Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My May Books Short List

Hello Readers! It's book day. I've got a super short list to share. I went into ultra slow reading mode in the month of May. All the warm weather had me spending a lot of time outside. Now I'm covered in bug bites and itchy as you-know-what. So, I'm back inside reading for a few weeks while I recover :) and forget summer in North Carolina means mosquito land. And I can start the cycle all over again.

Here is a fun fact for you ;) I only finished two books in May. One adult book and one kid lit book. What happened?!? You know the easy answer is life but there's more. I was super indecisive and I was super distracted (by outside activities). It took me forever to decide on my adult book and then I felt guilty reading it (more on that in a minute). After I finished The Arrangement, I couldn't decide which book to read next. Bottom line: I wasted a lot of time deciding. Oh well. 

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn was my first book this month. It's a fiction book about a couple who decides to have an open marriage for 6 months. Stop in your tracks! I know! I had trouble committing to this book because 1.) I'm not a supporter of open marriage or 2.) books presumably about sexual encounters. But the inside cover promised to be funny and I was a little intrigued on where the author would take this. I'm so glad I read it! This book seems to start in the predicted way of an author supporting open marriage. The couple agrees to this arrangement and seem a little too excited about it. In the first several chapters, I wanted to put it down because I felt I was being persuaded to feel that way too. Lo and behold, the author doesn't go in the predicted way; instead, Sarah Dunn uses the arrangement to address very real feelings about marriage discontent. In the end, I was impressed with the author's story telling. I would recommend this to the open minded reader. You have to be open to the tough messages that are being told and can't react negatively to every thing you don't agree with. I'm still thinking about this book :)

Number The Stars by Lois Lowry was my kid lit pick. This is one of those books you find on every 'Must Read' list on the internet. I came across Number The Stars as a freebie and decided it could tie me over while I searched for my next book. The story is set in Denmark during World War 2. The character is a small girl who flees with her family to the countryside to smuggle Jewish friends to Switzerland by way of boat. It's a very short book packed with great information. I would recommend it to kids and adults.

I also started My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman and New Teenager By Friday by Dr. Kevin Lehman in May. I'm still not done with these big books so I will wrap them up next month. 

Was your reading more eventful this month than mine? Did you read anything you would recommend?

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

 Happy Memorial Day.

On this day, our family remembers those who have given their lives for our freedom. Friends, co-workers, and neighbors who we shared holidays and celebrated milestones with who passed far too early. Those we never knew who bravely fought on the front lines.
We are forever grateful and blessed to be in a nation where there are people who voluntarily serve to protect what we value.

Thank you!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Lately, This Is My Favorite

I'm obsessed! The Little Free Library has been outside our house for a little over a week and it's been a blast. It has been a great conversation starter among neighbors and friends. We haven't put out anything official to announce what this little birdhouse is but our neighbors seem to know what to do. New books have been popping up daily and disappearing at the same rate. It's such a fun thing to be a part of.

I absolutely love the simple design and plan to add color in the future. The best part is my husband made this himself. It makes it so much more special. The library is portable, so we move it near the street on the weekends.  During the week, I keep it near the house. I'm a little nervous about vandalism during the night. Some of our neighborhood mailboxes get pretty bent up. I'm not sure if people intentional hit them or are just terrible drivers. If you've been to North Carolina, then you could see how that is a valid question! Haha 😊

This week the Little Free Library also became official in the Little Free Library non-profit organization. We received our library number and will be on the world map for all to find us. It's a fun step to reach a broader group of readers. I love the addition of our silver plaque!  It's another favorite :)

The best part is adding books to the library. The picture above was my first round of books I stocked the library with. Things have changed over the seven days the library has been "OPEN".

Most of the above books have come and gone over the past week.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan was our first book donation. Someone took it almost as soon as it was left. I get so excited when people use our Little Free Library. It's exactly what I hoped for.

I was worried keeping the library stocked with books would be difficult. I think the neighbors are going to take care of this one. But, I'm still going to buy books when I come across a good deal. Today the base thrift shop has a bag sale for books. How perfect is that? All these books cost me $3. I love military base thrift stores!

Another favorite, book themes for the library. I thought there should be military books and red/white/blue for Memorial Day weekend. Hoping the community enjoys the little "extra" put into the library themes. I've got plenty more ideas to last through the summer :) 

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

StitchFix May 2017

Some things are guaranteed in life. The sun will rise; the sun will set. Every year you will have a birthday. And for me, when the birthday comes there will always be a StitchFix box on the front porch :)

It's a little gift I started giving myself in 2014.
I've added the links for previous Birthday Fixes.

My favorite items I received this month made up this outfit here.

The yellow top is Daniel Rainn Wilkie Split Neck Top paired with 
Kut from the Cloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jeans.
I am such a sucker for StitchFix denim! If you send it, I will buy!
My stylist finds the perfect fits for me. And I certainly appreciate it.
Is there anything worse than shopping for jeans?

#2 Papermoon Manresa Crew Neck Zip Up Top

I love the neon breezy tank top with the zipper front. I just wasn't wild about the print. I have something personal against chevrons. It is unwarranted and silly but I do. 
The overall look was cute for summer.

#3 Daniell Rain Tanzelle Sleeve Blouse

The crochet detail is perfection.

I love the color and the front detail.

#4 Skies Are Blue Izora Lave Detail Knit Romper

I love the periwinkle blue and the crochet details on the shoulders.

Summer + Rompers = 💙

Overall, a fun birthday gift to receive this month! I always love adding new pieces to my wardrobe.
If you are interested in checking out StitchFix, you can use this referral code (if you'd like):

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Low Key Weekend

Is it perfectly normal to feel like you shouldn't write a blog post when you have nothing exciting to share? That is how I felt this morning. My commitment to post new content every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday had me feeling pressured though. I've kept to my goal but today I felt like who wants to know about our boring weekend? Well, it's Monday, and I'm writing about the low key uneventful weekend stuff because there is nothing wrong with relaxing on your two free days.

Friday was my favorite because everyone was home and we had a bonfire. It is getting increasingly harder to get everyone in the same place at the same time with these crazy teenage schedules. Of course, there were smores. It's the only reason for fire. I tried to start some campfire singing. Didn't work. We attempted a short lived rap battle which equates to trying to rhyme and make sense for as long as you can. I lose everytime. My husband does surprising well. It's very difficult and pretty funny/ embarassing. There was also fighting because #teenagers. One accidentally ran into the others marshmallow and it's his fault. Then the littlest made a snarky comment so the oldest got mad. Welcome to the circus!

Saturday was a lazy day. We ended our lazy night with a walk around our park located on the intercostal waterway. The boys played Pokemon Go and the adults found a bench to people watch. The four of us made a visit to the our daughter's workplace. This means we had ice cream and played in the arcade. That girl has the best summer job ever! 

Sunday was equally lazy. I did some work with my Little Free Library and tried to find a new book. I'm torn between Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng or My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman. I'm seriously torn! Have you read either? My husband is reading trucking his way through his second book this year. Hurray for him :) To cap off the night, I took my daily walk around the neighborhood. 

This past weekend, I have spent a lot of time thinking about life in North Carolina. It hit me I have one year left before we move on. Given my struggle to acclimate, I'm happy about it. However, given my desire to acclimate I want to make this next year worthwhile. I really want to commit to making this next year the best it can be. So, I'm working on it :) Send me your positive thoughts! 

I hope this week is a good one! We've got a holiday coming up which means fun in the sun! Unless, you are going to be under this damn storm headed east :( I'm watching it closely because I've got plans!!

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Things I Love And You Might Too

Happy Friday Everyone! This week has felt like we were living for the weekend. The weather is warming up. The water is warming up. And our brains are complete mush and ready for summer! I wish our countdown to summer was only days; unfortunately, we have weeks left :( Today let us dwell on the positive!

First up... Mexican Shredded Beef recipe. I posted this on my Top 3 Tuesday when I was hopeful this recipe was going to work out. I'm happy to report the Mexican Shredded Beef was amazing! Everyone loved it and as proof, no leftovers! This will be in constant rotation. I'm added the recipe link above. If you like Mexican food, this will satisfy your craving. I served with corn tortillas, red onion, and cilantro. As a side note, if you are missing a couple ingredients, the recipe still turns out yummy. I substituted water for beef broth and garlic powder for garlic.

Second...I love that this girl is enjoying an upswing in life right now. I shared all of this girl's exciting news on Monday's post.  As a mom, it was so much fun to dedicate a post and  sing her praises. I'm so proud of her hard work and dedication. I'm so proud of her level head. I'm glad she is enjoying life here in North Carolina. of my absolute favorites this week is my Mother's Day gift. I think it may be the best gift I've ever received! A Little Free Library made with love by my handy husband.
I have wanted a Little Free Library, since I first discovered them. Just to prove it I'm linking back to my Lovin These Libraries post I wrote when we arrived in North Carolina. 
Now I get to have my own fun and share books with others :) 

Fourth...this week Modern Mrs. Darcy revealed the Summer Reading Guide and my To Be Read list doubled! The titles at the top of my list were I Found You by Lisa Jewell and Beartown by Fredrick Backman. I'm currently reading The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn and enjoying the author's storytelling. I was a little put off by the racy premise but now I think the author is going in a different directions with this one. You will have to stay tuned for my book wrap up next month to see how The Arrangement turns out.

Fifth... my latest Stitchfix. I won't share all my treasures because I took the time to photograph everything this month. (Never Happens!) I'm a big fan of Stitchfix and loved receiving a box again. I think I've been on hiatus for 6 months. I got a couple things I really liked. My Fix was a favorite this week!

Bonus one week I will be checking off #2 on my bucket list. I'm so nervous but excited. I will definitely be sharing with you all very soon ;)

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top 3 Tuesday

Hello, empty beach chair. I miss you! I promise we will not waste this whole week of perfect beach days in the classroom :)

May is one of the very best months. The weather hints at summer more and more every day. I am loving shades of green, the flowers, and my most favorite, NO HUMIDITY! I thought long and hard about what to share with you on this fine May day. I'm sharing the Top 3 things I'm loving today.


Birthday Dress

I want this dress in the most unjustified way!

Dinner Tonight
I am attempting this recipe for our dinner tonight.
It might not be as pretty but I'm sure it will be delicious.

Reading Lately

This racy book is pushing me outside my comfort zone.
The writing is so entertaining, I keep coming back for more.

What are your Top 3 today?
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Someone Had A Very Good Week

This girl had a very good week! Over the past 7 days (plus a couple more), she has reaped the rewards for years of hard work. I couldn't be more happy or proud to see her recognized.

Early in the week, she was inducted into the National Honor Society. 
She has worked hard and challenged herself with some pretty tough classes. 
This is a great opportunity to help with her college goals.
She amazes me all the time with her accomplishments. I wish I had been a smart about things when I was her age :)

Later in the week, she found out she made captain of the color guard.  This is a goal she set for herself freshman year. She had her heart set on it. When we learned we would be moving, she was confident captain was not a reality anymore. Regardless, Ky continued to work hard and commit to her new team.

A few weeks before try-outs rumors started to churn in her social circles and some mean things were said from people she considered friends. Pretty much along of the lines of "Who does she think she is? To try for captain when she hasn't lived here that long." Kyli was hurt. And I was furious. I hate when my kids get punished for our military life. We reasoned these are just high school kids who have never had to move in their life. They don't understand. It's not these kids' fault they have to move all the time. Thankfully military kids aren't going to let that minor detail prevent them from reaching their goals. They are just going to work harder! Luckily, her band director didn't share those same feelings as her peers. He recognized her hard work and devotion to her sport :) 

After all the good news in North Carolina, we traveled to Iowa 
to celebrate my sister's wedding.
Kyli loved dancing the night away and having our extended family 
dote on her for 24 hours. 
Everyone loves Kyli :) And she loves everyone.

To finish her week of awesome, Kyli went to her junior prom with 
a group of friends.
She has a great time and claimed she danced every song.

Who doesn't have great memories of prom?

Such a fun week (and a couple days) of goodness sprinkled over Ky's life.
I love sharing and recording these moments to look back on with her!

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Travels. Love. And Wedding Bliss.

Spring in Iowa. Dandelion covered fields of green. This is my home state at its finest! My coastal city kids love it! Charlie dog does too! On our very long road trip to Iowa last weekend we took the time to lunch in a wildflower covered field. I think this is what would Thumper would call a meadow (total Bambi movie reference).
We loved it!

Someone didn't think riding in the car for 18 hours was so terrible.

Stopping in Virginia for a break. 
Virginia is for lovers. That is the state motto.
It didn't dawn on me how appropriate a LOVE picture is on our way to a wedding. Our whole trip had a love theme ;)

My kids are weird.

We rolled into town just in time for the wedding rehearsal.
How is this for Iowa cliche?
My sister was married at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in the Agriculture building.
Where they keep the butter cow 😆
Go big or go home, right?

Just to clarify, this was my much younger sister's wedding.
My first time being a bridesmaid (which was fun). However, standing up front with 25 year olds, not as fun. Literally, everyone in the wedding party was 25 years old. I felt like their mom. Haha

Age is only a number... says people who hang out 
with other people their own age.
Sometimes, you just have to own it like the rock star you are.

So, own it I did!
We loved every minute of celebrating with my sister and my new brother.
He is in for such a treat with us. He doesn't even know it yet!

Ready for more Iowa cliche-ness?
A tractor at the ceremony.
This tractor has been witnessing marriages of grandchildren for 18+ years.
One cousin started it and then it became a thing.
So yes, a tractor did pull my wedding party around on a hay wagon in 1999.

To end the night, we partied and danced until the stroke of midnight.
Yes, we Chicken danced and Boot Scooted like good farm kids.
So much fun with family!

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