January 2014 Recap

January 2014 RecapThere are lots of people who had worse months than I did this January, but overall I am very happy to see February arrive. It was cold and snowy and I felt lousy for much of the month. The kids watched way too much TV, and we’re all ready for something new.

Not many books read this month – I spent more time watching TV than usual, as that’s easier to do when I’m under the weather. At least the books I did read were mostly all really good. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m trying something new with my recap, and am listing all the books I finished in the month with short thoughts about them. Sometimes it takes awhile for me to write a full review, so consider these teasers before the full posts.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 10, including 1 reread
Books Read For The Year: 10

Things That Happened
  • Polar vortex, and gobs of snow. Why does that matter, when I’m a SAHM? Because my kids get stir-crazy if they don’t get out of the house, and playing outside when it’s that cold is a major challenge.
  • We had to get new tires for our truck. It’s always so much fun dropping lots of money on boring purchases like tires, said no one ever. On a positive note though, sinking funds for the win!
  • G visited the dentist for another cleaning. He did great, and I was delighted to discover that I’d made the appointment for MLK day. As in, a day my husband had off from work and could take him to the dentist so I didn’t have to take two kids and try to keep one content during the cleaning. It was a completely accidental scheduling situation – the appointment was made before R got his new job and we didn’t know he’d have that as a holiday.
  • Why yes, I am tempted to try and make all appointments for holidays from now on. Unfortunately I don’t think there are that many when R has the day off but the dentist is still open.
Best Things I Did or Saw

How sad is it that I am blanking out on anything fabulous from this month? It was cold and snowy and I have never so wished to be a snowbird as I have this winter. It doesn’t help talking to family living in warmer climates who love to mention the temps they’re enjoying.

What’s Cooking
  • I made my best pot roast ever, although that’s really not saying that much. My pot roasting skills are weak. I’m still hoping to find a “this is it, no need to look any further” sort of pot roast recipe/technique however.
  • Not really cooking, but still food-related. Or drink-related at least. I’ve been all but floating-away with all of the hot tea I’ve been drinking this month. It’s so cold here that it’s extra nice having a warm drink mid-morning and then again mid-afternoon.
  • My son begged to make cinnamon cake one day, so we did. He was thrilled, and it was pretty tasty too. Later I made some Congo Bars (sort of) and they were so ridiculously rich. I am a fan of ridiculously rich sweets so I loved them.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating Next Month
  • I’m hoping my mother-in-law makes it out here for a visit. She’d mostly be coming to stay with her mom on the other side of the state, but she always combines that with at least a day or two of visiting with us. That’s otherwise known as my chance to run errands and tackle projects without the help of two small children. Plus, the kids are always deliriously happy to see grandma. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • It’s too soon to realistically hope for a break in the weather, isn’t it? Ok, but at least I can anticipate pitchers and catchers reporting and the beginning of Spring Training. I’m fairly out of it sports-wise but I do still love baseball and Spring Training is one of my favorite times of year. Not as much fun when I live here as when I lived in Florida and Arizona, I admit, but I’ll still know it’s happening.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed. Yes, it was a good month! [Read more…]

December Recap

December 2013 RecapI didn’t get quite as many books finished as I thought I might during my week’s break from blogging, but my final total for the month wasn’t that bad. Especially when I consider that the month started with family still here, and then it took me forever to catch up on things after the family all went home.

We also had some super cold temps, snow and more snow, all mixed in with some surprisingly mild and nice days. I tried to take advantage of the weather when we could by getting my kids to spend as much time as possible outside – keeps us all in better moods, and tends to result in better sleep for them (which lets me get better sleep). That is always a bonus. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 17
Books Read For The Year: 232 (the numbers don’t add up from last month because as I worked on my “Books Read in 2013” post I found several I’d forgotten to include earlier in the year)

Best Things I Read

And my big annual reading projects were both fantastic:

[Read more…]

November Recap

November RecapNovember is one of my favorite months – I love the fall and Thanksgiving. This was an especially nice November – we were all (mostly) healthy, I got to see a good friend from graduate school when she was in town for a conference, and then my family came for a long visit.

All those visitors did make an impact on my reading time though – I only finished 12 books this month!

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 12
Books Read For The Year: 212

Best Things I Read

[Read more…]

October Recap

October RecapOctober started off with a bang – a fabulous weekend getaway. And then I came home to a sick child, which led into another sick child, and a sick husband, and a sick me. We were a fairly miserable bunch, and it felt like I was finally able to look up from “survive the day” mode and it was the end of the month.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 19
Books Read For The Year: 200

Best Things I Read
  • Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. So good I ended up making a last-minute switch in my 31 Days series to fit it in.
  • The Weight of WaterThe Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan by Sarah Crossan. Young adult novel in verse, and it’s really well done.
  • Destiny, Rewritten by Katheryn Fitzmaurice. Unexpectedly entertaining.
  • Ruby RedRuby Red (The Ruby Red Trilogy) by Kerstin Gier by Kerstin Gier. Has me anxious to read the next two in the trilogy.
Things That Happened
  • Book club retreat. Two nights at a gorgeous home with my friends? It was fabulous, although it went way too fast. I so hope we do it again another time.
  • We started working on learning to read for my son. He’s read his first Bob BookBob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers (“Mat” for anyone who knows the series) and is quite proud of himself.
  • R carved pumpkins with the kids. And when I say “with the kids” I mean he did all of the work while they watched and gave suggestions. I don’t know at what point kids can actually do any of the carving themselves, but it definitely wasn’t this year for our two. Then we had fun lighting them every night so the kids can see their pumpkins outside on the porch.
  • Technically, this happened November 1st because a bad forecast led our town to reschedule trick-or-treating hours to Friday, but I’m going to include it here. We took the kids trick or treating in the neighborhood, much to their delight. I’m not sure what they like more – the anticipation and then the joy of wearing costumes, or getting candy. It might actually be the costumes, they get SO EXCITED about it. This year we had a pirate and Snow White.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Does participating in 31 Days count? Because that kept me really busy. Even with writing as much as I had ahead of time, I was still scrambling at times to keep up.
  • I went for “good enough” instead of holding out for “perfect” as far as some home organization/decor choices. We got some big bookcases for R’s old office to hold the homeschooling supplies I’ve accumulated (and will continue to accumulate), as well as some busy bag items and other “distract the younger sister” toys and games. It’s working well to have lots of space to keep things easily accessible for us all. It looks completely un-pin-worthy, so it matches the rest of my house. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • My little pirate and Snow White. Biased mom here, but they were so ridiculously cute. Maybe not as cute as last year when they were a fireman and tiger, because that tiger costume and tiger “RAWR!” were awfully hard to top.
What’s Cooking
  • Soup is back on the menu! Love cooler temps that equal soup weather for our household. And casseroles too.
  • I’m making an effort to clean out my freezer, and unearthed a baked pasta dish from … April 2011. I decided to give it a try and see how it had lasted (and not tell the family that it was a freezer dish, and definitely not how long it’d been in the freezer.) Amazingly, it reheated beautifully and was a big hit. My son even liked it and asked for seconds. Score! The recipe I used as inspiration (a.k.a. I made several changes to it, so I can’t fully say this is what I made) is called dreamy spaghetti.
What Iโ€™m Anticipating in November
  • Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving.
  • My family is coming for a visit. My parents will be here for two weeks, and my brother’s family for one. This brother* has never been to visit before (I’ve lived here over a decade). I’m hoping the weather isn’t too cold for them all. I’m also trying to get some posts written ahead so I can take a blogging break without having the blog go completely quiet.
    *In case it’s not obvious, this is a different brother than the one mentioned here. I had two brothers; the older one is the one who died of leukemia last year. Crazily enough, my younger brother also had cancer this year (malignant melanoma), but he’s recovered and is doing well.

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September Recap

September RecapI didn’t read much in September – I was trying to write ahead for the upcoming 31 Days series, prepping for vacation, taking vacation, starting a new session of my writing group, and starting homeschooling.

I was also dealing with sick kids and a sick me for a bit as well, so all in all my reading time was taken up by other things. Mostly good things (except for that stomach bug) at least!

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 10. Yes, 10.
Books Read For The Year: 181

Best Things I Read

[Read more…]

August Recap

August RecapThere was no way it could last, but after a string of great months, August brought me back down to reality. Honestly? It kind of stunk. I did get a lot of reading done, but from a life perspective? Goodbye August I won’t miss you.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 28
Books Read For The Year: 171

Best Things I Read

[Read more…]

July Recap

July RecapI feel like recently all of my monthly recaps have been starting “it was a great month,” but I’m going to just say it again: it was a great month. The temperatures were astonishingly mild for July in Indiana, especially after the misery that was last summer. It’s allowed for tons of time outside without me feeling like I’m going to die of heatstroke, which is always a plus. Hoping for an August that is just as wonderful!

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 17 (it seemed like I wasn’t finishing anything this month, and that there was a lot of time I could have been reading when I wasn’t, so I was somewhat surprised that I clearly did manage to read a fair amount for the month.)
Books Read For The Year: 143

Best Things I Read

[Read more…]

June Recap

June RecapI expected that June would never be able to live up to the fabulousness that was May, but I think it just might have managed it.

July, let’s continue the trend!

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 24 (13 nonfiction, 11 fiction, 2 rereads)
Books Read For The Year: 126

Best Things I Read

[Read more…]

May Recap

May RecapI don’t want to make it seem like the rest of the year is downhill, but May is going to be a pretty tough month to top. Even though there were sick kids and a sick hubs for one week, the rest of the month was great.

I won’t deny that some of that might have something to do with more reading time than usual, and really enjoying a lot of the books I finished for the month.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 26 27 (forgot one!)
Books Read For The Year (by End of Month): 101 102

Best Things I Read

[Read more…]

April Recap

April RecapApril felt like a very quick month and a very long one, all at the same time. Quick, because didn’t I just write one of these recap posts? And long, because allergy season set in and made the days crawl by, as I tried to survive pollen-filled days. Add to that kids also dealing with allergies apparently, and a husband who was on call for one week and then ended the month feverish and miserable, and the second half of the month seemed kind of endless.

The Month in Stats

Books Read Last Month: 21
Books Read For The Year (by End of Month): 75 [Read more…]