Gratitude Attitude

Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

Thanks to Steph at Insert Classy Here, I remembered today what I am so grateful for. When I really stop to take the time to think about it, the list is so long and sometimes, in the every day jungle of day to day life, it's easy to forget all the things you have to be thankful for! And sometimes, it's the simple things! 

Like how I am thankful for magazines. In the biggest way. My favorites?Real Simple, Entertainment Weekly, People, Family Circle, O, Glamour & Marie Claire. I love the articles, the pictures, the samples, everything! I am so grateful for the hour I spend devouring the pages, it's so calming!

I am thankful for messes that are worth it. Making an impromptu art studio on their bedroom floor? No probs. 

Or how about a mess out on the sidewalk? My favorite is that we have an overhang and the sidewalk art stays for weeks and week and makes me smile every time I walk out the door. 

I am grateful for amazing movies that come from books. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's magic. If you haven't gotten the chance, read The Great Gatsby and THEN watch the movie. The movie is such a fun, imaginative, over the top version of what you see in your mind when you read the book. 
I am also thankful for moving nights with a good friend, who mixes the perfect M&M/Popcorn ratio. (It's a science, I tell you). 

And, last but never least, I am thankful for this sweet, sweet baby Lucy. 
I mean, would you just look at this face? How am I supposed to get anything done around here when I have this picture as my home screen on my phone?  I am so grateful that I get to spend the entire weekend loving on her. I can't wait to let the Rs cuddle and play with her. It's life, full circle. 

So that's all she wrote, folks.
Tonight is gymnastics with R2. I will try and snap a picture of her in her wee-o-tahhrd, as she calls it. Priceless! 

What are you Grateful for? 

Book Round Up: Orange Is The New Black Edition

I shouldn't be surprised that a TV series that I am completely in love with started from a book. This week, the stars aligned and I have some time off work during the week, which has resulted in some guilt free lounge time. I have watched almost the entire series of Orange is the New Black this week.  Notice I said ALMOST, so no spoilers! 

I've noticed a lot of articles about the differences between the book and the TV series so I am sure there are noticeable differences, but I still want to read the book. I love that Piper is real and her stories are authentic.  

From Goodreads: With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

As I devoured the TV series, I couldn't help but notice the books that the prisoners were reading. It happens so frequently that I felt like it was on purpose. Ironically, when I Googled the books, I found a quote from Piper Kauffman about how important books were to her while she was in prison. 

 "They were complete lifelines. They were the only legitimate forms of escape." 

 I couldn't agree with her more. And when I started really paying attention, these prisoners REALLY know how to pick a good book. They quote Shakespeare and set Robert Frost straight. They also talk about my favorites: The Help,Gone Girl and more. 

Do you want to read along with them? Here are some of the books that have caught my eye while watching the show. 

Red Reads: 

From GoodReads: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.
As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant. This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper's most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not

One of the security guards reads:

From Goodreads: Never trust your heart to the New York Times bestselling master of suspense, Stephen King. Especially with an anthology that features the classic stories "Children of the Corn," "The Lawnmower Man," "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler," and "Sometimes They Come Back"-which were all made into hit horror films. From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

 This is the most exciting one: 

Alex Reads : 

Because I have read this! AND LOVED IT! 

From Goodreads: Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

And Alex also reads: 

From Goodreads: Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.  Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.   Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course

So although I never want to GO to prison, at least I know I'd be able to read to my heart's content if I did get put in the slammer. 

If you haven't signed up for a free month's trial on Netflix to watch this show yet, I suggest you do so immediately. And while you're at it, call in sick for a day or too because once you start watching it, you'll be hooked. 

Tag A Long: 6 Things You Should Know About Jen

Thanks to Allie for tagging me in this fun post idea! 

1. What's the best piece of advice anyone has given you?

"Boys think with their peckers."- My mom

2. If you could meet any blogger in person, who would you choose?
Easy Peasy. First, Jess @ Tooth N Nails. If she's half as great as she is just chatting and vlating with, I'd be in heaven. Plus  I want to hang at her house. And she always has the most amazing drinks on hand. And also, Allie Baby, duh. Which, rumor has it, I'll really get to meet her in October. So much excitement, so much!  I've had so much fun blating before with Mallory and Brin so bring on more! 

3.What's your biggest struggle in life?
Worrying about what people think of me. From the grocery store line to my kids' events, my mind is on a swivel, wondering who is around me and what they are thinking of me. I've been like this for as long as I can remember.  I remember trying to position my feet a certain way underneath my desk in 7th grade so that someone might see the Tommy Hilfiger logo on the bottom and like me a little more. Why? Who the hell knows. These days, it's the same type of paranoia but centers around my weight or whether or not I look stressed out or unhappy. It's definitely something that I work on daily. I know happiness comes from within and I shouldn't worry about what others think!  I try and ask myself what I would do if I actually did know what people thought of me and if it was something that I couldn't or wouldn't change about myself, then why would I even care? 

4. Name one good deed you did that went unseen.
Every time I get a pop from the vending machine, I leave my 10 cents in change in the return for someone to find. For some reason, I think finding random change is the most exciting thing, especially if it's a whole quarter. When I was cleaning out my closets last week and found an entire $20 bill in an old purse, I shouted with glee. Finding money is pretty much the bomb dot com. 

5. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Reading, hands down. Not just books, mind you. Blogs, my Twitter Feed, Entertainment Weekly,, the stupid crap people put on's all relative somehow and I am addicted. 

6. Tell us something we don't know about you.
 * Looks from side to side, then leans in close and whispers:

 I still sleep with a blankee.

 No, please, come back! Don't go! 
I promise I am not a weirdo. It's just when I like something I tend to hold on really tight to it! Like, 27 years tight okay? First I had my baby blanket, which my mother finally hid from me when I was in the 3rd grade. After which, I promptly found another and held on to it until after I got married. *Hangs head in shame after realizing how creepy and sad that sounds.  After that one, I found myself continuously sleeping with a fleece tie blanket but now I just tell myself I sleep with it because it's the most comfort blanket I have, so why wouldn't I sleep with it? There's no attachment/security issues I swear! Okay, I totally sound cray. Excuse me while I go search "attachment issues" on WebMd. 

If I still have blog followers after this post I will be so humbled and surprised. Someone please tell me they still sleep with a teddy bear or something so I feel a little less needy.

Oh! Here's who I want to know 6 things about! Tag, you're it! I tag:

Steph @ Life According To Steph
Steph @ Insert Classy Here
Steph @ Be So Happy

Pick six to answer for yourself:
1. What's the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
2. If you could meet any blogger in person, who would you choose?
3. Blogs you're loving right now?
4. What's your biggest struggle in life?
5. How did your blog come about?
6. Name one good deed you did that went unseen.
7. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
8. Tell us something we don't know about you.
9. Who inspires you?

The Fastest Weekend Ever

Seriously, how is it Monday already? 
It's not fair! 
This upcoming week is super busy thanks to a two-day benefit golf tournament for work, so I am already dragging my feet this morning. My tired eyes and weary brain can only do so much this morning which means you get a photo dump of our weekend! 

Friday looked like this: Date night with the kidlets and setting up a booth at a local fair for work: 

Saturday looked like this:
A pet pig named Charlotte (her brother was Wilbur) and a parade. Reese yelled "Candy Crusssshhhhh!" as she pelted people with candy from our float! The parade was long enough that after our float went through, we were able to join the crowd and get our own bucket full of candy! 

Saturday night looked like this: 
After the fair we headed to my mom's house to hang out with my sister, Lucy, my 'rents and my step brother.  Great food, cuddles with the cutest baby ever, a little reading time for the grandkids and wine. Now that is the recipe for a wonderful evening! 

 Sunday looked like this: 
Getting to know Mom and Dad's new dog, Rodney. He showed up while they were away on vacation, broke open their back door, drug their throw pillows, blankets and shoes out into the backyard and has now made a permanent home in their hearts. He's a sweetie who I am pretty sure smiles like a real human. 
We stopped at the dairy farm down the road from mom's to get our morning milk. Ryder: root beer, Reese: cotton candy and me: coffee. It's soooo good! 

