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Book Review: The Friend Zone

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The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez– Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: June 11, 2019

Acquired: Pubic library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot and it was so close to being a 5 star favorite read for me. There were two major events in the book that I just couldn’t overcome. But the writing was great, the story was well paced and flowed seamlessly, the characters were strong and the issues were realistic. I really liked the chemistry between the two main characters and I was rooting for them to work out their issues. I thought Kristen’s “secret” was handled well throughout the book up until the end and that was one of my major issues. There’s a lot of feelings in this book that range from humor to grief to rage and I felt all of them while reading. I loved how sassy and fierce Kristen was but the lack of communication was frustrating. I could understand why Kristen made the choices she did but it was extremely frustrating to read about her stringing along Josh for nearly 2/3 of the book. I definitely will read the next book about the secondary characters. 

Favorite Sam’s Club 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 Sam’s Club. Most of these items are our lunch box staples. 

1. Hard-boiled eggs– My kids all love hard-boiled eggs but I rarely have time to make enough of them for the week. I love to just grab a box of these already boiled and peeled eggs for the kids to toss in their lunch boxes. The kids either eat them plain or make egg salad out of them. 

2. Wholly Guacamole minis– The kids use these to make nachos or as topping for soft tacos. It’s easy for them to just grab a container and toss it in their lunch. 

3. Frozen Chicken Fried Rice– All of my kids love fried rice but it’s not something that can remain fresh in the fridge all week. I buy this pack of 6 individual portioned Chicken fried rice, microwave a bag in the morning, and fill 3 thermoses with it for lunches. It’s quick, healthy-ish, and they love it!

4. Frozen Orange Chicken– Orange chicken is a family favorite but it’s time consuming to make. A couple of times a month I’ll make this frozen version for dinner and then the kids take it in thermoses for lunch the next day with jasmine rice. 

5. Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad– 2 of my kids love chicken salad with crackers of Naan bread dippers. I was making homemade chicken salad until I realized I can buy these individually portioned cups for about the same price! And they’re delicious!

6. Oh Snap Dilly Bites– My kids love pickles! I buy at least 2 boxes of these pickle packs every month. They eat them plain, or add them to either tuna or egg salad. Each single pack comes with a lot of pickles and they’re super crunchy!

7. The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Cheese– This is a staple in our house. We eat it on crackers, Naan bread dippers, plain, on celery or cucumber slices…so many options. My Sam’s Club has these on sale quite often so I stock up!

8. The Cookie Dough Cafe– these individual cups of edible chocolate chip cookie dough are a huge hit in my house. They’re delicious and perfect to satisfy that sweet tooth. The kids would rather have these then actual cookies now!

9. Flatbread Chicken Melts– my kids love these! They’re frozen, cook in one minute in the microwave, and are absolutely delicious! We use them a lot for quick snacks while running from one activity to the next. The kids also take them for lunch because they don’t get soggy.

10. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels– these are the best ones I’ve found and the best price! One of my picky kids tells me that these have the perfect ratio of peanut butter to salt. Yeah, welcome to my world. The container is huge and one will last the entire month. 

11. Nature Valley Crunchy Snack Mix– these are perfect for lunch box snacks, breakfast on the go, or a fast protein pick me up before sports. They’re really yummy and come in 2 flavors. I always keep these on hand. 

12. Belvita Breakfast Bites– Just like above, these are perfect for lunch box snacks, breakfast on the go, or a fast snack on the way to extracurricular activities. We love that the box at Sam’s Club comes with a variety of flavors instead of just one. 

Those are some of my main staples from Sam’s Club. I have more but these are the ones that are on my list every single month. Next week I’ll share my Costco favorites.

New Releases This Week {11.5.19}

These are the new releases for the week of November 5 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell– Be careful who you let in. Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

Stealing Her by Rachel Van Dyken– My estranged twin brother, Julian, was always the wonder boy – and soon-to-be CEO of our ruthless father’s corporation. My mother and me? Left behind. Now, years after tearing our family apart, my father dares to ask “me” for a favor? Pretend to be Julian while he fights to survive a tragic accident. It can save the company. Nobody will be the wiser. It’ll be our secret. I can play Dad’s favorite. I’ll do anything for Julian. And for my mother, who’ll want for nothing. But this double life comes with a beauty of a hitch: my very real feelings for Julian’s fiancée, Isobel. Not only am I betraying Julian, I’m deceiving a woman I love. She doesn’t suspect a thing. As lies compound, lines are crossed and loyalties tested, all I can ask myself is. . .what have I done? Because sooner or later something’s got to give. There’s no way I’m giving up Isobel. But once the truth is exposed, it might not be my choice at all.

Leopard’s Wrath by Christine Feehan– Born into a life of crime, Mitya Amurov has had a hard life, and his leopard has developed into a feral beast to protect him. It’s constantly trying to claw its way to the surface—until a chance encounter with a stranger instantly calms the predator inside him. While Mitya wants Ania desperately, it’s only a matter of time before his past catches up with him, and he’d rather die than put her in danger. But Ania is dealing with dangers of her own….Considering her family’s history, Ania Dover should know better than to get mixed up with a criminal like Mitya, but she just can’t stay away. Something wild in her responds to his presence. A need so strong it scares her. But she’s not sure she can accept what he’s offering. Ania has always been an independent woman, and Mitya expects to be obeyed in all things. Even with her body calling out for his, Ania won’t let anything stop her from settling a deadly score years in the making—not even the man who wants to claim her as his mate.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt– Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.

Under Lying by Janelle Harris– Susan has everything she ever wanted. A loving husband, an angelic daughter and the cottage of her dreams in County Cork. Her picture-perfect life seems too good to be true. And it is. At a housewarming party with their new neighbours, her daughter Amelia goes missing. As friends become suspects, Susan’s life spirals out of control. And when Amelia’s yellow cardigan is dredged from the lake, every parent’s worst nightmare suddenly seems horribly real. In the aftermath of Amelia’s disappearance Susan and her husband Paul are not themselves. Someone is hiding something. What if Susan and Paul’s entire relationship was built on lies stretching back years? Some secrets may be best left buried in the past, but uncovering the truth could be the only way to find Amelia – before it’s too late.

Meal Prep Monday {11.4.19}

 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 Hearty Vegetable Soup, Croissants

Dinner #2:

Baked BBQ Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Honey Roasted Broccoli

Dinner #3:

French Fried Onion Chicken Pasta Casserole, Ranch Roasted Cauliflower

Dinner #4:

Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetables


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 broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots to the veggie containers. For fruit I prepped strawberries, apples, red grapes, clementines, and plums. 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.

2019 Monthly Goals: November

I accomplished a bit off of my goal list for October but didn’t finish nearly enough. Things kind of went sideways mid-way through the month and priorities shifted. I’m recycling a lot of things from last month that didn’t get done in October. 

Goals for November:

1. Personal Goals:

  • Clean out & organize my closet
  • Start listing clothes & shoes on Mercari
  • Work on Christmas plans

2. Family Goals:

  • Plan 2 birthday celebrations
  • Work on a family budget for next year
  • Work on sinking fund budget for next year

3. House & Organization Goals:

  • Organize laundry room
  • Organize bonus room & closet
  • List all winter uniforms for sale

4. Book & Blog Goals:

  • Read 5 books 
  • Organize collections on Kindle App
  • Schedule out one month of posts