Tuesday, December 27, 2016

101 in 1001, Round 2 - Update 9

One of the goals on my 101 in 1001 list was to read one Christmas novel each Christmas season of the challenge.  Last year I read A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor and this year I read A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg.

Deep in the southernmost part of Alabama, along the banks of a lazy winding river, lies the sleepy little community known as Lost River, a place that time itself seems to have forgotten. After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River. There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack, who is at the center of this tale of a magical Christmas when something so amazing happened that those who witnessed it have never forgotten it.

I love Flagg's novels; while predictable, they are also charming and uplifting and A Redbird Christmas was no exception.  It was a novel full of sweet characters and a lovely setting, however, the read just wasn't Christmasy enough for me (that's not to say that I'm not glad I didn't read this book because I never feel like I've wasted time in Flagg's worlds).  I haven't read many Christmas novels in my reading career so I'm not sure if they don't translate like movies but I plan to continue reading more in future holiday seasons.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Ornaments

I know Christmas is technically over but that's not going to stop me from doing a few Christmas posts!

Mitch and I continued our yearly tradition of buying a Hallmark Keepsake ornament; this year's addition was the Caroling Piano.  The keys light up while it plays one of three songs: Deck the Halls, Here Comes Santa Claus, or We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

Mitch, my parents, and I took a trip to New York City after Thanksgiving (I may get around to blogging about that in a few years - seems to be my posting average nowadays) and this is the ornament we brought home with us.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

July in Review

Well, we've made it out of June - on to July!


Mitch decided to take our grill off the deck and store it in the garage instead.  I quickly claimed the newly empty space as my future outdoor reading  corner!

We finally became a toaster ovens household!  I was probably way too excited about this addition to our household.  I don't know what it is, but there's just something about a toaster oven.

I discovered Grey's Anatomy reruns and quickly filled up my DVR over and over again with them.  (Mitch and I have since joined the Netflix revolution and I'm now watching them there and leaving room on our DVR for my other 'programs.'  Also, I'm not sure why Mitch and I waited so long to hop on the Netflix bandwagon - it's fabulous!)


After reading Where the Heart Is, I thought I'd grab the other Billie Letts book I had on my shelf and give that one a whirl.  Sometimes you're not ready to leave an author after one book.  While I didn't think it was quite as good as Where the Heart Is, I did really enjoy Made in the U.S.A.  Letts knows how to write characters you fall in love with (I adored Fate).  And side note, how pretty is this cover?  I definitely want to read her other novels.

I had a love-hate relationship with Chris Bohjalian based on the two novels I picked up by him; Midwives is one of my favorite novels but I couldn't finish Before You Know Kindness.  I wanted to read at least one more (perhaps several more) of Bohjalian's works because of the impression he left with Midwives.  Secrets of Eden was definitely better than Before You Know Kindness but it was no Midwives.  This did restore my faith in the author, however, and I look forward to reading his other books on my shelf.

I heard so many wonderful things about A Man Called Ove and it did not disappoint. It was such a sweet, humorous book.  I highly recommend it.


I needed to wash a couple of Crickett's stinkiest toys and she got very concerned about the whole ordeal.  It was so cute watching her.

A couple of nights later I was doing my own laundry and Crickett had to inspect every step of the process.  She may have developed some trust issues after that first night - ha!  Sometimes my little girl really impresses me with that memory of hers; the things she remembers when I'm absolutely certain she'll forget!  She is still showing a great interest in the laundry room to this day.


The Fourth of July holiday was spent with family.  We enjoyed the nice day and played some Yard Yahtzee at my parent's house and ventured out that evening to our city's annual fireworks display.

The second to last weekend in July was spent with my dad's side of the family out on the family farm for our now annual Fam Jam event.  As always, it was absolutely fabulous being in one of my favorite places on earth with some of my favorite people on earth.  I need to give this wonderful weekend it's own post.  Stay tuned.  (Hopefully not too long!)


We had quite a few storms over the summer and quite a few of them were rather intense.  The clouds with this particular storm were incredible; I'd never seen anything like them.  I almost felt like I was in a movie!  Mother Nature is definitely a talented (and destructive!) lady.

The bell flowers in our front yard finally started to really bloom (I'd been checking on them constantly since May - obviously I was very excited!)  I love their simple prettiness.  I should really try - and I mean, really, really try (because you have to work hard when you have a black thumb) - to get more flowers going around our house next year.  They are truly a joy to have around; it's hard not to feel calm and happy when looking at them.

Monday, November 7, 2016

June in Review, Part 2

I'm hoping to get this year reviewed before it's over!

So, although the best part of June was my birthday, there were other happenings in that month.


My sister surprised me with one of my favorite paintings of hers as a gift for my birthday.  I love it so much - the colors, the textures, the words.  It's going to look perfect hanging on my craft room wall!

I bought another print for my library.  I'd been eyeing this one for a while on Etsy and finally decided it needed to be in my collection.


I bought a 1943 hardcover edition of my all-time favorite book (with my favorite book jacket).  It is absolutely beautiful and in amazing shape inside and out for being over 70 years old.

Where the Heart Is is one of my favorite movies and I thought I should read the book on which it was based.  I was a bit hesitant - I hate seeing differences between the two mediums - but ended up pleasantly surprised.  The movie followed the book quite closely and the differences weren't anything substantial enough to make me dislike the changes.  The book was just as great as the movie.


