Thursday, September 26, 2019

Book Review- "The Lemon Sisters" - Fall Reading Challenge #2

Welcome to the second book review that I will be doing as part of the Fall Reading Challenge created by Colletta's Kitchen Sink. I am super excited to be participating in this challenge and you can read my original post here about this challenge.

TITLE:  "The Lemon Sisters"


PAGES - 368, I believe as I forgot to write it down before I returned the book to the library


PUBLISHER - William Morrow

      Brooke Lemon has always led the life she wanted, wild adventures- and mistakes- included, something her perfect sister, Mindy, never understood. So when Mindy shows up on Brooke's doorstep in the throes of a breakdown with her three little kids n tow, Brooke's shocked. 
   Wanting to make amends, Brooke agrees to trade places, taking the kids back to Wildstone for a few days so Mindy can pick up the pieces and put herself back together. What Brooke doesn't admit is she's just as broken... Also, how does one go home after seven years away? It doesn't take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. Bur Garrett's no longer interested. Only his words don't match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she'd shoved deep. 
   Soon the sisters begin to wonder: Are they lemons in life? In love? All they know is that neither seems to be able to run far enough to outpace her demons. And when secrets surface, they'll have to learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask.

   I haven't ever read anything by Jill Shalvis before, but I will certainly be reading more as she now has a new fan! This book was one that I did not want to put down. Her writing kept me captivated from the start and I could hardly wait to find the time to sit and read. The story was interesting and intriguing as well as funny. 
 Brooke Lemon became like a part of my family as I was waiting for her to realize just how wrong her past actions had been. This is listed as a romance book and there are many romantic undertones throughout the book, which was the first reason, I was not sure I would like it, but I was so wrong. The romance was just a part of the story and I am thankful that I chose this book. It felt like the perfect end of summer book. 
 There is some language in the book and many sexual parts to the story as well, but overall, I highly recommend this book. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Walk In The Woods- Raccoon Lake- Indiana

A couple of weeks ago we went camping as a family and had a really nice time. Raccoon Lake in Indiana has a wonderful family campground and plenty of activities to keep one busy. Since I am not a fan of water, I enjoyed some nice hikes while my husband was on the boat.
This was some of the scenery that was close to our campsite and while walking the first day, we came across a doe with two babies and she allowed us to get very close to her, but I can't locate those photos at the moment. 
The paths were nice most of the trail. On day two, we did walk a trail that had a little more rugged terrain and found that the path was fairly narrow in spots. 

These benches were found along the trail and made a nice spot to rest for a bit. It had been awhile since this old  lady had been hiking.  I also found the large vines from the trees to be quite photogenic. Natural beauty at its finest!
The grand doll found these to be a great seat as well. Isn't she the cutest? She was a real trooper as well. The trail was about a mile and she walked it all. 

She was amazed at how big the trees were! The knowledge that was learned on this trail could never be replaced by a classroom and text book. 
Several spots along the trail were near the water and gave us a different view of the lake . This was near the marina where the trail began. 
I thought about my grand dolls legs when I saw this tree. If any of you have followed our journey with Blount's Disease, you might remember this is how her left leg look below the knee.  If you haven't read of our journey, you can here.
Her legs are much straighter now and she is growing so big. She really enjoyed these vines. 

Mommy helped her swing on these! It was a nice break from walking she said. Kids are so cute!!
Along the trail and my reason for hiking this trail, was a small cemetery. Now, I have a fondness of cemeteries and especially ones like this. I find peace while walking through them looking at tombstones. Seems odd to many, but it is part of who I am. 
I have not investigated to see if these were original owners of this land or not. I found this to be such a nice monument for the age of it and where it is located. 

David Payne

Only one large tombstone and it looked as though another one had been destroyed possibly by a falling tree.  Still a pleasant spot to stop and enjoy the beauty around us. 
I am sure lightening had struck this tree at some time. You can almost see the exact path of the strike. This was not near the cemetery, but shows the damage that trees can get during a storm. 
From the top of the hill, we were fully aware that the steps leading down were taking us to this wooden bridge. I thought it made a very nice photo. 

Of course, the grand doll had to sit for a bit. She loved the bridge, but was disappointed that there was no water under it. I explained that because we have not had much rain lately, the ground was dry.
This was not blocking the trail, but I also just thought this showcased more of nature. How perfectly straight across is this log?

Another spot along the lake and closer to the end of our trail.

Fungus growing on a log. We were interested in all the aspects of nature you can see while hiking and we guessed as whether these were edible or not.

If you ever have a chance to visit Raccoon Lake in Indiana, I highly recommend it! The weather was perfect for our hikes and for camping. October will bring fall colors to the trees and I would love to go back and enjoy some of those colors.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Candy Man ; Saturday 9

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This song is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. The movie was remade as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Which Wonka did you prefer? I actually enjoyed both of them, but I believe that the original one was my favorite. 

2) In the movie, this song is sung by Bill, the candy store shopkeeper. Think about the last counter person you dealt with. We know that he or she likely didn't break into song, but did you two engage in conversation? No, I was at the bank and the teller only said hello and thank you. 

3) The lyrics tell us that The Candy Man can make the world taste good. What's the last thing you ate? Was it delicious, or just OK? The last thing that I ate was a frozen Totino's pizza and it was quite tasty.
4) The most popular recording of this song was by Sammy Davis,  Jr. Sammy was in a horrific car accident when he was 29 years old. His cheek and nose were broken and he lost an eye. That he survived at all left him reflective and after his hospitalization, he converted to Judaism. Do you still worship in the faith you were raised in? Yes, I still attend the church that I began attending in Junior high at times.
5) Sammy was proud of the honorary college degrees because he received because never formally attended school. As a child, he performed on the road with his father and uncle. In addition to depriving him of an education, that lifestyle kept him from kids his own age. He would later describe his childhood as, "in a word, 'lonely.'" Give us a one-word description of your childhood. Difficult. ( My dad was an alcoholic and was verbally abusive to us and physically abusive with my mom)
6) Because he spent so much of his youth on the road, living on buses, trains and hotel rooms, he loved eventually having his own kitchen and being able to cook his own meals. This weekend, will you spend much time in the kitchen? Probably quite a bit. I have a few items that I am looking to make and it will take some time. 

7) Sammy enjoyed experimenting with clothes and jewelry. What about you? Do you consider yourself conservative in dress or are you fashion forward? I find that I am conservative, but that I enjoy fashion. I have been shopping for some newer items lately. 

8) When he died, Sammy was in debt to the IRS. Do you handle your own taxes, or do you use the services of an accountant? I usually do my own taxes. 
9) Random question: If you had to tell nothing but the truth (not even the tiniest white lie) for 24 hours, do you think you'd get yourself in trouble?
Well, I might get myself in a little trouble, but I guess it would depend on what was being asked. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #7 - A Golden Anniversary

Monday was a cause for celebration around the farm here. It represented such a milestone for my husband and his parents that we had to make the day as special as possible. It was my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary! 50 years that they have walked side by side, had their ups and downs and been together through all aspects of life.

As many of you know, my mother in law has really struggled with some health issues and we have had to look into more care for her. Due to some current health issues we were not able to celebrate at home, but it did not stop us from making sure the day did not go unnoticed. We took the party to her!

A delicious cake bought from Meijer's! I thought the roses and the heart where such a special touch and fitting for the day!

The Happy Couple! It is hard for me to imagine that this sweet man has lived with this woman for 50 years as she can be such a problem and never appreciates anything that is done for her, but he has and he still loves her no matter what!
Presenting the cake was left to the granddaughter that was able to be there and of course, you can see the grand doll had to be involved. She kept saying Happy Birthday to them. It was so cute!
This is the nice vase of flowers that my father in law gave her. We were looking for fall flowers, but he really wanted these and thought that they might be nicer for an anniversary. Yes, we had White Castle for dinner as it was easy to transport and she likes them so it was a nice treat for her. 

Other than my husband and I, the only other guests were my daughter and her boyfriend and the grand doll. The older daughter and son were unable to be there due to work obligations. This picture is really blurry and I am not sure why. 
I will leave you with these beautiful roses that were the backdrop to the picnic area that we were able to sit in. A beautiful evening to celebrate 50 years of marriage!!!

The Favorite Daughter - Book Review - Fall Reading Challenge

Hello and welcome readers! This is a new type of post for me, but I would very much like to attempt to begin reviewing books as I read them.

 TITLE - the favorite daughter


PAGES - 348



BLURB - Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though she's now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home- until she learns of her dad's failing health. 

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family's Irish pub and who has borne the burden of his sisters' rift. While Alzheimer's slowly steals their father's memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena's own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home. 


 I am reading this book as book one in my Fall Reading Challenge, which you can learn more about here.  I have never read anything by Patti Callahan Henry, so I really wasn't sure what to expect from her as an author. However, I will be adding her to my list of authors that I would like to learn a little more about. 

This book brought with it an storyline that began with a serious betrayal by one sister that was almost unimaginable. I found that I had a hard time reading this book at first as the storyline seemed a little boring at first. However, the book dealt with a family struggling with a recent Alzheimer's diagnosis and I really wanted to see how the author handled the way that affects a family and not just the person that is struggling with it. I believe, the author presented the facts of the disease on a family quite accurately and with a sense of understanding. 

Once the storyline began to unfold and the real story began to emerge, the book was almost a " do not lay me down" story, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Many parts of the book came as a surprise and when Lena learns of her true home and family, it is an ending that won't be easily forgotten. 

I highly recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading another book by Patti Callahan Henry and I am adding The Bookshop at Water's End to my reading list. I hope you will locate this book and enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Straw Hat Song - Saturday 9

The Straw Hat Song (1955)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) In this song, Desi Arnaz encourages us to laugh and sing instead of concentrating on our troubles. Is this an approach to life you could adopt? Or are you a worrier? I find that I do worry about some things, but others I can just ignore and they don't seem to bother me at all. 

2) Because Desi's public persona was carefree, people are often surprised to learn his early life was hard. In 1933, his wealthy family was targeted by Cuban revolutionaries. Their home was destroyed and were forced to flee the country. In Miami, they lived in a warehouse and 16-year-old Desi helped support the family by cleaning cages for the man who sold canaries outside a drugstore. Think about your friends and acquaintances. Whose life story turned out to be very different than you originally thought? Probably mine changed the most. I had a child earlier than I ever planned and I married someone completely different than anyone expected. 

3) While still in his teens, Desi got his first job as an entertainer. As a boy in Cuba, he expected to be a lawyer, not a musician. He only began playing guitar because he noticed girls like musicians and he liked girls. Tell us about a hobby of yours, and what inspired you to pick it up.I love to horseback ride. I convinced my husband that we needed a horse although I had not ridden a lot, but I loved horses. Once he got me one, I was completely hooked. 

4) He discovered he was not only a talented musician but a natural leader. By the tender age of 19, he had organized The Desi Arnaz Orchestra and they were performing in Miami hotels. Have you ever been a boss? If so, did you enjoy it?Yes, I was a manager at Dollar General and I enjoyed it at times, but it was a lot of work and there were many days of complete misery.

5) When he was 23, he went to Hollywood to try his hand at movies and met a 28 year old actress named Lucille Ball. In Hollywood back in 1940, it was considered embarrassing for a woman to date a younger man. Their initial attraction was so powerful she quickly got over it. Do you think age matters when it comes to romance? I have always thought it did, but I am three years older than my husband and my daughter is with someone almost 10 years older than her and they are truly happy. 

6) Desi was the first person to call that famous redhead "Lucy." Throughout her entire life, friends, family and coworkers always referred to her as "Lucille," as she preferred. But Desi insisted on "Lucy." He said that name was his and his alone. Ironically it became the way the world referred to her. Do you have a pet name for anyone? I do for my children and my grand doll. 

7) Lucille and Desi named their son and daughter after themselves. Were you named after anyone?My mom and my great grandmother on my dads' side.  

8) Desi was the founding force behind Desilu. One of the first great production studios of the television age, Desilu grossed $15 million in 1957 (more than $135 million in today's dollars). He credited his success to his unconventional and creative approach to problems. Are you a good problem solver? It depends on what the problem is. 

9) Random question: Who annoys you more, a know-it-all or an ignoramus? Both- depending on the situation

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #6

It is a wonderful day anytime that we wake up and see another sunrise, but today is such a somber day as well. Today marks the 18th anniversary of one of the greatest attacks on our country - September 11, 2001. For those that were old enough to watch the events of that day unfold, may we never forget what was done to those innocent people and our country that day. 

This is just one of the harrowing scenes from that day. The second plane flying directly into the Twin Towers and no one could do anything but watch. The other tower had been hit and was one fire and it was possible to believe that it was an accident, but after this we were fully aware that we were under attack!  

As flights were cancelled and people were aware of what was happening, our lives changed forever. We learned of an enemy that was so ruthless that they took innocent lives of men, women, and children. Those innocent people were in the most vulnerable positions as they were unable to do anything to attempt to save their own lives.  Although, we did learn of Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, PA where a group of heroes, presumably led by Todd Beamer, did attempt to fight back and possibly kept the White House from being hit as well. 

These images still serve as a constant reminder of how life can change so drastically in just a few seconds. No one that worked in these buildings had any idea as they prepared to go to work that this was the last morning, they would go to work. No one that boarded these flights was aware that it would be such a harrowing and deadly flight.  As an American at home, I was no aware that such hatred could even exist.
This photo showcases just how helpless people felt as they watched the devastation below them and were unable to do anything about it. As we know, people felt so helpless that some jumped from these high places, knowing that they would never survive that fall. I can't imagine feeling that helpless. I also can't imagine the thoughts that went through their minds. Were they aware of the complete devastation that would come? Were they aware that they might never leave this building alive? Did they feel as though the Towers were strong enough to survive this attack and that they would be rescued? 
Many firefighters, policemen, first responders and others arrived at the scene to help. NYCFD responded quickly and these men were aware of the job ahead of them, but not the danger ahead of them. This group of heroes could not have known that 343 of them would lose their lives that day. That alone is pure devastation! A group of men going to work to save others and would ultimately pay the greatest sacrifice!
 This is another scene that I have replayed in my mind many of times, the first tower simply collapsing. This huge building that housed offices and employed so many people was simply falling to the ground with hundreds of people inside of it and no place to escape.  People that were outside the building and had escaped the initial hit of the plane was now at risk once again. Firefighters and policemen were in this building to aid in the rescue of those that had survive the initial attack.
 These pictures show the sheer devastation left in Manhattan that day. The photo at top showing the dust and debris left from the towers and the photo below showing the metal that had survived the attack and was all that was left standing. The immense sadness that comes from seeing these photos is still just as strong as it was the day this all happened. The day the world stopped turning for a bit!
Where were you this day? I was at work and initially thought that I had heard a wrong report. No way would a plane hit those towers. No way would a plane have hit the Pentagon. It simply was not possible! How wrong I was!!
The days following Sept. 11, there were many posters of missing people in the Manhattan area. Many of these people worked or were known to have been in the area at the time of the attacks. Were they lost, were they injured, were they dead? Families simply needed an answer!  
For many Americans, this seemed the only logical position to be in. On our knees praying to God.  Praying for the families, the lives lost, the heroes, the country. The days following September 11, 2001 the enemy had not won- Yes, he destroyed lives, families, planes, and buildings, but he had not destroyed the American spirit. We banded together and became a stronger nation. A nation that served where needed, helped others, prayed, and held memorials. We became one nation and color, race, nothing matter- WE WERE AMERICANS!

* These photos are not my own, but photos that friends and others have shared with me. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #5

Hello everyone! Happy Fall! I can say that since it is after Labor Day, although it still feels a lot like summer here with the humidity. I have had such a busy week and I know things are so far behind here, but I am very excited to write this post. I have to share that my husband got a new horse last weekend and is riding again. 
It's not a great picture, but it shows him and I riding together. No, we don't hold hands riding, but our friend thought it added to the picture. It has been almost three years since he quit riding, but he decided that he was ready to ride again. This horse that I am on is Sugar and she is fairly new to me, but it's the horse that the grand doll and I rode one. 

The pigs are still doing good and the grand doll still loves to play with them. She is certainly turning into quite the farm girl! I am so happy about that as I feel that kids that grow up on a farm know more responsibility and common sense that others might. 
I hope that you all have a great week. We will be camping again this weekend and I hope to have plenty of news for you when we return. 

Happy Homemaker Monday _ Feb. 6, 2023

 Can you believe it is the first Monday of February all ready? Where does time go these days? I am so busy today that I am going to be up la...