I Can’t Put This Book Down!

A book I literally can’t put down, holiday lights, a special reunion, a lovely new book in the mail, and a chance to theme out my daughter and I???  I’d call that a wonderful week!

My kids and I were driving around looking at holiday lights a few nights ago and we stumbled upon this house.  How beautiful is this?!

I had such a special thing happen earlier this week.  When I was in kindergarten, I was an advanced reader (no surprise there) and was pulled each day from my classroom to go into another classroom for advanced reading instruction. I loved my beautiful reading teacher so much and looked forward to spending time with her and her lessons each day!

Earlier this week, when I arrived to lead my storytime at a local children’s play cafe, my beautiful teacher was there with her granddaughter! We recognized each other immediately 🙂 I couldn’t believe that I was given the opportunity to read to my very own reading teacher and to be able to thank her for all she has done for me.  I was so excited to tell her how my love of reading had lead me to teaching elementary school for 14 years, currently writing a book blog and to now being paid to read to kids twice a week!

After storytime was over, her we had such a lovely talk.  We caught each other up on the past 35ish years (!) and compared our current “to read” lists.   We gave each other book recommendations and lots of hugs!  So special.

Speaking of book recommendations, I  CAN’T.  PUT.  THIS.  ONE.  DOWN.  I’m halfway through and am loving it so much.  I have no idea how this one is going to end!  Aaaaaand after I just wrote that sentence I realized the title of the book that I am discussing, lol.  I can’t remember the last book I read where I was this invested.  Maybe this adorable book?

I’m truly loving this one so far and I can’t wait to write a full review once I’m through.  (I’m so fortunate to be reading an advance readers copy…It officially releases January 1st).

I received this children’s book in the mail yesterday and it looks great! Full blog review and giveaway coming soon!

The library called last night…the book I’ve had on hold for weeks is waiting for me to pick up! Happy holidays indeed 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! My daughter and I will be wearing these to her class party today 🙂

What are your plans for this weekend?  I hope whatever you are doing includes family, friends, love, and BOOKS!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

5 Books to Read for Your Book Club

Last week a friend of mine told me that she recently joined her first book club and said she would be coming to me for book recommendations when it’s her time to choose the selection.  When I first started blogging, I wrote about the reasons why book clubs don’t necessarily appeal to me but I DO know that many of you love them!  If I were to ever join a book club, the following are a handful of books I would choose to share as each of these books could lead to such interesting discussions!

Click the images below to order the books through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Young Jane Young {Gabrielle Zevin}

This book is such an easy and interesting read and could lead to fascinating discussions. I loved this book and I’m not sure why it isn’t more popular?

Synopsis:

Young Jane Young‘s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late‑night talk show punchline; she is slut‑shamed, labeled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general.

How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long‑ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever, truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva/Jane’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her.

Read my review of Young Jane Young  HERE.

Somebody’s Daughter {Rochelle B. Weinstein}

Everybody should read this book, especially f you are parenting teenagers or soon to be teenagers.  So much to discuss with this one.

Synopsis:

Emma and Bobby Ross enjoy a charmed life on the shores of Miami Beach. They are a model family with a successful business, an uncomplicated marriage, and two blessedly typical twin daughters, Zoe and Lily. They are established members of a tight-knit community.

Then, on the night of the girls’ fifteenth birthday party, they learn of Zoe’s heartbreaking mistake—a private and humiliating indiscretion that goes viral and thrusts her and her family into the center of a shocking public scandal.

As the family’s core is shattered by disgrace, judgment, and retribution, the fallout takes its toll. But for Emma, the shame runs deeper. Her daughter’s reckless behavior has stirred memories of her own secrets that could break a marriage, a family, and friendships forever.

Read my review of Somebody’s Daughter HERE.

The Most Fun We Ever Had {Claire Lombardo}

The ONLY aspect of this book which might scare people off is it’s length.  It’s LONG!  If this is something that might not thrill the members of your book club, you might want to skip this one (although it PAINS me to say that because I truly think this is my favorite book of all time.  It’s amazing.  If your book club doesn’t want to read it…read it on your own time.  Trust me.)

Synopsis:

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.

As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.

Read my review of The Most Fun We Ever Had HERE.

Becoming {Michelle Obama}

Although I personally didn’t love this book, I do think Michelle Obama has led an interesting life full of interesting decisions.

Synopsis:

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

Watch my VLOG of me sharing my review of Becoming HERE.

The Unbreakables {Lisa Barr}

Oh this book has so many aspects that a book club could spend hours discussing!  Loved this book!

