Wife Mommy Me

Reading Wednesday -- June 2016

For this months Reading Wednesday, I'm sharing one must read and one guilty indulgence. As of now, I am on pace to hit my 25 books read this year. I'd love to exceed my goal but life just doesn't all for much reading nowadays. I currently have 20 books on my bookshelf that need to be read, that doesn't include book club books we are going to be adding to my to read list. But here are the books I was able to read in June along with my to read list for July.

Book Club Pick
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

My Review
This is a must read book. I loved this novel from the first chapter. The ending is one that you never ever see coming which I love in books. I don't want to always read something that is predictable. I had this mystery figured out at least five different times throughout the book. Because I'm smart like that, you know? But then new information came to light so I had to change my mind never imagining the ending being what it was. The author guides the reader to an understanding of each character’s motivations and helps us sympathize with them. Add this to your must read list; you won't regret it.

Personal Pick
Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again by Teresa Giudice
The star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and three-time New York Times bestselling author offers a behind-the-scenes look at life in prison, her marriage, her rise to fame, the importance of her family, and the reality TV franchise that made her a household name in her explosive and ultimately uplifting first-ever memoir.

Teresa Giudice, star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, has seen it all, but nothing—not even Real Housewives scandals—could compare to the media firestorm that ensued after she was convicted on federal fraud charges.

The infamous, fun-loving Jersey mom of four was sentenced to fifteen months in the same prison where Piper Kerman—the real-life inspiration behind Orange Is the New Black—did her time. Her tiny prison cubicle in Connecticut felt so far removed from the glamorous world portrayed on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. What was a skinny Italian to do? Keep a diary, of course…

In her very first tell-all memoir, Teresa comes clean on all things Giudice: growing up as an Italian-American, meeting the love of her life and starting a family, dealing with chaos and catfights on national television, and eventually, coming to terms with the reality of life in prison. Featuring never-before-seen scans of her prison diary, Turning the Tables captures some of the most memorable moments of her prison stay, including the cringe-inducing fights she witnessed, the awkward conundrum of being trapped when a fellow inmate had a…guest…over, and the strength she found while confined between four concrete walls.

Even at her lowest of lows, Teresa was able to live la bella vita by staying positive and realizing her purpose. Friends, foes, and fans have speculated about Teresa’s prison experience, but nothing will prepare you for the revelations she makes in this entertaining and heartwarming memoir.

My Review
This was an impulse pick when visiting the library. It was on display on the end cap and since I'm a huge of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, this was an obvious choice of a guilty pleasure read. Here are my thoughts on this book in a nutshell -- 1) Teresa was guilty of her crimes. She never says that in the book but it's perfectly clear she made less than innocent decisions with her husband 2) Teresa's biggest fan is Teresa. Throughout the books she praises her character, her faithfulness, her love of family. If you your character was so "grand" how come you are in prison? and 3) My thoughts on her guilt have something to do with her vision board. She put one together while in prison, displaying things she helps for when she is out. The word money is written 3 (maybe 4) times. Clearly this is someone who puts more value on materialistic desires than being an honest person. So unless you get a kick of out reality TV, Teresa's show in particular, I would skip this book. But as a fan of the show, I just had to give it a try. 

For June, I will be reading Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews. I am hoping to read a third book but know that I want to read these two first.

Now it's your turn to share what you've been reading. Add our button to your book themed post and linkup your book reviews and lists. You have until July 4 to add your May reading list.

The Epic Virus of Summer 2016

A week ago today, Connor came down with a pretty high fever, 103.2 at 4AM. I quickly jumped into action, giving him medicine, diffusing Thieves and pumping him full of the liquids. Little did I know that this virus wasn't going to be kicked so easily.

Tuesday was off to a rough start, but as quickly as he woke up, got medicine and drank a bit of water, C went right back to sleep. While I didn't see this as a good sign, I was happy to be going back to bed. 4AM comes early when you go to bed at midnight. We ended up sleeping until almost 9 and that's when I began what felt like the never-ending routine of taking his temperature and administering Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

Between Tuesday morning and Thursday, his temp went as low as a normal 98.6 to a high of 103.2. It was all over the place. We were chalking it up as a Summer flu (although he received a flu shot in the Fall). Sleep was hard to come by because every time his fever would spike, it would wake him up. I saw the hours of 3AM to 5AM far too often this last week. I called our doctor on Wednesday and she said that we could come in or continue to watch for new signs. If anything worsened or we felt like his condition wasn't improving, to bring him. She mentioned that they had been pretty busy with the stomach bug as did my Mom who works in the ER of a local hospital. I made an appointment for Thursday morning and we were at the office bright and early at 8AM.

Upon examining C, the doctor suggestion that we take him to the ER for some scans as he was having some stomach pains and when she attempted to do an exam on his tummy, he lost his mind and said it hurt. The first thing out of her mouth was this could be something serious, let's get it checked out. So off to Children's ER we went.

We spent 3.5 hours at Children's where they ran 4 different tests: an x-ray, an ultrasound, a urine test and strep test. Each exam came back clean, with no issues present. His ultrasound did show that he was a bit constipated, even with going #2 on Wednesday, which made sense to us since he hadn't been eating or drinking much. He was kept for observation for an hour or so after completing his exams. His temp was back up to 103.5 (this highest it ever got) and the doc wanted to have him eat to see if he could keep it down. The pain was never diagnosed and we haven't had anymore stomach pains since Thursday morning. We were told he more than likely had a tough GI bug and that it would run it's course in over a span of 7 days.

Today is day 7 and we've been fever free since Saturday morning. While the high temps are gone, we still have a moody kid and a really wacky sleep schedule to deal with. We've been talking about where he could have picked up such a virus and all we can think of is maybe he got it from the amusement park on Father's Day. While we washed our hands before meals and after using the restroom, we didn't think to clean our hands after each ride or game. Lesson learned, I guess.

I can't thank everyone enough for their thoughts and prayers during this messy, messy week. Once his fever broke, the Mister and I starting cleaning and removing every single speck of dust and any chance of a germ lingering. We went as far as cleaning our basement Saturday - purging, throwing away, dusting, sweeping and mopping. Our house hasn't been this clean in quiet some time and it feels so good.

It's a new week and we have some plans that I hope we can stick to, that we don't have any more illnesses this Summer, that we can enjoy this week and then the holiday. If nothing else, I've learned that I am capable of running on as little as 3 hours of sleep. Although, I'd rather not.

June's Must Make Menu + Grown Up Grilled Cheese

I have to brag on myself for a second. If there is one thing I can whip up in the kitchen that might put others to shame, it's a grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, grilled cheese. I know how simple this is but hear me out. I have mastered the amount of time it takes to perfect grilling the bread so that the end result is a deliciously golden grilled cheese. Today, I wanna share with you a grown up spin on the classic cheesy goodness we all know and love.

My love of grilled cheese goes way back to when my brother and I spent Summer days at home and we had to fend for ourselves. It was either PB&J or grilled cheese. My parents gave us particular orders to not order out and to not use the oven (someone once caught it on fire -- that someone is me) so we stuck with the basics - sandwiches. Served with chips or soup, it's hands down one of my favorite meals.

This past week was one for the books in our household. C came down with a vicious virus causing us to be stuck at home more days than usual. Come Saturday, I wanted a feel good meal and that's when I decided to whip a grown up version of my childhood favorite. The ingredients are basic yet yield a tasty lunch that leaves you full and satisfied.

Grown Up Grilled Cheese
2 slices of American Cheese
6 oz of lunch meat (we used ham)
4 pieces of Artisan style bread 
1/2 cup of  European Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
1/4 cup of minced garlic (or less if you don't like garlic as much as us)

Mix the EVOO and garlic together. Using a brush, cover each piece of bread with the garlic oil mixture. Assemble your sandwich, adding cheese and ham to your bread, in your pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

The end result is the perfect combination of traditional ham and cheese with a crunchy garlic bread. It's delicious and I am always quick to regret not making myself more. Paired with soup, our favorite is potato, and you have yourself a hearty lunch or a quick and easy dinner on nights when you have little to no desire to spend too much time in the kitchen.

And while I know many of you use butter or margarine when making grilled cheese, I am here to say that you are missing out by not using European EVOOs. From the start of the olive tree to the time you hold the bottle of a oil in your hand, you are getting the finest olive oil available. The type of tree and harvest of an oil makes a huge difference, too. Depending on the location and time of harvest, your oil is a one of kind creation where the taste can be mild and buttery to fruity and nutty. We currently have 4 different types of oils on hand in our pantry because I love experimenting with EVOOs in soups, on meat and veggies, on my grilled cheese. The options are endless.

This month has proven to be quiet diverse when it comes to what we've been eating. From grilled cheese to chicken with black beans and corn to Italian chicken sandwiches, we've branched out and tried so many new dishes. Here are 5 new recipes we've tried in June that receive 2 thumbs up. 

Rotini Bake -- very much like a baked ziti
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches -- I think the addition of the Italian dressing is a surprisingly genius idea
Honey Ham & Veggies -- such a simple meal
Chicken with Black Beans & Corn -- this uses Rotel and well, I there is nothing ever wrong with that
Italian Chicken Sandwiches -- Mississippi Chicken on a bun... delicious

In July, I want to create a stock of  freezer meals. 6-8 meals that I can prep at once and then serve throughout the month when I need something that takes little to no work come dinner time. Think crock pot meals. Please share your recipes in the comments below. We are pretty much game for anything (minus fish).

Today I'm joining 3 other bloggers -- Come Home for Comfort, Polka-Dotty Place and Cup of Tea -- to share some of our favorite meals from this month. Be sure to visit each lady and find some new meals to add to your rotation.

*Disclosure: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group, LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions shared in today's post are mine alone.