Monday, December 13, 2010

Everything Christmas: a book review

As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to have it! It is like an advent calendar with a lot of extra goodies. The book starts on December 1st and the suggestion is to read one day at a time and make the included recipes or play the outlined games and REALLY take time to immerse yourself in the joy and wonder of the Christmas Season instead of hurrying through it feeling like you have to do things or have to be somewhere. Everything Christmas really helped me overcome the holiday 'blah & bustle' that I usually suffer from and instead enjoy the season like I haven't done in years!

For many years I have "done" Christmas, not "celebrated" Christmas and I am starting to regain the joy and wonder that I had lost over the years. Christmas used to be one of my two favorite holidays until financial problems, a divorce and shared custody which left me hurting instead of hoping during this joyous time and deep, lingering hurts from a difficult childhood finally made me say, "to heck with Christmas. I'll ACT like I love it but I'll be glad when it's over." Thanks to Everything Christmas' engaging and uplifting stories, delicious recipes and whimsical, wonderful ideas I TRULY am celebrating this season of miracles.

I give this book a solid 5 stars and really suggest that EVERY family make this part of their Christmas traditions!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Movie Night-a thing of the past?

Who else absolutely LOATHES RedBox kiosks? I do. Now. I didn't once upon a time...BUT as newly released films have gotten gorier, especially over September to the early part of November in relation to Halloween celebrations I've been VERY dissatisfied with the little mini-posters they have up on top and to one side of their kiosks. There are posters on their I am scared to see let alone have viewed by my 10, 7, and 6 year old children.

And how about Netflix? I don't know about any of you other moms BUT as soon as I was clued in that they even have a category of films targeted to those viewers who are in an "alternative" relationship well, I canceled my membership effectively immediately. I called up and told them exactly why I was canceling. Sorry if some readers think I am a bigot, or narrow-minded BUT those activities or "lifestyles" as some people term them are NOT pleasing to my God nor are they acceptable if one is a true Christian. We are not to socialize with people who choose to ignore God's will...for me that extends to doing business with blatantly non-Christian businesses. Some people think that is impossible but I tell you brothers and sisters, IT IS NOT. I thought so once too but I am learning differently.

As a regular alternative to Netflix I have found Christan Cinema. I am VERY happy so far and I haven't gotten not one disk in the mail yet. By Wednesday, though, I am betting I'll have two. Just the titles available spark my soul and make me smile.

The second alternative I have found. Family Values Cinema, was actually the first I became interested in. Unlike the 'rental by mail' options FVC offers a subscription service which is COMPLETELY unique and unlike any other.
When you sign up with Family Values Cinema (and you can do so very easily from the button in my sidebar) you choose either the 1 Movie Night or 2 Movie Night per month package. 1MN entitles you to one family friendly (we're approved by the National Board of Mothers) movie THAT YOU GET TO KEEP. Yes, Keep, FOREVER. No sending it back. 2MN entitles you to DOUBLE the fun, TWO films a month. With each package you get either one or two recipes, a discussion guide, all kinds of great fun stuff not to mention the memories that you will be creating with your kids in the kitchen and later in front of the film. I REALLY like this because it gives you the opportunity to REALLY build on the spiritual foundations and Biblical principles that will be found in each feature film as well as draw the fun out by having a yummy treat to create together and devour during the video AND time to talk about it afterward...because face it, we ALL know that as soon as turn the movie off seldom are the kids ready to fall into bed and snooze the night away...this gives you time to wind down, share thoughts and Godly instruction, and just have a good time longer while easing into bed time.

Check either option, or both options out because I know as a mom, I don't want to explain Freddy Krueger to a 6 year old because his picture is on the Redbox Wall dead-bang in the center with kids' posters flanking it because those films were released the same day...

Happy Movie Nights everyone!!

Fall Into Reading 2010 Question #9

Back with another intriguing Q & A from Katrina the wonderful hostess for the Fall Into Reading challenge. Can I start crying yet? Because another awesome reading challenge is nearing an end and the Spring Reading Thing won't happen for months!!! 
And now, the question of the week: Once you begin a book, do you feel compelled to finish it? Or have you been known to give up in the middle of a book, to walk away from a book that is just too annoying, boring, etc.?

No, I don't feel like I must finish a book. I have been known to walk away from a book that I just can't get into. And it is really easy for me to get into books. For example, I read ALL of War and Peace in less than three days. Yup, the first three days of summer vacation after third grade. I saw it earlier that year in a Charlie Brown movie and said "hey, I should read that." I didn't think it was boring but I have always had a crazy love of history, too.

Some books though, when I have been reading along good in them, non-fiction books I am talking here such as some of Joyce Meyer's books or some other Christian life application books and I feel this little "niggle in my middle" I know that there is something in there that I NEED to hear but the enemy wants me to miss out on so I push through the "niggle" and read it anyway. I have NEVER regretted doing this, not once.  SO I encourage you if you are reading a book of that type then keep it up, or a school text or similar book, if you know you need to absorb what is coming next keep at it because anything that is trying to distract is not of our Lord or beneficial. You DON'T need to top up that nearly full cup of coffee or tea or cocoa; you don't need the cookie RIGHT that second. NO, it isn't a good idea to suddenly start dinner an hour and a half earlier than you need too, lmbo!! Keep at your reading and something just might click (then you can reward yourself with a new warm beverage or a double helping of cookies! Maybe even order take out, {wink wink}!


Beautiful Monday Morning! A reflection on reading...

It's a beautiful Monday morning outside my window. I just saw a book on Susanne's blog and the cover is what caught my eye at first...then the title. The two together made for an irresistible combo; have a look -

It is called It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know.  The author, Rachel Olsen, also co-wrote God's Purpose for Every Woman with Lysa TerKeurst and she speaks for one of my favorite women's ministries going, Proverbs 31 Ministries. I have been absolutely astounded and helped through some very tough times in my life by wonderful devotionals and Bible studies from P31M. The first book from this ministry I ever laid hands -or eyes- on was Satisfied Lives for Desperate Housewives. I had become completely caught up in that show and the title drew me in. I realized, after reading only the introduction while standing in a Walmart that God had led me to this book. After all, it was in the 'deep discount' bin and I purchased it for an easy peasy $2.99, far less than I had ever paid for a devotional book. The real kicker? Some terribly desperate (or perhaps twisted) individual had stolen  my Bible out of my car (I prefer to hope it was the former) and I had gone to the Walmart to get a new one. Which I had  just put in my cart when I stood up and accidentally backed into the bargain books bin. I don't usually look through it because it is mostly books that I wouldn't look at twice, titles like "Modern Microwave Gourmet Cuisine" (I don't own a microwave) and a bundled set of "Fun With," "More Fun With," and "The Funnest Yet" fondue cookbooks. Don't get me wrong, I adore fondue, but once you know how to melt the cheese into a sauce you can come up with your own fun pretty fast without a book in the way, right?
Right, so as I was saying I usually skipped the bin. But that day there were a bunch of VeggieTales books (this was right after Easter) and Christian fiction and devotionals AND kids' Bibles in there. All between $1 and $3. So, since I was walking around with some extra spending money from the income tax return I decided our church library could really use some books for kids, and a few for myself that I could donate after I read them and it would be terrific if we could give away Bibles to kids who needed them, so I loaded up my cart. Well, after I got a couple copies of most titles they had for kids, one each of the fictionals and devotionals and all 12 Bibles I saw it. The book that showed me that I, too, was in fact a Desperate Housewife. Desperate for the things of God which I had had before as an older teen in California but walked away from because I thought I knew better than my God did what was right for me. ALL girls in love I think feel that, at least if they fall in love with the wrong guy.

So, right then and there I said, "Well, Moira, this book looks really interesting. You should get it." And I did. I paid for my purchases, put them in my car, but sat there reading it for a little while. Then I said, "hey,  you know what, I'm a little hungry, I'm going to go by Ken's and have a bite and some coffee and read this a little more." Which I did that, too. The amazing thing was that I ran into FOUR women from church at the restaurant who all said the same thing, they didn't usually lunch on their own but something said to do it today. I had a little girl at home, almost 3 years old at that time, and a 3 week old son. I had literally no business, in my opinion, being out 'lunching' with the ladies. BUT when I called home from the pay phone my husband said, "Don't worry about it, things are covered here, no problem. Have a good time!" And I did. We sat and sipped and snacked and talked-truly talked, the heart to heart kind- that I hadn't had since I left California nearly four years before. It refreshed me, it filled me, and renewed me. THAT was when I found out there was a Tuesday Time women's prayer meeting each week. I started attending and found that the things of God were waiting for me all the time, right where I was.

Well, I am going to continue this post in a little bit...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Outlive Your Life----A BookSneeze Review

It is time for another BookSneeze Book Review, fellow readers!

After much soul-searching and stops and starts I am satisfied with what I have learned from reading this book and feel that I can give it a terrific review. It might not be a long review but I don't think this fabulous book needs a lot of wordiness to prompt others to read it.
This book has taught me to be content in my ordinariness. Sometimes I have felt that God is not using me...but then I look around me and see things changing that I never thought would change; or find that I am giving advice that I never thought I would give simply because the opportunity arose and I took it. After reading Outlive Your Life I found myself LOOKING for chances to do things that would help spread the word about my God and for ways that I could positively impact others around me. For a few years I was very sad that I wasn't called to be part of my church's worship team. BUT shortly after reading this excellent volume I recalled that His first call on my life was NOT worshiping, anyway, but working with youth. Once I talked to our youth ministries leader I found a tremendous need which I helped fulfill and in return was fulfilled myself. Max Lucado takes us through the beginning of the book of Acts and shows how the outcasts of Jesus' time were used in astounding ways and how, even though I may feel like an outcast in my hometown that I am not, because we are all precious and useful in his sight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Different Point of View

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels.  I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.  I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.  I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today.  Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past.  I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.  I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well  Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.  I would promise to keep her safe.  I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.  I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.  So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors.  So many more to be saved.  At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today

Who's recued YOU? The three best animals I have ever owned were all shelter rescues. If you are thinking of adding a fur-baby to your family, PLEASE, check your local shelter first!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Random Dozen October 6th! Happy Birthday Lid!!

This week is Lid's birthday week and for her birthday all she wanted was for some of us bloggers to send her the questions for this week's Random Dozen. Fabulous questions, ladies, I can't wait to read everyone's answers! To join the fun go to Lid's Blog

Here they are: 
1. From "Men Are Dumb ....": If you had a theme song that played whenever you walked into a room full of people, what would it be? Closer to the Heart. I am an absolute Rush addict and this is one of my favorite songs. The message is SO great about making change and how everyone has to do their part that I want EVERYONE to hear it! 

2. From Pam of "Alert And Oriented x 4": Which of your shoes are your absolute favorite, and which are of the object of your most painful shoe-buyer's remorse? Faves? My L.L. Bean Vacationland Sport Mary Janes. Follow this link to see what they look like (so super cute!!) and they are the most comfy shoes I have EVER had! Most remorseful? The SAME shoes! I think they have totally spoiled me for any other shoes...seriously...and that's bad because winter is coming on!

3. From Susanne of "Living to Tell the Story": Tell about your favorite birthday celebration that you've personally experienced. My 18th. My absolute best friend took me to dinner at my favorite restaurant, gave me a present I had been dying for and never said a word about to anyone, and then we went back to his place and just watched classic movies all night. Seriously! It was the best birthday because I didn't feel like I had to be "on" the whole time, pretending to love a crowd, adore a cake that was decorated in a way too young theme and of course, as every other year, was a white cake with lemon filling. No matter how many times I told my mom I hated white cake and lemon filling I always got "well, that's what your father likes best." Ummm, wasn't his birthday!! LOL that's my mom in a nutshell for ya...

4. From Lori of "Just me and My Life": If you were a flavor of ice cream, which would you be? Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide. Can't get it year round so I scarf as much as I can when the stores have it! With a name like Moira Finnuala Killarney McGarry, could I be any other flavor? ;-) 

5. Cindy Swanson of "Notes in the Key of Life" asks: Have you ever had a crush on a movie star? Who was it, and are you still crushing? Alan Rickman! If you know Harry Potter (the movies) you know who I  mean! No matter what character he plays (but especially yummy as Snape) he makes me swoon! 

6. Jill from "Jill Boyd's Place" inquires: Glasses or braces--if you had to wear one, which would it be? Glasses. I have to wear them anyway and my hubby thinks they make me look sexy and smart! 

7. Nel from "Fasteneau Facts" asks: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Toronto. Please, don't make me elaborate. I will wind up crying. I go visit every chance I get but I miss being able to walk everywhere and everything was within walking distance. Waking up super early and savoring coffee and the paper at The 2nd Cup (Yes, Lid it's real and a chain!) or spend the night sitting with friends at The Butler's Pantry and chat and play board games and make earrings and drink tea, LOL!! Not to mention Rush is from Toronto and they play a lot of shows in the city...

8. Thena from "Patiently Waiting" wants to know: If money were no obstacle, what would be the perfect birthday gift to receive? A house in Toronto!!

9. From "Life Through Bifocals," LynnMarie asks: What is your favorite birthday meal? Four cheese stuffed shells with pesto sauce, parmesan topped garlic toast, bruschetta, lentil soup and Caesar salad. 

10. Debby at "Just Breathe" checks in with: Do you still send hand-written thank you notes? Yes, I do. Simply because I appreciate the time people take to send me things or to help me out and I think a hand-written note is much more elegant than an email or store-bought card. 

11. Linda from "Mocha with Linda" poses this question: What is something you've done that you never thought you'd do? Sky diving! Never thought I would but I did for my 25th birthday and it was awesome!! 

12. Jewel, my homegirl from Indiana who writes at "Musings from the World of Jewel," is very insistent that we answer this: Mount Rushmore honors four US Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. If you could add any person to Mount Rushmore, who would you add and why? If I had to pick JUST one person, I think it would be impossible. I would like to add the women who fought for women's rights. The African-Americans who fought for civil rights. Native Americans who fought and lost their lives to preserve their heritage, culture, and way of life...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Into Reading 2010 **Tuesday Question #5**October 26th

Fall Into Reading Question #8
Katrina asks us: 
Where do you get the books you read? Are you a faithful library patron? Or maybe a bookstore junkie? Do you exchange books with friends or family members?

I practically live at the library! I am there at least three days a week for an hour or better. VERY rarely do I go into the bookstore, only when my friend who works there calls and tells me that some really great books have hit the last clearance table. We have a great library at our church, too, and I drop off books I have picked up at Goodwill or yard sales frequently. It amazes me how many different Christian fiction writers there are and that I now know most by name :o) 
Fall Into Reading Question #7
This week Katrina asks us FIR participants: 
How did you get into reading? When and how/why did you really become “a reader”?

What really did it for me was having my tonsils removed at six years old. I had been a big TV watcher before that, yes, even at six I knew when Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and Square One TV were on. I seldom missed them. BUT I found out after I got home from surgery that  
A) Mom had decided I was going to spend all day in the living room during the week I had to stay home and convalesce because I would not be able to call out to her if I needed something; the theory being if I was in the living room I could wave my arm around and she would see me :0) 
B) Being in the living room REALLY sucked, lmbo! I could NOT watch my tv programs because mom would not be able to hear her Price is Right or soap operas in the dining room :o( 

SO since I already knew how to read (not to brag but I was tested as having a sixth grade reading comprehension level in kindergarten) I started reading C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" which a friend of the family had given my older sister for Christmas and which was, until I got a hold of them, still shrink-wrapped in plastic. I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in two days and went through the rest like wildfire. I have been a voracious reader ever since. 
Fall Into Reading Question #6 
Another scintillating question from Katrina @ Callapidder Days for FIR 2010:
Where do you love to read? Note: I don’t mean where do you actually do most of your reading, because that might be the carpool line, the work cafeteria, or even the bathroom (if you have to escape from a few small children in order to read a chapter of your book). I mean, what are a few of the places where you LOVE to read?

My first favorite place to read is in bed at the end of a long day. It is a very relaxing way to wind up the day and drift off to dream...

Second I have this little 'perch' sort of thing, like a deck kind of but not attached to the house. It is out across our front field and suspended between four trees overlooking the brook. When it is sunny and not too breezy I LOVE to take my lap throw, a thermos, my backrest pillow, and my book down there and sit in my 'fairy bower' and read. 
Last of all is...and to some this might be a sin, LOL...but I love to read at restaurants while I sip a coffee or tea or have a lite lunch or late snack. I like to get out and feel like I am part of something bigger than myself. 

Great question once again, Katrina! I have never shared those feelings and thoughts with anyone. 

Til next week, I'm off to read...
Fall Into Reading Question #5
This week Katrina asks us: 
When you read a book, do you read EVERYTHING? In other words, do you read the dedication, the acknowledgements, the foreword, the afterword, the prologue, the epilogue, the appendices, etc.? Or do you just read the “meat” of the book? Or is your approach somewhere in between?

I read much like Katrina does. I will skim the intro,  sometimes even the table of contents, if there is one. I read the dedication and the thanks at the end. I read ALL of the "meat" of the book, as she calls it. I even do this with cookbooks. 

I devour novels. My husband and I are VERY alike in that way. We both get very absorbed in our "escapist" literature and often when one of us speaks to the other, who has "book in hand" and is fully engaged the response we get first, and sometimes aggravatingly, is "HUH!?!" Which then brings about laughter; the conversation ended with the reader going back to "Hmmm, now, where was I?" and wistfully shaking their head...
Fall Into Reading Question #4
Another great mind-tickler from Katrina this week, folks! 
Do you ever dog-ear the corners of book pages to mark your spot? Or are you a faithful bookmark user, refusing to damage the pages of your books? OR do you have another way to keep track of where you are in a book?

Believe it or not, I can look at the page number and remember it. Sometimes I will put a book down for a few days and when I pick it up again I know RIGHT where I'm at. I don't like dog-earing pages (although my hubby does) because it is a)damaging to the book and b) an easy habit to fall into, even when the book is not yours but from a library. So I just don't do it. 

Also, bookmarks annoy me. I don't "invest" in fancy ones because more often than I will set it aside and then it gets shuffled into the bed covers, or I pass it on to one of the kids and it gets lost. SO, I don't use them either.  I have a mind for words and numbers and have always been able to look at the page and say in my brain "Oh, I'm on page 164." Close it up, go do whatever else, and when I come back I can open right up to page 164 and pick up where I left off. My hubby calls it "spooky," but I just laugh...My dh, after all, is one of those men who embody Alexander Graham Bell's quote, "When someone asks me my phone number I have to look it up. After all, I never call myself!" 

Fall Into Reading Question #3
Katrina has a great question this week: 
Do you eat/drink while reading? If so, do you have some favorite reading snacks?

The answer is Yes!! I read & eat all time! I am VERY careful with my books, and also especially with library books, but I do sip 'n savor while I read. My favorite reading snacks are Bavarian crunchy pretzels. I love to sip on fizzy water, all different flavors, along with. If I am reading in the morning or its a chilly, damp day with rain falling outside my window I will whip up a mug of something warm and satisfying, usually a special coffee with flavored creamer topped with whipped cream and drizzle or sprinklies. 
Fall Into Reading Question #2
Last week Katrina posted a great question that made us think about what helps or hinders our reading time. This week she shares another terrific one!

What do you think about e-books? Do you engage in e-reading or do you prefer to stick to good ol’ physical books?
 I love e-books! Someday I will have a Kindle but for now I download quite a few titles on my iPod Touch both to use with OverDrive and with my Barnes and Noble e-reader app. I love the fact that if you an App enabled device and add the BN Reader app you get a library (free) of what are considered the greatest classic novels of all time. For me this was a treasure because I got (finally!) my own copies of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and a veritable host of other fabulous books! It's definitely worth looking into if you are an e-book fan!
Fall Into Reading Question #1
Every week during Fall Into Reading Katrina, the hostess from Callapidder Days posts a question for us participants to answer. So here goes for week 1:

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to your reading? What prevents you from reading as much as you’d like? OR, if you feel like you already read as much as you want to, what choices have you made to make that happen?

Well, for me I read as much as I want to and the choices I have made that allow that are to be flexible but still have routines.   I am a FlyBaby. For those of you reading this who know what that means, I give you HUGE hugs and for those who don't, go here. I start my day with a set routine, get all my morning stuff done, get some work done around the farm, work on my school stuff for an hour with a 15 minute break at the end. Depending on how late in the morning it is I either start prepping or make lunch completely, fold and put away the laundry, clean up the kitchen and then if the  kids are home I institute a quiet 30 minute reading time. We all go to bed an hour earlier than lights out and read too, we read as a family every night for 45 minutes then the kids have 15 minutes of reading time in whatever book they've chosen. 

I also read after I go to bed myself, sometimes for two or three hours. When the kids are at dad's I will get sucked into a book and stay up reading all night...then get up and have coffee and do my routines, etc and then pick my book back up. I will read while stuff simmers or bakes, while bread rises, while I wait for pages to load on my dial-up PC...LOL!!

I read in the car on long trips (to me, 10 minutes to the grocery store is a long trip!) 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

†♥Random Dozen♥†♥September 29, 2010♥†

Welcome to another fun round of the Random Dozen, hosted by Linda each week at her blog.

On with the show!

1. Do you believe, somewhere deep inside, that blondes do indeed have more fun? That they are "dumber" than brunettes or redheads? Be honest! No way. I have many in my family and they are just as intelligent, down to earth, and normal as the rest of us. Your intelligence, personality, or social capability has nothing to do with your hair...besides, we all KNOW it's redheads who are smarter and have the most fun! :o)

2. Which animal would you most like to observe in its wild habitat? The North American Black Squirrel!! It's wild habitat is Toronto!!

3. This week the U.N. announced that Dr. Mazlan Othman has been appointed the official "Alien Ambassador," should any extraterrestrials contact us. Have you, or has anyone you know, ever seen a UFO? I'm pretty sure I've seen a few. Once in the high desert in California, near Quartz Hill; a couple times near my aunt's farm near Pittsfield here in Maine, a few times near our old place around Cornville and one so far here at our new place.

4. Name your favorite Hitchcock film. The Birds. It is really the only one I can watch...

5. Would you rather spend time at the library, the mall, a craft store or home? The library! I was there yesterday, and again just this morning. I love, love, love, love the library!

6. Which Disney princess is your favorite? (Or Disney character, if you are a guy) Ariel, because she has red hair like me and an awesome voice and she was a mermaid

7. What kind of art is your favorite? Photography.

8. How do you feel about viral videos, that is, videos made by amateurs that end up on Youtube receiving thousands of hits? I think it all depends on the content and what happens to the Justin Bieber, for example? I don't think that he is as great as some people seem to think and I feel that if every pop-star wannabe put up a video on YouTube and the kids from their school sent out links and blogged and tweeted and embedded them to Facebook as well then there would be a LOT MORE Justin Bieber's in this world. Now, I can sit and watch Jack Vale videos all day and of course some of the best Rush concert vids are posted by amateurs...

9. Where do you buy your jeans? Tractor Supply Company!! I ONLY wear Wrangler Cowboy Cuts.

10. Tell me about your first automobile accident. Ummm, this is real embarrassing but here goes: I didn't get my license until the day after my 18th birthday. I drove to school the next day in my mom's car and on the way home I stopped to get a Latte at Starbucks right near school...the latte slipped out of the cupholder and when I leaned over to grab it I jumped the curb and hit a fire hydrant...bright yellow fire hydrant and small white car...

11. Have you ever been honest when you knew you would benefit more if you would be dishonest? Absolutely. I could have told dad the school bus backed into me or something...but I told him about the hydrant and because I was honest the only punishment was that I was not supposed to drive to Starbucks. But when he wanted a coffee one day and I was driving I told him "Sorry, Dad. You said I can't drive there." He lifted the ban ;-)

12. If you were appointed "Ambassador to Aliens," what would you show and tell first about life on Earth? What would be the most difficult thing to explain? The Food!! Simply because I don't think evangelizing to aliens would work too well...but perhaps the hardest thing to explain would be our music.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Into Reading 2010 **Little Update 10/28**

Every week on Tuesday Katrina will post a question for us FIR participants to answer. My post of answers can be found here
Well, here I am to do another update. It has been a little while but I have had a LOT of things going on. My reading has slacked off a bit in tandem with the 'real-life' stuff BUT I am still making a lot of progress. Out of my list of 33 - Yes, 33! - titles I have read {drum roll please...} THIRTY!! I have only THREE unfinished books on my list. I am DEFINITELY going to have to look for some other titles and add them because of the three left I am well into one which I only started last night and that leaves me maybe four days of reading...EEEKKKK!! 

Thanks for sticking with me throughout it all, everyone! God bless and keep reading!  

It's me, the fearless reader again. I have startled myself by finishing the 7 Dark Tower series books. I am also, embarrassed or not, admitting to a new enthrallment: The Sookie Stackhouse series. Yes, those of you who watch HBO Original Series' know what I am talking about. I have been sucked into True Blood territory! The books are light hearted, funny, and also mysteries so they are right up my alley. I am  reading book three, Club Dead, right now. I've already read the first two, they are on my FIR 2010 Completed widget bookshelf. 
Hello readers! Fall is well begun and hear me well, I do beg ya...Oops, sorry, too much Dark Tower lately! I have finished quite a few books already and so, since we still have MONTHS (yes, really, months!) to go on this fun adventure I have decided to add ALL the books that are Dark Tower related by our local boy, Stephen King to my reading list. The new books are added after the Dark Tower listings, starting with #20. 

Hi all!! I have waited for this since the Spring Reading Thing ended and it is FINALLY here! Of course, this also means that Autumn is here and crisp weather with beautiful sunny days (nice!) and chilly, rainy days perfect for staying inside, cooking up something satisfying and soothing and reading an awesome book or two! In fact, I finished two books that I had slated to put on my Fall Into Reading list but I finished both in two days, one last night and one this morning! They were:

Plum Spooky (A Between-the-Numbers Novel)
Plum Lovin' (A Between-the-Numbers Novel)

Both were excellent books! I have Sizzlin' Sixteen on order from the library AND a hold on it in audio format. Anyone who is following this and lives in Maine, we have a terrific resource from the Maine State Library where you can download audiobooks to your MP3 player for FREE!! Two per week and sometimes they are out or on hold, it is a popular service and they are awesome and worth the wait. Check out for more! 

I have a little widget in my sidebar, there to the right -----> see her? The cutie that says Fall Into Reading 2010? The one below it says Fall Into Reading 2010 Completed. So far I have moved three books from the top list to the bottom list. CREATED A WIDGET 9/23 for "Currently Reading." Also, I keep track of what I am reading, what I want to read next, and what I have read with the simple site Its totally free, I get no kick-backs for endorsing here, just the hope that some of you ladies will join and become my friends on that site so we can share books and reviews!

  1.  Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich I got this one read before we even officially began. I started it last night after dinner and couldn't stop. Finished in about 4 hours! It was terrific. It is the book between Fearless 14 and Finger Lickin' 15, both also excellent reads. I am now eagerly awaiting Sizzlin' 16 to come in...
  2. Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich I picked this one up at 7:15 this morning and was done by 9:20!! This is the Between-the-Numbers to Twelve Sharp and Lean Mean Thirteen. Diesel really cracked me up in this one, but I think Lula made me laugh more in Plum Spooky. 
  3. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich This one is another between-the-numbers, its actually the second BTN book, Visions of Sugar Plums being the first.  Finished 9/30. Fabulous! I completely laughed my butt off. I could not stop. The level of my hilarity caused my hubby to pick this up and read it and now I have a MAN hooked on the Stephanie Plum novels. We fought over who got to read Sizzlin' 16 first!
  4. Visions of Sugar Plums I cannot wait to read this one again. (Waiting for it to come in)
  5. Sizzlin' 16 by Janet Evanovich. Completed 10/1. Another fabulous book! I truly could not put it down. Not only because it was terrific but also because my husband is now a closet Evanovich fan (particularly the Plum series) and if I turned my head he picked it up! I highly suggest reading the series in order but if you do it out of order that's fine too...Either way just spend some time in these books! They are GREAT for what ails you. You cannot stay sad, mad, or upset when reading about Stephanie Plum. 
  6. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I saw the movie when it came out and from how good the movie was (and we all know how movies massacre books!) I have got to read it. I have it on inter-library loan request and should have it next Thursday.  I cried. That's all I can really say; the book was much more lovely than the movie, no pun intended. I am not going to give up spoilers on either but I will say this, and this is truly out of character for me, WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST if you haven't already. THEN read the book. That is totally backwards for me, yes, but I found IMHO that reading the book after seeing the movie fleshed the movie out a little more. I think for anyone reading the book then seeing the movie you will be tremendously disappointed in some ways thinking, "That didn't happen like that," or "Hey, they left out ______." SO watch it, THEN read it, and you can say "Wow, that is why XYZ happened or what so-and-so was thinking..."
  7. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. This is another one by the author of The Lovely Bones. My librarian pointed it out when I grabbed the first one and so I just had to add it to the list... Nearly as good as The Lovely Bones. Nearly. It is REALLY different from Ms. Sebold's usual style. The main character, Helen, is VERY hard to like. It is even harder to sympathize with her but the book is compelling nonetheless. Her mother was mentally unstable and after her father's suicide Helen must take over care of her mother. Those are all the spoilers I'm sharing...LOL! Read it yourself but DON'T expect ANYTHING similar to The Lovely Bones. 
  8. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult Okay, make that three off my list...I started this one at lunchtime today and have only put it down for brief moments. I even broke my cardinal rule when the dh and I are out: conversation over silence in the car...I read the WHOLE way home!!! (and he detoured and did errands! I almost missed a stop at my favorite store, Bob's!) I really gotta see this movie now!
  9. Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado. I finished this one at last the night before I had family court. After lots of prayer and trying to unsuccessfully talk with my ex-husband in mediation I have come to the conclusion that until a court situation comes out and it is JUST he and I then my valid points will never be heard. SO I am going to do the things that Lucado counsels in this terrific book and I am going to start living my life fully instead of in half-measures waiting for the other shoe to drop. 
  10. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. While this was a very, very good book it was not quite what I expected. The back and forth points of view kept throwing me off track because I would really get into the story and be reading along quite fast and miss the chaning of a chapter or the changing of a passage to a flashback. This is a book that REQUIRES attention but it is well worth it! 
  11. The Shining by Stephen King. Completed 9/26/2010. MUCH better than the films...way, way better especially to someone with a highly developed imagination. I was able to picture Jack Nicholson as Johnny in the book, even in the scenes they cut out of the movie. I am definitely going to stick to my promise to myself to read King before I watch the movies the books are made into.
  12. The Gunslinger:  Dark Tower Book 1 by Stephen King.Completed 9/30. I forgot how these books draw the reader in. This was another one that seemed surgically attached to my hand. It followed me in the car, in the kitchen, in bed before lights out. I read it while waiting for pages to load on the PC (dial-up :o) ). I cannot wait to get through these again just to see what I've forgotten or attributed to the wrong book in the intervening years. 
  13. The Drawing of the Three: Dark Tower Book 2 by Stephen King Completed 10/3. I am SO excited! I have GOT to get on to Book 3 and see Roland reunited with Jake... 
  14. The Wastelands: Dark Tower Book 3 by Stephen King This is the book where Jake is re-drawn into Roland's world, Mid-World and the ka-tet is completed. This series is one I cannot tire of! 
  15. Wizard and Glass: Dark Tower Book 4 by Stephen King The quartet have reached Topeka (No, not the one in Kansas!) and barely escaped Blaine the psycho monorail. Way to go, Eddie! Kill the ghost in the machine with a little illogic!! 
  16. Wolves of the Calla: Dark Tower Book 5 by Stephen King Finished!! 
  17. Song of Susannah: Dark Tower Book 6 by Stephen King Finished!!
  18. The Dark Tower: Dark Tower Book 7 by Stephen King Finished!!
  19. Firestarter by Stephen King Started 11/17/10. Realized that while I have seen the immortal Drew Barrymore in the movie I have never read the book. 
  20. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I saw the ads for this movie but didn't see it yet. I decided I would read the book before seeing the film this time!
  21. Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich. Finished on 9/27/2010. This one was LOADS of fun!! I am so thrilled that I took a chance and read it. I absolutely loved it. I am not going to give any hints but I'll say if you love one Janet Evanovich it is likely you will love them all!
  22. Full Blast by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes.Finished 9/28/2010. I have another Evanovich series to read now. I am looking for the first three at the library tomorrow. The twists and turns in this one had me reading late into the night, I couldn't put it down until I found "whodunnit?!?" The end was a bit of a twist I didn't expect. REALLY GOOD!
  23. Dark Harvest by Karen Harper. This one compelled me as well. Usually I like my Amish country stories heavy on the Amish, no outsiders allowed but this book has made me rethink that. Think of the 80's fim with Harrison Ford "The Witness" and make it better. Make the investigator a woman cop, injured trying to save a helpless little boy, and who redeems herself by saving the terrorized Amish...and that's THIS book. Give it a try if you like mysteries! 
  24. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris Okay, the font used attracted my attention and the story blurb on the back pulled me. I read it in ONE night. Now I have to go add season 1 to my Netflix...arrgh! 
  25. Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse #2 down. Completed it on 10/26. Started #3 last night. 
  26. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris Completed 10/28
  27. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris Completed 10/29
  28. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris Completed 10/30
  29. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris Completed 11/1
  30. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris Completed 11/2
  31. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris Completed 11/2
  32. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris Completed 11/3
  33. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris Completed 11/4
      1. A note as regards the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris: I am NOT going to give spoilers, hints, tips, etc except to say if you are into the vampire/supernatural type of fiction you will love them. I have started to read SOME of these types again but not as much as I did before. I am currently waiting on Disc 1 of Season 1 of True Blood to arrive from Netflix {hands head in shame and slinks off to mailbox}
There's the list for now, everyone!! Have fun reading!! Let's Fall Into it!!

Random Dozen Welcome to Autumn!!!

Random Dozen is hosted every week by the lovely Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. Head on over to join the fun.

And the Random Dozen will begin after the following random message:

There, wasn't that fun?!?! 

And now: 

1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything?
 My eldest daughter B10 won two ribbons, 1st and 2nd place, for canned goods at the fair this year. It was her first time entering. I have won awards at fairs for my canned goods, beaded jewelry, and baked goods.

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military? All four of my uncles served and three of my cousins have served.

3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you.
An immediate jolt? Songs that come on the radio like Aaron Tippin's "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly;" Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten" and Toby Keith's "American Soldier" and "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." But the one that will always bring tears to my eyes is Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." Those songs...oh, yeah, and FIREWORKS! 

4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality?  I am the baby. No, I don't think placement made a difference I think it was being made to take responsibility for an older wayward sister because my parents didn't want to be bothered.

5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents. I am a hard working farm wife, just like my Grammy. I would rather be teaching my kids,  working the soil, cooking in the kitchen or tending my animals. When those things are done its time to play or read a good book.

6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo? I would much rather a skirt most days. BUT if I am building on the farm or working in the field or woodlot then I know pants are more practical.

7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep? Once or twice. Yep, I usually go back to sleep. 

8. Share a favorite movie quote. "I have great insight. I'd use it on myself only I don't have any problems." Music and Lyrics, 2007, one of the greatest movies ever!

9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent? Yankee Candle has two that I am partial too: Autumn Wreath and Fall Fruit. I also love their Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie scents. They have a new one called Harvest, I have to get a full-size instead of the wax tart...

10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to? Apple picking, the pumpkin patch, yummy hot casseroles and soups and stews...oh, and hay rides!!

11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently.
I was gifted with a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine as well as their 2010 homeschool planner, the student planner, and the parent pack planner. Completely unexpected and a real blessing! 

12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be? Um, my daddy-in-law passed away in 1990 so I won't get to meet him until much later, but meet him I will. My mother in law is a beautiful woman and the best mom anyone could ask for. I was VERY nervous about meeting her, and still actually haven't met her face-to-face, but I was nervous because she has grandkids my age and even a couple older than me! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Dozen September 15, 2010

Thanks to Linda for hosting this each week. To join the fun, go here

Welcome to this week's Random Dozen! Let the show begin!
1. Do you do garage sales? If so, tell me about one great find. If not, tell me why not.
Absolutely! I love, Love, LOVE garage sales. I can take one person's junk and turn it into my treasure. Or treasure for someone else...I love to re-purpose things!
2. Name the last thing you fixed.
My computer. I had to take the tower apart and clean the lint and dust out because it kept powering down.
3. Name your A) Favorite item of makeup OR B) Favorite tool
A) Kiss My Face 3-in-1 color compacts. They do lips, cheeks, and eyes and they are all natural! B) This really neat screwdriver set my hubby got me for a "just because" present. It has a screwdriver handle with a switch that turns it into a rachet and ALL kinds of different bits and ratchet sockets...and, well, there's just NOTHING this little guy can't do...that's why I named him Buddy.
4. Which room in your home needs organizing more than any other?The kitchen...
5. Which room could use re-decorating? Ummm...the kitchen!!
6. Share something unique about your town. We have an AWESOME little restaurant called the Country Kitchen and kids eat free. Also, if you bus your own table they give you 50% off your bill!
7. If you could send a one-sentence message to your great-grandchild, what would it be? Stay in school, listen your parents because they have been there, done that, and already know better.
8. Do you Facebook? Yup. Just search Moira're sure to find me!
9. Describe your favorite shoes. They are little ballet flat/sneaker hybrids made out of bold rainbow plaid fabric with dark blue denim straps across the top of the foot like Mary Janes. I got them at Label Shopper so I have NO idea who makes them, LOL!!
10. Do you listen to more talk radio or more music radio? What kind of station is it? More music. Usually it depends on my mood but usually it is Contemporary Christian on Sirius's The Message (66). If I am stressed I listen to classic on Pops (79). If I am angry I go for classic rock hoping to hear Rush on 15 or 19 (Classic Rewind and The Boneyard). Speaking of Rush, the concert in Boston kicked serious behind last night!!
11. How far would you travel for a really good (favorite) meal? California. I live in Maine now but sometimes I would KILL for Del Taco Cheese Fries or Jack in the Box tacos...or anything from Weinerschnitzel...or Sizzler...
12. If you were totally honest with yourself (and us) what should you probably be doing right now instead of blogging? Writing a paper for my college history class...okay, actually, writing THREE papers because they are all past due...{{sneaking away blushing}}

Great Random Dozen, Linda!! Can't wait till next week. Come back on Friday for Friday's Fave Five!

Friday, September 10, 2010

♥٭ Friday's Fave Five September 10, 2010٭♥

Welcome to this week's Friday Fave Five. Hop over to our lovely host Susanne at Living to Tell the Story to join in the fun.

First, for unexpected blessings. I have been covered in prayer over a custody arrangement with my ex. The court date is 9/16 and my three kids have all said they want to go back to being homeschooled. Pending the outcome, which I feel God has already answered my prayers, the kids will be homeschooled beginning ASAP. I have been blessed with a gift subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine and their homeschooling e-planner, two fabulous resources that I have wanted to invest in for years but the budget didn't allow.

Next, unexpected prettiness, like this:  
Third, unexpected friends. We have new neighbors who moved into the "haunted farmhouse" at the top of the hill on Labor Day. They are the great-great-granddaughter of the man who settled the farm and built the house and her family. She has a hubby a couple years younger than my dh, she is a year older than me, and her kids are the same ages as my three with the benefit of her youngest being twin girls the same age as A5. She has a 10 yr old daughter and an almost 8 year old son. AND....wait for it....SHE HOMESCHOOLS!!  She dropped in at 7:00 this morning and said her hubby was doing a nature walk with the kids, did I want to go have coffee and chat at the Country Kitchen? I was amazed, and thrilled. This woman also has a car that makes me break the "Thou shalt not covet" commandment...she has an '05 (first year!!) Jeep Commander. She let me drive it this morning and I was ecstatic. We will be able to carpool to homeschooling events, we are already going to go grocery shopping tomorrow to save gas and split the savings of buying in bulk...a dangerous path, I know...but yippeeee! Talk about answered prayer!

Fourth, unexpected outings. On Wednesday my dh and I went up to Greenville and explored the Little Moose Mountain nature preserve. I got some terrific pics and we are taking the kids to see it tomorrow afternoon. They will LOVE it!

Fifth, writing prompts. Some people call them memes, some blog circles, I just call them gifts from God. I participate in Lid's Random Dozen and in Susanne's FFF. I have a separate blog for the Simple Woman's Daybook which can be found here. They all bless me in different ways and cause me to think, and post, and do something more than play Shockwave® games and send Dayspring® e-cards.

So long for this week!! See you Wednesday for the Random Dozen!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

♥☺☼Random Dozen☼☺♥

Welcome to the Labor Day week edition of The Random Dozen. This fun meme is hosted by Lid at her 2nd Cup of Coffee blog. Scoot on over there to join in the fun!

1. Describe the best sandwich in the world, according to you.

  The best sandwich in the world, at least in my opinion, is my homemade pastrami. You have to get primo sandwich rolls, though, like long crusty ones with great flavor such as roasted red pepper or garlic and herb. You also gotta have FATTY pastrami, no turkey or lean, get the black over the red. The trick is in the way you cook it: you need a skillet that can go on top of the stove AND under the broiler! Saute it on the stove to release some of the fat, then put in under the broiler and keep stirring it every 3-4 mins. The fat will get soft and melt out mostly and the meat gets tender, hot, and the edges get crispy...mmm, perfect! Stick on the hot bun with either spicy mustard and swiss cheese or red pepper relish and provolone...don't forget the pickles!

2. Which inspires you more: a good conversation, a song, a book or movie?
Song! I am all about music. I don't have satellite TV but I have satellite radio. I take my iPod everywhere, I even fall asleep listening to it sometimes.

3. What is your favorite board game?
Trivial pursuit! I LOVE the Pop Culture DVD edition, it rocks!
4. As you grow older, are you more or less patient with small children?
I have always had a burden on my heart for the little ones and my call is to work with children both in the church and in the public sector. I am a college student working toward a dual degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with double minors in music and agriculture.
 5. Name one item you never let yourself run out of.
Coffee. Can't live without it. I have run out of TP, but never coffee!!  

6. Do you agree with Tennyson's assertion, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?"
Absolutely. I lost the first boy I loved because of things that were out of both our hands and I lost the first man I loved the night before our wedding day through murder. I wouldn't go back and not love either of them. The Trisha Yearwood song "I Would've Loved You Anyway" always chokes me up. If you haven't heard it, look for it on iTunes or wherever you get your songs from.

7. Name one national treasure or monument that you have visited.
I went on our eighth grade trip to Washington D.C., the Civil War battlefields (North and South), Pennsylvania's Amish country (which I consider a treasure), and New York City to the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Station.
 8. Which is more painful, to be disappointed in someone else or to be disappointed in yourself?
Yourself. Other people are going to disappoint you whether its intentional or not. We are all human and will fail sometimes. The trick is to find the upside, what my kids and I call Roses & Thorns. At bedtime we share our "rose," the good thing that happened in our day followed by the "thorn." The only rule is there can only be ONE thorn, but you can do as many roses as you like!
9. What makes your kitchen uniquely yours?
THESE...they were my mom's and now they are mine. These aren't exactly mine but I can't get my camera to work. My mushrooms are not earthtones, they're pastel blue, pink, purple, and yellow. I *adore* them and have the creamer, sugar bowl, spoon rest and napkin holder too! Yes, these, and my uncountable collection of Taste of Home cookbooks...

10. Are you a crafty person?
Yep! I am a photographer, I scrapbook, I'm a quilter, a tole painter, a knitter, crocheter, cross stitcher and embroidery artist. I am working on sketching and pen and ink; I weave baskets, press flowers, make paper...okay, I'm gonna stop now before you all think I am a recluse who doesn't leave the house... 
Blushy Girl 11. What is your favorite traditional picnic or bbq (cookout) food?
Potato salad!! Specifically my nan's potato salad. I know how to make it now, lol!! But when I was a kid, whenever we had a family barbecue EVERYONE would eat hers. Even my aunts who made their own! It was usually gone first, sometimes before the burgers and dogs came off the grill!

12. Name one leisurely activity you enjoyed over Labor Day Weekend.
My hubby and I went to the Borestone Mountain Audubon sanctuary. This was an opportunity NOT to be missed. In fact, we are going back today.  Here's an idea of what makes this place incredible:

And that's my Random Dozen for this week! Thanks, Lid, for the I'm off for MY 2nd cup!