Friday, December 21, 2012

An Unexpected Angel

A novel by Janet K. Halling

Publisher's Note: Ella Davies hates Christmas. Every year she spends the holidays working, trying to forget the pain of a childhood tragedy that left her all alone. But this season, Ella's about to learn something only an angel could teach her. This modern twist on a Christmas classic will remind you that the best gifts of all are the loved ones you learn to treasure!

Mandi's Review: Ella Davies has spent her life since her mother and sister's death filled with grief, anger, and guilt, and Christmas is just another painful reminder of what she no longer has. In the traditional spirit of A Christmas Carol, Ella is visited by an unexpected guest on Christmas eve. As she journeys into the events of the past, Ella learns there is always a purpose to the trials in her life. She learns the importance of forgiveness and love.

It was Christmas Eve, and the Empire State Building was lit with red and green. The streets were jammed with traffic, and the fog was rolling in off the Hudson, turning the streetlights into misty orbs.

Ella sighed and turned away from the window and the twinkling lights below, determined not to give in to the painful memories that had been lurking in the back of her mind all day.

 I have to admit, I loved this book. It is a wonderful read that will leave you feeling the tender Christmas spirit that is often hard to find during the busy holiday rush. At first, I didn't like Ella, but as you learn her story, you feel touched and inspired by this "Scrooge-like" character. This is definitely a holiday must-read and is a perfect addition to anyone's holiday collection. You'll want to read it again every year!

Purchase a copy of An Unexpected Angel today! It would make a great Christmas gift for those you love!

Learn more about author, Janet K. Halling .


Thursday, December 20, 2012

White Chocolate Almond Divinity

This time of year my very favorite thing to cook is candy cAnDy candy! I lOvE making toffee, fudge, truffles, carmels, and especially divinity! This is one of my favorite recipes. I like to add this-and-thats to my candy to create new recipes. Last year this was a hUgE hit at the family party!

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup slivered almonds
6 to 8 oz white chocolate chips

Directions:
Cook sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 2-quart pot over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. (On humid days, use 1 tablespoon less water.) Cook, without stirring, to 260 degrees on candy thermometer (or hard ball stage).
Beat egg whites in 1-1/2-quart bowl until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat while pouring hot syrup in a thin stream into egg whites. Add vanilla; beat until mixture holds its shape and becomes slightly dull. Fold in nuts and chocolate! 
Drop from buttered spoon onto waxed paper. Let stand at room temperature, turning candy over once, until outside of candy is firm--at least 12 hours. Store in airtight container.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Miss. Braithwaite's Secret

A Regency Romance by author G.G. Vandagriff

Publisher's Note: Miss Braithwaite’s Secret is the final novel in the traditional Regency Trilogy: “Three Rogues and Their Ladies.” The Deseret News claims “Vandagriff writes in a style reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Like Heyer, she centers her novel on witty characters that readers will love.”

In this novel, when Caroline Braithwaite, the Incomparable, leaves her first London Season early, the ton is left wondering why. Home in Wiltshire, she does not confide in her parents or her best friend. However, when the duke of Beverley appears at a house party to which they have both been invited, she is seriously discomposed. So is he. Fresh from a broken engagement, the last thing he wants is to partner a woman he had briefly courted in London – a woman he would have offered for before the fiancĂ©e came along. Caro fights her own attraction to the compelling duke. After all, he's already broken her heart once. She is not about to give him a second chance.

As the two slowly learn more about one another, they are surprised to find that first impressions have led them astray. While their feelings are growing progressively more intimate, they are plagued by harrowing circumstances which keep them apart and lead to new misunderstandings. How many times will Caro have to forgive Ned, the Duke of Beverley? And will he, at last, be able to prove his love?

Mandi's Review: Miss Braithwaite's Secret is the third book in GG Vandgriff's Three Rouges and Their Ladies Regency Trilogy. I have to admit, I've loved this series, and I am sorry to see it end. In Miss Braithwaite's Secret, Caroline a.k.a "Caro" and Ned are confronted with a wealth of misunderstandings amidst their growing mutual attraction. The romantic tension makes this novel all the more fun. Vandagriff's characters are perfectly flawed, with all the right distinctive quirks to keep them in your mind long after you've finished the book. The era in which this book is set bring many vivid pictures to mind, and you feel as if you've stepped into the past. This is definitely a series worth cuddling up with on a cold, wintry day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Lovers Holiday Hop



Hi, welcome to the Book Lovers Holiday Giveaway Hop blog hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Today on my blog you can win a $10 Walmart gift card or a free e-copy of my book The Alias (learn more on Amazon.com. Just follow the link) In order to win, just follow the rules listed below. And thanks for stopping by.
1) Follow this blog (Mandatory)
2) Like Tide Ever Rising on Facebook (New book coming Feb. 2013)
3) Follow my author page on Face Book
4) Follow me on Twitter

That's it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Turning Pages

Written by Tristi Pinkston

Publisher's Notes: With his pride and her prejudice, what could possibly go wrong? When the arrogant Blake Hansen steals Addie Preston's promotion at the library, he pretty much rubs her nose in it. But Addie, who dreams of being a full-fledged librarian, decides to stick it out. She loves surrounding herself with books and keeping her father's memory alive in the building where they spent so much time together. Soon, Addie learns that her beloved library will be torn down to make room for a larger facility, and she has to make a choice. Fight, or let go? To complicate things, she finds herself attracted to Blake, who is engaged to someone else. Will Blake and Addie ever resolve their differences?


Mandi's Review: Turning Pages, Tristi Pinkston's newest novel, is a story that will leave a smile on your face. Addie Preston, a college student who works at the local library has had a difficult life. After losing her mother at a very young age, she is faced with all the turmoil of dealing with her father's recent death. She, along with her step-mother, and younger siblings are faced with some difficult challenges. Then to compound the situation even further, Addie is suddenly passed up for a promotion she has desperately wanted-- Jr. Librarian. Blake, the man who "stole" her position then poses a whole new set of problems for Addie. This is definitely a fun book, written as a modern-day version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Addie is a fun, quirky character that I can really relate to. As a young woman, I spent hour upon hour in my local library. I remember browsing the isles and taking comfort in the unique scents that can only be found in an older library. I loved that Addie's goal was to save the original library. I have always enjoyed old, historic buildings, and there is certain charm that is definitely lacking in the new, modern libraries. I also really liked Blake's character. He is witty and arrogant, and I found the romantic tension between him and Addie a perfect addition to the story. This is a fun, clean read, and I'd recommend it for anyone who's looking for a great addition to their Christmas list.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful For Books Giveaway Hop


Hi, welcome to Thankful for Books blog hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Today on my blog you can win a $10 Amazon gift card or a free e-copy of my book The Alias (learn more on Amazon.com. Just follow the link) In order to win, just follow the rules listed below. And thanks for stopping by.
1) Follow this blog (Mandatory)
2) Like Tide Ever Rising on Facebook (New book coming Feb. 2013) ( +3)

That's it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Halloween in my FAVORITE holiday!  I’m like a crazy mama when Halloween night finally rolls around. I create a plan of action, and the kids and I hit as many houses as we can. We trick-or-treat until our noses are frozen and our feet ache. Then we come home and dive into our loot, and when the kids finally go to bed, I sneak all the chocolate. So today on my blog I'm excited to offer a fun Halloween gift bag to one lucky winner, and a e-copy of my book The Alias to another. Just follow the rules listed below, and don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact the winners. 



Alias is available on Amazon Kindle for only $4.99....

Rules:

1) Follow this blog (Mandatory)
2) Check out my new novel coming Feb 2013 and follow on Facebook (+1)
3) Name one character from my new novel (+1)

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out all the other fun blogs! 

Happy Halloween!




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reading Clean Giveaway Hop

     

Welcome to the Reading Clean Giveaway Hop...hosted by  Clean Teen FictionOne Librarian's Book Reviews I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Today on my blog you can win a fun gift bag full of surprises that any reader would love! All you have to do to enter is follow the rules listed below. 



To Win:

1) Follow this Blog (mandatory)
2) Check out my new book coming Feb. 2013 and "Like" my new page on Facebook (+2)
3) Tell me the name of one of the characters from Tide Ever Rising (+2)

Thanks a bunch for stopping by!! And Happy Reading!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to the Books Hop

Hi, welcome to Back to the Books blog hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Today on my blog you can win a $10 Amazon gift card or a free e-copy of my book The Alias (learn more on Amazon.com. Just follow the link) In order to win, just follow the rules listed below. And thanks for stopping by.
1) Follow this blog (Mandatory)
2) Like Tide Ever Rising on Facebook (New book coming Feb. 2013) ( +3)

That's it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ammonites

Ammonites are one of my very favorite fossils. I remember exploring the desert hills behind my hometown with my parents for hours and hours while we hunted these fun little fossil shells. This Ammonite is unique in that it has been replaced by Gold Pyrite. It's a beautiful piece.

 Pyrite Ammonite                                                                                                          For Sale

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Recycled Table(s)

I love love love to turn odd pieces of furniture into something unique and beautiful. A week or so ago, I was in need to a new kitchen table, so I decided to explore the local thrift stores. I happened to stumble on an old table in need of much love. I wish I had taken some before and after pictures, but I didn't. Needless to say, this table was in rough shape. I scrubbed the top, then used a fork and a hammer to distress the wood even more before I added a darker stain. After letting it dry, I pulled it apart and discovered these amazing, old, rusty gears. I was in love. The inside of the table base also made a great shadow box type thingy that I was able to decorate. My dining room is very green. I have decorated with artificial plants and real plants, so I changed the "shadow box" thingy up to make it match. Once that was finished, I placed my old glass top from my previous table on top, giving my new table a very uniquely-me look. Even the gaps between the wood add a certain "style".

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Taming of Lady Kate

By Author GG Vandagriff

Publisher's Note: Lady Kate Derramore and the Marquis of Northbrooke have one thing in common: In order to receive their inheritances, they must marry. Lady Kate, prevented from marrying the man she loves by her father’s will, determines to marry for convenience. With the forthrightness for which she is noted, she sets her sights on Jack—aforesaid Marquis. Jack, meanwhile, has tumbled into love with Kate at their first meeting. All might have gone swimmingly, were it not for his “other life,” the mysterious job that calls him out of town at the most inopportune moments. Unwittingly, he puts Lady Kate’s life in danger, and while attempting to rescue her comes up against her “reins-grabbing” nature. Will he ever be able to master Lady Kate? Will he ever be able to oust another man from her heart? And, despite Kate’s penchant for disaster, will he be able to save her life and his own?

If you liked The Duke's Undoing, you'll love The Taming of Lady Kate

Mandi's Review: The Taming of Lady Kate quickly became one of my favorite reads. This is a fun story filled with intrigue, romantic tension, and a handsome hero. Lady Kate, in an attempt to provide for her younger brother, feels it her responsibility to marry as quickly as possible, but because of her deceased father's will, she is unable to marry the man she loves. When she meets the handsome Marquis, Jack, she is definitely intrigued, but his "secret life" leaves her confused and uncertain of what she really desires. She is torn between her growing feelings for Jack and the man she swore she would always love. The action in this story is paced perfectly, and I absolutely loved the characters. I thought Lady Kate was a wonderful character. She was snarky, independent, cute, but frustrating…a perfect combination. I also really liked Jack. It took me a little longer to like him the way I liked Kate. Right at the start I had him figured for a “player”, but in the end, I was in love too. Vandagriff's newest Regency is definitely a story that will leave you turning the pages long into the night. Your heart will race, and I can almost guarantee that you'll close this book with a sigh. 

To purchase a kindle copy of The Taming of Lady Kate for only $2.99 visit Amazon Today

Making ¢ents....

On a hot sunny day, one of my favorite things to do is to wander around thrift stores. I adore thrift stores!! I drag my children down every isle while I shop happily to the sound of their whines and "pleeeeease"s. The thrill of the hunt keeps me coming back week after week. Thrift stores are wonderful, because I never pay full price for anything that I use to decorate my home and I LOVE to decorate. I change my design scheme at least 3 times a year. And I am amazed by how creative a mind can get while searching the cramped shelves and dark, dusty corners of these stores. My friends and family are always surprised at my thrift store discoveries and I often hear, "you found THAT at a thrift store?", and my answer is always, "yesssss". They shrug and ask, "how?". So.... for today's post I thought I would share some of my best discoveries and thrifty trade secrets.

Number 1) I never enter a thrift store without a plan of action. First, I start in the back. This is usually where the "Yard Sale" type items are kept and this is ALWAYS where I find my best "finds". The broken, outdated furniture can be used for a number of amazing household accessories. Decide what you need and then get creative! Use your imagination and remember two simple words: glue and paint!  For example...I needed a new kitchen table. One day while searching through the plethora of furniture, I discovered a much-outdated, glass top poker table. It was UGLY and it took nearly 15 minutes to convince my husband that it had potential. Eventually he caved and with his grudgingly wary help, I loaded the table into the van, ran to the nearest hardware store to buy a 1/2 gallon of paint, and Walla!! The table looks fantastic and I had the giggling pleasure of saying, "I told you so." Then I patiently waited until just the right stools came along on my local classifieds and I purchased the stools for $20 each. The total cost for chairs and table: $135....





