Friday, August 7, 2020

TGIF!

This has been the weirdest summer ever, and yet it seems like it has flown by.  I can't believe it is August 7th.  My child is apparently going back to school on August 31st, which is super early but they changed it this year because of how late Labor Day falls on the calendar.  I have bought her a box of crayons.  That is it.  Normally we have a school list at the end of the year and we did not get one this year because of corona, and I literally have no idea what she will need so a box of crayons is it so far.  And new clothes because she's grown so much.  I think I need to get her a cheap pair of shoes for gym because normally she has the shoes from the year before but they ripped a part so she is already wearing her new school pair.  Ahhh 2020.

My favorite pictures from the week:










The high of my week was I got nothing.

The low of my week was I mean it all sucks right now.

Meal plan for the week was 

Monday -  Bbq Cheddar mini meat loaves, zucchini tomato mozzarella bake, bliueberries
Tuesday -  Chicken sandwiches
Wednesday -  Spaghetti, garlic bread, cherries, cottage cheese
Thursday -  Eggs, baked potato, cherries, sausage
Friday - Pecan crusted flounder, green beans, cucumbers/tomatoes, cherries

Workouts were

Saturday - Walked / ran
Sunday - Walked / ran
Tuesday - Walked in the afternoon and evening
Wednesday - Walked in the afternoon and evening
Thursday - Walked in the afternoon

The best money I spent was on not sure

What I’m listening to The Fall Line, Reply All

What I’m watching  catching up on Blindspot and Schitts Creek

What I’m reading: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

My plans for the weekend include we talked about grilling chicken. Real excitement.

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

What I Read in July

I read eight books in July which didn't seem possible in the beginning off the month when it took me forever to get through All The Light We Cannot See! That was a commitment.  But I am glad I finally got around to reading it because it has been on my radar and on my shelf for the past 3 years!



I really enjoyed The Bookish Life of Nina Hill! I kept texting parts to my cousin as the main character reminded me so much of our social awkward book loving selves.  If you need a light hearted books are grand book, you should pick it up!


The Hate U Give was our July book club pick and I devoured that in an afternoon/evening. I had put it off because everyone raved about it and I was afraid I wouldn't like it as much, but I highly recommend it as well.  I've already read Angie Thomas's second book and recommend that too!

The Stephanie Plum book was so so.  I am still sticking with the series because I don't like quitting but it just isn't as funny as books 1-12.

The Last Mrs. Parrish was so so.  I really liked the middle section but I did not like the first part and the third part wrapped things up.  So eh.  It was our August book club book that I read already. :) It is billed as a psychological thriller and is about a girl who wants to win Mr. Parrish for herself.  If you've read other books in that genre you can kind of guess things out.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek was delightful as well.  It is about a girl who is part of the blue people of Kentucky, and the last one of her kind.  She lives up in the mountain with her dad and he is trying to marry her off before he dies because he promised her mother this on her death bed.  She is known to everyone as Bluet or Book Woman.  She rides around the mountains delivering books to the hill people to read as part of a program to reach the areas that don't have access to libraries.  This was just a really good book.  It's a little slow, but I wanted to know how it was going to go so I flew through it.

Love from A to Z is a young adult love story about two Muslim teens.  It's a very good book incorporating modern technology, teen activism, and dealing with racism.  It's a nice book that I think can appeal to adults as well.  The characters are very mature.

I'm currently reading The Husband's Secret by Liane Morarity as that is our October book club book but I was able to grab it from the library now!

What is your favorite book read in July? Any recommendations for me?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Lowcountry Boondoggle


Lowcountry Boondoggle by Susan Boyer is the 9th book of the Liz Talbot series.  I must confess that I have not read the entire series.  I think I’ve read about half of them.  So if you are nervous about picking up a random one in the series, fear not, you can jump right in!


Liz and her husband Nate are private investigators who usually end up solving the cases for her childhood friend Sonny Ravenel, who is a detective in Charleston, SC.   This time they are helping out Darius Baker a recently retired reality tv star, and finding out who killed the eccentric professor, Murray Hamilton.  Murray is the uncle of Tyler Duval, who is business partners with Darius’s son Brantley.  A little confused by the name dropping? I was too at the beginning! Bit of a slow start but it quickly picked up.

Murray is found dead in his house and after an autopsy, they learn he has been poisoned.  Liz and Nate try to find out who would kill Murray.  Is it is nephew wanting an early inheritance? An angry student? A jealous lover? Quite the host of characters are interviewed and assessed by Liz and Nate with the help of Liz’s dead best friend Colleen.  Colleen always hads a bit of comedy into each story.

The book is a very quick read and a delightful trip into the Lowcountry.  Be prepared to get hungry as the delicious food and drinks are described and wistful for old historic houses of Charleston.

If you like Gretchen Archer, Janet Evanovich or Charlaine Harris be sure to throw in a Susan Boyer book in your beach bag on your next trip!

Description: Private investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews thought they’d put Darius Baker’s troubles to rest—then his recently discovered son ropes him into a hemp farm investment with his college buddies. When a beloved Charleston professor—and potential investor—is murdered, Liz and Nate discover Darius keeps the PIs on speed dial.

A shocking number of people had reasons to want the genteel, bowtie wearing, tea-drinking professor dead. Was it one of his many girlfriends or a disgruntled student? Or perhaps Murray was killed because his failure to invest meant the hemp farm trio’s dreams were going up in smoke?
Though Liz’s long-dead best friend, Colleen, warns her the stakes are far higher than Liz imagines, she is hellbent on finding the no-good killer among the bevy of suspects. But will the price of justice be more than Liz can bear?

What is your favorite seafood dish? Do you like drinking tea? Do you have any daily rituals?

I received this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Friday, July 17, 2020

TGIF!

I hate having to make impossible decisions.  Especially when I parent with a person who doesn't make decisions until they know all the facts.  Quite frankly, that's not an option in the middle of pandemic when the information is changing rapidly.  We literally have to over talk the situation, which I do excel in.  But he however does not.  So that's fun.  Also fun is trying to figure out how best to explain that I do not hate my child if/when I have to make the stupid decision to school her at home this year instead of in school where I know she wants to be.  But school isn't what she knows school to be currently and I WANT HER TO BE THERE TOO.  Like how it was BEFORE.  Not how it is now.  It is so not in the best health interest of staff or students to put them into this impossible situation right now.  If it wasn't safe in March, it sure isn't safe now when my county is actually climbing in numbers.  Also, this is something where we can't make decisions on a month ahead unless it is just prepare to be online and if we can be in person, great.  Because, quite frankly putting my child in a building right now UNMASKED WITH 23 OTHERS SOUNDS LIKE IT IS AGAINST EVERY HEALTH ADVISORY OUT THERE.  So this week has been fun. :)

My favorite pictures from the week:









The high of my week was long walks by myself.

The low of my week was trying to make the impossible school decision.

Meal plan for the week was 

Monday -  Chicken Sandwiches, green beans from the garden
Wednesday -  Cheesy Chicken Burrito Skillet, leftover zucchini bake
Thursday -  leftover cheesy chicken burrito skillet, cucumbers/dip, cherries, cottage cheese
Friday - Homemade patty melt with grilled zucchini

The best money I spent was on not sure

What I’m listening to Small Town Murder

What I’m watching  the last season of Criminal Minds

What I’m reading: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

My plans for the weekend include going to the beach in Cheboygan and spending the night in St. Ignace.

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

All the Light We Cannot See


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has been on my TBR list for a long time.  It’s been on my shelf for about 3 years and every time I’d think about it I’d be like umm 500 plus pages??? And I try not to read reviews of hyped up books because then I tend to stay away for awhile.  But a friend who always shares WWII reqs with me, did tell me that it could have been about 100 pages or so shorter and still good and I can concur.  That being said, I did a buddy read with my friend Erin and we cranked this sucker out.  It helped having the Instagram accountability because I may have just let it sit for a bit when parts got ‘nature-y.’  I don’t believe it is any secret I am not a fan of reading beautiful descriptions of nature.  I just can’t.  Skim skim skim is my nature motto.



This book skips around in time period so if you do let it sit a bit it’s kind of hard to figure out the timing.  I did start to ignore some of the times except for when it was on the time period of the August bombing of Saint-Malo.  This isn’t too spoilerish since it’s mentioned within the first 30ish pages.

It goes between two narrators, Werner a young German orphan and Marie-Laure a young French girl.  Both of them are very smart, interested in science, and have traumatic incidents in their upbringing.  Werner lives in an orphanage with his sister Jutta, and even though he is brilliant looks to be heading into the mines at age 15.  The Nazi’s are on the rise at this time in Germany and using the connection of a local Nazi who he helped with a broken radio, Werner earns a spot in a school.  This school teaches him about race superiority, how to fight, and makes him question his morals.  One of the quotes from this part of the book stood out to me from a classmate he meets there, “Your problem, Werner,” says Frederick, “is that you still believe you own your life.”

Marie-Laure grows up with only her father and becomes blind at a very young age.  She accompanies her father to work at a museum daily and eventually learns how to read braille and solve puzzles her father puts towards her.  The Germans eventually bomb Paris and they must flee and end up at her great-uncles house in Saint Malo.  He survived WWI but lost his brother.  He does not go outside. 
The book constantly goes between the two at different points in the war.  I’d recommend it if you like beautifully written stories.  It is long.  However, this story sticks with you and I was left thinking of the characters many days after finishing the book.

Have you read All the Light We Cannot See? What are some large books that you’ve put off reading? What are some long books you’d recommend?

Friday, July 10, 2020

TGIF!!

My husband had to go back to the office this week, but did work from home on Wednesday so this first week back to summer kinda normal, was interesting.  I am so sad that we can't do most of what we'd do in a normal summer to break up the day and be exciting.  But we are making do.  I have the 9 year old signed up for summer enrichment through her school for the month of July so there is SOMETHING to do.  We are trying to do daily walks.  This week she had an eye appointment and I had a dentist appointment so those things broke up the days.

My favorite pictures from the week:





this was actually enjoyed on the 5th of July but I went for a red/white/blue theme for a snack/lunch


Our 'Blue America' drinks we made up for the 4th in the backyard


I made this bean dip for our 4th in the backyard


I made this pudding pie for our 4th in our backyard

The high of my week was the 9 month old said mama! And gave me snuggles.  It was adorable.  When I texted my husband he said .. "now let me go pull on the curtains.." which is so true.  Children give love and then go and do insanely infuriating things. :)

The low of my week was seeing ridiculous photos of how people spent 4th of July with a crap ton of people not social distancing and numbers going up and wondering how the heck school can resume.

Meal plan for the week was 

Monday -  Brisket Nachos
Tuesday -  Brisket Tacos
Wednesday -  beef stir fry, made with veggies from our garden!
Thursday -  Flatbread Pizza, one pepperoni/onion/ yellow peppers and one Pesto/Mozzarella,Tomato
Friday - a local restaurant take out

The best money I spent was on not sure

What I’m listening to Small Town Murder

What I’m watching  the last season of Criminal Minds

What I’m reading: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr as a buddy read with my friend Erin

My plans for the weekend include finishing this book! Getting my hair cut for the first time since November and getting it colored for the first time since February!

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Currently July

Reading:  All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr,  It's been hard to get captivated by it.



Loving:  that first hot cup of coffee in the morning.  OMG.  It makes you feel like you can do anything.  So magical.  Also, one of Adeline's first words is book.  She says boo boo boo and grabs books and will look at them.  She will even bring them to you.  She also loves music and 'sings' back.  

Also, more Adeline words are hi, Isla, mama, and the occasional moo.  She's becoming a little parrot.

And our library reopened for curbside after having to shut down due to flood damage!




Feeling: all the emotions.  It's been a year.  I can't process all of the things I'm feeling for all of the events that have taken place.  I worry about my oldest's mental health.  I can see she has anxiety.  I know not seeing her people makes her struggle.  It's hard because now that school is 'done' it's summer and we can't do a lot of the fun summer stuff we usually do.  And I know having a baby sister making even more of the stuff a no is hard.  Plus, our library flooded and it had been closed and one of our favorite things is going to the library multiple times a week.  At least we have curbside! And we have our own free little library at our house now.  It's hard because for 2 months we thought, 'okay, this summer will suck but we will be able to go out on the lake and visit the beach.'  Clearly, there are no lakes.  And a freaking pandemic.  And people not doing their due diligence when we have for months now and we STILL CAN'T DO THINGS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES.

Anticipating: in two weeks we are driving north for the day to visit a beach on Lake Huron that's 2 and a half hours away and pretty secluded.  

Grateful: my family is healthy and safe.  





Working: trying to sell baby stuff and clear out the house.  I would have loved to have a garage sale this year because I have so many items that need to go!

Listening: podcasts. Small Town Murder is my current go to listen.

Watching: We just got caught up on the last SWAT, so we should be catching up on Criminal Minds next.  Also still watching a ton of Hallmark movies!

Wishing: for a scientific breakthrough so we can get this virus under control.  Also, for idiots to stop idioting.  

What are you reading> What are you anticipating?

Monday, July 6, 2020

What I Read in June

I did a much better job of focusing and powering through books in June! I am back on track with 7 books finished.  We shall overlook that a bunch were middle grade. :) They were good! I am currently buddy reading All the Light We Cannot See and I may have to read about 324234 books at once to make my way through it.  It's one of those books that I WANT to read but it's hard to get into.  I also got Lowcountry Boondoogle for a review copy and I WANT TO READ IT NOW!!!! So we shall see.



Once a Midwife by Patricia Harman is the third book in a series.  You could read these as stand alone books but they have continuing characters and reading all of them help you get the story.  The timeline in this book is right as US is entering WWII.  Patience's husband Daniel is very anti-war after having served in the first world war.  The country and the town are changing and it has great historical aspects in this good fiction series!

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner was soo good! I hadn't read a book of hers in quite a few years and I'll be honest I wasn't excited about it when my book club picked it.  IT IS SO GOOD.  So good I spent 4 hours one night hurrying up to finish it! It's about two sisters who grow up in suburban Detroit.  It covers their life from the 1950s until present.  It's crazy how many political and social changes has happened in that time frame.  Neither girls adulthood looks like they thought it would.  They both persevered through traumatic situations and got what they wanted, but it took awhile.  Highly recommend!



Celebrate Your Body is a body positive book that talks about the changes that happen during puberty.  I got it for the 9 year old last summer and just read it for myself.  It's written in a matter of fact manner and very well done.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall is a book I got from the library maaaaaany months ago because I had gone through goodreads and clicked on 'books you may like if you liked CeeCee Honeycutt."  This did not disappoint.  I also recommend it!  Starla Claudelle lives with her grandma in small town Mississippi in the 1960s.  Her dad works on an oil rig and her mom moved to Nashville to follow her dreams to be a singer.  Her grandma is not kind to her.  Starla runs away on the 4th of July and meets a Black woman who also has some big secrets.  Together they may a perilous journey to Nashville to see her mom.  Lots of strong female characters. 



Boxcar Children the Beginning was eh.  I mean it may have been better when I was a kid, but this could have been done better.

Harbor Me by Jaqueline Woodson was really good.  Got rave reviews from the 9 year old too! A group of students meet together in a classroom every Friday and talk about whatever they want.  These kids have a lot of worries, immigration, parents in prison, ADHD, racism and they think they are alone.  Until they start opening up and find hope and help from their fellow classmates.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed was really good too.  The 9 year old also gave this one 5 stars.  A smart young girl in Pakistan is at the market one day when she insults the wrong person.  She goes from eldest daughter in the family to a servant.  She is strong, speaks her mind and never gives up.  For my 9 year old who reads everything on Malala Yousafzai this was a great fictional book.



My library opens back up for curbside today and we have been requesting books like crazy.  Kind of excited to see what we pick up today, and also thinking I need to be reading like a crazy fool to get ahead of my reading again!

What was your favorite book read in June?




Friday, June 5, 2020

What I Read in May

Well, since I last posted, the crazy that is 2020 got even crazier.  I grew up on a lake, as did my husband.  The lakes were connected by a dam.  It's technically a river that was dammed up about 100 years ago.  We got a lot of rain.  One dam broke.  Now there are no lakes, my hometown is destroyed, houses destroyed, property destroyed and this happened to loved ones and strangers in 3 counties.  This is a short simple way of saying, our stressful situation was made more stressful, and my in-laws home is down to the studs.  My husband and his siblings, plus many helpers spent a about 5 days cleaning and demoing out 42 years of living.  Many of my child's school friends had flood damage.  The ball fields I grew up playing on are destroyed.  My favorite breakfast place - destroyed.  Many small businesses - destroyed. 

Yeah.  It's been a few weeks.  I actually have not read a book since the day before this happened.  Probably the longest I've ever gone without reading.  I have a book sitting by my chair ready to go for weeks now, but I start the first page and my mind goes.  It's been a time.  It's hard too, because the feelings I have for my hometown are complicated, like most of us probably feel towards our own home towns.  I never felt like I belonged.  I always felt like an outsider and I don't share the same viewpoints as many.  I still feel deeply about its destruction.  I may have made fun of the lake I grew up on, but man did it give me lots of memories. 

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo that being said, I read 2 books in all of May..


The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray was really good! It was a page-turner and set in Michigan! It does do some jumping in time so I feel like if you read it in a couple sittings it's better than walking away.  I devoured it in two days.  It has a lot going on and my only complaint is that the eating disorder part wasn't really elaborated on more towards the end.  I also liked that when it ended, you still had some questions, not so much about the plot, but where the family would go next. 

Description: The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

November Road by Lou Berney is a crime novel that takes a look at the Kennedy assassination.  A what if the New Orleans mob was behind it look.  The main character Frank, realizes that he knows too much and is about to be considered dispensable so he high tails it across America trying to save himself.  On the road he meets a woman and her daughters who are running from her alcoholic husband.  He uses them as cover as they move West to their new starts.  I wasn't as impressed with this one, it's graphic and really I finished it to find out how it ended.  Slightly disappointing, and I like stories about the Kennedy's and the Kennedy assassinations.  

What were some highlights of your May reading?

Friday, May 15, 2020

TGIF!

I cannot believe that it is already the middle of May. I have been working on the same book for like ever.  I am having trouble reading.  But my Words with Friends game is strong! We started Schitts Creek, and I am walking almost daily.  So I mean good things? Also, our school year is getting a week cut off, so that's nice and yet what the eff am I going to do with the extra time in our day???? Mom school starting soon.  Hopefully, we will be able to leave our house by then and I can at least take us on outdoor adventures places, or even to my parents house.

My favorite pictures from the week:





The high of my week was dropping off moving boxes to some friends and a front porch chat.

The low of my week was just seeing how not caring of others so many people are.  And selfishly irritated at how life is changed.

Meal plan for the week was 

Monday -  Lasagna, garlic bread, blackberries, and cottage cheese
Tuesday -  leftover lasagna, sweet corn, and blackberries
Wednesday -  Buffalo chicken salads, baked potatoes, and blackberries
Thursday -  Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs, green beans, stove top stuffing
Friday - Take out Pizza

The best money I spent was on a Harry Potter robe for Isla's bday.  I had been going to gift her 2 weeks of summer camp and my parents had gotten her a week of it, but I'm fairly certain they will all be cancelled so I decided I had better get her something to open, and well eff it, we are in a pandemic, the kid can have a ridiculous amount of bday presents for once!

What I’m listening to My Favorite Murder

What I’m watching The Good Witch movies on Hallmark and Schitt's Creek

What I’m reading: November Road by Lou Berney

My plans for the weekend include finishing the darn book.

What are you watching/reading/listening to?