Archive from September, 2017
Sep 29, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on On The Fence

On The Fence

I borrowed Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere from my friend Britt a month or so ago because we’ve enjoyed Elise Gravel’s picture books; Olga is one of those highly illustrated not-quite-graphic novels, and I was hoping it would be similar but, well, MORE.  Well, it is–and it isn’t.

Like Gravel’s picture books, Olga is quirky, funny, and somewhat oddly illustrated (but in a fun way!); with added length, however, plus an animal-focused plot, comes a significant number of references to pee, poop, and farts.  Some of that could hardly be avoided, of course, since dealing with an animal means dealing with its bodily functions.  Ultimately, however, it felt like Gravel wasn’t trying as hard to branch out a bit as I wanted her to.  I will say that none of the bodily functions references are thrown in quite gratuitously–they all connect to Olga and her pursuit of animal science, so to speak–I just kind of wanted fewer of them.  Bottom line?  If my kids find it themselves and want to read it, I won’t stop them, but I’m not going to purposefully put it in their books piles when they have so many other books to read.*

*Olga IS fun.  No question.  So if  you weren’t raised by an old-fashioned, incredibly-picky-about-that-sort-of-thing mother, you’re probably fine.  Let me know what you think!


Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

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Sep 27, 2017 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

Reasons Why I’m Feeling Overwhelmed

This feels totally whiny, since my sister is moving into a new house as I type, but still.

  1.  The paperwork.  I now have three children in elementary school, and OH MY GOSH, THE PAPERWORK!
  2.  The toy situation.  I need to cull again, as my two-year-old gets older, but what to cull?  When to do it (and not get caught)?
  3.  The clothes.  My son’s clothes are now big enough that the drawers that hold them are on the small side, and I haven’t actually packed away all of the summer stuff yet.  We need short sleeves and long at the moment, and there is no convenient place to put them.
  4.  The flies.  They must be gleefully rushing in every time one of the kids stands with the door open, because it’s getting cold for them outside.
  5.  The dishes.  Because, you know, we eat.

Okay, I know there’s more, but I’m going to make an effort to stop being whiny and do some dishes instead.  Why are YOU feeling overwhelmed?   And if you’re not, would you like to come play with a two-year-old so I can put things away without her taking them right back out again?

Sep 25, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Our Neighbors’ Apples

Our Neighbors’ Apples

My neighbors have what they’ve decided to call an ‘apple bush’ in their backyard; it’s not large or impressive and they don’t spray, but they do get some fruit in late summer.  My children have been eating little apples from their tree for weeks now (with their blessing!), and they’ve brought me enough to make a few pints of applesauce.  (We’re not talking jars here–I just cooked down what I could salvage from the worms, blended it up skin and all, and stuck it in the fridge.)  I went looking for recipes using applesauce, since my kids don’t love the blended texture and I wasn’t about to pull out the food mill for such small quantities, and I found this Glazed Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread.

My son is now obsessed.

Thankfully, it’s fairly simple, delicious, and has some decent nutritional value.  I subbed out 3/4 cup of the white flour for wheat and used regular yogurt, since I didn’t have Greek; I also split the cinnamon into half cinnamon, half nutmeg, because who bakes with apples without both?  (Not this girl, I tell you what!)  It’s sticky and messy and best just a little bit warm, but the leftovers are certainly still tasty.  If you could see my son’s face when he realizes I’m making it…

Anyway.  Try it.  You’ll like it.  We do!

Sep 23, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Feeling Thankful

Feeling Thankful

Tonight I took my two older girlies to the General Women’s session of our church’s twice-yearly general conference.  The speakers were inspired (and inspiring), the company was lovely, and I came home feeling blessed.  It’s very easy to focus on the minutiae; the dishes, the laundry, the homework, the ferrying of kids to school and dance and piano and appointments.  Those things are repetitive but important, after all.  Evenings like these, however, remind me to redirect my focus to Christ.  If you have the time, visit and gain a respite from the world!

Sep 21, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Oy Gevalt!

Oy Gevalt!

I’ve read a book or three by Sid Fleischman; he’s got at least one Newbery, and he does a mean adventure story.  The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, however, is unlike anything else of his that I’ve read–possibly, it’s unlike anything else, period.  A dybbuk is a Jewish spirit capable of possessing the living, which is exactly what Avrom Amos, murdered by the Nazis and seeking revenge, proceeds to do.  His chosen vessel is one Freddie, formerly an American GI, now a ventriloquist bouncing around Europe a few years after the end of WWII.  The dybbuk wants revenge on his Nazi murderer; Freddie needs a way to stop moving his lips during his ventriloquist act.  The unlikely partnership ends up helping them both.

Here’s the thing about this one.  I thought it was fascinating and hilarious; I’m not sure kids in its intended age range, however, are going to fully appreciate it. On the other hand, I’d recommend it to a slew of adults, so I guess it’s up to you.  I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Freddie’s initial search for someone to perform an exorcism for him; it may help you decide.

              A taxi pulled up at last.  Freddie leaned forward and told the driver to find him a Jew.

              “Any particular Jew?” asked the driver.

              “There’s more than one?”

              “A few are coming back.”

You see?  Fleischman specifically set out, he said, to incorporate the Jewish sense of humor into a book about the Holocaust.  I’d say he succeeded.  You’ll have to tell me what you think!


The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

New From: $2.94 USD In Stock

Sep 19, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Expectations


When I received a copy of Pancakes!:  An Interactive Recipe Book for review, I was somehow expecting a book with different varieties of pancake recipes; when I realized it was a board book following one recipe, with tabs and other young-child-friendly activities, I was sadly disappointed.  (I wanted that book of different recipes.)  I came back to it eventually, however, and this time I realized that it’s actually a delightful little book when you’re not expecting it to be something entirely different.  In addition to several tabs, there’s a page with one of those rotating wheels at the edge (I’m sure there’s a name for it, but I’m tired) and a removable pancake towards the end.   This would be a perfect gift for someone looking to begin cooking with a toddler.  Or a baby shower gift–accompanied by a toddler-sized apron?

Hmm.  I wonder if anyone I know is having a baby…

Sep 17, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on A Poet to the Core

A Poet to the Core

I’ve read quite a few of Margarita Engle’s verse novels and more or less loved them all; she tells stories I know nothing about in language that sings.  I think, however, that I’ve been too tired with the start of school to fully appreciate Silver People:  Voices from the Panama Canal.  The intertwined stories were engrossing, the ‘Forest’ sections brilliant, and the story as a whole simply amazing; it was difficult, however, to focus on the plot as easily as I usually do, because she evokes the setting so poetically.  (I wish I’d read this at a time in my life that I wasn’t going to bed at midnight-ish and waking up before seven.)  It’s a fascinating book, mind you, and it tells quite a different side of the story than I remember learning in junior high, but Engle’s verse novels are closer to the verse end of the spectrum than the novel end.  Read this one and more–they’re fabulous–but try and read them when you’re at least partially rested.

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal

New From: $4.88 USD In Stock

Sep 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Fall Goodness

Fall Goodness

I was totally planning on reviewing a book today, but the weather changed, and it’s so incredibly beautiful!  There is RAIN!  And coolness!  Hallelujah!

Not that the weather changing automatically edges out a book review, of course–I could wax rhapsodic about the change AND do a review–but I was pondering my dinner plan on the phone with my friend Andrea, and she pointed out to me that soup could actually be an option again.  Yay soup!  Onto Pinterest I went, and since my older girls have piano from 3-4 on Fridays, I went with this Vegan Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup.


In all fairness, mine wasn’t vegan–I don’t stock vegetable broth, since chicken works for us.  I also substituted half oregano, half basil for the thyme, because thyme does not so much work for us.  And none of my children loved it as much as I did, because I alone in my household fully appreciate the beauty of lemon. They all ate it, however, and oh, I enjoyed it!  No meat to thaw, no long term cooking–easy and fast and delicious.  (Not to mention fairly healthy!)  If it’s soup weather where you are, give this a try!

Sep 13, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on This and That

This and That

  1.  I apparently have a corneal abrasion in my right eye.
  2.  I also have a temporary contact there, to prevent my eyelid from rubbing it painfully every time I blink.
  3.  My sister-in-law and I (one of them) made 15 pints of grape freezer jam today.  Want some?
  4.  I’m almost done with the book that’s both beautiful and, sadly, not what I’m in the mood for right now.  Hallelujah!
  5.  My son is still struggling with being away from me during kindergarten.  I’m open to suggestions…
  6.  I have to be dressed and ready obscenely early tomorrow in order to go back to the eye doctor.
  7.  Which means I’m headed off to the shower, and then to finish my book, and then to sleep.  Goodnight all!
Sep 11, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Eye For An Oreo

An Eye For An Oreo

Okay, that title was more fun than accurate, but here’s the thing.  I’ve had something bothering my eye for the last 24+ hours, and I really just want to get in the shower and see if that helps.  In the meantime, the Apple Pie Oreos are decent (although not amazing), but the PB&J ones not so much.  My hubby and I have mostly different dessert preferences and neither one of us liked them.  (The kids did, but you know how that goes.)  There’s my brief review–wish my eye luck!