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Book Review: The Oysterville Sewing Circle

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The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs– At the break of dawn, Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific.

She’s come home.

Home to a place she thought she’d left forever, home of her heart and memories, but not her future. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline’s car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment—five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian—a role she’s not sure she’s ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there’s Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who’s also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more . . . until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline’s best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle—where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She’s going to stand and fight for everything—and everyone—she loves.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: August 13, 2019

Acquired: Pubic library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It was a slow build but evenly paced and it hit on a lot of different issues without seeming over the top dramatic. I loved the small town feel of the setting and I could just picture the white picket fences and front porches while I was reading. This is not a light or fluffy read and it’s not chick lit. There are some really heavy issues within the story and they’re handled very well without going too far in either direction- glossing over them or making them so heavy that the story gets lost. I identified with the main character, Caroline, and everything she was going through. I loved that she had a spine of steel and was determined to do the right thing. The relationship between her and Will was hard for me to feel good about for most of the story because he was married. I struggled with that even though I could see where the story was heading. All in all it was a really good story and I hope there’s a follow up book in the works!



Favorite Costco Products

This month I want to share some of our favorite products from the stores we routinely shop at on a monthly basis. This week I’m sharing favorites from Costco. Most of these items are our lunch box staples. 

1. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars- the kids love these! They’re big fans of cookies but I’m a big fan of healthy options. This is our compromise. The variety pack includes 3 flavors and they’re all delicious.

2. Pop Corners- another compromise product! I buy these instead of chips and after some initial griping and whining, the kids have decided they love them! I’ve tried them and they really are very good!

3. Nature Valley Almond Butter Biscuits- these are perfect for the lunch box, breakfast on the go, or a quick snack before sports. The kids love both the Almond Butter and the Coconut Butter flavor but were not big fans of the Peanut Butter ones. 

4. Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bars- these are what I buy instead of fruit roll ups. It took a few tries before the kids got on board but now they love them! And I love not buying those gross fruit roll ups anymore.

5. Kind Bar Minis- these are staple in our house. All the kids love them and eat them as snacks and breakfast when time is short. Both of these flavors are delicious!

6. Power Up Trail Mix- these individually portioned packs are perfect for days when the kids are going to be really busy. They’re delicious and packed with protein!

7. Stonefire Naan Dippers- these are another staple in our house. The kids eat these with chicken, tuna, or egg salad, with hummus, and with pimento cheese! I buy the big package and then split them into snack size ziplock bags.

8. Palmetto Cheese Pimento cheese singles- I randomly picked this up one time because I made the mistake of shopping hungry. And to my shock- the kids loved them! They eat this on Naan bread, on Melba toast, or they dip with breadsticks, crackers, or celery.

9. Kirkland Organic Hummus- I really only have 1 kid who loves hummus but she’ll happily eat it 3 days a week! This brand of original flavor hummus is her favorite and I also buy other varieties from another store. She eats this on Naan bread, Melba Toasts, dips carrots and celery, and spreads it on crackers. 

10. Bakery Croissants- I adore these. I’ve never found croissants that are this delicious. They’re moist and fluffy and so very yummy. The kids eat them with chicken, egg, or tuna salad or spread jam in them. They’re even delicious stuffed with cheese and bacon!

11. Kirkland Breadcrumb Crust Cheese Pizzas- I don’t buy frozen pizzas much but these are really good. I keep them in the freezer and the kids take pizza once a week or so. I make one and split the slices between the 3 kids for lunch. The trick to them is to bake them as directed and then broil them at the end to crisp and brown the cheese!

12. Mini Chicken Egg Rolls- My kids are fans of Asian food and these mini eggrolls are so good! They’re easy to make and send in a thermos for lunches. I toss them in the air fryer to crisp them and the kids say they are amazing. 

Those are some of my main staples from Costco. I have more but these are the ones that are on my list every single month.



New Releases This Week {11.12.19}

These are the new releases for the week of November 12 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich– Grandma Mazur is a widow…again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen…well, the waiting’s over. It’s a sad day, but if she can’t have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy’s former “business partners” are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself. As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.

Trying to Score by Kendall Ryan– Teddy King excels at many things. Playing hockey. Check. Scoring on and off the ice. Check. Being stupidly attractive … Double check. I knew him way back when. Before he was the guy everyone wanted a piece of, he was just a rebellious college co-ed and one of my more energetic study partners. But secrets have a way of getting out, and a steamy encounter from our college days (that we probably shouldn’t have filmed) is about to cause a major scandal. Unless we can work together to stop it. Teddy’s no stranger to hard work … but the thing he wants most? Is me.

Lake Season by Denise Hunter– When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic home back into an inn. Adam Bradford (a.k.a. bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive author with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to a North Carolina lake town, the setting of his next novel. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego. When Molly finds an old letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But the guest she invites along has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

His Royal Highness by R.S. Grey– I’ve spent eight years wishing I’d fall out of love with Derek Knightley. Blowing out birthday candles, chasing after shooting stars, making it rain spare change into mall fountains—every time it’s the same wish: forget about Derek. But the day he walks back into my life, I realize there are two things time has yet to soften: my feelings for him and his chiseled jawline. It’s infuriating that my heart still races when he walks into a room. I refuse to fall prey to old unrequited love, so I decide the less I’m around him, the better. Avoidance is key. Unfortunately, Derek isn’t going to make it easy. As a teenager, I would have crawled on my hands and knees to attract his attention. Now I can’t seem to escape it. I’m not sure why he’s bothering. He’s not just out of my league—he’s out of my tax bracket. As the sole heir to the Knightley Company, he’s as close to American royalty as you can get. As for me, I’m just a part-time princess at Knightley’s flagship magical theme park. I spend my days playing make-believe, but Derek has no use for fairytales. His unwavering confidence makes it clear he thinks I’ll surrender in the end. He’s just biding his time. Making me sweat.

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher– Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him. Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings. Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.



Meal Prep Monday {11.11.19}

 Each Monday I share a weekly menu plan and what I’m prepping for the week. I plan 4 dinners a week, we have 2 leftover/Fridge clean out nights, and we make Take ‘n Bake pizzas on Saturday nights. My kids take lunch to school 5 days a week. You can read more about my meal planning and prep HERE. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who needs some dinner or lunch inspiration and don’t forget to pin on Pinterest for later! 

Dinner #1:

Crockpot Lasagna Soup, French Bread

Dinner #2:

Crockpot Cajun Chicken Fettuccine, Cheddar Biscuits, Bacon BBQ Brussel Sprouts

Dinner #3:

Crispy Dijon Baked Tilapia, Jasmine Rice, Ranch Roasted Carrots

Dinner #4:

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

 

Each week I prep all the produce and fruits ahead of time for the week. I also stock the lunch prep fridge and pantry for the kids’ lunches. I have specific containers that I use for food prep that are designed to maximize the life of the produce which helps when I only shop once a week. You can read more about my process and see pictures of my fridges HERE

This week for the meal produce I transferred the fresh brussel sprouts, carrots, and zucchini  to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, blueberries, green grapes, clementines, and peaches. I added baby carrots, cut celery, and mini cucumbers as well for lunches.

This week I prepped a large container of spaghetti, a large container of macaroni & cheese with turkey dogs cut up, a large container of taco meat, a large container of Alfredo pasta, a large container of tossed salad, 24 mini egg quiche muffins, and 24 mini pancake muffins. The kids eat these as snacks, for lunches, and on leftover/clean out the fridge nights.



Easy Oven Roasted Asian Glazed Brussel Sprouts

I am ashamed to tell you that until recently I have never made brussel sprouts. I was forced to eat them during childhood and they were my most hated vegetable so I’ve avoided them like the plague. I finally decided to overcome my dislike and made it a mission to find some recipes that would make brussel sprouts flavorful and delicious. And this recipe? It’s a winner! Even my kids ate it…well, most of them. Ha!

Ingredients:
1 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:
1. Lay sprouts on lined and sprayed baking sheet.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
3. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes, stirring halfway.
4. In small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and heat over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes until sauce thickens.
5. Remove brussel sprouts from oven and transfer to bowl.
6. Add sauce a little at a time, tossing gently to coat.

A couple of notes- do not skimp on the sriracha sauce! It absolutely is essential to the flavors of this dish. Also, when I say toss gently I mean TOSS GENTLY. Trust me on this one. I will absolutely be making this side dish again soon.