Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

My reading has changed a bit:

  1. I postponed Winter's Tale. So technically this book isn't "what I'm reading", it's "what I will read some other time". :) It was so big and so intimidating, plus I saw my time to read it before the movie was dwindling. Then I saw some reviews that weren't great of the movie. So, I gave myself permission to set it aside and pick it up again later, and rent the movie later. The book was good, it just took more attention than I had to give it these past few weeks. My mind and heart have been elsewhere. And let me say that I don't usually quit or postpone a book. I read it through, sometimes to the bitter end-a book I despise can drag out and make me dread picking it up, but I want to hope it might get better at the end. This year I gave myself permission to stop reading a book I dislike. Thus, two I've quit on and one I have postponed.  I must say it feels good. :) Are you a reader who wants to finish a book? Or a reader who gives themselves permission to set a book aside?
  2. I am still reading my devotional: The One Year Wisdom for Women Devotional: 365 Devotions through the Proverbs
  3.  I am also reading Jesus Calling. It's another devotional but from a different voice/perspective. I am really enjoying it!
  4. I have started a puppy book. I need to refresh my memory and work on being a better puppy owner/teach my dog better than I did the last two. I know looking back that Merlin turned into a wonderful dog, sweet and loving, but I didn't teach him as well as I could have and his first two years were very difficult. This time, I'm trying to prepare ahead of time and am starting with How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond by Cesar Millan It is good, thus far, but I'm only on page 11. :) I have 2 1/2 weeks until Morgan comes home, so time to prepare. I bought two puppy books at the store. My youngest daughter wants to help this time around, so she can read these, as well. :)
  5. I am readinOur Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring by Henri J. M. Nouwen for my chaplain training. It is giving me new eyes, as well. I'm only on page 19 in this book.
  6. I would also like to start reading The Lost Lake, which is by Sarah Addison Allen, who wrote The Girl Who Chased The Moon and Garden Spells, both of which I really liked. This is her latest book and I am looking forward to reading it. I have it here in my "to read" pile.
I started the year well, tackling and finishing quite a few books, but then I slowed to a crawl and then stopped finishing them/reading. I expect to finish at least two of these books by next Wednesday. What is in your "reading" or "to read" pile these days, Reader?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Social Media Monday

This week I checked out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram postings. I found a Sesame Street quiz to see what character you are and I was happy, loveable Grover, a local crime tracker which was interesting and scary at the same time, pictures of Morgan and some quotes re-tweeted. Here's one of my favorites for the week. :) Hope you have a great week, Reader!

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same. -Carlos Castaneda

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Well, I didn't have to dream for long. We had done our research, we knew what we had in mind... My husband and I knew we were leaning towards a goldendoodle. We were looking for a mild-mannered dog, since our last two were/are a bit on the neurotic side.

We had heard that people who get goldendoodles were concerned about the poodle parents. So, we took a trip-about an hour and a half drive-to meet the parents at a breeder's home. The breeder asked us the size range we were looking for, since she would have two sizes. We told her the larger (50-60 lbs) size. She then brought in the male/father/poodle. He was amazing. So friendly, sweet, and liked us better than treats! :) That sold it for us, I think. Then she brought in the mom who was also lovely, although she liked the treats. :) Then, the puppies.

When we went, we knew from looking on her website that they only had females available. But, someone who had a deposit down on the last male backed out. Since we had males previously and my weim was such a loving dog, I thought I would want him. My husband, younger daughter and I held and snuggled with all five puppies. The pup who cried and wiggled the most like he wasn't comfortable was the male. My husband had the biggest female and she snuggled into him and sat calmly. When I took her she gave me a kiss and snuggled more, eventually falling asleep in my arms. Adorable. My youngest daughter loved and snuggled her, too, delighted. Although we loved all the puppies, this girl was the sweetest and most calm, which-after the two guys we had before her-seemed great! :) Let's hope that is her personality as she grows.

