A Refuge Assured #bookreview #ArefugeAssured #NetGalley

I love a good Historical Fiction book. For my new readers I am HUGE on history. I love it. I love learning about the different era’s and I love books that take those and tell a story. One of my favorite authors is Jocelyn Green. There is just something about her writing that draws me and keeps me wanting more!

So who is Jocelyn Green? Well here is a little blip from her “About” section on the website

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

A Refuge Assured is her newest book taking place during the French Revolution. From the book:

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The 365 Journey ~ Day 11 & 12

Yikes! What a whirlwind! Both kiddos are sick. Stomach bug has officially hit our house. Little Man started it Wednesday night so I spent the night on an old uncomfortable couch because we really only have 1 bathroom on the main floor of our house.  I kept Little Miss home from school yesterday because they had a late start and if I would have come down with it while she was at school would have no way of getting her home. But life played a trick on me- Little Miss was next in line. As the day went on she was fading fast. Thankfully she has not thrown up yet, but has had the fever and the blah stomach, and headaches.  Needless to say- both are home from school again today, on on the mend, and one fighting it. Essential Oils are going and on our feet. I even used lysol on EVERYTHING. As bad as I feel for Little Man having the brunt of it. I really hope that a little blah feeling is the worse for everyone else. I am hoping the oils I am diffusing and putting on our feet help. So here is how our day today is looking:

In other news- Why must owning an old house cost so much? Here I was hoping in 2018 we could catch a break, pay down some of our debt (still hoping the thing I entered on Ellen will be a blessing and we would be selected to win) and get ahead. But we just got word that the thing we need to update in our house sooner than later will cost us about $10,000! That is the plumbing. See our plumbing is ancient. Like pretty sure original to the house ancient. Cast Iron, leaking, patched here and there with band aid fixes, ancient. So to fix the upstairs bathroom that has been pretty much gutted (the only thing they left in there was the toilet so at least we have that for middle of the night needs), add a bathroom up there (so there will be a main bath and then a master bath) and update all the plumbing to the current bathroom and kitchen. That isn’t including updating the fixtures in the current main bath, the flooring for either bathroom, or the vanity in the 2 upstairs bathrooms.

On the plus side- the Bathrooms and the heating/air are the most expensive updates we need to do at this time. Eventually we would love to update the kitchen but at the time we bought our house that was the most recent update so it is last on our list. We do need to fix up the 3rd floor. Yes I said 3rd floor. The electrical is the old knob and tube wiring so that needs updating adn there are 2 bedrooms and a main living space that needs minor updating. but since there is currently no ac/heat up there it is low on our list. So much to do, and I wonder if it will ever get done. I am sure at some point we should replace all the windows since that was done in the 90’s some time. Someday we will get this house to it’s formal glory. Know any contest I can enter to help get there sooner than later?


The 365 Journey ~ Day 9 & 10

Warning- today is a day I am struggling. Maybe it is the blah weather. I am frustrated at our house, at our finances. I just can’t help but to think enough already! What I would give to have a house that we can invite people over and not have plumbing and wires and insulation showing through the ceilings and walls! What walls we do have are an ugly green color from us stripping off a gazillion layers of wall paper, with a ton of white painted here and there from the dry wall mud from us trying to seal up the cracks and the holes (plaster walls gotta love them). I look at our house and think:


We totally knew this was a fixer upper. But to the extent that it is. sheesh. I swear the people who owned it before us just did band aid fixes. It is a never ending cycle. We have a rare find- a house built in the early 1900’s with 7 bedrooms. We still have original woodwork. Normally houses from this era are a- not this big and b- gutted by now. I bet it was stunning in its glory youth. I hope we can get it there at some point, and hopefully sooner than later.

On the plus side yesterday and today have been (will be) gorgeous! 50’s is a good temp! It gave the kids a chance to be outside and get some fresh air. I also finally got my menu planning done. Tonight’s meal- Chili! We are suppose to go from 56 today to single digits by tomorrow morning. It is going to drop fast so I thought it was fitting. Tomorrow will be left overs since Thursdays are our crazy day. Friday will be a lasagna made in a slow cooker. Saturday is my son’s first robotics competition so we will be gone all day.

