Sunday, December 28, 2014

Flibbertagibbet

It is New Years Day and I am thinking about my goals for this new year.  What will I do?  What will happen?  What do I want to accomplish?



All lofty questions with answers just as ambiguous, but I do know that I want to READ more this year than I did last year.  I was a teacher last year and didn't even reach my GoodReads goal of 42 books.

Here goes - bookish and not-so-bookish goals for 2015!

1.  Read More!  I think that one probably tops many readers lists.  I am setting my GoodReads Goal to 42...again...because, as we all know 42 IS the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything!

2.  Write better reviews.  I got in to the habit of simply writing a few lines on GR, and not writing a full review here on my blog.  I ran a reading challenge last year, and didn't even participate in it - and feel rather bad about it.  This year, I am not holding myself to that kind of task (except for one or two... I can't help myself!)  This year, I want to write full-on reviews for the books I complete!

3.  WRITE!  I completed NaNoWriMo in 2011, and STILL haven't finished that book!  That book is on my To-Do List, but I started a new one (still 'stuck' on the NaNo book) and am VERY excited about it and want to really work on that one!

4.  Discover new authors and new books.  I am kind of in a limbo when it comes to what to read next.  I want to get back into the reading world and see what new authors or genres that I might like.

5.  Finish the Divergent series.  I know, I know.  Some may warn me away from this.  I liked the first book, and I loved how the movie was better than the book (yes, I am in that camp).  I know that there was also a lot of controversy over Allegiant, and I want to read it for myself to see WHY.  I know that many people didn't like Mockingjay's ending, but I thought that it was perfect for the storyline.  Want to see if it's the same with the Divergent series.

6.  Be a Better Reviewer.  I love NetGalley and getting requests either from publishers or authors directly to read their books. I want to be better at reading what I do get and writing reviews for them.

7.  Self-Improvement.  Not only do I want to partake in the Self-Help Junkie Reading Challenge, I want to actually put what I read into action.  I want 2015 to be a year of Positive Change!

8.  Learn!  I am switching careers, and I want to learn more about my new career so that I can take it anywhere!  Plus, I am sure I will learn a few other things along the way.

And for the NON-reading side of the house, but I am sure I can fit reading in there somehow!

9.  Walk/Train.  I want to do some fun 5k races this year.  The first one is Insane Inflatables.  A 5k where you get to climb up a 2 1/2 story inflatable slide and bounce down it...who wouldn't want to do that!  I am sure I can listen to books on tape while training!

10.  Complete my cookbook.  This seems to be perpetually on my list and maybe this is the year that I refine, tweak, and proof the cookbook for friends and family - and maybe see if it's something that others would like!  (Guess this one is still kind of about the Written Word, isn't it?!)

Would love to hear what your goals are for this New Year! Also - looking for suggestions for New Authors and/or genres!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hodge Podge Old School

The Hostess!

1.  What's something you wanted to do this summer that you never got around to actually doing?

Make a quilt.  I have some great batik material, and I even have it cut into strips... and those strips are sitting in the spare room, waiting to be put into a tropical quilt.

2. Share a favorite memory of your own back -to-school days as a child.

Back to school shopping.  We lived in a small town, and I always loved going up to the Big City (about 2 hours away).  We would do lunch out and dinner out, and a whole lot of shopping!

3.  What's one chore or daily task you prefer doing 'old-school' ?

I have a little note pad in my tiny purse to write notes.  I still haven't started the habit of using my phone to take notes...then I would have to try to figure out where I put them!  Also, shopping lists are on paper - always on the look-out for cute magnetic shopping lists for the fridge!

4.  Share something you've learned in life through the 'school of hard knocks'.

hmmm.... not sure! will have to think on this one!

5.  As a child, did you mostly bring or buy your lunch for school? What was your favorite thing to find in your lunchbox?

I packed a lunch in grade school because I hated vegetables and if we didn't clean our tray, we couldn't leave the cafeteria.  Barbaric!  High school - french fries with brown gravy and a chocolate shake.  Why can't I have that metabolism again.
Favorite treat in the box?!  Hostess!  Preferably a Twinkie or a Cupcake!

