Friday, October 20, 2023


Phew.  I feel like this was our first week since school started that I finally got myself into a groove.  Note, one child started school at the end of August and the other started mid-September ha.  I have been so dang productive on the house cleaning/organizing front and crossing my stuff off my list every day.  One thing I do need to improve is actually making my workout happen.  Slowly but surely I am checking that box more each week, but I need to get into a strength training plan that's doable with my current schedule.

My favorite pictures from the week:

The high of my week was taking multiple walks in nature at various places to enjoy the fall color and manage the chaos of my mind/world.

The low of my week was  the war in Gaza/Israel.  I am so heartbroken for my Jewish friends and I am disgusted by the acts of terrorism committed on the innocent people of Israel.  I am also heartbroken for every single Palestinian that is being killed by the Israeli government.  Terror acts and killing innocent people is not okay.  Holding people hostage is not okay.  Targeting people because of their religious beliefs is not okay.  My heart is so heavy for every person who is suffering.  It is not okay.

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday -  Chili, cheese quesadillas, and salad
Tuesday -  grilled chicken, Caesar salad, grapes, cottage cheese and oranges
Wednesday -  beef and bean burritos, salad, chips and queso, grapes
Thursday -  Cashew Chicken w/ rice, grapes, strawberries and cottage cheese
Friday - Steak, baked potatoes, salad and roasted broccoli

The best money I spent was new rainsuit for the four year old

What I’m listening to  currently hell and gone podcast 

What I’m watching Only Murders in the Building, vanderpump rules

What I’m reading:  Hello Transcriber by Hannah Morrisey

My plans for the weekend include watching msu vs u of m football, might go to a story time at our new local bookstore

What are you watching/reading/listening to?

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

A Woman is No Man

 I very rarely have that feeling when I finish a book and I am like THAT is going to be one of the best books I’ve read this year.  I mean I read quite a bit and have gotten better at not finishing books that I don’t really like or just aren’t the right fit for the moment. (Side note, I think I am going to have like 9 or more books that I started and didn't finish by year's end).  However, I finished A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum last night and wow.  I immediately wanted to discuss it with someone and so I did the next best thing and read all the questions people had about it on goodreads and thought more about it.

I remember seeing the cover of this book before but I hadn’t really read the blurb until a friend read it this summer so I added it to my library holds and just got around to it.  I am glad that even though I am a few years late to loving this book, I already was able to reserve her newest book, Evil Eye, from the library.

A Woman is No Man is narrated back and forth by women of different generations in the same family.  Isra, Fareeda, and Deya share how their culture is ingrained in everything they learn about themselves and what their role in the world is.  They are all Palestinian and the book starts with Isra marrying Adam in an arranged marriage and facing a move to America with people she doesn’t know.  She tries talking to her mother about the unfairness of it and her mother tells her that is her life.

Isra hopes for a better life in America but learns that not much has changed.  Her belly is full, her housing and finances are better but are her choices any better here than at home?

Fareeda is her overbearing strict mother-in-law that has much the same outlook as Isra’s mother did.  A woman is no man.  Life is not fair.  You are to raise children and keep the home.  

Deya is Isra’s daughter and her part of the book happens when she is 18 and her grandmother is trying to marry her off in an arranged marriage in 2008.   Deya who grew up in Brooklyn, does not want to get married at 18.  She wants to go to college.  She wants to fall in love on her own.  

All of this is sooo not doing this book justice and it is so much more.  But Etaf Rum writes so beautifully and in my deep dive last night I learned that it is semi-autobiographical to her upbringing in Brooklyn.

I read something she said in an interview and it stuck with me.  I am very much paraphrasing but she said she was raised by traumatized people and that their trauma seeped into her from how they parented and she had to go to therapy and work through that trauma to help her change and make the life she wanted to make.  


Have you read A Woman is No Man? What were your thoughts?

Description: This debut novel by a Palestinian-American voice takes us inside the lives of a conservative Arab family 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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023


 I feel like I’m closing down the fun and preparing for hibernation.  I have spent the few days hauling out all of our stuff from the camper, washing all the things, wiping the camper down, washing allllll the things, and I’ve  started to pull out warmer clothes.  My least favorite part of the year.  The pretty fall has now passed and the chilly/rainy/windy/winter is coming fall is barreling in.  While I do love sweatshirts and tea, I REALLY love warm days spent on the beach!  Besides these household tasks this is what I am up to currently…

Reading:   A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot To Take Over America, And The Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan

Loving: That my youngest is in preschool three days a week and I am getting some “alone time.”  I am super productive and also super lazy.  I have been able to have breakfast with a few friends/family, grab groceries, do some big cleaning/purging projects and work on some projects.  I am also loving that my oldest is embracing her love of writing and joined a writing club that meets at this really cool location in town.

Feeling: so sad for humanity.  I am gutted by the events in Israel and Gaza.

Anticipating: the chaos of the holiday season.  I need to figure out our plans.  We have a couple of friends' 40th birthdays to celebrate and I am already excited about spending my 40th in Florida on the beach with my family in March!

Struggling: getting my butt back into working out.  I was on a 3 month streak and a illness knocked me out and I never jumped back on the train.  After I get the downstairs put together for the winter with all our camping stuff cleaned and stored it must become a priority again.

Grateful: my warm house, my safe and healthy babies, my awesome husband, my healthy parents, and the ability to stay at home.

Working: on organizing and cleaning, woohoo. :)

Listening: all kinds of podcasts.  Right now as I type, Appodlachia, a podcast hosted about Appalachia by Applachians!

Watching: Only Murders in the Building and Vanderpump Rules

Wishing: for peace and safety FOR ALL.

What are you reading/listening/watching?

Monday, October 9, 2023

Grady Lake

 This past weekend we went on our last camping trip of the year.  It was our 8th.  We have totally jumped into the camping life since we got our camper.  I was ready to write the whole activity out of my life after camping with a just under one year old Adeline who woke up for the day at 5 am both times in our pop up because she could see all of us and wanted to party.  My husband sold that pop up and got us a camper.  Now we have gone on 8 trips each of the past three years.  I do not camp to rough it.  I camp to beach it up.  There are so many great campgrounds in this state that are on the Great Lakes or near other amazing bodies of water.  And you may be wondering, then what were you doing camping this past weekend? And this was totally for the children.  We did a Halloween weekend at a state park.  We are usually good for one ‘Fall’ camping trip of the year, before I begin hibernating through the winter.

While we were camping, I grabbed my new copy of Grady Lake by J.L. Hyde.  I figured a mystery set in the picturesque Upper Peninsula was a perfect camping read as I was viewing the beauty of the leaves changing color.

Katie Benard returns home to her family’s resort and restaurant after she finds out her live-in fiance has been cheating on her.  She’s spent the past decade as a PR professional but she packs her bags and returns to waiting tables and working the dock in her small hometown on the shores of Grady Lake.  She didn’t expect to return to the spot where her older sister disappeared twenty years earlier, but she needed a change and missed the slow easy way of life in Grady.

Shortly after she returns an eighteen year old girl on vacation disappears in the night, just like her sister Mal did twenty years before.  Just like before there are no leads.  Then a member of the wealthiest family in town is found floating dead in the lake. 

I really liked this book.  It’s the first in the series and the ending ends on a VERY OMG I NEED TO READ THE NEXT ONE NOW vibe.  So coming in early 2024 we shall find out what happens next!

I really love reading J.L. Hyde books and if you too enjoy small town murder mysteries you should check her out! 


Here's how I rank her books in order of which ones I like best:

Summer of ‘99

Delta County (currently on a kindle monthly deal for 3.49)

Grady Lake

Magnolia Court


Midnight in Delta County

What is a murder / mystery book you’d recommend?

Monday, October 2, 2023

What I read in September

 I feel so cliche saying, where has the time gone? But I'm not sure I even accepted we were fully in the year 2023 yet and we are almost done! And we are already on the 7th week of school, this is insane.  With our still 80 degree plus weather I feel like we are still fully in summer but with leaves that are changing color.  

For September, I read six books.  Some were quite long and at times I had a hard time concentrating on reading in general and I think it's because I had a lot to do/plan and my mind kept jumping to that instead of focusing on reading.  I checked my reading goal or the year and I really need to jump on the gun if I want to hit my goal of 85 books.  I know I can do it, it will just depend on the books that are hitting my mood!

I really enjoyed all the books I read last month.  Four of the six were murder and/or mysteries.  

Prom Mom was so good.  Lippman is one of my favorite go to authors.  She has a wonderful series about Tess Monaghan who is a private investigator, but her standalones are also very good. They tend to be a bit darker and have characters that have a lot of layers.  Prom Mom is about a woman who was 'famous' for giving birth to a baby in her hotel bathroom after her senior prom.  She couldn't remember killing the baby or any of the details and had to spend time in a juvenile facility.  The "Prom Dad" suffered some consequences and public ridicule but nothing like Amber (Prom Mom) did.  Twenty years later she heads back to her hometown to see if she can indeed go home again.  She re-engages a risky relationship with the Prom Dad and there's quite a few unreliable characters and the ending is not what you may see coming.

I Have Some Questions for you is another story about someone going back to their past and addressing a teenage trauma.  Bodie goes back to her boarding school to teach a mini-mester to some bright high schoolers about podcasting and film.  While there she casually and not so casually looks into the murder of her junior year roommate.  I read some reviews of complaints about how it was a tad slow and a bit long, and this is true and some could have been left out but the tidbits and the flashbacks and the overall product of the book kept me turning the pages!

Happiness Falls was my pic from Book of the Month and it also had a slow burn feel to it.  It also has some unreliable narrators and a whodunnit/what happened vibe after the main characters dad doesn't return from a nature walk in a secluded park with his son who has autism and Angelman syndrome.  The angle of the brother's disabilities and the secrets the family kept finding out about the dad and the son were very intriguing.  

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith is a non-fiction book about how slavery has imprinted itself into American history.  Clint Smith traveled to eight places in the United States and Africa and sees how they reconcile their history that they teach and share with others and their relationship with slavery. I put it up there with a must read for all Americans.  It's accessible and reads in many parts like a story.

An Evil Heart and Half Moon were probably my least liked but An Evil Heart is the 14th or 15th in a long running series I enjoy about a small town Ohio police chief who is formerly Amish and Half Moon was just kind of a sad story of a marriage and deciding if you should fight for it and it was a nice character dive into their lives but it was just kind of a sad book.

Love this cover!!

I am really looking forward to reading Grady Lake by J.L. Hyde in October.  It just came out and comes in my mailbox on Wednesday! She writes small town Midwest mysteries and is from the Upper Peninsula.  I've really enjoyed all of her other books and one of my faves, Delta County, is on a Kindle Monthly Deal for only $3.49 every day of October on Amazon!

What did you read in September? What are you looking forward to read in October?