Archive from November, 2016
Nov 29, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on The Reality Of December (So to Speak)

The Reality Of December (So to Speak)

Yes, I know, it’s still (barely) November, but doesn’t it feel like December?  It isn’t just the weather, although it certainly contributes; it’s more the quantity of events and tasks on my calendar. Once Thanksgiving is over, preparations for Christmas take over.

If that weren’t the case, I would be reviewing the last book I finished, or the last new recipe I made, or Pie Night as a whole; instead, I’m looking at how tired I’ve been, my plans for tomorrow, and what still must be done in my house, and I’m freely confessing that while I’ll get to those things eventually, it’s not going to be today.  I’m still on antibiotics from that miserable ear infection and my sleep schedule has gotten all messed up.  And really, I’m assuming that most of us are, more or less, in the same boat.

It’s that time of year.

What I’ve decided to try and do, however, is to be mindful of the moments, and to be aware of why I’m busy doing certain things; when I remember to do it, it makes a difference.  I am busy on behalf of my family, my friends, and my home, and these things matter.  I watched this message tonight–put out by my church for this Christmas season–and I think it expresses what I’m feeling better than I can.  Whatever your faith, it’s worth your time.

Nov 27, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

I finally took the time today to write down–on a calendar–all of the commitments that I know of for the month.

I kind of want to cry.

To be fair, most of them are happening in the beginning of the month; things should slow down remarkable about halfway in.  How is it, though, that while I don’t feel like I overschedule my kids, there is still SO MUCH HAPPENING?  Piano recital, family pictures, three separate dance performances, three Christmas parties of various types…


On the other hand, our tree is up.  I’m just going to have to take it one day at a time.

Nov 25, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Pie Eyed?

Pie Eyed?

Or minded, or something.  I missed on Wednesday because it was Pie Night, which means packing up for a day or three at my in-laws’ (including overnight things–all those essential stuffed animals!) and then making pies until I drop.  My Pie Night post will have to wait, however, because while dessert is very important, gratitude is paramount.  I am incredibly grateful for my families–the one I was born into, the one I married into, and the one my husband and I are raising together.  I am grateful for truly wonderful friends.  I am grateful for a warm house in the winter and a cool house in the summer.  I am grateful for modern medicine and what it does for us.  I am grateful for my modern conveniences (oh, how I love my dishwasher!) and all of the plenty we enjoy.

Life is good, folks.  We are blessed.

Nov 21, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I’M The One With The Ear Infection

I’M The One With The Ear Infection

And it’s not fun, I have to say.  I can’t hear worth beans out of my left ear, and it HURTS when I yawn.  On the other hand, I did go to the doctor, so I’ve got ginormous pills to take twice a day…

Anyway.  I finished Lower the Trap forever ago, but it kept getting pushed down on my list of things to post about.  It’s short–125 pages of quite a large font–and simple; when Graeme Swinimer’s dad catches a giant lobster in one of his traps, Graeme desperately  hopes that it will sell at auction for enough to take a dreamed-about trip to a famous aquarium.  (They live in Nova Scotia, and Graeme wants to be a marine biologist.)  He makes a deal with the cannery owner’s son in order to make sure it happens, but fulfilling his terms of the deal is not a pleasant job, and what if selling such a find isn’t really the right thing to do?  As an adult reader, I knew that the lobster was going to come out on top eventually, but the how of it was actually surprising, and I enjoyed the book. Graeme’s philosophizing at the end feels like a LARGE leap forward in the plot, though, and I did wonder for most of the book if his sister was real and alive.  He’s always calling out to her only to discover that she’s elsewhere, and while he watches his dad trying to catch up to her at one point, that’s more than a hundred pages into the book.  (It shouldn’t take that long to be sure she isn’t a “Sixth Sense” plot twist, right?)

Bottom line?  It was enjoyable, but partly because of the setting; the characters didn’t speak to me.  Elementary age boys, however–especially those with an interest in or connection to the setting–are the perfect audience (I was not).  Also, it’s part of a trilogy that tells the same story from three different parts of view, which can be especially interesting.  If you have elementary schoolers and the plot appeals, give it a try; I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Lower the Trap (Lobster Chronicles)

New From: $8.90 USD In Stock

Nov 19, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Family Bonding

Family Bonding

Don’t you just love it when your entire family has a cold?  The tissues everywhere?  The nasal spray/saline/suctioning/sinus rinse circus?  Buying cold medicine at Costco?

Yeah.  Me neither.  Luckily, I have a picture book to make you smile (and to spare me a long review).  Adam Rex’s School’s First Day of School is fabulous–who doesn’t want to experience the first day of school from the school’s point of view?  It’s a must for elementary schoolers–and, really for anyone.  Read it and laugh!

School’s First Day of School

New From: $9.61 USD In Stock

Nov 17, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I Have Been a Parent For a Decade

I Have Been a Parent For a Decade

My oldest turned 10 yesterday, so here are 10 things I love about that girlie of mine:

  1.  She loves to try new things.  She did not get this from me.
  2. She eats like my mother.  On her kindergarten information sheet, she listed artichokes as her favorite food.
  3. She doesn’t necessarily enjoy practicing the piano, but she LOVES playing the cool songs she’s mastered.
  4. She still hugs me HARD when she leaves for school.
  5. She’s a good helper, especially in the kitchen.
  6. She loves people.
  7. She is athletic and agile, but she’s sensible–she can do what she tries to do, and rarely ends up hurt because she doesn’t try things she can’t.
  8. She loves to talk about the books she’s reading.
  9. She will accept explanations that make sense to her.
  10. She loves her family.
Nov 15, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Well Done, Sister Suffragette!

Well Done, Sister Suffragette!

Well, folks, it’s been one week since Election Day, and if you think I’m going there even a tiny bit–you’re out of your mind.  What I AM going to do, however, is wholeheartedly campaign for this trio of books on women’s suffrage that my girls and I have been reading.  Picture books are an incredible resource for anyone looking to give their children a sense of history–and an appreciation for freedoms that (for many of us) are less than a century old.

(Note:  My girls were possibly more outraged that women once weren’t allowed to vote than appreciative that they can now, which isn’t shocking.  And let me make VERY clear that I would have read these with my son if he were old enough to sit for the longer, serious picture books, but he’s four.  That’s SO not happening right now.)

1)  Doreen Rappaport’s Elizabeth Started All the Trouble has the broadest scope of the trio; it begins with Abigail Adams reminding her husband to “remember the ladies” before heading to Seneca Falls and the first Women’s Rights Convention–and beyond.

2)  Miss Paul and the President:  The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote focuses on Alice Paul and her efforts with President Woodrow Wilson.  Nancy Zhang’s illustrations are full of humor.

3)  I knew absolutely nothing about the events in Around America to Win the Vote:  Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles, which made it all the more fascinating.  Nell Richardson and Alice Burke really did travel around the country, and their methods for winning people to their cause made me smile.  This is as fun as it is informative.

And there you have it, folks–three very different books about (more or less) the same topic.  Read these with your kids.  It’s never a bad thing to be able to look back and see how far we’ve come!


Elizabeth Started All the Trouble

New From: $7.63 USD In Stock

Nov 11, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on It All Adds Up to Tired

It All Adds Up to Tired

The time change, my kids’ struggles with the time change, homework struggles this week, a late night or two…I’m taking the weekend off, folks.  See you Tuesday!

Nov 9, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on No Politics Here…

No Politics Here…

…although the kiddos deprived me of enough sleep that I’m too fried for anything else.  In lieu of actual effort from me today, may I suggest you try Trader Joe’s Turkey, Stuffing, and Seasonal Kettle Chips?  When they say ‘all the flavors of Thanksgiving in each potato chip,’ they’re not kidding–and it makes for a strangely tasty experience.

Nov 7, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Heaven In A Cupcake

Heaven In A Cupcake

Although my oldest doesn’t turn 10 until next week, we were in charge of bringing birthday treats to dinner at my in-laws’ house yesterday (as was one of my sisters-in-law–one person bringing dessert is never enough!).  My girlie wanted cupcakes, and while I abhor making them, well, it was her day to choose.  I plopped her in front of my computer and showed her my Pinterest cupcakes board; she found a few different recipes that appealed to her and then we narrowed it down to these Very Vanilla Cupcakes (I steered her away from the Neopolitan ones because I didn’t want to deal with layers).  She and I made them yesterday afternoon, she frosted them with Daddy (I hate frosting cupcakes!), and when birthday celebration time came at her Grandma’s house, we served them up.


These things are amazing.  They have vanilla bean and vanilla extract in the batter and the frosting, plus vanilla Greek yogurt in the batter.  (I didn’t want to buy Vanilla Almond Milk, though, so it wasn’t vanilla FOUR ways.  It could have been.)  I doubled the cupcakes and one and a halved the frosting, and I went through FIVE STICKS OF BUTTER to do it.  (There was extra frosting, by the way.  Unless you like frosting mountains on  your cupcakes,  you’re fine to double the cupcakes and make a single batch of frosting.)  These cupcakes are worth every calorie, friends.   They are moist and rich and beautifully vanilla-y.  They are a revelation–a thing of beauty and joy (and cholesterol, but hey!) forever.

Make them today.