Monday, December 30, 2013

Autumn Anthology Review

I was provided this anthology for my review and was not paid.  These are my honest opinions!

A Hound Dog Named Elvis by Heather Horrocks

A Chick Flick Clique story
All about how Kaitlyn and Joshua work their way back into each other's good graces after a silly breakup.  It's always funny to read about how good looking they still find the other person, and how they still ahve that connection.  It just amazes me that people break up, because of a misunderstanding.  I think talking really is the best idea, and then if you want to break up still, go for it.  Obviously that's not always an option, but talking always seems to work in romance books.  :)  Seriously though, Elvis and Priscilla sound like super fun hound dogs!  There's a little suspense, although you know who's threatening her the whole time.

Eye for an Eye by Stephanie Black

Mallory cleans a building early every morning in order to pay for her schooling, and of course there's a hottie that works there.  He thinks she's pretty good-looking too.  This one is more about the mystery than the romance.  She had a friend named Nelson in high school that went off the deep end and did drugs and killed her mom and then he was killed in a prison riot.  She felt bad about it, so she wrote his sister.  Then crazy stuff started to happen.  Her sister and brother-in-law (that she lives with) decide that she's a druggie, because they found drugs in her house.  Luckily she found a pretty good guy in the hottie-Darien, and he helps her through the madness that is her tormenter.  Yikes!  Edge of your seat kind of story!

First Heist by Heather B. Moore

An Omar Zagouri Novella

This is almost all suspense!  Mia is a spy, but finds she's nowhere near as good as the guy she's watching.  There are swear words.  Just know this book isn't for kiddos.  Mia and Omar have to work together to rescue Greek artifacts before their world comes crashing down, but that can't be it, there has to be more, right?  Right!

Letter for Two by Sarah M. Eden

Sophia and Ethan.  This was one of my favorites!  They live in a bungalow, one on each side and are constantly getting their mail mixed up, so they have a daily "meeting" at 5:30 to go through the mail together.  One day they find a very old letter addressed to someone they don't know.  They work on the mystery together and with the help of an awesome neighbor.  Such a sweet story!  I loved their conversations!

Silver Cascade Secrets by Rachelle J. Christensen

Jillian and Travis meet by chance, because she is a gardener at the park and he lost his keys while playing with his niece.  They talk to find out that they are more connected than they know.  She as to decide between Caleb (her boyfriend) and Travis.  Not a hard choice.  His brother-in-law was killed and she may just have the key to finding out who did it and why!  I think this one is a fun story, and I was surprised by the end!

Chocolate Obsessed by Annette Lyon

Whitney is awesome with chocolate, but so is Stephen.  Stephen keeps beating her in competitions, so she really doesn't like him.  But, as they have to work together a scary stalker guy approaches her and Stephen steps in as the knight in shining armor!  You know who the bad guy is, but you don't know what he's trying to accomplish!  Great story!  I love the ones where they find they have a ton in common and already like each other, but didn't really know!

Buy it!

  It's only $4.99!

European Collection Anthology Review

I was provided this anthology for my honest review, I was not paid and these are my own opinions!

War of Hearts by Annette Lyon

Great story based in Poland during World War II!  Anna is a reporter who is desperate to get away from home and forget her ex-boyfriend who dropped her without telling her why, right when she thought he was going to propose!  Of course, Peter (her ex) shows up as her photographer in camp.  This story is all about how they talk and realize what happened and why, as the war rages on around them.  I loved the characters and how things happened!  It reminds you how nowhere is really safe in war.

The Earl of Oaksey Takes a Wife by G.G. Vandagriff

This novella starts off right after Melissa and Thomas are coming back from Gretna Green, having just eloped.  If you have read about Lord Trowbridge's Angel, then you will get the background before this story starts.  They are happily in love when she realizes that he's poor and married her for her money, which doesn't make her very happy.  She gets even madder when he leaves her at her family home and doesn't come back for awhile.  She goes to his house and gets it all cleaned up and liveable and decides to live there while he lives elsewhere.  She, of course feels bad after awhile and sends him a letter, which he doesn't receive.  Then she gets sick so, her dad goes out to see him.  They talk and you can tell things are about to get better.  He's worried about her and still loves her, so he goes to take her home.  So sweet.  It's a great story about calming tempers and making good choices!

Gift of Love by Michele Paige Holmes

This story starts off as Ethan is hoping that his wife Mary will live through childbirth along with their baby.  Sadly Mary dies, but the baby lives.  Amelia is in a convent about to take her vows when her half-brother shows up and takes her away to get her to marry Ethan, since he needs someone to bring him happiness and take care of his little girl.  The one thing Amelia was going to miss as a nun was having children, so she goes with him and marries a stranger.  This is all about how they get to know each other and she learns why he is so paranoid aabout horses and the beach.  There's some suspense as well, but I'm not going to give it away!  It's better to be surprised!

A Lesson in Love by Sarah M. Eden

This one cracked me up!  Lucy and Reed are newlyweds heading to London for their first married season.  Lucy is thrilled to finally get to go to parties with her husband, instead of having to worry about finding a partner.  Reed, on the other hand, is looking forward to quiet nights at home, since he's already attended all the balls and crushes he should have to now that he's a married man.  Needless to say, they aren't happy with the other's opinion of how things should go.  So, Lucy goes home to her family to make Reed court her again, because he doesn't think it's important to go with her to the season.  Her father and brothers (in-laws) convince Reed to fight against it and not give in to her demands.  This story is all about how things eventually get worked out.  Boys vs. Girls, who do you think wins?

An Ocean Away by Heather B. Moore

In this story Gina has given up hope of finding a suitor in New York , because her dad has scared everyone off.  They choose to vacation and are in France, when her love for reading Gothic novels in the garden gets discovered by Edmund, who happens to be from New York and is being sued by her father for shipping in his area.   They have to see past their situations in order to find what can happen next!  A super fun story!  I loved the banter, and the end!  So very romantic!

What Happens in Venice by Nancy Campbell Allen

Evangeline is living Cinderella's life with a terrible stepdad and two spoiled sisters.  She is an amazing artist, but her stepdad is being known for his art and they are in Venice to show off his work in a large art display.  She meets a mystery man at a party and he woos her.  It works, of course.  She finds out something and it puts her in desperate danger, but her mystery man can save her.  Can't he?

All-in-all a great anthology!  I loved the different time periods and the very different writing styles!  Some mystery, some romance, all good!

Buy it!

It's only $4.99!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Day After Christmas

Now that the flurry of Christmas is over, I can finally write what happened! The day before Christmas Eve, Scott and I got to go out for our "Sunday is our Anniversary, so we get to go out the next day" date! We went to Applebee's, which sadly isn't a great place here. It takes forever to have someone help you! We knew what we wanted to eat before she came to get our drink order. The good news is that we were able to order everything all at once! The drinks were yummy too! So yummy that I drank it quickly while eating our very crunchy onion rings. Our food came and Scott's was alright (his words) and mine was really skimpy on the sauce. Like barely any sauce. The breadstick was hard and tasteless. It was just sad. I was pretty thirsty, and still no help, so I ate some ice while waiting. We were almost done eating when we finally got the check. We had plenty of time to clean off our table, stack our dishes and silverware, while we waited for her to ring us up. Scott gave up and asked another waitress, who found our waitress and she rang us up. It took forever! We're super unimpressed! But, we did some grocery shopping to get all we needed for my family that was coming on Christmas! Then we picked up the kids. It was still freezing cold, but we went and played in the snow at the playground. I got some awesome pictures of the kiddos, before they started crying. Poor kiddos forgot snow is cold!
To make up for it, I made gingerbread dough and the kids got to cut out what they wanted, or put in their orders to me.  No gingerbread men for us!  

 At Applebee's
 With their cookies
 Kira finished first!
 Then Ben (although he made more than one)
 Leah added to hers up until she ate
 Cecilia just really liked peach rings
 Emma got a good mix!

Christmas Eve was crazy busy getting ready. I finished off our matching pajamas (and learned a lot about making pants)! Then we cleaned like crazy, I love it when my room is the cleanest room in the house! The kitchen will always have dirty dishes, so it's easy to beat! Anyway, we worked hard to be ready for Christmas! The kids all made snow "globe" ornaments!  It took a while for the kids to fall asleep, so I got to watch a whole movie while waiting!  Then I got the presents out and made it beautiful!  I cleaned up some more and got to bed at about 3ish.

After all the hard work!

Then at 7:30 the kids woke up, so we made them put on their matching jammies!  Which was very interesting considering most of the pants didn't quite cover their rear as well as I would have liked.  Oh well!  Then most of them split their crotch inseams, so I spent the first half of the day cooking Christmas lunch and reinforcing inseams.  I was the only one that didn't need it, because I made mine maternity size!  My family came and we opened presents before the turkey finally finished!  It turned out fantastic and was super juicy, so HURRAY!!!  I was pretty excited that things turned out so well, late, but well!  Everyone liked their presents!  Josh was so excited about his bed!  My Dad and Scott put it together, with Josh watching!  He even helped put the sheet on the bed he was so excited!  We went to the hotel my family was staying at and got to go swimming!  Cecilia dove right in, and Sam had to save her.  I wasn't there yet, so I just heard about it!  Poor baby!  I held Josh most of the time!  When his lips turned blue, I decided to get him out to hang out with the warm and dry grandparents.  Lots of fun!  Then we had the opportunity to find a place that was open for fast food on Christmas.  Kim and I found that our family's favorite Taco place was open!  Woohoo!  So, we got a ton of food from there and made the poor guy working the hotel front desk jealous as we ate in the lobby (he said we could)!  We really should have ordered extra for him!  We even cleaned up behind ourselves before we headed out!  

 Wearing Cecilia's Princess Sophia shoes

 Helping with the sheet!
 And ready to take a nap, although he didn't.  And he didn't want to sleep in it last night, he wanted his crib back.
 Leah getting her hair cut, so now she's not a 80s Rocker chick.
 At the pool
 My poor little partially drowned Cecilia and scared Leah.  
 Playing peek-a-boo in the hotel room curtains.
Eating El Pastorcito yumminess

We went home and the kids still didn't go to bed for awhile!  Josh just cried and cried until we put his mattress back in the crib and let him sleep in there.  Poor baby, it was a hard day!  Lots of new things!  I crashed by ten thirty (After I got the pictures on the computer)!  
Today we slept in, which was oh-so-happy!  My family came by for a little while.  My Mom and Dad posed for some pictures, got all they needed to bring down south and headed out to Louisiana!

 My kiddos with their Mamaw and Papaw
My beautiful sisters and me!

My sisters stayed a little longer and played my new game Scrabble Scattergories with me!  It was super fun!  Scott and I tied for the win!  Always nice!  Then they headed out to have lunch and head home.  It was a whirlwind trip, but I'm so glad they came!  It will probably take us a couple of days to recover and get the house clean again!

Awesome books for $1.99!

I decided to make life easier, so you can find the cheap books here!  I'll add more as I find them!  A couple are only 99 cents!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fun times again!

I never knew how bad December would be at school, since we were able to take an early break last year during student teaching.  I had no idea how crazy it would be!  My poor Kindergartners were so excited about Christmas, and then we had a full moon and lots of cold days (inside recess)!  Wow!  They loved getting a present and goodie bag at the Christmas Party!  I loved how happy they were to get a book!  Some of my kiddos wanted to wait and open it for Christmas.  So sweet!  One of my kiddos gave me a Smencil (smelly pencil)  and another one gave me orchids and chocolates!  So incredibly nice!  I LOVE my orchids, since I have never had orchids before!  Scott's taking good care of them for me too!  We had a work day on Friday and now I'm free for two weeks (except for finishing entering in report card grades, but my hands were hurting so bad I decided to wait)!
My kiddos loved their parties, and my older kiddos loved getting to go see Frozen, I think it's almost everyone's favorite movie!  All I have to do is pull up one of the songs on youtube and they'll come running!  They also loved seeing the Live Nativity at church!  They even had apple cider for us!  Hurray!
Today we cleaned some.  The boys' room looks pretty good now, and the girls' room is pretty clean too (although they did theirs on their own)!  We made pizza for dinner, with breadsticks!  They were all gone in no time!  Then we had snow ice cream for dessert.  We ended up with five different kinds (obviously, the kids really liked it)!  We had grape (koolaid), peach mango (koolaid), creme de menthe, peppermint stick (frosting creation), and cherry (pie filling) with white chocolate flakes.  YUM!!!  We have plenty still in the freezer for later too!  My kiddos had a blast clearing off the car for us!  Then Scott went out and cleared the driveway too, so we're ready in case we get to go to church tomorrow!
Our plans for next week are to keep our house clean, and even cleaner (if possible)!  I'm going to make our matching Christmas PJs (hopefully that turns out okay)!  And if that goes well, I'm going to work on the girls' matching skirts that are already cut out, they just need to be sewn and put the elastic in!  Then if I still have time (or just don't want to sleep), I'll make my girls some new bows too!  We'll see how it goes!  My family is coming on Wednesday and leaving on Thursday!  I'm thrilled they are coming!  Even if it's only a day (if that).  We will see what else we do this week, but we'll probably be making yummy treats and going caroling!
I LOVE Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Awesome Thanksgiving

And I was so worn out, I'm just now posting!  We left here right after I got done with the After school Program on Tuesday (last week), got pizza, while Scott gassed up the van and we headed north to our families!  It was Ben's birthday, but he didn't complain!  He was thrilled to go up north!  His teacher was super sweet and bought him cupcakes, since he ruined his on the way in and we had cupcakes to snack on on the way too!  We got in super late and then I talked to my mom for awhile!  It's so nice to spend time with family!  Wednesday was the Zoo and Games at my Sister-in-law's house.  It's an amazing house!  They've worked super hard on it, and it shows!  It was great having kids my kids' ages to play with (since my husband's brother has 7 kids and most of them are close in age to ours)!  Our kiddos loved being with cousins!  We went back to my family for my kids to spend time with another cousin when they woke up on Thursday morning.  My family is so sweet and they let me sleep in everyday I was there!  It was amazing!  We had our Thanksgiving lunch there and then Thanksgiving lunch again an hour or so later with my husband's family.  We got to play more games.  We especially liked the Round Robin Ping Pong and Ultimate Frisbee!  Then we went and saw the lights at the nearby park and they were awesome too!  The kids loved picking out favorites and seeing what the lights were doing!  I liked the fish jumping out of the water and back in!  We left later, and went back to my family.
Mandy and I went out Black Friday shopping after we got the kids in bed (I did a little online shopping at Kohl's before we left).  We went to Target, Old Navy, Bath and Body Works, and Build-a-Bear.  We had our after midnight meal on the way back and got in about 2.  Not bad!  There weren't any lines, since I refused to go earlier and miss out on time with my family to shop!  I was very excited about our buys!
Then on Friday, we girls went to a Matinee showing of Frozen.  I LOVED it!!!  I'm buying it when it comes out, so we can watch it again and again!  I love the family ties, and the true love angle!  We went over to Scott's mom's house and did our little Christmas gift swap.  We all love our presents!  We all worked hard together to get lights hung up outside the house, even I took a turn, although it scared everyone to have a pregnant woman on a ladder.  It scared me more to have my kiddos on it!
Later we went to Powerplay to celebrate Ben's birthday!  No cake or anything.  Ooops!  He had a blast and even played laser tag for the first time (with Scott).  He ended up telling me that it wasn't an ego booster and that he had gotten his first taste of war.  It was fun watching him play!  At one point he ran up behind an opponent to shoot him.  The bad news is that he was doing something wrong with his gun, so none of the shots actually connected!  He did great on the beating up Crocodile game!  Our little kiddos enjoyed the kiddo playground!  Josh was so cute jumping in the bounce house and trying to grab balls!  Cecilia and Leah did a great job going up all the slides!  We had a lot of fun!
On Saturday morning, Kim and I headed up to the Temple.  It was great seeing family there!  My dad was in charge of our session, which was super cool!  I LOVE the Temple!  It's so peaceful, and beautiful, and you can feel the Spirit so much easier!  We went back to the house and Dad picked up a piece for our van.  Poor Dad spent a lot of time working on our van this week!  We didn't get enough done, but did get a car top luggage carrier and jogging stroller from some friends, which was much needed for all of the Christmas presents we had to bring back!  We ended up staying the night and we left after we ate lunch after church.  Church was great, especially since Mandy took Josh with her to Nursery!  Nice!
We made it home safely, phew!  We unloaded the car and went to bed late.  Then we woke up to sick kiddos.  So, Scott stayed home with them for a couple of days.  He went into work last night, worked day today and will work tonight (Friday night).  We're all exhausted!  But, tomorrow's Friday!

Christmas Newsletter

We just made it, so it's doubtful that it will get to everyone in time!  In the meantime, we have four days of actual school and one teacher work day until two weeks of Winter Break!  We're so excited!  I get to spend time with family and deep clean!  I've already started and got the girls' room clean (just have the closets to go)!  I can't wait to see how excited my Kindergartners are to make things for their parents!  They love art projects (and we don't have art)!  We don't have any recent family pictures which is a bummer!  I have material to make matching skirts for us girls and matching pjs for all of us!  Now to get my sewing machine working!
Westhoffs’ 2013 Update
Scott- Scott is super busy here in Liberal!  He is in charge of the facilities at church and also teaches Spanish and English classes at church!  He is enjoying being a stay-at-home dad as he works to get his online marketing business going.

Tamera- I graduated this year with honors!  I LOVE teaching my Kindergartners!  I have 40 half day Kinders!  I also do the Afterschool Program and have 11 kiddos there (one is Emma)!  We’re learning to like our small town and are looking for the perfect house!

Ben- He’s in 5th grade and is learning to play the bells!  He’s trying to change the world, one invention at a time!  If he had the time and resources, he would create some super cool things!  He is an awesome reader and actually tested above the 11th grade level! 

Kira- She’s in 4th grade.  Her teacher chose her to be a Student Ambassador for her class, plus she got Student of the month last month!  She also loves Activity Days, and that her mom is in charge!

Emma- Finally started school this year!  She is one of the smartest kids in her class, thanks to the extra year she had to learn before she started!  She loves having me next door and being in my class for the afterschool program! She loves to paint and drum!

Leah- Will be starting Kindergarten next year (after a whole lot of work over the Summer to get her ready)!  She still likes to take naps, and LOVES makeup and art!

Cecilia- She is turning 3 at the beginning of the year and is a crack up!  She is super sweet with Josh and will run and open the cabinet door to let Josh throw away his diaper every time!  Then she claps and cheers for him!  She is also very creative, as evident by the many pictures she draws on our walls!

Joshua- He is almost one and a half, but wears size 2t-3t!  He LOVES cars!  He has some wall stickers and has to touch each of them every night before he’ll go to bed!  Two of the few words he uses regularly are “car” and “mom.”  He is a dancer!  Even at church he’ll dance to the hymns!  He is also talented at pulling up the html code for random websites. 

Upcoming Baby due May 30th, growing well (about a week ahead of Schedule) and we have another ultrasound at the end of the month, so we’re hoping to find out if Samuel Parker or Samara Ashlyn will be joining our family!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sickness and Health

Our poor kids were worn out from our trip, so their sickness took hold!  Scott had to miss work on Monday and Tuesday to be with sick kiddos.  They made it to the Doctor on Tuesday and Josh had a terrible cough, an ear infection and pink eye.  Cecilia just had the cough and the pink eye.  It was gross, so I won't upload a picture.  Either way, they're doing much better now!  Josh doesn't like the pink medicine, which boggles my mind!  Of course, he doesn't like ice cream either!  Silly boy!  He LOVES his new soft Cars pajamas!  He kept touching the cars on his legs.  We chopped his bangs, so the pink eye wouldn't spread.  So, now I have to be brave enough to cut the back.  GULP!!!
Cecilia has decided that our bed is better than hers, so she keeps sleeping with us.  Apparently she noticed that I put her back in bed, because she came back early in the morning.  Oh well, she's still cute, even if she's a "bed frog" (not a bed hog).  She wants her snuggles and books read every night.
Leah has been sleeping a ton!  I'm a little worried about her!  She sleeps in late every morning (and is beyond hard to wake up).  Then she doesn't want to get dressed by herself.  She takes a long nap too!  I'm worried about her no longer doing the things she could do before.  She can still do them, but it's ridiculously hard.  I already had her on watch for bipolar disorder.  Now, I want her seen ASAP!  Poor kiddo needs all the help she can get!
Emma is doing awesome at school.  She always tells me that she hasn't clipped down once!  Since I talk to her teacher regularly (of course, since we're next door to each other), I already know how she's doing.  She's getting enrichment on a SIT Plan, because she's doing so well.  I've had an extra year to help her at home, and Kira loves teaching her things too.  So, Emma knows random facts like 6x2=12, and 100+100=200.  Funny kiddo!  She loves drawing pictures and writing them to people.
Kira is doing fantastic!  She is really understanding more, so she is growing by leaps and bounds.  She moved up two groups in spelling, so she's going to actually study again!  She was getting 101 on every spelling test for two months.  They have a Christmas Shop at school and she's already budgeted out how much she needs and how she can get something for her loved ones.  It cracks me up though, because I'm getting a mom pencil, and the kids all have to share a lava light thing, I can't remember who's getting the big ticket items.  Either way, it'll be interesting to see what she comes up with with the budget I actually give her. She has quite the mouth on her and is quite a smart aleck.  We're working on it.
 Ben has been sleeping a lot too!  But, he's doing well in school.  His IRC teacher gives him a book when he does well, and he's almost earned one!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

We did something fun!

At least according to my kiddos!  We finally took our cotton candy machine back out and I added the frosting creation pack to a small container of sugar and flavored the sugar.  We did bubble gum and orange cream!  The kids LOVED it!  I finished it off with plain old sugar.  Yum!  Nothing like a straight sugar treat!  It's only once in awhile though!
This has been a great week!  Kira got Student of the Month, which we're all very excited about!  Emma got it last month!  Ben's IEP was this week, so Scott and I got off work to go!  It turned out well, and they're going to do an intelligence test, just to have the info for his IEP.  We're all pretty sure that he'll have a pretty good score, but we're curious!  The kiddos are all doing well, and are pretty healthy, except for the whole constantly runny noses that Cecilia and Leah have had for weeks now!  Poor kiddos!
Kira, Emma and I went out with Sister Hunter yesterday to do an hour of service.  We walked around on a Service Scavenger Hunt and only got to help two people.  Everyone else said no!  It was crazy!  My girls were super excited to try though!  Scott went out later with the Elders.  We're working hard to teach our children to be service-oriented!
Now we're just counting down the days until we head home for a few days!  I can't wait to see family and friends!  The next two school days are going to be fun!

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Today our family had the opportunity to talk about gratitude at church.  It was lots of fun being the only speakers!  Kira spoke first giving her (HUGE) list of things she's grateful for.  Then Ben told his three.  After that Emma did a fantastic job going through hers (and she practically read the whole thing, I was super impressed)!  Leah went up and said what she had Kira write down for her.  She likes pets, butterflies, and something else...  Then I got to speak and I pretty much stuck to the two latest Prophets from their books.  I added in a personal story or two (I had to include the Gammon family, since they're the most grateful people I've ever met)!  Then after the song, Scott spoke.  I thought he did an awesome job!  He's a great speaker!  Poor Ben fell asleep and just didn't seem to feel well all of church.  He was kinda pasty too, so I had Scott give him a blessing, and he had some help, since there was TONS of worthy Priesthood around!  Then Ben was able to go back to class and made it through okay!  Emma whispered out her talk in Primary about being grateful for Spiritual things.  But she did it!  I'm so proud of my family!
It's been a crazy busy week and I've been exhausted all week, but still biking everyday!  I hope to make it all the way to Thanksgiving, before it gets so cold that my asthma kicks in!  Then I'll have to wake up early in the morning to Zumba!  I love Zumba, but I really love sleep!  Oh well!
This week I'm grateful for:  health, life, late hours at the Doctor's office, great friends, children who go to bed on time without complaints (Hey!  I can dream!), nice temperature days when I don't have to wear a coat, and that our babysitter lives close to my school so I can eat lunch before biking to pick Emma up!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankful week 2

I wasn't feeling well at the start of this week, but I'm healthy now and none of my kids have gotten sick-so Thankful thing #1!  I have a couple snotty kiddos, but no throwing up!
Leah lost the crown on her tooth today, but is doing well (and hopefully we'll be able to get her in to the Dentist quickly)-Thankful thing #2!
While Scott and I were napping (and I thought Josh was napping too)-Cecilia and Josh together dumped out a whole container of milk, but it was only half full-so they only wasted half a gallon of milk-Thankful thing #3!
Ben isn't complaining as much about school and is sleeping a lot better-Thankful thing #4!
We got to watch the Croods as a family (except for Scott, he was out with missionaries) and Josh ran off, but one of the teachers recognized him and grabbed him for me (and let me know that they had him, since I was frantically looking for him)!  I'm glad we made it through okay!  And it only cost $7 for popcorns and drinks for everyone!  Thankful Thing #5!
Scott is doing very well this week!  Thankful Thing #6!
I got awesome sales from Dillon's and spent under $80 and got a lot of groceries!  I saved $40!  The cashier was pretty impressed and the only coupon I used was a $5 off coupon from the week before!  Thankful Thing #7!
I was so excited yesterday to get the boys' room clean and put up the Cars Wall Stickers!  Josh was super thrilled about it!  He really loves cars!
I decided to reward myself by cutting out the material for the girls' matching skirts.  I was a little sad that they really liked the fabric that I had only gotten one yard out of.  But, they're dealing with it!  I was a little frustrated with myself, since I cut it out sideways, so we'll have fallen Christmas trees, instead of standing up trees.  Oh well!  I'm sure it will still be cute!  The hardest part is deciding what kind of applique I want to make to match the skirts!  I'm thinking a Christmas tree with their initial in it.
Then I discovered I could make pajama pants, which led to the idea of doing matching pjs with appliques and since there's 8 of us and 8 letters in our last name-that's totally what I'm doing!  I'm super excited that Joann's has their flannel on sale tomorrow too, with 11 cents for shipping!  So, I'll pay about $35 for all the fabric I need and then I'll just have to buy some white shirts to applique on and I'm set!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Awesome New Spy Book!

We're celebrating the launch of Spy for a Spy, sequel to I, Spy! Read on to get a cool spy tip for your daily life, free & discounted reads, and enter to win some great prizes! You can also find Spy for a Spy at the special $3.99 launch discount on Amazon, Kobo, and!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. And it was the last place CIA operative Talia Reynolds expected to run into fellow operative Brand Copley. AKA her new boss. AKA her ex-boyfriend.
Just the guy every woman wants to face in the middle of planning her wedding. Once again, Talia’s lying to the man she loves, but this time, to protect his heart. After Brand takes over Talia’s latest case and steals her newest agent, he assigns her to spy on her old boss—who’s suddenly giving her every reason not to trust him. With only weeks until the big day, planning falls by the wayside as she goes into damage control mode. But when Talia discovers Brand’s real motives, fighting him is the only option, no matter what the personal and professional cost. More about Spy for a Spy | Add Spy for a Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

Hone your spy skills

Spy skills can come in handy in the most unusual situations, like this one . . .
 Further hone your spy skills by reading Spy for a Spy!

About the author

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom. Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Join the party & enter to win!

As part of the debut of Spy for a Spy, Jordan is co-hosting a launch party with Julie Coulter Bellon, author of Pocket Full of Posies. Join us November 12 on Facebook (Jordan's and Julie's pages) and Twitter (follow Julie and Jordan) for drawings throughout the day, and enter to win more fabulous prizes here!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special deals!

Spy for a Spy is a sequel to the novel I, Spy, available for 99¢ at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Jordan's site this week only! To save her country and her secrets, CIA operative Talia Reynolds will have to sacrifice the man she loves. More about I, Spy. Also, as a free gift this week, Jordan is giving out free e-copies of a prequel novella, Mr. Nice Spy, on Amazon and her site!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You can win an awesome Kindle Fire HDX 7"!

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Ripple Effect Romance Series
  4. Dark Motive's Books & More
  5. Fae Books
  6. Author Marianne Morea
  7. Buku-Buku Didi
  8. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  9. Author Stacy Claflin
  10. Patchwork Press
  11. Author Louise Caiola
  12. Author Bella Street
  13. Author Bonnie Blythe
  14. Author Julia Crane
  15. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  16. Author Kim Cresswell
  17. A Bookish Escape
  18. Author Talia Jager
  19. Mother Daughter Book Reviews
  20. Fiction Dreams
  21. Book Angel Booktopia
  22. Kelly's Lucky You
  23. Author Roxanne Crouse
  24. Author Rachelle Christensen
  25. Author Jennifer Laurens
  26. Hardback Book Hotties
  27. Lori's Reading Corner
  28. Author Misty Moncur
  29. MyLadyWeb: Women's History and Women Authors
  30. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  31. Living, Learning and Loving Life
  32. Fairiechick's Fantasy Book Reader
  33. My Story That I Like Best
  34. LeahSay's Views
  35. Christine's Blog
  36. Candle Light Reads
  38. The Demon Librarian
  39. SMIBookClub
  40. Author T.L. Clarke
  41. Back Off My Books
  42. Michael SciFan
  43. Author Carole Brown
  44. Coffee and Characters
  45. No Thought 2 Small
  46. Stanley and Katrina, Pet Authors
  47. Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
  48. Love Bites & Silk
  49. Kimber Leigh Writes
  50. Author Rae Z. Ryans
  51. Author Georgina Young-Ellis
  52. The Reporter and the Girl
  53. Fic Central
  54. Like a Broken Vessel
  Sign up to Sponsor the December Giveaway (starting around December 2nd)   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 11/30/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Woohoo! Grateful Month has started!

I love November!  Everyone posts things they're grateful for on Facebook, and I actually want to read people's statuses!  We had a pretty crazy week at school, since it was a whole week again, and the kids were dying to get some candy on Halloween!  So, that was lots of fun!  I love my Kindergartners!  Even when they're being a "little" crazy!
Scott was sick for a couple of days, so he got to stay home with the kids.  Work is still going well for him, and his boss says he wants to keep him for sure through December, and maybe hire him!  Very exciting!  It seems like a pretty good match, since he gets to do Insurance and speak Spanish!  I'm just hoping for him to get hired and get the cheap meat!  I hear it's 80 cents a pound at the factory!  That may not be true, but I still think it will be super cheap!
The kids had a blast for Halloween!  We got home in time to make a dessert and carve some pumpkins quick (we did it in an hour).  The bad news was that we were out of butter, so I used butter-flavored shortening (YUCK!!!).  I really need to make it to the grocery store more often!  We went to church and ate (2 of my Kindergartners came too, so I know they were safe) yummy food, then we had the Trunk-or-Treat.  It took a long time, so it was late when we headed to my mentor's house to Trick-or-treat.  We walked around some and saw a super scary place.  Poor Cecilia was scared for awhile!  Ben was ready to fight the scary monster!  He informed me that he was going to push his pressure points, hard!  We got the last of my mentor's candy and she got to see all of my kids (so that was super fun)!  We came home and took all the chocolate out.  We had a TON!  I brought it with me to work the next day and it was mostly gone by the end of the day!  Hurray!
Friday was my date with Ben.  We got him a new coat (for $32, he loves it), and a new pair of shoes (he's super picky about his shoes!  He only likes shoes that aren't firm and sturdy.).  He probably tried on over 15 shoes.  It worked out well though, because I bought him some and Kira some for under $25!  Then we went to Wal-mart and got a ton of awesome clearance fabrics.  They had the PUL fabric for making cloth diapers on clearance!  Woohoo!  I also got some fabric to make Leah a blanket.  Then we went to Arby's for dinner.  Ben got the same size meal as me and ate almost all of it!  Wow!  He was wishing he had just got a Kids' meal by the time he was done.  Poor kiddo!
Yesterday we slept in, well, I did!  Every once in awhile Scott spoils me.  He's so sweet!  I got some great deals from Walgreen's!  I got a lot of Christmas presents for only $63!  I also got free shipping, because I hit the back button and so they gave me half off of everything plus free shipping!  Fantastic!  I made a tie for Ben, and I really hope he likes it!  Then I got a lot of cleaning done!  We haven't had the Missionaries over all week, so our house was a mess!  I felt much better about our house once I got it cleaned!
Today I woke up right before my alarm went off and Cecilia and I went to see the beautiful sunrise!  I took a picture, because it was awesome!  I love how clear my view is out my front door!  I felt sick this morning, but it cleared up fast, so I was able to help the kids get ready and take a nice cold shower (I really need to take my shower before everyone's bath)!  Then the kids did pretty well at church.  Kira and Leah buried their testimonies (guess what our FHE will be about?) in Sacrament meeting and I heard Emma bear her testimony in Primary from the Nursery (where I helped out today).  We came home, and ate lunch after our visit with our Home Teachers.  Scott went home teaching and ended up going to the Funeral instead.  I was able to take a nap with Cecilia and Josh!  Hurray!  Kira made dinner, and she did a great job!
Grateful Things for last week and this week:
1- The kids did pretty well with only eating a little candy!
2- The house is cleaner!
3- I got to hang out in Nursery-which Cecilia loved!
4- It's my Mom's birthday and she's Fantastic!
5- I should be getting a huge amount of books (most free from using Scholastic bonus points)
6- I have 6 amazing kids!
7- Achievement Day Girls are so fun and love crafting!
8- I'm able to do most of my planning on Friday after school with Emma playing educational games on the laptop.
9- The weather here is pretty fantastic (although I could do without the constant winds when I'm biking)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post on Slayers 2: Friends and Traitors by CJ Hill

This is one of the stops on the Slayers 2 Blog Tour with Fire and Ice as the host!  So, if you want to see what others thought, go there to check out the schedule!

Book Summary: In C.J. Hill's action-packed sequel to Slayers, the group of teens known as Slayers have been betrayed—but they won’t give up without a fight.

Tori’s got a problem. She thought she’d have one more summer to train as a dragon Slayer, but time has run out. When Tori hears the horrifying sound of dragon eggs hatching, she knows the Slayers are in trouble. In less than a year, the dragons will be fully grown and completely lethal. The Slayers are well-prepared, but their group is still not complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker—the mysterious missing Slayer.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers. She isn’t just a Slayer, she’s part Dragon Lord, too. How can Tori fight to save her friends when half of her is programmed to protect dragons? And with a possible traitor in their midst, the Slayers will be divided in more ways than they ever imagined.

My Thoughts

I was DYING to read this book, because Slayers was fantastic!  It didn't hurt that CJ Hill (her pen name) is one of my favorite authors!  My son and I were both thrilled when it came in the mail!  He got to read it first, since I have a lot more to do than he does, but I still was able to get it pretty fast!  He read it in a few hours and kept trying to tell me about it!  He is bad about spoilers!  So, I won't be!  I LOVE the Tori, Jesse, and Dirk characters deepening (to where you really feel like you know them, their conflicts, what they love, what they don't love, and who they are).  It was amazing seeing things from their eyes!  Once again, I can't wait for the third (and final) book in the series!  It is fantastic how CJ Hill manages to turn what you think is one book into a whole series!  I desperately hope that there will be a movie made of the Slayers series!

About the Author

About the AuthorCJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother's pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children's books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.
(Most writers' first novels aren't publishable. CJ Junior's first novel wasn't, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.)
CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes

Now for the guest post from CJ Hill!

The Slayers: Who they were and who they’re becoming
One of the challenges of writing a trilogy is that the characters need to grow, not just in one book, but in three. Tori’s growth has probably been the easiest. She didn’t know at an early age, like the other characters, that she was destined to be a Slayer. She saw herself as a socialite—a senator’s daughter who would do her best to represent her father and help him with his campaigning. Things she could do in high heels and designer dresses.
Becoming a superhero puts a big wrench into those plans. In Slayers, she has to put aside her plans, her time, her entire life really, for the good of the country. Despite how comic books portray their heroes, this would be a hard decision for most of us. Who wants a dangerous, unpaid job that would most likely lead to a swift death between the teeth of a dragon?
In Slayers: Friends and Traitors, Tori is committed to being a Slayer, but that doesn’t mean she believes she has to keep all of Dr. B’s rules—like that whole no-romance-between-Slayers rule. She also doesn’t want to be a captain.  She doesn’t want to make the battle decisions that will save some Slayers and sacrifice others. Personally, I wouldn’t want that job either. (When you come right down to it, I would make a lousy heroine.) Unfortunately for Tori, she’s stuck with the job of captain. It puts pressure on her and makes her grow.
Jesse has his own obstacles to overcome. In Slayers, he had to overcome his initial mistrust and dislike of Tori—which he accomplished so well that in the beginning of Slayers: Friends and Traitors he realizes that his feelings for Tori are a liability. It’s hard for him to stay focused on killing dragons when he’s more worried about protecting her. He struggles between wanting to do his duty to the nation and wanting to have a relationship with Tori.
And then there’s Dirk. I don’t want to give any spoilers away to those who haven’t read the first book, but let’s just say Dirk has a lot of internal conflict. His duty to his family puts him at odds with his loyalty to his friends. He struggles to do right by both groups. It’s a struggle that lasts throughout the trilogy. Since the first book took place exclusively at camp, the reader didn’t get to meet Dirk’s family. In Slayers; Friends and Traitors, the reader—and Tori—get a better look at them. I hope readers will understand better why Dirk is so conflicted.
In literature, it’s not the clear cut choices that are the most interesting. It’s those murky choices where there is no right answer. All of my characters must make decisions where there’s no way to untangle what they want, what is right, and what will hurt people they care about. It’s sort of like life sometimes. I guess that’s why we like reading.

You can buy this Slayers book, but if you haven't read the first one, you definitely need to buy that one first!

*Disclosure:  I was sent this book as a review, and was not paid for my thoughts!*

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scott got a job!

To add to the fun that is the week before Parent Teacher Conferences-Scott got a job!  So, I had to scramble to find a babysitter in this land of strangers.  We found someone and interviewed her on Thursday (on my lunch).  So long as everything goes well, she will continue being the babysitter for five weeks.  That's how long his job is.  I'm hoping this gives him the opportunity to make money and up his self-esteem, along with the kids not being home to mess it up so much (so maybe I'll get more sleep, hey!  I can hope).  I was up until three this morning putting in scores for report cards.  By the end, I was looking at everything crazy, so I was glad to be done!
We're still looking for a house and still nothing in our price and size range (we need at least four bedrooms)!  There's one that's above our price range, so I'm watching to see if they're willing to go down at all.  I check at least once a week, because I know Heavenly Father will help us find a house that will fit all of us in a safe place here!
We didn't do anything super cool.  Mainly because my kiddos have gone Hash-baz and destruction has happened.  Someone cracked the screen of my Kindle (which thankfully still works).  Josh pulled the tv on top of his head and completely broke the tv and HDMI cable (he's fine, the tv weighs less than he does).  Cecilia put vaporub all over our bathroom counter, using Scott's comb.  She also poured paint all over Kira's dresser, the windowsill and the wall.  Cecilia and Leah together poured baby lotion all over my floor and on the foot of my bed.  Leah lost a baby turtle in her room, so I painstakingly searched it for about two hours (I found three loads of dirty clothes under my girls' beds) and she's okay!  Poor turtle!  Then the next day Cecilia took the other turtle out and put him under our bed.  Kira found him without a problem.  So, we've been busy doing less fun things.  Like laundry and dishes and scrubbing walls, and cleaning kids' rooms.  Next weekend is going to be fun though!  We're going to Garden City!  I've got a RS activity and Scott is going to take the kids to the zoo there!  Fun times!
I'm hoping all goes well this next five weeks!  For all of us!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I am down a size!

I can now wear size 16!  Woohoo!  I've been biking to and from work most days and I started the six week workouts last week.  Sadly, I only did two of the three.  But, I knew going in that it wasn't going to be easy to workout before biking to school!  I still need to get the supplies I need for the workouts!
My kiddos aren't feeling great, but aren't sick!  Phew!  They watched all of conference for the very first time!  I thought they did awesome!  I love my kids!  Which is good considering how often I have to clean up after them!


Picture catch up, woohoo!
All of my family at the Parade for Homecoming.
 Josh was completely confused.  This is it?
 He likes trucks though!
 Riding the "train" at the OzFest.  Very ingeniously made!  It's hand carts with open barrels on top.  Inside the barrel is a little wooden seat.  My kiddos loved it!  They finished their free snow cone son their ride!
 Then we went in the "Land of Oz"

 This was right after Emma was feeling the hand of what she thought was a mannequin (the Tin Man).  He wasn't.  She was surprised.  I just laughed!

 There's no place like home!
 Check out this cool dress!  Kira totally wants me to make her one!
 Ben LOVES the arrowheads!  I see a collection starting!
 In Dorothy's house, made to look like her house in the movie.
 It even includes Toto's wagon bed.
 My kiddos that love sucking their fingers.  We're working on it.
 Ben sifting flour.  "This is loud!"
 Josh never minds "cheese!"
 The egg hatchery.
 One happy lil' man on the swing!
Cecilia had so much fun pushing him!  They were both giggling and it was super sweet!  Ben had pushed Cecilia on the regular swing and she came over to push Josh when she was done!