Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Submerged (Alaskan Courage)

I receive free books from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for reviewing them on Amazon and on my website. This review is for Submerged (Alaskan Courage) by Dani Pettrey.

This was an enjoyable book to read. The characters were real with flaws that they were working through. The book was definitely Christian in a non-preachy way and the author handled the rough sections (bodies found, previous history of the main character sleeping around, etc) very well. I thought the characters were developed well with their own unique characteristics. As far as suspense... it was fairly predictable, but still good. This book wasn't gripping, but it held my attention and I look forward to reading more about Landon and Piper (hopefully!) in the next book.

I received a free copy of the book from Bethany House to review. The content of the review is entirely my own.

Prophet (Book of the Infinite)

I am a reviewer for Bethany House, which means they send me free books that I read and post reviews on Amazon and on my blog. This review is for the book Prophet (Book of the infinite) by R.J. Larson.

This book had a bit of a hard time holding my attention all the way through, but I enjoyed it. I liked how it showed that the lives of prophets are not easy, but when God has chosen you and you love him that much, you will be willing to endure anything for him. On her own, the main character was no one special, but when she allowed God to lead her life, she made a huge impact for him. I loved how God talked to Ela. It seamed accurate--the way he sometimes answered her questions and sometimes remained silent, but was always there when she needed him. I also enjoyed the humor the author attributed to God. I think he has a great sense of humor and it was neat to see that come through in the book. The ending was definitely believable, but seemed really sad to me. In choosing to follow God, Ela has to give up her own hopes and dreams. A few things didn't really make sense to me in the story, like the presence/purpose of the younger sister or the group of horses, but overall, it was a good read.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House for review. All comments are my own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Shower Luau

I threw this Ladies Only Baby Shower Luau for my good friend, Rachel Drake. My friends Sara Peterson and Cathi Noel helped with the decorating and made everything (especially the waterfall!!!) look amazing.

I'll start with the waterfall because it was my favorite part and looked FANTASTIC!!!

Here is a picture of the waterfall after dark.

Sara painted the rocks on a bookshelf cardboard box. We used my trampoline and attached the rocks first with zip ties. From the top, we clipped a blue sheet for the background water and the purple sheets to the sides. We needed something to help it lay right and I had a crib lying around (drop-down, so thrift shops won't take it!), so we used two of the sides of the crib and attached one to the top part of the trampoline and the second from the ground to the trampoline. We added blue and white lights from the top of the trampoline and then covered it with white curtains with blue curtains on top (these were a tulle fabric we got from Ikea). We strung ivy and flower garlands from the sides and some home-made vines from the top of the waterfall. The vines were ropes that I covered with brown, green, and lime colored crepe paper. My son has a static noise thing in his room with a waterfall setting, so I borrowed that from him to add the sound of a waterfall.

Here is a picture of the whole yard.

There is a stump in the middle of my yard that we were afraid people would trip on, so we made this tree to set next to it. The base is a punching bag covered by packing paper. We tied the leaves on with twine. The leaves are from Ikea. The pineapples are from Oriental Trading Company. We were planning to use a brown sharpie to draw some added texture to the trunk, but ran out of time.

There's not much greenery in my yard, so I made some palm trees for some of my fence posts. I used packing paper for the trunks and stapled them to the fence posts and I used green felt for the leaves. They didn't hang right at first, so I added a large piece of construction paper under each felt leaf and hot glued a wire running down the center between the two leaves.

Gift table--I loved how my diaper cake turned out! The flower is made from tissue paper and a pipe cleaner. I made several flowers and put them along the fence between the homemade palm trees.

Near the gift table, we added a clothes line with summer baby clothes.

Food table
We decided to use two tables, one for the food and the second in the back for the blenders we (I should say Cathi, since she is the one who made them!) were using to make non-alcoholic pina coladas and strawberry daiqueries. We also used this back table for the stereo for the music.

The luau was an optional potluck and several ladies chose to bring food. My menu was fresh fruit, Hawaiian bread (made by Cathi), veggie shish kabobs, and a hotdog/pineapple/sweet and sour sauce dish. Other ladies brought mango bread, banana bread, and veggie spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce. I was planning to make a banana cream pie and fruit pizzas for dessert, but I ran out of time so we didn't end up with any dessert other than the sweet breads.

Pineapple tree--The base is two pineapples held together by bamboo skewers. Cathi snagged some fern leaves from her mom for the top of the tree. A larger tree would look even cooler, but I liked this size.

Shish Kabobs were made using red and green peppers, onions, pineapple, tomatoes, and two vegetarian meats (Fri Chik and Tenderbits) with a lemon and herb sauce.

We used blue tablecloths, fish nets, and lanterns from Target to decorate two of the tables. Here is a picture of one of the place settings.

For the third table, we used a brown tablecloth, sea shells, and a Partylite sandcastle.

We used white chair covers with orange or green sashes from and tied on flowers I had found at the dollar store.

Pampering Table
Cathi and I made this tiki hut for a previous event using pvc pipe that we painted brown. The top is two bamboo mats. The background surf boards were made using cardboard and paint. The surf shack sign was made by another friend of mine using cardboard and paint.

We had containers and warm water for the foot scrubs. Cathi made sugar scrubs using safflour oil, sugar, and orange scented essential oil. We also set up the paraffin bath so ladies could dip their hands in hot wax. Here is a cute picture of one of the little ones playing in the foot bath water.