Posted in Books and Shows, Currently, School

Currently…

Hello! How is your week going? This week has been filled with activities (baseball games and dance classes) as well as many hours of learning for me (online professional development). In some ways, it feels like life is kind of normal again. BUT…I know that it’s not. We are living in far from normal circumstances, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. For me, some days, that can feel overwhelming. That being said, I know the day will come where I don’t have to remind the kids to bring a mask or stress about what school will look like.

It’s been a bit since I’ve written a Currently post, so I thought I would do so again. These posts are a way to share what’s going on, but are also a way to to share a little bit of what’s on my heart or in my mind.

I’m Currently…

Marveling:

I’m marveling at the fact that yesterday was my blogiversary! I posted my first ever blog post on August 4, 2019. This week, I will write my 200th blog post. Writing three days a week was pretty manageable for me, but since April, I’ve been writing a post almost five days a week…Once we get back to school, I may have to scale back again, but while I can find time in the day, I’d love to write as much as possible.

In my first post, I mentioned wanting to start a blog as a way to do something for myself and have a creative outlet to share about family, recipes, books, and more. Show Me and Sweet Tea as provided me with just that…and so much more.

I’ve “met” so many people along the way. I’ve read a few blogs (Mix and Match Mama, A Little Bit of Everything, Momfessionals, Bev Cooks and more) for a few years. BUT…interacting with other bloggers, finding new blogs to follow, and reading comments on my posts from readers has been so rewarding for me.

I don’t get all caught up in the stats of my site, but WordPress makes it easy to take a peek at site activity.

  • This is my 199th post that I’ve written.
  • This year, I’ve had 12,400 visitors and 27,800 views on my site.
  • My most read post had 694 views.

My mind is just blown by those numbers. Again, I don’t get too caught up in the numbers game as there are people who have thousands of views every single day, but again, it’s just gratifying to be a part of this blogging community.

Thanks for following along on this journey!

Planning:

I’m currently thinking about and planning our back to school breakfast. I started this tradition a few years ago, and even though we start from home, virtually, on August 26th, I will still make that first morning back special for the kids.

I always luck out and find books on Amazon with the kids’ grade (5th) in the title.

Last year’s books were Fourth Grade Rats and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

This year, I found Tales of a Fifth-Grade Knight for Hayden and President of the Whole Fifth Grade for Hadley!

Reminiscing:

I’m reminiscing about the kids when they started kindergarten. How in the world will they be in the 5th grade already? That means next year is middle school. Start praying for me now, y’all.

This pic popped up in my Facebook memories…Hadley with the crossbody purse and Hadyen’s toothless grin…⚾️

I clearly remember taking them into their school, having them meet their teachers, and praying that they’d remember how to count to 20 and spell their name, so I wasn’t a total failure as a parent who is an educator 😉 Now, flash forward to today when I had to watch a You Tube video to help them with their math in their summer workbook.

Watching:

I’m watching Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi. Travis found this show, and I’m hooked. I love food and learning about other cultures and cuisine. Padma explores food and culture across the United States. It’s on Hulu and most episodes are 30-40 minutes long. I’ve seen the first few episodes which focused Mexican food in El Paso, hot dogs and German food in Milwaukee, Indian cuisine in New York, the Gullah Geechee people of South Carolina, Chinese food in San Francisco, and Persian food in Los Angeles.

Every episode is so informative, interesting, and inspiring.

Ordering:

I’m ordering baseball and dance photos. I don’t always order the photos, but I’m realizing how big my kids are getting, and I loved the pics. With that combo, it was hard to say no to placing a picture order!

Laughing:

I’m laughing at this meme that I saw on Instagram. I have a “note” on my phone where I keep a daily schedule and “to do” lists. It’s become really easy for me to move some of my least favorite “to do” items to the next day!

Trying:

I tried something new at Sonic last week. I always get a Cherry Limeade or (diet version) at Sonic. This time, I had them add in Nerds candy because Hayden and Hadley get that option in their Sonic slushies. Y’all! It tasted SO good!

Snuggling:

We are all snuggling with Homer any chance we get. I know Homer loves having us home so much!

Reading:

I’m currently reading Maid. I’ve had this book on my list for a while, and I finally started it. In Stephanie Land’s memoir, she shares about being homeless, a single mom, and working to do whatever it takes to provide for herself and her daughter. This book explores poverty in America and shines a light on the inequities of working, middle, and upper class societies.

I’m about halfway through with the book, and it’s an interesting and eye-opening read so far.

Praying:

I’ve been (worrying and) praying about the start of the school year. At this time, our district is starting with virtual learning on August 26th. Usually, our first day of school would be a week from today. Teachers will start back August 10th and prepare for the start of the year.

I’ve had to let go of some of the things I took for granted like walking my kids to school on the first day which is what we’ve done every first day of school since kindergarten. This is my kids’ last year of elementary school, and it saddens me that this year will look so different for them. Kids are resilient, but honestly, they shouldn’t have to be.

Last year, I realized all the fun privileges the intermediate grade level students receive like being in chorus, on academic team, and so much more. My kids are going to miss out on some of those opportunities, not to mention simple pleasures like lunch and recess with their friends. It hurts my heart just thinking about it.

Parents are having to make decisions about school that they never thought they’d have to make. Classmates that Hayden and Hadley have had for five years may be educated virtually when we go back to face to face instruction. Some friends may enroll in private school for this year. It’s heartbreaking to me that elementary school will look so differently for them compared to what they’ve experienced in previous years.

And, of course, there’s the weight, worry, and burden that teachers carry thinking about their students and preparing for the school year with so many unknown factors.

I’m always positive when talking about the upcoming school year with my kids, but some days it is hard to put a smile on my face, answer all their questions, or wipe away a tear when they are sad or frustrated.

That being said, I’m trying to keep this in mind moving forward…

So, that’s a bit of what’s been currently going on. As always, thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Books and Shows

July: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello! I read three books this month, so I thought I’d share a bit about each one. I loved all three books. I’m almost finished with a fourth book, but I will have to save it for next month!

Our Little Lies:

Our Little Lies was such a good thriller to read. Marianne seems to have the perfect life. She lives in a beautiful home, has three kids, and her husband, Simon, is a surgeon. There are references to Marianne’s past as the plot continues. Marianne becomes obsessed with finding out the truth behind Simon’s relationship with his colleague Caroline.

This was a quick read as the plot moved quickly, and the ending was one that all came together in a way which was unexpected as I read the book.

Ugly Love:

I’m a huge fan on Colleen Hoover books and Ugly Love did not disappoint. Ugly Love may end up as one of my favorite reads of 2020.

The theme of “ugly love” certainly applies to relationships, love and life in this book. Miles is a pilot and in a relationship was his friend’s sister, Tate. This book is definitely “R rated” due to the nature of their relationship. Miles has two rules for Tate:

  • Never ask about the past.
  • Don’t expect a future.

Of course, at times, those rules are hard to follow. Their relationship has highs and lows and there’s a dance of push and pull as they navigate their relationship. “Life and love and people can be so perfect and beautiful. Then it’s not. It’s so ugly.”

My heart broke for both Miles and Tate at different times throughout the story.

Other favorite quotes from the story are:

“…that God gives us the ugliness so we don’t take the beautiful things in life for granted.”

“It’s the beautiful moments like these that make up for the ugly love.”

Feels Like Falling:

I’ve shared about the Peachtree Bluff series by Kristy Woodson Harvey that I enjoyed very much.

Feels Like Falling was similar to those books with the picturesque setting and strong female cast. Gray and Diana are the main female leads, but Gray’s sister, Quinn, and friend, Marcy, also add to the bond that these women have.

Gray and Diana help each other through trying times while Diana lives in Gray’s guest house. Gray is going through a divorce and Diana has ended a long term relationship. Both women are very different, but grow as friends who lean on and support each other throughout the book. As Gray said, “She’d made me feel like I had somebody again, like I had a person to count on no matter what to turn to with anything…and now I knew I could trust her.”

I really loved the ending with each woman growing as they needed to but also growing closer in their friendship.

A favorite quote from the book:

And I realized that sometimes when you’re speeding through thin air, the brakes worn out and the engine shot, maybe it feels like you’re falling. But, in reality, that’s when you’re learning to fly.”

I hope one of these books is one you can add to your list! What have you been reading lately?

Weekly Recap:

Happy Reading!

Posted in Amazon, Books and Shows, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hey. Hey. Happy Friday.

This week was a mix of crossing things off my “to do” list, working on school stuff, running a few errands, going to Hayden’s baseball games and much more.

We’re glad it’s almost the weekend.

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

Favorite Moment:

Definitely a favorite moment this week has been seeing some of my family that we haven’t seen in months. It’s been good for all of us.

Favorite Kid Quote:

Wednesday, 8:30 am in the Starbucks Drive-thru: Hadley said she would like a hot chocolate. I looked at her kind of surprised since it was 85 degrees outside, and she said, “Well, I doubt you’ll let me get a vanilla bean Frappuccino in the morning, right?” 😂 Good point.

Favorite Homer Pic:

Homer often hops up on the stool in the kitchen. It’s like he’s bellying up to the bar. He’s so funny.

Favorite Clothing Item:

These pjs I purchased from Amazon are definitely a fave. They are lightweight, comfy, and perfect for summer! I got the “galaxy” color/style.

Speaking of tie dye, Hadley is embracing this style too. She tie dyed a t-shirt with a friend recently, and even tie dyed a pair of socks too. I’m not sure about the socks and sandals looks, but “you do you, girl!”

Favorite Book:

I finished Our Little Lies the other day. My library didn’t have it, so I purchased it from Amazon for my Kindle. I try not to buy Kindle books often, and when I do, they are less than $5. This one was $2.99 and worth every penny. Definitely a great read.

Favorite Mom Meme:

I love to cook…but I struggle with cooking motivation in the summer. This meme definitely applies to me!

Bonus Favorite: Flashback Friday

Facebook continues to bring some favorite gems in “memories.”

This pic is from July 2010. We’d visited family in KC and made it just outside of St. Louis during our car ride back to Lexington. The kids were eight months old and kind of fussy….so we got a hotel room for the night. They were so cute sitting up in the bed with their pacis. The Run DMC onsie was a gift from my brother and one of my favorites.

Then, this pic is from July 2011 when we were in South Carolina. It was the kids first time at the beach. Such a sweet pic. They definitely don’t hold hands anymore!

Weekly Recap

That’s a wrap on this week’s faves. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Have a great weekend.

Posted in Books and Shows

June: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy July 1st!! Some days, the summer seems to move at a snail’s pace, and other days, summer feels like it’s flying by!

I read 4 books this month and really enjoyed three of the four! The other one was just ok.

Little Fires Everywhere:

So, this book had been on my list for a while, but there was always a hold at the library. Then, I decided to watch the miniseries on Hulu and loved it. My Gma said she really enjoyed the book, and the Kindle version finally became available.

Anyway, I really did love this book. I honestly do think I liked the book more than the miniseries, but I did feel like miniseries did the book justice.

Quick Good Reads recap: “… riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.”

and…

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood–and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”

This book may definitely be one of my top reads of 2020.

Paper Ghosts

Paper Ghosts was a pretty quick read due to the short chapters and suspenseful plot.

The narrator’s sister was killed many years ago, and she’s convinced that Carl, a celebrated photographer, was the one who killed her sister. Carl is living in a home for those with dementia and she convinces him to take a road trip with her through their state of Texas. On the journey, she’s hoping to find answers and possibly even a confession from Carl.

While I thought the book was ok, it just didn’t hold my attention like most suspense novels do. The flashback parts of the story captured my attention more than when they were on their road trip.

The Unhoneymooners

The Unhoneymooners was a fantastic book that I read in a couple of days.