Synopsis:

The worst birthday ever might just be the gift of a lifetime…

It’s Sophie Bloom’s forty-second birthday, and she’s ready for a night of celebration with Gabe, her longtime, devoted husband, and her two besties and their spouses. Dinner is served with a side of delicious gossip, including which North Grove residents were caught with their pants down on Ashley Madison after the secret on-line dating site for married and committed couples was hacked. Thirty-two million cheaters worldwide have been exposed…including Sophie’s “perfect” husband. To add insult to injury, she learns Gabe is the top cheater in their town.

Humiliated and directionless, Sophie jumps into the unknown and flees to France to meet up with her teenage daughter who is studying abroad and nursing her own heartbreak. After a brief visit to Paris, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie acknowledges her own desires—not her husband’s, not her daughter’s—and rediscovers her essence with painful honesty and humor, reawakening both her sensuality and ambitions as a sculptor.

As she sheds her past and travels the obstacle-filled off beaten path, Sophie Bloom is determined to blossom. Allowing her true self to emerge in the postcard beauty of Provence, Sophie must decide what is broken forever…and what it means to be truly unbreakable.

Read my review of The Unbreakables HERE.

Have you read any of these books?  What other books would you recommend for a book club?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

Calling All Bloggers and Vloggers: Add Your Links {Volume 3}

It’s that time again!  A chance for all bloggers and vloggers to publicize themselves and at the same time, discover some interesting new blogs and vlogs to follow.

Over the summer, I wrote a blog post asking for bloggers and vloggers to share their sites and to add their links in hopes of people being able to get their name out there and also to discover new sites to follow.  A few months later, I wrote another blog post asking for bloggers and vloggers to share links and descriptions to their most current posts/videos.

Both posts were so successful! So many lovely bloggers and vloggers posted links and descriptions of their blogs/vlogs. I instantly found new favorites to follow and so many others commented that they did as well.  Love!

So today…let’s do it again!

This time the theme will be “Posts or Videos Which Taught People Something”

Think back to posts/videos you have created.  When was a time you posted something which was helpful or taught something?

Post a link to a helpful blog POST or helpful vlog VIDEO and a brief description on what that particular blog/video is about in the comments below. Let’s all discover new blogs/vlogs to follow! If you have a blog/vlog, I’d love for you to participate regardless if you participated in the past or not.  All blog/vlog topics welcome!

Please only add links to the comments on this post (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to keep them all in one place.

Also, if you haven’t already added your link to the comments on the other 2 posts, feel free to do that now as well 🙂

Calling All Bloggers and Voggers Volume 1

Calling All Bloggers and Vloggers Volume 2

I’ll go first!  Here is a link to a helpful post that I wrote.  It’s a list of amazing books that I would recommend bringing on vacation!  All of these would be PERFECT vacation reads (or anytime reads).  Hopefully this post will help you while planning what to bring on your next vacay:

15 Amazing Books to Bring With You on Vacation

Now it’s your turn!  I can’t wait to read the comments below.

Have fun and enjoy discovering some new favorite bloggers/vloggers!

And while you’re discovering new blogs/vlogs to follow and subscribe to, I’d so love for you to follow/subscribe to mine if you don’t already 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

New Family Heirloom, What I’m Reading, and My Porch Goose

I received the most lovely text from my wonderful cousin, Shari!  The very day that I posted this post mentioning that I was so happy to receive the 1st in the Little House series for my daughter, she texted me that she has the entire series and wanted to give them to me!  How amazing is that?!?  I just love my family so much.  She asked that I keep them in the family and pass them along to my other cousins when my daughter finishes reading them.  Jamie, these are coming to you next and you can then pass them along to Catherine!  Our new family heirloom 🙂

Would any of my local readers like to have this copy?  Just let me know, I’ll put it on my front porch for you. 🙂  If not, I’ll toss this little gem into a Little Free Library!

I find it creepy how the baby was partially edited out in the different covers.  Why not just edit the whole body out?  So weird, lol. 

My porch goose is all ready for winter.  Love.

I will finish reading this book today!  Full blog review coming soon!

So excited to start reading this one next!  It looks amazing.

I’m a huge fan of Rochelle Weinstein both as an author and as a person.  If you haven’t read Somebody’s Daughter yet, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it.

Happy Friday!  What are you up to this weekend?  Ours will be busy and fun.  My kids have 4 (!) birthday parties, my son has a basketball class, and my husband and I are going to a fancy downtown dinner with his colleagues.  I hope you have a nice weekend!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate links.  When you order through these links, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

My Best 8 Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

Libraries are among my very favorite places on Earth to visit.  I may or may not have been known to visit more than 1 location in a day 🙂  I have 8 helpful tips on how to get the most out of your local library experience but first I’d like to highlight some of the many benefits that libraries have to offer.

Obviously the draw to libraries is the vast amount of literature offered.  You can name any topic in the world and the library will have a book (or be able to get a book) about it.  However, libraries offer so much more than just books!

Storytimes

Before I had kids, I dreamed of the day when I would be able to take them to storytime at the library (#booknerd). I’ll never forget when the day finally arrived.  The storytime we attended was specifically for preschool aged kids…and my daughter was 6 weeks old, lol.  Who was the overly excited new mom?!?  I remember walking in with my daughter and couldn’t wait for her to participate in the activities.  Again…she was 6 WEEKS old!  The lady leading storytime was so kind and told me that my daughter and I were more than welcome to be there.  As a new mom who was just excited to be out of the house with my brand new daughter, I was more than excited to stay. So basically I sang songs, listened to stories, and learned new rhymes along with all of the other preschoolers, lol.  My daughter slept through the entire storytime until she made the most gigantic poop in all the land…and of course her newbie mother forgot to bring extra diapers.  Of course!  I was so embarrassed and quickly wrapped her up in a blanket and fled the library without even saying good-bye to all of my brand new preschool friends and their mothers, lol.  Fast forward 7.5 years, another child later…and my kids both love storytime at the library.  AND they are totally age appropriate now which also really helps, lol.

DVDs

Checking out DVDs from the library is always such a treat for my kids! Holiday movies, classic movies, even entire seasons of past television shows (I’m looking at you, Full House and The Cosby Show).  There is such a wide selection of DVDs that the library has to offer.  I love taking advantage of this, especially for my kids.

Quiet Reading Rooms

Both of our local libraries have “Quiet Reading Rooms” where there are fireplaces, comfortable chairs, and…SILENCE.  It’s as dreamy as it sounds and I have spent HOURS in those rooms.  They are glorious.  The first time I discovered this room at one of the libraries, I asked to speak to the director just so I could thank her for the vacation I felt like I was just on in that peaceful room. 🙂

Sick Child?  No Problem!

One of our local libraries has the most amazing service.  You call them, tell them about your sick child’s interests, and within 2 hours they will put together a selection of books and movies that you can pick up at the drive thru to keep your little one entertained!  How awesome is that?!?

Side Note ***for the love of GOD do NOT bring your sick child into the library***

Programs/Events

My children have attended some amazing programs/events at our libraries.  Traveling zoos, jugglers, movie viewing parties, musical performers, and so much more!  One of our local libraries currently has a traveling dinosaur exhibit and I can’t wait to take my son!  Libraries offer amazing opportunities for adults as well!  Book clubs, classes, etc.

Libraries are truly wonderful places full of amazing resources and opportunities.  Some of my very favorite memories of my children were made within the walls of the library 🙂

Play Areas

Don’t even get me started.  UGH.  You can read this post to hear all about my feelings on this one.  Spoiler: I hate them.

Book Coffee Happy Pro Tips:

  1. If there is a book that you want to check out but your library doesn’t have it and can’t get it from another library, they might be able to order it…and you will be the very first person to read that new copy!  I have done this a few times. I loved that I was able to add some wonderful books to our library for others to enjoy…and I loved being the very first person to check them out!
  2. Place a hold on multiple books that you want to read at one time.  They won’t all be ready for pickup at the same time so you will have plenty to keep you busy while you are waiting or the others.  When you’re done reading one, anther will be ready for you!
  3. If you get the call that your book is ready for pickup but you know that you won’t be able to start reading right away, wait a few days before you pick it up.  Your checkout date begins from the day the book is actually checked out, not the day it’s ready for pickup. At our library, holds expire after 7 days so I plan on when I pick up accordingly, especially if it’s a popular book that I know I won’t be able to renew if I don’t finish reading in the allotted time frame.  **Be mindful of others waiting for these books and don’t do this often**
  4. Older books have a much higher chance of being available than new releases.  Always keep a list of older books that you would like to read in case none of the new releases are currently available.
  5. If you know there is a book coming out that you want to read, you can place a hold on it months ahead of time!  Get your name higher on that list before the book is even released!
  6. Many libraries have remote locations where items can be returned.  In my community,  there is a location at our grocery store and also at the community building where my kids take classes.  Easy!  Be sure to check and see where your library has remote locations.  I rarely return books to the actual library…but I’m always at these remote locations.
  7. You can return your library books to other local libraries, it doesn’t have to be to the library from where you took out the book.  Just be sure to allow travel time for the book to make it back to your library so you won’t incur late fees.  When you return your item to a different location, there is no way for that location to track when it was returned.  Only when it is actually returned to it’s home library and checked back in can that date be tracked.  Sometimes it’s just easier to return items other places depending on where I am on that day.  **Again, be mindful when doing this!  I would imagine that libraries don’t love when people do this often**
  8. Busier libraries will have a less likely chance of newer books being on the shelves (although these libraries DO tend to own more copies of these titles).  When there is a particular book I’m looking for, I know exactly which of our local libraries will have a better chance of having it on the shelf and which libraries I shouldn’t even bother trying.

Do you visit your local library?  What are some things that it offers?  Any tips you have for helping others to get the most out of their library experience?

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

 

 

Books, Books, Books!

As the delicious smell of Twisted Peppermint fills my living room, I have so many book related updates to blog about and share with you!

Last October, I was invited to attend a Midwest Writers Association meeting.  The discussion topic was “expressing your passion” and how a writer discovers and applies that passion into his/her writing.  It was such a wonderful experience (You can read about that night here). A few weeks ago, I was once again invited to attend one of their meetings as the topic of this particular meeting was blogging and using blogs to promote yourself.  I felt so honored to be included and I loved being able to share some of the knowledge that I’ve gained through writing my blog. 

The meeting was held at a local independent bookstore.  Oh how I just love local independent bookstores!

We met in their beautiful event room and I loved spending the morning in the company of such wonderful authors, bloggers, and writers.  Thank you so much for including me, Midwest Writers Association!  You can read more about this lovely group of people here.

Do you remember a few months ago when I happily took a few books from our local library book stand at one of our community buildings?  My kids and I were there dropping something off last week and of course we spent a long time looking through the current selection.

Unfortunately none of the adult books called to me so I didn’t take any for myself.  My kids, however, got some great books!

I told my kids that they were each allowed to choose 1 item.  My son chose a frog book and my daughter chose a brand new (factory sealed!) math bingo game.  I was DELIGHTED to find the first book in the Little House series for my daughter!  Oh how I LOVED this series, I can’t wait for her to read them.  I also grabbed The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby for her since it is written by the same author as her current book series obsession: Dogman!

If you follow me onInstagram, you saw that I found this classic at a Little Free Library a few days ago! I happily added this along with the Little House book to the box of classic books I’m collecting for when my daughter is a bit older.  Love.

Present for my Niece’s 10th Birthday:

She loved them. 🙂

As for me, I’m currently reading this book:

The release date isn’t until January and I feel extraordinarily lucky that I was able to receive an Advance Reader’s Copy.  I absolutely love Mary Kubica.  While you are waiting for The Other Mrs. to be released, I strongly recommend reading this one.   SO, SO GOOD. 

Check out these 2 gorgeous childrens books that have recently been sent to me. I can’t wait to read these with my kids! Full blog reviews (and giveaways!) coming to the blog soon!

And lastly, my daughter was in a play last week (she was awesome and I cried) and here are the flowers I bought for her.  They are full of glitter because she’s 7 and there’s not much cooler to a 7 year old than a bouquet of all glitter flowers.  #momwin

What are you (or your children) currently reading?  Please share in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

Thanksgiving and My Birthday Weekend

Thanksgiving 2019 began exactly the same way every Thanksgiving of my entire life has began…watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv! Oh how I love watching the parade all warm and snuggly on my couch. I have memories of watching the parade with my parents when I was a little girl, alone when I was living in the city after I graduated from college, with Jon and our dog when we first got married, and now all snuggled up with Jon and our kids.

The Radio City Rockettes was the only time in the 3 hours they weren’t snuggled up against me on the couch 🙂

Pro tip: DVR the parade the night before so you can pass all of the commercials (except for the ET Xfinity commercial…loved it)!

Matching shirts for my kids:

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 19 family members at our house. I put a leaf on everyone’s plate saying “I am thankful for____.” Everyone filled them out, I bought a photo album for them, and each year we will add new leaves to our family album. An official new family tradition that I officially started and will be in charge of each year! At one point during the night I was in the backyard with Jon (he was smoking a turkey and a prime rib) and I happened to look into my house through our back windows. The sight of my extended family together eating and laughing in my home made me instantly tear up! There’s something so profoundly beautiful about growing up going to holiday dinners at other family members’ houses and then one day being the adult hosting in your own home with your own family. So special.

Matching turkey necklaces for my kids and their cousin:

I forgot to turn on the oven to cook the corn casserole and I forgot to take the beautiful fruit bowl out of the refrigerator but nobody cared.  Being together is what the holiday is about and my wonderful family so enjoyed all being together.  I loved hosting everyone and watching as memories were being made inside of our home.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

And just as soon as Thanksgiving ended, it was time to celebrate my birthday!

My birthday this year fell on a Monday. My family and I celebrated the day before.

I was woken up by both of my children kissing me on my cheek and whispering “Happy Birthday Mommy.”

Perfection.

Apparently my kids each picked out the wrapping for my gifts. My daughter picked out exactly what I would have chosen for myself, beautiful pink flowers. Nailed it!

Aaaaaand my dinosaur obsessed son picked out….

Amazing 🙂

My husband bought me a full year theater subscription to one of our favorite theaters! There’s nothing like watching live theater and now we have unlimited access to seeing all of the shows there as many times as we want for a year! We bought this a few years ago and it was so amazing. This year’s show lineup is fantastic and includes my favorite production of all time…The Sound of Music! Can’t wait for our year of fun date nights…the first one is in 2 weeks, we are seeing Oliver 🙂

After I opened all of my gifts, the 4 of us went out for breakfast to one of my favorite diners and we all colored pictures until our food came.

We then drove downtown and our first stop was to the filming location of my favorite tv show…Shameless! I have wanted to visit the Gallagher house for years and it was the perfect day. I had to pay the homeowner $5.00 to let me take a picture on her porch…worth it!

Kevin and V’s house is actually 2 doors down!

So freaking cool. While I was there one of the neighbors came out and asked if I wanted to take a picture with him or with Frank, lol. 2 other groups of fans also came to take pictures on the porches while we were there and we all discussed and pointed out places on the property where specific scenes were filmed. Such a fun experience!

If you don’t watch Shameless, WATCH SHAMELESS. You’re welcome.

Our next stop was Chinatown! Another place I have been wanting to visit for years! We had the best time walking through the stores, eating a delicious Chinese lunch at one of the top rated restaurants (Joy Yee), and exploring the grocery stores which are so culturally different from our own.

Frogs for sale at the grocery store:

If there’s a book store in the vicinity, I’ll find it even if I can’t read any of the words, lol!

I loved this piece of furniture so much!  I did NOT love how insanely expensive it was.

My favorite animal: peacocks. They are so fancy! I spotted this beauty on a random wall as we walked past.   Gorgeous.

We came home, sang happy birthday, ate birthday cake, and I was given gorgeous flowers hand selected by my kids.

A perfect, perfect day.

My birthday gift to myself is this gorgeous laptop tote (<—- affiliate link)! I’ve been wanting it ever since my favorite YouTuber Jeana got it. It’s the perfect size and it’s so beautiful! Now when I go into the library with my laptop, book, notebook, coffee, oatmeal, keys, and phone…random strangers hopefully won’t ask if I need any help, lol.

Birthdays are strange. As a kid, I absolutely loved them! The parties! The gifts! The cake! As I got older they started to lose their luster a bit as the age I was turning creeped up up up. Somewhere the joy of the day turned into focusing on the number of the age I was turning and those numbers weren’t so young and exciting anymore. Another year, another year older. Ugh.

And then 6 years ago one of my dearest friends passed away and suddenly everything changed.

All of the sudden my birthdays started to feel special to me once again. The sobering reality that my dear friend will never again celebrate a birthday, will never grow old, and will never again experience any of life’s beauty hit me and it hit me hard. Suddenly growing old felt like such a precious gift and one that I will never again take for granted. Yes that number goes up up up…and I’m so very thankful that it does. I feel blessed to celebrate another birthday and even more blessed to be celebrating surrounded by so much love.

I miss my friend fiercely, especially around this time each year.

Birthdays (and life in general) should be celebrated. I look for the beauty in the day to day and it’s always in there somewhere! This past weekend was truly a beautiful weekend filled with love, family, delicious food, Gallaghers (!), presents, and laughter. Next weekend will include more birthday celebrations with my parents and with my 3 best friends.

Truly thankful for it all.

Dunkin Donuts Gift Card Giveaway Winner:

Congratulations Mistysbookspace!  Email me your address within 48 hours (bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com) and I’ll toss a gift card in the mail for you!  Enjoy 🙂

Thanks so much for allowing me to share bits of my personal life with you.  You can read about my last year’s birthday celebrations here.

My next blog post will be book focused! What I’m currently reading, the books I recently received, and more 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*