Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recommended Reads

I got a message from my cousin Sandra today asking for book recommendations, and I realized that I haven't talked books much here lately.  I haven't talked much of anything, really, because I have a now 3 year old who never naps and that's life for now.  But M is home from school today so I just send the kids off to play together so I could blog books.

First off, this year's book club reads:
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout - a journalist from Alberta and her story about the 15 months she spent in captivity, kidnapped for ransom in Somalia.  I didn't love it, but it was still interesting.
Peony in Love by Lisa See - set in long ago Japan, and a story about love and longing; interesting on the other culture level, but as the main character is a ghost for most of the book, sort of strange...
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - found this one very interesting and plan to read for more of his.  This one's about success and why some people have what it takes to excel.
Luminaries by Eleanor Cattan - set in New Zealand in the gold rush days, this is a really interesting trip to another unfamiliar time and place.  She writes with so much detail, including the many characters wound throughout.  It is a massive book, and some in our group found parts of it tough, but I quite enjoyed it all.
In the next few months we will read:
Carry on Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield (I gave this one for Christmas last year meaning to borrow it back to read, but haven't done it yet.  Looking forward to it.)
Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

Other books I have read in the last while that have stuck with me, which makes them recommendable in my mind, are these:

I read Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay sometime in the past and mad a note to look for more of her books.  I recently picked up a couple more - The House I Loved, which I recommend; it's set in Paris during the rebuilding, when many old streets were razed to make way for the new modern Paris.  I also read The Other Story which while well written, was not as enjoyable.  I like to like the main character, and this guy didn't quite get there.

Jeannette Walls is another author I read before (Glass Castle - highly recommended), and I picked up The Silver Star.  I enjoyed that one, too, and need to find her other one, Half Broke Horses.

Rainbow Rowell - I read Eleanor & Park (fun & recommended), and Attachments (also pretty good).  She has a few others that I will keep my eyes open for.

Kate Morton - The Secret Keeper.  She writes bigger books that are easy to get lost in.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - read and enjoyed.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.  Ridiculous and fun.  Will check out more from this author.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Really liked this one.

Twelve Years a Slave.

The Giver by Lois Lowry.  Quick read, a classic that you should have on your read list.

Tana French - Haven't read her in a while, but I quite enjoyed her Irish murder mystery stories The Likeness and In the Woods and Broken Harbour.

There you go - a whole handful of maybe new-to-you authors and books to look for when you are looking for something to put on hold at the library.  What have you been reading?  My list to read is long, but I'm always looking for more recommendations.  Leave a comment and add to the list!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Massive Layout Catchup

Most of these I made or started at the retreat last October - they are from fall 2013 up to last spring.

I really like the pocket pages for getting the everyday kind of photos in the albums.  There are lots of little bits I want to remember, especially with Nolan changing so much.

This one's about selling my stuff retail and how it felt so pro.

Nolan loves keys...

and dishes / water.

The first stuff I cut with my Silhouette.

Nolan's 2nd birthday...  Almost exactly one year ago!

My favourite boy.

And my favourite girl.

Parked on the flight path watching planes take off.  Fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back to Scrapbooking

January feels so good. Gone are the to do lists and full calendar of December - I feel quite relaxed and like I have time to do things just for fun. With freer time and a new cutting machine (I got a Silhouette Portrait from Sean for Christmas!), I've been scrapbooking a bit.

I've finished up the layouts from the retreat that I didn't have titles for (I meant to pull out the Cricut (my old cutting machine that doesn't work very well anymore), but hadn't got around to it yet.  Also didn't get around to posting the ones I did have finished... Today I got out the camera and you should get to see the whole works of them soon.

Yesterday I left out on my desk the next bunch of photos to do, along with some papers I thought might work, but today in the mail came a stack of 6x6 paper pads that I had ordered - those are perfect for doing these kinds of pages!

These photos are from May last year - this is in progress with the new papers.  I so like that I have space to leave it until I can get back to it!  (I picked this page, with the 9 4x4 spots, because most of the photos on this side are vertical, and most of the ones that will go on the other side were horizontal.  I needed to pick a page that would suit both.)

A shot of my work space - there's the laptop and the Sillhouette... and the Carta Bella 'Boy Oh Boy' line of papers I'm using.

This was today's happy mail package.  :)

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Some New Favourite Ornaments

Last year I picked up some ornaments for M in Michael's $1.50 bin - I got the basketballs first, I think.  The next time I was in there I saw the soccer balls, too - awesome.  Her two sports.  I forgot where I hid the one pack, so she got one and then one after Christmas, but this year they were both around and ready to put on the tree.  :)  They just make me happy.  I've let her know that when she moves out she can take one of each and leave me one of each for our tree.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

It was a Merry Christmas

Our December:

We are done with Christmas concerts and recitals with Madeline and haven't started them yet with Nolan, so this was one attempt at making the month festive - a gingerbread train.  We all worked on it together, and Nolan was surprisingly tidy with his icing and candy placing!

Christmas Day was in Winnipeg this year - Sean and Nolan put together his sled before everyone else came over.


For the other side, we all went out to Circle Square Ranch yesterday.  What a great way to spend family time together - lots of space for the kids, and lots to do.  We'd all love to do it again.

Nolan went for his first little sled ride & did great!

I hope your holidays were full of love, joy, peace & hope, and that your new year holds many good things.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Giving a Book a Day

I've discovered something cool - a way to donate a book a day to support literacy for kids.

I've known about the Hunger Site for a long time, and for a while now have been getting daily reminder emails.  I always do it from my phone - click over from the email to the hunger site and click the button - once a day - to donate a cup of food to the hungry.  There's lots of shopping you can do while you're there, that also supports good causes, and lots of ads, but I always just click and run.  :) 

Until recently.  I've known that it's a whole group of sites, but it just isn't realistic to go to each of the other sites (Breast Cancer, Animals, Veterans, Autism, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Literacy, and Rainforest) and click on their buttons to donate to all of the causes all of the time...  But literacy...  I love books, and I value education, and I believe that a good education can help prevent a lot of the problems in our world.  So once I click on my donate food button, I head over to the literacy site and click there, too, to donate a book a day.

It's the season of giving, and I wanted to give you an idea of on more way to give.

PS - I was just looking at it on the computer instead of my phone, and there were actually a few things that caught my eye as potential Christmas gifts... hmm.  I like that a lot of it is fair trade goods that support people in less fortunate circumstances than ours.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just a Catch Up.

A visual catch up of our last couple of weeks:

Nolan finished his second round of swimming lessons with flying colours!  This is the last day of 'Seaturtle' getting a boat ride from the teacher.

This is ONE order - a generous lady down on the US east coast bought 40 coffee cozies to give as Christmas gifts.  :)

We had a quick visit from Granny & Papa.  Nolan and I took Granny to the Children's Play Place and we all had fun.  Painting is his first stop usually, and today Nolan discovered the microphone...!

We took a long weekend vacation and went up to Saskatoon.  We stayed with friends who have a girl M's age, and they had a great time together.  The other girl is younger and was happy to entertain Nolan.  He liked her almost as much as the dogs...  We stayed in a hotel too and hit up the pool and waterslides - I don't think we've all gone swimming together for years.  Lots of fun.  The sled show was the initial attraction and reason for the trip, and we did check it out (some of us twice!), and also took in a hockey game, a children's museum, and played mini golf.  It was a pretty great weekend.  I can say that now since I've forgotten how hard it was being there with a two year old...

And this past Sunday was my first Craft Sale of the season.  I've looked forward to these for a long time, but honestly for part of it I was wondering what my family was up to and thought it might be nicer to be home on the couch.  Ha.  I did sell quite a bit, so was happy with the event overall.  This Friday and Saturday I have another one (and my last one), and it's a long running one that is supposed to be very busy.  Here's hoping I sell a bunch more!

In other news... Today I took photos of Nolan's toddler bed, the glider chair in his room, and the diaper genie and listed them on Kijiji.  We're making room for a big bed!

Saturday, November 01, 2014


October was a beautiful month here - the trees held their colourful leaves for a good while, and we had some nice summery weather, which was awesome.

Now that November has hit, I am thinking of sewing and craft sales and making my Christmas gift lists, (and, oh yeah, should we do Christmas cards?)...

Up until last week my focus was getting photos ready to print for the scrapbook retreat; now that I'm back, my focus has been back to building stock for my craft sales.  I was making good progress on getting a stash built up, then I got an order through Etsy from a lady who wanted 40 coffee cozies.  Sweet!  I love big orders.  But that meant that the other stuff is on hold while I finish these up.  I hope to get them in the mail by the middle of next week & will post a photo before they go.  I'll get photos of the scrapbook pages I made and post those, too.

Tonight we did a yoga workout to finish month 2 of P90X3 - 5 weeks to go!  We will keep up probably 3 workouts a week after that, but it will be good to get the every night commitment out of the way.  We have taken 3 nights off this past month (aside from our Sunday rest days) for various reasons.  Funny, I kind of missed them...!  But sometimes you just can't do it.

Halloween is not a big deal around here; Nolan isn't a dresser-upper, and we ended up going to the Pat's hockey game last night.  I did make Madeline an awesome Jedi cape, though, and she looked fantastic.  I will have to get a photo to post of that, too...

Another passion that has flared up again is for writing letters.  A goal that I've wanted to go for for a long time is to stay of top of making & sending birthday cards for a whole year & not miss any.  I'm on track with all the family birthdays and anniversaries - lots have been late, but they've all been sent!  Next year I may just do the kids.  :)  I love putting something homemade in the mail, and I thing next year maybe my goal will be to write a letter a week.  There are 51 birthdays and anniversaries in our family (not counting ours), so 52 letters is comparable.  A lot more writing, but if I set aside one time each week, just like I did one time each month to do cards, it might work.  Have a look at my new pinterest board for some inspiration.  Wanna join me in my snail mail fun?

Have a great weekend, and a joyful November!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

God's Wisdom

I just finished reading the book of Job.  Job and his three friends have finished their speeches, and then Elihu speaks up - a 'young punk' who waited until his elders had had their say (very polite of him); but his speech goes on and on for pages, saying basically, "I'm right - listen to me!"

I found myself scoffing a bit... what a fool.  But then I remembered that we are are on the outside of the story.  We know what has happened behind the scenes and we know what comes next.  We know his is wrong.  Being quick to judge him means that I am just like him...

And that got me thinking - Am I quick to judge and quick to speak?  When others have a disagreement, do I itch to step in and correct?  Yes, sometimes.

What's better? I need to pray for understanding for those involved, and recognize that it may not be my issue to interfere in.  Pray for respect and good clear communication between them - not necessarily from me.

I need to let God's wisdom rule, not mine.  Like we learn in Job, His wisdom in infinitely bigger.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Miss M

A few friends and I have a scrapbooking retreat that we like to get away to, and it's coming up this weekend.  Yay!

While I was getting a few things ready, I found these photos and the papers to go with them all ready to put together.  I would have prepped them at our April retreat, and haven't scrapbooked since then!  So I pulled out the cutter, tape, a few embellishments, and here they are!  Felt good.  Maybe I won't wait six months after this retreat to pull stuff out again.