Reading is…fun?

All through elementary school any time I had to fill out one of those “About Me” pages and it asked what you liked to do, I answered “Reading.” I was the kid who checked out five books from the library every week and read them all. I read all the time. In third grade while reading Where the Red Fern Grows my Dad caught me reading with a flashlight. he caught me because I was crying loud enough he heard me. In fifth grade I was no longer allowed to take a book to recess, I was supposed to get exercise or something…

When I first moved to New York, I would visit my cousin Peggi and come home with a bag full of 20-30 borrowed books. Every few months I’d visit again and exchange the books.

Then I started grad school and reading stopped being fun. I didn’t have the time or the brain capacity to read. Then I discovered free romance novels for the Kindle and that is my confession: romance novels are my guilty pleasure. They are just so easy to read. They follow a formula a)crazy physical attraction b)some obstacle as to why it’s a bad idea c)misunderstanding / refusal to just say what’s on your mind usually accompanied by guilt or low self-worth that of course the other person wouldn’t really love you d)someone meddles and get over misunderstanding and marry. They are an easy escape and there are genres.

I was skeptical when I stumbled into Christian romance – same general formula, but no sex, usually some biblical reference and I just feel like the books are a little less “crap for my mind.”  Last summer at BlogHer I met the people from Zondervan and they offered to send me two books to review AND copies for a giveaway. Of course that was almost three four months ago.


Belonging and Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher are the first two books in a trilogy. They are are set in the American west in the late 1890s and each book is about one of three siblings who were separated as children. The books share their journeys to finding love and to reuniting their family. They were quick reads and the stories pulled me in. I will read the third one as soon as it’s available. While I’ve been waiting I read a couple of Hatcher’s other books. One set during the Civil War and one set in the 1920s.

On my bookshelf right now are copies of books to mail to a reader! First comment that wants them, gets them. Enjoy!

**I received these books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Christmas Card #Fail

**Giveaway at the end

So Christmas seems a way off. And it is. Halloween and Thanksgiving come first and they will get their due attention. But Christmas involves planning and travel and mailing and presents and cards. I have approximately 40 days until I mail my Christmas Cards which means I started planning the card about six weeks ago. I’m busy and these things take time – hence they still aren’t done.

I had a really great idea, and I’m not going to share it all here, because I still may be able to pull it off. Since I started sending photo cards I want to keep the standard up. Two years ago we had some fun with forced perspective and hipstamatic on the iPhone. We got this beauty from Shutterfly.

Last year we almost didn’t get it together, but a day of shopping and an afternoon of editing and we pulled it off. But we went cheap and just printed 100 on photo paper at CVS.

This year, I’ve been planning. I have a great idea for what I want. But we have a problem. To do a family photo shoot with all three of us we need someone to take the picture. So I thought that when we were in Albuquerque we could get a family picture with the mountains and it would be awesome.

But two days of getting up at 4:30 am (to see balloons and a post to come on this soon) after a day of jet lag just didn’t make for the best timing. You see, Simon had now been woken up early and skipped a nap TWO DAYS IN A ROW. So why I thought we’d get some happy photos I do not know.

The Sandias turn pink just before sunset. So not only do I have a tired cranky baby, but he’s hungry and a little cold too. The mountains are so pretty. The baby is so sad.

We tried hugs and high fives. The best we could manage were some almost smiles and something crazy with an action shot of my hair.

There are a couple that I might be able to do something with. I’m also planning a second photo shoot day in two weekends. Hopefully from all of this I will pull off my awesome Christmas card idea.

And if I don’t, I can always use one of these failures. Or just use a picture of Simon reading to the cat, because it’s kind of adorable.

In the end I WILL get my cards ordered from Shutterfly in the next 35 days and my cards will go out. What I can do for you is the awesome people at Shutterfly are offering a $50 off total order (does not include shipping & cannot be combined with any other promos) coupon.

To enter, leave me a comment sharing a Christmas card fail story. Or if your cards have always gone off without a hitch, share your plan for this year. Contest closes at 11:59PM on October 28 and I will pick a winner via on October 29. Coupon code will be sent to you directly from Shutterfly, so make sure to leave your email if it’s not linked back to your blog.

P.S. If you haven’t started planning your cards yet, check out their Special Offers, they have some good ones.

And the winner is commenter #3 – Sara. You will be emailed a promo code directly. Congrats!

*This is a sponsored post by Shutterfly. I was compensated for the post but all ideas and opinions are my own.