Month: August 2017

Back to School Haul|Pottery Barn Kids|Lunch Essentials


My four year old will be entering Pre-K for the 2017-2018 school year as she didn’t meet the cut off age for Kindergarten. Can’t say I’m not bummed about that because I’ve been teaching her basic math, and reading. I hate to think she’ll be kept back a year but it’s completely out of my hands. 

As Pre-K didn’t require much except the basics like hand soap, paper towels, wipes etc. I thought I’d do a review on our backpack and lunch items and why we had to buy so many different containers. 

If you don’t know this already, I am a bit obsessed with Pottery Barn Kids because of it’s durability. I feel like with PBK kids gear, I don’t have to buy backpacks and lunch totes yearly. From reviews, I’ve seen other moms talk about their kids using them for years. The price point for this kind of quality is not bad at all. I also like the backpack size which fits a preschooler perfectly without swallowing their tiny frame. So that was also a plus. 

Now that you know what I like about PBK backpack and lunch tote, here’s what I don’t like. The backpack is fine for now as she doesn’t need to take much stuff, a change of clothes and a folder maybe. But we’ll definitely have to upgrade once she hits grade 1, or even next year depending on the supplies she has to take to school. 

Let’s talk about the lunch tote and why you see two of them in the picture with a crap load of containers. PBK has a variety of different lunch totes but we went with the classic because my daughter doesn’t eat much. That being said, although you can’t go wrong with the quality, not many containers fit in there with other items such as a smaller container or juice box/water bottle. You’ll definitely want to purchase a bigger size tote for an older kid. The second lunch box is just a thermos brand one from Target. I randomly choose the largest sized one for when we send a food jar and a container. 

Here’s the price breakdown of what you see in the picture. I also did not pay full price for the PBK backpack and lunch items so I got a pretty good deal there. 

PBK backpack. These originally go for $39.99. Whoa! I know that’s a lot but with the coupon I had, I got it for $19. Sign up for their newsletter to get notifications on good deals. 

PBK Lunch Tote. Originally $20 but I got ours for $11.

Thermos Lunch Tote. $8.99 at Target.

Rubbermaid Lunch Blox. These are so cool. The containers clip onto the ice pack. Perfect size for small eaters. $8 on Amazon. 

PBK Food Jar. Orginally $18 but I payed $10 for ours which was cheaper than the thermos brand one so we went with that. 

Aladdin Food Jar. This is not a steel food jar like the thermos and pottery barn one. It’s made of plastic and keeps food hot for a lesser time. However, my daughter requested this and because I didn’t get her a trolls character backpack, I caved. The wide opening is perfect for soups and it seems durable enough to last us for years. $10 at Target. 

PBK double compartment container. This one I really like because there’s an ice pack that fits in the lid. Will be great for a little lunchable type situation. Originally $12.50 but I payed $8 for it on sale. 

PBK utensil set. Originally $8.50, paid $5 on sale. It’s a fork and spoon with a little holder. I thought it was practical and at five bucks, why not? 

PBK ice pack. That little horse you see in the picture is actually an ice pack. It came with another one in the shape of a peace sign. I ordered a couple of those some time back because they were .99 cents a pair. Originally $8.

Thermos Water Bottle. $15 at Target. 

Camel Bak Water Bottle. These are $13 each. I bought two at Babies R Us during a buy one half off sale. 

I would like to insert a disclaimer here. This is not a sponsored post. All items were purchased by me and reviewed truthfully for my fellow moms who are looking for deals and ideas. 

Hope this provided you with some options for your little one’s upcoming academic year.

Xo Kat

Crushed by A.D. McCammon|Book Review

I’ve been lucky this year to have found some well written romance novels. A lot of romances can get cliched and cringey, not any fault of the authors but I believe few of us writers really know how to capture the essence of true love, especially true first love. Well A.D. had no issues doing that. Love and heartache roll off every page in this book. It was beautifully written, and felt and what I loved the most or actually admire, is the author’s ability to keep love alive throughout the book without repeating herself. As a writer, I find this very difficult. I get very repetive once I’ve fleshed out my characters enough so I pretty much fell in love with the way this book was written. 

Here’s a brief synopsis…

Julianna has just returned to her hometown after being separated from her cheating husband. She has negative, and sometimes troubled feelings about returning to Tennessee. Soon after moving back, she meets up with Eric, her best friend in high school. As the book progresses we learn that Julianna and Eric both had a deep love for each other but never acted on it due to circumstances. They’d also broken contact for some time so it took them a few to rekindle their friendship, and admit their love for each other. 

There’s some suspense elements in this book and if you’ve read my blog before you’ll see that’s my favorite recipe for romances. 

Happy reading! Xo Kat

Mom Fails & Summer Update

Last weekend we took the kids to the lake and boy were we not prepared. We needed some essentials like water shoes, swim suits, sunscreen etc so off to Target we went on our way. 
Let’s just say, although the day was a hit, I had some total mom fails. Obviously, it’s not cool to plan a day at the lake hours before we actually go. As I was rushing around in Target for our last minute essentials, I realized I didn’t have the luxury of looking for deals. Swim suits for kids were almost $20 and if it had been May or June, I wouldn’t have cared but it’s almost the end of August which means fall is approaching. Which means my daughter won’t wear said swim suit more than two times before it’s time to put it away. And it probably won’t even fit her next year. So I felt a huge no creep up my spine about that $20 swim suit. My eyes hit the clearence rack and my hands started skimming through to see if there were any hidden gems under ten bucks 🙂 Lo and behold, I found something and it was cute, for only $7.50. I hit the jackpot there I thought. It’s only after sauntering over to our car that I realized I picked up a leotard not a bathing suit. My daughter absolutely fell in love with the style and color and we were on a press for time so I figured….would anyone really notice or care? 

Well we ended up not returning it and my daughter used it and no one could tell the difference except me. I’d say it was $7.50 well spent 🙂 

If you’re thinking that’s where it ends, it didn’t. We were initially supposed to pick up food on our way as the plan had been made so last minute, I was only able to throw in a few pouches of apple sauce and some chips in out bag. Well, DH got us all the way to the lake then asked…isn’t there somewhere we can buy food here? We were both so hungry and it turned out there was a place we could get lunch, only we had to pay double price for food and triple for a drink. 🙈

Despite our parenting fails, the kids had a blast and can’t wait to take their grandparents when they visit. 

How has your summer been going? Are you excited for school to reopen or has it already reopened in your state? Ours open in two weeks and boy am I happy to get back into an early routine. 

Happy weekend! Xo Kat

Oh and Because it was an on the spur decision to visit the lake, my Kindle was completely discharged so I grabbed a random book off my shelf. Let’s just say I couldn’t get past the first chapter😪

How to Be A Happier You

I initially started blogging to help people who really had no one to talk to or understand them. I really wanted my troubling feelings to be able to reach out to someone and help them through whatever difficult situation they were in. I am not saying that there are people out there who don’t have worse problems than mine but I honestly wasn’t in the right mental frame for a large portion of my life. The way I saw myself, the way I hated myself and had no confidence, and a mountain of insecurities, it affected my life deeply. It impacted the way I carried about myself, the way I dealt with people and situations and it took me a very long time to really come to terms with who I am and why I should not be insecure or ashamed of being a little different. When I say different here, I mean that I don’t fit the same skin as my peers or family so I often felt like I was strongly misunderstood.

About three years back I lost a really good friend of mine. Not to death or anything of the sort, it was a misunderstanding that I still don’t understand and don’t have the energy to get into. Nevertheless it was an eye opener for me. I realized that I’m the only one who can help me be strong, who can validate my own existence. I don’t like the idea of leaning on friendships to be happy because that’s like putting the key to your happiness in someone else’s hand. And that’s not right. You have to be your own referee. Having friends is awesome and it’s helpful but it’s also very liberating and strengthening to be able to pull yourself out of deep waters.

Here’s a few things that I reassessed about my own life which helps me continuously today in making better decisions and in waking up contented with my life even though there is a lot that I could be sad or mad about.

Respect Yourself

A lot of people hate hearing the words “love yourself”, especially when they’re at a really dark place in their life. I know I hated hearing it. How can you love yourself when everything seems to be falling apart? You have to learn to respect yourself. That is a much better term for what I’m about to explain. It means that you have to accept your own existence, your own purpose the way you accept other people. You are no less than another human being. This is one of the worst kinds of mind sets you can put yourself in.

Learn Yourself

You have to reach deep into yourself and learn who you are as a person. Learn what you stand for and which direction you want your life to be headed. Once you’ve come to terms with that, you need to start weeding out all negative aspects and anything that may be a hurdle in your way. I know this sounds like a difficult thing to do but it’s doable. You have to really want that change, you have to really want to be happy to garner that drive to make these changes.

Focus on Yourself

There comes a point in your life when you really need to stop listening to what other people are saying. It’s okay to listen and incorporate good advice into your life. I’m not advocating being a rude person but if what someone is saying is troubling or harmful to you in any way, you need to filter that out. I needed to stop being concerned about other people more than I was being concerned about myself. I needed to focus on me and my goals, my kids and what’s best for them. Reading into others’ negativity really wasn’t helping anything in my life. It was creating problems in places where there were none. The best thing you can do is focus so hard on your life and goals, until you can’t hear the negativity beating at your door.

I hope you found something helpful in what I shared today. These steps have really worked for me in the last several years. It’s helped me reach a level of maturity and security that seemed so far fetched before. If you take these three points into consideration, sooner or later you’ll realize your worth and once you do, then no one can snatch your happiness away from you. My life isn’t perfect at all. Most of our lives isn’t. There’s many things I could cry about on the daily but really working on myself as a person has helped me reach a significant level of contentment.

xo Kat

(c)Kat Degnich. All rights reserved.

 

Where am I?| Writing Books

I talk quite a lot about writing novels on my blog, and although I haven’t been able to complete anything in 2017 thus far, I am writing everyday. Some days I write almost four thousand words, and the more I think I make progress, I feel like I just dig deeper holes for myself.

Writing is a complicated process if I’m being honest with you and I admire authors, especially indie authors that are able to put out multiple books a year. My main hurdle is time. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I struggle with time management with everything that I have to fit into twenty-four hours. It’s also hard to pull all-nighters now, especially with two kids.

So where am I in writing books?

There’s this one idea that I had for over a year now and I have been working on it for that long. Although it’s an awesome plot for a book, the details surrounding the sub plots are quite tricky. Can I tell you a secret? I’ve already written the ending of this book. I know how I want it to end. I know my characters inside out. Yet, why can’t I finish this book? It’s frustrating. I wrote forty-thousand words in my first half-finished manuscript and I wasn’t satisfied with how the events played out. So I kept re-writing the crap out of this story, until I changed the point of view it’s told in.

I am still unsatisfied somehow. And the clock is ticking. I’m not sure how many other authors do this but I really hate to get stuck, especially when I have so many stories going on in my head. So now, I’ve shelved that work in progress for the millionth time and I’ve been working on another half-finished manuscript which I hope to complete by Christmas, since it is a Christmas romance and a tribute to my love of cheesy Holiday Romance movies.

Where are you at in your writing? Has this year been a productive one for you? Let me know in the comments.

xo Kat

Why a Phablet is Beneficial for Writers

If you haven’t figured out what I mean by a phablet, it’s basically a phone tablet, meaning a phone way past the average screen size, such as the iPhone pluses etc etc. Before I purchased a phone with a huge screen, I had to really examine my uses for it. I didn’t want to lug around a phone that I could barely hold in one hand, at least not for just social media. Most of my work is done via the internet and on a computer so after weighing my options, I finally went with the phablet and here’s why.

Note: My title references writers but this post can work for anyone.

Screen Size

Well obviously a larger screen is easier on the eyes when you have a lot going on. It’s easier to scroll up and down and capture your work than reading on a screen less than five inches.

Infinite Amount of Apps

I’m guessing you can do this with any smart phone but like I said when you have a lot of words going on, a phablet is the device for you. As a writer, I honestly don’t have the time to sit hours behind my computer. My kids won’t allow it. Then how do I manage to keep writing and hitting word counts? Apps of course. Apps like OneNote lets you sync your work so it’s easier to move back and forth from your phone to computer without have to email yourself or copy and paste.

Makes for Better Reading

Because we’re writers, it means that we also read a lot. Books, research and random things like how bubble gum was invented at 3am. Who doesn’t want to lie in bed and work? I do it every night when my body just can’t anymore and I wake up with fresh ideas and thoughts about my work-in-progress.

Tablet Elimination

Now here’s where it gets technical. I personally hate having to read on a really huge screen so I’m not super crazy about tablets. I’m a laptop kinda gal when it comes to my work, and since a phablet can be held in one hand, that’s doable for me. I don’t need to carry around a crazy amount of devices with me when I can do everything from my one little device.

Portability

How many times have you forgotten to recharge your tablet? Or even leave it at home? We all know that doesn’t happen with our cell phones, so why not utilize your main device to do everything that you need?

Leave me a comment down below if you’re interested in a post based on Apps for Writers. Thanks for stopping by!

xo Kat

Book Club Fails

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About a month ago, I tried to start a book club on Facebook. So far I’ve only managed to attract fourteen members and no one reads the same books at the same time. Hence, the book club fails title. The idea of the page is to share and discuss books even though we all can’t read the same thing at the same time. My blog post today is a little promo tactic for putting my FB group out there. The name of my group is Book Junkies United. If you’re interested in joining our little book discussions and bookish camaraderie send me a message for an invite if you can’t find the page.

Thanks, Kat. xo

TV Shows Based on Awesome Books!

I thought I’d do something different this month in place of an August TBR post. I don’t always watch TV but when I do, I binge like it’s nobody’s business. As a lover of all things storytelling, I get attached to TV Series and it’s characters. Can you tell I don’t get out much? 🙂
Zoo 
Currently running, Zoo is in its third season. Yay! It’s on the summer season schedule but I believe you can find it on Netflix. Like many other shows of an apocalyptic nature, Zoo definitely stands out. No zombies, no other worldly creature take over…it’s our very own fauna that’s doing the damage. Basically the animals start going a little crazy, attacking people, escaping Zoos and it’s up to Jackson Oz and his team to figure out why all of this is taking place. I really enjoy the scientific make up of this show as well. 

Game of Thrones

Well who doesn’t know about these books or the tv show. To give a brief recap, it’s based on a nasty game of politics, war and birthrights. 

The Walking Dead

Can I just say? A comic book IS a book!!! I’m guessing I don’t have to elaborate on this one 🙂

Queen of the South (La Reina del Sur)

This show follows Teresa Mendoza whose boyfriend gets killed and she is on the run trying to escape big wigs in the drug cartel business. She is practically thrown into the Lion’s den so to speak and it’s a whirlwind of surival, betrayal and intrigue. This one will literally have you on the edge of your seat. 

The Strain

Another apocalyptic one, the strain is based on blood sucking creatures known as Strigoi. It’s based in NYC and a brilliant minded group of individuals team up to save the day. 

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty little liars are about a group of teenaged girls who tell lies and land in trouble. The show has an intense thriller feel to it as the seasons progress. It recently wrapped up in the most satisfying way. Definitely going down in the books as one of my all time favs. 

Lucifer

Lucifer is not based on a book per se but the character is a part of Neil Gaiman’s comics. It’s a brilliant show, fresh and humorous and worth a mention 🙂

Anne of Green Gables

I haven’t gotten the chance to finish the entire season of Anne but it’s a book that was close to my heart growing up. It’s follows Anne, an 11 year old orphaned girl who comes to live with the Cuthbert siblings after they requested a work hand. Anne is a bit impulsive, dramatic and outspoken so t makes for great television. 

There are a few more shows that’s based on books that I haven’t gotten to yet but stay tuned!

Xo Kat

July Book Haul| TBR

Thrift store book hunting is becoming one of my favorite things to do. I absolutely love finding such gems for super cheap. This month I had a small haul but I still thought I’d share since I’ve been so behind on blogging. Please excuse my lack of knowledge of these books as I’ve only read the back covers.

  1. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

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I love the way this author writes and I’m disappointed that I haven’t gotten to a whole lot of her books yet. This book seems to be revolved around a school shooting and the witnessing of it. Sorry I can’t provide more details at this time as I myself am trying to avoid spoilers but I will provide a full review once I’ve read it.

2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

DaVinciCode.jpg

One of my favorites reads til date. I completely trust Dan Brown as an author to deliver a riveting and cinematic experience through his books. I’ve read this one but I couldn’t pass up the hard cover version at only $3 in pristine condition 🙂

3. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

kiera cass

I picked up books one and three, The Elite and The One respectively. I am not really huge on YA but the books were hard cover and in great condition for the price. The covers were also very pretty so I couldn’t just leave them there. It appears to incorporate fairy tales and romance with a nail biting plot but we’ll see.

Hope you liked my tiny mid month haul. Stay tuned for my August TBR.

Happy Reading!

xo Kat