Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What am I Reading? March 2014

So here is what I have been reading lately.

Midnight in Austenland was the independent sequel to Austenland which I read last year. It's about a newly divorced woman who goes to England for an authentic "Jane Austen" vacation. Very cute! There's a new movie out about the first one which I recently saw. It was a fun chick flick!

The Marriage Bargain is about a woman who agrees to marry a billionaire so he inherit his father's company and at the same time, she can help out her family. The book was entertaining, but implausible in my opinion.

We just got the list of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl books for the 2014-15 school year. Chomp by Carl Hiassen was one of the books on the list. Hannah was not happy with me that I only read 2 titles on last year's list, so I am trying to do a better job for the next year. Chomp was a fun read. It's about a young boy who's father runs an animal sanctuary. Sometimes his animals are used in movies and such. A "Crocodile Hunter" type show hires the boy & his father to help with their show.

Navigating Early is another reading bowl book for next year. This one is about a boy whose mother dies, so his military father sends him away to military school. There the boy meets Early and goes on an adventure with him.

I was so excited that a new Kristan Higgins book came out this month. It's the latest in the Blue Heron series. The local bartender/owner is the heroine in this one. I really enjoyed this & look forward to Higgins' next book.

In one month, I read 3 of the HRRB titles for next year! Lincoln's Grave Robbers is a true story that reads like fiction. It's about some men in the late 1800's who attempt to steal Lincoln's dead body for a ransom. There are lots of photos throughout the book.

His Secret, Her Baby is the latest by Tanya Michaels. Tanya is in my book club, so I try to read her books when they come out. The book was great, but I don't like the title at all. A lot of the romance books have really basic titles like that and I don't care for that. This book is the first in a series of the Cade siblings. I'm looking forward to reading about the other Cades, especially the brooding, older brother.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Remembering Grandpa Nick

One year ago, we lost Chris' father. Nick died unexpectedly in his sleep on Good Friday last year. We decided to do a few things on the one year anniversary to celebrate him.

If you knew Nick, you knew he LOVED to feed the squirrels around his house. His squirrels weren't just fat, they were obese! Definitely the fattest squirrels in Indy! So we decided that we would set something up to feed our squirrels.

Home Depot didn't carry regular feed corn on the cob, so we found this instead.

Chris & Hannah installed in along the fence in the back yard.

We haven't caught any nibblers in action, but there have been visitors.

Chris recalled his father LOVED chicken & dumplings. It wasn't something they ate when Chris was a child, but he remembered it as being one of his Dad's favorite meals. So in honor of his dad, we made homemade chicken & dumplings for dinner. It was a first for us. We made it with vegetable broth and before we put the chicken in it, we separated some for vegetarian Hannah.

Then for dessert, we ate ice cream. Nick loved eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Who doesn't?

Here's a picture that was taken during our last visit with him in December 2012.

It's hard to believe that it has been a year already. We miss you, Nick!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What am I Reading? February 2014

It's so nice to finally be able to read again!

The French for Love by Fiona Valpy was so cute! It's about a woman who loses her job & her boyfriend & inherits a French cottage from a beloved aunt all around the same time. She decides to fix up the cottage & live there for the time being. I so wanted to go move to France when I finished the book!

Tall, Dark, & Kilted by Lizzie Lamb was a fun read. It got off to a rough start, in my opinion, but once the story moved to Scotland, things picked up. It's about a woman who gets invited by some young, posh socialites to help their mother set up a "spa" type resort at their family home in Scotland.

Nothing Stays in Vegas was not what I had hoped for. It was okay - I was entertained, but I felt the characters were a bit weak. A married woman who is technically separated has a fling with her soul mate in Vegas. Many years pass and they meet again in Vegas.

I absolutely LOVED Facebook Jeanie! It was about a woman who spent all her free time stalking an old boyfriend from college on Facebook. Then one day, she meets Jeanie who installs a new Facebook App on her phone. The app is a "restart" button which allows her to go back to the night where she broke up with her college boyfriend & change things. One of the descriptions that I read about this book was "Bridget Jones meets Ground Hogs Day". I really enjoyed this one.

Rent A Husband is about a woman who needs a date for a big fundraiser ball. Her gay, best friend arranges for her to "hire" a handsome acquaintance to be her date. This theme has been done several times before in movies & books. This one was alright, but not as good as some of the others.

The Bourne Identity was our Book Club book. I am so excited that I completed it before our book club met! I enjoyed the book, but because I had seen the movie first, I harbored some anger. The book is good & the movie is good. But the movie only loosely follows the book. So while I was reading it, I kept trying to refer to my memories of the movie which didn't help at all. I really wished I hadn't seen the movie before reading this.

I have been a long time fan of Sophie Kinsella since her Shopaholic days. Though some of her more recent titles haven't been as enjoyable. I thought this one was more like her older ones. It was about a woman who thinks her long term boyfriend is going to propose. When he doesn't and has no plans to anytime soon, she breaks up with him. Right after the break up, she meets an old boyfriend who reminds her of a pact they had that if neither of them was married by the time they turned 30, they would get married to each other. Very quick read.

So that's what I read this month. Happy  Reading!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Scrapbooking 2014 Goal - Week 4

So I'm in Week 4 of my Scrapbooking Goal. So far, my posts have been in the early part of each week. We'll see if that continues! :)

This week was a bit harder. I didn't use any page kits! Be assured that if I had any page kits for these photos, I sure would have used them!

These pictures were from a 2008 trip to Williamsburg with my parents. My mom had purchased tons of themed stickers and papers for this trip, so I wasn't completely without.

This first layout is of Williamsburg. The 3-D stickers are Jolee's. The papers were purchased at a local (Williamsburg) Scrapbooking store.

The next layout is of Jamestown. I didn't use any additional embellishments here.

More Jamestown & the beginning of DC.

We went to DC for the day. We drove around the city a bit and let the kids out around the National Mall area. Short & sweet.

Goal Update: 27 pages/282 pages

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Scrapbooking 2014 Goal - Week 3

Week 3 of Scrapbooking. This first layout uses a kit from Out on a Limb Scrapbooking.

These next 2 layouts use an older Dance page kit from Creative Memories.

I think this brings me up to date with Hannah's dance album! I am so excited! Of course she will have new photos this spring, but for now, we're all caught up!

Goal Update: 19 pages/282 pages

Monday, February 10, 2014

Scrapbooking 2014 Goal - Week 2

Second week in a row of scrapbooking! The first thing I did this week was to finish the dance page from last week that I wasn't satisfied with. I added the white & purple flowers (from Stampin' Up! punches). 

This is James' freshman year of high school. For James' portrait album, I have been using Creative Memories supplies. Many of the pages are preprinted & don't require anything extra. On some of the preprinted pages, the large 8x10 photos don't work well. So on this page, I covered it with a simple printed sheet of paper & added a few stickers.

This layout uses a Creative Memories preprinted page. I added the photo & the "grade 10" sticker. I got pretty emotional after I completed this page. James is only going to have 2 more pages in his portrait album!!! Yikes! Where has the time gone?

This layout is from a kit I purchased from Out on a Limb Scrapbooking. I thought it worked beautifully with Hannah's dance costume.

Hannah's 5th grade class picture. I used a printed paper from a stack pack of school themed papers.
Hannah's 6th grade picture on a Creative Memories preprinted page. 
Hannah's 7th grade picture is also on a Creative Memories preprinted page. This is one of the pages that I mentioned above that doesn't work for the larger 8x10 photos. 
Goal Update: 13 pages/282 pages

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What am I Reading? January 2014

Here are the books that I read in January, 2014.

I was very excited to see a new Janet Evanovich book out. This is number 20 in her numbers series. The series started out strong, then somewhere in the teens, I felt that they lost something. The last couple that I had read reminded me of the earlier ones. This one did not. Don't get me wrong, it was entertaining. It just wasn't as good as some of her others. In fact, it was a bit silly in times. In the beginning, there's a giraffe running around New Jersey. He makes several appearances in the book.

The Rosie Project was such a cute book! It is a romantic comedy told from the male perspective. The male just happens to be very similar to the Big Bang Theory's Sheldon.

I read White Fire which is a new title in the Agent Pendergast series. This one takes place in a posh ski resort town in Colorado. Agent Pendergast didn't appear for the first couple of chapters, so I wasn't sure he was even going to be in it, but he did. Lots of suspense.

The Supermodel's Best Friend was a cute "chick lit". The main character happens to be best friends with a beautiful supermodel. The supermodel is getting married in a destination week-long wedding.

I enjoyed London Falling by Emma Carr. A cute story about a young American woman who gets stranded in London.

Doubting Abbey if you haven't guessed, is a play on "Downton Abby". It's about a young woman who is asked to pose as a her friend in a reality tv show about saving an English mansion. Very cute!

That's all for now.

Happy Reading!