Friday, February 26, 2010

Winners of Rainbow Brite CDs

The winners of the Rainbow Brite CDs have been drawn.  The winners are....

Lezanac from 4 Kids Review Mom and Dad2, Lady V dZine, Lilyk, Heavenly Savings, and Jessica.

Congratulations to the winners!  Stay tuned for more great giveaways here on Real Heart Prints.

Friday Funnies- Bazinga!

One of Dan's favorite shows is The Big Bang Theory, so much so, that now he's gotten me into it.  The last one we watched was hilarious.  Sheldon was stuck on a scientific formula, and he couldn't sleep or work or anything until he figured out the answer.  This is the scene from the ball pit.  His "Bazinga!" just cracks me up!  Laugh it up!  (I hope you don't mind the tiny commercial in the beginning of the video....this was the only video I could embed.)

For more Friday Funnies, visit Kim at Homesteaders Heart.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipe Box: Miss Esther's Banana Bread

One of my Grandma Atkins' best friends and neighbors was Miss Esther.  Miss Esther lived just down a gravel road, not far from my grandma's house; she lived with her brother on their farm.  She sold eggs, and she weaved beautiful rugs.  My grandma used to take me with her to buy eggs, and we'd look through her rugs sometimes, oohing and aahing.  Miss Esther was a schoolteacher at one time; she taught in a one room schoolhouse, and she also wrote the local "gossip" column for the Bado community, the who was where and what they were doing column.  Our names were in that column several times....she would call Grandma to see who had come to visit that week, etc.  Times were definitely different back then; I miss them so much.  Anyway, this is one of Miss Esther's recipes, and wow, is it ever delicious.  The loaf even turned out perfectly in shape, color, and form.  It has become my new banana bread recipe.  Enjoy!

Miss Esther's Banana Bread

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 bananas
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Nuts (Optional; I left these out)

Mix shortening and sugar together; add eggs.  Mash up bananas, and add them.  Mix dry ingredients together; then add to mixture.  Grease a bread pan; this made one big loaf for us.  Scrape batter into bread pan; batter will be slightly thick.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes; it took our loaf an hour or more to get done in the middle.  

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winner of FamilyTime DotMine Planner

I just drew the winner for the Family Time DotMine Planner, and the winner is....

Georgia Mist from Gathering My Roses.

Congratulations!  Thank you to all who entered this giveaway.  Be sure to enter my other giveaway going on right now for Rainbow Brite CDs.  Five winners will be chosen this Friday.  Stay tuned for more great giveaways here on Real Heart Prints.

SYLW: Ozarks Honor Flight

World War II has always been an era that has been close to my heart....I just feel so passionately about it and want to learn everything I can about that time in history.  There are so many heroes, so many men and women who served our country both here at home and overseas, some giving the ultimate sacrifice.  Having an uncle who served as a tail-gunner in a bomber plane and another uncle who heroically served as a medic, crossing the Mosell and Saar Rivers under fire, in order to save lives, I long to tell their story and hear other stories, so that those same stories can be passed down from generation to generation.  

That's one reason I'm really excited about this next organization, Ozarks Honor Flight.  Ozarks Honor Flight is a regional part of the national organization, Honor Flight Network.
Ozarks Honor Flight was started in 2009, as a non-profit organization in Springfield, MO.  Their goal is to transport our veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials.  Since the World War II memorial was just founded in 2004, many of these veterans have not had a chance to travel, in their lifetime, to see their own memorial.  Right now, Ozarks Honor Flight is focusing on veterans from World War II, since it is estimated that 1,000 of our WWII veterans are dying every single day.   This trip is a one day trip at no cost to the veterans.  Many of them want to go see the memorial for themselves or even for the sake of fallen comrades, to honor their memory and their ultimate gift to our country.  Later on, Ozarks Honor Flight will begin to transport veterans from the Korean War and Vietnam.

You can help these veterans to make this trip either by donation or by volunteering.  If you volunteer, you might help to send off these veterans in the morning or welcome them back home with much celebration.  You might help out in the office taking phone calls or prepping things to mail.  You might even help by contacting these veterans and helping them to make the necessary arrangements.  If you are interested in volunteering, you can contact the Volunteer Coordinator,

Either way, our veterans deserve the utmost respect, admiration, and honor for the ways in which they have served.  If you'd like to find out if there's an Honor Flight Network near you, check out the Honor Flight Network website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winner of Win & Give Giveaway

We have a winner for the fruit snacks and $25 donation to One Laptop Per Child giveaway.  The winner is....

Congratulations, Karen.  Thank you to all who entered.  Be sure to enter my other giveaways going on right now, and have a wonderful day!

Time Out Tuesdays: Link Up Your Giveaways

It's time for a homeschooling edition of Time Out Tuesdays.  I hope this finds you well and having a wonderful day.  I am so tired that I think I could sleep for hours, but I'm up and at 'em.  Don't forget to link up your giveaways below.:)

Mom, Reinvented has a great post on Learning Through Living.

If your children are studying about nature or birds, then they might be interested in The Great Backyard Bird Count

Heart of the Matter is a wonderful homeschool blog with tons of great articles and resources, including a recent article on School Organization for Everyday.  They even have a forum that you can chat it up in and connect with other homeschool moms and dads.

Meet Me at the Corner is a site filled with virtual field trips for kids; it helps to bring lessons alive for them.

When I was a little girl, my mom used to get paper dolls for me to play with; they were so much fun.  You can find free historic paper dolls for your little ones on Paper Dali.  That's not all, though.  Check out these sites for more paper dolls: Marilee's Paper Dolls Page, Paper Dolls!, and Be My Paper Doll Valentine (my personal favorite, as you can find paper dolls for Strawberry Shortcake and others).

I also found the motherload of free unit studies over at Homeschool Share; you can even submit yours.  How cool is that?

Lastly, if you're researching curriculum, Curriculum Choice might be a good place for you to find reviews written by real homeschoolers.  They also have a couple of great articles on Socialization and Homeschooling Without Feeling Overwhelmed.

Ok, now it's your turn to sign Mr. Linky with all of your wonderful giveaways/contests.  Have a wonderful week!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Daybook for Monday, February 22, 2010

FOR TODAY... from Mel's Daybook

Outside my's quite cold after the warmth of this weekend.

I am thinking...that I don't feel very good this morning, but I'm just hoping to get through the day with all of the things that need done and having to go, go, go with Jacob.

I am thankful for... these early morning hours where I can get a few things accomplished before my boys are up.

I am wearing...jammies and robe, of course, and trying to stay warm.:)

I am remembering...the Disney movies we watched this weekend with our boys.  We're trying to introduce them to the older movies Disney made.  This weekend, we watched The Sword in the Stone and started The Happiest Millionaire; we had no idea that movie was so long.:)LOL  We got about an hour and a half into it, and we're at the Intermission right now, since it was bedtime last night.  I just love Fred MacMurray.

I am going... hopefully, to take Jacob to Tae Kwon Do later on, as well as hit the library and a couple other places while out, get some errands out of the way.

I am currently reading...Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half: Why Differences Make a Marriage Great, for a Titletrakk review.

I am hoping... to get my assignment done and mailed off this week.

On my mind... so much that I can't just pick one thing at the moment.

Noticing that...Dan played a lot of Monopoly with Jacob this weekend; they had so much fun.  Jacob needed that Daddy time, and help us all, Dan's teaching Jacob how to play Monopoly like a prize fighter. 

Pondering these words... a powerful quote by C.S. Lewis on love; it's in the book I'm reading....I'll share parts of it here: But, of course, ceasing to be "in love" need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense - love as distinct from "being in love" - is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  "Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

From the kitchen... tonight will be either leftover spaghetti or grilled cheese and soup.

Around the house... have to clean today and catch up on laundry.  Fun times.:)

One of my favorite things~ watching old movies with my boys.

From my picture journal...

For more Daybook, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Motivate Me Monday- Setback or Advantage

I posted a status on Facebook last week that basically said that sometimes in homeschooling, we have to take a step back and reevaluate, because who cares about a schedule, if learning isn't taking place.  There's a story behind that status, as there usually is.:)

In our homeschooling adventure, I've caught myself more times than not, wanting to follow a rigorous schedule, not listening to my gut that tells me we need to slow down.  We started a bit late in our history curriculum, so I had it all planned out that we would do so much a week and get "caught up."  Not that we're really behind, because with this particular course, it really doesn't matter when you start, which is nice.  To me, though, it mattered.  Yesterday, though, God really softened my heart and gave me another homeschooling epiphane, and I actually listened this time....I'm so glad I did.  Jacob's struggled in history just a bit lately; he did so good last year, when we took our time, and he just enjoyed every bit of it.  We've been rushing through, though, for about the last 2 months.  He had a sort of breakdown yesterday, after he couldn't remember many things from the last chapter that we had covered.  

It came to me then that, "Melissa, you have got to slow this train down....this boy isn't learning the material; he needs more time, more projects to help him learn, more library books to go along with the course, etc.  It's time to take a step back."  I looked at Jacob, as he sat there crying in frustration, and I told him, "Jacob, it's ok; it's not your fault.  Are we going too fast through the material for you?"  That sparked a small conversation, and the light came back into Jacob's eyes at that moment; the tears stopped flowing; and a bit of mother-son bonding took place, as he realized that it was going to be ok, that I wanted to know his thoughts.  I can't explain the joy that brought to my heart and the peace.  

I tell you my little story because I think sometimes with our kids, we rush around, trying to get this done and that done, especially in homeschooling.  All the while, they're standing there, as if they're in a crowded train station, watching the people and the trains go rushing by.  They're not really learning, and they're not really getting that quality time that they so badly need.  In this case, it's definitely quality and not quantity that matters.  It's taking time, as a parent, to realize that much learning may not take place, unless we let go of our own desires and give those desires over to God, letting Him take control of the situation, letting Him control how much we get done that day.  Even if our children learn one more tidbit of history or math or science than before....if they learned something of value in that time spent, it was well worth it.  

So, my desire today is to encourage you to not worry so much about the little things....concern yourself more with the bigger picture.  Is learning taking place?  Is bonding with your child taking place?  Does your child still have that spark and fuel to keep learning?  If not, it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate....

For more Motivate Me Monday, visit Sarah at The Fifth Street Palace

TOS Crew: Homeschool Library Builder

Homeschool Library Builder is an online bookstore run by two homeschool families.  
They stock new and used books in many different categories, and their purpose is more than just providing access to educational, enriching books. In addition to books recommended by highly-respected and widely used homeschool curriculums, we offer titles specifically chosen to supplement unit studies, promote sound moral character, and provide knowledge of truths for curious youngsters. We want to help you build your own excellent library and create memorable reading experiences for your family!  Here are just a few of the categories they offer for your browsing selection:
  • Activity Books/Crafts
  • African American Culture and History
  • Anthologies/Storybooks
  • Biographies
  • Christian Fiction
  • Classics/Literature
  • Curriculum/Teacher Helps
  • Fiction
  • Hard-to-Find/Collectibles
  • Native Americans
  • Picture Books
  • Poetry/Art/Music
  • Readers
  • Reference
....and many more.  They offer much more than affordable books, though.  

The homeschool moms behind Homeschool Library Builder seek to reach out to their online community by offering free advertising, for HSLB members, in their newsletter or on their website.  If you have a handmade, "homegrown" product, then this could be of great value.  They also have a page filled with online resources/links for homeschooling.  You can check out their Helping Hand program, as well.  This category of books raises money for great causes, such as the earthquake in Haiti or Operation Christmas Child, among others; for the month of February, the focus is on Haiti.  By purchasing books from this category, all of the proceeds go to a specific cause, and often, HSLB will match the amount raised. 

For customers/members (it's free to become a member), and you can earn book points for dollars purchased in books.  Your points won't expire either.  They also offer you a 30-day guarantee that, if for some reason, you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can simply return the books, and you will be refunded your money.  For the month of February, HSLB is offering you 20% off all month long, no coupon necessary.  You can find HSLB on Facebook.  You can also read more reviews on the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

(I received no compensation/product in exchange for this review.  This review was done for the purposes of the TOS Homeschool Crew.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

TOS Crew: Math Mammoth

We have certainly been blessed in supplementing our math curriculum this year through the Crew, and this next program that we were allowed to try is something I'm excited to write about.  Maria Miller sent us part of her Math Mammoth series.
Maria used to teach math, but has since turned her skills to staying home with her children and homeschooling, as well as writing math curriculum and books.With a master's degree in mathematics (with teacher educational studies), as well as minors in physics and statistics, Maria is an expert in the field of mathematics, and she really enjoys being able to help homeschooling families get the most learning out of math, as it's sometimes a subject that these families struggle with.  Math Mammoth is aimed at helping the student not just memorize a set of rules but to help him to understand why he is doing what he is doing in math.
We received the Math Mammoth Light Blue Series, Grade 1-A and 1-B, along with a few supplemental materials.  This curriculum is a complete curriculum with worktexts, answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, and a worksheet maker.  If you buy this program as the downloadable form, you also get the Soft-Pak, which contains activities for math, language arts, and testing.  Here is what the Light Blue Series aims to teach your child:
  • Addition Within 0-10
  • Subtraction Within 0-10
  • Addition and Subtraction Facts
  • Place Value Within 0-100
  • Clock
  • Shapes and Measuring
  • Adding and Subtracting Within 0-100
  • Coins
Each chapter starts out with an Introduction for the teacher to look over; it contains explanations for the teacher, to help her/him in teaching the student the particular topics covered in that chapter.  I love that there is no separate teacher's book that you have to buy with this program; teacher's books can be such an outrageous amount of money when it comes to homeschooling, but with this program, the teacher helps are included in the worktext by way of the Introductions and also little blue boxes throughout the texts.  If your student is more independent, he can read the little blue boxes on his own.  With each chapter also come games and internet resources.  These internet resources include links to free online games that will help further your child's understanding and mastery of the concepts learned.  Maria breaks up each chapter, as well, by pages for the lessons, so that you can easily figure out how much you need to do in a day or week.  

The worktexts include colorful pictures for visual illustrations, helping the child to grasp concepts without a ton of manipulatives needed.  I also am thrilled about this part  because manipulatives can cost the homeschooling parent.  The basic manipulatives you might need for this 1st grade program are an abacus, an alarm clock, and a ruler.  The text also includes word problems; this text is somewhat like the program we're using right now, in that it focuses on the mental aspect of math, helping the child to understand why he's doing what he's doing.  Maria believes that math should be enjoyable and understandable, not so redundant, as it is in a lot of math programs today with pages and pages of review.  There is review involved in this curriculum, but there is also freedom to move on, once you feel your child has really learned the material.   

Math Mammoth can be used as a sole curriculum or as a supplement, which is how we are using it, since we already had a math program in place.  I love the freedom that comes with this curriculum, meaning that if the child grasps a concept, we can go to the next thing; if he needs more time, then we have the resources we need to keep trudging through.  The worksheets and even the worktexts provide great review for Jacob's addition and subtraction facts.  It's also something that we can turn to, if he isn't "getting" a particular concept, to see if the explanations and visual illustrations in this curriculum will help the light bulb to come on.  

You can purchase the full downloadable first grade curriculum from Math Mammoth for $29.70, or you can buy each worktext individually for $15.50, with supportive materials priced at $14.  Printed versions are available, as well.  This is completely affordable, in my opinion, as it can be used over and over for multiple students.  I highly recommend Math Mammoth.

To read more reviews, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

(I was provided the 1A & 1B curriclum, free of charge, by Math Mammoth, in association with the TOS Homeschool Crew.) 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Funnies- Up

We recently watched the movie, Up, with our kids.  If you haven't seen this movie, you are missing out!:)  It is soooooo good!  I laughed and laughed, and even though it has a bit of sadness too, in the beginning, it was such a great movie.  

