Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop – May 24, 2017

The end of our school year is approaching, and that means it’s testing time for us as we fulfill our state requirements.  The kids love their tests, though, and they’ve been eagerly looking forward to taking them.  Do your kids like taking tests?

Exciting news!  The weekly blog hop formerly known as Hearts for Home has been updated with a new name and logo!  While we’re still dedicated to sharing encouraging and inspiring ideas for your home and family, there are a few new features.  Isn’t the new logo beautiful?

Blog Hop

Tweet: Find encouragement for your heart and home at A Nest in the Rocks. This week’s blog hop is live! https://ctt.ec/epe5O+

All of this excitement is one reason I’m excited that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was 5 Stages of Grief: PCS.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

Are You Ready To THRIVE? Journaling Bible Giveaway

5 Easy Air Conditioning Tips to Save Money

4 Natural Cleaning Supplies You Can Make Yourself

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

So, be sure to 1) include your email when you link up and 2) share the link to Encouraging Hearts and Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 


Please share your family friendly posts with us!

The most clicked posts of each week will be featured on all of our hosts’ blogs! So, be sure to share the link to Encouraging Hearts & Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 

“Treasured Grace” by Tracie Peterson

Disclosure Pic

Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

Tracie Peterson

Wow.  That’s the best way to describe Peterson’s hard-hitting new historical Western.

This is not your run-of-the-mill Oregon Trail novel.  In no way does Peterson romanticize the difficulties of the trail or of life for single women during the 1840s.  I love that she keeps history real during her stories, but she takes it many steps further during this one.

Death is not unknown on the Trail or in the West, but Peterson doesn’t hesitate to include both death and the violence of the time.  It’s actually so clearly depicted that I’m glad I didn’t share this book with My Big Helper before reading it, as I think she needs a few more years before tackling this type of hardcore violence.

It’s not gratuitous violence, though.  The scenes included put the story into perspective and added a layer of depth and wisdom to Treasured Grace that could not exist otherwise.  Peterson’s attention to historical detail is amazing, and it’s obvious that she’s both a lover of the West and an admirer of the fierce, independent spirit which was necessary to survive.

I found Grace’s knowledge of herbs and natural medicine fascinating.  As someone who is only beginning to learn about these things, I love that she was written as an expert, and I would have loved to read more details about her remedies.  Her conflicts with Dr. Whitman and other educated, trained doctors made a fascinating subplot.

Treasured Grace is a heartbreakingly raw tale of survival and love.  If you’re a fan of historical fiction, put it on your TBR pile immediately.

I received a free copy of Treasured Grace from Bethany House Publishers.  All opinions are my own.

 

NEW! Nature/Literature Scavenger Hunt Printable Pack

Disclosure Pic

You know I’m a super big fan of great books.  I love it even more when those books lead to more educational investigation, and that’s exactly what Julie Andrews Edwards’ book Mandy does.

Scavenger Hunt

Mandy, a ten-year-old orphan, dreams of a place to call her own. Escaping over the orphanage wall to explore the outside world, Mandy discovers a tiny deserted cottage in the woods. All through the spring, summer, and fall, Mandy works to make it truly hers. Sometimes she “borrows” things she needs from the orphanage. Sometimes, to guard her secret, she even lies. Then, one stormy night at the cottage, Mandy gets sick, and no one knows how to find her—except a special friend she didn’t know she had.

This is the perfect book for ten-year-old girls who love tiny houses and stories filled with hope.

Mandy is a classicly-styled story of a little girl dreaming for a home while trying to create her own in an abandoned garden.  The story lends itself perfectly to investigating more about the plants and animals that Mandy in her garden at the Shell Cottage, and that’s exactly what the Nature Scavenger Hunt to accompany Julie Andrews Edwards’ ‘Mandy’ will help your students do.  Perfect to be done as a family, book club, co-op, or class, this packet includes everything you need to study the flora and fauna in the book.

Mandy Cover

Inside, you’ll find:
– a listing of all plants and animals found within the book
– hyperlinks for all plants and animals for further research
– printable scavenger hunt boards for both the plants and the animals
– links to additional materials to make investigating nature fun
– a certificate of completion

Want to know more?  Come back later this week to find out how one of our book clubs used this packet.

What are your kids reading right now?

 

Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop – May 17, 2017

DSCN4762

My husband surprised me with a great day trip this past weekend!  I can’t wait to share the details with you.

Exciting news!  The weekly blog hop formerly known as Hearts for Home has been updated with a new name and logo!  While we’re still dedicated to sharing encouraging and inspiring ideas for your home and family, there are a few new features.  Isn’t the new logo beautiful?

Blog Hop

Tweet: Find encouragement for your heart and home at A Nest in the Rocks. This week’s blog hop is live! https://ctt.ec/epe5O+

All of this excitement is one reason I’m excited that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was What We’ve Been Reading.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

Almond Shea Butter Lotion Bars – JessBeeCrea

Handprint Jewelry Keepsake Fathers Giveaway

Honey Themed Mother’s Day Gifts – Creating Kilter

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

So, be sure to 1) include your email when you link up and 2) share the link to Encouraging Hearts and Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 


Please share your family friendly posts with us!

The most clicked posts of each week will be featured on all of our hosts’ blogs! So, be sure to share the link to Encouraging Hearts & Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers!

Adventures in Odyssey: Get in the Show!

AiO

Lights! Camera! Action!

It’s almost time to submit your audition video. Download the official Get in the Show™ Audition Kit today. The Kit includes two audition scripts written just for the contest and a make-your-own Get in the Show mic to practice with. Each contestant will perform and video record one script to submit. Audition videos may be recorded at a location of your choosing or at a participating retail store location.

Audition videos will be accepted starting June 1, so don’t miss your chance to Get in the Show. Download the Audition Kit today!

Before the cameras roll, check out the Get in the Show Acting Tip videos. Adventures in Odyssey voice actors give practical advice on how to perform your best for a chance to Get in the Show!

Becky Wade’s ‘True to You’ Prize Pack and $100 Giveaway

Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade’s new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade’s new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky
 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

“True to You” by Becky Wade

Disclosure Pic

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Becky Wade

Wow!  I Wade’s newest series starts off with a roller coaster of romance and emotion!  I love a sweet feel-good romance, and I thought that’s what True to You was, but it’s so, so much more.

It starts off that way, though.  Although I’ve loved her other books and was fascinated with the premise of this one, I was a bit skeptical after I started to read.  A few of the names sounded a bit cheesy, and it began like a straightforward love story.

It’s not, though.  It really is so much more

Wade layers the story with piece after piece of well-timed drama.  It’s so much more than the premise implies – genealogist sparking with a hunky former SEAL.  They both have full and complete backstories that, while a bit fantastic, play totally and completely into their present and affect any possible future they might have together.  The timing of events is impeccable, as one complication rolls right into another, until by the end the story is so deep and theological that you’ll need to surface for air.

I do enjoy a good romantic story, but I prefer for them to have at least one additional angle to them, for the very reason that Nora realizes in this book:  fictional men are perfect, and real ones are not.  When we read sweet stories of romantic, hunky, perfect men, we can start to expect to find our own Adolphus in real life, and that won’t ever happen.  Nobody’s perfect.

Wade makes that case perfectly through Nora in True to You without doing in her own book – partly because this isn’t just a romance, but partly because, in un-romance-book style, it’s full of theological revelations to back all that up.  A reader will get a whole sermon in fun, fictional style without ever realizing it.  The depth that Wade writes into this story was very unexpected, and yet it’s what makes the book so completely perfect:  it has the fun of a traditional romance and the depth of a novel.  It’s the best of both worlds!

The problems Nora and John face are much, much deeper than the usual does he like me?, and while that depth is weighty, Nora’s quirky sisters add fun to every problem.  Not that they take away from the seriousness of it, but their relationships and personalities lend new angles and subtle humor to each interaction with their sister, lightening the mood and keeping the reader from crying into her tea alongside Nora.

Without Willow and Britt, and even their Eyore-ish Grandmother, that last bit could happen.  Wade writes with the experience, professionalism, and drama of Karen Kingsbury, and who can read any of her stories without needing a full box of tissues?  Wade hits just the right notes of love, drama, and faith in True to You, however – making it a definite winner.  I can’t wait to revisit the Bradford sisters in the sequel.

Click here to read other books in this bloggy hop or here to purchase your own copy now.

 
About the author:
 
Becky Wade is a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.
 
Visit our blog Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on PinterestView on Instagram
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  All opinions are my own.

Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop – May 10, 2017

IMG_4828

Phew, but it’s been a busy month!  We’re finally prepping to slow down, and I’m happy about that.  We’ve had some really fun adventures this past month, though, and I’m excited to share them with you.

Exciting news!  The weekly blog hop formerly known as Hearts for Home has been updated with a new name and logo!  While we’re still dedicated to sharing encouraging and inspiring ideas for your home and family, there are a few new features.  Isn’t the new logo beautiful?

