Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

self healing and self care books
I have been in a funk since the move (tip: don't ever move with teenagers-wherever you live when your kids are older than 12, just plan on staying there until they all graduate). Since I am happier when I am working on a goal, my good friend Suzanne forwarded me a reading challenge she was working on in 2015. I finished my first book yesterday (in red) and now I am ready to move on to the next.  I was hoping some of you might help me round out my list. So check out my categories and give me some suggestions-pretty please.

If it is written in red, I read it and the * are out of 5*.



UPDATE:  I finished the last book sometime early morning January 4th on my way back from dropping my oldest off to college.  Now I need to think of a fun challenge for 2016. (sorry for all of you you with OCD,  I don't know what is up with the margins, but I am too lazy to fix them)

2015 Reading Challenge

1.      A book with more than 500 pages
         City of Heavenly Fire-Cassandra Clare***
                 (don't judge)
I personally think she should have stopped after book 4, but she's a great author if you are looking mindless demon and vampire romance.
 2.      A book of short stories
                 The Illustrated Man- Ray Bradburry*****
Bradburry is the man.
 3.      A classic romance
          Me Before You-Jo Jo Moyes****1/2
A quirky outcast gets a new job helping a rich quadriplegic and it is great, but will make you cry. 
4.      A book that became a movie
                  If I stay -Jan21 ***
Great teenage romance to escape reality.
5.      A book published this year ***        
            The Heir-Keira Cass****
If the Bachelorette was set in a futuristic diastopian society, it would be this.  This is the 4th in the series and each one isn't a good as the previous one. 
 6.      A book with a number in the title
                 #16 Things I thought Were True-Janet Gurtler  ***   
                  Meh
7.      A book written by someone under 30
                 The Darkest Mind-Alexandra Bracken****
                Kids start developing supernatural abilities and out of fear are rounded up by the government. A perfect book for hanging out a basketball practice.
8.      A book with non-human characters
                 Dragon Song- Anne McCaffrey**
                 I started to read this for my series, but I didn't enjoy it              enough to read anymore.                              
9.      A funny book
                 Bridget Jones Diary-Helen Fielding **   
                 I may be the only one that didn't love this.  I found her              constant string of bad decisions annoying and                            frustrating. 
10.    A book by a female author
                  Feeling Sorry for Celia-Jacyln Moriarty****
The book takes place in a series of notes from mother and daughter and I kind of loved it.
11.    A mystery or thriller
                 Looking For Me-Beth Hoffman****
A young antique dealer tries to cope with the disappearance of her brother.  The mystery is a bit of a stretch, but it is full of southern charm.
12.   A book with a one word title
         Backwater-Joan Bauer ***
         A girl from a family of lawyers, heads up into the              mountains to meet her reclusive aunt. Quick, easy read.
13.   A book set in a different country
                Inside the Kingdom-Carmen Bin Ladin   **** 
                Fascinating non-fiction into the lives of Saudi Women  
14.   A non-fiction book
                The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau  **                 
     Loved the idea of this book, but didn't really like how it was written.  I would have loved reading more about people's pursuits.    
15.   A popular authors first book      
       That Summer-Sarah Dessen ***
Full of teenage angst and summer love. Great reading to forget you're really 43.
16.   A book from an author that you love but you haven’t read yet
          Saving Lucas Biggs-Marissa de los Santos ***
         Love, love, love her adult books.  This time-traveling        tale written for kids is a wonderful book about  friendship and forgiveness.
17 A book a friend recommended       
            The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani ****
Epic tale of a girl from a small village in the Italian Alps that makes her life in America. I really didn't think her love interest was good enough for her and it bugged me.
18.  A Pulitzer Prize winning book
            Gilead by Marilynne Robinson 
It is a long letter of an elderly father to his son. I tried to love this, but there wasn't much of a plot, and I had to force myself through it.               
19.  A book based on a true story
             Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini **
Interesting story told in super boring way.  
20.  A book at the bottom of your to read list                                                               
            Grave Mercy-Robin Lefevers ***     
Female medieval assassins-what's not to like.  
21.  A book your mom loves
The Rent Collector-Camron Wright****
Story of Cambodian garbage pickers.  I was worried it would be depressing, but it was uplifting.
22.  A book that scares you
      The Ghosts of Ashbury High-Jacyln Moriarty***
   A mysterious couples are the new kids at a rich boarding school in Australia.
23.  A book more than 100 years old
       A Room with a View- E.M Forster***
There are lots of great themes in this book, but I just had a hard time caring about any of the characters. 
24.  A book based entirely on its cover      
       The Fourteenth Goldfish***
A girl's grandfather discovers the secret to youth, and becomes her age.
25.  A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
           The Bell Jar-Sylvia Plath ***     
 A young women's decent into madness.             
26.  A memoir
       Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince ****    
Memoir of a orphan girl's journey to become a professional ballerina.             
27.  A book you can finish in a day
            Hope Was Here-Joan Bauer   ****
          I like this author, if you are looking for clean stuff for your teens to read.     This one's about a girl that moves around a lot, and finally settles in a small town. She develops waitressing to an art.              
28.  A book with antonyms in the title
           The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet-Jamie Ford****
Forbidden love of a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl during WWII.

29.  A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
            What Alice Forgot-Liane Moriarty****1/2  (Australia)            A 40 year old woman wakes up from a concussion with no memory of the last 10 years.  I loved it.
30.  A book with bad reviews
       Into the Ever Blue-Veronica Rossi.***  
Average teenage diastopian romance
31.  A book from the year were born (1972)               An Unsuitable Job for a Woman-PD James ***
Young brittish femal PI investigates the suicide of a wealthy misfit.          
32.  A trilogy
        Across the Universe-Beth Revis****
The story of a family that is frozen for centuries as they travel to another planet, but the teenage daughter awakes early.
33.  A book from your childhood
       Dandelion Wine-Ray Bradburry****
34. A book with a love triangle
       In Their Footsteps-Terri Gerritson ****
A women investigates the death of parents who had been secret agents. 
35.  A book set in the future
        Under the Never Sky-Veronica Rossi***
Average teenage diastopian romance
36.  A book set in high school
          Buzzkill-Beth Fanatskey ****
        Teenage reporter investigates a murder in her high school
37.  A book with a colour in the title
       The Girl in Hyacinth Blue-Suasan Vreeland **
An epic novel about the different owners of a painting. I have loved some of her other books, but this didn't hold my interest.
38.  A book that made you cry
       We are Called to Rise-Laura McBride ***
It tells the stories of an8 year old Albanian boy, a middle age woman, and social worker, and an injured vet.  There stories collide in a not-so happy string of coincidences.
39.  A book with magic
       Princess of Thorns-Stacey Jay***
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
           
40.  A graphic novel
       Rapunzel's Revenge-Shannon Hale *
Not my favorite genre
41.  A book by an author you’ve never read before
      Everybody's Got Something-Robyn Roberts***1/2
Super uplifting, quick, fun read.
                                     
42.  A book you own but have never read                                                                              All You Could Ask For-Mike Greenberg    
Women connect through a breast cancer forum-it made me cry and schedule my mammogram.                                
43.  A book that takes place in your hometown 
The Man That Owned Vermont-May 1, 2015 *
The guy in this story has some issues.
44.  A book that was originally written in a different language  
        Reckless-Cornelia Funke **   
A take on the Grimm Fairy Tales, but it just wasn't a page turner for me.                 
45.  A book set during Christmas
       Redbird Christmas-Fannie Flagg ***
       Maybe not my favorite of her books, but enjoyable.
46.  A book written by an author with your same initials        
        Girl Missing- Terri Gerritson ****     
Crime drama                                                
47.  A play
       A Raisin in the Son by Lorraine Hansberry***
I didn't enjoy it, because I was waiting the entire book for something bad to happen.

48.  A banned book (or previously banned)             
        Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury  Jan 28 *****
My daughter’s favorite book   
49.  A book based on or turned into a TV Show
           Astronaut's Wives Club-Lily Koppel ****
(Don't read this if astronauts are your heroes)
50.  A book you started but never finished
             Big Little Lies-Liane Moriarty****
Tells the story of a murder that took place at a PTO function at a small school in Australia.




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Flippin Sweet Halloween

We've haven't done a family themed Halloween for years and years, and so I thought our rendition of the cast of Napoleon Dynamite was blog-worthy:


My neighbor is Jewish and doesn't celebrate Christmas, but goes all out for Halloween.  I asked her to take our picture and she was disappointed that I wasn't dressed up. I obviously need to up my fashion game if she thinks side pony tails and hip packs are normal for me.
I posted these on FB and my mother was so concerned about my daughter's attitude that she called her. She didn't read the t-shirt closely and thought she was just a disgruntled teenager in her PE clothes and didn't realize that she was just being the perfect Summer Wheatley. I made her shirt using the freezer paper technique btw.

 The Happy Couple
Pedro Sanchez was the only one that actually went trick-or-treating, and I was a little worried without the rest of us, he looked very racial insensitive.  I made his buckle and tie out of cardboard, shoe-lace, and tin foil.
 I was mostly able to throw this together from stuff we had around the house.  I only had to buy black hairspray, plain blue t-shirt, and 2 pair of glasses from the dollar store so it only cost $7 for all 5 of us.  It may not be my favorite movie, but it has been my favorite since we dressed up as Beauty and the Beast.

My big kids went to a party and my daughter bribed my son w/ the last cupcake if he'd dress up as Bert. She had the Mary Poppins costume from a few years ago. He would only agree if he could wear whatever shoes he wanted.  I think they were adorable.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

DE Chalk Paint Dresser

Several years ago I posted pics of my tween girl's bedroom.  Tween girl is now driving and wanted something a little more grown up.  She wanted to paint her dresser "grass green" and so I let her. (The color is grass stain from Lowe's)  She used the same techniques and chalk paint recipe from when I did my side tables. She has never painted anything before and I think she did an excellent job. 
 
BEFORE
AFTER

One of these days we will get around to decorating the entire room and do some big reveal, but so far this is as far as we've gotten.

BTW: This dresser was mine when I was little and I think several of my sisters as well.  It started as a fake dark wood veneer.  Then my dad painted it white for my daughter, and now it's green.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back To School Candy Jar

 Hobby Lobby had all their jars on 50% off and so that inspired me wanted to do some back-to-school themed candy jars.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

DE (diatomaceous earth) Chalk Paint

I've been wanting to try chalk paint for years (hopefully the trend isn't over yet).  I found this recipe using DE on pinterest (I'd love to give credit, but it didn't link back). Since I had a 25 lb box of it sitting in my garage, I figured I'd give it a try. 

1/4 cup DE
8 Tb Water
1 paint sample (7.2 ounces) Valspar Mercer Blue

Mix the water and DE, then add the paint and stir with a plastic fork until smooth.  Paint.  Wait an hour and lightly sand with 220 sandpaper until smooth.  (Don't be scared-this took under 5 minutes)

Honestly it was fool proof and created a smooth buttery finish.

It ended up looking more gray than blue, so I mixed a little of my glaze with some turquoise craft paint, then it looked too blue, so I glazed it again with some Behr Espresso Bean. (Here's more detailed info about how I glaze).  

I still haven't gotten around to applying a layer of finishing wax.

I have no experience with other chalk paint, but I can't imagine any other kind working better.  DE can be found at any hardware or pool supply store.  (or beg some off a friend that has a pool) The original recipe suggested "food-grade", but I don't think it would have made a difference.
BEFORE
I forgot to take a "before", but I found it in a corner of a picture from Christmas morning). I actually got these at a garage sale about 7 years ago and painted them black. (BTW black furniture is not the best idea for someone who dusts as often as I do)

 TOP 


These tables make me silly happy!

I also painted a dresser and mirror for my daughter so stay tuned. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Spent Way Too Much Time on This


We have left the military and have entered the civilian world. This means that my husband needs to market himself to drum up business so we can still eat on a regular basis.  

I have the recipe for the world's best chocolate chip cookies and so he asked me to make a few batches that he can leave at offices around Houston.  He also asked me to make them cute. I was inspired by this. (I got the gable box at Hobby Lobby for 99 cents.)

I attached a little pocket so he can insert his business cards.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

What I'm Reading -While We Were Watching Downton Abbey


We absolutely feel that we are where we are supposed to be and we have a fabulous house and my husband loves his new job.  I really should have nothing to complain about except for the fact MOVING SUCKS!

One day feeling a little lonely and completely overwhelmed at my attempts for my house to stop looking like an audition for Hoarders, my daughter brought in a package from Amazon.

My friend Suzanne, knows that a great read is just good for the soul and sent me a book. (How blessed am I to have her as a friend?)

If you need a fun summer read, check it out:

The  British concierge of  "The Alexander", a luxury apartment building in Atlanta, organizes weekly screenings of Downton Abbey to promote community spirit. These screenings provide the framework for a story filled with unlikely friendships, southern charm and snark, romance, and personal triumphs.  

UPDATE:  Since writing this post, I went and signed up for a library card and check out a few more books by the same author.  I then pulled out my sewing machine for the first time in months.  It was just to tailor a pair of pants, but I feel both are big steps in getting settled and returning to my trophy wife self.