Book Review | The Widow of Larkspur Inn

The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell book review by March to December Blog

This post contains affiliate links. However, I bought this book myself and was not paid or given anything for my review. I am reviewing this because I think other's will benefit from the said review. 

Okay. So, now that is out of the way, I want to tell you about the latest book I have read. I literally just finished this book. I have only been away from it for enough time to make the header image above. First I should tell you a bit about why I chose to read this book...again. (That's right! Again.)


This book is FREE as I am writing this blog post.

That isn't the reason I am re-reading it though. This book was published the same year my son was born. I was pregnant and looking for something to occupy my time. I was at the local book store and came across this book. I couldn't tell you 9 years later why I bought it. I can tell you though that I was not a christian fiction reader up to that point. I had tried reading that genre before and didn't like it. Most likely because up to this point I didn't like being preached to and that is what a lot of Christian Fiction does.

I bought this book anyway. Started to read it and didn't put it down until I was done with it. I couldn't wait for the next books to come out. I thought that enough time had passed since I last read it that I could read it an enjoy it again. Here is my review on this book. (Below is the snip-it from Amazon. Does give away a bit of the plot.

When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited Julia Hollis' opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family's hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham. Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she--who was accustomed to servants attending to every need--do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town...

"The Widow of Larkspur Inn", #1 in the "Gresham Chronicles" series by Lawana Blackwell, is a historical Christian fiction with a touch of romance. This book will transport you back to Victorian England and it's quieter countryside. When women wore black for a year in mourning of their husbands, when children fished as a past-time, when people sat down and wrote letters, and when  people spent their evenings around the fire together. This is a place and time I would love to be, but they don't have air conditioning! Lawana's "The Widow of Larkspur Innallows you to experience all the beauty that comes with that time and place.

The plot is a bit predictable; but, that didn't deter me from the story. It just gave more weight to the simpler times and the simpler story. Love abounds, God is throughout it, and it is all wrapped up nicely in the end.

This book is a feel-good story that gets the message of God out without shoving it down your throat. Throughout the book you will see people praying to God, reading their Bible, and coming to know the Lord as their savior.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy read, a christian message, and a warm and inviting story. You cannot beat that it is free at the moment!

I will say that it is a might slow to start out. Stay with it though. Let the Hollis family to get the countryside and really get into their lives there before you put it down. Before you know it, you will be enjoying the slower pace of the story as they are living their slower paced lives.

All-in-all "The Widow of Larkspur Inn" is a wholesome and warm read. It does have a touch of romance in it but isn't the main theme. If you are anything like me, you will finish with this book emotionally attached to the charaters and reaching for the 2nd book in the series.

If you do read this or have read this book, let me know what you think! If you have a book suggestion, I am up for that too!

2016 Summer Bucket List

2016 Summer Bucket List by March to December

It is that time of the year again. Summer is in full swing and that means it is time for the Summer fun!! Pool, water balloons, playing in the rain, and just having great family fun. The older the kiddo gets the more busy my summer seems to feel.

Usually I put together my Summer Bucket List with my digital scrapbooking supplies. However, like I said, I am really busy already this summer. I had my list already planned out and actually have had fun doing one or two on here. I thought it time to sit down though and actually make the list to share with you guys.

Here is my 2016 Summer Bucket List

2016 Summer Bucket List by march to december

Autumn is my favorite season. I am not going to lie about that. There is something to be said about Summer though. Warm weather brings in outdoor family fun. This summer we have already spent so much time at any pool we can manage. The kiddo and I have had a "Me and You" day. They cousins have come over multiple times for sleep overs. We have had picnics and already are talking about what new park we want to try out. (I will be back once we do for a review of that park here on the blog. For anyone else who is local to Chattanooga or visiting).

I will be coming back from time-to-time this summer and updating each and every one on this list actually. You can find other lists from past years here on my blog as well. You can do so by searching, clicking HERE, or the tab at the very top of the blog. There are some repeated activities from year-to-year. Some just need to be repeated though! Like watching fireworks. There is something magical about that; and I will watch fireworks until my dying day.

Some of the things on this list that I am really looking forward to is the playing in the rain, movie marathon, and the treasure hunt. My vote for movie marathon is Harry Potter...because...duh...Harry Potter. lol. However, I think I will be overruled and we will be having a Star Wars movie marathon. Which I don't mind, but don't like as much as I would have the Harry Potter one.

Do you have any summer plans or a summer bucket list? I would love to hear your ideas. I might just have to put them on my list for next year. It bumps up to 17 items for 2017 and I would love some new ones to be on the list. So link me up!!

Have a great Summer!!

Wordless Wednesday | Sleeping Kitty

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

This is a review from a novice hiker's point of view of Pot Point Trail in Chattanooga Tn. 

I am in no way an experienced hiker. I would likely die if I went out to the Appalachian and hiked. That being said, my husband, our 8 year old son and myself love to go on hikes. We are blessed to live in the TN Valley. We live in North Georgia just south of Chattanooga, Tn. There are so many great hiking places surrounding us. 

I thought it would be fun to review the hikes that we go on from a non-experienced hiker's point of view. Us average ever-day hikers like information on where we might hike as well. When I was looking around for a new place for us to hike, I took to the internet. Most things I found were from hardcore hikers. Not that it was bad, mind you. I got valuable information from them. I thought I would add to it from a novice's stand point though.

Here is my review of the Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga, TN. 

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

First off I will give you a bit of basic information on this trail. 

- You can download a map of the trail HERE

- 3.5 mile loop trail

- Part of is it by the river gorge (picture at top)

- Up to 1,000 foot climb

- It is about 9 miles from downtown Chattanooga

- Some what difficult to find via GPS (see below)

- 1-3 hours to complete 

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

When we took off to hike, we put the location in our GPS and set out. Once we got within 5 miles of the location, we ran into some trouble. Nothing big and we found it without having to circle around. Just some points to note about getting to the actual trail. 

  1. The roads are very narrow and the locals drive like they are not. Be careful! 
  2. The GPS told us we had arrived about half a mile before we did. We were looking for a place to turn around when we found the actual trail
  3. It will be notated with a big sign. So if your GPS tells you are there, and you don't see the sign (pic. 2) keep going. 
Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

On to the hike! The trail itself is very well marked. At no point did we not know where we were going or ever felt remotely like we were lost. Just follow the blue blazes and you are good! As mentioned above this trail does get up to 1,000 feet. I had to sit down once and my 8 year old son had to sit down once just because it was steep! There was a group behind us that turned around because they didn't know "if there was anything at the end to justify such a steep hike." 

  • If you are looking for some WOW factor in your hike, this one is not for you. There is no amazing scenery at the end or no waterfall. This is just a wonderful hike for the sake of hiking. 

  • There are a lot of rock formations along the way. Some rocks bigger than houses. 

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December
You can see the blue marks and some of the rocks in this photo

Once we got to the top of the steep climb and had our little break, on we went. We were surrounded by beautiful trees and rocks. The next part of the hike is a downward and winding trail. This part was my favorite. The trails were wide, there was beautiful flora around and the trees made for a lovely canopy over us the entire time. 

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

The next part of the hike, in my opinion, was the only part that wasn't well marked. 
  • You will have to cross the street to continue on the hike 

Once you cross over River Canyon road you will be in the part of the trail that follows beside the river. This will lead you back to Pot Point Cabin and completes the loop. There are a few things I want to mention about this part of the hike. Had I known these things, we probably would have turned around.

  • Bugs - That part of the hike is very lush and going to have the bugs that come with water, lushness and whatever part of the season you are in. 

  • Mud - There are places where the river rises up and makes for muddy crossing. When we hiked there was no way around it. We had to go through the mud in 5 different places. If you have small children, animals or a vehicle you don't want muddy don't go this way. If you do go, plan accordingly! 

  • Trash - This really took away from part of the hike. People out fishing, hiking and camping. There was trash in numerous places. 

  • Dangerous - Okay, so we got to the point where there was a mile or less left in the trail. We came across a dangerous sign...the trail had been washed out! At no point until then was there any mention of this. You can keep going, but it isn't the safest. You have to climb over boulders and trees laying down on their side. To one side there is a steep incline where this all washed down from and on the other a steep drop of littered with boulders and pointed rocks. That steep drop off goes right into the water. If you fall, you are going to hurt yourself or worse. I was terrified!! We climbed over it and landed ankle deep in mud, but we made it. So if you don't or can't do that, don't cross over the road and do this part of the trail. 

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

I am not saying this will be there when you go hiking. They  might have cleared it up. It could be and it could happen again. When we get month long rains around this area, anything like this could happen.

This is the part of the trail where there is beautiful scenery. If you are okay with the few things I mentioned above, the view is lovely! We probably will go back in the Autumn ourselves to see this view with the colors that Autumn brings.

All-in-all, this trail was moderately easy and a great trail if all you want to do is be in nature and hike. We ourselves will probably do it again. I want to end this review with one important thing about this trail. BEWARE OF POISON IVY! If you are very allergic to it, this trail isn't for you. We did get in some when we got off the trail (I am allergic) and didn't have a problem with it. If you rather not mess with it, stay on the trail.

Happy Hiking!

Pot Point Trail - Chattanooga - Hiking Review by march to December

My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates

My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates by march to december

It is no secret around the March to December blog that I like to change the look of it like I change my socks. Well...I change my socks (if I wear them) every day. I change looks of the blog about once a quarter. Some people will tell you to get a look and stick with it. I will tell you that one of the fun things about blogging is changing up the look of things. Think MySpace way back in the day. Gosh, I changed looks nearly everyday on that thing.

I change up my look via blogger templates. I have the knowledge to do things on my own. I am not as talented as the ladies who sell their wares on places like Etsy. You can find blogger templates out there anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars. I tend to look at the cheaper ones first and usually only go up to $35 a pop. The reason I look at the cheaper ones first is because you are going to find that designer that is really good but only starting out. They might just be testing the waters and unsure on how to price. I have found designs that are just as good, if not better, than the high dollar ones. Not to say the high dollar ones are not good! You get what you pay for.

The thing to look for and know when looking for a blog template:

1. The overall look
  • Is the blog template, in it's entirety, what you are looking for. Please please please don't just look at the pretty header and go with that. I have bough terrible blog templates because the buck stopped with the header. 
2. Read everything in the description
  • Do they offer instillation? Do they offer to make the header for you or is that just an example of what they want you to do on your own dime and time. Does all the bells and whistles come with the template? 
3. Read the reviews
  • If there are people saying they had problems understanding the directions and installing the template, chances are you are going to as well. A good template designer will have easy to read and step-by-step directions with your download. A person with no knowledge on blogger templates should be able to install their template
4. Have a basic understanding
  • Is is a requirement? No. Does it help? Yes! Look around your blog. Read and watch tutorials online. You should have a basic understanding what your blogger blog can do. The bells and whistles. 
5. Always view the "live preview" link in the description. 
  • You want to know what it looks like to everyone else. I've not bought a template because it was missing the live preview before. Kinda of like "what do you have to hide" kinda thing. lol

Those are just 4 tips on finding and using a blogger template. There are so much more. Those are just what I would tell my closest friends if they came to me asking for help with their blog. That being said, let us take a look at what are my 5 favorite blogger templates at the moment. Besides, of course, the one I am using on my blog. I am always on the look out for great blogger templates. You can find more than the 5 shown here at my Etsy and Pinterest pages. Here they are from free to the most expensive: 

My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates by march to december

You can view the live preview HERE. I am always on the look out for a gallery at the top blogger. They catch my eye and I like to have them on my blog. This layout has a clean and modern feel to it. I like the solid white background with the touch of gold to make it stand out. The large black bottom gives it an editorial feel. This one is FREE!! 

My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates by march to december

You can view the live demo HERE. Whereas I like the gallery feel to blog #1, I like the stand alone photo with this one. The statement photo at the very top with the blog title and search right there. I believe that it is a very eye catching design. Something to suck your readers in as soon as they land on the blog. This template has a great block feel to it. I espcially like the clean block feel at the footer of the blog posts. This blog also has the menu at the top with a drop down feature! I know a lot people like that feature. This blog is only $5!

#3 All That Glitter & Gold by DutchLadyDigiDesigns  - $12.50
My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates by march to december

You can view the live demo HERE. This is a lovely designed blog for a cheap price! Especially if you are a fashion blogger. I am drawn by the ..."ooooooh...shiny" aspect of it. lol. I am a girl and I like glitter!! Don't judge me! :-) Seriously though. This blog has just a real pretty feel about it. A drop down menu at the top and catch your eyes social media icons. This lovely blog template is only $12.50!

#4 Darling by TheSundayStudio  - $25.05
My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates by march to december

You can view the live demo HERE. We are edging up in the prices now. That being said, you are getting what you are paying for! This is such a pretty and danty blog with all the bells and whistles. With this blog you are getting a customer header with your name, custom popular posts widget and a custom search engine friendly code. She will also install it for you if you ask! :-) I think the design alone is worth the $25 and a nickle. 

#5 Splatter Brained by SocialandChic - $39
My 5 Favorite Blogger Templates by march to december

You can view the live demo HERE. I realize that this one is more than the $35 I mentioned above. I really think it is worth it though. I have had my eye on this blogger template for ages. At this point I just cannot justify spending 40 bucks on a blog that doesn't bring me a single penny. That being said, I love this template. I haven't seen anything else like this in the years of blogging and using templates. This template is fun fun fun fun fun! Why the $40? With this template, besides the stand out and fun look, you get
FULL INSTALLATION (keep in mind, this is generally not included with most pre-made blog templates)
- 2 column template
- Header & Links (customized for your blog)
-Social Media Icons (customized for your blog)
 -Styled Post and date titles -Styled Sidebar Titles
 - About Me section will be customized with your specific blurb and photo!
 -Pin It Button
That is a lot! Like I said though, I cannot justify it at the moment. This blog is $39

There you go. My 5 favorite Blogger Templates at this time. Do you have any that you like? Show me. I am always always always looking for new blogger templates. I hope you found something you liked today!

Summer Splash! | Wordless Wednesday

Summer Splash! Wordless Wednesday

100 Day - 5 Pounds

100 Day - 5 Pounds How I only lost 100 lbs in 5 days by March to December read that right...100 days...and only 5 pounds!

I know you have seen those advertisements for losing your "first 5lbs in the 1st week!" Most of the time 5 pounds is only going to be the water weight you are carrying around from poor eating choices. Don't get me wrong. I would be happy with 5 pounds lost. I am happy with the 5 pounds I have lost.

That being said, and with the focus not being on "cultural beauty", I have been trying to loose weight. In fact, a week ago tomorrow I have been logging my calories for ONE HUNDRED DAYS! That is pretty awesome in itself.

I am sure you know what is coming next though. In 100 days I have lost a total of 5 pounds. Yep. Only 5 pounds. Clearly I am doing something wrong here. I do struggle with POS...I mean PCOS. I also have been at this losing weight thing for ages. Basically, losing weight for me is hard. I mean hard as in, I can just eat what I want for a day and gain 5lbs. In a frigging weekend. However, I can watch what I eat and work out 3 days a week and lose 5 pounds in a whole 100 days.

In this past 100 days I have lost those 5 pounds but gained even a bigger obsession with food. I am focusing more on those numbers than actually being healthy. After reading Beauty Begins, I realize that I need to take the focus off the food. Stop making food such a huge part of my life. I mean serious. The rank of time I focus on goes
1. God
2. Jeremy
3. Kid
4. Food

No joke. #4. It is even more frustrating that all that focus and for nearly half a year and all I have to show for it is some lost water weight.

Why am I saying all this? For the next 100 days, until September 21st 2016 I am not going to focus on food. When this next 100 days is over I will be 33 and less focused on food. Does that mean I am going to go hog-wild and eat crap? No! Here is my plan:

1. Give it to God!

  • When I think of binge eating (Yep. I do that too!) or stressing about food, I will give it to God. Even if that means chanting "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" over and over again, with a healthy dose of praying. 

2.  Be active! 

  • Work Out 3-5 times a week. That can be walking, swimming, rowing, playing outside with the kids. So on. Make it fun!

2. Eat Clean

  • If I am going to think anything about food, it is only going to be about if it is good for my body and is processed

There you have it. I hope to check in from time-to-time the next 100 days with an update. 

Now, I want you to tell me. Have you had any failed healthy ventures? What have you done that you have seen success. Seriously...I want to know! What you share might help me. 
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