Friday, March 13, 2015

Keeping it Quick and Random (please don't forget about me!)

Hi!  It's been a while!  It's not that I've been taking a break from blogging, it's just that I haven't been doing it so much lately.  So.... I guess that's a break?  Well, it's not an official "I'm taking a blogging break and I will announce it to the world in this blog post" break, but more of a "I have a lot of responsibilities that have been neglected lately  because I'm at the computer too much."  And I also started to notice this unfortunate trend - if I'm blogging during the kids' afternoon rest time and I'm not done by the time they get up, I'm snippy and irritated for the rest of the afternoon.  And who wants that??  And I also noticed that if I blog less, I get to read and crochet more... but not at the same time (I think that must be what Heaven is like - reading and crocheting at the same time.)  

Anyway... I'm just here for a few quick quips, mutterings, and musings so that you don't forget about me!

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Clare has started calling James "Lil BooBoo." 
Where did that come from????
That's the absolute last nickname I would ever give a child of mine.
But that's what she calls him.  It started out as a high pitched cutesy thing: she'd scrunch up her face and stick it into his face and say, "Hi there Lil BooBoo!  Hi there!" while mauling hugging him.  But now, it's just a normal part of her life and conversation.  She'll come into a room and very matter of factly address me in a perfectly normal tone of voice like there's nothing bizarre about what she's saying at all: "Mom, is Lil BooBoo still in bed?"  No cutesy, high pitched voice.  Just a brother who is now referred to by one of the most ridiculous nicknames ever.

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It's going.  It's half way over.  

It was one of my goals this year to have the kids and I make our new Stations of the Cross before Lent started.  Sadly, that didn't happen.  I bought frames, and hopefully they'll be up this weekend so that we can squeeze in a few family Stations during the season.

Other Lenten things are going well.  The kids gave up chocolate chips in their trail mix (usually a bi-weekly morning snack) and the whole family gave up boxed cereal.  Even though we don't eat that much boxed cereal to begin with, it's really been a sacrifice for some of the kids (especially when they witness James obliviously consuming his Cheerios, because he's exempt :) )  It's been hard on Russ who would live off of raisin bran if I let him, and it's been a little tricky on me because I've had to be on top of the bulk oatmeal buying, granola making, and remembering to get an occasional pan of baked oatmeal in the oven.  But I think Easter week will be especially fun and tasty for the kids - Russ and I decided to celebrate Easter with extra special cereal the kids love, like Puffins and Kix!!!
Nothing says "He is Risen!" like overpriced packaged breakfast grains :)

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Binge watching Gran Hotel on Netflix has made me appreciate the efficacy of foreign language immersion programs.  I'm only a few episodes into Season 2 and I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility to think that I might burst out in Spanish at any given moment.  It's in my head and I can't get it out... eventually it will all come spilling out of my mouth and I will have officially learned another language via a media program that was not Rosetta Stone.  Granted, I may only be able to say things like, "The clean linens have been pressed and stacked," and "I'll take my tea in bed this afternoon," and "I know you don't love him," and "I just have to find one more clue and then I promise I'll go," and "it was the butler in the dining room with the candlestick" but you can't be too picky with these free language programs, you know ;)

I have so much more to say about Gran Hotel, but I'll spare you... for now...!

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My birthday was last week!  On days when I can remember it (or there's a calculator nearby) I'm 36!

We had lots of lovely family time to celebrate.  Russ offered to make a cake for me (as he has done a few other times) but when I mentioned that I wanted something very decadent involving chocolate and hazelnut, he wisely admitted I should probably make my own cake.  I followed this recipe to a T and ended up with a delicious dessert - every bit as decadent and chocolate-y and hazelnut-y as I had hoped for :)

Pinterest came through for me again.

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The snow is melting!  The warm weather and daylight savings time have given the kids the opportunity to play outside after dinner this past week!  That makes it feel like summer practically!

One evening they built a pretty cool sled run down our back deck...

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Not much else to write about, other than to assure you (and myself!) that I haven't given up here.  I'm just using this little down time on the blog to read to my kids, pray, do dishes, maybe start to make some Easter decorations, clean out my craft/sewing room, work on a few big crochet projects, and bake chocolate cakes from scratch :)
When I'm ready for some down time from all that, I'll be back to blogging!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Classics, I *heart* Maestro, and a New Kind of Book Basket (WWRW)

It's my first time linking up with Jessica at Housewifespice for What We're Reading Wednesday (too bad we're not reading anything a little more riveting right now, huh?  I really know how to jump into things with not-a-bang...)  But I've always enjoyed being nosy and seeing what other people are reading and getting recommendations and adding to my inter-library loan request list which ensures that my revolving door relationship with the public library will go on ad infinitum.  So here's what we've been reading...

With the kids, I've been reading nothing that you haven't heard of before....

The girls and I are happily making our way through Little House in the Big Woods.  Last night, while eating popcorn in front of a cozy fire, we finished the maple-sugar making chapters (how quaint!  We'll be heading out to the local maple sugar shacks in the next few weeks, ourselves!  And someday when we live in the country we will attempt it ourselves!) .   We were even living some of the frontier experience as we read because our living room ceiling is leaking (darn you weeks and weeks of snow accumulation that's finally melting off of our roof and into our home...) so the drip, drip, dripping, made it feel like we were at least living in some sort of prairie sod house, if not the log cabin near Pepin.  

The boys and I finally finished The Horse and His Boy after almost nine months of slogging through it.  I hate to say it, because it is C. S. Lewis after all, but we practically had to drag ourselves through The Silver Chair and The Horse and His Boy.  I don't know... maybe did Clive go through a creative slump or something there??  Or maybe we're too unrefined to get the nuanced threads of genius in those two books??  I'm happy to say that we all seem to be enjoying The Magician's Nephew  more than the previous books.  It looks like we'll finish the series this year after all!  

Aaron is reading.  Let me repeat that...  Aaron is reading!!!!   For pleasure, on his own, no prompting from Mom, not for lessons.  He thinks is cool that he gets to stay up late in bed with a finger light on his thumb.  And I am spinning cartwheels in my head because it's finally happened!  As moms the world over know, it's hard finding books for boys at this stage - we're past our beloved Frog and Toad  but not quite ready for The Hardy Boys.  Your suggestions are welcome.  He's done plenty of the usual suspects - Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House, Encyclopedia Brown, My America books, the "Who Was...?" in American history series, and some illustrated classics.  He's currently working through the Tomie DePaola 26 Fairmount Avenue books.

A couple weeks ago we were on "Winter Break."  Instead of all the regular reading, writing and math, we read Betsy Maestro's Liberty or Death: The American Revolution: 1763-1783  for fun!  The boys and I (and even Ruth, sometimes) are big time Maestro fans!  Over the summer we had read her books on the discovery of the Americas, colonial America, and the French and Indian War.  Her picture books are perfect, perfect for teaching early American history in a comprehensive, interesting, and memorable way.  The artwork by her husband, Gulio, is just as wonderful - detailed, engaging, and lovely.  I can't recommend the books in their American Story series enough.  However, we've also enjoyed many of her books that aren't specifically part of this series, most notably, The Story of Money and The Story of Clocks and Calendars

I'm reading...  um, not much.   I recently got a few things out of the library for myself, but it's really hard to watch Netflix and read at the same time, and it's even harder to crochet and read at the same time.  So my books usually end up being due back before I have a chance to crack the cover.  "Required" reading for a woman's group I participate in has been Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat- Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, by Father Michael Gaitley.  It's good.  It's a retreat though, so... not riveting ;)  

Finally, I set up a new kind of book basket in our living room.  Themed books baskets are an occasional thing around here, but this one is pretty random.  I recently cleaned up and cleared out all the picture book bookshelves in the house and pulled out all the books we've never read.  They're mostly books that I picked up at library sales and put on the shelves and for some reason, no one ever pulled them off.  So they're all centrally located now and we've had some really fun evenings where the rule is "new books only for bedtime reading."  We've uncovered some good ones like The King's Day: Louis XIV of France (Aliki), A Drop of Water (Gordon Morrison), and Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man (David Adler)  (fair warning: you might tear up reading that last one.  woah.)  

So that's what we're reading.  How 'bout you?  Let's chat here, or link up your own What We're Reading Wednesday post with Jessica and check out what other bloggers are reading while you're there :)  
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