PHS Week in Review #4

PHS Week in Review #4

(PHS) Week In Review!

How are you this week?

Parenting Wisdom

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.” Edith Sitwell

Such truth in this quote. Winter is such a great time to be home. To hunker down. To enjoy family. Create good memories. Play games. Watch a great movie.

Covid has been a time of stress. Of uncertainity. Of tension.

Try to focus on what has been good about it. The slow down. The reconnected family. The down time.

As an introvert, for me, this time has been mostly rewarding. I have been able to recharge and settle in without making excuses. Without feeling bad. This has been very freeing! I am sure for the extroverts out there, you are going crazy not being able to get out as you would like.

Random thoughts on a Saturday morning in January:

•My Chiefs won, so they play the Steelers tonight!

•I tested positive for Covid -thankfully, it’s a very mild case, I was actually surprised.

•My friend Laura and I are gearing up for our online summit starting on the 24th -more on that below!

This week’s challenges, scholarships and helpful resources!

Connection Corner:

Find a drawer to declutter. This was actually a fun thing I did with my youngest son recently. We both brought a junk drawer to the family room, and we we dumped them out. Then, we went through all the things. This was hilarious. He could not believe some of the things that I had saved. There were a couple of old love notes from him, and it was fun to see him read them, and know how much they meant to me.🥰

Take an hour to do this alone or with one of your teens. They might have a drawer in their room that needs going through. I will say that it was much more fun to do with my teen!

Speaking of decluttering, here is my friend Shannon at Skiptomylife with her latest YouTube video about guess what? Decluttering… She also often shares fun ideas from the Dollar Store. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Scholarship of the Week:

Scholarship: AFA’s Teen Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship

Award Amount: $5000

Open to college-bound high school seniors who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Deadline: February 15 March 1 for 2022

Helpful Links:

•Join me at the 3rd Next Phase Parenting Summit: January 2022 Edition, where you will experience sessions with experts in teen parenting, college and career preparation, and transitioning to an empty nest. This is an event you’re not going to want to miss! Afraid you can’t “be there”? Don’t worry!

The Next Phase Parenting Summit is a FREE, VIRTUAL online conference! No travel – we bring the summit to you! You can watch from anywhere you have an internet connection. So, what are you waiting for? Join me and 15 other speakers at the Next Phase Parenting Summit. Grab your FREE ticket today!

•Is your teen like mine? Won’t wear a jacket? Here are some Simply Southern long sleeve tees on sale. This is a win for me if he at least has his arms covered!

•Speaking of tees -here are the cutest vintage Valentine shirts!

•Here’s a favorite blogger of mine over at Fountain of 30. She does a great series Splurge or Steal. I have seen a few of these, and am glad to know the brands, and I will now wait for a sale!

•Do you have a student athlete? Here is an interesting article about why a coach who seems interested might all of a sudden not be anymore…

•Do you have a high school freshman, sophomore or junior? You need a game plan. This helps so much in the long run. Course selection, test planning, and college search are all easier when there is a plan in place!

Social justice books for teens are a great way to teach real world lessons that they can continue to learn through their lives. Social justice is an ongoing issue in real life. Here are some great picks for the long weekend. 

•This is the cutest timer ever. It’s a cube with different time settings on each side. You can choose either the one with seconds or minute increments. This would be great for a kitchen, desk for using the Pomodoro work/study method, or the family room for quick clean ups! Fun for interval workouts, too -and don’t we all need some kind of motivation? Here are lots of other options.😀

•Are you constantly on the lookout for super comfortable sweatpants that look great too? I found some a couple of years ago at Ann Taylor Loft. The brand is Lou and Grey -everything they make is uber soft! I have 2 pairs of these in black, and put them on the minute I get home from work. They fit well, and can be dressed up if you do need to go out… Super on sale right now, and they now come in so many other colors!

• I finished Apples Don’t Fall. I liked it a lot! Much better than Nine Perfect Strangers -if you like this tell me what I missed?! I have started two new ones, The House In The Cerulean Sea -fantasy, so I am not sure about it yet… I also started The Seven Husbands of Eleanor Hugo -loving! And, I am reading one chapter a day in Atomic Habits-get it? So many easy tips for getting things done!

•This Greek layed dip in little jars looks yummy and so much fun for a party for friend or family!

•Looking for an Olympic t-shirt? This one fits the bill…

•Do you have a high school senior? Here are some uplifting verses for them to think on this spring.❤️

YouTube Video -are you concerned about the amount of time your teen is spending alone?

•A post that gets hundreds of hits a month is this one –do you have an 18 year old?

Thanks so much for being a part of my life, I am such a fan of parents of teens -we need to stick together!

Have a great week!



49 Ideas for Teens at Valentine’s

49 Ideas for Teens at Valentine’s

Ideas for Teens at Valentine’s

Here is the thing about your teens. They might act all cool and aloof. But, here is the truth… They love everything you have ever done for the holidays. They love the traditions. Here are some great ideas for teens at Valentine’s.

So much in their world is stressful and difficult. They look forward to some of these things all year. If YOU are super stressed, ask them to rank their favorite things, and then ask if something can be dropped because everyone (or most everyone) put it toward the bottom of their list.

And, ASK FOR HELP! Your teen would probably rather do something for you themselves than give it up. This would be a win-win! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Ideas for Teens at Valentine's

Here are great ideas for teens at Valentine’s!

11 Advent Calendars for Valentines Day -Your Teen Will Love

They are a hit at Christmas, so why not continue the fun for this season as well?

I like to think of it as anticipation for a special event! I realized how many fun advent calendars there are available! I decided that this would be a fun post, and my boys and a couple of their girlfriends helped me to find advent calendars that teens will love.😀


25 Movies for Valentine’s Day: Movies About Love

Valentine’s season is here, and it’s a great time to watch some movies about love. These are not all about romantic love, but love between friends and family as well. These are great movies to use as a springboard to some conversations about realistic love.

Best Valentine’s Gifts to Give and Get For Teens

Valentine’s Day can be such a fun time for teens. Even for teens that do not have a special “other person”, giving gifts to a bestie or other friends can be fun! Finding the best Valentine’s gifts can be a lot of fun, and there are many great activities as well that I list at the bottom for fun!

Best Valentines Decor For A Dorm Room: 9 Fun Ideas

Valentine’s Day is such a fun holiday! Here is some great Valentines decor for a dorm room. A great way to get involved at college is for your teen to participate in a decorating contest!  

A great way for your teen to create a homey spot for themself is to get into the holiday spirit, no matter the holiday! My boys never chose to do this, but I know that lots of students might choose to embrace these ideas!

Related posts

Gift Guide for a Teen’s Easter Basket

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: “What Are the Best High School Graduation Gifts”

Cinco de Mayo With Teens Can Be So Fun!

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens!

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Ideas for Teens at Valentine's


PHS Week in Review #4

PHS Week in Review #3

(PHS) Weekly Review!

How are you this week?

Parenting Wisdom

“I love the scents of winter! For me, it’s all about the feeling you get when you smell pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread and spruce.” Taylor Swift

Isn’t this true? I am much more likely to light scented candles in the winter, and I really enjoy it. What about you? Are you a candle person? I have been trying to add in comfort to my days where I can find it, and this is an easy way to do this.

What is your winter comfort go-to?

Random thoughts on a cold Saturday morning in January:

•Did you know that yesterday was Bubble Bath Day? Make this your excuse to do something for yourself, whether it’s taking a bath or not! Here are some ideas for you! 

•Can I just say that it is so fun to have older kids? My middle son is starting an online fitness business. He has been getting up to work with me in the early mornings. I am not getting nearly as much done myself, but I love the companionship, and his work drive!

•Have you got any plans for the weekend? We are going to watch my Chiefs play this afternoon, as well as some Baylor and Mizzou basketball. All the years of our boys growing up, we never really watched many sports -too busy I guess. But, this has become an activity that we love to do together.

•And, ugggh, I need to be better about sorting and packing up this house. So hard to get motivated. Have any of you downsized recently? Please send me encouragement and tips for getting things accomplished! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

I have rounded up some great things for you this week, so….

Read on for much more!

This week’s challenges, scholarships and helpful resources!

Connection Corner

As you start this year, I encourage you to find ways to take care of you. I also want you to share those ideas with your teens. They are still learning self-care, and maybe some of your ideas will work for them! I still use my 4:15 system as a minimum.

