Sunday Bookends: Little Miss turns eight and a trip “up north”

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

My post is late today because today is Little Miss’s birthday and we took a trip to a small restaurant near us after holding a birthday party at home for her yesterday. Between running all over and getting interrupted today, I didn’t have time to finish this post for this morning.

There were seven kids tearing around our house and jumping all over the neighbor’s trampoline for several hours yesterday. Little Miss had a blast.

Today she wanted a family dinner out with her family. Originally she wanted to go to a restaurant to sit inside but this morning, after cuddling with Zooma the Wonder Dog, she decided she wanted to go somewhere we could eat outside so we could bring her furry best friend with us.

There is a restaurant near us that encourages customers to bring their pets and even sells meat bowls for them so we decided to go there. That gave Zooma an outing too and she was so excited to be a part of our day. We’ve been heading out places lately without her and it’s sad to leave her home.

Earlier in the week, we left her home for over eight hours when The Husband was at work, and we drove two hours away to see my 89-year-old aunt who will be going into a nursing home very soon.

Today we went to the restaurant, ate outside, admired the lovely covered bridge by the restaurant, then stopped at a local trail where The Husband and the kids hiked a little bit and I stayed at the van because of a bum knee and because I don’t do well at hiking these days.

I thought the trail was going to be a lot smoother than it turned out being. I hadn’t been there for years and did not remember the trail going down such a steep hill with so many rocks and tree limbs sticking out.  I would have liked a little bit more sun during the day, but it still turned out to be a very nice day.

As for the trip to my aunt’s, I hate driving long distances, but my mom doesn’t drive much anymore, and my dad has been driving a lot lately, so I volunteered to drive and actually did much better than I expected. It helped that I know the route there better than some and that it’s pretty much a straight shot up a couple of major highways. My aunt lives in Upstate New York, which is the part of New York most people don’t know exists. It’s a mainly rural area in the part we are closer to, with a few bigger “cities” like Binghamton, N.Y.

There is a three-lane highway that bypasses the city of Binghamton and it’s always a little crazy for this country girl to drive on. Cars are flying from off ramps on one side and people are switching lanes and it is in those moments I long for a tractor to get stuck behind. I did well on that stretch on the way to my aunts but on the way back it was rush hour and there were cars coming in and out and passing me on the right to get around a slow truck and aack! In the middle of all of this, a spider ran across the top of the windshield and I sat for a moment trying to figure out if it was inside or outside.

It didn’t take me long to realize that line of thought was stupid considering I was driving at 55 mph and there was no way a spider could hold on like that on the outside. So here I am trying to maneuver through this year while a spider is running up and then down the windshield and then disappears along the side of it. At that point, I have no idea where this thing is going to pop up. My mom, who was sitting in the front seat with me, told me to focus on the road and not on the spider. I did my best to listen to her and eventually I forgot about the spider. Luckily, he stayed hidden the rest of the drive.

The weather this week was similar to last week with a few days where it rained for a little, then the sun came out, then it rained again, then the sun came out, then it rained…well,  you get the idea. My poor cats were totally confused during the day and were either crying to get out or crying to get in. Zooma the Wonder Dog got wet a few times because I let her out and then didn’t realize it was raining again.

The weather was the same on the drive to and from my aunts and during the visit with her too.

During our visit there The Boy decided to stress me out by climbing a really tall tree in my aunt’s backyard. They are selling her house when she moves so it will probably be the last time he climbs that tree.

My aunt’s friend stopped by before we left and when I told her the story she said boys never grow out of climbing trees because the other day she caught her 49-year-old son up her tree. She’d gone out in the backyard and couldn’t find him. That’s when she heard him calling to her from above. He told her he’d just wanted to see if he could still do it.

It will be hard for us not to see my aunt in her home after all this time. I’ve never visited her in any other home and I know this move is very hard for her and for her daughter. We hope to visit her in the nursing home when she moves in. It will be a little bit of a further drive then.

What I/we’ve been Reading

This week I finished The Uncertainty of Fire by Stephanie Daniels.


What price will she pay for following her heart?

Chicago, 1871. Sixteen-year-old Whimsy Greathart would rather fight against Chicago’s child labor practices than attend her privileged family’s high society events. And a very public social blunder only strengthens her resolve to use her influence for good.

On the night of the Great Chicago Fire, her tenderhearted choice leads her into danger and results in life-changing consequences.

With her world turned to ash, she must rely on the mercy of poor relations to rebuild her future and is forced into the very labor system she wished to fight against. As Whimsy staggers under the weight of street gang violence and hazardous working conditions, a chance at deliverance persuades her to make a promise. One she intends to keep. But now she must determine whether it’s God’s heart she’s following or her own.

A Top Faved Christian story on Amazon’s Kindle Vella. Now available in paperback and e-book.

I had read part of this book on Kindle Vella last year before I had the dreaded virus and was a little too out of it to finish it after the dreaded virus so I was glad to have it in book form to read now. It is well written and a very interesting read, especially with all the history thrown in. The characters are rich and well developed and easy to love – or hate depending on the character. Stephanie will be releasing a second book in this series in the future and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll have a larger review on this later in the week.

I also continued reading A Quilter’s Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini and picked up another book by her during a recent library visit.

A Quilter’s Holiday is part of the Elm Creek Quilt series.


For the Elm Creek Quilters, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the quilting season, a time to gather at Elm Creek Manor and spend the day stitching holiday gifts for loved ones. This year, in keeping with the season’s spirit of gratitude, Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson Cooper is eager to revive a cherished family tradition. A recent remodeling of the manor’s kitchen unearthed a cornucopia that once served as the centerpiece of the Bergstrom family’s holiday table. Into it, each Bergstrom would place an object that symbolized something he or she was especially thankful for that year. On this quilter’s holiday, Sylvia has invited her friends to continue the tradition by sewing quilt blocks that represent their thankfulness and gratitude.

As each quilter explains the significance of her carefully chosen block, stories of love and longing for family and friends emerge—feelings that are also expressed in the gifts they work on throughout the day.

As an early winter storm blankets Elm Creek Manor in heavy snow, the quilters find new meanings in their best-loved traditions and new reasons to be thankful. A Quilter’s Holiday is a story of holiday spirit, in its truest, most generous sense.

I hope to finish reading a book I started a while ago by Donald Westlake this week or next, but with the way I’ve been reading lately – interrupted constantly by life and writing – it will probably be sometime later in October.

The Boy is reading a lot of text for history — a book on Medieval History By Susan Wise Bauer and is waiting for a new copy of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells after Little Miss’s slime got stuck to the book he is reading.

Little Miss and I are reading The Year of Miss Agnes during the week and The Golden Years from the Little House on the Prairie season at night. Yes, we’ve read it before, but she asked for it again so…sigh.

The Husband is reading the latest Robert Galbraith, The Ink Black Heart.

What We watched/are Watching

This past week The Boy and I watched Hocus Pocus, which I wrote about on the blog for Spooky Season Cinema.

I also watched a lot of Dick VanDyke this week which I do when I am having a stressful week, which I did, but mainly mentally rather than other ways.

What I’m Writing

I’ve been plugging away at Shores of Mercy and hope to have the first draft of it finished in the middle of the month. I announced on social media this week that the book will release January 2023. I also revealed the cover on the Fiction Friday post.

On the blog this week I shared:

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Bookends: Little Miss turns eight and a trip “up north”

  1. Happy Birthday to Little Miss! She’s so close in age to our little grandson that we live with (he’ll be 8 Feb 1) and to one of our Alaskan granddaughters (she turned 8 Aug 5.) It’s a fun age, watching them understand and grow!


  2. Happy birthday to Little Miss! That was so sweet that she was able to celebrate with her favorite fur friend, and so nice there are places where she can do that.

    My husband and I drove through part of Upstate New York once and, coming from LA, I was astonished at all the open space and how far apart the houses are from each other. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen so many trees in one area before, haha. And of course the first thing I ask my husband is “where do they get their groceries?”


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