June 2016 Recap

June RecapJuly is here which means that before I know it it’ll be August and back to (home)school time. Crazy! I need to get moving and make sure I finish all the projects I was wanting to tackle on summer break.

Unfortunately for my productivity, the baby toddler doesn’t care that it’s summer, so it’s still a challenge getting those things anything done any time she’s awake.

June 2016 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 7
Books Read For The Year: 36. Except Goodreads says I’m at 38 books so I’ve miscounted somewhere. Also, that is a dreadfully low total for me, but then I remember that it’s excluding all of the books I’m reading to and with my kids, and I’ve spent a lot of my reading time doing that.

Things That Happened
  • H turned 5
  • Baseball finished, and overall it was a very fun season. The last game was fairly frustrating, but it was really the first time we’ve run into issues with an opposing coach whose philosophy of play seems to not fit the age range and stated aim of this league.
  • The two big kids had a full month – taekwondo camp and two different weeks of VBS.
  • This might have happened at the end of May, but I forgot to mention it then. And maybe it was the first part of June? I’m blanking out on when it was exactly. Anyway, we did some rearranging upstairs and switched the kids around. G and H had been sharing a room with bunkbeds. They … do not share well. Now H is in her own room, and G is sharing with M. Yes, that’s right, the middle child has her own room, while the oldest one is sharing with his baby sister. It’s a better setup keeping in mind the personalities involved. At some point G will get his own room, but he’s still young enough he can share with a sister for a bit longer πŸ™‚
  • In the Facebook book club we discussed Big Little Lies
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Seeing H’s face when she saw her birthday cupcakes – just what she’d asked for. I know at some point she’s likely to be unimpressed with her mom’s homemade and home-decorated cupcakes but she was thrilled.
  • Watching H at belt testing. She did so well!
  • Seeing G at belt testing too – he was testing for brown belt and at that level they add in board breaks to the testing. They don’t “count” yet as far as passing; it’s just to get them used to doing it under testing conditions. I hadn’t known it was coming, and he didn’t either, but he did great at it – broke both boards with no trouble, and didn’t let the audience faze him.
What’s Cooking
  • I’m continuing with the cooking lessons for the kids, and in addition to the book I’ve been using, I found a video course aimed at teaching kids. I’ll keep you posted once we’ve used it for long enough to form a solid opinion.
  • I used the grill twice to cook dinner. I NEVER use the grill, but I finally tried it. We’re having trouble with our grill so while the first night was very successful, the second time was less so. I think it’s time for a new grill for us – this one is over 10 years old and it’s on its last legs.
What I’m Anticipating in July
  • Book club – Better Than Before in my in-person book club and The Cuckoo’s Calling in the Facebook group.
  • G turns 7.
  • The kids will have another week of taekwondo camp (and it’s water week, which is always a fave), plus one final VBS program. This will be at a new-to-us place.
Books I Read
  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (re-read in May but I forgot to include it then)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (re-read in May but I forgot to include it then)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (re-read)
  4. The Forks Over Knives Plan by Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman
  5. Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6) by Jacqueline Winspear
  6. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  7. VB6 by Mark Bittman

May 2016 Recap

May RecapApparently my blogging slump included forgetting to write a recap post about April. So this’ll include highlights from both April & May. I’m not entirely sure why I was struggling so much to get anything posted but {fingers crossed} I’m out of it.

The disadvantage of not updating monthly is that I know I’ve forgotten some of the books I reread. Goodreads is helpful for tracking new books, but it doesn’t easily let me track rereads. So, I’ve forgotten a few that I know I reread.

April & May 2016 in Stats

Books Read These Month: 10
Books Read For The Year: 29

Things That Happened
  • Baseball started for G, and it’s been really fun seeing how the boys have improved from last year.
  • My mother-in-law came for a brief visit, and it was so nice having her out for a bit. The kids were thrilled to see her.
  • We went to Florida on vacation and it was *wonderful*.
  • G finished his first grade year, and I did just a tiny bit of speeding up in order to finish with the Ancient Egypt portion of his curriculum before the break. I didn’t really want to stop for two months, and then come back to it in August for only a couple of weeks.
  • In the Facebook book club we had an excellent discussion on Station Eleven in April (thanks to a wonderful guest facilitator), and then in May I led the discussion on Empire of the Summer Moon.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Baseball – love watching G play.
  • We finally – finally – got updated wills. We still need to get some additional life insurance on both of us to be really set if the worst should happen, but at last now the kids won’t be in limbo.
  • The beach. I’m not even really a beach person but I loved it.
What’s Cooking
  • I’ve been using one of those meal delivery services semi-regularly, and it is saving my sanity. Love it so much. I’d use it every week if I could manage it.
  • My kids have been asking to learn to cook, so I found a book (of course I did) and we’re starting to work through it. And when I say I found a book, I mean I checked out a half dozen and settled on the one I thought was best for what I wanted to accomplish. πŸ™‚
What I’m Anticipating in June
  • Book club – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in my in-person book club and Big Little Lies in the Facebook group.
  • Baseball ends, and at the moment it’s possible G’s team will make the playoffs. I think they’re right on the bubble as the top four teams make it.
  • Belt testing (again). This time if G passes he’ll be moving up to the advanced classes – that seems crazy to me!
  • The kids birthday season is here. H turns 5 later this month, G turns 7 in July, and M turns 2 in August.
  • VBS time! Yes, I have the kids signed up for more than one. One at their old Awana church, and one at their new Awana church.
Books I Read
  1. Station Eleven
  2. The Mystery of the Blue Train
  3. The Complete Persepolis
  4. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
  5. Looking for Alibrandi
  6. As Chimney Seekers Come to Dust
  7. Big Little Lies
  8. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  9. The Circus Fire
  10. An Uncertain Choice

March 2016 Recap

March RecapMarch brought a lot more reading than February did for me (seriously though, at only 3 books for me finished in February, it wasn’t hard for March to have more.) I’m maybe out of my reading slump? Except trying to get through my book club’s April pick is slowing me down. As I said in the Facebook group, I have issues with post-apocalyptic novels, and this one is reminding me why I thought I’d need a push to get the novel read.

March 2016 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 9
Books Read For The Year: 19

Things That Happened
  • M is getting so much more verbal lately – she says so many words, and it’s adorable. Most of them are pretty understandable too, even to people other than her mother. πŸ˜‰
  • I was sick for about 10 days, and then R was sick. The big kids were healthy, and even though the baby had a cold so all in all it was that much more exhausting for me when I was not feeling well and they were all energetic and ready to DO THINGS.
  • G is trucking along in his new homeschool curriculum, and I’m loving really getting into history with him. What we had been doing was just a light introduction into things, and now it’s going beyond the introduction. I will admit that I am not very interested in Ancient Egypt, so we’ll see how much my personal interest remains once we really get into that topic. πŸ™‚
  • We chatted about The Chosen, and there was a guest facilitator, which was so helpful for me as swamped as I felt most of the month. Next month for Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel there’s another guest facilitator as well – hooray! Even better, I like the different style it’s brought to the discussions.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Little kids + Easter egg hunts = adorable.
  • Stretching this category to include “heard” – baby M saying her name finally! She can’t get it exactly right, but it’s super cute.
  • We wrapped up Financial Peace University, and it is *so* motivating. I highly recommend it! I’ve got my mile-long to do list of things to take care of thanks to the class, but I think getting them done will help with my peace of mind.
What’s Cooking
  • I made an April Fool’s Day pizza for the kids. It’s was supposed to look like a savory pizza, but it’s actually a dessert pizza. I say “supposed to” because the picture of it did, but my attempt at it did not really. The marshmallow fluff that looked like fresh mozzarella cheese in the picture kind of melted and oozed everywhere in my version. G loved it though and had no complaints about the messy appearance. H refused to try it thanks to the strawberry sauce.
  • We were supposed to host Easter, but R called one of his aunts and asked if we could not (see above entry about us being sick.) We were healthy to go to it, but trying to reclaim the house after almost 3 weeks of one or the other of us being ill? That wasn’t happening in time. Such a relief to not have to worry about it, and instead of being responsible for coordinating the meal and providing the main course, I only had to bring a side dish and dessert. Carrot casserole and lemon bars = easy.
What I’m Anticipating in April
  • Book club – A Town Like Alice in my in-person book club and Station Eleven in the Facebook group.
  • My mother-in-law will be visiting for a week, and I am so hoping to get caught up on life, and maybe even get ahead on some things. Fingers crossed, because realistically a week isn’t enough time for everything I’d like to do. Time to start prioritizing, and the number one, must-get-these-done thing? Taxes.
  • Baseball starts for G, and the kids may have belt testing mid-month.
  • We will be doing all sorts of adulting things in April. By which I mean we’ll be finalizing updated wills and guardianship paperwork and all of that. I’m also hoping to get increased life insurance on both of us. Three kids you know. And yes, the third child is turning two this August, but we’re only just now getting to it. In case you’re wondering, yes, this is related to working through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace seminar.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
  2. * The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  3. * Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie
  4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  5. Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age — From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything in Between by Jason Boog
  6. Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary WriterFind the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende by Heather Lende
  7. * A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  8. Out of Darkness: My Story of Finding True Light and Liberation by Stormie Omartian
  9. River Secrets by Shannon Hale

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

February 2016 Recap

February RecapFebruary was very similar to January in many ways – mostly mild temperatures, and me not reading a lot of my books (as opposed to kids’ books). I’m definitely in a slump, but am hoping to break out of it soon.

February 2016 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 3
Books Read For The Year: 10

Things That Happened
  • G finished Core A & moved onto Core B for school. So far so good with it, even though I don’t like the book it uses for the first few weeks. He also finished All About Spelling Level 2 and we’ll be getting started with Level 3 soon – I’m taking a little break from it to get us used to the changes Core B brings.
  • Both kids belt tested, and both passed, so they’re in the same intermediate class now. H has sparring gear on order too, so that’s going to be fun watching her begin to spar. If it’s like G’s gear, she’ll be about ready to test for her next belt by the time it arrives though.
  • FPU continues to be really worthwhile – I’m *so* glad we are going through the class, and would highly, highly recommend it.
  • We chatted about The Black Count, until life got away from me and I let the discussion fizzle out. It’s often harder to discuss nonfiction though, and I definitely found that to be the case with this one. Still worth reading, and so worth reading in conjunction with The Count of Monte Cristo!
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • H’s smile her first day in the intermediate class when she got to play “big kid” dodge ball. She was beaming, and it cracks me up because I detested dodge ball when I was a kid. G and H both think it’s the best thing ever.
  • We’ve had a handful of really mild days, and watching the kids run around outside is great. I’m looking forward to the weather continuing to get warmer so they can do it more and more – it makes for happier days around here and easier bedtimes when they’ve worn themselves out.
What’s Cooking
  • Beef bourgingnon this weekend, as part of an online cooking club. I’ve made a mock beef burgundy in the crock pot many times, but am trying Ina Garten’s recipe, and it sounds fantastic.
  • I “made” cinnamon rolls for leap day, and the kids just about lost their minds from excitement. By made of course I mean I used those canned rolls from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. I wanted to do *something* fairly special for leap year, and aimed low enough for it to actually happen.
What I’m Anticipating in March
  • Book club meetings about two compelling books – Rebecca in my in-person book club and The Chosen in the Facebook group.
  • My sister-in-law will be visiting for a few days, and then hopefully my mother-and father-in-law will be visiting as well. I’m hoping anyway!
  • I am hoping to get taxes finished and filed (maybe when the inlaws visit and keep the kids occupied?) otherwise I’ll be finding a babysitter so I can focus and get them done.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. * The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park
  2. * Seesaw Girl by Linda Sue Park
  3. * Year of the Black Pony by Walt Morey

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman
Two years ago: Book Review: The Restless Sleep by Stacy Horn
Three years ago: Magical Words, or, Picking a Book by its Title

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

January 2016 Recap

January 2016 RecapYay for fresh starts! I do love the promise a new year holds, and love how motivating it is for me to look ahead at what I want to accomplish in the future.

So far 2016 has been pretty mild – and I am not complaining! I find it so tiring getting kids into snow clothes and long stretches when we’re cooped up inside because of extreme temperatures wears us all out. We’ve had days this month when the big kids were able to play outside for extended periods and that is wonderful for us all. πŸ™‚

What January didn’t involve was me finishing a lot of books. I don’t know why exactly – I felt fairly frazzled much of the month with life stuff, and like I’m continually behind in EVERYTHING.

What I did read was generally really good though, so yay for that.

December 2015 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 7
Books Read For The Year: 7

Things That Happened
  • Homeschooling – G is flying through the last weeks of Core A, and I’ve pulled out Core B and have been getting it organized. Which (thankfully) doesn’t have to involve much, but I like doing more than I need to with it and really getting a good sense of what we’ll be reading, and when. Plus prepping an extensive list of possibly additional books to read, because of course I am. I’ll keep you posted on those books, and I’ll probably be posting soon about what our plans are for 2nd grade, because of course I’m working on that. πŸ˜‰
  • I’ve also started thinking about H’s Kindergarten year, which we’ll start in August. She said she wants to learn to read, and I semi-started her in All About Reading 1, but she’s not really ready. So we do a tiny bit when she asks, but other than that I’m trying to hold off on her until after summer. I’m making my list of what I need to get for her before we start (not much – the beauty of what G did is almost all of it is reusable!)
  • I think we found a church. I’ve been hesitant to say that, but the kids have official name tags, and people know me and notice when we’ve missed a week due to illness. It’s not at all the sort of church where I initially expected to land, and I only tried it one week on a complete whim, but I do think it’s where we’re supposed to be. So, yeah. That’s a big thing.
  • We chatted about The Count of Monte Cristo – and I loved hearing what people had to say about it.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • G playing basketball – it’s so cute. He’s actually pretty good on defense, but while at home or during practice he’s not bad at shooting the ball and making baskets, he has yet to make one in a game. I’m hoping he gets at least one before his season ends at the end of the month.
  • I went to a painting event at a friend’s house. I do not think I have *ever* used a canvas before, and my painting experience was limited to copy paper and watercolors. It was so much fun! I want to do it again, because I think with some practice I could actually make my painting come out like I want it too, which I was not completely able to do this time.
  • We started going to Financial Peace University. I had never thought that’d be something we’d do, because I thought it was for people dealing with mountains of credit card debt. That’s never been an issue for us (thankfully), so why would we go there? Well, we’re going through it because we’re not doing as well as I’d like at communicating about money and our goals and all of that sort of stuff. Also, I was hoping for a bit of a kick-in-the-pants at getting back to careful budgeting/record keeping like I did previously (and was so helpful).
What’s Cooking
  • Brussels Sprouts. We’ve been having them a couple of times a week and they are so so so good.
  • Cauliflower. I’ve made it as a side dish a couple of times and loved it. In the past I’ve always just roasted it (which is fabulous) but the last two times I treated it like a potato and boiled it, then drained & mashed it. Delicious! I keep thinking it’d make great leftovers but there has never been any leftover to try. πŸ™‚
  • I’ve also been perfecting pan-seared steaks. I grew up with my mom always broiling steak (with the very occasionally steak on the grill) but never cooked in a skillet. They are so good that way – I love the sear I can get on them.
What I’m Anticipating in February
  • Book club meetings about two excellent books – The Boys in the Boat in my in-person book club (and I really need to hurry up and reread that book – because I’m facilitating the discussion!) and The Black Count in the Facebook group.
  • G’s basketball season will end – yes, it’s a quick one. He’s had a lot of fun with it, but I won’t miss the extra driving and schedule-coordinating it’s involved.
  • H (should be) testing for her orange belt. As I write this post, she’s got 3 black stripes on her belt, and she has to earn 4 to be allowed to test for the next belt. I’m pretty sure she’ll be able to earn that 4th stripe before testing on the 13th. I’ve got my fingers crossed that she does, and that she passes testing, because I do *not* like the schedule of classes she’s in as a yellow belt. Orange belt she’ll move up to the intermediate classes which are much more convenient for us. Plus, she’ll be in the same class as G for two belt levels, until he moves up to the advanced classes! That will be so wonderful.
  • Not to be left out, but I assume G will also be testing for his next belt – blue this time. That doesn’t mean anything as far as changing class times though. πŸ˜‰
  • A coloring party! I’m finalizing the date (it’s been extra challenging because of basketball and other events) but a friend will be hosting a coloring party with me. I’m super excited about the excuse to get out of the house and meet with friends. Plus, look at these fun coloring books:
  • choose your coloring book

Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. And yes, every one has an asterisk. πŸ™‚ It was a good month.

