It's the last month of 2018 and somehow during all the craziness of the holidays, I managed to read 10 books! It was a really good reading month, and I can't wait to share my thoughts and feelings with y'all. Let's jump right in!

I started off the month reading a book that has sat on my shelf for the longest time. You know how you see a book over and over and eventually you get it because everyone is raving about it? That was this book for me. I bought it because I kept seeing it all over Instagram and Goodreads. It sat on my shelf for probably 4 months until I decided to try it this month. And guess what? I LOVED this book. I loved it so much that it made my top 10 of 2018 list. It's sooooo good y'all! It's about a woman who is arrested for the murder of her best friend 20 years ago. The book jumps back and forth with the timeline so you get to hear about her life after she serves jail time for her role in the murder and what really happened all those years ago. This one is full of twists and shockers, and I loved every second of it. If you love thrillers, pick this one up! It's darker and intense, but so good!

If you've followed my book account/reviews for a long time. you've heard me rave about R.S. Grey. She's an author that you can't find in stores. Her books are available with Kindle Unlimited and you can also order her paperbacks on Amazon. She's the reason I got Kindle Unlimited. Two years ago my mother had an overnight procedure at the hospital and I spent the night with her. I needed a quick read and I discovered R.S. Grey. I LOVE her books. They are quick little romance stories that you can devour in no time. Her newest book, Hotshot Doc was sooo good! It's about a brilliant but rude young doctor who falls in love with his surgical assistant. *Swoon*

One Day in December is another book that has been EVERYWHERE here lately. It was also chosen as our #lalalifebookclub book for December (as well as Reese Witherspoon's book club) Sadly I did not love this book. I thought it was boring and I didn't get the romance between the two main characters. I especially couldn't stand Jack, the male lead. It was just not the book for me. But I am obviously in the minority on this one because everyone is loving it!

Is there any way I wasn't going to read a new Colleen Hoover?? I haven't been the biggest fan of her last three books, so I was nervous about this one, but y'all it was phenomenal. Oh my goodness the ending of this book will blow your mind. It's very different from her usual books, but sooooo good!!

Random House sent me a copy of The Adults by Caroline Hulse, which I was so excited about because it's been on my list for the longest! It's about a man and woman who have a daughter together, but they are divorced. In order to make the holidays enjoyable for the little girl, they decide to go on a vacation together, along with their new spouses. I really liked this one. Yes, it's a little boring at times and there definitely could have been more of a conflict, but I thought it was a good read. If you like Liane Moraity's earlier work like The Husband's Secret, Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, you'll like this one!

I originally heard about Gillian French's book, The Lies They Tell back in the summer. As soon as I read the synopsis, I immediately went to Amazon and ordered it. I apparently mixed up the title name when I was ordering it because I accidentally ordered Lies You Never Told Me. LOL It took me forever to find the book I was actually interested in, but when I finally did, I ordered it and read it. Sadly I didn't love it as much as I had hoped I would. It's about a girl who works for a country club in a summer town. Six months ago, a fire destroyed a mansion in the town and killed three of the four family members. The main character befriends the remaining family member and his two friends and discovers what really happened. It had a lot going on and I didn't really get into any of it. or connect with any of the characters. I will say it was gorgeously written and the mood/atmosphere was done really well. I think I would have enjoyed it more in the summer, too. 

Y'all know my obsession with romance stories. I'm forever in pursuit of a good love story that features the same set of characters in multiple books. I discovered Jenny Holiday recently, so I decided to try out her Bridesmaid series. I really liked this one, and I've currently moved onto book 2. It's not my favorite romance series, but it's good. It does get cheesy at times, but not too bad. It's nowhere as good as Lauren Layne's books, but I would recommend!

I read an ARC of Jewel E. Ann's newest book, A Place Without You. This one comes out January 1st. If you've never read a Jewel E. Ann book, you don't know what you're missing. Oh y'all, these books are the most unpredictable books I've ever read. While I'm not a fan of everything she writes, I fly though them all. Transcend/Epoch is my absolute favorite. This new one was in the middle for me. I really liked it, but there were some parts that I didn't care for. It's about a girl who meets this guy at Cochella and falls in love with him. Once they leave the festival and go back home, she realizes he's her new guidance counselor at her school (she's a senior in high school. but she's 19) The book spans over the next 3 years. It's good!

I also read an ARC of Marybeth Mayhew Whalen's upcoming book, Only Ever Her. I read When We Were Worthy by the same author last year and I loved it. I was super excited to get an ARC of this book that comes out in the spring. Y'all, this book was SO good! It's now my favorite MMW book (although I still haven't read The Things We Wish Were True) It's about a girl who is getting married in 4 days. At the beginning of the book, we learn that the man that was sent to prison for murdering her mother when the main character was 3 years old is being released. The bride later goes missing and everyone is searching for her. I loved this one!

So that's what I read this month. I'd love to hear what you read or if you read any of these!

My favorite of the month:
I'm going to start giving away my favorite book from each month and this month it's Jar of Hearts! This giveaway is only for my blog and Facebook page. To enter, comment below! I'll randomly pick a winner on Sunday night (12/30) Good Luck!

Check out my other book reviews this year:

Follow LaLa Life Book Club on Instagram and Facebook for more book recommendations!

It's the week before Christmas, which is why there isn't any Sheetrock yet! This week they did all the insulation though. I talked with my contractor yesterday, and he said they will start putting in drywall next week after Christmas, so I'm crossing my fingers that by this time next week I will have Sheetrock in places. This is one step I'm most excited about! I think it will help shape the inside of the house and allow me to start envisioning the rooms more. I can also start working on paint exciting! :)))))

So this week didn't have a lot of noticeable progress, but it's still progress. The brick layers were suppose to come and do the front part of the house that is going to be brick, along with the front porch columns and the doorsteps, but of course we've had more rain. It has to be the rainiest fall/winter on record. It sure feels that way! Here's a bunch of boring pictures of the insulation because that's where we're at right now! 

To see more of my house construction process, check out these posts:

Hi friends! I thought it would be neat to take a day of my life and share it with y'all. Shay Shull does this from time to time, and I always find these types of posts so interesting, so I thought I'd do one. 

A little background if you're new around here and don't know me. I'm a 5th grade ELA (reading) teacher in a small town in Alabama. I'm also a blogger/TpT author. I'm in my early 30's, single and I have no kids (of my own! I have tons of kids that I've taught and claimed as my own :) ). I sometimes get messages/comments/emails asking about being single in your 30's and dealing with this fact. I am very happy with my life and being independent. I have never wanted kids, and while I'm not opposed to getting married, I haven't found anyone that I would give up my single life for and if that never happens, that's okay! I am a firm believer that you don't need someone else to make you happy. You're in charge of your own happiness. Yes, that might not be the "norm," but it's what makes me happy.  :)

Now let's get started with my day!

Every weekday morning I wake up at 4am. I realize this is extremely early. I like to wake up and have time to get some stuff done before having to go to work. 

Every single day, the first thing I have to do is eat a pack of PB crackers and drink some diet coke. I consider this my breakfast during the workweek. You know how people say they can't do anything before they have their coffee in the morning? Well I can't do anything until I eat something when I wake up. Is this weird or normal? lol!
I sit and eat my PB crackers while I check email and visit a few blogs and catch up on Instagram. I usually give myself around 15 minutes or so to just sit down, eat breakfast, and wake up. After that, it's time for coffee!

I'm a big coffee drinker. I usually have 3-4 cups a day, but the only the first one is caffeinated! I'm picky about my coffee. I only like a light, breakfast blend. Right now I'm really liking this one from the McCafe McDonalds brand.
I take my coffee with two creamers and nothing else. I love these individual servings of the Nestle Coffee Mate creamer. Two of these are perfect for how I take my coffee because there's no guess work involved in pouring too much or too little. Keep in mind, I'm fixing my coffee at around 4:20am. I'm pretty much still a zombie, so I need as much easiness as I can get! ;)

When my coffee is ready to drink, I sit down and enjoy it while reading. Y'all know I'm a huge reader and everyone always asks how I'm able to read so much. Reading is my stress reliever, so I carve out as much time for it as I can, like right now. I usually sit and read for around 25-30 minutes.

By this time it's around 5am and it's time to start to work! Not my teaching job, but my other job. I go to my desk and work on whatever I have going on for my blog/TpT business at the time. On this particular morning, I was working on formatting my January Fluency Files and updating the January Comp Files to include the "more room to write" version. Since it's still dark outside during this time of day, I can never do any photographs, so I stick to more of the computer based work for this work session.

If I don't have any monthly resources that I'm working on or if nothing is coming to me creatively, I work on blog work or responding to Q&As on TpT or organizing future resources or scheduling things on Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook. There's always something to be done!

After working on my second job for about 30 minutes (45 if it's a dry shampoo day!), it's time to start getting ready for work. 

While I'm putting on my makeup, I log onto Netflix and watch an episode of something. I'm not a huge TV watcher, but I'm all about some Netflix. I use this time to multitask. (I cannot multi task with audio books...I can't concentrate on an actual book unless I have the book in my hands and I'm looking at the words...anyone else??) I'm currently on season 3 of Gossip Girl. I mean, I've watched the entire series before, but it's one of my favorites so I'm going back through for the second or third time. It's a good way to start the day!

After I've fixed my hair and gotten dressed, it's time to fix my second cup of coffee (now onto decaf) and leave for work. 

My work day officially starts at 7:15am, but I try and get there before 7:10. This doesn't always happen, but I try. Homeroom lasts until 7:45 and then my kids are off to PE. Yep, 5th grade has PE first thing. And yep. That means that for the rest of the day there are no breaks. 😳

During my plan time, I always try and quickly eat something because by this time, it's by about 4 hours since I had those PB crackers!
***This is an old picture, as you can probably tell from the calendar. I completely forgot take a picture of my mid morning snack from this day! 

I teach three classes of 5th grade ELA. My kids get back from PE at 8:40. The rest of the day is pretty much the same schedule everyday:

1st block: 8:40 to 10:00
Enrichment (intervention time): 10:00 to 10:30
2nd Block: 10:30 to 12:45
Lunch: 11:00 to 11:30
3rd Block: 12:45 to 2:15
Break: 2:25- 2:50

On this particular day, we were working on creating anchor charts for theme. The kids worked in groups to make their own anchor chart and then used that anchor chart to "teach" the rest of the class how to find the theme of a fiction text.

Once all the kids leave for the day, I come back to my classroom and try and straighten up a bit. I hate to leave with everything in a mess because I feel like that just starts the next day off on the wrong foot. 

Once 3:15 rolls around, it's time to leave. I admire people that stay after school for long periods of time every afternoon. I just cannot do it. My energy is gone at that period and I need to go home and recharge. I do much better at working on stuff for school at home after I've sat down and taken a little break. I used to try and stay until 4pm every afternoon, but I just found that to not be effective. It's like my brain couldn't process anything and I just sat at my desk looking around the room wondering what to do first. Going home and taking a short break helps me tremendously! 

When I get home, I always give myself an hour to sit down and look online/read/eat supper before getting started with my blog/TpT work or any work I need to do to prepare for the next day's lessons. For the past 4 months, this part of my day hasn't gone as smoothly as it normally does because I'm building a house and there's always something that needs to be done in the afternoons, which makes working a bit difficult. I can't wait to be settled in my office and have everything in its place! February, hurry up!

Do y'all eat supper incredibly early? I have always eaten supper as soon as I get home from work. When I taught teach first grade, we would eat lunch at 10:30 so by the time I got home I would be famished. Now I eat lunch at 11:00, but I still like having an early supper. 
On this particular day, I had spaghetti and a piece of garlic bread. I like my spaghetti plain...don't judge! :)

After I've eaten supper and "detoxed" from work by mindlessly looking online or reading, it's usually around 4:15/4:30 and it's time to get to work on my TpT business and blog work! Now that the time has changed, it gets dark so early, so I make sure and do any photographing that needs to be done while I still have some natural light.

I try and photograph next to a low window so I can capture as much natural light as possible. I took the left picture so you could see what's around the resource that I'm photographing and then on the right you can see what the actual photograph ends up looking like. Sometimes I use a big poster board or sheet or wrapping paper if I want a different background, but I also like the look of the wood floors for some pictures, too! Side note: that rolled up thing in the left picture is my rug for my office. I snagged it for $300 off on Black Friday! I LOVE Rugs USA!

I usually work on blog/TpT work for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours each night. Sometimes my day has just been too exhausting and I just can't do it, but most of the time I try and get as much done as I can. While I work, I have some Broadway show tunes playing, so that makes it more fun. If you know me, you know I LOVE musicals and I love singing my favorite songs from my favorite musicals. I can't carry a tune to save my life, but I love it! :)

Around 5:30 or 6pm, I usually have another cup of {decaf} coffee and I start preparing photos for Instagram/Facebook. I scroll through my phone to see what I want to share and then edit the pictures and write captions. On this particular night I was working on editing and posting my Christmas Around the World Comp Files unit. I also edited and posted a photo for my #lalalifebookclub December book club pick, One Day in December. 

I used several different photo editing apps, but my favorite is Afterlight!

I always post on my teaching account around 7:30pm and my bookstagram account around 6pm. If I have a house update picture or fashion photo (oh y'all, I have been majorly slouching in the fashion department and I need to figure out a way to stop slobbing around! It's time for a makeover ;) ) I post that on my life+style account during this time, too. I post during these times because that's my highest engagement times. Since Instagram changed their algorithms, it's harder to figure out how/what/when to post in order for your followers to see your content. It's a guessing game that you have to try and understand!

Around 7:30/7:45pm, I finally call it a day. I take a bath and change into my PJs and curl up with my book. Since I'm not a big TV fan, I usually read or look online until it's time for bed. Annnnd since I get up at 4am every morning, bedtime is quite early for me! I'm doing good if I see 9pm most nights! HA!

So that's a glimpse into my usual daily routine. It's definitely busy and jam packed, but it's a good life and I love it!
:) :) :)

Week 11 was so exciting because you can tell a noticeable different in the exterior of the house....siding! It was delivered in week 10, but there has been so much rain. Thankfully we had a few drier days and they were able to get it put up this week. I LOVE the color! I had such a hard time deciding on what I wanted to go with. I originally loved "Misty Shadow" but after researching that and talking with my contractor, I felt that was too dark with the roof color that I went with. I thought it would all be too much and look too dark. I then thought about "harbor grey" but I wanted something darker. Someone on Instagram sent me pictures of her house that had "Scottish Thistle" and I was sold! It looks grayer in the sunlight, which we haven't had much of lately! No, it isn't at all what I originally thought I'd end up with, but I love it!

**The windows aren't suppose to be checkerboard like that...the screens aren't fixed! :)

I adore the back porch. The rest of the house is vertical vinyl with shakes in the gables and brick on one part, but I wanted the shakes on the entire back porch. I LOVE how the shakes have a Cape Cod feel to them. The french doors won't be gray...they will be painted white.

They also wired for the garage door. 

And lots of ductwork for the heating and cooling system happened this week. They are getting ready to do the insulation, which means we are one step closer to drywall! I am SOOO excited about the Sheetrock stage! 

To finish week 11, my sweet Pawpaw helped me plant some trees. I bought 10 leyland cypress trees on Ebay to plant in the back yard where I had to take out some trees that I wanted to keep. Since we  have to fix the yard in the spring (because right now it's just a mud pit ha!) we planted them in the middle of the yard to keep them alive. When it's time to fix the yard in a few months, we will move them to their permanent place.

That wraps up a productive week 11 at the house!

To see more of my house construction process, check out these posts:


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