Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Snapshot-Farm Tour

Last weekend our area hosted a farm tour weekend.  Some local farms were open to visitors to learn about what they do and how things work.

We visited Pappy's Orchard and watched how apples are sorted and washed.  The apples were dumped on this conveyor belt and rolled to a washing area.

After being washed they were dried by being rolled over this cloth.
Then the rolled down an area with holes for different size apples that they rolled into depending on when they fell through the holes.  Were they 2 inches or 2 1/4 and so on.

Each area was somewhat padded so they did not get bruised.
If they did not fall through any of the holes they went to the over 3 inch area to a round spinning table.

The farm also had turkeys from tiny

to huge!  This one was 51 pounds.  We joked with our kids that he weighs more than two of them do!

The turkey farm was across the field so the farmer just brought a few over to this barn to show visitors.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This was a very meager reading week for me.  I have things started, but finishing them has been the issue.  I've been binge watching Homeland on Showtime with  my husband.  We finished season one and are working our way through season two.  I know we are still behind, but we are getting there. 

Here is my week so far in finished books:
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls Essays, Etc. by David Sedaris
Courting Carolina by Janet Chapman

Hope everyone else is having more luck carving out time to read!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (audio)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

"Sedaris is a remarkably skilled storyteller and savvy essayist....And based, on this latest collection, he's getting only better." —-Los Angeles Times

A guy walks into a bar car and...
From here the story could take many turns. When the guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy. The common thread? Sedaris masterfully turns each essay into a love story: how it feels to be in a relationship where one loves and is loved over many years, what it means to be part of a family, and how it's possible, through all of life's absurdities, to grow to love oneself.

With LET'S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS, David Sedaris shows once again why he is widely considered the "the funniest writer in America" (O, the Oprah Magazine).

My thoughts:
I am ashamed to say that the first David Sedaris book I read for a book club was a chore for me.  It was Me Talk Pretty One Day and the first half was a slog for me, the second half I really enjoyed.  Part of the problem was that I had to read it all in a day to be ready for the book club meeting, but the rest had to have been me.  I wonder now if I would enjoy it all if I read it again.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls was a fun escape.  One of the things I love about his essays is that they are highly entertaining and provide really good stopping points when you need to go on to something else.  I listen to audio books while running, doing chores and driving.  All things that can't go on forever, or rather that you would like not to go on forever, so it is nice to think I will run until  this essay ends or I can stop putting laundry away when I find out if he buys the Pygmy skeleton.  I have to say I prefer the essays that seem to have come from his own life rather than the ones where he imagines being someone else.  I think the ring of truth in them makes them more compelling for me.

How would you imagine the burglar who stole your computer and passport to be living?  What kind of house would you like to live in in England?  Would you spend your days picking up someone else's trash because it bothered you and not because it was community service?  What would you do to track down your sisters mugger?  All questions you can come away from this book with.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316154697
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Pages: 275

Meet the Author

David  Sedaris
David Sedaris is the author of the books Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, Naked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Public Radio International's This American Life. He lives in England.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Fire Safety!

A local fire station had an open house over the weekend.  They landed a helicopter and then let children sit in it and see it.

There was a nice line waiting to get a turn to pretend to be the pilot.

Not everyone wanted to be the pilot though.

Right after these pictures the battery in my camera ran out, but they also had the chance to use one of the small hoses.

Eight years ago we did the same activity, I have to dig around for that picture because it was so cute!

The firefighter joked with them that if they did too good a job they might be earning themselves more chores come spring.

We lucked out with a  beautiful day for this event.  They also had food, safety information, raffles, a bake sale and a demonstration of the jaws of life and taking a car apart along with all the emergency vehicles, equipment and uniforms.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus Series #3) by Rick Riordan (audio)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six—who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .

With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

My thoughts:
I was excited to find this audio book at the library a couple weeks ago.  My children and I had enjoyed the first two books together and last year in the fall they wanted to buy this one.  In order for the younger two to enjoy the book we either needed the audio version or we had to take turns reading it out loud.  I love sharing books with my children, but one this long would have been a lot of sitting and reading aloud that they often enjoy more with picture books.  Audio books in the car are perfect for us as we can all listen together and we are already sitting on our way to somewhere else.

Anabeth joins the trios from Camp Halfblood and Camp Jupiter on their quest to stop Gaea and her forces from taking over the earth.  Using the flying ship Leo devised they sail to California to find Percy.  Some Idolenzes get in the way of good relations with the camp of Roman demi gods, but the group of seven learn to work together as they work their way across the country and the ocean to complete their quest.

I found the different names for the gods, the Greek versions and the Roman versions, to be a little confusing at times, but I liked how it made clear that when the Romans took power they changed not only the names, but also some of the characteristics of the gods.

For a lengthy book it was an action packed ride through adventures and held a number so of twists and turns.  I can't wait to see what happens in the next book, which we ordered from the school book order.  I think it was released last week.  The due date for our order was this week so hopefully before too long it will be in our hands to find out the fate of our heros!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423140603
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Series: Heroes of Olympus Series , #3
  • Pages: 586

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series #9) by Charlaine Harris

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day to day activities of the vampire and were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest, She's blood-bound to the leader of the vamps, a friend to the local were pack, works for a man who is shifter, and has a brother who is a were-panther…
But for most of the humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious seductive creatures-and they don't even know about the weres.
Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.
At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who-human or otherwise-did the deed.
But what she doesn't realize is that there is a far greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings--older, more powerful and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves-- is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle…
My thoughts:
I was a little sad when I read the announcement that the next season of TrueBlood on HBO is going to be the last.  I can see how they are running out of places to go with the storyline.  I also know that Harris brought the series to an end, but it was fun looking forward to the next episode each season and wondering how much it would stick with the books and how much would be different.  Since I've been a bit behind in the books I find that I get to elements after I've already seen them and I can also see the changes that were made.
This time around the fairies got a lot more story time and they are not the way I am used to imagining them.  Niall, Sookie's fairy grandfather, is not like he was portrayed in the TV series and his connection to Sookie is also different, but he is part of a war that has been brought to her doorstep by his entrance into her life.  The fairies are going to war and Sookie gets caught in the middle of it all.  Not that Sookie isn't already used to people and beings trying to kill her, but this goes a whole new direction.

It makes you think about how many people get caught in the middle or wars and squirmishes who are innocent and have nothing to do with the conflict.  People who are simply there because of where and who their parents are.  What does it take to heal from these experiences?

Product Details

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Easter Bunny Murder (Lucy Stone Series #19) by Leslie Meier (audio)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Spring has sprung in Tinker's Cove, and Lucy Stone has a mile-long to-do list. From painting eggs with her grandson, to preparing the perfect Easter feast, to reviving her garden after a long, cold winter, she hardly has time to search for a killer with a deadly case of spring fever...

Lucy has always loved covering the annual Easter egg hunt for the Pennysaver. Hosted by elderly socialite Vivian Van Vorst at Pine Point, her luxurious oceanfront estate, it's a swanky event where the grown-ups sip cocktails while their children search for eggs that are as likely to contain savings bonds as they are jelly beans. But when Lucy arrives with her three-year-old grandson, VV's normally welcoming gates are locked, and a man dressed as the Easter Bunny emerges only to drop dead moments later. . .

Lucy discovers that the victim is Van Vorst Duff, VV's grandson, and soon learns that not all is as it seems at idyllic Pine Point, where the champagne and caviar seem to be running dry. Always a social butterfly, VV has been skipping lunch dates with friends, and her much-needed donations to local charities have stopped with no explanation. Maybe she's going senile, or maybe her heirs are getting a little too anxious to take over her estate. . .

As Lucy gathers a basketful of suspects, she's convinced that someone's been hunting for a lot more than eggs. And she'll have to chase the truth down a rabbit hole before the killer claims another victim. . .

My thoughts:
I listened to this audio book and I knew listening that it must be part of a series, but I am afraid I have never read books one through nineteen.  Having said that, I was able to follow everything even though I had not read the other books or met any of the characters before.  It is possible that I was missing part of the background story, but not having that information did not hinder my enjoyment of this book.

I loved the mystery elements.  I recall years ago that mysteries were my favorite books, but as the years went by I went away from them because too much of one genre starts to get boring and I've never really returned with the passion I used to have.  This was a nice book to listen to and I enjoyed going along with Lucy as she gathered her clues and came to her conclusions, that were not always right but made sense with the clues she had so far.

I think I am going to need to add some more mysteries back into my book selections as I did enjoy this.  I don't know if I will go back and find more in this series.  I enjoyed it, but no one character was so compelling that I feel the need to read more about them.  If I find more on audio at the library I might check them out.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758229359
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Series: Lucy Stone Series , #19
  • Pages: 304

Meet the Author

Leslie Meier is the acclaimed author of sixteen Lucy Stone mysteries and has also written for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. She lives in Harwich, Massachusetts, where she is currently at work on the next Lucy Stone mystery.
Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording audiobooks for over ten years. Named on of AudioFile's Best Voices of 2010, she is an Audie Finalist and Best Audiobook of the Year 2009 winner with The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon Reed, she has earned several AudioFile Earphones Awards, most recently for Too Good to Be True by Erin Arvedlund and Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In this full-length novel from the New York Times Bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series Donna VanLiere has written a beautifully rendered and poignant story about one woman's unlikely path to motherhood and the healing power of love.

 Tennessee, 1950:  Still single and in her early thirties, Ivorie Walker is considered an old maid; a label she takes with good humor and a grain of salt. But when her mother dies, leaving her to live alone in the house she grew up in, to work the farm she was raised to take care of, she finds herself lost in a kind of loneliness she hadn't expected.  After years of rebuffing the advances of imperfect, yet eligible bachelors from her small town, Ivorie is without companionship with more love in her heart and time on her hands than she knows what to do with.  But her life soon changes when a feral, dirty-faced boy who has been sneaking onto her land to steal from her garden comes into her life.  Even though he runs back into the hills as quickly as he arrives, she's determined to find out who he is because something about the young boy haunts her. What would make him desperate enough to steal and eat from her garden?  But what she can't imagine is what the boy faces, each day and night, in the filthy lean-to hut miles up in the hills. Who is he? How did he come to live in the hills? Where did he come from? And, more importantly, can she save him? As Ivorie steps out of her comfort zone to uncover the answers, she unleashes a firestorm in the town-a community that would rather let secrets stay that way.

 The Good Dream is a pitch perfect story of redemption and the true meaning of familial love—Donna VanLiere at her very best.

My thoughts:
This book touched me and really made me think.  How much are we willing to leave our own comfort zones to help others and how much discomfort and how many negative actions are we willing to suffer to do what we think is right?  I recently read a blog post by a woman whose son went to the store in a pink head band.  A large man came up to them, yanked the head band off, smacked her son and told him that real men don't wear pink and he will thank him for this later.  The woman was amazed that not only did the man feel he was justified in his actions, but that no one else in the store came up to her afterwards to see if she was okay.  That everyone just went back to what they were doing and ignored what had happened.  How often do we ignore things we know aren't right?  How much of this is out of fear?  Just this week I read a different story about a man who tried to tell the parents of a child that the child was making graffiti on a public building.  The parents blew up at the man because he put his hand on the boys shoulder and had had the audacity to touch their son and ignored that their son had been breaking the law.  Where is the line between protecting our children from harm and also instilling in them the moral compass that will lead them to do the right thing even when we aren't around?

Ivorie is at first annoyed at the wild animal that is messing up her garden.  That is until she discovers it is a young boys, who is dirty and wild looking, who has been visiting her patch of vegetables.  In finding out who the boy is and why he is eating from her garden Ivorie makes a whole lot of discoveries about herself, the nameless boy, the town and love.  The road to motherhood is not the same for everyone, but when you become a mother you make a big shift in your thinking.

There were heart breaking moments in this story as well as uplifting moments.  It follows two unforgettable lives as they become a family.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250031877
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Donna VanLiere is The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Finding Grace, The Angels of Morgan Hill and seven Christmas books, including the perennial favorites The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope. She travels as a speaker and lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and three children.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

I fell behind again in posting and I am again stuck in the position of not being sure what I finished reading during the last month.  How in the world has a whole month gone by since I managed to post this?  So here is what I can remember from the last month:

The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere
Easter Bunny Murder: Lucy Stone Series Book 20 by Leslie Meier
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Timekeeper by Mitch Album
Happy Endings by Jane Lynch
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

I think I am forgetting some books, but it is a start and maybe I can add books in next week if I remember what they are!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Timekeeper by Mitch Album

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the author who's inspired millions worldwide with books like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most imaginative novel yet, The Time Keeper—a compelling fable about the first man on Earth to count the hours.
The man who became Father Time.
In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years.

Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world—now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began—and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it, and how precious it truly is.

My thoughts:
Time is something everyone thinks about, talks about and focuses one, but some of our most enjoyable moments are the ones when we have lose the concept of time.  When we are having fun and time is flying and we aren't worried about what time it is.  I feel so sad when I am out and I see so many people totally attached to their phones who are missing what is going on around them.  I guess I do the same thing with my reading, but when I am reading I do lose track of time.  I know the feeling of looking at the clock at night and realizing that it is much later than I expected because I got so into the book that I lost my concept of time.

Albom's book has three main characters.  There is Father time who was the first to try to measure time instead of just enjoying life as God had given it to him. Vincent who is elderly and sick who wants to find a way to cheat death and live longer than his given lifetime.  Then there is Sarah, a teenager who feels so isolated by her peers that she wants time to stop for her.

Weaving through the story are the threads of their lives, all leading up to how they fit together and what they can learn from each other.  Showing how no life should last forever, that having a limit on your time is what makes it precious and how important it is to have a connection to the people in your life.

The holiday season is fast approaching, when everyone seems to be moaning about not having enough time, but it is what you do with your time and how you spend it that can be most meaningful.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401312855
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Mitch  Albom
Mitch Albom is an author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time. His first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, was an instant number-one New York Times bestseller that has since sold more than six million copies worldwide. For One More Day, his second novel, was also a #1 New York Times bestseller. Both books were made into acclaimed TV films. Mitch also works as a columnist and a broadcaster, and serves on numerous charitable boards. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Color Run!

Last weekend my family participated in The Color Run.

This is the second time we've done a race like this.  Last time we tried out Color Me Rad.

We had a good time and enjoyed a really nice day.

Each of my children got very colorful!

The last color was pink!

Definitely a fun experience and the miles go by fast since you are looking forward to the next color.