MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

December 16th, 2019

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

Have you been looking for a free book club to join? Check out the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today! These 12 selections have all been read and loved, by me.  I look forward to our free book club chats, interactive book club crafts, and our interviews with this year’s chosen authors.

This is one of my favorite days of the year. I am so excited to reveal our MomAdvice Book Club selections with you today. 

I have read each of these selections and couldn’t be prouder of the gathering this year. Not only do I love them, but I think that they will lend themselves well to a great book club discussion.

Why?

Well, each of these books have challenged my viewpoint, in some way. I really believe that this is one of the BEST side effects to being a reader. It expands your world in a new way and reminds us that we all have the capacity to grow.

After reading each of these, I contacted each of the authors (with the exception of Betty Smith, of course) to let them know that their book had been officially selected as our official monthly selection.

I admit, I am no Reese, Jenna, or Oprah, but I do believe that I have gotten many to read books that they never would have picked up.

I consider this one of my superpowers.

I am hoping there will be a few on this year’s list that will be new to you and that they will top your list of favorites too.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 3,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

MomAdvice Free Online Book Club

What Will Be Different in the MomAdvice Book Club This Year?

This all has been a big learning process, for me, on how to expand and make the book club even more beneficial to you.

In the past, I selected novels based on awards, authors that consistently delivered great reads, or anticipated buzz books for the year. 

This strategy ended up working a lot, but there were books that I wasn’t as crazy about that ended up on our list.

This year I made it a goal to read all the 12 selections to (hopefully) deliver consistently great books that you will, truly, love. 

I also  contacted the authors to let them know that their book had been officially selected as our official monthly selection.

With their help, we will be having interactive discussions, reviving the author interview series, and we will have a copy of each book to giveaway to a reader.

In addition to our chats, this year, I am partnering with MJ, at pars caeli, to craft a project around each read. 

MomAdvice Book Club Chats

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?  

Scroll down to see my list of the twelve books that we will be discussing.

The Book Club Chat is held on the last Friday (of the month)  and an Event invite is sent out to members at the beginning of each month.

Once you RSVP to an event, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

This year, we will have many authors also participating in our chats.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals (sign up for our daily deals newsletter to receive these directly to your inbox)  and I share our book club picks through something called an affiliate link.

What is an affiliate link? 

Great question!

Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me approximately $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you. This year, I will also have the additional expense of mailing giveaway books and the cost to hire a designer for our crafts.

Thank you for helping me make this book club great with your purchases.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I do try to pick books that I think you will enjoy.

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

MomAdvice Reading Retreat

How Do I Meet People from the MomAdvice Book Club?

Did you know that we hosted our first MomAdvice Reading Retreat this year?

I can’t begin to tell you how magical it all was and how thankful I was to meet these incredible women.

You have to be an active member in our club to participate in our face-to-face weekend retreats so be sure to join!

Enough waiting! I’m thrilled to share these twelve 2020 book club selections with you today! I can’t wait to hear what you think about this year’s list.

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett January- The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali February- The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica March- The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

When All Is Said by Anne Giffin April- When All Is Said by Anne Giffin

Dominicana by Angie Cruz May- Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie June- Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie

The Warehouse by Rob Hart July- The Warehouse by Rob Hart

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop August- We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson September- Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

October- The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

November Road by Lou Berney November- November Road by Lou Berney

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith December- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (my favorite classic!)

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

 

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site!

Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads

You can also sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter with the latest book news!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

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The 2019 MomAdvice Summer Reads Guide

June 1st, 2019

For many years, I have wanted to do a reading guide for you all, but each year the days would slip away and I would think, “Maybe next year!”

Well, not today, Satan!

I am thrilled to share my first Summer Reading Guide with you! This has been a true labor of love and I’m incredibly proud how this turned out.

Within this 15 page guide you will find:

  • A huge list of great books to read over the summer. I have included some new (and upcoming) novels, but I also weaved in some older favorites that might be easier to snag at your local library.
  • Tips for reading more this summer including a few of my own tried-and-true formulas for reading.
  • A bookworm gift guide filled with fun finds from Etsy sellers.
  • 10 of my all-time favorite books
  • 5 summer selections curated by the Currently Reading Podcast.

All you need to do to access the free guide is be an email subscriber! Upon signing up for our mailing list, you will receive a link to the reading guide.

If you decide to read any of these selections, I’d be honored if you used the #momadvicesummerreading hashtag and tag me on Instagram!

Happy reading, bookworms! xo

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter and receive your FREE Summer Reading Guide!

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

November 26th, 2018

Check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today!

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more great reads for your stack!

Can you believe that I am picking our 2019 MomAdvice Book Club selections this week? This year has flown by and I have SO enjoyed sharing books and discussions with you.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 2,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

The best part?

There is no commitment to participate in chats (although I love it when you do!). This is a place to get opinions about books, find out what everyone is reading, and start chats of your own about books you would just love to talk about.

I wanted to get this list up a little early so you have loads of time to make requests to your local library or read ahead on any of these selections.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

Scroll through the book list below to see what we have in store for you in 2019.  The discussion is held on the last Friday and an Event invite is sent out at the beginning of the month to join a virtual chat. Once you RSVP, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

I’m thrilled to share these 12 selections with you from a pool of talented writers. As always, I try to keep a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, YA, memoirs, and mysteries.

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

January- A Ladder to the Sky

February- My Sister the Serial Killer

March- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

April- Little

May- The Friend

June- The Editor

July- In Sight of Stars

August- There Will Be No Miracles Here

September- No One Can Pronounce My Name

October- The Lying Woods

November- The Library Book

December- Virgil Wander

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

January 1st, 2018

"MomAdvice

Is one of your goals to join a book club this year? I’m thrilled to share that we have an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group that I’d love for you to join. I’m so excited to share with you our MomAdvice 2018 Book Club selections.

Our book club now has over 1,200 bookworms (!!!) and we would love to have you join in on the fun discussions this year. I loved last year’s selections so much that they even found their way on my Best Books of 2017 list.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the entire year of books for 2018 to round out your book stacks.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question.

To make finding these discussions easier (and so you can hop in at anytime!!) we have moved our discussions into the Events tab. You will receive an invitation to each discussion and can find the entire discussion in the Events, instead of searching through our VERY active page.

You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood January- Alias Grace

Lucky Boy February- Lucky Boy

American Fire March- American Fire

Lilli De Jong April- Lilli De Jong

The Music Shop May- The Music Shop

Everything Here is Beautiful June- Everything Here is Beautiful

Salt Houses July- Salt Houses

Little Broken Things August- Little Broken Things

Far From the Tree September- Far From the Tree

The Hunger by Alma Katsu October- The Hunger

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy November- Steal the Stars

Girls Burn Brighter December-Girls Burn Brighter

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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September 2020 Must-Reads

September 4th, 2020

September 2020 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Looking for your next great read? Today I’m sharing 7 incredible books I read for September. Find your perfect memoir, thriller, YA, or romance read in this month’s stack. Be sure to bookmark this post for your next library day!

Don’t worry, you did not miss any reviews, these past couple of months. I’ve just been a bit M.I.A. these days.

To be honest, I have found it difficult to space for my reading life.

I am wondering if you can relate? 

This month, I thought I would try something completely different, for our MomAdvice readers, with the encouragement from you. 

It turns out, the motivation that I need to really get reading this year, is going to come from developing a new Patreon community that I have launched. 

I have missed being creative, using my music background, and the motivation to get back to reading. That is why this corner of the internet is, honestly making my heart so happy.

This answers a lot of needs, within myself, and helps offset numerous expenses for our family, in the process.

MomAdvice Patreon

Want to Connect With Me In Our NEW Book Gang Patreon Community?

I am so thankful to have so many of you in the MomAdvice Book Club. Not only do I love finding the book deals for you & sharing in our monthly discussions, I’m even more thankful for the community and friendships we have created there.

Why We Need Your Financial Support

COVID-19 has greatly impacted my business, just as it has for many other online creators. Our community will always be free to you, but your financial support can offset some of the numerous administrative expenses that are required to keep up our community.

There is so much that goes into our community and that will always be there for you. I don’t want to bore you with the minutiae of all the things that are required to run our community, but know that they are numerous (web hosting, digital memberships for creation, newsletter services, administrative help, graphic designers, etc..).  The financial support will allow me more time to devote to continue cultivating the kind of community that you want to be part of. 

Please know how much your support means and how much each of you are appreciated in these crazy times! 

What Are the Patreon Benefits For Bookish Friends?

Patreon subscribers will receive a monthly bonus (on the 20th of every month, beginning September 20th), as a thank you for your continued support to keep the book club blossoming.

Not only that, but here’s the scoop on the fun bonuses you will receive, every dang month! 

  • Exclusive Monthly Bookish Newsletter- Get the book reviews TEN DAYS early, get all the latest book to movie news, and get ideas around the month’s chosen theme (this month we are talking about Storytellers). The idea is that you can print this newsletter out with no ads and no need to click to different pages to get everything you need.
  • A Curated Playlist- To fully embrace each month’s theme, you receive a playlist to listen to, while sipping on coffee and reading the newsletter
  • Monthly Book Printable or Digital Download (I have so many fun things in store for you!!)
  • What I’m Reading (in real time) and Monthly Discussions on a Book Theme

Sign up here to support my work.

Join Us for Our September MomAdvice Book Club Discussion:

September Must-Reads snag this month’s incredible book club book

Did you know that I offer a free virtual book club? Be sure to join the MomAdvice Book Club and you will never be without a book again!

This is a beautiful piece of contemporary fiction that so many of you are enjoying this month. I picked this story because it was such a great little page-turner and it seemed perfectly timed to starting back to our reading lives, after the summer season.

You can check out the full list of 2020 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here

Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews.

Kindle Deals here is what is on sale today- don’t miss it!

Check Our Daily Book Deals List

I try to post a daily book deal list for you to keep your Kindle fully stocked while we wait for all of our libraries to reopen.

Check this list daily here or you can sign up for my daily deal newsletter and I will send them right to your inbox!

September Kindle First Reads pick your free book for september

Get a Free Book Just for Being a Prime Member

Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? 

Yup, I always try to remind you of this amazing little Prime perk!

Grab YOUR FREE BOOK FOR SEPTEMBER over here.

June 2020 Book of the Month

Check out the September Book of the Month Club Selections:

The Last Story of Mina Lee
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Winter Counts
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Transcedent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

 
Now let’s talk about this month’s stack!

September 2020 Must-Reads

Daisy Cooper's Rules for Living

Daisy Cooper’s Rules for Living by Tasmin Keily

I have been missing, “The Good Place,” days of television so when I read the synopsis for this sweet read, I was ALL in!

Daisy Cooper is just beginning her life so that’s why it is such a shock when a tragic twist of fate finds her at Death’s door. I mean, like really, at death’s door.

The thing is that Death is just as surprised as she is, by her appearance. Daisy was meant to live another 50 years which makes her untimely demise even more tragic.

It is clear that Death could use a little assistance so Daisy ends up working as his assistant, helping others pass on into their new lives. With this superpower also comes the opportunity to check in on the people she loves and help them mourn and move on from the loss of their lover, friend, and daughter.

Magical realism is something that I always seem to be able to get behind and I found this to be a sweet story that little hole in my heart that’s had a Good Place hole since it ended.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Black Kids

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This book is perfect for fans of, The Hate U Give, and packed a POWERFUL punch this month. George Floyd’s death is still so fresh in my mind and, perhaps, that is why this one moved me in so many similar ways. 

In the midst of the 1992 L.A. Rodney King Riots, we see what this would look like to a wealthy high school senior, who happens to be one of the few black kids at her private school . Although Ashley feels distant from the tragedy, her sister is completely enveloped in the protests.

It’s as she is observing the ripple effects of these riots that she begins to learn about her family’s own history, recognize the racism that she had failed to acknowledge before, and finds her place in a community she didn’t feel she belonged.

If you have an older teen, I encourage you to pass this book on to them. This is a strong debut and I can’t wait to see more from this author. 

4 out of 5 Stars

Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch

Thank you to the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I can say it, I have never met an Allison Winn Scotch book that I didn’t enjoy. It was such a thrill to see that she was included as a Kindle First Reads author this month.

As more women than ever are making headlines in politics, this is a fun exploration of what it would be like to balance the political arena as a woman and mother.

Cleo’s political career, as a senator, is humming along when an old childhood friend decides to write a viral op-ed piece that paints her in a completely different light.  Claiming Cleo is not a good person gives Cleo pause as she reflects on mistakes she has made…233 regrets to be exact.

With the help of her chief of staff, they decide to have Cleo make amends on 10 of these and share the rewards with the world.  If you love a light-hearted peek at politics, add this to your stack. 

4 out of 5 Stars

Three Days Missing

Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle writes such satisfying thrillers so I was excited to dig into this one. The story is told from the view point of two mothers who find their lives deeply intertwined after one of their children goes missing.

During a school-sponsored overnight camping trip, one of the students goes missing.  Ethan is a highly intelligent kid that doesn’t fit in and finds himself bullied a lot, which is why it takes quite a bit of coaxing to get him on the board with a trip.

The book opens with a bang as Ethan’s mother, Kat, is contacted that Ethan has gone missing. What makes it even more twisted though is that another mother, the Mayor’s wife, is contacted that HER son is missing. It appears that the bad guys took the wrong kid and now both families must pay.

Having your child taken from you is every mother’s worst nightmare and Belle builds out a really solid plot, once again. It’s got some great plot twists and builds out a satisfying mystery that kept me turning those pages until the wee hours of the morning. 

4 out of 5 Stars

Hollywood Park

Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

If you are looking for an audiobook to enjoy Hollywood Park is a haunting memoir that weaves in gorgeous narration and bits of music.

I stumbled upon this book on several best-of-the-year lists and it sounded incredibly intriguing. Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults and lived a life thick with poverty, abuse, and so unpredictable that it is quite stunning that he survived.

It is evident that he is an incredibly gifted child and finds ways to weather narcissistic parenting and abuse in ways that most children would be unable to endure. In spite of it all, his path finds him on the way to Stanford and working professionally as a musician and writer.

If you are in a blue state of mind, it might be a difficult one to read.  Jollett’s sweetness and poetic writing though makes going on the journey with him to be a worthwhile one, even in the midst of unbelievable heartache. If you found The Sound of Gravel to be compelling, this is a memoir that will have the same type of lasting effects on your heart. 

5 out of 5 Stars

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

Thank you to the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you aren’t familiar with Fiona Davis, her standalone historical fiction novels are set around New York landmarks and often give you a fresh peek at a historic building. She relies on this theme again and this time, it is all about The New York Public Library.

In 1913, a family lives at the library and works as the caretakers for it. Laura has served in the traditional wife role, but decides to apply to Columbia to work on a degree in journalism. Her headstrong behavior leads her down a path of discovery, as she discovers an all-female where women are encouraged to talk freely about things like birth control, women’s rights, and bucking traditional roles. It is here where Laura finds her people and makes some discoveries about herself and the people she loves.

Eighty years later, her granddaughter is working as a curator, at the same library, when some rare materials go missing.  As Sadie tries to crack the case, she discovers some surprising secrets about her own family.

This is an easy-to-read story that keeps a great pace, has fun facts about the library weaved in, and is satisfying from page one until the very end.  It is, honestly, my favorite book by her yet. 

4 out of 5 Stars

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

If I was going to pick a book for you to devour, for the Halloween season, I would recommend adding this one to the tip-top of your stack.  This gothic historical-fiction novel reads like a modern day classic that reads like a movie. Many elements, in fact, reminded me of the award-winning film, Get Out.

When Noemi receives an odd letter from her cousin, she decides to make a trip out to the Mexican countryside to see what is troubling her cousin. Noemi is a spoiled debutante, but she is also one smart cookie.  Upon arriving, she’s baffled by the condition of the home, the weird staff, the lack of electricity, and the odd family. What Noemi can’t figure out though is why she’s having such disturbing dreams and what powers this house really holds over the people in it.

This book is atmospheric, dark, and oh-so-twisted. I could not put it down.  Don’t delay on reading this fantastic novel. 

5 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year

January 2020 Must-Reads

February 2020 Must-Reads

March- SKIPPED (pandemic brain)

April 2020 Must-Reads

May 2020 Must-Reads

June 2020 Must-Reads

Pandemic Hiatus for eLearning

Sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter

Join Our FREE Book Club

Visit ALL my Book Reviews

enjoy these reviews? here are a few other reads you’ll enjoy this year!

The Best Books of 2019 from MomAdvice.com the best books of 2019

53 historical fiction novels to escape with 53 historical fiction novels to escape with

19 thrillers to keep you up all night 19 thrillers to keep you up all night

Happy Reading!

September 2020 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

11 Shows to Watch With Your Tween

August 24th, 2020

 

  Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Looking for the perfect show to watch with your tween? Check out some of our family favorites – here are 11 shows that are age appropriate and entertaining for both adults and kids!

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

11 Shows to Watch With Your Tween

My daughters are 12 and 6 years old, and while I know that age gap won’t always seem so large, it feels insurmountable at times.

Times like my annual quest to find matching outfits for family photos.

Times like figuring out a vacation plan that will be fun for everyone.

And, for sure, times like deciding what TV series to watch next.

I get asked often about good shows for tweens because this stage encompasses such a wide range of ages.

So finding something to watch that’s not too baby-ish but also not too mature is tricky.

But because my girls are close to that age range (technically, tweens are aged 8 to 12), and we love watching TV as a family, I am constantly answering this question for my own family—and am happy to answer it for you, too!

Here are eleven TV shows that your tweens will love—and won’t drive you crazy to watch along with them.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

The Baby-Sitters Club

Based on the beloved book series by Ann M. Martin, this show features middle school students who start a business and develop friendships.

This newest iteration is smart, modern, and sweet.

My girls and I all loved it and can’t wait for another season. (And my 12-year-old decided to give the books another chance.)

Watch on Netflix.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Diary of a Future President

A Cuban-American middle school girl journals about her life, growing up to eventually become the president of the U.S.

I’ve only watched the first episode of this show and have heard later episodes have some more mature themes better for older kids, but I did like what I’ve seen so far!

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street

Gortimer and his friends are suburban middle school students who go on adventures with a smidge of magic and occasional melancholy, learning life lessons that are thankfully not heavy-handed.

This is my family’s number-one favorite show.

Watch on Amazon Prime.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

If you and/or your kids like the original High School Musical movies, you will likely love this new scripted series as well.

It’s about a group of high school students putting on the HSM musical, and they just happen to attend school in the building where the HSM movies were filmed.

It’s sweet and funny and as melodramatic as you’d expect a group of theater kids to be.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Holly Hobbie

Middle-schooler Holly lives in a small town but she has big dreams (and big feelings).

This is a super sweet but relatable coming-of-age show for tweens.

And I loved it so much I wouldn’t let my girls watch a single episode without me!

Watch on Hulu.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Just Add Magic

Three friends find a magical cookbook and work together to break curses and solve mysteries that plague their town and families.

This show is super cute, and I especially appreciated the focus on friendship and family (instead of romance, which sneaks into so many shows for kids!).

Watch on Amazon Prime.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Just Roll With It

A newly blended family learns to “roll with” the changes, both in their family and in the show, where the audience gets to rewrite the script and make the actors do crazy things in the middle of the episode.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Phineas and Ferb

I know some kids resist animated shows as they get a bit older (as do many adults!), but this one is just so funny.

Is it also formulaic and predictable?

Of course.

But it’s nonstop gags and jokes, many of them with references you’ll find even funnier than your kids do.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Sydney to the Max

A widowed dad raising his middle school daughter remembers his own middle school years.

If you are approximately my age (and therefore the age of the dad on this show), you’ll love the flashbacks to childhood in the early nineties.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

When Calls the Heart

This drama about the Canadian West in the early 1900s is an original Hallmark show, based on a book series by Janette Oke.

We don’t watch it in my house but every single conversation I have about shows for tweens involves someone else saying their tweens love this show.

So, if you like this genre, give it a try!

Watch on Hallmark Channel (and catch up on earlier seasons on Netflix).

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

The Who Was? Show

Do your kids love reading the Who Was history books?

Do you love sketch comedy shows?

Then have we got a show for you!

This sketch comedy series features goofy but educational bits about historical figures, and it’s really a lot of fun.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

Honorable mentions and sneak peeks:

If your kids (or you) prefer reality or competition shows more than scripted series, I recommend LEGO Masters (Hulu), Brain Games (Netflix), Floor is Lava (Netflix), The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Netflix), World of Dance (Hulu), American Pickers (Hulu), and Home Town (Hulu). 

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

And stay tuned for my review of a couple shows I discovered while preparing to write this post. Both The Letter for the King (Netflix, for older kids) and The Healing Powers of Dude (also Netflix, probably good for any tweens) look incredible, and I can’t wait to watch them!

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

For more shows your family might enjoy, here’s The Ultimate List of TV Shows for Tweens and 24 Diverse TV Shows for Kids & Tweens.

 

What shows do your tweens like watching?

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter!

 

Check out these other great ideas:

 

8 Middle School Series Books to Get Your Child Excited About Reading from MomAdvice.com

Middle School Series Books to Get Your Child Excited About Reading

 

 

 

90's Movies

90’s Movies to Watch with Your Kids

 

 

 

Historical Fiction For Middles Graders

Historical Fiction Novels for Middle Grades

 

 

DIY Tween Self-Confidence Kit from MomAdvice.com

DIY Tween Confidence Kit

 

 

 

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids from MomAdvice.com

Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

18 Hilarious TV Shows to Watch with Your Husband

July 13th, 2020

Hilarious TV Shows to Watch from MomAdvice.com

 

Looking for your next hilarious comedy show binge watch for date night? Here are some of our favorite comedy tv series to watch with your spouse. We give you 18 hilarious tv shows to watch with your husband.

 

Hilarious TV Shows to Watch from MomAdvice.com

 

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

I don’t know how it works at your house, but here, it can sometimes feel impossible to find something good on tv to watch with my husband.

Occasionally, he’ll indulge me and watch something I like that he does not (this would include every Hallmark movie he’s ever watched), and sometimes I do the same for him (hello, American Pickers and Pawn Stars).

But we really do enjoy having something we can call, “our show,” something we enjoy together–so I am constantly on the lookout for TV series that I think might fit the bill.

Now, in addition to having very different tastes in what we find entertaining, we also tend to avoid shows with too much violence, sex, or other mature content.

For the most part, we stick to shows rated PG-13 or TV-14. (The exception is a show rated higher because of language.

That’s not something that particularly bothers us.

Obviously every couple has their own parameters and choices!) It’s a boundary we agree on and value, but it does make finding our next show even harder!

If you’re in a similar situation, you’re not alone.

And it’s not actually impossible! I’m here to share some of the shows my husband and I have most loved watching together.

So grab your remote, your snacks, and a blanket big enough to share, and get ready for your next couple binge!

Today I’m giving you recommendations for comedies because, let’s be honest, we all need a little lightness these days.

Not to mention, laughing with my husband strengthens our connection more than just about anything else. So, here goes!

18 Comedies Perfect to Watch with Your Husband

 

Hilarious TV Shows to Watch from MomAdvice.com

 

Comedies about friends

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Community

A motley crew of adults end up in a community college study group.

If you love pop culture references and a heavy dose of sarcasm with your comedy, this often outrageous show is for you.

Watch this show on Netflix.

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

 

Happy Endings

A close-knit group of friends has to deal with one of the friends leaving her fiance (and another member of that group) at the altar.

Awkward!

The jokes in this one come fast and while the characters are sometimes kind of (okay, a lot) mean, they also love each other and you can tell.

Watch on Hulu.

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

 

New Girl

What started as a sitcom about a quirky single gal moving in with three guys quickly became an ensemble about a friends figuring out how to do life.

I love this show so much that I’ve watched the entire thing twice and am halfway through season two with my husband. In case you’re wondering, he loves it too.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

The Unicorn

This was a new show last fall, and I did not expect to like it.

But I did!

And so did my husband.

It’s about a widowed dad and the two couples he and his late wife have been close friends with for years.

It’s sweet but also sharply funny, and even better?

It is about real, grown-up people (which I can’t really say about the other friend-centric shows on this list).

Watch on CBS.com.

 

Comedies about the afterlife (strangely, we have two options) 

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

The Good Place

This show. It is so good!

After watching the first season, I made my husband watch it and from then on, we watched together.

Starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, this show is about what happens after we die.

And it’s about specific people who find themselves in “the good place” at the same time.

And it’s smart and thoughtful and sharp and hilarious and so very twisty and surprising.

I can’t say any more.

Just watch it!

Watch on Netflix.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Upload

This is a fairly new show (only one season so far) also about the afterlife.

This one is more sci-fi-ish, but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny and moving in a way that surprised me.

Upload is rated TV-MA for language and brief nudity.

Watch on Amazon Prime.

 

Comedies about families

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Arrested Development

You thought your family is dysfunctional?

Wait ‘til you meet the Bluths.

This was another one I watched alone before deciding my husband would love it.

I forced him to watch, and he was glad.

A show about rich, messed up people dealing with the consequences of their insane behavior, this one is incredibly quirky and funny in that dry, sarcastic way that my husband and I both love.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Black-ish

This is a traditional family sitcom that happens to focus on a Black family and their unique experience.

The kids are goofy and mouthy, the in-laws are around to criticize and offer wisdom, and the parents are juggling a whole lot of important things like parenting, marriage, career, and culture.

Yep, just what you’d expect from a family sitcom–and so much more.

It’s sweet and funny, for sure, but for me (as a white person) I really love how this show gives me another perspective on our world, from politics and history to business and family life.

Watch on Hulu.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Bob’s Burgers

Like cartoons made for grown-ups?

A quirky family and dry humor?

May I offer you Bob’s Burgers?!

Sometimes I need a palate cleanser after watching something more serious, and for me (and my husband), that’s where the very funny Bob’s Burgers comes in.

Watch this animated series on Hulu.

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

 

Kim’s Convenience

This is currently my treadmill show, but I am planning to rewatch with my husband as soon as I finish it!

The Kims are a Korean-Canadian family who own and operate a neighborhood convenience store.

They have some issues, both individually and collectively, but they also love each other a lot.

I adore both the parents and the grown daughter and son, but the supporting characters are lot of fun, too.

Watch on Netflix.

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

 

One Day at a Time

No, not the old one! I’m talking about the reboot, truly inspired by the original but absolutely modern.

The show is about a Cuban-American family — single mom, son, daughter, and mother/grandmother played by the fabulous Rita Moreno — and it is so stinking good. It’s laugh-out-loud funny but don’t be fooled.

This show addresses so many real, hard issues in a sympathetic and authentic way that it’s impossible not to be moved.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Schitt’s Creek

It might seem a little tone deaf to our current times to recommend a show about a spoiled rich, white family who loses everything and finds themselves facing poverty.

Or, is it exactly right for these times? I don’t know. What I know is that Schitt’s Creek was my husband’s idea and though it took me a few episodes, I’m now the one suggesting we watch it!

Like so many of these shows, it’s deeply funny and moving all at the same time.

And Eugene Levy!

For what it’s worth, the show has given us the best collection of GIFs of anything in recent years.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

The Goldbergs

Speaking of recent years, that’s not what this show is about.

The Goldbergs takes a look at a middle-class, suburban family growing up in the 80s.

It’s sweet, funny, and all the nostalgia a gal (and her husband) could want.

Watch on Hulu.

 

Comedies in the workplace

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Better Off Ted

One of the first shows I rewatched by introducing it to my husband (and one of the shows I’ve watched, start to finish, most), this is a good one.

It’s a satirical look at a giant corporation, with the most sincere and loveable characters playing all the stereotypical roles you find in such a company.

Quirky, hilarious, and one of our favorites!

Watch on Hulu.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

In our current climate all TV shows about police are being reconsidered.

I think that’s a good thing, but I also hope that this one comes back whenever TV comes back.

It’s a goofy take on the police procedural, but it’s also a show with one of the diverse (and excellent) casts on TV right now.

Watch on Hulu.

 

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

Parks & Recreation

Ahhhh, my beloved Parks & Rec!

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope!

This truly is one of my top favorite shows of all time, and I was beyond thrilled when my husband loved it, too.

The characters are co-workers (at a small Indiana town’s parks and recreation department) who become friends and, by the end, family.

It has some of the cringe humor we know from The Office, but it also has exponentially more heart.

I love you.

You should watch it.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Superstore

If you’ve ever worked retail or have a Jim-and-Pam-sized hole in your TV-loving heart, Superstore is the comedy series for you.

Set in a quasi-Walmart in Missouri, it somehow makes you fall in love with the most ridiculous characters ever.

Watch on Hulu.

Comedies to Watch / MomAdvice.com

 

Veep

If you can’t stomach real world actual politics right now, this outrageous satire might be more your speed.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the vice president, and hijinks ensue.

As so the expletives, so be prepared for incredibly creative (but possibly offensive) language.

Watch on Hulu.

 

 

What TV show have you loved watching with your husband?

 

Hilarious TV Shows to Watch from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice newsletter!

 

 

 

Hilarious TV Shows to Watch from MomAdvice.com

 

Looking for more TV and movie recommendations? Try these ideas:

 

6 Rules for Watching TV with your Spouse

Rules for Watching TV with Your Husband

 

 

 

5 Reasons I Let My Kids Watch TV / MomAdvice

5 Reasons I Let my Kids Watch TV

 

 

 

17 Movies From the 90's You Must Share With Your Kids

90’s Movies to Share with your Kids

 

 

DIY Outdoor Movie Night / MomAdvice

DIY Outdoor Movie Night

 

 

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

11 Romantic Comedies for Date Night

 

 

How Podcasts Saved Our Marriage / MomAdvice

How Podcasts Saved Our Marriage

June 2020 Must-Reads

July 1st, 2020

Looking for your next great read? Today I’m sharing 8 incredible books I read in June. I have loads of beach reads, some incredible historical fiction, and an absolutely gorgeous memoir to share with you today. Be sure to bookmark this post for your next library day!

I am slowly trying to dip my toes back into blogging again.  

In case you missed it, last week I shared 33 things that were bringing me joy (many low or no cost) as we brave these pandemic days. 

One of those joyful things is, definitely, reading.

I have really appreciated escaping with good books this month, even if my attention span isn’t what I want it to be right now.

Can you relate? 

Before I share my stack, here are a few additional way to connect with books this summer.

Join Us for Our July MomAdvice Book Club Discussion

The Warehouse by Rob Hart snag this month’s incredible book club book

Did you know that I offer a free virtual book club? Be sure to join the MomAdvice Book Club and you will never be without a book again!

This month we will be discussing one of my new favorite science fiction novels. If you are a fan of Blake Crouch, this book is for you.

Read it before it comes to the big screen.

This is one of my favorite reads this year and I really don’t want you to miss this phenomenal book OR participating in our discussion.

You can check out the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here

Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews.

here is what is on sale today- don’t miss it!

Check Our Daily Book Deals List– HUGE DEAL DAY TODAY!!!

I try to post a daily book deal list for you to keep your Kindle fully stocked while we wait for all of our libraries to reopen.

Check this list daily here or you can sign up for my daily deal newsletter and I will send them right to your inbox!

July Kindle First 2020 Books pick your free book for june

Get a Free Book Just for Being a Prime Member

Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? 

Yup, I always try to remind you of this amazing little Prime perk!

Grab TWO FREE BOOKS FOR JULY over here.

June 2020 Book of the Month

Check out the July Book of the Month Club Selections:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper.

The Shadows by Alex North.

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein.

Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman.

 
Now let’s talk about this month’s stack!

June 2020 Must-Reads

Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in June!

As Bright As Heaven

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

Some people want to avoid thinking about the pandemic, but I am finding myself drawn to books that explore past pandemics right now. 

This historical fiction novel, set in 1918, shares a hauntingly beautiful story of one family’s fight for survival during the Spanish Flu. 

I think it is important to note that this novel came out PRIOR to COVID19 because one could really go into this book thinking that she was attempting to make important parallels. 

I found myself highlighting passage after passage because it sounded just like many of the same obstacles we are facing today.

Sometimes I think that many of these things wouldn’t be happening, if we didn’t live in such a polarized world so, in a weird way, it was comforting to read that they too struggled with the, “we are all in this together,” comradery that I wish we possessed.

Telling this story, through the point of view of a family that owns a funeral home, really illustrates how destructive the pandemic was and what type of emotional toll it would take on them. 

I could not put this book down because, in many ways, it was like reading what might come in America again and how we will ever get to a successful resolution.

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like As Bright as Heaven you might like these titles:

The Things We Cannot Say

We Were the Lucky Ones

Before We Were Yours

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones

The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This timely Young Adult read is one that I would HIGHLY recommend for your kids (and for yourself), as it explores the topic of racism in 1955.

Ethan is sent to a small town in Alabama, to spend his summer with his aunt and uncle. As a bi-racial kid, he lives in a bigger city where his differences are not as on display and some progress has been made. 

In their small town though, racism is open and runs freely in all of the townspeople. He struggles to adapt to new situations like separate bathrooms, separate water fountains, separate seating at the movies, and the way people treat him with complete disregard.

Luckily, he forms a fast friendship with another girl in town, the oh-so-quirky Juniper Jones. 

Juniper’s goal is to have the most invincible summer and she begs Ethan to join her as she crosses adventures off her to-do list. 

These two outcasts form a friendship that will shape the rest of Ethan’s life, in some really beautiful and surprising ways.

Get out your tissues.

I can’t recommend this sweet read enough. It would be a wonderful selection for a book club date, with your kids, this summer.

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones you might like these titles:

The Serpent King

Dreamland Burning

The Hate U Give

The Last Flight

 

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Looking for a satisfying thriller that doesn’t lean into the trope of the unreliable narrator? This satisfying thriller offers the narrative of two smart women who are both fighting for their own survival.

It’s the kind of thriller that you finish the final page and just say, “Damn, that was a good one.”

One of these women is in an abusive relationship with her well-known husband and there is no way to get out. After securing documentation for a fresh identity, she’s decided that leaving is her only choice.

The problem? 

The flight she was supposed to take has been unexpectedly canceled and she is being rerouted elsewhere.  

Oh, and her husband found out about her plans.

At the airport though, she meets a women who also is looking to escape her troubles, after the unexpected death of her husband.

Enter a Freaky Friday switch of identities and watch each of them try to foster new paths. Of course, not all is as it seems and one just might find themselves in just as much danger.

This fast page-turner should be at the tip top of your list, especially if you are in a summer reading slump.

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Last Flight you might like these titles:

Pretty Things

Dear Wife

An Anonymous Girl

One to Watch

 

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Need a reality television fix? This novel just might be for you. 

Bea is a plus-sized influencer who ends up getting the surprising invitation to be on a dating show where she is the star. 

Bea, of course, doesn’t fit the show’s past narrative and the they decide to position a lot of “surprise” reveal elements in an effort to get the most reaction out of the contestants.

As readers, you get to watch her confidence begin to diminish, the vulnerability that is required as people dissect her every move, and learn the motivations for each of the contestants. 

This is one of those breezy beach bag reads that I found to be quite charming, even if there was some predictability to the plot. 

I don’t know about you, but predictability is something I’m REALLY craving right now so that works for me.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like One to Watch you might like these titles:

Followers

Dumplin’

Nine Women, One Dress

The Prettiest Star

 

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

I can tell you right now that this book will be on my best books of 2020 list because it BLEW ME AWAY. 

Brian has been living a full life, in New York, but his days are now numbered. Diagnosed with AIDS, he now has to return to his hometown, in Appalachia where he had to hide who he was.

Set in the ’80’s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, there is so much fear with this disease and Brian is finding very few are welcoming. 

Living his life out loud also has fractured and strained his family, but this is the only place he has to go. 

This haunting story is told in shifting viewpoints and each of them add their own element of process towards acceptance and understanding of Brian’s life.

From the opening sentence, I was moved by this thoughtful novel that addresses the cruelty of this era, the misunderstanding that comes with living in a small town, and the hope that one can change their viewpoints and come to welcome their family members again. 

I do think it also humanizes the struggles of these parents in a way that I thought was thoughtful and done with a lot of care. 

I did this one on audiobook and the narration was exquisite. If you can do it in this format, I highly recommend it.

Along with the shifting viewpoints, it is also narrated by different voices, which really added to the experience and made each character really stand out.

Make sure you put this one at the top of your stack. You won’t regret a single minute of it.

 10 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Prettiest Star you might like these titles:

The Great Believers

Life After Life

I’ll Give You the Sun

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Riley Sager novel is one of my favorite summer pastimes so I couldn’t wait to dig into this latest release. 

This one is VERY different than the usual Sager thriller and, personally, it felt more like the horror genre than a thriller. 

If you liked the Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House, then this book is for you!! 

It works off of a pretty similar premise. Maggie’s family owned an estate called Baneberry Hill that inspired her father to write a book detailing the horrors within the house.

When Maggie inherits the home, she isn’t worried because she was too young to remember the true stories and, frankly,  she’s not a big believer in ghosts. 

Too bad the ghosts don’t care what you believe in because her presence has secured her ride on another round of horrible hauntings and has reminded Maggie that maybe she *does* remember a few things.

This was as satisfying as any horror film although I did feel like the ending was a bit of a fizzle.

If you go into it knowing that though, I think you will really enjoy this one.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like Home Before Dark you might like these titles:

The Sun Down Motel

The Family Upstairs

The Chain

There I Am

 

There I Am by Ruthie Lindsey

I cannot recall how I stumbled upon Ruthie’s Instagram account, but I was so thankful when I did. Ruthie was one of the first accounts that I found that talked about living with chronic pain in an authentic way. I have always felt like she has shared the beautiful up and down balance of this daily struggle in a relatable way. 

If you are unfamiliar with Ruthie’s story, she was in a horrible car accident at 17 (that should have killed her), recovered, began experiencing pain again, discovered that one of those wires (used to fuse her spine) had been piercing her brain stem, and struggled with residual chronic pain. 

She documents the isolation and depression that comes with chronic pain, as well as the struggles with being overly medicated, the strain on her marriage, and the loss of confidence. 

While the journey to acceptance and managing her pain is a difficult one, it is also the kind of journey that makes you feel hopeful. 

I listened to this one on my morning walks and realized that tears were streaming down my face through parts of this. 

I don’t think people can understand what a struggle it is and the emotional toll this takes on you (and your partner) so I felt “seen” when hearing her hope-filled journey. 

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like There I Am you might like these titles:

Sick

Open Book

 

The Lies That Bind

The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Emily Giffin’s books have become my go-to, over the years, for a great escape, and her latest novel was such a treat. 

Cecily & Grant meet at a local pub and immediately hit it off.  As Cecily is just rebounding from a prior relationship, she dismisses her instincts to not fall head over heels for this new relationship. Grant is charming, seems to have life figured out, and is easy to love.

Although Cecily feels like she knows Grant, she realizes just how little she knows about him after 9/11 happens and Grant goes missing.

As she tries to piece together the clues from their relationship, she starts to recognize that the Grant she knew might not be the real Grant after all.

Emily’s love stories are real and relatable and that is why they are so dang enjoyable. This one is just as enjoyable as her prior books and I couldn’t put it down.

If you are looking for a good mystery, with a romance weaved in, you will definitely want in your summer stack.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Lies That Bind you might like these titles:

The Light We Lost

Ghosted

What You Wish For

Read With Me This Year

January 2020 Must-Reads

February 2020 Must-Reads

March- SKIPPED (pandemic brain)

April 2020 Must-Reads

May 2020 Must-Reads

Sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter

Join Our FREE Book Club

Visit ALL my Book Reviews

enjoy these reviews? here are a few other reads you’ll enjoy this year!

The Best Books of 2019 from MomAdvice.com the best books of 2019

53 historical fiction novels to escape with 53 historical fiction novels to escape with

19 thrillers to keep you up all night 19 thrillers to keep you up all night

Happy Reading!

 

33 Joyful Activities That Are Getting Me Through Hard Days

June 26th, 2020

Hands free reading

If there is one thing that I am NOT good at, it is being fake about my online life.

This has been a truly awful year, in more ways than I can count.

Just like you, I’m worried what this year holds, frustrated with the lack of empathy right now, and just can’t seem to focus on anything except the hard. 

I am also very aware that we are all bringing our own emotional and physical luggage into this pandemic and my scenario may look way more ideal than what you have been dealt. 

That’s why empathy is so damn important. 

I miss the days of, “we’re all in this together,” moments that we had in the beginning COVID days.

Pile on the heartbreaking and senseless death of George Floyd and I just don’t know how to do the internet anymore. 

I decided to take a couple of weeks and do some internal work.

I’ll be honest, even though I thought I was doing a great job with inclusion and showing up for others, I have learned that I have so many behaviors that I need to unlearn.

I’m also acknowledging that my history classes sure didn’t share a heck of a lot of this stuff. 

Doing anti-racist work and acknowledging my own bias is an ongoing project, but I think the biggest blessing that I’m taking out of this is that there is SO much room for expansion in my heart.

After all, when we see things we can’t unsee them. 

We must do our part right now, especially if our eyes weren’t open to the injustice before. 

And, when we know better we do better. 

Sprinkled within this miserable life cake though have been several difficult health diagnoses among our friends, the loss of employment for those in our circle, and my own mounting anxiety with an immune compromised family.

It’s just A LOT. 

I’m realizing it’s okay to not be okay.

This week I decided to start a gratitude list because, in all this hard,  there have been good things that have happened during this time of sheltering in place.

Our family feels closer than ever before.

Our kids have adapted in ways that I find quite admirable.

We have had important family talks because we are together so much. 

Although there is nothing life-changing in today’s gratitude list, I think any glimmer of joy is worth celebrating right now. 

If you have time, leave a comment and share something you are finding joy in right now. 

Big or small, joy is so needed right now. 

 

33 Joyful Activities That Are Getting Me Through Hard Days

cozy minmalist bouquet

One: Yard Bouquets

Inspired by Cozy Minimalist Home, I have been picking greenery in our yard to make bouquets for our home. What I didn’t expect was the same sense of satisfaction a real bouquet brings me.

Two: A Quiet Alarm Clock

I bought an affordable little step counter and use it now as an alarm. The gentle buzz on my arm is a lot less intrusive than a loud alarm and it’s been nice not waking everyone up when I sneak down for a quiet cup of coffee. 

It’s also been a handy reminder to move every hour (move? what’s that?) and to figure out what day it is.

Honestly, I’d have no clue otherwise.

Three: New York Times Cooking App

We haven’t subscribed to a newspaper in years, but the pandemic felt like a great justification to keep informed. When I activated our account, I added on the NYT Cooking app and it has been worth every dollar. I’m trying to do a recipe each week and it’s been a way to make all this cooking a tiny more fun.

iced coffee pitcher

Four: Unlimited Iced Coffee Refills

My new evening routine is making a batch of iced coffee for the next day. Although I used to make it without a pitcher, I am embracing this cold brew pitcher (a holiday gift) since it makes the process almost effortless. The inner filter holds all the grounds for you and screws into the cap. You just fill it up with cold water, screw in the filter, and give it a good shake. 

Five: Lunchtime Walks

Our life has gotten unbelievably boring. 

I mean, is the most exciting thing you do a prescription run? 

I’ve picked up a new lunchtime habit of taking a loop through our neighborhood with my husband.

Normally, he is at his workplace and while that’s come with some necessary adaptations (more below), we are embracing the challenge and taking a daily walk together on our lunch hours. 

Six: Working on Consistent Habits

My days had started to blur together and I realized that one of the reasons was because I had no real “goals” for the day. 

I was on the hunt for something to start helping hold me accountable and stumbled on The Fabulous app. I tried it out for a week and decided to buy a year to help me through this season. 

You set a goal that you have in mind (mine is to increase my energy levels) and then it works on habit-building by creating challenges for you each week. Although you don’t need an app to do this, it has some really great information on why these habits are important and how to reinforce them.

Right now, I’m working on an energy building trilogy of daily exercise, starting my day with water, and eating breakfast. 

I haven’t been doing any of these things consistently so I’m loving the accountability factor. 

Oh, and guess what?

It really is improving my energy.

Paint By Numbers for Adults

Seven: Painting & Audiobooks

I’m not very artistic so I’ve been embracing doing paint-by-number kits to get my creativity on. Once I started my painting, I realized that this pairs perfectly with audiobooks. 

I got a kit for my girl too so we sit with our respective earbuds and paint together.

If you have a teen girl, this is a joy-giver all around right now.

Eight: My New Oven

In the earliest days of all this mess, my oven decided to quit. It, honestly, was the most inconvenient time since no one would bring it into our house or (at that point) was even open.

I am sure we made a memory that day with all the teamwork involved trying to get the old oven out and a new oven into our home.  

Now that the oven drama is behind us, I can say that having the option for convection has made my dishes taste so much better. 

Also, is there anything better than a shiny new appliance after sixteen years?

I can now see my goofy reflection again when I peek at what’s cooking.

Absorbent Hair Towels

Nine: Hair Towel Time

I have never been big on washing my hair, mostly because my hair is so thick and it takes forever to dry.

I’m not sure why I’ve never bought a hair towel before, but it has motivated me so much more to wash my hair. I also love that it keeps my head cozy while my hair is drying.

Despite not seeing a hairstylist since August (yikes), my hair feels so much healthier.

These little self-care rituals are luxurious little treats these days.

Ten: A Minimized Wardrobe

A minimal wardrobe isn’t a new thing, but this summer I only got out about a quarter of my summer wardrobe. 

This pared down wardrobe includes only things that make ME happy and are super comfortable.

No need to impress the neighbors on our loop through the ‘hood.

Pull-on shorts, simple sundresses, and breezy skirts (HIGHLY recommend these if you are doing the same) are on repeat over here.

If you need a few comfortable go-to pieces:

This sundress with adjustable straps is my absolute favorite

Swing dresses for the win.

Anything labeled pull-on shorts, from this company, have been a hit.

This shirt is so lightweight and wrinkle-free with sleeves that look perfect rolled up. I wear it to death.

I hope you have these. I love the scoop & v-neck options (depending on what I’m wearing).

 

 

Eleven: A Renewed Appreciation for Oatmeal

In an effort to minimize charges for grocery delivery, I started making steel cut slow cooker oatmeal for our breakfast instead of buying multiple boxes of cereal.

Frankly, I just couldn’t keep up, even with the wholesale club size boxes. 

We had a couple of people who weren’t as big of oatmeal fans that have converted since I started making these. 

If I’m not making this, I’m baking up trays of granola

I feel so much better when I eat this way and, thanks to the habit tracker, this has become a new priority.

Twelve: A Hand Sanitizer That Moisturizes

If you have to use hand sanitizer, multiple times a day, it’s nice when you find one that smells good and doesn’t dry out your hands.

Add, this bottle of hand sanitizer to the surprising list of things you never thought you’d be grateful for in 2020. 

It smells soooo good, it dries fast, and it isn’t sticky.

If you want to add another layer, I discovered this inexpensive hand cream and add a layer of that before bed.  

Thirteen: News Without the Noise

Three Instagram accounts have made digesting all this news a little easier this year and THAT is something to be grateful for right now.

I highly recommend following these three accounts to stay updated on everything.

Kinggutterbaby– Laurel is an infectious disease researcher that does an incredible job on her Instagram Stories (you can check her highlight bubbles on her profile page too) translating science into layman’s terms and also explaining if headline news is real or not.

Jessicayellin– Jessica is a former White House correspondent that does a really great daily briefing of the news you need to know. I appreciate her reporter instincts to report the news without any particular agenda except making sense of all these headlines. 

Pantsuitpolitics– Sarah & Beth do a phenomenal job with their briefing on the headlines too. They focus on grace-filled politics which is something I think we desperately need right now. I’m really thankful for the compassionate way they help you understand what’s happening in the world.

ALDI Curbside

Fourteen: ALDI Curbside Pickup

I am so darn thankful for Instacart and now I’m doubly thankful because I can pick up my groceries and save money on tips.

Our local store recently joined the curbside gang and now I can order my groceries and pick them up in their newly designated spots.

We tried it out this week and the entire transaction took less than five minutes. 

Everything was bagged, loaded, and had contactless fulfillment.

I guess our prescription runs just got a whole lot more exciting.

We saved about $35 in delivery and tip fees on a single order alone. 

I’m planning to use this moving forward, until the unmotivated winter months.

Fifteen: A Unicorn Haircut

What did we do before YouTube and Pinterest? 

I am so thankful that we were able to navigate this time with some inexpensive clippers because it has been many years since I cut hair at our house. 

Outdoor haircuts are the latest pandemic craze and I’ve been cutting everyone’s hair, including my own.

Have you ever used the unicorn haircut trick for your long hair? 

Well, I did. 

Although it is a pretty shady haircut, I’m thankful I am able to stay away from the germs for now and my ends feel so much better.

Oh, the things I have learned in quarantine.

Panini Night

Sixteen: Dusting Off Those Small Appliances

So many dusty small appliances have been living in our basement and I’m thankful to be rotating them in our house again.

From my bread machine to the panini press, we have been using a lot of things in our home that have not seen any love in our house in a long time.

In fact, panini night is back at the Clark house.  (jazz hands!)

Our favorite combo is pesto, provolone, roasted chicken (try this easy method with frozen chicken), spinach, and tomato. 

Don’t have a panini press? Cover a brick with foil and smash those sandwiches in a skillet instead. 

Seventeen: Direct Care From My Physician

I didn’t know we would be in a pandemic when I switched to a direct care option for my medical stuff, but I am SO thankful I did.

It has been invaluable to have 24/7 access to a physician that knows my patient file inside and out.

Navigating all of this has been much easier because I know what is happening on a local level. 

If you can afford the monthly (or annual) rate, this is the year to pay for that access.

Eighteen: Podcast Nights Together

What could be better than a glass of wine and a really intriguing podcast that allows you to escape the current day issues for a little awhile.

Our happy hour is now paired with the Rabbit Hole podcast.

Once we started it, we couldn’t stop.

Imagine exploring someone’s YouTube journey, from start to finish, and witnessing how the algorithms affect their moral compass.

We thought we knew where this was headed, but we had no idea.

Nineteen: My New Workspace

We have a double desk in our office, but rarely worked side by side. With both of us working from home, we were getting pretty annoyed with each other.

Give me soft lights, bubbling essential oils, music, and YouTube breaks.

Give him bright lights, absolutely no talking or sound ever, and Zooming all day.

Not ideal.

This foldable desk and this foldable chair ended up being the perfect solution for a temporary workstation.

Of course, once I realized how glorious it is to have the windows open and sunshine on my face, this may be the permanent solution.

I’m looking forward to picking out some fun wallpaper to dress up the top of this desk.

Twenty: Watching The Office (For The First Time)

I am sure we are the only people on the planet that haven’t seen, “The Office,” but I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I waited. 

We have been belly-laughing through every single episode and I, FINALLY, can appreciate why this show is such a cult-classic.

Twenty-One: My Hair Coloring Smock

According to Madison Reed, I have been a hair color subscriber since 2018 and I am still appreciating the convenience of hair color delivery. 

The brush and bowl set has made application easier, but the hair coloring smock is being used so much more than I would have imagined. 

Now I get dressed and put this on over my clothes to protect them while doing my makeup and hair routines. 

Twenty-Two: Mastering a Favorite Takeout Dish

I’ve been more motivated to figure out some of our favorite takeout dishes, mostly because the delivery fees can really add up and the amount of packaging can be a little sickening.

The recipe of the summer, for sure, has been this sheet pan chicken shawarma

With all of these struggles in the meat plants though, I’m looking forward to working on some more plant-based dinner ideas to help do our part.

For now, gratitude for mastering a takeout favorite.

Twenty-Three: Socially Distancing With Neighbors

What’s the point of having a fire pit if you never use it? 

We had our first neighbor night (socially distanced) around the fire and it made me feel almost…well…normal. 

We ordered Papa John’s pizza (one for each of us), sipped wine, and gabbed forever in our backyard. 

If there ever is a time you are thankful for a huge backyard and sitting area, it is right now!

Also, it’s great that when they need to use the bathroom, they can just go to their house.

Hahaha! 

Twenty-Four: New Family Systems

A very first world problem is to miss the amazing crew that helped you maintain your home, but we are trying to not introduce any germs into our home, as much as possible.

These chore charts have really worked out well and I am proud that we are working together as a team through this.

My husband also suggested a dry erase board for our refrigerator, to help us use up the leftovers and to jot down any items that a family member uses up.

When you have a deep refrigerator, it is easy to have a lot of food waste, so this board is really helping us be more accountable to our food.

Twenty-Five:  Shower Pumps Changing My Life

I’m in charge of deep-cleaning the bathrooms weekly, and moving all of these bottles around (many of them emptied and sitting on ledges) was driving me bonkers. 

Are you ready for the thing that changed all that?

Wall pump dispensers in our bathrooms have removed ALL the ledge clutter. 

I reinforced these with some waterproof command strips (because kids), but it is one of my favorite purchases we have made. 

Not moving around all this clutter (or looking at it when I take my bath) is bringing me a ton of joy.

Twenty-Six:  Streaming Podcasts Through Spotify

I’m embarrassed to say that, despite paying for a premium membership, I have never used Spotify to stream my podcasts

I love how seamless this platform moves from episode to episode, unlike the apps I was using before. I find it way easier to navigate and follow my favorite podcasts.

Even better?

They are testing out ads that will help remember those promo codes for you, should you get sucked into an ad or two. 

P.S.- Need a playlist or 55 for these months ahead? You can follow me over here.

Twenty-Seven:  The New Family Lake House

Is there anything better than having someone in your family buy a lakehouse that you get to hang out at?

I think not.

We are so thrilled for my husband’s parents as they built a little slice of heaven as their next forever home. 

The view is so peaceful and it has the biggest porch for us to park on and watch the kids swim.

We can’t wait until this is all over, for fun sleepovers with grandma & grandpa, and catching that sunrise view. 

For now, the porch is the vacation destination we all need right now.

Twenty-Eight: Celebrating 20 Married Years With My Husband

I am not going to talk about any first world losses, but this pandemic wasn’t the 20th wedding anniversary trip that I was expecting.

 Katie Whitcomb is my dear friend and a phenomenal wedding photographer. 

To celebrate, we did a social-distancing photo session and got anniversary pictures.

We never had engagement photos or have had photos done without our kids, so what better time than 20 married years to get these?

These images are, honestly, something we will treasure forever and I’m planning to make an album.

If you are local, please hire her, and give yourself this gift. 

Oh, and every single thing I’m wearing (including those heels) was bought on consignment from thredUP.

I’m so proud of my new-to-me wardrobe.

Immune Compromised Button Pin

Twenty-Nine: Etsy Seller Protection

If anyone has showed up this year, it is CRAFTERS. 

After a horrible first outing (since March), I realized how weirdly confrontational people were being about social distancing and wearing a mask. 

I thought maybe a SIGN might help with that SIX FEET stuff. 

I wanted to figure out a way to get people to exercise that social distancing stuff so I ordered this inexpensive button.

 

My Spouse Has a Compromised Immune System Button

I also ordered a button for my husband because it’s, honestly, causing him more anxiety than me since he’s doing all the necessary errands for our family.

Speaking of Etsy sellers, I ordered these masks, as soon as this all started, and they are PERFECT.

They are pleated (for a wider expansion), have a metal nose piece to help it stay on better, and have a filter pocket for extra protection.

In all this fun, I also discovered that a coffee filter is perfect for this pockets and blue Dawn, smeared on your glasses (don’t rinse) help with the summer steam up. 

This paper clip trick has helped EVERYONE in our family. Pull it in tighter for a snugger fit and it makes taking a mask on and off a heck of a lot easier.

Yes, it seems weird that these things bring me joy right now.

I *DO* love supporting crafters though and I’m thankful for these well-made & well-thought products.

Thirty: “Free” Disney Plus 

Our cell phones are with Verizon so we were thrilled to discover that, if you have the unlimited plan, Disney Plus is free for the first year. 

Say what?

That freebie couldn’t have come at a better time.

My husband has been in Star Wars heaven and it didn’t cost us a dime extra.

Also, who couldn’t use a little Disney magic?

Thirty-One: New Post Workout Routines

I shared my favorite ways to work out at home, in my April happy list, and I’m still loving every minute of it. 

Since I’m saving so much time on a gym commute, I have a little more time for my post gym routines. 

The best combo I have found is dry brushing my skin before I shower (it REALLY helps if you struggle with ingrown hairs- although some say it has numerous health benefits) and after showering, I add a little Peppermint CBD Balm to my lotion. This is body tingling magic and helps my muscles recover a little better. 

BTW- If you are low-income or a veteran, I adore this CBD company because they give out a 60% discount to these families, on anything in their store. 

Thirty-Two: Still Finding the Funny

Gosh, it is hard to find anything that funny right now, but if we don’t laugh than we cry. 

I curate ten laughs every Tuesday and, I won’t lie, it takes the entire week to gather.

Finding these is half the fun and the other half is giving the joy to others. 

Here is the hashtag to laugh all day and you can follow me on Instagram if you need a little cheer-up.

Thirty-Three: Getting Back to My Infant Feet

I do miss that summer pedicure treat, this year, but this weird foot mask is my new treat.

It’s just as satisfying and gross as you might expect.

What better time to shed your skin than while your home.

YOLO.

That’s it from me! I’d love to hear the unexpected joy in your life. I hope something on MY list can make YOUR list during this crazy time. Sending giant virtual hugs!

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This post contains affiliate links.

Love this post? You might enjoy these!

this happy list was the first one since the quarantine fun- tons of goodies made for you!

May 2020 Must-Reads looking for your next book stack. here’s what I’ve been reading this summer.

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Header here is how we are dividing the chores right now

still working through your pantry from the panic stock-up? here are 45 recipes to try!

33 Joyful Things Getting Me Through Hard Days

 

May 2020 Must-Reads

June 1st, 2020

May 2020 Must-Reads

Looking for your next great read? Today I’m sharing 8 incredible books I read in May. In this stack you will find romance, a dark thriller, historical fiction that will sweep you away in another world, and a haunting #metoo story that I can’t stop talking about. Be sure to bookmark this post for your next library day!

Somehow, in the face of one of the most difficult months, I have found the best place to escape is still tucked within the pages of a book.

As always, I look forward to sharing these books with you today and I hope it provides another way to keep your mind occupied as we all face these daily challenges. 

Sending loads of virtual hugs to you today from Indiana. 

Before I share my stack, here are a few additional way to connect with books this summer.

Join Us for Our June MomAdvice Book Club Discussion

Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie snag this month’s incredible book club book

Did you know that I offer a free virtual book club? Be sure to join the MomAdvice Book Club and you will never be without a book again!

This month we will be discussing this incredible #metoo memoir that you just won’t want to miss

This is one of my favorite reads this year and I really don’t want you to miss this phenomenal book OR participating in our discussion.

You can check out the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here

Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews.

https://bit.ly/kindlebooksteals

here is what is on sale today- don’t miss it!

Check Our Daily Book Deals List– HUGE DEAL DAY TODAY!!!

I try to post a daily book deal list for you to keep your Kindle fully stocked while we wait for our libraries to reopen.

This list is curated with only the best books and nothing will ever be over $4.99. 

Check this list daily here or you can sign up for my daily deal newsletter and I will send them right to your inbox!

June 2020 Kindle First Reads pick your free book for june

Get a Free Book Just for Being a Prime Member

Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? 

Yup, I always try to remind you of this amazing little Prime perk!

Grab your FREE books over here.

June 2020 Book of the Month

Check out the June Book of the Month Club Selections:

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

The Last Flight by Julie Clark

June Coupon Codes:
 
Get your first book for just $9.99 with code SUN5 at checkout.
 
Now let’s talk about this month’s stack!

June 2020 Must-Reads

Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in April!

Conjure Women

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This debut novel, from Afia Atakora, needs to be on the top of your stack this month. I really am not sure why more people aren’t talking about this stunning novel because it will be on my top ten this year, for sure.

With vivid storytelling, that is written so beautifully that it reads like a classic. It is a Southern historical fiction novel, spanning generations of women, before and after the war.

The story is of three women- May Belle (a midwife and healer in their community), Rue (who discovers she has some of her mother’s gifts for healing), and Varina (the master’s daughter). 

Being the town healers means that May Belle & Rue know many of the secrets, both of the slaves and their owners. Knowing this information has life-altering consequences, especially when it comes to their unforgiving master. 

Afia Atakora’s historical novel moves forward and backward in time in episodes labeled Slaverytime, Wartime, Freedomtime, or the Ravaging. While shifting timelines can feel confusing, in the beginning, you soon start to fall into the rhythm and crave each section in this phenomenal book. 

The writing is masterful, evocative, and beautifully researched. I just know you will fall in love with this one from the first page.

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like Conjure Women  you might like these titles:

Kindred

The Kitchen House

The Book of Harlan

 

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I love darker thrillers and Jennifer Hillier is one of the absolute best! If you haven’t read her work before, you are in for a treat! I was REALLY hoping her latest wouldn’t let me down and I’m thrilled to share that this one is just as solid as her previous novels.

Marin seems to be leading the perfect life- a fantastic husband, a beautiful son, and successful careers. 

Her life comes to a crashing halt though when she is out holiday shopping and her son, Sebastian, is taken.  In this one split second of her looking away, her son goes missing and her entire world is shattered.

One year later, Marin’s marriage is struggling, they still have been unable to find her son, and she is in a spiraling depression. 

As a last ditch attempt to find Sebastian, she hires a private investigator to reexamine the case. 

What she digs up though isn’t information about Sebastian, but surprising information about her husband that changes everything. 

This is one of those addictive little thrillers that are sure to pull you out of your reading slump. I could not turn the pages fast enough and would recommend this for your summer stack!

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like Little Secrets you might like these titles:

Watch Me Disappear

My Lovely Wife

Fierce Kingdom

I Was Told It Would Get Easier

I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman (hits store shelves on June 16th!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that parenting teenagers is hard, but it is not something I see addressed a lot in fictional motherhood stories. Perhaps that is why I felt so SEEN when reading this mother and daughter story. Waxman is one of those charming women’s fiction writers that writes her stories with such relatable humor that I always find myself laughing out loud.

In her latest novel, Jessica and Emily Burnstein have decided to embark on a college tour together. Jessica is looking forward to bonding with her daughter, but Emily is less focused on the bonding experience and more on getting a preview of freedom. 

As the college tour bus takes them from campus to campus, both begin to discover new details about each other. Emily’s surprised to discover that her single mom might be attractive to men (for example) and Jessica begins to discover that her daughter’s idea of the future might look a heck of a lot different than what she expected. 

Waxman rounds out the story with a bus full of well-written characters and fun side plots that make this a great little summer adventure story. 

This story is sure to hit the right notes for parents of teens, in particular. 

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like I Was Told It Would Get Easier you might like these titles:

Class Mom

Standard Deviation

Dear Fang With Love

Mosquitoland

The Knockout Queen

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

Rufi Thorpe is such a gifted storyteller and I was thrilled to see that her book was selected as one of the Book of the Month options, for May. I am such a sucker for a coming-of-age story and couldn’t wait to dig into this one. 

This book is dark and felt very different than Thorpe’s previous novels. I don’t think is going to be the kind of story for everyone, as it ventures into explorations of sexuality and has a very Mean Girls feel to it. 

Bunny & Michael are next door neighbors that lead very different lives. Michael lives with his aunt in a cramped cottage and struggles to make ends meet, while Bunny is leading a very princess-like existence next door. 

The pair make unlikely friends, but they both are facing struggles. While Michael is pretending to be straight, Bunny struggles with her body and height. More than anything, they both want to be loved and to fit in. 

When Michael falls in love, his sexuality secrets are leaked and he becomes the victim of brutal gossip at school. Bunny is by his side though and commits a shocking act, in his defense, that alters her life permanently.

This was so wildly different than I had expected and went into much darker terrain than I would have imagined. At its heart though, this is an unflinching portrait of adolescence that reminded me what a talented writer Thorpe is.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like The Knockout Queen you might like these titles:

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Indecent

I’ll Give You the Sun

My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This book comes with some major trigger warnings- pedophilia, rape, and repeated sexual abuse. I just want to make sure that I put that out there first. 

Russell’s novel is one that has had everyone talking this year and I, honestly, could not put this brutal read down. I polished this one off in a single day and will be thinking about this for years. 

This story alternates between the years of 2000 and 2017, examining Vanessa’s complicated abusive relationship with Jacob Strane.

At just fifteen, she is groomed by her forty-two-year-old English teacher and finds herself entangled in her first sexual relationship. Although she is confused by Jacob’s advances, she is flattered that he finds her to be both smart and pretty.

Seventeen years later, the #metoo allegations are flying and female students began coming forward and make allegations about their teacher. They accuse him of unwanted advances and that he is a sexual predator. 

Vanessa is blindsided because Jacob has always acted as though she is the only student that he has ever had a relationship 

Alternating between Vanessa’s past and present really showcases the complications of sexual abuse as Vanessa has to come to terms with the fact that her story wasn’t a love story and that she is also a sexual abuse survivor.

It is astounding to me that this is Russell’s first book because the emotions she layered in these characters was so beautifully and believably done. 

The scenes in this are devastating, horrifying, and unapologetically written.

Although Vanessa interprets their time together as a love story, it is not a love story.

It is important to know that this does not glamorize pedophilia, but showcases the confusion of an adolescent who has never experienced a truly loving relationship. 

This haunting novel will, definitely, be in my top ten this year. If you can handle the plot, I encourage you to read it.

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like My Dark Vanessa you might like these titles:

Rust & Stardust

A Little Life

All the Ugly & Wonderful Things

Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Looking for something a little lighter for your summer book stack? I have a feeling you find this YA rom-com absolutely adorable.

Pepper & Jack both have parents that own family restaurants. When the two end up getting in a Twitter war, over a grilled cheese recipe, the sparks don’t just fly online, but IRL too. 

If you are a fan of Wendy’s savage tweets, you will appreciate how perfectly Lord captures the meme generation.

The back-and-forth in their Twitter streams is perfection and builds into an adorably awkward love story for these teens.

More important than that though, it is the self-discoveries that they each make about how they see their roles playing out in these family restaurants that make it a, truly, satisfying read.

I listened to this one on audiobook and it was beautifully narrated. This is the perfect book to pop in your earbuds this summer and laugh along with in this meet-cute-tweet-cute story.

If you are looking for a clean rom-com for your teen, this would also be a great one for them.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like Tweet Cute you might like these titles:

The Hating Game

Emergency Contact

What If It’s Us

Red, White, & Royal Blue

Beach Read by Emily Henry

If you are looking for a great love story with lots of depth, I just know you will fall in love with this beautiful read. 

January and Augustus are both writers that end up living next door to each other.

While January works hard to pen a perfectly romantic happily ever after, Augustus writes well-researched stories intent on killing off his entire cast of characters.

When they both find out they are suffering from writer’s block, they decide to strike a deal that’s designed to get their creative juices flowing. 

Augustus will have to spend his summer writing something happy while January is writing something that might rival the next Great American Novel.

As each of them learns more about each other’s process, they discover how challenging each of their writing styles is and find mutual respect for their craft.

Oh, and they also find that love can develop OFF the pages too.

This love story is charming and the kind that you can easily hand off to anyone and know that they will appreciate it too. 

I had a silly grin on my face through this one and found it as satisfying as the love stories that I’ve come to appreciate from Katherine Center. 

5 out of 5 Stars

If you like Beach Read you might like these titles:

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Things You Save in a Fire

The Unhoneymooners

Glorious Boy by Amy Liu

Thank you to the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Looking for a historical fiction book to sink your teeth into? You will definitely want to add this incredibly well-researched novel to your stack.

This story takes place just prior to World War II, in the Andaman Islands (in the Bay of Bengal). Claire is an aspiring anthropologist and her husband, Shep, is a physician and they decide to head to the Andaman Islands for their work.

They arrive in archipelago in 1937, where Claire documents and studies the Andamans’ indigenous tribe and Shep practices as a surgeon.

Shortly upon arriving, Claire becomes pregnant and ends up giving birth to her son, Ty. Ty doesn’t meet the typical milestones and is unable to communicate with her. Luckily, he finds a special friend on the island who he finds a deep friendship with.

Unfortunately, the approach of Japanese forces means that they must evacuate the island and their world is dramatically changed. Tragic consequences begin to unfold and beg us to examine these ramifications of the separation of this family.

This story is absolutely fascinating and grapples with such big issues that will keep you flipping the pages until way past your bedtime.  

If you are looking for a pandemic escape into a different world, you will find it tucked in this phenomenally told story.

4 out of 5 Stars

If you like Glorious Boy you might like these titles:

Lucky Boy

Green Island

Shtum

 

Read With Me This Year

January 2020 Must-Reads

February 2020 Must-Reads

March- SKIPPED (pandemic brain)

April 2020 Must-Reads

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enjoy these reviews? here are a few other reads you’ll enjoy this year!

The Best Books of 2019 from MomAdvice.com the best books of 2019

53 historical fiction novels to escape with 53 historical fiction novels to escape with

19 thrillers to keep you up all night 19 thrillers to keep you up all night

Happy Reading!

May 2020 Must-Reads

Don’t Miss Today’s Book Steals

May 26th, 2020


If you are planning to load your Kindle up for summer, today’s the day to do it! 

Every day I post the best of the best deals and today’s was exceptional enough to mention it on the blog. 

Just a couple of notes on today’s list:

  1. Make sure to activate your ebook coupon before shopping.  Activate the $5 off of $20 coupons that are linked at the top of Tuesday’s list. Once you spend $20, you will receive a $5 credit that you can apply towards more books!
  2. Every month, Prime members are entitled to a FREE Kindle First read. The freebies available will expire at the end of the month so be sure to get your free book this week. Not sure how that works? I wrote a great guide on how to check out Kindle library books and more on understanding your free Prime offers.
  3. Join my free book club and be notified daily of any Kindle steals. I spend a couple hours, each morning, curating the best-of-the-best so you always have a great book on your Kindle. 

Head HERE to Shop Today’s List!

Happy Reading!

Amy’s Notebook 05.15.20

May 15th, 2020

one pot chocolate sheet cake source- head here for the recipe

This one bowl chocolate sheet cake looks like a great end-of-school-year celebration cake.

How to care for your mind right now. Loved the first tip a ton!

One little cooking trick for canned beans. I’m going to have to try that! 

Ina is queen, even in quarantine. I couldn’t agree more.

I finished this book, on this rainy morning, and it was perfection.

If you are unemployed, Headspace is offering a free one year subscription to help you.

We just ate this again last night and my husband declared this, “the most addictive,” thing I’ve made.

12 new Netflix shows to binge on this week

Not sure what stage you might be in, but these tips on how to avoid burnout in the middle of a pandemic are gold.

9 indie films to consume this weekend. That Booksellers movie caught my eye!

How cute is this reading nook?

I can’t wait to dig into this memoir this month.

These are some incredibly genius bathroom cleaning hacks. (yup, I’ve reached that level of quarantine)

Good news! My favorite quarantine pants are back in stock.

How to do eyebrow shaping and tinting at home

What it’s like living alone during quarantine.

As a planner, I felt this deeply.

How to teach children to stay six feet apart.

How wildly amazing is this craft project?

What pediatricians want parents to know about the COVID-related illness that’s making the news.

Have a great weekend!

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I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

May 13th, 2020

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup Header

This pressure cooker homemade chicken noodle soup recipe is the comfort food recipe you need right now. Learn how to make this made-from-scratch recipe starting with a budget-friendly whole chicken.

Over the past couple of years, I have been working on perfecting my chicken noodle soup recipe in my Instant Pot.

I realize that May might seem like an odd month to post a chicken noodle soup recipe, but I have to say that this is the comfort food dish you need during this chaotic time in history.

After a particularly difficult day, on social media, I decided that I needed to socially distance myself from Facebook to protect my mental health and limit my news consumption.

I was feeling a little blue about all of this and decided that a bowl of soup was just what I needed to practice some nourishing self-care.

If you are on the struggle bus too, I’d love to point you to this beautiful image that I found today that I have shared with my own family and friends.

It reminded me that certain things are in my control (like limiting my time on social media, setting good boundaries, implementing healthy routines) and certain things are out of my control right now (like other people’s social distancing, other people’s social media, other people’s motives, and how other people feel).

Isn’t that such a good reminder today?

One way we can practice self-care is by nourishing our body. 

Just in case you missed it, I have linked to the two images that my physician shared with me on how we can build our own immunity right now.

Some of it may seem pretty basic, but I think many of us are out of sorts and need a little nudge in the right direction.

It also, just so happens,  that this chicken noodle soup is the perfect remedy for treating yourself well today.

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

A Quick Note About Instant Pot Accessories I Recommend For Your Soups

I’m not big on telling you to buy stuff right now so if I share anything, I really stand behind it.

First, make sure that you have a good sealing ring on your Instant Pot.

Over time, the seal can become stretched out and take longer to come to pressure because it isn’t fitting as tightly.

This is the replacement set I bought and I love that you can assign a color to your sweet dishes and a color to your savory ones.

The other recommendation is for you to purchase a glass lid for your pot.

It is really hard to serve a soup supper without a lid that every family member can easily take on and off.

You will also love having this lid when you are doing anything with that sauté function or when you are back to entertaining again.

The last accessory is one that will save you time spent on dishes.

This plastic storage lid is essential for a big pot of soup or stew. 

Once you are done cooking, just pop this lid on and store it in your fridge.

I’m still campaigning for an additional insert, over here, so I can still use my pressure cooker when I’m storing dishes with this lid, but for now I just try to rotate our menu accordingly.

Let me show you how I make this homemade soup that’s made with incredible speed thanks to the pressure cooking process.

Once you try this great recipe, I have a feeling that it will be your new soup go-to when you are sick or feeling run down.

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Pressure Cooking Chicken For Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe starts with a whole chicken that I simmer in two cups of chicken stock.

You will seal your Instant Pot and cook the chicken on HIGH for 25 minutes.

While it cooks, chop three medium-sized carrots (or the equivalent in baby carrots) and three stalks of celery. I also chop parsley (the flat-leaf Italian parsley is my favorite) and set that aside while your chicken cooks.

If you are gluten-free, you can prepare your favorite gluten-free noodles (this noodle company is my favorite for a great soup noodle that has the right taste and consistency) on the stove top.

For everyone else, prepare your favorite egg noodles on the stovetop.

Want to switch up your soup game? Try ramen or rice noodles instead! 

I always store my noodles separate from my broth because it helps the noodles not get mushy or take the integrity away from that delicious broth.

Cooked Chicken for Pressure Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Once the chicken is done cooking, no need to wait for a natural release, just CAREFULLY release the steam after it beeps.

Remove the chicken and set aside.

Skim the fat, if you would like, and remove any bones or skins that might have fallen off your bird.

Cooking Vegetables on High Pressure For Chicken Noodle Soup

To the hot broth, add your chopped celery and carrots.

Put the lid back on (make sure that your pressure cooker seal is back in place if it has come off) and then cook these veggies on HIGH pressure for 2 minutes.

Diced Chicken for Pressure cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

While these cook, dice up your chicken (or do shredded chicken if that’s how you prefer it!).

If you like only white meat in your chicken noodle soup, you can set those chicken thighs and wings aside for another meal (I usually make chicken salad sandwiches or fancy paninis with pesto & provolone out of them).

Once the pressure cooker beeps, quickly release the pressure again.

Switch to the low sauté setting to keep your soup broth warm.

At this point, I add the rest of the box of chicken stock (you should have two cups left) and then two more additional boxes.

Squeeze in a lemon and add your chopped parsley. 

Season and taste, season and taste, season and taste.

Now that the noodles are cooked, you can add the noodles to each individual bowl.

Pour your warmed delicious chicken noodle soup base over the top and sprinkle with a little more fresh parsley.

While that seems like a lot of steps, this is quick and easy. I’ve made this so many times that, I swear, I could make this in my sleep.

Over time, I am sure you will adapt this to your own personal tastes and preference. 

Your bowl, definitely, doesn’t need to be identical to mine.

I can usually have a huge pot of soup that we can enjoy all week, ready in less than an hour of preparation and cook time.

gluten-free chicken noodle soup don’t have a slow cooker? try this recipe with a rotisserie chicken instead!

Don’t have an Instant Pot?

No worries!

You can try this quick stovetop chicken noodle soup made with vegetables cooked in olive oil (to add a deeper flavor) and a grocery store rotisserie chicken.

It has been such a joy to hear from so many of you that you are making my recipes in your kitchens right now. In some weird way, it makes me feel so much closer to each of you to know that you think of my site when caring for your family.

For now, consider this recipe the virtual hug that I am giving each of you today. I can’t wait to hear what you think of this week’s recipe!

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
All the slow cooked flavor, made in under an hour with your pressure cooker. This Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup is the recipe needed for anything that ails you. This can be made gluten-free with gluten-free noodles.
Ingredients
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pound organic chicken
  • 3 (32-ounce) box low-sodium chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (from one lemon)
  • 8 ounces extra-wide dried egg noodles (should be half a package)
Instructions
  1. Place your chicken inside your pressure cooker. Generously season with salt and pepper. Add two cups of chicken stock for the chicken to cook in.
  2. Lock on the lid and make sure your pressure cooker valve is set to seal. Cook on HIGH pressure for 25 minutes.
  3. While the chicken cooks, dice your carrots and celery in ½” thick rounds and chop your parsley. Set aside.
  4. On your stovetop, prepare your noodles. Do not overcook (undercooked is better so they don’t get mushy). After they have cooked, drain and set aside.
  5. When the cook time is up, quick release (QR) the valve.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside.
  7. Carefully, add the celery and carrots to your pressure cooker. Make sure your pressure valve is back in place. Lock on the lid again and cook on HIGH pressure for 2 minutes.
  8. While the vegetables cook, dice or shred your chicken.
  9. When the cook time is up, again, quick release (QR) the valve. Add the rest of the box of chicken stock (you should have two cups left) and then two additional boxes of chicken stock. Squeeze a lemon into the broth and add fresh chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Switch to medium or low saute and warm up the finished broth.
  10. To each bowl, add noodles, chicken soup, and fresh parsley.
  11. Follow my advice in the post for storage. Leftover soup, without the noodles, can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for several months.

 

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Looking for more great pressure cooker recipes? Here are a few other MomAdvice favorites!

The Best Instant Pot Risotto Step-by-Step from MomAdvice.com this instant pot risotto recipe is a momadvice reader favorite. it is as easy as making a box of mac & cheese and requires very little stirring.

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs Recipe from MomAdvice.com these 3-ingredient instant pot ribs happen to be my most pinned recipe. once you try this method, you’ll never make them any other way again.

Best Instant Pot Wings from MomAdvice.com missing your favorite restaurant wings? these instant pot chicken wings are the affordable recipe you need for BBQ at home.

Pressure Cooker Italian Beef Roast from MomAdvice.com my favorite sunday roast can be prepared in the pressure cooker. this saucy roast, that can be piled on top of mashed potatoes or pasta.

vegetarian? try this instant pot indian vegetable rice for a big bowl of veggie comfort food.

this pulled pork is my instant pot summer go-to recipe. shredded on top of sweet potatoes is an unexpected gluten-free twist.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Meal Prep From MomAdvice.com prep shredded chicken for your entire week with this easy beginner recipe.

Happy pressure cooking, friends!

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal

May 11th, 2020

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal Header

 

Put boneless skinless chicken thighs to work with this oven roasted shawarma recipe. Marinated baked chicken is the perfect pairing with pita bread and fresh veggies for an easy weeknight meal your whole family will love.

As we have settled into our quarantine lifestyle, I’ve been trying to make time and space for trying some new recipes in our house. The recipes that I’ve been picking have become some of my favorite restaurant classics, but replicated in my little home kitchen. Not only does it save a ton of money, it also can be doubled or tripled for a week of lunches.

I have never attempted a chicken shawarma recipe before, but had a craving for this delicious Middle Eastern dish.

What better opportunity to try this recipe out while we are practicing a little social distancing.

whisking the chicken shawarma marinade Marinating Chicken Shawarma

This is such an easy dish to prepare because it requires simply marinating it in garlic, lemon juice, and spices. Then go about your typical work day and tuck this  in the refrigerator until the dinner hour.

Once you are reading to eat, line a baking sheet with foil and cook the chicken until it is cooked through.

Finish by thinly slicing the chicken pieces and placing them on a large platter.

Chicken Shawarma can be stuffed into a pita or served alongside fresh veggies and hummus, if you are trying to keep your carbs down.

If you haven’t had chicken shawarma before, you are in for a treat. 

Here are a few commonly asked questions about this classic chicken dish.

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal Finished

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal

What is Chicken Shawarma?

Chicken Shawarma is a garlicky poultry dish that is served on pitas.

Typically, the chicken is marinated in warming spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, etc..) and then cooked on a rotisserie.

To adapt this recipe for the home cook, we are preparing it on a sheet pan instead.

While the spice combination remains the same, the ease of preparation is infinitely easier since everything can bake in the oven while you chop up your veggie sides.

If you are gluten-free or on a low-carb diet though, you can serve your shawarma on a bed of greens instead.

Another dipping option, that we rely upon, is purchasing mini naan instead.

This size seems perfect for getting just enough fun carbs for our family while keeping to our lower carb lifestyle.

Prepping Chicken Shawarma on a Sheet Pan

Why Does This Dish Use Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts?

Chicken breasts are leaner, but they dry out quickly, especially if you plan to reheat this dish.

I do recommend using the boneless skinless chicken thighs instead because they hold up so much better to the marinade and the baking.

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal Baked

Can I Add a Sauce to My Chicken Shawarma?

While I feel like this dish stands up on its own, you can definitely add a delicious tahini sauce to drizzle on your shawarma.

In a small bowl, mix together a ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, ½ a teaspoon of salt, and a minced garlic clove.

You can drizzle this yogurt sauce in your pita or on top of your salad as a light dressing.

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal Finished

What Side Dishes Are Good With My Chicken Shawarma?

If you haven’t made your own hummus before, you have to try this easy food processor hummus. I love to serve this with fresh red peppers, cucumbers, and mini naan for a side.

Other great options?

How about this Greek Quinoa Salad or try making these easy bread machine pitas for a fun little quarantine project with the kids.

How Can I Make Vegetarian Shawarma?

If you are looking for a plant-based shawarma, I recommend giving this sheet pan veggie shawarma a spin in your kitchen. It has all the flavors of the chicken shawarma without the meat.

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Put boneless skinless chicken thighs to work with this oven roasted shawarma recipe. Marinated and baked chicken is the perfect pairing with pita bread and fresh veggies for a restaurant-worthy night at home.
Ingredients
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, prepare your marinade for your chicken. Whisk together the juice from the lemons, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, onion powder, turmeric, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken and marinate for at least one hour or up to twelve hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Spray the foil well with cooking spray.
  3. Remove the chicken thighs and place on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is crisp at the edges and cooked through.
  4. Allow the chicken to rest for ten minutes and then slice into bite sized pieces.
  5. Scatter parsley over the top and serve with fresh veggies, pitas or naan, and white sauce.

 

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Looking for more great sheet pan meals? Here are a few other MomAdvice favorites! 10 Minute Fish Tacos Recipe header these ten minute fish tacos couldn’t be easier for a weeknight meal


 these sheet pan ranch chops and veggies are always a hit and get their flavor from a ranch dressing packet.

this balsamic pork loin sheet pan meal is elegant enough to entertain with. stuff leftover pork in slider rolls and top with pesto for a second night of great meals.

this lemon paprika chicken with vegetables is another easy sheet pan dish made with a lemon marinade. it’s a great one to package up for easy work lunches too.

want something fast and healthy for a weeknight meal? I make this 5-ingredient salmon sheet pan meal every week for my family.

Happy cooking, friends!

Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan Meal