Here is a post regarding teens and stress.

Here are the cutest printable habit trackers that I found! I don’t track my habits, but these are so cute, I might have to start!

Scholarship of the Week

Nellie Love Butcher Music Scholarship

The link above connects to 9 DAR scholarships, so if this doesn’t apply, check out the others!

Deadline: February 15, 2020
Award Amount: $5,000
Eligibility: Music students who are pursuing an education in piano or voice.

Helpful Links

•Betty White was a treasure! So sad when she passed, but I know she partied with her much beloved husband and friends for the New Year. Here are some fun Golden Girl t-shirts!

Speaking of Betty, did you know that with the reboot of Sex In The City, the actresses are all in their mid-50s, just like the women were in Golden Girls? Mind blown!

•Look at these beautiful snowflake pictures! They were taken in high-res with a special light that would not melt the snow. Wonderful!

•Are you looking for a great book to read? I just wrote a new post about books I have loved in the last year.

•Is your teen’s car prepped for the weather?

•Guess what? Our 3rd Next Phase Parenting Summit is right around the corner! It is January 24-27th, and my co-host, Laura and I are so pumped to do this again. We have had such success in our other two, and we have received such great feedback! It’s FREE and perfect for the parent of teens looking for more help with the college process, parenting strategies, and things to think about for your future empty nest.  Sign up here!

•Thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day? Here is a post that covers advent calendars, decor, gifts, and more for teens!

•Speaking of great books, I am reading Apples Never Fall by Moriarty. I am dying to know where the mother is. I know many people loved her book Nine Perfect Strangers that is now on Hulu. I did not like it though, did you? Thoughts?

Aerie is having a sale –50% off sweaters and sweatshirts.

•This sweatshirt would be so cute for Valentine’s Day!

•60% off at Sperry this week -my boys love their shoes.

•Did you hear about this 80-year man who was reunited with his siblings because of his dog?

•Are you a Twitter person? I don’t know that I am necessarily, but I do post teenager-y things for parents. So, if you are a Twitter-y person, follow me here!

YouTube Video –

As your teen begins this new semester, this would be a great time to go over some of these ideas for routines for best school success.

•A post that gets hundreds of hits a month is this one –do you have an 18 year old?

Thanks so much for being a part of my life, I am such a fan of parents of teens -we need to stick together!

Have a great week!



Mom Self Care: Give Yourself The Gift of 4:15

Mom Self Care: Give Yourself The Gift of 4:15

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It’s time for some mom self-care!

I want to give you a gift. Actually, I want you to give yourself a gift, the gift of mom self care. Here are the thoughts from my head on this cold winter’s evening.

When I first wrote this post, it was over Christmas break.

We are now experiencing an uncertain time, and self-care is even more important than ever! Stress is at an all-time high, and we need to refill our own bucket before we can fill anyone else’s! Please take care of yourself!

4:15: What is this?

You ask what is that? Well, let me tell you! This is what woke me up from my sleep early this morning! Most, it not all of us, work full time at something:  a job outside the home, raising our kids either at home or in addition to an outside job, a combination of part time jobs (which in many cases adds up to more hours than a regular job!). You name it, we are workers! So, let me tell you about the 4:15 rule.

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Tips for mom self care|

First, give yourselves the gift of REST.

We moms have a tendency to be the first up and the last to bed because we see it all, know it all, and seem to be the only ones who can get the most accomplished in our waking hours. But, here’s the news. None of it is going anywhere!

Do what you can, delegate what you can, and leave the rest for tomorrow. None of us is getting enough sleep.  Not brand new mamas, not mamas of teenagers, and not even grandmamas. I know my mom still says that she has to tell herself to go take a shower and go to bed! She hasn’t had a child in her house since 1985!

So, put yourself to bed at a decent time. Take a nap if you can–my friends all know that I am a huge proponent for napping! If you have time for a nap, then take one. I have figured out the perfect amount of time for my naps-with lots of research involved.😉  Do your research, and figure out what works for you.

Here is my all-time favorite comfy, over-sized, fuzzy hoodie sweatshirt for a great nap! I really do want one in every size.😎

It is so important that we treat ourselves!

My YouTube video all about this post is down at the bottom, be sure to watch!


When you first wake up, give yourself the gift of 15 minutes of peace and quiet. This time is yours to spend doing something that will fill you for the day. Prayer, meditation, yoga, staring into space, these all fit the bill. For me, it’s to start my coffee, read my Bible (I’m loving the One Year NIV), and pray. Here is a cute “Do not disturb sign”, for you to hang if needed.

Find a great devotion book, and follow that for awhile. I’m kind of all over the place. There is no one way or right way! It’s your time, fill it with what fills you! Your time can be whatever you want it to be. Just 15 minutes–for YOU!mom self care



Here’s another 15 minute block that you need to carve into your day. Somewhere, anywhere that works for you. It might be over your lunch. It might be right after your quiet time-that is what works best for me! It might be right after work, or even right after you get the last kiddo settled for the night. Whatever works for you.

Find some kind of exercise that works for you and try to work up a sweat in 15 minutes. If you want to add more time to this, then great, but minimum 15 minutes. This is a minimum amount of time for your best health, so aim for more on the days that you can, but know that 15 minutes of some kind of vigorous activity is to your benefit.

I love jumping on my mini-tramp or taking a quick walk around the block on my busy days. What is your go-to for exercising quick? Mom self care includes exercise!



What?!! If you have never heard of Flylady, then you’re in for a treat. (Confession:  I signed up for her newsletters, and got overwhelmed! I like her ideas, and have taken them to heart, but I don’t need one more thing in my inbox. So, I cleaned her out of there–but, I still Love her ideas.)

Pick a zone (think: room or area, such as your master bedroom). Then, for 15 minutes attack it. It can be just one pile that is bothering you, or just the area in general. You get to decide what needs doing. Set a timer, and get to work.

If you don’t finish today, pick that same zone tomorrow–it’s not going anywhere! By doing this one pile, one cabinet, one shelf, one area at a time, you will eventually get through the house. Not today or tomorrow, but sometime!

I love this because it’s doable. If I have more than 15 minutes, then I set the timer for the amount of time that I have and really work until it beeps at me. You will be surprised by how much you can actually get accomplished in those 15 minute blocks of time if you really focus!

Good luck, and let me know if this works for you! Mom self care



Your day is done. You are ready for bed. This is the last 15 minute block to plan into your day. Look at your calendar for tomorrow and the rest of the week. Make a list of where you need to be, and what you might need at the store. Make note of any calls that you need to make. Check the weather, and start thinking about what you might wear the next day. Pack your lunch for tomorrow, so that you are not scrambling in the morning. 

Basically, you are taking 15 minutes to get your day started off right for tomorrow. When I don’t take the time to do this, I regret it every time! This helps your tomorrow so much! Try it and see if this helps at all. If you just take the time to think things through, then a lot of morning stress is eliminated. And, who doesn’t like that?!

I looked for some planners that you might like. Planner 1, planner 2, and planner 3–all are different, but super useful! And, have you tried Cozi? It is this amazing app that will get you and all of your family activities organized!


Mom self care includes getting organized!

Finally, the gift of GRACE

Many times, as moms, we are very hard on ourselves. We try to do everything for everyone, and forget about self-care. This isn’t healthy or right. We are the hub of the family. That is not to say that our husbands are not as important! But, we as moms pretty much keep track of all things needing to be done, and have a finger on the pulse of each individual in our homes. 

In order to keep up with all of this, then we need to take better care of our own selves. Give yourself these 4 fifteen minute blocks to do what needs doing–for you! These blocks of time-only ONE hour-of your day, will help improve your life so much!

Take care and know that I am thinking of you all and cannot wait to hear if any of this works for you all! Do you have any good ideas that go along with this? 

Please share! We all need to look out for one another:)

Related posts

Just for fun, here are some books I love when you have some extra time to yourself!

Another post I have written with 10 tips for self-care

Another post with my favorite books from 2021.

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Mom self care for moms|

Parenting High Schoolers -15 Favorite Books from 2021

Parenting High Schoolers -15 Favorite Books from 2021

Best books that I read in 2021

I have not written a book post in awhile, and thought it would be fun to round up my favorite books from 2021 as a way to share with you. I am always reading something, and I try to vary my choices. The following list includes fiction and non-fiction books divided for your convenience.

Have fun reading! Be sure to check out my other book posts listed at the bottom.😀 *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Favorite Books from 2021

Favorite books from 2021 in fiction

“Wherever I am, if I’ve got that book with me, I’ve got a place I can go and be happy.” -JK Rowling

Magic Lessons -Hoffman

Fantasy is not usually a genre that I enjoy that much. But, this was such a great story! I was spellbound from the start -no pun intended…

Here is the description:

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Nameless Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” -Malcolm X

The Lilac Girls -Kelly

This was one of my favorite books from last spring. WW2 has always been a favorite time period for me to read about, and I love all the converging story lines.

Here is the description:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

What’s Done in Darkness -McHugh

Fun fact is that Laura McHugh’s youngest daughter was in my preschool class as she wrote her first wonderful book! I finally had a chance to read this fourth suspenseful book -she writes this genre so well!

Here is the description:

Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she’s forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She’s all but given up on escaping the farm when a masked man appears one stifling summer morning and snatches her out of the cornfield. 

A week after her abduction, she’s found alongside a highway in a bloodstained dress—alive—but her family treats her like she’s tainted, and there’s little hope of finding her captor, who kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time, never uttering a word. One good thing arises from the horrific ordeal: a chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life. 

Five years later, Sarabeth is struggling to keep her past buried when investigator Nick Farrow calls. Convinced that her case is connected to the strikingly similar disappearance of another young girl, Farrow wants Sarabeth’s help, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means dragging her back to the last place she wants to go—the hills and hollers of home, to face her estranged family and all her deepest fears. 

The Names They Gave Us -Lord

This was a great read. I started this book thinking it was something else, but ended up really enjoying it anyway. Coming of age, wrestling with personal faith, love, and friendship are all wrapped together in this wonderful story.

Here is the description:

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters–in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp–one for troubled kids–Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle.

Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

The Seventh Most Important Thing -Pearsall

This was a book that I read out loud to each of my ELA classes last year. We all enjoyed it so much, and my classes started out so much better when I read this first thing! It’s sad and funny and heartwarming.

Here is the description:

Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie forever. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can’t believe it—is he really supposed to rummage through people’s trash? But it isn’t long before Arthur realizes there’s more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the “trash” he’s collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine. . . .

A Woman Is No Man -Rum

This book was a great departure for me. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know more. Deya wants to know more, and what she finds out is surprising…

Here is the description:

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Maisie Dobbs -Winspear

This series has become a favorite of mine over the last year. I have read the first three books, and cannot wait to read some more! I recommended these to my mom, and she has read all 17! 

Here is the description:

Maisie Dobbs got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon became her patron, taking the remarkably bright youngster under her wing. Lady Rowan’s friend, Maurice Blanche, often retained as an investigator by the European elite, recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts and helped her earn admission to the prestigious Girton College in Cambridge, where Maisie planned to complete her education.

The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie trained as a nurse, then left for France to serve at the Front, where she found—and lost—an important part of herself. Ten years after the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie sets out on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful, and truth elusive. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but reveals something very different.

The Stand -King

I went back this past year and reread this old Stephen King classic. The last time I read this was 24 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest son, and boy did I have strange dreams! This time around, I still had dreams, but not as strange or intense. I remember liking this so much, and it is a great book to reread in today’s times. A great good v. evil story…

Here is the description:

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader.

Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence.

As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

The Rose Code -Quinn

I read this early on in 2021, and I remember being intrigued immediately. Again, I was on a WW2 kick! I loved all the interconnected story lines and the codes, and especially that it was women who were at the forefront of taking care of the Nazis.

Here is the description:

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

Favorite books from 2021 in non-fiction

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.” -Lena Dunham

Barking at the Moon -Beckerman (this is a memoir)

I was given the wonderful opportunity to read this book before it was released this past summer. I loved this story about this family and their dog, Riley. He is everyone’s dog: silly, smart, gross, loving, and this makes the book so relatable. It’s reduced by 75% on Kindle for January 2022 as a new release! If you like dogs at all -grab this book and read it with your kids/teens -it would be a fun read aloud because if you have any pets, it will spark conversations of funny and similar memories.

I love the way Riley is a “person” in their home. That is the way it is here with our dogs! “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble” is a #1 New Release on Amazon!  Get your copy today!

**I am just one of many bloggers reviewing Barking At The Moon, so check out the other awesome blogs with book reviews at the bottom of this post!

Here is the description:

When Riley comes into her family’s life, award-winning humor columnist Tracy Beckerman realizes she got a lot more than she bargained for. From tracking wet cement through the house to shredding the family’s underwear, Riley is a one-dog wrecking ball. Yet this lovable retriever also brings joy, laughter, and a renewed sense of wonder into the household.

At times hilarious and heartwarming, Barking at the Moon speaks to life’s growing pains, and to mothering children both human and furry. With Beckerman’s trademark wit and heart, she reminds us that no matter what stage of life we’re in, we can learn a lot from the dogs who teach us how to stop and enjoy the ride.

This Is Good: A Lesson in Overcoming Adversity -Matheny

I came across Tami Matheny as I was searching for something else. I love her message, and am anxious to read more of her stuff! Here are YouTube videos I did on her book: Part 1 and Part 2.

Here is the description:

Adversity is often seen as a bad thing. Something to avoid. But to accomplish anything worthwhile adversity is necessary. It is what separates the great from the mediocre, the champions from the contenders.

The difference is in how you look at adversity. Success comes from learning to see it, think about it, and respond to it in a positive or productive way. Creating a “this is good” mindset will allow you to do this.

This is a story within a story. It is how an African folk lore transformed a college soccer team to reach heights they didn’t know they could. You will follow their journey and the lessons along the way that enable them to cultivate a new way of thinking.

How to Do It Now Because It’s Not Going Away: An Expert Guide to Getting Stuff Done -Josel

This was a great book that I read for both myself, and my blog. I did a YouTube video on this, and was happy to share some of her ideas.

Procrastination is one of my faults, and I have three boys with ADD, so I am pretty sure that they get it from me… Here are great tips for both you and your teens.

Here is the description:

Procrastination is especially tough for young adults. Getting started is overwhelming, it’s hard to get motivated, not knowing how long things take messes up planning, and distractions are everywhere. We are all wired to put things off, but we can learn tools and techniques to kick this habit.

This book is a user-friendly guide to help teens get their tasks done. Simple, straightforward, and with a touch of humor, it’s packed with practical solutions and easily digestible tips to stay on top of homework, develop a sense of time, manage digital distractions, create easy-to-follow routines, and get unstuck.

In her breezy, witty style, internationally recognized academic and parenting coach Leslie Josel opens the door to a student’s view of procrastination, dives deep into what that really looks like, and offers up her Triple Ts―tips, tools and techniques―to teach students how to get stuff done…now.

The Energy Bus -Gordon

Last year this was a book assigned to me for professional development. For once, I loved this assignment!

Here is the description:

Forced to take the bus to work, George meets a unique kind of bus driver and an interesting set of characters (passengers) that over the course of 2 weeks share the 10 rules for the ride of his life…and attempt to help him turn around his work and team and save his job and marriage from an almost inevitable destruction.”

In the mode of other best-selling business fables, The Energy Bus takes listeners on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. Everyone faces challenges. And every person, organization, company, and team will have to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success.

No one goes through life untested, and the answer to these tests is positive energy – the kind of positive energy consisting of vision, trust, optimism, enthusiasm, purpose, and spirit that defines great leaders and their teams. Drawing upon his experience and work with thousands of leaders, sales professionals, teams, nonprofit organizations, schools, and athletes, Gordon infuses this engaging story with keen insights, actionable strategies, and a big dose of positive, infectious energy. 

“The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” -David Bailey

Responsible and Resilient Teens -Lamb

Lamb writes a great book for parents. I know Miranda from the blogging world, and she is such a great writer. She incorporates her knowledge as a mom, a counselor, and a writer to create this short, concise guide to setting boundaries for teens.

Here is the description:

Set Boundaries for Teens. Build Character. Strengthen Your Family.Wish you could spend more time enjoying your teen and less time nagging? Feeling overwhelmed by your teenager’s disrespect and lack of responsibility?

In Responsible and Resilient Teens: 10 Secret Parenting Solutions That Work, discover how to set healthy boundaries and creative consequences in your home. Learn simple parenting solutions that hold your teen accountable in the present and also positively shape your teen’s decision making skills going forward. 

I am Not Your ATM -Murphy

Rachel has also become an online friend as well, and I appreciate her taking this tough topic and breaking it down for parents so that they can help their teens out into the real world. She has a great podcast, here is the episode where she and I had a chat about communicating with your teen –Raising Confident Teens

Here is the description:

In I Am Not Your ATM: A Practical Plan for Teaching Your Teen to Manage Money, Rachel Murphy shares the knowledge and tools to help you teach your teen. You will gain the know-how and confidence to teach your teen how to handle money even if no one taught you.

The teen years can be a great opportunity to teach your young person money skills. Instead of money being a point of contention and stress like it is for many parents and teens, you can become a team working together to help your teen build a strong foundation for the future.

Related posts

Best Books for Mom and Son Book Club

Best Books for Parenting Teens

Best Social Justice Books For Teens

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles

And, a link to Amazon where I have an ever going list of my favorites for teens and adults!

Here is the list of other blogs to check out for book reviews!

1/3 –

1/5 –

1/6 – (that’s me!)

1/8 –

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1/15 – website for Jeanette Smith

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1/24 – www.serenitywithglenda

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1/27 –

1/29 –

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I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Favorite Books from 2021

11 Advent Calendars for Valentines Day -Your Teen Will Love These!

11 Advent Calendars for Valentines Day -Your Teen Will Love These!

Advent calendars for Valentines Day are just fun!

They are a hit at Christmas, so why not continue the fun for this season as well?

I like to think of it as anticipation for a special event! I realized how many fun advent calendars there are available! I decided that this would be a fun post, and my boys and a couple of their girlfriends helped me to find advent calendars that teens will love.😀

I have gathered many of these from Etsy, but there are a few here and there from other websites. Have fun picking one out! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Advent Calendars for Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day Countdown Advent calendars

You Fill My Heart With Love Valentine’s Day Countdown -14 day countdown on a wooden board with 2 choices of magnetic hearts.

Gnome Countdown with wooden “candy hearts”, so cute -DIY -31 day countdown

Valentines Day Countdown and Devotional -15 day printable devotional advent for the season of love

Valentine’s Day Coffee or Hot Cocoa Gift Box Countdown Calendar -Choose your favorite, and open a box each day leading up to Valentines (15 boxes)

Advent Calendar Hearts -These are simply red paper hearts that can be connected. Made for Christmas, but would be great for a Valentine’s Day countdown (there are 25 hearts)

Valentine’s Day Bracelet Making Kit -comes with 24 cards and 24 jewelry pieces: 2 bracelets and 22 mini charm beads

Let me count the ways… -Wooden board with 14 magnet hearts

Do-it-yourself Valentines advent calendars

These can be fun when you find small gifts and write notes to the ones you love. Here are some great gifts for less than $5! And, here are more!

Set of 50 small red sachet bags -These would be perfect for creating your own advent activity for this season of love

Valentine Advent Boxes -These are printable boxes to be filled with goodies that you come up with

Countdown to Valentines Day Bags  -Set of 14 Vintage Valentine pictures on little bags to fill with items you choose on your own

Vintage Inspired Valentine Advent Calendar -These are vintage prints on the lids of 14 small metal containers which you will fill with items you choose on your own.

DIY 14 day countdown -You write the 14 things you love about your child, and then cover with scratch-off stickers (I assume they are clear underneath!). They can scratch off one each day.

Other ideas for Valentines

Send a Sugarwish! These are so fun because you can pick what you know your teen will love! Candy, cookies, popcorn, and many other options -plus you get to choose the size you send.


Advent calendars for Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers. It is a great time to show our love for others. Here are some ideas for notes for your DIY advent calendars…•Bake some heart shaped cookies

•Drink some pink hot chocolate

•Drink some pink hot tea

•Make some homemade paper Valentines for a neighbor or to take to a home for older adults

•Bake a fancy dessert

•Make a Valentine gingerbread house

•Make and decorate salt dough ornaments

Related posts

Have a Valentine movie night

Decorate a teen’s room for Valentine’s Day

Best gifts to give and get for a teen at Valentine’s Day

7 Things to know if you love a teenager

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

Pin for later!

Advent Calendars for Valentine's Day

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