Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Review: May, June and July

Welcome Book Lovers!
I really fell behind on my Book Reviews. 
I'm a reading and writing teacher, so it's only fit that I'm constantly reading new things whether it's on how to become a better teacher or books that my students will love. 

Today I've reviewed 10 books for you!


Ok, so the next two books I'm going to be terrible at giving a review. 
We have a 40 Book Challenge in my classroom, and I needed more Fantasy/Science Fiction books. 
Most of those genres bore me to death. 
Like I can't even figure out what's going on. 
However, the Divergent series got me a bit interested. 
You will find Tris battling her way through 5 various factions. 
She was born into one faction but as she becomes an adult she has to choose to stay or go. 
Tri chooses Dauntless- the most daring group of them all. 
Once she gets there she finds out that she is different- a Divergent- than the others and doesn't truly fit into one faction. 
As she realizes her own strength and powers, she finds out about a war going on that may consumer other factions and her home faction if she doesn't intervene. 


Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent series. 
Tris is bound to save her family and initial faction from the hidden war that's taking place. 
Tris has fallen for one of the Dauntless leaders and has to decide whether to remain loyal or fight for the safety of her family. 
When her own brother has opposed her, Tris realizes that she must act fast or her family will be taken from her forever. 

Here's a little look at one trip to the library in June. 
So far, I've read half of them. 
The other half are still waiting because I've ordered more books since then and have been reading them instead.

Little Beach Street Bakery

Polly is ready for a change. She's running from a failed relationship and business. She makes her way to a small town on the Cornish coast. She barely has any money to rent a place, but finds the perfect spot for her. Her love for baking drives her to not give up on her dreams. This is the perfect cozy book about relationships, baking and following your dreams!

What Light

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in California. Each Thanksgiving they leave their home in Oregon to run the Christmas tree lot. Times are getting tight and they aren't sure if they will return. It's hard enough to leave Sierra's friends each winter and she's completely against finding anyone new to hang out with besides Heather. Against her initial will she spies someone who catches her eye; however, their secret may tear them apart for good.

This is more of a Christmas book, but who doesn't love a good Christmas book at any time of the year?

Count All Her Bones

Cheyenne Wilder has been found after unknowingly being kidnapped while in the backseat of her stepmom's SUV. She's tired of all of the safety precautions in addition to being blind and wants to rebel. Cheyenne makes many efforts to use her new car and ditch her bodyguard to meet up with Griffin. Griffin saved Cheyenne's life initially and is bound to save Griffin from the pain of testifying against his dad, but will Cheyenne make it to the trial? Maybe the Griffin she loves and cares about isn't the true Griffin at all.

If you love mysteries, you will love Count All Her Bones.
First, though, you need to read Girl, Stolen.
We will be reading Girl, Stolen in class this year, and students may even choose to read Count All Her Bones in one of their literature circles.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery

Polly recently started a bakery in Mount Polbearne. Everything seemed to be going perfectly in her new little bakery when she was struck by unexpected news and doesn't know if her business will be able to carry on.

If you're looking for a feel good, summery book, you should read this.
But first, read Little Beach Street Bakery.

Four Perfect Pebbles

Story of a family of 4 in concentration camps.
I was sad that this story didn't really have a story line.
It jumped around a lot and don't think my 8th graders would enjoy it.

Prisoner B-3087

Excellent Holocaust story detailing the life of Jack Gruener called Yanek in the book. Yanek's family is taken by the Nazis, but he is determined to live. Bouncing through 10 concentration camps Yanek tries to not only help himself but others, which his Uncle Moshe warned him against.

Many of my students suggested Prisoner B-3087.
If you enjoy Holocaust novels, you should try it!

Everything, Everything

Madeline is stuck in her house with her mom and nurse. She has SCID and isn't able to breathe the outside air. She knows nothing about friends or friendship until a boy moves in next door. Madeline is a great spy to this new boy Olly; however, something about him intrigues her. Madeline is bound to meet him and once she's done that she's on a roller coaster ride that questions her health and relationship with her mother.

This book shouts John Greene.
If you love his books, you will love Everything, Everything.

The Boy on the Wooden Box

Leib/Leyon is on the run from the Germans. He is able to fit in as a German for a while before they find out his real identity as a Jew. Can Oscar Schindler save Leib and his whole family or will they be separated forever?

So there you have it. 
My favorite of them all was Little Beach Street Bakery.
I can't to read the other Jenny Colgan books in my stack. 
Did any catch your eye?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Favorites: Outlet Deals, Chocolate Covered Bananas, Plants

It's another Friday, so that means another week of Favorites!!
As always, I'm linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea
We're sharing our favorites from the week.
Grab their graphic and linkup with your favorites from the week, too.

Outlet Deals

I've been to two different outlets in two different states within the past week. 
I found some excellent deals at JCrew.

This jean jacket was only $30

I'm also loving it in the regular denim color.

Also at JCrew were these dress pants. 
Guys, I have the hardest time finding dress pants that fit me. 
I have 3 pairs of black straight leg pants that I've worn for the past 5 years. 
It's ridiculous and most of the time I give up on finding them, but for some reason I grabbed these, and they worked!
Online they have them in black and navy.
They're under $40 too!

I got a few tops as well. 
JCrew is really rocking it with their in-between season sales right now!

At Williams Sonoma I got some melamine serving plates. 

I don't have a lot of larger serving ware, so I grabbed this bowl, platter and another fancier bowl.
Each piece was under $15!


I've been enjoying my visit in the south, well more south than Ohio.
One thing I love about this area are all of the beautiful plants!

Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

I'm pretty sure we do not have these amazing snacks at our grocery stores in Ohio.
I've been loving having a chocolate covered banana, especially when it comes in dark chocolate, too!

Nordstrom Faves

Here are my top three favorite finds in the Nordstrom sale.
I've yet to take the plunge and click "checkout", but I've enjoyed looking at them and keeping track of when they're back in stock.

Currently sold out!!

Currently sold out!

So there's my random favorites for the week.
The best thing about this week is the family that I'm visiting with. 
They are so near and dear to me, and I only get to see them about once a year. 
We're cooking up something special, swimming away or shopping til we drop today!
Have a great weekend!
I hope to be relishing the last few weekends I have left!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sweet Summertime Recap: Week 9

Hey Hey Hey!
Week 9 of Summer Vacation is here and gone.
Check out my week away below...

Thursday, July 20

I started my morning out strong with a super hot and sweaty 4 mile run.
I came home and immediately hopped in the shower.

I spent my morning watching some Hallmark Christmas

and making another freezer meal- baked ziti.

Friday, July 21

On Friday it was another humid one.
I did a workout video in the basement and then showered and biked to my parents to do some work in the garden.
I was drenched in sweat. Just so humid out!
I came home and ate a salad and spent an hour at the pool trying to read a new book suggested by one of my co-workers.

I'm not a fantasy person and have been struggling getting through the pages.
The pool helps me to focus.
I get to enjoy some sunshine or on this day just humid weather and clouds.

I came home and did some blogging and planning for the new school year. 

Saturday, July 22

On Saturday I traveled.
Since I was very young I've visited my aunt and uncle nearly every year.
The only year I missed was last year because it was so busy with the wedding, honeymoon and other vacations.

We first stopped at the outlet mall, which was so fun!
 1. It was raining so bad that we were going 30 on the highway and could barely see the road.
Getting out of crazy summer weather was nice.

2. The bargains were great!!

I love a Pottery Barn outlet!

JCrew had awesome deals!
I even found dress pants that fit!
Dress pants and I typically don't mix!

We arrived in time to head to a family cookout and enjoyed the night catching up with our relatives.

Sunday, July 23

My aunt is one special lady. 
She knows what you like and don't like and has it waiting for you when you arrive.
Here are the "good" peaches awaiting me in the basement. 
She wanted to keep them separated from the others that weren't so great.

It was off and on raining in the morning, but I found a dry time to get in a morning walk before we headed back to Tennessee.
We don't have trails where I live and I love trails/wide sidewalks for walking/running!

As soon as I was back we hit the read and I traveled back to Tennessee with my relatives.

Monday, July 24

Sunday night we got a terrible storm. 
I woke up to tons of fog.

Monday we enjoyed some grocery shopping, lunch at Einstein's and the pool.

I looked for some bulletin board ideas.
I know I've been asking for a lot of help with the classroom lately, but which of the following ideas do you like for the beginning of the year?

I have a HUGE in the hallway to makeover.
Option 1
Kids take a selfie of themselves and their favorite book.

Option 2
Book Suggestion Outline

It was so big I had to take 2 screenshots.

Option 3
All about Growth Mindsets!

I did a pool with my co-workers, so I know which one they chose, but I'm interested to see what you all think.
Remember, I teach 8th grade language arts.
It's really hard to find intriguing bulletin board ideas for them!

Tuesday, July 25

Tuesday started off with a kick butt workout.
It was only 2 miles, but it was mostly hills.
I was sweating like I've never sweated before. I ended the run running up this huge incline of a hill.
Then, I got to enjoy the ride down the other side.
My legs, chest, head, arms, etc. were dripping wet!
I'm not sure I ever sweated so much!

It was another great day to enjoy swimming and laying out.
Here's my latest read.
It's a super easy and interesting read!
Thanks Emily for suggesting it!

Wednesday, July 26

We went to the Knoxville Zoo!

First, I started my day with a cinnamon and sugar bagel from Einstein's!
This is what I nearly ate every morning in college.
I haven't had one since those days 6 years ago!

It was a fun way to break up the day and get out before it got too hot.

Here I am with my sweet little cousins!
Can you see the beads I'm wearing?!
They handed them out when they picked me up.
They're from Mardi Gras, but I sported them all day at the zoo!

So, there's a quick little recap for you!
I'm sure we will be enjoying some walks, sunshine and the pool again today!