Book Review: Love Lettering

There are some books you just know, right away, you’re going to love. From the first sentence, they pull you in. You’re dunked into their world, water swirling over your head, and it’s as refreshing and exhilarating as the first cannon ball of summer. The voice is perfect, welcoming you to this new world you [...]

Incredible Kitten Climbs Ladder

Did you know some cats can climb ladders? Because I did not. Just how did I discover my little kitten can do this crazy feat? I saw him. The first time I saw it, I was shocked. After many attempts, I finally caught it on camera, and as I watched my dog stare in astonishment [...]

Book Review: When Stars Rain Down

When Stars Rain Down swept me off my feet. Angela Jackson-Brown's words captured my heart right away, making this book thoroughly in-put-down-able. A heart-racing plot, relatable characters, and a beautifully described setting make this novel one I won't soon forget. The voice is engaging and pulls you in right from the start. You can hear [...]

Pantry Makeover

Finding ways to make spaces work for us has always been a special skill I enjoy employing, and as our family and its needs have changed, I've been able to utilize my skills to make our spaces work for us. Nothing has challenged me like having two virtual learners and two work from home situations [...]

When Tangled Hits Too Close to Home

The other day, I was watching Tangled on Disney+ with my kids when I realized something with startling clarity: we kind of lived part of this movie last year. No, no one was kidnapped nor did we find a magic golden flower. But as Rapunzel sang of spending all of her time in her tower, [...]

Book Review: The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

Letty Carnahan may be my favorite Mary Kay Andrews character of all time. She is smart, fierce, protective, and resourceful. Add to that witty, kind, great instincts, and you have a winning and memorable character that I'm low-key mad I can't be friends with in real life. The Newcomer, the Mary Kay Andrews novel set [...]

Date Night at Home

Valentine's Day is right around the corner (February 14, if you're lost in time), and with it comes the stress and pressure of Date Night. This year, we have the added bonus struggle of Date Night: Pandemic Edition! Never fear, as someone who has small children who didn't like to be separated from her as [...]

Book Connection: Where to Find Book Deals and Freebies

I love to read. I read quite a bit. Even writing that feels like a gross understatement. Reading isn't just a passion or a hobby or a job for me; it's my non-human spouse. I read to escape, I read to research, I read for fun, I read for work, I...read. I love words and [...]

Review: Dash and Lily

After watching just one episode of Dash and Lily on #Netflix in December, I lost all willpower and binged it. As soon as I learned it was based on a book, I knew I had to read it. Imagine my joyous reaction when I discovered there are not one, but three Dash and Lily books! [...]

Book Review: This Tender Land

William Kent Kreuger's This Tender Land is a lyrical novel set during the summer of 1932 and follows four children as they go on a literal and metaphorical journey. Odie, Albert, Mose and Emmy are all students at the Lincoln Indian School, and their time there will forever shape who they are and the choices [...]

Non-Fiction Book Recommendations for Fiction Fans

When you read a lot, you may find you receive judgement for the kinds of books you like. That's lame. The books you enjoy are worthy of your love, whether 'society' or anyone else deems them acceptable. I often get asked for non-fiction book recommendations. As a lifelong fiction fan, it took me awhile to [...]

2020 in Books

I've been participating in Goodread's Reading Challenge for the past few years. I don't view it as a competition, but as a goal I'm setting for myself. I also just love keeping track of what I've read, and the Year in Review is such a fun feature. You can view mine here. In summary, I [...]

Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

While working as a bookseller over a decade ago, I stumbled across a beautiful cover that evoked childhood memories and tugged at my heart. Yes, I know; we aren't meant to judge books by their covers. But we all do, don't we? I knew I needed to give this book a home, so I tucked [...]

Baking Up Nostalgia

Some of my earliest memories take place in my childhood kitchen. I'm settled up on the countertop, feet swinging, as my dad rolls out the pie crust dough made from my great-grandmother's secret recipe. There's a chill in the air signaling it's Thanksgiving or Christmas, and everything feels a bit magical and special. Baking might [...]

DIY 3D Paper Snowflakes

Have y'all seen the TikTok tutorial on making 3D paper snowflakes using paper lunch bags? It's so fun! You can view the original video here, and keep reading for our tips and tricks for doing this fun Christmas craft with kids! Well, I had to try it. Since I was too impatient to dig out [...]

Living in Hope

The first holiday after losing a loved one is always difficult, whether that loved one is a family member, friend, or pet. We've always treasured our pets and thought of them as members of the family; they're an integral part of our daily lives, and our lives would be less without them. Back in March, [...]

Learning My Ancestor’s Language Changed My Life

November is Native American Heritage Month Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my Dad, nestled into his green recliner, sharing the few Cherokee words and phrases he knew. The lamp cast a yellow glow over him, and his eyes would land on a random spot as he went back in time in his [...]

I Knelt in the Garden and Cried Today

When the election results came through last weekend, I was weeding the garden. This proved more metaphorical than I anticipated! I never considered myself political, but as prejudiced policies have erupted and hateful and vile sentiments have seeped into our nation's laws and policies, I've found I can't remain silent. It isn't so much about [...]

Book Review: Valencia and Valentine

I just discovered Canadian author Suzy Krause this year after reading Sorry I Missed You  as an Amazon Prime First Reads selection. I absolutely adored her writing, the wonderful characters she creates, and the quirky yet relatable plots she sets them in. When I saw another novel of hers, Valencia and Valentine, on Prime Reading [...]

My Hamilton TikTok!

I've been thoroughly sucked into TikTok, y'all. There are so many great videos there! So far I've gone deep into Hamilton TikTok, Book TikTok, Disney TikTok, hair TikTok, baking TikTok...the list goes on. I've laughed out loud at dog and cat videos, been propelled towards research from political videos, and so many of the songs [...]

Halloween Spotify Playlist

Halloween is almost here! We're having our own Halloween carnival in our driveway with just our little family (you can read how to throw your own here and here!), and I'm in full prep move. No Halloween party is completely without great music, so a Spotify playlist is a must! (No, this post isn't sponsored...but [...]

Halloween at Home

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms is about having a safe and fun Halloween at home, establishing new traditions to make the holiday feel special even if trick or treating is off the table. You can find it here! Happy Spooky Season! How are you celebrating Halloween this year?

Book Review: These Unlucky Stars

Gillian McDunn's These Unlucky Stars is a beautiful look at family, community, and the way we are sometimes the unreliable narrator of our own story. Sixth-almost-Seventh grader Annie Logan was told she was born under an unlucky star. Her window breaks, her books fall into a mud puddle, and she doesn't have a single friend. [...]

Introducing Hocus and Pocus

Backstory: I grew up with a dog, two cats, and a verifiable zoo of other animals (birds, fish, a rabbit). But once I left for college and was no longer around the cats frequently, I developed an allergy. Flash forward 13 years, and my kid is cat-crazy. It would just make his life if he [...]

Book Review: Aster’s Good, Right Things

Eleven year old Aster feels as though she is the only student at her school who isn't gifted. Every day, she sets out to do a good, right thing, with lots of rules governing if it is good and right and how good, right things should feel. She does these things to build her own [...]

Book Review: The Henna Artist

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi transports us back to 1955 India, following a talented henna artist as her life changes forever with the arrival of a previously unknown sister. This novel offers a breathtaking view of a time and place I’ve never studied extensively. The setting is intricately described in a way that makes [...]

Book Review: The Bookshop of Second Chances

Jackie Fraser's The Bookshop of Second Chances is a meandering novel that explores what happens when one woman takes a leap of faith and changes her life, without really intending to. Thea is recently separated from her cheating spouse when she receives notice that she's inherited a house in Scotland. She sets out to sort [...]

Halloween 2020: Trick or Treating Alternatives

Much like the rest of 2020, Halloween is going to look different this year. I KNOW. I truly do. I get it. I hate it, too. But this is our reality, and we have to adapt. My kids look forward to trick or treating all year long, and usually start talking about Halloween costumes in [...]

Books You’ll Enjoy Reading with Your Children

Y'all know how much I love books, and how one genre can't satisfy my reading obsession. Last year, I read a book alongside my first grader. He read it at school with his class, and I read it at home. We talked about it, and it was such a magical experience. We read picture books [...]

Book Review: The House that Wasn’t There

Alder doesn't remember much about his dad, but his favorite photo was taken in front of the walnut tree in the yard between his house and his neighbor's house. He loves that tree. Oak doesn't want to move from San Fransisco to Los Angeles, yet here she is. When her mom decides to do construction [...]

Book Review: The Book of Lost Names

The Book of Lost Names is one of those books that you just know you’ll be thinking of long after you close the cover. It’s the kind of book that years later, something will jog your memory and make you think of it. It isn’t a light or easy read. As with all WWII set [...]

The Real Hero of Frozen

Each time we sit down to watch Frozen, Frozen 2, or the Frozen shorts, my husband remarks on how amazing Elsa is (bada$$ is the word he chose, but I felt weird cursing in a post about Disney so). While I agree that Elsa is fierce and all around awesome, I don't think she's the [...]

Book Review: Unplugged by Gordon Korman

What happens when the son of a tech icon gets sent to a no-screens wellness center as a punishment? Jett Baranov is the bratty child of a fictional combination of Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs: an ultra-rich, smart, innovative kid who is constantly getting into trouble. When he steps out of line, again, his punishment [...]

Cover Reveal: The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews

I have been enamored with Mary Kay Andrews's books for over a decade. I discovered them when I was working at Barnes & Noble, and she's remained one of my favorite authors. I've read everything she's written under her pen name, Mary Kay Andrews, and the Callahan Garrity mystery series originally written under her actual [...]

Book Review: The Last Bear by Hannah Gold

This lyrical debut novel swept me off of my feet. It's the kind of book that you finish with a big sigh, your heart near to bursting from the sheer magnitude of it. April Wood does not fit in. Her scientist father doesn't seem to notice her all that much, she doesn't have any friends [...]

The Book of Lost Names

Y'all, I have been hearing about Kristin Harmel's The Book of Lost Names all summer. I've seen rave reviews, everyone has been sold out of it, and it has been at the top of my Want to Read List. I just got my copy of the ebook from my library, and I am so excited [...]

3 Questions Book Lovers are Always Asked

My latest Knoxville Moms post is all about books and reading!  As a voracious reader who can’t stop talking about books, I’m often asked the same three questions: how do I make my kids love books, where do you find new titles, and how do you have time to read so much? I’ll be tackling [...]

Everything I’ve Learned Since Watching Hamilton

Y'all, I have been in full Hamilton obsession since July 3. Since then, I've watched it numerous times, listened to the soundtrack nonstop, and tortured informed everyone I know with facts and tidbits I've learned about the process of making it, the history surrounding it, and all the key words and phrases that pack hidden meanings. [...]

Book Review: Sorry I Missed You

Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause was my July Prime First Reads pick (want to learn more about this program? Check out this post!). It sounded quirky and fun, and that's just what I needed during this high stress pandemic time. I completely fell in love with this plot and these characters, and found a [...]

The Prime Perk You Might Be Missing Out On: Amazon First Reads

Last year, I learned of the Amazon Prime First Reads program. After that, I decided I absolutely had to have a Prime membership. While I love the two day shipping and Prime Video has its perks, the First Reads program is still my favorite part of Prime. What's First Reads? First Reads is a Prime [...]

Let Them See You

Let them see you. Let them see you be you. Whether you’re creating something for the joy of it (even if you aren’t good at it! Especially if you aren’t good at it!) or delighting in a book, let them see you. We spend so much of our lives living under our titles: daughter, wife, [...]

Costco Yakisoba Stir Fry Kit Review

Costco's newest food kit is a Yakisoba stir fry option that includes rotisserie chicken, noodles, sauce, and a great vegetable blend. But how does it taste? My husband and kids have been on a serious Japanese food kick for quite some time, so we're no stranger to the delicious noodles and sauces popular in that [...]

The Secret to Saving Your Dishwasher After Using Dish Soap Instead of Dishwasher Detergent

The who is less important than the what in this story: someone (who shall remain nameless) accidentally put dish soap in our automatic dishwasher. Automatic dishwashers require special detergent, and Dawn super suds are great for hand washing dishes but catastrophic for dishwashers. Thankfully the dishwasher was started before we went to bed (though it's [...]

Podcast Review: This Land

I've been a fan of podcasts for quite some time, and am always excited to find a good one. It's a way to learn, a form of entertainment while doing boring chores, and a helpful tool to get my kids to be quiet so I can focus on driving (you can find my podcasts recommendations [...]

ChipDrop Review

*This is NOT a sponsored post- I just wanted to share our experience with you!* Over the winter, I stared out the window to our backyard and imagined what I wanted it to look like. I'd seen an ad for ChipDrop, a service that connects arborists with people wanting wood chips. We have quite a [...]

Anti-Racist Disney Movies to Watch with Your Kids

Representation matters. It's important for kids to see themselves reflected on screen, and also to teach them empathy towards others who look, sound, or seem different. We are all human, and Disney has done a wonderful job of utilizing storytelling to help convey that message. With such wonderful anti-racism resources out there for kids, from [...]

Book Review: Barbara O’Neal’s The Lost Girls of Devon

Barbara O'Neal's books always have 3 things in common: strong women discovering who they are and where they belong; the value of friendship; and a lovable pet who makes the tough things in life a little easier to bear. The Lost Girls of Devon includes these themes in the best of ways. While When We Believed [...]

How Far I’ll Go…Or Not

I always planned on giving my kids roots. One place they could recall in their memories as home, where they could return when they were grown and feel as safe and welcome as they do now. I wanted the house we currently live in to be the setting for all their favorite memories, not somewhere [...]