Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Reads

So at the beginning of the year I set a goal for myself to read 30 books in 2017. It's been so great to track my reading progress. Reading is so relaxing, makes me a better writer, and I find the more I read the more I want to read. Without further are the 2017 reads so far. (Also I am in the process of trying to organize the blog a bit better, but did you know you can click on "books" under categories on the side and see all the posts I've done about books? Check it out!)

1. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
2. Ruthless by Ron Miscavige
3. Lone Wolf by Jodi Piccoult
4. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
5. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
6. Giddy Up Eunice by Sophie Hudson
7. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
8. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
9. Hey Harry, Hey Matilda by Rachel Hulin
10. Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
11. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
12. What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey
And since I blogged last about books.....
13. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella: This was a fun little read. Cute, predictable, and the perfect read to bring you right into summer time.

14. What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan: We listened to most of this on our Oregon road trip. It was good but not great. It's been compared to Girl on the Train or Gone Girl and in my opinion it doesn't even come close. But it was suspenseful and interesting.

15. Room by Emma Donoghue: Easily one of my favorite books on this list. I devoured it in 24 hours and loved it. Having a child narrator was brilliant (and as someone who spends all day with 6 year olds, it was extremely accurate) and now I really want to see this movie!

16. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprin Sweeney: I'm a little over half way through this one and really enjoying it so far. Smart, funny, entertaining. It's all about family drama over an inheritance.

And in the pile coming up next.....

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (I've been on the library waitlist for months for this one!).

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Happily Ever After by Trista Stutter (A score I found at Dollar Tree!)

Three cheers for 2017 books! Ok, what books are MUST READS you think?? I love your suggestions.

Monday, April 17, 2017

SpRiNg BrEaK!

Whew! Spring break was just what my mind, body, and soul needed! AJ and I had first thought about driving to Oregon to surprise his family for spring break a few months ago. I am so glad we did. It was a quick trip but full of fun and relaxing. I was not a great blogger and didn't take many photos (not one with the whole fam, I so regret that!) but here's the rundown on our break! Hope you had beautiful Easters and enjoyed the beauty of time with loved ones. I hope and pray that "He is Risen" is not just a once a year hashtag in our lives, but a way of living with grace, courage and love. In the words of one of my favorite songs, "Because He is, I am."
Love road trips with my man 
Wednesday AJ came to my class for the last hour of the day and read to my kids (he had the day off). My kids adored him and loved asking him questions. I just love seeing him interact with my students. So cute! We hit the road about 5 minutes after the bell rang and made a pit stop at Starbucks so I could change into car clothes (yoga pants/t shirt/flip flops) and get an iced cinnamon almond milk macchiato because holy smokes it's good. Then we drove....and drove....and drove some more. We arrived at our hotel in Ontario, Oregon (right on the Oregon/Idaho border) at around 9:00 and went straight to bed.

The next morning we were ready for the final 4-5 hours of our journey to central Oregon. We had the drive to plan how we were going to surprise AJ's mom (his dad knew we'd be there. They are retired and footloose and fancy free and we didn't want them to go on a spur the moment trip and leave us there alone!). We decided to have AJ call his mom and chat casually and then I'd go up and ring the door bell. I heard her talking to AJ and say, "Just a minute, I need to get the door." She opened it and screamed!!! AJ came out from around the corner. It was so fun. She kept saying, "I can't believe you're here!!" We just relaxed that evening and we had BBQ ribs and all the fixings for dinner. AJ and I went for a pretty walk after we ate.
just a minute away...shhhhhh! 

gorgeous walk Thursday evening

Friday morning AJ and I went grocery shopping for the fam and then we headed into Bend for a day together. I wrote this on Insta, but I just love when AJ and I have date days in Bend. We went in all sorts of cute shops and walked all around. I have a love for cute coffee shops (Libby,  You added to this obsession) and we went to this cute one called Sparrow Bakery. Yummmmy! That afternoon we relaxed and read (I read 2 books on the trip, I'll do a book post soon!). We got some take out for dinner and it was so amazing to rest, relax, and hang out all together.

Saturday AJ's mom, Susan, and I went to get mani/pedis. After that we picked up the guys and we all went to see the movie "Going In Style." It was super cute!
We got ourselves packed up so we could hit the road super early on Sunday. We grilled burgers and just enjoyed time being together.

Sunday morning we hit the road and celebrated Easter with some of our fave church songs and this beautiful sunrise.

toes on the dash.....the best way to travel 
We drove drove drove and arrived home to Utah around 6:00. Whew! It was such a great short time in Oregon: low-key and great family time. We are excited to return for our annual Oregon summer trip in July!

Today (Monday), my mom and I went to see Beauty and the Beast (way cute!), to lunch, and she was my pal on all my normal weekend errands that I did today instead. We had a fun "Girls Day Out."

first show of the day and an empty theater? Why yes, we will sit in the luxury reclining seats! 

The break was a bit hard (especially on Easter) with missing our Hadley. I am glad to say we have made it through the whole year of major holidays post-loss. THAT is a good feeling. In the immediate after math, spring time felt impossible to get to, like we'd never make it that far. But here we are. Smiling and still standing. So thankful for this time off and enjoyable break. Now onto the final stretch of the school year!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Working It Wednesday: Spring Cleaning

Today is another installment of the awesome "Working It Wednesday" series! Today's topic is all about....SPRING CLEANING! This link up is hosted by the lovely Erika Slaughter and Shay Shull,

Ok, true confession: I used to love cleaning.
Loved it in a tiny dorm room. 
Loved it in my single bedroom throughout my early 20's. 
Liked it in my teeny first apartment. 
Thought it was ok in our townhouse. 
Now? In our home? It's not something I love to do (I love the finished result!) but it's a necessary part of this adulthood gig.

To me the key to spring cleaning and all cleaning is one simple word: DECLUTTER.
I love nothing more than tossing away or donating stuff I have no use for. My #1 piece of advice would be to look at each thing you own (take a room at a time) and decide if you need/want it in your life. For instance: I have a bit of a Bath & Body Works lotion obsession and at the start of this year I found myself with about 5 bottles. Solution? I took one to school, put one on my dresser for immediate use, gave 2 away, and put 1 under the sink to use this summer when the dresser bottle runs out. You are in charge of the "stuff" in your life.....not the other way around. Having less stuff makes cleaning so so so much easier #stepsoffsoapbox

I was thinking pretty much of house cleaning with this post BUT guys, I did a digital purge and it's life changing. I unsubscribed to about a hundred emails, and unfollowed people and places I really don't want on my Instagram feed and/or Facebook feed (I like Red Vines, but really, do I need to "follow?") It's good for the soul. If you haven't done a digital spring cleaning, might I suggest a Starbucks peach green tea, plus your laptop, an hour or so and also a cake pop. It'll change your life.

Now, for the house, here's what works for us. I would love love love any tips or suggestions:

1. We use Clorox toilet wands for the bathroom. Sometimes I can even score these at Costco. We have the holders in 2/3 bathrooms and in the 3rd bathroom we just use one of the other wands (1st world problems). I love these little guys and think they  do a great job.

2. I am all about the Kaboom products for the bathtubs and showers. My darling hubby does this job since when I was pregnant I didn't want to breathe in chemicals and he's just kept doing it. This is the best stuff I've found for getting showers and tubs looking new. Another other ones you guys like?

3. I am ob.sess.ed. with Clorox wipes. I use them on the daily on the classroom and at home, I wipe down kitchen and bathroom counter tops daily. Kills germs, fresh scent, wipes away crumbs, and such----a winning combo.

4. We vacuum every week or so. I have been wanting a Roomba vacuum for a while now. I think when our upright bites the dust we might just need to get one!

5. I wash our sheets every other week. Is that a lot? Not that much? What are your sheet habits? I toss bath towels in the hamper after every 3 or so showers.

6. My oven is always dirty. I've used the self cleaning feature maybe twice. I really should do it more.

7. I am on the hunt for something to make our stainless steel sink shine like new! Any tips?!
not my actual sink #wishitwas
8 Every few months I dust the ceiling fans, run a cycle of dishwasher cleaner, wipe out the fridge, clean cabinets and drawers/pantry, run hot water cycles through the Keurig, take clothes/shoes to Savers that I haven't worn in a while, organize nightstands, under sink cabintets etc.

9. Every day we: make the bed, sweep the kitchen, run the dishwasher, make sure there are no clothes/shoes out. 

10. Any other tips or suggestions? I do know cleaning is way better with open windows and a soundtrack of Taylor Swift. 

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Outfit Inspiration

I love browsing outfit inspiration on Pinterest. I find that if I go shopping after I've been looking at stuff I like on Pinterest I know exactly what kind of look I want when I go shopping (and ya'll know I love a deal: I can recreate some similar looks from my closet staples suppliers like Old Navy, Target, Smith's Marketplace, Down East). Here's some stuff I've been liking lately:

coral is my love language and I'm loving army green lately too 

I am in love with this light chambray top 

This is me in outfit form 

I just bought these jammies from Target this weekend Love them! 

My Mother in Law introduced me to the Lands End Fit and Flare dress I have it in 3 designs. Comfy, great fit, and oh so cute. Check them out here

love these soft layers for spring
My sister Libby loves fashion like I do and she put together these outfit collages for various jobs/occasions. SO FUN! I love them all!

"So done with the Semester:" That netflix tank is on point, love those simple gold flips!
 "Gatsby Wedding": I want to plan my sister's future Gatsby wedding and I love this fashion inspiration. That dress is so chic and goes with the theme while also being beautifully classic.

 "Yoga Teacher:" I love a good pair of yoga pants. If you do yoga in them, cool, but I prefer them as straight up lounge wear. Loving a fun patterned sock print too. Charming Charlie is where I like to get my fun ones.
 "Brunching:" This is one of my faves because it's so springy and PRETTY. Pastels + Stripes+ Sandals+ Sweet Brunch Yumminess=Perfection
 "City Chic:" I'm loving this dress/cardi/scarf/flat combo (I'll take the MacBook too). Simple, chic, and beautiful.
 Libby has titled this one "Kim K at College:" Something booty hugging, loungey, and some Kanye merch. Of course.
"Pretty Little Liars:" Raise your hand if you cannot wait until the final season of PLL this spring. MEEEE! Libby didn't tell me which outfit belongs to which girl, but I'll take a guess: Hannah, Emily, Spencer, Aria??
 Finally, "The Teach':" That plaid skirt is perfection and a bright pair of skinnies, infinity scarf, comfy flats, and of course pretty school supplies will keep you going till the final bell!

Aren't these so fun?! Thanks, Libby, for sharing these fun fashion scenes. Ready, set, shop! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Popping Into Spring

First of all, excuse this cheesy post title. I am a 1st grade teacher, what can I say?

Today's post is all about POPCORN! Popcorn is one of my very favorite snacks and I want you to know it's not just for the movies! Each night this week AJ and I have made a different popcorn creation. These were not only fun to make, semi-healthy, and easy, they were delicious too.

AJ got me an air popper for Christmas this past year and while I really like it, sometimes I don't feel like dragging the whole thing out and everything. I've recently gotten pretty grossed out by microwave popcorn (chemicals and grease and burning smell oh my) so my go to is SkinnyPop. 100 calories of this stuff equates to a pretty big helping and it tastes fresh and so yummy. I love all their delicious flavors.

A Costco purchase you must make 

You can buy a regular sized bag or if you're addicted like me, a Costco sized bag OR 100 calorie mini bags (actually not so mini). Easy peasy.

Ok....time for the creations:

1. Peanut Butter/Dark Chocolate M&M: I melted about 2 tbs. of crunchy peanut butter in the microwave, drizzled it on top, and added some dark chocolate spring colored M&M's. Protein packed and so so good.

2. Caramel Apple Cinnamon: By far one of my faves. I added granny smith apple chips, caramel chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. A twist on a caramel apple that I will definitely be enjoying again.

3. Rye Crisps: Gardetto's snack mix is one of my all time fave road trip snacks. My Mother in Law told me about the packages that are only the garlic rye crisps. The best part! I picked up a bag and tossed some in the popcorn. Delish!
4. AJ's Mix: This next creation is all AJ's idea. He mixed in the caramel chips, some dried coconut chips (I'm loving these lately), and spring M &M's. I loved the sweet, salty, crunchy, coconutty mix.

5. The Mega Mix: I tossed all sorts of goodness into this snack mix and even saved some for the next day. I might need to add the Mega Mix to my weekly meal/snack prep routine. I added pretzels, pumpkin seeds, craisins and pecans. And you know what? I grabbed a handful of this after school the other day and it really kept me going and avoiding the afternoon slump.
Pick up some SkinnyPop and some toppings and let the POP-abilities fly! What fun popcorn ideas do you have? PS) Wouldn't it be fun to do a popcorn bar with your family or for a party or event?!