Home     About Me     Features     Fave Places to Party!
Crafting      Home Improvement & Decor     Digital Scrapping     Reading

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Too Rich For a Bride book review

Too Rich For a Bride, by Mona Hodgson
From the book jacket: "With a head more suited to bookkeeping than a bridal veil, Ida’s dreams include big business- not beaus. 
Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado for one reason: to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career.
Under Mollie's tutelage, Ida learns how to play the stock market and revels in her promising accomplishments. Fighting for respect in a man's world, her ambition leaves little room for distractions. She ignores her family's reservations about Mollie O'Bryan's business practices, but no matter how she tries, she can't ignore the two men pursuing her affections—Colin Wagner, the dashing lawyer, and Tucker Raines, the traveling preacher.
Ida wants a career more than anything else, so she shrugs off the suitors and pointed “suggestions” that young ladies don’t belong in business. Will it take unexpected love—or unexpected danger—for Ida to realize where her priorities truly lie?"

I really enjoyed this book.  Not because it was the best book I've ever read, or anything...it was just fun.  A lighthearted clean Christian romance.  I'll probably even keep it (I typically only buy books I've read, loved and want to read again).  It's nice to have a few light bathtub books on hand!  This appears to be the second in a series of books about the Sinclair sisters.  I definitely plan on reading the others.
On a more meaningful level, I could relate to one of the main premises of the book: the struggle of priorities as a woman, between ambition and relationships.  My mother was one of three women to graduated in business from her university in 1974.  The first day of one of her business classes, she walked in and the professor said, "Miss, the typing class is down the hall."  She replied she was in the right place, and sat down.  She went on to have a successful career as a businesswoman.  This is the woman who raised me, who taught me that I could do anything and be anything I wanted.  But all that being said, after I was born, she gave up all of that success to be a stay-at-home mom to me and my two younger siblings that followed.  And so, years later, when I found myself about to graduate from my undergrad with acceptances to two of the best graduate programs in the country...and a fiance who had to stay put, with two more years of undergrad on full scholarship...I chose love over ambition.  I've never regretted it for even a moment.  As I said then, I'm not giving up dreams, I'm choosing some dreams over others for the time being.  Someday, I'll go back to school.  But I'll do it knowing I have everything that really matters, because I chose that first.
I love books that relate to topics I feel passionately about.
I give this book 3.5 stars (which feels a little low honestly...but I just can't give many romances more stars than that!).  A good read.
And yes, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  And I can't wait to pick my next one!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Pioneer Woman: From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels book review

The Pioneer Woman: From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
From Booklist: Popular blogger and cookbook author Drummond shares the story of her courtship and marriage to her husband, whom she refers to as Marlboro Man. Though Drummond grew up in Oklahoma, she never imagined she'd end up there for good. After four years of college in Los Angeles, Drummond was only making a pit stop home before moving to Chicago. A chance encounter with a devastatingly masculine cowboy in a local bar changes everything. Though several months elapse before Marlboro Man calls her, the spark between them ignites as soon as they start dating. A rancher with deep roots in the land he works, Marlboro Man isn't going anywhere, which means Drummond has to decide whether, to be with him, she's willing to give up her dream of moving to Chicago. By the time Marlboro Man proposes, the decision is made, and Drummond prepares to marry the love of her life and discover what being a rancher's wife will entail. Charming and bright, Drummond's story will be an inspiration to those who despair of finding old-fashioned, lasting love. --Kristine Huntley

This book had so many holds on it at the library, I didn't think I'd get my hands on it for a YEAR.  Which made me conclude that 1) the library had a TON of copies in the system to keep up with its popularity, and 2) people must be flying through it and returning it quickly.  So needless to say, I was excited to get going myself.
I can definitely understand why anyone would fly through it.  I found myself alone on a very odd Sunday, early evening.  We'd had a family event that day, so the kids had gone without naps and were in bed early.  My husband was knocked out on Benadryl.  All was quiet, and I had no household chores to do since it was Sunday.  So I picked up this book and read it.  In one sitting.
It's a wonderful book.  Full of romance, a little suspense, and a great sense of humor.  On the back of the book jacket, there are a few quotes from readers.  One says, "This story helped remind me just why I fell in love with my husband...and why I'm still mad crazy about him"  I think she summed it up well.  It's the best kind of love story: one that reinforces your own.
Ree Drummond's book is also about what really matters, and making choices to have those things over all that glitters.
I've heard of her blog, but never read it.  I will definitely be taking a look now.  I'm hooked on her writing style, humor and very interesting life...
Most definitely recommend it.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Update: Since this time, I've painted my kitchen.  I never really liked how this particular stain turned out on oak...but oak is what I've got!  :)  However, the steps I outlined (links at the bottom of this post) are still a great resource if you're looking to stain anything.

Has this has ever been a long time coming.  I'll spare you lots of text on the matter, since I'm sure you just want to see the pictures.
But first, a quick run-down of what we did: stripped and sanded the cabinets down to nothing, stained them, coated them with polyurethane, added hardware and added decorative molding to the top of the cabinets.  Oh, and we painted all the walls too.
Wow, that sounds simple.  It wasn't.
And without further ado, here are the long awaited photos!
The kitchen was fine before, everything was in good shape.  I just didn't care for the golden oak of the 90's, and I wanted a little more pizazz. Overall, I'm happy with the results.  It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the flaws are largely only things I will notice.  Most of all, IT IS DONE.  (cue the angels singing...)

My step by step how to series:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Banister/Gate redo

So the banister in our dining/family room/kitchen area needed some help.
(I forgot to take a before picture, so this is photoshopped.  Imagine it dull, scratched and a little chipped.)
Plus, we needed to install a gate to keep darling princess safely upstairs.  So, with a little white paint, screws, a 1X4X6 and the basic Evenflo gate, we have this:
Much much much better.  We just cut the 1X6X6 in half (3 foot pieces) and screwed them into the banister on one side and the stud in the wall on the other.  Adapter kits for gates at stairs run $20 to $30.  Our 1X4X6?  $3.81 at Lowe's.
(Also, we coated it with polyurethane for durability.  Don't recommend this over white.  It's impossible to get every particle of dust off beforehand, and all those particles show up on white.  You can only see them up close, but still.  Not a fan.)
Also, stay tuned!  The Before & After of my kitchen redo are going up on Friday!!!!! 
Today I'm linking up to some of my favorite craft blogs:
Someday Crafts
Tea Rose Home
Today's Creative Blog
The Trendy Treehouse
Domestically Speaking

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Card Club

This month's card club was our recipe month.  Instead of exchanging handmade cards, we each bring food and a 6X6 card with the recipe on it.  The theme this time around was Mexican, and I had dessert.  So I made empanadas.  YUM.  They turned out really well.  Anyway, here's my recipe card:
I went digital this time.  Just tweaked a template a little bit.  I think it's cute!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Matched book review

Matched, by Ally Condie
From Amazon Best Books of the Month: "For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her. As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo, Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice."

I really really really enjoyed this book.  If you liked The Hunger Games or The Giver, you will like this.  It has all the elements of what is trendy in youth fiction right now: love triangles, forbidden romance, and dystopian societies.  So there is much in the story that isn't fresh and new.  But it's a great read nonetheless.  I'm looking forward to the inevitable sequel.
I was prepared to not like Cassia and Ky, largely because I knew she would be choosing "passion" (Ky) over "perfection" (Xander), and I've always had a soft spot for stories where the heroine ends up with her best friend, whom she had never really looked at before.  (Hence why I was on Team Jacob with the Twilight saga.)  But despite that little bit of predictability (you know, the trends in youth fiction, etc.), I actually really liked them both.  There's more to Cassia and Ky's relationship than ridiculous infatuation (sorry, Bella and Edward...can you tell I didn't love Twilight?), and I was actually torn between rooting for them and rooting for poor Xander, who of course will get the raw end of the deal.  
But, as Cassia said, what was going on in the Society was bigger than all of them.  What is going on in the book is bigger than the love story.  As is the case with all the dystopian society stories, CHOICE, or the lack of it, is a major theme.  Also, of course, is the question of government, and where that power should stop.  Themes like this, when given the chance, offer an interesting opportunity for reflection.  And THAT I liked about this book.
Overall, good book, I recommend it and give it 4 stars.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

I'm sitting at my kitchen as I type this, the sliding glass door open in back of me.  A light breeze and the sounds of the lawn mower drifting in.  Ah, the sounds of spring.  I love it.
Today has been a day focused on the exterior of our home rather than the interior.  (Though I have made significant progress on the crown moulding....more on that later.)  We had this odd wavy garden in our backyard that we've spent the day ripping out, tilling up and laying down grass seed over.
My son "helping" his dad toss grass clippings.  You plant the grass seed, water it and then lightly cover it with grass clippings.  It helps keep it moist and protected.  What, you didn't know that?  Well, that makes two of us.  Bless my father-in-law for coming to help us!

I definitely want a garden, but one that is a little more...functional, shall we say.  So I'll be building raised beds over at the other end of the yard in the next couple weeks.  I'm looking forward to spending time fixing up the outside to our liking.  I have some grand plans for curb appeal.  More about that in the coming weeks.
I did do one thing inside the house today, however.  I went to JoAnn to take advantage of the last day of their sales, and picked up some outdoor canvas to make pillows for my couch.  Outdoor canvas+children=good idea.
Anyway, my son is crying.  Gotta run.  Pictures of the kitchen should be up by the end of next week.  For real this time!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Death by Crown Molding.

Apparently this self-taught DIY girl hasn't mastered the fine art of the miter saw.  We went to put up all the molding last night and.....something went wrong on the saw end of things.  The angles met at the top, but not at the bottom.  Sigh.  That's the problem of being overly ambitious and overestimating your own skills.  (Both of which could be tattooed across my forehead...if I believed in tattoos, that is.)  Not all is completely lost, though.  My daddy dearest is coming down today to help me.  I'll have to buy another 8 feet of molding, but that's okay.  I needed more to do the baseboards anyway, so I'll just take the pieces I can't use on the top now and piece them together under the cabinets where a seam will not be noticed.  It will be fine (though if you'd told me that last night, I would have snarled and thrown my carpenter's square at you).
Anyway, do you want to see the molding we're using?
The one piece we got up last night before we realized the angles were off looked great.  Here's hoping the project actually gets finished soon.  I think I said, "I hate this kitchen" four or five times during my histrionics.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Shape of Mercy book review

The Shape of Mercy, by Susan Meissner.
From Publisher's Weekly:
"Meissner's newest novel is potentially life-changing, the kind of inspirational fiction that prompts readers to call up old friends, lost loves or fallen-away family members to tell them that all is forgiven and that life is too short for holding grudges. Achingly romantic, the novel features the legacy of Mercy Hayworth—a young woman convicted during the Salem witch trials—whose words reach out from the past to forever transform the lives of two present-day women. These book lovers—Abigail Boyles, elderly, bitter and frail, and Lauren Lars Durough, wealthy, earnest and young—become unlikely friends, drawn together over the untimely death of Mercy, whose precious diary is all that remains of her too short life. And what a diary! Mercy's words not only beguile but help Abigail and Lars together face life's hardest struggles about where true meaning is found, which dreams are worth chasing and which only lead to emptiness, and why faith and hope are essential on life's difficult path. Meissner's prose is exquisite and she is a stunning storyteller. This is a novel to be shared with friends."

Where do you start with a book you loved?  I've read Susan Meissner before; I reviewed one of her books a few months ago.  It was good, I liked it.  But this....this book was amazing.  I've always really enjoyed historical fiction, and this is both historical and modern.  It's a fascinating story to begin with, all sides of it.  I was completely sucked into the lives of the three women.  We all love a good story, after all.  But more than that, the underlying themes really resonated with me.  Love, judgment, and what really matters in life.
I won't say I came to any profound conclusions.  At least none I care to share in a very public forum such as this.  But I will say that this book epitomizes why I love reading: really good books raise questions in you, questions that, given a moment of reflection, can change how you think and therefore who you are.  
This book is without question worth reading.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
And yes, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Parade of Homes

Anyone else out there who LOVES going to the Parade of Homes?  My mom, sister and I have gone faithfully every year that we've been living in the same state.  It is so much fun.
AND guess what is going on in blogland right now?  You got it.  A Parade of Homes.  Hosted by Poppies at Play, the tour runs through Friday.  Each day will feature four different bloggers showing us their homes.  Today was the first day, with Funky Junk Interiors, the Old White Cottage, Dear Lillie and Honey We're Home.  Go take a look, you know, if you're into that kind of thing.  ;)
News in our neck of the woods: I put the last coat of stain on the last of the cabinet doors not two hours ago.  THE LAST COAT OF STAIN ON THE LAST DOORS.  Can you HEAR the angels singing.  Tomorrow, I will be polyurethaning (yes, I know, that is not actually a verb) the front of those doors, and Wednesday I will be doing the backs.  Let them dry overnight and all day Thursday, and up they will go Thursday night.  HALLELUJAH.  My dear sweet mother-in-law teaches first grade and is off for Spring Break, so bless her heart, she is taking my kids tomorrow so I can push through and GET THIS KITCHEN FINISHED.  Between the polyurethane, I will be attaching furring strips to the top of my cabinets in preparation for the molding.  And dear husband and I will be cutting the molding tomorrow night, so I can stain it Wednesday, poly it Thursday, and  IT WILL GO UP ON SATURDAY(wow, I have used ALOT of capital letters in this post....) 
THE END.  And not a moment too soon.....

Post Edit: Day two of Parade of Homes, and the only thing I keep thinking is, "Wow, these women love white. And very pale neutrals."  Is that the key to a gorgeous magazine cover home?  White, white and more white?  Hmmm.  Well, let's just say I have all kinds of confidence in my abilities to turn this new house of ours into a magazine cover home with lots of deep, brilliant COLOR.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...