Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Open Book August 2017



Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is a Newberry Award winner that I must have read at some point in my youth but felt brand new to me and is a delightful story with a very poignant end about how the right person believing in us is often all we need to unlock our true potential and show that same generosity of spirit to others.




Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is the story of Catherine Moreland taken to Bath as a companion for a older childless couple from her village.  While in Bath she makes the acquaintance of several other young people including the Tilney's of Northanger Abbey. While published last; this is apparently is the first novel Austen writes which fits; Catherine is younger and more gullible then Austen's other heroines.  That being said I truly enjoyed this lighter but still wonderful visit to Austen's England.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Story of the Yellow Purse

  Once upon a time the Classroom Mom of Elisabeth's Kindergarten class hosted a bag party at her house.  As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm not a big bag person but this mom had done a wonderful job for the kindergarten class. Also proceeds from the party would be going to support the Art program at our daughters' school so I went.
   
   There were tons of  bags of many types, colors, and sizes. I'm a big fan of the purse/wallet combination and was even more so back then when I was often carrying a diaper bag and so I was thrilled to find some there.  In particular one that seemed to have right amount of space and that space was organized with the type of compartments and card slots I liked.  And at a decent price, bonus!! There was just one problem it was yellow. I don't like yellow.  On my kids, maybe. For flowers, curtains, and summer squash, definitely! But as the expression goes yellow is not in my color wheel for clothes and so even as an accessory I was struggling. 
   
   Being the wonderful hostess she is; my friend had seen me pick-up the purse, put it down, walk away and circle back. So on one of my circling backs she struck up a conversation and upon hearing my concern said the most brilliant thing.  "What a great color for summer; and come the fall you can change if the color is still bothering you." 
   
   Needless to say it was fine; more than fine even with me receiving many a compliment on my bold choice and beautiful purse.  So it was with a sad heart (as the strap broke for the third time) I had to admit early this week that after three years of consistent use my lovely yellow purse was beyond repair and it was time to start looking for its replacement.


💛Good-bye dear purse; I'm so glad I brought you home with me 💛


Friday, July 21, 2017

Quick Takes #235: Happy Belgium Day!




In honor of Belgium National Day I decided to focus on that lovely little country today.
  1. About the size of Maryland, Belgium rest in western Europe above France and below the Netherlands. Luxembourg and Germany sits on the eastern border.
  2. My mom is just back from a visit and I.can't wait to see the pictures and catch up on the news of friends and family.  While I never lived there; having visited many times and knowing that it is the homeland of much of my family (my mother's whole family, she was the only one of her siblings to stay here permanently) it has always felt familiar and dear.
  3. The food is amazing with frites (french fries), chocolate, beer and waffles forming the four most commonly recognized cornerstones.  Other national favorites include mussels, rabbit, salad liegeoise, and tomato stuffed with shrimp salad.
  4. Officially bilingual with Flemish spoken mostly in the north and French spoke mostly in the south.  My mom grew up in the capital Brussels which is in the south and so my mom's primary language is french, though all of my cousins also learned flemish in school and their children also attend bilingual schools.
5. Bruge, a canal city often called the Venice of the North, and Antwerp are two other wonderful cities to visit.  I was luck enough to visit Bruge shortly before my wedding and pick-up some its famous lace to carry.
6. There is also forty miles of beautiful seacoast,  and the Ardenne (the hill country) in the east, plus the Waterloo Memorial as other wonderful options to check out.
7. Happy Belgian Day, to those celebrating and Good Weekend to the rest!!

Please visit Kelly's for more 7QT's.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Reading Challenge at the halfway point



Happy July! Hope your summer is going well.  Mine has been made substantially better by the addition of some rockers on our front porch and the fact the weather so far has been warm but not too humid and often with a breeze.  Reading is absolutely one of the best methods of self care for me and hopefully has me modeling a love of books to my kids.  I also appreciate how the different categories in the MMD challenge provides direction and the push I need to read outside my comfort zone.

At the midway point from the reading for fun path (the one I'm focusing on) I've completed 6 categories:

a book set somewhere I'm interested in but never been:
A Year of Living Danishly

a juicy memoir:
Talking as Fast as I Can

a book about books or reading:
Howards End is on the Landing

a book in a genre I usually avoid:
Becoming and Belonging

a book you don't want to admit you're dying to read ( I modified this one to a book I'm embarrassed I've never read): 84, Charing Cross Road

a book I was excited to buy but had not read yet:
Winter Garden


I've only completed one category of the reading to grow path but do hope to complete a couple more while largely focused on the "oomph path"






Anyone else attempting this year's challenge?
What are you reading?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Quick Takes #234 June thoughts



  1. June was every bit as crazy as I had anticipated.  That being said we celebrated school ending, summer starting, Father's Day and for the most part had a lot of fun this month.
  2. This month also marked the 20th  Anniversary of the Harry Potter series. If memory serves I was slightly late to join the reading party but only slightly as I remember reading the first couple while living in Houston which puts it about 18 years ago.  Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas has written many wonderful posts on the series; and here are two of my favorites.
  3. Speaking of anniversaries we are marking 3 years in the house; not very long but long enough that I feel as I'm learning it moods in different seasons.  The addition of porch furniture has been wonderful as I love reading outside and the weather has been very cooperative.
  4. At the risk of jinxing it; I'm quietly impressed with how well the older kids are embracing their summer work. For both kids the first of four books are read and the book reports are done. I have a couple of workbooks for Caitie but thanks to her east facing room she has been getting up early most mornings and that combined with camp has her napping again.
  5. Was sad to learn of the death of Michael Bond this week; I remember reading Paddington Bear as a child and have in the past couple of years enjoyed introducing his books to my kids. What a wonderful legacy. May he rest in peace!
  6. Currently enjoying "Supergirl" on Netflix in the evenings.  Any other recommendations for a fun summer series?
  7. Excited to attend a friend's son's baptism this weekend and then some local fun for Independence Day!  
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

First Day ~ Last Day: 2016 ~ 2017



Another school year done:

Elisabeth ~ 3rd Grade





Liam ~ Kindergarten


Caitlin ~ Preschool

Friday, June 16, 2017

Quick Takes #233: Thoughts about School



  1. Today marks the end of the school year in the Bailey house. Liam and Caitie actually finished last Friday but since Lisbeth still had school this week we still have been slightly in school mode.  
  2. Kindergarten went well and Liam seemed to really enjoy it. Not nearly as talkative as his sisters he didn't share many details day to day but overall he enjoyed the work, the specials, his classmates and the whole school experience.  
  3. My take: Over the year I saw him meet each new challenge with ease and needing very little additional instruction.  The pace of the work seemed to keep him interested but was never a source of stress. Am curious to read more with him this summer and hopefully get him set for an equally good year in first grade.
  4. Caitlin had a good year in preschool and I think gained a lot of useful social skills as far as listening and sitting attentively.  She made several friends and in the end I'm equally glad we decided to have her attend preschool where her brother and sister did; and that she is attending a more academically challenging program for Pre-K.
  5. We were warned that there is a jump in the workload come 3rd grade and while occasionally cranky about it Elisabeth met the challenge and excelled. She enjoyed more time to explore science and social studies; tackled learning her multiplication tables and basic fractions, and learned so much about different types of literature and author's purpose.  While writing continues to give her some troubles, reading no longer does and has become a source of enjoyment.
  6. We marked the end of the year with a trip to Build-a-Bear where Caitlin made a Lalaloopsy doll, Liam ~ Sonic the hedgehog (not liking any of the Pokemon offered) and Elisabeth made a horse.  I'm sure that this end of year tradition will evolve over time but given Lisbeth's love for stuffed animals she may not be the first one to insisted that they have aged out of this particular treat!!
  7. Have a good weekend and Happy Father's Day to all those celebrating!!

First Day ~ Last Day post

Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Open Book ~ June 2017



The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell is a fun look at a learning about a new country and culture. British writer Russell learning that Denmark is one of the happiest places to live decides during their year of living in Denmark while her husband is working at Lego she would investigate what makes Danes so happy.   Overall I found the book a little statistics heavy and wish rather she had shared more about day to day life in Denmark, but appreciated that she did not take herself too serious as the enviable outsider mishaps happened.  Learned a little ~ laughed a little: win ~ win!





Frederica by Georgette Heyer; I've been reading and enjoying this author's books for several years now but somehow had missed this one and after several recommendations decided to rectify the oversight.  While I didn't find the story of Lord Alverstoke and his distant cousin Frederica to be her best in the romance department, the plot is wonderful and the dialogue superb.  A great balance of hilarious mishaps with believable character growth and enough plot twists to keep it interesting.




84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is my latest 'how did I not know this was a book'!!  The  book is a collection of the correspondence written by the author and the staff at an antiquated  book store in London and one of their buyers in particular.  A wonderful fun read spanning twenty years starting in the late forties touching on current events throughout. I am so glad I found and read this book but given that I was hearing Bancroft's and Hopkin's wonderful delivery the whole time I truly wonder what the experience would be for someone who has never seen the movie.









Please now head to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Quick Takes #232 Plans for Summer Reading



  1. School is winding up in the next couple of weeks ~ and the weather is finally shifting into my favorite reading outside time.  Thanks to MMD and others I'm having fun planning my reading list for summer.  
  2. I have gotten a slow start to this year's MMD reading challenge having only finished four categories so far but my current read (Talking as Fast as I can) fulfills a category and already have the next couple categories planned.
  3. Am really enjoying Lauren Graham's memoir and am planning on reading her fiction book soon. Planning on also reading Northanger Abbey (one of two Austen's I've never read), Howard End on the Landing, as well as rereading some favorites. 
  4. Lisbeth is closing in on completing her 40 book challenge for this school year; and we are looking ahead towards summer reading. Two books are required but two others are to be picked from a list and I'm curious to see what will catch her interest.  
  5. Liam also has a summer reading assignment.  He has done really well this year with sight words and early readers.  Am wondering if it will be sometime this summer that he has that breakthrough moment when you start to view yourself as able to read!!
  6. And for those times we are not reading; HGTV's Good Bones is such fun even if their design style is very different from mine. 
  7. Have a great weekend!! This weekend brings to end the gymnastics year and has us shifting towards swimming. 
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Friday, May 26, 2017

Quick Takes #231:What do May Showers Bring?




  1. I knew May was going to be a whirlwind but didn't quite expect how business coupled with near constant rain would really wipe me out. Hoping for better things (and weather) in June.
  2. A definite upside of the business was celebrating birthdays ~ Dr Daddy and mine. The kids outdid themselves even putting together a gift parade and working with G-ma to make me a yummy strawberry shortcake.
  3. Luckily and blessedly I don't feel much older year to year but after attending the college graduation of a young cousin born the year I graduated from college I'm very aware of the passage of time.  The trip was wonderful if rainy! The kids did great with all of the car time, loved the pool and allowed the grown-ups a good amount of catch-up time. And I can now add OHIO to the list of states I've been to!!
  4. Favor and a link: The CDC's website still lists outdated information based on one flawed study of the effectiveness of NFP and Fertility Awareness Methods.  This petition is asking that CDC update their information so that medical professionals and others using the website can find accurate information.
  5. Fix Her Up; the book of my sister's whose cover I helped reveal here is live!
  6. Plans for the holiday weekend are local as Dr Daddy is working but planning for some fun with the kids and a lot of yard work if the weather holds.
  7. Finally my thanks to all those who served and payed the ultimate sacrifice and those who miss them!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Open Book ~ May '17



Trusting God with St. Therese by Connie Rossini proved to be a very enjoyable Lenten read. Rossini balanced the biography, with the devotional and self-help aspects very well.  I am enjoyed Rossini's approach as she highlights how St Therese's "Little Way" is grounded in complete trust in God's love and how we can better strive for that kind of trust in our lives.  The reflections and exercises at the end of the chapters were insightful and helpful.



Belonging and Becoming by Mark and Lisa Scandrette was a bit of a risk for me as I tend to dislike most parenting books but this one lived up to its stated intent and its fans.  The book doesn't focus so much on behavior modification but rather how parents can create a culture within the home that reinforces the virtues they value and desire their kids live by.  While not Catholic it is centered in the gospel and the idea that God is present and acting with us to bring about a thriving family culture.  While they share about their failures and successes as parents the book is full of practical exercises to allow each couple (and family if kids are old enough to participate) to determine what their family culture should look and feel like. A useful book now as my kids move beyond the basic keep them feed and clothed; and in the future as they ideally join in the discussion how we as a family want to exist in the world.



Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Quick Takes #230: Circle Game



  1. Any Joni Mitchell fans reading? Me too, especially Circle Game and the song speaks perfectly of the week or even month I'm having. All good things (mostly) but knowing that times goes in one direction I'm wishing I could "drag my feet to slow the circles down".
  2. Last weekend we did indeed put together Lisbeth's loft bed (give or take a ladder) ~ and she loves it and has great plans for how she is going to stencil and embellish it.  I thought my husband was crazy for wanting to build it himself and it was more work than either of us had anticipated but such is life and I do cherish those times when we tackle a project together and I imagine Lisbeth cherishes having a bed designed and built by her dad. (Holy run-on sentence!)
  3. This week she also got her new glasses and suddenly looks much more grown-up and trendy.  
  4. Earlier this week I dropped off the first tuition payment for Caitlin's Pre-K next year. Now this is a program we sought out and I am so excited that she got a spot; I am also wondering what it is going to be like to have her in school five days a week come September.  She is quite good at independent play but she is also a chatterbox and so will often find wherever I'm working and fill me in on whatever game she and usually her dolls are playing.
  5. Earlier this month a beloved aunt of mine passed away and with losing my godfather a few months ago has me of course thinking about the giant wheel turning and those touchstone people of  that generation in my life departing the stage.
  6. After several days of rain the sun is again shining and so I have great plans for planting and weeding this weekend as well as great hope that the Lily of the Valley in my yard will bloom for the first of May.
  7. Promised Pictures:




Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cover Reveal ~ Fix Her Up!

As most of you know my youngest sister is a financial auditor by day and author by night! And her latest novel Fix Her Up is being released on May 25, 2017 and here..... 


is the Cover Reveal!!!



Fix Her Up (The Fix Series, book 1)

Release Date: 

May 25th

Blurb:
If Finley Reeves is an expert at anything, it’s making mistakes. She proved this true by falling for and marrying the wrong man. Ten years later all she has to show for it is a divorce... and a broken heart.
Needing not only to get away, but also to start over somewhere new, she buys a fixer upper that’s one step away from being condemned. Deciding to tackle this project alone might be her biggest mistake of all.
That is, until Noah Thompson shows up at her front door like a knight in a shining tool belt. Determined she doesn’t need any help, she pushes him away until he makes her an offer she’d be crazy to refuse.


Cover Designer: Hang Le

A fun & sexy Contemporary Romance (age 17+)
Goodreads: 

Author's website: 

$50 Amazon gift card giveaway on her FB page so please head over.




Friday, April 21, 2017

Quick Takes #229: It's Easter and Spring!




  1. Sorry to go quiet ~ Lent was good but tough and spring was slow to come ~ and so winter blues caught up with me a bit.  However Lent does end and spring has sprung!!
  2. We had a lovely Tridium and Easter filled with good weather, good friends, good music and lots of good food. One highlight being a friend who has moved away and is an amazing dessert maker surprised us all and came to Easter dinner and brought her amazing treats with her.
  3. Spring catch-up: March was very weird weather wise and I was sad so I'm feeling a bit behind yard wise but the phlox was great, and the tulips and dogwood are currently in bloom so I'm headed to garden store today and will play catch-up this weekend.
  4. In the category of late to the party but don't care: Parenthood!! For whatever reason never managed to watch first run but have now officially binge watched my first series on Netflix and Loved It!! And am now looking for suggestions for what to watch next?
  5. Thanks to a good friend and Netflix my kids have discovered Voltron ~ and I'm quickly learning all about red, green and black lions.
  6. Given the poor sight of both her parents it is not a surprise that this week we learned that Lisbeth needs glasses. At 9 she beats me by a year and I believe ties her father. We should have the glasses in about 2 weeks and photo documentation will of course happen.
  7. Have a good weekend ~ we are hopefully assembling a loft bed ~ updates as warranted!


Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

In the quiet of Saturday

A favorite poem by a favorite author:


Ready for Silence
Madeleine L’Engle

Then hear now the silence
He comes in the silence
in silence he enters
the womb of the bearer
in silence he goes to
the realm of the shadows
redeeming and shriving
in silence he moves from
the grave cloths, the dark tomb
in silence he rises
ascends to the glory
leaving his promise
leaving his comfort
leaving his silence
So come now, Lord Jesus
Come in your silence
breaking our noising
laughter of panic
breaking this earth’s time
breaking us breaking us
quickly Lord Jesus
make no long tarrying
When will you come
and how will you come
and will we be ready
for silence
your silence

Friday, March 24, 2017

Quick Takes #228: Random thoughts and a bit of shopping



  1. Life is good if a bit exhausting what with Dr Daddy currently on-call slide in between two work trips.  Kids are good; busy with school and home projects and all excited for the recent big winds to blow winter out and spring in.
  2. Lent is quietly moving along; at the halfway point I'm happy with the reading we are doing and the efforts we are making at being less negative and fearful.  Still looking for focus for almsgiving to do as a family.
  3. So excited to share that Lisa of a Pinch of Zest Etsy shop is open; please head over and enjoy her wonderful finds.
  4. Speaking of Etsy shops I treated myself to one of Katrina's beautiful mugs! It arrived this week and is beautiful and just the pick me up I needed this week.
  5. Prayers for the victims, their families, and the people of London as they pick themselves up and move forward in this sometimes scary world we live in.
  6. Waiting to hear if Caitlin will get a spot in the same Pre-K program that Liam attended. Hope so ~ it was wonderful for Liam and as she can already count to 100 and is asking us how to write words we very much want a strong program for her.
  7. Have a wonderful weekend!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Quick Takes #227: Turning 9 and other milestones



  1. March is keeping us guessing weather wise with snow today after much of the week in the 50's and 60's!!
  2. Elisabeth happily turned 9 and declared that she thinks that her last year in single digits will be a great one!  We celebrate her birthday weekend with cupcakes, the making of a Pikachu cake and a couple dinners.  She also celebrated with friends by going to Build a Bear and then having ice cream from Friendly's.
  3. She is very creative; Legos and modeling clay are favorites and she will spend hours creating and building new and different things.  
  4.  More adventurous with food and while she definitely has favorites now eats a wide variety of things. She still prefers vegetables raw but otherwise no longer require a lot of accommodating in meal planning. Some favorites include cheese, crackers, kielbasa, bacon and fish sticks.
  5. She is  still working her way through all the Magic Treehouse books but is also starting to branch out and try different genres and different authors.  Her favorite subject is Math, though Science is a really close second.  Future career goals still include studying dinosaurs but perhaps working as an illustrator is coming up more and more. 
  6. The other big excitement of the weekend was preparing for the building of the loft bed; hopefully this weekend.  In addition to painting and sanding many boards we also got Elisabeth's new mattress ready.
  7. With Lisbeth getting a new bed we were finally able to pass her youth bed onto Caitlin who much to my surprise has only occasionally complained about still being in a crib and had never tried to get out on her own (her big sister began self-exit attempts at 18 months).  Her first week in her 'big girl' bed has gone very well with only getting a couple of times and always for legit bathroom visits.
Have a  wonderful weekend and please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's




Friday, March 3, 2017

Quick Takes #226: Lent and Birthdays




  1. Happy March! Blessed Lent!  No actual flowers here but many sprouts and buds about; but also betting we will get one more snow fall if past trends hold true.
  2. Lent is off to a good start with me actually having the chance to talk with both Lisbeth and Liam about what they want to focus on in addition to what we are doing as a family.  I posted earlier about what books I've chosen for Lent; am particularly excited about how Bringing Home Lent has suggestions for personal and family activities.
  3. Elisabeth is 9 today!! Am definitely planning a separate post celebrating all thing Lisbeth but had to give 'quick take' shout out to my Birthday Girl who made me a mom and filled my life with so much light and laughter.  You have a lot of dreams and I pray you "catch them all"!
  4. Today is the feast day for Saint Katherine Drexel; happy name day to those celebrating!! Her mother house has been sold; am hoping to get up there one more time before it closes though I believe her remains are being moved locally to the Basilica in Philadelphia.
  5. Posts to check out: Colleen is hosting a great giveaway and Jenny has an excellent post about leaning into Lent.
  6. Group sourcing: Any recommendation for a timid reader who made the jump to chapter books with Magic Treehouse and it coming to the end of those?
  7. Have a wonderful weekend and send up a prayer for us as we (hopefully) move Caitlin her 'big girl' bed!

The birthday girl at one!!



Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.