Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Back in a Suburban!

 It's a big day for the Big Bear!  His Tahoe has 260,000 miles on it and was going to the shop for something almost every other month, so when it got stuck in 4wd, I said, "It's time to draw the line."  And, we found him this Suburban with 100,000 less miles on it!  It's far from new but it's nice and it's new to us!  Our goal is to have NO CAR PAYMENTS and we are 9 months away from making that reality!!!!  Woohoo!
He always missed the extra room of the Suburban with his caterings so he is a happy camper!  He totally deserves it!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Little Chicken Cuteness :)

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

This is the third book in The Infernal Devices trilogy.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:
Danger and betrayal, love and loss, secrets and enchantment are woven together in the breathtaking finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.


A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

More Spring Break in pictures :)

 It has been a non-stress, low key Spring Break.  I am usually working hard to get a chore list a mile long done, so I got to thinking, "What is different?"  And, you know what?  I had like 6 flowerbeds at my old house to get ready and the little pond.  It was a lot of work!  I won't make THAT mistake again. ONE flowerbed here on the farm.  Mark my words!  I have enough to do without having to maintain more than one flowerbed!  So, we have enjoyed our stress free Spring days...Kevin finished up the brooder box so the baby chicks could come home.  You see above, Bubba Bear supervised the work. :)  We have had bonfires that were so big they lasted two days!
 I realized I didn't make a sofa table, but a cat perch!
 We have just enjoyed our land!!!  It makes me HAPPY to see my fur kids so HAPPY!
 Another great thing about land is that I don't care if they lay on the flowers...they are EVERYWHERE!
 And, we added 8 new members to the Benson fam! :)  Chicks to be named...
Black astrop
Barred Rock
Rhode Island Red

 Loving life!!  Can I retire at 42? :)

The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

This is book 2 of The Infernal Devices.  I thought it was better than the first one but still low on action.  However, now I'm invested so I have to see how it wraps up in the next one! ha!  This trilogy is just ok in my opinion.  If you like fantasy fiction, I recommend her other series The Mortal Instruments, and you could totally get away with just reading the first 3 in that series. :)

Summary from goodreads.com:
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Break 1 (in pics)

 First, this is a strange feeling Spring Break. We basically just missed 3 weeks of school for snow, so a "break" isn't really needed! ha!  I usually have a list going of all the things I want to accomplish over Spring Break...not this year.  Just basically getting this place ready for some chickens and goats and maybe a miniature donkey is our priority.  
Saturday and Sunday were both rainy days so we went shopping for some much needed clothes and worked on building a few things.
My shopping treasure I couldn't pass up:
 I took the lid cabinet from this: (when you opened it, lids fell out)
 To this:  Woohoo! It's the little things!
 Sunday I pretty much decided to be a cat with Ruby all day and we laid on the couch and read and listened to the rain.
 Our yummy dinner from Chef Benson...love all my tulips he got me for our anniversary.  I have them in the kitchen AND on my nightstand! :)
 One more project completed...a team project.  Our barnwood behind the sofa table.  Loving the barnwood!!  Now, one more table, a goat house and a chicken coop to go!

The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

This is a young adult series that is the prequel to The Immortal Instruments Series.  I really enjoyed the Immortal Instruments series so I thought I'd love this trilogy.  And, it's not that it's bad.  It actually has really high ratings on goodreads.com, but I feel like I'm reading the same series, same characters with different names, same storyline.  I think you can read one or the other but you don't have to read both series.  I debated on even reading the second one in this trilogy but I wanted to know if I could recommend it to any of my 5th graders, so I started it with full intentions to abandon the book if it was as slow as this one.  But I am really enjoying the second one. (Even though, I won't recommend to anyone jr. high and below). 

Summary from goodreads:
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

This book is historical fiction set in the plantation days of slavery.  I actually gave it a 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads.  It's a good book, but I think the characters could have been developed a bit better.  Totally worth the read though.

Summary from goodreads.com:
Hetty "Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Day #8

 I seriously NEVER remember getting this many snow days!  This is day 8 in the past three weeks!  But we (me and the furkids) have embraced it and enjoyed our daily walks more than once a day! :)
 There may have also been lots of napping!
 Kevin and I went exploring in the back woods again today and all the creeks were running full and SO pretty!  It was cool seeing all the animal tracks (raccoon, rabbit and deer) and then all of the sudden, four BIG deer ran across the path in front of us!!  I wish I could've gotten a picture, but they were too fast and I was in awe!

 The tracks here dug into the snow are the deer running away...
 Little water falls all over the place!
We are loving our new place! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What!?! Another snow day!

"Let me out!  Let me out! Let me out!"

 This HAS to be some sort of record!!  We made it through yesterday with a full school day, but basically about an hour after school was dismissed, it started sleeting and the sleet didn't stop until almost midnight.  Then it turned to snow for I don't know how long but we got 5 1/2 inches of snow overnight on top of the sleet.  I love some snow, but that sleet was making me nervous.  I did not want to lose power!!  
So, welcome to our 7th, yes 7th snow day in 3 weeks!  CrAzY!!!  It looked like we weren't going to get a winter and then it hit with a vengeance!  The pups are enjoying it though! :)  (And so am I!)

Eating snow...him and Stella both. :)

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. It's different from most things I read.  I think it fascinated me most because it was a real person's story, so I knew that the author had actually done these things.  I admire her brutal honesty and the realness of the emotions and feelings in the book.  It is a really good book and I'm excited to see how they take it to the screen.

Summary from goodreads.com:
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

 Another successful library day in the books! :)  I organized volunteer readers for each classroom, a door decorating contest, movie showings in the library in the afternoon, PJ Day for PreK through 2nd and book character dress up day for 3rd - 5th!!  Oh, and we had an AR reading contest!  I was WORN out at the end of the day.  I think I could feel every muscle in my body!!!  
I LOVE to see the kids so excited about reading on days like yesterday!! I just wish that when people signed up to read to a classroom, they would follow through and do what they said they were going to do and IF NOT, then let me know in advance.  I know emergencies can come up, but not as many as I had yesterday.  It was NUTS!  But, I had some last minute angels step in and make sure everyone had a reader!!! So, all in all, the day was a success!

 My angels who rescued the day from the cancellations are above!! Praying extra blessings for them!!
And, the absolute highlight of my day was a former student coming to volunteer read for me!  She is now in college!!!  Ahhh! Time flies!
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!