11 August 2017

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. I just got my brand new Perfectly Posh catalogs!! Let me know if you'd like one :)
  2. I dragged all my plants off the porch and down the walkway to take advantage of the rain today. I tell myself the plants prefer 'natural' water instead of the hose. LOL
  3. Have you heard of the Young Americans? It's traveling troupes of college kids who are inspiring through music. They do workshops and summer camps for kids in 3rd - 12th grade. My daughter is in it right now and LOVES it. I recommend it if it's available in your area :)
  4. I can't believe there's less than a month of 'summer' left. (Summer being defined as ending when school starts...). We still have a baton bootcamp, a zoo trip, beach time, a cooking class, a trip to Cedar Point, and Day Out with Thomas to fit in! Not to mention all the stuff we need to get and do to actually get ready for school...
  5. We've made it through another summer without a deck. Hubby's in charge of that project. It was originally scheduled to start August 1, then August 15... We'll see what happens next week, I guess.
  6. I don't think my brain has caught up  with what day of the week it is yet. I picked the kids up  from camping on Monday, then my daughter has been at a day camp every day since then. Everything feels...off.
  7. Speaking of day camp, tomorrow is the first day I don't have to get up early this week. I've been driving a couple other kids to camp too, so I opted to get up before everyone else and get showered and dressed each day. It started out feeling more productive, but then I was exhausted by mid afternoon and went to bed the same time as the kids. Hahaha...
  8. I forgot how amusing Finding Dory is. It's been playing while I've been writing. 
  9. I'm still a little anxious about all the school redistricting stuff and all new kids in my kids' classes. Even though my youngest is in kindergarten, with the way the school used to be, I'd know siblings of his classmates. I think I'll always be a little bitter about it. I really liked the way it used to be.
  10. Welp - hope you all have a great weekend! My family will be watching the Young Americans tomorrow, then probably just chillin and cleaning up from the crazy week on Sunday, so we're ready to do it all over again!

10 August 2017

A Grown-Up Weekend

Actually, I'm not sure if we've already moved from 'grown-up' to old people, but we'll just go with it.

Last weekend was my kids' annual camping trip with my parents. They look forward to it all year and always have a blast. Hubby and I seldom get babysitters the rest of the year and make plans to live it up while we're temporarily childless and without a curfew. This year, he wanted to get REALLY crazy and run away to a bed and breakfast, but after a few days of getting the kids ready and packed, I didn't have the heart to do it all again for us - I wanted to stay home and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet - a different atmosphere than the happy hustle and bustle when the kids are with me. My other requirement was that I wasn't cooking. So really, the weekend was mostly about eating out. All. The. Time.

Friday night we made it to Fork n Pint in Waterford, MI a few minutes before 6pm - $5 pretzel bread!! I was excited to go here because there's another location opening in our town in the next month or so. Since our town is full of mostly BBQ and Mexican places, they'll probably be really busy with those wanting some variety once they get here. We did indeed arrive in time for happy hour and took advantage of the Pretzel Bread with a cheese fondue and a dijonnaise dipping sauce for $5 (regularly $8). They were delicious, and hubby and I could not agree on a favorite sauce - both were great! I then went with the Marinated Sirloin, while hubby had the Chicken and Waffles. We were both again very happy with our choices. I held back to purposely have a few slices of sirloin and potatoes left for lunch one day this week (but accidentally ate them for breakfast Tuesday..). With a little more butter added to the potatoes, it was delicious reheated as well. I also enjoyed an adorable mini dessert to wrap it up. It was a raspberry and lemon cake on the evening we were there, and it was a perfect sweet bite to end my meal. While I certainly could have eaten more, I felt responsible for just having had a mini ;).

Saturday morning I called for some mom time and slept in while hubby went to a 'cars and coffee' meet up with some friends at a local track. By the time he got back, I was rested, refreshed, and ready for more fun .We headed first to Lake Orion to walk around a car show that was just a few streets of pretty much classic cars. It only bothers me a little that some of the 'classic' cars are not as old as I am. After the car show, we headed to Bullfrogs Bar in Ortonville, MI for some lunch. He had the pizza, and I went for some soup and salad. I really like soup, especially for lunch. The house salad was pretty good for a bar, and the lobster bisque was quite yummy too. We went from there for a drive around, just enjoying looking at the local lakes and homes.

Saturday night we went off the beaten path to a Korean BBQ restaurant recommended by a friend. Hubby has traveled to Korea a few times for a previous job and wanted me to share a bit from his experiences there. We went to the New Seoul Garden in Southfield, MI. I was a bit amused when we pulled up, as this definitely used to be a Chi-Chis. Inside, there was no mariachi music. LOL The service was friendly and attentive, and I trusted my hubby to order what he wanted me to try. My first new treat was California rolls - yes - until last weekend I had never tried sushi! They were very yummy. We then got to grill steak, chicken, and shrimp at our table, and they were delicious. He said you were supposed to serve them in lettuce wraps, with a chili paste that was also provided. I'm a knife and fork kinda gal (or in this case, chopsticks) and just ate the grilled meat and a few veggies. He recommended I not try the kimchi, since he said it was a little spicier than I would enjoy. I did taste the sprouts with some sort of ginger taste to them? He said they reminded him exactly of his Korean travels.

Sunday morning (okay, it was noon) we headed back to downtown Lake Orion for breakfast at a great little cafe that's usually super crowded for breakfast. CJ's Lakeside Grill did not disappoint. I didn't even notice what hubby had, but I destroyed two eggs over medium, some American fries (at the waitress's recommendation), crispy bacon, and white toast. I'm not one to usually clean my plate, but boy I did that morning!

Perhaps our biggest surprise of the weekend was dinner on Sunday at Dickey's BBQ. One just opened in Lake Orion on Baldwin Rd, north of I75. For one of the less-expensive meals we had that weekend, the food was better than expected. Definitely a very casual feel, and equally conducive to dining in or picking up a carry-out order. I absolutely loved the oni
on tangles I got to go with my chopped brisket. I consider myself kind of picky about my brisket, and this was delicious. Most of it was easily cut with my fork, or already falling apart. YUM! I mixed the original recipe sauce with the sweet sauce. Hubby got the pit-boss special of a half-rack of ribs, and I may have taken one of those to try too. I look forward to going back soon.

So there you have the exciting weekend of two forty-somethings who were childless for a weekend. Are there any places you recommend we try when this happens again next summer? Or did we hit up your favorites this time?

07 August 2017

Reading Challenge - Book 16

This was admittedly a little slower read than most of the dystopian novels I love so much. There were several main characters - which I love - but it felt like there was less 'activity' surrounding them. So I'd get bored and set it aside instead of pushing through to more of my favorite characters' stories. Lost in Arcadia by Sean Gandert ended up satisfying the 16th category on my reading challenge list - a book that's published in 2017. It was one of my Kindle first-read books for July (Amazon Prime members get a free Kindle each month, and get to pick one of four or five books around the first of each month). I've liked several of the books picked this way, and this one was no exception.

The book centered heavily around one family in New Mexico. The father had invented a giant role-playing computer game (sorry - probably the wrong lingo, as these types of games aren't really my thing), and then he disappeared for years. The mother persevered in raising three children - one who was living with a long-term boyfriend a few hours away, one who was also working on computer games, and one who was a teenager still at home. Another character who overlapped with two of the children was a girl who had a tragic accident while a student at the youngest's school, and then ended up interacting with the computer games person, primarily online.

Outside of the characters was a lot of world-view and political stuff that influenced their lives in ways we could just imagine (there's that dystopian spin ;) ). The character's choices were sometimes hard to imagine, since the world they were living in is not the same as our current world in many ways.

Overall, I'd say it was a decent book. Without giving too much away, the fruit angle was my favorite. LOL It was a slower read than I usually pick up, and it did take some determination to actually finish it up. That being said, I think the author could have some potential, if he reads over his reviews and learns from them. Given the genre, he definitely did need a lot of the detailed descriptions, but in most cases he went a bit further than needed. I wouldn't recommend this to someone as a first dystopian novel, but as someone who already enjoys them, I was also able to enjoy this book.

04 August 2017

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. Tonight is Posh Night!! Perfectly Posh is launching our new fall/winter catalog - LOTS of new products!! Watch it on OhMyPosh on Facebook, then shop at my site (http://www.PoshBecki.com) after 9pm MT tonight.
  2. The weather totally tricked me today. I got most of the weeding done, but then it started raining yesterday. And today's forecast also showed lots of rain. So I committed to inside tasks, and now it looks beautiful outside (but I'm not dressed for weeding...)
  3. Hubby and I are trying a new restaurant tonight while the kids are off camping with my parents. Watch my Yelp to see what we think!
  4. Don't tell anyone, but I'm kind of looking forward to school starting again next month so my kids can bring me some new artwork. While the picture of the melting snowman is adorable, it seems somehow out of place at the beginning of August.
  5. My feet are cold (how's THAT for random?).
  6. I keep wanting to watch Heathers since I saw that a stage show is going on next June. In Ohio. But now it's on my mind! I think I still have the DVD...
  7. I just completely got sucked into the trivia notes for Heathers on IMDB.
  8. In case you're paying attention, our aquarium is now at seven fish. We have to neon tetras, two sherpae tetras, and three platys. And a plant. The plant and the platys seem to be helping some of the algae, but I think a sheer curtain on the window will help even more. Darn algae from the sun isn't what an algae eater enjoys, so I'm left with lots of scrubbing til I work out alternatives.
  9. I can't believe I have myself at home alone for this many days and I didn't stock up on more junk food. 
  10. Welp, more book reviews to come next week, along with a new KidPik box review and a new StitchFix box review! Stay tuned :)

12 July 2017

Reading Challenge - Book 15

I finished up my 15th book for this year sometime during June, I think. As usual, Liane Moriarty did not disappoint. I read this book to satisfy the seventh category on the list - 'a book that is a story within a story.'

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty is difficult to talk about without giving away too much. It starts out about a 20-something girl, Sophie, who has inherited a house when an ex's elderly Aunt Connie passes away. Sophie's unique outside perspective is perfect for telling the intricate tale of the Aunt Connie's family.

The inherited house is on the tiny Australian island of Scribbly Gum. The only other houses on the island are inhabited by other family members, who all run a big festival each year on the island to celebrate the Baby Munro Mystery - the history of Enigma, the baby found just days after her birth by Aunt Connie and her sister. As Sophie moves into her new house, though, Scribbly Gum island may be preparing to celebrate the anniversary for the last time.

I loved Liane Moriarty's characters again, and I loved to fantasize about living on the quaint little island with them all. The plot twists and other discoveries were very entertaining, . From dealing with love lost, what to do about one's biological clock, finding 'Mr Right,' and post-partum depression, all the way to solving a random murder mystery on the last page, this book kept me reading and interested to find out how the stories ended for them all. I would definitely recommend this book.

07 July 2017

Proven Winners Direct GIVEAWAY

There are some blogging opportunities I really look forward to each year, and I was so excited to be able to work with Proven Winners Direct again this year. You may remember last year that I received a beautiful DIY hanging basket that grew better than anything I've ever had, and was able to give one away as well.

This year I was thrilled to hear from them while working on planting some new bushes and re-doing our front porch area. They wanted to send me four gallon containers of the exclusive At Last roses. While we'd just planted butterfly bushes and coreopsis, I knew just where I wanted to add in some gorgeous roses. I considered sharing them with my mom, but after having torn up everything around our front porch at Mothers' Day, we had plenty of room.

It was almost instant gratification - within a week I had a huge box with holes in it placed gently on my favorite porch chair, and was grabbing my gloves to start planting these thorned beauties. Having flowers shipped always worries me, but Proven Winners Direct has it down. The box is super sturdy, and the gallon planters are safely divided from each other so everything looks like I could have carried it out of the nursery myself. I actually had to put in some effort tearing the box down so I didn't get all stabbed up with the thorns while trying to remove all four plants from the box. Then they had plastic carefully tied and taped across each pot so the soil stayed put during transit. Super impressive, and safely delivered.

These three pictures are my real At Last roses, and trust me, I'm no green thumb. I hurried to get my four plants in the ground before the rain came that day, and I've fertilized them a couple times, and tried to water every day. These flowers just keep coming! The corner with the three plants looks best first thing in the morning (when I'm not typically out to take a picture!), and the other one glows after getting the morning sun for a bit since it's at the other end of the porch.

Plant Details:

Top three reasons to grow At Last rose:
  • Combines fragrance and disease-resistance
  • Easy care: no spraying required, no need for fussy pruning.
  • Very long blooming, with flowers present from late spring through frost.

Garden Height:  30 - 36 Inches
Spread:  30 - 36 Inches
Light Requirement: Sun
Bloom Time:  Summer through Fall
Hardiness Zones:  5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a
Soil Fertility Requirement:  Average Soil
Water Category:  Average

Maintenance Notes: 
To keep it looking great, simply prune back by at least one third its total height each early spring, just as the new buds begin to emerge on the stems. Make your cut just above a thick, healthy bud, as these produce the most vigorous growth. It can also be fertilized at this time with a granular rose fertilizer.

The plant may be deadheaded if desired, but this is not required for continuous bloom.

Want a chance to win your own four gallon At Last roses before you can buy them in 2018? Those who win a rose bush should be willing to share what they will do with it (give it to a friend or an interesting landscape idea) by posting a photo using #atlastrose and tagging ‘Proven Winners Direct’ on Facebook. This will enter you for a chance to win more roses!
To enter, comment here with your favorite feature of the At Last roses! Please leave your email as well, as I need to be able to contact you for more information when I draw a random winner on Tuesday, July 11 at 9pm ET.

I received these gorgeous and fragrant roses in exchange for my unbiased review. 

20 June 2017

Reading Challenge - Book 14

The 14th book I read this year was essentially a recommendation by my nine-year-old daughter. She started reading The Forbidden Library sometime last year, and I remember her carrying it everywhere during holiday break from school. It is the first of a trilogy, and the other two books were purchased with a holiday gift card and are waiting on her bookshelf for both of us to read. She hasn't finished this one yet, and may have been a bit annoyed with me for finishing it in one weekend. ;)

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler satisfied the 17th category on my reading challenge list very well - a book involving a mythical creature. Mythical creatures were kind of the point of this book. After Alice's father is on a ship that sinks and he's presumed dead, she is sent to live with a mysterious uncle whom she has never met. Before long she figures out that everything may not be as it seems, and she has some abilities that go beyond anything she practiced at her previous school.

Alice finds herself learning about and battling a variety of unique mythical creatures, and can't be sure for long who to trust for assistance in her adventures. She spends much of the first book learning about herself, those around her, and her newly discovered gifts.

I love books that stretch my imagination, and this one definitely fit the bill. I also love characters, and those found in this book are definitely one-of-a-kind. I'd recommend this book for young readers (grade 4 - 7) who enjoy fantasy in the style of Harry Potter.