Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Faves: Rocks, Summer Boxes and Books

Friday, dear Friday! I've been looking forward to you all week. We have big plans for the weekend and I am eager to get them started. With the exception of some car trouble, this week has been pretty fantastic. I scheduled less and we've been able to relax a bit. Today, Connor and I are going to the aquarium with friends before spending the weekend off the grid a bit. Here are a few weekly highlights and random thoughts.


ONE | STOMACH SOLUTIONS


Ever since our trip to Mexico, my stomach has been less than stellar. To some it up without giving too much detail, everything seems to upset it. If you remember, James came down with something while we were in Mexico, along with others in our group. I never had issues while in Mexico but since then things have been "off". When looking for something to help get my gut health back in check, I picked up Restore* probiotics to hopefully get things in order. Think of Restore as a “liquid circuit board” boosting gut health - as Mother Nature intended - and therefore immunity. Within a week, my stomach was back to normal and I wasn't dealing with discomfort. You can pick up your Restore products and save 20% with code B7X66JY, discount code expires July 16, 2017.

TWO | BROTHERS AND SISTERS


I have just 12 episodes of this show left till I am completely finished. The show is 7 seasons, 22 episodes per season. All about 45 minutes. I'll do the math for you. That's roughly 115 hours. And now that's a lot of TV watching but this show is so so worth every single minute. For those of you who have watched the series I'll share who my favorite character is... JUSTIN WALKER (Dave Annable). He grew up so much during the show and hands down is one of the best parts of this show. My favorite couple, hands down, without a doubt, is Kevin and Scotty.

THREE | ROCKS


While on an adventure with Connor this week we stumbled across this rock. The hashtag is #northmontrocks which is a town just a bit north of us. Our friend Becky has started something similar in her hometown in Iowa. Waukee Rocks has it's on IG - visit here - and I think Connor and I are going to start our own version here in Dayton. More details to come!

FOUR | SUMMER BOX SWAP



I participated in a Summer themed box swap and love the goodies I was sent. I was paired with Tanya. Essie polish is my favorite and this is a new to me color and it's the perfect light pink. Tanya also sent me dry shampoo and I have to be honest, I have no clue how to successful use it. Someone give me a hint. I would love to not wash my hair every single day! Connor, who does not like wearing band-aids, was excited to get a new box because #kidsareweird. They've been put to use however while playing "doctor" with his stuffed animals.

FIVE | USBORNE BOOKS AND MORE


You all know my love of books runs deep. I am a huge fan of "tricking" Connor into learning through books. He would have us read to him for hours if we would. To keep up with my reading habit, I joined Usborne Books and More as an consultant. And before you think "not another person trying to sell me something", I am not going to be that person. I joined UBAM for the discount on books along with the chance to share a bit of their 1,800 books with family, friends and blog readers. I've put together a Facebook group where I'll be sharing books, specials, giveaways and more. Feel free to join (or not).

Here is what we shared this week on the blog in case you missed a post...
Monday: 14 Days of Summer - Take A Pic
Tuesday: A Year in Photos {May 2016 to May 2017}
Wednesday: This Works for Me

This weekend we are going camping. We started going last year and hope that we have a better experience this Summer. We were rained out last year, making our adventure only 19 hours long! I hope to report back with a ton of new (dry) memories.

Happy weekend, friends! 

*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 posted are my own

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

This Works For Me

I am a firm believer in doing what's best for you. For yourself as a parent, a spouse, a friend, an employee and even a dieter. I don't like that label much as the word diet seems to have such a negative reputation. Diets mean you are restricting yourself, going without or even causing yourself to do something you'd rather not be doing. For me Weight Watchers isn't a diet. It's a lifestyle change that has prompted me to look at all aspects of my life in a new light. What does that mean exactly? For me, it means having an overall healthy and balanced lifestyle that is obtainable, manageable and realistic. Weight Watchers is what works for me and it has NOTHING to do with the number on the scale.


Prior to joining Weight Watchers in February, I would eat what I wanted, when I wanted and how much I wanted. This includes both good and bad foods. I love carbs and sweets. These are deemed "bad" foods but that's where I disagree. For me, nothing is bad as long as I enjoy it in moderation. For example, our family has spaghetti night once a week. It's the one dinner that I know Connor will eat without fuss. You would be shocked to see how many meatballs that little fella can eat! I could make spaghetti squash in place of my pasta but here's the thing, I don't want to. I simply control the portion size of my spaghetti noodles, usually 3 ounces, and enjoy spaghetti and meatball night without guilt.

Because that's the thing. I will not be made to feel guilty or wrong by eating foods I love and enjoy. Someone asked how I eat out, I replied the same way you do, I'm just mindful of my food choices. I will admit I tend to pick chicken, veggies or salads when dining out but that's because they are easier foods to figure SmartPoints for. Over the last 4.5 months, I've still had pizza, burgers and fries and even the occasional milkshake. But I've planned and balanced my day so that I can have these foods and still remain within my point range.

I've talked a lot about "junk" food so let's talk about fruits and veggies. Before WW I would barely touch either food groups. Not because I don't like them but because I would choose the lazy way and pick processed foods over fresh fruits and veggies. Once I started the SmartPoints program I quickly realized how fast points can go when you waste too many on processed (think high sugar) foods. Now when hungry and looking for a snack, I go with apples, grapes or bananas (all 0SP) over trail mix, chips or peanut butter crackers. I am all about eating more food and 0 SP foods allow me to eat quiet a lot in any given day.

Now that I've chatted about food, I want to talk about my activity level. This might shock some of you but just because you run your children to and from, keep your house in order and simply live a busy life, that doesn't mean you are working out. I'm not pointing fingers but I will admit that I once thought of myself as an active person because I was always so busy. Being busy and pushing your body to move more are two different things completely.

For 3 full months I focused on just my food and in June challenged myself to workout more. I've been participating in a 30 day buns, guns and abs challenge. I've also been making it a priority to walk for at least 45 minutes a day. Last week alone I chalked up over 24 miles walked, which a personal best. Both goals have allowed me to see big changes in my body this last month. For once the scale is showing less of a loss than the inches I'm sweating away.

Speaking of scale, I really do focus on non-scale victories. The number on the scale doesn't define your progress. Yes of course there is a certain number I am reaching for but to take over 19,000 steps in a single day or to survive 75 squats or lunges at a time is a big accomplishment. The scale doesn't define me. Daily progress towards an overall healthier lifestyle is what I am aiming for.


I am down almost -30 pounds as of this morning. I'm wearing jeans that I feel comfortable in for the first time in years. I don't mind putting on a swimsuit and going to the pool. I have good day and bad days. I go over my SmartPoints. I've become more positive, patient and persistent. I believe that I am strong. I am 18 pounds away from goal. I have days I don't track a single piece of food I consume. I give myself grace often. However I will be the best version of myself with every single positive step I take towards a healthier me.

Please keep in mind I'm not a nutritionist or doctor, just a Momma trying to get her groove back. If what you read above is of interest, feel free to reach to me or even consult your family doctor. As always do your own research and ask questions. Find what works for you!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Year in Photos {May 2016 to May 2017}

Yesterday I shared with you a challenge to capture July through Instagram. Today, I want to share with you a simple way to organize those photos. A year ago, I started using the Collect App. I shared a quick post about it last year and it's still one of my favorite FREE photo apps for your phone. Because I love a good reminder of how time flies and babies don't keep, let's walk down memory lane together, shall we?


Each day, the Collect App sends you a reminder to upload a photo to that day on the calendar. Thanks to the alerts, I've been able to snap a photo and save a memory for 365 days and counting. I started in May of 2016 and haven't missed a day since. Looking back through the photos brings with it a chance to recall a memory. I know all to well how quickly the days go by so being able to look at photos from 6, 9, 12 months is something that I truly enjoy. Here is a look at some fun memories from the past year.







When looking back through the last year, I noticed a few things...
... I take so many photos of Connor. If there is anything he won't lack as an adult is reminders of what his childhood was like.
... James and I need more photos together. We don't have nearly enough. That's gotta change.
... Some photos are just ridiculous but when I look at them, I know exactly why I snapped the photo.
... I share a lot of food photos for someone who isn't very good in the kitchen,
My next project is to create some type of keepsake with these photos. Maybe a calendar for my parents, a printed collage for James or even add photos from here to my 2018 planner. What are you favorite iPhone apps? I use the Collect App and Instagram for most photos needs. Do you have any suggestions on how to print photos or put them together in a keepsake? 


Monday, June 26, 2017

14 Days of Summer - Take A Pic

With over 3,000 photos shared on Instagram, it's no surprise that I'm a huge fan of documenting our days via photos. One might think I'm never lacking photos to share but even I struggle with being creative on IG. While some keep their photos cohesive with bright colors, a lot of light or the most perfectly plated food, I tend to snap and share without much though. I'm a rebel like that.

