Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The 40 Book Bookcase


So I read this book which began with the idea of reading only from the books the author already owned for a year and ended with her making a list of perfect bookcase containing 40 books ~ and so I thought I'd make mine too; so in no particular order except #1 on her list gets top billing on mine too.


  1. The Bible
  2. Amazing Grace by K. Norris
  3. Cloister Walk by K. Norris
  4. Look to the Mountain by L. Cannon
  5. Pride and Prejudice by J. Austen
  6. Persuasion by J. Austen
  7. Memory by L.M. Bujold
  8. A Civil Campaign by L.M. Bujold
  9. Paladin of Souls by L.M. Bujold
  10. A Civil Contract by G. Heyer
  11. These Old Shades by G. Heyer
  12. The Grand Sophy by G. Heyer
  13. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  14. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  15. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  16. The Little Prince by A. Saint-Exupery
  17. To the Lighthouse by V. Woolf
  18. Mrs Dalloway by V. Woolf
  19. Interior Castle by Saint Theresa Avila
  20. Circle of Quiet by M. L'Engle
  21. Two Part Invention by M. L'Engle
  22. Wrinkle in Time by M. L'Engle
  23. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  24. The Wind in the Willows by K. Grahame
  25. Younger than Springtime by A. Greeley
  26. A Christmas Wedding by A. Greeley
  27. Star Bright by A. Greeley
  28. September by R. Pilcher
  29. Winter Solstice by R. Pilcher 
  30. Leaves of Grass by W. Whitman
  31. Ragamuffin Gospel by B. Manning
  32. Innocents Abroad by M. Twain
  33. A Room with a View by E.M Forester
  34. Only Love by E Lowell
  35. Jade Island by E. Lowell
  36. We Two by Gillian Gill
  37. The Wives of Henry VIII by A. Fraser
  38. Woman Warrior by M. Kingston
  39. God is An Englishman by R.F. Delderfield
  40. In Search of Our Mother's Gardens by A. Walker
What would be on yours?
Linking up with Bobbi of Revolution of Love for Weekly Writing in October.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Open Book ~ October '17




In the past month I finished Poems and read

 In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden which is a lovely story about a group of Benedictine nuns living in the English countryside.  The story begins as Philippa Talbot a successful businesswoman leaves her London life and enters the cloister.  While she is how we gain entrance to the community the book is really the story of House and varied rhythms of the liturgical year and the many gains and losses of the women who live in community
  It is a long read but one I really enjoyed; there are enough characters to keep me interested but not so many that I felt lost.  While there is not really a plot, the changes and growths in the various characters are well explored and fun to follow.



Next up The Summer before the War.

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Where I'm From

Have noticed a few new followers (welcome) and thought I would repost this piece from 2011.




Where I'm From

I am from metal swing sets, from Tupperware cups and Kool-aid to drink.
I am from the best driveway to roller skate down, watching for deers out the back window, European elegance and American Craftsmanship.
I am from the Christmas cactus growing inside, and  tomatoes and lily of the valley growing outside
I am from leaving my shoe out for St. Nicholas and talking at the table after dinner, from Milou  and Pierre, Roland and Hazel.
I am from bring a stack of books home from the library, pancakes on the weekend and jumping into the leave pile.
From 'get your hair out of your face' and "What are We Men!".
I am from Amazing Grace, One Bread One Body, from sacraments of grace, and men of good will seeking tolerance and understanding
I’m from Providence, Galilee Beach, and Loon Mountain by way of Belgium, from lobsters, clam cakes, and fighting for the piece of chocolate with the elephant.
From the Bon Papa who wanted grandchildren, the Apple Girl, and the URI graduate.
I am from many, many albums kept in the dresser, color pictures under clear plastic covers and black & white held by the corners. from slide shows late at night, from stories told and re-told, cherished and honored.



Friday, September 22, 2017

Quick Takes #237: Life and Liam



  1. Liam enjoyed his busy, fun weekend; having a blast at his party at Charles Edward Cheese and then running well in his first cross country meet.  As I looked back at my 'just turned 6 post' for him I realized all of those things still largely hold true.  His favorite shows include Ben 10 and Voltron in addition to Teen Titan Go; and he has moved to first readers...but mostly he is still my running foodie who thinks Dad hung the moon and I'm pretty cool too.
  2. He also did well on his first spelling test; only missing one.  This was a tough back to reality school week with homework every night and several quizzes to study for.  More after school activities has me to trying to figure when/how to schedule homework time so that the kids get some down time but we are not rushing to finish up at bedtime.
  3. We have been back up in the 80's all week but posts like Rosie's have me thinking about go-to outfits when the weather cools down for good.
  4. All of the kids have picked what they want to be for Halloween which has me excited to get organized early ~ and really hoping no one changes their mind
  5. My dad would have been 90 today!! While it breaks my heart a bit to be reminded that my kids will never know him in this life; I'm enjoying their recent interest and questions as it lets me share some of my favorite memories and make real for them the grandfather they never met.
  6. Praying for the people of Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Virgin Island ~ and really hoping that Mother Nature calm way down!
  7. Photo Dump:  


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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

First Days and First Impressions ~ September 2017

  Yesterday Caitlin started her Pre-Kindergarten year and with that everyone is off and running.


Caitlin had a good first day and was very excited about her Shimmer & Shine lunchbox and found it funny that there was nap time at school.


Early thoughts from Liam on first grade; "There is a lot more sitting at your desk than in Kindergarten!"








Elisabeth is a big fan of her teacher's beach/wave theme and is optimistic ~ which in turn makes me so happy and excited for all of them!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Open Book: September 2017




War and Turpentine a novel written by Stefan Hertmans based on his grandfather's journals and war memories.  While finding the transitions a bit clunky as the author switches from the grandson's memories to the first person voice as 'the grandfather' recounts his experience in WW1 I overall really enjoyed this book.  The grandfather lived from 1891 till 1981 and the author does a good job conveying how much change the grandfather witnesses in his life.  I originally was drawn to this book because it was about Belgium and would let me fulfill another MMD category but given all the WW1 centennials being observed I'm so glad I spent some time getting an eye witness of what it was to be in Flander Fields even if it was a fictionalized based on a soldier's war journals one.



Poems by C.S. Lewis; I am a little over halfway through and am intentionally taking my time reading only 3-4 poems a day so as to let them each have their moment before I move on.  I don't read enough poetry to speak critically about them but I really enjoying the book. Lewis writes on a wide variety of topics and his sarcasm and wit shines through.

As an aside I recently meet Jessica Ptomey at the annual CWBN (Catholic Women Blogger Network) Mid-Atlantic chapter meeting and was excited to discover she hosts a Catholic Book Challenge on her blog.  A book by C.S. Lewis is one of the categories so at least I made a showing this year and even better she plans to host another one next year!


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

Friday, September 1, 2017

Quick Takes #236: Summers Wraps-up and I get a day away!



  1. Happy September! I can't believe how fast the summer went but I suppose that speaks to time flying while we were having fun.  School starts next week for the older two and Caitlin visits her classroom next Friday.
  2. Have been trying to strike the right balance this week of letting the kids enjoy the end of summer vacation but we have also been getting backpacks and school supplies ready.  The other reason to let screen limits slide a bit is Dr Daddy is on a rough rotation and everyone is feeling his absence.
  3. Last weekend I was able to attend the annual meeting of the CWBN (Catholic Women Blogger Network) Mid-Atlantic chapter and it was wonderful! Ana who hosted and and the other organizers did a great job. The speakers Kelly, Elizabeth, and Mary were amazing and provided so much food for thought that while I'm still digesting everything they shared I already feel my blogging muscles strengthen.
  4. Other and better recaps were posted by Ana and Lisa.
  5. We signed Liam up for the Cross Country Team and while school starts next week, practices started this week. So far he likes it but he is still learning that when you are aiming to run close to mile you don't start out at full speed.  He has earned his nickname of "Running Boy" so really hoping this proves to be a good fit.
  6. I'm so grateful that Harvey has moved on from Houston and the Gulf Coast, and that those who I know who live there are well.  That being said my heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones and homes.  Having lived there in the aftermath of Allison and realizing how much more catastrophic this storm was, urge everyone to help in whatever way you can.
  7. Wishing everyone a good weekend and all those kiddo's a great start to the school year!


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

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vacation Thoughts ~ 2017



   As I sit down to write another vacation recap I am again very grateful that we were this year again blessed with largely good weather and am remembering all the delicious food I got to eat (Scoop Deck ice cream x 4) but am also wanting to reflect on what was new and distinct about this year's vacation.

    The most obvious difference being this year began with me heading over to New Hampshire to remember with my family and her friends my aunt's wonderful life and legacy. My uncle and cousins had intended it to be a celebration of a life well lived and they succeeded! While the day's events had that 'empty seat at the table' sense, it was overall a wonderful day of sharing stories and memories.  The day also gave me the chance to catch-up in person with my older brother and cousins from California.


 Of the week+ in Maine the memories I will most cherish are:

  • Elisabeth and my niece boogie boarding with great enthusiasm and improving skill.
  • Liam appearing to be impervious to the cold and he rushed in time and again to the ocean.
  • Caitlin's first time staying up late to make s'mores.
  • Everyone working hard despite the rain to build a rock wall border.
  • Shared Minecraft worlds for the BFFC's
  • Caitlin wanting me nearby but NOT holding her hand while she jumped waves.
  • Liam and Caitlin's first time playing mini-golf. BTW 18 holes is about 10 too many with a four year old.
  • The maturity Lisbeth showed when despite coming down with a painful ear inflection she rested on a bench and let the rest of us outlet shop for a bit.
  • Putting Moana on for the kids to watch and having the teenagers appear and stay.
  • Massive splash fights in pool between Dr Daddy and the big girls.
  • The kids setting up the yard for an eclipse watching party and then each drifting back into the house during until it was only the grown-ups watching.
  Familiar places and vacation traditions lend the structure but the kids changing interest and growing abilities gives each year it's distinct moments and memories.

S'more sampling
Eclipse Watching

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.