The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Friday Feasts #1: Crispy Chicken Parmigiana Salad June 10, 2016

For the introductory post of Friday Feasts, I started with what turned out to be a four for four family pleaser! This recipe is from HelloFresh and can be found here.

Photo credit: HelloFresh

Doesn’t that look yummy? Sadly, my pictures don’t look as good as this one. I need to practice food photography a bit! haha. (Right picture, my final product!)

The really great thing about HelloFresh is that they send you EVERYTHING you need for the meal except the absolute basics (salt, pepper, butter, olive/vegetable oil). It’s great! I’m all about avoiding extra time at the grocery store, especially with the kiddos with me! The ingredients are shipped in a white box, like picture one. The meat is separate from the box, but I throw it in to keep it all together in the fridge. The right picture shows all of the ingredients needed for this meal that was in the box. Everything is shipped in a big box with ice packs to keep things cold. If you happen to be out when the box arrives, there’s no fear of spoilage! We’ve actually kept a few of the ice packs cause they’re super convenient instead of filling bags of ice or buying new ones to replace our old ones.

The directions are simple and easy to follow. Included in the box with all of the food are cards with the recipes on them. They are also available on their website and in their app. Their app is available in the Apple Store and Amazon Store. I use an iphone and a kindle fire, so those are the only two platforms I know. You can keep track of your subscription and select your boxes from the app!

 

I owe a lot to HelloFresh for this meal! It got both of the kiddos to try spinach, and Punk discovered he loves spinach! Yes, there’s broccoli on my plate. I do not like spinach and added cooked broccoli to my plate. Some of the ingredients I had on hand, so I was able to double the chicken ad turn this into a family meal. We have the Classic box subscription because Punk and Bug are still on the picky side. Some meals easily stretch for the four of us without me having to add to them, which is really nice! I always double check the recipe before deciding when to do a box if it is something we think the kiddos will enjoy. This is definitely a keeper meal that I plan on cooking again. You also can easily modify this to suit your family’s salad preference. This was one of our first meals we cooked, so we elected to follow the recipe to see if the basic meal they send is something we would like. I definitely would modify this to include a full salad next time!

I always have a referral code to HelloFresh which takes $40 off of your first box! The code is:

S6RMQS

 

I also occasionally get some boxes that I get to give away for free. Keep an eye out on my Twitter (@armywife2310) for your chance to snag a free box! (New subscriptions only)

What do you think of the Crispy Chicken Parmigiana Salad? Does it look like a recipe you would be willing to try?

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Goodbye October – February, Hello March! March 8, 2016

After another extended hiatus, I’ve decided I’m itching to get back to blogging. I’m not going to try to stick to a strict schedule right off the bat. Just kinda ease back into things. I am a stay at home mom and currently back in school to get my bachelor’s degree, so I’ll probably pop in and post every now and then. Try to get a few things scheduled ahead! Anyway, a quick recap of the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. October brought another birthday for me and Hallowe’en! I dressed up with the kiddos. I was Loki, Punk was Captain America, and Bug was her beloved Cinderella “Rella.” In November, my (ex)step-family lost a wonderful lady in my step-great-grandmother. She was truly a beautiful lady. Punk had a really hard time accepting that we lost my great-grandmother in July and then her in November. He wanted to know why we couldn’t go to Heaven and visit and why they couldn’t come back. It was a hard adjustment for him. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Northern Virginia with hubby’s family. It was a blast! It’s always a great time to get to go up and visit. I didn’t get to make it down to YALLFest, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to go this year. December brought a three week long military class for hubby. The kiddos had a pretty rough time with daddy gone. Poor Punk thought Daddy wouldn’t be home for Christmas. But! He was! And Christmas was fantastic. We celebrated Christmas at home this year and Santa was very good to the kiddos. Punk scored 13 different big boy Lego sets! He was in hog heaven! January brought a new chapter to my life. I (finally) started back taking classes to finish my bachelor’s degree in General Studies. All online classes, but it’s finally happening. February was rather uneventful. We’ve gotten some good snowfalls this year too! Now we’re up to March and I’m ready for spring (I think!)

 

A big thing that I want to change in getting back into blogging is that I’m not going to attempt to post every day and I’m also going to introduce a new feature. It’ll be called Friday Feasts and I’ll basically post a review of a meal we’ve done recently. We’re doing HelloFresh occasionally and I’ll definitely include those meals. AND if you’re interested, I do have a discount code if you’d like to try HelloFresh for yourself! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter (@armywife2310)

 

Books I read October 2015 – February 2016 (In order of completion)

The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Prophecy by Erin Rhew

The Outlanders by Erin Rhew

The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew

Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare

Angels Twice Descending by Cassandra Clare

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This Night So Dark by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm-boy by Alexandra Bracken

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz

The Favourite by Kiera Cass

Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

Beowulf by Unknown

 

Coming Up in March

SEYA Festival in Murfreesboro!

Spring Break (mine)

Spring Break (Punk)

Bug’s birthday

 

Goals for March

Juggle student life, mama life, and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

March Releases I’m Excited For

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Black Knife by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

 

March TBR

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Books for class

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

 

 

 

*ARC Review* The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord May 25, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 31 March 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, ARC provided by OTSP ARC tour
Status:standalone

Summary:
Following her pitch-perfect debut Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

My thoughts:
I received this ARC as part of the ARC tour hosted by On The Same Page. I also received a digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Neither of these copies swayed my opinion in any way.

Following in the vein of Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You is full of best friends and second chances. As her second book, Emery ran the risk of the “sophomore slump,” by The Start of Me and You is anything BUT a slump! The Start of Me and You starts strong and ends stronger.

My absolute favourite thing in The Start of Me and You is the power of friendship. Paige and her group of friends are the perfect example of a great friendship. It’s not perfect by any means, but what friendship is? They know and understand each other through thick and thin. There’s one phone call that brings to mind an important friendship defining moment in my life. I won’t spoil the situation though! If you want to know my moment, send me a message on twitter! (@armywife2310)

As Paige grows and starts her life anew, her group of friends grows and changes to include guys. This group is reminiscent of my group of friends in high school – only we were in band! I think Emery did a great job of showcasing that teen guys and girls CAN have a relationship with zero romance. I’m a firm believer that friendship isn’t influenced by gender. One of my best friends in high school was a guy. Yes, we did try dating. No, we didn’t magically fall in love. Yes, we were MUCH better friends than a romantic item!

That being said though, Emery does a spectacular job weaving in the path to romance. I love that this pair starts their relationship based on friendship. They get to know the real side of each other and the affection slowly shifts from friend to romantic interest. I was totally shipping them before the ship even sailed!

Another thing I applaud Emery for is showing the nerdy side of life. That the nerd and the jock can get along and even be best friends. Beauty is not the only thing to attract a mate. I loved the geeking out. I was all about some Quiz Bowl in The Start of Me and You! I loved the breaking out the big guns by Max with Pride and Prejudice. Brava Emery for showing a guy can be well read too! I loved how passionate Max was about his interests and not being ashamed over them. Love what you love! I also loved the Open Road Summer shout out. (:

I loved getting to see Paige grow and change as she worked her way through her grief and her new chapter in life. I couldn’t relate on a personal level other than a fellow classmate succumbing to cystic fibrosis complications as our senior year started. I didn’t know Erin well, but her death still had a huge impact on me. Paige’s courage and determination were inspiring. Each step was hard fought, but also won. She knew she could never go back to the way things were, but she worked hard to get things to where she wanted. Eve if a thing or two was not how she originally planned it to be.

A bit heavier than Open Road Summer, but still a quick and enjoyable read for this non-contemporary fan! I definitely recommend adding Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You to your spring/summer reading list and Emery Lord to your authors to always read list!

About the Author

I’m Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything’s going down in flames, the boy who Gets You even when you don’t expect it, and the summer that changed everything.

Open Road Summer is out now, and The Start of Me & You releases March 31st, 2015.

I don’t check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!
http://www.emerylord.com/p/site-qs.html

ctures.

 

Have You Seen This? April 12, 2015

Thanks to the fabulous Book Addict’s Guide and Andi’s ABCs, Have You Seen This is a feature created for bloggers to complete their book collections be it ARCs or foreign editions. Once a month, a new linky is posted to allow bloggers a chance to share their wishlist. I don’t have a set list of books up to trade yet, but I am willing to trade &/ pay shipping for books! (: Please contact me on Twitter @armywife2310 or email : french_eleve07 at yahoo dot com.

ARCS:

Incarnate and Asunder by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Start of You and Me, Open Road Summer, When We Collided by Emery Lord

The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepherd

Snow Like Ashes and Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Taken by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

This Shattered World and These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Unleashed by Sophie Jordan

Legend by Marie Lu

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Foreign Editions:

Original UK Hardcovers of Harry Potter 5-7 by JK Rowling

Any UK editions of Victoria Schwab books

Thanks in advance! (:

 

 
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