July's Monthly Medley is coming in a little late this month, and for that I apologize. I had a few travel posts I wanted to fit in in a timely fashion, and then it was time for back-to-school posts, so this monthly tradition had to be bumped back a bit. We're back on track now!
Though I've done quite a bit of volunteer writing these last few months, I haven't done much paid work this summer as the magazine I wrote for most frequently and regularly recently closed its doors. I'm sad to see this chapter end, but looking forward to taking on some new projects in the months ahead!
After a book fail (after 100 pages I just gave up), I pivoted to The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, which I LOVED, cover to cover. There's mystery involved, but it's not a crime junkie murder mystery. There are romantic and familial relationships, but it's definitely not a romance. I think I read on the inside cover that it could be categorized as a heartfelt thriller, and I think I agree with that...whatever the case, this book is definitely a win!
Out of curiosity I Googled the book, and I was surprised to discover that the book has been turned into an Apple TV+ miniseries starring Jennifer Garner. I guess I know what I'm watching this weekend!
I watched a lot of Netflix movies and television shows while puttering around, decluttering, and organizing the house during the second half of July. I won't share the complete duds, but I will share those I'd grade at a B- or higher!
- Season 7 of Queer Eye - A
- Season 1 of Hack My Home - B-
- Forever My Girl - B
- The Volcano: Rescue From Whakaari - A-
- Like Father - B+
- Love Guaranteed - B-
- Don't Look Up - A
- Sleepless in Seattle - A
At the end of the month I started listening to Scamanda, about a young woman - wife, mother, blogger - who is dying from cancer. I won't say anything else lest I spoil the secret, but I will say that I'm already hooked.
I've been following along with Sydney Givens (the dermatologist behind Skincare by Sydney) as she talks me through dealing with all the different kinds of skin ages, stages, and issues in our house. Check her out at @sydneygivens_skin on Instagram.
I've also been, at least occasionally, learning from Enneagram with Abbey. I have a pretty good idea of where I fall on the Enneagram (though I've never taken the full test, because it costs money), but I like learning about all of the enneagram types and then trying to use that information to better interact with - or at least better understand - family members and friends. You can find her at @enneagramwithabbey on Instagram.
Strawbaby (Straw-Ana) and Jitty (Jitterbug) destroyed our first kitten tunnel, so we replaced it with this one. Whenever we have kittens now the tunnel lives on the floor of our closet, and while it's a little weird to share your closet with kittens, it makes me smile when I see them having such a blast in it. And the avocados are adorable.
I've shared this product before (my apologies for doubling up on cat paraphernalia), but we love it so much that we just bought a second one. The link is here, and here are pics of it in action. (The first two pics are to show how one full-size cat and one kitten fill it up. The third pic is of our new set up, which they love.)
Will has recently become a huge fan of hats (baseball caps and bucket hats), to the point that I think he's quadrupled his "collection" over the last three months. His storage method for these many hats was throwing them onto the floor in his closet, so I upgraded him to this hat rack/caps holder. It's not incredibly sturdy, but it was affordable and gets the job done!
My mom bought me this dress while we were in Wisconsin at the beginning of July. I love it, and not just because it has pockets; it's lightweight, washable, flattering, and comfortable, it works with a regular bra (IYKYK), and I've gotten compliments - even from strangers - every single time I've worn it.
I'm finally getting back into the kitchen (despite the heat, which makes me want to leave the kitchen), and I have a handful of delicious recipes to share as a result.
Hallie made these Soft & Chewy M&M Cookie Bars, with about 3/4 c. brown sugar (instead of the 1 c. the recipe called for). They were delicious and plenty sweet!
Hallie also made these Orange Cooler Cookies (clearly she likes to bake, following in her mother's footsteps), following the recipe exactly. I actually think we'd made these before, but they were good enough to share, potentially again!
I made these Ground Beef Skillet Enchiladas, using flour tortillas instead of corn (try as I might, I just can't get on board with corn tortillas). I only put cheese on half of the dish because my kids are weird, and we skipped the cilantro since 3/4 of us think it tastes like soap. The finished product was fantastic, and we had hardly any leftovers.
These Santa Fe Chicken Salad Roll Ups (though I left everyone assemble their own rather than rolling them up while prepping dinner) were also quite tasty. I felt like the ratio of sauce to other ingredients was a little heavy, so when I make this meal again, I'll probably make about 75% of the sauce for the same amount chicken, beans, corn, and pepper.
Feeling Good About
- The World Cup. The tournament didn't end particularly well for the United States, but what an incredible tournament showcasing the best this sport has to offer in terms of athleticism, skill, and sportsmanship. Fox Sports' "most unforgettable moments" are here, and here is a brief article about how this tournament was essentially a clinic on how to win graciously.
- This deer, who scores a goal and then celebrates his victory.
- This fox, who seems to really enjoy the banjo.
See you for August's Monthly Medley in just a couple of weeks!