Currently Reading: Summer Edition

Reading goes in spurts for me and I have no trouble losing myself in a really good book.   This summer I totally upped my reading game and have finished quite a few. Some were recommendations from others, while some I came across by searching my Kindle store.  I know my taste in book genre may not be for everyone (I’m looking at you, rom coms and good relationship stories), but I’m sharing my top 9 recs for this summer.

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/1/ The Perfect Couple by Elin Hildebrand – I’ve mentioned this one before, but it was one of her best. A little murder mystery/beach read is the perfect combination.

/2/ When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger – This tells the story of Emily from A Devil Loves Prada, post Miranda.

/3/ The Idea of You: A Novel by Robinne Lee -Juicy and steamy, just right for summer.

/4/ Bright Side by Kim Holden – LOVED this one.  Warning – it’s a tear jerker, but so well done.

/5/ The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This one was recommended by a friend, and I couldn’t put it down.  In my opinion, it feels like it could be loosely based on the life of Elizabeth Taylor.  Also, there’s a twist at the end that you won’t see coming.

/6/ All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin – I’ve been a long time fan of Giffin, and this one was right up with my favorites written by her.  I fell in love with the heroine.  She was strong and stood her ground throughout, despite the challenges that faced her.

/7/ Falling by Jane Green – Another easy read by Green.

/8/ White Lilies by Samantha Christy – This book came across as a “Borrow for Free” novel on my Kindle so I took advantage.  One in a series of three books based on the Mitchell sisters, the story was ok, the characters were likable, and I kind of want to read the other two as well.

Currently Reading:

/9/ It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover – Coming with stellar reviews, I just began this book yesterday so I’ll let you know what I think…

What are you reading?  I’d love to know!

I’m still here!


Sometimes life gets so hectic it’s hard to keep up, while other times it seems as if everything flows nice and smooth.  My life right now is the former.  Weekends have been filled with social gatherings, games, trips, and events and I haven’t had time to get shit done.  Besides this blog, I feel like my house is falling to the wayside as well and it’s driving me nuts.  Part of me is bothered by the fact that I don’t have a lot of time, but the other part of me is going with the flow.  I’m thankful to have these opportunities to be with family and friends and to have fun on my down time even if I’m tired on Monday morning.

It’s also the end of the school year.  18 days to be exact.  I’ve been coming home every day mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.  Working out has taken a backseat to rest and recuperation after my long days, and I’ve been eating way too much chocolate.  I just can’t do it all and I feel like I’m barely keeping it together.

I know in a few short weeks I will have all the time in the world to get myself organized and back to feeling normal.  Exercise will commence.  Healthy eating and meal prep will get done, and my summer project list will be started.  More on that soon!

So for the time being, bear with me.  This momma just needs a break.  Check back on Friday for my “A Few Things” post featuring items which I’ve been loving and coveting lately.  xo

A Few Things, recently:

April 27th

April 20th

April 13th

managing mondays


I am pretty sure I am not alone when I say that heading back to work after a fun weekend is a struggle.  I like my job, don’t get me wrong, but Sunday night brings on that anxious feeling in my stomach.  In my head, I imagine how loooong it will take until the next weekend arrives.  I think about all the reading lessons I have to teach, miles I have to run, and lunches I have to pack before relaxing on Friday night.  Do you think this way too?

Even though the last few weeks we’ve had off days because of snow and/or holidays,  I’ve done a lot of thinking about the triggers that cause these feelings within me.  Basically it’s simple…the weekends are just so enjoyable that no workday can compare.  That, and I like to sleep in a little too.  Getting moving in the morning is not easy!

Now that we are (hopefully) back into the swing of things, I put together a few rituals that make Sunday heading into Monday just a little bit better…

Make a special Sunday night dinner – The last few months I’ve been trying to make a nice dinner on Sunday afternoon for us all to enjoy that evening.  I love the whole process: choosing what to make and preparing it while my people are hanging out and relaxing.  Last night I made Mimi’s Chicken and White Casserole and it was a good batch!  The fact that everyone else appreciates the dinners makes it even better!

Meal Prep – I will discuss what I do to meal prep in a future post, but having everything cooked and ready for the week reduces my anxiety about what to put in packed lunches and what to have for dinners.  I start making my list on the Friday before so by the time I am ready to hit to grocery store on Saturday, everything is written out and ready to go.  Sometimes I scour Pinterest for fun recipes to make, or sometimes I rely on old familiar favorites.

Plan my workouts – This may sound strange, but I usually look at the weather for the upcoming week and try to decide which days I will run outside and which I will go to classes, or both.  Having this schedule in the back of my head eases my stress about when to workout.  My daughter’s after school activities and any appointments scheduled  also play a part.  Depending how I feel as the week moves along, the plan could change slightly, but I’m ok with that.

Mid week date night – J and I are lucky enough to regularly have a night during the week where the kids are with their other parent.  Our date nights consist of watching that week’s episodes of “The Bachelor” and “This is Us.”  Speaking of “The Bachelor,” I lost in the draft pool we had going with another couple.  We met on the first night and drafted the women and my contender that went the furthest was Tia.  Now that The Bachelor is over and This is Us is ending the season this week, we need to find a new show to watch.

Plan future events – Whether it is a weekend getaway or a dinner with friends, I normally like to have plans to look forward to in the coming weeks or months.  I am running a race in DC at the end of April with a friend and we are going to see a concert in Philly at the end of May.  I know that’s a long way out, but I can’t wait to go!

Ease into your Monday – It’s so hard to workout bright and early on a Monday morning, but once I have it done, I know I have that whole evening to myself.  Or, sometimes I plan Monday to be my “off” day from training.  My daughter is always with me on Mondays, so I also try to have a dinner prepared for us to enjoy together.


I know the above are nothing earth shattering, but they are little tidbits that help get me through the anticipation and anxiety of the upcoming week.  If I feel prepared, then I am mentally and physically ready to tackle whatever comes my way on Monday morning.

Something BIG is happening this weekend!

Something BIG is happening this weekend!

This past week was a tough one.  I struggled through each day with this sore throat/body ache thing and it was a challenge.  BUT, I’m finally feeling better just in time for my daughter’s big weekend!

Since auditions in September, the theater group at her middle school has been preparing for their production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr.  I have never seen a group of kids, teachers and parents work as hard as they have, and it’s so impressive and refreshing to watch the dedication and motivation from each and every one of them.

The other day on Facebook I mentioned that never in a million years did I imagine that Payton would be involved in the school play.  Neither me or anyone in the family has been involved in theater so this is new territory for us.  We all thought softball was going to be her thing….I guess we were proven wrong!

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As a mom, it makes my heart so proud that she found something so close to her heart.  Payton genuinely loves every second of the production process, from auditions to performances, and she keeps wanting more.  There is never a complaint about late night practices or four-hour Saturday rehearsals.  Not even a peep.  This past month, the volume of time spent perfecting scenes, costumes, songs and props was totally amped up.  Parents volunteered to donate and serve crockpot dinners to the students and the kids loved it!

This weekend my daughter will be playing the role of Mrs. Potts, the kind and gentle teapot in the Beast’s castle.  Since the show was announced last February, this was the role she was aiming for…and she got it.  Her part even has a few solos, and I think I am more nervous than she is!

In addition to giving her props for all of her hard work, I want to thank our family and friends for supporting her through this journey.  She has quite the crew coming this weekend to see her perform and it makes me so happy and full to know that they will be sharing in her special time too.

Finally, to Payton….Like you, I’ve been looking forward to this weekend since last September.  I know you are going to kill it, and I can’t wait to see the show! xoxo

To show support, I created a little good luck area in my foyer.  And yep, there goes that letter board again!  And I’m still loving it on the vintage gold easel.


And this is the ad I placed in the show program.  I can’t wait until she sees it!

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I am one proud mom here!  Enjoy your weekend!  xo


i want your input!

I always tell my students that good writers develop their pieces based on their audience.  Good writers pay attention to their audience and create their work around them.  Good writers write to captivate, engage, inform, entertain and teach.  Good writers research to improve.  Good writers are always striving to become better by editing and rewriting their work over and over again.  I also tell them that good writing skills are not something they need to master in order to exit the 4th grade.  Good writing skills are needed for the rest of their lives.

In keeping with my message to my students, I wanted to transition those thoughts over to this blog.  As many of you know, I just began this journey at the beginning of last month and I have appreciated all the kind comments and messages received along the way.  But me being me, I have a checklist of items that I want to improve in this little space.


Here are just a few:

  • Craft better photographs / relearn how to use my camera on the manual setting
  • Create a more functional and user friendly blog format complete with drop down menus, archived posts by month, Pinterest and Instagram photos in the sidebar, etc.
  • Optimize SEO settings (that’s blogger talk for increasing blog presence on search engines)
  • Develop an email subscriber list and a possible newsletter
  • Design an improved logo/header

And most importantly, listen to what you [my readers] want to hear.  I am very interested in knowing which topics are your favs and which you could do without.  It is very important to me to keep this blog moving in the right direction and that depends on you.

I’d love to know!  Send me an email at or comment below.  You can also chat with me on Facebook or Instagram @tracywartman.  Links are on the blog.  Also, please don’t be shy in sharing my blog with others who may be interested in my content.  The more, the merrier!

Finally, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the first month+ a personal success for me.  I truly mean that.  As I said in my first post, hitting the publish button was the hardest part but it has been a wonderful experience thus far. xo

Friday Ramblings

We made it to Friday!  The weeks seem so long, yet they fly by….does that make any sense?  In honor of the weekend, I thought I would share a few things that I have going on….

Last Friday I shared some recipe inspiration on my Eagles post.  We finally narrowed down the menu and the one recipe we decided to try from the list were the whiskey meatballs. I’ll let you know how they try out…

I love a good tablescape on my dinner table and although the Super Bowl isn’t a formal party, we can still have cute food labels, right?


I live in Eagles country, so this game is HUGE around these parts.  Even my 4th graders think the Birds are going to pull off a WIN on Sunday.  Poor Brady.


