Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Crafting

It was a rainy day here in Southern California. You can't see me but I am grinning hugely over this fact! For one thing, we NEED the rain so bad! Secondly, it was so nice to hang out with my kids, in our pajamas. We watched a little television, we read and we did some Christmas crafting. We are very excited because we LOVE this time of year so much! My kids always make a red and green paper garland to decorate and count down to Christmas with. I had fun helping them with this but I also crocheted some Christmas decorations. Then we went this evening to a Christmas tree lighting and sang some carols. It was a fabulous way to spend the last Sunday of November!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Favorite by Duran Duran

Friday, November 28, 2014


The day after Thanksgiving and it has felt very much like a continued celebration. We had family and lifelong friends over. It was wonderful to spend more time with those we love and admire so much. It feels like extra blessings. I hope all of you have enjoyed your Friday - whether you're here in the United States or elsewhere in the world.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of those in the United States. And to everyone blessing and happiness always. Enjoy your weekend, where ever you are.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Josh Turner: Lay Low Video (official)

I get absolutely noting for sharing this video and/or song. I am simply sharing something that I think is beautiful!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday's: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown (#2)

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 310 of Sandra Brown's Mean Streak:

"Did she seem all right to you? After the bombshell you just dropped, would you expect her to be all right?"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon

This read-a-thon starts tomorrow - which is in about twenty minutes my time. Actually, I think that the Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon has technically already begun as it goes by CST. Anyway, I'm excited to get going with it. This is a one week event. I'm going to finish up Mean Streak by Sandra Brown and then jump into my Christmas books with A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree by Janet Dailey. After that I will read Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thankful for Vacation

I have to say that my family is very much in need of a vacation. My kids are off of school for a week in celebration of Thanksgiving. My husband has a short work week coming up. I am so happy and so thankful for both of these things. For one thing, I love, love, LOVE when we all get to spend unhurried and relaxing time together. It feels like so much of our time is spent rushing from one thing that we need to do to another. So, we have some vacation together this week and we are not going anywhere. Well, we are going house and family hopping on Thanksgiving but other than that we are having a vacation at home. There will be no homework, no rehearsals, no long term school projects to work on.

What we will do this week (other than Thanksgiving, of course) is relax, read, go to the park, see some friends and quite likely watch some movies together. And, most exciting of all (at least to the kids and I) is that we will decorate for Christmas! In fact, if all goes well we will begin this fun activity in just a few short hours.

Do you have plans for this coming week that you are looking forward to?

Friday, November 21, 2014

A National Novel Writing Month Update

This morning I validated my NaNoWriMo novel and ‘won’. I put won in quotes because on their site and for the challenge winning means writing fifty thousand words during the month of November. In my personal opinion any amount of writing that someone does is a win. I love NaNoWriMo and according to their rules, I won this morning with slightly over seventy-seven thousand words. Of course, I will continue on with my daily writing and during November I will add it to my total on the NaNoWriMo site. There’s no reason for it any longer but I like to do this during November.

The funny thing is when I was done validating my novel this morning I was nowhere near my personal daily writing goal. I had several moments of complete blank. What was I going to write now? It’s not that I don’t have ideas for books. I do but I’m not ready to write them yet. I feel that it needs to be the right time to write some books. And the stories I have made notes for I am not ready to tell. So I was left sitting in front of my computer having a minor freak out. I didn’t want to sit her looking at a blank page and melting down, though. What did I do then? I organized my desk a little bit. I went on Twitter. I checked my e-mail. I read some of the book I am currently enjoying. Then I spent a little time with my husband and we went to get our kids from school. Then we went as a family to see his mom and had dinner. I even did laundry when we got home this evening. I know, it all sounds so normal. Right? The thing is – this is exactly what I needed to do. I needed to take a break and walk away from the computer and focus on my family and get a few mundane chores done. And guess what? I have a new story idea that I am ready to tell now. In fact, I have already written the beginning of it. Now I will settle my very tired and slightly cranky children. Then I’ll come back and write in the fresh and shiny story a little more tonight.

How about you? Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? How is it going for you? What do you do when face with a blank page and the horror of not knowing what to fill that page with?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Charli XCX (featuring Simon le Bon) Kingdom

This song is all right. I wanted to hear it because it has Simon le Bon from Duran Duran in it. Of course, I think he sounds amazing but he's not in the song near as much as I'd like. Oh well, enjoy all the same.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday's: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 59 OF Sandra Brown's Mean Streak:

"I hike. Gorgeous scenery up here. Sometimes I camp, but I prefer my bed to a sleeping bag on the ground."

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon

The Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon begins next week on November 24th. It runs until November 30th, so one full week. I am excited to participate. Since it is a week-long read-a-thon that means it should be peaceful and fairly laid back. And most of all, FUN! So, what are the details of the Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon? In a nutshell, read. It is not required that you read Christmas or holiday themed books but it would be nice to read at least one, even if it is simply a children’s book – probably with your kids.

If you’d like to check in during the week on Twitter, the hashtag is #CSreadathon. Also, it is not necessary to have a blog in order to participate. You can check in via GoodReads, Twitter or Facebook.

For more information and to sign up for the Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon visit Seasonsof Reading. And don’t forget, have FUN with your reading. I know I will as I will be diving into my Christmas books – for myself and with my kids.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The 5th Annual Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

I do not know what the heck was up with my blog yesterday but I am glad it is fixed today. I have to tell you about something I am so excited about! The 5th Annual Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge! It takes place at The Christmas Spirit from November 24, 2014 through January 6, 2015. As a little side note here - 2015 feels and looks really odd to me. Anyway, the challenge is so much fun and I really look forward to participating in it each year! It's fun, it's easy and there are multiple levels for participation. For example, read so many books, watch Christmas/Holiday movies and there is even a level for reading Christmas children's books this year! As a mom of two young children this is right up my alley! I'm even going to do an Advent calendar that relates to kids Christmas books. That's another post for another day, though.

My participation levels will be (I grabbed these straight from The Christmas Spirit blog):

  --Christmas Tree:  read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!) Yes, I am a Christmas book fanatic! I want to read Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright for sure. I will also read A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree. Others that I will read will depend on what's available at the library or on sale at Barnes and Noble.

--Fa La La La Films:  watch a bunch or a few Christmas's up to you! My family LOVES Christmas movies. I know for sure that we will watch White Christmas (this one is my favorite!), Home Alone (my kids LOVE this one so much and laugh their heads off every single time they see it), Elf (we all, including my husband, can watch this one over and over and over again), The Polar Express (another amazing movie we all love. It's not just 'I believe' in our house - it's WE believe!) and A Christmas Story (another family favorite. 'You'll shoot your eye out kid). I know there are more but these are the first ones I always think of for the reasons stated.

--Visions of Sugar Plums:  read books with your children this season and share what you read: I am so excited about the addition of this level for this year! My kids are bookworms just like me! We LOVE going to the library and loading up on books all year but there is something so extra special about getting Christmas books and then sitting around and reading them together. We love The Polar Express, Olivia Helps with Christmas, Angelina's Christmas and Pinkalicious Christmas to name a few.

Come and join this super fun challenge if you wish. It just adds to the fun and togetherness of this time of year.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Technical Difficulties

I'm not sure what is going on with my blog but it is all messed up. The pictures are missing, the background is different than anything I've ever chosen. The picture behind the header isn't even there. Hopefully this problem will be fixed soon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Crochet Works in Progress

So, in addition to writing and reading a lot, I crochet. I LOVE YARN! Truly, I do. I love choosing colors. I love seeing the yarn turn into something. I would say that I definitely have an addiction to yarn and crocheting. It's relaxing to me. Well, most of the time it is relaxing to me. There are times (like this time of the year) when I know I have over extended myself. It doesn't matter that I swear to myself I won't do it again because I do. Right now I have several works in progress. A few of them (and one in particular) have deadlines. The particular one I'm referring to is coming up. I'll be okay and everything will get done but I have definitely bitten off a lot this time. It's just that I see so many gorgeous things that I want to make and I just can't help but start a new one. I need to get over it though and try to finish things before starting something new. Sigh.

Anyway, would you like to see some of what I have been working one? I hope the answer is yes because here they are:

This will be an adorable little bird when it is done.

A blanket for my husband and I.

These blocks are going to be turned into an afghan for my younger daughter's bed.

This will be an afghan for my older daughter's bed. She wanted something in rainbow colors. She chose the design, too.
PLUS, there is the item with the looming deadline. I can't put a picture of that one until it is done and received by the person it is intended for. She might read this post and I don't want her to see what I am making for her. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014


One of our local radio stations started playing Christmas music today. This is not a bad thing. In fact, my family and I love this time of year and that includes the Christmas music. And since my children have been asking me when the Christmas music was going to start since before Halloween – I was extra thrilled to be able to let them hear it today. Hearing White Christmas (my favorite), Do They Know It’s Christmas (another favorite), Sleigh Bells and Frosty the Snowman got me to wondering about something.

What about Thanksgiving?

Why do we basically finish Halloween and jump straight into Christmas? And honestly, around here, Christmas is making its appearance even before Halloween. As I’ve stated, my family and I love Christmas. However, I think people in general need to slow down and enjoy this entire season. Thanksgiving is important in our family and not just because of the food. Although, hello delicious food. It’s just that I grew up – and fortunately, so did my husband – being taught to be thankful for the little things as well as the big all through the year. Yes, we put some extra emphasis on Thanksgiving Day but that was (and is) part of the fun. So in our house, with our children, my husband and I are going to take the time to be thankful.

At the beginning of October I found an awesome tutorial on creating a ThankfulGarland. I bookmarked it with the intention of having it ready to go at the beginning of November. Then the end of October arrived and with it Halloween and prepping for National Novel Writing Month. I’m sad to say that I forgot about prepping the Thankful Garland. Well, I found my bookmarked activity today. At first I was a little bummed because we are late getting started with it. Then I decided late wasn’t going to be an issue. I am going to make a Thankful Garland for my family. Then, for the two weeks until Thanksgiving (and the day of) we are going to write something we are thankful for. Also, in the same vain, I am going to post a little something that I am thankful for each day.

So, beginning right now: I am extremely Thankful for my husband and our daughters. I love them with all of my heart and love being a family.

Will you join me in making a Thankful Garland for your family? Or even blogging about what you are thankful for?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday's: Festive in Death by J.D. Robb (part 2)

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week (for the second time although I am loving this book. I've just been SO busy) is from pages 160 & 161 of J.D. Robb's Festive in Death:

"Do you wrap my gifts yourself?"

He finished pulling on the sweater, shook back his hair, eyed her. "Isn't that what elves are for? Why would I put good, enterprising elves out of work?

Monday, November 10, 2014


I thought I might be stressed out trying to do both National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month at the same time. I admit that I have had my moments of stress but overall, not so much. What I am finding is that I am feeling very peaceful and accomplished about both undertakings. I haven’t missed a single day of writing (THANK YOU WriteChain!) or blogging. And, in fact, if the evening goes well I will make the fifty-thousand words for NaNoWriMo at the Write-In I am going to attend tonight. So, not only am I feeling peaceful, I am also excited! This is the fastest I have ever reached the 50k mark. I think I mentioned in a post last week that I am aiming for one-hundred thousand words this November. I reached that goal last November but was on a challenge and therefore not planned out at all. For something this enormous, I work better with a plan. By plan, I mean having a goal each day as to word count. I’ve set it up so that I would hit the 50k today, then write three-thousand, five hundred words per day for the next ten days and one-thousand, seven hundred for the last ten days of November. That will put me right at (possibly a tiny bit over) the 100k mark. I set it up this way so that by the time my kids are out of school for their Thanksgiving vacation – I will be back to an almost normal writing schedule. When they are home I like to spend as much time with them as possible. So yes, I am feeling happy and peaceful. I hope and pray this continues.

I have even been crocheting and reading still! I started a new blanket project which I will tell you about in a blog post later in the week.

How are you doing with your November goals?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some Days I Don't Feel Like Writing

I think I sometimes give the impression that it’s no big deal to me to write every day. Well, if I have given anyone that idea please accept my apology. It’s true that I do write every day and have for over a year, fourteen months now. It’s also true that I will continue to write on a daily basis. However, it is not always an easy thing for me to accomplish. Some days are so cram packed with things I have to do that I wonder where I’ll find the time to sit down, open my manuscript, concentrate (this is big for me on the bad days) and actually write. The thing is though, even when my day is so very full, I can still find fifteen or even thirty minutes to sit down and write. Most of the time on these days I can manage to get a lot of things done quicker than I thought I would and actually have forty-five minutes to an hour to write. And that’s really all I need to reach my personal word count for the day.

Let’s talk about the days I just don’t want to write. Fortunately, they are few and far between, but this kind of day does exist for me. Today has been one such day. I wanted to sleep in (I did). I wanted to crochet (I did). I wanted to hang out with my kids. I’ve been doing this, too. I wanted to read (I did). I have not felt like opening my manuscript and parking my butt in my chair to write. I did it anyway, and I’m happier having done so. I chose to do it because I’m committed to my writing. I’m committed to keeping my WriteChain intact. Ultimately, I choose to write because I love it and I can’t imagine my life without the characters I create. It’s just that some days I struggle to actually continue their stories. However, once I’ve begun, I’m happy about it again.
How about you? Are there days you struggle to get things done – even when they are things you love to do?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Am in the Mood to Read...

….Christmas Books! I know it is only the 8th of November but I have already read one short Christmas story (Yours for Christmas by Susan Mallery). I am currently reading Festive in Death by J.D. Robb. Granted, the second isn’t a ‘Christmas book’ per se but it is set during the days leading up to Christmas and there are descriptions of twinkling lights, and joy and nightmare shopping trips into over-crowded places. You know, all the things we love (and some that we don’t) about the holidays in December. Now I have an almost overwhelming urge to read more books that are set during Christmas – even though it’s only November.

The book I really have a hankering to read is Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright. I really thought we owned that book but I can’t seem to find it on our shelves. Knowing me, I gave it away to someone to read because I loved it so much and wanted to share it. So, I went to the library today to check it out and someone already has it. For a moment I was bummed but then I perked up because hey, someone is reading a great book. Plus, I am apparently not the only who wants to start reading Christmas books this early in the season. So yay!

I did get a few Christmas books, though. I had to – it’s the main reason I went to the library. I got The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. This was one of my grandma’s favorite books so I know it must to be good. I got a couple of others by this same author. I also got a few romance books set during Christmas. One is called A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree. The name and the cover itself made me grin. Then I read the blurb on the back cover and it just had to come home with me.

Is anyone else in the mood to start reading Christmas or other holiday themed books? What are some of your favorites? Oh, and my husband shocked me this evening. He suggested that we start decorating for Christmas. I usually have to practically beg him to get the Christmas decorations down for our daughters and I to decorate. I truly thought he was yanking my chain but he wasn’t. He’s completely on board to get started with the lights and other non-tree decorations around our home. I can’t wait!

Friday, November 7, 2014

End of Week Recap

This is the end of week one for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written nearly 35,000 words and by the end of the night will have reached at least that much – as that’s my goal. I’m happy, so, so, happy that the words are flowing so agreeably. However, there has been a tradeoff this week with other things. Let’s see, I let the dishes go, I let the laundry go, I let my sleep go. A couple of days ago by husband let me know he wasn’t so happy with this so I cleaned up our house and did some laundry. I did more laundry today – although it isn’t folded yet. But hey, at least it’s clean and dry. Also today, my body said, don’t be stupid and shut down to make me sleep for a good long time. Now I feel so much better than I did last night. And I am re-thinking my ‘let it go’ (no, that’s not meant to refer to Frozen) attitude. I’ve decided that it’s more important to me to keep everything running smoothly for my family and myself than it is to reach 100,000 words by the end of this month. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try because of course I am. It just won’t be at the expense of my family or my own sleep – and therefore health.

Also this week, I have managed to post each day for the blogging challenge National Blog Posting Month. I really want to keep this up and I hope that I manage to do so. Of course, yesterday I made a ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post and it was Thursday. Oops. I also completely spaced going to Bible Study yesterday. Again, oops and another part of the reason I have to give myself a break and aim for the 100k but not to the exclusion of all else.

I just read about a CAL (Crochet-a-Long) that the wonderful Lucy at Attic24 is casually hosting through November and December and possibly into January, if necessary. I really want to do this CAL. For one thing, the blanket she’s created for the CAL is gorgeous but it will also be easy enough to do with all of the other things going on at this time of year. So, I will be joining in on that and posting the progress of my blanket once a week. She’s posting her progress on Sunday’s. So I think I’ll do the same.

How has your week gone? If you are participating in NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo how has the first week been? Has it gone the way you’d hoped it would or has it been better? Hopefully it hasn’t been worse but if so, tell me about that, too.

Finally, I am going to a write-in (a group of writer’s hammering out words together for NaNoWriMo) tomorrow at Ikea. Yes, Ikea. Apparently this is a thing in Sweden. So my region here in Southern California is going to give it a go. I’m a little freaked out about it but excited at the same time. Plus, there’s the reward of meatballs at the end. I’m so going to get some!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

National Blog Posting Month 2014

What is National Blog Posting Month, you ask? Well, quite simply, it's committing to create a blog post everyday during November. I know it seems insane that I would take this on in addition to doing NaNoWriMo but really, what's one more challenge? I'm already in a hyper writing mode so I may as well add to my blog as well. Plus, I've had a lot of ideas running through my head for blog posts - things I want to share, things I want to ask about? And of course, there will probably be the posts that sound slightly sleep deprived and rambling. That's me in November, though. Since I've already written these first few days of the month I am committing to NaBloPoMo. Is anyone else doing this? Have you done it before? I've written posts for an entire month before but never during Novemeber while pounding away at NaNoWriMo at the same time. This should be an interesting month writing-wise and in blog land. I'll just thank you for reading right now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Teaser Tuesday's: Festive in Death by J.D. Robb

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 99 of J.D. Robb's Festive in Death:

"Whatever he was, he's dead. We do the job. We can think it's too damn bad Trina didn't get a chance to skin his balls, but we do the job."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Three Days In

We're at the end of day three of NaNoWriMo 2014 and I've written nearly 16,000 words. That's CRAZY, right? I say it is but in an entirely crazy, cool and wow kind of way. I know there are people out there who have written even more than this in the past three days but this is epic fast writing for me! Even better and more exciting to me is that the story is really good. My NaNo novels haven't always been so good in my opinion. In fact, in all honesty, a couple of them have been truly atrocious. Not this one though, I am thrilled to say. I just home this lasts through the month. I don't need to keep up this insane (for me) pace but I'm rolling with the inspiration while it's striking. An extra nice thing is that I haven't neglected anyone or anything else in my life. Oh wait, that's not entirely, one hundred percent true. I do have a couple of loads of laundry to do and there are dirty dishes in my kitchen sink. And guess what? I don't care so much about those things right now! My husband and our kids are happy and my word count is nice and cushiony at the moment. I am a happy, frantically writing (and apparently babbly at the moment) person! Life is such a fabulous journey!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Shameless Music Plug

Tonight my family went to a CD release party. My husband's cousin has written and released a CD of worship music. I heard all of the songs in their completed form for the first time tonight and I was blown away. I am so super happy and impressed by Brian and his musical gift and talent. If you, or anyone you know, enjoys Christian music, you will love Brian's CD. He worked on this for two years and put his heart and soul into it.

From my family to Brian and his: Congratulations and we love you!

Here is a link to purchase Freedom by Brian Summers on Amazon.

By the way, for legal reasons, allow me to say that I am in no way receiving anything for this post. This is simply a heartfelt endorsement for someone I love and admire. Thank you and enjoy Brian's music if you choose to give it a chance!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

National Novel Writing Month 2014

It’s November first and for many of us, myself included, that means the beginning of the annual event that is known as National Novel Writing Month – also widely known as NaNoWriMo. This is the sixth time I’ve participated and I’m off to a great start. I began writing at midnight and didn’t go to bed until I surpassed today’s goal of 1, 667 words. That’s the number of words you want to write every day in November in order to reach the 50,000 word goal by the 30th.

Last year I wrote over 100,000 words. That wasn’t my goal in the beginning, though. I reached my 50k on I think the 12th last year and was challenged to go for 100k. I did it but suffered for it afterward with a nasty cold that lasted for a couple of months. So this year, I’m planning to hit 100k again but I’m starting with that goal. That means I need 3,333 words per day until the 30th. It’s doable. I know it is but I admit to still feeling a little nervous about it. Maybe that’s a good thing, though. In fact, I’m sure it’s a good thing because my competitive soul thrives on a challenge and nerves often add to that for me. It sounds weird but it’s true.

How about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? It’s not too late to sign up and start if you wish to give it a go. It’s an amazing experience! If you are doing it are you challenging yourself in any extra way? What are you writing? I’ll tell you about my novel in another post! Whatever you’re doing this November, I hope you are happy and well.