I Love You … Bigger than the Sky by Michelle Medlock Adams

by Sandra Merville Hart

This delightful children’s picture book is a sweet read.

The author uses different animals in nature to express the love of parents for their child.

Beautifully illustrated. A lovely book that tells the story with rhymes that appeal to children.

The book is geared to children 2 – 6.

I will look for more books by this author.



Banana Cream Filling

by Sandra Merville Hart

I had several bananas that I needed to use and found a banana cake recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It suggested filling this cake with banana cream filling. I’m sharing the cake recipe separately. The filling only takes a few minutes to make and it’s delicious!

Mash 1 banana and beat it. (I used a hand mixer.) Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. One fresh lemon provided enough juice for this recipe. Set aside.    

Mix together ½ cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Heat 1 cup of milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it’s almost ready to boil. Remove from heat.

Stir the milk into the dry ingredients until well-blended.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Using low heat, whisk constantly for 4 – 5 minutes until the custard turns smooth and thick.

Stir in 2 slightly beaten egg yolks and cook a couple more minutes.

Remove from heat. Let it cool, stirring occasionally, and then stir in the reserved banana mixture.

Delicious! Smooth and creamy and thick. The flavor reminded me of banana pudding. As I said, I used it as filling for banana cake. I poured it into the cake pan to set so that it was the right size. I froze it initially to set it and make it easier to add as a cake filling.

This is a creamy filling and has a nice banana flavor. My husband loved it!

I will definitely make this again.


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

Civil War Hospital Trains

by Sandra Merville Hart

Civil War soldiers wounded on the battlefield were first treated at tent hospitals or in local buildings. With a combined total dead and wounded at Gettysburg for both armies at over 40,000, wounded soldiers filled the courthouse, churches, homes, barns, and every available public building.

The overworked, exhausted surgeons at Gettysburg couldn’t keep up with the demand. As soon as a patient was able to survive a trip, he traveled by hospital train to a city hospital.

A typical Civil War era hospital train contained between 5 to 10 hospital cars and a passenger car for wounded soldiers able to sit. Additionally, there was a surgeon’s car for the medical staff, a kitchen car for the nourishing food provided to wounded, and a box car for supplies.

The outside car panels had “U.S. Hospital Train” painted in large letters. A yellow flag flew on the slow-moving engine. Three red lanterns hung under the engine headlight at night. Ten-car trains carried up to 200 patients.

Injured soldiers were carried on stretchers to a hospital car. Four India rubber rings hooked onto wooden posts to support the stretcher. There were 3 tiers of stretchers stacked in a 50-foot hospital car. A nice period sketch of these cars may be found at http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/february/hospital-train.htm.

Early in the war, a surgeon noticed the agony that sick and wounded soldiers suffered from the locomotive jostling over tracks. He suggested the above design for hospital cars, greatly increasing patients’ comfort while traveling to the general hospitals in the cities.

A Rebel in My House Book Blurb:

When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

A promise to her sister becomes impossible to keep …


Book Trailer


Compiled by the editors of Combined Books. The Civil War Book of Lists, Da Capo Press, 1994.

“Hospital Trains,” Son of the South, 2021/03/23 http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/february/hospital-train.htm.

Wilbur, M.D., C. Keith. Civil War Medicine 1861 – 1865, C. Keith Wilbur, 1998.


Deadly Probabilities by D.L. Koontz

by Sandra Merville Hart

Book 1 of Risky Changes Series

Ann McCarthy is good at her job as part owner of CRS (Corporate Response Specialists) yet can’t wait to leave it. When a stranger on a bicycle knocks her down, it’s not an accident. He gives her a message and leaves her a sinister warning.

Her new client, Logan Kassell, reports an explosion at his company and needs her company’s expertise to navigate the press. The former SEAL recognizes a fake bomb in her pocket and realizes she’s in danger.

There is danger at every turn but which one of them is the target? Action-packed. Suspenseful. Unexpected twists and turns kept me turning pages to the end.

Believable, likeable characters drew me into the story and had me pulling for them the whole way. I tried to guess who was behind the attacks and danger along with the characters. I couldn’t put down the book for long as I had to know what happened.

The suspense as well as the love story kept me turning pages. This isn’t the first time I’ve read books by this author and I will look for more.

Looking forward to the next book in this series!


Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders

What a great middle-grade mystery novel!

I read in a variety of genres and enjoyed this story about Coop, a thirteen-year-old boy. After he lost his dad, he and his mom moved in with his grandfather. Gramps had raised his dad as a single parent and Coop adores him.

When a body is found at the playground, the skeleton is identified as Coop’s grandmother. She had left a note forty years ago and never returned to her husband and child. Now everyone knows why … she was murdered.

This story held my attention with its twists and turns that deepen the mystery. It’s told entirely from Coop’s point of view. This clean read is geared to middle-grade readers yet I’d also recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery.

I will look for more books by this author.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Portsmouth Frosting

by Sandra Merville Hart

I baked a banana cake from a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It suggested icing the cake with Portsmouth Frosting. It’s a quick, easy frosting that will taste delicious on many types of cakes.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Set aside to cool.

Whip ¼ cup heavy whipping cream in a mixer for a minute or two until it thickens and begins to form soft peaks. (I used a hand mixer.) Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla or rum. (I chose vanilla.) Gently stir in the melted butter.

While using the mixer, add 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating the mixture until it is thick and creamy.

I frosted a banana cake with this icing. It wasn’t quite enough to frost the entire cake and I made a second batch.     

This is a delicious frosting with a light, smooth, and creamy consistency. It takes between 5 – 10 minutes to prepare and I had all the ingredients in my fridge or pantry. Recommend!

I will definitely make this again.


Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

A Surprising Cemetery

Fellow author and friend Shelia Stovall shares about a family cemetery with us today. Welcome back to Historical Nibbles, Shelia!

by Shelia Stovall

Thank you for inviting me to share a story that might interest genealogists. Judy, my mother-in-law, loved genealogy. One of my deepest regrets is that I didn’t record her family stories. She said her ancestor received a land grant for our property for serving in the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, we have no documentation to prove this because the Simpson County, Kentucky Courthouse burned in May of 1882.

A couple of years ago, my husband visited our neighbor’s farm and discovered a cemetery, hidden in a grove of trees, about five hundred yards from our property line.

We’d never crossed the fence line and had no idea the cemetery existed. Later, my husband took me to his find. Judy grew up on our farm, and I am sure she knew the cemetery existed but failed to mention it. Perhaps it is something she took for granted that we knew.

Simple stones mark many gravesites, and others are very ornate. Sadly, the cemetery needs attention. One tombstone identifies the grave of the Revolutionary War soldier, William Lowe. I couldn’t help but wonder if this might mark the resting place of my husband’s relative who received the land grant. We’d never heard anyone mention the last name of “Lowe” in the family history. The surname of Johns, Peden, and Snider are the familiar family names. 

We scanned Judy’s many scrapbooks in search of her genealogy work. Ready to give up, I put away the albums,but my father-in-law said, “Let’s look inside her desk.” The first folder I pulled out was labeled, “For Evan Leslie’s D.A.R.” (Evan Leslie is my daughter.) It seemed Judy knew that someday, someone would be interested. It took mere seconds to locate the name I hoped to see, William Lowe.  

I am thankful Judy took such care to document her family ancestry. We’ll never be able to prove the farm has been in my husband’s family since the land grants, but I feel confident the trails I walk with my grandchildren are the same as their ancestors from ten generations back.

To me, the most special place is by a tiny stream that branches into Drake’s Creek. I need this quiet place where no one speaks to me but God.

We are blessed by our inheritance, but a better inheritance awaits us because we are to be co-heirs with Jesus Christ. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17.

My prayer is that you too will share in this glorious inheritance.

To learn more about me and my books, subscribe to my blog.

Readers can download three free novellas from my website under the media tab and be introduced to my make-believe communities of Weldon and Sassy Creek. My novel, Every Window Filled with Light, can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About Shelia

Shelia Stovall is the director of a small-town library in southern Kentucky, where only strangers mention her last name, and the children call her Miss Shelia.  

Shelia and her husband Michael live on a farm, and she enjoys taking daily rambles to the creek with their three dogs. Spending time with family, especially her grandchildren, is her all-time favorite thing. The only hobby Shelia loves more than reading uplifting stories of hope is writing them. Connect with Shelia on her blog.

Every Window Filled with Light

Welcome to Weldon, Kentucky, where the only things the locals love more than fried pies are gossip and match-making.

Librarian Emma Baker, a young and childless widow, believes her dream to build a family is over. It’s been two years since a student accidentally stabbed Emma’s husband to death, and her grief has stifled any interest in romance—until she meets Pastor Luke Davis. But when Emma learns Luke is counseling her husband’s killer fresh out of jail, her temper gets in the way.

Meanwhile, Emma discovers twelve-year-old Harley, abandoned by her drug-addict mother, hiding in the library, and takes the girl in as her foster mom. Then a young mother is made homeless by an apartment fire, and Emma opens her home again. One person and one prayer at a time, Emma begins to discover hope.

That Grand Easter Day! by Jill Roman Lord

by Sandra Merville Hart

What a delightful children’s picture book!

I love children’s stories that rhyme, especially when it builds and expands it with each new page. What I mean by that is that the phrase on the first page is included in following pages to tell the story.

This book is about the day that Jesus arose from the dead on that first Easter. I’ve read this to my children in my life who were captured by the story and the rhythm of the words.

Well-done! I love this book and its illustrations. Recommended for children from 2 – 7.