Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Literary Junkies .December.

Good Morning Blogging World!

It has definitely been a while, what a year it has been in my classroom.  It never seems like I am ahead on anything, but I have a week left of winter break and I am going to make this most of it!  So  I am linking up with Literary Junkies for party!

Pink Heels Pink Truck

1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it. I am currently reading the Dinner and Big Stone Gap.  I am loving Big Stone Gap, I just realized how much I love Adriana Trigiani!  I also read the Shoemaker's Wife over Thanksgiving Break.   I am on the fence with The Dinner by: Herman Koch.  It is what I am reading for book club, and it has been a hard read at this point.  I do prefer the easy read of what I pick for myself sometimes!  However, Big Stone Gap is out on film, so I am excited to see this as well.  

2. What were your favorite reads of 2015?  Well I fell short of my goal this year of 50 books, once school started I just couldn't do what I love which is read.  So out of the 46 I did read, I loved Sarah Addison Allen books.  I read Garden Spells and I also read First Frost, who doesn't love Sarah Addison Allen!  I also liked the Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and The Beekeeper's Daughter.  I also have gotten into The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaladon.  Love all of those, but I only finished 2 books this year of hers.  
3. What was your book-read total for 2015? Did you make your goal for the year?  I only read 46, and did not meet my goal of 50 for the year, however, I will more than likely be up to 48 by the time the year ends, so I am ok with that...
4. How many books would you like to read in 2016? I think I would like to give 50 a shot again.  Last year was 40, and I know 50 is doable, but I would like to have more time for me coming up this year, I feel pushed into the ground at times, and I need a change this year.
5. What is the number one book sitting on your Must Read list right now?  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.  Is my book I am starting next and super excited about.  I got this book from Taylor over at 
Pink Heels Pink Truck during our Holiday Book Swap!  She is so talented at wrapping and making things looks so special!  I was so lucky to get matched up with her!  

Thanks again for checking my little blog out!  I am hoping to be more involved this coming year as well, we shall see how that goes! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Literary Junkies .July.

I am linking up again with Literary Junkies. So excited to be back!  I LOVE the book that was picked for this month's book too!

Pink Heels Pink Truck

The questions for this month are below!

Here are this month's questions:
1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.
At the moment I am reading a couple different ones:
Go Set a WatchmanFunny Girl

Funny girl is about a woman who is finding her way through social climbing as she goes from a beauty queen straight to an actress when things like that didn't happen.  It is all about her trials that she must go through as well as the people in Sophie's life as well.  
I've just started Go Set a Watchman so hopefully I can add more at a later date!
2. What book reminds you of summertime as a kid?
OMG - Sweet Valley Twins.  That is the only thing I can really remember about being a kid and reading - I loved the.
3. What book did you have on your summer reading list that truly nailed it as a summer reading favorite?
Summer Reading essential for me this year was The Sound of Glass - It was completely AMAZING.  It unfolded slowly, but I actually listened to this one as my husband and I were driving down to the low country (the setting of the book) and we both enjoyed it immensely!  
4. Who is your favorite author and why? Give us your top recommendation by them.
I was turned onto Kate Morton and she is probably one of my favorite people to read, but I just recently picked up with Diana Gabaldon and I LOVE Outlander
5. Fall Book Reading lists are starting to make their appearances. What are you excited to read that's being released this fall?
Well, I know I just mentioned that I love this author through everything I've read- So I suppose I am very excited to be reading her newest, the Lake House this coming fall (October to be exact) I will look into my reading list again after I start back to school, just enjoying the rest of my summer list at the moment!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Watercolor Paintings

Who thinks that painting is just so calming and provides much needed stress relief.  Well, I hope I'm not the only one.  I love everything about taking up a paint brush and seeing what happens on the paper.  I found quite a few neat watercolors for states lately on Pinterest, thought hmm...I think I can make that happen, and not pay the price tag.  So here are a couple of the ones I worked on.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

*TIDY TUESDAY* Erin Condren Stickers FREEBIE

Ok - I recently received the AMAZING Erin Condren Planner!  OMG - It is a little overwhelming for me, but I am making my way through.  I have loved everything I've seen with these little plan.your.whole.life books.  There are so many STICKERS - because if there isn't anything a teacher likes more than pens it's STICKERS.  I saw quite a few of these stickers that I loved, but  I have been pinning so many bible verses lately that I absolutely wanted to make my own (who would have figured).  It wasn't hard too difficult to figure out, but I figured I would go ahead and throw a freebie in there for you.  Hopefully you can enjoy these just as much as I do.

Love these little ones - they can be printed on  your printer on regular paper or on full sticker sheets.  I just print them on regular paper and run them through my Xyron machine, they run right through the sticker maker one.  Click below to enjoy the download!

Happy organizing this Tuesday!  Enjoy your week.

Posed Perfection


If you’re an audiobook fan and would like to take up the challenge, hop over to The Book Nympho or Hot Listens for the Reading Challenge details and levels. I’ve gone for the Marathoner (50+) The challenge runs from Jan 1st 2015 until Dec 31st 2015 and you can join in anytime.
Audiobooks are great for those times you can’t read a book for whatever reason and if you find a great narrator they can make the story so much better.  Here are the books that I've listened to from April - June 2015.
The Nightingale By: Kristen Hannah
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything By: Steven Levitt
Super Freakonomics By: Steven Levitt
The Girls of Mischief Bay By: Susan Mallery
The Beekeeper's Daughter By: Santa Montefiore
Garden of Lies By: Amanda Quick
A Spool of Blue Thread By: Anne Tyler
Brain on Fire: My month of Madness By: Susannah Cahalan
The Sound of Glass By: Karen White

Sign Up For The Challenge HERE

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


If you’re an audiobook fan and would like to take up the challenge, hop over to The Book Nympho or Hot Listens for the Reading Challenge details and levels. I’ve gone for the Marathoner (50+) The challenge runs from Jan 1st 2015 until Dec 31st 2015 and you can join in anytime.
Audiobooks are great for those times you can’t read a book for whatever reason and if you find a great narrator they can make the story so much better.  Here are the books that I've listened to from April - June 2015.
The Magician's Lie By: Greer MacCallister
Dragonfly in Amber #2: By: Diana Gabaldon
Room By: Emma Donoghue
Garden Spells #1 By: Sarah Addison Allen
Defending Jacob By: William Landry
The Paying Guests By: Sarah Walters
First Frost By: Sarah Addison Allen
Moriarty By: Anthony Horowitz
Station Eleven By: Emily St. John Mandel
The Boston Girl By: Anita Diamant
The Miniaturist By: Jessie Burton
I Heart My Little A-Holes By: Karen Alpert
Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are By: Carlin Flora
The Fortune Hunter By: Daisy Goodwin
Red Queen By: Victoria Aveyard
The Kitchen House By: Kathleen Grissom

Sign Up For The Challenge HERE

Friday, March 13, 2015


30 Before 30  Charleston Friends

Ok, so one of my 30 Before 30 includes visiting friends in Charleston, but with the way things went for selling my house (which we AMAZINGLY have a contract for at the moment) and my birthday coming up this month, there is simply no time to really get away and go down to Charleston.  So I grew up in South Carolina and I was able to meeting wonderful friends that have last my lifetime, and my friend's moms have so to speak become my mom as well!  So this past weekend when I was in Richmond for a Reading Conference I was able to meet up with my friend, Nikki's mom and her husband Don, it was a magical time and I thought, since she always makes the think of home and my friends who are still down there.  I was so blessed that they came and picked me up from the hotel, WOW, Richmond is such a confusing place with all their one-way streets and places where they have terrible street signs that are no staggered and hard to see.  BLESSED is all I have to say on that matter!  We arrived at this awesome gem of a hotel, The Jefferson

When you arrive you are engrossed completely in the scenery, it absolutely breathtaking.  You are able to do a complete 360 while looking up and down and you will still be amazed at this hotel's beauty.  

So there is a nice restaurant inside the walls of The Jefferson Hotel and its name is Lemaire.  So I was definitely fine dinning, we had a two page menu with hot and cold small plates as well as the main dishes.  Mrs. Debi and I took some shots with each other during dinner to capture our fun times.  

Here is what the room looked like, however it was a lot more dark and we were sitting in the far corner!

For dessert Mrs. Debi and I split a Hot Chocolate Creme Brulee!  Ooh it was so tasty!  

After dinner we took another little stroll around the hotel stopping to do what we do best, take some pictures!  Look we even managed to match with our similar cut blue shirts!  

I had such an amazing evening spending time with my "extended" family.  I definitely need it after a long day at the conference.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

30 Before 30 - VOLUNTEER

So I had been close with the previous President of the Suffolk Reading Council, and we spoke about taking the council in new directions this coming year.  She was offered an amazing job close to where her husband had just accepted and an equally amazing opportunity up in Northern Virginia.  Although I was extremely happy for her I was sad because I didn't know where it left the council.  The council was almost completely dismissed by most.  However I went to my first Virginia Leadership Meeting in December of this past year.  WOW, what an amazing group of women, they certainly gave me some good advice and some really great starting points.  Within this organization there are some truly remarkable people who are wanting to make a difference in the literacy of tomorrow.

So, I am going to fast forward a bit and say at the beginning of it all there were a handful of members, yes I could count them all on one hand.  Now we are 33 strong and I would like to think that we are going to be growing with every event we hold.  We are going to grow to amazing heights!  Ok, COMPLETE optimist right here!  I am just so excited.

Ok, so this has been a year of me stepping outside of my shell.  I have been ready for a change but it has definitely come quietly to me.  I think I was ready to make a leap and my life at the moment is about me finding myself in the baby steps.  This may seem like all jibber jabber at the moment, but what I mean to say is that I wanted to just be able to step into the role of an "amazing leader".  However, that is just too big of a leap for me, since I am for the most part an introvert and a person who LOVES my personal time to sit and craft or read or listen to an audiobook just to have time to myself.  Now, I am loving the feeling of making an impact on a council I have been lucky to get involved with.  That being said I was put up for and volunteered to be the President-Elect for the Suffolk Reading Council and I couldn't be more excited.

Today I was able to be in a photo in our local newspaper for the work that our council did this past month with donating over 1,000 books so that kids in homeless shelters could have a book of their own as well as having lots of reading material for kids who may not have much to choose from.  I am very happy that our organization could donate to this cause!

Here is the photo for the paper.  If you click on it, it will link to the newspaper article.

Not the best picture, I will absolutely love the sun to come out and melt all this snow away and take away my pasty skin of winter!  But that's all for now!  Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Kitchen House By: Kathleen Grissom Book Review

The Kitchen House

By: Kathleen Grissom
The Kitchen House
Good Reads Synopsis:
When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. 

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
My Feelings on The Kitchen House:
The book started out strong with the premonition of what was to happen.  You kept thinking throughout the entire story that you seemed to know who would be hanging by the end of the story, which is a gruesome way to go throughout an entirety of a book, but I was captivated!  This book went through many different themes.   I liked the theme of family that this book conveyed.  I really felt like Lavinia although her life was rough through most of the book finally had her place at the end of the book.  However, I still felt that Lavinia ended up with Will in the very end, it just makes more sense that way, she deserves it! :)
My favorite quote from The kitchen House is:

 Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Paying Guest by: Sarah Walters Book Review

The Paying Guests

By: Sarah Walters
Good Reads Synopsis:
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.
My Feelings on The Paying Guests:
I absolutely LOVED this book to start out with!  I feel like this book was incredibly well written but I had a difficult time towards the end, because it just didn't hold up the way it started out at the beginning. Sometimes it just felt drawn out when it didn't have to be.   I normally do not like reading about same sex relationships but this book was definitely intriguing and kept my attention, it just seemed like after that was over everything else in the book seemed to fall apart. 
My favorite quote from The Paying Guests is:

 Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

30 Before 30 - 30 Handwritten Letters

Ok - so one of my 30 before 30 was to send out 30 handwritten notes.  So after I got baptized I got to work and got 8 of these out right away!  YAHOO!  It was so easy to thank the people who were amazingly supportive of me and Mason.  So here are the first who I wrote to.
1.  Rev. Keith Emerson
2.  Natalie & Steve
3.  Kristen & Jeff
4.  Jill and her boys :)
5.  Connie
6.  Aunt Robin
7.  Mom and Al
8.  Dad and Carrilin

That same week I got a couple others in the mail.  I always miss my best friends. I haven't seen them in such a long time.  I sent them a little message and gift.  Hopefully it brightened their day.

9.  Nicole Larsen
10.  Catherine Yaw

So Suffolk Reading Council has been working on a book drive the first couple weeks in February.  There was a lady who did a wonderful job getting 300 books donated at her school so I decided to write her a note as well.
11.  Mrs. Harrell at Nansemond Parkway

My brother is across the sea, and even though we don't talk often I truly miss him just not being a phone call away.  I put together a little package for him for St. Patrick's Day, even though it doesn't seem like he will get it until after the fact, but I tried and I was able to write him a heartfelt note to let him know I care and that I am thinking of him.

12.  Sgt. William Hirsch

Monday, February 23, 2015

First Frost By: Sarah Addison Allen Book Review

First Frost

By: Sarah Addison Allen
First Frost (Waverley Family #2)
Good Reads Synopsis:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves...

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.
My Feelings on First Frost:
So this is the second book about the Waverly Family.  I loved Garden Spells from the first page I opened it.  Come to think about it I have not disliked one book of Sarah Addison Allen's.  She is an amazing writer who is able to use magical elements to make her characters and the events they go through that much more special.  I love the fact that this story revolves around the magical apple tree that is in the back of Claire Waverly's property.  I am so glad the Waverly's story did not end with Garden Spells and I liked seeing how Claire evolved throughout the two books and completely came full circle in First Frost.  She finally because vulnerable and able to ask for help from her family.  I love this wonderful story and hope there will be more to come!
My favorite quote from First Frost is:

 Find me on Goodreads:  Rachele Hirsch-Brooks

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent - A time for reflecting


Ok, if you haven't ever spent time on SHEREADSTRUTH > you need to go there.  I love my daily emails.  Helps me most days to quite the background noise and focus on something real to pray for, about or to.   I am so overwhelmed with these words that are completely relate-able and real.  Right now in my life I need the realness and I need to engross myself in the word of God.  I feel completely at home when I am a church now, and I will be perfectly honest I cannot remember half of everybody's names, and that normally makes me completely clammy.  I am home in the idea that I am exactly where I need to be.  For once I feel that peace and security like I have found my spiritual home.

So that brings me to yesterday, Ash Wednesday, not something I have ever celebrated.  However, the nasty weather prevented me from actually partaking in the actual service at the church.  I spent my first Ash Wednesday in spirit with one of my good friends, Natalie, who I think is very instrumental in my faith at the moment.  She sent me a wonderful email that got me on the right track to start the day out right.  For lent, I have decided to keep it simple at least I think so.  I have given up Social Media for lent. I believe it takes up too much of my time and I am glad to turn them off and turn God on and up in my life.  I am also following along with some more catholic tendencies, with no meat on Fridays and I am fasting Monday's Wednesday's and Friday's.

I prayed this prayer found on shereadstruth here it is as follows:
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wickedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

What powerful words.  I am looking forward to this season of lent and my spiritual growth!