Things Mother Used to Make: Cornmeal Gems

vintage maid putting food in ovenFrom the 1914 cookbook Things Mother Used to Make A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published Before

Here’s the recipe as it appears in the cookbook:

=Corn Meal Gems=

2 Cupfuls of Flour 1 Cupful of Corn Meal (bolted is best) 2 Cupfuls of Milk 2 Teaspoonfuls of Cream of Tartar 1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda 1 Egg 1/2 Cupful of Sugar 1/2 Teaspoonful of Salt

Stir the flour and meal together, adding cream of tartar, soda, salt and sugar. Beat the egg, add the milk to it, and stir into the other ingredients. Bake in a gem-pan twenty minutes.

You may have questions.  Here are some possible answers:


In this context, gems are muffins.  A gem-pan is a muffin tin

Bolted Cornmeal that has been sifted or ground so fine that parts of the germ or bran are removed, and all the particles are fine and even in size. If you bought yours at the store, it’s probably bolted.

Here’s what I did (scroll down for the plain recipe for my version):

2014-10-10 12.58.49 I put the dry ingredients into the bowl:

2 Cupfuls of freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour

1 Cupful of Corn Meal (I put popcorn kernels in the grain mill)

2 Teaspoonfuls of Cream of Tartar

1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda

1/2 Cupful of Sugar

1/2 Teaspoonful of Salt

I mixed this all together, and then I added 2 cups of milk into which I had beaten one egg.

I poured this into muffin tins I had lined with muffin wrappers and baked at 350 minutes.

2014-10-10 13.28.53

However, the muffins stuck to the paper too much, and I imagine they’d make cleaning your muffin tins a serious chore.

2014-10-10 13.39.24

So I added 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil to the remaining batter and poured it into another muffin tin, and baked for 20 minutes:

2014-10-10 13.39.32

2014-10-10 13.50.13

I could not tell a significant difference at first.  When they were still hot, there was a lot of muffin sticking to the paper.  However, when all the muffins had cooled, those to which I had added oil could be removed from their wrappers with less of the muffin sticking to the paper.

2014-10-10 13.50.19 I found them a little on the bland side. I prefer my cornbread less sweet, crunchier, with more texture. But the kids loved them- the grandbabies and some visiting children happily had them as snacks and with meals. These didn’t last long.

So here’s the recipe I’d use if I make them again:

2 Cupfuls of freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour

1 Cupful of Corn Meal (I put popcorn kernels in the grain mill)

2 Teaspoonfuls of Cream of Tartar

1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda

1/2 Cupful of Sugar

1/2 Teaspoonful of Salt

I mixed this all together,

Melt 1 cup of butter, lard, or coconut oil.

Blend an egg and two cups of milk into the oil.  Then add liquid mixture to dry and stir well.

Line muffin tins with paper, or grease well.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.

Put in the oven and bake 20 minutes at 350.  Halfway through baking, rotate your tins, so the cups that were nearest the door are nearer the back of the oven, and if you have them on two different racks, switch racks as well.  This will help them brown more evenly.

Remove from oven and let them cool a bit before trying to remove the papers.

Serve plain with butter or with butter and  honey or fruit butter.

cornmeal gems with receipt

Posted in cookery, frugalities, Uncategorized, vintage cookery | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Free and 1.99 Kindle Titles

Housekeeping and Disclosures:

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free or marked down as listed at time of posting, but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I end up *not* posting more books than I post because I screen out so many this way.
  • Affiliate links: If you click on one of the links and buy something else while you are at Amazon, I will get somewhere between 4 and 7.5 percent of what you spend, unless you are buying penny books. I don’t get anything for those for obvious reasons.
  • You don’t need a Kindle to download and read these. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for more information on ways and means of filling up your life with more Kindle books than you can shake a stick at. Why you would want to shake a stick at them, I don’t know, that’s just what Grandma G used to say.

books thumbnail

  • Books for 1.99 each, but only for a limited time:

1.99 for A Night to Remember

Blurb: James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic movie is a smash hit, but Walter Lord’s 1955 classic remains in some ways unsurpassed. Lord interviewed scores of Titanic passengers, fashioning a gripping you-are-there account of the ship’s sinking that you can read in half the time it takes to see the film. The book boasts many perfect movie moments not found in Cameron’s film. When the ship hits the berg, passengers see “tiny splinters of ice in the air, fine as dust, that give off myriads of bright colors whenever caught in the glow of the deck lights.” Survivors saw dawn reflected off other icebergs in a rainbow of shades, depending on their angle toward the sun: pink, mauve, white, deep blue–a landscape so eerie, a little boy tells his mom, “Oh, Muddie, look at the beautiful North Pole with no Santa Claus on it.”
A Titanic funnel falls, almost hitting a lifeboat–and consequently washing it 30 yards away from the wreck, saving all lives aboard. One man calmly rides the vertical boat down as it sinks, steps into the sea, and doesn’t even get his head wet while waiting to be successfully rescued. On one side of the boat, almost no males are permitted in the lifeboats; on the other, even a male Pekingese dog gets a seat. Lord includes a crucial, tragically ironic drama Cameron couldn’t fit into the film: the failure of the nearby ship Californian to save all those aboard the sinking vessel because distress lights were misread as random flickering and the telegraph was an early wind-up model that no one wound.

Lord’s account is also smarter about the horrifying class structure of the disaster, which Cameron reduces to hollow Hollywood formula. No children died in the First and Second Class decks; 53 out of 76 children in steerage died. According to the press, which regarded the lower-class passengers as a small loss to society, “The night was a magnificent confirmation of women and children first, yet somehow the loss rate was higher for Third Class children than First Class men.” As the ship sank, writes Lord, “the poop deck, normally Third Class space … was suddenly becoming attractive to all kinds of people.” Lord’s logic is as cold as the Atlantic, and his bitter wit is quite dry.

Reader review: Dear Readers,
With a passenger list in the back, detailing those who survived and those who didn’t, “A Night to Remember,” is a harrowing account of the Titanic’s ill-fated journey from Europe to the United States.
The book really tells of the people who spent fortunes to get aboard the Titanic, the most luxurious cruiseliner of the time. I really don’t think that this book can be compared to the movie “Titanic.” They are both such different stories, that saying one is like the other is missing the point.
“A Night to Remember is much more than Hollywook hype. It is really more of a personal account of what happened aboard the ship, and the horrors of the sinking and of the rescues (most people died, only a few survived). I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the saga of the Titanic. This book is based solidly on fact, which is one reason I like it so much. I remember reading this several years ago, and being kept up at night as a result.

books black and white

1.99 for Peter Akroyd’s Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors

Blurb: The first book in Peter Ackroyd’s history of England series, which has since been followed up with two more installments, Tudors and the forthcoming Rebellion.

In Foundation, the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England’s prehistory to the death, in 1509, of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country’s most distant past—and Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house—and describes in rich prose the successive waves of invaders who made England English, despite being themselves Roman, Viking, Saxon, or Norman French.

With his extraordinary skill for evoking time and place and his acute eye for the telling detail, Ackroyd recounts the story of warring kings, of civil strife, and foreign wars. But he also gives us a vivid sense of how England’s early people lived: the homes they built, the clothes the wore, the food they ate, even the jokes they told. All are brought vividly to life through the narrative mastery of one of Britain’s finest writers.

Reader Review: “Foundation” is the eighth book by Peter Ackroyd perused by your humble reviewer. The reason I mention this fact is to manifest the great productivity evinced by Ackroyd one of Britain’s most prolific authors. Ackroyd has written many works of fiction as well as such smash non-fictional tomes as “London”; “Charles Dickens” “Thames” and “Thomas More.” Foundation was a publishing sensation in England and promising to do well in the United States. It is the first volume of a proposed multivolumed history of Great Britain.
Ackroyd presents all the major politcal events in the long pageant of British history culminating in the first Tudor King Henry VII. Volume II will begin with the reign of Henry VIII. Ackroyd:
a. Succinctly summarizes the reigns of British monarchs. Especially interesting were the reigns of William the Conqueror who defeated Harold in 1066 establishing Norman power in England. The Plantagenet dynasty ruled England for centuries. Also of interest were the reigns of Henry II who had Archbishop Thomas a Becket murdered; Richard I the Lionheart and King John.
b. Several battles are analyyzed from Hastings to Agincourt to the dynastic War of the Roses in the calamatious 14th century.
c. Many chapters report on the way people lived in the Medieval period including the daily schedule of a market town; the food which was eaten; trade and roads; religious beliefs and English law. The Black Death and the strong movement towards a centralized government in London are given attention by the author.
Some of Amazon critics have attacked the book for being boring but this is wrong! The book is a popularly written account spotlighting the basic data needed by a literate person to buttress understanding of how England evolved over the centuries. The book is not a detailed history but serves to whet one’s interest in British history and life. A bibliography is provided by Ackroyd for those who would wish to read and learn more.
d. Ackroyd writes in a lively style one would expect of a novelist. He is able to keep the reader’s interest. However, reigns and battles can become tedious reading. The book is best if it slowly read aiding comprehension of such a vast subject.
The long book contains many memorable quotable quotes. Among them:
“The building of Stonehenge was the largest and most protracted programme of public works in the history of England.” (p.10)
“Trade is the key to the growth of civilizations”- (p. 15)
“The country village was not some comfortable and affable idyll; for its poorest residents it was a form of outdoor prison”-p.
“The church was not always used for sacred purposes. The contemporary literature suggests that it might be a meetingplace, a covered market or even an alehouse.”-(p. 75).
“The objects of medieval life are still recovered from the ground…wooden stools…two locks…Medieval life was dominated by the key.”-(p. 95)
“The origins of the manor are still a matter of debate.”-p.(106).
“The instincts of the Anglo-Norman lords was for battle;like the salamander, they lived in fire.”-(p. 123)
“Life for the majority of the English people was nasty, brutish and short.”-(p. 235). Ackroyd is here commenting on the Black Plague of the 14th century.
“Foundations” has whetted my taste for continuing to study volume II and learn more about the great English nation. Plaudits to Peter Ackroyd for his fine book!

books black and white

1.99 for Kindle, Steven Ambrose’s Crazy Horse and Custer

Nearly 200 five and four star reviews. A handful 3 star and below.

Blurb; On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611 men of the United States 7th Cavalry rode toward the banks of Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory, where three thousand Indians stood waiting for battle. The lives of two great warriors would soon be forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme courage. Both became leaders in their societies at very early ages. Both were stripped of power, in disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of their people. And to both of them, the unspoiled grandeur of the Great Plains of North America was an irresistible challenge. Their parallel lives would pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for an inevitable clash between two nations fighting for possession of the open prairie.

books black and white

1.99: The Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front
Blurb: One of the bloodiest battles in world history—a military tragedy that would come to define a generation.

On July 1, 1916, the British Army launched the “Big Push” that was supposed to bring an end to the horrific stalemate on the Western Front between British, French, and German forces. What resulted was one of the greatest single human catastrophes in twentieth century warfare. Scrambling out of trenches in the face of German machine guns and artillery fire, the Allied Powers lost over twenty thousand soldiers that first day. This “battle” would drag on for another four bloody months, resulting in over one million causalities among the three powers.

As the oral historian at the Imperial War Museum in London, Peter Hart has brought to light new material never before seen or heard. The Somme is an unparalleled evocation of World War I’s iconic contest—the definitive account of one of the major tragedies of the twentieth century.

From Publisher’s Weekly: Starred Review. Hart is the current master of an approach to military history developed by Martin Middlebrook and Lyn Macdonald. Direct quotations from participants establish the face of battle, then combined with a narrative/analytical backdrop contextualizing the personal experiences. As oral historian of Britain’s Imperial War Museum, Hart has unrivaled access to relevant sources. This book, published in Britain in 2005, is a masterful synthesis of the human and the operational aspects of a campaign that increasingly defines the British experience in the Great War. Hart vividly presents the runup to the Big Push expected to end the war; the disaster of July 1, 1916, when the British army suffered nearly 60,000 casualties; and the numbing months of attrition as British troops bled against the German defenses. Hart describes the horror as reflecting not the stupidity of individual generals and politicians but the determination of nations to resolve their differences by a war fought to the finish. The British army learned how to fight battles like the Somme, built around fire power. But its learning curve was slippery with blood. Hart honors the men who paid the price. Photos, maps. (Jan. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

OVer seventy five and four star reader reviews. 13 3 star and below.

books black and white

1.99 for If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

Blurb: “Gentlemen, do not be daunted if chaos reigns; it undoubtedly will.” So said Brigadier S. James Hill, commanding officer of the British 3rd Parachute Brigade, in an address to his troops shortly before the launching of Operation Overlord—the D-Day invasion of Normandy. No more prophetic words were ever spoken, for chaos indeed reigned on that day, and many more that followed.

Much has been written about the Allied invasion of France, but award-winning military historian Flint Whitlock has put together a unique package—the first history of the assault that concentrates exclusively on the activities of the American, British, and Canadian airborne forces that descended upon Normandy in the dark, pre-dawn hours of June 6, 1944. Landing into the midst of the unknown, the airborne troops found themselves fighting for their lives on every side in the very jaws of the German defenses, while striving to seize their own key objectives in advance of their seaborne comrades to come.

Whitlock details the formation, recruitment, training, and deployment of the Allies’ parachute and glider troops. First-person accounts by veterans who were there—from paratroopers to glidermen to the pilots who flew them into the battle, as well as the commanders (Eisenhower, Taylor, Ridgway, Gavin, and more)—make for compelling, “you-are-there” reading. If Chaos Reigns is a fitting tribute to the men who rode the wind into battle and managed to pull victory out of confusion, chaos, and almost certain defeat.

Reader Review; I’ve been collecting titles on Allied Airborne operations in the ETO for nearly 40 years. Much has been written about the epic battles at Market Garden, Operation Varsity, etc. While these stories of the ETO are nothing new, they never seem to get old.

“If Chaos Reigns” is by far one of the best…and one of the few books that deals with the Airborne operations from the American, Canadian, and British perspective in one volume. Whitlock begins his treatise with a discussion of the German airborne operations in the Blitzkrieg campaign. Its interesting to see how brillantly the Wermacht pioneered the airborne art. The rest of the book takes turns looking at the different Allied armies’ skirmishes on the European mainlaind during D-Day. While these battles have been covered in other books, Whitlock tells the story with as great a gusto as any of his predecessors.

Highly recommended for any wishing to learn more about the history of the daring Allied airborne campaigns in World War II.

we love free books

Don’t Sugar Coat It: The Truth About Sugar
Blurb: Discover the truth about Sugar and how it could be killing you.

• Maintain & Lower Blood Sugar,
• Quit Sugar & Lose Weight with Natural Foods,
• Learn the Good & Bad Sugar Substitutes,
• Prevent & Help Diabetes with Healthy Sugar Alternatives

Discover the truth about the real silent killer lurking in the foods you eat on a daily basis… It’s not the fats or the carbohydrates but the hidden sugars in your food that are slowly peeling years off your longevity.

Giant food corporations are in a bidding war for your taste buds and money, with complete disregard for your well-being. Their primary weapon of choice? Sugar

When you think of sugar you’re probably thinking of the white table sugar that you put in your morning coffee or use for everyday cooking.

Little do people know that most dangerous sugars are disguised in everyday foods and are actually worse for you than regular table sugar! They contain large amounts of harmful chemicals and additives that undergo heavy processing which is far from “natural” or “healthy”

Think that consuming “Sugar Free” or “Calorie Free” foods and drinks are healthier for you? Think again, you’re in for a rude awakening. After reading this book, you will be shocked at the amount of processed sugars that are added into some of the foods that you eat every day.

In this book, Don’t Sugar Coat it: The Truth About Sugar by bestselling author John Randall is packed with information about sugar and it’s deadly effects on your body and healthy tips on how to avoid processed sugars with natural and delicious alternatives.

You can learn to overcome your sugar addiction and break away from a diet based on refined sugary drinks and processed foods with the easy and simple steps that are found in this book.
How would you like to:

*Lose Weight Fast by Avoiding Dangerous Sugary Foods
*Lower Blood Sugar & Maintain Health Blood Sugar Levels
*Quit Sugar & Find Healthy Sugar Substitutes
*Prevent & Treat Diabetes
*Improve Your Energy & Mental Clarity
*Look Younger & Live Longer

This book will teach you everything you need to know about the different types of Sugars (good & bad) as well as the health implications of sugar on your body.

Here are some of the things that you will learn when you download this book:
• How Sugar is Secretly Killing You & What You Can Do About It
• Where Sugar is Disguised in Your Everyday Foods & How You Can Avoid Them
• What Sugar Substitutes are Good For You & Which Ones Aren’t
• How You Can Prevent Insulin Resistance
• What Top 10 Foods Are Most Dangerous To Your Health
• How Sugar Can Potentially Cause Cancer
• How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake with Natural & Healthy Sugar Alternatives
• And much, much more!

So what are you waiting for?

Take the first step into a healthy lifestyle and take control of your life!

Scroll up and click the Buy Now button to instantly download Don’t Sugar Coat It: The Truth About Sugar, Your body will thank you for it!

Reader Review: A healthy nutrition and lifestyle seems to me the topic that is on anyone’s lips these days, as the market in invaded by unhealthy foods and as we see day by day the damage caused by our evolution. Among all the processed foods, I have known ever since I was a child that sugar is not good for me. I never really knew why, but when I was holding a candy and getting ready to eat it – I remembered how my mom used to say that I should have an apple instead. This book represents a detailed overview of the unwanted ingredient in many of the things we love eating – sugar. A very helpful guide for a healthy lifestyle, full of nutritional facts and examples that will explain exactly why sometimes, we should choose the apples instead of the nice and tasty cookie in front of our eyes. It’s good to know what’s the impact of what we eat on our body and mind – and this book does exactly that. A very interesting reading.
books black and white

Organize Your Brain: Stress Less, Do More (Self Improvement & Habits Book 4)

As much as this could surprise you, the basis for getting things done, the first step that can make a difference between a doer and a don’t-er is the TO-DO LIST, or, more precisely, the way one creates such a list. That is because a to-do list is not just a piece of paper on which you jot down some things you need to do – it’s an extremely useful instrument, a lot more complex than that. It is an indispensable tool for your success. This book will teach you how to create this sort of tool: general principles, the steps you need to take in making a list, the things you need to avoid, specific tips and techniques to be more efficient and more.

Just 25 pages

Reader Review: There was a sentence that really hit home for me towards the end of this book and it was, “When we don’t govern our own days others will.” This speaks volumes on the need to be efficient in your workday and your life. In truth, there are a lot of things we can’t control but why not create better more productive habits to control some time in your day?

I found the app list and explanations really helpful and I’m looking forward trying a few of them.

books black and white

Declutter Your Home in 30 Minutes: Secrets to Organize and Keep Your House Clean in The Easy Way (Decluttering, Spotless, How to quickly de-clutter, Minimalist)

40 pages

Decluttering your home can be an amazingly rewarding experience
and the best way to be successful is to have a plan so you can clarify your thoughts,
think through each step and organize anything you need.
Discover how these secrets can help you declutter, organize and start your home spotless quickly and efficiently.

Here Is A Preview Of What You’ll Learn…

- In the Beginning: The Mindset
- Start Cleaning and Organizing: The Living Room
- Start Cleaning and Organizing: The Bedroom
- Start Cleaning and Organizing: The Kitchen
- Start Cleaning and Organizing: The Bathroom
- Start Cleaning and Organizing: Home Office
- Start Cleaning and Organizing: The Outdoors and the Garage
- More Cleaning and Decluttering Tips
- Bonus

books black and white

Simplify and Declutter: how to organize your home for simple living

From The Author:
This is the story of Sue Anne Jones of how she got her husband and children to declutter and simplify their home. Follow her step by step as she takes you by the hand and helps you organize your home for simple living.
She takes you from the garage and her husbands “man cave” to all the rooms in the house plus the yard. After going through this process she puts together some valuable tips that you can implement and share with your family. Say good bye to a messy home and welcome in the peace of simple living in a clean and tidy home.

Reader Review: This book has many great tips and ideas for removing clutter for your home. I like the idea of the family saving for a goal.

books black and white

Children’s Book About Seahorses: A Kids Picture Book About Seahorses with Photos and Fun Facts

I’m sharing this just because I like seahorses.=)

books black and white

The Measure of Katie Calloway,: A Novel, Christian fiction, 600 5-star reviews

books black and white

Algebra Book for College Bound Students, Teenagers, and Freshman

Blurb: Derived from India, Algebra has revolutionized the world and the children in it. Algebra is a core function of society and society revolves around Algebra. Children and Adults alike need to understand Algebra. This book helps solve that problem. Algebra Workbook: For Kids, High School Kids, and College Bound Freshman. Helps understand vast and complex concepts. Derived from India, Algebra has revolutionized the world and the children in it. Algebra is a core function of society and society revolves around Algebra. Children and Adults alike need to understand Algebra. This book helps solve that problem.

books black and white

Spanish Reader For Beginners

Blurb; Spanish Reader For Beginners. Cartoon Fun!
Learn useful Spanish phrases with funny and entertaining cartoons.
Each cartoon makes the phrase memorable.
Learning new Spanish phrases has never been so much fun!

books black and white

Vocabulary Pictured+: SAT & GRE Words: 160 mnemonic picture words. 700+ related words.

Blurb; If you are preparing for the SAT/GRE or any other such competitive exam, or you are simply just interested in improving your vocabulary, then this book is for you.

This book takes some of the hardest words that appear in competitive exams like the SAT and GRE, and for each word

+ provides a definition using plain and simple language
+ provides a picture that explains this definition and a way to remember the word and its definition
+ explains the usage of the word using some sample sentences
+ lists some synonyms, antonyms, related/additional words associated with this word.

Reader Review; I bought this book for my son. He found it very useful in preparation for the SAT and got a very good score. Looking through the pictures, even my 8 year old daughter got interested in the book and learning a few words everyday. She is finding it easier to remember the complex words by associating them with the pictures. Great work by the author!!! I feel the author has accomplished his goal!!

books black and white

Frugal Living: How To Manage Your Money And Be Debt Free To Build Wealth (Spend Less, Save Money Book 1)

Grow Free Food! Feed Your Family With Ultra Frugal Gardening Techniques

Prepper’s Pantry: The Survival Guide To Emergency Water & Food Storage

How To Declutter And Simplify Your Life: Essential Tips On Getting Organized And Living In A Stress Free Home

75 Secrets Revealed on Time Management Skills: The New Organized You In Just 3 Hours (10 Mins A Day)

Organize Your Life in 24 Hours!: 50 Best Strategies to Organize Your Day, Simplify Your Life, and Maximize Your Productivity in the Way You Want (Organize … Organize Yourself, Organize Your Mind)

books black and white

Walking with Jesus Christ (Bible Verses of Christ Organized In Applicable Topics)

Blurb: Bible Verses of Christ Organized In Applicable Topics

Why do we turn to so many authors for answers when God, in His mercy, provided all the answers we could ever need in His book, the Holy Scriptures?

Walking with Jesus Christ is a book of organized Bible verses regarding these dear topics:
• The Mystery of Christ – Learn more about Jesus’ Virtue, Compassion, Obedience, Honesty, Humility; learn more about His Emotions, Activity, Teaching, and more.
• Walking with the Shepherd – Learn more about our position as Jesus’ sheep, about the sheepfold, the hireling, and how to walk with our wonderful Shepherd.
• Building a Spiritual House – Learn more about your own spiritual house, it’s walls, roof and rooms, including the study, the great room, the staircase, and even inspection.
• Spiritual Warfare – Learn more about our spiritual warfare, fighting a good fight, our armor, the battlefield, the devil, his darts, and communication.

This book can be used as a companion Bible study, for sermon ideas, or simply as a help on how to live a Christian life. Have you ever wondered, who is Jesus Christ? In all the books about Jesus Christ, this one is the only one that we know of that takes its answers straight out of the Bible.

Reader Review: It wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it was a real “book” but its just all things Jesus said organized for you to read and use. Its not really a book you would read from cover to cover telling a story so to speak. More like a book you would reference to find what Jesus says about certain things or to find a verse from Christ to claim in a certain situation. The words spoken from Jesus Christ Himself are ALWAYS GREAT but it just wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. But I still kept it so that should say a lot! Its totally my fault for not reading the description better.LOL

books black and white

Born At Gunpoint

Blurb; The United States was very different in the 1830′s. Native Americans had no rights, and were at the mercy of the white settlers. In 1839, the Cherokee nation was ordered by the American government to move to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, abandoning their native lands in North Carolina and Georgia. This is the story of one Cherokee family, forced to walk from North Carolina to Oklahoma in the winter of 1839-40. A Cherokee woman loses her husband, gives birth at gunpoint, and gives up her precious newborn baby girl to white people who were complete strangers, who then tried to raise her as a white girl in a very racist society. This is the story of love, sacrifice, inspiration, determination, and faith — a story you will read over and over again.

BONUS: Family recipes handed down from generation to generation are included!

Reader Review; I read this book over the weekend and fell in love with the journey and the family. The book was so well written that only a few pages into the book and I was hooked. The author truly has a gift to share with the world. I don’t want to give the story away, but the family in the book is to be admired and respected and the story leaves you looking within yourself to say “what kind of person am I”.

books black and white

Romance: California Dreams (Young Adult and Adult Romance, Christian Christmas Fiction book as a Love Story) (Second Chances Trilogy 2)
What happens when you mix two widows, two men, one precocious four-year old, and a life-threatening disease? Dreams come true.

After Jane’s husband was killed in action, she let her dreams of becoming a famous chef, living by the ocean and having a family of her own die with him. Now that she’s been given a second chance, will she realize all of her dreams, or play it safe?

When Grace’s husband was killed in action she got the surprise of her life – a baby girl named Daniella. With her daughter’s life hanging in the balance, will she take a step of faith and realize the resurrection of her dreams, or play it safe?

Follow Jane and Grace as they realize that true love can come around twice, you just have to be willing to take a chance on lost “California Dreams”.

Reader Review: California Dreams is Book 2 in the Second Chances Trilogy (Book 1 being Sara in Montana). If you enjoy religious & inspirational fiction with an element of contemporary romance, you’ll love this story. Jane and Grace are both widows whose hardships in life have left them feeling empty and unable to move forward. When the potential of love comes walking in again, these women have the choice of taking the plunge.

I love good Christian fiction, and this book fits the bill. All of the characters are charming, and I love books about taking the leap of love. Fantastically moving.

books black and white

Summer of Hope (Serendipity Series Book 1)

Blurb; After her twin brother’s death, sixteen-year-old Callie shuts down. Forced to go to her family’s summer beach house, she resolves to erase the pain any way she can. Enter the “Perfect’s”—the Gold Card group of girls who offer escape in the form of parties, booze and boys.

Things change when she meets Ethan. After a major case of mistaken identity, Callie does her best to convince herself she couldn’t care less if Ethan looks like he just stepped out of a magazine and is completely adorkable to boot. Despite trying to keep her distance, Callie is drawn to his sweet ways and sexy smile. She falls hard—but her world comes crashing down when she discovers he’s been hiding a secret that could change everything. Ethan came to the beach to escape, to live without the label. Because his label… is the kid with Hodgkin’s disease.

Callie is left with the choice of standing by Ethan’s side and watching another person she loves die, or running and abandoning the one person who helped her to believe in love again. Fight or flight? Callie’s decision ends up putting her own life in danger, and changes the lives of everyone around her, forever.

Reader Review: This is one of those books that “haunt” you. The kind of book that leaves you feeling like you lived it, and you still feel it for days to come.
I started reading this book one night, and read it straight through. I, literally, could not put it down. I didn’t even mind that I paid for lack of sleep the next day. It is so beautifully written, and affected me deeply. I would find myself smiling, worrying, laughing, and crying. Not just crying, but full on sobbing. I was afraid I might wake up my husband and children!
I will look forward to more from this author, and one could only hope-soon!

books black and white

Chop, Chop (Chop, Chop Series Book 1)

Over 900 reader reviews at 4 stars and above.

Blurb; Chop, Chop is an award-winning, coming-of-age novel dealing with everyday experiences that anyone can relate to, but culminating in one catastrophic event that no one would ever want to. A story of friendship, loss, and forgiveness, Chop, Chop is often tagged as a “Young Adult” novel (even though most readers are actually between the ages of 25 and 55 and the sequels are definitely geared toward that age group). Chop, Chop is a complete, stand-alone novel that will NOT leave you hanging, but the top-rated sequels are reasonably priced for those who want more.

Synopsis: Ever since Laci was a little girl she’s been growing out her pretty, brown hair and chopping it off to send to Locks of Love. When Greg moves into town and finds out what she’s doing, he thinks it’s a great idea…so he starts doing it too! It’s just one of the things that reserved, young David must tolerate as their friendship grows throughout the years. As they near adulthood, they grow not only closer to each other, but closer to God as well. David finds himself content in every way, but when tragedy occurs David must struggle to find his way back to God.

Winner of an Honorable Mention at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Reader Review: I found this book completely by accident in June of this year. I was over my “allowed” Kindle Budget but I needed something to read. I couldn’t pay to download anything else that month, so I started to peruse the free books. Before Chop-Chop, all the free books I downloaded had ended up abandoned on my Kindle, deemed unworthy and too bad to get through by me, the book snob. I did not have high hopes. However, this book had 5 star reviews and lots of them. And a few 3,2, and 1 star reviews mixed in too. The bad reviews gave me hope. I say that because I don’t trust books that have all glowing reviews. I don’t believe that there is anyway everyone is going to agree on a book, and I feel like if a book has all 5 star glowing reviews someone is either paying for reviews or has a lot of family and friends who want to help bolster the books ratings.

SO, I downloaded the free book and I started to read. I read fast. I devoured it. The dialogue was the most suprising to me. It was so real! I was sure she (L.N) was a he, because the narrating character of David sounded so believable to me. It took me back to my early teen years, growing up in youth group, and that made me happy. I laughed AND cried with the characters. It was a joy. It also reminded me a bit of another favorite series of mine “Yada-Yada Prayer Group” by Neta Jackson.

I’ve read some of the bad reviews on here who say this book is meant for the younger reader. It was an easy read, yes. But also uplifting and full of faith.I am not a fan of “cheesy” books or “fluffy” reads, and I wouldn’t put Chop-Chop in either of those categories. It was just real.Also, it was not dark, nor vulgar, nor inappropriate for the younger reader, however I would be cautious when recommending to a middle schooler because of the violence and death the characters must deal with in the latter part of the book. And remember, while it’s a stand alone book, and you don’t have to read the sequels (but hello? They are wonderful!!!) this series spans the characters complete lifetimes. This first one does take place in their younger years, so maybe thats why people have commented that it’s more for the younger reader? I don’t know. The rest of the series takes you through the trials of parenting, adulthood, marriage, and the ups and downs of life. The entire series has truly touched me. Through all the books I have cried, laughed, gotten (REALLY) mad, and loved David,Lacy,Tanner,Charlotte and all the crew.

If youre a Christian Fiction fan, I highly recommend this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

books black and white


More book-keeping type stuffSwagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books, even though I have two kindles.  That’s because my kids keep taking off with the Kindles to read their school books and they don’t remember to recharge them before returning.  I wouldn’t say I’m bitter about it, but I might be a little disgruntled.

If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.  The second Kindle is actually one I was given in exchange for some writing work, and I gave it to my two teens.  It does not have 3G, which is why it’s their Kindle.  Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

Lately, though, since I got my tricky little new phone that does all kinds of magical things and is smarter than me, I have downloaded some books with color illustrations, and downloaded other books direct from Gutenberg, and I have to admit, I like it very much indeed.  You can set up a Kindle account to download to your phone, and download a kindle app for the phone as well.

Facebook: If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full. You can left click on a title on your Kindle anddelete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cleaning Mattresses

remove stains from mattressesYou can’t mix this up until you are ready to use it right away.   When you are ready, combine 8 oz of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a drop or two of Dawn dish soap.

Use a squirt bottle or just drizzle over the stains.  Then use a paper towel, a rag, or a scrub brush and rub away.  You should see the stain starting to disappear.

Let this air dry.

For additional treatment if you like, use a flour sifter to snow some baking soda down over the mattress, then rub it in (use your hand or the back of a large spoon).  Let the baking soda say on the mattress for 24 hours and then vacuum it off.

If you have guest beds and you keep them made but go for long periods between using them, you can keep them smelling fresh and good by putting lavender sachets or a dryer sheet between the sheets.

Zziggysgal 12 Sachets Filled with Organic French Lavender & Decorated with Ribbon Rosettes, Size 3×4″ (Smokey Blue)

You can also use scented soaps, or even home-made sachets filled with coffee grounds- coffee grounds absorb odors well.

You’ll want to be careful about the scented things you use, as many people have allergies, of course.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things Mother Used to Make: Sour Milk Griddle Cakes

2014-10-11 08.05.21These are eggless pancakes!  If you use almond milk or coconut milk, they are a dairy-free version as well as egg-free.  These pancakes also only have four ingredients!  I really am excited to discover this recipe, can you tell?

The recipe in the 1914 Things Mother Used to Make A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published Before by Lydia Maria Gurney:

=Sour Milk Griddle Cakes=

2 Cupfuls of Sour Milk 2 Teaspoonfuls of Soda 1 Teaspoonful of Salt

Stir the soda and salt into the milk and add flour enough to make thin batter. Fry on a well-greased griddle. One spoonful for each cake. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.


What I did: I used some runny yogurt for the sour milk.  You can use raw milk that has started to sour and thicken, which is what would have been used when this cookbook was published.  You can put two tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a larger measuring cup, then pour milk into the cup until it reaches the two cup measure line.  Stir gently, then let this set a couple of minutes.

The yogurt/baking soda mixture I used thickened in a really amazing way.

I used buckwheat flour because I already had some ground in the freezer and I didn’t want to get my grainmill out.  I put in less than 1 cup of flour, but this was way too much.

2014-10-11 07.56.09

The pancake batter was so thick, and pancakes so full of vim and vigor, that when I put them on the pan the thick batter combined with the additional rising, made pancakes that were too thick to fully cook in the center before the outsides were over-done.

2014-10-11 07.51.22

I added some of my thick home-made applesauce, near apple butter to the batter to thin it out. This helped.

2014-10-11 08.05.21


Both versions, with and without applebutter/sauce, were a huge hit with these two grandkids.

2014-10-11 08.12.08


They had their griddlecakes slathered in butter and lightly drizzled with real maple syrup.  They also had  applesauce/butter on the side.

2014-10-11 08.11.56


“We are having such a feast!” They really said this. More than once.




2014-10-11 08.01.16


The Dread Pirate Grasshopper, pictured below, was concerned at first.  I made the mistake of telling him I was trying a new recipe I had never made before.  He is nervous about new things.  What if he doesn’t like them?  What if they are terrible?  What if, what if what if?  He asked me in a quavering voice if I couldn’t make my new pancakes for myself, and let Grandpa make him the regular kind he was used to.   I told him he could just take a taste and let me know how they were, and if he didn’t like them, we’d make ‘regular’ pancakes.  He agreed, but he was still terribly worried.

2014-10-11 08.01.06


He was very relieved and happy to find that he liked them very, very much.

2014-10-11 08.00.37


Below is his sister, the Little Ladybug, telling me how many griddlecakes she’s already had, and asking for more.

2014-10-11 08.12.12


The next time I make these, and there will be a next time, I think I will add just 1/4 cup of flour, stir well, and then make a silver dollar sized test pancake on the griddle.  If it needs more flour, I’ll add another 1/8 cup of flour, stir well and then make another test pancake.

I think they would also be good with cinnamon added, and I might try the applesauce addition next time, or maybe some pumpkin.  These were a huge hit, and they were ridiculously simple to make.  A keeper.

My version:

2 Cupfuls of Sour Milk or thin yogurt, or put 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice in a large measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2 cups (let this last mixture sit a couple of minutes)

Stir in 2 Teaspoonfuls of Soda and  1 Teaspoonful of Salt

Get out your griddle.  Grease it well, and start heating it- low to low-moderate heat.  If it’s too hot, the griddle cakes are done on the outside too fast, and still raw batter in the center.

Add flour to the sour milk mixture- 1/4 a cup at a time, stirring and trying a mini pancake to be sure you have the mixture right.

Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter on the heated griddle.  When the top of the griddle cake begins to be less shiny, when small bubbles appear in the pancake (not just around the edges, but a few in the middle as well), and when you can see some golden brown color to the edges of the griddle cake, gently flip it and cook on the other side.  This is one way to tell if your griddle is too hot- if you are seeing brown, set edges while the center is still totally shiny and wet looking on top and there are no bubbles anywhere but the outermost edges, you need to turn down the heat a notch.

It’s a temptation to speed the process by pressing the pancake down with the back of your spatula.  However, this reduces the lightness of your griddlecakes.  Be patient.

Serve buttered with fruit slices, fruit butters, or with maple syrup. Or try sprinkling powdered sugar over the top.  Some people like nut butters on their pancakes.  This helps prevent hunger fifteen minutes later if you have kids (or adults) with high metabolism.

If times are very tight you can use corn syrup or make your own syrup, but these are the most unhealthy options.

When my kids were little, we often used pancakes for sandwich bread.  Spread with a nut butter and jam.

Optional: add cinnamon or fruit butter to the batter.

Stir the soda and salt into the milk and add flour enough to make thin batter. Fry on a well-greased griddle. One spoonful for each cake. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Posted in cookery, frugalities, Uncategorized, vintage cookery | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Free4Kindle: Misc. Etc. Asst.

books in cart, smallHousekeeping and Disclosures:

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free or marked down as listed at time of posting, but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I end up *not* posting more books than I post because I screen out so many this way.
  • Affiliate links: If you click on one of the links and buy something else while you are at Amazon, I will get somewhere between 4 and 7.5 percent of what you spend, unless you are buying penny books. I don’t get anything for those for obvious reasons.
  • You don’t need a Kindle to download and read these. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for more information on ways and means of filling up your life with more Kindle books than you can shake a stick at. Why you would want to shake a stick at them, I don’t know, that’s just what Grandma G used to say.


books black and white

Cleaning and Organization Hacks: Discover Simple and Powerful Hacks for Housecleaning, Staying Organized & Clearing Clutter Today (Free Bonus Included!)

Blurb: Cleaning and Organizing Your House has Never been so Easy!

Home is where the heart is, and it’s up to you to ensure that your home is a nice place to be. One of the most important things you can do is eliminate clutter and organize your home in order to create a clean, tidy environment.

Cleanliness and organization are important for many different reasons. Not only does a tidy home look nicer, but it also serves as a better environment for productivity and concentration. When you’re surrounded by chaos and clutter, it’s easy to become distracted. By cleaning up your home, you create surroundings that benefit your mental state and help you accomplish the things you need to do.

Additionally, organization can provide a great boost for productivity. When you know precisely where everything is, you will never have to waste time digging through messy piles of paper or emptying a cluttered closet to try to find what you need. Instead, you will be the master of your own home; everything will have its place, and you will have all your belongings at hand for the times when you need them.

Cleaning and organizing don’t have to be difficult. With these tips, tricks, and hacks, you can save time and boost your efficiency. You don’t have to put up with a messy house. Get to work! Learn today how to care for your home, for the good of yourself and your family.


books black and white

Organic Cleaning Recipes: 25 do-it-yourself Cleaning Recipes: Safe, Easy, and Practical for Everyday House Chores and Sanitation

Blurb: Organic Cleaning Recipes: 25 do-it-yourself Cleaning Recipes: Safe, Easy, and Practical for Everyday House Chores and Sanitation

House cleaning is a very complicated task. It takes a certain amount of time, energy and knowledge to be able to execute proper cleaning procedures.

Soap is necessary for cleaning. It contains cleansing formulas that can remove dirt and stain that water alone cannot. It makes cleaning easier, faster and it leaves a clean smell and a refreshing feel.

This book focuses on cleaning recipes that you can do and prepare at home. Sometimes, grocery shopping becomes a hassle especially with traffic and time constraints issues. Some cannot leave their homes because no one can babysit their kids. If you cannot leave the house and have to clean, you can just create your own cleaning detergents. What is even better is that you can easily find the ingredients inside your home.

Making liquid detergents is easy. This eBook will provide simple instructions with images to better execute the procedures. There is no need to worry because the procedures and the ingredients that you will use are generally safe. In case there is a potential risk of using a substance, the safety measures provided in this book can help. Some parts of this book contain important reminders to prevent any untoward accidents or mistakes.

Now, cleaning does not need to be difficult and costly. From bleaching soap to laundry detergents, you can certainly experiment on different ingredients you can find. You can personalize the final product, so you will have fun when learning how to create your own formula for cleaning and making detergents. What’s more? You can even sell your products if you want to so you can have additional income. Well, that will be a different article though but the point is, making your own organic detergents using the cleaning recipes provided here is very rewarding. Cleaning for sure will never be the same again.


books black and white

Sizzling Style: Every Word Matters (Red Sneaker Writers Book Series 5)

Blurb: Sizzling Style is what distinguishes a spellbinding book from an ordinary one. The writer who understands the fundamentals of fictional writing style knows how to capture readers and never let them go. Too often aspiring writers are frustrated by rejection, not realizing that the problem is not the story but the way they are telling it. In this book, bestselling author William Bernhardt brings his down-to-earth approach to the subject of style, revealing everything you need to know to write with the art and craft of a seasoned professional. Bernhardt goes beyond memorizing rules to a fresh approach, a philosophy of writing that will transform your work and take it to a higher level. Because as William Goldman famously said, “No one really knows what will be commercial, but everyone knows good writing from bad writing.” The book also includes exercises designed to help writers apply this approach to their own writing.

William Bernhardt is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid novels and Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, currently in production as an NBC miniseries. Bernhardt is also one of the most sought-after writing instructors in the nation. He is the only person to have received the Southern Writers Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (U Penn) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (OSU), which is given “in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large.”

The Red Sneaker Writing Center is dedicated to helping writers achieve their literary goals. What is a red sneaker writer? A committed writer seeking useful instruction and guidance rather than obfuscation and attitude. Red sneakers get the job done and so do red sneaker writers, by paying close attention to their art and craft, committing to hard work, and never quitting. Are you a red sneaker writer? If so, this book is for you.

Reader Review: William Bernhardt’s 5th Red Sneaker Writers Book Series, Sizzling Style: Every Word Matters is extremely helpful to both fledgling and veteran writers alike. In his own efficient and humorous style, Bernhardt boils down the essentials on how to get the maximum bang into your prose. His clear explanations of age-old writing advice makes many opaque admonitions understandable and applicable.

Using his years of experience as a New York Times bestselling author, Bernhardt exposes the many ways that authors unintentionally diminish the impact of their stories and offers practical solutions. He shares techniques and secrets gleaned from years of writing and studying that can help committed writers avoid obfuscation and unnecessary density.

I found this book highly useful, and feel I am now doing my best writing with Bernstein’s guidance. I strongly recommend this and all of the rest of the Red Sneakers Writing Series. He knows his stuff and can communicate it with precision and panache!

books black and white

Twin Hearts: A Christian Romance Novel (The Lewis Legacy Series Book 3)

Blurb: Joshua Grant is a man redeemed. He’s worked hard to put the past behind him. A mergers and acquisitions attorney in a prestigious Baton Rouge law firm, he pours his energies into his career, hurricane relief efforts, and numerous civic and charitable causes. A near-fatal event in the life of a fellow TeamWork Missions volunteer prompts him to make some apologies, starting with his friend and mentor, Sam Lewis, Domestic Missions Director for TeamWork in Houston. It’s been more than four years since the fateful events in San Antonio when Sam threw him out of the missions camp, and he’s still haunted by the bittersweet memory of his final meeting with another TeamWork volunteer. When he also seeks her forgiveness, Josh gets the shock of his life. Could turning his deepest sin into his greatest blessing be God’s answer for his hurting heart?

Rebekah Grant, Josh’s twin sister, is torn between two men. Adam, a dashing British aristocrat, offers her a world of exotic travel, socializing with royalty, fabulous couture and the life of leisure. Then there’s sweet Kevin, the strong, intelligent, faithful TeamWork member. Will the shy Louisiana lumber man ever take the step of faith to move their relationship to the next level? What Kevin lacks in terms of Adam’s style and panache, he more than makes up for with heart-stirring kisses and soul-searching conversation. When Rebekah suspects Adam is planning to propose a second time, she knows it’s time to make her decision. Juggling both suitors is wrong for so many reasons, but what’s a girl to do if she wants to marry and have children in her lifetime?

When family tragedy strikes, Josh and Rebekah learn the true meaning and value of love, loyalty and what’s most important in life. Leaning on the encouragement and support from Sam and Lexa Lewis and their TeamWork friends, both twins look to the Lord for His divine guidance. It’s up to them to stake their claim on love before it slips beyond their reach, which means it’s also time for a road trip from Louisiana to . . . the peace to be found in seeking and finding the sweetest desires of the heart.

Reader Review: Just when I think these books can’t get any better, I am so very wrong. This is Josh’s and Rebekah’s individual stories told together as stories for twins should be. Lots of visits from other Team Works members that pull you right in and make you feel like you are in the room watching the story unfold. The relationships these characters have make me wish I was part of them and this particular book made me cry several times as the anticipation of the storyline built. I also love the introduction of the Teamworks kids and how they have developed one family of several families. Another great story, but one I really wish was real life.

Reader Review: Another great novel in the Lewis Legacy Series! Twin Hearts is filled with repentance, forgiveness, acceptance, second chances, love, and romance. JoAnn Durgin delicately deals with some tough issues like premarital sex, dating more than one man at a time, and having a child out of wedlock. The author stresses redemption as the solution when a poor choice has been made.
I was very touched by the way some of these issues were worked out. A repentant heart, striving to amend the wrongs they had committed, brought this reader to tears more than once. To read a fiction story that so closely portrays what God’s Word says, is a true blessing. Reading this story will remind you in a strong but subtle way just how much God loves you and just how much He wants His abundant blessing to be yours.
This is the third book in the Lewis Legacy Series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, but the background of the two previous books (Awakening and Second Time Around) enhances the story tremendously.

books black and white

Splitting Adam

Ever wonder what would happen if Frank Capra had directed Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Find out in Splitting Adam!

After a soul-crushing thirtieth birthday party, Pastor Adam Tyler, the hopelessly single son of a single mom, is given a chance to see what the world would be like without him. But surprisingly, rather than just an Adam-less world, he finds instead that he has been replaced by two others, each man his ″half-self.″ One, the child of his mother, is a wealthy and successful businessman. The other, the child of the father Adam has never known, is a movie-quoting, streetwise con man. It seems the only things these two have in common are Adam’s DNA, and that both are on a collision course for Deep Trouble. With a hand from his crusty guardian angel, it’s up to Adam to rescue them. But is he up to the task? And can he find his way home again?

This hilarious journey of half-self-discovery is the lovechild of Kurt Vonnegut and Anne Lamott, and is sure to delight all who enjoy a trip into the magical land of “what if?”

Reader Review: I liked the plot of this story. However, when I purchase a book that is marketed as Christian Fiction I don’t expect to have such strong language in the dialogue of the characters. Most 4 letter words were used at some point in this book. Had I not been expecting a Christian Fiction story it might not have bothered me as much to have to wade through the offensive words. Yes, the main character is a Pastor and yes he has a spiritual experience, but I have a hard time considering this christian fiction.Just my 2 cents.

Reader Review: I love the balance this book manages to achieve. Decidedly post-modern without being cynical, humorous without trying to be clever, tear-jerking without being manipulative, earnestly Christian without heavy-handed preaching. The plot is simple and fast paced, the characters interesting if somewhat predictable. I won’t give away any more of the plot as the synopsis gives a pretty good idea and the rest has to be discovered by the reader. There are a couple of truly fascinating ideas about fate and faith, not earth-shatteringly new, but presented in a refreshing way. The gripes I have are very subjective and probably will not bother most readers. However, they happen to be my pet peeves and frankly on the whole I expected better from this work: a) generally disparaging view of business/industry and b) a lecherous senator being described as a “family values conservative” (I haven’t heard of many conservative senators whose favorite causes are diversity and green energy, but I digress). Not enough to ruin the book, but enough to make me roll my eyes and say, Oh, come on, Mr. Author, you’re better than that! On the bright side, this book succeeds where so many others fail, namely in the ending. Too many authors come up with a clever idea, then write themselves into a corner or get bored and give us a disappointing ending to what could have been a great story. Not the case here- the ending is strong and satisfying, worthy of the rest of the story. All in all, an enjoyable experience.

books black and white

Cotton Pickin’ Cowboy (The Homespun Collection Book 1)

Blurb: West Texas, October, 1898

All her life, Sarah Dawson’s mother has told her she’s plain and dull. Even her betrothed is more interested in her cooking than in her. But when she visits her brother and his family in West Texas, Sarah’s personality begins to blossom. After she catches the eye of a handsome rancher, Sarah discovers she’s not so boring and mousy after all.

Austin Kendrick thinks she’s beautiful, kind, and loving–and the answer to his prayers. But Sarah has been raised to keep her commitments no matter what. How can he convince her to break her engagement and marry him instead?

Author’s note: The three books in The Homespun Collection were previously published in Berkley Diamond’s Homespun line years ago. Though each originally had a light faith thread (as much as I could get away with at the time), I’ve rewritten them a bit to strengthen that element. Each book stands alone.

Reader Review: Cotton and cows were the primary cash-crops of rural Texas in 1898. Farming and ranching were always a roll of the dice. Would it rain? Would there be a storm destroying the year’s crop? Would the cattle get sick before they were sold? Men and women had to be both physically and mentally tough to make a living by ranching or dryland farming. For most families, it was a “hard-scrabble living.”
“Cotton Pickin’ Cowboy” is an interesting mix of farming and ranching. Usually the two lifestyles were in conflict. Things get mighty interesting when city girl Sarah Dawson comes from Dallas to help on the farm of her injured brother. Rancher Austin Kendrick takes notice right away that Sarah is one fine looking woman. Quality women are as scarce as hen’s teeth in the country. Austin sets his sights on Sarah and vows to do whatever it takes to get her.
Sarah has a few personal problems to overcome – a poor self-image courtesy of “Mama” Dawson and a philandering fiance. But first, she has to learn how to pick cotton.

books black and white

Excel Basics In 30 Minutes

books black and white

Small talk – you can do it! Learn small talk skills and connect with anyone, strike up awesome conversations, and effortlessly tackle your inner anxiety.

Blurb: ‘Small Talk – You can do it! Learn small talk skills and connect with anyone, strike up awesome conversations, and effortlessly tackle your inner anxiety’

Want to talk to that attractive person on the train home from work, but have no idea what to say?

Do you secretly dread going to parties?

Afraid you won’t fit in at your new job because you don’t ‘do’ small talk?
Like it or not, we live in a world driven by social interaction. The more real connections we can make with others, the more doors we open for deep satisfaction at work, our social life and our love life.
Small talk is a critical first step in making those connections. Yet we have all been left to figure out how to master this skill on our own. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with small talk, but you no longer have to be one of them.

Read the simple and easy-to-follow tips in Small Talk – You can do it!
No matter how long you’ve struggled or even if English isn’t your native language, this guide will show you how to unlock the power of small talk to confidently connect with anyone.

- Conquer the social fears holding you back
What truly separates those of us who can use small talk to gain the attention, trust and even admiration of others and those of us who can’t? Beliefs. Struggles with small talk stem from negative beliefs and assumptions you may not even know you have. Once you learn to uncover and reverse the negative beliefs by reading about how people get stuck, you will be amazed at how much more comfortable and confident you feel when you approach and talk to just about anyone.

- Never be stuck for words again
Why is it that some people just have the gift of the gab? Learning small talk helps provide meaning around conversation and helps you demonstrate you understand how to act in social situations. The basic forms of small talk have a well defined structure and once you are following the secret formula small talk words will fly from your confident mouth with ease.

- Learn how small talk works in practice
Struggling with small talk? You might often misinterpret the intentions of others when they seek to engage you in conversation. There is a useful structure to small talk that our parents help us to learn when we were young and it’s this easy – just a few simple steps to start a great small talk conversation.

- Boost your credibility with anyone
Ever found yourself in a small talk conversation that just felt awkward? Imagine a smooth and engaging conversation that really interested the other person. Learn how to put across your most credible self and present a positive image as someone that’s friendly, polite, desirous and cooperative. Present yourself in the best possible light without going over the top!

- Learn and master social cues
How do you approach someone with an intent to engage them in a small talk conversation? With your well defined personal social monitor you can learn social cues to best understand how to connect with anyone in the room. Discover how to deal with those awkward moments as you become adept at steering a successful small talk conversation.

- Get the most out of your small talk encounters
How can you feel more at ease with dealing with new or unfamiliar small talk situations? This book holds the key to practical strategies to help you best present yourself and engage in the best small talk conversations. You’ll easily find your way to connect with anyone and experience more smiles, laughter, and discover new friendships.

There are 16 positive reviews, five star. They all sound like they came from the author’s friends in the same book-writing club. The one 2 star review says most of this is stuff we’ve heard before, but I am sharing it here because sometimes that’s exactly what we need.


books black and white

Shooting Indie Style- Tips, Tricks and Techniques for the No-Budget Mobile Phone Filmmaker

Not my thing, but I figured some of you might have kids interested in this kind of thing.

Blurb: Did you know you have more media power production power in your pocket than any single human being has had for nearly the whole of human history? Your phone is more powerful than the computers they used to create effects for movies like Jurassic Park and The Matrix, and has one of the most powerful camera sensors every developed by man.

So why not unlock that power, and unleash your inner film-maker? An audience of millions is waiting online, and all you need to know is a few simple techniques to start turning your dreams into reality.

Shooting Indie Style is a collection of tricks, tips and techniques to help boost any beginning film-maker’s project into orbit! By learning some of the secrets that professionals use to make their work look like it does, you can take your mobile phone videos to the next level. Filled with cost-saving ideas, it will help you up your production values and get your project started right. From putting together a Rodriguez List to Casting to developing a Workflow to make your editing easier, Shooting Indie Style has you covered.

You’ve always wanted to make movies, haven’t you? Let Shooting Indie Style be your guide, and show the world what you can really do!

Reader Review: I liked this book and it had alot of valuable information. I enjoyed the part on scriptwriting and what makes a great story. I enyoyed this book. I think it was one of the best books so far I have read on cinematagraphy and to think it was only $.99. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.


books black and white

1st Grade Math – Coins and Money: You Can Teach! First Grade Math – Common Core and Core Knowledge compatible



Best Homemade Cleaning Recipes: Your Guide to Safe, Eco-Friendly, and Money-Saving Recipes

Blurb: What Will You Get From This eBook?

If you are looking for exclusive homemade products that can resolve your cleaning problems, then you’ve come to the right place. Don’t want to look through the cleaning aisle at the supermarket? Continue reading this eBook to get the best recipes for the perfect homemade cleaners. This eBook is all about simple, convenient, and economical solutions to your cleaning problems.
Want to protect your home from toxins present in cleaning products that are bought from stores? Make vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice your new best friends who will remain loyal to you and help you achieve your daily cleaning tasks.
Start reading this helpful guide to create safe and non-toxic cleaning products to enjoy a clean, hygienic, and spotless home!

Reader Review: As a family with children we have to have our clean tools close by because something is guaranteed to be spilt or dumped that will need to be clean up. During our trips to the store we spend too much on cleaning supplies and have begun taking step to reduce our overall cost on these items.

So we have turned to this book to help limit cost on cleaning items. We have tried a few or the ideas in this book are the bleach wipes and the dishwasher soap and without a doubt these are very good alternatives for the more expensive cleaning products.

One big plus about most of the cleaners made in this book is they are eco-friendly. These cleaners are as good as the store bought brands just for a lot less money.

If you have children to clean up after or just want to reduce the cost of your cleaning supplies then you must take a look at this book it is worth every penny for the cost saving of making your own cleaners.

DHM Note: these cleaners are not all necessarily organic. Some use a few drops of dish soap or make use of laundry soap. They don’t claim to be organic, but that is the complaint of the lowest reader review.


books black and white

House Cleaning Tips and Tricks for Busy Moms: Tricks, Hacks and Strategies for Effective Homemaking

Blurb: Right now, you are probably sitting in the middle of a house you do not recognize as your own. There are indelible stains on the carpet you had installed when you first moved in. There are more dishes than you ever knew you owned piling up alongside the sink. In fact, you have just taken to filling up glasses of water in the bathroom, because that kitchen sink is essentially inaccessible.

How exactly can you make organize of this madness?

Discover the ultimate tricks, hacks and strategies for effective homemaking!

Table of Contents


If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

Chapter 1

The Big Haul-Out: Clearing Clutter, Making Space

Chapter 2

Organization: How to Keep on Top of the Mess

Chapter 3

Overwhelmed? Don’t Stress! Let’s Start With Small Projects

Chapter 4

How Old Do My Kids Have to Be Before They Can Help?

Chapter 5

Developing a Daily Routine: Prioritize, Streamline, and Delegate

Chapter 6

Developing a Monthly Routine: A Little Maintenance Goes a Long Way

Reader Review: I have to say that in the beginning of the book I was gripped by the author’s writing style. I could see very clearly what various rooms of the house look like when they are a mess. Granted, if you read this book, my house has never looked like what the author describes. As I continued to read, I discovered excellent tips on how to get more things done in less time around the house. T
his Kindle book on house cleaning will get you to stop procrastinating and help you get more motivation to clean the house. This book has plenty of ideas that make it well worth the little that it costs.


books black and white

Natural Cleaning Recipes – The Definitive Guide: Green & Eco-Friendly Home Cleaning Solutions for a Happier & Healthier Home

Homesteading Essentials (4): From Garden Plot To Soup Pot! Modern Homesteading & Easy Tasty Soups – 2 Book Bundle
Blurb: Living A Self-Sustainable Lifestyle:
Whether growing your own vegetables or raising chickens; Homesteading is self-sustainability are all about consuming the fruits of your own labour – whether in the form of energy that you have produced or vegetables that you have grown, or indeed chickens that you have raised for eggs and meat.

In this 4th book in the ‘Homesteading Essentials’ series, Norman & Fay have combined to offer some great tips on the essentials of homesteading, and how to produce some fantastic tasty soups from your growing and rearing efforts.

Homesteading ‘Quick Bites’ Include:
Volume 1: Canning & Food Preservation

Volume 2: Raised Bed Gardening

Volume 3: Raising Chickens – 5 Top Tips

Volume 4: Growing Organic Vegetables

Volume 5: Vermin Control

‘Easy and Tasty Soups’ Contains 18 tasty soup recipes that are both simple to make and delicious. These include soups for the slow cooker that are mouth-wateringly moreish!


books black and white

The Prepper’s Grid Down Survival Guide: How To Prepare If The Lights Go Out & The Gas, Water Or Electricity Grid Collapses

Blurb: A major collapse of the power grid is inevitable. There are numerous scenarios that could cause a failed power grid that could leave large sections of the country or world in the dark. If you don’t what could cause a massive power grid failure, you need to read the book. It isn’t just the lights that go out. Everything will grind to a halt and it will be survival of the fittest, or in this case—the most prepared. Do you know what you need to prepare for a massive power failure that will put life as you know it in jeopardy? Can you feed your family with what you have in your house right now? Do you know what to do to take care of sanitation needs, water requirements and your comfort in general?

Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t have the first clue about what you would do if you were plunged into a blackout. Many people don’t, which is why you need this book. It will guide you through everything you need to know to stay alive in the event of a major power grid failure. You will learn some valuable tips that will help you prepare for the imminent failure of the power grid. There is no time like the present to start preparing your home and your family to live and ultimately thrive a disastrous event like a failed power grid. Stocking up today, could save your life tomorrow.

Here Is A Preview Of What You’ll Learn…

Possible Causes Of A Grid Down & The Importance Of Being Prepared
How To Prepare And What To Do When The Grid Collapses In The Short TermHow To Prepare For Limited Access Running Water Including: How To Find It, Purification & Disinfection
How To Deal With Sanitation Issues Including: Toilets/Latrines, Hand Washing, Dishes, Bathing & Trash
About Cooking, Cooling, Lighting & Heating & How To Maintain A Healthy Environment Off The Grid
How to Prepare Now For A Situation Where There Is Little Or No Immediate Access To Food In A Grid Down
Much, Much More

Reader Review: Quite short but informative! Basic survival guide which provides complete and easy to follow tips and techniques. Info and ideas inside are very helpful at all cause. This book is well written in a clear and concise manner.


books black and white

Mini Farming: Becoming Self Sufficient Through Homesteading And Organic Gardening, Gardening For Beginners (Mini Farming, urban farming, Homesteading, … Organic Gardening, Vegetable Garden)

Blurb: Mini Farming – Becoming Self Sufficient Through Homesteading And Organic Gardening, Gardening For Beginners

Regularly priced at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.

If you would like to create a more self sufficient life and be able to grow your own organic food, then this is the right book for you

Simple easy to follow steps to starting your own mini farm, START living a healthier life today!

In This Book, Here Is A Preview Of What You’ll Learn…
Introduction To Homesteading And Organic Gardening, You will learn all the benefits of Mini Farming, how you can save money, become healthier and do your part for the planet.
The Art Of Permaculture, Looking after your soil
Setting Up Your Own Organic Garden, step by step to building your garden
Raising Livestock, The basics

Reader Review: This author is a man of wide interests and knowledge. In addition to teaching how to grow food and raise livestock on an urban lot, he has also written books on body-building and improving memory. My body is long past being “built” and I lost my memory so long ago I no longer remember having any, but I do like to eat and to save money so this seemed like a good fit for me and I certainly did enjoy it.

Unfortunately I am old enough to recall when suburban home-owners had vegetable gardens and the costs and back-breaking labor involved. The “Greatest Generation” had big families (and frequently lived to regret it!) Many of them had grown up on farms and (and here’s the key) they were Depression Era kids and accustomed to working eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. NONE of those particular conditions exist today.

I don’t know where this author is based. His English is good, but not that of a U.S. native. Where I live, land is still relatively cheap, but new houses are being built on lots which allow the parking of three or four vehicles in front and a deck and grill and small pool for the kids in back. There ARE houses being built on large lots, but they’re expensive and I have trouble believing that the owners are growing their own turnips. You can still find older houses (like mine) with big lots, but they also have big trees and lots of shrubs which means little sunlight.

The author passes gently over the necessity to “train” your pets not to destroy your garden, but I think it’s more complicated than that. I have two cats who are completely untrainable, trust me! In spite of a chain link fence, I also have feral cats, possums, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, song birds, crows, dove, and hawks. There are coyotes in the neighborhood, although I’ve never seen one in my yard. Mind you, I live inside the city limits of a medium-size city. The amount of fencing and deterents necessary for me to get a bite of anything growing in my yard or to protect chickens or ducks would bankrupt me before I got a shovel into the ground.

But I do think the water buffalo is an exciting possibility. In case you don’t know, a water buffalo (he says “river buffalo”) is a common farm animal in India and other parts of Asia. I’ve seen them in India, although never in the U.S. When buying your water buffalo, be careful NOT to get pawned off with a Cape Buffalo, which is considered to be the most dangerous large animal in Africa. I’ve NEVER seen one of those, since U.S. zoos shy away from them. Don’t attempt to milk a Cape Buffalo unless you’re tired of living.

Water buffalo are usually quite docile, although huge and adorned with large, sharp horns. It will certainly cause a sensation when the neighbors get a load of it. Please remember that in order to get milk, you must have a FEMALE water buffalo which has recently given birth to a calf. Hopefully, one of your neighbors will have a MALE water buffalo which they use to pull their car to the service station when it won’t start. Let us know how this works out for you. I think we’ll ALL be interested!


books black and white

Backyard Chickens: The Beginners Guide to Raising Chickens in Town or Country (Sustainable Living & Homestead Survival Series)

Blurb: Just to say Thank You for checking out this Book I want to give you a copy of my upcoming special report “The Homesteader’s Calendar: Seasonal To-Dos for Sustainable Living & Homestead Survival “.

Go to to reserve your FREE copy now.

#1 Best Selling author Gaia Rodale presents “Backyard Chickens: The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens in Town or Country.”

The benefits of raising backyard chickens go well beyond providing fresh eggs and these benefits align with the foundational beliefs and goals of most homesteading families. Backyard chickens are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to start building a self-sufficient, sustainable food supply. This guide provides the basic information needed to make the commitment to raising backyard chickens and the recommendations and advice needed to build and care for your flock.

Beginning with the most important question that must be answered in relation to starting a flock of backyard chickens – whether or not it is something you really want to do – the guide goes on to provide helpful criteria and resources for choosing the right chickens, coop, and flock size. By offering suggestions and recommendations pulled from experts and personal experience, this guide will help you:

• Determine if you have what it takes to raise chickens, not everybody really has a burning desire to care for chickens

• Find out if you are allowed to have chickens, your home owners association or local government may have restrictions you need to know about

• Decide how many chickens you need, as with so many other things in life, less is often more

• Choose the best breed(s) for your needs, all breeds are NOT created equal

• Decide if free-ranging your flock is for you

• Choose a coop design, you don’t have to spend a zillion dollars here, but you certainly can if you want to…

• Set up the coop for comfort and safety, this is super important since you don’t want to be raising dinner for your local predators

• Feed and water your flock, chickens are pretty simple in this department but there are a few caveats you need to know about

• Maintain a clean and sanitary coop, and absolute must for happy healthy chickens and safe delicious eggs

• Care for your chickens in cold climates

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to raise chickens and gather your own eggs, this guide provides you with the information you need to start your own flock. From working through zoning or city ordinance issues to selecting the best breeds, you have the information you need to choose the right coop, get the best birds, and keep them healthy and happy so that your refrigerator is always full of freshly laid eggs.

Reader Review: One of my best friends has just gotten four chicks, and she is so excited. I bought this book for her. I thought that it would have a ton of interesting and educating facts about all things chicken-y! The table of contents alone is an education. Chicken poop, neighbors, how many chickens, roosts, nesting boxes…. Who knew it was so involved? Highly recommend!


books black and white

Mommy’s Choice

Blurb: The bestselling author of One Crazy Summer, Wildwood Shadows, and Saving Brooksie now brings you his 2008 Christian Choice Award winning novel “Mommy’s Choice” – a tale of woman who seems to be losing her sanity in the midst of losing her son.

According to Stephanie, her last name is Tanner. According to everyone else, it’s not. According to Stephanie, her 22 year old son just simply vanished. According to everyone else, he did a little more than “vanish.”

Has Stephanie lost touch with reality?

Why can’t she figure out what happened between her and Jonathan?

Perhaps returning to her old job (a job she apparently never had) and talking to her old friend Dave (who apparently never met her) could help uncover the clues necessary to answer her nagging question – What happened to her son & best friend Jonathan?

It will keep you guessing up until the final page!

Scott McElhaney is the winner of the 2008 Christian Choice Book Award for his debut suspense novel “Mommy’s Choice.” With over 200,000 books downloaded worldwide, he is making nearly all of his novels available to Kindle readers at the very accessible price of only 99 cents. Scott is a veteran of the US Navy, a father of two teenage boys, and he has been happily married for more than 18 years. He is currently employed as a finance supervisor at the Matco Tools corporate office while he maintains his “side job” as an author of suspense and science fiction.

“McElhaney’s story telling is deft, well-paced, and with an ear for conversation” ~ Beacon Journal Book Review

“[Mommy's Choice] is one of the few Christian novels where the only bad reviews are by readers shocked that there would be a Christian character in the story” ~Associated Content

Over 200,000 copies of his books have been downloaded worldwide

Reader Review: There is not much I can say without giving away the plot, but this was an amazing story, showing the far-reaching consequences of our actions on others’ lives. As others have said, heart-wrenching. How can an ending be so happy and sad at the same time?


books black and white

The Precipice: When Everything We Know Ends

Scan the headlines of any news outlet and it doesn’t take long to realize the world as we know it is teetering on the edge of extinction. What will it look like if it falls? This book is divided into three short stories designed to give you a glimpse into the possible outcomes if humanity falls over the cliff. Each story paints a vivid picture of an out-of-control oppressive government scrambling to maintain order. These “end times” futuristic scenarios may seem absurd until they are compared with modern events that clearly show the world is closer to the precipice than we care to admit.
Each story is followed by a series of Discussion Questions that will challenge readers to ponder what they would do in similar situations of religious persecution. These questions should help readers identify where they stand in Christ, help them determine how much faith they place in modern comforts, and then encourage them to have a healthy fear of an expanding government coupled with a reverent fear of God. The Precipice could easily be used as a Bible Study in a small group setting.
There is much debate regarding the mix of politics and religion. Despite whether you believe they are intrinsically entwined or as unalterably distinct as oil and water, this book is for you. Liberty can only be maintained by an educated people willing to face the tough realities currently before us. This book will equip Christians to be Apologetic in an unapologetic way.

Reader Review: I am not into writing that has to do with future events, but curiosity got the better of me when I heard about T.C. Avey’s new book. A fast read, this short book didn’t draw me in because of the futuristic stories, instead it caused me to look at what is going on in our society today. We, as “comfortable” Christians, need books such as this to let us critically think about the liberties slowly being stolen from us by a non-Christian world. This story didn’t make me afraid, it made me want to become more involved. I applause T.C. in her ability to shake things up and force me to face my “it’s not my problem” attitude concerning what is happening with our world. Well written and challenging, The Precipice is a must-read for Christians.


books black and white

Idylls of the King

Poetry, of course. One of the AO recommended reads for middle school students.

Blurb: Alfred, Lord Tennyson was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign. One of Tennyson’s most famous works is Idylls of the King, a collection of twelve poems that retell the legend of King Arthur. This edition includes a table of contents.


books black and white

My Lady Ludlow

Reader Review: I fell in love with the miniseries, Cranford, first. The acting was supurb, the screenplay a delicious blending of previously disconnected elements. It was truly masterfully done. So, I took my time about buying the book. When I finally did, I was happy that I had. All of the moments that made the miniseries such a delight were there, and more. The book, Cranford Chronicals is a must have for those who love Victorian novels.

This review is for the iPad version of the Chronicals, or at least one story from it. I purchased all three stories for my iPad, so I could read them on the go: Mr. Harrison’s Confession, Cranford, and My Lady Ludlow. This review specifically involves My Lady Ludlow. Though, as I’ve said, I cannot fault the miniseries in any way (it was sheer delight), if it had a weak point that would be the characterization of Lady Ludlow. She was portrayed as a strong willed woman, though a wounded soul, which is correct, but she was something less than completely sympathetic. Her decision to deny education to a young boy seemed arbitrary and mean spirited. The implication seemed to be that she was aristocratic, and that pride was her main motivation there. Reading the original story gives a much clearer picture of her motivations, making her a much more sympathetic character. She wants to do right, she has merely misjudged due to her unusual experiences. Both versions of the story (the miniseries & the original) are well executed, but I think the book is better. It gives us a unique vision that is lacking in the miniseries, which frankly has fallen into the easier route of cliched motivations here. Gaskell’s version is well worth the read.

Oh, and did I mention the addition of a comical character, who made me laugh out loud repeatedly? Yes, it is touching and humourous as well, like all great British Literature. Enjoy.


books black and white

The Moorland Cottage

Reader Review: The Moorland Cottage is a predictable 19th century British romance (actually written in the 19th century) that follows the literary formula of its day. With that said, sometimes don’t you just want to let yourself fall into a romantic novel and pretend it’s your life? I don’t know anything about the author, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, so I don’t know how successful she was, but she succeeded with this little novel. I fell in love, had my hopes dashed, and was rescued from a fate worse than death all in the space of a few hours. Gaskell is no Jane Austin, but Ms. Austen didn’t write enough books to satisfy my thirst for a good romantic fairy tale written during a time when those books were the bestselling fiction of their day. If you’re in the right frame of mind, pick it up and enjoy.

Reader Review: If you enjoyed Cranford you will enjoy this sweet little novella. It is the story of Maggie Browne, a truly kind, sweet, and totally unselfish girl who has a brother, who is the complete opposite of her in personality.

Although Maggie knows her brother for what he is,she still loves him, and I am sure you can imagine the conflict,sacrifice, and pain, Maggie will face because of her brother’s selfishness.

Maggie and her brother’s relationship reminded me much of Molly and Cynthia’s in “Wives and Daughters,” another of Mrs. Gaskell’s stories.
Mrs. Gaskell never finshed “Wives and Daughters”, and so we do not know for sure that Molly is rewarded with the love of the man she loves.

However in in this novella, Maggie is eventually rewarded with the devotion of the man she loves, in spite of her brother.

I understand this story will be woven into the new Cranford adaptation sequel. It has the caliber of Cranford, Mr. Harrison’s Confession, and My Lady Ludlow, a good choice to be sure!

books black and white


More book-keeping type stuffSwagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books, even though I have two kindles.  That’s because my kids keep taking off with the Kindles to read their school books and they don’t remember to recharge them before returning.  I wouldn’t say I’m bitter about it, but I might be a little disgruntled.

If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.  The second Kindle is actually one I was given in exchange for some writing work, and I gave it to my two teens.  It does not have 3G, which is why it’s their Kindle.  Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

Lately, though, since I got my tricky little new phone that does all kinds of magical things and is smarter than me, I have downloaded some books with color illustrations, and downloaded other books direct from Gutenberg, and I have to admit, I like it very much indeed.  You can set up a Kindle account to download to your phone, and download a kindle app for the phone as well.

Facebook: If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full. You can left click on a title on your Kindle anddelete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Listening To….

Yoon Seong Ki (윤성기) – Secret (My Secret Hotel OST Part.1):

English subs:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things Mother Used to Make: Bannocks

2014-10-09 12.50.34In the 1914 cookbook Things Mother Used to Make A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published Before, this is the recipe she shares for bannocks:


1 Cupful of Thick Sour Milk 1/2 Cupful of Sugar 1 Egg 2 Cupfuls of Flour 1/2 Cupful of Indian Meal 1 Teaspoonful of Soda A pinch of Salt

Make the mixture stiff enough to drop from a spoon. Drop mixture, size of a walnut, into boiling fat. Serve warm, with maple syrup.


That’s all she says.  I have a lot more to say about them.

What are bannocks?  Here they are a deep fried dessert in the bread family, something like doughnut holes, only not perfectly round, and not as sweet and cakey.  They make a lovely fall dessert or snack.  Rather than serving with maple syrup, we like to sprinkle ours with cinnamon and sugar, or with powdered sugar.

Here’s how I made them, with some photographs and a few more directions.

Before you start, make sure you are going to have some uninterrupted time while frying.  You cannot walk away from the frying bannocks for even a couple of seconds. They need constant, undistracted attention.  If you have to walk away, turn off the stove.  It might mean later tossing the bannocks that are in the pan, but that’s better than setting the kitchen on fire.  This is also not a good time to have little people free ranging in your kitchen.  Oil burns are no joke.  Keep the handle of your pan turned so that it does not stick out beyond the counter (something you should always do when cooking anyway), and mind yourself as well.  We don’t want anybody but home-invaders and pillagers getting scalding by boiling oil.

You need to put out something on which to drain the bannocks when you remove them from the oil.  It can be a paper plate (set on top of another plate to keep grease off the counter), a plate lined with paper towels, paper napkins, or coffee filters, or brown paper.

Choose your oil.  Deep frying requires a high temperature, and many oils will smoke or burn at that temperature.  Coconut oil, lard, tallow, peanut oil, solid vegetable oil, crisco, and canola oil can all withstand the temperature.  I’ve listed them in descending order of preference- I do not recommend crisco or canola oil.  Different oils have a different smoke point, and you do not want your oil to smoke.

2014-10-09 12.19.48

I used Spectrum Naturals Organic All Vegetable Shortening. It’s nonhydrogenated, which is good. You don’t want hydrogenated oils.

2014-10-09 12.19.44 Start your oil melting.  If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a heavy saucepan.  I use the smallest one I own because it takes less oil to get a deep enough level for deep frying.  This only allows me to fry about four bannocks at a time, however.

Rather than ‘boiling fat,’ I use a candy thermometer and heat the oil to about 375. I do fry things that get down to 350 (the temperature will often drip as you keep adding new things to fry to the pot), but that’s a little on the cool side.  If it’s too hot, your bannocks will cook dark brown on the outside almost immediately, but remain doughy on the inside.  If it’s too cool, they will absorb more oil and be heavy and greasy.
2014-10-09 12.33.54

Dry Ingredients: 2 Cupfuls of Flour;  1/2 Cupful of Indian Meal, which is just cornmeal, such as you use in corn bread; 1/2 cup of sugar,  1 Teaspoonful of baking Soda; A pinch of Salt

Mix up your dry ingredients.  We grind our own grains, including the cornmeal.  I just use popcorn, which I buy in 25 pound bags, or occasionally field corn from the farmer who farms the property adjacent to ours.  I also used whole wheat pastry flour.

Keep an eye on the oil, you don’t want it overheating.

I used white sugar with this batch, but you could use raw sugar as well, or coconut sugar.


2014-10-09 12.36.55


Now mix your liquid ingredients: 1 Cupful of Thick Sour Milk and  1 Egg

(and check to be sure your oil is not too hot)

For thick sour milk you could use raw milk that has clabbered, which is what the original receipt calls for.  You can also use half sourcream and half milk, or yogurt, or buttermilk.  I used some yogurt that had been frozen, and then when thawed remained pretty thin for yogurt.

Ideally, you should blend the egg and milk separately  until well mixed, so that the egg is evenly mixed in the dough and you don’t end up with a nubbins of cooked egg white or boiled yolk in your finished product, and also so the egg can actually do its job, which is to add richness and some lightness to the bannocks.
2014-10-09 12.37.24


I am a lazy cook who hates dishes, so I don’t like to dirty another container for the milk and eggs.  You could either re-use the measuring cup you used for the flours, or you could pour the milk over the top and then add the egg and use a fork to lightly mix the egg in with the milk on the top of the bowl.   Once that egg and milk are inseparably coupled, stir with more vim and vigor.

2014-10-09 12.39.33

You should have a dough that is about the texture of drop biscuits, perhaps a wee bit stiffer.


2014-10-09 12.40.02


Check the temperature of the oil and adjust as needed.   Drop a spoonful of batter into the oil- if it bubbles audibly, that’s good. If it immediately floats and turns dark, that’s too hot. If it makes no noise at all and just sits in the bottom of the pan, that’s too cold.
2014-10-09 12.48.40


Your bannocks will wriggle a little bit and float to the top of the oil when they want you to turn them over.  I use a fork to do this.  It might take a bit of maneuvering, depending on how well rounded your bannocks are.  The more nicely rounded, the harder to flip.  It probably won’t take even 30 seconds.  They only need a few seconds on their flip side as well.


Quickly remove from hot oil and put on your paper lined plate- remove with tongs, a slotted spoon, or a little basket made for the purpose. Sometimes these are called skimmers. ( I use an Asian Kitchen Spider Strainer, which is a scary name, but it’s because the woven wire design of the ‘basket’ part looks something like a spider’s web. I like it better than a skimmer because it has a more open weave, allowing oil to drain much more quickly.)

Sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar if desired (they are fine plain, too).


Check the temperature of your oil, and if it’s the right temp, make the next round, quickly dropping walnut sized pieces from your spoon into the oil, without splattering yourself.

2014-10-09 12.50.28

I made about 30 bannocks from this recipe.

What to do with the oil?  See here.

For a faster, more modern version, this is something I used to make many fall evenings when we had drop in company and the kids were little- I bought the cheapest biscuits in a can there are because they were often on sale for 5 cans for a dollar.  Then I cut each biscuit into quarters, rolled them into balls, and deep-fried them as above.

Neither version is precisely healthy, of course.  But I love the happy memories I have of happy children’s faces clamouring for more, watching them come out of the pan, steaming, and letting the kids shake them up in bags of white sugar or cinnamon and sugar.


Posted in cookery, frugalities, Uncategorized, vintage cookery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Reuse Cooking Oil?

cheapter than what you don't frugalCan you reuse the oil you’ve used for deep-frying?  Well.  Some people recommend always discarding it because it could have free radicals in it.  Free radicals are altered molecules that are really bad for you, and can increase your chances of cancer.  If your oil smoked at all, definitely toss it.

I usually re-use it.  Sometimes I just skim out any food particles and pour it in a jar I keep in the pantry and reuse it, but that’s not ideal.

Ideally, Let it cool.  Strain it into a jar (you strain it to remove other food particles, because they can spoil the oil or alter the flavor of the next thing you cook in the oil), and refrigerate it.  According to this site, you can use it for six more hours of cooking.

More information here.

You can use it for purposes other than eating.  You can mix it with a bucket of sand and keep tools in it- hedgeclippers, spades, shovels- it keeps the blades clean and oiled, preventing rust.

Use it to remove gummy labels- saturate with oil, wait a bit, rub.  You might need to do this a couple of times for a very gummy label.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Babies are amazing

2014-10-06 16.03.08My eldest shared this recently:

“When babies are shown the same picture a repeated number of times, they look at it for ever shorter lengths of time. If the picture is replaced by a different one, they will demonstrate revived interest by spending more time looking at the picture and sucking more intensively on their dummies. By measuring dummy sucking and eye movements, researchers are able to determine what a baby perceives as a new object. With the application of this method, it’s possible to show that babies can already perceive whether a picture contains one, two, or three objects just a few days after birth. If babies are shown repeated pictures of the same number of objects, say three cars, three balls, or three bottles, they eventually lose interest. However, if the pictures are exchanged for ones depicting two objects, children become surprised and look at them longer. Control experiments also demonstrated that this had nothing to do with the appearance of the pictures, only the number of objects. So as early as just a few days after birth, children have a conception of number – at least up to three.” ~ from “The Learning Brain: Memory & Brain Development in Children” by Torkel Klingberg

And what occurs to me is that if infants just a few days old can do this, how much they must have been doing already in the womb before birth.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Problem With Perry

I want a classical liberal or a Constitutional Conservative (which amounts to largely the same thing.  Perry is neither.

For me, the door swung shut on Perry during the FLDS fiasco, when I learned that he allowed health and human services department to stonewall and hide information from an investigation into foster care in Texas.  The reason was that the investigation was turning up plenty of proof that it’s more dangerous to go into Texas foster care than to be left at home. I wasn’t impressed when he staunchly defended the illegal state kidnapping of some four hundred children in an over the top response to a hoax.

He allowed HHS to abuse their position.  He defended the illegal state kidnapping of FLDS children because he didn’t like the victims.  Philosophically speaking, I don’t see the difference between this and Obama’s political use of the IRS as a weapon against conservatives.   The same principles are violated, it’s just different targets, and I am not okay with using the force of government illegally and unethically just because the targets are or are not sympathetic figures.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment