Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

Chocolate FeverChocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My little and I read this story together. She is nine years old and picked it out herself. She seemed to like it well enough. The thought of a kid eating too much chocolate and getting caught in a dangerous adventure when he tries to run away from his problems was fun for her. The vocabulary was enough of a stretch, that it was a good learning experience. I was not impressed with the book, however. It was just too dated and not as relevant for her as I would have hoped. It’s not really one I will recommend to others.

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The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

The Heart Goes LastThe Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some things scare the hell out of me if I think about them too much. One of those things is greed and what would happen if we as a society stopped seeing each other as human beings, but instead really focused on money and power above all else. How would that affect you as a person who loves another person? This story explores one such possibility and the question of to what we choose to do with our own free will. This clever tale follows a couple in the supposedly not too distant future as they deal with the ultimate economic downturn and get caught up in a viscous cycle of systems doing what is “right” for those in power. It is the couple’s own heart which could be their final undoing.

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The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of ViolenceThe Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by Gary A. Haugen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If we don’t know that a problem exists, then it is impossible to ever fix it. Most people know that millions of people around the world are suffering in poverty. What is less known is the extent to which violence combined with a lack of any kind of criminal justice system in parts of our world cause many to lose their lives or plunge further into desperate circumstances. This is a moving narrative that needs to be heard. This call to action will make you grateful for the opportunities you have and make you want to be part of the solution for others.

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A Lesson in Hope by Philip Gulley

A Lesson in Hope: A NovelA Lesson in Hope: A Novel by Philip Gulley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sam, the good natured Quaker pastor, may have moved away from Harmony but I am so happy that his story lives on and that several of the characters from the past are traveling with him on this new adventure. This is a great story to help you appreciate that goodness comes from within, despite all the crazy that may be exploding around you.

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Garden of Lights

Last night my husband and I enjoyed an evening at Heathcote Botanical Garden in Ft. Pierce, FL. The Garden of Lights is a an annual event to offer the public the opportunity to view this beautiful garden at night and enjoy a collection of botanical themed lights. The light displays were gorgeous. Being a plant lover, I really enjoyed the floral themes. For only a $5 admission fee, even the rain couldn’t put a damper on this date night activity. We did spend an extra $3 to roast a marshmallow and enjoy a s’more desert together.

Heathcote2

Check out Heathcote Botanical Gardens day or night: https://www.heathcotebotanicalgardens.org/

Christmas in the Caribbean

One of the things I love the most about being a proud card carrying member of the Treasure Coast Parrot Head Club is their motto of “Party With a Purpose”. Giving should be a joyful experience, and one that makes our community stronger and a happier place to live. This past weekend was so much fun because it was our club’s annual fundraiser for the Salvation Army. We held a party at the Stuart Grill & Ale which was open to the public and we had a wonderful time collecting toys and raising money for a great organization which provides toys to children who otherwise wouldn’t have any. The band which played the whole afternoon were The Conch Fritters–and they were amazing! They performed a mix of covers, original music, and plenty of Christmas tunes to put us all in the mood. The entrance fee to the party was a donated toy, food item, or donation to the little red kettle. Most people gave willingly. We collected over 200 toys!

salvationarmytoys

There were also activities to raise money. There was a cookie contest (I made my favorite Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum! Balls), a gift basket contest, and a raffle. The total of how much was donated has not yet been released, but I am sure it was a number our club can feel proud of. There were also a lot of tropical themed door prizes given away throughout the day, which made for a really good time as well.

I love this club and their commitment to community. I hope we helped a few children smile a little brighter this holiday season.

If you are interested in helping the Salvation Army, please look at their opportunities to see what interests you the most: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer

If you are interested in becoming a Parrot Head, there are clubs all over the world! Here’s the one I belong to: http://www.treasurecoastparrotheadclub.com/