Sunday, December 30, 2018

Quick Book Post as the Year Closes

     In 2018 I challenged myself to read 30 books and in the end read 42.  For this coming year I think I'm going to go with 35 as a goal as I have a couple long reads planned.  In addition to again taking the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge I'm also going to 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 the past year were The War that saved My Life and its sequel, Sprig Muslin, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  I also revisited a couple of favorites and found them as wonderful as I remembered.

What were some of your favorite reads of the year?

Summary for 2018

Books Read: 42
Fiction: 29  // Non-Fiction: 13
Kindle Books: 13  // Paper Books: 29  // Rereads: 8

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Recap in 12 photos

Linking up again with Bobbi of Revolution of Love and recapping 2018 photo-style.

When looking at pictures a monthly recap just didn't seem to fit; rather lets say this year; 

We celebrate big birthdays ~ Lisbeth's 10th

Started to lose baby teeth!

Joined a pool!

Went to Mount Vernon

and the Richmond Zoo.

We went to the beach; even when it was cold and grey.

And the seawall when the sun finally did shine!

We started Kindergarten joining our 5th and 2nd grade sibs.

We went apple picking!

We raked leaves into giant piles to jump in!

We trimmed the tree, hung the stocking and made ready.

We learned, laughed, got older and a bit wiser.

Friday, December 14, 2018

7 Quick Takes #272: Advent Happening

  1. Happy Advent! We got the tree trimmed and stockings hung last weekend.  Candles in the window and wreath on the door.  Hoping to get outside lights up this weekend.
  2. Saint Nicholas visited and brought the miracle that everyone got to check out what the good bishop brought and still got to school on time.
  3. Am following the Blessed is She Advent Devotion and am really appreciating the daily reminder to think about how am I bringing the light and love of Christ in the world.
  4. The kids (in particular Liam) were learning more about Our Lady of Guadalupe this year and so I tried to kick our observation of the feast up a notch and made enchiladas.  Lisbeth is never fond of trying new foods and even calling them 'Mexican crepes' didn't get her to eat more than a bite or two ~ but there was also zero grumbling from her on why we were having Mexican food for dinner.
  5. The Christmas concert was last night and the kids all did well and enjoyed even Caitlin whose cold has given her an occasional but painful earache this week.
  6. This week Modern Mrs Darcy announced the categories and released the reading kit for next years reading challenge. I've of course already printed the checklist out and am thinking of different options for the different categories.  
  7. Happy Weekend and Blessed Gaudete Sunday!

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Open Book: December '18

Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns by Blanche Thompson is a biography in the Vision book series aimed for older children.  In addition to sharing biographical facts about Saint Elizabeth's life, the book also shares some of the saint's journey of faith as she learns about the Franciscan or the Gray Brothers and learns about their ideals of simplicity and charity.  Another interesting question raised throughout the book was that of vocation and service as a wife, mother, Landgravine, and later a Third Order Franciscan.   While a bit 'sugary' at points a solid biography which shares some of the miracles and struggles of this saint.

A Christmas Wedding by Andrew Greeley tells the continuing story of Charles O'Malley the oldest son of a Chicago Catholic family. This installment cares him and his Rosemarie through their courtship and early marriage.   This was a reread for me and it holds up well; I really enjoy how Greeley focuses on the events of everyday life while interweaving some of the current events of the 1950's so as to give context to the times when his characters were living.

Currently getting into the season and reading The Snow Child and The Winter Crown.

In addition Christy of Fountains of Home has recently share a lovely Christmas book list.

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thankful Thursday: November 2018

After a lovely Thanksgiving and before the Advent/Christmas season begins want to pause and give thanks for the blessings of these days.

