September 23, 2016

farewell, summer

It's been rainy, grey, and very fall-ish around here for the past several weeks.  While I'm definitely, totally ready for autumn, I thought I'd share these sweet summer photos of Ivy and Hank as a farewell to summer.

These are from the middle of May when we had some rather warm weather and chronicle Ivy's first popsicle experience. *smile*

Goodness how she has grown!  And she has a lot more hair now. *grin*

What are your favorite memories from this summer? I want to know!

September 3, 2016

North Idaho State Fair | 2016

I was ridiculously excited to take Ivy to the fair this year.  After all, it was her first fair experience!  I remember going to the fair with my family when I was little, and I couldn't wait to make new memories with my own little girl!

Hank was able to take the day off so we could go together.  He has a lot of fair memories as well, mostly have hanging out all day, every day taking care of 4-H goats and sheep.

Watching the swine show.

Our first stop was the 4-H swine show.  For those who have never seen a swine show, it goes something like this...  You have a bunch of 4-Hers with their pigs milling around the show pen.  They're all trying to show their pigs off to the best advantage for the judge.  One pig gets a bit too close to another pig and FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!!  The air fills with squeals as the pigs gnaw on each other.  This continues until a guy rushes over with a big board and shoves it in between the pigs so they can't see each other, thus ending the disagreement.  You were so right, Hank - the pig show is exciting and awesome! *grin* 

Ivy loved looking at all the animals.  This adorable Dexter cow made her laugh!  So did the goats in the goat barn.

This is pretty much how Ivy rode the whole time - sitting up and staring at everything with big eyes.  Also, strollers are awesome!  Don't have to carry the kid, and there's a nice big storage basket.

I think we walked through every display and animal building, except for the Rabbit barn.  For some reason we missed that one.

Our adorable child making adorable faces.

They had an awesome Farm to Table park set up for the kids.  Ivy enjoyed sitting in the saddle a lot.

Little cowgirl.

We couldn't get her to look at the camera for this one, but still totally cute.

Kindly tilt your head to the left so you can watch a short video...


I feel like an idiot for the sideways filming.  I know better!  Oh well.  Still cute.
Except for the kid screaming in the background.  So glad it's not mine.

And then my camera battery died. Which was very sad.

They had some really neat sideshows at the fair this year.  We enjoyed the Canadian Lumberjack show and the African Acrobats.  There was a European Marionette show which sounded amazing, but in reality it was...well, creepy is the only word that comes to mind.  Also, weird.  We sat and watched for a bit, mostly because there was shade, and ate our ice cream cones.  We were so thankful that Ivy wasn't old enough to enjoy it and didn't pitch a fit when we left. *wink*

And that's about it.  We watched a bit of women's breakaway calf roping, ate German sausage with sauerkraut, and Ivy even took a short nap towards the end.  She was good as gold the whole day. It was a really fun day, and I'm so happy I got to spend it with my two favorite people in the whole world. *smile*

Do you have a state or county fair that you go to?
What is your favorite thing about the fair?
I want to know! 

July 31, 2016

A Beauty Refined | Book Review

Phoebe Von Bergen is excited to accompany her father when he travels from Germany to purchase sapphires in Montana. Little does she know that her father's plans--for the gemstones and his daughter--are not what they seem.  

summary via Amazon

Wow...where to start!  I must admit, I'm not all that hard to please when it comes to novels.  As long as they're clean and entertaining, I'm happy.  But I feel that this particular story is an exceptionally well cut gem (pun totally intended - I'm not sorry).  I really enjoyed Tracie's first book in the Sapphire Brides series (review here), but this one completely and utterly surpassed it!  The plot was fabulous.  Kept me on the edge of my seat and turning pages as fast as I could.

Phoebe is not only the main character, but ended up being my favorite character, which doesn't always happen.  Very sweet, proper, very in control of her emotions, willing to experience new adventures. I found much to admire about her.  I appreciated her loyalty to her father, refusing to believe the worst about him until she was forced to.  We know from the beginning that he is a hard man, willing to do anything to keep is business (and secrets) safe, but it takes a lot for her to believe it.  I will say no more because spoilers.

Ian is very nice.  Not very exciting, but nice.  And I don't mean that in a negative way at all.  He's the type that girls would actually want to marry.  Maybe he doesn't lead a super exciting life, but he's steady, has a good job, and loves the Lord.  And, of course, good looking, so how could you go wrong?

I appreciate the strong Christian characters in this story.  When they live and talk their faith, it feels real and believable.  Not forced at all.  Which is rare in Christian fiction, unfortunately.  I also really, really appreciated the fact that Ian and Phoebe saved their first kiss for after they were married.  So many "Christian" novels are packed full of steamy, border-line inappropriate romantic scenes.  I would gladly hand this book to my daughter when she's in her later teens with an easy mind.

Well done Tracie Peterson!  I can't wait to read your next book!

: : I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. : :