Book Recommendation- Wonder By RJ Palacio


Two days ago, I shared with you my list of 130 books that I read in 2012. (You can find my list here.) The book that I am about to tell you about didn’t make that list because I found it right after the start of the New Year. I happened to find it sitting on a shelf of “Best Bets” at our local library. These are the books that the librarians have a hard time keeping in stock because they are in such high demand. The shockingly blue cover and one-eyed faced on the cover instantly caught my attention! I am instantly drawn to books because of cover art. I’ll have to do a post sometime on some of my favorite book cover art, there are some truly GORGEOUS books out there!!!! ( And NO, you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover, I have been lead astray MANY times!!)

But back to this WONDER-ful book…Wonder by RJ Palacio. (See what I did there?!)


I can NOT recommend this book enough!!! Read it for yourself, then read it with your kids (it is recommended for age 10 and up) and TALK about it with them! My oldest is 8 and I am going to read it with him before too long. Before I get into WHY I loved this book so much, let me tell you a bit about it…

The publisher’s description:
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

This story was truly unforgettable for me. I loved Auggie’s family by the time I finished this book! You not only get to hear from Auggie but the story is told from other points of view as well, including his older sister Via, who is protective, fierce and loving, but still struggling with the realities of being a teenager who has grown up well before her time. You hear from some of Auggie’s classmates and friends as well. I laughed out loud, and I sobbed as I read through Auggie’s story. I wanted to yell at some of these kids and how they treated this boy just for simply being different, and even worse was seeing how some of those children’s parents acted too! But while there were some truly mean-spirited and down right horrible people in Auggie’s story, there were some TRULY kind and wonderful ones too!

This book is such a good reminder of how important it is to simply be KIND! To teach our kids how important kindness and empathy can be. To remind ourselves that we are the examples of this to our children.

So go out, find yourself a copy, you can get it here, or from your local library! And be ready to cheer Auggie on and to be inspired!


100 Books In One Year

Hi Adorable Friends! We’ve missed you guys! Sorry for the delayed absence. Jenny and I have had a rather long absence from the blogging world that wasn’t necessarily by choice. Long story short there was a broken computer, Holiday craziness, dance recitals, out of town guests, and a few other life issues that just made it a little difficult to make time for blogging! But we are back and ready to craft, cook, and blog!

Jess 100 books4 Right about this time last year, I decided that one of my goals for 2012 was to read 100 books throughout the year. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read but have never kept track of my reading so I had no idea if this was actually a realistic goal or not. My good friend, Karla was actually my inspiration behind this idea, she had done the same thing and posted her book list on her blog last year. And, she is always passing along great books for me to read too!

So last January, I just kept reading (since I am pretty much ALWAYS reading SOMETHING) and then started keeping a list! And each time I finished a book, I just added it to the list. By the end of January, I had read 16 books! So if I kept up that same pace, I could EASILY make 100 books (almost double it in fact!!)

I did NOT double my goal but I DID surpass it! By the end of December, I had read 130 books!!! Some of which I LOVED!!! Some I liked and some I wanted to throw away. Actually I think there were only 2 of those and I ended up quitting them and didn’t add them to my list!

So here is a copy of my list! Just in case you are looking for some great reads! You’ll find that I tend to read pretty much all Fiction (there is little bit, teeny tiny bit of Non Fiction) and a ton of Christian authors, some Young Adult, a lot of Romance, Mystery and Fantasy. I am always looking for suggestions so most of these are suggestions from other friends or other blogs. My favorites from the year are starred. * 

*Jenny here, interrupting Jess’ post. I think some of you may be thinking ‘yah right’ who can read that many books. Well, I am here to tell you that Jess can! I will never forget when I gave her ‘Water For Elephants’ and she finished it in like 3 days. Who does that? I seriously think she took one of those courses that teaches you to speed read…seriously, she is amazing.



