Hello, My Lovelies!  Are you still looking for a Christmas gift for the little ones in your life?  If so, I'm here to help!  I absolutely adore The Wonder of Creation by Louie Giglio.  


Here's more information about this little devotional that pairs scripture with science:

In this captivating follow-up to the bestselling kids’ devotionals Indescribable and How Great Is Our God, founder of the Passion movement Louie Giglio offers more mind-blowing, faith-building scientific facts and biblical truths about the wonder of God’s creation.

Well-known for his powerful messages about science and the Bible, Louie Giglio has a passion for inspiring kids to notice, enjoy, and be in awe of God’s creation. In The Wonder of Creation, children will find new delight in God’s creativity with 100 devotions that explore:

  • Animals–from honeyguide birds to flying snakes to white rhinos
  • Space–from black holes to volcanic moons to gamma-ray bursts
  • People–from optical illusions to brain freezes to our immune systems
  • Earth–from rainbow rivers to blue lava to flowing glaciers
  • And much, much more!

With engaging illustrations and striking photography, this fun and informative book is ideal for children ages 6–10. Each of the 100 devotions features a scientific fact or an easy activity for exploring faith, a short Bible verse, and a closing prayer. With a brightly embossed cover and a ribbon bookmark, The Wonder of Creation:

  • Is ideal for science-loving kids, Bible-loving kids, and any child ready to go deeper in faith.
  • Continues a well-loved devotional series that has sold more than half a million copies.
  • Makes a great addition to a homeschool STEM curriculum or a bedtime reading routine.

As kids dive into this awe-inspiring devotional, they’ll be amazed at the many wonders God has made!

Check out these other books in the bestselling Indescribable Kids series:
  • Indescribable
  • Indescribable for Little Ones
  • How Great Is Our God



This is an example from one of the entries about turtles.


My Review:

I love everything about this adorable book.  There are 100 entries about science, and I think that most children will love each and every single one.  Each entry also includes relevant scripture reminding readers that God intentionally created the universe.  Nicola Anderson's illustrations are whimsical and engaging; children will love them!

From an educational perspective, this book will encourage children to be more curious about STEM.  I learned a lot from the book, and it has encouraged me to check out books from the library, especially about hippos....did you know that they can't swim?  If you already have a child or grandchild who loves STEM, then they will truly appreciate and enjoy this devotional.  I highly recommend it!


This is one of my favorite entries about the weather phenomenon El Niño: 



Did you know that El Niño means the Christ Child because it usually begins around Christmas?  



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Disclosure:  Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour.  I received a lovely copy of The Wonder of Creation from Tommy Nelson, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, via TLC Book Tours, in exchange for a fair and honest review.



Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill




Happy Thanksgiving Eve, My Lovelies!  I am so excited about Thanksgiving this year because not only am I hosting, but our daughters and my son-in-love will be here.  I am one happy mama!

I wanted to share some of the floral arrangements for Thanksgiving.  The arrangement above is on our breakfast room table.  Here are more photos:











I love the stock in this arrangement because it reminds me of Scottsdale, Arizona.


This arrangement is on our family room coffee table:





There's purple stock in this arrangement.
It was a bright, sunny day when I took these photos!


I added more orange leaves to the display in the art studio:



I'm still using the same arrangement in the dining room I used for the Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop.  I haven't killed it yet, LOL!



We updated our autumn container gardens with pansies.  The marigolds still look good, so we'll keep them until the frost kills them.






These are the ones on our front porch.  We planted white ones out back, and they are budding but not blooming yet.


We have nothing out for Christmas except this:




Presents are wrapped and ready to ship or place under the tree.  I just have a few more things that haven't been delivered yet.


I must admit I'm a bit jealous of those of you who've already decorated for Christmas.  There is nothing more cozy than Christmas lights!  I will share our Christmas decorations once they're up.


I hope you all have a healthy, happy, and blessed Thanksgiving!  



Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill






Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm reviewing a historical novel set in turn of the last century Australia entitled The Cartographer's Secret by Tea Cooper.  I've reviewed another one of her novels, The Girl in the Painting, HERE.

According to Goodreads:

A map into the past. A long-lost young woman. And a thirty-year family mystery.

The Hunter Valley, 1880. Evie Ludgrove loves to chart the landscape around her home—hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt. So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a thousand-pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to use her father’s papers to unravel the secret. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory, she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that haunts her family for thirty years.

Letitia Rawlings arrives at the family estate in her Ford Model T to inform her great-aunt Olivia of a loss in their family. But Letitia is also escaping her own problems—her brother’s sudden death, her mother’s scheming, and her dissatisfaction with the life planned out for her. So when Letitia discovers a beautifully illustrated map that might hold a clue to the fate of her missing aunt, Evie Ludgrove, she sets out to discover the truth. But all is not as it seems, and Letitia begins to realize that solving the mystery of her family’s past could offer as much peril as redemption.

A gripping historical mystery for fans of Kate Morton and Natasha Lester’s The Paris Seamstress, The Cartographer’s Secret follows a young woman’s quest to heal a family rift as she becomes entangled in one of Australia’s greatest historical puzzles.

“A galvanizing, immersive adventure . . . forcing the characters to reckon with the choice found at the crux of passion and loyalty and the power of shared blood that can either destroy or heal.” —Joy Callaway, international bestselling author of The Fifth Avenue Artists Society


Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 2021

 


The overleaf of the book includes a helpful map created by one of the characters.


My Review:

I was so happy when TLC Book Tours invited me to be a part of this tour because I enjoy reading Tea Cooper's books, and The Cartographer's Secret is a historical with both mystery and romance.  Plus it's set in Australia, which makes it unique.

Cooper is dedicated to researching her books, and the information about Australian explorer Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt who disappeared without a trace on an expedition from Eastern Australia to Western Australia intrigued me.  The story involves an Australian family of landowners/horse breeders living in the Hunter River Valley.  Evie, a talented artist and cartographer, is determined to solve the mystery of Leichhardt's disappearance for her father (who is also obsessed), fame, and a monetary reward.  In early 1881 when Evie is just on the cusp of solving the mystery, she disappears.  

In 1911, Evie's niece Lettie travels to Yellow Rock to discuss her brother Thorne's tragic death with her great aunt and family matriarch.  She has been sent by her mother Miriam to secure both Ludgrove and Maynard family properties as her inheritance because Lettie is Thorne's heir.  Lettie gets distracted from her original mission because she becomes obsessed with Evie's disappearance, and is encouraged by her Great Aunt Olivia to solve the mystery of what happened to Evie and write her story.  The more Lettie remains at the family home Yellow Rock the more she realizes that there is no life for her left in Sydney.  Her mother is not happy when she realizes that Lettie hasn't secured her inheritance, and angrily demands she return to Sydney.  In the interim, Lettie has adventures finding clues about Evie and she becomes smitten with a drover named Nathaniel.  

So....what's not to like?  Family mysteries, family conflicts, romance, adventure, strong female characters, and a beautiful Australian setting: this novel has so much to love.  Plus Tea Cooper's research and detailed, intricate plot is a pleasure to read.  She reminds me a little of Diana Gabaldon: her historical details and descriptive prose is lovely.  However, it is not a quick read, Lovelies, so give yourself extra time when reading it. There are several characters, dual plots for the first half of the book, and historical details about one of Australia's most interesting unsolved mysteries.  At 400 pages long, the ending is well worth the length and very satisfying.  



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Disclosure:  I receive an ARC of The Cartographer's Secret from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill




 



Hello, My Lovelies!  The holidays are almost here, and I wanted to share with you this quick and easy weeknight dinner recipe that your family might like.  Mine loved it!  You might want to pin this one because even though our lives become more hectic this time of year, we still need warm meals, and this one is definitely a comfort dish!

This one appeared in my inbox from Better Homes & Gardens a while back, but I just this week made it.  The best part about this recipe is that it only has four ingredients!  

Upside-Down Pizza Casserole

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef 
1 15 ounce can Italian-style tomato sauce
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
1 10 ounce package refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits)

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet cook beef until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce; heat through. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle mixture with cheese.

Step 2
Flatten each biscuit with your hands; arrange the biscuits on top of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven about 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Makes 5 servings.



Here is the LINK to the recipe on the BH&G website.



Cook's Notes:  Choose your family's favorite tomato sauce.  The website shows that the test kitchen used a sauce with mushrooms.  I used 2 containers of Pillsbury Grands biscuits (for a total of ten) because I had them.  Normal size might work better because the recipe calls for a 2-quart baking dish.  I hand grated the mozzarella cheese.

Also on the site, the cook cut the biscuits in half, and I decided to try that. 

I served this dish with a simple Greek slaw with feta cheese and green onions.  We liked the combination, and slaw can be made ahead of time.


This recipe only took me about 35 minutes from start to finish.  
More time for tea and reading blogs!


This might be my new go-to quick comfort food recipe.  What's yours?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill






the favorite

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!   It's feeling like fall here in Central Alabama.  I'm loving it! Definitely sweater weather ...