Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Immigrant Stories Challenge - The Last Time I Saw Paris

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Claire leaves NYC and heads to Paris after her husband catches her in a lie about her past. Her former lover is there and she plans to look him up with the hope that he will provide her a "cushy" lifestyle once she gets there. Claire believes Paris will be her perfect home despite the fact that the Nazis are preparing to invade. To say she was ignorant of what was happening around her would be an understatement. She is so wrapped up with socializing and schmoozing, particularly with a German soldier in the first scene of the book. Claire doesn't seem to be the brightest bulb in the box and she is rather selfish at times, to the point of making completely ridiculous decisions. 

Once she became involved with the resistance, the story got REALLY good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think if there had been less of her personal drama and more about how she worked with the resistance the story would have been even stronger. It was rather pleasant to see Claire move from a materialistic, socialite to a woman of bravery, compassion, and heart. She goes to extremes, putting her selfishness aside, to help save the people she has come to hold quite dear. 

I gave this book 3/5 stars on Goodreads, but would have given it 3.5 if that were an option. Overall, I enjoyed the book...another from my much preferred WWII timeframe/genre.

Immigrant Stories Challenge - Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation

I thoroughly enjoyed Girl in Translation.The writing style made me feel as if I were present in Kimberly's everyday world. Immigrating at age 11 from Honk Kong to Brooklyn, residing solely with her mother and entirely dependent on her cruel aunt. The only thing Kimberly has going for her is her great ambition to make a better life for herself. At times though it seemed like she would never come out ahead. I really liked how the author used "fake" words to represent Kimberly's process of learning English.You cannot help but to root for her through this fabulous, uplifting story. 

I gave this 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Immigrant Stories Challenge - The Baker's Daughter

The Baker's Daughter

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, written with two intertwining stories, spanning from Germany to El Paso,  TX (who thought of that connection?).  The story is centered around Elsie and Reba, Elsie being from 1940s Nazi Germany and Reba from modern day El Paso, TX.  I found this book very easy to read as the words flowed effortlessly throughout. There are a number of relationships within the story that kept me anxious to pick the book back up and continue reading. While I enjoyed both main story lines, it is no surprise that I found myself much more interested in Elsie's experiences as a German who loved her country but who did not approve of what was happening. Historical fiction of this time is my preferred genre. And as an extra bonus - there are lots of recipes at the end too!! 

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.


listening Christmas music (yes, already!!) - my favorite right now is Ave Maria by Andrea Bocelli...I could put it on constant loop for hours.  Already changed my ringtone to Christmas music too.

drinking water. at least 64oz/day...preferably more. and an occasional diet dr pepper or SBUX iced chai thrown in for good measure.

thinking about all the Christmas shopping I still have left to do this year. And even with "scaling back" I still have too much to buy.  :-(

wishing that my back pain would go away and quickly...or at the very least the pain shooting down the front of my right leg.

feeling that it may be challenging to maintain my complete sanity this Christmas with the house guests we will be having. Requesting prayers of patience & tolerance. Seriously!

reading The Paris Wife - and LOVING it...definitely being "thrown" into an Ernest Hemingway fascination after reading Hemingway's Girl before this one. I've never read one of his books but looks like The Old Man & The Sea will be up next on my to-read list.

missing my better paying & much more fun jobs of days past (long ago). 

wanting a couple of solitary days just for reading, preferably in a cozy reading nook, though I have no idea where that would be. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Project Life - Week 44

More Halloween pictures here...week 43 had a bunch as well due to Halloween related events around town...but these pictures were actually taken ON Halloween night. We had a great time trick'r'treating with some friends who came to join us walking through the neighborhood. Both boys were definitely tuckered out when we got back to the house. Good times!!

Finally ordered and received my monthly Project Life "bookmarks" too & I love them!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Immigrant Stories Challenge - While We're Far Apart

I signed up for this challenge late in the year, but since I am typically drawn to books that take place around WWII time, they often easily fall into this category as well. I am finally getting around to writing up some brief reviews of the books I've read for this challenge.

Up first is While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin.
While We're Far Apart
Taking place during WWII, though set in NY as opposed to Europe, I really enjoyed this book as well as the characters within. There were a couple of characters whom I became somewhat frustrated with, but their personalities were pivotal to the story. I was happily surprised in a couple of different places in this book. There were a couple of story lines in this book but keeping up with the characters was not difficult for me. They were so well written that I had vivid pictures of each of them in my mind as I read. Of all the WWII books I have read, this one included the most detail with regards to the Jewish people and their many traditions which I found so very interesting. In the end, I truly enjoyed watching Penny grow up and gain self confidence throughout the book. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Project Life: Weeks 42-43

Week 42: Ethan loved seeing Disney on Ice. The Tigers defeat the Yankees.
Some of the "new" foods I've added to my new healthy eating program. 

Week 42: Me & E @ Disney on Ice. Dinner with grandma at Chili's after The Little Gym. Another awesome win by the Detroit Tigers...ending the Yankees season. 

Week 43: Milo showing that he is the absolute most ridiculous cat ever.
It was hilarious watching him as he sunbathed on my printer for hours.
More running. More reading. Beautiful Fall leaves.

Argh matey!!! Loved seeing Ethan in complete character in his pirate costume.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 39-41

Week 39: Consignment sale success. Yay. Ethan & Kimberlee being silly...
fits perfectly with the quote next to it. :)
So glad that my running is progressing and without pain. Hooray!!
I really love those little library cards from BananaFish.

Library. Twitter. Lunch w/my #1 little man. 

Ethan has been completely obsessed with the book "Shark vs. Train" lately...
if I have to read it one more time, it will be too many. Ack!
I had to implement a rule that we cannot read a book a 2nd time until all the books we have from the library have been read at least 1 time. Thank goodness!!

Week 40: On Saturday morning, a friend & I both participated in Cycle for Life to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis - we rode 15 miles. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but we finished so that's all that matters. That evening a whole group of us got together for a hayride, bonfire & hot dog roast. It was really a nice time. 

Race marketing material. My Race Bib. Route info w/turns.

Week 40: This is probably one of my favorite pages all year, primarily because of the colors just coming together and that they are Fall colors - totally did NOT plan that. 

Ethan's Favorites - love watching them change. Or not.

Week 41: Siri is cracking me up. Time with neighbors. Haircut.
The never ending fortune I've spent this year on clothes for Ethan. Ridiculous gas prices. 
Week 41: all dressed up for school pictures. lazy cats. finally after waiting for what seemed like a billion years, I was able to upgrade to the iPhone 4S. 
Got my flu shot. Soccer game.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 36-38

Ethan played his first ever season of soccer. He "tolerated" it and repeatedly voiced his dislike for the game and his love for baseball more. He is SOOOO my child!

Only 5 kids on the soccer team - Oscar was supposed to be Assistant Coach though the
Head Coach couldn't make the 1st game, therefore missed out on the team picture. 

One of my most favorite things about Project Life -
documenting Ethan's "currents"...
he is so silly when he gives me his answers.
Note: we have not read a Clifford book in probably a year...go figure.

Week 37: started with Oscar's birthday, which always coincides with our local fair. That cow was only 1 day old - she was so much fun & I wanted to take her home. I'm sure that's against the homeowner association rules. Scored 120 points in WORDS.
And Ethan's latest silly phrase "I ZERO want to go to school"...
not really sure where he came up with that. 

Fun @ the fair. Birthday cake. Eating healthy.
 And more like 7 weeks after that picture was taken,
I did reach that weight and a tad bit lower.

Week 38: We were busy living life this week which results in very few pictures,
though we did get a few at the Home Depot Kids Night at ChickFila.
Ethan really enjoys those activities &
we always meet our friends there which makes it even better. 

Lots of space fillers...but certainly things that are well worth documenting...loved using those SMASH pages for listing my top 5 movies and also two of my favorites places for Inspiration & Peace & Quiet. :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 33-35

With the exception of heading back to school, these were a couple of fun weeks. And I apologize for some of the wonky pictures...I have tried various spots and angles for taking these pictures, but cannot seem to avoid the glare!!

I love using a current playlist for a filler spot.

Obviously fell a little short on pictures this week...
I blame it on the re-adjustment to being back in school. 

Week 34: Good times this week for sure...more specifically my birthday and a day off from work, which I spent riding roller coasters with my mom at Dollywood.
What a blast we had!!

Birthday dinner at Mom's house & B&N giftcards = happy happy happy!!

So many pictures this week means putting in a filler page...I loved the "iFly" sticker mom & I picked up at Dollywood. Ethan is such a helper - whether it's blowing out candles or carrying in the ginormous bag of dog food for the neighbor. :)

Week 35: As a coping mechanism for being back in school, my teacher friend & I met up at the local fruit & berry patch to get their hot cherry pies and fruit slushies. Fun was had by all!!

Labor Day Weekend - the 3 of us had a nice relaxing time up in the Smoky Mountains, of course the boys had to "play" in the river while I took pictures of their antics. 

Ethan really enjoyed his chocolate chip pancakes
from Flapjacks before heading back home.
I love including his adorable artwork in my pages too. 

And more pics from the Smokies and the fruit & berry patch. Good times all around!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

scrapbooking retreat

I really had a great time at my very 1st scrapbooking retreat last weekend. There were 10 gals, though not all scrapbookers, some knitters too! I didn't get nearly as much done as I thought I would in regards to scrapbooking pages, but I definitely had fun!! I can't wait until the next one in January!!

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