You'll be amazed by how a can of paint can transform an outdated piece into one of your very favorites.....






The next example....I needed a desk; a place where I could write my books and still keep an eye on my children while they tear apart my house. I love green. One day, while rummaging through the "As Is" section of a thrift store, I stumbled across a sad little IKEA desk. The wheel was broken, the paint was scratched and dinged, and it was filthy, but it cost $5. I couldn't pass up that sort of deal. I crammed it into my van, brought it home, and cleaned it. (Mr. Clean Erasers© are truly magical) In this case, I couldn't paint it, because I loved the color...green. So  instead, I distressed it. I took a fork, a hammer, and a bottle of wood stain and I scratched and dinged it to my heart's content, creating an entirely new, shabby-chic look that blended perfectly with my collection of antiques and fossils. I glued the wheel in place, purchased a cheap black chair and now..... I have a fantastic work space! It cost a total of $18. 




Distressing furniture can suddenly bring an old shabby piece to life, and it's difficult to mess up the "distressed look". Not only is it easy, it's fun! If you  know how to yield a hammer, you know how to distress wood. 
Number 2) The next little bit of advice I can give is to move on from the yard sale section and race into the heart of the store. This is where you can find a melange of items to decorate your home....lamps, pictures, curtains, vases, old fishing gear and other crazy items that you never knew existed. The possibilities are endless. Broken trinkets can be glued, painted, and remade into whatever you need. Also, if you're like me, a simple object that piques my interest is often the inspiration to an entire decorative scheme. My dining room was built around one single object-- an old fan from the 40's. I found ← this fan hiding on the bottom shelf in the electronics section for $3, and that brings me to my next bit of advice.

.50 to 2.00 this-and-thats
Number 3) Always, always, always search the bottom shelves. You will be surprised how often the bottom shelves get missed by the casual shopper. I have found amazing nick-nacks, antiques, and other little this-and thats hiding in the back of the bottom shelf. When you go thrift, be prepared to get down and dirty and don't be afraid to DIG. Glancing and picking at the top shelves will yield you nothing but an empty cart and frustration.                                    

So the next time you're in a thrift store, keep in mind....it is a treasure hunt and you can't find the gold if you don't dig deep. Have FUN and remember that old adage, "One (wo)man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure."  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

!!Go Bananas!!

Ice cream has always been one of my greatest weaknesses. I turn to a tub of ice cream for nearly every occasion in my life. If I'm sad...I eat ice cream. If I'm overjoyed...I celebrate with ice cream. If I'm angry...I run to the store for an emergency quart of ice cream. You get the point! Ice cream is definitely a staple in my life. However, it has played havoc on my waist line.This summer my family has been trying to experience a variety of homemade frozen treats that are a bit healthier than your average tub of yumminess....just for fun. We've stumbled on several fun concoctions that I think you'll enjoy. Here are a few of our favorite recipes so far. We've had fun trying to come up with a different variety of flavors and textures, and because we use FrOZen baNaNas as our base, we can enjoy our treats without too much guilt...


*NOTE: Some of these recipes contain Truvia or Stevia. If you do not agree with consuming these products you can simply replace with sugar or your choice of sweetener. These are the products my family uses, and I understand the arguments against the use and "dangers" of said products. All of these recipes can be made without any added sugars or sweeteners. I just have a terrible sweet tooth. Thanks! 


Southern Butter Pecan Milk Shake


1 1/2 cup of Fat Free Milk
2 packets of Truvia or Stevia (*optional)
1 1/2 Frozen Banana
1/4 cup ( or less depending on your preference) Internation Delight Southern Butter Pecan Coffee Creamer
Ice
* For a malt flavor add Ovaltine Malt Powder


Break banana into smaller pieces (doesn't have to be too small) place in blender. Add milk, truvia, and creamer. Blend on high until creamy. Add ice until you achieve desired texture. Serve. (Usually makes 3 to 6 servings depending on how much you want to eat) 


Zooilla Banilla ( My boys invented the name )


4 Frozen Bananas
10-15 Frosted Circus cookies with sprinkles
1/4 cup of Whole or Fat Free Milk


Break banana into smaller chunks. Place in food processor. Add cookies. Process on high until mixture is chunky. Add milk, and continue to process until you get an ice cream like consistency. Serves 5 to 6
* Use a spoon or scraper to keep sides free and keep fruit circulating into the blade


Banana Chip 


4 frozen banana
1/4 cup or less of favorite chocolate chips
1/4 cup of milk


Break banana into smaller chunks. Place in food processor. Add chocolate chips. Process on high until mixture is chunky. Add milk, and continue to process until you get an ice cream like consistency. Serves 5 to 6
* Use a spoon or scraper to keep sides free and keep fruit circulating into the blade


WaterNana Sherbet ( My boys invented this name as well :) )


Freeze 1/2 quart of Watermelon (deseeded) in a freezer baggie 
1 1/2 Frozen Bananas
1/4 cup of Fat Free Milk
* Add Truvia or Stevia for a sweeter version 

Break banana into smaller chunks. Place in food processor. Break up frozen watermelon and add to processor. Process on high until mixture is chunky. Add milk, and continue to process until you get an ice cream like consistency. Serves 5 to 6
* Use a spoon or scraper to keep sides free and keep fruit circulating into the blade

Banana Cream Pie Ice Cream


4 Frozen Bananas
2 packets of Truvia or Stevia (*optional)
7 to 10 Vanilla Wafers
5 Vanilla Wafer crushed (set aside) 
1/4 cup of  Whole or Fat Free Milk
* Whip Cream





Break banana into smaller chunks. Place in food processor. Add cookies and Truvia. Process on high until mixture is chunky. Add milk, and continue to process until you get an ice cream like consistency. Serve in individual bowls and top with Whip Cream, and add a sprinkling of wafer crumbs. Serves 5 to 6
* Use a spoon or scraper to keep sides free and keep fruit circulating into the blade












Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom To READ....Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Freedom to Read giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Today on my blog I am giving away a free signed copy of my novel The Alias as well as a $10 gift card to Amazon.com.

After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey is sure the worst is over. But when the FBI reveals some disturbing information about her ex-husband, she is forced into hiding to protect herself and her son. In the process, she risks losing her identity, her future, and her heart. Thrilling and suspenseful, this novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.

To win just follow these rules below:
1) Follow this blog
2) Follow me on FaceBook
3) Leave a comment letting me know which steps you have completed, and don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win :).

That's it! I hope you enjoy the hop, and don't forget to enter for a chance to win more prizes below.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Waxing Moon

Publisher's Notes:


A faraway kingdom.
A brave warrior.
An unexpected danger.
An ancient secret.
A desperate plan.

Fear is running rampant in Bariwon. The people of a small village near the northern mountains have vanished. Newly commissioned royal guardian Snapdragon is sent with a scouting party to investigate. His responsibility is to protect the non-soldiers, including Seraphina, a stunning young nursemaid. When the party arrives, they make a shocking discovery. During the chaos that follows, Snapdragon discovers his feelings toward Seraphina are more than protective. Soon, he is forced to make difficult choices that will impact the future of everyone in Bariwon.

Mandi's Review: For those of you who have read J. Lloyd Morgan's The  Hidden Sun, the long-awaited sequel if finally here.  Filled with intrigue, adventure and a little romance, The Waxing Moon will leave you reading long into the night. When the inhabitants of a small village in the north suddenly disappear, the people of Bariwon are left feeling uneasy. Trying to discover the fate of the townspeople, King Rayne sends a scouting party to investigate, but when the party discovers a secret passage hidden deep within the formidable mountains they discover things are worse than they feared. When the scouting party is attacked by a band of ruthless warriors, Snapdragon, a newly appointed Royal Guardian, is Bariwon's only hope. As he unravels the mysteries of the tunnel, he learns of an ancient secret that could change the kingdom of Bariwon forever.  I have to admit, I don't usually read books in this genre, but I loved The Hidden Sun, and when asked to review The Waxing Moon, I was ecstatic. The characters are very well-developed. Snapdragon is definitely a surprise. In the beginning, his character is full of flaws. He's reckless, easy to anger, and trying much too hard to prove himself to world. But as he begins his journey, his growth and change are evident. His character develops in a way that will leave you cheering for this young hero and anxiously hoping for his success. The story-line is paced to perfection, and the plot is very well developed.  I give J. Lloyd Morgan five-stars and can hardly wait to read the next book in the series (The Zealous Star, coming 2013). 


Makin' Suds



DIY Soaps, Cleaners and Shampoos


 Look what we made....my labels aren't exactly the cutest because I was in a hurry, but I made my own dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, hand soap, soap scum killer, carpet deodorizer, baby shampoo, and all-purpose glass cleaner. The kids helped, and we had a ton of fun trying to decide what scents we wanted. We ended up with grapefruit scented laundry detergent and carpet deodorizer (smells just like Tide...mmm), peppermint hand soap, lemon dishwasher detergent, lavender baby shampoo, and lemon glass cleaner..... For weeks now, I have been collecting recipes for DIY laundry soaps, dishwashing soaps, and shampoos and I finally put them all to the test. In one day, my children and I made our own laundry soap, dishwashing detergent, glass cleaner, hand soap, soap scum remover, carpet deodorizer and even our very own baby shampoo. The cost to purchase the supplies to make all of this was easily under $30 (this price includes the essential oils) and I still have enough supplies left to make several more batches. As it is, I ended up with 2 gallons of baby shampoo, 3 gallons of laundry  detergent, 40 loads of dishwasher detergent, 3 gallons of hand soap and 2 full bottles of glass cleaner, carpet deo, and soap scum killer. I am AMAZED! And my children and I had a ton of fun  making all of this. So I thought I'd share my thoughts on each of these products and share the links I found. 

Here are the links to the homemade soaps and cleaners. I can't take credit for any of these recipes. I've googled these or found them on Pintrest. But so far, I'm enjoying how they work and the cost to make it all is AMAZING. 

****I used Ivory soap in place of Castile soap. But if you are looking for a more pure recipe, they suggest Castile. Ivory is comparable, but not quite as pure. 

Home made Baby Shampoo

* I tripled the recipe. I also added 2 bags of chamoile tea to the water as it was cooling in a separate triple batch. I have to admit... the chamomile tea/lavendar is my favorite by far. 
http://www.ehow.com/way_5199663_homemade-baby-shampoo-recipe.html

Home made Baby Wipes

*I haven't done this yet, but it looks fun.

http://www.homemademamas.net/2010/07/homemade-baby-wipes.html

Home made Hand Soap

* I love this. It works great, and we used peppermint essential oils. It doesn't suds up like regular soap, but my hands feel really clean and soft. 

http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-non-toxic-liquid-hand-soap-2

Home made Glass Cleaner

* This is by far my favorite recipe. It stinks. I'll be honest, but it leaves my mirrors looking fantastic. There are a few other recipes, but scroll to the bottom and you'll find the Alvin Corn Cleaner. You'll need to shake your bottle before each use because of the corn starch, but it's worth it!

http://www.crunchybetty.com/battle-of-the-homemade-glass-cleaners

Home made Laundry Detergent

*I have tried both the powdered and liquid. The liquid is my favorite, but the powdered worked well too. We added grapefruit essential oils and it leaves my clothes smelling so fresh.

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/make-your-own-laundry-soap.htm

Home made Dish Washing Detergent

* I actually tweaked this recipe. I add 3 drops of blue dawn dish soap per TBS of the mix. ( 20 TBS = 60 drops of liquid dish soap) Shake and mix it up with a fork or spoon really good. It does clump the first few times, but just keep breaking it up. The dish soap really adds to the cleaning power and it doesn't ruin your dishwasher because you are using such a small amount. I only use 1 TBS per load. Also, I use plain white vinegar for my rinse agent. My dishes look a lot better. 

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/diy-eco-dishwasher-detergent.htm

Home made Soap Scum Remover

* This is seriously great stuff. 

http://lifecraftsandwhatever.blogspot.com/2012/01/dawn-vinegar-soap-scum-killa.html

Home made Carpet Deodorizer

* I just sort of mixed this together one day and it worked great.

Fill an old Parmesan cheese container most of the way with baking soda. Add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender and grapefruit are my favorite) replace lid and shake until well mixed. Sprinkle across carpet. Let sit for an hour or two then vacuum. 

Re-use old dryer sheets

* I haven't tried this, but it sounds like it would work.

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-household-uses-for-used-yes-46912

DIY Carpet Stain Remover

* I haven't tried this either, but I have a friend who swears by it.
http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/slaves-to-fashion/2008/10/style-secret-the-only-spot-rem.html



Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Royal Elf of Abalon

A Novel by Anna del C. Dye

Publisher's Notes: The deep relationship between Amaria, the princess of Abalon and Marken, the chancellor’s son, comes to a halting stop after their kingdom is almost annihilated. However, death isn’t the only thing this battle brings. Elfs come to their rescue and, as a souvenir, take the princess home with them.

Blinded by fury, the overprotecting queen orders the extermination of the mighty elfs. Her captains know they can never win, so they are pleased when Amaria intervenes so desperately that she loses her mother. The unprepared princess is left to care for a kingdom that will demand her true love.

A Royal Elf of Abalon is the stand-alone continuation of Anna’s Elf series. Once again she has crafted an exciting new tale full of jealousy, betrayals, and death. A Royal Elf of Abalon is a masterpiece created in the genre of Tolkien that you’ll love to the end.

Mandi's Review: From the moment I had the chance to meet Author Anna del C. Dye I have been intrigued with her stories. I'm not usually one who enjoys elves and fantasy, but when asked to review A Royal Elf of Abalon I didn't hesitate, and I'm glad I didn't. A Royal Elf of Abalon follows a young princess, Amaria. Raised by a cruel and jealous queen, Amaria leads a sheltered life, but when enemies attack the kingdom, Amaria is sent away. Soon, the young princess discovers all is not right in her kingdom. Her mother's cruelty goes beyond anything Amaria believed, and after she meet Kurzan, an elf who has come to the kingdom's rescue, the story really takes off. The author does a fantastic job keeping readers engaged. The plot twists and turns, and Dye has developed strong, unique characters that will leave a lasting impression.This story is filled with high adventure, intrigue, and a secret, forbidden love. If you loved Lord of The Rings, Dye's books are sure to keep you reading late into the night.

Thursday, May 10, 2012



Welcome to the LDS Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today I am giving away a signed copy of my book "The Alias", a Romantic Suspense.

Publisher's Note: After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey is sure the worst is over. But when the FBI reveals some disturbing information about her ex-husband, she is forced into hiding to protect herself and her son. In the process, she risks losing her identity, her future, and her heart. Thrilling and suspenseful, this novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.----This book is available on Amazon Kindle today for only $3.99.


Check out The Alias Book Trailer:



To win all you have to do is follow the simple rules posted below:

1) Follow this blog (mandatory)
****That's It***

Thanks for entering!

Monday, April 30, 2012



Welcome to the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today I am giving away a signed copy of my book "The Alias", a Romantic Suspense.

Publisher's Note: After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey is sure the worst is over. But when the FBI reveals some disturbing information about her ex-husband, she is forced into hiding to protect herself and her son. In the process, she risks losing her identity, her future, and her heart. Thrilling and suspenseful, this novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.----This book is available on Amazon Kindle today for only $3.99.

To win all you have to do is follow the simple rules posted below:

1) Follow this blog (mandatory)
2) Follow me on FaceBook (+ 2)
3) Add "The Alias" to GoodReads (+1)
4) Visit my WEBSITE and answer this question: Which book will be published in 2013? (+3)
5) Leave a comment below letting me know which steps you have completed. Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Duke's Undoing

A Regency Romance by G.G. Vandagriff

Publisher's Notes: Meet the Duke of Ruisdell, the unlikely hero of my new Regency Romance.

The duke has just returned from the Napoleonic wars on the Iberian Peninsula with a wound in his shin, where a musket ball was lodged. He is weary, cynical, and very bored. Known as the worst rake in England, he finds he has no interest in upholding that distinction, when his friend, the Marquis of Somerset, proposes a bet: “Five thousand guineas says that seducing Miss Elise Edwards will cure your ennui.” Because his friend has just lost a packet to him, he agrees that the bet be posted in White’s famous Betting Book.

The following day, he has a most unsettling experience. Walking in Green Park, he spies a mysterious young woman, veiled, and obviously grieving. A disembodied voice, sounding strangely like that of his late adjutant, informs him, “The jig is up. That is the girl you are going to marry!” He scoffs, but is nevertheless intrigued by something about the slight figure. He even sketches her and asks if he can be of assistance to her. She declines his offer kindly.

At the opera that evening, he is again intrigued by a beauty across the Opera Hall. He hears the same voice, saying the same thing. The marquis informs him that the woman in question is Miss Elise Edwards. When he meets her, he recognizes her voice as that of the woman in the park. Now she is surrounded by a surfeit of ex-fiance’s, one of them dangerously unbalanced. Ruisdell discovers an actual bond between them which makes him honor bound to protect her.
Thus begins a train of unstoppable events–dangerous, humorous, devilish, and amorous–that carry his life along at such a pace that the duke soon knows not whether he is on his head or his heels. And then there is that bet . . 

Mandi's Review: To be quite honest, I don't believe I've read many Regency Romance novels, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. However, GG Vandagriff did not disappoint. This novel is filled with intrique, turmoil, a bit of comedy, and a LOT heart-fluttering romance. I loved the characters, especially those of Elise Edwards and the complex duke of Ruisdell. Elise is the perfect heroine. She is intelligent, snarky yet sweet, and passionate about life. In my mind, the duke is as handsome as ever, and exhibits just the right amount of dark brooding mixed with heart-warming sincerity.  Vandagriff weaves romantic tension between these two characters in a way that will leave your heart thrilling. The plot, though a little slow at first, picks right up and keeps you turning the pages until the very end. This story is definitely one that you will want to read over and over again. I can't wait to read more by G.G. Vandagriff.  

The Duke's Undoing is available on Amazon Kindle today for only $2.99 !!! Definitely check it out! You won't be disappointed. 





Thursday, April 19, 2012

Showers of Books Giveaway

Welcome to the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today I am giving away a signed copy of my book "The Alias", a Romantic Suspense.

Publisher's Note: After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey is sure the worst is over. But when the FBI reveals some disturbing information about her ex-husband, she is forced into hiding to protect herself and her son. In the process, she risks losing her identity, her future, and her heart. Thrilling and suspenseful, this novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.----This book is available on Amazon Kindle today for only $3.99.

To win all you have to do is follow the simple rules posted below:

1) Follow this blog (mandatory)
2) Follow me on FaceBook (+ 2)
3) Add "The Alias" to GoodReads (+1)
4) Visit my WEBSITE and answer this question: Which book will be published in 2013? (+3)
5) Leave a comment below letting me know which steps you have completed. Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Happy Spring!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dutch Oven Almond Poppy Seed Whole Wheat Bread

I Don't Look Like This When I Cook
Baking bread has never been one of my strong points. Normally when baking, I mix up ingredients, my dough doesn't rise, and I'm left with a lump of bread that resembles and tastes like a rock. That's why I was so excited to discover a nearly fool-proof recipe, and I've had a ball trying to find all sorts of new add-ins to make this bread unique. This isn't your typical, fluffy bread, rather it is coarse and dense, but it fills your belly and tastes WonDeRfuL. Today, I'm featuring my Almond Poppy Seed Whole Wheat Bread.








Ingredients:

3 cups Whole Wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp. Salt
1 TBS Sugar
2 tsp Yeast
2 C. Warm Water
1/4 C. Rolled Oats
2 TBS. Poppy Seeds
1/4 C. Slivered Almonds

Directions: In a large PLASTIC bowl (glass and metal seem to hinder the rising time) mix together flour, salt, sugar, rolled oats, poppy seeds, and almonds. Stir well. In a separate bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Once yeast is dissolved combine with flour mixture. Stir well. Dough will be sticky....this is not a problem....form a ball and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 12 to 18 hours.

Place dutch oven or deep baking dish in oven and pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. While oven and dish heats, dump sticky dough onto a heavily floured surface. Coat both sides of bread and let sit...DO NOT KNEAD...when oven reaches 450 degrees, carefully place dough into hot dish and bake for 35 minutes. Remove and let cool on baking rack.

And My Bread Doesn't Look THIS Good, but It's Still Yummy

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Motherhood Matters



Publisher's Notes: In these hectic days where life's demands can quickly become a heavy burden, Motherhood Matters helps you find more memorable moments and take the stress out of the to-do lists. Written with clarity, concision, and wit, this short, yet indispensable handbook is better than flowers, more guilt-free than chocolate, and gives back to the woman who sacrifices so much of herself every single day.


My Review: Just in time for Mother's Day, Connie Sokol's new book Motherhood Matters is just the sort of book I needed to read. Her words were a reminder of the divine calling of motherhood.Yet this book is also filled with poignant reminders that perfection is not a requirement.


"Part of  divine parenting includes stressful day-to-day mothering. No matter how patient and loving a mother is, there will be those times in her life when she has had it."

The author brings to light the rewards, challenges, realities, and joys of being a mother in a way that will leave you smiling and uplifted.

 My very favorite quote is, "Many women come from an active and accomplished single life and walk through the new mysterious portals of motherhood only to find that their biggest accomplishment is finding a matched pair of socks before the bus comes."

Isn't that the truth? Yet we are reminded that in the end, nothing from our pre-motherhood days are wasted. As a special education teacher (pre-children) I am able to use those skills I learned in the classroom and apply them in the most important classroom of all....my home. Filled with fun stories, quotes, and inspiration from LDS prophets and apostles, this book is a must-read for any mother, young or old.

To purchase a copy of Motherhood Matters by Connie Sokol visit Amazon today!
To learn more about author Connie Sokol you can visit her website at www.8basics.com