family fun, link up, memes & carnivals

LIVE | LOVE | LEARN | march 2017

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I’m trying out a new idea so bear with me. Towards the end of the month I tend to fall into a rabbit hole of monthly wrap ups: things I loved and the things I learned and what I’ve been up to. I thought I’d tidy up my thoughts and combine all of these wrap ups under one post. I’m calling it LIVE | LOVE | LEARN – and it pretty much is exactly what it sounds like.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this month.

LIVE

  • My dog finally switched to his new vet officially and it feels good to make the change. We’ve been really happy with this new pet clinic and the staff there and everything just feels easy and obvious. More importantly, my pet’s well being feels important and worth consideration. Yay!
  • 17190656_10101162899347596_4082153154445714967_nMy son officially started Boy Scouts this month after graduating from Cub Scouts last month. It’s been tough for me to get used to the transition (namely because I’m a control freak but I’m attempting to not be one) but he’s doing fantastic and diving right in.
  • Last week was my kids’ spring break and we took them to the Great Wolf Lodge for a few days of fun in their giant indoor waterpark. In between being fishes, they also enjoyed paintball target practice, another trip to WizardQuest, a very kooky lost temple attraction and lots of delicious food.
  • I pampered myself with a haircut and color at a new to me salon. It’s such a subtle change that I’m guessing most people wouldn’t notice if I didn’t say something but my head feels a million pounds lighter and I’m loving it.
  • 17425021_10101178107550236_2082075320835481217_nMy daughter started gymnastics again this month. She did sort of toddler gymnastics a million years ago and this is a different world. I’m proud of her because I can tell the skills she is learning don’t necessarily come to her easily but she’s rising to the occasion and comes out of each class with a grin on her face. What more can you ask for?
  • We went on a terrifically awesome date night / afternoon to a local winery for wine tasting and cheese. I’m kind of the worst wine drinker ever – I like my wine to taste roughly like Juicy Juice if we’re going to be honest. But I had so much fun trying different varieties and judging their flavors and aromas and just experiencing something new with my husband. It was a nice change of pace from our usual dinner and a movie.

LOVE

  • Lemon Zinger Tea by Celestial Seasonings is one of my new favorite warm beverages. I’m trying to cut back on my latte life and tea has been a nice diversion. I have found that herbal / fruity teas work the best because they never need milk and I can get by with a small amount of sugar.
  • MV5BNjUxNjQ5NjgwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQzMDA1ODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When Calls the Heart is my latest binge watch on Netflix. I’ve been ignoring it for ages but I hit a dry spell and decided to give it a shot because Lori Laughlin is in it. Oh my word, it is so good guys. My husband has deemed it completely cheesy but I am hooked. It’s a little bit costume drama / a little bit love story / a little bit it takes a villiage. It drew me in so quickly and now I’m in danger of running out of episodes before the next season comes to Netflix. Hallmark should totally get in bed with Hulu, I’m just saying. Bonus points: It’s totally PG so the kids can watch it with me when I need to binge but they happen to be home.
  • People are photoshopping Mr. Bean into hilarious images and it’s one of the best thing I saw online this week.
  • 17309420_10101172554723146_7428601629282740298_nThe new Beauty and the Beast was, oh my lord, all the things. My husband had issues with the Beast and some of the changed storylines, but I loved it. I felt like it fleshed out my favorite story and breathed new life into it. It was like seeing your favorite work of fiction come to life. Emma Watson was perfection and I loved getting more of her back story and any backstory at all on the Beast.
  • Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, I greatly enjoyed this power point presentation on why Belle should have chosen Gaston. Agree to disagree, but the argument was surprisingly compelling!
  • 81aN-jZM6yL._SX466_Dan and I watched Passengers this weekend and it was everything you would expect a space adventure movie starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence to be. Funny, thrilling and kind of heartbreaking. I love when we find movies that are a perfect marriage of our interests.
  • I finished three books this month. My book club discussed Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner – the first in a new series about a British detective who is trying to track down a missing girl. It features revolving narrators and a complex narrative. Before diving into that book, I finished reading The Crown by Kiera Cass, the last book in the selection series. Last night I finally finished reading The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg, a short nonfiction book about Hygge which the Internet has been obsessed with lately. I love the idea of Hygge and definitely highlighted some ideas, but as a book I felt it was longer than it needed to be. It was still a quick read all told and a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about Hygge.
  • This video:

LEARN

What have you been up to this month? If you want to play along, feel free to write about the things you learned, loved and lived this month on your own blog and let me know in the comments!

entertainment, mama kat's writers workshop, music

5 Favorite Musicians… Then and Now.

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This week for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop I’ve decided to answer the following prompt:

Write a list of your 5 favorite singers growing up…do they still make your top 5 list?

I grew up in the Oregon Trail generation – I probably first started noticing music in the late eighties and started forming real opinions on the subject in the early nineties. The first CD I remember playing on repeat was Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl. I probably started listening to her because my father liked her music, but I quickly became hooked and would play the songs over and over until I’d memorized every line of every song.

Some other musicians that I adored growing up, in addition to Paula Abdul, include:

  • The Backstreet Boys: We all chose a side in the war of the Boy Bands in the nineties. I was firmly on team Backstreet and remain an ardent fan. It is a bitter pill to swallow to admit that the lead singer of NSYNC clearly made out with the best music career.
  • Matchbox 20: I loved this group more for the music than the love sick obsession. I can’t name a single member of the band but I still know basically every word to every song on Yourself or Someone Like You. I don’t know that I’d call them a favorite band today but that album is still heavily present on my Best Of playlist on my phone, unlike most of the other musicians in this list.
  • New Kids on The Block honestly came out a little early for me. I was on the young end of their fan spectrum, but I loved them. When they appeared on Fuller House this season I was shocked at how much they have aged and had a hard time mustering enthusiasm at their cameos on the episode UNTIL they started singing one of their songs in the concert at the end of the episode and I audibly squealed and had the world’s tiniest conniption fit.
  • John Mayer: The love affair began in college which is a little bit on the end of the growing up spectrum, but I still maintain that it counts because of the level of enthusiasm that my fandom took. This was my last Backstreet Boys Level Obsession and anyone who knows me well knows that it hasn’t actually ended. I still buy all of his music, no questions asked. His concert that I attended back in 2005 or so continues to be one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever attended. I put up with a lot of Rock Star Personality and let all the antics slide because he is still probably my favorite musician.

Honorable mentions must go to LL Cool J, The Goo Goo Dolls, Barenaked Ladies, Ani Difranco, Usher, Britney Spears, Boys II Men, No Doubt, Sublime, J Lo, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg and Sugar Ray.

My current list of Top 5 Musicians would be…

  1. John Mayer – see, even now as a grown ass woman he continues to hold that #1 spot.
  2. Rebecca Loebe – she was on The Voice very briefly but I’ve known her since college when she came to sing at my school’s coffee house.
  3. Taylor Swift – we’re big Swifties here – my daughter and I are especially obsessed with 1989.
  4. Adele because that voice. She’s basically my Paula Abdul of the 2000s.
  5. The Beatles because they are timeless and it feels wrong for them not to be on this list, honestly. There is never a bad moment to listen to a Beatles song.

Of course I could go on, my music taste continues to be eclectic and vast. But I think this is a pretty solid representation of my music habits.

books & reading, memes & carnivals

WWW…Wednesday : 3.15.17

Totally hopping on this new weekly meme that Birdie Bookworm posted about today. It’s called WWW Wednesday and it’s hosted by Taking on a World of Words, but it was originally created at A Daily Rhythm. To play along, just answer three questions on your own blog, and then leave a link to your post in the comment section at Taking on a World of Words!

The questions are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What Are You Currently Reading?

26141649I just started reading Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner. My book club will be discussing it next week and per usual I seem to be running behind with it. It’s a mystery with revolving narrators which seems to be very on trend right now. Here’s a description from goodreads:

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

26074181I just finished reading The Crown by Kiera Cass, which is the final book in The Selection series. I put this book off for awhile because the previous book in the series was frankly not quite up to par with the rest of the series. Or really, because the main character was borderline severely unlikable for about 75% of the book.

It’s clear to me that this was the author’s full intention and if you were hoping for a major amount of character growth, I promise you it is coming. The final book in the series completely makes up for the previous book and it was a wonderful, quick read that finally gives you the love story you were waiting for.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s a description of the book but honestly, you have to go back to the beginning and read The Selection first if you are new to the series.

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

What do you think you’ll read next?

28818314Well I’m still trying to find time to finish Roseblood by A.G. Howard, a kind of modern retelling of Phantom of the Opera, which I started reading a couple of months ago but had to put down for the last book club pick and haven’t picked it back up again. I was really enjoying it though so I’ll probably try to get back to it before starting our April pick.
51RUQufdFNLThe Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson is our next book club pick, which:

“…intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.”

It’s a bit of a modern classic that a lot of people adore and I’m told it’s Larson’s best work. I truthfully  found the last book I read by him, In The Garden of Beasts, to be a bit dry. Apparently this one is supposed to be better. I guess we’ll find out!

What have you been reading lately?

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family fun, mama kat's writers workshop

8 Things I Accomplished This Week.

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This week has been less than productive in a lot of ways as I’ve been a little under the weather and laziness kind of became a priority. I’m behind on laundry, my kitchen has looked better and my husband cooked dinner two nights in a row (he’s such a keeper). So yeah. It’s been that kind of a week. But in the name of Positive Thinking, I decided to play along with Mama Kat’s last prompt for this week’s Writer’s Workshop and list some things I did accomplish this week in between huddling on my couch and drinking lots of water and tea and waiting to go to bed again.

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  1. 200w-5.gif.gifI signed my 7 year old up for a week of Trolls themed Ballet Camp this summer. My 10 year old will be doing a week of Scratch programming summer camp.
  2. Before my cold kicked into high gear, my team trivia group came in 3rd place after one heck of a game. I love our group because we have very eclectic knowledge spheres. When we join forces we can be unstoppable.
  3. I found out who my Whiskey Buddies were on one of those Facebook quizzes. Important stuff, guys.
  4. 200w-4.gif.gifI folded at least one load of laundry when my husband complained that he had nothing to wear. I left the other loads unfolded until eventually my ten year old decided it would be easier to take his clothes upstairs and fold them himself. Huzzah! The seven year old and I are still in a standoff. Who will blink first?
  5. 200w-2.gif.gifI took my dog to his grooming appointment when I really didn’t feel like it. I also picked him up from said appointment and picked up my kids from school and kept them all breathing until bedtime. Honestly, I think I deserve an award for this. Or at least some good chocolate.
  6. 200w-3.gif.gifI cleaned / organized my desk in my office – you have to accept my low standards of clean, but I can assure you – major progress was made. So many papers were recycled this week guys.
  7. I started counting my calories again. I’m not actually limiting them yet, I’m just kind of giving myself a starting out progress report before I dive in and join my husband in his new diet that seems to be working like… a thing that works really well. Seriously, I have to hurry up and lose weight before he gets all toned and hot without me.
  8. giphy3I made myself try on a whole bunch of jeans and then didn’t buy any of them because none of them were perfect. Even though they were on sale. Then I went to a bookstore where I didn’t buy any books. That’s its own kind of accomplishment, really.

I could probably go on, but I don’t want to brag too much about how awesome I am. Or do I? I mean if you have like an award that you’ve been waiting to give out, I get it. I’m kind of a big deal.

What have you accomplished this week?

Leave a comment and I’ll respond with enthusiastic cheering, okay?

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family fun, mama kat's writers workshop

If 2017 looked like New Years Eve…

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This week Mama Kat wants to know: If the way you spent your New Year’s Eve is any indication of how the rest of the year will go, how would you say your future is looking right about now?

For us, it would look slightly blurry and upside but full of joy and wonder.

It would involve Doctor Who marathons, take out pizza and telling each other silly jokes. 2017 will look like saying yes to random fun but no to following through on traditions that leave us drained or don’t bring us true joy. It will involve a lot of family time and delicious breakfasts. Good chocolate and sweet wine.

What will 2017 look like for you?

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