It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What I Read July 2018

I set a personal goal to read 100 books in 2018. More specifically I plan to tackle Tolstoy's short stories and continue reading Newberry Honor books.  With 3/4ths of the year over, I really need to start the short stories. It took me a few months but I finally finished Anna Karenina. I very much enjoyed it and don't regret reading it but it was sooooo, very long and changed directions and involved several foreign languages.

I only read two Newberry Honor books this month and both were, of course, good. But Inside Out & Back Again was GREAT! (Think: Rupi Kaur's The Sun and Her Flowers...but for kids)

So far this year I've read 79 books. You can see what I have read so far by clicking HERE.















Book that I enjoyed most this month: 
Inside Out & Back Again, Dragonwyck

Book that still has me thinking about it: 
Anna Karenina, An American Marriage, The Souls of Black Folk

Book that I will discuss with my kids: 
26 Fairmont Avenue which is the childhood story of famous children's author Tomie dePaola in his own words and drawings. 


Book that I will never read again: 
Miracle for Jen (too preachy), Anna Karenina (too long), The Story of Arthur Truluv (too much like A Man Called Ove and Our Souls at Night)

Book that I gave up on and never finished: 
none!

Book that I have previously read: 
none!

Books that I will read again someday: 
Souls of Black Folk, Inside Out & Back Again, I've Been Thinking...

Books that I read for Book Clubs:
The Story of Arthur Truluv and Dragonwyck

Books that I wished I read for a Book Club:
An American Marriage, Souls of Black Folks



Have you read any of these books? 
What did you think of them? 

What did you read in July? 
Anything you would recommend?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What I Read June 2018

I set a personal goal to read 100 books in 2018. More specifically I plan to tackle Tolstoy's short stories and continue reading Newberry Honor books. 

I said I was going to read Tolstoy's short stories but instead I started Anna Karenina. I believe the book was originally published more like serial or in sections. Needless to say, it is long and I have to look up lots of words because I speak neither French nor Russian, which even in a translated version contains plenty of. I am hopeful to finish it this month and begin on the short stories.

As far as Newberry Award winners this month was only Everything on a Waffle, which I read in one sitting. It was delightful and intense. It was fun and it was heavy. It also contained recipes. Surprisingly, I am so pleased to discover it is part of a series. I usually do NOT like series but am looking forward to more of these characters.

Finally, Tom and Huck...good heavens, it was good. I haven't read it since junior high. Like so many other "children's" books, this is one that is like a whole new story to read it again as an adult and parent. I actually listened to the audio version which was read by Nick Offerman (of Parks and Recs Fame). I highly recommend that!

So far this year I have read, 67 books. You can see what I have read so far by clicking HERE.




The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Beautiful Days by Joyce Carol Oates




Everything on a Waffle by Pauli Horvath
A Higher Loyalty: Truth Lies and Leadership by James Comey
Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words
 by Kimberly Harrington 
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
The Butterfly  by Patricia Polacco 
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins







Book that I enjoyed most this month: 
News of the World, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Book that still has me thinking about it: 
A Higher Loyalty

Book that I will discuss with my kids: 
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Butterfly (It is a Children's book but in my opinion needs to be read to or at least with a child. Even if you choose not read it with a child, READ IT!) 


Book that I will never read again: 
Now That You Mention It (It is just romantic fiction)

Book that I gave up on and never finished: 
Lilac Girls (I didn't even list it because I attempted it several times and never got anywhere near my 100 page minimum. It was supposed to be for one of my book clubs but I missed that one anyway because we were out of town. Due to schedule changes, both my books clubs met the same week - one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. They both had picked heavy WWII novels taking place in Poland. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with Lilac Girls and I may try it again. I just couldn't stomach spending anymore time in Auschwitz.) 

Book that I have previously read: 
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Books that I will read again someday: 
A Little Prince, Make Your Bed,

Books that I read for Book Clubs:
The Storyteller (and Lilac Girls) 

Book that I wished I read for a Book Club:
News of the World and A Higher Loyalty



Have you read any of these books? 
What did you think of them? 

What did you read in June? 
Anything you would recommend?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

What I Read May 2018

I set a personal goal to read 100 books in 2018. More specifically I plan to tackle Tolstoy's short stories and continue reading Newberry Honor books.

So far this year I have read, 58 books. You can see what I have read so far by clicking HERE



Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Your Life...
 and Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines





The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Persuasion by Jane Austin
White Houses by Amy Bloom
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls





The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng




The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery





Book that I enjoyed most this month: 
Little Fires Everywhere

Book that still has me thinking about it: 
Capital Gaines, Make Your Bed

Book that I will discuss with my kids: 
Little House, Make Your Bed, Where the Red Fern Grows

Book that will cause me to hold my sobbing 7-year old for a half hour:
Where the Red Fern Grows

Book that I will never read again: 
White Houses

Book that I gave up on and never finished: 
None

Book that I have previously read: 
Little House, Little Prince, Persuasion, Where the Red Fern Grows

Books that I will read again someday: 
A Little Prince, Make Your Bed,

Books that I read for Book Clubs:
The Identicals, Little Fires Everywhere

Book that I wished I read for a Book Club:
The Female Persuasion and possibly Bel Canto.



Have you read any of these books? 
What did you think of them? 

What did you read in May? 
Anything you would recommend?

Monday, April 30, 2018

What I Read April 2018


I set a personal goal to read 100 books in 2018. More specifically I plan to tackle Tolstoy's short stories and continue reading Newberry Honor books.

This month was sort of a blah book month for me. I didn't read anything that really gripped me. A Spool of Blue Thread lead to some great Book Club conversation but I really didn't get into anything else. I am plugging away at some books with JoJo for school and also still working through Tolstoy. Again, nothing that has been hard to put down. Have you ever had times like this? Can you recommend anything?

 So far this year, I have read 47 books. You can see what I have read by clicking HERE.




Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux





The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett
Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ransey
Louis Pasteur by Nick Hunter
Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway





The Casserole Queens Cookbook by Crystal Cook
Becoming Mom Strong by Heidi St. John
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler






Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Astray by Emma Donoghue




Book that I enjoyed most this month: 
Astray

Book that still has me thinking about it: 
Outliers and Financial Peace Revisited 

Book that I will discuss with my kids: 
Financial Peace, Louis Pasteur, and The Westing Game

Book that I will never read again: 
Phantom of the Opera

Book that I gave up on and never finished: 
The Carpet People. (This was the second time I tried to read it) 

Book that I have previously read: 
Financial Peace and A Spool of Blue Thread (and the first 100 pages of the Carpet People)

Book that I will read again someday: 
Financial Peace and Outliers

Books that I read for Book Clubs:
The Westing Game, A Spool of Blue Thread, and Becoming Mom Strong



Have you read any of these books? 
What did you think of them? 

What did you read in April? 
Anything you would recommend?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

March 2018

Michael

Michael set up for the International Houseware's Show at the McCormick Place in Chicago. I took the train up and hung out with him for part of the time. We didn't really do anything special but ate at enjoyed being downtown. Set up took a little longer this year, so he had less free time than in previous years. It was still a successful trip and he doesn't have to worry about it again for a few months!

The other part of Michael's brain: soccer! Well, this weather is making things tricky. He spends part of each day checking fields, reviewing weather reports, and rescheduling events.

We spent Saturday watching soccer in a "Soccer Bar" or "Football Pub"...essentially living Michael's dream. We were going to attend the Chicago Fire's Opening Day but with the weather, we happily caught it on TV. 

I love this picture of Michael coloring Easter Eggs alongside my Dad and Brother-in-Law (yeah, he got to come home for a short leave!). It pretty much sums him up: family. I love how our girls are just used to having a Dad who is involved. A Papa across the street at their beck and call, and an Uncle who absolutely adores them. 


Laura
I added an online book club this month. It is through my Homeschool Support Group and we are reading Becoming MomStrong by Heidi St. John. Unlike my other groups, we meet online (obviously) but we break reading and discussion down by week rather than all at once at the end. I will try to keep my reading to a separate blog post...I know it isn't for everyone. :) 


I don't realize how many pictures I take of my cat until I go to make this post each month. I start flipping through my pictures and there is Sparkle...and there is Sparkle...and there is Sparkle Marbles again! I joke that she is my favorite child and if you judged who I loved most by who I take the most pictures of, well...yeah, it is the cat. This is actually me attempting to read my Bible App in the morning. She has to sit ON me and the iPad. 



Nadia Michelle

Nadia is doing a great job balancing her school schedule, work schedule, and soccer.  It was the perfect time for her to take on a new responsibility and we are so very proud of her! 


Can she take your order? Make your food? Clear your table? YES! Go visit her! :) 

A newer holiday for us is International Women's Day. In Ukraine it is a BIG deal. Michael celebrates us by having a special breakfast and fresh flowers. Nadia thoughtfully made us each a gift too. You will often find Nadia doodling, crafting, and such. She makes beautiful flowers out of paper! 




Stacey

Stacey finished this year's history and literature, and has gone straight onto next years! She has started volunteering at church as a Children's Church greeter and registering the kids. She continues her private swim lessons and is also playing soccer. She is a busy girl!


These four rocked their presentation on Theodore Roosevelt. Seriously. I’m not just saying that because I am their mom. They prepared and it showed. Afterwards a friend reminded me how extra special it was that ALL my girls spoke this year...how quickly I forget that two of them weren’t proficient enough to research, write, and present in English at last year’s event!  Look how confident Stacey is! See Jo's arms wrapped around her, this is a pretty common sight. 

Dating means getting to know each other's family traditions, tastes, and well...issues. I am sure P is enjoying his education into all things Robey. This month we introduced him to Fondue! 


Nancy

Nan continues to organize game nights once a month at our house for her friends. Food and bossing people around seem to be things she really enjoys (hey, she is my kid!) Her work load was pretty intense this year for school so she is still deep in the middle of it. I am proud of her for not getting discouraged as her sisters finish up before her.

The big girls attended a retreat. They were less than thrilled at drop-off because they knew zero people there. When they arrive at the retreat and get to settle in bunks, there is a familiar face: Lauren, who Nan has known her entire life, is their counselor!  A picture of Lauren and Nancy from the retreat compared to a picture of them from 10+ years earlier. 

Nan will use any excuse to bake...and Pi Day was delicious at our house! 




JoJo

JoJo has started soccer...sort of. This weather has caused several things to be rescheduled. She isn't one to graciously handled a change in routine but is dealing with it remarkably well...for her. She is taking a break from swimming and looking forward to softball. This month she has been all about dress up clothes and Barbies. She is also into making those rubberband bracelets. (Often when she is supposed to be doing school or sleeping.)

While we were in Chicago, Michael and I visited the Art Institute. We enjoyed snapping pictures like these and messaging Jo. She hadn't studied these pictures but was still able to identify the artist! She loves art and memorizing cards/slides of paintings and artists. I would have never guessed that about her. It is strange, she is not proficient at reading but is super confident and actually really competent in art. God is certainly using her to work on me and my expectations and plans for education. 



In other news, she is obsessed with Little House. My plan (see above regarding adjusting!) was to do the Prairie Primer: A Little House Unit Study next school year with her. But she is interested NOW. I had hoped to be winding down the school year, but instead I am wading into a unit study. I am excited she is excited to be learning and loves all things Little House just like Nancy. Here she is making butter: