Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2016

This year has been a whirlwind! Despite all the busyness, and in many cases because of it, I’ve been reading. A lot. I’ve been reading to escape, to learn and to challenge myself. I’ve read more this year than I’ve ever read in a single year before. I read a grand total of nearly 60 books. Nearly half were nonfiction. Two were crazy-long books that I’ve been putting off for years (and didn’t love). The more I’ve read, the more I want to know, to explore and to expand my world.

In the first few months of this year, my sister showed me how she mapped her reading for the year in a gloriously nerdy Excel spreadsheet. I immediately adopted it as my own and added more columns, plus some simple formulas. Mapping some seasonal selections, but leaving room for change and new releases, significantly increased the total number (and breadth) of books I read this year. Instead of having a book hangover or waffling between book selections for a week, I simply went on to my next selection on my predetermined list. Or, I deviated entirely. Or, I skipped ahead to something from the next month. Either way, the selection time (and waiting time from the library, when necessary) was streamlined, and I made a bigger dent in my reading pile.

Some friends have asked for my favorite books of all time or from what I’ve read this year. A single favorite, even from just this year, is a bit too hard to pick. It somehow feels disloyal to all the other great books. But, I did read some really enjoyable books this year, so if you’re looking for some book ideas for 2017, I invite you to consider these fiction and nonfiction favorites from my 2016 reading.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lil’ O’s Firefighter 4th Birthday Party

My sweet little boy is now four years old. He is sensitive and kind, silly and wild. He is book-ish and loves to pretend; mostly he runs and pretends he’s coming to save the day in some capacity. Lately, he’s really into firefighters. Our new route to preschool each morning must pass our local fire station in hopes we get to see the firefighters and one of their fire engines. Thankfully, it’s only a block out of our way, so doesn’t add too much time to the mad dash of our mornings. So, when looking at possible party themes, it was a natural fit to give our little man a firefighter birthday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Parenting Encouragement Book and Blog Reviews

Parenting is hard! I know that’s not a news flash for many, and the wealth of books, blogs and resources out there to try and guide each of us on the journey is a testament to how lost parenting can make us feel. There are hot topics that seem to be found in too many parenting article headlines, and there is judgement, real or perceived. Honestly, sanctimommy is even a term! Enough! We’re all in this together. Let’s instead become a village of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles together. Let’s support each other. Let’s lift each other up.

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

In my quest for encouragement and resources, I’ve found some inspirational women on Instagram to brighten my feed and have been wading through a variety of books, articles and blogs. Below are some of my better recent finds. Do you know or have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Please share here in the comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lil’ Chica’s Nautical First Birthday Party

Lil' Chica greeting her guests.

I’m still adjusting to the idea that my sweet little baby is now a toddler. She’s had no trouble adjusting to the new title and is toddling and climbing all over the place! Lil’ Chica started walking just before her first birthday and has her big bro’s constant shadow, as best as she can keep up. To celebrate her first year we threw a big party. After all, we had celebrated with Lego mania for Lil’ O’s first birthday, so it was only fair to do something similarly big for our little girl.

Party Planning
Husby and I aren’t big fans of princess stuff, but I need a theme to keep me focused. I love all the nautical stuff that’s in style right now, and don’t anticipate ever having an opportunity for an overtly themed nautical shindig for adults, so I figured Lil’ Chica’s first birthday was just the thing. I’ve always wanted to run with this theme and she’s too little to tell me otherwise. First birthdays really are more for the parents.

The catch this time around, though, was that we needed to also make it fun for Lil’ O, who is now three and a half and full of opinions. To help with the fun factor, I invited some of his closest friends from preschool and went on a Pinterest hunt for something fun for the older kids. When I stumbled upon this pin from for a homemade sailboat, I knew we were in business. Let the pinning and party planning commence!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Farm-to-Fork Dinner

Last weekend, to close out my birthday celebration, I got to check off an experience from my bucket list. Yippee!! Ever since I learned it was a thing, I’ve wanted to have a lovely, gourmet, communal outdoor farm-to-fork meal. I pictured a long rustic, yet polished wooden table set for a full dinner for anywhere between 30 and 100 people. This vision was very likely inspired by some piece of marketing by some winery or other that we toured before kids.

Despite the winery influence to my daydream, all the pairing dinners that we heard of by us were inside, usually in a barrel room, and lacked the rustic charm I’d envisioned. Them, a couple months ago I heard of a dinner that seemed to fit the dream perfectly. Our current CSA* (they deliver to our door!) was hosting a farm-to-for dinner at a local farm with proceeds benefiting the San Diego Food Bank, a cause I truly believe in and want to support in a more hands-on way in the future. So, we eagerly purchased our tickets, arranged for my parents to watch the kiddos and ventured to the farm.