Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Every day, the boys ask how long it will be until you get back from work. Luke used to ask how many more minutes it would be until you got home and it would be only 9:30 in the morning! He couldn't wait until you were back. Luke still asks you to carry him upstairs before bed. Sam and Luke both love it when you make them French toast for breakfast. They both love when you join in their lightsaber fights. You give them so much of your time. You play Battleship and Star Wars Monopoly. You are unselfish with your children and we love you very much! Happy Father's day!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Do you know what I realized?

That I graduated from high school 19 years ago today...

It's weird that it popped into my head today, but it doesn't seem that long ago. Do you know how people would often remark that your high school years would be the best years of your life? I really enjoyed high school, but deep down, I feared it might be true. It made me unhappy to hear this deeply sad sentiment. I'm so glad to say how untrue it is! I guess, I hope it's untrue for everyone. My life becomes more rich and more interesting with each passing year.

Clown Feet

I recently took a class to learn how to knit felted clogs and I've now completed two pairs!

The pair above was my first pair using Brown Sheep bulky wool. Once I got the hang of these, I found them to be fun and quick. I used size 13 circular needles 24" and 16".

This pair, I knit in about a week and I got a little more bold using a third color for the cuff and inner sole.

I'm a little nervous about the next step...I'll post a photo after I felt them.

Money and space-saving tip

Most people who know me know that I'm a somewhat of a minimalist. I just don't like lots of stuff all around, but I tolerate it better now than before I had children. Anyway, I've been talking to my friend Jen who is in the middle of a huge purge at her home. It is often a huge relief to let go of the burden of things around our homes. So, it got me thinking about one of my favorite tips for saving money and space and ultimately having less clutter.

In my bedroom closet, I have a set number of hangers. I never buy hangers. If I buy something new, it's simple. Something else has to go and quickly. There's a set number of hangers. I have something like twenty hangers and I don't use them all! I've found that there is always something that can go. This way, although my wardrobe changes, the size of my wardrobe doesn't. I use this technique with my boys and will with my daughter (once we get her room finished).

Also, when I go shopping and I'm tempted to buy some article of clothing for either myself or my family, I usually think that this will just become more laundry for me- something to be washed, possibly ironed and then put away. Usually, that's enough for me to put the item back on the rack and walk quickly away. Suddenly, the item is just not that cute anymore. Now, of course I'm not opposed to buying clothes, but it makes me think harder when I do. Will this item be used often? Do my boys need it? Are two pairs of jeans for each boy an acceptable number? How many dresses does Tess need in size 6 months? Will she get to wear more than three dresses in that size before she outgrows them? Even with a manageable size wardrobe, laundry can be overwhelming. So, I set serious limits and I stick by them. I hope this helps.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The 4x10 Reading Challenge Update #5

I finished 4 more books on my list, but gosh I didn't realize how much I still have on my list! I'm just trying to see where I'm at and it's easier when I see it all typed out. I realize I seem to be getting nowhere because I keep adding books to the To Be Read pile.

I've read, Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby's First Foods by Nina Planck , Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Christian Unschooling by Teri J. Brown and Elissa M. Wahl and The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America by Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young.

Let's see what's Left: (A Lot!)

1. A Day on Skates - Hilda von Stockum

2. Princess Academy (in progress...still reading to Luke)

3. City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau

4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society-Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

5. A Woman's Place- Lynn Austin

6. The Bird in the Tree- Elizabeth Goudge (in progress)

7. Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen

8. The Lord of the Rings- JRR Tolkien

9. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (in progress)

10. A Reader's Delight- Noel Perrin (essays on adult fiction)

11. The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections- Amanda Blake Soule

12. The Surprising Power of Family Meals- Miriam Weinstein
Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater - Matthew Amster-Burton

14.. Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better- John Holt

15. Laying Down the Rails

16. The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature- Elizabeth Kantor

17. A Walk with Jane Austen- Lori Smith.

18. Jack's Life: The Life Story of C. S. Lewis- Douglas Gresham (in progress)

19. Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature- Linda Lear

20. Three Cups of Tea- Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

21. What's So Great About Christianity- Dinesh D'Souza

22. It's So You! Fitting Fashion to Your Life- Mary Sheehan Warren (in progress)

23. Misplacing God: And Finding Him Again- Joanne Heim (in Progress) -need to review for Joanne

24. Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering- Donna Marie Cooper O'Boyle

25. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time- Dava Sobel

26. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady- Edith Holden

27. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life- Barbara Kingsolver (in progress)

28. The Last Child in the Woods - Richard Louv

I realize that I keep reading things that aren't on my list and I changed some of my list...again. I decided to read Les Miserables instead of The Count of Monte Cristo for this book challenge. I'll try not to change it anymore!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where we've been the past couple of days

Actually, we were camping near Buena Vista, but made a small foray into Narnia on the drive home! Shouldn't there be a lamp post somewhere near by?
In other news, Miss Tess is 6 months old today. Here she is with Luke. See that little tongue? That's her new smile. Isn't she adorable?

Book Meme

1. What author do you own the most books by?

Probably Jane Austen and if it's not Jane Austen, then it's books about Jane Austen or Anne of Green Gables and others by L. M. Montgomery

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

Well, I'd say it was Pride and Prejudice. I couldn't resist small delicate little hardcovers, editions with nice pen and ink drawings, annotated versions and assorted copies with pretty covers. I recently decided, that, due to lack of space to thin out the Pride and Prejudice collection and I donated some to the library. I also own several copies of the Chronicles of Narnia. I'd like to have a set for each of my children.

3. Did it bother you that both of those questions ended in prepositions?

You bet!
4.What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Gilbert Blythe

5. What book have you read the most times in your life?

There was a time when I used to re-read books constantly. Since I had a limited collection of books as a kid, I re-read On the Banks of Plum Creek all the time. I loved the idea of living in a dug-out. Now, after having read it to my 9 year old son, I realize that it may have not been as ideal as I originally thought. Didn't the cow run over the top and puncture their "roof"? I also read Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web a lot. Also, for some reason, I really liked Judy Blume's Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and I checked it out from the school library often.

6. Favorite Book as a ten year old?

Probably On the Banks of Plum Creek, but I was just about to get into the Shoes series by Noel Streatfeild. I loved Family Shoes. I think it's still out of print though.

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Jane Austen Ruined My Life

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?

In 2009? The year's not over yet!

9. If you could force everyone you know, to read one book what would it be?
I just can't do that. Everyone has such different tastes and I can't think of one book that would appeal to everyone I know. For a while, I suggested that my friends read In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. I loved this book about Australia and think this particular title has both general appeal and is just plain funny. I also think Australia is fascinating.

10.What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Right now, I'm reading Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson and it's weird how as I read this novel, I can imagine this book as a really good film, but it still wouldn't be as good as the book.

11.What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
I had to read this book on justification and warrant in a philosophy course that I took in college. After all these years, I'm still not sure what this class was about and frankly, I don't care and I was a philosophy major. I can't think of a topic that interested me less. I preferred Aristotle.

12.What is your favorite book?

I don't have one. It just isn't possible to answer this question. I love books, bookstores, libraries and talking about books and certain books have had their place at different times of my life. There was the Little House phase and the Anne of Green Gables phase and Little Women, of course. In my twenties, I even looked forward to Oprah announcing her new book club pick, but there was a lot of downers in that collection (although I really liked Where the Heart Is), but it's not my favorite book or anything. For a while I loved Under the Tuscan Sun and that set off a love of travel writing and well, I still love Jane Austen and of all her novels, I like Mansfield Park best. I know that's weird, but I can relate to Fanny Price for some reason. Okay, so I didn't really answer the question, but I really like so many genres and it's impossible to choose one.

13. Play?
Okay, I associate reading plays with high school and college. I remember a lot of play reading like Our Town, The Crucible, A Raisin in the Sun, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, King Lear (lots of Shakespeare) etc., but I haven't really picked up a play to read since. Actually, that's not true. There is one play that's just so much fun and that's Life with Father by Clarence Day which was also made into a delightful movie. I don't think Life With Father started out as a play, but it was a book of anecdotes.

14. Poem?
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot only because it has the phrase, "Do I dare disturb the Universe?" in it.
I don't read a lot of poetry, but sometimes, I do find it comforting. I do love Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. Actually, I really like a lot of Robert Frost.

15. Essay?
Something by Chesterton

16. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Right now, it's Stephanie Meyer. I read Twilight and seriously, I just can't understand the hoopla. It's because I'm not 17 anymore, right? Vampires and werewolves are just not my thing. I don't care how vegetarian they are!

17. What is your desert island book?
Isn't this just another way of asking what my favorite book is? I think I'd like to have the Psalms or The Imitation of Christ. Maybe a good dictionary?

18. And . . . what are you reading right now? Let's see...I'm reading Journey to the River Sea, Too Many Cooks:Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids and 102 recipes, Princess Academy and I'm about to start the unabridged Les Miserables. Also, I'm about 100 pages into Revolutionary Road as well.

h/t Studeo