Monday, July 25, 2016

Holland's Lake Park - Weatherford, Texas

We came across a lovely park in Weatherford - Holland's Lake Park.  With a playground, ducks and a lake, it's a fun place for the children. There is also a pioneer house on the property. It's fascinating to me how large families lived in just two rooms with a dog run between. It reminded me of the Little House in the Big Woods.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

If you grew up reading Little Golden Books you will appreciate the pictures in Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow along with captions: Don't Let the Parade Pass you by, Stay curious, Steer clear of shady characters. . .

Friday, July 22, 2016

Acts of Violets by Kate Collins

Acts of Violets isn't the first of the Flower Shop mysteries by Kate Collins, but it was on my ever-growing list of TBRs. Regardless, you don't need to read them in order to pick up on the characters and their backgrounds, but I really liked this one and will go back and read the others. I also found out that Dearly Depotted (all the books have quirky titles) will be aired as a Hallmark movie in September starring Brooke Shields. I'm always a little disappointed when movies don't match up actors with the book characters. Abby Knight is described as a busty, 5' 2" woman with flame red hair and freckles!

From the cover:
Abby has been dating Marco - ex-cop, bartender, and all-around hunk - for several months when the Pickle Fest starts. But he's still a mystery to her. And after he disappears for a day, she's stunned to read in the paper: Ex-Cop question in Man's Death. It seems the authorities have found Snuggles the Clown pushing up water-spurting daisies - and Marco was the last person seen leaving Snuggles's house.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dr. Pepper Museum - Waco, Texas

Another stop we made while in Waco, Texas recently was at the Dr. Pepper Museum. Dr. Pepper began in Dublin, Texas where they used cane sugar for their product, but the Dr. Pepper brand was eventually bought by The Snapple Group.

While the Dr. Pepper museum was interesting what struck me most was the W.W. "Foots" Clements History of Free Enterprise Institute.  W.W. Clements was a former CEO of the Dr. Pepper Company and emphasized that a good company can grow by following The Golden Rule and having high morals and standards. A good philosophy for everyone.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Singing in the Rain

Last week-end, we visited the Opera House in Granbury, Texas for the Granbury theatre Company's presentation of Singing in the Rain. If this musical comes to your area, it's a must see. The actors were all Broadway worthy and they even had "rain" for the Singing in the Rain segment. Like Seaworld, beware if you sit in the first two rows!

Built in the late 1800s, the Opera House has recently undergone extensive renovation.

Granbury Opera House

Friday, July 15, 2016

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani is set in Hollywood during the 1930s. The story begins with an Italian novice, Alda who before she could take her final orders at a convent in San Francisco, is sent to Los Angeles. It had been decided by the Mother Superior that she should not continue her path, but instead she had been chosen to work as a secretary to one of Hollywood's Golden Age actresses, Loretta Young. The fictional story continues with Loretta Young's romantic friendship with Spencer Tracy and affair with the handsome Clark Gable, both of whom were married. Loretta Young finally admitted the affair shortly before her death. Their daughter was 31 before she knew the truth about her parentage (she was led to believe she was adopted) and stories have since surfaced that rather than a romantic affair, Clark Gable had raped Loretta Young. Hollywood was so different then than it is now where it seems that "stars" proudly flaunt their children before marriage. David Niven was also mentioned as a friend of Loretta Young and her family. I remember reading David Niven's humorous memoirs "The Moon's a Balloon."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vive la France

Today is Bastile Day in France when, in 1789, the peasants stormed the Paris jails - the beginning of the revolution. The celebrations are not unlike ours on July 4th.

The Bastile was destroyed two days after it's capture. Parisians barricaded the narrow streets and at a later date the city was redesigned to make military control easier by widening the streets.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Prisoners and Stray Dogs

We tend to focus more on punishment and less on rehabilitation in the U.S. prison system. This is a great program introducing prisoners to stray dogs with both of them feeling less lonely and abandoned.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Penny Saved - The Art of Frugal Living

I've finally compiled all my money saving tips into a book and A Penny Saved is now available for Kindle. 

Cost of living continues to rise and many of us are bringing home less money each year. A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned is a quote most commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It is also noted that similar phrases were used by others, but for me it came from my aunt and those words have stayed with me since childhood. So, taking those words of wisdom to heart, I’m on a quest to make the most of every penny/cent and waste neither money nor resources.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Comedy of Heirs by Rett MacPherson

A Comedy of Heirs is the first book I've read by Rett MacPherson and as I've recently started working on my family genealogy it was particularly enticing. If you're following the 50 State Reading Challenge, this cozy mystery is set in Missouri.

As the mystery revolves around the large family during a family reunion, I did find it a little difficult to keep up with who's who, but gradually the family members unimportant to the mystery did move to the background. I really enjoyed this Torie O'Shea Mystery and will be looking out for more reads by Rett MacPherson. A Comedy of Heirs is the first in the series.

From the cover:
The December annual O'Shea family reunion is just kicking off when genealogist and town historian Torie O'Shea discovers a bad apple in her family tree. Someone has sent her several newspaper clippings reporting a fifty year old unsolved murder. The dead man is her great-grandfather - shot on his own front porch while his family was trapped inside. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mammoth National Monument Waco, Texas

We've been out and about lately seeking out places we haven't visited in Texas and the Mammoth National Monument was one we thought the grandkids might enjoy. We often come across fossils in our area (lots of fossilized sea creatures show up in creek beds) and two dairy farmers had a large discovery in Waco finding evidence of Colombian mammoths (not the Woolly kind). In all they found over two dozen remains which deaths they believe may have occurred during a flood.

The Brazos river has overflowed its banks showing how quickly animals could get caught in high water.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Star Spangled Murder by Leslie Meier

Star Spangled Murder by Leslie Meier is a Lucy Stone Mystery and if you're joining me in the 50 State Reading Challenge, this book is set in Maine.

From the Cover:
Lucy Stone is in the doghouse - with her next door neighbor, Mrs. Prudence Pratt. It seems that Kudo, the Stones' misbehaving mutt, has developed a taste for Mrs. Pratt's blue-ribbon winning chickens . . . a group of naturists descends on Mrs. Pratt's property, giving her something else to complain about. Then the July Fourth fireworks are canceled to protect a patch of rare purple-spotted lichen.

My thoughts:
Lucy Stone has her hands full with working at the local newspaper, dealing with a crabby neighbor, unruly kids and a misbehaved dog. I like the dynamics of Tinker's Cove with it's coastal small town atmosphere, but for a murder mystery there was a lot of leading up to the murder and only the last half of the book was about the solving the crime.

Have a safe and happy July 4th everyone

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens Concert

Friday, July 1, 2016

Magnolia Market

If you're a fan of HGTVs Fixer Upper you probably know that Chip and Joanna own Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. We stopped by there yesterday on their new bakery opening day (the line was too long and in temperatures inching toward 100 we decided to skip the bakery!)

The silos were originally used for a cotton mill operation.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

We've all heard of the Wright Brothers and their contribution to flight, but David McCullough's book The Wright Brothers gives us an insight into how hard the brothers worked and how fastidiously they researched and tested their findings. Wilbur Wright began his research by writing to the Smithsonian Institute and asking for any articles or books on the experiments and investigations of flight. The two brothers had worked together before both in a printing business and then subsequently in a very successful bicycle shop where they designed and built the new mode of transport - bicycles. All in all they were a close family and encouraged by both parents and their sister in their endeavors until their mother's untimely death of tuberculosis. When it came time to test their invention, they contacted the United States Weather Bureau in Washington for prevailing winds around the country. Based on their findings and choosing a location that would afford a soft landing (sand), they chose Kitty Hawk a remote area in North Carolina.

If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother and begin life in Ohio.
Wilbur Wright

Wilber, like many others, had noticed the number of inventions and technical innovations coming from Ohio. Dayton ranked, during the turn of the century, the first in the country relative to population in the creation of new patents according to the U.S. Patent Office.

It was the age of innovation in America. The first elevator was installed, the first mousetrap, the first motor cars built in America, the first electric sewing machine, and a box camera was introduced by George Eastman.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

50 State Reading Challenge Update

It's hard to believe we're already half way through the year and half way through my 50 State reading challenge.  Here is the update:

create your own personalized map of the USA

AlabamaTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
ArizonaThrough a Glass Deadly by Sarah Atwell
ArkansasBasket Case by Nancy Haddock
Hawaii - Kaiulani by Ellen Emerson White
IllinoisDown the Rabbit Hole by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Maine - Murder She Wrote – a Fatal Feast by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
Michigan - Chocolate Cat Caper by Joanna Carl, Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund
New YorkMurphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen
VermontPollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
Wisconsin  - Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wyoming - Crossfile Trail by Louis L’Amour

List of mysteries by state here