Monday, August 27, 2018

{ The PhantomTree by Nicola Cornick - TLC Book Tour }

 

About The Phantom Tree

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Graydon House; Original edition (September 1, 2018)

Browsing an antiques shop in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait—identified as the doomed Tudor queen, Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, lived at Wolf Hall and knew Mary…more than four hundred years ago.

The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison—it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. To when she and Mary were childhood enemies yet shared a pact that now, finally, must be fulfilled, no matter the cost.

Bestselling author of House of Shadows Nicola Cornick offers a provocative alternate history of rivals, secrets and danger, set in a time when a woman’s destiny was determined by the politics of men and luck of birth. A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine.


{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/27/2018 }


Good morning everyone, and a very Happy Monday :)

I am super tired today, had a very busy but fun weekend, and just not enough sleep at all.

Saturday morning I was up at 4am.  My husband, myself and my stepmom headed off to volunteer at his work, for the Hotter N Hell 100, which is one of the oldest and largest cycling races in the nation.  It was a lot of fun and we were there from 5am until 11am, in the sun, helping as the cyclists came by.  I ended up being the designated photo taker, standing in front of the backdrop and being handed hundreds of cellphones to take pics for the cyclists.  It was a lot of fun :)

Yesterday, my husband, myself and my stepmom headed to Fort Worth to the Stockyards.  The kids being the usual teenagers that they are, didn't want to go and preferred to stay home sleeping.  Oh well!!!

We had a great time as well and we plan on returning another time with the kids.

So, a fun packed weekend, but I am moving extra slow this morning LOL

Right let's get on with our Happy Homemaker Monday.....oh and I have a ton of photos to edit from the Stockyards, and will share them in a separate post later today. 


(New HHM button)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

{ Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof - TLC Book Tour }

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About Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Series: A Blackbird Mountain Novel (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 3, 2018)

A Tale of Family, Brotherhood, and the Healing Power of Love

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.
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Monday, August 20, 2018

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/20/2018 }

Happy Monday everyone :)

Hope you've had a great weekend.  Mine was good, though it went by quite fast.  I feel like I blinked and it was Monday morning, but never mind that, let's get ready for the week ahead and see what is going on in our households.


(New HHM button)


Thursday, August 16, 2018

{ Color Street Nail Polish Strips }


Hi everyone :)

So I have something really cool to share with you today.  If you've been following my blog, or if you know me at all, you know that I love nail polish.

My nails are always painted, I'm always changing it up, and I can't stop buying nail polish.  Just really and I mean REALLY love it.

What I don't love is the drying time, or the fact that every.single.time I paint my nails, within a minute, I either have to go to the bathroom, or I have to do something, or grab something and I pretty much end up ruining a nail or two.  Without fail!!!

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

I also don't like getting my nails done at the salon.  I have not had long nails for a very long time, because I am a homemaker and my hands are constantly in water, or scrubbing, or cooking or cleaning and I just can't do it with long nails.  I know other women can and do, and all the power to them, but it doesn't work for me.  I find that they get in the way.

So I don't ever get them done.  Well, lies, I did get them done a few months ago and stunning as they were, within an hour of coming home, I had taken out my nail clippers and clipped them short.  Yeah, waste of money.

When my friend Jen contacted me and asked if I would like to try out Color Street Nail Polish Strips, I immediately said yes.  I'm looking for something quick, easy and long lasting, and am always on the hunt for the prettiest and quickest way to get my nails done.

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

So you're probably wondering, what exactly is Color Street and why Nail Polish strips?

The package is super cute, and I also noticed that one of the things it said on it, right at the left top corner, was they it was easy to peel and apply.  On the back it states that there is no drying needed so you just apply and go.

I will admit that I was a bit reluctant, surely it couldn't be THAT easy, there had to be a catch?

So I picked out the ones I wanted, which were the little pink flowery samples Jen sent specifically with me in mind, she sure knows me well :)

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

Ladies, I am here to tell you that these were the easiest, quickest nails I have ever done, in my life.

The process was SO incredibly easy, it honestly shocked me.

So basically, you pick the nail strip you want to use.  They come in different sizes so you can best choose the one to fit your nails.  They're quite long too, so I found that I was able to cut them in half and still have strips left for another application.

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

Now you've picked the nail strip you want to use.  You peel off the top transparent layer, place it on your nail.  I found it easier to place them right up against my cuticle, pressed down the middle first and then gently pulled the strip on each side to fit the nail, and now comes the crazy simple part.

I thought that there would be some magic trick to make the strip stay put.  I was wrong.

I looked online and different videos, just for a quick idea on how best to apply these, and though the official way to do it is using a nail file to file away the excess, there are other ways to quickly trim the polish strip, and the one I used was by simply pressing the strip down on my nail and making sure it was smooth, then I used my thumb nail from my opposing hand to gently fold the nail polish strip over my nail,  I then pinched the strip together and tore off the excess.  JUST.LIKE.THAT!!!!

That might sound a little confusing, but if you need help, just take a quick look online, there are tons of tutorial videos and you'll understand exactly what I'm doing.

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

Here, my sister in law was applying the nails to her own hands.  It's so easy, she was stunned at how easy it was.

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

These are her nails right after the applied the strips.  She went in afterwards, and using her nails, removed the little excess from the cuticles.  I'm serious when I saw that just using your nail, it quickly cuts away at the excess.

Color Street Nail Polish Strips

My daughter Jasmine tried them too, she opted for these beautiful blue and silver gradient look.  How stunning are those?

Overall, we were so happy with the results, the ease of application and the fact that there are so many pretty designs to pick from.

I left mine on for 2 weeks, and I just did my usual housework, washing dishes, laundry, cleaning etc.  I wanted to see how they would hold up, and I was quite pleased to see that they stayed put for me.

I can see some more Nail Polish strips in my future, especially for the holidays or a special occasion where I want to have pretty nails without spending a fortune or having to deal with annoying long fake nails.

Jen has a website all ready for you to pick some and order, if you're so inclined, so go check her out here.

Right now, if you pick any of the French Manicure sets, you buy one and get one free.

The Colors, Glitters and Nail Art Designs, if you buy 3 you get one free, so run on over and check those out too.

Now, if you want to try them out but not with the obligation of buying right away, in case you don't like them, Jen is willing to send out samples for you to try.  If that's something you want to do, let me know in the comments down below and I'll be sure to get you and Jen in touch with each other.

Don't forget to tell her I sent you.

Happy Nail Decorating!!!!

{ Mrs Mulligan and the Enchanted Ice Cream by Tiffany Elaine - TLC Book Tour }


About Ms. Mulligan and the Enchanted Ice Cream

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 6
Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Ingramelliott (February 18, 2018)

Tabby Easterland wakes on her twelfth birthday to find herself magically transformed into the twenty-five-year-old “Ms. Mulligan,” an event witnessed only by her young friends – the platinum-haired southern belle Dolly Hargrave and the hard-boiled urban detective wannabe Kat Dorsett.

Hiding her true identity, Ms. Mulligan becomes a teacher at her own school, where a desperate search for answers lead the girls to seek out Tabby’s long-lost father, discover an ancient mystical society, and fight the evil Black and White Sisters–witches determined to complete a long-planned curse upon Tabby. In a race against time, will love be enough to overcome the crippling curse and restore Tabby to her former self?


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

About Tiffany Elaine

Tiffany Elaine grew up writing stories for her friends to read chapter-by-chapter instead of doing homework. She brought her love of words to a career in business and entertainment writing, but fiction remains her first love. Tiffany lives in North Carolina with her family. Ms. Mulligan and the Enchanted Ice Cream is her first novel. She’s currently working on the next novel in the series, Ms. Mulligan and the Council of Butterflies.
Learn more at www.msmulligan.com.

My Thoughts:

When I agreed to be on this tour, I had in mind that my 15 year old son would read the book and then tell me what he thought.  I knew that it was geared towards 9 to 12 year olds, but I figured that a book is a book, and I've been known to grab some pretty awesome titles from my library's Youth Section.

I gave it to my son and he took forever to read it, not because the book wasn't good, but he's a 15 year old boy, enough said.

So I took it for myself and sat down, and before I knew it I was completely immersed in the cutest story ever.

You know those movies like 13 going on 30, or 17 Again, Freaky Friday and so on?  Yeah, those kind of movies where people wake up in someone else's body and then a hilarious plot ensues as they try to figure out what happened and how to get through that day or week or whatever it may be.  I absolutely love those kind of movies and this book reminded me of them, big time.

It also gave me huge Nancy Drew vibes which I love as well, so all around, the minute I opened the book I knew I was going to enjoy it.


The main character is Tabby who turns 12 years old and on her birthday wakes up as a 25 year old, now known as Ms Mulligan.  Her closests friends witnessed the change and therefore become her biggest allies in getting through the crazy adventure she is about to embark on.

Tabby becomes a teacher at the very own school she attends, and from that moment, there is a lot going on, challenges she must face, some mystery to solve, and try desperately to survive the incessant attacks by two witches who will stop at nothing to see their curse on Tabby come true.

What a sweet enjoyable story.  Yes it is perfect for middle schoolers, but I think if you enjoy adventure and fantasy and a quick cute read, you will most definitely enjoy this book.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

{ Not just about the book reviews }

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I know it may look like this blog has turned into a constant influx of book reviews and the weekly Happy Homemaker Monday feature post.....but I promise, it's really not just that. 

I've just been so darn busy, and things are only going to slow down after the 1st of September.  So I still have about 3 weeks of constant busy chaos.  But I was sitting down to put up the latest book reviews for Tiffany Blues and Hotel on Shadow Lake, and after hitting publish and going back to the actual blog to see if they looked okay, I realized that my poor blog looks quite pathetic.

I have never enjoyed blogs that have a ton of advertising, or business posts or just book reviews and so on.  I promised myself when I started this little place up, all those many years ago, that I would NOT ever do that but as the years have gone by, things have changed, and my kids have grown, my blogging has suffered.

I think I need to make sure I add in some daily life posts, or just some chit chats or anything really, that is more me.  I would hate to go do my 2018 Blog Book and get nothing interesting in there.

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We've had the most glorious rain the past few days, and I've soaked up every minute of it, turning on lamps, lighting candles and actually thinking about Fall.  I'm kind of, maybe, wishing Fall to arrive a bit sooner, what can I say, I do love that time of year.

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I've been catching up on homemaking and also getting back into the school routine groove, which is always so hard to do when summer is over.

We will get there!

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I've also been spending a little time in the kitchen, mainly food prepping for the week.  I think I might need to do a separate post on that and maybe show you what I do, if anyone is interested.

One thing I do every time I grocery shop, is the fresh chopped garlic for cooking.  I'll be posting that on the food blog tomorrow, along with tonight's dinner which was a simple but yet super yummy Lemon Chicken.

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Doesn't that look good?  The family loved it.

I'm reading a ton of books as you can probably tell by my book reviews, I'm also watching quite a bit of stuff on TV. 

The latest series I binge watched, was I am a Killer on Netflix.  Check that out if you're into those kind of documentary type series.  It follows the stories of inmates currently on death row, and gives them a voice, letting them tell their side of the story, while also talking to the victim's families, police officers and so on.  It's truly fascinating and I wish there had been more episodes.

My crochet is currently on standby until I can make it to the store for more yarn.  I do have so many other crochet projects waiting to be finished, if only there were enough hours in the day right?

Here are the upcoming crochet items I'll be working on.

Ubuntu CAL
Victorian Lattice
Something Magic CAL
Demelza Blanket (Started but need to finish)

I'm hoping to get some of these made and finished and ready for Christmas gifts.  Just need to really crack on with my work.

Anyway, that's basically what I've been up to the past few days.  I have this week off and this weekend, I'll be having my stepmom over for two weeks, so it will be back to hosting again.

I'm so looking forward to it, but also looking forward to taking a much needed break in September.

I'm off now to get some paint on my nails, read a little more and then watch some TV with hubby before bedtime. 

Have a wonderful night :)

Monday, August 13, 2018

{ Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose - TLC Book Tour }

About Tiffany Blues

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (August 7, 2018)

“A lush, romantic historical mystery…a heroine to root for.” —Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
“Fascinating…an enchanting glimpse of Jazz Age New York.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel—a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame. “[M.J. Rose] transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish” (The Associated Press).

New York, 1924. Twenty four year old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

About M. J. Rose

New York Times bestselling author M. J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, a founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.

Connect with M. J. Rose

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


My Thoughts:

The famous Tiffany building, Laurenton Hall, Long Island, and life in the 1920's.

If you love taking a step back in time and being transported to another time and place, this is the book for you.

Jenny wants nothing more than to make a good impression and earn a very much yearned spot at the Tiffany New York Gallery.  She vows to leave everything and anything else behind, to really just concentrate on what she is there to do and not let her past or anyone in the present, distract her from her journey.

But it's easier said than done, especially when past secrets and incidents threaten to come to the surface, and Tiffany's very handsome grandson pulls at her heartstrings.

Romance, mystery, suspense, characters that you want to so much to root for, and a glimpse into a flashy and dashing lifestyle.  This book has it all.

{ Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully - TLC Book Tour }

 

About Hotel on Shadow Lake

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (April 10, 2018)

Suspenseful and compelling, Daniela Tully’s Hotel on Shadow Lake is at once an intricate mystery, an epic romance, and a Gothic family saga.

When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya’s sixteenth birthday, her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.

Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to: the Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.

Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth.

“An intricate read-it-in-one-sitting mystery–cum–family saga…this is a story about murder, greed, love (won then lost), and, above all, intrigue.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Tully offers the reader an epic story and emotional intimacy, with rich characters plunged into a mysterious thriller that spans continents and generations. I couldn’t put it down.” —Uli Edel, director of Last Exit to Brooklyn and Body of Evidence
A fascinating tale of what it felt like to be a woman under the Third Reich and of one family’s long hidden secrets.” —Elisabeth Gifford, author of The Sea House
“Daniela Tully has written a captivating romantic thriller that spans decades, continents, generations and a world war. It’s a story of love, tragedy and intrigue that vividly illustrates the unyielding grip that the past holds in shaping the future…and the enduring power of love.” —Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author and the writer/producer of Diagnosis MurderMartial Law and Missing

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

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About Daniela Tully

DANIELA TULLY has worked in film and television for decades, including with famed film director Uli Edel. She has been involved in projects such as the critically acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help. She splits her time between Dubai and New York. Inspired by a real family letter received forty-six years late, Hotel on Shadow Lake is Daniela Tully’s first novel.

Connect with Daniela

Website | FacebookInstagram


My Thoughts:

Oh my word, I enjoyed this book. 

Not just for the incredible story it told, but the setting, the characters, the history and the author's ability to take us back in time to an era of fear and uncertainty.

The book opens with Maya receiving a mysterious letter in the mail.  What makes this letter particularly strange, is it's date, going all the way back to World War II.  The letter comes from her twin brother and she is only now receiving it.....twenty seven years later.

Maya fondly remembers her grandmother and her stories of her life in war ridden Germany.  Soon after turning 16 years old, her loving grandmother disappears without a trace.

Now she turns up, murdered, in a hotel in America, and what transpires from that point is a trip across the ocean to figure out exactly what happened, how her grandmother ended up in that hotel and who is responsible for her death.

I loved the book, so very much.  I couldn't wait to turn the next page, I was fascinated by this inside glimpse into WWII Germany life, but also extremely curious as to how Maya's grandmother ended up across the ocean.


{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/13/2018 }

Good morning dear friends, I sure hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Mine was so good, mainly due to the fact that I turned 44 on Friday, and then Saturday picked up my stepmother from the airport.  She is visiting from South Africa and I hadn't seen her in 10 years :)

Then yesterday, hubby and I celebrated 20 years of marriage, which is truly amazing.  I am as happy today as I was on the day we said I do.  :)

So, quite an  eventful weekend.

We also dropped off Jasmine's boyfriend to return back home to Michigan.  I now have one week off with no visitors, and then my stepmom will be with us for two weeks before returning back home to South Africa.  It's honestly been a non stop go for me the past two months, I was in San Diego the first two weeks of July, came home and a few days later picked up Scott (Jasmine's boyfriend), he was with us 3 weeks, so yeah, I am feeling quite overwhelmed and looking forward to a little break before hosting again.

Anyway, let's get right into our Happy Homemaker Monday.

(New HHM button)


The weather in my neck of the woods:
Beautiful rain is pounding down as we speak.  I couldn't be happier.  We've had such hot temperatures around here and I'm very happy to have a reprieve from those.  Rain started around 4am and it's still coming down strong.  The rest of the week is looking like this:

Monday - High of 81 and thunderstorms
Tuesday - High of 92 and thunderstorms
Wednesday - High of 97 and cloudy
Thursday - High of 97 and cloudy
Friday - High of 96 and thunderstorms
Saturday - High of 94 and cloudy
Sunday - High of 93 and thunderstorms


Things that make me happy:
Opening my home to family and friends.  It is hard work and time consuming, but when someone visits, I try my best to make them comfortable and feel like they are home. 


Book I'm reading:
Mrs Mulligan and the Enchanted Ice Cream. 



What's on my TV today:
I am a Killer (Netflix series about death row inmates)
Frontier Season 1
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society



For dinner tonight:
Stuffed Green Peppers with Fried Cabbage 


On the menu this week:


Monday -  Stuffed Green peppers with Fried Cabbage 
Tuesday - Lemon chicken, rice, salad
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - Spaghetti Bolognese, salad
Friday - Homemade Pizza (Pepperoni and black olives, garlic cheesy pizza)
Saturday - Family Barbecue
Sunday - Lasagna, garlic bread


On my To Do List:
Last load of laundry - pull from dryer, fold and put away
Tidy and clean house
First day of school, so I need to take a quick look at the lessons and get the materials ready


New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Big Red Ice Cream



In the craft basket:
Still the Cosmic CAL.  I haven't yet made it to the store for more yarn. 


Looking forward to this week:
Just a week of not relaxing and taking it easy, I definitely need a break.


No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

May 26 and 27, 2018


Lesson learned the past few days:
More like a lesson learned the past few weeks.  I need to take more time for myself, to do the things I love, to relax, to sit around for a little and not worry about what needs doing or cleaning, or cooking.  I can't serve my family and my house, if I am not 100%, and the truth is that all this constant running around the past two months, is starting to get to me in the form of Insomnia.  I'm starting to feel exhausted again because I'm not sleeping well at all.  Time to put me first this week, so that I can once again go back to doing what I love, which is taking care of my family. 


On my mind:
School and how it's going to go this year.  I'm choosing to believe that it will be better as my Nick is older.  He has never enjoyed schooling and at times it can be quite frustrating getting him to do what he needs to. 


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Isaiah 33:2
2 LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

{ Box of memories }

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I have a box sitting in my closet, at the top shelf, just sitting there.  I kind of knew what as in it, but not really.  Okay let me rephrase that, I knew what some items were but as is usual, you tend to keep things you completely forget about until you happen upon them again.

As I was cleaning out my closet this morning, I pulled the box down and the very first thing I thought was "it's heavy, what on earth is in here?".

I dragged it into the living room, set it on the couch and opened the box.  I honestly was not prepared for everything that I found, and the next hour saw me in tears, looking through things, remembering certain times and moments, where I was, what I was doing.

You don't really think about how much materialistic items mean to you, until you actually pick them up, hold them in your hand and allow your mind to take a trip down memory lane.  Our brains are absolutely amazing aren't they?

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I have my children's hospital bracelets, cards and some paperwork.  They are memories that I will forever treasure, because they take me back in time to the beginning of my journey as a mom.

This is Jasmine's below :)  It's hard picturing her as a 6 pound 7 ounce baby, now that she's 19 years old.

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And here is my boy, so crazy.  He is now 6 feet tall and 15 years old.  Wow!!!

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I still have all of their booties too, most made by my stepmom, and grandmothers.

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And just look at these little crochet and knitted sweaters from both of my grandmothers :)

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I need to sit down and go through all their baby stuff, put it in separate little boxes and organize it all etc.  I think it will be fun to do that and one day, I'm hoping to pass some of these, down to their own children.

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In that box were also my flutes from my wedding day.  20 years and they've survived moves, sadness, happiness, births and deaths and so on.

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Then I found this wooden box and I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was, or what was in it.  Boy was I surprised when I opened the box and found a bunch of envelopes and photos.

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This envelope above is filled with letters that I wrote to Curt when he was deployed right after September 11, 2001.  He kept every letter I wrote.

I plan on going through them and reading them one by one.  I know it will be hard because it will bring back a lot of feelings and emotions from that time.  I suffered a miscarriage while he was gone, I was alone with Jasmine who was just 2 years old, for many months.  I was a mess!!!

But it's all those things that you go through, that make you the person you are today.

All those feelings and emotions, are a part of me and who I was at the time, and even if I read a simple sentence on a piece of paper, and think to myself "oh my word, what were you thinking?" it doesn't matter, because it doesn't in any way invalidate what I was going through at the time, when I was younger, much much younger.

So it's good to go back sometimes and think about your past and what you did, where you were, go through old mementos and sometimes even get a good cry in.  It's cleansing, it really is.

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And I will forever be grateful to the memories contained in that box, it's like a step back in time, almost a time capsule of where we were, WHO we were and how far we've come.

Just look at how young we looked above, feels like a lifetime ago :)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone - TLC Book Tour }

 About Jane Doe

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 1, 2018)
A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

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About Victoria Helen Stone

Victoria Helen Stone is the nom de plume for USA Today bestselling author Victoria Dahl. After publishing more than twenty-five novels, she is now taking a turn toward the darker side of genre fiction. Born and educated in the Midwest, she finished her first manuscript just after college. In 2016, the American Library Association awarded her the prestigious Reading List Award for outstanding genre fiction. Having escaped the plains of her youth, she now resides with her family in a small town high in the Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and not skiing (too dangerous).

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My Thoughts:

I have to be perfectly honest here, and as much as I thought the book was well written, I have to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

It's a funny thing, because I'm very much interested in the human mind and what leads someone to do certain things, but I find it hard to relate to some of the things in the book and especially to the main character who is a self diagnosed Sociopath, hell bent on revenge for her friend's death.

I get the feeling of wanting someone to hurt just as much, I get wanting them to suffer or thinking that it would be great to see them go through something similar.  I'm human, and as such, I think we all have gone through moments in time when those feelings flash through our minds, but there's a huge difference between thinking something and actually following through. 

Jane is leading a double life, pretending to be someone she isn't so that she can get revenge on Steven, the man she believes is to blame for her best friend's death.

The story itself is well written, like I said above, but it's disturbing in a sense, and I think it's just MY own feelings or level of comfort when dealing with things like this.  Seduction, manipulation, quite evil thoughts and a cunning way of getting around things......all tactics quite alive and well in today's society, but not something I am comfortable with, probably because I am nothing like that as a person and so it bothers me.

I don't know, is it a good book?  Yes, if you are not bothered by these things and find it enjoyable or even fun to follow along, then this is the book for you.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

[ The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble - TLC Book Tour }

 

About The House at Saltwater Point

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 3, 2018)

The dangerous beauty of Lavender Tides is harboring secrets that reach around the world.

Ellie Blackmore is making a name for herself as a house flipper. But when her sister Mackenzie disappears, Ellie can’t focus on anything but uncovering what happened. Her only clue is the bloodstain on the deck of Mackenzie’s boat. Ellie knows her sister isn’t on the best of terms with her ex-husband, Jason, but he wouldn’t kill her—would he?

Coast Guard intelligence officer Grayson Bradshaw believes Mackenzie faked her own death after stealing a seized cocaine shipment. The problem is convincing Ellie, who seems to view him as the true enemy.

Both Ellie and Grayson want truth, but truth—and family—is often more complex than it first appears. From international terrorism to the peaceful lavender fields of Puget Sound, The House at Saltwater Point is a thrilling race to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

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About Colleen Coble

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written numerous romantic suspense novels including The Inn at Ocean’s EdgeTwilight at Blueberry Barrens, and Beneath Copper Falls.

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My Thoughts:

I absolutely love Colleen Coble, and I can say as a fact, that she is the reason I started enjoying crime and suspense novels.

The story begins with Ellie who flips houses and loves what she does.  Together with her partner, Jason, they have a pretty good working relationship going, there is only one little hiccup in that.....the fact that Jason is the ex husband of Ellie's sister, Mackenzie.

When Mackenzie disappears from her boat, on the night of her birthday celebration, Ellie is left reeling and wondering what happened to her, and is she even alive, a thought that scares her mainly due to the fact that she found a bloodstain on the boat deck.

Together with handsome Coast Guard Intelligence Officer Grayson, she is determined to find her sister or any clues that may lead to her whereabouts.

What follows is a story that runs it's course through dead bodies, international terrorism and two people dead set on NOT falling in love.