My co-workers and I taste-tested the latest Oreo flavor.  Let me tell you, this one is in my top five favorites.  It tastes exactly like Fruity Pebbles cereal.  So delicious!

My mom gave me a jar of her amazing strawberry rhubarb jelly.  Lucky for me, Mitch doesn't like rhubarb so I didn't even have to share.  My favorite way to enjoy the jelly is on waffles.


I fell in love with this beauty while out thrifting - I stood like a crazy person just staring at it for a minute or two while admiring all the details  - but I honestly couldn't think of anywhere to put it (it was quite large at probably close to five feet tall) so I had to leave it behind.  Thank goodness for photos!

I found a fabulous little hobnail milk glass lamp on a different thrifting trip and that came home with me  (there were actually two lamps and I do regret not buying the second one but at least I got one!).  It's perfect in my craft room!


Our apple tree decided to join the pear trees and started producing fruit.  It's so much fun watching our trees work their magic.

And the lilac tree in our front yard did not disappoint this year with it's beautiful, fragrant blossoms.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Smile

I can't believe Thanksgiving will be here in less than three weeks!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Book Sale 2016

Two weeks ago was one of the best days of the year: the library's used book sale!  I scored 27 books for $9.50; that's $0.35 a book!  I couldn't believe it when the cashier told me my total.  My bag definitely felt heavier than nine and a half pounds (you pay $1.00 per pound).  I had to laugh at the guy in line behind me.  When the cashier told him his total was $12.50, he said "That's it?!  I should really get to the gym."  Who has time for the gym when there are so many books to read?!

So, without further ado, the books that will be joining my ever-growing collection:

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein  This title definitely caught my attention.

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins  Another title that caught my attention.  And honestly, I'm not sure I've ever read a book about gypsies.  

Dog Years by Mark Doty  I'm almost positive that this memoir will be a tear-jerker for me.

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg  I love Flagg's books and I love Christmas, so I couldn't pass this one up!

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler  One of the many books on my to-read list.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert  I didn't particularly care for Eat, Pray, Love (more so the author herself and not the story) so I haven't paid much attention to anything else by Gilbert.  However, I'd heard of this one and after reading the synopsis, thought it sounded like it could be a good read.  Also, I really like the cover.

Three Junes by Julia Glass  I enjoyed The Widower's Tale and thought I'd try another novel by Glass.

The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf  I have bought several of Haruf's books now (all from the library book sales) but haven't read any of them yet.  I really should remedy that soon.

The Dinner by Herman Koch  Another one on my to-read list.  That actually took me by surprise because I didn't think I'd ever heard of the book before! Ha!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern  This was never a book I'd planned on reading - it just didn't sound that great to me - but after reading so many great reviews, I thought I would grab it and see what the fuss is all about.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty  I enjoyed The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies so I figured I'd give this one a whirl.

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch.  I discovered this is the first book in a series and I'm a little disappointed (not a fan of the commitment a series takes).  I don't know if this novel can stand alone should I not want to continue with the series; some of the other books sound good, some not so much.  We'll see, I guess.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson  Bought this one because my cousin recommended I read it (AGES ago!).

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart  This cover caught my attention - seriously so adorable! - and the book sounds pretty darn cute.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

June in Review, Part 1

June 2nd marked my 35th birthday and it was a very good day.

Before work I enjoyed a free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's.  I LOVE Denny's scrambled eggs (with cheese) - they are so ridiculously delicious!  Definitely the best eggs I've ever had and will probably ever have.

I arrived at work to decorations and presents.  My office mates know me well; gnomes (and a gnome reading a book at that!) and sugary treats.  I also got several fun certificates in response to certificates I've awarded in the past.  It was a nice day for being at work and all.

I discovered a fun little Happy Birthday note on my windshield from a roller derby friend who recently started working in the building next to mine.  It's crazy how those little things can put such a big smile on your face.

I left work early so I could visit the chiropractor.  The weekend prior to my birthday I somehow managed to hurt my lower back by sitting around all weekend reading.  I was told that only I could manage something like that.  Ha!

After my chiropractor visit, I met my family for dinner.  Another free birthday meal, this time at a local 50s cafe - they have delicious popcorn and one of the best mushroom swiss burgers ever.  I definitely ate well on my birthday!

After dinner everyone came back to our house for cheesecake (yum!) and presents.  I'd been wanting Yard Yahtzee for quite some time and put the bug in my dad's ear that he could make me a set for my birthday if he was interested.  Well, I lucked out and he was interested.  I got two sets - a painted and unpainted set - both of which are perfect!  Almost too nice to play with!

In addition to Yard Yahtzee, I'd also been wanting a bean-bag toss game for quite some time.  My father-in-law granted my wish for this one.  Thirty-five is apparently the birthday for yard games.  And perhaps 36 is the year to actually play them (it's horrible, but neither game has made it out into the yard yet!).

And like Mother's Day, I forced Crickett to take a photo with me.  And like Mother's Day, she was thrilled about it.

Stay tuned for more June happenings, (although they're obviously not going to be as exciting as my birthday happenings)!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Focusing On the Good

Even with this super annoying, terribly painful headache I've been carrying around with me for way too long now I'm trying to focus on the good.  So tonight, I can't complain about Grey's Anatomy reruns (yay for DVRs!) with Crickett cuddles in the nice, cool basement.