I was so not expecting Alpha's voice to be like a chipmunk....LOL.  Oh, and I love how they make it so true to life with the dogs pausing mid-conversation if they see a squirrel...."Squirrel!"  LOL  Anyway, here's a scene from the movie.  Laugh it up, and enjoy!:)

For more Friday Funnies, visit Kim at Homesteader's Heart.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recipe Box: Sour Cream Chocolate Layer Cake

There's a funny story behind this cake; as a somewhat experienced baker, you'd think I'd know better....but I guess not.:)  As I was making the cake, I noticed that my grandma had baking powder written in the ingredients and baking soda in the I wasn't sure which one to choose.  Of course, I did the baking powder, and my cake turned out a pancake.  Well, that went immediately into the trash, and I started over....goodness.  You have no idea how hard it was for me to throw that cake, with all those ingredients, in that trash can....

Anyway, my second cake turned out delicious after I finally got it right.:)  It's actually from my great grandma's kitchen; in fact, my grandma has written down, "From Mother, Winnie Melton."  I'm so sentimental that I had to share that.  Enjoy this recipe; it's truly delicious!

Sour Cream Chocolate Layer Cake

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 squares unsweetwened chocolate, melted
1/4 cup hot water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In bowl stir together flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  Add sour cream, butter, and eggs.  Beat at low speed just 'til blended.  Then beat at medium speed 2 minutes.  Stir in chocolate, and add water; stir 2 more minutes.  Stir in vanilla, and pour into pan.  Now, my grandma used one long glass pan for a one-layer cake, but I used 2 round pans for a round, layer cake.  Make sure to grease pans well, and bake at 350 degrees.  When cool, frost with the following frosting.

This frosting comes from the 1969 Betty Crocker's Cookbook that belonged to my grandma, as well.  I doubled this recipe to make a bit more for my layers.

Cocoa Butter Frosting

1/3 cup soft butter or margarine
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
About 2 tbsp milk

Mix thoroughly butter and cocoa.  Blend in sugar.  Stir in vanilla and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.

Enjoy!  It's a decadent dessert that's filled with all kinds of chocolate happiness.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Relevant 2010

Ok, I know that I put up this big, long post about Blogher and attending that conference....but after serious consideration and prayer, I've decided on a change of plans; God has a way of changing our plans, doesn't He?  (I'd just like to say that the Blogher conference would be a tremendous blessing; this decision was just a personal decision for myself.)
My MamaBuzz partner, Melissa J., introduced me to the Relevant Conference, and as the day wore on, I just couldn't stop thinking about it.  I just had an incredible peace about I talked it over with my husband, and we both agreed that this conference would be better, for me, at this time, in more than one way....

For one thing, I wouldn't have near as many expenses, which is a huge factor right now with us trying to get out of debt and be able to get out to see his family....which brings me to my next point; it's in Harrisburg!  It's an hour away from my husband's family!  My main reasons are that it is a conference to not only encourage and help me learn ways to become a more intentional writer and blogger, but to become a more intentional wife and mom too, as a child of God.  

So, I will keep you updated and informed on the situation....I'm so excited and psyched about this opportunity!  I will need to find a sponsor/s, but if God is for it, who can be against it?:)  Exciting times!  Melissa J. plans to go, as well, so it will be a refreshing, educational time for both of us, as we seek to grow in our careers as full-time mommies and writers.  Love ya'all!:) 

Shine Your LIght Wed: The Voice of the Martyrs

Today's featured organization, The Voice of the Martyrs, has been around since 1967, when it was founded by Dr. Richard Wurmbrand, after being imprisoned in Communist Romania for 14 years, his wife being imprisoned for 3 years.  I can remember when I was younger....some of my teachers would read to us out of the Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which for me was hard to listen to, yet I wanted to hear about these great men and women who had died for their faith.  I wanted to hear their stories and the things they had to go through, dying to self, living to Christ.  I couldn't imagine, in my childish brain then, that things like that were going on still....yet today, all over the world, Christians are being persecuted for their faith.

The Voice of the Martyrs, or VOM, seeks to be a voice for these persecuted Christians.  They seek to help people in parts of the world where persecution is rampant by providing the necessary resources for these Christians to spread the Gospel, such as Bibles, literature, radio broadcasts, medical assistance, etc.  They help families whose loved ones have been martyred.  They help Christians in these countries to learn how to witness to the enemy, the one who is seeking to imprison them or persecute them.  They work in countries that have been Communist in the past.  They spread the word about these persecutions and the Christians who have been martyred, telling the story of that person's great faith in the midst of fiery trials.  They are there to encourage.  VOM's Mission Statement is simply this: Serving the persecuted church through practical and spiritual assistance while leading Christians in the free world into fellowship with them.  

There are many restricted nations, and you can actually see a map of these nations here.  When you go to the map, there are dots on every restricted nation, and you can actually click on that dot, and it will show you a detailed description of that nation, with links.  Some of the nations include Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria, Burma, Iraq, Malaysia, Algeria, etc.  You can view stories from these nations in the VOM Newsroom.  Just to make it more personal and real, I'll tell you a little bit about what has been going on in Nigeria, since January 17.  There have been over 100 Christians killed because of riots between Christian and Muslim parties.  Hundreds of Christians have been injured, as well.  There have been shootings, fires, etc.  These riots were started when Muslims attacked a Catholic church, and they have since attacked other churches.  Right now VOM has people working to provide necessary assistance and help to the victims and their families, including medical attention.

VOM has offices all over the world, including the United States, offices in Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, etc.  VOM has many areas in which you can serve, volunteer, inform others, etc.  Here are some of those ways:
  • You can share stories and news of persecuted Christians with your children or children in your church by way of VOM's Kids of Courage.  This site has activites, videos, and even a newsletter that you can sign your child up for.
  • Bibles Unbound is another ministry of VOM.  You can send New Testaments to nations where Christians cannot obtain a Bible.  It's easy for us to take this simple freedom for granted, but in nations where they can't even go find a Bible in their local store, it's a freedom they crave and desire.
  • You can be involved in sending Action Packs to needy families served by VOM.
  • If you're a prayer warrior, you can sign up with VOM to receive specific prayer requests in your email.
  • Be-A-Voice Network will help to prepare you to share the info you learn through VOM with your fellow Christians here at home and in your community.
  • If you're interested in short-term or other volunteer opportunities with VOM, then you can check those out here.
  • will enable you to write letters to prisoners spotlighted by VOM.  You might even write to government officials.  A new prisoner is posted each month.  There are certain encouraging phrases you can put in that are translated into the language of that prisoner.  I am really excited to find out more about this....this is something that would help uplift these prisoners as they are facing some of their darkest days.  Right now Asia Bibi from Pakistan is a featured prisoner to whom you can lend encouragement and support to just by writing to her.
  • You can also give a donation or check out the resources that VOM has on their site.  They have books, clothing, etc. for you to browse through, including resources for teens and children.
You can follow VOM on both Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow the Persecution Blog, and you can listen to Persecution Podcasts.  I hope this has encouraged you today to Shine Your Light, especially in light of the fact that other Christians, just like you, are being persecuted and tortured for their faith.  It's up to you to shine that light even brighter, in honor of their faith....Shine!:)

(Picture and links used by Permission of The Voice of the Martyrs,

Bethany House: Levi's Will

Levi's Will is a story about a man who seeks redemption throughout his whole life, a redemption and love that can only be found through one Person.  As a young man, Will left his life behind to start a new life, a dramatic change from the Amish world to our world.  

The story started out in a very exciting way with Will and his brother running away.  Will was leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend, and he knew if he ran, that his lie would not longer exist  for him in his Amish community; he would be excommunicated from the church.  As he ran, both on foot and by train, he knew that he would have to start a completely new life.  A new name, a new history lay before him....the old was gone.  As Will  gained different jobs working on various farms, he soon came to realize that young men were expected to do more, especially right now with World War II blazing overseas.  Most young men were joining the Army, something Will struggled with, as he had been raised a Pacifist.  Many things in Will's life had changed, though, and this was just one more thing he must do....

