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Friday Fav: Libby App Connects to Your Local Library

It’s no secret that I love to read. Over the past few years, I’ve really jumped backed into this hobby. I started the year hoping to read 25 books, and I’m currently over 50! Thanks, Corona.

What’s really made this possible is my phone’s Libby app. It allows me to access electronic resources from my local library. I can borrow ebooks and magazines with the touch of a finger and access them on my phone or e-reader.

One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to put holds on popular titles. I believe each library may have its own queue length. Mine recently increased to allow me up to 15 holds at a time. The amount of time it takes to get each hold has decreased over the year, I think in large part to people staying home more and spending time getting through their to-be-read list. I typically can get new releases delivered in a manner of weeks.

However, Libby also has this new feature that I absolutely love that is also contributing to shorter hold times. When a hold becomes available, Libby gives you the option to deliver the hold now or delay it until a future date that you set. This way, you don’t have to start your 2-3 week loan before you’re ready nor lose your place in the hold line.

If you haven’t check out Libby yet, I highly recommend it. I’m all about inexpensive entertainment, and you – in my opinion – can’t get better than free library books that can transport you to any place or time that’s desired.

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Friday Fav: Apple Recipes!

Sure, I love me a PSL on occasion. (It’s actually one of the few Starbucks drinks I enjoy.) But, I much prefer apple treats in Fall, rather than pumpkin spice. This works out well because we recently took a trip to a local orchard to go apple picking, which left me with 1/2 a bushel of fruit. I’ve been spending the past week cooking up a storm to get through them all.

In today’s Friday Fav post, I want to share my favorite apple recipes. I leaned into recipes that required loads of fruit so I could tackle my huge bag.

  1. Instant Pot Applesauce – Both of the boys liked this applesauce, especially with added cinnamon. I liked that the apples cooked so quickly in the instant pot and that I was able to use up a bunch of apples at once. Bonus, no added sugar!
  2. Dutch Apple Pie – I cheated and bought store-made crusts, which meant that my pie crust was not as deep as it should have been. I ended up with two pies instead of one, but was missing depth in the pie. No complaints from the family though as they gobbled it up! I now have one pie in the freezer for Thanksgiving.
  3. Homemade Apple Cider – I never would have thought of making this until a friend recommended it. We love apple cider in this house and always pick up some in the Fall. This year I got to make it at home. It was SUPER easy. My favorite part was, for once, I didn’t have to peel and core the apples. Just cut them into quarters and throw them into the stock pot to cook for several hours. The aroma throughout the house while it cooked for three hours was almost as good as the drink itself.
  4. Air Fryer Apple Chips – This was another recommendation from a friend. I tried using the air fryer, and it works. I think mine is too small though because even with just one apple’s worth of fruit, the slices would overlap each other. It made it difficult for them to get crispy. I’ll have to try baking them in the oven instead.
  5. Chucky Apple Pumpkin Bread – I always like a bit of banana bread in the morning with my coffee. This time I subbed in an apple bread instead. It turned out well! Next time I may try it as muffins instead of bread so they bake faster.

And I still have 20 or so apples left. Of course, we’ve been snacking on them at lunch. I may need to make more applesauce or cider too, since those were so good. I was given some tips for using the apples for games and crafts with the kids too, so I may tackle some of those ideas as well.

Happy Friday!

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Friday Fav: CozyPhones

Like most students these days engaged in virtual learning this Fall, my kids are getting sick of wearing headphones for hours a day. Thankfully, I remembered these CozyPhones stored away for long car rides! They are comfy headbands with headphones built into the band. They help keep the volume level down for the kids’ ears and allow them to keep wearing headphones. Plus, the band is machine washable!

At this point, my boys rotate between the CozyPhones and more regular headphones throughout the day. No earbuds though. Their little ears can’t keep them in place for very long.

Of course, the price of CozyPhones has gone up with the move to virtual school for many, but I’d still say they are worth the $10-$15 per pair price tag. They earn the Friday Fav title because they help to keep my boys engaged in class and less disruptive, which means momma has more time to get things done on her own. Win, win!

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Friday Fav: Christmas PJs!

Even though it feels like March 285th, Christmas PJs are already out and available for purchase! When the kids were young we started the family tradition of receiving new Christmas PJs every Christmas Eve. In the beginning, I didn’t know where to find what I wanted or I’d forget and wait so late that I couldn’t get the sizes I needed.

Not this year!

Arriving today are these plaid hooded moose onesies. I don’t know what it is about the onesie PJs, but the boys love them.

I’ve found The Children’s Place to have nice quality PJs that are cute and comfy, which earns them the title of my Friday Fav this week. I’m extra excited to have one Christmas present purchase crossed off the list.

Happy Friday!

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Friday Fav: Free Magazines

Years ago I stumbled upon the knowledge that you could get access to many popular magazines for free. They arrive at my door every month as a nice surprise and a reminder to unwind and perhaps end the day curled up on the couch with a cool beverage and some freshly printed reading material.

Sites like Mercury Magazine and ValueMags offer free subscriptions to many popular magazines. You either pick a free magazine currently available on their site or sign up with your email address to receive email alerts when free subscriptions become available. Over the years, I’ve gotten subscriptions to Popular Mechanics, Men’s Health, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Family Circle, Redbook, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living, and HGTV magazine. It’s been great!

What’s the catch? Well, you obviously have to give the company some of your personal information to get the subscription, and they try to upsell you on other magazine subscriptions. (“Get X now for only $2!”) It just takes a few clicks of saying no before you can order the free subscription. For me, it’s a price I’m willing to pay to have free reading material delivered to my door.

I highly recommend checking it out if this sounds like something that might interest you.

Happy Friday!

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

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Friday Fav: Self-Care Products

Given the sameness of every day, I have found that “spoiling” myself with some self-care products has been a nice stress relief. Here are some of my favorite products for an at-home spa day.

  • Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength nail polish, particularly the Brilliant Blush color. It’s under $4 at Walmart! I love how long this brand lasts and its light shade with a shimmer. I’ve even attempted my own french manicure with this color as the base. I need some practice, but it’s certainly cheaper than a spa manicure.
  • Baby Foot Exfoliation Foot Peel is awesome! Stay with me here. It is kind of gross, but it’s so worth it. This is the best brand I’ve tried. You wrap your feet in these booties with “6 types of natural extracts” for one hour, wash it off, and wait for your feet to peel over the next several days. (You’ll want to wear socks.) Afterward, your feet are extra soft and worth the gross peeling feet stage.
  • Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer keeps my skin moisturized without feeling sticky like you can sometimes with lotion. It is quick and easy with a sweet subtle scent.
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel is a great facial moisturizer that is light and feels hydrating. A little bit goes a long way, which makes the small bottle last a while.
  • The Bow Ties and Bourbon scent from Bath and Body Works is one I love that my husband even tolerates well. It’s a seasonal scent, which means when I see it, I need to grab it immediately. I particularly like the “wallflowers” room air freshers and leave them in my bathroom so every time I walk in I get to smell the scent.

Husband, if you are reading this, bookmark this page for Christmas! *wink*

Happy Friday!

Photo by Camille Brodard ~ Kmile Feminine Creative Designer on Unsplash

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My Podcast Recs

I often enjoy a good podcast. For me, it’s a way to learn something new while I’m multitasking, whether that’s driving, exercising, or cleaning. My podcast consumption has decreased significantly now that I’m never commuting anywhere, but when I can sneak them in, here’s what I like to listen to most often:

Best of Both Worlds is hosted by Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger who are two working moms who discuss career-related and family topics. My caveat is they and their husbands all have well paying jobs, so many strategies discussed involve utilizing financial resources. I like their dynamic and the topics covered. I recently added to my “to read” list after episode 147: Summer Reading with KJ Dell’Antonia.

Freakonomics is hosted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books that I devoured ages ago. I enjoy how topics are explored in depth during each show with one or more interviews. Most often, the psychology of human decision making and the effect of unintended consequences is covered in a thoughtful and engaging way.

No Stupid Questions is a new podcast that’s a partnership between Stephen Dubner from Freakonomics and Angela Duckworth, university professor and author of Grit. These two co-host friends informally discuss a number of questions about human behavior. I feel like I’m sitting at a bar listening to friends chat. It’s a great mix of the banter I love from Best of Both Worlds and the intellectual simulation I enjoy from Freakonomics.

This American Life is hosted by Ira Glass. It is an extremely popular public radio show that covers a topic a week in good depth, typically featuring multiple stories centered around a theme. I recently listened to episode 709: The Reprieve, which explored how medical staff at one hospital in Detroit have been impacted by COVID-19, and episode 706: A Mess to Be Reckoned With about Lissa Yellow Bird, a woman who searches for missing people.

Reply All, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, has been a favorite in the past, but I haven’t loved some of their newer episodes. Too often I’m been on this hour-long journey in the podcast to have an unsatisfying and rather incomplete ending, which I find beyond frustrating. However, check out the archives. I really like their Yes Yes No episodes where their producer brings PJ and Alex a tweet he doesn’t understand and PJ and Alex give the background and explain it. Super tech support episodes are also good, like episode 147: The Woman in the Air Conditioner.

I’ve even introduced Mr. 7 year old to podcasts, and now the kids have a list of favorites I’ll have to cover in a future post. Let me know if you have any podcasts recommendations for either kids or adults. I’d love to explore more of them.

Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash