Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday's Fave Five #402

It's Friday, time for Friday's Fave Five.  After my big no show of last week, I definitely was watching what day it was this week.  Not sure what went on but I just did not get back to do a post but this is a fresh week so dusting myself off and doing it right.  Please join us as  we look for and note 5 of the week's blessings.

1.  Great discussion on the topic of kindness.  Tuesday night at ladies study we had a very good discussion on the topic of kindness and setting ourselves to a higher standard.  Wow, some of the honesty, insights and wisdom that came from the ladies of my group was phenomenal.  There were many great takeaways and encouragements in our endeavors to make kindness a greater part of our lives.  I am so blessed to have them and to have a group that is not afraid to be honest and open and vulnerable. 

2.  $30 coupon with no minimum purchase.  A clothing store in town had a great offer on: purchase $70 and get the aforementioned coupon to come in this week to spend on anything you wanted.  I was in there  originally to buy a pair of workout pants which I needed (and which happened to be 40% off...a double blessing), so I added a belt which I really did need and a scarf.  Okay, I admit, I didn't need the scarf but when I saw it my need for a tartan scarf in my wardrobe came to light and I couldn't leave it behind.  Anyway, that allowed me to go back this week and after trying a bazillion things on, which was half the fun, I actually walked out of that store choosing a shirt that was actually $29.90 so I didn't owe a red cent and walked away with a totally free item.  And if you read this blog you know this girl loves free!  

3.  The latest book from my favorite author.  Oh my goodness.  Another great story from Charles Martin.  I'm not going to say too much because my full review is coming this weekend but boy oh boy.  This one was so good.  So much depth and emotion.  It's a modern day retelling of the prodigal son and let's just say I need to restock my kleenex supply.  

4.  A fresh pot of coffee ready and waiting for me every morning.  My dear hubby is the earlier riser in our family and he always has coffee ready made for me when I get up.  In fact, when he hears me heading for the bathroom, he pours it and puts the cream in it and it's ready to do it's magic as soon as I stumble into the kitchen.  No waiting half asleep for a pot to brew or digging around with my eyes glued shut to pour my own cup.  This may be small to some but for me it is huge in the mornings.  I am so not a morning person.  

5.  Moments of refreshing.  In a hectic week I have been very appreciative of snatches of refreshing here and there through out my day.  That perfect song on the radio, that opportunity for an extra cup of coffee with my feet up, that walk around a few blocks with my hubby and dog, a few moments of beautiful sunrise to enjoy before all the kids arrive.  These are just a few of the little blessings in the midst of sometimes chaotic days that God knows my soul needs and provides at just the right times.  They are moments of reprieve, of taking that breather,  getting reenergized.  It is these that I am trying to take more notice of and be thankful for.  

What were your favorite blessings from the week?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday's Fave Five #401

I'm sorry everyone...I got totally mixed up as to what day it was.  Here's the linky and I'll be along later with my FFF.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan ~ Book Review

Grace Winter is 22 and on trial for her life.  A young newlywed who has just become a widow, Grace never thought she would be in this place in her life.   In 1914, a couple years after the sinking of the Titanic, Grace and her new husband are on another beautiful ocean liner headed to America so that Grace can meet Henry's family.  But then the unthinkable happens and there is a huge explosion.  As the boat sinks Henry is able to get Grace onto one of the lifeboats but in the process he is lost.  It soon becomes apparent that the lifeboat is filled to over capacity.  Now their survival is dependent upon whom to trust with the hard decisions.  As the days drag on and hopes for rescue start to dwindle, starvation starts setting in and clear minded thinking becomes harder, some must lose their lives in order for some to live.  But who will it be and who will decide?

Wow, this is one of those books that left me thinking for days afterward.  It is a page turner, for sure, and grabbed me from the very beginning.  A psychological horror story, it is about the very nature of survival and explores how we would make tough, life altering decisions when all is on the line, who we trust and why, and what we would sacrifice.  It is deep and complex and yet I seemed to fly through it.   Grace is an interesting character and the story is told in her voice.  The story is nerve wracking, suspenseful and challenges the reader to examine their moral standing when their very survival depends upon those decisions.  It is at times not an easy story to read and yet I kept plowing through because I had to know what happened.  Throughout the story, I couldn't help but think "what would I do?".  I could say I would take the moral high road as I sit comfortably on my couch, but if I really placed myself into the lifeboat what would I really do as things become more and more desperate?  A very good read and one I'll be reading again as there are so many layers to peel away with this story.

Rated this a 9.5/10.

Monday, October 10, 2016

And Thanksgiving 2016 is in the books

Merry Christmas...or rather I mean...Happy Thanksgiving from Southern Alberta.  We woke up to a wonderfully sunny snowy day in which to give out thanks.  Life in Southen Alberta, you gotta roll with it.  

We had our big turkey dinner yesterday and today we are just resting and recuperating.  Yes recuperation is needed after this:

What seemed to be our theme for the weekend.

Mmmhmm...looking good. I think this is the best turkey I have ever cooked.

The spread!

The plate!

And the fam...the most important part of the day!  

Hubby took the pic so missed avoided getting in the pic.
Now, this was round two, a ham dinner being celebrated with my dad on Saturday at my sis's place but darned if I didn't forget to take a picture that day.

So today we are sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing and saying prayers for my son and his friend who have to drive back to Edmonton in the snow storm because he has classes tomorrow.

And this about wraps up Thanksgiving 2016!  Ha!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Friday's Fave Five #400

Hi everyone.  It's been a crazy week with a new babe in dayhome so I am very short on computer time and super tired in the evenings.  I had a couple of posts started but they just didn't go anywhere.  But I want to make sure I take time to look back and see the blessings of the last week.  Please join in with the FFF group!

1.  Movie night with good friends.  I love spending time with this couple, they are so much fun.  We had coffee is a nice local coffee shop and then headed out to see Sully.  Such a good movie.  I love true story movies and I have to say this one had my heart in my throat a few times.

2.  Operation Christmas Child kickoff.  Sunday was our kickoff to the shoebox campaign and it went really well.  I always love this time of year and it's always so much fun to pray and pack those boxes for the children.  

3.  Good sales on things I need.  I always love me a good deal but it's even sweeter when it's something I really needed and needed to get right at the time.  Sometimes things just go kaputz and break down at inconvenient times.  You just cannot wait until a sale comes along.  It's especially a blessing to find that item you need right away at a good price.  Always thankful for that.

4.  Hardly any wasps during the normal wasp season.  Yes there were some though nothing like last year.  It was so bad last year that all the stores had literally run out of wasp traps and we literally drove and hour and half to another city to find some.  We stocked up but I only used one this year and it was mostly empty of wasps.   And here it is October so the season would be officially done for them critters.  Yipee!

5.  Spicy fall scents.  I love all the warm spicy scents of Fall's wax melts and candles.  A favorite I've been had in the melter is Autumn Sunset from Scentsy and a favorite candle is Autumn Day from Bath and Body.  I just love everything about fall.

What were your favorites this week?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday's Fave Five #399

Hard to believe, but it is Friday and so it's time to look and find the blessings that came to us during the last week and share 5 of them.  This week has gone by so fast for me that it is a good thing I have this exercise to try to reflect and look for those blessings otherwise they would just breeze right on by.  Please join in with me.

1.  Friend tradition:  showhome tour.  Every year my friend and I take in the showhome tours in the fall.  It's our tradition.   First stop is Starbucks, then we pick the homes we want to see for sure and go down the list from there.  She and I don't always agree on style or what we like but that is half the fun.  It's something we look forward to every year.  It's a pleasure to share this fun time with her.

2.  Being treated to lunch after church.  This was a real treat for us and a nice surprise.  A delicious lunch, good company and still having lots of afternoon left to laze around.  

3.  Speaking of church....I love when I go to church and everything from the songs chosen to the message to things that are said while chatting afterwards seem like they are directly spoken from God to me.  This was one of those Sundays.  So encouraging!  It was a great day.

4.  Fall foods.  I've been going through my recipes in anticipation of cooking those wonderful, warm, comforting fall foods.  I'm very much a soup gal so am looking forward to old favorites and trying some new ones too.  Crockpot, get ready, you will be put to work!

5.  Fall scenery.  Sunday evening hubby and I took a lovely stroll in a park down in the river valley.  The fall colors were out, the sun warm on the skin but the air a bit cool.  The birds were chirping and children laughing.  It was a gorgeous evening walk while holding hands with my beloved.   When I figure out how to download the pics onto this computer I will share.

What were your favorite things from your week?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens by Colleen Coble ~ Book Tour & Review

Publisher Description:
“I need you to keep these girls safe . . .”

 Kate Mason has devoted herself to caring for her family’s blueberry barrens. But after her fields stop producing fruit, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to make a living. Renting out the small cottage on her property seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is—because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family. The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But a family crisis isn’t exactly the ideal time to pursue a romance.

 Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a stalker who won’t leave her alone, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn. With threats swirling from multiple directions, she wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last. Set on the beautiful coast of Maine, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens brings together suspense, romance, and the hope that one day new life will come again.

My Thoughts:
This is Book 3 in the Sunset Cove Novel series.  And Colleen Coble has produced another suspense filled page turner.  With favorite characters from the other two books plus a few new ones she takes us into the life of Kate Mason to explore what we let define who we are.   With Kate's troubled past and life threatening illness which she overcame, she is struggling to see herself as someone who is worth knowing and loving and tends to see herself through her past.  With a newly developing relationship with a twin sister she never knew she had until recently, she is finally starting to have a positive influence in her life.  I loved how her sister was her biggest cheerleader yet was able to be totally honest with her.

This story has some of everything making it complex and interesting;  tension and suspense, mystery, crime and romance all blend wonderfully into a great mix.  It can be read as a stand alone very well, but my opinion is it is so much better to have read the first two so that the reader can know  and understand the backgrounds and richness of the relationships.   Though references are made to things that happened in the other books they weren't to terribly detailed and might raise a few questions for the new reader of just this book.   It however, doesn't affect the story telling to the point of the reader being confused as to what is happening in this installment.  I must admit I found the stalker aspect of the story totally creepy but it added to the atmosphere of tension.   If you are at all sensitive to that kind of thing you might want to know it is in there.   It was a definite page turner and I had it read in a few days.  One small thing I found mildly annoying about the book was that it had several instances of product placement which made the sentences they were in sound a bit  "unnatural" to me, but that was easy enough to get past.  As usual, this author has an absolute wonderful ability to describe the area the story is placed and make you feel like you are right there.  It was nice to revisit the area of Folly Shoals and Maine in this story.  If you like the contemporary suspense romance genre you can't go wrong with this series.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing this book free of charge for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions were my own and I'm not required to give a positive review.

Friday's Fave Five #398

It was a cold, dreary and wet first day to autumn this week.  Just perfect to cosy up with a hot cup of tea and find some good things to think about.  Join us in reflecting on the blessings from the past week and sharing 5 of them.

1.  Challenge completed.  My mom, who was a wonderful cook of Hungarian foods, used to make Silvas Gomboc (Plum Balls) for us every year when it was plum season.  It was a favorite meal of mine and still is.  Every year of my married life she has gifted us with a pan of these heavenly balls of goodness.  Except the last half dozen or so.  She just is unable to stand for that length of time that it takes to make these.  Like any great European dish it takes time to make these.   So they have always been intimidating to me.  The time it takes and that her recipe is from an old Hungarian recipe book where everything is measure in decagrams and other measurements we just don't used here made her translating  quite the process and it seemed so difficult.  Those two things and the fact that I just don't cook anything that requires the use of a rolling pin pretty much hooped me.  But thanks to the wonderful thing called the internet, I found a recipe which made it sound fairly doable.   So with a few tweeks to make it more like hers...voila!  My first ever attempt at one of my favorite dishes ever.  With a bit more practice using that bane of my existence, the rolling pin,  hopefully it will get just as good as hers.  I think I'll post the recipe sometime next week.

  Sorry, couldn't help myself...took a bite before it occurred to me to take a pic for the ol' blog.

2.  Family Reunion.  Last weekend Hubby's side of the family held a reunion.  We hadn't had one for about 9 years.  It was really nice to see everyone and catch up and meet some new relatives too. There were about 45 of us there and yet some were missing.  There was much catching up, lots of laughter, and lots and lots of eating.  Unfortunately, none of my pictures are great as the anit-shake somehow got turned off on my camera.  Bummer, but the memories are great.

3.  All kids home.  Along with the reunion, my two oldest were also in their respective friends wedding parties last weekend so the family was all home.  We didn't get to spend too much time together, snatches of a few minutes here and there, but just the fact that we were all home did this mama's heart good.

4.  Taking out the fall decorations.  I love the fall colors so am always happy to put out the fall decor.  I'm keeping it super simple this year but the bits of oranges, rusts, yellows, reds and browns just make me happy.

5.  Getting cosy with throws.  It has been cool enough over the last couple days that it required getting out the thicker, fluffier throws.  I love using them relaxing with a good book or watching tv.  

What were your favorite blessings this last week?