Monday, September 28, 2020

That Fall Feeling

Hello hello. 

   I haven't done a picture update in a while so I'm doing that today. I love keeping our memories in this little space on the internet. It's officially Fall (and no, not like that means pumpkin stuff is out, but it's like actually fall weather-wise) and I adore this season. I love the decorations, the crisp air, the seasonal events, and yes, I like that the fall is a sign post that holly jolly Christmas fun is just around the corner. But also, the Fall can feel hard. I hate it when the days get shorter and it feels like 10pm right around dinner time. I can start to feel that teacher fizzle from the high energy go-go-go of the first weeks of school catching up with me. And this year, man, this year it alllll just hits differently doesn't it??

 I was trying to express to AJ the other night what this season feels like and the word I landed on was heavy. The Pandemic feels heavy. On one hand I am so totally over it and ready to move on, but on the other hand, I know that numbers don't lie and the higher than ever case counts are alarming. It's scary. Also politics. Very heavy. (Insert the wide mouth emoji here). The world (our country in particular) feels broken. Damaged. I know better than to think that we will be this divided forever but DANG. So yeah, heavy feels about right. But when things feel too heavy, I have to remind myself that maybe I'm not meant to carry it all. In fact, I know I'm not. But sometimes feeling a bit of that weight can be a good thing. It creates awareness that what we do and say matters and that while I know who holds this whole thing up (God, in case you were wondering), we can all do our part to carry some of that heavy for each other too. That is a long and winding way of saying, I see your heavy too and sis, it's totally possible to live with "The fall brings out my happy/basic/extra self/give me all the pumpkin spice everything and how freaking cute are baby pumpkins" and also "Yikes. Dayyyyyummm. 2020, what else you think you're gonna pull?" at the very same time. (But keep in mind, despite the despair that creeps in my heart when I watch the news or the *literal* lack of actual light in our days, Fall also means the return of Reeses pumpkins, the return of some of my TV faves,  crunchy leaves, and infinity scarves ..anything really to lighten the load, I'll take it!). I was meaning to write two separate posts this week, a photo update and my little musings on how life feels uncertain and unknown but this is my dang blog and I'm just doing 1 post this week. See: "heavy." 

Remember that country song, "These are My People?" I always think about that when I see a pic of my little crew. These ARE my people and they are my everything. We've been going on lots of walks and adventures. 

I visited Hadley. I just love spending time with her. 

To say our Traeger has been getting a workout lately is an understatement. We've done flank steak, meatloaf, chicken kabobs, apple cobbler, burgers, and this weekend, a giant brisket. We've got pork belly and chicken wings on the docket next! 

We visited the Zoo! 

We ordered some photos on canvas for our front hallway. I think they look so good! We also took off the front of Hank's crib. He loves his "big boy bed." He is getting so grown up! 

School is going well. Someone please remind me how exhausted I will be the first month or so of school. Every single year I forget how those first few weeks are (Like I want to be in bed at 8 pm sort of tired). My class is cute and I pray we can stay healthy and together all year. I got a Donor's Choose funded this month with all sort of holiday teaching goodies including all these gingerbread themed books! So fun! Also, how amazing is technology?? My kids had a zoom call this week with the Ogden Nature Center and we got to see some cool animals and get questions answered live! I need to remember how awesome technology can be because we watched The Social Dilemma last week and I was about ready to throw my phone in a river. (I highly recommend the movie. We already know what technology is doing to us but I believe it pays to hear it over and over). 

Speaking of Neflix....GUYS. GUYS. This was just a little half hour thing on Netflix's social media platforms (I thought it was on actual Netflix and kept refreshing like an idiot), but we watched this Friday and it was so perfectly adorable. I love revisiting the Banks Family! 

I've also been doing plenty of this.....

Check out my September Reads HERE

Well that post got super duper long. That's for reading along. May we all find some light and let down some of our heavy. 

Savor Your Sparkle,

Saturday, September 26, 2020

September Reads

 It's been a hot minute since I've blogged! Sheesh! I'll do a Life Lately post soon but nothing major going on here: teaching 1st grade in a pandemic, keeping up with Hank, managing the working mom juggle, and praying for the soul of this country. FOR REAL. Anywho, despite the busyness of life (good busyness, but just like too many days in real pants and mascara, ya know?), one hobby I still maintain is reading. I read 4 books this month. Per usual, I'm including my full list of 2020 reads at the end of this post. Only 3 more reading months in 2020! Get yourself a mug of something steamy, a big throw blanket, and settle in with my September reads! First up.....

1. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes--This was the inaugural book for my school's teacher book club! I read that it was a good book club pick with plenty to discuss. I liked this book, I really did. In fact, if you're looking for a lighter read and heart that's not too serious but also super sweet, pick this one up. This follows the story of a young widow rebuilding her life in Maine alongside her sweet and kooky friends. A new man moves into town (a famous baseball player who has lost his magic touch) and well, you can guess the rest. There are deeper things than the premise might lead you to believe (marriage, grief, therapy, friendship, abuse, family etc). Overall, this was a fun read. It was good but not great if that makes sense. It's better than a Hallmark movie but not as good as a theater movie. I know this will make sense to some of you.

2. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand---I LOVED this book! This is the first book I've read in a long time where I just couldn't put it down. In fact, I'd stick it in my purse so if I was waiting at a drive thru or something I could pick it up and read more! First off, this one is NEW---you can tell because each chapter begins with the year and a list of what was happening in that year. It started with 2020 and the year in review was all about Coronavirus, so ummm, yeah pretty darn timely! This was a romance that follows the lead characters Mallory and Jake, through, you guessed it, 28 summers on Nantucket (The premise sort of reminded me of one of my faves a few years ago, A Hundred Summers). They lead fairly separate lives but meet up each Labor Day weekend and renew their affair. I loved how each chapter is a different year and after a quick recap of the year's major events, it goes into Jake and Mallory's separate lives that year and then concludes with their weekend for the year. This is just a romantic, sweet read and I would highly recommend it! (Sidenote:  historical fiction about events I've lived through might be a new fave. Emily Giffin's latest about 9/11 was brilliant too). 

3. The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi---This is such a fun and helpful book. I heard about this book from my favorite podcast, The Popcast. This book is a short simple read all about how to find balance in our busy lives. Kendra writes about how many of us live in 2 extremes: lazy (relatable!) and rigid, hardcore genius (I'm sure we can all relate to that Monday morning umph that fizzles by Thursday or so). Kendra proposes a happy medium that is balanced (can I get an amen?!). Her book features a handful of principles that are really wise and make sense. For example, I love her "decide once" mentality---she gets the same kid birthday party gift, wedding gift etc. to reduce decision fatigue. She also recommends simplifying your home decor and meal planning routines. Save that precious busy brain space for things that really matter! This book felt like a coffee date with a wise friend who is full of handy tips and advice. I'm glad I bought this one (instead of checking it out from the library) because I think I could benefit from a refresher now and again. 

4. Beach Read by Emily Henry----I had such high hopes for this book. I heard it was, quite literally, a great beach read. Granted, I didn't read it on the beach, more like in 20 minute exhausted chunks before bed, but guys? This did not deliver. The premise of this book is cute---a female romance writer who bets her neighbor, a renowned fiction best selling author, that he can't write a book in her genre and she will attempt to write one in his genre. They fall in love, yadda yadda. This book had so much potential but it was just really blah to me. I've read much better "beach reads" and I'm surprised this one got so much hype. Cute title? Cute cover? Maybe that's why. It's definitely rated R for bedroom scenes. 

That's a wrap! Which books are must reads for your fall? 

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
13. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
14. *Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
15. *True Crime Addict by James Renner
16. The Ingredients of Us by Jennifer Gold
17. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
18. Rushing Woman's Syndrome by Libby Weaver 
19. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
20. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
21. *On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle
22. *One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
23. The First Time by Colton Underwood
24. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston 
25. *Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
26. *The Paris Hours by Alex George
27. The St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin
28. *The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
29. Girl Logic by Iliza Schlsinger
30. *Harry Potter and the Half Bloos Prince by JK Rowling
31. *Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crossley
32. *Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin
33. The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren
34. Ghoster by Jason Arnopp
35. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
36. *One to Watch by Kate Stoyman-London
37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling
38. One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
39. *Stand All The Way Up by Sophie Hudson
40. *The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin
41. Here for It by R. Eric Thomas
42. *A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
43. The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton
44. Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman 
45. *The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine
46. *An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
47. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
48. That's My Son by Rick Johnson
49. Hungry Heart by Jennidfer Weiner
50. *The Night Swim by Megan Goldin 
51. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
52. *27 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
53. *The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
54. Beach Read by Emily Henry 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Life Lately


    I'm coming to you from the other side....the other side of school starting! Here is a very brief rundown of my thoughts 5 days in: 1. My class is awesome and I hope and pray we can be together all year. 2. I really missed in person teaching. 3. Teaching/being in a mask alllll day is hard. 4. I definitely miss aspects of pre-covid school. 5. I'm exhausted but good exhausted. It's been a whirlwind but in a world that feels so crazy, it's nice that my little classroom corner of the world feels sort of "normal." I can feel that fall crisp-ness in the air and I've been enjoying my fair share of Starbucks pumpkin cream cold brews and burning my fall candle. I just love it! (And no, I haven't had my PSL Hadley/Mommy traditional day yet, but I have it on my calendar). 

I've got some super random Life Lately pics for you today but first I just had to share this adorable one. We had a family photo shoot recently and this picture makes me melt. We are always cheering on our little man!

 Have you tried these Mediterranean Bowls?! I posted this recipe last week and these babies are so versatile and delish! I have them on the menu again next week! 

I found these delicious and convenient mini pancake packs on my last visit to Costco. There are 25 pouches with 2 little pancakes in each. The perfect easy breakfast for Hank! I told him since they're made in France that Ratatouille made them. He thinks that's hilarious. 

We are soaking up the sunshine and LOVING our backyard so so so much! On Sunday we were out there for hours while dinner cooked on the Traeger. Pure bliss. 

Two internet faves from this week.... This meme made me laugh. First, it's got Leo. Second, I LOVE a Starbucks tumbler. I almost always have one with ice water in it by my side. 

Second, I've gotten really into the podcast, The Bible Binge, from the same creators of my most fave podcast, The Popcast. They are doing a new series called "Faith Adjacent" where they tie pop culture to concepts of faith. The premier episode in this series was about Hamilton and this Hamilton Benediction is absolute perfection. 

That's it for this Wednesday! 

Savor Your Sparkle,