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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

DIY Upcycled Potting Bench

I just hate throwing things away. I also have a tendency to rescue sad looking furniture from the side of the road and fix it up. When I saw this pitiful table, I knew I could turn it into a potting station for our porch. We've really gotten into gardening in the last two years, [...]

Book Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman's writing first captured me with My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, and I've since read nearly all of his work and am equally enamored with each moving piece of fiction. His latest novel, Anxious People, is due out September 8, 2020 from Atria. Net Galley and Atria provided me with an advanced copy [...]

Book Review: How the Penguins Saved Veronica

Did it feel a bit odd to read a book set in Antartica while reading poolside? Nope, not even a little. You see, How the Penguins Saved Veronica is so utterly absorbing, it doesn't matter where you read it. Hazel Prior, author of Ellie and the Harpmaker, has once again crafted incredibly nuanced characters and mastered their voices [...]

DIY Mario Dresser

Once upon a time, I bought a cute little dresser and turned it into a coffee bar. You can read all about it here. When I redid my kitchen (here), I moved the dresser-turned-coffee-bar into a bedroom and it became a dresser again. Our youngest had outgrown his changing table before potty training, thus the [...]

Little Women Book Review

Although my childhood was full of wonderful books, the famous classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was not one of them. It was recently recommended to me, and I had to read it before watching the new movie, so I dove into the past and discovered these four lovable sisters. Towards the end of the movie [...]

Quarantine Reads

Some people have been having a hard time focusing on reading during the pandemic...but I've had the opposite problem. I'm devouring books left and right, staying up way too late and having a hard time not reading. Hello, escapism! Whichever end of the pandemic reading spectrum you find yourself on, these reads are ones I've [...]

Weekly Meal Plan for June 1

Hey friends! Here's this week's meal plan:   As a reminder, the numbers below the days of the week are our daily high temperature. I don't want to make a meal that heats up the house on a super hot day, so I try and limit how many eyes of the stove I use and [...]

Weekly Menu

After my meal planning post (who knew how OCD I could be?!) last week, I had a request to share my weekly menu. Here's this week's menu, along with links (where applicable) to the recipes. Enjoy! The numbers below each day are our forecasted high temperatures for that day, because I do not want to [...]

Book Review: Paris Never Leaves You

Never fear, there are no spoilers here! One letter. All it takes is one letter to shock Charlotte Floret from her life in 1955 New York and send her careening back to occupied Paris. As the story goes between her postwar New York life and her life living under occupation, Charlotte remembers who she was [...]

Knoxville Moms Post: Meal Planning Saves My Sanity

Hey, y'all! My latest Knoxville Moms post is up, and it's all about my simple technique for saving money and sanity: meal planning! I'm not an extravagant meal planner: I only do dinners, and make a weekly menu. I detail my method and how it benefits my family in my post, which you can find [...]

Book Review: The Secret, Book, and Scone Society

The Secret, Book, and Scone Society may be a tongue twister of a title, but it sure is a fun mystery to read! When one suspicious death draws four loners together, they find they have more in common than their connection to the deceased. As they open up to the idea of friendship, they launch [...]

30 Minute Shows You Can Stream

Is it just me, or does it seem like every new show is an hour long? There are plenty of binge worthy shows out there, but I don't always have an hour I'm willing to dedicate. So what's worth of watching, and where can it be found? I've compiled this handy list to help you [...]

Of Mutts and Men Book Review

Way back in 2008, I was working at Barnes & Noble and found myself in the mystery section. Now, back in those old days I didn't really stray from my general fiction section. The mystery covers were often, quite frankly, terrifying. While we all say the adage don't judge a book by its cover, I often [...]

A Disney Quarantine Playlist

Disney makes everything better, right? So if your quarantine is feeling a little lackluster, put on this Disney playlist to help chronicle your quarantining, social distancing emotions. The songs tell a story, from our first being stuck at home stages to dreaming of what life on the other side of this will look like. You [...]

How I Rate Books on Goodreads

Y'all know I'm a bookaholic, a bibliophile, a word nerd...you get the gist. I've been using Goodreads to track my reading and books I want to read for a couple of years now. I started keeping a list of books I read after checking the same book out from the library...three times. Apparently I thought [...]

RabbitGoo Window Cling/Film Installation and Review

This looks like something that would be a sponsored post, but it isn't. i just found something fun and wanted to share it with y'all. If a post is ever sponsored, I'll let you know right away up here at the very top! I recently saw an ad on social media promoting a window cling [...]