I love reading, and even though there is nothing like reading a physical book with pages, sometimes life is too busy and I still want to read. That is why I love audio books so much! I can utilize my time, mostly when I drive in the car, fold laundry, or take a bath, I get to listen to a book!
Back to my book review.
Where’d You Go Bernadette was a fun read (well, listen). I liked the story and how it wrapped up at the end especially.
The story surrounded the main character Bernadette Fox and all of her quirky attributes. She seems like a really uppity person to most of the onlookers in the story, but as it evolves and you learn more about her you begin to understand her and even empathize with her. She has a daughter Bee, who also has a really interesting backstory that is revealed, and Microsoft genius husband Elgin. The story takes place in Seattle where they relocated from California. Bernadette’s life was certainly not how she planned it to be, and as the story progresses you learn more and more about her and why she chooses to seclude herself.
I really enjoyed listening and hearing all of her remarks she made about being around people and what other school moms were like. It makes you laugh out loud a little… well, I laughed out loud a lot. There were lots of funny moments, and interesting twists.
Eventually, this is not a real spoiler, she goes missing ( I mean, Where’d You Go IS in the title) and I loved finding out how that was all going to unfold.
I feel like I kept guessing the whole time, and kind of like that when I listen to or read books.
It was a really cute story about family, personal struggles, and how we change as life moves along.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely will be watching the movie! Here is a clip of the trailer. Cate Blanchett is the perfect person to play Bernadette!
Check out this fun read on Audible or get it in physical form
Parenting is complicated, the roads it takes us on are never straight, the journey is relentless, and sometimes (lets be honest, most times) we don’t see an end in sight that is comforting.
After momming for nearly a decade, I can safely say with complete certainty that parenting will be the hardest battle I ever fight. There will be days when there is great joy, huge sorrow, tears, laughter, doors slamming, hurt feelings, timeouts, and lots of other emotions as this life we live changes with our phases of life.
I wanted to talk about an analogy that I heard that blew my mind a little bit. It hit home for several reasons, one of them being that we are a farming family, and the other just the simple fact that I am a mom who works tirelessly for her children; like all moms!
So here is the big mind-blowing analogy- the pistachio tree. Thats right, a pistachio tree. When you are a farmer, you are aware of all sorts of scenarios that affect your bottom line and being “profitable” like any other business. I can relate to this because, this our life. So as I sat and listened to this analogy it made total sense to me because we are literalfarmers.
Lets imagine you go from being an almond farmer (and we are almond growers) to growing pistachios.
When you grow pistachios, you hopefully are aware that this is not a typical crop that yields harvestable nuts like new almonds do in a matter or 2-3 years. Pistachio trees are harvestable in about 7-10 years, thats quite a bit longer!
If you were once a farmer, who saw almost immediate fruits of your labor and now switch gears to now having to wait 7 years longer than expected, if you’re not prepared, or have unrealistic expectations this could be catastrophic!
You will have to PLAN to be patient, persistent, and diligent about your crop year after year, after year, after year, and still you may start to feel impatient, or discouraged. It will take constant work to maintain the new crop you planted to not see any nuts for almost a decade! That is some hard work and determination!
If you are farming with expectations of almond trees while farming your pistachios you may give up completely, or go bankrupt if you didn’t prepare well in advance.
Don’t compare your pistachios to your former almond crop, because you will be disappointed. Even though they are both trees, they have completely different maturity rates.
Parenting is like the pistachio farmer. You work diligently, tirelessly, day in and day out, and while you may EXPECT to see fruits of your labor, you may have a pistachio child not yielding any visible fruit. Heck you may have several pistachio children!
We need to realize that this may be a season that we are in that DOESN’T yield any fruit. It may take YEARS of our quiet maintenance to our children, which are like the pistachio farmer’s crop, before we ever feel like we see the true fruits of our labor.
Even though we may not SEE anything remarkable happening, changes are happening behind the scenes. Just like a tree growing, roots are taking hold underground in the dark quiet places that we will never see. Roots that will make the tree strong, and one day fruitful.
Yet we still persevere. We show up. We tend to our crop, we stand back and admire its beauty, its imperfectness. One day God willing, we will admire a beautiful tree, a tree full of good fruit, and we can breathe easy knowing that our labor and prayers didn’t go unnoticed or unanswered.
In different seasons of our live, we will feel like the new pistachio farmer who worked and worked to grow a healthy crop. We may feel discouraged, upset, tired and want to give up. If we didn’t have faith that we would one day see the fruits of our labor in tangible and intangible ways we would surely crumble.
I’m so thankful for that analogy, it opened my eyes to the season of life that we are in. I need to not think of my children as an almond trees, when they may actually be a pistachio tree quietly growing and taking root as we pour into them.
John 20:29 ESV “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I read a whole spectrum of books, it keeps life interesting.
I just finished Hidden Bodies, which is the sequel to the Book and Netflix series YOU.
If you love a good suspenseful psycho-thriller book/ show then you need to give the book and show a shot. (Assuming you haven’t already).
If you have not read or watched it, don’t read on if you’re touchy about spoilers.
Hidden bodies picks up where the show leaves off, and follows Joe Goldberg on his interesting life after Beck. As Joe tries to move on from Beck, he finds himself in a new relationship, that fell into his lap.
He has a new love in his life Amy, who shocked me somewhat with her role in the book. Read to see how that all goes!
He finds himself, in L.A. instead of New York and that was a location change I didn’t see coming.
Now, in Hollywood Joe leads a totally different life from his east coast New York vibe. He meets typical California people who are struggling/ aspiring actors and uber rich people. He befriends the most unlikely people and you see his character changing and yet remaining the same all at once.
This book has all sorts of twists and turns and takes you places you didn’t see coming.
I love Hidden Bodies’ contrast to YOU as well as the familiar scenarios Joe finds himself.
Chapters 48 until the end are REAL game changers. I won’t divulge any spoilers, but it literally kept me on the edge of my seat and makes you root for Joe.
Its bizarre when you watch a show or read a book from a serial killer’s perspective (I’m reminded of Dexter), and those main characters are somewhat “normal” people. You find yourself rooting for that them in spite of their crimes! Even though Joe has his flaws, you kind of want life to work out for him, but the possibility of him being caught for his previous crimes is suspenseful and exciting. You feel a little bit like you are rooting for two teams, good and bad and somehow it all makes sense.
Anyway, I really can’t summarize this book without giving away the cool aspects of it. I would hate to make it unreadable for anyone.
So give it a shot, Its totally addicting. I hear that Caroline Kepnes is writing a third book about Joe Goldberg, but that one is not out yet. So stay tuned and let me know if you read this, or have read it and if you love it too!
Reading has been one of my passions, for as long as I can remember.
Becoming a mom, ultimately put that hobby on the back-burner for a little while. Busy with naps, diapers, and making sure my house didn’t look like a disaster zone filled most of my time.
One of my “goals” for 2019 was to get back to what brings me joy, one of those things is reading!
What I plan on doing, is sharing my book reviews here!
I will give you my thoughts on a book I just read and I’d love for you to let me know if you have read it or what you like to read in the comments section. I’m always looking for new books to read!
I want to start off by saying that Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors, I have read all but a couple of his books. I picked up Nicholas Spark’s See Me at our local library (yes I’m old school like that sometimes) and realized this was where I was going to pickup my reading hobby I missed so much.
This book, like all of Nicholas Spark’s books was FANTASTIC. I seriously couldn’t put it down!
It satisfied all the elements on my usual checklist and had suspense, mystery, a little bit of romance.
The main character Colin has a chance meeting with a girl named Maria. They are both from totally different backgrounds and cultures and yet they are still drawn together. This isn’t your typical romance story. Yes, opposites often attract, but it turned out to be so much more! This story, follows Colin’s life as he moves forward from his checkered past. He constantly tries to keep old habits at bay while striving to change his life. From being sent off to military school, being arrested, to living in his old friend’s attached apartment, to being in college, and pursuing his hobby of MMA fighting. He is a character you grow to love as his story unfolds.
Maria is from an immigrant background, as the eldest daughter of a hardworking family who values their family and hard work. She becomes a lawyer and realizes it may not be all that she expected it to be. Her life (like so many of us) is not what she pictured it would be like. She was a workaholic, and often found herself preferring to be alone rather than out meeting other people or having a social life like other 28 year old women.
Colin was hardly her type, and yet she found herself appreciating his honesty as he admits his past openly to her. She was intrigued and couldn’t put her finger on exactly what or why she was interested in him at all.
As the story goes on, you will see, she was lucky she gave him a chance and that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Colin, as much as she didn’t think was possible, saved her in ways she didn’t think she would ever need. Maria ultimately does the same for him.
There comes a twist you don’t see coming, where everyone and everything Maria loves is in jeopardy, even her own life. It gets so suspenseful and leaves you turning the pages and guessing what will happen until the very end!
This story is so great! I hope that this is made into a movie, because it would seriously be a great one! Lets face it, most of Nicholas Spark’s books ARE made into movies and this will be epic if it does get made.
I highly recommend this book, and you have to check it out whether its on audio book, or in physical form.
If you have read this let me know, or any other books you love tell me in the comment section below.
Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, if you are looking for a cute gift to make someone, or just would like to make something cute for your home- this is the post for you!!
I was inspired by this blog, and got to thinking about what I wanted the blocks to have as background text paper- and the bible came to mind. Love, to me isn’t just love between a couple; its about God’s love for us. So I thought it would be SO cool, to use scriptures from the bible that talked about love!! Before anyone hyperventilates, I did NOT use an actual bible. I typed out the verses I liked, and then formatted it to fit my blocks and aged the paper! (no bibles were harmed in the making of these blocks)
You could always use book pages, newspaper etc. if you don’t necessarily care about what is printed on the background of the blocks too.
Here is how you do this & what you will need:
– 4 blocks that have been sanded, and cut to be 4″ squares. I used a 2×4
– paper for your background, you can use my scriptures if you want ->Love Blocks
– mod podge, glossy or matte and foam brush
– tea bag steeped in water (if you want to age printed paper)
– fine tip black sharpie, red and black regular point sharpie
1. If you are printing paper (not using book paper) print that out and age it if you want with tea bags. You steep a tea bag in water for a few minutes for it to get to a darker color, then take the tea bag out of the water and lightly rub it over the pages so the color transfers onto the sheets of paper.
2. You are going to take a thin layer of mod podge and cover the front of your block, and place and smooth out your first sheet of paper. Leave it to dry face down and stack them so they will adhere well.
3. Once dry, you can sand the excess edges of the paper off to get a distressed look to the blocks. Its ok for it to have an uneven texture and look messy.
and after they will look like this
4. NOW, you have a choice. You can either trace the letters on if you want with a sharpie (by a stencil, freehand if you’re that gifted, or by printing if off of your computer and using an exacto knife to cut out the letters and be left with a stencil letter to use on the blocks) or you can use a cricut, silhouette or any other kind of crazy vinyl device I may not know about to adhere your letters onto the blocks.
I chose to trace my letters on, so I took the fine tipped sharpie and outlined the letters, and then filled them in with the thicker (regular point) sharpie.
5. If you want to leave them natural, go right ahead and your done! If you want to seal the blocks go ahead and put another layer of mod podge over all of the sides of the blocks. I did this in a gloss finish and it didnt distract or take away from the distressed look of the blocks, and I know they are all sealed and will last a long time.
I loved the result- and the
I loved the result- and the possibilities of how you can make these your own! Stack them to have a cute effect as well.
Now, every time I look at these I am
Now, every time I look at these I am reminded of His love. Its perfect!
One of the things I love about home decor and design, is that you can always change it up.
I don’t mean collect frivolous clutter, but repurpose and reuse things in different ways or places in your home for your needs as they change.
Our entry way was one of my favorite things to change.
For my family, it serves as a hub for shoes as we enter and exit the home. We don’t wear shoes in the house, so it’s a good way to store them and grab them as we leave.
With that being said, I had gotten this bench from Kirkland’s on sale to replace the console table that was calling me. Truly, is serves a better purpose then the console table which was in a totally different place in our old house before we remodeled and moved to the farm. This table was moved into our master bedroom, I of course chalk painted it to match the dressers and end table. So I didn’t waste it! I’ll link the post that’s coming with how that looks there and how I painted it when I write it.
It ended up leaving me with the dilemma that my faux boxwoods had less room in the space. The plastic pots I had gotten from Amazon didn’t fit anymore.
So I removed the pots and was left with an exposed black base, it was clearly not decorative. That may not bother some people, it wasn’t exactly hideous but I didn’t like seeing the exposed black pot that was really meant to be covered.
I was at Hobby Lobby, and got some burlap fabric that was on sale, it literally cost me under $5. We cut it in half, gathered it up around the base and tied it with twine we had here and voila- fancy and easy!
2C raw cashews or nut of your choice (omit if just making seasoning)
1T Avocado Oil
1 1/2T of seasoning mix (directions below) for cashews
Seasoning Mix Ingredients:
2T dried parsley
2T dried chives
1T dill weed
1T garlic powder
1T onion flakes
1T celery salt
Mix well and store in airtight container
To use seasoning with nuts, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put cashews in large bowl, drizzle with avocado oil, and sprinkle seasoning mix (1 1/2T) and mix well.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper
Place cashews on baking sheet and spread out evenly.
Bake for 8 minutes.
Bake for another 8 minutes. Watch them closely to make sure they don’t burn. If they are getting too brown, remove early from oven.
Remove and allow to cool. Store in airtight container.
Melt 1T or so of butter, then make or pop a bag of popcorn. Drizzle butter over to coat the freshly popped popcorn, and then add about 1T (or to taste) of seasoning mix to the popcorn and toss. This is SO delicious!
One of my favorite things to do is refinish furniture.
Its oddly therapeutic, and at the end of my projects I step back and just smile when I see a piece transform.
I’m 1000% an Annie Sloan Chalk Paintenthusiast, its the easiest way to refinish anything, but there are times when its not ideal to use it. This project was one of those cases.
I took the job of refinishing this table and chair set, her request was to have the base and chairs repainted black. It started out originally as an oak table and chair set, it had such good bones, it was an old Thomasville set and really would look nice. Annie Sloan does make a graphite color similar to black, but if you are going for true deep dark black, its not really right (even with using their black wax). That was reason 1 that I couldn’t use Annie Sloan, reason 2 was the condition it was in. The best part about Annie Sloan is that there is no prep involved. You can literally paint over finishes without having to sand or strip. This table though, it had been repainted years before. with good ol’ primer and latex paint. It was peeling, chipping, uneven in its application and was just not something you could paint over.
With that being said, I had to strip all 8 chairs, two leaves, 4 legs, base and top of this table set. It was NOT ideal. Stripping furniture is a real pain, and that’s putting it lightly. So, if you find yourself in. The same situation, with an old piece with uneven latex paint that you want to refinish, here is what you do.
Step 1: STRIP IT.
At first, I tried to just sand this without having to strip it. This did not go quickly, and I knew that I would have to remove the paint, just sanding would not be an option.
Use the strongest one you can find. I wasted SO much time trying to use a greener stripping product, called Citristrip. I then tried KLEANSTRIP and it was SO much better. Still lots of work, but much better.
Follow the directions on the product, and chip away it it. You will alternate between applying the stripper, and scraping it off with a putty knife. This takes forever, no joke. On flat surfaces like the table top, its quick, but on chair legs with nooks and crannies, its a nightmare. Just keep chipping away at it and eventually you will get it all off and you can move on to Step 2, Sanding.
Step 2: SAND.
Once you have all the paint off, you will no doubt have an uneven finish, its inevitable. Take your palm sander, or if you’re a superhero, regular sandpaper and use elbow grease and sand your whole piece until you get a smooth even finish.
Step 3: PAINT.
Depending on what you choose to paint with, paint your piece. In my case, I wanted an even application, and at this point, I had spent well over 60 hours stripping and sanding this project. I didn’t have it in me to hand paint anything!
If you wanted to use Annie Sloan, this would be the point you could. Like I said, graphite wasn’t dark enough, so I wasn’t able to use chalk paint. I don’t think I could have hand painted it though, I was so sore, tired, and just irritated. I estimated this taking 12 hours (I hadn’t seen the table) and was way past that.
** This is sort of a step in itself, but its not totally necessary, you could paint your whole piece one color. It was requested that the top of the table be stained a dark color. So I took my General Finishes gel stain(my fave) in Java and wiped two coats on, letting it dry each time between coats. I used a glossyfinish poly on top.
Step 4: SEAL.
I wanted to be totally sure this finish would be protected, so I tookmy wipe on poly in satin finish, and wiped all of the chair legs, table top, and sides down and it was finally done!!
After I was done, my faith in chalk paint was renewed. This was SOOOO much more work than (ideally being able to) just painting over a finish, and waxing it to seal. If I had to choose, I’d choose chalk paint any day. Like I said though, this wasn’t an option for this project.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope this gives you insight HOW TO PROCEED with it.
Over the years, we have had some pretty cute traditions with the boys around Thanksgiving.
While you have small kiddos there is only so much you can do to capture their attention or even help them comprehend the certain holiday or its meaning.
Nevertheless, I still try to do fun things that they will hopefully look back on and remember and look forward to each year.
In years past we have done thankful leaves, where I ask the boys what they are thankful for, I write it down (and now they can write themselves) on a leaf cut out on construction paper and I display it. When we are all done, you step back and see how many things you are thankful for and its so cool. You can add to it and add new things daily, or when you are reminded just keep adding to your leaves. Display them in fun ways, in a big mason jar attached to twigs and hole punched and either tied with twine or slipped onto the branches. Tape them to the wall, make garland out of all of the leaves, there are endless possibilities.
I wanted to reinvent this tradition this year, and I came across EXACTLY what I was envisioning in my head from a Pier1 post on Pinterest- totally meant to be. I have a vase that is basically EXACTLY like their picture too- winning!!
I want to SAVE the leaves, and use the centerpiece year after year, and then look at the leaves from years past. Seeing what we all said we were thankful for that year, recognizing the kiddos handwriting as it improves and it will totally warm my heart. So I’m going to cut out this printable and I will bring back the leaf tradition in a more design friendly way each year. So fun!
The other fun thing we did was cut out these cute turkeys from pinterest.
I let the boys cut the printable out and use glue sticks and attach all the pieces. I saved these for years (and still have them) and put them on their doors as thanksgiving approached.
We have made Turkey hats out of construction paper.
I have used from of course, Target, a coloring table cloth for them to draw on.
Its really all about getting them excited for the holiday and lets face it, OCCUPYING them while you are in the kitchen. Don’t make it complicated, seriously just go through the Dollar Spot at Target and grab something fun, these little simple moments are what make it fun. You will look back and laugh at the fun things you did in the midst of basting your turkey and throwing dishes in the oven.
Hopefully this gives you some ideas for Thanksgiving this week and you make some special memories together. If you missed the Thanksgiving recipes post, and need some ideas you can see that here.
Thanksgiving is less than one week away! I can hardly believe it!
Its one of my favorite holidays, because I look forward to preparing family favorites each year. The thanksgiving meal is seriously such a special thing for me.
With that being said, I wanted to share the tried and true recipes we have used and have grown to love and look forward to!
I’ll be sharing our Herb Roasted Turkey, Fresh Green Beans, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Rosemary Rolls, and Pumpkin Pie recipes with you!
Remove the legs, thighs, and wings from the turkey, or cook with them- and just adjust your cooking time for a standard turkey with all parts.
In a bowl, stir together the oil, rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic powder, chile powder, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.
Insert your hard under the skin of the breast and gently separate the skin from the muscle, and then put a spoonful of the herb oil inside and rub it around. This really makes the flavor of the turkey amazing!
Spoon the remaining oil on the outside of the turkey.
Pour the broth into the bottom of your roasting pan (and set the turkey on a wire rack).
Roast the turkey for 55-60 minutes.
INCREASE the temperature to 450 degrees F and cook until the skin of the turkey is browned and your inserted thermometer reads at least 165 degrees F when inserted in the thickest part of the turkey, about 15-20 minutes.
Let the turkety rest for 15 minutes before carving so the temperature of the turkey rises to 180 degrees F.
** Adjust the cooking time if you decided to opt out of using just the breast and you cook the whole turkey. I’ve done this recipe both ways. Its delicious every time!
Snap the ends off of the green beans or cut them off in a bunch
Melt the bacon grease in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook for a minute. Then add the green beans and cook for a minute until they turn bright green.
Add chicken broth, chopped bell pepper, salt & pepper. Turn heat to low and cover. Leave the lid cracked, and cook for 20-30 minutes or until liquid evaporates and beans are fairly soft, yet still a bit crisp.
You can add more chicken broth during the cooking process, let it cook all the way and let the onions caramelize.
We usually double this recipe as well. I’ve used russet and yukon gold potatoes, both turn out well.
2 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth or Swanson® Organic Chicken Broth or Swanson® Natural Goodness® Chicken Broth
2 1/2 pounds potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons butter
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (about 3 tablespoons)
Heat the broth and potatoes in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Do not drain.
Mash the potato mixture with the light cream, sour cream, chives, butter and 2 tablespoons bacon. Season to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining bacon.
Ever watch the FRIENDS episode about the cookies? Turns out Pheobe’s grandma’s cookie recipe was off of the back of the nestle tollhouse package— well this is the same. This is straight off of the can of Libby’s and my mom has made it for as long as I can remember. Its delicious! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)
There is no recipe needed for this, just a really cool Thanksgiving hack for you!
Use whatever rolls you have, whether its frozen or fresh, and put some melted butter on top of each roll and sprinkle some chopped fresh rosemary over them (you should have left over if you used the herb turkey recipe) and put them in the oven to warm! If you are using frozen rolls, cook them according to the package instructions and then when they are done, or almost done remove them add butter and rosemary and pop them back in to warm and you will have amazing artisan tasting bread. We all loved it when I did this last year! It made the rolls taste SOO fancy!
I hope you try some of these recipes and that you have a Happy Thanksgiving!