Monday, June 30, 2014


Vannetta Chapman delivers a captivating Amish mystery cozy with an enchanting dose of romance in Murder Simply Brewed (Zondervan).  This is book one in the Amish Village Mystery series.  Readers will be charmed by the team of Amish and Englischer good guys as well as numerous potential suspects who are connected to the Amish Artisan Village, a hotel and shops complex in Middlebury, Indiana. 

Hannah, a 22 year old Amish girl, works at the Quilting Bee shop and notices early one morning as she is opening the shop that she does not smell coffee brewing next door at The Simple Blend shop.  Then she notices that the shop window is shattered.  Inside she finds Ethan Gray, the shop manager, dead.

Hannah quickly notifies Amber, the 40ish Englischer general manager of the Amish Artisan Village.  When the police arrive, they determine that someone shot up the window with a BB gun but that Ethan simply died of a heart attack.  Amber is sure the police are wrong.

Then more incidents of destruction occur.  Tate, neighbor to the Amish Artisan Village, finds fresh red paint splattered on the trail next to his farm.  Later that night an animal carcass is left on Amber’s front porch.  Next there is trouble at another store at Amish Artisan Village.  Someone is leaving bible verses at the scene of each episode of vandalism.  What could those messages possibly mean?  Everyone’s nerves are on edge with no answers in sight.

Englischer Amber and Amish Hannah team up to try to solve the mysterious events when the police say they are too busy to handle all the vandalism calls.  Interwoven with the mystery are budding romances for Amber with her neighbor, Tate, and for Hannah with her friend, Jesse.  Both guys jump in and get involved in solving the case.  All that sleuthing around in the dark is bound to further a romance.  Will they be able to figure out who is causing all this trouble before someone else gets hurt?  And was Ethan’s death simply a heart attack or is it something more sinister?

Murder Simply Brewed is a well written, page turning Amish murder mystery book.  It gives readers a plausible plot, interesting suspects, likeable heroes, and many questions to ponder.  Vannetta Chapman skillfully reveals the answers to those questions and wraps up the mystery with a happy ending.  Murder Simply Brewed was published March 25, 2014. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I have an interesting week planned.  First off on Monday, I am having a colonoscopy.  I have one every five years as my dad and paternal grandfather both had colo-rectal cancer.  I strongly recommend everyone over the age of 50 to schedule a colonoscopy.  They literally can remove any precancerous polyps while doing the colonoscopy.  You feel nothing.  The only bad part is the preparations the day before, that is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you will have after the colonoscopy.

Tuesday evening my husband and I and my lovely daughter and future son-in-law are going to a fancy restaurant called, Orchids. 

Happy 4th of July to one and all!  Enjoy your day off of work and have fun at your picnics and parties and fireworks.  Thanks be to God for the freedoms we enjoy and to our armed forces and their families.

Before I forget the reason for this post, let's see what's on tap for this coming week:

MONDAY:  A book review of Murder Simply Brewed by Vanetta Chapman.

TUESDAY:  A book review of Caroline's Secret by Amy Lillard.

WEDNESDAY:  I reveal the two winners of books from J.E.B. Spredemann from last Thursday and Friday's giveaway plus a delicious Better Than Grandma's Meat Loaf recipe.

THURSDAY:  A book review of Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis.

FRIDAY:  Frugal ideas in an article titled Living With Less.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Yesterday I reviewed a young adult Amish book by J.E.B. Spredemann, and today I am reviewing an adult Amish fiction by the same author.  This book is very special.  It is beautifully written and tells the tale and aftermath of a devastating secret.  I have to say the author surprised me; I didn't suspect what was coming at all!

Jennifer Spredemann has generously offered to sponsor the giveaway of one copy of this novel, An Unforgivable Secret.  I'm so excited about this as the book carries a very powerful message!  The contest is open to all US residents.  Please leave a comment below including your email address.  I will announce the winner next Wednesday, July 2, 2014 and notify the winner by email.
For a chance to win this incredible novel, just comment below and add your email address, the winner will be posted July 2nd.

Rarely does a book claim to have a secret that is as well kept as J. E. B. Spredemann’s An Unforgivable Secret (Blessed Publishing).  This well written book is shocking and surprising, filled with tender moments of romance and forgiveness on one page and dark depression, tragedy, and self-loathing on the next page.  Readers are cautioned to keep tissues handy with the conclusion of this novel being uplifting and faith-affirming.

An Unforgivable Secret is the story of Hannah, Christian, and Samuel.  They have all grown up together, having been school chums for years, and playing together in each other’s barns.  When they get to their Rumspringa time, Samuel was going to ask Hannah if he could give her a ride home but Christian asks first.  Hannah and Christian start dating and get serious.  Christian decides to sneak behind Hannah’s back and begins to see an Englischer girl.  Samuel is disgusted with Christian’s behavior but keeps quiet.  Christian asks Hannah to marry him and she is over-the-moon excited. 

Unfortunately on the night he is to break it off with his Englischer girlfriend, Hannah happens to be at the same restaurant and sees them together.  The next evening at the young people's get together, Hannah confronts Christian with what she saw and breaks it off with him.

Shortly after that, Samuel decides to move to Ohio to start his life without his best friends, Christian and Hannah.  Samuel has family that lives in Ohio and has met a girl, Carolanne.  In time, they marry.  Meanwhile, Christian and Hannah reconcile and marry as well.  The years go by but something is not right with Hannah; the depression and feelings of unworthiness take their toll on her.

Hannah’s luck runs out and her scandalous secret is revealed.  The author deals with very sensitive topics in an extraordinarily thoughtful and caring manner. The amazing forgiveness that God gives to all His people is shown.  The author reinforces the theme that there is no sin God will not forgive; the Bible passages quoted give soothing words for all God’s children.  An Unforgivable Secret is a well-paced, page turning success.  Characters are well defined, the message is timely and beautifully delivered, plus the author skillfully manages to keep readers guessing quite a while before exposing the secret.  An Unforgivable Secret was published June 8, 2013.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Normally I only review adult Amish fiction, but I thought it would be interesting to see what "young adult" Amish fiction is like.  I enjoyed reading Danika's Journey and if there is a young girl in your life, this is a book you can feel good about giving her to read. 
This is the book that Jennifer Spredemann is giving to one lucky winner!
The author, Jennifer Spredemann has generously offered to sponsor the giveaway of one of her young adult books from the Amish Girls Series to one of my readers.  This book contains the first four stories in the Amish Girls Series!  To enter the giveaway (US residents only), just comment below on your favorite vacation spot and include your email address.  I will announce the winner on July 2, 2014 and will notify the winner by email.  Good luck to all!


Pre-teens, teens, and those young at heart will love Danika’s Journey, a young adult book by J. E. B. Spredemann (Blessed Publishing).  It is part of the Amish Girls Series.  The book centers on Danika Morales, a seventh grader living in California with her father who has cancer.  Danika’s mother died several years earlier.  When her father dies, Danika is sent to live with her mother’s brother, Uncle Phillip, who is Amish and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Danika is in for a big cultural shock going from being a typical Englischer California girl to living in an Amish household.  She knows nothing about the Amish way of life and is shocked to find out that Uncle Phillip does not have a car and there is no electricity, television, or Wi-Fi in the home.

Remarkably, Danika makes a rather smooth adjustment to living with her new family.  Helping Danika to make an easy transition is an Amish boy, Eli.  Unfortunately, Eli is the son of Uncle Phillip’s arch enemy.  Once it becomes known that Eli and Danika are sweet on one another, Eli’s father issues an order that Eli must not have anything to do with Danika.

Danika and Eli sneak out to see one another and Uncle Phillip blows up when he finds out.  Later, while reading the bible, Uncle Phillip realizes he needs to take a softer approach.  Will there be a way to resolve the feud between Uncle Phillip and Eli’s father?  Can Danika and Eli find a way to continue their special friendship?

Readers will appreciate the sweet romance between Danika and Eli as well as Danika’s understanding and patient surrogate parents.  Danika’s Journey is an action packed page turner interspersed with good values and pertinent bible verses without being overly preachy to the pre-teen set.  Danika’s Journey is book two in the Amish Girls Series.  It was published April 20, 2013.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


If your family doesn't appreciate spicy food, please skip this recipe.  This definitely has a kick to it but you can easily adjust the spicy level up or down.  There are quite a few ingredients to this dish but it is company worthy and very easy to make.  This adapted recipe is from


1 pound fresh or frozen large shrimp, peeled and deveined - if using frozen, thaw before using.

1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons Heinz Chili Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke (hickory)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced


Add all of the ingredients except for the shrimp in a saucepan, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let cool.
Arrange the thawed shrimp in an oven- proof casserole dish and pour the sauce over the shrimp.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake shrimp for 15 - 20 minutes, if using smaller shrimp, bake for less time.
Serve immediately over rice with crusty French bread, and a crisp salad.
Add all ingredients except the shrimp to a saucepan.

Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the shrimp to your casserole dish and pour the cooled sauce over the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.  Don't overcook shrimp!

Serve over rice with a salad and crusty french bread.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Recently I reviewed Amy Clipston's most recent book,  A Mother's Secret which was the second book in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  I had not yet read the first book in the series.  A Mother's Secret was so interesting, I wanted to get my hands on the first book in that series and read it.  So here is my take on A Hopeful Heart:

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston (Zondervan) gives readers an intriguing peek into Amish and Englisch relationships.  This is the first book in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  Hannah Glick is a middle aged Amish widow working as a housekeeper at the Lancaster Grand Hotel.  She has a chance encounter with one of the hotel guests, Englischer Trey Peterson, that profoundly changes her life.

Hannah Glick has three children, 16 year-old twins, Lilly and Amanda, and a younger son, Andrew.  The death of her husband, Gideon, continues to affect the family.   They live on a horse farm that was started by her deceased husband and his brother Joshua.  Joshua still works at the horse farm. He has secretly been in love with Hannah for many years and wants to be a dad to her children.  His brother has been dead for four years now and he feels it is time to make his feelings known to Hannah.  Joshua is a kind, thoughtful, and loving brother-in-law to Hannah and more than just an uncle to her children.  

Meanwhile, Englischer Trey Peterson is finding ways to run into Hannah at the hotel.  He is attracted to Hannah, finds her easy to talk to, and understanding of his feelings of being a widower.  What Trey doesn’t understand is that a relationship between an Amish woman and Englischer man is forbidden.  Hannah finds herself in a complex position with both Trey and Joshua pursuing her, and she has an unbearably difficult decision to make.  Hannah spends much time in prayer asking God to give her a sign as to what path she should take.

The twins, Lilly and Amanda find themselves on opposite paths.  Amanda desperately wants to go to college and become a veterinarian which would mean leaving the Amish.  Lilly wants to get the head teaching position at the Amish schoolhouse, but with so much gossip about her mother and the Englischer, her chances don’t look good.  Hannah tries to stop all communication with Trey so she can stay in good graces within her Amish community.

Amy Clipston gives a totally fresh take on the Amish romance genre in A Hopeful Heart.  Amy has a talent for writing in such a manner that truly captures the aspirations and angst of each character.  Readers who are mothers will be drawn to how Hannah resolves her romantic problem.  At times it seems there are no “right” answers to problems; people do the best they can and realize that not everyone will like the outcome.  A Hopeful Heart was published June 7, 2013.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Mother Teresa has been quoted as saying,

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway. 

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”

What a beautiful way to live your life!  So here are my 20 ways to brighten your day:

1.       Smile, even if you aren’t feeling it now.
2.       Forgive – holding grudges hurts you. Let it go.
3.       Pray and give your worries over to God to handle.
4.       Listen to music, fast music will give you energy, slow music if you want to relax.
5.       Straighten up your living space – clutter is a downer.
6.       Spend more time on your appearance, if you look good, you will feel good.
7.       Go outside and spend time in the sunshine or looking at the stars at night.
8.       Sing your favorite songs as loud as you want.
9.       Read but make sure the book has a happy ending!
10.     Go to bed earlier and get enough sleep.
11.     Burn a scented candle, there are many wonderful fragrances to enhance your mood.
12.     Do a favor for someone – a random act of kindness will make you feel good.
13.     Bake some cookies or brownies, then give them to your local fire department.
14.     Exercise and let the endorphins released make you feel happy.
15.     Give thanks for all that is good in your life.
16.     Send a letter or card to a friend or relative.
17.     Do something creative, draw a picture or start a craft project.
18.     Watch a silly movie or TV show, laughter truly is the best medicine.
19.     Volunteer to help a person or organization that needs your assistance.
20.     Write your feelings down in a diary or journal. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Today I will be celebrating with my sister and her husband as it is their 40th wedding anniversary.  What a milestone!  They have three married adult children and four beautiful grandchildren.  They truly have given their children a wonderful example to follow. Congratulations Bonnie and Joe!

We have some fun giveaways coming up this week thanks to Jennifer Spredemann who writes under the name J.E.B. Spredemann.  She has generously agreed to send one winner from Thursday, June 26, one of her young adult books and send one winner from Friday, June 27 her An Unforgivable Secret paperback book.  I know you all will enjoy her books, An Unforgivable Secret is so well written that I was amazed that I had not read anything by her before.  Discover this amazing author, I know you will love her too.

Now here is what is coming up next week:
Monday:  20 Simple Ways to Add Happiness to Your Day

Tuesday:  A book review of A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston

Wednesday:  This week's recipe is Saucy BBQ Shrimp.  This is a bit spicy but it is so flavorful, easy, and delicious!

Thursday:  A book review of Danika's Journey by J.E.B. Spredemann plus leave a comment for an entry into our giveaway of a young adult book by J.E.B. Spredemann.  If you have a pre-teen or teen in the house, they will love her young adult books.

Friday:  A book review of An Unforgivable Secret by J.E.B. Spredemann plus leave a comment for an entry into our giveaway of a copy of An Unforgivable Secret paperback book.  This is a remarkable novel that will capture your heart.

Have a lovely weekend as we welcome Summer 2014! 

Friday, June 20, 2014


Please check out the giveaway on the right hand side of this blog.  Beth Shriver, author of Rumspringa's Hope is giving away a Kindle Fire and a copy of her new novel but you have to enter by June 22, 2014.  Just click on the button and enter to win.  I use a Kindle Fire and it is such a nice tablet computer and reader.  Good luck to you all!


I am challenging my readers to make two or more changes to their lifestyle to reduce, reuse, or repurpose some of the "things" in your life.  I will share some ideas that I have done and hope that you will share some of your ideas so together we can simplify our lives and save resources.

Small changes add up.
Sometimes it seems like what's the difference, this change will only save a $3.00 a week, but that is $156.00 in a year.  Now think if you came up with 3 or 4 similar savings.  I have found that the most important thing to incorporate more savings into my life is to think ahead.

Here are some suggestions:
  • Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions, get your news online.
  • If your clothes are not really dirty, use cold water when you wash them.
  • Don't run your dishwasher until it is full.
  • Call your cable company and tell them you need to cancel your account unless they lower your bill; they will find a way to save you money on your monthly bill.  I call every six months.
  • Review your auto and home owner's insurance for savings.  I have a high deductible on my home owner's policy because I don't plan on using it unless there is substantial damage done due to a fire, tornado, etc.  Several small claims made against your home owner's policy will normally result in policy cancellation so why pay for a low deductible?
  • If you carry credit card debt, look for an offer of 0% interest on transferred balances to a new credit card.  The amount of your payment going towards interest instead of reducing your balance is money wasted.  Your goal should be to get more of your payment going towards paying off your balance.
  • Just don't go shopping, if you don't go shopping, you can't spend money.  And always ask yourself before you spend, "Do I need this or do I just want this?"  If you actually need it, go ahead and buy it, but if you simply want it, DO NOT BUY IT.
  • When you do go shopping, look for a cheaper alternative.  Look for something other than a name brand.  Could you use a second hand item instead of buying new?
  • If haven't done it already, cancel your home land line telephone and use your cell phone instead, it works just fine.  I have lived without a home land line for seven years now, that translates into $2,520 of savings so far from simply eliminating a $30 a month bill.
  • Cut down on the number of times you eat out at restaurants.  I was shocked at the amount of money we spent at restaurants.  We substantially cut down on meals out, plus when we do go out to eat, we eat more sensibly, bring our leftovers home to have for lunch or dinner the next night, and we consciously choose less expensive venues.  We still have the enjoyment of going out to eat without the guilt the next day of overspending and overeating.
  • Cell phone "family plans" are much more affordable than "single plans".  Get a group together and set up a family plan and split the costs.  Of course make sure everyone in your group is capable of paying on time.
  • Always buying the latest tech toy is very expensive.  Use the technology you currently have and wait until the price tag comes down before you buy new technology.
  • You can easily save money at the grocery store by buying store brands.
  • You can also save money at the grocery store by meal planning in advance instead of throwing this, that, and whatever in your grocery cart.  By sticking to your meal plan, you will be less likely to just pick up carryout or go out to a restaurant.
  • Make a monthly trip to a warehouse store where you can stock up on the items that are worthwhile to buy in bulk.  For my family, we buy huge jars of peanut butter, SlimFast powder mix, vitamins, coffee, toilet paper, and razor blades.  These are items we know we will use up and save substantially by buying in bulk.
  • If you work and have access to a Health Reimbursement Plan where you can put aside pre-tax dollars in an account to be used for unreimbursed medical expenses, sign up and use it.  It can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars, especially if you know you will be having to pay large medical bills (i.e. pregnancy, lasix eye surgery, eyeglasses, orthodontics, root canals or crowns, copays and deductibles).  Whenever you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for your expenses, you are saving money.  If you don't understand how the program works, see your Human Resources Department.  It is their job to explain the program to you.
  • Make a "No Spending" pledge and keep it.
I will revisit this topic periodically with more frugal ideas and I look forward to hearing from you on ideas that have worked for you.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


This beautifully written and thought provoking novel, The Amish Groom by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner (Harvest House Publishers) grabs the reader with a unique point of view.  The authors give readers a new twist with a male perspective in this delicious Amish romance that also deals with rejection, restlessness, reconnection, and forgiveness.

The story begins in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as 23 year-old Tyler feels a restlessness and a hesitancy to join the Amish church through baptism.  Years earlier, Tyler’s Amish mother Sadie left the family farm and married an Englischer.  Sadie died when Tyler was 6 years old, and consequently his Englischer father sent him to live with his Amish grandparents.  Tyler then grew up in the Amish community, living with and as an Amish man, surrounded by loving relatives.  Tyler’s longtime girlfriend, Rachel, is already a baptized member of the Amish church.  Rachel feels Tyler’s hesitancy to join the church stems from his feelings of rejection by his absent father.

Tyler feels out of place when he visits his Englischer father and he also feels out of place among the Amish, it’s as if he doesn’t belong in either world.  He wonders, could his restlessness be from God? Tyler believes God is calling him, but why would God call him to be outside his Amish community?

The authors paint a captivating picture of Tyler straddling the Amish and Englischer worlds.  He questions whether his mother felt the Amish life was not “enough” for her and he worries that he will come to feel the same way.  To move forward, he needs to discover why his mother left the Amish. With his Amish family’s blessing, Tyler leaves Lancaster County for an adventure in California.

Interest builds as Tyler tries to work out the differences between his Amish life style and how he can fit in as an Englischer.  The California trip ultimately has many purposes, bringing him closer to his Englischer relatives, giving him a reconnection and closeness to his deceased mother, and guiding Tyler to the truths that God wants him to find.  Tyler recognizes that forgiveness is not a one-time thing, it must be practiced over and over again.

While Tyler is in California trying to figure out his path forward, he can’t help but wonder if his Amish girlfriend Rachel will wait for him to return.  Is Rachel being tempted to stray by some other Amish man?  Can Tyler resist the attraction to the friendly California Englischer girls?  Will he decide to return to Lancaster County or will he stay in California?  Will he remain Amish or go back to the Englisch way of life?

The conclusion to The Amish Groom is truly gratifying.  In an authentically touching and unexpected way, readers are rewarded as Tyler unlocks his mother’s past.  The ending is not to be missed and readers may want to keep tissues handy.  The Amish Groom was released April 1, 2014.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


If you are looking for a fun and easy dinner to throw together for your family, try Cincinnati Style Chili Spaghetti.  This could not be any easier, it is very flavorful, and takes very few ingredients.

1 pound ground chuck
1 package French's Chili-O mix (depending on how spicy you like your food, you may not want to use the whole package)
16 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/2 can of water
6 - 8 ounces of thin spaghetti or vermicelli
shredded cheddar cheese - I used the cheese I bought at Heini's Cheese Chalet in Holmes County, Ohio.

Brown the ground chuck and break it up into pieces.

Add the tomato sauce, Chili-O mix, and half a can of water.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.

This is the seasoning package used in the recipe, you can get it with or without onion.

Brown the ground chuck and break up into small pieces.
Drain the grease from the cooked ground chuck.
Add the tomato sauce and half a can of water to the ground chuck, also add the French's Chili-O mix - you can add all or I usually add about 3/4 of the mix so my chili isn't overly spicy.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes.

While your chili is simmering, cook your thin spaghetti according to package directions.

Assemble your plate with a helping of spaghetti on the bottom of your plate, spoon the chili on top, then sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the chili.

Some people like to add chopped raw onion to the top of their chili and/or cooked kidney beans.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Patricia Davids writes a book for all the underdogs which is both inspirational and encouraging in Plain Admirer (Harlequin Love Inspired).  Plain Admirer combines the best of romance with a sprinkle of mystery, as well as excellent character development, in a fast paced novel.  This book is part of the Brides of Amish Country series but reads as a stand-alone novel.

Joann is the youngest in her family. Her parents have died and now she is passed around like yesterday’s leftovers.  She stays four months at each one of her three brother’s households in Hope Springs, Ohio. Never having had a proper home has left her feeling unwanted and undesirable.  Joann has accepted her fate as an old maid, but yearns to have a home of her own.  She has almost saved the down payment she needs for a small home when her boss calls her into his office to end her employment.  Her boss wants Joann to train her replacement before leaving.  Her replacement is the boss’s nephew, Roman, who has hurt his arm in an accident and is unable to work his normal sawmill job.

For two weeks Joann is forced to work side by side with Roman.  She thinks he is impossible to work with.  He thinks she is impossible to work with.  But that isn’t all that they have in common.  Each of them also likes to fish.  Before Joann got fired she had splurged on a new fishing pole but her brother didn’t approve, so he threw her pole into the middle of the lake.  Roman came to fish later and landed her fishing pole.  He knew someone would be looking for their obviously new fishing pole, so he left the pole with a note of explanation attached.  Joann came by the lake later, saw her recovered fishing pole and note, so she left a thank you note in return.  And from this, a sweet but mutually anonymous pen pal relationship ensued in which both Roman and Joann felt they could honestly express themselves.

While their anonymous letters are bringing the two closer, they can only manage to get on each other’s nerves while at work.  Something’s got to give as Joann and Roman can barely be civil to one another, yet why can’t they seem to stop thinking about each other?

This story reinforces that although no one is perfect or has the perfect life, God has the perfect plan for every person.  All can identify with Roman and Joann having feelings of inadequacy, whether it be due to a physical infirmity or just not feeling wanted or admired by anyone.  Plain Admirer was published June 1, 2013.

Monday, June 16, 2014


This list is not meant to be all inclusive, but it should help you when writing up your wish lists and planning ahead.  Every other month I will post a list of books to be released in the next two months.

July 2014 Releases

The Amish Nanny – Brides of Amish Country series
By Patricia Davids
The man of few words must convince Clara she’s found her forever home and family.

The Giver - The Spirit of the Amish series 
By Sarah Price
I will be reviewing this book in July.
When an Amish woman and her brother rent the empty house next to her husband's shop, Sadie senses trouble is brewing.

A Plain Love Song – The New Hope Amish #3 series
By Kelly Irvin
Link to the book review of A Plain Love Song
Is it worth giving up the only home Adah’s ever known to pursue her dreams?

The Revealing – The Inn at Eagle Hill #3 series
By Suzanne Woods Fisher
I will be reviewing this book in mid-July.
Naomi must decide whether to listen to her head or her heart.

August 2014 Releases

Crossroads – Amish Roads #2 series
By Barbara Cameron
Will Emma follow her heart even if it means leaving all she holds dear?

Caroline's Secret - Wells Landing series
By Amy Lillard
I will review this book in July.
Andrew and Caroline's friendship quickly turns into something more, with the help of their matchmaking elders.

The Healing Quilt
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
Amish newlyweds lead a quilting class with a group of unlikely students.

Herb of Grace – Healing Grace series
By Adina Senft
Sarah waits for God to do His healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.

The Amish Blacksmith – The Men of Lancaster County #2 series
By Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner
I will be reviewing this book in mid-July.
What Jake discovers will challenge everything he and Priscilla both believe about the depth of love and the breadth of forgiveness.

A Mother For His Children – Love Inspired Historical series
By Jan Drexler

A marriage of convenience will protect Ruthy’s reputation and give Levi’s children the security they dearly need.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

WHAT'S COMING UP JUNE 16 - 20, 2014

Happy Father's Day tomorrow to all the wonderful father's out there.  I had a great dad, he's my guardian angel now, watching over me and helping me as I need it.  I was his baby girl until the day he died.

Today my husband and I are attending our daughter's best friend's wedding.  We wish Molly and Eric a life time of happiness.  Molly and Eric introduced our daughter to her fiance.  Our daughter, Jill and her fiance, Ryan will be wed in November, 2014.  We are so excited that these two beautiful and happy couples will be starting their lives together.

Don't forget to enter Beth Shriver's Kindle giveaway, see the button on the right side of the page.  You may also have noticed the Deeper Shopping button on the right side of this page.  They offer excellent pricing on Amish novels, Christian books, bibles, and many other items.  Check out their prices, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Now onto this upcoming week's posts:

Monday:  A list of Amish genre books about to be released in July and August.

Tuesday:  A Book Review of Plain Admirer by Patricia Davids

Wednesday:  Today's recipe is for Cincinnati Style Chili Spaghetti - super simple and easy.

Thursday:  A Book Review of The Amish Groom by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

Friday:  A frugal challenge with 17 specific ideas.

Friday, June 13, 2014


The Amish are well known for their work ethic.  But all work and no play makes Amos a dull boy.  I did an internet search of Amish games to see what I could find. had an extensive article on the subject.  Not all communities enjoy all the activities listed below, it depends on the customs and what is sanctioned in that particular church district.  As Amish America states it, “Amish see leisure time as a time to both relax and to enjoy the company of friends and family.  In this way leisure time serves to recharge batteries and strengthen community at the same time.”  This is not meant to be a complete list, but a start to some of the activities the Amish enjoy.

Board Games:
Trivial Pursuit,
Life on the Farm, is similar to Monopoly in that would-be farmers race to amass a herd of 60 cows.  When you pass “GO” you collect your milk check of $100 per cow you own.  See more about Life on the Farm at

Card Games:
Dutch Blitz, according to the website,, this is a fast paced game that will test your skills, smarts, and speed.
Scum, is similar to Uno with the object being to get rid of your cards the fastest.

Other Indoor Activities:
Letter Writing, many Amish family or friends begin a “Circle Letter” in which one person begins the letter, that letter and an address list of everyone who is participating in the circle is included in the envelope which is mailed to the first person on the address list.  That person reads the first letter and then writes her own letter and includes both letters plus the address list in an envelope and sends that to the next person on the address list and so on.  Once the letters have come “full circle”, you take out your letter, read all the letters, and write a new one.  What a fun summer project for a bunch of cousins!

Reading, the Amish read the Bible often as well as their newspaper, The Budget, but they also enjoy good, clean fiction.  Some also read Amish fiction but dislike if they are portrayed as uneducated or foolish.  They are also unhappy with books that make the Amish bishop the villain.  They say the mean Amish bishop is totally unrealistic.

Quilting, only after the household chores and gardening is done will Amish women take the time to work on the craft of quilting.  Much of the quilting is done by hand but some Amish quilters use treadle powered sewing machines.  Women get together to sew and assemble their quilts at a quilting bee, usually sharing a meal or snacks plus lots of talking to complete the quilts as a group.

Volleyball, Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Shuffleboard, Cornhole, Lawn Croquet, Cornerball, Hockey, a wide range of sports are played and enjoyed in Amish communities.  Some Amish communities believe sports are best left to children and teens and do not condone adult participation.  Amish in general shy away from the use of uniforms and competition in organized, competitive leagues.  This is not to say that Amish do not play on any organized leagues, just that it is less common.  Some of the sports listed are played more in one area than another, for example, basketball is more popular in Indiana and Ohio communities.  Hockey is obviously most popular in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other northern states, whereas Shuffleboard is mainly played in Pinecraft, Florida.  Volleyball is almost universally accepted and played everywhere.  Softball and baseball can be seen on the playground of most schoolhouses.  Cornerball is similar to dodgeball but played with a smaller ball.  Cornhole is played with beanbags and is similar to horseshoes.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Beth Wiseman’s command of the Amish romance genre is on full display in Plain Peace (Thomas Nelson).  Plain Peace has original characters filled with passion, secrets, humor, and reconciliation.  Beth Wiseman created three dimensional characters with plenty of flaws making them relatable yet lovable.

The story begins with Jacob, age 19, and his family having just moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania from Middlefield, Ohio to have a fresh start in a new place.  The entire family is suffering in response to their oldest daughter’s death.  Jacob’s father has withdrawn from life and his mother, Cora, is at her wit’s end trying to keep the family together.

Anna, age 18, is an orphan being raised by her grandparents, Marianne and John.  They are also still grieving in their own way over the death of Anna’s parents.  John is the district’s bishop, not particularly loved by the community since he has become progressively stricter as time has gone by.  Jacob and Anna are drawn to each other but Anna’s grandfather John, forbids Anna from seeing Jacob.  She loves her grandfather but finds that he will not listen to her and she is determined to continue her relationship with Jacob.  Anna sneaks out to be with Jacob, but her secret rendezvous is discovered.

But Anna is not the only one with a secret.  Her grandmother, Marianne, is keeping secrets from her strict and overbearing Bishop and husband, John.  Marianne’s secret life is humorous yet sad and pathetic as well.  The author creates an interesting and complex character in Marianne.  She is filled with smiles and friendliness towards others, but is hesitant to find her voice to help Anna to deal with her grandfather.  Anna is discouraged by her grandmother’s passive behavior and voice when dealing with her grandfather.  And Marianne seems unable to help herself with her diabetes while her husband is forbidding the Amish community from visiting the local doctor, yet John does love her.  The secrets start unraveling after Marianne nearly goes into diabetic coma.

Beth Wiseman incorporates several of the characters from previous books in the Daughters of the Promise series into Plain Peace.  It is interesting to see the character continuation from book to book within the series.  The author continues the theme of becoming daughters of the promise in Plain Peace with several of the female characters as they evolve and develop within the pages of the book.

Plain Peace is a unique look at several dysfunctional Amish families with thought-provoking relationships that find a way through love, time, understanding, and God’s wisdom to overcome their difficulties and become the loving families they want to be.   This series is so engaging that readers will want to read the previous five books in the series as well.  Plain Peace became available November, 2013.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Please check out the giveaway on the right hand side of this blog.  Beth Shriver, author of Rumspringa's Hope is giving away a Kindle Fire and a copy of her new novel but you have to enter by June 22, 2014.  Just click on the button and enter to win.  I use a Kindle Fire and it is such a nice tablet computer and reader.  Good luck to you all!

Sausage and Swiss Egg Casserole

Sometimes for simplicity purposes I like to serve breakfast for dinner.  I have a fantastic simple egg casserole that is delicious and easy to throw together.  Unlike many other egg casseroles, you do not make this the night before and store in the refrigerator overnight.  You can put this together in just a few minutes and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes, serve with a nice green salad and have dinner.  I like easy dinners, don't you?

I also use this recipe whenever I have a brunch for my extended family.  Again, it's the perfect recipe for entertaining.  Everyone loves it and it stays good even when sitting out for awhile.

Here are the ingredients I used, plus salt and pepper


1 roll of Bob Evans sausage
5 eggs
1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a glass 9" x 13" pan.

Unroll the crescent roll dough and place in the bottom of the greased glass pan.  Using your fingers, press closed any seams in the dough.

Brown the sausage in a skillet, breaking up into small pieces.  When sausage is completely browned, you can try to drain any grease, then pour evenly on top of crescent dough in glass pan.

Evenly sprinkle the shredded swiss cheese on top the sausage.

Thoroughly mix the cream, salt, pepper, and eggs together and pour over the swiss cheese in the pan.

Place in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes.  Dish is done when the top is browned and the crescent roll bottom is cooked.  Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Brown the Sausage and break into small pieces

Unroll the crescent roll dough, place in the glass pan, press any seams together.

Spread the browned sausage on top of the crescent roll dough

Evenly spread the shredded swiss cheese on top of the sausage

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the swiss cheese

Here is the casserole ready to go into the preheated oven for 20 minutes

If you let the casserole rest for 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven, it will cut nicely into squares

Serve with a nice salad and you have a delicious dinner or brunch