Friday, January 30, 2009

L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge ::: The Conclusion

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

I participated in Carrie's L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge this month, and it was fun reaquainting myself with the pages of a favorite author. I mentioned that January seems to be a month that I pull out the familiar (after the holiday hectic) and this challenge was a perfect fit!

The two books that I read were Jane of Lantern Hill and Chronicles of Avonlea. Jane is one of my favorite Montgomery works and one that I have read many times. Jane lives with her mother and extremely strict grandmother (and an aunt that doesn't figure much into the story) in Toronto. As far as she knows, her father has been dead for many years. She trudges along in life - struggling in school, continually at odds with her grandmother, and wondering why her mother is always so sad. Then, one day, after chance comment from a schoolmate, she finds out that her father is alive! At this point, it doesn't make much impact on her life, other that it is one more person that dislikes her, but then ... a letter arrives from her father and she embarks on a summer journey to stay with him on Prince Edward Island!

The story is mostly set during her two summers with her father. Out from under the criticizing eye of her grandmother, Jane blossoms. She finds a kindred spirit in her father and the two of them set up housekeeping in a home that is full of "magic." She teaches herself to cook, makes wonderful friends, and has several adventures. When she returns home to winters with her mother, changes are noticed in Jane. Along the way, Jane also uncovers some of the mystery of why her parents are no longer together ... but I'll leave the rest of you to read about that because the book has a wonderful ending.

I don't know why I am so drawn to Jane. I think it is the simplicity of her days, the joy she takes in her homemaking, the excitement that she finds in everything whether it is a fresh posy of flowers or a red, ripe bunch of strawberries. Her childhood days, while burdened with the separation of her parents, are spent knowing that she is loved and, for the first time with her father, she is encouraged and allowed to blossom as Jane, not as what her grandmother wants her to be.

As a side note, there is also a movie version of Jane of Lantern Hill. It's been several years since I have watched it, but I remember enjoying it. It looks to be unavailable, but a library might have it tucked away somewhere. :)

The 2nd book I read for the challenge was Chronicles of Avonlea, a collection of short stories with familiar and unfamiliar characters that are linked some how to either Anne or Avonlea. If you have watched any of the Road to Avonlea series that was on the Disney Channel, you will recognize a couple of these stories as they were woven into the sweet series.

I have read this book before. However, as I was re-reading it for the challenge, I was a little frustrated with it. The stories weren't long enough. Just when they had me hooked into the characters and the story, it ended! And moved on to someone else! It is safe to say that I don't read many short stories. :) I want to read a loooong book that I can get buried in, getting to know all about the characters, and come out wanting more.

Seriously, if you need little tastes of life in Avonlea, these stories are perfect. Short, with characters that are full of quirks and personality ... these are great for a quick read when you have just a moment to sit down.

For more reviews on other works by L.M. Montgomery, head over to Reading to Know. And thank you, Carrie, for hosting this fun challenge. :)
Indulge this Mama ... my girlie is turning 3 today and we're doing all sorts of birthday-ish things. Chocolate will be eaten. A new birthday dress will be worn. Goodies will be presented. Happy Birthday to our Natalie girl!
Natalie - Birth Day

Before bath

Ear of Dog. Yum.

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Belly Chub ... Love.It.

Natalie and Elizabeth

Dear Miss Cheri

I could eat her up!

Shepherd Day Camp ::: Zoo

Thursday Tea ::: What God Made

Natalie @ 2 and a half

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 4th Photo

Stephanie @ Stephanie's Mommy Brain has tagged me! Here are the rules:


1.) Go to your 4th folder where you store your photos.

2.) Select your 4th picture (no exceptions)! Seriously.. no exceptions.
3.) Post the picture with an explanation and link it back to your tagger.
4.) Tag 4 people to do the same!!


Boy, did I get lucky! :) It's a picture of my rockin' husband playing bass in a show at The Factory in Franklin. This picture is from April of 2005 so I was just sure I would be pulling up some sort of picture of N1 - she would have been about 18 months and there's no shortage of pictures of her at that age!

Passing on the photo love. I'm tagging: Kathy, Mills, Gina, and ... anyone else? :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

National Handwriting Day

NatlHandwritingDay1

NatlHandwritingDay2

Click the pics to read them larger in Flickr if you need to. :)

HT: Katrina

These are the notecards I will send you if you win. :) Have fun!

What's On Your Nightstand ::: January

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I love looking at the "nightstand" posts that bloggers put up once a month. Mine is not terribly impressive this month. Janaury (I'm now noticing) is usually a reading rut for me. It should be a great month for reading! I'm inside a lot because of the weather, I've usually got a stack of new books to read from Christmas and birthday ... however, invariably I find myself turning to books that I have read before. Maybe it's because of the letdown after the holidays and I need something familiar after the frenzy? Who knows. :)

Anyway. Here are a few of the books that I'm PUTTING on my nightstand to read in the next few weeks. We'll just have to see what happens.

  • Rebecca's Reward by Lauraine Snelling. I've been reading these historical fiction books set in North Dakota since the beginning of her Red River series. I'm finding I'm not as hooked with this book, though, as with some of the others.
  • Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. I loved the first book and am plunging into the second one. Has anyone seen the movie for Inkheart that is in the theatre now? I have heard one good review so far. Hoping for a date night with my husband to see that before it makes its way to our Netflix queue. :)
  • The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret & H.A. Rey by Louise Borden. I admit to a love of all things H.A. Rey as evidenced by a children's classics post. This book is at my local library and I'm going to check it out this week and add it to my nightstand.
  • Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab. A book that I received for Christmas and I am eager to start.

And, two others that I have read before, but feel that I need to pull out for the good reminders that are in there...

If you are interested in posting your nightstand stack, head over to Five Minutes for Books. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook ::: January 26, 2009

Do visit Peggy's to see all the other daybook posts this week!

Outside my Window
... grey light is outside the window this morning. Looking to be a cloudy and cold day. That was this morning. Now it is night and I'm just now posting this!

I am thinking
... on friendship, on joy, on so many things right now. A little bit of information overload going on inside my head.

I am thankful for
... so many things. I am blessed.

In the learning room
... just working our way through our phonics workbooks bit by bit. Last week we had a great playday at the zoo (although it was a bit chilly); that was a great treat from all the indoor time that we've had.

From the kitchen
... this week's menu:

Monday
: Pasta Fagioli soup … oh. My. Word. this was good.
Tuesday: something easy in the crockpot because it's dance night. I have a roast in the freezer so we may pull that out.
Wednesday: Quesadillas (cheese for the girls; chicken and spinach for the adults)
Thursday: Good question … probably a leftover night of sorts because I'll do my monthly grocery run for February on Saturday.
Friday: McDonald's! Our birthday girl loves her some hamburgers right now and a McD's hamburger and some playtime will thrill her to no end. J

I am creating
... not too terribly much. A few notepads and cards for baby presents. I take that back … I'm making a little verse notebook. To go along with my theme of choosing joy for the year, I'm going to participate in Joanne's Memory Monday and start memorizing some scripture about joy.

I am going
... to make my monthly menu and grocery list this week. Plans for a big shopping run this weekend and I need to be prepared.

I am wearing
... blue jeans and a pink sweatshirt. Comfy clothes.

I am reading
... Rebecca's Reward by Lauraine Snelling. Isaiah. I need to pick me up a non-fiction book to work through, but am undecided as of yet.

I am hoping ... for good news for friends this week that are going into the hospital. One to have a baby and one for heart valve surgery. God is good, all the time.

I am hearing
... a little Wii activity going on behind me. I'm stealing about two minutes to finally post this before I go tuck munchkins into bed.

Around the house
... the princess explosion in the family room has been remedied and the last load of clothes has been folded and put away. Soup is in the crockpot for dinner tonight.

One of my favorite things
... is celebrating birthdays. And we are celebrating one 'round these parts on Friday.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ...
well, let's see. Tuesday: dance and we pick up our coop order for the week; Wednesday: Bible study in the morning and the N's have Awana at night; Thursday: a 3yo checkup for N2 in the a.m. because on Friday … we are celebrating her birthday! Woo-hoo!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...

January 24, 2009

Our Saturday – the N's and I went to the circus!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bloggy Book Review ::: The Centurion's Wife

I love the writing of Janette Oke. Love, love, love. When I was in sixth grade our family moved to Calgary, Alberta, and around that time I was introduced to this Canadian author's writing. My favorite series of her's - I don't know that I can pick one, but I do love her Canadian West series. My family lived an hour away from many of the locations that she mentioned in these books and they make me homesick for the Canadian Rockies whenever I read them.

However, this review is about her newest book co-written with Davis Bunn. The Centurion's Wife is historical fiction, set in the days immediately after the death and resurrection of Christ. The main character, Leah, is the principal maid to Pontius Pilate's wife. She is betrothed to a soldier, Alban, and both are ordered to dig into the death and supposed theft of the body of the man Jesus. Is there a greater threat to Pilate underneath the mystery of the missing teacher? Pilate has a tenuous grip on his position of leadership and is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, using any means and anyone necessary.

An extremely well-written book for those that are a fan of historical fiction. The gospel is brought to life and beautifully woven throughout this story as Leah and Alban uncover the truth about the Messiah.

From the book:

Mary and I have spent quite a bit of time with the Master. I saw him teach, I saw him heal, I saw him dine with his disciples, I saw him leave, and I saw him return. And this is what I think: I believe every moment of his entire life has been spent setting an example. Every breath, every act, every word, carries message upon message upon message. His every instant was meant to bring eternity into the moment and hope to this fallen world. The death of my brother, our time of broken mourning, our loss of hope...

It was Martha's turn to stop and struggle with her emotions. Then she said, "He did this not only for us, but for everyone who witnessed that day. And for those like you who hear of it. He did this to show that even in the darkest hour, when there is no reason to go forward, no possibility of a better tomorrow, he is there to comfort, to guide, to heal. He brings with him the gift of hope. Impossible, glorious, joyful hope.



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Centurion's Wife

Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2009)

by

Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Davis Bunn is an internationally acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in fifteen languages. His audiences span reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include My Soul To Keep, and Full Circle. A sought-after lecturer in the art of writing, Bunn was named Novelist in Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University.

He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.


Her first novel, a prairie love story titled Love Comes Softly, was published by Bethany House in 1979. This book was followed by more than 75 others.

After Love Comes Softly was published, Oke found her readers asking for more. That book led to a series of eight others in her Love Comes Softly series. She has written multiple fiction series, including The Canadian West, Seasons of the Heart and Women of the West. Her most recent releases include a beautiful children's picture book, I Wonder...Did Jesus Have a Pet Lamb and The Song of Acadia series, co-written with T. Davis Bunn.

Janette Oke's warm writing style has won the hearts of millions of readers. She has received numerous awards, including the Gold Medallion Award, The Christy Award of Excellence, the 1992 President's Award for her significant contribution to the category of Christian fiction from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and in 1999 the Life Impact Award from the Christian Booksellers Association International. Beloved worldwide, her books have been translated into fourteen languages.

She and her husband live nearby in Alberta, Canada.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.

Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil--facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions.

Head of the garrison near Galilee, he has been assigned by Palestine's governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor.

This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, the story unfolds the testing of loyalties--between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Centurion's Wife, go HERE

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Zoo Day

Freaky Frogs :)

The weather crept up to the 50's today so the girls and I headed for the zoo. :) We were in serious need of some sunshine as well as time on our feet getting much needed exercise!

Lizards are cool

I thought most moms would appreciate these pictures. The girls sat by each other for about 2.7 seconds so that I could take a picture. This is the "aw, how cute!" picture:


January 22, 2009

This is an example of the other 294 pictures that I have of the same scene ... the big girls trying to hold down E. :)

A real group picture

Real life. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kid's Pick ::: Betsy-Tacy

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My girls and I have settled into a good read-aloud routine over lunch on most days. Typically, we work through a short chapter book at this time - the girls are busy with lunch and will sit a little longer which helps when the book has fewer pictures than our normal books that we curl on the couch to read.

Many, many years ago a good friend told me about the Betsy-Tacy books. Two little girls who are best friends and share many adventures and imaginings together. I recently reaquainted myself with the books and since my oldest is five (just like the main characters ... what a coincidence!) and we jumped right into book one, Betsy-Tacy. The girls have thoroghly enjoyed these stories - how Betsy and Tacy met, their first day of school (and how shy Tacy was), and many other adventures as they play in their neighborhood.

As you read these books, you can definately tell that they were set in a different time period. The girls (five years old!) are allowed to wander their neighborhood with no fear, climbing hills and exploring trees. Not the uber-protective society that our children are, dare I say, constrained by today. I will also share with you that in one of the chapters the little girls deal with the death of Tacy's baby sister. These books were written at a time when a child's death was not uncommon if they caught the flu or the measles. This was handled extremely tastefully - of course, a mama knows whether or not their child can handle reading this, but my girls did fine with it and it allowed for some appropriate age-level discussions about death and what happens.

If you are looking for a beginning chapter book, especially if you have little girls, we highly recommend Betsy-Tacy. Right now the girls and I are reading the second book in the series, Betsy, Tacy & Tib, where a third little girl is welcomed into their circle of friendship.

For more kid picks, head over to Five Minutes for Books!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Links ::: January 17

I'm guessing that most have (by now) heard about the law that is going into effect requiring manufacturers of children's merchandise to undergo extensive lead testing. A good thing, right? Well, if you are a stay @ home mama that likes to make hair bows and burp rags and sell them on Etsy, then not so much.

Click on the little bear to find out more about this law and what you can do, or you can read a great summarization post over at Rocks in My Dryer.

Save Handmade Toys

And now, a few other links... :)
  • Shimelle is offering a free scrapbooking class on her blog! Head over here for the details and a introductory pdf you can download. (This is the mind behind the Journal Your Christmas project that I do so if you like that type of project, check this one out. You can't beat the price!) :)
  • Have I shared the link to this fun calendar that you can download and print at home? Cute project, even if we are already a few weeks into January.
  • These heart cards make me happy. I'm going to try and figure out a little Valentine's goodie for my girls to give their friends using the the little girl card.
  • I made these peanut butter energy bars this week .... oh my. Yum.
  • Don't forget to enter my giveaway for the new Ted Dekker/Erin Healy book. It ends on Sunday night and I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Happy Saturday. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: Janaury 16

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Things that make me happy.
  • Fridays and the anticipation of a weekend.
  • Stolen moments with a best friend, even though they are not nearly long enough for me!
  • A plan put in to place (baby steps towards change) that seem to be working.
  • Time with old friends on tattered pages.

Hosted by Becky ... visit her to link your own. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Project 365

This year, I'm trying out a photo project that most have probably seen somewhere around blogworld. Project 365. I'm going to take a photo a day and compile them in an album. By the end of 2009, I'll have a neat album capturing daily snippits of my family's life and what is important to us.

I'm very excited about this. To compile this project together, I'm using a kit put out by Creating Keepsakes. (Sadly it is completely sold out and I don't know if they are going to be able to restock it yet.) To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to get the kit - the demand for the kit was such that the day that it went on sale, it completely crashed the Creating Keepsakes website. I attempted to place an order, and about two weeks later was surprised to find a box on my doorstep. Thanks, God! :) For those that weren't able to get the kit, you can download PDFs of all the cool cards and inserts that were included in the kit here.

You can see some examples of how the album is laid out here, and I'll probably post a page or two as I complete them over the year. One thing I'm excited about with this project is turning the camera over to Travis and N1 some of the time so I'm not always the one behind the scenes. I've also put together a special flickr album just for the daily photos.

I hope this post doesn't come across as a big scrapbooking commercial. (It does a little to me and that's not what I was trying to do!) :) I have mentioned my '09 theme is to choose joy and that's one of the things I hope to do daily in this album. I am so blessed and have so much to be thankful for. Even on days where it's too cold to go out to play (in a string of days where it is too cold to go out to play) and Mama and her crew are a little stir-crazy! I want to choose to be joyful in and amidst the messes and moments of our year ... and of course, that means I need to do it with paper, pen and my camera. :)

I'll close with today's pic that will go in the album. I mentioned that we're a little stir-crazy here? It is so cold, I just can't get the girls out in this biting wind. So, this is what little girls come up with when inside play is all there is:

January 15

Princess races. I asked who won and N1 said she did, but she couldn't remember which princess she was. My girls make me laugh. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bloggy Book Post ::: Kiss by Ted Dekker (with giveaway!)

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this book. The story is of a woman who loses six months of her memory - was it really from the car accident that seriously injured her brother or was something done to her? And what about this new "power" she has - the ability to steal the memories of another. Not just see what they see, but literally take the memory away from them and they remember nothing. Political intrigue, family tension, and not knowing who to trust are at the core of this story of suspense.
This is my first time reading a book with Ted Dekker's name on it. If I was reading as just a regular suspense book, I would say it's pretty good. It is a clean, fast paced suspenseful novel and I was pulling for the herione to figure out the mystery behind her amnesia and why someone wants her dead. However, if I was picking this book up because it was Christian suspense, I would be disappointed. While there are occational mentions of trusting in God, it seemed to me that some were forcefully inserted into the story. If they had been cut in editing you probably wouldn't have missed them.
I have one copy of Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy that is up for grabs! If you are interested in winning a copy, leave a comment on this post and I'll draw a winner on Monday, January 19.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

KISS

Thomas Nelson (January 6, 2009)

by

Ted Dekker
and
Erin Healy


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.

*******************

Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Brandilyn Collins, L. B. Graham, Rene Gutteridge, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Robin Lee Hatcher, Denise Hildreth, Denise Hunter, Randy Ingermanson, Jane Kirkpatrick, Gilbert Morris, Frank Peretti, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer, Robert Whitlow, and many others.

She began working with Ted Dekker in 2002 and edited twelve of his heart-pounding storiesbefore their collaboration on Kiss, the first novel to seat her on "the other side of the desk."

Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a Colorado-based consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She and her husband, Tim, are the proud parents of two children

ABOUT THE BOOK

Let me tell you all I know for sure. My name. Shauna.
I woke up in a hospital bed missing six months of my memory. In the room was my loving boyfriend-how could I have forgotten him?-my uncle and my abusive stepmother. Everyone blames me for the tragic car accident that left me near death and my dear brother brain damaged. But what they say can't be true-can it?

I believe the medicine is doing strange things to my memory. I'm unsure who I can trust and who I should run from. And I'm starting to remember things I've never known. Things not about me. I think I'm going crazy.

And even worse, I think they want to kill me.

But who? And for what? Is dying for the truth really better than living with a lie?


Sometimes dying with the truth is better than living with a lie.

After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion.

Her estranged father, a senator bidding on the White House, and her abusive stepmother blame Shauna for the tragedy, which has left her beloved brother severely brain damaged. Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it.

In this blind game of cat and mouse that stares even the darkest memories in the face, Shauna is sure of only one thing: if she remembers, she dies.

If you would like to read the first chapter of KISS, go HERE

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Children's Classics ::: Katy No Pocket

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One of our favorite classics is the sweet story of Katy No Pocket, written by Emmy Payne. Katy is a mama kangaroo with a Very Big Problem. She doesn't have a pocket! How is she going to carry her baby Freddy? Katy and Freddy go on a quest to find out how other mothers carry their babies ... maybe then they can find a solution. Unfortunately, what works for other mothers doesn't work for Katy. She and Freddy head out of the jungle in search of answers and find themselves in the big city. With a little help from a kind man on the street, Katy is back up and running with pockets to spare!

My girls love this book. Some of the attraction, I believe, is because it is about kangaroos. In our house, kangaroos are just cool. :) They are different and not something that you normally see in our neck of the woods!

I was drawn to this story by the sweet pictures in the artwork. I was wonderfully pleased when I found out that the illustrations were done by H.A. Rey - the man behind Curious George! (George is also a big deal in our house. He is very curious, as my N1 would say). :) The pictures are simple and cartoonish, but provide lots of detail for small eyes. Something I learned about Mr. Rey's style of illustrating - he originally planned to illustrated the books that he and his wife Margret wrote with watercolors, but because of color separation in printing, they switched to the cartoonish style that has continued on in his books.

This story has gotten a workout with our girls and we all give it two thumbs up if you haven't met Katy yet!

For more children's classics or to post one of your own, head over to Five Minutes for Books!


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Hummus

Whenever I mention my love of hummus on my blog, I usually get several responses ranging from "me, too!" to "I've never tried it!" So, I thought I'd share my recipe. There are many recipes and many variations out there ... this is just the one I started with and I've stuck with it.

Peanut Butter Hummus

1 can chickpeas (15-19 oz)
1/3 cup warm water
4 T. peanut butter
2 T. olive oil
3 T. lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 t. salt

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend to a dip consistency. If it is too thick, add more warm water 1 T. at a time.

Serve peanut putter humus immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve with fresh celebry, carrots, and broccoli. Warm pita or french bread cubes also do well. My favorite is with apple slices.

Enjoy!

Simple Woman's Daybook ::: January 12

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Do visit Peggy's to see all the other daybook posts this week!

FOR TODAY

Outside my Window ... cold, but light is creeping in. Hoping to open the windows and enjoy the sun this morning, even if it's too cold for us to get out in it.

I am thinking ... that I need to get myself organized for the week today. Lists need to be made as I have a fair amount of church that needs to work its way in around home and family.

I am thankful for ... the fact that I get to stay home with my girls. Last week, being our first week back into a normal rountine after holidays and travel, I really tried to stay home as much as possible and, boy, did it help get us back in shape around the house. Looking forward to another week of limited outings again.

In the learning room ... We are getting back in the swing of a little school every day with N1. Last week we got two days of table work in (our Explode the Code books and we started Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons). The girl is READY to read. I'm so excited. This week, I think we are going to loosely look at penguins. For the month of January, I have several weekly themes in mind, but truthfully have not done much to flesh them out because we seriously needed a breather after being so busy.

From the kitchen ... I'm back on the menu planning bandwagon after flying by the seat of my pants for a few weeks. This week will include chicken enchiladas w/ rice & beans & salad; crockpot fried chicken; some taco soup (one of my favorite cold weather comfort foods); and I think a breakfast night. Yum.

I am creating ... a Project 365 photo album. More on this...

I am going ... to do a ton of laundry today. And find the top of my desk. We moved some furniture around last night and it got buried. AND I'm going to make some time today to do some reading ... meaning, I'm not going to wait until after kids are in bed and we're winding down for the night. At that point, reading = dozing.

I am wearing ... jammies. I.e., a large t-shirt & yoga pants.

I am reading ... a couple rereads, hence the need to sit down today and make a reading plan. I got all sorts of new books for Christmas and birthday and they need me.

I am hoping ... for good things to happen in the lives of my friends. I have some dear, dear friends that are hurting and I hurt for them.

I am hearing ... the sound of my N2 getting to plan on the computer without N1 "helping" her. A rare treat. N1 & E are still sleeping as of yet, but I expect to hear from them shortly...

Around the house ... we've done quite a bit of furniture rearranging the last few weeks. Travis is working on a CD for our church worship team (insert giddy excitement here!) and his office is becoming a temporary recording studio. That said, some furniture had to come out to make room for other things and thus needed to find homes elsewhere in our tiny house for a few months. But the CD will make it all worth it. I'll have to see if I can share a sample of it later ... it's going to be very cool.

One of my favorite things ... my current breakfast addiction: vanilla yogurt with maple pecan granola.


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... My husband has several things on his plate this week, so in contrast I have very little. Balencing each other out. :) We have our normal activities: dance, Bible study, Awana; but otherwise, very little on the go-and-do-list. If it was warmer I would take the girls to the zoo, but I think I would freeze my little baby that has no fat on her body. So we wait for a warmer spell.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...


This is a picture from our hair cut day last week. I just thought it was super cute of N2 - she's a little unsure about all the hair cutting. :)

Happy Monday. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our day...


Lots of cuddling. We have some teething happening here and someone is pretty pitiful. Hope your Saturday is a good one!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: January 9

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My first felicities of the new year. :)
  • Our Friday Night family night ... especially looking forward to it as it's been a busy week for my husband and the girls are ready to play!
  • This book. Such sweetness and wisdom all rolled into one. I love the idea of living seasonally and within that creating traditions and celebrations for our family to go with each one.
  • This etsy shop. Seriously. I could download each and every one of their card templates. I ordered these for my girls for their Valentine's day cards. These will be my next purchase. :)
  • This blog. A wonderful encouragement to this homeschooling mom.
  • Hummus with apple slices. I could eat this every day right now.
  • Curling up under a blanket with a good book.
  • Creating new boundaries for myself. It makes me happy because I have an area that I need to work on and I'm excited about making this needed change. (Vague I know, sorry!)

For more felicities or to link up yours, head over to Becky's!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My Big Girls

Yesterday we spent a good portion of our afternoon running around and one of our stops was the hair salon. I've been going back and forth on getting N1's hair cut and we finally took the plunge. She LOVES it. It's going to be so much easier for her to take care of (and way less tangles for us to pick out of her hair!) Now I'm wishing that we had done it sooner. :)

The middle munchkin also had her few hairs cut and bobbed just like big sister. When did my girls start looking so big?

Speaking of #2, N2 has been a trooper today. We have been talking for MONTHS about how she will be starting Cubbies (Awana) tonight with N1 at church. And, when you go to Cubbies like a big girl, then you don't need to use a passie anymore. When she got up this morning, we put the passie away and other than a few initial tears, she hasn't asked for it yet! Right now she is having her rest time and is a little at loose ends while she is settling herself ... but not fussing! So proud of her today.

Monday, January 05, 2009

In all I do ... I honor You

This past Sunday I had one of those moments where my 2009 theme hit close to home. The music team at church ended the service with the song Amazing Love. The last few lines of the song are "in all I do ... I honor You; in all I do ... I honor You."

Right before these two lines, I was standing there watching the music team close the service and was feeling an intense sadness that I was not up there singing with them. For about 3 years I helped coordinate the music team at our church and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was serving alongside both my husband and my best friend - obviously a win-win situation. :) However, after E was born, it was becoming very obvious to both myself and Travis that it was time for me to step down from the position. The duties that I had with the music team were taking too much time away from the girls and/or I was having to get up earlier and earlier to get things done before they woke up, and with a newborn not sleeping through the night, I was struggling.

At first, when I quit, it was with MUCH relief. I was able to catch up on some sleep, had a better attitude with my girls, more time for our home, etc. However, over the past year, as I've watched my husband continue his involvement with the music team and my best friend has stepped back into a position of leadership after the birth of her 4th little man, I've been a little sad that I'm not getting to serve alongside them.

Don't get me wrong ... I absolutely, 100%, believe that I'm where I am supposed to be and serving where I'm supposed to be within my family and our local body of believers. I have peace about that. However, I haven't been very joyful about it. Not at all. Those last lines of the song on Sunday were a good reminder to me that when I am joyful, no matter my wishes and desires, I am honoring God when I am where He thinks is best for me. It honors Him when I am joyfully serving my family and supporting my husband (and friends) in their God-given ministries.

A good reminder for the first Sunday of the new year, I thought. :)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday Links

  • One of my favorite, favorite, favorite posts from Holy Experience. I think this is required reading at the beginning of every year.
  • Several bloggers have posted their book lists - either what they read in '08 or what they are aiming for in '09. I'll be perusing these for some to add to my to-be-read list. :)
  • Lessons Learned while on bedrest from one of my FAVORITE writers. Good, good stuff.
  • If you are not a Company Girl then you should be. Rachel Anne suggests one small thing to do each day to make your home a sanctuary for your family.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The last few pages ... Journal Your Christmas

I'm starting to wind down on my Journal Your Christmas project. I may do a few more of the prompts; I know I have skipped a couple, and there are a few days left to go, but we'll see. Anyway, here's days 30, 31 & the 1st. For the first, I just cut and pasted the text from this post, with very little change.

Journal Your Christmas ::: 12/30

Journal Your Christmas ::: 12/31

Journal Your Christmas ::: 1/1

You can click any of these to see them bigger in Flickr.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge


Carrie at Reading to Know is hosting a L.M. Montgomery reading challenge in January and I am all. about. that. L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors (if not at the top of the list, then she would be at #2 or #3!) Her characters are so real that I could many of them as kindred spirits even though I have never once met them in flesh, but only chatted with them in the very tattered pages of my books.

I'm going to pick several of my favorite L.M. Montgomery books to reread this month and look forward to sharing them as I reaquaint myself with these old friends. On the list to read will be Jane of Lantern Hill, Chronicles of Avonlea, and Further Chronicles of Avonlea. We'll see what else gets added.

Visit Carrie to sign up or for more information!

Welcome 2009

One of the girls' Sunday School teachers gave them a neat little "I spy" beanbag for Christmas. It was filled with pellets and had little things hidden in there that they had to find through the clear side of the bean bag. The hidden items had a Christmas theme - a tree, snowman, the word JOY, a wreath, etc. The girls have loved playing with it. One afternoon, Noelle and I were searching with it, and she said, "Mommy, I can't find joy!"

One of those lighbulb moments.

For several weeks now, I've known that I need to move towards a focus of JOY for 2009. The last two years have been consumed with a focus to slow down and simplify life as we added girls back to back to our family and our tiny house. There has been much pruning of posessions, free time, and budget as we have adjusted, as you can imagine. Truthfully, though, I have not been joyful about much of it. I have fought to keep "my things" and "my time" all to myself - not looking to the greater good for our family. This year, I want to face things with joy whether it be a change of plans I was really, REALLY looking forward to; not being able to get that new whatever that I think I need want; or putting aside my agenda of things that do have to get done to focus on what the girls need, which is usually just 100% of my attention instead of less than my best.

With that, I humbly share a few goals for 2009, keeping in mind that I will strive (with God's leading and guidance) to do them with joy and bring that attitude forefront to my family:
  • Looking for joy in everday life, even the hard days because I do not deny that there will be some.
  • Documenting it and learning about joy with time in the scriptures.
  • Preserving lessons learned and joyful times in my journal and our family scrapbooks.
  • Bringing joy to relationships far and near by keeping in contact with friends and family.
  • Being joyfully diligent and intentional in my care of my family and our home.
  • Joyfully making changes to better my health and not being resentful about it.

Not a long list at all this year, but a focus that I truly feel is from the Father and a prayer that my heart is being conformed more like his. Grace & peace to you and yours as you welcome 2009. :)