Slip Covers: Do you LOVE or HATE them?

19958984_10101296249492836_6262710702817277575_n

I kind of hate slip covers. Like, I understand the practical aspect of protecting the books to ensure long book lives. And I know that most books only have the fancy picture covers on the slipcover. BUT.

Once I am reading the book, I do not care what the cover looks like – I’m immersed in the inside of the book and don’t want to think about the outside at all. And most slip covers do the slip and slide game while I am reading, forcing me to think about them until I rip them off in frustration. Then they live on my bedroom floor until I’ve finished the book and remember to reunite them afterwards.

So last week I decide to experiment with freeing all of my hardcovers from their slip covered embrace. I spent like fifteen minutes taking off all the slip covers and then reorganizing my books by color of course because when you are being OCD, you go all the way with it. I’m still tentative about actually getting rid of them so the covers are all tucked into an empty corner where I’ll pretend they aren’t feeling abandoned and lonely.

Things of note:

  • Some of my books actually look better without the slip cover. I loooooove when you discover a beautiful book with interesting details on the actual book underneath. Ree Drummond’s book is genuinely beautiful with or without the slip cover.
  • Some of the other books are kind of boring without their covers. Amy Schumer’s book is absolutely lacking in all pizzazz without that awesome cover art and it does make me a little sad.
  • Aesthetically I am loving the lack of slip covers. The books like more bookish and the colors all meld together so nicely without all the varying patterns vying for attention.
  • In a weird way, I have an easier time finding a book to read – I’m looking at the actual titles and not getting as distracted.
  • But so many of the books are black or grey! The chunk I photographed are the only hardcovers I have that aren’t a very dark or neutral hue. It’s my bright spot after a long row of muted hues. Sometimes the colors feel indicative of the book but some seem like the publisher just didn’t want to pay for a colored spine that was destined to be covered.

Are you PRO or CON when it comes to slip covers?

My Summer vs. My kids’ Summer

I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s writers workshop again this week. Her 5th prompt jumped out at me pretty much right away: Your summer vs. Your kids summer. I’m probably not alone in thinking that my summer looks pretty different from my kids’ summer. Not in a bad way, just different.

Their summer so far has looked like this:

copious photo ops at the zoo, camping  trips, swim lessons, backgammon at Grammy’s, boundless energy, ice cream everywhere, Icees and bowling with friends, video games for days and watermelon as big as your face (or dress)

My summer meanwhile has looked more like this…

Reading in the in between moments, watching swim lessons from the comfort of a beach chair in the shade, finding the perfect Moscato, eight million selfies with my fashionista soon to be eight year old, driving literally everywhere and making homemade pickles

Honestly, both summers look pretty awesome. I don’t even think I’m jealous of all the fun my kids are having because my summer has been pretty great all on its own. What about you?

What is your summer looking like this year? 

The Mid-Year Freak Out! Book Tag

picture11

I commandeered this book tag from Birdie Bookworm because it looked too good to not play along despite my not having been technically tagged. Birdie is one of my favorite sources for fun tags and book reviews. If you aren’t familiar with her blog yet, I implore you to get acquainted.

So anyway this tag is all about the midway point of the year in regards to all things books and reading. Lots of fun categories. Read to dig in?

1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2017!

23874708

This is kind of tough to choose but I’m going to go with Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It’s got a killer plot, lovable characters, a love story to indulge in, great writing, a surprise twist ending and it manages to touch on tough subjects without making you feel incapable of standing up afterwards.

2 – Your favorite sequel this year!

26074181The Crown by Kiera Cass is book 5 in the Selection series and it completely redeem the book before it which I think left everyone feeling kind of angsty and disappointed. This one totally brings this back around and right again and justifies book 4. If the last one left you with a bad taste in your mouth, fear not, book 5 will set things right and reredeem the whole series really.

3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to!

30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli has been getting so much good buzz lately and I even own a copy! How have I not read this one yet? I think it deserves a spot on my nightstand immediately. I just need to remember to bring the darn book upstairs already.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year!

51F75nwz4aL

There are a lot of good books on the horizon but I’m most excited for Renegades by Marissa Meyer which is coming out in November of 2017 which is feeling impossibly far away right now.

“The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.”

5 – Your biggest disappointment!

31285568Twisted Palace by Erin Watt is book three in a series that I started out being quasi-obsessed with and then for some reason this book just fell horribly flat for me to the point that I didn’t even bother to finish it despite a lot of loose ends left untied I suddenly found that I didn’t even care anymore.

6 – Biggest surprise of the year!

28765613

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. As much as you can “enjoy” a book this heavy. The varied narrators forced me to get inside the minds of people from many different walks of life, even when I didn’t want to, even when it was uncomfortable. I liked that every person in this story was coming from a different place, had different things going for them or against them, but none of them were perfect, none of them felt like they had the upper hand in life. This is an emotional and uncomfortable story but it was also important and I’m so glad that I read it.

7 – Favorite new to you or debut author!

Jenny Colgan was a new for me author this year and has quickly become a favorite. I read The Bookshop on the Corner and Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe in quick succession and I’m eager to read more of her books soon. She writes sweet romances that are perfect for anyone obsessed with books, desserts or the UK or just a good love story. I just need to decide which of her books to read next.

8 – Your new fictional crush!

28226592Sam from Wanderlost by Jen Malone is kind of all the things. His extreme optimism and confidence in every situation is a perfect contrast to the book’s main character, Aubree. He’s also kind, funny, a little geeky and super sweet. His character was one of my favorite things about this entire story.

9 – New favorite character!

25795281I guess it should come as no real surprise that I adored Charlotte Holmes in A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro almost as much as I adore Sherlock Holmes. I would love to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock in the same room as Charlotte. That interaction would basically complete me as a person. Charlotte is a lot like Sherlock in so many ways but she’s also a little bit vulnerable and a teenage girl which causes people to underestimate her even more than the character she’s based on.

10 – A book that made you cry!

30555488

A lot of the books I’ve already mentioned had their tear jerker moments, especially Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. In the interest of attempting to mention another book though, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead also qualifies as not remotely a laugh a minute, definitely going to make you go looking for tissues.

11 – A book that made you happy!

29772863

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer made me happy just in that it felt like getting together with old friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile. And thanks to the graphic novel format I got to literally see them which was such a treat. This is a total must read for anyone obsessed with The Lunar Chronicles like me. It stars our favorite android sidekick Iko but features cameos from literally everyone.

12 – Your favorite book to movie adaptation you saw this year!

9780525435006_p0_v1_s192x300I know it’s a miniseries and not a movie but I feel like I have to give props to The Handmaid’s Tale here because it’s incredible and perfect and moving and painful and funny and just literally all of the things. You need to read it and watch it basically immediately.

13 – Favorite book post you’ve published this year!

1st2ndreadingThis post about the books that 1st and 2nd graders are reading was a lot of fun to write. I was the class librarian for my daughter’s class last year and after observing their reading habits for the school year I decided to share my findings. If you have a 1st or 2nd grader looking for a new book or series to devour, definitely check out my list. And if you have more suggestions leave them in the comments section below!

14 – The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year!

27883214

Caraval by Stephanie Garber came in one of my Owl Crate boxes this year. I still need to actually read this one but I’m blown away by the gorgeous cover at the very least. Birdie picked it for this category, too, so clearly great minds think alike.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

15 – What are some books that you need to read by the end of the year?

I always have too many books on my TBR pile so that kind of question is daunting to say the least. I mentioned a few in the categories above and my bookshelves and Amazon wishlist could add dozens more to the list. I’ll stick with some of the Kindle editions I purchased this year for my answer. Here are six books I’ve bought for my kindle this year that I still need to read:

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider | Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco | Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher | Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Map to the Stars by Jen Malone

Tag, you’re it:

A Book. A Thought. | Opinionated Book Lover | Hardcovers & Heroines

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf | Let Me Give You Some Advice | Girl, Defined

Birdie Bookworm says the secret to her book tags is to go through her notifications and choose six blogs she has recently chatted with. I’m going to do the same. If you loathe tags, feel free to ignore this. If you are like me and sadded to find your name isn’t on the list, OMG YOU, TOO!!! I TAG YOU, TOO!!!!

Either way, let me know if you do decide to play along!

What I’m Into: June 2017

whatImInto

I swear June flew by at warp speed. This month had a little bit of everything: visiting relatives, playing cribbage and backgammon, a camping trip, swim lessons, bowling, lots of ice cream, hair cuts, summer reading, doctor’s visits, epic thunderstorms, double rainbows and more. I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer again to share some of the things I’ve been into when I wasn’t here.

Read & Reading

This month I finished two books:

10134852Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny ColganFinished 6/7 – Another great story by Jenny Colgan, who is quickly becoming a favorite author. This is another sweet love story set in the UK – this time the book’s heroine decides to open up a cupcake shop after losing her job and her boyfriend on the same rotten day. The book follows all the ins and outs of starting the business but also delves into the inner lives of nearly every character that our MC comes into contact with. Sometimes I liked this, other times it felt distracting from the story but on the whole I really enjoyed the book and fully plan to read more Jenny Colgan soon!

30555488

The Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadFinished 6/21 – This book took me awhile to get into initially but I did end up enjoying it for the most part. It’s not an easy book to read – between the rather heaviness of the subject matter and the frequent narrator changes – but it definitely held my attention once the story got going. It was hard to keep reading sometimes as the main character just could not catch a break and often the outcome looked so grim that I could barely keep going but I’m glad I stuck with it. BC

I’m nearly finished reading A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and about halfway through reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle.

TV & Movies

Wonder Woman was our Big Screen Flick of the month. The whole family enjoyed this one. Between the hotness of Chris Pine, the epic girl power of Gal Gadot and the perfect blend of humor, action and heart. My favorite line of the whole movie was: “Beware the world of men, they don’t deserve you.” I kind of want to tattoo this sentiment on the hearts of all the young girls in my life, especially my own little Wonder Woman.

I Love Lucy reruns have been on constant rotation since visiting grammy and papa at the beginning of the month. My son is hooked and Hulu is very accommodating.

Beat Shazam is another show I’ve been watching with the kids. I love Jamie Foxx and the kids are always impressed when I know the songs, too. I’ve played along on the Shazam app a little and man the contestants are fast! I can never guess a song in fewer than 3 seconds which is considered slow on this show.

Jeopardy is also a common occurrence in our house. I’ve been DVRing all the episodes so that I can binge a few on slow afternoons while we wait for Dan to get home. Another opportunity to wow the kids with my random bits of knowledge.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been harder to keep up with now that the kids are home for summer. I’m an episode behind so no spoilers but I think in general OMG seems to apply to every episode. If you haven’t watched this one yet, get thee to Hulu immediately.

Rick and Morty has been the tv show before bed pick for Dan and I lately but we just finished the last episode of last season so now we are stuck waiting until the end of July for more episodes.

We really need a few new 30 minute comedies to add to our rotation. We’ve enjoyed Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Good Place, Futurama and the like in the past. What would you recommend next?

Cooking & Eating

 

I’m taking my first crack at pickling with Krissy’s recipe for easy refrigerator dill pickles at Self Proclaimed Foodie. I’m waiting for the brine to cool down as I type this – wish me luck!

This meatloaf recipe from Hello Fresh continues to be in regular rotation around these parts. I’ve somehow managed to convince my family that all credit for its deliciousness goes to me but honestly it’s just a fool proof recipe. The big secret is the tiny individual “loaves” rather than one big loaf. So easy and so delicious!

19437600_1644355642276333_8272117400405205499_n

I’m minorly in love with this white Moscato from South Africa right now. Found it at the wine cellar where I pick up our weekly CSA. Might be counting the minutes until I pick up our next box of veggies. Excepting the fact that my refrigerator cannot handle any more vegetables right now.

What have you been up to lately?

10 Best Books I’ve Read This Year (So Far)

Because we are now halfway through the year (craziness), this week’s prompt for Top 10 Tuesday is the 10 Best Books You’ve Read This Year (so far). I have only read 15 books so far this year but most of them have been pretty terrific. Here are the creams of the crop, two of which I haven’t technically finished yet but I’m far enough in to know they deserve a place in this grouping.

It’s an eclectic mix: poetry, graphic novels, mysteries, young adult, historical fiction, essays, light and fluffy love stories, science fiction… Whatever you are in the mood to read, it’s quite possibly on this list:

 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – This timely novel is going to force you to think about uncomfortable things but you’ll be glad you did.

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling – A commencement speech by JK Rowling – a quick read that will leave you feeling inspired.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle – My favorite book to read by the pool. Essays on her life, writing and society that make me feel like a better person (and a better writer) just for my proximity to her words.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Historical fiction that brings you to the front and center of the underground railroad but with an added twist.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – A science fiction story about multiverses that will make your head hurt in a good way.

 

Wires & Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer – Fans of The Lunar Chronicles especially need to check out this graphic novel continuation starring Iko. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read this. NOW.

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson – Scraps of poetry written, literally, on envelopes. Enjoy hidden gems and the inside mind of one of the world’s most famous poets. Then go write some of your own.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This is like Sherlock Holmes meets John Green. Extremely readable and fans of Sherlock will especially enjoy this take on the world of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – A love story starring a girl who is allergic to literally everything. You won’t guess where this one is going.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – Part love story, part finding yourself. This one is for the ladies with wanderlust who kind of want to drop everything, move to Scotland and open a bookstore.

Have you read any from this list? What is the best book you’ve read so far this year?

toptentuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

Swim Lessons: Underwater Pictures and Mom-commentary

IMG_20170623_164304_012

We just finished a session of swim lessons at our favorite pool. I love this place for it’s oh so small class sizes, incredible teachers and lessons that include everything from blowing bubbles underwater to every type of swim stroke you didn’t know existed. They seriously cover every aspect of swimming with detailed charts at the end of each session showing you what skills your kiddo still needs to work on.

But one of my faaaaavorite thing about the swim lessons here: their genius version of fund raising – $2 for an underwater photo of your kiddo during swim lessons. I seriously look forward to these pictures all summer.

Above and below are this year’s pictures. BB’s is only half under water, as you can see. She is kind of the world’s biggest baby about going underwater, even with goggles, especially when it’s cold. That’s our big task for this summer – getting her to be more comfortable and confident under water. Above water she can do basically anything. 🙂

MM is several levels ahead of her. After discovering a love of water slides last year his water confidence grew by leaps and bounds and now he’s working on various dives and strokes that don’t mean anything to me but have him coming back from lessons with a huge grin on his face – and really that is what it’s all about!

What are you up to this summer?

Office Lens 20170623-163944

Then and Now: Deep Questions To Ask Your Kids.

So about this time four years ago I asked the kids a bunch of super deep questions about life and shared them with you. I thought I’d ask the kids the same questions today and see how their answers changed and share my findings.

2013 | 2017

Back in 2013 the kids were about 3 1/2 and 7. Those responses are on the left just like the picture above.


Right now the kids are 7 1/2 and 11. Their responses today are on the right hand side, again, like the picture above. Got it?

What is the meaning of life?

BB: um, a sun.
MM: I don’t know, I really don’t know, ok?

BB: hmmm let’s see… god created us and wants us to be saved.
MM: What? I don’t know.

MM still has no idea and no desire to pretend he knows. He’s a realist. BB wanted to tell you GOODDDDD for just about every question but after like the fourth question I told her she needed more variety in life.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

BB: Cinderella
MM: an actor of Doctor Who

BB: I want to be a jewelry maker.
MM: um a video game tester

I’m not sure either kid has career aspirations that will allow me to live in the comfort that I’d like to become accustomed to. Oh well.

What brings you the most happiness?

BB: my brother
MM: well, my favorite thing is Doctor Who, so that’s what I would say.

BB: you (while hugging me)
MM: Skyrim

These answers pretty much sum up my life right now.

When do you feel the most loved?

BB: Sunday
MM: when I’m with everybody.

BB: Really, I ALWAYS feel the most loved.
MM: when you hug me

I’m happy to hear that my daughter feels loved on ALL the days of the week now. Also awww.

What are you afraid of?

BB: those scary birds, the scary ones and they were black…
MM: nothing really. At least I don’t think I’m afraid of anything.

BB: The dark
MM: a world without books

MM is a boy after my own heart. BB has forgotten all about the birds.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

BB: um, a telephone.
MM: Doctor Who to be real.

BB: That the pool in swimming lessons would be much warmer than it is.
MM: longer days

We leave for swim lessons like any minute now and clearly BB is hoping for warmer water. MM just wants a later bed time or more time to play video games. Priorities.

What is the funniest word?

BB: button… button.
MM: I don’t know…. plethora – it means a lot of something.

BB: The word “who” because sometimes it’s “who” and sometimes it’s “hoo”
MM: abdomen, I think it’s kind of funny

My kids still have no idea what funny means.

What is the hardest/easiest thing to do?

BB: a present giving up / getting excited.
MM: to make a tent upstairs / to read a chapter book

BB: swim / use my kindle
MM: social studies / creative mode minecraft

These answers are boring but accurate.

What is the best/worst thing in the world?

BB: a present with a doll in it / um… a ring.
MM: The best thing in the world? Wow – sun. / I think that is rain.

BB: my BFFs / my enemies I guess?
MM: YOU! / I don’t know.

I have no idea who my daughters enemies are but apparently they are the worst thing in the world. MM has never encountered the worst thing in the world but I guess it isn’t rain anymore.

What makes you mad?

BB: a computer (I swear she’s just looking around the office and naming things)
MM: sometimes when I don’t get my way, that’s one thing.

BB: when something is really hard and frustrating
MM: sometimes my sister storms out of the room.

I think my kids only understand anger when they are feeling it. They were totally at a loss here.

What is the meaning of love?

BB: a heart
MM: well, it means that you really like something.

BB: hope
MM: happiness

This. All of this.

If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it?

BB: I would… buy something.
MM: Huh… I would buy a lot of things…

BB: I would buy jewelry and a bunch of dress up clothes that I love.
MM: Like infinite money?? I would buy a lot of stuff, I would buy a mansion and a dog that does not bark. I would become Tony Stark and I would have a lot of nice food.

Neither of them offered to buy me anything. I don’t know how I feel about that.

Let me know if you and your kids play along!

Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

28372019
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan 368 Pages | $7.99 on Kindle

Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But can she write her own happy-ever-after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the world over, the New York Times-bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny, moving new novel for fans of Meg Donohue, Sophie Kinsella, and Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan scratched several literary itches of mine. It features a bookish main character, Nina, who is struggling to decide what to do with her life. After losing her library job, she decides to move to Scotland and run a bookshop out of a gigantic van. This isn’t as crazy as if I decided to move to Scotland because she lived in London before whereas I would have to cross an ocean and obtain a work visa but the end result is that she finds herself surrounded by Scottish accents and idyllic countryside. She soon finds herself in a total Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennet style romance which is basically my favorite kind.

The story is a good balance between Nina deciding what she wants out of life, literary references and much talk of book loving, exploring a new place and a solid love story. I enjoyed every little second of it and when I finished I went on a ‘What Else Has Jenny Colgan Written?’ wish list spree. My only complaint is that the title and book cover totally make you think it’s about a book store or possibly related to You’ve Got Mail. 


READ THIS NEXT

So you read this book and loved it (or anticipate doing so) and now the question is what to read next. Here are my suggestions:

 

For More Jenny Colgan: Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe is another solid Colgan title. Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe.

For More Scottish Romance: The Highlander’s Hope by Cali MacKay is a perfect blend of romance novel / legit story with plot. It’s slightly more racy than Jenny Colgan but definitely a solid story. When Dr. Catriona Ross discovers clues to a long lost highland treasure, her only hope of finding the jewels is to obtain the help of Scotland’s most eligible bachelor and playboy, Iain MacCraigh.

For More Sweet Love Stories: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han has that same kind of sweetness and another narrator who is shy and a little bit clueless in love. 16 year old Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed.

Your turn! What books would you recommend to fans of Jenny Colgan?

5 Things We’re Enjoying This Summer

Now that summer is in full swing I’ve definitely had less time to keep up with my dear old blog. I know you guys have probably been missing me so I figured I’d check in and let you know what we’ve been up to out in the real world.

  1. We’ve been keeping busy indulging in old fashioned summer fun like sidewalk chalk:

19059584_10101256269652756_4795443412046779819_n

2. Visiting family back home and basically eating our way across central Massachusetts. Ice cream was had often, sugary cereals were purchased by doting grandparents and the world’s prettiest cupcake was discovered:

3. Getting hair cuts for the summer. Miss BB got the shortest hair cut she’s had in years and she’s kind of in her glory over it. I can’t stop squealing about how cute she looks either:

19030438_10101259781035916_7832820735317227404_n

4. The kids have been in swim lessons all week and even the dog enjoyed some water fun, err well okay fine he went to the groomer but he was basically the happiest dog on the block riding in the back seat with the kids:

19030331_10101259422404616_1986629017586962479_n

I enjoy swim lessons, too, but more in a sitting in the semi shade, curled up with a good book and enjoying some quiet time for thirty minutes:

19055463_10101259480692806_7609022242376202193_o

5. Speaking of good books: Right now I’m reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle (fitting title, no?) which I actually started reading during swim lessons last summer and then forgot it in my beach bag all year. It’s been a happy reunion and this year I’m determined to finish it:

19060071_10101259679095206_476359237186321886_n

The kids are reading, too. We’ve been stocking up on good reads at the library and filling in our Summer Reading Bingo sheets:

18740536_10101246964854646_7233382104988374622_n

Yesterday the kids picked up these summer reading lists at Chick Fil A. They are excited to fill in their next three reads so we can go back soon for free peach milkshakes!

19225789_10101261818812196_8891661298381498743_n

What have you been up to this month?

5 Science Experiments and Videos to share with your kids!

My kids are officially on summer vacation and to prevent screen time overload brain mushiness, I nerded my heart out last month and concocted a summer plan of learning. It’s more of an outline than an actual concrete plan. Because each day and week of our summer will look different than the one before, I simply came up with a list of themes that will shape each week.

To decide on the themes that would most interest the kids, I had them write down things they wanted to learn more about on the whiteboard in our dining room. I noticed a lot of countries and landmarks written down with a few other topics like science experiments and astronomy. So the majority of our weeks will revolve around the wanderlust my kids seemed to inherit from me but THIS week we are learning about SCIENCE.

What does that actually mean? Well first I went to Pinterest and rounded up a handful of science experiments that I can do with the kids that are basically free and not so messy or complicated that it will end with me crying into a pile of paper towels. Things like:

mixing oil and water, making gummy worms dance, the disappearing egg shell, turning milk into plastic and making a fidget spinner using cardboard and pennies

Next I went to youtube and searched for videos of cool science experiments, creating my own playlist so that I could easily keep all my good finds organized. You can find my entire playlist here. Some of my kids’ favorites were:

My seven year old is officially hooked on the SciShow Kids video series. This video about cleaning a penny with things like ketchup or soda fascinated her.

Incredible Science is a good bet for older kids. We watched several of his videos and they have the shock and awe factor down and plenty of cool things to learn, too. My kids were particularly impressed with the shaving cream / food coloring rainstorm in a bottle.

I love the SloMo Guys – gorgeous videos that will appeal to fans of science, fans of filmography or even just fans of things blowing up in slow motion i.e. all of us. Watching a CD shatter at 170,000FPS was enjoyed by all.

So we love watching things spin and explode and since we have two young kids in the house we know all about the fidget spinner craze. What could be more cathartic than watching fidget spinners explode? This was a fun video although we had a tough time understanding their awesome accents sometimes, the video speaks for itself.

Maybe you’ve already seen this awesome video of Station Commander Chris Hadfield sharing science in space. If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a watch. Hadfield is a pretty awesome guy and his videos are always amusing. Plus now we get to combine science and space in one video! Extra credit, right?

So how else will we round out our week of science fun? Well we’re looking for science books, tv shows and movies when we indulge in some R&R and just generally being inquisitive as we go about our days. I think you’ll find that anytime you spend a good amount of time thinking about any topic, you will find that it pops up everywhere you go.

Any other favorite science videos or experiments that we should add to our list?