Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway Info: Baroness

About the book
Lily and Rose, daughters of an empire coming of age in the roaring twenties, can have anything they want ... except freedom.

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But, Lily, Esme's daughter longs to return home to Montana, to adventure outside the confines of New York City. And Jinx's daughter Rosie dreams of the bright lights of the newly emerging silver screen. But following their dreams - from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers will take all their courage.

And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Find out more from Behind the Pages: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/books/baroness 

My thoughts
This is the follow up book to Heiress (you can read my review of that book here), and while it goes along with Heiress, it is definitely a stand alone book that you can understand and follow without having read the first book.  I did like Baroness, but not as much as I enjoyed Heiress.  The author is able to transport the reader to the streets of Paris and New York City during the Roaring Twenties, but I did not feel the women were as strong as their mothers', Jinx and Esme, were in Heiress.  The daughters faced similar inner struggles as their mothers had, mainly the struggle for independence and the difficulty of following one's heart while trying to please their loved ones.  Unfortunately, Lily and Rosie did not always succeed in making the right choices, which allows the reader to watch them grow, but also makes you question some of their choices.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy coming of age stories and fiction set in the 1920's.  The growth of Rosie's relationship with her step-father is another aspect I enjoyed and leads me to recommend the book to anyone who has ever struggled to understand the feelings that exist between a step-parent and a child.

About the author
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. 

She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com.

About the giveaway
 Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the family empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But following their dreams -- from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers -- will take all their courage.  And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?

Celebrate with Susan by entering her Roaring 20's Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Baroness and Heiress by Susan May Warren

But hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/7/12. The winner will be announced on 5/9/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
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Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.

Teach Them Tuesdays: Cinco de Mayo Lesson Plan

Reading-  Read the article about Cinco de Mayo found here: http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/holidays/cincodemayo1.htm  (be sure to continue on to page 2 at the bottom) and answer the following questions (parents can e-mail me for the answers if they wish):

In what year did the Mexican Army defeat the French Army at the Battle of Puebla?

Why is this battle significant?  

Why did France invade Mexico?

Who was the Mexican general that led the Mexican Army during the Battle of Puebla?

Writing-  Write a story about the things you would do to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, or if your family does celebrate Cinco de Mayo, write about how you celebrate it.

Language Arts- We are going to break down the words "Cinco de Mayo" and translate them into English.  "Cinco" (pronounced like sink-o) means "five" and "de" (pronounced like day) means "of", when combined together, they mean "fifth of".  "Mayo" (pronounced like My-oh) means "May", so when the whole phrase is put together it means, "fifth of May", which is the date that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated.

Vocabulary/Spelling- Be able to spell, define and use each word/phrase in a sentence. (Parents adjust the words to fit your child's level)

Cinco de Mayo- the 5th of May, a holiday that celebrates the Mexican Army defeating the French Army at the Battle of Puebla

Commemorate- to serve as a reminder of somebody or of an event

Piñata- a decorated container, often filled with sweets and toys, that is broken during celebrations

Math- In honor of the number 5 (cinco), practice your multiplication and division facts for the number 5.  Here is a Schoolhouse Rock video to help you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_1x7V1sHd0  (Younger kids can practice counting by 5s)

Science- Learn what Mexican jumping beans really are and what makes them jump(an insect!): http://www.homeroomteacher.com/infocincodemayoprojectsandactivities.html  (scroll about halfway down the page)

Social Studies- Read about a child's life in Mexico: http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0212302/mexico.html  (please note, the first word "Olah" is mispelled.  To say "hello" in Spanish you would say "hola" (pronounced like o-la)).  How is it different from your life? 

Print out and color a copy of the Mexican flag: http://www.abcteach.com/free/f/flag_mexico.pdf 

Music- Listen to the Mexican National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39MwGC0jnEg  You can read more about the Mexican National Anthem, including reading the lyrics in Spanish and English, on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himno_Nacional_Mexicano

Art- Make some paper flowers: http://www.bry-backmanor.org/holidayfun/cincodemayocraft.html or a piñata: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pi%C3%B1ata to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Domestic Arts- Make some homemade corn tortillas: http://www.mexicoinmykitchen.com/2009/02/how-to-make-corn-tortillascomo-hacer.html If you do not own a tortilla press, keep scrolling on the page to see other ways you can flatten the dough.  You can then eat your tortillas as they are or use them to make another recipe.  We like to cut our tortillas into wedges and fry them for homemade tortilla chips.  After frying, we sprinkle them with fresh lime juice and salt. 

