Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stuff & Things...to Buy Your Child's Teacher

Ok.  I'm copping out here, but today, I was totally thinking about this post I wrote last December.  And I thought, "I should share that for Stuff & Things this week."

And then I forgot that it was actually Thursday.

I was mid-sentence with my students today, talking about what they would be doing tomorrow, and I stopped to say, "Wait, tomorrow is Friday, right?"  Fortunately, tomorrow is Friday.

I digress.

Christmas is coming up, and I have to say that I have had more than one friend who has contacted me over the years and asked what kind of gift they should buy for their child's teacher.  I'm always happy to share my thoughts based on gifts that I have received in the past.

Remember, it is never necessary or required to buy your child's teacher a gift.  But it is a very nice gesture that makes us feel genuinely grateful and appreciated.

Here's my original post.

Stuff, Things, etc.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Books


I had a really hard time reading this month.  I feel like November flew by so quickly, and while I still do have a few actual physical books on my shelf to read, I just wasn't in the mood to pick up a book.  (Shame on the reading teacher...)

BUT I did manage to get in a few reads, and I'm still on track to read 40 books for the year!

Here's what I read:

Wedding NightWedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's been awhile since I read a Sophie Kinsella book. I've been having a hard time figuring out what books I want to listen to on Audible, and I decided I just needed a light, fun read. This book did not disappoint. I enjoyed hearing the story from both Felicity and Charlotte's perspectives.


Shopaholic & Baby (Shopaholic, #5)Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I forgot how much I love Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood). I've been needing a break from most of the books I've been reading, and Sophie Kinsella has been just the author I needed. Lots of twists and turns and the usual frustration with some of Becky's decisions, and in the end, a satisfying ending!


The Westing GameThe Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read this book in middle school, and I'm not sure I totally "got" it then. Rereading it as an adult made much more sense. It's a good mystery that isn't really easy to solve until the end. I might use this book with my students some day!


When You're Ready (Ready, #1)When You're Ready by J.L. Berg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I received this audio book for free from Audible to listen and review. They are testing new versions of audio books with music and sound effects to enhance the listening experience.

This is a romance novel, which isn't my typical genre of choice. It actually had a really sweet story line, and I liked the characters. I also like when they have multiple readers to tell the story. So Clare's portions of the book were read by a female and Logan's were read by a male. But I didn't love the voice of the man who read for Logan. His voice didn't seem to "fit" Logan.

I didn't mind the music in the background of portions of the book, but the sound effects felt fake and unnatural. Sometimes, they just didn't make any sense at all. There's one section of the book where Logan is in Clare's house for the first time. He's looking around at the pictures on display, and there are birds chirping. Birds. There are no birds in Clare's house.

There were times I just wasn't "in" to the story, but I wanted to squeeze in one more book for November, so I pushed on to meet that goal!!



View all my reviews





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stuff and Things I'm Thankful For

Stuff, Things, etc.

Happy Thanksgiving!

via
I hope you are all able to enjoy this holiday with those you hold near and dear.

Since the election, there has been a lot of whining, complaining, name calling, and general uproar across the country.  It can't be escaped.  It's on TV, Instagram, Facebook, etc.  Today, especially, I hope that we all take the time to reflect on the things for which we are thankful and to appreciate our many blessings.

I am thankful for...

...my husband.  
He works so hard, and he knows how to make me laugh.

...my family.
We are not perfect, but we love each other despite our differences.

...my friends.
I have the most amazing friends who are always there when I need them.  They're around in good times and in bad, and I'm lucky to have them in my life.

...freedom.
People are dissatisfied in this country right now.  But we are incredibly blessed to live in this amazing nation.

...those who serve.
I am beyond grateful to the men and women who serve our country every day to protect our freedom and our rights.

...my job.
Some days I really would rather be anywhere else but at work, but teaching can be so rewarding.  And, of course, it helps to pay the bills allows me to be able to meet my basic needs.

What are you most thankful for this year?


Monday, November 14, 2016

Life thoughts...

So many thoughts have been swirling in my head since the results of Tuesday's Presidential election.  There are so many strong feelings on both sides, and I just feel the need to share some things that are on my heart.

If you are happy with the results of this election PRAY.

*Pray for those who are struggling with the results of this election.
*Pray for those who are feeling fearful--whether you feel it's justified or not.  Remember how it feels to be on the losing side of anything.
*Pray for President-elect Donald Trump.  Pray for him to have wisdom and for him to surround himself with advisers who have experience in areas where he is weak.  Pray that he makes decisions that are best for our country's greater good.

If you are unhappy with the results of this election PRAY.

*Pray for peace within your heart.
*Pray for grace to accept the outcome of America's choice.
*Pray  for President-elect Donald Trump.  Pray for him to have wisdom and for him to surround himself with advisers who have experience in areas where he is weak.  Pray that he makes decisions that are best for our country's greater good.

I bet you're wondering if I realized that I repeated myself there on that final point on BOTH sides.

Yes, I do.

I did it on purpose.

The fact of the matter is that Donald Trump has been elected as President of the United States.  That is how the system works.  I'm sure in many of our life times, we have all been on both sides of the outcomes of previous elections.  But we forget that these people are just that....people.  They are human beings.  A President is not perfect just because he is the President.

In the Bible, Jesus himself said "...'love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.'" Matthew 5:44 (NIV)  And frankly, no matter which side of this election you are on, the other side is your "enemy."  In other words, we do not all think the same.  We need to pray for each other as well as for our leaders in office.

I've seen the slogan "Love Trumps Hate" all over Facebook.  And it's absolutely true.  And it applies to both "sides" of this issue.

So pray, pray, and when you think you've prayed enough, pray some more.

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap {Reveal!}


First of all, I want to thank everyone who joined Kristin and I this year for the 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap!  It really is so much fun to connect with others across the country, and I hope you've all enjoyed your swap treats!

I was partnered with Kara from Ramblings of a Marine Wife.  I had a lot of fun shopping for fall and Halloween-themed goodies to send her way, and I was so excited when I got my box from her, too!

My opening view!

These towels are adorable!  We never feel like we have enough kitchen towels around here, and I particularly love the one with the piece of pie that says "Whip It Good!"  
This candle smells amazing!  We love candles around here so I can't wait to use it!
She also included this adorable little lip balm!
While I can't say that I'm a hug fan of Candy Corn, I DO enjoy a Golden Oreo.  So I'm thinking that these are going to be pretty good.  (Are you jealous, Kristin??)
Finally, there was this set of 4 decorative pumpkins.  I actually have the perfect plan for them for next year!
I am so happy to conclude another successful swap year!  I can't wait to see all of your swap goodies, and I hope you'll all join us again next year! :)







Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Books

*sigh*

That about sums up this month of reading.

Working gets in the way of my reading goals.

Three Sisters, Three Queens (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #8)Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am a sucker for all things Tudor. Philippa Gregory tells another great tale in English history. I particularly enjoyed, though, that the main character in this novel was Henry VIII's sister, Margaret, Queen of Scotland.

It was a great story that intertwined with the insanity that was the Tudor court, of which I am very familiar. I enjoyed piecing together my previous knowledge with how Margaret was experiencing it across the border in Scotland.

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So That Happened: My Unexpected Life in HollywoodSo That Happened: My Unexpected Life in Hollywood by Jon Cryer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really enjoy celebrity memoirs. I would not say that I am a Jon Cryer fan, but I've watched "Two and a Half Men" from time to time, and I enjoy that he is hosting the Undisclosed Addendum podcast this season. So I decided to listen to his book on Audible. It was definitely an enjoyable listen with a lot of humor.

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I actually started, did not finish, and returned an audio book this month.  *insert gasp*

If you've been around here for awhile, you know that it is an extreme rarity for me to not see a book through to its end and then give it an honest rating.  But I've been feeling guilty since I don't have a lot of time to read an actual book lately.  Therefore, audio books are my only source of literary entertainment.  I also have a TON of podcasts that are backing up, and I can't listen to them while I'm also listening to an audio book.

Actually, the book I returned came as a recommendation from the "Stuff You Missed in History" podcast.

The Oregon Trail: A New American JourneyThe Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Started listening to this on Audible. Didn't even finish it.  Maybe it would've gotten better when I actually got to the part about the author and his brother traveling the Oregon Trail.  But I just couldn't get that far.  I gave up during a chapter in which he was rambling on about horses.... I have better things to "read."

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Shaken Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's StormsShaken Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms by Tim Tebow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I was selected to receive an advance copy of this book to read and review.

This book wasn't what I expected. I expected it to be autobiographical, and that's not what it is.

While I'm not a fan of Tim Tebow's in regards to sports, I do very much admire that he is a man of great faith and is not afraid to share that faith. That was an aspect of this book that I really enjoyed. Tim shares his heart and his faith. He has great words of wisdom that even when things are tough, God is there. He knows what he's doing, and He has a plan. I really liked reading about Tim's background in his faith and how he continues to grow in his relationship with Christ.

I wish that I we more excited to read the book, though. I had to push myself to pick it up and read because it was part of my commitment to do so. I didn't like that the book seemed to jump around and wasn't very organized. I almost think I might have liked this more as an audio book since it read like someone might speak at a public event. (If that makes sense.) I also didn't like how Tim would state that he would talk about something more in another chapter. For example, he would make a statement about something and follow it up (usually in parentheses) by saying that he would talk about that more in another chapter. As an avid reader, I don't need a warning about what's to come. Foreshadowing is one thing, but I'm going to keep reading your book. So I'll read about it when I get there.

Overall, though, I did appreciate Tim's words of faith. I think this book would be great for people who are fans of his, people looking to strengthen their faith, sports fans, Christians, or someone who is going through a struggle.

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The good news is that, despite what I saw as a lack of reading this month, I'm actually 1 book ahead for my goal of reading 40 books this year.  (And NO, I didn't count the Oregon Trail book.)  Technically, I finished Three Sisters, Three Queens on October 1st.  I was very busy on September 30th, or I would've been able to sneak it into September's books.  But, alas, it makes my October look better. :)


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stuff and Things 10/6

Stuff, Things, etc.

Fall is truly in full swing.

I can't decide if it's because it was such a hot summer or if it really is this chilly.

I feel like we went from hot, humid, and miserable to gee, it's cold.


I will take this moment to remind you to join Kristin and I for The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap!  Sign ups end TOMORROW (at 11:59 P,M. EST)!  If you haven't signed up yet, come join us!  It's so much fun!  (Click the swap link to fill out the sign up form.)

In other news, I've decided that I want a new handbag.  When my Shoedazzle.com showroom updated for October, I thought I'd actually check out their handbags for a change.

I didn't like the ones in my showroom, so I decided to browse the shop.  I went ahead and filtered by color and selected brown and black.

Can I admit, though, that I'm not really a brown and blag hand bag person?  I know that it's certainly more practical to have a handbag in one of these colors, but I'm just drawn to bags in other colors....

I used to do direct sales with Celebrating Home (a company that has since closed its doors), and they had a line of handbags and accessories called Penelope Ann.  There was one bag I particularly like and ended up with it in three colors: black, red, and turquoise.  My black one ripped inside after lots of use.  And now I'm left with just the two colors.

But I digress...I came across this bag from Shoedazzle:

Amir handbag- ShoeDazzle
I actually do like this color, but then I saw this....

Amir Handbag- Shoedazzle
I mean, purple is my color.

And, of course, it's sold out in this color.

I also feel like this is a great handbag color for fall.

Alas, I skipped the month for my VIP account.  I'll keep an eye out for this bag to come back.  Because I really think I need it.

Anyone else have an aversion to neutral colored handbags?
 
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