Thursday, February 16, 2017

Special Music

The teens at our church occasionally sing a song for special music. Sunday was the first that they've done it since Sarah was in the teen group (technically junior high group, but they are together on Sundays)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Newcomer" by Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book

Book: The Newcomer
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical; Amish
Release Date: January 31
In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.
But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?
When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.
Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?

My Thoughts

"The Newcomer" starts off right after "Anna's Crossing" ends. It does give "fill-in" details about what happened in the first book, but you get a much fuller picture if you read them in order. I'm not that big of a fan of book series where the hero and heroine get their "happy-ever-after" by the end of book one, but then in book two they aren't together anymore, or having troubles. I was worried that was what I was going to run into with this book. I felt like this was more a continuation of the first book because their relationship was still fairly new and not developed much by the end of Anna's Crossing. I liked Bairn's growth in this book and his coming to know what was important and valuable to him. This book was similar to her "Bishop's Family" series where we follow more characters than just the main hero and heroine. We see things from the perspectives of Anna, Bairn, Felix, and Dorothea. Dorothea's transformation during the book was encouraging and I was glad to see her beat the depression that always seemed to hover over her. I wanted to give some of the characters a shake to wake them up to what was going on! I enjoyed the inclusion on actual people (although fictionalized) in the book and the historical accuracy. This book had many different layers to the story and I was glad to continue my journey with the church from Ixheim. I look forward to reading the third book in the series.

About the Author

suzanne6Suzanne Woods Fisher
 is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.
The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.
In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”
Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.
Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.
Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!
Lentil Chili
Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

Blog Stops

February 7: cherylbbookblog
February 7: Moments Dipped in Ink
February 7: inklings and notions
February 8: Just Commonly
February 8: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
February 8: Ashley’s Bookshelf
February 9: A Reader’s Brain
February 9: Genesis 5020
February 10: Lane Hill House
February 10: Blogging With Carol
February 10: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
February 11: Quiet Quilter
February 11: Daysong Reflections
February 12: Christian Bookaholic
February 12: Jeanette’s Thoughts
February 13: Karen Sue Hadley
February 13: Just the Write Escape
February 14: Rhonda’s Doings
February 14: Bigreadersite
February 15: Blossoms and Blessings
February 16: Bibliophile Reviews
February 16: Book by Book
February 17: Pause for Tales
February 17: A Holland Reads
February 18: A Greater Yes
February 18: The Power of Words
February 19: Lighthouse Academy
February 20: By The Book
February 20: Giveaway Lady


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
"The Newcomer" is available in paperback:
  • Series: Amish Beginnings (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727499
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 5591 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 31, 2017)
  • Publication Date: January 31, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

The kids had their Valentine's Day parties on Friday in conjunction with their Dance-a-thon fundraiser.

Andrew's box

The books even have "words"

William's box.
It was the one he started a couple years ago before his
teacher changed her mind about them making their boxes at home.

Emily's box

For the Dance-a-thon, they could dress up. Emily's class was 80's fashion

Emily made this cake from scratch all by herself

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Temperature Blanket - Week 6

Pretty soon, my blanket is going to need a bag of its own and not fit in the same bag as the yarns.

Feb 5: 34
Feb 6: 39
Feb 7: 35 Rain from 8:30 am - 10:00 pm
Feb 8: 32
Feb 9: 20 Snow from 2:30 am - 8:30 am
Feb 10: 35
Feb 11: 41

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Book Review: "A Love Song for Kayla" by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Kayla Russell doesn't care for Valentine's Day and the idea that you express your love once a year. Can her list of requirements for a husband help her find her ideal man?

Derek Wood is trying to hide from the paparazzi that hound him as super star singer DJ Parker. As he gets to know Kayla, he thinks he has found where he belongs. When his secret identity is revealed, will he lose Kayla?

I liked Derek and Kayla and how they interacted. I thought the book flowed well and had a nice pace. I thought it was fun about Kayla's list. Along with the romance in the book, there was also a touch of mystery and suspense. I thought the spiritual aspect of the book was blended into the story line nicely and I was glad to see the characters' growth and maturation through the book. 

"A Love Song for Kayla" was originally published as "A Valentine for Kayla"

"A Love Song for Kayla" is available in paperback:
  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Sweet Rose Press (February 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0998431508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998431505

and in Kindle edition:
  • File Size: 1799 KB
  • Print Length: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Sweet Rose Press (February 1, 2017)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Wax Museum

Emily's class had a lesson to research a person of historical significance. They made a board about the person and then dressed up as that person. They had to do a presentation which was "activated" by someone pressing their "play button". Emily chose George Washington.

William listening to Emily's best friend as "Amelia Earhart"

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Review: "NIV Investigator's Holy Bible"

"NIV Investigator's Holy Bible" is geared for children ages 6-10. It is all done in shades of blue and orange. The words are blue and the headings are orange. I was impressed with how many special features this Bible contained. I think that this Bible truly will help kids investigate God's Word. The special features are "The Evidence" (Introduce the book, tell what kind of book it is, who wrote it, & what happens), "Break through!" (tells about special words, why a character does something, cultural differnces, & etc), "The Witnesses" (tells the meaning of Bible characters' names), "The Scene" (tells about where an event took place), "Check the Facts" (short quiz about the book), "Case Closed" (summary of the book, how to apply it, etc), Cross References, "Table of Weights and Measures", "Index to Features" (lists all of the other special features to make it easy to find them), a fairly large Concordance, and 8 maps (blue toned). Scattered throughout the pages are little pictures of a little bird doing different things. I really liked this Bible and all that it offers. I think this Bible would be a great asset to help children to learn about the Bible.

"NIV Investigator's Bible" is available in hardcover:
  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 1792 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (February 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310758769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310758761
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 2 x 8.7 inches

I got a free copy of this Bible. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


A few weeks ago, we had several warmer than normal days and rain. It even got up to 55 one day! So most of the snow melted, only to be replaced the next day after I took the pictures. It is currently raining, so we may lose some of the snow again.

Jan 17:

Pool in the ditch

Jan 25:

Feb 5: