October 18, 2021

Books I didn't finish.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager 

Such a huge disappointment. I can always count on a Riley Sager book. This was slow. And tedious. And predictable. And I'll never know if my predictions are right because I couldn't stand to keep going. Charlie was an exhausting main character, as well. 

Linking to the one-star reviews. 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I think this was a library book on Kindle? Or a 99 cent Daily Deal. Either way, I didn't get far. Maybe 8%. It was just not pulling me in, and was way too big of a commitment to keep going. I never like the classics. Who has read it? 

How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King

I bought this when Wells was going through a slight rebellious phase last December-ish. I don't remember the specifics. I just remember thinking that I needed more tools in my tool belt. 

No. It was just a bunch of stories about moms and dads who struggled with veryspecificissues and how they solved them. I don't even remember the issues exactly; but it was quite specific. I needed broad tips. So it was a waste and I gave it away. Listening/reading other peoples' horror stories didn't do what I needed a book to do for me. 

(Examples of broad-brush advice would include things like Taking Cara Babies' sleep advice and Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. Those are actual methods that really worked for me.)

Fault Lines by Voddie T. Baucham Jr. 

I didn't finish this because I didn't want to. I really like Voddie Baucham. This was more a case of I was having a really bad week and felt sick and awful and couldn't go back to it after that. Meh. Still would be a great read or a great gift. I just figured I'd admit that I didn't finish it. This has been the case with most audiobooks in 2021; they just exhaust me in a way that I never would've imagined back in my audiobook heyday (2015-2016ish). 

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

Maybe we can all agree that she was a one-hit-wonder with The Girl on the Train? ...the movie ruined the book obviously, but it was such a good book!

This was terrible. I had to force myself to listen. I got about 4 hours into the audio, then I returned it to Audible and then I paused my subscription for 6 months because I was so over audiobooks at that point. That's what this book made me do. 

I'm just going to link to the one-star reviews. 

This is a good summing up: 

What books have you not finished lately???

October 15, 2021

Friday things. (kinda favorites)

1. I knocked out a bunch of Christmas shopping in the last week.  I always leave it until Thanksgiving and I feel like that's not a strategy that has served me well. Plus, rural Missouri isn't the best location to get out to the stores on the weekends. It's a 45 minute drive to go shopping. The only thing I need to get for Wells at this point is bedding for his new bed (that Scott has decided he's going to build) and I think we'll get him a bike of some sort. (If anyone is wondering, Wells is really into dinosaurs and Paw Patrol right now.)

^okay well I suppose my foresight there IS a favorite

 2. I desperately need to get off of the school district Facebook pages. The other day, I read dozens of comments of parents arguing over the rule about "only regular water" in water bottles in the classroom. The reasoning is quite simple (and many pointed it out): if something that's not water spills, it's a giant mess to clean up. We have at least one water bottle leak per day and these are older kids in my class. 50% of this is in backpacks and a kid bringing home a sticky backpack sounds like a nightmare. This shouldn't even be a discussion. They get juice/milk for breakfast, and then milk or whatever they want to bring to drink for lunch. *I* rarely drink anything other than water at school. 

Anyway, the parents online argued about this for actual days. Parents are SO mean. Threatening that "you can't tell my kid _____" is not a way to go through life. And if you want your kid drinking actual Kool-Aid all day long from a water bottle, well, I question that decision. 

OH, and I have cases of bottled water sitting on my counter for anyone who forgets a bottle. A parent donated them and I add to the stack when I remember. No one goes thirsty in my classroom, I promise, though I can't promise every teacher holds such common sense (these aren't my parents who are complaining. it's a big district. just mind-blowing altogether, though. and i can't believe i spend time on this.)

3. I had a seamless visit to the eye doctor yesterday. If you recall, in 2017, I ended up crying at the eye doctor. I avoided it for about 2 1/2 years after that. Finding an eye doctor to renew my contacts prescription in Pittsburgh, then, was a nightmare because almost no one there took our military insurance. This time, I called the local place, made an appointment for the next afternoon, and was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

4. This house feels like we're falling behind and the amount of work Scott has had to do in the last couple of weeks would blow your mind. It's been...an ordeal. However, his friend came over for the long weekend and helped with all of the things. 

adding a support beam so the ceiling doesn't collapse, for example, was just one of the elements to Scott's Columbus Day weekend break

Including: taking out the dangerous and unusable playset and the "decorative" well that that covered up a pipe sticking out of the ground. I'd rather look at the pipe. 
^This is DEFINITELY a favorite. 

5. While the weeks have been rainy and gross, the weekends have been warm. I like to think that, years later still, I can somehow make Scout prefer me by taking him places to let him swim. 

In case you missed it this week: book fails and screenshots

October 14, 2021

God bless the screenshot

I live by bookmarks and screenshots. If I want to remember something, that's how I do it. I still use Pinterest too. IS there another way to keep track of things online? Screenshots are the way. 

Here's what I've been saving this week...

Okay, someone posted this and I'm confused: I have no idea how they got this translation of Luke 14. If you even look at the NLT (generally the most "user-friendly"), it says "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted". And it's the story about Jesus telling people not to take the head seat when invited to a wedding feast; humble yourself and don't assume you're going to be the most important guest. It'll be embarrassing if you're asked to move. But if you take the lowest seat, the host may ask you to move to the head seat.
What am I missing here? 

I am getting ads for this bag. What do you think?

And, oh my gosh, if you do this, I am humiliated FOR you. Stop it. The first time I saw a moderate influencer I follow post a try-on picture with a fanny pack around her chest I thought it was a joke. 

Left, right, and center: we can all find common ground on the topic of sanity. 

I don't know why I find this so amusing: 

I've had to commit to stopping with the constantly dwelling on politics and how we ended up where we are right now. It's not productive. But burying your head in the sand isn't productive either, so middle ground is hard. This guy is one of my favorite follows. Everything he posts is just blatant common sense and I'm genuinely concerned that we aren't willing to just follow facts at this point:

(though, I admit, Columbus Day off of work would've made the week better...since the military had a 4-day weekend, a lot of kids didn't come to school anyway)

October 12, 2021

A giant book fail. Again.

I wanted to say that I hopped back on the reading wagon and read multiple books in September. 

I did not. 

I started The Neighbor's Secret, from Book of the Month. It's not bad at all. I just never felt like sitting down to read. I would read before bed and made some steady-ish progress but then just stopped, so it's still sitting there on my nightstand. 

I started A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins but it was so terrible that I quit 4 hours into the audio. I think it was 16 hours total? I can't remember. I returned it to Audible. I have a feeling I would've had even worse luck with the physical copy. #1 Has anyone actually finished this book? #2 Has anyone who finished it actually enjoyed it? I don't judge about it; I'm just wondering if it gets better. 

I got the audio for Liane Moriarty's new book Apples Never Fall, which I was very excited about. I truly felt that Nine Perfect Strangers was a bit of a dud (so much so that I haven't even attempted the show on Hulu...). 

Unfortunately, Apples Never Fall hasn't been doing it for me either. I don't know that I like that main character...she's very flighty and wishy-washy. I'm not even that far into it. Maybe 4 hours (I sense a pattern) and I struggle pressing play. 

Also, I am wholly unsettled by the police state that Australia has turned into...I can't wrap my head around it, so reading a book that takes place there almost seems silly to me. 

It's quite possible that world events have just turned me off to reading. I never "read to escape" as it is. I've always watched TV to escape. But the TV options lately are awful too. Is there anything you're enjoying? 

I have watched LuLaRich and I've watched most of Clickbait. And Scott watches a lot of random things, usually movies or sci-fi in the Netflix Top 10 that I have no interest in seeing. 

We tried On the Verge and it was so depressing. Is that really how miserable a lot of people are? Sadly, I don't think it was supposed to come off that way. It was *supposed to be* funny. No wonder people cling to their Covid regulations...sorry, guys...if that's the only thing that gives order and meaning. It would be really easy to be knocked off your feet and blind-sided by a a virus if you were living the life of those miserable women. 

I digress.

I did order a new Book of the Month and I grabbed Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney because so many raved about it last month. 

Honestly, at the rate I'm going, these'll last til Christmas. Maybe I'll read them before 2022. 

Linking up for SUYB, mostly just to get your recommendations! (bc i have very little contribute this month :)

October 7, 2021

Phone Photos Lately.

The best thing ever was the day Instagram and Facebook were down, right? It seems so simple: just don't use the platforms. But when you want to know things, I feel forced to use them. Wells' school posts pictures on Facebook. Instagram is where all the great memes come from. It was quite funny though, to see people I've hardly ever seen on Twitter randomly post things because they had nowhere else to go but, apparently, had things to say:

But back to a simpler time, when we just posted phone photos on blogs. The good old days. 

It's true, however, that the only real reason I keep Facebook right now is because how else would I know that Wells got to have brownies for someone's birthday? 3 year olds don't exactly come home and tell you about their day in any detail. He can recite, on repeat, that Tommy Triangle has 3 corners and 3 sides with the accompanying hand motions...but I heard not a word of the bounce house last week until I saw the video on Facebook. 

I hate that I love this stuff. I've gotten it at Starbucks multiple times now. 

Did some walking the other day and these shoes aren't great for it but it was too nice to drive around. I can't decide what's worse: nice weather and being stuck in school, or hell-ish heat over the summer and being stuck in the house. 

Wells does like to cut paper. 

These were on sale so I grabbed them. Super good. I still add creamer. 

Scout climbed up onto the [not his first] roof the other day. Via the ladder. 

Those pumpkins are dead. I just didn't want to leave them to rot in the garden. 

Waiting for grocery pick-up. 

Sheet pan nachos. I think I'm Mexican-fooded out. This was just easy and people wanted to eat. 

And some funny screenshots:

Michelle has the best memes. 

If those don't make you cry-laugh, I can't do anything for you. 

October 5, 2021

{Currently} in October

I *tried* to avoid Amazon in September so I'll be back in November with what I bought in October (hint: face mask below). 

I am looking for a recommendation though: Wells is getting a twin bed for Christmas. Any suggestions? I got lured into Pottery Barn but I also thought of checking local furniture stores. I don't want something cheap but I don't want to spend $1,000 either. It'll have to last him for a good, I don't know, maybe 8 years? At least until we "retire" and get to our forever home. 


Everyone's suggestion and watching LulaRich. Finally. I don't have a lot of deep thoughts on it other than to say that I always thought LLR was the scammiest of all the MLM scams. That's probably because the first person I knew to sell it was actually someone I met at Ft. LW and she had jumped into multiple MLMs all at the same time over the few years we were friends. Anyway, proud to say I never bought, tried to buy, or owned a pair of LLR anything. And we can feel bad for the women who lost everything but they had free will. No one made you break up your family or buy brand new everything only to have it repo-ed.

*I do sound like a hypocrite because I sold Rodan and Fields for quite some time...however, that's a product that truly helped me and I would STILL recommend it! LLR is just clothing you can buy anywhere but they used scarcity to their advantage.  There's nothing helpful or useful about it. 

Buying...  I grabbed this face mask from Amazon the other day. I was in the mood for one and haven't had any on hand in a few years. I, dumbly, just googled "best face mask" to see what was new out there and a bunch of masking masks came up.

 Forgot what world we live in now.

Any mask recommendations? I generally go for the less chemicals, so I opted for Honest Brand this time. 

Planning... meals! Something really has gotten into me with the season change and I'm enjoying planning and executing meals right now. This is probably the first time in 4 or 5 years that I've cared. I've been trying to bake something each weekend too. 

This week we're having chicken marsala, basil chickpea curry, and butternut squash couscous. 

I made these Pumpkin S'mores Cookies on Sunday. 

Prepping...  something I started doing last spring: every Sunday, I take 15 minutes to set aside 5 outfits for the week. This is a huge stress reliever on busy nights and I've never been one to pick out my clothes in the morning anyway. I also do this for Wells, ever since he started going to daycare/preschool. I do his down to the socks and underwear to make it super easy. I also always scan the weather forecast before making decisions for clothes. It's annoyingly simple but a huge timesaver. 


Absolutely nothing. I don't even care. 

I was 7 books behind when I screen-shot this like two weeks ago. I'm scared to look now. 

Linking up with Anne in Residence!

October 1, 2021

Friday Favorites #6


They all ate spilled dry Cheerios off the floor the other day. Like a pack of dogs. 


I used spinach pasta to make this recipe. I skipped the goat cheese because I've never really liked it and just did parmesan. It was quite good. 

He ate it for two nights for dinner. ^


I am having a real issue here: I stay up late, every night, reading things like this. I'm planning on printing out a bunch of copies, handing them out on the street corner, and (probably) putting one in all of my Christmas cards. It's the testimony of a journalist who has been researching the effects and non-effects of Covid on kids. 

I encourage you, especially if you work with kids, to read it. I also encourage you, if you have nothing to do with kids, to read it. 


I've having a real issue with this: if someone calls and calls and I don't answer because it's legitimately inconvenient...why can't they just text if they have something to say? 


We have like half a roof. A few weeks ago, when it rained for an entire day, we discovered a leak, which led to digging around in the attic, which led to what we already knew was a serious ventilation issue, which we knew would need to be fixed. The leak prompted Scott to move this to project #1 so he decided we would replace half the roof this fall and half in the spring. We ordered all the materials, so then it's just waiting for the commodity of time in order to take care of it all. We are going with metal roofing, not shingles, in case you're interested. So, anyway, he pulled a bunch of the roof off and put up new plywood and then, because it's supposed to rain for like multiple days now (he intentionally planned this for a 10 day dry stretch and then the forecast changed)...so we have a tarp and cinderblocks over the plywood roof. 

September 30, 2021

Acai Berry Smoothie

It's been a bit of a week around here for no good reason other than I feel like I'm making everything harder than it has to be. Going to bed too late has a lot to do with it, I bet. 

I did want to share this smoothie because I've been making one most days. It's the best smoothie yet, and I feel like I've done a lot of smoothies over the years. 

I spent years hunting down frozen acai berry mix in freezer sections of grocery stores; I was never really successful aside from buying actual Dole Acai Bowls, which are kind of expensive and that's not a sustainable habit. 

I saw this powder a few weeks ago. It's absolutely perfect. I don't really follow the directions on the package because I keep bananas peeled and frozen in freezer bags...it tells you to mix everything and then freeze to the consistency you want. 

1 frozen banana

2 T. acai powder mix

1/2 cup frozen mango OR strawberries (those are my favorites to use, but you can use any frozen fruit)

1 T. collagen powder

1 teaspoon maca powder

1 T. cacao nibs

Unsweetened almond milk + coconut water to blend

Trilogy seeds (hemp hearts, flax, chia) for the top (sometimes I blend these in)

Mix everything in a blender, adding more liquid if you need to. This makes enough for me, a small cup for Wells, and I usually put, still, half of glass of leftover in the fridge for Scott. This has been my go-to after-school snack lately.

I think proteinr powder would be a great addition, but I love the flavor of of the acai berry, so I wouldn't want to change the flavor with protein. If you have a very mild protein powder that you use, it would probably work.