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Posted in Gift Ideas

Teacher Gift Ideas

Hello! I hope your week is off to a great start.

With the end of the school year approaching, I’m sharing a few favorite teacher gift ideas that we’ve given to the kids’ teachers. That being said, the kids are in middle school and I teach high school, so I know how it goes as kids get older. Middle and high school students have 6-7 teachers, so I can’t say enough how great a note is from time to time from both parents and students. Teachers really appreciate that more than you know.

This is basically another Etsy post because that’s where I turn most often for gifts especially personalized ones.

Gift Ideas:

Hadley gave this jute bag to her teacher last year, and it’s so cute. I’ve seen it shared on Instagram as a great beach bag or bridesmaid gift.

We gifted this door hanger to our sitter last year as she was graduating college and had secured her first teaching position.

This bag was the perfect gift for Hayden’s teacher last year. We filled it with colorful pens and sticky notes. (This shop has so many cute bag options!)

I’ve shared these flower pots on multiple occasions. After ordering them for my kids’ teachers, I purchased a couple for our back patio. (This shop also has so many cute door hangers!)

The kids helped me plant the flowers to give to their 4th grade teachers. This was spring of 2020, so we wanted to do something extra special for their teachers.

I just recently shared how I gave this door hanger to my mom for her birthday this year. It’s super cute and interchangeable, so I know it would look perfect on a classroom door.

Other Gift Ideas:

While I haven’t purchased these items, they are cute and have good reviews.

  • Beaded wristlet key ring: We’ve given a similar key ring to our sitter last year.
  • Personalized tub: We gave a similar one to the kids’ first grade teachers and filled them with school supplies. It would also be perfect to hold books in the classroom.
  • Love to teach sign: I’ve had this saved on Etsy for quite some time. It would be perfect for a classroom.
  • Personalized travel pouch: Obviously this is good for travel, but it would be a cute cosmetic bag or pencil pouch.
  • Tumbler: These would be perfect for the summer and sipping water by the pool!
  • Personalized note pads: We’ve given similar to the kids’ teachers as Christmas gifts.

What I love about Etsy is you can continue to search for similar items if what you find isn’t in stock or has longer shipping than expected. Depending on when your school gets out, most of these items seem to arrive pretty quickly.

Teachers also love:

  • gift cards (We’ve given gift cards to Trader Joe’s, Amazon, and a local book store)
  • school supplies
  • candles
  • and…wine!

If you are a teacher, what has been your favorite gift that you’ve received?

Happy gifting!

Posted in Weekend Top 5

Hello Monday

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a really great one.

I’m linking up with Sarah and Holly for Hello Monday...

…to share my Weekend Top 5…

Of course our weekend was filled with sports. Hayden ran in the end of the season district meet on Friday night. He wasn’t feeling 100%, but he pushed through.

Then, on Saturday the kids and I went to their school’s lacrosse game. They were playing in the lower division championship game. It was my first ever lacrosse game, and it was very exciting. I had so many questions but enjoyed it!

Then, we saw the end of cousin Wyatt’s baseball game. His team won!

It’s officially patio season. After the track meet, Hadley went to a sleep over and I chatted with some of my mom friends for a bit before going home.

I took the time to get a pedicure on Saturday afternoon, and I chose my traditional summer color: OPI Strawberry Margarita (which so happened to match my cardigan!)

The weather was gorgeous all weekend. Travis worked hard in the yard all weekend. He mulched the back and front yard and then planted the front porch flowers. They yard looks so pretty. We’re ready for summer!

We finished the weekend celebrating a big family birthday with a lemon bundt cake.

It was a great weekend.

We have a four day week (no school tomorrow!) and a three day week next week. I hope to keep posting pretty regularly, but will just see where the week takes me.

I hope you have a great Monday.

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#113}

Hello and Happy Friday!

Not only am I counting down Mondays, now I’m focused on Fridays too. After today, we only have one more Friday in the school year (even though next Friday isn’t our last day.)

We’ve had a really great week filled with sports, school activities, and more!

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Here are some favorites from the week:

I’m throwing it all the way back to last Friday. Oaks was such a fun day, and the weather ended up being great as well.

I shared that Travis was bummed about the outcome as Epicenter was the favorite that he’d hoped would win. That being said, he shared this on our family group text, and I thought it was the perfect message for the kids:

“To go” margs at a local restaurant are definitely a favorite especially on a chilly and rainy Saturday.

Mother’s Day was great! I was up before the kids (times have definitely changed!), but I received the sweetest card, we went to church, and we enjoyed brunch at a favorite place.

We also picked up my traditional Mother’s Day gift: ferns for the front porch. I think this weekend Travis plans on getting flowers for the front porch planters.

Another favorite this week has been the weather. It seemed to jump to summer, but I will take it! So far this spring, I’ve had to bring coats and blankets to Hayden’s baseball games, but this week has been filled with warmth and sunshine.

Hayden up to bat!

Hadley had her end of the year chorus concert last night. We enjoyed listening to the combined chorus and orchestra concert. The end of the year festivities are in full force.

WordPress alerted me of this fun milestone. I don’t write my posts for the likes, but it is fun when readers “like” and comment on posts. Like social media, I guess…engagement makes it better!

Favorite Mom Meme:

Laundry has always been a weakness. I’ve always tried to keep it to the weekend, and I’m ok with that plan. That being said, I think we still have some laundry in the dryer from last Sunday. Getting everything put away is the hardest part!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday:

This flashback from 2015 always cracks me up when it pops up in my Facebook memories. We’d gone to to the park with my brother, so he could take a few photos of my nephew for a Mother’s Day gift, I think. Hadley wanted her photo, and this is what we got…haha

It’s very much her personality both then and now!

Weekly Recap:

I was a busy blogger this week. Everything from gifts, to the Oaks, to my hometown and more! Here are the posts if you are interested:

What are your weekend plans? We have a track meet as well as a few other activities. The weather continues to look great, so I hope we get some flowers planted and cross a few more things off our “to do” lists!

See you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Posted in Three things

Three Things

Hello! Can you believe it’s almost Friday? We’ve had such beautiful weather this week that I think we skipped spring, and it feels like summer.

It’s time for my seasonal Three Things post where I fill you in about what’s going on with each of us.

  1. Hayden is tackling both baseball and track this spring. We knew it would be a lot to juggle but thankfully it’s worked out on the schedule (and his coaches have been sweet to work with him.) It’s been so fun to see him excel at track. Also, I can’t believe this is his 12-year-old year baseball season. He’s played since he was four, and I’m a bit “in my feelings” about closing this chapter. I’m thankful that he’s having a great season and continuing to build confidence. Baseball has always been one of my favorite sports to watch, but I know I will love watching him do whatever makes him the happiest.
  2. Besides reading, which is a constant hobby, Hayden goes through spurts with various interests. Lately, he’s been back to drawing and tracing which means I have more artwork on the fridge!
  3. Speaking of “spurts,” I think Hayden has hit a growth spurt. At his annual exam, he caught up to Hadley. He grew five inches this year. She still has a half inch on him, but he’ll catch her soon, I’m sure.
  1. Hadley has had an awesome track season as well. It’s been so fun to watch her improve each week. She’s run in many different events, and really enjoys the team aspect of track. Dance competition season is over, and they really ended on a high note a couple of weeks ago. Now, it’s time to focus on the dance recital. She will be in five routines, and I can’t wait to see them all. She’s also enjoyed helping a class of younger dancers during the week. It’s extra special because cousin Layla is in that class. Whether she’s running or dancing, I love watching her do what she loves with a smile on her face.
  2. Both kids are gearing up for our youth service at church soon. Hadley has been really involved in the youth group, and we’re looking forward to that service.
  3. Like Hayden, Hadley goes through phases with her hobbies. She’s back to making friendship bracelets which is so sweet. I think all middle school girls like to tie them to their water bottles and work on the bracelets when they have free time during the day.
  1. Travis is wrapping up a busy time of the year. The weeks leading up to Oaks and Derby are pretty hectic. He enjoys it though. He’s also been loving the fact that both kids ran track this season. It’s been fun for me to experience this season through his eyes as well.
  2. I’m finishing up the school year which never provides a dull moment. We’ve had testing this week, and then of course, I have plenty of students to help push to passing before the year is over. I’m also planning my school’s ESS credit recovery summer session which is just four days right after school is out. It’s still a lot of planning and work, but not as big of a commitment as last summer’s sessions were for me.
  3. Homer is almost three! I can’t believe he’s been in our family for almost three years. His Homer-versary is in early June.

