Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Two New Kittens

About two months ago two kittens showed up in our yard.  They were so young that I needed to feed them softened food.  They have grown and stayed around so we officially adopted them.  I named them Tucker and Libby.  Tucker is completely tame and most of the time prefers getting petted to eating.  Libby is still unsure.  She gets close to me and purrs but is not ready for pets just yet.

Libby is happy to have her picture taken and poses nicely.


Tucker on the other hand has a hard time being still long enough.

I did manage to get one good shot of him.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Weekly Goals Update Week 34

I am sorry for skipping any posts other than the pre-scheduled book reviews last week.  I was sick last week could only muster the energy to do the absolute necessary things.  Respiratory problems and high Southern humidity are not a good mix.  I am feeling back to normal now and am ready to tackle a new week.

1.  Completely Finish the New House & Update Property
Over the past two weeks nothing much was accomplished.  We spent most of the time dealing with downed pecan limbs.  We lost three large ones during that time span.  Each one meant a mess to clean up.


This is what was left from one that right at the back deck just missing W's kayak.  The top picture is what remained of the main branch after W limbed it out.  He cut that up into fire wood for my parents.  The bottom is one of two piles of limbs.  

This week we have some plans for smaller projects.  I hope to finish scraping the shower tile joints and maybe do some painting.

2.  Plan Ahead for Holiday & Birthday Gifts
I need to start shopping for a wedding gift.  I also have an idea for handmade holiday gifts for friends.  I just need to order the supplies and get started on them.

3.  Use the Garden to Be More Self-Sufficient
At this point in the summer I am simply trying to keep the garden plants alive.  It has turned hot and dry.  If I can get everything through the next 3-4 weeks, I can focus on getting a second harvest of peppers and maybe tomatoes.  I am also getting ready to plant the fall crops in the empty raised beds.

4.  Take One Class a Month
I should have more time this week and be able to make the macarons.  Something always seems to come up to prevent that so I am hoping this is THE week.

5.  Pack Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes on a Budget
I have 23 wash cloths to go.  My aunt also found some discounted flip flops for me.  I ordered coloring books and lip whistles from Oriental Trading.  I need to finish those wash cloths and pick up some socks.  Then I should be done and ready to pack!

6.  Boost Savings
Hmm...this is going well but not well at the same time.  We needed to purchase a small chainsaw due to all of the fallen pecan limbs.  I lost count of how many.  This past week our lawn mower started having engine problems so it is in the shop.  I am hoping for a best case (minor work) versus a new engine ($1500).  It is a necessary item though.  For right now the fencing is on hold.  I have been putting some extra money into the emergency fund instead.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weekend Book Review: The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn by Robert P Watson deals with a little known part of the American Revolution.  A run down ship, HMS Jersey, was used by the British (along with other ships) to house thousands of war prisoners.  These men were packed into the depths of the ships with little food or water while disease after disease tore through the crowded quarters.  This is not an easy book to read, but I am glad that I read it.  It brings to life the sacrifices that were made for the freedoms we enjoy today.  It also makes me even more embarrassed by how those in Washington are currently behaving.

Mr. Watson did an excellent job in researching the book and telling the stories of these forgotten men.  He shares information about America's beginning and the Revolutionary War.  An important part of history is now brought to the forefront through this book.  I also learned about the Prison Ships Martyrs Memorial in New York state.  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history as well as those who want to know more about the cost of freedom.

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Weekend Book Review: Ghost of the Innocent Man

Ghost of the Innocent Man by Benjamin Rachlin is one of the best books I have read this year.  In 1988 Willie Grimes, a man with no violent record, is convicted of raping a 69 year old woman and sentenced to life in prison.  This happened despite the fact several witnesses gave him an alibi for the time of the crime.  During the time he was in prison, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission (NCIIC) was formed.  This book tells the story of both.  Mr. Rachlin did an excellent job of switching between the two and then combining them into the final resolution of Mr. Grimes' story.
Even though this book saddened and at times frightened me, it is well worth reading.  I was touched my Mr. Grimes' continued push for justice.  I was also hopeful due to the continued work by the NCIIC to seek the truth.  Having a person wrongly imprisoned puts a black spot on the justice system of the United States.  The story was handled with great care to all involved.  I cannot recommend it enough.

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekend Book Reviews

Dumpling Cats by Sarah Sloyer is a collection of 25 cats to crochet.  The patterns are slightly advanced for my current crocheting skill level.  I loved the descriptions of each cat.  The patterns were well written and featured pictures throughout.  Bonus patterns for food bowls, cat bed, and even a cardboard box are included.  I am adding this to my wish list so I can make these adorable cats when I am a more confident crocheter.  I suspect I will give them a try sooner rather than later as the cats are too cute!

Baby Bunco by Julie B Cosgrove is the second book in the Bunco Biddies Mystery series.  I enjoyed the first book so much that I was excited to review the second.  It is helpful to have read the first one but not absolutely necessary.  Janie and her Bunco friends are shocked when an abandoned baby is found in one of the empty homes in their retirement community.  Convinced it is part of a bigger mystery, Janie sets out on another investigation.  At first I thought the mystery would be lacking, but I quickly found out that was wrong.  This book is full of action and twists up until the end.  I love the fact that this book was just as clean as the first with a subtle Christian message.  Now I am waiting for book number three!

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

52 New Recipes: Tuna Casserole

I have been searching for a good tuna casserole recipe for years.  The Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole from Sweet Little Bluebird might not be the healthiest, but it is delicious.  The mayonnaise and sour cream made it extra creamy.  I used elbow macaroni rather than noodles as that is what I had on hand.  I also used homemade bread crumbs rather than potato chips for the same reason.  I added some fresh sliced mushrooms.

I neglected to take a picture.  The leftovers were just as good the following day.   It was easy to put together.  This will be my go to tuna casserole recipe from now on.  I served it with side salads and garlic bread.  Yum!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Garden Update: Fall Seedlings

Here is an updated picture of the fall seedlings.

Most of the seeds started sprouting the day after I planted them.  Clockwise from the top left are artichokes, red cabbage, cauliflower, and savoy cabbage.  The leek seeds are just starting to sprout so nothing to show there yet.

My uncle has talked me into growing brussels sprouts so I need to order those seed later this week.  I am not a fan of them, but he assures me they are better if picked young.