Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Look Like My Daddy

Featured Guest Post
by Anita Agers-Brooks

I am illegitimate, but I am not an accident. And no matter how you came to exist, neither are you.

I was forty-six years old, when through a dramatic series of events, I found out Dad, the man who raised me, isn’t my biological father. My identity is surrounded by mystery, but I know exactly who I am.

In the grief-drenched days, after I received DNA results confirming Dad isn’t my birth-father, I went to the Bible for comfort. My tears stained the pages when I read, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). I sobbed over God’s promise to be, “A father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5).

A dear friend said in response to my story. “God sure must have wanted you. He went to a lot of trouble to create you especially who you are.”

I’ve learned she is right. I am not an accident.

There are six powerful things I discovered while the mystery unraveled:

1.I belong to God, no matter how I was conceived.
2.I exist to glorify Him by becoming the person I was meant to be.
3.I can go to His Word, and His people, to get more information.
4.I found my life’s purpose by asking Him to reveal my unique destiny.
5.I decided in a single moment never to give up.
6.I started by taking one step. Then one more. And another, and then another.

God knitted me together on purpose, with purpose, to fulfill a purpose. My unique DNA combination makes me especially qualified to do the work He planned for me before I was even born. I am wanted, because my Daddy-God adopted me. I am beautiful, because I look like my Daddy-God. I am the daughter of the King of Kings, which makes me a princess. I am secure in my identity, which is found in Christ alone.

But my story isn’t all about me. My story is also about you.

No matter how you started, or where you are today, you are meant for abundant life. You can live the dream God planted in your heart when He set you in the soil of your mother’s womb. You are not an accident. You know who you are. You look like your Daddy.

Author Bio
Anita Agers-Brooks is on a mission to find her biological father. On her journey, she shares God’s message as a Communications Specialist, Certified Personality Trainer, public speaker, and writer. Anita lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky. Contact her via website or email

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are
welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at
All other standard copyrights apply.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football by Kathryn Nixon and Ana Boudreau

This is my first review with FIRST Wild Card Tour book reviewers and I'm so excited! Thank you FIRST!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author and illustrator are:

and their books:

Cross Training Publishing (2008)
The Spirit in Sports (2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Kathryn Nixon was born in the small town of Rockingham, NC. She grew up involved in many sports including cheerleading, cross country and dance. After graduating high school, she attended Peace College and North Carolina State University where she received her BA with a major in communications and a minor in journalism. She went on to work as an associate producer for ESPN.

She met Trot Nixon when one of the coaches who recruited him to play baseball at NC State introduced them. They were married, and he was drafted by the Red Sox, where he became a 2004 World Series champion. While her husband was playing ball, Kathryn collaborated with the other wives on two children’s books: Fenway Park from A to Z and Fenway Park 1 2 3.

Her greatest desire is to touch the lives of children with the knowledge and experience of Christ’s love. Her passion is to gather children into the kingdom of God by planting His word in their hearts at an early age. Nixon and her husband, Trot, reside in Wilmington, NC, with their two sons, Chase and Luke.

Ana Boudreau was born in Williamsburg, VA, and grew up with the dream of being an artist and an illustrator. Her grandmother was a professional artist, and she passed down all of her supplies to her granddaughter. She was also involved in cheerleading and gymnastics as a girl, helping her further connect to the Spirit in Sports series.

Boudreau attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a BA in English literature. She met Kathryn Nixon when she was commissioned to paint murals in the preschool department of Nixon’s church. They struck up a friendship and began meeting to plan a series of books that would attract young children involved in sports. Boudreau treasured the opportunity to co-author children’s books that had the power to instill God’s values in the day-to-day lives of families, including her own.

Boudreau is an artist, muralist and an art teacher at Myrtle Grove Christian School. She has illustrated both The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football, along with a third book, How Bernie Madoff Saved My Life by Valorie Stackpole. She is married to Mark Boudreau, and they are blessed with three wonderfully athletic girls—Lauren is a cheerleader, Julia is a skater and Katherine is a tennis player. She and her family reside in Wilmington, NC.

Visit the author and illustrator's website.


Sometimes, when we think about little league sports, the first thing that comes to mind are pushy coaches and over-competitive parents. However, there are many positive character qualities that children can develop while playing team sports. Kathryn Nixon and Ana Boudreau help to instill these virtues in their two books, The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football. Their books are based on the fruits of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The Spirit in Baseball applies the fruits of the Spirit to each aspect of playing the game of baseball, such as:

I LOVE my teammates. They are my friends. We spend a lot of time in the dugout together!

I am PATIENT and happy to wait until it is my turn to bat.

I do my best to be GOOD to others. I congratulate the other team if they win the game.

Each of the fruits is introduced by a Scripture verse, followed by the application. The colorful illustrations will draw in young readers, and a tiny fruit has been hidden on every page for the children to seek out. The book also includes words of encouragement from Kathryn’s husband, Trot Nixon, a 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series champion. The Spanish translation, El Espiritu en Beisbol, is also available.

The Spirit in Football focuses on the same virtues and format, but applies the fruits of the Spirit to football. Some examples include:

The fans cheered with excitement and JOY as our team scored the first touchdown of the game.

If we are upset about a penalty, instead of acting out in anger, God calls us to react with GENTLENESS and respect.

We must show SELF-CONTROL by not losing our temper when we are tackled aggressively by the other team.

The Spirit in Football includes a forward by Matt Hasselbeck, NFL quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, encouraging children that “drive and competitiveness should never come before obeying the rules and being a good sport.”

Both books are great gifts for little league teams or any child who participates in sports. The books include a page for autographs, so parents can buy a copy for every team member and the children can sign each other’s books as a keepsake for years to come. The Spirit in Baseball and The Spirit in Football provide a practical way for any parent or coach to apply the fruits of the Spirit in the everyday lives of their children.

Product Details:

The Spirit in Baseball:

List Price: $10.00
Publisher: Cross Training Publishing (2008)
ISBN-10: 1450776256
ISBN-13: 978-1450776257

The Spirit in Football:

List Price: $10.00
Publisher: The Spirit in Sports (2010)
ISBN-10: 0615386695
ISBN-13: 978-0615386690

AND NOW...THE FIRST FEW PAGES (Click on images to see them better):

The Spirit in Baseball:

The Spirit in Football:

My Review:

Both of these books are wonderful for small children. My daughter read them with me the day we received them and is now asking to keep them for herself! (She's a bit older... so they'll go to her cousin. He will love them!)

The pictures are bright and bold and the story is told with simplicity. Perfect for any young aspiring athlete.

I hope you enjoyed this FIRST Wild Card Tour review! Thanks for reading and God bless,
Mary Ann :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Forever After by Deborah Raney

Jenna Morgan lost her husband, Zach, in a terrible fire a year ago. Left with a house and debt she can not afford, she turns to her in-laws for help. But is that the best decision? What would happen if they knew her secret?

Lucas Vermontez, was in that same fire. His mother tells him he was blessed to survive that horrible tragedy... but at first, he's not so sure. He lost his father, his friends, and had great damage to his legs. Will he ever return to the only job he ever wanted and be normal again?

Forever After is the second in The Hanover Falls series. Though it's the second, you won't feel lost if you didn't read the first as this book is wonderfully written and stands on it's own. Deborah Raney has created realistic characters that keep you wanting to know more about their stories as you read. You see the mistakes and hardships they face and want to cheer them on. I was quickly drawn in at the beginning and enjoyed reading this book.

*Thank you, Glass Road Productions, for providing me with a copy of this book and allowing me to be a part of your review program! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

True Courage by Steve Farrar

Many lessons can be learned from the life of Daniel. One of those lessons would be to trust God no matter our circumstances. Steve Farrar uses Daniel's life as an example in True Courage. In these uncertain times, it's easy to fear and forget that God is in control. But this book will remind us to keep our eyes not on what is seen... but on what is unseen.

Steve Farrar's explanation 'in a nutshell' says...

     "Daniel displayed True Courage by:                        
  • Fearing God more than man                     
  • Trusting God with his future                      
  • Realizing God's governance over all events
     True Courage is the result of knowing God." 

And true courage is what we desperately need today. Living in uncertain times, having the unexpected happen, worries about how we will care for our loved ones... this book is a great lesson on focusing on God and knowing that He is in control. Like Daniel, we need to trust God and keep living life.

I read Point Man by Steve Farrar years ago and loved it. So, when I was offered the chance to review True Courage I was very excited. He is a great writer and speaker and has so much Biblical wisdom to share, I know you won't be disappointed when you read this book. I highly recommend it.

*I received this book for free from The B&B Media Group for my honest review. ~Thanks! :)

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Letting Go

Featured Guest Post
By Carla McDougal

Do you remember the last time you opened the door to your junk closet? You know, the place where you put things you don’t want left out in the open. Maybe an item is old and worn out, so you throw it in this closet. Or, possibly it’s broken, and you don’t know what to do with it.

In my Bible Study, Reflecting Him, I invite readers to take a guided tour through various rooms in our homes, and compare these areas to our spiritual lives. The first day of the tour focuses on the closet— that hidden, dark place no one enters but you. “Out of sight, out of mind” might describe those items tucked away in that small space; but couldn’t the phrase also depict the things we hide in the backs of our minds and hearts? Broken, worn out, or sinful thoughts weigh heavily on our souls, and we need to let go, so they can be replaced by God’s light of love, grace and mercy. June 23rd is National “Let It Go” Day. I encourage you to find something in your spiritual “junk closet” and let it go.

Do you harbor bitterness for past hurts against you? Does sin linger in the crevices of your heart and mind? Are you in need of God’s forgiveness? We are all sinners, but we can be free from the closet of sin if we confess and ask for His forgiveness. Let go, and let God shine His light on you.

Just like cleaning out the junk closet, once you let go of those spiritual messes in your life, you’ll be left with room for the new. God’s all about making things new. A new heart. A new life. A new you. It all starts with letting go of those things that fall short of His plan.

When you organize a junk closet, you might choose to use special organizers or aids to make it all work together better. Or perhaps you even hire a professional organizer. In your spiritual closet, don’t forget that you can find all the assistance you’ll ever need through the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Are you ready to let God take the tour through the various rooms of your spiritual “house”? When you open the closet, what mess falls out? Give it to Him and see what happens!

CARLA MCDOUGAL is founder of Reflective Life Ministries headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. Her true passion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shines brightly, whether she is speaking or writing. She shares experiences from her own life to encourage women to live every day for Him. God is sending Carla around the world to speak to women from all walks of life—those living in the best of circumstances to those who have hit rock bottom. Carla’s book, Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It, pulls back the veil so you can see yourself and your Lord more clearly and reflect Him with transparency when interacting with others. This 10-week study exposes the dark corners of your life, opening your eyes and heart to what Jesus wants you to see. Carla’s refreshing authenticity and humorous style will lift you up from a heaviness you didn’t even know weighed you down.

For more information on a growing number of products from Reflective Life Ministries go to:

This article content is provided free of charge by the author through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through KCWC at All other standard copyrights apply.

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs

It's time to take it one day at a time! The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs teaches you how. By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, TODAY.... you can learn how to achieve your weight loss goals and live a healthier life.... tomorrow.

This IS a diet book. But in this diet book, you learn how to take it a day at a time. There are many books out there, believe me, I've tried a lot of them. But what I like most about this one, is the fact that Chantel Hobbs breaks down the bigger goal. You don't have to be overwhelmed or feel guilty when you 'mess up'. There is nothing you can do to change the past, but you have a choice of what you will do today. It's a simple concept, but a great one. After telling my husband about this book... he uses Chantel's 'One Day Way' in other areas of life as well. His new catch phrase is "I can do it... Just One More Day".

This is a simple book to read. Chantel Hobbs brings her personal experiences into it, which makes it easy to relate to her. She knows where we've been, because she's been there too. She teaches us not to be interested in perfection... but in progress. I like that. It seems like a goal I can keep and will certainly try.

Included in the book are simple exercises and a healthy eating plan. The One Day Way is very encouraging and I think you will enjoy it. 

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter

The Fitting Room teaches us about Putting On The Character Of Christ. The book is based on Colossians 3:12 that says "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience".

Kelly Minter uses the analogy of fashion as a way of relating how we wear the 'virtues'... but she is quick to point out that "The Christian virtues are not something we can slap on ourselves like cutout paper dolls. They come as a result of heart change that is accomplished through the supernatural love of Jesus."

I thought this was a great book, well written in a personal way. I could relate to much of what Kelly was sharing... because I have experienced it myself. She points out how our we become focused more on managing our behavior rather than promoting inward transformation.

After the first few pages, I was hooked. When she says that we can never separate the qualities of God from God Himself, I felt the conviction. She talks of how we view godly character as something we can obtain if we just try harder. Oh... how often I've been there! The way we tell ourselves that we'll do better next time, be more patient, hold our tongue, or just use the virtues at will... as if it's something we can do on our own.

So much to learn in this book... I think it could be used in a small group as well. Kelly Minter makes it easy to read and enjoyable as well. I think you'll enjoy it.

*I received this book for free from The B&B Media Group for my honest review.

Thanks for reading and God bless! Mary Ann :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson

Ok. Do you want the perfect summer read? This is it!

Chasing Sunsets is the story of Kimberly Tucker. Kim is a newly divorced woman who can't seem to let go of the past and move forward with her life. Until... her father suggests she return to her childhood vacation home to 'take care of the house'. It seems the perfect opportunity to get her mind off things while her boys are with their father for part of the summer. Planning to stay only a few days to get things in order, Kimberly goes to work to find the help that is needed. While she's there, her plans slowly begin to change. She meets with her closet childhood friend, Rosa, only to find she is not the same girl she remembers. Her new neighbor Patsy, with her strong faith, brings much insight into her life. Then of all the unexpected... she is reunited with her first love, Steven Granger. How will it unfold with so much life in between them?

The story takes place in a tiny beach town called "Cedar Key", and all I have to say is... now I want to live there! The scene is painted so clearly it feels as if you are right there with the characters, which by the way, are all so lovable. I can see the birds fly by, feel the ocean breeze, the humidity... even see the sunrise and sunset which are in great detail. Did I say I wish I was there? Yep. I can dream.

Turns out that Cedar Key is a real place that the author visited for this book. She even says that some of the places mentioned in the book are actual businesses in Cedar Key. There really is a Dilly Dally Gally, a Cook's Cafe, a Cedar Key Market, a Kona Joe's and others. How wonderful it would be to see these places first hand. You want to go now too, don't you? If not now... you will after reading this book.

I highly recommend Chasing Sunsets for your summer reading list. It's a great story with characters you can't help but like. It's very relaxing with the beautiful setting. Just a fun, easy read. I can't wait for the next in the series of the Cedar Key Novels. This is one series I will be sure to follow.  Thanks Eva Marie Everson... I loved it!

*Revell Books and Baker Publishing Group have provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. ~ Thanks!

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Begins with Judy Moody

The first week of summer vacation has gone by at lightening speed. So far, I don't have a plan. Maybe that's why it feels like it's flying by. Hmmm.... yep. I need to get a plan!

We haven't done anything yet, other than relax and hang out. I thought we'd take the first couple of days to just get caught up. It's been so busy lately, it sounded like a good idea to get some rest. Hahaha! Will I ever learn that you can never get caught up?

So I guess the first of the fun began yesterday. My son had a friend over for the day. One of his best friends actually. He moved away last year and now they only see each other every now and then. After a full day of hanging out, they asked if my son could spend the night at his friends' house. I said "Fine.", and my daughter said "But I'll be bored if he goes!"

So... I thought we could have our own 'girls night'.

We went to see "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer".  My daughter, the 7-year-old, really enjoyed it.  It had a lot of action all through it and she was engrossed through the whole movie. Well... there was this really short zombie scene that she didn't like. But other than that... she loved it.

I liked it too...but not as much as I liked Ramona and Beezus. At the beginning, I thought the characters were a little too 'cartoonish' for me and I was afraid it was going to be really cheesy. But I was surprised. It turned out to be very entertaining. They did a great job of making the characters like the book and the story did keep you interested. It was fun!

It's a great movie for any Judy Moody fan. Even if you haven't read the books... I think you'll enjoy taking the kids. It's a colorful, funny, entertaining movie with a fun story.

I'm hoping to see a few family friendly movies this summer. We'll probably do some crafts, cooking, and keep them up on their math and reading for next year too. I'm sure we'll have plenty to do to keep us busy.

Speaking of busy... I'm off to do some book reviews before I get behind. If I could only get in the habit of writing a review as soon as I'm finished reading... something to work on.

I hope your summer is off to a great start!

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ain't No Grave... By Russ Taff

This is one of my favorite songs from about 20+ years ago. It may be a bit old-time, but I love it. It's called Ain't No Grave by Russ Taff. He's one of my favorites. I used to listen to his cassettes over and over. Yes... I said "cassettes". That's how we listened to music way-back-when. ;)

This is the best video I could find. I was hoping to find him in concert from all those years ago... but none to be found. That's ok, it's still a great song.

Hope you enjoy it!

Have a great day and God bless! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Humor Me... Say What?

Humor Me...
"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." ~Proverbs 17:22


My uncle sent me this picture in an email. Cracks me up!

Must be because the years are going by so fast.... I can relate more and more each day.  Just have to laugh! :)

Hahaha...                              Hahaha.....

            Hahaha..... :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Joan Wolf's A Reluctant Queen KINDLE Giveaway

To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Joan and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Join the fun on June 21st! 

Joan will be wrapping up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf

About the book: A Reluctant Queen

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity. More here.

My Review:

Joan Wolf did an amazing job of bringing one of the most beloved stories of the Bible to life. The story of Esther is one that has been told in Sunday School classes and Bible studies, and most everyone has heard it told at one time or another.

I love the story of Esther, and although I know the ending... I just couldn't put this book down. The author brings so many details into the characters and the surroundings that you are captivated through the end. This is fiction... but it's done in a way that lets us relate to the characters. Esther was used by God. And she was also a young girl. She was human. The picture of Esther that Joan Wolf paints is a beautiful and realistic one.

While the story is not completely accurate historically, the author has a note in the back of the book, that specifies the areas in which she made changes to bring this fictionalized story of Esther to life. Keeping her explanation in mind... who knows what the characters were really like, what they thought or felt. I think she did a wonderful job with each of them. I was not disappointed.

I am looking forward to her next book about Rahab! (See her interview below.) I loved this book and I know you will too! :)

*Litfuse Publicity Group has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. ~ Thanks!

About Joan:

Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut , where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals. Joan is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”

For more about Joan and her other books, please visit

Q & A with Author Joan Wolf
A Reluctant Queen, Thomas Nelson, June 2011

What draws you to historical/biblical fiction?

I have always adored history, a love I inherited from my father. He used to discuss people from history as if they were people in the current newspapers. I think almost 90% of my books must have an historical setting.

You’ve had a successful career writing for the ABA, why start writing for the CBA now?

A few years ago I had an extraordinary experience where God touched my life. This encounter stirred my interest in writing about other people who had experienced the presence of God in their lives and the CBA seemed to be the best place for me to do that.

What is it about the historical account of Esther that led you to write a romance story about her?

 When I was a girl Esther fascinated me. It seemed wonderful that God had chosen a woman to be the person who would save His people. And, since I am a romantic soul, I also thought that there must have been a great love between her and the king for him to have done as she asked.

Why did you move away from the traditional interpretation of King Ahasuerus’ conduct?

I always thought that Ahasuerus must have loved Esther deeply because he listened to her and revoked the edict that Haman had sent out. A king who not only allows his wife to break into his religious feast without punishment, but also comes to have dinner with her the following day, must care for her very much indeed. And such a man must be a much nicer person than the king traditionally portrayed by Xerses/ Ahasuerus.

You love animals. Do you ever incorporate them into your books?

Do I not ever incorporate animals into my books? I am famous for my horses, but dogs play their part as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put Esther on a horse, but I did make Ahasuerus a fanatical horseman.

What is your favorite historical era to write about?

 I love to go way back in time, to periods where the records are mostly archeological. I actually did three books set in the Upper Paleolithic, the period of the last ice age. My next book is about Rahab, and I’m having such fun reading about pottery and stone remains from the late Bronze Age.

You can buy the book here.

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chex Puppy Chow... AKA Muddy Buddies

This is a recipe that we use often. Set a bowl of these on the counter... and they won't last long in my house. Especially if they're near me! They are a quick treat to satisfy that 'sweet tooth', and the kids... as well as the adults, love them!

We often make them for holiday gifts as well. They fit nicely in those cute holiday containers, and you know they never go to waste. What makes them even better... we usually have most of the ingredients on hand. Quick... easy... and budget friendly.

Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies)

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Skippy peanut butter
1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
9 cups Chex cereal (any variety)

Measure cereal into large bowl; set aside. Microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine in 1-quart microwavable bowl, uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in bowl, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into large plastic food-storage bag; add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 9 cups snack.

*Do not use spread or tub products.

Important: Because microwaves cook differently, time is approximate.

2005 © and ®/™ General Mills

I found this recipe on the Chex website at They have many fun recipes using Chex cereal. Find party mixes for parties, holidays, movie night... whatever you need them for, I'm sure you'll find something good. Hop on over and check it out! :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Roast Sticky Chicken

This is my favorite way to cook chicken. Ever! It's similar to the roasted chickens available in the deli in most supermarkets. It has a wonderful flavor and makes great leftovers. It tastes good cold... makes a great sandwich, and it's great chopped in a salad.

I usually make a bulk batch of this spice and store it in a large spice jar - like the ones you buy spices in at Sam's Club. This is a great spice mix to have on hand. I use it on Chicken Packets, chicken breasts and also sprinkle on diced chicken for Chicken Alfredo. Experiment a little... you might just find more uses.

If you want to make the whole roasted chicken as below... you need to begin the night before. It also has to cook for 5 hours... so you will want to plan ahead.

Roast Sticky Chicken

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large roasting chicken
1 large onion, quartered

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a resealable plastic bag (or cover in foil), seal and refrigerate overnight.

Before roasting, stuff cavity with onions, and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast, uncovered, at 250 degrees for 5 hours (yes, 250 degrees for 5 hours). After the first hour, baste chicken occasionally (about every 30 min) with pan juices. The juices will begin to caramelize on the bottom of pan and the chicken will turn a golden brown.  Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.

*I admit I don't know where this recipe came from originally or I would give them credit. I came across it almost 15 years ago when I first started bulk and freezer cooking. You can find several versions online, but I've had great success with this one, so I'm sticking to it. :)

Happy Cooking! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Desert Gift by Sally John

This is the story of Jillian Galloway. Jill's an expert on marriage... or so she thought. Through her own radio show, speaking at churches, as well as teaching a ladies Bible study, she's helped countless couples with their marriages. Now, at the height of her career, she has a book being published and she is scheduled to speak at the Mega Church of her dreams. She's reached the top... until her husband's sudden announcement that he wants a divorce brings everything to a screeching halt.

Jill's character was easy to relate to. She's a woman who knows all the answers. But she forgot one thing... to let God lead. I think the author did a wonderful job of portraying Jill. So often we get all the right answers and think we're good to go... then we leave God behind. I love how the other characters were forced to look at their own lives as well, not just blame Jill. This is a great book to remind us to take a look at ourselves and take responsibility for the mess we are in. Not just blame everyone else.

This book has a great story with a wonderful message of forgiveness and restoration. Not just the main characters... but with the supporting characters as well. I loved them all. Couldn't put this book down. I'll definitely be reading more by Sally John. I think you'll enjoy it too! :)

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. -Thanks Tyndale House!  :)

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fine Art Of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

Three sisters spend a weekend together on St. Simons Island to share the unpleasant task of emptying their late Grandmother's house. The property has been sold and each sister is eager to get the job done and claim her inheritance. While they believe it will be good to get together after such a long time... secrets, resentment, and unforgiveness threaten their already strained relationships. Unpacking the memories their Grandmother left behind, they begin to heal the hurts from the past.

I really enjoyed this story. It was an easy read... only took me two days. Right from the beginning I felt as if I were just sitting and watching a movie. The story is told is first-person, moving from each sister... Ginger, the oldest... Penny, the middle child.... and Rose, the youngest. Although they are sisters, the problems they face as adults, as well as their personalities, are quite different.

I had an easy time of following each sister as her thoughts and feelings were related very well. I could easily identify with each one... I could feel the emotion behind each of their points-of-view.  I love how they come to some great conclusions about themselves... and then use them in a positive way to change the way they relate to one another. It actually made me evaluate myself a bit. I'll be keeping my eye out for the next in the series!

*Thank you, Glass Road Productions, for providing me with a copy of this book and allowing me to be a part of your review program! :)

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)


About Me

nook color at! Now with Popular Apps, Email, Web & Video with Adobe Flash Player!