Friday, August 29, 2014

Fall Decorating Ideas

As soon as the girls head back to school, my mind starts thinking about decorating for fall. I have to admit that original decorating isn't my strong suit, but give me an image and I can come up with something. Here are links to some fall decorating ideas you might like. Since we live in New England--a place known for its great fall colors--I tend to lean more toward native decorating ideas.

Yankee Magazine offers 10 simple ways to add garden style to your home in this article:

The Heart of New England has a list of classic ideas that never go out of style at

This article from Country Living talks about a bed and breakfast in Comfort, Texas, but the photos offer some lovely autumn decorating ideas:

Looking for some fall gardening ideas? Try this article from
Better Homes and Gardens:

About Home has an article offering "8 tips for Fall and Winter Container Gardening" at

Finally, this series of photos on HGTV FrontDoor includes "7 Curb Appeal Tips for Fall":

Hope you have fun and share links to your photos when you're done.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


We'll be away from August 18 - 25. Good thing for house sitters or our cats and the hermit crab would get might lonely. Our girls are headed back to school two days after we return, so I'm sure they will be making the most of this trip.

Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Prairie Memories by Patrick Loubatière Now Available!

Prairie Memories
Magazine - 68 pages - Glossy Coated Paper - 8.5 x 11 Inches - English Language -
Published July 2014

  • Exclusive in-depth interviews with four actors from Little House on the Prairie: Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls), 14 pages; Richard Bull (Nels Oleson), 14 pages; Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden), 14 pages; Katherine MacGregor (Harriet Oleson), 21 pages.
  • The interviews with Richard Bull and Dabbs Greer were made shortly before their death.
  • All pictures published in the magazine are courtesy of the actors. Most of them are very rare and previously unpublished.

Magazine available only through Can be dedicated by the author upon request.

Payment by Paypal or check.

Patrick  Loubatière is a French writer, stage director and high school teacher. He is the author of the book "Little House on the Prairie from A to Z", which accompanied the complete series on DVD, in 2006. He also interviewed the actors on the bonus segments, plus created the trivia quizzes. 
Since 2006, he has co-starred with Alison Arngrim in France in two comedic, interactive shows based on Little House on the Prairie. 

Aside from Little House, he has published interviews with most of the actors on the series Lost, NCIS, The Mentalist, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, Revenge, Castle, Dallas, etc.


Bargain Kindle Book: The Cookbook for Teens by Mendocino Press

Become a kitchen whiz with The Cookbook for Teens.

Even the world’s top chefs had to start somewhere. The Cookbook for Teens is the perfect introduction to the art of cooking, even for teenagers who have never cooked more than a slice of toast. The Cookbook for Teens will guide you through introductory preparation and cooking techniques, how to read recipes, and how to shop for groceries.

Once you are comfortable in the kitchen, you will learn how to make your own easy dishes, with simple Cookbook for Teens recipes for appetizers, entrées, and snacks. After you have mastered the fundamentals, The Cookbook for Teens will walk you through preparing a three-course meal that will completely wow your friends and family.

The Cookbook for Teens makes the kitchen accessible for any teenager interested in the culinary arts, with:

• 74 easy-to-follow Cookbook for Teens recipes, such as Bacon and Cheese Risotto, Deep Dish Spaghetti Pizza, and Southwestern Salad
• 25 basic cooking techniques to make you a kitchen pro
• 27 essential kitchen tools
• The Cookbook for Teens guide to grocery shopping on your own
• 12 key safety tips for everything from chopping to baking, from the editors of The Cookbook for Teens

With easy directions and delicious recipes, The Cookbook for Teens is the perfect resource for anyone who wants to start getting creative in the kitchen.