6. Football season is upon us which has me wondering... how big of a sports fan are you (not just football) ? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being 'I scream at the players through my television screen' and 1 being 'is knitting a sport?' where do you fall in fandom? 

I am clueless when it comes to sports.  I can identify them, but have absolutely NO desire to watch.  I was a Band Mom when our girls were in school.  Yes, football is a religion in Texas, but we were there for the band kids!

7. Share a favorite quote you think might inspire students of all ages at the start of a new school year.

The one I have on my wall in my middle school classroom is: "What is right isn't always popular, what is popular isn't always right."   My signature for my work email is: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  Both are perfect for teaching young kids - for HUMANS!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Phish Food by Ben n Jerry's is THE BEST!  Especially when there is plenty of ooey gooey marshmallow cream and caramel swirl!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hodge Podge - Summer Time!

1. Since you weren't Hodgepodging last Wednesday, how did you pass the time?
Busy but not... School is out and I have been taking a bit of a brain break (while doing endorsement classes for teacher certification!).  Excited to get back in to a schedule and accomplish many things on my To-Do list!

2. What's the first word that comes to mind when I say marriage? Yes, one word.
Soulmate! 

3. Summer officially arrives in the Northern hemishpere later this week. Does it feel like summer where you live? Describe your idea of the perfect summer day.
Unfortunately - temps in the upper 90s in the high desert...100+ when we head to the big city.  YUCK!
However, Perfect Summer's Day!  Mid 80's with a coastal breeze as we head to the beach.  Better yet, drive through a forest to a river and spend the day chillaxin' by the crystal clear river which is still cool enough to dip into for relief! Books, good food, light sprinkle, and a little libations!

4. "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."(Sam Keen) Is laziness ever respectable? Do you have a lazy summer planned, or something semi-ambitious?
It is when you are on the beach with a drink in your hand!  However, I have a semi-ambitious summer planned.  You should see my Summer List of Things to do...and I am steadily checking things off!

5. Past or present, who's your favorite television dad? Why is he a favorite? Is he anything like your own dad?
I am going to bend this one a bit - and do a mini-series dad... Mr. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice!  He calls "Silly" when silly does, wants nothing more than the best for his Lizzy!  He is sort of like my dad - would have loved to have the love of knowledge shared with my dad, though, like Elizabeth Bennet does.

6. June 18th is International Picnic Day...share a favorite picnic memory.
I have shared a few wonderful picnics with my Soulmate (See #2)!  Also, many lazy summer days on a beach or near a river when I was younger.  Want to get back to a place where we can do that more often...and a winery would be a neat addition!

7. The travel site Trip Advisor lists the top five islands in the world for 2014 as- Ambergris Caye in Belize CayesProvidenciales in Turks and CaicosBora Bora in French Polynesia, Marco Island Florida, and Lewis and Harris in The Outer Hebrides (Scotland). Have you been to any of these? Of those listed (and if price were not a factor) which would you most like to book for a holiday?
Does it count if I saw the Outer Hebrides while on my way to the Isle of Skye - home of Drambuie?!

I would have to go with Bora Bora, because it sounds Sexy Sexy!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Don't press the corner of your eye too hard, repeatedly, as you will give yourself a black eye!


Top Ten 2014 Summer Reading

Wow...Have I ever been absent!  First year teacher (in 10 years!) kind of put a kink in the works.  But guess what?!? 
photo cred

            It's 
              SUMMER 
                          TIME!!







So...what does one do when they have Summer Vacay?!  READ! 
 Here's what is on my LIST for Summer 2014!

1. The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller - Title too cute to pass up!  Looks awesome!

2.  The One by Kiera Cass - What will America do?  Will she choose Maxon or Aspen?!

3.  Possession by A.S. Byatt - OMG - this has been on my shelf WAY too looongg!

4.  Skinny B*tch Gets Hitched by Kim Barnouin - Love the title - never read any of the others, but this looks great!

5.  My Summer in Europe by Marilyn Bryant - I miss Europe - this might be the perfect fix!

6.  The Cupcake Queen by Heather Helper - How doesn't love a good cupcake... I do and hope that this book has something about cupcakes in it!

7.  Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel - Funny title, and also is for one of my bookish challenges!

8.  The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig - Delivered and Signed by author... and I want to see what's happening with Eloise!

9.  Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey - Long ago, under a dark England sky, I read the Short for this in the Jane Austen-esque contest.  It is now a full fledged story and I can't wait to read it!

10.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - the ONLY Jane Austen I have not yet read!

What's on your list?  Would love to hear about it!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hodge Podge Windy March

It's been quite some time since I have done Hodge Podge.  But I felt that I could do justice to these questions...so here it goes!




1. March is known as the windy month. Which of the following phrases best fits your March so far...'throw caution to the wind', 'three sheets to the wind', 'run like the wind', or 'see which way the wind blows'?

“See which way the wind blows” is definitely how this March is going!  Each day seems to bring a new adventure or situation that we have no idea what will come next!  Personally – I am looking for some smooth sailing!

2. Your favorite green food? Your favorite dish made with your favorite green food?


Wow…favorite green food?!  I like broccoli – and usually steamed with a little butter and seasoning.  But favorite broccoli dish in the past would be a good Chicken Divan with a bit of curry in the sauce!

3. Ever been locked out of your home-car-office-anywhere? Do tell!

YUP!  Once, when we were locked out of our car, we went to the police station, since it was right around the corner, and they gave us a coat hanger.  I guess they figured if we can work using a coat hanger, we must really be the owners of the vehicle?!

4. Yoda, Kermit, Shrek, The Wicked Witch of the West, Oscar the Grouch, The Grinch, or Mike Wasowski (Monsters Inc.)...of the green characters listed, which one's your favorite and why?

Gotta go with Kermit the Frog!  He’s got a great philosophy on life!  And his quote “It isn’t easy being Green” is appropriate right now, as our garbage company is DISCONTINUING our Recycling!

5. "The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive."~Joe Batten Do you agree? Why or why not?

If you don’t have hope, why move forward?!  Yup – that sounds like a good quote!

6. Share a favorite song with an emotion in it's title.

Higher Love by Steve Winwood



7. What's a road trip you'd like to take?

photo credit
West-Side!  Meander all the way up the Pacific Coast, up in to Canada (British Columbia), then back through Idaho, Montana, down through the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and down through Colorado.  Leisurely!

Then, if I can have one that deals with the Eurail – I would spend a summer meandering my way across Europe!  From Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, on over to Austria, and Hungary, just to name a few!



8. Insert your own random thought here.

Not a good idea to give time for Random Thoughts to someone who teaches 8th graders all day!  But right now – Corned Beef and Cabbage…. Gotta love Crockpots – through a bunch of stuff in it before you go to work, and you walk in to the house to the most incredible smell!  Can’t wait to chow down on that!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Bucket List The Bucket List



Top Ten Things on my Bookish Bucket List

The Broke and the Bookish
Wow…where to begin?!  There are so many bookish things.  If you have ever seen the movie “About Time” I would probably do something like what the dad did – travel back in time simply to have MORE time to READ!  (If you have not yet seen this movie…put it at the top of your “To Watch” list!  It is an unsuspected GEM!)

Reality-based

Read Possession by A.S. Byatt.  The book is daunting!  It has been on my bookshelf for five years now and I keep saying that I am going to read it.

Finish writing my cookbook for my girls (and anyone else who wants to pay me for my on-dit recipes!)  Just “Mom’s Cooking” type of recipes, but I want to finish it to help our girls in their culinary adventures!

Finish writing my Austen-esque novel that features Margaret Dashwood!

Complete some of my Bookish Challenges (like the Classics list)

Read those self-help books I have on my nightstand and journal my way through them!

Fantasy-based

Create a Time Machine that gives me MORE time in the day (week, month, year…) to be able to READ!  I love READING and with work and schtuff, I don’t always have the time to do so!

Become friends with Jane Austen.  I bet she was snarky as all get-out and would love to have her as a friend!

Fantasy-turn-to-Reality one day!

Become a famous author myself!

Have a house on the beach with a library like THIS!

photo credit
Run/Own a B&B that has an awesome library and maybe hold Bookish events!

What's on  your Bookish Bucket List?!  Do we share any?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

review: Skinny Famous and in Love



Series (if applicable):  none
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date:  April 2014
Page Count:  272
Source: netgalley.com
Blurb:  "Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.

Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?

My Interest in this book is:  sounded like a fun read!

My Review:
Emery (named after the emery board one finds in a nail salon) has just been told that she is now considered obese by the family doctor.  Sure, she’s tried diets, but the call of “Coronary Highway” is too strong.  Who wouldn’t want to eat two double cheeseburgers, a large fry and a diet coke (It is, after all, the Standard American Diet)?  Well, everyone in Emery’s dysfunctional family doesn’t eat that way.

Her botox-injecting mom wants to sign up the family up for a reality television show that features Emery losing 50 pounds in 50 days.  Emery wants no part of this because she doesn’t mind who she is.  Her boyfriend, Ben, is a gentle giant, and they are both so not the Highland Beach norm of over-processed humans with their augmented body parts and fake faces.  However, when Emery sees that they are about to be kicked out of their house, Emery realizes that half of the prize money can save the family home.  Emery agrees to be a part of the madness of a reality tv show.

While I found Emery as somewhat vulgar, she was trying to help others at the same time.  You got to see some good insights from a 16 year-old through her vlog posts on self-acceptance. That is one aspect of this book that I quite enjoyed.  I liked how Emery talked about trying to find acceptance because of her weight.  It was empowering what Emery learned along the way about herself and how she shared it with her audience.

review: The Fault in Our Stars



Title by Author: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Series (if applicable):  none
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: January 2012
Page Count:  313 pages
Source: a student lent it to me :)
Blurb: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Interest in this book is:  I had seen SO many positive, 5 star reviews, and a couple of students conspired to get it to me, that I felt compelled to read it.

My Review:
Hazel really only remembers being “terminal” – having had Stage IV thyroid cancer that moved to her lungs – that she doesn’t know what it is like to be a normal teenager.  She can’t really relate to non-cancer kids, and they are uncomfortable being around her.  Even though she is only 16, she is taking college classes and goes to a cancer support group “in the heart of Jesus.”  The usual suspects are there, to include her good fried Isaac, who has cancer of the eye.  But next to him is a new kid who won’t stop staring at her, Augustus Waters.

Augustus had osteosarcoma, which has an 85% success rate of non-recurrence of the cancer.  Augustus is there for Isaac, but seems intrigued by the blonde sitting across from him with the oxygen tank she has named Philip.  One thing leads to another, and Hazel Grace (as Augustus calls her) swap favorite books and start to hang out together.  Hazel doesn’t want Augustus to fall for her, because she is a grenade, just waiting to go off and destroy those around her.  However, Augustus can’t help himself.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

top 10 tear-jerkers



Top 10 Books that will Make you Cry

Our Hosts - The Broke and the Bookish
Oh boy! Tough one – because I don’t like to cry over a book!  

Classic Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  I don’t think they have students read this any more in school. I did and I cried!

Nicholas Sparks – I stopped reading his books (finally – it only took about THREE of them to make up my mind!) because I was tired of crying!  Here are the ones I shed tears over: The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, The Wedding (tears of joy?!)

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee. Wow – that surprised me.  I sat on the couch and cried (silently, I hope) for a bit after closing the book!

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen. I knew it was going to happen.  Don’t finish this book while next to your sleeping spouse – they will wonder what’s wrong!

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski.  I definitely got teary-eyed a few times while reading this book – only because of the premise. A woman completes a dead woman’s “To-Do” List.

Edith and Mr. Bear by Dare Wright.  A children’s book.  I used to cry, as a young girl, reading this, because Edith seemed so sad…and again when Mr. Bear found her!

And now – for books that were so funny, I cried while laughing (and almost pee’d my pants!)

The Undiscovered Goddess by Michelle Colston – Truly, there were scenes in this book that had me laughing so hard water was squirting out of my eyes – but it is also a book about self-discovery and highly recommended.

And One Last Thing by Molly Harper.  Very amusing, and heart-warming as well...and some pretty funny scenes!

So...what books have made you reach for the tissue box?  
(Then I can avoid them...maybe! :) )
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