Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island - TLC Book Tour

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: New Harvest (October 14, 2014)

Readers of Erik Larson will love this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream: A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Island’s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog-eating savages” from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as “human exhibits” alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.

Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New York’s social elite. The Lost Tribe of Coney Island is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.

Claire Prentice_credit Solen Collet

Claire Prentice is an award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The Washington Post, The Times of London, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, BBC Online, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire. Connect with Claire on her blog,

Wow was this a fascinating book to read.

I am usually someone who prefers fiction over non fiction, unless it is a book that really captivates my attention from the get go.  I was lucky in that not only did this book appeal to me when reading the summary but it managed to deliver exactly what it stated it would.

This book is filled with such interesting people, beginning with the main one who is Truman Hunt.  Such a sketchy character this one.  He brings over the Igorrotes from the Philippines and displays them at the Coney Island Luna Park alongside a myriad of freaks and curious other characters.  At first he may seem like a businessman just worried about providing entertainment to the carnival goers, but we quickly realize just how horrible this man really is.

On the other side, we have the tribe who are brought over thousands of miles away from their home, and put on display.  At first they seem willing to entertain, but things quickly turn sour when they start realizing just how mistaken they were and how they are being taken advantage of by Truman Hunt.  It's almost, or rather, it IS like they are prisoners held captive in a strange land.

These were men, women and even children who were brought over with the illusion that they would be paid a monthly wage, but also make money from any sale of items they would make.

This story was just so fascinating to me, it was a times frustrating wanting Truman Hunt to get caught and seeing him just get away by the skin of his teeth, moving the tribe from town to town and carnival to carnival, always seeming to elude the police.

He had this web of spies and cohorts and seemed to be one step ahead of everyone.

I am huge history fan and so glad that I got to review this book, not only was it a good story but it was also part of history and when you're able to find a book that combines those two so seamlessly, then you definitely have a hit on your hands.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy.

Claire Prentice’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, October 13th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Monday, October 13th: Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, October 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, October 14th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, October 15th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, October 20th:  girlichef
Monday, October 20th: Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, October 21st: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, October 22nd: She Treads Softly
Thursday, October 23rd:  Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, October 24th:  Dwell in Possibility
Monday, October 27th: BookNAround
Monday, October 27th:  Mental Foodie
Tuesday, October 28th:  Lisa’s Yarns
Wednesday, October 29th: A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cold dreary Wednesday!


Good morning my sweet friends, come on in out of the cold and sit with me a bit.  I just finished having some breakfast, well, actually I had a big cup of coffee at 6:30 am when I got up with hubby, but it's now just going on 9:20am and I was hungry so I had a cup of hot tea and two pieces of toast with butter and apple butter.  Yummy!

So yes, it's a bit of a cold and dreary Wednesday, when I say the temperatures have dropped, I mean they have significantly dropped, our highest yesterday was 56 degrees and today it's quite chilly.

I do love the cold weather so I can throw on comfy clothes.  For today, I am wearing some black leggings, but the ones with the fleece on the inside, oh my word they are so comfy and so warm.  I also have knee high socks and my fleecy slippers, plus one of Curt's long sleeved baggy shirts.  I am ready for the day!!!


Yesterday we got a ton of rain and you know how much I love that.


Just look at those big drops on the window? I am so chuffed with this picture, you can kind of see the reflection of the grass and the deck on each drop. So pretty!

So yeah, I stepped outside, of course, and had to snap some pics of the rain.




I am so often amazed and reminded of the beauty of God. It is in everything we see and everything that surrounds us, I just wish we would remember to soak it in every chance we get.

Coming back inside, I had a few candles going and I wanted to do some baking but then ended up not getting around to it. I am really hoping to be able to do that sometime today?

You know time just flies so quick, and I find that lately all these plans and schedules and things I want to get done, don't always get completed. There just aren't enough hours in the day.


I plopped myself on this chair for about 30 minutes to get lessons planned. The boys have been busy learning how to write essays which was never one of my favorite things to do in school either, so it's quite a task sometimes to get them to focus and work on their essays. We'll see how it goes today, they both need to do an essay on Alexander the Great. Oh goodness!!!


Between the usual housework and laundry and kids and such, the day just flew by. I did manage to get back out with my camera and capture some more Autumn through my lens.

I know some of you may get sick of these pictures, but since this is my online journal, I just love flooding it with photos of my day, it's such a pleasure when I get to go back and look through previous years and see what has stayed the same and what has changed.


This tree sits right outside my kitchen window, it's the one I had told you that was turning a beautiful shade of red? Well I went out there right after it stopped raining and took some photos because the drops that were left on the leaves were shining in the sunlight and they actually looked like diamonds. So pretty.


I don't think the photos do it justice though.



The leaves almost look like leather don't they?


These guys were happily fluttering around, enjoying the cool weather.





Just absolutely breathtaking, in my opinion. 

I was supposed to have caught up on some shows yesterday but that was also one of the things that ended up not happening, just didn't have time to do it.  Maybe today. 

Ohhh last night I finally figured out how to arm knit.  I made my daughter a scarf in about 30 minutes, it's a super chunky infinity scarf, and she was just so chuffed with it.  I plan on making more today.

I am going to take some photos though to show you, because I think this is such a neat trick to do, and so easy when you get the hang of it.  I'm thinking with Christmas coming up so soon, these will make awesome gifts.

Just let me know if you want me to show you how to do it, or if you just want to see the finished product.  If you want to learn how to arm knit, I can try my best to do a step by step post to teach you, so yeah, just let me know in the comments :)

Right, I better get on with it, I have laundry waiting to be switched from the washer to the dryer, and I have a few more loads to go in.  Here's what I'm doing the rest of the day:

Sweep floors
Lesson planning
Pay bills
Water plants
Work on next arm knit scarf, take photos
Work on reviews for the blog

Lunch will be leftovers for the kids, we went out to dinner last night which we hadn't done in so long, and the kids brought home about half of their meals.  I will probably have some soup and a yogurt.
For dinner, I'm making the Octopus Rice and a Salad.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Last Roses....


I thought my rose bushes were done flowering, but this past week they seemed to have gotten a second wind and suddenly the wonderful aroma of roses permeated the air.

I decided to get a few last in my house, before they're done for the year.


They smell so amazing and they are just the most beautiful shades of pink, aren't they?

I've also been collecting their petals as they fall, and placing them in a small jar.

While I was out there, I snapped a few more pictures of Fall's colors. The tree right outside my kitchen window has now turned a gorgeous shade of red.


Some green leaves hold on for dear life, I guess they're desperately holding on to summer, but I'm sure very soon they too will join the ranks of deep reds and oranges.



One thing I've noticed is how the neighborhood fruit trees have come alive too, and it makes me a little jealous that I don't have fruit trees in my yard too. I think when we buy a house, I will devote a section of the yard to fruit trees, imagine having your very own orchard right outside the back door?


Apples and apples galore, my neighbor to the left has the tree brimming with them.

And the neighbor right behind us has a cherry tree, just look at how many are on that tree? Goodness. I wouldn't mind a cherry tree myself.


It's amazing being outside right now, the temperatures are wonderful and the whole town is surrounded by these beautiful colored trees. No wonder I love Fall so much, and claim it to be my favorite season of all.



But Fall is not only about the trees for me.  I've been pulling out my crochet and knitting and trying very hard to get started on some Christmas projects.

And then there's Fall TV, with all the good shows starting.  I don't have Dish, just Netflix but we watch all of our shows online and never miss a single episode of anything.  I love the fact that most of these online sites post the new episodes within an hour of them airing.

So I thought I would tell you about the shows I'm currently enjoying, of course starting with the UK ones.

Downton Abbey, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I can't wait until January to watch it on PBS.  I use Hola Unblocker to watch live, and if I'm not home at the time it airs on Sunday afternoon, then I watch it online.

The Great Fire.  If you know about The Great Fire of London, then you'll want to watch this one.  There's only been one episode and I believe it is 4 episodes long, but the first was really good, I enjoyed it immensely.  If you want to watch the first episode online, you can do so through this link.

Grantchester, I'm not too sure about this one right now, I'm sort of on the fence?  But I'll continue watching because many times I start a series off thinking it's not good and within a few episodes I start loving it.

Doctor Who.  Ok, I totally take back what I first said about the new doctor being too old, or not thinking he would be good.  We're all actually enjoying him a lot.

For the shows in the States, I'm watching....

The Flash
Agents of Shield
American Horror Story
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Adventures
Walking Dead
Ghost Asylum
The Affair
 Star Trek Enterprise (watching every night on Netflix with hubby)

Good grief, when put down on screen, it seems like I spend my life watching TV, and that is definitely not the case, I only wish I had time to sit down and watch all of these on a regular basis.

The good thing about watching online is that when I do get some time on the weekends, I just grab the laptop, open a few of these and watch one right after the other.

What are you enjoying at the moment?


Happy Homemaker Monday - 10/20/2014

Good morning friends, how are you all doing today?

It's quite early here, but hubby and I have been up on and off the whole night as Miss Bella is not feeling very well. I just wish that it was Saturday morning and not Monday morning already. This weekend especially seems to have just zipped right on by.

Right, I have my cup of coffee and menu plan on hand, so let's get right on with our HHM for today.

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
For now just a cup of coffee to wake up. Here in about an hour I will have some oatmeal with some berries

Looking around the house::::
It is dark save for a few candles here and there. My house is actually clean and tidy and aside from dishes in the sink that need to be put in the washer, I don't have much to do.

On today's to do list::::

Laundry.....Have a load of towels in the washer right now, then need to switch those to the dryer and start a load of doggie blankets. Everything else was done this weekend.

Cleaning.....In the kitchen, I need to unload the dishwasher and load the dishes in the sink. Also need to sweep and mop the floors. In the living room, just need to vacuum the rug because the dogs are still shedding (ugh), also want to sweep and mop the wood floors. In the bedrooms I have to make the beds and tidy up a bit, also need to vacuum and carpet clean my bedroom. I did Jasmine's and Nic's yesterday. In the bathrooms, need to wash the tub in the upstairs bathroom and the toilets in both upstairs and downstairs.

Homeschooling.....prepare today's lessons. Look over the girl's lessons and see how they are doing. My Jasmine is going for her PSAT on Wednesday so we'll be doing a little preparing for that. Please tell me how in the heck I am sitting here waiting to take my little baby girl for her PSAT? Wasn't she just running around the other day preparing for Kindergarten?

Crocheting.....Made myself a slouchy hat and some ear warmers. Have another 3 ear warmers to make for my daughter, niece and sister in law. Also need to work on some boot cuffs and some infinity scarves for my niece and sister in law, for Christmas. Started another slouchy hat for me using up my leftover pink soft yarn that I used last year for my infinity scarf. I'll take a picture today and show you.

Cooking....Lunch will be Soup and sandwiches. Dinner is Chicken with Carrots and Tomato Sauce, rice and Salad.

Currently reading::::
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Finished the first book and have started the second.

On the TV today::::
-- Portuguese Soaps - Mulheres, Mar Salgado
-- Haven from last week
-- Downton Abbey from yesterday
-- Youtube Vlogs

The weather outside is::::
Not as chilly this morning, it is currently 55 degrees and the highest today will be 79, so definitely cooling down a lot. Also supposed to get some showers this week which I am always looking forward to.

On the menu this week::::

Chicken with Carrots and Tomato Sauce, Rice and Salad

Arroz de Polvo (Octopus Rice), Mixed Veggies

Wendy's Copykat Chili

Gnocchi Bolognese

Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

Lemon Pepper Fish Fillets, Tomato Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Work on some crochet projects

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::
Last week I tried a Pepperoni Pull Apart Garlic Knots, I will share the recipe sometime today on my food blog.

One of my simple pleasures::::
Watching mommy vloggers on Youtube

Favorite photo from the camera::::

Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::::
I really enjoy the blog A Little Bit Country :) 

Praying for::::
Family and friends

Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::::
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Day in the Life - Thursday

I know it is Friday, but I was supposed to get this Day in the Life post up yesterday and then got so busy with groceries and housework and other errands, that I just never got around to posting.

I'll have another one up later for today, but here is what my Thursday looked like.

Menu planning and grocery list writing, over breakfast.  I had done most of it the night before but had a few things left to finish off before going grocery shopping.


Lunch, growing up I used to love cup a soups, especially the creamy chicken one, but I hadn't had any in years.  While grocery shopping I happened to see them on the shelf and decided to grab a box for my lunches. 


Crocheting while sipping on my soup....made this quick slouchy hat to match my infinity scarf from last year.....and I still have some yarn left.  I just love this yarn and wish I could get more but haven't found it in a long time.

Watering the plants, this is my chili pepper plant, it only yielded me two chilies last year but now it's filled with new ones coming in, so exciting.


Flower had also turned brown and now it's blooming again. 


Watching Autumn roll in.




Evening light....I honestly think one of my favorite things about the holidays, are the holiday lights and the stunning bokeh they provide.



I went grocery shopping first thing in the morning.  Usually I do all my shopping at the commissary which I find much cheaper than anywhere else, but between my husband's college classes and his work, we are left with one vehicle between us. (his truck needs new brake pads).

I had to wait until he was home so that I could take my car for shopping.  I got most of the groceries bought at Walmart, spent $160 but tomorrow morning I will head to the commissary for the meats and a few items that I couldn't find at Walmart.

All in all, not bad food budget wise for this month.

After returning home, I did the usual housework intermingled with some crochet, some homeschooling and computer work here and there.

At night we had Tae Kwon Do.  I can't believe how dark it gets already, we leave the house around 7:30pm and it's already pitch black outside and did I mention cold?  My word, it is so chilly in the mornings and nights now.

My husband actually turned on the heat this morning for a few minutes just to warm the house a tad bit, as it was freezing downstairs.  Yep, I think the cold weather is well on it's way.

The kids are all starting to come down with colds, right now the girls seem to be the ones feeling the worst with sore throats, headaches and just downright yucky feeling.  I don't feel too hot myself, but I've been drinking orange juice, hot tea with lemon and honey and have started some cold meds, hopefully I can kick it to the curb before it makes a full fledged appearance.

I have another full day today, so I better get on out of here and get the laundry switched to the dryer.  I would much rather be in bed, if I am being completely honest, but that is not going to happen....oh well!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PSAT testing!

Good morning friends, how are you all doing this beautiful Wednesday?

It is actually cloudy here and 55 degrees, we're supposed to get some showers this afternoon and I do hope they come down as I love a good rain shower.

I am currently sitting in Boise as Jasmine takes her PSAT's.  Her PSAT's, I can't believe she is doing this right now, I feel like just yesterday I was picking her up from Kindergarten.  Why does time fly so fast?

I tried to take a few photos with my tablet, so they're not the best quality, but just to show you where I am at the moment.  I have my Nicholas with me, we all had to be up at 6am this morning, and no one got good sleep last night so we're red eyed and tired and just ready to go home and relax.

It's not like I can even go for a drive anywhere, as I don't have my car.   It's Wednesday which means Curt has classes this morning, so he dropped us off at the testing site and headed to BSU, he'll come pick us up after his last class which will be only after 1pm.

Yes, it's going to be a very long day for the kids and I.

And did I mention that I'm tired?  So very very tired and a little on the cranky side, though you wouldn't know it if you crossed me this morning, as I have my smile plastered on my face.  I figure if I smile it will slowly chip away at the crankiness and maybe not make me focus on the exhaustion?  We'll see if that works.

Alright, let me show you real quick where I am at....


See?  Not the best of quality, actually quite awful taken with the tablet, but it will do just to give you an idea.


Thankfully this testing location is quite nice and has a few areas where we can sit and wait on the students.   I still remember 2 years ago back in Arizona when we went for the State testing and they had no place for the parents to wait, no wifi, no chairs, nothing.  It was quite horrible.

Anyway, Nicholas and I are hanging out here, on super comfy chairs, with our laptops.  I'm taking this time to catch up on emails and other computer work, and my Nic is working on his school lessons for today.  He is so tired, he has nodded off on the chair a couple times, poor thing.

We still have about a hour to a hour and a half left of testing, and I wouldn't be surprised if I fell asleep here shortly hahahah

Right, now that I have that out of the way, I thought I would show you my pictures of the Halloween decorations we put up, I thought I had taken pictures of everything but I didn't.  I have no clue why, but here are a few, and some other random pics thrown in from my day to day.


Jasmine decorated this bush, and I know I'm a horrible mother but when she happily shouted out "Mom, please take a picture of my bush", I started laughing, and may have snorted a bit.  She didn't find it too funny cause all I got was a "WOW mom, really?"  LOL


My trusty bats have come out again.  I don't know what it is about these, I think they're such a simple decoration but so cute for Halloween.  I need to cut more out because I want to place them all around the living room walls.


This cutey underneath holds my candy corn and other Halloween Candy.  I think it's adorable.  I found it a thrift store, I think it was actually Goodwill back in Arizona, and he was only $2 so I couldn't leave him behind.


See, not many decorations, I really must take photos of everything else, I'll probably do that later tonight.

Saturday we went by the farmer's market, they are going to be shutting down for the year very soon, so I wanted to go one last time, and I lucked out as the sweet Mennonite lady was selling some beautiful beets.


Aren't they gorgeous?  And they were only $1.


Funny thing is that when I was growing up, I hated Beets, I always used to think they tasted like dirt.  My stepmother on the other hand, loved them and would try to serve it to us many times, but we would turn our noses up.

As I've gotten older I've started liking them, and I would say probably the last 2 years I've suddenly grown to love them, I mean I could eat them all day long and even snack on them during the day.


I boiled them, cut them up and pickled them.  Yum!

The greens and stalks, I fried up with bacon and garlic, little bit of olive oil.  It is so delicious.

So there you go, a few Halloween pictures and some other random, like this one of the Fire Hydrant....I don't know why other than the fact that I think it's pretty?


Right, back to waiting for Miss Jasmine to be done with her PSAT testing, and hoping that time flies so my husband can come pick us up and we can head home. I am so ready for a nap at this point.

See you all tomorrow, hope you have a fantastic rest of Wednesday!