MiMi-a great name for grandma

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The Measure by Nikki Erlick – Book Review

Ahhhh….the age old question that sparks conversation all around the world…What would you do?  Author Nikki Erlick presents a very thought provoking scenario for this very question.  On an otherwise normal day, all around the world, every person aged 22 and above receives a little box at their house/dwelling/etc.  Each one looks the same and has the same inscription, “The measure of your life lies within.”  Would you open it?

The Measure by Nikki Erlick is a fascinating story that carefully weaves you into the lives of several different people.  Some are “short stringers”, some are “long stringers”, and some choose to not find out!  From the beginning she brings you in with her descriptive writing style that truly puts you in the middle of each scene.  Follow along in my review as we discuss whether family relationships, politics, religion, government, etc. would change if we knew our lifeline ahead of time.  *There are some great disscusion questions at the end of this post!

The Characters ~

  • Nina – Editor, Maura’s girlfriend, Amie’s sister
  • Maura – Nina’s girlfriend, member of support group
  • Ben – Architect, member of support group
  • Claire – Ben’s ex-girlfriend
  • Deborah Caine – Managing Editor
  • Amie – Nina’s younger sister
  • Sean – Head of the support group
  • Lea – Member of the support group
  • Doc Hank – Member of the support group
  • Chelsea – Member of the support group
  • Carl – Member of the support group
  • Nihal – Member of the support group
  • Terrell – Member of the support group
  • Sarah – Nina’s college roommate
  • Jonathan Clarke – mass shooter
  • Jack Hunter – From a family that has a strong military background
  • Anothony Rollins – congressman/Presidential candidate and Jack’s uncle
  • Katherine Rollins – Anthony’s wife and Jack’s aunt
  • Grandpa Cal – Jack’s grandfather
  • Javier – Jack’s roommate at the academy
  • Dr. Anika Singh – fellow doctor with Hank
  • Dr. Amelia Parkins – Presidential candidate
  • Governor Russ – Presidential candidate
  • Alice Harper – Presidential candidate
  • Senator Wes Johnson Sr. – Presidential candidate

The Plot ~

The Tree of Life – we all have a spot that begins and ends in our family tree.  This has been true since the beginning of time.  If you are able to know when your time on earth will end, would you want to know?  If so, why?  Would you live your life differently if you knew it was shorter….or longer?  Should people with short strings be treated differently than those with long strings?  Should we force everyone to look…and if we did how does that affect our government as we now know it?  Does your answer to any of these questions change if you were never given the chance to see your string (life as we currently know it?)

Nina & Maura ~

You instantly fall in love with these two women.  The love they share is raw and deep.  One wants to look at their strings and one does not.  Once Maura decides she is doing it, Nina decides to follow along for the sake of continutity in their relationship.  Do they both have the same length of strings?

Ben ~

Ben is an architecht that has recently separated from his girlfriend, Claire.  He opens his box alone and finds himself deep in thought about his life.  Unsure if he should share his string length with his parents, he decides to attend a support group.

Amie ~

One of the “third” group that chooses not to open her box.  She is a teacher that gets to watch history play its course right in front of her young students.  Some of her loved ones have opened theirs and she quickly starts seeing the effect it has on relationships….but is there still more for her to learn on a more personal level?

The Support Group ~

People from all walks of life find this support group to help them through the acceptance of the size of their strings and the effect it has on their lives.  As they continue to meet week by week, they also discover things they may or may not have known about themselves by getting to care about the other members more intensely.

Anthony & Katherine ~

Katherine comes from a very respectable family that is honored for it’s long years of service in the military.  Anthony has his sites set on becoming the next president.  A perfect match?

The Other Presidential Candidates ~

Is it wise to use the length of your string as part of your campaign?  Whether it is short or long there are ways to display that you can get the most done in your allotted time…or will that go against you in the end?

Jack Hunter ~

Jack is a guy that struggles because he doesn’t have the same desire as all of the men in his family have had before him.  How can he use the length of his string to his advantage?

Javier ~

Javier was raised by parents that believe strongly in family values and supporting your country.  He doesn’t have all of the financial  benefits that his best friend, Jack, does.

The Measure by Nikki Erlick raises so many more questions than just how long do I have to live.  She goes deeper in how people treat each other once they figure out their string lengths are different.  But wait, doesn’t society do this already?  We don’t have these strings and yet we still treat each other differently and many times unfairly.  So does it really make a difference if we know how long we are going to live?   Shouldn’t we just always focus on living a good life?   Isn’t the better question, “How well do you live your life?”

Discussion Questions for The Measure by Nikki Erlick ~

  • If you could know the length of your life, would you want to?
  • The long stringers many times became more of a “daredevil” of such.  What daredevil thing would you do?
  • Short stringers went to support groups.  Do you think you would do this or crawl in a hole ignoring everyone?
  • If you were a short stringer, would you share secrets you had never shared before?
  • Do you think doctors treat elderly and the very sick different than otherwise healthy patients?  Do you think this would happen with short stringers vs. long stringers?
  • Would it be important to you that the president you vote for was a long string?
  • Should people with short strings get pregnant?
  • Do you think Doc Hank would have jumped in front of the shooter even if he didn’t know the length of his string?
  • Do you believe short stringers received their length because of something they have done wrong in life?
  • Would you contemplate an “easier death” according to what you believe if you found your string to be short?
  • Were you shocked by the car accident at the end of the book?
  • With the death of 2 parents, it is common for an aunt/uncle to step in to parent the children.  Is this any different if you knew the length of your life or not?

Have you read The Measure?  If so, I would love to have a discussion with you as there is SO MUCH to talk about!  Put your comments in the section below and let’s chat!  If you haven’t read it….go get it now!  You won’t be disappointed.  I rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it was so well written and gave me so much to think about!


Here’s a link if you need it…

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Happy Reading ~


DIY Christmas Tree String Art

It’s that time of the month again…the wonderful time that I share a sustainable craft that I have made AND also share with you several other ladies’ crafts as well!  It’s a bonus post that is filled with wonderful ideas…and the theme for November is Christmas!  I have been very intrigued by string art lately so you guessed it….DIY Christmas Tree String Art is the choice for me!

Sustainable:  Using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.  Many crafters (myself included) find it so hard to throw stuff away because they are just SURE there is something it can be used for.  Well, my daughter just had new flooring installed.  Did you know they just throw away the discarded pieces that they have cut?  Shameful!

Christmas Tree String Art ~

The beautiful thing about string art is that you can be very precise and measure everything OR you can create with no set rules.  I tend to prefer a little quirkiness, which is what I will be sharing with you.  However, if you prefer a more precise look, there are tons of patterns out there to use.

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Items Needed ~

  • Wood flooring remnants or wood block
  • Scissors
  • Small nails
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue
  • Stain or Paint
  • Craft Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Spray adhesive
  • “Snow glitter
  • Twine or yarn in various colors.  Twine was used in the examples I have provided.

Helpful Links ~

Below are links to some of the items listed above.  I am sure many of you may already have most of these items, but if not….here you go!

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Let’s Create ~

    1. Choose the type of layout you wish to create.  You can freehand the tree or use a pattern.  (I used the freehand style)
    2. Fit your tongue in groove flooring together to create the size you wish.  I played around with various layouts, mixing and matching the sizes and lengths of the flooring I had until I was content with the outcome.
    3. Glue the pieces together using wood glue.
    4. Paint or stain your project.
    5. Hammer in five nails for the star making sure about half of the nail is driven into the board.
    6. Starting right under the star, hammer one nail in for the top of the tree.  Then randomly place nails to the right and left, scattering the length apart in between them.  Remeber that with this style, there is no right or wrong.  You will want to be sure that they start out closer together at the top and then spread further apart at the bottom.  A board can also be used if you do not have extra flooring.  It can be any size of course!
    7. If making a tree trunk, hammer in 3 to 6 nails spaced about the same distance apart.  Three for a shorter trunk and six for a longer trunk.
    8. Tie off the twine or string at the top nail.  Moving from right to left, string around each nail head.  Once I reached the bottom, I went back up to the top following the same pattern I had used going down.  You can go up and down the tree as often as you wish depending on the thickness you want for your final product.  When done, tie off again at the last nail.                                                                                                                                                                         
    9. Follow the same steps above to complete the star and trunk.
    10. Spray the glue adhesive all over and sprinkle the “snow” glitter.

I am truly obsessed with this fun DIY Christmas craft.  My head is swimming with so many ideas and different color variations.  I have even seen where the whole backdrop is covered in string art leaving the main image with no string.  It is such a stunning look.  This will probably be my next one to do.

Sustainable Craft Challenge ~

May be an image of tree and text

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

As mentioned earlier, I take part in a monthly craft challenge.  Jullie of Sum of Their Stories gives us a theme.  We are challenged to use at least one item that is sustainable/eco friendly.   This month’s theme is Christmas!  Let’s see what the other ladies have shared:

Julie from Sum of Their Stories ~ Felt Star & Bead Garland

Terri from Our Good Life ~ End of the Season DIY Rosemary Wreath

Gail from Purple Hues and Me ~ Nature Inspired DIY Christmas Wreath

Marci from Stone Cottage Adventures ~ Framing a Quilted Pig

Maria from Simple Nature Decor ~ Jeweled Oyster Shell Ornament

Stephanie from Crazy LIttle Love Birds ~ Create a Beautiful Tree Scenery Using Cardboard

T’onna from Sew Crafty Crochet ~ Upcycled Christmas Baubles

Christine from Christine’s Crafts ~ Christmas Tree Diamond Decorations

Mel from Decor Craft Design ~ DIY Christmas Snowman From Old Socks

Allyson from Southern Sunflowers ~ Christmas Tree Shaped Fabric Pillow No Sew Tutorial

Be sure to check out each one…and give them a follow!  You won’t be disappointed!

Drop me a note in the comments if you have worked with string art before.  Do you prefer to use a stencil or free hand?  I would love to hear your ideas!

P.S.  Are you looking for some more Christmas fun…be sure to Check out You’ve Been Socked!

Happy Crafting & Happy DIY Christmas Tree String Arting ~









DIY Bubbling Cauldron

Chances are you already have several items laying around that can be used for a DIY Bubbling Cauldron.  Whether it is a plastic Halloween cauldron you have purchased or you have a fun bucket of some sort that can be converted to one.  With a few supplies, you can easily convert it to a spooky cauldron filled with a realistic looking witche’s concoction that is sure to be enjoyed by all.

