by Terrie Farley Moran
Murder Most Howl
by Krista Davis
It is no secret I love to read. It is also no secret I am
cheap thrifty. Combining these two things makes the public library my best friend. I love the library. I love using it personally and for the kids. Today I thought it might be fun to discuss five ways to make sure you’re fully utilizing your local public library.
Check out ALL the libraries in your area.
Depending on the size of your area, you may have access to more than one library. Check out all the different libraries in your area (many even have programs that allow you to check out books from any location). Every library is different and you may find you want to utilize different branches for different purposes or activities. We do!
Do they allow you to reserve items online?
Who says all of your online shopping as to be done at Amazon? Before I purchase a book, I always go online to see if my local library network has a copy. Many libraries do a “share” program with nearby libraries, so you have access to a wider variety of materials. You can reserve online and pick up your nearest location.
Check out eReader books.
Did you know that many public libraries also offer check out services for your Kindles and other eReaders? Don’t forget to check if your library offers this service!
Programs & activities at the Library.
Libraries are jam packed with some awesome programs. From story times, to book clubs, to community speakers. One of our recent family faves was a program offered to allow children to read to dogs. My reluctant first grade reader loved it! And best of all, most of these programs are free!
Every town has a library.
If you are going on a trip or vacation and have a little extra time, don’t forget to check out the local library in the city you are visiting. It might be fun to just go sit in a comfy chair and read a little. (It’s also a great thing to do with kids when you have an hour to kill). Also make sure to check out their program schedule. There might be something interesting happening during your stay.
Sometimes we get so bogged down in our daily activities and to-do lists that we think of reading as a luxury we just don’t have time for. Reading is an essential part of life. It allows us time to relax, think, dream, escape, and learn. Take time to read today and take time to allow your local public library to be the key that unlocks the imagination within you.
Does this sound like your house? You’ve just had a long, hard day. You finally get home. You sit down to relax and, without fail, someone asks the question:
What’s for dinner?
And you forgot to get groceries. So you spend too much on takeout. Again. And think that you really have to get this whole meal planning thing in gear next week.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. I’ve been right there with you. That’s why I want to talk a little today about something that has totally saved my sanity and taken my meal planning and budgeting game to a whole other level. Online grocery shopping.
This is seriously the greatest thing ever created. Sitting at home. In my sweatpants. Ordering my groceries for the week. And then a nice, friendly delivery man brings them to my door at the specified time.
No more spending an hour at the store. Loading and unloading my groceries. Cursing the extra “impulse buys” the kids and I just had to have. This service has saved me time and money. It allows me to be intentional with my purchases and also free up the time I used to put into the grocery shopping process.
I’m going to talk a little about my top tips shopping online with the grocery store that I use. Hy-Vee. I’m know there are others, but this is my local grocery store, and the one I have experience with. If you have been on the fence about trying Hy-Vee’s delivery service, hopefully this post will give you some insight as to what to expect.
For me, the option to order my groceries online and have them delivered to my door has been amazing. It has given me back both time and sanity that I lost spending hours wandering the aisles of the grocery store (many times with all three kids). If you are on the fence about trying a service like this, I would recommend giving it a go. It may end up being a game changer for you too.
Have you tried online grocery delivery? Leave me a comment and let me know!
My sister, Lisa, and I had a little fun this weekend. We had a Sunday Sister Party (along with my three boys). The inspiration came from the Bakeshop Mystery books that we are both reading. We made three recipes straight from the pages of the books and then a couple of our own creations, inspired by the series.
Beef Stew (because we are Iowa girls like a little hearty food)
Braised Green Beans
Homemade Basic Bread
Chocolate Molasses Cookies & Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caramel Lattes with whipped cream (of course)
I was a little nervous entertaining on a meal that included three recipes I had never made before, but it went well. The boy’s favorite part was the cookies! The Chocolate Molasses cookies were a new recipe for me (from the Bakeshop Mystery book series) and they just tasted like fall. Everybody loved them. I know they will be made again in our house for sure.
We had not had sister time in awhile so it was super fun to have a little time to just hang out. I love how books gave us an excuse to get together, hang out, enjoy food and good company. We’ve already been talking that there needs to be more Sunday Sister Parties. We are thinking an apple theme would be a great way to kick off fall!
Recent reading recap. Try saying that fast three times! I love to read and want to make an effort to share a little more about all things reading on the blog.
My hubby and I were recently discussing the merits of speed reading. He is excited to try a new speed reading technique he found online. I’m skeptical. For me, part of the enjoyment of reading is savoring the book. Picking it up and putting it down. Seeing what it challenges me to think about in between reading sessions. But the hubby is trying the speed reading thing out and I’m excited to see how it works for him.
Okay, onto my recent reads. It’s been a cozy mystery kind of couple weeks. Usually I like to rotate the genre of book I’m reading for a little variety, but it seems to be becoming a summer of cozies for me.
Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander.
I’ve told you about this series before. It is the one that my sister and I are reading together. A new book in the series came out recently and my wonderful sister pre-ordered it for me. I had a copy on my doorstep on the day it was released. How’s that for sisterly love? My sister, Lisa, and I even participated in a super fun Facebook Launch Party the author hosted and geeked out talking about the series with fellow readers. The book was a quick, fun read. Stay tuned for pictures of the sister tea party Lisa and I plan to throw ourselves where we make recipes from the book.
Do you ever have those books that have been sitting on your shelf for awhile and for some reason you just haven’t got around to reading them? One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly was that book for me. It is the first book in a series about a 30-something woman who is recently laid off from her Boston job in the financial industry and decides it’s time for a change of pace. This includes restoring an old family property in the New England countryside to get away from city life. Of course, she finds a murdered man on her new property (which includes an apple orchard) and has to get to the bottom of the case while working to restore her century old house.
This was a fun read. It was enough to invest me in the characters and check book number two in the series, Rotten to the Core, out from the library. Now the trouble is the third book in the series is checked out and not due back until the end of the month. So I think a little Amazon shopping may be in my future.
So there you have it. What I have been reading when I have a free minute during the day or am ready to shut my brain off and wind down for the day. Now the only question that remains is … what to read next?!?!
I love coffee. I love the fancy coffee drinks you get at Starbucks. But my bank account doesn’t like that they cost $5 each. That lead me to start making my own coffee drinks at home. And you know what? It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be!
Now, I don’t do anything super fancy. But I wanted to share with you my current favorite morning pick-me-up.
1 12 ounce cup of your favorite coffee
1 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. hot chocolate mix or syrup
1 tbsp. hazelnut syrup
Top with whipped cream and enjoy!
It is that easy. And it’s super easy and fun to modify this depending on what you are in the mood for. Do you make your own coffee drinks? What’s your current fave? I’d love to swap recipes!
I have a confession. When I have a few free moments of time, do you know what I do? I check Facebook. Or Twitter. I scroll through my feed and use it as a way to kill time. I use to as a way to feel like I’m doing something and not just sitting there “doing nothing.”
Lately that got me thinking. What could I do, when I have a few minutes, instead of instantly reaching for my phone to scroll through social media sites? Now, don’t get me wrong. I like social media. I think it has a place and value. (Following these dogs on Facebook makes me smile). But this is about being intentional with my time. Not just scrolling through a feed to “kill five minutes” or because I’m putting something off.
So I started a list. My goal? Every time I reach for my phone with the sole intention of checking social media, I think about these things first. If I can do them instead, I do.
Exercise and me are not always friends. I am lousy at finding 30 solid minutes to work out. But five minutes to do crunches? A couple minutes for jumping jacks or push ups? That I can do. It keeps me active and not feeling like a total failure in the exercise department.
So next time you sit down for a minute and reach for your phone, stop and think. Is there something else you’d like to do with your free minutes? Something that may bring extra joy, value, or happiness to yourself or someone else? Try it. It may be way better than checking your Facebook feed one. more. time.
I have been loving my home office lately. It is a space that was originally a formal dining room when we bought our house. But let’s be real. We have young kids. The room has light colored carpet. We are not in the years where a formal dining room makes sense. So we decided to turn the space into an office room.
My goal for this space is to have a structured place where I can work from home. And also a space that anyone in the family could sit down to do a little work, homework, etc. Something cozy and inviting, but practical.
The space is still a work in progress, but I wanted to give you a little tour. Summer decorations are up and give the room a nice, colorful touch. I still have more empty wall space than I like. The goal has been to get out and go shopping for some fun, local artwork. Someday I’ll get around to it.
I try to keep my desk clear so the hubby or kiddos can sit down and work when they need to. But it has the essentials. Computer, day planner, and of course, my current cozy mystery reads.
I had an office mate today. (In addition to the one I have most days – See if you can find my “regular office mate” in the top picture). It is always great to share the space and “do” life together as a family.