Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Weekly Goals Update Week 38

I am still without internet so posts will be limited until it is back up.  At this point my provider has absolutely no idea when it will be restored.  I hope they have a better post-natural disaster plan in place for the next hurricane.

1.  Completely Finish the New House & Update Property
Prior to Hurricane Irma we cleaned off the porch and decorated it for fall.  All of that was removed as was everything off the back deck.  We are waiting to see where Maria will go before we do much.  I have managed to clean up all of the fallen leaves and limbs.  The pecan tree that fell will stay until the pecans make.  Then we will deal with removing it.  I hope to work on the foyer and hallway this week.  We need to do some touch up painting and put up a few pieces of molding.

2.  Plan ahead for Birthday & Holiday Gifts
I got another shower invitation. I have the gift for that.  I have written ideas for other gifts but need the internet to research and shop.

3.  Use the Garden to Be More Self-Sufficient
I was happy to find that my garden survived the storm just fine.  Even my seedlings that had just started sprouting survived just fine.  I expect it was a combination of the raised beds and having wire over the top which protected them from falling limbs.

4.  Take One Class a Month
This is on hold until my internet is back on.

5.  Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes on a Budget
I finished crocheting all of the wash cloths for this year and have gotten a head start on next year's.  I guess being without the internet has made me more productive.

6.  Boost Savings
We picked up the lawn mower, and it was at the lower end of estimate.  I can start setting aside money for our new fencing this month and begin building up savings.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

Cat Got Your Secrets by Julie Chase is the third book in the Kitty Couture Mystery series.  This book stands easily on its own although I do recommend the others in the series.  Lacy is the owner of Furry Godmother, a pet boutique and bakery.  Lacy's father is accused of murdering a friend, and Lacy finds herself being blackmailed.  A cliffhanger from a previous book is solved, but it is explained along the way so reader of this book alone will not be lost.  This is a clean, light cozy mystery.  While the mystery is not completely strong, it does move along quickly and kept me interested.  I enjoyed this book and look forward to more in the series.

Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James is the first book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series.  Charity Penn has won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina, complete with free cooking lessons at the chocolate shop.  Knowing the she has not entered any contest, she accepts her friend's offer to check it out in advance.  When he dies in a vat of chocolate, Penn's guilt sends her to South Carolina to look into the death.  Initially I did not enjoy this book.  Penn is a difficult character to like.  Her character flaws are blamed on her upbringing, but at this point she is grown and is simply making excuses.  As the book went on her character evolved enough that I would give a second book a chance.  The mystery was interesting.  I was not drawn into this book as much due to the characters.   None of them were particularly heart-warming or inviting.   While it is not bad at all, this book is simply not one of my favorites.  I am not giving up on the series yet though.

disclosure: I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

Doom with a View by Kate Kingsbury is the second book in the Merry Ghost Inn Mystery series.  I had read the previous book, but it is not necessary to enjoy this one.   Melanie and her grandmother, Liza, are welcoming their first guests to the Merry Ghost Inn.  The inn is a bed and breakfast with a permanent resident ghost.  The week is off to a good start until one of the guests is found dead in the driveway.  Melanie, Liza, and the remaining guests are all suspects.  Determined not to let this latest murder ruin the inn's reputation, Melanie and Liza risk the wrath of the detective in charge to solve the mystery.  This was an easy to read book.  The characters including Max the dog and Orville the ghost add to the charm of this series.  I am already looking forward to the next book.

Neila Young's Brewing Up Murder is the first book in the Coffee Cup Mysteries series.  Blake is the owner of Mystery Cup Cafe in Wilton, a town made famous by a series of murders years ago.  When Blake's flighty barista is found dead in the cafe, Blake finds herself drawn into the mystery.  This was a strong first book.  The mystery was interesting, and the characters engaging.  I enjoyed the unusual theme of the setting.  The story includes a bit of romance and plenty of family shenanigans.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pardon My Absence

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am cleaning up after Hurricane Irma.  My family and I are perfectly safe but quite busy.  Thankfully we have power.  I am simply working on cleaning up our property and cooking for those "neighbors" who are expected to be without power until the weekend.  I will be back as soon as I can!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good is a collection of 100 recipes.  A wide variety of recipes are included from soups to sides to sweet treats.  I marked several recipes that I was interested in.  I tried out the recipe for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.  The recipe included basic ingredients and was good.  I will adapt it a bit to give it more spice and flavor.  It was a bit to bland for my family, but the base is good.  The hints and variations for each recipe are helpful.  Overall this is a useful slow cooker cookbook.

A Christmas Peril by J.A. Hennrikus is the first book in the Theater Cop Mystery series.  Sully has left her job as a cop to be the manager of her hometown's theater.  Her current job is to keep the theater's production of A Christmas Carol on budget and on track.  When her best friend is accused of murdering his father, she reverts back to her cop training to help find the real killer.  The characters are well developed for a first book, and the mystery kept me interested until then.  I look forward to seeing how the characters evolve as the series continues.

George Bellairs' Death of a Busybody is part of the British Library Crime Classics series.  Miss Tither, the village busybody, meddles a little too much and is found dead in the vicar's cesspool.  While the language of the setting/era did slow me down slightly but not so much that I found it impossible to follow.  I do enjoy vintage British mysteries, and this one did not disappoint.

Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden features 50 cookie recipes as well as ideas for packaging your finished cookies.  Do not let the title fool you though.  I will be making many of the cookies from this book year around.  I tried out the recipe for Triple-Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  I followed  the recipe exactly.  Aside from an issue with the baking time (my oven required considerably less time), the cookies were delicious.  The flavor was wonderful with the addition of three types of chocolate.  I bookmarked several more recipes to make.  It has given me several ideas for holiday gift giving and cookie trays.  If you are a cookie fan, I highly recommend this book.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Weekend Book Review & a Giveaway: Dead in the Water

Dead in the Water by Denise Swanson is the first book in the new Welcome Back to Scrumble River series.  I am sure I read some of the previous Scrumble River books, but I cannot remember any specifics. Readers will not be lost if they have never read any of the prior Scrumble River books.
Skye and her police chief husband Wally are expecting their first child.  As if that is not stressful enough, the town of Scrumble River is hit by a devastating tornado with one death, councilman Zeke.  To make matters worse Wally disappears while investigating Zeke's death.  Skye is dealing with the loss of her home and a missing husband.

One word of warning - do not start this book if you only have a short amount of time to read.  I stayed up way too late two nights in a row to finish the book.  I know a book is great when at the end of each chapter I decide to read "just one more".  The book is full of action from the start.  The characters work well together, and the writing flows so well.  I am excited to read more in this series!
Now for the giveaway.  You have a chance to win a "There's No Place Like Scrumble River Emergency Survival Kit".  Enter through the form below or at this link.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weekly Goals Update: Week 36

1.  Completely Finish the New House & Update Property
This week I started the Holiday Grand Plan.  My plan is to use it to get these last house projects done as well as preparing for the holidays.  This week is front porch, and I include the yard.  I have a few finishing touches to add to the porch.  This morning W and I loaded up a bunch of trash and took it to the land field.  We will have another load to take off next week.  W also moved another pile of pecan limbs.  We need to repair a window screen, and I want to get the old storage building emptied.  I will share an update on what we actually accomplish next week.

2.  Plan Ahead for Birthday and Holiday Gifts
I was ordering something from WalMart and needed a bit to get free shipping.  I decided to order the 20oz tumbler that I want to personalize for the youth in my Sunday night Bible class at church.  I will have plenty of time to personalize them and will have one set of gifts marked off my list.  I did make out a beginning holiday gift list to keep me on track.

3.  Use the Garden to Be More Self-Sufficient
I planted lettuce, radish, kale, and beet seeds in the garden this week.  I need to clean out a few more areas to plant some mustard and turnips seeds.  One set of tomato plants is dead, but the cherry tomatoes are blooming so I will leave those.  I have plenty of empty areas in some raised beds to plant greens for the chickens and rabbits.

4.  Take One Class a Month
I made macarons!!! Even better they turned out great.  The Craftsy class was a huge help.  Cheryl, thank you for your encouraging comment last week.  I had convinced myself that they would be next to impossible to make.  They turned out to be easier than I feared.  I am going to make a couple of batches for a wedding shower later this month.  The lesson here is that you should never be afraid to try.

5.  Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes on a Budget
I have 9 wash cloths left to make.  I ordered boxes and the youth at church have already assembled them.  If all goes well, I will start packing next week.

6.  Boost Savings
I got good news on the mower.  The repairs will fall at the lower end of the budget.  This month we can start saving for the new fence.  I hope to have that done by the end of the year.