Monday, October 5, 2015

The Beginning...

So I've got this friend. And she wrote a book. I'm only half-way through it, but it's amazing. I'm super jealous and all, because she actually did what she said she would do, while I just sit here and say, "I should write more."

So I'd like to say to her, "Thank you for the inspiration!"

The early morning sun was cresting above the ocean, setting off a wave of pale colors throughout the sky to the east. Kate stood on her porch, the steam from her coffee mug wafting gently through the air as she breathed in the strong aroma. It was like being in one of those coffee commercials, she laughed quietly to herself. This was her favorite part of living right on the water – the silence and solitude that came every morning. It wouldn’t last long. Despite the coolness of October, the beach was close enough to town that a steady stream of people would visit during the day – joggers choosing to run along the water instead of a sidewalk, stay-at-home moms breaking from park routines to watch their children play in the sand, and those careless souls who loved to walk along and watch the fishing boats in the distance.

The last throngs of tourists had finished their vacations and headed back home after Labor Day weekend, leaving her sleepy little lake town quiet again. It wouldn’t pick up again until the Harvest Festival in two weeks.  She wouldn’t need to hurry to her shop by 6 a.m. every day for the morning rush. She was thankful when Christine had offered to take the early shift for the month. Kate was in need of a break as she prepared for the upcoming busy season – the Harvest Festival was a big draw and had grown larger and larger with each passing year. What was once a simple town parade and sidewalk fair had turned into a celebration of grand proportions.  The beach was just one of the draws to the town – nearby farms blossomed with pumpkins and hay bales that would soon line Main Street in anticipation of the festival. The leaves on the trees would shine with their bright colors of gold, orange and crimson. The crispness of fall perfumes the air and the blustery wind sweeps through, rustling the soon-to-be barren branches. The storefronts would be ablaze of autumn décor – colorful lights, spooky skulls and bright orange jack-o-lanterns would fill the windows, each one carefully set up to entice those passing by to come in for a spell.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hello October!

It's here! My favorite time of year! For fun, I'm going to list just a few of my favorite October things. :)

Spooky stories:

When I was in grade school, I found this book (yes I tended to read things that I probably shouldn't have at certain ages). It was the best, spookiest book I'd ever seen at that time. Every year, when the leaves began to change colors and fall from the trees, I would check this book out from the library.  I'd sit in our darkened living room in the evenings after supper and treat myself to one scary story after another. Once I went to college, I lost the tradition. It wasn't until a few years ago that I found the book on Amazon. It was even scarier than I remembered - especially the story called "Eyes" by Charles L. Grant. In fact, as a mother (it's about the death of a child and the guilt the father endures) I can't read the story anymore. But all the other ones are super good!

Devilish Decor:

Here is a link to how I usually decorate. I do wait until October officially starts to get out my Halloween decor, so this weekend it's on!

I am going to be brave and get out a few things I haven't had out since the kids were born. Every year, I try to take out one new thing (the skeleton bride/groom was a big scary thing for a couple of years!). This time, I am going to put out some of my Living Dead Dolls. I collected these long before the kids came into the picture. They aren't actually little kid appropriate, and they live in coffins... I did promise not to bring out the super scary ones though.  A few that will grace the mantel include:

Just kidding - I won't put the bloody bride and groom out!
(Unless Keira gives her approval!)


Seriously I can't help it. I love it all.

Do you celebrate Halloween? Do you decorate for it?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review: One More Haunted Evening

It's a dreary fall day - just the kind of day that makes you want to curl up with a cozy blanket and a warm drink... and this book! One More Haunted Evening is a fantastically spooky story just right for the season. This book was written by three authors (Jane Charles, Jerrica Knight-Catania, and Ava Stone) - which some people may find odd, however, all three authors pulled it off again with great results!

This is a follow-up book to One Haunted Evening, although you don't need to have read the first one to pick this one up.

Lord Quentin Post and his two rakish friends are back at Marisdùn Castle for a Samhain masquerade. In fact, Quentin hopes that by having a masquerade just like last year's, his mysterious angel will reappear. The other two gentlemen, Thorn and Garrick, are also on the search for something, one for his missing artist, and the other for, well you will see when you read the book. ;) 

Quentin's three sisters - triplets, Hope, Patience, and Grace, are also along for adventure. They were certainly entertaining to read about as well!  It's hard to say too much without giving things away, which I hate to do. But I highly recommend this book (and the first one as well!) especially this close to Halloween. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Honest Post

I am a saver. A part-time hoarder, if you will. I have a hard time letting go of things that once meant a lot to me. Which means we have a lot of stuff. Baby stuff, kid stuff, things from my own past that remind me of different times. I'm always saving things for a rainy day. Gift cards, candles, bottles of wine, you get the idea. I don't want to use/open them just now, just in case. I want to save them for a special occasion or to cheer me up on a day that I could be feeling down.

But now, more than ever, I am reminded that life is short. There have been rainy days but I didn't burn the candle. There have been days I felt down, but I didn't stop at Starbucks to use the giftcard. And I wonder, whatever am I waiting for?

The future is there in front of me, but life is so uncertain. I watch with sadness as a co-worker struggles with her chemo treatments. My heart breaks as a fellow twin mom prepares to bury her 10 year old son. I see my own face in the mirror, swollen from months of steroid use, and lament the fact I didn't do our family pictures sooner.  

People say they are praying for me - I wish they'd pray that I was miraculously healed. Because seriously, I don't want to do this anymore. This air of calm resolve you see on the outside is just a mask, hiding the chaos that circles in my soul. My to-do list rambles on with things I really should get to before I have life-changing surgery. But sheer exhaustion from kidney failure prohibits more items being checked done. What should I put off and what should I move to the top?

That candle I received years ago looms in my mind - why did I never burn it? The gift card sits in my wallet - why didn't I stop off and get a latte? Running, always running, from one thing to the next, with never a moment to slow down. Life speeds past as life is ought to do. And I find myself in a flurry of motion, hard-pressed for time because it's running out.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Routine Charts

The kids really like their before school charts. I've vamped them up a bit - they love their electronics but do not get them during the school week (other than the occasional TV show in the morning).  I also wanted something for after school, just as a reminder of what needs to be done.  It's very exhausting to me to come home after a full day of work, see the kitchen and living room in total disarray. We go right to supper, finishing up homework, baseball or gymnastic practice, 20 minutes of reading (per school request), and then shower/bedtime.  The kids leave their backpacks where they fall, shoes near the door, clothes all over (seriously why can't they change in their rooms???), etc. They rarely hang up their uniform pants, although many times I will find their dirty uniform shirts hanging up? How weird is that?

I created this chart for what they should be doing after school.  I may end up tweaking it after a couple of weeks.  The 7:30 p.m. bedtime really isn't that firm, but it's generally when we start getting them ready for bed.  

What would you add to an after school chart?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back to School - Creating a Homework Station

School starts tomorrow. I am trying to get things organized in between working full-time. Ha!

We had already been using a shoe organizer in our closet off the kitchen for miscellaneous items, such as hats and gloves in the winter, and sunglasses and baseball hats in the summer.  By moving those things to a different spot, I had plenty of space for our homework supplies. The kids love the ease of being able to find what they want without having to dig through the closet or a drawer!

Full view
Close-up #1: The first three bags are the kids' markers for art.
The bottom two bags hold pencils, erasers, crayons and a glue stick for each twin
Close-up #2 Misc markers, rulers,
and art supplies for when homework is done
and they just want to create something!
Art supplies, extra markers (Keith got a great deal at Meijer!)
Stamps, envelopes, return address labels,
Connor's box with his school pencils and crayons.

* I had previously posted this on my other blog, but wanted to move it over here.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: My Enchanting Hoyden

Julie Johnstone's newest novel, My Enchanting Hoyden, was just released last week. As usual, this is another one of her books that is just a delight to read! 

Jemma is a woman who has been duped by her first love. Intent on not wanting to ever make that mistake again, her goal is to earn enough money to be independent and have her own bakery, just like her mother. That's not easy when her grandfather has different plans. Lord Hawthorne, otherwise known as Philip, has a debt to fulfill and marriage to a wealthy woman is his only way out. But he feels he is too much of a gentleman to win a lady's heart, and is intent on changing his reputation to gain a wealthy wife.

As the two of them work together, Jemma to foil her grandfather's plan, and Philip to turn himself into a rogue to be wanted by the ladies of the ton, the reader roots for the two of them to acknowledge their feelings for each other!

This is a really great story. The characters are very likeable from the beginning.  Ms. Johnstone's characters are always so full of life that you can imagine having tea and getting along famously with them.  While this is book 3 in her Once Upon a Rogue series, it can be read as a standalone. Or as the first book of many you pick up to read by this author. ;)

Want to check out the book? Buy it here: