“A Kiss For Cadence” -a Book Review and a Valentine’s Day GIVEAWAY

I learned to read when I was four years old. One of my very favorite things to do then—and now—is to curl up with my dog in my cozy chair and lose myself in words.A Kiss For Cadence Review- GCG

When I was offered the opportunity to review Airian Eastman’s ambitious first novel, A Kiss for Cadence, I was flattered and intrigued. And, when the book arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find not just one book…but two….a second paperback book to offer to you as a giveaway!

A Kiss for Cadence is the story of a young woman returning to her small hometown after her marriage twelve years before. We discover that the intervening years have not been happy ones for Cadence, and we learn much about her family relationships, her broken dreams—and a kindly man with smoldering eyes who re-enters her life.

Eastman, from Central New York State herself, does a lovely job describing Cadence’s hometown and surroundings. In my reader’s mind, I could see the sunsets, the comfortably furnished homes, the sparkling lakes; and I could feel the snowflakes on my cheeks, the sturdy church pews, as well as the even harder to portray close relationships between Cadence’s siblings.

Airian Eastman tackles some heavy subjects in this novel: spousal abuse and other family tragedies with the potential to shake relationships to their foundations. These sections were written thoughtfully and honestly. When the final chapter came to an end, I felt I knew the characters and had been involved in their lives. I’ll admit—the ending surprised me—and I was very happy to see that a sequel to A Kiss for Cadence is in the works.

Airian Eastman’s A Kiss for Cadence is just the thing to curl up with on these long winter afternoons. It’s a quick read, but not necessarily a “light” read. There are parts that will make you think, and wonder, and feel. It’s divided into chapters, so if you need to set it down for a while, you can easily find your place again—or you can read a few chapters and then come back to it—although I think once you start reading A Kiss for Cadence you’ll not want to put it down!A Kiss for Cadence Review GCG


So…about the GIVEAWAY –you can enter to win your own signed copy of Airian Eastman’s A Kiss for Cadence” in these ways:

  1. Leave a comment below this post. You might tell what intrigues you about this book, or why you’d like to win it—or just a bit about your reading habits…OR…
  2. You could leave a comment under the post on our Green Circle Grove Facebook page…..OR….
  3. You could share the Facebook post with your friends.

On Saturday morning, February 14th—Valentine’s Day—the random picker will choose the winner. I hope it’s YOU!

UPDATE!!! Chosen by Random Picker –the winner of the signed edition of Airian Eastman’s novel is CARRIE J., who entered on our Facebook page.  Congratulations, Carrie J., and thank you all for helping promote Ms Eastman’s novel!  Happy Valentine’s Day!


Now, if you can’t wait to see if you are the winner, you can purchase a paperback copy of A Kiss for Cadence, and it’s also available for your Kindle, HERE through Amazon.


And our disclaimer: Green Circle Grove was furnished with a copy of A Kiss for Cadence, but the comments and considerations are entirely unsolicited.


This post was shared with (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop, February 2 and also with Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop at Katherine’s Corner and From the Farm Blog Hop.

“My Days” – Confessions, A Review, and A Give-Away!

In my mind, I think of the cycle of a year as a sort of calendar. By the end of December, it’s full of dates, some crossed out, some added in the margins. It’s a bit tattered from erasures and from having pages turned back; there are marks from paper clips, tape and stickers, there are days with big red stars, and sometimes a series of days that should be damp from tears or black and gloomy. The last few weeks are packed full of appointments and reminders. I find myself saying, “No, I couldn’t possibly. But, after the first of the year….”

The new year, to me, is like a new calendar…it’s fresh, clean, crisp. Even better, my birthday comes right after the New Year. It’s like the year and I have a chance to start over—a clean slate, you know?My Days-GCG

Confession: I happen to love paper. When I was a young girl, “school shopping,” meant new tablets, freshly sharpened pencils with clean pink erasers, a snappy new pencil box. For a long time, I couldn’t write thoughtfully without a yellow pad and a few pencils lined up next to it. The feel of a new tablet of paper…the smell of erasers…the sound of a crisp new notebook opening for the first time? Heaven. Confession #2: I have been known to open a new notebook or a 3-ring binder filled with blank paper and just close my eyes, breathe deeply, and smell the possibilities.

I suppose it all fits, doesn’t it? A clean, smooth pad of paper. An unmarked calendar. A new year and a new start.

Confession #3: I’ve been a following a friend’s journey from city life to homestead—she and her husband have jumped feet first into market gardening and chicken keeping. They have embraced the country lifestyle whole-heartedly, and yet there is a part of her (I believe) that longs for order—chickens that stay in their pens and out of the gardens, temperatures that don’t plunge below freezing when tiny plants are in beds. I also believe that many of us long for the same sense of order.

We know that we cannot organize nature to our liking, of course, but we certainly can try to come up with a system for the other parts of our lives—meal planning, appointments, household repairs and chores, phone calls to return, agendas. For many years, I’ve tried to use a system of a wall calendar, pocket planner and notes tacked to two bulletin boards and the refrigerator. I don’t have to explain how well this works-or why I look forward to a new calendar year.

Jenny, from Black Fox Homestead, has turned her longings into art. She has created and designed “Little Bird’s Deluxe Planning and Time Management Set”. I’m excited to give it a try, and thrilled to be able to share it with you. Here’s why:

  • It’s PAPER!! Not only that, this “deluxe” set includes a yearly planner, a month at a glance, a fill in the blank monthly calendar with four different illustrations, errands planning sheet, two different options for menu planning and shopping, contacts sheets, and more. It can be used as is, put into a binder, or laminated for repeated use.
  • It’s beautiful. From the front cover with the tiny bird, the nest full of delicate blue eggs, all outlined with branches just sprouting their first leaves—it’s hopeful, as well. The cycle begins anew.
  • It makes me think. You may not want to think when you’re jotting down notes, but at the beginning of a new page-or a new year-it’s a good idea to have some goals and priorities. There’s a whole page devoted to this—from the choice of a word for the year to a column devoted to ‘what I want to accomplish’ and another column for ‘what I need to accomplish’. And not only that, on the same lovely page (with mama bird setting on her nest of her own “goals and priorities”), there is a numbered list on which you can make your plans.
  • It allows one to break projects down into smaller goals—something I find helpful. There are whole pages, in fact, devoted to just this…monthly, weekly, and daily. The daily page may just be my favorite. (The little birds have hatched and mama is busy, busy feeding them.) There are nicely arranged cubicles for daily priorities (right at the top-where they will be noticed first!), and one for the daily menu, contacts to be made. The day is also broken down, on this same page, into hourly increments, so you can jot down what needs to be done at a specific time.
  • It offers choices. There are so many ways to use “Little Bird’s Deluxe Planner and Time Management Set”. A suggestion was made to laminate the daily planning page, so it could be used over and over. You might want to do this, and save paper, but for a paper-lover like me—I plan to print a page for each day. This gives me a journal of my daily life, too. I can use it to refer back to planting dates, menu choices, and appointments. It’s also not necessary to print each section in the deluxe set, but I think you’ll want to—there’s a shopping list, a menu-planning sheet, “to-do” lists and notepaper.
  • It’s easy, it’s a one-time expense (and not all that much), and you can have it today.

Here’s how to purchase your own “Little Bird’s Deluxe Planner and Time Management Set”—fly right over HERE—to the Etsy shop run by Jenny. You can purchase, download, print and get started right away.

The page components of planner and time management set are also available separately, and while you’re browsing the Etsy shop you’ll want to take a look at some of the other items, as well. Jenny is offering readers of the Green Circle Grove blog a 25% discount on any purchase$4.99 and up, between now and January 18th. Just put in the coupon code GCG2015.

OR…if you want to take a chance, you can ENTER TO WIN the twenty-two piece set. The talented artist at Black Fox Homestead is giving away a“Little Bird’s Deluxe Planner and Time Management Set” to one lucky person. There are three ways you could have your name put into the random picker for the drawing on Saturday morning, January 10, 2015. (That will give you the whole weekend to start filling it in!)

You could:

  • Leave a comment on this blog post, telling what aspect of the planner appeals to you the most, or
  • You could leave a comment on our Green Circle Grove Facebook page, right under the post promoting this giveaway, or
  • You could share the Facebook post with a friend. (Only shares from the Green Circle Grove Facebook page will be counted.)

Or, I suppose you could do all three, and that would put your name in the running three times, wouldn’t it?!?

And now, you must excuse me. I have a planner with blank pages sitting on my table with a sharpened pencil resting next to it. Happy birthday, to me—and good luck to you!

My Days GCG

One final confession: I was provided with “Little Bird’s Deluxe Planning and Time Management Set”. The comments in this review, however, are entirely my own.

This post is shared with The (mis)Adventures of a “Born Again” Farm Girl’s Blog Hop January 5.

“Homestead Cooking With Carol” A review, an author interview, and a giveaway!

 I have been looking forward to this day for months! Really!  Well, two months, at least.  Two months ago, author Carol J. Alexander offered to let me preview her new book  Homestead Cooking With Carol – Bountiful Make Ahead Meals.  I read it cover to cover, and pronounced it the newest essential in my country kitchen!  I’d like to tell you a little bit about it.homesteading cooking with carol cover3 with border (427x640)

First of all, “Homestead Cooking with Carol” is listed as a cookbook, but it’s more than that…there are recipes included, but it’s actually more a comfortably written book of suggestions from a helpful, knowledgeable friend.  As you read, Carol becomes your guide in the kitchen—assuring, reassuring, looking over your shoulder in a kindly way as you fix make ahead meals, tackle the terrors of your first experience with a pressure canner, investigate grain mills. She instructs you to add a “tad” of this, perhaps a “shake” of that, and by the time you’ve finished, you feel like you could easily accomplish the task on your own.

“Homestead Cooking With Carol” is chock-full of little hints (how to keep water deposits from forming on your canning jars, for example) and big ideas, as well, (butchering and processing poultry).  From the first chapter, in which Carol helps the reader decide whether to can or freeze, through easy instructions for scrumptious desserts and whole meals that can be prepared months in advance for serving at a moment’s notice, to a comprehensive listing of equipment and supplies for the well-stocked homestead kitchen, through the last pages and appendices giving resources, this reference book is valuable to anyone who uses a kitchen.

You’ll want to purchase and download a copy of this book, and you can easily do so HERE.  Even if you are an experienced cook—or a beginner—you’ll find something helpful in every chapter of “Homestead Cooking With Carol”.

In preparation for this review, I interviewed Carol J. Alexander (thanks, Carol!). IMG_0282a (640x640)

I tried to ask the questions that I thought you might have –

GreenCircleGrove: “Homestead Cooking?  How is that different from any other type of cooking?”

Carol J. Alexander: Homestead cooks face different challenges than other homemakers. For the most part, we try to grow most of our food. The normal homemaker goes to the grocery and buys her tomatoes by the pound. The homesteader picks them out back by the bushel. Then, she faces the question of what to do with them. How will I use these tomatoes this year? She has to plan for a year at a time because that is how the food comes. The normal homemaker only needs to plan for a week at a time, if she wants to plan at all. My mother was known to stop at the grocery every-single-day on her way home from work to get what she felt like eating for supper that night.


GCG: “Who do you think this book will appeal to the most?”

CJA: I think that for the most part new homesteaders will benefit from this book. “Old timers” will know what’s in it. But, I think that even an “old timer” who is in a transition time like the empty nest will benefit from the planning section.


GCG: “Why?”

CJA: I think the new homesteader will find a treasure trove of information in “Homestead Cooking with Carol”. Not only do I give a blow-by-blow on cleaning chicken feet, but the appendices give invaluable resources for someone just learning her way around a homestead kitchen.


GCG: “Now, a little about writing: What made you take the step from cooking to cookbook?”

CJA: I’m a freelance writer by trade. My articles have been in “Grit Magazine”, “Hobby Farms”, “BackHome”, and “Urban Farm” as well as regional parenting magazines and various other places. After seeing that the food posts on my blog, Everything Home with Carol, were the most popular, it only made sense to write a cookbook.


GCG: “Do you write a little every day, or do your ideas come to you at odd times? (Or both?)”

CJA: My best stuff comes to me as I’m falling asleep.  I do write every day. But during the summer months, when I’m busy out in the garden, I’m known for repeating ideas, key phrases, or even paragraphs over and over to myself until I can get inside to a pencil and paper.


GCG: “Are you working on your next project?”

CJA: Absolutely. There is a book called “Write, Publish, Repeat”. I love that title as it explains exactly what a writer should do. If I snooze, I lose, right? Anyway, I’ve already started editing my “Lessons from the Homestead” series for second editions and I’m accumulating notes and doing my “head-writing” thing for my next homesteading book.


GCG: “And finally: The majority of Green Circle Grove readers are women in “mid-life” – experienced cooks with grown (or nearly grown) families.  Why should they purchase Homestead Cooking With Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals?”

CJA: Again, I think any time women go through a transition period in life, they need ideas to help them along. Where the basics like how to make applesauce might not be needed for the mid-life cook facing the empty nest, the meal-planning section and the accompanying worksheets could be very helpful. Also, if a woman’s family is grown, but may pop in without notice with a couple grandbabies in tow, what better thing than to have meals in jars on hand?

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Now, if you have more questions—or you’d like to talk to Carol yourself, Sunday, March 16 at 9:00 p.m. EST, Carol is planning a teleconference on homestead cooking. It will be a time to learn the difference between cooking on the homestead and cooking off the homestead. She will share her thoughts then have a time of questions and answers. She would love for you to join. If you think you might want to, click here to sign up to receive more details. If you’re not sure that day and time will work for you, sign up anyway and then you can get the recording to listen to at your convenience.


Bonus time:  Would you like the chance to win a copy of Carol J. Alexander’s new book, “Homestead Cooking With Carol-Bountiful Make-ahead Meals”? You’ll need to do only two simple things: first, leave a comment here on this blog post and next, if you haven’t already, subscribe to receive our blog posts by email. Carol’s blog tour will wrap up on Friday, March 21st and on Saturday morning, March 22nd, we’ll put all your names in a hat and use a “random picker” to choose the winner. We’ll announce the winner here and on our facebook page as well.


This post is shared with Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 130, Simply Living Simply Saturdays Blog Hop and From the Farm Blog Hop

Market Bag Giveaway

It wasn’t so long ago that I received, from a dear friend, the gift of a market bag.  It was made out of some sort of waterproof material, with a flannel-like lining–sort of like picnic tablecloth fabric.  It rolled up neatly, and I packed it in with my other [sort of flimsy] bags that I keep in the car for trips to the grocery store and farmer’s market.  The next trip to the store, this new bag was on top.  It seemed a bit smaller than the others, but I was only going to grab a loaf of bread and a couple of small things–you know how that goes–I ended up with twice what I’d planned to buy because there were sales on necessities, and ohhhh those peppers look yummy….

I shook the little bag open at the checkout counter and figured I’d have to ask for another bag for the extra items.  Not so!! The little bag expanded and grew and held every last pepper.

Back home, I decided the only things that could make this bag better would be to make it out of some sturdy, washable fabric in a pretty print–in fact, to make it out of coordinating or contrasting fabrics and have it REVERSE!   So that’s what I did.

I’ve found this little bag rolls right up and tucks easily in my purse, and it’s ready for all sorts of shopping expeditions.  The handles are double stitched for extra strength, too.

Farmer’s markets are beginning to open in some parts of the country–you can start the year with a pretty new market bag from Green Circle Grove because—-

Meredith (that’s me)  and Kristen from Green Circle Grove are sponsoring another awesome giveaway! Check out this beautiful Toile Market Bag we are offering to one lucky winner!


Note: Cabbage not included 🙂

This fabric market bag is made from sturdy “outdoor cloth”. It’s 12″ x 9″ x 8″ in a white on red toile print, which reverses to red on white toile. The black cotton webbing straps are double-stitched into the top seam for extra strength. Machine washable in cool water on a gentle cycle; hang to dry. Rolls up to stick in a purse or to tuck under a seat in the car.

Please be sure to stop by and visit Green Circle Grove’s Etsy shop for a great selection of handmade soaps and fabric bags!


This giveaway is hosted by:

Meredith of Green Circle Grove

Ann from Summers Acres

Carol from Everything Home with Carol

Jenny from Black Fox Homestead

Alison from Mumtopia

Mary from Back to the Basics and Mary’s Kitchen

and me!

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Celebrating Spring Soaps — with a Giveaway!


Green Circle Grove Handmade Soap Giveaway!


Check out this gorgeous assortment of handmade, small batch soaps!


Three great blogs have teamed up to help us GIVEAWAY three bars of our handmade, olive oil based soaps:

Here are the blogs hosting the giveaway–

Jenny from Black Fox Homestead

Carol from Everything Home with Carol

Lisa Lynn from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

And–these are the three soaps some lucky person will be receiving–

Faerie Princessa light, delicate scent of violets, apples, berries with a hint of vanilla and a sprinkle of glitter- a delight for little girls, and big girls too!

Easter lovely pink hyacinth wrapped up in ribbon, perfect for a gift or a little self indulgence!

Etta’s Dream summer scent of grasses and berries swirled together and tied in a bow!

These are our “large” (approximately 4 ounce) size bars.

Jenny, from Black Fox Homestead has a review on one of our Green Circle Grove soaps! Please visit her blog here to read the review!


Please follow these blogs on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, or by email!



Be sure to visit our Etsy shop and support Green Circle Grove! Products are made in our own little corner of the USA!

Green Circle Grove on Etsy

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Holiday Soap GiveAway!

Just in time for last minute shopping~the perfect gifts for teachers, co-workers~just right tucked into a stocking, too.

Magi, Our Hero, Winterberry~ 4 oz. bars

We’re offering you three of our holiday scented soaps:

“WINTERBERRY” – Berries and sparkles ties up in a bow, “MAGI”- Sandalwood fragrance with the additions of frankincense, myrrh, and gold flecks, and “OUR HERO”-the crisp scent of pine and a twist of black pepper.

These 4 ounce bars of homemade soaps are created in the kitchen at Green Circle Grove from a recipe carefully mixing lye and oils (olive oil is the base we use).  We don’t make any claims except that these soaps have a wonderful fragrance, they’ll lather into creamy suds, and they will wash you squeaky clean!

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