On the way down my husband asked about name choices. When we got our first dog, he said we could pick the dog and he'd pick the name, eventually naming him Merlin, after Merlin the magician in the King Arthur stories. So, I reminded him of the precedent and he went to thinking. He said how about a girl could be Morgan-I asked if he meant the sorceress Morgan Le Fay from the Arthur stories. He said yes or Guenevere? I said definitely Morgan. We didn't even discuss a boy's name. So, we will welcome our lovely new puppy, Morgan Le Fay in mid-March. :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014


We have been discussing getting a puppy. The rational side of me thinks of the work, the mess, the being tied to home, and general puppy stress, let alone the stress it could cause Percy... But the dreaming side of my brain looked at puppy pictures on Pinterest and oohed and aahed. I checked the local humane society, as well, looking for a young dog that would fit in our home. My husband held firm saying no to any puppy that crossed our minds... until a labradoodle/goldendoodle was brought up. He made the mistake of saying he'd take one of those aloud and the hunt began. We have been checking/calling/emailing local breeders, calling our vet and beginning to research. Dreaming...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Recipes I've Tried This Week

This past weekend I sat down and planned the week's meals. I feel better when I do this, I don't buy as much junk and I don't have to make ten trips to the grocery store. On Monday I tried Spinach, Ricotta & Pesto Lasagna. This version of the recipe calls for you to make your own noodle sheets and I did not. It turned out delicious! All three of us enjoyed it-and leftovers this week, too! We gave it two thumbs up and will be making it again. 

I also tried cherry tomato and tortellini soup. I had purchased pre-made cheese tortellini for one night and then saw that we needed to use up tomatoes in our fridge-not cherry, but they worked. One other change: We had spinach we had to use before it went bad so I sauteed it with some garlic and put it in the soup, as well. YUM! :) Another recipe we all liked! I have one more recipe I'm trying, but I will post about it next week. :) 

Have you tried any delicious recipes, lately, Reader? Or have you brought out some family favorites?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What I'm Reading

I am still reading Winter's Tale. The movie comes out this week and I am nowhere near finished. It's good, but it requires more concentration and slower reading than other books. I do like it, though. So, I'm chugging along. Hoping to have it done by next weekend and that it will still be in theaters! :)

I am also still working on my devotional that I picked up last summer. It is The One Year Wisdom for Women devotional. I really like it.

I did start a new book that was given to me when I started the chaplain training. It's part of our reading for the course. It is called Our Greatest Gift-A Meditation on Dying and Caring by Henri Nouwen. The Care Ministry pastor said it was a great resource for him. I'm 1/4 of the way through it. This is where some of my Winter's Tale reading time has gone. :)

In other reading news, regular readers might remember how much I love the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. It was posted yesterday that she has a new book that takes readers back to Mitford coming out in September of this year! Totally made my day! Mitford books are my favorite ever. :)

What are your favorite books/series to read?

Thursday Helpful Sites

Feedly keeps me up to date on my favorite blogs.  This week, the last of this kind for a while, is under the heading "Inspiration", for me. I appreciate the authors and their topics.

  1. I love Life by Kal Barteski has wonderful inspiration for the eyes and the mind. I appreciate her point of view tremendously.
  2. I found this blog, Keeping Tabs, through someone who knows the author. She suggested her friends read about this Ohio girl who has/is traveling the world. She often posts wonderful pictures, too.
  3. I began following Lisa Leonard when some women in the scrapbook community suggested it. First, her jewelry was beautiful and connected with the one little word concept. But her faith and life story keep me reading.
  4. I'm not sure how I stumbled across Lisa Russo, but once I did, I fell in love with her art. Her photographs speak to my heart and style. I have been changing some of the design, here at my house, cleaning out spaces in our home, as well as extraneous decor and am dreaming of the day when I can add her work to our home. I haven't, yet, but I will. Once I fell for her art, I continued to read her blog and appreciate how similar we are. 
  5. Vicky and Jen: "What Really Matters"-I originally found them via their podcasts. I appreciated their home/mom advice as I listened. Then I began to follow their blog. There is some overlap, but not always, with the podcast. Two down-to-earth moms who work at bettering life.
  6. The next two blogs don't have posts too often, as they are busy people, so I can relate, but I appreciate glimpses into their family lives-their real life. They inspire me, both in different ways. The first is It Matters by Darci Dowdle, a mom of 5 kids and a woman journeying with her faith.
  7. Jenny Meyerson: Learn with Jenny-I first saw a video of her through a scrapbooker's blog-dancing. An amazing lady on a journey through life as a mom and wife.
Do you have blogs that you read because they inspire you? Hope you are well, Reader.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I looked at my social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to see what I have recently posted that I could discuss here on Social Media Monday. The last three or four posts were about the snow. We keep getting more snow. Just when it looks like it will melt and the roads will be clear, the snow moves back in. We have gotten quite a bit of snow and shoveling seems to be the only outdoor exercise I am getting. I'm ready for a melt and a run! Wednesday-Friday are supposed to be in the 30 degree range-wow, never thought I'd be so delighted to see freezing level temps! :) Fingers crossed that I get to get out and run these next few days. Also, not just the snow that makes it tough: we have a lot of places near us that are just sheets of ice. That will only make for injuries. I did get to the local mall and walk at a brisk pace for two hours which is great! :)

How is your weather, Reader? :)

Sunday, February 09, 2014


We went to my in-laws' house to celebrate my father in-law turning 65. Each family contributed a breakfast food and we all shared something that made him unique to us. My husband, niece and daughter went outside, while we were there, and created a "snow fort". We came home and shoveled the driveway, which is once again covered in snow. Then my husband and I got a nice, warm winter's nap in. Currently he is working and my youngest daughter is reading.

I have more Project Life to plug away at, determined to finish up 2013. I have bills to pay and paperwork on my desk to slog through. I have a few little tasks for my husband's company that I'd like to finish. I would also like to get more reading done on Winter's Tale. I have enjoyed it thus far, but have a long way to go. I have the usual laundry to catch up on, dishwasher to unload and house cleaning to finish up, as well.

Thinking & Dreaming About:
Climbing a mountain (well hiking)- my husband and I have decided we are climbing a mountain in 2014. By climbing I mean hiking, not using my fingertips, ropes, and toes to climb up the face of a cliff-no. I mean a hike somewhere. So far we have decided it must be in the US, and take a day or two-if there is a lodge halfway up. :) We are currently leaning towards Arizona, but we will see as we firm up plans, set goals, etc. Goals/motivation are on my mind. These snow days have slowed my progress and motivation, with running, house organization, task completion, everything. Well, except hibernation and eating too much, of course.

How are you feeling this February, Dear Reader?

Friday, February 07, 2014


Since I haven't posted any recipes in January, this is a link heavy post of recipes I have tried thus far. With all our cold, snowy days we've had time to try a few new things! :)

  1. Egg and Avocado BLT with Chipotle Mayo
  2. Greek Yogurt Banana Bread
  3. Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp
  4. Asparagus and Avocado Wrap
  5. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  6. Lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing
  7. More Lemon cupcakes

Have you tried any new, yummy recipes lately, Reader?

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Blogs I Follow-Scrapbooking Inspiration

Today's blog links of "Blogs I Follow" are all related to scrapbooking. I haven't been doing much lately, except for Project Life 2013 (finishing), but I still follow the blogs for ideas and information, for when I get back to it. I would really like to take a trip up the local Scrapbook Store for inspiration and a jump start next week-I have been dreaming while perusing Pinterest, too.

Scrapbooking Blogs I Follow:

  1. Ali Edwards Blog- I have followed her for years, love her creativity and her style! She shows her Project Life and December Daily Projects throughout, as well.
  2. Becky Higgin's Blog-Creator of Project Life, which I love-when I remember to keep up with it...
  3. Cathy Zielske's Blog-Cathy has an awesome, simple style that I really like. She's also doing her own Project Life. She has such a great sense of humor, too!
  4. Elise Blaha Cripe's Blog-Just started following her not that long ago. She has great sense of style and an added bonus is to see pics of her new baby girl!
  5. Just Me, My Soldier and Our 4 Little Chicks-Stephanie Howell's blog-love her style, as well, and her realism on the blog. They are in Italy right now and it brings back happy memories!
  6. Just Us/Dear Lizzy-This family/scrapbooker are adorable! Such fun color combos inspire me, here!
  7. StacyJulian.com lady loves color and spending time with her family-both of which I love!
  8. Just Be Blogged by Tara Whitney-Tara is an involved mom and a wonderful photographer. Not scrapbooking per say but photo ideas for layouts of my own family.
  9. Jessica showcases digital scrapbooking, as well as photoshop. I love her perspectives!
  10. Scrapscription is a kit company that I have used in the past. I first learned of them from another blog where I won a kit in their contest. I tried it, loved it, and when I was lacking in inspiration I would get one of their kits and create something lovely! I still check monthly for kits that may speak to me. They had one that was "my dog" and I purchased pics of my recently deceased dog, thinking it would be a perfect way to honor our family's love for him.
There other pages I peruse like Making Memories, Studio Calico (LOVE their supplies, Pinterest boards, etc),  Basic Grey, Dear Lizzy, and Amy Tangerine to name a few.  Any scrapbooking sites you love? Hope you are well and warm, Reader!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

As I sit here drinking my green tea on another snow day, I realize what a stinky blogger I've been. This has been one of the last things on my list. Then I read a tweet by Stephanie Howell, whose instagram, blog and facebook posts I read regularly. Her tweet was a wondering about personal blogs-do people read/post on them anymore. I love to read people's posts. However, I have stunk at posting on my own lately.

Thank you to my dear readers who commented on the person who is dear to me that found out they had cancer. I am truly blessed by them and I am glad I get to (hopefully) be helpful to her.

Today, my post is to catch up on my "What I'm Reading Wednesdays". I haven't posted on them, as of yet, this year, and here it is February! I started the year out with a reading "Bang!" but have slowed down a bit as of late.

Books so far:

  1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce-I thoroughly enjoyed this book. GoodReads had suggested it so I tried it-different than other books I read, but I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it ended! :) A good read. 4/5 stars
  2. The Fatal Funnel Cake by Livia J Washburn is the latest book in the Fresh Baked Mystery Series. I've read some by her before and they are quick read mysteries. I figured out the murderer before the "reveal" and still enjoyed it. GoodReads won't let you rate half stars so it, too received a 4/5, but should have gotten a 3.5 when comparing to my earlier reads.
  3. Gilt Trip by Laura Childs is the latest book in the Scrapbooking mystery series. It was very similar to the others in the series and, although I enjoy them, I like her tea mysteries much better. This too would have received a 3.5 out of 5. I figured out the killer before the reveal, here, too, but I enjoy all her talk about the scenery, etc. Another quick read.
  4. Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen was another book suggested to me by GoodReads. I loved it! I couldn't put this down, either. I had previously read her book Garden Spells and enjoyed it, too, so I picked this one up gladly. I got it in paperback and since finishing it, her latest book came out in hardback-I picked it up, hoping it's as good! It awaits on my "to read" shelf. 4/5 stars
  5. Similar to last year's goal to read an Agatha Christie, I set a goal to read a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes mystery. I read Hound of the Baskervilles. I enjoyed this mystery immensely! Terrific-kept me wondering the whole time. It required my reading early in the day, as a tired mind and tired eyes didn't work for this book-too involved. I loved it! (I have another Agatha Christie on my to read shelf, too! :))
  6. On my list I have two books I didn't finish. The first is Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I had heard it was an excellent book and then saw it on the library's "Staff Picks" shelf. I, however, did not share the same interest and couldn't even get through the first chapter. It was so full of foul language I couldn't continue on with it. Granted, a word here or there that is defining for the character I can see, but this, combined with it's cattywompus thoughts did nothing for me. So, I stopped reading it. 0-1/5 stars...
  7. The second book I didn't like was a surprise... Many family members really like this series. I tried One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. Although I sometimes like cheesy mysteries I just couldn't get through this one. I am sure I could have but with a shelf full of "to-reads" waiting for me, that I probably won't even get through this year, plus our wonderful library's new books... I just didn't want to slog through this one. 0-1/5 stars...
Currently, I am in the midst of a very big book! I saw the preview for Winter's Tale-the movie- which is also a novel by Mark Helprin. I was moved by only the brief glimpse of the movie, so I went to the bookstore to get this book (I looked at our library but every copy was out!) I wanted to read before watching the movie, but then I picked up the book... It is 768 pages! It is large! And the movie comes out on Valentine's Day... I am not sure I'm going to finish! :) But, I'm working on it and enjoying it thus far.

What are you reading or looking forward to reading, Reader?