Hello Marilu

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Children’s Book Reviews: Our Favorites from October 2017

Welcome to my monthly round-up of our favorite children’s books!  Each month, I’ll share with you children’s book reviews for three of my favorites and three of my daughter’s favorites, because reading should be enjoyable for the child and the parent.

Lately when we go to the grocery store, we’ll grab a board book first thing so that Carla May has something to entertain herself with while I shop.  If she loves the board book at the end of the errand, we’ll purchase it along with our groceries.  If the book didn’t pass the “test drive,” we’ll put it back on the shelf!

My Favorites

Spooky Pookie – Sandra Boynton

I love a good holiday-themed book, and this one is super cute!  Spooky Pookie tells the story of a piglet named Pookie who doesn’t know what to be for Halloween.  He tries on lots of silly costumes with complaints about each one before settling on the perfect costume.  Sandra Boynton is a master at creating humorous and simple storylines that have both children and parents giggling.

Snuggle Puppy! – Sandra Boynton

Another Sandra Boynton book, we picked this one up because of my daughter’s obsession with “doggies”.  The story is written in song lyrics, the tune of which the reader can make up as they go along.  There are instructions for making the song interactive (whisper this part, sing this part loudly, smooch) and both my daughter and I love it.  I actually find myself humming the song even when I am by myself…

Rosa Parks – Lisbeth Kaiser

This book was a gift from Carla May’s Aunt Jane, who got it at the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn.  I had heard about the Little People, Big Dreams books, but hadn’t seen one in person yet.  This one is really well made.  The binding and illustrations are beautiful, and the story of Rosa Parks’ life is well-written and simple enough for a little one to understand.  We will certainly cherish this book and look into adding others in the series to our collection.

Carla May’s Favorites

Rrralph – Lois Ehlert

Rrralph was another gift from Aunt Jane, and CM is absolutely obsessed with this one!!! Anytime I hand her this book, she immediately gives the cover big kisses.  This is a cute story about a dog who can talk when the owner asks it questions like, “Want to come inside?” (Answer: “Yep Yep Yep”).  The writing is clever and the illustrations, which are composed of found object collages, are unique and captivating.  We have already read this one at least twenty times, and it has not gotten old yet.

Ten Tiny Toes – Caroline Jayne Church

This book was a baby shower gift from a friend with two toddler-age boys, and it is one that CM has brought to me to read to her often over the last month.  This book points out body parts in rhyme, giving interactive instructions (“wave your arms side to side”), with a simple and catchy refrain (“mouth, ears, eyes, nose…”).   The illustrations are colorful and sweet.

Heads and Tails – Carli Davidson

We checked out Heads & Tails from the Destin Library, and CM did not want to return it!  Carli Davidson is a fabulous photographer who focuses much of her work on pets.  This book is a collection of her photographs of dogs along with labels of their body parts (“belly,” “paws,” “nose”).  She does a great job of capturing the quirkiness and personality of each of her canine subjects.  This book received LOTS of pats and kisses from my tiny reader.

What children’s books have you been loving lately?

FYI: If you decide to purchase any books from this post, I recommend you buy them from a locally owned bookstore if that is an available option for you.  If you decide to purchase from Amazon by clicking on any of the book covers in this post, I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  Also, if you sign up for the Bookroo (which I highly recommend), we get some free books. Thank you!

 

Monday Musings

The Morgans had an exciting Saturday out at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center for the “Where the Wild Things Run” 5K.   The trail run was a tough course (rocky, rooty, sandy, muddy), but we had a lot of fun!

Wild Thing Runners can go to GulfSportTiming.com for a list of results! #wherethewildthingsrun5k #biophiliacenter

A post shared by E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center (@biophiliacenter) on

I can’t believe this girl turns ONE on Friday!  We are looking forward to celebrating with friends and family later this week.  Here is her Monday face:

Here are some links I’m loving this week:

How was your weekend? What have you been loving lately?

xoxo

Montana: Our Vacation in Photographs


Last week, my husband and I spent a week in Montana, hiking, fly fishing, eating, and exploring in Yellowstone National Park and the city of Livingston.  This was our first trip with just us two since having our daughter almost a year ago (she stayed home with her Lottie).  We missed her a lot but had a wonderful time together as a couple!

