Aug 252016
 

27213227

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (August 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062425439
ISBN-13: 978-0062425430

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the past—and the promise of the future.

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes.

Annie Harlow knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.

Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned judge. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.

Thoughts
This was my first Wiggs book and I absolutely loved it!

I can’t even imagine going through what Annie did. I love the way the author wrote her character, I love the story, and I love all the family members and other characters.

The book flows smoothly with no slow parts or repetitiveness, and there aren’t to many characters to keep track of. I love the small town feel of the book and I could imagine being there in the midst of everything. I learned a bit about life on a maple farm and enjoyed the relationships Annie had with her family, Fletcher, and especially her grandmother.

Even though there is a tragedy at the beginning of the book (a few actually), the book is truly a feel good book that will stay with me for a while.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long to try this author, and I want to thank TLC and the author for allowing me to join the book tour. I can’t wait to read more from Susan Wiggs.

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

About The Author
unnamed

Susan Wiggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including the beloved Lakeshore Chronicles series. Her books have been translated into two dozen languages. A Harvard graduate, Susan lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.

Find out more about Susan at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

unnamed

Aug 242016
 

1. It’s National Waffle Day (August 24th)…what decision are you currently ‘waffling over’? (or share one you’ve recently ‘waffled over’)
Which books to sell/giveaway and which books to take with me when I move. My bedroom in the new house is about 1/3 of my current bedroom, as is the whole house.

2. It’s the middle of August, but I’m already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons? If so, does that bother you? I saw (here) an end of summer bucket list that included- make s’mores, read a new (or favorite) book in the park, eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair, be a tourist for the day, have a pot luck picnic, book a last minute summer getaway, relax by or in the pool, take a hike to watch the sunset, have a day on the lake, try a new summer recipe

Which activities on the list might you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close?
I’d like to squeeze in being a tourist for a day, pot luck picnic, and have a day one the lake.

3. Your favorite summertime ‘art’ found in nature?
I love looking, and taking pictures of clouds. I see all sorts of things in them…animals, people, etc. I also love looking at trees. They usually have a knob, or a place where a limb was cut or something interesting. And of course, sunrises and sunsets.

4. Stephen R. Covey is quoted as saying ‘We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.’ Agree or no? Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else?
I define myself by my actions and my words.

5. Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate.
Depends on the crisis.

6. What’s been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you’ll continue making as the seasons change?
I don’t really have a go-to dish. I’ve been trying all kinds of new recipes.

7. Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not is this something you think you might enjoy?
Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon about this time last year. I love them!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
My oldest granddaughter started college on Monday, and my youngest grandson started 1st grade. Guess which one makes me feel old :)

Aug 232016
 

Readers-workouts-Joy

Tuesday~ 8/16:  didn’t track
Wednesday~ didn’t track
Thursday ~ 8/18:  6,356 steps
Friday ~ 8/19: 7,206 steps
Saturday ~ 8/20: 6,754 steps
Sunday ~ 8/21: 6,546 steps
Monday ~ 8/22: 7,158 steps

For some reason my boss added more days to my schedule. I really don’t mind though. It makes my weekly step count go up. I can feel the change in the weather, it’s not quite as hot and humid. That means I can (hopefully) start riding my bike. I did strength training 5 days,  stretching, deep breathing, and I’m drinking lots of water. I didn’t do so great eating healthy last week. Yesterday I started over so I hope I can keep it up. My shoulder isn’t hurting much anymore but I still haven’t done any yoga/tai-chi. I got a boo boo at work last week and am hurting at the top of my right rib. It’s not hurting terribly bad, but I don’t want to bend wrong and make it worse. Maybe later this week it’ll be ok enough for me to try one or the other. I think tai-chi would be the best bet.

How’s your exercise going?

Aug 212016
 

mmb-300x282

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Leslie,  Serena, and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

Only one book in my mailbox last week:
(You can read my review here)

unnamed (3)101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches by Gooseberry Patch

Whether you’re looking for lunch recipes, side dishes, or hearty mains, you’ll love the variety in 101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches Cookbook. Chicken & Dumplin’ Soup, Spicy Sausage Chowder and Pioneer Beef Stew and BBQ Sloppy Joe Soup will all hit the spot! Tarragon Steak Dinner Salad and Pasta Taco Salad make tasty mains, while Mustard-Thyme Potato Salad and Raspberry Chicken Salad are great for toting to potlucks and picnics. Bite-sized or stacked high, friends & family will love sandwiches like Cheeseburger Roll-Ups, BBQ Chicken Calzones, Tuna Paninis and Lasagna Buns. Plus, with the “Terrific Toppings” chapter, you can sprinkle soups and salads with homemade garnishes like Zesty Pita Crisps and Bacon-Onion Croutons, and pile more flavor on sandwiches with Lemony Sage Mayonnaise or easy Refrigerator Pickles.

 

Aug 202016
 

unnamed (3)
101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches by Gooseberry Patch

Whether you’re looking for lunch recipes, side dishes, or hearty mains, you’ll love the variety in 101 Soups, Salads & Sandwiches Cookbook. Chicken & Dumplin’ Soup, Spicy Sausage Chowder and Pioneer Beef Stew and BBQ Sloppy Joe Soup will all hit the spot! Tarragon Steak Dinner Salad and Pasta Taco Salad make tasty mains, while Mustard-Thyme Potato Salad and Raspberry Chicken Salad are great for toting to potlucks and picnics. Bite-sized or stacked high, friends & family will love sandwiches like Cheeseburger Roll-Ups, BBQ Chicken Calzones, Tuna Paninis and Lasagna Buns. Plus, with the “Terrific Toppings” chapter, you can sprinkle soups and salads with homemade garnishes like Zesty Pita Crisps and Bacon-Onion Croutons, and pile more flavor on sandwiches with Lemony Sage Mayonnaise or easy Refrigerator Pickles.

Thoughts
I’ve been a fan of Gooseberry Patch for so many years so when I saw this book I couldn’t resist buying it. I love that it’s spiral bound, and the pages are easy to wipe clean if something splatters on them.

This book will come in handy when I’m looking for a soup, salad, or sandwich recipe to post for Souper Sundays (soup, salads, or sandwiches) or Weekend Cooking.

Here are some of the recipes I want to try:
Soups
Chicken Cacciatore
Kielbasa
Meatball Vegetable Cheese

Salads
Berry Chicken
Layered Caribbean Chicken
White Bean & Tomato

Sandwiches
Scott’s Ham & Pear
Toasted Chicken Salad Bagels
Yiayia’s Chicken Pitas

Each recipe has the name and place of the person who submited it, and a few of their thouhts on the dish. The last page has U.S. to Canadian Equivlents, Baking Pan Sizes, Recipe Abbreviations, and Kitchen Measurements.

I love this book and want to add more Gooseberry cookbooks to my kitchen library.

unnamed (1) unnamed (3) unnamed

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper Sundays2
Souper Sundays is hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Aug 172016
 
Hodgepodgebutton.jpg

 

1. I read here four creative activities to try this month. They were-calligraphy, make your own cookbook, dance or learn a new type of dance, and letter writing. Which activity on the list appeals to you most? Will you add it to your August?
Make your own cookbook appeals to me, and I already have plans to make one.

 

2. Bertrand Russell is quoted as saying, ‘To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.‘ Agree or disagree? Explain.
 I agree, because the excitement of thinking about getting something you’ve been wanting makes me very happy.

 

3. August 17th is National Thriftshop Day…are you a ‘thrifter’? If so, tell us about one of your best or favorite finds.
I love going to thrift stores, but don’t go very much any more. One of my favorite things I found was this

 

4.  On a scale of 1-10 (with 1= almost none and 10=loads) how would you rate your sense of wanderlust? What kicks your wanderlust into high gear?
 I’d definitely rate my wanderlust at a 10. Any thoughts or anything I see from somewhere else kicks it into high gear. I love to travel. I want to go everywhere and see everything. I blame my mom and dad for this since we traveled a lot when I was a child.

 

5. Has life felt more like a marathon or sprint so far this month? How so?
 Work has definitely felt like a sprint. From the moment I get there until I live 3 1/2 -4 hours later, I go go go non stop in high gear.

 

6. What do you need to get a jump on before fall officially arrives?
We plan on moving in a month or two, so I need to start going through things and getting rid of a ton of stuff since we’re downsizing.

 

7. What’s the last thing you did with friends or family where you lost track of time?
We went to Old Town in Kissimmee.

 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
They say your taste buds change every seven years. A while back, maybe a year or so, mine must have changed because I’m not loving my favorite food as much anymore. Like pizza, for years I could have had pizza just about every night of the week and not gotten sick of it. But now I don’t like it the way I ate it for years. I’ve been trying different pizzas to see if I can find one I really love, but so far that hasn’t happened. I still love light sauce if it’s a bit on the sweet side, I like my crust really done, I love pepperoni, tomatoes, bell peppers, and ham. But I no longer like black olives, sausage, onions, mushrooms. Never did like anchovies on it. I bought the stuff to make one at home from Publix and we tried it last night. It was almost perfect, but I like thin crust and it was a bit too thick for me, an easy fix. I loved the sauce and toppings though. So if we can just get the crust right I’ll be in pizza love again. What really made it good was that my son made it for me. Yes, he does cook sometimes. He makes a mean tuna salad sandwich. That’s not really cooking though is it?
Aug 162016
 

27213227

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

I’m loving this book!!!

 

Hosted by Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea
Share the first paragraph of the book you are currently reading
or thinking about reading soon.

“I can’t believe we’re arguing about a water buffalo.” Annie Rush reached for her husband’s shirt collar, turning it neatly down. “Then let’s quit arguing,” he said. “It’s a done deal.” He sat down and shoved first one foot, then the other, into his cowboy boots—the ridiculously expensive ones she had given him last Christmas. She’d never regretted the purchase though, because they looked so good on him. “It’s not a done deal. We can still cancel. The budget for the show is already stretched to the limit. And a water buffalo? It’s going to be fifteen hundred pounds of stubborn.”

What do you think — keep reading or pass? 

 

Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted @ Books And A Beat
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

page 98:
Slight smile from the doctor as he exchanged a look with the other doctor, then turned to Annie. “There was an accident,” he said. “You suffered a head injury.”

Aug 162016
 

Readers-workouts-Joy

Tuesday~ 8/9:  7,336 steps
Wednesday~ 8/10: 9,090 steps
Thursday ~ 8/11:  8,226 steps
Friday ~ 8/12: 6,396 steps
Saturday ~ 8/13: didn’t track
Sunday ~ 8/14: 4,922 steps
Monday ~ 8/15: 6,703 steps

So I’m still liking my job and my body is adapting better to being worked so much in just 3 1/2 -4 hours, but I worked every day last week and then walked a lot on Sunday. With all the lifting etc. I did at work, I seemed to have re-injured my right shoulder. Lots of pain, popping and numb ring finger and pinky. It hurt a little all week, but Saturday night it was hurting so much I couldn’t get comfortable, and therefore didn’t sleep much. It barely hurt Sunday, up until about 5 in the evening and then it started again. Thankfully I slept pretty well and then yesterday when I woke up it was hurting some, but after I started working it eased off. The only thing that’s bothering me now is that my ring finger and pinky are still a bit numb. I’m off today and tomorrow,  so hopefully it will be fine by Thursday morning.

Still no yoga since my shoulder was hurting. :(

Aug 102016
 

unnamed

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Amistad (August 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062359983
ISBN-13: 978-0062359988

Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

 

Thoughts
This is a coming of age story set in Brooklyn that will leave you wanting more. I love how the author wrote it in short paragraphs. It makes it easy to enjoy bit by bit or all at once.

The book takes you to the “normal” Brooklyn, but also to the underbelly of Brooklyn during the 70’s.  Some of the writing is very touching, some of it is emotional to read. This book will stay with your for a long time.

It only takes a few hours to read, but it leaves a big impression on you.

 

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

unnamed (1) Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children, including the New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

 

unnamed

Aug 092016
 

Readers-workouts-Joy

Tuesday~ 8/2:  5,949 steps
Wednesday~ 8/3: 8,057 steps
Thursday ~ 8/4:  didn’t track
Friday ~ 8/5: 7,503 steps
Saturday ~ 8/6: didn’t track
Sunday ~ 8/7: didn’t track
Monday ~ 8/8: 7,113 steps

I’m on track as far as eating, drinking water, stretching, and strength training, but  I didn’t do tai-chi or chi gong at all. My body is still adjusting to working again. It’s the most physically demanding job I’ve ever had, times 10. But I like it. If I can just get used to going to bed at 10 or 11 and getting up at 5: 30. I’ve worked 3rd shift mostly and I’ve been a night owl since as far back as I can remember. Even in elementary school I stayed up way late for a kid. My mom let me stay up as long as I wanted as long as she didn’t have a hard time getting me up to go to school, which she never did. My mom was amazing!

Aug 072016
 

mmb-300x282

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Leslie,  Serena, and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

Only one this week:
I bought this book after seeing Katherine @ I Wish I Lived In A Library post about it. I can’t wait to get to it.

Bon Appetempt: A Coming-of-Age Story (with Recipes!) by Amelia Morris

22511157 When Amelia Morris saw a towering, beautiful chocolate cake in Bon Appétit and took the recipe home to recreate it for a Christmas day brunch she was hosting, it resulted in a terrible (but tasty) mess that had to be served in an oversize bowl. It was also a revelation. Both delicious and damaged, it seemed a physical metaphor for the many curious and unexpected situations she’s found herself in throughout her life, from her brief career as a six-year-old wrestler to her Brady Bunch-style family (minus the housekeeper and the familial harmony) to her ill-fated twenty-something job at the School of Rock in Los Angeles.

As a way to bring order to chaos and in search of a more meaningful lifestyle, she finds herself more and more at home in the kitchen, where she begins to learn that even if the results of her culinary efforts fall well short of the standard set by glossy food magazines, they can still bring satisfaction (and sustenance) to her and her family and friends.

Full of hilarious observations about food, family, unemployment, romance, and the extremes of modern L.A., and featuring recipes as basic as Toasted Cheerios and as advanced as gâteau de crêpes, Bon Appetempt is sure to resonate with anyone who has tried and failed, and been all the better for it.

Aug 062016
 

This is not the sandwich I had planned to make and share today, but someone left the Chipotle mayo at work (shhh, it was Anthony). I’ve been seeing a commercial for some brand of mayo, can’t remember which one, that says a grilled cheese with mayo instead of butter is so much better. Since my son Anthony and I both love grilled cheese sandwiches every once in a while, I wanted to test that out for myself. Luckily I had all the ingredients.

Not the best photos, but I was in a hurry.

mayo

 

a56354a1-f572-46d2-9992-0de5ce2b395c

57a5dc07-4551-4344-a8a9-7fc613edb55f

 

Thoughts
Anthony and I both thought these tasted almost the same as when made with butter except that there was a slight sweet taste to it. We both said we’d rather stick with butter, but mayo would be good for anyone who wouldn’t mind a slightly sweet grilled cheese sandwich.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads
Souper Sundays2
Souper Sundays is hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Aug 022016
 

Readers-workouts-Joy

I haven’t had a job for about 15 years, but since my husband passed away and I don’t have him to take care of, I’ve been doing a lot more sitting around. So, I got a job working 3-3 1/2 hours a day, 4 days a week. Not many hours, but it gets me out of the house and moving around. I started tracking my steps, but only for the days I work.

Tuesday~ 7/26: 5,880 steps
Wednesday~ 7/27: 6723 steps
Thursday ~ 7/28: 8942 steps
Friday ~ 7/29: didn’t track
Saturday ~ 7/30: didn’t track
Sunday ~ 7/31: 8742 steps
Monday ~ 8/1: didn’t track

I did a lot of stretching and strength training, but no tai-chi or yoga. I’m drinking at least 80 oz. of water a day, and eating lighter and healthier. I bought a Smart Portion Management Kit to help me make sure I’m eating the right portion amounts. I plan to start using it tomorrow.

All the walking/eating better has helped me lose 11 pounds in the last few weeks.

My goal for August is to do tai-chi or chi-gong,   strength training, and stretching 3-4 times a week.

Aug 012016
 

mmb-300x282

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Leslie,  Serena, and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

Only one this week:

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

29057887

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?