Friday, May 22, 2015

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould - My Review

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould

My Book Review

When Joel and Shani Beck arrive at their new home, they're looking for peace. Shani is thrilled to have Joel back from Iraq, but he needs time to heal, and the quiet of Lancaster seems just the place. They can't imagine any trouble with their Amish neighbors, the Lehmans, but things get off to a rocky start when their son is involved in an accident that injures one of the Lehman boys. Eve Lehman has run her brother's household ever since the death of his wife, but Tim's a stern patriarch. Despite his protests, she's drawn to the new neighbor, Shani, and the two begin to form a strong friendship forged on faith and family. Things seem like they've quieted down until Joel's single and handsome army friend Charlie catches Eve's attention--a man unlike any Eve has ever met. Suddenly life for both families becomes more complicated than any of them could have ever imagined
My Review
I always enjoy Leslie Gould's books - I recently finished the The Courtships of Lancaster County Series - and love her style of writing. This book was a little different since it not only featured Amish people as main characters, but brought an 'Englischer' family into the story. Another twist I liked was the fact that the Englisch father had been in the war, bringing more complexity to the chapters where the strict Amish father next door had to deal with befriending a soldier - not something most Amish look highly upon. It brought out a lot of emotion and added a lot of interesting layers to the book.

I also liked that the book wasn't only following one storyline. It follows both families though their own struggles and emotions, while still keeping the whole story in context and interesting.
So, all in all I definitely enjoyed the book, and would happily recommend it!

You can pick up a copy of the book here on Amazon here:
Or on the Baker Publishing Website here:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Strong is the new Skinny by Jennifer Cohen and Stacey Colino

Strong is the new Skinny by Jennifer Cohen and Stacey Colino

Book Description
LEANER, STRONGER, FITTER…FASTERSick and tired of hearing what’s wrong with you and your body?  You’re not alone.  It’s time for a new conversation—and a new plan for treating, feeding, and moving your body in ways that build on your strengths inside and out. Strong is sexy. Strong is powerful. Strong is achievable.  With STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY you can say goodbye to body-bashing and physical faultfinding, and instead learn to embrace, not just how it looks, but what your body can do—from pushups to pull ups and box jumps to rope climbs, nothing is out of your reach.  Strong Is the New Skinny offers a reality-based diet, lifestyle, and fitness program (the “SINS” plan, for short) so you can: 
   • Maximize your potential, as well as your energy, vitality, and power.    • Train your brain—develop resilience and mental fortitude in every area of your life.    • Add muscle, increase speed, and enhance flexibility.    • Strengthen your arms, back, core, and legs—and crank up the challenge when you’re ready for the next level.    • Torch fat with Strong Moves:  a series of heart-healthy H.I.I.T. workouts that take as little as 10 minutes.    • Kick-start your Get-Fit, Get-Fierce plan with the Strong Seven—7 days of 7 power foods. 
Whether you’re just getting started or training for a challenging physical event, this book gives you all the tools you need to become leaner, fitter, and stronger: nutritionally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally. 
My Review
I was instantly attracted to this book mainly because of the title - over the past few years, after having three children, the reason I work out has changed vastly. While it used to be to fit into the smallest pair of skinny jeans possible, now it`s truly to be strong and healthy enough to be the best I can all day, everyday for myself, my kids and my husband. 
I love that the book focuses on building strength rather than being extreme in diet or fitness to lose weight. I also liked that it takes into consideration the fact that most women don`t have an hour to spend working out everyday. I know I don`t after the cleaning, cooking, homeschooling and home business work is done! I`m exhausted at the end of the day and while I look forward to my workouts, I also want time for my husband and planning for the next day. The book accomplishes this by focusing on HIIT training techniques that make it possible to fit in shorter workouts, while still seeing the results a full hour workout would give you.
I would highly recommend this book if you^re looking for a real, sustainable way to get stronger, lose weight or be healthier. 

Buy The Book
You can pick up a copy here on Amazon:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#Novosbed Memory Foam Opus Pillow Review

I'm usually not a person who is very picky about their pillow. Typically, I pick up the cheapest one I can find at Target when its time to replace mine, and use it without a hitch. However, the past two years I've noticed how uncomfortable I can get at night. My back hurts, I wake up with a sore neck or with pillow marks on my face. Not only is that bothersome because of the pain, but repeatedly getting marks from your pillow every night is known wrinkle-causer! Not something I want to encourage having just turned 30! So when I was given the opportunity to try out a comfy memory foam pillow from Novosbed, I decided to see if the extra price was truly worth it.

About Novosbed
Novosbed makes mattresses, frames and pillows that are all carefully crafted in the USA. Their products include comfortable memory foam mattresses with high density, gel or natural options. They also make silk duvets and Pima sheets.

Their pillwos come in a few different varities - Contour, Adagio and Opus, each for different types of sleepers:

The Contour Pillow
Made for people who sleep in any position - back, side or stomach - the Contour promotes good sleeping posture by properly supporting your head and neck muscles. This allows your muscles to relax and give you a more restful sleep. Allergen and dust-mite resistant, it comes in a soft velour cover.

The Adagio
The Adagio pillow is made especially for side sleepers with a medium-soft level of firmness. It properly supports head and neck muscles for people who like to sleep on their side, allowing all of your muscles to relax.

The Opus

The Opus pillow (the one I tried!) can conform to any sleeping position, making it perfect for people who move around during the night.Supportive and durable, the Opus keeps its shape even after years of use.

My Review of the Opus Pillow
The first thing I noticed when opening up my Opus pillow was the amazingly luxurious cover that Novosbed fits on their pillows! A velour, microfibre cover, its super cozy and made me want to plop down on it right away. The pillow felt a lot firmer than the pillows I'm used to, but seeing as how its made to adapt to any sleeping position, I was willing to give it a try. I am definitely one of those people who goes from side to side, and then onto my back quite  a few times per night. 

After using the pillow for quite a few weeks now, I definitely notice a difference in how I feel when I wake up. The biggest difference for me is in how much more awake I actually feel. I usually use those very soft pillows that you sort of sink into. Although they seem cozy, I now realize how misshapen and flat they really get after just a few weeks, while my Opus pillow is still firm soft and even a lot cleaner!

Although I still have a baby who wakes up during the night,m I do notice a difference in how my muscles feel during the night, especially after I work out. I don't wake up feeling so cramped anymore, or with stiff shoulders. I've also noticed a pretty big change in my posture - when I wake up now I feel a lot more able to get up and stretch, rather than slowly rolling up and feeling my muscles cramp. 
Oh, and no wrinkling face marks :)

So has using the Opus changed my mind about pillows? Absolutely! Now that I've tried it, I really can't imagine going back to the bargain bin pillows anymore! Especially not since Novosbed's pillows are supposed to last so long - they are worth the extra cash.

Where to find Novosbed Products
Right now you can purchase any of Novosbed's products from their website at They accept Paypal or credit cards, and offer free shipping. 
They also offer a great trial period on some of their products, with free 2 way shipping, allowing you to return it without risk if you're not completely satisfied - a pretty good deal!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NO-AD Skincare Products - Review #Coupon Too!

My NO-AD Anti-Aging Skincare review

Last year I turned 30! While thirty is far from being old, I have noticed drastic changes in my skin over the last five years. Having three kids and my own share of stressors in my life in the past have certainly contributed to my skin aging, as have my habits - in particular all the tanning I did as a teen! I would spend hours laying out in the sun hoping to score a nice tan (although I;d usually end up with a nice burn instead!)

I've certainly gotten a lot more serious about sun care, especially now that my skin is changing, but aging combined with those things have certainly changed the look of my skin. So when I was given the chance to try out some new Anti-aging moisturizers from NO-AD, I went right for it!

NO-AD began in 1962 with the philosophy of not getting into the crazy world of television ads and gimmicks. Their products are quality made, sun care focused products that aim to be twice the size of the usual big-brand name products. They make both moisturizing, anti-aging creams as well as sunscreen and suncare products for the whole family, all at great prices.

My Review

I was given two bottles of their anti-aging moisturizers to try out:
  • NO-AD Prevent & Repair Anti-Aging Body Moistuizer in a pump bottle
  • NO-AD Prevent & Brighten Anti-Aging Moisturizer in a spray bottle
The thing I really like about both of these products is that they are moisturizes that contain a little but of sun protection. This is perfect for when we're hurrying off in the car to the grocery store and not bothering with sunscreen. The sun still hits you big time in the car, but putting a bit of this on your skin will keep it safe for that short time.

The creams claim to be quick-drying and not greasy, and they do live up to that claim! I especially love the spray bottle that gets to hard-to-reach places. You just spray the cream on and rub it in - if you have a hard time reaching your back you can use a loofah (or your husband ;)) to rub it in. It really gets instantly absorbed and leaves your skin feeling soft, but not sticky. It also has a nice melon smell to it that doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. That's a big plus.

Prevent & Brighten claims to help diminish the look of age spots and freckles - something I have all over my arms! I haven't used it long enough to tell whether it actually will work, but I do know that a lot of people use these types of creams with success, so hopefully I'll see some! 

The creams also claim to help prevent photo-aging (age spots, wrinkling) caused by all those few minutes you spend outside without sunscreen everyday - all year round. This can also help in some ways to prevent things like melanoma from developing over time - a big concern of mine with all those freckles on my arms!

Although I can't claim to know whether its actually preventing these things, I do know that it moisturizes your skin really well! To illustrate that point, here's a picture of my hand after doing some yard yark this morning - about an hour of raking and planting grass seed took its toll :/ And that's after having scrubbed my hands with hot soapy water!

No here's my hand after applying NO-AD Prevent & Repair - big difference in how they look and they felt sooo much better! The lines in my hands were a lot less visible and  (although the pictures aren't taken in exactly the same light) they looked a lot smoother.

Big difference! And they stay like that all day too!

If you'd like to try out some NO-AD for yourself, you can head over to their website at and print out a $2.00 off coupon right now. I would definitely recommend it myself - I've used it for about two weeks now and plan to continue making it one of my regular brands.

I was given a sample of NO-AD skincare products to try out in exchange for my honest review. All opinions however, are my own :)
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Visiting de Young Museum in San Francisco - Fun Learning for the Family!

Visiting de Young Museum in San Francisco
 Visiting de Young Museum in San Francisco

*Today's post is made in collaboration with a sponsor. It's all about a great museum in San Francisco - de Young Museum - one we hope to make a trip to one day!
Hope you enjoy
`Debbie Jean

California is a globally renowned centre of art and culture and is home to many prestigious museums and art galleries. One of the finest, De Young Museum in San Francisco, is an exceptional artistic institution that is heralded by tourists and locals alike because of the myriad of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts that it boasts of. The museum originated as the Fine Arts Building, constructed in Golden Gate Park in 1894. The original building was damaged by an earthquake in 1989 and the trustees decided to rebuild the museum in the form of an undulating copper ribbon containing open and light-filled spaces that enhance the visitor's appreciation of the works of art.
Highlights to Look Out For
De Young Museum is home to examples of the finest art from all over the world. Highlights include the collections of American paintings, American decorative art, African art, Oceanic art, works on paper, photography and textile arts. Upcoming exhibitions for 2015 include J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free, from June 20 –September 20 and Jewel City: Art from San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition, running from October 17, 2015 – January 10, 2016.
Fun For All the Family
Kids will enjoy visiting the De Young Museum as it is very family-friendly and offers a wide range of programs for youngsters of all ages. Free Saturday classes are extremely popular with ages 4 - 12. They feature family tours of current exhibitions and permanent collections followed by classes taught by professional artists on themes such as Contain Your Enthusiasm: Safe Havens for Your Treasures and Get Crafty with Your Art: The Arts and Crafts Movement. Your children are sure to find both entertaining and inspirational. The museum is accessible to wheelchair users and there are drop-off/pick-up parking spaces right outside.
De Young Museum is an educational and exciting destination for a family visit. The architecture is stunning and the collections of artwork are amongst the finest in the world. There is so much for kids to see and do that your family's visit to De Young Museum looks set to be a highlight of your California vacation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

National Geographic Kids 1000 Facts About the Bible

About the Book
This beautifully illustrated, easy to follow reference inspires kids to discover more about the Bible, with its unique presentation of historical stories and facts. Packed with features like "25 Facts about Music and Poetry" and "35 Facts about Ancient Rulers," and dozens more on palaces, beauty, gardens, fashion, and other aspects of life during biblical times, 1,000 Facts About the Bible is an engaging and kid-friendly take on the history, archeological discoveries, and stories of the Bible.

My Review
I always love reading National Geographic books with the kids  for many reasons. For one, I always know that the information will be factual and based n the latest research. I also know that the books will be full f beautiful, full-color photographs or pictures that will draw them into the stories, places and times in history.
So when given the opportunity to review National Geographic's 100 Facts Bible for kids, I was excited to take a look at it. I've always been a stickler for history and sorting fact from faith, and that is definitely a skill I intend to pass onto my kids. An important one I think!

The book certainly doesn't fall short in the facts department - it gives interesting tidbits taken from the Bible, as well as things that have recently been discovered about it. For example, as you can see in this page below it gives a bunch of interesting facts about animals - both real and mythical (the dragon) in the Bible. It gives all sorts of interesting tidbits about animals during that time period too - like the fact that Jackals were so feared.

I also love that national geographic is able to give factual and current information on world religions without making waves of controversy.
Most books like this about the Bible, or other religious books, would either lean more towards the Christian faith and state information as facts that are not actually factual, or discount the beliefs completely.
This book just presents clear facts and fun information without leaning either way.
A big bonus in my book!

If you'd like to read more about the book, see other National Geographic books for kids, or buy a copy you can do so by visiting National Grographic here .

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Love Letters - By Beverly Lewis - an Amish Fiction Book

My review of The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis.

Marlena needed time to let things sink in. It was beyond her how all this could possibly work out--adding the care of an infant to her daily routine. Fortunately, it would just be until Luella returned home from the hospital and was stronger. 
No more than a couple weeks, surely.
Marlena Wenger's life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.

My Review
Beverly Lewis is one of my favorite authors, and being a big fan of Amish fiction books I always enjoy her novels. Her characters are always so well described I can picture them, their mannerisms and their personalities in my mind. I really love it when a book comes alive like that!
This book was no different. Marlena is a character you want to both love and shake some sense into! Caught between joining her parents in their new found faith that brings them so much joy, and the old order Ordnung ways of her beau, it's so nice to see the way she develops through the story, becoming more of a woman, less of a girl.
The story with the baby is a wonderful one too and literally had me in tears at the end of both sadness and joy.
As always, this one was hard to put down and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The characters, settings and problems all came alive, as did the stories that intertwined them all. A really great, clean read that you can enjoy and feel okay putting on the bookshelf for your teen to pick up too :)

You can get a copy for yourself in paperback or an ebook copy on the Bethany House website here, or by visiting Amazon here

Happy Reading!