Friday, August 23, 2019

A Distant View of Everything Book Review

I was getting caught up with a series that I stopped reading and this was the next book in the series.  A Distant View of Everything: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (11) (Isabel Dalhousie Series) by Alexander McCall Smith was the 11th book in the series.  I was interested to see what trouble Isabel got herself involved in this time.



In this installment of the beloved Isabel Dalhousie series, Isabel is called upon to navigate complex social situations both at home and in her community.  A new baby brings an abundance of joy to Isabel and her husband, Jamie—but almost-four-year-old Charlie refuses to acknowledge Magnus, and Isabel struggles to impress upon her older son the patience and understanding that have guided her throughout her own life.

These are the very qualities that bring Bea Shandon, an old acquaintance, to seek Isabel’s help. Something of a matchmaker, Bea has introduced a wealthy female friend to a cosmetic surgeon, but soon uncovers information leading her to doubt his motives. Isabel agrees to find out more, but as her enquiries take an unexpected turn, she starts to wonder whom exactly she should be investigating. As ever, Isabel’s intelligence, wit, and empathy come to her aid as she grapples with issues like friendship and its duties, the obligation of truthfulness, and the importance of perspective.

I am still not sure that these later books in the series but I really liked the beginning so I am committed to trying to finish the series and see what is going on.  This one had the new addition to the family with the new baby Magnus.  They were dealing with all the changes to the family including the fact that Charlie doesn't like Magnus.  Then she is quickly drawn into helping Bea Shandon who feels that she might have done a bad match at her latest dinner party.  The rest of the story is her attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery.  Isabel works hard to complete all of the things that aren't her job that it makes you wonder how she is actually going to get her real job done but luckily it takes her less time to do her own job so that she always has time to help others.  It is a strange thing that most people don't have extra time to go off to investigate other people's problems but Isabel has time every book.  I hope that you check out the series and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ours for a Season Book Review

I found a new release book on the shelf when I was at the library so I checked it out.  Ours for a Season: A Novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a stand alone novel and not part of a series.  I was excited to get started on another great but by this author that I have enjoyed.



An Old Order Mennonite couple's vows and beliefs are challenged in this stirring contemporary novel for fans of Cindy Woodsmall or Shelley Shepherd Gray.

Anthony and Marty Hirschler are part of an Old Order Mennonite community in Pine Hill, Indiana. The couple has grown apart since a doctor confirmed they would never have children. Marty longs to escape the tight-knit area where large families are valued, and the opportunity to do so arises when her childhood friend, Brooke Spalding, resurfaces with the wild idea of rebuilding a ghost town into a resort community. Brooke hires Anthony to help with the construction, drawing the Hirschlers away from Indiana and into her plan, and then finds herself diagnosed with cancer. Moral complications with Brooke's vision for a casino as part of the resort and the discovery of a runaway teenager hiding on the property open up a world neither the Hirschlers nor Brooke had considered before. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and differences to help the ones among them hurting the most?

This book is about the Old Order Mennonite neighborhood in Indiana that has a small construction company made up Mennonite workers.  Anthony runs the crew and has 5 men working for him.  He gets contacted by a friend of his wife that wants to help rebuild an old ghost town.  Marty, his wife, can't have children and wants to escape the small town and sees this as the perfect chance.  Anthony and Marty go with a few other people from the crew and leave a few people left to continue the business in Indiana.  After they get there, Marty finds out that her friend Brooke is dealing with horrible illness and is going to need her help to get through it.  All of the people in the ghost town are going to figure out how to become their own family in order to get through all the challenges.  Check out how they pull together and the changes that happen in their little community in this book.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I have!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Road Home Book Review

I reserved this book when I saw it on the new shelf and wasn't sure if it was the book that I already read but it turned out that it was the third and final book in the series that I had already read so I was excited to read this page turner.  The Road Home (The Broken Road Series) by Richard Paul Evans was a great end to a wonderful series of heart felt books about someone trying to change their live.



From #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans, the dramatic conclusion in the riveting Broken Road trilogy—a powerful redemption story about finding happiness on a pilgrimage across iconic Route 66.

Chicago celebrity and pitchman Charles James is supposed to be dead. Everyone believes he was killed in a fiery plane crash, a flight he narrowly missed. But thanks to that remarkable twist of fate, he’s very much alive and ready for a second chance at life and love. Escaping death has brought Charles some clarity: the money, the fame, the expensive cars; none of it brought him true joy or peace. The last time he was truly happy was when he was married to his ex-wife Monica, before their relationship was destroyed by his ambition and greed.

In the exciting and provocative series that began with The Broken Road and The Forgotten Road, Charles is still on his pilgrimage across the iconic Route 66 in The Road Home. He intends to finish his trek from Amarillo to Santa Monica, despite learning that his ex-wife is now planning to marry another man. With the initial reason for his trip in jeopardy, he still has lessons to learn along the way before he discovers—and arrives at—his true destination.

I thought this was a great series.  This is the third book in the series and it brings a great conclusion to the series where Charles James is walking across Route 66 from Chicago to California.  In the process, he is trying to change his life and this book is where he shows what he learned.  In the first two books, it talks about the supposed death and reaction to In this book, he finishes his trip and decides what he wants to do with his life after visiting his wife, meeting his son, and going to a friends funeral.  There are interesting things that he looks back at his whole journey and decides what he wants to do to change his life before he is declared dead.  I think that it was a great story to bring an end to the great series with a lot of emotion.  I hope that you pick up this book and others in the series to see what he learns through his travels and how Charles changes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Summer of Sunshine and Margot Book Review

I put The Summer of Sunshine and Margot by Susan Mallery on reserved because I really like the author.  I hoped that if it was part of a series that I already read or a standalone book but I was excited when it came on my reserve shelf.  It was my first book finished in August.  I had to take a few breaks to sleep but it was a very quick read even though I was so exhausted that I didn't get it read quickly.



The Baxter sisters come from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. But this summer, Sunshine and Margot will turn disasters into destiny…As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!


I thought that it was a great story with both sisters getting all the attention.  Sunshine and Margot are twins and goin through a lot with their life and missing having love in their life.  Margot is working with a client to help her fit in to her fiancĂ©'s diplomatic life.  She has moved in with the client, Bianca, who lives in a renovated monastery with her son, Alec.  Margot and Alec immediately find that they have a lot in common and become friends.  The relationship blooms quickly into something else.  Alec feels like he is loosing his grip on himself and so things go terribly wrong.  Sunshine is working as a nanny for Connor who she immediately loves.  Connor is getting over the loss of his mother and moving on in his life with his father, Declan.  Sunshine quickly falls into a pattern of makin the family dinner and having fun filled days with Connor and talking to Declan at night.  They become really good friends and she is trying to fight against her past behaviors and not make bad decisions because of a guy.  Both sisters are trying to live their best life and be happy.  You have to pick up the book to find out what decisions they make and how it turns out.  I think that you will enjoy this fast read as much as I did.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Menu Plan Monday 8/19




Pasta with garlic bread
Ground Chicken Tacos
Grilled Cheese with sides
Chicken and Rice
Leftovers
Breakfast for Dinner
Chicken fries, Chicken Wraps and Homemade French Fries

Last week went mostly according to plan except we didn't go out to dinner on Saturday night so we made some pasta for my son and it was leftovers for my husband.  Sunday was a group decision to change the schedule and move Monday night to Sunday night dinner and totally mess up the next week!!  We are now on soccer schedule so only certain things before heading out the door for practice so everything is moving around.  I guess we will see how it changes with school and everything going on.   Fingers crossed that I make it to the store and get the freezer stocked back up after summer.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Middle of the Month Budget Update for August

I can't believe that the summer is at the end.  I felt like it was so short in July but now I am exhausted and ready for a little break.  We are only half way through the month of August but it really feels like we are a little closer to the end.  Also a little closer to the end of the budget then I wanted to be for the month but I got a ton of deals and enjoyed the summer even if there weren't any great stock up deals.

I budget $160 a month for all household goods including groceries, paper goods, cleaning supplies and anything that is used around the house.  I use sales, coupons and everything that I can do to stretch that budget to get as much as possible for my family for the month.  Below is the breakdown of everything that I got for the month and the picture of those items.


Harris Teeter $0.01

There was a sale and coupons so my son picked up these and paid only a penny.



Harris Teeter $23.64

I got free Cheesecake Factory pudding, Trolli candy, Boomerang Pot Pie, Philly Cream Cheese Dippers and Fruitlove Smoothies for free.  The Old El Paso tortillas were $0.25 each.  The Gushers were $0.49 per box.  The Turkey Hill ice cream was on sale for B2G3 free and I had an electronic coupon for $0.75 so they ended up being $1.85 each.  I got the Tyson's Chicken Fries for $3.99.



Harris Teeter $16.71

I got free Softsoap, Sargento Cheese, Trolli, Sweettarts, Fruit Love Smoothies, and Philly Dips.  The Fruit Gushers were $0.49 per box.  The Old El Paso Tortilla Shells were $0.25.  The Ocean Spray was $1.58. The Betty Crocker Chilled Treats were $0.50 after coupon and there was a $1 rebate on each box.  The Godiva was my big expense because I messed up the math but they were $2.99 each after coupon and there was a $1 rebate so they ended up being $1.99 but in my head I doubled the rebate...oops! Now I just have to make them.



