Tuesday, October 31, 2023

the books I read in October


Happy Tuesday to you, friends, and happy Halloween! How was your reading this month? Did it change from one month to the next? I love to read books that are in season with whichever one I'm currently in. Are you like this? I will say that next month I will start reading Christmas books, because I like to decorate early each year. Now, onto the books I read this month!

First up was this one by an author that is new to me.

Todd totally made fun of me over how much this book creeped me out, but even so, I could barely put it down! This is one that Andrea recommended back in the summer of this year. If you decide to read this book, make sure and read the author's note at the beginning. It gives some background information as to why this author wrote a book like this, set in this time period. The whole story takes place in the 90's, so that's kinda fun. The byline on this description is this: "Steel Magnolias meets Dracula".

Patricia's life has never felt so mundane. Her husband works all the time, their teenage kids each have their own lives, and the care of her elderly mother-in-law rests on her shoulders. Patricia has always belonged to a book club, but when she quits one boring and uppity one and starts another one that reads the books she wants to read, her life changes. These women love to read true crime stories, and they become fast, though unlikely, friends. One night after book club, Patricia is attacked by an elderly neighbor in her own backyard. When she goes to the home of that neighbor's nephew to take a casserole after learning of her death, she meets James Harris, and everything in her life changes. He is a mysterious new man in the neighborhood, and expresses an interest in joining their book club. He is well traveled and he loves to read; why wouldn't they let him join in their fun? 

When children on the other side of town start to go missing, and then die terrible deaths, Patricia begins to wonder about this new and mysterious neighbor. Has she unknowingly invited a monster into her home, her family life, and her book club? She is not giving up until she gets to the bottom of this, even if it takes years of detaching herself from this man, and convincing the others around her that maybe they shouldn't be so quick to trust him. 

Quick thoughts and a disclaimer: This book was really good, funny at times, and cringe worthy at others. I couldn't put it down to see how it would end, but know that it is a book about vampires, and it was more gory that I'd thought it would be. That's why Todd teased me over this; I had to put it down one night and go watch something fluffy so that I wouldn't have nightmares about rats. It's definitely not a book for everyone, but I was curious enough to read it for myself. 

Olivia is down on her luck with everything: job, boyfriend, places to call home. Because of that, she finds herself living with her brother and his annoying best friend in their apartment. She's sad about everything in her current life, and then one night she gets a text from a wrong number that changes everything. He asked a snarky question, and she gave him a similar comment in return. Before she knows it, they're keeping that going and her life is starting to change. She lands the perfect job, she finds joy in keeping her little nephews every once in a while, and she has fun texting this mystery man with whom she has chemistry. She would only change one thing: Collin, her brother's roommate and best friend. But wait...she starts to see another side of him, and feels maybe there is something there that she missed before. But what about Mr. Wrong Number? Why did he disappear all of a sudden? Can she like them both at once? 

I'll let you read to find out more, but this wasn't my favorite Lynn Painter book. The language and quality was worse than her other books, and I found myself quickly skimming through the last third of the book. On Good Reads I only rated it as a 3 star book, and for me, that's saying something. 

Next up was this one by a new author.

Here's what Good Reads says about this book:

What's a movie star to do when giving up the spotlight could hurt the ones he loves most? My agent has this idea—an insanely bad idea—to reboot my Hollywood heartthrob status by having my long-lost love dump me...while I'm proposing to her on national tv. The theory? Women everywhere will swoon over poor Lincoln James, scrambling to repair his vulnerable, shattered heart. Trouble is, I don't have any kind of love—long-lost, or otherwise. To play my fake girlfriend, my agent enlists Hadley Morgan, my secret college crush. The one who dragged me to an audition that launched my career but left her in the dust. Upping the ante, she offers Hadley a slot on the show she missed out on years ago. When the alternative publicity ploy is for reporters to dig up dirt on my family, I've got no choice but to go along with the ruse. That's how I found myself back in Harvest Hollow...

This was cute, a friends-to-more kind of story that I like, and though this one kept me entertained, it did move a little slower than I like. 

Lastly was this cozy mystery that I found in the Libby app.

In the small village of Kilbane, Naomi's Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays, twenty-two year old Siobhan O'Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents almost a year ago. It's been a rough year for the O'Sullivans, and it's about to become even more so. One morning as they're opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit, with a pair of hot pink scissors protruding from his chest. With the local guarda suspecting the O'Sullivans and their business in danger of being shunned, it's up to feisty Siobhan to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.

Quick thoughts about this one: It was adorable! I feel like I'd traveled to Ireland after reading this book, and though the names are hard to pronounce and it was filled with words that had different meanings, that is how the book began. For instance, the author told us that you pronounce the name Siobhan as Shi-vawn. How clever! There was a glossary of terms as well, and I loved and appreciated that. The setting of this book took place in the summer, but it felt more like fall. It was very reminiscent of an Agatha Christie book, which you know I am always on board with.

Do you like to read books that are in-season like me? I enjoyed these fall (or fall-feeling) books that I read this month, but I'm excited to start reading Christmas themed books in November. There are always plenty to keep me occupied, and I look forward to sharing them here at the end of the month. I'm starting my first one of the season tomorrow, with one I purchased over the weekend. I read most of my books through the Libby app on my phone and then download them to my Kindle, but I also rely heavily on Kindle Unlimited. Two of these books above are ones you can read there now for free, the last two that I mentioned. I will also occasionally buy a book or two throughout the year, it just depends on the author and whether or not it's someone whose books I read and loved. 

Share some books with me, please! I would love to know what you're reading, or what you're looking forward reading. Thanks for reading my blog today, friends! Love to all. 

Monday, October 30, 2023



Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? Mine was good, though different, and I hope yours was too! I'm linking up with Holly and Sarah for today's post. 

I got the weekend kicked off with my dad. We had a great day together on Friday! I'm always thankful for those. I made us tuna salad for lunch, and we enjoyed trying to solve all the problems of the world all afternoon. Sandy came to pick him up, since she'd stayed in town that day, and I started cooking my dinner shortly after he left. 

Todd worked that night, so I ate dinner and watched a GAC Christmas movie. Are you watching any of those or the Hallmark ones yet? Is it still too early for you? Speaking of that, I'm switching to Christmas themed books for the last two months of the year. I can't wait! I'll finish the cozy mystery I'm reading and then I'll get the season kicked off with one I just bought over the weekend.  

For dinner Friday night, I made this lasagna inspired pasta. I cooked the noodles according the instructions, and I sauteed onion and garlic in a pan. When that was finished, I added some pasta water to the pan while I added spinach to wilt it. I mixed all of that together with the pasta, and added cottage cheese and marinara sauce, then topped it with parmesan. I baked it at 350 for a half hour, and it was perfect: hot and bubbly. I ate two helpings, then saved the rest for Drew. Speaking of him, he's about to become the theme of my weekend. This kind of dish is right up his alley! Because we don't really eat pasta anymore, and because the other boys in the house don't care for it with marinara, I figured Drew would appreciate not worrying about dinner after work this week. I will send this home with him tonight when he comes over for dinner...along with the soup I'm making for us for our family dinner. 

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning, and made plans with Mom, but had to cancel. I came down with stomach virus, I guess. Noah had had something similar one day this week and we didn't think much of it, but after I got it, Todd came down with the same symptoms Saturday night. We were fine by Sunday morning, thankfully, but we still got out that afternoon. I actually felt mostly fine, I was just taking it easy with the I ate. Don't judge for what you're about to see, though...

I took this of Todd riding off on Saturday morning. He's so happy to have his bike back! It was in the shop for a month.

We had dinner with Drew at Dim Sum King. We ordered appetizers mostly, to share, but the majority of what I ate was rice. This picture below is a steamed pumpkin with spare ribs inside. It looks amazing, but none of us were impressed. 

We were back home and comfy by seven, and I spent the evening reading a cozy mystery by a new author. I'll share about it tomorrow, so come back!

I was at church by 7:20 on Sunday morning, and admiring the sunrise. It was so foggy!

I spent the afternoon going down a rabbit trail of Matthew Perry posts...and this one got me, along with a TikTok video of the one where Chandler is working out of town, and all the Friends are there to say goodbye to him. I bawled over that one! This loss is a big one for us, because so much of our life revolved around the show. I feel like in every stage of life we've been through, we could relate it to a Friends episode. I've read so much about him in the last few years of his life, and it seems he'd come to terms with his troubled past; one article is one that he was interviewed for saying that God had saved him. I hope that's the case, but isn't it always a sad thing when someone who was a big part of your life dies? 

That afternoon I attended the baby shower of one of the girls I helped lead in youth several years ago. 

And here's the part where Drew comes in....we did a thing together yesterday.


(The blood is normal, but it stopped.) We got matching tattoos! I was so surprised that he wanted to do this, but who am I to say no if he's all for it? I think it's so sweet, and I love that we have that as a memory together. 💙💙

We went to eat Mexican food afterward, then I came home. I passed by this huge pumpkin as I was driving and had to take a picture! The people that sell these pumpkins have been at this same location for many years, and the boys always loved passing by there when they were younger. 

Here it is when I removed the bandage that kept falling off.

It's a little stained right now, from the ink that was rubbed off when he finished, but it'll fade in a few days. I love where Drew did his, and so does he. That's all that matters! 

How was your weekend? Did you do something fun that you loved? I had different plans for Saturday, but we canceled them because of the rain. I wasn't too upset about it, since I also didn't feel great. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Share 4 Somethings, the October edition


Happy Saturday, friends and welcome to my monthly Saturday bonus post, where I talk about things I loved, learned, read, ate and/or enjoyed this month. I hope you join in with the lot of us this month, we'd love to have you! 


I have loved the month of October! This will forever be one of my favorite months of the whole year. It's definitely in the top three (December, November, followed by October) for me. Do you love this month as much as me? I love that it's (usually) cooler (though not the case for us here near Memphis this year), that the leaves start to show off a bit more, and that it's our anniversary month. These are my favorite things about October. 

I loved seeing these horses at Dad's house last week.

These beautiful and majestic creatures will never cease to amaze me! 


I also learned that I still have the magic touch when it comes to getting them to come to me. I shared these pictures on social media last week and my stepbrother told me that apparently they like me more than him, since he calls them every time he sees them and they never come. 🤣 


I'd love to say that I read some great books this month, but I haven't been able to love what I've been reading as much as I'd hoped. I'll share more about that on Tuesday next week, so I hope you come back to check! 


I know that I mentioned these meals this week already, but this is just a small sampling of the delicious-ness I've had lately and enjoyed, starting with this Chick-Fil-A meal that TikTok made me try. Here's what I ordered, in case you missed it this week: an 8 count of nuggets, a side of the kale crunch salad, a side of pimento cheese, a side of jalapeno peppers, and honey barbecue dressing. Mix and enjoy! The next time I'll skip the jalapeno peppers.

I've enjoyed putting this creamer into my coffee each morning and night!

We enjoyed this type of dinner a couple of weeks ago, and we ate while we watched tv. I love doing that every once in a while! 

Did you happen to read my other blog posts this week? I'll link them below.

Monday was a recap of my weekend.

Tuesday was about what's in my purse.

Wednesday was What's Up Wednesday.

Thursday was Thankful Thursday.

Friday was Friday Favorites.

Thanks for linking up with us today! In case you haven't read this already, the Currently link party happens this Wednesday November 1. We'll be talking about what we're currently loving, buying, preparing, excited for, and planning. I'd love for you to join us for that as well! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

P.s. I'm going to continue to host both of these link ups in 2024. Do you have any suggestions for prompts for the year for either? With S4S, the prompts remain the same each month, but with Currently they change from month to month. I'd love to hear some feedback from you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, October 27, 2023

Friday Favorites, 10.27.2023.


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika for today's favorite blog post of the week. I hope you've had a good week! Mine was good, but I was glad for the weekend to arrive. 

This new Advent study came in the mail last weekend. It's so beautiful inside! This is the third study I've done by Gretchen Saffles and the Well-Watered Women community. These studies never disappoint and always become a favorite part of my holiday season. The purpose of an Advent study is to slow down and find glimpses of the Savior throughout the busy season. We're all prone to falling prey to the hustle and bustle; while this time of year is always my favorite, I don't love how quickly it rushes by. I need all the slowing down and savoring I can get!

Noah took this picture at my husband's shop a couple of weeks ago, and it's one of my favorites! I love a beautiful sunset, do you? About my husband's shop, this is something I don't ever really talk about here, but our family business is Medical Repair Services. We repair equipment in doctors' offices, dental offices, hospitals, and veterinarian clinics—things like tables, sterilizers, and anything else that takes care of the equipment they use. This is the shop they work out of; there's an office with desks for the three of them, and there's a workspace that's the majority of the inside. The guys are always going there to work on vehicles, because they have jack stands and just about any kind of tool they could ever need. It's nice to have the space for them to do that kind of thing, and their friends are almost always with them. 

My sister Trish bought this wrapping paper last weekend on our day out. It's my favorite! I took this picture because I had to show you. On the subject of wrapping paper, wrapping presents is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season! Is that something you enjoy or dread? I like to do it as I go along. 

I shared this picture already, but for anyone who may have missed it, this is the new bedding I bought us last weekend. It's my favorite! I love a tartan plaid, especially when it's Christmas colored! 

Pictures like this are my favorite! I caught Jonah as he was talking to us one night this week. He's the one who Chloe belongs to. I will always love Jonah's dimples!

Going to the dentist isn't necessarily my favorite thing in the world, but I am so thankful it's something we're able to do, and I never want to take that for granted. I went on Monday to get my teeth cleaned. As I sat there alone reading, I couldn't help how things have changed so much. We used to fill up Dr. Garrett's waiting room when we all went for cleanings. We were always there at least two hours, too, and though I don't miss that part, it's just so different that we haven't all been together in years. This is how it should be, though, right? It's really hard for me to grasp the swiftness of passing time. 

Our neighborhood is always my favorite during this time of year. We are known for our old oak trees. 🖤

I can't stop with the pictures of Chloe sitting like this. It's my favorite sitting position I've ever seen a dog sit in. I think she thinks she's human. 

This was my favorite dinner this week! I used frozen meatballs and cooked them in the oven according to the package instructions, then I served them over sauteed onion and peppers, and tossed together with marinara sauce. The leftovers didn't last long! 

I snagged this picture from my mom-in-love's Facebook post yesterday. Seeing these two cuties having so much fun with their friends while vacationing is one of my favorite things to see. This trip was a long time coming!

And lastly, nail day is always my favorite! I finally got around to going yesterday after work. And yes, this is black nail polish. It's probably my favorite color, because it goes with everything. 

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the Share 4 Somethings link party that I host, where we talk about things we've loved, learned, read, and ate and/or enjoyed throughout the month. I'll open the link up at midnight on the 28th, and I'll keep it open for about three weeks. Additionally, the Currently link party happens this Wednesday November 1. We'll be talking about what we're currently loving, buying, preparing, excited for, and planning. (I changed one of these for November, just in case you'd made a note somewhere of when I talked about this on the October Currently post.) I'd love for you to join us for one or both of these! 

Do you have something that was a favorite from your week? I'd love to hear about it, if you do! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! It's been way too long since I've written a Thankful Thursday post, so I thought I'd share a few things that have made me feel extra grateful recently. 

I'm thankful for the time that Todd and I spend together. Even if we're just at home doing nothing, I like being with him. I have a few friends whose husbands get on their nerves (this is a terrible thing to even write), and Todd has never been like that to me. I have to be extra careful about my friends who complain about this, and pray that it never rubs off on me. I've talked about this here before, but nobody will ever hear me say one bad word about my husband. It doesn't mean that he's perfect and that we don't bicker from time to time, but talking negatively about him or the situation doesn't solve problems; it just makes it uncomfortable for other people to witness, and I always feel embarrassed for both parties when I'm around complaining spouses. 

I'm thankful for the kind of relationships we have with our sons. We've always had great ones with each of them, and I love that they like talking to us and sharing things about their lives. This is not the case for many of their friends. We hear all the stories about parents who won't let go of their grown up sons and daughters, and we agree that it's no way to be a parent to adults, even the ones who still live at home. I suppose we're super sensitive to this, because three of our sons still live at home. One of them is trying to find a third roommate to rent a house with, and the two younger ones aren't in a hurry to get out just yet. I think it's wise for them to be able to save money while they're here, though they do chip in with groceries and other things. I'm pretty sure they don't complain too much about us as their parents. 

I'm thankful for the fact that I am able to work at my church! There is no better place to work, in my opinion. I genuinely love all of the staff people, and there are no kinder people to have to see daily. I have been encouraged, and thanked profusely since I've started working there, and I've been the recipient of grace upon grace for the times I've messed up. This is exactly how it should be! I'm still figuring out some things pertaining to the business side of things, but even in this part that doesn't come naturally, everyone has been so kind and encouraging. I will be thankful for this for as long as the Lord has me there! 

I am so very thankful for the fact that even though people in my life will always let me down, Jesus never will. I remember coming to this realization several years ago, because I was always being disappointed in people I love. The Lord is always kind to me, but He was especially kind then to remind me of this truth for that time in life. I saw this on Instagram last week and had to save it to my phone, I loved it so much. 

I am thankful for my Pastor. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I've been sharing snippets from his Sunday messages there in my stories. I am so thankful for the fact that he is such a good shepherd to the flock God has given him. Do you encourage your pastor? October is pastor appreciation month! I'm thinking of him because he's preaching a Wednesday night series titled Israel, Prophecy, and the Middle East. He's preaching from Ezekiel chapters 36-39. I started session 1 last night while I was in the bookstore at church. It was a slow night, so I was able to get halfway through. I hope to listen to the rest today on YouTube after I'm finished doing the Thursday things in the bookstore. 

What's something you're thankful for this week? I'd love to hear about it, if you want to share! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

What's Up Wednesday


Happy Wednesday, friends! I'm joining in with Sheaffer and Shay for today's blog post. I'll jump right in! 

What we're eating this week:

I've had some delicious takeout food recently! This side order meals from Chick Fil A made of the kale crunch side, an 8 count of nuggets, a scoop of pimento cheese, and using the honey barbecue sauce. It was amazing! I also got my favorite Chinese food from the local buffet that I love, and sushi I brought home on Sunday night. 

On Monday night we had taco bowls, and last night we had meatballs with marinara and with onions and peppers served on rice.

What I'm reminiscing about:

I miss these girls! I wish they lived closer, or that I saw them more often. I'm dreaming of the next time I'll see them and love on them. I loved spending quality time with them and coloring all the pictures. 

I'm reminiscing about these beautiful views! I spent time with my friend who I travel with this week. It's always so good to see her! 

What I'm loving: 

I bought a new comforter set on Saturday and of course I immediately put it on my bed! It will stay put until the spring, most likely. I couldn't love anything more! 

I love how my hearth looks and will seriously miss it when I decorate for Christmas. On the other hand, I am so ready to decorate for Christmas!

What I've been up to: 

I've been working and learning more there. It's never-ending! Last Thursday I felt like my brain was going to explode with the financial side of the store. Aside from working, I've been trying to find time to catch up with friends. I used to enjoy doing lunch out, but dinner works better for me now. I also don't like to be out for too many nights in a row, so it's tricky. It's worth the effort that it takes, though, because friendships are so important. I never regret an afternoon or evening spent with one, even if it takes some planning. 

What I'm dreading:

Honestly? I have to open the bookstore for a funeral that's taking place next week, and the man who died is someone I've known forever. He's not that much older than me, and we were really good friends back in our teenage days. They like for the bookstore to be open for people to come in and take a breather if they're upset during the funeral. That's the part that I'm dreading, because I am a sympathetic crier. I have been praying for his family for a while now; he leaves behind a wife and four kids under the age of 20. My heart aches for them, even though this was expected. 

What I'm working on: 

I just finished working on an application to submit in order to continue serving on the town library board for the next three years. I really love serving there! I had a meeting last night, and it was fun. I'm nerdy enough to be able to say that, right? 

What I'm excited about:

I am excited about Halloween night next week, and the fact that the cooler weather is returning. It's been in the 80's for the last week or so and I do not love it, I must confess.

What I'm watching and reading:

I have been watching all of the Hallmark and GAC Network Christmas movies...

And I've been catching up on episodes of Good Witch that I missed out on. I recently finished watching When Calls the Heart on Hallmark, and I've seen a few cute movies on Netflix recently. Every night when I go to bed, I watch Gilmore Girls. Todd and I watch NCIS every night on Netflix or Paramount. 

Have you watched Good Witch? I loved the earlier seasons of this show, but I didn't love the last two.  

As for the books I've been reading, you should come back on Tuesday of next week for my October book review!

What I'm listening to:

The dryer going, NCIS, and two dogs playing upstairs in Jonah's room.

What I'm wearing:

I'm wearing neutral shades of fall and makeup on my eyebrows. Anyone else new to this? 

I'm not really new to this, but I just don't usually take the time to do my eyebrows. As I'm aging, they're getting more and more sparse and lighter in color. So, I use an inexpensive pencil with a brush at the other end. I start on the thick corner first and fill in by using the pencil lightly and drawing straight up; then I fill in along the bottom and finish on the thinner end. I fill in the middle as well, and then I blend it all in really well. Do you have thoughts on this? I didn't expect to talk about this here today. 🤣 On the first picture above, I have no makeup on my eyebrows, and I do in the second. It makes a big difference, in my opinion.

What I'm doing this weekend:

I don't know what my plans are yet for the weekend, although I'm hoping Todd and I will do something fun on Saturday night. Stay tuned! 

What I'm looking forward to: 

I'm anxiously awaiting fall weather. Surely I won't be saying this same thing next month??? 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all.

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

  Hi, friends! As you can tell, I'm forcing myself to be here often, because my life needs to resume some sort of normalcy right now; th...