My business is slowly starting to pick up. I am looking for some people to host a Cooking with Cocoa event this month. This is where I introduce The Cocoa Exchange to you and your friends, share the health benefits of cocoa, and recipes. So if you are interested in one let me know! We have double host rewards this month so it is a great time to get even more free products!

How is your 365 Journey going?

The 365 Journey ~ Day 5-8

Oh my goodness this weekend was CRAZY! I did not blog at all. Seriously this was suppose to help me stay on track!

So this weekend was my daughter’s birthday. Friday we celebrated by taking her to dinner at a pizza place, we then went to see Star Wars. OMG that is a good movie! It leaves it open for another one! It makes me wonder why the sudden push of movies for them over the past several years. Like the original 3 came out then nothing for YEARS and all of a sudden we are filling in the gaps. Don’t get me wrong I love it! My kids love it! Anyway- we get home and my daughter opened her few presents- she got a telescope and some astronomy books. Now if only the clouds will clear out!

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The 365 Journey~ Day 4

The sound of silence is upon me as the kids went back to school this morning. This mama was excited and ready for routine and structure again. The popo’s job gives us enough chaos and unpredictability the school year provides us with a bit of planning and structure.

Then my alarm went off.  Oh how it was nice sleeping in. Oh well guess it is time to get up and adult.

Yesterday I spent the day trying to get back into a working routine. My business took a hit and I really need to get back on track. I really do not want the popo to work 3 jobs so I am trying to make my Cocoa Exchange business a success. I also sent out a few pitches for possible reviews and I hope they work out- you guys would love them if they do!

I did make it out this morning to get some pictures though. The frost was so beautiful. It is amazing how something so bitter and cold can cause such beauty in nature!  These are just a few of what I got. One of my horses was intrigured by the camera. I should have taken my macro lens out to get even closer to the frost. it was so amazing how it was sticking up almost like a bunch of fairy wings

I just love taking pictures of nature. Even in single digits and below there is something peaceful about being out there. It is times like these I don’t mind living in the country!

How is your 365 Journey going?

The 365 Journey~ Day 2 & 3


Well I am already on a roll aren’t I! Only the 3rd of January and I skipped a day. But that is ok- Life happens. Yesterday was one of those days!

So the rest of the 1st after I posted was pretty uneventful. The kids and I just hung out all nice and warm. Since I didn’t do any grocery shopping yet we cheated and braved the cold long enough to get Subway. I did manage to create a menu for this week:

Last night we had a Cheesy Lemon Angel Hair Pasta ( a recipe I found from Delish)- I recommed using less lemons, and if you use the cheese amounts they say then up the broth amount otherwise you will not get a creamy sauce like they show (trust me mine didn’t turn out so pretty but still tasted good)

Tonight will be Enchiladas (using some of my Cocoa Exchange enchilada sauce I stocked up on before the fall catalog came out)

Thursday Night will be Chili

Friday we are going out to eat for my daughter’s birthday

Saturday is left overs

Sunday is a Honey Lemon Chicken with pasta – A recipe from PlateJoy

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Hello New Year!

Can I just say I find it very fitting that the first day of the year is falling on the first day of the week! Something about Monday’s. Most people dread them I see them as an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the week. And since this one is the 1st day of the year I am going to use it to set the town for my year!

A few friends of mine on Facebook posted- this is the 1st day of a 365 page book. Someone took it a step further and said this is the first of 365 pages of chapter 28 in her life. For me it would be chapter 36. But they all followed it with something positive and encouraging and hopeful. And they are right. I know my last post was a little gloomy. I figure I can either dwell on the gloom or rise above it and move ahead. So I was thinking of doing a 365 series. This will be hard I have zero accountability unless some other bloggers want to link up. But my goal is to blog each day this year. Maybe describe my day in a picture (I love photography and this would help keep me behind the lens), but ultimate I want to be 100% real with you guys. My goal is to be honest about my day (why sugar coat it, we may be bloggers but we are not perfect super moms) and make sure I find at least 1 blessing out of that day to share with you!

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Our Chaos of 2016 and 2017

Another year has come and gone. It honestly has been a very over whelming year and a hard year. This year and quiet honestly the past few years, it seems like no matter how hard we try we just keep sinking.

Ok so this post is going to start out sad- because I need to talk. I need to get it out. My husband and I are struggling. I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like because I am trying to stay above water and am constantly running my kids around everywhere since hubs works 3 jobs. We were finally pulling ahead, we got in so much debt during 2010 when my husband was unemployeed for the whole year like many other electricitions and trade jobs. We did what we needed to but now are paying for it. We were finally getting ahead, then 2016 happened. It started in March with the nightmare of my daughter having intussusception (you can read about that HERE). That was hard- to sum it up- my, then 9 year old, had a section of her colon removed during an emergency surgery. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. Right as those medical bills starting coming in Sept/October, our boiler in our old farm house decided it was done and quit. Now keep in mind, we bought this house knowing it was a fixer upper. We knew the heating needed updated and it has no AC so we knew that would need done. But we were not expecting the larger expenses to occur until we got some of the smaller things done. WRONG. $5K that we had to come up with (on top of the the $2K for medical bills) to at least get heat on our main level. Yes, I said on the main level. Our second floor does not have heat yet- we use small little heaters in each room so have grown used to multiple blankets and 65 degrees warmth. We still do not have AC. Our house is a full 3 stories so we have to zone- we have to put insulation in because it does not have ANY so we got the main level down to help keep some of our new heat in. All things we did not expect so soon. Fast forward to December- 2 ER trips were done. One was comical- husband was stashing Christmas gifts and lost his balance and landed on some Lego’s- Carefuly they not only hurt to step on but can cut you bad enough for stitches. Oh yeah- the ER nurses had a GREAT laugh over that. Then Christmas Eve came- ER trip for me at 2am- thought appendicitis turned out inflammation so possible viral or Chrons. Either way I stayed in the hospital but got to go home around lunch time Christmas Day (found out a month or so later it was a new medication they put me on for my blood pressure). You guessed it more medical bills.

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Meal Plan for 11/6-11/12

Wow time is flying! This weeks meal plan was a little different because hubs is home from his main job for the week (he has 2 side hustles he does to help clear out medical bills). So I am having to cook for all 4 of us instead of the 3 of us this week.

I am also partnering with PlateJoy and their services. If you missed my review you can read it HERE.

Here is this weeks Menu:

Today (monday) Hashbrown and Ham casserole (recipe to come later this week!)

Tuesday  Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday  Grilled Beef kababs with Chimichurri and a roll (courtesy PlateJoy)

Thursday  will be leftovers since this is our biggest activity day

Friday   Hubs and I are going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse so kids will have leftovers again

Saturday   Lemon Garlic Chicken with Rice and Spinach  (Courtesy PlateJoy)

Sunday   Ham and Cheese loaf


Now for breakfast- I am not a big breakfast eater- but I am wanting to get a decent blender to make smoothies with, maybe do some more oatmeal. Right now I have an english muffin from time to time. Lunch is usually left overs or a sandwich. But now I am going to include snacks. And this week Platejoy suggested mangos (I am substituting strawberries) and pineapple with mint and lime. So hopefully I wont be tempted to snack on my usual chips and dip.

What are you enjoying this week?









~This posts contains links to PlateJoy where you can save $20 if you sign up. I do not get any compensation for sign ups. I am receiving a 6 month subscription in exchange for blogging about my experience and the meals. No other compensation is exchanged. ~ 

Meal Planning with @PlateJoy

The past few weeks I have been sharing my meal plans with you and I am really excited to be adding to those meal plans. For those that are new let me tell you about my motivation.  I have hypertension. I am over weight and I struggle. I struggle a lot. I let my self esteem get in the way, I let food get in the way. Oddly I am not a stress eater- or a bored eater. I just eat the wrong things. Soda, and lots of carbs and sugars. Now here I am 5’3″ and weighing in at 196lbs. This is unacceptable. But I need help- I need motivation and I believe I found that with Platejoy.

So what is this Platejoy? Well we have all seen these wonderful subscription boxes that send you fresh foods to encourage you to cook healthy. Foods shipped straight to your doors. Well- Platejoy is like that- except- you do the grocery shopping. Which I like, honestly I spend about $100 a week on meals for my family of 4- that is for 6 meals! So with Platejoy I get healthy recipes, a shopping list, and I stay with in my budget. But- it is so much more than that!

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