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*.

2015 Reading Challenge

1.      A book with more than 500 pages
             City of Heavenly Fire-Cassandra Clare***
            (don't judge)
2.      A book of short stories
The Illustrated Man- Ray Bradburry*****
3.      A classic romance

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****
6.      A book with a number in the title
         #16 Things I thought Were True-Janet Gurtler  ***   
7.      A book written by someone under 30
           The Darkest Mind-Alexandra Bracken****
         Perfect reading 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****
11.    A mystery or thriller
           The Ghosts of Ashbury High-Jacyln Moriarty***
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. 
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  Jan 29 **                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 ***
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                                              
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        
21.  A book your mom loves
22.  A book that scares you                                                                           One Second After by William Forstchen
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***
25.  A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
            The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway                           
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****

29.  A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
            What Alice Forgot-Liane Moriarty  (Australia)            
30.  A book with bad reviews
       The Rent Collector-Camron Wright****
My MIL gave this to me and said it was fine, but not great, so my expectations were low.  I enjoyed the story of a family that survives on what they can scavenge from the dump.  
31.  A book from the year were born (1972)                                               Watership Downs by Richard Adams      
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

36.  A book set in high school
          Buzzkill-Beth Fanatskey ****
37.  A book with a colour in the title
            The Girl in Hyacinth Blue-Suasan Vreeland **
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
40.  A graphic novel
         Rapunzel's Revenge-Shannon Hale *

41.  A book by an author you’ve never read before
Out of my Mind-Draper                                       
42.  A book you own but have never read                                                                                                                 The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards                                                    
43.  A book that takes place in your hometown 
The Man That Owned Vermont-May 1, 2015 **
44.  A book that was originally written in a different language           100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez                       
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 ****                                                     
47.  A play
            A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (122 pages)
            A Raisin in the Son by Lorraine Hansberry (160 pages)

48.  A banned book (or previously banned)             
        Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury  Jan 28 *****                                                                                              
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****

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. 

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.
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)


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.