TBB Asks - Back-to-School Edition

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy September!!!

Welcome to the back-to-school edition of the Blended Blog Asks! 

This month the ladies at the Blended Blog have come up with some school related questions to make for another easy and fun post for us and you! Check out the questions and my answers below and feel free to grab the graphic, create a post and linkup with us below!



  1. Did you love school or hate it?
    For the most part I really liked school, I'm kind of a geek like that.
  2. Start school before or after Labor Day?
    After, always after.
  3. Wake up: eager beaver or slow poke?
    Slow...
  4. Favorite breakfast?
    Pancakes or french toast with real maple syrup but that usually wasn't a week-day breaky given how long it takes to make/eat.
  5. Favorite cereal?
    As a kid Lucky Charms but I was rarely allowed to eat it... apparently a bowl full or marshmallows is not an ideal way to start the day?
  6. School uniform or no?
    Mostly no but I went to a Catholic High school for one semester and did wear a uniform there.
  7. New outfit for the first day?
    ALWAYS and it had to be something I never wore prior to that day.
  8. Walk to school or ride the bus?
    I've done it all!
  9. Backpack, tote or messenger bag?
    Backpack all the way... totes or messenger bags weren't even a thing when I was in school lol
  10. Eat school lunch or pack a lunch?
    Packed a lunch for the most part. My elementary school didn't even have a cafeteria that served food and I didn't buy lunch that often in high school.
  11. Remember the little milk cartons? White or chocolate?
    Cartons? Um those are still a thing. Does anyone remember the BAGS of milk? Please tell me I'm not the only one. Also, chocolate was always preferred because, well, chocolate.
  12. Paper bag or lunch box?
    Paper or grocery bag... I don't remember having a lunch box. Weird.
  13. Favorite thing to do at recess?
    I remember lots of girl drama in elementary school... then boy drama. Lots of drama lol.
  14. Favorite back to school supply item?
    I loved picking out new binder colors and pens. Yup, geek.
  15. Chalkboard or Dry Erase board?
    Chalkboard. Dry erase wasn't big until later I think.
  16. Regular pencil or mechanical?
    Mechanical because they just seem fancy.
  17. Homework as soon as you got home or after dinner?
    Um how about the very last minute right before bed? I was a procrastinator to the nth degree (this carried through university and all 3 of my degrees... whoops).
  18. Favorite after school snack?
    Cheese and crackers.
  19. Favorite after school show?
    Saved by the bell.
  20. Favorite subject in school?
    English or social studies.
  21. Least favorite subject?
    Math. Me and numbers do not get along.
  22. Name your best friend in high school?
    I had a few (because I went to 3 high schools) but Nancy was and still is my bestest.
  23. High school mascot?
    I had 3 - falcon, phoenix and panther.
  24. SAT or ACT?
    I'll take none of the above. Canada eh.
  25. Favorite year in school?
    I honestly have no clue... too much pressure to pick and nothing stands out like "that was the best year EVER".
  26. Class ring or no?
    Negative.
  27. Attend high school reunion or not?
    Nope. With 3 high schools picking a reunion would be far too high maintenance lol

There you have it! 

Make sure you link up your Q&A posts below and stay tuned for next month's TBB Asks - fall edition (October 2nd).



Summer Book Reviews and fall reads

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Is it seriously September tomorrow?

Where did the summer go?

I've clearly NOT been a blogging machine this summer but I did manage to get in a few audio books.

I mixed up my picks using the list provided by the Blended Blog but also picked a few that were on my "to-read" list.

Here's what I "read" (aka listened to) this summer and my (brief) thoughts on each:




The Year of Pleasures - Elizabeth Berg
Recommended by the lovely Deena. I liked this book but I can't say I found it riveting. It was a nice story about a woman finding herself after the loss of her husband. The story-line isn't such that it has you dying to know what happens next but it was a very pleasant read. I liked the focus on self-discovery and friendships.


How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It - Steven Stosny and Patricia Love
No, my marriage is not in trouble lol but I wanted to start adding some self-help ish books to my reading list and this book came up and had good reviews so I figured I'd give it a go. This book did get me thinking and helped changed my perspective in a few areas. It helped me better grasp some differences between my husband and I and how we process things. I also liked that it doesn't focus on talking things to death (and actually says that's counter productive). Worth a read if you're wanting to personally take some steps to better your relationship/connection/communication.


Wonder - R. J. Palacio
Katie recommended this read and she was right on. I REALLY liked this book but it also made my heart ache and reminded me how cruel the world can be. I don't know what to say other than I feel this is a really "special" book about differences and seeing people for who they are on the inside. It's such a touching book and I wish it was required reading for late elementary school.


My Not So Perfect Life: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella
I love me some chic-lit and Sophie Kinsella is one of my faves. I loved this book and there were so many parts that had me laughing and embarrassed for the main character all at the same time. A quick and cute read for chic-lit lovers.


A Hundred Summers - Beatriz Williams
One of the recommendations from the Blended Blog book club and for some reason I didn't think it would interest me. I was hooked right from the beginning! I found myself trying to figure out how everyone tied together and to solve the little mystery that's presented early on. Definitely had my "side" picked early on and enjoyed the present-to-past and back perspectives to unravel the story. Great read.


The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
I'm quickly becoming a big Liane Moriarty fan. When I first started this one I found myself constantly trying to figure out how everyone fit together and trying to guess what the big "secret" was. Needless to say, eventually all is revealed and I really liked the way it all came together in the end. A great look at the complexities and intricacies of relationships and how things definitely aren't always what they seem.


Winter Garden - Kristin Hannah
I LOVE the last Kristin Hannah book I read (the Nightingale) so I was looking forward to listening to this one. For me, it felt like it started a little slow... I was frustrated by some of the characters and because of that it took me a little while to get into it... but once I did... wow. I said before that I don't typically read or love historical novels but I love the way Hannah makes these historical pieces so personal. It's gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time and I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased with the way she ended this lovely book.


How'd you do with your summer reading/listening?

We're linking up book review posts below and we'd love for you to join us in September with some great picks from Deena, Sheila and Alison!



the Blended Blog Asks - summer

Monday, August 7, 2017

Welcome to another edition of The Blended Blog Asks - my friends and I at the Blended Blog come up with a bunch of questions and it makes for an easy and fun post for us and you!




I am pretty sure I mentioned my indecisiveness in my last question and answer post... don't think I'll all of the sudden be providing succinct response lol
Here goes:

1. Pool, lake or ocean?
I like to lay by the pool, swim in the lake and look at the ocean :) So all of the above really

2. Camping, cottage or hotel?
I've done my fair share of camping but if we're being honest, I'd much rather sleep in a comfy bed where bears can't get me lol. I LOVE going to a cottage and just chilling but there's also something fun and exciting about staying in a hotel. Again, I'm not really answering the question am I? In short, for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors, cottage it is. If I want to explore a new city and enjoy luxury, hotel all the way.

3. Favorite ice cream flavor?
You're asking the pregnant lady? Give me ALL the ice cream!!! There's few flavors that I don't like but if I HAD to pick one, I'd probably opt for french vanilla.

4. PJs, nightgown, t-shirt/shorts or birthday suit?
Depends on the time of year. In summer I'm usually in underwear and a t-shirt, in winter it's pjs.

5. Fave summer beverage?
Wine... always wine :)

6. Would you rather be hot or cold?
Neither lol but if I HAD to pick, I guess cold, because then I could add blankets, turn on the fireplace and get all cozy.

7. Sandals with heels or flats?
If they didn't hurt my feet I'd do heels all the time. Having said that, I'm VERY pregnant this summer so it's been consistently flats for this momma.

8. Shorts or skirts?
Depends what I'm doing. Shorts are easier if I'm out and about with the kiddos because I don't have to worry about flashing anyone my undies.

9. Sit in the sun or the shade?
I love the sun!

10. Water, tea or soda?
How about coffee? I always have my water with ice with me.

11. Fave summer fruit/veggie?
Fresh picked strawberries and corn on the cob!! YUM!

12. Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise. It's such a quiet and calm time of the day.

13. Bike ride or walk?
Walk. I haven't rode a bike in ages and given my 8+ pregnant-status, riding a bike isn't an option at this point.

14. Winery or brewery?
Have you met me? Winery ALL the way!!

15. Garden or no garden?
Does my planter hanging from the fence with 3 pepper and 2 tomato plants count?

16. Big summer concert or music in the park?
I love a more intimate venue - as long as there's good music and tasty drinks are always nice.

17. Fave cookout food?
Nothing like a BBQ steak, baked potato and corn on the cob! YUM

18. Dine indoors or patio?
If the weather is right, patio is where it's at!

19. Fave summer destination?
Does the back deck count? We don't have a regular go-to summer spot besides spending as much time as we can outside.

20. Big theme park or local carnival?
BOTH! We've got little people so either are a hit! I feel safer on rides at a big theme park but there's nothing like a local fair :) We've already been to a few this summer (one today actually!).

21. Drinks blended or on the rocks?
I don't usually do sugary drinks but I guess blended seems more summery to me.

22. Popsicle or freezie flavor or choice?
I used to LOVE banana popsicles... I don't even know if they still make them.

23. Hotdog or hamburger?
I can't pick (shocking) both hotdogs and hamburgers are summer staples around here and I love them both equally... and now I'm hungry (also shocking, I'm sure).


Make sure you check out how the other ladies answered and feel free to grab the photo above, answer the questions and linkup with us below!


Christy @ R Squared
Carrie @ A Stylish Fit
Shaunacey @ Simply Shaunacey
Lana @ My New Happy


Christmas in July

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Merry Christmas!!!! In July that is!

Who doesn't love a gift exchange? I know I do. Last year's Blended Blog Christmas in July gift exchange went so well, we decided to do it again this year. And, when I say "we" I obviously mean other people kindly organized it (thanks Whitney) and I just hopped on the bandwagon (as per usual). 


My Secret Santa was Katie!!! 

I have to give it to Katie, she nailed it!!! Clearly she knows I love me some pretty accessories because she sent me this really pretty layered necklace that she discovered a local boutique in her area.
When I opened the package and pulled out the necklace, my 4 year old daughter was immediately eyeing it up (I don't know where she gets it). 


As if that wasn't enough, Katie also got me a beautiful beach towel. I'll tell you why I'm excited about this (besides the fact it's super pretty): my kids keep getting these super fun towels for when we go swimming and I'm always stuck using plain old bath towels. It's like Katie knew I needed my own special towel for our family swimming outings. :)


And here's a pic of my tired mug with my pretty new necklace because, well, why not?
Never mind the drops of water on my shirt... I just gave Ollie a bath and he decided that the water was better on me than in the tub... naturally.


Wanna see what everyone else got? (which, if you're curious like me, you do) head on over to Katie (who was my Santa) and Lana (who I shopped for). 

Happy Thursday (yay almost Friday!!)

Favorite Summer Food

Monday, July 10, 2017

Is it overly predictable that the resident pregnant lady signed up for the post talking about food? I mean, it was kind of a given, no?

Either way, here we are and this week the ladies of the Blended Blog and I are sharing our favorite summer eats! YUM!

I've decided the easiest way to do this (because I truly love ALL food) is to sum up my faves in a few random categories :)

Here are some of my favorite summer foods:


Salads

They say "you don't make friends with salad" ("they" being the Simpsons, more specifically Homer) but I tell you, I've had some good ones and there are days, especially hot and humid days, where a salad just seems like the most appropriate meal. Most people associate salads with uber-healthy eating, but let's be serious, I totally count pasta and potato salads in this category which are essential summer staples.

Interested in a delicious, easy and fairly healthy salad this summer?? Check out this one I shared not too long ago on the Blended Blog: tasty tomato, cucumber and basil salad. YUM!

tomato, cucumber and basil salad


Easy, fun to make (for the kids) food

The majority of the time it's me making dinner while the kids rummage the cupboards for crackers or something else to eat prior to dinner. That or they're terrorizing each other and I'm simultaneously referring and cooking. The easiest way to avoid the raiding of the cupboards and the fighting is to have the kids actually involved in the food prep. Pita pizzas are a go-to in our house for so many reasons: the kids get a snack during prep (read: eating all the cheese and pepperoni), they cook really quickly but primarily the fact that the kids are preoccupied WHILE dinner is being made takes the cake.

kids making pita pizzas


Takeout

While we're being honest... there are some days in the summer where cooking just doesn't happen. This can be for any number of reasons: heat, fatigue, crazy schedule... or just because. Whatever the reason, takeout is a favorite summer treat. The kid's preference usually includes grilled cheese, apple slices and yogurt from Mc. D's but Mr. B and I love Chinese or Thai food every now and then. Who are we kidding? I'm happy with anything I don't have to cook after a long week (or, ya know, on Monday).



Corn on the cob

Yes, corn on the cob gets it's own category because it's a summer food through and through. Added bonus: the kids LOVE it!!!

toddler eating corn on the cob

toddler eating corn on the cob


Pick-your-own berries

Another food deserving of its own category. We love berries all year round from fresh to frozen but there truly isn't anything like berries you've picked yourself. Plus, the actual act of going out to pick the berries is the perfect family activity for the weekend. The kids have a blast (and get tuckered out) and we come home with some delicious eats! Win-win-win!

toddler tasty strawberry while berry picking

fresh picked strawberries


BBQ

We pretty much BBQ as much of the year as possible... until the snow piles up high enough on the BBQ that it's no longer possible. If you're a BBQ-lover than I don't need to explain myself but in case you're wondering I've already shared the reasons why BBQ-ing is the BEST! Even though that post is two years old, my feelings remain the same :)

bbq meal

food on bbq



ICE CREAM

This requires no explanation. Summer is synonymous with ice cream and this pregnant lady will use just about any excuse to over indulge is this tasty summery treat. I also include popsicles and freezies in the category because I don't discriminate among cold, tasty goodness.

kids enjoying ice cream



Next up is is Christy, so hop on over to her blog to see what she's eating this summer.



Link up your summer food posts with the Blended Blog






Blogger Q&A - random things about me

Monday, July 3, 2017


Look ma, I'm participating!!!

Yes, we're all aware of slacker status in blog-land so because of that I decided to spontaneously hop aboard the Blended Blog's "Summer Love" series by taking part in today's post - go me!

If we're being honest, which I am, cause that's how I roll, my motivation for participation may or may not have to do with the fact it's pre-done questions that will guide my post and hopefully not require too much brain power from this utterly spent momma. Also, I do like things like this where simple questions elicit interesting answers and explanations allowing you to see a little more into someone's personality... or maybe I just read too much into things.

Right, moving along...

heads-up, the questions are mostly yes/no or one-word answer but if you've been here before, you already know that's not my jam lol

Here goes:




  1. Favorite animal?
    This is one of those questions you would think that everyone has a quick and easy answer too, but I've never really had a definitive favorite. I wish my answer was more exotic but if I had to pick, I'd say dogs but not all dogs. I'll clarify that more in the dog vs. cat answer later. My reason for picking dogs? I guess we can attribute that to my furry friend, Lilo. That dog, though drives me crazy, is the sweetest thing and such a gentle, albeit sometimes crazy, soul.
  2. Wine or Beer?
    Have you met me? Red wine wins EVERY time! Speaking of red wine, I miss it so.
  3. Socks on or off while sleeping?
    OFF. Always off. Unless I'm camping or something.
  4. One piece or two piece bathing suit?
    I've always been a two-piece kinda gal but as I've dropped a few kids now I'm gravitating more towards tankinis (still technically two pieces) or a classy one piece. Truthfully, I don't adore wearing bathing suits to begin with but I'd rather not be playing in the pool with my kids in a scuba suit so there's that.
  5. Cooking at home or eating out?
    I'll take eating out for 1000 Alex. Yes, I like to cook, but as a busy mom, nothing beats a delicisious meal cooked by someone else and, better yet, CLEANED by someone else. Clearly I need to win the lottery so I can just have someone cook me all kinds of moderately healthy meals and then do all the dishes... unless I have any volunteers??? Bueller?
  6. Pepsi or Coke?
    Diet Coke. I know aspartame is the devil's spawn but there's nothing like a fountain Diet Coke. So. Good.
  7. Regular or electric toothbrush?
    Electric and I'd highly recommend switching if you haven't (cue toothbrush plug) - the amount of scaling I have done at the dentist was drastically reduced when I bought an electric toothbrush. I'm a true believer!
  8. Candy or chocolate?
    Totally unfair question to ask a nearly 7-months-pregnant woman. I love all the sugary things. If I must pick, I shall choose chocolate but don't think I wouldn't demo an entire bag of sour patch kids or cherry blasters if given the chance.
  9. Coffee or tea?
    Coffee... coffee and more coffee. Give me ALL the coffee. FYI: I think as the number of children in your life increases, so too does the number of coffees you require to function. No, that's not backed by scientific research but I feel I'm credible enough to make that statement.
  10. Music or talk radio?
    I used to LOVE driving in the car and blasting the tunes. Now, when I'm in the car sans-children, I like to listen to audio-books. Yup, yup I feel really old right now.
  11. Chick Flick. action movie, or documentary?
    Chick flicks for sure!
  12. Regular pencil or mechanical pencil?
    Mechanical because no sharpening... but you do have to insert those stupid sticks and they always seem to break. Then again, who uses pencils anymore?
  13. Swimming or laying out?
    Given my pregnant, beached-whale-status, I'd have to say laying out... at least I think that, until I lay for 5 minutes and get hot and sweating and can't stand feeling like I'm cooking. So maybe swimming? How about laying on a tube-y thing IN the pool. Ya. That sounds nice.
  14. Dog or cat?
    Dog, always dog. I'm allergic to cats anyways. I do have to say, in my mind not all dogs are created equal. I'm not too keen on little dogs. Give me a golden retriever, a mastiff, great dane or lab any day. There's just something so cuddly and almost human-like about them.
  15. What do you drive? Car, van, suv?
    I currently drive an SUV but since baby #3 decided she was joining our fam-jam, we'll be in the market for a mini-van. Oh ya, you read that right my friends, this little lady is going to officially graduate to mini-van driving, soccer-mom status.
  16. Early bird or night owl?
    These days I'm an early bird, mostly out of necessity. I get up at 5:40am 6 days a week to hit the gym. On my "sleep-in" days, I sleep until my kids wake me up (6:30/7). Early mornings usually earlier nights. Some nights I'm sure I could easily go to bed before my kids but apparently they need supervised and stuff.
  17. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    This is the hardest question of all. For real. I love all food and I'm pregnant. I can't possibly pick one thing. Steak dinner from the Keg maybe... with a three cheese twice-baked potato... obviously, low in calories and full of nutrition.
  18. While sleeping: phone in room by your side or phone in another room?
    Beside my bed but on silent.
  19. Singing in the shower, yes or no?
    No. Is that weird? If music was playing maybe.
  20. Oreo Cookies: Eat whole or take apart or dunk in milk?
    I literally cannot remember the last time I had an oreo cookie... definitely the whole thing though. Ugh, now I'm hungry.
Now hop on over to Sarah's blog to see her answers!

I hope you'll head over to the Blended Blog to see how the other ladies answered AND feel free to grab our pic and answer the questions yourselves and linkup with us (I love knowing random details about people). 

Happy Monday!!! 



book reviews - my June reads

Thursday, June 29, 2017


remember last month when I not so humbly bragged about having listened to 7 books? Ya well, that's not quite the case this month. Having said that, I haven't given up all together and still managed to listen to 4 books and, if I do say so myself, a book a week isn't too shabby.

Soooo here's what I've been reading:

As you may know, part of the reason I got into listening to books was so I could participate in the Blended Blog's book club. This has given me some great book recommendations and allowed me to connect with some fellow readers/listeners.

In June the Blended Blog switched things up a bit and Alison, of Puppies and Pretties, organized all of us who were interested in pairs. We each got a recommendation from the person we were paired up with and recommended something for them. The goal of this was getting us to read something out of our comfort zone.

I got paired up with Alison (the organizer extraordinaire) and I'll admit, I wasn't sure what to expect because I know Alison reads a lot of Fantasy novels and that's something completely out of the norm for me. Alison picked Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel. She told me prior to my starting that it was a kind of funny book with vampires and werewolves... not my typical read but I was open... So here's my review:



Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel - Alison didn't lie (obviously), this novel was filled with all things supernatural including vampires, werewolves and ghosts. She was also right in how surprisingly humorous it was. I found myself laughing, smiling and smirking at multiple points during my listen - this made more interesting, I'm sure, by the fact that I listen while at the gym and the random giggles and grins make me look a wee bit unbalanced or perhaps like I'm really enjoying my workout. Despite my initial doubt about this book, I very much enjoyed it. Actually, I enjoyed it so much that it's highly likely I'll be reading/listening to the next book in the series at some point! Thanks Alison for organizing AND making me branch out. My favorite part of this book? The unlikely and somewhat hilarious love story throughout - who knew?!

What else have I been listening to?



The Handmaid's Tale - Truthfully, my motivation for adding this to my playlist was primarily the fact that it seemed like everyone was talking about the tv series and I felt like it only made sense to read/listen to it before watching the series. I have a vague recollection of this being on a reading list in late high school but I'm confident I skipped that selection because the story seemed brand new to me. The whole plot is disturbing but oddly fascinating. It was also a really interesting listen not just because of the story line but some of the words and phrasing used (I won't lie, I busted out Google for a few words lol). Having started the tv series now (and dragged Mr. B along for the ride) I'd highly recommend reading or listening to the book first.



Anne of Green Gables - Alright, Canadian girl confession? I have NEVER read this book. Yes, I'm probably the only Canadian woman who didn't read this as a child and the truth of the matter is the real reason I decided to listen to it was because I came across it on Audible and it was only $0.49. Seriously, you can't buy a second hand book at a garage sale for that much anymore. It was a good, wholesome, fairly feel-good story but there's little point in my recommending it, particularly to my Canadian friends, as I highly suspect they've already read it lol



What Alice Forgot - My dear blogger friend, Deena, recommended this one as my next read. For some reason I was hooked within the first few minutes. Despite it being a fairly lengthy selection at almost 14 hours, I completed this book in record time (4 days). I found myself coming up with all kinds of things to do that allowed me to listen to this book (think walks, cleaning the bathroom, dishes, folding laundry - the list goes on). It's hard to pinpoint what I liked so much about this book but I think it boils down to the different way we perceive relationships and how sometimes we just need a little perspective, or perhaps to lose 10 years of memories. Either way, a great read/listen and I'd highly recommend. Thanks Deena.


You can sign up for our book club online - since we had some great recommendations in our pairings last month, we're using those titles as our selections for July and August - read (or listen to) one or read them all! Your call.




If you've posted a book review don't forget to linkup below!




- DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS -