Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Making a Book List, Checking It Twice...

Every Christmas in these parts, one can expect to find the trifecta of book, toy, article of clothing under the tree.  Santa tries to bring what I call "the investment book."

These are books so good that we should own them, not just borrow them from the library. Oftentimes, these books happen to be books bout Christmas. Have you ever tried to find your favorite Christmas book at the library in December?  Yeah, me too.

I've come across a some good book lists this month with old favorites and new titles to add to my 2015 reading list.

This list from A Mighty Girl is designed with girl readers in mind, but has loads of crossover appeal. These stories are all about Christmas.


I've had Star Bright: A Christmas Story in my Amazon cart for awhile now after seeing the illustrator's work on Instagram.

I read this list of children's book illustrators to follow on Instagram and now I follow ALL OF THEM!  Their creative and quirky photos fill my feed with joy.


Who wouldn't want to see what Brigitte Barrager, author of Jill's very much loved The Twelve Dancing Princesses is working on now?


Or Jon Klassen, author/illustrator/humorist-genius behind I Want My Hat Back?

Here is a list of 15 Picture Books for Giving. Lots of classics on here.

Here is the New York Times List of Notable Children's Books for 2014. Many of these I have not read, but I'll get on that right away.

Lastly, my mom sent me this list titled Your not-to-be-missed Christmas list of kids' books with both tried-and-true and recently-released reads.  This list is NOT a list of books about Christmas.


I've got Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt in my pile right now.

If you're wondering if I've read a particular book, try googling "housewifespice and {insert title or author here}" or just email me!

If you're looking for a particular age or gender, try clicking on those keywords in my sidebar.  I've tried to be diligent about labeling my posts with keywords for easy searchability.  Or you could email me or use this comment box.

I like to think of myself as the Sommelier of Kiddie Lit. And Candy Corn. And Candy Canes. And Bacon.  And I'll stop now.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 2014

Someone asked if I had any good Christmas gift ideas.  I don't know why they asked me, but here's what's going down the chimney in these parts.


Books (Plus a Tie-In Item)


I've given this Little Red Riding Hood storybook with an Etsy made red velvet riding hood.  I've been told they make a nice Ranger cloak too.



This ballerina jewelry box goes perfectly with these Ella Bella Ballerina books.



I talked Grandma Santa into an Etsy made replica Little House on the Prairie outfit (made-to-order! custom fit!).  It will look darling on my little Laura while we read Christmas in the Big Woods .

My teens are getting books too.



Peter is getting The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman.


Susan is getting The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by the real Maria von Trapp.


Lucy is getting A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.


Other Kid Ideas

This is not my photo, it belongs to CupcakeCutieKids.
I love these Personalized Superhero capes from Etsy.

Photo from AlmondRod Toys.

This Nativity Set,
Photo from AlmondRod Toys.
or these Saint blocks.


This Kathe Kruse® 14-Piece Nativity Set is gorgeous, but pricey.

My nearly 12 year old is all about card tricks and magic sets. The Melissa and Doug set is nice but we got Jim Stott's Deluxe Magic Kit for our future Gob.  The reviews are very good and it's a little more ma-tour.

Don't know who Gob is?  Watch this 13 second video.  C'mon.  It's only 13 seconds and no ad time.



Stocking Stuffers

Fun Band-aids and toothbrushes.

Paper Dolls.  Temporary Tattoos.  Dover can meet all of your needs in this area.

Real Metal Cap Guns.

Edmund has several different makes and models of these on his wishlist. He circled them all in the JM Cremp's Boys Adventure catalog. Soon he'll be too grown-up for cap guns, so I'm on a mission to make sure he gets every one now.

Plus, I love the smell of caps.

That is not weird.

This magic wand for the future Gob in your home.


Less Stuff  is More Stuff

Magazine Subscriptions

Namely, Ranger Rick and High Five and Calliope.  Calliope is a world history magazine recommended to me by a librarian friend who reads it herself.  I brought home an issue for Patrick to review for bias and he found none.

Frugal Scrooge I am, I went to the library and took coupons from their magazines to use while ordering some gifts.  It totally saved me money.  That or using Subscription Addiction.  It depends  on the magazine.

iTunes music. Email entire playlists or albums.  No wrapping, no post office. All goodness.

Experiences

Disney on Ice, Medieval Times, Theater or Concert Tickets.  Mani/Pedis. Someone around here is going to the Premium Theater that has reclining seats and serves food on his birthday.

Photo Albums.

Print the pictures.  Or order a book.  I so badly want to do the Order a Book thing, but so many pictures to upload!  How big are these books?  What's the easiest program to use?


Gifts for Grown Ups or  The Nearly Growned Up


These scarves from Accessory Concierge. Plaid is back, baby.



This Horn of Ale that Jen and Hallie linked to.

My college boy is getting a poker set.  This could be a great idea, or a really bad idea.  It's a better idea than the Horn of Ale, of that I am certain.

This year I'm giving lots of this handmade soap from RobinsOwn on Etsy.  Robin is blogger Simcha Fischer's friend and she makes a damn fine soap from goat's milk.  This soap is so good that I want to eat it. Well, I want to eat the Pumpkin Bier kind that I've got going right now.  Smells like cinnamon and love.



Personalized stuff is big again.  I remember my monogrammed crewneck circa 1982. It was probably from Lands' End. Lands' End can monogram just about anything.  These patterned gloves might be coming to some teenage god-daughters near me.

My teen girls and I stumbled upon the newly opened Altar'd State store in a Missouri mall over Thanksgiving.  They adored all the clothing and accessory items.  I was moved by the Christian music, and Bible verse home decor.  I wish they would open one by me, but until then, they have a webstore.

This photo belongs to Victory Day & Co,
As I shared on the Housewifespice Facebook page, I bought this watercolor Bible verse print for myself from an Etsy handmade shop.

It says, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Jesus keeps whispering this to me on my longer, harder days.  It's right up there with Phillipians 4:13 for my-top-best-speaks-to-me-Scripture-passages.

Lots of these links are Amazon Affiliate links which pad my purse if you click through, but lots of these links aren't.  I actually try to shop Etsy as often as possible.  I follow lots of Etsy artists on Instagram and you should too.


If I'm not shopping Etsy, I'm shopping through eBates.  I've gotten several checks in the mail from them this year.  Make your 2015 a little greener by using eBates.  Also an affiliate link.

I'm asking for a peace-filled Advent for all of my readers this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Religion Class

I've googled those three words a lot over the past year, and there's not much out there for this minority.

Many Catholics homeschool and many dyslexics homeschool, but this weird combination of Catholic, homeschooling, and dyslexic seems pretty rare.

I've decided to help fill this gap with a series of posts about what we've found that works for us here at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too.


Here's what we have found success with for religion/theology.

Online Catholic Learning or My Catholic Faith Delivered is a great website for religion courses.  For $25 a year, you can enroll in the Ignatius Press Faith and Life course.


This year we are using Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series). I buy the Faith and Life texts and workbooks in addition to the online course.

Monday:  I read the chapter of the week aloud to Edmund.  He reads the blue box (questions and answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) at the end of each chapter aloud to me and we discuss.  The chapters are short, three to four pages max.  He does the first of the four corresponding workbook pages.  I aid him in highlighting relevant texts.

Tuesday through Thursday:  He does another workbook page each day for a total of four pages.

Friday:  He does the online lesson which includes a pre-test, a review game perhaps, listening to an audio version of the same chapter again, and the chapter test.

Every three or four chapters, there is a Unit Test, so every three or four weeks, he takes that test on a Friday as well.


My involvement in this subject is pretty minimal.  I spend some time reading on Mondays.  Tuesdays through Thursday I review his workbook pages and we discuss additions or corrections.  Once last week, I had to clear up a little heresy.  No big deal.

I've had a few hiccups with the online courses, but the service at Online Catholic Learning is superb. The folks there have been very kind (and patient) and helpful.  We completed the fifth grade course over the summer are off and running with the sixth grade one.

We are also going to supplement these courses from time to time to do some saint studies (We like the audio biographies from Glory Stories.) and lapbooks.  Edmund is getting confirmed next year, so I hope to add some Confirmation studies in the spring.

Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series) has a special lesson for Christmas that I've managed to incorporate into our lesson plan.  Go me!  Normally, I would not have discovered it until too late. Holy Spirit for the win!

For another look at How We Homeschool, check out this interview I did with Micaela at California to Korea.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WWRW: Five of Our Current Favorites

I'm baaack.  Today anyway.  One day at a time.  Minute by minute.

1.  America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2 is bringing sanity and deliciousness to our dinner table, with lots of "open, dump, walk away" recipes that I can manage in the 3.2 minutes Polly will stay in the Bumpo.


This is my copy.  I flagged every recipe that did not require prep work.

To be honest, the most prep work required is microwaving chopped onions and garlic before adding to the slow cooker.  So for normal people not holding high-need babies, it's totally do-able.

Every recipe we've tried so far has been a hit.  Welllllll, I liked the Spiced Tenderloin with Quinoa. The minions ate it, and proclaimed it "interesting." It's the first time these gringos have had anything flavored with garam masala.

Monday, we had the Chicken Pomodoro.  To. Die. For.  Definitely making a double batch of that next time.

We've also made the Chicken Adobo, the Chicken Tomatillo Chile (yum!), and Thursday, I'm making Easy Beef Stew.

November + Polar Vortex = Comfort Foods

2.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox is Jill's current favorite.

"Harriet Harris is a pesky child."

Jill snuggles up to me as I read this book daily. She looks up at me meaningfully when Harriet makes mess after mess.

She smiles knowingly when I read, "Her mother didn't like to yell, so instead she said, "Harriet, my darling child. Harriet, you'll drive me wild."

Yup. It's like a day in my life right there on the printed page.

3.

A Life of Our Lord for Children by Marigold Hunt is a family read-aloud for the RC Connecting with History course we are using here at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too.

And it's really interesting.  Basically, Hunt re-tells the Gospels with a linear timeline, while including all the background info about Jewish and Roman life of the period.  I enjoy reading it, while Edmund enjoys listening.  I'm even picking up a few new facts. Learn something new everyday!


When we finish A Life of Our Lord for Children, we'll continue with Hunt's The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children

4.

I began Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay, but kept "misplacing" the book, only to find my high school girls were much further along in it than I was.

So I did what any kind and generous parent would do.  I read the ending, and then handed it over.

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel is an ideal book for the young adult reader.  Set in modern times, with a "Daddy Long-legs" type plot, Reay's novel is sweet without being saccharine, and relevant without being raunchy.

I predicted (quite accurately) the entire plot and ending, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment in seeing the protagonist live happily ever after.

5.

I read Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy  by Rumer Godden at least fifteen years ago, and I'm re-reading it for Micaela's Stella Maris online book club.

It's like a completely different novel this time around.

Lise Fanshawe, brothel manager goes to prison for a crime passionnel.  From prison, she enters religious life.  From one enclosure to another.  She finds her freedom behind the walls of a convent.

There is so much to think about in this book.  I am avidly looking forward to discussing Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy with the others who have read it.  You've got time.  Come on! Play along!

Yeah.  I would NOT let my high schoolers read this one.  It's gritty.  She's a prostitute. But it's not graphic.

When I was telling Patrick about it (He lets me "tell" him my books, God made him just for me.), he said that this sounded like a book that I would hate.  And it does.  But like I said, gritty, not graphic.

Since I've been MIA for so long, I'm not going to host a link-up, but rather add this post to Jenna's Five Favorites party.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Theme Thursday: Good Job!

This is what's happening at St.Jude's School for Kids Who Want to Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too this week.




Linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday.

I have about a dozen really great blog posts in my head, but Polly cried for 3.5 hours because I thought about getting out my laptop.  Someday soon I hope....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Philippians are my kind of peeps.

Did anyone else get a personal letter from St. Paul on Sunday?

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to {Insert Your Name Here}.

Have no anxiety at all,

but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

whatever is true
whatever is honorable
whatever is just
whatever is pure
whatever is lovely
whatever is gracious
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise
Think about THESE things.

Keep on
doing what have learned 
and received 
and heard 
and seen in me.

Then the God of peace will be with you.

My letter stopped there, but there's another part, just a bit further on, one of my favorite parts for when the going gets rough.


Thanks, Paul.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

7QT: TGIO!

1.  You know you married the right guy when he busts out his electric guitar to learn the Strawberry Shortcake (Berry Bitty Adventures) theme song.


I cannot even describe the awesomeness.  We had one berry good jam.

2.  I'd like him to learn the theme for Franklin next.  We changed the words to "Hey, it's Polly!"  Maybe Edmund could learn how to play a jaw harp?


3.  Speaking of theme songs, I may have mentioned once or a dozen times that I came up with lyrics for the theme to Monarch of the Glen.


Love that sexy sax.

Problem:  Since they keep changing who the Laird is, I have to change the words fairly often.

4.  My wonder son Peter, who is in Pennsylvania this weekend for a national collegiate level golf tournament, penned words to the theme close to everyone's hearts, Downton Abbey.


"Dog is walking.
Open shutters now.
Bells are ringinging.
The mail is here, the kettle's warm.
Measuring the places.
Petals falling.
Lamps are on.
DUST, dust the chandelier."

5.  YES!  I used up 5 takes on theme songs! #winning

Time for a gratuitous baby pic.



6.

Last night, Lucy and I watched Sense and Sensibility with *swoon* Alan Rickman.


Lucy commented that it was remarkably like the movie, Scents and Sensibility on Netflix.

no words. #fail

7.  I beg to disagree with Mr. T.S. Eliot.  September is the cruelest month.  Maybe October.  There were snow flurries this morning.

Polly will not abide car seats or naps longer than five minutes.

I hear a baby crying in my head when I go to sleep at night.

This season of life is dang hard.  So many people with so many needs.

Sorry blog readers, but I blew off WWRW this week.  I chose to shower, walk the whole brood the whole way to the library, and stop at the playground on the way home.  I let Edmund and Jill play as long as they wanted.

I'd like to promise it won't happen again, but most days are difficult days.  Not a lot of reading is happening and even less blogging.

It's just going to have to be that way for awhile.  I know you'll understand.

Any bloggers wanna take a turn guest hosting WWRW?  Shoot me an email.  Or just leave a comment.

My troubles aren't really troubles.  All these people in my life to love are treasures.  I get that.  But here's to a day when I go to the bathroom and nobody talks to me through the door!

 

Linking up with Jen. A day late.  That's how it's gotta be.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Making a Book List, Checking It Twice...

Every Christmas in these parts, one can expect to find the trifecta of book, toy, article of clothing under the tree.  Santa tries to bring what I call "the investment book."

These are books so good that we should own them, not just borrow them from the library. Oftentimes, these books happen to be books bout Christmas. Have you ever tried to find your favorite Christmas book at the library in December?  Yeah, me too.

I've come across a some good book lists this month with old favorites and new titles to add to my 2015 reading list.

This list from A Mighty Girl is designed with girl readers in mind, but has loads of crossover appeal. These stories are all about Christmas.


I've had Star Bright: A Christmas Story in my Amazon cart for awhile now after seeing the illustrator's work on Instagram.

I read this list of children's book illustrators to follow on Instagram and now I follow ALL OF THEM!  Their creative and quirky photos fill my feed with joy.


Who wouldn't want to see what Brigitte Barrager, author of Jill's very much loved The Twelve Dancing Princesses is working on now?


Or Jon Klassen, author/illustrator/humorist-genius behind I Want My Hat Back?

Here is a list of 15 Picture Books for Giving. Lots of classics on here.

Here is the New York Times List of Notable Children's Books for 2014. Many of these I have not read, but I'll get on that right away.

Lastly, my mom sent me this list titled Your not-to-be-missed Christmas list of kids' books with both tried-and-true and recently-released reads.  This list is NOT a list of books about Christmas.


I've got Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt in my pile right now.

If you're wondering if I've read a particular book, try googling "housewifespice and {insert title or author here}" or just email me!

If you're looking for a particular age or gender, try clicking on those keywords in my sidebar.  I've tried to be diligent about labeling my posts with keywords for easy searchability.  Or you could email me or use this comment box.

I like to think of myself as the Sommelier of Kiddie Lit. And Candy Corn. And Candy Canes. And Bacon.  And I'll stop now.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 2014

Someone asked if I had any good Christmas gift ideas.  I don't know why they asked me, but here's what's going down the chimney in these parts.


Books (Plus a Tie-In Item)


I've given this Little Red Riding Hood storybook with an Etsy made red velvet riding hood.  I've been told they make a nice Ranger cloak too.



This ballerina jewelry box goes perfectly with these Ella Bella Ballerina books.



I talked Grandma Santa into an Etsy made replica Little House on the Prairie outfit (made-to-order! custom fit!).  It will look darling on my little Laura while we read Christmas in the Big Woods .

My teens are getting books too.



Peter is getting The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman.


Susan is getting The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by the real Maria von Trapp.


Lucy is getting A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich.


Other Kid Ideas

This is not my photo, it belongs to CupcakeCutieKids.
I love these Personalized Superhero capes from Etsy.

Photo from AlmondRod Toys.

This Nativity Set,
Photo from AlmondRod Toys.
or these Saint blocks.


This Kathe Kruse® 14-Piece Nativity Set is gorgeous, but pricey.

My nearly 12 year old is all about card tricks and magic sets. The Melissa and Doug set is nice but we got Jim Stott's Deluxe Magic Kit for our future Gob.  The reviews are very good and it's a little more ma-tour.

Don't know who Gob is?  Watch this 13 second video.  C'mon.  It's only 13 seconds and no ad time.



Stocking Stuffers

Fun Band-aids and toothbrushes.

Paper Dolls.  Temporary Tattoos.  Dover can meet all of your needs in this area.

Real Metal Cap Guns.

Edmund has several different makes and models of these on his wishlist. He circled them all in the JM Cremp's Boys Adventure catalog. Soon he'll be too grown-up for cap guns, so I'm on a mission to make sure he gets every one now.

Plus, I love the smell of caps.

That is not weird.

This magic wand for the future Gob in your home.


Less Stuff  is More Stuff

Magazine Subscriptions

Namely, Ranger Rick and High Five and Calliope.  Calliope is a world history magazine recommended to me by a librarian friend who reads it herself.  I brought home an issue for Patrick to review for bias and he found none.

Frugal Scrooge I am, I went to the library and took coupons from their magazines to use while ordering some gifts.  It totally saved me money.  That or using Subscription Addiction.  It depends  on the magazine.

iTunes music. Email entire playlists or albums.  No wrapping, no post office. All goodness.

Experiences

Disney on Ice, Medieval Times, Theater or Concert Tickets.  Mani/Pedis. Someone around here is going to the Premium Theater that has reclining seats and serves food on his birthday.

Photo Albums.

Print the pictures.  Or order a book.  I so badly want to do the Order a Book thing, but so many pictures to upload!  How big are these books?  What's the easiest program to use?


Gifts for Grown Ups or  The Nearly Growned Up


These scarves from Accessory Concierge. Plaid is back, baby.



This Horn of Ale that Jen and Hallie linked to.

My college boy is getting a poker set.  This could be a great idea, or a really bad idea.  It's a better idea than the Horn of Ale, of that I am certain.

This year I'm giving lots of this handmade soap from RobinsOwn on Etsy.  Robin is blogger Simcha Fischer's friend and she makes a damn fine soap from goat's milk.  This soap is so good that I want to eat it. Well, I want to eat the Pumpkin Bier kind that I've got going right now.  Smells like cinnamon and love.



Personalized stuff is big again.  I remember my monogrammed crewneck circa 1982. It was probably from Lands' End. Lands' End can monogram just about anything.  These patterned gloves might be coming to some teenage god-daughters near me.

My teen girls and I stumbled upon the newly opened Altar'd State store in a Missouri mall over Thanksgiving.  They adored all the clothing and accessory items.  I was moved by the Christian music, and Bible verse home decor.  I wish they would open one by me, but until then, they have a webstore.

This photo belongs to Victory Day & Co,
As I shared on the Housewifespice Facebook page, I bought this watercolor Bible verse print for myself from an Etsy handmade shop.

It says, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Jesus keeps whispering this to me on my longer, harder days.  It's right up there with Phillipians 4:13 for my-top-best-speaks-to-me-Scripture-passages.

Lots of these links are Amazon Affiliate links which pad my purse if you click through, but lots of these links aren't.  I actually try to shop Etsy as often as possible.  I follow lots of Etsy artists on Instagram and you should too.


If I'm not shopping Etsy, I'm shopping through eBates.  I've gotten several checks in the mail from them this year.  Make your 2015 a little greener by using eBates.  Also an affiliate link.

I'm asking for a peace-filled Advent for all of my readers this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Religion Class

I've googled those three words a lot over the past year, and there's not much out there for this minority.

Many Catholics homeschool and many dyslexics homeschool, but this weird combination of Catholic, homeschooling, and dyslexic seems pretty rare.

I've decided to help fill this gap with a series of posts about what we've found that works for us here at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too.


Here's what we have found success with for religion/theology.

Online Catholic Learning or My Catholic Faith Delivered is a great website for religion courses.  For $25 a year, you can enroll in the Ignatius Press Faith and Life course.


This year we are using Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series). I buy the Faith and Life texts and workbooks in addition to the online course.

Monday:  I read the chapter of the week aloud to Edmund.  He reads the blue box (questions and answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) at the end of each chapter aloud to me and we discuss.  The chapters are short, three to four pages max.  He does the first of the four corresponding workbook pages.  I aid him in highlighting relevant texts.

Tuesday through Thursday:  He does another workbook page each day for a total of four pages.

Friday:  He does the online lesson which includes a pre-test, a review game perhaps, listening to an audio version of the same chapter again, and the chapter test.

Every three or four chapters, there is a Unit Test, so every three or four weeks, he takes that test on a Friday as well.


My involvement in this subject is pretty minimal.  I spend some time reading on Mondays.  Tuesdays through Thursday I review his workbook pages and we discuss additions or corrections.  Once last week, I had to clear up a little heresy.  No big deal.

I've had a few hiccups with the online courses, but the service at Online Catholic Learning is superb. The folks there have been very kind (and patient) and helpful.  We completed the fifth grade course over the summer are off and running with the sixth grade one.

We are also going to supplement these courses from time to time to do some saint studies (We like the audio biographies from Glory Stories.) and lapbooks.  Edmund is getting confirmed next year, so I hope to add some Confirmation studies in the spring.

Following Christ, Book 6 (Faith and Life Series) has a special lesson for Christmas that I've managed to incorporate into our lesson plan.  Go me!  Normally, I would not have discovered it until too late. Holy Spirit for the win!

For another look at How We Homeschool, check out this interview I did with Micaela at California to Korea.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WWRW: Five of Our Current Favorites

I'm baaack.  Today anyway.  One day at a time.  Minute by minute.

1.  America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2 is bringing sanity and deliciousness to our dinner table, with lots of "open, dump, walk away" recipes that I can manage in the 3.2 minutes Polly will stay in the Bumpo.


This is my copy.  I flagged every recipe that did not require prep work.

To be honest, the most prep work required is microwaving chopped onions and garlic before adding to the slow cooker.  So for normal people not holding high-need babies, it's totally do-able.

Every recipe we've tried so far has been a hit.  Welllllll, I liked the Spiced Tenderloin with Quinoa. The minions ate it, and proclaimed it "interesting." It's the first time these gringos have had anything flavored with garam masala.

Monday, we had the Chicken Pomodoro.  To. Die. For.  Definitely making a double batch of that next time.

We've also made the Chicken Adobo, the Chicken Tomatillo Chile (yum!), and Thursday, I'm making Easy Beef Stew.

November + Polar Vortex = Comfort Foods

2.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox is Jill's current favorite.

"Harriet Harris is a pesky child."

Jill snuggles up to me as I read this book daily. She looks up at me meaningfully when Harriet makes mess after mess.

She smiles knowingly when I read, "Her mother didn't like to yell, so instead she said, "Harriet, my darling child. Harriet, you'll drive me wild."

Yup. It's like a day in my life right there on the printed page.

3.

A Life of Our Lord for Children by Marigold Hunt is a family read-aloud for the RC Connecting with History course we are using here at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too.

And it's really interesting.  Basically, Hunt re-tells the Gospels with a linear timeline, while including all the background info about Jewish and Roman life of the period.  I enjoy reading it, while Edmund enjoys listening.  I'm even picking up a few new facts. Learn something new everyday!


When we finish A Life of Our Lord for Children, we'll continue with Hunt's The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children

4.

I began Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay, but kept "misplacing" the book, only to find my high school girls were much further along in it than I was.

So I did what any kind and generous parent would do.  I read the ending, and then handed it over.

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel is an ideal book for the young adult reader.  Set in modern times, with a "Daddy Long-legs" type plot, Reay's novel is sweet without being saccharine, and relevant without being raunchy.

I predicted (quite accurately) the entire plot and ending, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment in seeing the protagonist live happily ever after.

5.

I read Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy  by Rumer Godden at least fifteen years ago, and I'm re-reading it for Micaela's Stella Maris online book club.

It's like a completely different novel this time around.

Lise Fanshawe, brothel manager goes to prison for a crime passionnel.  From prison, she enters religious life.  From one enclosure to another.  She finds her freedom behind the walls of a convent.

There is so much to think about in this book.  I am avidly looking forward to discussing Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy with the others who have read it.  You've got time.  Come on! Play along!

Yeah.  I would NOT let my high schoolers read this one.  It's gritty.  She's a prostitute. But it's not graphic.

When I was telling Patrick about it (He lets me "tell" him my books, God made him just for me.), he said that this sounded like a book that I would hate.  And it does.  But like I said, gritty, not graphic.

Since I've been MIA for so long, I'm not going to host a link-up, but rather add this post to Jenna's Five Favorites party.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Theme Thursday: Good Job!

This is what's happening at St.Jude's School for Kids Who Want to Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too this week.




Linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday.

I have about a dozen really great blog posts in my head, but Polly cried for 3.5 hours because I thought about getting out my laptop.  Someday soon I hope....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Philippians are my kind of peeps.

Did anyone else get a personal letter from St. Paul on Sunday?

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to {Insert Your Name Here}.

Have no anxiety at all,

but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

whatever is true
whatever is honorable
whatever is just
whatever is pure
whatever is lovely
whatever is gracious
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise
Think about THESE things.

Keep on
doing what have learned 
and received 
and heard 
and seen in me.

Then the God of peace will be with you.

My letter stopped there, but there's another part, just a bit further on, one of my favorite parts for when the going gets rough.


Thanks, Paul.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

7QT: TGIO!

1.  You know you married the right guy when he busts out his electric guitar to learn the Strawberry Shortcake (Berry Bitty Adventures) theme song.


I cannot even describe the awesomeness.  We had one berry good jam.

2.  I'd like him to learn the theme for Franklin next.  We changed the words to "Hey, it's Polly!"  Maybe Edmund could learn how to play a jaw harp?


3.  Speaking of theme songs, I may have mentioned once or a dozen times that I came up with lyrics for the theme to Monarch of the Glen.


Love that sexy sax.

Problem:  Since they keep changing who the Laird is, I have to change the words fairly often.

4.  My wonder son Peter, who is in Pennsylvania this weekend for a national collegiate level golf tournament, penned words to the theme close to everyone's hearts, Downton Abbey.


"Dog is walking.
Open shutters now.
Bells are ringinging.
The mail is here, the kettle's warm.
Measuring the places.
Petals falling.
Lamps are on.
DUST, dust the chandelier."

5.  YES!  I used up 5 takes on theme songs! #winning

Time for a gratuitous baby pic.



6.

Last night, Lucy and I watched Sense and Sensibility with *swoon* Alan Rickman.


Lucy commented that it was remarkably like the movie, Scents and Sensibility on Netflix.

no words. #fail

7.  I beg to disagree with Mr. T.S. Eliot.  September is the cruelest month.  Maybe October.  There were snow flurries this morning.

Polly will not abide car seats or naps longer than five minutes.

I hear a baby crying in my head when I go to sleep at night.

This season of life is dang hard.  So many people with so many needs.

Sorry blog readers, but I blew off WWRW this week.  I chose to shower, walk the whole brood the whole way to the library, and stop at the playground on the way home.  I let Edmund and Jill play as long as they wanted.

I'd like to promise it won't happen again, but most days are difficult days.  Not a lot of reading is happening and even less blogging.

It's just going to have to be that way for awhile.  I know you'll understand.

Any bloggers wanna take a turn guest hosting WWRW?  Shoot me an email.  Or just leave a comment.

My troubles aren't really troubles.  All these people in my life to love are treasures.  I get that.  But here's to a day when I go to the bathroom and nobody talks to me through the door!

 

Linking up with Jen. A day late.  That's how it's gotta be.