Sunday, January 30, 2022

First Books Read In The New Year

 We are well into 2022 and I have a big goal (big for me) of reading 25 books this year. I have 2 read so far. Both were in the mystery/thriller category which is what I tend to gravitate towards. The first book is The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. If you love dark twisted books with incredibly frustrating endings then you will love this lol. It was one of those books for me where I kind of disliked all the characters and didn't care what happened to them. By the end I was a little more invested and curious to figure out happened. This is a really dark look at female friendships and the lengths people go to try and get others to like them. I can not say enough about that ending though! I don't want to give anything away but my god it was infuriating! I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a bit boring in the beginning and quite dark and depressing. 

The book I just finished was Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda. One reviewer on Goodreads said "First half- boring. Second half- Riveting!" That is exactly what I would say as well. Also, there were a lot of plot holes in the story and really random things that kept getting brought up but then ended up having no significance at all. It is very slow going in the beginning but if you stick with it it does eventually go somewhere and get interesting. It all revolves around a neighborhood called Hollow's Edge. A private and peaceful neighborhood where everyone looked out for one another, celebrated birthdays and graduations. But then the neighborhood is shocked by the murders of two of their own and everything changes. The book picks up a year and a half later. I gave this one 3 out of 5 stars too. I think it is worth the read and I know this author has a few other books that I really want to check out! 

I have started my next book. Its called The Last Mrs. Parrish. Another mystery psychological thriller. I just really enjoy that genre! After this I will be reading Sutton Foster's memoir " Hooked" and I can't wait for that! I am not a huge memoir lover or nonfiction for that matter but this book has been getting great reviews so I am really excited to check it out! I'm looking forward to many more book reviews in the future. What are you all reading?

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

My Favorite FREE App For Borrowing Books

 If you are a book lover I'm sure you are probably familiar with the Libby app. It is the easiest way to get access to free books and audiobooks. You do need a library card in order to " check out" books but that's the only requirement. You can even add multiple libraries to Libby and multiple cards for each library. Essentially you put in your card info and it links it to your library and from there you can borrow your ebooks, digital audiobooks and magazines. Now I do also enjoy going to the library with my son to check out books for him but lately I have been preferring to read ebooks. We also live 30 minutes from our library so it isn't super convenient to get to all the time. The Libby app is very user friendly and easy to use. You can search specific books or authors and see if your library has them and if they do not you can request a copy to your library. If you find a book you like you can choose to "borrow" or if it is unavailable you can choose to put it on "hold" and it will tell you approximately how long it will be before you get to borrow it. You can also "tag" books. I do this for books that sound interesting but I'm not ready to read quite yet or when I have maybe hit my limit of holds. I tag them as "want to read." You can also borrow the audio book version if it's available and it should come up right along with the ebook when you're searching. You can read the book right on the app once checked out but I prefer to read it through my Kindle app on my phone or you can get it on your Kindle device. This app has ignited my love for books (along with the Goodreads app) and made me want to read more. I get so excited checking it to see what book is going to be available next! Once a book is checked out you can hold it for up to 21 days which is also another thing I love because some books just take a little longer to get through and people have busy lives. This is such a great resource for people and a great way to read more books. My goal this year is 25 books. So far I have read one and a half 😂 A slow start but I'll get there! I do encourage you to visit your local library still if you're able to and utilize the many resources and programs they offer there. Libraries are so important for communities! Let's all read more books in 2022!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Our Dog Peanut


This is our sweet "puppy" Peanut. I say puppy but he is actually 6 years old. His name describes him perfectly! He is a 5 pound little Peanut. The way he ended up in our lives is pretty crazy! Before that though I need to talk about our sweet dog Yoshi who passed away November 2020. I had him for almost 15 years. He had a rough start in life that unfortunately stayed with him forever. He hated most men and little boys (he was abused by a man and his son) and was terrified of everything. We had a lot of issues with Yoshi but he was my bff and I loved him so much. I miss him everyday. Maybe I'll talk about his death another day as that story is while heartbreaking and awful, really strange and almost like he planned it. That sounds awful I know but it was all just too coincidental. Anyway, back to our Peanut. About 7 months after Yoshi died we were kind of throwing around the idea of another pet. Our son loved Yoshi and loves animals in general. I really didn't want to adopt and end up with another dog with severe issues. Don't get me wrong, adopting is wonderful and if you can you should but it can come with challenges. Challenges I wasn't sure I could deal with again. Even though I was hesitant I started stalking the animal shelters in my area. Our shelter was getting in so many sweet dogs. As fast as they got them in they were adopted. You had to be quick! One day I was on there looking and I saw the cutest dog named Peanut. I instantly fell in love and felt like he would be a perfect fit for our home. So many small dogs from shelters come with warnings about being around small children and Peanut had no issues with that! He was perfect. As soon as I fell in love he was adopted. It happened so fast. I could not stop thinking about him and would check the shelters Facebook page multiple times a day hoping for some reason he would become available again. It had been a day or two after he was adopted and my son and I were in the living room playing. I said to him "I am going to look at that Facebook page one more time to see if that dog is up for adoption and if he is we are getting him!" I kid you not I went to their page and after a minute or two of scrolling I saw Peanut's sweet little face pop up again! The family who adopted him were not able to make the trip to pick him up and he was up for adoption again! Talk about meant to be! I immediately went to their website and filled out the form and before they even opened called them and told them we wanted Peanut. Lucky enough I was the first one to call. I still had to call my husband and ask him if we could adopt this sweet boy. Poor guy was totally caught off guard when I called and said "that dog is up for adoption again and I just feel like he's meant to be ours" Luckily he was pretty on board with the idea and called the shelter to pay for the adoption. The next day we picked him up and I swear it was like he had lived with us his whole life. He fit right in. He loves snuggles and crawling under the blankets in bed to sleep next to you. His favorite thing is his ice cream toy that if he had it his way would be thrown for him 24 hours a day. He is so wonderful and has made me realize that sometimes you need to ignore your fears and reservations and just go for it. I hope everyone will consider adopting when looking for a pet. There are so many amazing animals out there to complete your family.

Our sweet Yoshi. We love you sweet JuJu 💓

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thrifting's BFF The Garage Sale

 I know thrifting is all the rage these days and I don't get me wrong I love it! I love how environmentally friendly it is, inexpensive and its a great way to try out different trends. Everything comes back in style! Something I love even more than thrifting believe it or not are garage sales! Do you have garage sales where you live? I'm from Minnesota, now living in Wisconsin, and they are huge here! There are 3 big ones that I try not to miss every year. Even my son loves going because he can always find trucks and other fun toys. I love it because they don't cost much and we are giving old things a new life. My obsession last Summer were bowls. If I saw a cool bowl I was buying it. I love them for decor and for practicality. I use many to hold my fruit and veggies. If I end up falling out of love with them I just go ahead and donate them and then the cycle continues. I have found so any amazing treasures at garage sales. Last year I was on the hunt for an electric cheese grater and wouldn't you know I found one that wasn't even used! I feel like you need to set your intentions before thrifting or garage saleing because you can easily get swept up in all the things! I like making a list if things that I might actually need, kitchen appliances, clothes for my son (look for clothes you're kid will need for the upcoming year or two) or even Christmas or birthday gifts. You also want to keep an eye on prices. Just because it is at a garage sale or thrift store doesn't mean you're getting a good deal. Know your prices and what you are willing to spend on items. If it's something you have been searching for a long time then maybe you're willing to pay a little more. Bargaining is another thing that most people like to do at a garage sale. Personally, I never feel comfortable doing this but if you do you go right ahead! Who else is so excited for garage sales and well just Summer in general? I can not wait! I'll share more about what I am on the look out for this year in another post when we get closer to Summer. Below are a few of my favorite finds last year. Happy shopping! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

I love a good book!


Do you guys have the Goodreads app? If you are a reader you need to have it! You can share what you're reading, see what friends are reading, see new releases from your favorite authors, and make lists of what you want to read. They also have a reading challenge that you can do every year. You choose how many books you want to read that year and see if you can make your goal. It really helps me read more! In 2021 I read my goal of 20 books. I read some really fantastic books! I shared below the books that i finished and you can go to the Goodreads app to see my ratings. According to Good Reads my favorite book was Under The Magnolias by T.I. Lowe. I would agree. I absolutely loved this book! It had a great story, great characters and I didn't want it to end. The Midnight Library was the most popular book I read. Really wonderful book with a story of a woman trying to decide what truly fulfills her life and what makes it worth living. Definitely a trigger warning there it does deal with depression/suicide. I think I will do separate posts on some of the other books that I think are a must read and I will also be sharing what I'm reading in the new year. Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book last year and what are you excited to read this year?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Protein Yogurt Bowls


I wanted to share a snack/breakfast that I have been loving lately. I'm not usually a plain yogurt fan but turn out it just needs a little love and extra flavors! I've been buying the Stonyfield Organic Plain Whole Milk yogurt. I add between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of yogurt and then add a tablespoon or so of protein powder. This was definitely a game changer. You can add more but it might get too thick and goopy. I also mix in ground flax seed. Flax seed has so many benefits but I am mostly using it to see if it helps alleviate some stomach issues I have. To top off my yogurt bowl I add in granola, dried cranberries and any fresh fruit I may have. I really need to start making my own granola but store bought is good too. Just make sure it doesn't have too much sugar and unnecessary ingredients. This is really filling if you need a mid day pick me up or a filling breakfast.

George's Monster Truck Birthday Party! 1/16/22

Today we celebrated our sons 3rd birthday! We decided to do a monster truck party since he is very much into those (and really any vehicle in general.) Pinterest is my bff so a few months ago I went on there and started looking for ideas. We kept it pretty low key but I always make a cake for his birthday so I needed some inspiration! I found the cutest cakes and picked out the one that was the easiest to recreate. No shame in that! I also tried Pioneer Woman's recipe for funfetti cake. I hate to say that it was not our favorite cake, although I did overbake it. I don't know what went wrong but I don't think I would make it again. We still enjoyed it and I made a homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting and then bought a can of vanilla frosting that I could color orange. Orange is the color of my sons favorite monster truck, El Toro Loco. I used rushed up Oreos for the "dirt" and then some Whoppers for...rock...dirt piles. I'm not sure but they were in the inspo picture so I used them. This was a 3 tier cake so it required quite a bit of frosting. I also made little brownie 'traffic lights." I used my favorite brownie recipe which i can try to link and then added red, yellow and green M&Ms  Those were a huge hit! they were gone within minutes. The rest of the menu consisted of pulled pork sandwiches, homemade mac and cheese, chips and fruit salad aka fruit cut up and put in a bowl. For decor I just picked out two of my sons favorite monster trucks and bought those color balloons, tablecloth etc. Paper plates and cups were from Amazon. I grew up having birthdays at home and having homemade cake and playing the clothespin game and the cottonball game. Nothing fancy but I loved it and have great memories.

I love having family over and feeding people. Cooking and baking is my happy place! I still can't believe we have a 3 year old! 

Links to the pork recipe, brownies, Mac and cheese and the inspo cake are above! 

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