Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dark Monk book review



Typically I don't read too many books like this, but it's nice to read something out of your element every now and again.
I have to say that I was captivated by the story and characters. I read The Hangman's Daughter preceding this one and they are both well crafted. In both novels the story lines flow easily, and aside from the main plot there are always other little situations throughout the novels. They flow languidly without tripping over each other which makes the novel that much more enjoyable and you don't feel lost at all.

In The Dark Monk a priest finds clues while renovation to his church is taking place. However things fall into the wrong hands and the town takes another turn for the worst. As the priest uncovers more than he can hope for he finds himself poisoned and dying. Upon his death the priest leaves clues to a mystery that leads our characters into the world of the Knight's Templar and...treasure! The same characters reappear as in The Hangman's Daughter including, but not limited to Jakob (the hangman), Magdalena (the hangman's daughter), and Simon (physician's son and Magdalena's lover). Together as a team acting as detectives their skills are unmistakably sharp, and there's a sense of intelligence about them all you wouldn't expect. It just brings the characters to life even more and makes them that much more unique.

The story is fast paced and once you start reading it, it will draw you in immediately. Some of the events in the book are predictable, but what makes this bearable is the characters charm.
Jakob is by far my favorite. He shouldered his hangman duties early even though it isn't what he wanted, and despite his career he is intelligent, smart, witty, and caring. And as always I was swept right in by Magdalena and Simon which despite their forbidden love for each other seem to balance each other out quite nicely.

If you are into the Knights Templar, the Crusades, mystery, and the 17th century time frame this would be a good book for you. It holds a bit of everything that a good book should: intriguing characters, mystery, romance, suspense, intellect, etc.
To give you some more background on the novel you can even check out this short video clip I found:

You should also check out The Hangman's Daughter which is equally as thrilling, but I would also like to warn you that it is also a bit more gruesome in details from my own personal opinion...
The Dark Monk is available on:: Kindle   Paperback   Nook   Audio Audible Edition     Disclaimer: As a BzzAgent I have been provided with the complimentary kindle books listed above for review purposes. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Happy Homemaker Monday #14



Nice to see you! Come on in and grab a chair, we can chat awhile. Let's trade some homemaker secrets and  fill each other in our what we've been up to. You are more than welcome to stay for breakfast as well, we will be having fried egg sandwiches on toast, and I can offer you coffee, tea, or orange juice. :) If you want to participate in Happy Homemaker Monday feel free to leave your link and I would love to visit you.



::The weather in my part of the world::
We've gotten a bit of rain off and on. I'm really hoping to get more because it helps cool things off dramatically. It's been in the high 70s, 80s, and 90s. One thing about living in Indiana is we are never sure of the weather. It can be stifling hot one day, and the next day you'll find yourself in a sweater and pants. haha



::On my reading pile::
Just finished reading My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade I LOVED it! It's going on my favorites shelf! I urge you to read it. So fantastic, it has everything a good romance novel should have and I found myself laughing out loud quite often! Review upcoming...

Also just finished The Hangman's Daughter and The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch on my Kindle.
I wasn't a huge fan of them personally, but I will say I was riveted to the edge of my seat. The writing was fantastic, but these types of books just aren't really my cup of tea. Reviews are upcoming on both of these also...

Today I will be starting in on the forbidden Fifty Shades of Grey novel by E.L. James. I know some don't agree with reading it at all, but I have got to see what all the fuss is about this book. One thing about me is I read almost anything, and when a book blows up as huge as this I can't wait to read it and get my own views about it.



::On my TV::
Bunheads (ABC Family)
My First Place (HGTV)
House Hunters (HGTV)
Water for Elephants (DVD)
Captain America (DVD)



::On the menu for this week’s dinner::
Monday- chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, broccoli
Tuesday- chicken casserole
Wednesday- beef stroganoff, mashed potatoes, baby carrots
Thursday- homemade tacos
Friday- spaghetti w/meatballs, garlic bread
Saturday- spanish rice w/hamburger
Sunday- beef & noodles, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls



::Recipe I tried or want to try soon::
~Want To Try~
POT ROAST DIPS
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pot-roast-dips/detail.aspx



::Looking around the home::
I'm sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop, some sweet iced tea in a glass next to me. Feel free to grab a glass as I made an entire pitcher.
The house is quiet and will be for awhile longer as the boys are still sleeping. Hubby was suppose to be off work today but when the opportunity came to work an extra day he didn't want to pass it up. Hours have been cut at his factory so he's taking advantage while he can. I do miss him though. :)
My skillet, baking pan, spatula, and mixing bowl is sitting on the stove ready for me to start preparing breakfast soon. I like to lay things out when I get up so it's all ready to go.
The sink is empty for now, although that will change in about an hour.
Light is shining through the living room window and the air conditioner is humming off and on as it tries to maintain the temp we set the apartment for.
A clear plastic bowl of apples and oranges are sitting in front of me. I like glass, but with a preschooler and a near toddler that would be a bad idea. LOL



::What I’ve been up to lately::
We took the boys to a place in the mall that is filled with inflatable bouncy houses. They had so much fun. You can pay $5 per child and they can bounce all day long. If you want to leave they just stamp your hand and you can come back. I think it's a pretty awesome deal, and I think we'll be making more visits there. It's a great way for them to burn up that built up energy when it's raining out or just too hot. They had a blast, and me and hubby had a blast watching them bounce around.
We've been getting more boxes and packing tape, etc for our impending move in just 2 weeks. I am more than ready to get into our new place although I will miss the memories we have created here at the same time.
We are planning a few family outings once we get moved and settled. I'm hoping to hear back on Lucas's school situation so if I don't hear anything Monday I'm going to pay another visit to the local school office Tuesday. It's been really frustrating.
Levi is 1 1/2 and he will no longer stay in his crib. He despises it and tries to climb out every chance he gets so we are on the lookout for a toddler bed that is affordable. I don't want to go out and buy a new twin bed set just yet because we will be buying the boys two new twin beds when tax time rolls around. So I'm looking for something affordable that will get him through until the beginning of next year.



::On my to-do list::
Laundry
Looking for a toddler bed
Packing
Mop floors
Vaccuum floors
Change bed linens
Dropping off library books/movies



::Tips/Tricks::


If you have a toddler trying to learn numbers an easy way to help them is let them push the microwave numbers when you use it (supervised of course). It gives them the sense that they are helping, making something, and they learn at the same time.



::My projects::
Currently my only project is packing. haha. But as soon as we get moved I will definitely be picking back up with crocheting projects.



::From the camera::
We went to feed the ducks and there was a mother duck with her little ducklings. SO adorable!




::Something fun to share::
Pencil Pinwheels
http://crafts.kaboose.com/pretty-pencil-pinwheel.html
I think this is awesome. You can tweak it to a boys tastes as well with different stickers or such. I plan on tweaking this to our own liking. It can be fun because you can stick them in the ground, in a plant pot inside your house, or even something they can have fun with while writing. I can't wait to make some with the boys. I'll make sure to come back and share. :)





::Bible Verse/Devotional::
Psalm 118:24
This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (NLT)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

How can a school be so un-organized!?


Oh my! Let me just start by saying my son is only in preschool and I am already getting fed up with the public school system. So if you don't feel like reading a crazy woman's ranting and raving blog post don't read any further than this. LOL

You still with me? Thank you for taking the time to listen to my ranting, here's a cup of coffee. We could probably both use a bit of caffeine right now. haha.

I am trying to keep my calm and give the school system some time, but I am finding my patience is running very VERY thin.
Here's what we are dealing with:
Last year my son went to preschool speech therapy once a week every week for the whole school year. I home-schooled him the rest of the time. But he showed such a huge interest in public school and just blossomed so when asked if we wanted him to attend preschool 4 days a week (half days of course) this year we decided to go ahead with it. He had met so many friends, and he really wanted to go back. We went to the school to sign him up on the sign up date, filled out all the paperwork, they made copies of shot records, proof of address, etc. Lucas was tested on his letters, numbers, etc.
After about 2 hours of this we were done and were told we would receive a letter in the mail to let us know what school he will be going to.

We waited...and waited...and waited some more. Finally we get a paper saying our son had been accepted into preschool and we should receive yet another paper informing us what school he will attend with the open house date so we can meet his teacher, see his class, other classmates, etc.
So we wait some more...even more...and longer still, but...as you probably guessed, nothing comes.



Being the constant worrier that I am something kept telling me something was wrong. School starts in a few weeks and we should have surely heard something by now!
Hubby kept telling me to give it some more time that I was stressing over nothing.
Meanwhile the school sales are booming at Walmart, Target, etc and prices are getting lower and lower. 
I am the type of person who takes advantage of sales and I try to buy in bulk. Crayons are for sure going to get broken during school, markers are going to run out of ink, colored pencils and pencils are going to break, notebooks will be used up, etc. Not to mention backpacks, uniforms, etc are on sale too which are things he will need. I want to buy stuff up while it's super cheap and be set for the year. Why go back later on and pay full price if you don't have to? All the school lists are posted at the department stores, but since I don't know what school he is going to how am I going to know what the supply list will require? They are all dramatically different in brands they require, amounts of this and that, etc. Some want crayola crayons, some want Roseart, etc,.  Grr..

Frustration mounts...



Finally I have enough. I gather up the kiddos and the hubby and we head out the door to the main school office that handles all the schools in our town. And do you know what we are told?

There is no record of Lucas being set up in preschool! He is still set up for once a week in his speech class. OMGosh! I want to scream, but I calmly explain that we filled out all the paperwork and received an acceptance letter. They consult the computer and say again there are no records. We go home, come back with the acceptance letter to show them, and they look totally confused and again say there is no record.
I stand there in silence for a minute waiting on her to continue but she just stares at me. Very patiently while gritting my teeth I ask:
"Then where did all of his forms go with his very personal information, all his shot records, etc?"
The woman looks at her computer again, says she will look into it and give us a call. We give her our phone number feeling defeated in so many ways, and mighty frustrated.

This was a week ago. 



I have been back to the school office twice, called over a handful of times and left messages. I'm trying not to be a nag about it, but my goodness! School is in 3 weeks! I want to know how in the world they could mess up my son's records like this! I'm not too impressed with the school system thus far. I'm hoping that I hear something by Tuesday or I will be going back to the school office and if that does no good I will be calling or visiting the superintendence's office. I'm not trying to be Cruella De'ville here, but I do not want to have a crushed kid on my hands. He has been looking forward to meeting new friends, going to class, etc. He loves school, and he is very eager to help pick out school supplies he will need also.

So I guess all I can do until then is pray and be patient, but I can't help but be mightily frustrated at the same time. I know it's all going to work out somehow though so I'm trying not to stress. This is something that just jumped out at me while I was looking for helpful bible verses.

Colossians 3:12-13 
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (NLT)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Songs That Make Us Sing Saturdays - July 28





Songs That Make Us Sing


The weeks are going by so fast! Me and hubby, awhile back, went to see Foreigner live and let me just say they put on one AMAZING show!

If you would like to join in on the fun of Songs That Make Us Sing Saturdays please visit the following two blogs and link up! :) Love to hear what your song is this week.





Photobucket
http://www.bcimthemommy.com/
Not Just Another Mom of Twins
http://www.notjustanothermomoftwins.com/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday #5

Wordless Wednesday can be pictures you find online, take yourself, or just admire. It can be anything that just leaves you wordless so if you would like to join in please feel free and leave your link so I can visit your site! I love looking at pictures. :)
I found this one on Pinterest and it just took my breath away.

Tulips in the Netherlands
http://pinterest.com/pin/47076758575578017/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ABC's of Me

The lovely ladies from vB have been doing ABC's of me for awhile now, and for some reason I keep putting it off because I can't think of something to go with every letter. It's high time to post this though so I'm going to sit down and just go with it. You may learn something about me you didn't know. :) So here we go:::




::Age:: 25
::Bed Size:: King size memory foam we just bought this Feb 2012 (when the boys need us it helps to have a big bed, and when the boys sleep in their own room it still helps to have a big bed cos hubby is a bit of a bed hog! haha)
::Chore I hate:: Dishes and laundry (they are never-ending)
::Down Comforters:: I LOVE them. So soft and snuggly and warm without all the weight.
::Envelopes:: I hate to lick them.
::Favorite color:: Any color blue
::Giggles:: Something that can be heard in our house about every single day. Couldn't do without it. LOL
::Height:: I'm 5'9"
::Ice Cream:: Dot's Ice Cream. I seriously can't get enough! If you haven't tried it yet your really missing out. But it's SO hard to find! It's at the zoo we frequent and other than that we have to wait until we are at a theme park to get some, but such a treat every time! LOL)
::Josh:: My husband and soul mate. We are husband/wife, best friends, you name it.
::Kids:: I have two boys, Lucas-age 4 and Levi-age 1 1/2. They are my world :)
::Living arrangements:: 2 bedroom apartment just me, hubby, and our 2 boys.
::Mom's name:: Beverly
::Nicknames:: Hubby jokes around and calls me Princess. LOL. It's something he's always done because I like certain things a certain way.
::Overnight hospital stays:: Both of my pregnancy's resulted in kidney infections so severe I was in the hospital. With Lucas I was in there for 7 days at about 6 months into the pregnancy and with Levi I was in there 3 days at about 8 months into the pregnancy. For some reason I always get kidney infections when I'm pregnant.
::Prayer:: Helps the mind, body, and soul if you ask me. I'm guilty of not praying like I should, but it's something I'm definitely working on.
::Quirks:: I have a really weird quirk of smelling drinking glasses/cups before I drink out of them. Hubby calls it an obsessive compulsive disorder, but it's something I have ALWAYS done and I just call it a weird quirk.
::Reading:: I LOVE to read! I am ALWAYS in the process of reading something, and I just can't stand not to read.
::Siblings:: None by blood or marriage, but I have friends who are like siblings to me regardless. Particularly my best friend and children's god mother Rachel.
::Tori:: My first name.
::Unknown fact:: Unlike most women I can't stand to have long nails! LOL. I like to keep them fairly short so they don't get in the way of chores and playing with the boys. If they get long I will end up biting them or obsessing over them getting dirty because I hate dirt under my nails. I don't keep them super short like men's nails, but I don't let them grow over my fingertips either.
::Vegetables:: A big thing in our house and something we all eat. My kids even eat broccoli, cauliflower, peas, etc., with no problem. They've always loved veggies and broccoli just happens to be their fav.
::Water:: My all time favorite drink! When we go to restaurants with family I order water and they think I do it to save money so there's always a long drawn out discussion about me getting a drink, but I really do want water. I always drink water.
::X-Rays:: I've had quite a few in my life and I detest them! Obviously they don't hurt but I feel so invaded nonetheless. LOL
::Yummy treat I like to indulge in:: Icy Mocha's/Frozen Mocha Frappe's. I have a weakness for frozen coffee.
::Zucchini:: One of my favorite things to eat breaded, fried, etc.


So there you go. It was definitely a challenge to come up with a fact about me for each letter, but it's there. haha. Maybe you've learned something new about me, or maybe we have something in common. Regardless if you participate in the ABC's of me feel free to leave your post url in a comment and I will be glad to visit you and learn a bit about you!


Sincerely,
Tori

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday #13





::The weather in my part of the world::
We actually had some rain which I was so relieved about! It even looks like we have the possibility for more this week. It has dramatically cooled things off, and more importantly there has been a wonderful breeze! It's definitely going to save on our electric bill because we've been able to give the A/C unit a break. I prefer to have all the windows open letting in the natural fresh air, and now we can finally do that without having to burn up! LOL   There has been a major drought in Indiana lately and farmers have suffered so the rain is a welcome. Even if it's too late for a lot of the crops it's welcome by all us Hoosiers! haha



::On my reading pile::
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade (I am loving this book so far! It drew me right in)
Finishing up The Hangman's Daughter by: Oliver Pötzsch on the Kindle
The Dark Monk by: Oliver Pötzsch on the Kindle
AND...
I finally got in my copy of Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James! I am just SO curious to find out what all the hype is about this book so I ordered it and will be starting it very soon.
And as always you can keep abreast of what I'm reading by visiting my Goodreads profile



::On my TV::
Bunheads
HGTV's For Rent
House Hunters
some of hubby's shows we'll be watching together when he gets home tonight



::On the menu for this week’s dinner::
Monday- chicken burritos, Doritos
Tuesday- Pigs in Bacon (hot dogs wrapped in bacon and biscuits), lima beans
Wednesday- Slow Cooked Chicken Cacciatore, Fresh Salad
Thursday- take out Thursday (also menu planning & shopping day)
Friday- (to be determined)
Saturday- (to be determined)
Sunday- (to be determined)



::Recipe I tried or want to try soon::
WANT TO TRY
http://pinterest.com/pin/47076758575583461/



::Looking around the home::
Dishes are sitting in the sink protesting against me. I keep begging for them to wash themselves, but no luck just yet.
Laundry is sitting in the baskets waiting to be folded and put away, and the dirty laundry hamper is screaming "Wash me" much to my disappointment. If I hated two chores more it would be dishes and laundry because they just NEVER END! lol
An apple cinnamon candle is burning on the table in front of me smelling sweet, and I have a hot cup of tea next to me cooling off.
There's noises of sawing and hammering going on outside where they are doing more construction on our building. They even worked yesterday on Sunday which nobody out here was too thrilled about, but regardless they kept on.
The boys are still asleep at the moment (surprisingly what with all the construction going on), but I'm getting ready to start frying some bacon and eggs which is sure to wake them up. :)
I'm getting ready to put some chicken in the crockpot for chicken burritos later on. I have a unique way of making chicken burritos and the family just loves them. Plus cooking it that way makes the meat so moist and tender it's easy for even small mouths to chew. I can post the recipe later on this week with pictures so stay tuned.



::What I’ve been up to lately::
Been spending lots of time with the boys and going to lots of family activites hosted around town. This week we are planning a picnic and trip to the park if it isn't too hot and doesn't rain.
A magician is going to be making a visit to our local library which we are taking Lucas to this week. I just know he is going to be thrilled. He is in that "magic phase" and I can't wait to see his little face light up. Hopefully all goes well. Levi will probably be less than thrilled about it but hopefully we can get him to sit through most of it. He doesn't like to sit still and being only 1 1/2 prefers to run around and yell. LOL
But hey kids are kids, and it's all part of the process. I wouldn't have it any other way.
We are counting down the weeks until the big move, and we have a lot packed and prepared. It's so weird how once you find another place you just can't wait to be in there! And even though our stay in this apartment complex has been much less than satisfactory I will miss the memories here, but the good thing about memories is I can pack them up and take them with me. :)



::On my to-do list::
Laundry- wash, fold, and put away
Mop floors
Dishes
Call the pediatrician and make the dreaded check-up appointments for the boys. (that means vaccinations for Levi which is never any fun)



::My projects::
still none at the moment. I have just been spending my time reading, painting/coloring with the boys, or playing playdough and such with the boys. I'm thinking of doing some popsicle crafts with them, but I've yet to determine what we will make. Plus with my car down for the count at the moment I can't get to the craft store until hubby is off work which thankfully will be Wednesday and Thursday. He's worked 12 days straight and been gone 16 hours a day. We've really missed him, but I am thankful we at least get to see him at night. That takes the edge off us all.



::From the camera::
I have some pictures but couldn't upload them for this post. For some reason my laptop is being extremely slow and since I'm even fortunate it's still working somewhat for me I don't want to push it. I will try to get some pics uploaded when it's in a better mood. It's just operating at a snail's pace and I don't really have the time to wait on it.



::Something fun to share::
Like always I found this on Pinterest and I think it's adorable! I'm thinking of making one for a gift. I have a family member that LOVES bird feeders and is always on the lookout for something original and I think this would be just the thing.
http://pinterest.com/pin/132152570286423458/



::Bible Verse/Devotional::
Philippians 2:4
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis - Book Review






::A bit about the book::
Amelia Devries feels trapped in the life handed to her by her parents. A talented violinist with the world's possibilities at her fingertips Amelia finds herself no longer happy in her profession. Even though music is her life's passion she just doesn't feel as if she belongs. However not willing to let down her parents she continues in her violinist journey playing the fiddle secretly on the side.
One night driving back from a secret fiddling fest she gets stuck outside a remote cabin with a flat tire.
So enters in Michael Hostetler an Amish man who craves learning and loves English ways. After disappointing his parents and community by not joining church he takes time away in the remote cabin in the woods. He is quite surprised at the English beauty who arrives on his doorstep with car trouble and a knack for music. They quickly form a bond and have very much in common when it comes to life's struggles and the understanding of being forcibly rooted into family's expectations.
Feelings between these two charismatic characters start to unfold as they uphold each other in faith and life choices. However each one comes from a very different world from the other, and they will soon realize that being together could be next to impossible. Wanting to satisfy their families while satisfying themselves could be much more of a struggle than each of these characters are up for. And they each have very big choices ahead of them...and to find out more I urge you to read the book!

::My Thoughts::
As you all know I am a huge fan of Beverly Lewis and her Amish novels. I have quite a few of them in my collection, and I imagine I will be reading many more to come.
With this book however, it was a bit harder for me to get through. It didn't pull me in right away, and I didn't really get into the novel until around the middle. I loved the characters, I loved the story, but I felt like all the events took so very long to unfold which seemed to drag the novel a bit. Mainly between Amelia and Michael, sometimes the feelings between these two sizzled and at the same time they fizzled. I felt like neither one was making as much of an effort that you would expect between two people who are romantically interested in each other. However there are many parts of the novel that make up for the stale air between these two. It did leave things unpredictable, and you will find it hard to predict whether these two end up together or not. I certainly was on the fence and couldn't predict which way things would go. It was all I could do not to skip ahead just to find out how these two vivid characters would end up! The mystery of how this novel would unfold kept me reading until the end.
I wish some more background could have been given on some of the characters such as with Joanna Kurtz and Ella Mae (the wise woman). Of course the author quite possibly is saving those characters for another novel (hopefully!) and if that is the case I will pick up a copy upon it's release. As with all of the other novels by Beverly Lewis I find myself immersed in the other character's lives as well as the main characters!
Despite the few things I didn't like, I wasn't disappointed in this novel, and I still found it quite enjoyable. I would recommend it because the faith is so deeply rooted in this story you can't help but admire every one of the character's personal faith in God.
My favorite character was Ella Mae and I wish there could have been more of her in the novel. She seems so real, and so very much the wise woman! She is spunky, faith loving, and oh so very honest. She welcomes all in such a way that I don't think this character could do anything to be shunned despite her age.



This book is available in:::
::Paperback::   ::Hardcover::   ::Large Print::   ::Kindle::   ::Nook::


I rated this book 4 stars on Goodreads


More book info::

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764209779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209772



DISCLAIMER: I was provided this book for free through Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. Opinions expressed are mine alone.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday - July 21

Sorry this post is going up so late! It has been one hectic crazy day! LOL
Here's this Saturday's song that makes me sing!


Heaven Is a Place on Earth
Belinda Carlisle

I joined Because I'm the Mommy and (not) Just Another Mom of Twins in this Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday's blog hop so feel free to visit both of their sites and enter in to! It's such fun! :)

Songs That Make Us Sing

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday #4

Our town is doing a "Walking Man" theme and this is our library's walking man.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday #12




::The weather in my part of the world::
It's been mild in the 80s and 90s. I'm loving the weather and there has actually been a breeze! Not to mention the nights are really mild in the 60s and 70s. It's been actually lovely weather, and I hope for these temps when it comes moving time. haha. But of course August (being the hottest month of the year) will probably be really hot.



::On my reading pile::
finishing up The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis (I haven't had much reading time but I'm so close to the end)
The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
The Dark Monk by Oliver Pötzsch

I ordered 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James to see what all the fuss is about so as soon as that comes in I'll be reading that.


::On my TV::
Bunheads 9pm on ABC Family
Beverly Hills Nannies on ABC Family
May try to catch some episodes of House Hunters on demand



::On the menu for this week’s dinner::
This week is mainly for the kids. With Josh working 12 days in a row with no days off it will be quite a lot to juggle so I'm planning easy meals. Some meals he may have to grab out to eat so it may just be us and the kids eating together.

Monday- breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, corned beef hash)
Tuesday- turkey manhattens (mashed potatoes, corn, turkey, and gravy over bread kind of a knife and fork meal)
Wednesday- cheeseburger hamburger helper, fried potatoes, broccoli
Thursday- Slow cooked pot roast with potatoes and carrots
Friday- slow cooked bbq porkchops, brown rice, mixed veggies
Saturday- chili cheese hot dogs, dorito chips
Sunday- chicken quesadillas



::Recipe I tried or want to try soon::
TRIED
BLT ROLLERS
http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/blt-rollers-124708.aspx
We all love this quick and easy recipe. I usually serve it with some apple slices and it makes a great lunch. The kids adore it, and its SO tasty! LOL. I found it on kraft recipes.



::Looking around the home::
Fresh bouquet of flowers is sitting on the kitchen table in front of me. My boys picked them out for me especially from them for my birthday yesterday and they are beautiful.



I have a cold glass of cranberry cherry juice sitting beside me that is so yummy. It's new from Ocean Spray and it's soooo tasty! Along with that I have some buttered toast which is probably about soggy at this point. haha
Dishes are all done and the house is clean. Everyone is still asleep which explains that. haha. I'm sure once the boys get up it will be disaster mode, and I'll probably need to don my hard hat. :)



::What I’ve been up to lately::
Still in the packing process. It has taken so long because we have decided to downsize our stuff and so everything we come across we have to go through first and decide to keep or throw. But everything is coming along nicely on that front so far and we'll be done right on time without having to rush.

I am SO curious to find out what all the fuss is on the book 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James. I ordered it and I'm expecting it sometime next week. It's part of a trilogy, and I have been hearing about it everywhere. It's all everyone is talking about online, on the news, on the radio, at the library, etc. Our library has the electronic version of it, but it's currently unavailable. I've also heard that this trilogy has been banned from libraries in 3 states! I can't believe it. So of course I have to read it to find out what all the fuss is about. Have any of you read it? What are your thoughts on it whether you have or haven't read it?

Our upstairs neighbors have had people over EVERY night for the last 3 nights in a row. They have partied until around 6am and I'm running on very little sleep. I find it so disrespectful considering they know that we have children. Luckily none of their parties have kept the boys up this time, but it has certainly affected me and Josh. We just keep telling ourselves that we will soon be out of here and into our new apartment. The one bad thing about apartment life is you may not always get along with some of your neighbors. God knows we have sure tried, but they refuse to make any effort what-so-ever. I'm not saying they shouldn't be able to have friends over and enjoy themselves because they are young, but the music they play loudly (you can hear every word) and the fact that it's so loud it vibrates the pictures on our walls is a little ridiculous if you ask me. We have complained to the apartment manager and she says the same thing time and again: "I'll handle it, thank you for bringing it to my attention" and time and again nothing is ever done because they just do it again! Our new apartment complex doesn't tolerate that and it's actually a community with many other families which is refreshing. I made sure to have a long conversation with our new apartment manager before we signed a lease that I did NOT want to deal with what we are currently dealing with. I just can't tell you how many times my kids have woken up crying because of the loud music and parties. It's been horrible and it goes on EVERY weekend. I have had to call the police a few times because when it comes to my children I am like a mother bear in action. We try to talk to them in person but they don't respond well so unfortunately it's the only way we can deal with it. Right now we just keep telling ourselves that God has provided us with a nice new apartment and we'll be in there shortly. Only a matter of time now.



::On my to-do list::
Vacuum
Laundry
Packing
Catch up on some blog reading



::Tips & Tricks::
You know those old socks that are always in the laundry? They have holes, no mates, and you just wanna throw them away?
Well instead of throwing them away stick them in a bag or basket and use them as cleaning rags. They actually clean well and when your done with them you can either re-wash them as cleaning rags or throw them away. Gives them a little extra usage. :)



::My projects::
No projects at the moment. I have been focusing on reading and spending summer with the fam. I do plan on some great upcoming projects though. :)



::From the camera::
flowers the boys got me. Sorry it's a bit blurry and dark. Had to use my camera phone.




::Something fun to share::

Found here: http://pinterest.com/pin/121245414938236949/
This is a great summer-time treat for the kids. Look at how fun it is! This week when we go to the store I am buying some kiwi. I have everything else and I know my boys are just going to love it! Such a FUN treat!



::Bible Verse/Devotional::
Ephesians 4:26 NIV
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday - July 14


Songs That Make Us Sing


Okay so I was searching YouTube for this week's song (which I actually already had picked out) and this song caught my eye was randomly in the list. It wasn't what I searched for, but its something that all moms can identify with and it is hilarious! I'm so glad I clicked on it, and after I listened to it I can't get it out of my head. HAHA
Hope you enjoy it, it's verrryy catchy though just to warn you. :)

The Mom Song
(with Lyrics)
Artist: Anita Renfroe

If you want to join this awesome blog hop feel free to link up at the following blogs and join in our fun! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Germs & Back to School

I feel like I'm coming down with something so this is the way I spent my morning::


Cold glass of orange juice.
Anytime I feel like I'm getting sick I always turn to orange juice. A friend of mine actually takes one vitamin C capsule a day and she swears by it. I do have to admit that she gets sick very rarely, but I really don't like taking anything. haha
I'm the same with my kids, and they only have medicine if they absolutely need it.
I guess I'm a bit paranoid because in today's world you never know what will be recalled.
But hoping I start feeling better soon. I've just been really tired, some chills off and on, and a stuffy nose. Bad timing at that because the outside temps FINALLY became bearable!

I'm still awaiting on school paperwork to arrive. It has been really frustrating to us lately.
We had an apointment set to sign our son up for preschool. It was a bunch of paperwork but very simple. Everything was quick and easy, and I'll be taking him to and from school so no transportation is needed. A couple preschool teachers asked if he would like to go to the playroom and play with the other kids. I of course followed to check it out, but I knew the ladies from the previous year so all was good. I'm just overprotective.
I get all the paperwork done, they make copies of shot records, etc. He had speech therapy already so he had done some tests and they noted all improvements he had made.
Then they say I have to wait on the paperwork to arrive and they can't tell me what school he will be placed in. They say we can go get Lucas and then just keep checking the mailbox.
We get Lucas and leave and then we wait...
Then yesterday we get a paper saying he has been accepted into preschool based on his current skills. (I didn't even know you had to have any skills to get into preschool) The paper even had a report on how well he interacted with other children his age although he was a bit shy at first. Showed high artistic ability, and reading skills. The paper says to await further instruction on what school he will be attending!
I didn't even know they had to "accept" him into preschool and why can't they just tell me what school already? Not to mention I didn't know that my son playing with other students would be a "test" of sorts.
This is one of the reasons I really do not like public school, but Lucas really wants to go. He made so many friends in his speech class last year and he just blossomed. So I guess we will see how it goes and as he gets older if he decides he wants homeschooling we will go back to that.
But not knowing WHAT school he will be attending is really getting to me and totally throwing behind school shopping.
I can go ahead and buy the uniforms since we know the dress code, but what about all the stuff he will need for class? I like to prepare I guess, and school shopping is extremely hard in my small town. We have a Walmart which is a blessing, but the closer it gets to school time the more madness ensues. Walmart becomes a battle ground and parents are arguing over everything from backpacks to pencil boxes. Last year a couple moms were literally bickering at each other over who would get the last pack of 24 count Crayola crayons and who would be stuck with the 24 pack of Roseart crayons. There were no pencil boxes left and Walmart said they weren't to get a shipment in until that following week. Yikes, school was starting in a couple days!
Last year Lucas went one half day a week and I home-schooled him the rest of the time. He did require supplies for his both at school and our home class but this year will require much more. He will go four half days a week so I can only imagine the list when we get it. haha.
So anyway enough complaining...



How do you handle back to school? Are you an early shopper or do you like to wait until the last minute when the best deals come out?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beloved Enemy book review

As you know I love reading historical romance novels. Such is the reason that this novel drew me in.

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590529030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590529034



::A bit about the novel::
One of the main characters, Jenny Jordan, takes a job with the federal government, and at the same time covers for her father's Confederate spy missions. Her father warns her never to get involved with a soldier, and that's just what happens. Jenny's father accepts a job offered by Abraham Lincoln, but is not honest in his motives. He feigns loyalty to the North while in reality his loyalties lay with the South. Jenny meets Union soldier Buck Brownell in her line of career and her life is forever transformed by love at first sight. Jenny's loyalties are with her father and her land, but she can't help but carry a forbidden love for Buck despite her father's warnings. Buck equally reciprocates the love feelings between the two and desperately wants Jenny to be his.
Determined to keep her forbidden love and still hold loyalty with her father in some way Jenny tries to please both parties. She agrees to help her father carry a message, but gets caught by Union soldiers over enemy lines. Buck has orders to execute her, but tries to find a way to save his true love.




::My Thoughts::
It took me awhile to get swept up into the story. This is part 3 in Battles of Destiny series, so maybe it was because I didn't read the first 2. I felt that it dragged on a little longer than necessary. This novel has a good mix of battle and romance, but I think it could have shown a bit more detail to some of the characters. Still for a novel centered on the Civil War it was a good read. It isn't one of my favorite novels, but if you are curious you should definitely give it a read.
I really enjoyed Jenny's character and understood her dilemma as far as trying to please her father while trying to please herself and Buck. The endings for all characters were mixed, some good and some bad. I don't think I would want to change the endings though and felt that it was all as should be although some were quite surprising. I won't go into details on that so as not to spoil anything.
I have to admit I was hoping for this novel to be a little more meaty, not meaning that there should be sex scenes or anything, but I felt things could definitely be more heated between the love couple to make their love seem more realistic.
Still this is a well researched novel and despite some of the characters use of wording in conversations I didn't feel like it was set in any other time frame other than the Civil War.
I am glad I did give this book a chance though as now I won't be curious and although it isn't one of my favorites I did still enjoy it.


This book is available in::
Print   Kindle   Nook   




I rated this book 3 stars on Goodreads & Amazon




DISCLAIMER: I was provided this book for free through Waterbrook Multnomah publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. Opinions expressed are mine alone.

Packing Amiss The War

I'm sure your all probably sick of hearing about our impending move in just 5 weeks, but I am so excited about it I can't help but talk about it! LOL
Hope I'm not boring you too much!
We have been going through EVERYTHING and I must say I am so relieved to get rid of stuff! There is so much stuff that we have held onto for nostalgia's sake, and it's just insane how much has accumulated! We live in an apartment and we have no storage unit. So everything is kinda stacked up into the back of the closets in various totes and boxes. I do not want to repeat this in our new apartment. Our closets have kind of become our own little storage units if you will. haha
I got rid of 7 totes of toys that was filled with infant toys and (although I'm ashamed to admit it) broken toys. I found literally an ENTIRE tote filled with broken toys! Toys that got broke so we figured "We can fix that, we just need this piece and some glue, etc and it will be good as new" but instead they all got shoved in there.
Oh! And let me just add that packing and going through stuff, especially toys, is NO easy task with children running around!
Every toy is suddenly their favorite toy! Doesn't matter if it's something they are too big to play with, or even if it's broken. Doesn't matter that they have only played with it a few times and then discarded it, it's their FAVORITE! lol
For instance yesterday we had boxes and totes lined up against the wall. Some were labeled "toys to keep" and others labeled "get rid of". We are sorting through stuff and I realized "Wow, we have filled up 3 totes already of stuff to get rid of". I was so proud and happy, feeling major accomplishment at clearing out our clutter. Then all of a sudden I turn around and the totes are all almost empty. The boys are in the process of putting EVERYTHING in the keeps. Grrr....so let's go through it all again. haha

In other news...

Do your kids generally fight over really silly things? Here's a peek at some of the stuff mine have been fighting over lately:







  • Who gets their dinner sat in front of them first
  • Who gets to use what towel (no matter that they are the exact same color!)
  • Who gets to wear what color pajamas (even though they don't even wear the same sizes)
  • Who gets to use what color crayon (then if they have the same crayon they fight over what one uses what crayon, God forbid one crayon has a sharper point that the other one)



That's just to give you an idea. haha. It's crazy. Levi is 1 1/2 and Lucas is 4 and I'm surprised that they manage to even fight over stuff like that. BUT just goes to show we should never underestimate children.
No one child is ever alike, and no matter how much we prepare for them we will NEVER be ready. haha.
There is no book in the world that can tell you everything you need to know about children, trust me I have read quite a few. Maybe they will give you some helpful tips here and there, but to be honest I have gained what knowledge I do have from my own experience and talking/reading other moms.
But I have to admit I wouldn't have it any other way than the hectic craziness of the way things are now. These truly are the best years.
The other day I was grumbling to myself about all the toys littered in my living room. It was like World War of the Toys or something, and then I suddenly thought to myself:
"One day the boys will be grown and it will be a battle just to get them to spend time with us, and then I'll miss all the toys"
Not to mention the day will come where mommy kisses and hugs will no longer be appreciated, and they won't want to cuddle up with me anymore. I will inevitably embarrass them, and they will grumble "Momm!" and I will yearn for the days when they would gladly run up to me or call "Mommy!"
Time goes so fast, and I love my baby boys. They are such blessings and they bring such joy. I do wish things were a little easier sometimes but then again it probably wouldn't give me that much knowledge or strength either. Plus my blog may be just a little boring without all the fuss and grumble. LOL

So anyway I'm off to do dishes since they refuse to do themselves. Protesting against me they are, but I shall prevail in the end! :)
Hope you all have a great day!


Sincerely,
Tori



Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday #11

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::The weather in my part of the world::

It's been really hot and muggy. Particularly over the weekend. It has been so hot in fact that we have been spending most of our time indoors so nobody overheats. It sucks that it's so hot we can't even take the kids to the park but to be honest most of our parks are deserted due to the equipment being so hot! We are in a major drought also so hopefully this week provides some relief. It's certainly promising better temps compared to our 105 degree weekend.



::On my reading pile::
The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis
The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
The Dark Monk by Oliver Pötzsch


TBR Pile- some books for review



::On my TV::
Bunheads- all new comes on tonight on ABC Family
Also I'm catching up on some episodes of My First Place & House Hunters



::On the menu for this week’s dinner::
Monday- slow cooked beef and noodles, mashed potatoes, peas
Tuesday- fried chicken, mac and cheese, brocolli
Wednesday- spaghetti with homemade meatballs and garlic bread
Thursday- nachos
Friday- tuna casserole
Saturday- pizza (take-out)
Sunday- shopping day



::Recipe I tried or want to try soon::
Want To TryCrab-Filled Crescent Wontons
Photo & recipe taken from  http://cookingwithkrista.blogspot.com/2011/02/crab-filled-crescent-wontons.html 




::Looking around the home::
It's quiet with hubby back to work. I miss him terribly and it's just NOT the same without him. He's getting ready to begin a long couple of weeks back to work which means it will mostly be just me and the boys. We move in just 5 weeks and we have already got most of our bedrooms packed up. I have some stuff sitting in the closet I need to drop off at our local Goodwill to get it out of here.
Got the cupcake pan sitting on the counter ready to make some funfetti cupcakes which happens to be the boys favorites.
Some eggs are boiling on the stove because I'll be making egg salad sandwiches for lunch today. One of my favorites on wheat bread. I prefer to make my own since you never know about the kind you buy.
Air conditioner is humming away and kitchen fan is on which keeps the temperatures inside just perfect.




::What I’ve been up to lately::
Spending quality time with the family. Josh had a nice 3 day weekend off and it was wonderful having him home!
It's been SO hot outside most of our time has been spent indoors. We have had a lot of errands to run to go get boxes and tape, drop stuff we are getting rid of at various places, etc.
Mostly we have been going through stuff, packing, and getting rid of stuff. Simpler is better if you ask me and I'm a bit ashamed at all the stuff I have pack-ratted away. LOL
One thing I'm not willing to do is deplete my book collection too much. I love my books and over the years I have found so many favorites that I read and read again. LOL
Josh just fixed the power steering hose in my car, it sat for a month undrivable. Well not it seems like my A/C compressor is acting up so it's sitting yet AGAIN until we can get it to the mechanic this week. I'm hoping for inexpensive news and hoping it's something easy to fix. Josh has never worked on a compressor so we have to rely on a mechanic. :( I just want my poor car back.
There have been some really wonderful programs at our local library for children. Last week we went and seen Ed Snakehead who brought ten different species of snakes which totally freaked me out but Lucas loved it. This week is Silly Safari and there will be an owl, alligator, skunk, etc.
Here's some snippets of Ed Snakehead...




::On my to-do list::
Pack more
Vacuum floors
Make cupcakes
Make some homemade lemonade
Write some reviews
Catch up on some blog reading



::Blog of the week::
(not) Just Another Mom of Twins
funny, insightful, and amazing. You should definitely check out her blog.



::My projects::
I have been working on my Kindle Fire case...STILL. Unfortunately with everything going on I haven't had much of a chance to work on it, and it's been sitting in my craft basket for weeks! I am still determined though as soon as we get through some of this hectic-ness to get it finished once and for all.



::From the camera::
Homemade cheesy, egg, and ham breakfast burritos



::Something fun to share::

Take a York Peppermint Patty and stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours. When you take it out and it's good and frozen...enjoy. Instant cool down and sssooo delicious. To be honest I don't even care for Peppermint Patties, but I LOVE them frozen! It's the perfect little treat when the weather is hot and it gives you some chocolate which all us moms are trying to sneak in. haha!



::Bible Verse/Devotional::
Psalm 103:1-2, 
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (NIV)
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