Saturday, June 17, 2017

What is the Best Counter Material for Your Kitchen?

One of the huge pluses when we bought this house was that the kitchen had been completely redone and upgraded just a few years prior. Now, if you know me, you know that the kitchen is probably the most important room in the house. I spend a lot of time in there, and it has to be usable. Some of the other houses we looked at had kitchens that were just barely usable and would have had to be upgraded and redone as soon as possible. In one way that would have been nice because I could have had exactly the kitchen I wanted - in the end - but I certainly wasn't looking forward to the actual remodel.

Even though I didn't get to actually design my current kitchen or choose any of the colors or materials, I'm happy with it overall. And there are some really great features like the spice cabinets on either side of the cooktop. The one thing I think I would have chosen differently is the countertop. It's a nice color, and it looks nice, but I just don't like that it's glossy. When I wipe the counter, I always have to dry it too in order to keep it from looking streaky. Maybe I'm just picky...

The point of this story is that, if you are remodeling or upgrading your kitchen, be sure to research the types of counter materials that are available so that you pick the one that is best for you. Because you will be living with that countertop for a long time, and you want to love it. Don't just get a granite countertop because you think that's the thing to do.

Choosing from the wide variety of counter materials can make the decision difficult. They all can have both positive and negative features. You'll want to do more research and actually look at and touch and feel the different options, but here is a bit of information and a few of the more popular countertop materials:
  • Soapstone - The non-porous nature of soapstone makes it a desired counter product, but it is a surface that can be easily scratched. Natural soapstone is lighter in color, but the surface can be oiled, providing a slightly darker coloration. This product is impervious to staining, but has to be sanded or oiled again to maintain a like-new look. Soapstone is the perfect choice for bathroom renovations.
  • Marble - The variety of color mix with marble offers an almost guaranteed unique look to every kitchen and bathroom. The formed designs within the stone are different with every piece that is milled. Marble is considered very soft and should only be used in areas without a lot of traffic. This may not be the perfect choice if you have a number of heavy appliances on the counters.
  • Granite - Granite is one of the hardest substances used for counters. It has to be coated with a protective seal to prevent staining, since it is porous. The colors of available granite are many and there is one that will fit any decorative style you wish to create, or match.
  • Engineered Stone - Many types of engineered stone are made with crushed quartz embedded into resin. It creates a non-porous surface that is easy to clean and keep clean. There does need to be extra care taken to keep hot pots and pans off the direct surface. Use of pot holders is essential.
  • Ceramic Tile - Tiles made with ceramic are durable, come in many colors and are popular for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and for backsplash. This product is not easy to scratch and doesn't easily stain, but individual tiles can be broken when hit with enough force. The grout can be the most difficult part to keep clean.
When you're ready, you'll want to contact kitchen and bath experts San Diego or the experts in your area to get started on your kitchen remodel.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Have Patio, WILL Use It

We had out of town visitors a couple weekends ago, and we ended up spending a long lazy day just hanging out on the patio. It was so nice and has me wondering why we don't use the patio more often than we do. We've lived here almost 4 years, and we've only used the patio a handful of times. I'm thinking we definitely need to change that!

When we built our house in Wisconsin, we didn't put in a patio or deck right away. A lot of the houses in the neighborhood had concrete patios that were usually put in when the driveway was poured, but we just had some rock brought in. It wasn't the most beautiful thing, but it was usable, and we wanted to wait until we had the money to put in a paver patio. We really liked the way the patio would look, and we liked the idea that there weren't very many paver patios in the neighborhood. And yes, we know that there are many different patio designs and patio pavers, so even if every other house in the neighborhood had a patio, the odds of them all being the same were really low. Still, in a neighborhood where every house was built by the same contractor, every little bit of individuality is important.

In the end, Jeffrey and Cory built a deck and pergola on the back of the house. I can't remember the exact reason we decided on the deck instead of the patio - perhaps that it was something they could do more easily than put in the patio - but we really loved that deck! Once it was built, we ate dinner out there often. It was also a great place to enjoy my morning coffee and read. It was a wonderful addition to our living space.   And it was a great Father/Son project I doubt either one of them will forget.

Building a Rail

Here we have a nice brick patio with a brick wall all the way around and beautiful hand-made tin light fixtures on the wall. It's showing its age a bit, quite a few of the bricks are coming apart, and weeds keep trying to take over. We mixed up some salt, vinegar, and Dawn and sprayed the weeds a couple years ago, which killed them pretty well, but they're weeds and they keep coming back. One of these days we are going to have to tear out the whole patio - not because of the weeds, but because of all the bricks that keep deteriorating - and put something else in. Maybe this will be our chance for that paver patio, hopefully with a nice stone fireplace or firepit area. We may just go with the poured concrete patio so many of our old neighbors had, but have you seen what they can do with concrete these days? It can look just like a fancy paver patio. Either way, we'll probably have to have someone come in and build the patio for us. We can probably do the demolition, but I'm not so sure about the leveling and installation that comes after. It's important to get the drainage right so that we won't have water standing on the patio when it rains - and it can certainly rain around here! - or water running back to the house and sun room.

In the meantime, our patio is still very usable and very pleasant. It's nicely shaded throughout the day and the best place to enjoy our backyard. Even if I can't figure out exactly why we haven't been using it, that doesn't mean we can't do a better job of using it from now on. Jeffrey does need to use his new grill. Often.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


This was just posted by one of my favorite librarians, and I had to share.

Reading really is like magic. We look at these printed marks on a flat, white surface, and whole worlds come alive. We make lifelong friends, fall in love, and have our hearts broken time and time again. And then we dive right back in for more!

Oh - I really need to make more time to read. Why is it that real life always seems to get in the way of all stories just waiting to suck me in?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Does Your Air Conditioner Work?

Our air conditioner stopped working last summer. Right when we needed it, of course. We all expect to be able to flip a switch when the weather heats up and have our air conditioner cool the house down, but what if it doesn't? How do you decide who to call? The former owners of our house left a lot of information about the companies and contractors they had used while they lived here, so we called the HVAC company they used - the same one who installed a new furnace just a few years ago.

But, if you don't have a file full of recommended contractors, here's a list of things to consider when searching for a good HVAC Company.
  1.  Experience - The ideal HVAC company should have at least 2-3 years of experience in things like heating, cooling and plumbing. If their website was just created last month, that's a sign that they're new to the business and without the kind of background that you need in your repairmen. Hold outLook for people with more longevity.
  2. Courtesy - Some companies offer things like an "all due respect" guarantee where they promise that their employees won't curse, smoke or drink while in your home. This is especially helpful if you have small children running around while repairs are taking place.
  3. Payment Plans - While you should always consider a company's prices before hiring their services, don't write them off just because their costs are a little outside of your usual budget. A good HVAC company will offer payment plans that can be spread over weeks or months for their penny-pinching customers.
  4. Staff Qualifications - Look at the company's website. What do they say about their staff? How were they trained? Where did they go to school? Do they have any certifications or memberships to industry organizations? If you can't find anything on the Internet, don't be afraid to ask about their qualifications when you call. They should be happy to tell you.
  5. Location -Last but certainly not least, a good repair company will be located within your community. For example, if you live in Williamsburg, they'll be one of the many HVAC companies Williamsburg VA. This will ensure that they're familiar with all of your area's weather patterns and general heating and cooling needs as well as be readily available should you need any follow-up or future service.
These are just a few signs that your chosen HVAC company is the right one for the job. It's a decision that should be made carefully, so take your time. Don't rush into anything. Your heating and cooling units aren't going anywhere, and you should make sure that you hire good people to handle them.

Unless, of course, the weather forecasters are calling for a week of temperatures in the 90s with high humidity, and you need that air conditioner to work now.  Then, your number one priority is probably finding a company that can come out and look at your air conditioner and get it fixed. Thankfully, the company we called was available, the part was ordered, and it was fixed within a day or two. Because, for once, the weather forecast was right, and it did get hot.

Monday, June 12, 2017

It's Definitely Not the Venue

We attended another concert last month. After our disappointing Soul2Soul tour experience in April, I was a little worried. I knew it was Tim & Faith's sound guy/crew that was the problem, but still...

We had tickets for Neil Diamond's 50 Year Anniversary Tour, because we've been listening to Neil diamond for not quite 50 years - and how could we miss seeing him when he was going to be so close?

Once again we had seats up on the balcony level - this time on the side. (We're still trying to figure out where the best seats in the house would be - besides perhaps front row on the floor.) And there was no problem whatsoever with the sound at this concert. We could hear every word that was spoken, every word that was sung, and every instrument in the band. It was great. Neil Diamond has a sound guy who knows what he is doing. It makes all the difference in the world.

Also, Neil didn't bother with an opening act. Why should he? He's celebrating a 50-year career, and he's got plenty of songs to fill up an entire concert - and then some! Here's the complete setlist from the Indy concert. I've looked at the lists for some of the other concerts, and he varies it a bit each night - probably because he does have so many songs to choose from.

It was an amazing concert, and we loved every minute of it!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Adorable Gift Ideas for Baby Showers & First Birthday Celebrations

New babies are reasons to celebrate, as are first birthdays. These times allow you to show your support to new parents, while helping to shower their little one with love and gifts. However, the prospect of shopping for a baby leaves some people at a loss. Luckily, the following list has you covered with 4 adorable gift ideas that would be big hits at a baby shower or first birthday celebration. Piggy bank

  • Customized Keepsakes for Later in Life
    From personalized piggy banks with a few dollars to add to, or beautiful silver frames for a picture of the new little family, or even a first teddy bear, there are hundreds of customizable keepsakes that make awesome baby shower or birthday gifts. Be sweet, kind, and sincere in your choice of keepsake. Because these are items that could last throughout a baby’s childhood, and even well into adulthood. They are sentimental for a reason.
  • DIY Blankets & Snuggly, Plush Animals
    If you are the crafty kind, invest in some fabrics and stuffing to make your own baby-friendly, kid-safe stuffed animals. Or, opt for a woven blanket, with tight loops to keep a kiddo warm, secure, and protected through the night. You can go with the traditional colors: pink for girl or blue for boy. Or, make your own blend with colors that the parents love, like a beautiful green and red blanket.
  • Books, Books, & More Books (this is my favorite!) Bedtime reading
    No kiddo can have enough, or too many, books. And it's never too early to instill a love for reading with books galore. Pick your childhood favorites, like Little Golden Books, and bestow them on the parents-to-be. You can bet mom and dad will read these stories often. They are sure to become before-bedtime classics in their household.
  • The Necessities—And Then Some
    If you would rather go the practical route, diapers, bottles, or even gift cards to baby stores, are always winning presents. They aren’t quite as personal, but their association with the baby-to-be makes them adorable. To make these necessities a little more…memorable, consider adding on a customized gift for a combo of fun and sentimental with functional and must-have.
The above-mentioned gift ideas are things that any parent-to-be will love for their baby. Whether you are going to a baby shower, or a first birthday celebration, use them aforementioned ideas as a guide to picking the perfect presents.

Have These Always Been a Thing?

I recently started making Kombucha, thanks to some friends who love it and were willing to share some info and a scoby. I don't really know much about it, so I've been doing a bit of reading, and I read that the scoby should never touch metal. I'm not sure what the reasoning is, and I'm not sure if it's more about actually being stored in metal or just a momentary touching. But, I've used a mesh strainer a couple times - and it's metal - so I thought I'd look for some kind of plastic colander or strainer to use. I did find some really cute and colorful colanders at Aldi - a set of 3 for $5.

But then I found a set of 4 nylon mesh strainers. They look just like the metal ones, except they're nylon, and the mesh collapses for easy storage. How perfect, not just for the kombucha, but also for everything. I use my strainers for a lot of things, but it seems that the metal always ends up rusting, and I haven't figured out a way to stop it. These should completely avoid that rust problem. I'm actually very excited about these things and wondering if they've been around for a while, and I just never noticed or if they're something new.

Does anybody know?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Get Healthy In 2017

If you want to lead an amazing life, it's important to know that getting healthy will increase the likelihood of realizing that goal. Being healthy ensures that you will have the energy and mood stability necessary to excel in your professional life while also pursuing your personal dreams with passion. Luckily, there are hundreds of wellness strategies you can use to get healthy in 2017. Some of them include:
  1. Focus On Dental Health.
    Focusing on dental wellness is a wonderful way to get healthy in 2017. This technique is important because dental health contributes to overall wellness. For example, people who take good care of their teeth are less likely to experience unwanted conditions such as toothaches and severe mouth pain. If you do find yourself in need of an emergency dentist Charlotte NC residents can rely on to offer exceptional services, the professionals of Charlotte Dental Partners can assist you. To ensure that you select the right dentist, make sure that you use the internet to check his or her online reviews. If the majority of the dentist's online reviews are positive, you can be fairly confident that he or she will offer you the exemplary dental services you deserve.
  2. Develop An Exercise Routine. exercise
    Another strategy you can implement to remain on the path to great health is developing an exercise routine. There are many benefits that result from regular engagement in physical activity. Some of those benefits include:
    • clearer thinking 
    • more youthful looking skin 
    • better memory 
    • improved sleep quality
    • enhanced metabolism
    • better posture

    Note that the ideal exercise program will have three components: cardio, strength, and stretching. Three types of exercises that would contribute to a holistically sound exercise program would be cycling, weight-lifting, and pilates.

  3. Invest In A Monthly Massage. Massage
    One final technique that will keep you on the road to amazing health is investing in a monthly massage. This step will provide you with a wonderful way to combat the anxiety that tends to surface due to factors such as a stressful job, death in the family, new relationship, etc. In addition to helping people fight stress, a monthly massage will help boost your metabolism and improve your digestion!

Don't Delay: Get Healthy Today!

Individuals who want to get healthy should know that there are numerous options they can explore to make it happen. Three of them include focusing on dental health, developing an exercise routine, and investing in a monthly massage. Start using these techniques now to put yourself on the path to better health!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sometimes You Gotta Spend More to Spend Less

ShoppingWe love shopping at Kohl's. Of course, the fun is in the savings and not really the shopping itself. I don't understand people who actually enjoy shopping for the sake of shopping. But when I can stack savings on top of savings, then I'm having a bit of fun.

Last weekend we stopped into Kohl's because we had some Kohl's Cash ($7.84) from an earlier return, and we needed to spend it before it expired. Combined with the 20% discount we had, we figured it was a good time to find something we needed. I ended up finding a quilt/bedspread - originally priced at $219.99 but marked down to $43.99. Since we had been looking for something just like that, we decided to grab it and go, which is the best kind of shopping trip - in and out without wasting a lot of time.

1st rule of shopping: Start with the clearance racks.

I can't actually imagine that anyone would spend $220 on this bedspread because the 2nd rule of shopping is to never pay full price. Of course, that's similar to the first rule but can also include sale prices. I personally think sale prices are usually too high, which is why I wait for things to go on clearance, and even then I usually wait for 70%, 80%, or 90% off before I'm willing to buy.

So, we got a nice quilt/bedspread for a total cost of $30.94, which was a pretty good deal - until I realized that we had a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase for Mother's Day. I was thinking women's clothing, jewelry, purses and accessories, etc. and didn't realize it also included items from the Home department - which would include the quilt. No, we didn't spend $50, but we did spend $43.99 (before discounts and Kohl's Cash), which meant that all we had to do was spend an additional $6.01 to be able to use the coupon and save $10. If we had bought something else that cost exactly $6.01, using the same Kohl's Cash and the same 20% discount, we would have spent $27.53, saving $3.41 - and getting an additional item. More merchandise for less money. Who can argue with that?

It gets even better, though. We didn't make it back to Kohl's until this past Sunday. I asked if they could re-ring my purchase if I found something else so that I could use the coupon - because I would have if I'd realized it applied. They said sure, so I found a blouse I liked - not exactly $6.01 but close. It was on clearance for $8 (80% off). After 'returning' the quilt and then re-ringing the transaction with both the quilt and the blouse - with the 30% discount we now have - the total cost was $25.57, a savings of $5.37. (and remember, I got a blouse, in addition to the quilt I originally bought)

Of course, when we have a 30% discount we do like to see what we can find, so we did a bit more shopping the clearance racks. I found some more tops, some dresses, pants, etc. - enough to use the coupon again - and Jeffrey found some golf shirts and t-shirts. We spent enough that we got $10 Kohl's Cash, and when I added the receipt from the quilt and blouse I bought first, we had enough for another $10 Kohl's Cash.

This, of course, means that we have to go shopping again next week when the Kohl's Cash is valid. And if we wait until Thursday, there's a coupon for $10 off a $25 purchase. That means if we find something(s) worth $30, we can use the coupon to save $10 and then pay the difference with our $20 Kohl's Cash, and actually pay absolutely nothing.

Note: Kohl's Cash is only valid during specific dates. If you can't find something you actually need or want, just buy something, anything. Hold onto the receipt, and next time you go to Kohl's, return whatever it was you grabbed. They'll give you Kohl's Cash (good for 30 days) to spend then when you're ready.

Be sure to start with the clearance racks.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Why a Screen Room is a Good Idea for Your Home

Patios, porches, and decks are popular extensions of the home. People like taking a cup of coffee outside and enjoying the sunrise in the mornings, as well as being able to entertain and spend time with friends and family. There is just one drawback to a patio, porch, or deck. Summer brings bugs, and bugs can be very annoying. To enjoy all of the benefits of a porch or patio with none of the bugs, a screen room is a great alternative. A screen room can enclose a pool area, a patio, a small pond, or virtually anything else that you might desire. It is basically up to you when it comes to the many uses of a screen enclosure.

Benefits of a Screen Room

There are several benefits to a screen room. They have been compared to sunrooms, but rather than windows, they have screens. This offers some protection from the sun and rain as well as letting a good breeze blow through during the warm months. Some areas of the country have more warm weather than others making them prime candidates for jacksonville screen enclosures that can be used almost year round.

A screen room offers extra living and entertaining space without the need for heating or cooling. Often people add outdoor ceiling fans to the rooms to help keep them cooler in the summer. A few chairs and tables, a grill, and an ice chest make the perfect place for a meal outdoors without worrying about flies, mosquitoes, or gnats.

Another benefit of a screen enclosure is having a place to let your pets enjoy some fresh air without worrying about them. This is particularly true if you do not have a fenced yard.

One thing that most people do not realize is a screen room can add to the value of their property. Adding a screen room doesn't have to cost a lot, so the property value added versus the investment cost is quite advantageous.

A screen room is also simple to maintain and repair. Most screens have vinyl or aluminum frames that are attached using a spline. There are grooves in the frames. The spline is placed over the screen and a spline tool is used to roll the spline holding the screen into the grooves. This makes it easy to replace the screen if it becomes worn out, torn, or develops a hole.

We really enjoy our sunroom - which also has screens - but if we ever live in a warmer state, I'm definitely going to want one of these screen rooms. Preferably with a pool. How about you?

Friday, May 05, 2017

Do You Think I Got My Money's Worth?

I ordered new flip flops today. I have a pair of black ones that I've worn for quite a few years, but they're not quite as comfortable as they once were. Oh, I can still wear them, but I wouldn't want to walk a mile in them. Not anymore, but I definitely used to walk miles in these flip flops because they are the most comfortable ones I've ever had. I would gladly buy another pair just like them, but of course, they are not available anymore. Why does that always happen when I find something I like?

Never mind that it's been 7 years since I bought them. 7 years! I just found the order confirmation email because I knew it had been at least 5 years, but I wasn't exactly sure. And, since I tend to keep everything and never delete the email that I should delete, I found the email when I went searching for it. On June 9, 2010 I spent $12.74 on a pair of Crocs flip flops - the most I'd ever spent on a pair - and I've been wearing those flip flops every summer since then.

So, even though they don't have the same style anymore (Wake - another thing I learned from the order confirmation email), I thought I'd see if I could find some more Crocs to replace them.  I'm not usually worried about brand names, but since my current ones have been so good, I'm hoping some new ones will be as good. 

Today was the day because several styles on the Crocs website are 30% off right now, and you know how I like saving money. I grabbed a couple pair at 30% off and then added another coupon code (EXTRA10) for an additional 10% off, and got two pairs for about $27 including tax, which is not much more per pair than what I spent 7 years ago. I just had to buy two pairs because shipping is free on orders $24.99 and over, and who wants to pay for shipping when you don't have to?

I wonder if these two will last another 7 years. Each. Which would be 14 years.

But first I need to get them and see how they fit and feel. I hope they're as comfortable as my old pair.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

What is Art?

I don't tend to think of myself as artistic. People who can take pen, pencil, paints, canvas, or other art material and create something that other people can see the beauty in, those people are artists. artwork People who can sing, perform Shakespeare in front of an audience, write poetry, crochet blankets, make jewelry, or knit a sweater are artists.

The first definition of art on is:
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
"Of more than ordinary significance" I like that. Art should lift us above our daily existence and show us something special.  It's possibly the best way to share how we see, hear, feel, or otherwise experience the world in a way that others can (hopefully) understand.

And this is where I think, "But I'm not an artist!" I have some very talented people in my family, people who draw and paint, write poetry, and play music. I have a very talented son who can make Shakespeare understandable. I love to watch him on stage! And my daughter can crochet an amazing blanket in an unbelievably short amount of time. I have absolutely no idea how she can take a bunch of string (yarn) and create such gorgeous things. I'm not sure where my kids got their artistic talents, because their dad and I have none of that. It must have skipped a generation and come from their grandparents, though that doesn't explain my musically talented brother and the serious photography skills of my youngest brother. (I'm sure my other brother has some great skills with that truck he drives, but I'm not sure that's art. Or is it?)

Another definition under 'art' on reads:
the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning: the art of baking;
So truck driving absolutely can be an art. We already know that it takes some serious skill, and most of us would never dream of driving one of those big trucks, let alone trying to back one up. In fact, I know a truck driver who does not back up. She lets her partner and husband do that. But she's very skilled in all kinds of other artistic things.

But let's get back to that last definition of art and the example used - "the art of baking" - I bake! And I cook. And apparently that can be viewed as an art. Which would mean that I am artistic after all. I may not be able to take a blank canvas and create something you'd want to hang on your walls, but I can definitely create something you'll want in your belly!

It's not quite the same as this video I saw on Facebook the other day, but in a way it is. The artist takes the sounds she hears, and sees as colors, and creates gorgeous pictures. I can usually read a recipe and know what it's going to taste like before I've even tried it, which is why I'm always changing recipes instead of actually following them. They're more like guidelines, anyway.

So now that I know I actually am artistic, what am I going to do? Oh yeah - feed people!

What will you do with your artistic skills?

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Soul2Soul Tour Review

Jeffrey and I had a date night on Saturday - dinner and a concert. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul tour was in Indianapolis, and we thought it would be fun to see them. We've loved Tim & Faith for years and were really looking forward to this concert. It had to be good, right?

Two major entertainers, with multiple songs their fans would love to hear, touring together. They could easily fill up the whole evening and leave us wanting more.
McGraw has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and dominated the singles charts with a stunning 41 #1 singles. He is currently riding the Billboard Country Airplay chart with 3 singles in the top 20, a feat he was the first to achieve, and now the first to achieve for a second time. He is the most played country artist since his debut in 1992, with two singles spending over 10 weeks at #1 (“Live Like You Were Dying” and the genre-breaking “Over and Over”). His recent multi-week #1 single “Humble and Kind,” off his “Damn Country Music” album, is his 59th release to hit top 10 or better, and spawned a New York Times Best Seller book. - Soul2Soul Tour
Why in the world would they need an opening act? I definitely wasn't expecting that, but some guy came on stage. I have no idea who he was or what any of the songs he did were, because the sound was horrible. HORRIBLE.

This was our first clue that the concert might not be as good as we hoped...

I was seriously hoping that it was the opening act's sound guy and that the sound would improve when Tim & Faith took the stage. When the opening act was over, we watched while the stage was reset, and we waited for Tim & Faith - for the concert we came to see. The stage was gorgeous. Tim & Faith came up from underneath and began singing, and...

Sadly, there was absolutely no improvement to the sound. There was so much bass and reverb that absolutely nothing else could be heard. Oh, we could tell that Tim & Faith were singing, but we could barely hear them and could not understand any of the words. And because of the wall of sound, it wasn't just the vocals that couldn't be heard - the sound from the band just kind of blended into the noise, and we couldn't differentiate any of the instruments or music. I'm sure some of those songs were familiar, but who could really tell? It was like the sound guy thought he was putting on a hard rock concert and really had no clue what Tim & Faith's music actually sounds like. We've been to several concerts, and this was absolutely the worst sound ever.

There were quite a few very disappointed people who left early, and several comments about the sound on the Facebook event page - though I'm not sure anyone ever read those. They certainly weren't being read or monitored by anyone during the concert because the bad sound stayed bad.
Stage/light show was awesome but sound was awful. Sad that we couldn't understand any words. Anxious to start hearing new songs on the radio so I can hear the words. Still love Tim and Faith but a big disappointment in the show in Indy last night.
The sound was horrible!! Left at 930 bc you could hardly make out what they were singing... and to think we drove 3 hours for a headache!
Sound is awful. Can't understand the words and can hardly even tell what songs are being played. Disappointing to say the least.
We left after Faith's set. It was exhausting trying to make sense of the sound. We came to hear Tim and Faith, not overpowering band and back up singers. I was so disappointed!
The sound really was AWFUL. But we stayed until the end, maybe because we kept hoping it would get better, which it did not. Maybe we're just suckers for punishment, or maybe it's just that we'd paid good money for these concert tickets. We may have been in the cheap seats - though there really is no such thing as a cheap seat when Ticketmaster gets through charging all their fees - but we still expected a decent concert.  (We saw Bon Jovi last month in seats on the same level but almost behind the stage, and while the view wasn't as good, the sound was MUCH better for that concert) This venue hosts numerous concerts, so I'm pretty sure that the sound is usually decent. It has to be, right? They couldn't regularly sell worthless tickets, right?

The lights and visuals were awesome, but sadly not worth much if the music isn't there to go with them. I would have been happier listening to Tim & Faith with absolutely no extra splash - if only I could have HEARD them.

The light show was worth a little something, though I hate to think that Tim & Faith have put that much into their show (heart and soul) and do not realize that the sound is so bad that their fans cannot hear or understand anything they are saying or singing. Because I have to believe they don't know what the show sounds like from out in the audience. It's either that or they're trying to impersonate rock stars instead of being the genuine people I thought they were.

Overall, it was a VERY disappointing concert - a waste of money, and a waste of time. And definitely not up to par with their past tours.
McGraw and Hill have been dominating the music charts since the early ‘90s. They began touring together in 1996 on McGraw’s Spontaneous Combustion tour. In 2000 they created the Soul2Soul franchise with their record-breaking “Soul2Soul” tour, becoming that year’s top grossing and most successful U.S. tour. Their success continued in 2006-2007 when “Soul2Soul II” returned to the road, which was the most attended tour of the year in any musical genre and remains the highest grossing multi-year North American tour in country music history. Pollstar Magazine named it their “Major Tour of 2006,” beating out Madonna, The Rolling Stones and The Red Hot Chili Peppers for the honor.  - Soul2Soul Tour

So, what did you do this weekend? I hear Garth Brooks was in Champaign...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Communications While Traveling; You Don't Have To Do It All

As a busy global professional, you need to stay on the go so that you can meet with clients and make money for your business.  However, your busy schedule does not exempt you from fulfilling important obligations like corresponding by U.S. mail, sending out products, or notarizing documents needed for legal or business purposes.

Renting services for mail delivery, package forwarding, and notary NYC paperwork can help busy professionals like you continue your travels and stay on task.

Business handshake

Privacy and Convenience

Many of your business endeavors may require the utmost of privacy and security.  You do not want unauthorized parties to know what you are doing or with whom you are corresponding. 

Rather than rent an unattended mailbox or use the mailing address of a relative, friend, or business partner, you can keep your activities discreet and well-guarded by renting the services of a professional mailbox facility.  The staff on duty there are held to the tightest of privacy standards so that you can be assured that your correspondence and packages are handled confidentially and without the interference of parties who are not authorized to know your business.

Likewise, you can get these services on your terms so that you know when and how often the letters and packages will be handled and sent out on your behalf.  For example, if you run a business that specializes in seasonal goods like Christmas candy or Halloween costumes, you do not want your packages to be sent out to clients in March or April well before these holidays occur. 

Instead, you can secure the services to receive and send out the packages according to a timeline that fits your business's needs.  Your products can be forwarded in September or October, for example, so that clients get them early enough yet still close to the holidays for which the goods are intended.

package delivery companies Pensacola

Notarizing Documents

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need paperwork notarized before it can be filed or used for legal purposes.  Finding a notary public when you are away from home and in a place with which you are not familiar can be challenging.

The service has a notary public on duty who can notarize your papers before they are sent to you.  You can get the papers submitted and available for your use quickly.

Global travelers like you do not have time to worry about mail pickup or package forwarding.  You can get all of these services as well as notary help and more by renting from a mailbox facility today.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Free Audiobooks All Summer Long

Once again book lovers will be able to download two FREE audiobooks each week. All Summer Long. And summer starts next week at Sync! (and runs through August 16th)

Returning April 27, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week - pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. For a complete list of this year's titles, be sure to check out the list of 2017 Sync titles.

Be sure to sign up for email or text alerts to be notified when new titles are available to download at

Download Details
  • Downloads are in MP3 format and are Mac and Windows compatible.
  • Downloads will operate through the (free) OverDrive app.
  • Most listening devices are supported.
  • Each SYNC audiobook is available for download for a period of 7 days (only).
And, yes they're for teens, but I know I'm going to download them and enjoy them too. How about you?

Monday, April 03, 2017

High School Seniors Can Have A Perfect Final Semester

Everyone has probably heard about "senioritis" by now, which refers to the tendency that high school seniors have to slack off and lose interest during their final semester of high school. It's a pretty unsurprising phenomenon. After all, by the time seniors get to the final stretch of their high school career, chances are that they're worn out, tired, and ready to just get the heck out of there.

While some seniors might succumb to senioritis, not every high school senior needs to give a lackluster performance during their final semester. In fact, it's very important not to succumb and to finish high school strong.

High school never ends!

Here are a few things to remember during that final high school semester: (and all throughout high school, for that matter)
  • Remember That Colleges Check
    A lot of high school seniors have already been accepted into college by the time they have entered their final semester. For this reason, it becomes tempting to want to stop putting in a full effort and start slacking off. However, it's important for seniors to remember that colleges have the ability to, and often will check final semester grades. Many poor high school students have lost their spots at great colleges because they had an extremely disappointing final high school semester. For this reason, it's important to remember to keep making an effort all the way to the finish line.
  • Focus On Personal Enrichment
    High school seniors, such as those who attend Landon School, would be wise to remember that their academic career isn't just about making great grades to show a college. Rather, it's about developing the skills and accumulating the knowledge that will help them in adulthood, both as employees and as citizens. Whether you're a Landon School student or attend another school, try to find personal enrichment in your final semester's curriculum.
  • Make Memories
    Many high school seniors feel stifled and ready to get out by the time they reach their final semester. However, it's important to remember that once high school is over, it's over forever. This is why students should focus on enjoying every moment and making great memories that will last them for the rest of their lives. Whether this means trying a new sport or joining a new club, focus on cherishing the small amount of time you have left as a high school student. Once it's gone, there's no getting it back.
  • Focus On The Finish Line
    High school seniors should treat the final semester like a marathon, not a sprint. They should focus on the finish line, sure, but they should also savor every moment. On the days that they feel discouraged or sick of their schoolwork, there's nothing wrong with taking a moment to dream about graduation or their first day of college. However, after taking a moment to dream, it's important that they get back to work and focus on their studies. That finish line is so close; don't stop now!
You're only a high school student once. This is why it's so important to make the most of it, even if you're chomping at the bit to graduate and head off to college. Don't become one of the countless kids who succumbs to senioritis. Instead, work hard, make memories with your friends and keep going until you reach the finish line.

high school girls track

Friday, March 31, 2017

I Love My Himalayan Salt Lamps

I had never heard of Himalayan salt lamps until we visited Cory in Door County the summer he interned with Door Shakespeare. I didn't end up buying one, but we had an interesting conversation with the shop owner about all the benefits, and I knew I'd want to get at least one of these lamps for my home. Not only are they pretty, but they have quite a few benefits. Himalayan salt lamps create these little things called ‘negative ions’, which are amazing for killing bacteria, cleaning the air, alleviating allergies and anxiety, and much more.

Here's some info I received in my email recently:
Experts have been studying negative ions and Himalayan salt lamps for some time now. Here are some of the things they can do for you:
  • Improve mood - Negative ions are thought to create reactions in the brain that release mood chemicals and literally make you happier and more content. They also improve blood and oxygen supply to the brain, relieving stress, anxiety, and brain fog.
  • Improve sleep - Himalayan salt lamps relieve allergies and anxiety, and help prevent irregular sleep patterns. That means even just one by your bed is certain to help you fall asleep and stay asleep in the most restful way possible.
  • Clean the air - Himalayan salt lamps essentially suck in air filled with dust, pet dander, mold, and so on, trap the gunk inside the salt, and release the pure, cleaned air back into the room. Those with allergies or asthma would LOVE the noticeable change.

I'm not convinced enough to keep one in the bedroom, because even with a very low wattage bulb, these lamps put out quite a bit of light. And, no, you do not want to turn it off or unplug it when you go to bed, because it's the reaction of the heat with the salt that creates those negative ions and gives you all the benefits. Also, especially in the summertime, you'll want to replace the bulb pretty quickly whenever it burns out, because the salt attracts moisture and will become wet. These really are supposed to be on all the time.

So far I only have two of them - from Amazon and linked in this post - but I keep thinking about buying more. I like the first one best, mainly because all of the salt glows, from top to bottom. The second one is taller, and the light just shines in the bottom with the salt on top looking like there's no light. Maybe that would be the kind to use in the bedroom, perhaps if hidden a bit behind something else?

Do you have salt lamps in your house? Have you noticed any of the benefits?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

You'll Always be My Baby

No matter how old our kids get, they'll always be our babies, won't they? We've loved them from the moment we knew they were on the way - from the positive pregnancy test, the first time we heard their heartbeat, that first ultrasound, to the moment we finally got to hold them in our arms.

I was reminded of this a couple times yesterday on Facebook:
  • One of my nieces turned 10, and her dad (my brother) said that while she has grown into an amazing and beautiful young lady, and he can't wait to see where she goes from here, he still wants to keep her as his little girl for as long as possible.  My mom replied, "Trust me: she will always be your little girl. Just like you will always be my little boy." Yes, he's all grown, 6 foot 5 inches tall, and married with three girls of his own, but he'll always be his mom's baby. (and he'll always be my 'baby brother' but that's a whole different thing)
  • Another one of my friends, who is a teacher, had a kindergartner in tears. Why? One of her classmates had called her a baby. The teacher's response, "You will always be a baby to your parents. Do you know what my mom calls me? Her baby." And the tears dried up as the kindergarten girl realized that all of us will always be babies to our parents.
My baby will be 25 this summer. 25! How in the world did that happen? It seems like yesterday that he was just a cute little guy. He's still pretty cute, but he's not so little anymore. On a side note, I married his dad a month before he turned 25. How can our son be almost that same age?

Those 25 years certainly explain the difference in what the sonograms we had with both our babies looked like and what sonograms look like today. I've been looking through some images, and technology has really advanced in those 25 years. Nowadays you can really see your unborn baby with 3D and 4D (video) imaging. I am in awe of these images! You do not need a technician to explain what you are seeing, as we did, because these images are so clear.

What our sonograms looked like:
Can you see his little face? Kind of, and we loved what we saw, but look what can be seen now:

Absolutely amazing! If you just can't wait until your baby is born to see that little face or count those little toes and fingers, these are great. You can start showing off your little one before he or she is even born. Not that we didn't do that, too - but this is so much better. You can also get high quality images suitable for framing and displaying on your wall - your baby's first portraits!

Have any of you had professional 3D ultrasound images taken of your babies? What did you think of the experience?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Boost Your Frozen Yogurt Business

We all love frozen yogurt, right? Perhaps you've even thought of starting your own frozen yogurt business. It sounds like nothing but fun and all the delicious frozen yogurt you can eat, but there is also a lot of responsibility. For instance, offering kosher frozen yogurt helps ensure that your customers get the best for their money. Would you have thought of that? I know I wouldn't have, so it helps to always do a lot of research before diving into any new business - even one as tasty as frozen yogurt.

Frozen Yogurt with Fruits

Here are some great tips to help you have the best frozen yogurt business possible:
  • Provide Different Types of Yogurt: There is more to selling frozen yogurt than just offering tasty flavors and toppings. Your customers are going to want a treat that fits their lifestyle. A customer who is looking for an alternative to ice cream may enjoy non fat, low fat or no sugar added options. Be sure to always taste test your products to ensure your customers are not sacrificing great taste for a low fat or no sugar added option. (Yes, it's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!)
  • Offer a Variety of Flavors: A menu full of delicious flavors is sure to appeal to your customers. Start by offering traditional flavors such as Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and Butter Pecan. These are perfect for customers who just want something simple but sweet. For the more adventurous customers, you'll want to offer a range of fun flavors, such as S'Mores, Red Velvet Cupcake, Cappuccino and Hazelnut Irish Cream. This appeals to customers who enjoy trying new flavors. You can even offer holiday flavors such as Pumpkin Royale, Apple Pie and Candy Cane. You don't have to offer all of the flavors all of the time. Rotate them in, and your customers will come back in more often to find out what's available now.
  • Be Mindful of Health and Diet Restrictions: Your customers are going to have different health and diet restrictions, such as a food allergy or weight-loss diet. This is why it is important to offer options that appeal to everyone. Steer away from flavors that are made with high fructose corn syrup or growth hormones. Use flavors that contain real milk, vitamin A and vitamin D3.
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Invest In Flavor Cups: There are several benefits of investing in flavor cups for your business. Flavor cups come in a wide variety of flavors, and you can even mix the flavors to create an exclusive dish for your customers. The pre-portioned cups make it easy to mix the right amount of frozen yogurt. You can also save space in your freezer because the cups are small.
No, you can't make all the people happy all the time, but it looks like the key to a successful business is, yes - delicious frozen yogurt in lots of fun and creative flavors, but also thinking about the needs of your individual customers and making sure there are some options for everyone. A wide variety of flavors and healthy choices will have your customers coming back again and again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Doodle 4 Google Voting Open

I love this every year. Young people are given a theme - this year it's "what I see for the future" -, and they design a Google doodle. These kids are crazy creative!

Judges have selected State and Territory finalists, and public voting is now open to choose five National Finalists. Check out the gallery of submissions and cast your vote before March 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm EST.  Click on the doodles to learn more about the artists' visions of the future and vote for your favorite.

That is easier said than done. I just looked through all of them, and I'm not sure I can actually pick a favorite. There are lots of good ones. Like I said, these kids are crazy creative!

Be sure to check all the doodles out and let me know which one(s) you like best!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Do You Have an Award Winning Movie in You?

Are you getting tired of your current profession? If this is the case, you should take steps to put yourself on a better career path. There is no reason that you should spend the rest of your life doing a job that you are not excited about. So what will your new job be? There are certainly many things you can try your hand at. Are you a big movie fan? With the Oscars coming up, you may be thinking about channeling your enthusiasm for movies into a new career as a screenwriter. There are many reasons why this could be a great career change for you. 'writer'

Consider all of these things:
  1. You will finally be able to be your own boss.
    Being a professional screenwriter gives you an enormous amount of personal freedom that most other jobs will not be able to match. You will determine how much you work and when you will do your writing. You will no longer have a boss looking over your shoulder for 40 hours each week. The ability to take control of their own destiny is something that most people desire. However, very few of them will ever realize this dream. You will control your own destiny if you work as a screenwriter.
  2. You will have a job that allows you to be creative.
    There are far too many people who are stuck working at jobs that do not challenge them at all. They are very repetitive and boring. Writing screenplays for a living will get your creative juices flowing. You can think up stories about any subject that interests you. You might even be interested in writing an adapted screenplay of a novel that you read in the past. It is completely up to you.
  3. You will have more free time. And the Oscar goes to...
    Having to go to a full-time job means that you do not have a lot of personal time. Becoming a screenwriter will definitely free up your schedule. You will no longer need to get up at the crack of dawn and sit in rush hour traffic every day. You can use this extra free time to travel or spend more time with your family. You will have a much more leisurely lifestyle than you had before.
  4. The money is very good.
    You will find that screenwriters make a very nice living. You will not be disappointed with your pay if you sell a screenplay.

Who knows - maybe the next Oscar-winning movie will come from your imagination!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Create Your Own Colonial Masterpiece

Have you ever visited a historical home and wished you could recreate that cozy feeling in your own home? It is easier than you think. By changing a few basic elements you can capture that vintage look throughout your home.

The Dining Room

Colonial dining rooms have a formal feeling while still being very inviting. Wainscoting is a must. Use trim pieces to make a chair rail approximately three feet up from the floor. You can use textured wall paper, paneling, or bead board underneath to recreate the slatted look of boards. Paint the top portion of the walls in a neutral shade while using rich blues, greens, or cranberry shades for the lower half, trim, and doors. Cover windows with heavy drapes, and hang vintage portraits for a completely colonial appearance. All of these items can be found at your local home improvement store.

The Living Room

Make the fireplace the focal point of the room rather than the TV. TVs and other electronics can be placed inside of an armoire where they can be hidden behind closed doors when not in use. Place all of the furniture facing the fireplace. Decorate the mantle with antique candle holders, pewter pieces, and vintage figurines. Don’t forget to add vintage fireplace tools next to the hearth. You can find these at online merchants such as Adams Fireplace Shop.

The Kitchen

The kitchen has always been the heart of the home. In colonial days this was especially true. Keep that in mind while decorating. Colonists kept everything they needed in this room. Hang baskets from a beam on the ceiling, stack pottery dishes on a wooden shelf, and allow the cast iron pots and pans to serve double duty as decorations. Use a large wooden table with matching benches and chairs as the anchor in the room. Find candle sticks and a crock filled with flowers to use as the center piece. Homespun curtains and towels will complete the old fashioned look and feel.

By making these few simple changes within your home, you will be well on your way to creating a vintage feel in your own home. Use these tips to get started, and then you can add more antique pieces as time goes by. Before you know it, you’ll have your own beautifully warm and cozy colonial home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Don't Always Steal Cereal...

...but when I do, I take it back.

A few weeks ago, I bought a couple boxes of granola. At least I thought I had bought some granola, until I wanted to open a box and have some for breakfast. And then I could not find that granola anywhere. I checked the shelf I normally put cereal on; I checked the top shelf where I store the extra cereal when I have too much for the regular shelf; and then I checked again. Then I checked my van, just in case I had somehow left a bag in there. And I checked again. No granola. It just was not in my house.

I started wondering if I had actually bought the granola, or maybe I just thought about buying it and then decided against it. Then I dug out my receipt and checked. Yep, I definitely bought granola.

So I called the store - even though it had been almost two weeks - just to see if perhaps they kept a record of any items left behind at the registers. Nope, no record. They keep things for about a week and then put them back. But, Kyle said that wasn't a problem, and they'd be happy to replace my two boxes of granola. So I wrote his name on the top of my receipt, and finally got back to the store about a week later. They were indeed happy to give me two new boxes of granola to replace the two I couldn't find. No questions asked.

I took my new boxes home and placed them in my cabinet. Then a few days later I moved some oatmeal boxes - and found my original boxes of granola behind them.

Which means next time I was out, I took those replacement boxes back to the store. The lady behind the customer service desk just smiled.

Monday, February 20, 2017

How Home Renovations are Helping Home Sellers in a Buyer's Market

germany real estateAcross the country, home sellers have had a difficult time because of the lack of buyers who have the ability to pay legitimate prices for new homes. With the economic recovery being somewhat sluggish and people being a bit reluctant to leave their existing homes, sellers have experienced trouble even though the housing supply has been down in some places. This has left many home owners in a difficult situation. What should they do to make their homes stand out from the crowd? The answer for some has revolved around renovations.

There has long been debate among general contractors about whether home renovations add more value than they cost. If a person puts $30,000 into a home renovation, for instance, will that person experience an equivalent gain in his or her home value? Many today believe the answer is yes, and more, they believe that renovated homes will sell more quickly, saving home sellers a tremendous amount of money that might have otherwise gone to fees or double mortgage payments. The trends suggest that today's home buyers are looking for something a little different in their homes. They want something clean, updated, and move-in ready.

Updated kitchen
Home renovations allow home owners to respond to the trends in home buying. The housing market goes through shifts, with buyers desiring different elements depending on the year. In some eras, people are looking for kitchens with big double ovens. (Me! Well, not necessarily the double ovens, but the kitchen is always a big factor when I look at a house.) In other years, buyers will pay more money for an updated bathroom. Other years bring a heightened desire among buyers for a so-called "man cave" or perhaps a hometheater room. During a renovation, a contractor can respond to the current trends, making the home into one that can be more easily sold on today's market.

Home sellers looking for easy ways to get their homes sold and off the market must consider whether a renovation is right for them. Many sellers have decided to invest the money up front, trusting that a contractor will create more value than he takes in the project. It is an interesting strategy that seems to be working out across the country, as sellers are seeing their homes fly off the market when they add the touches that buyers want.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Book List 2016

The simple thing would be to link you to My Year in Books on Goodreads, BUT I started putting together a list of all the books I read starting back in 2008, so it just seems the thing to do. Because of Goodreads, I know that I read fewer books this year, but it will still be fun to go through them, and see how many pages and how many hours of reading I had in 2016.

Also, once again I'll link to any reviews I did. I started out with good intentions to review more of the books I read, but I'm not sure how I did. I guess we'll find out.

  1. Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline - 278 pages
  2. Barefoot Summer (Chapel Springs #1) - Denise Hunter (audio) - 7 hrs 27 min
  3. The Darke Toad (Septimus Heap #1.5) - Angie Sage - 96 pages
  4. Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel - David Limbaugh - 406 pages
  5. March - Geraldine Brooks (audio) - 10 hrs 22 min
780 pages | 17 hours and 49 minutes

  1. Family (Firstborn #4) - Karen Kingsbury - 345 pages
  2. American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History - by Chris Kyle (audio) - 10 hrs 22 min
  3. Caretaker (Caretaker Chronicles #1) - Josi Russell - 325 pages
  4. Forever (Firstborn #5) - Karen Kingsbury - 346 pages
1016 pages | 10 hours 22 minutes

  1. Guardians (Caretaker Chronicles #2) - by Josi Russell - 394 pages
  2. The Fixer - by Joseph Finder (audio) - 9 hrs 38 min
  3. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands - Lysa TerKeurst (audio) - 6 hrs 31 min
  4. Forever (Firstborn #5) - Karen Kingsbury - 346 pages
740 pages | 16 hours 9 minutes

  1. The Good Girl - Mary Kubica (audio) - 10 hrs 38 min 
10 hours 38 minutes

  1. Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts - Sara Frankl, Mary Carver - 208 pages
  2. I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist - by Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek (audio) - 14 hrs 47 min
  3. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes #5) - Nancy Springer (audio) - 3 hrs 9 min
208 pages | 17 hours 56 minutes

  1. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins (audio) - 10 hrs 59 min
  2. Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story - Andrea Warren (audio) - 1 hr 26 min
12 hours 25 minutes

  1. The Elijah Calling: The Hidden & Revealed Messiah! (Restoring Truth #1) - Ken Mentell - 487 pages
  2. Magyk (Septimus Heap #1) - Angie Sage (audio) - 12 hrs 10 min
  3. Landon Snow and the Auctor's Riddle (Landon Snow #1) - R.K. Mortenson (audio) - 6 hrs 30 min
487 pages | 18 hours 40 minutes

  1. The Passage (The Passage #1) - Justin Cronin - 897 pages
  2. An Invisible Client - Victor Methos - 240 pages
  3. The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) - Erika Johansen (audio) - 14 hrs 30 min
1137 pages | 14 hours 30 minutes

  1. The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2) - Erika Johansen (audio) - 18 hrs 4 min
  2. How It Went Down - Kekla Magoon (audio) - 7 hrs 10 min
25 hours 14 minutes

  1. The Twelve (The Passage #2) - Justin Cronin 626 pages
  2. Fractured - Catherine McKenzie 492 pages
  3. Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad - M.T. Anderson (audio) 10 hrs 20 min
1118 pages | 10 hours 20 minutes

  1. You Can't Do it Naked: From Exposed to Fully Clothed in the Armor of God - Kim M. Snyder 116 pages
  2. All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven (audio) 11 hrs 4 min
116 pages | 11 hours 4 minutes

  1. Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) - Amie Kaufman (audio) 11 hrs 41 min
  2. Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament - Michael P.V. Barrett 328 pages
  3. Torn from Troy (Odyssey of a Slave #1) - Patrick Bowman (audio) 5 hrs 28 min
  4. The Murder Game - Julie Apple 300 pages
  5. David and the Psalms - Michael J. Ruszala 184 pages
  6. Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America's Leaders - Rand Paul 160 pages
972 pages | 17 hours 9 minutes

  • Total books - 38 (compare to 43 in 2015)
  • Total pages - 6574 (compare to 6533 pages in 2015)
  • Total time - 182 hours 16 minutes  (compare to 200 hours in 2015)
Page counts courtesy of Goodreads; audio lengths courtesy of Audible.

I even wrote a review for 20 of the books, so that's a little better than last year. Scrolling through the list, I see several books that I really meant to write a review for, but somehow I just didn't do it. I think that maybe I think too hard about it and write these great reviews in my head, and then I just never get around to actually posting a review. Because when I sit down to type it, all those things I was going to say just don't seem to be there anymore. I just noticed that there's a new feature on Goodreads that lets me see, and share if i want, my highlights and notes from the Kindle books I read. Perhaps having that to easily look at will help for future reviews? I guess we'll see.

How many books did you read in 2016?  I'd love to hear some suggestions for my 2017 reading list.

*if you happen to click any of the book covers and buy  from Amazon, they say they'll pay me a small percentage.  Every little bit helps, and I thank you for your support!