12 July 2018

Books - June 2018

Just to be clear, I've already read more books in July than in April, May, or June. :)

But to summarize last month, here's what I read in June:

When I'm not even picking my own books, I'm not sure how I keep getting intriguing mysteries. Twist of Faith by Ellen J Greene was 3.5 out of 5 stars from me on Books I Think You Should Read. You can see my full review there.
In short, it's the story of an orphan raised by her seemingly reluctant guardian after being found as a toddler abandoned at a church. No one has ever given her any detail about her biological background, but they don't seem keen to include her in her new family either. Once her adoptive mother dies, she starts finding clues about murders in her mother's things. She gets two co-workers to help her try and find out the truth, and the story just gets more convoluted from there...

The second book I finished in June was Punishment by Scott J Holliday. This was another 3.5 out of 5 stars from me on Books I Think You Should Read. She also has a giveaway on this one, but it ends this week (July 19, 2018). 
This is another murder mystery, with a sci-fi twist. The police (and others) are now able to pull memories from one person, and share them with another. Detective John Barnes is responsible for reviewing the memories of the victims of a serial killer, and the killer even knows he'll see those memories. The mystery is figuring out what links the victims, who could be next, and how to stop him.

As promised, July has almost three books finished already - go, me! Check back in August to get my thoughts on them.

29 June 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. Yeah - it sure is :D Order from my website today (maybe tomorrow too - while supplies last!) and get some freebies from our summer line. And every order comes with a free sample too! Last time I got some of our Vial lip color samples. PoshBecki.com for the win :)
  2. The kids and I are on our way out in a bit. We're picking up Mimi and heading to a two-day baton competition a few hours away. Jack is most excited about staying in a hotel with a pool. LOL
  3. I've turned into mean mom in just a little longer than a week out of school. I feel like I spend so much time reminding my daughter that she's supposed to be cleaning her room. And my son's curiousity has been getting the best of his good decisions lately... Ugh. Hopefully we snap out of this quickly.
  4. I'm SO EXCITED that StitchFix is starting to do kids next month!! While I've enjoyed the kid boxes they've been getting from KidPik and KidBox, I love some of the pictures I've seen from the people with invites to kid's StitchFix. 
  5. We had a great time at the Detroit Zoo last week, and also went through the Dinosauria exhibit. We're saving experience tickets for one of the movies and the train to use on other visits. AND I was reminded by a friend this week that she wants to join us on a visit soon.
  6. Do you have a Yates Cider Mill near you? Our lousy(ish) weather this week happened to be on Wednesday, which is free donut day at Yates! We went to open swim at Aqua-Tots, and then ate donuts at the cider mill before bringing some donuts and cider home.
  7. July is supposedly our slow month this summer, but I still need to schedule a time with my parents to put shelves in Maggie's room (after she cleans it), a day for another trip to the zoo with our friend, and a day to make cards with my mom and another friend.
  8. August? Fuggedaboudit. We've got a week of baton day camp, a week of Young Americans day camp, a week for camping with Mimi and Papa, and then I'm back to work partway through the last week. Whew!
  9. My AtLast Roses from Proven Winners are FABULOUS! No maintenance, continually blooming, wonderful! I did nothing to prepare them for winter (and then several of my butterfly bushes died :( ), and this spring they just turned green and started blooming again! Best - roses - ever!!
  10. So how is your summer so far? I forget that summer isn't much different for those with a regular job, eh? Here, suddenly, the kids are home, I'm home, and the whole game has changed!

28 June 2018

Books - May 2018

I keep hoping for more time to read! I only finished two books in May, but both of them were reviews I was doing, so I sort of was waiting to post this til after they're both published. The second one was finally released less than a week ago - so here they are:

The first book I finished reading in June was TwoSpells by Mark Morrison. This is his first novel, and it's a great fantasy read! A sibling pair find they have a magical lineage, and need to fight an evil they previously knew nothing about til they went to the place their mother was raised and got to explore a magic library with their grandparents.

Check out my full review here.

The second book I finished is the one we were waiting for. The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson just came available on Amazon on June 23. This book definitely kept me guessing. It's about a quiet street where the neighbors all have secrets, and one of them is a killer. I admittedly never try very hard to solve the mysteries I read, but this one had so many dramatic secrets of other neighbors, I don't think most readers will solve it before the big reveal.

You can read my full review here.

I've already read two books for June - we'll see if I can squeeze one more in this weekend! Watch for the post next month

27 June 2018

Incredibles 2 - My Review

Last weekend the family and I went to see Incredibles 2, and we all enjoyed it! We watch the original from time to time, and the sequel picked up exactly where it left off, which was cool. The overlap of sorts between the end of the plot of Incredibles and the beginning of Incredibles 2 makes this movie a fun watch even if someone has never seen the original (is that possible???).

I especially loved the role played by Mr Incredible's old car, the 'Incredibile' (like automobile, but incredible..). And of course, after waiting SO long, I loved finally finding out Jack-Jack's powers.

I'd recommend this movie for anyone, but be sure to read the warning at the theater - there are some fight scenes with lots of flashing lights that could trigger photo-sensitive epilepsy. Overall, I'd give this 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really, really liked it and look forward to seeing it again.

22 June 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. So who's ready for summer fun?? Last weekend started with a family reunion of sorts at my parents' house. This is a pic of me and the kids with my parents (hubby was up north visiting his dad). Also in attendance were three second-cousins of my mom's, and one of her aunts from Saskatchewan, Canada, as well as more U.S. relatives. 
  2. And on Sunday we dropped Maggie off at her annual baton camp. She had a great time and we went and picked her up again on Wednesday after watching her performance of all the great new tricks she learned. 
  3. Tonight we're hoping to go hang out at the Lake Orion Jubilee in town. But the weather will need to hold out....
  4. Our deck constuction is finally starting!!!! There are footings filled with cement (did I say that right?). The chipmunks are sometimes making poor choices - I'm worried that we may be cementing a few corpses down in those deep holes. My solution is to carefully not look too closely, so I don't know for sure.
  5. Tomorrow morning we're using my last paycheck from school for the year to go see Incredibles 2 and get my free birthday popcorn and drink from AMC. I've heard great reviews of the movie so far, so we're excited to go see it for ourselves.
  6. In sad news, I've apparently become a very inept fish mom. We're down to two fish. Which should theoretically make the aquarium easy to clean? Yeah, really no difference. But I'll try to clean twice a week instead of once til it's super beautiful and we can start re-stocking. I usually like to have six to eight fish so they can change around who they hang with, right? Having the aquatic frogs was super cool, but they require excellent water since they don't have scales to protect their skin.
  7. My hair is finally getting long enough for a bun again. So buh-bye hair. It's long-ish, technically, but I can wear it up and out of my way. I always like a short pixie cut, but I never go in often enough to maintain, so a bun is my solution.
  8. What birthday treats am I missing this month? I've gotten my free chicken dinner at Frankenmuth, my free burger at Red Robin, and planning my free popcorn at AMC tomorrow. I think I missed the cut-off date for my free BDs Mongolian BBQ meal. I remember one year I printed out all the emails and such so I could redeem as much as possible. It was more stressful than just paying for what I wanted. LOL
  9. The 'worst' part of summer? I feel like a slacker for not making decent dinners anymore. Not that I was some great cook before, but now everyone is so busy and we get home late so often that my effort is actually decreasing (didn't know that was possible?!?).
  10. What's your favorite summer activity? The kids and I are going to sit down this afternoon and make a plan for next week. So far we have swim lessons twice, and need to pack and leave Friday for an out-of-state baton competition next Saturday and Sunday. But Monday through Thursday can be filled with other adventures!

13 June 2018

Book Review - The Man on the Roof by Michael Stephenson

Most of those who live in the cul-de-sac are friends of convenience. Besides the old man who declares he sees a man on a neighbor’s house at night, they do things together. Their kids (all but one family has them) attend school and hang out together, the women all shop together, and several families have keys to each other’s houses.

But then a body is found hanging over the street outside their houses. He was a teenager, and while all the families claim not to have much to do with him, they all end up having potential ties with the victim.

In ‘The Man on the Roof’ by Michael Stephenson, we get glimpses of the secrets the neighbors know about each other, and the secrets they are trying to hide. What we don’t know is who is the killer? And will someone else end up dead?

I really enjoyed this book. The narration varied with each chapter, but I never knew who was talking about whose secrets. The chapters were just identified with their suspect numbers. While I wondered about each of the suspects, I was never convinced enough to guess who was the real killer, as opposed to it being someone else. It also made me wonder about my own neighbors’ secrets.

I'd give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a wonderful and intriguing summer read for any adult who loves suspense and mystery. Some of the secrets are definitely of an adult nature, so this isn’t to be confused with an entertaining young adult read. If you’re a grown-up who doesn’t mind reading about things that some people may prefer kept quiet, this book will hold your interest while you guess who the killer may be. You'll be surprised when you finally get to who and why.

The Man on the Roof is available for pre-order on Amazon now, and would be delivered to your Kindle on June 22, 2018.

I recieved an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

11 June 2018

Notes from the Breakfast Lady

Yeah - my new job that started in December? It's become one of my favorite parts of my life. These kids are great! Even the ones who are less-great have something to teach, or something to share, or progress to be excited about.

Want to know what I have to say to everyone else about it? First off, as suspected, kids with polite manners are so much easier to like! Manners can also help if you have a favorite thing to eat on a non-busy breakfast, or even if it's not too crazy at lunch. My shift is decidedly slower than our lunches, but the kids who visit me regularly know that it's okay to ask if I have more Rice Krispie Treats, or another cheese stick, or a different flavor of yogurt. Sometimes I'll say yes, or sometimes I'll say there's too much going on and what you see is what you get. But you never know for sure unless you ask!

For parents especially, let's start out by putting to rest the idea that any lunch lady (at least of the dozens that I know) throws away food instead of giving it to a child who doesn't have enough money on their account. First of all, we do run your account a bit negative if your child is still hungry and out of money. Second of all, if your child is out of money or has a negative account, we certainly don't send them off to learn on an empty stomach! I always say my first job is to FEED THE CHILDREN. Easy peasy. If an account is negative and we're not recieving response to requests for funds, a child will be given a comp lunch (no charge to the account, but possibly not the child's first choice of what they want to eat). Our comp lunch, for example, is a WOW (fake peanut butter) and jelly sandwich with a bag of apple slices and a carton of milk. My son loves the sandwich, my daughter would rather have something else. It is a regular menu item as well.

Back to where I was - for parents, please monitor your child's food service account balance. Things happen. When my daughter was in 1st or 2nd grade, a friend told her the ladies gave away free food at breakfast, so she stared visiting the cafe every morning. About a week after this started, I pulled up her account and saw she was out of money! Food isn't free, kid. LOL The ladies selling breakfast recognized her, fed her, and charged her. My daughter and I talked about it, and she agreed to just getting breakfast at school once a week.

See if your district offers account access online. Ours does, and it's super convenient for me. As a parent, I've decided that budgeting is even easier if I keep depositing to my kids' online lunch accounts this summer, so they'll have a really healthy balance when they're back to school in the fall.

If you don't have online access to your food service account, please pay attention to however your district notifies you of a low balance. If you feel like you're missing notifications, don't be afraid to call and check. We really want your child to be happy and fed what they choose.

Last but not least - give your kids an extra hug this summer, and I can't wait to see them back in the fall!

And very last, I'd like to give my notice to Hollywood that not all lunch ladies look like they're frequently portrayed in the movies. LOL
(and to be fair, our principal looks nothing like Trunchbull either!)
Thanks to the movie Matilda for inspiration on what I'll never be!