Twin Nursery Reveal

Here’s a peek into my fraternal boys’ twin nursery!

We kept to a tight budget, with great furniture from IKEA and a lot of DIY.  The nursery room isn’t large, but it’s a decent size for twins.

My husband painted the nursery gray and we (okay, okay, HE) added navy blue stripes to the wall with the cribs.

Here’s a panorama shot of the twin nursery:

Twin Nursery

Please excuse the slightly wavy lines!  It’s kind of hard to panorama an entire room.

Twin Nursery

Notice the gray blur on the wall?  Those are amazing decals we had made of each boy’s name, which are secrets until their birth.  I’ll trade out these photos for the ones with their names after I give birth.

Cribs are from IKEA and are amazing because they have two drawers underneath each one.  This saves us from having to buy a crib skirt and also provides us with some extra storage.  The mobiles and whale painting were splurges from Buy Buy Baby, but they matched too perfectly to pass up.

Twin Nursery

Twin Nursery

Because the closet in this room is smaller than most people’s refrigerators, I added some hooks to the left of the window.  Right now, I have hung a few toys and teethers, but these silver command hooks will work well for the boys’ hats, or whatever else they have that can be hung!

Twin Nursery

I fell in love with these unpainted wooden letters from Etsy, and with the help of my sister and mother, we painted, washi taped, and decorated the alphabet.  Then I hung them using the easiest Command 3M Picture Hangers.

The glider is from Target, and so are the curtains and valance.

Twin Nursery

These dressers are from IKEA and came with “adult-looking” metal knobs.  I purchased some plain wooden knobs from Amazon and painted them blue with yellow dots or yellow with blue dots.  I think it spruces up the dressers well, and makes them a little more kid-friendly.

Instead of a changing table, we’re using one of the wooden dressers.  The other dresser is acting as a bookshelf for board books.  Above the changing table is a pegboard which acts both as a diaper changing storage area and a gallery wall.  The empty space on the left is for newborn photos.

Twin NurseryThis nursery pegboard was a DIY, made from a white pegboard from Lowes, cut to size.  My husband hung it using a pegboard kit from Ace Hardware.  The baskets holding the diapers and wipes are from IKEA.  Pegboard hooks are also from Ace.  I used clothespins and twist ties to make the two “picture areas” (one holding a photo and the other holding their baby shower invite) and this makes it very easy to change the images.

The small whales are from Michaels and crafted with washi tape.  The bowties are just tiny pieces of fabric, created using an online tutorial and some hot glue.  The bucket was in Target’s dollar section, spray painted white, and washi taped.  The framed whale is made from a wooden frame, fabric, and felt from Hobby Lobby.

 

Our goal was to create a nursery suitable for babies but that also have the capability to grow with the boys as they get a little older.  The pegboard can be completely redone, the alphabet taken down, and the dressers can easily be painted.

Now, all we need to add are the twins!

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Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead

I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the fascinating story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II.

I mean, that hooks me right there.  I’m a sucker for Jewish lit/nonfiction and Holocaust books as well, especially non-traditional ones, like where it’s about something lesser known, like the resistance in France.

Here’s another piece to the description:

High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lie tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, Freemasons, communists, and, above all, Jews, many of them orphans whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. There were no informers, no denunciations, and no one broke ranks. During raids, the children would hide in the woods, their packs on their backs, waiting to hear the farmers’ song that told them it was safe to return. After the war, Le Chambon became one of only two places in the world to be honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among Nations.

Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead is reminiscent of another book I read by her, Train in Winter, and 50 Children by Steven Pressman.  The story is a historically heavy nonfictional account of the Nazi resistance in France, specifically by a small mountain town.

While I enjoyed reading Village of Secrets, I found that because of the heavy historical aspect, I couldn’t fully get into the story.  However, this is not a Village of Secrets issue.  I always have a tough time with storyline when a book is very heavy-handed on the historical aspects.  Many dates, names, etc, usually confuse me more than they help me with the story.  So if historically heavy reads do not scare you, then this is a great book to pick up.  It tells a lesser-known story of some amazing people doing the right thing.

TLC Book Tours

Check out the rest of the tour stops and more information about the book!

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Kindness is Fashionable

I’m a huge fan of kindness, and I think a little goes a long way.  For instance, every morning on my AM walks, I wave at each person I see and every car.  I’m amazed at how many people in their cars stare at me but don’t wave back.  I’m not asking for a donation, here, just a hello!

But then there are those people who always wave back, who say good morning, and it really does make my day.

No matter what kind of mood you’re in, what your life is like, kindness is not only always fashionable, but most of the time, it’s super easy!

Pledge to do something kind for someone else this week!

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#30Authors – Adria Cimino (aka Adria in Paris)

30 Authors

30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel.

