Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Reading: Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott. It’s a cute mystery about two single women in 1920s England.  It’s the second in the series, and I didn’t read the first, but it hasn’t slowed me down.  Love the feminism in it.

Loving:  how I am making progress on decluttering and organizing the house.  I’m making a lot of progress on getting rid of clothes that are too small and going through old stuff that was saved and I have no idea why.  I’ve also made a daily cleaning list that has helped immensely.  I focus on different things 5 of the days of the week so on the weekend we can all spend time together and only a few smaller projects instead of having to do alllll the things on the weekend.  It's been nice! 

Feeling: good.  One of my health goals for September were to walk at least 3 days a week at least.  So far I’ve done that at least.  I think each week I’ve had 4 walks at least.  Usually the 4th walk is a walk with one or two of my family members so it’s usually either shorter or not as fast as I go by myself.  My hope is to try to start up the couch to 5k in October.  But slow, very slow.  I’m going to have to do some thinking on how I want to add that to my walking.

Anticipating: our last camping trip of the year.  We are going to one of our favorite spots, but we didn’t get the site we normally get.  We are going with a few friends and kids and are planning on a chili cookoff on Saturday.  I’m pretty excited.  It should be cooler but I’m hoping cooler on the water doesn’t mean too cold so that the kids won’t be whiny since we can play in sand but probably no venturing into the water! 

Grateful: for the wonderful teacher we have for second grade! She generally cares for the kids and I love that she is into changing things up when she learns about new things even though she’s been teaching for 30 years.  That is such dedication and I’m glad my kiddo is loving school, even when she is majorly exhausted and so attitudy at the end of the day.

Working:  on potentially getting a very part-time online teaching gig.  I wasn’t going to search out opportunities but it came to me in an email and well, why not?

Listening: to lots of podcasts.  I’ve started listening to Hysteria which is an all female podcast and still trying to finish the second season of In the Dark.

Wishing: for a warm fall full of adventures with my loved ones!

What are you reading, anticipating, and grateful for?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What's On My Fall TBR List

Lists of books that I want to read will never end.  I always have ambitious goals of what I want to read and then a new book pops up on my radar or an old idea comes through and off on a tangent I go! However, I do have some thoughts on what I want to read coming up this Fall!

These are the books I currently have out from the library

I go a bit overboard when I'm at the library.  My system of grab 2 books every time I'm there is unhelpful when I go multiple times a week ha.  Besides reading these that I have checked out I also want to get a Laura Lippman novel I missed in the Tess Monaghan series and read more in the Louise Penny series.  I also am hoping to get Linda Castillo's newest in the Kate Burkholder series from the library as well.

I also plan on reading these two that I got for a future review on the blog.  I'm excited.  Forever Fudge is set on Mackinac Island! One of my favorite places to visit.

I also need to re-read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for book club.  I cannot find it right now so I'm a bit bummed since book club is meeting next week and I assumed it was somewhere on my shelves.  I am going to have to hope the library has a copy! Also coming up for book club are The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent and The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.

What is on your Fall TBR list? Have you read any of these books?

Friday, September 14, 2018


What a full week! I got so much accomplished.  I'm in the middle of getting rid of/selling old clothes of the kiddos that I have held on to for way too long.  I've probably 'made" about 30 bucks in the last week! Woot.  And donated a huge bag of clothes/stuff and have another HUUUGE bag half-way filled up to go.  I also got the house decorated for fall and am taking stock in what I want to get to still decorate some more.  I've always wanted to be the person to decorate for seasons but I never had the damn time or patience.  So woot.  I've also volunteered and signed up for some upcoming sub jobs and did a LOT of cleaning that this dang house needed.  

Second week of school is going well.  No homework yet, but it starts Monday.  I'm working on some flashcards today for math practice.  I'm first going to check pinterest and teacherspayteachers to see if i do not have to reinvent the wheel.  We need to work on speed for addition and subtraction up to 20 by the end of the year so I'm thinking of making some sets and doing about 10 a night when we do the other homework.  It seems super doable what will be expected and the teacher flat out said she values family time and extra-curricular time over more homework.  She only really stresses 10-15 minutes of reading a night.  So reading and studying for spelling words should be the only main stuff and once a week vocab and math.

My favorite picture from the week:

how she  smiled when I said, smile like you will for pictures today!.. ha

The high of my week was once again volunteering at the school book fair.  It was so much fun to watch so many kids so excited for books! When I was last there they had already sold about $7,000 in sales! That was Wednesday morning and I'm curious to see how it ended up.

The low of my week was  finishing the potato soup I made. It was so good.  I love a good soup.

My Workouts were the husband and I took a walk Saturday night, then I walked Monday, Thursday, and Friday myself. We took a family walk Tuesday night!

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday - Big Boy to use the kiddos free meal coupon from the summer reading program!
Tuesday - Steak with baked potatoes, salad, and homemade applesauce
Wednesday - Make Your Own Mini Pizzas with homemade applesauce, salad, and pita chips
Thursday - Sweet Potato Hash, Eggs, and crescent rolls with homemade peach jam!
Friday - Cheesy Taco Soup with chips and salsa

This weekend we are going to a get together and we will be taking bbq pork butt! Not sure sure what we will do Sunday yet.

The best money I spent was on books from the book fair!

To be fair.. the kiddo purchased the bookmark and the Elephant and Piggie book with her own money.  I only got her the Coretta Scott King book and the Princess in Black book.  The rest are Christmas presents for my niece and nephews! I highly recommend the Bruce books.  Last year I got my niece and one nephew Mother Bruce and they loved it! So I got my niece the Hotel Bruce book this year and the nephew got the Snake book because he loves snakes!  Isla and I are loving the Princess in Black series.  We love the illustrations and we each read a page at a time.  We usually finish off a book in one sitting!

What I’m listening to   podcasts of course! I really enjoyed Hysteria's episode Freedom Hangover from July.  I also liked listening the first episode of the Atlanta Murders.  

What I’m watching we are catching up on last seasons Criminal Minds.  We are also PBS fans and have watched episodes on the history of Flint and I've watched some of the Great American Read and a special on Margaret Mitchell.  

What I’m reading:  Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes which is the third in a middle grade series.  We also started By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family.

My plans for the weekend include being lazy tonight! The kiddo and I were discussing pajamas and a movie tonight.  And hopefully popcorn! Tomorrow she has a birthday party/sleepover and we are going to catch up with some old friends.  Sunday should be a relaxing day unless we have to take the pool down then. 

What are you listening to? What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Lost for Words Bookshop

Oh man! I just finished an amazing book.  A few weeks ago I was quickly scanning the ‘New” shelf at my library trying to grab a quick book before we headed to the children’s area for the kiddo.  I quickly read the first paragraph of the book jacket,

“Loveday Cardew prefers books to people (YUM YES, THIS IS ME).  If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattoed on her skin.  But there are some things Loveday will never show you.”

Okay, this sounds good.  A book about bookshops and preferring books to people.  Sounds good to me. Next two paragraphs that I may not have finished reading before grabbing it,
“Into her refuge – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday.  Someone knows about her past and she cant hide any longer.  She must decide whom around her she can trust.  Can she find te courage to right a heart-breaking wrong? And will she ever find te words to tell her own story?”

I figured a book about someone working in a bookstore who loves books, should be decent.
It was way more than decent.  The writing is beautiful.  Loveday has a very traumatic past and an interesting present.  The book switches time periods between 2016 which is book present day, 2013 when something happened that is revealed to the reader and to 1999 when her life changed.  The jumping around is not hard at all to follow and is a very neat way of revealing to the reader Loveday’s story.

I read this super quick and it was hard to put down.  It was moving, entertaining, and shared some hard realities of an abusive relationship.  I can’t even use my words to describe the way the author beautifully wrote this book. So many little pockets of humor and tenderness.

Highly recommend!

What is the last book you read that you just loved?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Today's Library Haul

As much as I enjoyed going to the library so much this summer with the kiddo, I do enjoy my solo trips.  I get more time to check things out and I can pick books for her that she may not let me pick when she's there.  Today, I didn't even make it out of the kids/teens areas for books.  I already had a ton of books checked out but then I added more in.

The 7 year old is in a huge love affair with Laura Ingalls Wilder.  We are currently reading By The Shores of Silver Lake together.  She's read most of the Rose offshoots that are the thinner variety.  Not the longer novels by MacBride.  I'm thinking we will read those together after we finish the Little House series unless she's ready to move on.

I got a few of the picture books that we haven't had a chance to read yet.  They are basically snippets from the books but with full colored photos and slightly simpler writing. 

The Maple Ridge series is a new find from last week at the library.  I talked with a librarian who suggested the Maple Ridge series when there weren't any Little House books in that we hadn't read.  Yesterday the kiddo sat down with the first book Logan Pryce Makes a Mess by Grace Gilmore and quickly read the first 12 chapters.  She loved it! She asked me to get book 2 this week since she only has 1 chapter left.  I haven't read any of it, but she seems to love it.

Little House by Boston Bay is the first in the fictional series of Charlotte who was Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandma.  I had tried to get her to read that book earlier this summer but she wanted to read the Rose books first.  Sadly, she has read the last one in that series! So off to check these out.

The librarian also suggested the Disney Beginning's series which is about Disney Princesses when they were young girls.  I grabbed the Ariel Makes Waves, because I know she likes Ariel and we saw the production of Little Mermaid earlier this summer.

One of my mom's friends recommended The Princess Academy Series by Shannon Hale.  It looks like it might be a bit older for her yet, so I will read it and see if it's something I'll intro to her.  She loves Hales Princess in Black series, so I'm sure it will eventually be a winner.

I then did a quick through of the teen area and grabbed We Were Liars (have heard nothing but good things), a Sarah Dessen novel because I realized it had been 8 years since I last read one!!!! and In Real Life by Jessica Love.

I still have a massive list to get through from the library but I can't stop checking out books!! I just returned The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach today and am reading and enjoying The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland.

What are you reading? What have you recently checked out from the library? Any series to suggest to my little reader?

Friday, September 7, 2018


Phew! First 4 week day of the school year is at the weekend! On our way out the door today my daughter said she was excited to sleep in tomorrow and I was not to wake her up unless she slept until 12:00! Got it, kiddo! Sleep is wonderful!

My favorite picture from the week:

The high of my week was volunteering at the School Book Fair today! Loved helping the kids find books that matched their interests and how excited they all were to get new books!

The low of my week was missing my girl now that she is back to school all day. 

My Workouts: a family walk on Tuesday and then solo walks on Wednesday and Thursday

Meal plan for the week was Make your own Mini Pizzas with green beans, Smothered pork chops / mashed potatoes zucchini parm crisps and peaches from our garden, Sweet potato hash with Eggs, tomato soup and toast..Tonight we are going to a festival that has food trucks and Monday we had leftovers from the weekend!

The best money I spent was on my mom's birthday present from a local store that sells homemade Michigan products!

What I’m listening to   This week I've been catching up on a lot of older Book Riot Podcasts and Chatty Sisters!

What I’m watching Just starting Little Women on Masterpiece

What I’m reading:  STILL READING The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Will's Choice by Joan Lowery Dixon.  Plugging Away!

My plans for the weekend include a festival tonight that has live music, food trucks and a beer garden.  Tomorrow football watching and the kiddo is having a sleepover with my mom so we get to have a date night.  Not sure what we will do! I am going to make potato soup and we will use the potato skins for a football snack! The weather is cooler this weekend so it will be good to give the kiddo some down time and not feel like we need to be out in the sun!

What was your high from the week? What are you reading?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer TBR Update

I thought I would check back in with how my summer reading turned out.  At the end of May I had posted a picture of my at the time currently library stack along with a few others that I wanted to check out this summer.

Overall from June to August I read a total of 23 books! And 3 more that I shared reading duties with the 7 year old!

What I read in June, July and August .. plus A Reliable Wife

My favorite books I read over the summer would be We’re Going to Need ore Wine for this by Gabrielle Union, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz, and The Third Hill North of Town by Noah Bly.

Books I didn’t get to were  American Lion, Almost Sisters, The Hate U Give, and Love and Ruin. 
I returned American Lion and Almost Sisters before I read them.  I just kept picking up more and more stuff that enthralled me and it got put on a back burner.  I will eventually probably get back to them, but maybe not.

My favorite places to read were in my hammock in the backyard and on the beaches we vacationed on this summer!

Here are some recommendations:

If you are interested in current eventsGhost Boys tackles police violence against young black males.  It is a middle grade novel and is a very quick read.  Very good!

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario may be a few years old but is very relevant to immigration issues that the United States is still dealing with.  Just throwing out my unsolicited opinion on the matter --- Anyone who risks there entire life to cross 1 or more foreign countries, risking death  Our being OTHER FREAKING HUMAN BEINGS.  I’m not a religions person but if I were to look up to Jesus as a role model, I’d have to take a hard look at myself if I wasn’t doing everything in my power to help those less fortunate than myself.
, hunger, rape and the potential separation from their child is someone who desperately needs our help.

Looking for a new series? – Check out the Louise Penney series! Still Life is the first one and I’ve read quite a few others.  You would not need to read them in order.  There is a lot of character development and they are mystery but not gory.

Middle Grade Reads – Ghost Boys, Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Orphan Train Children Series by Joan Lowery Nixon, and Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  Bottom Line – Get some Jewell Parker Rhodes in your LIFE!!!

How many books did you read this summer? What were your favorites? Any you'd recommend to me based off of what I read this summer?

Friday, August 31, 2018


My favorite picture from the week:

The high of my week was checking out a new pop up wine garden in town with friends earlier this week!

The low of my week was the weather has been super rainy and our pool is having issues and it's the last week of summer break! So not cool!!!

The best money I spent was on … school supplies! 2nd grade here we come!

What I’m listening to (and loving): I am on a back log of podcasts as always.  I've listened to a few really good back episodes of "With Friends Like These" by Ana Marie Cox.

What I’m watching: Southern Charm Savannah Season 2

What I’m reading: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Will's Choice by Joan Lowery Dixon.  I like both but just haven't been in a book mood this month for some reason.

I'm excited for college football season to start back up and for yummy football snacks and treats.   The holiday weekend is always like a last hooray of summer before school starts up.  I've been working on my water intake the last 2 weeks and next week I am going to start walking again.  Hoping to add some Amazon Prime workouts to my mix too!

What was your high from the week?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Podcasts, Books, Photos, and Favorite Moments of July

Podcasts: I am so not up to date on podcasts so these are all older podcasts.  I am liking Off Shore's season 3 and older episodes of Pod Save America. Also enjoying older episodes of My Favorite Murder.
Books:  I read 10 books in July! And 3 others I helped the kiddo read aloud.  So I rocked July! They were all pretty great reads too!

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett 4 stars

This was a sad tale of a family who is changed by the actions of two bored parents one Sunday afternoon. Probably my favorite Patchett that I’ve read.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie 4 stars  I actually liked this one a bit better than Murder On the Orient Express.  I’m trying to occasionally read more of hers.  Any recommendations?

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes 5 stars 

This was probably my favorite book of the month.  It is a middle grade novel about a young black boy who is shot while he is playing with a toy gun by a police officer.  He becomes a ghost and meets other black boys who have been killed because they were black.  It is sooo good.  I cannot do this book justice.  I learned about it during an episode of The Longest Shortest Time  while the author was being interviewed and I’ve since started reading her other books!

The Girl who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz 5 stars

Loved this latest installment in the Lisbeth Salander series!

17th Suspect by James Patterson 4 stars

I also liked the latest in the Womens Murder Club series.  Some of these are just so so but this was a good one!

Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale 3 stars

Isla and I were excited to finally start this series together but I was slightly disappointed in it.  It’s okay and the 7 year old likes it , but I think I hyped it up too much.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny 4 stars

Also enjoyed this one in the Three Pines series!

The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis 4 stars

I found this at the library randomly and gave it a whirl since it was a book set in the south.  It was a depressing tale of a family.  However, it still made for some good reading.

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes 5 stars

This book followed a 12 year old girl in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Loved it!

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick 4 stars 

This was our book club pick.  It was very unexpected.  The description basically gives nothing away which I feel is a good lure in, otherwise you may not start it because of how weird it gets.  But in a good discussion kind of weird!

Photos:  Here are some of my favorite photos this month!

Favorite Moments:
4th of July we had people over for a day of pool, food and drinks.  So much fun!
We also had a random Sunday afternoon day of pool, friends, and drinks and that was fun.
A family wedding was a good time for all.
Finding a new local downtown store that has some cute locally made stuff.
Seeing cousins that live out of the country.
Camping with friends.
Lots of time with my girl.
 What was your favorite book read in July? What podcast have you been loving? What was a highlight of your month?

Friday, July 27, 2018


We have had a great week with a fun mix of lazy and activity!  The kiddo had Art Camp this week which gave me some free time. I did some errands and was a little lazy myself with some of that time.  This weekend we are going to enjoy some time in Frankenmuth which I'm pretty excited about.

Favorite pictures from the week: 

The high of my week was hanging out with friends Thursday night at our community weekly free concert in the park.  It was fun to chat with adults and listen to some music.

The low of my week was my own clumsiness!  I stepped on a cardboard box that apparently had a staple sticking out (darn kids and their forts) and that hurt.  Then while cleaning my spiralizer I cut my thumb.  For like the 234324 time this summer.  Usually I cut it with a knife ha.

For my workouts, I completed 

 Tuesday - a walk through our local gardens which included going off the trails and up and down hills in the hot hot heat.

Wednesday - a short river trail walk/hike with the family at our local nature center!

The best money I spent was on some cute birthday presents for some people in my life.  I love some of the new and not so new local shops that are in our downtown! I also bought the kiddo a really cute dress for school and some underwear that she loves because IT HAS UNICORNS ON THEM!!!!

What I’m listening to (and loving): This week I listened to a lot of old episodes of Pod Save America and a sweet/fun old episode from How to Be a Girl.  I'm trying to sneak in podcasts when I can since the 7 year old likes to interrupt them!

What I’m watching: I'm finishing up Southern Charm New Orleans (just blah) and then moving on to Southern Charm Savannah.  I've also watched a couple episodes of 10 things from PBS and I really enjoyed the 10 roads that changed America!

What I’m reading: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.  Not sure how I feel about it..  It's the slowest read I've read in a few months, but it is a book club pick and one I've had on my shelf for a few years!

found this book at the library and it is a good one for young (and some older kids) on problem solving and dealing with anxiety!

What are you reading, listening to and watching?