Friday, May 24, 2019

May Reads


It's time for a monthly reads post! I read 4 books this month! Well, more like 4 and 1/1000th. Haha. I've had the book Hamilton since last summer. It's no secret I adore the show Hamilton and listen to the music on a near daily basis. I figured being a fan, I should make like Lin Manuel and read the bible that started it all. But guys. This thing is a beast. It's interesting, no doubt. But it's not exactly "read in the grass on a sunny day" or "read in a Lush bath bomb scented bath" type of thing. And this, coming from a history major and from someone who already basically knows the whole story. I'm about 90 pages in and so I won't dare count it as a monthly read until it's done, but I'll be slowly chipping away at this saga for the next few months (years?).

 Ok....time for the books I DID finish this month!

Good Riddance by Eleanor Lipman: This was a super fun read. It's about a woman who inherits her mother's old yearbook (her mother was the teacher) and the mishaps and adventures that she discovers while trying to figure out the yearbook's importance. Along the way, she develops a "frenemy" relationship with a wacky neighbor, an exciting and unexpected romance, and family relationships that shift and grow. This book is an offbeat version of classic chick lit and I really enjoyed it. This would be a great one to toss in your pool bag this summer.

Maid by Stephanie Land: I read a huge chunk of this book while on jury duty. Ok, I have some thoughts on this one. This is a memoir of a single mom and her struggle to make ends meet and navigate the welfare system. I love how this book really puts you in her shoes and it's a great picture of the hardships many people have to endure. It puts the spotlight on a broken system. However, I wasn't a huge fan of the main character and at times, it felt like one sad let down after another. It's important to know this stuff, but the book was pretty slow I felt and just ended up leaving me feeling blah. There's a ton of descriptions of the nastiness of the homes she's cleaning which yes, gives you perspective on how tough her job is, but just no thanks. I liked this one, didn't love it.

Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson: This was my April Book of the Month club pick and I really enjoyed it! I love a story that spans years (think Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah), and this one follows the journey of 3 young woman as high schoolers, students at West Point, and into their lives after they graduate. It's about modern womanhood, the military, relationships, war, loss, and through it all, there's this awesome powerful story of friendship. If you liked the show Army Wives like I did (vintage Sterling K. Brown alert!), you will really enjoy this one.

Sh*tty Mom by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, MaryAnn Zoellner: This is a teeny book that showed up on my Pinterest suggestions and I picked up used on Amazon for a buck! This book is funny....in an offbeat, Chelsea Handler sort of way. It's a brutally honest look at motherhood that did have me chuckling a bit. It's written like a guidebook, but in a very cheeky way. This might be a fun gift for a friend but I think there are better books about motherhood that have a bit more sweet and a little less snark. HOWEVER, there was part about names and they said regarding Hank, "Just say no," so I'm forced to hate this book forever and ever. No wonder it was a dollar. #dontmesswithhank

2019 Books! (I put * by my most fave ones!)
1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
2. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
3. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
4. *Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
5. Happy Teachers Change The World by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare
6. The Day I Went Missing by Jennifer Miller
7. *Glow Kids by Kardaras Nicholas
8. Final Girls by Riley Sager
9. *Becoming by Michelle Obama
10. As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney
11. *The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
12. If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
13. *The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
14. Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanne Elden
15. *Regrets Only by Erin Duffy
16. *Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
17. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
18. *The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
19. *Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
20. When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson
21. *Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman
22. Maid by Stephanie Land
23. Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
24. Sh*tty Mom by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, MaryAnn Zoellner

Happy reading, friends!
Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Life Lately

Hi There! It's been a minute since I've blogged! I always forget what a whirlwind May is! But we've got that "summer on the horizon" feeling,  we celebrated the amazing moms in our life this past weekend, we've been hanging with friends, teaching super fun units at school, and I am here for it all! I decided to make this post a caption one---lots of pics, plenty of captions! Ready, set, go!
What's your mom for if not to make you take embarrassing photos? 

Trying ice cream with Grandpa

Grocery pick up---part of my weekly routine and one of the greatest inventions of the modern age


In between spring rain storms, we've been trying to get outside as much as we can! 
Sometimes Grandma and Grandpa come over to play with Hankers! And Aunt Libby too! 



The pool has been uncovered! The surest sign of summer to come! 
I got jury duty a few weeks ago! It was SUPER interesting and I'm glad I wasn't chosen (it was a 3 day trial, no thanks). I spent from 8-2 at the downtown courthouse getting in some good reading time, people watching, being part of an evacuation thanks to the fire alarm, and seeing the inside of a courtroom live and in person...not on Dateline. I made sub plans for all 5 days so I was actually glad to use them one day. Just doing my civic duty, here, folks. 

Speaking of civic duty, I was concerned about the snack situation. 

I took my class outside for a spring writing activity and they loved it. I predict more of that in our future. 

Is it even spring if you don't get a nail art mani for the occasion? 

We field tripped! My team and I (and lots of brave parents) took all 125 first graders to the Museum of Ancient Life and a park. 

Water table fun! We went to a birthday party last week and Hank loved the water table so we had to get one. 

Splish splash
I've been wanting to try this burger place called Seven Brothers in Utah County. We went with some pals after exploring Thanksgiving Point Farm Country. It did not disappoint! 

My dudes and I 

Pure Joy

Hank is almost always pointing at something. Haha. 

Exploring! 
Thanks for following along here at This Sunday Kinda Love!

Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Slow Cooker Greek Bowls

I am so excited to post this recipe for you today. This was a new one for us and we really loved it! I based this recipe on this one that I found on Pinterest and made a few tweaks, served it over rice, added Greek fixin's (can this be a thing? like taco fixings?) and it. was. so. good. Next time I might try putting it in a pita like a traditional gyro, but this bowl concept might have me sold. And bonus....this is a slow cooker recipe so it's easy peasy too.


Cast of Characters:

Beef-
-1.5 lbs. flank steak
-1/2 cup beef broth
-salt and pepper
-1 tsp. oregano
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tsp. onion powder
-Juice of half a lemon
-1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Tzatziki Sauce-
-1 container plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage 2%)
-1 tsp. minced garlic
-3 tbs. finely diced cucumbers
-1 tsp. white wine vinegar
-1 tbs. lemon juice (I used the other half from the beef)
-salt/pepper
-1 tsp. olive oil

Toppings-
-diced tomatoes
-feta cheese
-olives
-cucumbers
-red onion
-squeeze of lemon juice
-Chickpeas (we didn't add these, but afterwards, I was like OMG, you could add hummus or chickpeas too! Yes, please)
-Roasted red pepper

Cut the steak into strips and place in slow cooker with all beef ingredients for 6-8 hours on low.

When you're ready to eat, heat up some rice (Uncle Ben's microwave for us) or quinoa, add meat, Tzatziki, and toppings. Enjoy!
Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie





Sunday, April 28, 2019

Caterpillars, Crafts, and The Drop Out

As you can gather from the title of this post, this is a random one for you today! It's been a delightful spring and while we've had some wacky weather lately, there have been hints of summer in the air and I am here for it! I even wore a dress to school last week (I've been experimenting with self tanners. Send me your faves!). We're getting into some fun units in 1st grade....like flower planing and butterflies! We're reading, writing, and wrapping things up. Woohoo! We finished Charlotte's Web last week and it gets me every. time!! Hank was fascinated with the caterpillars that arrived. He loves loves loves animals. I'm looking forward to taking him to the zoo this summer.

The names they came up with were....interesting. Ten years of caterpillars and every single class has suggested the name Bob. 1st graders are my people. 


I've been getting back into my morning Boot Camp workouts and I feel so good when I get it done bright and early. My goals this week is all 5 days. Maybe if I write it here, I'll be more likely to not click that "snooze" button! 
Hank is 16 months old and the most fun little guy. He adores balls, bubbles, putting laundry in the basket, Paw Patrol, and PLANES! He is still a quesadilla man, but is also a fan of peanut butter toast, fruit snacks, green beans, and chicken nuggets. His summer clothes are adorbs (tanks and sandals....ahhhhh!) and we are ready for warmer days. 

waiting patiently for the garbage man

I tried a new Starbucks drink this week that I adored. It tastes like a cinnamon cookie. Order: a grande cold brew, light cream, 1 pump cinnamon, and 1 pump white mocha. A heavenly way to get that morning pick me up. 

Speaking of things I'm into, I saw a 20/20 episode about Elizabeth Holmes and her "company" Theranos and I was so fascinated. This podcast, The Drop Out, by ABC News, is so well done. It's only 6 episodes and I am almost finished. She's not very likable, but Elizabeth's ability to create a sham medical tech company is mind blowing. 

I made this cute sign at a craft activity with some friends. I think it turned out pretty cute! 

Finally, I wanted to reach out to you, the readers, to see what type of content you'd like to see more of: beauty, fashion, cute Hank pictures, our healing journey after loss, recipes, books, life lately? Let ya girl know! 

I hope everyone is having a lovely spring! 
Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

April Reads

It's time for another edition of monthly reads! To see all my book posts from 2019, click HERE. To see all my book posts EVER, click HERE. This month was a great one for books and my "to read" stack is growing by the day! Thank goodness it's almost summer!

I read 5 books this month. Let's get to it!



1. The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell: This book is a great thriller about a neighborhood that's a bit Stepford-ish and the secrets that are revealed when one of the neighborhood girls goes missing. It's not a happy book and the ending is a bit odd, but I could not put this one down. I loved reading about the suspicious characters and trying to discover what they might be hiding. Lisa Jewell reminds me a lot of Liane Moriarty in that they both masterfully get in the head of the women they write about and dive deep. This would be a juicy pool-side read.

2. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella: I love Sophie Kinsella books and this one is just her style: a charming protagonist, a cute love story, funny mishaps, and memorable characters. I kept thinking what a cute movie this would make. This one is over 450 pages, though! I read this one for the bulk of the month (my other reads were super fast ones). It's cute and fun, but a bit too long for a book of its nature.

3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz: This book. Guys. I read it in less than 48 hours because it's so good, so gripping, so horrifying, so well done. I don't usually read such heavy stuff but I had heard great things and knew I needed to read it. This is a love story at heart, and a true story, about 2 prisoners in Auschwitz and their time in the camp and how they find each other again. It's intense and some parts are tough to get through emotionally but it's so good. I have visited 2 concentration camps and I could not get those experiences out of my mind as I read. Pick this book up, you won't regret it.

4. Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott: This was another book that I had a hard time putting down! This is a thriller of sorts about 2 young women who met in high school, shared some dark secrets with each other, then meet up again as up and coming scientists in a lab that researches mental disorders in women. It's twisty, suspenseful, violent, and really kept me on the edge of my seat. I read this one over spring break and loved it.

5. When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson: This book is a memoir about a woman in the midst of raising 3 kids. Is there anything particularly unique or profound about her experiences? Nope. But this book is cute, relatable, laugh out loud funny, and a fun tribute to motherhood. This book is told in little vignettes that read sort of like blog posts. This would be a fun gift for a new mom.

And those are my April reads! I hope you are enjoying getting lost in a good read!
Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Break in Boise

It's spring break and the living is easy! So you know how I whined and complained about spring break being so late this year? (Well, I did). But, now I'm super thankful for that because spring break is always the perfect preview for summer time and summer break is now just 6 short weeks away! We spent the first couple days of break taking it easy and now we're getting some long overdue to do's completed and shopping and prepping for Easter brunch on Sunday. But earlier this week we hit the road for a 2 night stay in Boise. It was a fun little getaway and so great to visit with AJ's parents. So why Boise? Well, the first year after we got married we met AJ's parents there on a weekend. They live about 6 hours from there and we live about 5 so it's the perfect meeting spot in the middle. It's a cute town and allows all of us to have a visit with one another, not have to make the 11 hour trek, and it's a fun little city! (AJ and I visited ourselves for a concert a few years back. Click HERE to read about it).

For Christmas this year we gifted AJ's family a stay at this cute Airbnb in Boise. It was our first ever Airbnb experience and I was a fan! The cottage was super cute and in a great location for us to walk to places or just be a short drive away. It allowed us all to be together but we also had the privacy of 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It was nice having the kitchen there too. It worked out well because AJ's mom and dad have a high chair and a pack and play for Hank so we had everything we needed. I'm not sure I'd stay in one if it was just AJ and I with Hank because hotels offer mini cribs, but for this ocassion, the Airbnb was perfect. I'd definitely stay there again.


We arrived on Monday afternoon and met up at the house and then headed downtown for lunch at the Boise Fry Company and to walk around.
These were so yummy! I went with homestyle red. 

Hank loves to "cheers." 

 Hank was EXHAUSTED by the afternoon, so we went back to the house and he napped while AJ and I walked to the cute Hyde Park area. We ended up walking for nearly 2 hours! There's some fun shops around there and some gorgeous homes. We stopped for coffees and arrived home just in time to beat the rain.



Hank got this cute bubble toy (among many other things) from his grandparents and had a blast playing with it! 

We relaxed that night, hung out, and picked up a pizza for dinner. We watched a little Netflix, then bedtime for all of us. The next morning, we headed to a place called Kid Planet, an indoor play place that had a toddler area for Hank to explore. He loved it! And we loved that the under 2 kiddos had their own area to play in.


 After Kid Planet, we stopped for lunch at a Mac and Cheese restaurant. I used Yelp so much on this trip and it led us here. It was yummy!


 Hank went back for a nap with the grandparents and AJ and I headed out to go to a few stores (and yours truly wanted to hit up Costco for some Kirkland wine. Ha!) and to have a little date afternoon. I love hanging with my guy (especially when Hankers gets in a good nap at the same time!).

This drink is called the Bowl of Soul from the coffee shop Java. It is a Mexican hot chocolate mocha (think cinnamon-y rich chocolate coffee flavor. I LOVE it). 
When we arrived back to the house, Hank was playing outside and the weather was beautiful! I pulled out our picnic blanket and read outside for about an hour. It was bliss! We relaxed and AJ and I even ended up taking a snooze (yay for grandparents, lol!).
The book I'm reading was INTENSE....look out for my April book review soon 

Staying at a house meant this little dude had plenty of places to explore and room to roam 
I used Yelp again to find a Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was a hit! But the best part was the connection Hank had with the waitress. Haha. Hank is a charmer and a flirt, and I can't quite tell who liked who more!
true love

After dinner we drove around and found this beautiful park. It was getting close to Hank's bedtime but we decided to return the next morning to let Hank run a bit before our drive home. We played at the park Wednesday morning then hit the road. We arrived home that evening and we still have some blissful days off together. Amen. 
Selfies are hard


I recently discovered portrait mode #obsessed 
 We had so much fun with AJ's family in Boise! This might have to be an annual thing!


Savor Your Sparkle,
Leslie