Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean {Five Star Read!}

{Thank you to @williammorrowbooks for my free copy to read, review & share with all of you!}

Mika in Real Life

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean

My August reading is off to a great start, and I am excited to share that I had my first #FiveStarRead of the month! 🤩⁣

Mika in Real Life surprised me, in the best possible way. It’s been a while since I read a book about family that just felt so real, and human. Don’t let this cute book cover deceive you, because while this book is totally heartwarming, it’s also real and covers some heavy topics that made this book really stick. 💗⁣

Mika is a Japanese-American woman in her mid-30s who’s life looks nothing like the one she had once imagined. Mike is at a low point when her daughter she had given up for adoption 16 years earlier, reaches out to her, hoping to connect. ☎️⁣

In her quest to be a person her daughter Penny is proud of, Mika creates a few white lies which, of course, end up snowballing into something way bigger than she ever imagined. While this storyline seems predictable at first, it ends up being the foundation of a novel that captures the essence of what makes a parent and what makes a life. 📖⁣

Not only is Mika endearing but she’s also beautifully flawed. Author Emiko Jean delves into how our own pasts have made us who we are, and how our families expectations have shaped us but also don’t make us. The Japanese American immigrant experience was woven in throughout this story. In addition, the side characters are multifaceted and add so much to this brilliant novel. 🙌⁣

I can’t say enough about this book and I know it will stick with me for a long time. It was also picked as the @gmabookclub August selection and I highly recommend adding to your end of summer reading list. Is Mika In Real Life on your reading radar yet? ☀️📝⁣

GMA book club
✨QOTD: What was your last five star read? I am discussing this one over on my @genthebookworm Instagram feed and I would love to hear your thoughts!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

Five Things to Tell You | June 14th, 2020

Gen The Bookworm blog

ONE: SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER!

2020-06-14_0004August 2019 vs. June 2020…first and last days of school!

It’s been pretty quiet on here as we wrapped up the last couple of weeks of “homeschooling”. While I don’t think we totally nailed the remote learning curriculum, we all survived and some days even thrived. It’s hard to believe we have 2nd and 5th graders now!

Our wonderful teachers were as supportive as they could be during such new and challenging circumstances and they taught me so much along the way too. The situation truly showed us how resilient kids are and we learned so much from them. While it is easier now to look back on the last few months will rose-colored glasses, I have my fingers crossed that Vermont’s plan to send kids (safely) back to school in the Fall is a go…

Continue reading “Five Things to Tell You | June 14th, 2020”

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…August Transitions, Being a Tourist in Your Own Town & Summer Nights

currently loving...

Checking-in:

Hi everyone and happy Friday night. While I may not be drinking coffee right now, I did just have some espresso gelato, so that counts right?

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After a fun week of camp for the kids and work for us, it feels great to have no plans tonight. We may live in a small town but we live close to a lot of amazing food options and tonight we visited Pizza On Earth for some to-go pizza. We picked up two pies and also each had a little cup of gelato, before dinner! I know, just living on the edge over here….It was delicious and was such a good reminder of the ease of summer nights.

August Transitions:

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(image from Positively Present)

August is a big time of reflection for me on what has worked so far this past year and what might need some adjusting. Now that both our kid’s schedules really follow the school calendar it really does feel like the end one of one year and the start of a new one in so many ways.

This past week the kids were in a day camp which allowed me to have a lot more work hour available since school ended back in mid-June. This time was also a great indicator of how I can work smarter once we are back to this “regular” schedule in a few weeks.

While I got a lot done, it was also a reminder of how much I have to catch up on and the “pile” seems so high right now it feels a bit overwhelming. I talked about this on Instagram the other day but I have felt like I am just treading water over here during the last couple of months.

I have a supportive partner and many helpful resources that I don’t ever want to take for granted but it still often feels like I am just trying to stay afloat instead of making progress forward. I love to share my highlights on here but there is also the reality of life with two working parents and the endless cycle of family life at this stage and it is just something in the background that we are constantly navigating.

Academic Calendar Planner:

paper planner

So with that in mind, I always follow the academic school year with my planners and it feels nice to have a “fresh start” as we transition back into more structure and routines.  I love sitting down at the beginning of the school year and penciling in all the important dates and not having to wait until I have a new planner for the “new year” in January.

I am a paper planner person all the way and I just love having a physical calendar in front of me. I have tried many brands of planners over the years(Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc), and have been the happiest with Bloom planners and they also have a great price point.

Day Designer wall calendar

In our kitchen, we also have a shared calendar which includes appointments, events, practices, etc that all of our family can refer to. The Day Designer wall calendars are wonderful for this and I love that they have so many color and print options depending on your style and preferences

It Takes a Village…

 

Swim team ended for us last week and it was the end of an intense but wonderful month and a half of daily swimming and the wonderful community that comes along with it. I think a lot about “our parenting village” and I am so grateful to have made friends in many different areas of our family life.

I could not have done so many things this summer without the help of these people and it was such an important reminder about how small things really do add up. I remember hearing about this elusive “village” when our kids were very young and feeling not quite sure how you created one.

I will say that saying just hello and finding something in common with another person can the gateway to lifelong friends.  It is also important to remember that most other people feel the same way as you and would be happy to have a new friend or just someone to chat with for a bit.

This summer I also learned about hard cider seltzer, I am always late to these things but I love how delicious and dry these are, and these tiny cans are a perfect size!

Currently Loving…Beyblades!

 

I don’t think I can talk about some of the successes of summer without giving a shout out to the ultimate friend maker & connector, BEYBLADES. The boys were introduced to these this past spring by some friends at school and it has been a “bey bonanza” since then…You don’t need a lot (and they were using a pizza pan for their “arena” in the photo above, my friend Jess is super smart!) and they are hours of fun.

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I had never heard of these things before but I guess they were a thing that has come back as of recently… Anyway, the kids are playing with them now as I write this and they only argue about them I’d say 50% of the time…so I would call that a win!

Speaking of the Kids Arguing…

If you talk to any other parent this time of year, they will probably say the same thing…school can start anytime now and THE KIDS NEED TO BE SEPARATED!!! Our kids truly do spend the entire summer together, so I totally get it, but oh man, the drama! So last weekend we decided to each go our own way with one of the boys, and it was BLISS!

Being a Tourist In Your Own Town/State…

There is something so fun about soaking in all the activities right where you live. Vermont is a place a lot of people visit for vacation and we are lucky to live here all the time.

Owls Head Farm PYO Blueberries…

We have an annual tradition of hitting up Owls Head Farm at our old stomping grounds in Richmond, and we were excited to go for the pick 6 quarts get a 7th free deal.

Our younger son is an amazing berry picker and he is at the perfect age to still think this is totally fun and cool(not so with the 9-year-old!) so we completed this task in under an hour. It was the most beautiful summer morning and the berries were big and delicious.

 

Swimming at Warren Falls:

 

How gorgeous and clear is this water? I drove over the Lincoln Gap with our older son and hit up the swimming holes at Warren Falls. He “snorkeled” (with his goggles) and I sat reading my book with my feet in the water. It was amazing.

 

If you don’t have Chaco Sandals, are you really a Vermonter? 😉 We also explored the area where people jump in and he went quite a few times while I watched and took some photos. My river jumping days are over(long story for another day!)but it was so fun to see him so excited about it!

Canteen Creemee Company

 

We didn’t drive all that way to not try out the Canteen Creemees and they were amazing!! I had the chocolate mint which was great but the maple creemee was out of this world!!! It was topped with maple cotton candle and while normally don’t do a lot of extra toppings (besides rainbow sprinkles) it was the perfect addition.

Currently NOT Loving…Packing Lunch!

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After packing lunches for the boys for many years, we have fully embraced hot lunch at school..so my packing skills were a little rusty when we had to break out the old Yum Boxes for camp this week. I did okay on the first day…but it went downhill from there. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding your kids at home or packing it for them, the food disappears faster than you can buy it and their opinions change on the daily…

One of my top parenting hacks is to get cafeteria lunch if your school has that option. Ours is amazing, well balanced and they have so many more options than the dismal options that were available when we were kids. It is such a time saver and also money saver as buying everything to pack in a lunch box (the two above were lunch and two snacks) is quite expensive, especially if you have big eaters.

Currently Reading…

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It has been a little slow in the social media department as this week was very work-focused for me but I have been quite doing a bit of reading in the evenings. I finished The Forever Summer which was a perfect summer read (predictable yet enjoyable) and Life and Other Inconveniences was published this past week if you are looking for another one to add to your end of summer reading list! The Wedding Party is coming up next for me, and I have heard great things.


I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Summer Fruit, Pool Life, Shellac Nails, Library Book Sales & Turning Nine!

Book Blog

Checking-in:

Hello and happy Thursday. How is your week going? As many wonderful things that have happened during the last few weeks, it has also had its fair share of challenges and sadness. I often struggle with how to balance sharing a lot of my life on a public platform while also bearing in mind that we all have harder realities of everyday life that are more private.

It is a hectic time in general with work and family life and I am thankful to have so many great support systems in place that really make such a big difference with the harder parts of life. Alright, I think that was important to say, as I tend to share some of our “highlight reel” in photos on these Currently Loving posts.

So here is a little of what we have been up to…

Swimming Life

Our family wrapped up the swim meet season last week and our practices will be winding down soon too. It has been such a wonderful part of our summer. Having something that is daily works really well for us because it gets us out of the house by a certain time each day and gives us some structure that can be really hard to find this time of year.

Our boys made so much progress this summer. The swim team has been a great reminder and conversation starter about doing our best and being kind and supportive to both our teammates, competitors and ourselves. I will miss our swimming community so much but there is always next year!

Daily swimming means we are at the pool all the time. It isn’t a bad place to be and with great wifi, it makes it a great place to catch up on work. The boys practice at the same time now which if you have ever had kids on different team schedules you know what is a gift this is!

Berries galore

We are lucky to live near so many wonderful family farms and that means this time of year we are picking all the berries. We were excited to drive down the road to opening day at Adam’s Berry Farm and the berries were incredible! We didn’t last too long because it was during our brief summer heatwave so we will be back!

Library Book Sale

After berry picking, we headed to the annual town library book sale! I love supporting the library(and it’s upcoming renovation!) stocking up on past favorites and also grabbing some to share with friends! 💓

Between the kids and me we brought three totes bags and it wasn’t enough! Next year we need a duffle bag. 🤣 ⁣
library book sale kids books

We arrived early and waited in line for about 10 minutes and it was worth sweating through our clothes. We picked up so many picture books including a bunch of golden books. Flynn also added some super informative books to our collection…first words in Italian and a guide to venomous animals, ha!

Lake Life on a Hot Summer Day…

We headed out on the boat and it was the best way to cool down. Although with the intense heat it also means there can be fast approaching summer storms. This one snuck in and surprised us and while it was very interesting to see from the boat, we were eager to get back to dry land.

Shellac Nails Home Removal

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You know I love to discuss the random and obscure and I thought it was a great time to share about my shellac nails experience. I almost never paint my nails but I do always have shellac on my toenails. I get a shellac pedicure every 4-5 weeks and it is a great and long-lasting way to keep them looking nice when I am quite rough on regular nail polish.

For the wedding a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to get my nails done and so I ended up getting a shellac manicure two days before the wedding. It lasted a good 10 days or so before they started to look a little rough and I needed to get it off ASAP. They were also starting to get longer which I don’t like the feeling of…I do a lot of computer work and it was driving me crazy! Anyway, I knew I could go in and have it removed but it really wasn’t something I could easily fit into our schedule.

So off I went to the pharmacy… I grabbed a container of full-on acetone and some cotton balls.  At first, I tried the wrapping method with soaked cotton balls and tin foil, similar to the way they remove it at the nail salon. Then I changed tactics and did the soaking method on my other hand…as suggested by the Pioneer Woman of all people…

I found that the soaking method worked better and because I don’t have a lot of nail tools, I used the end of a measuring spoon to have push off the remaining polish which was quite effective…I am nothing if not resourceful, ha!