Items Needed for DIY Bubbling Cauldron ~

  • clear ornaments – different sizes
  • craft paint – green, orange, yellow, rust/bronze, black (depending on your color scheme)
  • paint brushes/sponge of various sizes
  • half or full styrofoam ball (depending on size of “cauldron”)
  • hot glue gun
  • hot glue
  • cauldron or bucket
  • cut paper sacks if your bucket is larger to help fill space
  • string lights or fairy lights

Additional Items to Complete the Look ~

Before I move on with the easy to follow steps, I want to take a minute to tell you about this great group of crafters I am involved with.  Every month, Julie from Sum of Their Stories blog, presents a theme for us to create a substainable craft.  This month’s theme is Tradition.  For those of you who know me, you are already aware of how much I love traditions.

A long standing tradition that was handed down from my mom is decorating for the holidays.  We always have the tried and true decorations that were brought out every year…some purchased and some crafted.   However,  we would also make new decorations to add to the ongoing collection.  Halloween was very big at our house and I have such wonderful memories of everything about the month of October.  This fun DIY Bubbling Cauldron is a super fun craft that I will now be adding to my annual display of everything spooky!

How to Create Your Own Bubbling Cauldron ~

We had an antique bucket that has been moved from space to space to space in our garage over the years.  I had to laugh because when I brought it in and set it next to my other supplies, my hubby asked, “Well, you aren’t going to ruin that cool bucket are you?”  First of all…RUIN?  😉 Second of all, I quickly replied, “What plans did you have for this bucket…did you even know we had it?”  He laughed and agreed!

  1. Run lots of hot glue over the rim of the bucket, letting it ooze down the sides as it wishes.  (If you are using a plastic cauldron, you can paint it first if you wish to give it a “rusty” look.
  2. Once the glue has dried, you can paint it with your desired paint colors to look like the concoction inside is boiling over.  I used different brushes and quickly realized I preferred the sponge brush as it gave it more of a “soupy” look.
  3. Once the paint has dried, fill the bottom of your bucket with paper sack strips (if needed) and then place the stryofoam ball or half ball on top of papers.
  4. Place your string of lights all around the stryofoam ball.  *I tried several different types and colors of lights.  The colored light strand that blinks became our favorite.  It seems to have a more realistic hot brewing look to it.
  5. Remove the clear ornaments from their boxes and take the tops off of each one.  (side note…I couldn’t throw those away because I am POSITIVE I will find a use for them later!  Can you say CRAFT HOARDER! 🤣)
  6. Start placing the bulbs around inside the cauldron, putting a bit of hot glue on each one to secure them.  Once your have the inside top filled with “bubbles”, start dripping them down the sides.  After you have them all glued together you should be able to lift the whole thing up as one unit.  This makes it easy if you need to change out your lighting.
  7. Complete the look with spider webbing, a big spider, a witch and of course that Potion book I mentioned earlier.

Find the Items Here ~

If you are a craft hoarder like me, you may already have all of the items needed to make this DIY Bubbling Cauldron.  Many of the items can be found at the Dollar Store if needed.  I love this because I try to share crafts that aren’t expensive to make.  Let’s talk about the vessel for your cauldron first.  The plastic bucket can work perfectly, but get creative and look around for something you may already have.  Flower pots could be a great idea to be converted!

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Here are some handy links if you need to purchase any of the items online:

*Be sure to measure your cauldron size before choosing the size of ball.

October Sustainable Craft Challenge ~

Back to the monthly challenge.  Listed below are the awesome ideas that my fellow bloggers created for the Tradition theme this month.

Julie from Sum of Their Stories ~ Vintage Doily Afternoon Tea Embroidery Upcycle

Terri from Our Good Life ~ Halloween Scenes on Thrift Store Paintings

Gail from Purple Hues and Me ~ DIY Paper Mache Pumpkin Centerpiece

Mel from Decor Draft Design ~ DIY Halloween Haunted House Sign

Jo from A Rose Tinted World ~ DIY Halloween Bowling Game

Be sure to check out each of their posts for some amazing ideas…you are sure to find something new to create!

Come back and let me know how your crafts turn out….looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy Crafting ~


30th Birthday Party

As we start edging toward a new decade in our life, many people find themselves feeling anxious over their past ten years.  Where does society say I should be at this point in my life?  I say to heck with all of that jibberish….just enjoy where you are.  Every year has highs and lows….let’s celebrate the “death” of one decade and happily move on to the next.  That’s exactly what we did when planning the 30th birthday party for our daughter, Karleigh.

Death to My 20s ~

Yes, this was the theme for celebrating our beautiful girl.   We are not saying death to the 20s because they were bad years…quite the contrary.  The past decade has been a great one for her.  However, now it is time to celebrate the new decade ahead.   She’s engaged to the man of her dreams, is living in her dream home, and is the happy mommy of an adorable corgi…Theodore Ruffsavelt or better known as “Teddy.”  I can only imagine what beautiful things the 30s have in store for her.

30th Birthday Party Decorations ~

Those of you who know us, know we love Halloween.  We were SO excited to get the Halloween decorations out in July!!!!  Side note:  I think my neighbors got a bit nervous when they saw me pulling the skeleton heads out in the yard to paint them…🤣)  I looked online first for gold skeleton heads and quickly realized that it would be easy and much less expensive to DIY them.

If you are a Halloween junkie like me, you will already have a bunch of skeleton heads hanging around.  If not, you can easily get some online or if in season, hit up your local Dollar Store.  Buy the cheapest ones you can find.  Even though I did not need to buy any, I took the liberty to check online for you.  PLEASE BE AWARE of size of the skulls you purchase.  They all look the same size in the pictures but vary A LOT when you look at the details.

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

The ones pictured above seem to be about the best price I could find for the size.  These are 4.3″ tall, which is a great size.  You can obviously buy smaller ones as well to paint and place around various locations of your party area.  I had this tall stack of skulls that I haven’t used for years (I’m so glad my craft hoarding self held on to it 😉).  It will serve as a new Halloween decoration to use this year after the party…and I love it!

I used the spray paint below.  This is a bit more of an expensive paint than I would normally use for a project like this, but I am including it so you can see the color I used (Metallic Champagne Bronze).  I will say that now that the project is complete, I’m glad I used the nicer paint because I will be using these fun skulls in my Halloween decor for years to come.

We normally like to DIY most of our party decor, but we were in a time crunch so several were purchased.

Skelly the Skeleton ~

Skelly is very loved in our family.  He visits the kids the whole month of October bringing them various surprises.  Check out one of my earlier posts about Skelly here!  For the party, Skelly got to make an early visit this year, intact with a gold boa.  He made for a great backdrop for the pictures.

The Coozies ~

Lauren got to work on her Cricut and made these awesome can coolers.  Karleigh’s 30th is adorned on one side while a skelton head is on the other.  Of course, these are done in black and gold to match the color theme.  These turned out amazing and were a big hit!  A perfect party favor for the guests to take home at the end of the party.

If you are a crafter and don’t own a Cricut, you are missing out!  A true game changer!!!  They aren’t cheap…but I promise you in time they save money for all of the items you purchase that you could be making yourself.

The Shades ~

Another fun party favor offered were the shades.  Sunglasses are always a welcome take home gift.  Of course, for this soiree, we had shades in gold and black!  I created the cards in Canva, punched a hole in the corner and affixed them to each set with a black ribbon.

The Tablescape ~

A tiered tray was the centerpiece holding all of Karleigh’s favorite cookies, fudge and candies.  Addi even jumped in on the party prep by making various flavor candy skeleton heads and tombstones.  We then scattered the party favors, gold feathers, and random gold skulls atop black sheer material and black lighted garland.   I had purchased this garland for my home decor last fall and had a very hard time finding what I wanted.  The link is included below to save you the time I spent…whew!  I was obsessed!

Food & Drink ~

We were trying to decide between theme-oriented food or going with some of the birthday girl’s favorites.  The favorites won out so there was a nice spread of brisket, mashed potatoes, scalloped corn, meatballs, summer salad, watermelon and apps.  Mint juleps were the drink of choice.  Had we had more time, I definitely would have made something like this…Charcuterie board fun by outintherealworld.com.  I love all of the creative ways people are finding to serve charcuterie boards.

I have included many more links than I normally do.  If you are anything like me, you see some crafty ways to entertain that you love and then spend the next 24 hours trying to locate all the goods.  I have mentioned before that I do make a small commission if you purchase from these links so I do TRULY appreciate your support of my small business.  However, whether you purchase from them or not, I hope they serve helpful in locating items and then at least you know what they are called so you can do more searching on your own!  Sometimes just knowing what an item is called is the biggest battle!

In Closing ~

This was a super fun party theme that we enjoyed putting together as much as the guests enjoyed being a part of.  The painting of skeleton heads is super easy while the coozies definitely took more time…so plan wisely.  I believe that a party should be as much fun to plan as it is to attend.  A memorable party always consists of good food and drink, fun decorations, nice party favors and a good picture backdrop.


Love ~




The Collected Regrets of Clover ~ A Book Review

When you come to the end of your life, which of these do you think will resonate with you the most:

  1. REGRETS – There are things you wish you would have done differently.
  2. ADVICE – There are some great things you have learned along the way that you feel are important to share.
  3. CONFESSIONS – There are secrets you kept that you feel you should finally reveal.

That’s enough to make you ponder for a bit…am I right?  You might even find yourself thinking you fall into more than one category.  According to Clover, most people really tend to focus on just one when they know they are nearing death.  Let’s dig in to my book review of Mikki Brammer’s ~ The Collected Regrets of Clover.

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Meet the Characters ~

  • Clover Brooks – Main character – Death Doula
  • Patrick – Clover’s Grandpa
  • George – Clover’s dog
  • Lola & Lionel – Clover’s cats
  • Leo – Clover & Patrick’s neighbor
  • Mr. Hyland – Clover’s kindergarten teacher
  • Ms. Lucas – School principal
  • Miss McLennan – Babysitter of Clover
  • Julia & Reuben – Neighbors across the street
  • Sebastian – Attendee at Death Cafe
  • Sylvie – new neighbor
  • Miss Bessie – Bookstore owner
  • Claudia – Sebastian’s Grandma
  • Selma & Joyce – Claudia’s aides
  • Allegra & Phil – Moderator’s at The Death Cafe
  • Tabitha – attendee at Death Cafe
  • Priya – Short term friend in 10th grade
  • Guillermo & Abigail – two of Clover’s clients
  • Hugo -Claudia’s long lost love
  • Hugo – grandson of Hugo

Plot of The Collected Regrets of Clover ~

Clover is a woman who has grown up a loner.  She experiences death a the tender age of six when she witnesses her kindergarten teacher suffer a heart attack.  Not long after, she is sent to live with her grandfather due to her parents being in an accident.  She spends many happy years with her grandfather until losing him as well.  Knowing all too well the sadness of death, she then becomes a death doula, aiding others in the transition from life to death.

So much time is spent comforting others in the end of life process that Clover doesn’t realize that she herself has forgotten how to live!  As she slowly learns to let others in, she realizes that life really can be a beautiful thing.  We feel pain along the way, but the love and happiness are worth the struggles.

Death Cafes ~

Death cafes are an organized meeting where people discuss death over food and drink.  Did you know these actually exist?  I, personally, did not.  However, I think it is such a wonderful idea.  When I first heard the name my thoughts went to something dark and a bit quirky.  I have since researched them, and I now realize that they can be a very helpful tool for various reasons.  We even have one in my city!  Do you have one where you live?

Clover visits different death cafes around New York City.  Careful not to follow any particular schedule as she does not want to become a regular and have to participate in small talk with others who visit the same ones regularly.  This is one of Clover’s numerous ways to interact with people while still staying reclusive.  Little does she know that ultimately it will lead her down the path to some very interesting new “friends.”

Death Doula ~

Just as a doula or midwife assists in bringing new life into the world, a death doula assists in the dying process.  I had never considered this but my eyes have been opened through reading The Collected Regrets of Clover.  Dying can be a lonely and difficult process whether you have family around you or not.  Clover is a very meticulous and conscientious person that cares deeply about her work.

While Clover is every bit of an introvert, when she is working her true personality comes out.  The relationships she forms with those who are dying are very special.  I found myself thinking many times, if only Clover would open up to people who are not dying she could have some amazing friends.  I cringed at times when she worked so hard to not be noticed.  It is very easy to fall in love with her character and  want her to find happiness.

Analogy of a Matchstick ~

Who doesn’t love a good analogy?  As many children will do, Clover asked her grandfather, “Why do people die?”  Grandpa Patrick ponders for a minute and then begins explaining the many different stages of a matchstick.  Where are we going with this you ask?  Matches in a matchbox are all initially made the same.  When struck, some burn a long time while others burn out earlier due to different circumstances….wind, match breaks, or maybe it never even burns to begin with.  Just as we never know how long a match will burn the same can be said about a person’s life.  I just really like this analogy….how about you?

Closing Thoughts ~

When Clover finally opens up a bit she starts to discover that life indeed can be a wonderful thing!  She finds herself traveling across the country to help an old lady who is dying find her long lost love.  Does she get there in time?  I’m not going to share that with you, but I will say that it is just possible that she finds her own happy ending in the process.  Seriously, you need to read this book!

Book Club Questions ~

  1. After reading this book, will you ever visit a Death Cafe?
  2. What other analogies can you come up with to explain death?
  3. Do you ever find yourself rejecting others before they can reject you?
  4. Clover believes that people get frozen fashion wise in a certain era (usually from the age of their 30s to 40s).  What will your glory days be?
  5. Tabitha in one of the Death Cafes asks the group, “If you could know the date of your death in advance, would you want to?”  What are your thoughts about this?
  6. Sebastian has a fear of death due to his upbringing.  How do you feel your upbringing has affected your views on death?
  7. Clover finds it difficult to connect with people once she tells them what she does for a living.  Do you feel it is socially acceptable to discuss death?
  8. Do you feel there is an acceptable amount of time to grieve?
  9. Clover tries to honor those she has helped die by living out their regrets or taking their advice.  What are your thoughts on this?
  10. Would you feel comfortable having a death doula assist you or a family member?

Book of the Month Club ~

My daughter, Karleigh, blessed me with a membership to this for my birthday.  What a PERFECT gift for bookworms.  Have you checked it out yet?  You choose your books at beginning of the month and they get shipped directly to you.  Their spotlight on books is great as well…so helpful in finding new and interesting reads.  I have only had this subscription for 1 month and loved the book they recommended….yes….it is this current book you are reading about right now!  I am not an affiliate of them currently….but am working on it as we speak.  Here is a link to check Book of the Month Club out!

More Reading Choices ~

Are you as curious about death cafes as I am?  I think I am just surprised that I have never heard of them until reading The Collected Regrets of Clover.  Of course, being the curious person I am, I had to look up books that talk more about them…

Also, have you been looking for some new reads to share with the littles?  Be sure to check out my post, 33 Favorite Reads for Kids for some all time favorites!

Happy Reading Friends ~



Such A Fun Age – A Book Review

Is it “normal” for a parent to call her babysitter late in the evening for an “emergency” babysitting need?  Is it “normal” for a babysitter to be dancing with a young child in the aisle of the local grocery store late at night that should be in bed at that late hour?  This book gains your interest right away with these questions and more that make you want to keep reading.  Even more questions quickly arise as well…dive into Such a Fun Age – A Book Review with me!

The fact that the babysitter is black and the young child is white is revealed before you even begin the book.  What I found compelling in this story is while you know it’s going to dive into the controversies of race, you also learn a lot about what makes each of them tick, which has nothing to do with the color of their skin.  To me, this book covered different subjects, which I enjoyed!

Meet The Characters ~

  • Emira Tucker – Protagonist – Babysitter/Typist
  • Alix Chamberlain – Deuteragonist – Wife/Mother of 2/Emira’s employer
  • Kelley Copeland – Deuteragonist – Films the scene in the local grocery store/dates Emira
  • Briar Chamberlain – Emira babysits her/Emira’s favorite human/daughter of Alix
  • Catherine Chamberlain – Daughter of Alix
  • Peter Chamberlain – Husband of Alix
  • Zara, Josefa, Shaunie – Emira’s friends
  • Laney Thacker – Peter Chamberlain’s co-anchor
  • Rachel, Jodie, Tamra – Alix’s friends
  • Claudette – Alix’s housekeeper when she was a child
  • Robbie Cormier – high school athlete/classmate of Alix Chamberlain
  • Ramona & Suzanne – Laney Thacker’s friends
DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

The Plot ~

The story begins with Alix calling Emira late in the evening to take her daughter, Briar, to the store.  It was Alix’s attempt to get Briar out of the house and away from a bad situation occuring there.   Instead, they find themselves in a conundrum much worse than the current issue at hand.  They are now embroiled in the middle of racism at several different levels.

The book takes you back and forth from their current lives to their past lives.  Decisions and actions made in younger years deeply affect where they are today.  One might ask, “Well isn’t this the norm for everyone?”  My answer would be, “Yes, of course!”  However, this story weaves a tale of some very deep hurts caused to others that I believe most of us would always hope we haven’t been the culprit of.

Alix Chamberlain ~

Born as Alex Murphy, her family inherits a large sum of money and quickly go from rags to riches.  However, we all know the old saying, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.”  She makes a decision her senior year, that while many would agree with that decision, it still deeply affects the lives of Robbie Cormier and Kelley Copeland, who are her classmates.  She moves on after that sufferable year and becomes a blogger and influencer, branding her work with #LetHerSpeak…helping other women find their confidence.  Along with her work comes a new version of her name…Alix!

Emira Tucker ~

Finding herself struggling with life choices, Emira is 26 and is a typist and babysitter.  Meanwhile, her three friends have “real” jobs.  The problem with this is that Emira loves both of her jobs, however, neither one provides health insurance, and she is getting dangerously close to losing coverage under her parents’ plan.  Why does babysitting have to be considered anything other than a real job?  She’s more of a mother to young Briar than Alix will ever be.  The thought of not being in Briar’s life is so painful that she cannot bear to think of it.

Kelley Copeland ~

Kelley finds himself in the middle of systemic racism while doing some late night grocery shopping.  Always surrounding himself with friends of color, he is instantly aware of what is about to happen to Emira, so he films the whole occurrence.  While Emira is not interested in pursuing any legal action, they still become friends/lovers after a second chance meeting on a bus.

Kiley Reid does a great job pointing out that while sometimes our actions are well-intentioned, they can have a very different meaning to the person on the receiving end.  She helps us to see that racism does indeed exist and helps us to understand that we need to look at better ways to help bridge the divide.

With that being said, I felt like the relationship of both Alix (Alex) and Emira with Kelley Copeland was a bit of a reach.  The fact that Kelley randomly meets Emira in the store, while having such a strong historical tie to Alix was fairly unrealistic.  I kept waiting to learn that he set up that chance encounter…but this was not the case.  Nonetheless, this book flowed easily through some very hard topics that I feel will leave everyone contemplating daily choices and actions they make.  AND….that final paragraph was everything…Don’t you dare cheat and look ahead!

Discussion Questions ~

  1. Do you thing Emira made the right decision by asking Kelley to not release the video?
  2. What are your thoughts on Alix’s relationship with both of her daughters?
  3. Do you feel Emira should have already had a “real” job?
  4. How did you feel about Alix slipping extra money to Emira after the grocery story debacle?
  5. Do you feel that what happened in the grocery store would have gone differently if both girls were the same color?
  6. Do you feel Alix was overcompensating in her relationship with Emira?  Was she well meaning in her actions?
  7. Did you expect the connection with Alix and Kelley?
  8. Was Alex right in calling the police that night in high school?
  9. There are many uncomfortable moments in this book…can you relate with any of them?
  10. Do you think Alix was right or wrong to release the video?
  11. Do you carry any high school issues with you still today as an adult?
  12. Who do you think was better to Emira….Alix or Kelley?
  13. Is the fact that Alix keeps giving expensive items to Amira odd or only odd because they are of different color?
  14. What do you believe Emira will take away from her time at the Chamberlain house?
  15. Who was your favorite character in the book?   Why?

Other Great Reads ~

Have you read Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander?  It’s a great read about prejudice, class and injustice that keeps you intrigued to the end.

If you haven’t read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens….it’s a must read too!

Conclusion ~

I read a lot of reviews before reading this book myself.  While I believe Kiley Reid navigated eloquently through some very tough topcis, I still struggled with some of the story line.   The biggest issue for me was Kelley Copeland.  I considered him to be the antagonist in this book, but I couldn’t quite relate to him as much as I would have wished.  In spite of this, I think it is a great read for many reasons!

Happy Reading ~





Mason Lid Fabric Flowers

These showy flowers have all the personality with all the ease in making them!  You can’t beat that!  The sky is the limit on color scheme and material to create your own Mason Lid Fabric Flowers.  Read on for easy to follow steps to create your own beauties!

This post is part of the monthly Sustainable Craft Challenge that I am so honored to be a part of.  Julie Nyano gives us a theme to work with each month and we need to use at least one element that is sustainable/eco friendly.  This month’s theme is flowers.  The mason jar lids are the main sustainable item in my craft.

While these sweet diy flowers have a rustic look to them, you can use various fabrics to work these into many different decorating themes.  They also would make gorgeous package toppers if you are one of those who loves to present a beautifully wrapped package.  Skip the stem and glue them on to the top!

Materials Needed ~

  • Fabric
  • Cotton Balls
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • Mason Jar Lid & Ring
  • Drill or Sharp Object to Create Hole
  • Stem/Dowel Rod/Bamboo Skewer
  • Jute (optional)

Mason Lid Fabric Flower Instructions ~

The size of your Mason Jar lid and the thickness of your material will determine how many strips of material you will need to make your flower.  A rough guideline is as follows;

Small Mason Jar Lid ~

24 to 40 strips of fabric 1″ wide by 8″ long

Large Mason Jar Lid ~

35 to 50 strips of fabric 1″ wide by 9.5″ long

I realize this is a pretty large variance of strips needed for each size, but the thickness of your material will determine the exact amount.  As an example, I used cream denim material on one flower.  This took 28 strips.  For the green checked flower, I used a lightweight polyester material.  Forty strips were used to create this flower.

The fullness you desire also has a large impact on how many strips you will use.  I like a fuller effect, so I pushed each tied strip tightly together to get as many on the ring as I possibly could.

  1. Cut strips of material.
  2. Drill a hole in the ring.  Be careful to make the hole the same size as your stem.  Since the flower is sizable when done, you will need the stem to fit snugly in the ring in order to hold it up correctly.
  3. Tie the strips around the ring.  *It is helpful if you leave the stem in the hole as you are tying the material around the ring.  It is very easy to “lose” the hole once the flower starts getting full.
  4. Cut 2 circles from the material you want for the center of the flower.  They should be larger than the actual ring.  For the small size rings used in this post, I cut the circles 4″ big.  This ensures that they will fully cover the finished center piece.
  5. Glue 3 cotton balls to the top of the lid.
  6. Place one 4″ circle over the cotton balls.  It is helpful to put a dab of glue on top of the cotton for the material to stick to.  This helps the material from shifting as you are pressing it into the center of the ring.
  7. Press the covered lid into the ring.  It is a bit tight with the strips tied around the ring, so you have to use a bit of muscle power to push it snugly in.
  8. Glue the other 4″ circle to the back of the flower.  This gives it a finished look from both sides.
  9. If you have not yet done so, add the stem

Options ~

For the stems of my flowers, I used old artificial flower stems that I was no longer using.  As usual, I have a hard time throwing things away.  Flowers in arrangements need to be replaced over time.  I simply cut the flowers off and used the stems for this project.  If you like this look and don’t have any of these laying around, here are some ideas of ones you can purchase.

Dowel rods are another great idea.  They can be stained or wrapped in jute for a final touch.

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

My flowers are displayed in an old bottle….yes, another thing that I couldn’t throw away. I wrapped thin jute around the top and then tied a bow over the jute.  I added spanish moss as a filler in the vase.

Sustainable Craft Challenge ~

Now, it is time to share the other amazing flower crafts created by my fellow bloggers.  You don’t want to miss out on any of these creative crafts!

Julie from Sum of their Stories created Recycled Mini Collage With Crochet Flower

Gail from Purple Hues and Me created Ironed Pressed Flowers Glass Vessel

Christine from Christine’s Crafts created Gorgeous Book Page Roses – Surprisingly Easy to Make

Mel from Decor Craft Design created DIY Flower Gift Bucket For Mom

Allyson from Southern Sunflowers created How to Update Thrift Store Find with Paper Flowers

Julie from Treasures Made From Yarn created Flora The Reversible Doll

Niki from Life as a LEO Wife created Floral Wood Letters With Free Rolled Flower Cut Files

Last month’s challenge was SOFT.  Be sure to check out this post to see all the fun ideas everyone created for this theme!  It is so much fun to see what everyone comes up with under the same theme!

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You can use the link below as well to go to all of the floral crafts listed above!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Happy Crafting Friends~



One Pot Sausage, White Beans & Arugula

This aromatic dish fills the house with warmth!  The arugula turns brighter green as it cooks and creates a dish that is both beautiful and incredibly delicious.  One pot sausage, white beans & arugula will definitely have your family requesting seconds….so be sure to make enough!

If there are any leftovers, it is one of those amazing recipes that tastes even better the second day…bonus!

One Pot Sausage, White Beans & Arugula ~


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or diced
  • 2 lb. kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans white kidney beans
  • 32 ounce chicken broth
  • 3-4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups arugula


  1. Heat olive oil in pan over medium-low heat.  Add sliced onions and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic cloves and cook through.
  2. Toss sliced kielbasa in pan with onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally until kielbasa is browned.
  3. Add both cans of white kidney beans.
  4. Season with Italian seasoning.
  5. Add 2 cups chicken broth and bring to boil.
  6. *Optional – lightly smash about 1/4 of the beans to give your dish a bit of a thicker consistency.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Mix in arugula.
  9. Cook through until arugula starts to wilt.
  10. If needed, add more chicken broth to keep a somewhat “soupy” consistency.


Kale can be substituted for arugula…or any green that you wish if either of these are hard to find.  Both add nutritional value, however, arugula has a spicier flavor.

Many meats can be substituted for kielbasa.  I have fixed it with chunks of Italian sausage and it is very flavorful as well.  Substitute to your family’s liking.

While this is not a soup, it does have a slightly soupy consistency.  Bread is a great side dish to “sop” up the extra juices.

Adding 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried chile flakes gives it a very tasty spicier flavor.

Arugula ~

Arugula is a member of the bitter green flavor, thus does have a slightly bitter flavor.  However, if you were to compare it to collard greens, it is much milder.  It also has a spicier taste than most of the other greens.  It is widely used in salads, thus can be eaten raw or cooked.

Arugula is low in sugar, carbs and calories, making it a great choice to add to any menu.  It is high in Vitamins A, K & C, Potassium, Calcium and Folate.  It is always good to find a food that is so versatile, healthy and delicious!

Extra Recipes ~

One only has to search arugula recipes to find a plethura of great ideas!  Here are some I have either already made and loved or have on my “To Try” recipe list:

This Arugula Frittata by Theclevermeal.com  looks absolutely amazing.  Another wonderful thing about this one is it can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner (I just love having breakfast for dinner….don’t you?)  It also serves as a great vegetarian dish!

If you haven’t run across Sugar Maple Farmhouse, you really need to do so!  Wow!  Her blog is packed with some amazing recipes!  This Roasted Asparagus & Arugula Salad by Sugarmaplefarmhouse.com is a perfect example of what all she has to offer.  Be sure to check out this great recipe and more!

Meat & Veggies In One ~

I have always enjoyed meals that combine the meat and veggies in one dish.  We grew up eating a lot of casseroles when I was a kid.  However, my husband is not a fan of some of the old fashioned casseroles that I am so fond of.  Meals like this one pot sausage, white beans & arugula is basically the new way of doing a casserole in my mind.  Crazy thinking?  Maybe!  But I love it!

Maybe you saw one of my earlier posts on Veggie Filled Stuffed Peppers?  Another meal that combines all ingredients in one but not quite a casserole!  Be sure to check it out….it’s a little different take than the traditional stuffed peppers you may be thinking of.  Be sure to check out my Stir Fry Chicken & Veggies too!

Serving In Style ~

As always, I love to use fun dishware to serve up these fun recipes.  After all,  you put your love and time into creating wonderful foods….why not enjoy them in beautiful dishware as well?   I am a huge fan of Antique Farmhouse.  Have you checked out their website?  Everything I have purchased from them has been wonderful…big fan!   Here a few of their serving items:

I hope you give this delicious recipe a try and come back to let me know what you think!  If you make any changes, I would love to hear that as well!  Unti then…happy cooking my friends!




Never Have I Ever – A Book Review

*Spoilers Included*

What happens when you have two strong willed women who are more alike than either of them wants to admit?  This is a question author Joshilyn Jackson used as the basis of the current book of our book club.  Book selections have been awesome lately, as I am giving a rating of 5 out of 5 for the second time in a row!  Are you curious why?  Dive into my latest book review of Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson.

This is my first book to read by New York Times Best Selling Author, Joshilyn Jackson.  Have you read any of her books?  Interestingly enough, this book is similar to my last review, The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark in that there are 2 main characters.  In the current novel, Amy would be considered the protagonist and Roux the antagonist….but what happens when the lines between good and bad cross?  Can one person be both a villain and a hero in the same story?  Hmmmm……

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The Lies I Tell – A Book Review

By the time you are saying nice to meet you, I’ve already known you for months.”  Creepy….am I right?  This line from Julie Clark’s novel stayed with me through the whole book.  In today’s times where information is so easily obtained by anyone who wants to take the time to do so….well, it just hit home!  The first book I have rated 5 out of 5 in a long time….find out why in my book review of The Lies I Tell.

Meg Williams has been in hiding for 10 years.  In that time she had numerous other identities…Deidra, Sandy, Amelia, Margaret, Melody & Maggie.  The list goes on.  Why so many identities?  Exactly how does she pull all of them so successfully?  While we don’t get to know all of those other pseudonyms intimately, we do learn a lot about why Meg has decided to come out of hiding after 10 long years!

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