Here’s a pic of Homer as a puppy to brighten your day 😉

So that’s a bit of what’s been going on with us! It’s almost Friday. Hang in there!

Posted in Let's look

Let’s Look

Hello!

It’s already the second Wednesday of the month, so I’m linking up with Shay and Erika for Let’s Look.

So far this year, we’ve looked at:

  • How you organize for the new year in January
  • What you eat in a week in February
  • Your faves from high school/college in March (I didn’t do LL in March)
  • How you plan/do date nights in April

This month, we are looking at: your hometown.

Of course, when someone asks where I’m from, I say Kansas City. It’s just easier than saying, “Lee’s Summit, a suburb of KC.” It’s just easier since I’m living in a completely different state than where I grew up. Also, I didn’t move to Lee’s Summit until I was thirteen, so I do consider both to be my “hometown.”

Kansas City

MISSOURI! Many (out of state) people think that Kansas City is in Kansas. While there is a KCK, it’s small and Kansas City is KCMO.

My dad was a Kansas City police officer for thirty years which meant he had to live in KC. So, my younger years were spent in KC in an area close to where he grew up.

Kansas City really does have so much to offer. There’s nothing better than Topsy’s popcorn or a butter roll from McLain’s. There are so many great BBQ restaurants in KC. While I’m not a huge BBQ fan, we always make a stop per Trav’s request and my kids love ribs!

Growing up, we’d often go to the Plaza for a hamburger and milkshake from Winsteads. We’d also visit Crown Center and the Plaza around the holidays to ice skate and see the Christmas lights.

I spent many summer days at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun with cousins when they’d come to visit.

Of course, KC is a big sports town. There’s nobody more loyal than an KC Royals fan. We waited thirty years in between World Series wins and still showed up for our team through the years.

The same can be said for the Chiefs fans who cheered them on for fifty years in between Super Bowl wins.

Lee’s Summit

Photo c/o https://downtownls.org

We moved to LS at the end of my seventh grade year. My parents found a piece of land that was in KC but districted for Lee’s Summit schools. They built a house and we moved in the spring of 1993. I did struggle with the move more than my brother did because he was still in elementary school. I will be the first to admit (now) that I didn’t really give the move a chance. I really hated my 8th grade year, but I did find a great group of friends once I started high school.

When we moved to LS, it was just starting to boom. When you got off the highway, there were four way stops and a two lane road that took you to our house. Now there are stoplights, three high schools, hospitals, shopping and more.

The one high school in LS was the biggest in the state. I went to it for my freshman year and then the new high school was finished when I was a sophomore. That year, they let the seniors stay together at the old school, so it was just 9th-11th when my high school opened. Lee’s Summit had, and continues to have, a top notch public school system which was a selling point for my parents. There’s even a third high school now. I’m forever grateful for the education that I received. I made so many friends that I met thanks to band (yes, band!).

In the summers, we’d hang at neighborhood pools, get frozen custard at Custard’s Last Stand, have fun at the Homecoming parade in the fall, attend football and basketball games and more. There was a lake in my neighborhood as well as a bigger lake where a few friends lived. We hung out on the dock on many summer nights.

Once I gave it a chance and met the right group of friends, I really did enjoy growing up in Lee’s Summit.

I take my midwestern roots seriously. While I love Lexington, there have been many times I’ve held firm to values and beliefs on how I grew up and was raised when making decisions for my own kids.

I’m grateful that my kids are growing up with KC memories. Hayden cheers for the Royals and Chiefs. My kids know how great a cherry limeade is from Topsy’s popcorn and how magical the Plaza lights are at Christmastime.

“Home” is a relative term I guess. I feel at home when I’m at home, I guess because I’ve made it a point to make our house a home for my kids. But…I’m also at home when I’m in KC seeing family and creating memories for my kids there too.

One of my favorite country songs on the radio right now is Half of my Hometown. These lyrics always stand out to me:

Back roads raise us…
Highways take us…
Memories make us wanna go back…to our hometown.

I’ll be honest, never in a million years did I think I wouldn’t be raising my family where I grew up. I always joke that I moved to KY with Travis because I was “young, dumb, and in love.” Not to take anything away from him; I just mean that I don’t see my forty year old self making that same decision. When you are young, you can take chances like that. I didn’t have anything to lose.

…and sometimes you take a chance…and it pays off. Travis is the best, and we’ve created a really blessed life together.

I do miss “home” though.

Where did you grow up? What’s your best hometown memory? I’d love to know.

Thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Holidays, Tuesday Talk

Tuesday Talk: All About the Oaks

Hello!

Last week I mentioned that the first week in May is a busy and festive week around here.

I recently shared my Keeneland post, and today I’m sharing all about the Oaks.

Oaks is the day before the Kentucky Derby. Like Derby Day, there are races all day long, but the main race, the Kentucky Oaks, is for three year old fillies (girl horses).

For Oaks, many wear pink in honor of the breast cancer survivors who walk in the parade before the Oaks race. It’s such a powerful moment to see so many survivors walking together.

If I don’t find a pink dress, I will add a touch of pink with a fascinator. Years ago, if we went to Oaks or Derby, I’d usually wear a fancy hat, but I much prefer a fascinator.

My dress is from Nordstrom, and Amazon for the win for my pink fascinator. (I’d ordered a couple of them and also borrowed a couple from a friend, but Hadley helped me make the final decision)

Travis was already in Louisville, so once I dropped the kids off at school, I headed to pick him up.

I got to Louisville around 11:30, and we were at Churchill Downs by 12:00.

Upon arrival, I was handed the signature drink, the Lily, which was the perfect way to start the day.

For the second year in a row, the ticket was all- inclusive. So, any food or drink is included in the ticket price. Of course, there were still lines for food, but they moved pretty quickly considering the crowd. Also, there were fridges throughout with drinks like water and soda that you could just pick up as needed.

After the first few races, we headed to the paddock to check on one of Trav’s client’s horses who was running.

You have to be a horse owner to get into the paddock, and even then, the pass is for the specific race for your horse. The filly we were there to see was Kneesnhips. Any guesses what the owner does for a living? Then, we headed back to our seats to watch the race (and it was raining just a bit then). She placed 4th.

We stayed in our seats for a bit, but it was only a steady rain for about an hour.

Our seats were in a box (of 6, with friends) that was undercover right near the finish line which is always so fun.

Oaks and Derby make for great people watching, and we always run in to people we know. They said the attendance was at 100,000…and I believe it!

Of course, there are usually more celebrities for Derby, but Kirk Herbstreit (sports analyst) sat right behind us. Then, as we left, I saw Justin Harley (This is Us) walking out with his wife. He did the “riders up” in the paddock before the big Oaks race.

You may remember from my post on Friday, but I was very concerned about the weather. Friday’s weather actually turned out better that Saturday’s weather for Derby. It really just rained from about 3:00-4:00, and then again around 6:15 when we got in the car.

Thurby:

So, for years, Oaks was more for the “locals” (Louisville people) and the Derby was when so many from out of town would come. Quite a few years ago, they started having “Thurby” which is now when most local people go.

Travis and many of his Louisville friends now go for Thurby. Honestly, Oaks and Derby are big work days for him now, so Thurby is a bit more relaxed for him.

Derby:

With a post about Keeneland and now Oaks, it would probably be natural to have a dedicated Derby post. That being said, I haven’t been to Derby in years. Travis had a streak of almost twenty years of going to Derby. That streak came to a halt once we had kids (haha) who usually have activities that day. Plus, Thurby and Oaks are enough. I’m not saying we won’t ever get back to Derby, but he really does a lot for work that entire week, and now has the tradition of watching all the Derby day races on at home while also placing bets and working. It varies year to year, but sometimes we get together with friends. The weather was cooler and rainy this year, so we just hung at home.

My mom actually hosts a Derby party (in KC) every year that I know her friends look forward to each year.

Let me tell you the one person who doesn’t love a long shot–Travis. The horses that placed 2nd and 4th were connected to his farm. While those are pretty good finishes, Epicenter (who placed 2nd) was one of the heavy favorites. Like much of the world, Travis was speechless to see Rich Strike, with 80-1 odds, win.

A Few Derby Facts:

  • Derby is always the first Saturday in May.
  • The horses that run the race are all three-year-old colts.
  • There are 20 horses in the Derby race.
  • The Mint Julep is the signature cocktail.
  • It’s called “run for the roses.”
  • It’s the “most exciting two minutes in sports.”

One thing I wish Lexington would do that Louisville does is there’s no school on Oaks Friday. The city basically shuts down and traffic is probably extra crazy which is why that’s more of a necessity in Louisville than Lex, but it would still be so nice to have that day off.

I never realized until my kids were in school how much the schools (especially elementary) incorporate the Derby into learning and activities at school.

Schools in our district display their “Derby silks.”

There are fun Derby activities like hat making and…

jockey silk coloring.

Most of the elementary schools have activities like Derby races for the kids, learning about horses and jockeys, reading horse books, and more. One year, my kids’ teachers hosted a Derby breakfast at school.

Like most things, it’s fun to see the excitement of the week through a child’s eyes.

It really is a special time of the year. We had a great day. Let me know if you have any questions!

Posted in Gift Ideas, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Gift Ideas

Hello and Happy Monday. How was your weekend? We had a really good one. We started with going to the Oaks on Friday (more on that tomorrow)…

….lots of down time on Saturday while watching all the Derby day races…

…and then yesterday was Mother’s Day which of course is a favorite.

Today, I’m co-hosting our Not Just a Mom link up with some of my favorite bloggers:

So far this year, we’ve discussed:

This month, we are sharing about go to gift ideas.

When I think of gifts, I usually think of Etsy for some reason. I often shop there for gift ideas for family and friends.

Etsy:

From sweatshirts to picture frames to jewelry and more, you can find most everything on Etsy. I like to support small shops when I can, and Etsy is easy to search to find what you are looking for.

Here are some of my Etsy posts:

Go to ideas:

My “go to” gift ideas usually include:

  • candles
  • books
  • scarf
  • flowers
  • gift card

Recent gifts:

Last year, for Mother’s Day, my brother and I purchased Storyworth for my mom. It’s been fun getting her weekly responses. I guess it’s time to order the book now, and it will be a fun keepsake to have for years to come.

This year, I sent her a candle from Antique Candle Co. for Mother’s Day.

When I got on their site to pick a candle, I saw they had this gift set option:

My mom’s birthday is soon, and her gift arrived a bit early. She went ahead and opened it. I purchased this seasonal door hanger for her. It’s cute, shipped quickly, and she loves it.

lots of options like this on Etsy

(Shout out to mom for taking these photos of her gifts, so I could share) 😊

What are some of your “go to” gift ideas? I always love a card and a candle or fresh flowers. I honestly really appreciate a gift card to use whenever I have time.

Please join us next month when the topic is: dream travel locations. Ahh…just in time for summer! If you’re a blogger, we certainly hope you’ll join us.

I hope your week starts off right! Only three more Mondays in the school year for us, including today. Summer can’t get here soon enough.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#112}

Hello and Happy Friday!

The first weekend in May is pretty big around here…today is Oaks and tomorrow is Derby for those of you who know about horse racing. The city of Louisville is the place to be this week.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Here are some favorites from the week:

On my way out of Keeneland last Friday, I saw this painted horse with the portrait of Keeneland. This time of the year, there are many different painted horses around town. I’m not sure who painted this one but local students and schools have been painting them, including one at my school.

I know my KC peeps have been spotting painted hearts all around KC. This is our version of that 🙂

We had dinner on the patio on Sunday…this is Homer enjoying the sunshine…and begging for food.

Speaking of sunlight…the Trader Joe’s tulips on the kitchen table were enjoying the morning light.

We’d had the same brand of coffee pot for years…and even had the same coffee pot twice! While our most recent one was only a couple of years old, it kept leaking which caused a coffee stain on our counter. Kristin (@fancythingsblog) shared her new coffee pot recently. When I checked out the link, it took me straight to Drew Barrymore’s line at Walmart. When I saw the price, color options, and confirmed that it was programmable (a must for me!), I decided to go ahead and buy it. She arrived, and she pretty 🤩

You should check out all that Drew’s line has to offer: touch screen toaster, electric kettle, air fryer, slow cooker and more!

Very on brand for me …kids activities are favorites this week

Hadley’s friend shared this photo with her at the dance competition on Friday. There’s Hadley…front and center. These girls did an amazing job.

The kids school winter sports photos finally arrived. The team photos were perfect…the dance team was smiling…the basketball team was not. 😂

We had some major storms roll through town on Tuesday. The game before Hayden’s had a rain delay in the 5th inning. That means his 7:45 game didn’t start until 8:30. We didn’t leave the ballpark until 10:30. Ugh.

That being said, they did have an exciting come from behind win!

lucky number 7 up to bat

Track is starting to slow down a bit. The kids had a meet on Wednesday, and it was a good one!

They were in a few races each. Here’s Hayden running the 3200, and he had another PR. Hadley had an exciting 200m race and came from behind to get 2nd place in her heat.

They are both in relays as well which are so fun to watch. I’ve so enjoyed this track season!

Favorite Clothing Item:

When I knew there was a chance we’d go to Oaks or Derby, I went ahead and ordered this green dress from Nordstrom.

I typically have great luck Nordstrom and finding dresses…and their return policy is so easy, but the shipping was taking a bit longer. Last weekend, I had a free Saturday afternoon, so I checked out a couple of boutiques, but I didn’t have much luck. While in Richmond, there was a shopping center across the street from the boutique I went to, and I popped into JC Penney. We have one in our mall, but I rarely go there.

Well, I found this navy floral ruffle dress, and liked it enough to take home and return later if needed. Well, once I threw on my new wedge sandals and stood in better lighting than the JCP dressing room, I really liked the dress!

Bonus: when the green dress arrived, I liked it too! {Travis has a love/hate relationship with this time of the year: he loves the racing, but hates that his wife buys 10 dresses and keeps two! 😆)

I will probably wear the green one today, but it will be a game time decision. {Unfortunately, I don’t know that it matters much…as I will probably be in my rain coat most of the day *sigh*}

A note about my new wedges from DSW: I’d shared before that these were on my “wish list,” but when I tried on my regular size in the store, I needed a half size bigger which they didn’t have. Then, I tried on these in my regular size, but needed a half size smaller…which they didn’t have. {Only shoe shopping with me can turn into a Goldilocks and the Three Bears story.}

Anyway, as I walked the aisle one more time, I found these which ended up being the cheapest of the three, and they reminded me so much of my tried and true pair that I’ve been wearing for years.

I wore them to Keeneland last Friday, and they were perfect!

Today, will be the real test, but honestly, I should probably just wear my rainboots. Ugh!

Favorite Kid Quote:

Speaking of Oaks and Derby…you know you are in Kentucky when friends drop off fascinator options!

Hadley sent me this text: (lol)

which reminded me of this photo from 2018:

Quite the fashionista

Favorite Mom Meme:

Just in time for Sunday, this meme speaks the truth:

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s my first one as a mom in 2010. We all look more tired now!

For fun…another pic of just them on that same Mother’s Day. This seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once.

Weekly Recap:

On Monday, I recapped the weekend (which was mostly about my never-ending (but fun) Friday), then I shared my Amazon finds from the month followed by the books I read in April.

Not Just a Mom:

On Monday, we’re hosting our monthly Not Just a Mom link up. If you are a blogger, we’d love to have you join us. This month’s topic is: go to gifts.

With Mother’s Day on Sunday, these sentiments certainly ring true:

I hope you have a great weekend. We have a busy but blessed one coming up!

Thanks so much for reading,

Posted in Books and Shows

April 2022: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Well, I was going to share this post last week, but when Hadley got sick, I had to skip a day of posting! #momlife

Anyway, today I’m sharing the three books I read in April. Honestly, I read two them at the beginning of the month during Spring Break. I’ve been a slow reader so far in 2022.

This month I read…

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

Such a Quiet Place:

Summary:

We had no warning that she’d come back.

Hollow’s Edge used to be a quiet place. A private and idyllic neighborhood where neighbors dropped in on neighbors, celebrated graduation and holiday parties together, and looked out for one another. But then came the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. A year and a half later, Hollow’s Edge is simmering. The residents are trapped, unable to sell their homes, confronted daily by the empty Truett house, and suffocated by their trial testimonies that implicated one of their own. Ruby Fletcher. And now, Ruby’s back.

With her conviction overturned, Ruby waltzes right back to Hollow’s Edge, and into the home she once shared with Harper Nash. Harper, five years older, has always treated Ruby like a wayward younger sister. But now she’s terrified. What possible good could come of Ruby returning to the scene of the crime? And how can she possibly turn her away, when she knows Ruby has nowhere to go?

Within days, suspicion spreads like a virus across Hollow’s Edge. It’s increasingly clear that not everyone told the truth about the night of the Truett’s murders. And when Harper begins receiving threatening notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else becomes the killer’s next victim.

Quick Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. Doesn’t “Hollow’s Edge” sound like a place where there would be trouble?! The plot line with Ruby showing up unannounced immediately caught my attention. There were various layers to the story with many of the characters keeping secrets that are eventually revealed as the plot and conclusion come together. This was a good one.

Rating:

Pack Up the Moon:

Summary:

Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they’re wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

As Lauren’s disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future–a future without the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.

But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed…from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn’t Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line.

Quick Thoughts:

Based on the summary I knew this would probably be a tear jerker. As I started to read it, I kept thinking it sounded so familiar. So much so that I went back and looked at my reading lists from 2018 on, but didn’t see the title. Then, I checked my Good Reads list — I even have a list for “started but didn’t finish” and it wasn’t on there. As I continued reading, I knew that I had started this book…I must have previously quit on it knowing that the story line seemed sad?

Anyway, I started this book on the drive to Asheville and just kept reading. At around page 100, I stopped feeling like I’d read the book before, so that must have been when I quit on it.

I loved how the book was organized with letters from Lauren. There were monthly letters to Joshua for the first year after Lauren’s passing. Also, occasionally, there were letters to Lauren’s father who had passed away when she was twenty years old. The letters to Joshua were heartfelt, bittersweet, humorous, encouraging and more. The chapters that weren’t letters shared about their lives leading up to her death: dating, proposal, marriage, honeymoon, life as newlyweds, her diagnosis and illness progression, and her death.

I cried ugly tears at the end. Good thing I was alone when finishing this book.

Rating:

This book was probably 4.5⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me just because it was such a tear jerker, but it was really good.

The Rent Collector:

Summary:

Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money–a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past.

Quick Thoughts:

The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman’s journey to save her son and another woman’s chance at redemption.” This was such a touching book, and I couldn’t put it down. A friend shared in on Facebook, and I immediately added it to my reading list, and I was actually on the library waitlist for a bit.

I think anyone would enjoy this book, but I especially did so as an educator (and lover of reading). I believe it was inspired by real life as far as the people living near a garbage dump in Cambodia.

I can’t imagine living conditions for Sang Ly, Ki, and Nisay in Cambodia. I loved the grumpy temperament of the rent collector, Sopeap. She holds such a powerful gift of being educated and ends up changing Sang Ly’s life. Sopeap’s past could have been its own book and is such a key piece in the plot. This story is beautifully written and as the story continued to unfold and the pieces fell into place, I was in awe. This may be one of my top reads of 2022.

Fave Quotes:

  • “Life will not always be so hard or cruel. Our difficulties are but a moment.”
  • “Peace is a product of both patience and persistence.”
  • “Education is almost always good, especially when it brings us to an understanding of our place in the world.”
  • “In literature, everything means something.”
  • “Stories teach us to not give up hope because there are times in our own journey when we mustn’t give up hope. They teach endurance because in our lives we are meant to endure. They carry messages that are older than the words themselves, messages that reach beyond the page.”
  • It doesn’t matter where you live, Sang Ly, it is how you live.”

Rating:

What have you been reading lately? I’m almost finished a book that a friend suggested, and then I hope to pick up my reading pace just in time for summer!

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Posted in Amazon

Prime Purchases: May 2022

Hello! I hope your week is off to a great start. It’s the first Tuesday of the month, so I’m joining Tanya for her Prime Purchases link up.

This month I purchased:

I don’t think I’ve shared this yet, but I started Invisalign a couple of months ago. I forever feel like I have something in my teeth when I don’t have my aligners in. I’m not sure I’ve ever owned a compact, but I needed one for my purse to check my teeth after eating! This one has an LED light and is perfect to throw in my bag.

I’ve shared before that OPI Funny Bunny is my favorite nail polish. Honestly, Ulta is so hit or miss that I typically order it from Amazon when I’m about to run out.

I ordered more lunch box notes to finish up the school year. I usually order these:

…but thought I’d give these a try (again?…I’m pretty sure I used these same ones at some point for the kids during elementary school.)

My kids still have quite a few smaller hangers, and we are continuing to make the transition to bigger hangers for their bigger clothes. This is my second time ordering this 50 pack of hangers.

I got some new sunnies, and I love them! I have a couple of pairs I wear on repeat, and these are perfect to add into the rotation.

I’ve already shared that I ordered this cardigan in another color. I now have it in “cadet gray” and “violet red”…

…and I love it. This dark pink is the perfect color for spring!

Y’all, I’ve had my eye on this purse for a bit, and bought it this month. It arrived, and I couldn’t love it more.

Mine is a cream color which doesn’t currently seem to be available. There are so many color options, and the price is less than when I purchased mine. I wore it with my dress on Friday to Keeneland. It’s the perfect size for phone, compact, etc. and has an inside pocket where I put cards and cash rather than bring my larger wallet.

I hit up a local boutique on Saturday, and saw this very similar purse (tassel and all!) for $65! I definitely love my Amazon “dupe.”

What about you? What have you “Primed” lately? I’m betting my May purchases include lots of fun things for summer.

See you back here Thursday when I’ll share the books I read in April.

{this post contains Amazon affiliate links…}