16 March 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. What a week! Jack has been fighting a bug (which for him, means sleeping A LOT), we had the Battle of the Books Awards night, and we had sixth-grade orientation. Translation: Plans most nights, and no one wanted to do anything.
  2. I'm in the mood to watch Deadpool again. I love that movie.
  3. Have you tried Strongbow Cherry Blossom Cider? I personally think it tastes more like cherry than cider. I like it. Be warned, I like sweet drinks.
  4. The kids are working on their leprechaun trap. So fun listening to their minds work! We'll see if we catch him this time!
  5. I believe the snow in the forecast for next week, has been canceled! Is there an end to winter in sight? I hope so!
  6. I think I can pay a bill next month with all the coins the kids are putting in the leprechaun trap for 'bait.' LOL
  7. Do leprechauns do anything USEFUL? I mean, what do we do with him after we catch him?
  8. Remember how much I like Cherry Coke? I'm not keeping it at home anymore. Just because I was drinking it automatically. So I'm not saying I'm giving it up, but I'm not keeping cases of it here to drink everyday anymore. It'll definitely mean less caffeine, which should be fine. There is no excuse for me not to sleep enough each day. 
  9. And now they want to know how big a leprechaun is, so they make the hole in the box the ride size for him to slide in and be caught.
  10. Enjoy your St Patrick's Day, and the rest of your weekend :)

13 March 2018

Books - February 2018

In February, I finished reading four books. I think my pace was up a bit because I was alternating the books I read for reviewing with the books I was reading for the fifth-grade Battle of the Books team I was coaching (young adult books should be a little faster to read, right?). The Battle wrapped up last Saturday, and our team feels they did well. The awards night is tonight, so we'll find out how many of the 50 questions they got right!

The first book I finished in February was The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster. While this was a difficult read, it was well written. As I discussed in my review on Books I Think You Should Read, teen suicide is never going to be a fun topic to pass the time. The author is better known for her humor and memoirs, and applied some of that to the likable characters at this fictional high school. It's a hard book to recommend, but would be great for starting this really tough conversation with a teen you love.

On a much lighter note, The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin was a fun and likable book for the Battle of the Books through Orion Township Library. This is the first of three books in a series about a young girl named Pacy Lin, a Chinese-American girl finding her place in the world. In The Year of the Dog, she learns that she is supposed to 'find herself' this year. But what exactly is that for an elementary school girl? This is a warm and endearing read for ages 8 and older.

The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi was another book I read to review on Books I Think You Should Read (she's also having a giveaway, which ends March 14!). I really enjoyed this book as well. The main character was Sanya, a married woman who had gone through a nervous breakdown of sorts, and was now examining her marriage and her life. I loved her honest voice, saying the things we so often want to, but don't. Or saying nothing, when there is actually nothing to be said. I also liked seeing Denmark through her eyes. While I don't really list traveling as something I like to do, I do like learning about other places through others' viewpoints, and books.

The last book I finished in February was The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure. This was another Battle of the Books selection. When I asked the librarian which of the books on the list was good for kids of either gender, this was her first recommendation. The Fairy Ring was a delightfully intriguing tale of two cousins who fooled Sir Arther Conan Doyle and the whole world into believing they'd seen and photographed real fairies! The girls started out just taking the photos for fun, but after a few influential people saw and believed them, it all got out of hand quickly. This book is a fun page-turner for kids aged 10 and older.

That's it for my February reads! I've finished two books so far for March, but the Battle of the Books is over, so it's more likely to be all adult books from here on out.What have you read lately that you'd recommend?

12 March 2018

Coco - My Review

Although I noticed it's already available on DVD at stores, my family and I did see Coco on the big screen last month. We really enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing it again (and showing it to hubby, since we went and saw it on a snow day when he was at work).

Before we went, my daughter was worried that it would be too much like the Book of Life (which we also enjoyed). To put it simply, nope. The cultural background was about all that matched up. Both stories took place in a world beyond death, but the stories were much different.

Coco was a wonderful story, and actually not as super-predictable as some kids' films can be. I especially liked Miguel's dog, and seeing all the various spirit animals in the Land of the Dead. The end was also very touching (but I don't want to give too much of that away).

IMDB Summary:
Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.
I would recommend seeing this movie. The characters are lively and endearing, in a story that wasn't altogether predictable, and worth watching til the end. Coco also won Oscars for both Best Animated Feature Film, and Best Original Song (for Remember Me).

09 March 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. The fact that my posts jump from one random Friday to the next random Friday says a lot about how my week went. LOL Granted, I don't usually spend much time on the computer over the weekend, between Monday and now, I've volunteered in kindergarten twice, worked an extra shift at my own building and subbed at another building, taken both kids to two swim lessons each, taken one child to Fine Motor Fun class, taken the other child to baton lessons and practice, to work at kindergarten information night, and to her first TEDed meeting. And tonight we still have our last Battle of the Books meeting and a mom & son date night. Whew.
  2. Tomorrow is the actual Battle of the Books! Which could almost mean it's all done, except we still have an author reading and awards night next week. 
  3. My son is so super excited. We started swim lessons in November, and his older sister bumped through two more levels in a month each. He was feeling a little disheartened. But last night he successfully completed a level! He was so excited and I overheard him telling EVERYONE at school this morning. I hope he remembers how good working hard and earning something feels.
  4. The snow here? In almost mid-March? Ridiculous.
  5. Has anyone taken the Serv-Safe food safety courses before? I have to do it later this month since I've been working in the school kitchen since December. Someone told me it's harder than they expected. My biggest thing is that I think a lot of it will be general and not really apply to the job I do. And my brain has plenty of useless info already. Not sure how much more will fit! LOL
  6. Did I mention I cannot wait for spring to actually get here, and the snow to GO AWAY?!?!?!?!
  7. I'm excited about A Wrinkle in Time being at theaters!! I want to go see it right away (even though I originally wanted to read the book with the kids first). I'll be interested to see reviews this week. Next week is payday, and odds are pretty good on me dragging the family to the movies.
  8. Watch next week to see what books I read in February and what I thought of them. I've also got another KidPik box to review for Maggie, and a new StitchFix box for me.  
  9. I keep looking behind me. Yesterday as hubby and I ate lunch, a coyote walked across the back of our yard! :O I'm keeping an eye out to see if it's his regular hangout (the coyote, not hubby).
  10. Hope you have a great weekend, and the weather keeps warming up!

02 March 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. Went looking for images for today, and had to pick this one. This was the song in my head yesterday, and now of course, I'm singing it again.
  2. You already know how I feel about cold weather. I don't have to even tell you what I think of the 8.1 inches of snow we got last night. And Jack was truly DEVASTATED to wake up and find he had to go to school - no snow day. The roads are fine, though. At least the two I need. 
  3. That being said, this better be the last of the snow. I'm serious.
  4. I almost forgot to divy up this week's little paycheck. Between vacation, snow days, and president's weekend, it wasn't much of a check, but I've started putting half of each check into savings to use for a 'summer' paycheck (since I work for the schools). And I always put part in savings anyway, and part to the kids' savings. I hope my summer plan works and we can still do fun stuff besides staying home.
  5. If you've ever considered your own direct sales business with Perfectly Posh, NOW is seriously the time. The first 4000 new team members this month get an awesome suitcase worth more than $100 included with their kit of products, samples, and business supplies. For real? It's more than $390 of goodies for just $99!  PoshBecki.com
  6. You want random? I think the mail is here. The dog next door is going crazy!
  7. I miss the 80 degree Florida weather a couple weeks ago. Hey! I haven't even posted about our trip yet! First I was waiting for all the competition results, then got those this week, and now I've been too busy to sit down and write again. I'm adding it to the list!
  8. The kids and I have been reading The Land of Stories at bedtime, but I'm excited to switch over to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's our school's book for March is reading month, and each family gets a copy of the book, and a schedule to read it all this month. 
  9. I hope my energy increases when the weather is a bit more pleasant. Right now I feel like it's all I can do to get from the beginning to the end of my day. So. Tired.
  10. Almost lunch time here! I got a new dish from Schwan's - chicken, broccoli, and rice in mushroom sauce. Sounds warm and yummy. I'll eat that and curl up with my book. Enjoy your weekend!

26 February 2018

Stitch Fix - Fix #8

Last month I got the invite for a Style Pass and I couldn't pass it up! While no one knows the criteria for sure, a Style Pass is a special invite directly from Stitch Fix that lets you pay a $49 fee and get unlimited fixes for a year!
Usually, you pay a $20 styling fee with each box you get. The money still goes toward anything you keep from the box, but I never saw a point in getting a box unless I planned to buy something, so I wouldn't lose my $20. Now? I paid my $49 (and applied it toward items from this first box I got on my Style Pass) and scheduled to get a new box each month. If I keep something, that's fine. If I don't keep anything, I send it back in the postage paid envelope and I'm not out anything. Yay!

For my first box on my Style Pass, I said in my note that my daughter and I were getting ready to attend a baton competition in Orlando, Florida, and visiting Disney World, so I needed casual, comfortable clothing for warmer weather. I don't always wear shorts in summer, and also enjoy skirts and dresses, but casual shoes sometimes stumped me for these outfits. My stylist delivered!

The first couple items I tried on were the Eileen Honeycomb Texture Knit Tank from Pixley (cost $54) with the Dear John - George Cargo Shorts in taupe (cost $58). The knit texture of the shirt was very comfy. While I usually like nay and mint together as colors, this mint on the shoulders seemed a little out of place to me. When I tried on again for hubby to see, it didn't really matter; he didn't like the fit of the tank and said it was 'old-ladyish.' I've got some news for him - no one will be confusing me for a teenager any time soon. Hahaha.... Anyway, I decided to keep the shorts (love them!) and send back this tank. While my husband definitely doesn't tell me what to wear, he does see me pretty regularly, so spending that much on a shirt I know he doesn't really like seems silly.

Next up I left on the shorts, but switched out for the Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee from Mix by 41 Hawthorn (cost $34) and added the SeaVees - Monterey Canvas Lace Up Sneakers in red (cost $68). While the shoes seemed pricey for something more cute than comfortable, I decided to keep them. I did end up wearing them around Disney for one day, but then switched back to my regular tennies that have more arch support and less canvas rubbing spots. I do love their style, though, and will certainly wear them with casual skirts/dresses and shorts this summer. The shirt was similar in style to some I already have, but super soft. I liked the fit and feel of this one, but decided against it to try and keep my spending under control. I figure I'll be buying at least one t-shirt as a souvenir, right?

Last but not least is this unique maxi dress. It's the Nikita 2fer Knit Maxi Dress from 41 Hawthorn (cost $78). I loved the style, but I didn't like the view of my back fat. Haha.. Hubby thought it looked fine, but I would have been uncomfortable. I loved that it completely covered bra straps and was stretchy and comfortable. I'm not sure if going up a size would have made it more flattering - I think that's just a bad peek-a-boo spot for me. So I sent it back.

Overall, keeping two out of five items in a fix wasn't too bad. Remember if I'd kept all five items, I would get 25% off of the total cost. But since this was my first box on my Style Pass, I had already paid $49 toward what I chose to keep.

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, please use my referral link to get us both some extra credit ;)

23 February 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. Although I only had a three-day week essentially, this is a very needed Friday! Maggie and I were driving back from Florida on Monday and Tuesday (and school was closed for mid-winter break), but I feel like we've crammed five days of schedule into the other three days!
  2. I worked as a substitute in another school kitchen today. It was easier and harder. But the ladies there were nice and friendly, and the kids were polite. I'd do it again if asked, but not too often. My body doesn't really like these long days on my feet...
  3. We had better be done with snow.... the forecast doesn't show any coming in the next ten days, and we're nearly to spring, right?
  4. And in looking at the forecast again, I just realized that the first of March is next Thursday. I've been putting Feb 28 as next Thursday on everything I've done. Whoops.
  5. My fish are luckily little miracles. I got back from Florida Tuesday. As I looked at the tank and stand they're on, I noticed the container of food that was almost gone the Tuesday before was still there. As soon as I started to say something to hubby, he said, "Oh my gosh! I never fed the fish!" All six are still swimming, luckily.
  6. I want to have dinner at home, but I don't want to cook. I'm thinking a big pot of chili and some cornbread sounds yummy. Or, you know, carry-out pizza.
  7. So what's next? I think between regular work and training days, I don't have a week-day off of work til spring break starts March 30. :O
  8. I'm hoping to hear soon about scoring some standardized tests again this spring. It's been a pretty regular thing for me for years. I could use a few extra bucks to entertain the kids and I this summer. 
  9. Now that Maggie and I are back from Twirlmania, I've got to start lining up our spring competitions. 'Our' meaning I sign up and pay, and she twirls. ;) I do love to see her so happy doing something she enjoys and is good at.
  10. Only two weeks til our library's Battle of the Books! I've got to get together some sample questions for our team and get ready for practice in a couple hours.
Have a great weekend!!