Monday, March 31, 2014

March Reads

Somehow I slipped on my reading in March and didn't read as many books. In fact, most of the books I read were actually rereads of books I've enjoyed in the past. I'm well on my way to my goal of finishing 30 books by the end of the school year.

14. The Help by Katheryn Stockett
I read The Help a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I found it on my Overdrive app I downloaded it right away. I usually love historical fiction books because I love reading about different time periods and the lives of the people in them. I love the help because it's so real and honest. It tackles the topic of racism in a witty and heartfelt way. It's one of those books that just sucks you in and you struggle to put it down. It's also one of the books that you feel very strongly (good or bad) about all the characters and feel like you have to find out what happens to all of them.

15. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
I read the original Confessions of  a Shopaholic a few years ago and really didn't like it, so I'm not sure why I thought I'd like the second one any better. While it's an interesting book, I find the main character, Becky, absolutely insufferable. Seriously, she drives me nuts. How do you dig yourself a hole that deep while knowing exactly what you're doing? She aggravated me to the point where I almost bailed on the book several times. I really only finished it because I wanted to know if she really would figure it out in the end... though I'm assuming the slips again multiple times since there are more books in the series. 

16. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I liked this book more then I liked Divergent because I felt like there was more depth to it. I liked the Divergent focused on the Dauntless initiation and Tris' self-discovery really interesting, but I hated the way it ended. Insurgent picked right up where Divergent left off and continued the discovery of who Tris is and what's really going on in the different factions. 

17. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This is another book I've already read, but love and wanted to reread. My students love this series, and I've got to say that I really enjoy it too. It's one of those action-packed books that sucks you in and you feel like you're right there in the action. I also love the Katniss-Peeta-Gale relationship triangle and how Katniss is just trying to figure it all out. One thing that surprises me when I read this is how Katniss is 16... through out the book I always envision her as being older then that, and it always comes as a surprising realization when I remember just how young she is.

18. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
As usual when I start reading or rereading a series, I quickly read all of the books in it. I couldn't just stop with The Hunger Games, I had to read Catching Fire too. This one is my favorite in the series. Something about going back into the arena and the new characters in the book really sucks me in. It was a reread that didn't disappoint. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Is a bagel obsession genetic?

I love bagels, well really all carbs, but bagels are a favorite. Somehow I get the feeling that Fynn has inherited that trait, because this girl inhales bagels. It's to the point where I can't just share my bagel, she eats more than half!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Inner Fat kid totally made me do it

My sister sent me this video the other day:

And I died.

Mostly because, well- that's my life. My inner fat child makes me eat a ton of crap. She has for years. My sister and I used to joke about our inner fat children all the time and how they convinced us to eat until we felt like puking, and then go back for more. I sat there watching this video- nodding my head in agreement with all of her junk food confession, because I've been there. 

"Do you want cheese and bacon on that? The answer is always yes"

Oh inner fat child- you are the root of so many of my issues. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So What Wednesday

This week I'm saying "So What" if:

  • My brother in law has lived in Boston (just 2 hours away) for almost 2 years, and we haven't managed to visit him yet- even though we keep saying we will... and now he's moving
  • If I managed to take my class on a field trip to Boston in that time, but still couldn't go visit him
  • Drew and I are majorly addicted to Once Upon A Time- how did I not know about this show until a week ago???
  • As I write this Drew is scouring the kitchen for any kind of junk food because we're both craving something sweet. That's what we get for not buying junk at the store on Sunday
  • I seriously enjoy dunking Fynn underwater at swim lessons. She comes up sputtering and majorly pissed at me... and all I can do is laugh.
  • I've been doing the "30 Day Abs Challenge" for almost 2 months now and I'm only on day 19. Obviously I've now got abs of steel
  • I can't get the Abs challenge pic to come down where I want it, so I'm just leaving it
  • I really enjoyed it with my favorite brother in-law found out about my blog and told Drew that I'm a "D-list celebrity"- I knew I liked him for a reason

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mommy, I help!

