Book Review: Calico Joe


" escape was on the field. Baseball was my best friend, and in mid-July 1973 the game was about to be electrified like never before."

In the summer of 1973, Paul Tracey's world was ruled by two men for two very different reasons.

Joe Castle, a rookie, takes the Chicago Cubs and the baseball world by storm.  "Calico Joe" is instantly placed on a pedestal by Paul, who is not alone in hoisting him up there. Joe was a present day baseball legend, shattering records and setting new, almost unreachable standards.

Warren Tracey, Paul's father, is a hot-headed, streaky pitcher for the New York Mets. He believes in superstitions and in the unwritten rules that all batters and pitchers are to follow and to never question.    

It is these two men and this game that shapes, defines and forever changes Paul.

In Calico Joe,  John Grisham takes the reader on a journey bouncing between eleven-year old Paul Tracey and present day Paul Tracey.  He reminds us that growing up has little to do with age and more with making a decision, regardless of how hard it proves to be. Though many may place John Grisham in a one-dimensional box, this book proves his storytelling ability can step outside of the courtroom.  Even if you don't consider yourself a fan of America's favorite pastime, don't count this book out.  

Calico Joe is an easy read that offers more to the reader than just baseball.  It is a story of love (for the game), forgiveness and redemption.  It conveys the perfect balance of heartbreak and hope that the Cubs fan base experiences every season. It was a book that I hated to put down and one I could not wait to get back to. 

With Opening Day right around the corner, Calico Joe would be a fitting and appropriate to bring in the season!

(I was provided a galley copy of this book; all thoughts and opinions are my own) 

The Colors of Spring


Spring is a beautiful time in the south...

...full of color...

...and life!

It's just a pretty season! Enjoy your weekend :)


It's Thursday and I'm Still Random


Happy Thursday, y'all!

I've missed my blog so much, but my brain is empty and tired by the time I get home, and after sitting in front of a computer pretty much all day, it's not really high on my to-do list when I'm in the comfort of our house.

Well, that was a run on sentence if I've ever written one.

Anywhoo! We have had a fairly calm week which is always welcomed. I've been trying to enjoy this amazing weather as much as possible. It really makes me long for a job that would allow me to workout outside. Alas, the real world says no, and in my cube I remain.

It also blows my mind to think that spring has only officially been here for two days. I mean, it's been in the 70's at least for the past 2 weeks! I love it because we've been doing yard work and I'm running in our church's 5K on Saturday morning.
The proceeds will go to help stamp out human trafficking which makes this race about so much more than the mileage. In the book of James we are commanded to do this...

Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and 
guard against corruption from the godless world. 
- James 1:27 (The Message)

I'm thankful to be doing this race for so many reasons, including the fact I've been somewhat slack in running and working out as a whole lately! Hopefully this will serve as a jump start to my laziness in those regards. 

Another thing that happened this week (at least in our house) was that for the first time in too many weeks, there has been no Bachelor!
I, personally, was probably too disappointed about this fact, but I'm sure the hubby was more than happy! I realize how dumb and silly this show is, but I can't help but to watch to see what's going to happen. Seriously a train wreck every time. So entertaining.

I hoping to take some pictures of the flowers we planted last weekend posted on here in the next couple of days because they just make me happy. I feel like they make such a difference and planting them and watching the grow, is seriously a sign of spring. That and the insane pollen that has coated my car!

Spring is like life, though; gotta take the good with the bad!

Thankfully, the good usually outweighs the bad (both spring and in life)!

P.S. is anyone else ridiculously excited that "The Hunger Games" is coming out tomorrow?!?

What I've Loved About This Week


I cannot believe we're halfway through March!

Crazy. My husband tells me I say this every month, but at least I'm consistent...

It's been a pretty good month so far, especially considering how not so good January and February were. And what's even crazier, is how warm it is! At least here in North Carolina. 80 degrees. In March. I'm enjoying it, but hoping that this is not an indication for what summer will be like.

This week has been filled with some pretty awesome things such as...

...this book

...this nail polish
tart deco

...this product
Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes
Makes my nighttime routine faster and easier. Great way to take off your make up (even your eye make up)!

...this comfortable hoodie
Under Armour Charged Cotton Storm Fleece Hoody
This thing is so comfortable, it's crazy. No doubt one of my favorite pieces of clothing right now. our hotel for our trip to the Outer Banks!
 ...and of course, a lot of basketball that will result in this
And now, Friday is here, and I have high hopes for a relaxing, yet productive weekend!

Enjoy it!


The Gifts of Social Networking


I've mentioned here before how social networking has a chance to be pretty awesome.  For the most part, I still believe that. Though I think it has the opportunity to be used in a negative way, I've experienced more good than bad from Twitter, Facebook and blogs.Earlier this week, I saw this on my Facebook news feed...
Now, I admit, that I love John Grisham novels, and got really excited at the thought I've being one of the lucky chosen ones. I did as it requested, but honestly did not expect to receive an email back saying, "you got it."

But I did!

I am pretty sure I squealed a high pitched squeal (while at work I might add) and may have done some sort of chair dance at my desk. I know that blogging isn't about followers and numbers, but in this case, I figured it would be. Now, for whatever reason, I'll get the opportunity to read this book before it's even on the shelves and write about it. I would classify this as an unofficial bucket list item. I say unofficial because I never thought I would get a chance to do something like this.

I know some people review things all the time, so this probably doesn't seem like a big deal. But this is my first time, and dangit, I'm excited about it! I'm not sure when I'll get the book, however I do know that I'll get to blog about it, so be on the look out!

Another aspect of social networking that I'm loving right now is Pinterest. Seriously. If only I could get my kitchen, closet and entire house to reflect what I'm repinning...
My love for social networking is truly rooted in the sweet words I get to read from y'all and the "friendships" that come from blogs, tweets and more. In some ways I would consider these social mediums a blessing.

And I thank each of you for it!

Tomatillo Salsa-Chicken Skillet


A few weeks ago, I noticed a recipe on the back of a Kraft shredded cheese bag that actually sounded pretty good and worth trying. I am always on the hunt for new dinner ideas because having a lack of them usually results in me being grumpy or us having spaghetti for every meal.

So tonight for dinner, we made Tomatillo Salsa-Chicken Skillet and it was amazing! It's light, but filling and pretty easy. The reason I qualify with "pretty easy" is because I'm not too good at the cutting and chopping and it does require some of that.


2 cups multi-grain rotini pasta
1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1-1/4 cups tomatillo salsa
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut in half
1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese

How to make it:
1. Cook the pasta as directed on package. 
2. Meanwhile, heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 4 min. Stir in salsa, corn and peppers; simmer on medium-low heat 10 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. 
3. Drain pasta. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Top with cheese. Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 1 min. or until cheese is melted.

Now if I was a better blogger, I would have taken more pictures of the before/during process. As this is not the case, y'all will have to make due with the almost done/about to be eaten pictures.

at this point, our kitchen smelled amazing

sweet hubby handling the chopping of the pepper

I was making yummy noises at this point
I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone! I personally was a little skeptical about the tomatillo salsa, but was pleasantly surprised. The only thing that I changed was adding just a little bit of sour cream to mine, but that's because I love sour cream.

Let me know if you try this and if you make any modifications! I'd love to know!  

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