Saturday, April 17

Jane Austen by Peter Leithart

The biography Jane Austen written by Peter Leithart is one of a series of biographies published by Thomas Nelson. Mr. Leithart did a thorough job of research in this work and covered extensively the events from before Jane Austen’s birth until after her death.

One must be very familiar with all of Austen’s work to completely relate to and understand this book. I found it a little too tedious to be enjoyable. Mr. Leithart discusses in great detail plots or characters from Austen’s books, then immediately switches to events or speculations about Jane’s actual life. It was a difficult book for me to follow. There are innumerable names throughout the book; both real life and characters. As I mentioned, one would have to be very familiar with all of Austen’s work and her relatives to digest it all.

I would conclude that Mr. Leithart put a great deal of energy into Jane Austen’s biography. It contains much information and is an informative work. My main complaint with the book is that it was not a book based on facts. Many assumptions and theories fill it and I personally prefer a more straight forward and factual account.

I received a review copy through the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program.

Friday, October 30

Enter for a Chance to Win 22 Books

Click on the link above and check out Devotional Christian's website. While you're there, enter for achance to win 22 great reads.

Thursday, July 9

Beating the Heat (or at least trying to)

To say that it is hot here in Texas is a bit of an understatement. For the past several weeks our highs have been in the 100's and it has felt quite miserable outside. We received our electric bill today and I wouldn't say I was horrified, just not too happy after opening it. Being the mother of three small children I can assure you that staying inside all day while this tremendous heat wave passes is not an option. So I thought I'd do a post about some of the things we do to try to make it more bearable.
We bought a plastic pool with a slide at Wal-Mart for $30. It has been worth every penny and then some! It is amazing that a family of 5 can fit in it too. My parents bought a slip n slide. The girls and I have had more fun on it than I could imagine. Our backyard is on a little slope and combined with some dish soap, it makes for a great time. We have all 5 been consuming unhealthy amounts of Ice Pops. They are so delicious and come in flavors like apple, banana, pina colada and many more. Too bad they aren't calorie free :( .
The one very good thing about this summer's heat is that I am really looking forward to Fall (like I needed a reason to look forward to Fall). I am trying to be optimistic and remind myself that July is almost 1/2 over, then we just have August, September, and most of October and THEN we should get some fall-like temperatures!

Wednesday, June 3

Planning a Yard Sale

This weekend we are having a yard sale to declutter our home. My husband and I have been married for seven years and we have averaged about one yard sale each year so I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. Did I mention we have an aversion to clutter? It is overwhelming to think of putting one on initially, but once I get started, I usually enjoy it. I've come up with a list of helpful hints that will make your yard sale less hastle and more fun. I still have a couple of days until the sale so if anyone has any tips for me, please post away!
Pick the right date most people get paid on the 1st or 15th of each month so planning your sale as close to then as you can usually has better results
Include neighbors try to convince neighbors to have one on the same date, increasing your clientele :)
Advertise in your local paper, hang up posters, on the radio
Plenty of change lots of one dollar bills and quarters. Don't price anything less than a quarter that way you don't have to worry about having dimes and nickles, plus it is easier to calculate someones total; anything I don't think will bring a quarter, I place in the "free" box.
Price everything someone is more apt to buy something with a price on it than asking how much you want for it
Check your forecast if it is supposed to rain, have an alternate plan
Send the kids and pets to Grandma's :) only in some cases i.e. small talkative children, hyper and bouncy dogs, overly friendly and shedding cats. Customers don't want to be bothered, usually.
Be liberal (not politically speaking) getting rid of stuff. My husband says if it has been in the attic and isn't Christmas or Fall decorations, it needs to go. Honestly, we tend to accumulate so many things that we don't really need, so go ahead make some money from it.
Price right be reasonable on pricing, people come to yard sales for bargains so give them one
Place items strategically or at least easy to get around. Don't put boxes full of stuff for people to dig through, display what you've got.
Set times when you advertise, tell what time it will start and end. If it is set to start at 8am, have everything out and priced by then. Most of our items sell within the first hour.
Be honest don't try to sell broken items
Save bags and boxes for people to carry their new treasures home in
Consign or donate the items that don't sell if you planned on getting rid of it, don't bring it back in your house.

Tuesday, May 26

Why I Haven't Posted Anything New Lately

The past few weeks at our home have been absolutely beautiful outside! Honestly, I couldn't wish for prettier weather, and it is ever so difficult for me to stay inside when it is nice outside. We have lived in our present home for a year and a half. Last summer I was VERY pregnant and tried to avoid, at all cost, anything involving bending over. That included wearing shoes I had to tie and working in flower beds. Being someone who loves to do yard work, I've had over a year now to plan and scheme all kinds of improvements for our yard. My two little girls have been a tremendous help. They are always so eager to be of assistance. My husband also has been a huge help. He spent a long time gathering rocks that I probably couldn't even pick up and lining beds with them. Here are a few pictures.

Monday, May 11

What I've Been Making and Baking

Today is cloudy, cool and drizzly outside. A great day for baking and staying in our cozy little home. The first picture is of kolaches and yeast rolls. The recipe is below. the second picture is Cherry Platz and you can find the recipe here.
Yeast Rolls
2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
6 - 7 cups flour
Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Add oil, egg & salt. Stir in flour. Knead until elastic and smooth. Let rise in large oiled bowl for 2 hours. Shape into rolls or kolaches and let rise another hour. Bake at 350 for around 20 minutes.
For kolaches I use 2 packages of beef litl' smokies. This recipe also makes 2 delicious loaves of bread if you would rather not have rolls or kolaches. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5

The Greatness of God

Some of today's reading:

"Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:9-31