Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Top 10 Books of 2014

#10) Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver - dystopia society series for young adults - took a bit to get going in the first book but then finished strong and is a good trilogy worth reading.

 #9) House of Sand & Fog by Andre Dubus III -mystery/suspense/edge of seat type book and is apparently a movie

 #8) I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - this is the author of The Book Thief, but this book is completely different.  It's a fun book with twists and a message for all of us.
 #7) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - I wasn't sure I was going to like this series, and I am only on the second book now but I find myself thinking about the characters even when I'm not reading. 
 #6) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (books 1 through 6 on my list were hard to put in order because I LOVED them all!!)  This is historical fiction and really, really good.
 #5) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - author of The Kite Runner.  In my opinion, you can't go wrong with this author.  I loved all three of his books.
 #4) Serena by Ron Rash - strong lead character in this one that you will love to hate.  It has now been made into a movie also but I haven't seen the movie.  GREAT book!
 #3) Orphan Train by Christina Kline - picked this one up just by the intriguing cover while on a Barnes and Noble trip - best book I have ever randomly picked up - historical fiction & great story of a woman's life
 #2) The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - love, love, love this book and fell in love with the characters! 
 #1) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - I put off reading this book for a long time because I don't usually do well with non-fiction, but this is by far the BEST book I read all year.  Amazing life story!!  You don't want to miss this one!  Movie came out Christmas day, but you need to read the book first.  Trust me!


**Best books for children I read this year were Wonder by R.J. Palacio & Found by Haddix :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Making Progress!!

We moved in November 7th and about a week later got new appliances...this has been my back patio for pretty much the past 6 weeks or so...eye sore!!
 I just needed a little time off!!  We finally got the trailer completely loaded up with our scrap metal pile and off to the scrap yard it went!  FINALLY!!!
 This is a little better...still not what I want, but I'm not sure what I want yet, so it is good for now and WAY better than looking like a junk yard! LOL!
 I have spent the past two days inside and everything officially has a home.  I am down to one big file of papers to get in their proper files, and I need to install some shelves in the craft room closet.  Then, inside we are organized.  After Christmas, it's time to move to the barn...got to be animal ready for Spring! ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saturday Work day

 Our nice weather days for a LONG time are going to be outside farm work days.  This past Saturday was Spring temps and we used it to take the above 150 ft. section and make it dog proof.  It was the only section of fence on 4 acres that the dogs could get through if they were out front with us.
 Plus, if the spring brings any goats or miniature donkeys to the farm, well, I'm pretty sure this will be better! :)
 That chore took most of the morning but in return, we have some super happy pups!! (and momma!)
Lots of clean up like this that needs to happen:
 
 But, it's fun working on your own land.  We are super excited!!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

48
I couldn't resist any longer, and I am not regretting it.  I wasn't sure this was a series I would like, but after the first 100 pages, I was hooked!!  It pretty much has it all...lots of action, keeps you guessing, historical fiction, romance...go to the author's website if you are interested and read more.  The first book was made into a tv series on Starz this year but I don't have that channel so I'm anxiously awaiting the DVD release! :)

Summary from goodreads.com:
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Benson's Meet NYC - Last day :(

 Highly recommend Yotel.  Small room but all the room you need.  The bed had a button to make it sit up more to watch tv and could even make into a couch but then laid all the way down for sleeping and it wasn't uncomfortable.  Either that or we were so exhausted from all the walking we had done each day that we didn't notice! ha!
 We stored our bags with the robot in the lobby.  Pretty cool stuff and then went out to explore one last time.  We had until about 2 pm, so we went and did our cheesy virtual helicopter ride at the Empire State Building (we had skipped that part when we went and still had the tickets).  Then, we went to Macy's and rode the 6 flights of elevators to the top floor.  Since I'm not much of a shopper, that's about all the excitement we could stand in Macy's! ha!
 Back to Times Square to just walk around, people watch, shop a bit, and say good bye.
 We grabbed a few souvenirs.  Yes, he bought that hat!  :)
 Then, we went to John's Pizzeria.  BEST pizza I have EVER had in my life!!!  Oh my goodness!  If you go to NYC, you HAVE to go there!  Neat history behind the starting of that restaurant too.

And, that's a wrap!  I'm SO glad we went!  Great stress reliever from all the moving mishaps.  And just a fun way to spend Thanksgiving! :)  Now...let me see what is next on that ole bucket list!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Benson's Meet NYC - Day 3

 We got up after our full day the day before and headed straight for the Museum of Natural History (you know, the setting for Night at the Museum).  It wasn't open yet when we got there, so we decided to kill time in Central Park right across the street. :)
 I love, love, loved Central Park!!!  And, we even saw a real-life NYC dog walker!!  I had to take her picture and let her know she made my day!!
 I really want to go back and dedicate more time to exploring Central Park.  :)


 After all that walking, Big Bear needed a little snack and trust me, there are street food vendors everywhere!!
 I will admit that I am NOT a Museum person, but I tried to keep an open mind.  Other than the dinosaur floor, I was bored.  It was like looking at a zoo of dead stuffed animals.  Sorry. This is the only thing we did that I could've skipped, but at least I can say we went and I saw it.

 After the Museum, Kevin said he had a surprise for me and we jumped on the subway but I had no idea where we were going.  Then we rounded a corner and I saw the Seinfeld restaurant!!!!  I was so excited!!
 Around the corner from the restaurant, we stumbled onto this really cool old church.  It was beautiful, but I was a little disturbed that it seemed like more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship. :(  They requested a $10 "donation" to come inside. 
And I happened upon a NYC bookstore!!  It was just like I imagined it inside.  2 floors and books stacked all over the stairs as you went up to second level.  Loved it!
We had matinee tickets to The Lion King broadway play...AMAZING!!!!  No words.  Just awesome!
Another full day of exploring and fun! :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Benson's Meet NYC - Thanksgiving Day

 This was a jam packed day of adventures and exploring the city!!  LOTS of subway riding today! :)  We started our Thanksgiving day by heading to the Empire State Building to see the view.  We knew the parade would have people's attention so thought it might lessen the line at the Empire State Building.  I guess we were right because it wasn't crowded.  Great views all around.  It was snowing on the observation deck...
 We were cold, but certainly not miserable and not freezing even though the temps were in the high 20's.  I did have on multiple layers and my thermals!! :)
 After the Empire State Building, we headed to the Macy's Day Parade!! It took us a bit to find just where we wanted to watch from and after some configuring, we ended up right at the corner of Macy's!!  Kevin did good!!

 I saw on the news that morning that Kiss was going to be in the parade and I didn't want to miss them!!  I love Gene Simmons!
 It was pretty awesome!!  The streets were full of people and everyone got excited when the next balloon came.  At times, it was snowing these gorgeous, huge snowflakes and I couldn't help but feel like it was a movie! :)

 We did skip out of the parade before the ending and headed to Katz's Deli for lunch.  Kevin had been dying for this meal since we booked the trip!!
 You might have to blow up the pic below to see it, but it's the restaurant of the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally and she fakes the "you know what"...yep, that deli!  And, it was that good! ha!
 Our Thanksgiving lunch:
 After lunch, back to the subway and we went to the 911 Memorial.  They did a beautiful job!!  Pictures don't do it justice at all!  It was very peaceful and serene.  Very sobering experience.
 Walking the streets up to it, you couldn't help but get chills and think about all the scenes we have seen played over and over from that day.  All I can say is that if you get a chance to go to NYC, stop by and just pay a tribute to those who lost their lives that day.
 About two or three blocks away from the 911 Memorial is Battery Park.  I loved the feel of Battery Park.  I think if I had to live in New York, I would want to be near Battery Park or Central Park.
 From Battery Park, you can see the Statue of Liberty across the Hudson River.  We didn't ferry over this time.  I just wanted to see it and I did.  :)
 By this time, we are really starting to wind down and get a bit tired.  It takes a lot of walking and subway riding to hit all these spots in one day.  So, we found a neat little coffee shop and took a break.  That was some of the best hot chocolate I've ever had!!
 After that little break, we may have gone back to the hotel and taken a power nap!!!  Then, we got up, bundled up, grabbed a slice of pizza and went to Times Square to watch a movie...not just any movie...Mockingjay Part 1!!!  Awesome, awesome day!!  I don't see how ANY Thanksgiving can ever top it!