Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February Reads

Who else feels like February flew by?? I can't believe we are 2 months into 2020! My TBR pile is HUGE and I think I need a week on a tropical island with a mai tai and a stack of books...who's with me?
Photo by Penguin Publishing
This month I listened to books 2 and 3 in the Harry Potter series and then read 3 more. Let's take a look!

1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: I enjoyed this book but not as much as the first one where I got to learn all about the world of Hogwarts. I really enjoy the characters and watched the movie of this book just this past week. The narrator, Jim Dale, is outstanding! He makes my car rides super entertaining.

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Of all of the Harry Potters I've listened to so far, this one is my favorite. I loved the storyline with Sirius Black and am so looking forward to how the series will progress and conclude. I am a bit curious about how long it will take me to listen to the rest of the series since apparently book 4 is on SEVENTEEN discs. Road trip, anyone?!
3. Finding Chika by Mitch Albom: This is the first book I've ever read that made me cry multiple times. This one is a TOUGH read. You find out on the first page the tragic ending and my heart broke over and over as I read. This is the true story of Mitch Albom and his wife who end up adopting a daughter, Chika, from Haiti (where they run an orphanage) and bring her to America to receive medical treatment. This book is about parenting, privilege, the medical system, and more. Maybe it's because I teach students Chika's age, or mostly probably because I have had to bury a child, this book tore me apart. It's beautiful, really, but it was really emotional for me. That said, I have read every Mitch Albom book (The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is one of my all time favorite books)  and have loved them all. It was super refreshing to learn more about him and his passions. Verdict? Beautiful and messy (and honestly, an important read. It raises essential questions about the value of every life)  and if you want your heartstrings pulled, pick it up. But buy the Costco-sized Kleenix pack if you do.

4. The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James: This was my January Book of the Month Club pick.This is a shifting point of view ghost story/thriller. The Sundown Motel is a shady place where many women went missing in the '70's. Carly is a modern day young woman who returns to the motel to investigate once she learns her aunt was one of those missing women. This book was very suspenseful. I especially loved the way it ended and ya'll know I love a good twist. It was good but not AMAZING....I feel like it felt a bit slow at times.

5. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan: This was one of the longer books I've read recently (about 500 pages) and it was by no means a quick read. However, I really enjoyed this book and love it even more knowing it's based on a true story. This book follows the story of Pino Lella, a young Italian man who joins the Nazis as a spy for the Italian resistance. I had no idea the impact the Nazis had on Italy and this book was super fascinating. Some parts were hard to read due to the violent nature and graphic descriptions. However, this is also a love story so it's not all war and violence. One of my favorite parts of this book was the author's note at the end about where all of the characters ended up. If you're looking for a historical saga that really takes you to a different (and tough) time and place, pick up this incredible true story of courage and bravery.

What are your fave reads this year so far?
Savor Your Sparkle,

Here are my 2020 Books so far with stars by my faves---
1. The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg
2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
3. *Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
4. Over the Top by Jonathan VanNess
5. *Teach Like Finland by Timothy D. Walker
6. The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
7. *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
9. *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
10. Finding Chika by Mitch Albom
11. The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James
12. *Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Sunday, February 23, 2020

This & That

Hey there! It's been a hot minute since I've blogged. Remember THIS post about living in the now? Well, I've been busy living and loving life! But I do always love checking in on the blog and documenting what we've been up to for memory's sake.  I have lots of pictures and randomness for you today.

This school year is flying by! We have spring conferences in just a few weeks and we already celebrated the 100th Day of School. I've had fun lately getting my spring lessons ready and also panicking a bit about squeezing everything in before the end of the year!
being 100 on the 100th day!

candy heart graphing....a classic! 

Hank started swim lessons and it's been so fun experiencing something new with him. We visited the Museum of Ancient Life (or as Hank calls it, "Dino Mooseem") and had fun there.

 We are enjoying getting even more settled into our new house. We have a backsplash installation scheduled for this spring (after an instagram story poll, I decided to go with a professional instead of tackling it on my own!) and we are excited to get our yard put in as the days get warmer. I just love the views from our area and am so thankful to have more space!!!

How fun is this toilet paper holder my talented Father in Law made? I love it! 
Remember when I used to be a morning gym person? Ugh, guys. I've hit a roadblock of being so unmotivated at the gym. I joined a hot yoga type studio but since it won't open for a few weeks, I joined the local rec center. I enjoy walking on the track and lifting weights, but I need a little omph to my workouts. I am going to try and get back in the habit of becoming a morning gym person...maybe with it getting lighter sooner it'll help?? 

I am totally invested in this season of The Bachelor and am rooting for Madison....for Bachelorette! I love some good reality TV (I'm also enjoying Sister Wives this season) 

I have 2 other totally random things to share with you. First, I get really really really terrible bloody noses. It started a few years ago and after visiting an Ear Nose and Throat doctor last year, he determined it was most likely dry air. They went away for a while but returned with a vengeance recently. After doing some reading and chatting with friends, I decided to try a 2 part prevention routine. One, I put aquaphor ointment in my nose abour 4 times a day and two, I sleep with a cool mist humidifier. So far, it seems to be working! I only had one bloody nose last week. I really hated the old humidifier we had because it made our bedroom feel like the Amazon. This cool mist one though is perfect and actually feels almost like a little fan. Just passing it along in case you, like me, had no idea they made cool humidifers. You learn something new everyday!

The other random thing, is this cute Teddy Toast I saw on Pinterest and made for Hank and I. Isn't it fun? He's taken a real interest in cooking and it takes some flexibility for my Type-A mindset, but it's fun (mostly) having a little helper in the kitchen. 

Have a great week ahead....I'm off to relax with some popcorn (yes, with some red vine nibs!) and a magazine. AMEN! 

Look out for my February Reads post coming this week!!

Savor Your Sparkle,

Sunday, February 9, 2020

What I'm Loving Lately

It's here---another edition of What I'm Loving Lately! I truly believe there are so many benefits to practicing gratitude regularly and I love sharing part of my gratitude practice here on This Sunday Kinda Love for you!

 -Rothys--I have been wanting a pair of Rothys for a sweet forever. My awesome mother in law, who gifted me my beloved Tieks flats, knew this and got me a Rothys gift card for Christmas. I've been browsing their website for a style and print I wanted to commit to, and I decided on the merino wool camel stripe flat! I am in love. They are just as comfy as Tieks and the super cool part? They are made from recycled water bottles. I love them!

photo from Trip Advisor
-Indian Food--I got into Indian food a few years ago and AJ and I were so delighted to discover an awesome new Indian place by us. It's called Saffron Circle. That's where we first tried our new favorite dish: Chicken 65 (spicy crispy bites of goodness). I swiped a take out menu last time we were there and it's nice to know on a chilly weeknight when the to do's are piling up, some delicious naan and flavorful eats are just a short drive away.

-TV---I feel like all my shows are back and I've been enjoying a steady diet of The Bachelor, The Good Doctor, I am Jazz, Sister Wives, This is Us, Shark Tank, Dateline, Superstore, and more. I also finished You seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix (crazy!) and have started Cheer. I am thinking of diving into The Good Place next. Worth it? Oh, and of course, Miss Americana (Taylor Swift's documentary) was amazing!

-Teacher Pinspiration--This fall was so busy at school....Getting used to updated benchmarks, a new set of kiddos, craziness at home like moving etc, I found myself reaching back into my old files and lesson plans again and again and that can get boring. I've been making more of an effort the last few weeks to update some things, find some new games and activities, and increasing the amount of time my kids do hands on tasks. Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers are life savers! How did we ever teach without them?!

disclaimer: not me, lol 
-After Shower Wrap: Can we chat for a sec about a legit issue? What the heck do you wear between hopping out of the shower and getting dressed for the day? Some people might say, uhh, nothing, but Sometimes I like to go downstairs, grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee....and I mean, clothing is preferred. I'll usually put on a robe, or even a t shirt and pj pants. Enter the terry cloth shower wrap that I discovered at Target (where else?). It only cost $7 and it's the perfect thing to put on while I blow dry my hair, put on makeup, or sip some coffee and check my email after the shower. It's the little things, right?

-Alexa: Our new house came with some tech features like a "smart" doorbell, security features, etc. Part of that included an Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. Even though I'm still not convinced we aren't being listened to by the CIA or something, I've actually really started to like having it! We don't have it set up to turn on lights or anything like that, but I asked on my Instagram stories what people use Alexa most for and lots of people said timers and music. I've been loving the music! Hank has already figured out, "Alexa, play Frozen" or "Alexa, play Baby Shark." I love asking for Jazz or Mumford and Sons mainly. AJ likes asking it for sports scores. I'm not sure I'd have guessed how much we'd actually use it.

-Toddlerhood: What is there to say really? I am enjoying having actual conversations with Hank, listening to the new phrases and words he learns, reading books, coloring and playing outside. Two year olds are basically small opinionated tornadoes. One minute Hank's hanging from the bathroom sink, dumping out blocks, and stepping on Goldfish crackers, and the next minute he plants a big kiss on me and says earnestly, "Wuv you, mommy." He's no longer a baby but a busy active, kid with a sweet heart and a gleam of mischief in his eye. It's beautiful and exhausting and I'm really loving it lately.

Have a super happy week and remember,
Savor Your Sparkle,

Monday, February 3, 2020

Life Lately

Hi There,
     I'm here with a life lately post for ya!  It's an unexpected snow day!!!! The weather reports were predicting a heavy Sunday night storm but when we went to bed at around 10:00 and there was no white stuff on the ground, I had sort of given up hope for the snow day I was wishing for. We woke up at 4:45 to take Hank to my parents' house and then carpool to school since the weather was pretty yucky. THEN, en route, we learned there was a 2 hour delay. Yay! We visited with my parents for a bit then AJ and I headed off to Starbucks to hang out for a while before we went into school and then surprise! 2 sips into my butterscotch latte, I logged onto Facebook and saw school was cancelled! So we picked up our little man, came home and put on sweats, and we've been lounging, reading and napping ever since. Hank and AJ are snuggled up watching A Bug's Life, so I thought it'd be a perfect time to update the blog. I have lots of pics for you!
I just love this pic of my little man. He loves his little H plastic mug, thanks Target! 

We've been enjoying settling into our new house! It's so fun decorating and getting it all put together. We hosted our first gathering here last night for Super Bowl. We had 4 families over and we did a taco bar. We also enjoyed a date night on Saturday for our realtors' client appreciation dinner. It's always fun to go out but as soon as we are out alone, we both comment how much we miss Hank. Parenthood, right?
Planning the gallery wall---I traced the frames on paper and then moved them to see where I wanted them to go. My MIL came up with that idea!
Super Bowl fiesta 

I got this cute clip sign on Etsy. I can't wait to add more of the cute crafts Hank makes. It says, "Look What I Made" 

I've had my eye on a fiddle leaf tree for a while. This one is from Wayfair. Let's see if I can keep it safe from toddler paws. Haha. 

Woodland theme in Hank's bathroom

Loft play area 

If you look closely, you can see a cute 2 year old enjoying some cereal 

I LOVE this black and white beach picture. It's printed on wood and from All Modern. 

I am so excited Valentines Day is coming up. AJ's family will be here to visit and I am enjoying planning some fun seasonal things for my class. And Valentine's Day, to me, means spring is coming!!
a "lovely" mani 

                                                                                                                                                                                    We've been going a bit stir crazy these winter months, so sometimes we just need to bundle up and head outside anyway! We can't wait to explore more parks soon. 

In the midst of busy days, I am so thankful for this bonus bit of time to chill at home with my guys. But now it can be spring. Please. By the way, snowy days are perfect for a warm mug of tea and a good book. Check out my January reads HERE.

Stay safe and warm and Savor Your Sparkle,