Coffee Cake Banana Muffins

SUGAR. . .

Hello, friends!
Today I have an oh-so-tasty coffee cake banana muffin recipe.
The crumb topping adds just the right amount of sweetness
to the traditional banana bread recipe.

3-4 medium or large bananas
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream {or Greek yogurt}

Crumb Topping
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan
{I got 18 muffins out of this recipe}

For the muffins. . .
In a small bowl, 
mash bananas, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs and beat until mixed.
To the wet ingredients, sift in flour, baking soda, and salt.
Stir until just combined. 
Add in sour cream and stir.
Pour in mashed bananas
and mix until combined.

For the tasty crumb topping. . .
Combine cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar. 
Cut in butter with a pastry cutter
and mix until the topping looks like coarse crumbs. 
Sprinkle coating evenly over the batter in both pans.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean 
with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes
and then move to a wire cooling rack.


Kindness is like sugar,
it makes life taste a little sweeter.

As always, 
it's a real delight to have you pop in for a visit.
Have a most wonderful day, friends!



These Healing Hills - Book Review

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out 
until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII's end writes to tell her 
he's in love with a woman in England. 
Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, 
training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, 
Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. 
His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, 
he's at a loss when it comes to envisioning what's next for his life.

When Francine's and Ben's paths intersect, 
it's immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. 
But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . 
and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

My Thoughts
First let me just say, "WOW!"
These Healing Hills is an amazing story
that will first touch your heart and end with your soul.
If you don't read anymore of this review at least read this:
These Healing Hills is a winner
and a book I highly recommend!
And with that being said let's dive into this review.

The story is set in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and the minute you begin reading 
you will feel as though you have been transported  to this beautiful and rugged place.
You can almost smell the fresh mountain air
and feel the warm sunshine as you read the words of These Healing Hills.
Ann H. Gabhart has a way with words
and in this book she does not disappoint.
She brings her characters to life 
and the images she paints in the reader's mind 
will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

Francine, the main female character,
had a heart of gold and a love for the mountain people...
a love that was contagious and oh-so-sweet.

Ben is a precious soul that can't wait to get home,
but is unsure of his place on the mountain when he does finally arrive.

Woody was an absolute delight
and anytime his name popped up on the pages I couldn't help but smile.
He was filled with energy and charisma.

Granny Em was ever so lovable
and someone with wisdom so deep it could go on for ages.

The characters and setting truly make this book
a work of art.
Ann H. Gabhart did an excellent job
and left me wanting more.
A 5-star review!

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. 
Thank you Revell! **

About the Author
Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--
The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--
as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, 
Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series.
 She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. 
Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com


**REMINDER** Last Two Days To Sign Up

Happy day to you, friends!

I wanted to let you know that 
today and tomorrow are the last two days to sign up
for the Tea Cup and Mug Exchange.

You can click on the link below
to read more about the exchange and to sign up:

I hope you're able to join the fun,
sweet friends.

Also, several of the handmade items in my Etsy Shop
have been marked down by 25% {no coupon necessary}.
A fun little end-of-summer sale so we can make room for new goodies.
Stop by for a peek:

Love, hugs, and blessings to you!



11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange Sign-Up

***Registration is now closed***

Tea is to the body
as music is to the soul.
- Earlene Grey -

Sweet friends,
it's time for the 11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange!
If this is your first time participating in the exchange 
than let me warmly welcome you - I am so glad you are going to join the fun.
If you are a returning participant than let me just say "Welcome back!"

The past Tea Cup and Mug Exchanges have brought many women together
from all around the world and lasting friendships have been made.
The idea of this exchange formed one day while I was looking at my collection of tea cups
and I thought to myself that it would be a joy to bring ladies together over a cup of tea.
The first exchange was a success and soon mugs were included
since everyone has different tastes and styles.
At the end of this post you can visit the links to previous exchanges
and see what others have been blessed with.

Now, lets go over a few details 
and hopefully I will answer all of your questions concerning this exchange.

Please read this entire post for the complete details.

It's very easy to participate. . .

The exchange is open to everyone 
whether you're from America, England, Canada, Sweden, Australia, etc.
The more the merrier. . . 
and who doesn't love making friends from another country?

Also, you DO NOT need to have a blog in order to participate.

Let's go over a few rules . . .

{ 1 }
You will need to purchase a tea cup with a saucer or a mug, 
or you can send one from your own collection;
it's completely up to you.
If you send one from your own collection 
please make sure it's in good condition with no stains or chips.
Tea cups or mugs from antique or thrifts stores are also fine,
but again, please make sure they are in good condition.

{ 2 }
Please add tea or coffee 
at least one extra item to your tea cup or mug package.
It can be handmade treasures, doilies, linens, etc.
Some participants enjoy sending a package full of goodies
while others are only able to send a few items.
Either one is fine and acceptable.
You can look at the reveal post from the last exchange 
to see what other women have received.
The link will be at the end of the post.

You will send a tea cup/mug package to a special someone 
and you will receive a tea cup/mug package from a special someone else
so you will be making two friends in the process.

{ 3 }
You must fill out the registration form in order to participate.

All you have to do is click on the link below
and answer the questions.

Registration Closed

{ 4 }
PLEASE do not join the exchange only to receive something
and not send anything out - this is terrible etiquette!
If you sign up than you are committed to sending a tea cup/mug parcel.
I understand that life happens
and if you sign up, but then realize you cannot participate
please let me know before September 20th.

*** Whatever you sign up to exchange is what you will send and receive. ***
You can also sign up to exchange both a tea cup and mug.

Sign up for the tea cup exchange will start today, September 13th
and will go until Wednesday, September 20th.
so we have one week to sign up and spread the word.
I will email each one of you on either Saturday the 23rd or Sunday the 24th
with the information you need to send your special someone her tea cup or mug.

We have until Friday, October 6th
to get a tea cup/mug package together and shipped out.

I would advise those of you who choose to ship overseas to send your packages out
immediately after receiving the information of the person you are sending to
because shipping takes at least 2 - 4 weeks longer.

And finally. . . 
I will have a linky party on my blog the first or second week of November.
so that we can share our treasures with everyone.
The reason for having the link up later 
is because we want to make sure everyone has their tea cup or mug in hand.

If you do not have a blog you can send me pictures of your new tea cup or mug
and I will put them on my blog for all to see.

Does everything make sense, sweet friends?
You can email me with any questions that you might have:

For those of you that sign up I will be in touch periodically via email
with updates and reminders.

One more thing, I will also be giving your email address to the lady that is sending to you
so that if there are any issues with shipping you and the sender can work things out.
If you do not wish for me to give your email address out than please let me know.

The Tea Cup and Mug Exchanges in the past have been a tremendous blessing
and I know this one will be as well so please join us for some sweet fun.
You can see what others received from the last exchange by clicking on this link:

You can also read a few testimonials 
from ladies that joined the past exchanges by clicking on the link below:

Here is the button for the 11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange.
Simply save the image and add it to your sidebar.
Copy and paste this code with the image
so that others can find the exchange and join the fun:

* *  * Remember * * *
Please fill out the form by clicking on the link below: 

Registration Closed

You must fill out the form in order to participate! 
If you have any issues with the form please email me at: 

Please keep in mind that the the next exchange will be in a year.
I will not be hosting this event in the spring,
but rather only during the autumn season.

 Love and hugs to you, dear friends! 
I hope you join the fun! 

Everything stops
for tea.



I'll Be A Sunbeam

Let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- Matthew 5:16 -

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for Him each day;
In every way try to please Him,
At home, at school, at play.

Jesus wants me to be loving,
And kind to all I see;
Showing how pleasant and happy,
His little one can be.

I will ask Jesus to help me
To keep my heart from sin;
Ever reflecting His goodness,
And always shine for Him.

I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus,
I can if I but try;
Serving Him moment by moment,
Then live for Him on high.

A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam;
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.
- Nellie Talbot -

I was looking through an old hymnal the other day
and I came across this beloved song.
I haven't thought of it in years and when I began reading the words 
I was taken back to my childhood and the many times I sang it 
in Sunday School or with my mom.
While this might be a "children's" song,
it is a good reminder to be a sunbeam for Jesus
in all areas of my life. . .
to please Him wherever I am. . .
to reflect His goodness. . . 
to serve Him moment by moment.

Have a blessed Lord's Day, dear friends!
{{{ hugs }}}


Crisis Shot - Book Review

Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming 
the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. 
As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . 
until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call 
and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. 
Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, 
Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult 
than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. 
Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, 
goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. 
Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, 
but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, 
she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

My Thoughts
Crisis Shot is my first book by Janice Cantore
and it certainly won't be my last.
This book is the first in the Line of Duty series
so if you're looking for an exciting series to follow and enjoy
than this one might be right up your alley.

Crisis Shot is set in a quaint little town in Oregon called Rogue's Hollow
and I must say that reading this story is like taking a mini vacation.
Janice does a wonderful job of describing the town and all that makes up the town
that it's like you have jumped into the very story you are reading.
Also, may I just mention that Janice Cantore
seems to breathe life into her characters
and their personalities flow effortlessly throughout the story.
Each character is portrayed in such a way
that makes you feel as if you've known them for years.

While I enjoyed this book
and I would recommend it to those who enjoy suspense,
I feel the need to mention that the book seemed a bit slow at first.
I confess that when I started the book
I figured it would be one that I couldn't put down,
but sadly, I did put it down
and it took a few days for me to get interested in picking it back up.
But with that said, once I got half way through the story picked up its pace
and oh, what a fantastic read!
I understand that the author is starting a new series
and it does take a little while to introduce the reader to the town and characters
so I am simply assuming that is why it was slow at the beginning.
So my friends, that is my only complaint
and it's not too serious of a complaint.
I think that is evidence that this book is one you might enjoy.

** I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers
in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer
who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed
and leave them inspired.
Her twenty-two years of experience on the force
lend authenticity to her stories.
She has penned nine novels:
the Pacific Coast Series, Critical Pursuit, Visible Threat,
and the Cold Case Justice series.


Beautifully Sewn By Prairie Rose Sewing

A very happy Wednesday to you, friends!
How are you on this lovely day of September?

Today I have some delightful goodies to show you
that were handmade by my dear friend Sarah.

Sarah has her own Etsy shop
 where she sells modest clothing, 
handmade items such as quilts and wooden toys,
and vintage delights like tea cups and beautiful china.
I mentioned to Sarah that I had a pattern for a skirt
that I would never get around to making
so I asked if she would be interested in sewing one. . .or three for me.
She graciously said yes - what a dear!
I picked out the fabric,
took my measurements,
and sent everything her way.

This sweet floral print is perfect for summer.

Next up is this darling sunflower print
that shouts out autumn.

And the third skirt has lovely little dandelion puffs all over it.
I must confess that I am in love with this one.

A year ago Sarah made me a beautiful dress
which you can find HERE.
Sarah does beautiful work and you can tell she puts a lot of love and care
into her handmade creations.
She is happy to custom make items for her customers
and she would welcome an order from you.
You can visit her shop by clicking on the link below:
She also has a Facebook page which you can find HERE.

Sarah has kindly offered my friends and readers a discount.
Simply use the coupon code FRIENDS15
for 15% off your order.
Sarah also offers free shipping for USA residents.

And while we're on the subject of friends
I am very excited to share with you a new blog
that my friend Chas recently started called
Chas and I met through the tea cup and mug exchange
and then we, along with her daughter, had the pleasure of meeting over tea 
since we live only a few hours away from one another.
Chas is a very talented lady
and her blog is filled with wonderful tips and creations.
I encourage you to stop by for a little visit.

Today is the last day for you to enjoy 20% off you order
Get ahead on your Christmas shopping, sweet friends!

And may I remind you that next Wednesday
registration for the 11th Tea Cup and Mug Exchange will officially begin.
You can click HERE to read about this lovely event.

Hugs and love to you, friends!


Happy Labor Day, Friends!

Happy Labor Day, 
sweet friends!
I hope your day is simply delightful and ever so relaxing.

Two things I wanted to let you know. . .
I wanted to apologize for my lack of hymn posts
for the last two Sundays.
I shared with you that my laptop was giving me fits,
and while some days it worked okay, other days it didn't work at all.
My hard drive finally crashed in my Toshiba
so just recently my hubby and I went laptop shopping
and we purchased a Lenovo Yoga 720 2-in-1.
So far I am loving it!
If any of you have this model or even a different Lenovo model
I would love to hear your thoughts.
So I say all that to let you know that with a new laptop
my posts and blog visiting should return to normal
since everything is working well again.
Thank you for your patience, my friends.

Also, I wanted to let you know that everything in my Etsy shop
is 20% off right now until Wednesday, the 6th.
And please remember that I offer free shipping to all USA residents.

I hope you have a splendid day and
I will "see" you on Wednesday.
Love and hugs!


To Wager Her Heart - Book Review

Can a railroad man and a Southern Belle turned teacher 
find a way to work together to achieve their dreams 
in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?
Sylas Rutledge, former gambler and new owner of the East Line Railway, 
invests everything he has into this venture, partly to see if he can do it—
but mostly to avenge his father. 
One man holds the key to the railway’s success—
General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. 
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver in high society, 
and when he meets Alexandra Donelson, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor.

Spurning her family’s wishes that she marry, 
Alexandra Donelson is pursuing her passion for teaching at Fisk University, 
the first freedmen’s university in the United States. 
But her family does not approve, and ultimately, 
her father expels her from the family home and cuts her off completely.

Through her friendship with Mary Harding, 
Alexandra is thrown together with both General Harding and Sylas Rutledge. 
And she soon finds herself falling in love with a man 
whose roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit 
smack more of recklessness than responsibility.

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win the hand of the woman he loves. 
What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, 
To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about a nation mending after war, 
the struggle to move a country forward, and the courage of a man and woman 
to see themselves for who they truly are—and can be—with each other.

My Thoughts
To Wager Her Heart is a beautifully written tale of hope and love.
My dear friends, if you are a lover of historical romance
than this book is just for you.

The history is so rich and pure
that Tamera's writing makes you feel as if you're living in that long ago moment,
walking the same path of those from so many years ago.
To Wager Her Heart will give you a vivid glimpse 
into the turmoil and conflict after the Civil War.
The characters will inspire you with their love and determination
for fellow countrymen and women.

And then there is the romance between Alexandra and Sylas.
It is truly beautiful and oh-so-pure and sweet.
Their connection is simply precious and flows with perfection.
You will also see their faith grow through the story.
The Lord will use certain circumstances 
to help them grow closer to Him
while growing closer to one another.
To Wager Her Heart is incredibly inspiring in so many ways.

To Wager Her Heart is the third installment in the Belle Meade Plantation,
but don't worry, friends, you can read it as a stand alone novel.
I have not read the first two books and I had no trouble following along.
After reading the third book I will eagerly be looking for book one and two to read.
Tamera Alexander is a phenomenal writer and she has me wanting more.

Autumn is just around the corner,
why not begin the delightful season with an excellent book!

 ** I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers
for an honest review. 
All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist 
whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, 
including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), 
the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), 
the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award,
and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. 
After seventeen years in Colorado, 
Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, 
where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, 
the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.
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