Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: English Trifle by Josi Kilpack

Can you believe it? This is the last week for the Summer Time Give Aways! Wow! Thank you to everyone who entered the contests. I hope you all enjoyed some extra summer time fun!

The Rules: You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.


This week's Give-Away is an autographed copy of English Trifle by Josi Kilpack!


Weekly Question: In what county (shire) is Southgate Estate located in? It’s also famous for clotted cream. Hint: The answer can be found in English Trifle's 1st chapter on Josi's website.
Be sure to email your answers to me. Any answers left in the comment section will be deleted.

The contest ends on Friday September 4th at 12 noon. Enjoy and good luck!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Winner of Ferguson Shelf Books

The winner of this week's Summer Time Give Away prize is . . .


Dreamzz12!!!

Dreamzz12, please email me your snail mail address and I'll get your prizes out to you right away.

Thank you to everyone who entered. Next week is the very last week of the Summer Time Give Aways. Yes, fall is almost here. Be sure to come back for a chance to win Josi Kilpack's new release, English Trifle.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ballet on Bikes

This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen! I've met teenagers who want to be ballerinas - but never on bikes. At least, that's what this reminds me of. Totally worth watching.

Girls really can do anything! =)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review: Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena

Illuminations of the Heart
by Joyce DiPastena


“Clothilde.”

He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.

Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.

Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.

Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?

Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?

Oh. My. Goodness. If that teaser didn't grab you and make you want to dash to the closest Barnes & Noble, then you need to have your romance meter checked!

Illuminations of the Heart is Joyce DiPastena's second novel. I thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Loyalty's Web (read my review here) - and was just waiting to see if the second book would even possibly be half as good as the first. I am so pleased to say - IT WAS AWESOME!!!

Now, before you think all you have to do is put a good romance in my hands and I spurt off glowing reports, there was one thing I had a difficult time with. I remembered Triston & Clothilde's names from Loyalty's Web, but I couldn't remember their relationship and role in the book. As a result, I was very confused during the first few chapters trying to remember who they were and how Siri fit into the whole thing. I would have pulled out my copy of the first book, but a friend of mine had borrowed it. I was saved when I discovered the first chapter of Loyalty's Web at the end of Illuminations of the Heart. It was just enough to remind me of the character's relationships and get me back on track.

Now, if you haven't read Loyalty's Web, don't feel you have to read that one first to understand this book. It's actually a great stand-alone book, I was just having a hard time because I remembered the characters and wanted to put Triston & Clo's past in place before moving on with the second book. So my only suggestion to Joyce for Illuminations is I would have liked Triston and Clo's relationship and the time period more clearly defined towards the beginning. It all comes together mid-way through the book, but I would have liked it earlier just to get me into the "Oh yeah - I remember them!" state-of-mind more quickly.

I loved the setting Joyce picked for Illuminations of the Heart. I was an exchange student in France and have actually been to Poitou to tour the castles there. I loved how she pulled the history of the area in and made me feel like I was back there, breathing in the moist air and climbing all over the ruins. Of course, in this book the castles aren't ruins yet, but oh how I loved being pulled back to that beautiful part of the world!

My very, very favorite part of Joyce's new book, is the romance. OK - I know you were all waiting for me to say that! Just like in Loyalty's Web, Joyce weaves a wonderful story, creates an attraction and tension between Triston and Siri, and never once do I have to skip sentences or flip pages. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that I can read such a powerful romance book and never cringe. I can safely keep reading and enjoy every single one of those melt-my-knees kisses without worry it's going to lead somewhere my eyes, mind, and imagination don't want to go. I have so many friends and teenagers who raid my library of books and am so grateful I don't have to give any "disclaimers" before lending out of Joyce's books. THANK YOU, JOYCE!

I highly, highly, highly (I can add about a dozen of those!) recommend both of Joyce's books for the romance addict in your life - no matter if it's you, your teenager, or your wife (guys - you're lady love will give you lots of kisses and hugs after receiving this gift!). So, if you're just dying to get your hands on her books and can't dash out to the nearest store, simply click on the Amazon links below and you'll have your books in just a few days!

Amazon purchase links:

Loyalty's Web

Illuminations of the Heart

Want to Win A Free Copy of Illuminations of the Heart???

Now, before you go - I need to tell you about an awesome contest Joyce & her publisher are holding during this blog tour. Here's the deal. All you have to do is leave a comment on this book review and you will be entered to win one of four awesome prizes: An autographed copy of Illuminations of the Heart; or one of three $10 gift certificates to go towards a purchase of one of Joyce's books.

Want more chances to win? Go check out all of the Illuminations of the Heart Blog Tour stops and leave comments there as well. All comments will be put together, then the winner will be chosen. So the more reviews you check out & comment on - the higher your chance is of winning. So start clicking and commenting my friends!


August 10
Mormon Hermit Mom's
Book Habit


August 11
Amesbury Reads

August 12
Heather Justesen

August 13
Rachelle's Writing Spot

August 14
Cami's Books
and Fit Mommas

August 17
Jewel's World

August 18
Of Writerly Things

August 19
Frespa Fan

August 20
Of Good Report

August 21
Rachel Rager

August 24
Boojoos and Aprilcots

August 25
Musings from an LDS Writing Mom

August 26
Queen of the Clan

August 27
Write Bravely

August 28
Dreams of Quill and Ink

August 31
Trisit Pinkston

September 1
Vicissitudes

September 2

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Clean Sweep - Catching up!

Last Friday, my hubby took the day off work to celebrate our anniversary. Want to know what we did? We cleaned out our basement. Seriously. And I was the one who suggested it!

We had so many boxes just waiting to be unpacked from our move 2 1/2 years ago. I really wanted to be able to do the laundry and not feel claustrophobic. I was also concerned that if there ever actually WAS a tornado and everyone was in the basement, that we'd have tons of stuff flying everywhere!

I was amazed at how much stuff we went through! Some of it was set aside for a garage sale in a few weeks, some of it was put away in the house, and a whole huge pile of it went into the trash. I found a few things I had been hunting for - like my family genealogy cards and my kids birth certificates. All good things to locate!

As a result of our efforts, we came across the toddler bed my hubby's grandfather made for our kids - which led to a conversation about if Anna was ready to leave her crib. The real question was if Mom & Dad were ready to chase Anna for nap and bed time! As you can see, we decided to try out the big girl bed . . . and Anna was thrilled!


The pillows are for accidental tumbles!


Anna . . . late that night. It's a good thing we put the pillows there!

Saturday morning, John & Isaac went to the Sprint Campus run. Here they are with the "running rabbit"! John ran along-side Isaac in the kids 1K race.


On your marks . . . Get set . . . Go!Isaac took 2nd place in the Kids 1K run! Yeah Isaac!

Now for some more fun . . .

I've been nominated for some really fun blogging awards!

Thank you to Shauna for giving me The Uplifting Blogger Award. This is an award I truly appreciate. While I enjoy doing fun stuff like contests, etc on my blog, I truly hope it's inspiring to all the other writing moms and moms raising kids with special needs . . . Thank you so much!


Two bloggers have awarded me with the Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you Heather & Nichole!

Now, there's more to the Kreativ Blogger award. Here we go . . .

Seven things about me (is there anything you don't already know???)

1. I absolutely LOVE my freckles!

2. I was once asked to describe myself without saying anything about my physical features. My response was - I'm the girl from your favorite chick flick. Not the gorgeous main character, but the quirky best friend.

3. My response to #2 gave me a whole new book idea! Coming soon!

4. I was a major flirt in college. Anyone surprised?

5. I love girly stuff - pink stuff, shoes, purses, etc.

6. I am a shopaholic. Totally true. (Thank goodness my hubby is a penny-pincher. I need some balance in life!)

7. We've been paying off our debt for the last year and have made a ton of progress. But when I paid off my Old Navy card . . . and canceled it, I actually cried. I couldn't even cut up the card. I had to give it to my hubby to do the honors. It still makes me teary.


Seven people I nominate for this award:

1. Shauna @ Trying to Stay Calm- it amazes me all the awesome stuff she gets for her contests!

2. Amy @ What a Kick in the Pants - Amy's knack for everything homemaking related has left me in awe since our college days.

3. Joni @ Modern Myrtle - Joni makes custom bags and scripture totes for me. Personally, I can only sew square blocks together. Joni's talent is truly incredible!

4. Heather @ Just a Little Minute - Now Heather just cracks me up! I love her humor and perspective on enjoying motherhood.

5. Kris @ Meet My Camera - You want creativity? Go check out Kris' photography. She always has the most gorgeous pictures! I don't know any of the people in her pics, but I just fall in love with them anyway. I would love to have her do our family pics the next time she's out in KC.

6. Stephanie @ She Does Hair - Stephanie has stopped posting new hair-do's, but has left her blog up as a reference. I love searching her archives. She has such fun kid hair-styles!

7. Cheryl @ KC Temple Chaser - I love that Cheryl used her creative talent to journal all the happenings for the upcoming Kansas City Temple. She also posts inspirational thoughts and events at other temples around the world.


So there you go, my friends. I hope you feel a bit caught up - and that you've discovered some awesome new blogs! Have a wonderful day!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: From the Ferguson Shelves

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.


This week's Give-Away is a collection of books from the Ferguson shelves!


Enter to win the following Hard Back editions of these books - from left to right:
- Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright.
This book is numbered (#189 out of 288) AND signed by the author!
- The Shell Game by Steve Alten
-Letters for Emily by Camron Wright



Weekly Question: How do my business cards describe me? (hint: the answer's on my sidebar.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends Friday, August 28th. Good luck everyone!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Winner of Coyote's Grand Adventure by Tina Scott

I'm sorry this announcement is late! We were cleaning out our basement yesterday (you know, going through the boxes we never unpacked 2 1/2 years ago . . . ) and I totally forgot to announce the winner of Tina's awesome picture book.

And the winner of Coyote's Grand Adventure by Tina Scott is . . .


Tristi Pinkston!!!

Tristi, please send me your mailing address so I can pass it along to Tina. And a HUGE thank you to Tina for being this week's contest host! See you all next week!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

11 Years and Counting

August 20th is one of my very favorite days of the year. It's the celebration of my wedding anniversary.

11 years ago today, at 2 pm in the afternoon, I met my sweetie at the alter and we were married for all eternity. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day. So bright in fact, that we had to close our eyes between wedding pictures to prevent us from going blind. LOL!

I still remember the warmth radiating from my heart as John and I knelt across from each other at the alter and pledged to love & serve each other forever. I still feel that warmth each time he comes home from work and gives me kisses, snuggles with me in the morning before starting our day, and holds my hand wherever we go.

John is a complete compliment to everything I am, everything I hope to be. Together, I know we will traverse the rocky mountain climb and rejoice as we fulfill our dreams.

One of my favorite wedding memories was actually long after the ceremony. We finished our session with the photographer, then walked back into the Mt. Timpanogas temple to wait for his family to pick us up for the reception. As we sat in the waiting room, John had me lay back on the couch. He then knelt beside me, slipped off my what-was-I-thinking high heels, and proceeded to give me a foot massage. We softly talked about the day. One of the sisters who serves in the temple saw us. She came in, placed her hand on John's shoulder and said to me, "You are one lucky lady. You definitely found a great guy."

Here we are - eleven years later and she was so totally right. I am one very lucky lady to have found a great guy who is truly my very best friend. I thank Heavenly Father for him each morning when I wake up, and each evening before I go to sleep. That seedling of love we shared on our wedding day has grown. It's a few feet taller now with four budding branches. The roots are deeper and firmly planted in the soil. We still have a lot of growing to do, and I'm looking forward to the many, many more years we'll share.

Some of you may know that our relationship started out with a dance. Swing dancing to be precise. John and I have enjoyed lots of dancing since then - country swing and ballroom to name a few. One of our very favorite dance groups to watch is Lord of the Dance. In honor of our anniversary, I found this video which I think captures our love of dance, laughter, and family.

Just one last thing - John, I love you. More. Times infinity. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.

xoxoxoxoxo

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Coyote's Grand Adventure by Tina Scott

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.


This week's Give-Away is the fabulous children's book Coyote's Grand Adventure by Tina Scott!


Weekly Question: What does Coyote learn to do? (hint: check out Tina's blog.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends Friday, August 21st. Good luck everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

First Day(s) of School

Our family's first two days of school. The first day was a half day for the older kids. The second day was the first full day & Rob's first day of Kindergarten. Enjoy the photos!

A nice big breakfast of eggs and toast!

My 5th grader & 3rd grader. My how the time flies!


Rob thought it was WAY too early in the morning to get up!

Goofing around while we waited for the bus. We built quite the tower made out of snacks and tissue boxes!

The trek to the bus begins!


Halfway to the bus, Isaac dropped his box of granola bars. MJ helped him re-arrange his stuff & she carried the granola bar box for him. Such awesome siblings!



Rob's first day of Kindergarten!!!


Black Bob goes green tees



Dad playing with the boys while we waited for the bus.

The kiddos on the bus. Such fun!

And off they go! We're all excited for an awesome new school year. There's so much for each of us to learn, so many opportunities to grow, and lots of new friends to make. Let's hear it for the 2009-2010 school year!

Summer Time Give Away: Winner of the Music & Book Package

I'd like to send out a HUGE thank you to both Lisa Mangum and Apologetix for donating this week's prizes.

The winner of the music & book package is . . .



Kimberly Daly!

Please email me your snail mail address and I'll get your prize in the mail ASAP. Have wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friends of Giant Steps Charity Auction

It's time for my very favorite charity event of the year! If you live in Utah, please come!



Please join us for the 2nd Annual GIANT Steps Charity Auction

All proceeds go to enhancing programming at GIANT Steps

FREE ADMISSION

Host: Greg Wrubell, "Voice of the BYU Cougars"

Date: Friday, August 14th
Time: 7-9 pm
Place: Tahitian Noni Building, 333 River Park Drive, Provo, UT

Featuring huge deals on:

Shopping Excursions
Family Activities
Weekend Getaways
Date packages
Spa Treatments
Park City Hotels
and much more...

A big THANKS to all of our donors!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Women in Our Lives by President Gordon B. Hinckley

I love this video from Mormon Messages. It's from one of my favorite talks by President Hinckley. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Time Give-Away: Music & Book Package

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.


This week's Give-Away is a combination of some awesome music, a fabulous book, & some fun crafty bookmarks!

The Book: This is an autographed copy of an Advanced Readers Copy of The Hourglass Door by incredible Lisa Mangum.

The Music: Once again, another awesome autographed item. Apologetix is a fabulous new band I've discovered through my friend, Micah (who's one of the stage lighting guys. Coolness, indeed!). Apologetix is a Christian parody band. I have been listening to a lot of their music on YouTube in anticipation of their upcoming concert here in Olathe, KS. Apologetix generously donated an autographed copy of their new release, Future Tense.
Apologetix is on tour and performing here in Olathe, KS on Saturday, August 15th, 7 PM, at Christ Family Church (905 Chestnut). Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door. Here's one of my favorite songs from their Adam Up cd ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P85uzmAdFkk). It's titled Choose Your Daddy - a parody based on Toby Keith's Who's Your Daddy. I love it!

The Craft: I made these totally cute bookmarks myself. This set has a pink & brown color theme.

Weekly Question: What is the name of Lisa Mangum's blog? (Hint: Check out her website.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends Friday, August 14th. Good luck everyone!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Please, No Zits! by Anne Bradshaw

I'd like to send out a HUGE thank you to Anne Bradshaw for donating an autographed copy of her book, Please, No Zits!

The winner of this awesome book is . . .

Kami!

Please email me your snail mail address so I can pass it along to Anne. Have wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Time Give Way: Please, No Zits! by Anne Bradshaw

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.

This week's Give-Away is an autographed copy of Please, No Zits! by Anne Bradshaw.


Weekly Question: Where can you join a group called Famous Family Nights?(Hint: Check out Anne's blog.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends on Friday, August 7th at 12 noon (CT). Good luck!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Time Give Aways - Vinyl Expressions Winner

I got caught up in birthday celebrations for my son & forgot to post the winner of this week's contest! I'd like to say A HUGE thank you to Valerie Ipson for donating the prize!

And now . . . The winner of a $15 Vinyl Expressions gift certificate is . . .

Rebecca Richards!!!

Rebecca, please email me your mailing address so I can forward it on to Valerie. Congrats!

Thank you to everyone who entered. Be sure to come back next for a chance to win an autographed book by Anne Bradshaw. Have a wonderful weekend!

Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.