Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Reviews: Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking: Recipes and Stories from the Amish of Sarasota, FloridaSimply Delicious Amish Cooking: Recipes and Stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida by Sherry Gore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This looks like an excellent cookbook!  i can't wait to try homemade root beer!! I have wanted to make it ever since reading an Amish fiction novel where the family made and sold it, so that one popped out right away! I have read lots of complaints from reviewers about using items like jello, pudding, and canned fruit, etc, and also about recipes not being healthy. In my experience, (I live in an Amish area and am Mennonite), typical Amish and Mennonite cooking is not meant to be healthy!  Most conservative amish and Mennonite are working so hard physically every day, there isn't much need for dieting.  And I'm not surprised either at the use of canned fruits (my guess is that some would use their home canned items anyway) and mixes.  The recipes look delicious and I recognize many of them as being common in our area also. My mom makes Poor Man's Steak, and we love hamloaf (though I've never attempted to make it from scratch... I'm tempted though, it looks so simple!).  The breads look amazing; amish bread is famous around here and I'd love to be able to make my own! And Country Caramel French Toast... that one will be on the list too! And for a super traditional dessert (around here in central PA anyway), try the whoopie pies!  Delicious... There is an excellent range of items; delicious looking desserts, breads, breakfast items, main dishes, salads, cookies... and a yummy looking seafood section that looks to be the most unique thing about the Pinecroft Amish!  Alligator Stew may be difficult to make if you aren't seaside, but there are a lot of other options, like Grilled Lime Fish Fillets, and Peppered Lime batter for fish.  I'm not a seafood eater, but I may have to try those! The stories peppered throughout the book are like snippets of Amish life, stories about family life- they may not be super exciting, but its a neat peek into Amish living- it feels like you are reading bits out of the Budget!

If you are looking for a healthy, simple living cookbook, then this is probably not the one for you.  If you want good, simple, authentic Amish food, then try it! Tons of great recipes and a peek at Amish life.  I'd recommend it!

Note:  In looking at the pictures, it seems that that Pinecroft Amish are more like conservative Mennonites in our area (central PA), though I believe there are more liberal Amish in the Lancaster area as well.  Either way, the food is very similar to Amish and Mennonite food here as well.

I recieved a copy of this book for my honest review from the publisher.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Anywhere Dress Pattern Review

I am doing my own little Kids Clothing Week this week, since I wasn't prepared for the "real" one. (We'll just pretend I am prepared this week and not just spending my hour taping patterns and cutting fabric...).  The first thing I finished up was an 
Anywhere Dress from Go To Patterns (affiliate links)

This dress is simple and the PDF pattern makes it even easier to sew up!  There are just a few pieces to cut out; adding in the facings make it seem like more but they really save you so much time later since you don't have to do any binding at the neck! 
You can see the neckline on this picture. The facing is the inside piece that helps finish off the neckline.
Another great thing about the pattern (and most patterns from Go To Patterns) is that it includes sizes for 12 months to 12 years!! That is an amazing range you DO NOT get with traditional paper patterns.  Plus they are so simple to sew from, and include tons of detailed instructions and photos.  Plus the designers are usually available to answer questions!

My only complaint of the entire pattern is that the front and back dress pieces  use the same letters as marks for connecting the PDF pattern pieces (if you've never used a pdf pattern, most have little matching marks that show you which pieces to tape together and line them up correctly). And this is pretty much a moot point, since they are mirror images of each other so it's pretty obvious which goes where.  

It is a little large, but that is not a fault of the pattern.  I made her a size 6 because I don't want her to grow out of it this summer!  Still wearable now, but should last for quite a while! I did cut the hemline to the next size to make it a bit longer. I'm not positive I would do that again though- it feels a bit long and I'm not sure if it is because of the next size up sizing or if its just cut too long.  I thought the pictures of the models looked a smidge short for our tastes though... 

While I usually try to be cheap thrifty and use larger size clothes for fabric, I bought this at Joann's because I loved it! It's not as unique though...I actually showed a picture of this exact dress to L though, to show her what it would look like with her sleeve choice!

Pictures are not great, regrettably.... snapped quickly before school this morning (thus little bro in his PJ's...yep, we'll just pretend he doesn't also end up wearing those most of the day...)!

Anyway, this was a great pattern and I'll definitely be using it more!  I can see it coming in super handy to make tee-shirts with as well! This would be an amazing beginning project for using knits.  They are not as scary as they seem and make such amazing comfy clothes!

Next up: the Hangout Hoodie from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop! (affiliate links)

I recieved a copy of this pattern for free in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book reviews: So Shines the Night & Intentional Parenting

So Shines the NightSo Shines the Night by Tracy Higley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book a lot. It is historical fiction set in Biblical times, though the main characters are completely fictional.  I appreciate that the author lets us experience what things may have been like in these times without taking so many liberties with a well known person from the Bible. It definitely gave me a new appreciation for what early Christians dealt with!  The author shows the Ephesians devotion to their gods and the culture of the times as people are dabbling in sorcery and animal sacrifices.  One of the Christian characters who was not able to have a baby is thrilled when she takes in a child that the parents have left to die at the river due to a physical deformity. It gives the reader a view of the risks new believers took in following Christ in those times.  The story follows Daria, a widow, as she struggles to make her way with no one to help her as her father and husband have both died.  She meets Lucas who offers her a position teaching him Persian if she goes with him to Ephesus.  Lucas himself is struggling with his desire for vengeance for his wife's death and getting close to some dangerous people in the process.  Both characters meet Paul, the great evangelist from the Bible, and we also meet other famous characters such as Timothy and Priscilla and Aquilla.  The story was interesting and was full of romance and mystery with a great twist at the end.  This was an excellent read and I would recommend it.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Intentional Parenting: Autopilot Is for PlanesIntentional Parenting: Autopilot Is for Planes by Sissy Goff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. It was a great reminder that you can just float through your children's lives and parenting experience or you can be intentional and be a parent with a purpose. The authors gave lots of examples from their lives and counseling practice to go along with the book's themes. While the book encorages you to be intentional about your impact on your kids lives it also gives pages of parenting and discipline tips. They are not in depth, just a paragraph or so for each tip, but I prefer it his way as it is a great way to remind yourself. The authors reference other books that they have written and after reading this one, I would love to read others! I would recommend this book for any parent. For new parents its a great way to dip your toes into the themes before moving on to more in depth readng. Afor experienced parents, an excellent reminder to make sure you are on the path you want to be.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

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