Paris in July 2022


It’s Paris in July 2022, hosted by Thyme for Tea and Readerbuzz. Last year I shared photos and stories of our trip there in 2010, but this time around I’ll be doing some of the usual things, books, movies, puzzles, postcards, food, wine..

Here are some of the books I’ve set aside for the month and it was the extent of my pre-planning, lol, BUT this week I watched James Corden’s Crosswalk the Musical in Paris -Les Miserables again and laughed out loud just like the first time I saw it. Enjoy.

This Week – Birthday Movie

We started the week with this beautiful dusting of snow. And ended it with Jason’s birthday

We went to the movies for the first time since 2020 and saw Sonic 2. Even though it was Sonic I was so happy to be back in the theater! We went to the noon show on Friday so there were only a few other families in a very big theater.

This week has been ridiculously busy. Jason birthday prep, book sale prep, election training prep, and still managing to finish a book a day! Oh, and trying to get all of our homeschooling stuff together so we can get it approved. I may have even found a camp for Gage for most of the summer, but I’m still waiting for details.

I won the March Madness wager this year and so we spent last Saturday watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Yes, over 9 1/2 hours of Middle Earth. It was so much fun introducing Gage to one of our favorites. I most certainly counted it for my book of the day, lol.

Currently reading

What I read this week (post here)

9 books this week, for a year to date total of 125

On TV

We watched Bridgerton, season 2. We didn’t like it as much as the first season.

What should our next binge-worthy series be?

This Week – Quick Road Trip

Highlights of the Week – Jason decided that he couldn’t take the Cleveland cold and snow for another week and booked us a stay on Lake Norman in North Carolina. He did this late Friday afternoon and we left bright and early Sunday, lol. I was already 100% stressed and when he came to me on Friday afternoon with his plan I have to admit I was pissed. That is not a word I use lightly. My husband came to me with photos of this gorgeous condo on the lake with promises of beautiful weather and all I could think about what how long my multiple to-do lists were. For us, going on a road trip involves some planning mainly due to Gage’s food allergies, but I was able to get that done and our cat to the vet and a week’s work of washing and packing and homeschool planning in a day and a half. It really wasn’t until we got there and I had a glass of wine on the deck that I forgave him.

As I enjoyed our week away, we watched, read, and talked about what was happening in Ukraine and I felt all kinds of entitled for my attitude. It’s truly heartbreaking. Seeing the destruction and death and one man’s insatiable thirst for power is difficult to take. I’ve been praying for Ukraine and even booked a Ukraine Experience on AirBnb on our way home, mainly as a way to feel as though I was doing something (Jason had different opinions, but it gave me a momentary sense of helping).

Now that we’re home, the worries that I left with are still here, but I’m hoping to maintain a level of chill for as long as I can so, here are are pics from our week away.

Book a Day Challenge Homestretch

As I see the end of my book a day challenge fast approaching I am taking a very laid back approach. Lots of picture books and a movie on Christmas (a movie inspired by a classic kids book that I’m reading today) are helping me wind down a very successful reading year.

I’m going to have 3 book wrap up posts and 2 movies posts this week, so keep an eye out for my favorites this week.

Here’s what I’ve read since my last update…

The Storm Sister (The Seven Sisters #2)
The Storm Sisters by Lucinda Riley. 593 pages, published 2015

 The Storm Sister was book two in the Seven Sisters series that I started a few weeks ago. This one was set in the classical music world and I enjoyed learning about something new. I like the different stories of each of the series and the overriding mystery of them all that will keep me reading this series.

The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle
The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith. 224 pages, pub. 2014

If you need a quick Christmas listen to get you in the holiday spirit I recommend this audiobook read by the author. The 13th Gift is a true story that will give you all of the Christmasy feels.

After the sudden death of her husband Joanne was having a hard time getting into the spirit of the holidays. Her three kids were still reeling from the loss of their father too when mysterious gifts began appearing on their front porch. With each gift, the family began to heal.

Such an inspiring story. I loved her explanation of what happened and how she finally tracked down her “True Friends” fifteen years later.

I don’t read a lot of holiday stories during December, but I’m so glad I listened to this one!

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days
How To Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson. 336 pages, pub.2021

I started reading How To Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days a few days ago and just wasn’t feeling it, so I switched to the audio yesterday and breezed right through. Lu is a single artist in her 40s who is obsessed with The One and when she reads that he is going to get married in 90 days she knows she needs a plan. Enter True. He was her brother’s best friend before he died and has stayed close to Lu ever since. He knows a guy who can get a one-on-one with Keanu and a plan is hatched.

I ended up liking it, even if I had a hard time understanding Lu. True is a great and a worthy choice if Keanu is unavailable 😁

Do you have a favorite Keanu movie?

The Essential Wisdom of the First Ladies
The Essential Wisdom of the First Ladies edited by Carol Kelly-Gangi. 128 pages, pub. 2020

I spent a few days reading The Essential Wisdom of the First Ladies and really enjoyed it. Swipe through to see the book and 8 pages of included quotes that I particularly liked. It went through Melanie Trump and even had a quote about Jill Biden from Michelle Obama so it feels up to date. This would make a great gift!

What Miss Mitchell Saw
What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett. 40 pages, pub. 2019

Loved the story of a woman outdiscovering a man when it just wasn’t done and the illustrations were fantastic. Loved it!

The Don't Worry Book
The Don’t Worry Book by Todd Parr. 32 pages, pub. 2019

I love Todd Parr’s books and have rea so many with Gage. This is perfect for any kid overwhelmed by the last few years.

Bad Kitty Goes on Vacation

Bad Kitty Goes on Vacation by Nick Bruel. 160 pages, pub. 2020

This one wasn’t my favorite mainly because it was mostly about Uncle Murray, but it was a cute addition to the graphic series for kids and Gage always likes Bad Kitty.

I’ve also read…

Malala Yousafzai: Champion for Education (Rookie Biographies) (Library Edition)
Scholastic Discover More Reader Level 3: Where in the World?
Mr. Popper's Penguins
The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher, #22)
Mr.Popper'sPenguinsTeaser.jpg
We watched Mr. Popper’s Penguins with Jim Carrey as a family on Christmas. It was weird and cute.

I will be editing this post the next four days by adding the books I finish this year.

October is here

It’s over a week into October and here I am. October is a crazy month for us, We have 2 birthdays and an anniversary in within a week and half and this year we decided to add a four state road trip into the mix, lol.

I’ve been trying to read some creepy books for this spooky month.


I woke up to find 50 flowers waiting for me. Happy birthday month to me!

I’m intending to read from these stacks worthy of #ripxiv #ripperils 💀. I’ve got ghosts, magic, horror, and mystery waiting for me this month.

What’s your favorite story with a ghost?

For my first ghostly story I read the kids book The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall and loved it! What a great intro for kids into the the horror stories of the day. It had a little Haunting of Bly Manor feel, only with a 12 year old orphan girl protagonist. There was real danger and scares here.
First flowers and this morning balloons! I’m feeling the birthday love and I still have 9 days to go! 🎉

The Flip by Phillip Michael Cash was full of ghosts, just what this month calls for. A newly married couple flips houses and one of them falls in love with an old Victorian, hoping to make it their permanent home. The other feels the presence of spirits not altogether friendly. The ghosts are dealing with issues of their own and you even get their backstory of their time in the house.

A quick and ghostly October read 👻
This morning a vintage 1971 wine glass and a bottle of Korbel, added to my earlier balloons, and flowers and I’m convinced I should turn 50 every year! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

And I finished up Dragon Tears by Dean Koontz. An evil wanna be god nicknamed Tick Tock because he tells people when they’re gonna die, wreaks havoc. Fortunately, there’s a hero dog that saves the day more than once. A decent audio for October listening.

The birthday fairy came again and brought 50 chocolates from @malleyschoc 🧚‍♂️ You may notice the pack of 2 chocolate covered pretzels is already empty. 🥨🍫

I read the spooky Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child and loved it for an October read. People in the Catskills are being brutally murdered. First they say it’s a bear, and then a wolf, but some people suspect a more human element.

This is the most recent of the Jeremy Logan series and even though I haven’t read any of the others I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I’m tempted to go back and read a few others this month. Think X-Files or Supernatural.
My birthday fairy brought some sparkly numbers s as d 2 books on turning 50. At breakfast Gage and I read All the Great Things About Turning 50. I’ll be using it as a journal since it’s 104 empty pages 🤣🤣. The other one, 50 Things To Do When You Turn 50, looked a bit more serious. I’ll keep you posted.

I read Gage the 84 page book, Scary Tales: One-Eyed Doll. Spooky and fun, it was a great atmospheric October read. Siblings dig up an old box from the yard of an abandoned house. Inside the locked box they found a doll. The 5 year old girl takes it home and starts to act strangely forcing her brother to ask questions about the house. Loved the layout of the book and the few pictures included. I’m going to track down some more of this series this month.

A few years ago Jason bought me a Keurig and we use the reusable pods because all of this plastic trash everyday would drive me nuts. But I’m not gonna lie, when the birthday fairy brought me an assortment of 50 coffees for the machine I was happy to know that on more difficult mornings I could skip a few steps for my joe. It even came with a fun mug for those mornings 😆

Gage read me Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol: The Sleepwalking Snowman. This is #7 and we haven’t read any of the others, but when the library put up their spooky story display for kids I grabbed randomly. Desmond and his best friend Andres (who happens to be the book’s author) are called upon to solve a case from someone in their school. What the find is a snowball bully and something scary enough to only come to life in a dream.

Loved the humor, the illustrations, and the spookiness of this Halloween thriller for the older elementary school set. We will definitely be picking up more from this series! 120 pages.
The birthday fairy doesn’t seem to be pacing himself. Day 7 of his visits brought me shirts that I will be wearing proudly. Most especially the one touting all original parts, although there are a few I wouldn’t mind trading in for newer models. Still 4 days til the big day.

I listened to another from the Jeremy Logan series by Lincoln Child since I liked the other one I read. It was just as appropriate for October since Dr. Logan is a ghost hunter. This one is about a mysterious scientific think tank and the scientists who are going crazy. Logan discovers a secret room with a machine that seems to summon the supernatural. I like Logan, the atmospheric setting, and the moral quandary presented. This is a fun series!
Have you ever been mentioned in a book? Thank you Ivy Zelman for the nice mention of Jason is your book, Gimme Shelter: Hard Calls + Soft Skills From a Wall Street Trailblazer.

It’s Ivy who brought us to Cleveland in 2000. Her maternity leave allowed us to live in up in midtown Manhattan for 4 months. She always treated Jason and I well, even inviting us to parties at her home and events for her kids. Thanks to her I attended my first and only Bris. Soon after he started, fresh out of college, I remember her gifting him a $200 dinner wherever he wanted to go. Needless to say, we had to do a little looking to find out where we could blow $200 on a dinner for 2 😂. Now I request Johnny’s downtown every birthday!

She has written a book about her ascent to the #1 analyst in her field and the lessons she learned along the way. In a male dominated profession she did things differently, not relying on her name or degree at an Ivy League school. I liked getting a different, more personal perspective from a powerhouse woman. And yes, the best page is 74, the one pictured, for obvious reasons.

Jason worked for Ivy for 4 years and she taught him well.

September wrap up and favorites

I’m barely holding on to my sanity right now, but my book a day success continues (barely).

My September reads with my favorites front ant center.

❤️ Infinite Hope: A Black Artists’ Journey From WWII to Peace by Ashley Bryan

❤️ Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

❤️ The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab

❤️ I Am Beauty: Timeless Skincare and Beauty for Women 40 and Over by Riku Campo

❤️ March trilogy by John Lewis

What was the best thing you read in September?

A few I haven’t talked about yet…

Are you a library book sale lover? We had our first book sale in 2 years. I helped set up Wednesday and Thursday and yesterday I wheeled 7 carts of books outside and spent the day talking to folks and directing them inside to where we had thousands of books waiting for them.

A few fun happenings…
💵 a man paid with a $2 bill. I joked with him about it and he pulled out a second one and gave it to me as a tip. I don’t think I’ve ever held 2 $2 bills at once!

📖a conversation with a retired librarian led to a few fun personal stories about children’s authors Dav Pilkey and Cynthia Rylant when they lived together in the area way back when. Conversations like this made my day.

❤️ it was around 5 and I had been in the sun since 9, but people were still looking at the carts and I started a conversation with one of the last women about the latest Lisa Kleypas book that she had just checked out. This led to a 15 minute conversation about historical romances where she tried to convince me that I had to read the Bridgerton series instead of just watching the Netflix series. She was just as passionate as you were @oursewgoodlife so I’m in 😁

A fun day day, but I’m burnt and exhausted and taking today off 😁. I did manage to read through Seinfeld Companion about the first 61 episodes of my favorite show ever and it was a fun, light diversion between bookish fun.

I didn’t post yesterday but we watched The Tale of Desperaux as a family. Gage loved the book, calls it his favorite, so it was fun to discuss the many, many changes the movie made and possible reasons why. Even with all of the changes he still really liked the movie too.

I always bring home Jack Reacher books when I find them, knowing I’ll get to them all eventually. I didn’t have #20 so I listened instead.

The driving storyline behind this one is horrific on many levels, but it takes awhile to get there so it’s not all dark.

Reacher meets a woman 😱. I know, I know, this is a common occurrence but something different and unexpected happens with this one…and it’s not just that she convinces him to go to the emergency room.

This wasn’t my favorite, but learning a bit more about the workings of the dark web was interesting. Looking forward to following Reacher on his continued journey.
What’s up with all of the honey bears around my book of the day? Gage took The World of Honey taste testing class online at @outschool today. We love Outschool classes and this was the first one that we had to order our supplies, but it was so worth it! These honeys came from a farm here in Ohio, Kline’s Honey Bee Farm (you can order these samplers that come with colorful fliers and information on bees and honey on @etsy ). I made him take the class in the kitchen so I could follow along 😂. All three of us had different favorites, but universally hated buckwheat and fall honey.

Do you have a favorite honey?

I picked up my book at the library sale over the weekend. Long Story Short has (mostly) 3 panel comics for 100 (mostly) classics. The illustrations were great and I loved that there were more recent titles like, A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Graveyard Book by Gaiman alongside the oldies but goodies. It fell short in the humor department for me. Maybe it just wasn’t my taste, but I was underwhelmed.

But, hey, the honey tasting was fun! 🐝
So, do you think masks like this are creepy or beautiful?

I bought this in Venice on our 2008 Italy trip. I love these masks and find them creepy AND beautiful.

This is the last book I found at the library book sale over the weekend and was a relaxing way to spend some time. A glass of wine is a must. Italian Dreams is mainly a book of interesting photographs with quotes about Italy. The pictures are not your typical tourist shots and are mini works of art. I love Italy and this is perfect for my bookshelf.
We read When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex because we’re learning about South Dakota this week. The book is beautifully told and illustrated. Starting with her childhood as a shy girl who didn’t like the same things other kids did and continuing her habit of ‘looking for things’ into adulthood, this book gives hope to all kids everywhere.

Sue found the largest, most complete at 90%, and best preserved T. Rex ever found. And her coworkers named the T. Rex after her in honor of her discovery.

Great for younger or older elementary, especially for girls, any kid who feels different, or those interested in dinosaurs or science. That covers almost everyone right?

Paris in July Wrap Up

This will be a long post, but you can scroll to the end if you want to see my July favorites 🙂

In July I read 31 books and watched 3 movies. 24 were Paris related, 2 were Gage read alongs, 2 were for homeschool, 1 devotional, and 1 for a book tour.

Here’s a link to my Paris in July posts 1 2 3 4 5 6 I’m so thankful to Tamara at Thyme for Tea for hosting such a fun event!

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve read this last week…

Sunday was ‘work’ reading. I’ve set aside this week for homeschool prep and this book was a great reminder of what I like most about homeschooling. I thought our first year went well, but I was determined to find a full curriculum this year to make it easier on me. It was nice to remind myself that I am pretty good at making learning fun, if only I keep the expectations at bay. Trying to homeschool like regular school is where many of our struggles came from last year and committing to someone else’s curriculum takes away the flexibility I love so much.

The Call of the Wild + Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment is a great book if you’re thinking about homeschooling or if you’re already homeschooling but need a little encouragement.

Not to let a July day go by without a little French love, I drank several glasses of Cotes du Rhone while I read the book. And I’ve included a few pics of the beautiful city of Lyon.
My most vivid image of Joan of Arc is from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, so obviously, starting at this level 4, 48 page book is where I needed to be. Now I feel liked I have some context relating to the saints Joan the Maid (as she called herself) heard. I’m still not exactly sure what to make of her. Mad skills, mad followers or just plain mad? A tragedy any way you look at it.

Any Joan fans out there? What do you like about her story?

Since were nearing the end of Paris in July I threw in a few photos from Lyon, which is obviously not Paris, but certainly closer than where I am now!

I thought I was going to love this book, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. A dark story about a serial killer with the best nose in the world, what’s not to love? Well, quite a bit actually.

In 19th century Paris, Grenouille was born in a fish market to a mother who immediately threw him in the trash just like she had all the ones before him. He survived (his mother did not) but barely, managing an okay existence until his ability to identify any smell landed him as an apprentice to a perfumer. And then his obsession and killing began.

I was amused by the first chapter or two but really struggled to finish this one. I got lost in the writing and that may have been due to the the translation from German, but maybe not since the story also bored me. Even a random city-wide public orgy couldn’t save it 🤷🏻‍♀️
Let’s start with our pics from Montmartre. 11 years later and I still remember our afternoon spent there because I tasted my first crepe with Nutella and banana and it was glorious.

I read Sarah’s Key. It’s been around awhile but I’ve never had a desire to read it even with all of the positive reviews of it. Dual storylines, one in 1942 an one in the early 2000s, both in France. A heartbreaking time in history as the French police rounded up Jewish families. It took me a little while to warm to the current storyline, but I did. I really liked this one.

Sammi and I both have the same feeling about this one The Grand Odalisque. A stylish, sexy graphic novel about two and then three women who steal paintings from Paris museums. I’m sure this has a wide fan base, but not so much here. I do like the occasional graphic novel, I’ve read two manga already this month, but prefer more substance. I did like the look of the oversized hardcover though which is half the battle in a picture book for adults 😄
Two fantastic picture books today! I recommend them both. Let’s start with the newest one.

Begin with a Bee is a beautifully illustrated book with a full circle story sure to please and educate kids. It’s about the rusty-patched bumblebee, native to the United States (honestly I never really knew the significance of this) and the first bee species put on the Endangered Species list in 2017. The story of a year in the life of a queen bee followed by 2 pages of facts and what you can do to help convinced me that I need to purchase this one after I return this to the library.

A Map to the World is a timely one if you are watching the Olympics with your kids. The family is part of the Hmong community in Minnesota. No it’s not about gymnast Sunni Lee, but I was struck by the coincidence. This is fiction, but based on the author’s own experience. It was touching and sweet. I do wish that there’d been some additional information about the Hmong people at the end of the book.

And drumroll please…

We finished our 1000 piece Paris Night & Day puzzle and had a fun time with it. I’ve also included my five favorite reads of the month, two being non-fiction!

Notre-Dame: The Soul of France by Agnes Poirier

My Life in France by Julia Child

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Paris then and now


I loved this book! Notre-Dame: The Soul of France was written after the devastating 2019 fire that left the church crumbling, but still standing. It starts with the shock of the fire told by those that were there and those tasked with taking care of the cathedral. It was riveting.
The bulk of the slim book covers Notre- Dame from its first stone in 1163 to the new bells of 2013. It covers each era of the cathedral and the politics, uprisings, and Paris events of the day. It’s a bite-sized history of France told through the lens of Notre-Dame.

The last section is about what’s happening now in the aftermath of the fire. The summation pages were some of my favorites.

“For she is not just any people’s palace. Notre-Dame is the beating heart of Paris. For more than 850 years, the echo of France’s glory and misery, of France’s victories and disasters, has resounded under those vaults. For more than 850 years, the French people have rolled for their deaths, sounded the tocsin and chimed their joy with the bells and bourbons of her towers. Atheists and believers can find the same memories, for they are France’s memories.”

It’s current events and history in one book and I highly recommend it.

I included a few pics from our 2010 trip. I shed some tears as I watched it burning on tv.

Have you been to Notre-Dame?
To continue my Paris travels I read the first of the Hugo Marston series, The Bookseller. Hugo, an American in charge of security at the US embassy in Paris, is on vacation. He goes to his favorite bookseller by the Seine and witnesses him being roughed up and kidnapped. No one will back up his story so he’s on his own and been told to lay off. Oh, and his trip back the States to see his wife? She tells him not to bother.

I liked getting to know more about the book trade in Paris, it’s serious business! I liked the day to day description of Paris and the diplomacy needed when working at the embassy. This is a nice start to an ongoing series (there are 10 so far). Off to see if my library has the second one.
A Dream of Flight: Alberto Santos-Dumont’s Race Around the Eiffel Tower is a great picture book about something I knew nothing about. At the turn of the century Henri Deutsch offered a prize of 100,000 francs to the first person who could pilot an airship from the Aero Club around the Eiffel Tower and back within 30 minutes. Santos-Dumont had been working on his hot air balloon with a motor inspired airship for a while, even crashing a few already, when he finally managed the feat. A nice piece of history and good illustrations.

Visit more posts from Paris in July at Thyme for Tea.

Paris in July Books, Memories, and a Puzzle!

Happy Fourth of July my American friends! We went to our local fireworks show on Friday night and are going to grill and spend the night in our tent tonight in our backyard! I imagine we’ll be up until very late hearing fireworks go off 🙂 I read one non-Paris book Homeschool Hacks by Linsey Knerl and thought it was well done for the beginning homeschool family.

I’ve been enjoying my memories of Paris and reading books set there this week. Here’s a recap (follow me on IG for everyday thoughts).

Still taking recommendations for anything French this month and make sure you visit Thyme For Tea to see what other bloggers are choosing to write about this month!

When we visited France in 2010 we went to visit friends who had moved to Lyon two years earlier. We stayed with them for 5 days and then went to Paris for 5 days. We had our days for Paris roughly planned (our friends met us up there for a few days too), but asked for recommendations because our train was going to get us there earlier than we thought. Our friends knew us well and we ended up in one of the coolest places, Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

It’s a 110 acre garden cemetery that opened in 1804. We didn’t have nearly enough time to spend there but appreciated our time, even managing to find a few famous people by just following the crowds. You can see our photos of the burial sites of Jim Morrison and Collette. Now I always recommend it for Paris traveling friends.

This ties into Anna in the French Kiss because these students who were attending the American School in Paris went there. Anna from Atlanta was sent to the boarding school for her senior year because her famous novelist dad (who very much brought Nicholas Sparks to mind) wanted her to have the best.

Anna finds friends, French cinema, and love for the city while also falling in love herself. I listened to this one and loved the narration by Kim Mai Guest. This was a fun, light teen novel., even if I did get frustrated with the girl!


Eiffel Tower

Sitting outside with my coffee thinking of Paris. The photo is from our trip 11 years ago.

I don’t know about you, but I get too many magazines. They get thrown in a box and I read them when I have time. Yesterday we had a pool date at a friend’s house and I grabbed 4 magazines to take. This was the one on the bottom. It’s from June 2020 😂. It was fated that I just now find it.

I read Paris Nocturne by Patrick Modiano and translated by Phoebe Weston-Evans. This was a confusing and strange little book, only 148 pages. A teenage boy is hit by a car in the streets of Paris and is injured badly enough to be in the hospital for a bit. When he’s sent home, a man from the accident makes him sign a paper and hands him a wad of money.

The narrator, some 40 years later, tells what happens next, but he also throws in scenes, thoughts, and dreams from his childhood and just before the accident. I’m ambivalent about this one, but was happy to read a book by a Nobel laureate.


Started a 1500 piece puzzle with the most important part!

That’s me with the Seine and the Eiffel Tower (you may need glasses to see it) behind me.