Monday, November 30, 2015

Mailbox Monday (122)

It's Monday, and I'm actually here posting my Mailbox Monday update sharing the books I've recently brought into my house.
Mailbox Monday
Borrowed From a Friend
Room by Emma Donoghue
I've actually already read this one (review to come later this week), and it's one that lives up to the hype. I feel like it's so old that I'm the last to read it, but in case it's on you haven't heard of it, it's told from the point of view of a 5-year-old boy whose mother was kidnapped and he was born in captivity. It's unlike another book I've read, and I know it isn't one I'll forget.

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
Yet another book I've already read (and reviewed). You can tell how behind I am in getting this post up! While this book is completely different from Room it's still one I really enjoyed in a completely opposite way.

For Review from the Publisher
If Only in My Dreams by Mariah Stewart
This one I haven't actually read yet! Although I have read several other by Mariah Stewart. This novella was originally part of an anthology that's now being released a standalone. It was actually released today and with December starting tomorrow it looks like the perfect time to start this holiday story!

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bounty Hunter Becky

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
: October 27, 2015 by The Dial Press
Series: Shopaholic #8
The Shopaholic books were one of the first "grown-up" chick lit series I remember reading. I was in grad school living on my own for the first time, and while I may not have been in shopping trouble, Confessions of a Shopaholic was a pretty good picture of where I was at in life. In a way the series has mirrored my life, as Becky has gotten married, had a baby,... I have too. Becky's best friend Suze even makes a comment in this book on a similar note, about how who would have believed that they're both grown-up and married with babies of their own now. I have to say I have a similar feeling about my life.

For the first time, the last Shopaholic book ended on a cliffhanger, which means we dove right into the story. It was a bit jarring in a way to go back and remember all that happened, but luckily these were published fairly close together and more than that I read them close together.

I think what I loved most about this book was Becky's character. I said it in my last review, but even more so here, Becky has really grown up. It's really nice to see Becky growing from her mistakes. Even though she may not have troubles she's responsible for, she still has fiascoes to deal with and I love the way she tackles them us.

This book doesn't end on the obvious cliffhanger as the last. But there's still a few untied stories. I'm pretty sure this isn't the last we'll see of Becky and I can't wait to catch up with her again!


Monday, November 23, 2015

One Couple's Journey from Embryo Mix-Up to Miracle Baby

Misconception by Paul and Shannon Morell with Angela Hunt
: May 4, 2010 by Howard Books
Earlier this year I read Inconceivable a book about a couple, the Savages, whose fertility doctor mistakenly implanted them with another couple's baby. I loved that book and since then I've been looking forward to reading the other side of the story. This book about the other couple, the one who instead kept the baby after the first gave birth.

I was obviously a bit biased about the Morell's since I read the Savage's book first. They didn't come off in the best light, but I figured reading the story from their words I'd understand them a bit better. Even so, I still didn't fall in love with the Morell's the way I did with the Savages.

I think part of it is due to the private nature of the Morells. Through the whole book there's a constant feel that they are getting dragged into a media circus of no wish of their own. I get the feeling that they didn't necessarily want to write this book either, but since the Savages were writing a book felt they needed to as well. It's almost like you're reading about them at an arms length and never really get to know the Morell's or the rest of their family.

From the title the book is written by both Paul and Shannon, but that wasn't really the case. Instead the majority of the book is from Shannon's point of view, and there's a few quotes from Paul throughout. As little as I felt like I knew Shannon by the end, it was like a friendly acquaintance compared to a complete stranger with Paul.

This book tells about such a heartbreaking situation, and I'm impressed that the Morells were willing to relive it and tell their story. I think it's a bit inspiring reading memoirs from others who were dealt with such unimaginable circumstances. While I may not have loved reading the Morell's book, I still think their story is amazing and I'm grateful they offered this little look into their lives.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Baby Wishes

Elley's 1st birthday is barely 3 weeks away! On top of that, her birthday is in December, which means not only is she going to grow up with birthday presents, but Hanukkah and Christmas presents as well. I've been stocking up presents for her, far more than really necessary, but even so there's still a few things on her birthday/holiday wish list.
Toy Cell Phone
Like most babies born in the twenty teens, Elley is obsessed with cell phones, likely because she always sees grown-ups playing on them. Technically she has her "own cell phone" which is really a calculator, but it works... sometimes. I'm not sure this will completely trick her into believing it's the real thing, but if it lights up it might hold her attention for a little while.

KidKraft Shabbat Set
I'm kind of obsessed with this toy Shabbat set and kind of want it for myself. It includes two candles, a wine glass, and a challah, everything a kid could need to celebrate Shabbat. We haven't yet started doing Shabbat with Elley, but that's mainly because she's not quite ready to eat a whole meal with us each night. Altough I have a feeling it will start to happen in the next year and this seems like a fun way for her to have her own Shabbat celebrations once she learns what they are.

Sports Toy with Balls
I think she'd love any type of sports toy but this Having a Ball 5-in-1 Sports Zone looks awesome! It includes pieces to play soccer, baseball, hockey, golf, and basketball which I guess would give her an early start on deciding which one she likes best.

Little People
I keep seeing commercials for this Little People Big Animal Zoo and think it looks adorable. It's funny in a way, because while I remember Little People from when I was little, I don't remember being a huge fan of them. But maybe Elley would be different? I'm sure she'd like any of the Little People sets, but I like this one because there's an elephant and a monkey. If only there was a Tiger too!

Of course this is on the list! As for a few specific ones, we love the BabyLit classic series, but when I saw they had a book on California that's a landscape primer, I knew she had to have it eventually! Another good one that I love giving as a gift is The Day the Crayons Quit. As for some older options, she'd love more of the Angelina Ballerina books. The only one we currently have is Angelina and Alice. Not too surprising, I actually have a whole shelf on goodreads for her books on her wishlist, although it could easily have a few more additions to it.

KidKraft Jewish Holidays Puzzles
Yes, it's another KidKraft Jewish themed item. They actually have quite a few of them and make me wish they were around when I was little. This one is a set of puzzles each for a different holiday. With a puzzle for Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Shabbat they work all year round.

Although all things being equal, I'm sure what Elley will be most excited about is all the paper to rip and boxes to climb in. But you can't say we didn't try? (For fun, you can see Elley's holiday wish list from last year when she was only two weeks old here.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11 Months Update

You are 11 months old!
11 Months
11 Months
I can hardly believe it! How are you already so close to a whole year old?!? It's so weird driving home from work lately, because the last time it was this dark driving home were the days just before you were born. It's a weird feeling driving and remembering so clearly what it was like waiting for your arrival. It's kind of hard to believe. But enough about me, let's talk about you!
Chewing on a Block
October 17
Surprise, surprise, you're still wearing a mix of 6 and 9 month clothes, still in size 3 diapers, and still wear your bumgeniuses with the same snaps open.
We made it to a pumpkin patch!
October 18
One thing that has changed though are your teeth. Your top two teeth came in, which gives you a total of six teeth, four on the top, two on the bottom.
The Force is Strong With This One
October 30
You've mastered waving this month and will get your whole arm behind it. But maybe more impressive is that you know when to wave. You'll start waving by as I get ready to leave you at daycare in the morning or after I put you in your car seat and go walk to the front before I even have the chance.
Top Teeth
October 31
As for a few first this month, you had your first visit to a pumpkin patch and went trick-or-treating for Halloween. You also had your first bout of sickness and came home from daycare with a stomach bug. Thankfully it passed pretty quickly. Also, it's pretty remarkable that you made it so long without getting sick.
photo 27
November 1
Ending this post the way we started, it's so, so crazy to think that you're almost a whole year old. I look back at pictures of you as a little tiny baby and truly miss it. But yet I love the way you are now, and can't wait to see you continue to grow and experience all that life has to offer!
Ready for the LSU game to start! #geauxtigers #beatbama
November 7
1 Month Old2 Months OldIMG_3341
1 Month ~ 2 Months~3 Months
4 Months ~ 5 Months ~ 6 Months
7 Months ~ 8 Months ~ 9 Months
10 Months

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Pink Carnation Christmas

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
: October 28, 2010 by Dutton
Series: Pink Carnation #7
I really love this series, and once again this one is no exception! In some ways it feels a bit early to be reading Christmas books, although it is after Halloween and that's when holiday season is seems to be starting now. Even so, it isn't too over the top Christmas-y, but more that the holiday provides a backdrop to the story.

This book actually takes place at the same time of The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, which was an interesting take. You also get to check in with the couples from the last 5 books which was a pleasant surprise as well. Plus speaking of cameos, the famous historical character this time was Jane Austen, which I wasn't expecting, but so perfect.

This book is actually a tad bit different from the others in the series as there wasn't a modern day counterpart. In some ways I missed it, but I think part of that's only because I'm used to it being included. Especially since I don't feel like the book was lacking for not having it.

This is actually the fourth book of the series I've read this year and probably my favorite. I'm not sure if I'll have the chance to read anymore in 2015, but when I do I know it's one I'll have a lot of fun with once again!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Everyone Hail to the Pumpkin King

This post's title may have made a little more sense with last week's post, when I talked about our trip to the pumpkin patch, but I think it's still works to talk about Halloween itself.
The Force is Strong With This One
Dressed up as Princess Leia
As I'm sure you all know Halloween was on a Saturday this year. It's kind of the perfect day because you don't have to worry about rushing home from work to get started. Nor do you have to wonder how tired you'll be at work the following day. Except while Saturdays in general may be a a great day to go trick-or-treating, what isn't so great is to go outside in the pouring rain.
Luckily the weather forecasters knew this and most local areas changed trick-or-treating to Friday night, which worked out perfectly. (Until I lived in Louisiana I had never heard of the city having so much control of when trick-or-treating occurred, but this is actually the second time something like this has happened.) It wound up being a change for the best the the weather was perfect on Friday (and it did pour on Saturday!).
photo 25
Elley had fun walking around the neighborhood in her stroller even if we didn't pick up any candy for her. Although as we were walking around the boy mentioned that if it was him, he'd be grilling hot dogs and hand those out instead. Sure enough, one block later, we walked by a house that was doing just that, so while the baby may not have picked up any treats, the adults did, eating hot dogs for dinner. Although I'm not sure that we'll get away without picking up candy for her next year.
As a Ballerina in 1985
It seemed like Elley had a far better first Halloween than I did! Not too surprising though considering I was only about 3 weeks old then. But I am sure I had a blast on my second Halloween when I dressed up as a ballerina. Either way, we had a good time and I'm sure Halloweens are just going to get more fun from here!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mailbox Monday (121)

So I'm averaging about one Mailbox Monday post a month, which is part of the reason my mailbox is so big. I haven't actually picked up that many books at once, but more that one or two each week and they just kind of add up. As for the books, well...
Mailbox Monday
From Paperback Swap
The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
I just love this series! I've actually started and almost finished this one, and it's just as good as the others. It may be a tiny bit too early to be reading Christmas books, but I'm loving it just the same!

For Review from the Published
Hidden Inheritance by Heidi B. Neumark
This is a memior with a similar topic as Between Gods. Knowing how much I loved reading that book it seems likely I'd enjoy this one as well.

Alienated by Melissa Landers
This was our book club book of the month. Just to show you how behind this post really is, I've already read and reviewed it. I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of it, but it did have its moments.

The Martian by Andy Weir
This was a gift from my dad for my birthday. I actually saw the movie (for my birthday as well!) and really enjoyed it. Given all the positive things I've read about this book I have high hopes for it.

The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing
This was a gift from my MIL to Elley. We actually read it a few times before Halloween. It's a cute book where they show both monsters and kids are getting ready for the holiday, but then the monsters are disappointed when the kids are scared and won't party with them.

From PJ Library
Bim1 Sings the Baby by Linda Glaser
Another adorable book from PJ Library! The baby in this book celebrates Shabbat with all types of rituals like giving tzadakah, lighting candles, and eating challah.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Close Encounters of the Teenage Kind

Alienated by Melissa Landers
: February 4, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
Series: Alienated #1
I remember being really excited when I heard this book was coming out. After all, YA books had gone through all the monster phases, it only made sense that aliens were next. Except by the time it finally came out I had moved on, and never picked it up. At least not until someone suggested it for our book club.

The story actually takes place a few years after aliens have made contact, which surprised me. Although now that I finished the book I think it makes sense. By doing this you didn't have to explain the whole situation or get into the politics of it, but they were still new enough that not everyone had accepted them yet.

The main character is a blogger which I thought I'd love. Except it didn't quite work for me. After all, I couldn't see someone, the only someone in the U.S., who gets to have an alien live with them have free reign on blogging about it. There's no way the government, or some other organization, wouldn't completely regulate it, which clearly bothered me, although I'll admit maybe more than it needed to.

This book isn't very long, and yet it took me a while to get through. It wasn't that I disliked it, but more that I had things I'd rather do than read it. The ending is quite a cliffhanger which has me curious, but even so I'm guessing it will be a while before I make time to read it.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Catching Up

I've most definitely been a somewhat absentee blogger lately. Which is a bit depressing because I miss blogging, and I miss catching up with all of you, my blogger friends. So I'm going to try my best to get back into it lately, which basically means I need to stop passing out on the couch! Although I do only have one more month of needing to pump at night which will definitely help since it means I can go to sleep early instead of needing to stay up later just to get those extra ounces.

As for the lack of posts, it's been over a month since I last posted a Project 365 update. I was behind when I was still posting them, which means I'm even more behind now. I am still take a photo most days so part of me would like to get back to them, but I'm not going to stress to much if that doesn't happen.

Also, on the topic of not finishing things, last month wrapped up my 101 in 1001. I most definitely didn't complete all 101 tasks, but I would still like to post updates on the things that did happen. So add that to the to-do list!

As for things that have actually been accomplished, we made it to a pumpkin patch earlier this month!
photo 1
Instead of driving all the way out to the big pumpkin patch with all types of rides and attraction, we found one at a church that basically just had pumpkins and was much more our style. Elley seemed to take it all in stride and had fun looking around, likely wondering who decided to place all the orange balls in an open field.
We made it to a pumpkin patch!
Of course I made sure the pumpkin we brought back with us got carved up. I had actually found online the pattern I used to carve every year growing up, Trick or... EEK! and was so excited it was as awesome I as remembered. Just the prefect mix of cute, with Minnie, and scary, with a monster.
Trick or...EEK!
To finish things up, I'm actually participating in a children's book swap right now, which you may have already seen going around facebook, but if you want to join in just let me know and I'll send you the details!

I do have adorable Halloween pictures I plan on sharing as well, hopefully I'll be back to bring them to the blog soon!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Let's Get Comfortable!

It's that time again, time to share my newest influenster box, the Comfort VoxBox! (I bet you weren't expecting that, were you?) But influenster once again decided to send a box my way, kind of surprising since I'm barely able to blog lately, and these are the goodies I received for review.
Starting in the back is a bag of Fishers Nut Exactly Snack Bites, Almond Popcorn dipped in Milk Chocolate. I had never heard of these before receiving them but they are so, so delicious. A perfect mix of sweet and salty. I'm trying not to eat too many at once and savor them, which is difficult, because I could easily eat the entire bag in one sitting.

Next up is Tide Ultra Stain Release which is great because as a new mom I'm always doing laundry and more often than not have crazy random stains on my clothes that I'm trying to get out.

We then have a coupon for a free jar of Ragu sauce, which is awesome because I'm obsessed with pastas of all kind.

Then there's a jar of Fiber Choice Immunity Support Fruity Bites which are a great combo because not only are you getting fiber but a ton of vitamin C. These actually taste a bit like gummy candy and I have to stop myself from eating more than one.
Enjoying our Annie's soup! #choosegood #contest @influenster @annieshomegrown
With more deliciousness is a box of Annie's Creamy Tomato and Bunny Pasta Soup. I'm actually not a huge fan of tomato soup, although do love tomato bisque which is a little crazy, but still enjoyed this soup. Especially the pieces of bunny pasta.

Last up is Sure Fresh & Cool Invisible Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant another necessity, and one I don't always think about needing to buy, so it's definitely much appreciated.

I love getting this boxes because it means I get to try things I've never heard about (like Snack Bites) or things I've been meaning to try (like Annie's since I'm sure as Elley gets older I'm going to start buying their cheddar bunnies). Plus it's always a blast to get fun packages in the mail.

Disclosure: I was provided these items through Influenster. All opinions expressed are my own.