Friend Friday- Do You Have Spring Fever?

Yesterday, it was cold enough to have snow flurries where I live, although I’m thankful the snow didn’t collect. Today it’s going to be in the 60’s. Isn’t that a crazy turn-around? I have Spring Fever! I’m opening the windows whenever I can, even if it means I have to wear a sweater. 
I’m indoors today working on some writing projects, but I’m hoping someone out there is enjoying the spring weather. I’m also thinking of all of the people in the states affected by tornadoes this week. What a tragedy! My prayers go out to all of those who have lost homes and loved ones. 
For Friend Friday, this week, I can’t wait to see your spring projects and recent blog posts. Link up below and share your blog or website with us. You never know! I might feature your blog or your project on a Transformation Tuesday in the future.

Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Book Review -Delivered With Love

I just finished reading Delivered With Love by Sherry Kyle. I won the book in a drawing and the Kindle version was a freebie last week (now it’s back to full price). I really wanted to love this book and give the author some free publicity. The author is so sweet and she had a fun little facebook chat last night about the book. But I had a lot of problems with the book that made it impossible for me to rank it as highly as I wanted to.

What I liked: The story is cute. I started out really liking the book and not wanting to put it down because the premise held some mystery. I connected with the heartache of the main character over losing her mother and having no where to go next. It’s contemporary and addresses relevant issues for today.

What I didn’t like: The story has too many coincidences to be believable. At the beginning, main character, Claire has just lost her mother and she’s trying to figure out what to do with her life. She’s spent the last year or two wrapped up in caregiving when others her age might have been in college. She discovers an old love letter in the glove box of her mom’s Volkswagen and begins to obsess about it. For some reason, she just has to know who it came from.

Fast forward do the one-year anniversary of her mom’s death and Claire loses her job because she’s too dreamy, apparently because of the letter. Don’t worry, I’m not giving away any spoilers. This is all in the first couple of chapters.

Claire’s tired of living with her sister and her alcoholic brother-in-law, so she decides to leave L.A. and venture north to Capitola, California in search of the writer of this love letter from 35 years ago. On the way, she has one coincidental encounter after another. Now, she chalks it all up to God’s providence, but few readers are going to find it believable. So many people from her past, just happen to have connections with people in the very same place she’s headed.

Delivered With LoveI thought the dialogue was stiff in places and just too mundane to really engage me. I didn’t feel like I connected with any of the characters, except maybe the grandmother, Geraldine. She was spunky for her age. And I really liked Claire at first, until she made a string of immature decisions. Seemed like she’d bring that letter out in some of the most awkward situations to try to get answers. The way the gospel is presented in the book isn’t as compelling as it ought to be. Claire, abruptly realized her need to “ask Jesus into her heart”, and it was a little cliche in how it happened.

I also had a difficult time with how trusting Claire was. Along the way, she encountered several very kind people, but she seemed to develop instant attachments with strangers. She accepted the offer to stay in an RV with a couple she accidentally rear-ended with her VW. And then she went home with a tow truck man when her car couldn’t be fixed late at night. The fact that he had a wife, didn’t lesson my concern over her trust. Claire bonded too quickly with a single male neighbor and there was just too much flirty innuendo for my taste.He was a nice Christian guy, but I didn’t need some of Claire’s comments that bordered on lust. And then, she referred to one young woman as a “good friend” when she’d only met her once for a few hours at a campground. 

Wow! It’s so tough being so negative, but like I said, I really wanted to love this author’s debut novel. It’s so rare that I have this many objections to a book.

Basket Makeover- What Would You Have Done?

I have a lot of baskets, but I don’t always make good use of them. I received a wooden basket as a gift some time ago, but I thought it was time to spruce it up a little. I found it in my stash when I was looking for something to keep magazines in on my coffee table.

 I’m about to show you what I did with it, since I missed Transformation Tuesday yesterday, but since today is WWYD Wednesday, I thought I’d ask what you might have done with it if it was yours. Leave your ideas in the comments section below. Who knows, I might get tired of this version and try yours someday.

I decided to try weaving torn strips of quilting scraps in and out of the slots.

I wove every other strip the opposite way and then tied them at the top. If the strips weren’t long enough, I added another piece with a simple knot where it wouldn’t show on the inside of the basket.

 I think it looks nice on my coffee table.



Trash to Treasure Decorating
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You Can Love Food and Still Live Well

Can you love food and still lose weight and keep it off? In Love Food and Live Well, author Chantel Hobbs says you can, but she defines “love” in a different way than most overeaters would. She teaches that attitudes about food are crucial to getting past unhealthy cravings and binging.
The principles in this book aren’t new. Hobbs advocates eating less and exercising more. She also talks about the 80/20 principle, a concept that’s been around for a while in the Love Food and Live Well: Lose Weight, Get Fit, and Taste Life at Its Very Bestdieting world. You eat foods that give maximum fuel to the body 80 percent of the time and splurge 20 percent of the time on things that aren’t as healthy. Some other authors advocate a 90/10 principle which is similar.

The book includes a few recipes and a section of exercises with photos of each exercise in the back. These use a balance ball. She also talks about interval training and has a chart showing the amount of exertion one ought to feel at each level.

The unique thing about Hobbs’ book is that she brings a faith component into the process of losing weight. She talks about how God has played a role in her own success. She says those who want to make a change can’t manage it the old way.  “You need the guarantee of knowing that surrendering to the living God your life, your own strength, and your ability to change is a daily occurrence. You have to lay down your desires whenever they get in the way of what God wants to do in your life” (p. 57).

She talks a lot about “the deal” that God offers. And because of that deal “you can be free to love food and live well for a lifetime” (p. 57). I’m not sure it’s quite as simple as Hobbs says it is, but I’m willing to give it a shot and see how her plan works out for me. What made it click for her, isn’t necessarily what will make it click for everyone, but people who have tried weight loss without the faith element ought to read this book.

I love Hobbs’ writing style. She’s conversational and easy to read. Her own story is very inspirational. Anyone who has lost 200 pounds and kept if off knows what it’s really like. I’d pick up a book from someone like Chantel who has been there any day before someone who has never shared my battle.

I give the book 3.5 stars. I’d rate it higher if it said something that was brand new. But those looking for new ideas will be disappointed.

I received this book from WaterBrook Press as part of the “I Blog for Books” program in exchange for my honest review. See my page about blogging for books.

Good Friday- It Isn’t An Item on a Checklist

I’ve been going crazy for the past week with trying to get things done for this weekend. We’ll travel a little, gather a few different times for celebrations, and attend 3 different church services. But when Monday arrives, I hope when I look back, I won’t discover that I have treated Easter as just another item on my checklist. 

I’ve been so busy prepping music for the services and making food for the celebrations that I haven’t stopped to see those church services as anything but another item. So right now, I’ve taken a few minutes to remind myself of the meaning of this weekend. How do you feel about it in your heart right now?

Driving home after the rain- Easter weekend 2010

I recall an Easter some years ago when I wasn’t excited about attending the Good Friday service. I was in a mood, and I didn’t particularly care to hear the guest preacher who would be doing the service. My husband took the boys and went without me. But I knew I couldn’t let the day pass without dealing with my heart issues.

After the family left, I got out a CD collection of songs about the passion of Christ and opened my Bible. I listened to the songs and read the account of the crucifixion in all 4 gospels. 

It turned out to the the most meaningful Good Friday ever for me. That time alone was just what I needed to get my heart and my mind in the right place.

If you’re struggling with your attitude about this weekend, you might consider having some personal worship time where you let the story of Jesus’ sacrifice sink in. Music is a great tool too, and there are tons of songs available for listening on the internet, if you don’t have CD’s. Reading the story straight from scripture, you might just discover something you hadn’t noticed. This morning, I read something I had forgotten about. When Jesus died and curtain tore in two, many tombs were opened and people came back to life. Cool!

Sometimes, the traditional church service isn’t what we need…it might just be some time alone with God. This year, I’ll attend church with the family, but I don’t want to see it as one more think to cross off my list.

Friend Friday- Happy Easter

It’s Friend Friday and I’m wondering what you’re doing for Easter. Do you make seasonal projects, put up decorations or bake up a storm in the kitchen? I made a lot of bread, rolls and tea ring today for our Easter dinner.
A family tradition
Today, we’ll attend Good Friday services and then on Sunday we’ll have the sunrise service, a breakfast and another service. I don’t really put out Easter decorations…no time I guess. My kids still love hunting for eggs and baskets at Grandpa’s farm even though they are in high school. Their dad usually hides their baskets up in trees or places that take some time to find.
So, link up to your blog and tell us what you did this week, seasonal or unseasonal. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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Reclaiming Your Computer Time

For today’s practical, everyday idea, I’d like to tell you about some free software I’ve been trying out for the past few weeks. If you have trouble managing your online time, you might be interested in this software. It’s also great for helping kids manage their productivity while using the internet.

Rescue Time is free time management software that shows you how you spend your time & provides tools to help you be more productive. I found it when I decided to search for something that would alert me, like a boss, when I spend too much time on something non-productive.

Since I work from home, I don’t have a boss. And I need one!

So far, I love it and it’s customizable for your activity. This isn’t a compensated review in any way. I’m just sure there is someone else out there who shares my struggle with managing internet time and might find this helpful. Here are some things I really like about it:

  • I get to choose which activities and which websites I consider productive when I set it up. 
  • It helps me choose activities such as social networking, shopping and uncategorized time and mark them as time wasters.
  • I can set the program to alert me if I’ve reached my limit on time wasters (I specify the amount of time I want the limit to be).
  • I can pause the program for lunch or pause it for the rest of the day if I want to.
  • I can see at a glance how much time I’ve spent on work and which programs and websites I spent the most of my time on.
  • I can set goals. 
  • I can see how I compare in productivity to the average person.
  • I get an efficiency score for the day and for the week and I can see how I can improve.
  • I can export the weekly report to a spreadsheet.
  •  Whenever I stop typing for a while, the program asks me what I’ve been doing and I can log phone calls, reading, research, etc. that is done off computer.
  • Once it’s set up, it uses very little of my time.

This could be a great tool for home school families or for parents wanting to monitor how much time their kids spend on social networks or gaming. By setting an alert to 60 minutes, the program would pop up an alert if that time limit is reached.

It could also be configured to be used as a means of staying on task with a project. If the student walks away, the program will ask what you’ve been doing with your time.

So far, I’ve been very happy with the free version, although there are paid upgrades available and other plans. Those upgrades include many fabulous features, but that’s something I’ll save for a future possibility.

Get your free Rescue Time download. It’s a secure connection and although it monitors my internet activity, it does not collect password info or keystroke info.


Transformation Tuesday- Ikea Makeover

I’ve been trying to be very disciplined about several big writing projects, so I’ve not been able to do any of my own transformations to show you. However, my fellow bloggers never let me down with ideas. 

Check out this fabulous re-do of Ikea furniture from Stephanie, blog owner of My Crafty Days. Stephanie did a great job and you’ll want to check out the full post on her website to get the step by step of her decision to paint her furniture. Here’s her before and after.

 Now, I know some of you will find nothing wrong with the before picture, but I understand how it is when you just get tired of something.

I love how the lighter color of the cabinet shows off the colored pans she has inside now. And the black table is downright classy. With the wood floor, the painted furniture gives the room a more upscale look that is less country.
Don’t be afraid of paint! Thanks for proving it to us Stephanie.

Trash to Treasure Decorating
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