File Size: 2784 KB
Print Length: 145 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Mendocino Press (February 19, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Waiting for Heaven Book Blitz - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title: Waiting for Heaven: Finding Beauty in the Pain and the Struggle
Author: Heather Gillis
Genre: Religion / Memoir / Spirituality
Publisher: WestBow Press
Publication Date: March 20, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4908-2786-5

Life can sometimes lead us to unexpected places, to only leave us broken, desperate, and hurting. Heather Gillis and her husband, Mac, waited in anticipation for the birth of their third child. Like many Christian couples, their dreams and expectations in marriage, parenthood, and daily life developed differently than they’d planned, and left them grieving a life that would never be. Their journey gives insight into a new normal and uncovers the stepping stones of the healing process. In their process, they re- discovered God’s abounding love through their experiences of joy, heartbreak, and purpose. Heather reaches out to parents around the globe to speak openly about being a wife, mother, friend, relative, or stranger during life-changing trials and devastating struggles. In God’s love, she has found beauty in the midst of pain and struggle, as well as peace in His presence on Earth while waiting for Heaven.

Book Excerpt:
Life is not about how comfortable I can be; to expect life to be comfortable is unrealistic. I’m not exempt from the harshness or pain of this world. I have realized since Bowen’s passing that there are no guarantees in life; to think otherwise leads to disappointment. When I was pregnant, I assumed Bowen would be healthy. I assumed that when I left the house, I would return, unharmed. I assumed for some reason I would make it through life unscathed; I never thought I would be writing these words.

We can do all the right things in life, but that doesn’t guarantee us rewards or benefits in this life. We did not choose the path we are walking, but God willing, we will endure what comes our way and to where God wants us to go. We can have all the plans in the world but God is in the driver’s seat, and God knows what he is doing; we just have to trust him. Uncomfortable situations have taught me to trust in God, and I have learned more than I ever thought I would; and still am.

Purchase Book at:

Barnes & Noble:


Meet Heather Gillis. In her book, Waiting for Heaven, Heather recalls the story of her infant son, Bowen, and her family's journey with polycystic kidney disease. Through Bowen's short life and death, she and her husband, Mac, discovered the true meaning of God’s love and grace. By telling her poignant story in the book and speaking to groups, Heather hopes she can help others through the challenges of loss and devastation; giving hope that their can be joy and happiness again.

After Bowen's death, Heather founded Bowen's Hope, a ministry serving kidney disease kids and their families, especially those getting dialysis treatments at Phoenix Children's Hospital. She's also involved with Camp Maska for dialysis patients in Arizona, and has raised over $50,000 for the PKD Foundation. In addition, Heather volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, an organization serving meals and providing temporary housing to families with children in the hospital.

Heather works part time as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She and Mac have two living children, Brooklyn and Blake. With a serving heart, Heather’s passions are her family and helping others.

Visit Heather online at

Contact Heather at:

Contest Giveaway

Pump Up Your Book and Author Heather Gillis are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
  • This giveaway begins August 1 and ends on August 29, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 1, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mailbox Monday - August 11

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It was a busy week. I worked every day. Then on Friday night the girls went to the One Direction concert. Should have been my night off, but the hubby's car died and I had to go pick everyone up. Saturday, the family came over to celebrate the Lil' Diva's birthday, which is actually today. On Sunday, I had an open house and then joined the hubby, our son and daughter-in-law for the Def Leppard and KISS concert. I am tired.

In the mail I received an ARC of Nancy Thayer's latest through the Amazon VINE program.

Known for her heartwarming observations of family life, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer showcases her beloved Nantucket’s snowy off-season in this emotionally gratifying and utterly entertaining story.

Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, from the jolly decorations on the Brant Point lighthouse to the much anticipated Christmas Stroll, in which merrymakers promenade through quaint streets adorned with Yuletide cheer. The season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie.

But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arms’ length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.

Nancy Thayer’s wonderful tale reminds us that this is the season of miracles. Before the gifts are unwrapped, surprise visitors appear, and holiday joy comes to all, both naughty and nice.

I also picked up these two Kindle freebies.

Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

Vampyres don’t exist. They absolutely do not exist.

At least I didn’t think they did ‘til I tried to quit smoking and ended up Undead. Who in the hell did I screw over in a former life that my getting healthy equates with dead?

Now I’m a Vampyre. Yes, we exist whether we want to or not. However, I have to admit, the perks aren’t bad. My girls no longer jiggle, my ass is higher than a kite and the latest Prada keeps finding its way to my wardrobe. On the downside, I’m stuck with an obscenely profane Guardian Angel who looks like Oprah and a Fairy Fighting Coach who’s teaching me to annihilate like the Terminator.

To complicate matters, my libido has increased to Vampyric proportions and my attraction to a hotter than Satan’s underpants killer rogue Vampyre is not only dangerous . . . it’s possibly deadly. For real dead. Permanent death isn’t on my agenda. Avoiding him is my only option. Of course, since he thinks I’m his, it’s easier said than done. Like THAT’S not enough to deal with, all the other Vampyres think I’m some sort of Chosen One.

Holy Hell, if I’m in charge of saving an entire race of blood suckers, the Undead are in for one hell of a ride.

What came in your mailbox?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Kindle Freebie: The Liar's Gallery by Aaron Paul Lazar

From award-winning author Aaron Paul Lazar:

The last place Gus LeGarde expects to find his old friend Byron Cunningham is in a plane that crashes in a field near his farmhouse. But that’s just the first surprise in a series of shocking events beginning with the discovery of a Monet painting crammed into the plane’s fuselage. Is it real? Or fake? The trail leads Gus into a twisting trio of dangerous art world conspiracies.

Gus fends off some very pushy collectors and soon realizes he may have crossed paths with treacherous criminals, putting his family at risk. As if that isn’t enough, he must also contend with a problem that’s close to his heart: his daughter, Shelby, is growing up too fast. She’s determined to sing professionally and is now under the spell of a wolf in tenor’s clothing, handsome Greek student, Dmitri. When she vanishes with the family car, her frantic parents desperately chase the fading trail.

A slew of Facebook messages on Shelby’s computer lead them to The Eastman School of Music, where both Shelby’s new flame and Gus’s old friend have been hiding secrets linked to the art scandal. There’s a real Monet out there somewhere, and nothing—including murder—will stop the desperate man who wants it.

NOTE: This series can be read in any order. Each book is complete and can stand alone without having read the first books in the series.

File Size: 430 KB
Print Length: 264 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Aaron Paul Lazar; 1 edition (July 7, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


The Friday 56 - Week 190

Welcome to Week 190!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

This is an updated version of a book I read several years ago. I'm reviewing it for the author.

I wanted him to sit near me so badly I could have died. But he sat in the row in front of me, a little to the right. Not too bad. Now I can look at him all day. My best friend, Angela, sits beside him on his right. I hope she doesn't fall in love with him, too. He's mine!

Location 57 of 1105 from The Truth: Diary of a Gutsy Teen by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Save 20% on Limited Tickets for Kiss Me, Kate at The Pasadena Playhouse Starring Wayne Brady

September 16 - October 12, 2014

Save 20%* Off Tickets
Use Code: BOOK20

The Pasadena Playhouse presents
Wayne Brady
Starring In

Also Starring Merle Dandridge

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack
Directed by Sheldon Epps
KISS ME, KATE, the beloved backstage musical, includes many of Cole Porter’s most famous songs: “So in Love,” “Another Op’nin’ Another Show,” “Too Darn Hot,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”  This classic show celebrates Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and the joys, madness, and the rewards of working in the theatre - both onstage and off.
The Pasadena Playhouse production will view the work through a new lens, using the wonderful material of this celebrated production to showcase the trailblazing African-American actors and entertainers of the early 20th century.
Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (626) 356-7529.
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91101

*Code is valid for 20% off tickets to KISS ME, KATE. Offer expires Sun. October 12, 2014 at 7pm and is good on all performances excluding Sunday, Sept. 21. Discount is available on all seats excluding ROW C. All seats are best available. Offer not valid on previous purchases and cannot be combined with any other offer. All tickets are subject to availability. Service charges and theatre restoration fee apply to all orders. 

Overstock Kid Zone from Overstock and PBS KIDS believes in a bright future for all children. To support its commitment to children’s education, health, happiness and well-being, Overstock has partnered with PBS KIDS to create the Overstock Kid Zone, a curated shop within that includes hundreds of children’s products across many categories. A portion of the proceeds from every sale in Overstock’s Kid Zone will go to support PBS KIDS’ mission of educating children.

The Kid Zone is made up of several shop categories, including “School Essentials,” providing the perfect opportunity to purchase supplies for the school year while supporting PBS KIDS. The page also provides links to PBS KIDS videos and fun family activities.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mailbox Monday - August 4

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's great to be back. I had a blast with my friends, but it's nice to be home with my family. Two books arrived while I was gone.

One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.

Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.

Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.

Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.

In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud

That Brings Hope

It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor . . . until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

This book was a digital download gifted to me by the author. I had read a previous version of this book and she asked me to review the new one.

"I hate Angela and I wish she would move away tomorrow!" "I get so worried when I hear my parents fighting at night." "My mother thinks my crush is silly. I know I am in love!" "I have so many questions about growing up. Who will answer them?" "I feel so awful when Jake makes fun of me." "When I grow up I going to remember how to have fun with my kids and never look away."
Growing up is tough. Adults don't always understand you (even though they were once kids), and children today face increasing pressure to be, look, or act a certain way. Written in the voice of a girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager, The Truth provides young girls with an opportunity to see how a girl, who is in many ways like themselves, handles her toughest problems and most personal thoughts. Each new page brings forth a discussion to help girls handle everyday problems: How do you survive a bully? How do you handle a crush on a boy? What can you do about relentless teasing by your peers? What really matters as you grow older?

In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, The Truth is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.

This was the one book I allowed myself to buy on vacation. It will be a great addition to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection. 

From May 1890 to October 1891 Laura and Almanzo, along with their daughter Rose, lived in Spring Valley, Minnesota. They stayed with Almanzo’s parents, recuperating from illness, before moving to Florida. This booklet focuses on the 1890′s, while Laura and Almanzo lived there, but also tells the story of the Wilder family in Spring Valley.

What did you receive in your mailbox?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Kindle Freebie: Vegetarian Cookbook: 30 Recipes for 30 Days by Heather Graves

Want to start a healthy sugar-free vegetarian diet, but don’t know where or how to begin? This book will help you achieve just that. Following a brief introduction to the benefits of the sugar-free vegetarian diet, this book will provide you with a compilation of nutritious and delicious recipes that will help you get started in your new dietary choice. With this book, you can be sure to start your day right with a bunch of healthy breakfast recipes, keep yourself going through the day with creative lunch recipes, and finally, sit down with your family at dinner time and feast on savory vegan meals. We’ve thrown in a bunch of healthy sugar-free snacks and desserts for you as well!

Healthy foods need not be bland and tasteless. At the same time, delicious foods need not be detrimental to your health! With the balanced ingredients and a willingness to stay disciplined, you can definitely achieve better health and improved lifestyle with the sugar-free vegetarian/vegan diet.

File Size: 807 KB
Print Length: 50 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


Friday, August 1, 2014

The Friday 56 - Week 189

Welcome to Week 189!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

Known for its beautifully curated gardens and brief-but-memorable cameo in the Salem-based flick Hocus Pocus, the Ropes Mansion has a haunted history dating back to 1774 when the Tory-leaning Judge Ropes was mobbed by a gang of Patriots who hurled mud and stones at the house.

~ page 56 of the digital version of Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of The Witch City by Sam Baltrusis