Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Books that I read for fun in June

Last year, I spent the last half of the year documenting the books that I read for fun.  I have decided that I need to continue that as reading is important part of how I relax. Books that I read for fun are books that I have not been asked to review and that I have chosen to read, well because I like to read.

I am still reading primarily books in a series. In fact I am currently on book #10 of Sherryl Woods' Chesapeake Shores series.....However, I also took a break and read Debbie Macomber's new book Last One Home. I would highly recommend this book of sisterhood and family relationships. It was VERY GOOD! 

Here is what else I read for fun in June.... (Disclaimer: if you click on the book picture, it takes you to the page on Amazon.)


Here are the books I read for fun in:

May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015  
January 2015
Books from 2014

Have you read any good books lately?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Menu for this week: starting to eat down the freezer

So there will be NO Grocery store follow up this week. I just don't have the energy to find the receipts, etc. I know I went over our budget. I found a bunch of markdowns at Kroger that I couldn't pass up...including $0.49 a box honey nut cheerios. I just know I went over and it is what it is.

The next 2 weeks my plan is to try to clean out our freezer so that I can defrost it. Hopefully that will work because I really need to get it cleaned out and defrosted. It has been about a year since I have and I try to do it at least once a year.

Softball is now done, so we should be home most evenings for dinner. So I think this week I am not going to assign meals for dinners, but rather list our options and eat down from there....

Cereal and fruit
Yogurt, fruit, granola bar
Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit

bagel bites
sandwiches, chips, fruit

Chicken enchiladas, spanish rice, grilled cheese (for kids), green beans
Taco crescent ring, corn, peaches
Pulled pork sandwiches, oriental slaw, fruit salad, green beans
Smoked sausage, macaroni and cheese, peas
Cheeseburgers, french fries 
Turkey breast (in crockpot), stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls
Hot dogs, baked beans 

There you have it. Our menu for the week! 

What are you fixing at your house this week?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Softball and rain this weekend

This weekend was the end of the season softball tournament for the league that Rebecca plays in. I will say that this has been a frustrating season. She had a coach that didn't really coach and was kind of laisez faire about things. She put her daughter and the other coaches' daughters in the prime positions (aka. pitcher, in the infield, etc). Several of the girls had bad attitudes, partly because they wanted to play other positions and the coach wouldn't let them. It was a long season. 

Well this weekend was the end of season tournament. They were supposed to start play, in the double elimination tournament, at 9 am on Saturday morning. Well....it rained Friday night so they had to postpone the games from Friday and they were supposed to play them starting at 9 which meant Rebecca's game got pushed back to 10:30. Ok.

Well, Saturday morning we get up and it is pouring down rain. It is supposed to rain all day pretty much. And it was cold...think perfect weather for October, NOT for the end of June. We were told to be at the park by 10:30 as the games were only going to be about an hour delayed...yeah...right.

We get there and they decide that we are on delay until further notice.....Finally around 11:30 they decide that if it stops raining in half an hour and they can get the fields cleared we would play as scheduled. If not, then they would move everything to Sunday to a drop dead, single elimination tournament, meaning that each game would be an hour and who ever was leading at the end of the last full inning was the winner. Okay.....

Well the rain stopped for the moment and they got the fields ready. Still no idea what time the game would start. Then I happened to look on facebook and saw that they had updated the brackets and that they would be playing at 1pm and that they were doing the drop dead times THAT day, Not on Sunday like they said. No one knew what was going on and the lack of communication was crazy. 

Rebecca finally got to play at 1. Her team lost their game, meaning they then had to play again at 5pm. Because of the confusion, the rain, and the amount of people at the field there was literally no parking spaces available so Rebecca and I decided to stay at the ballpark. Bill was home with the boys and my sister was coming over to watch them so Bill could go to work. We walked over to another field and watched my brother's girlfriend play (She was playing on a 16U team). Then Rebecca and I walked to Subway to get something to eat. Then we came back for her 5pm game. That game her team won! That meant we had to be back at the ballpark at 8am on Sunday.

Today, I get up to find that it had rained again overnight, but it looked like everything was still on schedule. So we headed out to the ball field. Her coach was running late....It was cold, windy and drizzling the entire first game! But....they won. Rebecca had a couple of really hard hits too. Since they won, they had to play again at noon. We decided to just hang out in the van for the hour before she had to be back because her coach said to be back by 11:15. At 11:15, we walked back over to the field and her coach was no where to be found. Even one of the assistants seemed confused as to why she wasn't there. She finally did show up and the the game started on time. Unfortunately, Rebecca's team lost that game and was thus out of the tournament. They ended up in 4th place which is okay.

Rebecca was upset that the season was over. We have signed her up for fall ball, which starts in August, and in which she will have to move up to the 10 and under league--where the girls pitch to each other and the coaches don't pitch. Should be interesting.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Father's Day 2015: the day the kids played in the mud puddles

Last Sunday was Father's Day. The day began with the kids giving Bill their surveys they filled out for him and Benjamin gave Bill the painting he made (with my help!). They also gave Bill a Marvel's Agent of SHIELD t-shirt and the blu-ray of "Jurassic Park." Bill loved his gifts.

Sunday morning, I had to go to church as I was scheduled to read. I took Rebecca and Jacob with me. When we left church, we had to make a run to Aldi's as I forgot jelly and mayo when I went shopping the week before. I also picked up 4 pints of blueberries, for $0.99 a pint! My kids will eat blueberries like candy! As we were driving to Aldi's I called Bill and told him to get dressed and be ready to go when we got back home because we were taking him to lunch. The kids and I surprised him with lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings. I had a very yummy Asian pulled pork sandwich with jalapenos and veggies on it. It was really yummy.

After lunch, we came home and hung out a couple hours. Then we headed out to my mom's and dad's house for a cookout. The kids gave my dad his presents---another survey and painting.

My dad and I

After dinner, the kids had a blast playing in the mud puddles that had formed on my parents property from all the rain that we had had over the last couple days. There was a lot of flooding in our area and so there were numerous very wet spots in my parent's yard. At first, we tried to persuade the kids to stay out of them, but then it was like why not? Let them be kids. Then my nephew Ethan had to take a Frisbee and dumped muddy water all over his head. My mom  got the garden hose out to clean his hair and that is when everything went crazy. She started spraying the kids and they had SO much fun! Benjamin did not like being sprayed so he tried to stay away from the water.

Overall, the kids had a blast. We had to borrow shirts from my mom for Rebecca to wear home. Thankfully, I had changes of clothes for the boys. When we got home that night, Rebecca said it was the best father's Day ever. And Bill agreed with her. It was a lot of fun, just like a Father's Day should be.

Friday, June 26, 2015

5 Things...

So many things to talk about....so many things on my mind today...so here goes....

1. Hubby and I FINALLY got smartphones. We had old phones that we have had for 3-4 years. There was no internet capability on them and more and more we were unable to open texts from people because they were sent from smartphones. We basically had DUMB phones. LOL. Well, Wednesday, we headed to Walmart and we each got a Samsung Galaxy Android phone and we signed up for a different service. We were with Straightalk, but now are with Total Wireless which is the the parent company of Trac phones, Straightalk and a couple other companies. They offer a family plan that is cheaper than doing 2 individual plans with Straightalk.  It took a while to get our numbers transferred because the salesperson we had to call, put wrong numbers in at one point in the process, but we finally got them activated. It has been 2 days and I like the new phone, even if I don't understand how to use most of the features. LOL.

2. This weekend is supposed to be Rebecca's softball tournament. BUT it is supposed to rain all day tomorrow...not sure what they are going to do. I will be so glad when this softball season is over. It has been a LONG season.....

3. Today, is my nephew's 8th birthday. Alex has severe autism and unfortunately, I believe he will always need 24 hour care. He is in foster care right now because his parents have had run-ins with children services but we get to see him about 2 times a month when my brother gets him for the weekend. 

4. Today, also my facebook feed and the news has been all over that the US Supreme Court has legalized gay marriage in all states. That is huge news. I am very happy for a relative who came out a couple of months ago, as she will now be able to get married in the future if she wants to. I don't get political on this blog very often, or really in real life, but in this case I believe that Love is Love and it doesn't matter if you are gay or straight, you should be able to love whomever you want and get married to whomever you want regardless of whether others think that it is moral or immoral. 


5. My house is a mess, and I really need to get some cleaning done. Anyone want to send a cleaning fairy my way????


I think that is all. I really should go clean something. Hope everyone has a great Friday! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From the Start by Melissa Tagg

Book Description:

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jump start their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?

My thoughts:

There are days that you just need to read a good, old-fashioned love story. And From the Start by Melissa Tagg is just that. The story follows the road to falling in love of ex-NFL quarterback Colton Greene and writer Kate Walker. As both of their careers are coming to an end as they know it, the two are brought together in small town Iowa under a common cause. What follows is a story of 2 lost souls, learning to trust their own feelings and dealing with their own insecurities, and following separate paths that are destined to join.

I really like Tagg's writing style and her development of the characters, especially of the 2 main characters. Even though Colton was an ex-NFL player, his character is very down to earth and approachable. Kate has just enough insecurities in her life, but real life wisdom, that her character seems like the girl next door. I felt like I learned so much about the 2 main characters, not in their interactions with the other main character, but in their interactions with the secondary characters. I hope that Tagg writes a sequel to this book, as I would love to know what happened with some of the secondary characters including Bear and Reagan, and what becomes of Megan.

Overall, I would recommend this book as a good, old-fashioned love story. If that is what you are looking for, then I would highly recommend From the Start by Melissa Tagg.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Grocery shopping and menu plan for this week....

Last week wasn't so crazy. I had a full tutoring schedule, but with all the rain we have been getting we spent much of our time at home. We did go out to eat last Wed at McDonalds and then took the kids to the library just to get out of the house! My plan was to take them to the park, but with all the darn rain that wasn't happening. 

This week I was able to shop at 3 different stores: Kroger, Dollar Tree, and Aldi's.

At Kroger I bought: 
2- 12 packs caffiene free coke--$3.49 each
5 gallons skim milk--$3.29 each
3 Old Orchard apple juice--$0.99 each, plus I had coupons equal to $1.50 off, so they were $0.66 each
3 musketeers bag--$2.00 minus $1 e-coupon so $1
Milky way bag--$2.00
Peppermint Lifesavers --$3.29
Potato chips--$1.88
Brownie mix--$1
Augratin potato mix--$1
2 Chocolate instant pudding mix --$0.99 each
smoked sausage--$1.29
Ground chuck--$3.69
American cheese--$1
Boneless, skinless chicken breast--$3.52
2.07 lbs grapes--$2.03
7.88 lbs bananas--$4.65
Total spent: $54.23

At Dollar Tree I bought: 
Dr Pepper
3- 2 packs of individual pizza crusts
Caramel creme bag
Licorice (Ben's treat)
Frozen lollipops (Rebecca's treat)
Mike and Ikes (Jacob's treat)
2 Hunt's Ketchup (-$0.50 off 2 coupon)
Total spent: $9.77

At Aldi's I bought: 
2 hamburger buns--$0.89 each
Deli rolls--$1.49
Hot dog buns--$0.89
Potato chips--$1.49
Case of water--$1.99
String cheese--$2.79
4 pints blueberries--$1.49 each
jar of jalapenos--$1.49
Golden delicious apples--$2.79
2 reduced sodium taco mix--$0.35 each
2 crescent rolls--$1.49 each
Whipped topping--$0.89
Peanut butter--$3.49
Pre-cooked sausage patties--$4.99
Cashew halves--$2.79
Bagel pizzas--$5.99
Dozen eggs--$1.79
12 containers yogurt--$0.39 each
Total spent: $48.97

I started out with $181.12 left for the month which leaves $68.14 available for the month. I think this is doable if I am careful about what I buy at the store next week. We still have a lot in our freezer to use so I think we can do this.

Here is our menu plan for this week that will use some of these groceries.....

SUNDAY: Father's Day
Breakfast: Yogurt, banana, granola bar
Lunch: Dad's Choice
Dinner: Dad's Choice

Breakfast: Cereal, fruit
Lunch: PB&J, fruit and goldfish
Dinner: Manwich, corn and carrots

Breakfast: Waffles and fruit
Lunch:  Bagel bites and fruit
Dinner: Cheeseburgers and fries

Breakfast: Yogurt, fruit, and granola bars
Lunch: Sandwiches, fruit, goldfish
Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs

Breakfast: Cereal and fruit
Lunch:  sandwiches, fruit, goldfish
Dinner: Baked BBQ chicken, Augratin potatoes, green beans, rolls

Breakfast: Cereal and fruit
Lunch: Grilled cheese, fruit, goldfish
Dinner: Pizza and fruit

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, toast and fruit
Lunch: sandwiches and fruit or take-out
Dinner: Hot dogs, baked beans and fruit

There you have it. Our menu for the week! 

What are you fixing at your house this week?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. I have been blessed with knowing 2 amazing fathers and having their influence in my life.

My dad and I--Easter 2004
The first father who has had a huge impact on me is my own father. At 55 years old, he is still going strong and is still a source of guidance, counsel and strength in my corner. I truly believe that his love and support has meant a great deal to me and has gotten me through some trying times in my own life. Even at the age of 35, I still go to him for advice (most recently a 3 hour conversation that ended after 1AM in the morning about some decisions that I needed to make).  He is also a wonderful Grandfather to my own kiddos and for that I am truly grateful.

The other father that has had a significant impact on my life is the father of my children, who is also my husband. Bill does everything in his power to make sure that our children are happy and healthy and his decisions are based on is it good for Rachel and the kids. He is an amazing father and partner in this child-rearing business. The kids love him and it is amazing each time he comes home from work and they all run to him yelling "Dada, dada, dada is home!" I am so grateful that I married a man who is a wonderful father and a great husband.

So to my dad and to my husband, I would like to wish a happiest of Father's Day! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Love Fight: How Achievers and Connectors Can Build A Marriage that Lasts



Divorce is epidemic among successful, "high-powered" people.  Doctors, lawyers, executives, politicians and entrepreneurs often attain career success only to fail at home in their family relationships.  What gives?  Has success changed them?  Or, have they been secretly waiting to exit when the time is right?  Did they ever love their spouses?  

In The Love Fight, Drs. Tony Ferretti and Peter Weiss explain how worldly successful individuals fail at home in their intimate relationships, often from a mismatch of priorities and styles between the success-oriented "Achievers" and their relationship-oriented "Connector" spouses.  This Achiever mindset is common in highly successful people of all social classes, perhaps especially so in America where such success is lionized and top CEOs are considered heroes.

As opposites attract and Achievers meet and marry Connectors, the very same personality traits that propelled the Achiever to the top in medicine, law, business or politics (and which may have attracted a more relationship-oriented partner in the first place) often sow the seeds of destruction in their marriage.  These traits, and the differences between Achievers and Connectors, can create a dynamic of poor communication leading to anger, resentment, and eventual estrangement.

Achiever or Connector, The Love Fight is a book that will help you understand your spouse and yourself better.   It's easy-to-read and understand style, simple assessments and exercises to evaluate your relationship, and straightforward strategies can help you develop an action plan to create the marriage you want.
If it seems like you and your spouse are opposites then this book is for you. Drs. Ferretti and Weiss have taken the time to identify and dissect different personalities in a marriage and have broken them down to include Achievers and Connectors. Using real life examples to compare and using their criteria, I have figured out that my husband is an achiever and I am a connector. That means that we look at our relationship differently but we CAN make it work (and personally we have for almost 10 years). I like that the authors keep hammering home the fact that you can make a relationship work if both people are willing to work on it, despite differences in personalities. I like that the authors say that you have the power to create a healthy family relationship no matter what outside circumstances there are. Life happens and there are going to be rough patches, but if you are willing to work for a healthy relationship then it doesn't matter if you are an achiever or a connector, you can have a healthy relationship. 
This was an interesting read and one that I would recommend to anyone who is having doubts or wants to make their relationship stronger.  
Disclaimer: I was provided a free print copy of this book from The Cadence Group on behalf of the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Vacation Bible School 2015

Last week Rebecca and Jacob participated in our church's Vacation Bible School. Our church calls it "Catholic Kidz Kamp." This year the theme was "Set Sail with the Holy Trinity featuring Saint Patrick."

The kids had a blast at camp each day. Rebecca did miss one day due to a softball game, but she went the other days. They had a lesson, craft, snack, and game each night. Jacob would say each night that he was so excited to go to Bible school. 

On Thursday, they did a small concert for the parents where they danced and sang the songs that they had learned throughout the week. It was so cute watching them dance and sing. Benjamin was even enthralled with the performance and he kept dancing along with them trying to do the moves! 

These are the types of memories that I want my kids to have. Fun summer memories that involve Vacation Bible School. We have attended our church's camp the last 3 years and each year the kids are super excited.  They are already talking about going back next year!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Jacob and Rebecca say about me.....

I saw this on facebook a couple of weeks ago and decided to have my kids answer the questions....Their responses crack me up. 

WITHOUT ANY prompting, ask your child these questions and write down EXACTLY what they say. It is a great way to find out what they really think. When you are done re-post and put your child's age.

Answered by Jacob age 5

1. What is something mom always says to you? Go to time out.
2. What makes mom happy? When I help her and when I don't go to time-out.
3. What makes mom sad? That I push her
4. How does your mom make you laugh? she tickles me
5. What was your mom like as a child? like Rebecca
6. How old is your mom? 25
7. How tall is your mom? 50 million pounds
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Eat so much
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? shop
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? she'd be in a concert
11. What is your mom really good at? shopping
12. What is your mom not very good at? running
13. What does your mom do for a job? tutor
14.What is your mom's favorite food? peanut butter and jelly
15.What makes you proud of your mom? Because she always tickles me
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Star-Lord or Rapunzel
17. What do you and your mom do together? we go shopping
18. How are you and your mom the same? we both have glasses
19. How are you and your mom different? mommy has a dress and I have a shirt
20. How do you know your mom loves you? because I just know
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? She likes his beard
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? to work
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? 28

Answered by Rebecca age 8 

1. What is something mom always says to you? Get out of the bathtub
2. What makes mom happy? Giving her hugs and kisses
3. What makes mom sad? When the razor is broken
4. How does your mom make you laugh? she tickles me
5. What was your mom like as a child? crazy
6. How old is your mom? 35
7. How tall is your mom? 6 foot 4
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Spend time with us
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? lie around and sleep
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? fastest reader in town
11. What is your mom really good at? tutoring
12. What is your mom not very good at? not beating daddy up
13. What does your mom do for a job? tutor
14.What is your mom's favorite food? bratwurst
15.What makes you proud of your mom?  that she is a very good mom
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Queen Miranda from Sofia the First
17. What do you and your mom do together? go to church
18. How are you and your mom the same? we are both girls
19. How are you and your mom different? Mommy doesn't paint her fingernails usually but I like to paint my fingernails
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because when I ask her to tuck me in at night she does and every time she does she gives me a big hug
21. What does your mom like most about your dad?  That dad is a stinker
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Home
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? 27

I dare you to ask your children these questions! I am sure their answers will crack you up!