Friday, October 5, 2018

TGIF!

Welp, Fall is here.  The fall I don't like.  The rainy, cold part of Fall.  I would rate Fall as my second favorite season if it didn't lead right Winter.  So by default Spring is my second favorite season because it leads into Summer.  This week was full of workouts, volunteering, and cleaning/organizing.  I signed the 7 year old up for swim lessons for the next round since she's enjoying them right now and I do like to have her practice actual strokes and to have a 'sport.'  I'm slowly finding spots for our Spring Break road trip.  We will be hitting up multiple states Missouri, Tennessee, and Alabama .  And all the spots in-between.  I think as of today we officially have all our our hotels/Airbnb's reserved.  I need to spend some more time on the nitty gritty planning like what to take with us food and clothes wise since we will be experiencing multiple different types of weather!  I love it!

My favorite picture from the week:


trees are changing!


The high of my week was volunteering for AR prizes and in the kiddo's classroom! I may not be a fan of AR overall, but man do the kiddos at her school (along with my kiddo) get super excited for prizes.  It's not a part of her grade and not mandatory just used as a supplemental fun program.  It has increased the amount of reading and encouraged my kiddo to take the quizes online which is giving her practice in using the computer for non-fun games too.

The low of my week was  all the dang rain.  I had to turn my heat on Monday.  I would have turned it on over the weekend but we (my husband) made a ton of marinara sauce from our tomatoes in our yard and kept the house warm with that.  Then we had my parents over for a roasted turkey breast dinner on Sunday night so the oven kept us comfortable but it was by no means warm! I am constantly under a blanket.

My Workouts were 

Tuesday - Couch to 5k Week 1 Workout 1
Wednesday - 40 minute walk
Thursday - 30 minute walk
Friday - 30 minute walk

I definitely felt it after that run on Tuesday.  That was the first time I ran in over a year.  Close to 2 years.  I am slowly trying to add running into my walking and a bit of a more full body workout too, hence the walk away the pounds videos because I am so uncoordinated and I can follow along with those! My plan for October is 3 days of walking, 1 day of running, 1 day of Walk Away the Pounds videos.  I am trying to do it all Monday through Friday but I'm not sure how that's going to keep up as October is pretty busy.  I'm trying to schedule which workout I'm going to do that day based upon what else is happening, but if I have to do some on the weekends I will.  And I may add a run or walk extra to the weekend depending on weather.

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday - Steak, salad, homemade applesauce, roasted new potatoes and broccoli and cottage cheese
Tuesday -  Baked Pork Chops, Zucchinni Cheese Casserole,  homemade apple sauce
Wednesday - Smoked Sausage, mac and cheese, salad, cottage cheese, homemade applesauce
Thursday -  Eggs, homeade home fries, cottage cheese and apples
Friday -  Pizza Hut pizza and cantaloupe

Saturday we are going to smoke some chicken breasts we have leftover from when some friends brought some over earlier this summer when we had a party.  

The best money I spent was on the kiddos Halloween costume.  Growing up my parents usually made me make my own.  I mean I had a few store costumes but after about age 6 or so I don't think I did.  However, I hate making stuff so, yes child tell me what you want to be and to Amazon I will go!


What I’m listening to   podcasts of course! I really enjoyed Oprah's Super Soul Conversation with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Katie Courics podcast with Reddit CEO about fake news and propoganda.  

What I’m watching we record and watched The Late Show with Stephen Colbert every night. But I'm really glad NCIS: New Orleans is back!

What I’m reading:  Southernmost by Silas House.  I just started it but the premise is that an evangelical preacher in Tennsessee takes in two gay men after a flood which partly causes the pastors divorce and pushes him into going to Key West and connecting with his brother...

My plans for the weekend include the kiddo is having a friend spend the night tonight.  Tomorrow we are attempting to go do an old home tour as long as it is not pouring rain since we have to walk through the local gardens to do it.  We may have some friends come over to enjoy the smoked chicken and Sunday we are going to Sam's Club, Hooters, and possibly our local nature center to enjoy a cider making day.  That is also weather dependent cuz the kiddo and I agreed we didn't want to do it in the rain. 

What are you listening to? What are you reading?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Forever Fudge


I love Murder She Wrote.  Angela Lansbury was one of my favorite female actors growing up.  I still can get sucked in to a marathon Murder She Wrote when I find it.  And Matlock.  They were my pre Law & Order loves.  The book I just finished I’d like to bill it as Murder She Wrote in book form and a good Hallmark movie. 


Cozy mysteries have become my jam in the last year or so.  Forever Fudge by Nancy Coco appealed to me because it is set on Mackinac Island, and as a fudgie (person who visits the island) I knew I had to read it! Mackinac Island has such a quaint charm to it.  I really want to say on the island sometime.  I’ve only done day trips, but I think it would be a perfect destination, in season (summer) or early fall.

Allie McMurphy is the owner and operator of the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop.  The business has been in her family for many years and this is her first season at the helm.  This is the 6th book in the Candy-Coated Mystery series.  I had not read the other 5 but I quickly and easily caught up.  The first 5 are now on my ever growing to read list! (Perfect for cozy winter reading!)

What you learn at the beginning of the book is that Allie seems to be an amateur sleuth.  She and her dog Mal have an uncanny ability to attract dead bodies.  She’s helped the police out all ready this summer on quite a few cases.  She also has broken up with her boyfriend and another man in town is showing interest.

The mystery that happens in Forever Fudge begins when Allie and Mal go outside for Mal to do his doggie business.  There while talking with a neighbor, they find a dead body.  With the body there is a note.  A note that is written TO ALLIE.  So begins another mystery.

My favorite parts of this book are how the charms of Mackinac Island are incorporated and other Michigan cities.  And how the senior center is a hub for island gossip.  It basically takes my favorite parts of things and puts them together into this book!

I really enjoyed it as an easy to read cozy mystery with local to me ties.

Description: When a film crew comes to Mackinac Island, the last thing fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy expects to find is a murder victim . . .

SHOT ON LOCATION

 It's Labor Day weekend, the official end of tourist season, and the beginning of a whole batch of trouble. First, the island is invaded by a TV crew filming a murder mystery pilot, and handsome Hollywood heartthrob Dirk Benjamin needs Allie's help to prep for his role as local cop Rex Manning. Then, Allie's bichonpoo Mal sniffs out a real murder in the alley behind the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, a man shot in the head--with a note challenging amateur sleuth Allie to catch the culprit. Like it or not, the fudge maker has to square off against a crazy killer--but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew . . .


Have you been to Mackinac Island? What is your favorite cozy mystery series?

I received this book for review.  All thoughts an opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Author's I'd like to Meet

Today I decided to link up with That Artsy Reader Girl  and participate in her Top Ten Tuesday.  This week's theme is 10 Author's I'd like to Meet. 

1.  Allison Winn Scotch - Number 1 reason I picked her is because of Twitter.  I feel like we are political bffs and I do enjoy her books.  I need to read more of them.  I have so many on my kindle and just haven't read them yet because I rarely read on my kindle!

2. Shannon Hale - Also, love her on twitter.  And I adore her Princess in Black Series.  I have the first book of the Princess Academy series to check out from the library.

3. Laura Lippman - Also love her on twitter.  Also, love her Tess Monaghan series!  I hear there is a new one coming out!  I'm psyched!

4. Jewell Parker Rhodes - I first heard her lovely lyrical voice on a podcast and since they I have almost read all of her books.  I would love to hear her speak in person!

5. Margaret Atwood - I've read and enjoyed and been confused by many an Atwood.  I really would like listening to her speak!

6. Sarah Maclean - Love her on twitter as well.  And she's pretty much the only romance author I've read and enjoyed in the last decade.

7. Alyssa Mastromonaco - Love her on twitter and love all her podcast appearances.  She cracks me up.

8. Alan Gratz - Loved his book Refugee and I really need to read the rest of his books!

9. Sarah Dessen - Love her on twitter and have always enjoyed her books when I check them out.  I have to catch up on some.  Can't wait for the kiddo to be old enough to read her books.

10. John Green - LOVE his books too.  Would love to hear him speak.

As I quickly just started thinking of authors and jotting down their names I first noticed that the majority of my people are women and second that most of them are on here because of their social media presences and not necessarily because they are zomg my favorite authors.  They are human beings that I'm interested in!

How awesome is social media that we can communicate with our favorite authors?? I have had the pleasure of tweeting at them and having many respond.  Also, don't be the idiot who tweets an author to tell them you hate the book!

Also.. also... coming up with 10 authors who are still alive was kind of hard.  However, I wouldn't turn down many authors if they happened to be nearby! :)

Who are some authors you would love to meet? What authors have you heard speak/met? Do you like following authors on social media?

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

I've read a lot of middle grade/YA this year.  Partly, because I've been trying to find books to give
'book talks' to my 7 year old.  She loves reading, but unlike me who could read all day every day, she has to be encouraged and persuaded into trying some books.  So because I know watching me is half the battle, I've been modeling reading some middle grade in front of her and discussing it.  I've read some books aloud to her.  I've shown her book lists and I've tried to find any book similar to Laura Ingalls Wilder as I can. 

Now, this book The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty has nothing to do with Laura Ingalls but I have convinced my kiddo to read it some day. And she would like that some day to be way sooner but for me to read it to her.  So I'll just be over here winning at my reading parenting life right now.

Lucy Callahan is a 12 year old math savant.  She was struck by lightning in 2nd grade and she got some stellar math skills.  She also picked up some OCD habits (number related of course).  She hasn't attending public school since she finished second grade.  She stays in her apartment that she shares with her grandma and uses her computer to connect with other math smart people around the world.  She's finished all her course work to be done with K-12 education but her grandma insists she attend at least one year of middle school and make one friend.

This is harder on Lucy than any math problem ever. 

I really really really liked this book.  It had some very authentic middle school moments.  It wasn't overly preachy.  It had relatable characters.  They had diversity in characters throughout the book and NO BIG DEALS WERE MADE.  One boy had two moms, one girl had divorced parents, one is an orphan, and they all have weird middle school quirks.

I highly recommend it for adults or your middle grade reader!

DescriptionLucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test — middle school!

Lucy's grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?


A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty's smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.

What was a middle school book you liked? Disliked? Favorite book in middle school?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New Library Haul

I have a problem.  A library problem.  I keep going back and getting more books to add to my stack.  And then not finishing the stack.  It's a real problem here folks! I have the best of intentions and want to read these books.  But I get swayed by book club books, books with my kid, books for review, and you know the internet and chores and stuff. 

I won't lie, I don't hate the problem.  And it's probably way better than my Reeses Peanut Butter Cup problem. 


I was going through some library withdrawal since the last two books I read were 1) a review copy and 2) a kindle read so I stopped today when I was done working out and it was open.

I mean I stopped for my kid and got distracted a bit.

She is loving anything Little House related.  She's a few chapters in Little House on Boston Bay by Melissa Wiley so I got book number 2 since it was checked in.  She got started on the Maple Ridge series earlier this month when I asked the librarian for a suggestion because she has read almost all the books our library has about Little House related characters and I figured she needed a new series.  Logan Price is a young boy in the 1800s and she flies through these books as well.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes was for myself.  She is the author of Ghost (which I LOVED and will not stop recommending) and the Louisiana Girl Trilogy that I read through this summer (Sugar, Ninth Ward, and Bayou Magic).

I'm about to start The Miscalculation of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty, which I already had at home from the library.

Do you suffer from a library addiction? Any book recommendations for my Little House lover?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Murder Flies the Coop


One type of book that appeals to me may be surprising based upon my other likes and dislikes are books set in England.  This could be 1800s, 1900s, or present day.  Does not matter.  Give me a book where they will have tea and cute (to me) sayings and I’m on it. 

A less surprising book that appeals to me are books that have strong female characters.  One of the biggest ways to turn me off from a book is to have weak female characters. No thank you. 
Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott checks both of those above boxes.  Set in a small 1920s English village and has two strong female main characters, Beryl and Edwina.  Murder Flies the Coop is the second book in a series (another love of mine) but the first does not need to be read to enjoy this cozy book. 


Edwina and Beryl are referred to as older women, but not so old that Edwina couldn’t possibly have a child someday.  In my mind in the 1920s that could be anywhere from 25-45! Also, actual ages may have been shared in Book 1 but it was something that interested me as in the past anyone over 22 could have been deemed ‘older’. 

The women are living in Edwina’s family home and money is a bit tight.  Edwina has sold off most of everything worth selling and is getting worried about money.  At the beginning of the book they reference how the ladies solved a murder a few months prior and Beryl thinks they should open their own private inquiry business. 

These two are opposites and a very good fit for each other.  Edwina is conservative and still takes time to think of what is proper and then goes ahead and does what she wants anyway.  Beryl, who has multiple ex-husbands really doesn’t give a fig what anyone thinks and jumps first so to speak.
There are quite a few funny bits in this book and the town characters all have distinct descriptions to keep them separate. 



All of this is to say if you enjoy cozy English books with strong female leads this book is for you! A perfect fall book to cozy up with under blankets!

Description: One would hardly call them birds of a feather, but thrill-seeking American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and quietly reserved Brit Edwina Davenport do one thing very well together--solve murders . . .

Sharing lodging in the sleepy English village of Walmsley Parva has eased some of the financial strain on the two old school chums, but money is still tight in these lean years following the Great War. All of Beryl's ex-husbands have proven reluctant to part with her alimony, which is most inconvenient.

So when the local vicar--and pigeon-racing club president--approaches them with a private inquiry opportunity, the ladies eagerly accept. There's been a spot of bother: the treasurer has absconded with the club's funds and several prized birds.

Beryl and Edwina hope to flush out the missing man by checking his boardinghouse and place of employment at the coal mine. But when they visit the man's loft, they find their elusive quarry lying in white feathers and a pool of crimson blood, stabbed to death--the only witnesses cooing mournfully.

After a stiff gin fizz, the ladies resume their search for the missing funds and prized birds--and now a murderer. Beryl and Edwina aren't shy about ruffling a few feathers as they home in on their suspects. But they had better find the killer fast, before their sleuthing career is cut short 


What is your favorite book set in England?


I received this book for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Currently


Reading: Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott. It’s a cute mystery about two single women in 1920s England.  It’s the second in the series, and I didn’t read the first, but it hasn’t slowed me down.  Love the feminism in it.



Loving:  how I am making progress on decluttering and organizing the house.  I’m making a lot of progress on getting rid of clothes that are too small and going through old stuff that was saved and I have no idea why.  I’ve also made a daily cleaning list that has helped immensely.  I focus on different things 5 of the days of the week so on the weekend we can all spend time together and only a few smaller projects instead of having to do alllll the things on the weekend.  It's been nice! 

Feeling: good.  One of my health goals for September were to walk at least 3 days a week at least.  So far I’ve done that at least.  I think each week I’ve had 4 walks at least.  Usually the 4th walk is a walk with one or two of my family members so it’s usually either shorter or not as fast as I go by myself.  My hope is to try to start up the couch to 5k in October.  But slow, very slow.  I’m going to have to do some thinking on how I want to add that to my walking.

Anticipating: our last camping trip of the year.  We are going to one of our favorite spots, but we didn’t get the site we normally get.  We are going with a few friends and kids and are planning on a chili cookoff on Saturday.  I’m pretty excited.  It should be cooler but I’m hoping cooler on the water doesn’t mean too cold so that the kids won’t be whiny since we can play in sand but probably no venturing into the water! 


Grateful: for the wonderful teacher we have for second grade! She generally cares for the kids and I love that she is into changing things up when she learns about new things even though she’s been teaching for 30 years.  That is such dedication and I’m glad my kiddo is loving school, even when she is majorly exhausted and so attitudy at the end of the day.

Working:  on potentially getting a very part-time online teaching gig.  I wasn’t going to search out opportunities but it came to me in an email and well, why not?

Listening: to lots of podcasts.  I’ve started listening to Hysteria which is an all female podcast and still trying to finish the second season of In the Dark.


Wishing: for a warm fall full of adventures with my loved ones!


What are you reading, anticipating, and grateful for?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What's On My Fall TBR List

Lists of books that I want to read will never end.  I always have ambitious goals of what I want to read and then a new book pops up on my radar or an old idea comes through and off on a tangent I go! However, I do have some thoughts on what I want to read coming up this Fall!

These are the books I currently have out from the library



I go a bit overboard when I'm at the library.  My system of grab 2 books every time I'm there is unhelpful when I go multiple times a week ha.  Besides reading these that I have checked out I also want to get a Laura Lippman novel I missed in the Tess Monaghan series and read more in the Louise Penny series.  I also am hoping to get Linda Castillo's newest in the Kate Burkholder series from the library as well.


I also plan on reading these two that I got for a future review on the blog.  I'm excited.  Forever Fudge is set on Mackinac Island! One of my favorite places to visit.

I also need to re-read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for book club.  I cannot find it right now so I'm a bit bummed since book club is meeting next week and I assumed it was somewhere on my shelves.  I am going to have to hope the library has a copy! Also coming up for book club are The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent and The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.

What is on your Fall TBR list? Have you read any of these books?


Friday, September 14, 2018

TGIF!

What a full week! I got so much accomplished.  I'm in the middle of getting rid of/selling old clothes of the kiddos that I have held on to for way too long.  I've probably 'made" about 30 bucks in the last week! Woot.  And donated a huge bag of clothes/stuff and have another HUUUGE bag half-way filled up to go.  I also got the house decorated for fall and am taking stock in what I want to get to still decorate some more.  I've always wanted to be the person to decorate for seasons but I never had the damn time or patience.  So woot.  I've also volunteered and signed up for some upcoming sub jobs and did a LOT of cleaning that this dang house needed.  

Second week of school is going well.  No homework yet, but it starts Monday.  I'm working on some flashcards today for math practice.  I'm first going to check pinterest and teacherspayteachers to see if i do not have to reinvent the wheel.  We need to work on speed for addition and subtraction up to 20 by the end of the year so I'm thinking of making some sets and doing about 10 a night when we do the other homework.  It seems super doable what will be expected and the teacher flat out said she values family time and extra-curricular time over more homework.  She only really stresses 10-15 minutes of reading a night.  So reading and studying for spelling words should be the only main stuff and once a week vocab and math.

My favorite picture from the week:

how she  smiled when I said, smile like you will for pictures today!.. ha


The high of my week was once again volunteering at the school book fair.  It was so much fun to watch so many kids so excited for books! When I was last there they had already sold about $7,000 in sales! That was Wednesday morning and I'm curious to see how it ended up.

The low of my week was  finishing the potato soup I made. It was so good.  I love a good soup.

My Workouts were the husband and I took a walk Saturday night, then I walked Monday, Thursday, and Friday myself. We took a family walk Tuesday night!

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday - Big Boy to use the kiddos free meal coupon from the summer reading program!
Tuesday - Steak with baked potatoes, salad, and homemade applesauce
Wednesday - Make Your Own Mini Pizzas with homemade applesauce, salad, and pita chips
Thursday - Sweet Potato Hash, Eggs, and crescent rolls with homemade peach jam!
Friday - Cheesy Taco Soup with chips and salsa

This weekend we are going to a get together and we will be taking bbq pork butt! Not sure sure what we will do Sunday yet.

The best money I spent was on books from the book fair!


To be fair.. the kiddo purchased the bookmark and the Elephant and Piggie book with her own money.  I only got her the Coretta Scott King book and the Princess in Black book.  The rest are Christmas presents for my niece and nephews! I highly recommend the Bruce books.  Last year I got my niece and one nephew Mother Bruce and they loved it! So I got my niece the Hotel Bruce book this year and the nephew got the Snake book because he loves snakes!  Isla and I are loving the Princess in Black series.  We love the illustrations and we each read a page at a time.  We usually finish off a book in one sitting!

What I’m listening to   podcasts of course! I really enjoyed Hysteria's episode Freedom Hangover from July.  I also liked listening the first episode of the Atlanta Murders.  

What I’m watching we are catching up on last seasons Criminal Minds.  We are also PBS fans and have watched episodes on the history of Flint and I've watched some of the Great American Read and a special on Margaret Mitchell.  

What I’m reading:  Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes which is the third in a middle grade series.  We also started By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family.

My plans for the weekend include being lazy tonight! The kiddo and I were discussing pajamas and a movie tonight.  And hopefully popcorn! Tomorrow she has a birthday party/sleepover and we are going to catch up with some old friends.  Sunday should be a relaxing day unless we have to take the pool down then. 

What are you listening to? What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Lost for Words Bookshop


Oh man! I just finished an amazing book.  A few weeks ago I was quickly scanning the ‘New” shelf at my library trying to grab a quick book before we headed to the children’s area for the kiddo.  I quickly read the first paragraph of the book jacket,

“Loveday Cardew prefers books to people (YUM YES, THIS IS ME).  If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattoed on her skin.  But there are some things Loveday will never show you.”

Okay, this sounds good.  A book about bookshops and preferring books to people.  Sounds good to me. Next two paragraphs that I may not have finished reading before grabbing it,
“Into her refuge – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday.  Someone knows about her past and she cant hide any longer.  She must decide whom around her she can trust.  Can she find te courage to right a heart-breaking wrong? And will she ever find te words to tell her own story?”

I figured a book about someone working in a bookstore who loves books, should be decent.
It was way more than decent.  The writing is beautiful.  Loveday has a very traumatic past and an interesting present.  The book switches time periods between 2016 which is book present day, 2013 when something happened that is revealed to the reader and to 1999 when her life changed.  The jumping around is not hard at all to follow and is a very neat way of revealing to the reader Loveday’s story.

I read this super quick and it was hard to put down.  It was moving, entertaining, and shared some hard realities of an abusive relationship.  I can’t even use my words to describe the way the author beautifully wrote this book. So many little pockets of humor and tenderness.



Highly recommend!

What is the last book you read that you just loved?