This month I read The Other Woman by Sandie Jones as well as Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley. (The same Emily Ley who designed the planner I currently use as well as my all-time favorite ink pens.) These books couldn't have been more different from one another, which is why they paired well together this month. I got lost in the engaging and suspenseful The Other Woman before I went to sleep at night, and delved into Grace, Not Perfection - an autobiographical self-help book - while sitting in my car waiting on the kids at their various activities. Depending on what you're looking for with regard to your next read, I recommend both.
This month Hallie and I watched Troop Zero on Amazon Prime. I expected the movie to mirror Troop Beverly Hills, and in many ways is did, however Troop Zero comes with a much stronger - and deeper - script as well as a critically-acclaimed cast. I highly recommend it, whether you liked Troop Beverly Hills or not.
I have been watching Chicago Fire for years, but for the last two or three I have kept the drama on only in the background as I work rather than taking the time to fully engage in each episode. The last three episodes, however, have all drawn me up and away from my computer and wrapped up their plot lines with twists and turns that have left me crying great big crocodile tears. If you haven't watched Chicago Fire before, give it a try, and if you used to watch and walked away, it's time to come back!
I also started watching Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, a quirky, heartfelt dramady about a socially awkward computer coder who hears other people's innermost thoughts in musical numbers. While the premise is a little out there, the first episode ended in such an endearing way that I knew I'd be back. A few laughs, a few tears...I couldn't ask for more than that from a 22-minute reality break.
When it comes to podcasts, I'm still working my way through Crime Junkie. I love finding podcasts that have been around for a while, as they usually come with plenty of episodes to listen to while on the treadmill at the gym, getting ready for the day at home, and driving my kid shuttle around town. (To be clear, I don't listen to Crime Junkie while my kids are in the car...this podcast is definitely not appropriate for children.) When I need a break from crime and punishment (or lack thereof), I pop back over to a long-time favorite, Young House Love.
When it comes to music, since February 14th I've been listening almost nonstop to the Frozen 2 soundtrack, which Hallie received as a Valentine's Day gift. "Into the un-knowwwwww-ohhhh-ohhhh-ohhhhh-n!"
My dry cleaner just transitioned from plastic garment bags to reusable garment bags and I'm 100% on board with the switch. They're a little cumbersome, but they protect the clothes just as well as - if not better than - the plastic did, and I feel so much better about not having to dispose of such giant pieces of plastic every week.
For my anniversary/Valentine's Day gift, I bought myself (per Tom's request that I pick out something fun and nice for myself - that's the beauty of 16+ years of marriage) a new Fitbit. I liked my Inspire, which Tom bought me last year when I was searching for a fitness/activity tracker I could wear both on my wrist and hidden on my body. I found, however, that once I got used to wearing the Inspire on my wrist, I NEVER switched it back to its clip. When I realized I didn't need that component anymore, I decided I wanted an option that laid a little flatter on my wrist and in a more neutral color - enter the Fitbit Versa Lite.
At this time of year we wear jeans on Monday, shorts on Tuesday, a rain coat on Wednesday, a hat and mittens on Thursday, and flip flops on Friday. We arrived in Texas more than nine years ago, and I still haven't adjusted to winter that instead of behaving like actual winter, behaves like all the seasons rolled into one. All this to say, I didn't do any clothing or shoe shopping this month because I couldn't figure out what to shop for. Next month! 😂
Y'all. I spent a full hour typing out this section of this post, explaining in detail all of the delicious recipes we tried last month, only to return later in the day and discover that something went wrong and nothing I'd written had saved. Please forgive me for sharing the recipes below without the fluff - I'm too frustrated and pressed for time to hash it all out for a second time. Trust me when I say that all of these are worth trying!
- Orange Zucchini Bread I cut the sugar almost in half and skipped both the nuts and the glaze.
- Sausage Tortellini Soup I like my soups thick, so I cut the chicken broth to 4 cups, the half & half to 1 cup, and used slightly more tortellini and vegetables than the recipe called for.
- Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing I added sautéed chopped onion, chopped celery, and craisins to the crockpot with the other ingredients.
- Raspberry Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies I cut the sugar to 1/2 cup.
- Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies I used miniature instead of regular chocolate chips.
I wasn't really sure which category to put this one in... It's not really reading, and it's not really watching, and it's not really something to feel good about, except for the fact that it often makes me laugh. I'm talking about Dude With Sign (@dudewithsign) on Instagram. Here are a few of my favorites:
Feeling Good About
- Every advisory (homeroom) class at Hallie's intermediate school decorated their classroom door in honor of Black History Month. I love what Hallie's class came up with and I'm impressed at the quality of their work!
- This Super Bowl Commercial. And this one. And this one. (Shout out to the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Hospital and its doctors and nurses who, in addition to saving the life of the commercial's financier's dog, also saved the life of my childhood pet, a chubby, orange (male) tabby cat named Pearl.) I think I cried three times before the game ever started.
- Also related to the Super Bowl, Kansas City Chiefs player Derrick Nnadi paid the adoption fee for every single dog at a local animal shelter, making it possible for them to be adopted by their forever family for free.
- Last but not least, this teacher's students pooled their money to replace his stolen basketball shoes. Watch the video - you can FEEL how much these students love their teacher and how grateful the teacher is for this generous gift.
Hope you had a fantastic February...let's make it a magnificent March!