Monday, August 31, 2015

What I'm Into: August 2015 (and a welcome back)

I'm linking up with Leigh for the first time in a long, long time.  Life took me in some different directions over the past year or so, and being here couldn't be a priority.  I have decided to come back, to resume linking up and posting here, because I have missed the conversations.

Today was the first day of school for the kids, and I was very relieved about that.  I started a new job in April, and Rob started in a new position at his work shortly after that.  We've both been adjusting to increased demands on our time, and there have definitely been some growing pains.  We just took an epic family vacation last week, and we are all still suffering from jet lag.  This first week back will be extra challenging!

This blog has had many flavors over the years, and I've decided that as I move forward, it will reflect the things that interest me: kids and parenting, looking good and feeling good, meal planning, and of course, reading. 

But enough with the catch up, let's see what I've been into this August:

Not much watching went on this August.  As a family, we tried an episode of In the Wild with Bear Grylls.  We saw the Kate Winslet episode.  We enjoyed it, but due to a DVR programming failure, we haven't seen any more.  Next up for family viewing: Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!  We had missed the Sharknado hoopla of previous summers.  This was so bad, it was hilarious.  Very bloody--a little too much gore for my taste.  But very campy.

As for personal viewing, I have been watching Doc Martin.

 I discovered this on a British channel when Rob and I were in France.  Rob doesn't get why I like it so much, but it's full of quirky characters and is set in a beautiful seaside town in England.  I think that's all the explanation needed.

Fawlty Towers: One of the waiters we had last week recommended this series.  It's an old British series starring John Cleese.  I admit, I tried watching the first episode on Saturday (after we took the red-eye home from California).  I couldn't stay awake.  I will give the rest of it a shot, but I feel like what was so groundbreaking back then may just be the way it's done now, so it won't feel so new and fabulous to me.  I had a similar experience when I finally saw Annie Hall--25 years after it came out, it didn't feel original because so many rom-coms follow the Annie Hall template now.

I go into major meal-planning mode every September, and this year is no different.  I will share more on this soon.  I also discovered many new cooking blogs through Pioneer Woman--and she has a new book coming out this fall.

I read a couple of the Madame Chic books this summer, and I just loved the 10 Item Wardrobe idea so much that I have given it a shot.  It's more like a 20 Item Wardrobe, but it has made getting dressed for work so much easier.

I had a summer reading plan.  I called it "Three Classics and One New One."  The classics: Middlemarch, War and Peace, and To Kill a Mockingbird. The new one: Go Set a Watchman.  I got three-fourths of this plan done.  I abandoned War and Peace about 40 pages in.  So many names!  So many people to keep track of!  I decided that this might be better winter reading. 

But!  There were many other classics that I read over the summer: Howard's End, Crossing to Safety, Persuasion, and The Spectator Bird, among others.  And there were plenty of titles from Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading List. It has been a very good summer for reading.

So there you have it--August.  It's good to be back.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Stack of Books: August 2014

I'm linking up with Anne again.  I have finally hit my stride with the summer reading.  We have about two weeks left before the kids go back to school, but I have no intentions of slowing down!
I'm feeling lazy this month, so no reviews, only pictures:

See you in September!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Stack of Books: July 2014

I'm linking up with Anne again.  Now that school is out--we ended on June 20th, so we really haven't hit our stride with summer yet--I am able to ramp up my reading.  Evidently I'm in the midst of a unit on the thirties and forties!

Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear
Another fine installment in the Maisie Dobbs series.  I believe there is one more after this (so far).  I know Winspear has just published a new, non-Maisie, novel--thus my reading list grows again!

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
More like un-put-down-able.  One thing after another that this man endured!  I found myself wondering about our world now--we are so accustomed to getting a trophy just for playing, could any of us endure what Zamperini (or his entire generation, for that matter) endured?  There are so many lessons to be learned from his generation.  This book should be required reading for everyone.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Set in Seattle in 1942.  A friendship between a Chinese-American boy and a Japanese-American girl.  This book is on the reading list for my ninth-grade daughter.  She didn't want to read it, so I did.  A nice counterpoint to Unbroken.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
I read this on Anne's recommendation.  It started slowly for me compared to Unbroken, which just pulled me right in.  Nevertheless, the more I read, the more I wanted to read it.  Again, another great story about resilient people.

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Stack of Books: June 2014

I'm linking up with Anne again.  This month has been crazy busy.  We are in our last week of school, and I am very much looking forward to afternoons and evenings full of reading time.  As you will see, not many books were finished over the last month.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I loaded this on my kindle before our Texas trip, and I read 90% of it on the flight.  I really enjoyed this.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This one I read in the mornings while eating breakfast.  Good ideas.

I am off to make my summer reading list!  See you next month.

Friday, May 30, 2014

What I'm Into: May 2014

Linking up with Leigh!
May: flying by faster every year.  Here we go in a nutshell: 

Cell phone ridiculousness.  I am due for an upgrade on June 9.  Verizon did not want to cut me any slack regarding the upgrade date, so I did not get to take advantage of any of the great Mother's Day promotions. 

Had my annual mammogram last week.  All good.

A few hours after the mammogram the whole family hopped a plane to Texas.  Alamo, check. Rodeo, check. Indoor skydiving, check!

And now we're home, Mad Men is over, and we are in search of a new show.  Fargo it is!  We are about two and a half shows in. 

The next couple of weeks promise to be a blur, and then I am going to be all about my summer reading!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Stack of Books: May 2014

We're one day early this month, and that means it's time to link up with Anne. I am so excited to see what's in her summer reading guide for this year!

Longbourn, Jo Baker
I had read a couple of less-than-thrilled twitterature reviews last month, so I went into this one hoping that I would that I would like it.  It was pretty good.  It was funny to see our sainted Eliza Bennet from another perspective--I'd never given any thought to who had to do her laundry after her famous walks.

Moriarty Returns a Letter, Michael Robertson
A quick read.  The fourth in a series.  Amusing, with a little suspense.

The Girl You Left Behind, Jojo Moyes
This one got off to a slow start for me.  I considered walking away from it, but it improved.

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
YA historical fiction.  I wish I could get my daughter to read it.  I really enjoyed this.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
A delight. Started yesterday, finished this morning.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I'm Into: April 2014

I'm linking up with Leigh again...

The end of this month snuck up on me!  April has seen the return of baseball season and the triple-booked evenings.  The only comfort is that our normally double-booked evenings have helped us establish the habit of eating dinner around 5:30, so now we don't have to adjust to that.

Baseball season again!
When I had spare time over the last month, here's what I was doing:


Breaking Bad.  It is over.  And I feel like I'm mourning.  This was the first series that I've ever watched through from beginning to end.  I'm glad we spread it over three months.  It gave me something to look forward to every evening, and I feel like I had enough time to digest each episode.

What's up next?  We have two seasons of Homeland on DVD and the first season of House of Cards on DVD.  The DVR is also filling up with episodes of Fargo.  Now we just have to wait for some free evenings.


I started listening to WXPN radio recently.  I have decided that on the whole it has a pretty good mix of tunes.  The kids hate it, but it is nice to take a break from the top 40 stuff.

Around the House
Wisteria--the new color for Caroline
The mess from Caroline's room in the upstairs hall!

Painting!  We are re-painting the kids' bedrooms.  One down, two to go.  I do not enjoy living with all of the mess that comes along with moving furniture out of the way in order to paint.


I find myself in the middle of a self-designed poetry unit!  Thanks in part to one of Anne's guest posts and my pastor's Easter sermon, I have borrowed most of the library's books by Billy Collins.  I am having fun.

So there is April in a nutshell.  May promises more of the same!