With all the holiday hustle & bustle, I've only had time to read one book.
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson
From GoodReads: The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays. But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.
It's Christmastime, and I wanted to read something Christmas-y. I remembered that I had this hardcover book in my attic *GASP* Yes, I know I'm an e-reader now, but my JP obsession was on point a few years back and I normally bought his books in non-digital form. Anyway, I finished this book this past weekend. It was just okay though. The novel was too short for my liking. You barely get to know the characters and most of their back story. And because of that, I thought it was odd of who Gaby chose to marry. I didn't see their connection. Anyway, I have this book 3 stars on GoodReads........
Don't forget to follow me on my GoodReads page and to link up and show us what you've been reading!
This weekend was a very relaxing one! We did go to our churches Christmasfest for a few hours on Saturday night, but it was pretty much vegging in our pajamas watching watching TV, playing games or just whatevering in the living room. It was absolutely FANTASTIC!!!
So I had some random thoughts going, and I'm just gonna put them out there:
I constantly am thinking about my sponsor child in Haiti. I'm desperate for a letter back from him, yet I know he hasn't received our most recent responses yet. I see all these ideas on Pinterest and want to do them all!!!!!
On the topic of my sponsor child, I was thinking of having like a fundraiser or something, and all the money raised go to him & his family. Or to just donate it to the most needed thing (like clean water for example) through Compassion International. Just an idea floating around in my head. I want to do something MORE than just donate to him monthly and write him letters.
Trying to find a individual bible study is hard. I keep looking and nothing is jumping out at me.
I started a new book series, and so far so good. I like books by Tiffany Reisz, she's an easy read, so this one is starting off well thus far. I'm like 4 pages in, haha!
I have to order Girl Scout patches for Delaney's vest. She's missing a bunch she needs! I'm hoping to order them this week so I will have them before the new year and can work on getting her vest in order.
Only 9 more days until I am off of work for Christmas break. It can't come soon enough! Then the holidays followed by a trip to Virginia to see family.
Do a New Years Resolution this year? Ehhhhhh, I make one every year and it never pans out. Maybe this year will be different?
I decided that I will participate in a few posts of the Blogmas link up. I'd like to do a majority of them, but I'm realistic and don't see that happening.....
Day 1 was two days ago, but I'm doing it today anyway, lol.
Day 1 - The Christmas Tag
Whats Your Favorite Holiday Movie? My favorite one as a kid is Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Our family likes Elf so that's growing on me, and Home Alone is a classic at this point. Whats Your Favorite Christmas Color? Red and White. Like striped together. Love love. Do You Like To Stay in Your PJs or Dress Up For Christmas? I ama PJs type of girl. We wake up, go out to the open presents in our PJs and hang around the house in our PJs. The only time we will get dressed on Christmas Day is if people are coming over to eat dinner. And that's more casual than fancy. If You Could Only Buy One Person a Present This Year Who Would It Be? I would have to say my husband, because he works so hard all year round to provide for us. He deserves to be spoiled! Do You Open Your Present Christmas Eve Or Christmas Morning? Santa's gifts are opened on Christmas morning. But us Italian's make a big deal of Christmas Eve, and we've ALWAYS gotten together with my mom's side of the family on Christmas Eve to eat dinner and open presents. What Do You Like To Do On Your Christmas Break? Re-freakin-lax! We go to my mom's on Christmas Eve and do all that and that's all fine and good.... but on Christmas I wanna be HOME, opening our gifts and enjoying them and the time with my family. Then we usually go to see Steven's family on winter break out of state, and we are busy bees there.... and I'm sort of okay with it, but sometimes I just like to sit around the house doing nothing. Any Christmas Wishes? I wish for my family to have a happy and healthy year, and for my extended family to become believers in Jesus. Favorite Christmas Smell? I got this candle from Yankee Candle called Balsam & Cedar and I'm in love. Usually tree smells aren't my thing, but this one put me in the Christmas spirit right off the bat! I also like the smell of Yankee Candle Magical Frosted Forest. Favorite Christmas Meal Or Treat? Christmas Eve dinner at my mom's.... lasagna for the win! What are you doing for the holidays this year? Christmas Eve at my mom's. Christmas Day is just home relaxing. No plans for visitors as of now. What’s your favorite holiday drink? Mint hot chocolate.
Candy cane or Gingerbread men? Candy cane. . What’s your favorite holiday/Christmas song? I just heard Danny Gokey's 'Mary Did You Know' on the radio last night and it's my new fav. What is most important to you about the holidays? That Jesus is the reason for the season. And being with my family, basking in the glow of Christmas cheer that comes on Christmas morning.
Yes, yes, I'm well aware I am a flip flopper. Wordpress just wasn't doing it for me.
Lets play catch up, shall we.
November is pretty much a dead month, as far as working goes. I had the first week of November off because the NJEA teacher conference. I get Thanksgiving Eve off because it's a half day of school, as well as Thanksgiving and Black Friday off, of course. Then I also get the last week of November off for Parent Teacher conferences. I literally worked 11 days for the month of November. I am not complaining, lol.
This week off of work was very productive. Got a ton of Christmas shopping done (thank you cyber Monday), as well as write up a few blog posts and set up a new blog page. I keep saying I'm gonna sit down and tend to my blog but then just never get around to it because #life.
Gonna go back to the end of October and make my way forward.....
Halloween 2016 was a success. Delaney dressed up as Harley Quinn and Dylan ended up throwing together a soccer player outfit and calling it a day. They came home with way more candy than anyone would ever need, lol.
The four of us had off the first week of November. One day we went to go see Samson at Sight and Sound Theaters in Lancaster, PA. It was absolutely amazing! The kids loved it and already want to go back next year. Sounds like a plan, I say. Another day we went on a nature walk at a beautifiul place called Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ. It was nice. We made it a day trip kinda week....
I wrote a response letter on behalf of Steven and myself to our sponsor child in Haiti named Michelton. The kids also wrote him their own separate letter. He probably won't receive them all till a little bit after Christmas, due to turn around times from Compassion International. We are continously praying he and his family are well. I hope he writes us back.
Steven and I celebrated 12 years of marriage on November 20. We went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, followed by dinner at a local restaurant we wanted to try. The movie was amazingly good.... the restaurant, not so much.
I took NO pictures on our anniversary, so a wedding photo will have to do, lol.
Thanksgiving was a success. Woke up and watched the parade on TV, followed by my parents coming over for dinner. Nice and easy. I do miss my sister for the holidays though (she moved out-of-state).
Delaney mashing potatoes. A rare photo of my mother and I.
It's now December. Christmas shopping was mostly done online via AmazonSmile*. We put up and decorated our tree this past weekend. This year I am REALLY in the holiday spirit, and early, both of which are unusual for me. I'm just gonna roll with it.....
*I wrote a post about AmazonSmile & it can be found here
Okay, so now that I took the whole afternoon to write this post yesterday, I have to actually go and adult. Laundry needs to be tackled and the kids are fighting. One of those days, lol.
Today is #GivingTuesday. What is that, you ask? Good question! I found this on their website: "Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources." To read more of what it is all about, click [here]
I support Compassion International. My family and I sponsor a little eight year old boy in Haiti through Compassion. Haiti was devastated by Hurricane Matthew at the beginning of October..... and while our sponsor child and his family are okay, many people in Haiti are not. They are in need of shelter, water, food & medical supplies. Donations through Compassion can towards those needs.
I give to Compassion monthly, so that they can get Michelton the items he needs and learn all about Jesus. We exchange letters with him, which I cherish deeply. I also give to Compassion via AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is something everyone can participate in. It is free and easy to sign up. All you need to do is: Go to smile.amazon.com , select Compassion International, Inc, then do all your shopping. When you shop on Amazon, 0.5% of all purchases will be donated to Compassion.* (* Not all items on Amazon are eligible for AmazonSmile. Amazon will prompt you if your purchase is eligible for the program.)
To learn more about ways about how YOU can donate through Compassion International and help a poverty stricken child somewhere in the world, click here.
Proverbs 14:3 (ICB) Whoever is cruel to the poor insults their Maker. But anyone who is kind to the needy honors God.
As this post publishes, I am literally clocking in to work.
Today, I'm at my job one year. A year ago today I walked in to my first real job of my adulthood. It's a big milestone for me! And I am so proud of myself. I am a hard worker and actually haven't wanted to REALLLLLLY quit the place yet, so it's looking hopeful that I'll be a lunch lady for years to come, haha!
I've NEVER had a summer as craaaazzzzzy as this one!
My kids go to Steven's summer camp in the same town my parents live. We were working with one car (my 97 Honda Accord can't do highway driving) so it was just easier to stay with my parents and Steven drop the kids off at camp. And summer camp is a month long!
While we were hanging in my old stomping grounds, we did a lot of fun things: Six Flags Great Adventure, going out to look for Pokemon, iPlay America (an indoor arcade), the boardwalk and swimming in my parents pool a whole lot.
We were home for a week before we went on our big family trip to Myrtle Beach. My sister came up with this idea to rent a house with her family, my family and my parents and stay for a week on vacation. We booked this trip back in February, obviously not knowing that I would have seen my mom for five weeks straight the week before, LOL! We did have such an awesome time down there, and the kids were super sad to leave.
Four days later we were driving to our camping trip. We were driving on the major highway and the engine blew. We pulled over and called AAA. In a five hours time span, we got towed off the highway, parked at a hotel, called around for a rental car, got the rental car, and got my car towed to our mechanic. Then we FINALLY made it to camping right before the sun went down. We set up camp in RECORD time and BAMM! our off the grid camping trip was saved.
Once we dropped the rental car back in NJ, my dad picked us up and brought my family back to his house. Then Steven and I went out and bought a new car (to replace my 97 Honda Accord that is stuck on our driveway pretty much). Now we are figuring out what to do about my car. It needs a new engine which is expensive as all... or to buy a car with the money we were gonna put in to the new engine. Not sure what is best at this point.
Let me start by saying that this summer has been something else! Two broken cars and pretty much living at my parents house, playing switcheroo with transportation for everyone, on top of going on two vacations.... I guess that's a whole other post in itself, lol.
Now for my real post:
Last weekend we headed to our usual camp ground, for a weekend of being off the grid awesomeness in the middle of the woods on a mountain in Pennsylvania! It really is so beautiful there, and puts me in a good mind frame before the start of September (school, work, sports, clubs, ect...).
Did I mention I like to do landscape photography? Enjoy!
Steven has had this plan to build a vegetable garden in our yard for years. Due to us having dogs (before they passed away) we didn't think it would work out *cuz HELLO, they'd eat them when we weren't looking lol*. Then this past summer Steven's grandmother passed away, and she was an advid gardener, so I think between that and not having the dogs anymore, that really made him put his plans into action!!
And my husband goes big or goes home, people. Let me tell you! He saw this picture of a raised vegetable garden on Facebook and he wanted to build it. I'm the wife that says "Sure honey, anything you want", knowing full well he's absolutely nuts!
But anyway, a few weekends back, he woke up and went to Home Depot to get the supplies. TWOOOO hours later, he arrived home with a car full of wood. I helped him hold the wood while he measured and cut it. Then I helped him put it together. We were trucking along, until the power drill battery started to die out. By then it was like 4:00pm.... can we say DONE! Dinner and a family movie night happened. So did going to bed early!
Then it was Daylight Savings Time day, and it made us miss church (a TOTAL bummer!). We got up, he ran to Home Depot again because we were short a little bit of wood and he wanted to stock up on more supplies, just in case. We were only there for an hour this time, haha! Then it started to rain. But we stayed the course and built what we could, before being too exhausted to do any more. We came in, I made dinner, we ate as a family, then we all played a board game before having another family movie night. Went to bed a little later than we should of, but I'm the cool mom like that!
Once we had another free weekend, not caring that it was raining on and off all day, him and I went back out there to work on it some more. We put up all the chicken wire, which is way more of a pain in the ass than you'd think. But I kept saying to myself it's gonna be suppppper sweet once there are veggies growing in it!
Then the last weekend in March, he finished the project. It actually looks pretty awesome! I'm glad he decided to go ahead with it.
Okay, so it's been a little bit since the garden was assembled..... but it was time to plant our veggies two weekends ago. We drove all the way out to our favorite garden store, got everything we wanted, drove all the way back home and Steven went right back out there and planted them all.
Excuse the bags of dirt in the middle....
Can't wait to eat all the veggies! It's gonna be awesome!!!
Last Sunday, our church hosted a Compassion Sunday service. Afterwards, my family and I had the honor to walk through The Compassion Experience (it was set up in our church parking lot). An interactive, immersive display which allows you to step into the life of a child who had suffered under the crippling weight of poverty. From hardship to hope, we saw the transformation of Kiwi and Jonathan's story with the support from Compassion and the life-giving relationship with a sponsor. With God tugging at our hearts and tear ducts, we joined a partnership with our church and the country of Haiti to sponsor a little boy named Michelton.
A member of our church is partnering up with Compassion in Haiti to build a church and an orphanage. The blue sticker on Michelton's paperwork means he lives close to the orphanage and will be affiliated with our church. Very exciting!
Proverbs 19:17 NIV Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
To learn more about this great group, please visit their website here.
GoodReads synopsis: No. 7 Ocean Drive is a gorgeous, multi-million-dollar beachfront estate in the Hamptons, where money and privilege know no bounds. But its beautiful gothic exterior hides a horrific past: it was the scene of a series of depraved killings that have never been solved. Neglected, empty, and rumored to be cursed, it's known as the Murder House, and locals keep their distance. Detective Jenna Murphy used to consider herself a local, but she hasn't been back since she was a girl. Trying to escape her troubled past and rehabilitate a career on the rocks, the former New York City cop hardly expects her lush and wealthy surroundings to be a hotbed of grisly depravity. But when a Hollywood power broker and his mistress are found dead in the abandoned Murder House, the gruesome crime scene rivals anything Jenna experienced in Manhattan. And what at first seems like an open and shut case turns out to have as many shocking secrets as the Murder House itself, as Jenna quickly realizes that the mansion's history is much darker than even the town's most salacious gossips could have imagined. As more bodies surface, and the secret that Jenna has tried desperately to escape closes in on her, she must risk her own life to expose the truth--before the Murder House claims another victim. Full of the twists and turns that have made James Patterson the world's #1 bestselling writer, THE MURDER HOUSE is a chilling, page-turning story of murder, money, and revenge.
James Patterson is my go to! His books are such an easy ready, and they always keep me interested. And this book was no different. While I was not feeling any of the characters, I did really enjoy the book. I honestly could not put it down! And I did figure out the killer almost right away, but it was still a good book all the same. If you like James Patterson, or crime suspense novels, this one is for you!
The launch has finally arrived! My new blog is OFFICIALLY up and running!
So welcome to the new blog!
I was on this platform before, then left to try something else.... but now I am back here and I couldn't be more happier about it!
Some basic info about me: I am Melissa (duh!). I married Steven, who is definitely the love of my life, back in November of 2004. We have two children together, named Dylan and Delaney. No, the "D" thing was not planned, just happened to work out that way. I was a stay at home mom until last year. I am now a lunch lady at a grammar school in my town. I'm very much into reading books, playing video games, watching movies & TV shows, playing soccer and being outdoors. I have a different type personality than most. Love it or leave it is my motto.
I have recently updated all my social media. Find and follow me there so we can keep in touch.