Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Just swinging outdoors in January...

Just feed me.. don't photograph me.. otherwise known as I look just like my great-grandma

Don't let this photo fool you.. She loves the snow and playing outside!
Outdoors in February.. What a difference a month makes.. and a couple feet of snow between now and the beginning of January

One of her favorite indoor activities.. helping cook!

Homemade chicken pot pie that my husband and daughter made!

What's the favorite thing you've done lately?

Monday, February 25, 2013

All Aboard!!!!

The Potty Train that is! BAHAHAHA.

Have no fear, I have no desire to talk to you about my kid's poop, pee or lack thereof.  Nor do I care to show you pictures of her sitting on the toilet attempting her business.  Nor will I share a photo of whatever comes out of her butt.

However, I shall share with you some books about the "potty" that we do enjoy in this house.

And well let me state before going further.  I do not like the word potty.  I use toilet or bathroom, but apparently those in the book business like referring to it as the potty so unfortunately here goes me using the word multiple times and cringing.  Sorry, Kelly! ;)

First up.. our intro into the potty book business..

Potty by Leslie Patricelli

When I got this book it had nothing to do with toilet training.  It had everything to do with my love for Patricelli's hilarious board books.  It's okay.  It leaves a lot of dialogue for good reading parents to add at will so the story makes sense but I kind of like free styling with books because then you can change it up each time and make it more unique to the child.  My daughter loves the extras that I add in.  Good for good or boy.

Potty Time by Caroline Jayne Church

Around December, my kiddo was showing some interest signs in the bathroom yet seemed petrified of sitting on the toilet.  So when ordering my Scholastic order of the month I loaded up on bathroom books.  Potty time has a flush me button that is the high point of this book for us.  It is super short and works for a boy or girl but unless you can get it for $1.00 or free with Scholastic points, I'd just leave it be.  However, the flush me button is fun. 

The Potty Train by Daivd Hochman and Ruth Kennison

Now this is a cute book.  It's about getting ready to use the bathroom and how it is okay if you run off the tracks every now and then and that every one is dfferent and it's just cute.  And come on, you know you want to read, "Chugga chugga pooo pooo!"  You know you do.. This is a favorite in our house.  I may have read it 6 times on Sunday night.  Oh and the little boy is sitting on a big toilet with a toilet seat on it so I make sure to point this out multiple times that he is on a BIIIG toilet.  Probably more geared towards boys, but my girl seems to enjoy it!  And I may like saying, "chugga chugga pooo pooo!"  I got this one from Scholastic as well.

Potty Animals: What to Know When You've Gotta Go by Hope Vestergaard

Okay, this is fucking hysterical.  It's geared towards older kids/adults but it is so freaking funny that by golly if you are potty training you need this book for yourself.   The illustrations and rhyming are brilliant.. here's a sneak peek..

"Though Arnold has outstanding aim to point and kick and throw, he isn't always accurate when it is time to go.  He hits the floor, he hits the lid, he hits te toilet seat.  Not much goes in the toilet bowl, which isn't very neat.  YUCK! Lift the seat, Arnold!"

You know you want more! hahahaha.  I'd say this would be aimed at the late potty trainer, but honestly, you need this book.  It is also from Scholastic.  It's boy or girl friendly.

Everybody Poops - Taro Gomi

Okay, to be honest, I ordered this from Scholastic before I had children and it was purely for myself because poop is funny.  It's laying around with our other toilet books but I haven't showed it specifically to Isla yet, cuz well it's not very appropriate.  But dude, poop is funny!

I am pretty sure these are all the toilet books we own in the house.  But, if you have any suggestions I am all open.  I do hope I can lighten the mood in your house!

Does poop/toilet humor make you laugh?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What do you recommend?

As an avid reader who is very vocal about her love of books, I tend to get this question a lot.  It depends on the person and perhaps on what they are looking for, but I usually have a list of books I always suggest.

Here is my usual go to list...

1. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

I read this book basically in one day, I'm pretty sure I did, but maybe it was two, but I am pretty sure I read it laying on the couch in one all day long sitting, interrupted only to nurse my child.  It was that good.

Description: A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

People who would like this: lovers of Kristin Hannah, Allison Winn Scotch, Sarah Dessen, Jodi Picoult or Lisa See

2. Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay

Another book I devoured in practically a day.  Moving, haunting.. beautiful..

