Archive for April, 2013

Save the Date: Fairview UMC Consignment Sale will be Saturday July 20

Save the Date: the Fairview UMC Consignment Sale will be Saturday July 20. This is a great annual sale that has items from all seasons. They’re also taking consignors now, so if you’re interested in participating, stop by the church office. I will have a giveaway for early-entry passes closer to the sale date.

Add comment April 29, 2013

Huge book deal: get $640 in ebooks for $29.97: 97 books on parenting, cooking, organizing & decor, etc. Includes Truth in the Tinsel and Tell Your Time.

Here’s a fun deal that begins today: A bunch of bloggers and eBook authors have put a really great bundle together for a special deal called The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle. Through May 4 you can get 97 books ($640 value!) for $29.97.

This bundle includes books on topics like parenting, holiday planning (including Truth in the Tinsel, which I posted about this past Christmas),  cooking and meal-planning, organizing and home decor, homeschooling, spiritual growth, time-management (including Tell Your Time!), money management and more!

I have found it to be really easy to pull eBooks into the iBooks section of my iPad. This past Christmas I brought my iPad to the breakfast table each day to read our family devotions and activities from Truth in the Tinsel. It was really convenient, and my kids loved it. You can also read these eBooks on Kindle or on your computer.

This book bundle would be great as a wedding or baby shower present! I think I may be doing that myself.

Here’s more info and the full list of all the books included in this offer. I am warning you, it’s long!

For 6 days only, more than 75 widely-known bloggers and authors in the homemaking sphere have joined together to offer 97 of their most popular eBooks and eCourses, valued at just over $600, for the incredibly low price of $29.97!

More than anything, our goal for this sale was for it to be, well… ultimate! We firmly believe that you will not find a more comprehensive collection of homemaking resources anywhere on the web, and particularly not in this price range. For this low price, you gain access to every single one of these resources, so that you can customize your own collection to contain exactly the ones you want and know you’ll use.

This library of homemaking helps include topics such as mothering, organization and cleaning, recipes and kitchen helps, home education, spiritual growth for both moms and kids, home décor and DIY, pregnancy and baby care, frugal living, health and fitness, and even work-from-home and financial tools.

To sweeten the pot, we’ve also teamed up with 10 companies to bring you over $140 in bonus offers, giving you an affordable opportunity to get products you’ll use and love for only the cost of shipping, or in some cases, entirely for free!

What’s Included in the Sale?

When you purchase The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection, you will get instant access to any of the 97 eBooks and eCourses listed below, PLUS the Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection comes with more than $140 of FREE Bonuses from 10 companies that we know you’ll love. More on these bonuses below.

Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered.

Home & Property {Cleaning, Organizing, Decor}

31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae @ ($4.99)
Getting it Together: Your Guide to Setting Up a Home Management System that Works by Kayse @ kayse pratt ($3.99)
Pulling Yourself Together: Implementing a Cleaning Routine that Sticks by Becky @ Clean Mama ($10.00)
Simple Living by Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99)
NOT a DIY Diva by Melissa @ The Inspired Room ($3.99)
One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh @ Simple Mom ($5.00)
28 Days to Hope for your Home by Dana @ A Slob Comes Clean ($5.00)
Organizing Life as Mom by Jessica @ Life as Mom ($9.00)
Clean Enough: Simple Solutions for the Overwhelmed by Jenni @ Live Called ($4.99)
10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa @ Lisa$5.00)
Handmade Walls by Jamin and Ashley @ the handmade home ($9.95)
Easy Peasy Chores: An Easy-to-Use Chore System That Brings JOY Back Into Family Chores by Alina Joy @ The Good Old Days Farm ($17.99)

Educational Children’s Resources

Princess Training by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($3.99)
The Armor of God by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($2.50)
My Bedtime Learning Book by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($1.00)
Think Outside the Classroom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($6.97)
Raising Rock Stars — Kindergarten Bundle by Carissa @ 1plus1plus1equals1 ($10.00)
The ABC’s For Godly Boys Curriculum by Lindsey @ Road to 31 ($8.00)
The ABC’s For Godly Girls Curriculum by Lindsey @ Road to 31 ($8.00)
K4 Curriculum by Erica @ Confessions of a Homeschooler ($15.00)
Write Through the Bible (print) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)
Write Through the Bible (cursive) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00)
Balcony Girls (books 1 & 2) by Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer ($19.90)
The Dig for Kids: Luke (Volumes 1 and 2) by Patrick, husband of Ruth @ The Better Mom ($5.98)
Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Ryan @ Resound School of Music ($6.99)

Budgeting {Finance & Time}

From Debtor to Better by Barry @ From Debtor to Better ($10.00)
Tell Your Time by Amy @ Blogging with Amy ($2.99)
The Homemakers Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy @ Raising Arrows ($4.99)
Your Grocery Budget Toolbox by Anne @ Authentic Simplicity ($7.99)
Finding Financial Freedom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($5.97)
Become a Frugalista in 30 Days by Susan @ The Confident Mom ($3.99)

In the Kitchen {Recipes and Cooking}

Crock On by Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents ($5.00)
Real Food, Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
Wholesome Mixes by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
20-Minute Meals by Leigh Ann @ Intentional by Grace ($4.99)
Restocking the Pantry by Kresha @ Nourishing Joy ($9.99)
Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking by Crystal @ Money Saving Mom ($3.99)
Simply Summer by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95)
Do the Funky Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($4.95)
Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen plus 1 month access to select Real Food Kids eCourse videos by Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS and Jami @ Eat Nourishing ($20.00)
Seasonal Menu Plans on a Budget: A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours by Diana @ My Humble Kitchen ($4.99)
Just Making Ice Cream by Marillyn @ Just Making Noise ($12.00)
The Curative Kitchen by Susan @ Handy Pantry ($20.00)

Pregnancy & Baby Care

First Bites by Hilary @ Accidentally Green ($9.99)
Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)
Stress-Free Baby Shower by Sara @ Your Thriving Family ($4.00)
Unbound Birth by Jenny @ The Southern Institute ($2.99)
My Pregnancy Journey by Mindy @ Simply Designs ($9.99)
My Buttered Life Baby Edition by Renee @ Made On Hard Lotion ($5.00)
The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($5.00)
Redeeming Childbirth: Growth & Study Guide by Angie @ Redeeming Childbirth ($3.99)

Holidays & Special Events

Festive Traditions by Jill @ Modern Alternative Kitchen ($7.95)
Holiday Mixes: Gifts in a Jar by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
Flourishing Spring by Michele @ Frugal Granola ($5.95)
Family Camping Handbook by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($6.95)
Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda @ Oh, Amanda! ($7.99)
Plan a Fabulous Party by Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect ($4.99)
iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide by Alli @ Alli Worthington($9.97)

Spiritual Growth

Pursuit of the Proverbs 31 by Amy @ Amy Bayliss ($3.99)
The Best of Visionary Womanhood by Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood ($5.00)
God’s Word in my Heart: A Scripture Memory Learning Guide with Verses {all 4 versions} by Jenn @ The Purposeful Mom ($3.99)
Kept: a 13-Week Inductive Study on 1 Peter by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($4.99)
Love Like Him: an 8 week Inductive Bible study on 1 Corinthians 13 by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($2.99)

Marriage & Romance

Rekindling Romance by Jason & Jami @ A Biblical Marriage ($4.99)
Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife ($2.99)
31 Days to Build a Better Spouse by Ashley @ Ashley Pichea ($4.99)
31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($4.99)
Entangled: Recognize Your Emotional Affair by Amy @ Amy J. Bennett ($4.99)


The Heart of Simplicity by various authors @ The Heart of Simplicity ($9.99)
True Christian Motherhood by June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ($7.00)
Hula Hoop Girl by September @ One September Day ($4.99)
When Motherhood Feels Too Hard by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97)
Mindset for Moms by Jamie @ Steady Days ($4.99)
From Cube to Farm by Heather @ From Cube to Farm ($2.99)
4 Moms of 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions by various authors @ 4 Moms, 35+ Kids Parenting E-book ($7.99)
That Works for Me! by Kristen @ We are THAT Family ($8.00)

Health & Fitness

100-pound Loser by Jessica @ Muthering Heights ($4.99)
Honoring the Rhythm of Rest by Danielle @ Domestic Serenity ($2.99)
42 Days to Fit by Brandy @ The Marathon Mom, Emma @ Real Fit Moms and Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($4.99)
Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home ($12.95)
Personal ePlanner by Jennifer @ ListPlanIt ($5.00)


Frumps to Pumps by Sarah Mae @ ($4.99)
The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00)
Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($3.99)
The No Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley @ The No Brainer Wardrobe ($7.99)
Embracing Beauty by Trina @ Trina Holden ($9.00)
Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose by Kristen @ The Frugal Girl ($3.99)

Working from Home & Blogging

Your Blogging Business: Tax, Talk and Tips by Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger ($4.99)
The Bootstrap VA by Lisa @ The Home Life {and Me} ($12.99)
How to Grow Your Blog and Manage Your Home by Jacinda @ Growing Home ($4.99)
How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($12.00)
Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging by Rachel @ Small Notebook ($8.00)


Learning in Love: The Preschool Years by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99)
Homeschooling from the Heart by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99)
Grocery University by Carrie @ Colorado Bargains ($24.95)
Vibrant Living Strategies for Moms by Lisa @ Well-Grounded Life ($59)
You Can Do This! The First Five Steps to a Real Food Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.00)

PLUS, You will receive FREE Bonuses from these companies…

A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio (for new members) or $20 off a Yearly Membership (for current members), where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are tummy safe and particularly target Diastasis Recti (split abs). ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.)


A $15 store credit to TruKid. With products like their aware-winning sun care, they are dedicated to providing all natural skin and hair care for kids, babies, and now pets. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)


Your choice of incredible natural products like sea salt and clay for FREE. Choose from the Redmond Trading Earthpaste Bundle ($24.90 value) or the Facial Mud Bundle ($26.90 value). (Standard shipping applies. Continental US only.)


Your choice of a FREE heirloom sourdough starter or FREE yogurt starter from Cultures for Health, the leading supplier of starter cultures and supplies for making cultured and fermented foods ($12.95 value. US & CAN addresses only. Standard shipping applies.)


Your choice of: a FREE 3-Month Subscription (for new accounts) or 30% off a One Year Subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)


A FREE Culinary Herbs Assorted Seed Pack Check just in time for spring planting from, a living whole foods company. ($11.95 value. Standard shipping applies to all US states and territories- no international shipping for seeds.)


Get $10 off Union28’s original “my husband rocks” tee. Their marriage apparel lets you celebrate your spouse in style. ($10.00 value. Standard shipping rates apply. International shipping available, but free shipping only available within USA.)


A $10 store credit plus 1 FREE lip balm from Bee All Natural. Their whole body products nourish and heal, and are made using only the highest quality, food grade, organic ingredients. ($13.49 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.)


A FREE 2 oz. bottle of your choice of liquid herbal formula from TriLight Health. They specialize in fast acting, great tasting natural herbal remedies. ($12.95 value or more. Standard shipping applies, within the USA only.)


Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Membership to ListPlanIt, whose mobile lists will help to organize your life. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)

The fine print:

Bonus Offers

  • Each bonus offer can be redeemed once only per eBook Bundle purchase.
  • For each bonus offer, transaction numbers or proof of purchase may be required at the time of redemption.
  • All bonus offers are free gifts from the bonus sponsors, are their sole responsibility to provide, and are subject to availability.
  • All bonus offers expire at midnight on May 19th, 2013 (2 weeks from the last day of this sale).


  • It is your responsibility to download and back-up your purchase within the 1-month download time-frame. With proof of purchase, we can renew download links up until August 1st, 2013. After this date we will no longer have access to the books and will not be able to provide any new links to download.
  • Due to the nature of this sale, there will be no refunds available. However, we would invite you to read our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the file types, the download process, how the bonus offers work, etc.

Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered, so make sure that you get your bundle right away!

Particularly for those wanting to read these ebooks on their mobile devices (iPhones or iPads, Android, Kindle, etc.) you will want to learn more about the file types, how to download them correctly, and how to transfer them to your device. Here are the FAQs.

This post includes affiliate links, and I make a portion of the sale of each ebook bundle. Thanks for your support of this site!


Add comment April 29, 2013

Tropical Traditions Free Shipping + BOGO Coconut Oil!

This weekend only (through 4/29) Tropical Traditions is offering free shipping! Just use the coupon code 132944 at checkout. As part of my new gluten-free journey I’m going to be stocking up on coconut flour and coconut oil, things that I have used in the past as healthy additions to a non-gluten-free diet. Tropical Traditions also offers raw honey that my family has really enjoyed, and I probably need to stock up on Omega 3 Greens, too!

Here are the other sales they have going on right now:

  • BOGO Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Pints
  • 42% off Palm Shortening
  • BOGO Coconut Cream Concentrate
  • 50% off Hemp Protein Powder

(Note: Links in posts may be referral links that help support this site. Read my disclosure policy here.)

Add comment April 27, 2013

Book review and Kindle sale: Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist

I recently had the chance to read Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist. This nonfiction book was released April 9, 2013 by Zondervan.

About this book (from the back cover):

As a follow up to her two bestselling books, Bittersweet and Cold Tangerines, author and blogger Shauna Niequist returns with the perfect read for those who love food and value the community and connection of family and friends around the table. Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about family relationships, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. This mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa is a funny, honest, and vulnerable spiritual memoir. Bread and Wine is a celebration of food shared, reminding readers of the joy found in a life around the table. It’s about the ways God teaches and nourishes people as they nourish the people around them. It’s about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two. With wonderful recipes included, from Bacon-Wrapped Dates to Mango Chicken Curry to Blueberry Crisp, readers will be able to recreate the comforting and satisfying meals that come to life in Bread and Wine.

My Verdict:

I signed up to review this book because it made me think of one of my friends, and I decided I’d like to give it to her as a gift once I was done reviewing it. Unfortunately for her, this book won’t be leaving my house, because it’s THAT good. I’ll just have to buy her a copy of her own. 🙂 I was unfamiliar with Niequist’s previous books and her blog, but I’m now a fan. Her writing style is poetic (without being overly so) and her essays give you the feeling of having a nice chat with a friend about life, faith, food, entertaining, etc. (Except for the chapter called “Enough,” which made me cry – in a good way.) There are 29 recipes that are included, and they all seem like something I could reasonably attempt, even though I’m a novice in the kitchen. There’s also a set of 4-week Book Club/Cooking club menus, which are fantastic if you would like to attempt to have your own version if the wonderful cooking club Niequist herself has, as described in the book. I struggled to pick out a quote from the book to share, just because every few pages or so I would think, “This is it! No, wait, this is it!” It’s a very quotable book, and Niequest herself shares some great quotes from people like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and A.A. Milne. Here’s the quote (okay, paragraph) I decided on, simply because I liked it:

“My friends and I didn’t learn to cook, necessarily. In an effort to widen our options, to set us free to be whatever we wanted to be, many of our mothers shooed us out of the kitchen – that place of lingering oppression and captivity for many of them. They encouraged us to study and travel and participate in sports and the arts, the things women didn’t get to do when they were young. They shooed us out as an act of love, regardless of the fact that some of us really wanted to be there. So then, largely, young women and men moved out of their parents’ homes and didn’t know how to cook at all, and both genders felt conflicted about it, for a host of reasons. So we got takeout and thought about other things. But many of us, men and women alike, at a certain point, are wandering back to the kitchen and fumbling and learning and trying to feed ourselves and the people we love, because we sense that it’s important and we may have missed something along the way. Especially for those of us who make our livings largely in front of computer screens, there’s something extraordinary about getting up from the keyboard and using our hands for something besides typing – for chopping and dicing and coaxing scents and flavors from the raw materials in front of us. There’s something entirely satisfying in a modern, increasingly virtual world about something so elemental – heat, knife, sizzle.”

So, if I wasn’t clear, get this book. It would make a great wedding/birthday/housewarming present, but mainly you need it for yourself.

If you’d like to check out Bread and Wine it is currently on sale for $8.89 for the Kindle version right now, which is 53% off. (Regularly $18.99.) If you prefer a physical copy the hardcover version is currently on sale for $11.30. It is not yet available in paperback. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® 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.”

Add comment April 27, 2013

DIY: Dry Shampoo with lemon or lavender

In college, I discovered the amazing ability of baby powder to make my dirty hair look really clean in a pinch (for instance, oversleeping and then rushing to class.) However, it had the unfortunate side effect of making you smell like a baby all day. I knew companies like Bumble & Bumble sold dry shampoo for specific hair colors, but their products were a little out of my price range. I just stumbled upon this recipe for DIY dry shampoo, and I think I’m going to try it out. Smelling like lavender or lemons all day sounds much better than smelling like baby powder!

Here’s the full recipe and instructions.

Thanks, ModCloth Blog!

Add comment April 26, 2013

Deal on blueberry plants: $10 for 3 plants, plus S&H


Here are my blueberry plants. I bought them as seedlings last year and I’ve really been pleased with how they’ve grown! If you’re looking for a good deal on blueberry plants, here’s one I’ve run across: 3 plants for $10 is definitely a better price than I paid! Here’s the info, below.

Go here for more info on Little Giant blueberry plants, $3 for 10. They claim to provide up to 16,000 blueberries per plant. I have no idea what the average plant produces, since mine were just babies last year and were not really producing.

And, just to make your life a little happier, here’s a recipe for Lemon Goat Cheese Pancakes from Gracehill Bed & Breakfast in Townsend. Mmmm….

Home Made Simple

(Note: Some links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)



Add comment April 23, 2013

Amazon Student: fantastic deal for anyone enrolled in school

In researching my last post, I was reminded about what a great deal the Amazon Student program is. You must have a .edu email address to sign up. Once you do, you’ll get 6 months of Amazon Prime for FREE (and you can cancel easily after that time, but you might want to extend your membership…see below). Prime benefits include free 2-day shipping on most items, 20% off when you subscribe to 5 or more Subscribe & Save items, and our favorite, free streaming of lots of TV shows and movies.

Another great benefit is that after your 6-month free trial, you can extend your membership for $39/year for four years. In contrast, us non-students pay $79/year.

If you’re a student, you can go here to sign up.


Add comment April 23, 2013

Gluten free: two great sales and a free app

For the next two weeks I am trying to follow a gluten-free diet in order to determine whether I have a gluten allergy. It’s harder than I thought: I miss baking! Fortunately, Amazon has a sale on two gluten-free flours, so once those arrive I’m going to do some experimenting. For those of you who are gluten-free, I thought I’d share these sales. I also discovered a free app that’s been very helpful.

Right now, you can get Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour for $9.67 for a 4-pack of 20-oz bags when you choose the Subscribe & Save option (which can be canceled.) That makes it $2.42/bag.

You can also get Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour for $10.62 for a 4-pack of 24-oz bags when you choose the Subscribe & Save option. That makes it $2.66/bag.

Also, when you sign up for 5 or more Subscribe & Save items, your discount changes from 5% to 15% (or 20% if you’re an Amazon Prime member, which we are). (You do also need to be a member of the free Amazon Mom program, and you can do that here.) I found some other items we were needing that I don’t usually have coupons for and added them to my subscription to get this discount. I always set my delivery to 6 months. Remember, it’s easy to cancel your Subscribe & Save items if you decide it’s not that great of a deal the next time around.

I’ve also been using the ShopWell app, which is available for free on iTunes. It’s not just for those who are avoiding gluten: you can customize it to help you avoid lots of different ingredients, and it also makes recommendations based on general healthy eating. However, for avoiding gluten it’s been extremely helpful. You just scan the UPC code on the item in question, and if it contains gluten the app gives you a red warning sign. Highly recommended.


Add comment April 23, 2013

Book review and Kindle sale: American Phoenix, by Jane Hampton Cook

I recently had the chance to read American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence , by Jane Hampton Cook. This nonfiction book will officially be released May 7, 2013 by Thomas Nelson.

About this book (from the back cover):

John Quincy and Louisa Adams’s unexpected journey that changed everything.

American Phoenix is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure across forbidding oceans and frozen tundra—from the bustling ports and towering birches of Boston to the remote reaches of pre-Soviet Russia, from an exile in arctic St. Petersburg to resurrection and reunion among the gardens of Paris. Upon these varied landscapes this Adams and his Eve must find a way to transform their banishment into America’s salvation.

Author, historian, and national media commentator Jane Hampton Cook breathes life into once-obscure history, weaving a meticulously researched biographical tapestry that reads like a gripping novel. With the arc and intrigue of Shakespearean drama in a Jane Austen era, American Phoenix is a timely yet timeless addition to the recent renaissance of works on the founding Adams family, from patriarchs John and Abigail to the second-generation of John Quincy and Louisa and beyond.

