My Social Life…er…Book

I always feel a little bad when someone who is not a blogger/social media person “friends” me on Facebook. I post a lot. More than the average person, anyway.

I try not to over do, but I am almost positive that I have been “blocked” and “unfriended” for how often I show up in people’s newsfeeds. Those who do still keep me around have mentioned that some of the things I post–such as funny little things the kids say or pictures of stuff Eddie has written or drawn–I should somehow keep. I always figure by putting them on Facebook, I AM keeping them, however unorganized that is.

You may not believe it, but I used to be a hard-core scrapbooker. HARD. CORE.

I like to think that someday…someday…I will go back and at LEAST finish the projects I started (like Charlie’s baby book and Eddie’s toddler years), but I have started making photo books via websites because it’s just easier. But I don’t remember to put all the little details in those, ya know?  They are just photos.

I was given the opportunity to try something called My Social Book, a site that takes your Facebook and Instagram feeds and turns them into a keepsake book.

My Social Book

Before diving in to making my book, I checked out all the other options–there are five total:

  1. My Social Book Photos: This one makes a book of all your Facebook Photo albums
  2. My Social Book Page: This one makes a book out of your Facebook Page, so if I wanted to make Sluiter Nation’s Facebook page into a book, this would be the one I would choose.
  3. My Social Book Lovers: This is for two people’s social accounts so they can be side-by-side. I would make one with Cortney, but he would have one status update to my fifty, so maybe no.
  4. My Social Book Friends: This one is for up to five people so you can all tell a common story.

I made the classic “My Social Book” out of my Facebook updates from January of this year until June 30. Six months. It took 324 pages.

I KNOW.

But look!

My Social Book

All of my status updates, photos, and all YOUR comments from the past six months! {you can choose to leave comments off. Admittedly, this added more pages to mine}

2015-07-28 10.12.12

It’s a pretty awesome way to keep all the pictures and thoughts I’ve shared all in one place. There are a few things I would have taken out if I could have individually gone through all the pages (like some of the memes and stuff I don’t really need to keep for the sake of nostalgia, ya know?), but I thought it was neat how it’s all laid out. And since I share ALL OF THE THINGS on social media, it makes for a pretty cool “diary” for my kids to look through some day.

2015-07-28 10.11.38

It would be pretty cool to do this every six months. My one beef with that is that it’s a little pricey. My 300+ pages would have cost about $80 to do. Although, if I had done that much scrapbooking, it would have cost WAY more than that.

So Cortney and I were discussing how it was WAY cool, but was it $80 cool?

Of course they are not all that expensive. Mine is a little crazy big, so if I did smaller ones without all the comments and excluded a few other things, it would be more reasonable to do this every so often.

2015-07-29 17.01.42

And at the same time, I think it would be so cool to sit down in 20 years and look back on this book. Or better yet watch Eddie, Charlie, and Alice look back on this book. The year our family was made whole and complete.

I’m sorry. I got something in my eye looking back…

2015-07-29 17.00.46

Yeah, it’s $80 cool.

*************

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. My Social Book provided me with an $80 credit to make a book and then write about it. No other payment was exchanged. All opinions are mine.  To learn more about My Social Book, like their Facebook Page or visit their site.

Journaling is Not Dead

For Christmas tjournalhis year, I was gifted a book about writing by a dear friend. The number one takeaway was one I tell my students and anyone else wondering how to be better at writing: write more, write always.

The funny thing is, I had not been taking my own advice. I vowed to write more. Not necessarily to publish more blog posts, but to physically write more. I realized that if I wanted to write with freedom of not thinking about an audience, and therefore not censoring or editing myself, I needed to write by hand more. I needed a journal.

I didn’t have the time or money to go buy a pretty one, so I just grabbed a composition book from my classroom and started jotting and writing. While very little of that translated into anything here, it felt good to be writing every day again.

Then I was offered the opportunity to use (and review) a “gratitude journal.” I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but I did know that I just had a tiny new human in my life and I was super grateful, so it seemed a good fit.  The Grace of Gratitude Journal  is a perfect journal for a beginner or a veteran writer looking for a way to get ideas and thoughts down quickly. Author Deborah Perdue beautifully weaves examples of gratitude throughout the pages and Tara Thelen provides gorgeous illustrations to inspire the writer.

2015-03-31 21.42.39

What sold me on this journal was that it has lined pages and a spiral binding. It fits just right in my diaper bag or purse so I can take it with me so that I can jot thoughts of gratitude wherever I am.

As you can see, the lines are wide-spaced and somewhat short. I would not use this journal for free-writing; it’s much better for listing. I currently use it to list ten things I am grateful for each day. I already love looking back at what I’ve written for previous days–especially those days that felt like they totally sucked because each day I have no problem coming up with ten things to say a silent “thank you” for to the man upstairs.

2015-04-24 19.17.27

The Grace of Gratitude Journal is reasonably priced at $14.99 on Amazon. It’s a hardcover journal, so no bending of the cover or wrinkling of pages, which is awesome because if your purse/bag looks anything like mine, it’s a miracle if anything comes out in tact.

Journaling every day has not just reignited my writing habit, but it puts me into an immediate better mood because I am thinking only positive thoughts. Because I am at risk for a postpartum depression/anxiety flair up, anything that puts me into a sunny place mentally is good. I feel like this has been another branch of my self-care along with therapy and meds. It helps me focus on the good at the end of each day rather than what I would otherwise obsessively worry about.

Plus it’s been an idea-generator for blog posts! Win!

Really the only drawback to this journal that I can think of is that it’s for only forty days. I would love a thicker one that covers six months or a year. A year of gratitude would be awesome to have and look back on when you need a reminder of how blessed you are.

Do you write by hand, or is everything you do on a computer or device?

*************

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was sent a copy of The Grace of Gratitude Journal for review. No further compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Rocking Through Spring Break

I was not looking forward to spring break. Not even a little bit. In fact, I watched the days tick down on the calendar with a sense of doom.

Alice was only a month old and we hadn’t yet found our “groove”. Spring break meant throwing both boys into the mix. I wasn’t too worried about Eddie, but Charlie is sort of a live wire.  He likes to do what he wants to do how he wants to do it when he wants to do it…usually when my hands are full of baby.

Therefore I planned to have Charlie in daycare three of the six week days.

I know, I’m a wimp.

The other days I quickly realized he (and Eddie, really) needs direction with what to do and since the weather was cold and rainy all week, “what to do” had to be indoor activities.

We played with play dough and did water paints and coloring books. We cleaned up the playroom and ate lots of cheese sandwiches (Charlie’s favorite lunch). And we did it to music!

2015-04-15 08.22.34

This is where I admit that despite my music snobbery, our family is crazy for Kidz Bop. We have Kidz Bop 24, 25, 27, and now 28. Seriously, my  younger self would be shocked to learn that when I hit my mid-30’s, I would be Ok with (fine, I would even LIKE) to sing Shake it Off at the top of my lungs with the Kidz Bop group.

Here is the thing: I’m really not a giant fan of pop music, but Kidz Bop tends to choose the few songs I do like..or at least the songs that are serious ear worms. For instance, we found ourselves jamming to lyrically appropriate (if not hilarious to those of us who know the real lyrics) versions of Fancy, Shake it Off, and All About that Base on Kidz Bop 27.  My boys’ favorite song on KB 28 is Uptown Funk which they call Hot Pants. If you know the song, you can probably figure out where they got that from.

We mostly listen to our Kidz Bop CDs in the car. Over spring break, Eddie and I went to see a movie together, and we had about a 30-minute drive to get to the theater. You better believe we were jamming out to some Steal My Girl  and Lips are Movin’.

2015-04-15 08.22.41

And while I would ALWAYS rather be listening to the Pearl Jam channel on satellite radio, I would much rather have the kids request a Kidz Bop album than something with Wheels on the Bus on it.

So Spring Break was still a challenge since I’m not used to three kids just yet, but we at least had fun and danced our way through it.

*************

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Kidz Bop sends me CDs and the boys and I listen to them. All opinions are our own.

The Clean Routine

I am of the belief that there are two types of people in this world: those who fold and those who crumple.

To be honest, for a really long time I thought everyone just crumpled. I thought that was how it was done. I mean, I assume that is how I was taught or why would I still be doing it that way at age 35?

But then I started talking with Cortney about our routines.

Our bum-cleaning routines.

Continue Reading…

The Mommy Survival Kit

Spring break starts this afternoon for me, and next week for my boys.  That means that I will putting on my Stay at Home Mom Pants to be home with the two of them for a week.

Every time we have break from school, I am reminded how much work it is to be a Stay at Home Mom.  There is a good reason why it is not my official “job”…it’s too hard!  But there are somethings that help me survive (besides the cuddles and kisses that my boys give me), so I compiled a list…

Continue Reading…

Li’l Helper

There is something different about having a second baby…it’s not that he/she is cared for less, but some things aren’t as big of a deal as they were the first time around.

Maybe it’s because you don’t have as much time to obsess.  Maybe it’s because you learn the baby is not as fragile as you thought he/she was.  Maybe it’s because you have to put the baby down and wipe a preschooler’s booty after the poo he did because he is potty training.

For us, Charlie learned to wait much earlier than Eddie did.  From the first day Charlie was home from the hospital, he had to wait while we got Eddie his dinner or wait to be held because we were cleaning up a potty training accident.

Continue Reading…

A Good American

9780425253175_p0_v2_s260x420I’m a sucker for historical fiction.  Make it American historical fiction and I will be lost in the book for as many hours as I can possibly devote to reading each day.

That is how it was with A Good American by Alex George.

Before signing up for this book review, I read, “This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri.”

Done and done.

Some of my most favorite novels are stories of family histories: East of Eden, Middlesex, Fall on Your Knees, and anything by Wally Lamb.  I love to follow a great story of a family through multiple generations…to see how history weaves itself amongst the choices and secrets and directions the characters’ lives take.

A Good American was no different.

The story starts with Jette and Frederick in Germany and follows them as they immigrate to the United States at the turn of the century.  Rather than the typical story of immigrants on Ellis Island, however, Alex George has his characters come ashore in New Orleans and travel up to Missouri.  They live through wars and prohibition growing their family.  There are deaths and births, failures and victories.  And there are plot twists that will break your heart and make you burst out laughing.

The writing flows so well from one chapter to the next, it was difficult for me to stick my bookmark in and call it a night at the end of a chapter.  George left each chapter with a hint of a tease that made me want to read on.

Sometimes, however, Alex George’s blatant foreshadowing annoyed me.  Instead of just ending a chapter or section, he almost always had to add a “but that wouldn’t be the last time…” or “or so they thought…” or something along those lines.  The book, to me, didn’t need these obvious teasers; the plot itself was intriguing and endearing enough to push the reader to want to read one more section…one more chapter.  I felt that these little lines were too obvious and assumed too little of the audience.

It was easy to overlook the obvious foreshadowing, though, because as I said, the plot was really good.  I liked the development of the characters, although there was also a tone shift once the narrator’s character was born and he began talking about his own contribution to the family story.  I suppose, since this is a first person novel, that is to be expected.  But I didn’t enjoy that part of the book nearly as much as the beginning.

Overall this book was one of those perfect “winter” books:  just right for curling up with in a big chair under a blanket while sipping hot chocolate.  It reads as if you are being told an actual collection of stories from someone’s past, so it makes for a lovely companion on a chilly evening.

It left me remembering why I love books like this: I love to get caught up in the characters and their lives as if they were real.

Come see what others think and follow {or join in} to our discussion at BlogHer Book Club.

Legal Stuff: This post is sponsored by BlogHer, but all opinions are my own.

 

Baba + Boo Review {and Giveaway!}

2013-02-09 13.30.54

Being the second child and the second boy, poor Charlie doesn’t have many things that are new to him.  For Christmas he got a couple things, but really, he just didn’t need anything.

I kind of feel bad for him.  I mean, not that he cares, but he doesn’t have a lot that is just his.

When the UK company Baba and Boo announced that they would like to make a United States debut, I jumped at the chance to help them out and give Charlie a little something of his own.

Continue Reading…

Affresh Review…and a Giveaway!

2013-02-02 10.34.56

My least favorite thing to do in this world is cleaning.

My most favorite thing in this world is having a clean, organized life.

You see my problem, yes?

We used to have a cleaning lady, but alas, that is not in the budget anymore.  So the next best thing is to find products I don’t hate that help make my life easier.

This is where Affresh enters into my life.

Continue Reading…

Here I Go Again

hereigoagainI feel like I start almost every book review with, “I was skeptical, but…”

Not this time.  I signed up for this review and when the pretty green book arrived on my door step, I almost tripped over my own excitement to get it out of its box.

Friends? I love Jen Lancaster.  Love her. I have read ALL of her books (well, Ok, I haven’t read Jeneration X yet because the Barnes and Noble by my house DOESN’T HAVE IT!  I mean, what???  I think they thought I was a crazy person because I was all “CHECK AGAIN!”

Ahem.  Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Jen Lancaster.

I even met her once.  Oh yes, I did.

Jen Lancaster

She told me I looked cute. And then I died.

So anyway, Here I Go Again is her second fictional novel.  Her first one, If You Were Here, was pretty good. I mean it was classic Lancaster Hilarity.  The only problem I had with it was that the main characters were clearly not just based on, but WERE her and her husband, Fletch.  She gave themselves fictional names and stretched the truth of what they had to go through when doing home renovations, but it was totally them.

Funny, but I wasn’t sure she could pull of more fiction…at least any that was actually fictional.

When I started reading Here I Go Again, I thought, “Oh dear.  This character is a total biz-natch and is just like what Lancaster was like in the very beginning of Bitter is the New Black (her first memoir).  And oh look, it seems to be based on 80’s stuff.  Again.”  I started getting concerned that my favorite author was not able to actually “do” fiction.

Then I got through the first chapter.  And HAD to read the second chapter. And then the third.  And then the next day during my commute I started wondering how Lissy was going to get out of the predicament she was in.  What would she have to do next?  Where was Lancaster going with this plot?

It was a totally easy, fast read…just like all of Lancaster’s books.  They just flow and before you know it, you’ve read the whole book in a matter of hours.  Or in my case, days because I had to stop occasionally to sleep and work and do motherly things.

The basic plot is this: Lissy Ryder was the bitchy, snobby, horribly popular mean girl in high school back in the 90’s. She was a total jerk to every person in the school.  She is now in her 30’s and her life is in shambles and she is finding out that everyone hates her.  By a twist of plot, she goes back in time to try to correct her life…to be a better person…but just like in the movie Back to the Future, every tiny action has MAJOR effects on the future.

I know. It sounds weird.  And even though I am a Back to the Future fanatic, I thought it was a weird premise for a book.

But OMG.  I was totally into what happened.  I mean, halfway through the book you think, “Well look at that, she has made herself a great person…wait, there is half the book left…clearly something is going to go wrong….” And then it does.

So anyway, yes. Jen Lancaster can write fiction. It’s crazy, easy to read, and hilarious.  It’s not going to be the next Great American Novel like The Great Gatsby or Little Women, but it will stay on the best sellers list. And for a good reason…it’s awesome.

If you want to follow my {and other’s) thoughts about this book on BlogHer, check out the BlogHer Bookclub Discussions.

Legal Stuff: This post was sponsored by BlogHer Bookclub, but all opinions are my own.  I really do love Jen Lancaster this much.  But I promise, Jen, if you are reading (which you are not because you are far too busy buying Barbie Dolls while hopped up on Ambien writing something great) I am not a creeper. Swear.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...