Health- Diabetes is a disease that is common in Mexico.  Learn more about diabetes and do the crossword and word search found here: http://www.diabetesresearch.org/document.doc?id=274

Physical Education- Watch this video of the Mexican Hat Dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN-p4mUbq6k&feature=related  Then practice the Mexican Hat Dance, following the directions found here: http://www.kids-partycabin.com/Mexican_hat_dance.html

Related books- Lucas and His Loco Beans: A Tale of the Mexican Jumping Bean

Cinco de Mouse-O!

Viva Mexico!: The Story of Benito Juarez and Cinco De Mayo (Stories of America)

Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating the Traditions of Mexico

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the Mexican Hat Dance

Friday, April 13, 2012

Feed them Friday: Homemade Magic Shell

We enjoy Magic Shell at our house, but in an effort to make more things from scratch, we decided to try to make our own at home.  I found a couple different recipes, but the one I am sharing today, I cannot find the original post for.  I did alter it significantly though so while I am happy to give credit to the inspiration (if I could find it), I also feel comfortable enough to post it without the acknowledgment.

1 cup coconut oil
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 c honey.

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and mix over low heat until melted, stirring until combined.
Store at room temperature.
If it solidifies, or you choose to store it in the fridge, you can re-heat it on the stove top to get it back to its liquid state.

What we thought
The day we made this, it had a strong coconut flavor, which was not bad, but if you are looking for a pure chocolate flavor, or dislike coconut flavor, you may not want to eat this right away.  As we let it sit and re-heated it, the coconut flavor has dissipated.  One of my daughters and I loved it the first day and the days since.  The rest of the family does not care for coconut flavor so they did not enjoy it the first day, but liked it after we reheated it a few days later.  I have another recipe I want to try and will share those results later.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway Info: The Wedding Dress

About the book

One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny.

Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham's chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.

Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte's heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love. 

My thoughts
Once upon a time, I worked in a bridal shop and had dreams of being a wedding planner, so I immediately felt connected to Charlotte.  As I read the book, I fell in love with the different brides and their unique situations.  The reader gets the chance to read all four stories, but the stories of Emily and Charlotte are the ones that are the most prominent.  You also get to experience how life and circumstances were during various points in history, from the days of high society to the Great Depression and on to the Vietnam War.  Each of the brides faced a similar circumstance though in that they had to discover who they really were and, most of them, had to assert themselves for the first time in order to get what they really wanted for their wedding.  
I recommend this book to those who enjoy romance stories.  You get four of them in here!  The book also takes you through several historical eras, and although I would hesitate to call it historical fiction, those who enjoy books set in historical times, will enjoy this story that brings together 4 stories.  

About the author
Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of Carol Award winner Sweet Caroline, and RITA Finalist Love Starts With Elle, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, The Songbird Novels.

She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pets.

Rachel earned a degree in Journalism form Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She is the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now sits on the board as an Advisor. Visit her web site at www.rachelhauck.com to reader her blog, and to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

About the giveaway
What is "true" beauty? Join the conversation at Rachel's Author Chat Party Event Page. On the eventing of 4/19 we'll gather to talk about inner and outer beauty and share moments of beauty in our lives.

In the meantime, celebrate with Rachel by entering her True Beauty Giveaway!
One "beautiful" winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (Treat yourself to a spa day or weekend get-away!)
  • The Wedding Dress (by Rachel Hauck)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 4/18/12. Winner will be announced at Rachel's "True Beuaty" Author Chat Facebook Party on 4/19. Rachel will be hosting an evening of beauty (inner/outer) chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Rachel via Skype.)

So grab a few of your friends and your copy of The Wedding Dress and join Rachel on the evening of April 19th for an evening of fun.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 19th!


Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes. My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.