Monday, April 27, 2015

Like Mother, Like Son

Growing up, I remember going on family vacations and always, always bringing along a book.  It wasn't just that I brought it with me in the car (and in the hotel room and to various sites...), but I almost always had my book open.  It was a small source of frustration for my dad who would say something along the lines of, "We're at James Buchanan's birthplace..." or "We're on Skyline Drive...and all Kristin is doing is reading her book!"

This weekend, the kids and I were spectators while Brian ran a 5K race.  (More on that in another post.)

While some of us watched, cheered, enjoyed the race atmosphere, and tried to stay warm in the early-morning chill...Gavin read a book.
Waiting at the 2-mile mark to catch a glimpse of Brian...

...and later at the finish line.

Like mother, like son.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Weekend Links...and What I'm Reading

Yes, to this:
"I could have chosen to be less tired. I could. I could have chosen to have more free time or a firmer tummy. I could be living a whole different life right now... But it would have been what I chose.  I can make really bad choices. Instead, I have what God chose for me."

And this, too:
"We long to do greater things than making another dinner. But out of obedience, we serve. We are here. We are present."

On a wholly unrelated note, this is a great source of children's literature from each decade of the 20th century.

And here's a peek at what I'm reading this weekend, by myself and with the kids:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

L is for...

Lunch on the porch.

...and I wish there was an "L" word that meant something about making memories. 

A look back through the alphabet:

Check out my blog's Facebook page for other memory-making photos like this early-morning one from yesterday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Julia Child

{You know the drill.  Like most of my posts that discuss books, this one contains affiliate links.}

You know how I love to read my kids picture books about real people.  (If not, go here, here, and here to see some other excellent choices.) They're not really biographies.  Actually they're not biographies at all, but more like fanciful stories based on people that lived real lives.

I picked up three books this month about Julia Child, the famous chef.

Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Catby Susanna Reich was the first book we read.  Minette was Paul and Julia Child's cat  who sampled all of the food Julia made in her French apartment.  Of course, like most cat's, she had opinions about the food.

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Childby Jessie Hartland was crammed full of delicious detail.  Of the three books, it was closest to biography format and took fewest creative liberties with the facts. The creativity came in the layout of the book instead.  You would have to take a peek inside the book yourself to fully understand, but there were so many sketches, timelines, recipes,and tidbits tucked in the pages that it took us three days to get through it all.  Though it's a picture book, it would probably appeal more to older children because of the depth of content in this excellently compiled book. 

Julia, Childby Kyo Maclear was my least favorite.  In the book, a young Julia likes to cook French food and she has a close friend named Simca,  but that's where the facts end.  The story is entirely made up and involves teaching grown-ups to stay young so they can have a good time.  It was all a little silly for my taste. (Pun intended.)

Have you ever read anything about or by Julia Child?

I read Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously years ago after watching the movie.  I loved the movie, but the book was far more crass and I was unimpressed.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Re-reading: what do you think?

{This post, like most of my posts that discuss books, contains affiliate links.}

"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."
~Oscar Wilde

I read the above quote a few weeks ago and I'm not sure what I think. I have two qualifications for what earns a place on my at-home bookshelves. 
  • Will I read it again?
  • Would I loan it out to someone else?
Obviously that means there are books I consider worth a re-read, but with so many, many books on my to-read list, I wonder if it's a waste of time to re-read something I've already taken time for once. 

There are exceptions. I've read Keep a Quiet Heart3 times because it has such depth. I'm currently reading  Jacob Have I Loved because I haven't read it since childhood and it takes place in the county where I currently live and mentions places I recognize. I've also read two of my favorite modern novels twice each (Some Wildflower In My Heart and Not a Sparrow Falls).

I'm sure there are others, too.  One of my favorite tricks to accomplish a little re-reading is to read aloud to my kids a book I enjoyed in childhood.

So, how do you feel about re-reading books? Do you do it? Any favorites?

 For other posts in my Book Talk series, click here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Photos: Then and Now

My blog celebrates 7 years in April. When I started blogging, our family was smaller and the kids looked like this:

Easter 2008
Owen (19 months), Maddie (3.5), and Gavin (5)

Some years I've blogged a family photo with all its joyful imperfections-- the frowns, the squints, the looking away, the baskets on the heads (um, yeah) ...

Benjamin (3.5), Owen (5.5), Alaine (19 months, Maddie (7.5), and Gavin (9)

Owen (6.5), Benjamin (4.5), Gavin (10), Maddie (8.5), and Alaine (2.5)

Owen (7.5), Alaine (3.5), Benjamin (5.5), Gavin, (11), and Maddie (9.5)

This year we have noticed great change in some of the kids-- not the average growth that occurs in a  typical year, but a more dramatic change in appearance and maturity.