My mac and cheese casserole won’t be at our party this year, but in case you missed the recipe you can still check it out. It is so good and sooooo easy.


I plan on making my chili for the big game and J ordered this Dutch oven for me.  It just came in, so I am excited to put it to use.  By the way, he also scored lots of points for getting it!  I never follow a recipe for chili and it is never the same twice.  That’s the beauty of it…chili is so versatile.


Last Sunday I posted this picture on Instagram.  I had a perpetual sore throat and felt like crap the week before, so I went to the doctor.  All of my tests came back negative [Thank God], but I decided to give myself almost a total week off from working out.  And guess what?  I miraculously feel better!  I guess we need to stop and listen to our bodies because sometimes they are speaking out loud and clear.


The wallpaper samples came in and I can’t wait to see them in J’s powder room.  I have to say, they look a bit like contact paper.  However to be fair, I wasn’t sure what I would be getting and they are in fact waterproof, so the texture makes sense.  Hopefully he will like them too!


My daughter is in her school’s play and I am in charge of the cast party favors.  All 105 of them!  I can’t show you the final present just yet, but I have been up to my ears in tags and labels galore!


This gal isn’t getting any younger and I’ve had the same skin care routine for years.  My face is pretty good [knock on wood] and I don’t have too many wrinkles.  What I do have is slight rosacea and a spot of melasma on my cheek.  I’ve used Colleen Rothschild products before and I especially love the Clarifying Detox Mask.  In my opinion, I feel like this mask literally pulls the dirt and yucky stuff right out of the pores.  It’s just so good.  I also wanted some sort of a hydration mask because the inside air is so dry and harsh on my skin.  Plus, running outside doesn’t help either.  After some research I ordered the Intense Hydrating Mask and so far so good!  The amazing Grace cream was a gift from a student and it is so nice to lather on after an evening shower.  I’m just throwing it out there in case you are looking for a nice body lotion.  Finally, to help brighten my melasma spot, my friend recommended BioRadiance Botanical Cellular Brightening treatment.  It’s made with all natural, organic ingredients and is chemical free.  Her daughter in law is a skin care specialist to the stars in LA and highly recommends this product.  Hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.  I’ll let you know how it’s going.


I know many despise Valentine’s Day, but I like it.  I believe it is a day to show the special people in your life just how much you love them.  What’s wrong with that?  To celebrate, I’m planning a special dinner for J and I and the kids complete with dinner menus and favors.  Stay tuned for more about that because I have to get through the Super Bowl first!


So that about wraps it up.  I hope you have a great weekend and Go Eagles!  xo

twenty two random facts

To get to know me a little better, I thought it would be fun to put together some quirky facts all about me.


  1. I am a teacher, but it’s a second career for me.  I have a business degree and started out in community relations and marketing.
  2. I am a perpetual fourth grader. It’s like the movie Groundhog’s Day.  I’ve been going back to a fourth grade classroom every August for almost twenty years!
  3. Snakes scare me to death.  I don’t even want to be in the same vicinity for fear of a chance meeting.  And, I always stay clear across the room from my coworker’s class pet.  It freaks me out.
  4. I eat chocolate Preferably dark.  That is, when I am not doing Whole30.
  5. I am a single mom of a 13 year old daughter.  She makes me so proud each and every day.
  6. I have been an on again, off again runner since I was 14. That’s almost 30 years!
  7. That said, I’ve had many high school, collegiate, and professional accomplishments in the sport.
  8. My dad tricked me into running a long time ago, but I thought I was born to be a cheerleader.  Ha! Not really.  I will share more about my running history in a future post.
  9. I also thought I was an excellent softball player and all I wanted to do was pitch.  That didn’t work out too well either.  Ironically, my daughter does quite well at the sport.  She takes after her mother!  😉
  10. I have a published recipe in the Runner’s World cookbook.
  11. I’ve never lived anywhere else other than Bethlehem, PA. Born and raised. High school, college and now.
  12. I love to travel and have been doing a lot more of it recently. If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the fake snow flurrying around in Malibu.
  13. My fingers are longer than most men I know.
  14. Sports that require a ball are not my forte. Hence, that is why I was a runner.  Although, I have been known to hit a long and straight golf ball and got a new bag and driver for Christmas.
  15. Strange things seem to happen to me. They may be completely random, but they sure make life a little more interesting.
  16. I’ve done some modeling on the side [off and on] for the last 15 years, including stints on QVC, local print ads and commercials.
  17. I can’t draw to save my life, but I definitely am a creative person.
  18. One day I would love to become a realtor and buy, remodel, stage and flip houses.
  19. Sometimes I pretend that I am a famous singer and belt out ballads while driving in my car.  Thankfully blue tooth is a thing because hopefully other drivers will assume I am dramatically talking on the phone.
  20. As a kid, I thought I was hot stuff.  Anyone from Wonder Woman to Madonna to Barbie…that was definitely me.
  21. I am a self proclaimed lover of quirky, indie-type films…preferably the romantic ones.
  22. I secretly love to write, even though nobody knows that about me.  Hopefully this little blog will inspire me to write even more!