Fynn loves to "help". Unloading the dishwasher, switching over laundry, pouring milk; she wants to be involved. Multiple times a day I go to do something, just to hear her call "I wan help, I wan help". I know this won't last for long, that when her help is actually helpful, she'll no longer be interested in helping. Given my usual lack of patience, you would think I would find this "help" annoying, but I actually really enjoy it. I like having her hand me silverware as we unload the dishwasher together or her exorbitant excitement at the proposal of doing laundry. Every now and then, it's actually really helpful. She loves to walk the dog for me, which makes getting the mail or bringing in the recycling bin a whole lot easier. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ozeri Green Earth Nonstick Pan

Disclosure: I received a product sample in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was received

Ever wonder about all the chemicals in your nonstick pan? Yeah, don't research that stuff, just trust me on that. I had never really given it much thought until I was contacted by Ozeri to review their Green Earth Nonstick Pan. They use something called Greblon which is a ceramic coating that is 100% PTFE and PFOA free. That made me think about what's in the nonstick coating on some other pans... like I said, not pretty. 

I wondered whether this coating would be as effective as other coatings or if food would end up coated on it and it would be impossible to clean. I also worried a bit when I saw that the bottom of the pan was textured and worried about it getting nasty. However, that hasn't been the case so far. Food doesn't stick and it's super easy to clean. Some other reviews mention it loosing it's nonstick after running it through the dishwasher, but since we always hand-wash our pans, that's not an issue for me. 
My favorite part of this pan though is how cute it is. It's green and stylish looking. I don't notice any difference in cooking versus other pans, which means it works great. I got the 8' pan (it also comes in 10" and 12", which means I'm not cooking full family meals in it, but it's the perfect size for a grilled cheese or omelet. I like knowing that it's made without all the chemicals that are found in a lot of other pans. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

That scary moment when your husband says what you were just thinking.

The other night Drew was talking about trucks (again), and I was half listening (again) when he said "I don't know, I'm torn"

In my head I started thinking of this song:

And then Drew started singing it.

Clearly we've been together WAY too long. He doesn't just finish my sentences... he finishes my thought. #creepy 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Isn't every Friday a good Friday?

During class we were going through planners and writing down upcoming events. We flipped to the week before April vacation, and this conversation happened:

Kid: Why does it say "Good Friday" in my planner? Isn't every Friday a good Friday? What makes this one gooder? (sidenote: clearly I'm not doing a good enough job teaching English)

Me: It's a Catholic holiday, the Friday before Easter (sidenote: I know it's not just Catholics who celebrate it, that's just what came out in this conversation)

Kid: But I'm a Catholic, and I don't celebrate any particular Fridays.

Me: When was the last time you went to church?

Kid: I think when I was baptized.

Me: That could be why you don't know about it.

And then another kid asked if we could study Maine for our class country project.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So What Wednesday

I'm linking up with Shannon again to say "So What?" if:

  • I think the kids should go out to recess every day regardless of wind chills in the single digits. We all know they're out there playing, skiing, being weird regardless of the cold on other days
  • I've been reading The Babysitter's Club books during SSR at school the past two weeks. I remember now why I loved them as a child, and I've now got 3 girls in my class reading them too.
  • I'm starting to get a bad case of Baby Fever. Too many bloggers/friends are getting pregnant and having adorable babies right now.
  • I honestly thought the 30 day ab workout I've been doing would actually give me sweet abs... well, I might have them, they're just buried inches deep under the flab. It might also help if I actually did it every day instead of trying to do 2 or 3 days of it at a time when I remember
  • Yeah, that's what my stomach looks like now

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A freaking Leprechaun? You must be messing with me here.

Yesterday morning Drew and I were so proud of ourselves, we remembered to wear green for St. Patty's day. Go us! Of course, I then scoured Fynn's closet and discovered the only green clothing she owns is a too large and too thin for the 4 degree windchill of the day. So I got her dressed in non-green and hoped none of the kids at daycare would pinch her.

Then I got to school, and discovered there is this whole other element of St. Patty's day that I was unaware of: The leprechaun. I was inundated Monday morning with tales of the mischief and mayhem caused by said leprechaun. Kids were telling me about green milk, sparkly green footprints, messed up kitchens, and treasures of gold and candy.

For real?

"Dude, back off my green shake,
it's the least you can do for depriving
me of the freaking leprechaun."
When did St. Patrick's day become yet another holiday in which parents are expected to create a mystical, magical scene for the enjoyment of their children? Apparently the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, Santa Clause, and Elf on a Shelf aren't enough. No, no, no, now there's a little green man who is expected to make MORE of a mess of my house. Do I need to pin a billion creative ideas for how to bring the magic of the Irish to my child?

Yeah, that's not happening. Fynn got a Shamrock Shake... Drew and I drank half of it. Oh, and she wore green crocs while doing it. St. Patty's day- done.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Social

1. How much time do you spend on Social Media a day?…be honest

I check Facebook way more often when I should... If I've got a few minutes with nothing to do, I usually end up checking FB, overall it's probably about an hour a day.

2. How long were you reading blogs before you started a blog?

About a year, I had a couple of blogs I loved (sadly most of them don't blog anymore) and I really wanted to join in :) 

3. What is your favorite kind of cupcake?

If it has frosting, I'm down for it. That said, my favorite is probably a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting. Yum! And now I'm hungry.

4. Do you eat fast food? If so whats your favorite?

I'm weak. Fast food is yummy. Sometimes I can't resit. My breakfast (and iced tea, because I'm obsessed) favorite is Dunkin Donuts, but when I'm looking for some fries and nuggets my favorite is Wendys... again, now I'm hungry.

5. What is the most random thing someone would find in your purse?

Oh my purse. That rarely used pit that only gets used when I'm feeling like I need to get dressed up. I looked in it last week and noticed that the reading I did at my grandfather's funeral (2 1/2 years ago) and my seasickness bands that I wore during pregnancy (again, almost 2 years ago) are all still in there... clearly that thing gets cleaned out often.

6. What is the weirdest TV show you watch?

Define weird. I think Dance Moms is pretty weird, because those women are crazy. It's also weird that I watch (and actually enjoy) Sofia the First with Fynn.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Ipsy

My Ipsy bag came a few days after other peoples, so I had a peek at what everyone else got, and I was a little annoyed that I didn't have mine yet. Then it came today, and I wasn't too excited to be honest. 

This month's theme was Destination Beauty... I never get the themes, I mean I get the idea of them, but I'm not sure how the items in each month's bag exemplify the theme. I mean, how are these items great for vacation or travel? I just don't get it.

The bag this month is kind of cute. Fynn clearly thought so because she stole it from me to put her "lipstick" in (she loves chapstick and lip balms and begs for me to open them whenever she finds a tube... which is often around here).

NYX Love in Rio Eyeshadow Trio in Cabana Boy ($6)

I love NYX shadow, it always goes on easily and lasts for a long time.  I especially love the color combination I got; these colors are perfect for me. Neutral and subtle.

Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lips Stick in Get Ready (~$9- it's a smaller, sample size tube)

Usually I don't really care for lipsticks I get in Ipsy since I don't wear lipstick very often, but I like this one a lot. A lot of the colors I get are too trendy and dark for my style. This one is a flattering shade and not crazy dark, so I'm going to make an effort to wear it. Drew even said the color looked good on me. 

Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer (~$10- again, what I got is smaller than the usual product size)
 I've never used primer before, but I've heard it's great for your skin and makes your make up last a lot longer, so I'm happy with this selection in my bag. I haven't tried it yet, so I'm not sure how it feels on my skin or how well it works, but I usually like Pixi products. 

Chella Indigo Blue Eyeliner ($24)

Seriously? Who wears blue eyeliner in any kind of situation. A costume? Sure if you're being someone super sketchy, but who in their right mind would actually wear this out somewhere? I tried some of this one, just to see if it possibly wasn't as weird as I thought... yeah, Drew was perplexed by my look and made some comment about how weird it looks. Not only is it weird, but this did not go on well. Granted, I'm no pro at eyeliners, but it was really hard to get it to go on smoothly and I ended up with a screwed up looking crazy eyeliner job. Trust me when I say it was really attractive. 

Okay, so this month's products weren't awful, they just weren't very exciting. Usually I get all excited about my new products and can't wait to try them out... this month I was just underwhelmed by it. I do love that Ipsy is always just $10 including shipping and handling. This month's products was worth about $49 which makes it a great deal... even though that blue eyeliner shall never again see the light of day. If you're thinking of trying it out, please use my referral link, it earns me points towards free products.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Because who doesn't want whiter teeth?

I know I've mentioned Influenster a few times, but basically you do reviews and surveys to earn points. Points help you get selected for different VoxBoxes which can have one or more products for you to try. You earn even more points if you then review the products you were sent. I love it because I love trying new things and I've gotten lots of great products through them. Interested? Send me your e-mail address and I'll send you an invite.

Anyway, I recently qualified for the Colgate Optic White VoxBox. I got their new Optic White toothbrush, some toothpaste and some coupons for other products in the Optic White line.

The toothbrush:

I love this toothbrush. I usually only like electric toothbrushes because they make my teeth feel cleaner. Usually manual ones leave me feeling like I need to brush again. However, this one has great bristles and little things on the side that leave your whole mouth feeling super clean. I actually like it better than my spinbrush (which is saying a LOT).

The whitening:

After you brush you use 2 clicks of the whitening pen on your top and 2 on your bottom teeth. You're supposed to leave it on and just go. Now, I didn't exactly follow the directions on this. It felt gross to just swallow the whitening stuff, so I would leave it on for a few minutes and then spit it out... it's possible that doing that made it less effective, BUT I did see results. The picture collage below shows my teeth before and on days 3 & 7. Now, obviously, you can tell that it's not a super drastic change, but my teeth are whiter.

The toothpaste: 

Okay, I actually haven't tried this yet. I love my current toothpaste that has little breath strip like thingys in it, but the little sample I got in the box will be great for travel... or when we run out of toothpaste and forget to buy more at the store for three weeks in a row... not that we ever actually do that or anything.


I'm happy with it. I don't know if I'd ever have bought one of these toothbrushes on my own, but now that I've tried it I really like it. It's about $13 which isn't outlandish if you usually buy electric brushes, but it's a manual brush, so more expensive then I would usually spend... then again, if you factor in the whitening pen it may be a good deal, so it might happen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The brownie I didn't get to eat.

Think about this. You snag two delicious, homemade brownies leftover from a class party and are super excited to curl up on the couch after the baby's in bed and enjoy it. 

What was left.
Then you get home, you're playing in the play room with the baby and you hear a rustling noise coming from the living room. You don't think much of it because the dog is playing out there and there's nothing she can get into.

Twenty minutes later you go out... to find said dog greedily eating one brownie, the the plastic bag from the second one already empty on the floor beside her.


I know Zoey has had issues with chocolate before, as in stealing chocolate, but I didn't see this coming. The brownies were in the bottom of my tote back, with tons of stuff on top of it. Somehow Zoey got them out, and got into the plastic.

I was really looking forward to that brownie. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Why did no one explain the true magic of the magic eraser?

Look at the difference there.
I've known and loved magic erasers for years, but the other night Drew and I discovered a new use for them that has us kicking ourselves for making our lives harder than they had to me. 

The other night Fynn was coloring on the floor and got some stray crayons on the tile. No big, I grabbed a magic eraser to clean it up and called it good. However, Drew grabbed it and halfheartedly swiped it on the grout. Holy mother of all that is holy, it was like night and day! Every time we clean the grout (which I'll admit is not nearly as often as we should) we take out harsh-smelling chemicals and whip out the elbow grease and a little brush to scrub for a couple of hours. What were we thinking?!? Now I'm wondering what other hard jobs could be made a bajillion times easier with something I already have in my house... the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Iron supplements for a toddler

I know I have mentioned it before, but at Fynn's 12 month check up, her iron levels came back low. You can read the whole story here. Anyway, after 6 months of trying to get her iron levels up through food, we found out at her 18 month check up that she still has low iron. I'm honestly not surprised because in those same 6 months she went from eating any and every thing we handed her to refusing to eat anything that's not snack food and milk.

Since we couldn't get her levels up naturally, we agreed to do iron supplements. I hate it, because I don't want to give her something like that, but I read all kinds of scary things about anemia's affect on a developing child. While I know her levels aren't THAT low, they're still low enough to be concerning.

We started the supplements, and for about a week it went okay. Were supposed to give her 5 ml a day, which doesn't sound like much until you're trying to sneak the foul-tasting liquid into juice and smoothies to mask the taste. We've been lucky to get 1-2 ml into her. She just refuses, and I honestly can't blame her.

Obviously this cup didn't have
 the iron supplement in it
Yesterday I called the doctor to see if there's something else we can do. Some other supplement that will go down better or a trick to making the taste a little more palatable. I was told that the clinician would call us by the end of the day with some ideas. When the woman called back three hours later, all perky and full of wisdom, her big idea was to try mixing it with orange juice.

Uh... thanks genius, we tried that week 1. So I took a deep breath and explained that we had already tried that, and she won't take it. Her response? "Oh, uh... that's that only idea the doctor and I had. I guess I'll talk to him again and see if we can come up with some other ideas".

Really> That was your brilliant and only idea? Fynn can't be the only toddler to balk at the iron supplement. The stuff is nasty, I've tried it. Even with just a tiny bit mixed into orange juice it tastes metallicy and leaves a bitter taste on your tongue. They can't honestly tell me that other kids just suck that stuff down like it's some type of treat.

She said she was going to call me back today with some ideas... I hope this time she actually has something useful.

Monday, March 3, 2014

February Reads

February was a great reading month for me. February vacation meant nap times curled up with my Overdrive app and new books every other day. Like the past few months, I've been keeping track of the number of books I'm reading this school year with a goal of 30 to match the 30 books my students are required to read. 

18. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
I love all the Joshilyn Jackson books I've read so far. She has a way of writing that makes you connect to the characters, even the ones you can't stand. This book is about a woman named Ro Grandee who was abused by her father as a child after her mother ran away, and then by her husband. She was used to the abuse until a gypsy at the airport tells her that she must either kill her husband or she'll end up dead. This sets of a series of events in which she tries to shoot him and then leaves him to find her mother and change her life. I found myself with my heart in my throat several times as I worried about Ro yet at the same time disliked her for being stupid about things. I don't think I actually liked any of the characters of this book, but I was drawn to them and couldn't stop reading.

19. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
This was a random book I found that looked interesting... and I guess it was. Kinda. It tells the story of three women all trying to figure out their lives and find love. Everyone they know is getting married and having babies and they're not there yet. What I liked about this book was the humorous and self-deprecating way the characters told their story. That said, I didn't feel any real connections with any of the character. There were several times when I debated about ditching the book, but then would come across a funny part and keep reading. 

20. A Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

Like the other Susan Mallery book I read last month, this book was completely predictable. I knew within two pages who was going to fall in love and the problems they would face. That said, I still enjoyed the book and found it one of those fun, easy reads.

21. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult
I've read this book before, but I always love Jodi Picoult books, so when I saw it as an audio book on Overdrive, I decided to give it a go. Usually I don't like audio books, I prefer to read at my own pace and often can't really follow along when someone else reads to me. That said, I really enjoyed listening to this. I listened when I was running, in the car, and before I fell asleep at night. When I read this before, I didn't connect to it as much as I did this time around. It's the story of Paige who finds her "perfect man", gets married and has a baby... only to discover being a mom isn't all she thought it would be. She was overwhelmed, exhausted and felt like she was doing it all wrong. Oh how I understood her feelings. It gets to the point where one day she up and leaves, determined to find her own mother (who left when she was five) and figure out who she is. This story was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time.

22. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Victoria is a 18 year old girl who has just been emancipated from the foster system. She's on her own, and doesn't know what to do.Flowers are the only thing in her life that has ever made sense. A foster mom once taught her what all the different types of flowers mean, and to Victoria, that is the best way to communicate her thoughts and feelings. She starts working at a flower shop, but then comes across someone from her past. This starts a whole series of events where Victoria has to learn how to interact with people, and face secrets from her past that took her away from the only real mother she ever knew. The beginning of this book was rather slow, and didn't really draw me in, but as Victoria's past and present started to unfold at the same time, I started to get sucked into the story and ended up really loving it. 

23. Divergence by Veronica Roth
This is one of those books that everyone's reading, so I hopped on the bandwagon. I'm so glad I did. I ended up reading it in about a day because I just couldn't put it down- thank you February vacation for making that possible. Divergence is a sci fi story of a dystopian society focused on factions. Each faction values a different quality; selfless ness, honesty, bravery, peacefulness and intelligence. When you're sixteen, you take a test that is supposed to tell you which faction you belong to. However, when Beatrice Prior takes the test, the results come back unclear. The test giver tells her that she is "Divergent" and that she can't tell anyone, because it is very dangerous, even deadly. Beatrice has to decide which faction to join, and then undergoes the rigorous training involved in becoming a member of that faction, all the while hiding that there is something different about her. The story is fast-paced, descriptive, and spell-binding. I loved it, and I can't wait to read the second book in the series; Insurgent.
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