2020?!?

Okay – we are all trapped at home and I’ve started running out of things to do. (Not really, but no one wants to deep clean their baseboards or any other thing that they’ve ignored for years) So, what is a girl to do? Restart her blog!!

This is a very weird time. The kids are home 24/7 and I’ve somehow become a homeschooling mom! My kids are in 8th, 9th and 11th grade and thankfully their teachers are all very hands on and giving them amazing videos and lessons to do. My only real role in the digital learning process is to check that everything is done and answer any questions they have. We are on day 2 and so far everything is going pretty well. The kids aren’t thrilled that I’ve instituted some new classes – gardening and home ec.

My husband is (luckily) still working. He’s a restaurant manager and although he had to take a pay cut and is working A LOT more hours, we know how lucky we are that he has a job still.

I’ve been writing…a little. For me it is incredibly hard to be creative and focus. I’ve also been reading…a lot. Most of the books I’ve been reading are books that I’ve already read and loved. I’ve devoured Lauren Dane’s Brown series for (probably) the 7th or 8th time. I’m on my 3rd re-read of all of the Jennifer Ryan books on my Kindle.

My other forms of Quarantine entertainment are true crime podcasts and documentaries. I binged Tiger King in one day and then made my husband watch it with me the second time. Living in Oklahoma it was odd to see people who behave that way and live in my state. I promise that Joe Exotic is not the norm for people in Oklahoma. My favorite podcast of the moment is RedHanded which is hilariously done by two English chicks and I love hearing their slang and language that is so different from mine.

I hope that everyone is coping as well as they can and taking time out for self-care while the world burns.

Busy Bee…

February is one of the busiest months in our family. My oldest is turning 16 and my husband, sister-in-law, and nephew all have birthdays too. My Grandparent’s are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s day and we are throwing them a party. With all of this added to the normal school stuff and family stuff it will be March before I can catch my breath.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Here in Oklahoma, snow isn’t a guaranteed part of winter – especially in November. Today we woke up to huge, beautiful snow flakes falling from the sky. The kids were sure this meant that there would be no school, but their hopes were dashed. The ground is too warm for the snow to stick and there wasn’t even talk about the weather’s effect on the roads. I usually only drive my middle school kids to school in the morning, but today the high school kid wanted a ride too.

I’ll be spending the rest of the day working on a steamy romance and staying warm.

Does it snow where you live? Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

So it begins…

November 1st.

National Novel Writing Month.

Every year I start a new project on November 1st and this year is no different. I’ve spent the last week getting everything ready. Plotting, character sketches, and chapter breakdowns have been completed. My mini-fridge is full of Coke and Cranberry Ginger Ale. My snack drawer is full of little boxes of heaven from Sugarfina – their chocolate pearls are my favorite.

I’m very excited about what I’m working on and really think that it can be more than just one book. There is so much to this story that I think it can be a three book series.

Throughout the month, I’ll update with word counts and how it’s going. Hopefully at the end of the month I will have a finished first draft.

 

My Favorite…Tools for Organization

I have to keep up with so many different things everyday. My husband’s schedule and the kid’s activities change weekly, but I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have something scheduled at least three nights of the week.

To keep track of everything I use a paper planner and my phone calendar. In the past, I’ve used an Erin Condren life planner. It was perfect when I didn’t work and the kids activities were pretty consistent. This year I switched to the Erin Condren teacher planner. I modify each week to fit my needs with categories like – Home, Kids, Chores/Extra, Book, and Blog. It is an 8×11 planner and the perfect size for life with three busy teenagers, a busy husband and working from home.

In addition to my planner, I use several other tools to keep myself on track. I use post-it notes (I should seriously own stock in 3M), colored pens, and stickers. The stickers are mainly used to keep my planner pretty, but some are functional. My other life-saving organizational tool is my desk calendar. It’s also from Erin Condren. I keep a running list on the side of things that are happening the next month and make sure to write in all appointments and already scheduled stuff at the beginning of every month.

If you are curious about Erin Condren and any of their organizational products, here is a link that can save you $10 when you sign up for an account:

REFERRAL LINK :

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/carriezimmerman/1

My Favorite Podcast…

I spend a lot of time in the car and in my office. I used to make playlists for whatever I was working on or whatever music matches my mood for that day. Lately none of the music I have has held my interest. So, since school started in August all I listen to are podcasts. There are several that I like, but my absolute favorite is My Favorite Murder. Georgia and Karen (the hosts) are hilarious, irreverent, and twisted. I love learning about murder cases that I haven’t heard of and more information about the ones I have at least a  little knowledge of. I have even been able to get my husband to listen to My Favorite Murder while we were on a road-trip.

Favorite episodes:

  1. #55 – Let’s Hear Your Podcast – Christine and Lea Papin
  2. #45 – Funky Diva – Lord Lucan/Summerhill Road Murders
  3. #105 – Proclensity – Typhoid Mary

Do you have a favorite podcast?

Review: Montana Heat – Escape to Love by Jennifer Ryan

About the book:

A Montana man always protects the woman he loves

He discovered her during a Montana blizzard, freezing cold, impossibly vulnerable, a little boy by her side. Undercover DEA Agent Beck “Trigger” Cooke is astonished to recognize Ashley Swan—award-winning actress, famous beauty—and missing for over a year. To keep her and the child hidden from a sadistic madman, he secrets the pair away to his isolated home.

No longer a prisoner, and protected at Hope Ranch, Ashley recovers and learns the tall, tempting federal agent may have a dark past, but it hasn’t destroyed his sense of honor.

As they shed past roles and find common ground, Ashley and Trigger can’t help but fall slowly, carefully, in love. But danger still lurks outside the boundaries of Hope Ranch, for until her crazed captor is brought to justice, and Trigger’s undercover past is laid to rest, none of them will ever be truly safe…

My thoughts:

If you’ve read the blog for a while, you know of my love of Jennifer Ryan books. I adored the first book in this series (Montana Heat: Protected by Love) and I wasn’t disappointed in this new book at all.

Trigger is disillusioned, hurt and trying to find his way back toward normal. He has hidden away in a cabin in Montana with no close neighbors. Ashley has run away, with a young child, from a psychopath that has kept her hostage for a year. Beck doesn’t know what to do when he finds the woman and child on his property, but his instinct is to protect them at all costs.

Beck and Ashley need each other. They have both been hurt and beaten down by life. Ashley has more to recover from, but Beck is maybe more emotionally damaged in the beginning. He doesn’t know who he is anymore. It is through helping Ashley regain herself, that Beck does the same.

I loved how the couple relied on each other to heal, while making sure that they weren’t being dependent upon each other to a point it was unhealthy. Ashley is a very strong character. She isn’t going to be a victim again and sets about to make sure that she and the child she escaped with are safe. Beck has things from his past that aren’t settled and he works to make sure the threat against him can’t harm Ashley.

Montana Heat: Escape to You is another Jennifer Ryan book that I couldn’t put down. I can’t wait for the next two books in the series.

Rating:

I give Montana Heat: Escape to You a 5/5

To find the book:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks