Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What I've Been Reading...

I have always loved to read and it's still a daily habit of mine. I usually only read at night in bed but I would always rather read a book than watch TV. I deviated from my classics of last year but here are 5 books that I've read recently and recommend.

The Orphan Master's Son: I got this book a few years ago right after it won the Pulitzer but put it down after a couple days. I picked it back up again about a month ago; it was a long read but really interested. It's about one man's life in North Korea. It's fiction but still fascinating to see the stark differences in the culture and the rights of the people. I think it feels apropos of our current international politics as well.

Emma in the Night: This book I bought in the airport between flights this summer. It was a really quick read and so fascinating. It's pretty dark and deals with mental health but it's one of those edge-of-your-seat mystery books that is a page-turner.

Beartown: I read A Man Called Ove (by the same author, which I would also recommend!) earlier in the year but this one has a very different feel. It's about a small town and how they deal with a difficult situation. It's really interesting to see the perspective of so many different characters and this one too feels appropriate for some of the more serious issues of this day and age.

The Underground Railroad : I always love to read historical fiction of this time period and this book was no exception. It was definitely hard to read at times, but a beautifully told story of a very courageous woman.

Hillbilly Elegy: The root of this book is a memoir about a family that for better or worse truly loves each other. The conditions described are heartbreaking and the loss of the American dream for so many is felt in the pages of this book.

I realize now that this list is a little heavier than I anticipated- I definitely do read chick lit and a lot of lighter books but hands-down I would recommend all of these books as ones that really make you think and feel.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Halloween House

Hayden is very interested in the spooky aspects of Halloween for the first time in his life and we've already visited multiple Halloween stores searching out some creepy decorations. I felt like this was the year to break out all the Halloween decor that's been sitting up in the attic, unused. If you've read this blog forever, you might remember how dedicated to Halloween decor things were BC (before kids) so I actually had all these decorations on hand.

Here are a few spots in our house that got the Halloween treatment:

Our front table got the spookiest decorations with ravens, spider webs, and potions. 

The kids really enjoyed wrapping cobwebs everywhere. I've been saving this white crepe paper and the giant eyes for just this project....

Note, the mantle is supposed to have 5 mini pumpkins but one is missing; that will be fun to find next spring...

The playroom got a dose of Halloween as well- nowhere was safe! 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday, Friyay!

Happy Friday, everyone! We are glad to see this week out the door- poor Hayden ended up getting strep throat and he's been on the mend for the last few days.

It finally feels like Fall weather here after a lot of warm humid days in a row. We're planning a belated trip to the pumpkin patch this weekend after we got rained out last weekend.

Tonight, Nick and I have a date night! We haven't been out in awhile and have had a pretty busy week so it will be great to have some time together to finally just relax and chat.

For the last few weekends, Nick spent time building a wall in the basement to separate the playroom from the rest of the basement and guys, it looks so good. We went with a shiplap/barndoor kind of feel since it's a basement and it doesn't have the same vibe as the rest of our house. We have to add a little more trim and paint everything- I can't wait to show you! Here's the inspiration picture that we've been using (NOT our actual house!)

On a more somber note, we've been closely following all the fire news and praying for all those affected by the fires in California. The areas that are currently burning aren't too far from where we used to live and where most of our families are still living. Everyone we know is far enough away and safe but the devastation so many people are facing is heartbreaking. If you can donate at all, here's a helpful link.
My dad sent me this picture- you can usually see Mt. Diablo very clearly right from their door. The air quality all over the Bay is terrible.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday, Friyay!

Happy Friday! It feels like we've been so busy with school starting this last month. Both kids are in school (though they only overlap on one day) and we have afternoon activities, play dates, and other events to keep up with, so we're always on the move!

Last weekend we went apple picking (in the 90-degree weather...). We got tons of apples which we've only been snacking on so far. However, we have big plans to make applesauce and apple pie soon. There are tons of farms near us so it was a quick 20-minute drive and the kids had fun despite the heat.

Yesterday was the day both kids were in school and the first day of fall-like weather in a while. I planned to go to a spin class at the gym right after dropping them off but at the last minute ended up driving to a trail and taking a 4-mile run. It was so peaceful and a perfect start to the morning.

I've been working on a few designs lately and having so much fun. If you want to check out more, feel free to browse my other website: Jessica Reisfelt Designs.

Speaking of design, we are thinking about changing Charlotte's room now that she's almost 3. She's been asking for pink paint and a big girl bed. She's so tiny, we're not quite ready to put her in a twin bed. Instead, I found this inspiration picture (on Pinterest, of course!) and Nick thinks he can build her this bed (with her crib mattress) pretty easily.

Happy Friday- hope you have the best weekend! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hayden's 5th Birthday

Hayden's 5th Birthday.... was almost 2 months ago. 😳   We had an Octonaut Birthday party at his request and had lots of his friends over for an evening celebration. Octonauts is his favorite show and so it was an easy choice for a birthday party theme. We decorated the yard, had bubbles, chalk, water balloons, sand toys, and a piñata for entertainment... Old school! The kids had fun running around like crazy and I was glad I didn't stress out about having set up more activities for the kids to do.

I made Hayden's cake using some of his favorite figurines and most of the decorations by hand; it was so fun making his dream of an Octonaut birthday party come to life!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Happy Birthday, Hayden

The sweet boy who made me a mother turns 5 today! He is kind, sensitive, silly, and creative. Hayden loves to cuddle, read books, and build with his legos or magnet blocks. He loves the Octonauts and his marbles. He cares deeply about his family and is always offering words of encouragement- whether it's for potty training (Charlotte) or pushing the stroller up a steep hill (me), he's always shouting "You can do it!" He has a strong sense of what's right and wrong, although he definitely knows how to push his sister's buttons. He is a fan of helping me cook and he loves math. He loves salad and most raw veggies, but also pizza and dessert. Hayden has made huge gains with his swimming this summer and is learning to ride his bike. He loves school and is so excited that Charlotte will be there next year too. Happy Birthday to our favorite little boy; we love you so!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Our Living Room is Done!

In our house, our sunroom/kitchen is the most used and populated area of the home. Our living room has always been in a state of not-quite-done. We didn't use it as much as our sunroom so it got ignored for awhile. However, we've found that it's nice to hang out in there when the kids are watching a movie in the sun room- we can close the door and have an adult conversation. It's also the room that's held our Christmas tree and all our decorations for the last two Christmases.

Monday, July 31, 2017


Hayden's birthday is coming up (5!) and I've been doing a little birthday shopping for our guy. His interests definitely veer toward building, engineering, and creating. He absolutely loves playing with his legos and creating very detailed structures. I decided to create a round-up of some favorite STEM toys for his age range- some of these we have and some I know Hayden would love. We have the marble run (2 actually to make giant tracks!) and the Magna tiles. Those, along with the legos get played with daily. We also have the code-a-pillar and he and Charlotte both have fun with that one. Let me know what fun STEM toys your kids love!

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit//Skoolzy Straw Structures //Marble Genius Marble Run Starter Set//Domino Rally Classic //Magna-Tiles Clear Colors //LEGO Classic Large //BathBlocks Floating Ball Run//Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar//Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set

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