The Nintendo Book Tag.

I nabbed this book tag from, who else, Birdie Bookworm. She’s like my new favorite tag pimp. That’s a thing, right? Anyway this one is all about Nintendo (nerds, rejoice). I’ll be honest, I’ve only owned two of these systems but I’m familiar with the product line and ready to dig in!

NES (Nintendo Entertainment System):
A classic you want to read.

51ml2vt0AFLA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – I’m basically the worst English major in the world when it comes to the lengthy list of classics I haven’t read yet. I’ve really enjoyed the Dickens that I have read so this one seems like a natural choice. And I’ve had it on my Kindle for ages, so.


SNES (Super Nintendo):
A sequel you liked more than the first.  (Can be a second book in a series.)

9462775The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson was the first book that came to mind because I remember thinking “Wow, I liked this one better than the first book and that almost never happens!” A quote from my review of the book adds, “Something in the writing felt fresher and tighter and it probably helps that I’d grown accustomed to the cast of characters. I also really loved Oliver – probably more than I’d liked Keith in book one.” I think the author was in such a good groove writing this one, but you definitely have to start with book one, no questions asked.


Nintendo 64:
A book that revolutionized the way you look at the world.

28765613Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult left a much bigger impression on me than I was expecting it to. It really got under my skin and surprised me in a lot of ways. This was a difficult book to read and a lot of the people in my book club that read it with me did not care for it but I’m glad I read it. I think I’m a better person for it – or at least a less naive person.


Gamecube:
A popular book that did not go over so well with you.

13449693The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater has a massive following and I think the blogiverse got my hopes up waaaaaay too high before I finally got a chance to read it. Something about the book kept me at arm’s length and I wasn’t able to really lose myself to the story. But to be fair, I didn’t dislike it nearly as much as I hated The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. So you can put the pitchforks away, promise.


Wii:
A new favorite book.

22840421My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows was the last book I loved so much that I started to get weird about it. You know the ones that you recommend so ferociously to people that they take a step back like they aren’t sure if maybe you are trying to sell them drugs or a Timeshare or something? Also why do so many of my favorite books have such preposterous premises. “It’s about Lady Jane Grey except not really and she falls in love with a horse – but it’s so romantic!”


Nintendo Power:
Favorite graphic novel series or a series you want to start.

513pp8o3c2l-_sx354_bo1204203200_I haven’t read a ton of graphic novels but I really want in on this whole series of classic book given the graphic novel treatment. My first choice would probably be A Wrinke in Time by Madeline L’Engle. The artwork looks way too cool and I think it would be a fun way to share some of my favorite stories with my kids.

 


Super Mario:
A character that you’d love to squish like a Goomba.

10964Jonathan Randall from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Just seeing the actor that portrays him in the miniseries, Tobias Menzies, sends me into a panicked frenzy. I’m so torn when it comes to this series because I loved so much of the first book / season and then that last scene with Jamie and Randall happened and I am basically scarred for life now. I’d like to squish that entire storyline like a Goomba.

 


Zelda:
A newer fantasy that you consider to be a modern classic.

Tbook one of the Lunar Chronicleshe Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer is such perfection. I could totally see it becoming a classic someday. Teenagers of the world would rejoice if this one became required reading. Book one is essentially a futuristic retelling of Cinderella and the series ends up retelling several classic fairy tales, weaving them all into an epic story of adventure and romance.


Samus-Aran:
Favorite Sci-Fi novel or one you want to read.

the girl with all the gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey was such a good read. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started and I loved how the story seemed to kind of unfold itself as I read. The author did a great job of giving you just as much information as she wanted you to have as the story progressed. The characters were wonderfully fleshed out and the story lingered in my mind constantly throughout the day and probably will continue to do so for quite some time.


Pokemon:
Book editions that you want to collect.

61XCzUtRRQL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_I’m kind of obsessed with the Puffin in Bloom collection of novels like Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I’ll be honest, pretty much any pretty edition of Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice makes me want to buy it immediately which is fairly ridiculous but true. I also frequently find myself wanting to buy updated editions of the Harry Potter series, especially the illustrated editions – gah, gorgeous.


Donkey Kong:
A book with original characters.

16068905I’ll be honest, I really want to mention The Lunar Chronicles again. I think her characters are incredibly well written. Another favorite worth mentioning is basically any book by Rainbow Rowell because she really fleshes out all of her characters to the point that they are living and breathing inside of your heart. My personal favorite is Fangirl but they are all incredible.


Nintendo Fandom:
Favorite Nintendo game(s) or game.

I guess the Mario series in general but I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a big Nintendo fangirl. I like playing Smash Brothers with Dan and the kids but I’m such a button masher, I have no real skill at the game whatsoever. I just liked playing as Princess Peach.

I don’t like tagging people – but if you are reading this and it sounds super fun, then consider yourself tagged!

Here’s What 1st & 2nd Graders Are Reading.

1st2ndreadingSomething you might not know about me: I’ve been volunteering at my kids’ school this year as the 1st / 2nd Grade Librarian. Woah, I know. That sounds like a big job. Don’t worry, it’s a tiny private school so we’re talking about 16 children.

Something you probably do know about me: I love reading and I have a tendency to recommend books to everyone. It breaks my heart when my kids ignore a book recommendation because “Ew, mom recommended it. It’s probably lame.” When everyone knows I have excellent taste in books and I put a lot of thought into my recommendations.

But I get it. I was a kid once, too. I ignored book recommendations all the time because I was terribly busy consuming every Babysitter’s Club book ever written (and boy were there a lot of them!)

Anyway, every Monday I read the kids a story and then help them find a book to bring home. Sometimes they want my help, sometimes they don’t. After about a year of hanging out in the school library, I’ve gotten to notice some trends – a lot of the same series of books pop up over and over. I thought I’d take note and share my findings with you in case you have a 1st or 2nd grader of your own that needs a good book to read.

These are the books that consistently get checked out and devoured by the 1st and 2nd graders at our school:

51dXn5iTpvLThe Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure Series (i.e. THEY HAVE MINECRAFT BOOKS!?!?): We just got these in this year and the kids are obsessed with them. These are a good bet for any kid reading small chapter books – and older kids that love Minecraft will probably enjoy them, too. These aren’t the Minecraft tutorial books, but actual stories written within the Minecraft universe. And there are several variations on this idea – go into any book store or book aisle and you’ll find some.

61dDfZUlpuL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_Geronimo Stilton: You’ve probably heard of these books, at least in passing. It’s a cute series great for kids just getting into chapter books. The kids I read to love books about animals – some other great options include the Animal Ark series, The Puppy Place series and the Mercy Watson books.

51ttDHumHHL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_The Rainbow Magic series is massive and insanely popular at our school. There are a bazillion different types of fairies and the girls love looking for a fairy with their name or a name of someone they know. It’s a very time consuming search. These are great for your kids just dipping their toe into the chapter book universe.

61JEW68FtyL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_When your kiddo is ready to try something a little longer, check out the American Girl books and The Babysitter’s Club which is making a comeback thanks to the Graphic Novel versions of some of the first few books in the series. (If your kiddo is interested in these books but having a hard time with the size, try the BSC Little Sister series or the new Wellie Wishers American Girl series.)

51se0cN2C4LFor the kids that are really into the graphic novel / lots of illustrations book life: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate and Captain Underpants continue to be a force to be reckoned with. They also love pouring over old Calvin and Hobbes books.

51N7ZWBubnLSome other oldies but goodies that go over well are the Magic Tree House (for the earlier chapter book kids) and Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events (for the big readers).

61X+b-tbMpL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_The Eyewitness Books by DK are also extremely popular. No matter what your kid is interested in, DK seems to have a giant book all about it. The kids I read to spend a lot of time pouring over these books. They are an especially nice choice for kids who have kind of outgrown picture books but don’t have the patience for chapter books yet.

What are your kids reading these days?

11 Things About My 11 Year Old.

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My first born is eleven today and, I’ll be honest, I can barely handle this information. I think this is the first birthday he’s had where I find myself in denial. Why eleven feels sooooo different from ten, I’m not sure. But here we are.

In celebration of his big day, here are 11 things you should know about my newly turned eleven year old.

  1. He is a very considerate, kind kid. I’m not saying he is never in a bad mood, but by default he is friendly and compassionate. He cares how you are doing and loves to make people smile.
  2. He is always helping out around the house – emptying the trash, running the dog, helping out with laundry. He’s my right hand man during the day and he does it with a smile (most of the time).
  3. He is a voracious reader and loves to return to old favorite stories. He’s probably read his favorite series, Gregor the Overlander, more times than he can count.
  4. He is strong. I’m always surprised and impressed by the things he can lift and carry – he’s quickly becoming a little man rather than a little boy.
  5. He loves video games, just like his father. When he’s not working on homework or curled up with a book, his default favorite activity is playing Minecraft or Skyrim.
  6. He’s a creature of habit and likes to have a set schedule for the day. What time things are happening is important to him. He totally gets this from his mother.
  7. Some of his favorite foods include tacos, bacon cheeseburgers with mayonnaise, breakfast burritos and cold cut sandwiches. He’s really come a long way this year with trying new foods though and has graduated from picky eater to willing to try most things.
  8. He loves to play board games with us, especially Munchkin (we love this Marvel edition) and Forbidden Island. He also likes designing his own games – I might be raising a future dungeon master. My kids are often found playing complex story telling games that I do not understand at all.
  9. He’s not an especially sporty kid, but this year he has started to discover more and more games that he does enjoy like soccer and kickball. This is making recess a lot more fun for him!
  10. He started Boy Scouts this year after graduating from Cub Scouts and he and my husband are avidly looking forward to all of the hiking and camping and knot tying and rock climbing in their future.
  11. He would wear running pants a t-shirt every day if he had his way. He’s a creature of comfort and doesn’t care about fashion at all (typical boy). He loves witty t-shirts and a relatively dark color palette (but probably doesn’t know what a color palette is).

Happy birthday MM! 

UN-Planning an 11th Birthday Party.

My son turns eleven tomorrow – hold on

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Sorry about that – and we’re throwing him a small party. I’m not sure if party is even the right word. He’s having two friends over for a sleepover that will mostly involve video games and eating food.

fish-fingers-and-custard

The hardest part of planning this party is reminding myself I don’t really have anything to plan other than buying enough food for 3 tweenage boys.

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I’m not saying I have a record for throwing amazing, Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. ‘Cause no. But I do enjoy running with a good theme and picking out a corresponding menu and party favors, paper goods, etc.

Some moments from the highlight reel of MM’s birthday parties past:

The 5th Birthday Race Car Dinosaur Party. He really put us through our paces that year but with a minimalist bent, I pulled it off. This was his first birthday party in our current house and we made full use of our gigantic back yard.

The 7th Birthday Little Big Planet Party. In which he helped me make his birthday cake using a recipe that apparently all French children learn to bake cakes with. Which we then decorated with blue and green frosting in an attempt to make it look sort of like Earth. The kids made their own Sackboys and played lots of video games.

The 8th Birthday Doctor Who Party. Which I might have been more excited about than anyone else. I worked magic on invitations, I made TARDIS goodie bags and bought blue everything.

But now he’s turning Eleven.

strangerthings-eleven-grocery-eggo

No, not that kind Eleven. Just the oh so grown up, this doesn’t really include you mom kind of Eleven. This year there is no theme except “we will play video games as late as humanly possible and maybe watch a movie and I want cake.” Hopefully I’m allowed in the room for some of it.

11th-Doctor-the-eleventh-doctor-33248859-500-537-8756

Here are my ingredients for a sleepover for eleven year old boys:

  • Walking tacos – small bags of Doritos with taco fixings tossed on top and a salad so I feel like a mother.
  •  The most chocolatey of chocolate cakes – and I might put cherry pie filling between the cake layers because I’m craving cherries.
  • My step mom’s rotel cheese dip – with tortilla chips and probably some salsa, too.
  • Paper plates and napkins – actual color / pattern to be determined aka doesn’t matter.
  • Video games, movies, board games, sleeping bags, go away mom.

636115777558468317408881842_Eleven-From-Stranger-Things

PS: I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop today. One of her prompts this week was a post inspired by the word party and well… yeah. Let me know if you are playing along on your blog. It’s a lot of fun and there are multiple writing prompts to choose from so even if you don’t have parties on the brain, she can hook you up.

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Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

26074181The Crown by Kiera Cass (The Selection #5)

Page Count: 278

Published: May 3rd 2016

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.

Note: If you are new to this series, make sure you start at the beginning: The Selection by Kiera Cass is where it all began. If you haven’t read the other books yet, I don’t recommend reading this review because spoilers.

You have been warned.


I hummed and hawed a long time before finally picking up the final book in The Selection series. I know I am not alone in my disappointment with book four, The Heir. How the daughter of America and Maxon could be so unlikeable was shocking. I think I actually took the blow of Eadlyn’s personality flaws better than a lot of readers, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read book 5 if there wasn’t going to be a lot of character growth, you know? So I put it off.

But this series is so addictive and I really wanted to know how it all turned out and eventually I fell into one of those reading slumps that can only be cured by a favorite fluffy series. A series that pulls you in and owns you until the last page. The Selection has always fit that bill.

I was so relieved to find that The Crown totally delivers that character growth that Eadlyn desperately needed. She comes out of her comfort zone, grows up a lot and even falls in love.

And here’s the honest truth: I think we all have a tendency to be a little self absorbed and oblivious to the actual world around us, especially as teenagers. And usually we grow out of it and start to notice the needs and feelings of the rest of the world. Eadlyn just happened to be extremely self absorbed and grew up in a life designed to spoil her and coddle those tendencies. So let’s be real – she’s pretty normal. She just lives in the spotlight and you know how we love to judge people in the spotlight.

If anything, this character flaw made for an extremely satisfying reading experience for the last book as we get to see her grow and mature when the stakes are high and blossom into a pretty awesome person. Add to this some family drama, some political intrigue and even better: a love story.

So if you are also sitting on the fence with this one, allow me to reassure you: it’s worth the read! 

The Goodreads Book Tag.

I saw this Goodreads Book Tag over at A Book. A Thought and couldn’t resist playing along. I’ve been a Goodreads user since 2008 – that’s so long ago that I can’t quite remember not being a member (you can friend me here).

If you’ve never heard of them, it’s an online book community where you can keep a list of the books you are reading or want to read and connect with other book lovers and see what they are reading. They also have book giveaways, discussion groups, reading challenges and lots of other fun features.

Anyway, here is the book tag, all about your reading habits as viewed from your Goodreads.com Profile.


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What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of HyggeThe Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg

Great concept, kind of average book. I love the idea of hygge and enjoyed reading more about it but I found the book to be longer than it needed to be to get its point across. It almost could have existed as a short series of blog posts, but I did enjoy reading it and it was a short read, so I can’t complain too much. My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What are you ‘currently reading’?

currentlyreading

I actually have five books marked as ‘currently reading’ right now but I’ll be honest, I’m not actively reading all of them.

I was reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle last summer during swim lessons and the book is still in my beach bag waiting for pool-side reading time. I know I could have taken it out and kept reading it but I really enjoyed saving it as a book that only exists at the pool if that makes any sense.

My book club will be discussing The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson next month and I started reading it a couple of days ago because I anticipate it taking me awhile to get through. It’s nonfiction written in a more narrative style but his last book I still found a little “school history book” at times and struggled with. This one is better so far and the subject matter has me extremely intrigued so that will probably help.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Roseblood by A.G. Howard are both books that I was basically halfway done with when I had to put them down for book club picks of previous months and for some reason I’ve had a hard time getting back into them now even though they are both very good books. I’m at a weird place with both of them in that I’m too far in to start over but it’s been long enough that the spell has worn off and I can’t just ease back in. We are at an impasse, you could say.

I’m not really reading A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallard yet – I opened it on my kindle today because I remembered I’d bought it on sale awhile back when I noticed a friend was reading it and I got excited and wanted to read the first few pages to decide if it should be my next read (answer: quite likely).

What was the last book you marked as ‘to read’?

26245850Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, it was one of the books from the Book of the Month Club awhile ago and while I didn’t choose it as “my book” – I was interested in possibly reading it at some point. Here’s a description of the book:

“On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.”

Interesting to note, there are only 27 books in my “to-read” folder. I seem to use Amazon to organize my future reading goals / wish list and Goodreads to organize what I’m currently reading and what I finish / reviews of the books I read.

What book do you plan to read next?

27833670I’m hoping to get to at least one of the books I listed as “currently reading” that I haven’t finished yet, likely Roseblood or A Study in Charlotte. In May, my book club will be discussing Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, a kind of science fiction thriller about a man named Jason who wakes up to discover that his life is not the one he remembered as his own. “His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.” He has to figure out which world is the real one and what he can even do about it.

Do you use the star rating system?

Definitely, my average rating is 4.22. Most books that I really enjoy get a 4 star rating. Books I liked but found some flaws with get a 3. Books that I feel the need to squeal about to strangers get a 5. I think you can guess what books get a 2 or 1.

Are you doing a reading challenge?

Yes, I’ve been doing them for several years now. I’m a bookworm with limited reading time and tend to read around 20-30 books a year. I only challenged myself to 30 this year – I tried to shoot for 50 last year and didn’t come close. I much prefer setting goals that seem reachable and feeling way too proud of myself when I reach them. 30 will still be a push for me though as I average 2 books per month. I’ve read 5 books this years so far which puts me 2 books behind schedule.

Do you have a wishlist?

Not on goodreads, I keep my wish list on Amazon and I price watch it like a hawk because kindle editions are prone to popping up on sale for $1.99 all the time. It’s not often that it’s a book on my wish list, but it happens often enough that I’ve started saving all of the books I want under their kindle edition so I can quickly scan the list for big sales.

What book do you plan to buy next?

513pp8o3c2l-_sx354_bo1204203200_I don’t have any planned book purchases right now but the three that I’m probably most anxious for are actually all celeb memoirs that came out recently. I’m itching to read Carrie Fisher’s last book, The Princess Diarist. Lauren Graham and Anna Kendrick both wrote books recently as well that I’m eager to own a copy of. I also really want to get the graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle for the whole family.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“Her majesty is one verb short of a sentence.”
― Jasper Fforde, Lost in a Good Book

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Stories

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
― Elie Wiesel

“Never give us what we really want. Cut the dream into pieces and scatter them like ashes. Dole out the empty promises. Package our aspirations and sell them to us, cheaply made enough to fall apart.”
― Scott Westerfeld, So Yesterday

 

Who are your favorite authors?

My list of favorites on goodreads.com is kind of massive so I’m not going to share the whole thing. Some stand outs worth mentioning are (see the whole list here):

Marissa Meyer

Rainbow Rowell

Lisa Lutz

Jasper Fforde

 

Jane Austen

 

 

Stephanie Meyer

Scott Westerfeld

J.K. Rowling

Have you joined any groups?

I’m in 6 groups but I’m not terribly active in any of them if we’re going to be honest. Some of them were specific groups for an author I love, some are more open ended like the What Should I Read Next? group.

Do you think Goodreads could do better?

There’s always room for improvement. I wish they were slightly better integrated with Amazon – I’d love for all of my shelves on goodreads.com to appear on my kindle and vice versa. I’ve also found that sometimes the pages load pretty slowly compared to other websites. And I agree with A Book. A Thought. – half stars would be amazing!

Do you use goodreads? If you fill out the tag on your blog, let me know so I can check out your answers!

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!

My Life in Books. a tag

Snagged this fun book tag from Birdie Bookworm, my new favorite tag supplier! 😉 I love when talking about myself and talking about books is combined, it’s basically a winning combination.


BOOK FOR EACH INITIAL

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These are all books I’ve read and loved.

 

J – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

E – Eating for Beginners by Melanie Rehak

N – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

N – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I – The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

F – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

E – The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

R – Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz


AGE – COUNT ALONG YOUR BOOKSHELF

51rVYKLHHjL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_34 – The 34th book on my bookshelf right now is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, a book I’ve owned forever but haven’t gotten around to reading yet because I’m ridiculous. I hear mixed things about this classic – have you read it?


BOOK THAT REPRESENTS A DESTINATION YOU WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL TO

8683812The Paris Wife by Paula McLain gives me major wander lust. It wasn’t always an easy book to read (Hemingway was such a twat) but it definitely transported me. I’m every other stereotypical girl who dreams about Paris, but I also dream about London, Scotland, Sweden, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Australia… so. But Paris would be nice.


FAVORITE COLOR

My favorite color is kind of a teal blue / light blue. Coincidentally, some of my favorite books have been in this hue family.

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MOST DIFFICULTY READING

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is probably the one I complain about the loudest. Hawthorne could write an entire paragraph about a brick wall if you let him. I find that he is much better at writing short stories, in my humble opinion.


WHICH BOOK IN THE TBR PILE WILL YOU GET THE BIGGEST SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT FROM?

There are so many books on my pile right now but two that I’ve had marked as “currently reading” for an inordinate amount of time are Roseblood by A.G. Howard and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, both of which I was enjoying but had to put down for a book club pick and then never picked back up again because too much time had passed. It’s a little infuriating really. I’m too far in to start from the beginning but it’s been long enough that I can’t bring myself to just ease back into them.


Wanna play along? I’m not going to officially tag anyone but if this sounds fun to you, tag – you’re it! Let me know if you play along so I can come visit and read your answers.

Who Am I? tag

Totally ninja stealing this one from Kate @ Mom’s Radius because I never can resist an opportunity to talk about myself. If you play along, let me know in the comments section!

1. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF YOUR NAME?

According to Wikipedia, Jennifer is a Cornish form of Guinevere/Gwenhwyfar adopted into the English language during the 20th century. “Jennifer” may mean “white enchantress” or “the fair one”.

According to Urban Dictionary, Jennifer is a female name that people of America name their children. “Hey there is Jennifer over there. Lets name her Jennifer.

2. WHAT IS YOUR MYERS-BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPE? (LINK)

INFP-I-DreamThe last time I took this quiz I got INFP, The Mediator.

Mediator personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, Mediators have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the Mediator personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

Famous INFPs include William Shakespeare, Johnny Depp, Anne of Green Gables and Sybil from Downton Abbey.

3. WHAT IS YOUR ZODIAC SIGN?

70306ebfe9bccc9b7cd9379149776a6aThe Capricorn – The sign Capricorn is one of the most stable and (mostly) serious of the zodiacal types. These independent, rocklike characters have many sterling qualities. They are normally confident, strong willed and calm. These hardworking, unemotional, shrewd, practical, responsible, persevering, and cautious to the extreme persons, are capable of persisting for as long as is necessary to accomplish a goal they have set for themselves. Capricorn are reliable workers in almost any profession they undertake. They are the major finishers of most projects started by the ‘pioneering’ signs; with firm stick-to-it-ness they quickly become the backbone of any company they work for. (source)

I don’t know about unemotional and shrewd, but definitely hardworking, practical and responsible. I think a lot of those traits can be better explained by being an only child though.

4. WHAT HOGWARTS HOUSE WOULD YOU BE IN? (LINK)

PrintHUFFLEPUFF! 84%
Congratulations! You have been sorted into Hufflepuff, the house of loyalty, hard working, acceptance, and fairness. You are amongst other Hufflepuffs such as: Tonks and Cedric Diggory
I honestly expected to get Ravenclaw but I’ll totally accept Hufflepuff. I guess my loyalty and patience were stronger than my bookworm tendencies today.

5. WHAT ARE YOUR LEARNING STYLES? (LINK)

  • Visual 7
  • Aural 10
  • Read/Write 11
  • Kinesthetic 12

I actually scored fairly high in all areas, but especially kinesthetic  and reading / writing.

6. ARE YOU MORE OF A LEFT-BRAIN OR A RIGHT-BRAIN PERSON? (LINK)

rightbrained7. WHAT IS YOUR BLOOD TYPE?

Is it terrible that I don’t know? A or B?

8. WHAT CAREER ARE YOU MEANT TO BE IN? (LINK)

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You have a skill for language, your imagination is vast and you are artistic and creative. Your brain is just overflowing with ideas, and all you have to do is get a piece of paper and share it with the world. You were born to turn words into magical stories.

Well that seems fitting. I think I’d be a better writer though if I had a tangible boss and, like, deadlines. Because left to my own devices I’d just write in my blog and watch Netflix.

9. WHAT DIVERGENT FACTION DO YOU BELONG IN? (LINK)

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ERUDITE“The word “erudite” focuses on knowledge rather than intelligence– intelligence being something you’re born with, and can’t necessarily control, and knowledge being something that you acquire. (source)

10. WHAT DOES YOUR BIRTH ORDER SAY ABOUT YOU? (LINK)

The Firstborn

Stereotype: Natural leader, ambitious, responsible.
Why it’s true: The eldest, for a while, has no competition for time (or books or baby banter) with Mom and Dad. “There’s a benefit to all of that undiluted attention. A 2007 study in Norway showed that firstborns had two to three more IQ points than the next child,” says Frank J. Sulloway, Ph.D., the author of Born to Rebel. Firstborns tend to be surrogate parents when other siblings arrive, hence their protective and responsible nature.
When it’s not: Parents can set high expectations for a first (or only) child. “When he feels like he has disappointed his parents or can’t measure up, he may veer off in another direction,” says Kevin Leman, Ph.D., a psychologist and the author of The Birth Order Book.

So who are you?

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.