March 21, 2018

Testing the Soil

First, I have to say is SORRY. This post is way late and I am sorry. Now, on to the reason for this post. I received a new soil tester in the mail some time in February and had the chance to finally use it at my work where I have the ability to grow things in a controlled greenhouse. I have to say the tester put a huge smile on my face. Watching the readings for moisture and pH bounce and differ between the pots of straw flower was awesome. I didn’t use the light portion of the tester because of the massive amount of light in the greenhouse at noon even greenhouse I am taking a greenhouse operations class to hone my skills in my backyard greenhouse. One of the assignments we have is to grow a crop of flowers from seed to flower in 12 weeks. I have not been completely dedicated to watering so some plants have suffered. The picture to the left is in a container which had not been watered for a week. It was a container in which I had previously moved the plants into larger pots but I was still curious what the tester would do. As you can see the black switch at the bottom of the tester is set to moist. (Sorry the picture is a little blurry). If you look at the readings you can see the dry marked with the red line the green line in the middle and the wet marked with the blue line. On the other side of the tester, the plants that I had watered before inserting the tester you can see the needle is on the border of wet. Watching the difference when I inserted the testing rods into the different containers sent the horticulture geek in me jumping “look, look, check this thing out!” With my experience in a retail greenhouse for 7 years I learned the soil here in East Idaho is pretty alkaline. With most of it being a clay base. As you can see in the readings on the tester our greenhouse soil is borderline 7 leaning to the alkaline side of the tester. The readings hadn’t been what I thought they might be, more to the middle of the 5-6 range on the tester. It made sense that changing the pH between the soil in the container and in the soil outside could possibly shock the flowers causing them to not be as large and captivating during the summer.

I was very happy playing with the Three-Way Tester. I cannot wait for the weather to warm up a bit and be able to take the tester outside into the beds. The other really useful thing this tester would be great for is indoor plants. I have an orange tree that I am growing which this tester would be great to check the moisture level on a regular basis. I can think of a few different, very useful, ways that the THREE-WAY TESTER would be very helpful in managing plants around a home, garden and greenhouse. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up.

March 16, 2018

A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot

Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor's excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek's dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He's managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

I recently had the chance to read A Borrowed Dream as part of the Extreme Book Nerd Challenge (a book with a character you intensely dislike). I thoroughly enjoyed the character of Catherine however I cannot say the same for all of her suitors. This was a wonderfully sweet story that I very much enjoyed. I love Amanda Cabot and look forward to reading the rest of the Cimarron Creek Trilogy.

March 15, 2018

The Firefighter's Perfect Plan by Sonya Weiss

Josie Moore is in big trouble. After a few too many glasses of wine and tired of her mother’s constant disappointment, Josie tells what she thinks is a harmless lie—that she is sort of in a relationship with her childhood crush, firefighter Lincoln Bradford. The lie comes back to bite her when her mother moves back to town, and now Josie has to make the fantasy a reality.
Lincoln has a perfect plan to protect his heart—and rule number one is: don’t fall in love. There’s no such thing as happily ever after, especially when it comes to love. But he didn’t factor in Josie, his sister’s quirky, gorgeous best friend. He agrees to help her, with the understanding that they’re definitely not going to be anything more.
But every time they try to break up, they only end up tangled deeper together. Lincoln’s carefully laid plans are about to come crashing down...

I recently read The Firefighter's Perfect Plan for the love story category of the extreme book nerd challenge. This story was funny, sweet, and left me crying tears of joy more than once. Josie was the sweetest character and Lincoln kept making me want to reach out and smack him because of his stubborn ways. If you're looking for a great read that will leave you smiling than this is a great choice!

March 12, 2018

A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson

You may have noticed that I haven't been reading as much recently. We've been in the middle of a bathroom remodel and I have decided that I'd much rather be reading a good book. This week I had the opportunity to read A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson. I am using this book for the "A book with garden in the title" category of the Extreme Book Nerd Challenge.

After 26 years as the trophy wife of a powerful man, Mary Davis is both a widow with no sense of identity and a mother who doesn’t know how to bridge the gap between herself and her increasingly distant daughter. When Mary finds a framed motto promising that “It’s never too late to be who you might have been,” she is haunted by the memory of an old flame and guilt over the way things ended between them. In a desperate attempt to reconcile the past and find a new future, Mary returns to Paris, the city where she won and lost her first love. Paris will change everything for Mary and her daughter, in ways neither could imagine.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a wonderfully sweet story of new lives and second chances. I will note that if you don't like a little foreign language in your books (French in this case) this may not be a read that you enjoy. I personally loved spending my time in Paris with Mary as she learned to live again. A wonderful read!

March 9, 2018

We ♥ Small Town Romance Blog Tour

I love the Heartwarming line of books because they are clean romance. Similar to Harlequin’s Love Inspired titles but without religious content. Just great family-centered heartwarming romances. I recently had the chance to read two of these wonderful books and share my thoughts with you.
Marrying the Wedding Crasher by Melinda Curtis
This bachelor’s pretend girlfriend just made a shocking discovery—
She’s pregnant!
Although they dated for only a month, Harley O’Hannigan just agreed to be Vince Messina’s plus-one at a Harmony Valley wedding. Big mistake, given her deepening feelings for the tall, dark, unavailable bachelor. And what about Vince’s long-buried family history? Then there’s the growing secret that could transform this pretend relationship into the real thing…
I used this book for my Book Nerd category A book with a Mental Illness. It was a great read about a funny couple that believes they can never have a future together, but their hearts say otherwise. I loved the wonderful family atmosphere they were surrounded by and I couldn't help but imagine handsome Vince and his internal struggles. This was the perfect read for a blustery, cold day here in Idaho and I highly recommend you check it out!

Always the Hero by Anna J. Stewart
He never relied on anyone but himself…but he needs her now!
Butterfly Harbor deputy Matt Knight wants two things: to date Lori Bradley and the chance to adopt Kyle, a troubled teen. Wounded in Afghanistan, Matt knows he can’t move forward anchored to the past. But once he regains the guarded hotel manager’s trust, will his need to protect those he loves cost him a future with this extraordinary woman?

I used this book for the  "A book with a floral cover" category of the extreme book nerd challenge. I really loved this story of a perfectly imperfect couple. It was great to see how each character overcame challenges, insecurities, and fears that are so much a part of our everyday lives. I great read that you won't want to miss!

March 2, 2018

The Marriage Pact by Wendi Sotis + Giveaway

A Regency Romance

The heir to an earldom has little control over his own fate, but Mr. James Aldridge promised himself one freedom. To marry for affection instead of wealth or connections. Anger flares when he learns his father has struck a deal: in one year, he will be leg-shackled to Miss Celia Colton, the dazzling beauty who had previously caught his eye. Now certain she was simply performing her role in a scheme to catch him as her husband, resentment prompts James to refuse to squander his last months of independence in the company of such a mistress of manipulation. But why can he not wrench his gaze from her at every encounter?

Completely unaware of the pact that has matched her with James, Miss Celia Colton is at a loss to explain why the man she secretly loves has suddenly become cold and critical. Abandoned by James, who had promised to guide her through her debut Season, she fears she will have to navigate the ton with only her grasping mother and distracted cousin as companions. Surrounded by gentlemen merely interested in her dowry, young ladies who view her as unwelcome competition, and, worse yet, James’s icy stares and disdainful manners, her primary concern is to discover the reason for his altered behaviour. How can she make things right between them? Will a love-match be forever out of her reach?

  Praise for The Marriage Pact
This novel had quite a few twists & turns to it that I didn’t quite expect. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say I truly enjoyed this book - I felt thoroughly engaged throughout the whole of it & being a regency style novel as well as being a clean read, I can highly recommend it.

For the moment, the pair of matrons were silently observing Celia interact with a newly introduced gentleman, a Mr. Montgomery. As she rose from yet another curtsy, her gaze deviated from its mark and locked onto a sight that caused her heart to cease beating.
James stood directly across the ballroom, speaking to a lady. Even from this distance, his handsome visage nearly took her breath away. She strained to discern a trace of the deep timbre of his voice from the din of the crowd, but she could not make it out. It had been too long since her heart had soared with the rumbling of his laughter — far, far too long since his smile had warmed her soul.
She willed James to approach. Alas, he did not. The urge to call out to him almost overcame her sense of propriety before the recollection of the change in their situation crashed down on her all at once. Her elation burst, leaving an ache in its place.
She sighed and glanced at Mr. Montgomery, who looked away from her neckline only long enough to sign her dance card.
If she could put up with this man’s ogling her through a set, then surely, she could endure pairing up with James and withstand his angry glares.
Mr. Montgomery returned the card to her hand, and she saw there were still two sets open. As was expected of her, she thanked the gentleman and curtsied once again. Mr. Montgomery bowed and retreated.
Her mother immediately took hold of one of her hands. “Celia! Lord Eagleton has come, after all, and he moves in this direction. Remember everything I have told you, dear — simply everything. You must attract his attention immediately, before Miss Buchannan does so.” She craned her neck to peer around a group of ladies who had moved between them and James. “Oh, that disagreeable Mr. Kenilworth has delayed Lord Eagleton’s approach. I had the disadvantage of making his acquaintance last summer, while I stayed at Penelope’s estate. Mr. Kenilworth is a distant relation to the baron, and although he may be the younger son of an earl, I do not like that man. Especially not now.” She held out her hand to Celia. “Give me your dance card, dear.”
Celia held onto her card tightly, already suspecting what her mother had in mind. She widened her eyes. “Why?”
“If Mr. Kenilworth delays Lord Eagleton much longer, he will not be able to reserve a set with you. I shall do so for him.”
“But mother …” Celia sputtered out, “Perhaps Lord Eagleton does not wish to request a dance.”
“Nonsense.” Mrs. Colton laughed as she waved the idea away. “Of course he does. He would wish to reserve a set of honour.” She plucked the card and pencil out of Celia’s hand. “You are unengaged for the last set. I shall fill in his name.”
“Mother, please do not —” It was too late. As her mother returned her card, Celia stared at the name now written next to the final set. Viscount Eagleton. Good Lord, what was she to do?

Author Wendi Sotis Wendi Sotis lives on Long Island, NY, with her husband and triplets. While searching for Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, she became thoroughly enamored with Jane Austen Fan Fiction or JAFF. In early 2010, she dreamed an idea for a story and hasn’t stopped writing since: Promises, Dreams and Expectations; All Hallows Eve;The Keys for Love; Safekeeping (with just a dash of Austen); The Gypsy Blessing; Foundation of Love (The Gypsy Blessing 2); and A Lesson Hard Learned. A Very Austen Christmas, released in 2017, is an anthology of short stories and novellas including Wendi’s story No Better Gift.
The Marriage Pact, and some of her works-in-progress, have branched away to Regency Romance (the Loving an Aldridge series) and Contemporary Romantic Mysteries (the Implicated series).
Wendi will also continue bringing Darcy and Lizzy together again and again in an unusual manner.
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway
Ends 3/25/18
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

March 1, 2018

It is a Great Day for Pi Giveaway Hop - Floogals: Project Egg Hunt DVD

We love Pi (and math) so thanks MamaTheFox for putting together another great hop!

Today at Kerrific we are excited to be giving away a copy of the Floogals: Project Egg Hunt DVD. My kids all love the Floogals and are excited to own this new adventure. 

To enter, simply use the form below. And don't forget once you're done entering here to hop along to the other participating blogs to see what prizes they have to offer. Good luck!

It is a Great Day for Pi Giveaway Hop