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Kitchen Helpers + Cookie Cake Recipe


When it comes to making desserts, I seem to always find two little volunteers begging to help out. I love how much Fox and Sloane are interested in all things involving making food. They always seem to be willing to stir, whisk, peek in on, pour, ...or just straight up lick a bowl clean. It really makes doing dishes a lot easier ;)
I made this cake for Fox's birthday back in August (guess it's about time I should post the rest of his birthday pics??). I asked if he wanted donuts for his party (because I wanted donuts, of course), but he told me he wanted a cookie party. So cookie cake it was! And it may be one of the best decisions of my life. It was sooooo good. I've been getting requests from my mom to make it again and again (now you know where my sweet tooth came from). I used this recipe. Make one and invite me over, please. Like asap.
Licking the bowl used to be my favorite baking task. But I'm ok with being replaced when the replacements are this cute (and they remove their shirts so they don't get chocolate on them) :)

Book Club


I know I've mentioned before that my kids are huge fans of books and reading, but I don't know if I've ever shared how I feel about reading. I love it! For as long as I can remember, I've always loved books. Library days were some of my favorites in elementary. I devoured Goosebumps, everything Roald Dahl, the Little House books, then came Joan Lowry Nixon thrillers, classic lit, and of course all the Harry Potter books. And so many more. 

The past few years though, it's been more difficult to set aside time for reading. I usually try to make goals for reading more, but I've been slacking. The last month or so, though, I've found myself with some extra windows of time that I have been filling with new books. Most have been YA novels (shameless guilty pleasure). Some I've liked. Some I've loved. One I hated. So, I thought I'd start doing some book recommendations on here. Partly to keep track of my reading progress, and partly to share with you some books I really enjoyed. I'll do my best not to post spoilers!

So, I guess this isn't exactly a book club (unless you want to start some discussion in the comments -which I love!). But I am in an actual book club. We wear muumuus to our meetings. It's the best. I chose "All the Light We Cannot See" for our October meeting. Have you read it? I'm so excited to dive into it. 

Alright, here we go. Oh, just an FYI, I recommend all of these books! Some I just favorite more than others:)

Saint Everything // Sarah Dessen
super-simple synopsis: Sydney's super-popular, family-favorite older brother ends up making poor choices and goes to jail for almost killing someone. Everyone is worried about her brother and she feels like she is the only one who feels bad for the victim of his crime. Sydney feels like everyone only sees her as her older brother's sister, so she decides to change schools to get a fresh start. Here, she meets the Chatham family. She immediately feels accepted. She makes lots of fun memories with them, meets a boy... I don't want to spoil too much!

I really loved this book. It was simple, but I really enjoyed it. It has a love story (which I loved), but it's more about the protagonist's relationships in her family -to me anyway. About how someone else's poor decisions can affect you. I really liked the characters and the personal growth Sydney goes through.

Love and Gelato // Jenna Evans Welch
After her mom dies, Lina spends the summer in Tuscany. She doesn't want to be there. But she ends up meeting new friends, meets and forms a relationship with her dad (love this), and gets to know some cute Italian boys (ooo la la -wait, that's French). And visits tons of cools places in Italy and eats a ton of gelato.

This book was fun and a little cheesy, but it was just such a nice simple read. And I loved learning her mom and dad's love story along with her. And the cover is so cute. And it makes you want to visit Italy so bad. And eat gelato. Why am I not eating gelato right now??

The Unexpected Everything // Morgan Matson
Andie is a prominent politician's daughter. So she's lead a pretty planned-out life and basically has to make sure she doesn't mess things up for her dad. Then, her dad's career gets put on hold, so everything changes. Unexpected! (Get it?) She becomes a dog walker and meets a cute boy and realizes she needs to figure out what she really wants in life and be more flexible.

I really like this author, but I like her other books better. This one was good, I just wasn't a huge fan of the dad's political background as part of the story. It made it feel kinda like the 90's classic "My Date with the President's Daughter", except her dad isn't even the president. Still a good book though. I'd give it 3.8/5 stars. Who's down for watching "My Date with the President's Daughter" this weekend??

The Girl on the Train // Paula Hawkins
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them.Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. The book suddenly become a thriller.

This book was pretty good. Not as much a thriller as I wanted, though. I read it mostly at night, but never felt scared ...but I also couldn't put it down. It's going to be a movie next month, so read this one quick. There was more swearing and adult themes in this book than the others -but it's not as sensual or whatever as the movie trailers make it seem.

FOUR


Happy Birthday, Fox!

Let's go eat some cookies as big as your face again:)

San Francisco and Santa Cruz // In Photos



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