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Five On Friday {The End of September}

I cannot believe that it is the last day of September already!  It’s hard to believe that the kids have been in school for a month now and that fall is here.  Weekdays are now filled with after school activities and homework.  We have to squeeze in as much fun and family time on the weekends now as we can!  The kids have a four day weekend because of Rosh Hashanah.  Here are five things from this week:

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Reading:  All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  From GoodreadsAs the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.”  This book is so horrifying and disturbing in so many ways but has me wanting to finish reading it to see how it all ends.

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Watching: This Is Us – This is a new fall show that airs Tuesday nights on NBC.  So I’ve watched the first episode and it’s definitely an interesting premise.  The first episode follows several characters who all are celebrating their 36th birthday.  Part of the show takes place in the past, which I didn’t fully realize until the end of the episode and it appears that the different characters are connected.  I will be continuing to watch this show.

I Feel Better Podcast

Listening:  I have my regular weekly podcasts that I listen to, but I am always on the lookout for new ones.  I’ve been listening to them in the car or while cleaning.  They definitely make the time go by faster.  A newish podcast that I’ve been listening to is the I Feel Better podcast. Each week four friends discuss pop culture including television, movies, books and more.  I feel like I have similar entertainment tastes and like getting new recommendations.

Corn Muffins

Baking:  Yesterday I made Ina Garten’s Corn Muffins.  If I’m going to bake I’m usually making muffins.  They are usually quick and easy to make (which these were!).  Plus, they make easy breakfasts or lunches for the kids when I pair them with yogurt and fruit.  These muffins were a hit (because of course we had to do some sampling!) and were breakfast this morning.

In the Blogosphere:  I’m a big quote lover and I enjoyed reading Tanya’s post “Inspirational Quotes to Help Shift to Joyful Thinking.”  As a mom of a new middle schooler I could really relate to Shell’s post “The Weirdest Thing about Middle School.”  I’m a contributor to the Westchester County Moms Blog.  Priscilla recently posted “To Breastfeed…or to be a “Bad Mom”?”  As a mom I think it’s a personal decision that we all have to make and she wrote about her personal struggle with the decision.

ICYMI this week on the blog:
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.
Wednesday I reviewed six ciders/beers in the September Six-Pack.
Thursday I shared my kids’ September Favorites.

Linking up with Tif, Andrea and April.  Have a great weekend!

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September Favorites 2016 (Kids Edition)

As the month comes to an end I thought it would be fun to share some of my son and daughter’s September favorites.  My son is eight and my daughter is ten.  With school starting this month as well as all of their after school and other activities, they are discovering that they have a lot less free time.  But when they do have some down time, the two try to pack in as much fun as possible!  Here are some of their favorites from this month:

My Son’s Favorites:

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1.NHL 16 – Over the summer my son started borrowing video games from the library.  This is a great way for him to try out different games to see if he likes them before purchasing them.  He’s recently been enjoying NHL16 for the Xbox One.  This surprised me since he’s not into hockey.  He’s already informed us that he wants this game for Christmas!

2. The Gaming Show – My son loves this show about three teens who run a gaming show in a garage.  They learn about the world of video gaming as well as play video games.  Right up my son’s alley!  He watches it on Netflix but it also airs on Disney XD.

Pokemon Go

3.  Pokémon Go –  My son only recently got Pokémon Go so it’s still relatively new to him.

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4. Nerf Guns – Nerf guns are the newest thing with my son and his friends.  He has one or two and last weekend he picked up a new-to-him Nerf gun at a local community swap.   Now he’s carrying it around the house shooting the foam darts ALL the time!

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5. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey – My son loves graphic novels.  The funnier and sillier they are, they better!  My son enjoys the Captain Underpants series by Pilkey, so I got this book for him from the library.  Let’s just say that after the first story I had to stop reading.  Totally not my thing.  However, my son loved this book and it’s made his favorite list!

My Daughter’s Favorites:

Road Trip Ice Cream

1. Ice Cream Club: Road Trip – I recently won six pints of ice cream from the International Dairy Foods Association.  We recently tried Road Trip (chocolate ice cream with brownie pieces and peanut butter) and this is my daughter’s favorite treat this month.

First Day Signs

2.  Starting Middle School – My daughter started 5th grade this year.  In our district 5th grade is in the middle school.  While I was a bit nervous, my daughter is loving everything about it.  She loves being in a new school, all the clubs and activities that she can participate in (and boy is she participating in a lot, both before AND after school!) and having more responsibility.  I’m so happy that she’s started off with such a great experience!

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3. The Voice – We recently got cable again and my kids couldn’t be happier.  So far, in the week that we’ve had cable they are all about watching The Voice.  We DVR it and watch a little bit of it together each night.  I never watched the show before so it’s a fun bonding experience with both the kids.

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4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I own and have read this series.  I was hesitant for my daughter to read the books but she picked the book out as her independent reading book at school.  She is a few chapters away from finishing it and is absolutely loving it.  I’m pretty sure she’ll be wanting to watch the movie after she finishes reading it!

5. Converse sneakers – Converse are THE sneaker to be wearing at the middle school.  Her obsession with the sneakers started last year and has only grown.  Every day I hear all about the different Converse sneakers that kids are wearing and which ones she REALLY wants to get.  I tell her to “put it on her Christmas list!”  I believe that she has three pair of Converse and I told her she’s not getting any new ones from me until she outgrows those!

What are your kids into this month?

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September Six-Pack

Build Your Own Six-Pack

On a recent visit to my local Acme I noticed that they offered a build your own six-pack.  While I know that Trader Joe’s also offers a build your own six-pack, the closest TJ’s is over thirty minutes away.  I’m usually very hesitant to buy new ciders or craft beers because I fear that I won’t like them after shelling $9+ for a six-pack. So I was very excited to be able to take advantage of building my own six-pack and trying some new beers and ciders!   Each month I’m looking forward to highlighting some new beers and ciders that we’ve tried, thus the monthly “Six-Pack.” Here is a review of September’s six-pack :

1911 Hard Cider

1911 Hard Cider – This cider is produced at Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette, New York where the first apple tree was planted in 1911.  I tried the original flavor of this cider.  The cider was light but dry.  It’s definitely not as sweet as I like.  According to the company website, this cider is semi-dry.  I’m curious to try the 1911 Blueberry Hard Cider and Grapefruit Hard Cider.

Angry Orchard Summer Honey

Angry Orchard Summer Honey Cider (Seasonal) – Angry Orchard is one of my favorite hard cider brands.  While this isn’t a new cider to me, I just had to grab one for my six-pack since it’s one of my favorites and it’s seasonal!

Badass One Bad Apple

Badass Hard Cider: One Bad Apple – Badass Hard Cider has an interesting label and fun cider names.  However, my kids weren’t a fan of the “badass” name!  This was the most recent cider that we tried and I have to say that this was my least favorite.  The cider’s name is “One Bad Apple” and I thought it tasted like bad apples and had an off taste.  My husband thought it had a wine-like flavor.  We won’t be getting this one again!

Badass Quite a Pear

Badass Hard Cider: Quite A Pear – We preferred this pear cider over the other Badass selection.  We really didn’t taste pear in particular, but the flavor was good overall. So far, we won’t be rushing out to buy either of the two existing Badass flavors that they produce.

Bud Light Lime-arita

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita Splash – I had been wanting to try these Bud Light -Ritas for awhile now, so I was excited to see this one in the build your own six-pack section.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this Lime-A-Rita.  I found it light and refreshing and something new that I can add to my preferred drink rotation.  There are a bunch of different flavors in the -Rita line, both in bottles and cans.   Bud Light recently introduced a limited edition Cherry-Ahh-Rita as well.

Effortless Grapefruit Session IPA

Effortless Grapefruit Session IPA – This was the only beer that we tried this month.  I didn’t realize that this beer is produced by Captain Lawrence, a local Westchester County brewery.    While I’m not a big beer drinker, my husband enjoys a good beer. While he appreciated the distinct grapefruit flavor of Effortless Grapefruit IPA, the overpowering  taste is from the bitterness of the peel. This pale ale wasn’t a favorite of his.

Strongbow Honey

Strongbow Hard Apple Cider Honey – This was my first time trying Strongbow cider.  I’m usually confident that I’ll like any cider with “honey” in the name and this one didn’t disappoint.  This was a fruity and sweet cider, which is just what I like.  Strongbow also makes Gold Apple, Cherry Blossom and Ginger varieties.

 

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 42}

2016 Calendar

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  My daughter had a two night girl scout sleepover this weekend and my husband went to his college homecoming Saturday.  So it was just me and my son for most of Saturday.  I took him to soccer and then we did a quick drive around town so he could collect Poke balls (for Pokémon Go!).  We had lunch and watched the Fantastic Four and then ran some errands.  My husband and brother-in-law got home shortly and then we went out to dinner at a local Thai restaurant.  Sunday I picked my daughter up from her girl scout camping trip and then the day was spent getting ready for the upcoming week, which included meal planning for this week. It’s really starting to feel like fall around here with the cooler temps.  As I meal plan now I’m looking for tasty-sounding but quick recipes!  If you’re new to meal planning you can read more about my meal planning process.  Otherwise, here’s a look at what was on our meal plan this past week:

Saturday:  We had a late lunch/early dinner (linner?!) at Raga Indian Cuisine.  We ate around 2:00 PM and I was good for the rest of the evening!  We went to our local town day and the kids each had a snow cone.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Sunday: We had supper club.  This month’s theme was to pick a favorite dish from a past dinner and make it.  I made Lasagna-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash from supper club member Ashley at Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen.  I had chosen this recipe because I thought it was one that I’d actually remake.  I like it because even me a carb lover, doesn’t feel like I’m missing pasta with this dish since it’s hearty and filling with the lasagna filling.

Chicken and Rice

Monday: My husband recreated Rafiqi’s Chicken over Rice for our supper club dinner.  He purposely made extra chicken so we’d have some leftover for dinner this week.  We all had enjoyed it at supper club and the kids enjoyed this one for dinner.  I apologize that we failed to take a picture!

Tuesday:  We had leftover lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash that I had made for supper club.  It seemed kid-friendly with the lasagna filling and I thought I might be able to sneak squash past the kids.  My daughter enjoyed it but my son wasn’t a fan!

Provolone Broccoli Rabe Beef Sliders

Wednesday:  I made Provolone Broccoli Rabe Beef Sliders from Cooking Light, September 2016.  I’m not sure if it was the size of the slider rolls that I bought, but there was not enough beef mixture to make eight sliders (two each).  Luckily, I had more ground beef in the freezer and defrosted it and made another batch of sliders.  This dish falls into the quick and easy category.  I cooked the broccoli rabe while the sliders were cooking.  These were tasty and we all enjoyed them.  I served them with fries.

15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles

Thursday: I made 15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles from Half Baked Harvest.  Ramen noodles are so cheap and this recipe uses the noodles, but not the salty seasoning packets that come with it!  Last week I had my husband stop by the Asian grocery store near his office to pick up the white miso paste that this recipe called for.  But of course I didn’t remember to add the zucchini to the shopping list, so I did without.  This was pretty quick and easy to make. Instead of soft boiled eggs we had fried eggs on top.  I served it with garlic bread and chopped salad.  My kids are big ramen soup lovers and were a little disappointed that there was no broth!  But they ate these noodles up.  This will probably be one of those go-to recipes when I feel like we have nothing to eat in the house and have to come up with a quick lunch or dinner!

Meatball Ricotta Pizza

Friday:  My husband used the leftover sliders to make a Ricotta Meatball Pizza as well as a cheese pizza for dinner.

What is on your menu this week?

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Five on Friday {The first of fall}

Happy Friday and happy fall!  This was a busy week with playdates (or “hanging out” as my 5th grader calls it) and back to school night at the middle school for my daughter.  This weekend my daughter will be away for two nights on a Girl Scout camping trip and my husband is heading up to Binghamton University for alumni Homecoming weekend.  So, Saturday will be just me and my son.  He has soccer and then I see some Pokemon catching and a movie marathon happening!  Here are five things from this week:

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

1. Eating – Sunday we had our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was to cook one of our favorite dishes from a past supper club.  I made Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash that another member had previously  made.  I liked this dish because not only was it tasty it was also carb-free, which usually I don’t go for!  I love me so me carbs!  I also thought that this was a dish that my kids would enjoy since you don’t really taste squash flavor with all of the lasagna ingredients.  Well, there was enough leftovers to have it for dinner this week and let’s just say, my son wasn’t a fan!  Oh well, I tried!

8 Tips for Reluctant Readers

2. Blog Post – I am a contributor to the Westchester County Mom’s Blog, a recently launched resource for local moms.  My article “8 Tips for Motivating Reluctant Readers” was posted this week!  You can check it out as well as the blog itself.  There are lots of relevant posts pertaining to motherhood and parenting issues, not just local events, etc.

3. Working Out – As I mentioned in last week’s Five on Friday, my husband and I joined our local Retro Fitness.  We got to work out together Sunday morning while the kids were at CCD.  We did some of the arm and leg machines and then walked (me)/jogged (him) on the treadmill.  I also tried my first Barre class this and also did a Zumba class yesterday.  I’m really hoping to get in shape!

4. Cable and Phone – We’ve been cable-free for over three years now.  We’ve done fine with watching Netflix and Amazon Prime and using just our cell phones.  However, it was cheaper for us to upgrade to a “triple play” package than to just pay for internet.  So yesterday we got cable and home phone service again!  I’m sure I will love having a DVR back and being able to watch my favorite shows as they air!

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5. Reading – I’m currently reading All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker.  It’s a thriller/suspense book that so far is pretty good.

ICYMI this week on the blog:
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.
Tuesday I posted a review of the Brazilian animated movie Boy & The World.
Thursday I shared a short list of things I’m looking forward to in fall.

Linking up with Tif, Andrea and April.  Have a great weekend!

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Happy Fall!

Anticipating Fall

Happy fall!  While it sure doesn’t feel like fall here in New York, it is now officially appropriate for all things apple and pumpkin spice!  Here are some things that I’m looking forward to this fall:

*apple picking – recently we’ve been staying local to pick apples and of course get cider doughnuts
*baking with apples and pumpkins – muffins, cookies, cakes….I want them all!
*fall foliage – living in the Northeast we are lucky to be able to see all of the leaves change colors
*wearing boots and sweaters – fall fashion staples!
*trying pumpkin spice everything  – yes, I’m a fan!
*family cruise in October – a month early but a great way to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday!
*Hudson Valley Restaurant Week – although not until November, I’m looking forward to trying some new restaurants
*chili, soups and stews – total comfort food and even better for me when made in the slow cooker
*mums – that’s about the extent of my fall decorating!

What are you looking forward to this fall?

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Boy & The World: A Review

Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Rating: PG
Animated Family Movie

Boy & The World is a Brazilian movie that had a limited USA release in December 2015. It came out on DVD this past July. The movie is told through bursts of colors and sounds, with no dialogue.  It opens with Cuca, a stick figured drawn boy, watching his father go off on a train to the city to find work.  Cuca embarks on an adventure to look for his father and reunite his family.  As his journey progresses, the film gets darker.   Through music and animation the movie shows the detrimental effects of industrialization and urbanization.

I borrowed this movie from the library, not knowing much about it.  When the movie opened with a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds and simple, child-like figures, I wasn’t sure how well it would go over with my eight and ten-year-old children.  Would it be too childish for them?  No, in fact, it wasn’t. It was actually a very abstract film in which I voiced a running commentary to explain what was going on. Despite my reservations, both children were enthralled with the movie.  Even if they don’t understand everything that’s going on, younger children will enjoy the bright colors and beautiful music!

The bonus material on the DVD was enlightening as we got to see how the movie was created.  My son loves to draw and he was impressed to see how the original artwork was created and then made into the movie.  Music and sounds played a pivotal role in the movie and it was fun to see how different materials were used to get the targeted sound effects.

This movie has won over 40 film festival awards and after viewing, it is understandable why.  My children and I highly recommend this movie.

We borrowed this movie from our local library.  The movie is out on DVD and available for purchase. It is also available (at a cost) to stream from Amazon Video.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 41}

2016 Calendar

Another Monday means another meal plan!  This week school schedules are in full effect.  All the activities and clubs have started and the kids are busy.  This means quick and easy meals for us! If you are new to meal planning, you can read more about my meal planning process.   Here is what was on the menu this past week:

Saturday:  My daughter was at a friend’s house.  We ordered takeout sushi and watched The Jungle Book with our son.

Poutine

Sunday: We spent the day at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival.  We feasted on poutine, empanadas, pierogis and a kielbasa reuben.  By the time we got home we were tired and hungry again!  My husband made us a big pot of spaghetti.

Kielbasa, Onion and Cheese Sandwiches

Monday: I made kielbasa, onion and cheese sandwiches which I served with fries.  Super quick and easy.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Burritos

Tuesday: I made Slow Cooker salsa chicken (a pound of chicken, some taco seasoning and a jar of salsa).  Then I used the chicken in a burrito wrap (cooked rice, black beans and shredded Mexican cheese).  I served the burritos with additional salsa and sour cream and a side of sautéed kale and Swiss chard.

One Skillet Sloppy Jo Cornbread Casserole

Wednesday: I made One Skillet Sloppy Jo Corn Bread Casserole from I Wash You Dry.  I used the recipe provided for homemade sauce versus the can of sloppy jo sauce the recipe called for.  I made this in the cast iron skillet, which may have been a little big.  This was tasty though and a dish that the kids really enjoyed.

Pork Loin and Mashed Potatoes

Thursday:  This is our late dinner night since the kids are at piano lessons from 5-6 PM.  Luckily this week my husband worked from home, so while I was with the kids at piano he made dinner.  Dinner was a marinated pork loin and mashed potatoes with sautéed bok choy.

Korean BBQ

Friday:  Happy birthday to me!  Last Friday was my birthday.  I had a 5:45 meeting but my husband was home and made a Korean BBQ feast.  We had beef bulgogi, marinated chicken, pork belly, rice, spicy fish cakes, kimchi and dumplings.  My parents were in town and  came over for dinner and brought a cannoli cake for dessert.  It was delicious!

What was on your menu this week?

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Five on Friday {Happy Birthday to Me!}

Happy Friday and happy birthday to me!  Today I turn 37.  As I get older, my birthdays have become less of a big deal to me.  I’m good with a card and having the kids sing to me.  I told the husband in advance that I didn’t want anything.   Last weekend we went to the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival, as an early birthday celebration.  Spending quality time with my family is the best gift!  Tonight I’m sure there will be some sort of special treat after my husband makes dinner (homemade Korean at my request!)!  This weekend we will be busy with soccer, Town Day and Supper Club.  Here are five things from this week:

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1. Reading – This week I finally finished reading The Girls and despite it being a NY Times bestseller, I was not a fan.  I have just started reading The Widow, another NY Times bestseller.  I’m in the mood for a good suspense/thriller and hope this fits the bill.

A green montage with the name "Breaking Bad" written on it—the "Br" in "Breaking" and the "Ba" in "Bad" are denoted by chemical symbols

2. Watching – My husband and I have started catching up on episodes of Breaking Bad.  He’s already watched all of the shows but is re-watching with me.  When I’m alone, I either catch up on Grey’s Anatomy or watch any of the Real Housewives.

Poutine

3. Eating – I’m not a huge wine drinker, but I enjoyed tasting some different ciders at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival.  And I did sample a few wines too!  They had a food truck lineup and the family shared some poutine, empanadas, pierogis and a Kielbasa Reuben.  Yum!

4. Excited – to sleep in a little this weekend.  Now that school has started I’m up at 6:15 to help get my daughter out of the door on time for middle school.  I need a lot of sleep and getting back into the school routine has messed up my sleep schedule!

Retro Fitness

5. Joining the gym – My husband and I joined Retro Fitness, which recently opened by us.  It’s time folks!  I am feeling really blah about myself and now that the kids are back in school I have the time.  So, I’m getting serious and will hopefully be in shape soon!

This was a slow week on the blog.  I shared my August 2016 reads with the Show Us Your Books linkup on Tuesday.

Linking up with Tif, Andrea and April.  Have a great weekend!

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August 2016 Books Read

Life According to Steph

It’s time once again to link up with Steph and Jana for their monthly Show Us Your Books link up.  This is the day that my Goodreads to read list grows tremendously!  August was a good reading month for me.  I read a lot of books and most of them were pretty good!  Here are my August 2016 books read:

3 stars

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The Last Time She Saw Him by Jane Haseldine – When she was a child Julia Gooden’s brother was abducted and never found.  Thirty years later her two-year-old son ends up being taken on the anniversary of her brother’s abduction.  This is a suspense/thriller book that I found to be just an okay read.  Of course once you start reading, you want to finish to see how it ends.  However, I was disappointed with how it concluded.

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The Leaving by Tara Altebrando – 6 Kindergartners went missing.  Fast forward eleven years and five of them return.  They are now 16 and remember little to nothing about their eleven years in captivity.  The story is told from three different perspectives – two of the abducted, Lucas and Scarlett and Avery, the sister of Max, the one child who didn’t return.  This is a YA thriller/mystery book that left me unsatisfied with the ending.

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Modern Lovers by Emma Straub – I read The Vacationers and thought it was just okay, so luckily I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by this book.  Which was a good thing because I wasn’t.  This was another okay read for me.  College friends, once in a band, who are now adults with their own kids dealing with grown up things.

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Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares – This is the fifth book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.  It takes place ten years after the last book, where the four friends are adults now.  I’m not sure what took me so long to read this final book.  I finally read it and was a bit disappointed with the overall story.  However, it felt good to finally finish the series.

4 stars

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15th Affair by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro – This is the 15th book in the Women’s Murder Club series.  This series and the Alex Cross series are my favorites.  As usual, this was a quick, suspenseful read with a cliffhanger of an ending!

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Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – My daughter entered 5th grade this year and this was her required summer reading book.  Since she was reading it, I decided to read it as well.  I had never read this classic before and I like to be a resource for her if she has any questions with school assignments.  This was an  enjoyable book for both of us.

The BFG

The BFG by Roald Dahl – I love being able to enjoy books with my children.  Of Roald Dahl’s books, the BFG is one that I had never read before.  My son and I read this aloud together before we see the movie when it comes out on DVD.  This book had us laughing aloud at parts and enjoying the BFG’s nonsensical language.

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The Crown by Kiera Cass – This is the fifth and last book in the Selection series.  It was not my favorite, but I was curious to see how the series ended.

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Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino – Emiline’s roommate Cara tells her about the bestselling debut novel from author J. Colby and has her read it.  When Emiline finally starts reading the book, she realizes that the story she’s reading about Emerson and Jackson mirrors her own childhood with her best friend and first love, Jase.  Reading the book changes Emiline’s life and makes her confront her past.  This was an enjoyable read.   Although this was the first book that I read by this author, it won’t be my last.

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You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott – In this book Devon is a gymnast who has the potential to make it to the Olympic team.  Her parents have sacrificed everything to support their daughter’s dream.  However, after a tragic death of someone close in the gymnastics community, their world is rocked.  This book shows the lengths a family will go to to protect one of their own.  Gymnastics has always interested me and been one of my favorite sports to watch.  This was my first Megan Abott book, but I’d like to read more of her work.

5 Stars

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – This is the fifth book in the Harry Potter series and a reread for me.   We listened to this book on CD in the car while my son followed along in the book.  This book focuses on the Triwizard Tournament.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan.  This book was a heartbreaking, emotional story of Lily in two different times.  There’s the story of her and Atlas in childhood and then the story of Lily and Ryle in adulthood.  But her two worlds unexpectedly collide taking the reader for an emotional ride.

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The Choices We Make by Karma Brown –  This book tells the story of Hannah and Kate, best friends since 5th grade.  Hannah has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get pregnant and have a baby.  Kate has two daughters of her own and wants Hannah to be able to experience motherhood.  So, when the opportunity arises, Kate volunteers to use her eggs and be a surrogate for Hannah.   But of course things don’t go as smoothly as they hope and their friendship is put to the test.  This was such an emotional book for me. Warning, have a box of tissues handy!