Return of a Book Blogger

Happy New Year! This book blogger is back after taking some lovely time off to enjoy the holiday season with my family and friends.

This is my current situation as I’m typing.  Coffee, candle, and oatmeal straight out of the (almost empty) peanut butter jar.  Absolute perfection.  My kids went back to school today and my house is too quiet.  I’m sad that they went back, it’s been so nice to have such wonderful quality family time over these past few weeks!  Side note: this candle is one of my very favorite scents from last holiday season and this year I haven’t been able to find it anywhere!  I HATE when that happens…

It’s been such a wonderful holiday season over here, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season as well.  We celebrated 8 glorious days of Hanukkah:

Our perfect homemade menorahs:

My beautiful besties and I (we missed you, Beth!):

and kicked off 2020 with our dear friends at our annual NYE Tsukasa dinner. NYE is also my friend Bari’s birthday so the night is always extra fun!

This is the 4th year in a row that we have celebrated NYE with these dear friends.  They have 2 daughters and this was the first year that we were able to put all 4 kids at one end of the hibachi table and the adults at the other end so that we could talk.  It was GREAT!  The food was delicious and the company was even better.

Happy Birthday, Bari!

 

My son fell asleep in the car before we got home.  My daughter, my husband, and I stayed up until midnight wearing party hats and throwing confetti that my daughter made with a hole puncher and colorful paper.  A perfect ending a wonderful year 🙂

At one of our family Hanukkah parties, I chose the most perfect white elephant gift: cozy reading socks!  Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly what they are meant for but obviously that’s how I’m using them.  I love them!  White elephant for the WIN!

On the reading front, I’m currently reading this:

I’ve been SO excited to read this and couldn’t wait to start.  To be honest, I’m really not loving it but I’m pushing through (for now) with the hopes that it will get better.  Have you read it?  I feel like all of the other book bloggers that I follow all loved it…??? I’m reaaaaally hoping that my very first read of 2020 won’t be a book that I don’t finish…fingers crossed it gets better…

Look at this gorgeous new addition to our local mall! How amazing is this???

Our kids had many Winter Break sleepovers on our bedroom floor. When Jon and I came up to bed 2 nights ago, we found this next to our sleeping daughter. Looks like someone read herself to sleep using Mommy’s (ghetto fabulous) book light 🙂

I have some pretty lofty goals for this blog in the coming year and I hope you will be along for the ride!  I have some great giveaways already lined up, books that I can’t wait to read already on reserve at the library, and I’m super excited to be a guest blogger on one of my favorite book blogs in the coming weeks!

One of my blog resolutions is (as always) to increase my number of followers.  Please enter your email address to be notified each time I post so you’ll never miss anything on here.  Thanks so much, XO!

Cheers to an amazing 2020!

How was your holiday season? What are you currently reading?

Xo,

Jenny

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Book Review: Pretty Baby {Mary Kubica}

Hey Everyone!

Happy Friday 🙂  I hope you all have some fun plans for this weekend.

We have 3 Hanukkah parties to attend!  Our weekend will be filled with latkes, presents, dreidels, menorahs, and lots of family and friends.  Happy 6th night of Hanukkah to all who are celebrating!  So far, my daughter’s favorite gifts have included her hamster and a gigantic Hatchimal (turns out I am just as excited about this toy as she is.  Do any of your kids have one???  It’s awesome!)  My son’s favorite gifts so far have included an Elmo lift the flap potty book (he received it 2 nights ago and we’ve easily read it 10 times already) and dinosaur figurines.  My husband bought me an online blogging course!  I’m so excited, hopefully I will learn all kinds of blogging tips to help Book Coffee Happy GROW!

I Am Brave and Unafraid Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to:

Debbie (I would donate this book to the Roy School library. I have been working in this library for 13 years. The students are always very excited to see new books that I display. This book would be a great addition to our library. Thank you 😃📚)

and

Becca V. (This sounds like a wonderful book to join my classroom library. As a first grade teacher I’d love to have the opportunity to share the important message of this book.
This year I’m really trying to focus on social emotional skills with my students and mentor text are a great way to start the conversation and understanding of these important topics and issues.
It would also be terrific to be able to donate a copy of this book in our school library so that the whole school can have the chance to read the book. Often times the books I read in class are the ones my students like to check out so having a copy in the library would be fantastic and then my students can share it with their families. 🙂! )

Ladies, please email me at bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com and we will arrange all of the details!  Congratulations!

If you didn’t win this one, no worries…I have some AWESOME giveaways coming your way soon!  Stay tuned 🙂

And now…A book review!  I read this book years ago and LOVED it so much.

pretty

Synopsis from Goodreads:

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

5 Stars

I absolutely love Mary Kubica and this book is what started it all for me.  It’s AWESOME.  Full of suspenseful twists and a great plot.  I truly couldn’t put this book down and  absolutely loved it from page 1.   Once you start reading this book you will not be able to stop until you get some answers…

The characters, the PLOT TWISTS, the story lines…everything was just awesome.  I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say this:  Read this.  It’s fantastic.

For my local readers, Mary Kubica is from Chicago and this is the setting for her books!  I would love these books regardless but actually knowing the places she refers to makes her books that much better for me.  I definitely do not love all of her books but overall I think she’s so amazing.  She has written more since this one but this book is by far her best!  Highly recommend.

Bottom Line:

This was the very first psychological thriller I ever read and I instantly fell in love with the entire genre based upon this one awesome book.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

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

Birthday of a Book Blogger

My birthday was yesterday and the entire perfect weekend was filled with fun, love, and joy.

Friday was spent with my favorite shopping partner, my mom!  We had our annual visit to our favorite craft and gift fair and it was glorious as always. It happens over my birthday weekend every year and it’s such a fun way to start off the weekend.

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I came home with such treasurers!  4 unicorn hair bows for my daughter, 3 bags of beef jerky for my husband, a new set of fancy sheets for our bed, and a new scarf for me because I can’t ever go shopping without buying myself at least 1 new scarf.  Scarves are  favorite accessory of all time although by this point I own way too many and I really need to stop buying more. Can’t. Stop. See this post for more details on the background of my obsession: The Ultimate Throwback to my 20’s and Early 30’s Book Series

I bought my son a custom Mickey Mouse CD where the characters sing each song using my son’s name.  The man at the booth told me that the characters will say or sing his name for a total of 70 times throughout the songs on the CD!  I wish I had taken a video of the look on my son’s face when we were driving yesterday afternoon and he heard the CD.  “MOMMY!  Mickey knows my name!” “MOMMY!  Goofy knows it too!”  Best $22.00 I have spent in a very long time.

Another booth had these gorgeous handmade wooden boxes, hand painted mason jars, and different types of flowers.  So many colors, so many sizes, so many sayings.  I spent a LONG time choosing the perfect combination and I could not love it more:

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We came home from the craft fair and soon were off to the biggest event of the day…my daughter’s school talent show!  She was one of the youngest in the show and while she was up there dancing, I watched in awe through the blurred vision from my tears.  Her confidence amazes me.  She did a solo act!  She nailed it, she looked beautiful, and the best part…she had so much fun.  There are those special moments as a parent where you can literally feel your heart bursting with pride and love and Friday night was a perfect example of that for me.  Aaaaand now I’m crying as I type this.  I love being a mom so much.

How sweet are my in-laws?!?

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Saturday proved yet again that nobody has better friends than I do. It was pouring outside, it was freezing outside, and there was traffic. And yet…my girls were determined to take me downtown so the 4 of us could have a city day in honor of ME! I offered numerous times to change our plans but they simply wouldn’t hear of it. So they picked me up and downtown we went (over an hour drive) into the most gorgeous city in the world. I lived in downtown Chicago for 8 years before I got married and a piece of my heart still lives there. My favorite city in the world. It’s gorgeous all year round but during the holidays the whole city absolutely sparkles. It’s just so magical down there. We shopped, we laughed, we ate. A perfect day.

Rain didn’t stop us:

4 Jewish girls with 1 stunning tree:

Grand Lux Cafe for dinner:

I came home after the kids were in bed and noticed this note on my daughter’s door (apparently she hid my presents under her bed):

Sunday morning on my actual birthday my husband and I were woken up quite early by 2 very excited children singing “happy birthday”. They climbed into our bed as I was still half asleep and my birthday began with homemade cards, balloons, gifts, and a unicorn cake. Perfection.

My daughter’s gift blew me away as it does every year. She is the most thoughtful little girl I have ever met. She had Jon take her to a bookstore, went to the new release table, and picked out the book with what she thought had the prettiest cover. As surprised as I was to receive this gift, she was even more surprised when I told her that Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors and I’ve been DYING to read her new release!!! In fact, I commented on that just last night when my friends and I were at a bookstore in the city! How did she know???  Mothers and daughters just have that special connection 🙂 Have any of you read this yet? She also bought a Junie B. Jones box set for her and I to read together. She told me that she wanted me to have some new books to put on my blog 🙂 Sweetest girl! A perfect gift. Truly touched my heart.

Aaaaaand my 2.5 year old son’s gift for me. He picked it out all by himself:

I don’t particularly care for trucks but guess who does…

Amazing.

And the balloon he bought for me. We’re Jewish, lol.

My sweet little boy.  LOVE!

My husband’s gift was exactly what I ask for every year: something fun for us to do together as a family. So in a few weeks, the 4 of us will be spending the night at Great Wolf Lodge in a suite and we all can’t wait! Perfect.

I’m over wanting fancy purses or expensive jewelry for my birthday. Quality time with just the 4 of us is EXACTLY what I always want and that’s exactly what yesterday consisted of.

The 4 of us went out for breakfast (my favorite thing. I always LOVE going out for breakfast and we try to do it at least once per weekend). I ate lox, drank coffee, and watched my daughter get the hiccups from laughing at my son who was shoving banana slices directly into my mouth with his sticky syrup fingers.

Our next adventure was Legoland! We spent hours riding rides, building with Legos, watching 4D movies, and so much more. It’s so amazing there and a perfect way to spend the day.

There was one point where the kids were playing together on the climbing structure and they were laughing so loudly. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and told him what a perfect day it was.

Rainforest Cafe for lunch. We sat by the gorillas, bought toys in the gift shop, and my kids loved every second.

Home for a unicorn cake and singing happy birthday with 2 excited kids on my lap the whole time.

How gorgeous is this cake???

It was so delicious.

And then…the day switched. My birthday was over and suddenly HANUKKAH was here!

Our menorahs. Jon and my daughter made hers when she was 1 and him and my son made his last night while I was downtown! Both were Hanukkah presents for me. I cried when my daughter gave me hers and all of these years later I cried when my son gave me his. So, so special.

My daughter’s has melted wax all over it from it’s many years of use and with each new bit of wax, I love it even more because of it’s memories. The year that Jon and I got married, I bought us a gorgeous silver traditional menorah that we used for a few years. Once my daughter made this one, it’s the only one we’ve used since. And now we have 2! One parent holds 1 kid while they light the candles while the other parent holds the other kid while they light the candles. And to the kids, picking out the candle colors is always part of the fun. I love Hanukkah so, so much.  Always have.

When I was a little girl, my parents used to wrap all of my presents and put them out for me on the first day. Each night for the eight nights, I was allowed to choose one gift to open. I remember making charts and obsessively thinking about which gift I would open that night during the school day. Should I open the big silver one tonight or save that one for tomorrow night and open the tiny pink one tonight? Thoughts such as this would consume me for the entire eight days and it was so much fun. I always knew that it when I had my own kids, I would absolutely continue this tradition. Jon and I have done this for kids since my daughter was born. Whichever gift she would put her hand on when she was a baby was the one she “chose” for that night! Now her choices are a little bit more strategic. My son absolutely loves opening gifts but doesn’t quite understand why he is only allowed to open one each night, LOL.

This year, things were a bit different. My daughter has been begging us for years for a hamster and this was the year that my husband and I decided to make her dreams come true! She’s been telling us for months that she has this vision where she would come downstairs to all of her gifts and one of them would have holes poked in it… and she would open that one right away because her hamster would be waiting to meet her! So we did exactly that. See video below (make sure your sound is up). ***the hamster was wrapped up like this for only about 2 minutes before the box was opened***

 

I’m trying hard to keep my kids and their names off of my blog for privacy reasons so I’m not going to share the video of when she came downstairs. Just know that it was amazing and a moment that none of us will ever forget.

Welcome to our family, Fluffy Rose!

Birthdays in my 20s were filled with alcohol, body glitter, dancing, leather pants, bars, and hangovers. Birthdays in my 30s were filled with learning to celebrate while holding new roles in my life…first as a new fiancee, and then as a new wife and finally (twice!) as a new mom. Birthdays in my 40’s are now filled with the 3 most important parts of my life: love, family, and friends. It’s about surrounding myself with the people that I love the most and who love me right back. It’s about taking the time to reflect upon my life and how much I truly am able to celebrate all of the day to day beauty it contains. If you would’ve asked me 10 years ago where I saw myself today…I’m exactly where I have always wanted to be. Married to the love of my life and a stay at home mom to my 2 beautiful children. Admittingly I never envisioned the hamster in this scenario but I’m welcoming the new addition 🙂

The very best part of the entire weekend? As I was about to make a wish and blow out my candles, I was struck with the realization that there was truly nothing I wanted to wish for.

I already have everything I could ever want.

Xo,

Jenny

A very Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

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