  1. Charlie; an amazing & loving companion on this great adventure
  2. A home that shelters my family well;  keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  3. My children who love me and teach me to be kind and brave!
  4. The right to vote and participate in choosing those who will govern.
  5. The chance to study, question and never stop learning and discovering the world around me.
  6. Electricity 
  7. A foundation of faith given to me by my mom and strengthen by teachers along the way.
  8. Good books and the time to read them.
  9. Watching my kids excited about new books and absorbed in their favorites.
  10. Clean Water
  11. Reliable Transportation 
  12. Abundant food including pie!
  13. My family of origin whose warm love and shared laughter sustains me
  14. Sunshine
  15. My 'married' family: warm, funny and hard-working
  16. Family and friends across the miles who stay in touch and stay true.
  17. The ease with which technology helps me to keep in touch with family & friends across the miles and overseas.
  18. This amazing blogging community that share of their time and talent so gracefully.
  19. The ocean and time spent there.
  20. The beauty around me as leaves change colors and falls.
  21. Quiet evenings when Charlie & I share a bowl of ice cream and binge watch a series.
  22. Weekend mornings when we drink Chai and everyone 'piles in' together.
  23. Sunday dinners with family and friends.
  24. My husband's tech skills for when things go sideways
  25. My children's laughter!
  26. Warm drinks on a cold and dreary day!
  27. God's everlasting love!
  28. Hope renewed each morning.
  29. My life with all its struggles and blessings!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Daybook: Fall'18

Thinking about:
    Raking all the leaves that have fallen. Nearly done with the front yard and then onto the back.  Thanksgiving; we are local this year as Dr Daddy has to work.  Ordering Christmas cards and getting the kids to nail down their lists.

Excited For:
   Thanksgiving; it will be small but nice to celebrate at home just us, plus out-town friends are coming to town for weekend.  Advent and Christmas!! An addition we have been planning in theory moving soon into the actual!

   Mostly jeans and clogs or wedges; I know for most fall means breaking out the boots (and I have a pair that gets some wear) but for me fall means my favorite wedges and wearing clogs again.  Also found a couple of great tops to update and perk up the daily uniform.

In the Yard:
 The trees have dropped most of their leaves so lots of raking to go but the end is in sight and then onto the pruning.  Didn't plant any bulbs 

Watching and Listening to:
    Enjoying the return of This is Us and have started watching Magnum P.I. off the DVR and Madame Secretary off Netflix. And thanks to the kids Narwhal Eating A Bagel has become part of the soundtrack of my day.
The Kids: 

Elisabeth is thriving in 5th grade; enjoying changing classes and taking good care of her school issued Chrome book. Continues to excel at her gymnastics class, currently working on her back walkover and front handspring.  The end of the day finds her in her loft bed reading Wings of Fire; a fantasy book series that she has been obsessed with since the spring.

Liam has settled well into 2nd grade; reading better and better all the time (handwriting is another issue).  Enjoyed playing soccer this fall and is currently a Wolf Scout. Pokemon is still tops and with help from his big sister is becoming proficient at Mindcraft.  Always a great eater he is currently all about the Cobb salad, requesting one several times a week.

Caitlin is loving Kindergarten and doing really well; making friends and learning to write words and add numbers.  She loves being read to; and I'm so excited to watch over the next year as she begins to learn to read to us.  She has joined Lisbeth in doing gymnastics; loves tumbling ~ the beam not so much.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Poetry Pause: Armistice 1918-2018

In Flanders Fields

Flanders Poppy on the First World War battlefields.
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

We Shall Keep the Faith

by Moina Michael, November 1918
Moina Michael
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Open Book ~ November '18

   As someone who has watched and enjoyed the PBS series Victoria, not to mention a person of Belgian heritage I was thrilled to find Charlotte and Leopold by James Chambers and learn more about their story. The book is largely a biography of Princess Charlotte, (though some of Prince Leopold's early life is shared) and shares not only details of her life but the politics of the day which played such an important role in where and how the princess lived.  Well written with plenty of details and good pacing I'm glad to have learned more of this couple's love story which has largely become a footnote in British history.

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly B. Bradley is the sequel to her The War that Saved My Life.  Picking up where the first left off we find Ada, Jamie, Susan and the rest of their village facing the challenges of war as the Battle of Britain hits full force.  As with the first book I am very impressed with Bradley's ability to convey through the plot and dialogue all the uncertainly, confusion and determination of the time.

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen again found me in England during WWII in small country hamlet adjusting to the changes of war including troops training at Farleigh Place.  Farleigh Place is the home of Lord & Lady Westerham and their five daughters the youngest of whom discovers a dead soldier whose parachute failed on the grounds.  The book tells the story of the investigation that follows with subplots that include the French Resistance, Bletchley Park, and MI5. Interesting character studies with just enough twists to keep the mystery going.

The Mislaid Magician by Patricia Were and Caroline Stevermer is the third installment of The Cecelia and Kate Novels.   It is been a decade since the last book. The cousins now have estates, children, and a place at the height of wizarding society.  It is 1828, and though magic remains at the heart of the British Empire, a new power has begun to make itself felt across England: the steam engine.  As with the first book this story is told through letters sent between the two cousins and the various adventures life brings their way and is a delightful fun, fast read.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Quick Takes #271: A Week in Pictures

A crazy, fun and busy week ~ perhaps best shared in pictures.

1. Elisabeth's Rain-wing pumpkin dragon

2. Caitlin as a Halloween Princess in her parade.

3. Liam as Saint Peter in his Halloween Parade.

4. Liam sharing about Saint Peter in the 2nd Gr. Saints Pageant .

5. Ash Katchum and Princess Caitlin ready for some T&T

6. Lady Hood ready to hit the Trick or Treating mark.

7. Even found time for some pumpkin carving!!

Happy November! Have a Good Weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Quick Takes #270: October fun

  1. Autumn has arrived at last and we have been making the best of it; and hoping that fall colors are soon to follow.
  2. The kids school's Octoberfest was great fun! Lisbeth danced and had fun with friends. Caitlin mourned the absences of the carousel but found enough other rides to enjoy especially the giant slide.  Liam and I checked-out the Cliff Hanger and it was so amazing we went back for seconds. Capped the night with funnel cakes and called it all a great success!!
  3. Last weekend we headed out to a local orchard for a fun afternoon of apple picking.  Unfortunately the types of apples we wanted were towards the back of the orchard which included a solid hike especially for 5 year old legs but once we found the section everyone got into the fun of picking.  Later that evening we got to enjoy Dr Daddy's apple pie and Lisbeth's apple turnovers.
  4. Also in the last couple weeks Liam after being so close for almost a month Liam finally threw caution to the wind and conquered bike riding san training wheels!!
  5. For those of you on Instagram (who haven't already seen) check out the #postcardsformacron thread. Asked and answered Mr President!
  6. & 7; Enjoy some pictures and have a wonderful weekend.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Reading fun and future challenges

    Last week I finished In Farleigh Field (review in works) and with that I have completed this year's Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge.  This is my 4th year attempting the challenge and as ever I really enjoy pushing myself to out of my reading comfort zone and try new genres or go for a longer/tougher book than I might otherwise.

Looking back at my planning post; I made a few changes but overall it was a good framework to follow.

   Speaking of challenges; as many of you know I love a book challenge and I love geography; so when a friend shared this link I knew it was something I wanted to try.  While not setting a time limit I will try to stick to their recommended list for each state though not including Look to the Mountain as a suggestion for New Hampshire is a huge omission and I'm considering that state done 😊.

As of this point I have 22 states covered ~ 28 to go 💃!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Open Books ~ October '18

The Atomic Weight of Love was Elizabeth Church's debut novel. The book begins as Meridian heads to college in Chicago, falls in love and deals with a long-distance relationship as her boyfriend had to New Mexico to work on a secret war project.  They later marry and when Alden decides to stay on at Los Alamos after the war Meridian lets go of her dream of a doctoral degree but searches for how to stay true to who she is.  Church who grew up in Los Alamos does a fascinating character study of her mother's generation as they travel from the late 40's to early 70's with all its shifting social norms.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall is the second in a series of books about 4 sisters. In this book they cope with tough homework assignments, new neighbors, and the idea of their dad beginning to date again.  The book is aimed at older elementary children and is charming, well written and well paced.

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