People who would like this: people interested in WWII / Holocaust, people interested in Historical / Fiction, lovers of Chris Bojahlian, Jenna Blum or Kathryn Stockett, book clubs

3.  Still Alice – Lisa Genova

This hit so close to home.  My grandfather has dementia and it fucking sucks.  No sugar coating.  But this is about a VERY VERY smart professor who gets Alzheimer's and it's gut wrenching.

People who would like this: those interested in psychology, book clubs, those who liked The Song Remains the Same, lovers of Jodi Picoult, interested in memory loss/dementia

4.  Prisoner of Tehran – Marina Nehmet

A memoir that moved me.  Super quick read.

People who would like this: book clubs, people interested in Iran in the 1970s/1980s, if you enjoyed the movie Argo, non-fiction/memoirs, lovers of Stieg Larrsson, Tess Gerritsen, Laura Lippman, James Patterson...

Description: What would you give up to protect your loved ones? Your life?In her heartbreaking, triumphant, and elegantly written memoir, "Prisoner of Tehran," Marina Nemat tells the heart-pounding story of her life as a young girl in Iran during the early days of Ayatollah Khomeini's brutal Islamic Revolution.

5. The Faith Club – Ranya Lidlby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warren

People who would like this: non-fiction / memoir seekers, those interested in different religions and discussing them, book clubs, if you enjoyed The Wednesday SistersThe Dovekeepers or The Poisionwood Bible

A group of women get together to write a children's book about their religions.  Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Very educational and thought provoking.  Great for book club discussions.

6.  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

I loved this entire series! Slow start, but very worth getting through it!  My fave was probably the second book.

People who would like this: lovers of Tess Gerritsen, Laura Lippman, thrillers/mystery, Drowning Ruth, Karin Slaughter...

7.  Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah

By far my favorite book by Hannah.  I recommend this to practically all women readers. 

People who would like this: lovers of Elin Hildebrand, Jennifer Weiner, Barbara Delinksy, Sarah Dessen, Kathryn Stockett, Allison Winn Scotch...

8. The Wednesday Sisters - Meg Waite Clayton

Soo soo soo good.  Please read it if you haven't. ;)

9. Those Who Save Us – Jenna Blum

A recent addition to the list but I really enjoyed it!

People who would like this: those interested in the Holocaust/WWII, Germany, book clubs, those who liked Kite Runner, The Help, Sarah's Key..

10.  The Help - Kathryn Stockett

I loved this book.  So soo much.

People who would like this: book clubs, interested in realistic fiction, those who enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, We Are All Welcome Here, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Shanghai Girls.

Others: Little Women, State of Wonder, Blindsighted, The Abortionists Daughter, The Scent of Rain and Lightning...

Authors:  Laura Lippman, Tess Gerritsen, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, John Green..

Series: Stephanie Plum, Rizzoli & Isles, Tess Monaghan, Lisa Gardner's various series...

What are books that you usually always recommend?

Monday, February 18, 2013

March Group Read Suggestions

Hola! That time of the month again! Crazy! I have been in a reading lull, I am trying to read The Dovekeepers, but it's something you have to have time to read and can't be flitting around with it.  Gulp.

Here is what we've already read...

The Song Remains The Same
Those Who Save Us
We Are All Welcome Here
Gone Girl
Prisoner of Tehran
The Wednesday Sisters
Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

I'm in the mood for some controversy.  Please leave suggestions and I will post a poll on Thursday night! Hope you join us!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Song Remains the Same - Discussion 1

The idea of waking up in a strange room, attached to machines, not recognizing anyone is pretty terrifying.  I don't know how I would embrace waking up with no memories of my life.  I know I would feel grateful to be alive and relatively unharmed but the loss of so many memories, ahh..

I guess, like Nell, I'd have to embrace the 'new me' otherwise I'd spend a lot of time harping on what I didn't have (memories).  I also don't know how I would react to relying on some pretty unreliable narrators of my past to fill in the blanks.

1.  The book opens with a playlist, The Best of Nell Slattery. What songs have profound meaning in your life?

2. Each member of Nell’s family has his or her own agenda in helping Nell “re-create” her past. Do you sympathize with any of their motives?

3. Nell’s amnesia gives her the opportunity to reassess her life and start over. Imagine yourself in Nell’s shoes: would you rather have a blank slate or know the truth about your past?

4. We accompany Nell from her first confused moment, when she wakes up in the hospital, to when she discovers big secrets about her family history. How do your feelings and perceptions of Nell change as she uncovers new facts about herself and as her personality is revealed? How does the author’s willingness to show Nell in both good and bad light create a more vivid portrait of her character?

5. Throughout the course of the novel, Nell makes some decisions based on what she (thinks she) knows and some decisions based on gut feelings. Which is more successful for her: knowledge or instinct? Which do you find more reliable in your life?

6.  What are your thoughts so far on Nell's mother? Her sister? Peter? Anderson? Jasper?

Catch ya back on the 1st for the last discussion! Thanks for reading along! ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Well, this is the second book of 2013 that had me staying up late and then waking up super early to finish (The Fault in Our Stars was the first).  I did stay up late to finish Those Who Save Us.  2013 is looking better than 2012 did in terms of good reads!

Description:  In the city of Atlanta, women are dying—at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frenzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread—and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael's lover before she became his enemy.

But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer's trail in the most coincidental of ways—someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open

My thoughts: I'll be honest the first 20-50ish pages or so I was kind of thinking it was going to be a dud.  The good news? The book isn't all in the perspective of the person it starts out in.  Which, as the story goes, you can kind of see WHY I would think it wasn't that great in the beginning.  Also, there was a part where I am not sure if it was an author mess up or it was just a crappy job of jumping literally from one scene/day to another scene/day in the next paragraph with no apparent switch of time.  I even turned the pages back to see if I missed anything and I do not believe I did.

Besides those MINOR issues, I liked this book.  After I got over the way the killer mutilates the bodies.  Eewww.  It was a fast paced thriller that kept you thinking and wasn't super predictable.  There was some love action, some police work, some mystery, a plot.  A good quick thrilling read.   You should check out Slaughter's stuff.  I've also enjoyed her Grant County series. ;)

Have you read a book where you started thinking ohhh no and then ended up really liking it?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I like to follow the crowd..

I followed Kelly's monthly goals all of last year.  I found them admirable.  Since as soon as I set a goal/make a list I stop doing something.  True story.  I like list making.  So of course I decided to do it this year.  In January, I didn't post about it here but I did on a couple blog comments and to some friends my goals?

1. Read four books - I read 6.

Naptime is the New Happy Hour - funny
Home Front – Kristin Hannah  - eh
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green  - GREAT
Those Who Save Us – Jenna Blum  - AMAZING
Explosive Eighteen – Janet Evanovich  - hilarious
The Dispatcher – Ryan David Jahn - eh
2. Drink more Water - Well for the first couple weeks I did great.  But the last couple of weeks I drank far too much Diet Coke, which is weird cuz I am usually a straight Coke girl if I am going to drink pop.
 2. Try new veggies - I don't think I did.  I did eat more veggies.  So a kinda win?
3. Organize Laundry Room - Eh, no.  I did buy a container to help organize and I found something I wanted to hang in the laundry room and I cleared one shelf.  So I made progress.  But, no.  I did organize my 'bad' living room corner and my makeup/hair drawer in the bathroom. 
So, now on to February.
Read 4 books - I've already started Triptych by Karin Slaughter
Get on treadmill two times a week (preferably mon and wed for 2 miles) - I need to move more
No eating after 8pm during the week - I have been bad snacking a lot after eating really well all day.  It needs to stop.
Drink 8 glasses of water a day. - Need more water.
Do you have plans for February?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Dispatcher

Description: The phone rings. It's your daughter. She's been dead for four months

So begins East Texas police dispatcher Ian Hunt's fight to get his daughter back. The call is cut off by the man who snatched her from her bedroom seven years ago, and a basic description of the kidnapper is all Ian has to go on. What follows is a bullet-strewn cross-country chase from Texas to California along Interstate 10- a wild ride in a 1965 Mustang that passes through the outlaw territory of No Country for Old Men and is shot through with moments of macabre violence that call to mind the novels of Thomas Harris.

My thoughts:  Sounds good, right?  The description is about the best part.  Excellent plot idea.  Horrible execution.  I guess I've just read so many books like this that if there isn't some believability in there I just can't relax.  Yes, I know books aren't real and they aren't supposed to be but still.  You can't tell me that NO ONE is going to question Ian Hunt when he says his DEAD DAUGHTER CALLS HIM WHILE HE IS WORKING DISPATCH??? Really??

I also get that it is supposed to be a small town/ small county.  That's great, but they have to have at least ONE GOOD police officer right? Or the FBI they keep mentioning might make an appearance and put some good policing into the story.

And the final scenes were just as unbelievable.  Okay, sure it is an abandoned town.  But NO ONE but this guy is around? Oh good lord.  I just couldn't.

What was the last book where you kept thinking SERIOUSLY???