Sunday night: Individual pizzas, Sandlot the movie, laundry, bike ride and bed! 

I somehow was able to get a lot of reading done this weekend. I am reading A Life More Complete by Nikki Young for a review and am really enjoying it so far! 

I started listening to The Engagements a couple weeks ago and it really fizzled out for me, so I shelved it. If you've read it and liked it, let me know and I will give it another shot!  

I am going to start reading the Tree House series with Ryder before bedtime this week and I am really excited about it! 

How was your weekend? Hope it was as great as ours! 
Happy Monday! 

Sami's Shenanigans

Friday Favorites: My Childhood/Teenage Favorites, Book Edition

Happy Friday! 

Today, I am sharing my favorite childhood books. 
Lydia Laceby, who you may remember is the author of Redesigning Rose ( a great book I reviewed here)
is counting down hers, so check her list out too!  

I had quite the bookworm problem when I was a kid. Somewhere my mom has a picture of me secretly hidden in my closet fast asleep. I had wedged myself inside so that I could turn on the light and read into the wee hours of the morning undetected. 

From about third to fifth grade, I read all of the classic American Girl books. My favorite was Kirsten and Addy. I also have a picture somewhere of my screaming with glee when I unwrapped an Addy doll one Christmas. I read one of the Molly books in a day, no problem. I can't wait to reread them with Reese one day soon! 

I also loved: 

In my tweenie bopper years, I started out innocent: 

And then eventually I went for the hard stuff: 

If you didn't read any V.C. Andrews as a tween, there's a good chance your mother is slightly relieved. And your brother is too, probably. There is alot of weird stuff going on in these stories but it was SOOO good when I was younger. Family secrets, mothers who are long gone, brothers who are hot and then turn out not to be your brother so you can hook up, you know, the usual. I also fully believed any day someone was going to show up and tell me I was really an orphan who had just inherited a mansion in the bayou. Real literary genius here, people.  My favorites were probably the Flowers in the Attic series because they were just so OUT THERE and the Ruby series was really good too. I read a ton of V.C. Andrews! 

Other books that I remember pretty vividly: 

And as I am recalling all of these books, I realized I had an affinity for topics that were slightly too mature for a teenager to be reading... 

Which may account for some of my escapades senior year, but that's an entirely different post! 

What were your favorite reads as a teen? 

Gratitude Attitude

Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

Here's a quick video list of things I am thankful for right now.

First in honor the host, I am thankful for Steph at Insert Classy! One, because we are sisters from another mister (wedding dress samesies!) and two because she introduced me to The American Authors last week and they've been on repeat ever since!

I am thankful for Candy Crush, like alot alot. But not as much as Frances

I am so thankful for Ashton's Kutcher's speech at the Teen Choice Awards this week.

I am also thankful for the little 5 year old boy who ran ahead of me at his school this morning because he was so excited to start his first day at kindergarten. I didn't even get to hug him. There was no times for tears! 

How handsome is he? 

Happy Hump day! Tonight is R2's first day of gymnastics so I am sure there will be fun pictures to post later! 

The One Where Ryder Goes to Kindergarten

My son starts Kindergarten tomorrow. How did that happen? I started to get sad about it last week and so I decided to ask him about it. I should have known that his answers would cheer me up and make me smile: 

Me: What is kindergarten?
Ryder: You literally don't know what Kindergarten is? It's school.
Me: What do you do there?
Ryder: You work.
Me: What do you learn?
Ryder: Basically nothing.  I want to learn how to read. I can kind of read Hop on Pop. 

See? It's so not as big of a deal to him as it is to me. His milestones continue to be monumental moments in my life and I know they will continue to be but this one feels like something I can't quite put my arms around. 

Wasn't it just yesterday we were here? 

Wasn't it just yesterday we were here? 

As I prepare for Wednesday, there are a lot of things going on in my mind.

  • Do I have water proof mascara? 
  • Will he ever want to even come home after having fun in school?
  • What if he cusses and everyone knows that I must have a potty mouth? 
  • Should he know how to tie his shoes by now?
  • What if another kid makes him sad or feel left out?

But every time I think about those things, I am instantly watching mental pictures of his bravery and tenacity in my mind.

I am so lucky that Ryder is our son. 
I am so honored to be his mom. 
I am so proud of his brain, his heart, his passion. 
I can't wait for Kindergarten to open his imagination even further and take him on new adventures! 

To cheer me up, I also focused on the more exciting things about going to school, like the smell of new crayons and new clothes. 
Apparently neon green is in this year according to R1 because that's the color he picks out alot! 

Back To School
I made a little checklist of the things I want to document with Ryder before he becomes a part of the real world. I have the scrap book essentials ready to go too! ( I bought them when he was like, 2, in preparation for this! ) 

Wish me luck. If you need me, I will be the blubbering, crying mess at the cross walk  using all of the Kleenex my kid was supposed to bring with his school supplies....

I Fried This Post and Covered it in Powdered Sugar

I won't even waste your time telling you about how I spent Friday night alone. Okay, okay I wasn't totally alone. I had my friends Red Baron, Moscato and the KC Chiefs with me. They were all great company. 

The real fun of the weekend started on Saturday afternoon when I got to spend an hour with my niece Lucy and see my sister. 

She's pretty perfect if you ask me! 

Saturday night I headed to Lincoln, Ne with some friends and to have a blate with Brin! 

Don't be too jealous when I tell you this but Brin is pretty awesome and you should feel bad that you haven't gotten to blate with her. 
Oh okay, maybe I think she's just fun because she laughed the whole night. (I am going to ignore the fact that there's a huge chance that Brin was actually laughing AT me the whole night and just say that she must have been having a great time. ) I mean I can't blame her. I'm kind of a goof ball, I can't help it. 
( you can blame Brin for not being fast enough to get a picture of me tripping and falling or having powdered sugar on my face, in my cleavage and my hair.) 

Everyone in our group decided we'd all get something different so we could sample as much food as possible. I wanted to try as much as possible but the portions were SO HUGE so I ended up getting several little dishes of bbq sauces from The Desparado booth. 
The sweet sauce was perfect but the hot and spicy sauce was SOOOO SPICY. 

Brin's spiral potatoes from Desparado. 
I mean, you can't even imagine how good these are until you try a few. 
Or try ALL of them.  Which is pretty much what happened. 

 And drum roll please....
This is the WINNER WINNER of the evening, even though naming one thing was difficult.
 This sandwich is from Aussom Possum, which I gathered is a pretty famous BBQ chain from Australia. The sandwich is one layer of brisket, ham, bacon and then layers of cheese, all on top of a perfect, soft pretzel bun. I mean, I can't even tell you the goodness. There was also corn bread, cole slaw, baked beans, shrimp, chicken, ribs, corn on the cob and that's just the first time around.

The second time around we decided to go all out and take over the fried food station. 
Meet our friend, the fried Snickers.  

 Paula Deen called and she wants her diabetes back.

And seriously, this is the best dessert I have ever ever had. Friend peanut butter and jelly on a stick, covered in powder sugar.  I know. Like I said, Paula Deen. 

Ribfest in Lincoln was truly impressive. The bands sounded great, the choice of food to countless and the general atmosphere was very fun. 

Sunday was spend recuperating  which apparently meant even more eating. 
I can't even believe my body was capable of holding more food but once you pop, you can't stop right? 

As you could see, I couldn't make up my mind so I try 3 different flavors of froyo.
It was soooo delicious. 

So that's basically my weekend. 
If you need me this week, you can find me on the treadmill.  Woofta. 

Thanks for a great link up Sami! 

Sami's Shenanigans

Hey speaking of taking tons of foodee pics, (BTW I totally take pics of other things, promise) follow along with me on Instagram! (Leave your instagram link in the comments because I would love to follow along with you too!)