My boys love Star Wars. Wait, is there a stronger word for love? If there is, that’s what they feel about Star Wars! It’s almost an obsession, especially for my six-year-old. It’s what he likes to wear, watch, collect, play, et cetera. He almost lives and breathes it. And his younger brother may not feel as strongly about it as he does, but that younger brother of his does like it because he likes it.

Anyway…the local library was doing a special event called “Jedi Academy”. I just had to bring my boys!

 

We had no idea what to expect, but are glad we went. Upon arriving, we had to get a checklist of tasks each boy had to complete. When completed, a signature would go in the respective spot on the checklist, confirming they did, in fact, pass that part of their training.

There were three training areas. One was an obstacle course where they had to practice shooting, tossing, throwing, jumping, and kicking.

Another area was training the ability to use ‘the force’. Using teamwork, each young Jedi had to raise and lower a ball without the ball falling off its platform.

The last training area was creating a light saber. Here is what each of my boys came up with (and, yes, we helped):

 

 

When all things on the checklist were crossed off, they had to return it to the front desk at the library where they received this:

 

 

That wasn’t it, though! They had one last mission to go on now that they were Jedi Knights. They were given 10 stickers. Their job was to find 10 bad guys throughout the library that were evil, and then shoot them with the stickers. Some of the evil characters they had to find were Kylo Ren, Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, and my personal favorite, Darth Vader. Take a look at these stickers:

 

 

As you can see, many kids enjoyed taking a shot at Darth Vader! All in all, a great event. I appreciate the library doing things like this, getting kids involved in healthy activities, and hopefully, getting excited about the library itself. I know my boys walked out of there with some books to read! And, yes, I need to get them there more often!

And though this was fun, one day I hope to take my kids to the Star Wars-themed land down in Disney World that is set to open in 2019 or so. That would be super enjoyable for us all!

If you’re into young adult fiction, you have to check this event out! By signing up at the link I have listed below, you will have 30+ young adult books for you to download. The best part is it is for FREE!

You’ll even be entered to win one of five $10 gift cards! How neat is that?

And maybe best yet, you’ll be in contact with the best young adult authors out there today! This is one great event you won’t want to miss out on!

My book, Growing Up Neighbors, is a part of this event so please come check it out. You have until June 20! You can find all details, including the books you’ll receive, at this link:

https://mybookcave.com/g/23db98a2/

If you’re into music and books, I may have something you’d be interested in reading. It’s called 2000 Tunes by Karl Drinkwater, and, well, it features a main male character who lives for music. Though it speaks of music of the late 80s through the 90s, I actually knew some of the references! That was kind of neat.

Let me tell you more about this book by, first, giving you the book’s blurb; and then second, my review:

 

2000 TUNES

 

“He started to sketch a face. A random face. With dark eyes and hair. Just any old face. He made the chin too small and drew over it, but then it looked like a double chin. That wasn’t appropriate for… Ah. He had been drawing Sam.”

Mark Hopton’s an outsider obsessed with Manchester music. He knows the dates, facts, band members, lyrics, histories and places. He can join them in complicated webs of association because he knows the secret: everything’s connected. Music’s his escape into a better world.

Oh man, he needs that escape. His dad’s in prison, his psycho brother’s only one step away, and they’re twisting his melons trying to make him risk his freedom by smuggling drugs. It ain’t easy saying no when family and their shady contacts can be bone-breakingly persuasive. Heaven knows he’s miserable now.

The summer sun does bring one ray of light: he secretly admires Samantha, a beautiful Welsh girl at work. Watching her is like listening to music, it strengthens him, she’s his wonderwall of true faith. He’s happy with that. Love is fool’s gold.

Meanwhile, Samantha’s been caught up in a hedonistic lifestyle of cigarettes and alcohol with the 24 hour party people but now she’s had it up to here with Mancunians. Cheaters, weirdos and two-faced scummers, the lot of ’em. When the drugs don’t work it’s time to grow up but no-one’s going to take her for granted again. Don’t look back in anger? Screw that. She’s never been one to walk away.

2000 Tunes is a meditation on life, family, friends, growing up, and following your dreams.

 

My Review

 

Like I briefly mentioned already, there are a lot of Continue reading “2000 Tunes”

All The Way My Savior Leads

About the Book

Caroline and I walked out the back door and went into the barn.
“What are we going to do?” Caroline asked.
“Head out on our own. Saddle Whitey, please.”
Caroline’s mouth gaped open. “They’ll find us.”
“I know.”
Caroline sighed. “What can we do then?”
I shook my head. “We can stick together. Always.”

AlltheWay_KINDLErevisedTragedy stole everything from him … except her …

Three years ago, an illness orphaned Henry and Caroline Salisbury. The harsh years at the orphanage have forged a strong bond between the pair.

But Henry’s about to age out.

He must choose whether to leave his only family behind in relative safety, or take her with him as he pursues dreams of owning a farm. Henry trusts that God has a plan for him, but little does he know that others have plans for him and his younger sister as well. He will need all his faith to find the right path.

Although this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Note: 50% of my income from this series will go to the World Orphans Organization.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071DL3Z9T

http://books2read.com/alltheway

About the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 croppedFaith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and play games with her family. She lives in Wisconsin with her family on a small family farm where they raise goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and have 2 dogs and a varying number of cats.

Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ. If you enjoyed this book, go to her website to sign up for her Monthly Newsletter so you can get an email with fun facts, giveaways, and so much more every month. You will also find links to her other Social Media sites on her website. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her.

Double Sale

Double Sale

For May 26-31 only, get both books in the Orphans of the West series for just $0.99 each! They are both available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and more.

http://books2read.com/saviorlikeashepherd

http://books2read.com/alltheway

Giveaway

Giveaway

Three prizes, three winners! The grand prize is a Savior, Like a Shepherd notebook and paperback. Sorry, but the lantern isn’t mine to giveaway. In second and third prize, the winners will receive a free eBook of All the Way My Savior Leads.

Note: The grand prize is open only to those in the continental US, but the other two are open to all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

May 26
Bookish Orchestrations-Intro Post
Annie Louise Twitchell-Review

May 27
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima-Book Spotlight
Zerina Blossom’s Books-Review

May 28
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Guest Post: Why Henry?
The Book Corner-Review

May 29
Sarah Allerding-Review
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Q&A with Henry

May 30
Frances Hoelsema-Book Spotlight
Purposeful Learning– Review

May 31
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Guest Post: How I Pick Hymns
Written Rest-Review

June 1
Bookish Orchestrations-Giveaway Winner

My father-in-law turned 60 two years ago already. My mother-in-law just turned 60 back in April. For each of their birthdays, my husband and I wanted to do something different and fun. Both of us have seen those types of poster boards with silly phrases and candy taking the place of some of the words being used for birthdays so we created our own. Some of what was used is typical on this type of thing, but others I made up. Here’s a picture of the front and back:

 

 

As you can see, tons and tons of candy – 22 different kinds to be exact! It takes both sides of this poster board. Of course you could condense it a little bit by getting smaller versions of most of this stuff, but I thought the regular or super size sizes were more fun.

In case you’d like to use something like this for someone you know, here is what is written (candy used in bold):

     Dear X (make it whoever you want it to be),
     Happy birthday! Now that you’re 60, do your bones crunch or snap, krackel and pop? Just kidding! Seeing as it’s your birthday, we wanted to do something amazing (used M&Ms and crossed out ‘&Ms’) to show how special you are to us. We wish we could give you a whopping (crossed off ‘ers’  from whoppers and wrote in ‘ing’) 100 grand, but all our money slipped through our butterfingers and it’s nowhere near payday. A pet kit kat, vacation to New York, or trip throughout the Milky Way didn’t seem appropriate either.
     However, we want to wish you mounds of joy (crossed off almond). You deserve to take 5 and rest a moment (crossed off ‘o’ from mentos) on this special day. We hope enjoying all this candy doesn’t make you rolover and get sick. If you get the Hershey squirts, we promise not to snicker (crossed off ‘s’).
     In all seriousness, though, we love you to pieces (crossed off Reese’s’). And pray for God to sheath you with His love and grant you many more years!
     Hugs & kisses!
     Love, Your 4 musketeers (crossed off ‘3’ and made it 4 – you can do what you want)
     P.S. Betwixt you and us, we wouldn’t trade you for the world!

COOL & FUN, right!??! You can do this for any age birthday or for some other occasion, I suppose. You can change some wording around, and personalize it the way you see fit.

Have you ever done anything like this? What would have been some other really good ideas?

 

 

Sacred Marriage happens to be one of the titles of a book by Gary Thomas. For those who do not know who Gary Thomas is, he is a bestselling author and international speaker whose ministry focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to one another. In this book, Sacred Marriage, the general idea is to get closer to your spouse by becoming more like Christ.

I have to admit that I would not have read something like this on my own. I am not a huge fan of self-help or non-fiction in general. Yes, this coming from someone who is working on her first non-fiction piece, lol. It’s not like I don’t get much out of them or don’t like them, it’s just that I’d rather be reading a fictional piece that transports me to someone else’s world.

Anyway, back to why I said all of that. Though I wouldn’t have chosen to read something like this on my own, I did end up reading it because of a men’s group my husband is a part of. One of the homework assignments was for him to read Sacred Marriage, as well as for me, too. Then a little while ago we had a meeting where all of us, husbands and wives, discussed it.

The first thing I want to say is Continue reading “Sacred Marriage”

Every May we have a festival that takes place called Tulip Time. It’s a week-long event filled with a carnival, junk food vendors, parades, shows, fireworks, Dutch dancing, and you guessed it, tulips!

There is a lot to do, and tourists flock to every single bit of it.

Now it’s true that, being a citizen of my city, I don’t always see what the big deal is around this celebration of Dutch history. I think that can be true for anyone who lives somewhere that hosts big events. It’s nothing special. However, having said that, this doesn’t mean I hide myself in the house as everything is happening. Far from it actually!

This year, my family and I kicked off Tulip Time by running in Tread! My boys ran a 1k race, raising over $700 to help support children in various countries. This was their first race, but they did well, and finished. They were also excited to learn they raised as much as they did to help others.

We also went Continue reading “Tulip Time!”

 

Check out this event that Yours Truly is participating in! Not only will you get some awesome reading material, but you’ll get connected with some of the best sweet romance authors on the market, AND you’ll get a chance to win a $50 gift card! Sound good? Let me give you some details!

This Sweep Me Away with Sweet Contemporary Romance event is taking place NOW until May 30. There are 18 books you can download for free (some are just samples, but if you enjoy them, the author will send a free copy). All of them are sweet romances! Aww!

One winner will also win a $50 gift card!

To check out the books involved and to enter into this great event, please go to this link:

https://mybookcave.com/g/4d0ccb91/

 

Have you ever taken some kind of baking or decorating class? I know that such things are offered at stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. They seem like fun, but I have never taken one from either place because I think I would get too intimidated. However, recently my mom came across a decorating class that was taking place in someone’s home close by. There would only be a few other women invited so we thought, why not?!? After all, it would be a fun mother-daughter event to celebrate Mother’s Day with.

So anyway, this decorating class was going to be adding flowers to cupcakes and making a bouquet. When we got there, the teacher was super helpful in showing us how to do three different types of flowers: a rose, a daisy, and a chrysanthemum. She went through each step carefully, and made sure we could see well what she was doing.

Having said all of that, I want to share some pictures from that night. The first is the set up. We each got five bags/tips, a spatula, tray, mixing bowl, and a flower pin (not really sure what that is called. It’s simply a baking tool that has a round flat top and a sharp tip that allows you to stick it into a piece of Styrofoam or whatever.) And frosting of course!

After going through all the demonstrations, we were able to pick out the colors we wanted. I chose green for the leaves, yellow for flower tips, white for the daisy, peach for the rose, and a dark purple for the chrysanthemum.

Now it was time to get to work! We would take our flower tip and put on a piece of (wax?) paper and go on designing our flowers. Here is my tray full of the flowers I created. There are 14 total, 2 to put on each cupcake we’d be decorating.

These beauties then headed to the freezer so that the frosting would harden, allowing the flowers to peel from the paper easily. While these froze, we set up our boxes that our bouquet would be in.

These are the cutest little things! Up top is room for the seven cupcakes. I picked out three chocolate ones and four vanilla. Then when my tray of flowers was placed back in front of me, I went to work figuring out what flowers I wanted to combine with each other for each cupcake. I then added some leaves. After all was said and done, this is my finished product:

 

Not bad for my first time! I’ve decorated (I say that loosely because it was never anything tough) cakes before, but never had made flowers. I thought the flowers turned out pretty neat, especially my daisies! And they were a lot of fun making as well! I appreciated how the instructor clearly taught us, and then remained super helpful the whole evening through.

What do you think?

This class was a lot of fun, and someday I might do some other kind of decorating class, especially if the same person is doing it. I learned a lot about techniques, gained helpful hints on making baking/decorating easier, and most importantly, I had a wonderful time with my mom!

What are some things you’ve done with your mom for Mother’s Day?

 

Mother’s Day always brings about a mix of emotions for me and so many others. For nearly four years, my husband and I tried so hard to become parents, but it just wasn’t working out. Anyone going through infertility knows the struggle they face when it comes to special occasions such as this. Not just infertile couples, but those who have lost their moms find the day bittersweet as well. Or even those whose children have left home. Mother’s Day (& Father’s Day) can just be plain tough.

What I’m about to share won’t make it any easier, but I think it needs to be said nonetheless. When we think of Mother’s Day, we think of our moms (or if we are a mom ourselves, we might think of ourselves). But it’s about more than that!

  • It’s about father’s pulling double duty
  • It’s about pregnant-for-the-first-time moms
  • It’s about angel-baby moms
  • It’s about grandmas or aunts taking over the role of mom
  • It’s about women who have a mother’s heart
  • It’s about women with biological children
  • It’s about women with adoptive children
  • It’s about women with foster children
  • It’s about step mothers
  • It’s about mothers-in-law
  • It’s about anyone assuming the role of caring for others
  • It’s about those who constantly pray for the wellbeing of children
  • It’s about those trying to become moms
  • It’s about repeat moms
  • It’s even about pet moms

Basically….THIS! I see this going around Facebook this time of year, and it is absolutely 100% truth!

With that said, to all that fit within these perimeters, Happy Mother’s Day! And please know that if you are not particularly happy this day of the year, I (and so many others) can understand.