A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Bits

This is basically a photo dump from the last few weeks.  Now that I'm not homeschooling, I really don't have enough kid pictures to share a weekly wrap up type post each week.

A couple days after the eclipse, I had to restart my iPad, and I laughed because the bite of the apple reminded me of the bite that the moon took out of the sun at the beginning of the eclipse.

Before school orientation, I put Hannah's hair in Curlformers.

She had pretty curls, but trying to keep them out of her face with a stretchy headband didn't work, so I ended up putting pony tails in.  Neither one of my girls can wear headbands, unfortunately.

Brianna was part of another swear-in ceremony, this one at the Friday night football game at her school.

It would have been even more meaningful had not the guy mispronounced her name.

Someone had a birthday.  Sweet 16.  And I remembered to buy candles!

Which he flicked out.

I introduced the kids to the wonders of English muffin pizzas.  We had fun making them, and they liked eating them, too.

I used to make them with the big kids, years and years ago, but it's been a very long time since we've had them.

Brianna made "pake."  That's pie and cake combined.

Speaking of baking, I opened the second to last package of cupcake papers today!  Pretty soon I'll have met my goal, and I'll have to start making cookies, instead, so I can start using up our 6 million sprinkles.

I'm keeping busy while the kids are at school.  Baking, volunteering here and there, reading...

And even a bit of sewing!

I finally finished this blanket for Project Linus.  I have another one I need to get done, and then I'm going to drop them off together.

School is going well for these guys, and for the teens, for the moment, which is awesome.  I'm sure we'll have our issues, but it's smooth sailing at present.

I'm calling this the Katie step.  Miss K jumped off the wall the other day and went SPLAT!  Now there's a highly visible opening in the wall that's perhaps a bit more accessible.  I don't know if they made it just because of her or not, but the timing seems like a pretty strong coincidence to me.

I'm volunteering at a local animal organization, and got to see baby flamingos the other day.  I knew the adults got their color from their diet (shrimp), but I didn't realize the babies were gray.  They're cute, and getting really big.

And I'm still enjoying helping out at the SPCA.  I really feel like I've learned a lot from working recovery in the feral cat spay and neuter clinic.

Anesthetized cats are kind of hilarious.

After playing Where's Waldo? for a bit, I caught a glimpse of Sam in some recently posted pictures on Facebook.  Does my heart good to see my boy.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lottery in Paradise

Who's ready for the latest installment of Madison & Fab's crazy capers??  Author Deborah Brown has a new book out.  Lottery in Paradise is the same sort of fun read as the previous books in her Paradise series.  It gallops along with a murder, a break up, a missing car, a wedding in the funeral home, and all the wacky characters you expect to find crossing the paths of the greater Westin family group, which includes Madison, her mom, her brother, their romantic interests, and assorted friends they pick up and turn into family members along the way.  Lottery in Paradise is a great read that will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head and holding your breath.  

Meet the crime-solving duo of the Florida Keys: Madison who has all the charm of the girl next door, not to mention a deadly aim and Fab, her best friend, a femme fatale private investigator with a taste for danger and stilettos.

When their neighbor is found dead, the headlines read, "It doesn't pay to be a lottery winner." It gets you nothing but an endless line of crazies at your door, greedy relatives and acquaintances. Sleuths Madison and Fab don't have time to be concerned about the latest murder; they have problems of their own trying to figure out why their house has suddenly become the focus of several attempted break-ins. The duo are off on more adventures -- what could go wrong chauffeuring a limousine full of college girls? Or chasing after a custom Ferrari? Along the way, there's a break-up, a wedding, and the usual run-ins with the law.

If you like sassy, exciting crime novels, then you'll love Lottery in Paradise, the eleventh book in the scorching Paradise series about two seductive ladies who use unconventional and highly entertaining measures to maintain the peace in the steamy and twisted paradise of Tarpon Cove.

The Paradise series, are Florida Keys mysteries, “great as stand-alone reads, but they're like chips...you won't be able to devour just one!”

Available to buy from.....

"Another FABULOUS book by one of my favorite authors. I love how there are always several different stories going on. I loved the ending..." 

"Another great story in the Paradise series! My love for these quirky characters grows with every book! Hope they never end!"

"An excellent story that is jammed packed with fun, happiness, anger, & a few stupid decisions. She captures the reader's attention & keeps it from beginning to end. This is another winner in the Paradise series!"
Above reviews from Amazon


Book Excerpt
Fab hit the steering wheel with a closed fist. "I'm going to run that jerk off the road."

"No. You. Are. Not. And you're not going to shoot out his tires either." Though there was a zero chance of that happening. As talented as the hot, sexy woman was, she couldn't steer and shoot at the same time. "We'll act like normal people and call the police." Normal, I laughed to myself. I hadn't heard myself described that way in a long time. Mostly, I heard "weird" bandied about. An over-exaggeration - I'm familiar with weird, and that's not me.

"You better come up with something better than that." Fab pulled up alongside the truck on the driver's side.

I powered the window down and hung my head out, my hand in mid-air, ready to flag the man down, even though I knew that chances were slim that he'd pull over. Pulling my head back in the window, I said, "Change of plans." I pushed my red hair back into place, smoothing it down, certain it was a wind-whipped mess. "The fancy tow truck is one of Brick's."

Brick and I had a tenuous relationship; it was hard to trust him when I knew he never put Fab's safety first, or mine either. He opposed our relationship, knowing that several times I had convinced my daring friend to calm down and rethink her plan. As backup to Super PI Fab, there were few jobs that didn't include flying bullets and running for our lives. I was happy for the respite. So were our boyfriends,who'd had a face-to-face with Brick, laying down the rules: no more withholding details, and if it came out after the fact that he knew there was a high chance of danger, it would be the last mistake he would make. My boyfriend followed that up with a right cross to Brick's eye.

Fab made an outraged sound. "I don't believe you."


Also available in the Paradise Series

About the Author
I've been writing, in one way or another for as long as I can remember; poetry, sappy short stories (my best friend made me swear that I’d never show anyone until I changed the names), and a romance novel shoved under my bed.

I wanted to create books with a wide-range of unforgettable characters, with heat and romance, and lots of guns. It wouldn’t be complete without a slice of humor and charm.

I live with my family and demon children aka rescue cats in South Florida.

Find the author on the following sites...

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Volunteering Update

I thought I'd post some stats to keep me accountable.  After we made the decision to send all the kids to school this year, I decided to start volunteering to find positive ways to use my new free time.

May - 6.5 hours, 3 organizations
June - 3.75 hours, 1 organization
July - 14.5 hours, 2 organizations
August - 15.5 hours, 3 organizations
September (so far) - 3 hours, 1 organization

So I've now hit the dubious milestone of 40+ hours, which most people work in a single week (or overachievers like my husband do in a mere 2 days).  It took me 15 weeks and a day.

I've volunteered with 5 organizations so far, with another on the horizon.

Don't let the look on his face fool you.  He's been saying for a while he was going to come in and donate blood and flirt with the snack lady at BloodSource.  It's the camera he's not crazy about.  Or maybe the fact that the guy sticking the needle in his arm jumped when I said, "Smile!"

Brianna is coming in to donate during a shift I'm serving in September.  And since Eli just had a birthday, he's now old enough to donate, too, although I don't know if he's interested or not.

In addition to the SPCA, I went to volunteer orientation for another animal related organization, and I'm excited to get involved there, as well.

I'm finding that I'm not as available as I thought I would be.  The school pickup seems to cut into things I am interested in doing.  Temps here have been really hot, and I got an email about helping staff a cooling center (basically, passing out water and snacks to people who are coming in to get out of the heat).  I would love to help out, but the hours are 1-4, and I have kids to pick up during that time.  But I'm sure I'll figure out things I can do with my new schedule.

This not terribly flattering shot of me was taken by Eli while we were volunteering together at a weekend tree mulching event with Sacramento Tree Foundation.  He's gone with me twice now, and I really enjoy doing these outdoorsy events with him.  He's a good worker with a good attitude.  He gets community service hours for school.  I get someone to remind me to bring home my water bottle.

In summary, I'm enjoying trying out a variety of ways to help our community, but I haven't hit that perfect-for-me niche yet.  Maybe that's not even a realistic goal; I don't know.  It does seem a little weird to me that in the first week of all the children being in school, I spent absolutely none of those school hours volunteering.  Although I put in a couple hours last weekend, and plan to get more hours in this weekend--that wasn't the point.  The point was for me to find some way to help out while the kids were in school.

I read something a while back that I've sort of adopted as my personal motto, and it fits here.
"In the end, I'd like to be someone who has given more than they've taken."
As a mom to little kids, there were so many times when I wished I could do more, help more, but I was too busy parenting/had no childcare.  Although I don't regret an instant of the time I spent with my kids, it feels good to be able to start to give back a little.

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