June 30, 2013

Before I Fall Book Review

There are books that seem to take forever to read, and then there are those that you can't put down. That you lose sleep over.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver was one of those books.  I started reading it this morning, and finished before dinner. I LOVED the concept. 
I will start this off by saying I don't like to write reviews of the books I love. I never seem to capture the magic of the novel, and can't get across the beauty of words all the time. 
I will try. 
This book is a cross between Mean Girls and Groundhog's Day (sorry for two film references but I adore both movies!). A girl and her pack of three friends rule the school and are relentlessly nasty to almost everyone.  On their way home from a party, they crash the car and die.  This isn't giving much of the book away because you learn this just by reading the back cover, and yet the main character, Sam, wakes up the next morning - again, on Cupid's Day.  She wakes up six more times to relive the week and hopefully make sense of her life and make a difference.  
Without giving much away, she definitely attempts to seek redemption and the end of the book had me sobbing, just like Fault in Our Stars (a book I read last summer and my family had to give me a pep talk about reading misery books while on vacation). I found myself rooting for her, hoping she would make certain choices, praying she would somehow make it out alive at the end of the week. 
I loved it. I am sad it's over. I wished things could turn out differently in the end, but the book provides hope and if anything - sends across the message that anyone can be fixed. Anyone can make a difference. 


Thank you

I am not someone who fears their birthday - in fact, I welcome it.  I love the idea of getting together with family, I adore balloons, and deeply enjoy cake. ANY cake. 
Yet every year, I have this irrational fear that my husband will forget. Forget my day. Days leading up to it, I literally am an annoying fly buzzing around, reminding him. Every year, he reassures me that he's not Last minute Larry with this. I don't really care about the gifts, but I just want effort, and forethought.  

This year, we celebrated with my family the weekend before and mother made my favorite pie - Strawberry Dream. YUM. I can not say enough good things.  I literally do the title - dream of this pie. Therefore, even though we were going out to a restaurant for my actual day, no homemade cake would be had - which I was completely fine with.  However, when I arrived home after work on my day, there in the fridge laid not one, but two cakes for my birthday. Made by Mr.  Let me state this: He is not a baker. He does not have sweet tooth, so the fact that he went through the trouble and then actually cleaned up the kitchen afterwards and before I got home was enough for me.  

(I had to post these because these Toms are my FAVORITE pair I own - given to me by A.) If you don't own a pair, these are the ones to get! They are crochet and lime green.  They fit like a glove, and the best part about Toms - every pair you buy, a pair gets donated. You buy they give!

Thank you B for always making me feel special. Thank you for remembering my day.  Thank you for whipping up your version of Strawberry Dream pie, and then a WONDERFULLY delicious coconut cake.  I loved it almost as much as I love you. 


Let's Hear it for Organization!

I'm not sure about you, but my system for organizing bills seems to be a little (or rather large) pile on the table, until I am ready to go through them and pay.  When coupons come in the mail, or when I find recipes I like, they go in envelopes or piles. I just love my piles!  But I guess this doesn't work for everyone :)

I decided that I needed to come up with some sort of filing system that wouldn't topple over if you happened to touch it.  I bought a plain black filing box, and a bunch of hanging folders (multiple color). By jolly, I would do something cute!

I took a fancy fabric I had in the closet, and cut around the plain ole' container. Before I used my Mod Podge, I spray painted the whole container teal - and I LOVE this color!!! (so does my grass because there's a huge teal mark where I sprayed outside!)  After it dried,  I used Mod Podge to seal the fabric on it.  

I wrote out different folders: Bills to Pay, Papers to File (in either our safe or box in basement), Recipes to Try (and if I like it - it goes in cookbook or if not - gar-bage), Crafts to Make,  Date Night, Tax Forms (I am getting MUCH better about our taxes and now save all our receipts ), Blog Stuff, and Coupons. 

Now when mail comes in that I deem important, it goes right in the filing system.  As the month goes on, and it's time to pay the bills, I also go through the other folders (coupons to see what expired and so on).  
I try to make the recipes I cut out each month so I can make room for new ones.  
So far, this system has worked!  I absolutely love the colors and now if I leave it out by accident, it's not ugly!!


June 29, 2013

A Jolly Good Week!

Here's to a Summer Filled with Awesome!  Now, I realize that really doesn't make sense but I like the saying :) 
After one week of Little being off of summer, and me on Day 4 of Summer break - we already accomplished three popsicle activities!

One of my most favorite purchases after the holidays was a Martha Stewart chalkboard. The board has a wonderful border already printed on, but it's not too easy to write and erase.  The cuteness factor makes up for the moments of frustrations!  

After we pick a few activties for the week off of the twine line of popsicles, we  stick them on the board with clothespins.  After we accomplish the task, we check it off and initial the date.  

This week's Checked list: 
Summer pedicure
Drive In Theater
See a baseball game
Eat Breakfast for Dinner

I just love how it's turning out!


June 28, 2013

Melt Into Summer

Each summer starts out the same way(a paraphrase of multiple conversations leading up to the end of school): 
Me: What do you guys hope to do this summer?
Mr: I don't know.
Little(now Bigger): Something sports related.
Then I rattle off about 30 things I hope to get'er done, but then after 60 days of sun, totally forget about.  If only I had a LIST (yes. because I love my lists).  Wait - I make lists, oodles and oodles of lists, but then I lose them!  This laundry list needed to be out in the open if I wanted to actually finish everything I wanted.  
Last week, we sat down as a family and created activities to accomplish this summer. Instead of focusing only on trips which cost moolah, we also thought of things to do that fall into: Free Outdoor, Free Indoor, Crafty, and Food Related.

  During my prep periods this last week of work, I racked my little brain on how to display our Summer Bucket List. With over 50 activities planned (some free and some a little cash), I wanted to figure out a way to put it out there where we will be reminded to DO it.

As temperatures in my classroom soared above 95 degrees, some of my students complained they actually felt their skin melting(gross image). Fantastic! Bingo! That was it! I cut out over 70 popsicles out of construction paper, and in my neatest teacher handwriting, wrote down the activities that I hoped we could accomplish throughout the summer. 

Before going home, I stopped at Michaels to pick up teeny tiny clothes pins to hang the popsicles  where we can see them. After showing Mr. the handful of popsicles, I enlisted him to help me hang the twine between the windows, and starting pinning them for display. I couldn't help but squeal as I watched him pin them! It was actually what I had hoped for!  

I just love the multiple colors! Here are some of the popsicles listed: Have an Unbirthday party (Little's birthday is in December so he never gets an outdoor event!), Hang with family, Meadowlands Flea Market, Mini golf, and Video Game day. 


At the start of the week, we will pick a few activities we hope to accomplish that week :)  Then move them to the chalkboard leaning against the wall on the cupboard.  After achieving each one, we check it off and write the date!  Mr. had a great idea to cut the edge so it looks like someone took a bite out of it :) 

We hung this up before I was done with school, but our official "Summer Bucket List" won't take place till I am out! Wahoo!  

What would you add to your summer bucket list?