One thing I love to do is host or join photo challenge. With each challenge, you are given a prompt for the day to share on IG with a particular hashtag. My best gal, Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls, and I have put together a Summer photo challenge that will get you snapping more photos this July, sharing patriotic fun like never before. Here's the challenge -- I hope you will join us!


I can't even tell you how excited I am to tackle these prompts and snap some photos. The best part is this challenge is only 14 days so it's an easy one to stick with, with no lengthily obligation.

When sharing your photos, be sure to use the hashtag #14DaysofSummer17 so that we can find your photos if we aren't already following you. If you aren't following Beth and I on IG let's remedy that.
Stephanie | @stephaniecox11

And if you are looking for more reasons to be patriotic this July look no further. I am co-hosting this year's Star Spangled Kids and am eager to incorporate our photo challenge with red, white and blue fun with my family. I was a host last year, too, so here's a look at the fun we had


Liz from Ellie And Addie Jen from And Hattie Makes Three Kristy from Seven Graces Blog Sarah from Seeing All Sides Brettni from Honeysuckle Avenue Whitney from Work It Mommy Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me Jessica from Secrets of a Stay at Home Mom

Save the prompts above and plan to join us starting Saturday! Happy snapping friends!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favs: Friends, Blue Cars and Selfies

I know I've said it before... that I'm eager for it to be Friday but this time, I truly mean it. Today is "Papa comes home day!". James has been on a 14 days business trip and this Momma is ready to have her Mister home. Parenting solo is exhausting. I'm just tired thinking of all we've done in the last 2 weeks. But instead of focusing on that, I'm focusing on the fact that it's the weekend! Here are some random thoughts and weekly highlights!

ONE | TRAVELING FRIENDS


My dear friend Nili is a military spouse/family. She just moved to Germany, as in Monday was here first day in her new home (country!). Nili and I have only been friends for a short 18 months but our bond is one that will last regardless of location. While I miss her so, I am excited to see her adventures as a resident of Germany. I am can truly say that my friendships as an adult are some of my most treasured. Nili Sunshine... miss you, love you. Just not enough for a hug!

TWO | FASHION SENSE(LESS)


I haw came to the conclusion that I spend 85% of my life in outfits that consist of workout pants/shorts, a comfy top and either tennis shoes or sandals. I should stop shopping all together because when given the chance I pick comfort over style. Between play dates, VBS, swim lessons and Mom life, I don't have much need for anything than what's shown here. Am I the only one? I will say I am working on a fashion post inspired by my last Stitch Fix box. So maybe there's hope yet.

THREE | SELFIE... #NAILEDIT


While cleaning out Connor's iPad photo album, I discovered this photo of him and I am pretty sure I laughed so hard I was crying. He is full of such big expressions and this photos captures just that. This just may be on of my all-time favorite photos of CJ.

FOUR | MY BLUE CAR


A friend is moving and is purging her kids things and when she offered this blue car for free I snagged it for Connor. He will probably only be able to use it this Summer before he is far too big for it but it's perfect for short strolls around the neighborhood. Connor has started referring to it as his blue car which matches my blue car. He took his first ride around the block in it very serious.

FIVE | OUR GIRL


We were able to spend a few hours this week with our best girl, Macie. I love love love seeing these kids together. Macie has been a huge part of my life for nearly 7 years so it brings me joy to see her and Connor's relationship. They often fight like siblings but since they are each other's built in sister and brother, it's bound to happen. I am going to soak up every bit of the time we have together this Summer before she heads off to 1st grade.

Here is a recap of this week's post in case you've been just as busy as me and missed a few. Somehow I blogged a full 5 days this week. I haven't been able to pull that off in quiet some time. 

Thursday: 10 Daily Habits

Our weekend is full of plans which is par for the course this time of year for our family. But I can promise you one thing... this Momma is getting a well-deserved nap! Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

10 Daily Habits

I should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me personally that I consider myself a creature of habit. My OCD tendencies have caused me to keep the same habits and routines since becoming a stay at home Mom in 2012. It doesn't hurt that Connor responses best when he knows what to expect from our day. Because I know we aren't the only ones who like things a certain way, here is a look at 10 of our daily habits.


HABIT #1
I start every week day with a bit of Jesus. I am either always taking part in a Bible study or I am reading a book with biblical teachings. I can tell when I slip away from this habit. I often feel restless. For me, starting my day in scripture allows me to begin our day feeling grounded and confident. 

HABIT #2
I check the weather no less than 5 times a day.  At any given point I can tell you what the weather is going to be like for the next 5 days. I blame this on having a Dad who's work was weather dependent. However, Connor is just as interested as I am in the daily/weekly forecast. 

HABIT #3
I love having a clutter free e-mail box. Twice a day I check my mail and delete anything that I don't need in my inbox. Same goes for any iPhone apps. I check any app that has the red bubble. My goal is to never have notification alerts present on my phone (e-mail included). 

HABIT #4
In regards to my blog, each morning I add my blog post to my Facebook page. I get the bulk of my blog traffic from Facebook so I try to keep my blog's Facebook page active. 

HABIT #5
I wash my hair daily. I know that there are some people who brag about having 3, 4, or 5 day hair but that doesn't work for me. I wish it did but my hair is used to being washed daily because it tends to get oily quickly. I wash my hair daily but that doesn't mean I actually style it. 

HABIT #6
My love of reading has trickled down to Connor, making me one proud Momma. We read 3-4 books a day. That's one a lazy day! Connor loves being read to and has recently shown a huge interested in knowing what each printed word says. I also make sure to give myself 15-45 minutes a day of reading time. 

HABIT #7
I ask James how he day was. James can and does work long hours some days. I make sure to ask him how he does was and listen to his response, giving him my full attention. He works so hard for our family and loves his career so I support him every way I can. Asking about his day shows him that I am invested in his health and wellness from day to day. 

HABIT #8
I try and usually meet my daily step goal of 7,800 steps. I've been killing it lately, averaging over 11,000 steps. I focus most of my steps Monday thru Friday and allow myself a bit of grace on the weekends. 

HABIT #9
I text my best friend BreAnn every single day. She and I meet in Texas and we both now live in our home states; she is in California and I'm in Ohio. I haven't seen her (other than FaceTime) in over 2 years yet talking every single day via text and the weekly phone call as kept our friendship just as strong. If anything, we are closer now than ever. 

HABIT #10
Once a day I indulge in a bit of caffeine. I've given up soda and only drink coffee or tea. Both give me enough of a morning pick me up that I can function like a normal human being. I'm both a morning and night person so I need all the caffeine I can get. I limit my intake and don't drink anything caffeinated past 3. If I do, I'll be up all night. 


Speaking of caffeine, I have been loving drinking my morning cup of tea from my new Sweese Infuser Mug before starting my day. The tea mug with lid and an extra-find hold infuser helps brew tea simply and quickly. I often make Connor's breakfast while my tea brews. I love using loose teas and this infuser allows me to do that without fuss. Sweese is offering one lucky WMM reader a infuser mug of their own. To enter, complete the tasks in the Rafflecopter below. And be sure to visit Sweese and enter their giveaway as well, giving you double the chances of winning. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Thank you for sponsoring this giveaway and post, Sweese. As always, I only share products and services we know and love. Happy tea drinking, friends!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

10 Must Read Books for the Summer

Going into this month, I've read 20 books in 2017. My goal was to read 25 so it's safe to say that's a goal I'll have no problem achieving. Summer is here and with it comes afternoons lounging by the pool with a book in hand. While I tend to love darker novels filled with death and war stories (WW II is my go to topic more often than not), I wanted to lighten up the novels I'll be reading this season. With that in mind, here are 10 must read book for Summer 2017; each with a healthy dose of sunshine, water and adventure.


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter


The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand


48-year-old Nantucketer Dabney Kimball Beech has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others - like her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech, and her daughter, Agnes, who is clearly engaged to the wrong man - call it meddlesome, but there's no arguing with her results: With 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together, Dabney has never been wrong about romance.

Never, that is, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago when he left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist. Now, after spending 27 years on the other side of the world, Clen is back on Nantucket, and Dabney has never felt so confused, or so alive.

But when tragedy threatens her own second chance, Dabney must face the choices she's made and share painful secrets with her family. Determined to make use of her gift before it's too late, she sets out to find perfect matches for those she loves most. The Matchmaker is a heartbreaking story about losing and finding love, even as you're running out of time.

The Lake House by Kate Morton


Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.


Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax


After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again. 

The Island House by Nancy Thayer


Every summer since college, twenty-nine-year-old Jenny has traded the familiarity of the Midwest for the allure of Nantucket. Now an established university professor in Kansas City, she finds herself caught between two lifestyles and two very different men. She chooses Nantucket and the glamorous life she associates with it, unaware that the summer will take an unexpected turn, and she will have to let her heart decide what it truly wants. 

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan


For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.
 


Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch


Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.


All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank


Dorothea Benton Frank’s magical stories take us deep into the heart of her beloved Carolina Lowcountry. In her novels, this lush landscape comes alive in all its vibrancy and color. She ignites all of our senses with her vivid descriptions of landscape and atmosphere. In her novels you hear the ocean washing the shore on different islands so profoundly that you can nearly hear the sea gulls squawking, too.

This is a story of people whose lives are changing—a southern gentleman returning home to lead a more peaceful life and his talented New York wife who is not quite sure she is ready to make the transition. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, downsizing. And while they are doing this, they are getting glimpses into other people’s lives over the course of a summer, holidays that will amuse, shock and transform them.

This irresistible story is home to captivating characters as funny, complicated, and real as our best friends—husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and family who wrestle with the complexities, pain, and joys familiar to us all.

Finally, we’ll come to recognize the face of love, the kind that deepens and endures but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. That leap changes them all.


This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets


Blanca is forty years old and motherless. Shaken by the unexpected death of the most important person in her life, she suddenly realizes that she has no idea what her future will look like.

To ease her dizzying grief and confusion, Blanca turns to her dearest friends, her closest family, and a change of scenery. Leaving Barcelona behind, she returns to CadaquƩs on the coast, accompanied by her two sons, two ex-husbands, and two best friends, and makes a plan to meet her married lover for a few stolen moments as well. Surrounded by those she loves most, she spends the summer in an impossibly beautiful place, finding ways to reconnect and understand what it means to truly, happily live on her own terms, just as her mother would have wanted.


Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen


On a dreary spring day in Brooklyn, Lottie Wilkes and Rose Arbuthnot spot an ad on their children’s preschool bulletin board:  
Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
August.
 
Neither can afford it, but they are smitten—Lottie could use a break from her overbearing husband and Rose from her relentless twins. On impulse, they decide to take the place and attract two others to share the steep rent: Caroline Dester, an indie movie star who’s getting over a very public humiliation, and elderly Beverly Fisher, who’s recovering from heartbreaking loss. If it’s not a perfect quartet, surely it will be fine for a month in the country. 

When they arrive on the island, they are transformed by the salt air; the breathtaking views; the long, lazy days; and the happy routine of lobster, corn, and cocktails on the wraparound porch. By the time of the late-August blue moon, real life and its complications have finally fallen far, far away. For on this idyllic island they gradually begin to open up: to one another and to the possibilities of lives quite different from the ones they’ve been leading. Change can’t be that hard, can it?




I have already requested, checked out or downloaded many of these to keep me company this Summer. Many of these authors are new to me which always leads to fun discovers and a whole list of books I want to read. For those of who you are bookworms, you'll noticed many of these titles are older. I wanted to share a list of books that would be budget friendly - either priced low or available at the library without long waits. I'm currently hold number 78 of 102 for Paula Hawkin's new novel "Into the Water"; she wrote "Gone Girl".

Looking for more Summer inspiration? I've joined a handful of my favorite bloggers to put together a Summer Lovin' Blog Hop. Just click on each link below to discover new ideas. We are sharing ways to entertain the little ones this season, Summer wardrobe ideas, DIY projects, tasty recipes perfect for the grill and so much more! 



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hand-print Fish Craft

If there is one craft I will claim as a keepsake, it's one that includes a hand-print. I try to create a craft once a year with Connor's hands so that we have a his sweet little hands documented. When we picked "The Pout-Pout Fish" for this month's children's book I wasn't sure what we would do craft wise. But when Connor was playing shark in the pool this weekend the idea of using his hands to make fish was born. I love the outcome of our craft and as always, Connor made reading and craft time fun.


"The Pout-Pout Fish" book is one that we own and were eager to read again. Connor has grown out of many of his board books and as he says "baby books" so we've been going through our Scholastic books finding ones that he approves of. You know... "big boy" books. This was one of them. He loves all the Pout-Pout books so this was a craft he was eager to tackle.


It's really up to you on how you tackle this craft. We used sand to create the bottom of the ocean. Connor's hands were used to make our striped pink fish and hairy spotted green fish. Both a CJ original. Connor loves using the hole punch so we used it to create air bubbles. You can use whatever craft supplies you have on-hand to personalize your fish. I asked Connor to give me his signature fish face and he said he would be silly fish, not a pouting one.


Looking for additional fish themed books?
Here are 4 books that are perfect for your littlest readers.



Next month we are picking a "big boy" book. Moms, do you remember "The Magic School Bus" from when you were little? In July, we will be reading and sharing fun indoor water activities based on the book "The Magic School Bus: At The Waterworks".


Grab your copy of July's book and join us for some Summer fun with books and water! An unlikely duo, right? I'm excited to sure with you what we have planned for this book.