Monthly Wrap Up-June 2021

It’s the end of the month, which means it’s monthly wrap up time! I love having all the posts I’ve done wrapped up in one place. It’s nice to look back at the work I’ve done.

On to the posts!

Every Book I Read-May 2021: This is the monthly post that goes over every book I read in the previous month. It also includes my reading stats for the month. I love looking at my reading stats. I get them from The Storygraph and I absolutely love that website.

Every Book I Bought-May 2021: This particular monthly post was a doosey. I bought a few books during the month of May. And by a few I mean a lot of books. A lot of books.

Every New Release I Want-June 2021: I do this post every month too. I love plumbing the depths of the internet (*coughs* Amazon *coughs*) to find the newest releases I am most excited about.

A Small TBR: I had stopped doing TBR’s for a while because I am a mood reader. In June I decided to do an LGBTQ+ books TBR for myself. You’ll have to stay tuned to see how I did.

Tips For Planning A Trip to Disney: I decided to share the tips, and the places I learned those tips, in planning my trip to Disney this past April.

Lost in the Never Woods-A Book Review: I read a book! Was it good? Was it bad? Go check out the review for my full thoughts.

My Top 5 So Far in 2021: I decided to do a list of my top five books of the year so far. It’s a good list, if I do say so myself.

And that’s my monthly wrap up! With Bonus Instagram pics!

My Top 5 So Far in 2021

So given that it’s the middle of the year, I thought I would share with you my top 5 favorite books so far. Because why not?

Now, I haven’t read as much as I would like this year, but I’m working on it. I do have a few five star reads that I can choose from, however. So here they are, in no particular order. Because I’m cool like that.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The story of Linus, who gets sent to investigate whether or not a group of magical children, who are extraordinarily unique, are being appropriately taken care of. This heartwarming found family story is like that feeling you get when you are wrapped in a warm blanket sipping on some hot cocoa. People have compared it to being wrapped in a warm hug, they aren’t wrong. It’s amazing. Truly.

This Place: 150 Years Retold by Various, art by Various

Indigenous persons of Canada tell their history of Canadian colonization in this graphic novel. It was painful and beautiful to read. I legitimately cried at some points. I was angry at some points. This book moved me. And I loved it so much.

Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

Broken is Jenny Lawson’s newest memoir, and it’s wonderful. The way she talks about mental health, I only wish I was that open about mine. I loved this book. It made me laugh so much!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Nora takes her own life and ends up in the Midnight Library, a place between life and death. From here, she’s able to live her life as if she made different decisions. I am still thinking about this book a month later.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

It’s the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, and I love that book (it was a five star read too), but this is my favorite book in the series. Probably because of the time travel. No, yeah, it’s definitely because of the time travel.

Don’t ask me to pick a favorite. That’s basically like asking me to pick a favorite child. Except I don’t have children, but I do have siblings and I know that parents always have a favorite. Sigh. If I had to pick a favorite, House in the Cerulean Sea and Broken (in the best possible way) are in the top spots I guess.

We Got It!

Well, we got it!

What did we get, you may ask?

We got the first dose of the Covid vaccine!

Go us! And by us, I mean me and the hubs.

We are very excited because it means going out in public and seeing people! People!

I miss people.

Martha and Marley Spoon-A Break Up

Well, it finally happened. We had to break up with Martha and Marley Spoon.

I know did a pro/con list when I did my review in September, but the food was really good, so we were willing to give them a fair shot. Now, here we are, 5 months later, and we are cancelling Marta and Marley Spoon.

I thought I would tell you why.

Problem #1: We kept getting bad meat. They would always credit our account, but it just kept happening. At least once every two weeks.

Problem #2: The customer service is so slow. We would wait a week or two sometimes for a reply from them. We would get a generic “due to high email volume” form email after two or three days, but still. The waiting.

Problem #3: We kept having to get the steak and potatoes to accommodate my food allergy. Also their Asian inspired cuisine wasn’t very good, so that also eliminated some food for us.

And there it is. The three reasons we are breaking up with Martha and Marley Spoon. We thought we would give Hello Fresh a shot this time. I’ll let you know how that goes.

A Night of Christmas Lights

When my mom was in town over Thanksgiving we went to a Christmas lights display in the Dallas area called Prairie Lights. I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the evening to bring you some Christmas cheer!

Look at the little gnome house! How cute is that! BTW, I’ll probably say that a lot of things are cute. That’s just how I roll with Christmas lights.

This little temple was part of an area that featured jungle animals! You can also see the reflection of the brake lights from the car in front of us. One of many pictures I took through the windshield.

I love gingerbread! Naturally, I had to snap this pic!

This dinosaur was when I realized I could roll the window down and get clearer pictures. I’m so smart. Look at how smart I am.

A good manger scene always makes me nostalgic for my childhood. My mom always seemed to have at least three of them just out and about during the holidays. They were all connected to happy family memories.

Dragon. Need I say more. Also, look at all the people feet at the bottom of it! Love it!

I love the idea of the colosseum being used as the Reindeer Games Arena! my brain just thought “how cute!”.

I’m sorry, do you see the fish and ice cube decorated Christmas tree? I laughed when I saw this. This was in a area that featured penguins and this was their tree!

There were some of the highlights of the Prairie Lights show! We really did enjoy it and it was a great way to have some Covid safe family fun. I enjoyed myself and listening to my mom’s exclamations of happiness as she discovered each new thing. Yes, my mom’s joy brought me joy. And I found some joy of my own in the lights as well. Pretty sure I made those exclamations of happiness myself!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

100th Blog Post!

It’s my 100th Blog Post!

Huzzah! Hooray!

Holy cow.

There were a few days (months really) were I didn’t think the blog was gonna last this long. For reals though.

I started this blog as a way to write about anything and everything that crossed my mind.

In the early days I wrote about my cat. I mean look at how cute she is!

Or about a cup of tea. Yes, I really wrote an entire blog post about a cup of tea. What? I love tea. Don’t tell me you don’t love cuddling up with a cup of tea and a good book.

Okay, so maybe you like coffee and a good book. I’m not gonna judge you.

Let’s not forget the fabulous girls weekend in New Orleans. That was a good time. I miss those ladies.

I also wrote about the first time I made my family’s sacred chicken and dumplings recipe after my dad died last year. That was a healing experience for me.

Then I wrote my very first book review and got bit by a bug that just wouldn’t go away. Hello The Power. Spoiler alert, I wasn’t really a fan of this book.

I got really excited to join my first book club this year. So much so that I decided to write about it. We read the Princess Bride!

I started a little plant menagerie. One the plants has since died. But most of them are alive, and that’s all that matters here!

We cancelled our trip to Disney because of Covid-19. While it was the responsible thing to do, it still hurt my heart to do it.

I started playing Animal Crossing in April, wrote about it in July, and have still managed to play every day since. I’m not saying I have a problem, but I just flattened my island to redo it…again.

Then I read a book a day in August to get my reading engine kickstarted. It worked. Cause now I have a book blog.

I started review books with more regularity. Like, for example, Legendborn by Tracy Deonn.

I also decorated the front room of our house with books. Because how could you not use books everywhere?

The Hubs and I did end up going to a quaint B&B for our 40th birthdays this year. Twas fun.

And then I reviewed on of my favorite books in a long time, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Yes, it’s safe to say I loved this book.

I really have enjoyed blogging over these last two years and I’m excited to see where the next two years will take me. I loved that I have evolved into a book blog, as books really are one of my passions in life. They bring me loads of joy. What blog posts have you enjoyed?

Martha and Marley Spoon-First Impressions

So as you know we broke up with Home Chef. And here we are, a month into using Martha and Marley Spoon as our meal delivery service. What are our initial impressions?

Pro: The food is great. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had at least one dud meal. But it was still edible. Which is saying something. But the food really is good.

Con: We had some shipping issues with two of the boxes. But we were told in advance, by the company, that there were shipping issues. We were able to plan accordingly as a result, instead of guessing where our meals were like with Home Chef.

Pro: The packing is more environmentally friendly. With Home Chef, everything was enclosed in plastic, down to the garlic cloves. With this service the packing is paper bags with as little packaging as necessary.

Con: The cooking time listed is a lie. It usually takes about twenty minutes longer to prepare your meal than what it says on the recipe card.

Pro: It’s very easy to select your recipes online. The website is very user friendly and all allergens are listed plainly for you to see on the individual recipe page. This is great for me with my egg allergy.

Con: The recipes are a little complicated. Some of that has to do with them wanting to save plastic waste, some of that is just that the recipes are a little complicated. This goes into it taking an additional 20 minutes to prepare the meal.

Pro: The price is very reasonable. Our three meals a week for two people cost $53.99 plus $8.99 shipping. This is on par with other meal services we have had.

So there you have it. A pro and con list on Martha and Marley Spoon. We are liking it so far and it’s worth the cons for us to have the service. What are your thoughts on meal delivery services?

Home Chef-An Update

Well, it looks like we are breaking up with Home Chef.

I know, I know. I waxed poetical about them back in March. But a lot can change in 6 months. And so, it seems, it has.

See, what had happen was they change distribution centers, at least for us. Our packages used to come from Georgia and now they come from California. And ever since then we have been having problems.

Specifically with the chicken. It keeps coming in bad. And when that’s the main ingredient in your Truffle Butter Chicken Breast, well, you can see where that could be a problem.

At first it was a box every month that the bad chicken would appear. Home chef would make it right with credits and we would go about our business. But then it started happening more frequently. This last time we got two in a row. I told the hubs I was done.

So now. Well now its time for a change.

We’ve decided to change to a new meal service. We happen to like meal services. They do the shopping for you, prep the recipes, and cost less than going out to eat. It’s a win win!

We are going to try Martha and Marley Spoon for a little while. If we stick with it, I’ll do a review on it for you in a couple of months.

Sometimes change is scary. But sometimes, change can be tasty!

A Great Love Affair

No, I’m not talking about the love I feel for the hubs, though that is epic (Epic I say!). And no, it’s not some Regency romance where the man gets the girl but only after he’s been an accidental jerk to her and she’s been uppity to him for the whole thing.

I’m talking about my love of Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

This game with all its cute little villagers has somehow managed to capture my whole heart to the point where I have played it, everyday, for the last three months, for at least an hour.

I may have missed a day at the Nook Stop, but I haven’t missed a day playing yet!

I’m not actually sure if that’s something to be proud of or sad about. I guess it all depends where you are in life. Right now, I guess I’ll take proud!

I have loved everything about this game, from Flick, to C.J., to Celeste. Lets be honest, I freaking love Celeste. She pops up when there are meteor showers! How cool is that?

I love being able to pick where my villagers get to live, where the shops all go, what paths I get to lay. I love all the things!

If you’ve played, then you know the joys of which I speak.

Who would have thought a simple game (that I wasn’t even sure about to begin with would turn out to begin with) to be so much fun?