challenge completed

I found this reading challenge at the end of 2014 and I actually completed it this year! *pats self on back* It was pretty difficult to find books that I wanted to read that fit every category. I did end up cheating a bit (see Cheats section). But overall, I feel it's a pretty grand accomplishment. 

If you want to see specifics about certain books (Author, my rating) check out my Goodreads

Storm of Swords, Cinder*, If I Stay, The Girl on The Train, The Twelve, Red Queen, Seraphina, The Martian, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Ten, Scarlet, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, The Book Thief, Everything She Ever Wanted, Wild, Six of Crows, Bone Gap, The Road, All the Bright Places, Shiver, Me Before You, Under the Banner of Heaven, Crimson Bound***, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Things Fall Apart, Wild **, The Shattered Court, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys**, Branded, Lust Killer, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, The Selection/ Elite/ One, The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches, Night Circus, Red Rising, The Merciless, Bitterblue, All the Bright Places**, Harry Potter (books 5-8), Saga, Big Little Lies, City of Bones, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls****, Crimson Bound***, Entwined, Ten Thousand Lovers, The Crucible, Harry Potter**, Outlander, Shadow Scale.

*Based on the Classic Romantic tale of Cinderella
**Book(s) counted twice
***Based on the 'more than 100 year old' tale of Little Red Riding Hood which was originally written in German (also counted twice)
****Central Florida and NC mountains considered sufficient for 'Hometown.' Also counted twice.

If you see any good reading challenges for 2016, please comment!

big news


It's been far too long since I have shared anything here. We have had big happenings in the Raphael house. Alice is going to be a big sister and she could not be more excited. Baby B is due in December. We are so happy!!!

disney princesses are my spirit animal

I have decided something- Disney Princesses are my spirit animal. Don't believe me? Ask the dishes. Alice and I watch at least a few minutes of a princess movie every day. I dance around and sing Disney princess songs all the time. I just can't Let It Go. Alice makes requests in the car and I oblige. I'm currently trying to nail all the words from Tangled and I'm close. Why am I telling you this? Because truth is- I've been sad, like really sad. I pretty much shut down for a month or so and spent all my free time reading on the couch. Which is by no means a bad thing to do- I read like 10 books. And there are way worse things to be addicted to than books. Anyways, when I'm sad I ignore my blog. Actually, I continue to post random stuff and then I feel like a fake so I stop. But I like posting happy things and my mom keeps begging me to keep blogging so this is me staring over- a bit. I'm getting out of the funk with the help of my Prince, the ever supportful and loving Byron, and the Anna to my Elsa- Alice. There's also nothing like a little song and dance number to brighten the spirits. So don't worry about me:) Now, to catch you up on all the Raphael family happenings here are 11 things I/we have been up to.

1. All my reading has made me want to write again. So, I'm writing again. It feels great, makes me happy and enables me to sit it Starbucks for hours at a time on my days off. 
2. Byron started a blog where he talks about all the things he (we) likes to watch. It's pretty much a chronicle of everything we talk about. Nerds.
3. I'm taking ballet. It's the hardest, prettiest hour of my week and I LOVE IT!!! My calves burn for days afterwords and Byron probably thinks I'm nuts for jetéing around the house but it does wonders for my soul.
4. We decorated for Christmas- back in October. My rule- if it snows, it glows. 
5. We have lived in Wisconsin for over a year and it's cold again. Cold and snowing. 
6. I have decided to start working part-time in January and keeping Alice home more. It is going to be a huge change for all of us and I hope it works out. 
7. Funny story- I had to go to municipal court yesterday for a traffic ticket (suspended registration). Due to timing and schedules- I had to take Alice with me. It was a full on all-rise-court-in-session type deal where the Judge said "I expect absolute silence." I was pretty sure Alice and I would get thrown out and held in contempt, but she was awesome! We had to wait 45 minutes while other offenders were dealt with and Alice kept her voice to a whisper and sat quietly the whole time. After my offense was dismissed and justice was served the honorable judge commented on what a well behaved child I had. It was a miracle.
8. Alice gets to stay up late to watch Peter Pan tonight. see #7.
9. Speaking of Disney- we went and it was the best day ever. I'll post some pics here- but the video Byron got is spectacular. We will edit and post as soon as possible.
10. We had a relaxed Thanksgiving. I cooked the sides, smoked a turkey on the grill and made a bourbon pecan pie. We ate in our PJ's and it was awesome. 
11. After multiple viewings, we feel Tangled might be better than Frozen (Who knew, right?).