“You’re in my spot.” I swear that’s what that lion is saying to the other one. As we watched through the glass, the lion already sitting didn’t move, so her friend sniffed and pushed and turned in circles just like my cats do. And finally, she just sat on top of the other lion!

This was about the only interesting animal sighting we had during Annalyn’s field trip to the zoo. Most of the other animals were smart enough to stay inside when the weather dips to 42 degrees.

April was a really full month!! We had the zoo field trip, as well as an Awana program. I had (in)RL and that pesky ebook bundle sale. I went back to Weight Watchers for the bajillionth time and also started wearing a Fitbit, which is an awesome pedometer and health monitor. (I’ll tell you more about that soon.) I enrolled Annalyn in kindergarten, helped throw a surprise baby shower and found a pretty good routine for working at home.

Still, don’t you worry. I had plenty of time for reading, watching and listening. Here’s my April recap:

What I’m Reading:

I’d been waiting to read both The Survivor by DiAnn Mills and Vanished by Irene Hannon for a few months. I love the mysteries and relationships that both authors write, and as soon as I hear they’ve published a new book, I reserve it at the library. It just so happened that both were available this month, and I enjoyed both.

Vanished was my favorite of the two, the beginning of a new series about private investigators. It was an interesting take on the normal cop and civilian team up to solve a crime story, and I won’t lie–reading about a PI made me think of Veronica Mars. Which is never a bad thing.

Speaking of bad things, though…Requiem by Lauren Oliver. Uggghhh. I adored Oliver’s first book of this trilogy, Delirium. The post-apocalyptic YA novel created a world where love was considered a disease and all citizens are, basically, given some sort of lobotomy at age 18 so they can’t love–or feel other irrational or dangerous emotions. Of course, the protagonist fights the man and the system, while also falling in love with an outsider. And though that’s the same outline so many other books follow, this one stood out as original, interesting and well-written.

And then we got to the third book in the trilogy. So many things happened. Lots of things (those pesky FEELINGS) were overexplained while other, plot-important things were left unexplained or vague. And then…THEN! The book wraps up crazy fast with little resolution and then…just…ENDS. It was a disappointing end to what, until that point, had been an outstanding series.

I read about the Dairy Queen series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock in the “If you liked this, you’ll probably like this, too” sections of both Amazon and Goodreads. So, on an evening when I had nothing else to read, I snagged these three books from my library. I didn’t have high hopes for a YA series about a girl who plays football and works on her family’s dairy farm. I WAS WRONG.

This series is, first of all, really funny with great dialogue (the most important part of a novel for me), but it also raises some serious questions and is incredibly moving. And while I still don’t give two cents about football or cows, the main character of this series was so strikingly different than 99% of other novels’ main characters that she has stayed in my head for several weeks now. If you like YA, I highly recommend this series. (And because it’s a few years old, you can probably get all three books from your library right away, too.)

I also bought two books I’d already read (and loved) because the Kindle versions were on sale. There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones was one of the first YA novels I read after Harry Potter, and I still love it. And am anxiously waiting for Jones to write another book. And goodness gracious, Bossypants by Tina Fey is The Funniest Book I’ve Ever Read. Period. So at 99-cents, I couldn’t pass it up–and I look forward to reading it again many times.

Finally, I would be remiss in my book-talking-about duties if I didn’t tell you this great news. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, also known as my favorite comedian and the Hot Pocket guy, will be released on May 7. And, not to brag but I’m going to brag, I’m going to meet him at a book signing a couple weeks later. I’m going to walk right up to him and say something so witty that he says, “Oh my, you’re funny. You might even be funnier than me!” and we’ll be fast friends, forever. What’s that? You don’t think that’s how it will go down? Yeah, you’re probably right. But I AM going to his book signing, I AM going to read his book, and I just know it WILL BE hilarious. Stay tuned for an update on that whole thing.

What I’m Watching:

Well, obviously I’m watching a truck load of TV right now. April was a little slow, but May is sweeps and finales, so the drought was well worth it. For more about upcoming finales, read my post from yesterday–and then come back every Friday in May for more chatting about our favorite thing, the TV.

I also saw Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd on a much-needed date night. Simple romantic comedies are hard to come by these days, and we tend to spend our occasional movie nights on action movies (I’ve already got “Date Night: Iron Man 3” written on my calendar for this month!). So I was thrilled when Mark suggested this one. We’d both read or heard reviews that it wasn’t exactly what you expect and might not even be that good. But really? Tina Fey AND Paul Rudd at his cutest? Come on. We both thought this movie was really good–cute, funny and a little thoughtful. Perfect for date night.

I did watch one other new movie this month, though it wasn’t in the theater. The second I saw a commercial for a Hallmark movie called Remember Sunday, starring Zachary Levi (Chuck!) and Alexis Bledel (Rory!), I set my DVR. Because…HELLO?! Chuck! and Rory! Remember Sunday was essentially a sweet, pretty version of 50 First Dates–except in this version, it’s the guy who has no short-term memory and the girl who falls for him. It was awesome. I loved it. And saved it on my DVR to watch again. I might even watch those dang, tearjerking Hallmark commercials they played at every break. Because I am a sap. Okay? I am. But if you are, too (or if you miss Gilmore Girls or Chuck [or both!]), you should find this and watch it.

What I’m Listening to:

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
It’s in the stars
It’s been written in the scars on our hearts
That we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

It’s been exactly a year since my marriage fell apart and then slowly grew into something a million times better than we’d ever seen or dared hope for. And just recently I shared all that with you–and then with thousands of women who watched the (in)RL videos. So it’s extremely fitting that the duet from Pink and the lead singer of Fun. has been stuck in my head all month. Just Give Me a Reason” is definitely my favorite song right now.

[Another song that I can’t quite get over–but in a totally different way–is “1994” by Jason Aldean. It’s just…you guys…I DON’T KNOW. If you don’t like country music, just move on, but if you do? Could you help me process this? I mean, I love Jason Aldean. And 1994 is when I started dating Mark, so it holds a special place in my heart. But this song? It’s just so…ridiculous. Is he mocking Joe Diffie? Honoring him? I DON’T GET IT.]

What I’m Eating:

Ah yes, what have I been eating? Well, there was the time I re-discovered the chocolate cake in a mug trick. I also made some fun mini fruit pizzas that I’m going to share with you soon. Oh, and I also bought some kiwis–and then realized I had no idea what to do with them.

So, really, I have nothing exciting or important to say about what I’ve been eating.

Best of this Blog:

Happy {Blog} Birthday to Me! And to YOU!
I started the month with my 5-year blog anniversary. Looking back on half a decade of blogging was a lot of fun!

For When You Think it Would Take a Miracle
And then I bared my soul about the miracle that my marriage received last year when we fell apart. Opening up like that was excruciating, but you all were incredibly supportive and some were even encouraged to keep hoping for your own miracles.

Teacher Gift Idea: Brown Sugar Body Scrub
Finally, I shared an easy but awesome gift idea for Teacher Appreciation Day (coming up on May 7)!

And then there were the videos:

If you love New Girl (NICK!! AND JESS!!), and if you love Auto-Tune (um, hello? WHO DOESN’T?), you will watch this video over and over again. Or maybe that’s just me…

Auto-Tune the New Girl

I’m sure many of you have seen the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video, showing that women are more beautiful than they think they are. Well, this spoof breaks the harsh news to men that they are actually NOT as beautiful as they think they are. It’s pretty much hilarious. And…spot on.

Real Beauty Sketches – Men {A Parody}

What were YOU into in April?? This post will be linked up with HopefulLeigh. And it includes affiliate links.

What should you watch next?


Every month, we are bombarded with new TV series and movies—and it can be overwhelming to figure out what to watch! (I know, I know, what a problem to have!) I'm here to help. My monthly Watch Guides list out all the returning series, new series, and new movies, along with premiere dates and where to watch them. Plus, I tell you my personal picks for the month to help you narrow it all down.

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