1. Sarah Dessen- Along For The Ride

2.Susan May Warren- Noble Legacy #1

3. Susan May Warren- Noble Legacy #2

4. Susan May Warren-Noble Legacy #3

5. Cassandra Clare- City of Fallen Angels

6. Rachel Hauck- Dining with Joy

7. Susan May Warren- Sons of Thunder

8. Susan May Warren- Nightingale

9. Becca Fitzpatrick- Silence

10. Ally Condie- Crossed

11. Susan May Warren- Double Trouble

12. James Patterson- Now You See Her

13. Beth Pattillo- Dashwood Sisters Tell All

14. Susan May Warren- Licensed for Trouble

15. Nicholas Sparks- The Best of Me

16. Suzanne Collins- The Hunger Games **

Hunger Games


17. Rob Lowe-Stories I Only Tell My Friends

18. Julie Klassen- The Girl in the Gatehouse

19. Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck- Love Lifted Me

20. Christopher Paolini- Inheritance

21. Stephanie Perkins- Lola and the Boy Next Door

22. Krista McGee- First Date

23. Colleen Coble- Smitten

24. Julie Klassen- The Silent Governess

25. Susan May Warren- The Shadow of Your Smile *The Shadow of Your Smile

26. John Green- The Fault in Our Stars

27. Marian Keyes- Watermelon


28. Suzanne Collins- Catching Fire *

29. Suzanne Collins- Mocking Jay *

30. Julie Klassen- The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

31. Tracie Peterson- Chasing the Sun

32. Richelle Mead- Last Sacrifice

33. Lori Copeland- Outlaw’s Bride

34. Lori Copeland- A Kiss for Cade

35. Lori Copeland- Walker’s Wedding

36. Lori Copeland- Three Times Blessed

37. Megan Bostic- Never Eighteen*Never Eighteen

38. Maureen Johnson- The Last Little Blue Envelope


39. Gilbert Morris- A Conspiracy of Ravens

40. Lyn Cote- The Desires of Her Heart

41. Gilbert Morris-Sonnet of a Dead Contessa

42. Lori Copeland- One True Love

43. Lyn Cote- Her Inheritance Forever

44. Lyn Cote- Her Abundant Joy

45. Cayla Kluver- Allegiance*Allegiance

46. Karen Kingsbury- Loving

47. Linda Windsor- Maire

48. Maria V Snyder- Touch of Power*

Touch of Power

49. Lauren Destefano- Fever


50. Laura Hillenbrand- Unbroken*


51. Cynthia Hand- Hallowed

52. Tracey Bianchi- Mom Connection

53. Jodi Picoult- Sing You Home

54. Jennifer Rothschild- Lessons I Learned in the Dark

55. Siri Mitchell- A Heart Most Worthy

56. Lauren Oliver- Pandemonium

57. Emily Giffin- Heart of the Matter

58. Charlaine Harris- An Ice Cold Grave

59. Cassandra Clare- City of Lost Souls

60. Peggy Orenstein- Cinderella Ate My Daughter


61. Susan May Warren- Heiress

62. Emily Giffin- Baby Proof

63. Emily Giffin- Love the One You’re With

64. Erin Morgenstern- The Night Circus

65. Sophie Kinsella- I’ve Got You’re Number *

I've Got Your Number

66. Charlaine Harris- Grave Sight

67. Sarah Addison Allen- The Girl Who Chased the Moon*

The Girl Who Chased The Moon

68. Lisa Dale-A Promise of Safe Keeping

69. Mary Jane Clark- Dancing in the Dark

70. Jodi Picoult- Lone Wolf

71. Nicole Baart- Beneath the Night Tree*

Beneath the Night Tree

72. Nicole Baart- The Moment Between

73. Sarah Addison Allen- The Peach Keeper*

The Peach Keeper


74. Nancy Moser- An Unlikely Suitor


75. Nicole Baart- After the Leaves Fall

76. Nicole Baart- Summer Snow

77. Veronica Roth- Divergent*


 78. Sara Zaar- Once Was Lost*

Once Was Lost

79. Nicole Baart- Far From Here

80.Rachel Hauck- The Wedding Dress

81. Kathy Herman- Relentless Pursuit

82. Tamara Leigh- Leaving Carolina

83. Tamara Leigh- Nowhere Carolina

84.Tamara Leigh- Restless in Carolina

85. Jenny B Jones- Save the Date *save the date

86. Janet Evonavich & Dorien Kelly- Love in a Nutshell

87.Eva Marie Everson- Waiting for Sunrise

88. Jenny Han- The Summer I Turned Pretty*

The Summer I turned Pretty

89. Tamara Leigh- Splitting Harriet


90. Kristin Cashore- Bitterblue

91. Emily Giffin-Where We Belong*

Where We Belong

92. Karen Kingsbury- Coming Home

93. Jenny Han- We’ll Always Have Summer

94. Tamara Leigh- Perfecting Kate

95. Kristin Cashore- Fire

96. Sophie Kinsella- Twenties Girl *

Twenties Girl

97. Eva Marie Everson- Chasing Sunsets *

Chasing Sunsets

98. Stephanie Grace Whitson- The Key on the Quilt

99. Betty McDonald- The Egg and I

100. Eva Marie Everson-Things Left Unspoken  (Book 100!!!)

101. Veronica Roth- Insurgent*


102. Julianna Baggott- Pure


103. Eva Marie Everson- This Fine Life*

This Fine Life

104. Tamara Leigh- Faking Grace

105. Sophie Kinsella- Can You Keep A Secret?

106. Deborah Rainey- After All

107. Vanessa Diffenbaugh- The Language of Flowers

108. Jenny Han- It’s Not Summer Without You

109. Nicole Baart- Beneath the Night Tree * (second time reading this one!)

110. Susan May Warren- Baroness


111. CF Dunn- Mortal Fire*

Mortal Fire

112. Gillian Flynn- Gone Girl

113. Jan Watson- Skip Rock Shallows

114. Mary Connealy- In Too Deep

115. Tracie Peterson- Taming the Wind

116. Ilsa J Bick- Ashes * (This series is a zombie series, not something I would have EVER thought I would like, but I seriously could NOT put it down!)


117. Ilsa J Bick- Shadows

118. Colleen Coble- Blue Moon Promise

119. Anna Jean Mayhew- The Dry Grass of August

120. Stephen Chbosky- The Perks of Being a Wallflower



121. Katrina Kittle- Reasons to be Happy

122. Sibella Giorello- The Clouds Roll Away

123. Robin Jones Gunn- Secrets

124. Robin Jones Gunn- Coming Attractions

125. Robyn Harding- Unravelled


126. Ann Patchett- Bel Canto

127. JRR Tolkien- The Hobbit *

The Hobbit

128. Stephen R Lawhead- Hood

129. Robin Lee Hatcher- Heart of Gold

130. Susan May Warren- You Don’t Know Me


What are some of your favorite books?

Have you read any of the ones above?

Jess 100 books


Book Review and a Giveaway

 The winner of the Mom Connection Book is…Angela! We will notify you via email.

If you have read our blog for any length of time now, you know that Jenny and I are both big readers and that we both have  a love for MOPS- Mothers of Preschoolers. Jenny and I have both served in leadership roles in our local Mops groups over the years and have been HUGELY blessed by the program. I honestly don’t know what I would have done with myself and my two little babies when I first moved here had it not been for Mops.

When I first found Mops, I literally knew one person in my town and I had a one year old and a one week old! And I had NO idea what I was doing with those precious babies!! And I honestly thought that Mops was for women when your kids STARTED preschool! But no, it is an awesome program from your first pregnancy to when your youngest enters 1st grade. If you want more info, or to find a Mops program in your area, check out

I am rambling on and on about Mops because that is where our book comes from. Mops International put out a post on their Facebook page looking for blogging moms to read and review the next Mops theme book, Mom Connection by Tracey Bianchi. I quickly signed up! Because not only do I get to read and review the book but they sent me a copy to give away to you guys too!!! They are pretty cool like that!