Harris Teeter $4.89

I got free Softsoap, Trolli candy, Butterfinger bars, Sweet tarts, Blueberry Cheerios, and Sargento Cheese. The Ocean Spray juice was $1.58 and the Ground Chicken was $1 each.  Must have gotten a little overage on something because it was a little less then expected.



Harris Teeter $8.81

There was free Hormel bacon, Fruit Love Smooties, Philly Cheese Dips, Trolli Candy and Cheesecake Pudding.  I got three loaves of bread that were $0.50 and I got back $1 rebate which was a nice addition because this bread is tasty and saved me for having to make it for a few weeks so it was like a little vacation for me. The Cheerios were $0.84 each and the Perdue Chicken was $1.09 each package.



Harris Teeter $3.16

I got the Fruit Gushers to load up for school at $0.49 each and the Philly Cheese Dips were free after sale and coupon.



Harris Teeter $1.85

I got free Hi Chew, Philly Cheese Dips, Fruit Love Smoothie and Cheesecake Factory Pudding all free.  I got the Hamburger Helper for $0.50 each but there was some overage because I was under $2 so that was another great trip.





Walmart $0

Used Gift cards to pay for Goldfish and vitamins for my son and paid for almost all of the purchase except $2.06 for my husbands sunglasses.



Aldi $3.64

We were out of turkey for my husband's lunch and it hasn't been on sale at Harris Teeter so I grabbed the Aldi's turkey and some bananas for my husbands breakfast.


Harris Teeter $15.71

The Cheez Its were on sale B2G3 so I got 5 boxes and I had two $1/2 coupons so they were $7.98 for 5 boxes or $1.60 per box.  The Frosted Flakes were $1.24 per box which is more then I am used to spending but the best deal currently going on.  Windex for $1.50 after sale and coupon which I got just in case because it was  a good deal.



Aldi $5.71

We were out of milk and corn tortillas so I went to grab those and my son wanted the special ice cream sandwiches for his sleepover with his best friend so he got to pick them out.  We got a shopping cart and we put it back and then my son saw another one to put back and got an extra quarter which had him very excited!!


Harris Teeter $2.98

We were almost out of potatoes so I went to get a new bag and got the free Sweet Tarts.  I was hoping to get more but we ran out of time to go to another store.



Giant $0.19

We went to Dominos to order our free bread twists with a coupon from our summer reading program coupon book so we stopped at Giant to get the free Oat Milk coupon that I saved previously and saw another coupon for Sprout baby food which gave me overage so I got everything for $0.19 and I found a quarter on the self checkout station so I got all these groceries and actually made a profit.



Aldi $3.27

I ran in to grab turkey for my husband's lunch.   I was looking for a few other things but they didn't have it so this is all that I got.



Total Retail $471.16
Total Savings $380.59
Total OOP $90.57

It wasn't the best month but I got a ton of things that were a great deal.  I am hoping that there is another super doubles at the end of the month and a few other deals so that I can stock up on some other things and stay under budget.

Eating Out


We got a gift card for a local restaurant so we got pizzas from there for dinner one night.  It was super yummy and gave us lots of leftovers and we spent $0.  We went to Domino's and got free bread twists and spent $0 after coupon from the library summer reading program.  We have plans to go to dinner after an event when we are going to be out of the house but nothing else on the plan for the month so it is going to end under budget even if we add a pizza at the pool.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Right Where We Belong Book Review

I was enjoying the series and happy to get to the next book in the series.  Right Where We Belong (Silver Springs) by Brenda Novak is book 4 out of 6 in the series.  I wanted to see who was followed in this book.



Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of a farmhouse her late father had planned to renovate. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something.

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse.

Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it’s hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.

I have enjoyed the rest of the series and was happy to get a chance to read this book.  Savanna was living her life the best she knew how and raising her two children.  She found out that her husband was arrested for attacking three women.  It was something that she didn't believe but they she was convinced of it and she quickly decided that she needed to move on with her life.  Savannah packed up everything and moved to a house that her father had left her.  It was not in great repair and needed a lot of work which she didn't know when she went there.  She was helped the first night by her neighbor, Gavin, who ran out to tell her that the bridge was broken so she couldn't drive through with the moving van.  Gavin was working as a maintenance man at the school where he went to school.  His life was changed from going to the school and finding a place for himself so he works so that other kids can have the same change.  Gavin was trying to make his move into the music scene but it was lots of work so he was thinking about moving to Nashville.  I hope that you check out this book to find out what happened and the others in the series and enjoy them as much as have.