Last September I decided I had had enough! My local YMCA was hosting a “diabetes prevention” program and since it was free, I chose to make myself a priority and signed up. For twelve weeks, I attended nutrition classes and exercised. I pushed myself farther than I ever had before (well, at least since high school). My family changed their schedules; I changed our eating habits.

I learned so much from these classes but more importantly, I gained a sense of self. Do you ever find yourself wondering who you really are, or could be? “If only I was thinner….If only I was healthier….” Well, I found out.

I began the habit of going to the gym every weekday after I get off work and before my daughter gets home. Ill be honest, the scale has not yet reflected the substantial loss I’d hope to see by now but my body has changed, I have more energy, and I’m happier overall.

Since my program ran out, I’ve felt that I needed an extra boost. Cutting calories with increased exercise just wasn’t enough. I decided to join Weight Watchers. I had been on Weight Watchers before but never of my choosing, and this time, I’m ready.

My first meeting was a little anti-climatic. I had to wait in line to sign in and the people checking me in were not neat as enthusiastic as I was. Then I found a seat, pretended to be on my phone like everyone else, and waited some more for the meeting to start.

When the meeting started, I wasn’t impressed either. The leader kept talking in circles and asking for people to share and only got a bunch of chirping crickets instead. I know meetings can vary so I will give this one another try and then maybe switch to a different place.

However, I do think the points system will be great for me. I cut my calories and increased my exercise and had been tracking it but I still haven’t lost more than a few pounds. The points really cut back even more what I can eat but I have found some recipes I’m looking forward to trying. Check out www.thepounddropper.com for some of the great ones like stuffed french toast.


Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a great vacation read or if you just like teen romance, Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is a great choice.

After Lina’s mother passes away from cancer, her life is flipped upside down. She goes to Tuscany to live with one of her mother’s friends in hopes of learning more about this mysterious woman. Her mother’s friend, Howard, is the curator of the American Military Cemetery, and guides Lina through her discovery and being a support for her. Ren is a neighbor and fellow soccer lover. Lina and Ren’s friendship quickly turns into a budding romance, full of gelato and discoteca.

This is a must quick-read for vacations and those that love the Tuscan life. It is a very vivid book with real places the reader is taken to. I have even been to the discoteca (Space Electronic) that is mentioned in the book so that was a fun connection to have.

For fans of Tuscany, romance, coming-of-age. This book may not surprise you but it is enjoyable.

Purchase from Amazon, here.

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The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir by Alexandra Kuykendall

The Artist's Daughter: A Memoir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir by Alexandra Kuykendall is a person story of finding one’s identity in God, their father.

I heard Alex’s amazing story while at MomCon (a conference for MOPS International). I was blown away by her presence and peace. She knew exactly who she was and that knowledge came from God and being “the Artist’s” daughter.

The book was a good but I was already aware of the story so it was less revealing for me that it could have been. I also found it difficult to relate to parts because I know my father and he is such a strong and powerful person in my life. I think this book would have great for my mom who did not have a father growing up and had identity issues from that missing piece.

I would recommend this book to teens/young adults who did not have a strong father in their life. I believe they would be able to learn a lot about acceptance through the story.

Purchase on Amazon here.

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Navy Blues by Debbie Macomber

Navy Blues (Navy #2)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Navy Blues is the second in the Navy series by Debbie Macomber.

The story follows Steve, the big brother of the protagonist of Navy Wife, and his on-again, off-again love, Carol. Steve and Carol have been divorced for over a year after a five year marriage. They seemed to have cut off all ties but Carol is now feeling her biological clock tick and desperately wants a baby. She sets up a seduction of her ex husband but things don’t go as planned.

The writing in the book was fine but I didn’t fall in love with the characters the same way I did the first book. They were too flawed to get a good connection to them or to care about their story. I also felt this book was too dragged out and the cycle plot it was written in, became boring. I’m debating on reading on in this series.

Would not recommend.

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When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke

When Calls the Heart (Canadian West, #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will admit, I fell in love with the TV show, When Calls the Heart, before I ever knew this was a book series by Janette Oke. The books did not disappoint and I quickly read through them all in about a 2 month span.

When Calls the Heart, is a dramatic story that follows Elizabeth Thatcher, a newly appointed school teacher to the Canadian west. Elizabeth grew up in a wealthy family but when the opportunity arrives for her to teach school on the frontier, she excitedly takes the journey.

Elizabeth has a hard time fitting to frontier life but soon finds Wynn Delaney, the local mounty, coming to her rescue time after time. Neither one are looking for romance but will it find them anyway?

Recommended to fans of Anne of Green Gables, and Little House on the Prairie. Suitable for all ages but interest level of middle schoolers and up.

Buy the book here on Amazon.

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Navy Wife by Debbie Macomber

Navy Wife (Navy #1)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Navy Wife is the first book in the Navy series by Debbie Macomber. I first read this book when I was newly married to man who works for the government in a job similar to the main love interest. I also go by Lindy, the main character’s name, and have an older brother named Steve (also like the main character), so I really clicked with the book. I re-read it again and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

A romance novel, Navy Wife, is a story about Lindy. She is a 22 year old girl who was just dumped by her fiance and is looking for a fresh start. Since her brother, Steve, is in the navy and gone out to sea, Lindy crashes at his apartment in Seattle; problem is that unknown to her or her brother, his roommate Rush is there as well. At first, the two of them jump to conclusions about one another and avoid each other but the gravitational pull between them is too great to be ignored.

Will Lindy get over her old fiance? Can Rush love something more than the sea? Find out by reading Navy Wife.

For fans of romance, recommended for more mature audiences.

By the book here on Amazon.

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. by Mary Ann Shaffer is not your typical World War II historical fiction romance novel. The book follows letters written primarily between Juliet Aston, a writer, and Dawsey Adams, a farmer on the island of Guernsey.

After finding a book that had once belonged to Juliet, Dawsey writes her in hopes of her sending more books to him. They soon strike up a friendship and Juliet is intrigued by her new found friends involvement in a literary society that was set up during the occupation of the island during the war. Eventually, Juliet visits her pen pals and learns little by little about one of their members, Elizabeth, and her disappearance.

I found this book charming but not what I had expected. The only real flaw I saw was the romantic relationship between Dawsey and Juliet but that was mainly because I probably would have fallen for the American flyboy and not the farmer. This is a great summer read or vacation read and I would recommend it to older teen through senior citizen. It has a great span of interest.

Buy the book here on Amazon.

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