Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 2011 Book List

26. Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah

Joy Candellaro is spending her first Christmas as a divorced woman. She always dreams of adventure, but she never goes in search of it - until her sister, who's now living with Joy's ex-husband, hand-delivers a wedding invitation and announces she's pregnant. Joy immediately leaves and finds herself at the airport.

Hope. That looks like just the place to get away from it all. She books a last-minute flight aboard a chartered plane and is on her way.

She never makes it. After the plane goes down, Joy finds herself walking away from the crash site and toward a new adventure. She wanders around until she finds a run-down lodge, run by a sad, lonely man and his young son. She imagines herself becoming a part of their life, and while Bobby seems to cling to her like she's a replacement for his recently deceased mother, Daniel barely notices her existence. As she heals from her heartbreak, she works to help them heal theirs in her limited time there.

I found myself feeling a range of emotions as I read this book. There's a huge plot twist about halfway through the book and I found myself wondering how things could ever be resolved. Unfortunately I can't say more without giving away important plot points...

If you get a chance to read this book, do it. And have some Kleenex handy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

November 2011 Book List

Well, this one is going to be short and sweet. I didn't finish reading anything this month. That doesn't mean I didn't try. In fact I tried two books...

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz sounded promising, especially since I had recently finished reading Unbroken. I had the hardest time getting into that book! I have a rule for reading: If it hasn't grabbed me by page 50, it's not worth my time. I don't think I even made it to page 50...

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow looked like it would be good, too. For the most part, it was - but I got bogged down a few times trying to read through the details of his college football games. After the first few games, I started skimming until I got back to "life", but there were just too many of them. By the time I needed to renew the book, someone else had it on hold so I had to turn it in.

For December, I decided to load my library bag with a few Christmas novels, but I've been so busy with things that I haven't had much time to read. I am in the middle of a good one though, so watch for the December book list post coming soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Be Cos

We've had Netflix for over a year now, and I have to say it's one of the best decisions we made as far as entertainment goes. We had cable, but it was so overpriced, and you never knew when one of your favorite channels was going to be cut over pricing disputes. There's not much to watch on network TV most of the time, either. Yes, there are a few shows like The Biggest Loser and American Idol, but good shows the whole family can watch are few and far between.

With Netflix, we've been able to watch some of the old shows we used to love. The boys have watched Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, The Munsters, The Addams Family, and Flipper, as well as some of their more recent cartoon favorites.

A few months ago, we introduced them to The Cosby Show. They were already familiar with Bill Cosby, having watched Little Bill when they were much younger. They had also seen a few episodes of Fat Albert. After watching the first episode of The Cosby Show, they were hooked. They watch it almost daily now - sometimes during lunch, occasionally in the afternoon after they've finished with school, and usually an episode or two in the evenings (when BL and AI aren't on...). When they recently realized they were nearly finished with the series, they announced, "When we finish, we're going to start from the beginning again!"

Why aren't there ANY shows on anymore like The Cosby Show? It was great, family-friendly comedy that approached more controversial issues with a light, loving touch. There was always a lesson to be learned - and it revolved around respect for parents and love for family. Watch anything these days and inappropriate behavior is thrown in your face and the parents are made to look like idiots.

I will say that there are some sit-coms I like to watch, but they aren't anything I'd let my children watch. Dramas aren't any better. And most of the "reality" shows are too edgy for children to watch. My children, anyway.

Why can't there be a current show that is as uplifting and funny as "Cos"?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Slowing Down a Bit

I've gotten to the point where I really don't like to go places much. Maybe it's the traffic or the crowds. Maybe it's the price of gas. Maybe it's getting older. Maybe it's that our "busy days" are so long and so busy, they absolutely wear me out. Maybe it's a combination of some or all of it. I don't know why really, but I know I'm ready to slow down our weekly trips into Mesquite/Garland.

I checked the Forney library yesterday to see if it's comparable to our favorite library in Garland. It's not. Not by any means. There are two rows of books for elementary/junior high students: one row of non-fiction and one row of fiction. Still, I talked with the librarian about the possibility of getting a library card, but since we don't live inside the Forney school district, we'd have to drive out to our district, get a card from there, then get a TEX-Share Card so we can get things from other libraries in other places.

I was thinking about skipping it altogether, but Billy came up with a good idea. Get the cards through Crandall, then check the elementary school around the corner from us and see if we could use their library from time to time. It's worth a try! They'd have all the books we'd need, and they're literally right around the corner from us. I think we'll look into that next week. If they say yes, great. If they say no, that's fine, too. We don't always make it to the library each week anyway.

The other issue deals with grocery shopping. I love shopping at ALDI. They have great products (mostly) at low prices - lower than Wal-Mart, even. I can usually get out of there with a week's worth of groceries for less than $70. Sometimes I go a little over that; more often I go under it. The things I'm not so wild about there are their white bread (stale from day 1) and their produce. Some of it's okay, but most of it is packaged in bulk (which I won't use in time) or looks a little . . . old. I end up having to stop by Wal-Mart or Brookshire's to pick up bread, apples, lettuce, bell pepper, etc. A lot of what I buy at ALDI keeps for a long time. Billy made another recommendation: Go to ALDI once every two or three weeks and get the things I need that will keep. The other weeks, go to the nearby Wal-Mart or Brookshire's to get the fresher stuff. Problem solved.

Now I just need to work out a schedule of when we're going where. We went earlier this week to the library, but we didn't stay long. It was mostly to drop off some books and pick up a few others. Now that we'll be going less often, I'll need to check the boys' school topics in advance and make sure to be prepared for two weeks at a time instead of one. I guess we'll start our limited in-town time after next week.

I'll also have to get back to more detailed menu planning so I can buy what I need at ALDI and only have to get the produce and more frequent staples on our "off" weeks from somewhere else.

So there's my plan to slow down a bit. I hope to get the details worked out over the next few weeks so that I can actually implement it soon.

Update: I realized this morning (Thursday, Dec. 15) that a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that there's nowhere I really want to go. If I wanted to go somewhere, I'd feel a lot different about it.