Thursday, December 17, 2015

Currently Reading: Seafront Tearoom


I'm currently reading and loving this book. Have you read it or heard about it? The cover really drew me in and this time of year I love cozy reads, including women's fiction.

 
The first rule of afternoon tea: never rush. Take time to savor it. Just like friendship…

The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and  journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair Séraphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.

Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless. 


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: The Golden Son by Shilpi Sompaya Gowda


Publisher: Harper Collins
Released: 2015
Pages: 408
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

The Golden Son is Gowda’s second novel, and I was so excited to see that it would be released in 2015. I bought it immediately on release day. I loved The Secret Daughter and I was excited but scared that I would be disappointed in her second novel. It did not disappoint, and I’m so happy that I read it.

The Golden Son is a coming of age story, Anil is the oldest son and his father’s “Golden Son.” Anil has always been expected to become a doctor, and when he decides to complete his residency in Texas, he has no idea how much his life will change. Anil becomes stuck between two worlds. Being the oldest son, he has traditional demands that his mother won’t let him walk away from. He’s also living in Texas and realizing that he can’t completely leave his old life behind him. Life is not simple, and Anil needs to figure out what he wants in life.

Leena, a childhood friend of Anil’s chooses a traditional life, hoping for a comfortable life like the one she lived with her parents. It becomes very clear, very fast that her husband and in-laws are not what she expected. Her new life becomes a dangerous struggle, and her determination and strength are tested. A woman cannot just walk away from her husband, and face no consequences.


The Golden Son wasn’t a fast read, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Gowda’s writing is fantastic, and engaging.  She forces readers to see the beauty of Indian culture, as well as the complexity of the traditions. I highly recommend this one for anyone who loves a captivating coming of age story. Gowda has become a "must buy" "must read" author for me. If you haven't read The Secret Daughter, you really should pick it up.

Friday, December 4, 2015

If We Were Having Tea...

Hi Everyone,



If We Were Having Tea... I would tell you that Caleb turned 2 on the 3rd! We are having his party on Saturday, and I can't wait for him to see all the Firetruck decorations. I've been working on them for about a month.




If We Were Having Tea... I would tell you that I'm currently reading Gwynneth Ever After by Linda Poitevin and I'm really enjoying it. It seems like a cute romance, and I'm in the mood for lighter, happier books. I'm looking into Christmas books and hope to read one next.

If We Were Having Tea... I would mention that I finished The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda and loved it! Her debut novel The Secret Daughter is one of my favorite books and I'm so happy, I loved her second as well.

If We Were Having Tea.. I would tell you that I'm about half way through my Christmas shopping. I love Christmas, but the shopping part is the most stressful. We cleared out Caleb's playroom to try and make room for his new toys. He's really good about playing with all his toys. When he stops playing with them, I will bring them to my parents and he plays with them there because they're "new."

If We Were Having Tea... I would say Thank You to all of you who have been supportive and send me nice comments, especially on my parenting posts. I think it's really easy to be too hard on yourself when you're feeling stressed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Toddler Reads Recommendations: Firetrucks




Description:

From the popular creators of I’m Bad!, I Stink!, and I’m Dirty! comes the perfect new addition to this hilarious read-aloud series: the fire truck.

He’s a big red ENGINE
With a siren,
A horn,
A tank full of water,
And a whole lotta HOSE!

He’s a good-lookin’ fire truck,
And he’s BRAVE, too.
When the alarm sounds
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOO
He’s gotta drive through
SMOKE and HEAT
Straight to a blazing FIRE! 

HONK! HONK!





Description:

It’s the formula for success for preschoolers—Curious George and fire trucks! Curious George and the Firefighters is a story based on H. A. and Margret Rey’s popular primate and painted in the original watercolor and charcoal style. Firefighters are a famously brave lot, but can they withstand a visit from one curious monkey? For more monkey fun, investigate www.curiousgeorge.com and discover all the latest on Curious George books, promotions, games, activities, and more!


These two books are the ONLY books Caleb will let me read him before bed. He loves these books, and will ask for "Brave" or "George" once we finish one, he wants the other one. I like them because they're both quick reads and cute. I have these books pretty much memorized. I highly recommend these books, and loved receiving them from our Scholastic order. We receive the Scholastic book order each month at his childcare center, and I love selecting books for him. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Life With A Toddler: 5 Things I Need to Remind Myself


1. Life with a toddler is not easy, and alot of times looking at other families, you feel like you're alone in feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I work full time, and my evenings are not easy. I get home around 5 and Caleb goes to bed around 7- 7:30 and within that time frame we have supper, dishes, playtime, bath time and books before bed. It's hard, it's stressful, and that's okay.

2. Sometimes you need to step back and prioritize. Caleb is going through a phase where he hates baths. He will scream and cry and it makes a tired toddler hard to handle. I've decided that he doesn't need to bath every night. He likes showering with his Dad, so we do it every other night. It's okay to just go with the flow, routines change. I don't want Caleb to get his way all the time, but sometimes I need to do what works.

3. Communicate with your husband. If you need help, ask for it. We don't always look at a problem the same way, and sometimes I think that my husband is ignoring my need for help but really he doesn't realize that I need help. I think this goes both ways, and it's something that we need to work on.

4. Do something for yourself, it will make you feel better. Even if it's just a small thing...In the mornings, I take 10 minutes to do my makeup and it makes me feel better.

5. Even when it's hard, enjoy the time we have as a family. Caleb going to be 2 years old, and I can't believe how fast he's growing and learning. Yes, we still co sleep, it's not ideal but to be honest, I enjoy those snuggles. What works for one family, doesn't always work for another one. Caleb wakes up in the morning and snuggles with the both of us. He'll say "dis is Mama, dis is Dada, and dis is Me."


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Blog Tour: Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas

Goodreads Description:

A hilarious, deftly written debut novel about a woman whose wanderlust is about to show her that sometimes you don’t have to travel very far to become the person you want to be…

There are many reasons women shouldn’t travel alone. But as foul-mouthed, sweet-toothed Kika Shores knows, there are many more reasons why they should. After all, most women want a lot more out of life than just having fun. Kika, for one, wants to experience the world.

But ever since she returned from her yearlong backpacking tour, she’s been steeped in misery, battling rush hour with all the other suits. Getting back on the road is all she wants. So when she’s offered a nanny job in London – the land of Cadbury Cream Eggs – she’s happy at the prospect of going back overseas and getting paid for it. But as she’s about to discover, the most exhilarating adventures can happen when you stay in one place…

Wise, witty, and hilarious, Girls Who Travel is an unforgettable novel about the highs and lows of getting what you want—and how it’s the things you least expect that can change your life.

Thoughts:

I'm a little on the fence about this one, I enjoyed it but I had trouble connecting with the characters. I didn't really feel like travel was a main focus in the story line, it was more about figuring out life, growing up and relationships. Kika started out very immature to me, and I couldn't relate to her. I had a hard time understanding her, and it took me about half way through the book to start liking her. Normally, if I don't like the main character, I have a hard time reading the book but I didn't lose interest in this one. It was a quick read, and I really wanted to finish. Kika's  romance story line kept me interested. The ending was okay, it felt like it was wrapped up too quickly, and too neatly. Overall, I liked this one, but I didn't love it. I'm glad I read it, I had no trouble finishing it and I would recommend it. If this sounds like one you would enjoy, don't let my so-so review keep you from reading it. I'm at a different place in life, at Kika's age I was already married and settled. I just couldn't connect with her. 




Monday, November 23, 2015

Product Review: Tula Toddler Baby Carrier




Each Tula Toddler carrier:
  • can be used in both front and back carry
  • can be used from 25-50 pounds or 18 months to 4+ years old (beginning when the child is a minimum of 25 pounds and 32 inches tall)
  • provides an ergonomic M-position seat supporting optimal development for baby’s body
  • is hand made from 100% Öko-Tex Standard 100 certified cotton
  • includes a removable hood to support baby’s head while asleep, protect from sun or wind, and allow for comfortable breastfeeding
  • includes a front pocket for storing on-the-go necessities


Review:

Before I purchased the Tula Toddler, I had an Ergo. I loved it and used it alot. When it started to really pull on my shoulders and neck. I wasn't ready to give up on a carrier, because it's been great for us. I came upon the Tula Toddler and was excited to give it a try. If we are out shopping and Caleb is really tired, he will complain and whine in a shopping cart (doesn't even want to get in a shopping cart anymore...) or his stroller. If I wear him, he doesn't say a word and will usually fall asleep on me. I REALLY didn't want to give up on baby wearing, and as soon as I tried the Tula Toddler, I noticed a huge difference. The shoulders are more padded, and the material comes up higher on Caleb's back. This kept him closer to me, and less stress and weight on my shoulders. Caleb's currently 29 pounds, and I use the carrier every weekend. I feel his weight but there's no pain. If we go out and I know it's going to be a long day, I will take the carrier. Caleb is a much happier little man. When he's tired, he wants in my arms and the carrier gives him that comfort. 

I've never used a stroller on public transportation, I always use the carrier. It just feels so much better and it's not difficult. A busy bus/metro with a stroller is not my idea of fun. I also like that the Tula is similarly designed to the Ergo. I had no trouble putting it on, and getting Caleb in the carrier. I also have to front carry, because Caleb doesn't like back carrying. He has to play with my ears when he's tried and back carrying doesn't feel the same to him. I really hope he out grows the ear thing soon...because he's played with my ears since he could stretch his little hands up to reach. When he's tried, he comes to me to touch my ears.

The removable hood is great because he don't really use it, and the Ergo hood would constantly annoy me. The only thing I don't like about the Tula is where the pocket is. It's at the bottom, on the waste band. I preferred the pocked on the Ergo and found it bigger and easier to use. 

I live in Canada and we don't have a lot of options when it comes to carrier. I purchased this one through Snugglebugz, and was very happy with the service.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: See My by Nicholas Sparks


Publisher: Grand Central
Released: 2015
Pages: 490
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

Colin is determined to turn his life around, and get his anger under control. Poor life choices has left him on probation, and distant from his family. He’s decided that he doesn’t want to go to prison, and he really can’t make one more mistake. Maria is a hardworking, she’s a young lawyer, trying to make a name for herself and move up within her company. She’s very close with her family, and they’re very proud of her but they really want her to enjoy life and meet someone. When her car breaks down, and a beaten up Collin stops to help her out, she’s afraid. Her sister encourages her to give him a chance, but Maria isn’t sure what to do. As Collin and Maria grow closer together, it’s clear that someone is stalking her. She doesn’t know who it could be or how dangerous they really are.

It’s been awhile since I read a Nicholas Sparks book, and I decided to try this one. I read and loved A Walk to Remember and it will be forever be a high school memory of mine. I enjoyed See Me, it was a well written romance with a suspense element thrown in. It didn’t seem like a typical Nicholas Sparks book. The thriller aspect really took me by surprise, I went in not knowing much about it. I liked it but I found it very predictable, and I had it all figured out. This book is rather large and the ending seemed to drag, I thought it could do with a little more editing.

I liked the dynamic of Maria and Collin, they’re different backgrounds but their understanding of each other. Maria comes from a Hispanic background and family is very important to her. Knowing Collin’s background, she wants to believe he can change and will continue to do so but she does see some red flags. Collin doesn’t has a close family but he has close friends who will do anything for him, and I really enjoyed those relationships.


Overall, I thought this was a really good book. It held my attention, I was rooting for Maria and Collin, and the stalker started to get on my nerves because I wanted that storyline to end. If you’re a Nicholas Sparks fan, I would try this out and keep in mind that it’s not a typical book of his.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Three New Releases Added to my Wishlist

Goodreads Description:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Goodreads Description:

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.
 

Goodreads Description:

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm trying not to buy ALL the books, and wait until I'm ready to read them to buy them. I'm been following my reading goals for this month, and haven't added any new books to my ereader. I love the cover of Winter, and I can't wait to finish the series. It hasn't been my favorite series, but I do enjoy it and want to finish. After You is another one that I want to read sooner rather than later. I'm excited to see Louisa again. I've seen Fates and Furies every where and I really want to give it a try, it sounds like an interesting read. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Toddler Sleep


Isn't he cute?? Yes! He'll be 2 in December. Caleb is 23 months, and he doesn't sleep through the night. When he was an infant, I tried everything to get him to sleep in his crib/bassinet. I spent months not sleeping at night, and sleeping when he slept during the day. As soon  as I put him in his bed, he woke up. I spent many nights, crying and wondering when this would get easier. It only began to get easier when I put him in bed with us. Caleb is still sleeping in our bed, I honestly don't mind him in bed with us but I wish he would sleep through the night. On a good night, he still wakes up 1-2 times a night. Recently, with the time change he's ready to start his day at 4am. He's one of those kids that wakes up at the same time regardless of what time he goes to bed. He currently has an ear infection, and the last two nights have been rough. I work full time, and some days I wonder how I do it. It's been 23 months of broken sleep. 

As soon as I mention that Caleb doesn't sleep his nights, it seems like I'm the only one. Everyone has had sleeping babies since they've been 8 weeks old. I don't get it. I've tried everything except crying it out. I spent two weeks sitting by his crib at night, waiting for him to fall asleep on his own. I did this before I started back to work, and honestly it got worst as time when on. He'd fall back asleep but he would get up within the hour, we'd start over and did this night after night. I gave up and we went back to cosleeping. I'm really happy my husband is okay with co-sleeping. I know eventually he'll sleep his nights, but I don't feel like it'll be any time soon. 

Caleb started teething early, he had two bottom teeth poke through at 4 months old. I've always thought maybe he had trouble sleeping because he was a early teether. His last molar came out about a month ago, I'm hoping this will help. I don't want to feel like a failure because my kid doesn't sleep his nights, but I can't help feeling like that. I feel like I'm the only one. I have no advice to give on this topic, but when I look at sleep articles, I feel like I've tried it all. 

I'm hoping that this post will relate to someone. Let them know they're not alone, and neither am I. If you had a toddler who got up through the night, did you just have to wait it out? I can't look at any more sleep articles because they just frustrate me. 



2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner: Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis



Congratulations Andre Alexis! I'll be adding this one to my wishlist. The Giller Prize is a literary prize for Canadian authors of a novel or short story collection.  It's a great way to find Canadian authors.


SYNOPSIS

-- I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.
-- I'll wager a year's servitude, answered Apollo, that animals – any animal you like – would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence.
And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old 'dog' ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.
André Alexis's contemporary take on the apologue offers an utterly compelling and affecting look at the beauty and perils of human consciousness. By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange, Fifteen Dogs shows you can teach an old genre new tricks.
'[Alexis] devises an inventive romp through the nature of humanity in this beautiful, entertaining read … A clever exploration of our essence, communication, and how our societies are organized.' -- Kirkus Reviews
'Alexis manages to encapsulate an astonishing range of metaphysical questions in a simple tale about dogs that came to know too much. The result is a delightful juxtaposition of the human and canine conditions, and a narrative that, like just one of the dogs, delights in the twists and turns of the gods' linguistic gift.' -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Monday, November 9, 2015

December Releases on my Wishlist

Releases Dec 1, 2015.

Goodreads Description:

For fans of Simone Elkeles and Courtney Summers, this haunting debut novel is about two teenagers battling their inner demons as they fall in love for the first time.

When Marion Taylor, the shy bookworm, meets sexy soccer captain Kurt Medford at a party, what seems like a sure thing quickly turns into a total mess. One moment they’re alone in the middle of a lake, igniting sparks of electricity. The next, they’re on dry land, pretending they’ve never met. But rather than the end, that night is the beginning of something real, terrifying, and completely unforgettable for them both.

As Marion and Kurt struggle to build a relationship from the fractured pieces of their pasts, every kiss they share uncovers memories both would rather keep buried. Marion desperately wants to trust Kurt and share the one secret she’s never told anyone—but some truths aren’t meant to be spoken out loud. Kurt is also still haunted by his mother’s death, by the people he hurt, and by the mistakes he can never take back.

Explosive together and hollow apart, Marion and Kurt seem totally wrong for each other—but could they turn out to be more right than they ever thought possible?

Releases Dec 8th, 2015.

Goodreads Description:

No one does romantic suspense better than Jayne Ann Krentz. Now, the New York Times bestselling author of Trust No Oneand River Road delivers a novel that twists and turns into a read that will leave you breathless.

Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.


They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother's hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn't be bothering them anymore...ever. Still their lives would never be the same. 

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts...and wants. 

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack's brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth....

Releases: December 15, 2015.

Goodreads Description:

An evocative historical novel that explores the rising influence of Dickens s work in mid-19th century London through the journey of a young woman s struggle against poverty and injustice.

In the winter of 1836, a young journalist named Charles Dickens held an infant in his arms. Only eight months of age, Ruby Spriggs was living under the most deplorable conditions that existed in London. Crushing poverty seemed her only future.

Through the intervention of kind patrons, the child blossoms into a young woman instilled with a love of learning and books. But the forces that Dickens fought against for most of his life threaten to destroy her.

At the heart of "The Baker s Tale" is Ruby Spriggs; Edwin Chatfield, the young man who would be her lover; Alexander Murd, the scheming coal baron who would destroy them; Abraham Hart, a dwarf who befriends Ruby in a faraway land; and Octavius Joy, a 19th-century philanthropist cut from unique cloth.

Friday, November 6, 2015

If we were having tea...



I'm thinking of making "If we were having Tea" a weekly post. It gives me a chance to reflect on my week and let you know what's been going on. 

If we were having tea... I'd tell you that I'm currently reading See Me by Nicolas Sparks and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't read any of Nicholas Sparks latest but thought I'd try this one. I'm glad I did. I'm about 75% into the book, and I'm hoping to finish by the weekend. 

If we were having tea... I'd tell you that I've been so exhausted this week. Last week too, but I assumed it was because we just got back from vacation. I'm looking forward to trying to catch up on sleep and try to rest up for next week. Almost every evening I go home, and I have a headache. It's just because I'm tired but I hate that feeling and it really starts to drag me down.

If we were having tea... I'd let you know what planning is an addiction! I've been really appreciating my Happy Planner. I'm looking into affordable decorating options and it's really been helpful. I really want to buy some nice stickers and add to my washi collection. I made a few bookmarks, and they turned out really cute.





If we were having tea... I'd tell you that I found my Leonard Dicaprio scrapbook from 1998. I was 13 years old and Leonard DiCaprio was my crush. I laughed so hard flipping through this book. I had to take a picture. I've since recycled the pages. I also found the diary I was using when Daniel and I started dating. I was 17 years old, and my entries are embarrassing. Oh, boy...

If we were having tea...I'd tell you that the stomach flu is no joke. Caleb had it last Friday, I had it Sunday, and Daniel had it Monday. When Caleb was sick on Friday, Daniel said " Once the flu hits your house, everyone gets it." I laughed it off, and threatened he would be next...but it was me. I couldn't move all day, and Caleb kept telling me " Mama, Up!" It's so hard to be a mom, and me sick. Thank God my husband is great. 

If we were having tea... I'd mention that I watched the CMA's and I felt like Miranda Lambert looks sad. She wasn't herself. She looked great on the red carpet. I really wish the best for her. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stephanie look so weird together. I'm not a fan of how Blake jokes about his divorce all the time. It's still new, don't talk about it. #teammiranda 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler




Review: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Publisher: Random House Canada
Released: 2015
Pages: 368
Source: Personal
Rating: 4/5

A Spool of Blue Thread is a family saga that includes three generations told through snapshots. This book is universal, relatable and engaging. The Whitshank family could easily be your family, or the family next door. They’re not perfect, they struggle and like all families, they don’t always agree. Anne Tyler does a great job looking at family dynamics. The story centers around Abby and Red, their four children and the history of the house- built by Red’s father and his dream. Tyler allows readers to realize that achieving your dream doesn’t always lead to happiness.

I read this book on vacation, and I fell in love with Abby. Now older, she has to come to terms with how she raised her children, and how she will live out the rest of her life.  Will her children look after her and Red when the time comes? What will happen to the house that Red’s father, Junior so lovingly built? Junior’s backstory was probably the most captivating for me, and I wanted more. I loved Linnie, and their story gave the house life. I thought this book was great. It’s not a fast paced read, but it held my attention and kept me wanting to pick it up.

This is a hard book to review, because of all the characters but it isn’t a hard book to follow. I recommend this one to any readers who want a good family story, a realistic story. It wasn’t an all-time favorite, but I’ve very happy I read it and discovered Anne Tyler.  I will have to pick up some of her other books as well.

A favorite quote from the book: " The trouble with dying." She'd told Jeannie once, "is that you don't get to see how everything turns out. You won't know the ending."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Planner First Impressions// Free Printable Stickers


I decided to purchase a paper planner for a few reasons. I was always using my phone and it was working but I wanted something that I could quickly jot down things to remember, and actually have that flexibility when planning. I thought a paper planner would work well for me. Often I would notice things weren't syncing between my phone and tablet, and thought it would be best to have a physical planner. I still use my phone calendar for important dates/appointments but my everyday planning: blog, home, meal planning, family things are marked down in my planner.

When I first opened the Happy Planner, I was happy with the vertical design and thought the gold foil was cute. However, the dots on the back weren't foil, just printed. I wish both the back and front had foiled dots. The arc discs are plastic, and have hearts on it. It's cute and I like it. I feel like this planner is very Kate Spade-ish.

I really like that this planner is customization. You can take out and put pages in. Since I started my planner in October, I removed the previous months (July-Sept.) I'm also looking into adding some blank pages for note taking. It's also easy to decorate because you can take the pages out and put it back when you're done. The tabs are laminated and I love that the month view is visible when you open the month tab. It's easy to go look for something upcoming. 

When looking for a planner the price was important to me. Living in Canada, exchange/shipping and customs can get costly. For this reason, I decided that an Erin Condren planner wasn't going to be for me. I liked that the Happy Planner was similarly designed and much less expensive. I purchased it through Amazon.com for 20.57$ US. I did find the Happy Planner Kits at my local Michael's for 49.99$. 

I started decorating with Washi tapes and stickers. The Etsy stickers seem very overpriced and I've been experimenting with printing my own stickers. I won't pay 10$ just to ship stickers. I tried Silhouette Sticker paper but it was too thick and didn't work well with my printer. This is still a work in progess. If you're looking for some free printable stickers, here are some websites that I found. I'll add to this list as I go along.

http://www.vintageglamstudio.com/ (Love these designs)



Thursday, October 29, 2015

November Reads




For some reason, I've been pushing back what I want to read and I'm hoping to change that in November. It's cold and I like to curl up with a book in the evening. These are the four books, I'm hoping to get to. I want to start off with something fun, and decided to read the new Nicholas Sparks. I haven't been reading his books lately, and I remember really enjoying them. Maybe that's what I need to get back into the swing of things. I love Catherine McKenzie and I'm excited for her new book. The following two are required for blog tours, and I need to get to them in November. So, this is what I have on my list.

If you've read any of these, let me know what do you think.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Toddler Favorites: Books



Here are four of Caleb's favorite books. We've been reading together at bedtime since he was really little, and it is apart of our bedtime routine. He was signing book before he could say book. Cars, Trucks, Planes, and Trains is a flap book. He loves opening the tabs on flap books, and discovering what's behind the flap. We also like to ask him to point out different images, and we really have fun with these types of books. Caleb is all about trucks, trains and buses right now. Sweet Dreams 5-Min Bedtime Stories is great when I want to find a quick read before book. The first story in this one is Sweet Dreams Curious George, and Caleb will ask for "George" when he sees this book. We've read the other stories too, but George is his favorite. Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck has been read over and over, and over. I can read this book with my eyes shut, I've read it that many times. It's cute, funny, and I love the pace of the story. The last book I wanted to mention was Elmo Loves You. Sesame Street, and Elmo are favorites of Caleb's. He loves this book, and how can you not enjoy Elmo?


Cars, Trucks, Planes and Trains
Sweet Dreams 5-Min Bedtime Stories
Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck
Elmo Loves You

Monday, October 26, 2015

If we were having tea...



I saw this post on The Perpetual Page Turner and really wanted to try this. It seemed like such a great idea. She titled it “If we were having coffee” but I’m more of a tea person...


If we were having tea… I would tell you that I’m back home from vacation. Every year, my husband and his family moose hunt . It’s a huge tradition, and I look forward to it every year. The men are in the woods, and the women are home . I like to relax and plan nothing.  The road trip went well. Caleb was good, but did get sick on the way home. Rookie mom mistake:  bring more than one extra set of clothing and make sure to have extra clothing for YOU. We stopped half way, and made it home on Sunday.  

If we were having tea… I would tell you that I didn’t get much reading done but I am reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler and really enjoying it.  I’m hoping to finish in the next couple days. I’m watching Scandal and I’m about 6 episodes in.  I’ve also been watching some Youtube channels.

If we were having tea… I would tell you that I ordered a Happy Planner, and was so excited to get home and open the box. I want to buy some stickers, but living in Canada means the shipping is 10$ US which is way more than I want to spend. I’m trying to figure out some more affordable options. Maybe printable stickers, and buy sticker paper. So far, I’m enjoying it. I’ll probably do a review on the planner and what I’m using it for.


If we were having tea… I would share that I’m not a huge Halloween fan. I love Christmas but I have a hard time getting into Halloween. I’ll enjoy seeing Caleb trick or treatin’ but it’s not a favorite holiday.

If we were having tea.. I'd share that Caleb is almost 2, and I'm planning a Firetruck birthday theme. I want to make all the decorations, and I found some cute stuff on Pinterest. He is in love with firetruck's and buses at the moment. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Fall Vacation

Recipe: Cinnamon Bread



This was a Pinterest find, and it's now a staple in my home. It's a great evening coffee cake, and so easy to make. It makes 2 loafs which is great. You always have the option to freeze one loaf.

Batter

1 Cup of Butter
2 Cups of Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Cups of Milk
4 Cups of Flour
2 tsp of Baking Soda

Cinnamon/Sugar mixture

2/3 Cups of Sugar
2 Tsp of Cinnamon

Cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add milk, flour and baking soda. Grease two pans, and fill halfway with batter. In a separate bowl mix together Sugar and Cinnamon mixture. Put half the cinnamon/sugar mixture in each pan, and swirl with a knife. Add the rest of the batter, and add the rest of the Cinnamon/Sugar mixture and swirl with a knife again. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Newest Books




These are the newest books that's I've added to my reader.

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell. I wasn't interested in this one, but the rave reviews has me really curious. I wasn't a fan of the Simon Snow snippets in Fangirl but I want to try this one out.

The Girl in 6E by A.R Torre

The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene. I will be participating in a blog tour for this one. Don't you love the cover?? I do.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. Currently Reading, and loving!

Midnight over Paris by Jennifer Robson


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Product Review: Ninja Kitchen Cooking System



My Ninja Kitchen Cooking System is probably my most used/most loved kitchen appliance. I recommend it to everyone. It has slow cooker, oven and stovetop mode. It’s the perfect size, versatile, and very easy to clean. If you need to cook your meat before you place it in the slow cooker, you can do this all in the Ninja. If you think you might be running late, and won’t have enough time to slow cook your meal, you can put it on “Oven” mode and speed up the cooking process. I also love the fact that you can time the slow cooker to cook for so many hours, and afterwards it will automatically go to “buffet” and keep your food warm but not overcook it. When you work full time, you can easily dry out your food by overcooking, if you don’t have a timer. Unlike a traditional Slow Cooker the liner is not stoneware, it is a nonstick liner. It’s much lighter and very easy to clean. If my Ninja broke, I would definitely want to buy another one.

Slow Cooker: Low, Medium, High and Buffet settings.

Oven: This is adjustable with the digital display like a traditional oven. You can adjust to from 250-425 degrees.


Stovetop: Low, Medium, High. You can use this to sear your meat, simmer or saute.