Wednesday, 10 May 2017

April Highlights // Dudes, Ducks, and Driving

Ok...so before you freak out...I only said 'dudes' cause I was attempting alliteration and couldn't find another 'D' word. And when I say dudes, I mean my Dad and brothers. So there ;) 


// I GOT MY DRIVER'S LICENSE. 
Like, FINALLY!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚  It feels sooooo good to be able to drive by myself ... and yes yes yes, I am being careful and not zipping down roads at 100km/h :P Tiger Lily and I went out on a jaunt by ourselves one night...although it wasn't exactly a jaunt cause we had to drive our siblings down to church for their kids' club. But after we dropped 'em off we went to a Tim Hortons and snacked and did school. That was fun xD 


Another day though, we really DID go on a jaunt, just us girls. Us three older girls had been planning on what we could do after I got my driver's license and we really wanted to just have a girls' day out. So one afternoon we all piled into the car and drove to town. It's a nice little village, and great for walking in. We went into a shop or two, stopped at a gazebo, and ate ice cream. *happy sigh* :D 
This is a SMALL size, peoples. Imagine a large ๐Ÿ˜ถ



// Threw a surprise party for our friend

With cupcakes, of course! And then add a walk in the woods and a jamming session and jumping on the trampoline and just hanging out and yep. Pure awesomeness! ^_^

// Oh yeah and I finally got a phone. 
It was decided it was probablyyyy better if I got a phone, especially once I started driving cause otherwise there was no way for me to contact my parents. Also maybeeee because I had kinda taken over Mom's iPod and she maybeeee wanted it back *guilty grin* 

My case. I love butterflies and filigrees...can ya tell? ;) 
// Sweet Pea
Yep. She gets a category all to herself. Cause she is so. darn. cute. She's already sitting up by herself and she trying to crawl!!!! Someone make her slow down! She's growing up too fast! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ ๐Ÿ˜€



// Baking
Currently running low on cocoa at the moment. Been making a LOT of chocolatey things. Specifically brownies and mud pie.



Working on plated desserts, thus the random drops of chocolate on the
side of the plate that are just ASKING to be licked xD 

Ok, in the process of making my first Mississippi mud pie, I found one of THE best
chocolate cake recipes EVER. Like, who knew sour cream could make such an awesomely moist
chocolate cake? Totally my new favourite recipe!!! 

// Just some randomness 

Look. At. How. FLUFFY ๐Ÿ˜

Staring contest. Guess who won? ;) 


Chemistry .... (*whispers* it took some logic and improvising to actually get the colour scale
working. Before it was just straight up and down purple. So we kinda cheated to get this xD) 


Oh yeah...and look what happened to my hair! Little past shoulder-length!! What I've ALWAYS wanted....

Not really. I hate cutting my hair. And it really needs to be cut xD But not THAT short. Tiger Lily and I were just feelin' mischievous and decided to "cut" my hair. It's so long I can double or even triple it. So we arranged it just so and threw the remainder over my shoulders. Then we took the pictures, sent them to our friends, and watched them all freak out. We're so bad ๐Ÿ˜Š

// Tree Cutting Season
Ahh yes....Spring and Fall are usually the times when we cut and stack wood for winter. Easier to do since there's not as much undergrowth in the forest and there are way less mosquitoes too. And I was super thankful because I actually didn't do that much in the wood this year xD I mean, the boys are finally old enough to do the major work!!!! *does the happy dance* So them boys were just splitting and stacking and coming in SUPER tanned. But they seriously did an amazing job and you should see their piles of wood. Pretty impressive stacks, if I do say so myself. And that's saying something cause I'm usually the wood stacker and I'm really picky ๐Ÿ˜‰  But yeah. I'm very proud of my brothers. And very glad that I don't have to do the wood anymore :P Also kinda sad cause that means the boys are growing up ๐Ÿ˜•  Where's the time going?! 

The men ;) 

*inserts another random photo of Sweet Pea* 


// random funny conversations
That's mud cake around his mouth. I think he kinda liked it .... :P 

Mom: Which state would you all want to go to for vacation? 

"Nebraska!"
"Wisconsin!"
"Florida!"
"Kentucky!" 
"Chuck E Cheese!!!!!!" 

