A Couple of Interesting Books

Here are a couple of interesting books I’ve read recently:

  The Obituray Writer by Ann Hood

3.5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

Claire believes she has nothing in common with her mother-in-law, Vivian. The readers soon realize they have adultery in common. Not my favorite subject matter and somehow I chose two out of three books this month with that theme. Hood wrote the book in alternating chapters of Claire and Vivian’s life. People find Vivian, the obituary writer, and insist she write about those they have lost. Her talent in writing comes from the stories the mourners tell though her own stories of her lover haunt her and prevent her from moving on. Claire is a wife and mother who decides to have an affair after she realizes she doesn’t love her husband. There lives are intertwined and Claire realizes they have more in common than she thought. I enjoyed the book but found Claire really unlikable which made me not sympathize with her and her struggles.

Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell

3 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: On New Year’s Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. The night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.
Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.

I enjoyed this book as a quick read but didn’t love it. I liked the premise of having a dinner club every month with friends and enjoyed Leland, the grandfather character. What I found disturbing about the book was the other six characters acting as if they had no relationship skills, self esteem, or common sense at all. It’s hard to love a book when you don’t love the characters.

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

4.5 stars out of 5 stars


From Amazon: Nonny Frett understands the meaning of the phrase “in between a rock and a hard place” better than any woman alive. She’s got two mothers, “one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy.” She’s got two men: a husband who’s easing out the back door; and a best friend, who’s laying siege to her heart in her front yard. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who won’t forget how they were done wrong. Now, in Between, Georgia, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating and threatening to expose family secrets. Ironically, it might be just what the town needs…if only Nonny weren’t stuck in between.

Ummm, completely loved this book. There are quirky characters, family feuds, and southern charm all mixed together to create a quick and pleasing read. Throughout the entire book I was fascinated by the communication system the mother (who was deaf and blind) had with her daughter versus how she communicated with her own sister. I found the last 30 pages of the book a little hookey but hey, I don’t live in Georgia so maybe that’s really how things get wrapped up there.

Any book recommendations for me?

Personal Stylist to Preschoolers

There are children in preschool who dress one hundred times cooler than me.

Cute little capri pants, newest JCrew sweater, and the shiniest little flats.

At times, I want to steal their wardrobe. However, I think the 3T cardigan might look a little off on me.

The thing is though, I’m not sure preschoolers should look like a littler version of their moms. How easy is it to climb the jungle gym in patent leather flats? Do you really need that jean jacket when playing in the sand?

I think there must be some tough mornings for preschoolers and their mothers.

And in this house, it’s just not worth the battle.

Caroline chooses her own outfits and I’m okay with that.





Most of the time.

This little diddy was by far her most inventive.


Yep, she’s rockin’ stripes, leopard, and polka dots.

She even insisted on doing her own hair.



As we were walking into preschool on this particular day a parent said, “Ahh, looks like she won the battle today.”

Actually there really is no battle.


What’s happening is individuality and confidence.

And smooth mornings.

We Were Saved in the Pantry

After dinner the other night, the kids were amusing themselves with something so my husband and I went on a hunt.

“We need dessert. We need dessert.”

And then we spotted it in the pantry.


“Eureka! It’s a miracle!”


Do you see it? The mother of all hidden candy?


Cue the angels singing.


Oh yes we did find that hiding.

Bless my children and their complete failure to remember they have any holiday candy three days after they collect it.

We’ve Got News…

Hold on to your hats…We’ve got news!


We are so excited to have another little person join our family!

We will share more information in a few weeks but for now I will tell you that our family has started the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.

Would you like a way to help us?

Tell everyone you know about the Big D & Me etsy shop.

Right now Father’s Day printables are for sale and make the perfect gift.


All proceeds go straight into our adoption fund!

Facebook it, Tweet it, Phone it, Email it!

Thanks so much for all of your support!

Paper Organizer for the Kitchen

 Ever since we moved into our house, almost three years ago, I have wanted a pin board in the kitchen – somewhere to hang school notes, store deals, and reminders.

I was looking at an “extra” pile we had in our guest room and I came across this old poster we had hanging in our old house.


Here’s the mess I wanted to have organized on the kitchen counters.


I took the frame apart and found this foam board behind the poster.


I wrapped the foam board with some extra fabric and then glued it on.


Yay! Simple! Free! Organized!


 UPDATE:It’s all a lie.

I wrote this post 2 weeks ago and at the time it was clean. But two weeks later the area is completely messy again. You can barely see the board and no part of the counter is visible.

Just keepin’ it real folks.

Swimming Girl

In May, when the water was cold, & I didn’t really want to get in the pool, I swam on 15 different days.


Let me show you why.


“Mommy, can we go to the pool?”

Gets me almost every time.

The kids are finished school today as of 3 pm so I’m pretty sure my 15 days of swimming in a month will be doubled this month.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saving Money & In the Red

Like many of you, our family is trying to save as much money as we can.

So one of the ways we are saving money is by using our library.

Of course, I’m always skeptical about how much we are saving when I have to fork over the cash for late fines but nontheless, we are using the library.

After spending about an hour perusing books last Saturday, we decided it was time to go.

After all, we had to get home to start making our homemade calzones…saving money everywhere people!

As we all gathered around the automatic checkout machine my husband bent down to pick up some books that had fallen to the ground.

As he did, his glasses fell off.

I turned when I heard, “No, don’t step back! No! No! No!”


And then I might have heard a few curse words.

In the library.

My husbands glasses were crushed.

We tried not to be angry at the child who stepped on the glasses (the 11 year old!) but as we were driving to the mall that night to order new glasses, driving past our neighborhood,  we might have said something along the lines of, “Well, Dad needs new glasses because you stepped on his and completely broke them.”

Probably not our best parenting moment.

But after a few of us, who do not need glasses, proceeded to try on every pair on the store, we felt a little better.

That and dinner at the mall.

Our Newest Dance Song

Today I thought I’d share one of the songs the kids and I are loving right now.

It’s…The Piano Guys with Alex Boye and their version of Coldplay’s song Paradise (Peponi)!

While driving in the car or playing in their rooms, I’ll hear little bits of the song from the kids, “Pepo, pepo, peponi!” Makes me smile every time.

Hope you love it as much as we do!

New Star Wars Prints

The Father’s Day printable at the Big D & Me’s etsy shop has been selling well – thanks friends!

I wanted to let you know about three new prints we have added to the store.

These prints are perfect for your little Star Wars fans.

The Millennium Falcom


The ATAT  Imperial Walker


The X-Wing Fighter


All prints are completely customizable to your desired colors, phrases, or names.

So go on over to the shop and check out these prints, your little Jedi will love them!

16 Years & A Bike Race

Over Memorial Day weekend,  my city hosts a bike race around the town square.


Although we have lived here a few years, we’ve never had the opportunity to attend until this year.


The cyclists whip around the corners at frightening speeds and accelerate even more on straight aways.


I considered it a win that we only saw one cyclist with a blooded and torn up hip.

The kids found the racing fascinating while I just prayed it hadn’t inspired them to take up the sport.


Since we were also celebrating our 16th anniversary the night of the races, we took the kids to eat on the square and had a little celebratory gelatto.



It was a wonderful night that hopefully we can replicate next year… the only change being I’m having a whole cone of salted caramel ice cream, not just a half.



Definitely a good night.