August’s 5 Word Movie Reviews – Join in an Win $ for Charity

Every time you add 5 words of your own to one of my reviews then you donate $1 to charity.  What charity, you ask?  The charity is chosen by the person who has the most reviews once we reach 100. (Last charity herePLEASE leave a clear 5 word comment so I can give credit for it.

Please join the fun :)   We’re up to $70!!

You can add reviews to any of my past movie posts AND see who is in the contributing lead here.

It’s Complicated, 2009 (Cast-Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin)        Grade B+

Is Sleeping With Ex Cheating?

Romcom with well preserved talent :)  (Teddyree)

Dream House, 2011 (Cast-Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts)  Grade B

Murders?  What murders?  Psychological thriller.

A different and intense thriller.  (Heather)

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, 1976 (Cast-Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, Laurence Olivier)   Grade B-

Sherlock, cocaine, Freud.  Oddly addicting.

Tower Heist, 2011 (Cast-Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Eddie Murphy, Gabourey Sidibe) Grade C

Murphy, Sidibe provided the laughs.

Would sink without Eddie Murphy (Jenners)

Hope Springs, 2012 (Cast-Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carrell)   Grade D+

Kept waiting for… something, anything!

Talented cast wasted; mediocre plot. (Kathy)

 Love cast, but too sad. (Kay)

Where in the world are you reading? At the library, of course!

Where in the world are you reading?  Link up hereTrish orginally turned me on to this meme.  Love the idea.

I’ve enjoyed these monthly link ups and this month it’s all about libraries!  I did work in a library at the reference desk for a year so I have a soft spot for libraries.  At least it was a soft spot before Gage came along, now it’s a big, sticky, mushy spot.  My county has 28 branches, all share materials so if I find a book online and it’s at another library they will send it over within a few days. So convenient!  And in addition to the usual things I can check out, our county also offers TOYS to check out!  How awesome is that?  When I looked through the binder of what was available I found a training potty!  I’m not sure if that’s something to be shared, LOL.

The absolute best thing about libraries is that they are so kid friendly.  Starting next week our local library is offering 3 different storytimes each week for Gage’s age group.  We live within 10 or 15 minutes of 3 branches and we attend story times at 2 of them and I plan on checking out the third because I’ve been told they provide coffee for the parents 🙂

Our library also has the best kids area. Wanna see his favorite place at the library?

Yesterday when I told him we were going to the library he said “choo-choo”.  There’s some thing about little boys and trains.

There were no storytimes in August so they used the big room to set up a bank exhibit for kids.  There were educational, interactive activities, but lots of them included balls and such so the smaller kids could have fun too.  I think you can see a girl pretending to be a teller.  Cute, right?

Libraries are a lifesaver for mothers looking to entertain their kids.  I usually order what I want online so it’s waiting for me on a shelf up front when Gage is ready to go.  Our library rocks (much like Cleveland)!

Happy reading from my library to yours!

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James, TLC Tour

The Ugly DuchessThe Ugly Duchess, Finished 8-25-12, rating 4.25/5, romance, 331 pags, pub. 2012

Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke’s passion.

Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.

Theo would have given it a lifetime…until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it’s scandalized by their separation.

from Goodreads

The first few chapters were very ho-hum for me.  Two privileged people raised together became best friends and find themselves married.  James was a little bland but Theo was more sympathetic.  It’s what happens after they marry that had me reaching for this one every few minutes I could steal throughout the day.  Their lives apart were so interesting that when they finally did reconnect I was ready for the fireworks.  I wasn’t disappointed.

James, Duke of Ashbrook, or Black Jack, came back to London a force to be reckoned with.  He started as best friend husband, but came back as alpha male pirate.  Theo used the time alone well, excelling in all business matters and making their estate thrive beyond all expectation.  She remade herself from the Ugly Duckling to a swan and James is the only one that saw the swan the whole time.  This book will touch anyone who has ever been made fun of for their looks.

I love a good alpha male who is tamed a bit by the love of a smart woman (just a bit.  I don’t want him too tame) and this was just what I wanted.  I thought it was good.  Even the sex scenes, which I tend to skim over when they get too long, were hot.  I should note that finding a good name for a man’s most private part is a challenge in romances and the one chosen by Theo “tool” became a bit of an eye roller.  I read a romance many years ago that called it “life giver” over and over and over.  LG has become a household joke here.

Anyway, Eloisa James has written more novels based on fairy tales and I plan on reading them.  I’m excited to discover a new romance author since there are only a handful I read faithfully.  She has also written an article for USA Today about beauty.  Here’s the link to the insightful story.

Highly recommended for romance fans.

I received this as part of the TLC tour.  Thanks for book ladies!   Check and see what everyone else has to say.

Quizzes back next Tuesday

Thanks for your feedback on the quizzes.

I’m going keep accepting answers as comments.  Nise will try to stump us (yea, I get to play!). Mentioning the quiz in a Monday meme would surely be appreciated.  And I’ll consider the combining of scores (bribes can be sent through Paypal).

I’ve got three quizzes ready to go, so the month off has been good for my creativity.

Sundays with Gage – Island time

We’ve spent a week on Kelleys Island with my parents since 2006 (although we did skip the year I was pregnant.  There’s no emergency care there!).  We’ve rented houses, condos and this year since we had to sneak it in before Jason goes back to work, we stayed at the Kelleys Island Venture Resort.

Do you think Gage was happy to see his grandparents for the ferry ride to the island?  I have a dozen pics with him on the ride, all with the happiest of grins.  He loves his grandparents.

We were very impressed with the resort.  This was Gage’s view from the balcony…

We had a great time taking advantage of my parents, who were more than happy to Gage-sit.  Jason and I caught up on sleep, alone-time, and relaxation time.  Gage got to take advantage of his doting grandparents.

We never did meet this other Gage, but next year we’ll have to find him!  This week Gage will be facing his mornings without Daddy.  Prepare for the meltdown post next Sunday 😉

Ink Flamingos by Karen E. Olson

Ink Flamingos (Tattoo Shop Series #4)Ink Flamingos. Finished 8-19-12, rating 4/5, mystery, 310 pages, pub. 2011

Book 4 of the Tattoo Shop series (Book 1) (Book 2) (Book 3)

Okay, I’m going to start with the good news.  This book about tattooist Brett Kavenaugh and her assortment of co-workers was great.  Brett owns The Painted Lady and is an easily identifiable Las Vegas resident with her long legs, red hair, and multitude of tattoos.  She’s good at what she does.  When someone begins impersonating her and framing her for murders she is at a loss as to who would hate her that much.  Good thing she has a brother who’s a cop and friends who have her back.

I’ve raved about this series before.  I’ve loved them all.  Brett is cool, way cooler than anyone I know, and she is always finding herself somehow involved with dead bodies.

And this leads me to the bad news.  This is the fourth and last book of the series.  This makes me very sad, but it could be good news for you.  If you worry about starting another series at least you know this one is only four really good books.  I didn’t know it was the end until I looked around after I’d finished and now that I’ve (grudgingly) accepted it I can say that it was a good send off for Brett.  There had been some sexual tension in the first three and I was very excited about how that panned out.

I plan on telling author, Karen Olson, how I wish there’d be more books in the series when I track her down at Bouchercon 2012 in October.  I registered today, so let me know if you want to come or meet up.

I checked this book out of the library.

Tuesday Quiz Reboot

When September rolls around the Tuesday quizzes will be back!  I am hoping that you’ll all put it on your to-do list.  I want it to be fun and I hope we continue to have more participants every week so I’m looking for your help.

Is there a better way to collect all of your answers or is leaving a comment okay?  Is there a quiz you loved and would like to see more of or one that hated and never want to see on the internet again, ever?  Would you like to try your hand at making a quiz for the masses?  You get 100 points for doing it.  Any other suggestions on how I can get more people involved or suggestions for better prizes?

Thanks for your feedback!

Pin It and Do It – Kid Play & Fun Food

Trish’s Pin It & Do It Challenge

I decided to jump in at the easiest level and try a few things for Gage.  Pinterest is a great place to find toddler activities.  The two I tried are going to seem silly because they’re so basic, but the truth is that the easiest and most basic things rarely occur to me!

First up a Gage activity.  My original pin is here.  The original post is here.  Basically it’s a basket activity that helps fine motor skills.  You put lots of different containers that open in various ways in a basket (I used his dry water table), show him how each one opens and then let him play.  Here’s the set up

The beauty of this activity is how simple it is.  I spent 15 minutes going around the house collecting things and this translated to about 20 minutes of fun for Gage.

Here’s a picture with his favorite, the bubbles bottle

Do you see the concentration?  There were some he couldn’t do on his own, but by showing him how maybe he’ll be able to do it next time.  He did have fun and I collected it all to bring out another day.  I’ll see what other goodies I can add.

The key for these types of activities is the presentation (I’ve seen some sites call it the invitation).  This and the alphabet box were successful in part because I presented them as something special and he recognized that.


Now on to the food portion.  This was also for kids, but, hey, maybe you want to surprise your husband tonight, LOL.

This picture is from Cake From the Soul, although I’m not sure if she’s the originator.  My pin is here.

I fixed this last night for dinner and it works!  Cut some hot dogs (we used nitrite-free turkey dogs), poke the thin spaghetti through and boil.  Easy peasy.  I think this would be great for older kids.  Gage was not all that impressed.  He did eat some but it was definitely more fun for me to make than for him to eat 🙂

Sundays with Gage – Dada in the house

(Hey, look at what dad lets me do!  Is that poison ivy?)

As some of you already know in April we found out that Jason would be out of a job by October 1.  The reality was August 1.  After eight years he was back on the streets with the job seekers.  We weren’t worried (really!).  The company provided a nice severance package and we were looking forward to the family time. This month has been great for us all.

Jason is able to enjoy some free time.  This is great for a guy who’s had some kind of job since he was 14.

I am a much better mother when I have support.  Suddenly it isn’t completely up to me to entertain the little man.  We can split some of the time and share others.  I am better rested, much less stressed, more patient and happier.  I don’t know how single moms do it.  Jason was gone from 7 am-6:15 pm and that was a long day, but to have no live-in support would be very hard.

As much as Gage loves his mom he may love his dad just a bit more.  Daddy loves guy stuff, is way more lenient than mommy, and doesn’t seem to stress out as much.  It has been heartwarming to watch the two of them together.  Gage loves that we are both home.  He likes seeing us both come in and get him in the mornings and after naps.

When people told me they were worried for us I smiled.  We were enjoying every minute!  But good things can only last so long and Jason has a new job he’s really excited about and he’ll go back to work at the end of the month.  (sigh)  We’ve been blessed to have the month and equally blessed that Jason found a job in Cleveland, so we don’t have to move.

I don’t know who will be more sad when Jason goes back to work, me or Gage, but I’m pretty sure that first week back will be an adjustment for both of us!

Bring in the clowns and Thrill Week II

I’ve struggled to get into a reading groove this year.  Gage is way more active and my time is spent keeping him busy, finding things and places to go to keep him busy, and spending some time with Jason.  But, Jill had a series of clown posts that I read altogether (because I am currently about 2 1/2 weeks behind on my blog hopping) and I thought in a moment of insanity that, yes, yes I could read the 1000+ pages Stephen King novel IT by mid October.  So, it looks like I will be falling even further behind in my blog reading (although maybe that will prevent me from signing up for more things I don’t have time for).  Sorry, blame Jill.

If you are interesting in joining other crazy, clown loving folk visit Jill and Christina and sign up for the IT-along.  There may even be a clown nose in it for you.

Another fun September event that ties in nicely with the IT read along is Thrill Week over at Tea Time with Marce.  Marce did a fantastic job last year and I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s got up her sleeve this year.  If you like mysteries, thrillers, or horror I encourage you to go check it out.

So that’s what I’ve got planned in September.  Anyone know of a good babysitter so I have time to read and blog?