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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Brain Splat

*Last week we had such a nice little warm up (if 35 to 40 degrees can be considered warm, which in Iowa in January it can be!). We made the most of it and took daily walks and soaked in the sun. Maybe that can last us until Spring as winter has once again arrived, blanketing us in soft fluffy snow.
*I was amazed that Amy walked to and from downtown herself! She didn't seem to grow tired at all and loved the exercise. Bonus points for the deep sleep she had those nights! 

*In an unrelated note, I just had to buy this hat for Joe when he exclaimed, "I look like a butler!" That boy may have been watching too much Downton Abbey!
*Are there any other Downton Abbey fans here? What are you thinking so far of this season?

*I'm still keeping to my S.O.S challenge (Sick of Stuff). I donated a huge bag and giant box of items yesterday. I sent off a giant box to Swap, which I've had great success selling to (and buying from, oops!). I've taken some spring items into my aunt's consignment shop. I've sold some boutique clothing items on Facebook pages as well. I'd estimate that this month so far I have gotten rid of about 200 items, at least. Yay me! That's way more than the 5 items a day I've challenged myself to. So far so good! 

*I set my reading goal for Goodreads at 75 books for the year. How many books do you think you average a year? Excited to see if I reach my goal! I surpassed my goal last year of 50 books by more than double. So far, 22 days into the year, I am at 5 books. I love keeping track and having a "log" of all the books I read now.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bonita Avenue

"Siem Sigerius is a beloved, brilliant professor of mathematics with a promising future in politics. His family—including a loving wife, two gorgeous, intelligent stepdaughters and a successful future son-in-law—and carefully appointed home in the bucolic countryside complete the portrait of a comfortable, morally upright household. But there are elements of Siem's past that threaten to upend the peace and stability that he has achieved, and when he stumbles upon a deception that’s painfully close to home, things begin to fall apart." Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda

It sounded like the perfect makings for a book. I doubt I can even say I "read" the book as I didn't even get 1/4 way in before quitting. Nothing in the book interested me. It was immediately confusing with the back and forth between present and past, person to person. I didn't know where I was or who I was with. 

The characters weren't likeable, interesting, or real. I didn't care about their story at all. I didn't want to read 500+ pages about them.

I wonder if the book lost something in the translation from Dutch to English because it seemed to lack any depth or interest.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

January IPSY Bag

My January IPSY bag is here!The theme this month is "Fresh Start".
Each bag will contain 4-5 sample (sometime full size) items, based upon your beauty profile. So my bag contents wouldn't necessarily be your bag contents. My bag included: 
*Manna Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion
*Pacifica Coconut Eye Shadow
*Nourish Renewing Eye Cream
*J.Cat Gel Eye Liner
*Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush 

The cute bag (blue on one side and white on the other with a cute orange zipper)...adorable! The Benefit Fake Up was a bonus item that I had traded 500 Ipsy points for.

I loved everything except the gel liner and liner brush as those are two things I don't use. I especially like the bag itself this month so that is a big bonus. 
Disclaimer: Referral links included in post.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This Week

*We've been running lots of errands and getting caught up on a lot.

*Dentist appointments for Becca and Joe. No cavities!

*Warmer weather. Yay!

*A new fascination with handwriting. Within the past week he went from messy to near perfection! 

*Crockpot meals. Crockpot meals. Crockpot meals. So easy! Tonight it's:
Black Bean Taco Soup
1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey works too!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package mild taco seasoning mix
1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
1 (16 oz) can black beans drained and rinsed (you could use kidney beans or pinto beans)
2 (14 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis
Throw in a crockpot and cook on low all day.

*Watching long forgotten home videos of my own childhood. I'll admit to bawling in the bathroom after seeing my Dad and Grandma on video. How I miss them. :(

*An hour of boy-free shopping this afternoon when Joe is at a playdate with his neighborhood friend.

*A husband who grabs a bottle of wine for his wife on his way home from work when he knows she is having a bad day. And tells her to take a glass of it with her into a hot bubble bath. A good book, a glass of wine, and a hot bubble bath = bliss.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Nourished by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph is a book written by a mother/daughter team about "A search for health, happiness, and a full night's sleep." Sounds like a book that every mother can use!

I love and hated this book at the same time, which is a very rare occurrence for me. On one hand, the book is very well written but on the other hand I immediately bristled at several things the daughter, Rachel, writes about. 

For one, she has one small child. She laments quite often about how mothers have such limited "free time", yet her toddler goes to a mommy day out twice a week, for 5 hours at a time. That's 10 hours a week without a child. I know that doesn't sound like a lot to some but that is like....hmmm...10 hours more per week than I have childless! Maybe that's more my problem then hers but I can't imagine myself complaining at all about my free time if I had 10 hours child-free weekly! And to add insult to injury, when her toddler is at mommy day out she actually rents out a desk at an office space for her writing time. Why does this bother me? Because it speaks of money, something a lot of moms don't have the leisure of. I can't afford to pay for my child to be in a program for 10 hours a week, nor rent out desk space for my writing time (especially when my house would be empty if said children were elsewhere). We also can't afford to go away, alone, twice a year for a "marriage check-up weekend", much less find a willing person to watch three crazed children for 48 hours! That type of freedom started me off on the wrong foot, because aren't we talking about mothers who feel at the end of their rope already because of their lack of nourishment in life?

Then in the chapter of friendship Rachel is giving all types of tips on how to formulate friendships, yet she herself says she is bad at it and everything she mentions she has "written down on the calendar" or "planned for next week". Essentially, she hasn't tested and proven these theories, yet is writing them with an authoritative air.

I enjoyed the mother's (Becky's) writing more, as she has been in and through the trenches of raising four children. I just wish we would have heard more about how she did that. Did she put these principals into play during the child-rearing years or only now as a (mainly) empty nester? Because one or the other is a quite different story! 

Don't stone me yet though, as I may redeem myself in this review (and the book as well!). I did get a lot of helpful information from this book. Whether the authors themselves have perfected how to nourish yourself while raising a houseful of children or not, the wisdom inside does look good on paper and even sounds possible. As a matter of fact, this book motivated me to get up immediately and clean my refrigerator out, which is not a small task to get me to do. It put a fire beneath me to stop procrastinating on what needed to get done.

It gives helpful advice on home organization, cooking, time management, health, relationships, and even your spirit. All the while carving out just enough "sanity space" for nourishing yourself. That is a good thing!

In the end, I realize that this book can be for all stages of motherhood, as Becky as been through it and Rachel is in the beginning stages of it. I just wish it had been presented a bit differently to begin with.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Thing of Beauty

"Former child star Fiona Hume deserted the movie biz a decade ago--right after she left rehab. She landed in Baltimore, bought a dilapidated old mansion downtown, and hatched dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece, complete with a studio for herself. She would disappear from public view and live an artist's life.

That was the plan.

Ten years later, Fiona's huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, haggled over at yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road." 

You knew I just had to pick this book up because of that description, didn't you?! Surprisingly, this book didn't turn out to be what I expected. It took me awhile to understand the book, and then at one point I really didn't like the story line because it wasn't what I expected, but the end redeemed it for me. 

Is it very believable? Not really, but it was a fun read. I'm happy that we were housebound due to the cold because I started and finished this book today. 

The beauty of the book is that it does make you stop and see things differently. See people differently. The three main characters are quite likeable and you feel a part of their world for the length of the book. A few dips in the storyline that I just never figured out (is Fiona really an escort?!) but I felt like the ending tied this little story up nicely. I look forward to picking up other books by Lisa Samson as I enjoy her writing style!  

Movie Time!

It's cold outside! What better way to get your mind off the weather than to head to the movies? Thanks to the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade you have the chance to win two tickets worth up to $10 each for any Fandango Movie Theater! Certificates will be e-mailed to you to be printed out and expire at the end of the month...so pick a good movie in January to watch! Enter below, winner will be chosen on Monday, January 12th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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