized as a great composer until the early nineteenth century.

Johann Sebastian Bach (Christian Encounters Series)Johann Sebastian Bach by Rick Marschall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me begin by saying that I have a bachelor's degree in music, and I have taught music for 14 years or so.  I was always a music history buff, and when I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it.  I always enjoyed learning about Bach, but I do not think I ever felt like I knew much about him.  I would say I probably appreciated his faith more than I did his music.  That was until I read this book.

As I began reading this book, I marveled at what I did not know about Bach.  He was always one of the few musicians whom I would have called a definite Chrsitian, and some of his music was interesting to me.  But I always found musch of his music dry and/or too complicated to appreciate correctly.

Rick Marschall, in my opinion, has captured the person and work of Bach in a way that few people have been able to--my revered music professor in college included.  I had never considered the fact that Bach's music and his faith were so closely tied together that in order to understand his music, you must first understand his faith. When he wrote the phrase Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be the glory), that was the exact intention of his work. All of his music was a "love song to God."

I greatly appreciated the fact that Bach was presented as a flawed but humble human.  It was nice to know that he was not perfect in any aspect of ihs life, but I was amazed to realize that I had a misguided view of his musical and academic (as well as theological) prowess.  i had always taught that Mozart was a musical genuis.  I had always put him at the top of the pedastal.  I was wrong.  Bach was able to do just about the same things as Moazrt when it came to compostition and musical performance.  And he not only taught music, but he taught other subjects as well--theology included.  He was as knowledgeable about the Bible as Martin Luther.  In fact, the book made the statment that his music completed the work the Reformation began.

A criticism I read of this book was that one had to understand music to fully understand this book.  Yes, I tend to agree.  Although there is a glossary in the back, if you do not have a working knowledge of music, you probably would struggle to understand some potionts of the book.  But for me, I absolutely adored the author's analysis of Bach's music and the great talent God gave him.  I also wish to thank Rick Marschall for not giving into the secular views of Bach and relying on what Bach and others who wrote about him with respect for who he truly was.  I am definitely a tremendous Bach fan now, and I am so glad I took the time to read this.

View all my reviews

About the Author:

Rick Marschall has written or edited more than 60 books and many magazine articles. He has been a political cartoonist, newspaper columnist, magazine editor, book publisher, teacher, and lecturer. He is also President of Marschall Books, specializing in cartoon anthologies.
Marschall has written many audio devotionals, and the “answer book” The Secret Revealed with Dr Jim Garlow (FaithWords, 2007). He served as Director of Product Development for Youth Specialties, a youth-ministry resource company.
As a lifelong devotée of Baroque music and Bach in particular, Marschall has attended two Bach festivals in Europe; and commemorations in Augsburg, Germany, on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth.
Marschall was the 2008 recipient of Christian Writer of the Year award from the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. He and his wife live in Swartz Creek, Michigan.

For more information:

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.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Freschetta Simply Inspired Pizza and Bamboo Cutting Board Review and Giveaway (ends 6/5) (CLOSED)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FRESCHETTA® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
FRESCHETTA® Simply…Inspired™
Something very special arrived in the mail today!  Have you ever tried Freschetta pizza?  I absolutely love their pizza--safe to say it is my favorite frozen pizza.  They have just introduced a fantastic new kind of pizza:
Indeed Freschetta is keeping up with the times.  Not only are they introducing a Fresch-Taste Seal Packing which locks in the vibrant flavors and is a much greener choice (using 30% less packaging), but they have introduced 8 distinctive flavor varieties.
Harvest Supreme, Classic Bruschetta, Hawaiian Style, Farmer's Market Veggie. Rustic Pepperoni Pomodoro, Southern BBQ Recipe Chicken, and their 2 limited edition flavors--Chicken Bianco and Tuscan Farmhouse.  
What I like best about these is that their sauces and ingredients are so fresh.  I also appreciate that with such fresh, natural ingredients, I feel like I can splurge on my diet and still not feel too guilty.  With around 300-350 calories or so, I feel like I can eat this right along with my family.
Usually when I think of frozen pizza, I think of pizza without a lot of flavor.  It's pretty sad for most brands.  It is survival food.  How nice that Freschetta offers these simply inspired varieties that give you an inexpensive frozen pizza that tastes better than delivery and almost as good as homemade.  Okay, probably better than homemade, if I am honest.  When I make pizza, my crust never turns out like theirs, and I do not have access to all the fresh ingredients they have on hand.
I also love thin crusts!  And theirs takes the cake.  Generally, thin crust is either underdone or overdone.  Not so with their pizza!  It comes out nice and crispy but not overdone.  I honestly don't know of another pizza  that can make these kinds of claims and back them up.
I'm sure you are wondering--what is my favorite flavor.  I will update you when I have had more of a chance to try them.  I know that I absolutely would love to try the limited edition flavors before they are gone.  I like it when companies do that, but I always hope that if they are go that the company will bring them back.  Farmers Market Veggie is the one I am most looking forward to trying.
In addition to receiving a fantastic coupon from the people over at Freschetta, I also was blessed with a wonderful bamboo cutting board.  I will admit that I have not had a chance to use it yet, but I know that it will be perfect for serving bread since it has a wonderful butter dish and butter knife.  I can hardly wait to have bread a few nights from now (and of course Freschetta pizza!) and use it.  It is nice and heavy and will certainly last for years!
Now, I think I said something about a giveaway, didn't I?  Oh, yes!  The wonderful people over at Freschetta were nice enough to give me a coupon to share with my readers--a coupon for a free Freschettal Simply Inspired Pizza Product. Not only that, but they have given me another bamboo cutting board to share as well.  This cutting board is round however, and I can assure you it will be the highlight of your next party or family dinner!
Now you probably are tired of my prattling on and you want to say, "Can you just do the giveaway now please?"  Of course I can, and I shall.  This giveaway is only open in the USA, and it will end promptly at 9 P.M. Pacific Time on Sunday, June 5.  This will give you plenty of time to complete as many of the following entries as you would like.  Just be sure to enter a separate comment for each entry and either leave your e-mail in the comment or make it visible in your google account.
1.  Follow my blog via google friend connect.  
2.  Like Freschetta on facebook.  Leave your facebook name in the comment.
3.  Follow Freschetta on twitter.  Leave your twitter name in the comment.
4. Like my page on facebook.  Leave your facebook name in the comment.
5.  Follow me on twitter.  Leave your twitter name in the comment.
6.  Subscribe to my blog via e-mail and/or RSS.
7.  Share the giveaway any way you like.  Please leave any applicable URL's.  You may do this once a day.
8.  Add my button to your blog.  Leave the link so I can check it out.
Unlimited entry option:  Tell me your favorite kind(s) of pizza.  Be as creative as you like.  Share a link to a recipe or any kind of pizza you like to order.  You may do this as often as you like.
Best wishes to all of you.  One person will win the coupon and the cutting board.  
Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just Finished Doing A Giveaway Post

Just so you know, I just  spent well over an hour doing a sponsored post that I had to get done tonight.  It is for a giveaway.  So no other post for tonight.  I'll try to get caught up tomorrow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Think God Knew I Needed Encouragement

I know I should be updating my challenges, but I have to admit I am not in the mood.  In fact, I think I may reduce my number of challenge updates to once a month rather than weekly--it seems to make more sense.  I am no longer officially in the 52 week organizing challenge, but that is okay.  But then I may want to update my progress weekly on my diet, so we'll see what happens.

Today, as I was riding in the car to lunch after church, I thought I would take a look at my blog.  I was telling my mom that my blog had been so silent the past few days.  No one seems to want to enter my giveaways, and it just feels like my blog is experiencing a slump--just when it seemed like it was taking off.

Right after I said that, I checked my comments and noticed a new one.  Let me give me the background.  I had reviewed a fantastic book on Friday evening, and I thought I would drop the author a line on her facebook and twitter account just to let her know.  I have never done anything like that.  I have contacted companies about offering things for giveaways, but not an author.  I was so moved by the story, and I just thought it would be nice to let her know.

Guess who wrote on my blog!  The author, Jane Kirkpatrick, herself! And it was the sweetest comment in the world!  What a Mother's Day present for me.  When an author tells you that they appreciate your review, it really makes you feel good!  All I could think about was how to repay her for her kind words.  If I had the money, I would buy a book and make it available to my readers as a giveaway, but I just don't have the money right now.  It certainly made me realize that even small-time bloggers like me can make a difference.

God continued to offer me encouragement.  And trust me, I needed it in light of family issues!  I got my hair cut today, and the lady who cut my hair was very nice and talkative.  I often get ladies who don't even have a tongue in their head, and I am not kidding.  But this lady was really nice.  We talked--well, I talked about teaching and subbing and students and on and on.  Towards the end of the haircut, the lady said that the school system was very lucky to have me.  She said she had spoken to several teachers, and I was definitely good for the school system and she thanked me.  I cannot recall any time that I was thanked like that for being a teacher--even when I was a real teacher!

So today things look better.  While we have plumbing issues, family issues, friend issues, daughter issues, father issues, and so much more, God has at least allowed me a couple times today to feel good about who I am.  Yesterday when I looked at the mirror, I looked older than my years.  What a difference a day makes!
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