Follow Will's story as he not only becomes a soldier, but he meets and falls in love with Helen, a southern girl, later on marrying her.  As the story continues, it switches from Will's life now to his life then and goes back and forth, intertwining the two to show his regrets, his hopes, and his heart.  Having a son of his own that he struggles with and is trying to forge a right relationship with, Will still seeks the forgiveness and love of his earthly father, but it's only when he finds the love of his Heavenly Father, that he can truly forgive and love himself, in spite of all he has done in his life.   

You can purchase Levi's Will from Bethany House for $11.19.

(Disclosure: I was provided this book, free of charge, by Bethany House, for the purposes of this review.)  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Blog Spark: Win and Give: Fruit Snacks & $25 Donation

Blog Search

My kids love fruit snacks, and they'd eat a whole package up in a couple days if I let them.  Not only that, but I love spreading the word about ways to help those who are less fortunate.  So, when I had the opportunity with My BlogSpark, to both spread the word and get free fruit snacks for the kiddos, I jumped at the chance.

With specially marked boxes of kid favorites – including Fruit Roll-Ups, Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, and Stickerz and Shapes – your child could win one laptop to keep and Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks will donate another to a child in Africa.

Each day from now through May 30, 2010, one laptop prize will be awarded to a U.S. winner. For every laptop won, one laptop will be donated to an African child through One Laptop per Child, an organization that creates educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. For your chance to win, simply enter the unique online code printed on participating Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snack packages on

My Blog Spark not only provided us with 2 boxes of Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks, but they also made a $25 donation to One Laptop per Child, in my name.  That's not all, though.  If you'd like to participate in this giveaway, and you win, they'll send you 2 boxes of a variety of Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks, and they'll make another $25 donation on your behalf.  How exciting!

If you'd like the chance to win this giveaway, you can enter in one or more of the following ways.  Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each way that you enter.  I'll draw the winner next week, Tuesday, February 23, 2010, using
  1. Leave me a comment, letting me know ways you have encouraged your children to help others or what your favorite experience has been in helping others.
  2. Follow my blog, or you can subscribe to my posts.
  3. Follow me on Twitter; you can tweet daily about this post and gain extra entries.
  4. Blog about this giveaway, being sure to link back to Real Heart Prints.
  5. Vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs or Mom Blog Network (just click the buttons in sidebar).
  6. Digg or Stumble this post. 
  7. Place my blog button somewhere on your blog.
Good luck, and have a wonderful day!

(The Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks, information, and giveaway, were all provided, free of charge, by Betty Crocker, through My Blog Spark.)

Time Out Tuesdays: Link Up Your Giveaways

Time to kick back for just a few minutes and enjoy blog hoppin' around to some great blogs.  In fact, I've been busy networking and connecting with other bloggers this week, and you might just find something new and interesting to grab a nice hot cup of tea or hot cocoa, and give yourself a short break to get refreshed and renewed and reinvigorated.  Sit down with these women, and have a nice read (or chat).:)  Don't forget to link up your giveaways below.  

Tracey at Girls to Grow has a thought-provoking post, A Song in Her Heart.

Participate in Get Your Craft On! over at Today's Creative Blog.

DC Ladies has a great decorating post, The Big Picture: Decorating with Photographs as Art.

Inkwell Inspirations has a very inspiring post, What If You Have No Words to Pray?.

The Diary of a Posh Mommy is having a blog party!  Check it out for great prizes!

Up in Alaska has noticed Signs of Spring.

Live to Smile Today with Happily Blended.

Mommyhood Exposed has one way of How to Make a Blog Banner: Tutorial 1.

Finally, I just have to share two new blogs I've found this week.  I have more, but I'll share them as time goes on.:)  The first one is Mod Podge Rocks, a great place where you can find all sorts of inspiration to go along with your Mod Podge....wonderful stuff.  There's no end to the possibilities.  Just take a look if you doubt....:)

The second blog I found is The Daring Kitchen, where you can participate in a new recipe challenge every fun is that?!

