Category Archives: Book Reviews

Money Secrets of the Amish

money secrets of the amish

Money Secrets of the Amish, by Lorilee Craker is jam-packed with practical, down-to-earth wisdom from the Plain People. Probably most of us want to stop being slaves to money and start living the good life. The Amish have a reputation for living well on less, consequently, it might help to find out how they do it.

A “worldly” woman with a Mennonite background, Lorilee Craker is in a unique position to connect with the Amish. She introduces us to Amish farmers, housewives and church leaders, coaxing their secrets from them while sharing homemade artisan cheese and fresh garden veggies. As a result, she is able to provide insight for us into how this group of people thrives without credit cards, enormous mortgages, or six-figure incomes.

With amusing anecdotes and real-life stories, the author and her friends go from over-extended to simple and satisfied, all while making it look like common sense.

My grandma and mom endured the Great Depression, so my childhood abounded in these tried and true methods of acheiving abundance with very little. These suggestions have also helped me get back on track when I have foolishly overextended myself.

Chapters include:

  • delayed gratification

  • recycling

  • de-spoiling the kids

  • how the best things in life really are free

  • Amish style gift giving

  • what to and not to buy in bulk

  • the next best thing to growing your own food

  • how to barter

Lorilee ends each chapter with her own Amish Money Makeover tips, especially relevant for practical application in a non-Amish life. Money Secrets of the Amish is a great resource, first for rebooting your attitude and outlook on money and possessions. In addition, it provides simple, sensible instructions for putting that reboot into practice. A useful reference for every home library, with links to helpful websites, also.

I bought the Kindle version from Amazon. No compensation was received for this review.

Money Secrets of the Amish, by Lorilee Craker

(c) 2011

Published by Thomas Nelson

242 pages

Available on Amazon $11.34 paperback, $7.99 Kindle


Barnyard Kids by Dina Rudick

Barnyard Kids A Family Guide for Raising Animals

Want to help your child get excited about raising critters? Barnyard Kids, A Family Guide for Raising Animals, teaches them how, with lots of pictures, diagrams, and words they’ll understand. Dina Rudick gives simple directions for choosing, housing, feeding, and caring for cows, sheep, goats, chickens and other farm animals.
Each chapter starts with a brief overview of the animal, then gets into the details of what, how and why to feed; the animal’s digestive system and other anatomy; common problems, health care, housing, and behavior. Each chapter concludes with what the animal can contribute to the overall homestead and questions and answers not otherwise addressed. This is followed by “your life with – “, detailing a sample daily, weekly and seasonal chores involved in taking care of your flock or herd.
Barnyard Kids is a great science, FFA, 4H and general resource. It is colorful, entertaining and easy to follow for young children, with enough information to spur older children to further investigation into their preferred animal and project suggestions for housing and care.
Barnyard Kids, by Dina Rudick
(c)2015, published by Quarry Books
$24.99 flexibound
Thanks to the good folks at Quarto Publishing for providing me with a free review copy of this book. No other compensation was received for this review.


The 5 Gallon Bucket Book

5-Gallon Bucket Book
This is quickly becoming my favorite go-to book for anything and everything that can be done with a 5 gallon bucket. Of course, I already was familiar with the composting toilet, the washing machine and the planters. This book contains more than 50 projects for around the homestead (and the home) that can be completed with 5 gallon buckets! Including a trash compactor, wine rack, and toddler swing.
I have currently gathered supplies for making the manual washing machine – handy for the rv or any off-grid situation, and the rolling composter – a design that I think is much more efficient for our rving homestead. I just need the time to make them. Be sure that I will be posting pictures and such when I do! Inspired by, but not included in the book, is a design for a spin-dryer for clothes, that I am going to experiment with. Details to follow when I get to that one.
All the projects in the 5 Gallon Bucket Book come with detailed instructions and lots of pictures. Also supply lists for each project and how it is supposed to work and be used when it’s done. Many of the projects are perfect for off-grid applications; some use electricity.  The 5 Gallon Bucket Book is a great investment for any do-it-yourselfer looking for more economical solutions to everyday issues in the home and garden. With this book and a few simple tools, you can make dozens of practical upgrades to your homestead.
The 5 Gallon Bucket Book, by Chris Peterson                                                                                                                                             (c)2015 by Quarto Publishing Group                                                                                                                                                                                                    Paperback, $19.99
Thanks to the good folks at Quarto Publishing for providing me with a free review copy of this book. No other compensation was received for this review.

It’s A Book!!

The Working Parent's Guide To Homeschooling by Robyn Dolan
The Working Parent’s Guide To Homeschooling

It’s finally in print and boy am I anxious to get this book out to anyone who might benefit from it. Think you’re too busy working to homeschool your children? Think again! “The Working Parent’s Guide To Homeschooling” is packed with tips, tricks, suggestions and resources to help working parents take charge of their children’s education.

Get your free excerpt at the link above and get ready to explore a whole new world of opportunities and freedom for yourselves and your children.The Working Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling” will inform and empower you with tools and resources to homeschool. You’ll explore time management, child care arrangements while working, how to teach and more, with real life working parents’ solutions to each of these issues.
Written specifically for working parents, my own experience peppers every chapter and I also share several other families’ experiences to illustrate solutions to succeed in working and homeschooling.
This dream has been a long time coming, so I hope you will celebrate with me. Now that I’ve give birth to my first book, I plan on doing it again. Get your copy today and tell me what you think!
Ebook formats coming soon.
Check out these posts, too:
Yak Shows Off His Science Projects
Working and Homeschooling



Truth Be Told – Book Review

Now that I’m finally back online, having weathered bad internet connections, crashed computers (plural!), a funeral and a wedding, I have to tell about a fantastic new historical fiction novel by a favorite author and friend, Carol Cox. Hot off the press, just in time for summer reading:
Truth Be Told, by Carol Cox
 Amelia Wagner steps off the train for her yearly visit with her father, investigative reporter and editor of the Granite Springs, Arizona“Gazette”, A.J. Wagner. What she finds is a series of seemingly unsubstantiated articles in her father’s newspaper, suggesting corruption in the Great Western Investment Company, the developers buying up much of the land around the town. Great Western sends handsome Ben Stone to spy on Amelia, but what happens next turns the tables on their land-grabbing scheme. As Ben and Amelia seek out the truth – Ben to clear Great Western and Amelia to clear her father’s name – they discover much more than lies and intrigue. Will they survive to bring the truth to light?
Once again, Carol Cox brings 1890’s Arizonato life. Set within a day’s ride of Prescott, Arizona, locals with a general knowledge of the old Peavine railway route can almost pinpoint the fictitious town of GraniteSprings. Budding journalist Amelia Wagner may have some traits of Carol herself, in the way she researches her subjects. Carol loves Arizonahistory and has traveled all over the state researching life in the 1890’s for her various writings. For Truth be Told, she met with Sky Shipley, owner of Skyline Type Foundry in Prescott,  one of only 3 type foundries left in the United States. Sky tutored Carol in the printing and operation of  a newspaper in the late 19th century, so that she could write with authenticity about the day to day work that went into gathering news and publishing it during that time period. I enjoyed recognizing the Hotel Burke as the present-day Hotel St. Michael in Prescott and suspected that the Eleventh Infantry Band, from nearby Fort Whipple, was the real deal. I thought the most delightful plot twist was how Amelia helped Ben to resolve his own secret crisis, without even knowing it.
Carol Cox specializes in romantic Christian historical fiction, set in our beloved Arizona. In addition to traveling to areas of the state where she places her settings and delving into local history and characters, Carol also draws on her own experience, as an Arizona native and wife of an ordained Southern Baptist minister.
Truth Be Told is available in paperback or ebook format from Baker Publishing, $14.99. Also available from Amazon and other distributors.
Many thanks to Carol Cox and Bethany House Publishers (parent company of Baker Publishing) for providing me with a free review copy of this book. As always, looking forward to your next one!
If you enjoyed this review, you might like these:
Gladius the Show – Review
Love in Disguise – Review


Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind – Review
Trouble in Store – Book Review