Montana is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to and photos simply don’t do it justice.  The expanse of the sky, the majesty of the snow-capped peaks, and the vibrance of the colors are impossible to portray without full immersion into the landscape.

I lost my camera battery at the beginning of our trip, so all of these photos were taken with my iPhone.  Our first stop was the Old Faithful Inn, located at the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.  On our way to the hotel, I saw an American Bison for the first time (we nicknamed bison #DaBubbas for the entire duration of the vacation), which basically made my trip.

The Old Faithful Inn has basic rooms, but the lobby/lounge area is gorgeous.  It was built in 1903 and has four stories of balconies composed of exposed logs with a huge stone fireplace in the middle.  In the evenings, Martha Colby, an incredibly talented cellist and singer, played beautiful music that reverberated throughout the cavernous room.  She played a mixture of classical music and western renditions of modern hits, including a phenomenal cover of “Purple Rain,” which was met with a literal standing ovation.

The demographic makeup of the hotel guests was approximately 98% Baby Boomers and then us.  Since my husband and I had not yet gotten a photograph together, I asked one of the other hotel guests to take our picture.  The photo clarity isn’t quite what I’d expect if I had asked a Millenial, but whatever… You can tell we are having fun!

Temperatures were in the 30s and 40s all week, which was a lovely change from the heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing in Destin.  Our first morning, we woke up early, bundled up, and walked over to the Old Faithful Geyser, which was expected to blow at 8:08 am +/- 13 minutes.  As we sipped our coffee and enjoyed the crisp 30 degree morning air, we made friends with the largest crow I have ever seen.  The Old Faithful eruption was cool, but not as spectacular as depicted in many pieces of the Inn’s artwork.

That day, we hiked out to Fairy Falls and the Imperial Geyser, a base hike of 6 miles that we added a couple miles onto by climbing a steep butte overlooking the geyser and taking a scenic route to look at the Grand Prismatic Spring from afar.  At a couple points in our hike, we had to get off-trail to avoid bison grazing in the pathway.    I was amazed at how few people venture further than a half mile on the trail.  The first half mile was packed with people, but we were pretty much alone the remainder of the hike, which is where all of the best sights were!

After our hike, we cleaned up, packed up, and drove a couple hours through Yellowstone National Park sightseeing.  The below photo was taken near Canyon Village and was absolutely breathtaking.  What was also breathtaking was experiencing my driving on icy roads with no shoulder through the mountains, talk about some sweaty palms!

Saturday night, we stayed at the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, which was a little hokey, but also really fun.   That night, it was supposed to drop into the low 20s, so we were concerned that we’d get cold, but the two space heaters and eight blankets kept us toasty warm.  We streamed the Alabama-Ole Miss football game over wifi in our tipi, which was a very unique and somewhat surreal experience.

The surreal experience continued the next morning when we opened our tipi door to see a family of elk only 10 yards away.  Montana is a very special place.

We spent the next day fly fishing the Yellowstone River with Brian O’Connor, the guide that took Chatham on his first fly fishing trip twelve years ago.  Brian worked with Chatham on some new techniques, resulting in several big, pretty trout making their way into the boat.  My only goal was to learn how to cast without hooking anyone, so I was delighted when I caught a few whitefish and a couple of trout!  I probably could have caught more, but I kept getting distracted by the beautiful scenery we were surrounded by,

The next day was the coldest one of the trip, around 25 degrees, so we took a bleak and beautiful snowy drive up to White Sulpher Springs, home of the Mineral Hot Springs Motel.  This was the first time either of us had seen snow since the powder dusting in Mentone, Alabama, the weekend of our wedding almost three years ago, so an unexpected cold front was a welcome treat on our Montana vacation.

We stayed in Anthony Bourdain’s favorite hotel room: the Pekinpah Suite of the Murray Hotel in Livingston. It was gorgeous and so relaxing.  There was a couple staying at the same hotel on their honeymoon so I sweet talked them into taking a photo of Chatham and I together under the classic neon sign, since we had only taken one other good photograph together the whole trip.

We spent one day exploring Livingston and, on a whim, checked out the Wheatgrass Saloon.  Sharing the space, we found a treasure of a bookstore, Elk River Books. Most of Elk River’s fabulous selection of new and used titles can be found upstairs.  The long staircase opens up to a huge room with high ceilings walls full of books, making it feel like a secret cavern.  I was so delighted by our discovery, I asked Chatham to take my photo, and he called me a dork.

The warmest day of our trip (50 degrees or so), we were itching to get outside again, so with a recommendation from Robbie at Timber Trails, we set off for Custer Gallatin National Forest.   The six mile hike took us through vibrant Fall-colored aspen groves, across snowy babbling creeks, and up steep switchbacks along Livingston Peak.   After our hike, we drove to the nearby Chico Hot Springs, where we soaked our tired legs and people-watched at their Country Club-esque facility.

On our last day in Livingston, the weather was cool but beautiful.  We had planned to go on another fly fishing float with our friend and guide Danny Lahren , but the river was too muddy from the snow melt.  Instead, Danny took us and his two French Brittany Spaniels to a nearby stream on a friend’s farm.  He and Chatham and the doggies waded out and fished for a few hours, while I sat on the riverbank and read.  It was a peaceful and beautiful afternoon.

We had an amazing, but we missed our little girl SO much!  Our sitter took the below picture the day we were flying back.  Carla May did fine all week until the last day, when she was ready for her parents to get home.  That day, she carried around a photograph of me and Chatham and gave it “kisses” all day long.

As much fun as we had and as much as I love to travel, I love coming home to this sweet face, too!

Book Reviews: What I Read in September 2017

How could it possibly be October already??? This month absolutely flew by!  I am looking forward to some cooler temperatures.  Even more so than the rest of the year, Fall and Winter make me want to curl up inside with a blanket, my doggies, and a good book.  How about you?

I have no idea how I managed to knock out eight books this month.  Perhaps I need to get out more…

My thoughts on each of this month’s reads are below, listed in order of when I finished each book (no spoilers, I promise).

The Lying Game – Ruth Ware

The Lying Game is the heavily-hyped new novel from Ruth Ware, known for The Woman in Cabin 10, which I have not read yet but was apparently incredible.  This book was Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club selection for August. The Lying Game follows four best friends who were known in high school for playing “the lying game,” in which they earn points for convincing people that they are telling the truth – the more outrageous the lies, the better.  The girls leave boarding school under mysterious circumstances.  Fifteen years later, a body is found and the women reunite.  While Ruth Ware is obviously a talented writer, this story moved a little too slowly for me and then the climax at the end felt rushed.  If you’ve read this one, I’d love to hear what you thought about it.

Dreamland Burning – Jennifer Latham

Dreamland Burning is one of the best books I have read this year.  It is an incredible Young Adult historical fiction novel centered around the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, which I had never heard of, let alone studied in history class.  Each chapter of the book flips back and forth between present-day 17-year-old Rowan Chase, an affluent biracial (black mother, white father) young woman living in Tulsa who discovers a skeleton on her family’s property, and 17-year-old William Tillman, a biracial (Osage Indian mother, white father) young man dealing with Jim Crow segregation and heightened racial tensions in the months leading up to the Tulsa Race Riot.  This is a powerful and important story that I could not put down.

Brain Rules for Baby – John Medina

I read Brain Rules for Baby back when I was pregnant, but I focused more on the pregnancy section back then, so now that my baby is quickly becoming a toddler, I figured it was time for a re-read.  Brain Rules for Baby analyzes all the available scientific studies on parenting and breaks the data down into language any parent can understand.  Medina provides science-based recommendations for raising smart and happy kids.  This book is a quick read with lots of useful advice.  If you don’t feel like reading the entire book, the author has provided a list of “practical tips” on his website.

Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner

This book was the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club selection for September.  Crossing to Safety is a beautiful literary fiction novel about the lives of two couples who meet during the 1920s.  Larry and Sally Morgan move to Madison, Wisconsin, when Larry gets a teaching job at the University of Wisconsin.  They meet fellow professor Sid and his wife Charity Lang at a mixer and become fast friends.  This story is all about the characters and the relationships between them.  Nothing sensational happens in the plot – it is a quiet novel, but the writing is incredibly beautiful.  I particularly enjoyed Stegner’s descriptive passages of the natural settings and was not surprised to find out after finishing the book that he was an environmentalist and advocate for conservation.

Camino Island – John Grisham

Although I’ve seen a John Grisham movie, this was actually the first Grisham book I’ve ever read!  Camino Island, the latest novel from the prolific Grisham, drops the reader right into the action as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original manuscripts are stolen from Princeton University’s underground vault. This story follows  Mercer Mann, a novelist with money troubles and writer’s block who was recently laid off from her university teaching position. Mercer is hired by a mysterious company with an offer too good to pass up to move into her family’s beach cottage on Camino Island in Florida with the goal of becoming friends with Bruce Cable, a local bookseller and rare books dealer who Mercer’s new employer suspects has a connection to the Fitzgerald manuscripts. Camino Island is a page-turner with interesting insight into the worlds of writing, publishing, bookselling, and dealing in rare books.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Currey

I bought this book a couple months ago at Sundog Books and finally got around to reading it.  In Daily Rituals, Mason Currey compiles anecdotes about the rituals of  writers, scientists, artists,  and other brilliant minds throughout history.  Currey originally started with a blog about the same topic before being offered a book deal to expand upon the idea.  As someone who can’t resist reading about the routines and habits of other people, this was an enjoyable read for me.  It was interesting to pick out consistent themes throughout.  Some themes I noticed were focused work in 3-4 hour blocks, naps, long walks, and lots of amphetamine-usage.

Deep Work – Cal Newport

I purchased this book for $4.99 during an Audible sale after it was announced as the January selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club.  I wrote a little about some of the insights I gained from this audiobook a few weeks ago, and I find myself still thinking often about the concepts Newport shares.  Basically, Newport argues in Deep Work that with the rise of technology and the distractions brought about by always being connected, people are doing more shallow work, which he defines as “non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted,” and less deep work, defined as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit,” than ever before.  Newport shares anecdotes and strategies to avoid distraction and make time for deep work.  Strategies include blocking out time to use the internet and being intentional about internet usage, turning off notifications (like I mentioned last week), and quitting social media.

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng


Little Fires Everywhere  was my September selection for Book of the Month Club, and it was also Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club selection for September.  A lot of the time I am let down by books that get a lot of hype because my expectations are so high (see The Lying Game above), but not this time!  Little Fires Everywhere is a deep and interweaving domestic drama that begins with a home in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb, being burnt to the ground.  The author backtracks and shares with the reader the events leading up to the climactic first chapter.  The book is primarily about two women – Elena Richardson, an upper class mother who has lived in Shaker her entire life and adheres to an ideology of always playing by the rules, and Mia Warren, a vagabond artist and single mother with a mysterious past.  Mia rents a duplex from Elena and ends up working for Elena helping around the house.  Their children become very close.  When Elena’s best friend tries to adopt a Chinese baby girl resulting in a custody battle, the two women find themselves on opposite sides.  Little Fires Everywhere explores themes of race, class, and motherhood.  I could not put this book down!

Have you read any of these books? What was the best book you read this month?

What have you been reading lately?  Check out Modern Mrs. Darcy for more book reviews.

FYI: If you decide to purchase any books from this post, I recommend you buy them from a locally owned bookstore if that is an available option for you.  If you decide to purchase from Amazon by clicking on any of the book covers in this post, I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  Also, if you sign up for the Book of the Month Club(which I highly recommend) by clicking on any of the links in this post, I get a free book. Thank you!

Off to Montana!

Welcome to beautiful Livingston MontanaMy husband and I are off to Livingston, Montana, today!  I look forward to updating you on our travels when we return!

(In the meantime, feel free to follow along on my Instagram <3)

Kitchen Remodel: Before and After

When we were house shopping several years ago, we had narrowed our choices down to two options.  Both houses had similar locations and price-points, and both were built around 1980.  One house had been recently renovated with wood floors, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances – the works.  BUT the other house, although it had ugly carpets and dated features, had beautiful old oak trees all over the yard, a gorgeous backyard view, and a sense of character and warmth that I could not stop thinking about.  If you know us at all, you know we went with the oak tree house.

One of the benefits of remodeling an older home yourself is that you can choose the new finishes to satisfy your personal tastes.  The downside is you must wait to fix things up as you can afford it… Last year, we pulled up all of our old, ugly carpeting and had engineered hardwood installed in its place.  This year, it was finally time for the kitchen to get some love and attention.  I mentioned awhile back that we were planning to replace our fake-granite laminate counter tops with white recycled glass quartz.  This project snowballed into new appliances and a backsplash installation as well, so I thought I’d update you on the entire remodel!

Here is a “before” photo.

I love the look of open shelving, but if you were to open our cabinets to see the haphazard mishmash inside, you would quickly see why that look would not work for us.  I like white cabinets, and since white cabinets are what we have, we just worked with what we’ve got!  We may end up adding hardware at some point, but I like the simple look without hardware just fine.

I have wanted to get rid of these faux-granite laminate counters since the moment I laid eyes on them.  I had always wanted butcher block counter tops, but after doing more research, I learned that they are more expensive and require more maintenance than some of the other options out there.  We went to Home Depot and looked at granite and quartz samples and settled on Silestone White Diamond, a white quartz with recycled glass pieces throughout.  I liked that it was a recycled product with a unique look, and I also liked that Home Depot was running a sale on it the week of Memorial Day.  We ordered the materials through Home Depot and then had Stone Interiors do the work.  The company included an undermounted stainless steel sink as part of the installation.  I had originally wanted a farmhouse sink but learned that installing one requires a specialist to come cut into the cabinets, so we went with the less expensive, more convenient undermount option instead.

Here is a photo of the White Diamond sample on top of our old laminate countertop.

For the backsplash, I had originally wanted a glass subway tile look like the Glazzio samples pictured below.  Chatham did not like these as much as I did, and once we looked at some samples together in our kitchen, I agreed.  The glass subway tile backsplash is a beautiful look, but we wanted something a little less modern.  We settled on a more rustic looking bluish-green glossy tile from The Winchester Tile Company and used a local company Tile Temptations to do the installation.

We did not have natural gas running to our house when we purchased our home, but Chatham did some research and learned that our local natural gas provider could run a gas line over from across the street, and it wouldn’t be nearly as much of an expense as we had imagined.  We both had always wanted a gas range, so this was a no-brainer for us.  Once the gas had been installed, we went back to Home Depot for their Independence Day week appliance sale.  We chose Kitchen-Aide stainless steel range, vent, and refrigerator, because we liked the look, feel, and performance.  I had always wanted a French door refrigerator, and the one we went with includes special drawers for produce and meat, too, which is great if you like to keep those items separate like we do.

“After” photos are below.  I am so, so happy with the results!

Rather than re-installing our old chrome sink faucet, we upgraded to a stainless steel faucet that I am loving the look and feel of.  It is all in one piece and the sprayer pulls out and hooks back magnetically.  There is a button on the spray head to switch from standard flow to shower flow.

To complete the remodel, I splurged on a few little extras from Williams-Sonoma – scrub brushes, a wire caddy to contain the scrub brushes, and a clear jar to hold all of my wooden spoons.  Their scrub brushes are great quality and worth the price.  And I of course had to add a hanging plant!

I am so glad to have our remodel complete!  I learned a lot in the process and have been thoroughly enjoying spending time in our new kitchen.

Have you done any kitchen renovations lately? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

xoxo

Monday Musings

Happy Monday!  I had a great and productive weekend in St. Pete Beach with the Florida Wildlife Federation Board, but I was so glad to get home to my family yesterday.  Chatham did a wonderful job holding down the fort – I came home to a clean house and happy family, so perhaps I should get out of town more often!  I loved getting photo updates throughout the weekend, including this gem, which was captioned “no privacy”:

Here are some links I’m loving this week…

  • an inspiring and relatable list of intentions
  • 9 ways to help kids thrive according to science
  • a totally relatable essay on loving and hating writing
  • a history of overdevelopment in Florida

How was your weekend? What have you been loving lately?

xoxo

Friday Favorites: Why I Turned Notifications OFF

Happy Friday, friends!  I am heading to St. Pete Beach today for a Florida Wildlife Federation Board meeting.  FWF is a wonderful organization that advocates for environmental issues here in the state of Florida.  Chatham will be watching Carla May all by himself this weekend, and I will be missing them both very, very much!!!

Here are a few things that brought me joy this week:

Turning OFF Notifications

This week, I turned off all notifications on my phone other than messages and phone calls, and I can’t tell you how much of a stress-relief it has been.  Maybe not all people get anxiety from that little red circle on the corner of the mail app showing more and more unread messages amassing, but I certainly do.  Glancing at my notifications when stopped at a red light or when out on a walk only to see an “urgent” email that I cannot immediately respond to is mentally taxing – I can’t relax and enjoy my drive or my walk if I have the burden of quickly responding on my shoulders.

Well, I say no more!  That “urgent” email can wait until the next time I sit down to intentionally check and respond to email messages.  I gained this valuable insight from the latest audiobook I’m listening to – Deep Work by Cal Newport – and I am already seeing benefits from putting it into practice.

P.S. In searching for this meme, I stumbled upon a hilarious collection of illustrations showing the two kinds of people in this world that I just had to share with you.  #rabbithole

Jewelry Organizer


Up until this week, my jewelry has been stored in several piles throughout the house getting tangled, tarnished, and lost.  After many years of putting it off, I finally got a jewelry organizer and went through it all.  There are so many options for jewelry organizers on the market, but I needed something freestanding rather than wall-hung, since my husband collects rock posters, so our walls are quite full.  I settled on this full-length mirror that opens up to plenty of room for jewelry storage with a nice black velvet backing.  It took me probably 20 minutes to assemble and then probably 45 minutes to detangle and organize my jewelry, and I am so glad it is finally done.  This is one of those tasks that has been in the back of my mind for literally years, so having it complete is a huge relief.

Mattie Kelly Concerts in the Village

My office got a table for the Fall concert series for Mattie Kelly Concerts in the Village and so far, it has been so much fun!  These concerts are a great reason to change up our routine and get out of the house.  Carla May and her cousins love dancing to live music, and I love having a glass of wine and watching them dance!  The Mattie Kelly Arts Village venue has a great setup and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.  If you live in Destin or are down here visiting when a concert is going on, this is a cool and different way to spend the evening.

How was your week? What brought you joy?

xoxo

Children’s Book Reviews: Our Favorites from September 2017

Welcome to my monthly round-up of our favorite children’s books!  Each month, I’ll share with you children’s book reviews for three of my favorites and three of my daughter’s favorites, because reading should be enjoyable for the child and the parent.

This month, our favorites were mostly oldie-but-goodies, with only one new book thrown in the mix.

What children’s books have you been loving lately?

My Favorites

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck – Sandra Boynton

I grew up loving Sandra Boynton books, so I was delighted when my mother got my daughter a collection of them for Christmas last year.  One of my favorites is Happy Hippo, Angry Duck, which shows children a range of different emotions using adorable animal examples.  Boynton’s books always have a good cadence to the language that make them fun to read aloud, and her humor is laugh-out-loud funny for toddlers and adults.

Good Dog, Carl – Alexandra Day

Good Dog, Carl only has maybe two lines of text in the entire book.  Instead the beautiful illustrations tell the story of Carl, an adorable Rottweiler, and the hijinks he gets into with his baby companion when mother leaves them alone for the day.  Carla May (who we have nicknamed “Carl”) and I both love looking at the pictures of this sweet book and imagining all of the hijinks she would get into with her doggies if I left them alone.

Stellaluna – Janell Cannon

Stellaluna is a precious book with gorgeous illustrations about a baby fruit bat who gets separated from her mother and ends up in a bird’s nest with three baby birds.  As the birds and bat grow up and learn to fly, they notice differences between the two species – Stellaluna can fly at night and hang upside down.  Eventually, Stellaluna and her mother are reunited and she understands why she is so different from her friends.  Carla May doesn’t yet have the attention span for this entire book, but we have made it through the first few pages many, many times.

Carla May’s Favorites

I Can Dance – Betsy Snyder

I Can Dance came in our latest Bookroo subscription box and CM hasn’t been able to keep her hands off of it since we opened it up.  Each page features a different kind of dancer with fingerholes instead of legs so that you can use your fingers to make the characters act out the different types of dance.  The ballerina on the cover has a real tutu that my daughter is obsessed with.  Overall, this is a super cute book that we have probably read 50+ times by now.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

I’m so happy that CM has fallen in love with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of my childhood favorites about a caterpillar who eats and eats and eats and then transforms into “a beautiful butterfly.”  She is in a stage where she is very interested in holes and tactile elements of books, so the holes in the pages for each type of food that the caterpillar “eats” through fascinate her.

Ten Little Ladybugs – Melanie Gerth

This book was a gift from CM’s cousin Mary Jane, and what a wonderful gift it was!  Ten Little Ladybugs is a cute book with plastic butterflies that disappear one-by-one as you progress through the book.  As an adult reading this story for the first time, I thought the ladybugs had been eaten by the creatures they encounter in the story, but Gerth throws in a twist where all the ladybugs peacefully reappear at the end of the book.  This story has a cute rhyme and fun touchable ladybugs so it is a hit at our house.

BONUS: Puppy Magazine

If your kiddo loves dogs as much as mine does (see video below), she will be just as happy with a magazine filled with puppy pictures as she will be with any book written specifically for children.  For real, if I need to make dinner or get something done by myself around the house, I just pass her this magazine. #lifehack

FYI: If you decide to purchase any books from this post, I recommend you buy them from a locally owned bookstore if that is an available option for you.  If you decide to purchase from Amazon by clicking on any of the book covers in this post, I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  Also, if you sign up for the Bookroo (which I highly recommend), we get some free books. Thank you!

Monday Musings: Fall TV Edition

Happy Monday! This Friday marks the official start of Fall, although you’d never know it here in Destin, where we continue to have temperatures in the 90s and humidity levels around 80%.   You would know it, however, by the football on our TV set all day every Saturday (Roll Tide!).

Along with cooler temperatures in our near future (I hope!), Fall also brings a great lineup of TV shows.  After our daughter goes to bed, my husband and I love to watch a show or two together (NO Netflix Adultery allowed in this household!).  This is pretty much the only time I watch TV, so we try to choose high-quality programs, which is really easy in this day and age.  In the history of mankind, there has never been such great television available as there is right now.  Here are some of the shows I am most excited about watching this Fall season:

  • Stranger Things – If you haven’t seen Season 1 (which was nominated for so many Emmys), go back and watch it, if only to understand why the rest of us are so excited.  This creepy, 80’s-nostalgia-filled drama is back for Season 2 appropriately the week of Halloween.
  • The Deuce – From the creators of The Wire (which I have not yet watched, but is allegedly one of the best shows ever to grace the television screen), this HBO series about the sex industry and corruption of the NYPD in the 1970’s stars two of my favorite actors: James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • South Park At this point, you’ve had plenty of time to make your personal decision on South Park.  Either you’re into it or you’re not, but if you are, the current political climate is providing incredible source material for a potentially hilarious season.
  • Scandal – Ok, I lied earlier…  I sometimes watch TV by myself, primarily when I’m folding laundry…  And the final season of Scandal makes me so excited to wash everything in the house.  Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington are such talented women who keep me guessing week after week.  A final season is always bittersweet – I love to find out what happens but I hate anticipating the end of my relationship with characters who I have grown to know, in a sense.

If you’d like an in-depth analysis of basically every TV show that will be airing this fall, listen to The Popcast’s Fall TV Preview episode.

What shows are you most excited about this fall season?

xoxo

 

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