Friday, October 14, 2016

Good Reads: Lowcountry Book Club

Lowcountry Book Club (Liz Talbot Mystery #5)Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M. Boyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lowcountry Book Club is the fifth book in the Liz Talbot mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited, full length novel.

Liz and her husband are hired to investigate a murder by a prestigious law firm. Their job is to prove that the defendant, the victims husband, is innocent. But Liz can't stop herself from trying to find the true murderer and the evidence to prove it.

I've always loved the main characters in this series, because they are intelligent and honorable. The mystery in the Lowcountry Book Club is fast paced, detailed and unpredictable.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading future books in this series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Homeschooling 2016/2017

During my Dear Daughters (DD) last semester of the 2015/2016 school year  DD was homeschooled.  I developed her curriculum using textbooks I found online and she went to two computer classes at Indian Rocks Christian School.  This worked well for us, especially since we concentrated on her worst subject, mathematics.

This year I researched and found a Florida accredited school that had virtual classes via Apex Learning and would accept her homeschool transcripts.  If you do this with your students it is very important to develop a strong curriculum and keep a detailed portfolio. Champion Preparatory Academy (CPA) was highly rated through the Florida Parent Educators Association.

DD is also attending a Fine Art class at Indian Rocks Christian School.  Their art teacher is top notch and teaches a combination of fine art and humanities.

Apex is new to us, so we are dealing with a learning curve, but things have settled down now that DD has used the program for several weeks.  One thing I don't like about Apex is that, while their lessons are easily understood, their test problems are much more complex than the lessons and the practice problems given to the students.

Since DD is now attending two Florida accredited schools, she does not need to be registered with our county school board homeschool office.  CPA will ensure that she receives full credit for her learning and provide her with legal transcripts.

I hear people talking about their children completing their homeschool tasks in a couple of hours.  This may be true of kindergarten, but if your older child (especially middle and high school age) is not spending eight hours a day on their lessons, then you are short changing them.  Remember we are preparing our children for college (university), careers and to be responsible adults.

If you have any questions about homeschooling please feel free to ask.

God bless,

Friday, September 9, 2016

Good Reads: A Killer's Guide to Good Works

A Killer's Guide to Good Works (A Val Cameron Mystery #2)A Killer's Guide to Good Works by Shelley Costa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Killers Guide to Good Works is the second book in the Val Cameron Mystery series. It is a well written and professionally edited full length novel.

The plot was very good; fast paced and detailed. Shelley Costa is an accomplished author and at times writes so beautifully that I would read a section, stop, exhale and relive her words. After reading the prologue I found myself grinning and rubbing my hands together at the thought that I had a whole book of her writing before me.

So if I enjoyed the book so much why did I only rate it as four stars? Because it read like a first book. None of the secondary characters from the first book were in this one. Val's love interest has flown off into the sunset and only rates a couple of sentences. It was disconcerting. I hope this isn't one of those series where the main character has a new man in each book. I enjoy watching characters' relationships grow over time.

I enjoyed A Killers Guide to Good Works and look forward to reading future books in the series.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

*Sex and violence is not graphic in this novel.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Times of Troubles

They say that trouble comes in threes.  Well, for me trouble came in a three month block.  Pretty much anything that could go wrong did.  I am happy to move into September and, I say this prayerfully, a time of less stress.

As you know from my earlier posts on dealing with contractors that I am pretty well versed on what to look for in a contractor.  But there are times when everything checks out, but it all goes bad despite your carefulness.  In this case my roofing contractor, after I signed the contract and they obtained the permits, let four months go by before they started work.  The day I was about to call my lawyer the roofers showed up to start the job.

Besides the delay, the office staff were the worst communicators.  I was spoken to in a rude, condescending way and was often told untruths.  The actual roofing crews were professional and did very good work.  Such a dichotomy!  The good news is that the roof was finished and passed inspection before Hurricane Hermine blew past us.

The color of shingles we chose.

Add to the above car problems, getting my daughter set up to take classes at three schools, other home breakdowns and repairs, a trip canceled due to airline employee incompetence, and a plethora of little problems; I was frazzled.  I'm looking forward to living life for a few weeks without the drama. 

I have to ask, "What happened to customer service?"  I remember my grandparents, then my parents talking about how much easier life was during their youth.  Now I am doing the same thing.  We used to choose our own doctors and got our prescriptions filled for a reasonable price at the corner Rexall drug store.  The one where the owners were the pharmacist and the checkout lady.  I could go on and on.  I find myself resenting "progress" that doesn't make my life easier, but rather makes it more difficult.

Okay, I'm done kvetching.  I'm laying these thoughts in God's hands.  Moving forward. Moving forward.

God bless,

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From Grandma's Kitchen: Chicken and Rice Casserole

My Grandma Bosley had nine children and an infinite number of grandkids.  It's not a surprise that this easy to make dish was so popular at her home.  It's both filling and tasty.


1 chicken precooked
4 cups rice uncooked, about 8 cooked
vegetables of your choice cut in bite size pieces
1 clove garlic
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cans cream of something soup (your choice)
1 - 1 1/2 cans water
1 tsp. marjoram or thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. oil

Cook your rice and chicken in advance.  Pick chicken off of the bone or cut in bite size pieces. In a sauté pan add oil, garlic, and vegetables.  Cook until lightly browned.  Oil a 9 x 13 casserole and preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix soup, salt, pepper and water until the consistency of gravy.  Put a thin layer of gravy in bottom of casserole, then a layer of rice, then layer of chicken, then layer of vegetable mix, then layer of gravy, and finish with layer of shredded cheese. Repeat.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.

You can put this casserole together in advance and keep refrigerated until you bake it.  It also reheats nicely the next day.

This is comfort food at it's best.  Enjoy.

God bless,

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Good Reads: From the Sideline

From the Sideline (Wake Up Call, #2)From the Sideline by Amy Avanzino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Sideline is the second book in the chick lit Wake Up Call series. It is a well written and professionally edited full length novel.

Each book in this series centers around a different woman, each part of a circle of women friends. Autumn was summarily dismissed and divorced by her husband; adding to her insecurity after being raised by alcoholic parents. Both she and her son are beaten down, but her son expresses interest in little league football. Soon she is sitting on the bleachers watching her son find his way, while she copes with the other, rather rabid, football league parents.

The author hit the nail on the head with her characterizations of parents with children involved in sports. It's funny with occasional moments of sadness, but we get to witness the evolution of Autumn and her son as they find their way back to their true selves. I did have a problem identifying with Autumn and felt that she too easily reverted into old, bad habits when faced with adversity.

I highly recommend this book and this series. I look forward to reading more about this group of friends.

ARC provided by Henery Press via Netgalley.

Monday, July 4, 2016

My Book Recommendations

Recently someone asked me whether a certain book review I had posted recommended a book appropriate for Christians.  I had to think about it for a while and I'm not quite sure how to respond.  

Christianity encompasses a large and diverse group of people; from extremely conservative denominations to extremely liberal denominations.  Even within each denomination each church varies in it's accepted practices.  

As an anabaptist Mennonite I can tell you that Mennonite communities have very different rules to live by known as Ordnung.  If you move from one community to another the Ordnung changes and you adjust your behavior, dress and worship to fit the new community.  Or if you are like me and live in an area without a community you adjust your life to fit your personal and family's beliefs.

I don't choose to censor myself or other Christians.  We have to abide by the rules that are set by our personal Christian beliefs or those of our community.  However, I have put warning notices at the end of my reviews when a book contains graphic sex, violence, etc.

I will endeavor in the future to also include triggers for rape, child abuse, etc. that may cause distress to a reader.  I am going to allow my readers to choose books based on their self knowledge and consciences.

God bless,