31 December 2018

Winning in 2018

There have been a few life events in 2018 that made me sad or think that this year sucked.  I looked at the year in a whole and realized that NO, it didn't suck.  While it in no way went down the way I planned (when did life promise me it was as I planned?), it was good.  I did some pretty awesome things, accomplished some goals and had some fun.  See my 2018 below.

January we broke ground on our garage. We had wanted a garage for a long time and we finally decided to just do it.  It was to be 24x30 with a few customizations.  I made homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch for the first (and probably last time).  John had gotten a snow blower for Christmas and got to use it for the first time.  

February  DiAnna and I did a wreath class at the McCracken County Public Library.  Before the end of February, the garage was built, we were just waiting on the concrete driveway.  

March DiAnna and I head to StL and saw Chicago at the Fabulous Fox.  This was an item on our bucket list and remains one of my favorite shows EVER.  By the end of March, the concrete was poured but we could not drive on it yet.  At the end of March, my work let me go to a conference in Orlando.  The first day of training was a long 12 hour day, but the next day they only let us meet for a bit and then have the rest of the day free.  Since our plane didn't leave until 5 am the next day, we (Valerie and I) went to Disney World and closed the place down!!  By the time I got home from Florida, we could drive on the new driveway.  Fabulous!  On the last day of March, DiAnna and I went to TPAC and saw Wicked.  

April DiAnna and I went back to the Fox to see Hamilton (it was our second time seeing the show).  I had to have a tumor removed from my forehead.  We were very lucky that it was a chewed gum like looking substance (a pretty pink color) and not a bad thing.  My head still aches sometimes were he cut my muscle and scrapped my skull, but I no longer have a bump on my head.  Hannah turned 21 on the last day of April.  I took her to Tribeca for her big day.  Trevor turned 16.  

May Trevor got his permit.  We had all the landscaping at our place ripped up and new stuff put in.  New stuff that requires no work!!  Prince Harry got married.  It was a big day for me.  I had a birthday and my friend Cassie made the cupcakes for me.  

June Pepper joined the family.  Olive was so happy.  John and I knew we couldn't go to Hawaii for our 25th (because of what would happen in August) so we went to the Jefferson Davis monument instead....it was free and we had never been to the park except to take photos.  I wanted to go to the top because it was opened that day so we did. It was very cool, not quite like the Washington Monument views, all farmland.  We had a good guide that filled us in on lots of details about the park.  Pepper got very sick at the end of June with a virus and I was scared she would die.  She cried in pain all night and puked all over the place and after she got some antibiotics she got better. 

July  DiAnna and I went to see Rick Springfield at the Nashville Symphony. I finished our travel wall (for now) in the living room.  My head was healing nicely by July but still ached to the touch.  At the end of July we decided to take a trip that was originally going to be a week long and all over Canada.  Instead, we altered it to be a weekend in Canada.  Fastest trip to Canada we had seen.  Not quite a quick as our 9 hour trip to Baton Rouge, see a game and come right back, but close.  This trip was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to go to Niagara Falls and do the Maid of the Mist tour.  We didn't do much else there except sleep.  We came home through Pittsburgh, saw a game and came home. 

Bonus July entry----Instant Pot winning story---we were in the car somewhere between Dayton and Windsor Canada.  I was watching In the Kitchen with David (as I often do) and QVC was having a Black Friday anniversary event.  You had to enter the facebook live contest by putting up a hashtag @QVC27  It was crazy how many folks were typing it in wrong. I entered and asked John, "should I enter again, these people are getting it wrong?"  He told me to go ahead. I did and told people they were entering wrong.  People still were not getting it, so I kept entering.  Soon my favorite host said "we have a winner" and said MY NAME (about 30:23)!!!!  The whole car erupted in screams for mom!!!!

 That was a great moment for me because I am a HUGE fan of David's.  I was so excited to win and all of it happened in the car somewhere between Ohio and Canada

August I found a friendship rock near my parking place at work.  Someone knew I needed a pick me up.  August 3, John no longer worked at WPSD.  18 years, but I don't want to talk about it.   At the end of August I was stressed, overworked and had no money, but I went to a painting class. My first one ever. I had so much fun.  I didn't realize how much I needed that class or how much I would learn. 
 John McCain died. He was my favorite American. I have all but his last book autographed by him.  I called Mitch McConnell and he had a flag flown over the capital for me.  It is hanging next to my Ronald Reagan flag (McConnell helped me get that one too).  

September  Senator McCain was buried.  We went to a game in StL because tickets were super cheap.  Hannah flew to Las Vegas and went to the Titanic museum, she brought me home a cup (which has faded) and she touched a piece of the wreckage..  My friend, Denise gave me 2 Presidental plates for my collection.  I won a bike helmet from Banks Market (local grocery).   DiAnna gave me curtains she had hanging in her old office and they look amazing in my bedroom.  

October Fall break I went to a training in Bowling Green.  The Wall that Heals came to Paducah and we went to see it.  It was cool but not as cool as the real one in DC.  

November My old dishwasher died, so I bought a new one with a silverware tray.  

December George Herbert Walker Bush died.  Bob Dole (who after McCain's death because my favorite American alive) and no longer stands, stood up at the casket of GHWB.   I went to Louisville for work and ate well.  Mary Poppins Returns came out.  I made macarons for the first time.  I traded in my Kindle Voyage for a Kindle Oasis.  I paid for it with insurance points and the trade in value on my old Kindle.  John got to fulfill a dream by calling  a Mayfield game.  

I really needed to look bad on all the good because I have struggles. I am grateful to God for showing me the good and not letting me dwell on the bad.  Here is to a wonderful 2019.  I know I will see Hamilton again and also Come from Away and read a lot of books on my waterproof Oasis.

Happy New Year friends


Review: The Dying of the Light

The Dying of the Light The Dying of the Light by Robert Goolrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book started out beautifully for me and then some of the characters had switched up personality traits. I felt like I was doing flip-flops with characters from then on. Maybe that is what the author wanted me to do, but I was needing something more in my life at this time. I did like how the book ended and because of the beginning and the ending I would consider giving this a 3.5 stars, I just had so much issue with the middle.

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30 December 2018

How I have a cleanish home

My attention span is short. I cannot help that I am wired this way.  I try hard all the time to stay on task.  I give myself assignments, memorization techniques and goals.  I write them down or type into my phone to hold me accountable.  A schedule is the best thing for me.  I've discovered as I age that deviating from the schedule does not make me freak out as it used to, but I much prefer my routine.

The first thing I created was rules.  I like rules. There is a clear expectation of what is expected and I know once the required is finished all the time that is left is MY time.  That is it!  The reward.  Get the work done first and then all the time you have left is YOUR time.  I have found not only do I feel better knowing my work is done, but I have longer to "play" and enjoy that extra time.

1.  Today's work gets done before you play
2. Daily jobs are split up over the week so that one whole day is not spent cleaning or doing laundry
3. I keep a checklist in my calendar or on a notepad so I know what I have done.  As I mark off daily tasks I have a sense of accomplishment
4.  Today's tasks can be bumped until tomorrow due to an event that is unavoidable, but not more than one day (unless you are sick).
5.  Don't look at it as a chore. Look at this as maintaining your home and family, and having time for your sanity.

The following information is how I get it all done. It is not perfect, but I feel like I am doing a good job.  Not a GREAT job, a good job. I am not striving for perfection just for functionality and time with the family and craft time.  Craft time is very important to my mental happiness. 

About our house:
1.  We have a 3 bedroom, 2 baths, 3 car garage 2000 square foot house.  We chose small so we could vacation, so if you have a larger home (and you probably do,) you may need to tweak my ideas if you are going to use them.
2, I do 95% of the inside work in our home and only about 5% outside (yard).
3.  I am the home repairman so I have to allow time for repairs.
4.  I am not a great housekeeper.  What we have is a functional mess.  I figure I can have a showplace once all the kids are gone and I retire...for now I am content to have things done and LIVE.
5.  I am not a great duster (worst duster ever). I may swipe at it every once in a while but I have limited knick knacks down to just a little so I don't have to worry about that.  I dust the tvs when I think of it. I do not dust the kid's rooms, they are old enough to do their own.  On that line, I don't even clean their rooms...they are more than old enough to clean their own rooms if it is important to them.

I have developed a routine for my home in regards to housework.  I know I have shared bits and pieces before today I plan in sharing the whole shebang.  THE SCHEDULE!!

Clean out litter box
Clean out litter box
Clean out litter box
Clean out litter box
Clean out litter box
Clean out litter box
Clean out litter box
Clean kitchen
Clean kitchen
Clean kitchen
Clean kitchen
Clean kitchen
Deep clean kitchen day, clean thoroughly today
Clean kitchen
Clean kitchen
Laundry (wash and fold)

Laundry (wash and fold)  Sort into baskets

Laundry (wash and fold)

Clean hall

Drop off any dry cleaning (If applicable)

Pick up dry cleaning (if applicable)

Prepare supper calendar for next week
Make a couple of meals for the week and menu planner for the week

Declutter living room (make kids put away video games and toys)

Declutter around house

Sweep floors (I have hard wood floors they are mopped as needed swept every Tuesday)

Clean day---hall bath-everything
Master bath-everything
Kitchen, utility, bath floors mopped

Vacuum Living room (if needed)

Vacuum Living room (if needed)

Vacuum Living room (if needed)
Ironing (I do not have much, this may need to be bumped to another day if you have loads)

Jumpstart any Wednesday cleaning you have time for

Jumpstart on any Friday cleaning you have time for

Jumpstart on an Sunday afternoon cleaning that you have time for
I know my system won't work for everyone and maybe even no one else but me.  I just hope my system encourages you to be all you can be.  Have an order in the world of chaos and time for yourself and family (and crafts).

One more time with my motto....get what you have to do done and then you can play the rest of the time.

29 December 2018

Review: The Paris Seamstress

The Paris Seamstress The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made it onto the list of best books that I read in 2018. The story takes place in two time periods, WWII and modern day. The modern day character is a relative of the past character. The past character is a famous fashion designer, but here you get her beginnings. How she got started and what she risked to get there. The modern day character is dealing with her own issues, but she also uncovers a past she knew nothing about. It is simply marvelous the way the two time periods weave together to form a wonderful ending.

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Review: The Royal Nanny

The Royal Nanny The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read so many books on Wallis and David, I was shocked that I had never seen this book before about 4 weeks ago. When I saw it was about David (Edward VIII) and Bertie (George VI) I simply had to read it and I was not disappointed. From the moment Lala walked into the nursery I loved her!! She was wonderful with the children and did indeed love them as her own. I never really knew much about Prince John so I was glad to see him featured here.

This was just an excellent read.

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Review: Closing Credits

Closing Credits Closing Credits by Martin Turnbull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't believe it's over

I tried to extend this as long as I could. I have enjoyed this ride so much. A great ending to a wonderful series, thank you, Martin.

This ending ties up the futures of our three friends in a nice red bow. There were things I did not expect and things I wanted. I am not going to tell you anything except pick up the first book and get started. Any fan of Old Hollywood will not be sorry.

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26 December 2018

Review: The Reckoning

The Reckoning The Reckoning by John Grisham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not really sure why folks are rating this one low. I loved it. I wish I could have stayed up all night to finish it, but no I had to go to work :). I have read every single book he has written and I have not liked all of them, I have loved a few and this one is added to the "love" pile.

I saw where some folks didn't like the war part. I enjoyed that journey (of course I love any WWII fiction book), I think we needed that to understand Banning and what type of character he had, I felt it made what he did even more shocking because it was so out of his character.

I did not foresee it ending as it did!!! That was like a Law&Order twist and filled me full of "what ifs".

There was only one thing I wanted that I didn't get, but I won't tell you because it might spoil the story for someone. I have loved the new direction the last two Grisham books have taken (the Rooster Bar and this one).

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My favorite books that were published in 2018

I try hard to read new releases every year....why?  Because a new great book is released all the time.  I can't stand not being able to partake of this newness.  The problem is there is no way I could read every fiction published in 2018, but here is a list of the ones that I did and enjoyed.  Some of these books made it to my favorite book of 2018 list (includes new and old releases).  I will start with what I think is the best new book written in 2018.  I do want you to know that this was a hard list to compile because so many of the books that I read and were published in 2018 were exceptional.  Please check out my GoodReads Reading Challenge and read a few of the books published in 2018.

1.  The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah-This book was featured on every list that I could add it to.  I loved every part of this book. It is hard to read if you have domestic violence issues because it is pretty harsh in how the violence happens.  I love how the great story is set in my favorite place, Alaska.  Alaska is its own character in the book.  She shines bright and shows you that she is pretty, but she is strong and if you aren't strong she will defeat you.  It took me two days to finish this great book because I could not put it down.

2.  Next Year in Havana by Chantel Cleeton-I adored this book almost as much as #1.  This book has two time periods, modern day and the 50's right before the revolution in Havana.  I visited Havana last year so I knew some of the places described, but I think that even if you had not been to Cuba the text is so descriptive that you would feel like you were in Havana with the characters.  The story also paralleled the story that our tour guide told us while we were there, I mean the story of the revolution.  It was a difficult time and violent...this book has some violence, but not too much.  I read this book in two days also.

3.  As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner- Another terrific book by Susan. I pretty much love every single thing that she has written.  This time she covers the Spanish flu that hit the US in the early 20th century.  I had a little bit of knowledge about this time but had no idea what people could have gone through.  This story took it a bit further by being set in a funeral home.  So many people died that the funeral home was the best setting to show how the flu touched everyone's lives.  I read this book in three days.

4.  My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamole-I will read pretty much anything I can on the American Revolution.  Since Hamilton entered my life I will read anything associated with him.  Some Hamilton books are not well written or feature rehashed facts/situations; however, this one stood out on its own.  It took me 28 days to read this because I read this during my busiest time at work and had NO extra time.

5. Prisoner of the Castle-By Susan Ella MacNeal-Warning this one is a series, if you haven't read the first Maggie Hope books you don't need to read this one.  I advise you to get the first one and get started NOW!!!  It is a superb series about a woman that is a secret agent during WWII.  She has grand adventures, dangerous situations and a pretty violent life (ok, so I expect WWII books to be a little violent).  Excellent series.  I read this book in two days

6. The Tattooist of the Auschwitz by Heather Morris-I admit that I choose most of my books based on the cover. I can't help it, it is just what I do and this one did not disappoint.  I read this one in 4 days.  Parts of it was hard to read because of what happened to our hero.  The camps were simply horrible and they are described in detail here (remember I told you that I expect WWII books to be disturbing/violent).  This had horrible conditions, you can't even call them "living conditions".... What shocked me was that this book was based on a real-life couple.  You need to read the story at the end of the book on how the author met our hero and had his blessing in the creation of this book.  I did cry with this one and it took me four days to get through it, but it is so worth your time.

7.  Room on the Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel-WOW just WOW!!!  Ok, so I never expected this book to happen as it did.  A woman has a goodish marriage but it has secrets....then the secrets are revealed.  She, in turn, takes up with a child that would be killed if she didn't help her and they do their part for the resistance to save the world from the Germans.  I loved this book and devoured it.  I did not put it down once I started it.  I read it in one day.  A day well spent in my opinion.  I read this one in four days.

8.  The Subway Girls by Susan Orman Schnall-This reminds me a tad of one of my favorite movies On the Town starring Gene Kelly, Vera-Ellen, Ann Miller, and Frank Sinatra. There is a contest for finding a subway girl poster model.  Becoming a subway girl could change a girls life in the '40s.  While we are dealing with that time period, we also flash to the future where an ad exec is trying to do a campaign on the Subway Girls.  I found this dual timeline fun and I loved how the story ends. Finished this book in two days.

9. The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester- I just barely got this one in before 2018 ended....and it was a great way to go out.  I don't want to spoil the plot, but let's just say that a woman raised in France learns all kinds of things about life, the war and her own history once the Germans invade the country.  I love how the tale weaves through two countries and a few characters. I was slow to catch the twist, but when I did....oh my!!!  I didn't want this to end and it took me six days to stretch it out.

10. Tony's Wife by Adrianna Trigiani-I could not put this down.  Read it in about 5 hours.  It started out with me feeling sorry for a character and then completely changed.  I mean completely.  I had no idea it was going where it did.  I loved that surprise!!!

There were so many other good books that were published in 2018 that I read so I will tell you a few more titles, you can check my opinion out on my GoodReads page.

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer
The Glass Ocean (I wanted it in the top ten) by Beatriz Williams, Karen White, and Lauren Willig
The Restless Wave by John McCain
The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher
The Wedding Date and The Proposal by Jasime Guillory
The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis
My Girls by Todd Fisher
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
The Reckoning by John Grisham (I just finished this today and I loved it, maybe my new Grisham favorite)