Take Those Traveling Toes to a Bookstore Near You!

StepMusings is not my first dabble in blogging and I have to say I have always loved that I can share something that might make someone's life easier, or someone feel stronger, or give an honest opinion that might help someone make a small life decision like which bag or book to buy. And in the spirit of that idea, here are a few family reviews of some books I was sent by Disney Publishing to review. 

I got to read the lovely The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari and already have a short list of friends to lend this out to. I love when there is a little bit of witchy magic mixed into my light reading and this book does not disappoint! From characters with beautiful evolutions who I was really rooting for to small twists to keep me intrigued, I loved the writing style and story arc of this book and have already ordered the next in the series from Amazon! 

My 13 year old was over the moon that we were sent Follow Me the second book in Sara Shepard's The Amateurs series. Sara Shepard wrote the Pretty Little Liars series as well the current series The Perfectionists and The Elizas. "Follow Me" continues the murder-mystery solving adventures of the first book and my girl read this when it was still in advanced reader copies (she was nearly 12 when she read the first book) so shes been waiting a while for the sequel and still picked it right up! According to my 13 year old's retelling of the story (picture a teenager who, after reading, comes in to tell you everything she just read with animated hand gestures, wide eyes, and constant shocked end-phrases "Can you believe it?!") I can wholeheartedly say that not only was this better than the first book but it wowed even my most hesitant reader into wanting more! I highly recommend this series for Sara Shepard or Pretty Little Liars fans as well as any teen girl looking for a modern mystery series to delve into! 

My 11 year old stepson dove into the Tales from Adventureland book The Keymaster's Quest. This lovely little book comes after the successful Tales from the Haunted Mansion series which was a huge hit at our house for multiple reasons but I can sum them all up by saying because we are huge fans of the Disney Haunted Mansion ride and huge fans of stories like Goosebumps. My son didn't have as much details to share about his reading but did say about twenty times that he hopes they make this into a full series, and could not but help revealing the mystery in the story in a way that gave away all the good spoilers. I will simply say that this is a story about a boy named Andy and how he is pulled into an adventure to find his lost Grandfather. My boy felt like it was a very easy read for him so I would put this at around ages 8-10. The second book in the series is due out in April so get reading! 

Happy Single Awareness Day! ;)

Final product of our Conversation Heart cookies!

I love parties. I love planning, crafting, decorating, hostessing, all the party things. Last year we were away in Mexico the weekend of a dance that my oldest wanted to attend.  We felt guilty enough leaving them with a babysitter for a full 24 hours (by the way, both the kids and the babysitter informed us afterwards that this was simply not enough time and we would need to go away again and longer next time, please) and then when the dance got moved to this date and we couldn't coordinate a ride for her we offered that she could have a mini valentines day party. We had heart shaped pizzas, a sundae bar, and all the selfie decorations nearly-13-year-olds could wish for! When she asked if she could continue the tradition I though it would be cool if everyone got to have a mini party each year so her sister decided to do an end of the school year party and her brother Halloween. 

Although this year's theme was "Un-Valentines" day I still feel like my hubby and I helped the girls have a great evening. They had their pizza and snacks, and we streamed the original Scream movie for them...and for dessert? Me and the girls made these lovely cookies! We realized at the last minute that (1) we didn't have a heart cookie cutter and (2) I was the only one who could actually squeeze the royal icing out because it had hardened like our hearts. lol. We made it work by hand cutting the cookies and I wore my arthritis brace as soon as I started icing these bad boys juuuust in case.

This is a double win for us- fun quality time and a pinterest idea that turned out just as good as the pin even with some snafus! 
This picture inspired me to get new baking sheets, the good airflow kind. lol. 

A Truck to Build a Dream On

When I first met my husband, it was the thing of modern day one night stands. We both swiped right on Tinder. We had both been burned (pun intended) by the app before and I was losing my patience. I told him that if he liked me from our talks that I didn't want him actually really using the app that we met on again until we met. I wanted some exclusivity, not to be controlling but to avoid games. Rather than being scared off, he was down with this and so I waited in my apartment and watched him drive by the little building, up the road, then according to his story he got stuck, and finally he arrived. After a brief bite from my dog and some unwrapping of many gifts he brought me, we headed out to dinner at a lovely pub two towns over. 

I don't think I will ever forget (at least I hope not) what it felt like to step up on his side bar and climb into the F250 work truck he had. I could tell when I got in that he had cleaned it up for me and the thought of him being nervous and wanting to impress me felt good for some reason. I felt small in the seat of the truck. It smelled like oil and chocolate and summertime even though it was February. We made small talk, had a lovely first date, filled with things I may share one day and things that are all for me and my honey to own in our memories forever. I can remember what he was wearing and what I was wearing and how tiny and safe my hand felt when he reached for it with his warm, rough hand. And I wont forget what it felt like when he gave me a gentle kiss with his soft lips and I knew I would love him forever. 

As we were courting we took his truck all over and I even nicknamed it Whitey Ford (from a reference to an Everlast album in the 90s, I am not even sure if that is a real person). I remember snuggling up and falling asleep in the front seat on our first few late night dates to concerts and all day hikes. I remember putting my feet up on the dashboard and feeling like home was in that truck because I was with him. And here we are 3 years from our first date and our good ole F250 has turned over for the last time. Destined to bring to life another truck (we sold it for parts) Whitey Ford won't soon sing the blues.

Goodbye, the white horse that carried my knight to me for the first time. You really were a truck to build a dream on. And that we did.