Saturday, January 31, 2015

For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe {A Book Review}

Let's get right to it, I don't watch the The Bachelor or The Bachelorette BUT I read Sean Lowe's sister's (Shay) blog so I began following his story a bit that way and I have always admired his belief system despite being in the spotlight. When I saw For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe up for review, I at least wanted to check it out. 

Yesterday, my son was a bit under the weather so there was lots of snuggling in our house and I read this whole book in one day! And, if you condensed the time, I probably finished in about 3 hours. I couldn't put it down. In the book, For the Right Reasons, Sean shares about his life before the TV shows and that was honestly probably my favorite part. He shared a bit about growing up, football, college and life issues. He shares about how he got onto the shows and shares some inside details which were definitely fun and surprising. He gives insight into what his new relationship with Catherine was like and how it changed and grew. And he just closes the book right up with a little bit about their wedding which was small (not!). :)

Here's what I loved about the book: Sean was super honest (to the extent that he could be in a book like this without it being 500 pages long) about how his faith wavered at times in his life and about how he made big career mistakes. He shares about how God taught him and humbled him which I could connect with as a Christian. I also thought that Sean did a great job connecting with any type of audience through the book. I enjoyed it most as a Christian but I also think non-Christians could relate and those who are Bachelor and Bachelorette fans will definitely like it no matter what. 

I hope Sean will write another book one day, maybe with Catherine! :)

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Friday, January 30, 2015

The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith {A Book Review}

When I saw that The 13th Gift was up for review, I was intrigued on one hand and on the other hand, I was turned off. I was turned off because Christmas had passed already and I wasn't sure it would be as interesting to me. I'm glad I picked it to read anyway because this little inspirational true story was just right for me right now. 

My husband has been working overnight shifts and when he leaves for the night I'm so tired that light reading is all I need. The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith fit that bill perfectly. 

The book tells the story of a family who lost the head of their household and were just not in the Christmas spirit--at all! Just before Christmas, an anonymous group of people who labeled themselves "true friends" began leaving small gifts for the family on their doorstep. The real story though is how those gifts began to transform the family who received them and for that, you'll have to check out the book. 

This book is of a true story so that gains major points for me because it's super genuine. The way the story was written is just incredible and simple and honestly, just right. Not too fluffy or too dull. Stories like these need to be shared more often! 

I loved this book and read it within a matter of hours and I highly recommend it to anyone who need a little extra inspiration in their life. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Morgan Family Staycation 2015 {Day 8 & 9}

The last two days of Staycation were just as fun as the first seven! We started off the day making yummy sausage and cheese biscuits and fruit salad for breakfast and Grandmom and Granddad joined us! Breakfast was so good and we enjoyed some fun visit time with them. They got to see Mason play and run wild in the house and they loved that! So did we! 

Later on, we watched the rest of Winnie the Pooh. And for lunch we had leftovers of mac and cheese mixed with leftover sausage, sweet potatoes, and fruit salad. 

After nap time, Matt went to QT and got a few of their discounted pastries (they discount them after 3pm) and we enjoyed some time outside! 

Oh, and I got a little back massage! 

Dinner was BLT's and Pasta Salad and it was SOOOO good! 

Sunday began our last day of Staycation and although we were sad to see it go, we were actually excited to start the week because I had gotten a call to work all week for a couple of hours each day. This is a big deal for a PRN therapist like me and I was able to make it work because Matt is working overnights and I could slip out to work during nap. HUGE blessing for us! 

Sunday began Mason's fascination with climbing (and it has just escalated from there!). 

Matt old me to slip out of the house for a bit for a free Bruster's ice cream treat and a little reading time. 

Lunch and dinner were hodge podge and we spent the day watching football. And I used a cake mix I got on clearance at Aldi to make a yummy dessert. Red and green velvet cake. I subbed applesauce for eggs and it was so good! 

Clearly, Mason was a fan! 

Staycation ended with my guys snuggling up for their nightly Curious George session. (Usually the only TV we watch when we aren't staycationing. We rotted our brains with TV this week. :)) And I read and watched them.

This week was incredible for us. It was relaxing, refreshing and PERFECT timing! 

If you are considering a staycation, DO IT!!! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning {A Book Review}

Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning had me drawn in from the initial tagline: An ADHD/Autistic boy takes a dog to Westminster and heals a family. First of all, isn't that sweet poodle on the cover the cutest? Second, as a speech-language pathologist who loves children and has a heart for helping children with diagnoses like ADHD and autism (even though I don't currently work with children.), I was hooked by the story presented. 

I don't want to tell too much of the story because trust me, you will want to read it, but I do want to tell a little. Manning wrote the book well and I enjoyed the short chapters which would be good for young adult readers and were especially nice for me since my time reading as a mom is often in short spurts.

 I loved the story of Bess and Mona, twin sisters, and Bess' son, David, who have a whole set of family struggles incorporated with the story of Benny, a boy with ADHD/autism, whose family has their own set of struggles. The reason I liked the struggles/realness/genuine nature of the story is because these days, it seems like everyone is trying to act like they don't have "stuff" doing on. This story brought Bess and David's mother/son struggles to the surface and worked through them as they tried to heal a relationship. Manning also presented uniqueBenny's relationship with his school counselor, as well as his struggling relationship with his mother, father and stepmother in such a real way. 

The situations were much like they truly are for a family dealing with a child with ADHD/autism and it was nice to see those in a fictional book that was fun as well. 

Bess and Benny become friends as a dog brings them together for a task neither of them was ready for, the Westminster dog show (This year's Westminster is coming up on February 16-17. Get information here.). The show helps to bring both families closer as well and Manning does an incredible job in the book of weaving together both stories. 

If you have interest in stories related to ADHD/autism or even therapy dogs, you would likely really enjoy this book! 

Morgan Family Staycation 2015 {Day 7}

Day 7 was probably the most chill day and there were hardly any pictures until after 3:00 in the afternoon. We had eggs and pork chop scramble for breakfast. Played inside and outside in the morning and had PB, nutella and banana sandwiches for lunch. We watched Winnie the Pooh throughout the day and Mason only kind of liked it. Everything is secondary to George. 
Matt also introduced Mason to a little TMNT...boys! 

For dinner, I made chili mac and cheese and copycat Jim N Nicks cheese biscuits. Both recipes are amazing and you can find them on my Pinterest page. 

Backtrack a bit...The best part of the day for my guys was between Mason's nap time and dinner. An ice cream date for Matt and Mason!! 

They ended their date with a quick trip to Publix and a few rounds of "Slow, Slow, Fast" That's our family grocery cart game and Mason LOVES it! 

After 7 days of staycation with 5 of the 7 days being largely relaxing and chill time, I can honestly say, we were so glad that we chose Staycation versus Vacation. And we still had two days left!!!