Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Cracker Barrel Blog Convention

On this particular Saturday, we were never at a loss for something to say. 


Kids . . . and bloggers alike. 


We could have gabbed the entire day.  And into the night.


I love that my blog friends are also my in-real-life friends. 


Who are these pretty gals next to my handsome sons?  From the bottom left, Madonna (2 Teaching Mommies and A Mommy Talks), Sarah (Simply Sarah), Maureen (Spell Out Loud) holding Naomi, Jodi (me) and Amber (2 Teaching Mommies and the Belly of a Whale).

Do you have an online blog friend that you would love to meet?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Attempting Easy Weight Loss: The Full Bar

Being a whole foods organic snob doesn’t mean I am perfect.   I just want something to be easy.  Less time consuming.  Less work.

  • Like plastic bags.  There are just times that I don’t want to potentially break another Mason jar.  Or wash a Tupperware container.
  • Hot dog buns.  I love making bread . . . but buns . . . no.
  • Organic ketchup.  Fermenting is fun . . . but I have to plan ahead. 
  • Melatonin.  Please kids . . . go to sleep!!!!!

I must admit that I wish weight loss was easy. 

I suppose it is easier for some than others.  I am in the “others” category. 

When I half-heartedly began to dabble in weight loss before Christmas, I was quick to jump on any trendy and seemingly effortless trick. 

Enter Hotpants (anti-cellulite shorts).  The only thing they do is make you . . . well . . . hot . . . you know perspire copious amounts.  And then you just stink.  Glad I received that failure for free.

When I was contacted to review another weight loss product called the Fullbar,  I cast all the knowledge I had acquired regarding whole foods out the door.  Just make me stop eating!!!



What is the Fullbar?

Fullbar is like having bariatric surgery without the surgery.  When you eat the tasty bar 30 minutes before lunch and dinner with a glass of water, your stomach registers a false sense of full . . . but nevertheless a helpful “false full.” 

Fullbar contains an ingredient called Slendesta.  It is found in potatoes and is deemed natural.  The idea behind Slendesta, according to the Fullbar website,  is that it “enhances the release of Cholesystokinin, the natural signaling peptide within our body.  Once released it travels through your body and increases your feelings of fullness and satisfaction.”

As a result the consumer of the Fullbar should, in theory, eat less and feel full for an extended period of time. 


Unless said subject, likes the taste so much they think they should eat two.  Not that I ever did that.

Does it work?  My thoughts.



Yes, I did feel fuller.  Yes, I did eat less at the meals I used my Fullbar appropriately.  No, i did not lose weight using the Fullbar for a week.

My Concerns

Slendesta is derived from potatoes.  Potatoes have a thin skin.  For this reason, it is highly recommended that any potato you eat, be organic, as harsh chemicals such as Bud Nip or pesticides will remain on your potato.  The Fullbar is not organic. 

It does state that it is “natural,”  though.

What is natural?

Well, the website defines “natural” with the word . . . natural. 

“Fullbar is made of 100% natural ingredients and is an exceptionally safe weight-loss tool.”

Therefore, I would wager that the potatoes used are conventionally grown.  As small as the amount may be, you are opening yourself up to foreign chemicals entering your body.  Chemicals and a healthy body don’t mix.  If you commit to the Fullbar program, then you will consume over 60 bars the first 4 weeks using the conventionally-grown-pesticide-containing-potato-derivative Slendesta.

I suppose you have to weigh the pro’s and con’s . . . weight loss that leads to longevity and health or pesticide consumption that leads to death and deterioration.

For long term use, I do have some issues with other ingredients contained in the Fullbar.  For example, my favorite flavor was the Cocoa Chip Fullbar.  Questionable ingredients are puffed wheat cereal, soy protein concentrate, agave syrup, canola oil and “natural flavorings.”

The quality of each of these ingredients could stand alone as a separate blog post. 

  • puffed wheat – I can not stress the importance of eating properly prepared grain . . . soaked . . . sprouted . . . organic . . . and as naturally as possible.  Sigh.  Not “puffed.”
  • soy protein – I avoid soy at all costs unless it has been fermented.  Soy is not your thyroid’s friend, trust me, as I have Hashimoto’s disease. 
  • agave syrup . . . ugh.  It really is no better than corn syrup.  Just use raw honey or real maple syrup. 
  • poison canola oil – this oil IS NOT a healthy oil . . . if you use canola oil in your home, I implore you to discover the truth about what you have been told. 
  • natural flavorings . . . why the mystery ingredient?  Why do so many of us just accept the term natural flavorings?

