Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve

Smart, talented, and attentive Eve is excited to graduate the all girls school that she has spent her life in since the plague struck her world. She's thrilled to become a graduate and move up to studying for her task. However, the night before she's to graduate, she discovers the fate that all of the girls are truly destined to, and knows she needs to escape, any way she can. With some help, she is out and free. However, it is now just the beginning of a frightening and life changing journey to safety for Eve, the question is, will she make it?

I have been excited to read "Eve" for some time now, and was satisfied with the book. Though I couldn't always relate well with the characters and sometimes got very frustrated them, the storyline was lovely and such an interesting point of view. Well after reading this book, I kept thinking about it. What would happen if a plague really did take over and the government abused their powers? Would we all just go along willingly, blindly trusting only to be tricked? Or would we be smarter than that? What would I do? These are all questions that I have been asking myself since reading "Eve." "Eve" was a wonderfully haunting book, and I enjoyed reading Anna Careys first book in this trilogy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decluttering Kids Toy Rooms

We all know the feeling. You walk into the toy room or your kids bedroom...or the living room, and you think "how did it ever get this messy?" And as soon as you start to clean up....you give up because you can't remember where everything went or how it all FIT in that spot, or you just get to overwhelmed. Here are a few tips that I've found to help keep this rooms that your kids spend time in clutter free!

1) Invisible (floating) bookshelves! These are all the rage and make for a neat conversation piece and way to ORGANIZE your books! Not bad, right? They are easy to make, offer book storage, and if done right, can add interest to your room.

2) Vintage Lockers: Vintage lockers are one of my favorite ways to add storage to my room. You can find them for fairly cheap at thrift stores, and you can store anything in them! Dedicate each different locker for a different thing - you could even add shelves to it to add even more storage room!

3) Have a yard sale: How many of the toys sitting in your house do your kids really play with? Sometimes the best option is to have a yard sale or donate to your thrift store. When you get rid of all the extra things you don't need, it is so much easier to organize, find things, and you automatically feel more light headed and neat!

4) Clean every time a mess is made! Instead of waiting for it all to pile up, clean as you go, it will be much easier!

5) Dedicate one day a month to working your super mom powers and giving the room an ultra cleaning session! Dust, vacuum, sweep, and everything else that goes along with it!

6) Baskets: I consider these organized chaos. Dedicate one basket for each different type of toy...barbies in one, legos in another, coloring books in yet another, label them and you have easy, and cute storage that you can pull out when you need them!

7) Ladders: Vintage ladders make for adorably unique storage. Lean them against your wall and set stuff that isn't played with much, or is more valuable, on the steps. There are a lot of great things you can do with this technique!

8) If you have a special toy room, it's good to only choose the most important toys to keep in your little girls or boys room. Or if you have a boy and a girl, possibly let your girl keep her more "girly" toys in her bedroom and your boy his "boy" toys in his bedroom and keep the toys they both enjoy in your toy room.

9) Always keep creative supplies in your toy room somewhere! Coloring books and crayons, pencils, markers, washable paints, creativity is so good for kids and lets them express themselves and grow!

10) A unique way to keep your weekly sports and classes in your head is to take a old mirror with a unique design, paint it a color that matches your room, and spray the inside with chalkboard paint. You now have an adorable and unique chalkboard to write reminders and dates on it! Don't forget the special I love you notes!

With these tips, your on your way to a fabulously clutter free room! Good luck and let me know how they work for you!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hereafter



Amelia died, however, all she knows is she drowned in the river and a few very small random facts that had came rushing back at her through the years. She doesn't know how old she is, who her family is, what kind of person she was, or how she died, or why she is still aimlessly wondering on earth, alone and confused. That is, until she saves Joshua's life and finds that he can see her. Soon an unrealistic to most, romance begins and with the comes feelings that Amelia never new she could feel again, and danger that she didn't know was possible.

"Hereafter" captivated me after reading only a few pages in. It pulled me in and didn't let me out again until I was too tired to keep my eyelids open. It was such a beautiful book and the characters feel real and like you wanted to help them. I enjoyed that Joshua was so accepting of Amelia even though he was human and she was ghost, I felt like that was more realistic than how many books turn the "discovery" into a frightening unbelievable drama for the person "discovering." It was a nice change! I did feel as if their relationship should have developed through the story a bit more, it almost felt choppy in some places and like it was moving at an odd pace skipping from spot to spot. I very much enjoyed reading "Hereafter" and look forward to reading more from Tara Hudson!



Monday, June 13, 2011

Prom and Prejudice



Lizzie, being the scholarship student at a prestigious school has not been welcomed with open arms by many. However, she learns to keep her good friends close and be thankful for the opportunity she has at becoming an accomplished pianist. However, throughout the years Lizzie developed a problem with "rich" people, sticking them in a category before she gave them a chance. So when Darcy comes around, she immediately lumps him together with the other people that had given her such a hard time in the past. However, as she unravels his true story, she begins to fall for him harder than she ever imagined.

"Prom and Prejudice" by Elizabeth Eulberg is a hard book for me to review. I can't quite come up with the right words to describe it. This book had so many of the same elements as the original masterpiece, "Pride and Prejudice." I felt like making the characters have not only the same names as in the original (Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, etc.) as well as very similar personality's, I felt like it was a little too obvious. Even so, I did enjoy this book and it was a fun quick read for a nice Summer day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yes Please!


Love and Lavender


Let me tell you a little secret.....

.....my family and I live in the middle of the woods in a rural area. We have two horses, one dog, and 7 cats (we just had 5 kittens last week). I truly can't imagine living in the cities, or even in a small town. Nope, I love the country life. Especially since the lake is just a walk through our woods away!

However....ever since High Definition TV made it's way into our life, we have right around 6 TV channels with two of them being music video channels. Now, we never used to watch much TV at all, and even less now, but it is nice to relax with the occasional show every now and then, which is why I find Verizon FiOS pretty interesting.....

.....I'll be frank, I only just discovered Verizon FiOS around a month ago. I am an all around Verizon girl, so I was interested to hear about it.

The feature that caught my eye the most? Verizon FiOS has advanced fiber optic technology (did ya get that? I didn't.) so it makes for better pixelation, less interruptions and wallllaaaah and not as much weather interruptions! HDTv is starting to look up....

And it's not to shab when you look at the fact that it's been rated #1 for overall quality and customer care, and value in the 2010 "American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Survey for the largest subscription TV service providers."

It's not just for the TV though. It's for your cell phone. You can finish last nights TV show on your cell phone....nifty!

And on top of that? You can Tweet and Facebook AND Youtube from your TV using your remote! Crazy indeed!

FiOS isn't just for your cell phone and TV. Nope, it's your internet as well. Tonight I've actually been having problems staying connected to the internet on my laptop, while it's better now, earlier I was resetting the router a sad amount (at least I got my exercise running up and down the steps!) however with FiOS, that issue is close to resolved because it's on of the top rated high speed internet service with very fast speed and very clear video.

While I am happy right now with our 6 TV channels and our internet and cell phone service (through Verizon), I can't help but eye Verizon FiOS and think of what can be done with it.....definitely time efficient and more multi tasking opportunity's that us ladies are so good at ;)

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Verizon FiOS blogging program for a gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://VerizonFiOS.socialmoms.com/about)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Nothin Like the Summer


Image

A large portion of my life has been spent on the road, traveling with my family. We have spent four winters in the camper traveling through Texas, Florida, and California, months at a time. Traveling is second nature to us, and we have stumbled across some amazing sights because of it. Sights that I think that every kid should see and would make wonderful Summer escapes.

Yosemite National Forest:
Yosemite is aaaaabbbbsoooolutely breathtaking. The moment you enter the park it is just stunning and magnificent. We went in the Winter with our camper, but had to leave only a day later because of a snowstorm that was coming in ( on top of the already 5 foot in some areas snow!) - and we would not be able to get out with our camper! It is definitely a place to go in the Spring, Summer, or even Fall. Treck your way past Vernal Falls on the Mist trail and with the sun behind your back, and if the falls are so full that you are getting splashed, you just might capture a full rainbow right in front of you! (tip from "The Photographers Guide to Yosemite") Gorgeous indeed and what a photo opp!

San Francisco:
San Francisco must be my one of my favorite city's that I've visited. It is so full of life and history, surprising and exciting things to be found in every corner. The countryside of San Francisco is equally gorgeous, be sure to visit the beach (no swimming - sharks!) and the lighthouse. It's quite a trek down stairs that are equivalent to 30 stories, but hey, it's good exercise right?!

photo
Image taken by myself - San Francisco Light House

Tarpon Springs Florida:
Tarpon Springs tops my list for another favorite town. It is Grecian goodness all around, sporting a small town vibe, it is just a lovely atmosphere to spend the day meandering around exploring the little shops, checking out the aquarium, having some delicious ice cream, and ending the day with some dancing found right around the corner.

North Padre Island Texas:
While South Padre is the go to town tourist town, I have a special place in my heart for North Padre Island. Secluded and not busy at all, with dunes that you might here Coyotes howling in at night, horseback riding on the beach, and a less teenagery touristy vibe than other beaches, it is a great place to visit.

Calico Ghost Town (California):
This was one of my favorite campgrounds to stay at. It is a revamped old Silver miners town and has a old grave site, a mine to walk through, lots of shops to meander through, and is a great place to explore. A wonderful place to bring the family!

What are you favorite destinations? Any funny traveling stories? I know that I have a few...but we'll save those for another post!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”


Monday, May 2, 2011

Purple Heart Book Review



Amazon Product Description:

When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero.

There's a memory that haunts him: an image of a young Iraqi boy as a bullet hits his chest. Matt can't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved in his death. But because of a head injury he sustained just moments after the boy was shot, Matt can't quite put all the pieces together.

Eventually Matt is sent back into combat with his squad—Justin, Wolf, and Charlene—the soldiers who have become his family during his time in Iraq. He just wants to go back to being the soldier he once was. But he sees potential threats everywhere and lives in fear of not being able to pull the trigger when the time comes. In combat there is no black-and-white, and Matt soon discovers that the notion of who is guilty is very complicated indeed.

National Book Award Finalist Patricia McCormick has written a visceral and compelling portrait of life in a war zone, where loyalty is valued above all, and death is terrifyingly commonplace.

My thoughts:

I was only able to get to page 62 before I finished. I wasn't able to "get" into it. The plot felt very slow and like there was never any changes, and as if the story line wasn't moving. Even so, a few of the things that I read, really stuck with me and I am always remembering them. Though I wasn't especially able to get into "Purple Heart," I do think that this would be a great book for a young adult boy with an interest in the military.


The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson



When I first picked up a young adult book many years ago at the library, "14 Little Blue Envelopes" was one of the first ones. And I've loved it since! Maureen Johnson helped me get into the world of young adult books because of her book, and look what was the result!

I was excited when I found out that she was writing "The Last Little Blue Envelope." And was thrilled with I was sent a copy to review (100% of opinions in this review are off my own.). In the last installment of this series, Ginny retrieves her lost envelope and finds her way back in Paris and is un - happily surprised by a few new changes. However, she begins to find love in unique places as she unravels the crazy mystery that her aunt left behind for her.

Maureen Johnson's books are must reads, and perfect to past down again and again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On my Wishlist





"Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008.

Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward-- to make a life for Maddy.

In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. In honoring Liz's legacy, heartache has become solace."

Description from Amazon

Does this book not sound wonderful? Have you read it?


Friday, April 1, 2011

Shanti Generation {DVD Review}



When I received "Shanti Generation" I expected a lot from the DVD. There are a lot of yoga DVD's and materials out there, so I was hoping this one might set standards. However, I was disappointed.

"Shanti Generation" is unique from other Yoga DVD's because it focuses on teens. There are many younger kids yoga materials and there are of course, many adult products. However, not a lot of teen materials on yoga, and so "Shanti Generation" is one of the few in the niche.

When I opened my package, the DVD's weren't very secure. The packaging is eco friendly (Yes!) however, the DVD's have a hard time staying in! The DVD holder flap opens like a book, so it doesn't stay secure if your DVD slips out of the slot, which it does often. Especially if you grab the case quickly, or if your holding it upside down - say, reading the back.

I still had some hopes for this little DVD, as I popped it in my laptop to watch. However, I didn't much enjoy the format and thought that the poses were too easy. However, I have been practicing yoga for a few years now, so that may be part of it. I think it would be good for a very new beginner ages 9-13.

The yoga studio that they filmed the movie in, was nice, however!



While this might not have been the DVD for me, it really depends on the person! There are a lot of different yoga styles and personalities to boot. I like very active yoga and enjoy a challenge, always pushing myself. This DVD definitely has a more relaxing, calming feel, which would be great for a lot of kids and teens to escape from the hectic life they lead!


Monday, March 21, 2011

AN Window and Lawn - Two Teenagers Success Story

AN Window Washing and Lawn Care


Last night, I watched the amazing "Social Network." Oh - my - goodness. What an amazing documentary! How inspiring! And how smart the Harvard students are. Whenever I here success stories such as that one for young people, it does inspire me. And of course, I want to shout it out to the world, hopefully loud enough to inspire someone else. Let me introduce you to AN Window and Lawn Services.

While yes, this may be on a much smaller scale that Mark (Facebook CEO) did, but everything starts somewhere. Nathan (now 18) and Andy (18) began a lawn and window service a year ago. Doesn't sound too exciting?

Just take a look at their website - AN Window and Lawn
Their blog
AND
Facebook Page

Their website is better designed than a lot of websites that I have seen by adults. It's one thing to start a business - it's another to have a web presence that grows your business to something that makes money and helps you gain clients.

The message of this story? Anyone can do something if you put your mind to it and don't let anything get in your way. Keep going, it will happen.




Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: Slept Away



Slept Away

I’ve been traveling home with my family from California back to Minnesota and it’s been a looong, very cramped ride. I’m sitting in the backseat right now, we’ve been driving since a little after 7:00 this morning and its 6:22 at night right now. We’ll be driving until we reach home at 12:00 (thanks GPS!) this morning. It’s such a long and boring drive, but it’s given me time to catch up on some great books! I finished “Slept Away” today and thought that it was perfect for the drive, it is light hearted, witty, and easy to read. I did get annoyed at Laney’s over dramatization that could be found on almost every page, however, in all it was a great book perfect for a summer day or a long road trip!

Laney and her best friend Kennedy are making plans for an amazing summer. Laney? She would love to apprentice in the Fashion world and snag up some awesome swag, while Kennedy is getting a nose job. However, Laney’s summer is turned upside down when her mom announces that she’s shipping her off to a six week summer camp in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that Laney has lived in New York her entire life, sky scrapers everywhere she looks. When she reaches camp, it’s even worse than she expected, the other girls her age find any reason to pick on her, and she’s definitely not used to the nature and less than top notch facilities that surround her. However, she finds a friend, making her stay somewhat bearable. Laney soon realizes how truly valuable her new friendship is when she helps her through the worst of times and embarrassment – especially following the humiliation of the swimming competition that she is forced to compete in. By the end of camp, while Laney doesn’t ever wish to go back to camp, she finds that she wouldn’t take it back and the new friendships that she made and the better person that she became because of it. “Slept Away” is another book that your going to want to add to your summer beach bag (because Summer’s really is just around the corner, isn’t it? *glances outside at the 3 foot snow drifts*

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review..."Fallen Grace"




Fallen Grace

Grace, just shy of 16 who cares for her older sister by a year, Lily, as if she were the older of the two rather than the other way around finds herself and Lily living in the harsh poverty that many of Londons citizens faced around the time of the 1840’s. Grace and Lily struggle to make enough money by selling watercress on the streets, while trying to move up in ranks in the world, and while Lily’s hoping her Father that left for sea when they were young would return, Grace struggles with the sadness and that came from the death of her baby and the struggles of their current conditions. However, soon a advertisement in “The Mercury” announced that whomever found Lily and their now passed away mother would receive ten percent of the huge amount of money left behind for them. However, Lily and Grace have no idea that the entire law community of London is abuzz over them and when the secret unfolds, and Grace has figured out the vulgar secret of their current employers, she must find a way to make things right again.

Though the characters may be fictional, they seem as real as the historical accuracy in a good historic novel, such as “Fallen Grace” written by Mary Hooper. In “Fallen Grace” the characters are told in such a manner that you begin to relate to them in a unique way, as if you were a family member trying your best to look after them yourself. I found “Fallen Grace” to have a lot of great aspects, the time setting was perfect and I really enjoyed a story about a different type of trade that two poor sisters had found themselves in, funerals, which then forth piques the reader’s interest of the effects of cholera and the harsh burying situations that had become so apparent in those trying times. “Fallen Grace” was a wonderful historical fiction that was clever and unique at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to more of Mary Hoopers works!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Traveling with the Family


My family an I travel a lot. In fact, we just got back from a 2 month vacation in California. Yup, you read it right, 2 months! In the camper. 2 teenagers, 2 adults and one dog. It got cramped, it got stinky, it got crowded, and it even got moldy, at times. Would I have taken it back? Not a chance. Our family is used to driving for 16 hours straight - in a few days we are going on a 4 hour drive to see our family, that will feel like nothing! One good thing about traveling a lot is that you begin to learn the ins and outs of saving money (because it does cost a lot!) and having fun. Lets just call it camper hacking.

1) Pay for campgrounds ahead of time.
That way you'll be sure that they won't be booked when you get there. Especially if your visiting campgrounds that are in popular areas - in particular - beaches. It's great to support state and national parks and beaches, many of them have camping with hook ups and the sights are gorgeous! Plus, your helping to preserve the land. In California, many of the parks are closing because of lack of funds, it really is sad!

2) Stock up on essentials.
Sometimes its hard to find a good grocery store when your camping - especially in touristy towns where the food will be very high priced. Stock up on things you know you'll need and that won't go bad, such as cereal.

3) Go to museums for free.
Museums and aquariums are a lot of fun to learn about the area and explore different things. Something that a lot of people might not know about is that often the smaller ones will have a day of the month that admission is free! Usually it's on weekdays, but it's a great deal!

4) Free entertainment.
Find things to do that are fun and free! Beaches are often free to go to, hiking is always a fun option, you can also talk to residents in the area to find fun things to do on the cheap!

5) Gas up!
Gas is often very highly priced in touristy towns, or towns that are very rural. On our trip, we noticed that diesel was high pretty much everywhere ($4+) except in towns such as Las Vegas!

6) Doggie waste....
There's always grumbling when it comes to cleaning up the pooches poop. Save plastic bags from Walmart or other stores to use while camping!

7) Plane tickets
Flying? It can be hard to cough up the money for an expensive plane ticket. So, why not find a cheap one? Spend extra time searching through sites such as Travelocity and Priceline.

8) Add up those miles
There are loads of sources to getting air miles, that you can redeem for great trips! A great resource to learn more about this is travelhacking.org - which I was a member of during our trip, great program Chris has put together!

9) Triple A
You wouldn't believe all of the times Triple A has swooped in to save the day. For $10, it's worth it. You'll be thanking me when you lock your keys in the truck, or be stranded on the side of the road because the gas wasn't reaching the lines due to the very steep mountains! (Yes, it's happened!)

10) Have fun.
You'll make mistakes. You'll find yourself in crazy situations. Just remember to laugh through them and make light of them. In a few years, you very well might remember them better than the rides at Disney World.

Traveling is a lot of fun, there's so much to see in the world! Don't let the economy stop you, I hope you can put some of these tips to good use!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Saturday, March 5, 2011

666 Park Avenue.


666 Park Avenue


There’s the chic – high society, Gossip Girl books. There’s the haunting Twilight series. Both loved by many, teens and adults alike, but reading “666 Park Avenue” by Gabriella Pierce is like indulging into a mixture of the best of both worlds. Paranormalcy mixed with high society makes this book unique and keep you hanging on to find out what’s going to happen next.

Jane has fallen head over heels with her fiancĂ©, Malcolm and after living her entire life in France, they head to the family home in New York. After stopping at her Grandmothers, her only family member that she has left, to announce her exciting news and say goodbye, she finds out that she died and finds a disturbing letter and ring to go along with the news. Jane, trying to ignore her newly found powers, keeps it a secret from her fiancĂ© and plays along with her to-be stepmother’s crazy wedding plans that have nothing to do with Jane’s own wishes. However, she soon begins to unravel the horrifying secrets of the family that she is marrying into and realizes her step mother’s ulterior motive, and begins to hide her powers from her step mother until her and Malcolm can safely escape after the wedding and vanish from the New York scene. However, as Jane’s own powers begin to grow, she finds out an even more terrifying secret that Malcolm had been keeping from her, and finds her in a deadly position. Will Jane find her way back to safety? What will happen with her relationship with Malcolm? There’s only one way to find out.

I really enjoyed reading this novel; it was so different from any other paranormal book that I’ve read and was such a nice change! I am excited that this will be a series and will be anxiously awaiting the next. When I look back at reading the book, in some aspects I feel like the characters were at time, hard to relate to and “really” get in their heads and feel what they were feeling like some books, however the great story line, the vivid writing, and the occasional haunting feel well made up for it and I was pleased to find that “666 Park Avenue” is a book that I would recommend!

I received a copy of this book to review and give my 100% honest opinion on.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What my Kids would think of I was abducted by Martians


Have you ever wondered, "what would happen if you were abducted?" Or if there really were aliens? I remember a few months ago, my little brother came barreling into my bedroom and proclaimed that something was really weird in the sky that night. There was a group of stars that weren't just "twinkling" they were moving, really moving! Nope, not an airplane or satellite. Doing extensive internet research we came up with one solution. A UFO (unidentified flying object).

When I heard about this opportunity I knew I had to take it, the prompt being, "What would your kids think if you were abducted by martians?"

Well, first off.....

1) I'm sure I would be abducted in the middle of the night. Probably while I was outside through the woods checking to make sure the horses gate was latched shut or the clippers were put away because I couldn't sleep thinking of the "what ifs...." No one would hear my screams, no one would know. Except Bailee and Figment, but they would probably just wonder why I was being so obnoxious and continue munching on their hay. I suppose stranger things could happen!

Anyways, when my kids wake up in the morning, they probably would first wonder why Mommy let them sleep in so late. At first I believe they would be happy to sleep in, but pretty soon they would begin to miss morning kisses.

2) This one is definite - they would miss my cooking.

3) They would very much miss my help feeding the horses, and exercising them, and scooping manure, and, and, and....

4) Bed time kisses.

5) Cleaning!

6) Trips to the park. How they love going on bike rides to the park, and who would swing their swings? And strap their helmets on? Kiss their scrapes when they fall?

7) Grocery shopping, it's so hard to do when you don't know what your looking for or where to find it. I can't imagine my kiddos grocery shopping alone!

8) Fort builders. All the days of building fancy elaborate forts out of pretty blankets and fluffy pillows would be gone. It's so much harder to play pirates or by Alladin and Jasmine without a fancy hide out!

9) Making popcorn. They love when I make homemade popcorn and cuddle up with them to watch a movie, we would both miss this!

10) To and from horseback riding lessons. This one would be much missed from all three kiddos! Hunter jumping training isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle for all of us!

Its amazing to even imagine being abducted by martians. I know I would miss my family just as much as they missed me, ALOT! It would truly be a terrible adventure!

What would your family miss if you were abducted by aliens?

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson"




"A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day."
~Emily Dickinson



When I first picked up to read “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually, that’s wrong. I had high hopes for the book. I really love historical novels and the only thing that I doubted about Emily Dickinsons story told by Jerome Charyn only in the aspect that, like some historical fictions, it would drag on. Was I ever wrong!

Before reading “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson” I hadn’t known much about Emily, one of the greatest poetry prodigies. To one who only has studied the basics of her life, they might wonder, how could she have came up with such fire filled, poignant, and deep poems, when she spent years upon years of her life, staying in her Fathers home. By reading “The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson” you become indulged an entirely different point of view of her life, the experiences that she may very likely experienced, that our English teachers probably skipped over. Jerome Charyn did a wonderful job tell Emily’s story in a delightful, interesting way, letting you into Emily’s life and feeling her pain and happiness. From the people she loved, her many heartbreaks, her sweet dog, her moon blindness that she overcame, people that flitted in and out of her life, and others that haunted her for years, many will be surprised and delighted to take a deeper look at what gave her the “lighting” to write such amazing poems, that are still read and admired today.


Disclosure: I was given this book to borrow. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Share the Happiness!

When I was given the prompt to write a post on the “little ways I share happiness with people around me” a few different things popped into my mind. Right now, I am in the middle of the mountains, we are the only people staying at this campground, the water tastes like chlorine, it’s poring out and super windy, and tomorrows my birthday. Oh, did I mention it’s supposed to snow tonight? In California? While the snow is melting and turning into slush in Minnesota? Ha! Well, it’s easy to dwell on the sorry things in this story that I’m living right now, but it’s so much more fun to look at the other side of it – the happy side. When your happy, everyone else around you seems to feed of your positive energy and embrace it, even if your experiencing less than perfect circumstances at the time!

~Laugh. It’s so easy, to look at the bad things and instead of cry, laugh. A real belly laugh. Think of when you’ll be remembering your story five years from now, you will be laughing, so lets embrace and let the laughter come quicker! One person laughing will soon be two, three, and before you know it, everyone will have a smile on their faces.

~One of my favorite things that seem to have gotten lost as media has developed are letters and sweet little packages. I love to send a hand written card to someone special, a friend, or a family member. Package it up with pretty bows and it will bring a smile to the receivers face, knowing that you thought of them.

~Sharing a compliment is a sure way to bring happiness to someone’s day. Kind words are so easy and take hardly any time to say, and they will stay with someone for the entire day, week, month, or longer, giving them that extra bounce in their step and self esteem. I still remember when we stopped at a gas station and I complimented a lady on her hair, the surprise on her face surprised me!

~Putting yourself down. This is one I catch myself doing sometimes. It’s so simple to do, saying that your bad at certain things puts a negative feeling in the air. Embrace what you are good at and don’t dwell on the things that you still are working on, it sets a good example on everyone else!

How does your mind garden grow? My goal is to have one full of happiness, bright cheery flowers to be picked and handed out to everyone around. What colors yours?


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hershey's blogging program, for a gift card worth $25 and some product. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dinner Etiquette


It seems as if many of the things that family's felt important in older times, the 1900's, 1920's, 1950's, etc, have been lost along the way. Pajamas are worn to the grocery store and movie theater rather than sweet skirts and blouses, are even just a pair of jeans! Our language has become lazy, we send emails rather than letters, and, what we'll be focusing on today, dinner etiquette.

Dinner's used to be a time to spend with your family, a time to share the funny, crazy, wild, and sometimes bad, things that have happened throughout your day. Laughter, smiles, and sometimes tears were shared while eating Mommas homemade chicken noodle soup. Now, it's easy to skip over traditions and grab something on the go, or let your family eat when they feel like it "Sammy - there's canned chicken noodle soup if you want to heat it up for lunch!" While it's sometimes more sensible and easier to eat something fast, it is nice to have those sit down meals to have some quality family time. Here are some of my favorite dinner etiquette tips!

DO Eat together, while the rest of the day is in a hustle and bustle going from here to there and back again, it's nice to have some time to relax with your entire family. You'll find that some of the best conversations happen at your dinner table.

DON'T Put the fork on the wrong side of the plate - don't worry - I've done this my entire life for some reason and can't seem to get it right, creature of habit I suppose? Try not to though, as it results in plentiful of teasing and plus, you'll have to reset them!

DO Laugh Lots! Nothing like a good laughter to make the meal a fun place!

DON'T Forget the salt when company is over! My family never uses salt, so when our company comes over and we don't put it on the table, we usually can't even find it to put it on the table for them! Keep a small stock of salt and leave it in a place that you'll remember!

DON'T Put your elbows on the table if your a lady!

DON'T Text while eating! One of the most annoying habits it texting, or checking your email, while your with friends or family, breakfast, lunch and dinner included! Save your internet time for afterward when you can really concentrate on what your reading!


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Guest Review! A Summers Secret

A Summer Secret by Kathleen Fuller is a tween book, but I enjoyed it. This book is great for a light summer read, and I think that any age person who loves Kathleen Fuller or Amish books will enjoy A Summer Secret!


I love the fact that this is an Amish mystery, it really adds a level of intrigue to the story, and I believe that this would be a draw to younger teens. 13 year old Mary Beth is a typical teenager, full of pranks and desires and is a bit rebellious. Mary Beth likes to have some time alone, and an old abandoned barn calls out to her, it's the perfect place to get away from her 3 brothers, the only problem is that her twin brother knows her secret, and when Mary Beth finds a button in the barn she is drawn into a mystery, will her brother keep her secret?


This book was very enjoyable and I highly recommend any of Kathleen's books, I have yet to read one that I have not enjoyed.


I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Book Sneeze.

Review by Lauri of Knits and Reads

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"A wounded deer leaps the highest."


Don't you love her socks and flats? Fffound

So, here we are. Yucca Valley California. The town looks like a really oooollld Cowboy town, somewhat run down, but kept nice and clean at the same time. There are a few lovely antique and vintage shops that I've stopped at and barely was able to drag myself away from this stunning 50's dress. Flouncy, cream colored, classy, and with a red bow in the back. Perfection. I would have snatched it up in a second if it was a bit lower priced than $70. Sigh. I won't forget that dress though.

This campground that were staying at, is...interesting to say the least. There are 14 camp sites, and the water is cloudy, not the least bit clear. The wifi that they promised is truly hopeless.


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A wounded deer leaps the highest.
~Emily Dickinson





However, I wanted to quick let you know about this great book I'm reading. "The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson." I've reached part two and have been sucked in from the first couple of pages. Unlike other historical books retold, this one really is interesting and you feel like Miss Emily is the one telling her story. I've found it's a perfect read to learn more about Emily Dickinson in an easy way! I also think this would be a great read to incorporate into a homeschooling program for history and literature.

Have you read this book? What where your thoughts?

When Angels Fly {Unearthly Review}








Book: "Unearthly"
Author: Cynthia Hand
Rating: 4 out of 5


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Sometimes, you come across a book that with every word you read, you are transported into a different world. You’re there with the character, feeling their emotions as if they were your own, smelling the surroundings, letting everything sink in as if you were a part of the ongoing story that extends much farther than the last page of the book. “Unearthly” by Cynthia Hand is part of this very select group. Another book that I’ve put in this group is the ever famous J.K. Rowlings. When you are watching the movie of the book and you feel as if you’ve already seen what was happening before you ever watched the movie, you know that the writer was able to convey their story in a truly magical way.


“Unearthly” could be the story of a typical teenage girl falling in love, getting confused, and falling out and back into love all over again in new ways. However, it’s not. There’s a twist. Clara is a quarter angel, and soon finds herself, her mom, and little brother leaving everything they’ve ever known in California to the mountains of Wyoming. Everything is different, the school, the people in the school, their house, everything. Clara’s purpose is unfolding and she needs to uncover many secrets before the day comes when she’ll need to fulfill it. However, she finds love in unexpected places and soon has to make choices that could change everything. Cynthia has put together a delightful masterpiece that sucks you in and keeps you wondering even after your finish the last word.


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Discolosure: I received this book for free to review. Even so, I gave my completely honest opinion and expressed my own thoughts.