Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas! Today we are spending the day with family, eating all the food and playing with new toys. I hope you all have a wonderful day today! 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Air Fryer Garlic Butter Cauliflower

I'm here today with another super simple way to get your family to eat some more veggies-- and they'll be done in 15 minutes! Just like a few weeks ago, this one is so simple it feels silly to call it a "recipe". 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Favorite Books of 2020

 Good morning friends! This year I set out to read 40 books, and while I don't think I'm going to hit my goal of 40, I was still able to squeeze a lot of books in this past year. I am currently reading two more as we wrap up the year, but I think it is safe to say neither of them will end up on my favorites list. I was able to read 37 books up to this point, which is still pretty close to my goal-- and with this year being as crazy as it was-- I'll take it! As always, some of them were good, some not-so-good, and some GREAT. Today I want to share the great ones with you in case you're looking for some books to read either over the break or in 2021. I have broken them down by genre for those of you who like books from specific genres:

- Thriller-

Lock Every Door-  Earlier this year I joined a Facebook Book Club called "Reading Between the Wines" and this was one of the books of the month. The main character breaks up with her boyfriend and needs a new place to live, so she accepts a job as a house sitter on the Upper East Side of NYC. There were a bunch of creepy twists in this book and I kept finding myself staying up way too late to read "just one more chapter!!". It's currently in development to be a mini-series, like "Big Little Lies"-- I can't wait to watch it!

The Sun Down Motel- Another from the "Reading Between the Wines" book club, this one was very unique compared to the thriller books I usually read. This is about a girl who goes missing from her job at a motel in the 80's and her niece comes back in present day to try to find out what happened to her. It goes back and forth between the 80's and present day, with a few "guests" at the motel who never really left. If you like thrillers with a hint of ghost story, this one is for you!

An Anonymous Girl- Jessica is a makeup artist in NYC who is struggling financially, when she comes across an opportunity to participate in a study at a local college. A professor is doing a study on morality and will pay her for her time answering questions. Everything seems fine at first, but as Jessica progresses further into the study the more the things the professor is asking makes Jessica uncomfortable. This book makes you think "if you were desperate for money, just how far would you go to make some?"

The Other Mrs.- Sadie and Will move from Chicago to small town Maine. Shortly after their move, their neighbor is murdered. Naturally, the people in the small town start getting suspicious about Sadie and Will's family, but Sadie is determined to try to figure out what really happened. Mary Kubica, the author, is one of my all time favorites! She knows how to write thriller books that make you stay up way too late, and then wake up early just so you can read a little more. 

The Silent Patient- Whoa! I listened to this one on Audible and was listening with my headphones on while cleaning/doing things around the house. I kept saying "oh my gosh!" or "whoa!" while listening and it even made Devin curious 😄 Such a crazy twist at the end!

- Historical Fiction-

The Librarian of Auschwitz- I'm not sure historical fiction is the right category here or biographical fiction? This book is based off the true story of a young girl who was tasked with keeping the secret library for the children in the family block of Auschwitz. This book was eye opening, heartbreaking, and yet inspiring at the same time. It is astonishing to me that someone can go through such horrible conditions and still put other people and their survival above their own survival. 

Her Last Flight- This is a story about a journalist who is trying to investigate the disappearance and lives of two of the world's most famous aviators, one of them a woman named Irene. This story felt like it paralleled Amelia Earhart's life and I loved learning more about early aviation and about women in flight. I have yet to read a Beatriz Williams book I haven't loved! 

- Fiction-

What Alice Forgot- This is one of my all-time favorites that I read again this year with a friend-- it has such a unique storyline and I love it! The main character, Alice, suffers a head injury and loses 10 years of her memory. Unfortunately for Alice, in that span of time she has gone from happily married and pregnant, to a mother of 3, getting divorced, and has strained relationships with other family members. She has no memory of any of this happening. This story is about her trying to find out how her life has changed so drastically over the past 10 years and what she can do to salvage some of those important relationships.

A Man Called Ove- Such a heartwarming book about a grumpy old man whose neighbors help him see the positives in his life, at a time when he is struggling to see them on his own. A perfect feel good book!

- Nonfiction- 

There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather- As an outdoorsy person, I love that this book encourages us to get our kids outside in nature every single day, despite the weather. Even if it's rainy or cold, you can dress appropriately and get outside for at least 15 minutes. I definitely notice an improvement in myself when I spend some time outdoors, and I notice it in my kids as well. 

SuperLife- So I heard about this book after watching the "Down to Earth" documentary on Netflix earlier this year. Darin Olien, the author, was one of the hosts of the show. I don't necessarily buy into everything this book says, but it definitely lit a fire up under me about eating healthy food and paying attention to what I put in my body. I read this book months ago and I am still trying to follow some of the advice in this book daily-- including making sure I get some raw green foods into my diet. If you're looking for a book to help you get a healthier start to 2021, I recommend this one! 

And now if I had to pick my #1 favorite book of the year, it would be:

Her Last Flight!

If you love historical fiction and haven't read this one yet, please put it on your list!! 

And now, what about you? What was your favorite book you read this year? 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Santa Pics

 Hi there! I hope you all had a nice weekend and were able to soak up a little more of the fun this season has to offer. On Saturday our kids met Santa, and it was without a doubt my favorite Santa meeting we've had! 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Getting Organized for the New Year

Good morning friends! So earlier this week I had a couple appointments I needed to put on my 2021 calendar when it hit me-- oh shoot, I don't have a 2021 calendar yet! I usually buy the 18 month Happy Planners each August, but it must've slipped my mind this past August because I never got around to it. The downside of waiting until mid-December is that all the good planners were already sold out 😨. If you've been reading here for awhile then you know I am a big fan of the Happy Planners-- they are hands down my favorite for several reasons. I love the layout. I love how bright and colorful they are. I love all the stickers/accessories they come with. 

They. Are. My. Favorites. 

But now, in December, all the ones that were my favorite layout have already been sold out. There were a few left, but the covers were not my style. 

Classic case of the early bird getting the worm. This worm was late, and this worm is outta luck. 

So I started asking around to a bunch of my girlfriends to find out what planners they use. The answers I got most often were: Erin Condren, Lilly Pulitzer, big desk calendars, and ones from Target. I have used all of those in the past too and liked them, but didn't love them. 

 Then one girlfriend recommended this one to me from Amazon and I figured it was so cheap it was worth a try. It had over 1,000 reviews with a really high rating, so... I needed a calendar, it was cheap, why not give it a shot?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Air Fryer Southwest Sweet Potato Fries

 Hi there friends! So for the past few months I have been experimenting with our air fryer and have been trying to get comfortable with it. At first I only followed other people's recipes, but have recently started trying out a few of my own. Devin gets partial credit for today's recipe because I was all set to make them in the oven, then Devin said "why don't you try the air fryer? I bet that would be good". It turns out he was right! Not only are they delicious, but they cooked much faster too!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Homemade Ornament Ideas

 Hey there! Over the weekend we made our annual homemade ornaments and I wanted to share them with you today. These were super easy to make-- it took longer to gather the supplies than it did to make the ornaments! 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Not Just a Mom: Holiday Traditions

 Good morning friends!! Today we are doing our last monthly Not Just a Mom post for 2020. In some ways this year has crawled by, and in other ways it has absolutely flown by. Would you agree? Here are the topics we covered this year:

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Day in the Life of Us-- December 2020

Hi there! I hope you all had a good week and are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead. On Wednesday I grabbed pictures throughout the day to show you what a typical "Day in the Life of Us" looks like around here lately. Grab a cup of coffee and join me for a recap of Wednesday, December 9th, 2020.
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Greek Yogurt and Mango Papaya Boats

Yesterday I was taking pictures for a Day in the Life of Us post I'm planning to put out on Friday and I made a breakfast I have been making a lot around here lately: Papaya Boats

They are such an easy breakfast to make and are a good way to get some fruit and protein in and feel like you're mixing it up a bit. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

End Of Year Survey

 Hi there friends! We are starting to wrap up the craziness that has been 2020 and are looking towards next year and all that 2021 will hopefully bring. I am looking forward to next year with my blog too and was hoping you could help me. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Best and Worst Christmas Movies.. Our Opinion!

Just like many of you, we are full swing into the Christmas movies over here! 

Friday, December 4, 2020

What I've Been Priming-- November

 Holy Moly... apparently this was one of those months where I went totally nuts on Amazon.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Super Simple Braised Broccoli

 Hi there! Earlier this week I was whipping up dinner for the fam and we needed a quick side item. I went to make our all time favorite broccoli recipe and it dawned on me that I've never shared it with you guys-- which is weird because we eat this probably twice a week! More than likely I've never shared this because it hardly seems like a "recipe". It's too easy. But that being said, this is my kids' favorite way to eat broccoli, and if it means helping one of your kids eat a vegetable too then I am happy to share our super simple "recipe".

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Monthly Goals: December

Well today is December 2nd which means it is the beginning of a new month. I love the beginning of a new month for a fresh start and a chance to try new things. As you all know, I love to set goals for myself each month and they usually go towards helping me reach some more long term goals for myself. So today we will have a look at December's goals, but first let's check out November: