Friday, April 28, 2017

Talking As Fast As I Can Book Review

I was excited to see that Lauren Graham had a book out when I was looking at the library new order section so I quickly reserved it.  Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham had a long list of other people who wanted to read it before the library even ordered it.  I was super excited to get it on my reserve shelf and knew that I needed to finish it before the due date because there was no chance to renew with this many people who wanted it.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

I hope that you check out this book if you are a fan of the show Gilmore Girls or have interest in Lauren Graham.  It started off quickly like you were having a conversation with her and it is super amusing.  I couldn't help but laugh out loud at her comments and other things because it is so much like her character on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.  The whole book was amusing stories from her life from being single to dealing with Hollywood.  She also gave a journal while she was filming the new Gilmore Girls series which was very interesting.  I hope that you check out this book which is actually written by Lauren Graham and not some confusing book written by someone else because here is the funny part, she went school for English and she was planning on being a writer first.  There are fun stories and I think that you should pick up this book to find out for yourself.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Snowfall on Haven Point Book Review

I was excited to start Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne right after finishing the last book in the series.  It is my favorite thing to read series in order and get to read lots so that I don't have to wait but sadly (and not so sadly) this book series is still being published so I am trying to be patient.  The great thing is that I saw both of these books at the same time so I got to read them in quick succession!!

There's no place like Haven Point for the holidays, where the snow conspires to bring two wary hearts together for a Christmas to remember  It's been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie's friend asks a favor—to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who's recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother.  Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie's gentle nature is a salve, and her kids' excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want—each other—their Christmas wishes might come true after all.

This book was a wonderful holiday book which I always enjoy. There was lots of snow falling and we got to see the Christmas lights parade again like was in one of the previous books.  I liked meeting Marshall who is another of the Bailey family and also in law enforcement.  It was a great book to follow right after the last because it was about one of the families that we meet in the last book!!  Andie was doing a favor for Wyn by looking in on her brother Marshall after he had surgery on his leg. Marshall didn't want to accept help so he was not friendly towards Andie and her two children because he was sick of being helpless.  Through their time together they built a friendship and you have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens. I hope that you enjoy this book and the rest of the great series!!  I can't wait for the next book and it says that there might be two more books coming in this series so I am super excited!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Riverbend Road Book Review

I was excited to find out that there was a new book in the Haven Point series out!  Riverbend Road: A Second-Chance Romance novel (Haven Point) by RaeAnne Thayne was the next book in my reading pile from the library.  I was excited to get back to the great characters and wonderful little town of Haven Point and this was no different.

Return to Haven Point, where New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne proves there's no sweeter place to fall in love… 
Protecting the streets of Haven Point isn't just a job for police officer Wyn Bailey, it's a family tradition. But lately she's found herself wanting more, especially from her boss—and overprotective brother's best friend—sexy chief of police, Cade Emmett. The only problem is getting Cade to view her as more than just a little sister.
Cade's hands-off approach with Wyn isn't from lack of attraction. But his complicated past has forced him to conceal his desire. When Wyn is harmed in the line of duty, Cade realizes the depth of his feelings, but can he let his guard down long enough to embrace the love he secretly craves?

This book was great because I got to meet Wyn Bailey who I think that I briefly met in other books.  It is the same great small town from the other books where she is working as a police officer.  There is a lot learned about her family and the death of her twin and father.  She is a person who likes to help other people and works with the helping hands to provide food to neighbors and raise money for the library.  She is still feeling like she in lonely because she isn't in a relationship.  She tries to fill her life with lots of other things but she is still looking for more of a purpose.  She has feelings for her boss so she decides that she wants to quit her job and move out of the small town so that she doesn't act on her feelings but you have to find out what happens with that by reading the book.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series because I think that you will enjoy it as much as I did.  I love this small town and enjoyed the other books in the series so I knew that I was excited when I saw this new book out and reserved it immediately!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 4/24

Monday- Grilled Chicken with white rice
Tuesday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken and homemade fries
Wednesday- Pasta with leftover pizza bites
Friday- Leftover Nights
Saturday-Eating Out
Sunday- Paninis or leftovers

Last week actually went mostly according to plan which is kind of crazy after being away for a week.  I was a little slow at taking the food out to defrost but the great thing was that I just switched two nights if they weren't defrosted and things went well.  Over the weekend, we did breakfast for dinner with eggs and hashbrowns on Saturday night and Pizza Bites and Mac and Cheese on Sunday. 

I had to spring into action to try to get food in the house which was off to a slow start since we needed milk.  I made rolls early in the week for my husband's lunch and then nothing else until the weekend.  I made chocolate chip cookies, sandwich bread and blackberry muffins on Saturday.  On Sunday, I made peanut butter cookies, cinnamon rolls and pizza bites.  It too a little effort and a lot of dishes but we now have some food in the house.  My husband also made a quick trip to the dump to get rid of some wood in the back yard from the previous owners and picked up mulch.  I asked while he was out there if he could stop at Wegman's and get some things.  Even though he knew it was going to be the busy weekend time, he still went and got chicken, ground beef and mac and cheese so we are going to be all set for another month with meat for sure!!  Now I just have to freeze everything in the portions that we are going to eat them in and make some salsa sloppy joes for the freezer.

We are going with our new schedule this week with grilled chicken on Monday (because the weather is hopefully perfect for grilling), my son's favorite dinner Tuesday (because there is no soccer practice), Pasta on Wednesday (for early soccer practice day), Thursday is Tacos using ground beef, Friday is leftovers and the weekend follows our crazy schedule.  I hope that you have a tasty week and enjoy some yummy meals too!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Fragile Hope Book Review

I got a chance to read A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti which was great because I read previous books by the author so I was excited to read more.  I thought this was part of a series with the other books but I think that I was wrong although not disappointed.  I couldn't remember which books but I knew that I wanted to read the next book in the series but I guess I have to keep waiting for those.  Super exciting to get to keep up the any new author I like when the books are first released.  I am usually not on top of these things so well.

Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.

Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

This book was super sad and there was some tears but I still had trouble putting the book down which was a great thing.  It took me a little longer to read just because it was so emotional but I got it done just in time for the review date (although I like to have things done a little sooner...better late then never).  Almost the entire book is about Karin who we don't even get to talk to in the book but we follow her husband through his changes in his outlook.  Josiah is working as a writer and very absorbed into his work writing books about saving marriages and what you need to do to make them work.  The craziest thing is that without him know, his marriage has gone off the rails.  He finds out more about his wife when she is in a car accident and stuck in the hospital.  This book as an unreal quality to it that you totally relate to Josiah because he is working as hard as he can to find the new normal.  Anyone who has ever sat by a loved ones bedside, knows that the days seem to take so long and go by so fast.  This book could have covered a year or more and then towards the end you find out that it has been 4 months and although it is a long time, it certainly seems like it went slowly.  I know that I was hooked on the book to find out what was going to happen next and find out how Josiah would react.  This is super helpful to making the best out of each day and getting a message of hope.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy them as much as I have.

**I was given a copy of this book to read and review but all opinions here are my own.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Any Man of Mine Book Review

I don't know how I got this book but I reserved it at the library so I read it when it came in.  Any Man of Mine (Larger Print Love Inspired #355) by Carolyne Aarsen was waiting on the reserve shelf.  I must have read something by her previously and liked it.  I was excited to have this book to read on my vacation and it was near the last book in the pile.  I need more library books to continue reading!

Living with three brothers has taught me what I don't want in a husband. "Guys" who can only converse about farming, welding and hockey won't cut it. And those who prefer a rodeo to a symphony or dusty jeans to a nice suit are not for me. Unfortunately, my hometown is full of guys just like my brothers. So I've been planning to move to the city for a fresh start. But now I'm having second thoughts. There's a new man in town…a churchgoer who's cultured, wears suits and, most important, is nothing like my brothers.

I looked for a description or summary of the book all over the internet and there were a ton of places and some even had the wrong description.  I am not sure if it is just because it is an older book which looks to be out of print but the descriptions were nothing like the book that I read.  Danielle Hemstead has been living her dad and three brothers for so long and is sick of taking care of them.  She works as a social worker where her boss dumps everything on her which she is also sick of.  She decides that she wants a new job in a new city so that she can start over and make her own life.  It was nice to see Danielle go after her dreams and put lots of plans in action in order to get her dreams to come true.  I enjoyed watching her life in the small town of Preston with her brothers and dad and her best friend Tracy.  There are lots and twists and turns so the book never turns out the way you expect.  I hope that you check out this book at your local library or bookstore and see for yourself.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Middle of the Month Shopping Update for April

I was not doing the best keeping track of our spending this month because we were on vacation for a little bit over Spring Break so I thought we were doing pretty well but things got away from me quickly.  The great part is that we are halfway through the month so it isn't horrible but here is what I spent and what I got.

Target $32.65

I went to the store to pick up a few things for my son's easter basket including jelly beans, chocolate bunny, toys and I put some of his vitamins in the cart to because they were on sale and their was a cartwheel.  I wasn't sure what I got when I looked at the total later but I put a bunch of things in the cart without coupons!!  UGH!!  I also didn't even take a picture but I bought an incredibly overpriced chocolate bunny that I knew he wouldn't eat and it melted before Easter :(

Rite Aid $7.49

I went to the store to get some medicine for my son because he was sick while we were away.  This helped get rid of some of the snot..YUCK!

Wegman's $17.10

My husband took my son and cousin to Wegman's to get breakfast and some other treats.  I don't even know what they got but I sent them with a coupon for a free case of soda and I know that they came home with Gatorade too.  I am sure it could have been worse....shown by my Target trip :)

Aldi $2.04

We went away for vacation and came back to really yucky milk.  I dumped it out and went to the store and grabbed only milk which I was thinking was the first purchase of the month.... was I mistaken or what?!

 Total OOP $59.28

I still have $100 left for the month so there is a lot of spending left and lots of thing already in the fridge, freezer and pantry so still hoping to be under budget for the month.  

How is your month going??  Do things like holidays and vacation send you off budget quickly like it does me?  My husband likes to say that we should be able to get it because we are on vacation but without a little control, we can't afford the vacation expenses.  I am quick to fall into the same thing a few times especially when I haven't planned as much ahead as I should of!!  We deserve to have special treats but my husband and son took a little advantage of me this week but luckily we are getting back on track now that we are home...hopefully I will catch up around the house too!

Home on the Range Book Review

I read the first book in this series and posted the review very quickly because it was hard to put the book down.  I found out that there was a second book in the series that was just coming out at the same time I finished the first.  I was excited to find out that was available for review so quickly after the first and quickly put in my order.  Home on the Range: A Novel (Double S Ranch) by Ruth Logan Herne came quickly and I started reading it after finishing the book that I was currently reading.  I feel like I might want to slow down reading this book because it is a few months before the third book is available but I will try to be patient because I am can't slow down my reading on this one!!

Nick Stafford stayed in central Washington, working his family’s large ranch after his brothers left to pursue other passions—but his toughest job is being a single dad. As a child he watched his father fail at marriage and parenting, so Nick was determined to show him up. He’d be a better husband, father, and ranch manager than Sam Stafford ever was. Despite that commitment, three years after Nick’s wife left him, he has a daughter in trouble at school and both of his girls are facing issues that force him to rethink his stubborn plans.

For Dr. Elsa Andreas, life fell apart when tragedy caused her to abandon her family therapy practice and retreat to the backwoods of Gray’s Glen. Her school principal sister believes Elsa can guide the Stafford girls and that working with kids will draw Elsa out of her protective bubble.  Summer on the Double S teems with life and adventure. Amid the bounty of God and land, will Nick and Elsa find the courage to build futures based on faith rather than fear?

I was excited when I heard a book being dropped off at my door because I knew exactly what it was and I was looking forward to starting the second book in the Double S Ranch book series.  I loved to learn about the brothers in the Stafford family and this was no exception.  Nick Stafford is the one who gave up everything to support his families ranch while his brothers left to follow their dreams.  Nick's wife left him with two little girls to raise who were going through a really tough time.  He thought that they would get better with time but three years later things only got worse in the last book and this one and his oldest daughter was going to have to redo the third grade without help.  He reluctantly gets help from Dr. Elsa Andreas.  I love the relationship between them and how it changes when he sees the changes in his daughters.  All of their lives are starting to get back on track until the unthinkable happens but you have to pick up the book to find out what happens.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the series because I know that you will enjoy them.

**I received a copy of the book for my review and honest opinion.  All opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Soldier's Secret Book Review

I enjoyed this third book in the series a lot!!  It was great to get to know some of the characters in the books a little better and learn more about the house and the history.  A Soldier's Secret (The Women of Brambleberry House Book 3) by Raeanne Thayne was the next book in the series and also in the book that contained two books in one!!

To find out who was claiming ownership of the only place he'd ever called home, Harry Maxwell knew he'd have to practice a little deception. So the wounded lieutenant changed his name a little. Altered a few facts. All for a good cause—get in, get the truth, get out.
Until he met the Bramblebery House heir presumptive. Anna Galvez was captivating in ways he hadn't even known existed. Still, after spending time with her, he wanted the house more than ever.
But only if she was in it…

Harry Maxwell, called Max, comes to the house under a different name to rent a room and solve a mystery.  He is using a different name while recovering from getting hurt in battle because he wants to find out about the two people who took on the Brambleberry House which he thought he was going to inherit from his great aunt after her death.  His aunt left two strangers the house and he heard about nothing left for him even though he has only good memories of his summers spent with her.  Anna is instantly called to help Max because he gets hurt in an accident so she is bandaging his wounds.  She invites him for breakfast and many other things while they start to get closer and closer.  Both try to fight the attraction because they know that he is only there while he heals from his war injuries so there is no future in a relationship.  There are many mysteries that are not revealed until the end including some things that might change both their minds.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the books in the series because I know that you will enjoy them as much as I have.  It was well written and had great tension that made it hard to put the book down!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 4/17

Monday- Pasta
Tuesday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken and homemade fries
Wednesday- Chicken tacos with spicy yellow rice
Thursday- Meatball Sliders with leftover pasta
Friday- Leftover Nights
Saturday- ?
Sunday- ?

I can't believe that we are this far into April and I didn't take a picture of the calendar but now I have spilled something on it in my bag and the bottom of the page ripped because it stuck to my other calendar so there will be no picture of my super ugly calendar until next month now that it has been a little mutilated.  We changed up the plan because we just got our soccer practice schedule so we are going to have practice on Monday and Wednesday night so we are moving Pasta night to be on Monday before practice and then something else easy on Wednesday.  I am hoping that this works out but pasta night may move to Wednesday night moving forward because I think that it is the earlier practice but I am not sure yet.  We have a rough estimate after being on Spring Break for a week and going a little crazy with things.  I know that I need some time to catch up and I am hoping to use the Monday to do so but time will tell what happens with this week!!!

Friday, April 14, 2017

His Second Chance Family Book Review

I got a new book from the reserve shelf at the library and it was a new book that I hadn't even heard of but I got off the new release list because I recognized the author.  It turns out that there was on compilation book, Brambleberry House: His Second-Chance Family\A Soldier's Secret (The Women of Brambleberry House) by RaeAnne Thayne with two books in it which was perfect because I was going to be traveling so less to pack.  His Second-Chance Family (The Women of Brambleberry House Book 2) by Raeanne Thayne was the first book included in this great books.  After reading it, I found out that it was the second book in the series but the first one was available at the library so glad I got a chance to read this one regardless!

When she was sixteen Julia Blair found more than fun in the sun on the sands of Cannon Beach. She found a home—especially in the arms of her teenage crush, Will Garrett—and she knew that life, sunny and beautiful, stretched out in front of her….
Now she's thirty-two, and though life may not have worked out the way she'd planned, here she is, back in Cannon Beach, still standing, with her two little children in tow. Only to find Will Garrett there, too—battered and bruised. Julia believed he could still make all her dreams come true. The question was, would he let her into his heart to do the same for him?

Julia came to live at Cannon Beach which is where she vacationed as a child before her parents got divorced.  She was looking to restart her life after a lot of hardships with her two young children.  She was hoping to give them the happiness that she felt at Brambleberry House.  What she found was that the owner of the house had recently died but there were apartments to rent inside the house so she quickly decided that she was going to rent an apartment for her small family.  She also finds that Will Garrett, her childhood crush, is still living and working in the area.  Her life might not be going according to plan and neither is his but they might be able to find the friendship that they had years ago to get them through the tough times.  This book had a lot of ups and downs and it was a great read with the fun characters and interesting events happening around this great historic house.  I hope that you enjoy this book and check out the next book in the series.  I know that you will enjoy them as much as I did!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Wife for Jacob Book Review

I was out of books from the library again and went to the shelf.  The first book I picked up was a historical fiction and I decided that I wasn't going to read it.  I switched to A Wife for Jacob (Lancaster County Weddings) by Rebecca Kertz which looked interesting.

Jacob Lapp has loved Annie Zook since childhood. But she's never seen him that way. Once courted—then rejected—by his older brother, Annie's wary of the Lapp men. But now that Jacob is working at her dat's blacksmith shop, he feels he's been given a second chance. It's no secret Annie wants a husband. Yet she's intent on marrying someone older, more established—someone the opposite of Jacob. Can he ever break down the walls she's forged around her fragile heart and prove to her that he's the perfect man for her?

This is a great book with great characters and writing where Jacob spent his childhood loving Annie but she fell for his brother.  Jacob let go of the feelings and tried to move on but still hasn't found a wife to make a future with.  Jacob drives by in his carriage and sees Annie running up the road because she is looking for help for her father.  Jacob sends his twin brother for help and goes back to the help with her father's injuries until the ambulance shows up.  Jacob gives up his jobs to help out in the blacksmith shop while Annie's father is recovering from his fall.  Annie is set that she is going to marry an older person in the community and not for love to avoid the hurt she felt when her previous relationship ended.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens because there are a lot of ups and downs with her mother trying to set her up with different people in the community.  I couldn't help but to laugh at some of the situations that she got herself into.  I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I did and get a few laughs in the process.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shopping List for April

So I started my shopping list for April and broke the paper up into four squares including Aldi, Harris Teeter, Trader Joes and Wegmans.  I wrote the list of the items that I thought I needed to get this month and things that we were out of.  There wasn't anything super urgent except lunch meat.  I was going to stop at Aldi and grab lunch meat but my mom was in town so we grabbed a lot more than that because we shop a lot differently.

There was clearance Fruit Roll Ups and Butter Popcorn seasoning which she got for my son as well as some plum jelly which my mom got for my dad but I cut off on the right side of the picture.  After getting groceries, we split a cheese steak and fries for lunch which was amazing!!  It was super tasty and filling.  Then we hit Trader Joes with our extra energy.  My mom got the stuff in the right corner of the picture for herself (maybe 6 things) but the rest of it was for us and she paid for all of it.  It was around $50 of groceries which will last a good long time for us (I also put in for $0.45 online rebates for cheese, pasta sauce and one any item through Mobi Save and Ibotta).  I put the blackberries in the freezer to make some more muffins later.  The rest of the things got put away in the cupboard, fridge and freezer except the bagels which are already gone!!

We don't have too many things on the list left but I want to get ground beef and mac and cheese at Wegman's and Cranberry Grape juice and hot sauce at Harris Teeter.  I guess I will see what other deals come up this month to fill the rest of the budget.  Maybe I will end up under budget again!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Soldier for Keeps Book Review

I reserved things at the library with a delay so that more books would come in when I finished the last ones and this was my last group of books.  I was excited to see that there was one more from the McKaslin family series because I have really enjoyed them.  A Soldier for Keeps (The McKaslin Clan: Series 3, Book 9) (Love Inspired #483) by Jillian Hart was the last book that I had on the reserve list so it must be the last one that the library had.  It was a little different then the other books because it wasn't one of the family members but some other people that it was following.

Lexie Evans is not looking for a relationship with Pierce Granger. And that's just fine by the handsome soldier. Neither one has time for romance, but they can both commit to friendship, right? Then, after months as pen pals, Pierce visits Lexie's family ranch in Wyoming. Face to face with her friend, Lexie realizes her feelings toward him have changed. She's finally ready for love--but is Pierce ready to be hers for keeps?

I hope that you check out this book in the McKaslin series.  I was surprised that I had anymore left when it appeared on my hold shelf but I was really glad that the library had so many books in the series.  This book was following Lexie Evans who is not a member of the McKaslin family but is the RA of one of the family members.  Lexie goes through a tought time when she is skiing and ends up stranded on the slopes after another skiier gets in her way and she can't avoid hitting them.  She hurt her ankle and they left her there in the snow.  Luckily, Pierce comes by just in time to save her by carrying her down the mountain.  It was a great story to see Pierce and Lexie's friendship blossom through mail and email while he went oversees.  Both of them grew a lot and learned a lot about each other.  I don't want to give everything away but I think that you need to read it to find out.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Yuletide Hearts Book Review

I put a bunch of books on reserve after reading some books by the author and this was one of the books that came in to the library.  Yuletide Hearts (Love Inspired) by Ruth Logan Herne was the next book that was in my pile to read so I got to enjoy it while the weather was getting really cold yet again!!!  Nothing like a winter book to distract you from the horrible weather you are having!!

When Matt Cavanaugh returns to his Allegany County hometown, he's not as rough around the edges as he used to be. The former marine is a successful contractor, a man who now believes in the Lord and old-fashioned hard work. But when he buys a bankrupt subdivision, he discovers he's stepped on single mother Callie Burdick's dreams for her family. And when Matt learns about Callie's troubled past, he's determined to rebuild her trust—plus an entire community—in time for Christmas.

I hope that you check out this book and others by this author because they are interesting and well written.  Matt came home to make amends for the past and live the life his grandfather wanted for him after leaving the military.  He is dealing with a lot of issues being back where he grew up many years later.  Matt ends up living with the family he bought the subdivision from and working side by side with them to put the houses up.  It was a great story of tough times and how people pull together and pull through.  I think that this one had twists and turns all the way through because I never knew what was going to happen next.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

March Reading Review

I hope that you have had a great month and enjoyed lots of reading.  I did a bad job reviewing the books when I finished which I think that I vowed to do better on last month.  I currently have 5 completed books sitting next to me that I really need to go through and figure out how many reviews I can write because I have to go to the library and return as many as possible.  I guess that I am only good if I am on a deadline.  I am working under the gun but hoping to get lots of review posted so that you can see them all.  I think that I did that a few times during the month because I was reading and not writing as quickly as I was reading.

Here is a review of the books that I read for the month.  If you click on the title, it will take you back to the original summary and review of the book.  I hope that you add a few to your reading list soon!!

by Janet Evanovich

by Janet Evanovich

The Rocky Road to Romance
by Janet Evanovich

Back to the Bedroom
by Janet Evanovich

A Solider for Christmas
by Jillian Hart

Every Kind of Heaven
by Jillian Hart

Everyday Blessings
by Jillian Hart

Close to Home
by Deborah Raney

Home at Last
by Deborah Raney

Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers
by Wanda Brunstetter

Her Secret
by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Husband List
by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

Naughty Neighbor
by Janet Evanovich

A Boy Called Christmas
by Matt Haig

Her Perfect Man
by Jillian Hart

His Holiday Heart
by Jillian Hart

Back in the Saddle
by Ruth Logan Herne

Total Books Read for 2017

January    8
February  15
March     17

Total Books Read 40

Currently Reading:

A Wife for Jacob 
By Rebecca Kertz


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Month End Shopping Conclusion for March

I was really too busy in March and I don't know why but there didn't seem to ever be time to make it to the store.  I know that I am too busy when I look at the trips to the store and it is mostly Aldi and not a lot of couponing. I did fit in a little Harris Teeter but certainly short trips.  I tried to get stuff on rain checks but they denied my rain check (insert eye roll here) because they thought it was a copy.  I explained it but they had an attitude so we are still out of hot sauce until I can get to the other store to take it.

Aldi $21.68

Harris Teeter $19.07

Aldi $19.56

Aldi $2.53

Harris Teeter $18.81

The Frosted Flakes are $0.38 per box, the All Detergent was $0.97 each, and the Challenge Butter $0.50 each after sale and coupon.  There was a evic promotion for Ritz for $1.47 each and the Breyers Ice Cream for $2.57 and Cinnamon Toast Cereal $1.77 and Honey Nut Cheerios $1.77 which I paid without coupons.  There was a clearance on the Ibuprofen which we really needed so I grabbed it for $2.50.  We got the blackberries for $0.99 so that I could make muffins..yum!!  I also needed stick margarine which was $0.97.

I got free Chips Ahoy and free Cup of Noodles with the weekend promotion.  I used the sale and coupon to get free Challenge Cream Cheese.

Aldi $23.23

I stopped by to get a few things that we were running low or out of to fill the fridge, freezer and cupboard.  I couldn't remember what I needed to get because I left the list at home!!  I think that I got most of what I needed and some things that didn't even make the list.

Aldi $7.26

We ran in when we were already over there because my son wanted to get a special treat of some of his favorite Pringles.  We also grabbed the green beans that they had on sale for $0.69, 10 lbs potatoes for $3.49, and spaghetti which other then the green beans were what my son picked out that he wanted.  The next day we were planning on pasta and he said he wanted spaghetti but when I was cooking, he said that he wanted penne so the spaghetti is still sitting in the cupboard.  He was also pushing for ice cream but I just bought him some so we didn't get anymore.

Harris Teeter $26.64- $5.13= $21.51

I went to use my rain check for hot sauce that we really needed and they didn't have any.  I was super sad but I grabbed a head of lettuce because we were almost out.  I also found out that there were two deals on the granola bars (although they didn't ring up and I have to end up at customer service).  They were on sale for $2.50 per box but they were also buy two and get one free.  It only rang up once so they did it like a rain check for the three to ring up at zero but she didn't seem to ring up the cancellations correctly so it was supposed to be 12 boxes and she rang up 14.  It ended up being a great price.... even without a coupon.  GASP!  WHAT?  I went to Harris Teeter and didn't use a single coupon!  Still an amazing deal at $1.67 per box.

 Total Retail $272.79
Total Savings $139.14
Total OOP $133.65

I felt like I was sticking to the bare minimum for the last two months and didn't get too much but I still ended up being close to the budget when I added in to the few last trips of the month that were not anticipated.  I guess maybe I need to up my couponing to make sure that we have a little more in the cupboards for the coming months.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 4/3

Monday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken (with leftover chicken) and homemade fries
Tuesday- Something with chicken tenders (maybe Spiedie Chicken with white rice)
Wednesday- Lasagna
Thursday- ??
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Little Caesars or Wendy's
Sunday- ??

I didn't get the April menu done so I didn't get a picture taken yet.  I am trying to make up this week and we will see how I do.  Last week my husband finally got a new truck.  His old truck was almost 20 years old so it was about time.  The value of the repairs was more then the value of the truck so we didn't fix it.  We looked at a used trucks for the last year and he didn't see anything that he wanted...until last week.  We went and looked at it and there was a few things wrong with it so we asked about the price of the new trucks and there was only a few thousands difference so we went with his first new car/truck!!  But that messed up the meal plan because we picked it up on Monday night.  We didn't get out of the dealership until late so we got a cheese steak and fries and headed home to eat it.  We ate all of meals one day back and we crossed through Friday night leftover night because we had dinner at friends house on Saturday instead.  On Sunday I chopped up the whole chicken to make it into two meals.  I cooked the thigh, drumstick and wing with seasoning in a pan on the stove for my husband's lunch.  He enjoyed it a lot even though I was going to put it with rice...he ate just the chicken.  I saved the breast and tender for dinner and made spicy honey mustard chicken and we had rice.  I had leftover chicken so I am going to make that into buffalo tonight.

I went through the freezer again (partly because I lost my list and partly to double check) and I hope to get the menu filled out soon.  We are going to play it by ear over Spring Break because we are all going to be out of school and work for a family vacation.  I don't know what we are doing what day so I don't know what we are going to eat but I look forward to figuring it out as we go.  I have the rest of the day to figure out the menu going forward :)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Back in the Saddle Book Review

I finished all the books that I had from the library and I was a little sad but I went to the shelf to grab a book that I wasn't really interested in reading.  I got the mail and there was a mystery box in the mail.  Back in the Saddle: A Novel (Double S Ranch) by Ruth Logan Herne was inside that box so I started reading right away.  I was excited to get started and I couldn't put down this fast reading story.  There was so much going on that I was ready to keep reading instead of sleeping (I know it is bad but sometimes you just want to know what is going to happen next).

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.

He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding...and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick, who’s long been Sam’s right-hand man,isn’t thrilled when Colt inserts himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the town’s people forces  all the Stafford men to reconsider what it truly means to be a neighbor.  As Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district—or stay in the saddle for good?

Colt was away living a high powered New York life and comes home when he finds out his father is sick in the hospital.   After being away for 9 years, he realizes that this life fits as well as his life in  New York and he starts to get comfortable living the ranch life.  He works hard every day and enjoys being outside taking care of the animals.  His father gets worse and there is fear that they are going to loose him so he calls his other brother to come home.  The town is going through a lot of things at the same time including poverty, drugs and a fire.  There are many benefits of a small town but it is also tough.  Colt decides that there are reasons he might want to stay and give up New York but you have to see what he finally decides after he gets job offers to go back.  I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did. I really liked Angelina and seeing how strong she was in running the daily life at the ranch.  She pulled off a job that might not have a lot of respect with grace and caring but still kept everyone in line.  It was great writing and wonderful characters that I can't wait to get to read the next book in the series that is coming out soon!!  I hope that you get to read one after the other instead of having to wait impatiently like I am!!

**I was given a copy of the book to read for my review and honest opinion. All opinions here are my own.