Book Review: The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore

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We ask Him for miracles, and forget that the miracle already occurred, thousands of years ago, when Christ dies for our sins. Pg. 178

Usually a person is born into the Amish community. Usually being Amish isn’t a choice someone makes, it is just what it is. Not for Sherry Gore. Sherry Gore was not born Amish. Sherry Gore was born to two people who didn’t really practice any kind of religion nowhere near an Amish community.

Sherry grew up in Texas and then moved to California to live with her dad when she was 10, four years after her parents got divorced. She started feeling out of place in her new home after her dad and step-mom started to have their own children. After that, Sherry’s life turned into one move after another; she was even homeless for a considerable amount of time. She went from job to job and fell in love a few times.

After marrying her second husband, Sherry became pregnant with her third child. After giving birth, Sherry accepted the Lord into her life. She wanted her children to have more than she had. She wanted her children to live a Christian life. After getting baptized, Sherry slowly started living a plain, simple life. This is when her life truly began. This is where Sherry started her Amish journey, one that wasn’t always simple. Sherry put her trust in God, knowing that He would take care of her and her family.

The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore is a story about struggle. Not only struggle in life, but also a struggle with how to accept God. Sherry Gore had a hard life where she felt like no one accepted her or understood her.  When she found God, she finally felt accepted for the first time. She may have missed some of His signs, but eventually she heard Him loud and clear and decided to live a Christian life. This choice eventually led her into the Amish community.

I found Sherry’s story very interesting. Before reading The Plain Choice,  I had no idea that there were Amish living in Florida. I also didn’t know that there are many small Amish communities spread throughout the country.  Sherry’s story is more than just a journey into the Amish world, it’s her journey from being one girl, DJing in California at a roller skating rink, to a woman, raising three children in a world she never even imagined of being a part of.

I couldn’t put this book down. I love stepping outside of my typical reading box and finding a book that teaches me so many things. Sherry Gore’s story is very informative and emotional. I felt her joy, her sorrow, and her struggle. She is an amazing woman who has overcome many obstacles in her life. Even after all she has lost, she still finds the strength to get up, live a plain life, and believe that God has a plan.

We are strong people. Our strength comes from the way we care for one another and in the way we continue, even in tragedy, to have faith in God and hope He provides. Hope for a good life on earth. Hope for life after death. Hope that in our darkest days we are still loved. Pg. 184-185

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

August 2015 Fit Snack Box Review

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August’s Fit Snack box was packed full of healthy, satisfying goodies. I was excited when I opened my box up because I knew I could enjoy a lot of the treats, even with my allergies. The summer is winding down and fall is near. Fit Snack should be on everyone’s back-to-school shopping  list. What a great investment for your kids health. By giving your child healthy snacks now, you will be setting them up for a healthy future. Any of these snacks would make fulfilling, healthy treats in your child’s lunch box.  Plus, what kid wouldn’t like getting an awesome box in the mail every month? The anticipation alone should encourage them to eat the contents in each box, each month.

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Purely Elizabeth Granola: Finally a a granola I could eat! Purely Elizabeth Granola is amazing! The pumpkin fig flavor was in my box and I just wish it was in a bigger bag. I could not eat it up fast enough. I ate half dry and the other half with milk. I am one of those obsessed with anything pumpkin people. This will be a fall/winter staple in my house, for sure. My husband even liked it and he hates pumpkin flavored foods.

Kutoa Nutrition Bar: I wasn’t able to eat this bar but I do love that for every bar you buy, Kutoa feeds a hungry child. I would love to try the chocolate espresso bar, that one sounds delicious.

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Don’t Go Nuts Dips: I’m excited to try this peanut-free dip! I am saving it for our road trip in the fall to give to the baby as a snack. I love travel size nut-free spreads, perfectly proportioned.

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Runa Energy Tea: I like the concept of clean energy drinks that aren’t bad for you, but this one did not taste good. I honestly couldn’t even finish the can. I had the orange flavor, maybe the other flavors are better.

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Morning Sunshine Cookie: I was excited to eat this cookie until my husband read the ingredients more carefully and realized there were nuts in it. The company put allergen information on the back and said it was processed in a facility with nuts (fine by me) but didn’t put in bold that there were nuts in it. Usually, if there is allergen information I don’t read every single ingredient. But in this case, it could have been a problem if my husband didn’t read it over more carefully. He said the cookie was okay. These cookies are high in fiber and protein.

Balance Nutrition Bars: I couldn’t eat this snack, although it did sound and look good.  I like how there is real fruit in the bars with natural energizing ingredients.

Love Grown Foods Cereal: I love Cheerios, and so does my son. I was super excited to try this cereal that is made with beans and lentils. We both enjoyed it!

Yummy Health Protein Chips: These looked good, but didn’t taste too good. I don’t think I liked them because they were very dense; I expected an airy cracker. My husband liked them, though. These chips are made with real Wisconsin cheese.

Trophy Nut Almonds: I love giving these packets to my husband. Nuts are expensive, and he enjoys a variety. He said these were tasty.

If you have never heard about Fit Snack, please check out another one of my posts about the amazing subscription box company based out of Colorado. Don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter to get some great promotion offers! For your chance to WIN a free Fit Snack box, head on over to their contest page here. There is a chance to win every month. Enter today so that you can start snacking healthy tomorrow!

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I was sent a Fit Snack box in exchange for an honest review. All of the options are my own. Thanks Fit Snack!

Friday Five

  1. Last weekend I watched ‘If I Stay’ on Netflix. It is the movie adaption of the book by Gayle Forman. I honestly didn’t remember too much of the book before I watched the movie because I read it over two years ago. I actually thought I hated the book, but after reading my review that I wrote, I only hated the ending; which is typical for me. The movie was really good and inspired me to read the second book, Where She Went. I loved it! It was written from the male’s perspective, instead of the female’s like If I Stay. Check out the movie on Netflix or read the books. I am going to check out some of the other books Gayle Forman wrote, now that I know I don’t hate her writing.
  2. The weather has been amazing this week. I don’t want it to end. I wish we could bypass the next few weeks of weather because it is supposed to get hot again. Yesterday we went on a three mile walk with Toby and Jimmie. I was exhausted after, but I enjoyed it because I wasn’t so sweaty. We also went to the park twice this week. Jimmie can’t get enough of the swings, he cries when I pull him out. I see lots of park hopping in the fall.
  3. ABC is slowly releasing the names of the cast of  Dancing With the Stars Season 21, which starts September 14. I’m pretty excited about Nick Carter and Bindi Irwin. We will see who else is announced within the next week.
  4. Jimmie is learning the art of hide and go seek. I hide and he finds me. He thinks it is pretty great. I am not the best hider, though. I laugh the entire time because I know a) my spots are super obvious and b) he is going to crack up when he finds me. The best is when I hide under a blanket. Double the fun because then we can play peek-a-boo. This is the best age, minus dinner being thrown on the floor.
  5. Disney stock is finally on the up and ups, and so is the DOW. It has been a rough week over here watching the numbers do down and up, up and down. I feel like I can finally breath again. Jim has gotten me way too into the the stock market. At least it gives me something else to obsess over other than whether or not Jimmie is eating enough veggies. Even though the numbers aren’t where they used to a few weeks ago, I’m glad to see higher numbers than earlier this week.

And I leave you with the many expressions of Jimmie! Have a wonderful weekend!

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Another not so (okay a little) funny Jimmie Tantrum

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Another night of family fun at dinner time. We have started to use the approach of giving Jimmie two of his three food choices first, having him eat most of them, and then giving him his third food option. Usually the third option is what he enjoys most: pasta, macaroni and cheese, cottage cheese, quinoa, yogurt. Sense a trend here? Carbs or milk products. We have been trying to start him off with some fruit, veggies (and/or meat,) then giving him the “good stuff.” If we put everything on a plate at once, he will pick the one thing he likes most and ignore everything else.

Last night, we gave him black bean cakes and broccoli first. We had quinoa waiting on the sidelines to be tagged in when it was time. Jimmie usually likes the bean cakes, but I made them without cheese this time, and I think he figured it out because he was not happy. He had a few bites of broccoli and a few bites of beans cakes and then started to cry. We brought over the quinoa, but there were still lots of tears. So many tears and so much anger, that he soon reached over his high chair, grabbed the plate of food, and threw it onto the floor. Our floor that is carpeted. Lets just say Toby had a feast after I picked up the big pieces.

Tears still flowing, I placed the quinoa bowl in front of him, and he calmed down enough to eat it. I then gave him more broccoli and he gobbled it like he never has before. Oh, Jimmie, when will you be able to communicate your needs? I get it, I won’t make the black bean cakes without the cheese ever again. Lesson learned.

Friday Five

1. Jimmie had his 15 month check up on Wednesday. He received his last shot (minus his yearly flu shot) until he is four. I can’t believe it! I thought he was still going to get more shots between now and then. He took it like a champ and only cried for a second. It sure has messed up his nap schedule, though. He weights 23.11 pounds and is almost 32 inches. Big boy! (And of course, his head is in the 80%)

2. Bachelor is Paradise is really, really bad. I only watch it because I have nothing else to watch while Jimmie naps. I know, I should do other things, but sometimes you just had to sit and mock the craziness. I just don’t understand how this week was all about Joe and Samantha. What about Ashley and Jared? Or Claire and her craziness? Worst show ever.

3. Chase Utley was traded to the Dodgers this week. He will be joining Jimmy Rollins, making the Dodgers the team to beat. Seriously though, why are they getting all of our good players? And who do we even have left that I actually know other than Chooch and Howard? It is a sad week to be a Phillies fan, a sad year for that matter. But you gotta take the good and the bad. Lets just say I’m ready for more good. We were thinking about going to a game in September, but is it even worth it now?

4. Speaking of worth it, Disney stock is STILL going down, way down for that matter. It is more than worth it to buy it right now. Go, go buy Disney stock!! According to Jim Cramer, buying it at $100 is ideal. And guess what?! It closed at $100.01, yesterday. Also, book a vacation while you’re at it. (And go see Star Wars when it comes out in December.) Speaking of Star Wars, Stars Wars Land was officially announced at D23 this past weekend, as well as Toy Story Land. I can’t wait for Toy Story Land, but I’m so-so about Star Wars Land. I liked the new (now old?) movies and finally watched the old, old movies a couple years ago, but I just don’t see the obsession. The Star Wars ride that currently resides in Hollywood Studios makes me want to vomit.

5. Lifetime is airing its new made for TV movie, The Unauthorized Full House Story, this Saturday, August 22. It’s times like these that make me wish we didn’t get rid of cable; I hope it comes up on Hulu! This video featured on People sets the stage for the new movie. The actors portraying the original cast look hilarious. I tried watching The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story and couldn’t get past the first ten minutes. I wonder if this one will be any better. Full House is, by far, my all-time favorite show.

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Book Review: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

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Living in Chicago, Heidi and Chris have what seems to be a perfect marriage. They have a daughter named Zoe, who is 12, and live in a comfortable condo. Heidi works for a non-profit and Chris works in investment. One day, on the way to work, Heidi sees a young girl and a baby, standing in the rain, waiting for the train. The girl is carrying a suitcase and seems to be homeless. As Heidi gets on the train she can’t get the girl off her mind. During the next few days, she keeps thinking about the girl, who we soon find out is named Willow, and decides that it is in her responsibility to help the girl, and her little baby.

Told from three different perspectives: Heidi, Chris, and Willow, Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica is a thriller that can’t be overlooked. The plot in the novel is so twisty and juicy; I could not put it down. Pretty Baby kept getting better and better, up until the very last chapter. I love the way Mary Kubica reveals bits and pieces of Willow’s past. Each bit of information kept me at the edge of me seat, surprising me and shocking me.  I could not wait to get to the next chapter to see what each character was thinking about one another and to learn more about their personal story and struggles. Sometimes, when books switch from perspective to perspective, I get hooked on one story and speed through the others. This was not the case in Pretty Baby. Each character was interesting in their own ways, which made me soak in every word in, yearning for more.

Pretty Baby is like a puzzle: a puzzle that kept me guessing throughout the entire story. I couldn’t figure out why Willow had a baby and was living on the streets. I couldn’t figure out why Heidi would bring a stranger into her life that could potentially endanger her family. I also couldn’t figure out why Zoe didn’t have her own chapters. Zoe, Chris and Heidi’s daughter, was a main character at the start of the book, but towards the end, she just drifted away. I feel that way about the entire ending of the novel. The ending just kind of…ended. There were still a few loose ends, a few major loose ends that were just ignored. The storylines that were tied up, were wrapped up quickly and without too much thought. It was as if the author got tired of writing this amazing story and decided to finish it up in a hurry.

Pretty Baby put me through a whirlwind of emotions. I felt so bad for the little baby, Ruby, whom Willow was caring for on the streets. I yearned to take care of the baby myself and make her pain and fear go away. Even though Willow was living on the streets, she was trying, at the very least, to take care of a baby, even when she had no place to go and no money. It made me think about how the world is full of women like Willow, trying to get by on so little. Willow was portrayed as a strong woman, a survivor. She is a survivor of the streets and also a survivor of so many other things that no child should ever have to go through. Even though Willow made a few questionable choices, one being major, she still survived more than any person should have to survive in an entire lifetime.

As you read Pretty Baby, you will discover that a vague review was the only way I could explain my love for this novel without giving anything away. There are so many moments that are what Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder) would call OMG moments. Every time a puzzle piece was revealed, I wanted to scream OMG. Trust me, you will too.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Toddler Waffles


Jimmie loves waffles. I personally love giving him Kashi waffles but I am learning that my kid needs more fiber than your average child, hello constipation. We have been trying to give Jimmie more and more foods with fiber and I have decided that making my own breakfast waffles can ensure than he is getting 100% whole grain waffles instead of multi-grain waffles. Apparently, there is a significant difference. Yes, I was surprised too. I made these waffles before Jimmie was born and loved them. I made them the other day and altered the recipe a bit for a growing toddler. Hope your baby likes them as much as mine does!

Toddler Waffles

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Makes about 12 waffles (This depends on your waffle maker. I have the kind that makes four smaller waffles at a time.)

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs, slightly beaten

6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup 4% cottage cheese

1 cup whole milk

Directions: 

1. Turn on waffle iron to warm up.

2. Spray iron with cooking spray.

3. Mix all ingredients in large bowl until blended into a smooth batter. (I just mixed all of the wet and dry ingredients in at once, they’re all going into the same place, why dirty another bowl?)

4. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.

5. Pour batter into large measuring cup for easy pouring into waffle iron (this recipe makes 3 cups of batter).

6. Pour batter into iron and allow to spread to the edges before closing (I used a spatula to move the process along.)

7. Cook until your waffle iron indicates that the waffle is done.

8. Freeze leftover and reheat in toaster!

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