Friday, October 14, 2016

5 on Friday, Fall edition

It's 5 on Friday.  I haven't joined in in forever (thanks, MAT program), but I have a little bit of time free right now to blog!

Instead of just 5 randoms, I decided to do a fall edition, because fall is the best.  So here are some fall favorites:

O     N     E

I am SO not a coffee snob.  I actually buy my flavored coffee from Home Goods (aka my happy place).  I love fall, because Home Goods sells some really yummy fall flavored coffees.

I'm not a huge fan of PSL's, because I don't like to drink pumpkin.  So I get this flavor instead.  Add a little Frosted Sugar Cookie coffee creamer and it's perfect!  I know not all Home Goods sell the same things, but you should look for this coffee.

T     W     O

I may not like to drink pumpkin, but I LOVE to eat it.

Here's my new favorite, Trader Joe's pumpkin biscotti.  Oh y'all, this is just so good.  I love to dip it in my coffee and let it get a little soggy.

T     H     R     E     E

I mentioned in this post that I love dressing my two boys alike.

I bought these pajamas from Carters about a month ago and it's just now getting cold enough for the boys to wear them at night.  Matching pj's are pretty darn cute!  Now I need to make sure I take a picture of the boys in their pj's.

F     O     U     R

Right now in Vermont, the leaves are SO beautiful.  We are in peak season, which means the leaves are at their prettiest.  I am hoping to talk Bech into a Saturday morning drive through Smuggler's Notch to check out the beautiful foliage.

I totally stole this picture off the web, but this is a good indication of what our drive will look like!

F     I     V     E

I know I already talked about pumpkin food, but I wanted to share my current favorite muffin recipe, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.  We have made these muffins about 5 times already this fall, including for Gil's birthday!

Don't they look yummy?  They are the perfect blend of spice and chocolate and they are super moist (I know, most awkward word ever).

What are y'alls fall favorites???

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's Fall, Y'all!

It's October, which means it's the beginning of my favorite three months of the year.  I ADORE fall so much.  This year, we have jumped right into October and are enjoying it so much!

The first weekend in October, we headed to Sam Mazza's for the fall festival.  This is one of my favorite fall traditions.  We love to eat, play, pet animals, and take a hayride to pick out our pumpkins!

Look at my three boys, aren't they the cutest???

I have a photo just like this from the past three years.  I love being able to compare and see how big Jack and Gil are getting!

Isn't Sam Mazza's beautiful?

My sweet little boys.  I have to admit, I just adore putting them in matching outfits.

Last weekend, we headed to another local place, Chapin Orchard.  We are usually die hard Shelburne Orchard fans.  I still love Shelburne, but Chapin was wonderful too!  We had a great time picking apples and playing.

Gil is not much of a talker still, but he does love to talk about apples and pumpkins.

And his big brother hasn't seen a tree he won't climb.

They are getting along more and more and it's pretty fun.

Gil is also obsessed with eating "bapples!"

Jack's school has a circus artist in residence right now.  Jack was showing off his newly acquired juggling skills in the orchard with the apples.  I'm sure the orchard owners loved it...

Oh this kid!  I miss his sweet baby curls, but he's pretty darn sweet with his big boy haircut and cheesy grin!

August and September Books

Oh, goodness, it is halfway through October and I am just now getting this list up!  This program is killer, y'all.  There is just so much work!  And when I am not doing homework or classwork, I just want to veg and read or spend time with my boys.  But here we go...

The Lake House

I have mixed feelings about Kate Morton novels.  Obviously, I do like them.  This is my third Morton book to read.  But they aren't short.  I don't mind a long book (I'm looking at you, Atlas Shrugged), but it needs to be worth it.  I do think that some of the narrative could be cut out in these.  The other complaint is that her novels sometimes wrap up a little too neatly.  This book definitely falls into that category. 

But, in spite of those complaints, I do enjoy her stories.  She creates plots and families that I can't get enough of!  I would suggest this book.


Well this book has gotten a lot of press this summer, and most of it has been good.  I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't incredible.  It's a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  Sittenfeld does a good job of trying to stick with the original plot and bring it into modern day situations.  But, if you are an Austen fan, you know that parts of that plot just don't work set in St. Louis.  So parts of it felt forced and unrealistic.  

So, fun, but not a must read.

Truly, Madly, Guilty

Oh, I have been SO looking forward to the new Liane Moriarty book!  I have been on the wait list since May for this book.  It came out late July and I was first on the list!  I actually opted to listen to it instead (my library ordered the audiobook too).  

Listen, if you get the chance to listen to a Moriarty book, do that instead.  Whoever reads her books is just wonderful.  

I really enjoyed this book.  I don't think it's her best book to date, but it was really, really good.  Moriarty always deals with relevant issues, and this book is no exception.

Boys Adrift

I had to read this book for school.  I found it really informative.  It is about the five factors (at least according to the author) that can lead to unmotivated young men, which is a growing issue in the States.

Adolescents at School

Another school read.  This book is probably not interesting to you unless you are a middle or secondary level educator.  But I do want to count it because I read it in August!

Lilac Girls

And yet another WWII book.  Is it just me, or has this past year been the year of WWII books?  I am glad, though, because I think most of them (The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See, etc.) are showing us a new perspective.  This book falls right into that category.  

This book tells, for the first time, the story of the Ravensbruck bunnies, the women who were experimented on in a German concentration camp.  It's not my favorite book writing style, but it is incredibly captivating.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I also managed to be pretty high on the list for the new Harry Potter book!  Here's yet another book with mixed reviews, but, I have to say, I really enjoyed this book/play.  Maybe it was just because I got a chance to be back in that world.  

If you are a Harry Potter fan, I would strongly suggest reading this play.  You will enjoy it!

A Ring of Endless Light

I read this book with my literature group, so a bunch of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  I have always loved this book.  Vicky Austin is one of my favorite literary characters.  It was really fun to go through this book slowly with my students and think about new aspects of the story.

If you've never read any of Madeleine L'Engle's Austin series, I would highly suggest it.  The books are: Meet the Austins, The Moon by Night, The Young Unicorns, A Ring of Endless Light, and Troubling a Star.  Oh, and two shorter Christmas books.

Return to Sender

Yet another book for school.  I read this book for my ELA (English Language Arts) class.  I have to say, I'm not a huge fan.  

This book has two narrator's, a young boy growing up on a dairy farm in Vermont and the daughter of the illegal alien working on that farm.  I think the story naturally lends to good discussion, but I found the characters and parts of the plot line to be a unrealistic and not relatable.

The Rumor

I love Elin Hildebrand in the summer.  This book came out in late July, but it took me a month to get around to listening to the audiobook.  

What I love about Hildebrand's books is that they are summer reads (so they don't seem like too strenuous of a read), but yet they still have some deep themes and issues.  This book was no exception.  I really enjoyed it!

Before the Fall

I have mentioned on my blog before that I am not a thriller fan.  Gone Girl and Girl on a Train are never going to top my favorites list.  So I actually almost didn't read this book.  It seemed like it would fit into that thriller category.

But I think Before the Fall is to the thriller category what Station Eleven is to dystopian literature.  Yes, this book is technically a thriller.  But there are bigger issues going on, and I really enjoyed the writing and character development (can you tell I'm smack dab in the middle of learning about teaching these things???).  I'm glad I gave this book a chance!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Oh, this book was just delightful.  I can't think of better word to describe it.  Thanks to my mother and our shared kindle account, this book just suddenly magically appeared on my kindle account.

This book is funny and suspenseful and just a fun read.  It's told through narrative and dialogue as well as memos, emails, and letters.  Seriously, pick this book up and read it!

Alright, those are my August and September books.  So far in October, I have only read two books, but I'm working on three others! 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Life Update

Oh goodness, the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind!  I haven't really talked about this on my blog, but I am, once again, a student.  I am doing a MAT program.  It's a year long, super intense program that will end with a masters in teaching AND teaching certification.  

Because of this, life is looking a whole lot different around our house these days.  Jack started kindergarten and he then stays for aftercare four days a week.  Thankfully, he is loving both kindergarten and aftercare!  Gil goes to Jack's old daycare.  It's takes a tad bit more driving, but we just love it and are so glad that Gil is there.  Bech is doing his job but having to do a lot more parenting duties, like dinner, solo bedtimes, dropping off kids at daycare.

And I have the craziest schedule of all!  I am at my internship (it will be my student teaching spot next semester) M/W/F.  Tuesdays, I am in class from 8:30 until 7:30 at night (with about 2 hours of breaks in between).  Thursdays, I only have class from 4:30 - 7:30.  It's exhausting and insane!

But we are making it!  And it's fall (MY FAVORITE) so we will soon be doing all of the fun fall stuff on the weekends.

A couple of photographs to close this post out:

I snapped this picture tonight during Redeemer Kids.  Jack just adores these two older girls at church, and they are sweet to him.  Seriously, he is such a ladies man.  He already has a girl in his class sending him home with pictures and homemade books!

Bech took Jack and Gil to the dentist solo.  It was Gil's first visit and he did great!  Bech was so sweet and took pictures for me.  It is hard to not be sad missing these little things--dentist and well visits, school field trips--but it helps to have Bech keeping me in the loop.

The weekend before school started, we headed 2 1/2 hours down south to Brattleboro to visit the Lugos and help celebrate Ashley and Theo's birthdays.  We had a blast.  It was a fun and relaxed weekend--perfect ending before starting the craziest semester ever!

So that's why I've been MIA lately.  I have a blog post in the works with my August books...I'll get that up soon.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Day of Kindergarten

Oh, goodness, I have been dreading/looking forward to this day for so many months!  It is over (2nd day of kindergarten was today) and I can say that it was not that bad.  I only cried a little, and I think Jack had a great time (I knew he would).

Tuesday morning, we had a little visit the classroom day for the kids.  Jack's teacher created a scavenger hunt that led the kids all around the classroom.  Jack didn't really talk to the other kids but he did enjoy checking out the toys.  The other parents, Bech, and I all talked to each other and tried with little success to get our kids to meet.

Jack was SUPER excited to come back the next day, but a little nervous.

Alright, here's where I have to be honest.  I knew that we would be hurrying Wednesday morning.  I knew that we could be a little grumpy because it's morning.  So I staged these pictures last Friday at Jack's school.  Yup, we snuck in the school to take these pictures.  Mom of the year right here.

This picture, though, is all Jack.  He brought the apple and he posed himself up on that rock outside of his school.  This kid...

Also, we took Gil along.  Not the most photogenic kid out there.

I think we managed to get some sweet shots of Jackie boy.  He looks so old to me here!  We can't take first day of school pictures without our arms crossed.

Remind anyone of another first day of school picture?

Ah, so excited for kindergarten!!!

Thank goodness I took those pictures early, because it was pouring down rain yesterday morning.  And of course, I read the wrong bus schedule, and we almost missed the bus.  We were, luckily, ready early (because I wanted to give Jack time to slowly get on the bus!) and were able to run over to the bus just in time.  Jack got confused when he got on, so he is now not the biggest bus fan (let's hope being on time today helped that!).

He looks so little getting on that bus!

"Slow down 
Won’t you stay here a minute more 
I know you want to walk through the door 
But it’s all too fast 
Let’s make it last a little while 
I pointed to the sky and now you wanna fly 
I am your biggest fan 
I hope you know I am 
But do you think you can somehow 
Slow down"