Sunday, April 27, 2014

End of Event: Readathon

And now it's over... My participation this year has really dwindled from when I first started, several years ago. Back then I was a newly-wed still in my last semester of school. I could easily choose to spend a Saturday how I wanted to... which was curled up with a book, leaving my hubby to find dinner for himself. Now, not so much. I read about an hour and a half throughout yesterday and I got 45 minutes in this morning after waking up before it was all over. 

I finished Allegiant yesterday, which I highly enjoyed. I keep reading these YA dystopian novels because they're the big thing and I want to see what everyone is so excited about. They've been readable to me but I wouldn't call them great books, but out of the ones that I've read, I think the Divergent series is the best. I liked the characters a lot. I enjoyed seeing them push themselves and discover who they are. 

Last night I started The Stand by Stephen King. This will be my third Stephen King novel (I've also read The Green Mile and Under the Dome (which is nothing like the TV show!)). I can't do horror at all, it totally freaks me out, but some of his works, while still tough to read, can be very engrossing. Or should I say, engrossing. I also love long books, so at over 1000 pages, I'm hoping this book will appeal to me.

Anyways, here is the end of event meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? After my daughter's first nap time, I couldn't find anymore time to read, everyone in the house seemed to need stuff done and that was it. I found it very frustrating and hopefully I can control the situation a little better next year.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? If you're into the YA dystopia genre, I highly enjoyed the Divergent series, I finished up Allegiant as part of the readathon.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Could you have a post on how to actually use Twitter? I'm still trying to figure that out and would love to try connect more with other readers.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I enjoy the visits from the cheerleaders.
  5. How many books did you read? Finished one that I had already started and just started another... so, 0.6 books?
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Allegiant by Veronica Roth and The Stand by Stephen King
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Allegiant
  8. Which did you enjoy least? I guess, The Stand, but I'm not far enough into it to know if I'll like it.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? n/a
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Definitely! I think I'd like to try to be a cheerleader. I've never done it but it would take some pressure off me if I'm not trying to read whenever I get a free moment. Plus I'd love to see how other people handle their schedules and what they do during the readathon!
Happy Reading everyone! See you in October!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

24 Hour Readathon! Starts Now!

So it's a little after 8:30am here and I'm just getting started. I love this readathon and I hope to participate throughout the day but it's unlikely I'll be able to do much. My almost 8 month old just went down for her first nap and daddy is out today so as soon as she is up, I won't get much done.

Anyways, here's the opening meme questionnaire:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? PA

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Allegiant by Veronica Roth, I'm about halfway through and I would love to finish it today! After that, if I have time and energy, I'm up in the air about a couple books. I'd love to start the second book in the Way of Kings series by Brandon Sanderson but I have some library books that I should probably read instead, like The Stand by Stephen King or The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar. Fiction is probably easier for a day like today but I do love non-fiction as well. Any input on these books? 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Hmmmmmm, apples and cheese! Yummy, filling, and won't make me want to take a post-food coma afterwards ;-)

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! My favorite book is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Last October I was too tired to do much reading since baby girl was only 6 weeks old and I was barely sleeping. This time around, I know I'll be busy but I think I'll be a little more prepared to sneak in reading throughout the day, plus after she goes to bed :)

.... and now off for a little reading before naptime is over!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

24 Hour Readathon!

It's Coming! The 24 hour readathon! Yay!!!

This Saturday!

8AM (EST) - 8AM

I've participated in a number of the 24 Hour Readathons, I started about 3 1/2 years ago, after hubby and I got married and I started my first blog, By the By Books. I've never quite made it the whole 24 hours, but I've done my best and enjoyed the experience every time.

The readathon happens twice a year, in October and April. Last October, I tried to participate but I think I managed to read all of a half hour. Little girl was only 6 weeks and I was still getting almost no sleep. 

This Saturday my hubby will be away volunteering but I'm hoping to take advantage of little girl's naps and read during that time, rather than trying to do housework or other projects I have going on. I'd also like to try to join the community a little more during this readathon, rather than just focusing on cramming as much reading in as I can. Maybe I'll finally figure out how Twitter works so I can join in the conversation and excitement on there.

If this at all intrigues you, I hope you'll consider joining the fun! It may sound overwhelming, but there is no pressure! The readathon is a day to celebrate reading and the enjoyment we can gain from books. Whether we are reading them, listening to them, or talking about  them with others. Please join us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Do you ever just feel overwhelmed? I'm sure you do! It's part of human nature, right?!

The problem with me feeling overwhelmed, though, is that I create it all myself. I create my own chaos! And my stress. And my anxieties.

I've been working very hard to come with a system to stay organized and make sure I get the things done that I want to accomplish. But either I'm awful with time management, having a baby in the house slows me down tremendously, and/or I just have too much that I want to do. It's probably all three.

Currently, I want to....

  • Be the best Mom I can be, 24/7/365.
  • Capture, record, remember, and enjoy all moments, large and small, with our daughter.
  • Learn photography (just bought a Nikon D5200!)
    • So that I can take beautiful pictures of our daughter
    • Take great pictures for my Etsy shop (which I need to do a lot of work on!)
    • Take inspiring/eye-catching photos for this blog
  • Grow this blog so that people follow me-
    • I want to inspire others
    • I want to relate and connect with others
    • I want to inform others with topics that I find interesting
    • I would love to generate some sort of revenue since I stay at home, but I don't know how to do this and know that I am a far way away from that.
  • Develop my Etsy shop to support the activities that I love doing and perhaps provide some stream of income into our household
  • Maintain financial literacy education, make smart financial moves
    • Continue working on and sticking to budget---- we just started our third month of using YNAB and love it!
    • Continue to save for retirement and learn which investing vehicles are best for us
    • Save for college
    • Make sure buying a house is right for us, do renovations only within our budget and that will add value to the house
    • Learn how to invest money
    • Continue saving for a rainy day and for vacations in the future when our kid(s) are older
  • Continue all crafts that I am already involved in and continue to learn others
    • Three cross-stitch projects
    • Crochet another blanket
    • Crochet a birthday present for sister
    • Make an stuffed elephant taggie for daughter
    • Learn to quilt
    • Learn to machine embroider
    • Learn to make a small quilt for when daughter can have a blanket in bed
  • Buy a house
  • Plan renovations and decorations for said home
  • Find a way to organize my time so that I can keep up on housecleaning and cooking, so that everything gets done and it's not a huge job at any one time
  • Try to find time to keep reading... my first passion and hobby, and the one that keeps getting pushed back since it's for when I have time to "not do anything"
  • Try to find more time to relax with hubby. He not only commutes over 3 hours a day, but just got approved for overtime, so he's working 10 hour days. It's tough.

While I definitely can't work on all of this list at once, I keep jumping around. And I'm just feeling frazzled. If anyone has any tips or input on how to handle everything that you want to do, please leave me a comment- I'd love to chat! Even if you just want to let off a little steam about how much you have to do! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig


The Garden Intrigue
By: Lauren Willig
  • SBN-13: 9780525952541
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/16/2012
  • Series: Pink Carnation Series, #9
  • Pages: 400


First off, this is the ninth book in the Pink Carnation series, so there may be some spoilers to previous books. 

Eloise and Colin are hosting a film crew at the house, where they are filming an awful regency movie. Colin can't stand having the film crew trod through his grounds but he was outvoted by both his sister, Serena, and enemy, Jeremy. Eloise is on edge because she is offered a teaching position for the fall... back in the U.S.

In France, however, Augustus Whittlesby continues to surreptitiously woo Jane Wooliston, who is having none of it. His mission throws him into the constant presence of Emma Delagardie, an American connected to the Royal family, in order to discover the machine Napoleon plans to use to invade England. There is lots of misunderstandings between the Augustus and Emma, leading to anger and hurt and Augustus must face the choice between his mission and the woman he loves.


If you haven't read the Pink Carnation series and you enjoy historical fiction, you really should stop what you are doing and go get the first book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. It's a delightful series that chronicles English spies during the time of Napoleon and a modern day History student doing dissertation research in England.

Once again Lauren Willig has set up her characters wonderfully, we see another match made amongst the spies and Eloise's relationship with Colin starts to become rocky as her time in England starts to wind down. 

I love the juxtaposition of the historical (well, not technically historical) stories against Eloise's story. Although the spies move much quicker, whole relationships form and end within one book, whereas Eloise moves much slow, I like that her story connects the series together. 

In The Garden Intrigue, I liked learning more about Jane and her role in the network, even though she is still not the main character. While I enjoyed seeing her again, I do wish she could be a little more human and less ethereal. Augustus' character contrasts her nicely since even though he lauds himself as a seasoned spy, he still falls prey to his heart- much like the poet he "pretends" to be ;-) I hope we see Augustus and Emma again back in England. I'm also anxious to keep reading just to see how Eloise's relationship progresses- I love Colin and want to see them happy together! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I want amazing pictures of our little girl! Beautiful pictures! And lots of them! 

Pictures that I can print on canvas and let them surround us in our home. 

I feel like I really missed out by not getting newborn pictures, although we were really way to busy to do them (C-section recovery, moving across the state, blah blah blah). 

So I've started looking into some local photographers, and I would love to support them.... but have you seen how expensive it is to purchase the digital images? I'm not interested in having them print pictures for me, I want the digital images so that I can print them, post them online, put them in my photobook creations. But if I want good pictures several times a year, it would cost me a fortune to do that!

Because of the expense of purchasing digital images, my husband and I are looking at purchasing a DSLR, figuring out a good lighting set-up, taking some classes and figuring it all out on our own. It will definitely be a very large upfront cost, but if we stick to it and do it right, it will save us a lot in the long run. I hate not supporting local photographers, especially since so many do such great work, but I just can't stomach paying $150+ for just a few digital images, not including the sitting fees. Especially in the DIY-culture that we are a part of.

We've both always wanted a DSLR but we could never justify it enough. Now we look at our little girl and think how could we not spend our time and money documenting her life. 

So now I have another goal to add to my list of things to do right now! Learn about saving retirement, buying a house, and how to take and edit beautiful photographs. Ready... set... go!

If anyone has any advice on what cameras to look at (we're thinking one of the Canon Rebels?) or where to get some good information, please share!! I'm all ears, well, eyes.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Movie Review: The Great Gatsby


Nick Carraway narrates his past relationships with the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a reclusive and wealthy man who holds extremely lavish parties at his mansion. Gatsby uses his relationship with Nick to gain access to the lost love of his life, a woman already married. Gatsby and his love begin an affair, but her husband becomes aware of it as Gatsby urges her to leave her husband and stay with him. Tragedies unfold as love triangles break up into pieces throughout the course of an evening, leaving everyone heartbroken.


So I've never reviewed a movie before, and I definitely don't claim to be a movie critic, but I just wanted to share some thoughts on the new movie The Great Gatsby. I just received it last week from Netflix, I know I'm so behind the times but that's what a baby does to you. I had wanted to see it in theaters but hubby did not and so I didn't push it.

Anyways, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a gorgeous movie. I loved the the cinematography and the glitz and glam of the 1920's costumes and sets. The whole way through it, I kept thinking how the cinematography reminded me of Baz Luhrmann films... and sure enough, after it was over I checked it, and it was directed by Luhrmann! Do I know directors or what? He's the only one I can recognize though just by watching the movie. I haven't liked all of his movies (Strictly Ballroom), but I like most, especially Moulin Rouge.

I also enjoyed the movie because I finally felt like I understood the appeal of the story. I read the book back in high school, and either from my age or the actual book, I just never connected with storyline. I didn't understand why I should care about any of the characters and their lives were just so shallow and vapid that I didn't care what happened to them. As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, it bothered me that I didn't understand the appeal of this classic, but after seeing the movie, I think I get it. I should probably give the book another try now since I am a little older and I've seen the movie.

If you have a free evening, I recommend this movie! It could definitely be a good date night movie! Unfortunately I watched it during the day so hubby didn't have a chance to watch it with me (he goes to bed too early anyways) so I don't have his take on the movie.

Directed byBaz Luhrmann
Produced byBaz Luhrmann
Douglas Wick
Lucy Fisher
Catherine Martin
Catherine Knapman
Screenplay byBaz Luhrmann
Craig Pearce
Based onThe Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
StarringLeonardo DiCaprio
Tobey Maguire
Carey Mulligan
Joel Edgerton
Isla Fisher
Elizabeth Debicki
Jason Clarke
Music byCraig Armstrong
CinematographySimon Duggan
Editing byMatt Villa
Jason Ballantine
Jonathan Redmond
StudioVillage Roadshow Pictures
Bazmark Productions
A&E Television
Red Wagon Entertainment
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • May 1, 2013(New York City premiere)
  • May 10, 2013(United States)
  • May 30, 2013 (Australia)
Running time142 minutes[1]

**copied from Wikipedia**

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey


The Total Money Makeover
By: Dave Ramsey
  • ISBN-13: 9781595555274
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 272


Dave Ramsey outlines his financial plan to a wealthy life in this book. He has 7 baby steps, that if followed, he says can get you out of debt and on the fast track to a better life. The 7 baby steps are not easy, but they are simple.

1. Save $1000 and put it away as an emergency fund! This will protect you from going further into debt as you work through the baby steps. 
2. Begin your debt snowball- list all of your debts, excluding mortgage, in order of smallest to largest. Pay minimum payments on all of them except the smallest debt, attack that one with every penny you have that isn't necessary to your survival. Once that debt is paid off, put all of the money you were paying into the first debt into the second smallest one. And so on until you are debt free, excluding your mortgage. 
3. Finish your emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. This allows you to cover emergencies in case there is an injury, illness, unemployment, or major repair that was expected. This is not to be used for wants. 
4. Invest 15% of your income into retirement savings. Do not rely on social security for retirement, even if you get some, you will be eating Alpo in your retirement. You need to plan for retirement now. 
5. Save for college. Dave recommends an ESA (educational savings account) invested in a growth-stock mutual fund. If you max out that, then look into 529s for college savings 
6. Pay off your home mortgage! Imagine life without this payment! Now put all you can into paying it off. Dave recommends only 15 year mortgages (it's the only debt he allows, although he still prefers the 100% cash plan). 
7. Build Wealth. With a well-stocked emergency fund, no debt, retirement and college taken care of--- you can now build your personal wealth! Yay! Money is good for... fun! to invest! and to give! 


Recently my personal mission has been to become a responsible adult. I've always been on the more mature side, even as a kid. However, since having our own child, I just feel like I'm still not there yet. There is still so much that I don't know and so many decisions that I need to make and I just don't know the right answer. Part of my worries are about money- both my current budgeting and spending, as well as planning for the future- a house, retirement, college, etc. I don't want to make the wrong decision.

My husband and I have very little debt. We paid off his student loans within several months of them kicking in. We do have a car loan but we are almost done with that and it was a 0% interest loan, which is why we were able to pay off the student loans so quickly. However, I do enjoy spending money when I probably should have been saving more of it. We now want to buy a house and there is no way we are close to having a 20% down payment. But I digress......

My parents did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes several years ago, so I had heard his name being thrown around before. I read this book in order to get a feel for what is recommended to do with our money. I really like his plan, although we may not follow it to the letter, we will probably get a 30 year mortgage. I think the principles of his plan are good... live on less than you make, invest and save everything you can, some sacrifice now can pay dividends later, "live like no one else so later you can live like no one else." Dave Ramsey's plan is very no-nonsense. It is not a get rich quick scheme, his plan will take years and years of hard work but it can pay off. However, sometimes it does sound like he is trying to sell his plan a little too hard. For example, there are testimonials from people who followed through on his baby steps and now find themselves much better off than before they started the plan. While inspiring, these can get a little annoying when you just want the information, plain and simple. Since I already knew the basics of his plan and was on board with it, his sales tactics sometimes bothered me, but that shouldn't detract from the principles in this book. 

I highly recommend this book if you want ideas on how to better your financial situation. His baby steps make it easy to see what you need to be focusing on at this moment. If all of American could stop it's reliance on debt products, I do believe we would have a better, more mature and responsible, culture. Nothing good should come too easy, we need to work for what we want.

This was one of my favorite quotes from the book, it came towards the end after he talks about building your wealth:

Another paradox is that wealth will make you  more of what you are... If you are a jerk and you become wealthy, you will be king of the jerks. If you are generous and you become wealthy, you will be more generous. If you are kind, wealth will allow you to show kindness in immeasurable ways. If you feel guilty, wealth will ensure that you feel guilty for the rest of your life.
I'm not sure why that spoke to me so much, but just loved the reflection on money. It is amoral, it only gains a characteristic when we give it that characteristic. We need to build wealth, but not so that we can have anything we desire, but so that we can be and do good. For us, our families, and our communities.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mexican Chocolate Cake

Earlier this month was my husband's birthday. The big quarter-of-a-century birthday! Yikes. It's weird, some days we feel old and others we still feel like kids. Anyways, for his birthday he wanted a Mexican Chocolate cake. I've never made one before, so it was off to google to find a splendid recipe! 

I found a yummy one on allrecipes, found here. My only changes were that I used butter, not margarine. I also made my own sour milk (milk plus a little apple cider vinegar). I baked the cake in two round pans and they did need to bake a little longer than the stated 25-30 minutes.

I iced it with a good ole' chocolate buttercream frosting, per hubby's request.

Can you see a theme going here? In our family, he's the chocolate addict! 

Rachael enjoyed seeing the candles and watching everyone gather around and sing. Give it another couple (or 7ish) months, and she'll be enjoying her own cake! 

I hope you'll give this recipe a try next time you have a chocolate craving! It's a keeper for us! :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Old Blog

I thought before I keep progressing in this blog, I'd let anyone know who is reading this that I use to have an old blog, which is still up. It was called By the By Books. I started a new one because I wanted to branch out from just focusing on books. Please feel free to check it out, I have lots of book reviews on there from the past several years. 

I started that blog during my last year in college. My last semester was fairly easy, I think I only had 12 credits, and three of those were my research credits and thesis writing. I wanted to start doing something for myself as a new challenge. I was applying to graduate school, but since I graduated after a fall semester (I graduated one semester early), I knew I'd have several months to fill before starting grad school. I ended up not going to grad school, but I enjoyed continuing my blog and connecting with other readers over the years. Eventually I stopped posting, but still enjoyed getting a few comments here and there as readers stumbled across it.  

If you do stop in to take a look, please comment and just say hi! I'd love to start talking about any book or life in general :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014


One of my resolutions for 2014 (and beyond), like many other Americans, is to start exercising.

First, let me say, I hate exercising! I never feel good before, during, or after attempting to work out. I hate sweating. I hate the exhaustion afterwards. I hate trying to fit it into my schedule.

Well, my recent focus has been trying to make my husband's and my life on the right track. Mostly that has involved learning as much as I can about personal finance so that we can be assured that our current finances, homebuying, retirement, and saving for future expenses, especially our little's college fund, are on track. I'm still in the middle of that journey, and I'd love to share what I've learned in another post, but being on the right track also includes how we take care of ourselves.

My husband is very fit. So far he's done 2 full marathons and probably around 5 half marathons, he runs (6-12miles) several times a week and he loves it! He goes crazy if he doesn't fit his runs into his schedule. Because of how our schedules work right now and daylight savings, he actually goes running right after work, showers at his office, and the does his 1.5 hour commute home, so he gets his exercising in before he comes home and ever has a chance to get sucked into the couch. I don't have that luxury- I'm always home with our little one.

I could never find the time before to exercise, and by find the time, I mean make the time. Of course I had time! I just chose to do other things. Now that I have a baby with me all the time, you would think that I really would never find the time. But I am! Perhaps it's because I am home all day and we don't go out much, but I've actually found the time for 4 workouts!

I just started week 2 of the C25k program. If you've never heard of it, its actually the Couch to 5k program, where it literally takes a person from the couch/sedentary lifestyle to being able to run a 5k. I believe it is a 9 week program, but don't quote me on that. It's very simple, you can look up the program on I actually downloaded the app ($1.99) just because I knew if I was going to do it, then it needed to be simple, so I got the app, which tells me when to jog, run, and cool down. Because I have a baby, I've been running inside on a treadmill, so I can do it during one of her infrequent naps, or just when she is entertained on the playmat. I also like that I don't get stuck somewhere because I didn't turn around in time or whatever may be the case, I can just stop when the workout has ended.

Like I said, I've already done 4 workouts, you do 3 a week all at the same level and then each week it gets bumped up gradually until you do more running than walking. This is probably that farthest I've ever made in into a workout routine, I think my husband is surprised by my commitment to actually doing it this time. Maybe after we move, we can find someplace that we could run together, although we'll have to get a jogging stroller then.

Do you have a favorite workout program or routine? What is it? How do you stay motivated to keep going?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

  • Details:

  • Under the Dome
  • By: Stephen King
  • ISBN-13: 9781476735474
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Edition description: Media Tie-In
  • Pages: 1088


On one normal autumnal day in the small town of Chester's Mill, Maine, a transparent, electric dome crashes down- severing the town from the rest of the world. No one can get in or out, water and air barely pass through- leaving streams to dry up inside the dome and air to become stale at best and putrid and dense at worst. 

Over the course of a week, the town goes from quiet and quaint to a tyranny-led mob state. Sides form over who should lead the town and the rest of the world watches in horror and pity from the outside. Eventually, all bad deeds, once hidden from public view, explode through the town- destroying themselves from the inside out.


Wow. Well, this is my second Stephen King novel ever.... I read The Green Mile once when I was younger (young, in fact, I believe I was in Middle School...). I can't handle horror at all so I generally steer clear of this author, but after watching the first season of this on Amazon Instant Video and one of my book groups on starting this book, I decided to give it a try. It's still not one of my normal books, and there were times that I had a hard time reading it, but I still enjoyed the experience for the most part.

One of the best parts of Under the Dome is the characterization. There are many characters in the book- good, bad, and average, and we get to know about all of them in this 1000+ page book. I love books with great characterization! Especially long books- over time the characters become my friends and I hate to see the story end, I want to live with the characters forever and ever! However, in this story, part of me was glad when this ended. There were quite a few nasty characters and I had a hard time sticking around with them. They would keep me up at night. There were several scenes that were hard to read.

Under the Dome kept me going, it was very engaging and I had a hard time putting it down at night, even being exhausted after being up the night before with my 4 month old. I just wanted to know who put the dome there and why! There had to be a reason! Right?

There was a reason for the dome. But I didn't like it. I don't want to give anything away, hence why I'm not even using names of the characters or describing events... it would all take too long and I'd give away the story since all the plots are intertwined. But in the end, all you want to know if the purpose for the dome. I understand what Stephen King was trying to do, he was making a fantastical plot as a means for us to discover human nature and the destruction we cause each other. Humans can have a very nasty side, especially in desperate times or when we are part of a group (for a great study on the nature of groups, I high recommend Phillip Zimbardo's books The Lucifer Effect- he was the researcher behind the Stanford Prison Experiment and an expert witness in the Abu Ghraib trials.)

The characters had to explore there own pasts and actions before they could get rid of the dome. But the actual reason for the dome was kind of stupid, in my opinion. Maybe I missed something, but I expected much more. Maybe it just wasn't told right? I felt like I spent a lot of time learning about these characters and then it was just rushed and too ethereal at the end, so it no longer felt like the same book. 

Overall, I enjoyed the thrill and pace of the book, even when it was difficult to read some of the more gruesome or nasty sections, but I was disappointed in the ending. It was a quick for a 1000 page chunkster, so don't let the heft the book stop you if you are interested! Please feel free to comment on this post or send me a message if you want to discuss the actual details of the book, or tell me what I'm missing in the ending! I'd love to know :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Craft: Finished!

I finished! Rachael's cross-stitch that is. I started this when I was about 3 months pregnant with her, and just finished up a couple days ago.
*Click picture for link to Amazon listing page, affiliate link.

Here are some pictures of mine:

 I really enjoyed making this for our sweetie pie. I have one that someone made me when I was born and I appreciate it a lot. Cross-stitch is not hard at all, but it does take a lot of time.

Now it's time to go back to one that I was working on before we got pregnant and I switched to this project. 

Anyone else enjoy cross-stitch? Share your current project- I'd love to see it!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time to Start Again

Time to start up again! We're two weeks into the New Year and I've been a little lackadaisical in maintaining this blog. We had a wonderful first Christmas and New Year with our little munchkin, although I'm sure hubby and I enjoyed the special-ness of it more than our sweetie pie.

Daddy and Rachael Christmas morning
We visited my family for Christmas, all of who ooh'ed and aww'ed over the little one. Rachael soaked up all the attention and loved playing up her part.

Aunt Liz and Rachael meet for the first time!
So glad she was able to make the trip
in from California.

I'm still planning on finishing up a short series of posts on my experiences using cloth diapers. I also just finished Under the Dome, so look for a review on that. 

My new recipe trial for January was a Mexican chocolate cake, at hubby's request for his birthday, I'll post pictures and the recipe shortly!

A couple of days ago, I finished up the cross-stitch for Rachael's birth, so I'll show that off! I can't wait until I can get it framed and then up in her nursery.... once we get a nursery.

Which brings me to our current big project.... home buying! Hubby and I have started the process of looking for a house. We're super excited but still trying to be realistic with what we can afford. Wish us luck in finding our dream starter home! :)