Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Amber Can Read : May 2022 Edition

Once upon a time (pun totally intended), I used to read...a lot. Instead of spending hours scrolling through social media or attempting to organize the thousands of tabs I have open on my phone and computers, I would read. I stayed up late reading. I read during lunch breaks. I read during other meals. I enjoyed making to-read lists and reading about upcoming books. 

But, somewhere along the way over the last couple of years, I've lost that joy of reading. I love reading with Charli on the nights we don't stay up too late, and when I start a fiction book, I usually devour it, but overall I've just lost my spark for reading. 

(If I stop and think about it, I've kind of lost my spark for a lot of things, but that's an entirely different post for an entirely different day...). 

I want to get back into reading, and I noticed that when I posted about reading, I was much more likely to read more. Funny how that works. So, I'm restarting my monthly reading recaps in hopes of starting to reclaim a part of myself that I miss. Here we go!

Disclaimer: If you click on the picture of the book, then it will take you to an Amazon purchase link. If you choose to buy the book from that link, I will earn a few pennies from it. It won't cost you anything extra, so it's a win-win situation! 😉 If you click on the title of the book, it will take you to a Goodreads link for the book. Last thing - if you want to be friends on Goodreads, add me

Books read in May - 3
Books read in 2022 - 17 (wow, I've read even less this year than I realized!)

1. Women and Power by Mary Beard

I don't remember where I initially saw or heard about this book, but it's one of several that has been off and on my library holds shelf for a few months now. I have a tendency to reserve the limit of electronic books, and then, surprise, surprise, they all become available at the same time, and I have to use the "Deliver Later" feature to delay some of them. When I finally decided to read this one, I saw that it was pretty short - I guess my old English major brain didn't connect the word "manifesto" in the title to it being a short essay. 

This wasn't my favorite, but I kind of skated through it just to finish it and finally get it out of the deliver later cycle. I believe this was initially a speech she gave, and I think it would've been more enjoyable in that format. It was a little dry to read, and I found myself doing a lot of skimming in order to finish it quickly. 

Recommended for : academically-minded readers who want a brief overview of feminism

2. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Bea is a plus-sized fashion blogger who writes a ranting post about how Main Squeeze, a reality show that totally isn't based on The Bachelorette/Bachelor franchise, never has any plus-sized representation, and the post goes so viral that she is chosen to be on the next season of the show. But, she has a lot of trouble believing that the men on the show are actually interested in her...a fat woman. 

Between this book, one I finished yesterday (that will be in next month's post), and If the Shoe Fits, which I read in April and found several similarities to this one (but it was better because it's a modern-day retelling of Cinderella and is written by Julie Murphy, who has yet to steer me wrong!), I've seen a trend in books of fat women not believing that they are worthy of love or happiness in life. As a fat woman who is happily married and enjoys most parts of her life (I could use a new hairstyle, a pay raise, and a lot of organizing in our house), I don't understand these books. Maybe it's because the main characters are younger than me or because I try to follow a lot of body positive or body neutral creators. Maybe it's because I married a wonderful man who supports and loves me no matter which weight loss scheme I'm trying or if I'm saying the heck with it and asking for ice cream after work.  Maybe it's one of a million reasons, but the point is, I'm over this trope. Yes, I want to lose some weight to feel more like I used to, but I don't believe that my life has to be on hold or that I'm not worthy of love or happiness until that happens, and no one reading this should feel that way either! 

Okay, I'm finished ranting about this one. Luckily the book I mentioned above that I'll talk about next month has more depth than this one, so it hopefully won't cause another wall of words!

Recommended for : fans of cheesy reality shows and rom-com novels that are predictable even when they're trying to have a big twist, also for people who can overlook the "poor, pitiful, fat me" stereotype

I knew this book probably wasn't going to be super helpful when she mentioned that people buy too many things, and if you run out of toilet paper before you go to the store again, that means you purchased what you needed and you could just use a napkin or paper towel. Listen, I know that I can sometimes be guilty of stocking up on too many things, but I don't mess around with toilet paper! In my opinion, you can't overbuy toilet paper (sorry to everyone who may be having 2020 flashbacks to the empty toilet paper aisles). I found this book preachy and long-winded, two things that are really helpful to neurodiverse people who want to organize their spaces...

Recommended for : people who don't have issues with cleaning and organizing since the tips in this book kind of sucked

This month's favorite book : None of them were great, but I guess I would go with One to Watch since it was the least worst out of the three!

This month's least favorite book : Definitely the Organizing Solutions book. It just didn't resonate with me!

Read anything good lately? Let me know in the comments!

Linking up with Steph and Jana for the last time! Hopefully I can find another reading link up to participate in because I love seeing suggestions for new books to read! 

Life According to Steph

Monday, June 13, 2022

10 on the 10th : June 2022

Continuing my streak of getting back into blog series' and linkups that I haven't done in a while, I present 10 on the 10th for the first time since January 2021

(Or, as I like to call this linkup, 10 on whatever date the second Monday of the month is! Ha!)

This month's prompts are all about vacation, and wow, do I wish I was sitting on a beach with a fruity drink while answering these instead of on my couch with flavored water! Guess I'd better start saving my pennies before next summer!

1. Are you planning to take a vacation anytime soon? Please share!

Not this year. My mom and I had talked about possibly spending a couple of days at a family friend's cabin and going to the Knoxville Zoo, but with gas prices and the 15,000 other things we have scheduled this summer, I don't think it's going to work out to go anywhere this summer or this year. Maybe that means a beach trip next year since Charli has been begging all of us to go to the beach!

2. Have you recently gone on vacation? Tell us all about it!

It wasn't really a vacation, but Will and I took a few days off at the end of May so that we could spend time with Charli and relax. We had plans to do house things, but neither of us had the energy to take care of them. Oops!

3. What is your favorite way to travel?

Probably by car since that's how I've done 99% of my traveling, although with how bad my motion sickness has been in the car lately, I might have to rethink that...or just not ride anywhere with my mom... ;)

4. If money were no object, where would you go and why?

I'd do a huge trip and go worldwide for several months! I haven't traveled too much of the world, so I'd want to do it in one huge, exhausting trip and really get immersed in everything!

5. Who would be your favorite person (living or dead) to take on vacation?

My dad, especially now that Charli is old enough to do more things. I think he would've loved taking her to the beach! 

6. What do you absolutely have to pack when you go on vacation?

Basically everything I own! I have a fear of getting somewhere and not having the exact thing that I need, even though I've never been on a vacation somewhere without easy access to some kind of store that happens to sell that "exact thing." 

7. What are your memories of your all-time favorite vacation?

I don't really have an all-time favorite vacation! I've enjoyed all of my vacations for different reasons and have great memories from all of them (and some not great memories from some of them too! Yikes!!).

8. Where would you never go on vacation and why?

I would be hesitant to visit any of the places that are not welcoming to women and/or Americans. I don't think I need to name any specific countries here...

9. What is the worst thing you ever experienced on vacation?

Drinking so much Yoo-Hoo that I threw up on a Canadian family's tent in Gatlinburg! Funny now but mortifying at the time!!!

10. What is the best thing that ever happened to you on vacation?

So many good things have happened while on vacation, but to be cheesy, I think the best thing has always been the time I've been able to spend with my family members! We've created so many memories from vacations together, and those memories bring laughter on hard days! 

Linking up with Marsha

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Sentence A Day : May 2022

I haven't posted a Sentence a Day recap since January 2021! Even though so, so many things have changed in that time frame, it's good to post this again as kind of a journal for the month that just wrapped up. Enjoy reading about our May! 

1 - One of Charli's friends had a birthday party at a trampoline place, and my legs are tired!

2 - I'm not sore today like I thought I would be, considering my jumping yesterday!

3 - No school today because of local elections

4 - Happy Star Wars Day!

5 - Koopa joined me in the messy basement today since it was storming, and he looked so pitiful!

6 - Will and I went shopping for Teacher Appreciation Week while Charli had a sleepover with Gran!

7 - Mother's Day lunch with Will's mom this afternoon, and then another birthday party at one of her friend's houses this evening!

8 - Will and Charli made it a great Mother's Day for me! :)

9 - Consignment drop off and kickoff of Teacher Appreciation Week means I haven't slept enough this weekend! 

10 - Forgot to write my sentence today, so I can't really remember anything about today...

11 - ...Or today either!

12 - Charli fell on the track at school and scraped her chin and knee - poor girl!

13 - Field Day, and Charli said it was so much fun!!

14 - Will's stepdad and mom came over so he could fix our air conditioning; really glad to have his skills, especially before summertime!!

15 - Lazy Sunday at home!

16 - Mom and I went to consignment pickup and had to go back because we forgot things...oops!

17 - Don't really remember anything about today!

18 - Went into the office today and of course, I spilled food on my white shirt at lunchtime!

19 - Had a Mexican Pizza tonight, and it was not quite as good as I remembered! 

