Trouble Brewing: A Review


img_0479-1I write this review with coffee in hand and sleepy eyes because I pulled a very late night to finish this gem! From the first few words I was hooked. It normally takes me a few chapters to get into the grove but I was invested in Piper and Blake from the very beginning. Trouble Brewing is a light easy read, not complex but also not lacking in drama and a web of characters and plot turns. I would say that I wasn’t surprised by the ending and smiled as I finished the epilogue. The characters were fun, I want to sit in Blake’s gastro-pub and have a Piper brewed beer. The chapters switched between the voice of Piper and the voice of Blake and after I got the hang of verifying who was speaking, I enjoyed the differing view points as it made me appreciate each main character as their own person.

Strong independent female lead, love, hurt, frustration, life changing decisions, friendship, and anger can all be found in Suzanne Baltsar‘s novel but following one’s passion and knowing that hard work means sacrifice and criticism was the element I enjoyed most.

Trouble Brewing releases September, 25, 2018 so grab a beer and some bar snacks and get ready to enjoy!

*Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review*

The World Is Our Classroom: Book Review

I recently had the privilege of reading The World Is Our Classroom by Cindy Ross as an ARC (advancedreadercopy) from NetGalley. As a homeschool mom I was drawn to the title and that cover is so peaceful I wanted to feel that adventure. In our family school we also strive to have the world as our classroom but Cindy Ross describes a philosophy beyond my wildest dreams, a philosophy of teaching that sounds perfect and I only wish I could take the leap to pack up my kids and seek out nature and the opportunities in our everyday life to teach my kids what could have never be found in a text book. Sadly, I am too rigid in my style, too type A, too interested in making sure the boxes are checked. Cindy describes the adventures they experienced teaching her children as they hiked the Appalachian trail or the Rockies. What I took away from this excellent example of teaching and learning was that even though this style of learning is not conventional and that Cindy and her husband had to learn by trial and error, that did not stop them and they never allowed fear or the unknown to stop them from following their dreams and taking their children along with them.  The format was easy to follow and the words enticing never boring, easy to read and eye opening.

The World Is Our Classroom published on September 11.

The Roaring 20s: A Unit Study


We FINALLY wrapped up our WW1 study in history and have moved on to the roaring 20’s and the jazz age. I am far more excited about this study than the kids but that isn’t unusual since they have no idea what awesome plans I have in store for them!

I introduced the kids to the new dance craves of the 20’s- the Charleston and the Lindy, thank you YouTube you never let me down!  Then we watched the marvelous “Shipwreck” and his craze of flag pole sitting. The channel I found the flag pole sitting video also had other decade’s fads and crazes, I know I’ll be using it again.


We read this sweet book, Ella’s Big Chance: A Jazz Age Cinderella By Shirley Hughes. Ella was Cinderella in the 20s jazz era. The kids loved it and loved making the comparisons to the familiar story. There was even a little twist at the end from the Disney version.

To wrap up the study we watched Princess and The Frog and snacked on beignets. img_0425

Recipe: Canned pizza dough, vegetable oil, powdered sugar

Cut the rolled out pizza dough in small 1-2 inch squares and place in 1-2 inches of hot oil. Flip often because they will brown quickly. Place on a paper towel covered plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still hot.

They are best when hot and even better with a little honey drizzled.


We really enjoyed the 20’s and it was a fun upbeat study before the study of the Great Depression which I am finding much harder to plan and not bring down the mood.

Independence Day

As usual on a southern summer day the rain started in the afternoon but the kids had a blast! The idea was Charlotte’s of course but she convinced her reserved brother to join in on the fun.

After the rain went away the temps went down we made our way to the fireworks show on post. I was a good show and nice that we had a mile drive home when it was over.

Happy Birthday America!

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I saw this book floating around Instagram and other book bloggers were raving about it but then I saw the movie pop up on Netflix! If there is a movie based on a book I prefer to read the book before the movie. That Netflix release gave me the push I needed to add this book to my list and I am so glad I did!

I have been fascinated with literary works based on the post World War 2 era. I love the rebuilding and newfound love of patriotism for ones country but also the mourning in loss of those that didn’t come back or were lost in the war. I don’t mean I want the loss or revel in it but honestly speaking the loss and sadness makes for great literature.

Guernsey gave me everything a novel of my favorite era could give. Rebuilding, love, hope, disappointment. Added was the element of being literary or being bookish and the constant reference to the classics. I dare say this is keeper and one I would read again and that says a lot because I am not generally a re-reader.

  • I waited 20 minutes from closing the final page to pick up the remote and find the movie on Netflix. I needed to compare but I was also afraid to replace my image of the characters with those of the movie. The cast of Guernsey is The Crown meets Downton Abbey, could there be anything better! I was pleasantly surprised with the authenticity of the movie and the elements that appeared in both. I found the movie lacked a few pieces that made the plot of the book and of course the letter writing format of the book was missing which I found so intimate and involving. What made my heart melt and brought a tear to my eye was hearing my favorite character encounter from book happen in the movie with the exact wording between Juliet and Dawsey. I won’t give the ending away but I will include the passage that sealed my love for this duo.
  • I’m sad the book is over and I will miss Guernsey…I will not however try a potato peel pie.

    August Reads

    When Life Hands You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger



    Lauren Weisberger is the author of Devil Wears Prada. I never read the book but I loved the movie. Actually this book is the third in the “Devil Wears Prada” series and it was the first I have read from this author. I seem to have a problem with this issue. It’s ok by me to read a book later in a series without reading the previous installments but I have found that sequels are not always a fair example of an authors work. Reviewing only the Lulu book is my only choice until I go back and read Ms. Weisberger’s other work. I found this book to be a great quick, witty read. I would classify it as a beach read, a child-lit. The characters were easy to understand but also easy to predict. The plot was much the same. There were a few twist and turns but in the end everything wrapped up in a nice package, everything I expected.

    The Perfect Couple



    Elin Hilderbrand is an author that I own several books of but honestly have never read! obviously I intended too or I would not have added her books to my collection. I really enjoyed this book! I found the character development was great and nicely intertwined. I was surprised at times and totally shocked during other times. I assumed this would be a quick beach read but I thought it was more than that, I wouldn’t say extremely deep but gave a little more than a chick-lit beachy read. I really appreciated the way the the author didn’t wrap things up until the very end and did so in a transparent way. I read this gem in less than 4 days and that wasn’t because it was lacking in pages or words but because I desired to know what was a around the next page (too cheesy?). Oh! also I loved the way the chapters were laid out. The chapters switched between the past, building the back story, and the present therefore paralleling the past and present. Great read! Now I need to read Elin’s other works that I have on my shelf.

    The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe



    A few weeks ago I posted a review on another book by Mary Alice Monore, Beach House ReunionIn that review I admitted that I didn’t know Beach House Reunion was apart of a series. I went back and read this book, the first in the series and I a so glad I did. I now see where the characters I grew to know from their beginning. MAM did a fantastic job at recapping what was needed to read the other installments but I didn’t realize how much time was covered in between the two books I read. Yes this is a beach read, hello it’s the summer. It included love, death, heartache, growth, reunion of mother and child and the hint of new love. Now I need to read the other books in the series because I am definitely invested in these characters! I put in a request for the next installment…stay tuned.

    Beach House Reunion (my only July read)

    I am a sucker for a beach read, bonus points if the setting is the south-east coastal isles. I saw this one on the shelf at the library and grabbed it, even though I have school work due, schooling for the kids and I’m a few chapters into another book, I couldn’t help myself!


    What I didn’t realize was that Beach House Reunion is apart of a series. Mary Alice Monroe did such a seamless job of introducing the characters the reader is able to read this book independently from its series partners.

    I give Beach House Reunion  ***** (5 stars in case that wasn’t obvious). The plot was easy to follow, although predictable. The characters were developed nicely and the relationships were easy to understand and I grew to feel them and missed them in the end.  The genre would be romance, simple light-hearted romance, but it included heart-break and family drama, as well as an education on sea turtles! I felt like an expert in all things loggerhead and how to preserve a sea turtle nest.

    I do plan to go back and read the series from the beginning to see how the characters relate, got to the places they were and what happened in their lives before the reunion.

    Freckle Juice

    My sweet girl is always getting complements on her freckles. Freckles have become apart of her identity and the first thing people notice, until she opens her mouth and then they notice her mature vocabulary and larger than life personality.

    Our neighbor in Leavenworth taught Sis that freckles in German is Sommersprossen (summers pro sin) and she has been asked on more than one occasion where they came from.

    I have always told her that they are angel given to her at night.


    Several people have asked her if she drank freckle juice and she didn’t get the reference. I felt like a horrible mom/teacher and Judy Blume super fan for not having read her Freckle Juice! Our first trip to the library in GA, Freckle Juice all but fell off the shelf begging to be read.

    freckle juiceWe read this iconic book in one sitting and then talked about how silly it is to want something someone else has while someone else wants what we have. We discussed that God designed each of us without mistake and that we should own and love our favorite parts of our self and our not so favorite parts and most importantly to not compare or covet our peers! (now if only I could remember that applies to me too)

    One regret…we didn’t try the freckle juice

    Hair woes

    I love the Army life. I love the independence I am forced to find within myself and the resiliency it teaches my children. I love that I have lived in so many places and that we can explore this great nation and show our children the world. I love how many friends I have made and that my Christmas card list includes several different countries and 3/4 of the United States. However, I do not love the moving, I love the new places and exploration, but I do not love the actual moving part. The actual packing (yes someone moves us…that’s a different post for a different time), the driving across the country, the unpacking, and the establishment of a new routine. One thing I specifically dislike, finding a new hair salon!

    I do not have crazy hair, its long and straight and I only need a trim every few months but I was lucky enough to inherit the early to grey gene and have had grey hair since my mid twenties (I know you’re thinking…What?? I thought you were barely 21…thank you!). So when we move I try to have my hair colored as close to move out date as possible so that I can get through the stress and frustrations of PCSing (permanent change of station for my civilian friends). This move (Kansas to Georgia) I did not prepare well and found myself in GA with what I like to call my skunk look, that awesome strip of grey that screams at me every time I look in the mirror.

    We do not live in the most metropolitan town and I loathe (actually fear if I’m being honest) driving, so finding a salon close was important, but so was quality color and expertise. After reaching out to fellow army wives, stalking Facebook pages and looking at every woman that walked past me and asking “who does your hair”, I made some calls and settled on…the one that could get me in the soonest. I figured if was awful I could try somewhere else and if all else failed fly to KS and have my stylist there fix it ($$$$).

    Y’all it wasn’t awful at all. The salon reminded me a little of the salon like the one on Steel Magnolias and the super sweet southern grandma type that met me at the door had quite the bouffant, think…


    So I was a little concerned that I too would have a stellar bouffant when I left. I met my stylist…she was from the city, young and had great hair. I felt good. I sat down and we hit it off from the beginning, you know stylist are like bartenders in that you can tell them anything and they never judge and always agree with you…right?


    When it was all said and done…I loved it!! And the price could not be beat. I forgot that living in southern Georgia was much cheaper than living in the city.

    I walked out and drove home feeling refreshed and even a little sexy. I immediately texted my girls/my tribe to make sure I looked how I thought I did. I walked in the house and J loved it, the C’s loved it and I loved it…and the I remembered…


    I have an appointment in 2 weeks and I am a little concerned that she is going to think I am the worst human being ever and will color my hair some awful color and “accidentally” shave half of my hair. That’s crazy I know. I immediately called the salon and of course they were closed but I was able to reach them the next day and apologize  profusely and I wrote the best 5 star review for her and the salon. All should be ok. I hope… stay tuned.

    Kung Fu Panda Unit Study

    Daniel Grace Learning Academy is the throws of learning all about the animals on the continent of China (Sonlight Core B-Science B). We zoned in on Pandas, specifically giant Pandas. one of the main reasons homeschooling was a desire for me was to allow my kids to take these rabbit holes of learning when something peaked their interest.

    While reading facts and watching non-fiction documentaries are important, and we have watched and ready many on Pandas, I also find that fictional children’s books and movies help to reinforce information as well as add a fun element to the learning.

    We recently moved to a post outside of Savannah, GA and on of the first things we like to do when we get to a new duty station is find a library and get to know librarians and books offered. A few days ago we visited the on post library and found several books on pandas as well as Chinese culture and fairy tales, poems, and short stories that are based on Chinese culture. We will study China and Chinese history a little later this year also so these books and activities will serve as something to look back on.

    As we read the books we checked out I’ve asked the kids to rate the books on a 5 point scale and I will give those “scores” along with a little critique.

    The Dragon Prince:

    Charlotte: 4: ” I liked that Seven saved her dad and I didn’t like that Three was trying to replace her sister”

    Clayton: 4: ” I like that there names were numbers and I didn’t like the mean way Three treated her sister”

    Lon Po Po:

    Charlotte: 3: “I liked that the kids were nice to the wolf at first but I didn’t like that the wolf tried to trick them”

    Clayton: 5: “My one thought was why did the wolf make an excuse about making the kids things, yet brought the materials in the bed”img_0094

    Three Pandas:

    Charlotte: 5: “I liked their names”

    Clayton: 5: “How was one of the Pandas singing and talking but I liked the one named Yep”img_0093

    After reading so many books about Pandas and learning about all of their animals friends in Asia, we decided to turn our studies into a family night. We picked up some orange chicken (I tried to add something peach, because of the peach tree in Kung Fu Panda) from Panda Express and watched Kung Fu Panda.

    We finished up the unit with a few more panda inspired books and of course funny panda videos on YouTube!