Thursday, September 28, 2017

Where Dandelions Grow: Book Review

I was privileged to be on a review team for Lydia Howe's latest book, Where Dandelions Grow!
I'm pretty horrible at reviews, so bear with me. ;P


Cousins are forever, or at least they're supposed to be.

What happens when your world falls apart and your dreams are mocked by those closest to you?

Destiny's idyllic childhood full of laughter and cousins abruptly ended when her mom uprooted the family to move them across the country with strict instructions to never talk about Swallow Ridge again.  Eleven years later Destiny moves back to her hometown, determined to find her cousins... and answers.

Plagued by generations of bitterness and manipulation, Destiny hides her life-long goal - unwilling to let anyone else trample her fragile dreams.  But life in the cozy town full of dandelions teaches Destiny there's more to life than what she's been taught.

Is it possible Swallow Ridge not only holds the answers Destiny so intensely searches for, but also hope?

My rating: 3.5 stars

The book is well-written, and has some very good points.  In order to be more and more like Christ, we need to 'take the higher road', as Lydia so aptly put it.  With our relationships, with our money... with everything.  She also brought up the point that our definition of success shouldn't be based on worldly things, but spiritual things, things that actually matter.  However, I would've liked to see more about Destiny's road to success—how she came up with her own worldview, instead of just doing what other people told her to do.
Don't get me wrong; I think advice is excellent, and often, needed.  But a person's got to decide for his/herself what they really believe for themselves.  And she eventually did figure it out, but there was sadly little about God's guidance in her journey; she did what Mrs. R. and others suggested.

The characters were good.  Destiny's caffeine overload had me smiling, Teal's wise crack about cooking made me laugh, and just all the characters were generally likable.
My favorite was Uncle Carter, however minor he may have been as a character.  Kinda reminds me of my dad (and that was another thing I was confused about; there was not mention about Destiny's dad that I remember until later in the book).
Mrs. Reed was so motherly, and caring, and... *squishes her*
I could certainly relate to Destiny with her love for writing and books. I could relate with Teal about her love of music.  But that was pretty much it.  I struggled with relating to anything else in the book, which was a small disappointment.
Also, there was one or two characters that I was wondering exactly what their place in the book was.
But, as far as a general overview of every character in the book: thumbs up!

Noveltea is like, my dream place to work.  A bookstore with a cafe, and ALL THE COFFEE.  I'm not a coffee drinker (yet) but I absolutely LOVE the smell, and it just makes a bookstore that much better!
So yeah.  I may or may not be a teensy weensy bit jealous of Destiny on that count. ;P

So, to give you a one-sentence summary of my review?  Where Dandelions Grow was a fun read, and I would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a book to make them feel good.

And thus sums up my review!
Congratulations on your newly-released book, Lydia!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

Friday, September 22, 2017

You Know You're a Farmer's Daughter When...

Well, you never know, maybe I'll keep up this post-once-a-week thing.
I've had this idea for a post in the back of my mind for quite awhile now.  And I needed something to post this week.
So congratulations, this is what you get!
A list of things that I, as a farmer's daughter, can testify to as being one-hundred-percent truthful.  This will hopefully turn into a series of posts.  Most things on this list generally happen in the summer.
DISCLAIMER: I know that not all other farming people can relate, and I know that there's some people that don't live on a farm that do relate; this is strictly from my perspective. ;)

You know you're a farmer's daughter when...

...You get juice on your hands from picking mulberries, then run inside screaming that you've got blood on your hands, trying to freak Mom out.

...One of the most familiar/fondest childhood sights/memories is the inside of a tractor cab.

...There is no such thing as summer vacation.

...One of the biggest highlights of the year is wheat harvest.

...The best place in the world to read a book (other than a cushy chair, of course) is the cab of a combine.  Or under a shade tree if that isn't available.

...There's not much you like more than squishing your bare feet in the mud.

...You actually attend that 'little country church' with a gravel parking lot that everyone thinks is only in storybooks and country songs.

...Your food is practically in your backyard.

...Rain is the most welcome sight in the world.

...People visit your house and can't believe how quiet it is.  And you just smile, forever grateful that you live where you live.

And there you have it folks, a glimpse into my small and insignificant life.
Do you think you'd like more posts like this?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Back-to-School Tag

Well, I'm back!  
Did you actually think I would abandon you again?
(Don't answer that question.)
The lovely Angela @ The Peculiar Messenger tagged me for the Back-to-School Tag!  (Thank you bunches, you wonderful person!)

1. Thank the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the questions.
3. Post new questions (yeah... we'll see about that).
4. Tag as many people as you want.
5. Wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue (Huh?  I thought this applied to weddings...).
6. Don't die (well, it's school, sooooo...).

The Questions:

1. What grade are you in, and how old are you?
Umm... can I plead the fifth on this one? XP

2. Are you homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled?  Do you enjoy your type of schooling?
Well, according to my bio, I'm homeschooled (and bios never lie, people).  As for enjoying it... let's put it this way: as far as school goes, I wouldn't want it any other way.  But if I could just like, have all this knowledge without studying, I think I would go that route. ;P

3. What is your favorite subject?
That's... hard.  Umm... *strikes a studious pose* history.  Although I'm not quite the fan of world history, I do enjoy it—to an extent—and since Mom reads it aloud, I get to do other stuff (like crochet) while listening. :)

4. What is your least favorite subject?
Math, hands down.  Why, you ask? well, 1) because my brain refuses to function half the time, 2) the other half of the time I get distracted and stare out the window for minutes at a time, and 3) because when I do actually do it, it takes me ten minutes for one problem (no, I don't exaggerate.  Nope.).

5. One thing you learned when you were younger that is still in your head?
Oh goodness, there's an endless supply of answers to that question... how to read, tell time, simple arithmetic, etc.  As for something random... idk.  I'll let you know when I think of something. XP
*five minutes later* 
OH!  When I was in kindergarten, I remember every Monday Kord and I got to color big cutouts of the alphabet—one of us would color the uppercase letter, and the other would color the lowercase letter.  I always looked forward to that. :D
On a random note: I remember thinking that a week was literally a year, so I thought the next Monday would be... a reallllly long time... so yeah.  I was happy when it was only seven days. XD

6. Do you study hard or wing it, most often?
Well, I'm homeschooled, so I'm always studying... XD
But for a test (yes, we homeschoolers do have tests), I sometimes study, but often I wing it, depending on what I'm being tested on. ;P

7. Your way to study is...?
Basically review, skim over notes, etc., and hope for the best. ;P

8. What is one subject you want to work really hard on this year, to better yourself?
Math.  Namely, geometry (and this may or may not be because I want to finish the curriculum by the end of this semester).

9. Any extracurricular activities this year?  What are they?
My family?   Extracurricular?? HAHA, you must be talking about someone else. XD
(Actually, I'll probably be taking ASL or something like that next year.)

10. What is one thing you look forward to this particular year of school?  What does this year mean for you?
Uh... Christmas break? XD
Angela, WHY did you have to make these questions so HARRRRD?!
Oh boy... something I look forward to this particular year... the end of ancient history so that next year we can get into more modern stuff? I don't know. XP
What does this year mean for me?  Um... it means that I'm yet another year older, and soon enough I'm gonna have to grow up and like, become an adult.  With responsibilities.  Yikes.

11. What was one thing that school introduced you to, that made you look farther into, and that you still really enjoy?
Like, seriously, ever since I learned to read, I was HOOKED, and I've loved it ever since.

12.  If you could take a dream field trip, where would you go and what would you do?
A huge library (like the one from Beauty and the Beast) and do nothing but organize books (and read them, of course).  WHO'S WITH ME??

13.  Are you excited for school?  If so, why?  If not, why?
Well, we've been in school for like over a month already but before then I was not looking forward to it.  Why?  Because there goes half my day, out the window (or slammed in books, whichever you prefer).  Can you tell I'm not a fan of school? XP

14.  BONUS, USELESS QUESTION: Can you recite the alphabet backwards out loud?
Uh... I can't remember ever trying to. XD
*tries it suddenly* *Kara gives me a weird look* *fails miserably*
Nope. XD

I Tag:
Um... there's not many I can tag. XP
How 'bout... if you want to do it, feel free to do so with Angela's wonderful questions (we'll ignore that this is sorta kinda cheating, 'cause I've never done this before.  Forgive me?)

Well people, I hope you enjoyed my rantings about school. XD
Ta ta!

Monday, September 4, 2017

I'm Still Alive! {July/August Recap}

Hey look, I'm not dead.  I've just been absent from this blog for... six weeks?  Like, how does the time even go that fast?!  I'm honestly still stuck back in July.
But anyway, I'm here to greet y'all and give you the recap of the past two months, and to say that I'm going to hopefully be posting more.  
But then again, I wasn't planning to go this long without posting, buuuuuuut... time sorta got away from me.
*Clears throat* anyway.


-The 4th of July.  A guy from our church smoked chicken and ribs for everyone and it was SO GOOD.  Then our family (well, most of us anyway) came home to shoot off a few fireworks.  We were also reminded that our dog, T-Bone, will go after anything that shoots off sparks.  So he tried to get shot a few times by Roman candles and sparklers and stuff, but he's still alive and kicking! XD

-I had this amazing gal over for a weekend, and it was spent wonderfully talking about bookish things, playing with the goats, watching Laredo and Ben-Hur while eating chocolate, Cheese-Its and Twizzlers (the most AMAZING snack foods ever, people!!), riding the 4-wheeler, climbing on farm equipment, and various other things.

-Riding with Kordell while hauling manure, singing VeggieTales and Sawyer Brown and insulting each other. #siblingbonding

-We got peaches!!!!! Peoples, peaches are DA BEST.

-I discovered all the goathead stickers (y'know, those little ball thingies with thorns sticking out of them?) in our gardens... with my poor bare feet.

-I discovered The Spice Merchant in Wichita, which has the best assortment of coffee mugs and thermoses ever. XD
Not to mention that it smells AMAZING (because even though I don't drink coffee, I LOVE the smell of it).

-I also met Book-a-Holic, the best. Place. EVER.  Like, how much better does it get than half-priced used books?!  Not even Barnes & Noble does that.  (Sorry, I think Book-a-Holic tops B&N, people.)

-Our family went on a rather spur-of-the-moment trip to KC.  For the first evening, while the guys went to a Royals game, us gals spent the evening at the hotel, which was the best.  Then we went and did some other various things around town, one of which was visit the WWI museum!

The tower on top of the museum                     The view from the top         

-What happens when your mother goes inside and leaves you and your sister alone with her phone out in the garden?  #selfietime

-Our church had a bike ride at a nearby campground!  I survived the entire 6-7-mile trip.  Which was really kinda shocking.

-Kara made peppernuts.  'Nuff said.

-Did some babysitting for an adorable little girl!  An adorable, very energetic little girl. XP

-We had SO MUCH gardening to do—hoeing, picking, weeding, and watering our two gardens, plus our landscaping... and then, of course, there was all the blanching, peeling, blending, scrubbing, freezing (thank the Lord that Mom doesn't can!!), and pretty much every other thing that has to do with garden produce.  But, good thing: Our big garden is over halfways gone! All we've got now is the okra, sweet potatoes and cucumbers to do.  *Sigh of relief*


-We took a steer (that is a male bovine, for those of you who classify all cattle as 'cows') named Wilma to the butcher.  Yes, a he named Wilma.  Don't ask me why.

-When some of us got home (we went in two vehicles), we found the house locked.  So we were trapped outside in the dark until Birdo got home with the key.  Needless to say, I'm glad Chowboy was with me, so I wasn't alone. ;P

-My brother gave me one of his cookies. ^_^ #random

-Kordell found a snapping turtle (at least I think it was a snapping turtle) which he dubbed Larson and brought it out to where Mom and I were out picking green beans in the garden.
Me: *bent over picking beans*
Kord: *puts Larson on my back* I bet you can't get him off.
Me: *twists so Larson falls off*
Kord: hey!  That was mean!  Don't be mean to Larson!

-We watched the eclipse (well... the 90% we got in KS).  Who buys eclipse glasses when you can use welding helmets? XD

Kord said we looked like astronauts. XD

-I took weird selfies on Mom's phone... I had forgotten that my siblings like to browse Mom's pictures.

-Our tomato plants are really starting to produce now... I just hope the horn worms stay away. *Shudders*

-My grandma made some DELICIOUS fresh peach pie.
Me: I probably won't eat a whole piece.
Me five minutes later: Well, I take that back.

-Corn harvest started!! Though this is really the best pic I got since I haven't gone to ride yet...


What a pathetic amount I read during TWO WHOLE MONTHS.  But, like I said, school started up again, so I've got about half the time of day I used to have. XP

Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: 4.5 stars
A Goal for Greg by William McKellar: 4 stars
Never by J. Grace Pennington: 5 stars
On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin: 3 stars
A Different Kind of Courage by Sarah Holman: 4.5 stars
Ivan by Emily McConnell: 4.5 stars
Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire: 3.5 stars
Under a War-Torn Sky by L.M. Elliott: 3 stars
The Old River Road by Ivy Rose: 4 stars
London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn (I'm not gonna rate this 'cause I didn't read a final edited version.)

Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe
The Deadliest Monster by J.F. Baldwin


So apparently, I don't have any snippets to share from the past month.  *Headdesk* But anyway, In my last recap, I mentioned having started a project: rewriting a story that I wrote years ago titled Tucker's Revenge, a western.  I'll just share something from that. :)

    The bright mid-morning sun burned down mercilessly on the two riders as they made their way to the gate. Jamie turned her head to send a smirk her opponent’s way. “May the best horse and rider win,” she said, offering her hand to Jude. Jude hesitated, then took the proffered hand and shook it. “You’d better be careful who you do that to; a man would be liable to pull you off the horse.” Jamie tossed her head, fighting the urge to roll her hazel eyes. “Namely, you.” A smirk quirked Jude’s lips. “You really think I would do that?” “Yes, and you do too. Now let’s ride.” She once again faced forward and clenched her hands around the reins. “Whenever you’re ready.” Their older brother Simeon strode out in front of them. “Jude, you know that as soon as this is over you get back to work, y’hear? The only reason I’m letting you waste the morning away like this is because you wouldn’t get any work done with this on your mind anyhow.” Jude smirked. “Yessir, just as soon as I beat Jamie.” Jamie shook her head with a slight smile. “That’ll be the day.” Simeon stepped back and unholstered his pistol. “I would fire this to start the race, but it would scare the horses out of their hide.” He marched to the nearby fence and poised his pistol’s handle above a post. “Ready…” Jamie tensed, knees squeezing Thunder’s saddle. “Set…” She leaned forward, arms taut. Simeon’s arm came slamming the pistol down on top of the fencepost with a crack! Jamie’s heels dug into Thunder’s sides. His powerful back legs sprung to life, and horse and rider shot forward. A quick glance to her right showed Jude and his pinto, <idek horse name>, keeping stride with them. Within seconds, the ranch was lost behind them in a cloud of dust. Jamie’s hair came loose of its braid; Thunder’s unruly mane whipped her face mercilessly. She reveled in the excitement of her favorite pastime. A quick glance to her right revealed <Judes’ horse>’s muzzle slowly pulling ahead. Oh dear. “We can’t let him do that, can we, Thunder?” She faintly squeezed her knees, and Thunder’s strides lengthened slightly.

I apologize if I've shared these before, but I'm not going to go look at previous recaps to check (because yes, I'm lazy).
I waited up all night to see the sun come up. Then it dawned on me.

No one in heaven has hair—there's no parting there.


So, here's a couple of songs that I grew to love over the past couple months:

Annnnnnd, there's my past two months in a nutshell.
I will return later.
Lord willing and the creek don't rise.