Ok, link up your giveaways, and have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Daybook for Monday, February 15, 2010

FOR TODAY... from Mel's Daybook

Outside my window...It's spitting snow here and there, and it's cold.
I am thinking...that Mondays seem to come so quickly.
I am thankful for...when sick, a warm home and a family to be with.  I don't like to see my husband sick at all, but I have to say this weekend was nice just laying around together, even though we were sick....but we were sick together.  Made for fun times with the kiddos, but we made it.
I am wearing...jammies and warm sweater.
I am remembering...that Dan promised to take me to Michaels today for my Valentine's.:)
I am going... to take Jacob to Tae Kwon Do, and we're stopping by the library on the way.
I am currently reading...finishing up Levi's Will and then A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists for review.
I am hoping... to get Dan's pants mended for him this week.  I know, big aspirations, but for me, mending this pair of jeans is should see the hole.
On my mind... life, in general; change.
Noticing desk is somehow a mess again; the "clean" never lasts on my desk, it seems.
Pondering these words... It's not what you do in life; it's how you feel (about what you do)'s how you feel- from Road to Avonlea.
From the kitchen...tonight will be grilled cheese and either Ramen or soup; gotta be a quickie, since we have TKD tonight.
Around the house... have to clean and catch up on laundry.  I'm hoping to clean off my shelves in the office a little, make room for crafty type stuff.
One of my favorite things~ is warm bread right out of the oven (or breadmaker).:)  I love the smell wafting through the house.
From my picture journal... (Jaden loves his bubbles....he happened to empty the whole container this night; I left it on the edge of the tub for just a second, while I washed my hands; a brand new container of Koala Pals, and it was least he had fun.)LOL

For more Daybook, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Motivate Me Monday- A Dose of Inspiration for Moms

I posted this over on MamaBuzz, and I just felt it was appropriate for this too....hope you enjoy.:)

Today, I just wanted to fill up your cup with verses to help sustain you through this journey we call motherhood....I hope you feel encouraged and inspired to keep trudging on and staying true to the work and the privilege God has set before you as a mother. Don't forget to laugh with your children this week, and maybe even dance.:) (All verses are NKJV.)

He grants the barren woman a home, Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!- Psalm 113:9.

But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children- 1 Thessalonians 2:7.

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates
- Proverbs 31:10-31.

"For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD." So they worshiped the LORD there- 1 Samuel 1:27-28.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward- Psalm 127:3.

A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world- John 16:21.

Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds- Proverbs 27:23.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering- Colossians 3:12.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God- 1 Corinthians 10:31.

For more Motivate Me Monday, visit Sarah at The Fifth Street Palace.

CFBA: Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

Summerside Press (January 1, 2010)

Miralee Ferrell


In October 2007 Kregel Publications published The Other Daughter with excellent reviews. The Romantic Times Review magazine gave it Four out of Four and a half stars, with a very strong review. Two different major motion picture studios are currently considering the book as a possible family movie, and my second book in the series (Past Shadows) is on my publishers desk being reviewed for a possible contract offer now.

In February of 2009, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California was published by Summerside Press

And Finding Jeena will release in April 2010 from Kregel Publications.

Miralee Ferrell lives in Washington with Allen, her husband of more than 37 years, ans has two grown children. She serves on staff at her local church ans is actively involved in ministry to women.


Against a backdrop of thievery and murder in Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, a historic logging community, a schoolteacher is torn between the memories of a distant love and the man who could be her future.

Sixteen-year-old Margaret Garvey had given her heart to Nathaniel Cooper the night he disappeared from town. Four years later, just as she's giving love a second chance with Andrew, a handsome logger, Nathaniel suddenly returns. He steams back into Bridal Veil on a riverboat to work at the nearby sawmill to town with a devastating secret.

While grappling with the betrayal of those she trusted most, Margaret risks her reputation and position by harboring two troubled runaways who might be involved in the murder of a local man.

When disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon, go HERE.

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