Weekend Reading {Vol. 3}

Happy Weekend! Hope you are getting in some rest and relaxation over the next couple of days! Enjoy this week’s edition of Weekend Reading!

  1. This year we will be on a cruise for Thanksgiving. However, I may check some of these slow cooker recipes out for Christmas. Oven space is always a premium during the holidays.
  2. If you didn’t check out yesterday’s Friday Favorites, find out why my husband and I will finally be going to the movie theater more often!
  3. How I wish my kids ate mushrooms. I love them and this pizza is calling my name!
  4. Any Oreo lovers out there? What do you think about these flavors coming in 2020?
  5. Instagram changes coming to US users next week.

Weekend Reading {Vol. 2}

1.I think that I will be getting one of these for my cats for the holidays!

2. I need exercise motivation in general, but in winter, I definitely need some ideas to keep motivated.

3. A new variety of apple will be coming to stores December 1st. We will be on the lookout for this.

4. Now that it’s November, Christmas season has officially begun……at least according to Mariah Carey!

5. Popeye’s famous chicken sandwiches are back after a sell out. We still need to find out what all the hype was about!

6. Anyone excited to see any of these movies coming to theaters this month?

Weekend Reading Vol. 1

Welcome to Weekend Reading! I’ll be sharing links to some articles or fun things I’ve read or seen throughout the week. Grab your cup of coffee and a comfy blanket and enjoy!

1.November 1st is World Vegan Day and Ben & Jerry’s is celebrating by giving away a free scoop of their non-dairy ice cream to customers between the hours of 4 – 8 PM! They have 10 flavors to choose from!

2. After your kids go trick-or-treating next week, check out some ideas on what to do with all the leftover candy!

3. Check out what’s coming and leaving Netflix in November. What are you excited to watch?

4. Crazy, but the countdown to Christmas 2019 has already begun!

5. I’m not a huge alcohol drinker. I’m thinking about making mocktails and may start with this one!

6. I feel like the next couple of months are always stressful. Besides our regular busy schedules we have ALL the holidays coming! These stress busters will come in handy!

7. The pros and cons of wearing a menstrual cup.

8. These soups look delicious and perfect for the cooler weather!

Enjoy your weekend!

Your Best Weekend {Volume 13}

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Welcome to another edition of “Your Best Weekend.”  Enjoy these ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!


Saturday, December 8th is National Brownie Day!  These brownies sound delicious, but boxed mix works well too!

On Sunday, December 9th, celebrate Christmas Card Day by getting your cards written, addressed, stamped and ready to mail!  It’s also National Pastry Day, so pick up some cannolis, croissants or cream puffs to enjoy while you work on those cards!


Journal prompt/reflection: What are three great things that happened today?

Challenge:  Clean out and declutter.  Make room for new gifts or just enjoy having more space and less clutter.

New Releases:

DVD: Some movies out on DVD this week include Mission Impossible: Fall Out (action/adventure), The Happytime Murders (action/comedy), The Nun (horror), McQueen (documentary/biography), Beautifully Broken (drama), The Miseducation of Cameron Post (drama/romance).

Netflix:  Show and movies that have started streaming on Netflix this week include Dumplin’, based on the book by Julie Murphy, and stars Jennifer Aniston, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and Nailed It! Holiday.

Books: New books published this week include Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare (YA Fantasy/series), Danielle Walker’s Eat What You Love by Danielle Walker (non-fiction/cookbook), Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts (fantasy/series), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Official Collector’s Edition Guide (non-fiction/gaming guide), Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (historical fiction), You Are a Badass:  Every Day by Jen Sincero (non-fiction/self-help) and Never Grow Up by Jackie Chan (biography/memoir).

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  What is one gift that you really want this Christmas?

Family Fun Idea: Build gingerbread houses.  You can work in teams and make it competitive or everyone can decorate their own.  You can buy all the ingredients (graham crackers, icing, candy etc.) or purchase a boxed kit.  You can make a train or even an entire village! Either way, it will be a fun way to spend some quality time together.

