icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: January 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review~A Miracle of Hope

A Miracle of Hope is an Amish Wonders novel by author Ruth Reid.  Lindie Wyse is Amish, unmarried, and pregnant.  She accepts an offer to marry fellow Amish widower Josiah Plank in Michigan.  This is to be an arrangement 'in name only', and Lindie would be expected to care for Josiah's eight-year-old daughter Hannah, who is deaf. 

After arriving, Lindie, who is suffering terrible nausea, realizes she has taken on more than she imagined.  Being a 'wife' to a man still suffering the loss of his beloved wife, and trying to communicate with a deaf child with special needs is almost too much for her.  Together, Josiah and Lindie have to learn to communicate and care for their new family.  Their hearts begin to soften, and soon they are hit with terrible news.

I have read books by Ruth Reid in the past, and enjoyed them.  But I must say, hands down A Miracle of Hope is my favorite.  The storyline  about an arranged, loveless marriage was fascinating. Lindie's pregnancy and how she became pregnant were a big part of the story that focused on forgiveness.  I loved the characters of Lindie and Josiah, both such sweet, kind people. I truly could not put this book down, and loved every word!

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review~Emma of Aurora

Emma of Aurora, by Jane Kirkpatrick, is the complete Change and Cherish Trilogy.  It includes three full novels: A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, and A Mending at the Edge.  A few years ago, I had the pleasure of  reading the first book in the series, A Clearing in the Wild.  It was a wonderful story, and I knew I had to read the rest of the series!

Just to refresh my memory, I started at the beginning and read all three novels. The series  is based on a true story, and is set in the mid to late 1800s, beginning in Missouri.  Emma Wagner is a feisty young woman, full of life and looking forward to the future ahead of her.  She lives in a religious community under the lead of Father Keil. When Father Keil decides the community needs to move out west, Emma manages to convince him to let her go with the men that are scouting out the territory. 

Harsh travelling conditions and a new marriage are just a few of the many struggles Emma must deal with.  Throughout the three novels, we watch Emma's life unfold, as she learns what is worth fighting for, and what is most important in her life. 

Emma of Aurora is one of the best series I have ever read.  I love the Northwest, and the author provides such beautiful descriptions of the land.  I felt like I really knew Emma, and enjoyed her outspoken ways in a time when women were not meant to stand up for what they believed.  She went through such tragedy, and I felt such deep emotions as I read. 

Emma of Aurora is 1153 pages long.  That might sound intimidating, but don't worry-you won't want to put it down.  Along with the three novels are a Cast of Characters, a Map, Author's Notes and Acknowledgements, a Reader's Guide, The Aurora Colony Articles of Agreement 1867, and a Glossary of German and Chinook Words. 

*Disclosure: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

~Wordless Wednesday~

Book Review~Trapped

Trapped, by Lawrence w. Gold, M.D., is  part of the Brier Hospital Series.  There are currently six books in this series, but Trapped is the first book I have read by the author.  I have always been fascinated by medical stories and shows, and have often thought I should have done something in the medical field. 

Trapped is the story of NICU nurse Lisa Cooke and NICU doctor Mike Cooper.  Lisa was raised in a troubled, abusive home, and doesn't trust men.  Mike reminds Lisa of her father, and they are both attracted to each other.  In Trapped, you will follow their romance and the medical tragedy that threatens their future. 

I loved this story!  I never lost interest in it, and spent a few nights up way too late once I got into the last half of the book.  The hectic pace of the NICU is riveting, and of course as a baby lover  I was fascinated by the stories. 

Knowing that the author had been a doctor for twenty-three years and served as chief of a hospital's department of internal medicine and family practice left me assured he knows what he is writing about!  Because of his experience he was able to get very detailed in describing what was going on in the hospital. 

I definitely recommend Trapped, and now I would like to read the rest of the books in the Brier Hospital Series.  For more information, visit the author's website. 

*Disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday~Little Reader

Book Review and Author Giveaway~The Calling

The Calling is the second book in The Inn at Eagle Hill series by Suzanne Woods Fisher.    You can read my review of the first book, The Letters, here.  In The Calling, Bethany Schrock is questioning many things in her life. She thought she had found the love of her life, but he broke her heart and hurt her family.  She also is haunted by why her mother left her at a young age, never to return. 

Bethany is spending her summer working for the sisters, five elderly Amish ladies who need help cleaning out years of clutter from their home.  Through them and a new guest at her family's Inn, Bethany tries to figure out the answers to her questions, and her place in the community.

 I thoroughly enjoyed every page of The Calling.  Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of my favorite authors, and once again I had a hard time putting the book down.  She does a great job of making me feel like I know the characters personally.  Also, she throws in a few twists and turns that took me by surprise!  I hope there is a third book in The Inn at Eagle Hill series soon!

To  learn more about author Suzanne Woods Fisher, visit her website.  Purchase your own copy of The Calling here. 

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating her newest book, The Calling, by giving away TWO iPads, TWO Kindles, and TWO Nooks!
Two grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Letters and The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Four second place winners will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX or a Nook HD—winner's choice!
  • The Letters and The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 8th. All winners will be announced February 10th at Suzanne's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 10th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse Publicity. 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."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Purex Get a Clean Start Sweepstakes!!

Let Purex start your new year off in style! We’ll take care of your new wardrobe and detergent needs for all of 2014. Enter to WIN $1,000 towards a new wardrobe and a year’s supply of Purex detergent!  Click here to enter-you can enter once daily through January 31, 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Purex New Year, New You Sweepstakes!!

Stay fit & fresh this year with help from Purex. Enter to WIN a Basis Fitness Tracker & a year’s supply of Purex Crystals! Purex Crystals do not interfere with moisture wicking fabric; they work great for all your sportswear! Let Purex help you stick to your resolution this year. Enter here for your chance to WIN! You can enter daily through January 31, 2014.

Product Review~Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale with Microban

I've had kitchen scales before, always with a dial and a very small area to place the food on.  I was always frustrated that I couldn't put much on the scale, and it wasn't very precise.  I was super excited when I received my new Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale with Microban.  It is slim and attractive, with some great features:

*Features Microban antimicrobial product protection that helps prevent the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria.
*Boasts two innovative touch sensitive buttons for effortless operation.
*Ultra modern design with a large weighing platform.
*Equipped with four high-precision sensors
*Large, high-contrast LCD
*Precision Tare feature calculates the net weight of the ingredients.
*Includes two Lithium CR2032 batteries.

I am loving my new Ozeri scale, and I've been using it so much!  It is slim and light and easy to store, easy to clean, and easy to use.  I think the Microban is a great feature-did you know that on an unprotected kitchen scale, bacteria can double in number every 20 minutes?  The Microban protection works 24/7 for the life of the scale. 

The results are very easy to read, and you can display them in pounds, kilograms, grams, and ounces.  This scale is a great math aide for kids and adults-we have enjoyed switching between different measurements to compare.  The weighing platform is large-I've had multiple big pieces of chicken on it at one time.  You can weigh up to 11 pounds on this scale!

I've also used my Ozeri kitchen scale to weigh mail, which is very handy.  Included with the scale is a User Manual and a Calorie Guide and US Postal First Class Letter Rate Guide.  There is a one year warranty from the date of purchase of your scale. 

I have nothing but great things to say about the Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale with Microban-if you need a kitchen scale, this is the one you should get!  Here is the link to purchase your own scale at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BZE3WW8

Disclosure: I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review by Jeff~Beaver Creek Lodge Snowmobile Rentals

I normally would not be writing a review on my wife's blog but since she wasn't able to experience this snowmobiling experience first-hand due to her multiple spine surgeries, she asked me to give it a try. Here it goes.

Recently, our family (and our daughter's boyfriend, Dean) took a short trip to Bear Lake, Utah. While there, we visited the Beaver Creek Lodge in Logan Canyon and rented a couple of snowmobiles. It was such a positive experience we thought it would be nice to tell the world (or at least the followers of “the Loose Screw”) about it.

Now it's been over 25 years since I've been on a snowmobile so I wanted to make sure that we had a safe time. The professionals at Beaver Creek Lodge took the time to thoroughly explain all of the features of the machines and ensured we had properly fitting helmets.

With over 300 miles of scenic, groomed trails to choose from the crew at the lodge provided us with our options and a map of the area. Once we felt equipped to go, we jumped on our Ski-Doo Summit 600 REVs and away we went. 

The snowmobiles were well maintained, and looked brand new. These things could move! I was actually surprised on how much power they had. At one point, my 11 year old, Chad, had to say, “Maybe not SO fast, Dad”.

Beaver Creek Lodge offers full and half day rentals for either their Summit 600 REV and Summit 800 XP REV machines. They also offer lodging and horse back riding packages. The staff was very friendly and accommodating.  For more information visit www.beavercreeklodge.com.  We had such a blast, we will definitely be returning!


Book Review~12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman

12 Steps To Becoming A More Organized Woman: Practical Tips For Managing Your Home And Your Family, by Lane P. Jordan, is updated and revised from her original book that was published in the 1990s.  With all the technological changes in recent years, I can see why this update was necessary!

12 Steps To Becoming A More Organized Woman is not just your typical organization book.  It's not just how to organize your pantry or your bedroom; it's how to organize your priorities, your family, your life.  All of this information is from a biblical perspective. 

Each 'step' in the book is it's own  chapter.  The topics cover marriage, children, health, and more.  Each step begins with a bible verse, and ends with suggestions for further refection and personal application.  If you are striving towards the Proverbs 31 woman, this book is for you!

I personally gained a lot of insight from reading 12 Steps To Becoming A More Organized Woman, and it will be a 'keeper' on my bookshelf, meaning I will go back and read it again and again.  The information inside the book was much deeper and spiritual than I expected.  It is not just dry information, it is advice that is both practical and leads to soul-searching. 

To learn more about 12 Steps To Becoming A More Organized Woman:

*Author's website: http://www.lanejordanministries.com/
*Author's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lane-Jordan-Ministries/320302149964
*Author's Twitter: https://twitter.com/lane_Jordan

You can purchase 12 Steps To Becoming A More Organized Woman at Christian Book Distributors.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Product Review and Giveaway~Puff's Fresh Faces

I use facial wipes often to clean my face. I prefer them over using cleanser with water because they are fast and easy to use.  So, I was happy to have the opportunity to try out Puff's Fresh Faces recently. 

In the pack I received, there was a 45-count box of the Fragrance Free, a 15-count pack of the Light Lavender, individual samples of the Fresh Scent and Vick's scent.  I also received samples of the Boogie Wipes and some great coupons! 

I have tried all the products, and I'm really impressed.  I had never thought of using saline to clean my skin, so I looked into The Power of Saline.  There is also a website, http://www.salineclean.com/, that you can learn even more at.  I was amazed at all saline can do!

For me, the Puff's Fresh Faces Saline Wipes worked well-they effectively cleaned my face and removed my makeup.  My face did not feel dry after I used them.  My favorite scent was the Light Lavender.  The scent was not too strong.  This is a product I will continue to use. 

For more information about Puff's Fresh Faces:
* www.puffsfreshfaces.com
* Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/PuffsFreshFaces
* Twitter- https://twitter.com/puffsfreshfaces
* Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/puffsfreshfaces/


One winner will receive one 45-count box in Fragrance Free or Light Lavender and one 15-count pack in either Fragrance Free, Light Lavender, Fresh Scent, or Vick's Menthol. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received samples of this product free in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Children's Book Review~The Turtle's Shell

I'm always on the lookout for children's books that my son will enjoy and learn from.  The Turtle's Shell by Vincent Eke is one of those finds.  It is the first book in the Mama's Tales of Kanji series, and is an African Folklore themed storybook.  The book is published by Lionpen Publishing.

Tobi is a turtle in a community that is struggling to find food.  The animals are working to pull their resources together, yet Tobi decides not to share his findings.  Tobi learns some valuable lessons, and children reading will learn the moral lessons of sharing, community, and kindness toward others. 

The front and back covers of The Turtle's Shell are illustrated in color, and the illustrations throughout the inside of the book are in black and white, perfect for coloring.  This wasn't a quick read for me and my 11-year-old son-it took us a few nights to finish the entire 44 page story.  My son enjoyed the story and never lost interest.    We are looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Golden Bird.

Here is my two year old grandson and product tester Daniel, 'reading' The Turtle's Shell.

For more information on The Mama's Tales of Kanji series, visit the Lionpen website and Lionpen Publishing on Facebook.  You can purchase The Turtle's Shell on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. 

Children's Book Review~99 Stories From the Bible


Teaching my kids (and grandkids) about the Bible is important to me. I was thrilled when I received 99 Stories from the Bible, written by Juliet David and illustrated by Elina Ellis.  It is a beautifully illustrated 196 page hardback.  There are adorable color illustrations on every page that immediately attracted my son and grandson.  The 99 stories included in the book each span two pages, and there are stories from both the Old and New Testaments.  The type size and wording is perfect for younger readers too.

My grandson Daniel (2) is in love with 99 Stories from the Bible!  You can tell in the picture above, even though he can't read yet, the beautifully detailed illustrations have him captivated.  I look forward to reading this book to Daniel and future grandkids over the years.  This would also make a wonderful gift, with a presentation page in the front. 

Click here for more information and to purchase 99 Stories from the Bible.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review~He Rejoices Over Me

I think it is every parent's worst nightmare to lose a child.  I wonder how you can get through such a tragedy.  Nicholas Skula, Jr.  and his family know this nightmare.  He has written a book, He Rejoices over Me: A Story of the Life, Lessons, and Love of Crystal Marie Skula.

Crystal Skula died of cancer at 13 years old, after fighting brain cancer for three years.  In this book, her father shares stories from her life, as well as the story of her death and the family's grief afterward.  Through these stories, I definitely got a sense of Crystal being a sweet but strong girl, even when she was very young. She was determined in everything she did,, and she loved God.  Her entire family loved God, and He gave Crystal the strength to courageously endure horrible treatments for her cancer.

Crystal touched many people in her life, and her family has continued touching people in her memory.  Thanks to their strong faith, they were able to survive this tragedy with grace and strength, focusing on the positive of Crystal being with Jesus now.  I was very touched with their story.

To learn more about the Skulas and He Rejoices Over Me:

Click here to purchase He Rejoices Over Me on Amazon.

 I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

~Wordless Wednesday~

Happy New Year & Blog Changes

Happy New Year!  I can't believe we are here in 2014!   Over the past few months, I've reflected on this blog and what it has evolved into.  When I started it back in 2009, my focus was on our journey as a family, with homeschooling and chronic illness, as well as couponing/thriftiness.  Over time, it has become a review blog.  I enjoy doing reviews, but I realize I need to also include the family/home stuff that inspired me in the beginning. So, be looking for more personal posts in addition to reviews.  I will continue doing Wordless Wednesday, and Try a New Recipe Tuesday (only when I have a new recipe, though), and will be adding in a Weekly Wrap-Up about our lives that week. Hoping this change doesn't bore you :) but puts more of a personal touch on The Loose Screw!