Book Love: The Story Keeper

What an incredible story...

Jen Gibbs has landed her dream publishing job, and left her painful past behind. But, when a mysterious package that includes forbidden works from the "Slush Pile" arrives, she is forced  to return to the mountain lands that holds dark secrets from her past.

As the story unravels, you will see Jen grapple for peace of mind while reading through the painful past of another woman long ago. An excellently woven tale that touts mystery, love, and taps into the age-old issue of prejudice.

At first, I had a hard time connecting with Jen, but rightfully so. She's harboring bitterness and pain from a childhood fraught with horror. But, as she reconciles with her sisters, she find healing in unexpected places...and the beginnings of love.

My only bone to pick? I just wish the story had lasted longer. I wasn't ready to set the book aside.

I am thankful for my free copy from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. I give it a hearty 5+ stars! I'm looking forward to reading more books by Wingate.

Dating Josh

Last weekend, my mom watched baby Evie so Josh and I could have some time together. It was much-needed, and so refreshing. One of the things my parents taught me was to always date your spouse. I'm glad that we've made it a priority to set aside a few hours for "just us" time each week. It's also nice that little miss is bonding with her grandparents...she ADORES them.

We ended up heading to one of my favorite little tourist communities nestled in the Ouachita mountains. We took a few scenic routes so that I could take pictures, ate some amazing Italian food, window shopped, and ended the afternoon with a new favorite....Affogato! I chose espresso poured over Mexican Chocolate Gelato. Josh had his poured over Pumpkin Spice Gelato. Both were amazing!!

Here's to many more awesome "dates" with my love! 

Book Love: Love Letters From God

This was such a sweet book. I really loved the concept, and felt it provided an interesting twist to your typical children's books. The book begins and ends with Bible stories that are retold in modern form with a "matching" letter from God. It begins with the creation story, and ends with the resurrection story. At the end of the book there is a blank letter that children can use to write their own letters. I also enjoyed the lovely illustrations!

I would recommend this for older elementary ages since the stories are fairly in depth. It would make a wonderful gift for the little ones in your life!

Many thanks to BookLook Bloggers for my free copy in exchange for an honest review. I would give this one four stars. Check out their blogger program here!

Sweet Things

I can't believe I had never read Jenny B. Jones before this book! "In Between" was perfect. Great humor, great storyline and adorable characters. I think Mad Maxine may have been my favorite. I'm convinced she's not a prickly as she wants people to think. I also loved that this book addresses the fears of being a foster kid in high school as we see Katie's story play out. It's a tough, yet fragile topic and Jones did it justice. I can't wait to continue reading the series!

The Brown Sugar Cinnamon syrup from Torani will be the death of's my new-found love and current obsession. Buttery, earthy, and well..."It tastes like Christmas in a cup." Do you know where that quote comes from? From one of the funniest movie's ever. Major props if you know it. ;)

So, what's up with you? Any book or coffee obsessions that I need to know about?? 

Must Have Newborn Items

I've only been at the mommy thing for a few months, but I've already noted praise towards a few items that REALLY helped us during the first two months. The funny thing about this post, is that I had to stop half way through to take care of a blow out diaper. Now, I just want ten showers, and to burn every candle in the house. Ha!

I digress...

1) Miracle Blanket Swaddler: When I first saw this item, I didn't think we would use it much. Everyone had recommended the blanket swaddles, so I assumed that's what we would use. However, Evelynn is a little houdini, and wiggled out of the swaddles no matter how careful we were to use them correctly. The miracle blanket solved that problem right away! Not only that, but it's SO EASY to use!

2) Dr. Brown Bottles: I love how simple they are to use. Also, anything that helps with gas is a plus in my book! Toys R Us was running an amazing steal of a deal on them so we purchased these early on during my pregnancy. I love using the shorter bottles. They are easy to store in diaper bags, etc. And I may have liked the fact that they were pink. ;)

3) Gas Drops: This little bottle is pure miracle juice! Our doctor gave us the green light to use them right away. They have been an absolute life saver for us. Of course, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before providing any kind of medicine.

4) Wabba Nub Pacifier: Evie loved her paci right away. Within a few weeks, she could grab hold of the stuffed animal and hold it close. It's rare that she's without one!

5) Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets: Although we don't use these as swaddles, I like to keep them on hand when we are out and about during the day. It can be chilly inside stores, so I like to tuck them around her legs while she's in her car seat. They are super soft, and the designs are lovely.

6) Onesies: People told me to stock up on onesies. I wish I had listened, but honestly, I only had a few when she was born. Thankfully, folks let us borrow some, and I stocked up at Target. We went through 2 to 3  a day during those first few weeks!

7) Boon Grass Drying Rack: I confess I didn't pull this out right away. But, one day, I got tired of bottles littering the counter space, so I pulled it out. We both fell in love with it right away! It helps air dry the bottles, keep your counter clutter free, and it's just plain cute.

8) Diaper Cloths: My friend Anna told me to skip the cute burp cloths and stock up on old-fashioned diaper cloths. They are a bit on the pricey side, but boy was she right! These gems are super thick and quickly soak up spit up! Plus, they are wide enough for your shoulder to help protect your clothes. I absolutely love them!!

What were your go to baby items?