Monday, June 14, 2021

First Day ~ Last Day 2020-21

 Today we are enjoying the first day of summer vacation. It was overall a good year; they were in-building for all but 3 weeks with wonderful teachers and great friends to make the mask-wearing, and social distancing a bit more pleasurable.

7th Completed ~ 1st honors earned

4th Completed ~ Service Award 

2nd Completed ~ Most Inquisitive Award

Friday, May 21, 2021

7 Quick Take #293: Seven things that happened while I was away


 Happy May! Long time no post ~ how about a bit of catch-up?

  1. Slightly out of order thanks to an uncooperative computer:

    May 1st brought some Lily of the Valley and
    Caitlin's First Communion!
    Was able to return to my favorite Longwood Garden during tulip peak!
    Caitlin got glasses

    Dr. Dad and I celebrated our birthdays

    Liam got glasses, making for a full set!
    And back in April, we celebrate Easter!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Quick Lit: March '21


   Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and updating how my Lenten reads are going so far.

The Reckless Way of Love is a series of reflections on how we are called to love God and each other taken from the writings of Servant of God Dorothy Day, organized by Carolyn Kurtz,   I really appreciated how the book was laid out; with each section focused on a different aspect of the lived experience of loving as we are called to by Christ.  I again found myself marveling at Day's great commitment to live the Greatest Commandment and her honesty at how difficult the daily work of that can be.

The Quiet Companion by Mary Purcell is the story of St Peter Faber, one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).  I really enjoyed this biography where Purcell pulled from the letters to and from the saint, as well as his diary to tell the story of his life and the times when he lived. From his time at the University of Paris where he was roommates with St Francis Xavier,  to when they met St Ignacio Loyola and traveled with him to Rome to form the order and have it approved.  Later he was sent to Germany with the task of pushing back against the Reformation and finding common ground with Lutherns.  

Make My Life Simple by Rachel Balducci is a fun fast read filled with great advice to reduce the chaos and find pockets of peace in your day.  What I appreciated most about the book was the tone; Balducci offers a lot of suggestions from her experience as a mother of 6 but stresses the most important idea was for the reader to find what works for them since the comparison was the fastest way to lose your sense of peace.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Elisabeth at 13

  As I write this I'm not sure which is stranger to me; that Elisabeth is a teenager or that it has been almost a year of Covid living.   A year ago when we celebrated her birthday we were in a state of watchful waiting; the pottery place where we had her party was still open and we were not yet wearing masks.  All that changed a week later.  So as I write this 'birthday update' the unknowable question is how much living through this pandemic has affected her growth and change over the past year.   I will be fascinated in the future to someday ask my kids what this year (or possibly two) was like for them.

  Elisabeth at 13 is:

  1. Very creative; she loves sketching and will sometimes spend her recess time drawing this for her fellow students or teachers.  She also has a couple of drawing apps on her iPad she enjoys using.  She is interested in animations and wondering if that might be a career future for her.
  2. She is becoming more adventurous with food and while she definitely still has her favorites now eats a wide range of things. Current favorites include Chai in the morning, corndogs for dinner, and Mochi for dessert.  Bonne Mamy introduced her to iced green tea much to great effect.  
  3. She still loves Wings of Fire but is reading other series ~ currently Percy Jackson.  Mostly on the page or online, she loves dragons, Minecraft, and art.
  4. Favorite shows include the new Netflix She-Ra, In the Deep, and Voltron.  Still not much for live-action shows, she is happy to join a family watch of the Great British Bake-Off.
  5. When her school shifted to Distance Learning last March the kids stayed home for the rest of that school year but did reopen in September with social distancing and mask-wearing.  This was good news for Lisbeth who of my 3 most missed the structure of being in the classroom.  She is also starting to look at local high schools, thinking about where she might want to go once she finishes 8th grade next year.
  6. She has definitely missed being able to easily see her friends and was very disappointed that her gymnastic gym closed permanently; overall she has weathered this very strange and stressful year very well. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Lenten Reading List

   I have for the past several Lents 'given up' fiction and that is my plan again this year. I tend to make a book list and then let the mood take me, but here is some of what I hope to read this Lent.

The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus by Dorothy Day; a buddy read hosted by Fountain of Carrots that I'm joining.

Quiet Companion by Mary Purcell a biography of St. Peter Favre one of the founding members of Jesuits. 

We Are Our Mothers' Daughters by Cookie Roberts

Six Sacred Rules by Tim & Sue Muldoon

The Benedict Option by Rod Dresher

Make My Life Simple by Rachel Balducci

 My devotional for this lent is No Unlikely Saints offered by Brick House in the City.

And being released on March 12th  Be Bold in the Broken by Mary Lenaburg. 

What are you reading this Lent?

Linking up with Rosie of A Blog for my Mom

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Open book ~ Feb'21


Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge is a wonderful book of Oxford early in the reign of Elizabeth 1; when student Walter Scott was dreaming of going to sea for her, and could still attend lectures taught by Edmund Campion.  The story centers around a Canon of Christ College and his children. Through them over the course of a year, you see Oxford in all its seasons and all moods. Some romance, some adventure, and a lot of inspiration.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver; is the story of Missie, who had managed to graduate high school without getting pregnant, and saving up enough for a car decides to head west.  Away from Kentucky and a life the feels not quite right. Along the way, she changes her name to Taylor and ends up in Arizona.   

You need to suspend your disbelief a few times, but overall this a beautifully written story of a place and those key people and decisions that help determine what sort of adult you want to be.

Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter: is the story of Freckles a young orphan who has aged out of a Chicago orphanage and applies for a job with a logging crew.  He was tasked with guarding a forest of valuable trees until the crew can get there a year later.  Porter a naturalist, in this lovely coming-of-age story makes the woods come alive as Freckles finds his way to manhood charged with this great task. The ending is a saccharine, but well worth the read.

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

Monday, February 1, 2021

What currently is saving my sanity ~ Winter 2021

   Happy February! The week and month are starting off for us with a true snow day with no distance learning assignments for the kids to complete ~ and with me linking-up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy as we share tips to beat the winter blues.

  • Reading always and forever Amen! Joining challenges and stretching my reading muscles, revisiting old favorites and finding them welcoming. One of the blessings of all the 'sheltering in place' last year I discovered Bookstagram, a corner of Instagram with a ton of people posting book reviews.  It has become 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 All Creatures Great and Small, and Miss Scarlet & the Duke.
  • Lighting a candle or two in the evening.
  • A weekly visit to a local coffee shop and making a cup of tea as we start homework.
  • Daily Walks!!  Started last spring when I craved some quiet after a day of helping my kids with virtual learning, I have found my evening walk a great help in quieting the voices of anxiety.
  • 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?

Thursday, January 28, 2021

What to read while waiting for your Bridgerton holds

   If you like me have learned of the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn because of the Netflix series; and are now surprised and a bit disappointed to find the books back-ordered and/or checked out.  Allow me to share some of my favorites of the genre while you wait for your holds to come in.

Georgette Heyer:  Any of you longtime readers know of my great appreciation of this author. Sometimes described as Austen lite: her understanding of the Regency comedy of manners is excellent and her romances lovely.  This post describes some of my favorites of hers's to which I would add Frederica and Sprig Muslin which I had yet to read.

Bree Wolf's Love Second Chance romances include wonderful conversations among a great cast of characters who continue to appear through the series.  The intimate scenes are consistently between married people and almost entirely behind the closed door; kissing and early foreplay are on the page.

Emma Leech's Rogues and Gentlemen series is another great series where you meet great people and enjoy watching over the course of the series they, their friends, and their family find love.  These books focus more on the romance of the time as well as the effects of war on those who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.   The intimate scenes are again mostly between married people but in a more open-door manner.

Erica Ridley's Duke of War series recounts a group of friends who have been to war and are now back.  These stories also focus on the battle scars these soldiers carried, (both internal and external) while they meet their lady loves. The humor of the Regency comedy of manners is the focus while there are some open door scenes as our couples achieve their 'happily ever after'. 

  Stepping slightly away from the Regency setting I want to also highlight a couple other authors.  Janette Oke writes wonderful clean romances of the Canadian West.  She has two series Love Come Softly, and When Calls the Heart, as well as many stand-alone novels, two of my favorites being A Bride for Donnigan and They Called Her Mrs. Doc.

Eliza Knight's Sutherland Legacy is set in Scotland during the time of Edward II and Robert the Bruce. Lords, Ladies, and Clansman fight and fall in love along the border and in the Highlands of Scotland.  These are also open door romances where the intimate scenes are somewhat described on the page. 

Any favorites of yours I missed?

Monday, January 11, 2021

Cate is 8!!


  1. Caitlin at 8 is a unicorn loving, artist; who loves drawing & coloring, and playing with kinetic sand.  Having learned to ride her bike without training wheels this fall, after school she is often out and about visiting neighborhood friends.  However, Skye and her light-up seahorse Bubbles, are still essential at bedtime.
  2. Favorite shows include Spirit Riding Free, Ryan's Mystery Playdate, Bluey, and when watching with Liam, Pokemon.  Jake, & the Neverland Pirates, Elena of Avalor, and Sophia the First still make the cut. In our house at eight years old, you can begin playing Minecraft Creative Version.  In preparation, Caitlin has also been watching Gamer Girl videos.
  3. She is enjoying school; doing well in all her subjects. Her reading skills are getting stronger and stronger. She has begun reading chapter books such as Billie Brown mysteries, and Princess in Black.  Currently virtual for a couple of weeks, she is very much looking forward to being back in the classroom with her friends.
  4. Favorite foods include lasagna, Shepherd's Pie, and pizza. Mostly she like cookies and milk. 
  5. She was really enjoying her gymnastics class, unfortunately, that gym has recently closed.  Due to the Covid virus, swimming lessons were not possible last summer. However, we are holding out hope for the coming summer.
  6. Her chosen theme for balloon and banner is Descendants, with Frozen a close second. She chose cupcakes with blue &purple frosting and donut rings for her birthday dessert.
  7. She is so very much the youngest; eager to rush ahead to catch up with her older siblings, and at the end of the day such the goofy cuddle bug.  Enjoys attempting phone conversations in french with Bonne Mamy, yet still resorts to baby talk when in trouble. 
  8. pictures. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021 goals and commitment

 Happy New Year!

   We are back from a lovely Christmas break in Maine. According to the rules of our school since the kids left the state they need to attend class virtually for 2 weeks. The first week is going okay with each day bringing its own hiccups.  

   I have again set several reading goals for myself for the year, but have decided lifestyle-wise monthly commitments may increase success and follow through.


  • I plan to read 60 books over the year. 20 of which from my own bookshelves. To help with this goal I am joining the Unread Shelf challenge again hosted by Whitney.  
  • I plan to read 10 from the 20th Century project hosted by Ashley of The Big White Farmhouse
  • Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge this year a 'pick your own path' of many options of which I have picked some that overlap with the other two and some that have my stretching my reading muscles a bit.

Lifestyle :
  • In January after my morning coffee till dinner, I'm only going to drink water
  • I will aim for 8,000 steps a day
  • Strength train 3x a week