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. ๐Ÿ™‚
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 Iโ€™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

[Read more…]

July 2015 Recap

July RecapLet’s just breath a sigh of relief that July was a *much* better month than June was. I feel like I was still in recovery mode for part of the month – not from illness so much, as from the after-effects of illness.

Mountains of laundry to get caught up, we’d been eating lots of takeout and other “survival meal” dinners (mac & cheese, pizza, etc.) I had bills to pay (and late fees to pay, because I’d missed some thanks to that miserable June. That was an expensive month. Sigh.)

Anyway, July – much better! Here’s to an August that continues to improve!

June 2015 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 9
Books Read For The Year: 69

Things That Happened
  • We went up to R’s aunt’s house for the fourth of July. The house was PACKED, and while it was fun (especially for the kids), I think next time we might look into getting a hotel room. Although it’s a lot easier with little kids to be able to just put them down for bed whenever, and not have to head back to a hotel.
  • My son turned six. He also lost another tooth.
  • Swimming lessons ended for the summer. Yes, already.
  • The big kids went to another VBS. This one was an evening one, and it was so lovely having a few nights where my husband and I could go out with just us and the baby. So easy!
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • The kids’ faces when they walked in at the final VBS night. The parents were invited for the closing worship service, and they LIT UP when they spotted us standing at the back.
  • I was not feeling well in advance of the fourth weekend. The plan was for everyone to go to the beach, and I knew I wasn’t up for it. I gave R the choice – I could stay home all weekend while he went, or I could go up and just stay at the house while they went to the beach. He requested that I go and stay at the house. I’m so glad I didn’t just think “I can’t go to the beach, so I need to stay home,” and that I asked him his preference – I didn’t think he’d care, but he strongly preferred that I come along for the weekend, even if I wasn’t going to be going with them that one day.
  • We played mini-golf that weekend too. The kids were super funny with it. And by “we” I mean everyone but me. I held the baby. (I’m totally ok with that. I’ll play other times.) At the same place, the kids rode in go-carts with R & his aunt (again, I held the baby). H’s face every time she came around the curve was so fantastic – she had a blast!
What’s Cooking
  • I tried Blue Apron for a week. Two free meals = worth seeing what all the hype was about. The first meal was AMAZING. So so so good. The second meal was just shy of amazing as well. The third meal was really really good. We’re trying another week in August. I’m considering just eyeing the menus being offered and picking and choosing when to get a box. It was so nice to not have to worry about shopping for dinners – for whatever reason grocery shopping for breakfast & lunch only is much easier.
  • Other than that, we’ve still done a lot of the survival meals mentioned, although not so much because of sickness as because of recovery from sickness and evening activities.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating This Month
  • My baby turns ONE. I don’t want to talk about it.
  • My brother is coming for a visit with his family.
  • We’ll be attending a family wedding. I’m not sure if it’s indoors or not, but I really hope so. I do not like heat, and Indiana in August screams “please be indoors” to me.
  • Back-to-school! It may only be back to homeschool, after our summer break, but still. G will be in 1st grade, and H is Pre-K. And I wouldn’t be surprised if M starts walking any minute, so she’ll be graduating from baby to toddler. Sniff.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

Books Read in July 2015

  1. Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans
  2. Saint Mazie: A NovelSaint Mazie: A Novel by Jami Attenberg by Jami Attenberg
  3. * The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
  4. * Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate ShipPirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson by Robert Kurson
  5. * Sparrow RoadSparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor by Sheila O’Connor
  6. Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of WomenJesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women by Sarah Bessey by Sarah Bessey
  7. * Goodbye StrangerGoodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead by Rebecca Stead
  8. * Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, narrated by Carolyn Seymour by Jane Austen, narrated by Carolyn Seymour
  9. * The Tarantula in My Purse: and 172 Other Wild PetsThe Tarantula in My Purse: and 172 Other Wild Pets by Jean Craighead George by Jean Craighead George

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June 2015 Recap

June RecapJune was a rough month. We started the month with an unexpected trip to Arizona. Unexpected meant no planning ahead so our flight options were limited, and the times were less than ideal. As was the non-direct flight. Then after we got home we had a bout of sickness work its way through the family, hitting the adults the hardest. The kids? Bounced back after a day or two of mild illness. The grown ups? Not so much. I find myself feeling absolutely shocked that June can possibly be over – didn’t it just start? Where did it go? – and relieved that this month is behind us. Bring on July, for it surely must be a better month.

June 2015 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 8
Books Read For The Year: 60

Yes, that’s right. 8 books, and 4 of them were children’s or ya titles. This might also be the first month in who knows how long where I didn’t finish a single nonfiction title. Even if I hadn’t told you above that it’d been a rough month, that right there would be a big clue. 4 adult titles, all fiction = what is going on with me!

Things That Happened
  • We went to Arizona for my brother-in-law’s funeral. It was so good to get out there for it, and it was wonderful to see the family, but the traveling was exhausting. We got home about 3 AM Sunday night and I think it was Wednesday before I stopped feeling like a zombie.
  • The kids had VBS, and then another VBS. It ended up being an unexpected blessing for me – I was quite sick much of the week of the second VBS. Well enough to drive them down there (because they were fine), and then collapse until it was time to pick them up again.
  • H turned 4!
  • The baby finally got that top tooth to pop through. It was giving her lots of misery (as did the bottom two when they were working on their appearance.) My other two had no real issues with teething so I keep being surprised when M is so miserable with all the textbook symptoms.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • All the family in Arizona.
  • G getting to run the bases in his final two baseball games. He was scheduled to bat last the next-to-last game, and then the final game the kids all drew numbers to figure out the batting order. He drew the last number again, and got to have the fun of hitting a home run each time. (What I mean is, it’s treated like a home run in that no matter what he hits, he gets to run all the bases. Fun for that age.)
What’s Cooking
  • I did not make H the birthday cake she requested (pink and purple with m&m’s). R had been sick and so I was mostly parenting on my own and I was so tired (I was getting sick but didn’t realize it). Making a cake was simply not happening, and I decided that we’d just have to go with an ice cream cake from DQ. She was thrilled that they had one with pink and purple on it, and didn’t seem upset that there were no m&m’s. Hopefully next year I can bake her a cake again.
  • I made sloppy joe’s and G ate them and that always feels like a success when the kids eat something with fairly large chunks of vegetables.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • G’s birthday. He’s been counting down the days since H’s birthday.
  • TKD camp. As in a day camp where they take tae kwon do lessons.
  • The end of swimming lessons. Already?!?!?

Books Read in June 2015

Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. * The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows
  2. If I StayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman by Gayle Forman
  3. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
  4. Where She WentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman by Gayle Forman
  5. * Touch BlueTouch Blue by Cynthia Lord by Cynthia Lord
  6. The Other Daughter: A NovelThe Other Daughter by Lauren Willig by Lauren Willig
  7. Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec
  8. * Daddy-Long-LegsDaddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster by Jean Webster

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

May 2015 Recap

May RecapI usually start drafting these posts early in the month, and fill in the bullet points as the month progresses, saving the little summary at the top for the very end. So if the tone of this post seems uneven, you’ll know why. What started out as a very nice month with lots of fun things going on took a heartbreaking turn last week, when my husband’s youngest brother died very suddenly and unexpectedly. It’s pretty devastating.

May 2015 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 10
Books Read For The Year: 52

Things That Happened
  • Lots of baseball games – he’s always happy when he has a game that day. I’m still trying to figure out how to manage dinner those nights.
  • Swimming lessons started up again. The timing isn’t ideal, but when I was arranging the schedule back in February I had no idea what the baby’s napping routine would be, so I asked for what was my best guess at a good time to work around that. I guessed wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • I had a birthday, and did not manage to make myself a cake like I’d planned.
  • As mentioned above, my brother-in-law died. It still doesn’t seem real to me, how he can possibly be gone.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Seeing the kids at their first swimming lesson since last summer – they both got right back at it, with none of the fear and hesitation one of them showed when starting last year.
  • Seeing baby girl’s first two teeth appear! She’s working on the top ones now, and as I type this she’s just had a miserable night. Hopefully by the time this posts she’ll actually have those others in and they won’t be hurting her so much (and she’ll sleep at night, so I can too!)
What’s Cooking
  • Lots of roasted asparagus, and I’m sad that the season is mostly over. I’m not seeing any good asparagus in the store now, so I’m glad I took advantage of it while it was available!
  • No birthday cake, as already mentioned. My birthday was the first day of swimming lessons, and the timing really threw a wrench in our usual routine (i.e., it messed with the baby’s nap). I just didn’t get to it that day, and then there were baseball games and suddenly it was a week later and I was unmotivated.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • H’s birthday – she’s turning four, and I do need to make her a cake. She’s already got her request in – purple and pink with m&ms. To contrast with last year’s, which was just pink with m&ms, no purple. She’s changed her mind a couple of times, so I’ll double-check right before decorating it that that’s still what she wants.
  • VBS. For both big kids.
  • My mother-in-law is coming out for a visit. I have no idea how long she’ll be here (she’s told my husband, but he doesn’t remember. He is really bad about passing information like that along to me.) but I hope to take advantage of her willingness to watch the kids. I have a gift certificate for a hair cut and pedicure that I’d like to use! I haven’t had my hair cut since I had M last August, so I’m way overdue. This isn’t happening (at least not right now), because she’s needed at home .
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. [Read more…]

April 2015 Recap

April RecapI read a bunch in March, and started April the same way. Then I got bogged down in a couple of longer books, and ended up finishing very few titles. Or at least it seemed like very few titles compared to what I thought I might get through as of the beginning of the month!

April 2015 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 8
Books Read For The Year: 42

Things That Happened
  • Baseball started for my son! He’s on the Pirates team, as he will happily tell anyone who gives him the slightest opportunity. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Belt testing for both kids, and they both passed. G is now a senior orange belt, and H has her blue tot belt.
  • Easter was lots of fun – the kids loved hunting eggs, and then they got to hunt them again at their great aunt’s house. And go to a super fun playground near her home.
  • The guys went to the Mythbusters tour as I mentioned last month. They loved it! G was so astonished that the guys from the TV show were there – in person – right there!!
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Seeing both kids belt test. They’ve come so far!
  • Taxes done. Filed. Refunds received. Relief.
  • Watching my son’s first baseball game. He’s so stinking cute out there.
  • Watching both kids fly through the air on the bungee jump thing at opening day. They had a blast!
  • G bungee jump

What’s Cooking
  • Pot roast. The roast itself got a tiny bit dried out, but it still tasted so good. And the carrots were phenomenal, as were the mashed potatoes and asparagus.
  • Pot roast leftovers to turn into pot pie. Can’t wait to have this (it’s in the freezer right now, hopefully going to make my life easy one night.)
  • Cherry pie for my husband’s birthday. Possibly the ugliest pie I’ve ever made thanks to the “help” with the crust that made it extra challenging, so it’s fortunate that he cares more about how the pie tastes than how the crust looks. ๐Ÿ™‚
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • My birthday. It’s another bittersweet one, with all sorts of emotions related to losing my brother. I’ll be turning the age he was when he died, and since he died only about 6 weeks after his birthday it won’t be long before I’ll become older than he ever was. Such a strange feeling.
  • H’s birthday – she’s turning FOUR. FOUR! Which, yay for that because I like four better than three, at least based on my parenting experiences so far. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • VBS. Glorious, wonderful VBS.
  • (don’t ask me why I wrote those as “anticipating next month.” They don’t happen until June. Apparently I was extra-sleep deprived when I put together this post, and didn’t even notice it until I started writing May’s recap.)

Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. [Read more…]

March 2015 Recap

March 2015 RecapMarch was a big reading month – big for me lately anyway. Ok, so it was almost all light, genre fiction, but still. I finished a lot of books. And it was awesome, except for that one night I stayed up until 1 AM. I really regretted that the next day.

March 2015 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 16
Books Read For The Year: 34

Things That Happened
  • Taekwondo tournament – my daughter got a big medal (of course she did – she’s in the tot category, where I think everyone gets a big medal). And my son got a medal for coming in 3rd in his age division for forms.
  • Another follow-up with the pediatric dentist, and my daughter is still looking at a potential root canal. We’ll go back for another appointment in May, unless I notice problems before then.
  • The baby started sitting up on her own, although she still needs help getting into a sitting position. She’s still not crawling in the traditional way, but she can army crawl and scoot and roll around so much it doesn’t much matter that she doesn’t hands-and-knees crawl. She is on the move!
  • She’s also showing a lot more interest in real food – I’ve fed her some things now and then, but she’s never wanted more than a few bites. She’s still not as into it as her brother and sister were as babies, but she’s at least trying things.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Watching the kids at the taekwondo tournament. My son especially – he’s come so far from where he first started.
  • Baby girl sitting up – she’s growing up so fast!
  • My flowers peeping up. Love seeing my hard work planting bulbs paying off.
What’s Cooking
  • ANZAC biscuits, as already mentioned.
  • We ended the month with tacos, and they were so good. I can’t even claim much credit for them – it was meat, onions, and a sauce packet, cooked for a few hours. They were good the first night, and even better the next couple of days as leftovers. Yum!
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • Birthday season begins! My husband’s birthday kicks off all the family birthdays.
  • Partially for his birthday, and partially as an early birthday present for my son, they’re going to the Mythbusters Tour. G doesn’t know yet what they’re doing, only that he’s going to be doing something just with daddy. He’s super excited.
  • I really really really need to finish taxes and get them filed.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. [Read more…]

February 2015 Recap

February 2015 RecapFebruary’s big event was the sad news that my husband’s grandmother passed away. She’d been in declining heath, but it was still a bit of a surprise – she’d recently improved, and she was such a tough lady that it seemed like nothing would ever keep her down for long. I’m glad she’s no longer in pain, but I’m sad for my husband, his siblings, and especially for his mom. And I’m sad because I loved her. I am happy that we had gotten the baby over to meet her not long ago, after having it not work out earlier due to her being in the hospital where no children could visit.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 9
Books Read For The Year: 18

Things That Happened
  • The home refinance is finished, and it really wasn’t that bad as far as hassle – much less than purchasing.
  • My son completed his homeschool core, and started up with the next one. So far it’s going well.
  • We went to another homeschool meetup, and this one wasn’t as successful. I’ve got some thinking to do about it, and what I want to do with the kids. This year’s homeschooling programs are winding down, but maybe I can find something for next year.
  • My older daughter fell one evening and it ended up where we took her to the Urgent Care that night, then her regular dentist the next morning. That dentist took one look and referred us to a pediatric specialist. Now we have to return there at one month, three month, and six months to see how her front teeth are doing, in hopes that she didn’t damage the root. There’s also a possibility that she injured her permanent teeth, but we won’t know that until they come in. It was not the best morning to discover all that news, and we’re praying that it all ends up ok. I never expected to hear the phrase “possible root canal” mentioned in regards to my 3-year-old. Poor kid.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • I got to see my inlaws and both of my husband’s sisters when they came out for his grandmother’s funeral. A sad occasion, but still nice to see them.
  • My son jumping for joy when we looked through all the new books for the core he started. He was just about beside himself with excitement, and his sister wasn’t far behind.
What’s Cooking
  • Lasagna. Again, by request of my son.
  • A lemon layer cake, in honor of my father-in-law’s birthday. I had to wing it a bit due to a shortage of lemons, lemon juice, or lemon oil (only discovered after I’d started it all), but the family all said they enjoyed it.
  • Plenty of soft foods, because that was all my girl was allowed to eat for a week in an attempt to let her teeth recover from the trauma.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • St. Patrick’s Day is another chance for me to do a special occasion event with my kids. Maybe I’ll manage this one? My mother-in-law was here on Valentine’s Day and I didn’t do much on my own with the kids, but she won’t be here in March so it’ll be all me. Need to start figuring this out…
  • Is it too early for tulips? I’m hoping they come up again this year!
  • Another dentist appointment! Praying for good news at it too. ๐Ÿ™‚
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. [Read more…]

Seven Quick Takes on My New Orange Belt, Crafty Kid, and Non-Sleeping Baby

Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

G tested for his orange belt early in the month. I wasn’t there, and when I asked him how he did, he said “bad on the first try, better on the second, and best of all on the third.” Pretty self-aware, as that matched up with what daddy reported to me. And, good enough to pass, so he’s now an orange belt and in the “big kid” classes. Which is good; he was definitely ready to move out of the tot classes, but it’s also bad in that it now means I have to take the kids to two different classes. I’ve got to refigure our schedule and how to organize our days. And our meals – G’s classes are all in the evening, so dinnertime just got that much more complicated.

The best part about being an orange belt as far as he’s concerned? Sparring! He loves it!

G sparring

— 2 —

G was never much into crafts or anything art-related. He hated coloring, and never was interested in anything related. H though, *adores* coloring, painting, play doh, gluing her creations, anything and everything. I need to up my parenting game and get some more supplies for her as I’m running out of the limited options we had on hand. It keeps her happily occupied for hours, so yes please to that!

— 3 —

I’m dealing with some serious sleeping issues with the baby lately. I’m hoping it’s just because she’s had a mild cold for what seems like forever – not enough to really bug her, but just enough to make her stuffy and make sleeping more difficult. I need some more sleep at night, and I especially need some more non-fragmented sleep!

— 5 —

It’s only late in February, but I finally got my “Books Read in 2015” Pinterest board up and have been pinning the books to it as I complete them. The “Children’s Books Read in 2015” board is also up. And apologies to anyone who noticed me pinning like crazy earlier this week as I tried to get caught up with these boards. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully I’ll keep up with it as I go along now, instead of getting a backlog.

I also started a new board titled “We’re Going to Disney World!” Because we are! Not for awhile, but I know I want to be ready for it. Any tips for going there with little kids? I’d love to hear them!

— 6 —

This month’s essential oils order was a small one: Frankincense, Cedarwood, and massage oil. The massage oil was on backorder so it won’t arrive until tomorrow and isn’t in the picture. ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me just say that I am *so* happy that Frankincense is (was?) back in stock for me to get some more – I was running low on what is probably my very favorite oil!

February YLEO ER order

— 7 —

I barely finished any books in January and then in early February I went on a bit of a tear. It was nice, and the fact that the weather was nice enough to let the big kids play outside by themselves was not coincidental.

The best book I’ve finished recently was As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes by Cary Elwes. I loved it! And it made me need to watch The Princess Bride (again) just to see some of the things he mentions in the book.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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January 2015 Recap

January 2015 RecapI’ve been dreading January a bit, remembering last year and the brutal cold. Happily, this January hasn’t been too bad. There have been days when the temperature lets us get outside and enjoy some sunshine, and just the fact that there is sunshine is amazing. Seems like winter in Indiana is usually gray and cloudy and the sun never makes it out. Any day when we can see blue sky is a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 9
Books Read For The Year: 9

Things That Happened
  • Our sump pump died and we had to get a new one. Why is this noteworthy? Because it’s capping off a six-month stretch with a ridiculous amount of home and vehicle repairs and I’m hoping by saying that that it brings it all to a lengthy close. Seriously, being an adult is so no fun at times.
  • On a somewhat-related note, we looked into refinancing the house and found out it makes sense for us. So we’re in the midst of that.
  • We had a stretch of nice days and were able to go for walks and have the kids play outside. Considering the polar vortex of a winter last year, any days where we can manage fresh air is a wonderful thing.
  • We went to a homeschool group day, and the kids did winter crafts. Then they had a snack and played with new friends. Then they wanted to do it all again the next day, and were so sad to find out that the next meeting wasn’t until February. Cue “why is February such a long time away???” whines.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • A friend from grad school made a flying visit into town. Just long enough to meet the new baby, and get caught up with each other.
  • I finally did what I’d been meaning to do for ages, and had a friend come over for dinner. I’m intimidated by the thought of a true dinner party, or entertaining a family, but this was one friend, and I’ve known her for over 12 years.
  • Did some long-term blog planning, and I’m so excited about some ideas I have for individual posts, blog series, pinterest boards, all of it. Just need to find time to do it all! That’s always the issue right now.
What’s Cooking
  • Lasagna. The last two times I’d made it it’d been somewhat blah. This month, it was SO GOOD. Too bad I made it up on the fly and will likely never be able to recreate it exactly.
  • Creamy bacon mushroom soup, also courtesy of Bernadette and her menu plan. I love mushrooms, but it was the bacon that had my husband looking forward to the meal. It was so ridiculously good, and I didn’t even follow her recipe exactly as far as the amount of heavy cream goes.
  • A mock beef burgundy. No actual wine included. It’s a recipe I’ve had forever, and it always turns out well. Not really like a true beef burgundy, but it’s tasty and easy.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • Another homeschool group meetup. Yay for that, especially this time of year when the kids don’t get so much outside play time with friends.
  • I’m trying to start some new traditions with the family, including more recognition of special days. So I’m debating what to do for Valentine’s Day with the kiddos. Special breakfast? Themed crafts are probably a poor choice thinking long-term and what I can manage to keep doing for every special day, so they’re out. Have our occasional afternoon tea party become a bit more elaborate? I may browse Pinterest and see what looks doable.
  • Hopefully we can finalize the refinancing. I’m not sure how long it’ll actually take, so it may not happen until March. Fingers crossed that it can wrap up in February though, just to have it finished, and get that lower interest rate started sooner!
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. [Read more…]

December 2014 Recap

December RecapI always get really reflective when one year ends and another begins. What will 2015 bring? It’s hard to imagine that it will be as momentous for us as 2014, but any year where a baby joins the family is hard to top. I’m hoping 2015 brings lots of sleep because much of 2014 was spent in a sleep-deprived fog.

According to Goodreads, I read 185 books for the year. According to my calculations on the blog, I read 189. I think the discrepancy is because of Goodreads not having some titles, or else not letting me count them in 2014. Their big “missing” feature – no entering rereads! I’m hoping they fix that someday.

Either way, I reached my goal for the year, although not my original, pre-baby goal.

December 2014 in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 10
Books Read For The Year: 189

Things That Happened
  • Christmas, obviously. My in-laws came out for almost two weeks, and what a way to make it easy for me! I’d already bought gifts, but hadn’t managed to wrap them. No worries, the kids were distracted by their grandparents so that was easy. Grandma also helped get Christmas cookies made and gingerbread houses decorated – hooray for that!
  • My father-in-law got all of the trim around the windows that had been replaced this summer stained and sealed. No more bare wood, and no issues with doing them and then keeping the big kids out of the way while they dried. What a blessing to have that done! He also fixed the hole in the ceiling from the leaky tub, so the house is looking much better.
  • We had our 12th anniversary, and thanks to that in-laws visit, we got to go out to a mostly child-free meal. The baby is so comparatively easy it feels mostly child-free when she’s the only one we’ve got with us. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • On the not-so-bright side, we survived a miserable week of the stomach flu and/or colds, one right after the other. And by we, I mean the adults. Parenting while sick is not easy, and we would have given just about anything during a couple of those days for some help. It was rough, but we got through it. And that early Christmas shopping I did last month saved me this month, thanks to that lost week+ of illness and recovery.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Baby M rolled herself under the tree and was just gazing up at the lights, then she started grabbing the branches and shaking them. She loved getting the jingle bells on the tree going, and it was so ridiculously cute seeing her!
  • Little kids + Christmas = awesome.
  • We took the kids to see their great grandmother, and I loved seeing her get to meet M. She’s in a hospital bed in her home, and we were able to get the baby positioned next to her so she could hold her and snuggle her. She had a rough stretch recently and I wasn’t sure if she’d even be able to meet the baby – when she was in the hospital they didn’t allow children to visit. I think my mother-in-law especially liked seeing her mom meeting the newest baby, and I’m so glad it could happen. I’m also so glad great grandma is doing better – she’s a special lady.
What’s Cooking
  • Homemade play doh. I cooked it on the stove top, so that counts, yes? I heavily tweaked a recipe for pumpkin pie play doh, and it ended up being so much fun for the kids. It also smelled AWESOME.
  • Easy Christmas dinner – roast pork tenderloin, roasted red potatoes, roasted carrots, green bean casserole, onion casserole, (boxed) dressing, and (store bought) rolls. Plus apple, pumpkin, and peanut butter fudge pies. It was all delicious, and having company made it easy for me to fix it all – no dealing with kids at the same time!
  • Soup – lots and lots of soup, taking advantage of soup season while it lasts.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • Awana will be restarting, after a couple of weeks off for Christmas and New Years. That’s always nice, having it to go to on Wednesdays.
  • Seeing G go to the “big kid” taekwondo classes – he’s old enough now, and they went ahead and tested him for his yellow belt. He passed, and he’s actually not too far from being ready to test for his orange belt.
  • We will be getting back into homeschooling, after about a three-week break. He finished week 27 right before we stopped, so only 9 weeks left before moving on to something new! It may not take 9 calendar weeks to finish though, as G may be motivated to finish earlier because he’s excited about what’s planned next.

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