Sunday, December 30, 2018

Blog Tour & Review - In The Shadow Of Croft Towers!

There is nothing more that I love than cuddling up to a good book on a cold December day. With the past two months I've had this was just what I needed to do to escape for a little while. In The Shadow Of Croft Towers was the perfect escape book. The story starts wildly with a grand adventurous scene and lots of questions. The whole book keeps you guessing. The characters are developed well and you find yourself routing for the main character Sybil Delafield. I love how the author kept to the time setting and the characters were pretty prim and proper. There was romance, mystery and friendship in this book. Characters grew over the course as well which is always wonderful to see in a book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will be looking at more stories from author Abigail Wilson as she is a wonderful writer.

About the Book

Book: In the Shadow of Croft Towers  
Author: Abigail Wilson  
Genre: Historical fiction, romantic suspense  
Release Date: January 15, 2019

From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a mysterious Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery. Orphaned Sybil Delafield jumps at the opportunity for a position at the mysterious Croft Towers. She believes she was hired to act as companion to a dying woman, but a highway robbery and a hostile welcome from the Chalcroft family cause her to wonder if she was actually hired to help someone spy for France. An unsolved murder adds intrigue to this already secretive family, and Sybil recognizes Mrs. Chalcroft’s handsome grandson as one of the infamous highwaymen who robbed her. Sybil must determine if this man’s charming smile and earnest eyes speak the truth or if he is simply using her like others in the house. Everyone seems to have something to hide, and Sybil must decide who to trust while also coming to terms with the truth about her own past.

Friday, December 21, 2018

A Better December

 The busyness of Christmas is enough to make anyone say "Bah-Humbug." There are just so many things that have to be done because of tradition and just the timing of the celebration. Of course the real focus should be on Christ and His birthday but I know, I often lose that focus while trying to get the perfect present or all those cookie trays for the neighbors done. A Better Christmas by Steven Estes is a short devotional book about remembering and focusing on the things that matter this holiday season. I loved the simple reminders mixed with short stories and scripture. This is just the thing I needed to read this holiday season.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Book Giveaway with Abrams Appleseed!

 I know I've said it a bunch here on the blog but I love giving and receiving books for gifts. Books open the world and take you to new places. They help you to learn and grow. We spend a lot of time reading in December - in fact during break that is the only school we do. Reading helps kids become better writers, too! Did you know that? Abrams Appleseed sent us three new holiday books to add to our collection and share with you! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post too!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski

 I've always been intrigued by celebration Advent. In my church (Independent Baptist) we really don't celebrate this advent season. I was very excited to read Prepare Him Room because it is a family devotional that walks you through the advent season and centers on celebrating the birth of Jesus. This book is well written and gives activities, scripture and more to make the devotional come alive for families with all ages.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Zondervan Christmas Book Giveaway!

I personally love to read but my kids don't always share my enthusiasm. However during Christmas I've found that I can create a magical experience by introducing special holiday books. I actually keep them all together and I add new books each year. One year I wrapped 24 books up and put them under the tree and it was so much fun to open each book and read each day. (I think this was their favorite way to present the books - this year I'm a little behind but I would like to do the 12 days leading up to Christmas this way.) Another year we did mandatory bedtime stories with the whole family on our bed, I miss those days! With the bigger kids they don't join in but the littles still love hanging out on my bed and sharing a story. I read about an Icelandic tradition that everyone gets new books on Christmas eve and candy. Then they spend the night in bed reading and snacking. THIS is my Christmas night tradition. I like to spend the day in PJS and read my new books Santa brought. 

What are your book traditions?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


 Every year my Dad would say he was the Grinch. He had a stuffed Grinch he put out at Christmas time and several themed tshirts that he wore on Christmas. The truth is he wasn't the least bit Grinchy at all. He loved Christmas and getting together with family. Him and my Mom decorated their house with no less than five christmas trees each year. It was their season. Yet, still my dad loved the songs from the movie and Mr. Grinch's sinister smile. He watched the movie every year and it is a part of my memory of him. Losing Dad only a few weeks ago just makes the movie more special to me. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tilbury House Publishers - Holiday Book Giveaway!

 I have a wonderful giveaway consisting of three children's books from Tilbury House Publishers! I have to say I was blown away by these books! Mother Earth's Lullaby: A Song for Endangered Animals is a stunning bedtime story. Because the animals are endangered we are seeing a different variety than most animal books I've read to the kids before. Plus this book helps to explain what is going on. Our children are the next advocates for our world and I believe exposing them to big ideas like endangered animals will help them grow to be changers of the world.

In If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur has been a fun addition to our day because we study different artist through classical education. I love the extra exposure and unique, fun way this book approaches it. We have been obsessed with sea creatures since my littles discovered Octonauts. Don't Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures (How Nature Works) is a great look at the interesting creatures under the ocean. 

Look Great This Holiday! Tips & Tricks!

The holidays usually mean parties and gatherings. I love the fabrics of this time of year. Velvets, cashmere, warm sweaters, and boots all make for wonderful looks. Most everyone I know decorates their house for hosting and I love to dress the occasion. I love picking out my children's dress clothes for church and parties. This year everyone has something red to wear. It is one of my favorite colors and it looks good on everyone. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lost Christmas Memories Blog Tour with Giveaway!

I am a big fan of the Love Inspired books in general and I have taken a real liking to the Suspense series. The "who done it" aspect of the story adds another level to the stories that keep my interests. These books are short - Lost Christmas Memories by Dana Mentink- is only 219 pages long. I like that length because it is a fairly quick read for me. This story had a lot of layers of characters as it was part of the Gold Country Cowboys Series. What is nice is that you can read any one of those books as an independent read or you can read the whole series. This is the second book I've read from Mentink and I love how she develops characters. Overall the main characters Tracy and Keegan were enjoyable to read about and I really liked this book. They mystery part kept me guessing until the very end which is a very rare thing for me! Set in Christmas time makes this time of year a perfect time to read this book.

About the Book

Book: Lost Christmas Memories  
Author: Dana Mentink  
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense/Christmas  
Release Date: November 1, 2018  

A witness with amnesia Can she trust this Gold Country Cowboy with her life? Tracy Wilson witnessed a murder—but after a head injury, she can’t remember what she saw. Now someone plans to silence her for good, and only cowboy Keegan Thorn believes her. With a killer after her at Christmas, Tracy is running out of time to remember…and falling dangerously hard for the cowboy who could break her heart.
Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet. You can connect with Dana via her website at

Guest Post from Dana

Writing this book was bittersweet for me. It was lovely to finally be able to tell youngest Thorn brother Keegan’s story, but I sure am sorry to say goodbye to this series! It was such fun to write about these four kinsmen and the family bonds that held them together through all manner of murder and mayhem! Here at Mentink Manor, we have recently sent a bear cub away to college for the first time. It feels like I have lost a limb now that my Boo Boo is gone! Fortunately, we will enjoy having her home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Though it won’t be a cozy country Christmas like it is for Keegan (we live in a city of 80,000 here in Northern, CA) we will be thrilled to have all our family home to celebrate together (Mama Bear, Papa Bear, two cubs, a naughty terrier, and a senior citizen box turtle!) I hope you enjoy this last installment in the Gold Country Cowboy series. I am sending along our best wishes for a blessed holiday season, from our Mentink household to yours!

Blog Stops

Blog Stops

Christian Bookaholic, November 22
Among the Reads, November 22
Inklings and Notions, November 23
Blogging With Carol, November 23
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24
Moments, November 25
Simple Harvest Reads, November 25
Genesis 5020, November 26
SusanLovesBooks, November 26
Remembrancy, November 26
Kat’s Corner Books, November 27
Pause for Tales, November 27
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27
Quiet quilter, November 28
Book by Book, November 29
A Rup Life, November 29
Older & Smarter?, November 30
Have A Wonderful Day, November 30
Cafinated Reads, November 30
KarenSueHadley, December 1
Lighthouse Academy, December 1
Daysong Reflections, December 1
Bibliophile Reviews, December 2
Bigreadersite, December 3
Texas Book-aholic, December 4
Carpe Diem, December 4
Godly Book Reviews, December 5


To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away a grand prize of a copy of Lost Christmas Memories, a $50 Amazon gift card and this cute reading charms necklace!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. received product, press or compensation to facilitate this review. This post may contain affiliate links, which means that by clicking on an affiliate link I may receive a small amount of money. We only give our honest opinions of products. This post is in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255 concerning the use, endorsements or testimonials in advertising. Lisa Rupertus/ A Rup LIfe is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Friday, November 23, 2018

National Geographic Kids Weird But True! Mega Prize Pack Review and Giveaway!!

I have an amazing giveaway today!  National Geographic Kids Weird But True! Book Mega Prize Pack - this includes thirteen of the coolest fact containing books! Books 1-10 each contain 350 outrageous facts. Facts like:

"More People Have Been To The Moon Than To The Bottom Of The Ocean." -Weird But True Book 5

"The Scientific Study Of Passing Gas Is Called Flatology. " - Weird But True Book 5

"A Group Of Blue Jays Is Called A Party." - Weird But True Book 2

"A Snowflake Can Take Up To Two Hours To Fall From A Cloud To The Ground" - Weird But True Book 2

Monday, November 19, 2018

Adagio Advent Tea Calendar Review & Giveaway!

 Christmas is so close! It is almost time to decorate and very much time to start shopping! One tradition my kids have done for years is to pick out a chocolate advent calendar. They love counting down the days to main holiday. When I saw that Adagio had an Advent Tea Calendar I was so excited! Finally a grown-up version. This also comes at a perfect time as it is cold here in NJ. Last week we had an unexpected snow! I can't remember the last time we've had snow before Thanksgiving. I love sitting in the mornings and drinking a hot cup of tea while I read my bible. I love opening a new surprise each day and trying something new. This really is adult fun!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

THE KITCHEN MARRIAGE - Review & Giveaway!

Today I have a fun book to share with you. I've always loved a mail-order-bride story and this one comes with a nice twist with the women being originally from France! I like that the main character Zoe decides to take a risk with her future and travel to Montana. Her independence makes her a likable character. There are some twist and turns through the book which also makes for an interesting read.

About the Book

Book: The Kitchen Marriage  
Author: Gina Welborn & Beccan Whitham  
Publisher: Kensington Publishers  
Genre: Inspirational romance/Historical America set in the old west  
Release Date: September 25, 2018  

A bright future awaits the women of courage and faith who boldly chase their dreams across the wide-open Montana Territory, prepared to embrace adventure and forge their own destinies . . .

When French immigrant Zoe de Fleur is forced out of her position as household cook for a high society New Yorker, the pretty and talented chef seizes an unexpected chance to head west for a new beginning. She pursues what she thinks is a prestigious job in the frontier’s “finest kitchen,” but instead finds herself in a matchmaker’s agency . . . Isaak Gunderson is one of Helena, Montana’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s too focused on running for mayor and his family’s business to think about a wife and family. His twin brother, Jakob, is supposed to be too busy as well, yet sends for a mail-order bride anyway. Isaak doesn’t want to fuel an ongoing rivalry with his twin, but this tempting newcomer can’t be ignored. If only she’d come to Helena a different way and loving her wasn’t a betrayal . . .

Click here to purchase your copy!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Celebrate National STEM day with Itty Bitty Buggy!

 Today, November 8th is National STEM day. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math . I'm sure you've heard about the buzz word STEM within your child's education. It is a growing idea to focus on these areas because of advanced careers and how computers have exploded kids are being exposed to technology earlier and excelling. Microduino sent us their Itty Bitty Buggy STEM kit to test out. 

My eight year old had a blast playing with Itty Bitty Buggy. This is a great starter kit because the app has many projects that you can build (it shows you piece by piece.) We had even more fun when I just gave my son the pieces and little him build. This kit was very user friendly and skys the limit with your imagination! 

The kit comes with everything you need to get started, the only thing you have to do is download the app on a smart phone. I have an iphone so this was no problem. Everything linked up and we were successful with our first project. This was a big deal to me because I'm not very tech savvy. 

 Product Details:

 ·         Hardware based on mCookie series: No need for messy wiring, Microduino’s mCookie series makes electronics easily connectable with magnetic stackable modules
·         Endless design possibilities: Compatible with more than 50 Microduino modules and sensors, as well as LEGO® pieces
·         Four modes of play: Intelligent line-tracing, musical color recognition, and other tasks can be performed in Ranger, Cruiser, Voice Control, and Musician mode using the free app for Android and iOs devices
·         Three coding languages: More exciting opportunities for skilled users to practice programming skills using Scratch, Python, and Arduino
·         More projects to come: Expansion kits will launch later this year with cool features such as artificial intelligence (AI) application that can be added to the core hardware platform

 Visit Microduino to learn more! 

Check Out These Post:

Book Review: Absolutely Everything! by Christopher Lloyd 

Strong Is The New Pretty Journal - Review received product, press or compensation to facilitate this review. This post may contain affiliate links, which means that by clicking on an affiliate link I may receive a small amount of money. We only give our honest opinions of products. This post is in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255 concerning the use, endorsements or testimonials in advertising. Lisa Rupertus/ A Rup LIfe is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Duck and Hippos Give Thanks! Book Review & Giveaway!

 I love pulling out special books to learn about the holidays we celebrate. I'm slowly gathering quite a collection for each of the major holidays and Thanksgiving is one of my favorites. This year we added Duck and Hippo Give Thanks. This is a sweet book about friendship and how each person likes to celebrate. Hippo wants a traditional feast while his friends like their own dishes - if you have ever hosted Thanksgiving you know that this is exactly what happens. In our house I make two kinds of bread because my husband likes one kind of rolls and I like another! For years his father made two kinds of stuffing to please our group. Learning to compromise and enjoy the reason for the fellowship is the lesson here. It comes with some laughter along the journey. I love the added use of onomatopoeia across the pages as an added lesson (hey, we are homeschoolers!) This is a great addition to our home library!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Book Review: Thanksgiving Graces

My husband loves Christmas. He starts with the music in September and shortly after is watching all his favorite movies. I get it Christmas is wonderful it brings a light to the cold weather. That is his favorite but my favorite time of year is Fall. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Book Review: Absolutely Everything! by Christopher Lloyd #WIN

 When I agreed to review this book - Absolutely Everything! by Christopher Lloyd - it was mostly out of curiosity. See it is a secular history book and we are pretty devout Christians. I do teach my kids about evolution and other religions so I knew this book would have a place on our shelf and I agreed to review it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Strong Is The New Pretty Journal - Review & Giveaway!

Being a boy mom I don't really have a lot of girly products come my way. I mean occasionally I do. However most of it is fluffy unicorn stuff. While that has its place I often wonder about the other side of raising girls. See as a boy mom I made it my goal to raise strong, independent, intelligent boys. I want them to own their lives and live to the fullest. I'm pretty sure girl-moms want the same thing for their girls.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide: OZ Naturals Olive & Jojoba Oil Nourishing Soufflé

The weather is getting cold here in NJ and I've already noticed my skin is parched for moisture. It was time to switch out my summer skin care for fall. I like to start exfoliating my face and body more at this time with sugar scrubs because removing those dead skin cells is key to make the moisturizers be able to penetrate. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Star Wars Art Studio Review & Giveaway!

 To say we are Star Wars fans is pretty much an understatement. Every single member of my family is into it. We have a whole room in our house devoted to it! I've seen every movie multiple times. I don't think there has been a Halloween that hasn't had a star wars costume. We even had a Star Wars Themed Graduation Party for my oldest son. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Duck On A Disco Ball Review & Giveaway

 I grew up with two older brothers who got to stay up much later than me. I remember waking up and finding out that my parents had gone to McDonald's after I had fallen asleep one night and being so upset about being left out. It is a memory I still have today. I asked my dad about it once after I had been married and living in my own house for many years and he chuckled. Then he told me it was a weekly thing they did. That my mom and him would go get McDonald's as a treat for themselves. They would wait until all the kids went to bed because they couldn't afford to buy for all of us and it was their special date treat. As an adult I can relate to this and I find it so sweet. However, as a kid I was so jealous!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fall Traditions You Will Love!

 Do you feel like you want to fit it all in each season. I know I do. It is hard because there is honestly not enough time in the day to do it all. The best solution I've found is to make a list of the top things that are important and then do those. There are some things we do annually like apple picking and pumpkin picking. Then we always try to do something new - like the haunted event at Sahara Sam's. Remember it is not to late to start new traditions!

Sunday, October 21, 2018


 We are getting excited for the new Disney's Wreck It Ralph movie! It is only a month away. We already have plans to meet with friends to see this one. My 2 year old say the trailer and said, " I love that show!" I think it is going to be a hit with all my kids since they are all excited about this one! We've watched the original in anticipation to the release. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide: Real Shades Review & Giveaway!

 We went apple picking a few weeks ago at a local farm. It is one of my favorite activities to do during the fall season. Getting to go outdoors and and ride in a wagon to a field. Then pick fresh apples that haven't spent months traveling to the store - it is a wonderful thing. We picked a wide variety of apples but our favorites are golden delicious and red delicious. The kids had a blast running through the fields and filling our buckets.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

NCircle Entertainment Halloween DVD Giveaway!

 We love NCircle Entertainment and all the great programing the produce! Octonauts and The Cat and The Hat Knows A Lot About That are some of our absolute favorites. Just the other day someone posted a meme on facebook that asked how old you were when you learned there was a horned whale (Narwhal) well immediately I thought of the Octonauts episode and how my little kids were young when they realized they existed. See there is something to be said about quality educational television. It can expand your mind just like a book! Both have their place in our home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Gods and Heroes: Mythology Around the World Review & Giveaway!

 I love mythology! When I was growing up I didn't get to study it in school or at home - in fact I knew next to nothing about it until I read the Percy Jackson series. So naturally I took the time to expand my children's universe. Many years ago when my older kids were little we did a whole study on different beast, gods and lore. We had such a fun time studying the different myths. Now as Christians we used that time to talk about how these ideas were created in relation to the Real God. It was a great learning experience.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


 I was introduced to Sukey Molloy years ago with her dvds Sukey's Circle. They are amazing dvds and just like having a preschool teacher in your home. I've always loved the sweet way that Sukey talks to children and this cd - Five Little Oysters! - brings that same sweetness to classic children songs. Introducing my children to music has always been some thing I've really enjoyed. We sing often in our home and the CD player is always playing. I get so much joy when we are driving in the car and I hear my little one singing on his own in the back seat. I love hearing my favorite songs from him.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Fall Board Books Giveaway with Abrams Appleseed!

abrams appleseed board book giveaway

 Fall is the perfect time for cuddling up to new books. The weather turns crisp and getting under the covers is the perfect way to spend a cool morning. I am really trying to foster a true love of reading with my littles. This really means putting in some quality reading time each day. By making it a routine to pull books out in the morning this has really helped. I keep a bin with books I rotate with new books accessible so that my two year old will be able to get them himself. He loves getting to pick out books for us to read.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Q&A with Dillon T. Thornton author of Give Them Jesus

 When I first became a parent 18 years I had only been saved about 6 years. I did not grow up in a saved home although we did believe in Jesus. My parents got saved around the time I did but there wasn't much growth there with my mom being so sick with cancer. My father didn't really grow in the Lord until I was out of the house. Thankfully my step-mom used those few years of me living at home to model many wonderful behaviors. I knew she read her bible and studied. However I was still at a loss of how to teach my own children. I think it is sad that I'm not alone in this area. Many times the church fails us because they don't help us to teach our own kids. They tell us that church is not enough. So while we prayed, sang and read books - in our home practicing our religion I don't think I really started teaching theology until we started homeschooling and I made it a class for the kids.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide 2018!

holiday christmas gift

 Christmas is right around the corner. There are only 10 Fridays until the big day! Time to get busy! I've already started shopping because I have to do it slowly to get it all done. I'm not one of those shop all day and get it all done at one time kind of people. I like to plan each present and do a little research. I also like to deal shop so I hit target when they have a great coupon or cartwheel. The main stores I usually go to are target, walmart, kohls, and the mall. It used to be ToysRus - which I will truly miss!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Changing Faces Book Giveaway! Don't Wake the Tiger! & Happy Halloween!!

 We started our changing faces book collection with Meet Happy Bear which went through emotions. Our next books was Don't Wake The Tiger! This book is so much fun! As you read the story prompts you to turn the page and then wake up the animals. My little one giggled through the whole book. Our newest addition is Happy Halloween! This time a spider scares each of the halloween characters. This is a great read for the season and we enjoyed it so much. I love this series and can't wait to see more books added.