Wednesday, August 16, 2017

These two are just too adorable and make me grin like a fool every time they are on.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fridays Fave Five #442

Good morning everyone!  Sorry this is late going up.  Unexpected company last night made it so I couldn't get to my computer.  I don't know when today I'll be able to make my own Friday's Fave Five but don't let that stop you!  I'll put up the Linky and you go right ahead and I'll jump on board whenever I can.  Happy Friday to all!

And we're finally back...

Whew, it's been a crazy day with everything so far but I'm finally able to catch a minute to see if I can get 5 favorite blessings from the week posted.

1.  Visit from my son.  My son was able to get some well deserved down time and come home for a few days.  So very nice to have him here.  His friend came along with him and we've been having a good visit.  I love whenever my kids can get home.  I really miss them.

2.  Day trip to Calgary.  This is always fun and we always have our favorite places to visit there.  This time we took a trip to the Calgary Farmer's Market and the Chinook Mall.  The Farmer's Market is always a treat with lots of delicious food and fun products.  There is almost always buskers playing and singing and providing entertainment.  It's just such a fun, busy environment.  I even found a Christmas present already.  Just hope I remember I bought it come December.  :/

3.  First lesco of the year.  Come August when the peppers start making an appearance we start getting a craving for a wonderful Hungarian peasant dish called lesco.  Growing up in a Hungarian household my Mom made the best but I give it a good shot each year.  It's usually made with sweet banana peppers or sweet yellow Hungarian peppers, but this time at the farmer's market I was able to score some wonderful purple peppers too.   Big bonus is it takes only about 1/2 hour at the most from stove to table and is super easy.   And seeing my son loves this dish, I made a batch while he was here.  I'll post the lecso recipe this week.  It was fun to get his friend, who is from China, to try this dish as had brought us all sorts of Chinese treats to try.  I can now officially say I have tried Chinese snack foods such as Shredded dried Squied, Spicy Bean Curd, Spicy rice crackers, and something like a cereal square but chewier rather than crispy, and a meat appetizer that was cooked with all sorts of traditional Chinese spices such as cinammon and cardomon.  

4.  Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding.  I have not baked in a long, long, long time.  My hubby no longer eats sugar, and I have cut way, way back.  If I have a sweet it's at dinner at someone else's house or a restaurant and it's rare.  If I have it around I know I will just eat it until it's gone.  But seeing the guys were home AND I had stale hamburger buns and some frozen cherries that needed eating I made this yummy bread pudding.  I used half the sugar and it still was so delicious.  It was a hit with everyone and again so easy.  I'll post that recipe next week too.

5.  Mini at home holiday.  Wrapping up our staycation week last weekend Hubby and I took some bike rides, river bottom walks and actually ate pizza at a restaurant.  I love holidays and going places but I also like staycations too.  I find they are a bit more relaxed.  On holidays we tend to be on the go so much, taking in sights and events and shopping of the place we are visiting.  But at home it's totally down time and we go with the flow.  Sleeping in, chilling with me reading and him doing his music stuff on the computer, not having to be anywhere or do anything.  We had pizza at a pub where hubby has does business with the owner and it was amazing.  We'll be getting that again.   I could have used another week, it seems I just get the stress of work and day to day shaken off and get totally relaxing and the week is over, but I am thankful for that week!

Whew, so there were my favorite blessings from the week.  Thanks for joining in! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J.Watson ~ Book Review

Christine is a woman who wakes up each morning in a panic not knowing who the man next to her in the bed is.  And she doesn't recognize the middle aged woman staring back at her in the bathroom mirror.  And each morning the man patiently explains that he is Ben, her husband of over 20 years, and that she had a horrific accident 20 years ago that wipes her memory everytime she goes to sleep.   Each day she also gets a phone call from a man who tells her he is a Dr. Nash who is working with her without her husband's knowledge to try to bring some memory back.  Each day she writes in a journal what happened that day and hides it in her closet and each day Dr. Nash tells her where to look for it.  As the entries start to add up, and as she rereads them each, Christine starts to have some questions and some things are not lining up and making sense.  But who does she trust and believe?  Her husband? Dr. Nash? herself?  She can't even remember yesterday!

This was one tense, page turning, can't put it down psychological thriller.   Christine is totally dependent upon her husband, Ben, each and every day to fill in the facts of her existence.  But as she journals her days something in her tells her not to let her husband in on what she is doing just yet.  And the more she journals and rereads her days, while answering some questions it also raises so many more.  The tension in this book runs through each page  and doesn't let up.   The pacing is really good and keeps you riveted and turning the pages to find out what is going on.  Your emotions are really engaged with the main character as it is so hard to imagine this happening to anyone and the utter confusion they would live under on a daily basis yet the book is inspired in part by the lives of several amnesiac patients whom the author mentions in the author's note at the back of the book.  You really are rooting for Christine to get her memory back or at least to get the questions answered.

I gave this a 9/10

Friday, August 04, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #441

Happy Friday!  Another week to look back over and take note of the blessings in our lives.  Please join us!  This is holiday week for me so my whole week is one to be thankful for.  Though this year is a staycation with a few day trips it has been great!

1.  Day trip over the Logan's Pass on Going to the Sun Road.  Friends put together a spur of the moment day trip and invited us.  This is my most favorite scenic drive I've ever done.  Such beauty all the way.  There are so many little pull overs with waterfalls, hikes, trails, views, everyone of them different from the one before.  We did it a few years back with the kids and it was so much fun to do it with somebody else because we saw Glacier National Park from a different perspective.  They showed us trails and little treasures we didn't know about.  A fun lunch of delicious burgers at a diner in West Glacier and then we headed back.  A day in the company of dear friends surrounded by God's artistry and creation is the greatest stress reliever ever!

2.  Trail of the Cedars.  This is my favorite trail in the park and neither Hubby or my friends had ever walked it.  So it was my pleasure to show them.  Thick with 3 different kinds of cedars and lush forest floor, humid and so easy to breathe with wonderful nature smells and of course, a gorgeous little watter fall at the end.  I could take a book in there and spend hours.

3.  Foot dip into a glacial stream.  What is better than cooling the feet in a beautiful, crystal clear, cold glacial stream after hiking all day?

4.  Free coffee.  Yesterday I popped into the Starbuck's drive thru to grab a iced coffee, which is a real treat when running errands.  Long story short, but the till froze up and neither the young lady at the window nor the shift manager could get it to go after 5 or 6 tries so they gave me my drink free!  Yummy.  You really gotta try the iced coconut mocha macchiato.  So good.  A rare treat as I've cut sugar waaaaaay back.  But sometimes a girl just has to indulge.  And for free?  Bonus!

5.  New glasses coming.  It's been three years since my last glasses purchase or eye check up and I've noticed a change.  So finally I got that done this week, and ordered new ones.  Yipee!

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney ~ Book Review

Mitch and Jill Brannon have a wonderful marriage.  Both have careers they love, Mitch is a principal at a school and Jill is a grade 3 teacher at another school.  Their kids are both grown, their son in university and their daughter soon to join him there.  Jill is struggling a bit with the thought of their daughter leaving at the end of summer for school, so Mitch encourages her to attend a teacher conference with her colleagues so she can unwind and get her mind off it.  Now conference is over and Mitch is excited to see her and hear all about it.  Just having heard that she is on her way home, he's planning a quiet steak dinner at home with her.

But Jill doesn't come home.  Hours tick away and still no Jill and no calls from her Mitch is beside himself.   Jill's best friend, and the Brannon's next door neighbor immediately comes over to be with Mitch as he calls police.  Days later police still have not a clue what has happened to her.  As the days turn into weeks and then months, Mitch is frustrated with what he feels is not enough proactive action on the part of the police and he starts to take matters into his own hands.  Bringing Shelley along to help in the search they spend days and miles together looking for Jills's car in ditches and trying to unearth even the smallest of clues that would help to find her.   With the common goal of Jill's well being and finding her driving them, Mitch and Shelley's friendship deepens to the point where Shelley's deep buried attraction to Mitch is starting to surface and becoming harder and harder to hide.

I  enjoyed the concept of the story.  It explored life going on after tragedy that has not had closure and when, if any,  time should be the right time to move on.  It delved into marriage vows, and explored the depth of them as Mitch's loyalty to the vows he made Jill where thrown into confusion and temptation when it was becoming more and more apparent that Jill had literally disappeared off the face of the earth. With the police believing she disappeared of her own accord, how long could and should he hold onto his vows to her?  I appreciated the author's portrayal of a character who took his vows seriously and treated them as sacred and important while still being very human.  Mitch's character was so well written and you could feel his struggle and confusion as he was torn between putting all his focus into finding any clues to Jill's whereabouts and facing maybe having to finally just give up and move on with life for the sake of family.  The characters of Mitch and Shelley had much to struggle with as the search for Jill kept coming up empty and Shelley was finding it harder and harder to squash her feelings for Mitch.  At times I really, really disliked her character as she seemed very self serving at points in the story and was very quick in justifying her words and actions in pushing Mitch to move on way too early, in my humble opinion, and  giving him the space and time he needed to grieve in his own way and time.  I liked how the author portrayed real people struggling with real temptations and justifications in hard situations, how she portrayed how selfish motivations can cause us to, while sounding like a good thing,  do wrong things and justify them,  but I also love how she portrays that good marriages and holding onto to vows don't always come easily and must be fought for.   A good read that makes one think what "till death do us part" really means. 

I gave it an 8.5/10

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday's Fave Five #440

Hi Everyone!  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Finding the good things in life, the blessings and those things that make us smile and lift us up in our weeks.   When we are thankful and develop a habit of looking for good things, then when the harder times come we have a good foundation of being grateful to help get us through.  Please join us in this weekly journey.

1.  Generous gift from a dear friend.   Saturday my friend and I took a quick trip to a local shoe store because they had a clearance sale going.  The pair I originally wanted to go see, they didn't have in my size anymore.  But there was a couple others that I liked even more.  Long story short my friend gifted me with a gorgeous pair of shoes.  (I did have a picture of them but accidently dumped it out of my phone...and of course the box is in the bedroom where my hubby has already gone to sleep.  I'll try to post one later).  The shoes are absolutely wonderful but the real blessing in this story is the heart of the giver and the friendship we share.

2.  Books.  I really have to mention this here because books are a great blessing in my life and especially so in times of stress.  Books to me are a short trip away to another place, something to help me escape stress, to disappear into another's story for a small space of time.  And because right now is a bit of a stress time for me,  I've been into the stories as much as I can squeeze in.  That we in this country have such access to buy and borrow books on anything we can imagine is a blessing that sometimes I don't think we really understand unless we can go somewhere and experience those communities in other countries where that is not available to them.  

3.  Downtown festivals.  Ever since Elementary school I have loved learning about other cultures and countries in the world.  Their customs, dress, food, history is all so fascinating to me.  Last weekend, when downtown we happened upon the Latino festival in the park downtown.  The music drew us over and we sat and watched the dancing and singing for a bit.  It was great fun and another nice little escape in the midst of running errands.

4.  Air conditioning.   We are in yet another heat wave warning.   It has been crazy hot here, with little to no moisture.  I am so thankful for the ac and do not take it for granted at all.

5.  End in sight?  Our neighbors have had to do some major work to their home in the form of installing weeping tile and doing things to their foundation to waterproof it.  But that meant that all that dirt around their whole house had to be dug up.  So for a month we have had heavy equipment such as diggers and back hoes sitting around out front and in their back yard, not to mention the 5 foot or so high piles of dirt we've been staring at and the open excavation.  I just thank God we didn't get downpours like some years or it would have been a mess of mud that would have ran onto our property, I'm sure or a lot of windy days that would have been blowing dirt and dust.  I guess in that sense I'm thankful for this heat and dryness.  But this week the dirt has all been pushed back and filled in.  So for now, no major heavy equipment, dirt hills, or deep holes fenced with bright red/orange open excavation fencing.   Glad that job is moving along.

What have been your favorite blessings this week?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart ~ Book Review

In the quiet town of Hollyhill, Kentucky Jocie Brook is set to enjoy her hot lazy summer before she starts high school.  She has one prayer and that is that she gets to see her sister whom she hasn't seen since she was five.   Jocie has grown up without her since her mother up and left with her sister without saying a word to anyone.  Her loving father is an interim pastor of Mt. Pleasant Church praying to get the permanent pastorship and the vote for that is coming up.   But he has some obstacles in his way and he's just believing God will work it all out.  He has poured his love and God's love into Jocie and she has grown up being raised by him and her strict aunt.  Jocie knows she should just take her father's word for the past but there has always been that wish to know why her Mom and sister took off and left her and nobody seems to know or is willing to tell her.  Her two biggest prayers are for a dog and for her to see them again.  Both would take a miracle.   As she starts digging into her past, she stirs up things she might not want to know and that could affect not only her but her Dad's vote for the pastorship.

This was such a perfect summer read.  It is lovely story building and meandering through the lives of this family during the summer of 1964.  I love stories set in this time period and I thought the author captured small town living and attitudes of the time wonderfully.  Jocie is a fun, inquisitive, spiritual young girl who draws you into her world and her hopes.  All the characters are wonderful from Jocie to her Father with his strong faith in spite of all that has happened to her scripture quoting aunt to her father's quirky friend and co-worker Wes.  The secrets they all are hiding are woven together into a story of faith, love and family that I really enjoyed.  Looking forward to the second book continuing the story.

I gave this a 9/10.