Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Open Book ~ Feb'20




A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is the story of Count Alexander Rostov who in 1922 was placed on 'house arrest' in the Hotel Metropolis.  The book tells the story of the next forty years of his life and the changing tides in Moscow.  While a bit slow to start as the author is world-building; it is the most lovely story of community and unexpectedly a life well lived.



Circling the Sun by Paula McLain is based on the life of Beryl Markham an English child raised in Kenya early in the twentieth century.  A real life trail blazer who broke barriers, first becoming a top horse trainer and later a pilot.  While choppy in places I really enjoyed the author's take on this fascinating time and place; including people familiar to anyone who has read or seen 'Out of Africa'.  

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

Monday, February 3, 2020

What is currently Saving My Life ~ Winter '20

Happy February! After a crazy couple of weeks filled with Scouting and School activities I'm happily linking up with  Modern Mrs Darcy and sharing what is keeping me smiling and the blues at bay.

  • Reading always and forever Amen! Joining challenges and stretching my reading muscles, revisiting old favorites and finding them welcoming; and following book blogs where I find suggestions and companionship amongst the virtual bookshelves.

  • Journaling prayers, gratitude and daily occurrences not to be lost in the craziness.
  • Seeking out a good series to binge and watching a couple episodes with Dr Daddy in the evenings once the kiddos are tucked.  Currently Doc Martin and Good Bones.
  • Lighting a candle or two in the evening.
  • Weekly visit to a local coffee shop and making a cup of tea as we start homework.
  • And seeking out 'what makes it better' for my people.  For example, finding a warm Chai waiting makes the winter morning a bit easier to face for the resident tween: which in turn makes the getting out the door routine smoother for everyone.


What is saving your life this winter?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

What I'm Reading (likely) this year for the Challenges.

  So once again I'm joining in on the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge; and here are my initial thoughts about what to read for the different categories.



  1. A book published the decade you were born:  A Summer to Die or A Swiftly Tilting Planet
  2. A debut novel: Eleanor and Park
  3. A book recommended by a source you trust: Circle the Sun
  4. A book by a local author: Bossypants by Tina Fey
  5. A book outside your genre comfort zone: The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire 2)
  6. A book in translation: A Man Named Ove or Pachinko
  7. A book nominated for an award in 2020: ??
  8. A reread: ??
  9. A classic you didn't read in school: East of Eden or Call of the Wild
  10. Three books by the same author: L.M Montgomery or G.Heyer likely.
   Am also focusing on reading down my shelves this year and so have started following Whitney of The Unread Shelf and will be letting her challenge categories helping me choose among my TBR list throughout the year.

  Starting off the year by reading A Gentleman in Moscow which has been on my TBR list for over a year

Friday, January 10, 2020

7 Quick Takes #285 ~ Caitlin is 7!


  1. Happy New Year! Earlier this week Caitlin marked her personal new year and turned 7. We celebrated as a family with cupcakes and presents. This weekend she will celebrate with friends at at a local gym with some gymnastics and maze exploring, choosing a Vampirina theme for the balloons and tableware.  
  2. Caitlin at 7 is a unicorn loving, artist; who loves drawing & coloring, and playing with magni-tiles, and kinetic sand.  Very fond of her scooter to explore neighborhood, is contemplating learning to ride her bike without training wheels this spring.  However Skye and her light-up seahorse are still essential at bedtime.
  3. Favorite shows include Spirit Riding Free, Vampirina, Molly from Denali, and when watching with Liam, Pokemon.  Max and Ruby, Elena of Avalor, and Sophia the First still make the cut. 
  4. She is enjoying school; doing well in all her subjects. Building her reading skills with sight words and learning phonetics.  Often now reading before bedtime involves her reading a book to me before I read to her.  
  5. Favorite foods include lasagna, Shepherd's Pie, and pizza. Mostly she like cookies and milk. 
  6. She is really enjoying her beginner ballet/tap class, and looking forward to her recital in June; and swimming again next summer.  
  7. Picture time:






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

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 in 12 photos




Linking up with Bobbi of Revolution of Love and sharing a photo review of the year!

In January she turned 6!

In March Elisabeth performed with the Children's Choir

In April the blossoms filled our lawn!

In May Liam received his First Holy Communion!
In June I had the amazing opportunity to visit Ireland with my sister ;


and then visited England as her book assistant.


In July we visited Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

In August as part of a cruise we revisited Prince Edwards Island; 

allowing me to see Montgomery's inspiration for Green Gables.

A rock climbing party for our new 9 year old.

Hayriding and apple picking in the fall.

Everyone did an amazing job in the Christmas Tableau!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

As This Reading Year Ends


     In 2019 I challenged myself to read 35 books and in the end read 43.  For this coming year I think I'm going to go for 40.  In addition to again taking the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge I will also likely join the Catholic Lit challenge hosted by Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas.  Allowing for some overlap I should hopefully be able to strike a good balance between reading for fun and stretching my reading muscles.

     Some favorites from this year; Introduction to the Devout Life, Death Comes for the Archbishop and Eight Cousins.




What were some of your favorite reads of the year?



Summary for 2019

Books Read: 43
Fiction: 31  // Non-Fiction: 12
Kindle Books: 16  // Paper Books: 27 // Rereads: 2

Friday, December 13, 2019

Quick Takes #284: Mid December Check-In



  1. Greeting and Salutations; not sure how all of November and nearly half of December has pasted since my last Quick Takes. November was overall very nice and Thanksgiving in particular as we had a wonderful time with my family including my nephew who surprised us by coming home from college, and encountered remarkably little traffic for a holiday weekend.
  2. Advent is going well. The kids seem to enjoy our wreath tradition while of course debating whose turn it is to light or blow out the candles. I've been pleasantly surprised how independent Caitlin is when it is her turn to read the prayer.
  3. This week in particular is very fun #liturgicalliving wise. In addition to the Good Bishop visiting us last Friday with chocolate and oranges; last night the kids enjoyed Choco Taco in honored of Our Lady of Guadalupe (thanks Colleen for that idea).  Given that I knew dinner was going to be a bit of a rush job given the school's Christmas Tableau I appreciated a fun and easy way to mark the feast.  This morning I made cinnamon rolls to mark the Feast of St. Lucy.
  4. The Christmas Tableau was lovely with all of the kids doing a lovely job under the direction of the school's wonderful music director.  It is the tradition that the 6th graders act out the Christmas Story during the show.  It was such fun for me to watch these kids many of whom I've known since Lisbeth was in Kindergarten perform (she by the way was one of the dancers who ushered the Romans in the proclaim the census).
  5. I am finishing The Cross which is will wrap-up my book challenge reading for this year; and with Modern Mrs Darcy announcement of next year's reading challenge I'm excited to start thinking about next years reading.
  6. We truly love our house but from the time we bought 5 years ago we knew at some point we wanted to put in a bathroom on the first floor; and it is finally happening.  Seriously the whole getting estimates and finding a contractor took much longer than I would have ever guessed.  We have already pulled up our deck in preparation and will this weekend take down some fencing to make way for the builders this week.
  7. Some pictures to share:





Please head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes!