Friday, April 12, 2013

Moving to wordpress

Hey Guys! If you could please follow me to wordpress at I would be grateful! The transition will take place starting next week, until my site is up and running it will be in maintenance mode. Source. Thanks! --Chelle

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Against The Tide by Elizabeth Camden Book Review

From the back cover:

   After a childhood rampant with uncertainty, Lydia Pallas has carved out a perfect life for herself. She spends her days within sight of the bustling Boston Harbor, where her skill with languages has landed her an enviable position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.
   Lydia's talents bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man in need of a translator. Driven by a campaign to end the opium trade, Bane is coolly analytical and relentless in his quest. He cannot afford to fall for Lydia and must fight the bittersweet love growing between them.
   When Bane's enemies gain the upper hand, he is forced to turn to Lydia for help. Determined to prove her worth, Lydia soon discovers that carrying out Bane's mission will test her wits and her courage to the very limits.
   When forces conspire against them from without and within, can their love survive?

My take:

   Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden is a breath of fresh air! It is a very different Christian/Historical Fiction read. Lydia Pallas has had a very unconventional upbringing and has always had a knack for languages, including learning English upon arriving in Boston at the age of nine. 
   We catch up with Lydia several years later as she is working for Admiral Eric Fontaine at the Navy Yard as a translator. Lydia is very content at this point in her life with a good, respectable job, an apartment of her own, and several friends. During her tenure at the Navy Yard working for Admiral Fontaine, Lydia begins to have interactions with Alexander Bainebridge. Over time, Bainebridge turns to Lydia for help with the translation of various, seemingly useless documents. 
   Lydia is prepared to quit translating these documents after she begins to suspect that Bainebridge has feelings for her and is using these random documents as a means with which to see her. Bainebridge offers her a job working for him in his quest to root out the opium trade on the East Coast and across the world. However, this position is short lived as circumstances change suddenly and Lydia's life begins to unravel.
   I found it unusual that this book had illegal activities in it. Although, like it is discussed in the book - "Is it moral?" Against the Tide is a sequel to The Lady of Bolton Hill. While reading Against the Tide, I felt that I had read similar subject matter before and couldn't put my finger on it until I came across The Lady of Bolton Hill in the back of the book. 
   You can check out the book here or at Amazon. I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Bloggers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I love Cuptakes!

Hey Guys,

         As you know I have an iPhone, finally, after waiting patiently with what I thought was the best phone/operating system on the planet...the "dearly departed" Samsung Galaxy...Anyway, this isn't an Android bashing post. I wanted to tell you about my favorite accessory for my iPhone, iPad, iMac, and Macbook. The Cuptakes app. This app is so cute!! Each month it is updated with holiday and monthly lock and home screen themes/wallpapers. If you have been looking for a way for your iDevice to stand out from the crowd-this is it! It is a steal at only .99 cents! (The Mac App is $4.99).  I had the Cuptakes app on my old iPhone last year and expanded to all of my iDevices. Cuptakes also makes adorable cases as well for $34.99, which is reasonably priced compared to other highly sought after cases. If I hadn't had my heart set on a customized fleur de lis case, I would have gone with a Cuptakes case.

       Also, they have an amazing customer service. I have contacted them on a couple of occasions and have received a reply the next day! Most recently, I mentioned a design suggestion-branching out into a Cuptakes Planner App., which I would absolutely LOVE for my iPhone and iPad. They mentioned that this is something they are putting thought into. My husband thinks its ridiculous that I spend $ on a planner each year with all of my iDevices, but the planning apps I have come across aren't cute or "bulky" enough for me to give up my paper planner. Once Cuptakes comes out with a Planner App. I will abandon my Paper planner.....

      That reminds me I am on the hunt for the perfect planner for 2013. It is my favorite end of the year/start of the year "tradition" to find the perfect planner. I became hooked on planners when we we're given them in Middle School as a way to track assignments (which we got a grade for). Now I can't imagine my life without a planner. Checking items off my list each day makes me feel accomplished! (That's my type A personality kicking in....).

Be sure to check Cuptakes out! They are also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Grad. School Update

Hey Guys,

  I thought I should let you know the reason behind my month long absence from the blog. I have been really working really hard for the past month to get my dissertation prospectus approved and get my paperwork approved, signed, and submitted to attempt to graduate in May 2013. Last thursday, I had my prospectus meeting with my committee members. They approved my prospectus although they had some comments about things that need to be changed for my dissertation. On friday, I took my paperwork to the main campus for the November 5 at 5p.m. deadline for May graduation materials and celebrate with my husband at my favorite Mexican restaurant, which we no longer have near us thanks to Hurricane Katrina. So now that my prospectus is approved, I have to really work hard to make great progress on my research (and finish it), take and pass comprehensive exams (oral and written), write my dissertation, and give my dissertation defense. To graduate in May, all of that has to be completed by March 18, so I'm shooting for sometime next year, not necessarily May. Although, I would absolutely LOVE to know I am graduating in May by my birthday - the end of March. We shall see how quickly I can check off my list of deadlines. What huge obstacles have you overcome lately? What plans do you have (already) for 2013?


The Trouble with Cowboys:A Big Sky Romance by Denise Hunter Book Review

From the back cover:

Only one pair of boots—and the cowboy wearing them—can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.
Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.
Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.
Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.
The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.
When Dylan reveals his feelings for her, Annie doesn’t know what to trust—her head or her heart. The trouble with this cowboy is that he might just be exactly what she needs.

My take:

 If you love cowboys, animals, and Big Sky Country, this book is probably for you. This book doesn't follow they typical bad guy meets good girl plot scenario - Annie's sister and nephew have a large part in how this book plays out. Annie and Dylan share a love and respect for horses, in addition, to a deep love and devotion to their families. This story definitely has a twist I have seen in other books, although it seems to fit just right into Annie and Dylan’s story.

If you enjoy reading stories about cowboys and the West, like I am, you will be gripped by this romance from Denise Hunter. I have seen the plot twist regarding Annie’s sister before. At first I was skeptical of its occurrence, but in this book in particular it definitely works well with the story. This book’s Christian influence could perhaps have been more obvious, but nonetheless makes a heartwarming read. Like I said before if you like this type of romance, you should enjoy reading, “The Trouble with Cowboys: A Big Sky Romance” by Denise Hunter.

You can check out the book here or at Amazon. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Hey Guys,

I'm still working through the Fall Into Blogging with the SITS Girls...Today's topic is "Share your favorite fall craft or autumn recipe or share what you're eyeing on Pinterest". Ok, guys. By now you probably know I'm going to post something with pumpkin and you would be absolutely correct! On Sunday, I had some pumpkin left over from adding it to my coffee in last weeks attempts to find the perfect pumpkin coffee (which wasn't too successful BTW), so I decided to bake something with it and ended up making basically Pumpkin Bread, you know like Banana Nut Bread, but without the banana and nut? The recipe I followed went like this:
Pumpkin Bread
2 1/3 cup Heart Smart Bisquick
1 1/2 cups Pumpkin (Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin) - It was probably more like 2 cups.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 9x5x3 loaf pan. 
2. In large bowl comine all ingredients, stir until well blended. Pour into greased pan.
3. Bake 45 - 60 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 
4. Let cool, remove from pan, and enjoy!

I actually used a "8.5" loaf pan to make 2 loaves, very uneven sized loaves. I also only cooked mine for about 45 minutes, but it seemed done enough to me. I would have added more sugar and less vegetable oil, maybe cinnamon applesauce instead to have less calories and more flavor. I should have used Sweet N' Low, but didn't consider the WW points until after I ate a couple of pieces. (I tend to slack on the weekends and when it involves pumpkin.) If you cut this into 12 pieces it's 6 WW points per slice I believe, which is why I should have tweaked the recipe. It's waaay to many points...Oh well. It was delicious, but I'm sure I'm biased in my crazy love of any and all things pumpkin. I don't have any pictures to show you at the moment. I finished the first loaf this evening. I ate like half the loaf Sunday evening, before I felt bad about ingesting all those points and took it slow until now. If I remember when I get the other loaf out of the freezer I'll post a picture of it for you. 

What are your favorite fall recipes? Do you have any that involve pumpkin? Let me know!


Monday, October 8, 2012

What I look forward to in Fall

Hey Guys,
  This is a continuation of the SITS Girls Fall Into Blogging series that I missed a couple of weeks ago. Today's topic is "Share one of your favorite fall memories or something you look forward to each fall." This is actually Day 3's topic, but I don't think taking a picture of the view outside my house would make you believe it's fall. I'm surrounded by Pine trees...

I look forward to Pumpkin _(any and everything)_ each and every fall. In recent years it has been the Pumpkin Spice Latte (Frozen/Blended) from Starbucks, in addition to Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cream Rolls,Pumpkin Cookies, Pumpkin Spice Creamer, Pumpkin Spice K-Cups...I think you get the idea. However, this year I have tried several great looking Pumpkin Spice Latte recipes from Pinterest and around the internet  and although they look amazing - to me they taste nothing like Pumpkin Spice Lattes. While browsing through sneekpeaq today, I realized that I need to try the Pumpkin Syrup recipes around blogland to get the pumpkin spice flavor I'm looking for. The Sonoma Syrup company page on sneekpeaq made me realize that with their product: Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup. I found a great recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup on Katie's Creatively Living Blog. I think with this recipe I can have delicious Pumpkin Spice Coffee at home!!
 (From Creatively Living)

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