Friday, November 3, 2017

Life Lately | October

October was such a great month! We had a lot of activities and all the extra of making sure everything is organized and planned for when the baby comes. I was glad for all the fun we had because it made the month fly by! 

Books I've Read

  • Ha'Penny PlaceThrough hard work and determination, Ivy Rose Murphy has come up in the world. She still begs for discards from the homes of the wealthy which lie only a stone’s throw from The Lane, the poverty-ridden tenements where she lives. These discards she repairs and sells around the Dublin markets. But being in the ha’penny place may soon be a thing of the past for Ivy. She is fast turning herself into ‘Miss Ivy Rose’, successful businesswoman. This is the third book in the series, and focuses on a little girl Ivy and Jem have been taking care of. 
  • Ha'Penny Schemes- Ivy Rose Murphy is trying to adapt to her new role as a married woman. There are those jealous of the improvements she has managed to make in her life. To Ivy it seems everyone wants a piece of her. She is stretched to breaking point. Ivy’s old enemy Father Leary keeps a close watch on her comings and goings. She has attracted the attention of people willing to profit from the efforts of others. In this final book, everything comes to a resolution. Although I wasn't a fan of book 2 and 3, I did like reading the happy endings in this book and the way all the loose ends were tied up. Although improbable, I liked what happened to Ivy Rose's old enemy Father O'Leary. 
  • I am Watching YouWhen Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared. A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life. Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own. Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella. This book really drew me in. It was interesting as the book develops and more information comes to light from each of the characters. I will be looking out for more from this author! 
  • A Tangled Mercy- I just finished this today and could not put it down! It was my favorite book I read this month by far. After the death of her mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture—and her entire New England life. She flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt—the subject of her mother’s own research. Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves. Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world. The dual story line was fascinating and I loved the way the author ended it! 

Recipes I've Tried

The weather has turned pretty chilly so I have been in the mood for more soups! I have tried

  • African Peanut Stew 
    • We have a soup restaurant near us that serves delicious African Chicken Peanut Soup so I finally tried my hand at making my own. It cooked all day in the crockpot and was pretty delicious. I definitely have a few tweaks I want to try next time though!
  • Hash Brown Potato Cheese Soup
    • This was a very easy and quick soup to make. It's hearty and delicious with a side of french bread. My husband absolutely loved it. The hash browns in the soup are so good!

What We've Been Up To

We have been staying busy with lots of fun fall activities. Those last few weeks of pregnancy always feel like forever so I wanted to have some fun things planned. 
Claire recently completed her first swim lessons that had no parent involvement! She can be a little timid around water and used to not want to jump in the pool without hands or go underwater during a bob. With only 6 classes, I am so proud of all she is brave enough to do now! She can't wait for the next class we sign her up for!

Claire chose to be Princess Poppy this year. We made her costume. My mother-in-law made the dress and I ordered a pink sweatsuit for Claire. We made her headband together. It all turned out so cute! We had a few trick or treating activities she was able to wear this for. Now we have way too much candy in the house! 

We carved three pumpkins and roasted pumpkin seeds. It was a fun family activity!

Claire's Room Makeover 

We have had a lot of home updates over the summer. There were some drywall issues, we needed to paint, and we refinished the wood flooring in two of our rooms. After all of that, we moved Claire from her room into our guest room. It was a lot of fun talking with her to figure out how to decorate it all and it turned out really well! I wish we had updated this room much earlier. 
We decided on a light blue, blush, and hot pink color scheme with gold accents. The walls are light blue and we bought a new comforter set and rug. My mother-in-law and I made new pillow covers for her decorative pillows in the color scheme. 

I used my Cricut to make pink and gold polka dots for an accent wall and fleur de lis to decorate the hanging lamp we had in there. I also made a wreath for her room. We added a reading chair in the corner. It's beige so it will hopefully grow with her and go with whatever color scheme she wants next! The rose lamp has been in that room for years. It's actually one rose from every bouquet my husband has given me through the years and I love that it is in Claire's room now!

Claire needed a dresser since we kept her old one in the baby's room so we got this one off amazon and switched out the pulls (here). For only $14, new pulls really make a difference without making a permanent change!  The bench (here) with hot pink fabric drawers (here) we added is great for storage and keeping the room looking neat. 

For wall decoration, I found some frames at Walmart for a few dollars. I got scrapbook paper from Michaels and cut out Cinderella images with my Cricut. I made the sister quote for both Claire's and the baby's room, too. 

We had a mirror in the room initially, but the mirror frame was bronze. For a few dollars and some time, we spray painted the frame and now it goes perfectly! Claire loves how it turned out and so do we. Besides the dresser and chair, this was really a budget makeover and we only spent a few hundred dollars for everything. 

In November, we are really looking forward to our family expanding and celebrating Thanksgiving as a family of 4! 


  1. Love this fun update! I was leaning toward Tangled Mercy for my October Prime book but then thought it didn't sound very interesting so I ended up not getting a book at all. Now I'm bummed I missed out on a good one! Claire's room looks so cute!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  2. Love your daughters room makeover! So pretty and cute! Thanks for sharing all these books. I might have to pick one for my book club. Have a great weekend Laura!

  3. Oh what a lovely room! Have a great weekend!

  4. What a fabulous recap, Laura!!
    I can't believe you get so many books read. I'm struggling to get my one bookclub book done--although it's fabulous and I'm going to go finish it now!!

  5. Oh waht a beautiful room! Claire looks so grown up now too, so nice for her to have a beautiful big girl's room like that! :) THe rose lamp is adorable, what a sweet memento to have! :)

    Can't believe how close you are to the end of it all - hoping the final few weeks aren't too uncomfortable for you! I know they can seem to drag the longest sometimes!

    Hope you are having a lovely weekend :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

  6. I love what you did for the girls rooms! The sister quote is so pretty and I love what you did with the circuit.

  7. Claire is so precious and I love her room! She made the cutest Princess Poppy ever!

  8. Great post,I want to read "I am watching you" :)

  9. November is such a nice month to have a baby. My daughter was born on November 21, right before Thanksgiving and Christmas and it just made the season so much more magical. I love Claire's new room! She looks so cute on Halloween. I have never heard of African Peanut Stew, I may need to try that!


  10. What an adorable room that Claire has! Too cute!
    November babies are the best!
    Stylin In St. Louis

  11. such a cute bedroom!! Love all the colors!!!

  12. What a fun October you just had dear. Claire is sooo adorable. I love roasting pumpkin seeds too.

    Jessica |

  13. Her big girl room looks so great! I bet she loves it. Sounds like you all have had a fun month. Those recipes sound good.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  14. Aw, I bet Claire loves her new big girl room and is eager for that precious baby to get here and take up residence in her old room. This is such a fun time is life for you. Enjoy these days!❤️