Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mug o' Comfort Swap - Show and Tell

I participated in another swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps.
This time Mug o' Comfort Swap.
 I was paired up with Mrs Tee from Where Love Life and Laughter 
She has a great blog site and I had so much fun buying things in her package.
I hope she only enjoys her package as much as I enjoyed mine.

In the beginning it was this...
 The package arrived.
I have had a very hard week at work, what is new lately.
Coming home to this box waiting for me was such a nice pick me up. 
I quickly opened it.
Tiffany, you did a very good job taping it up!

 Here is what that wonderful box contained.
She spoiled me! 
Not only one mug but two!
Let us break this package down.

To start with, is not this the perfect card for this swap?  
 Three boxes of tea. I have Lemon Jasmine SleepyTime tea (which I have had a cup of every night since my delightful package has arrived), Classic Green Tea, and Raspberry Zinger Herbal Tea.
Three bags of coffee.  Above a bag of Dunkin' Donuts Dunkin' Turbo coffee, and Starbucks Blonde Willow Blend.  Tiffany you did not know this but I was really curious about the Blonde Willow Blend every time I walked by it at our grocery store.  I tried this one first and love the smooth taste. Below is a picture of the third bag she gave me.  Starbucks Breakfast Blend.
 Then of course the two mugs.  I had to rush to be the first to use the blue mug. 
Noah thought it was very fancy and wanted to drink out of it.  I barely beat him to it.
 The winning cup... Starbucks Blonde Willow Blend with
Coffee Mate Sugar Free Peppermint Mocha creamer.
  Thanks Mrs Tee.  Thank you Beth and Angie for hosting yet another successful swap.


Literary Friday

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I am participating with Ricki Jill's from Art @ Home , weekly party  Literary Friday. You should go over to her blog and check out all of the other book reviews. Okay, I am posting it on Sunday instead of Friday but I have so many books to write about I did not want to skip one week.

This week I am going to post about four books by Samantha Jillian Bayarr.  They are a series of books, or what I would call short stories.   The Quilter's Son: Liam's Choice, The Quilter's Son: Lydia's Heart, The Quilter's Son: Nathan's Apprentice, and The Quilter's Son: Maddie's Quilt.

 Liam's Choice (The Quilter's Son #1)

The Quilter's Son is a wonderful sweet series and quick read.  As many of Samantha Jillian Bayarr's books it is an Amish Community setting.  The story begins with Liam living in the "English" community for seven years.  Seven years prior after his father sudden death, he leaves his mother and twin sister, Lydia, to follow his dream.  He wanted to own his own construction company.  His father and he had kept a secret from his mother.  Liam was attending high school in the "English" community.  Prior to leaving the Amish Community, Liam asked his love, Lucy to come with him, but she could not leave her family or the community she grew up in.  Liam realizes seven years later how much he has lost and how much he wants to be with his family after he spots his mother and sister in town.  They bought a shop and intended to having a quilting shop.  His mother had hired his company to renovate the building.  

Little did Liam know his mother bought this shop to bring their family back together.  His mother and sister missed him and wanted him back in their lives.  Liam's lost love has a bakery next to his mother's soon to be quilt shop. After seeing everyone, Liam starts to think he made the wrong decision by leaving the Amish Community although he would have never had the opportunity to own his own construction company.  He wanted to mend everything between them but did not have the confidence that everyone would forgive him or the courage to make the first step.  While rebuilding the quilting shop the ceiling caved in on Liam, injuring him and making him forget the past seven years.  He thinks he and Lucy are still together and believes his father is still alive.  Lucy fears Liam will not want to be with her once he regains his memory.  You will have to read the book to find out.  This book leads into the next book...

Lydia's Heart (The Quilter's Son #2)  

During the first book in the series the author introduces Steve, he is Liam's best friend.  Steve has been friends with Liam since high school and was the only one who knew Liam used to be Amish.   Steve finds Liam's sister Lydia beautiful and is very interested in her.   Lydia was very surprised she found herself interested in Steve as well.  The second book in the series Lydia and Steve have made plans for their future together.  Until one day a lady from Social Services shows up with a boy, Nathan, who is Steve's son.  Lydia now has to make a decision will she continue with her plans to marry Steve or will the relationship end because she feels betrayed by Steve never sharing his past relationship.  Steve had no idea he was a father.  Will Nathan tear the two a part?  Lydia realizes that Nathan is alone and she and he have two things in common, they both lost a parent and both have a passion for quilting.  Will Lydia be able to mother a child she never gave birth to and carry through with her wedding plans?  This series could have ended here but Samantha Jillian Bayarr had plans for another book in the series.

Nathan's Apprentice (The Quilter's Son #3)  

Well, with this paragraph or review, I gave the ending away in book two.  Lydia and Steve have given Nathan much in life and let him continue his education in the "English" community.  Nathan has big plans for the quilt shop and wanted  to go to college, however he knew he could not if he was going to go through with his plans to marry Anna.  Nathan has an invitation to tour the university campus where he was accepted and Nathan plans to go to the tour with fellow high school students who were invited as well.  They will stay on campus during the time they are there and Nathan planned to attend several seminar regarding buisness while he is there besides the orientation classes.  He and Anna did not part well when he left and Nathan feels awful leaving in such a manner.  

While on the bus, Maddie who is the pretty cheerleader, sat next to Nathan.  Nathan was very surprised because Maddie has never even acted as if she knew he existed.  Now Maddie was confronting him about his Amish background and teasing him.  Maddie wanted Nathan to teach her how to make a butterfly quilt, which is a special quilt Anna and Nathan made together.  Nathan refused at first until Maddie blackmailed him into saying yes.  Nathan did not want everyone to know he was from the Amish Community.  During Nathan's stay at the university Maddie would never leave Nathan alone except for her cheerleader seminars.  Nathan began to see Maddie in a different perceptive, Maddie showed Nathan her vulnerable side.  Nathan followed through and assisted Maddie with her butterfly quilt but they did not complete it.  No matter how hard Maddie tried to have Nathan react to her flirts, Nathan was true to Anna by not cheating with Maddie, however he was keeping the fact he was accepted to go to the university from Anna.  He did not share everything with her.  He kept Maddie from her as well.

Once he came home it looked like everything was going to work out for Anna and Nathan until Maddie came into the quilt shop.  Maddie shared everything with Anna.  In the end Anna and Maddie became friends.  Once again, the series could have ended with this book, but...

Maddie's Quilt (The Quilter's Son #4)

Samantha Jillian Bayarr decides to add one more.  In this book Maddie comes to Anna, remember they became friends, not only friends but best of friends telling her she is pregnant.  Maddie's parents turned her away due to her being pregnant and not married. Anna refuses for Maddie to be alone and moves Maddie in with her and Nathan.  Maddie is still in love with Nathan but never acts on it due to her friendship with Anna.  This book is full of twist, one that is not normal for Samantha Jillian Bayarr.  Typically her books are so predictable but her twist was refreshing.  While Anna is helping Maddie, she realizes something...she is pregnant too but Nathan is not the father.  Nathan fights feelings he has developed for Maddie. Anna insist Nathan and she must find someone for Maddie and it is Nathan's cousin.  Only Anna has problems with this match up because she realizes she is in love with him and he is the father of her unborn child.  Will Anna and Nathan marry?  Will Anna speak up and tell the truth about who the father is of her baby?  Will she turn her head and put her feelings aside and let the relationship with Nathan's cousin and Maddie develop?  

This series is a very quick read series.  I read them all within two days, most of the books were under 40 pages, thus why I called them short stories.  All have fast moving relationships which is typical in all of her books.  All are wholesome with some twist this time.  I have to say though, if you have one series of Samantha Jillian Bayarr then you have read them all.  Her writings are all similar in just about all of her books.  My favorite was The Little Wild Flower series until I read The Apothecary.  This book is different and is my favorite of her books so far.  I will post about it next week.


Sunday's Song

I would love to see Wicked on stage. It is on my bucket list.  I love the songs in this production.   Enjoy!


(spoken) Elphaba - why couldn't you have just stayed calm for once, instead of flying off the handle!
(sung) I hope you're happy!
I hope you're happy now
I hope you're happy how you
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you're clever!
I hope you're happy
I hope you're happy, too
I hope you're proud how you
Would grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition
So though I can't imagine how
I hope you're happy right now
(spoken) Elphie, listen to me. Just say you're sorry:
(sung) You can still be with the Wizard
What you've worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted:
(spoken) I know:
(sung) But I don't want it -
No - I can't want it
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!
It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!
Can't I make you understand?
You're having delusions of grandeur:
I'm through accepting limits
'cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down:
(spoken) Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could
do, together.
(sung) Unlimited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been
Glinda -
Dreams, the way we planned 'em
If we work in tandem:
There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I
Defying gravity
With you and I
Defying gravity
They'll never bring us down!
(spoken) Well? Are you coming?
I hope you're happy
Now that you're choosing this
(spoken) You too
(sung) I hope it brings you bliss
I really hope you get it
And you don't live to regret it
I hope you're happy in the end
I hope you're happy, my friend:
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown!
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!
I hope you're happy!
Look at her, she's wicked!
Get her!
Bring me down!
No one mourns the wicked
So we've got to bring her

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Woo Hoos

Yes, it is that time of week to let out jump high and let out a Woo Hoo.

My first Woo Hoo is, I do not think I shared my department's bulletin board a co-worker and I decorated this month.  We get a lot of compliments on our board.  I sit right by it and it makes me Happy at work when I see it and hear people commenting while they walk by.  I really would love a Cricit like she has. I could do so many things with it!

My next Woo Hoo is the painting class I went to last night.  When I saw this painting class I knew I wanted to do it.  I thought of my son when he went to Spain.  I also thought of our ballroom dancing classes and I wanted to do this in the worse way.  I only hoped my lady would look decent.  I am very HAPPY with the way she turned out.  This one I am going to definitely frame.

Flamenco Dancer

I loved the different textures of the background.  I loved the bodice of the gown and the shading.  I was happy with the way the dress flowed and my fans.

A closer view of the bodice and one of the fans.

At first I was not happy with her hair but then I added a few highlights and it came to life.

 A close up of her hair and my other fan.
Here is a video of someone doing a Flamenco Dance.
Can you not feel her dancing movements in my painting?   I am so surprised how I actually captured the feeling of her dancing.
(I took my painting off the wall to try to get another picture without the flash glare in the kitchen where I have better lighting, however the gold background did not turn out as the true color it is.)

Originally I was going to give it to my son as a gift.  Although he loved it he told me he felt it was to feminine for a bachelor's pad.  I had to crack up thinking of him having a bachelor's pad. Now I am trying to decide if I shall keep it or give it to my Mother to hang in her family room with other drawings of mine.  I do love it so I am so torn.  Every time I walk by it, I have to stop and smile.  I really did not think I was going to do a good job with this one.  I honestly surprised myself.

What do you have to Woo Hoo about?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday's Song

I am so tired from last week.  Maybe today being a day of relaxation (except for doing laundry and going to Aqua Fit) I can catch up on some things.  Last week was such a stressful week at work and it drained everything from me.  My mind is having a hard time thinking of a song for this week's post.  The only song that keeps popping into my head is by The Beatles, so let it be...(Did you catch the little pun there?  Nope it's not that song.) Enjoy!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Fun Fact

Here is a fun little Irish fact:

Roderic O'Connor (also known as Rory O'Connor or Old Irish would call him Ruaidhr Ua Conchubair) who was the last high king of Ireland in 1166.  That was 800 years before I was born.   He was King of Connaught and the last high king before the Norman invasion.  I always thought he was king for a day but I was wrong. He was king for 30 years.  Ireland used to be broken up into three territories; Connaught, Munster, and the North.  Roderic was the only one who did not surrender to England but eventually did and retired to the Abbey.  Recently I found this website. 

 The family crest
(source listed below)

Historic Irish Manor: Clonalis House; Ancestral House of the O'Connors and I have just begun to explore this site.  I plan on sharing it with my mother and some day I wish to visit.  Why the interest you may ask?  Well, because I am a decedent of his  He is a very great grandfather of mine.  I love how my Mom has researched her side of the family.  It took her three years to find the missing link.  My Great Uncle and Great Aunt went to Ireland to visit and she asked them to go to the Abbey and look for the records of this one O'Connor and they came back with the parent's name.  It was the last tie she needed to know we are relatives of Roderic. 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday's Song

I fell in love with this song as the first three season's of Big Love aired and looked forward to hearing it every Sunday night.  I had heard it before when I was much younger but it never pulled at me like it did when I watched this HBO series.  When Big Love changed their opening theme song the last two season I was very upset, however the closing for the last show ended with this version I am posting.  It was very appropriate.

This song I felt so connected with.  This song would be for the men in my life, Todd, Matthew, Joshua, Ethan, Noah, and now Taj.  It sums up my feelings for them.  It also hold true for my two step-daughters, Kera and Emily as well as my Mom.  Enjoy!

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I'd be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I'd be without you

God only knows what I'd be without you

If you should ever leave me
Well life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows
God only knows what I'd be without you

Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos></a>

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Literary Friday

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I am participating with Ricki Jill's from Art @ Home , weekly party  Literary Friday. You should go over to her blog and check out all of the other book reviews. 

The Book Thief

History was one of my favorite subjects in school and for some reason I found I liked reading about World War II.  I do not know what drew me to the books while in school but I enjoy reading about them like The Diary of Anne Frank and The Upstairs Room  to name two right off the back.  When I participated with my first Books n' Blogger Swap.  You can read about it here.  Beth from A Living Goddess Life chose this book for me.  It was a book she thought I would like.  Beth, you were so right!  I loved this book!!!! Thank you so much.  I saw the movie as a trailer at the theater and knew I had to read the book first.  Todd wants to read it as well.  I loved the book so much I bought a copy for Kaylee from Chair in the Shade.  It was on her Wish List. 

The setting is 1939, Nazi Germany.  The main narrator of the book is Death himself.  He is very busy during this era but takes time to follow the main character Liesel Meminger.  The reader will get to hear her perspective too during this story.  The story begins with Liesel a German girl on a train with her younger brother and mother en route to a foster home for the children.  Liesel's little brother does not make the journey and this is the first time Death meets Liesel and she becomes an interest to him.  She also steals her first book near her brother's graveside, The Gravedigger's Handbook. 

Leisel is placed with Rosa and Hans Hubermann as foster parents.  Hans is such a loving man who makes money on the side playing the accordion.  He served in World War I and a friend basically saved his life.  He was the only one in his troop to survive the war.  This friend is the person who taught Hans how to play the accordion and Hans wanted to return the accordion to his friends wife.  His widow did not want the accordion because she had so many.  Hans noticed his friend had a son, Max which Hans never knew of.  Hans offered the widow to reach out to him if she needs anything at all because he feels a debt to her.  Hans has such a loving and helpful character he took a shine to Leisel and when it was clear she had trouble learning, he created a learning center downstairs.  He painted one wall where they would list words she learned to read successfully and kept building from there.  He would sleep in a chair in her room to comfort her when she woke up in the middle of the night from the nightmares she had of her brother dieing.

Her foster mother, Rosa was a funny character I thought.  I loved how out spoken she was.  She reminded me of my Grandma Rich in some ways but she was hard on the outside where my Grandma was not.  Later in the book we do see a gentle and loving side of Rosa.

Leisel's best friend is a boy named Rudy. Rudy likes Leisel more than a friend, eventually Leisel realizes she has the same feelings but a little too late.  Rudy looks out for Leisel in his own way.  Times were tough and people were going hungry.  The children found they started to steal food because they were so hungry.  Eventually Leisel steals books instead of food and this is how Rudy gave her the nickname of Book Theif.  This part of the story of who she is stealing the books is so sweet in my opinion.  I do not want to go into details to give it away but the books are from someone she becomes very close to.  They help one another out in several ways.

Eventually Hans receives word that his friend's widow she tells him she will take him up on his offer and needs his help to hide her son Max; to keep him safe because they were Jewish and being Jewish in Germany was very bad as we all knew.  Hans and Rosa kept their debt to this family no matter how dangerous it was for them and hid Max in their basement. Leisel understood she had to keep this a secret from everyone outside the house.  Max and Leisel develop a relationship beginning with books and eventually that grew into truly caring about one another.  Max writes a story for Leisel as a gift.  This story is about Max's life.  Leisel was so upset when they had to leave Max during the air raids where everyone would have to go to pointed houses which had better basement or a bomb cellar.  During these raids, Leisel would read to everyone trying to keep the children calm. It is shortly after one of these raids Hans tells Max he is not safe any longer in their basement and Max takes off in the woods.  Leisel later sees him during one of the parades of Jews heading towards the concentration camp outside of town.  This part of the book tears at your heart.  Leisel becomes a writer her self and writes her own story after the air raids began and after Max had to leave. She completes it shortly before the major bombing.  Death then becomes the Book Thief when he steals her book which was placed in a garbage truck while humans were cleaning up the rubble from the bomb.

This book has so many things to love about it.  I loved how Death is haunted by humans and how he takes little vacations from his job of collecting the dead.  Once in a while Death will connect with a human and Leisel is one of those humans.

I cannot wait for the movie to come to Netflix or cable.  I am so interested to see how they portray Death in the movie.  Thank you Beth for the great book you gave me.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday # 10

Today's flashback we will go back to April 2007.  It was Easter time and the boys, Todd and I all stayed in a hotel in Bettendorff and had Easter with Todd's family in Davenport.  We actually could have stayed home, they only live an hour away but Todd and Todd's Mom thought it would be fun for the boys to stay at the hotel and go swimming.  We had two rooms at no cost.  The boys were just down the hall from us, like three doors down and Todd and I had a suite.  Any way I look back at these pictures and they just make me laugh. Here are my younger two.  Noah is my goofy youngest with missing teeth.  He was 6 at the time and Ethan was 9.  Look at the two of them, how much they loved one another and how close they were.  Such nice looking little boys, clean cut.  
Now let us look at my older two.  Joshua (the one who looks like he is a Hanson Brother...MmmBop) was almost 14 years old and Matthew almost 17.  My oh my!  I remember when they asked me if they could grow their hair out and I told them not past the shoulders.  Matthew would style his.  Joshua ended up going about 2 inches past the shoulders and only looked like he was in the wrong decade and should be on stage with his missing brothers making all the little girls scream and sing... MmmBop.  These two rarely talk to one another now.  It makes me so sad.  Maybe when they mature even more they can mend their differences.  These two were always goofing around and also always competing with one another.  Sometimes they reminded me of Frazier where the two brothers argued over who had the higher IQ. 
 My boys mean the world to me and I miss how close they all were.
Below was the bed in our suite.  I would love to have a bed like that at home but in the King size.
 After our time at the hotel, we packed up and went to Todd's Mom's place and had dinner. Todd and his sister hid eggs for the younger kids to go find in the back yard.  The boys had such a great time.

Seriously... Josh looked like he should be in this band.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Woo Hoos

Woo Hoo it is Wednesday, it is that time of week again to share what I am happy about other than the week is half over.

Woo Hoo!  One step closer to having my Grandparent wall completed in the main living room.
 I absolutely love the way the painting turned out.  My lighting is poor, the back ground color is a neutral color with amber brown, white, and navy blue streaks blended.  I then took crimson red and painted my heart.  Once the heart was dried I added the white diagonal stripes to it.  After the heart was completed, I used coca brown for my wording.  I cannot wait for the wall to be completed.  I am hoping to have it completed by this next weekend.  Woo Hoo!  My painting was inspired by this from Pinterest.
#grandparents quote
 This came from a Google search on Pinterest

Saturday Taj and I baked cupcakes.  He is so funny.  On Monday (the week prior) he did not want to go home, so I made a promise to him that the next time he comes over we would bake cupcakes.  He was so excited.  Saturday morning came and as he was climbing up the stairs he asked me when we were going to bake the cupcakes.  He remembered all on his own.  After breakfast we started because he could not wait any longer.  

While the cupcakes were baking, he ran into the small living room and played with his trucks.

Every now and then he would run into the kitchen and check on the cupcakes.  Nana always leaves the light on when baking with Taj around, this way Taj can keep an eye on it.
After the cupcakes cooled and after lunch (because Nana was not born yesterday) we frosted the cupcakes.
I placed some frosting in a small bowl and gave him a plastic knife to frost his cupcake.
Naturally, his Nana knew what was coming when the frosting part started.  It was the taste testing part of the job.  Taj thought Woo Hoo for frosting.  It is his favorite part of the cupcake or cake.

He was really into eating the frosting.  I loved how engrossed he was.
Then he decided to start to eat his cupcake.  This is why his Nana made sure lunch was first.  I have been through this with his uncles when they were his age.

We frosted that cupcake maybe five times throughout day until his Mama came because that is what being a grandparent is all about.  Spoiling them and giving them more sugar than you would your own child, never too much where he will get sick but more than a normal serving for a day.  He has a lot of energy and he will easily burn it off.
After frosting, I let him sprinkle the cupcakes and of course all the loose green sugar sprinkles he ate too.  It was so funny because he thought he was so sneaky and getting away with it.  The day before our baking, Todd and I were at the Dollar Tree and I found this little cupcake carrier near the check out.  I just had to get it, this way Taj could take some of the cupcakes home with him on Saturday.
I think the little container is adorable and for only a dollar what a steal!  He loved taking the cupcakes home too.  I cannot promise they looked as good at this by the time he got home because he was swinging his little cupcake container around as he carried it. 

What do you have to Woo Hoo about this week?


He Loves Me