Friday, May 13, 2016

The Last Meal

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
Published
: April 2, 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
I first discovered this book on So Obsessed With, so when I won her giveaway for a free book, I knew this was the one I would request. With all the books I want to read, it did take me some time to get to it. But to ensure it finally happened, I suggested this book for our book club. A valid choice, since it was one we all fell in love with.

Even though I had read such rave reviews about this one, I wasn't quite sure what it was about. I knew it took place in the South and knew there were delicious descriptions of food. It definitely made that mark! I think the closest thing you could classify this as being is chick lit, except it isn't really cheesy and there's so much heart to it.

I loved all the relationships through the story. I loved the characters. I loved all the little details. And of course I loved the food. But again, there was just something extra to it. In a way I was so disappointed when the book because I really didn't want to leave this world.

This is actually the first I've ever read by Liza Palmer. Although I guarantee you with as much as I fell for this book, I know it won't be the last!

5/5

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Painted Ponies Go Up and Down

I remember back when I was pregnant with Elley, everyone told me how fast time would fly by. So often that it started to feel a little annoying. After all, I was an adult and already knew how you'd blink and find the year was ending.

Except then I actually had a baby, and I got it. There's something about having a concrete marker of time that puts everything in a new light. You don't realize 4 months have gone by, until you look back at newborn pictures and see how different a baby looks. Especially since photos of me 4 months ago, well they don't look a whole lot different than I look now.

As much as I look forward to the future and seeing Elley grow, part of me wishes I could go back and repeat it all. Just to hear one more time her little baby grunts or smell that newborn baby smell.

Alas, that technology isn't quite there. But we are left with pictures and videos, a snapshot of what's gone by. I thought I had a bunch of photos on my phone before baby, but it's nothing like what's on there now. Except sadly, that's where they stay.

Yes, I upload them online to save them. I've had photos printed once, but none of those are actually in a frame. I've been working on a photo book, and hopefully I'll finish it by the end of the year. And that's just the photos. What are you supposed to do with all the videos?

Lucky for me, I was contacted by Chris of GrandVideo, a service that takes all of your short videos and edits them together into a professional movie. He explained to me his company, but even more than that offered me a video for Elley. Besides book reviews I very rarely write sponsored posts but this was too good to pass up!

Speaking of time flying by, I've actually had this video for a few months now (hence the fact it's about Elley's first year and she's almost a year and a half!), but I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you all. So after much anticipation, I'm excited to share Elley's first year with you all!

Elley: Year One
from GrandVideoSF on Vimeo.

How do you preserve all your photos and movies and memories? Hopefully you're better at it than I am!

This video was provided to me free of charge from GrandVideo. All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Morlands in Tudor England

The Dark Rose by by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Published
: July 1, 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark
First Published: 1981
Series: The Morland Dynasty Series # 2
More from the Morland family! This book takes place several generations after the first, although considering how many years went by in the first book several characters are still alive. As with the first, it is difficult to keep all the family relations straight, but the main characters are easily kept track of.

This book takes place during the reign of Henry VII and our main character, Nannette Morland, becomes good friends with Anne Boleyn. Several years ago, I probably would have loved this book. But over the years I've read so many books that deal with Henry VII, and Anne Boleyn specifically, I was kind of over those part of the book. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this, and can't wait to continue through history with the Morlands.

4/5

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mailbox Monday (129)

It's been a while since I've gotten a Mailbox Monday post up. So much so, that I'm sharing the books Elley received for Valentine's Day. And it's May... Yeah. Better late than never, right?
Mailbox Monday
From PJ Library
Today by Kyra Teis
The title of this book, todah, means thank you. As you'd expect each page shows a baby saying thank you for some aspect of their life. I think the illustrations, which looks like children's artwork on pieces of paper, are adorable.

Where is the Afikomen? by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler
This is a Passover book in which a little girl looks for the afikomen, the last piece of matzah, to end the meal. Elley isn't quite old enough to go looking for the afikomen yet, but hopefully next year we can try hiding it for her.

Purchased
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
I really try to avoid purchasing books now, but my one exception is Cassandra Clare's shadowhunter books. This one is the first of a new trilogy and takes place a few years after the last book in The Mortal Instruments series. I've actually finished this book and really enjoyed it, so I'll have a bit more to say in my review... whenever I get around to writing it that is!

From Paperbackswap
Crossed by Ally Condie
The next in the Matched series. To be honest, the last book is a little blurry but I do remember liking it. I'm sure as I get into this one it will start coming back to me.

For Review from the Author
Painting the Moon by Traci Moon
I'm not quite sure how this one made its way to me. But it looks like a cute romance-y novel about a California girl who moves to a little cottage in England. Hopefully it's as adorable as it sounds.

Gifted
Olivia by Ian Falconer
This is the first of the two books Elley received for Valentine's Day. Like most of her board books, we keep this one in the living room. While I think it's adorable, sadly Elley hasn't quite gotten into it yet. But I'm hopeful that as she gets old she appreciates it a little more.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
I absolutely adore this book! I've bought it several times before, but always as a gift, so I'm really excited to finally own a copy. In case you haven't discovered this gem yet, in it each crayon writes a letter of complaints to their owner. For example, orange and yellow argue over which is the color of the sky, grey doesn't like being used to draw big animals like elephants and whales, but after reading all their letters the owner find a way to make all the crayons happy.

Just for fun, here's a photo of Elley opening up her Valentine's Day books, all decked out for the holiday.
Present Opening
What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

14 Months Update

14 Months
14 Months
Elley, you are 14 months old. Or at least you were, one month ago. I'm just crazy late getting this update posted.
Eating Carrots & BroccoliDecember 24
You had a weight check at 13 and a half months and you were up to 16 lbs 10 oz or the 0.33%ile. Which yes, is up in both weight and percentiles.
We learned how to clap yesterday and now we're slightly obsessed.
December 26
You're pretty solidly in 9 months clothes, although we're slowly starting to cycle some 12 months items in. You're still wearing size 3 diapers and have your bumgeniuses snapped the same way.
IMG_1549
January 9
You have a bunch of new teeth. Your bottom to molars are in. One of your bottom canines is in, and your top molars are starting to come in.
Monkey Baby
January 10
Then there are your words, which you seem to be adding to everyday. You can say hi, byb-bye, uh-oh, outside (which is your favorite place to be and you'll say all the time hoping someone will take you there), dada, mine (which you do say, but you'll also use mommy to mean mine), hot (which is how you refer to most food), shoe, ball, baby (which is what everything tiny is called, so if we see a puppy outside, that's a baby). You can clap, give high fives, give hugs and kisses... You'll even follow simple directions, things like asking you to bring something to someone or pick something up.
Little daredevil baby
January 17
Your most recent obsession is shoes. If you find your own around the house you'll bring them to us to put them on your feet. Or if instead you find my shoes or your daddy's you'll bring them to us and insist that we put them on immediately. What's really fun is when you bring me two left shoes and want me to wear both of them at the same time.
IMG_1581
January 19
Your other favorite toys are anything that lights up and plays music, especially My Pal Violet. You love your cozy coupe. By that I mean you love pushing it around or being pushed in it, but haven't quite figured out how to get it to move while you're sitting in it.
It's Hard Out Here for a Kaylee
January 22
You love being read books too. We have your favorites in the living room, and you'll bring them to me over and over to read. As for the ones you go back to, it's Llama Llama Red Pajama (the longest book you'll sit through), Ten Apples on Top, and all your Usborne books. Although funny enough, while you'll read books all the time in the living room, you're not a fan of reading them before bed. I think it's because at that point you know it's bedtime and you'd rather be in your crib.
Finally watching #greaselive. Looks like we have a new fan! #gogreaselightning
February 5
Speaking of bedtime, we had been down to one final nursing session before bed, at least until last week. But like with a bedtime story, you could care less about nursing and just wanted to be in your crib, so since you were telling me you were ready to finish nursing, I knew I needed to be ready as well.
Yummy Donut Holes
February 6
It's so crazy to think that you really aren't a baby anymore. But as much as I may miss you being a tiny little baby, I'm a little in awe with the person you're starting to become.
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
IMG_3543IMG_3698IMG_3783
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
IMG_3893IMG_4002IMG_4080
7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
IMG_414011 Months12 Months
10 Months ~ 11 Months ~ 12 Months

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mailbox Monday (128)

It's another Sunday. But lucky for me, I don't have work tomorrow! Instead I'll be in New Orleans recovering from tonight's Nick Carter concert. I can't wait, but first, here's a look at my Mailbox Monday, sharing the books I've picked up recently.
Mailbox Monday
For Review from TLC Book Tours
America's First Daughter By Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
This is a historical fiction about Thomas Jefferson's daughter. It's one I've actually already read and reviewed. As for the short version, I loved it and felt I learned a lot reading it.

From PJ Library
It's Tu B'Shevat by Edie Stolz Zolkower
This is a cute picture book on Tu B'Shevat, which is the birthday of the trees. Think of it as Earth Day for Jews. To give you an idea on how behind I am in sharing book, Tu B'Shevat was back in January. Although it's not entirely my fault since the book was late arriving as well.

From Paperback Swap
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
I used to be obsessed with Kinsella's books and buy them all the week they came out. Clearly not the case anymore since this first came out in 2013. But I think at this point there's only one or two of her books that I haven't read, so I'm catching back up.

The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Another book I've already read, although still need to review. It's the second book in The Morland Dynasty Series. It takes place during King Henry VIII's reign. I don't think I liked it as much as the first, but still enough to keep reading.

150 Pounds by Kate Rockland
To be honest, the reason I want to read this book has nothing to do with the plot. Instead it's that the main character has my name, Shoshanah, although she spells hers without an h on the end. Although even so, it does look like a cute chick lit book, so I'm sure I'll have fun with it.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

From Monticello to Jefferson's White House

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
Published
: March 1, 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
My mom used to always say Jefferson was her favorite president. But I never quite got it myself. Obviously, like I'm sure everyone else who grew up in America, I knew the basics about him, that he wrote the Declaration of Independence, that he was our third president, and most infamously had an affair with one of his slaves. Besides that I really never really knew much about his actual life.

This was the first reason why I was so excited to read this book. As for the second, it's because one of the co-authors was Stephanie Dray and I love her Cleopatra's Daughter trilogy, even though I've yet to read the final installment. Clearly there were some similarities between her two books. After all both are about the daughter of a famous historical figure. Also, both had a similar structure where we got to know the daughter as a young girl, and then saw her grow up.

As for a difference, this is a single book not a trilogy. Although the book is so long I think it could easily have been divided up into one. But even with it's length the book never dragged and kept my attention throughout. Not only that I was disappointed when it ended, only because I wasn't ready to be finished.

In a lot of ways, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson, lived a heartbreaking life. And yet when you try to compare it to an average girl in Colonial times, I think hers was better than most. Considering who her father was she likely had more opportunities and new experiences than she ever would have otherwise.

Overall I loved my time with the book. I wouldn't consider myself an expect on Jefferson after reading it, but do think I know far more than I would have expected going into it.

5/5

Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.