5 Nonfiction Books for Fiction Lovers

If you need a nonfiction book to read, check out this post for 5 nonfiction books you (and your book club) will love! It features historical nonfiction, true stories, and memoirs.

I love to read. This summer I was really able to catch up on my reading list since my kids wanted to go to the pool everyday. I literally sat in a lawn chair for almost the whole summer. It was glorious. I am an avid fiction reading. I love mysteries, novels, suspense, young adult literature, and so on and so on. But every once in a while, I need to change things up and read an awesome nonfiction book. A book with a great story, excellent point of view, and keeps the reader engaged. Today I wanted to share with you 5 nonfiction books I thoroughly enjoyed and quote from each book that stuck with me.

Five Presidents by Clint Hill

Clint Hill, former Secret Service Agent, has previously written about his time on the Kennedy detail, but he is writing a memoir about his life and his time serving under five US presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. Hill traveled all over thew world and witnessed historic events up close. Most notably the assassination of JFK, Hill was the agent that jumped on the limousine after shots were fired to protect the First Lady. But overall, he shares so much more about his life with five Presidents.

“No doubt that the assassination of President Kennedy was a defining moment for me, and it would affect me on many levels for the rest of my life. I was thrust onto the pages of history but it often bothered me that I would be remembered solely for my actions on that one day. For there was much that led up to that moment, and much that followed.”

You’re Better Than Me: A Memoir by Bonnie McFarlane

From a farm in Canada with no running water, stand-up comedian and filmmaker, Bonnie McFarlane knocks it out of the park with this memoir. Bonnie could have written an entire book just on her upbringing in Alberta, Canada. I adored the stories of sleeping with mice, no indoor bathroom, getting her own cow for her birthday, and her über successful ice cream venture made with milk from said cow. Although, how the earnings were spent with that money could be one of the saddest stories ever. As much as I loved her childhood stories, learning about coming into her own as a writer and a comedian in NYC and LA was just as intriguing. I felt like I was reading about myself: insecure, a fish out of water, wanting to please others, trying to figure out what I want out of life, sarcastic, and dealing with depression.

This book had probably one of the best quotes I have read about depression: “It (depression) feels sleepy and slow and unbalanced. You can never get your shirt to stay tucked in and everyone is always doing their best to irritate you. It’s being in a constant state of hyper-self-awareness.” The book is as funny as it relatable.

Adios America by Ann Coulter

As a recovering liberal, I have spent much of my life despising Ann Coulter. I really had no interest in reading this book, especially after I heard the title. Eye roll. Really? Could you sound more elitist. I heard several interviews with her and she talks about the history of immigration in this country. As a student of history, I knew I HAD to read this book. Immigration is one of the most important issues facing our generation. Ann has done the meticulous research on this subject, and it shows in her work. I went into the book with an open mind, “Let’s see what she has to say.” She can be a little hard-handed about some subjects, it is Ann Coulter after all. But I did learn a lot reading this book. I value a country with a diverse population, and I think our immigration policy should reflect that. Like or hate this book, it is a fascinating read.

“Proposing an immigration policy that serves America’s interests should not require an apology.”

Digging up Mother: A Love Story by Doug Stanhope

I don’t really know how to describe this book. Other than it is hilarious, messed up, and doesn’t talk a whole lot about Doug’s stand-up career. So if that is what you want to read about, then this book probably isn’t for you. It is more about his everyday dealings with his wife, friends, and mother. Doug had a strange, odd, close, weird, but heart warming and fascinating relationship with his mother.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was “A twisted sense of funny wasn’t a mental deficiency or a desperate cry for help.”

Once Upon a time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs-A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder by Ben Mezrich

I’m not gonna lie, this book was a hard one for me to read. And not due to the writing style. I love the way Mezrich’s writes, non-fiction in a storytelling format. But their was a lot of political and financial talk that I had to reread several times to make sure I understood. That being said, the book was still fascinating. The beginning of the book hits the ground running and the corruption never seems to stop. The Oligarchs represent a group of billionaires that built their wealth as the former Soviet Union came to capitalism. They used their wealth to embed themselves in the nation’s government, economy, and culture. If you love stories about corruption, then this book is totally for you. Plus it’s based on a true story, which adds a whole other element to the book! One of the wow moments from the book was reading that “7 men owned 50% of the national GDP.”

What have you been reading lately? What nonfiction book do you just love?!

From Bankruptcy to Debt Free

Click here to learn about life after bankruptcy and tips for getting back on your feet after bankruptcy. Don’t let yourself get stuck after bankruptcy, take control of your finances and stop living paycheck to paycheck. Don;t be ashamed. Own it and make your life better!!

Housewifery: the function or work of a housewife. Derived from the term housewife, which is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.” Managing our household is a super awesome job. But managing the finances has not always been my strong point. After all, we did file for bankruptcy 6 years ago. But I am not here to boo-hoo about our past financial situation, I am here to tell you if you are facing bankruptcy, you are not alone! You can get through this and in the end you will be so much stronger.

In the last 2 years, my husband and I committed to buckling down on our finances. We set the goal to become debt free by age 40. But what caused this big turnaround? Aren’t people who are striving to be debt free super frugal and excellent with money? I can tell you first hand, no we are not!!

bankruptcy

In the fall of 2010, my husband and I reached the lowest of the low financially. A combination of credit card debt and medical bills had piled up to the point where we couldn’t possibly keep up. Credit cards were left unpaid, creditors constantly called, and finally we were served with papers from a credit card company. We consulted with a lawyer who told us the best course of action was bankruptcy. Talk about embarrassment, shame, and a huge wake-up call.

In fact, we experienced a plethora of emotions. We constantly worried about whether we would keep our home and our cars. It was so embarrassing asking my parents for a loan to pay for the lawyer and shameful when we needed them to babysit our kids while we had our court date. Anxiety over our court date (called the meeting of creditors) but we experienced relief when our application for bankruptcy was approved. Within a few months, our debts would be discharged.

now what?

Our long legal drama had ended. But our money problems were far from over. We were still living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet with one income. Even with some of our debts gone, we still had my student loan payments, a mortgage, and an eventual car payment. We struggled with our money habits for about 4 more years. We returned to old habits and charged to credit cards again, although not nearly the amount as before. We felt truly stuck in this cycle.

The turning point was when my husband finally received overtime pay for his trucking job. It was like a light bulb went on for us. We have been hoping for the increase in pay for YEARS!! We said to ourselves, “Let’s not blow this money. Let’s get ourselves out of this mess.” But how? We weren’t terrible with money, but we certainly weren’t good with it either. Our debt wasn’t overwhelming, but we didn’t know where to start.

debt free by 40

Then my husband started listening to the Dave Ramsey Show. And let me tell you, it has changed our life and perspective on money. Hearing all the success stories from actual Ramsey followers, motivated us to become debt free by 40. That’s credit cards, student loans, and car payment to pay off in 6 years. It’s as freeing as it is crazy. I originally wrote a post about my 40 goals by 40, but now this is our goal. To be out from under our debt and control our money instead of it controlling us.

Step one was taken: We decided to become debt free? But now what?!

I am so excited to start blogging about this and share all I have learned from the bankruptcy, to budgeting, cutting expenses, and much, much more. Mostly I want people to understand they aren’t alone in bankruptcy. Don’t be ashamed. Own it and make your life better!!

I’m the Mom with the world’s BEST chocolate chip cookies

The best chocolate chip cookies ever are only a click away! This easy recipe will have any and all who eat these cookies clamoring for the recipe. Making chocolate chip cookies from scratch has never been easier. Click here for the recipe!

You can’t survive in life without a few guilty pleasures. Ya know, those things you are afraid to admit you love. Things like the Real Housewives, any cartoon made for children, and Friends. Most people are afraid to admit they like the sitcom Friends.

Monica wants to be the mom with the best chocolate chip cookies. What mom wouldn’t want to be?! And with my recipe, you certainly will be the mom with the world’s best chocolate chip cookies.

Butter, lots of brown sugar, and a surprising heathy ingredient will make everyone clamor for your recipe.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond. My kids love her show, her ranch, her kids, and her cooking. Her cookies were the original recipe when we made her chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwiches for our letter of the week curriculum. The letter I had to be ice cream of course!!

After making the ice cream sandwiches, I decided I would tweak the recipe in order to make good ol’ chocolate chip cookies because ever mom needs an awesome chocolate chip recipe in her repertoire. Or as Monica would say: “Be the mom with the world’s best chocolate chip cookies.”

These cookies are certainly the best. They disappear anywhere I take them: homeschool gatherings, family get togethers, thank you gifts, and my husband’s co-workers LOVE these cookies. I am not above a good bribe when it comes to getting my husband better work equipment 😉

But enough about the adoration for the cookies, here is how I make them.

The cookie base begins with softened butter, brown, and white sugar. Cream those together until smooth. Then add the vanilla and the eggs.

The dry ingredients for this recipe includes the addition of ground flaxseed meal, an awesome source of omega 3s. You can omit if you don’t have it available to you. It isn’t necessary but adds a nice boost of fiber.

Whisk all of your dry ingredients together and add to your batter in 3 separate batches.

Stir in your chocolate chips, and they are ready to bake! Measure out your dough using a 1″ cookie scoop, and place on a silicon lined baking sheet.


Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate chip cookies inspired by PW chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
1 & 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a mixer, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter and until creamy
  3. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mixing well after each addition.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and flaxseed meal. Add to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing gently after each addition.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop out balls of dough on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Olympic Rings Cupcakes

Throwing an Olympic themed party? Don't forget to add these colorful, easy, and delicious cupcakes to your dessert table: Olympic Rings Cupcakes! The Olympic games are fast approaching, and these Olympic cupcakes are just what you need to celebrate with your kids. The countdown to Rio 2016 is on!

Did you know the Olympics in Rio this summer will be the first time the Olympics has been held in South America? It also the first Portuguese-speaking country to host the Olympics. And it will be held during what Brazilians consider “winter.” I am filled with Olympic trivia. Well, all trivia. They don’t call me the 2006 Nasco Biology Trivia Champ for nothing!  I can also name the summer host cities going back to 1960 in Rome, but enough about me and knowledge of useless trivia. Today we are talking about cupcakes!

My kids associate the Olympics with cake. Not entirely odd when you consider we have baked a cake for the two previous Olympiads. And they are kids. If cake is involved they remember the cake, not necessarily the occasion.

Throwing an Olympic themed party? Don't forget to add these colorful, easy, and delicious cupcakes to your dessert table: Olympic Rings Cupcakes! The Olympic games are fast approaching, and these Olympic cupcakes are just what you need to celebrate with your kids. The countdown to Rio 2016 is on!

This year I decided to make our Olympic cake a little bit different after seeing these super cute cookies on Pinterest. Individual cupcakes for each individual ring. Brilliant. And fun. And possibly the most delicious cupcakes ever.

And because America rules (sorry Canada) we HAD to make the cupcakes red, white, and blue. I use basic white cake mix for this reason. First, I prepare the batter according the package directions. Then, depending on how many colors I am making, I separate the batter: one bowl for each color. Then, lastly, I dye the batter using food coloring. (I use Wilton icing gels.) To the lined cupcake pan, I put a blue layer, then red, and then white. The girls loved this part!

Throwing an Olympic themed party? Don't forget to add these colorful, easy, and delicious cupcakes to your dessert table: Olympic Rings Cupcakes! The Olympic games are fast approaching, and these Olympic cupcakes are just what you need to celebrate with your kids. The countdown to Rio 2016 is on!

I used white frosting, obviously so you could see the Olympic rings, but also because the Olympic rings always must be on a white background. You learn all sorts of things when you homeschool your kids and need to find the meaning of every tiny detail because anything a child can ask, they will ask. Especially a homeschooled child.

Bonus tidbit: Fofo baked these all by herself!!

So roll up your sleeves and get baking with the kids. They can help you measure, mix, sort, frost, decorate, and most importantly, eat. Thanks for reading, and I hope you get into the Olympic spirit this year!

Olympic Rings Cupcakes

Ingredients
Boxed white cake mix
Your favorite frosting (again we used premade)
M&Ms – sorted by color
Food coloring or gels

Directions
1. Mix cake batter according to the directions.
2. If making colored batter, separate and dye your respective colors.
3. Bake according to package directions.
4. Cool completely.
5. Frost cupcakes.
6. Line each cupcake with M&Ms: blue, yellow, black, green, and red.

Note: The M&Ms will get stale if not eaten within the first day. In case you wanted to know which cupcakes to eat first 😉

Link Love – Homeschool Edition

Link Love - HS

It’s not about school – Homeschooling is a way of life. It’s not about “school” at all.

How to save a child’s love of learning in one easy step – It’s so, so simple.

Dragon World sensory play – Fun!!

A simple handwriting trick (with free printable) – LOVE this.

Why you need to plan a Teacher Institute Day – Teachers need to learn in order to teach.

10 Scientific Method tools to make science easier – 10 awesome links in this post.

Homeschooling with Depression – A must read for any mom having a rough time.

Homeschooling when the kids don’t want to – All kids need a break. Even homeschooled kids.

Magnetic calendar activity with free printables – Perfect for anyone looking to teach days and months.

Polymer recipes for middle schoolers – I love seeing how older kids are homeschooled.

The Only Sloppy Joe Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Looking for an easy dinner recipe? This sloppy joe recipe is the only one you'll ever need. It's quick, easy, and delicious.

The most common question asked in Facebook mom groups is “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?!” Ok, maybe they don’t shout, but moms are always looking for delicious recipes that are easy to make and kids will actually eat. Let me tell you, these sloppy joes will be devoured by your kids.

I have been making this recipe for close to 10 years now. I’ve made it for birthdays, snack day at work, and it’s a perfect meal to take to a new mom or a family in need. It reheats beautifully. Making it perfect for leftovers, freezing, and gifting.

Looking for an easy dinner recipe? This sloppy joe recipe is the only one you'll ever need. It's quick, easy, and delicious.

This recipe is from Rachael Ray’s cookbook “30 Minute Meals,” and it is truly a 30 minute meal. Simply brown ground beef, add the secret ingredient, add veggies and tomatoes. Let simmer and serve! It’s fast enough to quickly serve your starving family but also flexible enough to give you time to whip up a side dish.

What is the secret ingredient you ask? I usually never tell, but I will say that brown sugar mixed with steak seasoning provides this dish with a sweet undertone which balances wonderfully with the acidic tomatoes.

Looking for an easy dinner recipe? This sloppy joe recipe is the only one you'll ever need. It's quick, easy, and delicious.

I love the reliability this recipe gives me. I know it will turn out every time, and it just takes me minutes to cook up. I can cook it at lunch time and keep it warm until supper. Or if we are leaving for the day, I can throw it in the crock pot to stay warm until eating time. You can serve it simply with pretzels or apple slices or side of roasted vegetables.

Now you must make sure you have napkins handy, because they are sloppy joes after all. My kids actually used to eat this with a fork. No need for that pesky bun when they can just dig in.

Sloppy joes are a quick and easy meal that pleases even the pickiest of palates. It is probably Fofo’s favorite recipe and I hope it becomes one of your family’s favorites too. Enjoy!!

Looking for an easy dinner recipe? This sloppy joe recipe is the only one you'll ever need. It's quick, easy, and delicious.

Sloppy Joes Inspired by Rachael Ray

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP steak seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 TBSP tomato paste
Hamburger buns for serving

Directions

1. Prep ingredients. Chop up the onions and peppers. Combine the brown sugar with the steak seasoning.
2. Heat a large skillet with EVOO over medium high heat.
3. Add meat to the pan and break it up.
4. After the meat is broken up, add the sugar and spice mixture.
5. After the meat has browned, reduce heat to medium and add onion and red peppers and combine.
6. Stir in red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan.
7. Cook for 5 minutes.
8. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine.
9. Reduce heat to simmer and cook another 5 minutes.
10. Pile sloppy meat onto toasted bun bottoms and cover with bun tops. Enjoy!

Link Love – Foodie Friday Edition

Wow. It has been awhile since I have posted. Between the holidays, the death of our dog, and vacation I have been hard pressed to find time for blogging. But I am slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things. Starting with one my faves: link love! I have so many links saved so I am switching up the way I post them, going with one theme rather than a random group of ten links. Let me know which you like best 🙂 My first post of 2016 is food, one of my favorite things. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend.

LinkLoveFoodieFriday

The ultimate breakfast sandwich – This may become a regular in our meal plan. Looks to die for.

Perfect Every Time Cut-Out Cookies – We made these for Christmas this year, and they were amazing. Kept for several weeks after too. Perfect for any occasion you may have.

Parisian-Style Drinking Chocolate?! This needs to go on the couple’s weekend menu.

15-Minute Chipotle Cumin Grilled Chicken – You can never have too many chicken recipes. This looks divine!

Need a side dish? Lauren’s Famous Butter Rice will fit the bill no matter what you are cooking. It has become one my family’s favorites.

It’s not quite garden time yet, so these tips for the best way to store fresh herbs will not only help brighten up your food, but your wallet as well.

Junior mint cupcakes – Almost too cute to eat. Almost.

7-Ingredient easy zuppa toscana – This recipe calls for gnocchi instead of potatoes. Love this idea!

Graham streusel coffee cake – The layers of cake and streusel look perfect on this coffee cake. Perfection.

Perfecting the Long Island Iced Tea – Please and thank you. It’s the Friday after vacation. I’ve earned this 😉

Link Love – Week 44

Link Love - Week 44

Animals and their continents geography activity Perfect for my animal loving kids!

Kevin Smith: It costs nothing to encourage an artist Every parent needs to see this.

Crazy Brownies Just the thing to start off the seasons of pigging out 😉

Pinterest’s crazy-fun new visual search tool We live in an amazing age.

20+ Dogs That Don’t Care About Personal Space Sigh. Dogs can be such dicks.

One Pot Spicy Chicken Rigatoni Pasta – good. Chicken – good. Spicy – gooooooood!

18 Very Sweary British Words You Need To Use Right Now Now I can curse like a sailor in English and American.

Beautiful Oops! Love this activity to go along with the book.

What I Learned About Rejection After a Year of Seeking It Out “Fear is loud, so get some ear plugs.” Amen!!

10 Things I Didn’t Expect About Being a Grown-Up Adulting is hard.

Link Love – Week 43

Link Love - Week 43

Can I stream it? Love this resource for finding the best way to get what you want to watch.

Lego Minion Building Instructions My kids will love this!

Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches A great way to flavor up plain ol’ chicken.

4 Things to Consider when you Feel like Giving up Abso-freaking-lutely!

Ask these 3 questions when decluttering toys LOVE THIS! Tsh hits the nail on the head.

Spicy Honey Crispy Baked Chicken Wings Perfect snacking for football season.

18 Real-Life Locations That Inspired Disney I love seeing where Disney’s inspiration comes from. Especailly Tangled!!

Overcoming the 10 Biggest Obstacles to Creating How can you not take advice from zen habits?!

20 Counting Activities for Preschoolers All of these are so helpful!

My Lady Cave: Why I needed a Room of my own Preach!!!!

Link Love – Week 42

Link Love - Week 42

I am in love with these Disney fashion artist renderings.

Thai Pumpkin Soup Delish!

Frog Puppets with Free Frog Facts Printable So cute, fun, and educational.

A Thank You to the Big Kids AMEN!!

How to Write a 1,000 Words a Day Needed to read this.

How to Raise a Confident Child Numbers 2 and 3 will change how you talk to your kids.

Double Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies Holy cat!

13 Hidden iPhone 6s Tips and Tricks I so needed this for my new phone.

10 things every new homeschooler should know THIS!

Five Tips on Getting Back to Blogging After An Extended Break Simple, effective, and efficient.