What I’m loving & reading in March 2017

What I’m Loving

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media provides independent reviews, age recommendations, and other unbiased information on all types of media. I often try to watch a movie or TV show first before deciding whether my kids are ready to see it or not. But, realistically, I don’t always have time for that. Common Sense Media’s information gives me a good idea of whether a movie is too scary for some of my kids or just a general idea if it is worth watching.

Home-made crusty bread

Listen to me, you need to make this bread. This isn’t a normal loaf of bread. It is a light, fluffy, crusty bread, and goes great with pasta. It is also ridiculously easy to make! It takes about 4 minutes to mix together and then needs to sit for 12-24 hours.

I make the dough at night and then bake it right before dinner the following day.  Not only does it take almost no effort, it also only has 4 ingredients, one of which is water!

Make the bread, you will thank me.

What I’m reading

‘Different’ by Sally & Nathan Clarkson

Different” is a book about raising an out-of-the-box kid. I have read a few of Sally Clarkson books and was really excited when I heard about this one. If you have a kid that just doesn’t fit into the mold you want or expect them to, this book might be for you. It is written from both her perspective as a mom and her adult son’s perspective on his childhood.

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ by J. D. Vance

I wanted to love Hillbilly Elegy more than I did, but looking back I think my expectations of it were just incorrect. I wanted a little more structured insight than it gave me, but the book is a memoir, not a sociology book. I think if I would have focused on the fact that it was a memoir going into it, I would have enjoyed it more. It was definitely a compelling book either way.

Description from Amazon

“Hillbilly Elegy” is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

‘Tell Me Three Things’ by Julie Buxbaum

I really enjoyed “Tell Me Three Things.” If you enjoy fun, light young adult fiction, I very much recommend it. I saw it recommended often on various blogs, and since it is only $1.99 for the Kindle book, I decided to give it a try. This book is PG-13, so if that’s not your type of book, you may want to skip this one.

Description from Amazon

Saying Jessie’s new life is weird would be an understatement—after she loses her mother to cancer, her dad sells their house, moves them across the country to live with the woman he eloped with during a business trip, and enrolls her in an elite private school where everyone makes her feel even more like an outsider.

Back home Jessie was comfortable: she had both her parents, a house she loved, and friends. Here she feels lost in a sea of designer clothing, expensive cars, and people who spend their summer vacations in faraway countries. When the teen gets an anonymous email from Somebody/Nobody offering to teach her to navigate this new school’s territory, she registers how strange the situation may be but replies anyway. Who is this mysterious Somebody/Nobody (SN for short)? Will trusting SN lead to success—or make her even more of a target for bullies?

‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ by Arlie Hochschild

Strangers in Their Own Land” is a book I have been wanting to read for a few months, but it was a rough read for me. I think it was a combination of it being a fairly long book and something about the writing style made it a bit of a struggle to get through, but I do think it was worth the effort.  I heard someone say the first half of the book seemed a little slow, and I agree with that assessment, but that first half was necessary to fully understand the second half and what she refers to as the “deep story.”

Description from Amazon

In “Strangers in Their Own Land,” the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets—among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident—people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children.

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