  1. * The Dead in their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
  2. * The Lake House by Kate Morton
  3. * Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
  4. * A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
  5. * When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
  6. * The Story of Exploration by Anna Claybourne
  7. * The Black Count by Tom Reiss

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Recent Readaloud: Dinosaur Trouble by Dick King-Smith
Two years ago: Book Review: The Arrivals by Melissa Marr
Three years ago: Book Review: My Life from Scratch by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

December 2015 Recap

December 2015 RecapHonestly, I’m pretty happy to see the end of 2015. It was a hard year, and I am certainly hoping that 2016 is brighter. It’s at least a fresh start!

2015 saw us really get into homeschooling, and I surprised myself by how much I love it, and how much G loves it (usually. Maybe not so much on the first day back after a long break, but otherwise he does.)

2015 also saw baby M turn into toddler M (but she’s still baby M to me), and she’s started talking up a storm. It’s adorable the way she says everyone’s names, and when the big kids are chasing each other around the house, running races, she joins in. If you say “ready, set…” She’ll add the “GO! and take off. It’s ridiculously cute. She also loves loves loves the books Dear Zoo and Peek-A Who. If you say “book” around her she’ll go and find one of those titles and bring them to you to read to her. That’s my girl! πŸ™‚

December 2015 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 15
Books Read For The Year: 116 (it’s 141 adding in kids’ books over 100 pages)

Things That Happened
  • Christmas, obviously. It was a lovely day, and 6 & 4 are such fun ages for it.
  • Taekwondo belt testing, and H passed to move up to the “big kid” classes. She’ll be testing again in February hopefully to go to the next level of classes, which will be glorious – both kids in the same class again (at least until G moves to the advanced classes).
  • G flew through his homeschool work – I thought we’d make limited progress with the holidays and everything, but no, he worked hard. He finished his reading program, as well as math.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • The kids reactions Christmas morning. Ok, so the 5 AM wakeup by G wasn’t my favorite, but his enthusiasm was hard to repress.
  • M is really starting to talk. She says G’s name “Gah!” and H’s “nahnah” and “dada” and “mama.” Ask her her own name and she says “mama.” πŸ™‚
What’s Cooking
  • I made a quick pasta dish with Italian sausage and 2 of 3 kids DEVOURED it. The other one cried when I said she had to take a bite of everything on her plate, but she did then concede that she liked the pasta part.
  • Pot roast following one of Jessica Fisher’s recipes was fantastic. Unfortunately I ended up getting sick the next day (unrelated to the pot roast) but forgot about the leftovers so that by the time I was well enough to remember them they had to be pitched. So aggravating, and disappointing.
What I’m Anticipating in January
  • The start of my online book clubs! I’m super excited about them.
  • Beginning to teach H to read. I’ve finished G’s reading program, and she’s asking to start, so assuming she continues to want to do it, I’ll start with her. If she loses interest at all I won’t push it (she is only 4 after all.)
  • G starts basketball with the local rec league. First grade is truly recreational level – they don’t even keep score. It’s an 8-week season, which is probably a good thing if for no other reason than most of his practices seem to be scheduled for a school that is so far away I had never even heard of it. It’s technically in one of the districts serviced by this league, but barely. I’ve got to look at the calendar and figure out what it’ll mean to our taekwondo schedule, because I’m certain we’ll be missing some of those classes to get him to basketball.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. * More Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley
  2. January (Conspiracy 365 #1) by Gabrielle Lord
  3. Arrival (Phoenix Files, Book 1) by Chris Morphew
  4. * Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
  5. Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4) by Gail Carriger
  6. Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey
  7. From Stray Dog to World War I Hero: The Paris Terrier Who Joined the First Division by Grant Hayter-Menzies
  8. * The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas by Andrea Warren
  9. * Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  10. * The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas would both work.
  11. Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
  12. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  13. * Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite by Frank Bruni
  14. * The Year of Miss AgnesThe Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill by Kirkpatrick Hill
  15. When We Wake by Karen Healey

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Recent Readaoud: The Boxcar Children
Two years ago: Mini Reviews: Recent Children’s Literature Reads
Three years ago: Favorite Cookbooks (Sweet)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

November 2015 Recap

November RecapNot a lot of reading this month (although I’m convinced I read another book and just forgot to list it, and can’t remember it. But the dates don’t make sense from my records for there not to be another book I omitted.) I spent a lot of my “spare” time getting up to speed on Usborne-related stuff. Add in some sick kids, a taekwondo tournament, house guests, and other holiday-prep and the month vanished in a snap.

