Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: Promises to Keep

I used to read a lot. Sometimes several books a week. Now I have four children and that has dwindled to several books a year, and most of them are non-fiction. Since I don't read a whole lot anymore, my children don't read a whole lot either and that is just sad. I really miss reading! I recently found a publisher that gives you copies of books in exchange for your review, so I jumped on it in an attempt to force myself into more reading! I'm not sure I've ever written a review before (just book reports way back in school), so I hope this goes well. Without further ado:

Promises to Keep
by Ann Tatlock
Product Details
Promises to Keep is the story about an 11-year-old girl named Roz in 1967-68 whose mother has taken her and her siblings away from their abusive father to a small town in another state to start a new life. Within a week of living in their new home, an old woman (Tillie) shows up on their porch claiming that it's her house and she intends to die there. Her older brother is turning into a person that Roz no longer recognizes as he obsesses about turning 18 and joining the war in Vietnam. Roz begins thinking she's seeing her daddy around town. During a time of racial unrest, Roz befriends a young black girl whose family life is just as interesting as hers, and together they make a pact that could change their lives forever.
This was a very enjoyable book. It challenges you to think about what (and who) a family really is. I could relate to Tillie because I've met a few women like her! Ann Tatlock's descriptive writing makes it easy to picture scenes and to feel familiar with each character.  Looking at the events through Roz's eyes gives you an innocent hopefulness that everything will turn out right. 
This was the first book I read by Ann Tatlock, but I will definitely read more. Her writing style is very personable and easy to read. I highly recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blog Redesign & March Financial Contribution

I was so busy working on my blog's redesign, that I forgot about posting! Oops! :) First of all, what do you think of the new look? I'm not totally in love with it and would love some opinions about it. Please be honest! Thanks!

I also wanted to tell you about how I contributed to the family financially last month. Saidah at A Proverbs Wife is SOO inspirational, and I got the idea of tracking my contributions from her. You can check out her financial contributions here. Way more than mine! :)

Groceries = $285.42
Online deals (Groupon, Mamapedia, etc.) = $286.05

Surveys, Ebay, Swagbucks, Affiliates, etc. = $107.33

Total Impact to My Family

This does not include some really awesome deals we got on brand new clothes at K-Mart's clearance sale. We picked up a bunch of winter clothes (because we didn't really have many) for $2.99-$3.99 each! I just forgot to write down the original prices before the tags got thrown away. Oh, well. I know it was a good deal, even if I have no written proof! LOL It makes me feel good to know that I'm helping a little to drag us out of debt.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Week 8

Well, I managed to make it in on time for the final week of the New Recipe Challenge hosted by Feminine Farmgirl. Yay me! :)

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & KFC Knock-off Coleslaw
It was a down home dinner and we went all out with the "fine" china! LOL

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per 2 people (I used 4 for the 6 of us & there was plenty of leftovers)1/4 to 1/3 bottle of your fave bbq sauce

Use enough bbq sauce to coat your chicken breasts well and toss them in the slow cooker for about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Unless of course you have a crockpot like mine where the low is more like keep warm and the high is boiling. If so, adjust accordingly. When the chicken is cooked through, remove and place on cutting board. Mine had quite a bit of cooking juice and some fat. I skimmed off as much fat as possible, then drained all but about 1-2 cups of liquid. Using two forks, shred the chicken, then add it back into the liquid in the crockpot. Add more bbq sauce to taste, and stir 'er up. Serve right away or leave on the warm setting until you're ready to eat, on your choice of bread. We used some kaiser rolls that were on sale this week.

Verdict: Oh, I hate to say it, but the trend continues. I really liked it. The hubs thought it was dry. Remember, he doesn't like chicken much, although it was a tad bit dry, I guess. The kids were either lukewarm about it or refused to eat. Again. Oh, well.

KFC Knock-off Coleslaw

There's really only one coleslaw that I really love, and that's KFC's. I don't eat it very often because I don't really like fried chicken, so.... Anyway, I bought this set of fun cookbooks a long time ago called Top Secret Recipes. I hardly ever use them, just like all the other cookbooks that I collect. Don't really know why. At any rate, here is the top secret recipe for KFC Coleslaw:

8 cups very finely chopped cabbage (1 head) (I used a bag of coleslaw mix, next time I will use 2 to accomodate the sauce)
1/4 cup shredded carrot ( 1 medium carrot) (mine was in the coleslaw mix)
2 tbsp. minced onion
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. buttermilk (I substituted 1/4 tbsp. lemon juice mixed with enough milk to make 1/4 c. then let it sit 5 min. before using)
1 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Be sure that the cabbage, carrots, and onion are chopped up into very fine pieces (about the size of rice kernels).
2. Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, and lemon juice, and beat until smooth.
3. Add the cabbage, carrots, and onion. Mix well.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Verdict: Absolutely tastes like KFC coleslaw, and I didn't really care if the fam liked it or not because then there was more for me! :)

Thanks again to Jenna from Feminine Farmgirl for hosting the New Recipe Challenge. I've enjoyed seeing what other people have made and plan on trying out a few in the future!


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