Cook has crafted not only a riveting narrative but also an easy-to-understand history filled with fly-on-the-wall vignettes from 1812 and its hardscrabble, freedom-hungry people. While unveiling vivid portrayals of each character—a colorful assortment of heroes and villains, patriots and pirates, rogues and rabble-rousers—she paints equally fresh, intimate portraits of both John Quincy and Louisa Adams. Cook artfully reveals John Quincy’s devastation after losing the job of his dreams, battle for America’s need to thrive economically, and sojourn to secure his homeland’s survival as a sovereign nation. She reserves her most detailed brushstrokes for the inner struggles of Louisa, using this quietly inspirational woman’s own words to amplify her fears, faith, and fortitude along a deeply personal, often heart-rending journey. Cook’s close-up perspective shows how this American couple’s Russian destination changed US destiny.

My Verdict:

Generally, I am more of a fiction reader; my husband is the nonfiction reader in our family, and I selected this book because I thought it might be something good to read together. American Phoenix is written in a narrative style, and I found it to be easy and enjoyable to read! Cook does a great job drawing logical conclusions about the natures of her “characters” through her in-depth research of their writings.  I especially appreciated the amount of time Cook spent in exploring Louisa’s story and the sacrifices she made for her husband and he country. Adams, too commands respect: his decision early on to risk his budding political career to vote with his conscience on the Embargo Act was very inspirational to me personally; I love the fact that although he did initially lose his congressional seat because of the Embargo Act vote, he eventually rose again to be President. I highly recommend this book for history and nonfiction fans, but also for those who just enjoy a great story.

If you’d like to check out American Phoenix it is currently on sale for $14.57 for the Kindle version right now, which is 46% off. (Regularly $26.99.) If you prefer a physical copy the hardcover version is currently on sale for $15.83. It is not yet available in paperback. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® 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.”

Add comment April 23, 2013

Earth Day giveaway: The Magic School Bus: All About Earth

UPDATE: The winner is comment #86, Clarissa. Thanks to all who entered!

One of my kids’ favorite series is The Magic School Bus. I love how they learn SO much about science while watching this show. The cartoons are presented in such a engaging format that my girls now associate science with fun! We have been enjoying a new DVD that has been released just in time for Earth Day (April 22). It’s called The Magic School Bus: All About Earth. It retails for $12.95, but Amazon is having a special sale right now where you can purchase this DVD for $7.94.

Here’s more information about this DVD, which will officially be released tomorrow.

For more than 40 years, we’ve gathered together on April 22 to celebrate the planet with Earth Day.  This year, over 1 billion people will participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world.  As we get ready for this years’ celebration, Scholastic invites families to get inside the earth like never before with THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS: ALL ABOUT EARTHFeaturing three all-new, never-before-released episodes of the long-running Emmy® Award-winning science adventure series, the DVD also offers English and Spanish language options and includes the bonus episode “The Magic School Bus All Dried Up”.

Grab a seat on the bus and hang on for the three episodes, including “The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed”, where the class’ garden is going to be featured on the cover of Plant It! Magazine, but Phoebe’s garden plot is glaringly empty; “The Magic School Bus Blows its Top”, which explains volcanoes and shows Ms. Frizzle’s class how the earth makes islands and “The Magic School Bus Goes on Air”, which covers the mysteries and miracles of air pressure.


  • Bonus Episode
  •  English and Spanish Language Options 

Would you like to win a copy of The Magic School Bus: All About Earth? Scholastic will be giving one copy to a Thrifty Christy reader! Here’s how to enter to win:

Required Entry:

To enter to win, just leave a comment below letting me know whether you’ve ever watched The Magic School Bus series. That’s it! (If you’re reading this on Facebook/Twitter hop on over to to leave your comment.)

Additional Optional Entries:

You can do each of the following things for an additional entry in the giveaway. You can only do each of these once, for a possible total of 6 entries.

Please leave a separate comment for each method of entry. If you only leave one comment then you only have one entry, as each comment is numbered and I randomly choose a number. Make sense?

This giveaway ends at midnight EST on Thursday April 18. I will choose a winner on Friday April 19 using and will contact them via email.

Thanks to New Kideo (the children’s division of New Video Productions) and Scholastic for providing the DVDs for this review and giveaway. All opinions in this review are solely my own. Giveaway open to US readers only.

174 comments April 15, 2013

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