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Showing posts from November, 2017

The Sound of Rain #ourgoodlifebooklist

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. I have a formula for the books that I like the best: 1.  Beautiful, descriptive settings 2.  Characters who are people I would have as friends 3.  Food scenes that make you drool. The Sound of Rain, by Sarah Loudin Thomas, gets a checkmark for each of my big three.  The opening of the book hooks and reels you right in.  We are buried in a cave-in in a coal mine, with a foot right in our face.  Later, we discover that the food belongs to Judd Markley, who survives the cave-in, but Joe, his brother, doesn't.  From then, we follow Judd to South Carolina where he is trying to restart his life.  Judd is a man that would charm mothers everywhere, he's sensitive, honest, and a hard worker. He meets am an on the bus ride to South Carolina, that helps he secure employment at the Waccamaw Timber Company.  The first person he meets there is Larkin Heyward, the owner's daughter. Larkin is the epi
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Noelle #ourgoodlifebooklist

I was given this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I love books and I love dogs but I usually don't like books about dogs.  Why?  Because they are usually sad and painful, and I end up feeling really awful about life and people in general.  So why did I pick this book to review?   Good question. Greg Kincaid, the author of this book, has a delightful series going of Christmas dog books.  Have you heard of them?  He wrote A Dog Named Christmas, Christmas with Tucker and A Christmas Home, all books that I loved.  The books are set in rural Kansas, too, not much different from rural Missouri, where I grew up.  Christmas, home and dogs.  Yep. So in this fourth installment of the McCray family novels and their lovable dogs, the story centers around Mary Ann McCray, the matriarch of the family.  When the traditional Santa is unable to fulfill his duties, Mary Ann finds herself with the challenge of reinventing Mrs. Claus, or Anna, as she is known in Kansas.
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Snow Honey Cocktail #SundaySupper

My family loves trying new holiday cocktails. We learned of a new pop up bar called Miracle that is only open during the holiday season. We plan to try it out soon, so we will let you know all about that later! This lovely holiday cocktail is a perfect one to serve to those who love cognac. We do! The warm scents of spice in the cognac is so perfect with the creaminess of whole milk and honey. As in the case of any recipe with so few ingredients, choose your ingredients carefully. Snow Honey Cocktail 1 t. of GOOD honey (we look for the best local honey we can find) 1 oz Courvoisier VSOP Cognac 6 oz warm or cold milk. Stir the honey into the milk until dissolved.  Add cognac and serve with a garnish.  If serving warm, warm the mug by microwaving a mug of water for one minute.  Pour out the water, fill with cocktail mixture. Winter Cocktail Recipes Cocktail Shakers Bourbon Flip by Sunday Supper Movement Buttery Nipple Cocktail by Positively Stacey Candy Ca
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.  May your day be filled with joy, laughter, family, friends and good food. "Grateful for each hand we hold Gathered round this table. From far and near we travel home, Blessed that we are able. Grateful for this sheltered place With light in every window, Saying welcome, welcome, share this feast Come in away from sorrow. Father, mother, daughter, son, Neighbor, friend and friendless; All together everyone in the gift of loving-kindness. Grateful for whats understood, And all that is forgiven; We try so hard to be good, To lead a life worth living. Father, mother, daughter, son, Neighbor, friend, and friendless; All together everyone, let grateful days be endless. Grateful for each hand we hold Gathered round this table." - Mary Chapin Carpenter - Thanksgiving Song Lyrics 
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Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

May you have abundant blessings to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.  I know I don't always take the time to be grateful for all that I have been blessed with.  My friends at Happy at Home Blogging Network are focused on gratitude and acknowledging their blessings and I have learned how to do this much better by being in their group.  My niche is different than theirs, but they still allow me to join them! One of the ways I wanted to share my gratitude with my readers is by sharing this idea I had. It is a way to share the giving of thanks in prayer for your Thanksgiving.  Print the set of cards below on a pretty piece of cardstock.  The print is in black and white so you can color and personalize it the way you want, thinking about YOUR own blessings!  Once you have colored them, place them randomly on the place settings on your table or hand them to the person you want to read that card.  You might want to add a number for easy tracking, like I did. When it
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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Drunken Cranberries #SundaySupper

I hosted a Friendsgiving as a fundraiser for my birthday this year with my P.E.O. chapter in exchange for our monthly eating out.  My sisters donated the cost of their meal to No Kid Hungry in honor of my birthday!  I raised over $800 for this event.  I am so proud of my family and friends for stepping up to the plate for this charity! We made an Italian meal of Bob's Ultimate Mac and Cheese and Pumpkin Ravioli with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce.  We served this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Drunken Cranberries as the salad course and it was a hit with the ladies! Several brought wine, one brought a luscious dessert of tiramisu, and appetizers.  We laughed, enjoyed each other's company and discussed about making this an annual event because we really believed it was a great opportunity to give back, right here at Thanksgiving. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Drunken Cranberries 1 pkg dried cranberries 1/4 lb brussels sprouts, shaved 1 pkg mixed salad greens 8
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Do Pets Show Gratitude?

I received this item free of charge from Chewy.com in exchange for my honest review. Sometimes strange questions appear in the forefront of my brain and I can't ignore them. In thinking about Thanksgiving, I am always grateful for my two rescues, Truman and Wilson. Truman came to us first through a dog shelter and Wilson came to us through a friend. I am 100% sure that my dogs feel gratitude and this is how they show it. 1.  Wilson gives kisses freely when he is showing gratitude. Especially after giving him treats, like the ones we got from chewy.com this month.  More about those later. 2.  Truman shows gratitude by the way he insists on being close to me, regardless where I am.  If I am working at my desk, he is at my feet.  If I am sitting on the couch, he laying right beside me, full length. 3.  Both Truman and Wilson show Bob gratitude with big tail wags when he brings them home from a walk.  Both wag their tails over and over while Bob is unleashing them. 
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30 Days to Joy #ourgoodlifebooklist

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. It's the season for JOY and celebrating the birth of Jesus, and what better way than to grab a 30 Days to Joy creative journal to grasp all that the season has to offer!  The book is designed to guide you through the difference between happiness and joy. (spoiler alert!  Joy is a deep, soulful feeling that sticks with you when things are tough.  Happiness is a fleeting moment, like when the guy ahead of you pays for your coffee.) I love this journal.  It is only 30 days, which fits my scatterbrained, ADHD mind and each of the day's assignments are short and sweet.  Sometimes you even get to doodle!  The prompts are thought provoking, but won't set you off in a tailspin.  Each day gives you inspiration either through a quote or a scripture from the Bible. This cheerful little volume is the perfect gift for a hostess, your friends, and even your child's school teacher.  It is a beautiful book, with a
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Christmas Chilaquiles with Eggs #SundaySupper

I am so excited about this week's posts for Holiday Casseroles. A casserole is such a warm and comforting food, and even though my family used to cringe at the notion of a casserole , I think my past has finally gone by.  Especially with this delightful skillet version of a Mexican favorite. We first had chilaquiles when we traveled to Mexico in May. This not-so-appetizing dish appear ed on our buffet every morning for breakfast and the casserole was the most often replaced dish.  I decided to give it a try. Everything about this casserole said HOME.  I knew immediately it was a favorite and encouraged each of my family members to try it.  It became a favorite and a small scoop would be on every breakfast plate. Looking for a version to make at home, I found many on the internet that looked promising. We came up with this version and it was so good and very easy to make. Christmas Chilaquiles (Chill a kee lace) with Eggs serves 4 1 T avocado oil (an
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Jalapeno Infused Vodka #cookthebooksclub

My charming book club, Cook the Books, chose the mystery The Patriarch by Martin Walker as our November/December selection. Claudia, from  Honey from Rock  chose the book for us. She has been reading books by Martin Walker for years and because of the author's culinary usage, it was a perfect selection for the group. Martin Walker writes a series of books about Bruno, who is the Chief of Police in a small French town called St. Denis.  He is a true Renaissance man, a unassuming man who is a gourmet cook, wine enthusiast, gardener who is dabbling in truffle oak trees, a hunter, and a dog man.  He makes his own jams, pates, sausages, confits, etc.  He rides horses and is a sensitive, caring man.  Wish there were more like him! One of Bruno's childhood heroes is a man named Marco Desaix, knicknamed "The Patriarch."  He is a French Resistance hero.  Bruno is invited to his birthday celebration and he is overjoyed.  Of course, there is a murder at the event, whic
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Homemade Applesauce #TasteCreations

I can feel the closeness of Thanksgiving coming on me and I am having shivers of excitement! I love seeing my extended family in Marceline (Missouri) and knowing that we will be having my mom's cooking is a thrill for me, too. When I was growing up, I remember Mom doing ALL the cooking for our feast. Lots of people would come over, but I rarely remember anyone else contributing, except for a dessert here and there. My sister learned to make my Grandmother Holt's yeast rolls when she passed, and when I married, I started bringing pies, but still the bulk of the cooking fell to my mom. The years that my dad was so ill, is when we started dividing up the cooking responsibilities. My mom loves her turkeys so she still does that, the mashed potatoes and stuffing. My nephew's wife does the green bean casserole, I do the noodles and pies, my sister does the rolls, my husband brings Brussels Sprouts and a macaroni and cheese dish. We've stuck to this plan more or le
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Gluten Free Fudge #SundaySupper

The holidays are quickly approaching and I am scouting out recipes to suit a sugar free and gluten free lifestyle.  I totally understand that it won't be possible to do it all, but I am looking for ways to make the holidays enjoyable.  Fudge is one of my favorites, and with the varieties here,  I will be very happy for this special treat! Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten Free Fudge 2 cans of coconut milk 15 oz unsweetened chocolate 1/2 c coconut sugar 1/2 t vanilla First, prepare your pan or molds for the fudge.  Crisscross two sheets of waxed paper into a 8 inch square pan.  Set aside.  In a heavy saucepan, heat up the contents of the coconut milk and coconut sugar and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, add vanilla nad chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted. Pour immediately into the prepared pan, or scoop chocolate into molds.  Refrigerate until sold, about 2 hours.  Remove from pan by lifting the edges of the waxed paper.  Peel away paper and cut into squa
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How to Set a Table #ourgoodlifebooklist

I ordered How to Set a Table by Potter in hopes to gain new insights about entertaining.  My husband and I both enjoy having people over, and I thought I would learn some new and interesting ideas. The book is sweet and understated, with a linen cover and a unique size and shape that are really cute.  The book starts off identifying all the different pieces used on a table in good detail. If you weren't familiar with the different types of silver and glassware, this book has you covered. Next were a few pages on a variety of get togethers. There were some unique suggestions on what to do for early risers if you have guests, but most of the ideas were ones that good magazines like Southern Living and House Beautiful have covered for years.  So while the photos were lovely, I wasn't inspired to do anything different in my world of entertaining. I do think this would make a remarkable textbook in a family and consumer sciences type of class (we call it Home Economics bac
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