My conclusion

I felt full.  It tasted too good to stop with one.  The Fullbar regimen is doable and definitely promotes hope in the individual that has consistently struggled to find a program that works.

BUT . . . the Fullbar will not be considered as an option for me in my weight loss journey.  For something that I am ingesting twice a day over an extended period of time, I greatly consider what the ingredients are, how they are farmed, what production process is involved, and if it is organic. 

There certainly are worse weight loss options, though.   

What weight loss techniques work for you?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Heart’s Frontier: A Review

Go and grab The Heart’s Frontier on your Kindle now!!!  I adored The Heart’s Frontier by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith. 

This book is described as an Amish meets the wild-West piece of fiction and that is a true statement! 

Emma Switzer’s family is transporting her out west to aid a relative.  However, they never reach their destination due to the fact that their wagon and animals are stolen by robbers.  In their search for help, the Switzer family prays that the Lord would make it abundantly clear as to who was supposed to help them.  Luke Carson literally lands at their feet.

Excited to be leading his first cattle drive, Luke doesn't initially want to help this Amish family whose clothing and ideas are so far removed from his own.  But his conscience gets the best of him and he finds himself intertwined with this family.

Little does he know, that later it is this family who will help him redeem his cattle drive . . . and he just might find a wife in the process.

Do read The Heart’s Frontier!!!!

Heart of the Country: A Review

Heart of the Country initially grabbed my attention.  But towards the middle, my attention waned.  In fact, I even switched to a different book for a few days. 

I guess I thought the characters were behaving . . . out of character.  Almost ridiculous. 

This surprised me, because I have liked other Rene Gutteridge books. 

Faith and Luke Carraway make a great married couple.  Faith is a country girl who appreciates her new life filled with money.  She loved her husband and faithfully supported him, despite not measuring up to Luke’s family standards. 

Luke finds himself caught in a major financial scandal and he looks guilty. 

At this point, I became frustrated with the novel.

Faith and Luke fight.  This is the first time in the history of their marriage, despite all of the obstacles they had overcome -- that they fight. 

And Faith walks out on Luke . . . in his hour of need.  And he lets her!!  They don’t speak for a long time.  Not even one text message!

This just didn’t follow suit with how the characters had been developed up until this conflict.  Then to top it all off . . . Faith entertains thoughts towards a man from her town, when she goes to hide while figuring out her feelings for her husband.

I don’t get it.  I’m sorry . . . this is not a book I can recommend to you. 

An Uncommon Grace: A Review

An Uncommon Grace by Serena Miller, is due to be released April 3, 2012.  You will want to pre-order this novel.  I had the fortunate blessing to read an advanced copy and thoroughly enjoyed this modern novel. 

Former military nurse, Grace Conner, returns home from Afghanistan to rest and recover from her rewarding experience.  But the life she returns to is radically different from her military days, as her grandmother lives smack dab in the middle of an Amish community.

Grace quickly becomes involved in the strict Amish community when she rushes to her neighbor’s house. She quickly puts her medical training into action after Levi Troyer discovers that his parents have been attacked by an intruder.  Levi’s step-father dies but thanks to Grace, Levi’s mom survives.

This experience draws Grace and Levi towards each other as they take steps to discover who the murderer was and how Grace’s sister is even involved in this mess.

Will Levi leave his Amish community and be banned?  Will Grace run away from love?  You will have to read to find out!!!

Order your hardcopy or Kindle edition over at Amazon!

Dawn Comes Early: A Review

652 pages of fun are found in the book Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley. 

Kate Tenney thought that her novelist days were over.  This dime store novelist found herself rejected and marked as a “racy” author.  In order to start fresh, she headed West, in an answer to an “heiress wanted” ad. 

There was one tiny problem, actually two.  Kate was supposed to know how to run a ranch!  Additionally, should she be chosen as the future mistress of the working cattle ranch, Kate would never be allowed to marry!

Early on she discovers that this may pose a problem.  Enter Luke Adams, who always seems to come to her rescue.

Find out what happens to the owner of the ranch and Kate!  Be tickled with the fun ending!

Grab your copy of Dawn Comes Early in paperback or on your Kindle.  (Have I mentioned how much I am loving having a Kindle?)

I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks Book Sneeze!

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms: A Review

I have NEVER EVER been disappointed in a Cindy Woodsmall novel.  She writes fabulous fiction that captures your heart and endears her characters to you. 

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms really demonstrates the clash of cultures, or faiths.  I had no idea how different the Amish faith is from the Mennonite faith . . . and the strict adherence to staying within your sect.  However, this doesn't stop fictional characters, Annie Martin and Aden Zook. 

Annie left home and a difficult relationship with her wavering mother, to spend time with her beloved grandfather.  While living with her grandfather, a special childhood friendship blossoms when Annie offers to help out at the Zook family diner for a brief time. 

In an effort to squelch the blossoming relationship between Annie and Aden, Annie’s grandfather forbids Aden to speak with Annie and threatens to take away the necessary monetary funds that keep the Zook’s diner running. 

True love wins . . . but you will have to read The Scent of Cherry Blossoms for yourself to find out how!

Grab your hardcopy at Amazon or fill your Kindle with this goodie!

I was given The Scent of Cherry Blossoms for free in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks Waterbrook Press!

The Rose of Winslow Street: A Review

Bethany House has published a truly memorable “vacation read*.”  The Rose of Winslow Street is a book that is fragrant as it teases you with smells of jasmine and rose buds, flowers that hold much meaning in the plot of this entertaining book. 

Michael Dobrescu and his family move into an empty house in Colden, Massachusetts, thinking that the house is rightfully theirs even though they have never laid eyes on the home.  let me mention that the family members are recent immigrants to America. 

Libby Sawyer and her father are shocked to discover that the Dobrescu’s have moved in to their beloved house and seek help from the court of law.  While they wait for a verdict, Libby reaches out to the family her father has evicted.  In doing so, new feelings enter her heart.

The family’s become intertwined as they discover that inside the house is a clue to the future and the rightful owner.  

You might be surprised by the ending of this novel, but you won’t be disappointed. 

Have a copy of The Rose of Winslow Street delivered to your front door or onto your Kindle

This book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks Bethany House. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Loud



Normally I have thoughts that scream in my head.  Thoughts that beg to emerge onto a computer screen through the tips of my trained fingers.  But with each passing day that I don’t write, the thoughts become quieter.  They hibernate. 

I should make a new list . . . a list of all the posts that I want to write, I need to write, I have to write.

But I don’t. 

I focus on the book.  Yet, this book is frozen in the computer that is blank . . . unresponsive . . . and quiet


A quiet computer means no squawking bird that alerts me to a mistyped word as Ezra learns his keys.  My math facts remain rusty as Asher’s Teaching Textbooks is learned silently at a table. 

A broken computer puts a recess on my loud thoughts.  Website building keeps me from entering in . . . creating . . . for fear I will mess up my blog designer’s work. 

But loudly have we been cleaning the house . . . motivated to action . . . delighting in how proud we feel in our accomplishments.  Joyously we celebrate at watered flower beds, swept porches, folded laundry, vacuumed rugs, swept floors, and even . . . dusted furniture. 

The sources of loudness has shifted.


And I think it is for the better.


Why don’t you try writing for 5 minutes?  Join in and head on over to 5 Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Simple Woman’s Daybook



Outside my window... delicious.  My most favorite of mornings.  Oddly the hum of the nearby interstate providing white noise, makes me appreciate those happy-to-be-alive birds.  How they are chirping!  The sky is peach and the grass grows a vibrant green. 


I am thinking... that Gabe is very funny.  He just came down.  Took off his nighttime diaper (we are working on this – any suggestions?), grabbed his Elmo underwear, waved, and went back upstairs with his wide grin.  And now he is back . . . still carrying his underwear.  Why did he go upstairs?  Some things I will never understand.

Like whenever I try to make a capital “I”, it never happens.  It takes about three attempts before my hands can make the “i” into an “I.”


I am thankful for... the random times our main computer turns on so that I can extract and save certain important files . . . like the eBook I am working on . . . to give away to subscribers. 

I am creating... muscles that burn fat, a tiny bit of milk, and a clean house (thanks Motivated Mom calendar).  I also am creating lots of check marks . . . I love boxes that allow me to do this simple yet gratifying action with a graphite pencil.


I am going... to learn about Classical Conversations tonight . . . to workout at the YMCA . . . and hopefully visit some bloggy friends (Madonna and Amber of 2 Teaching Mommies, Sarah, and Maureen) on Saturday (as long as the Engineer gets his paper written for school).

I am reading… The Good Earth, my Bible and my Precept Study of Matthew, and In Too Deep.

I am hoping... to make a Shutterfly book by the 26th, work on my eBook, send out an email to my Young Living gals, and finish listening to Money Saving Mom’s Budget.


I am hearing... Ruth slurp water and whatever doesn’t go in her mouth fall to the floor, birds, Gabe worried about when everyone is going to wake up, and the fridge working to keep things cold in this here warm Indiana.


Around the house... school has moved to yet a new location within a newly cleaned out old computer cabinet (make sense?)

One of my favorite things... coffee smoothies in the Vitamix with the Engineer.


A few plans for the rest of the week: meet with my partner in crime -- Kathleen, exercise, sew more seeds, dust, and vacuum.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... why is this made in India?  If man can pay attention to details . . . I can only imagine the details that the Lord has considered for us. 


P.S.  The above pictures were taken from our family vacation to Black Mountain, North Carolina over Thanksgiving.  The reason you haven’t seen them?  They were on my Netbook . . . I haven’t used it of late . . . (READ . . . it is rare for me to go have a blogging date with God anymore.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peanut Butter O’Clock

I think I made the most unhealthiest dessert of my life. 


And my husband fed it to his office buddies.  You know . . . the same ones that dress up in Gen Con outfits

Every day . . . at 4pm . . . the Engineer and his cohorts, gather together to eat peanut butter. 

For such an occasion I made them chocolate peanut butter pie.  I made them this pie because they drove all over tarnation last week, in search of peanut butter pie. 

Quite honestly, I’m beginning to wonder if these gentlemen actually work.  The Engineer has had to work more from home . . . I’m wondering if it is because they are eating too many bonbons spoons of peanut butter instead of typing away at their computers.  Crunching complicated algorithms.  You know, science. 

Digg that.  (Inside joke)

I can’t bring myself to post the recipe, as the only organic ingredient . . . well . . . there wasn’t one.  It was entirely processed. 

I’m sorry.  I hope you aren’t disappointed. 

But if you do need a quick and easy dessert that is rich beyond belief, visit The Pioneer Woman.

Maybe now they will make good on their promise of a song for the blog. 

*Please note, if you are new to this blog or you do not know my husband and his co-workers, many aspects of this blog post may not make sense.  This is a sponsored post by my husband for his friends.  I am being paid with a coffee when my husband comes home.  {Insert sly grin}

Friday, March 16, 2012

Show and Tell

I just wanted to show you my new glasses.


And my green fingernails. 


A serious look.


My pretty girl.


The handsome boys.


How many Lucky Charms are actually in a cereal box.


Sweet Gabe.


Amazing Engineers.


What news can you share with me?

You Are Already Amazing: A Review

I lied to you.  The title of this book is really You’re Already Amazing.  But the font embedded in my blog doesn’t allow for apostrophes in the title. 

Let me just start by saying that I felt valuable before I even broke the binding of this book open.  My review copy came with a card . . . one from Holley  (or someone posing as Holley – thanks Revell). 


Of all of the reviews I have done from big publishers, I have NEVER had a personal touch such as this. 

And the card has remained in my book serving as a bookmark. 


You’re Already Amazing is a book written to be engaged with.  You will need a pen because I anticipate that you will be underlining poignant thoughts and answering some soul searching questions provided by Holley. 

I don’t really know where to begin.  I am going to have to reread You’re Already Amazing to do the real work to begin to process and accept the title, you’re already amazing.


Perhaps God knew I was going to have a serious time accepting His quality work when He crafted me.  And so, thanks to Holley, a simple Bible verse has become a powerful companion to my self-esteem,

I have filled him {her} with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.  Exodus 31:3

Though the verse was intended to describe God’s provision for the construction of the Temple, Holley remarks, “This verse reveals that God’s hand is in our skills, in the ordinary things we do.  And they matter.  A lot.” 



I often feel a little unusual about being a blogger writer.  The common response I get is, “How do you have time for that?” or “I don’t have time to read those blogs.”  Thanks. 

Imagine people’s reactions when I pull out my bag of essential oils . . . you would think I was pulling out the Ouija board or anointing people with dog poop. Hello!  Essential oils are the first line of response God left on earth after prayer!  I’m not practicing voodoo but instead using what God has shown me to bring health to others.

And that whole home birth thing . . .

So when I go to do somewhat normal things . . . like quilting . . . making  yogurt . . . or sprouting grain . . . I think . . . why can’t I just be normal?  Even the simple things I engage in seem different than the average mom.

But I can’t be normal.  I have to be God’s normal.  I am already amazing.  Man, that feels kooky to write. 


Do you know that you are amazing?  It is so much easier for me to tell you that than for me to believe it myself.  Do you believe it?  Do you see that  your unique strengths and skills are a valuable part of God’s creation?

Here is what I would recommend for you. 

  • Read through Holley’s book by yourself first. 
  • Then, go and form a small group (Sarah has some great ideas on how to do this) and read through it again . . . but truly process it.  Discuss.  Be vulnerable with this small selection of ladies.
  • Or participate in the (In) Courage book club.  Click here to view the reading schedule.

You can find Holley Gerth over on her blog, Heart to Heart with Holley, on Twitter, and Pinterest.

You’re Already Amazing can be purchased in paperback on Amazon for $11.19 or for your Kindle  at a low low price at the time of this writing -- $3.99.  (Remember Kindle books can be read on most any device these days . . . including your computer.)

Thanks Revell for sending me this book to read and review.  I have been blessed by Holley’s words.  I was not paid for this post and gave my honest opinion . . . it is a good book. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet and Experience Tanzania

I want you to meet the Vidunda people.  Truly MEET them.  They live in Tanzania. 

You see, it is hard to motivate yourself to action when you are removed . . . in  your home (or at work). . . with your coffee (or chai, in my case). 

The Bible is in the family room, waiting to be opened.  And if you should linger at the computer before the kiddos wake up (not that this ever happens to me), your Bible might gather dust that day.  But no worries, there is another Bible beside your bed that you can read before you fall asleep tonight between your cozy flannel sheets.

I want you to imagine walking in the streets of Tanzania. 

Having lived in India, I can begin to understand the dynamics of this culture . . . yet, I am even struggling to grasp who these people are.  What their life is like . . . what brings them joy – and pain.

On Wikitravel this country of Tanzania is touted as a fabulous travel destination.  Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  Enjoy snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and viewing wildlife. 

Like India, you are warned to be street smart.  Suitcases and bags are a dead giveaway that you aren’t from these parts and the price just went up. 

Don’t expect to find a job.  Watch crossing the street.  And pray whenever you are a passenger in a local driver’s car.  It is advised that you NOT drive a car, unless you are used to driving conditions in Africa. 

If you subscribe to the belief that the earth is millions of years old (which I don’t), well Tanzania is the place for you.  It is considered the longest continuously inhabited place on earth, boasting of fossils that mankind evolved from that are millions of years old.

This is a people growing up in a culture that lacks purpose.  A people . . . a mom . . . a daughter . . . whose life lacks meaning.  If you evolve from a single celled organism instead of purposefully designed by a loving Creator, life has little value.

This was clearly demonstrated to this remote people back in WWII when “enemy soldiers massacred large numbers of Vidunda speakers who were hiding in a cave. In recent years, government officials have forbidden farming on top of the mountain. This history of exploitation and abuse has made the Vidunda people very wary of outsiders.”

More recent, sugar planters have gradually usurped the plains, forcing the Vidunda people into the mountains.

As I begin to piece together what the Vidunda people are like . . . their setting . . . the fact that  for so long they have been treated with disrespect. . . I feel great sadness.   To fight back, their weapon has been witchcraft.  They live in fear.  My heart aches for them. 

No one has valued them. 

Until now.

Join with me in helping the Vidunda people know that they are fearfully (terribly awesome) and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 14). 

Each month, this blog gives $26 to be used towards sponsoring the translation of a Bible verse

The most recent verse that Granola Mom 4 God helped translate was Matthew 25: 33,

He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

Hmmm . . . not a very exciting verse out of context.  For this reason is it important that we who know and have experienced the power of God to transform our life through His Word, give others what we easily toss on the couch. 

What does it take to translate the Bible?  There are six steps.

  1. First Draft: translators analyze what a passage says and produce a first draft.
  2. Team Check: translators check each verse for accuracy and clarity.
  3. Community Testing: translators share drafted Scripture with community members to test how well it communicates.
  4. Back Translation: translators translate the draft “back” into a major language for a non-native consultant.
  5. Consultant Check: a consultant checks the translation with the team to make sure expected standards are met.
  6. Proofread: translators rigorously proofread the final draft for errors before publication.

All this for one verse.  Why?  Because the Word of God is important.  Capable of life.  We are warned not to change the Word of God.  Care, attention, and a relationship with the Vidunda people are priorities.

Let me ask you this. 

What is your favorite verse? 

What if . . . what if . . . the Bible had never been translated into English and you never knew that verse?

Join me in sponsoring Bible translation, one verse at a time. 

OneVerse Blogger

To help your family learn more about the Bible translation occurring in Tanzania, visit MakaziVille.

But more importantly, considering sponsoring a Bible Verse.