Sunday, November 30, 2014


This is what I'm up to tonight....
Wrapping soaps for this weekend and cutting business cards. I love making cards and labels- fonts are addicting!

Friday, November 28, 2014

In Her Kitchen

In Her Kitchen, yes, I wish I were, after reading this.
If you are like I am, always dreaming of travel and thinking about other cultures and what they eat and how they live, this is the cookbook for you. I love this concept. Gabriele Galimberti is the the  brilliant Italian who thought of this. Inspired by his grandmother's worry over who would feed him as he traveled, he has stayed in the homes of grandmothers and photographed them and the meals they made for him that were usually special in some way. This recipe book is fascinating. I must admit I'm not fond of the way the women are photographed with the ingredients for their dish. It's all layed out in rows. My eyes just weren't pleased with that. I was, however, riveted by the women and their kitchens. It's so interested to "visit" other countries and cultures this way. The photos really made me realize how over-the-top wealthy we are here in America compared to others. I really wish I could stop by those kitchens and chat over coffee, tea, or whatever is popular with these women.
This book is a treat. A great gift idea.
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased written review.
*From the publisher:

On the eve of a photography trip around the world, Gabriele Galimberti sat down to dinner with his grandmother Marisa. As she had done so many times before, she prepared his favorite ravioli—a gesture of love and an expression of the traditions by which he had come to know her as a child. The care with which she prepared this meal, and the evident pride she took in her dish, led Gabriele to seek out grandmothers and their signature dishes in the sixty countries he visited. The kitchens he photographed illustrate both the diversity of world cuisine and the universal nature of a dish served up with generosity and love. At each woman’s table, Gabriele became a curious and hungry grandson, exploring new ingredients and gathering stories. These vibrant and intimate profiles and photographs pay homage to grandmothers and their cooking everywhere. From a Swedish housewife and her homemade lox and vegetables to a Zambian villager and her Roasted Spiced Chicken, this collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States. Taken together or bite by bite, In Her Kitchen taps into our collective affection for these cherished family members and the ways they return that affection.

In Her Kitchen is an evocative, loving portrait of the power of food and family, no matter where in the world you sit down for dinner.

About the Author

GABRIELE GALIMBERTI is a photographer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Le Monde, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. In 2013, he finished an eighteen-month photography trip around the world. His photographs and stories have led to partnerships with illy and and have appeared in slideshows on Slate. No matter where he currently rests his head, he calls Italy his home.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunday Suppers Review

Uncomplicated and stunning. Sunday Suppers could serve a double purpose as a beautiful coffee table book.

Divided up as "Morning", "Noon", "Afternoon", and "Evening" sections with creative titles like, "Take Along", and "Spring Forager's Lunch" this simple cookbook impressed because inside is a treasure trove of gorgeous photography. Sophisticated but simple, this is probably the cookbook I would buy as a gift for someone I really loved and admired, but I don't mind keeping this one for myself as a reminder to slow down and enjoy beautiful meals with my beautiful people.

The recipes are classic and unfussy but gourmet and easy to create using simple, fresh, ingredients.
(please excuse the terrible condition of my fingernail polish! Farm chicks, you know...)

This book groups the recipes into occasions and categories with menu plans to use if you like. 


About the Author

KAREN MORDECHAI, a photographer and stylist, is the founder of Sunday Suppers, a Brooklyn-based food community and blog that has won many accolades, including a 2013 Food and Wine Digital Award, top food blog by Saveur, and #6 in’s Top 50 Design Blogs. Karen’s work is regularly featured in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Remodelista, New York magazine, and more. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

I was given a copy of this book for free by the publisher in exchange for an unbiased written. online review.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne and Ken Abraham

I began this book without ever having heard of the name Jimmy Wayne; at the tail end of my foster parent journey, but by the end I was convinced that even though I knew I wouldn't continue as a foster mom, I need to continue helping kids in some capacity. I thank Jimmy Wayne for helping me come to that conclusion.
I just have to say by the end of it, I became a Jimmy Wayne fan, and I'd never heard a single song. We have a lot in common, and no, I'm not the tiniest bit musical, but reading about his growing up years was all too familiar to me and it was a bit of a dark day as I read through. It just took me back to incidents I had wanted forgotten. We could have grown up in the same neighborhoods, it was that familiar. 
 He was not just a survivor but a "thriver". We have Jesus in common, and a great passion for the fatherless and foster kids. I now consider myself a fan of his music, after having taken the time to find the songs on iTunes that he wrote about it in the book. I'm not much for country music either, but hey, they are really great songs!
This charming and boyish guy has a big heart. He does a lot to raise funds and awareness and even helps to change laws, for foster kids. I'm so impressed with him as a person. Quite extraordinary, and it was a breath of fresh air to find another soul in this world doing good things for other people. The world could use more.
His song Paper Angels, and the story behind it, have inspired a sweet little movie. See the trailer here
Having been one of those kids who received gifts from a similar program at Christmas, I can attest to the difference kindness makes. Even from a stranger. I have an old picture of my little sister and me, wearing coats and holding dolls that a complete stranger bought us, next to a Christmas tree that other strangers brought to our home and decorated for us. I remember they also brought boxes of food, and to kids who sometimes had bare cupboards, that's exciting! So, this Christmas when you have an opportunity to grab a little paper angel off a Christmas tree with a child or family's name on it, grab it! I'll bet you will be blessed to be a blessing to someone who could just about use a little kindness.
I hadn't heard of Jimmy's walk halfway across America called Meet Me Halfway probably because it got over shadowed by the earthquake in Haiti, about the same time. Check out the link, I think you will be impressed. He walked to bring awareness mainly to the foster kids who "age out" of the system at 18 and have nowhere to go.
(Of course most of them end up homeless and then jail, on a street corner prostituting- unwillingly, dealing drugs, or dead. Who could expect differently of a kid with NOBODY? No one to call for help, no one to send them a birthday card, or set a seat at their table at Thanksgiving for them...nobody to care if they live or die. This has been a soapbox of mine, having a cousin who aged out. My sister and I were also in foster care for a while, and other of my relatives. This really hits close to home for me. Most people never think about these kids, but Jimmy Wayne, having been one of them, rescued by a couple full of Jesus and His love, remembers.)
He finished the last leg of his race on a broken foot, no less.
Walk To Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham was hard to put down, because of personal reasons but also because it was fascinating. His past was memorialized quite well in a journal he kept since 6th grade as well as receipts, tickets, and other things, so at times the memories seem meticulous in detail. He kept them in ziplock bags to preserve them from the weather and constant moving. It's an honest, sometimes brutally so, memoir written by a man honest with his feelings and who has been able to graciously forgive and just tell his story. His childhood was traumatic to say the very least. His mentally ill mother abused not only substances but her children as well. The word neglect an understatement. The various men she brought into their lives were broken people who in turn damaged and broke her children. Terrible beatings, abandonments, watching people murdered, religious tones in his mentally ill mother at times confusing him about God, his sister married off to an abuser at age 14...being shot at, laughed at, scorned...wearing the same dirty clothes day after day, he grew up having never been valued as a human being until he met Bea and Russell Costner. (Lord, let there be more like them!)
 It's a story of betrayal and violence and lots of dramatic moments but also hope and love and selfless kindness. Jimmy's story proves that love really does rescue. He says of Bea Costner, who took him in as a teenager, "She changed every cell of my body." Man, I want to be a Bea! When Bea and her husband Russell took Jimmy Wayne Barber into their home, he was homeless, dirty, and smelled like it. After her husband died, Bea continued to  love and care for Jimmy. They were close even after he became an adult and began his career in music. He used to pick Bea up so she could attend his performances; she sat at his concerts in the front row, with the screaming girls and read her Bible! Precious visual.
I loved this story. I devoured it, even though it did take me back to some of my own dark days as I read the first half. His life now makes me remember that our pasts cannot make victims of us unless we allow it, but instead we can turn it around and let Jesus do something marvelous and redeem the pain. We can, by the grace of God, see others and help them out of their pits.
Jimmy is generous in sharing personal details. You won't be disappointed with this book. It delivers.
The mother in me wanted to rescue him as I read through the pages of his childhood. The child in me related too well. But the betrayed and rejected can become like Bea-and  like Jesus for someone.
 I'm blessed to have read Walk To Beautiful. I received a copy by the publisher for free in order to review it.
 About Jimmy Wayne (from his website):

Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned country music singer/songwriter whose songs and story highlight his mission to bring awareness to kids who age out of the foster system and become homeless. With hits such as Put Your Hand In Mine, I Love You This Much, and Paper Angels, he released Do You Believe Me Now, his biggest hit to date for which he earned the millionaire award for having 100,000,000 radio spins in America. In 2009 Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded Sara Smile with Hall & Oates. In 2010, Jimmy walked halfway across America to raise awareness for kids aging out of the system. The next year he became CASA’s national spokesperson and released the novel Paper Angels. In 2012, Jimmy helped get the bill passed extending the age of foster care to 21 in both California and Tennessee. Jimmy lives in Nashville and continues to raise awareness for kids by writing, singing, and speaking.
See Jimmy Wayne's website

Ken Abraham is a fourteen-time New York Times best-selling author known around the world for his collaborations with high-profile public figures. A former professional musician and pastor, he is a popular guest with both secular and religious media. His books include One Soldier's Story with Bob Dole, Payne Stewart with Tracey Stewart, Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons with Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and Let's Roll! with Lisa Beamer.
See it on Amazon and even listen to a sample of the audio book.
Buy it on CBD

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

(follow the link to the website- it will be worth your time!)

About the Book

…A boy coming of age in a time of war
…the love that inspires him to survive
For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows his frail, troubled mother.
Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.
The darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, as time and war will test their fortitude. The only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.


Once in awhile you come across a book that is remarkable. Unforgettable. Masterful. This book has hardship, heroics of a kind you wouldn't suspect at first, romance, suspence, and truth. I know people describe a book sometimes as a "page turner" or as one that "grabs" you. This is a book like that. One you stay up late reading long past the time you are tired and know you should be sleeping. It's good enough to suffer the consequences of a busy day with a lack of sleep.
How did I miss knowing about this author? His book was so extremely well written that it was like I was there, observing the events in person. I was hungry. I was imprisoned in a Jappenkamp. I was afraid and sad, and brave.
 I will never forget the characters, as they became as real to me as people I can actually touch, feel, and smell.
I was afraid to read the last chapter, because the story had been so ravishingly good I hated to end it, but also I was afraid of being disappointed, as sometimes happens with a book like this. How can it end as well as it lived? I'm grateful Mr. Brouwer gave this book it's dignity in the final pages. I was stunned.
This is not the kind of book I lend out to my friends. Sorry. Get your own. I simply will have to read it again. It's one of those!

 Read chapter 1 here

* "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."