Weekly Recommendations:

Listen to: Homecoming.  This podcast stars Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer.  My husband and I binge listened to almost the entire podcast (two seasons) on our ride to Maryland for Thanksgiving.  This is the podcast that inspired the Amazon Prime series that is now streaming, though I recommend listening or at least starting the podcast first.

Read: The White Christmas Inn by Colleen Wright.  I try to read some holiday-themed reads in December and this was a feel-good but not overly sappy Christmas book.

Cook:  This Sausage and Broccoli Rabe pizza.  I made it for our supper club pizza-themed dinner and my daughter’s already been asking me to make it again.


Your Best Weekend {Volume 12}

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Welcome to another edition of “Your Best Weekend.”  Enjoy these ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!


Saturday, November 17, celebrate Homemade Bread Day by making a loaf.  If you’re feeling brave, try a new bread.  These rolls look so good!  Otherwise, you can always go with a quick bread, like this seasonally appropriate Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.

November 17 is also Take a Hike Day!  There’s still some fall foliage left.  Get out on the trails for some outdoor family fun!  If you’re local, we like Rockefeller State Park.


Journal Prompt/Reflection: What do you want people to remember about you?

Challenge:  Binge watch a show you’ve been wanting to see or re-watch an old favorite!  Some shows that I’d like to binge watch include The Office, Mad Men, Narcos……yeah, haven’t seen any of these.

New Releases:

DVD – Out on DVD this week is The Meg, Mile 22 and Alpha.  Other movies that are out on DVD that aren’t as well-known but look good and have gotten decent ratings include Juliet, Naked and Puzzle.

Books – New books published this week include Becoming by Michelle Obama (memoir), It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst (spiritual), Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich (series/mystery), Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci (Thriller/Fiction), P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar (children’s book/humor), Goodnight Trump: A Parody by Erich Origen (humor/politics), and Queer Eye:  Love Yourself, Love Your Life by Antonio Porowski (self help).

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  What is one thing that you own that you can’t live without?

Family Fun Idea: Run a 5K together.

Date Night Idea:  Go to a Comedy Club.  Sit back, relax and have some laughs.

Weekly Recommendations:

WatchOcean’s 8.  This was the first movie of the whole Ocean’s series that I watched.  The all-female cast had me intrigued.  We watched this as a family and we all enjoyed it.

Cook – Half Baked Harvest’s 30 Minute Butter Chicken Meatballs.  If you like Indian Chicken Masala, you will likely enjoy these meatballs.  I made them for dinner this week and served them with rice, naan and broccoli.


Read – Around this time of year I like to start reading Christmas-themed books.   Expect some holiday book recommendations over the next couple of weeks!  The first one is The Christmas Cookie Club.  Twelve women get together in early December to share cookies and stories.  This book was published in 2009 and I read it in 2012. Even though this book has gotten mixed reviews, I remember really enjoying it.  Plus, it comes with cookie recipes!  It’s not a sappy read, like many holiday books are, but more holiday-themed chick lit.



Your Best Weekend {Volume 11}

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After a short hiatus, “Your Best Weekend” is back for another appearance!  Enjoy these ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!


Veteran’s Day is Sunday, November 11.  Please take some time to remember all of the brave men and women who protect our country.


Journal Prompt/Reflection:  What is one book that you’d like to read before the end of 2018?

Challenge:  Start a compliments list.  Write down the positive things that people say about you.  When you’re feeling down, look at your list for a little mood booster.

New Releases:

DVD – This week Incredibles 2 and Christopher Robin come out on DVD.  Both of these movies look like perfect family movie night picks.

Amazon Prime – Homecoming, a new Prime original series, debuted November 2.  This psychological thriller, starring Julia Roberts, is getting a lot of press.  It may be worth checking out this weekend.

Books – Books published this week include Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines (non-fiction/lifestyle), Past Tense: a Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (fiction, thriller), Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (fiction), The Universe Has Your Back Journal by Gabrielle Bernstein (Self-Help/Spirituality), Archenemies by Marissa Meyer (series/Teen Sci-Fi), The Noel Stranger by Richard Paul Evans (Holiday), Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes (Children’s Book), The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith (series/Mystery), You Don’t Own Me by Mary Higgins Clark (mystery).  And for fans of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, #13 The Meltdown was published last week.

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What was the hardest thing that you’ve ever done?

Family Fun Idea: Get a head start on the holiday wish lists.  The holiday toy fliers are already out.  Have kids circle what they want or head to the stores and have them take pictures or write down some wish list ideas.  You can get a head start on the holiday shopping and maybe take advantage of some Black Friday deals.

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch: The Carbonaro Effect on Netflix.  This has been our recent family binge watch.  It’s a hidden camera/practical joke/magic show.  We watch every time and are like, “How did he do that?!!”

Eat:  In season.  Check out this site to see what produce is in season where you live.  I am all about the brussels sprouts!

To-Do:  If you haven’t already, get your flu shot!  Flu season tends to begin in December and can last through April.



Your Best Weekend {Volume 10}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!  After this week, “Your Best Weekend” will be on a hiatus.  I love curating this weekly post, but it takes a lot of time.  With working full-time, doing the whole parenting thing and trying to write my other posts, I don’t have enough time to get this post written every week as well.


Sunday October 14 is National Dessert Day!  Oh all the possibilities on celebrating this day.  Are you going to go out and have a treat or stay in and make something?


Journal Prompt/Reflection: What would your younger self be proud of you for today?

Challenge:  Get a manicure.  If you don’t want to/can’t spend the money, paint your nails instead.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Hotel Transylvania 3 for a family movie night.  For a date night or solo movie watching night, Eighth Grade is on my list.

In Theaters:  First Man, which looks at the life of Neil Armstrong comes out tomorrow.  For families, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween come out Friday as well.  Rated PG, fans of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series will likely enjoy this movie.

Books:  New books published this week include: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown (nonfiction/leadership), The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (Fiction, sequel), Skinnytaste: One and Done by Gina Homolkoa (cookbook), Elbow Grease by John Cena (children’s book),  Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich (YA/contemporary fiction), Quiet by Tomie dePaola (children’s book), The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (historical fiction, mystery) and Holy Ghost by John Sanford (series, mystery).

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Family Fun Idea: Go for a walk in a park or nearby woods.  Collect fall leaves in different shades, acorns and/or pine cones and then have a fall craft day. Check out some of these fall leaf and pine cone craft ideas.

Weekly Recommendations:

Tully (2018 film).png

Watch:  The movie Tully.  Marlo (Charlize Theron), is a mom of three, including a newborn.  Her brother pays for a night nanny for her.  Enter Tully, the young nanny who Marlo forms a special bond with.  The script was written by Diablo Cody, who also wrote Juno and Young Adult.


Read: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  I have become a big Rachel Hollis fan.  I didn’t realize until reading this book that she had written Party Girl, a fiction book.  Girl, Wash Your Face is a non-fiction book, where Hollis examines lies that we often tell ourselves that prevent us from living our best life.

App:  Cozi.  I know I’m super late to the Cozi app. My husband is finally getting his first iPhone this week and I’m excited for us to be able to use Cozi to keep us organized.  I like that we can assign each family member a color and can sync calendars to the app.  And it’s free!  I’ve just started using it and am still in the learning stages.  But I’m glad to have an electronic organization system in addition to my Happy Planner.


Your Best Weekend {Volume 9}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!


Saturday October 6 is International Frugal Fun Day!  You are challenged to do one really fun thing that costs $5 or less.  Challenge on!

October 6 is also World Card Making Day.  Family Fun Idea/Date Idea:  Break out your scrapbooking and/or rubber stamp supplies and start making some cards!  If you don’t have your own supplies you can buy card making kits for kids as well as fancier kits for adults.

If you haven’t celebrated Oktoberfest, now is the time!  In Germany, the beer festival officially ends October 7.  Luckily for us, Oktoberfest celebrations take place almost every weekend in October! Many Oktoberfest celebrations are family-friendly so everyone can enjoy a fun day out!


Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are five things that you can’t live without?

Challenge:  Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers, just because.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Three Identical Strangers. This is a documentary about three brothers who were all adopted.  They meet and discover they are triplets and why they were separated.  Looks like a good movie! Another movie out on DVD that has gotten good reviews is Leave No Trace, a drama about a father and his teen daughter living off the grid in the forests of Oregon.  They are then thrown into city life and do not acclimate well.

Netflix:  A ton of new movies are streaming on Netflix this week.  Check out the whole list!

Books:  New books published this week include: Joy’s Simple Food Remedies by Joy Bauer (cookbook/food), A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (fiction), Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life by Gisele Bundchen (self-help/memoir), Start Now!: You Can Make a Difference by Chelsea Clinton (children’s Books/non-fiction),  Spy School Goes South by Stuart Gibbs (children’s books/series), It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh (Christian/spiritual), Eat Feel Fresh by Sahara Rose Ketabi (cookbook/food) and Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber (fiction/holiday).

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What do you think is your best quality?

Family Fun Idea: Head to the pumpkin patch and pick out some pumpkins.  Then go home and carve them, possibly using one of these creative ideas!

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  Forever on Amazon.  Starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, a married couple stuck in a routine that ends up changing.  The show can’t be described too much without giving away spoilers.  It’s a short season with only eight episodes.  I still have to finish the series, but it’s on my to-do list!


Read:  Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren.  A contemporary romance book that had me hooked.  It’s written by two friends and Christina Lauren is the pen name of the two.

To-Do:  If you haven’t already, start your Halloween costume shopping.  Whether you and your husband are going to a costume party, or for your kids, start planning or purchasing those costumes.

Your Best Weekend {Volume 8}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!


Saturday September 29 is National Coffee Day!  Enjoy a cup or two of your favorite brew.  Did you know Keurig now has a machine that can make cold brew?  While we love our Keurig, we’re not fans of the plastic waste.   We are looking into getting these reusable filters.

September 29 is also National Mocha Day.  Family Fun Idea/Date Idea:  Bake some Mocha Snickerdoodles or Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins!

Families can celebrate Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play on September 29 too.  This is a day to encourage families to turn off the television and get outside and play together.  Head to your local park, take a hike or find something else fun to do outdoors this Saturday!

Celebrate National Mulled Cider Day on September 30.  Fall weather is perfect for this hot drink.  You can even use this recipe to make it in your slow cooker!


Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are some things that you’ve done that you never thought you could do?

Challenge:  Take a digital detox.  Unplug.  Maybe start with a day.  Or if you really want to go big, try a whole week.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Solo: A Star Wars Story which looks like a great movie for a family movie night, especially for Star Wars fans.

Netflix:  Two family-friendly movies are out this week on Netflix – Disney’s  A Wrinkle In Time and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Books:  New books this week include Tim Tebow’s This Is the Day: Reclaim Your Dream (Christian/Inspirational), Together: Our Community Cookbook (cookbook), the paperback edition of Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (self-help/spirituality), American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera (Ethnic Studies/Essays) and This Old Gal’s Pressure Cooker Cookbook.  For kids who are fans of the “I Survived” series, I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies was published this week.  The Magic Misfits: the Second Story by Neil Patrick Harris

 Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter: What was something nice that you did for someone else today?

Family Fun Idea: Attend a local football game.  High School football has started.  If you live near a college, try seeing a college game.  And if you are really into football, try checking out a NFL game.

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  This Is Us.  The new season began this week.  It’s off to a a great start and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring!


Read: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover.  Her newest book deals with infertility and the impact it can have on a marriage.  This was an emotional but good read.

To-Do:  Closet Clean out – Fall is officially here.  The weather is getting cooler and now is the perfect time to give your closet (and the kids’ closets) a clean out.  As you switch over your wardrobe from summer to fall, get rid of the clothes that don’t fit and the ones that you didn’t wear this summer.  It’s also a good time to make a list of the fall clothes and shoes that you need to purchase.  Plaid and animal prints are hot this fall.  And you can never go wrong with jeans, sweaters and boots.


Your Best Weekend {Volume 7}

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It’s time for another edition of “Your Best Weekend” – ideas and recommendations to help you make the most of your Saturday and Sunday.  We are all busy but we need to make time to enjoy life!

“Unless it’s an emergency, don’t bother me after 6:00 PM and on weekends.” – Merv Griffin


September 22 is Hobbit Day, the birthday of the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  Celebrate the day by reading the book and/or watching the movie.

September 22 is also National Hunting and Fishing Day.  Date idea/Family Fun idea:  Go fishing!  Get a state fishing license and find a local pond or river.

September 23 is the first day of fall.  Date idea/Family fun idea:  Create a fall bucket list.  Write down all the things that you’d like to do as a couple or family this season!

September 23 is also Checkers Day.  Date idea/Family fun idea:  Play a game (or two or three) of checkers.  Loser buys dinner!  For families, have a tournament to see who is the Checker Champion.  Winner gets a special treat!


Journal Prompt/Reflection: What are three lessons that you’d like your children to learn from you?

Challenge:  Say no.  Unless it’s a “Hell Yes!” and gets you super excited, say no.  Don’t overthink it and use this in all areas of your life.

New Releases:

DVD: Out on DVD this week is Jurassic World.  If you haven’t watched the first four movies, have a marathon and catch up. Also out this week on DVD is Fahrenheit 451.  I haven’t read the book, but always recommend reading the book before seeing the movie.

Books:  Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook Cravings: Hungry For More is very popular.  Reese Witherspoon’s book Whiskey in a Teacup was also released this week.

In the Theater:  Last week A Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively came out.  It’s gotten good reviews and looks like a good date night movie.  The House With a Clock In Its Walls comes to theaters tomorrow.  This looks like a good family pick. This movie is also based on a book.  While I normally recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, I don’t always feel that way for kids’ movies.  Sometimes after seeing the movie, children are motivated to read the book. Or use the movie as the motivation.  Read the book and then we’ll go see the movie.

Family Fun:

Dinner Conversation Starter:  If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

We enjoyed apple picking at Wilkens Farm. It was a hot day but we picked apples and enjoyed cider dougnuts!

Family Fun/Date Idea:  Go apple picking.  Make sure to get some apple cider donuts while you’re at the orchard!  Then go home and bake something with all the apples that you’ve picked.  Here are some tasty recipe ideas to inspire you!

Weekly Recommendations:

Watch:  Worth It on Amazon Prime.  This Buzzfeed show follows hosts Steven and Andrew (and cameraman Adam) as they travel around trying different foods at three different price points – cheap, mid-priced and expensive.  Then they vote on which was their most “worth it” dish of the three.  These are also on YouTube if you don’t get Amazon Prime.  This is a bingeable show that my family enjoys watching together.  There is such great chemistry between the hosts and it’s a fun watch for any food lovers.

Read:  As a fan of all things television, books and movies, here is an article about the new fall television shows.  Get ready to set your DVR!

Eat: Coolhaus Ice Cream – Pictured here is the Dirty Mint Chip which my husband loved.  This artisan ice cream company also sells other flavors like Milkshake & Fries, Balsamic Fig and Mascarpone and Campfire S’mores.  Yes, I want to try them all!