Friday, May 31, 2013

Though My Heart Is Torn Book Review

Though My Heart Is Torn: The Cadence of Grace, Book 2 by Joanne Bischof was the second book that I picked through Blogging for Books.  I didn't really think that it was a book I would normally pick off the shelf but it was the most interesting from the ones that there were to choose from and I came back to a few times so I figured that it was calling to me.

When I first starting reading, I disliked the book  (I know not the best way to start the review but keep reading).  I read the Prologue and I was lost.  I don't know if I wasn't in a quiet enough place or if I didn't have enough attention span but I was confused.  I don't let books get the best of me so I read a little farther and then went back and read the beginning again.  I looked at the cover and saw that this was the second book in the series so I am sure that I just missed all of the character development in the first book but there were too many characters introduced too quickly for me.  Follows my rule of starting at the beginning of the series but since I was only provided this book from Blogging for Books, it is where I started.  If you have ever read other series, it sometimes gets a little old that they reintroduce the characters over and over in each book.  I would recommend starting this series at the beginning so that you aren't confused to beginning.

I quickly got into the book and couldn't put it down.  Lonnie and Gideon are married and have a little boy, Jacob.  They live on a farm with Jebediah and Elsie.  All of the people work hard to keep the farm working and the family taken care of until Lonnie receives a letter from her father that her mother was sick.  Gideon and Lonnie leave the farm for a long journey to her parents home (I think that it took three or four days).  The only thing that they have to help them is a mule loaned to them from Jebediah to carry their things.  When they finally arrive, they find out that her mother isn't sick and they are in for some bad news.  Gideon was married before and the marriage was never annulled.  The first wife was putting claim to the marriage and forcing Gideon to go back to her.  He was forced to leave Lonnie and Jacob and live with his first wife, Cassie.  I highly recommend picking up this book and checking out all of the adventures that they both have in their new journey in life.

Throughout the book, it felt like I was reading a modern day Amish book because there weren't a lot of material resources in the house and I had to remind myself that I was reading a book set in 1900 instead of the modern day.  I spent a lot of the book crying at all of the emotional parts of the book.  I couldn't imagine raising a child without his father when nothing was really keeping them apart except a rule.  If you want to read the emotional journey, pick this book up at your local library or bookstore or straight through the publisher.

If you want to learn more about the author, check out her website or the author spotlight.  If you want to order the book, you can order straight from the publisher here.  If you want to read the first chapter of the book first, click here.  All of these resources are great to see if this is a book that you will be interested  in too!!  I hope that you decide to check it you for yourself after reading the first chapter but my biggest recommendation is to start at the beginning of the series!!  I can't wait to read the next book (and maybe the previous one too).

**  I was provided a free copy of this book for my honest review of this book form WaterBrook Multnomah Books.  If you would like to sign up to blog for books, please feel free to check it out here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Second trip to Harris Teeter which went worse than the first!

Shopping with a four year old is a challenge.  I thought that I was better prepared but I was not!  I went through ever envelope and had the list of all of the coupons that were $1 or above and which date they were.  I made a list of all of things that were on sale and I thought that I was much more prepared for today.  I think that I was only a little more prepared and my son was a little more exhausted.  Sadly a bad combo!!!

We got a bunch of things in the cart and I thought that he was getting bored so I put a few special things up front with him.  I also let him pick out a few things off the shelf that I didn't care what flavor he bought like the icing flavors.  Nothing was helping after the cookie was gone and he wanted to eat one of the yogurts that he picked out.  We have a rule that you can't eat anything that you haven't paid for so we went to the check out and threw all of the stuff at the cashier while I was trying to pull the coupons for the items at the same time.  I don't know if I was totally successful but I counted the items and the coupons and it mostly worked out.  They did ring up 4 frosting flavors and I only had three but they used four coupons so it all worked out okay.  He got his blueberry yogurt which he really liked.

Total OOP $7.02
Total Savings $40.14 +$0.77= $40.91

We were both loosing steam so I went and got my rain checks for some of the items that I remembered since I didn't have time to write them down.  I realized when I got home that the rain check that I couldn't remember was the Roast Beef from Land 'O Frost! UGH!  The evic zvr coupon didn't come off for the granola so I got that cash back.  I realized that I also needed to get the Smart Balance Milk.

My son picked out the milk and put it in the front of the cart with him.  Then, he wanted to get some more shakers (he was using the seasonings as shakers in the first trip around the store to make music).  We stopped and got him three so that I didn't have to figure out what else we needed and hoping to entertain him through the second check out.  I used the rain check on the Smart Balance (YEAH for rain checks)!!!!

Total OOP $0.15
Total Savings $14.68+ $3.24 for Rain check= $17.92

The even better news is that he fell asleep on the car ride home so that I got a break to post this up so that you can see all the great things on sale this week for super cheap!!  I love super doubles and I love Harris Teeter.  There are deals to get everyday on stuff that we love to stock up on.  Even better is that the Weber includes the Beer Can chicken in the sale because they are normally not included.  I am really interested in trying those seasonings!!!  Taking my break to read my book and most likely fall asleep.  Hope you are having great trips to Harris Teeter too :)

Harris Teeter Super Doubles Time!!!

I can't believe that it is time for Super Doubles and my son is out of school.  I have been super spoiled to have time to shop three days a week with him in school and sometimes at night or weekends when my husband is home.  Now with him out of school, I have to work the shopping trip into the schedule with all the other fun things that we are doing.  The good thing is that my son loves Harris Teeter.  He loves the cookies and he loves all of the customer service people who are so sweet to him!!  The bad thing is that he doesn't have a long attention span and then tends to get in the way of shoppers (including me). 

I braved my first trip thinking that I was prepared because I filed all my coupons and got rid of all of the expired coupons.  Well, it does take a little more effort when you are shopping with a 4 year old to be prepared, like a detailed list and all of the coupons in a pile so that you are ready to go.  It was a challenge to remember why I don't shop with him all the time but it quickly came back :)

I added some things to the cart that I wasn't expecting to get like the Golden Grahams, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (but at least I had coupons).  After sale and coupons, I got some free yogurt tubes (for my son), yogurt 4 pack (for me!!), Bare Naked Granola, soy sauce, and frosting flavoring.  It was a good overall total even though I wasn't really sure what I was getting and which way was up by the time that I left.

Total OOP $11.49
Total Savings $69.10

Super glad that I didn't have to sign the receipt and that I made it out in one piece.  Exhausted to think that I am going to have to do this all week with him!!!

Thrifty Thursday: Turn off the Air and put on a fan

I wrote a post awhile back about turning down the heat and putting on a sweater but now it is summer and the opposite holds true.  Turn off the air and put on a fan!!! 

In the Northern Virginia area, there is a really short period of time that you can do this but sadly it is also during pollen seasoning.  Of course, if you have been reading my blog, you know that our air conditioning is broken so we aren't doing this by choice!!  We have gotten the opportunity to open up the windows and run our ceiling fan instead of the air conditioning to cool our house.  We do get a little life out of the air conditioner a day so we use them at night to try to cool off the house when it doesn't have to work as hard.  Here is hoping that it saves a few dollars on the electric bill at the end of the trial.

There are a ton of numbers out there and I am not sure what actual numbers are true in "real life" yet but I know that it takes a lot less energy to run a ceiling fan than it takes to run our 3 ton air conditioner (yup, I now know the size of our air conditioner...if you don't consider yourself lucky because it means that you haven't priced them to replace).  The difference in pricing is hundreds of dollars per month!!

Of course, it is also good to do a few other things to help with the heat in the summertime:

1.  Close the curtains:  Don't let the sun shine into the house because it will also let in the heat.

2.  Use a dehumidifier:  Taking the humidity out of the air is helpful in cooling the air and making it feel even cooler.  We have ours in the basement and it drains right into the sump pump so that nothing needs to be emptied (because then you don't have to remember to empty it because most models shut off when they are full).

3.  Run the oven, dryer, dishwasher, and anything else that makes heat at night: This is the biggest challenge for me because I love to bake in the morning- the exact time that you aren't supposed to so I have been skipping baking all together.  Remember to use the crock pot and other devices that don't put off as much heat.  Choose the toaster oven instead of the full sized oven!!  I do run the dryer and dishwasher at night so that it is already cooler outside and the air conditioner isn't working as hard.

If you are looking for ways to cut a little out of the energy budget, remember to unplug anything not in use and try a few summer saving tips!!  Hope they help!  Let me know if you have any others that I should add to what we are doing this summer :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kid Math: The Great Graph Contest

The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy was in the math section at the library and it looked like something that my little guy might like to read to learn about graphs.  Shouldn't learning about graphs be fun?  I wonder what grade kids normally learn about graphs??  Probably not kindergarten but this is a super cute book to introduce the concept!!
The book itself is a little hard to read because it mostly a conversation style book with the animals but it gave pictures of the graphs that they made.  It was interesting to see the different graphs and styles that they made, as well as them doing graphs of things that my little man could also do.  The contest was one of the creatures trying to make a better graph than the other creature but they were all pretty neat.
My son quickly decided that he wanted to make his own graphs.  We started with a Ven diagram.  He chose to do red and blue and in the middle he decided to make it purple since red and blue make purple.  Really?!  Yup, picked it himself!!
After he put all of the cars in the circles, we cleaned up with counting the number of cars. He wrote them in his observation notebook.  He put the 0 on the first line when he was looking for the second line which we are still working on :)
Then we did a different graph with all the color of the cars lined up in lines based on the color written on the bottom.  He did his observation that we had the most of the red cars.  Little did we know that we had so many red cars!!  We didn't get to count the numbers on these because the little man took a road trip to Home Depot with Daddy.
The great thing is that we got to read a book, do a graph and practice writing.  He didn't even know that we were "learning."  I think that we are going to be doing some graphing for days to come.  I better find some other things to graph soon :)
It is always great to have a few books around that they might be interested in learning from with a quick project associated to whip up.  I need to do a little more work ahead of time to be ready for all this learning!!  Check it out and have your little ones graphing their favorite things soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Twenty Wishes Book Review

Twenty Wishes (Blossom Street) by Debbie Macomber was the next in the Blossom Street series.  I picked it up at the library while I was there because I remembered that it was the next in the series.  It is a really catchy title and it stuck with me from the beginning and I was looking forward to finding out how the wishes were going to work!

In this book, Anne Marie Roche, owner and manager of Blossom Street Books, meets with her widows group on Valentines Day and they decide to make Twenty Wishes.  She is 38 years old and is living over the bookstore after loosing her husband and not wanting to deal with anything that reminded her of him.  She decided that she wanted to get red cowboy books, sing barefoot in the rain and buy a house.  All of her friends started making the lists and mentioned it to other friends who also started lists.  Most of the widows were using this as a tool to live their life more fully and they met to discuss all of the changes in their lives because of the goals that they set.  If you want to see all of the things that they accomplished, make sure you pick up the book and check it out!!!

I really enjoyed the book and was very emotional towards the end.  I hope that you check out this book and the whole series to meet all of the great characters who live and shop on Blossom Street.  Debbie Macomber is a great storyteller who makes you feel for all of the characters even if you aren't in the same situation, you can feel like you know exactly what they are feeling.  Check it out at your local library or bookstore.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Menu Plan Monday 5/27

Monday- Olive Oil Pasta
Tuesday- Caesar Italian Chicken with chicken rice
Wednesday-Spiedies with white rice
Thursday- French Dip Sloppy Joe with McCain potatoes
Friday- Frozen Pizza (still don't have any cheese to make a homemade one)
Saturday- Visiting the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the day so we are going to have a picnic
Sunday- Leftovers/ Breakfast for dinner

I can't believe that it is the last week of the month!!  The weather has been changing so much recently that it is hard to make a meal plan.  I don't know about you but on a hot day, I don't want to sit down to a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.  The same goes for the really cold days that I am not interesting in having a cold salad.  This month was hard because the weather flip flopped on a daily basis and it was hard to figure out what we should be having ahead of time because of the weather.  Here is hoping that June will bring more regular meals that don't need to changed because of the weather!!  Is anyone else having this problem?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Goals 5/26

Sometimes during the week it has seemed long and others have made it seem long.  I have had a few long days which always make the week go quickly but I am exhausted.  Our air conditioning is broken and we are waiting to get a new one.  We are hoping for a cool weekend because we aren't scheduled until Tuesday.

This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with family- We got to have lots of time together through the week at the neighbors pool while my little one played in the water.  Sadly, I did get a little sunburned each day which is exhausting but with a little rest, I was ready for the next day.  My husband had to work early and late most days because it is testing time in the schools so things are really busy for the computers!
  • Preschool storytime- This was a great story time because there were only four kids and they were all well behaved boys.  She got through the books and songs and felt board things and none of the kids tried to grab anything or talk.  It was a great change of pace from some of the other ones recently.
  • A to Zoo storytime- They got through 5 books but they were more simple books.  There was one kid who was crying through a lot of storytime but the mom didn't want to take him out because then the other kid had to go.  In addition, there were two sisters who were trying to sit on top of my son because they got there late and there wasn't enough good spots left to see the book.  Plus the librarian kept saying things like they took away the chairs because it is better if the parents are involved in the storytime with the kids and other weird statments. 
  • My Gym and some free plays- We are back at My Gym after a week off between sessions and the great news is that it is free because lots of our friends too advantage of the great deal that they are offering.  If you are reading this and you are local to the Burke area, they are offering a great deal if you sign up before the end of May.  My little guy fell asleep on the way to My Gym on Wednesday but I woke him up and he went in and played hard and stayed up all night.  He had a blast being back after a week with the grandparents and not going.  We went on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  It helped my little man work off some of his energy.
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons- I finally started cuting on Saturday.  With this week and last week, I had four inserts and I cut two before dinner with two more to go.
  • Get coupons on Friday- Super excited that I have a new few places to get the paper on Friday and there were plenty after I was done with PT.  YEAH!
  • Go to PT for TMJ- Did my treatment on Wednesday and I was really achy but the good news is that even with that, it doesn't cause me nearly the level of pain that I had before.  I also went in on Friday to work it a little more.
  • Volunteer at preschool- I worked in the classroom and helped between 4-5 kids at a time make cactus pictures with toothpick thorns and fake flowers, as well as the favorite of glittery sand.
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- I shut off the computer at night and some days to rest while and not heat up the house any more.  It helped but I think that my fan is not doing well.  I might have to move on to the new computer soon.
  • Finish reading School Days- Read and reviewed and then I started the Debbie Maccomber book instead of reading the next book I was suposed to because it was small and fit in my bag when I was going out but then I moved to the book for review.
  • Read Blogging for Books book- I started reading and was very confused by the first chapter so I started over and re-read.
  • Read more books about science and math to figure out some summer plans- I picked out my next book and read a few pages but didn't get very far in the process.  Hoping to use the long weekend to do some more work.
Home Management Goals
  • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- I did lots of cleaning this week while sweating but I got the kitchen cleaned up and most of the things in the house put away.  I am not sure how three people (mostly one little person) can make such a mess.
  • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- My husband and I have cleaned up most of the dishes at night but there always seems to be a pot soaking until the morning.  My husband has been really great and washed all of the dishes in the morning before I wake up.  It has been a nice treat since working without airconditioning is tough!  We did get them done once early in the week but the rest of the week was finishing up in the morning..
Blog Goals

  • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family)- I got all my posts up for the week and had a lot time to sit and night and relax. 
  • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)- Done and posted
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- Sadly, all my relaxing did not lead to a lot of things posted for next week.  I have a lot of work to do but hoping to use the long weekend to get some new ideas up.  I did get up the end of the month posts so there is a little there!!
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Done
This Week:

Family Goals
  • Spend time with family
  • Air conditioning installation
  • Meet friends at the park for a picnic
  • Playdate at friends house
  • Storytime at Barnes and Noble
  • My Gym and 2-3 free plays
Personal Goals
  • Cut coupons
  • Get coupons on Friday
  • Go to PT for TMJ twice
  • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
  • Finish reading Blogging for Books book
  • Read more books about science and math to figure out some summer plans
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)
  • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
  • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip

    Saturday, May 25, 2013

    School Days Book Review

    School Days (Spenser) by Robert B. Parker was the next in the series of Spenser books that I was reading.  I can't believe that I am already on number 33 and only have a few more left in the series!!  I did see that someone else was writing some books in the Robert Parker series after his passing so I will have to check them out and see if the characters are just as good as they were when Robert Parker wrote them!!

     In this book, Spenser is hired by Lily Ellsworth, grandmother of Jared Clark, alleged school shooter, to clear her grandson's name and get him out of jail.  Everyone else wants to bury the charges and let Jared and other gunman who was caught red-handed stay in jail.  Spenser gets no help from the school because they want the talk to stop so that they can move on an become a private junior college.  The school psychologist description of Jared is nothing like everyone else's in the school so Spenser decides that he should spend more time investigating.  He is eventually asked to stop investigating but continues because he wants to find the truth.  He hires his one psychologist and lawyer to help the boy beat the charges.  There are many surprises and twists so you really need to pick up the book and find out the ending!!

    I hope that you check out this book and many others by Robert Parker.  The Spenser series is a great one to start because there are many books written but sadly I only a few left.  I hope that you check it out if you haven't tried a Robert Parker book before because they are fast reads with funny characters.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have!!!

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Mango BBQ Chicken Sliders

    I saw a post on Grilled Pomegranate Chicken and Mango BBQ and I was inspired to make Mango BBQ Shredded Chicken Sliders.  Great news, now a use for those free mango containers that I got at Harris Teeter.  I knew that I had all the ingredients in the house (nearly free through all my couponing) and that they would taste super great on my pretzel rolls (also free at Harris Teeter triples)!!  Super quick and tasty dinner is a perfect weekend lunch or dinner in the summer because it can be ready in minutes and not have you slaving in the hot kitchen.

    I got out a bag of frozen shredded chicken.  If you don't have a bag of shredded chicken in your freezer, you can make you own super easy with a rotisserie chicken from the store or just cut up leftover chicken to use.  I usually get chicken breasts and boil them until they are cooked and wait for them to cool and shred with a fork.  Then, I bag them up and put them in the freezer to use as needed.  A serving size portion for my husband and I is only a few dollars when the cost is calculated from the chicken that I buy on sale for $0.99 per pound.

    I grabbed a BBQ which I had in the fridge already open that I needed to use up.  I got a bunch of those free through my shopping adventures to so there is another bargain to add to the meal.  I put all of this and my blender on the counter.

    Why the blender?  Well, in case you haven't read some of my posts, my family has texture issues so I figured that I would get all the great flavor of the mango without the texture if I just blended it all smooth before mixing it with the BBQ sauce.  It blended up really nicely (minus a few chunks).

    I added the blended mango and BBQ sauce to the pan and threw in the still frozen chicken to simmer.  I don't know if you can see the clump of still frozen chicken but it towards the right of the pot.

    I covered and let it sit until we were ready for dinner.  Don't you like to have a dinner that you can mix up ahead and be ready when you need it?  I do because when I am hungry, I am ready to eat!!!

    Then, I will throw a little side dish on the meal like some McCain potatoes like sweet potato fries that I got for free at an earlier Harris Teeter sale (remembering that I have to use them up to clean out my freezer we made a few different kinds that were open).

    I tasted the chicken and it seemed a little lacking so I threw in a little brown sugar to add to the sweetness and then a little blended salsa to add a little spice.  I thought that it was a nice sweet taste to start and a kick at the end.  My husband thought it was a little too sweet and didn't like it so I guess it isn't going to be added to the family favorite list unless I change the recipe a little.  Oh well, I am sure that other families would really like it!!!

    In total, I spent less that a few dollars and have a nice meal to show for it!!!  I have more mango already blended in the fridge so I am going to be looking for a few more meals or else I am freezing this into ice cube trays at the end of the week.

    Just a note:  Sorry, I didn't measure and just put in about equal parts of blended Mango and BBQ sauce so feel free to mix your own to taste or change your recipe to fit what you have at home.  I also just sprinkled the brown sugar and poured the salsa.  I figured that it changed with the amount of chicken that you were making anyway so hopefully you can blend it up to suit your family tastes. 

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Thrifty Thursday: Using Old Clothes for Cleaning Rags

    A long time ago, I started trying to get my husband to give up his old t-shirts for rags but he declined.  He said that they were just soft enough and perfectly worn to be comfortable.  Luckily, shortly after that he ripped through a few and they ended up in the rag pile.  We also had some socks that were wearing through and getting holes which had the same fate.  I don't know if you can see but there is a hole near the gray heel in this sock so it ended up in the rag pile.

    Often when I did the laundry, they ended up back with clothes to put away because it was hard to tell the different right away.  I wanted to let you know that there is a really easy fix for this problem.  Cut the items to make them rags!!! Whether it is a t-shirt or a sock, they are really easily cut so that you can use them around the house for cleaning.  No one will confuse this with the socks that need to go back in the drawer and it gives you more surface area to fold and clean with.

    On the t-shirts, I cut off the arms and cut down the side seams and end up with two big rags.  If you prefer smaller rags, you can easily cut this in half and make four rags instead.  These are really great for surfaces that need a soft touch like your TV or computer because they have already had years of washing wear them down.

    Of course, we also use the socks uncut for dusting and other cleaning where it is more fun for your whole hand to be covered.  I usually pick my husbands socks because they are the biggest in the house and I can clean something really gross and nothing touches me.  I can then throw out the sock without feeling really bad if it can't be cleaned since it was headed there in the first place.

    We also have a few towels that have worn spots which are kept as rags.  They used to make it back into the closet a few times but now I can tell which towels they are and they end up in the rag pile to clean up spills and leaks in the basement.  They are currently helping our leaking air conditioning while we are waiting for a replacement to be installed!! 

    Hope you can organize a rag pile in your basement or laundry room so that you have cleaning rags from any clothes that are too stained or hole ridden to be worn again.  We store ours in a trash can that was never used so they are all together and easy to find.  Find something that you have around that you can store your growing rag pile in!!  Most importantly, make sure you make a few cuts so that they don't sneak back into drawers and closets without your permission and you will be very happy with the results.

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Kid Math: Sundae Scoop Book Review

    The Sundae Scoop (MathStart 2) by Stuart J. Murphy was in the math sectoin at the library.  Seems like a really good combo to have any kid interested.  What are they more interested in during the summer but ice cream??

    The children are making up a booth with ice cream.  The decide that they need two kids of ice cream, vanilla or chocolate with either hot fudge or carmel topping.  Then they decide to add either sprinkles or nuts.  It gave them 8 options.  Then, someone dumped all of the sprinkles so they had to take off those options.  Then, they spilled the carmel and had to take off that option.  Then, the ice cream was almost out and the line ended.  The kids got to eat the leftovers but there weren't as many options for them because they served all of their friends first.

    I read it with my son and he loved it.  It is easy to follow and the math is changing through the whole book.  It explains it in words and has it in a graph.  It is a really good introduction into graphs so that you can make graphs with your kids.  I give it a big thumbs up and I think that everyone should try it this summer.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Back on Blossom Street Book Review

    I decided to go straight on to the next book in the Blossom Street book series, Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber.  It was another fast read that I read really quickly.

    This book goes back to Blossom Street with all of the happenings in the different shops along the street.  Susannah's Garden has opened next to A Good Yarn, Lydia's store.  Susannah has hired Colette, a widow who recently moved to town and lives over A Good Yarn.  Colette recently quit her job after a brief affair with her boss and after selling her house, she moves to this small town to hide out from her past and try to find a new future without her husband or job.  Lydia's niece, Julia, is a victim of a violent car jacking and is dealing with the emotional fall out from the event.  At the same time, Alix is trying to be flexible with her future mother in law while she plans most of the wedding which is not what Alix is looking for but finace Jordan isn't listening.  With sadness, Alix calls off her wedding and relationship with Jordan and disappears. 

    Pick up the book at your local library or bookstore and read for yourself to find out how all of the issues are resolved.  It is a page turner that is hard to put down.  I know that I am excited to start reading the next book in the series and seeing what else these great characters are up to!!  Hope you do the same.

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Menu Plan Monday 5/20

    Monday- Basil Parmesan Chicken with angel hair pasta
    Tuesday- Fried Rice for husband and French toast for me
    Wednesday- Mac and cheese
    Thursday- Garlic Herb Chicken with chicken rice
    Friday- Frozen Pizza
    Saturday- Leftovers/??
    Sunday- ???

    I went through the freezer and I am trying to figure out what was left to use up for the month.  I was hoping that I would clean out the freezer sometime this summer in order to defrost again so we are going to try to go through lots of the things in there and make a dent.  Then, I found another deal on chicken at Aldi's and frozen pizza for $1 at Target.  A whole pizza for a $1 makes it a better deal to have for dinner that homemade because the cheese alone costs that much.

    Anyone believe me that this freezer is going to be cleaned??  I can never get through enough stuff without buying more to replace it (or finding a deal on chicken).  Do you have a freezer you have to defrost??  It seems to be my never ending battle to defrost it a few times a year but June is my 6 month target.  Cross your fingers for me because we still have a lot of food in there!!!

    Anyway, my airconditioning has been broken and it costs a fortune to fix it so we are going to finally replace the unit but it has been so hot in the house that I haven't done any baking.  Dinners have been hard because the house is almost at 80 by dinnertime so I don't feel a lot like eating.  I think that we are going with easy items this week because the air conditioner isn't scheduled until Tuesday!!  Holiday weekend- UGH!  Crossing my fingers for cooler weather around the corner.

    Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Weekly Goals 5/19

    We have had a busy week and I am ready for a rest!  We had company all week and Saturday was the big garage sale in my friends neighborhood.  By Friday afternoon, I really needed a nap.  After everything packed into the week, I wanted a nice relaxing weekend!  HAHA!!!  I did the garage sale on Saturday and then I really was ready to drop.  I added some money to my pocket which I was going to promptly spend at a massage which I desperately needed.

    This Week:

    Family Goals
    • Spend time with family including grandma and grandpa- We had a busy week this week with company in and a million things to do.  There wasn't a lot of breaks in the action so we spent a lot of time together :)
    • Cowboy storytime- We had a good storytime even though getting both grandma and little man out the door so we were a little late.  I am not happy being late but I guess I need to get used to it because I have too many people to get out the door and too little time to do it in :)
    • Storytime at Barnes and Noble- We went to the Mom storytime and they all stayed quiet through 5 books!  It was sort of amazing.  They did a coloring picture and a flower craft from cupcake liners.  We had a blast.
    • Playtime at Play N Learn- We haven't been to Play N Learn in ages and we were due for a visit.  We met up with some friends that had a younger boy and it wasn't very crowded so we got the run of the place.  Since we were all the way out in Chantilly, we also went to Target and Aldi's.
    Personal Goals
    • Cut coupons- I know that this is hard to believe but I got all of my coupons (3 inserts) cut before my parents got here because I knew that I would have to get them out of the way and that there wouldn't be any time....  YEAH me!!!
    • Get coupons on Friday- Ummm, it is Friday again? I sort of had so many other things on my mind that I forgot the papers again.  I called my husband and he stopped to pick them up on his way home from work on Friday because I had the yard sale on Saturday so I couldn't go and get them when the library opened.
    • Go to PT for TMJ- My appointment was set to 5:30 so I had to leave at 5 pm so that left no time to get ready for dinner so I prepped during the day and hoped for a good dinner when I got home from the PT :)
    • Substitute teach at preschool- Super excited to get in my last time subbing for the year and hoping that this puts me in a good place for seeing if they have a job in the next few years.  I guess time will tell! 
    • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- I got it off 6 nights.  I did forgot one night with the change in schedule and the company but I left it off a few times we left the house and most of the day.  Sadly, I turned it off to leave the house and found that my father wanted me to look up something else so I had to turn it back on.  Oh well!
    • Finish reading Wishing on Willows and Playful Learning- Finished both books and then read Christmas letters, Back on Blossom Street and started on the next Spenser book!! 
    • Read more books about science and math to figure out some summer plans- I didn't get a lot of other things with the teaching read but I did make a nice pile in my room so I guess I need to get reading soon!!
    • Garage Sale!!!  I am not sure why I forgot to put this on my list but I am doing a garage sale with my friend in her neighborhood.  It was a lot of work to try to get ready with company in the house but I took over most of my stuff in two loads.  Super sweaty because of course it was 90 degrees on the day that I had to move everything.
    Home Management Goals
    • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- With company all week, we have had a lot of dishes and a messy kitchen.  I have cleaned it everyday and run the dishwasher everyday!  I have tried to keep it pretty clean but just two extra people in the house make it that much more challenging.
    • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- We have washed a lot of dishes and cleaned up the kitchen as much as we could each night.
    Blog Goals

    • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family)- Done
    • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)- Done
    • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- I didn't get a lot done because we had company but I have a few things posted.  I should have made a
    • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- I tried to get everything posted ahead of time but I had real issues because they changed the picture upload process and my pictures wouldn't load!  UGH!  I finally got the Thrifty Thursday post up.
    This Week:

    Family Goals
    • Spend time with family
    • Preschool storytime
    • A to Zoo storytime
    • My Gym and some free plays- We are back at My Gym after a week off between sessions and the great news is that it is free because lots of our friends too advantage of the great deal that they are offering.  If you are reading this and you are local to the Burke area, they are offering a great deal if you sign up before the end of May.
    Personal Goals
    • Cut coupons
    • Get coupons on Friday
    • Go to PT for TMJ
    • Volunteer at preschool
    • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
    • Finish reading School Days
    • Read Blogging for Books book
    • Read more books about science and math to figure out some summer plans
    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)
    • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
    • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip

      Saturday, May 18, 2013

      Christmas Letters Book Review

      Christmas Letters by Debbie Macomber is in the Blossom Street series of books.  Although only briefly mentioning the other characters in town who are previously met in the series, this book was an interesting picture of the other people in town. 
      In this book, Katherine O'Connor (called KO by her friends) is settled into her new condo and trying to make ends meet with medical transcription and writing people's Christmas letters.  She meets Dr. Wynn Jeffries who wrote a book called "Free Child" where he advocates letting the children decide when they sleep, eat, and more in order for them to feel like they are in control of their lives.  KO disagrees with the book because her sister started using it and her twins went from well behaved children to crazy children.  After KO screams at Dr. Jeffries, she is forced into a cocktail hour with him at a neighbors house because they live in the same building!!  Check this book out to see all the fun that they both run into through their life as neighbors.

      I can't wait to pick up the next book sitting in my pile because this one was such a fast read.  I am sure that I will go through that one just as quickly.  There are a few more in the series before I have to move on to yet another one!!  I hope that you check this one out at your local library or bookstore soon!

      Friday, May 17, 2013

      16 Lighthouse Road Book Review

      16 Lighthouse Road (Cedar Cove) by Debbie Macomber was at the library when I went to look for some other books that I couldn't find so I decided to check it out. This is a new series to me and I haven't read any from this series even though I have read other books by this author so I was excited to see what it was like.

      In this book, there are a lot of different characters being developed.  Ian and Cecilia are a newlywed couple that just lost their newborn daughter while Ian was deployed on a sub with the Navy.  Olivia, the judge, and ex-husband, Stan are cordial and friendly with each other even though Stan is remarried.  Their children are Justine, who's twin was killed years earlier, and James.  New to town was Jack, the newspaper reporter, who decided to pursue Olivia.  Charlotte is Olivia's mother and she makes friends with a Tom, a new patient at the seniors home who later dies.  She pays Roy, the private investigator, to find any living family members to give all of the prized possessions to and he finds Tom's grandson. Olivia's best friend Grace goes through a lot with her husband and their two older daughters.  There is also a brief introduction to a couple who is friends with Jack and the entire graduating class with Justine, like Seth.  I might have missed a few characters in this long listing but it is a whirlwind of names.  Well worth the effort to pay attention but make sure you start when you can lay down the foundation to remember the characters throughout the book because if you flip the names, you might be confused quickly.
      I really liked the book but I was confused when the characters points of view changed so often during the same chapter, seemingly without warning.  In other books, I got used to the point of view changing with the chapter but once I got used to all the names and characters, it was a little easier to follow the book.  I liked the characters and enjoyed the story.  I can't wait to check out the rest of the Cedar Cover series.  I will remember to pay close attention at the beginning to avoid any confusion.

      Thursday, May 16, 2013

      Thrifty Thursday: Cheap Gardening Ideas

      I decided that I would try to do some gardening this year even though it went so poorly last year.  I have my little handmade pots recycled from toilet paper rolls (that is what the bottom looks like).  I saved lots of toilet paper rolls so that I would be ready to go.

      I had a bag of leftover potting soil that I was determined to use.  That is my mom digging the plastic cup in and getting out the dirt to use.  My son is the one watching to see how it is done (don't ask me why we were doing it so close to the lawn mower but we set everything up and my father took that time to finally put the lawn mower away!!!).

      After talking to a teacher at my son's school, I decided to look for seeds at Walmart.  Not where I usually shop for seeds but she said that they were cheap.  I figured that it wouldn't cost that much to try and if it was eaten, I wouldn't be nearly as sad.

      I was going to use the homemade pots that I made and put them on the windowsill but I got a little carried away when I saw all the seeds at the store!!  I bought six packages so that was a lot of planting.  I decided to use some pots that I had in the basement.  They all needed to cleaned out.  Some were just a little dusty because they are stored near my husband's work working area and others had a little bit more stuck on the inside.

      This is the biggest one which I am not really even sure what I got it for originally but I know that I never planted anything in it.  Great opportunity to actually use it!  This got lettuce which is going to stay inside so that I actually get lettuce and don't feed it to the rabbits or deer.  There are two different kinds of lettuce split down the middle.

      Then, I planted something in all of the pots.  I did two basil and two oregano because I figured that if they grew that I would totally use it!!!  Plus, I had plenty of seeds.

      We did it all outside so that it wouldn't matter if we made a big mess.  Then, I brought in all of the pots to stay in the house since it is has been really cold outside still.  Here is hoping that our broken air conditioning unit actually helps us grow lots of plants :) 

      Here is my $3 project and hoping to turn into lots of plants!!  Great frugal project that I hope reap great rewards!!

      Wednesday, May 15, 2013

      Kid Math: How is Spaghetti and Meatballs a math story?

      Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf: Math Skills) by Marilyn Burns was on the shelf at the library in the math section.  In case you haven't taken time to look in the library with the "adult" books.  There are tons of books on how to teach your kids things and neat educational kids books that you can read them.  This mathematical story was all about having 32 family members over for a spaghetti and meatball dinner!!

      This fast based book includes Mrs. Comfort invites her family to dinner and then Mr. and Mrs. Comfort setting the tables for their 32 guests.  The guests come and move all the tables so that there aren't enough seats which really upset Mrs. Comfort.  Each time more guests come, they have to rearrange the tables (more upset Mrs. Comfort) and in the end, they end up in the same arrangement as they started. 

      I think that it might have been a little much for my four year old to get the multiplication and division happening quickly in the book but he thought it was amusing.  The large number of characters in the story is a little confusing but as long as you don't focus on the names and just the rhythm of the book, it is really fun. 

      We also counted the tables and chairs in the back of the book to see how else the tables could be arranged to fit the family.  He then counted our table and chairs to figure out how many people would fit at our table.  I think that this is one of those books that would be really good to read once a year and see how the kids reaction changes to it as they get older and understand the differences in the math.  Always good to introduce your kids to ideas that are a little beyond them because they strive to learn (as well as I think that they understand more then we give them credit for).  I hope that you check it out for your little ones and see what you think!!

      Tuesday, May 14, 2013

      Homemade Salad Dressing

      My dad called me and told me that he found a recipe in his AARP magazine and he thought that I would be interested in it.  He read me the ingredients and the quick directions.  I told him that it sounded really good and I would love a copy if he could shoot me an e-mail.  When the e-mail didn't come and the mood hit to have some salad, I called and got the recipe over the phone (typing as quickly as I could).  Of course, I could have just google it and saved the trouble because I found it, here!!  I just didn't know what I was looking for until I typed the whole thing out first :)

      Have you ever made salad dressing from scratch?  Do you do it regularly?  I was one to buy salad dressing at the store and try two or three different salad dressing on one salad before giving up and just finishing it with whatever I spilled too much of.  I never find one that suits my fancy until now.

      I didn't have all the ingredients to make the whole salad, nor the time before having family over for dinner but I knew that my mother in law would love the dressing.  Even if you don't have the time, you can try the topping, the salad or the dressing as your schedule allows.  I hope to make it all soon!!

      I pulled out the red wine vinegar and I realized that I didn't have enough.  I decided to use what I had and use the other half with the Red Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar that I had in the cupboard.  I haven't had anything to use it on yet so I was pretty excited that this would be tasty.  I measured the vinegar and added the sugar to dissolve in the measuring cup.

      I pulled out my old Good Seasonings salad dressing container which I had kept and not used for years.  I am super glad that I had a reason to clean it off.  I also pulled out the spices that I needed to add.

      I pour the vinegar combination into the bottle and added the spices.  I added the oil before shaking!  Oops!!  The container was too full to shake very well so when you do it, make sure to shake first :)

      The finished product was a full container of salad dressing and plenty to last me a good long time.  It was great over a salad with strawberries and almonds on top (even if I didn't get to make the whole topping).  I had a salad the next night and I am looking forward to trying some to marinate some chicken.  My new favorite salad dressing recipe by far!!  Try making it for yourself soon :)

      Strawberry Salad

      1 package crushed ramen noodles
      ¼ c sliced almonds
      ¼ sunflower seeds
      ¼ c butter, melted
      Head of romaine
      5 oz baby spinach
      1 pint strawberries, thinly sliced
      1 c Parmesan cheese


      ¾ c sugar
      ½ c red wine vinegar (or 1/4 c red wine vinegar and 1/4 c balsamic vinegar)
      ¾ c vegetable oil
      ½ tsp paprika
      ½ tsp salt
      2 cloves of garlic minced

      To make topping:
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ramen, almond, sunflower and melted butter.  Transfer to baking sheet and toast in oven until browned about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool. 

      To make salad:
      Tear the lettuce and combine with spinach, strawberries and cheese. 

      To make the dressing:
      Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar.  Combine the last four ingredients and add to mixture.  Mix well and store in the fridge.

      Shared at EMM Church Supper and Swap and Share Sunday at Spatulas on Parade

      Monday, May 13, 2013

      Menu Plan Monday 5/13

      Monday- Olive Oil Pasta
      Tuesday- Chicken skewers with chicken rice
      Wednesday- Tacos with saffron rice and corn bread
      Thursday- Frozen Pizza
      Friday- Worcestershire chicken with white rice
      Saturday- Pizza/ leftovers
      Sunday- leftovers/Buffalo Chicken Wraps

      This week we are going to have guests all week and I am trying to make a easy menu plan this week.  I hope to have the flexibility to move the meals around if I need to but we have a busy week planned and are going to be out of the house a lot.  Hope you have a great plan for your week :)

      *After note:  All of the meals got moved around during the week and my meal plan calendar looks like there is barely room to fit thing with the number of times that things were moved!!  All in all, we ate what was on the plan but mostly on different nights.

      Wishing on Willows Book Review

      Wishing on Willows: A Novel by Katie Ganshert was my second book through Blogging for Books.  I was pretty excited to get my second book so quickly after the first when it showed up on my doorstep just a few days after getting the e-mail that it was coming in 7-10 days.

      In this book, Robin Price is struggling to deal with her life as a cafe owner in a small town raising a three year old son by herself.  She is still dealing with the memories of her husband and is driven to help everyone going through the same pain as she endured.  When a new person walks into town, she finds that he is threatening to take away everything that she built to deal with her grief.  Ian is looking to build condos in the small town to bring employees of the new company to town in hopes of helping the economy and his struggling family business.  Robin is in a heated battle to save her restaurant and a local town ministry and finds herself drawn to Ian in ways she hasn't felt since she had lost her husband.  The book is a great small town story about the life of many friends in the town dealing with the battle of the depressed economy versus supporting a friend.  I hope that you check out the book to find out the great resolution, as well as the battles along the path!

      If you want to learn more about Katie Ganshert check out her website here or her author spotlight here.  She has a bunch of her short stories that you can read straight through her website and lots of great information. 

      If you want more about this specific book, you can check out the podcast here.  If you are interested in jumping straight to ordering the book, click here to order directly through the manufacturer or through Amazon.  If you think that it is so great that you can't wait to get started, click here to read the first chapter of the book.  I started reading the first chapter on the computer screen but I super love the feel of the book in my hands...sadly, why I try to read on the Kindle and just can't get into it.  I know that it would solve the problem of not being able to get rid of books after I read them but I just can't help the feel of the book in my hands.  I am sure that the world is split 50/50 at this point but as long as we all are reading, then it doesn't matter!  I hope that either path you choose, you pick up this book and love the story as much as I did.

      **  I was provided a free copy for my honest review of this book form WaterBrook Multnomah Books

      Sunday, May 12, 2013

      Playful Learning Book Review

      I decided with summer quickly approaching that I would figure out how to "homeschool" my preschool son.  He loves to learn and loves school but I thought that I would try to figure out a few different things to do with each activity.  I came up with a few ideas and I was trying to make a plan that would last through the summer and not just a few days (because this is a lot of work).  I started at the library to see what books they had to give me some ideas.  I filled up my huge moose bag (Thanks Ann) and I was walking with a limp by the time that I made it to the car with about 20 books. 

      The first book that I picked up to read was Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl.  A lot of the other books looked like they had a ton of information but who could turn down this cover.  Doesn't everyone want their stuff to be organized so beautifully?

      The book is divided into different chapters.

      1.  Nurturing Young Authors
      2.  The Joy of Reading
      3. Mathematicians at Work
      4. Scientific Investigations
      5. Exploration of Art and Artists
      6. Growing Globally
      7. Raising the Citizens of Tomorrow

      At first, I couldn't find the logic to the breakdown but that was because I was breaking my categories down differently.  After relaxing and just reading the book, I realized that the order made more sense then I was giving it credit for. 

      Since I am trying to turn this into a summer of fun, I added a little bit to her ideas and I think that I have a "lesson plan."  For instance, the author talks about mail and teaching your kids to write letters (probably a good thing since it is a lost art).  There is a list of four books to read:

      Dear Annie by Judith Caseley

      A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats

      Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie
      The reason why this was a little confusing because part of the list was under Playful Learning Spaces (introduction) and the other was under Nurturing Young Authors but with my notes and figuring it out.  I have come up with some inside and outside the house activities to go along with this reading.  We are going to write letters to Grandma, Grandpa, Grammie, and whoever my son comes up with.  We will work with the return address label, senders address, and stamps (making the correct value).  We might even make envelopes if I find something that might be easy for my son to put together for another craft at home.  Outside the home, we are going to visit the post office to send our letters and hopefully talk to the people there about mail.  We might talk to our mail person too but they come at all different times so it is going to be something that is hard to plan for.  In addition, we are lucky to be close to the National Postal Museum which is part of the Smithsonian and therefore free!  We are going to enjoy learning lots about the mail.
      I tried to pull together a folder for going to the Zoo while I was working on the list of all of the other activities.  My son found my pile of file folders and decided that he wanted to do all of the worksheets right away.  We sat down at dinner and did worksheets at the same time.  I am going to try to follow up with some other activities and plan on going to the Zoo soon followed by writing a storybook about what we saw.  I have some stickers and magazines and I think that we are going to do a collage and some alphabet crafts with the different animals in paint.  We might make the giraffe out of the paper towel roll.  We might also do our binocular project at this point.  I am still working through the plan in my head.  Do you have any crafts that might be good?
      Are you trying to figure out what you are going to do for your kids for the summer?  I hope that this helps me to come up with some great ideas and plan a bunch of different educational opportunities.  This is well worth the money to keep as a resource around the house but I am going to take lots of notes and make a lesson plan before returning this valuable resource to the library.  I hope that you check it out.  Even if you aren't looking for a summer of plans, it certainly gives some great ideas on how to rearrange the play area so that kids can get all of the good stuff that we want them to play with!!!  Hope you check out this book soon :)

      Weekly Goals 5/12

      Can you believe that this is my 800th post!!!  I can't believe that I have been doing so much blogging in the last few years.  One of my friends approached me on a playdate and said she had done a few posts on her blog and she was spent!  It took so much energy and so much time to get everything up including the pictures.  I know that it does take a lot to get things up and running but I do feel like it is easier for me now that I have a rhythm and some regular posts to plan for.  I put a lot of work into my blog and I am crossing my fingers that people are reading it and enjoying it with all the time that I am putting in.  I know that I need to put in a little more time and figure out how to make some money with it but I am hoping that I am building the foundation with my loyal following of 28 people now :)  Just know that I love all your comments and read each and every single one with responses to almost all of them. 

      I was just telling my friend that this week seemed like two weeks and I don't know why it was so long.  We are preparing to have the grandparents into town and trying to get ready for a garage sale next weekend while trying to keep my little guy busy and dealing with the ever changing weather.  I think that next week brings more crazy time with the grandparents so I am hoping for a little rest on the weekend :)  Hope you had a great week and are planning on an even better week coming up!!

      Last Week:

      Family Goals
      • Spend time with family- We had a great week together with lots of friends.
      • Preschool storytime- We made it to the library and my son said he was too tired to go to the storytime.  I was doubting it (assuming that we would get home and he would be bouncing off the walls) but we were a little early so we drove home and I left him in the car and got some books that we needed to return...he was asleep when I got back to the car.  I guess I wasn't tricked this time.  It was naps all around instead.
      • Duplo playtime at the library- We had a great time building and playing and my son was sad that it was over so quickly.
      • Play at the playground with friends- Our playdate was moved inside since the rain was crazy here.  The boys had a great time and played forever and didn't want to stop.
      • Playdate with friends from My Gym- We had a great playdate with new friends and hope to see lots more of them again soon.
      • Class at My Gym and go to at least two open playtimes- This was our last class but we did get to two open playtimes.  I am trying to figure out what our next step is.  We have friends that are interested in starting My Gym so we are going to go back with them but I just don't know with grandma and grandpa visiting this week because I am sure we are going to be busy.
      • We added another playtime with friends this week which was a great way to end the week and lead to an exhausted little man that feel asleep on the couch before even making it to his bed.
      Personal Goals
      • Cut coupons- I knew that I had a big pile and a big mess of all the coupons that I needed to go through.  I cut all my printable coupons and put them in my tin.  I went through all of the envelopes and pulled the expired coupons.  I put an envelope labeled with all of the inserts that I had to cut and I set to work.  I had at least 8 different inserts that needed to be cut to catch up.  I got all but one cut on Sunday with a lot of hard work and a busy morning.  I was trying to get through all of them before I had to stop because I knew that it would be hard to get back to but I finished the last insert on Wednesday!!!  YEAH!!!
      • Get coupons on Friday- By the time that Friday arrives, I always seem to be surprised and caught off guard.  I really need to remind myself that Friday doesn't mean that I get to sleep in on the weekend but that I need to get the paper.  I kept repeating it this Friday and I got my papers! 
      • Go to PT for TMJ twice- I had my appointments this week and I was feeling much better after them.  Here is hoping that things are going to continue to get better but my therapist has a vacation coming up so I am going to go a week without any therapy.  I guess that will give me an indication on how things are really improving.
      • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy- I shut off the computer lots and I actually had it off all day on Thursday before I even realized it.  It was a busy week and lots of things to do and not a lot of time on the computer.
      • Finish reading Ready to Learn- Well, hasn't this been the challenge.  I didn't even open it up again.  I got another book from the library that I read which was 16 Lighthouse Road (stay tuned for review soon).  Then, I got the next book for review so I started on that one.  Obviously, I need to return the other book because I tried to read it and I am totally turned off by the writing style and it is not giving me any information that I was looking for.  I try to read a book until the bitter end because I always think that it is going to get better but I think that I have better uses for my time.
      • Read some books about science and math to figure out some summer plans- I have read a bunch of children's books and Playful Learning which was exactly what I was looking for.  I think that I have come up with a plan of some of the summer and some things to do.  Now I just have to do a little more work putting it together.  I think that I have a friend who is going to join me in my attempt to have a fun and learning summer.
      Home Management Goals
      • Clean dishes, counters and floors at least 5 days of the week- I have cleaned up all week and even vacuumed mid week with a big mess that my son made before we had a playdate and they made a bigger mess grinding it all in the carpet.  It has been a slightly messy week but super great to have a clean kitchen when it is all said and done.
      • Clean dishes one night and not wait until the morning- I have been cleaning the majority of the dishes at night and running the dishwasher as needed.  My lovely husband has been washing some dishes at night and some in the morning.  I think that there was one night early in the week that all the dishes were done and put away but I don't remember which night.  We got them all done on Thursday night too!
      Blog Goals

      • Post one post everyday (schedule 7 posts so that can spend more time with family)- I worked on a bunch of posts and got up enough for the week but didn't have any posts planned out any farther.
      • Review book reviews completed during the week (if done)- Done
      • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week- My main goal was to get back ahead so that I had some posts ready for the next week ahead of time.  I am not sure how all of the posts disappeared so quickly that I had worked on but I guess that the month end tends to do that because all of the closing posts are done and it is time for the new month to start over clean.  As well as a trip out of town where I barely touch a computer for three days.  The great news is that I got all the menu plans up for the month and a few other posts.  I still have a few more Thrifty Thursdays to post to get a better start on the month. 
      • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip- Posted
      This Week:

      Family Goals
      • Spend time with family including grandma and grandpa
      • Cowboy storytime
      • Storytime at Barnes and Noble
      • Playtime at Play N Learn
      Personal Goals
      • Cut coupons
      • Get coupons on Friday
      • Go to PT for TMJ
      • Substitute teach at preschool
      • Shut off computer 6 nights to save energy
      • Finish reading Wishing on Willows and Playful Learning
      • Read more books about science and math to figure out some summer plans
      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)
      • Work on a few posts to work ahead for the coming week
      • Post Weekly Goals, Menu Plan Monday, and Thrifty Thursday Tip