So I am not saying this is the most non-toxic method, but I think if you are going the shellac route you know that isn’t either…I was very pleased with how easy it was and I am super happy to have short and naked nails once again! I didn’t find that it damaged them in any way and I would definitely do shellac again for a special event, I just don’t have the patience to keep up with something like that in my everyday life.

Creemees & AC

It’s totally normal to take a photo to send to your kids when you have a creemee without them right?! Don’t worry, they were off having a special dinner and having ice cream after but we couldn’t resist. Buzz spent a lot of time indoors during the heatwave because it is just so hard to keep dogs cool. We are thankful to have AC and lots of ceiling fans.

Turning Nine!

Someone in our family turned NINE! For some reason, this number is hitting me hard. Maybe it is because it is halfway to 18 or maybe it is just because I can remember when I was nine so vividly…I know he is still so young but he really is growing up so quickly.

The past nine years have been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Parenting is such a gift and it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I am so grateful to have a child that is kind, understanding and helps us learn and grow every day. 

And when you turn nine you have cinnamon rolls for breakfast and sushi and hibachi for dinner…seems pretty perfect to me!

Alright, that is all for now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. <3

A Family Wedding Weekend in Vermont | Jay Peak Resort

A Family Wedding at Jay Peak Resort

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The Rehearsal

This past weekend we celebrated the wedding of my brother in law Derek and new sister in law Antonia! There is nothing like a family wedding and we had so much fun celebrating and spending time all together. We lucked out with amazing weather! After an iffy forecast, it ended up being the perfect wedding day. The mountains made the most stunning backdrop at Jay Peak Resort.

On Friday afternoon we had the rehearsal followed by an amazing evening at The Belfry which is just down the road in Montgomery. My husband’s family has had a camp in this area for 20 years so this restaurant is a place filled with so many memories for everyone. The food was amazing and the company was even better.

The Wedding Morning

It doesn’t matter how late I go to bed, I still can’t sleep in! Fortunately, we were staying in the perfect place for a cup of coffee with a view. We are finally at the stage where if the kids stay up later they will sleep in for a bit and this made for a quiet morning of coffee by the fire. It was a brisk 57 degrees and it felt amazing…there is just nothing like a cool summer morning.

Wedding Day Prep

It was the first time all four of our family members were part of a wedding party at the same time. Lucas was the Best Man, I was the Matron of Honor and the kids were the ring bearers. It made for some interesting logistics but we were lucky that because it was a family wedding, there were a lot of family members around that were happy to help.

I spent the day with the bridal party getting ready and Lucas took the boys to the water park. The Pump House is the most perfect place for the age of our kids. They loved the water slides and river so much.

The Wedding Ceremony

The Ceremony took place by the pond and it was just gorgeous. The shuttles brought everyone around the resort for all the wedding festivities which made it super easy. The views and the breeze were amazing and our friend Mike officiated the wedding which made it is so special.

After the ceremony, we took some family photos and then headed down to the cocktail area. Derek and Antonia did a first look so we had already completed the bridal party photos too which was nice.

The Reception

I really don’t have a lot of photos from the reception but it was so fun. I was a little nervous because both Lucas and I were both sharing a speech but once that was over it was a blast! 😉 I know people have strong opinions about this but I love having a DJ over a live band and if you know my tastes in music this probably surprises NO ONE. The music was great and everyone danced all evening.

While there weren’t many other kids at the wedding there were plenty of people that were young at heart! 😉 Between the dance floor, making human-sized straws, the maple syrup favors and a rowdy game of some sort of golf putting, they were thoroughly entertained all evening.

The Morning After & The Water Park

I had another leisurely morning of coffee and reading and then we joined the bride and groom for breakfast. If you haven’t had the Foundry Mimosa you are missing out, it is amazing!!

Once the boys were awake we headed to the water park as a family. We all had so much fun and Lucas and I even did the La Chute waterslide…I may have screamed the entire way down, ha.

All in all, it was a wonderful and meaningful weekend and we were so happy to be a part of it. I hope you enjoyed this peek at our family wedding weekend and I will be back later with a book review and the list of my favorite books of 2019 (so far!) 

 

Currently Loving | Pressing Pause, Lake Life & A Family Wedding

Book Blog

*I was all set to publish this post on Friday and life got in the way. I wanted to share it before I post updates from our family wedding so if it sounds a little like it was written last week…it was! Thanks for understanding. 🙂

Checking-in:

family in Vermont

Hello and happy Friday! The week after 4th of July always feels like a long one, especially when you had a day off during the middle of the previous week. We have a lot going on this week because we have a family wedding this weekend! We have lots of family in town for the event and so we have been spending lots of time altogether and also doing a lot of prep for the weekend ahead! It’s going to be a fun one.

The Pace of Summer:

pool life

While there is always this idea that summer will be a change of pace, it really is just as hectic but just in a different way. Now that our kids are getting older the activities they participate in are more frequent so the intensity for anything they are doing really ramps up. We are a “one activity at a time” family but it still adds up and there have been a lot of late nights.

It is actually quite enjoyable and they love being part of a team but there just aren’t those lazy summer evenings like I always anticipate when we are in the thick of the end of the school year rush. It is so wonderful to watch your kids participate in an activity that they practice hard at and enjoy so much and it is also a chance to socialize with other parents which I am always a fan of.

A Low-key Holiday & Choosing to Hit Pause:

I am always trying to find the right balance and once the most helpful things for has been realizing that we don’t have to do it all. I often have to remind myself of this not only with this blogging part of my life but also with family activities.

There is this pressure during the summer to do it all. On the 4th of July, there are fireworks and BBQs and parades, matching outfits and more. After having a pretty hectic last few weeks we decided to skip it all and head out for a day on the lake, with a picnic lunch, our bathing suits, and a book.

Lake Life

floating in the lake

After many years of these kinds of things pretty quite stressful with younger kids, we really soaked in it. We lucked out with the perfect weather and ended up staying out from before lunchtime until the sunset. The kids ended up running into some friend from school on the beach and so everyone was happy and entertained. Even Buzz met some new friends and one was a black and white springer spaniel named Dixie, so cute!

Creemees For Dinner

Vermont is for creemees

And it isn’t a summer day without having ice cream for dinner sometimes right? My creemee order is coffee with rainbow sprinkles, in a cone. We are lucky to live close to Cookie Love which has the most amazing treats!

Strawberries EVERYWHERE!

I am lucky to work somewhere that also has an incredible garden. Kristy has a green thumb and I reap the benefits! We also went picking again because the berries just keep on coming. We picked 11 pounds in about 20 minutes…and they were all gone within 2 days thanks to all our visitors. 🙂

Summer Favorites

sugar snap peas

There is something so special about things that you can only get for a couple of weeks every year.  My favorite summer vegetable harvest is definitely sugar snap peas…followed by cherry tomatoes!

A New Neighbor in Town!

while we are very happy with Buzz being our only dog child, we do love having new additions join our neighborhood! We got to meet Piper and we are so excited that she lives right across the cornfield! I can’t wait for lost of dog and kid playdates with her family. Isn’t she the sweetest?

Three Birthdays

Finally, we celebrated three family birthdays while everyone was in town and what is a better way to do it than a BBQ and an ice cream cake from, you guessed it, Cookie Love! The cookie crumbles that were outside and in between the layers of chocolate and vanilla ice were amazing. Lucas’ brother and his family live outside of Atlanta so we don’t get to see them a lot so this time together has been so special.

Alright, that is it for now, see you soon! 

Coffee Talk | Currently…The Beginning of Summer, Strawberry Picking, Pool Days, Evenings on The Lake & Going to The Movies

Book Blog

Checking-in:

Good morning! Can you believe it is July?! The next month is filled with lots of family events, including a wedding and our older son’s 9th birthday. We have a lot of family members coming into town for the wedding that we are so excited to see. With work, swim team and regular life stuff going on at the same time, it is going to feel a little hectic but it will be so fun too.

June in a Nutshell:

We finished baseball season and school and moved right into summer mode. There isn’t a big adjustment period with summer here because everyone knows it is short so everything is jam-packed. Swim team started the very first day of school break and we have (mostly) adjusted to our new work schedules during the last two weeks as well. I always find July a little easier because we are in our groove and then August is a transition time as well with summer activities wrapping up, and school starting again.

 

Currently Eating…All The Summer Fruit!

There is nothing better than berries you just picked. The first weekend of summer we headed to Full Belly Farm which is a nearby “pick your own” farm. We went on opening day and the strawberries were everywhere. We went with Kristy and her girls so we had some super awesome berry pickers with us and filled our flats in no time.

I always have the best plans to freeze some of what we pick but we never have any left to do so! Between eating them plain and a couple nights of strawberry shortcake for dessert, we didn’t have any left…oops!

 

Currently Spending Our Days…at the Pool!

Our older son started swim team when he was 5 and this is the 2nd year that both of our boys are participating. Having them in an activity on the same team is AMAZING! Because of their age difference in school (3 years), they are always on different practice and game schedules with other sports so this feels like such a luxury.

Anyway, swim team is the best summer activity. It gives us somewhere to be each weekday morning (structure!! routines!!) keeps the kids active outside and it is just the best community of kids and instructors.

We aren’t particularly competitive about it but the boys really get into the team spirit and it has been an awesome way for them to learn how to swim and meet new friends. I hope they want to continue until they are too old for it because I don’t know what we would do all summer long without it.

 

Currently Enjoying…Our Happy Neighbors

During the winter months, our animals are kept in the pastures closer to the barns so it is easier for hay and water to be delivered to them. This time of the year they are out and about and enjoying all the grass our town has to offer. In addition to being in the pastures next to our house, they graze in a few different neighboring fields. They are the perfect lawn mowers and are quite nice company too. We love to go talk to them after dinner and they are especially fascinated with Buzz…which maybe they think belongs with them because of his black and white coloring.

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Speaking of Buzz…

Buzz loves summer! He is ecstatic that the boys are around more and especially enjoys the hundreds of squirrels and chipmunks that roam around our home and eat all our bird seed. he likes to perch himself on the chair in my office while I am working and keep an eye on things…we clearly have no boundaries with him and furniture!!

Currently Participating in…The Kids Summer Reading Challenge!

 

The kids are signed up for the summer reading challenge through our local library and it is great motivation to keep up with their daily reading.

During the school year, we visit our town library once a week and we are trying to keep up with this schedule during the next couple of months. The summer reading challenge is a great motivation for us to get there because it allows them to add to their charts when we visit.

They have the option to either do a sticker chart or an actual list, which is great for kids of different ages and reading and writing abilities. Our younger son chose the sticker chart and our older son is keeping an actual list of the books he reads.

I talked more about this HERE if you are interested in learning more.

 

Currently Loving…ALL The Turtles!

It is time for many turtles to lay their eggs so we have spotted many nearby lately. We saw this painted turtle trying to cross the road last weekend so we got out and helped her cross…our turtle lover was in heaven!!!

We also saw this snapping turtle at Luke’s office, but we gave her a little more space. 😉

 

Currently…Loving Evenings on The Lake!

After a chilly spring, Lucas and the kids got the boat in the water last week and we were excited to get out on the lake! Going on the boat is our very favorite summer activity and there is something so special about an evening boat ride. We lucked out with the calmest waters and a gorgeous sunset on our first night out.

 

We weren’t certain about the weather forecast at first but were able to get out for a second time on Saturday. We took the boat down to the Basin Harbor Club for dinner and an evening swim and then did some kayaking in the bay when we returned. Although there are many challenging parts of the parenting stage we are at, we are finally about to embrace later evenings as a family and we are loving it!

 

Currently Watching…Toy Story 4!

I think we have gone to the movie as a family maybe one other time. For a long time, the kids didn’t have the patience to sit through all the trailers and then a entire movie. Then there was the period of time when they were nervous about a lot of movies (we had to leave Moana for example!) so we just didn’t go.

They have always loved Toy Story though so when it rained on Sunday we thought it was the perfect opportunity to try it out again. We all loved it and the scariness factor is low (besides the creepy ventriloquist dolls in the antique store which I thought were less scary than the old neighbor Sid).

Movie Snacks…

Do you have a favorite movie snack? Lucas gets popcorn, the kids usually want Sour Patch Kids and I am a Goober’s fan all the way. Goobers have been my go-to movie snack since I was a little kid and I don’t think I have ever seen a movie without them. I will be devastated if they stop having at the movies so I really hope there are other Goobers fans out there too. 😉


I hope you all have a great Tuesday morning!

Coffee Talk | Currently… | school’s out for summer, a weekend escape, ALL the sunscreen & more

Book Blog

Checking-in:

It surprises me every year how quickly the transition from the end of the school year to summer mode happens. Last Friday was the last day of the school year and here we are just a week later and it feels like forever ago!

end of school photo

Adjustment period:

It has definitely been an adjustment week as we figure out how to juggle this short but intense season of the year. Some things didn’t go that smoothly and I also think that every year we learn from the previous ones so there have been a few wins too.

We are finding out groove and I am so thankful to have something that requires us to be somewhere every morning (swim team) that both boys participate in. Just having that sense of structure even if it is only for a couple of hours is super helpful!

kid in the pool

I have a babysitter for part of my work week and Lucas has them come to his office one afternoon a week. It isn’t perfect but it feels good to have a semi-structured plan so that work and family life don’t get too intertwined. Other than that, there is a lot of waking up early to get a few hours of work in and knowing that school will eventually start again in just a couple of months.

An escape to camp…

Last weekend was also Father’s Day and all Lucas wanted was for us to go to his family’s camp up in the North East Kingdom. He takes the boys a few times a year on my work weekends but I hadn’t been there in a while!

North East Kingdom

It is a little rustic but it sure is beautiful! The mountain off in the distance is Jay Peak. I shared a post about this on Instagram last Sunday but I thought it would be fun to share some of these photos here too…

Creemees of course!

On our way home, we obviously had to stop at a creemee stand and what better place to do it than the dairyland of Northern Vermont! We stopped at TJs Creemees in Sheldon and they were AMAZING. Buzz even had his first dog sundae ever! Vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter sauce and a dog biscuit. He was in heaven!!

Currently listening to…

During the school year, our car ride to school is short and sweet. After I drop the boys off I have a luxurious 20 minutes in the car to listen to whatever I like, which usually means I use the time to listen to a true crime podcast or my current audiobook.  This time of the year we have a 25ish minute drive to the pool each day and then back home again. This doesn’t seem that long but it is long enough for drama to ensue and noise levels to rise.

podcasts for kids

Podcasts for kids!

Last summer I realized the gift of podcasts that are geared towards kids! Every morning we start a podcast on our way into town and finish it on the way home. It is a game changer! The boys love it and I find them quite entertaining myself, especially this recent Smash Boom Best debate episode…Libraries versus Museums!

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Currently using…ALL the sunscreen & sun protection

I currently have no shame in my sun protection game but I wasn’t always that way…I was a teenager in the 90s so I obviously did all the things like going to a tanning bed and laying in the sun as much as possible…I was a lifeguard after all! 😉

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I even tried “sun in” which if you also have dark brown hair, you know that is a BAD idea…ha!

“If you are a natural brunette, the very sight of this bottle could cause you a nervous breakdown. Reason: Our dreams of becoming California girls were quickly crushed when, after sunbathing on our terraces for 30 minutes, we discovered our heads looked like cantaloupes.”

-32 Beauty Products You Probably Used in the 90s

Those were the days though….We didn’t have millions of internet articles or youtube videos telling us what to do, so we just guessed (and read Seventeen magazine)…and we did learn from a lot of our mistakes…eventually…

Sun Protection

Skin cancer runs in my family and I am thankful I learned when I was relatively young the dangers of the sun. I think it was a little after college that I realized embracing my pale skin might not only be helpful but also much safer in the long run.

So I have embraced, UV protection shirts, hats & lots and lots of sunscreens.

I apply sunscreen every morning after I put on my lotion…I have tried other kinds but I always go back to the tried and true Elta MD face sunscreen. It is not greasy and it great for acne prone and sensitive skin.

Later in the day, I reapply sunblock by using the sun protection mineral power by Derma E. My friend Kari loves the Supergoop defense refresh setting mist and that has a similar effect.

sunblock for kids

For our family, we are big fans of a lotion sunscreen for good body coverage and a face stick for a no tears application for our 6-year-old…;) We have had great success with the Babo Botanicals sport stick.

The Supergoop pump is so convenient and lasts FOREVER and the Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen smells amazing and is so easy to rub in…

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Currently loving…all the Pinterest Inspirational quotes!

Whenever I am feeling stressed, I find great comfort in self-help books and inspirational quotes.

self-help from the 90s

Do you remember Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I was way into those as a teenager and I think they are way got me into this whole self-help genre.

Sometimes all you need is a little reminder to just do the best you can and know you are not alone when you are having a harder day. I love searching for motivational quotes on Pinterest and sometimes post them on my @genthebookworm Instagram feed.  I do try to have some restraint because I would probably post them every day otherwise, ha!

Here are some of my recent favorites…

(images from Pinterest)


Alright, that is all I have for now. I  hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…blankets in June, Chernobyl on HBO and a green lipstick?!

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Checking in:

Good morning! How is your week going? We are in our second to last week of school for the boys and life feels very full right now. This time of the year has many highs and it also is quite hectic. The days are long with late evening baseball games and the kids full of energy and excitement about all the fun end of the school year activities.

It is a great time of year but also hard to find that feeling of balance. Work demands and everything else that comes along with “adulthood” does not just pause when family life becomes more demanding, and it is something we are constantly trying to juggle.

baseball playoffs

There is also this frantic pace to finish “all the things” on my end before the kids are home for summer. While we do have some summer childcare, it is quite minimal, so anything that isn’t super urgent (work obligations) gets pushed to the side until school starts again.

While the kids have been in school for a while now, this is only my 2nd summer of juggling work and the kids during summer vacation and it is definitely a work in progress. From my conversations with other parents, no matter how you swing it, it is a stressful season in many ways. It is helpful to know we are not alone and like most things, it will all work out. I tend to get the most apprehension about things BEFORE they happen because I start thinking about it too much. It is good to plan, but not to overthink every possible scenario…which is easier said than done! I do know that once we make the transition we will find our groove and like all Vermont summers, it will fly by. <3

Currently Loving:

My Kelty Bestie Blanket

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While there is a lot of talk of summer, we have yet to see much summer weather around here. Usually by the time June come around it is warmer, but this year has been interesting. I shouldn’t complain because it was snowing in Quebec this week, but it has been unusually cold here. Vermonters don’t have their heat on in June, mostly out of principle, so my blanket has come in handy this week at work and at the kid’s baseball games.

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And the best part about it is it stuffs into this little bag, just like a sleeping bag, and it is super light and easy to keep in the back of your car. I think it is a camping blanket, but as someone who doesn’t do a lot of camping, I can see many other great uses for it! I wore it wrapped around my legs like a burrito the other night and it kept me toasty warm.

Currently Watching:

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I know I know, I need to stop talking about Chernobyl on HBO, but it really is that good. Lucas and finished the fifth and final episode in the docu-drama miniseries last night. It came out on Monday night, but there is no way I could stay up late enough to watch something that comes on at 9pm, ha! So anyway, we finished it last night and it was just amazingly well done. If you haven’t watched yet, you need to add it to your list.

Currently Loving:

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Lipstick Queen in Frog Prince 

I love a good tinted lip balm and a few months ago I tried the sample version of Lipstick Queen in the color Frog Prince. It is green in the tube, but it changes to a lovely shade of pinkish red (maybe a bit of coral?), depending on your pH and skin tone.

It is the perfect pop of color and moisture and I have found myself reaching for it over my previously preferred Burts Bees tinted lip balm so I thought I should share! I did try the Hello Sailor shade as well which is more of a plum color and it was a bit too purple on me for my pale skin tone but I have heard great reviews about that one as well.


I am off to grab the kids at school and then we are headed to a baseball playoff game this evening.  I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday!