Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Toddler Tales 5: Toddler bed or stick with crib?

At what age did you all move your toddler to a big kid bed?

Thinking it may be time to convert the crib to the toddler bed. The little girl will be three in September and I feel she is probably ready. We may not be, is the problem.

Our biggest issue with is having her be able to get out of bed/out of her room when we are asleep. She isn't one who typically gets into stuff, but what should we do to the house to alleviate our worries? We close her door at night, and she still can't open it very easily, so perhaps that will limit her movement to her room.

Anyway, any advice would be great. 

Next time: Avoiding potty training.
Happy Parenting!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Mailbox Monday: 6/24/13

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Dolce Belleza this month.

In case you don't know, I am currently hosting a Reading Challenge to read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books. So many great stories amongst this collection. And with all the new interest due to the movie version of Sherlock Holmes and the success of Elementary and Sherlock on TV, I was not surprised to start seeing new books influenced by Doyle and Sherlock. 

In the mail today, I received an ARC of Winter at Death's Hotel by Kenneth Cameron. 

In January 1896, Arthur Conan Doyle, the renowned creator of Sherlock Holmes, arrives with his wife Louisa at the Britannic Hotel in New York for his first American tour. Louisa is instantly mesmerised by this vibrant, dangerous city. When a woman's mutilated corpse is found in a Bowery alley, she becomes convinced from the artist's sketch that she'd seen the victim at the hotel. As more bodies start appearing, Louisa starts piecing together clues to reveal a story of madness, murder and depravity which leads inexorably back to the hotel itself and a madman who is watching her every move.

I am looking forward to reading this one alongside my readings of Doyle's Sherlock.  Another book to get me through the wait for Sherlock season 3 to start! If you have not signed up for my Reading Challenge, no problem. It runs through the end of the year, so come join the fun. There will be some great giveaways for those who participate, including a copy of this book. Here's the link:

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Playing with Clay

Every Thursday I drive north into San Francisco to spend three hours in the basement of the building seen here. While there I play with clay. I prefer hand building to the wheel for a few reasons: less set up and clean up, different shapes other than bowls and vases, being able to use textures and being able to socialize with others while doing it.

Thursdays are my nights out to have dinner on my own, or visit with SF friends. Sometimes I have errands and appointments but that does extend my time in the city. Now don't get me wrong, I love being home with the little girl and the hubby but nights away are good for my sanity. 

Anyway, I thought I would share some pics of some items I have made this year for Saturday Snapshot.  (Details below) 

Happy Reading (and playing with clay)!
To participate in Saturday Snapshot visit West Metro Mommy Reads.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

FO Friday: Baby Knitting All Done! (for now)

So much baby knitting this spring and summer. Babies popping out everywhere!
We were blessed with a nephew just last month, way out in Maine. We can't wait to see the new little guy when we visit next month. I had to send a package before then with some knitted goodies before then. 
 This little kitty is adorable! I will need to find the pattern and share with you at a later time, because I really can't remember what it is. I found it on a knitting blog and didn't save it. Ack! Anyone have an idea where it is from?
I also knit up this warm and cozy blanket. I do remember what pattern I used for this one. It is the second one I have made. The previous one was last year for a cute little Texas baby. 

Pattern: Baby Chalice Blanket by Karen S. Lauger
Yarn: Berroco Comfort, worsted weight, navy
Needles: US 10

The next two were made for a San Francisco baby who is due in a couple weeks! A friend for the past 19 years is having her first baby and we are all so excited to have another baby amongst our group of local friends. For this little guy, he gets a chevron blankie and a chick that matches his Land of Nod bedding a bit. A little homemade to go with the modern decor. :)

Pattern: Chevron Baby Blanket by Purl Soho
Yarn: ? Can't remember!
Needles: US 15

Will have to look up the pattern for the chick, as well. 

Happy Knitting!


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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King

I didn't think I would get this read in time for the mini-series but I did. Yay!

I could not put this book down. Reading it on my phone, of course, allowed for reading in many locations. My parents thought me a bit rude when all I could do was stare at my phone the whole time we were visiting. I was taking advantage of the fact that they could entertain the little girl.

Anyway, I loved it. Stephen King can do no wrong in my eyes. 

The premise, a town cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible dome, is pretty creative. The effects it has on the people within could only be truly explored by King. He can see the darkness within these supposedly "good" people and show how easily the dark can come out when there are no consequences. When the dome comes down some respond in fear, others attempt to gain power and a few try to keep order.  It is amazing how quickly everything goes downhill in a week. 

There are so many characters in this book. A little hard to keep them all straight at the beginning. The numbers dwindle down a bit, though, made it easier to keep track of who is who. There are the good, the bad and the just plain monstrous. It is King, after all.

Barbie is the perfect protagonist, slightly flawed, but brave and willing to help the town despite having been feet from the town limit. Big Jim Rennie is the small politician in a little town who wants/needs power over everyone and gets the chance on this day. He may be the only one inside who doesn't want it to go away. 

The pace was perfect, the explanation of what the dome is-interesting and so simple, yet terrifying. Makes one feel so little. I also liked the global warming effects that take place within the dome. A little environmental commentary to make us think about what we are putting into our air. Lucky we aren't surrounded by a dome.

Ready to watch the show. Will you be watching? Starts Monday, June 24th on CBS.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Post by M.J. Rose

Please welcome MJ Rose to the blog, author of Seduction, which was published on May 7th.
The quote is a little more explicit than what I usually post on the blog so be forewarned.

“When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Excerpt from SEDUCTION - From Chapter 14
I imagined you were dreaming your own dream, oblivious that I was even there. And that increased my desire for you. Often the wanting is more satisfying that the fulfillment. I have come to prefer anticipation to satiation. Longing can make one feel alive in more profound way. You see everything through champagne bubbles. Your senses are alert. You imagine how your lover’s lips will feel, how her skin will taste. What it will be like to unbutton her chemise, slip it off her shoulders, press your mouth to her skin, cup her breasts in your palms and feel her excitement harden her nipples. You picture her leaning into you. Showing you just enough of her want ignites yours.

You can find my review of Seduction here
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: Seduction by M.J.Rose

Seduction by M.J. Rose

"From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries. 
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed. 
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey—where Hugo conducted the séances—hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different—Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. 
What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists."

My first introduction to M.J. Rose was The Book of Lost Fragrances.  As with that book, I enjoyed the characters and the mix of history, romance and suspense of Seduction. I was happily surprised to find the same characters and a kind of continuation of their storylines. I know this is supposed to be a stand alone but I do feel that I may have been a little lost/confused had I not read the previous book. But I do think you could enjoy this without having read it. 

Learning about Jac and her relationship with Theo was what I really enjoyed. I was intrigued by her childhood and her time spent at the Pheonix Foundation. I would have enjoyed learning more about this earlier time to better understand why she is so trusting of its founder, her therapist and friend, Malachai.

I found Hugo's story interesting and the connection to Jac and Robbie a nice twist. The strange conversations and affects of the Shadow of the Sepulcher seemed unnecessary at first, though. Perhaps a little more explanation at the beginning that it was the same "spirits" telling the priest to sacrifice his son. I really didn't get that right away, so was a little leery of the inclusion of the devil into this story of reincarnation. 
I really enjoyed this book, and as stated previously, after reading The Book of Lost Fragrances, I really need to read the books in her Reincarnationist series. I am a fan. 
Source: publicist. Thanks, Amy.
M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Mus eum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors -  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Armchair BEA: Giveaway winner!

I hope everyone had a wonderful time participating in this year's Armchair BEA. I sure did.
So many great blogger's to visit and learn from. Now that it is over, it is time to announce the winner of my Giveaway:

Our lucky winner of a shiny brand new copy of The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley is:

Congratulations!!! Email me (marireadsATyahooDOTcom) your address and I will send the book out to you ASAP.

If you did not win but would still like a copy of your own, the book was published today in paperback. Look for my review later this week!

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Neverending Stole

I am in desperate need of getting this project done and I so don't want to knit it anymore.

The never ending stole

I have been consistently knitting on this lace stole for my sister-in-law's wedding for months now and I have lost all interest. It is a monotonous repetition of 12 rows.  I don't even look at the pattern any more, I have it all memorized.  This should make it go faster, right? Wrong. It has two rows of these bobble like bumps the pattern calls "Nupps" that require me to use a crochet hook to pull a stitch through 7 other stitches. It is the only way I have figured out to do it and it takes me forever.


Now don't get me wrong, I know this will be beautiful when it is all done, but right now I really hate this stole, and it is only half way through. I only have a couple more months to get it done!

So what do I do?

Do I trudge on and keep knitting? There is a very important deadline, after all.


I find other projects to start. I type up snarky posts about the darn thing. I teach myself to crochet and start an afghan of granny squares.

I seriously have a problem. This would so become a UFO if it wasn't for the fact that my sister-in-law will be expecting it on her arms on that special day in August.

The never ending stole

Alright, time to put down the computer, put away the afghan and get knitting on this thing.

Well, maybe after I make the little girl a knitted cat out of the yarn she picked out the other day. :)


Happy Knitting!

The pattern is called Triinu Scarf and can be found in the book Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. There are many beautiful lace shawls, stoles and scarves in the book that aren't as repetitive. This one pattern just happened to be the one that my SIL really liked and you have to knit what the bride wants, right? I will definitely be knitting other pieces from the book, just not the ones with "Nupps".

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

DomeAlong Update

I am loving this one so far. Despite the large (chunkier) size of the book, I am flying through this one. I started reading it a few days late, but am staying on schedule pretty well, I think. I have made it to Part 14- the Dome has come down, the townspeople have been introduced, we know the good, the bad and the crazies. Reminding me a bit of The Stand, here in the beginning. Kind of like when the survivors reach Colorado Springs and establish the town. It also feels a bit like Lost.  

I can't wait to see what happens next and find out exactly what has caused the dome to come down around Chester's Mill, ME.

One quote: (excuse the language, it is too funny to not share and may be my new favorite insult)

"Pete Randolph ain't but lintshit on Duke Perkin's asshole." (pg 850 in ebook)

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Toddler Tales 4: Self-weaning completed

The little girl and I have finally said goodbye to breastfeeding. It is a little bittersweet, I have to admit.

Breastfeeding wasn't easy at first. I needed a lot of help getting started and was very lucky to have a great lactation nurse at the hospital. For three months we used a nipple shield. The little girl decided when she didn't need it anymore. We EBF until she was 6 months old, when we started to introduce solids- a mix of purees, cereal and BLW. As she got older, she stopped asking to BF during the day unless we were at home and she was tired or hurt. 

With how hard it was to get started, I am very happy that we were able to continue for so long. She self weaned at 2.5. We were down to once a day for awhile but about a month ago, that last one went away. I was looking forward to the end but now that it has been a few weeks, I do miss it. It was a nice quiet way to end the day with the little girl. Instead, we now read a couple books sitting in the glider, and then read Goodnight, Moon while she is in bed before I turn off the light. 

She has started wanting one of us to stay in the room with her until she falls asleep. She also gets really upset if she wakes in the middle of the night and her lady bug nightlight isn't shining its stars and moon up on the ceiling. So, I guess being scared of the dark and monsters are the next phase and the only way to comfort her is through hugs and  words. 

Up next for us: Potty Training! 
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Back from Vacation

Its always a little sad after coming home from a great vacation and having to get back to the daily grind. We recently got back from a wonderful trip to Maui and I am already trying to figure out when we can go back.
Our trip started with a long delay at the airport. 

No problem. 

We thankfully had a good three hour layover in LA so there would be no missing our flight to Maui. The little girl had fun watching the airplanes and the workers, then making her own airport scene using these great reusable stickers (seen in photo above). An hour and a half after our scheduled departure, we were finally on our way.

The little girl did great on the flight. She was easily entertained with toys, crayons, and the iPad. I was a little worried. She is only two, after all and you hear about kids acting horribly. But there was no need to worry. She was a pro. This was not her first flight, or the longest so she did wonderfully. We did have to remind her to not kick the seat in front of her. Oops.

She fell asleep an hour before landing and managed to stay asleep while we got our bags, picked up our rental, drove out to Ka'anapali and through check in. Amazing! We put her down in her pack and play once we got to our room and that was that. Sleep for all. 
The next five days were spent lounging by the pool, swimming and eating great food. The best part of the trip, though, was just enjoying time with each other in such a beautiful location. There was no work, no TV, nothing to take attention away from just enjoying and relaxing.
We definitely were not ready to leave when the time came. We dragged our feet that morning. Had a lazy breakfast of coffee ate some banana bread and pineapple on our lanai. On the way to the airport we stopped in Lahaina so the little girl could see the Banyan tree one last time. 
K'anapali Beach
Sunset at Black Rock, Sheraton Maui
Vacation reads: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
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