Monday, June 26, 2017

Beach Cruisin. Books. And A Birthday Girl.

As I sit down to write this overdue blog post, I have a feeling it's going to be a long one! So grab a drink and cozy on up because we have lots to cover :)

Never in a million years did I foresee a time when we couldn't manage a family adventure at least once a month. Then, all the kids became teenagers Well, almost every kid, we still have one tween. And I realized,  all those family hikes and outings would be distant memories from here on out. 
Insert sad face.

Luckily, the stars aligned to get us all together for a bike ride on the island. 
What fun!  
We tried to ride on the high tide. Which is a big mistake we didn't know about. The sand is soft and it's REALLY hard to pedal.
So, don't ever do that, okay? :)

For another type of beach cruising, we went back to being Prius owners! 
I'm so happy. I've missed the Prius for the last 18 months. 
Not sure if I ever mentioned it, but my husband was in a terrible wreck that totaled our last Prius. 
We bought a cheap used car to replace it that would be our teen's daily driver when she got her license. We are about 30 days away from that reality (pray for me), so we needed another car. 

I was reminiscing the other day about when the kids were little and the most expensive thing I bought them was an outfit at Gymboree or a $50 toy at Christmas. Now it seems like no request comes in under $250. It hurts me to buy a third car. But, you want to be able to get them to and from activities when your working and to get to a job (so they can earn money). So, you buy a third car :(

Throwing in a picture from Father's Day.
Our church had a big Father's Day bash complete with stickers for Rad Dad's and Best Dad's. 
He is a self appointed Best Rad Dad. I would give his Best Dad. He thinks he should be a Rad Dad because he listens to 80s Hair Bands. Jury is still out on whether that makes him rad or not!
What do you think?

My summer reading list is slowly dwindling down. I've read The Refugees and The Dry. I'm currently working on Everything I Never Told You and Not A Fan. I like Everything I Never Told you which gets mixed reviews. It is presented as a murder mystery but the focus is more on the family drama. I have been devouring the story 50 pages at a time. I have so many other things to do but always want to sit and read. That is always a good sign!

The other day I found this cute little independent bookstore in Wilmington. 

I couldn't leave without buying a new book.
This book, South And West, spoke to me. These are short stories/thoughts on comparisons between life in the South and the West. I couldn't think of anything more perfect.
Still committed to my reading list but I might have to throw in this short read soon.

To begin our last week of June, this girl has a birthday. 
She celebrated with friends and a sleepover.
A very loud party. 

As a gift to herself, she got her ears re-pierced and the cartilage part of her ear pierced. 
She was so brave and didn't even wince. 
I didn't realize until later that the background of this piercing room was, well, not really our style. lol
Naked lady art everywhere (thus the heart) and a confederate flag. *eye roll* One of those things I dislike seeing here in NC every day. But, the piercer did a very good job and the place was super clean. It's just  a difference of opinion, right?

Wow, what a week! I can hardly believe we are heading into July 4th weekend. Yikes.
I'm ready for July. We have company coming in for a couple weeks and a trip to DC planned. 
We have cancelled many of our planned trips for some reason or another, so this one is long overdue!
I can't wait :) The last time I was in DC was 20 years ago.  I vaguely remember anything.

Sending good vibes for you all to start this week!

Follow Along:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Instagrams I Love And You Might Too

Of all the social media platforms, Instagram is my favorite. I have all but thrown in the towel on Facebook and Snapchat is fun at times. Instagram has staying power. It's all about pictures, isn't it? I thought today would be a good day to share some of my favorite Instagram accounts and please share share share yours too in the comments. I always need pretty pictures to pass the time in check out lines, on car rides when I'm the passenger, and all the other waiting I do weekly ;)

It must be said my friends and family Instagrams are my very favorite. Second, all the bloggers I follow and have followed for years. My third category is Insta accounts specific to some subject. I don't follow the associated blogs or business or etcetera.  I just like their pictures. I know if I want to see something specific, like food or books, these are my go to Instagram accounts to see pretty things :) I've included the links, so you can click on the names to see them all! Hope you find something that catches your eye!


Yes, I would be amiss to leave out one of my favorite things!  Book Instagrams are one of my favorites. Here are some that always delivery such beautiful book pictures.


Everyone has a food Instagram account they follow, right? Please tell me this is a thing. My food account is all about cakes. Deliciously decorated cakes. I swoon hard! And plan all kind of fake events where I would need one of these cakes to celebrate :)


The rest of my accounts are fun for all different reasons. I love thelostbells because it's Disney! Everybody needs a Disney account to follow :) Plus, they are the cutest brother/sister duo too. fit_momto4 is just adorable and inspiring. And twinkletwinkleliljar has the cutest cups which make me laugh. 

If I had to pick a favorite of favorites, I would pick...topshelftext and pinchofyum. I love the books and recipes. I have quite a few favorite recipes we have tried from Pinch Of Yum instagram. I would recommend checking that one out!

Linking up with ErikaNanci, and Andrea

Follow Along:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Always The Beach Life

Hello friends. Another day of nothing to share. It's summer vacation. I have committed to doing nothing for the first two days. I have to put these stipulations on my teenager; otherwise, she thinks I'm a taxi service. She seems to be respecting my wishes :)

I committed to bringing you posts every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, so here is a random post for your Tuesday! Currently, the weather is insanely perfect. Beach weather!! I'm not sure if you know this, but Carolina beaches are pretty much perfection. When we were living on the West Coast, I thought nothing could top the Pacific Ocean. I was wrong! Our favorite time to go to the beach is approximately 7pm when the air and water are 80 degrees and everybody has gone home. It's like we've got the whole place to ourselves!

When the beach is empty and the boys are riding the waves, I'm reading my book. The Dry by Jane Harper is what I'm reading now. I'm not sure if you remember this book from my Summer 2017 TBR post but I'll link it HERE. The Dry is getting a lot of excellent reader reviews. I'm 3 chapters in and the book reads well. I haven't quite been sucked in yet. I have confidence things will pick up soon.

While I'm doing that, they are doing this :)

I'm pretty sure they don't hate it ;) And now the beach is calling me, so I must go!

Follow Along:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Things I Love And You Might Too

In our house, we are definitely celebrating TGIF because school is out for the summer! That is my most favorite today! We are all feeling Derrick's vibe and ready to find a comfy spot on the beach.

Although, this morning the kids were looking more like this!  It took some real convincing to get them on the bus for the last day of school. That was not my favorite ;)

Since I have a quiet house for the last day before summer vacation starts, let's talk about favorites!

First up, this coffee, an almond latte from Jubala Village Coffee. I'll never be the same after drinking this smooth sweet drink. I am seriously coffee deprived over here! I can't tell you the last time I enjoyed, like truly appreciated, a cup of coffee or drank from a real cup outside my home (minus the Waffle House ;) Ky and I went to Raleigh for a little shopping trip. And to keep with our commitment to be adventurous and try new things In NC, we searched for a true coffee shop in the city. This was pretty ideal since I am living in the land of convenience coffee. I can't tell you the last time I savored a cup of coffee or drank from a real cup outside my home (minus the waffle house ;) 

Naturally, Jubala Village Coffee in Raleigh, will be another favorite.
Isn't it just the most chill environment?
I love it!

These two and their rekindled relationship is another thing I'm loving this week.
Kyli and Zac have never been very close. Zac has always looked up to his big sister and wanted to be with her; however, as an oldest child Ky wasn't having it. Kyli was more drawn to Derrick because of their similar personalities and probably he was young enough to be a novelty versus sibling rival. As the school year has come to an end these two seem to be gravitating more towards each other. The have similar interests, sense of humor, and pop culture references. Next year they are doing high school life together and I'm really looking forward to seeing how that evolves.

Now let's get to some random favorites this week...

In a previous post, I shared one of my favorite podcasts, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I listen every week and find a lot of encouragement from each episode. However, so week's are even better than others. Episode #144 with Sarah Harmeyer was one worth sharing. This was a total encouragement to find your people, hang with people, and make time for all those things. Sometimes, I find it easier to just go alone or hang with my family. Which is ok but there is still room for friends. I also loved her business, Neighbor's Table, Sarah Harmeyer created to encourage gathering people around. I will let you click over to the link HERE to read for yourself.

Stash Chamomile herbal tea, my drink of choice lately.
Trying to stay away from the coffee as much as I can. 
I find as I get older my tolerance for caffeine and acid is slowly lowering.
I'm loving chamomile tea and Tazo's Wild Sweet Orange tea. 
Both caffeine free :)

Those are all my favorites for the week. It's summer vacation! Let's celebrate!

Linking up with Erika, Nanci, and Andrea

Follow Along:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

7 Books On My Summer TBR List

Summer is too short to read bad books. Do you agree? Most of us gravitate to more entertaining reads during our summer months, it's what we do. Blame vacation mode or the plethora of summer activities, but we don't want to be consumed with pages of less than stellar literature for days and weeks. Summer is a great time for great books! This summer I am taking time to read some raved about new releases, thrillers, and oldie but goodies in all genres. It is summer: I only want good books!

One of my very favorite things to do online is find book reviews. I use blogs, book rating sites, podcasts, and Youtube. I want to know what all the good books are before I start reading. The first book on my list is getting all the attention right now from all platforms... 

1.) The Dry by Jane Harper is apparently the must-read book of the moment. It's a murder mystery story set in Australia. An old friend comes back to the hometown to figure out the answers to an unsolved death. I don't know much more about it and that is the way I like to start mystery thrillers. I've consistently read reviews that The Dry is fast moving and suspenseful. Readers are singing its praises and I'm excited to read for myself. 

2.) Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. This book has been dubbed a psychological thriller which means crazy characters. Again I don't know a whole lot which I am convinced is the correct way to approach any thriller novel. I've read the premise is a love triangle with a twist. There are buzz words like, unpredictable and plot twist, so I'm intrigued. This book is consistently reviewed with high praise by readers. 

3.) The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Pulitzer Prize winning author for The Sympathizer. This book is full of short stories about refugees accounts fleeing Southeast Asian countries spanning across several decades. I have read a couple chapters and feel the story telling is very dark and raw but very well written. The subject matter is relevant for our time. Reading books like this reenforces the gray areas of immigration and refugees. I appreciate any book that will challenge me.

4.) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordian. A classic everyone seems to have loved reading. Both my reader and non-reader kiddos loved The Lightning Thief. I figure the agreement alone speaks volumes. Plus, I was in several classrooms this year where the students were reading The Lightning Thief and loving it. I love to read what my kids are loving and connect with them on their level. I think I am most excited about reading this popular book! 

5.) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I bought this book at a library book sale and have yet to read it. Everything I Never Told You gets mixed reviews. The story seems just my speed. A short novel with a little mystery surrounding a death tied in with family drama. Perfect summer beach read.

6.) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. How could I not read this book at some point? It feels like it would be a slap in the face of all readers :) First, I feel like everyone has read this book. Second, I feel like everyone has loved this book. What you need to know: historical fiction, World War 2 Europe, always a top favorite on reading lists.

7.) Not A Fan by Kyli Idleman. Christian non-fiction confronting the question of what it means to be a true Christ follower. I've heard great things about this book. However, a peek into the first chapter makes me question how fanatical the author is. I'm not sure I will like it but I do try to sprinkle in books regarding my Christian faith throughout the year. I'm long overdue for one.

My summer reading will have a slow start in June because of a commitment I've made. I am currently reading The Refugees very slowly which works well with the short stories format. After the July holiday, I will be burning through my reading list. Do you see any books here I should bump to the top of my list? Any favorites? 

Follow Along: