Friday, May 15, 2020


I cannot believe that it is already the middle of May. I have been working on the same book for like ever.  I am having trouble reading.  But my Words with Friends game is strong! We started Schitts Creek, and I am walking almost daily.  So I mean good things? Also, our school year is getting a week cut off, so that's nice and yet what the eff am I going to do with the extra time in our day???? Mom school starting soon.  Hopefully, we will be able to leave our house by then and I can at least take us on outdoor adventures places, or even to my parents house.

My favorite pictures from the week:

The high of my week was dropping off moving boxes to some friends and a front porch chat.

The low of my week was just seeing how not caring of others so many people are.  And selfishly irritated at how life is changed.

Meal plan for the week was 

Monday -  Lasagna, garlic bread, blackberries, and cottage cheese
Tuesday -  leftover lasagna, sweet corn, and blackberries
Wednesday -  Buffalo chicken salads, baked potatoes, and blackberries
Thursday -  Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs, green beans, stove top stuffing
Friday - Take out Pizza

The best money I spent was on a Harry Potter robe for Isla's bday.  I had been going to gift her 2 weeks of summer camp and my parents had gotten her a week of it, but I'm fairly certain they will all be cancelled so I decided I had better get her something to open, and well eff it, we are in a pandemic, the kid can have a ridiculous amount of bday presents for once!

What I’m listening to My Favorite Murder

What I’m watching The Good Witch movies on Hallmark and Schitt's Creek

What I’m reading: November Road by Lou Berney

My plans for the weekend include finishing the darn book.

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

April Reads!

I've definitely realized that at this point in time there are books I am flying through and then books that seem to take 10 years.  There is no in between! With that said, I finished 5 books in April.

Chocolate Chip Murder Mystery by Joanne Fluke was mostly read in March, but I finished it up in April.  It is the first in a series about Hannah Swenson who owns a bakery in a small Minnesota town.  I found this series because of the mystery series on Hallmark.  Because apparently having a baby and winter and a pandemic have me discovery the world of the past 20 years of Hallmark movies and shows I never paid attention too! I liked that this book had recipes included, and we totally made the Chocolate Chip Crunch? I think that is shared and it was a hit here.  We changed up the type of cereal used because of what we had on hand but they were delicious! If you are looking for a cute series, I'd say check it out!

Some of Adeline's reads

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes is sooo good! I sporadically listen to NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast,which she is on.  I kept hearing her voice in my head as the lead character, Evvie.  It has such a quick witted dialogue and is a very fast read.  Highly recommend it if you need something to quickly engage in.  It's not an extremely happy book, Evvie, rarely leaves her house and many people think she is too grief ridden to 'move on.'  She meets someone she tries to 'fix' and along the way they both come to terms with the hand life has dealt them.  Both are hurt and both need to restart their lives and live for themselves.  LOVED the dialogue.

Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven was suggested to me by Goodreads after I finished my reread of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.  It is set in the 1930s North Carolina mountains.  Velva Jean is the youngest in a large brood of children that live atop Fair Mountain,which is named after a relative who first settled in the area in the1700s.  The book follows Velva Jean from a very young girl to an 'adult' of 19.  She is very close to her brother Johnny Clay who joins in her a lot of her adventures.  His life dream is to be rich from panning gold and her life long dream is to sing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.  I would recommend this book but it is NOTHING like Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.  Yes, it is set in the South but that is about it.  It reminded me of Dolly Parton growing up dirt poor and having a beautiful voice in a holler far away from 'civilization.'

Book Scavenger is a middle grade novel that is perfect for kids/adults interested in puzzles and books.  It had a Willy Wonka feel to it, and it was a quick read.  I think any of the 'issues' I had with the book were some simplicity plot lines, that wouldn't bother me if I was in the intended 9-12 year old age range it is meant for! It was one of of the library books my daughter got that I decided to read.  The main character is Emily, and her family is on a quest to live in 50 states.  She love solving puzzles and is in an online community called Book Scavenger where users hide books and leave clues for other people to find them.  They earn points and level up by finding and hiding books.  Her family relocates to San Francsico the home of the creator of Book Scavenger and Emily is excited.  She gets immersed in a very unique puzzle , learns how to be a friend, and it is a neat book with a neat premise!

Educated by Tara Westover was our book club pick for April.  It was a fascinating peak into a life that I can hardly imagine living, let alone surviving.  I had put this book off partly because it was super hyped and then I tend to hate those books.  I have to say I was not impressed.  A friend and I both agreed it was just okay, and if we hadn't already recently read and loved Where the Crawdads Sing and The Great Alone, we would maybe have liked it more.  I just felt like I had already read this story before.  Which it is similar to The Great Castle, if you've read that.  And I think I've read a few books about religious extremists that while disgusting isn't as captivating the millionth time I hear about oppressed and abused women. 

What did you read in April? What was a book you'd recommend? Have you read Educated? What were your thoughts?

Friday, May 1, 2020


So first of all, ANDERSON COOPER IS A DAD and I am a puddle of awwwwwwwwwwww over it.  He has such a good soul.  This week was better than last.  I have been out for a walk every day this week and the warmer temps made a huge difference.  We also have had only a few meltdowns.  But it's Friday and all the school things that haven't been finished need to be finished today, so the day is young!! :) Our first friend has gotten Covid-19, (he is doing well), and our friends grandma passed away from suspected Covid-19. :( All the people in my state that think it's cool and okay to take their weapons and intimidate our legislators and governor in our state capital building can all suck a big fat toe.  Selfish ignorant fools.

My favorite pictures from the week:

The high of my week was Zoom book club meeting and watching Adeline go to town on some avocado!

The low of my week was just thinking of how crappy this summer may end up being after putting so many hopes on it after last year being pregnant and miserable.

Meal plan for the week was 

Tuesday -  Grilled chicken sandwiches, strawberries, and roasted broccoli
Wednesday -  Crock Pot Pork Chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, strawberries, and applesauce
Thursday - Pulled Pork Tacos, strawberries, veggies and homemade dill dip, strawberries, guacamole, and chips
Friday - Smoked Pulled Pork Nachos again!

The best money I spent was on a baby swing for our backyard.  We never had one with Isla because we live next door to a park, but I don't foresee us going there at all this summer so we needed one for our backyard.

What I’m listening to My Favorite Murder

What I’m watching random Hallmark movies and just started Workin' Moms

What I’m reading: November Road by Lou Berney

My plans for the weekend include being outside.. working on raking the yard

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Friday, April 24, 2020


This week I struggled.  The weather sucked and my mood always sways when the weather is gross.  And probably because I spent 95 percent of my time in the same 10 ft.  And Adeline LOVES to go outside.  We've only been outside Monday and Thursday this week.  This weekend is shaping up better thank god.  The temp wasn't so 'bad' but the wind was horrid. I also forgot a few things that I shouldn't have, which is a tad ridiculous because it's not like we have a busy schedule right now.  I think the missing my mom and having any sort of a break from any people hit me.  It's so frustrating when you see on social media people hanging out with other people or sending their kids to hang out with the grandparents and you are all yeah, must be nice not to care if you somehow kill your mom and dad.  Must be nice not to have that fear, because I WANT MY MOM.  Anyway, my husband turns 37 this weekend and the celebration is far different than we had planned. We were going to go to a more upscale local restaurant and celebrate both of our birthdays with a nice meal and have my parents babysit.  Instead, we will be picking up a grocery order and cooking at home and he will be making his own birthday treat because he is the baker and normally I'd just buy him a treat somewhere but he said he'd make his own. :)

My favorite pictures from the week:

The high of my week was getting Dr. Pepper.  It tasted so good  It would have only been better if it had been a sunny day and it was a fountain pop!

The low of my week was just the missing my mom.  Wanting a hug.

Meal plan for the week was 

Monday - Taco Pie, Spanish Rice, leftover Chorizo Dip, Applesauce
Tuesday -  Easy Chicken Fried Rice, peaches, salad
Wednesday -  Pizza, breadsticks, and salad from a local restaurant
Thursday - BBQ pork sandwiches, salad, celery/pb, applesauce
Friday - hot dogs, mac and cheese, applesauce

Can you tell we are at the use all the canned applesauce status of our fruits/veggies?

The best money I spent was on I got a smock for Adeline that covers her entire upper body while eating.  She is so messy.

What I’m listening to enjoying back episodes of Crimetown and  Unladylike!

What I’m watching random Hallmark movies,and catching up on NCIS New Orleans

What I’m reading: November Road by Lou Berney

My plans for the weekend include celebrating my husband's bday and hoping for warmer/no rain/no snow weather

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ten Things I've Learned About Food During the Time of Covid-19

In the middle of the night when I was NOT sleeping (ugh), this list of things came to mind.

1.  I am just not a fan of apples.  I keep trying but I just am not aboard the love train here.  I know I prefer it sliced to whole, and I do like using it with peanut butter but I could totally live without eating apples.

2. I really do like homemade stir frys.  While they haven't been a mainstay in our house in about a decade we've been eating a lot of variations lately and I'm back on the train.  We've made chicken fried rice, broccoli and beef, and a few other chicken / veggie combos and I've enjoyed them all.  Part of this is because we now use Jasmine Rice and this was a rice game changer for us.  And we have better seasonings/sauces in our lives.

3.  I do not snack when my family is home.  I had become quite a snacker since Adeline was born, and part of this was extra hunger from breastfeeding, and some of it was boredom.  But we have an abundance of snacks currently, some I really do like, but having to share? Having to get a snack for another human? I'll sit here and starve thanks.

4. Feeding a baby is a messy business and I am over it.  Thank the heavens Adeline is so far as unpicky as her sister she literally LOVES food and grunts, grabs, and whines for more.  Ugh so annoying IS THAT GRUNTING.  But, it's so messy.  She's definitely a do it yourself girl.  I had tried some oatmeal/breastmilk with her after 5 months and she was not a fan so I was slightly worried about how she would be a bout food.  But about 2 months in the oatmeal attempts I can tell you, the only food the child refuses is oatmeal.  I've tried various ways of fixing oatmeal and it is the only food she will close her mouth and not put any in.  So, whatever.  I'm not a fan of most oatmeal either.

5. I have saved a lot of money not grabbing a beverage sporadically.  I also survived over a month without a pop/tea and while I survived and was fine, I missed an ice cold Dr. Pepper and I picked some up at Target, and of course my husband who teased me and said , "I can't remember the last time I had a pop." is now drinking MY DR. PEPPER.  Lay off dude, I want to savor this slowly. 

6.  One most maintain a secret stash of treats.  Before the poop hit the fan, I stocked up on 3 bags of my favorite chocolate/peanut butter cups from Aldi.  I hid them under my bed and have been slowly enjoying a couple during some rough moments/I need a treat.  I also had a stash of Easter candy that I got early and then an extra stash for myself.  I so far have not been found out.  THANK GOD because as seen by the Dr. Pepper debacle my stash would all be gone and I'd be sad.  NO SHARING MY TREATS.

7. I drink a lot of coffee when my husband is home.  When it is just me at home I only make myself about 2 cups a day and then move on to water/tea/pop.  Since he is home we are making about a pot a day and I have upped my coffee consumption.  Probably why I haven't missed my pops/teas.

8. I am a master of utilizing leftovers/our pantry for meal planning.  We have done really well on not going out to the store excessively.  We've utilized points for office supply stores and got stuff that way and our coffee, woot.  I've been on one large Aldi trip and my husband has gone to Kroger once and our local store once to get what he couldn't get at Kroger.  I've also done Target Drive up twice.  This Saturday we will be picking up our first Kroger pick up.  We have a deep freezer in our basement, can stuff from our gardens, and an upstairs fridge freezer.  We also have a pantry upstairs and a downstairs pantry.  I am a crazy person, but as soon as I heard about the situations my family experienced in China with Covid, I made the pantry downstairs bigger.  We haven't run out of anything that has made it a disaster, but planning out a week ahead with our google spread sheet that we have of our items and keeping an updated shopping list have helped a lot.  Yay orginazation systems.  I've also gotten my husband to think out side the box a little more on combinations so as not to run out to the store.

9.  My favorite meat is pork.  I am not a huge meat eater as it is, but overall pork is my favorite.  I love pulled pork tacos, nachos, bbq pork, etc.  I love ribs.  I have a new found love of ground sausage.  It's my winner of the meats.

10.  I really want a cheeseburger.  A nice juicy cheeseburger.  We got beef from the farm across the road and I cannot wait to make a juicy cheeseburger.  I am contemplating all my toppings.  I'm thinking cheddar cheese, spinach, spicy mustard, mayo, caramelized onions and olives.

I love food so much.   We have supported a few of our local restaurants doing takeout but for the past month plus, minus 3 meals we have eaten them all at home.  This is a record.  I miss breweries and restaurants and can't wait to hug my mom and see my friends.  I hope you and yours are all safe and hanging in there.  I also hope you enjoyed my light hearted post, I need to pour myself another cup of coffee and dream of that cheeseburger.

Have you had any food realizations?

Friday, April 17, 2020


Phew.  I one would think time would drag by staying at home all day every day with 2 kids and a husband.  But it absolutely is flying.  We have been out of school since March 13th.  We will not be going back the rest of the year.  As soon as this started my daughters district sent out optional activities daily that they could do to continue their learning at home.  They also got sent home with their Chromebooks so that was helpful too!  I made the decision for us that we would immediately start 'mom school,' it is the best decision I could have made.  Mon- Fri I had things for her to do.  A lot were options from her teacher and others were facebook lives or things put on buy organizations and authors to entertain and teach children.  We had massive flexibility.  But the continuing to do school stuff and learning was very helpful.  This week began assignments from her classroom teacher and all her auxiliary teachers.  Phew.  If we had been lazy bums this would have been horrid.  It's actually less 'work' than I was giving her ha!  I've seen next weeks schedule from her classroom teacher however, and it looks to be kicking it up a notch.  Thankful I have the time and resources to help her.  SO many do not.  This pandemic is causing even bigger divides in the 'haves' and 'have nots' of public education.  

My favorite pictures from the week:

The high of my week was watching the 8 year old finish the FINAL Harry Potter.  I cannot believe it, but she read the entire series in the last month and a half.  Holy crap.  I guess that's what not being in school does for you! We have watched the movies as she has finished so we are halfway through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  

The low of my week was the constant neediness of all of the people in my house and not being able to leave and just be alone.  I can only really go for a walk and it has been cold.  So dang cold this week. 

Meal plan for the week was (we have been eating very well and very creatively!)

Monday - leftover lasagna, garlic bread, cottage cheese and grapes
Tuesday -  Chicken Cobb salad, cottage cheese, applesauce, roasted potatoes
Wednesday -  Smoked Ribs, baked beans, homemade applesauce, baked sweet potatoes
Thursday - Homemade Veggie Soup, cheese quesadillas, and salad (I made the soup about a month ago and we froze leftovers)
Friday -Grilled Chicken, roasted broccoli, One Pan Parm Pasta

The best money I spent was on a large jar of nutella that is hopefully coming my way soon!

What I’m listening to back logged episodes of about a gazllion podcasts.  Still Love Dolly Parton!

What I’m watching not much! We watched the first episode of Schitt's Creek and may start watching that series.

What I’m reading: nothing! I finished Educated late last night ad haven't decided what to read next.  I need a book that doesn't have a crappy dad in it because the last few that I've read have had some really crappy parents!!

My plans for the weekend include hopefully going outside because it is supposed to warm up again.

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Friday, April 3, 2020

March Reads

March started off super quick and then as soon as we started staying home, my focus went out the window as did my book count!

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris is the second book in the Aurora Teagarden series, which is a Hallmark Mystery series.  I enjoyed it and read it in 24 hours!

Shamed by Linda Castillo is the latest book in the Kate Burkholder series, set in Ohio Amish country.  The lead character, Kate Burkholder, is the Sheriff in a county where the majority of residents are Amish.  She is in a unique position, because she was raised Amish, but left the Order when she was 18.  You could probably read these out of order, but I highly recommend the whole series.  I read this one also in 24 hours! I had high hopes for a huge March reading month.  Because the first two books were finished in the first two days.  It quickly went down hill!!!

The Murder at the Vicarage is Agatha Christie's first Miss Marple mystery.  It could not hold my attention.   I should have just given up on it, but I wanted to finish it and see if it 'picked up" at any point.  I just cannot get engrossed in one of her books.  I keep wanting to try and just haven't  been a huge fan of any of them.  This book is set in a very small village and a church official is murdered.  We are introduced to a host of characters that I kept getting confused with because I couldn't read it in big chunks so I'd forget people/details. 

The premise of the mystery is that no shot is heard, everyone hates the guy who was murdered, and everyone could be a suspect.  If only,  it was fast paced. :)

Where the Crawdads Sing was our book club pick.  It was engrossing and I devoured it.  If you haven't gotten on the Crawdads train I'd recommend it.  I waited awhile to read it because every book that people LOOOOOOVE I tend to be like 'uh okay' about!

Kya is the 'Marsh Girl,' the girl who lives by herself in the marsh and so many rumors surround her.  She's accused of a murder and put on trial for her life.  Will the town people who have ignored her and teased her for her whole life treat her fairly?  It was fast paced and a good story.

I did read some articles about the author that made me rethink the story and her integrity.  Here is a link to the Slate piece about it. 

We did have a lovely book club discussion about it and we all agreed it was a winner!

So far in April, I've got 1 book completed (I read most of it in March), and I am liking the other one I'm reading.  But I am the full time mother, teacher, housekeeper, cook, cleaner etc. right now so reading time is given up lots of times for mindless scrolling because I just can't.  And I also started playing Words with Friends again!

What was your favorite read in March?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How To Use Picture Books for Number Learning

I know a lot of people are at home with their kids and the expectations of teaching / helping the when they are out of school are nerve wracking.  Some districts have given direction, some have not.  Some schools are closed for THE SCHOOL YEAR.  (OH , my heart.)

Using books to learn is kind of my wheel house as a former preschool teacher.  I'm going to share a day in the life at our house where we focused on 'numbers.'  Keep in mind I have a third grader and an almost 6 month old.

Mind you, we do not have a strong focus every day.  We are currently on 'spring break' and my daughters school district has been incredible.  We are a 1:1 technology district and they are all set up in google classroom and have been sharing ideas, lessons, zooms and more with our families.  This is simply a way to EASILY incorporate some learning into your reading.  Use your books and your kid to focus on certain topics/strategies.  I do this more for me on some days than the kids.  On a typical day it would be me and the baby and I try to pick out different books to read to her so I do not get bored of the same ole thing.  And if you just can't? So be it.  Hug your kids, settle them in for some snuggles and we will get through this.

10:45 I get the baby out of her crib and change her.  Then we settle on her rug in her bedroom and I give her a book to chew and scrunch on as I scan the shelves.  I decided to do books that had to something to do with numbers because my end goal was to have a small conversation about fractions with the 8 year old to see what she really knew about them.

We read through these.  She rolled on the floor, sometimes watching, mostly just listening.  She chewed on books and touched them.

While reading 1,2,3, Counting I...

- Pointed at each object and counted them, alternating between Spanish counting and English counting because I can, sometimes I have the 8 year old count to her in Mandarin because she knows that and it keeps her skills fresh

While reading Jane Eyre I,

- I read the words and then pointed and counted out the objects on each page

While reading the others, I used different voices and pointed out the number of objects on each page.

In the middle of this reading which took all of 15 minutes, probably was less time, the 8 year old appeared and did some choral reading (reading at the same time) with me to finish out The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  That's when I told her to go to her room and find books that had something to do with numbers and bring them out to the living room because at this point her sister was cranky and needed to nurse.

11:15ish We put the baby in the excersaucer and we settled in with the books she brought out.

We started with 1,2,3 Peas and I

- Asked how many peas do you think are on this page?
- The 8 year old asked on page 60, "I wonder if there really are 60 peas.  I'm going to count." So she did.
- She did the same on the 70s page.
- Then she asked me to count on the 80s page.

We read One Fish,  Two Fish,  Red Fish, Blue Fish and...

- A character had 11 fingers and I said, "how many fingers does Adeline have?" The 8 year old counted them.  Then I said how many do you have and she counted her fingers.  I asked how many I had and she said 10.  I said how many do we have all together and she said 30.  And I said, yes, 3 people times 10 fingers is 30!

- Then the 8 year old said, "We all have 10 toes too." So we have 30 toes too."

- There was a line about ears.  And the 8 year old pointed to the baby and said, "she has 2 ears. we all have to ears.  All of us toether have 6 ears. " And I said , "yup.  2 ears times 3 people equals 6.'

- There was a line about 10 cats on a head.  So I asked, "are there really 10 cats on his head?" And the 8 year old counted them out.

Bonus non math learning...
We talked about rhyming and did choral reading..

We read Pete the Cat's First Thanksgiving and...

- We talked about the amount of time they sailed on the ship
- We counted the calendar days on a calendar in the book.

Bonus non math learning...
- We talked about what we were thankful for.
- The 8 year old read what was underneath all the flaps.

We read The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Pig and...

(this is when the rails went off for the baby... she stopped bouncing and we had to move her around and entertain her to get through this one ha)

Bonus non math learning
- 8 year old predicted that the strength of the houses would go in reverse order than the first book (strongest to weakest)

After we finished reading this book, I told the 8 year old I wanted her to draw a brick house using two different colors of bricks and to make sure you could see the difference between the bricks.

We then took a break for lunch, making baby oatmeal for tomorrow, doing dishes, 8 year old got dressed/went outside to pick up sticks and jump rope, I nursed the baby again, folded clothes, switched laundry, and got the baby back down.

 1:00 ish... The 8 year old finished her drawing.  I had her count all of the bricks.  Then I had her count out how many orange/yellow bricks, then how many brown bricks.  I had her add them up to see if the total matched.  She was getting a little frustrated and wasn't sure how many she counted but we decided 56 was her number.

I asked her if she knew how to write this information as a fraction.  She said no, but I can put it in a pie graph.  So I showed her what I meant and she showed me what she meant.

Then I asked her if she had ever seen fractions written  like 1/3, 1/4 etc.  She didn't remember them from school but knew what I meant from baking.  So then I had her get me a cup measurement and a 1/3 cup measurement.  I asked her how many of the 1/3 cups she thought it would take to fill up the cup.  She said 2.  So I told her to go out to the kitchen and fill up the 1/3 and see how many times she could pour it in.  She got 2 in and said, I can't get anymore! I said there's room but you may not be able to carry it out here, so go see.  So then she filled up one more 1/3 cup full and it fit.

So then I showed her how to write the fractions and how a pie graph of 1/3, 2/3, and 3/3 cups of water would look like.

As you can see super formal here on a back of a worksheet with a drawing from a Mo Doodles the other day.  :)

Then we took a break so she could read more Harry Potter.  And at some point in the afternoon she did play on Prodigy  (math related site) for awhile.

Hours later, we went on a family walk.  I said, "Hey we have 4 people in our family, what fraction of our family are girls?" She said 3 out of 4," which is correct.  So I asked about boys, she replied, " one fourth," also correct.  My husband then said, "what is 3/4 plus 1/4" and she said, "4 out 4 or 1 whole."

So what I got out of this, is my kid DOES know some stuff about fractions even though she claimed she didn't.  She got practice counting, reading, and teaching her baby sister.  The baby got positive interaction, number words, and learns about different voices of reading.

It can be super simple.  It can get more complicated.  There are TONS of activities you could do with these books.  Or not.  Or just read.  Or watch tv and ask questions.  We will get through this.

And if you want some suggestions? I'll be glad to send you ideas and resources.

What are some of your favorite books that have numbers in them?