Blog Hop

Tweet: Find encouragement for your heart and home at A Nest in the Rocks. This week’s blog hop is live! https://ctt.ec/epe5O+

All of this excitement is one reason I’m excited that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Encouraging Hearts and Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was Resources for Homeschooling Moms.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

13 Easter Activities for Kids

20 Garden Themed Activities for Children

Six Easter Unit Studies You Can Download and Use

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!

So, be sure to 1) include your email when you link up and 2) share the link to Encouraging Hearts and Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 


Please share your family friendly posts with us!

The most clicked posts of each week will be featured on all of our hosts’ blogs! So, be sure to share the link to Encouraging Hearts & Home via social media with your readers, fans and followers! 

By linking up you agree that if your blog post is selected to be featured on any of our hosts’ blogs that we can use an image from your post with a link back to your post. 

“The Essential Amish Cookbook” by Lovina Eicher

Disclosure Pic

Taste the goodness of Amish life.

Bestselling cookbook author and food columnist Lovina Eicher brings together the best of Amish cooking in The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry. Join Eicher as she shares traditional Amish recipes along with her own kitchen tips and secrets. Growing up, Eicher learned to cook and bake at an early age alongside her mother, longtime columnist and Amish cookbook author Elizabeth Coblentz, and has put those skills to use in her own Amish kitchen as she cooks for her eight children.

The easy-to-follow, authentic recipes you’ll find in The Essential Amish Cookbook are prepared every day in countless homes in Old Order Amish communities across North America. Many of the more than 100 recipes are richly illustrated with step-by-step photographs to help you learn Amish cooking just as if you were in Lovina’s kitchen. From hearty main dishes to substantial sides—plus a generous sampling of scrumptious cakes, pies, cookies, and other delectable desserts—learn how to make the hearty, simple dishes that the Amish cook together and serve at home, church services, and weddings.

In a fast-food, digital world, the book’s colorful photos and conversational tone provide a real taste of Amish life and invite you to slow down. Your family will come to love her Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread, Rhubarb Juice, Roast Beef with Veggies, Oven Crusted Chicken, pickles, jams, and so much more. Experience the simple joys of Amish life—food, faith and family!

Lovina Eicher

The Essential Amish Cookbook is the go-to guide for anyone wanting to make basic Amish foods or to learn more about the Amish way of life.  With recipes that match every type of dish and specialty foods besides, there’s something for everyone in this book.

There are many recipes that I’m excited to try.  The Swiss Roll Bars sound amazing, and that’s definitely going to be the first one I make.  There are lots of others that I want to try, though, too:  Breakfast Pizza and Egg Dutch are both up there, and Peach Butter will be made as soon as peaches come into season.  There are too many yummy-sounding pies to list, and My Big Helper has her own wishlist from this book, so it’s going to keep us busy for a while.

As exciting as it is to see all these delicious-sounding recipes gathered into one place, my absolute favorite part of the book is the photographs.  They’re definitely far above what you find in your typical cookbook, and they’re not all of food, either. With artistic shots of many aspects of Amish life, The Essential Amish Cookbook is more than a recipe book – it’s the perfect coffee table book for someone who loves beautiful country photos.

I received a free copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.

“Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom” by David Neilsen

Disclosure Pic

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.
 
Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

David Neilsen

Neilsen’s Playground of Doom is an afternoon of creepy fun for any middle-grade student!  Full of foreshadowing and subtle context clues, you’ll know that something’s up – but not exactly what.  Dr. Fell’s story is as full of twists and turns as his illustrious playground.

Dr. Fella nd the Playground of Doom is a good-versus-evil story on steroids.  It’s not exactly scary, but it will definitely make a tender reader shiver with the knowing that something bad is on the way.  With unidentified monsters and danger around every turn, pages will fly as readers impatiently fly toward the ending.  Nielsen sprinkles in enough whimsy and fantasy, however, to keep his younger readers from being truly scared. 

While the story is pure fun, there are definitely good talking points within.  Dr. Fell’s Playground causes readers to ask questions like:

  • What should you do if you see someone get hurt?
  • Should you ever enter a stranger’s house?
  • What do you do if an adult makes you uncomfortable?
  • Name calling:  What can you do about it?

These are, unfortunately, issues that children need answers to in this day and age, and Dr. Fell’s Playground provides a fun, fantastical way to introduce – or continue – your conversation about these topics. 

Fans of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle might find that Dr. Fell is her evil counterpart, and they’ll delight in comparing both stories.   Kids will revel in the fantastical people, creative solutions, and unusual dwellings of both books.

If your child is ready for a different kind of fantasy, challenge them to play on Dr. Fell’s Playground of Doom.  If s/he dares.

I received a free copy of this book from the author.  All opinions are my own.