// photo shoots at the park 

Modelling the Jasmine dress from Skylark Clothing! We've been waiting for what seemed like FOREVER to get a photo shoot in this dress...it's SO pretty! And we finally got the chance after dropping the kids off at church. Tiger Lily and I drove to the park and we had a fun little shoot in the last hours of sunlight. My dear dear sister did not understand the urge to catch the golden hour, but she caught on a little while after she saw the pictures ;) 



Me: Now walk normally
Tiger Lily: Ok
*sigh* xD

I still love her though ;) 
Oh yeah, and she caught this picture of me. Isn't it delightful? :P


Music
Tunes I've been listening to lately...

Speak Life - TobyMac

Fireflies - Owl City


Just a Dream - (cover) Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui

22 - (cover) KHS 

Me Without You - TobyMac 



So yep! That about wraps up my April. (*whispers* and I know...this post is like 10 days late. Sorryyyyyy)

Cheerio!! ^_^ (yes, we're British now)

Friday, 28 April 2017

Defy // The Blades of Acktar #3

Third in The Blades of Acktar series...Defy! (and probably my favourite. Although I DO love the first one. And the one that JUST came out... ;)) 


Summary
The war for Acktar has begun. With his betrayal revealed, former Blade Leith Torren flees into the Sheered Rock Hills, pursued by King Respen’s vengeful Blades. Left behind at Nalgar Castle, Renna Faythe tries to find her purpose, yet that purpose isn’t what she expected. 

Brandi Faythe has been torn from her sister, and that isn’t all right. If Leith can’t rescue Renna, Brandi will take matters into her own hands. War demands sacrifice. Courage falters. Who will find the strength to defy King Respen? 

Acktar rests on one hope: The Leader is ready.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon 

You can see my review for Defy HERE (Just a warning though, there are spoilers in there) 

And don't forget, the  Facebook Party for release of Deliver is TONIGHT, 7-10pm! 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Deny // The Blades of Acktar #2

Celebrating the release of Tricia Mingerink's new book, Deliver with this mini blog series on ALL The Blades of Acktar books! Today's spotlight is on...Deny! (Not sure why, but I always mix this up with the third book's title. Is that just me? :P) 


Summary
All lies have consequences.

Promoted to the top rank among King Respen's assassins, First Blade Leith Torren hides his involvement with the Resistance. How many lies will it take to protect his secret?

Renna Faythe has done nothing but survive for the past four years, but now Leith's courage inspires her to try to be something more. If only she could figure out what that duty might be.

When the unthinkable happens, faith wavers. Friendships tear. What else will they be forced to deny?

But this time, Leith faces his greatest fear.

He can't save everyone.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon 

To see previous posts in this mini "series" click on the links below: 
Deliver // It's Finally Here!! 
Dare// The Blades of Acktar #1

And don't forget, there's gonna be a Facebook Party hosted by Ms. Mingerink herself TOMORROW at 7-10 pm EST! 


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Dare // The Blades of Acktar

Okkk.....and here is the first of those Blades of Acktar posts I was telling you 'bout. Some of you have asked what The Blades of Acktar was and sooo....here ya go! 

Basically, The Blades of Acktar is this super amazing series written by Tricia Mingerink. It follows the story of Leith Torren as he turns from being an assassin of the evil King Respen to being a child of God. The series also focus on Renna and Brandi Faythe, two orphans firmly set in their faith in God. The three go through trial after trial as they try to avoid the clutches of the evil King Respen who is intent on extinguishing every single Christian from the land of Acktar. 

Book #1 - Dare - Summary
Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.

Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time.

Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?

No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.

Someone will die.
 


Find on Goodreads or Amazon (*whispers* and don't forget, the entire Kindle series is currently on sale!!) 

To see my post on the fourth book, Deliver click here: Deliver // It's Finally Here

Oh! And here's a fun post by Tricia Mingerink herself about 7 Things You Might Not Know About the Blades of Acktar

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Deliver // It's Finally Here!!!


Ahhh....Deliver is finally here! You heard right! You can go to Amazon and buy it RIGHT NOW! Yippee!!! When I first heard about Deliver finally being released....I immediately told my sister and we both jumped up and down in excitement. And then we got to read it and ahhh. Wish the series was continuing on!!! 

My Review: 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** spoiler alert ** Ahhhh.....this book is SO amazing! (I'm soooo afraid I might give away a spoiler, so I'm gonna put that alert on just in case ;)) Yes, I laughed. Yes, I cried. And YES, I LOVED IT!!! :D Resolved to finish reading the book one night and stayed up until 1am. *whispers* and I don't regret it at all ;) Learning more about Martyn's past was heartbreaking, and then when he finally found well, you know who, (although really, it was the other person who found Martyn...) and it was all explained...ahhhh the tears xD When I first found out that the book followed more Martyn instead of Leith and Renna and Brandi, I was a little disappointed that there wouldn't be a lot of them. But turns out, there was just enough! The book didn't stay on Martyn the whole time, it went to Leith or Renna or Brandi too and *happy sigh* LOVE it!

And actually, I found myself really interested in learning more about Martyn. He seemed so wary and doubtful of everyone around him, and his sarcasm was - well, kinda hard. He really sounded quite angry with the world at the beginning. But then he met Kayleigh and he softened and ahhhhh :)

One of my favourite scenes? The soap scrubbing. Definitely the soap scrubbing ;P And Martyn and Kayleigh ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ Soooo happy that Martyn finally has a happy ending and is able to trust again. For all his tough outside character, he can be pretty sweet sometimes :) 

There were some pretty intense scenes...like the burning and all. Goodness, I had tears running down my face while I was reading that. Didn't move a muscle while I was reading, was so caught up in the story! (also possibly because I was precariously perched on a chair under my loft trying to stay warm because it was 12 in the morning and I didn't want to go to sleep until I finished the book ;)) But just saying right now, if you haven't read this book yet...you must!! In fact, you gotta read the whole series if you haven't already. Because seriously you all. It's amazing. ^_^ 

Other Ways To Find out about The Blades of Acktar

Glad ya asked ;) 

Ms. Mingerink will be hosting a Facebook Party HERE on April 28th. You can go to the webpage for more details on times and stuff. 

Ooooh yes...and if you haven't read The Blades of Acktar yet, but you want to - now is your chance. ALL the books in the series are on sale right at this very moment! 

*sigh* Look at all these lovely books.... 

Anyway...school is beckoning. But I had to hop onto here and join all the other bloggers and Goodreaders and Facebookers posting about the release of the new book ;) Just a warning, you may or may not get a lot of posts about The Blades of Acktar coming in the next little bit :D

Have you read these books yet? (if you say no, I'm gonna tell you to go read them again. And again. And again ;))

Saturday, 15 April 2017

I'm Baaaaaack...

I'm not dead. 

At least I don't think I am ;) Still kicking around in this part of the country. Recovering from the past few months of utter craziness. Enjoying the beautiful spring weather. ๐ŸŒธ ๐ŸŒผ Living life to the fullest (as much as possible anyway ;)

What have I been doing, you might ask? Short story - LIFE. The long story...well, it's a really long story. Haha, I'll attempt to do a really quick (who am I kidding...this is probably gonna get kinda lengthy) several-months-wrap up post cause goodness it's been awhile since I've done that. But before I do, let me give you a sneak peak from the photo-shoot I had with Sweet Pea. Because it's random and also cause she's just utter adorableness. (Those of you from Facebook have probably already seen the rest of the photos ;)) 

*happy sigh* Her eyes.... ๐Ÿ˜

Ok...where should I start? Guess it wouldn't hurt to just dive in somewhere. It's kinda messy...hopefully I don't leave you all in a confused jumble of events. 

Teaching Online 
So some of you might remember the online school I'm teaching at right now. It's been going really well and I've made some great connections through there! And the head of the school is one of the sweetest people on earth ๐Ÿ’œ  Our Facebook group has grown immensely. In the past 4 months since it was started, it has reached over 500 people! We're all so awed at how God has worked in this and we're really hoping to be able to make an impact on the homeschooling world. Of course, things are never absolutely perfect, so prayers for guidance would be very much appreciated! Added busyness as courses for next year are already in the works, and online summer camps are approaching, which is gonna be super exciting! It's so amazing to see all the different talents people are bringing to teach. And the fact that some of these teachers are kids themselves just makes it even more awesome! :D 

School and Exams and all that fun stuff but more importantly the exams ;) And I'm finally done piano!!!!!!!! 

Ya know that saying "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"? Well...that kinda applies to this situation. My mind was willing to do all sorts of stuff...but well yeah. Turns out in reality, you sometimes can't do everything. I um, well, I have a hard time saying 'no'. I also daydream too much about things I should be able to do. Combine those two and you rapidly get an overload of things. Now also combine that with bad time management skills and you get...*shudders* Utter disaster. Last semester seemed to be going fairly well, things flowed in a timely manner and I thought I had finally mastered time management. Yep. Nope. I didn't. Second semester rolled around and with it a ton of hectic-ness. Online school closed down and we had to go looking for new courses. Which meant I ended up adding more to my course load than what we had originally planned. And then the teaching position came up. And work at Tim's was still going too. At the beginning, it didn't seem too bad. Chemistry, ASL, Baking, World Pastries, Writing a Research Paper, Piano, Biochemistry... it was busy, but not TOO bad. But then exams struck. Dun dun DUNNNN. And ohhhh myyyyyyyyyy was that awful. In March there was the exam for Grade 12 Biochemistry. Thousands of notes. Sitting in one place for hours at a time. Bucketfuls of tears. And then right after that exam was over, my attention was then moved to my driving exam. I'm an awful driver btw. Never really been that confident to begin with, so yeah. Lot of driving lessons that sometimes ended in feeling utterly hopeless in the situation. Finally took the exam - and failed again *sigh*๐Ÿ˜‘  So yep, still have a driver's exam on my to-do list. But right after the driver's exam, my focus then turned to the piano exam looming ahead. That was during end of March and beginning of April. It was dreadful. Consequences of not consistently practicing was extremely long amounts of time on the piano. And by long I mean looonnnngggg. 

Would ya look at all that piano... xD 

Anyway...lesson learned. Try to avoid overloading on school. And procrastination is not a good thing. But then we already knew that, didn't we? ;) The actual piano exam went fairly well - for the first time ever, I had my exam in the nursery room of the church. Which meant I had a huge tiger grinning at me the entire time. It was interesting. But when I finally stepped out of that building I wanted to run around and dance and jump up and down. Cause it was finally all done!! And I don't mean just the exams. I mean I. am. finally. done. pianoooooooooo!!!!!!! *throws confetti* *squeals* *hugs self excitedly* Seriously, days after the exam, I would still squeal with joy at random parts of the day because of how excited I was. Ask my sister. Or my friends xD 

And then of course there was just life in general that keeps a person so crazy busy ...
See, when you have exams going, school for some reason doesn't just stop until after it's over. Nope, it keeps going. So does life. There were a couple times in the past few months where I seriously thought I was gonna drown with all the stuff I had to do. The only thing that kept me going was my family and friends. Without them and their prayers, who knows where I'd be right now!

Of course there was also the funny parts of life for which I'm so thankful for :D

Me: Toblerone, can I have a hug?
Toblerone: Sure
*gives me a hug*
Toblerone: Can I choke you?

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Maple: *bark*
Toblerone: Woof!
Maple: *bark*
Toblerone: Woof!
Maple: *bark*
Toblerone: Woof! Woof! Woof!

Me: ๐Ÿ˜‘ ๐Ÿ˜‚


~ * ~ * ~ * ~


#eightyearoldwisdom

Did a ton of baking...











Did not do a lot of reading :/ 
The only books I think I read in the past few months was The Reluctant Godfather (Allison Tebo), Courageous Love (Susan K. Marlow), Destroy (Tricia Mingerink) and Rosemary Cottage (Colleen Coble). 4 books in *counts* 3 months ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Wow, that's awful. Guess I know what I'll be doing in the summer ;)

Listened to lots of music
I have created Youtube playlists. They are sooooo helpful and way less distracting too. And I discovered a new artist. Francesca Battistelli! (Tiger Lily says her name sounds like a brand of pasta...but her music is amaaazzzing) These songs were great stress-relievers for some reason while I was studying for all my exams. And I even ended up choreographing a country dance to the song Run to Jesus. It's so much fun and spinning and tapping really brings the stress levels down xD

Run to Jesus

Lions

Strangely Dim

He Knows My Name

We are the Kingdom

More Than You Think I Am 

                                         
I am Yours 

Oh yeah, and I may or may not have turned 17 
My birthday fell on the same day our Awana lesson did, and my dear friends planned a little surprise party for me. It was so very special and ahhhh....love them all so much! ๐Ÿ’–

Talking about friends
We had several get togethers with family friends of ours. Well some of them weren't really get togethers...but it kinda counts. Ski trips, people. So. much. fun! Liv came with us on one of our ski trips and she musta brought a good report back to her family cause they all ended up coming with us the next time. Friends just make things so much awesomer for some reason...I wonder why?

Another time we got to get together with one family we hadn't seen in almost a whole year! So it was lovely getting to see them at one of the girls' adult ceremony. (Turning 13, woo hoo! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ) There were some great games we got to play, and we got to catch up on stuff with each other. Also Odelia may or may not have hinted I should get back to blogging... so you have her to thank for that๐Ÿ˜‰

Then just this past week, we had our friends over for the day. We kinda made it into a half surprise party/half family get-together. The planning that went into it was so much fun. And slightly nerve-racking. DO you know how hard it is to keep a secret amongst two big families who combined, make about 20 people?? It's hard, I tell ya! But we managed to make it work and Victoria didn't suspect a thing until we threw balloons in her face and nearly blasted her ears out with party blowers ๐Ÿ˜Š The rest of the day consisted of making pizza, walking in the forest, and JAMMING!! ๐ŸŽถ ๐ŸŽธ Seriously, it is SO much fun jamming with the Nickersons. I think we're all just connected with our love for music :) For once, we actually practiced a song instead of jumping from one song to another to another and we focused on fine-tuning. We're so close to done, and the recordings on the phone are ahhhhh! So good! And it's funny and so cool seeing how far we've come. Before it used to be just piano and vocals, and now it's grown to include whistle, fiddle, guitar, and drums...I'm still trying to wrap my head around it :D

(just as a side note, I'm having waaaayyy too much fun with the new emoticon box in Blogger. As I'm sure my post is probably showing :P)

Oh yeah and we've discovered the power of FaceTime xD Bad hair days galore, I tell ya ;) But it's so much fun and kinda makes up for not getting to see each other in person every single day ๐Ÿ˜Š

Aaaannnndddd I'm thinking I should probably end this post now
If you've all managed to reach the bottom...I'm impressed ;) Thanks for reading through all that! But to let you all know - I've missed you all sooooooo much! *hugs* So glad I'm gonna be able to get back into blogging, though I probably won't be able to post as much as I'd like. I'll try to not disappear for two months though *guilty grin* :D

Hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend! Christ has Risen!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Princess and I // Cover Reveal!!

I had the great pleasure and honour of beta-reading The Princess and I a little while back...and now it's finally time for the cover reveal! 

Synopsis: 
Megan is content with her life, despite her parents' death and her brother Malcolm's job that keeps him busy at the King's castle. But when she is offered the position as Princess Christine's lady-in-waiting, Megan is glad of the change in scenery and accepts it with the hope that she can spend more time with her brother. The promise from Malcolm of lessons in swordsmanship only adds to her enthusiasm. 

However, helping keep an eye on the emotional and excitable young lady proves to be much harder than becoming her friend. As rumours of war circulate the castle, Megan strives to encourage her new friend even as she tries to settle the doubts and fears in her own heart when her responsibility in protecting the Princess is put to the test. Follow the unwanted adventure which serves to teach her that loyal friendship, true love, and God's amazing grace will always triumph over revenge, greed, and hate. 



About the Author:
Rebekah grew up surrounded by family members who appreciated and read good literature. First, she fell in love with the stories her parents read aloud to her from the Bible and books like The Chronicles of Narnia, Great Expectations, The Hobbit, and Anne of Green Gables. After learning to read on her own, she discovered other fantastic books which helped to build her ever growing imagination. 

She completed her first written work at the tender age of eight and now uses it to humble herself whenever the need arises. The story did serve to show her that God had given her a desire to write, however, and from that moment on Rebekah has never looked back or regretted picking up her pencil and becoming an author. 

This eighteen-year-old homeschool graduate lives in rainy Western Washington and is currently working on receiving her BA in English in order to further her passion for creating worlds on paper. 



Ok...you guys ready to see the cover? I could make you scroll down...but I'll be nice ;) (Don't take it for granted though xD) 

Voila!!




Ahhh.....isn't it just soooo pretty?? I love it! 

The book will be available March 3, 2017. Can't wait! :) 

Happy Valentine's Day you all! ๐Ÿ’— ๐Ÿ’— ๐Ÿ’—