April 23, 2014

The Colors of Spring

Spring has arrived, albeit a little late this year, but it appears to be here for good...at least I hope so as I have planted my spring and summer flowers and vegetables.

 Our daffodils in full bloom.

The Bradford Pear tree blooms were magnificent this year. So full and pretty.

Now our tulips and grape hyacinths are showing their pretty colors. Though, it's not my favorite season, I do enjoy springtime, when I can open the windows and hear the birds singing their songs, and look out at my yard to see all the pretty colors. What about you? What is your favorite season?

April 21, 2014

Book Preview ~ The Invention of Sarah Cummings

The Invention of Sarah Cummings by Olivia Newport
Sarah Cummings has one goal in life--to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner and to starteating at society tables, Sarah alters cast-off gowns from the wealthy Banning women to create lustrous, flattering dresses of her own. On a whim at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to Simon Tewell, the director of St. Andrew's Orphanage, Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of. Will she sacrifice love to continue her pretense? Or can Simon show her that sometimes you don't have to pretend for dreams to come true? Buy the book HERE.

Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and The Dilemma of Charlotte
Farrow. Her husband and two twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Find out more at www.OliviaNewport.com.

April 18, 2014

This Week's Recipes

Here are this week's new additions at Country at Heart Recipes. May you have a blessed Easter. 



Featured Author, Shannon Vannatter shares her recipe for Taco Soup

April 16, 2014

Babysitting our Granddaughter

This past week our family had the pleasure of babysitting our little granddaughter for several days. 

She slept well and ate well--and LOVED strawberries!

And she played hard.

Here with a new "used" rocking horse that was found at an antique shop. She wasn't sure what to think of it at first, but after the second day she was patting it and giving it her love.

I'd forgotten how much energy goes into taking care of little kids. Feeding them, changing them, putting them to sleep, and running after them! But it was such fun and we look forward to having her stay again soon! (Although her mama may not be ready to share her for quite a while...she missed her little girlie.)

April 14, 2014

Book Preview ~ The Dancing Master

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julie Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul—and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master—a man her mother would never approve of—but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village . . . and to her mother's tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England. Buy the book HERE.

Julie Klassen worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction
editor) and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's RITA awards.

Julie graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoys travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with her friends. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more about Julie and her books HERE.

April 11, 2014

This Week's Recipes

Here are this week's new additions at Country at Heart Recipes. Enjoy your weekend! 




Featured Author Linda White shares her recipe for Corn Chowder

April 9, 2014

Making Dolls and Dresses

 
Our granddaughter recently celebrated her first birthday. Being the "homey" grandmother that I am, I wanted to make her a dress and pinafore as well as a doll with a matching dress for my dear little one. 

Years ago, I used to sew all the time and even took part in a family business called Rainbow Connection that sold used children's clothes as well as new handmade outfits that my mother-in-law and I created. Those were fun times! 

Sam in her birthday dress and pinafore and Emma wearing it now.
Years passed, and I haven't sewn for a long time, but for this granddaughter's 1st birthday, I had to get out the sewing machine! You see, I made each of our daughters their first birthday dresses, so I was obligated! I had also made each of the girls their own dolls--several of them, in fact, so again, I had no choice! 

But my eyes don't see as well as they once did...and those needles are a lot harder to thread! 

And I'm not sure if it's me or the directions given in today's patterns, but they sure seemed a lot more complicated than they once did! I grumbled and grumbled as I made this raggedy doll--this doll that had a chin, and neck, and bottom, and big broad feet with the cutest Mary-Jane slippers, and hair galore! 

Then once I finished it, I immediately rushed it to our youngest daughter and exclaimed..."Isn't she adorable!"

Emma seems to think so too, so I guess all the trials and tribulations of making this outfit and doll were worth it. I even have plans to make a few more dresses and outfits for my kiddo this spring and summer! In fact, I have the pure, sweet pleasure of babysitting Emma this week while her mommy and daddy go on a trip to Chicago. Oh the joys of life. Cherish the moments . . . 
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