The Imposter (The Bishop's Family, Book 1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher {Book Review}

The Bishop's Family, Book 1
Contemporary Romance

A heart once deceived should
not be easily fooled again . . .

Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.

What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She's been deceived once before, and she isn't planning on experiencing it again.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a tale of love, uncertainty, and trusting God to write your story.


My Thoughts

If you've ever been deceived by someone posing as someone they are not then you will instantly relate to Katrina Stoltzfus. Katrina thought that she was about to marry John and begin a life full of love and caring. Much to her dismay those plans changed leaving Katrina hurt, angry, and lacking the ability to trust.

When the opportunity to help her neighbor Thelma she jumped at the chance to get away. Unfortunately Thelma hired a farmhand by the name of Andy Miller. He's handsome and compassionate . . . all the things that irritate Katrina right now. Katrina decides to steer clear of Andy but of course he keeps popping up at just the right time. 

I enjoyed this journey back to Suzanne Woods Fisher's Stoney Ridge. It was nice to get a little glimpse of those familiar faces and catch up with what they have been doing since we last visited. But what I really liked was the story of Katrina's journey from betrayal to trust. Fisher tells the story of learning to trust God with everything, even the tough stuff. He has the ability to use everything, even hurtful things to bring about good in our lives. 

I believe that this is going to be another great series from Fisher. I look forward to hearing more about the old residents of Stoney Ridge and anticipate meeting some new characters as well. If you enjoy contemporary fiction with an Amish flavor definitely check this one out!


My Give Thanks Bible from Zonderkidz {Children's Book Review}

Juvenile Nonfiction / Bible Stories

My Give Thanks Bible includes sixteen beloved stories showing how people in the Bible were thankful for God's great blessings . . . and reminds us that we should be thankful for the blessings in our lives too.

Take a peek inside!

My Thoughts

Thanksgiving is a time when we as a family gather around the table and offer our thanks for the provision that has been bestowed upon us in the past year. Before we eat we go around the table and say what we are thankful for.

In preparation for that it has long been our custom to begin talking with our littles about what Thanksgiving is all about. We read several books aloud about the history of Thanksgiving so that they will understand why we are celebrating. Through all of this we focus on the One we are giving thanks to.

This year we are adding in the My Give Thanks Bible. It has sixteen very simple stories that all point to God and the provision he has made for each of us. For instance the section entitled Food for Five Thousand is taken from John 6:1-14 and it says:
"One day, Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people. They were all very hungry. Jesus blessed five loaves of bread and two fish and shared it with the crowd. Through God's grace, that little bit of food fed more than five thousand people. It was a miracle!"
Then it has a little graphic that says Give Thanks and the following: "Thank you, god, for giving me what I need!" That is the exact message that I want our little ones to retain. From even before the pilgrims until this exact moment all we have has been given to us by our gracious God. He not only has provided shelter, clothing and food but He provided a Savior that we might live eternally.

If you are looking for a way to focus on being thankful with your little ones this is a great book. It is short and sweet so their attention spans won't be tried but it still presses in the truth of Scripture.


The Peanuts Movie Snoopy Flying Ace Game from Wonder Forge {Review & Giveaway}

If your house is like ours the anticipation for the Peanuts Movie is over the top. Right now it is all things Snoopy for the boys at our house. When the Snoopy Flying Ace Game came in the mail you would have thought that we won the lottery.

I was so pleased that the setup was so easy. When you have kids clamoring to play the game you don't need a complicated set of steps to get ready. You literally unfold the game board and center piece and then pop on the top and you're ready to go. Our friends over at TTPM have a wonderful video that explains set up and game play. Take a look.

We played both the normal paced game where you take turns turning over each card and then we also played the fast paced game where everyone turned over cards at the same time. The slower pace was great when the younger ones were playing but the fast paced version was perfect for the older kids and the adults. 

The only drawback for us is that it is a four person game. We now have six kiddos among us so we had to get a bit creative in our diversionary tactics. But other than that this was a big hit at our house. If you are looking for a new game for your kids for the coming holidays and cold winter nights you can't go wrong with this one. 

The suggested age is 4+ which I agree with. The child needs to be able to have the motor skills to turn cards over one by one and have the cognitive skills to recognize matching cards. Our three-year-old played with an adult using the slower paced style and it worked fine. (I think the older ones secretly rejoiced when he grew bored with the activity and they could ramp up to the faced paced version!)

Now . . . how about a GIVEAWAY?!! We loved the Peanuts Movie Snoopy Flying Ace Game so much that we wanted to make a way for one of our readers to get their own copy. To do that we have partnered with Wonder Forge to give one of our readers a The Peanuts Movie Snoopy Flying Ace Game so they can enjoy it with their own family.

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Friday, December 4, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Giveaway Tools form below. All entries are optional.


Amish Christmas at North Star by Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert {Review & Giveaway}

Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark,
Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert
Contemporary Fiction / Amish

One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife on the edge of North Star, Pennsylvania. Rebekah's Babies, as they are called, are now adults, and in four heartwarming novellas each person experiences a journey of discovery, the possibility of love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert
Curiosity gets the best of Englischer Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa, will his revelations upend her world?

Mourning Star by Amanda Flower
Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents' shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac. Who is guilty? Isaac's handsome great-nephew Jesse, an angry Englischer, or someone else?

In the Stars by Cindy Woodsmall
Heartbroken Kore Detweiler avoids North Star after Savilla Beiler rejects his love. But when he is unexpectedly called home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark
Andy Danner left North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in a reclusive widower's life.


My Thoughts

I usually skip over novellas but at Christmastime I devour them. Some people love Christmas movies, I love Christmas novellas. It's such a treat to snuggle up in the evening with a quick read. Amish Christmas at North Star is an even bigger bonus because it includes four novellas in one book.

Katie Ganshert sets the stage with the backstory of a cold and snowy night when four babies were born by the hands of an Amish midwife named Rebekah Schlabach. The circumstances were so unusual that the new little ones were forever dubbed "Rebekah's Babies".

The novellas then take up the individual stories of the babies twenty-five years later. What I really enjoyed about each story was that the author's personal style shined through. For instance Amanda Flower writes some really great cozy mysteries and her story in the book includes a bit of mystery along with the theme.

All of the authors are some of my personal favorites so I don't think that I could really choose a favorite story among them. While each of the stories relates to the opening they are also very stand alone. In fact other than the main characters being born on the same night and the central story revolving somewhat around North Star I didn't really find much that connected them until the ending that tied it all together nicely.

This book would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the book lover on your list. You could also pair it with a box of hot chocolate and fuzzy socks and it would become a full fledged present. Whatever you decide you can't go wrong with this group of writers.

Now . . . how about a GIVEAWAY?!! We loved Amish Christmas at North Star so much that we wanted to make a way for one of our readers to get their own copy. To do that we have partnered with Family Christian Stores to give one of our readers a $25 Appreciation Certificate so they can purchase the book or anything else they would like either online or in store.

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Wednesday, December 2, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Giveaway Tools form below. All entries are optional.


Summer Infant Pop N Play Portable Playard {Baby Product Review}

With the holidays fast approaching and my third child recently learning how to crawl I wanted to try out Summer Infants Pop 'N Play Portable Playard. I was looking for something to safely contain baby bear but still allow him to play freely within boundaries! Yes, some may call this baby jail but I promise you it is not being used as a punishment. Our sweet boy gets to play and momma gets a break from constantly removing him from unsafe situations.

Now this is not your traditional play yard. The Pop 'N Play is made for travel. As the name implies you just Pop it open and slide clips into place and baby is ready to play or nap. When it's time to go just simply slid the clips out of place and fold! It comes with a travel bag that can easily be carried over your shoulder. Think about how camping chairs work and you'll get the concept.

Not only does baby bear love it, his three-year-old brother does too. At first I wasn't so sure about this but shortly I realized that if both the three-year-old and baby bear were together then mischief was easily contained! Can we say #MOMWIN ?!!

Since this play yard is so light weight and made to fold compactly it does not have a padded floor. That could make nap time a little uncomfortable so we solve that by laying a quilt down for napping. For whatever reason baby bear sleeps better in this than his crib!

I really do not like to impose on others but with the holidays I need a way to keep my baby safe from all the decorations. At our own house we can easily make sure that happens. However, I cannot expect family and friends to have a baby proof house. This is my main reason why the Pop 'N Play would be a great staple for every family, you can have a safe spot to nap and play at anyone's home without imposing!

Honestly, going anywhere is hard on baby but with the Pop 'N Play the last thing to worry about is how baby will be safe during the holidays! Our family gives the Summer Infant Pop 'N Play 5 out 5 stars.

I cannot wait until summer to take this playard camping and picnicking! Please, consider following us on Instagram to see more photos of the Pop 'N Play fitting in with our daily life.

Also, connecting with Summer Infant on their social media outlets Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube could lead to some great coupons and giveaways so be sure to follow! As always if you have any questions I will gladly answer in the comments below or on our social media channels.

The Summer Infant Pop 'N Play Portable Playard can be purchased at Lowes, Amazon, Babies R US, and Target!

Blog Designed by: NW Designs