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Place Called Jubilee

I was given the opportunity to read and review, A Place Called Jubilee by Timothy J Garrett.  I was intrigued by the description:

"Deception, witchcraft, and the secrets of a long-dead former slave churn the life of ambitious young clergyman Coleman Hightower – even as fear, bombings, and riots rock the nation. Timothy J. Garrett’s historical novel A PLACE CALLED JUBILEE tells Coleman’s story as he leaves his mountain home and arrives in Washington D.C. in 1961 as the Civil Rights movement explodes across America. Coleman’s plans for a prestigious life are torn apart by his forbidden longing for beautiful and fiery activist Rosalee. His search for meaning turns into a desperate journey that takes him and the woman of his dreams all the way to Jubilee, Alabama – a place where intrigue, betrayal, and murder combine to make Coleman wonder if he will win Rosalee’s love or even leave the tiny town alive. "

The book does change time and place between chapters (easy to follow and each chapter tells you the time and place) but the majority of the story takes place following President Kennedy's 1961 inauguration that Coleman witnesses.  

The reader is introduced to Coleman and the rough childhood he had in the mountains.  He was raised by is Granny who we are told was a conjurer and his rough and stoic father.  His granny always told him e would be 'more' and he was able to break out of the mountains and attend college.  Following college he moved to Washington D.C. to learn from a pastor and to one day have his own church.

However, following the inauguration, Coleman is almost killed and is saved by a young woman who changes the course of his life.  Rosalee makes Coleman question all that he thought he was going to do with his life.

She is heavily involved in the civil rights movement and this intrigues Coleman. 

Another life altering moment occurs and Coleman is faced with a choice, Rosalee or becoming a prominent pastor.

There are a few twists and turns and a little magical realism that just kind of muddles things a bit and a lot of talk about civil rights, relationships between black and white people and the treatment of black people by white people.  There is heavy use of the 'n' word.

If you would like to win a copy of this book check out the Rafflecopter below.

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I was given a copy of this book for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

What I read in February

My reading in February was kind of funny.  I did most of it on the weekend.  I don't know why, but usually during the week, specifically during the day, it feels weird to just read.  Now if I am on a deadline for book club or if I just HAVE to know 'who did it' I will sometimes read during the week day, but for the most part I read a lot in the evening and on the weekends.  All of these books were read practically all in one day chunks.  On the weekends.  I've already read differently than this since March started, but it was interesting to see that fact of February.  Which, I read far more THIS February than last, when I only read 3 books as I was in the throes of morning/all day sickness!

Real Murders is the first book in the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris, who wrote the Sookie Stackhouse books. She's written others, but I honestly only knew she wrote those until I found Aurora Teagarden on Hallmark!  The book vs. movie has a ton of differences.  I watched the movies first and the read the books.  If I could pick, I'd have read the books first because there are some significant character differences and it makes it hard when the movies were fresh to readjust to the book!  Aurora is a small town librarian who is in a club called Real Murders Club.  They like to discuss real murders and murderers.  In this book, someone is stalking members of the club and setting up them up for murder!  These are a really quick read and a very cozy mystery feel.  If you like Amanda Flower mysteries, I'd check out this series.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a re-read.  As when I read it the first time, I devoured it.  Highly recommend if you need a good story.  There is some sadness, but the overall story is just a good story, full of funny, strong female characters.  If you enjoyed The Help, Dollbaby, or Gods in Alabama, I'd recommend this book.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota was another book I really enjoyed. 

"A novel of family, Midwestern values, hard work, fate and the secrets of making a world-class beer.

Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make what most people would call a living. So she can't help wondering what her life would have been like with even a portion of the farm money her sister kept for herself.

With the proceeds from the farm, Helen builds one of the most successful light breweries in the country, and makes their company motto ubiquitous: "Drink lots. It's Blotz." Where Edith has a heart as big as Minnesota, Helen's is as rigid as a steel keg. Yet one day, Helen will find she needs some help herself, and she could find a potential savior close to home. . . if it's not too late.

Meanwhile, Edith's granddaughter, Diana, grows up knowing that the real world requires a tougher constitution than her grandmother possesses. She earns a shot at learning the IPA business from the ground up--will that change their fortunes forever, and perhaps reunite her splintered family?
Here we meet a cast of lovable, funny, quintessentially American characters eager to make their mark in a world that's often stacked against them. In this deeply affecting family saga, resolution can take generations, but when it finally comes, we're surprised, moved, and delighted."

I honestly cannot believe that the dad cut the one daughter out of the will and there was no discussion!!! But that is the midwest for you.  Don't talk about the uncomfortable and ignore! This book was funny , quirky and also had lots of strong female characters! If you like the Elmwood Springs series by Fannie Flagg, I'd recommend this book!

Little Women Letters is a modern day take on Little Women.  The sisters in this book are related to the Little Women from the Louisa May book.  One of the sisters finds letters from Jo to her sisters and it comes at a time in her life when she needs to make some decisions.  It was cute, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you've read Little Women, otherwise, it wouldn't have as much meaning/connections. If you liked Little Women, then yes, definitely read this book!

A Place Called Jubilee is a book I received for a review (coming tomorrow!).  It is about a man, Coleman, who is living at a rectory intent on becoming a minister when the inauguration of JFK spurs a bunch of changes in his life.  It has deceit, mystery, the hint of unknown forces, racism, civil rights, love, and a mystery.  It's a fairly quick read with some in depth descriptive writing.  If you liked The Third Hill North of Town, I'd recommend this book.

I've already finished 2 books in March and I got a good stack from the library! The eight year old and I signed up for our library's March is reading month challenge to read at least 20 minutes a day using the BeanStack app.  Here's to hoping I can remember to log us in and remember to track it on the calendar from her school!

What was your favorite book read in February? Any recommendations to add to my list?

Friday, February 28, 2020


I say it every year, but it's the truth, February flew by! January lasted 234234 years and then February zipped by.  I'm a bit sad because my parents escaped to Florida for the next 6 weeks and it has been bitter cold this week.  A huge snowstorm missed us completely, but it is just so darn cold.  We got teased last weekend when it was in the upper 40s and even hit 50.  We did enjoy it by going downtown and checking out a new to us lunch spot and stopping at a favorite bar to try some beers.

My favorite pictures from the week:

The eight year old did a biography report on Malala for her 3rd grade class earlier in the week and part of her presentation was dressing up as her person!

Enjoying the uppers 40s at the park on Sunday!

This is funny because she hates bottles.  She only drank a half ounce.

The high of my week was book club with my friends!  We read/discussed Saving CeeCee Honeycutt which was a great re-read for me!

The low of my week was my parents leaving, it being cold, and feeling like I'm stuck in my house because of illnesses and weather.

Meal plan for the week was

Monday - Wild Mushroom Beef Stew
Tuesday -  leftovers from Sunday (pork tenderloin)
Wednesday -  Chicken Sandwiches,  garlic/parm noodles, applesauce
Thursday -  I had book club and the rest had leftover beef stew
Friday - Roasted Tomato Soup and grilled cheese

The best money I spent was on hoping that the Lee jeans I bought on Amazon are the best things ever when they get here.  I currently own 8 pairs of jeans and none of them fit well.  One pair I can wear out of the house if needed but I don't really like them.  Another pair are so loose they will fall off.  And then the rest all too tight at the moment in various spots.  I live in workout pants or I have 2 pairs of black dressier pants from Maurices I wear.  I also have some dressier Apt. 9 pants from Kohls I wear when I need to be a grown up ha.

What I’m listening to I have been listening to the podcast Dolly Parton's America.  I really like it! Also, I just started listening to the podcast Friendlier and catching up on Family Secrets!

What I’m watching I watched a bunch of Mystery Woman movies I recorded this week as I was walking laps around my living room for my fitbit challenges! I also started watching When Hope Calls and When Calls the Heart.

What I’m reading: A Place Called Jubilee by Timothy J Garrett

My plans for the weekend include taking the 8 year old to get a hair cut and then nothing else is set in stone.  

What are you watching/reading/listening to?