The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - Suzanne Collins' prequel to The Hunger Games, for which I waited eagerly for months - did not disappoint. The story begins 64 years prior to our introduction to Katniss, as preparations are being made for the 10th Hunger Games. The protagonist is Coriolanus Snow, who as a high school student in the Capitol is suddenly thrust into the figurative and literal spotlight as he attempts to navigate his new role as mentor for the girl tribute from District 12. This particular Hunger Games becomes a turning point in the trajectory of this horrific tradition, but also in the life of one-day President Snow. If you enjoyed the original series, I highly recommend giving Songbirds and Snakes a read!
I'd love it if Collins wrote about Haymitch's Hunger Games next...
The second half of the final season of Alexa and Katie came out on Netflix midway through the month, so Hallie and I binged it last weekend. Y'all, the series finale about did me in. I haven't cried that hard since Herb Brooks' pep talk before his USA men's hockey team took the ice against Russia during the 1980 Olympic Games. (The version seen in Miracle, of course. I have no idea what the real Brooks said before the real USA men's hockey team took the ice that spectacularly dramatic day.)
Hallie and I originally picked Alexa and Katie as a filler, to tide us over after Liv and Maddie, but it ended up becoming one of my favorite series. This style of television show may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're looking for something to watch with your tweenage daughter that won't make you crazy - and just might remind you of your own tweenage years spent watching Full House and Family Matters on TGIF - give Alexa and Katie a try.
In between Mentalist episodes, Will and I lost ourselves in Inferno (he recently read all of Dan Brown's books), and as a family we watched Catch Me If You Can - I was surprised at how well both went over!
Hallie and I also watched the end of the final season of Fuller House (the creators came up with a lovely ending. It was no Alexa and Katie, but we still enjoyed it) and added a few movies to our lengthy movie list:
Red = watched in April
Green = watched in May
Blue = watched in June
Black = yet to watch
- The Wedding Singer
- Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
- 13 Going on 30
- A League of Their Own
- Miss Congeniality
- Legally Blonde
- Pitch Perfect
- 50 First Dates
- Now and Then
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
- Miss Congeniality 2
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- 17 Again
- The Prince and Me
- Pitch Perfect 2
- Pitch Perfect 3
- Bring It On
- The Princess Bride
- Big Daddy
- Mean Girls
- A Cinderella Story
- Sweet Home Alabama
- 27 Dresses
- Life As We Know It
- Uptown Girls
- The Wedding Date
- Fever Pitch
- The Wedding Planner
- Save the Last Dance
- Ever After
- The Prince and Me 2
- Ice Princess
- While You Were Sleeping
- Life Size
- Mamma Mia
- Never Been Kissed
- Father of the Bride
- Father of the Bride 2
- Runaway Bride
- My Best Friend's Wedding
- The Holiday
- Bend it Like Beckham
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding
- The Cutting Edge
- That Thing You Do
While catching up on a couple of podcasts on which I'd fallen behind, I listened to and was fascinated by "Wolf 10" from Criminal. Equally intriguing was its companion episode, "The Wolves", on Phoebe Judge's second podcast, This is Love. I then started working my way through the third season of This is Love, which is all about how animals show love, the love between animals, and the love between animals and humans. Not to be missed is "Roselle and Michael", about their shared experience escaping the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th.
Because I'm officially an old lady:
1. I sleep with this orthopedic pillow, which makes my hips hurt less than they did before.
2. I clean my grout, using this tool, which does an amazing job.
Unrelated to being an old lady, I learned this month that our library offers curbside pick-up! The kids and I were desperate for new books to read (we're not comfortable going into establishments like the library yet), and curbside pick-up turned out to be a safe and easy way for us to restock our library book supply.
My quarantine kryptonite? T-shirts with important, interesting, fun, or clever sayings or pictures on them. Since I basically alternate between wearing jean shorts and a t-shirt and one of my three Walmart rompers, all of these shirts are getting plenty of wear!
|From Emily Ley's Apparel Pop Up Shop -
proceeds benefit the NAACP Foundation.
|From The B Side Vinyl - local to us
here in BCS - and a gift from a friend.
|Also from The B Side Vinyl and also a gift.
|A friend and I bought these for some of our dance
mom friends after our first driveway get-together at
the beginning of quarantine. They came from Dresswel,
which we weren't familiar with, but the shirts are
good quality and the price was great!
|I bought this one for myself from Little Mama
Shirt Shop, which is quickly becoming one of
my favorite small businesses to support.
|This one came from Adybelle. While the material
isn't my favorite, the company had good customer
service. (After a shipping delay, my shirt and the
two I ordered for friends ended up being free).
We tried close to 10 new recipes this month, but only a few were tasty enough to make it to the Monthly Medley.
- I actually didn't have high hopes for this Mexican and Zucchini Beef Skillet, but I had all of the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be the most popular recipe of the month, with even Hallie calling it delicious.
- Neither Will or Hallie would eat these Oatmeal Energy Balls (both detest peanut butter), but two friends and I devoured a batch in short order.
- I've tried A LOT of different chicken spaghetti recipes over the years, but this one ranked fairly high on my list. I followed the recipe fairly closely, however I added a 1/2 c. of chopped red pepper as well as the option green chiles.
Feeling Good About
- This series of photos capturing moments of kindness and compassion. As my friend Hannah said when she shared the series, "there's something here for everyone".
- "Boarded up businesses have become brilliant works of art."
- In Las Vegas, for month-long windows following their infractions, people could pay for their parking tickets with food donations and school supplies.
- I'm not sure how to best describe this video, other than to call it beautiful. Kids have great ideas when it comes to expressing themselves and bringing light to important causes.
Be well, friends.