20 - Can't really remember anything about today except that it was Friday!

21 - Birthday party at the zoo for one of my cousin's children, then pizza afterwards made for some hot and tired people in this house! 

22 - Charli and I stayed home today since Will had to work and we were exhausted!

23 - Recognition day and family picnic at Charli's school today, and it was so cute to see her skipping across the gym to get her certificate! 

24 - This Is Us was so good tonight; I'm going to miss it!!

25 - Last day of school; goodbye Kindergarten and hello summer!!

26 - We let Charli have a "yes day," and she chose Chick Fil A, a new toy at Target, looking at appliances at Best Buy, then wanted to go back to my mom's house to play!

27 - Went to an eye appointment for Charli, got a refund on recalled peanut butter at Sam's Club and ate lunch there, and visited a new (to her) playground.

28 -  Going inside the grocery store makes me realize why I prefer ordering online...

29 - Cheekwood with Mom and Charli was so fun!!

30 - Memorial Day at Mom's house and time outside.

31 - Back to work, and wow, it was hard to focus today! 

I didn't touch on the tragedy in Texas during this post. As the mother of an elementary school student, and the daughter of an educational assistant in that same school, I was devastated and sickened by what happened. I'm looking into local advocacy groups and researching ways that I can take action rather than just sitting in my feelings. I hope we can do better as a country for all of our kids. 

(I'm not sure if this is still a linkup, but if I find out it is, I'll come back and update this part!).

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Currently : June 2022

It seems like June snuck up on us because it was just the beginning of May, like, yesterday! Time really does fly, and even though I haven't participated since September 2021, it's time to jump into another edition of Currently! 

Celebrating :
Getting through Kindergarten! I don't know how families with more than one child, especially more than one in school, do it! Teacher Appreciation Week hit during the same time as a new consignment sale that Mom and I participated in, so there were a few days in May that I questioned my sanity! We made it though, and now it's time to celebrate with lots of family time and sleeping in a little bit! 

Giving : Our budget another look...we are so bad about sticking to it and working on our financial goals, so I'm going through it again to see where our weak spots are and why we have trouble. Wish me luck! 

Taking : A data analytics course. I have been interested in the idea of it for a while, so I'm taking a free course to learn more and see if this is a career option I want to explore since I've felt kind of lost over the last couple of years, career-wise (well, okay, I've felt kind of lost about a lot of other things too but one thing at a time, right?!?).

Trying : To figure out what all we're doing with Charli this summer! We want her to take swim lessons (but I may have waited too late to find some because they all seem to be booked up), and then there's summer reading activities at all of the libraries in our county, a couple of different classes at the local park, plus cheap movies. Phew! We also want to explore our area a little more. Mom, Charli, and I went to Cheekwood on Sunday, and we had a ton of fun but didn't have time to see everything! Plus, the zoo has a nighttime lights thing this summer that seems super fun. I'm worn out just typing all of this, and I won't even get to participate in everything with her!

Wearing : Comfy dresses or leggings and oversized shirts. Living that remote work life! ;)

Linking up with Anne

Sunday, April 17, 2022

On your sixth birthday

Dear Charli,

Somehow you're 6! Time is flying by as you get older, and I'm not sure that I'm okay with it (as though I can control it!). 

You've had such a busy year! You started Kindergarten in August, and we weren't sure how it would go, but you have excelled! You love your teacher, your classmates, and you especially love recess! It doesn't hurt that Gran works at the school and helped you with those first few bumpy weeks. Now the only problem is that you think you're going to start first grade tomorrow because you turned 6. I'll let your teacher try to explain that one to you because my explaining hasn't worked, obviously! You were already a great reader before you started school, but I've seen that improve even more, as well as your handwriting, cutting, gluing, and math skills. Sometimes you ask so many math questions that I can't keep up with you! You're so amazingly smart, and I can't wait to see how that will develop throughout your years in school. 

You have a huge heart and personality. You're very kind and loving, even when we've had a rough time and argued with each other because we've butted heads over something (usually it's when you don't want help with something that you're struggling with). Your sassy side definitely comes out a lot for us and Gran, and that can be challenging. We'll work through it, though! 

You love your cat at Gran's house and your dog at our house, and you're starting to love other animals too, like Mimi's puppy and the dogs at your dad's work. Cats are your favorite animal, so maybe we can convince Gran to get another kitty! 😉

You love to play with your tablet and watch videos on it. You also have a really active imagination and can make up the best scenarios with your toys. You love to play outside, especially when there's water involved. That makes sense since you told me that summer is your favorite season! This year has been fun too because we got more snow than usual, so you've had a few chances to play in the snow, and once you got to bring some inside and play with it in the tub! 

We're starting to notice little signs that show you're growing up. Sometimes you'll tell us you're tired and ready to go to bed; I could've never imagined that happening when we were in toddler land and you sometimes would stay awake for hours at night. It's a very welcomed change! You're also becoming so helpful around the house and can do some chores at our house and at Gran's house. You usually love to help with anything...except picking up toys! 

We've been through a lot over the last year, and I've seen it weigh on you. I know that some things are hard to understand when you're young. Little girl, they're hard to understand when you're not as young too! But, know that your dad and I will always be here for you, and you've got so many other people who love and support you as well. We're here for you, even when you don't want us to be...ha!

I hope this year is full of fun, laughter, and loose teeth! We love you so much our sweet, silly, sassy, smart, brave, beautiful 6 year old! 


Mama, Daddy, and Koopa

Annual birthday picture with the bib from your first birthday!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Currently : September 2021

Hi again. I haven't posted since February, and coincidentally, it was my February Currently post

It's been a really tough year. My dad died at the end of March after a really short sickness, and it has changed basically everything for us. We live about a mile from my mom and dad's house, and Charli has stayed with them since she was born. It has been a huge loss for all of us, and until recently, I had no desire to read anything, write anything, or do anything. Lately though, I've started thinking about how I want my life to look and how we really aren't guaranteed time on this planet (and I've started writing about that more on Medium). I miss writing here and having a reason to be creative and work on my writing skills. Plus, this blog (and the 8,000 other ones I've gone through) help tell a story of who I am and what is going on in my life. So, here I am again, and I'm starting off with a light post about what I'm currently up to.

Beginning :
Goal-setting and the process of shaping my life into what I dream of it being - not just what I feel like I "have to" do. 

Ending : Consignment sale tagging. We have a pretty big local sale twice a year. Mom and I participated once as sellers, but we paid for someone to do the tagging for us. This time, we decided that we would do the tags, and wow, do we have a lot of stuff! I'm almost finished entering, printing, and pinning everything, and I'll be glad not to be surrounded by piles of clothes and bags after we drop this stuff off in a few days!

Just a small pile of clothes...

Loving : My family. No further explanation necessary!

Picking : Up our groceries. With the variant surge, Charli's kindergarten (!) schedule wiping us all out, plus a hundred other little things, I've decided to have us go back to doing grocery pickups. I'd much rather shop on my phone on my couch than go up and down each aisle while avoiding getting close to people!    

Posting : I made a posting schedule for this blog, my debt free blog, my Medium page, and Instagram account (I love participating in photo challenges!), so September is shaping up to be a month of posting many things in many places. I welcome the distraction and structure. 

Linking up with Anne!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Currently : February 2021

Loving : My little family! My husband is amazing, and we make such a good team! Our daughter is sweet, silly, funny, and hands-down the best kid I've ever met...even when she has her fiery tempered moments! We also have the most ferocious guard dog who is not at all scared of things like garbage bags and earmuffs. I'm so thankful to have this little family to call mine! 

Reading : Nothing at the moment, but I need to choose my C and D books for the Read the Alphabet Challenge, as well as get cranking so I can reach my goal of reading 13 books this month! 

Remembering : How different February 2020 was. I was still a school librarian, and we hadn't experienced any quarantine/lockdowns at that point. I love working at home now, but I do miss going places on a whim. Will and I talked about it Friday night while Char was at my mom and dad's house for a sleepover. We had date night in the car at Sonic, and we talked about how much we missed having options like going to the movies or to a sit-down restaurant. However, we are doing our part to be safe and responsible during this time, and we know that those things will be options again eventually! I wonder what I will be remembering in February 2022...

Sharing : Daily pictures on Instagram! I follow a daily photo prompt from The Idea Room, and so far, I haven't missed any in 2021!

Wishlisting : Mom & Me shirts for Char and me! There's a website called Sparkle in Pink, and they have the cutest matching mother and daughter shirts! I haven't ordered anything yet, but their prices seem pretty reasonable, plus they have bigger sizes that will fit me, so that's a plus (literally...hahaha). I know we don't really go anywhere, but I still want get us a matching set before she decides that it's the most embarrassing thing ever! Plus, eventually we'll be out and about again, right? I just can't decide what to get for our first order! If anyone has ordered clothes from this site, I'd love to hear your feedback! 

Linking up with Anne