Author Adria J. Cimino on The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft

The Art of Falling - 30 Authors

Photo Credit: Author website

Expressing one art form through another always intrigues me. In this case, Kathryn Craft choreographs with words to create dance, to bring graceful movement to each page of this well-written novel. Movement controls Penny’s heart and soul, even when she struggles to execute the smallest steps after her fall or faces the tough realities of the world of dance. As the reader, I was quickly following her footsteps, dancing with her through her moments of despair and hope.

Penny herself is an admirable character. She is strong, disciplined and has a soft side that allows itself to slip forth at the most important times. Her main weakness is the view that she has of herself as she looks at the “perfect” bodies of the slimmer dancers. This novel deals brilliantly with the issues of body image and eating disorders, which although are particularly prominent in dance, also are relevant well beyond. Penny realizes she must conquer this lack of self-assurance and must believe in her talent if she hopes to truly rebuild her life.

I am a dance lover, but you don’t have to be to enjoy The Art of Falling. This novel reaches farther as it explores relationships that are a part of all of our lives: Mother-daughter, friendship, love, mentor-student. How lives touch is an integral part of the book. And each character feels very real. Penny’s relationship with her mother as well as the friendship she builds with a young women suffering from cystic fibrosis are particularly poignant.

Failure, regret, discovery, joy and forgiveness weave through the lives of the characters, separating them at certain points and bringing them back together. If I close my eyes, I can see this as a work of modern dance set to the music of words.

Author Bio

Adria Cimino - 30 Authors

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Adria J. Cimino is the author of Paris, Rue des Martyrs, the story of four troubled strangers whose lives entwine in a Parisian neighborhood. Adria lives in Paris and enjoys sharing her adventures in the city and thoughts about the writing life in her blog Adria in Paris.

Previously, she worked as a journalist for more than a decade at news organizations including the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. Adria, who grew up in the sunshine, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.

You can also learn more about Adria Cimino by liking her on Facebook, following her on Twitter, or purchasing her book here.

Interested in The Art of Falling? You can learn about Kathryn Craft by liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter. Or, you can purchase the book here.

And check out the giveaway!

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Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

I received this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.  

Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera is a story told about two opposing sides over the course of decades that surrounded the Sri Lankan civil war.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors

A quick summary explains this complex-in-a-fabulous-way storyline:

Yasodhara tells the tale of her own Sinhala clan first. As a child in idyllic Colombo, her life is shaped by social hierarchy, her parents’ ambitions, teenage love and most importantly, the differences between the Tamil and Sinhala people who share the island. When peace is shattered, Yasodhara’s family flees to Los Angeles.

Saraswathi is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, with hopes to become a teacher. But her dreams are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the heart of the conflict. A conflict that will eventually connect her to Yasodhara in in unexpected ways.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors was complicated and intense, but also really moving.  I was captivated by the storylines of each woman, of Sri Lanka’s civil war, and of the daily life.  I was devastated and shocked by the ending (as only a good author can make you feel) and can’t stop thinking of this book.

Munaweera does not tell a happy tale.  She tells a REAL tale, reminiscent of NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names and Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them.  None of these books are “happy” but they are gritty, real, moving, and what reading is about.

Not a fan of real and gritty?  Well, try it out and follow it up with a happy story after.

You don’t be disappointed.

What about you?  Gritty reads lover?  Or more of a happy ending fan?

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Losing St. Christopher by David-Michael Harding

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Losing St. Christopher

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Losing St. Christopher is the second book in the Cherokee Trilogy, but can also be read independently.  If you didn’t read the first book, Cherokee Talisman, yeah, you’ll miss stuff, but you will also be able to enjoy a fully formed novel.

Here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

In Losing St. Christopher, Totsuhwa, the revered shaman of the Cherokee Nation, struggles against the assimilation of his people into the white world of men he sees as invaders. The colonists, along with Cherokee who are trying to bridge both worlds, see him as a barbarous threat. When Totsuhwa’s visions show him the outcome, it is as black as his deep set haunting eyes. Chancellor, his son, takes a white wife following study at a missionary school and the shaman’s fears seem realized. Conflicts between cultures and within the family erupt when Totsuhwa’s only grandchild is forced onto the Trail of Tears. In the chase that follows, an estranged love fights to stem the ugly flow of racism that is moving in two directions.

Losing St. Christopher was a high-interest book.  There are elements of both positive and negative attitudes toward the Native Americans, and I enjoyed how Harding exhibited mixed marriages as well as white people who were willing to do anything to help their neighbors in need.

Basically, I was hooked.  Chancellor is a very powerful character, educated in both the white and Cherokee ways, which can cause conflict when he chooses certain ways to deal with issues.  But at the same time, he’s a caring, loyal son and friend, and eventually father.

I recommend Losing St. Christopher!  But here’s a warning: Grab a tissue for the last 3 pages because there is such a heartfelt ending that you can’t help but leak out some tears!

And don’t forget, I also read and loooooved How Angels Die by David-Michael Harding, which is a historical fiction novel about two French sisters who resist the Nazis in valuable, but very different, ways.

Check out the author’s website and Facebook page for more info!

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Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Lighthouse Island

Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles takes us into a dystopian future that is kind of a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and reality TV.  Jiles’s main character Nadia is amazing.  She’s witty and resourceful, charming and lying her way into any situation.  You can’t help but love her.

In essence, Lighthouse Island is the story of Nadia, orphaned at a young age and stuck in numerous not-so-wonderful situations.  Her one wish is to get to the mysterious Lighthouse Island, a place where water is plentiful and so is the food.  Plus, the view’s not too bad itself.  Nadia meets James, a demolition and cartography expert who was paralyzed in an accident.  Their chemistry is undeniable, but this isn’t a traditional love story.  It’s love mixed with survival.

Anyway, if I butchered this summary, check out a better version here: Goodreads.  I’ll just blame the summary mess on two things: 1. A fabulous complex storyline.  2. Pregnancy brain.

As for my thoughts . . . Like I said Nadia totally rocks.  She’s witty, resourceful, charming, and super confident.  She lies to survive, and it always works.  James is also a great character.  He’s complex and caring, also incredibly resourceful, and has a sixth sense of identifying what technological help Nadia will need from many miles away.

The story is complicated, which is both good and bad.  I love dystopian societies, especially realistic ones, and this one did not disappoint.  But I was left wondering if I missed some pieces of the story or if they just weren’t included in the novel.

Fun fact: Paulette Jiles lives in UTOPIA, Texas.  Can you get more perfect for a city to live in when you want to write about a dystopian future?  When I saw that it just made my day.

Want to hear more?  Check out the rest of the tour schedule.

TLC Book Tours

 

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Bathtub Bookish Awesomeness Courtesy of Gone Reading

I received this product from Gone Reading in exchange for a fair and honest review, and I’m glad I did, because it’s pretty awesome.  

I was super excited when I got my Gone Reading package with my Bamboo Bathtub Caddy in the mail!  I love reading in the pool, tub, whatever form of water I can, so this product is definitely one that I can take advantage of.

There’s a place for soap or a drink (where you can see my drink sitting), with holes on the bottom to let excess water drip through.  The middle area is perfect to hold your book, although a hardcover or well-worn paperback would probably stay open a little more easily than my brand new read that I tried out.  There’s also the perfect slot for a wine glass!  It lets you slip in the glass but prevents it from spilling or falling.  It’s pretty genius, and I’m excited to try that one out once I give birth to these twin kiddos.

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Not only can you see the features here, but you can also see how the Bamboo Bathtub Caddy can fit multiple tubs.  The metal “claws” contract and extend to fit pretty much any sized tub, and can extend to fit a tub 40 inches across.  I thought my tub was too large, but I measured it, and have plenty of excess arm extension room still left.  Unless you’re living in a castle or have a ginormous or circular bathtub, it should fit.

I also mentioned to Brad Wirz, the founder and CEO of Gone Reading, that I was pregnant so I couldn’t try out the wine glass feature, and look what he included in my package as a surprise!

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Excuse the slight photo blurriness. That’s from my camera – not the product!

Is it crazy that I kind of want to open it and use the bookmarks myself?  I’ll wait for the kiddos, of course, but what a super nice gesture!

Not only is the Bamboo Bathtub Caddy a huge hit, and the Gone Reading products amazing in general, but they’ve even been featured in The Huffington Post for helping to spread “the magic of reading” because of the company’s philanthropic contributions:

GoneReading: Those searching for “gifts that give” will find them here. When you make a purchase through the site, all after-tax profits are donated to Ethiopia Reads and READ Global . . . Wirz’s line of merchandise features hundreds of products for booklovers, from literary-themed apparel to journals to book lights. Personally, I’m a fan of the “reading woman” notecards featuring classic paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

Check out Gone Reading.  What product do you think is full of awesomeness?

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Bookish Gifts for Babies

You may know this already, or it might be a surprise, but my husband and I are expecting our first children!  That’s right – we got two for the price of one with twins!

So now that I’m expecting my own bookish baby, I just had to share some of the cutest bookish gifts for any new addition to a family!

Bookish Presents for Babies

Photo Credit: Etsy

Every baby needs a Harry Potter onesie! 

 

Photo Credit: Etsy

Literary blocks?  Amazing!

One of my favorite blogger pals, Katie @ Words for Worms, made some bookish onesies with the cutest penguin on them!

Photo Credit: Etsy

Love this handmade bookish baby art for a nursery!  Adorable!

Any bookish baby stuff or bookish items for kids that you just love?

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