Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What I Will Miss....

I wrote a few of these posts back when Sophie was three/four years old.  I came across them recently and they made me feel all soft and squishy on the inside.  Clara is always making me giggle with the adorable things she does and says and I realized I should write a little about it before it slips my mind.

Last week Sophie went to the movies with some neighbors so Alain & I took Clara out to eat Indian.  She packed up some bags and a small suitcase before we left home. We had no idea what was inside and couldn't wait to find out once we got to the table and she started unloading. As we walked across the parking lot, she looked so cute that we couldn't help but stop and take a picture.

Another day.  Mexican restaurant.  We all turned around at some point to find that Clara was wearing our chip bowl like a hat.  Her expression make all three of us laugh!

On a recent toy store visit, Clara tried on the new beach hats and sunglasses.  She also collected a few toys.  I had to take a picture!

It was so cute, I had to take a second.

The girl loves FROYO.

She sleeps in the car quite often.  You have no idea how many pictures I have just like this one.  I chose this one because of the "fancy" glasses.  She loves to get "fancy" by trying on all of our dress-up clothes and accessories.

She recently filled up a rewards chart because of her good choices and good behavior.  Her reward was that I took her to the toy store and let her pick out a new toy.  Out of literally thousands of toys, she chose this hairdresser costume.  I've had at least 100 haircuts in the past week.  The hair dryer makes a drying sound when you press the button and it makes me giggle every time!

And some cute things she's said recently:

One day, Clara came home from school and said she knew all the planets.  I asked her to name them.  She started...."Mars, Earth, Saturn, Uranus, Stupider."

Clara is just as obsessed with Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter as I am.  Each night we sit on my bed and massage some into our feet.  She said to me, "This lotion smells so good" as she buried her face in the container.  "What does it smell like?", I asked.  She replied, "Pinecones."

Yesterday I overheard her say to Sophie, "Your face is truly beautiful."

Just writing this post melts my heart.  Clara is a sweet, affectionate, bright, very well spoken three year old!  She can be quite challenging but is also incredibly charming and silly.  I love hanging out with her and I know I will miss all these things when she gets bigger!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Was A GOOD Reading Year! (And A Book GIVEAWAY!)

2014 was a GOOD year for books! Seriously.  Just looking over my Pinterest board made me excited!  There are only a handful of books on this list that I didn't enjoy.  That's a good reading year, in my opinion!  (Click on any of the images and it will take you to the Amazon page with all the book details, summary, etc.  Image links are all part of the Amazon Associates program (meaning I would get a tiny Amazon credit if you purchased a book from the link.)  

1. Then Again by Diane Keaton ~ The book was okay.  Honestly, I wasn't blown away.  But I loved the idea of her Mother's journals and how they meant enough to Diane for her to write a book about them.  I started journaling shortly after finishing this book so clearly it was a positive influence.  On a side note, I can't seem to resell the book at the used bookstore because they have too many in their inventory!  Ha.  

 2. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis ~ I have to be honest, I normally steer clear of Oprah's Book Club.  I don't know why because they're usually pretty decent books. Yet, for some reason, I saw the hardback version for sale in the USED BOOK section of my library for less than $1 and I jumped on it.  I'm SO GLAD I DID.  I found this to be a powerful book and a fast read because I just couldn't put it down.  I'd definitely recommend it.

Note: I usually wait impatiently for the ALA Awards to come out each January.  Typically I read a flurry of Young Adult books after the list comes out.  This year was no exception and the following five books I read were on the list.  In all honesty, I didn't like them as much as in years past. Still, I'm stoked that the 2014 list will be out soon!!!  

3. The Year of Billy Miller ~ cute book, I think it would be good for 2nd graders.
4. Navigating Early ~ one of the better ones, made me want to read another book by Clare Vanderpool.
5. Flora & Ulysses ~ I heard so much about this book before I read it.  It seemed to be everywhere I looked.  So I was a little crushed when I didn't like it.  
6. Maggot Moon ~ interesting and suspenseful
7. One Came Home ~ my favorite of these five books

8. The Other Boleyn Girl ~ I also picked this book up on the Used Books section at my library (for 50 cents!).  I'm a huge fan of this section, can you tell?  The books are so cheap.  There are some really good books available. And I love that it's just one more way to support the library.  Win win win. Anyway, I LOVED THIS BOOK.  It prompted tons of Googling and it even inspired Alain & I to watch The Tudors on Netflix.  What a series that was ~ we watched it in no time and enjoyed every minute of the show.  I highly recommend!

9. The White Queen ~ because I enjoyed #8 so much!

 10. Better  Off, Flipping The Switch on Technology ~ I'm always intrigued when people give up technology!  I'll read about it every time.  

 11. Free To Learn ~ This book was so up my alley.  I truly believe our children need to play more.  It was nice to read a book written by someone who feels the same.  

 12. The Goldfinch ~ This book was so highly lauded.  I really enjoyed it although I often got frustrated by how long it was.  I think Donna's writing is amazing.  In many year-end blog posts about books, I keep reading that others didn't like it.  Oh well.

 13. The Book Whisperer ~ Oh how I loved and adored this book.  I felt endlessly inspired.  Donalyn and I are kindred spirits.  It's becoming clear over time how passionate I am about literacy, reading, children and books.  A book about how to get kids to love books and reading?  Sign me up.  I want to get my own copy of this book actually.  So inspired.  

 14. Stitches ~ I can't resist Anne Lamont.  This is a tiny book and a super quick read.  

 15. The Good Mother Myth ~ Picked this up on the Used Book shelf.  I thought I wouldn't like it at all. I was wrong.  Pleasant surprise.  

 16. Magical Journey ~ At times reading Katrina's words felt like reading my own.  She describes herself EXACTLY the way I describe myself.  Her book prompted many copied quotes and notes in my journal.  I love books such as this one.

 17. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio ~ Such a sweet, sweet story.  I read about this book on someone's blog and I'm glad I checked it out.  

 18. ROOM ~ Wow.  WOW.  

 19. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap ~ If, like me, you dream of owning your own bookstore, this is the book for you.  I adore this book and can't wait to visit the store one day if it's still around (it's not too, too far from my hometown).  

 20. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time ~ An important book for our modern times.  It gave me a lot to think about.  I'm sure I will reread this one again in the future. 

 21. Gluten Is My Bitch ~ We made Clara Gluten-Free in July.  Talk about a MASSIVE life change.  This book at least made me laugh about it. 

 22. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry ~ This book is so very wonderful.  I am fully expecting to see this on the Awards list this year.  


 23. China Dolls ~ I am a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE Lisa See fan.  Her latest book did not disappoint.


 24. White Oleander ~ This book was hard to read at times because it's about a foster child yet I couldn't put it down.  AMAZING BOOK.  Another choice from the Used Book shelf.  And yet another Oprah choice that I'd been avoiding.  Ha.


 25. The Opposite of Loneliness ~ Marina Keegan was an immensely talented young writer. Her parents had this book published after she passed away in a tragic accident.  It breaks my heart to think that we will never have another book written by Marina.  Months later, I still think of her parents often.  If you only read one book from this list, I might even suggest it be this one.


 26. Little Bee ~ Used Book Shelf. You can find a lot of older Bestseller books there. Because of that, I've read way more fiction than is my norm. And I've also read some stellar books.  This is one of them.      


 27. Delancey ~ I've read several of Molly's blog posts in the past and they inspired me to read her book.  If you've ever dreamed of owning a restaurant, this is the book for you.  Even if you haven't dreamed of owning a restaurant (like me), this is a good read.  


 28. The Secrets of Happy Families ~ Why did I read this?  I have no idea.  


 29. The Meaning of Maggie ~ Hoping to also see this one on the Awards List this year.  I read this from cover to cover on our drive to the beach in September.  Loved it.


 30. Counting by 7's ~ Probably my favorite Young Adult book I read this year.  And who can resist this amazing cover?  Love, love, love.


 31. A Walk in the Woods ~ I've owned this book for many years but had never read it. At some point, I didn't have any books lined up to read so I picked it up and dove right in.  Like many people, I am a fan.  I don't know what took me so long!  


 32. Not That Kind of Girl ~ Say what you want about Lena Dunham but I am a fan.  I can't help myself.  I feel that women like her are important for women as a whole.  I'm always rooting for her. Go, Lena!


 33. The Secret Life of Bees ~ Oh my goodness, this book made me want to marry the Used Book Shelf.  Amazeballs.  


 34. Where'd You Go Bernadatte ~ I'd  been wanting to read this book for a while.....then Louise wrote a post about it and it prompted me to request it from the library.  Adorable.  A fun read that made me giggle.  


 So, there you go.  34 books!  My goal for 2014 was to read more.  I accomplished that.  I read tons more fiction than is normal for me but I did read some pretty fabulous books.  And I started 2015 off with a BIG BANG....

(oh my gosh, SOOOOOO GOOOOD!) with tons of books I'm really excited about on request from the library!!!  

How about you guys?  Reading anything good???   Please send along your recommendations!!!


So I've never done a giveaway on this here blog before.  As I wrote this post (which took an eternity!), I thought it would be a good idea to pass along some of these books to you.....some of the best ones, in my humble opinion.  I will include Little Bee, The Secret Life of Bees, ROOM and the most recent issues of Country Living and Better Homes & Gardens (I received double issues of both for some odd reason!).  If you're interested, please leave a comment prior to end of day on Sunday, January 18th.  I hope you'll understand that I have to limit this to U.S. addresses only.  What a great way to get your reading in 2015 off to a great start!!!  

******* Louise (Fundy Blue) from Standing Into Danger was the winner of the Giveaway.  I put the names in a hat and let Sophie pick one out.  She read "Louise" on the paper, thought it had something to do with Clara (whose middle name is Louise) and wanted to put it back in and pull another.  Whew, sibling rivalry!!!  Anyway, Louise, I sent you an email and I hope you received it.  Congratulations to you!!!  
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