Monday, June 30, 2014

Love Life

Love Life
by Rob Lowe

Published April 2014
Read May 2014

272 pgs/ 7 CDs

"When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery.....Throughout this entertaining book, you will find yourself in the presence of a master raconteur, a multi-talented performer whose love for life is as intriguing as his love life."

I don't normally like biographies but I was pleasantly surprised by Rob Lowe.  I don't know much about him and I didn't read his first book.  I'm not a connoisseur of all things Brat Pack, so I didn't grow up watching him either.  And.....I never watched the West Wing (**gasp**) I know.  I read this book with an open mind and no idea what I was going to be reading.  I loved it!  This was an audiobook read by Rob Lowe.  Audiobooks read by the author always seem a little more real to me.  The sincerity comes through best when he speaks of his children and his family.  Mr. Lowe seems down to earth and the sort of man you'd like to be friends with. I enjoyed this little glimpse into his life.

 Thank you to Lauren Pires of Simon & Schuster Audio for allowing me to review this audiobook!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I've Got You Under My Skin

I've Got You Under My Skin
by Mary Higgins Clark

Published April 2014
Read May 2014

320 pgs/ 7 CD

"When Laurie Moran’s husband was brutally murdered, only three-year-old Timmy saw the face of his father’s killer. Five years later his piercing blue eyes still haunt Timmy’s dreams. Laurie is haunted by more—the killer’s threat to her son as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn . . .”  Now Laurie is dealing with murder again, this time as the producer of a true-crime, cold-case television show. The series will launch with the twenty-year-old unsolved murder of Betsy Powell. Betsy, a socialite, was found suffocated in her bed after a gala celebrating the graduation of her daughter and three friends. The sensational murder was news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting and with the cooperation of the surviving guests that night, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when the estranged friends begin filming, it becomes clear each is hiding secrets . . . small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too . . ." ~Barnes & Noble Overview

Mary Higgins Clark never disappoints me.  I love her characters and her story-telling plots.  Most of the time I am surprised by her endings, which is the way I think a mystery should be told.  Too often, we are able to predict the endings well before the final quarter of the book, especially if you tend to read more of this genre than others.  I hope Ms. Clark continues to write for years to come, she's the perfect combination to a cup of coffee or a beach chair.

Thank you to Lauren Pires at Simon & Schuster Audio for allowing me to review this audiobook!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

God's Warrior

I cried today.  I haven't done that in awhile.  I watched this.
I had a friend in high school, Lyndsi.  We haven't spoken since high school, we just went separate ways, separate many high school friends. She had a little sister and a little brother, Trey, and we first met at church when their family first moved to town.
Her little sister passed away 26.  That should be a crime.  She battled for five years with ocular melanoma, a very rare form of cancer.  She's the beautiful, young woman in the royal blue shirt and glasses in this video.  Her name is Meredith and she truly was God's Warrior.  The faith that poured off of her in buckets was so inspiring.  Through a terrible tragedy she kept pushing through and living her life to the fullest.  We could all learn from that.
I can remember sitting at the house with Meredith and Trey, around Christmas of 1996 or 1997 when their parents went to the annual Holly Ball in town.  She would have been 9 or 10.  I really don't think we did anything but watch TV, but the kids were great and the Christmas spirit was alive. I still remember the beautiful decorations.  The tree looked as if it were pulled straight from a home decor magazine with deep burgundy sashes and gold lights.  That's the only memory I have of being with Meredith, my sisters could probably give you more since they are the same age.
That brings more tears. I only hope that we can all be warriors of God in the toughest of times.  Wouldn't that be something?
Here is an amazing article showing Meredith's true spirit written by Adam Lucas.
Source :Adam Lucas

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's January....Let's Get Organized!

Here it is January, the month to get organize, and I'm probably at my most chaotic.  I started a few new classes and work is picking up.  One of my classes is a personal financial managment class and we had to take an inventory of our assets.  My goodness I have a lot of stuff!  But I'm glad we were given this assignment, because it forced me to take a look at everything I owned.  I had to ask myself "If I lost this in a natural disaster tomorrow, would I want to claim it to replace it?", and I actually found myself saying no more often than not.

I want to use January as a kickstart to the year and take some time each month to organize at least one thing.   My first organization project of the year?  The Cookbooks.  They are a massive collection of delectable morsels just waiting to be created.  The problem is, they've been waiting for years.  Some of them have been waiting for more than 5 and dare I say more than 10 years!

With the creation of Pinterest, my "cookbook" boards have replaced the actual cookbooks.  If you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize for the recent bombardment of every recipe known to man!

A very long time ago, when I first became a big girl and got my own magazine subscriptions, I started to tear out and collect all the recipes I wanted to make (and all the exercises I wanted to do...but that's later).  I've accumulated a huge, messy pile of these magazine pages in hopes of organizing them.  The binder I was using wasn't all that big and at times, I'm sad to say, I would go through and throw away the recipes I thought would take too much time or had too many complex ingredients.  But I still had a big enough binder to cause frustration.

I got the bright idea to add all the recipes to Pinterest. Since the magazines are online, the recipes should be as well right?  Sometimes.  I have things like this list of what food coloring to mix for the right color cupcake frosting.  Can't find it.  Now it's here and I can throw it out (if you haven't guessed, I am the farthest thing from a pack rat).

All those 50 things booklets that are inserted into the Food Network Magazines, yep, saved all those too.  Now in their organized Pinterest Boards.

I'm still deciding what to do about the many cookbooks that are taking up valuable real estate in the pantry.  Any ideas?

What are you organizing this month?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Warm, Comforting, AND Healthy!

I don't know about you, but when it comes to food, January speaks to my soul.  It whispers creamy soup, comforting casseroles, and warm fuzzy chocolatey drinks.  Cold dark nights make for wonderfully filling menus.  Now, if I listened to everything the new year whispered I might be as big as my house.  So instead, I took it upon myself to find some of those warm, comforting foods in a healthy recipe that is not only good for my soul, but good for my waistline as well! 
Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

Your first stop for anything healthy should be Gina's Skinny Taste recipes.  I love this page and frequently visit to find yummy and healthy eats. This recipe is a favorite in our house.  It's easy, it's healthy and it's filling!  We put it atop brown rice, or scoop it with whole grain tostitos {my son's favorite!}.
Cheeseburger Casserole
Here's another one I keep thinking you couldn't possibly make healthy! But she does!

Strawberry Asparagus Salad from I Heart Nap Time
I am a big fan of a bold beautiful salad for lunch. They are pretty, crunchy, flavorful and healthy.  This never used to be the case for me, my salads used to look like they were drowning in creamy white liquid, but I am a ranch-addicted convert!  Now my dressing of choice is Balsamic Vinaigrette. 
Salad for Lunch: 1/7/2013
Above was my lunch today; Low Sodium Oven Roasted Turkey, baby Spinach, crunchy Carrots, Red Onion, Broccoli and Radishes with Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Beautiful colors with flavors that pop! 
Healthy Fettucini Alfredo from Betty Crocker

Who doesn't love a good fettucini alfredo?!  I could eat bowls and bowls of this stuff!  It's nice to have a recipe for a bowl that won't kill me =)
Healthy Hot Chocolate
Here is a simple and healthy version of a wintertime family favorite.  Too often we don't think about the caloric value in our drinks, but they add up!  I found this chocolatey drink at Look Local Magazine based out of Ontario.  You could even make your own homemade marshmallows like these at Living Better Together!
Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas from Eat at Home

The crockpot is a lifesaver when it comes to a working household.  I use it often! We are also a taco-loving family.  Trust me, when I find something that my 6 year old son will eat, we repeat it often.  But we don't want to burn out on a good thing, so variation is good!
Healthy Crockpot Chili from Healthy & Fit Life
Now we all love chili.  I think it's the ultimate comfort food on a cold wintery day.  Pair it up with a healthy cornbread.  When you visit Healthy & Fit Life for All, please read her story...very inspiring!
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna from Eating Well

Another slow cooker favorite is lasagna.  Lasagna just happens to be my favorite ooey gooey cheesy mess, that lasagna is the best.  But a veggie lasagna is just as flavorful and a bunch healthier.  This one is from Eating Well Magazine.
Buffalo Chicken Chili
I love love love buffalo chicken anything! There were nights, when my husband and I were first married, that our dinner would be buffalo chicken dip and tostitos.  Very very good, but not so healthy these days.  This is a healthy version of buffalo chicken chili I found over at Tracey's Culinary Adventures.  She has a list of 53 healthy recipes you should visit.

Healthified Monkey Bread from Pillsbury
Healthier Monkey Bread?!?!  Really??  We love Monkey Bread, but it's a special Christmas treat.  Now we can make it more often!