November 2015 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 8
Books Read For The Year: 101

Things That Happened
  • Thanksgiving. With lots of pie and chicken enchiladas. I couldn’t get motivated to fix a full turkey dinner.
  • The kids did a taekwondo tournament & that was fun, if RIDICULOUSLY CROWDED. I could barely move.
  • I kicked off my Usborne business – thank you so much to those who have placed orders with me! I’ve got two more parties coming up this week and then I’m ready to start booking for January, as I’ll be taking off the rest of December from any events. I’m finalizing some rewards I’ll be offering to January hosts, including an extra one for the first person to book a January party.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • The kids at the tournament. G did so well at everything – gold medal in sparring and board breaking, and a silver in forms. He’s come so far since he started!
  • My sister-in-law & her family came out for a really short visit before Thanksgiving. It was nice to see her without it being for a funeral (like the other 3 times this year. Seriously.)
What’s Cooking
  • I made the best cheeseburger I have ever had. Pan fried, and it had an amazing crust on it but was still so incredibly juicy. I could eat cheeseburgers more often if they tasted like that all the time. (Note: I did not make the kale the recipe calls for. I hate kale, and have given up on trying it again after at least a dozen times in that many different ways. Blech.)
  • I also made lentil bolognese which I LOVED (and so did the baby). Sadly my husband and older kids were not as impressed with it. I may still make it for myself & M sometime I liked it that much. I do adore lentils though. And my husband did eat it – he just is unlikely to request it again unless I add some meat to it. πŸ™‚
  • Pies! Lots and lots of pies for Thanksgiving. The kids wanted a pie tasting, so we had a pie tasting. Pumpkin, cherry, French apple, pineapple, blueberry, peanut butter, and chocolate chip. Based on what got eaten the fastest, the apple was the favorite, and the blueberry the least favorite.
  • On a food-related note, I signed up for Plan to Eat when they had their annual Black Friday sale. I’m still figuring it out, but if you’re on there and want to be friends or share recipes with me, let me know! Here’s my profile link.
What I’m Anticipating in December
  • Christmas & I think we’re mostly set with gifts. I do need to get stocking stuffers for the kids – I want to get them new socks and undies and some sort of candy/treat.
  • G finishing up his grade 1 math curriculum and moving into grade 2. He’s really doing well with it, and I’m going with it unless and until he hits some snags and needs to slow down.
  • G is also *this close* to finishing up his reading program. And H says she wants to learn to read, so once G finishes I’m going to start her on it in level 1. I’ll let her set the pace, as I hadn’t intended to have her begin this early, but she’s insistent that she wants to do it.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. *No Children, No Pets by Marion Holland
  2. Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the SeasonGet Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season by Kathi Lipp by Kathi Lipp
  3. Penny Dreadful is a Magnet for Disaster by Joanna Nadin
  4. Hey Jack – The Best Party Ever Sally Rippin
  5. A Curious Beginning: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery by Deanna Raybourn
  6. * Etiquette & EspionageEtiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger
  7. * Curtsies & ConspiraciesCurtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School Book 2) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger
  8. * Waistcoats & WeaponryWaistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger
  9. (those last three were rereads in preparation for reading Manners & MutinyManners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger, the final book in the series)


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Recent Readaoud: The Boxcar Children
Two years ago: Mini Reviews: Recent Children’s Literature Reads
Three years ago: Favorite Cookbooks (Sweet)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

October 2015 Recap

October 2015 RecapThe highlight of October was vacation to Florida! I’m a bit paranoid about saying on social media when I’m traveling (even when we have someone watching the house), so I didn’t share pics on Instagram or anything. Later I realized though that if someone was looking at my Goodreads account and really paying attention, they could probably guess we were traveling just from the way my reading pace exploded on certain days. πŸ˜‰

Why yes, those were days we were driving, and I wasn’t the one behind the wheel so that meant a ton of reading time for me. I also forgot my power cord for my laptop (brought the laptop, forgot the cord) so my expected computer work time did not happen. I spent it reading instead. All in all, I got through a lot of books this month.

October 2015 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 15
Books Read For The Year: 93

Things That Happened
  • Vacation! We road tripped to Florida, where we went to the beach for a few days, visited with my family for a few days, and even snuck in a trip to LegoLand one day.
  • Sick kids. One child was puking on the drive home, then another one got sick once we were home. I’m guessing it’s thanks to the one cousin we visited who was sick, but we could have picked up a bug anywhere. Overall it was a pretty mild case, for which I am *very* thankful.
  • I started a new venture – details to come next week. I’m excited about it!
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • The beach! We went to Destin, and it was fabulous. Off season, so a great deal and super quiet. The only real bummer is that the winds were so high that the water was too rough to let the kids do more than wade a bit. But there was a pool so they still did lots of swimming. So much fun!
  • Saw my older brother’s kids for the first time in 5 years. No joke – it’s been that long, and that’s completely ridiculous. They’re pretty great kids too, so it was so nice getting to see them.
  • Costumed kiddos!
What’s Cooking
  • Not much thanks to vacation and getting ready for vacation. We ate a lot of pizza and other easy meals, both that last week, while we were gone, and our first few days at home. Hoping to improve our menu in November.
  • Since that’s just sad to leave it as “not much”, I’ll add that as I write this post on November 1, I’ve got a pot roast cooking in the crock pot and it smells AMAZING. It’s also got mushrooms in it so that right there makes it extra appealing to me. Fingers crossed that it tastes as good as it smells.
What I’m Anticipating Next Month
  • Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what we’re doing for it exactly, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s my favorite holiday.
  • Getting back into school routines, after our vacation and sickness break.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed, and I actually enjoyed pretty much everything I read, so to avoid putting asterisks virtually all of them, I’m being a little big pickier on my evaluations for this list. It was a great reading month!

  1. * Speaking from Among the BonesSpeaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley by Alan Bradley
  2. * Where the Mountain Meets the MoonWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin by Grace Lin
  3. * Rules of CivilityRules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles by Amor Towles
  4. Tangerine by Edward Bloor
  5. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow PlaceThe Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry by Julie Berry
  6. Godmother: The Secret Cinderella StoryGodmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon by Carolyn Turgeon
  7. * The Oregon Trail: A New American JourneyThe Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck by Rinker Buck
  8. * Turtle in ParadiseTurtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm by Jennifer L. Holm
  9. The Big FourThe Big Four (Hercule Poirot series Book 5) by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie
  10. * Storm WarriorsStorm Warriors by Elisa Carbone by Elisa Carbone (a reread)
  11. The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called EelThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson by Deborah Hopkinson
  12. * The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern)The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern) by Shannon Hale by Shannon Hale
  13. Treasure HuntersTreasure Hunters by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
  14. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil RightsThe Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin by Steve Sheinkin
  15. An Incomplete RevengeAn Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs Book 5) by Jacqueline Winspear by Jacqueline Winspear

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Recent Readaloud: What’s So Special About Planet Earth?
Two years ago: Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Three years ago: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

September 2015 Recap

September RecapNot many books read this month (it’s been a busy month, and I’m close to being done with a number of titles, so *hopefully* next month’s stats look a little better.) And I suppose it’s possible I could finish an extra one today, but I didn’t want to count on that. If I do, I’ll add it onto October’s recap.

September 2015 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 5
Books Read For The Year: 78

Things That Happened
  • Book club retreat
  • Lots of homeschool – we did school most of the month, so I feel like we’re into a good routine again now, after our summer break.
  • Had a huge branch fall off our tree – apparently there was an old lightning strike that hadn’t fallen, but finally rotten enough to fall. Fortunately the kids were not in the backyard when it fell, or there could have been tragic consequences. I was out of town at the book club retreat, and found out about it through a picture my husband shared. Yikes!
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Super moon eclipse! Yes, we let the kids stay up and watch it. Yes, they were tired the next day. Still worth it.
  • Asked for help with something that ended up being a huge relief. Actually, they’d already offered, and I accepted the offer, and it was *such* a help during a busy time.
  • Asked for help with something else as well, and that also ended up being a huge relief. I’m still borderline-overwhelmed right now, but feeling like I can see the end, and I will manage to get what I have to finish done.
What’s Cooking
  • Another week of Blue Apron, and this one chicken dish was FABULOUS. Actually, the chicken was my least-favorite part of the meal, and that’s not because the chicken was bad, but because the other components were so amazingly good. Happily I can make it again on my own – nothing in it would be difficult to find here.
  • Some amazing food at the book club retreat – I think the tomato soup was my favorite of the weekend, but it’s a tough call – it was all delicious.
  • Apple cider donuts from a local place that’s only offers them in September and October. They are so good.
What I’m Anticipating Next Month
    • Halloween – love seeing little kids in costumes. I have an adorable owl costume for the baby that I bought for $1 at goodwill. Haven’t figured out the other kids’ costumes yet though.
    • Seeing my family, which will be good, but also very bittersweet, as it’ll be the first time since my brother’s death that we’re all together without him also being there. I’m kind of dreading it in many ways, but it’s one of those “firsts” that has to happen sometime.
    • I’m assuming colder temps will set in for real, so I’ve been enjoying these (probable) last few days of really warm weather. I love fall, but I’m reminding myself to appreciate not having to deal with coats and boots and gloves and all that hassle that will be here soon enough.

 

Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy MomsTreasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman by Gloria Furman
  2. The Four Year Career by Richard Brooke
  3. The Harting System
  4. * Rock Your Network Marketing Business by Sarah Robbins
  5. * When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead by Rebecca Stead (a reread)

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Reading Goals: September Progress
Two years ago: September Recap

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

August 2015 Recap

August RecapAugust has usually been one of my least favorite months of the year. It’s always hot, I’m tired of summer, and it feels like there’s nothing to look forward to for ages and ages.

Of course, now August includes a family birthday so that right there makes it a fun month. And this year the weather more than cooperated – it’s been lovely most days!

August 2015 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 13
Books Read For The Year: 73

Things That Happened

M turns 1

  • Baby girl turned one. She was sick on her birthday and so we had a belated celebration the next weekend. Grandma & grandpa & two of the aunts were in town then, so that was a little bonus.
  • As mentioned in last week’s quick takes post, my husband’s other grandmother died. He’s had quite the year, and we did have a bit of a pseudo-chuckle at the thought of someone in his company’s HR department side-eyeing his timesheets, thinking he surely must be abusing their bereavement leave. No, he really has had that many family members die this year. Let’s hope that’s the last for a long long long long long time.
  • Family visitors – both my husband’s parents, sisters, and one brother, as well as my brother and his family (not at the same time).
  • Mice. In the house. The kids think mouse traps are AWESOME and love checking them every morning. They were THRILLED to find one that had been caught. I declined the opportunity to get it out of the trap. Two mice later, and I’m cautiously optimistic that that was it – the traps have been ignored ever since.
  • As already mentioned, we started school, and then promptly took a little break while visitors were here. We’ll be getting back to it this month. πŸ™‚
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Baby M (yes, I know, at some point I’ll have to stop calling her baby) enjoying her birthday cupcake. She loved it!
  • Seeing the big kids get SO EXCITED to see their grandparents. It’s like they can not even contain themselves they’re so thrilled.
  • Trying something new for homeschool, organizationally. I like it so far.
What’s Cooking
  • I’ve tried Blue Apron some more. So far everything continues to be good to great. There’s been a couple of issues with items – tomatoes in particular seem to be difficult – but overall I really like using it, and am trying to figure out a way to keep it in the budget, at least part of the time.
  • I did not make baby girl’s birthday cake. I was all set to do it, and then admitted to my mother-in-law that I had absolutely no interest in doing so – I was so tired. So we had ice cream instead, and grandpa bought the birthday girl a strawberry cupcake.
What I’m Anticipating This Month
  • Fall arrives, at least technically, and as far as getting apple doughnuts from a local store is concerned. They are so delicious, and are only available in September and October.
  • Book club retreat! I really need to finish the books for it.
  • Back into the school routine. We had a two-week break when family was visiting, but we’ll be getting back into the swing of things next week.
  • The blog turns three, and I’ve got some special posts tentatively planned for next week. Well, they’re planned, but not written, so fingers crossed I get that accomplished.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

Books Read in August 2015

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