Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New

Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New: *Healing the Broken Places *Resolving Unmet Expectations *Moving Your Relationship Forward
Author: Cindy Beall
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 9780736967112
Genre: Christian Non-fiction

Description (from NetGalley):
What's better than new?--God's best!

You've made a commitment to see your marriage healed, so now what? Whether you're recovering from an affair or years of coasting, Cindy Beall shares from her redeemed marriage journey to help you

heal deeply by restoring faith in a future

build wisely from the foundation up

live fully by interacting as a renewed couple

invest generously in your marriage and in other people

Insightful questions, biblical teachings to counter lies, and stories of rebuilt marriages lead you to God's healing and the hope of helping others from the place you once had deep pain.

My Thoughts:

Cindy Beall wrote this book with both honesty and experience and shared a story of pain and her journey to healing their marriage. Her story is raw and can be found more in detail in her first book "Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken: Finding Forgiveness and Restoration".

"Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New" concentrates on how to fix your marriage and make it better than the first time around. She gives Bible references, life experience and questions/answers in workbook style so that you can work on your own marriage to improve it and heal it. Cindy's style is engaging and makes things attainable instead of feeling impossible like some other books I've read in the past.

If you want to fix a marriage that is having issues, give this book a try. I won't say it's going to be an easy fix or even successful, because you BOTH need to WANT to fix the problems in the marriage. This is something that both need to work on to attain success. There are no quick fixes, you'll experience lots of pain, but if you want your marriage to work, it will be worth it in the end. The best part about this book is that she has lived it and applied it, so it's not a book penned by someone who has theories. This one has worked, so with hard work and desire by both partners, you may see some amazing results!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Family Recipe Friday -

Kapusta means cabbage in Polish. This dish was made many times by my grandmother. Sometimes she used just cabbage and other times she'd combine cabbage and sauerkraut together and add pork for New Year's Day and would serve with mashed potatoes and kielbasa.

Just seeing this recipe for Kapusta brings back many memories of my grandmother standing in the kitchen cooking, the warmth of the atmosphere and the mouthwatering smells. Walking into her kitchen on a cold winter's day was like walking into heaven. She would always be in there making something and I remember not only the warmth of the kitchen, but her smile, hugs and kisses and then her demanding that we sit down and eat.


1 medium head cabbage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound bacon
1/4 cup flour
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon Cumin powder

Cut cabbage in fat shreds. Cook in a small amount of water to which you have added the bayleaf, onion, garlic, salt and Cumin.

Cut bacon into small pieces and fry. Add flout and stir constantly until it is a rich brown. Add to cooked cabbage and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

Put into a buttered casserole and bake in a 300 degree F oven for 20 minutes.

Buttered crumbs may be sprinkled on top before baking.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Exchange Rate and Trip

Blue Mountains - Three Sisters

I'm beside myself with trying to decide if I should now be going to Australia. The exchange rate isn't looking as nice as it did when all things were set into motion. Unfortunately, because of the amount of time that the divorce settlement took, I lost my roommate. As of yet, I still don't have the settlement money in my account, so I still cannot apply for a Visa until I have proof that I have enough money to go out and stay. Who knows, with the way things are going, I might not be accepted because the amount of money I have isn't enough. This stacked up on top of being alone out there, makes me really antsy, to say the least. 

I do have all the paperwork finished and ready to send to the bank in Sydney. Now, I just have to find out if I can go and if I really want to face a huge city alone. Growing up in rural America and never really being in a big city for more than a couple of days puts me at a disadvantage. Or should I say it makes me a bit terrified. I will admit, I've not done much alone all the time I was married, so this is a huge step for me. Maybe I'm just getting cold feet because I'm facing the unknown alone.

My other option is to stay here in the States and look for a good place to go. I do have 2 options. One would be to go out to the West Coast and be near my daughter or the East Coast to be near my son. Both said they wouldn't mind sharing an apartment with me and it would help them, but I'm not sure if it really would be or if they are just saying that to help Mom out.

So here I sit, pretty much indecisive on what I should do. I need to make a decision soon as my time is running out. I hate this paralyzed feeling and how much I'm flopping back and forth. Hopefully I'll grow up soon and make a decision. Right now there's a whole world of options and I can't figure out which one is best!  

Friday, April 15, 2016

Family Recipe Friday - Rhubarb Coffee Cake

It's spring - that time of the year that I get excited as the new plants poke through. With that, comes daffodils, snowdrops, spring onions, garlic, but most exciting for me is the rhubarb.  I love the sour taste of rhubarb and am guilt of munching on the stalks while chopping them for other recipes like this Rhubarb Coffee Cake.

This is another recipe from my aunt's collection. I remember her making Rhubarb Coffee Cake and giving it to me when I was young. She would also bring it along with her when she'd come visit and I was always excited to see her as well as to see what tasty treat she'd bring along when she'd stop in to visit.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1-1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream sugar and shortening. Add egg. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with the sour cream to creamed mixture. Fold in rhubarb. Spread in a greased 13"x 9" x 2" baking pan. Combine all topping ingredients. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dresden Files Series - Storm Front

I have been swamped with things that I need to do and as the pressure builds to get ready to leave here, I really, really have to have some down time. Time to unwind and relax. I decided to treat myself to a book that has been sitting on my shelf for ages begging to be read, but I've put it off for other things. Finally, I listened to that book and  pulled it off the shelf and curled up a couple of nights over the weekend and read.

If you haven't heard of the Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, you must have been hiding somewhere, because it seems everyone has been discussing it. My son's best friend was here one day last year telling me I HAVE to get that book down and read it. He went on and on about how great the series was. I nodded and said, "I will" and forgot about it.  Then a few weeks ago, my son started on the series and said, "Mom, you are really going to love these books. You must read them!!" Hmmmmm.... someday....

Well someday came this weekend and I now know what they mean. I read the first book, "Storm Front" and enjoyed it - I mean really enjoyed it. It's like Harry Potter meets .... hmmmm... think of the quirkiest detective you can imagine and insert it here. Harry Dresden is a dectective, but not just any detective, he's a wizard. He's quirky, broke, unlucky with woment (according to Bob) and gets made fun of because of his profession. However, the police force uses him when they have to, and this time, it's quite a bit.

Do yourself a favor and pick up "Storm Front" if you haven't read it yet. It will have you laughing, shaking your head, putting you on edge and just leave you chuckling to yourself as you think - man, I got to read the next book. The kids were right, this was a book I had to read. Now, off to find the other 15 or so!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

LEADCIN Titanium Stainless Steel Men's Bike Chain Bracelet

The LEADCIN Titanium Stainless Steel Men's Bike Chain Bracelet in high polish titanium stainless steel is a very attractive bracelet. When it arrived, I was impressed by the packaging as well as the quality of the bracelet itself. The chain arrived in a nice gift box and was held on to a soft velvet type backing by two elastic bands. This makes it easy to replace the chain if you want to store it in the box.

The bracelet itself is 8" long and fits my 6'2" son with not a lot of room to spare. He doesn't mind his bracelets that are not so loose, so it's perfect for him. I, on the other hand love loose fitting bracelets, so not only did I try it on, but threatened to keep it. This bracelet is not only for guys - but looks great on a woman's wrist as well.

If you have any bikers in the family, have biker friends, or just know someone that would love the look of something different, then this is the perfect gift to give to them. Make sure that you remember to pick up one for yourself, because when you see this bracelet, you are going to turn around and get one for you anyhow.

This is a lovely bracelet that I highly recommend to anyone - male or female. It's just that awesome!

Disclosure: This is an HONEST review regarding a sample I received for testing purposes. I was not asked nor was I required to write a favorable review.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Can cookies really be healthy and taste good as well? YES!!!! I came across a pin on Pintrest called Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies from Sally's Baking Addiction and they looked good, but I had wondered if they would taste as good as they looked. The answer was yes, but I did tweak the recipe to more my style.

These cookies are perfect to give to your children in their lunches, after school snacks, a midnight snack or when you really want that chocolate fix but can't bring yourself to fill yourself with empty calories.

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

The original recipe called for almond milk which I eliminated. I also cut out the salt, cut back on the honey and added a few other ingredients that kicked up the cookies and made them even more yummy!!!

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

1 ripe banana - the riper the better
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Quick Oats
Chocolate chips

Any or all of the following:
Walnuts, pecans, etc
Dried cranberries

Mash the banana and continue to mash until it liquefies. Add peanut butter, honey and the cocoa and mix well. Add coconut (optional) and mix well. Add the oatmeal a little at a time until you get a nice soft dough like consistency. You don't want it dry, but you don't want it wet either. I use about 2 cups of oatmeal. Sometimes more, sometimes less - depending on my additions. Mix well. Add chocolate chips and dried fruit and nuts. Mix well. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Let set up and store in airtight container. I keep these in the refrigerator or freezer.

For the original recipe, visit Sally's Baking Addiction.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Is It Really Safe?

One of the positive things that happened throughout the divorce was my weight loss. It wasn't intentional. It started with a bad case of bronchitis that caused me to lose my appetite. From there, I just kept at it. I didn't diet but cut out processed sugars and processed foods. That sounds difficult, but it really wasn't.

What I found was I felt better and no longer had heartburn or water retention. I didn't link the two together and assumed it was from my weight loss. The other day, I had to go out for awhile, so  I went to get a bottled water off the shelf. Unfortunately, I found someone had taken the last one and didn't add it to the grocery list, so I grabbed a CLEAR AMERICAN flavored water that was my ex had purchased from Walmart instead. I was blown away by how sweet the taste was and really didn't want to drink it, but had no choice because of the location I was at.

Well, that bottle of water, put me in misery for days! I had a serious headache (we are talking migraine level)  for 4 days along with lots of water retention, bloat and the heartburn was back. I was miserable. I was dealing with feeling tremendously sad and blamed it on being under the weather. I couldn't believe it was just that bottle of water. However, after reading the label, I no longer have any doubts. The label says Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water Beverage with other natural flavors. However, when you read the ingredients, it lists Aspartame and Phenylalanine. I know the side effects of Aspartame, but what about Phenylalaine? I did a search on WebMD and found THIS INFORMATION about it. Phenylanlaine is considered POSSIBLY SAFE. After reading what it can do, why is it in my drink?!!!! This beverage is marketed as a good alternative to sodas, something with no calories, no sodium and no caffeine. Well... I just discovered what I was doing to myself when I drank this.

It took those 4 days to get that stuff out of my system. I am back to normal and am back to being processed foods free. I feel good again and am much more careful of what I grab in a pinch. I used to be skeptical of the claims that these things really can cause so much damage to your system. Now, skepticism has been tossed out the window.

Do yourself a favor and read the labels and check out what the ingredients of the items you ingest can do to you. You will be stunned at what you find!!!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Review: Unforgettable by Cherie M. Hudson

Australia.... yes, you are going to hear a lot about it. It's what's consuming my time and energy these days. With the preparations to leave and the phone conversations with my mate, I'm growing more and more excited. When I was offered Cherie's book to read, I was quite bogged down with life, but but this was one that I had to read.... It was by an Australian writer and was centered around an Australian and an American. How could I pass that up?!!! 

Always Series Book #2
Author: Cherie M. Hudson
ISBN-13: 978-1760301798
Publisher: Momentum (October 22, 2015)
Paperback: 284 pages
Also available in Kindle format.
Genre: Fiction, Romance, New Adult

About the Book:
My name is Brendon Osmond. I'm a 25 year old post-graduate student who knows three things with absolute conviction. I know damn near everything there is to know about keeping in peak physical shape. I have a plan to make a lot of money from that knowledge. I'm an optimist who's not easily rattled. But then the girl I fell in love with almost two years ago texts me out of the blue and everything I know is thrown out the window.

Am I rattled?


Not until I fly to the other side of the world and discover the girl I fell for has kept a very big secret from me.

A secret that mocks all my knowledge of the human body and how to keep it healthy.

A secret that shatters my plans for my own personal training business.

A secret with my eyes.

A secret who needs me more than I can comprehend.

Ask me again if I'm rattled.

Now ask me if I'm still in love.

My Thoughts:

Brendon Osmond.... the man every female dreams of. He's a fitness expert, handsome, passionate, and very much in love with a girl from the United States. Nothing wrong with that, except he's from Australia and they are no longer together. Then, out of of the blue, he hears from her and he decides to fly to California to see her.

Cherie does an amazing job of writing from the male point of view. I swore it was written by a male - since Brendon is so true to character. Since Brendon is an Aussie, be prepared for the Aussie slang and their use of curse words. It's not overwhelming, but it's there and made Brendon extremely believable.

This is one of those heartwarming stories that makes you fall in love with the main character, Brendon. He's every bit a sweet and loving Aussie that loves his woman, Amanda, with ever fiber of his being. His life gets turned upside down when he finds out the secret that has been kept from him and his reaction to it will make your heart break, hurt, and sing as you get to know Brendon and his situation. I will warn you, when you start, make sure you block off a good amount of time, because it's difficult to put down. My advice is to find nice cozy spot and have your favorite beverage and plenty of tissues nearby. Just like the book title, this story is Unforgettable!!

Although this is the second book of the series, I found no problem with starting here. There was enough backstory that I wasn't lost. After reading "Unforgettable" I want to read the rest of the series now!!

***Please note:  Being a New Adult Romance, be prepared for some sex scenes. They aren't overly descriptive but they are there.

About the Author:

Cherie M. Hudson is happily married to the man of her dreams, a busy mum of two little girls (one nine going on sixteen, the other five going on twenty), a proud cat owner (although she suspects the cat thinks she owns her) and an insanely manic writer. She has written over forty erotic romances under the pen name Lexxie Couper. A long time ago she gave up trying to suppress the stories in her head constantly trying to escape and has been blissfully happy ever since. 

You can follow Cherie on her website, on Facebook, Twitter. and Pintrest

I received a copy of this ebook from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Creamy Rice Pudding

As I try to decide what to take with me, and what to keep, I came across a my aunt's recipe box. She was somewhat of an adventurous cook for our family. She had given me her collection after her husband died because she could never see cooking these for just herself. She had lost her passion for cooking and sadly reverted to plain and simple. No longer were the fantastic and unusual items coming from her kitchen and we no longer saw these creations at our family gatherings. She has since passed, but these recipes will always keep her alive for me. I am currently scanning all my family recipes and will pass them on to my children in their original form.

This was one recipe I had to share. I've had Rice Pudding before but this is my favorite hands down. It is easy and no precooking of the rice. All goes into a greased casserole and into the oven. There was no time given, so I stir it every so often and keep an eye on it until it is thickened to the way I like it. I have covered it and cooked it uncovered. It is very forgiving and tastes great. Unfortunately, I've never timed it, so it truly is one of those heirloom type recipes. I hope you enjoy!


Creamy Rice Pudding

1 quart milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup raw rice
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a greased casserole (1-1/2 quart) combine all ingredients. Add raisins the last half  hour of baking.

For thicker pudding, increase rice to five tablespoons. 

Serves 6.

Monday, March 28, 2016

90 Days to Decide

I have 90 days from the time of the divorce finalization to decide where to go. The house, most of the contents and cars went to the ex. I got a small bank account, a little retirement and what I can take with me, depending where I go. The bank account isn't going to last long, and with not working for the last 25 years, it's made life interesting.

Opera House in Sydney
My first choice is Australia. I've been enamored by it since high school, when we hosted a student from there. Family has lived there in the past and my best friend lives there. So, I'm really, really considering there. I have  all 18 pages of my VISA completed. I need forms certified to attach and another look to make sure everything is in order, then off it goes.

There is a huge drawback at my age. I cannot work while there on the VISA. I couldn't qualify for a working VISA because of my age, and I didn't qualify for the jobs posted because of my lack of education. The promise of allowing me to finish college never happened, and now I'm paying the price all around. That's just a minor setback. I'll find another way.

King's Canyon
I opened up a bank account and made sure I could transfer funds internationally, the cost, etc., etc....  I also looked into health insurance - wow!!! What a difference between there and here! I can do better as an international there than buying it here as a native and staying. I was dumbfounded to say the least.

Cost of living depends on where you decide to stay. I'm looking at a suburb of Sydney right now. The rent is about the same price as the area here, food costs are quite close, and wages are decent (if I decide to stay and can get sponsorship). I found a snag with apartment hunting though. They want me there and showing me apartments before they will discuss if I can rent or not. I've contacted different agencies and they said that all the owners want to meet their tenants before they will consider renting. That makes it a bit difficult and expensive on my end. I have to rent a hotel or something before I can consider looking. How long that will take? I have no idea.

If I do go this route, I leave the house with 2 suitcases and a carry-on. I start all over again from scratch. I leave everything behind except what's in those cases. My son says that it's a clean fresh start - to go for it. My daughter says I'm nuts leaving everything behind because I can set up house here with things and save that money. Yes, that's true, but with no vehicle, I must rent something to move as well plus maybe a storage unit if I don't find something right away.

There are so many IF's and MAYBE's. I'll have a little help from my friend, but everything hinges on everything else right now.

I'd love to hear your opinions. What would you do?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

I never thought I'd be writing this. let alone experiencing it. After 25 years of marriage, I am facing life on my own after a divorce. It's been a painful process and one that took me away from this blog while I became centered again. I was lucky to have support of family and friends, but was terribly saddened by those friends I lost along the way.

My grandmother always said, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." I'm finding out that it's true. I've found a direction, focus and desire that I didn't have before. There is so much to life that I want to experience and now I get that chance.

You are going to see a different focus on this blog. It will no longer be just a book focus but a focus on life with recipes, tips, hints, reviews of books, services and products plus a focus on my new adventures. Things are going to be more personal and fun - not just "this is a book or product and here are my thoughts..." You will finally meet the person behind this blog.

I invite you to join me for the ride of my life. Get ready - it's going to be fun!!!