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Book Review: 15 Years of War + Giveaway

Growing up, each summer I would visit the library weekly and walk out with a huge stack of books taller than my head.  I would curl up on my window seat and read hours upon hours each day taking myself to far off fantasy worlds that only existed in the books I read.

My daughter, now 13, is a mirror image of me.  She begs me to take her to the library weekly because the 12 books she checked out last week have all been read through at a speed record pace.  It’s incredible to see her enthusiasm for reading is stronger than mine ever was.

As I got older, though, those fantasies were substituted for the real world, and my time for reading books was given up for dishes, laundry and all of the other “real fun” things that keep a family in working order.  I began to live Cinderella’s lifestyle, without the glass slipper.

But I still enjoy picking up a book or two each summer, though I now carefully select them, instead of grabbing stacks off the shelves like my former youthful self once did.

I was extremely excited to read 15 Years of War, not because I have a penchant for military novels, but because Kristine Schellhaas‘ life mirrored mine, but in a parallel dimension sort of way.  Kristine and her husband Ross, are a military family, as are we, but they are Marine (unlike our alternate universe of being an Air Force family).  They, like us, were married in 2003 (see the similarities).  Another interesting quirk about our two families was I spent 5 years of my childhood in Boise, Idaho, as did Kristine.  That window seat where I found my love of reading was in the same town that Kristine and Ross fell in love.

There is a saying that the military is a small world, and I truly believe that.  There are 318 million people in the United States, yet, at one point in my life, Kristine and I may have actually been at the same grocery store when I was nine years old.  And nearly 25 years later, here I am reading the story of how two people endured two wars, countless moves, training exercises, loss and love.  It was an incredible story, but that’s not the half of it.


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A Visit to a Strawberry Patch: Organic Berry Smoothie Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShoutSolutions #CollectiveBias



It is strawberry season in California, one of my favorite times of the year. A few weeks ago, Mini Me and I took a trip to a locally-grown, organic strawberry farm located in the Santa Ynez Hills. The Farmstead is the area’s source for organic produce, and its farm stand environment is quaint and perfectly trendy. (more…)

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Weekend Wrap-up – Good Vibes

I don’t normally discuss my weekend’s activities.  Usually, it looks a bit like this:  laundry, cleaning, Netflix marathon, rest, repeat.  It’s rather boring, really.  Sometimes, I mix it up and go out to dinner with my neighbors while my daughter hangs back with her friends. Yes, that’s the excitement of my weekend.  I’m just a tired little mama by the time Friday rolls around.  I admit it.

But this weekend was different.   So very different.  In fact, get ready for a warm and fuzzies, good vibes post, coming right at ya! (more…)

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Breaking Busy Book Review

Why Am I “Breaking Busy”? {A Book Review}

Anyone who knows me, knows the word “busy” is banned in my presence.  Its a four-letter word that starts as an excuse and ends in an eye-roll.  Everyone is busy.  Sorry, we all are.  You are no more busy than I am, so please don’t make it sound like you are.  Its the choices we make to fill the space in our 24-hour lives that make the difference.  I choose not to say “I’m too busy to help you,” or “sorry I can’t do that for you, because I’m too busy.”  Because frankly, if you really mattered to me, which you do, I absolutely would.

I recently read an amazing book that put all of this “busyness” into complete perspective.  It examined why we are doing what we’re doing, what we’ve said yes to and why, and whether those are things we actually want to be spending our time and resources on.

If you are tired of being “all things, to all people,” read on to see what I thought of Alli Worthington’s book, Breaking Busy, How To Find Peace & Purpose In A World of Crazy.


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Goosebumps Movie Night with Monster Bark Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeItAMovieNight  #CollectiveBias

I absolutely love movie nights with Mini Me.  In fact, with daddy away, these evenings mean that much more to us.  We laugh, we cry, and we bond.  We typically watch movies at home, just because its so much more comfortable.  We can lounge around, have our choice of snacks and relax after a long week of school and work.  Its even better in the winter when its too cold to go outside.

This past weekend, when the weather was on the chillier side, we chose to watch the new movie Goosebumps, with Jack Black.  He is one of my favorite actors, always silly and fun, but in this role, he was even more outstanding.  I was a fan of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps as a kid.  He started writing them in 1992, when I was 9 years old.  So I was super excited to get to watch this new movie, a culmination of so many of his stories into one fast paced, super fun, family movie.  Mini Me loved the stories too, so it was a great way for us to bond over our two childhoods, and for her to make fun of how old I am.  (Prehistoric, I might add)

The most important part of watching movies at our house, though, is the snacks.  The luxury of watching movies at home is I can make fun snacks beyond the concession stand offerings.  Themed snacks may very well end up on the lineup that evening.  This evening was no exception with Monster Bark, perfect for all the movie’s monsters.  (more…)

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