Friday, May 12, 2017

My Spring and Summer Reading Plan

Sandra at Diary of a SAHM shared her list a few days ago and encouraged her readers to join in.  Here is my *very hopeful* reading list for this summer!  I will also pop a few quick summer reads in there as well.  

Back in January, I signed up to do the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge.  I am really lagging behind and plan to get a lot of reading done this summer!

I'm really looking forward to reading "Threads of Suspicion" by Dee Henderson.  This is an ARC from Bethany Publishers.  I absolutely LOVED the first in this series and I am so happy to have received this book!

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

"Against the Tide" by Elizabeth Camden  

2013 RITA Winner for Inspirational Romance
2013 Christy Award Winner for Historical Romance
2013 Daphne du Maurier Award Winner for Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense

After a childhood rampant with uncertainty, Lydia Pallas has carved out a perfect life for herself. She spends her days within sight of the bustling Boston Harbor, where her skill with languages has landed her an enviable position as a translator for the U.S. Navy. 

"The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend"  by Katarina Bivald  

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor—there's not much else to do in a dying small town that's almost beyond repair.

"Girl At War" by Sara Novic

Zagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia’s capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana’s idyllic childhood. Daily life is altered by food rations and air raid drills, and soccer matches are replaced by sniper fire. Neighbors grow suspicious of one another, and Ana’s sense of safety starts to fray. When the war arrives at her doorstep, Ana must find her way in a dangerous world.

"Ruby" by Cynthia Bond 

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city—the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village—all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

"Ink and Bone" by Lisa Unger 

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

"The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath 

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that Esther's insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

"The Madwoman Upstairs" by Catherine Lowell 

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. Since her eccentric father’s untimely death, she is the presumed heir to a long-rumored trove of diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts passed down from the Brontë family—a hidden fortune never revealed to anyone outside of the family, but endlessly speculated about by Brontë scholars and fanatics. Samantha, however, has never seen this alleged estate and for all she knows, it’s just as fictional as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy May! Happy Homemaker Monday

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

The weather:::  Cold and dreary today!  It's going to thunderstorm too.  Hoping for a nice stormy evening to read! 

On my reading pile:::  Still with Gone with the Wind.  About 2/3 of the way through.  A few more weeks there.  I read a couple of books and now I am back to Kristen Hannah's "Firefly Lane".  Next up is probably The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivaid. 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::
Bingeing Heartland on Netflix - started season 4
TONS of YouTube videos 

On my TV:::
I'd like to watch a movie with my girls tonight, still not sure which one 
Need to catch up on: 
Empire, Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Fire, Code Black, Walking Dead, Ghost Adventures, Dead Files

On the menu for this week:::
MONDAY: Crunchy fish tacos and cucumber salad 
TUESDAY: Whole wheat rotini with meatballs and marinara, broccoli & carrots  
WEDNESDAY: Having dinner at a friend's house with my girls
THURSDAY: Chicken fajitas on corn tortillas 
FRIDAY: Rotisserie chicken & sides (grocery shopping day) 
SATURDAY: Homemade pizzas on flatbread for me, on French bread for the girls 
SUNDAY: Dinner with family - hoping for a bbq 

BREAKFASTS:  I meal prepped a breakfast casserole (eggs, turkey bacon, spinach, diced potatoes, and topped with Havarti cheese)  and a few servings of oatmeal. 

LUNCHES: I meal prepped chicken "nuggets"  (chicken breast with panko crumbs) pulled pork, bulgur, roasted potatoes, veggies, fish, meatballs, etc. to mix and match 

On my to-do list for today (Sunday):::
Put folded laundry away
Update planners for the week
A few dishes to wash
Sweep living room 
Dollar Tree
Gas in car
Dad's for dinner 

What I am crafting or creating::: I am working on a new book.  I started one, several months ago and ended up filing it; however, I started a new one last week and I am in the research stage right now.  

Also always working on my planners and War Binder! 

Happening this week:::

MONDAY:  Gym, work, *homeschool 
TUESDAY:  Work, Cardio Drumming with Emme 
WEDNESDAY:  Gym, work, dinner at a friend's with my girls 
THURSDAY:  Gym, work, homeschool 
FRIDAY:  Work, grocery shopping with Emme, walk in woods with the girls 
SATURDAY:  Yard work, menu prep, update planners, laundry
SUNDAY:  Yard work, cleaning, lesson plan

*Emme is 17 and mostly an independent learner at this point.  In the evenings and on the weekends I go over all of her work with her, answer any questions she may have, and fill in where things may have been lacking.  During the weekends we do more in-depth learning together.  From kindergarten until 7th grade I was able to be at home with her* 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday for April 17th

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

The weather::: Plenty of rainy days with a pristine, sunshiney day here and there. 

On my reading pile::: Still reading Gone with the Wind.  It will be a few more weeks since I only read a little bit every day.  Finished "Two Days Gone" by Randall Silvis.  I took a temporary diversion from "Firefly Lane" because I got caught up in this murder mystery.  It happens!  lol It's different from what I normally read, but it was fast-paced, exciting, and I didn't figure it out until close to the end. 4/5

I also received an ARC copy from Bethany Books of "The Chapel Car Bride" by Judith Miller, which I will be starting this week.  

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend::: Started a new binge-watch, "Heartland". Watched the Casey Anthony Documentary.  Both sad and infuriating.  I remember my mom watching the actual case (or following it on the news?) when it occurred. 

On my TV:::
When Calls the Heart
Chicago Fire
YouTube videos
The Outsiders (with Emily) 
Maybe 13 Reasons with Jennah 

On the menu for this week:::
MONDAY: Easter leftovers
TUESDAY: Pork ribs, baked potatoes, roasted vegetables 
WEDNESDAY: Dinner at a friend's house for my bday - Mexican 
THURSDAY: Turkey smoked sausage with cabbage and onions 
FRIDAY: Unstuffed peppers 
SATURDAY: Middle Eastern chicken and rice topped with cucumber salad 
SUNDAY: Dinner with family for my birthday - Italian 

LUNCHES: Turkey taco meat, brown rice, Greek Yogurt, fruit 
BREAKFASTS: Everything bagel thin sandwich with an egg and turkey bacon
SNACKS: Almonds, popcorn, fruit

Happening this week:::
Jennah's doctor appointment 
Cardio drumming 
My birthday! 

Looking around the house::: Cluttered.  Busy cooking all weekend so got behind on the housework!  Will get the girls on it tomorrow :) 

What I'm wearing today::: Writing this Saturday night, wearing a black sundress.  It got up to 84 today in Detroit! 

One of my simple pleasures::: Sitting in the dark reading my Kindle.  Love it. 

Bible verse, Devotional::: 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday for 04/10/2017

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

The weather:::  This is my favorite time of the year.  Yes, we did get a LOT of rain least week; however, we also had our first sunny, 75-degree day yesterday, so it was all worth it. 

On my reading pile::: Still plugging through "Gone with the Wind".  I only read a little each day (I should say, re-read).  It's a REAL book - and I do most of my reading at night, in the dark, in bed - so it will probably be another month or two before I am finished.  My favorite book in the world.  The writing is descriptive and strong, the characters colorful and endearing, the history jarring and poignant.  Everyone should read this book!  

Also reading "Firefly Lane" by Kristen Hannah (author of The Nightingale).  The beginning of the book takes place in the mid-late 70s.  I LOVE all of the references to the clothing, foods, t.v. shows, songs, cars, etc. that I can picture from my time growing up.  One of the things in my book challenge this year from Modern Mrs. Darcy is to read three books by the same author.  This is my 2nd by K.H. this year. 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend::: Finally finished binge-watching "Dance Moms".  Also caught up on "Chicago Fire" and "Bring It" 

On my TV:::

On the menu for this week:::
MONDAY:  Goulash (Emmy will be cooking) 
TUESDAY:  Chicken "fried" rice 
WEDNESDAY: Breaded pork chops, potato wedges, green beans 
THURSDAY: Penne pasta with chicken and peppers 
FRIDAY:  Seasoned tilapia, brown basmati rice, steamed veggies 
SATURDAY: Meatloaf, baked potato, oven roasted vegetables 
EASTER SUNDAY:  Ham & turkey, cheesy potatoes, green beans, rolls, deviled eggs, spaghetti salad, corn, pickle/olive tray, and for dessert banana pudding and a carrot cake.  (This is my first time cooking the family Easter dinner.  It won't be the same without my mom.  But we are trying to keep her traditions going) 

On my to do list:::
1. Work M-F
2. Homeschool evenings/weekend
3. Pick up prescriptions
4. Vacuum out car
5. Cardio drumming 
6. Easter 

What I am creating::: 

Favorite blog post/Insta/vlog::: I've got nothing.  

Looking around the house:::  

From the camera:::

What I'm wearing today::: Black pants, black flats, and a purple/blue top with some shiny sparklies around the neck. 

Bible verse, Devotional::: Song lyrics.... 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday April 3rd, 2017

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

Happy April!  It's my favorite month of the year - it could be due to the fact it's my birthday month.  I did do HHM last week, but I forgot to link up!  

The weather:::  We had a very pretty weekend, near 60 and sunny.  However, this week is going to be very typical for the Detroit area in the spring - rain, rain, rain! 

On my reading pile:::  I just finished reading two cute, mail-order bride books. When I'm sort of reading slowly and need a diversion, I generally fall back on that type of book.  What's next?  I'm starting Pricilla Shirer's "Life Interrupted" 

also going to try the Appomattox Saga 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend::: Still binge-watching Dance Moms.  I did catch up on Grey's Anatomy and Chicago Fire. 

On my TV:::
More Dance Moms (I need to finish!) 
Going to catch up on my favorite YouTube vlogs 

On the menu for this week:::
MONDAY:  Irish chicken, cabbage, and potatoes (did not make last week) 
TUESDAY:  Beef Stroganoff with steamed vegetables 

SATURDAY: Family dinner at my dad's 
SUNDAY: Breaded pork chops, baked potatoes, green beans 

On my to do list:::
Clean out car
Bible study 

What I am crafting or creating:::  Still working in my planners 

Happening this week:::
Bible study in my War Binder 

Looking around the house:::

I got a lot done over the weekend, but the house needs a HUGE spring clean!  

From the camera::: A corner of one of my bookshelves.  

What I'm wearing today:::
I'm doing this Sunday night - so I'm in my pj's! 

One of my simple pleasures:::
Decorating my planners with washi tape, colored pens, and stickers!  It's an addiction. 

Bible verse, Devotional::: 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday for 03/27/2017

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

Sorry that this is so darn late!  I have been having trouble getting back into the swing of things lately. 

The weather:::  Typical spring weather in the Detroit, MI, area.  Upper 50's, low 60's, rainy and gray! 

On my reading pile::: I just finished The Practice House (4*) and Scarred Hearts (3*).   I am starting Falling Free by Shannan Martin. 

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::  Mostly just re-binge-watched Dance Moms.  One episode of Bring It.  Pretty sad. 

On my TV::: I need to watch Empire for sure.  Also looking for something new. 

On the menu for this week::: We made Sazon Pork in the Crockpot and a Shepard's Pie.  I'll be honest - we ate out 3 nights.  Again, I'm struggling with depression.  

Friday:  Ham and scalloped potatoes 
Saturday: Kofta pita pockets 
Sunday:  Irish chicken with cabbage and potatoes 

On my to do list this weekend:::
*Quick trip to the store 
*Girls' night 
*Yard work
*Clean out car 
*Cooking ahead for the week 

What I am crafting or creating::: Still a planner nerd!  I just printed out all of these free stickers for my Happy Planners: 

Happening this week::: Doctor's appointments for Jennah, homeschooling with Emily, errands for my dad, work, and Friday we're having a girls' night. 

Looking around the house::: A lot to do this weekend.  I need to get my girls into spring clean mode! 

From the camera:::  

What I'm wearing today::: Black pants, black top with a light blue print and a light blue cardigan sweater. 

One of my simple pleasures::: Sonic's diet green tea with mango 

Here I am on Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday for March 20th, 2017

Welcome to this week's Happy Homemaker Monday.  I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.  

The weather:::
 We've just finished our last snow for the winter.  It's been mild here in the Detroit area for most of the season.  Today will be 43 and cloudy, but later this week, close to 60! 

On my reading pile:::

I just finished "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi.  It is a wonderfully complex book, but due to what I've been going through, it took me two months to read it and I would sometimes get lost due to the multiple narrators.  However, I highly recommend it.

I am also rereading (albeit very slowly)  Gone with the Wind - my favorite book of all time.

Amazon Prime has a program called Kindle First where they offer you a free e-book on the first of each month that has not been released yet.  This month I chose the book "The Practice House" by Laura McNeal. It's about a Scottish woman who becomes a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Kansas during the dust bowl period.  I'm about 1/4 of the way through and enjoying it so far.

I'm doing the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge, Reading for Growth.  

Movies or Shows I watched this weekend:::
Emily (my 17yo) and I watched "Gettysburg" last night.  We just started an in-depth study of the Civil War for a research paper she will be writing at the end of the term.  She was "soooooo bored" at the beginning of the movie, but she soon came around :)

On my TV:::
Since my mom's death last month, I can't watch everything I normally watch.  I need more mind-numbing t.v.
*Bring It
CURRENT BINGE WATCH:  *Rewatching Dance Moms

On the menu for this week:::

Breakfasts will be boiled eggs with turkey sausage or oatmeal, lunches will be either chef salad, baked fish with rice and veggies, or ham and swiss roll-ups

Sunday:  Swedish meatballs over noodles, green beans
Monday:  Bubble up pizza, carrots with ranch
Tuesday: Sazon pork chops with olives and potatoes (I love this!)
Wednesday:  Chili dogs and tater tots (not every night is gourmet, lol)
Thursday: Shepard's Pie (one for us, one for my dad)
Friday:  Pesto chicken and penne pasta  with steamed broccoli
Saturday:  Family dinner out
Sunday: Spaghetti and meatballs with broccoli and garlic bread

On my to do list:::

  • Declutter living room (put things where they belong!) 
  • Fill bird feeder  
  • Read
  • Watch Dance Moms 
  • Work in my War Binder (I'll be doing a post on this soon) 
  • Laundry 
  • Cook ahead for the week 
  • Catch up on some YouTube videos
  • Lesson Plan 

What I am crafting or creating:::
I am still writing my novel (I took a long break due to my mom's illness and passing) and also some song lyrics and music.

My current passion is planner decorating, bullet journals, and my war binder. These things have really kept me sane over the past several months.  More on all of those to come!

Happening this week:::

  • Working M-F 8-4
  • Homeschooling w/ Emme 
  • Furniture shopping with my sister for my dad 
  • Trip to the library 
  • Celebrating my sister's birthday 

Looking around the house:::

Sunday (when I'm typing this) is my cleaning day, so things are a bit of a mess right now.  By the end of the day, things should be looking pretty good ;)

From the camera:::

We had a HUGE wind storm last week that knocked out power across Michigan, over 1/2-million just in my area alone!  68-mph in my city! This is the 7-11 sign near my house.  Trees uprooted, tons of damage, etc.  It was the largest power outage DTE has had in our history! My dad's gate to the privacy fence was ripped off the hinges.  I'm thankful that we never lost power at my house!

What I'm wearing today:::
Cleaning attire!  Yoga pants and a t-shirt.  Hot mama!  lol

One of my simple pleasures:::
 Watching the bird feeder I recently placed at the front of my house.  It's mostly just little sparrows and some black-capped chickadees, but I do get the gift of a cardinal from time to time! (Shortly after writing this, a gorgeous cardinal came and sat on top of the feeder!  <3  ) 

Bible verse, Devotional::: 
I've been following a scripture writing plan as well as Arabah Joy's Praying the 40-promises of the cross and Her Binder Project (HIGHLY recommend - free every month!!!!) where we are studying Philippians this month, one of my favorite books of the Bible.