Friday, May 19, 2017

True to You Book Review

I read other books by Becky Wade which I couldn't remember when I got the chance to read True to You (A Bradford Sisters Romance) by Becky Wade.  I was excited to get to reading this book but when it got to my door step, I was a little confused because I thought that this was another book that was a historical fiction book.  I guess the settling and dress on the cover got me confused but after reading the book, it was a perfect cover and perfect depiction of the novel.

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.  Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.  The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

I really enjoyed reading this book and my family gave me a special treat to be able to sit around all day and read my book for mother's day.  I started it in the morning and read it most of the day but enjoyed every minute of it.  Nora was stuck in the past and not moving forward with her life until she was carried out of a fake hostage situation by John.  John calls Nora so that he can look into his ancestry which is her specialty.  This book was filled with twists that I didn't see coming but you should totally check out this amazing story but be prepared with a few tissues because you might need them.  This friendship is really put to the test through many shocking things revealed in the book.  There was a little too much focus on trusting in God at the end of the book instead of just making the statement once but it didn't take away a lot from the whole story but just stopped the fast pace the story had been following until then.  I hope that you check out this great start to a new series.  I can't wait to read the others in the series.  I hope that you check them out as well!

**I was given a copy of my review but all opinions here are honest and my own.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

If Not For You Book Review

I picked this up from my library reserve shelf and was I excited to get to reading it.   If Not for You: A Novel by Debbie Macomber had a long list and took awhile to come out and even longer for me to move to the top of the list.  Again, knowing nothing about it, I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't even know that it was part of a series or not.  I figured that if it was part of a series that I might have read the others so I should be good to go with this new release.  I was exhausted. 

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam—who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived—Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital—even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.

It was a great book that I couldn't stop reading.  I started in the morning and was done before dinnertime.  I thought that it was a great story and even though there were some tough points that had me in tears, it was a great and uplifting story with great characters.  Beth is trying to start her life over in this small Oregon town where her aunt lives.  She gets involved in the school where she is teaching and starts meeting some friends.  She goes on a blind date with Sam who she is not interested in until there is a life changing accident right after dinner.  Beth's life charges forever and you have to pick up the book to find out how much.  I hope that there are other books that might follow because there were some great characters and wonderful writing that I would love to have more of.  I hope that you check out this book and see for yourself.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mending Fences Book Review

I reserved this book on the library new releases and I was excited when it came on to the shelf for me to read.  Mending Fences by Sherryl Woods was one that I didn't read anything about the book before I reserved it.  I just picked an author that I have read a lot of so I knew nothing about what it was going to be about so it was a big surprise when I started.

For ten years Emily Dobbs and Marcie Carter have been the closest of friends. They've raised their kids together, shared joy and heartache, exchanged neighborhood gossip over tea. But when Marcie's son, now a college freshman sports star, is arrested for date rape, the bond between the families could be shattered forever.  As the Carters try to deal with the unthinkable, Emily discovers her daughter has been hiding a terrible secret…a secret that threatens the futures of both families. Recently divorced, Emily struggles to keep it all together—to support her terrified daughter, to maintain her friendship with Evan's mother and to have faith in the detective who could change all of their lives.
When things seem darkest, both she and Marcie discover that sometimes the first step toward a better future is mending fences with the past.

This book was a rough read!!  Most of the books by Sherryl Woods have been really good beach reads but this book was much tougher topic.  The book was immediately into dealing with very adult topics like rape and crimes.  I wasn't expecting it but once I was into the book, I couldn't put it down.  I was ready to find out what else was going to happen.  Emily's family is going through just as much as Marcie's family with all of the police coverage but you have to pick up the book to find out how much they are both deeply changed by the experience.  I hope that you check out this book as long as you are ready for the heavy subject matter.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I did.  Check out other books by this great author to meet lots of her great characters.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Middle of the Month May Shopping Update

I can't believe that it is already the middle  of the month but I know that I went a little crazy this month with purchases....especially after the last trip to Harris Teeter.  There was a coupon to get $5 off $50 purchased and Cranberry Juice and Granola Bars were on sale so we added the toilet paper deal which ended up making everything cheaper because of the coupon.

Here is what I got so far for the month and what I have spent.  I don't think that I did too badly but I certainly did go a little over my halfway mark for the month in spending.  I budget $160.00 for groceries for my family of 3 for groceries and all household goods.  We do a good job of coming under it most months and have been under every year since I started this process.  My notebook that I am currently using started in 2013 and tracks each month and year since then and what I spent what stores I spent it at.  It is helpful for me to track my spending and report here to keep me accountable.

Aldi $5.29

I went to get chips and salsa because my son decided that he liked them so we went through all the stuff that we had in the house and my husband was complaining that he didn't get any.  We were also out of pretzels which is what my husband ate in replacement.

Aldi $23.12

Just a few days later I was back at the store to get more chips and the salsa was just in case but we are already into it.  We were totally out of potatoes and ice cream sandwiches (important food group).  I got two boxes of crackers for my lunches.  I bought a back up oil, popcorn chicken, and chicken fries because I thought that it would stop me from going back to Aldi's later in the month.  I thought we needed rice but I was wrong but it won't go to waste for sure!!

 Wegman's $10.93

I went to get Vital Wheat Gluten for my bread making and of course they changed the package again and I couldn't find it.  I also wanted to get salt potatoes because they are a special treat that we like in the summer.  I grabbed three boxes of mac and cheese, YUM!  There was a sale on Raspberry Lemonade for $1.99 so I grabbed it because it was way cheaper then the darn Cran Grape!

Aldi $18.73

We were back at Aldi's again so soon with three trips before the middle of the month!  We were out of corn tortillas, tortilla chips and pretzels again!!  I grabbed some $0.49 eggs and carrots.  My husband wanted bananas so I brabbed a bunch on sale for $0.28 per pound.  We were out of blue cheese dressing so I got the Aldi kind which I haven't tried before but I figured that I would get the guarantee if we didn't like it.  I got some cheese hoping that would last us the rest of the month.  Who knows if I can make it work but I am going to try!!

Harris Teeter $46.48

They had a free bag of Smartfood over the weekend so I decided to wait for that and was amazed that it was the smallest bag I had every seen.  I had a promotion for four boxes of Quaker Chewy Bars for $1.77 and I grabbed all of the boxes on the shelf with the two additional ones being $2.  The Ocean Spray was finally on sale for buy one, get one free so they were about $2 each.  My husband and son picked out some Gatorade for $0.47 for a special treat.

Wegman's $3.99

Aldi $10.80

 Total OOP $119.34

I think that I did get a lot even if I did over spend.  I think that 5 bags of chips might be a bit much but they were only a little over a $5 for all of them which is the same as one bag of Doritos.  We haven't had a lot of snacks around the house and I have been trying to keep up with baking but I guess I haven't been doing a great job.  Here is hoping that the rest of the month goes really well and under budget with only $40 left to spend!!! UGH!

Hope that you have a good month so far too!!  Good luck for the rest of the month!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 5/15

Monday- Spiedies Grilled Chicken with white rice
Tuesday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Wednesday- Pasta with meatball sauce
Thursday- Tacos or other ground beef dish
Friday- Leftover Night
Saturday-Breakfast for Dinner- Pancakes, Waffles, Eggs and/or Hash Browns
Sunday- Herb Butter Roasted Chicken

Last week actually went really well according to plan.  We got Little Caesars Pizza on Saturday for lunch and we had meatball sliders for dinner.  I made extra sauce and meatballs so we will have that with our pasta on Wednesday.  I was trying to work out a plan for the weekend again but I again don't have a clue what is going on.  My mother in law is coming into town so I am not sure what our schedule is going to be for the next few weeks.  I am working on trying to be flexible and going with whatever happens but I know there will be a lot of changes so hoping for a smooth few weeks with enough food on hand to handle the changes in plans and people. 

Do you have any fun plans this week??

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Becky Wade's 'True to You' Prize Pack and $100 Giveaway

Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade's new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade's new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The English Son Book Review

I saw this book on the new release section and I have liked other books from this author so I decided that it was something I should check out.  The English Son: The Amish Millionaire Part 1 by Wanda E. Brunstetter is the first short book in the six book series of the Amish Millionaire.  I started reading it at the very end of the month but decided that I would go to bed instead of pushing through to finish it.  I brought it with me the next day to the doctors appointment and quickly finished it.  Super sad that I didn't have another book in my bag.

In Part 1 of The Amish Millionaire...When Joel Byler turned eighteen he left his Amish roots, but living the good life out in the world requires money, and he finds himself going back home to ask his wealthy and eccentric father for money—again. But how many times can Joel expect to be welcomed back before his father’s patience with him wears thin?

The Amish Millionaire -- A 6-Part Serial Novel
#1: The English Son
#2: The Stubborn Father
#3: The Betrayed Fiancee
#4: The Missing Will
#5: The Divided Family
#6: The Selfless Act

I was excited to get to read this short book because it was perfect that I could easily read it in bed and carry it in my bag.  I knew that I should have reserved the second book immediately when getting the first but I didn't.  I looked them all up on Amazon and it seemed that they were all available so I was excited to check out the other books in the series at the library.  I went to the library website and they only have the first book!!! WHAT?!  It ends on a cliffhanger and I don't know if I can handle waiting.  I guess it was a bad idea to get this book one of six in a book series and get started when I can't read the rest.  This book follows Joel who is now leading an English life and only visits his family when he needs something.  He is busy working in construction and trying to make a life for himself away from the Amish faith.  He has met a women and proposed to her but he hasn't introduced her to his family.  You have to pick up the book to find out what happens but I recommend finding the other books in the series or else you will be left with the cliffhanger that I am in.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 5/8

Monday- Buffalo Grilled Chicken with white rice
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday- Pasta with meatball sliders
Thursday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Friday- Leftover Night
Saturday- ??
Sunday- ??

Last week was a little bit of a blur with too many things going on like physical therapy, book fair at my son's school and special events at my school.  We made it through with the meals on the plan so thank goodness for the plan.  We talked on Saturday and decided on Chicken fries and french fries for my son and hamburger for my husband for dinner and then I made hash browns to cook in the morning for breakfast on Sunday and dinner was pancakes while watching a family movie.  We opted for Mulan and my son loved it!!  I woke up on Saturday totally sick so the weekend was the hardest part.  Hoping for a less crazy week but thinking that we are near the same with too many things planned and a sickness.  Already took out food to defrost so we should be able to make it happen with a mystery weekend where I still don't know what is going on.  Here is hoping that you have had a good week and enjoy another tasty week as well!!!

Friday, May 5, 2017

April Month End Shopping Update

This month has felt like I blinked and missed it.  I don't know what was going on but I guess that we were trying to get through the last week of school before spring break and then we were away and then we were just trying to settle in after being gone for a week.  We started soccer which is three times a week and things have just gotten crazy.  Shopping took a back seat and I didn't go looking for deals which was tough because we were running out of things in the freezer and pantry.  I came back from spring break and had to do a lot of cooking to catch up.

Aldi and Trader Joes $0

My mom bought all this stuff for us at the beginning of the month when she was here visiting.  She likes to spoil her grandson with things that I don't buy and she needed a few things for herself also pictured which she took home with her but we did a good job eating lots of the stuff here already.

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

Wegman's $17.10

My husband took my son and cousin to Wegman's to get breakfast and some other treats.  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

Wegman's $24.80

My husband and son were headed out to the dump to drop off logs and pick up mulch so they kindly stopped and got these groceries and sent me a picture of the cart.  When he got home, he said that I didn't need a picture because I had the picture from the cart :)  For some reason my son is sitting under the cart if you see his little bottom and shirt because the mac and cheese.

Aldi $27.87

I went a little crazy at the store but I made a list and got everything on the list.  We were totally out of a lot so I grabbed oyster crackers, pringles, pretzels, tortilla chips, wheat things, rosemary triscuits, and eggs.  We were running low on cheese so I stocked back up on it and lunch meat.  I put one tub of margarine in because we just opened the last one.  I splurged and bought garlic herb cheese spread because I haven't had laughing cow in awhile and I thought it would make a tasty lunch.

Harris Teeter $9.01

I was excited to have time to make it to the store to use my rain check for hot sauce that I wasn't able to use a rain check any more because they are changing their process with rain checks and the coupons expired on 4/29 so I just barely made it.  I got an amazing check out clerk who was super helpful (although she had been with the company since 2004 and wants to quit because they wouldn't let her transfer to another store).  I got three packages of yeast for $0.09 each after coupon which expires on 4/30 and this was my first chance to use it.  I got the evic price for the eggs for $0.87 because they were way more at Aldi's when I was there.  I also got the deal on the cereal so they were $0.97 each after sale and coupon.  I paid $1 for each pack of the ramen noodles because we were almost out and they are good little lunch for my husband especially when he is feeling under the weather.  We were out of stick margarine and it was sadly $0.97 each but I grabbed two because it is the same price at Aldi.

Aldi $10.51

I wasn't expecting to stop at Aldi but we were picking up my husband's car from the shop so we would pass it on the way home.  We needed milk so it was super easy to pull in and there were four lanes open and lines were out of control.  While in line, I grabbed rice and threw it in the cart.  My husband grabbed pepperoni and my son picked out two ice cream treats after our incredibly hot day mostly outside.

 Total OOP $131.47

I am pretty happy with the outcome of the month even though I know that I could have done better getting deals and stocking up on things at rock bottom prices.  I just sorted through over 9 coupon inserts that I hadn't cut this month so I am hoping that this work and a little hunting around next month will improve my shopping deals even though a lot of coupons went straight to recycling.  Sadly, even found a coupon on the jelly beans that I bought and left in the car that we didn't bring to Target.  If I was a little more together, I could have even gone back and gotten the money back later but I didn't :(  Life was busy and I still made it under budget so that was the best accomplishment.  

Here is hoping that you have had a great month too and gotten lots of great deals!! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

April Reading Review

I was trying to do better about posting my reviews this month but again I got a little behind.  I caught up so that I could return the books to the library.  At least I think that I did a little better this month because I didn't have a pile of 5 books like last month.  Here is a list of the books that I read for the month and you can click on the title to take you back to the original summary and review.   Hope that you enjoy a few and add them to your reading list.

by Rebecaa Kertz

by Ruth Logan Herne

by Jillian Hart
by Raeanne Thayne

A Soldier's Secret
by Raeanne Thayne

by Ruth Logan Herne

A Fragile Hope
by Cynthia Ruchti

Any Man of Mine
by Carolyne Aarsen

Riverbend Road
by RaeAnne Thayne

Snowfall on Haven Point
by RaeAnne Thayne

Talking As Fast As I Can
by Lauren Graham

Family Affair
by Debbie Macomber

Sweet Tomorrows
by Debbie Macomber

Total Books Read for 2017

January    8
February  15
March     17
April      13

Total Books Read     53

Currently Reading:

These are the three books left in my pile to read so they are first to be read for May but I haven't picked where to start yet.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sweet Tomorrows Book Review

I didn't even know that there was a new book out in this series until I saw it on the shelf at the library and I quickly grabbed it.  I wasn't even sure if I had read all the others in the series but I knew that I was looking forward to reading this one soon.  Sweet Tomorrows: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber is the fifth book in the series of 5 books.  I am sad that I finished the series but this was a great book to end on.

Nine months ago, Mark Taylor abruptly left Cedar Cove on a perilous mission to right a wrong from his past. Though Mark finally confessed his love for her, innkeeper Jo Marie Rose is unsure if he’s ever coming back. The Rose Harbor Inn barely seems the same without Mark, but Jo Marie can’t bear to lose herself in grief once more. Determined to move forward, she begins dating again, and finds companionship when she takes on a boarder who is starting a new chapter herself.

Recovering from a twice-broken heart, Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday. She has her eye on one house in particular—with room for kids. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are rudely rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants and the chances she’s willing to take.  The inn seems to be working its magic again—Emily opening herself up to love, Jo Marie moving on—until Jo Marie receives shocking news.  With Debbie Macomber’s trademark charm and wisdom, Sweet Tomorrows brings to a close the journeys of cherished characters who feel like old friends. Macomber has created an enchanting place in the Rose Harbor Inn that readers will never forget.

There was an amazing story of Jo Marie trying to move on with life while she is assuming that Mark Taylor is dead after leaving for Iraq a year before.  At the same time, Emily has moved to the Inn to live for an extended period of time while looking for a new house.  She finds the new house that she wants but the owner is unwilling to sell and no other house fits the bill.  Emily and Jo Marie share a lot together while living at the Inn.  Both go through incredibly tough times.  I hope that you check out this book and the rest of the Rose Harbor Novel series.  This is a great end to a great series.  I loved the writing and the characters and I know that you will enjoy them too.  I like to start at the beginning so if you want to also, this isn't the place to start but an amazing end to a wonderful series.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Family Affair Book Review

I hope that you check out Family Affair by Debbie Macomber.  This was at the library on a shelf with short novels to check out.  I decided to take this book home with me after seeing that it was a book that I didn't read before.  I enjoyed carrying this small book with me for a few days after some of the huge books that I have read in the past month. 

Rediscover the joy of #1 New York Times best-selling author Debbie Macomber's delightful tale of unexpected love, second chances, and a cat named Dog.  Lacey Lancaster has always longed to be a wife and mother. However, after a painful divorce, she decides it's time to lay low for a while in her charming San Francisco apartment with her beautiful Abyssinian cat, Cleo.  Everything would be wonderful, except for her utterly impossible neighbor Jack Walker. When he's not arguing day and night with his girlfriend, begging her to move in with him, he's chasing down his cat named Dog, who seems determined to get Cleo to succumb to his feline advances.  Then Lacey discovers the awful truth - Cleo is in the family way and Dog's to blame. She's furious that neither Jack nor his amorous animal seem too upset about the situation.  But Lacey learns that things are not quite as they seem. Jack's "girlfriend" is really his sister and his intentions toward Lacey are very honorable. And though she's not quite sure about Dog, Lacey begins to discover the tender joy of falling in love all over again.

This book was a little different then other books by Debbie Macomber but it was a nice short read.  I don't know if it was worth the money to buy it because you could read it so quickly.  I think that if you like cats, this is a great book for you because there is a lot of cat action with Dog and Cleo being the center.  I am allergic to cats so it wasn't my draw but I still enjoyed the story.  Lacey decided that she wanted to lead a single life after a horrible divorce.  She met her neighbor Jack after his cat, Dog, has his way with her cat, Cleo.  They have a funny friendship but you need to pick up the book to see for yourself.  I hope that you check out this book and enjoy it.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Menu Plan Monday 5/1

Monday- Grilled Chicken with white rice
Tuesday- Chicken fries, Buffalo Chicken with homemade fries
Wednesday- Pasta
Thursday- Salsa Sloppy Joes
Friday- Leftover Night
Saturday- ??
Sunday- ??

Last week moved things around because we had a meeting on Tuesday night so we switched dinners for Tuesday and Thursday to fit into the time we had available to do the meeting.  Friday leftovers brought some interesting creativity.  I used the leftover taco meat and spicy rice to make taquitos for my husband and burritos for me.  I also make buffalo mac and cheese for my husband with the leftover mac and cheese (one of his favorites and something I came up with because I was sick of no one eating the leftover mac and cheese).  We were supposed to go out to dinner on Saturday night with my sister in law but the time changed a lot and we just couldn't go too much later because I knew my little guy had already had a long day.  My husband made him spaghetti at home instead and we had some leftover pizza that a friend gave us at the fair at school.  I don't know that I had anything planned for Sunday so I jumped at the $0.88 Hamburger Helper at the store to create dinner.  I used the powder and added a box of twisted elbows that I already had in the cupboard and a little of the cooked ground beef from the fridge to make a quick and tasty meal.

I set up the week to work for the new schedule we have going and I am hoping that I can get on my routine but moving things around has really thrown me for a loop.  I can barely keep track of what day of the week it is.  I don't know what the weekend will bring but I am hoping for a flexible plan.  Hope you have a great week too!!!