And I will be totally honest (since this is just between you and I right?!) I really really really LOVE to read, EXCEPT for when I HAVE to! Then I struggle…I can read fiction until the cows come home! (What does that expression EVEN mean, I don’t have cows!) but when it comes to growth books, books that will actually teach me something, well…like I said I struggle.

BUT I totally  loved this one! And I am not JUST saying that. I would have no problem telling you if I didn’t. Tracey Bianchi does a wonderful job including humor and honesty, enough to make me laugh out loud (and get weird looks from the rest of the family) and then nod my head in total agreement because I TOTALLY struggle with THAT too! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you what the book is about…

“Parenting young children is an all-consuming task that can make you feel disconnected and, honestly, a bit fragmented. But having kids shouldn’t mean you rarely get to complete a conversation with a friend!  In this witty, encouraging book, Tracey Bianchi shows us how to cultivate deeper friendships that challenge us to grow, create healthy, life- giving rhythms for our families and connect and give back to wider world beyond our doors.”

So I totally LOVED the intro to this book because I connected to it on SO many levels… Here are a couple of my favorite quotes just from page 1~!

“I totally text people while playing hide and seek with my kids. That, or try to sneak a two-minute nap. Lying in the bathtub I hear echoes and shrieks rising through the floor. They are still downstairs. I close my eyes and try to breathe deep while plastic bath toys poke my lower back.”

Bianchi goes on to explain that one of the greatest complaints of our generation is how stressed and busy we are and how we put a lot of that stress on our selves. We are the ones who control the rhythm of our families and as moms we are at the forefront of those controls most of the time. She brings up a lot of good points- how do we want our families and friends to remember us? What legacy are we leaving behind for our kids? She talks about the people we encounter, the relationships we build and how we can “gracefully engage” those around us instead of treating them like items on a checklist. Taking the time to invest in our community, build and foster healthy marriages, and vibrant friendships rather than trudging through motherhood feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Each chapter ends with Five Mom Tested Tips (practical idea, a prayer, an idea to journal about) and then you are presented with 2 questions to reflect on (loved this part too!) and then she lists at least 5 great reference points for you about the info in the previous chapter.  I really appreciated the “extras”, it helped to engage in the book and reflect on key areas.

Here are a few of my other favorites quotes too!

  • “Motherhood, rather than calming our fears, launches us into an entirely new arena of competition. One of the mentor moms at my MOPS group (in her 50’s) once said to me, “I feel sorry for you girls these days-not only do you have all the old baggage of keeping up that we once did,  you have to still look hot too!”
  • “Back to the graceful, natural mothers….no amount of balance, wisdom, or insight can shape a perfect mother. Everyone struggles. We should find this tremendously freeing because it helps to know we don’t struggle alone.
  • “I want to be the mom who drenches her children with time rather than hurry.This is how I want my whole family to be known- a people of rest and grace.”



(Click on the photo to go right to Amazon to order your copy!)

To enter to win your copy of Mom Connection, just comment here below and we will select a winner Friday morning. I am not going to make you like anything on Facebook this time since we have quite a few readers who miss out on our giveaways since they don’t Facebook (I know, I know, it’s hard to believe but there are people out there who DO NOT Facebook- just ask my hubby- he is one of them!)

Hope you are all having a blessed week! And that all you moms had a fantastic Mother’s Day! ( I got showered with some beautiful handmade cards, handmade jewelry and a hanging flower basket and I’ll tell you all about my EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT later!!!!!!!!!!!!) (I’m not excited about it or anything!!!!)


The Hunger Games Giveaway

This Giveaway is closed!

Scroll to the bottom to see the winners!


 Jenny and I LOVE to read! It is one of the many things that we have in common and we luckily love the same books so we always have a great sounding board when we are looking for something new to read! I have been HARASSSING Jenny for a little over a year to read The Hunger Games series, have you heard about it? This is seriously one of my favorite series ! I bought the series a while back and they are slowly being lent out to everyone I know! I finally got Jenny to dig into them and she loves them too!