After her newlywed twin sister Ami and husband get sick, Olive goes on their honeymoon with the best man, Ethan, who she sees as her enemy. Since her sister won the all expenses paid honeymoon, Olive and Ethan have to pose as Ami and her new husband. Olive always considers herself the unlucky one compared to Ami, but hopes that her luck has turned with a new job and dream vacation.

This was a very cute and quick read…but just FYI: There were a few “R-ish” rated scenese.

The Simple Wild

The Simple Wild was another really wonderful book.

The main character, Calla, was born in Alaska, but Calla and her mother left for Toronto when she was young. Through the years, Calla lost touch with her dad, Wren, who remained in Alaska until one day, many years later, she received a phone call prompting her to go visit her dad in Alaska.

She’s a fish out of water in Alaska. While she adjusts to the frontier, she’s met with challenges, difficult relationships, and the uncertain future for herself and her dad.

This book tugged at my heartstrings and brought a tear to my eye more than once. After finishing the book, I immediately downloaded the sequel: Wild at Heart. I can’t wait to read it this month!

Well, y’all, after having this post mostly written, I did finish one more book…

One in a Million:

This was the book I picked up at curbside pick up from the library a couple of weeks ago. One in a Million was a sweet and quick read. The main character, Annie, owns a digital marketing agency. Annie has given up on love and ends up placing a bet with the ad agency across the hall that she can get 20,000 followers on Instagram in a month for anyone they choose.

Dr. Samuel Page walks in the coffee shop just as they make the bet. His character reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. Once Annie gets to know Sam, she realizes he’s in the midst of a breakup, so she tells him she will help him win back his girlfriend.

When Annie asks him what he’ll say when he sees his ex, he replies, “I’m going to tell her that I love her and I miss her…And then tell her she needs to stop being so ridiculous and that I need my hay fever medicine. I’m not paying for another prescription, they’re exorbitant these days. Also, I very much miss my cat.” haha See…very Sheldon-like.

Anyway, her quest to win the bet allows her to get to know Sam even better. While the plot was pretty predictable, I loved the London setting and the British vernacular.

So there’s a little look at what I read in the month of June.

Happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

May: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello and happy Friday! I read three books this month, so I thought I’d share those with you today!

Two Girls Down

I enjoyed Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna as it was a good mystery/thriller type read. Two sisters go missing in a strip mall, and their family hires a bounty hunter named Alice Vega who enlists the help of a former cop, Max Caplan. The two work together to try to find the girls before time runs out. Of course, there are some twists and turns as well as lies and deceit. It was definitely a page turner of a book that I enjoyed.

The Southern Side of Paradise

This book is the third and final book in the Peachtree Bluff series. I loved this series by Kristy Woodson Harvey so much. I love how the book ended, but I hate to see the series wrap up! All three books are perfect vacation/summer reads, for sure.

As with the other books, Ansley and her three adult daughters are the main characters. Ansley has found happiness and feels like life is pretty perfect, but secrets come to life and there’s a health scare with of the one daughters, Emerson. The bond of these sisters and the ups and downs in each of their lives continue to provide tension but also bring them closer together. Of course, the small town charm can’t be beat. This series, set in the south, is definitely one of my faves!

Defending Jacob

So, a friend of mine recommended Defending Jacob on Apple TV. Then, later, another friend mentioned that it’s a book as well. My library had the Kindle version available, so I downloaded the book and read it in a matter of days.

Jacob’s father, Andy Barber, is the assistant district attorney in Massachusetts and the whole town is shocked when his son, 14-year-old Jacob, is accused of killing a classmate. Andy has hidden some of his past that comes to light as his son goes to trial. The book (and the series) do keep you guessing as to if Jacob is innocent or guilty.

I was about 80% finished with the book and really wanting to find out the final verdict but then there were even more twists and turns!

Since we only recently got Apple TV, there were already five episodes of those show, and I watched them over a couple of days. A new episode is released every Friday, and I believe today’s released episode will be #8. The acting in the series is so good…the actors have me hooked! The series stays pretty close to the book which made the book an even quicker read for me. Well, I know how the book ends…so I can’t wait to see it play out on the small screen! I definitely recommend this book and this series!

Have you read any good books lately? Let me know!

I hope you have a great weekend, and happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

April: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello! I can’t believe it’s the last day of April. How is that even possible?! I read three really good books this month (while balancing out reading with watching episodes of The Crown and Tiger King) 😉 I think one (or two!) of them may end up in my top 5 of the year.

Regretting You

I’d seen Regretting You recommended on other bloggers’ reading lists, and I’ve read other Colleen Hoover books. I was on the wait list at the library for a bit before I got the chance to read it.

One of the main characters, Morgan, gets pregnant at sixteen and commits her life to her daughter and husband. Morgan is worried her daughter Clara will make the same “mistakes” she made while Clara wants nothing to do with her mother’s advice. Then, a tragic accident happens that both pushes mother and daughter apart, but also forces them to figure out life together. The accident provides a twist in the plot that provides lots of questions that drive the story line to the end.

This was definitely a great book that I couldn’t put down! It lived up to the hype.

Our New Normal

Our New Normal was book I snagged off the shelf on the last day the library was open. This book was a slow start for me, but I did end up enjoying it.

Liz has been a stay at home mom for many years. Just as she is about to send her son off to college and start a new career, her teenage daughter, Hazel, shocks her with the news that she’s pregnant. The plot centers around Liz as she juggles this new development in her life, her aging parents as well as her strained marriage. All of these factors make up her “new normal.” That being said, the ending got me. It was a beautiful wrap up of the story.

The Matchmaker

I always love Elin Hilderbrand books, and keep meaning to tell Travis I want to add Nantucket on places I want to visit!

Dabney Kimball Beech has a full time job at the Chamber of Commerce, but she is also known for being a matchmaker. Even though Dabney is married and has a grown daughter, she still can’t escape her own romance troubles. One of my favorite parts of this book is that stories of Dabney’s successful matchmaking are interwoven within the plot of her life. The Matchmaker may be one of the most touching books I’ve read…and it was certainly one that brought a tear to my eye…a time…or two!

Currently Reading:

I’m currently reading Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna and Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey. Southern Side of Paradise is the third book in the Peachtree Bluff series that I’ve mentioned before.

Speaking of Kristy Woodson Harvey. I follow her on Instagram, and she’s been sharing about her new book Feels Like Falling which came out this week! I pre-ordered it on Amazon, and I believe it will arrive today! She mentioned on Instagram those who pre-ordered a book would receive a postcard and quote card signed by her. I received these in the mail last week, and they were such a fun surprise in my mailbox. I can’t wait to read this newest book of hers!

What have you been reading? I’ve love to add more suggestions to my list!

Also, did you see my Mother’s Day Gift Idea post from yesterday? Just didn’t want you to miss out 😉

Happy reading!

Posted in Books and Shows

March: What I’ve Been Reading

Happy Friday, y’all! It’s the last Friday of the month, so I thought I’d share the books I’ve read over the last month or so! I definitely feel like I’m bouncing back from my “February Reading Funk.” Of course, with a little more time on my hands, I’m reading a bit more…BUT I’m also making it a priority to read more. When my kids are completing their daily 30 minutes of reading, I read too (plus other times in the day as well).

So…here are the four books I’ve read recently.

American Royals

I touched on this book in a previous post (before I had finished reading it)…

In this twist on history, the US won the revolution and Washington became king. Set in modern day, Princess Beatrice is being prepped for the throne. Of course, I’ve been watching The Crown and the parallel to that bit of history added meaning to this story. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and it was an easy read, for sure.

I think this book is technically “young adult,” but I loved it. The sequel, Majesty, comes out this fall; I can’t wait to read it too.

The Broken Girls

The story is set in Vermont with chapters taking place in 1950 and 2014. There is a girls’ home called Idlewild where girls who aren’t wanted or who are trouble makers are sent back in 1950. In the 2014 setting, journalist Fiona Sheridan is investigating the details surrounding her sister’s death twenty years earlier. Her sister’s body was found near Idelwild. When renovations begin on the property in 2014, it has Fiona wanting to learn more and put together the pieces of two different puzzles.

Small Great Things

Small Great Things was a book centered around the themes of hate and racism. The main character, Ruth, is an African American labor and delivery nurse. She cares for a newborn whose parents (Turk and Brittany Bauer) are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth caring for their child. Ruth ends up being arrested and put on trial after an emergency with the baby.

It took me some time to get into the book at first as it was difficult for me to connect with that level of hate. The title is in reference to quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

With the trial, Ruth’s relationship with her son, and the story line with the Bauers, this is certainly a story with many layers.

Another quote I loved from the book was, “Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters. It’s the sound of your voice, without anyone drowning you out. It’s having the grace to say yes, and more important, the right to say no. At the heart of freedom, hope beats: a pulse of possibility.” Freedom is another underlying theme throughout the book, and of course, freedom means something different to each character.

Again, it was a slow start for me, but I did end up enjoying this book, and it’s certainly one I will never forget.

The Secret to Southern Charm

After reading Small Great Things, I needed a lighter read. The Secret to Southern Charm is the second book in the Peachtree Bluff Series. I read the first book, Slightly South of Simple last summer and loved it.

The book picks up where the first one left off with the three sisters, Sloane, Caroline, and Emerson in a small coastal town in the south. Sloane’s husband is a POW, Caroline and her have had marital issues, and Emerson is an actress trying to figure out her next steps in life and in her career. The three girls are very close with their mother, Ansley, who is caring for her own aging mother.

Of course, there are family secrets, times of strife, and a close connection between these southern ladies.

The Secret to Southern Charm was a quick read that left me wanting to visit the south, hang out with some of my closest girlfriends, and sip a cocktail while sitting on a porch swing! I can’t wait to read the third book in the series The Southern Side of Paradise.

(**Side note: Kristy Woodson Harvey commented on my What’s Up Wednesday post, and it feels like the biggest high five of my life! Go check out the Peachtree Bluff Series. You’ll enjoy it!)

Well, that’s a wrap on what I’ve been reading and the month of March. I saw this meme yesterday, and it made me laugh!

I do feel like we got into a routine this week while continuing to find the balance between work, play, and social distancing! I will say that the highlight of this week was yesterday when the kids’ school had a Teacher Parade through the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful thing to see those teachers smiling, waving, and missing their kids…May have brought a tear or two to my eye!

I hope you have a great weekend. See you back here on Monday for a funnies with some March memes!

Take care,

Posted in Books and Shows

Watching & Reading

Happy Wednesday, y’all. We are trying to get in our new routine of a little bit of home school while I work from home as well this week. I’m at least making sure my kids read, practice math, and complete at least one other assignment as well each day. And…we are trying to get some fresh air when the weather allows!

So, since we are home pretty much 24/7, I thought I’d share some of the books I plan in reading as well as some of the shows I hope to watch on Netflix.

On Friday, I headed to the library after school to pick up two books I had on hold. As I walked into the library, I saw the sign that said they were closing at 6:00 until at least April 6. So, I picked up my on hold books and wandered the aisles looking for books that interested me. To be honest, it had been forever since I just casually hung out at the library! I usually place holds for books online and just go pick up the books when they are available.

The librarian helped me find a book I was looking for and said, “Honey, you know you can get up to 50 books? You might as well grab as many as you can!” So. I. Did. 😉

Here’s my stash!

On my Kindle, I’m currently reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

Also, one of my friends shared on Facebook a post from author Colleen Hoover. The post said (in part), “I think authors will be hurting the least when it comes to the financial impact this is going to have on the world. Because when people are stuck at home with nothing to do, boredom sets in and people buy ebooks. But I don’t want you guys to buy mine right now. Save all the bucks you can until we have a better grasp on how this will financially impact our households…”

She went on to say that for eligible books she has on Amazon, she enrolled them for free five days on those select titles.

The five days may be up soon, but the titles that are free for ebooks are: Verity, (which is SO good–I read it last summer in about two days!), Too Late, Hopeless, and Never Never series.

I’ve read All Your Perfects, It Ends with Us, and Verity by her. I’ve been wanting to read Regretting You and it was only $1.99 when I downloaded it on Monday!

I’ve had quite the Netflix list for some time. Shows friends have recommended or ideas from blogs that I’ve read. My list includes:

  • The Stranger
  • The Pharmacist
  • Murder Mystery
  • The Keepers
  • Unbelievable
  • The Innocent Man

Also, I believe that season 3 of Ozark is out now. Travis and I watch that show together, and I bet he’d love the above shows too!

Over the weekend, we completed a puzzle with my brother and sister-in-law. I will be honest, I’m not a huge fan of puzzles (mostly because I feel like we have to finish it…can’t just leave it and work on it over a few days haha), but I thought it would something fun to do since we were laying low. For Valentine’s Day, I bought this cereal puzzle for Hadley off of Amazon. It took us about an hour and a half to complete it. Although, we ended up losing two pieces along the way! (My brother found them the next day)

This puzzle should arrive today! 500 pieces will keep us busy.

So, these are just a few of the ways that I will be keeping busy with this forced time off.

Do you have any good book or Netflix recommendations? If so, let me know!

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you are having a great week.

Take care,

Posted in Books and Shows, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Movies

Well, we made it to Friday!! I’m linking up with Andrea, Narci, and Erika for a Friday Favorites.

Since it’s almost the last day of the month, I should be posting about the books I read in February, but as I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, I’ve kind of been in a rut this month in the reading department. So, instead of reading, I thought I’d share some favorite movies that I (as well as the kids) have been watching lately…and they are all pretty family friendly depending on your kid’s age.

We got Disney + in December, and it’s allowed me to watch some of my favorite movies from my childhood….some of which the kids have enjoyed watching with me as well. Hulu and our Amazon Prime membership also provide avenues for us to watching great movies as well.

A few of our faves…

Disney +

Y’all, hands down, my favorite movie from my childhood is the original Parent Trap with Hayley Mills. I used to watch it on VHS so much that the tape must have worn thin because the part in the movie when Verbena realizes the girls made the switch, would always skip to the next scene! I don’t even acknowledge the Lindsay Lohan version as an option, but I do love Natasha Richardson, so I have seen that version a time or two.

Other movies we’ve watched on Disney + include:

  • Sister Act- Hayden watched this with me and I fast forwarded through a scene or two and danced my way around Sister Deloris’ lounge singing profession 😉
  • Turner and Hooch – Only I watched this one–and I’m thinking Hayden would like it if I could skip over when Hooch’s owner is killed—yikes!
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids – We all love this one!
  • While You Were Sleeping -I can watch this one on repeat! Such a sweet movie.

Amazon Prime

My brother had told me that Cool Runnings was on Disney +, but when I went to check it out, it said the movie would be available in July due to “existing agreements.” I had already told the kids about it and promised we’d watch it, so we paid $4 on Amazon to stream it—and that’s how we spent our New Year’s Eve! #wildnight Everyone enjoyed the film!

DVD

Another favorite that I love is Swiss Family Robinson. This summer, after we visited Disney World/The Magic Kingdom and toured the SFR tree house, the kids (especially Hayden) wanted to see the movie. I ended up buying in on DVD from Amazon, so we’d always have access to it. I loved that movie so much as a kid and would watch it on repeat as well. Besides the DVD, we now can watch it on Disney +, but we didn’t have that option in the summer. Travis had never seen it, and we all enjoyed it!

Swiss Family Robinson house at the Magic Kingdom

Over Christmas break, we watched The Mighty Ducks with the kids because Hayden had received it on DVD as a Christmas gift. Again, it will be on Disney +, but has the same “existing agreement” issue that Cool Runnings had. When we watched The Mighty Ducks, I had forgotten how great a movie it was…and who doesn’t love a comeback story?!

Hulu

An Affair to Remember

This movie was on Hulu last month while I was sick with the flu, so watching it was a great way to pass time in between naps! While An Affair to Remember wasn’t released during my childhood, I remember watching it as a kid. I loved Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant together. Her beauty and his good looks are timeless…plus the plot is so romantic.

Father of the Bride

I love this movie and watch it any time it’s on cable (or now Hulu, for us!) I remember, at 11 years old, thinking how cool it would be to have Kimberly Williams as an older sister. Of course, Steve Martin is a hoot…and the superfluous buns scene is hilarious! I also love the part where Annie calls her parents from the airport. So sweet. I love all the characters in the movie from the little brother to Martin Short as Franck. The movie is just so heartfelt. I watched it just last week on Hulu and Hadley loved it too.

Erika also shared family movies this week…Make sure to check out her post….She referenced so many good movies as well!

What are some of your favorite family movies? Or movies from your childhood?

I hope you have a great weekend.

Jen

Posted in Books and Shows

January: What I’ve Been Reading

We made it to Friday! This week has seemed to never end. Actually, I feel like January has been the longest month ever! I saw this meme on Facebook and it’s the truth 😂

Well, it’s January 31st, and I read three books this month: A Woman is No Man, The Wives, and The Hate U Give. All pretty heavy/intense reads….especially compared to my lighter reading in December with a focus on holiday books.

A Woman is No Man

I will be shocked if this book isn’t one of my top 5 reads of 2020….and it’s the first book I read in 2020. #offtoagoodstart

Good Reads summary:

This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.

My thoughts: This book caught my attention from the first page. The focus of the Arab culture and arranged marriages was so interesting to me. I loved the format of the book with chapters alternating Deya and her mother Isra. There were definitely some painful and gut-wrenching scenes to read, but I guess they were necessary to tell the full story. The twist in the plot with the note helped start putting together the pieces of the plot puzzle. This was a book I couldn’t put down even though it was definitely a heavy read.

The Wives

This book was a spur of the moment read. I follow Kristy Wicks on Instagram, and she mentioned her daughter had chosen a few books to start an online book discussion. So many people in the Facebook group for the book club were talking about how great the book was, so I actually bought it and downloaded it to my Kindle (I rarely buy books for my Kindle). I read the book in a few days.

Good Reads Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

My thoughts: It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good thriller/suspense book. The idea of the main character having multiple wives definitely hooked my interest from the start. The narrator is his second wife, Thursday, and I kind of just felt sorry for her. I kept thinking, “How does she have so much self-control as to not look up/find out more information about the other wives?” Well, it was only a matter of time! I enjoyed this book and it was suspenseful BUT the second half of the book didn’t sit right with me. Midway through the book there was a big shift…and after that, I wasn’t sure what to think about Thursday. Also, some of the plot from that point forward seemed rushed…including the ending. The book was good, and it was suspenseful, but I definitely liked the first half of the book way more than the second half.

Kristy and her daughter posted a book club discussion last week with a full summary (so…warning! if you click on the link below), their thoughts, and questions for their blog readers about the book.

The Hate U Give

I’m sure most everyone has heard of this book (or movie!). I may have been one of the last people to have read this book! I was prompted to read it because so many of my high schoolers have read it. It’s a young adult read that focuses on some hot topics and includes relevant and timely life examples.

Good Reads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My thoughts: This was a good read. I see why so many young adults/high school students would like the book. Unfortunately, I have students who live this life, who have seen things I will never see in my lifetime, and who have experienced these injustices first hand.

The book has classic elements for young adults like the characters, the setting, the language and the ongoing themes to hold the reader’s attention. This book definitely provides opportunity to spark conversation with not only young adults, but adults as well. I haven’t seen the movie, but my interest is definitely piqued after reading the book.

Those we my three January reads. I’m about halfway through with The Broken Girls, and it’s been a great read so far! I will share about it in February.

I hope you’ve had a great week.

Take care,

Jen

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