Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts- Book Review

I know that I haven't written a post in a while. Funny enough, I am trapped in my house thanks to the Blizzard of 2016 that dumped 40 inches of snow in my area, and I've been off from work for the past few days. One would think that I would do nothing but write, but I've been spending the time with my son, who doesn't like to see me write. I've been forced into the kitchen where I am surrounded by dirty dishes to get this post written. Gotta improvise, right?

A few weeks ago I reviewed The Next Always by Nora Roberts which is the first book in the Inn Boonsboro series. It was a pretty good book. I was intrigued enough to continue on with the next book, The Last Boyfriend.

I'm basically gonna give it the same review that I gave the first one. It's pretty good. Not the best, not the worst.

In it, we move on to the next Montgomery brother, Owen, who discovers that he has feeling for Avery, the pizza shop owner. She has feelings for him too, but they are both rather anal attentive and plan for everything...even when they should have sex for the first time (so much for spontaneity).

I won't give the whole plot away, but I will say that like the first book, the characters are pretty one dimensional, though they do have some moments when they break out of their little box and you can connect with them. I do think that the whole 'three brothers that fall in love with three best friends' is a little cliché, but it can make for decent mindless reading.

If you are in the mood for some light reading, then I would recommend this book, as long as you've read the first one. These books must be read in order to fully understand the characters and the sequence of events.

Even though I classify these books as 'mindless' or 'light reading' (And I don't mean that as an insult. Sometimes the brain needs some light entertainment to wind down.), I have been inspired by Nora Roberts to start writing again. These books have sparked a plot in my mind that I am forming and hoping to write in a novel of my own. I'll keep you posted on the progress, but right now it is in the very early stages of planning.

I will be moving on to the last book in the series, The Perfect Hope, when I get enough money to purchase it (Gotta stick to the budget!). Yeah, I know I can borrow it from the library, but I purchased the first two books from a local bookstore, so I want to get the third one from the same place. Keep these copies for myself and support a local business while I am at it.

***Just FYI- There are instances of pre-marital sex in the book, but they are not extremely graphic.***

Monday, January 18, 2016

Saving for Something Cute!

One of my New Years Resolutions is to be better at budgeting my money. My hubby and I attended Financial Peace University, which is a money management program by Dave Ramsey, at my church. We learned a lot of things.

At first, I kinda halfheartedly applied some of his teaching to my everyday life. One of the things Dave Ramsey teaches is that you sit down every month and create a budget. Well, I didn't sit down every month and exactly write down a budget. I just mentally kept a budget in my head. Needless to say, that really didn't work well.

So, I purchased a cute budgeting book from May Designs and as of January 1st, I started writing down my budget.

It has really helped keep my sending in check, and January isn't even over yet! But now, if I see something that I want, I have to save for it!

I have a number of expenses coming up and a birthday party that I need to plan for next month. I don't have any wiggle room in my budget right now.

Pic Credit: Colleen Spotts

My friend, Colleen, sells products by Damsel in Defense, self defense products specifically made for women. One of their new products is a cute purse. When I saw the pictures she posted my immediate reaction was "I want it"! The purses are made of real leather and come in four pretty colors. They also cost $75.

At first I was like "I can put it on the credit card". But credit card payments are not in my budget. So, I'm sucking it up and putting off that purchase until I've saved enough to pay cash for it. That means I probably wont have enough for it until March or April.

And you know what? That's ok. It is more important for me to make sure I stick to my budget and pay for the more important things first than fall prey to an impulse buy. It is a little bit of a struggle, heck, it's a really nice purse and I really do want it. But, now that I'm looking at my budget, which is written down right in front of me, I really see that getting it right now is not practical. And it's something that I WANT... not really NEED.

Dave Ramsey was right, it's important to sit down every month and write down a budget. It really helps!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What College Students Need to be Successful- A Professor's Point of View

I need to say something right up front: if you ask me what my job title is, I would not say that I am a college professor. I am a college administrator who also teaches a freshman level class. I see both sides of the academic world: the administrative and the academic. However, my main focus as of this point in time is the administrative.

I came across a cute blog known as Words on my Page written by Sierra Bailey who is a college English major. I highly recommend that you check out her blog and like her Facebook page. She wrote a blog post entitled Five Things to do the Week Before Classes Start. She shares tips on how to prepare for class from a student's perspective. The post inspired me to give some tips from an instructor's point of view on what college students need to do to prepare for class and have a successful semester.

I have worked in the field of higher education for almost eight years. I have seen many students succeed and many students fail. Here are my tips for all college students as you get ready for classes!

1) Get a planner and use it! This will help you keep all of your classes, extracurriculars, and projects in order. I had an intelligent student get a 'D' in my class because she said she kept forgetting about the assignments. She could have gotten an easy 'A' if she handed her stuff in on time.

2) Make sure you check your school e-mail regularly! All official notifications from the administration and faculty will go to your school e-mail. If you don't check it then you will be missing out on important announcements.

3) Have easy access to all syllabi! The syllabus is like a contract between professor and student. It should outline all expectations and assignments. I would recommend that you either print off all of your syllabi or save them to your computer/tablet so that you can refer to them regularly.

4) Set aside money for printing. It typically costs 10-30 cents per page and a lot of students don't keep those costs in mind when making a budget. You don't want to turn in a paper late because you had to scrounge around for printing money.

5) Use the resources on campus! Most of them are free (covered in the cost of the tuition that you pay) and are there for your use. I have seen a lot of students drop out because they did not utilize the resources that were available to them. Taking advantage of departments like academic support, tutoring, career services, and disability support can be the difference between getting that lambskin or dropping out.

College can be a stressful time. However, if you plan your days wisely and take advantage of the programs and resources available to you, then your college years should be filled with lots of growth and adventure.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cliche Green Smoothie Recipe

Green Smoothie
Stock Image
Green smoothies are all the rage. We are seeing them everywhere. Magazines and TV shows are touting how good they are. But, that green color looks scary and off putting, Who in their right mind would drink something that looks like that?

Answer: My toddler! 

Yeah, green smoothies look nasty and are the very cliche 'in' thing to drink right now. However, there is a reason why people are really trying to push them. It's because they are a great way for you to get some fruits and veggies in your diet. Or, in my case, my toddler's diet. 

Richard is a very picky eater. He gets it from me. He will not eat meat...or anything that isn't beans, mashed potatoes, corn, or a peanut butter sandwich. I sat down with this green concoction yesterday and he almost drank the whole thing! Yay! 

Now, the cool thing about smoothies is that you can experiment with a lot of things and figure out what you like best. My base smoothie recipe will always start out with a banana and an apple. 

Here is what I put in my green smoothie yesterday:

1 Peeled Cucumber
1 Green Apple
1 Banana
1 Handful of Uncooked Spinach and Kale
1/2 cup of Coconut Water
1 Teaspoon of Chia Seeds
Juice from 1 Lemon

I cut everything up, put in all in a blender, and let it blend on high for a few minutes. The juice from the lemon really sets it off and brightens the smoothie. Like I said, my toddler loved it! I will definitely need to make it more often so that I can make sure he gets some good stuff in his diet. 

If you've never done a smoothie before, experiment! There are lots of things you can put in that blender! 

You may want to try:

Almond Milk

Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, a beet! I know beets are really good for you, but how exactly can you incorporate beets into your diet? I made what I called a pink smoothie! I took a pre-cooked beet that I bought at the grocery store and put it in the blender with a red apple, banana, coconut water, and chia seeds. It tasted pretty good! I would not recommend throwing a beet into your green'll turn it a scary shade of brown and not taste right. 

So, do what everyone else is doing, dig out that blender, and experiment! You'll find a smoothie that I'm sure you'll like! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

January Goals

Pic Credit: Rissanista
Alright, I actually reached most of my December goals, now it is time or me to move on to January. I must say that I actually like writing down monthly goals. It's like when I actually sit down to think about them and write about them, they become a part of reality.

I've already set a number of goals for 2016, so I want to keep the month of January kinda simple since I am already striving for some changes with the new year.

1) Reach 75 'Likes' on my Facebook page. I am currently at 72, so I think that 3 more likes by the end of the month is attainable.

2) Purge Richard's toys. His birthday is in February and with the influx of Christmas toys he received, the toy situation is getting out of hand!

3) Start planning Richard's birthday party. We're gonna keep it simple, but I don't want to keep everything to the last minute.

4) Organize the top of my dresser. Seriously, it's a mess and I need to find a better way to organize my jewelry.

5) Finally, as always, pray more! Find a way to keep God at the center of my life!

I'm slowly making progress on a lot of things in my life. What do you have going on during the first month of the year? I hope that whatever your goals are, that you stay inspired!