Life's Sweet Journey: Books
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Words for Wednesday: The School for Good and Evil

I just recently finished reading The School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani. If you have not heard of this series, you should check it out. I loved it!! It is the perfect series for girls who are trying to figure out that balance between friendship, relationships and being true to who they really are. Really, the same could be said for all of us, because it's also a great book for any woman still trying to figure that all out (12, 17, 25, 31... doesn't matter). If you love a different spin on fairy tales (characters like Lancelot, Cinderella, Peter Pan...) and don't shy a way from a little dark adventure then you really need to read this! I started it after a recommendation from a 10 year old and I couldn't recommend it more (books really can span generations)! It also just so happens that it is being turned into a movie, so you should probably jump on the train before it comes out. 

Anywho, today's Word's for Wednesday post comes from the final book in the series, The School for Good and Evil: The Last Ever After. Here are a few of my favorite quotes... 

"What is it about a name that gives us a story to believe in?" 

"I'd sheltered him from his own weaknesses, and because of it those weaknesses won. I had to let you write your own story..." 

"Stories go wrong when people think that their own happiness is bigger than anyone else's." 
- I don't know what it is for me about the word story, but in my opinion it is such a powerful word. We each have a story, one that is ours alone, but one that can be shared with others. Hundreds upon thousands of stories overlapping each other, each story adding something to another. And it is in the sharing of our stories with others that we grow a bond that transcends time, distance and differences. It's our stories that bring us together in someway or another. 

And one final quote to leave you with, which just may be my favorite from the whole series... 
"Because as long as her story was about her she resisted her fate, as if living for herself was too much responsibility. But the moment she saw her fate was bigger than her, she finally felt free to embrace it." 

What parts of your story do you need to embrace?
What parts of your story, if shared, could help set both you and others free?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Words For Wednesday: Happiness and Light

I took this picture the other night on an evening stroll with Babe and it reminded me of one of Albus Dumbledore's most famous quotes. It may not be the very best of pictures, it may be grainy and dim, but that's kind of how it works isn't it? Happiness doesn't always come wrapped up in the prettiest package or riding a gleaming white horse. It comes in the smallest moments, that build upon each other, until they shine with a brightness, that even the darkest of nights can't snuff out. 

So here's to happiness and Dumbledore and all the hearts that still believe in the magic of a story! Oh, and Harry Potter! Illustrated!! People, have you heard?! There is a new illustrated edition of The Sorcerer's Stone! I don't have it yet, but my friend does and she brought it by for me to see. Y'all, it is glorious and wonderful and one of those little happiness things! We are really working hard to save money this month or it would already be in my hot little hand, but it is on my Christmas list for sure. Dear Santa, hint, hint... 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Blogtember: Current Obsessions

Today's Yesterday's Blogtember prompt was all about sharing current obsessions so I figured why not hop in on the fun!! These things have been making my life quite a bit happier and more exciting recently! 

Honey in My Coffee
I have tried to lower my sugar intake and so I only put honey in my coffee now (yes, I know honey is still sugar, but in my mind it's healthier; and yes I know that healthier is up fro debate haha). I have been putting honey in my coffee for a long time, but it was honey AND sugar (yikes, I know). Now, it's just honey and it's less of it, but if anything I think it is doubly delicious! It is the perfect combination to be able to get the coffee taste, without an overload of sweetness, and it helps to cut down on the bitter tone that some coffees seem to have. I love it! Plus with the cutest little honey pot and an Ashley Brooke mug it can't get much cuter!! That's like 3 obsessions in 1 right there!
*Side note- I have been known to bring my own honey with me to restaurants that I know don't carry it or that have that the fake honey stuff (yes, I am a honey snob, it's ok). I think the places we frequent must be thinking "here comes that crazy girl with her big ole' thing of honey." Maybe I should stop, but I probably won't.

Flo's New Coasters
I am slowly getting Flo's interior all decorated! I have big plans for her! I love that family and friends have embraced Flo's style right along with us. My bro-in-law and his girlfriend got us the sweetest Flo-warming gifts; coasters with her name on them!! What an awesome find right?! They got them at the Orlando History Center and they couldn't be any more perfect for her color scheme and design theme. Love!

Publix Meal-in-a-Bag
Life just got insanely easier when it comes to my probability of cooking at home! And by cooking I mean opening the oven! Publix has begun to make meals in a bag. They are fresh meals that are put together for you while you shop (1 meal per bag). You customize them to your liking by picking your fish and your flavor (flavor depends on what kind of veggies and grain goes in) and then they throw everything in and you pick them up before you go to the register. It takes them about 5 minutes or so (if they aren't busy) to make each bag, so make sure you go to the fish counter before doing any shopping if you are planning to grab a few. My top favorites are the Caribbean Mango and the Sweet Chili (this one does have a subtle kick to it, but I am NOT a spicy girl at all and I hardly noticed it). If you have no Publix near you I apologize. Start a petition! Publix for the world!!

Kid at Heart Book Series
I am almost finished with the third and final book in The School for Good and Evil Series . As with any good series I am both excited to find out the ending, but sad that it is going to be over. It's intended audience is late elementary/ tween, but my heart just loves it. It is a great story of friendship, the truth of what makes up our hearts and how relationships morph, change and come back together as life unfolds! I couldn't recommend it more. Great for those who love retold fairy tales.

FloRida Planning
I will admit it! I am a pamphlet person. It drives Babe crazy!! Anytime I stumble across one of those racks with pamphlets galore I know he cringes because he knows they will all end up in the car, that they will be half-read and then they will sit in the car for endless amounts of time until he ultimately takes them straight to the recycle bin. However, this is one he can't fault me for! I have literally been pouring over my Florida State Park magazine that I got at our recent adventure to Fort Christmas. I think I have studied this thing more than I ever studied a textbook in school (only half kidding). It has been highlighted, noted in, tabbed and I have only made it through the Northwest region! I am itching to take our next adventure. There are so many places we have never seen and I don't know where to start. Florida friends?! Where should we go next?!

Thanks for joining along on my recent obsessions! Tomorrow is Friday people!! And that makes for a beautiful thing! Have a glorious weekend!
*And because I'm a day late in actually finishing this, I also found it perfectly fitting for fun with the Friday ladies! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Blogtember: Sunday Currently

 reading: The School for Good and Evil: The Last Ever After; this has been such a great series. It is a tween novel series, but it is absolutely wonderful for adults with an adventurous, fairytale heart. 
writing: This post. 
listening: to Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I'm halfway through season 4 and as much as I want to binge watch I am trying to make it last. 
thinking: about Friday's adventure with Babe! We explored Fort Christmas and then hiked at Orlando Wetlands Park. It was a great day. The hike was warm, with not a lot of shade, but there was a lot of wildlife and the scenery was great. There are all kinds of different combinations of hikes you can take, so you can spend the whole day hiking or just take a short stroll. On Fridays and Saturdays they will also take you on a golf cart ride if you would prefer to see the beauty with less of the walking. They begin the rides around 9am and end around 3.
smelling: The Chipotle we just shared for lunch. 
wishing: That weekend could last just one more day! 
hoping: To be more productive this week and actually get serious about my goal to get more organized! Organization and this girl definitely struggle! 
wearing: Unfortunately not my new favorite tank. I got the most epic shirt for our hiking adventures, but then realized I may adopt it as my all the time shirt. It reads, "Just a wizard girl living in a muggle world took the Hogwarts train going anywhere." I sure do love me some Harry Potter and Journey. Don't stop believin' in magic and dreams! 
loving: the men in my life. The week started off with the delivery of my new galley table for the kitchen, made by my sweet father-in-law. Then on Tuesday I accompanied my dad to a dinner to celebrate Turning Point of Central Florida's 20th anniversary dinner to honor the years they have dedicated to helping those in Orlando battle recovery. What my dad failed to tell me when he invited me to dinner was that he would be speaking the closing remarks. It wasn't until I read the program for the dinner that I realized the reason he was doing so was because he is the Vice President of the Board for the program. I am so blessed to have two such humble, wonderful men in my life.
wanting: A nap! I am pooped today! 
needing: To get ready for work, but my motivation level is very low today. I am thinking today is going to be one of those 'through-yourself-together-in-5-minutes' type of day. 
feeling: nostalgic! I was looking for pictures for an earlier post this week and stumbled upon a whole bunch of pictures of my sister, nephew and I from 10 years ago. He was such a little bean! Then on Babe's and mine adventure on Friday we were driving backroads and he was pointing out all the roads he used to mow when we were first dating. It was crazy to think about where we started and where we are now.  
clicking: Through Florida travel websites to plan our next big adventure with Flo!!! Just two more weekends!! 

Wishing you all the most glorious and fun-filled of weeks!!
Our view from the golf cart tour! 
Linking up for a little Sunday Currently during Blogtember

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sunday Currently

I am linking up for the Sunday Currently with Lauren over at Siddathornton. I haven't done a Sunday Currently in a while so I figure it was a good way to catch up! And then, in writing this post, realized that this entire edition of my Sunday Currently is brought to you in part by Flo, our newest addition to the family and that sweet little thing you see in the about picture. 

Happy Sunday, y'all!! 

reading: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. I love all her books and this one does not disappoint. I don't typically like period pieces, but this one is really keeping my interest! 
writing: This post and a post for Monday all about Flo. I am including my first blog video along with it and I am nervous! But Flo's excited! 
listening: to Jerrod Niemann's new song, Blue Bandana. That and Wild Child by Kenny Chesney have become some of my newest faves because I feel like they are such a perfect reflection of how my soul feels when I am riding with Flo! 
thinking: about all the new adventures we will be having soon and about our first big Flo-venture that we will be taking this weekend to St. Pete and Fort DeSoto. Any Florida (or even Georgia) friends out there with great ideas for adventures to be had?!
smelling: the hair product that is still lingering from dying my hair last night and dreading the fact that there is just more to come. Folks, I have dyed my hair from a box before many a time and have never had an issue but last night it didn't take. I used a different box than I usually do because it was a on sale (Garnier Nutrisse) and let's just say this time being a girl who always goes for a deal didn't pan out. I even did it twice thinking maybe I had missed spots by accident and ended up with the same results. (note: It has since been redone with Clairol and no more spots!) 
wishing: That it was Friday and that we could already be en route with Flo. I am noticing a trend... Just have adventure on the brain! 
hoping: For the grandest of adventures and less Florida rain for this upcoming weekend!! 
wearing: My cleaning clothes; I had tried to get some cleaning done and let's just say I hopped on here and... 
loving: FloRida Reva! I just don't know what else to go with, I am quite smitten with our new "baby." 
wanting: A warm cup of coffee! But I am trying not to drink caffeine after 3:30 (note: this post was written yesterday around 5pm). Maybe decaf? The fact that I even consider it is crazy! I swore I only drank coffee for the energy, I would never just drink it for the taste. But oh, how that sweet goodness of yummy has grown on me! 
needing: A good burst of energy so that I can actually be the productive person I planned to be today! Alas, I think the rainy afternoon blues have hit me, so I think the clean house will have to wait. 
feeling: tired; tired and excited!! We got 14 days of free camping with our purchase of Flo (thank you Lazy Days) and I am calling to book our very first campground once I am done writing this! Can't wait!! Fingers crossed that there is a corner unit that backs up to the woods! 
clicking: Through some other Sunday currently posts soon! But also trying to learn how to use this iMovie thing. Definitely a lot of clicking involved for sure! Anyone who has it down? I am happy to hear pointers! 

Hoping everyone has a beautiful end to the weekend and a great start to their weeks!! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Words for Wednesday: A Life Intercepted

While Charles Martin's newest book, A Life Intercepted, was not one of my top reads of his, everything he writes is wonderful. I think if I were more a sport lover then I would have ranked it right up there with all the rest of his books. I would definitely recommend reading it, but if it were me I would prefer to start with one of his others, if I had never read his books. Unwritten and Where the River Ends need to be added to your book list. And if you haven't read anything by him at all, you best get in the car now and go to the bookstore! 

Either way, every time I finish one of his books I walk away with enough quotes to fill at least 5 pages of my quote books. A Life Intercepted was no different. Here are a few of them (all quotes from Charles Martin's A Life Intercepted)... 

"He felt the heaviness, but didn't know how to help her carry it. And she had always been careful not to let him."

"When we're down and the momentum is stacked against us, those are the moments when we find out what we're made of." 

Taken out of context... "People can't stop our soul from cracking in half, but sometimes they come along to help suture it shut." 
While I realize that most of these seem heavy, that is one of the things I love about Charles Martin's writing. His books don't shy away from the heavy. In fact, they hit it square in the face. But his writing also shines light on the redemption of a human soul. It shines light on what it looks like when, against all odds, people come together and work with each other to be supportive and to shine hope in desperate situations. He doesn't romanticize it or dress it up pretty and tie the end off with a pretty bow and a happily ever after. It always sits there on the fringes of hope and grace as the two meet the reality of human pain. It leaves you hopeful for all that will come once you close the pages, the sad and broken moments that make the good ones seem brighter.  

"I had never been in love and wouldn't know what to do with it when I found it, but when she looked at me, my heart melted, slid out of my chest, and landed in her hands." 

"Hatred is a commodity we can't afford... It was too expensive then and it's too expensive now." 
Sadly, this one continues to ring true all the time. Hatred, with its harsh lines and jagged edges, the kind that rip things to shreds, costs way too much. It costs us pain and misery and it holds us captive. Hatred does nothing but hurt. It hurts those around us and it hurts us. It can not bear anything good. When we lay hate down and pick up love and understanding, the kind that says, "I may not agree with you but that doesn't matter; we are different people, with different lives, who can care for one another without seeing eye-to-eye," we give ourselves a gift. And it is a gift with ripple effects. The kind of gift that only love can bring; peace. Because that's what love, real love, does. It calms our soul and frees us. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

5 on Friday: I'm a Bee-liver!

Happy Friday All!
It's been a crazy few weeks. After being in Costa Rica last week, I have been trying to get settled back in here at home. My brain has been a little fuzzy and I am hoping this weekend will reorient it to it's normal schedule. I have been trying to take in the little things since being home, so I figured I would share some garden updates and a few random happies from the past few weeks.

1.) Harvest Time!!

Harvest time came!! It was so exciting! So far the only thing we have really grown successfully is cucumber. We have been eating A LOT of cucumber! Our carrots have stayed little (Carrot Man was our first pull, isn't he cute?). We left most of the others in the ground and are hoping they will grow, but when we checked another just this week it was still small but also a little rotted through. Our tomatoes are starting to really come in. They have been green for a while and are waiting for them to redden. Our watermelon, sadly, has yet to grow. The vines are taking over everything, but no fruit. Does anyone have any tips on watermelon and tomatoes?

2.) Harvest time yumminess!
I really wanted to use our harvest, so I made this yummy (and very easy) lunch! I love making different couscous recipes. They are super easy and a yummy, light option. Clean-up is super easy too! I use one pot. I choose my veggies and then sauté them in coconut oil and a little butter. I season the veggies with garlic salt and balsamic. I usually put the vegetables in twice so that half are more cooked and half are only slightly cooked. Once the veggies are cooked to my liking I add in the water and seasoning pouch and then the couscous. You remove it from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes and viola! A yummy, summer couscous treat! This one included our cucumbers, one little baby carrot from the garden (plus store carrots), onion and chickpeas. The chickpeas need to go in last, just one or two minutes before you pour in the water. Once some of the chickpeas start to pop pour the water in and make the couscous as directed on the box (I used Parmesan couscous for this particular salad). 

3.) Meet Fred, now known as Freddie!!
This is Freddie, who used to go by Fred. I always thought he was a boy bee, but thanks to new bee facts I have learned (see below) I know he is really a she and therefore she has been renamed Freddie. Freddie has been working hard to try to pollinate our little green space, but she needs some friends! She has been working so hard that she wore herself out and even let me hold her for a while.

4.) Bees Galore!!
So two weekends ago I had a dream come true!! I got to be a beekeeper for the day! It was a wonderful experience. Thanks to my sweet mama, who got the experience at her Atlantic Center for the Arts auction benefit, we were able to don our bee apparel and get buzzing. I didn't want to wear the bee suit, I wanted to be up close and personal. And while I wore it for a minute to get the picture it soon came off and it was just me and the bees. I even had one climb up my leg from ankle to thigh and it was exhilarating! There wasn't much honey, but some did come out of one of the combs before the bees capped it over. It was so warm and pure and delicious!! I can't wait to explore more about beekeeping and hopefully someday have my own hive in our backyard. Babe was never a huge fan of this plan, but after our day learning more about the bees (like the fact the majority of the ones you see are girls) he has jumped on board a little more. 

5.) Totally Unrelated!

I recently discovered this book series. Sometimes the best book advice comes from a 10 year old. The School for Good and Evil is a great read! There's adventure, danger and intrigue. In the battle between good and evil things aren't always what they seem. There are currently 2 books in the trilogy, but with the newest book coming out in just 39 days it is the perfect time to pick it up. It is a wonderful summer read! I am a firm believer in the fact that we are never too old to read books meant for children (thank you Harry Potter!) and this series is one that only makes that belief stronger!  

Hoping your weekend is fully of all the bee-a-u-tiful things!! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Oh Hey Friday! Read-A-Thon

So I realized, upon putting together my list of books for this post, that my current reading log looks like the who's who of scatter-brained anonymous. It goes from cookbooks to young adult fantasy, add a little light summer read, throw in a tough-stuff fiction novel and tie it all together with a get your hands dirty "life de-clutter" to grow closer to God. But then I figured it was fitting, because that is typically how my taste in life goes. Mix-it all up in one big messy pot that somehow winds up tasting great and call it a day! So if you are even slightly like me, then maybe you will enjoy this list as much as I did! 

This weeks 5: Read-a-thon Edition! 
1.) Salivating Over: Twenty Dinners
I have been trying to get back into the swing of cooking. I love cooking! I love trying and creating new recipes. But in the hectic jumble of life, cooking got pushed to the back burner (pun intended). Two nights a week are spent at work, one night usually spent at bible study, weekend nights are always somewhere else (or spent with a movie and popcorn) and Monday night got dubbed as taco night. That often leaves one night a week open and by that point I just say "to heck with this" and we pick something up. So when I saw a bunch of cookbooks available for review I couldn't pass it up (I didn't even glance at the fiction selection). I must admit first off that I am not usually much of a cookbook person. One, because I feel like most cookbooks never want to include pictures (I HAVE to have the pictures) and two, because my old recipe repertoire consisted on meals I grew up on and tweaked to make my own. However, since the last time I really cooked (ie probably 2 years ago) I have become somewhat of a foodie, so I have been wanting to expand my culinary knowledge. Twenty Dinners was the book that really caught my eye and it has not disappointed. Twenty Dinners is a gloriously, scrumptious feast for the senses. From the first picture I was hooked. The more I read, the more I saw, the more my mouth watered! I am itching to try every single meal. The book works like this: twenty dinners, divided seasonly, 5 meals per season, each with meal components (main dish, sides, desserts, even drinks) partnered wonderfully together in a fabulous feast. While I did break out and try one dessert without its counterparts I can't wait to have some friends over (or plan us a date night al fresco style) and make each portion of the meal all at once. If you are a lover of all things food, you should definitely look into this one. It also makes the perfect coffee table book. One thing we did try? Grilled peaches!! Simply delicious; "just slice, top with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and grill until charred" (we also topped ours with a touch of honey).
 *I received this book to review, but these are all my own thoughts and opinions.

2.) Currently: Dangerous Creatures
Not too long ago I read through the Beautiful Creatures series and really enjoyed it! I would compare it to Twilight (young teen angst) with a more magical flare (and less whining). It centers around a teen boy in a small town, who falls in love with a Caster (witch basically) who is about to be claimed for either the Dark of the Light. If you are a young adult series reader at all I think this series is a great one to add to your list. Dangerous Creatures is the counterpart to Beautiful Creatures (4 books) and centers around some of the smaller players in the original series, a Caster turned Siren and her half-mortal, half-Incubus boyfriend. This one is not a series and is just a final book to round out their story that wasn't really finished at the end of the original series. I think it is a great addition. I am loving it, even with the beginning being somewhat hard to follow. It's a great book for a summer read!
3.) Recently Devoured: First Frost!
I love Sarah Addison Allen books and her newest book, First Frost, did not disappoint. You can read more about my thoughts on it in last weeks Words for Wednesday post. Perfect read for someone who enjoys a little dash of magic, a small town setting, family bonding and a splash of romance all blended together.

4.) On My List: A Life Intercepted
I can NOT wait to read this! I love Charles Martin. His writing is so raw and open and gritty. His last book, Unwritten, is one of my top favorites. I would be willing to bet that half my quote books are filled with quotes from his books. Where The River Ends? I can't even begin. Just read it! I'm surw this newest one won't disappoint!

5.) Attempting: Seven
So I have been attempting for the last month or so to really start walking through Seven by Jen Hatmaker. What started out as a Lenten challenge to get rid of 40 things a day for 40 days (still trying to accomplish this one) turned into a challenge to try to complete Seven. Jen Hatmaker writes about trying to simplify her (and her young families) life over a period of seven months as a way to see just how much we live with that we take for granted, how much excess some of us have in our lives. Each month is a different category with a different challenge to simplify. For example, one month is possessions. That is the "getting rid of things" month. Hers is different than mine and is instead 7 more tangible things a day for the whole month. My 40-in-40 could consist of small, intangible things like trash (receipts, Starbucks cups) that had piled up as well as tangible items. Considering the fact that I am still fighting my way through that, I have yet to really dive into the whole Seven world feet first. While I do plan to do my own variations of it (like instead of being able to wear only 7 pre-picked items of clothing for an entire month- yes you read that correctly- I would pick 7 waist-up-items and then 7 waist-down items and mix and match them) I really want to get going. I love the way she writes; with such humor, grace and real-life, and I really want to challenge myself to this task, because well, I am not super simple people! The hardest month will probably be media; no social media?! No tv?! Though I must admit I am quite proud of this household, we got rid of cable today!!!! That is a big feat! I love my shows, but it was time to find other ways to spend time together! Well that and there's still Netflix... See? This ain't gunna be easy folks! *Stay tuned!

*Interrupting your current broadcasting: If you noticed that the majority of these books are from the public library, kudos! A friend saw one sitting on the table and said, "Is this from the library? Who in the world still goes to the library?!" Hand raise, right here! I am a firm believer in the public library system! I believe that everyone should have access to a good book. I don't do the Nook or Kindle. In an age of the next big gadget, I have sworn away books on computer. Put a book in my hand, let me smell it, let me turn it's pages. Let the ones I love so much, the ones that I will buy and read over and over and over, get so dog-earred and "quote corner" marked (slight turn down of the tippy top corner) that they look like they have been in a fight, always hold a place on my "best loved books" shelf. Let the smell of walking into a library never go away! Let there always be a place that one can browse for hours on end, filling a book basket to the brim and then leave with books to fill their heart with, all without having to pay a dime! Unless of course you are like me and forget to renew/ return on time (I just consider it my donation to the library system)! And this public service announcement has ended, we now return to regular scheduled programming!

And that is my Oh Hey Friday Read-a-thon! Thanks for joining!!
Any good books you have been loving lately? Any you are hoping to read soon? 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Words for Wednesday: What I'm Reading

Today's Words for Wednesday post is from the book I am currently reading LOVING! I devoured it! Sarah Addison Allen is a beautiful storyteller. I have loved all of her books with their small town feel filled with bits of magic. They are always just a perfect dose of sweetness for my soul and First Frost was not different. I would highly recommend it. Here's a peek at some of my favorite quotes and maybe you will see why. 
*If you do choose to read First Frost though, start with Garden Spells. It is one of her earlier books and features the same characters. 

"A woman's ability to surprise herself is far stronger than her ability to surprise others."

"Somehow, it's the real stories that are the hardest to tell." 

"...a prison sometimes isn't a prison at all. Sometimes it's simply a door you assume is locked because you've never tried to open it." 

"Happiness isn't a point in time you leave behind. It's whats ahead of you. Every single day." 

Friday, February 6, 2015

5 Things for Friday

5 fun things this week in this crazy household! 
Snow! Beautiful Snow! 
Babe and I just got back from Snowshoe in West Virginia and we could not have been blessed with the most perfect ski weather! We typically ski Snowshoe in March in years prior, but had booked for earlier this year and we are glad we did. We have never seen so much snow. The big northeast snow storm didn't hurt us either. It was piled high!! If you are planning a ski vacation soon and can't spend the big bucks to fly out West I totally recommend Snowshoe. It's a wonderful resort and it is also a great place to learn to ski if you have never been. There is a great mix of runs and enough variety that you can work your way up, but the runs aren't so long to where you feel like you are wearing yourself out too quickly. We really find it to be the best resort to ski on the east coast unless you are able to make it up higher into Vermont. We drive it so it's the perfect destination to be able to reach it without feeling like you are spending more time in the car than on the slopes. 

Thrifty Cold Weather Shopping 
If you are anything like me, you love a good vacation! You love it even more when you save money on it. While Snowshoe has gone up in price just a bit since we originally started going almost 10 years ago, we still find it to be very reasonably priced. And with gas rates at their new glorious low driving there was our best option (I am also a lover of road trip time so that was a perk in my book! As long as the drive is under 12 hours I would much prefer the car to a plane). However, trying to make sure you are prepared for cold weather can get pricey. Best way to save some dollars is to plan ahead. We bought our ski clothes at an outlet during the summer and prices were super low. I also typically stock up on Hothands hand and foot warmers when they are in the dollar spot at Target (plus you can't beat getting super cute Disney ones). You can get double packs in many cases and if you wait until you get to the slopes to buy them they will be upwards of $3. Same thing with waters and Gatorades. We make sure to grab those at a Walmart before going up the mountain. Prices skyrocket once you reach the smaller towns/ ski resort, plus the selection is a lot smaller. 

The Maze Runner Series
I have been making my way through The Maze Runner series and have been loving it! I devoured the second one in two days (though the road trip home definitely played a large part in that). I highly recommend it if you are a fellow book lover! 

Getting Excited for Birmingham
Making me miss the long dark hair! Excited for time with these sweet ladies! 
A few years ago my mom and I and a girlfriends mom flew out to Birmingham to visit my childhood friend who moved there when she got married. We had a great time eating our way through little cafes, hiking and window shopping. We are doing it again for Valentine's Day weekend. I am excited for a little girlie R&R!! My girlfriend always has some of the best little adventures planned and I can't wait to see a little taste of how she spends her days now that she is a wedding planner. You can check out her sweet site at Kalee Baker Events.

Valentine's Day Prep 
I have never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, so me being gone it not that big of a deal for us as a couple. We will probably do a Disney night one night before I leave. However, being in the classroom this year I have found it fun to watch the kiddos get excited about Valentine's Day. I have been having fun pinning Valentine's Day crafts and coming up with ideas for their little goodies. If anyone would like to use it I have created a Valentine that can be used to go along with Extra gum. It is free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.   

Hoping everyone has a wonderful weekend!! 
Any Valentine ideas for a wifey who's never been huge on the day in the first place? Feeling like trying to leave a festive gift for while I'm away. 

Linking up with Christina and the other wonderful 5 on Friday ladies! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Words For Wednesday: The First

I originally intended part of this blog as a space for words. Not my words, the words of others. Words that had touched me in some way. Words from books, movies or any other form of media, spoken or printed, that stuck with me long after I had closed the pages or walked away. I figured it was time I finally started sharing them. And so I am dubbing most Wednesday's from here on out as Words for Wednesday. Some will be just the words; quotes from people who can say what I am feeling, at a certain time, better than I can. And some will be there words and my own. The quotes that spoke so much into my soul and why they did.

Today's words come from one of my favorite books read this year, in all my 28 years really; 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 

"He forgets, that he was someone's dream once, himself."

"The finest of pleasures are unexpected ones." 

"It is difficult to see the situation for what it is when you are in the midst of it. It is too familiar. Too comfortable." 

Though written by Oscar Wilde, it is also a favorite and sits as the opening to The Night Circus.

"Love" is fickle and fleeting. It is rarely a solid foundation for decisions to be made upon.

"No you were not destined or chosen. You were in the right place at the right time, and you care enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that's enough." 

"There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer. But dreams have a way of turning into nightmares." 

And while I know the last one is  a long one, I hope that you have made it this far, because it is one of my absolute favorites: 
"Stories have changed, my dear... There are no more monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my my experience, at least the ones worth something in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister's story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess or a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Books Lists and Life

Right before Thanksgiving a good friend and fellow blogger wrote, not one but two, wonderful book lists and encouraged others to do the same. The first list included the books she hopes to read in 2015. The second list was the 15 books that have made an impression on her and that she found worthy of adorning her bookshelf for a lifetime to come. You can find hers here at Boundary Stone!

These are mine...
The books that have a permanent spot on my bookshelf:
1.) The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd Jones- Every bookshelf needs this!
2-8.) Harry Potter (all 7)- J.K. Rowling- These book changed the trajectory of how/what I read.
9.) Mercy, Jodi Picoult 
10.) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis 
11.) Where the River Ends, Charles Martin, this book (and #9) changed the way I saw my marriage, made me think about it in a new way and it scared me, in a good way. 
12.) Unwritten, Charles Martin- This was my favorite fictional book of 2014 and will be added to my shelf to read again. 
13.) Jesus Calling, Sarah Young- Those quite moments with God? I need them. This book has helped me set the pace for those moments. 
14.) Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
15.) The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf- I collect children's books like it's my business, but this one, it just settles my soul. 
16.) The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern- Because sometimes you need just one more. 
And because my love for quotes is one of the original reasons I started this blog, these are some of my favorites from the books listed above: 
* "If God had wanted us to act on instinct, He wouldn't have given us the power to reason."- Mercy
* "Do you know how you can love people more on certain days? It wasn't the way your hair looked when the sun hit it just right or the feeling of your hands locked around mine. It was because on that day, at least, you didn't give up."- Mercy
* "It is our choices that show who we are, far more than our abilities." -HP and the Chamber of Secrets
* "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." -HP and the Goblet of Fire 
* "We all live, we all die, but it's the part in between that matters. To love well... that's something else. It's a choosing- something done again and again and again. No matter what. And in my experience, if you so choose, you better be willing to suffer hell." - Where the River Ends
* "I don't care what trash the world throws at you, don't let it muddy your reflection."- Where the River Ends 
* "The hurt reminded me of what was, and is, beautiful. Of what I'd known and lost. Of love given. And taken away. The more it hurt, the sweeter the memory. So while I mind the hurt, I live with it." - Where the River Ends 
* "All hearts have but one request. One simple, unspoken, undeniable need. On undeniable fear. To be known. You can stamp it. Kill it. Box it up and hem it in. Numb it and close the door. Bury it and nail it shut. Encase it in stone. But eventually, the needs of the hart will tear the door off its hinges, unearth it and crack the stone. No prison ever built could house it. Those of us who think we can are lying to ourselves. And to those next to us. Hope never dies." -Unwritten
 "Maybe broken is not the end of things, but the beginning. Maybe broken is what happens before you become unbroken." -Unwritten
* "Love, the real kind... is opening your bag of you and risking the most painful statement ever uttered between the stretched edges of the universe, that "this was once me."- Unwritten

So, now that I have rambled out quote after quote at you, here are the books I hope to read in 2015: 
1.) The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd Jones- Because I want to read this every day, for the rest of forever!
2-5.) Chronicles of Narnia (starting with Book 4)- I so want to finish this series
6.) The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller- I started this 4+ years ago after we got married, I would like to finish it.
7.) Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
8.) A Life Intercepted, Charles Martin
9.) Codependent No More, Melody Beattie- Also started, closed the pages until I came to terms with the fact that I had been codependent since childhood and now I want to finish what I started.
10.) Things Christians Like, Jon Acuff- Really just anything by him, I saw him speak at the Orange Tour and the man be FUNNY! 
11.) The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman- This book has been on my need to read list for 2 years now. 
12.) The Normal One, Jeanna Safer 
13.) Bad Girls of the Bible: and What we can Learn from Them, Liz Curtis Higgs 
14.) The Prodigal God, Tim Keller 
15.) Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult 

Any other recommendations of books to add to my list this year?

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Summer Happies!!

Hey, there! It's Friday and it's a good day! The sun is shining, my "to do" list is not that long and I plan to soak up some of this last bit of summer goodness!!

I can't believe summer is close to it's end. The flexibility of more free time has been really nice, but I am excited for this upcoming school year and the new adventures it is going to bring (more on that soon). So I thought in all of the lingering summer glory, I would share with you 5 of my favorite summer happies!!
1.) Disney!!
Moments of stolen splendor on summer nights, like in yesterday's post, make my heart so light and happy! And mostly I am loving my MagicBands!! So much so that the other day, I wore two!! Our new customized ones had just came in, so we had brought both in case the new ones hadn't linked yet. Well they had, so I rocked them! Think I might set a new Disney trend! If you are a Disney fan like myself, and live close enough that evening trips are possible, I highly recommend getting an annual pass of some kind. You are probably thinking - just like I did- that the price is to ridiculous, but if you know you will go, it practically pays for itself. It is one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever gotten.
2.) A good book!!
This is a summer essential!! Perfect for sitting outside (or in on a rainy day) with a sweet tea in hand, getting drawn into another world. I am currently reading through the Beautiful Creatures series and I couldn't recommend it more. More on my summer reading list in upcoming weeks, because I have read some great ones (Unwritten was one of my favorites). Next up on my list: The Book Thief. Reviews?
3.) Sunshine and sweet tea!!
So I know this technically 2-in-1, but it is the perfect combination!! I have not been able to make it to the beach much this summer, but I love to be outside (even in the muggy Florida heat), just as long as I have something to keep me cool! I am loving the new Arnold Palmer Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts, but I think my favorite cool down drink is still Starbucks shaken green tea and lemonade, sweetened of course!! I love that my Starbucks knows what I am coming in for and many days you can find me sitting outside in the sunshine, sipping my green tea and reading my book. It's a nice little break in my day!!
4.) Sunless tanner!!
Because I haven't made it to the beach as much as I would have liked, this body of mine is nice and pasty. The Rodan and Fields sunless tanner has become my new friend!! I have tried other sunless tanners in the past and they never worked. They were streaky or looked orange and so I stopped using them. A friend gave this to me to try and I was hooked. So much so, that I now use a lot of the Rodan and Fields products. I usually use three coats (top picture is 2 coats) as I like that color tone the best, one coat will just make a slight difference. I also recommend if you are using it for an event, like a wedding, that you use it on your arms too. Otherwise, you will wind up like me the first time I did it, with super tan legs and a white upper body. Lesson learned (see below)!  
5.) Trip time!!
I love our summer trips!! I look forward to them all year long!! They aren't extravagant, some aren't all that restful, but they are perfect!! We have already been to Tennessee; that's our 'rest-and-renew-and-catch-up-with-wonderful-family' trip. Pretty soon we will be leaving, with 3 kids in tow, for a week in the mountains of North Georgia. This trip is not so restful, but it is wonderful in it's own right. I can't wait for time with my 3 loves (4 I guess, if you count Babe haha), adventures and fun!!
And here is a little happy for you! I ended up with two copies of The Book Thief. I am a book hoarder!! And figured there might be one of you out there who, like me, hasn't gotten to see much sun this summer! So enjoy a little giveaway for your Friday! We can be book reading buddies! 

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