Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Top Ten Books of 2013

Of the books that I read in 2013, these are my top ten.  These books were not all written this year and they range from thriller, to mystery, to historical fiction to fantasy.  My top 3 are MUST READS for everyone, in my humble opinion.  The type of books that move you emotionally and stay with you after you finish to the point that you hesitate to start a new book.
Ok, here goes...

#10 gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson (fun, easy read)

 #9 Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (Historical fiction)
#8 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Young Adult series)
#7 Before I Go to Sleep (read this one in ONE day!)
#6 And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (excellent storyteller)
#5 Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (story of friendship)
#4 Gone Girl  by Gillian Flynn (thriller - so many twists and turns it's insane!)
#3 The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman
#2 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
#1 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It was tough to decide between #1 and #2, both EXCELLENT books!  I hope 2014 brings as many good books my way!!

Christmas in the Country

 Christmas Afternoon in Newport with my parents and niece
Our day consisted of yummy stew (I LOVE my mom's stew!!), opening presents, and then of course, horses and puppy dogs!  My hope and prayer for my parents is that this was our last Christmas in Newport and next year we will celebrate at the new farm!!
 My reaction to getting my THIRD Barnes and Noble gift card!!  I mean, it doesn't get much better!!  I hope everyone remembers how HAPPY I am with my B&N cards! hint! hint! LOL!
 Since the boxers get SO much attention around here, my Mom showed Kevin some lab love! :)
 Pretty sure everything she got had a horse on it! Ha!
A country man can never have too many ratchet straps!
 Love this reaction! :)
 My niece was dying because she hasn't been able to ride her horses since October!!  So, I believe her exact words were "when I'm not eating or opening presents, I'll be riding!" LOL!

 And of course, I had to give some love to Bubba's brother, Leo.  I just love his freckles!
The only "damper" on the day is that this was the first Christmas I can ever remember not being with my brother.  Hopefully, it will be the only one and family drama will be left behind in 2013.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Morning with the furkids :)

 Santa came and Rex is ready to see what he brought!!  Everyone got "prizes"!!!  Notice, Kevin and I don't have stockings anymore...only the kids! LOL!
 Rex immediately started "squeaking" his new toy.  He LOVES a squeaky toy! haha!
 HO! HO! HO!  Tennis balls and toys and treats galore!  Merry Christmas!
 Bubba Bear actually playing with his OWN toy instead of stealing someone else's!!
 Lots of goodies!!  I think my Nativ hoodie, my cross necklace, and my B & N gift card were my favs, but then I'd be sad if Santa forgot to bring me a Jesus T-shirt.  Santa does so GOOD every year!!
 This year I scored $190 total in Barnes and Noble gift cards (perfect gift for a reader!!) and Santa even brought me a gift set of books that was on my wish list, so I really racked up in the book department!! (I read The Hobbit in High School, so I am going to re-read it and I have no clue how I never read The Lord of the Rings!!)
 Big Bear was on the "good list" for probably the first time in his life! haha!  His favorites were his "Bazinga" PJ bottoms and his Nativ hat...note to self, when I want him to get a hair cut, buy him a hat he has been wanting.  He got a hair cut the next day so it would fit better! :)
*This was probably Nala girl's last Christmas with us.  She's not eating very much and sleeps most of the time.  She came out eventually, but had no interest in her treats. :(

Brisingr by Paolini


The third book in the Inheritance Series I am reading.  This has been one of my favorites of the series.  Lots more action!!  This is a young adult series and quite an investment, so I still can't decide if it is one I would recommend.  It's good, but is it great? I stand by my opinion that it could have been edited down a lot!  Nevertheless, I am going to get the last book today!! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Eve w/the Benson's

 Christmas Eve is always with Kevin's family and Christmas Day with mine.  We were super blessed that our holiday schedules at both Thanksgiving and Christmas worked out so easily!!
After Kevin finished delivering the last of his Christmas turkeys and hams, we headed to celebrate.  Other than Kevin being completely exhausted from cooking and catering for a week straight and smoking meats at night that required him getting up multiple times throughout the night, it was a good day!
Christmas Eve is always at his sister's house - which is only about 45 minutes away - so the drive is easy.  We had a yummy Christmas Eve dinner, opened presents, had good fellowship, played BS, and were entertained by the new pups!

 June and Jackson's first Christmas!  Aren't they cute?
 My nephews - Ethan and Austin - love them both!!
 Me and the Big Bear
 My mean ole brother-in-law with his new kitty cat coffee mug because he LOVES cats so much! heehee!
 And, I couldn't resist these Schnauzer house shoes for my sis-in-law.  Probably should've gotten my momma a pair too. :)  I'm sure it's only a matter of days before the new pups get a hold of these! ha!
After a great night with family, we headed home to our Christmas Eve service at church to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our church family.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eldest by Paolini

The sequel to Eragon. There are mixed reviews on this series, and while I think it could have been edited down majorly.  I don't want to stop the series, so it must be good right? :)  
That's all I'm going to say about it because it is a four book series starting with Eragon.  You would have to read them in order and start with Eragon and make your mind up from there.

Coming soon....my top ten book list of 2013! ;)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week of Thanksgiving...aka whirlwind!

I'm going to give the "run down" in short version.  We went to Kevin's family Thanksgiving the Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving.  3 hour drive there on Friday after work, get up, eat, and hit the road 3 hours back to get ready for a catering the next day.  Sunday, with the help from a few friends Big Bear pulled off another fish fry for the masses (300 people this time) in below freezing temps!  Lots of redneck engineering helped keep the cold wind from killing his fire.
 It was a success.  The fish was good.  The people were happy and the snow stayed away. :)

 After the catering, as we were going to bed, I noticed Bubba Bear acting a little "off".  Then, he wouldn't eat breakfast the next morning.  Let's just say we basically spent the rest of the week at the vet.  Me crying and worrying.  Kevin trying to keep me calm and get all his turkeys and hams out to people.  We were in high stress mode around here.  Every day was spent on the phone with the vet and Bubba staying there on an IV until we could figure it out.
Thursday brought getting ready for the homeless.  Our family days are on the weekends, so Thanksgiving is a free day for us.  A local elementary school collected 2,000 pair of socks for us to pass out, so I spent most of the day sorting and bagging socks.  2,000 pair of socks is A LOT!!
 Greens were requested.  And, Big Bear can make greens taste GOOD. Although, I still turn my nose up a bit at them! ha!
 Feeding the homeless is a Ministry that Big Bear is really trying to get up and going and we learned an important lesson on Thanksgiving Day.  That is a day when EVERYONE thinks about the homeless, so we weren't necessarily needed.  But, God has a plan in everything so I am sure we were there for a reason. :)
 Friday was the day that Bubba Bear either showed improvement or had exploratory surgery.  And, just like the good boy he is, Friday morning, he pooped out a turkey wrapper and instantly started feeling better!  He was home by 3 o'clock and I was one happy doggie momma!  Whew!
Then, Saturday was my family's Turkey Day.  It was our smallest group in awhile, but it was still yummy and fun!  We had 37 this year when I counted them up.  Here are the group pics for who was there:
Uncle Joel, Granny, and Uncle Mel

Granny's bunch - "What do I do my hands?"
And, behaving
Uncle Mel's bunch
Cousin Burke's family

Uncle Joel's clan - the only group that had everyone there :)
 And, just in case I don't get our tree up, here is a picture in front of Peggy's! ha!
To wrap up our week, we had a catering today after church and then went to see Catching Fire.  GREAT movie, but only go if you read the books!! :)
Now, don't read all this and try to tell me people without kids aren't busy!  Baahaa!
Is it Christmas break yet? ;)