Monday, 29 October 2012

Most families have Christmas and Thanksgiving traditions, and we have those too, but we also have Halloween traditions.  Halloween is my favorite almost-holiday and so I make it special for myself by making a big deal with my family.  The kids love it too so it’s great to share this with them.  Hubby…not so much, but he would never rain on my parade.  In fact, he was willing to suck-it-up and dress up for a Monster Reunion Murder Mystery being put on by a friend.  But I digress.
Our traditions aren’t monstrous ordeals but they are a little special thing for us.  We decorate the house sometime after Thanksgiving and always try to “Boo” the neighbors in the week preceding Halloween.  “Boo”-ing the neighbors is a lot of fun where we create a little gift or gift bag of Halloween fun and leave it on the doorstep of our neighbor’s house.  Included in the gift is a note letting them know they’ve been “Boo”-ed and how to “Boo” the next person of their choice.  Soon everyone in the neighborhood has had the experience and no one knows who’s done it.  Once we’ve left it on the doorstep, we ring the bell and run like heck so they don’t see who’s done it.  I think that’s the most fun for the kids.
Carving Pumpkins is next.  We usually carve a pumpkin the weekend before Halloween since it is usually cold here by then and possibly snowing so our pumpkin will wither a little on the step and freeze there.  The pumpkins are usually only lit on Halloween night.
On Halloween night, we usually have something gross for supper.  We’ve had snakes (manicotti), worms (spinach fettuccini), bat wings (chicken wings), and so many others.  We eat by candle light and discuss the night ahead.  We eat early so the trick-or-treating fun can begin.  Grandma then comes up to handle the door while we set out for our costumed adventure.  C has been going out with a group of friends for the last couple years and they are drilled about staying together and NEVER entering anyone’s house.  She’s probably too old to be trick-or-treating but it is so much fun.  We love to marvel at the costumes and the different houses d├ęcor themes.  Then after a block or two, R’s usually had enough and is eager to get home with his loot.  I think part of the thrill for him is also to hand out the candy to other kids because whenever the doorbell rings – he races to the door to see what costumed children have arrived.
At this point, we are usually up to our eyeballs in candy, trying to sort what is and is not acceptable to eat.  This year, not only are we looking for suspect candy, but also for gluten.  This is going to be tough, since it’s R’s first gluten free Halloween.  Candy lists can be searched for on the internet and I will have my guide next to me as we go through the candy.  Luckily I will have a special stash set out for him that I know is gluten free so that he can enjoy some candy while patiently (hopefully) waiting for the rest of his candy to be checked.  Then the rest will go with Hubby to work for all of his co-workers who work night shift to enjoy.
What are some of your Halloween traditions?
Take Care, D
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Monday, 22 October 2012

I know, I know.  That sounds like an oxymoron and it is WAY too early to be talking about Christmas.  Most people flush at the word “Christmas”, frowns form and tension creases their brows.  In reality, Christmas isn’t that far away and an organized one is attainable but it pays to have a plan, in fact, we’re a bit late getting started.
A few years ago, I found this amazing website that had steps to organizing yourself to have everything ready on time for Christmas.  No more last minute shopping or shipping presents knowing they won’t get to their destination on time.  I tried the program and it worked.  It was the first Christmas I had where I didn’t feel so stressed about the holidays.  Then I thought I knew what to do to maintain this level of organization and I didn’t look at it the following year, big mistake.  That Christmas was just like all the other ones where things were falling apart.  Upon reflection, it’s because I didn’t have an effective detailed plan.

Many people are organized or forward thinking enough to create their own plans either in writing or in their heads.  I am not one of those people, and from the stress I see in other faces around the holidays, I’m not alone.  Organized Christmas provides a plan and details or executing that plan that may or may not work for you but it is definitely a starting place and you can tweak it as required.
You’re well ahead of the game if you have a plan, any plan.  Especially if it’s attainable!  Organized Christmas has four different plans you can choose from.  From a really basic, get organized for Christmas holiday plan to an in-depth whole house organization plan.  Needless to say, it’s too late for the whole house thing unless you work overtime and then you’re still going to feel stressed.  The basic plan is broken down into weekly tasks starting this week (Oct 21st) with a goal of being ready for Christmas by the first weekend in December.  It is an American plan so the holidays and resources are based around American holidays and resources but again, with a few easy tweaks, it can be Canadian-ized.  Take a look at the plans and choose the one that’s best for you.
I’m going back to this plan and in hopes of getting myself back on track and having a nice relaxing December so I can enjoy my family during the holidays instead of wanting to cancel Christmas and hide in my room.

Do you have a plan for Christmas?  If so, how has it work out for you?

Take Care, D

The opinions expressed in this article are mine and are my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any way to write this article/promotion.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Jane's not happy. She's been packed off to England to fight in a war when she'd much rather be snogging Anyan. Unfortunately, Jane's enemies have been busy stirring up some major trouble -- the kind that attracts a lot of attention. In other words, they're not making it easy for Jane to get any alone time with the barghest, or to indulge in her penchant for stinky cheese.
Praying she can pull of a Joan of Arc without the whole martyrdom thing, Jane must lead Alfar and halflings alike in a desperate battle to combat an ancient evil. Catapulted into the role of Most Unlikely Hero Ever, Jane also has to fight her own insecurities as well as the doubts of those who don't think she can live up to her new role as Champion.
Along the way, Jane learns that some heroes are born. Some are made. And some are bribed with promises of food and sex.

“Tempest’s Fury” is the fifth book in Nicole Peeler’s Jane True Series which was released June 2012 and published by Orbit Books.  The Jane True series is an Urban Fantasy series about a world of powerful creatures and halflings that humans don’t know exists.  Up until now, Jane has been through a series of trials and tribulations that places her as an important factor in an upcoming war between power hungry supernatural creatures and those who wish to keep the humans from becoming slaves to those creatures.  During all of this, Jane has discovered she is very attracted to Anyan, and he is attracted to her and they would like to explore the possibilities between them but the world must come first.

As most of you know, I enjoy audiobooks, and had I known that only the first three of the five books were audio, I may not have begun this series.  That said, I am so glad I did start this series.  Jane True is a fantastic heroine.  She is not a sweet and innocent little girl, as is the case in many of the books I have read lately.  She has been somewhat sheltered but has been in love before and knows what it’s like.  She is self-aware and not wishy-washy.  She knows what she wants in life and is working on getting it.  She has not had an easy life and is relatable because of it.  Although, she has been learning a lot about her mother’s world and how she fits in, she doesn’t lose herself in it but enjoys the new perks.

In “Tempest’s Fury” Jane travels to Britain where her group’s intel has discovered activity from their nemesis, Jarl and Morrigan.  The fate of the world depends on Jane and her troop being able to intercept and stop Jarl and Morrigan from awakening the Red and the White.  Not only does Jane have to endure intense training and immense stress, but also sexual frustration since she and Anyan have so little alone time.

When you pick up this series, be sure to have a lot of reading time because it is very difficult to put down.  I listened to the first three books and read the other two novels within a week – and yes, everything else was set aside because I could not concentrate on anything and found excuses to find a quiet corner to read. 

“Tempest’s Fury” flowed very well and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  There were even a few raised eyebrows from Hubby when I would squeak or gasp aloud at various parts of the book.  Then in the end, he walked away from me shaking his head as I yelled, “Nooooooooooo!  It can’t end like this!  I can’t believe it ended like that!”  Then I raced to my computer to find out when the next installment of Jane’s life will be released.  Sadly, it’s not until May 2013.

Have you read this book or any others in the series?  What did you think?

Take Care, D
  This review is based solely on my opinion and any similarities to other reviews is purely coincidental.  I was not compensated for this review in any way; however, I would love to have been. ;-)

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