Thursday, January 4, 2018

Bringing Maggie Home

**I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  This post may contain affiliate links.  This review is my honest opinion of the book.**

bringing maggie home

I just finished Bringing Maggie Home, Kim Vogel Sawyer's latest release, and wow!

Happy tears.  So many happy tears.

The book is a tale of love, family, hope, and reconciliation.  The story revolves around a family of three women, a family like any other family, with drama, conflict, and sometimes underlying love.

Hazel, the matriarch of the DeFord family, has a secret that she has kept for nearly 70 years.  When she was ten years old, Hazel was picking berries with her three year old sister, Maggie.  All of a sudden Maggie disappears.  Still missing seventy years later, Hazel projects the guilt of losing her little sister onto her daughter, Diane, through fierce overprotectiveness.  Diane's daughter, Meghan, is forced to take a six-week recovery/vacation after an accident, which brings the women back together.  When Meghan uncovers Hazel's secret, she can't help but want to use her experience as a cold case detective to solve the mystery of what happened to little Maggie.

Hazel is my favorite character of the book.  She's so spry and faithful and wonderful despite dealing with such loss.  My heart ached for her, especially as we learned more about her life as a child and the way that the loss of her sister haunted her.

Diane, her daughter, was well, a spoiled brat.  I couldn't help but to be annoyed by her and her attitude toward her mother, toward her daughter's relationship with her mother, with her dogs, with her skepticism of her mother's faith.  How could she not understand her own mother once she became a mother?  Personally, being a parent has opened my eyes to my own parents motives.  I really could not identify with her at all, but I suppose that is the point.

Meghan was such a sweet character, who somehow turned out to be well-adjusted despite her mother, Diane's laissez-faire attitude toward parenting.  She has a strong, positive relationship with her grandmother Hazel that seems to ground her.  But it is easy to see that she has had to constantly be the mediator between her mother and grandmother, which seems like such an unfair role to have to play.

Bringing Maggie Home is Kim Vogel Sawyer's first time writing in a style that switches between the past and the present.  At first, I was unsure if I would like it, but I found it to be very effective in telling this story.

As a parent, this story was hard to read as I cannot imagine losing any of my children.  (My son happened to be three years old as I was reading it, so that may have played a role.)  But, let's just say that I shed some tears throughout Bringing Maggie Home.  Some sad tears, some happy tears.

Bringing Maggie Home is an amazing story.  I would highly recommend it.  The plot itself will leave you wanting to keep reading to find out, what did happen to little Maggie?  The writing is just superb, as expected from Kim Vogel Sawyer.  The historical pieces of the story bring a time of the past to vivid life.  And true to the Christian Fiction genre, the elements of Christian faith woven throughout the story create a beautiful picture of God's overwhelming grace.  Over the years, I've read a dozen or more Kim Vogel Sawyer books; you can read a few other reviews here

Get your copy of Bringing Maggie Home at Amazon -- click here.

Image result for bringing maggie home

Happy New Year!

It's the new year!  Two thousand eighteen. 

This year one of my resolutions is to dedicate more time here.  To this blog.  Harvey Ever After started out as a place to keep far away family and friends up to date on our first baby's antics.  Little Baby Prez is now four, and this blog has grown and shrunk and grown again in the past four years. 

In the same way, our family has grown and grown and shrunk and grown in the past four years.  Some seasons this blog has been very active and others I haven't really thought much about it. 

I think that now I'm ready.  Ready to make this a priority.  (read: a priority, not the priority.)

Updates for family and friends will still be here.  Things I've learned as a wife and mom will be here.  New things that I want to explore will be here. 

So, stay tuned.  It's going to be a fun year!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Halloween Decorating Tricks For Less

**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.  See my full disclosure for more details.**

Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s time to decorate!

Without ado, here are my top four Halloween decorating tips.

1. Color

The orange and black of the season makes me so happy; ya’ll know I bleed orange, right?  Go Pokes!

Halloween can be so black and white, but I love the pops of purple and orange, especially orange, to take things to another level. 

Halloween Decor Lanterns and Pumpkins
Get your adorable glittery pumpkin here!

2. Consistency

Bats, vampires, ghosts, witches, crows, skeletons, skulls, spiders, jack-lanterns, oh my!  I tend to stick with a limited number of themes around my house.  Personally, I’m not a vampire or ghost fan, but pumpkins are definitely my jam. 

I suggest that you stick with a theme or style around your home for Halloween decorating!

More glittery pumpkins!

3. Not too spooky

Many people love the guts and gore of Halloween, but please leave it at the store for decorating your home.  Halloween décor can classy and fun without grossing everyone out or scaring the children.  I love the cutesy décor that store like Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree stock in droves. 

Stay classy with your Halloween decorating.  No need for blood and guts, friends.

Halloween Decor

This guy is the closest I've ever come to guts and gore, and honestly, I'm still on the fence about how much I like it.  

4. Height

And finally, my favorite and most importantly, height.  Huh, height?  The biggest challenge I’ve found is that all of my Halloween decorations are fairly close to the same height.  Honestly, it just makes any display look dull and boring. 

Check it out.

Halloween Decor Tricks

And here’s the final dining room display for Halloween!  You can see that varying the height of the pieces makes a huge difference in how attractive the display is.

And a bonus! 

Halloween decorating can get expensive quick (almost as fast as Christmas decorating), but…just say no!  I made this entire display for under $20. 


I started with my own Halloween décor.  The lone witch’s shoe.  Add a trip to Dollar Tree and Goodwill, and we’re done. 

3 wall hangings @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (get your artsy skeleton here)
3 glittery LED-lit pumpkins @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (found here)
2 small lanterns @ $1/each from Dollar Tree 
2 pillar candles @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (found here)
1 witch’s hat @ $1/each from Dollar Tree
1 skull @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (found here)
1 BEWARE yard sign @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (found here)
1 shiney pumpkin @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (found here)
1 creepy cloth @ $1/each from Dollar Tree (found here)
1 candle holder @ $.50/each from Goodwill
3 orange ornaments that look suspiciiouly like pumpkins @ free from my Christmas décor
1 large black lantern @ free from my donate pile

= $15.50! 

My frugal soul loves to see that total!

And my time in Nebraska taught me that I should always have a decoration on my front door, so here we go!  I think these from Dollar Tree are super cute!  

Halloween Pumpkin Wooden Door DecorGlittery Pumpkin Halloween Door Decor Halloween Glittery Door Decor   

I’d love to hear about your decorating tips and “tricks” for Halloween!  Comment below.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Our Weekly Menu | November 28th

Our Weekly Meal Plan (Whole30, Paleo)

Monday -  Paleo White Turkey Chili (gotta use up those Thanksgiving leftovers), something like this or that.

Tuesday -  Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup with Salad

Wednesday -  Whole30 Breakfast Casserole (I'm stuffing this with veggies)

Thursday -  Paleo Butternut Squash Soup with Salad

Friday -  Paleo Mexican Beef with Mexican Greens (I'm making this up...if you have any recipes, let me know.  Otherwise, wish me luck.)

Saturday - Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner:  Whole30 Cracklin' Chicken with Smothered Greens and Roasted Cauliflower.

Sunday - Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  More Leftovers

Have a great week!

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post may contain affiliate links.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our Weekly Menu | August 15th

Our Weekly Meal Plan (Whole30, Paleo)

Sunday - Lunch:  Big Sandwich

Dinner:  Chicken Broccoli Braid (Miss Coco's favorite for back to school!)

Monday - Lunch:  Leftovers / School lunch

Dinner:  Leftover Fat-Burning Cabbage Soup

Tuesday -  Lunch:  Tuna salad, greens, clementine orange, almonds, applesauce

Dinner:  Baked salmon, kale, and fruit

Wednesday -  Lunch:  Turkey roll-ups, chips, blueberries, orange, cucumbers

Dinner:  Tacos from a church family

Thursday -  Lunch:  Salmon salad, greens, cucumbers, fruit, trail mix

Dinner:  Spaghetti squash with meat sauce and broccoli

Friday - Lunch:  Tacos, orange, carrots, and a surprise

Dinner:   Homemade pizza with sweet potato crust

Saturday - Lunch:  Brunch (Pancakes, Bacon, Eggs, and Smoothies)

Dinner:  Mexi-casserole with salad and bell peppers

Sunday - Lunch:  Out

Dinner:  Leftovers

Have a great week!

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post may contain affiliate links.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Viking Themed Nursery Ideas and Inspirations

Well, little baby brother will arrive in 2 days.  Yikes!  While he won't have a proper nursery just yet, I hope for him to once we move into our new house (pending inspections and all that jazz).

His nursery theme is . . . Vikings!  I wanted something unique, masculine, and adorable.  I really like the adventure themed nurseries I've seen on Pinterest, but it seems like the adventure theme is just a bit too common at this point for me.  So, I decided to take a Norse spin on the adventure theme and use a Viking Nursery Theme.

Viking Themed Nursery Ideas
Be Brave Print

Viking Ship Bookends

I think this was the first Pinterest picture that came up with my first search, and even though I probably will never buy these awesome bookends, I think they are perfect for a shelf or top of a dresser in a Viking themed nursery.

Viking Ship Sheets

Hanna Andersson Viking Themed Nursery Sheets

There is a crib sheet set available in the boat fabric that I'm very tempted to buy even though it's a bit more than I would usually spend on crib sheets.  (Okay, maybe I've never even bought a crib sheet that wasn't at a garage sale, so maybe that shouldn't count.)

Waves Area Rug

And I just adore this waves rug!  It comes in a variety of sizes both rectangular and round, but I think the round version just works with the round waves for a Viking themed nursery.

Wave Rug for Viking Themed Nursery

Viking-Inspired Sleigh Crib

This sleigh crib from Pottery Barn just says Vikings to me, but unfortunately it's not longer available.  I did find a similar one from Bratt Decor on Amazon.  You can check it out here.

Viking Sleigh Crib for Viking Themed Nursery
Pottery Barn Larkin Sleigh Crib

Viking Ship Mobile

Viking Ship Mobile for Viking Themed Nursery

There are several versions of this Viking ship mobile available from a variety of websites, but this is one is my favorite, by far, because of the navy striped sails.

Be Brave Viking Wall Print

And last, but not least, this Be Brave print is super cute and is the perfect color scheme as well.  Unfortunately, it is no longer being sold at the Etsy shop where it originated, so I may try to make one on my own!

Be Brave Print for Viking Themed Nursery

Viking Pillow

And I almost forgot this adorable pillow from Hanna Andersson.  The red doesn't quite fit with my blue and grey them, but I really like this little guy!

I'm on the lookout for more inspirations and products for my Viking themed nursery!  Can't wait for my little Viking to arrive in a few days!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Our Weekly Menu | June 6th

Our Weekly Meal Plan (Whole30, Paleo)

Sunday - Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  Out with Family

Monday - Lunch:  Leftover nachos

Dinner:  Mac & cheese

Tuesday -  Lunch:  Nachos

Dinner:  Southwest Chopped Salad

Wednesday -  Lunch:  Salad and Smoothies

Dinner:  Beef & Cauliflower casserole with Fruit

Thursday -  Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  Tandoori Chicken with Rice and Kale Salad

Friday - Lunch:  Salad and Smoothies

Dinner:   BLTs with Green Goddess Quinoa Salad

Saturday - Lunch:  Brunch (Pancakes, Bacon, and Smoothies)

Dinner:  Leftovers

Sunday - Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  Tater tot casserole with Salad and Fruit

I'm getting excited to start incorporating our garden produce into the menu!  Especially dinosaur kale; it's my favorite!

This week I'm also starting Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Evenings course.  Again.  My evenings are completely unproductive, and I can't even make it through this course.  Oops!  Trying again.

Have a great week!

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post may contain affiliate links.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our Delicious Weekly Menu | Paleo | April 24th

Our Weekly Meal Plan (Whole30, Paleo)

Sunday - Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  More leftovers

Monday - Lunch:  Salad and Smoothies

Dinner:  Daddy's in Charge (Mommy teaching night class)

Tuesday -  Lunch:  Salmon Salad on Spinach Greens with Smoothies (I use the protein salad recipe from the Whole30 Cookbook)

Dinner:  Super Veggie Minestone Soup with Salad and Spinach Biscuits*

Wednesday -  Lunch:  Salad and Smoothies

Dinner:  Out for My Birthday!

Thursday -  Lunch:  Leftovers

Dinner:  Sticky Chicken Drumsticks with Asparagus Salad and Fruit

Friday - Lunch:  Salad and Smoothies

Dinner:  Creamy Pork Chops (or roast) with Mashed Cauliflower and Green Goddess Quinoa Salad*

Saturday - Lunch:  Brunch (Pancakes, Bacon, and Smoothies)

Dinner:  Leftovers

Sunday - Lunch:  Tuna Salad Cucumber Cups with Fruit

Dinner:  Taco Salad with Hidden Veggies

*Not Paleo friendly

I'm getting excited to start incorporating our garden produce into the menu!  Especially dinosaur kale; it's my favorite!

This week I'm also starting Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Evenings course.  I keep thinking about how often my evenings are completely unproductive, and I have high hopes that this course will inspire me.  I would love it if you would  join me on this adventure!  My plan is to blog about my progress.  (I think this itself would be progress, actually!)

Have a great week!

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post may contain affiliate links.