Month: January 2014

The Secrets of Happy Families Review

There is no denying the fact that when we are happy in our home life we function better, feel less stressed and communicate better with others around us. Happiness in our home life is incredibly important for our personal well being. I definitely can feel the difference in myself when chaos and stress disrupts our emotional well being at home. I can see these effects in my children in their temperament and behaviour towards eachother. 
I love attending workshops and reading books to help me with my parenting skills. Sometimes the information is helpful and other times I feel like it would not apply to our family or is something I could never see myself implementing in our home. I was excited to review The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler for many reasons. Who doesn’t want to work on skills to increase their family’s happiness? I am always up for anything that will help my family in the long run!
This book was developed after Bruce Feiler was determined to find the best solutions about raising happy families. He gathered the latest research, team building exercises and problem solving techniques from some of the greatest experts out there. He then tested these techniques out on his family. He developed techniques to help build stronger family relationships, managing chaos, teaching our children values and having fun as a family.
The Secrets of Happy Families starts off with the quote: “All happy families are alike”. At first I did not understand the quote but reading through the book it began to make sense. Happy families all have similar things in common: adaptation, communication and being together. I think we all know communication is important as well as being able to change to different situations but it is usually the how do we do this that is the difficult part. I am in no way perfect – I lose my patience, I can yell, sometimes when I argue with my husband I do not listen to his side of the argument. I know this and I am always open to learning new techniques to help not only myself but our family. 
Bruce provides an open dialect with his readers providing easy to follow techniques with valid reasons behind them. He actually offers over 200 strategies to help deal with pretty much any situation your family could be facing! Pretty awesome, right? 
My personal favourite technique is one that has been implemented at my work over a year ago. At work we have daily “huddles” first thing in the morning and this is the perfect opportunity for all team members to catch up, share information, talk about what went right and what is going wrong. We have started weekly huddles which are going really well. It is the perfect way for each one of us to have an open forum to talk about what we like, what is not working well for our family and to let each other know what is going to happen in the upcoming week (appointments, practices, staying late at work, etc..). Common sense right? But how many of us actually take the time to work on communicating not only with our partner but our children. By communicating I mean taking the time to sit and listen, understand what they are saying and feeling – not just telling them (something that I have been guilty of many times!). 
This is one of the best parenting books I have ever read. Bruce provided concrete examples and techniques that would fit our lifestyle and have actually helped us as a family work together. Life is hard enough as it is why not work to make the home a happy place? I know that his techniques have already started to improve our family dynamics! 
To find out more reviews on this book, check out the Litfuse blog tour. To purchase your own click here.
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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A Miracle of Hope Review

A Miracle of Hope by Ruth Reid follows the story of Lindie Wyse. Lindie finds herself pregnant out of wedlock which is unheard of in her Amish community. Her and her brother decide that the only way to protect her is to arrange a marriage with one of his friends from another Amish community. 
Enter Josiah Plank, a man who has lost his wife and has an eight year old daughter, Hannah, who is deaf. He has always vowed to never remarry. They take on this arranged marriage as business partners but soon realize they begin to feel more for each other then they thought possible.
Lindie sees how special Hannah truly is and is able to break through to her silent world. It is Lindie’s difficult pregnancy and Josiah’s health issues that put their new found love and respect to the test.
I fell in love with the simple love tale in this book. It is a story that you can find in so many communities. Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life. It is a time to rejoice and give thanks for the miracle growing in your body. In Lindie’s case this experience is shattered by the events that led to her pregnancy and finally her arranged marriage to a stranger for her protection. She has to struggle with accepting and forgiving the circumstances that bring her to this point. 
A lot of heavy topics were covered in this story but Ruth Reid hit on them perfectly. Finding healing and forgiveness through faith is so important. It allows us to move forward in our lives, appreciate all the goodness around us and even love.
A definite must read! A book to treasure for years to come. You can purchase your own copy here. To find more reviews, head over to the Litfuse blog tour here.
Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Ruth Reid’s A MIRACLE OF HOPE Kindle HDX Giveaway and Facebook Party!

A Miracle of Hope is the first book in Ruth Reid‘s new series, Amish Wonders, and she is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX Giveaway and an Author Chat Facebook Party!
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Miracle of Hope by Ruth Reid
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 11th. Winner will be announced at the A Miracle of Hope Facebook Party on February 11th. Connect with Ruth for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, prizes, and more!

So grab your copy of A Miracle of Hope and join Ruth and friends on the evening of February 11th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

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Avocado Delight Smoothie

I am a huge smoothie fan! I start my day with one and it leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to face my day. I tried a new combination in my smoothie this week and I fell in love with it! It was my first time putting avocados in my drinks and it was fantastic. It did make it creamier then a banana would so I did have to put in a little bit of water to thin it out.

  • one avocado (spoon out the inside)
  • 2 cups of Almond Milk (I love Vanilla or Cocounut Almond Fresh)
  • 1 cup of peaches
  • 1 pear (skin off and cored) 
  • 3 tbsps of hemp hearts (I used Manitoba Harvest shelled hemp hearts)
  • Pour two cups of Almond Milk in blender
  • Add fruit and hemp hearts
  • Cover and blend
  • Check consistency – may need to add water to thin it out a bit and re-blend if necessary
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Deviled Eggs Recipe

Deviled Eggs

by Wholly Guacamole® brand


Your friends will be green with envy when they taste your guacamole deviled eggs. The combination of rich egg yolks and creamy guacamole is truly sinful. Hot sauce and mustard gives these green eggs a kick and the paprika sprinkled on top is a nod to this dish’s classic southern roots.
  • 4 whole eggs in the shell
  • 1/2 cup Wholly Guacamole dip
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp minced green onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or optional
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce e.g. Tabasco, or to taste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tsp Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1 pinch paprika


  1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, and peel. Slice eggs in half, and remove yolks to a mixing bowl.
  2. In the bowl with the yolks, combine the Wholly Guacamole dip, cilantro and green onion. Season with salt, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Mix well, and fill empty egg halves. Chill until serving. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

Bring these eggs to your next get together and your friends will beg for more. This is a really easy way to bring new life and extra flavor into a tried and true favorite dish.
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