Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Life Lately | June

Life Lately | June
I can't believe how quickly June has come and gone! I have mixed feelings. Normally I want summer to last and there are so many things to look forward to, but since most of those things have been cancelled, part of me wants the summer to be over and school back in session for some sense of normalcy to resume. Thankfully our pool is finally open and I hope that will help us all have some fun times for the remainder of summer! 

Books I've Read

  • The Bone Jar by SW Kane- An elderly woman is found dead on the ground of an abandoned asylum. As Detective Kirby begins investigating the murder, the body of another person is found nearby. The secrets of the asylum begin to reveal themselves as the investigation progresses. This was a free First Reads book from amazon. For a murder mystery, I'd say it was pretty good. It set up the characters for a detective series and the action didn't seem to be too slow at any point. It kept my interest, too. I'd rate it a 3.5/5.
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson- Cussy Mary Carter, better known as Bluet to the locals, is a Book Woman in the Appalachian Mountains during the 1930s. She is under constant scrutiny and deals with prejudices from almost everyone she knows because of the color of her skin which is a shade of cobalt blue. This was a free amazon prime book and it's a good one! The imagery and characters are so well developed and the dialogue is perfectly done. I can tell there was a lot of research done before the writing of this book. It's also based on historical events of the book women in the Appalachian Mountains and the family called the Blue Fugates who had blue skin and lived in the area. 5/5
  • Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers by Russell Brunson- I don't think I'll ever monetize my blog to the point of trying to make a living off of it, but this book gave me some fantastic ideas of how to go about increasing readership-no matter the social media means. You can read more of my review in-depth here

Products I've Been Using

  • Zulay Milk Frother- If you know me, you know how much I LOVE my tea. I have a cup every morning. One of my favorites is chai tea and I make it with a bag instead of a concentrate to help save calories. I had the chance to try out the Zulay Milk Frother when they sent me one free to try out and have been making chai tea lattes with it. It makes a lovely milk froth in seconds! My daughters like it for hot cocoa and my husband even likes a bit with his coffee. It makes the drink so much more indulgent! And it's so affordable! Less than $20! It may only be July, but I want to get this for everyone for Christmas! They even have a version that comes in multiple colors. 
  • Aura Cacia Rose Hydrosol & Oil Moisturizer- I received both of these in my recent Influenster Vox Box to try out. I love using them after a shower. I spray on the hydrosol first and then use a small amount of oil over top. A little bit goes a long way for both of them. They both smell incredible and my skin feels super soft afterwards.
  • Golden Star Beauty Self Tanner Dry Oil, Lotion, & Facial Serum- One of my goals this month was to try out a self-tanner. Serendipitous! These products could not have come at a better time! I have tried out the dry oil and lotion so far and they go on really easily. I didn't have any streaking except a few spots on my hands (which was my fault for not washing them better after applying). The application was pretty easy. I used the mitt that came with it So easy my daughter was able to help me get my back! It smells so nice, too! No chemical smell whatsoever. They have a nice summery scent! I'm constantly battling horrible shorts and tank top tan lines, but using these have helped make them not as apparent. 

Recipes I've Tried 

  • Aloha Grilled Chicken- We really enjoyed this! The chicken turned out so tender and the girls loved the grilled pineapple. 
  • Santa Fe Foil Chicken Packets- I like to make chicken foil packets with broccoli and stuffing so this one with new flavors caught my eye. It was so good! One packet normally feeds me and the girls. The leftovers are perfect for an omelette or over a salad! 
  • Chicken Bacon Pasta- Matt made this one when I wasn't feeling great (darn migraines) and it hit the spot. The whole family loved it.
  • Crockpot Crack Chicken Sandwiches- If you are looking for something easy for dinner-this is it! It takes next to no effort and we all really liked it, Matt especially! 
  • Lemon Sour Cream Cake- I had extra lemons from the lemon ice cream we made last month and so I made this cake. It was so fresh tasting and perfect for summer. Delicious!
  • Light Chocolate Cheesecakes- This was a lower calorie version of cheesecakes I made for Father's Day. Claire wasn't so sure about the cottage cheese in them, but loved it once it was all pureed and smooth. We topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
  • No Bake M&M Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie- This was definitely not a lower calorie one! But good nonetheless. I ended up buying a pie crust, but I would suggest you make it because the store bought one was not deep enough for the filling and the ganache. The peanut butter frosting was amazing! I'd love to use that on a bar cookie or cake someday! 
  • Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese Blondie- My hubby loves snickerdoodles so I made this recipe for him. It was very tasty.
  • Zucchini fries- I made it a goal this month to try some new side and salad dishes. So I made zucchini fries as one of them. They were a big hit! 

  • Cooking- I feel like I'm cooking everything! With Matt and the girls home all the time we are going through food so fast. I miss leftover nights! Haha! I have been enjoying trying out some new recipes with the girls. They always love to add the ingredients for me and stir! 
  • Photographing- I'm normally so bad about remembering to take photos of new recipes I try, but I've been getting much better. And of course always taking photos of my daughters!
  • Sharing- Lately I've been sharing my kids with their grandparents and it has been glorious. Aveline visited my parents last week and Claire is with my in-laws this week. Being able to focus on one at a time helps although they miss each other so much! 
  • Trying- I've fallen into the very bad habit of snacking on things between meals and it needs to stop! So I'm trying to cut it out!
  • Wondering- I guess I'm wondering when all of this is going to end. With all the inconsistencies across states and people not wearing masks or following guidelines it seems like it's going to go on forever!
  • Family Update
    • Claire- Claire has been doing well lately. She has been loving the online camps and they give her some structure and something to do parts of the day. She has been such a big help playing with Avie and keeping an eye on her when I am trying to get household things done. She will make such a wonderful mom one day! With the heat and humidity we are finding that she seems to be a bit susceptible to heat exhaustion though and she got herself sick on Father's Day after running around. Luckily it was over quickly!
    • Avie- Avie has recently earned a nickname of Tornado for her magical ability to create a path of destruction everywhere she goes. And of course she is smack dab in the middle of her 2s so she ignores you whenever you tell her to stop. But seriously this girl is so lovable and sweet most of the time. She has the nicest manners of any 2 year old I've ever seen. Always saying 'please' and 'thank you' and 'no thank you' and 'I'm sorry' without any prompting. She has been really interested in dancing and tumbling lately. I really hope I can get her into a class this fall. 
    • Matt- Matt is back in the office a few days a week so we are all remembering how that works. He has to travel again in a couple of weeks. Say a prayer! I hope he stays healthy. 
    • Me- I'm learning a lot of great exercises to help strengthen my hips during my PT sessions. Hopefully I can run again soon and this prevents any issues in the future. Getting old sucks! I made 3 batches of freezer jam from the strawberries we picked this month. It's been 2 years since I made any and I know Matt and Claire were very excited about that. It tastes so much more fresh than store bought! 

June Goals Recap
  1. Get another 5 CEUs done- Completed! I'm up to 18.5 and I need 30. I have until December 2022, but I since I have a subscription for CEUs I can earn online until November of this year I want to get them done so I don't need to pay for the subscription again. And it helps me stay current with my knowledge. 
  2. Try 2 new side dish or salad recipes- Done! I tried a few new vegetable recipes like roasted carrots and zucchini fries. My family really liked them! I have been stepping up our side salad game with a berry salad, oriental salad, and watermelon and feta salad and rotating through those to compliment our meals. 
  3.  Choose a paint color for the office- Yes! We chose Benjamin Moore Bold Blue. The office has coffered ceiling like the dining room. The dining room's ceiling is stained cherry, but not the office so I'd like to keep it light by painting the ceiling white. Now we just need to find the time to actually get it done!
  4. Try a self tanner- Completed! I haven't tried self tanner since high school when I basically made my arms orange. This experience was much better! I tried Golden Star Beauty tanning oil and I'm really pleased! I need to fine tune my application, but for the first time, it looks pretty good!
  5. Read 3 books- I'm not sure how I did it, but I finished 3 and started a fourth. Hurray! 
July Goals

  1. Research and try at least 2 new weightlifting exercises- I'd love to try out a new ab and/or arm exercise.
  2. Get a pedicure- It's finally open! I can't wait to treat myself. 
  3. Paint the office- We've got the color, now it's time to put the brush to the wall!
  4. Do my hip exercises 5 times a week-I've been going to PT for some really tight muscles near my left hip. They gave me quite a few exercises to do daily so the goal is to keep it up! 
  5. Organize my jewelry- I've been through my clothes and shoes and I really need to go through my jewelry! 

linking up with Anne & Gretchen + KristenWhat's Up Wednesday

1 comment:

  1. I love chai lattes and having your own milk frother must be so fun for that! All those recipes you tried look delicious!