First Day of School / Solar Eclipse

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My kids started school today and of course I was there with my camera to photograph every minute of our morning. In lieu of a printout with their grade written on it, I decided to try  something new and have them hold up a playing card with the number that corresponds to their grade in school this year. I used Phase 10 cards because the numbers are huge and bold. I think it came out pretty cute.

This is a big milestone year for us at school because both of my kids are in the downstairs portion of the school that is sort of considered the land of the Big Kids. The other moms in my daughter’s 3rd grade class all commiserated / celebrated the moment with me – we all agreed it was surreal to see them downstairs this year. We are excited for the year to come.

I spent the morning having coffee with school parents and then a quick trip to Target (of course) for a few random items still on my shopping list. I was feeling pretty much pure bliss driving in my oh so quiet car. Before I knew it though it was time to pick them up – they only had a half day today so we met Dan for lunch and then drove over to a nearby park to watch the solar eclipse.

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Dan found these nifty glasses online several months ago – they have all the certifications that they have been tested and are safe to use and even on a pretty cloudy day they totally worked. Just looking around without the glasses it didn’t look like anything was really happening. The sun was only partially covered by the moon and the cloudiness honestly made it look like just a normal overcast day. But through the glasses we were able to watch the moon travel across the sun, covering all but a small crescent shaped portion of it. Pretty cool!

Were you able to see the eclipse at all from where you live?

When do your kids go back to school?

Who else wants my daughter’s unicorn dress to be made in grown up size?

Norse Mythology Book Tag

 

Birdie Bookworm tagged me for this Norse Mythology book tag that looked too fun to pass up. If you love books and/or Norse mythology def. keeping reading. And make sure you check out Birdie’s blog for more bookish fun. She’s one of my fave book tag suppliers and terrific in general.


The Rules:

  • Link back to the original post on Kyera’s Library so she can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, I don’t get notified if you just tag my URL)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

ODIN – Favorite Standalone

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things.

10515068This one was kinda hard because most of my favorite books are actually part of a series or at least have a sequel of some kind. I decided to go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because it was a stand alone story to the author even if countless people have added their own take on the material.

So many love stories take their cues from Pride and Prejudice – it’s been rewritten intentionally and unintentionally for an incredibly long time and even though it was written so long ago and shows up on school required reading lists, etc. It’s actually 100% deserving of the hype.


THOR – A Book that Hits You in the Feels

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms, so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful Lady Sif.

15749186To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is basically all feels all the time. If you need a feel good chicken soup for the soul style love story that is fresh and relevant – Jenny Han is the girl for you. She’ll take you on an emotional roller coaster that you won’t really want to disembark from at all.

This is a YA love story but it’s also about family and growing up and the main character cooks so much good food that you will be starving basically the entire time you are reading.

Good news: It’s the first in a series and the newest book just came out this year.


LOKI – Biggest Book Plot Twist or Character Betrayal

Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

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This might seem like an odd selection for this category if you haven’t read the book yet but I’m guessing that anyone who has read it is nodding their head with me right now going, “Seriously. Did not see that coming.”

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a sweet YA love story starring a girl who is literally allergic to everything and basically living that bubble girl life until a new book moves in next door and shit goes down.

It’s supremely well written and a seriously fast read because you will be unwilling to put it down once you start.


FRIGG – OTP (One True Pairing)

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility, and fate.

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Anne and Gilbert for the win. Honestly Elizabeth and Darcy would work well here, too, but I already talked about Pride and Prejudice so I figured it would only be fair to talk about one of my other fave couples of all book-time. Of course they are basically babies in Anne of Green Gables (or, you know, tweenagers) but over the course of L.M. Montgomery’s series they seriously come to define #relationshipgoals

I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables until I was a grown assed woman so I’m here to tell you it’s never too late if you haven’t read it yet. I get just as much out of this story as a mom to a precocious daydreaming girlie as I did when I was a tweenie myself.


HEIMDALL – Favorite Second Book in a Series

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and he is who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds.

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Pretties is book two in a series by Scott Westerfeld. You want to read Uglies first. This series came out twelve years ago and seems to be more of a cult favorite than a global phenomenon but if you like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Lunar Chronicles, etc. then this series will definitely be up your alley.

In a world where ugliness is literally cured on your sixteenth birthday with an operation that will make you – you guessed it, pretty – things are of course not all that they seem.

This series absolutely sucked me in from the get go and book two holds up just as well as the first. It’s iconic dystopian and heartbreaking at times but soooo good.


SIF – Most Beautiful Book Cover

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

the selection by kiera cass

I read a lot of pretty books but The Selection series by Kiera Cass have some of my favorite covers. This is another great series for fans of YA Dystopian. It’s kind of a blend of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor and it is seriously so addictive.

Follow America Singer who is rather reluctantly taking part in a competition to win the crown prince’s hand in marriage for the sake of her family. Love triangles, political intrigue, fancy ballgowns and gossip for days. This is a book to lose yourself in on a long summer day.


FREY – Book/Series that Makes You Happy

Frey is the Lord of weather, god of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

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My daughter discovered The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin last year in the form of these new graphic novels and I have to admit they are adorable. It pains me a little that she’s mostly only interested in the graphic novel versions that are out right now but I get over that when we get to talk about which Babysitter we love the most and which one we relate to the most, etc. My darling girl has declared Dawn as her favorite. I always loved Claudia but I’m a total Mary Anne.

I cannot wait until she starts diving into the rest of the series which should keep her pretty busy what with there being over 100 of them.


FREYA – Favorite Book Setting

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

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I mean, really, who amongst us doesn’t want to go to Hogwarts? The Harry Potter universe has been one of my favorite places to escape to for a very long time now. I love this illustrated edition of the first book – it is absolutely stunning. And a bit cheaper than going to the Harry Potter world at Universal or flying to London.

For the record, I’ve long considered myself a Ravenclaw though occasionally I have Hufflepuff tendencies. How about you?


TYR – Favorite Book with a Big Upheaval/Epic Fight Scene

Tyr is the god of war.

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I just read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas recently so the big throw down at the end is still pretty vivid in my mind. I am extremely anxious to return to the series but I’m in Book Club Mode right now so it will have to wait along with all of the other books that I am extremely anxious to read (I won’t lie, it’s a long list).

This is the first book in a series about an 18 year old assassin who is released from a prison sentence early by the crown prince but only if she agrees to enter a competition to become the king’s champion and royal assassin.


ULLER – Character Death that Affected You the Most

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

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I know I already mentioned Harry Potter but seriously were any of us okay after this book? I won’t even say the words on the off chance that you haven’t read the series (who even are you?) though I’m guessing the rest of the Internet wouldn’t be as kind.

I recommend this series with every fiber of my being but I won’t lie and say that it won’t break your heart a few times.


NJORD – Favorite Book that’s an Epic Journey on Water/Ocean Setting

Njord is the god of the wind and the sea.

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Okay I know this one is a serious stretch but I don’t read a lot of books that fit this category. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple definitely involves an epic journey and a cruise ship is involved.

It’s also an Epistolary novel which means it’s written in the form of letters, emails, etc. rather than in a traditional narrative form. Sometimes this format is terrible but occasionally it is awesome. I think this one falls more in the line of awesome.

It’s about a SAHM who basically loses all of her cool about living that suburban soccer mom life and disappears. Her family has to go through her online correspondences to figure out what happened and where she went. Funnier than it should be and relatable if absurd.


VALKYRIE – Favorite Strong Female Character

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

book one of the Lunar Chronicles

There is literally no other appropriate answer to this question. Like it would be a crime against humanity not to say Cinder and all the other leading characters of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you are looking for kick ass female characters to root for, this series is here for you.

I am starting to feel less silly telling people that they need to read this book about a cyborg Cinderella who goes on to team up with other fairy tale characters that are totally futuristic dystopian retellings of stories you thought you knew really well. But everyone I have recommended this amazing series to has loved it so I recommend it in full earnestness now: YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING.


AESIR/VANIR – Favorite Book “Crew”

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

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In addition to some of the other great series I’ve already mentioned that feature an incredible cast of characters (Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles), My Lady Jane was written by a great book crew –  Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. And it features a pretty stellar group of characters. Everytime I thought I knew who I was rooting for, the authors would add in more people whom I absolutely wanted nothing but good things for.

If Cinder seemed like an odd book to recommend to people, brace yourself. Because now I have to tell you that you absolutely must read this historical retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey who is married off to a stranger, briefly the Queen of England, and also falls in love with a horse. Okay only some of those things actually happen. Or do they?


SEIPYRTS – Favorite Sidekick (Non-Human Character)

Seipyrts is Odin’s trusty eight legged steed, yes you heard that correctly – eight legs.  I promise that he is the god’s horse companion and not a giant spider that he rides around on… although that would probably strike more fear in the hearts of his enemies than a pretty horse does.

29772863So I convinced you to read The Lunar Chronicles and you were there for it but then the series ended and now you are feeling a little angsty and aren’t sure what to do with yourself. Good news! Meyers wrote a graphic novel continuation called Wires and Nerve that picks up where the final book left off and it stars our favorite android sidekick, Iko.

This is a super quick read that lovers of the original series will probably really enjoy but if you haven’t read the O.S. then you might be confused and not get much out of it. So start at the beginning like a good little doobie. I promise it’s worth it.

Wires and Nerve is going to help you scratch that itch that just wants to live in the world of The Lunar Chronicles forever. You’ll get to see what everyone is up to and also SEE them for basically the first time. And there is a second one coming out in 2018 so maybe this never has to end?


TAG YOU’RE IT

I’m a filthy little rule breaker and don’t feel like tagging people today but if you read this whole post then you are definitely tagged. If you skimmed through it to see if you were tagged then you are tagged but please go read the post, too. Then leave a comment with your favorite YA novel that I didn’t mention yet.

PRINTABLE | A Quick & Easy Summer Reading Challenge

Our summer vacation is coming to a close – two more weeks until my kiddos go back to school. I was looking over the summer reading bingo sheets today and thinking about what’s working and what isn’t working.

I love a lot of things about this set up – my kids didn’t seem to get much use out of the coupons that you can win at our library’s summer reading program and keeping track of reading minutes or titles all summer sounded a lot like homework. Thus my bingo sheets were born.

Fast forward two years though and I feel like the bingo sheets are met with enthusiasm for the first week or so and then mostly forgotten. Every so often I’d go over the sheet, asking them questions like “Did you read any books about animals?” or “Did you start reading a new series this summer?” and even though the answer might have been yes, they were often unsure having forgotten exact titles.

My kids have been reading a ton this summer – quantity has not been an issue. If anything, our system just seems to be unnecessarily complicated. And we’ve been busy enough to not have time for unnecessarily complicated systems. So I decided to make a pared down reading challenge that highlights our favorite aspects of the current system.

Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy does an annual reading challenge that I love and this year’s challenge included a handy bookmark to keep tucked in your current read. I loved this idea and decided to incorporate it into a new reading challenge for next year.

I know a lot of you still have several weeks of summer left and thought I’d share this here in case you want to motivate your kids to squeeze in some extra reading time before school starts.

BEHOLD: The Summer Reading Challenge For People With No Time For Summer Reading Challenges

2018 summer reading

Print it as a bookmark or open up your favorite photo editing site and make your own – I use picmonkey.com to make all my graphics and highly recommend it. It’s all online and has tons of graphics and fonts and flexibility. / Plug

The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag

Another day, another tag stolen mercilessly from Birdie Bookworm. This one is all about what draws you to the books you buy. I decided to make all my selections from books on my kindle because it’s probably where most of my impulse book purchases happen. Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?

1. Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

20416427The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas jumped out at me recently because I just bought the kindle edition after much urging from one of my fave IRL book friends who turned me onto the series. This is a prequel apparently and will tell you about Celaena and Sam’s relationship before she was sent to prison.


 

2. Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

5126Ao2n1PLMap to the Stars by Jen Malone didn’t have me at hello you could say. Initially I found the main character kind of annoyingly dense and stubborn and the premise seemed a little contrived. It wasn’t until a few chapters in, when the love story starts to pick up and witty banter ensues that I really got on board and then suddenly I was loving it, contrived story and all.


 

3. Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. How did you discover this book?

51DLU1l6MFLWho Thought This Was a Good Idea by  Alyssa Mastromonaco is about Alyssa’s time working as Obama’s former deputy chief of staff. I think I discovered it in one of those kindle books on sale roundups either goodreads.com or Modern Mrs. Darcy.


 

4. Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

16034235I know I basically just mentioned this series but Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas came highly recommended to me by two different friends and I’m so glad they were persistent because I loved it. If you are into YA fantasy, this one will definitely do the trick. It’s fairly popular in the blogging circles and deservingly so. If you read The Lunar Chronicles after fifteen people insisted you do so (or maybe it was just me fifteen times), this is your next assignment.


 

5. Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Allbertalli has been a social media darling for awhile now. Everyone I knew online was reading it. Sometimes this makes me leery of a book but the premise sounded like my kind of adorable – geeky shy girl thinks she won’t find love but of course does find love. This was such a sweet story but also felt very real – it was like reading your old diary from high school except that when I was in high school none of the pop culture references in this book existed. Shhhh…. no tears now.


 

6. Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

28226592Wanderlost by Jen Malone – I read this one before reading Map to the Stars and honestly it took me a minute to fall for this one, too. Malone’s characters are kind of clueless initially but this makes for more character development. In this one Aubree is coerced into running a European tour for senior citizens for her big sister and if the pages of descriptions of European travel don’t do it for you, the love story definitely will. I puffy hearts adored Sam.


 

7. What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

17975954Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams was turned into a pretty amazing series on BBC last year. I haven’t actually read the book yet but couldn’t resist picking it up in case my husband or I need a good read. Douglas Adams is one of the funniest writers of all time – but it’s the best kind of funny. Smart British Sci Fi Nerd Funny.


 

8. Think of your all-time favorite book/s. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

Okay I’m going rouge for this one and not worrying about whether it’s on my kindle. Favorite books include: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which I read in 2008 about a year before my daughter was born. I was late to the party and probably feeling guilty about being an English major who hadn’t read Jane Austen yet. I’m glad I rectified this because this story especially completes me and I consider it my favorite love story; Harry Potter series by JK Rowling which I started reading sometime in high school or college and finished reading when I was a married mother to a toddler. My husband and I pretty much met and fell in love over Harry Potter and we’re both such big fans of the series that we each ordered our own hard cover copy of the last book because we refused to share. I could go on but I’ll refrain because then we’ll be here literally all day. If you want to know about more books I love, just go here.


TAG, YOU’RE IT!

Now for the serious business of tagging. Because I’m a tag renegade, I’m tagging all the other tag renegades. The ones who always wait impatiently to be tagged and are perhaps obsessed with talking about books. You, sir or madam, have been tagged. Report to me in the comments section when you’ve finished your list!

 

Currently | 08-02-2017

I’m having a hard time remembering to post with any regularity this summer – it’s like my kids want me to look at them all day or something. Ugh. I’ve checked in a few times with some pictures of summer fun and talking about books, per usual, but that’s about it. That’s What She Read posted a Currently post recently and I thought – perfect! What better way for me to slow down and write about everything going on these days.

So here you go. Right now I am…

Currently reading: If you look at my goodreads.com list of books currently being read, you are probably thinking, “Wow, Jen reads a lot of books at once!” but the truth is that I’m only giving my full attention to two books right now.

20603758I jumped back into reading Ready Player One by Earnest Cline after seeing a trailer for the movie coming out. I had already read about half of it before I put it down to prioritize a book club pick and then couldn’t get back into it. But I had been enjoying it and it was rankling me. The movie trailer lit a fire under my butt to get back to it. (Speaking of the trailer – I’m not loving it. It looks much more action adventure and much less nerdy 80’s kid dream story. But I know it’s a lot of plot to cram into a trailer and maybe 2 minutes of Wade geeking out over a Rush album wouldn’t have been as globally compelling.)

24388326My book club is discussing The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood this month and my library copy just came in! Yay! This is the same author who wrote The Handmaid’s Tale which you probably know was turned into a mini series on Hulu (unless you are that actual person who lives under a rock – nice to meet you!). This one is another dystopian story about America after a pretty brutal financial collapse that has it’s main characters living out of their car before agreeing to join a society that promises them a nice house, steady job, good life for 6 months out of the year – the other 6 months they are in prison. Obviously things only get more interesting from there.

Currently listening to: a healthy mix of the Trolls soundtrack, John Mayer’s new album and whatever the radio station deigns to play between commercials and terrible talk radio shows.

Currently watching: Howl’s Moving Castle with the kids and it was so good that I want to watch a whole lot more movies by the writer, Hayao Miyazaki. But none of them are really available streaming and this was the only one I noticed at our video rental place. Since I can’t afford to buy them all, I think this leaves the local library. Fans of Miyazaki, which ones should we watch first?

20479562_10101317581308706_7582190183688617313_nCurrently eating: a lot of fun exotic food. I’m teaching the kids about different Asian cultures this week so we’ve had ramen of course, bubble tea, chinese food from our favorite buffet and tonight we’re ordering Indian food. Next week I’ll need to plan dinners a little more frugally but we’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

Currently drinking: Throwback Mountain Dew because I’m far too obsessed. I’ve also been making iced coffee with these new pods from Nespresso. So basically I don’t sleep anymore.

Currently rewatching: Scrubs with my husband. I’ve never watched it in order before so I’m loving it more than before and especially loving all the cameos from actors that I wouldn’t have recognized back then. Mike Heck as the Janitor that harasses JD is basically everything.

Currently opened tabs: You so don’t even want to see all of them but highlights include gmail of course, a blog tag at Birdie Bookworm that I’m thinking about playing along with, 5 Things Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy Learned Last Month, a comic from Hedger Humor, and blogging prompts from Mama Kat.

Currently on my book to-buy list: I preordered a copy of Anne Bogel’s book, Reading People, which comes out next month. Other than that I don’t have any big book purchases planned except that I’ll probably break down and buy book two in the Throne of Glass series very soon because – seriously hooked.

28763485Currently on my TBR list: I have been meaning to really crack into The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon for a few weeks now. Once my reading pile clears out a bit, I’m planning to make that a priority along  with Always & Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han which showed up on my doorstep recently after a moment of weakness of the hardcover persuasion.

Currently recommending: the cheesecake at Costco because it is outrageously delicious but make sure you have an army to help you eat it because it is massive and decadent.

Currently talking about on the blog: I’m wringing my hands over how old my children are getting after my daughter’s 8th birthday, talking about the difference between my kids’ summer and my summer, discussing slip covers on books (which I hate but some people love), and other reading habits and literary would you rather questions.

What are you currently loving, reading, doing? 

Would You Rather? | a book tag

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While I have a few short minutes, here is a short and sweet tag that I stole from Birdie Bookworm (she’s basically my tag pimp these days). A bookish would you rather that you can tackle in twenty minutes – what could be better to fill in that awkward chunk of time between kids’ activities and empty tummies?

Would you rather…

1. Have unlimited money for Ebooks, or a $5000 B&N gift card?

I’d have to go with the unlimited ebooks – I could make that go a LOT further in the long run and as an added bonus the books I would horde with that deal wouldn’t take up any room in my home. I could use my own cold hard cash for the books that I really want to own a physical copy of. My bookshelves would breathe a sigh of relief, honestly.

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2. Meet any deceased Poet, or J.K. Rowling?

I’d rather meet J.K. Rowling. I like plenty of poets but I probably like her more and we could talk about writing, parenting and of course Harry Potter. With any luck she’ll adopt me as her protege or at least invite me to go get Butter Beer with her sometimes.

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3. Write the world’s most famous book, or visit the world of your favorite book for one day?

I’m not in it for the fame. The big advantage to the first choice would simply be that I wrote a book that I’m hopefully proud of. Visiting the world of a favorite book would be extremely tempting but I’d have such a hard time choosing. Hogwarts? The Lunar Chronicles? Civil War era Atlanta? Pemberly? I’m just going to need the ability to travel through books period, okay?

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4. Choose___or___? (Insert characters from your favorite fictional love triangle.)

Joey w/ Pacey vs. Dawson

Buffy w/ Angel vs. Spike

Celaena w/ Dorian vs. Chaol

Hermione w/ Harry vs. Ron

Bella w/ Edward vs. Jacob

Elena w/ Damon vs. Stefan

Katniss w/ Peeta vs. Gale

Lady Brienne w/ Jamie Lanister vs. Tormund

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5. Experience Hogwarts in a very realistic and accurate virtual reality, or travel around the world for a year, at no cost.

If I can travel around the world for free, I will make time for both Kings Cross, London area AND the Harry Potter world at Universal in addition to all of the other places on my bucket list which is VAST. I will be basically trampling Europe and Asia like it’s my job in addition to seeing more of the US, Canada, South America, etc. and well you know what I’ll just try to get all the continents in for good measure.


Tags:

 

If you read this whole post and maintained interest through all 5 questions – consider yourself tagged. If you play along or already have, leave me a comment so I can check out your answers!

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Don’t Blink: Her 8th Birthday

When people ask me how long we’ve lived in Wisconsin, I quickly consider the age of my daughter before responding and it always catches me by surprise. We’ve lived here for EIGHT years now and the proof is in how big my youngest child is. Which seems to be bigger every time I look at her lately.

Sometimes it feels like ten minutes ago she looked like this:

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And then I blinked and she looked like this:

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Like when did that even happen? But then I look through that Facebook “on this day” feature and watch the years slide by and ohhh it really does go so fast…

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Last week she turned officially eight years old. There was much birthday cake and merriment. We invited friends over for a Trolls themed birthday party complete with sing-a-long. She blew out candles.

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And then I blinked again and the moment was over. Life got busy and she was simply eight years old. But in between dropping kids off for summer camps and buying groceries and switching loads of laundry I keep looking at her in amazement, wondering when all my littles became bigs, where those cheek bones came from and what she’ll look like after I blink next.

Happy 8th Birthday, Darling, But Please Slow Down.

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linking up with Mama Kat | you should, too

Slip Covers: Do you LOVE or HATE them?

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!