And today we will be giving away 2 FREE COPIES of the first book in the trilogy, “The Hunger Games.”

Here is a brief summary from the back of the book!

“In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them to all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”

We wanted to give the copies of the book away so that you could enjoy them too and so that you could be ready for the movie when it comes out in March! SO EXCITED!

Here is a preview for the trailer! Did I mention I am REALLY Excited?!


Hunger Games Official Trailer


And here is Taylor Swift’s song from the movie!


Taylor Swift Hunger Games Soundtrack


Good Luck and…

“May the odds be ever in your favor!”



Seriously, you need to read these books.  

I was skeptical at first, but I loved them!


The first two entries are mandatory and the third is an extra entry.

Good Luck!


Remember, we have TWO books to giveaway! 

[Read more…]



Have I ever mentioned that I really really really LOVE to read? I mean REALLY love it? NO? Well, I do!

At any given time, you will find no less than 5 books on my nightstand, and if I have a spare moment that is not taken up by my amazing family, our sports schedule, cleaning house, doing laundry, blogging, Facebook, more cleaning, et…you will find me with a book in my hand and my nose buried deeply with in it! I hope my kids love to read as much as I do one day. The hubby does NOT share my love for reading, not even a little! I share this with you so you’ll know how EXCITED I am to share a review of one of my FAVORITE author’s books!

I found out about author Jenny B. Jones a couple years ago while perusing our local library’s aisles, looking for something new. The book I found was actually a YA (young adult) book, “So Not Happening” by Jenny B Jones. I had no idea who this chick was but I thought I would give it a try. I finished it in a DAY! That is not uncommon for me, but I could not get over how FUNNY this book was. I connected with and I LOVED the story but I loved the writing, I loved the humor! SO I quickly got online and put a hold on every book she had and read through them all! And LOVED them all. And since they were YA, I got them for my teenage niece for Christmas and she loved them too! Ms. Jones also writes adult fiction and one of my all time favorite books is one of hers,  “Just Between You and Me”. I made our book club read it too! Then she came out with “Save the Date” And now, “There You’ll Find Me”, which is considered YA too but trust me, it touches you no matter your age! Had it not been labeled Young Adult, I wouldn’t have known! I love Jenny B. Jones. I love how she tackles tough issues with her usual snark and characters you can easily relate to!  And I love this cover too!!!

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B Jones


I LOVED this book! “There You’ll Find Me” made me laugh out loud (the hubby doesn’t even ask anymore what is so funny when I start cracking up while reading) and it made me cry.

Here is a bit of the back story:

Straight from Jenny B. Jones blog:

Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen year old. She’s witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming audition at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother.

She decides to travel to Ireland following his travel journal. It’s the place he felt most alive – and she desperately needs to feel alive again. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane. Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She’s the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.

Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down – the loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to new – and dangerous – vices.

Then she comes across something that changes her perspective irrevocably. Is it enough to convince her that everything she’s been looking for has been with her all along?

I don’t want to give out any spoilers so I won’t tell you what happens but I will tell you that you’ll love it too!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes!

° “I think if you’re going to drool on me, we should at least be on a first-name basis.”
My counselor called me depressed. I called me devastated.”
° “Dig deep into that cold, callous heart of yours, Frankie. – It’s Finley. – Dig deep and find some kindness.”
° “Good Heavens, Harry Potter didn’t have any magic like the kind this kid was brewing!                                                                                                                                    
° “The town said I killed him. – “Did you”- “IF wishes were bullets!”

I have 2 FREE COPIES of There You’ll Find Me to give out!!! All you have to do is comment on this blog (or in our comments on our Plum Adorable Face Book page) in the comments section telling us that you would like a copy and we’ll draw names Friday evening!

Also, check out Jenny B Jones blog online, she is super funny!!!



Book Review~ The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I should first preface my book review by letting you know that I read a lot, truly, A LOT. Since I tend to go through books so quickly, I almost never actually purchase books. I get 99% of what I read through the library, the other 1 % is borrowing from friends or the very rare occasion when I decide to actually buy a book. And when I buy a book , it is because I plan on reading it again (many, many times) and I plan on telling all my friends how amazing I thought it was and how they HAVE to read it, “You can even borrow my copy”! So I will start this book review by letting you know that I ran out and bought this book and then I handed it off to Jenny the second I finished it and said, “You HAVE to read this!” Then I told my book club that they HAD to read it and I told all my Facebook friends that they HAD to read it and so on….


The Help is a fictional story set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 and speaks from the viewpoint of three “ordinary” women, 2 black maids and one young white woman, newly graduated from college. The maids, Aibileen and Minny have been working for white families and raising the children in these white families for as long as they can remember, watching their mothers and grandmothers do the jobs that they are now doing themselves. The young white woman, Skeeter, dreams of becoming a writer and is forced to look at her life when she is instructed to “write about something that disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else”.


She discovers that she is particularly bothered by the way her friends, her family and those she has grown up with in Jackson treat the women who are working daily to clean their homes, prepare their meals, raise their children, and keep their secrets, the women who are often known as “the help.” Skeeter, decides to write (in secret) a tell all story about what it’s really like to work as a black maid in the homes of white women in Jackson. In order to write her story, she needs to find maids who are willing to tell their stories, to share their secrets and take an enormous risk in doing so.


Through these stories, and this book, we get to know Aibileen, the quiet, kind and strong maid to Skeeter’s good friend Elizabeth and Minny, the sassy, smart-mouthed maid who is having a hard time finding a job due to her inability to tame her tongue. And we get to know Skeeter and her friends, not only through Skeeter’s eyes but also through the stories the maids tell about these women. Women, like Hilly Holbrook, Skeeter’s long time friend, who is trying to start an initiative that encourages the white families to build separate outdoor bathrooms for the colored help. And women like Cecilia Foote, considered to be “white trash” by Hilly and her society friends. Life in Jackson, Mississippi is just on the brink of change, on the cusp of civil rights and everyone is being affected by this in some way, whether they like it or not.


I simply could not put this book down, I was so caught up in the lives of these women. I felt like I was living their stories with them, I could hear the southern drawl pouring out onto the pages as their stories unfolded so vividly before me. I was touched by this book, by the story of the unlikely friendship that builds between these women who are risking so much just to tell their stories. And oh, the stories they tell!! Not only about the hard and sometimes crazy things they experience as the help but also the tenderness and love that can exist between these maids and their employers and their children. I wept (okay, ugly cried) at certain parts of this story, especially when you read about the heartache involved in loving and raising these babies to only have to someday walk away or be treated like you are nothing more than a maid. I can not recommend this book enough!! I didn’t want to give away too much of the story, I want you to go out and get your own copy because friends, you HAVE to read this book!


Rosette Bookmarks


We are excited you are here!

We started this blog to be able to share our crafty ideas,

recipes, favorite books and free printables!

We realize there are hundreds (ok thousands) of these blogs

around, but because so many have inspired us we  decided to

start our own blog to be able to share our ideas with you!

We plan to have lots of free printables for you in the future!


Rosette Bookmark

What you will need:

Cardboard: About 2 x 9 inches

Fabric: About 6 x 13 inches

Fabric Glue or Hot Glue Gun

Iron (if you are particular like me)

Fabric Rosettes


Take your fabric and fold it over each of the edges to make smooth lines.

If you want to be particular you can iron the sides down to make them really smooth.

 Then take your folds and put fabric glue or hot glue them down.

You should have something that looks like this.

Now embellish with your favorite rosette or whatever your heart desires!

Oh the possibilities…

ps…have you read ‘The Help’ yet?

If not, YOU MUST!

Click here to see the book review from Jess!

Thanks for stopping by!