Monday, April 27, 2020


While we are in this quarantine lockdown and schools are closed for the year due to the coronavirus, we definitely have more time to read.  I've bought a variety of books and have been reading a lot lately.  I'm going to share a few here: my favorites, currently in progress, and one book I had to quit.
Quaran-Reading: Books to Read While Quarantined

1. Evvie Drake Starts Over

First, Evvie Drake Starts Over. This was the most delightful of the books I have read so far.  Evvie's husband died in a car crash not long before the book starts.  Her friend's famous baseball player pal needs a place to stay and Evvie has an extra room.  This book was the perfect lighthearted escape from heavy news in our current world. 

Bonus: I just discovered the author did an interview on NPR.  
Quaran-Reading: Books to Read While Quarantined  
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2. Becoming

Second on the list: Becoming. I've had this book sitting on my shelf but was so busy that I never got past the second chapter.  Now in quarantine with a little more time to read, I'm making my way through the rest of the book.  It's worth the hype.  Michelle Obama, whether you voted for her husband or not, is a solid writer and weaves a great look into her life thus far. 

Quaran-Reading: Books to Read While Quarantined
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3. The Stand

Oh, Steven King. An airborne virus that kills people and is highly contagious?  Yes, that's the type of book we should all be reading right now.  I bought this gargantuan book with high hopes.  King is a household name for a reason, he's a master storyteller.  But.  You knew there was a 'but' coming, right?  

This would be a chonk of a book for me to get through under normal circumstances.  Given the Coronavirus pandemic right now, I find my mind a little to tired to read something this dense.  I never know what day of the week it is, my dreams are weird, and I went into a panic when it took a month to be able to buy a can of black beans. Oh and our toilet paper supply is low. I ordered towels to cut up just in case because SWEET MOTHER OF HECK.  So a 1,400 pg book is too much to take on right now.  I'm putting "The Stand" on a shelf to come back to at a less-stressful time

The best books for Quaran-reading
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Books to read while in the coronavirus quarantine

*Links are affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Full disclosure here

4. Lending a Paw

Am I the only one who just discovered that "cozy mystery" is a genre?  Well "Lending a Paw" is definitely cozy.  I'm halfway through this one right now and it's a lovely, feel-good distraction from the pandemic world.  Laurie Cass creates a murder mystery that relies on the librarian/bookmobile driver to solve.  Minnie, the librarian has a cat named Eddie that goes along for the adventure. As a dog person, I'd have rather had a bookmobile with a dog but I can settle for a cat. :)  
Books to read while quarantining
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5. Ghosts

Technically this is a juvenile fiction graphic novel by popular kids' author Raina Telgemeier.  Students are always reading her books and I bought and read Guts a couple months ago. It was fantastic!  When the Libby app (free app that lets you check out digital materials from your library) had Ghosts up for grab, I quickly checked it out and read it in one afternoon.  

The story does deal with heavier topics such as death (obviously. The title gives that away) and the cystic fibrosis (the main character is a child with CF).  Even so, it was a quick read with a cute story that affirms family connections.
Books to read while quarantined

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6. Other People's Houses

Last but not least: Abbi Waxman's Other People's Houses.  I am actually waiting on this one to arrive in the mail!  I've seen this book talked about several different places (I think magazines and probably Modern Mrs. Darcy because she's the ultimate book blogger).
I previously read Waxman's The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and loved it.  Generally if I like one book from an author, I will like others. It centers on a carpool mom, a neighborhood, and an affair.  Reader reviews describe it as "funny" which is always my cup of tea!

Quaran-reading : The best books to read while quarantined
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Have you been reading more during the quarantine?  If you have any great suggestions (we've established that it has to be under a THOUSAND pages for me to handle), please leave a comment!  

P.S. You may enjoy my bookish Pinterest board: 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday Funnies

We could all use some laughter in our lives right now!  I've been doing a lot of pinning on my Quotes/Funnies board and am going to share 3 of my most recent faves with you today.

I need to rehome a dog. Small. Barks a lot. I wlll hop neighbors fence and get it for you

Quarantine humor: It's so beautiful. Ma'am, this is a wendy's. I KNOW

The night I lost control

See all the things that make me laugh:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The *Best* Teacher Pens

Move over Papermate Flair.  Take a seat, Gelocity.  There's a new favorite pen in town.

If you know any teachers, you know we have a thing for pens.  Fun colors make grading more fun (and more fun for the kids), filling in our calendars, and taking notes.  When I started teaching, my favorite pens were Papermate Flair.  They are nice but more like a marker than a pen.
teacher pen meme, i've spent too much on my classrom ooh look pens
Then my son introduced me to Gelocity.  Very nice. Great colors, but I find that they occasionally skip while I'm writing.

From there I hit on Pilot FriXion.  The advantage to these is that they are ERASABLE. But not like the old school erasable pens. These are more legit and they aren't clunky to write with.

Until one day I borrowed a pen from my principal.  A kind I'd never seen before.  I was hooked. 
papermate joy gel pens, papermate flair, bic gelocity pens, frixion pilot erasable pens
These are also Papermate, just not flair.  These are Papermate Inkjoy GEL.  GEL is important. The other inkjoys are nice but...well, they are no Inkjoy Gel.

The best teacher pens ever

I treated myself after we started the lockdown because I wanted some new pens.  These bad boys came in the mail and make doing my teaching-from-home a little more fun.  Plus I'm writing lots of cards and letters to my grandparents these days so these come in handy for brightening it up.

If you are looking for a pick-me-up treat for yourself or a teacher in your life, I would highly suggest the Papermate Injoy Gel pens.  This is not a sponsored post. Papermate gave me nothing to write it. I just LOVE a good pen!  These Papermate Gel pens run about $15-20 for a pack of 14 pens.

This pen is the BEST for teachers: colorful, doesn't skip, and affordable!
  *Amazon links are affiliate links-if you purchase something through the link, I may receive small commission.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Out with the old... with the new!

If you've been here long, you know this blog's design hasn't really been updated in years!  I started this 9 years ago and it was the cloud background for a long time.  The old header featured a photo that I took of bright chairs in Buffalo, NY.  My old header font was bright purple.  Cute, but it's been years and my tastes have changed.

We're quarantined right now and stuck at home, like the entire rest of the world, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  So I have some extra time on my hands. Nevermind the fact that I should have put away laundry or reorganized the pantry.  No sireee. I decided that 10pm on a Friday night was the right time to update the colors of my blog. ha!



I used Canva (free!) to redesign the header and even the logo for Facebook.  

Pinterest got a little lift too. 

This counts as productivity while quarantined, right?  Right??

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus. Anxiety.

Turns out that a world-wide deadly virus that can make you die alone in isolation is not exactly great for people with anxiety. 
covid 19 coping strategies
On the plus side, every store I have ever even LOOKED AT has emailed me that they are deep cleaning and care about me.  Thanks, Sbarro, for letting me know you're encouraging employees to use hand sanitizer.  Do you usually not?  *suspiciously eyes mall food court*

Our state is shut down, although an awful lot of non-essential people still think they are essential and are out gallivanting around the town.

In these anxious times, (wait, didn't Staples send me an email that began the same way?), there are a few things that I say/do to keep myself calm.  Fine. Calm-ISH.

I'm not a therapist, counselor, or doctor. So if you need to check in with those people, please do!  I'm just a Fellow-Anxious-Person here, sharing what helps me in case it might also help you!

Things I Say:
  • "This will not last forever."
  • "I am saving lives by staying home."
  • "The sun still shines."
  • When my brain says "BuT wHaT iF yOu GeT iT aNd DiE!!!1!1!" I tell it "Yeah, but what if I DON'T.  If I'm going to think the extreme scary then I also have to think the opposite."

Things I Do:

  • Take a deep breath. Hold for a count of 4. Let it out while counting to 4.  Repeat.
  • Watch a 5 min mindfulness video on Youtube
  • Do some daily squats.
  • Limit news headline checks to morning/lunch/night.  Limit more if you need to!
  • Listen to the birds outside and enjoy that nature and life are still happening!
  • Use paper plates and frozen dinners and don't even feel bad about it for a second.
  • Pet my dog and tell him he is the goodest of all good boys.
  • Take a drive by myself.
  • Text Tiger King memes to friends.

If you have found healthy ways of coping with anxiety during this Covid-19 crisis, please let me know!  If simple strategies and deep breathing aren't enough (many times they aren't), please reach out to your local physician or counselor.  If you need immediate help, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
 Suicide Prevention

((hugs from 6 feet away))

*Shared at CreativeKKids ThoughtfulThursday