Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Diamond Connection {Book Review}

With the weather outside getting colder and the holidays meaning more time off from work, I am delighted to have had a lot of reading time lately! To me, there is not much more satisfying that curling up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book (fuzzy socks optional).

Recently I was given an e-copy of The Diamond Connection by Shimrit Hilel to review. I read most of it over Thanksgiving break at my father-in-law's house. It was a great book and I had a hard time putting it down.

Set mainly in Tel Aviv, the story follows Ella Cohen as she begins a new job in the office of a diamond trader. Ella has had a rough life. After losing her father, Ella has to work very hard to pay off his debt and support her mother. 

Ella's new boss at the Diamond Exchange quickly invades her fantasies, but she is not interested in an affair with a married man. Especially when his wife works in the same office! Despite her initial misgivings, Ella is swept up into the world of diamond trading; complete with money, travel, and intrigue.

Of course, a problem comes up and some diamonds go missing. Records have been altered or lost and Ella comes under suspicion. Can she solve the mystery that someone appears to be framing her for? You'll have to read to find out!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. This blog uses affiliate links. When you click on a link and buy something, I may make a small commission. Your purchase price will not be affected.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#TuesdayTen: All I Want For Christmas

All I want for Christmas is a clean house and peace in the world. Oh wait!?! That's my mom's Christmas list every year! Now, I honestly wouldn't mind those things for Christmas, but I have people asking, and a linkup to host, so I've got to put a little more thought into it than that! I decided that I'm going to split the list into 5 realistic things I'd like for Christmas and 5 fantasy gift items. And I already got a pretty awesome gift over the weekend. Check here if you missed that announcement!

5 Things that are really on my gift list

  1. New dishes--We've only got eight left in the set that we use every day. Unless you count the two plastic plates we sometimes use. That means I can only get through two meals without having to wash dishes. Some weeks that's okay because we only use the plates for dinner, but then some weeks the kids want waffles or pancakes for breakfast and I have a nice lunch, and then we don't have enough dishes for dinner.
  2. A new sewing machine--Last time I used mine it made a funny, metal grinding sound. That's the reason it was the last time I used it! I am borrowing a friend's right now so I can make some Christmas presents, but I'm hoping for a new one under the tree.
  3. A new pot--We have one 5 quart pot, which is usually enough. Until I want to make spaghetti. I've been boiling noodles in my large frying pan, but it's a bit complicated and I usually spill water doing it that way.
  4. New bras and camis--TMI? Sorry! I have a number of bras that don't fit well anymore and need to be replaced. Also, I wear a cami almost every day, but I don't have enough fun colors!
  5. A fire pit--We got our back porch rebuilt this past summer and now I'd love even more of an excuse to use our backyard. It tends to be pretty buggy back there, so a fire pit would hopefully keep the bugs away and it would be a great place to hang out 3/4 of the year.
Now to enter a fantasy realm!! These are the things I'd put on my list if money were no object and reality were...much less real!

5 Things on my fantasy gift list

  1. Someone to come organize my house. I've got so much stuff to go through, but every time I start I get overwhelmed and give up. I'd love to get the basement in order so we can get the upstairs taken care of so we can...
  2. A second bathroom. My first choice would be a whole new house, but barring that, I'd love to have an additional bathroom so we can stop making the kids take a number!
  3. My bills paid off. Seriously, I would be so much less stressed if I could just not worry about credit cards and day care bills every week. We're making dents, but they are tiny dents and I'd rather just be done with it!
  4. A new truck for Ken. I know this is my list, but giving Ken a new truck would be so wonderful for me! He can't take all three kids anywhere because he's only got two seats and a jump seat. We can't switch vehicles because his truck is...shall we say "quirky."
  5. Peace in the world. Not only would it make my mom happy, but it would make the whole world happy. Wouldn't that be wonderful??
What's on your Christmas list? Do you have a fantasy list or a realistic list (or both)? Tell me in the comments or link up you own post using the hashtag #TuesdayTen!

Note: #TuesdayTen is taking a break for the holidays, but make sure you come back in the New Year for more great lists AND our one year birthday giveaway! We've got ten gift cards to give away to one lucky winner! It could be you!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Killer Caterpillars Updated and an Awesome Christmas Present

If you've been around for a while, you might remember the story I told last July of how I got the scar in my eyebrow. You can read the whole story at that link, but the gist was more about the childhood friend in the story. I moved from Texas when I was ten and subsequently lost track of my childhood best friend. I have looked for her off and on for the last few years and I decided to use that post as a plea for anyone who might have more information.

Facebook is wonderful for finding previous relationships, but the problem comes with people getting married and changing their names. Once you're friends on Facebook, you'll be friends as long as it's mutually acceptable, even through name changes. However, Facebook wasn't around when I was a kid (shocking, I know!) and Michelle had a common enough name that searching wasn't getting me very far.

I won't hold you in suspense any more...MY MOM FOUND HER! This news is even more shocking considering the fact that I can still remember a few years ago when my mom didn't now how to turn on a computer and now she has her own Facebook account she uses on her personal laptop...and stalks people with!! The initial research started with calling some old phone numbers and following some offline leads and led to finding Michelle's husband and recognizing her picture from there.

Michelle and I have touched base on Facebook and I am looking forward to catching up with her. She's still lives in Texas and has married and produced an adorable little girl. I won't give any more details because the story is only half mine to tell, but suffice it to say that this is one awesome Christmas present!
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