Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Where Dandelions Grow - Book Release


*throws confetti* Where Dandelions Grow is being released.......TODAY!!!!! Woo hoo! I was honoured to be asked to read Miss Lydia Howe's darling book so today I get to share my review with you!


⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Where Dandelions Grow is an absolutely charming little novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has also given me a wild desire to start a cafe/bookstore of my own. I mean, when I read about Noveltea, oh my goodness, I couldn’t (and still can’t!) think of anything better I would LOVE to do! I mean ahhhhh! Books? And coffee? And baked goods? In the same place??? *hugs self in delight* Seriously, if you can find a way to also add music performance or something in that, it literally could not get any better xD 

Ok ok enough ranting about that darling Noveltea (and isn’t that name just sooooo charming??) The characters! My favourite is probably Lexie because she’s so darling and understanding and she loves writing and is cheery and cares for others and yeahhhh. And *potential spoiler* when all the cousins get together and meet up and reminisce about the past, it’s so sweet! 

And don’t think this story doesn’t come without lessons. It does! And some very good lessons too, I might add. The author does a very good job in adding lessons to the overall theme of the book. And not in a “preachy” kinda way either. Ms. Howe incorporates it into a character’s life struggles, making it very realistic and relatable. 

Favourite Quote: “Learn to not dwell on the past, to live in today, not yesterday. When the memories feel like they’re going to consume you, make the decision to push the hurt out of your mind. Even though it will be hard, practice forgiving quickly and from the heart. Be willing to reach out and take the first; always take the higher road…Fill all of your actions with love.” ~ Mrs. Reed, Where Dandelions Grow. 

I would definitely recommend this book to people of all ages! 

** I received an ARC copy from the author in exchange for my honest review

Find on Goodreads 

Find on Amazon




~ About the Author ~



Lydia Howe (aka Aidyl Ewoh) is a twenty-something adventurous author who enjoys hiking in the mountains of Asia and South America, building life-size models of dinosaurs, taking road trips across Europe and cooking for large crowds. 

Lydia grew up in a barn and has always dreamed of living in a tipi. She is trained as a John Maxwell coach and her passions include self-development and Christian apologetics. One of her life-long dreams was realized when her first book, “Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl”, was published by Answers in Genesis in 2013. Her second book, “Action Kids’ Club” was published in November of 2014. Find her online at https://lydiahowe.com/




Have you read Where Dandelions Grow yet? (If you haven't...well, you know what you gotta do! ;)) 

P.S. Check out her blog HERE to read her post and enter in a fun giveaway!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Goodbye Summer ☀️

Summer is over...and it feels like it's gone by WAY too fast. But *sigh* all the memories we made! It's been amazing ^_^

Also...some of you might have noticed I stopped doing the monthly highlights posts over the summer. *guilty grin* I'm gonna try to continue it over the fall...but this summer was just SO busy I didn't have time to do it. So count this post as a highlight of the WHOLE summer. Which means it's probably gonna be super long, so if you wanna skim over it, don't worry - I won't feel bad ;)


// Church Job.

One of the major things that took up a lot of my summer was the job I accepted at my church. Guess what? Working 30 hours in 7 weeks and working 30 hours a week for 7 weeks are two very different things. Who knew? ;P So my summer was pretty much taken up with this as it was a Tuesday-Friday job working 9-5. BUT it all worked out in the end and I'm so glad I was able to do it. Definitely helped me grow a bit closer to the church and the people there. Some of the highlights of that job...

- meeting the other summer workers. They're pretty awesome people ;)

- helped at my first VBS ever. And I don't mean just helped lead a group of kids. I mean the prep behind it. ALL of it. It is absolutely, completely eye-opening to see all the work that goes behind setting up a camp. I saw and did a lot...and I don't think that was even half of everything! There was still the worship rally prep, and finding people, and organizing snacks, and etc. I just helped with the decorations and the setting up teams. Mainly the decorating though. Two full weeks just decorating. It was space themed. Lots of stars. And paint. And Pinteresting xD


My attempt at galaxy flags.

Whew. Ok. Sooooo....cutting out stars...there were a lot of stars. Like. A LOT. Hundreds upon hundreds. And I'm not even exaggerating. My fingers were cramping after that. And then I had to write over 50 thank you cards xD  





I wrote on rubber balls!! It was weirdly satisfying... :P




- cleaning classrooms. I think the hardest one was probably the toddler room. Had to wipe down every. single. toy. Do you know how many toys were in there? And the blocks 😶


This was only one corner. Of one room. Of TWO rooms that made up the toddler area. A lot of toys, I tell ya

Oh yeah and this really weird Shrek outfit that I found in a bag of dress-up clothes. To be honest...I think it's a little too scary to be in the toddler room. Or that could just be me. 
- Sports Camp. Not my absolute favouritest camp...I broke up more fistfights than I'd like to admit. BUT, despite the tons of tears and finding myself in the depths of despair sometimes... I made friends. And I was even able to witness to someone after one of the aforementioned fights.

- Meeting the youth pastor’s new baby…9 hours after he was born. Seriously, this was probably one of my absolute favourites of the summer…and it wasn’t even part of the job. He was SO cute and seeing first time parents with their baby is so. adorably. sweet. I got to watch the parents learn how to swaddle a child and the father was telling me about the first diaper change…it was so cute. I guess having so many siblings and seeing so many babies has kinda made me take for granted babies. When I get a new sibling, sure there’s the joy and happiness, but it’s also just like “Oh yeah…totally normal.” Seeing these first time parents though really opened my eyes and appreciate babies even more. And oh boy haha. The drive to the hospital was quite interesting. So basically how it went was on Thursday night, us summer workers found out that the baby was on the way. Friday morning, we got news that Baby had been born at 3 in the morning and we were invited to come over to the hospital to visit. So after getting some work done at the church, the two guys (whom shall remain unnamed, let’s just call them K and C) and I got ready to head over to the hospital. C thought it would be a good idea to pick up a helium balloon so we went over to the dollar store first. After a lot of thought and looking through almost all the balloons seems like (turns out boys can take about as long as girls do choosing things ;)) we decided on a balloon that said “Happy 0th Birthday”. C was just killing himself laughing over that and kept saying “He’s only 0! Can you believe it, you guys? He’s 0!!” :P We FINALLY made it to the hospital and ahhhhh. Holding newborn babies is just PRECIOUS. He was sooo cute and so perfect and *happy sigh* Thank you, God, for giving us babies. 

Oh and haha, funny story. While I was holding the baby, he threw up a teensy bit and I asked for a blankie to clean him up. K instantly got up from the seat he was sitting on and said “Ok this I have to see. How are you not freaking out right now?” xD 

Hehe…C and I probably took advantage of K that day. Honestly, he didn’t know much about babies at all. C and I were joking about how Baby had been pretty much just swimming for 9 months and K just looked up startled and was like “How did he breathe??” And oh boy…when he asked what a placenta was and how it worked and all... I tried explaining and then had to stop cause he was starting to look kinda sick xD 

- Taking inventory of the library 
Went through ALL the books in the church library to take stock of what we had and what was missing. Thank goodness I had my friend to help me out there. It was WAY more fun being able to do it with someone 😄


- Basketball Tournament, Pool Party, Water Day
These were fun youth events to help out at! The Basketball Tournament was…welll…yeah. I was the only girl there and I hadn’t even planned on staying anyway. I pretty much just hid in the kitchen cause I don’t like basketball and I’m super shy xD And just saying, trying to bake cookies in a church overrun with teenage boys is HARD. I mean, I guess it’s a good thing cause it means they liked them, but still. I was trying to save them for snack, peoples! I was so desperate I hid the cookies in a cupboard because they were disappearing at such a frightening rate :P 

// Family Trip to Cape Charles, Virginia! 
Pictures here: Family Vacation

// Adventure Camp 2017

Best. Week. Ever.

There’s just something about spending a whole week with your friends. Definitely something to treasure. And we made so many good memories *hugs self in delight* 

Woot woot RED TEAM!! 😄

My best friend and I were put on the same team…we were so incredibly happy. Seriously, when we found out, we had to go outside and just dance - we were so excited. Squealing and jumping up and down…literally. It wasn’t just some sort of ‘put in asterisks’ kind of thing. We were literally, real life going crazy with joy xD 

The third person on our team was a new guy but we went together a LOT better than I expected. We communicated really well and worked together and listened to each other and yeah. I was really blessed with my team 😌


We had a hayride, and ran up a very, very big hill, attempted a lip-sync battle (and kinda failed at it xD), wove milk-bag mats, learned about Paul and his missions, played a new game called “The Lord’s Army” (created by the camp director…it was amazing and SO much fun), and sang some AWESOME songs. The “My God” song is a twist on “My God is So Big”. A HUGE twist, I might add. When I first heard it, my eyes nearly popped out, I just totally wasn’t expecting it. But it is SO much fun to dance to…I think it’s a camp favourite now. 

My God

He is the Light

Follow Him

Besties 💕
On Thursday, we also have a camp cheer, so on Wednesday, Livs, Daniel, and I gathered on Facebook and started brainstorming. I will admit, we probably did more joking and teasing and laughing than we did writing a cheer. BUT we ended up with a cheer ready for Thursday and we won too! So yippee!! :D 

We also had a falconry show and goodness was that man funny. And his winks! Oh goodness…we were all positively dying. Let me see if I can find a GIF for you. 
































There. Literally. That's what his winks were like xD (Also no clue why there are two GIFs showing up...but better two than none I suppose :P)


And I got to hold an owl. They’re not my favourite birds, I’ll admit, but the EYES. They were so yellow and bright and big they almost seemed unreal. 

Ah yes. And this picture shows the view I had during a game of leader hide and seek where all the leaders hid and the campers had to find them. I sat in a patch of goldenrod. For 45 minutes. It rained. I kept sitting. No one found me.
xD
OH. And of course...Water Day. 'Cause no camp is complete without a water day. SO. MUCH. FUN. We all got very nice and wet and we had an awesome rapidfire slidedown with all the leaders. Ya know how people set up long tarps on a hill and cover it in soap and water? Well that's what we had, with leaders going down about two seconds after each other. It was very fun. And we only had a pile-up once :P I will say though, the day after, I discovered a lot of bruises on my legs, knees, and FEET (cause yes, apparently feet can bruise. A lot xP)

All the Head Leaders on the last day. Exhausted but alive ;)

Last picture on the last day of the last camp of the summer :'(
Next year can we make it two weeks maybe? ;) 
So yeah! Adventure Camp 2017 was a complete blast and we made a lot of memories. With best friends, old friends, and new friends. Can't wait for next year!! :D 

// Complete Summer Randomness

Made a lot of cookies this year ^_^

Toblerone's birthday cake. I'll leave ya to guess how old he turned ;) 


This dear girl started working at Timmie's. I got to train her ;)
#sistersforlife

CANADA DAY!!!  150 years...woo hoo!!! 

I dyed my hair....
It was with chalk. It was completely for fun. It washed out. It also wasn't that bright xD It was SUPPOSED to be pink...but dying dark hair pink isn't the easiest thing in the world. Honestly, Tiger Lily and I were trying so hard to get the colour to show and we started using the other hair chalks in the set to see if those would work... and by the time we finished, I had blue, green, purple, and pink in my hair. And it looked more red than anything else xD But we had fun. That's what matters. 😂

My attempt at capturing the golden light and completely failing with these wackos ;P 

Oh yeahhhh and I got my braces off!!! *cheers*

// Friends
Ok so...while this was probably the hardest years with people I've ever experienced in my 17 years...I'd say it was also THE best year of friends ever. Seriously. We grew closer not only as friends, but as sisters in Christ. We shared laughs and tears, we danced and prayed, we had endless supplies of hugs (btw as awesome as "virtual hugs" or "ghost hugs" are...real hugs are waaaayyy better ;)) and We. Made. Memories. Memories that will forever remain in my heart. Memories that we'll look back on years down the road and have fun reminscing.

I just love making memories, don't you? 💜 💛 💚 💙 ❤️

Our lovely, sweaty selves after a water fight at the park. Fun times, y'all ;)




Surprise!! Tiger Lily and I planned a secret visit and we drove down and caught them completely by surprise ;) And then helped make curtains xD And also talk (lots and lots of talking) and eat lunch and then explore the town and just have a ton of fun!

Girl date at Starbucks! #mochafrappsarethebest 

Watching WCTH!!! FINALLY! ❤️
Bring-Your-Friend-To-Work Day! K so...it's not actually a thing, but it totally should be. Since I was at church working, Livs came down with me one day to help me take inventory of the library. So we got a whole awesome day together and then came home to find out that our younger siblings had made an awesome gooey monkey bread for dessert ^_^

MONKEY BREAD 😋


Sleepover night during Adventure Camp! 
Baking late at night makes for some...um..very interesting times. Very. Lots of giggles.
Lots of music. And dancing. And more giggles. End result was Cookies-made-with-lots-of-love.
The best kind really ;)

Bed time! Kinda. Not really xD 

Oooohhhhh this was fun xD We had a mini photo shoot...and someone had the brilliant idea to try and capture all of us jumping at the same time in mid-air on the trampoline. Problem #1. There was no one to take the picture so the camera was on a timer. Problem #2. The trampoline had been moved a considerable distance away from the deck because the boys had been lawn mowing. Problem #3. You literally had to leap into the trampoline to get in. So basically...one of us (guess who...yep, yours truly) had to press the shutter, run across the lawn, leap into the trampoline, get up, and then jump with everyone else when the light went off. In 10 seconds. 

Hey. We tried it. The first time, I set the timer, ran across the yard, leaped....and landed on my stomach. Half in and half out of the trampoline #fail And when we jumped...well...as you can see in the below photo...we weren't zactly synced :P 


Or in this one either for that matter...

Fast forward about 3 or 4 more photos...and yep. None of them worked :P It's HARD, I tell ya! Oh well. We tried it. And it was funny. Maybe one day we'll get it ;) 


Love these girls so so much 💕
#friendsforever #sistersinchrist #besties

// Music

This summer I have listened to ... a LOT of music. My friend and I made a whole playlist and there's about 50 songs on there. And that wasn't even all the music I listened to. However, these 4 are some of my absolute favourites, especially Thy Will. 💕

Thy Will

No Matter What

You're Not Alone

Whole Heart


// Life Lessons

God. Is. In. Control. He was, he is, and he shall forever remain in control.

I think one of the biggest things I've struggled with over the summer is learning to just lean on God, trust in Him, and believe that he will do what he thinks is right when he wants.

I've battled with thoughts...been tempted to just give in and let the horrid thoughts take root and become words and actions. "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" - Proverbs 4:23

I've demanded justice. I've wanted to make things right and make sure that people knew the right thing. "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."" - Romans 12:19

I've felt completely helpless. I've despaired. "But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak." - Isaiah 40:31

And God's shown me, either through His word or through my family and friends, that you know what...it's not about me. All I've been doing is thinking about myself. "I think..." or "I wish..." or "I want to do this...". I, I, I, I, I. Getting to be pretty self-centered *shakes finger at self disapprovingly*

It's time to hand things over to God. Let him do his amazing work and stop trying to take matters into my own hands. And it can be hard to let things go and hand it over just like that. But I'm gonna keep on praying and I'm gonna let the Spirit work in my heart. Because God is in control. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


And that about wraps up my summer! It wasn't EVERYTHING that happened...I'll spare you from that. You'd be here at least a week if I did that ;) But this pretty much sums it up. I can't wait to be able to re-read this post a couple years or maybe even just a year from now 😄 I love memories. Making them and remembering them. It was a good season. 

Goodbye, Summer ☀️




Do you like making memories?
What's one of your favourite memories from Summer 2017?
You ready for fall?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Family Vacation Photos...Finally!!

Wow...it's hard to believe it's been over a month since we went to Virginia!!! Seriously though...I loved Every. Single. Moment of it. Sunsets and beaches and horses and ahhhhhh - it was so dreamy...I would definitely go there again :D And now FINALLY - here are those pics I promised you. A mix of photos from my camera and phone...145 in total (although I'm fairly certain the photo count went down when I deleted some accidental duplicates.)  It took pretty much all night to upload all of these, otherwise I think this post probablyyyy would have gone up last night xD 

Anyhoo, here they are! Hope you enjoy them :) 

On the road! 



At Cracker Barrel! Love at first sight ^_^ 





Found the end of the rainbow! 





Totally went crazy with sunset pictures this trip xD 














At Jackspot...a beautiful restaurant in Cape Charles. Seriously peoples, THE BEST! Dinner outside, by the beach, cool breeze, watching a sunset, delicious food, and country music. *dreamy sigh* 




Crab cake burger thingy :P No clue what the exact name was...but oh my goodness it is SO GOOD!!!! 


'Twas windy...






Beach Day!! 















OH! And the house we rented...was on a RAINBOW street. It was AMAZING *insert a million hearts* All the houses were different colours, it was soooooo cool! 














Ok...so I love chocolate ice cream...And I found out about this other flavour that had even MORE chocolate in it and I'm totallyyyy in love. But they don't sell it in Canada :( Marsh mud...SO DELICIOUS. (it also stains my teeth all brown.... #reality)


Misty of Chincoteague!! 




All ready for the Sunset Cruise! 



First wild pony sighting!!! 





















Just saying.....these particular horses INSISTED on hiding their heads in them bushes *sigh* But I still love how the sun is reflecting off their bodies and making them look so golden and all :) 



😍


















All them crazies :D 




Ok this picture was by pure accident. Had NO CLUE Sweet Pea was doing that when I took the picture and it wasn't until I was looking over the photos I had taken that I finally noticed xD 














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