Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Books In Review

Over the last couple of months, I have been reading quite a bit. You would think by how many I am about to review that all I do is read. But that is not the case. I'm just a speedy reader and often read far past my bedtime. Some of these are books chosen for my book club, and some were my choice. I also read 3 parenting books mixed in, but seriously...who wants a review on THAT?!

Ok, let's get started...and keep in mind that I am a broad reader. I like almost any genre, and can look past a lot of things in written text that I don't agree with in my own life, just for the sake of broadening my horizons and expanding my mind a bit. Also, keep in mind that this is just my OPINION. That's all.  ;)

This first book was AMAZING. I could not put it down. I literally read it in 2 days. It is a fiction novel about a sadly too often true situation. A woman held captive by her kidnapper, and the child she keeps behind the wardrobe doors. This was a stunning piece of literature that really made me stop and think about my life and how blessed I am. It was a perspective shift for me. I HIGHLY recommend it. A+

Gone Girl
This book was chosen for book club for the month of October. It was a perfect choice for Halloween because it is a murder mystery and our Book Club party had a Halloween theme in October. Whitney did it up RIGHT and it was a fun book and party! Overall, I have never hated any characters more, yet at the same time not want to put it down before this book. The plot is addicting, and the twist is totally unexpected. Some events are far-fetched, and I could have used less of the cursing....but overall it was a decent read. I give this one a B.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This book was a very short one. It is a fictional compilation of letters from a high school freshman to an unknown person. I will say that at first I thought the book was pretty lame, and it didn't draw me in at all. I had to make myself pick it up...but by the end my opinion had shifted a bit. I really like the main character as a person. He is a bit odd, and the whole book I thought to myself, "Who thinks this way? Who really acts like this?" But the ending explains so much about why he is the way he is. It made me like the main character (the narrator, letter-writer) even more. Besides, for my non-bookworm friends...the movie is coming out soon. Give it a try! I give this one a B-.

Three Cups of Tea
This book was awesome! It is non-fiction about the difference Greg Mortenson made for educating young women all over the Pakistan region both prior to 9/11 and after. It is a slow start, but by the end it really drew me in. It does show that with one man's passion and determination, a huge difference can be made. It was a bit inspirational for me. I give it an A.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
I am not finished with this book just yet. I am about halfway through with it. But I have never read a book written in this way before. The author used authentic vintage photographs to create a story around. It is a mystery, not nearly as scary as the cover makes it seem so far. The idea of this work actually reminds me of an activity I used in my writing class when I taught where I would shine an image on the screen. No words. And the kids would have 20 minutes of free-writing to come up with a story that the image could be an illustration for. It is a great tool to get their minds thinking creatively at a higher level. The last 10 minutes of writing then became "share time" for the kids who loved their short story enough to share. It was so cool to see the variety across the room from 1 simple image. Kudos to this author for stepping outside the typical fiction box for this piece. I'm really enjoying it so far. And if I'm not finished yet, then I can't rate it!

Let me know in the comments if any of you have read these and your opinions. Also feel free to give me more book ideas. Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Kick-Off

Well, with the close of Thanksgiving happening as I type, I thought I would share a few photos of our Christmas decorations. I know, I know. I'm an earlybird. But honestly, Anthony was off work this week, so we used our "staycation" time to deep clean the house (spring cleaning in November?!?) and put up Christmas decorations...I call it a success. Tomorrow I can relax and head to the galleria to watch the lighting of the tree ceremony and have lunch with my family! I don't have to think about decorations now....I think I might be an earlybird from now on.

I used my summer to not only decorate Jake's nursery since we knew he would be headed our way with only a six week head's up, but I also sewed a whole new set of Christmas stockings. It was nice to not have to worry about that once he came HOME...since babies are quite a bit of work! Thanks to my wonderful and talented Mother-In-love Ann for monogramming our names on them. The boys all got stripes, and the girls got flowers.
My chalkboard is my favorite decoration in the whole house. I use it in each of Jake's monthly birthday photos, and I can write whatever the heck I want on it. Year-round I keep inspirational quotes on it. But for the holidays it is so fun to use it to spread holiday cheer!
See that wreath there?  I made that. In 15 minutes flat. With dollar store garland and garage sale berries. SCORE!
The mantels are my favorite places in the home to decorate for Christmas. Our formal living room I focus on the scriptural Christmas decor, while our library/music room I decorate with more of the holiday cheer flair.

The bottom line in this house is this: Nothing over the top, because what goes up must come down. Enough to know that it's Christmas, make memories for my family, and get in the spirit of Christmas...but that's about it. If my husband weren't acrophobic (heights...) maybe we would hang lights outside.

I will leave you with a couple special photos...Jake's first ornament for his first Christmas! As well as our family's adoption ornament for 2012! What a great year of blessings from above this has been thus far.

Baby's First Christmas!

Sweet 16 this year! Sweet Kiddo.......

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Clean Slate

This post is for anyone dealing with infertility.....I stumbled across this article in my Adoptive Families magazine today, and thought it was worth sharing. If only I could have told my 27-year-old self what I know now.....Ever wish you could turn back time, wipe your slate clean?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Oddities of Canton, TX

A couple times per year, the women in my family try to make it out to Canton's First Monday Flea Market Trade Days. If you have never been, it is quite an experience. There are so many wonderful things to be purchased in Canton that can only be purchased there. There are over 100 acres of shopping, some indoors and some out. Cute, handmade crafty items, gift wrap, gourmet food, antiques, collectibles, and many various other items. But my brother-in-law Eric went with us a few years ago and made up this fun game. He would spot a REALLY strange item, look away and then proceed to say, "Does anyone know where I can find a _____________?", and we would immediately try to find the strange item he just described. It was such a catching game that it never gets old. Even though he doesn't go with us very often, we still play this game. So, I thought I would create a lyrical parody as a tribute to the oddities that can be found in Canton, TX. Don't get the wrong should definitely GO to Canton and experience all its' wonder. But this is just a little spoof off the Little Mermaid's song called "Part Of Your World." Maybe I'm goofy, and maybe I'm the only one who will find this funny....but I'm willing to make a fool of myself for this one. Ha!

Part Of Your World Remix

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?

Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?

Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has everything?

Look at this trove
Treasures untold

How many wonders can one cavern hold?

Looking around here you think
Sure, she's got everything

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty

I've got whozits and whatzits galore

You want thingamabobs?

I've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more

I wanna be where the people are

I wanna see, wanna see them Shopping,
Wheeling around on those - what do you call 'em?

Oh – scooters! (even though they can walk)
Flippin' your fins, you don't get too far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing

Strolling along down a - what's that word again?

Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they shop all day in the sun

Wanderin' free - wish I could be
Part of that world

What would I give if I could live out of these waters?
What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?

Bet'cha on land they understand
That they don't reprimand their daughters

  Bright young women sick of swimmin'
Ready to shop

And ready to know what the people know
Ask 'em my questions and get some answers

What is a puppy, and how much does it - what's the word?

When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore that world up above?

Out of the sea
Wish I could be

Part of that world