Friday, April 18, 2014

Twelve Sharp Book Review

Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum, No. 12) (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich was the next in the pile that I got from the library.  I started it right after finishing the last book in the series.  It only took a few days to read and I really enjoyed the crazy antics of Stephanie Plum.

Stephanie Plum, back to bounty hunting, is caught up in more drama.  She is stalked by a women who introduces herself as Carmen, Ranger's wife and she wants Stephanie dead because Ranger left her and cleared out their bank accounts.  Stephanie is confused by this and tries to make contact with Ranger but he is off the grid because he is looking for his daughter who was kidnapped.  The person that she is looking for isn't Ranger but a impostor which she quickly learns.  Stephanie is stalked by Carmen until she is found dead in her car in front of the bail bonds office that Stephanie works at and she was most likely killed by the Ranger impostor.  Ranger is living at Stephanie's house to protect her from the Ranger impostor while she is trying to deal with her feelings for Ranger and her boyfriend, Morelli.  Another crazy adventure of Stephanie trying to do her job, live her life and spend time with her family.

There is amazing tension through out this book and you get to learn a lot more about the characters that you have come to love over the first 11 books in the series!  I loved this book and was sad to see it end.  I had the next one ready to read but I had to stop to read the book that I needed to review next week.  Good to know that I have the book in the wings waiting for  me when I am done.  I am really excited to get back to the series.  Have you checked out the series yet?  I hope that you do at your local library or bookstore soon!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Kids Books for Saving Money

Do you want to save a little money with your kids?  There are tons of books out there to help you do that but these are a little different.  The first is to teach your kids about money and the second two are for teaching your kids with easy things you can get at the library or at home.  I taught my son lots based on the same principal found in the last two books.  I think that teaching your kids is the best but saving money at the same time is a bonus!!

Hope you enjoy these fun reads and use some over the summer months to continue the learning process.

Money Smart Family System is a great book to explain different ways to teach kids about money and help them to follow the family motivation to save money because if you already have kids and jump into this new mind set, you have to take them with you.

Playful Learning is a great book if you want to start teaching preschoolers through young kids.  It gives great books to read and activities. 

Games with Books was a great resource to use to match a book with a game.  We had a blast reading the book and doing an activity but be careful what you start because my son was looking to do an activity ever time we finished reading a book.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sensible Arrangement Book Review

Sensible Arrangement, A (Lone Star Brides) by Tracie Peterson was a book that I got to review through the publisher.  I was glad to get the book and I was going to read it when it came in but I was in the middle of the book.  I knew that I needed to read it next but then things got a little crazy when we went out of town for two weeks to be with my grandmother.  There was a delay in me getting anything done during this time but I did bring the book with me.  I planned on starting it and getting it done in time for the deadline of today.  Then, I didn't get time to start it until the 13th.  UGH!  Well, not a problem because even though I worked for 7 hours at my aunt's office and I still finished it by the 14th.

In this book, Marty Olson has lost her husband in a farming accident and continued to run the farm but she is very sad being stuck in Texas where all the memories are.  Marty answers an advertisement for a Lone Star bride for a man from Texas who is living in Colorado.  She goes on a trip to visit some friends and on the way to her new life, she has quiet the adventure.  Jake Wythe is the man that she agrees to marry.  He was also widowed and needs to have a wife to show the people on his banks board that he is a settled man.  They agree to have a marriage of companionship and convenience instead of love.  In the process, their trial and tribulations bring them closer together so you will have to pick up the the book to see what they go through and how they grow.

I enjoyed this book because it was a great love story and there was always something going on that was really interesting.  I didn't want to put the book down and had lots of information about the historical references.  I guess that is why it took me less than two days to read it while still visiting with family and friends and working.  It was interesting and educational at the same time!! I don't think that it was something that I would normally pick out and that is all the more reason why I am super glad to be part of the Litfuse Publishing review group and got the opportunity to pick out this book!  I highly recommend that you check it out too because you will enjoy the quick pace of the story with the great characters.  Check this book out at your local library or bookstore to see what you think!

Please check out the website about the book here to learn more about it.  If you would like to learn more about the author, please check out her website here.  If you would like to purchase the book, feel free to purchase it from here.

* Please note that I got this book for free for my honest review from Litfuse Publishing.  My opinion is all my own and I have been given no compensation for this review.

Kids Wednesday: U is for Umbrella, Uniform, Utensils, Up and Upside Down

There isn't a lot that I could come up with off of the top of my head for the letter U so I was on the hunt for U week but when it rains it pours (laughing because I started with the umbrella..hehe). Seriously though, I found so many things that started with the letter u for us to do.

The first thing that I found for U for Umbrella (print here).  This is a great coloring sheet that they can use to practice writing and have fun coloring.  He enjoyed picking out all of the crazy colors from his markers to color the sections in.

We made a craft with the umbrella where my son cut the umbrella out of the construction paper and laid it out on the paper.  We cut out rain drops from scraps of blue paper and blue paint chips.

He glued it to the big paper and decorated with jewels, beads, feathers, and glitter glue.  He had a blast and we put it on the paper with rain drops and then drew lines around to "make it fancy."  He wrote the U is for Umbrella at the top which is copied the letters from the page we did before so that I didn't have to spell it for him.

We also did uniforms with a worksheet from Teachers Pay Teachers (found here).  There was a cover where he wrote his name and then he did one that he decided was a painter and wrote it into the blanks.

I pulled out the great fireman's uniform that we got at a consignment sale for $8 so that he could play with that for the week.  He wasn't really interested in dressing up at the beginning of the week and I couldn't change his mind but it was out if he wanted to try on a uniform.  I am not sure why he does dress up at school and not at home but I guess I need to have a dress up corner in the house with more options so that he could do it when he wanted.

We also have a bunch of fire department hats that we have gotten from the different activities and my son's favorite activity was hiding things under the hats and making me guess what was under each one.  The hardest one was the markers because he wanted me to guess which color was under which ones and I don't mean red or black.  He picked out toy poodle and mad magenta.

We got some books from different events with fireman, police and more so my son picked out on to the books to do a word search.  He loves the idea of the word search but we are still a little bit away from them being an independent activity so there is a lot of me saying that I see the world police and it is towards the bottom of the page.  I hope that means that he will learn to do them himself when he is a little older.

There are two other dot marker pages for each letter in the Alphabet from Three Dinosaurs here (if you scroll down the page you will see the four options for files with all of the letters in them).  We used these to do patterns.  My son made his own pattern on the first U.

Then I started the pattern and he finished it on the second U.  It was great practice with the letter and with patterns while he traced the U's at the bottom of his first page and then the word umbrella at the bottom of the second.

The United States also starts with the letter U so we picked up our trusty wooden puzzle and put that together.

Another day we pulled out the big floor puzzle and talked about how all the states make up the country of the United States.  He is loving the map but we are having a hard time with states making up a country so this is a great way to re-enforce the parts make up the whole.

And that the United States is one of many countries on the globe is the next step.  I think that he is on the verge of understanding the concept but it seems a lot less concrete then a penny is worth one cent because he can't see all of the country or the United States or the Earth like we were talking about with the planets.

We also did a dot to dot to also do here.  There are two choices so I picked the one that went from 1 to 63 so that my son could follow all of the dots all the way around and make sure he counted.  This is also a great picture to color if your kids like to color when they are done connecting the dots.  One of the preschool teachers that I work with colors the sample and the kids have to try to make theirs the same which is a little different then just letting the kids color whatever they want because with this method they have to stop and pay attention and follow directions.  We did the dot to dot and saved it for later if there was more time to color.

There is also one of the planets that starts with U so we worked in our planet sheet for Uranus so that we can move forward with finishing out book about the planets. (found here).  We also realized that universe started with U so we did this with a double U meaning!

We try to work on different things with our dictionary to incorporate how words and definitions can be found.  I thought that utensil would be a great word to use for our dictionary.  Although everyone uses them, it is a tricky word for little ones so I was hoping to stump my little man.  He didn't know what it meant but we helped him find it and we talked about it right before eating dinner one night.

There are ton of great books with a little bit of looking like Up Above and Down Below by Sue Redding.  This was really great because it showed the the up above ground and the underground (both U words).  There were a ton of fun pictures and great stories.

Another book that looked like it was right up my alley that I hadn't read was Great Day for Up (Bright & Early Books(R)) by Dr. Seuss.  I was shocked that there might be Dr. Seuss book that we didn't own growing up and that I haven't read so I reserved it at the library.  I read it in the fast nature that all Dr. Seuss books but it was super fun and rhyming as all Seuss fan's love.

That book reminded me of one of our favorite books Inside Outside Upside Down (Bright & Early Books) by Stan Berenstain so I added that to the list of books to read.  We love this book and enjoy the quick nature and funny traveling story.

I also had the idea that we would watch the movie Up if my son was still sick but he was up and ready for lots of other activities so we didn't get to watch the movie.   We like to do a craft everyday so I found an extra Up craft to go with the movie which we didn't do.  There are a few different ways to do up but we were going to cut out arrows and glued them on the U outlined letter page pointing up.  There is a great U for Umbrella dot marker page (print here) that we also didn't get to so hopefully you will find it helpful!

Do you have any great U activities and crafts?  We had a blast at U week and I hope that you have lots of fun too!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eleven on Top Book Review

Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum, No. 11) (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich was the next book in the series for me to read and I borrowed it from a friend.  I was super glad to be able to bring it with me on my trip to New York and got to read it at night before falling asleep just like I do at home.  I finished it and had the next book in the series in my bag!

In this book, Stephanie Plum gets into trouble (not surprising) again.  She decides that all this trouble isn't worth it so she quits her job as a bounty hunter hoping that it is going to have a calmer life.  She starts getting death threats and getting chased.  Other people around her started getting blown up and hurt instead of her like her boss and Joe's garage.  She takes a few other jobs which she promptly looses after only one day.  After three jobs and many attempts on her life, she decides that she needs to hunt down the person that is trying to kill her and learns way more then she expected.  I hope that you pick up the book because it is super funny and entertaining while keeping you wondering what is going to happen next.  During all of the crazy times, her sister is supposed to be getting married to and she is the maid of honor.  I promise you won't be disappointed if you pick this one up.

I love the series and have loved all of the books.  I hope that you have tried out a few and see if you like them as much as I do.  I started reading the next one right after this one and I am almost done.  I went to my aunt and uncle's house and grabbed the thirteenth one right off the shelf because I didn't want to miss a thing when I stopped the next book!  I hope that you pick this up at your local bookstore or library soon.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 4/14

Monday- Out of Town
Tuesday- Out of Town
Wednesday- Out of Town
Thursday- Frozen Generals Tso's Chicken with white rice
Friday- Olive Oil with garlic bread
Saturday- Leftovers/Frozen Pepperoni Pizza
Sunday- Leftovers/????

My parent's were supposed to be in town this week and they didn't come because my grandmother got sick.  She passed away and we have the wake and funeral this week.  We ended up leaving the house last week and have been staying with family for awhile so we hope to be home on Thursday and looking for some easy meals for the week.  I am not sure what we are going to have by the weekend but I guess we will see what is quick and easy and how the first few days home goes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekly Goals 4/13

Well, another week by and I tried to get more done on the weekend but with soccer on Saturday and open houses on Sunday, I didn't get a lot done.  Then, I had a big week planned with a hair cut for me on Monday and one for my son later in the week.  I got the call that my grandmother had a stroke and the doctors were giving her two days to live.  I went straight home and started packing.  We had a bunch of things piled into the middle of the family room and I threw things into the car and picked my son up from school.  My husband came home from work and we drove to see my grandmother.  We dropped my son at my cousin's house.  I spent some time with her on Monday night.  I was at the hospital on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  She passed away on Friday after a long week so we got nothing done this week that was planned but I got to visit with my grandmother and say good bye.

Setting low expectations for the week because we still aren't going to be home and we have lots of challenges for week already with running low on clothes and my little guy is getting sick of being out of routine and we both are sick and run down.  Here is hoping that we make the most of the time and both start to feel better soon!

This week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with family including grandparents who are coming into town
  • Playdate with friends after school 
  • Lego event at the library
  • Circus with the family
Personal Goals
  • Get coupons on Friday or Saturday
  • Cut coupons (two inserts)
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- Done mostly because my computer was off for most of the week after sending messages to everyone to cancel everything we had planned for the week.
  • Post additional coupons for sale to ebay (?)
  • Start reading Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich- Done reading
  • Find next book to read- I started on the 12th book and I really need to start reading the book that I have to review for next week but I just haven't wanted to read anything challenging.
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- We are staying at my cousins house and she doesn't have a dish washer so she and my husband have been doing most of the washing.  I have been drying and putting away.
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- We have been doing dishes every day and night because the sink and the kitchen isn't that big and we are 5 people living in the same space which always leads to new challenges.
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family) - Never been a week that I was more excited to have posts up but I didn't have anything done for Friday and through the weekend.  I worked on a post for a recipe which I was going to try to get up on Friday but I didn't finish so I posted on Saturday.  Hopefully, I will have enough going on for next week already done because I am not going to be home for the week.
  • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)- I have one book that I finished and review should be coming shortly.
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week 
  • Participate in blog hops to share posts with others
  • Post Sunday Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, Kid Wednesday and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done 
This week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with family including grandparents and extended family
Personal Goals
  • Get coupons on Friday or Saturday
  • Figure out if I can get some of last week's paper since I wasn't in town
  • Cut coupons (two inserts from last week and whatever I can get for this week)
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Finish reading 12 by Janet Evanovich
  • Read new review book (review due on 16th)
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning
Blog Goals
  • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family) 
  • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)
  • Post Sunday Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, Kid Wednesday and Thrifty Thursday Tip