Easter 2015
Maddie (11.5), Alaine (4.5), Owen (8.5), Benjamin (6.5), and Gavin (12) 

Have I mentioned I'll have a teenager before the year is complete?

Saturday, April 4, 2015


{This post contains affiliate links. I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.}

I am never without a book on my nightstand. Reading is what I do in my "spare" time so finding myself without a book leaves me in a bit of a panic.  Before I finish one book, I make sure to have another waiting. Ironically the book I chose after Unbroken  (review here) was Undoneby Michele Cushatt-- from one book about a man whose strong spirit could not be shattered in the midst of great trial to another book about a woman who surrendered her broken circumstances to God, leaving her vulnerable to pain.

While I tend to skew more toward fiction books, this year about two-thirds of my reading has been of the non-fiction variety. Plus I've always loved memoirs so after seeing this one mentioned on another blog I added it to my Amazon wish list. When it was offered through BookLook Bloggers, I requested a copy for review.

The book is broken into two sections, corresponding with two major trials in the author's life.  In part one of the book, Michele shares about her battle with cancer, specifically how it wrecked her views on stability and her desire to maintain control of her life. In part two, she shares how she and her husband were led to welcome three young children into their home just as they were preparing to enter the empty nest phase of their lives.

It probably goes without saying that I did not agree with everything the author wrote or suggested.  Isn't that true with most books? Given the same circumstances, I may have made different parenting or personal decisions, but the overall theme of the book was a lesson the Lord  has been planting in my own heart over the past few months: the need to surrender our will and completely trust the plan God has for each of our lives. 

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9)

Have you read any books that have spoken to you lately? 
Any scriptures that have been on your heart?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Jamberry (+ a giveaway!)

Let's cut to the chase. In theory I like cute fingernails, but in reality I don't have time.  More specifically I don't want to take the time for something that gets ruined in less than 24 hours.  Of course my clean bathroom and empty hamper get "ruined" in less than 24 hours, too, but those things seem more worthy of my time. On the occasions when I do paint my nails, all the aforementioned cleaning and laundry leaves my nails a chipped up mess. 

So when my blog and Facebook friend, Jenna, offered to let me give Jamberry Nails a try, I jumped at the chance.  Jamberry Nails are incredibly cute and fun adhesive nail wraps that stay put for up to two full weeks! Now that I can handle.

Jenna sent me a pattern called silver floral on magenta.  The instructions freaked me out a little, not because they were complicated but because I wanted to be sure to get it just right.  The first time was admittedly a little time consuming.  Remember, its hard for me to justify time devoted to my nails, BUT I figured the 45-60 minutes (which included breaks to answer questions, get snacks, talk to my husband...) would be worth it if the wraps lasted as long as promised.

The wraps drove me crazy for the first 12 hours.  I wasn't confident in my application and I had a few air bubbles that were preventing the wraps from laying flat.  The next morning I trimmed and tweaked until I got a tight seal and a look that was more pleasing to me.  But here's the thing: aside from me, no one else would have even noticed the imperfections.  Who is looking that closely at another person's nails?  If someone can see a bubble or tiny nick on your nails, they are too close!

Even Alaine (4) wanted in on the action!

Alaine's nails: pale pink with magenta accents

My magenta nails lasted for 2 full weeks, but they were showing signs of wear by the time I removed them. Again, it was wear that I noticed, not something the grocery store cashier or the teller at the bank would notice.

Jenna also sent along a sheet of accent wraps so I tried those next.  I loved the pattern and I loved the overall look, but the four nails that needed polish were too high maintenance. On days at home, I left them bare.  A funny side-note: my boys and my husband did not "get" the accent nails.  Owen (8) said, "Why would you do that?" but my girls said, "Oh, yeah, that's like Aunt Amy's nails.  She does that, too."

A couple tips and then I'll get to the fun part-- the giveaway.

  • The application instructions say to chose a wrap that is closest in size to your nail.  I would revise that to say to chose a wrap that is smaller than your nail.  Otherwise, it is hard to get a good seal and the wrap bunches up.
  • Apply the wrap just a teensy bit above your cuticle.  No one will see the little strip of exposed nail  and it helps maintain a tighter seal.
  • After you've worn your nails for awhile, the tips are the first thing to start looking a little rough.  Instead of giving up or peeling them off, try trimming the ends (just like if you were trimming your nails) and reseal.  It should buy you a few more days.


Jenna is being kind enough to give away a sheet of Jamberry Nail Wraps of your choice!  

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below.

Do you paint your nails?  Do you have a favorite polish color? Any tricks for getting a manicure to last? Have you ever tried Jamberry Nail Wraps?  Do you have a favorite pattern or design? 
Tell me anything!

Giveaway ends Thursday, April 9 at 9 pm ET.  Giveaway closed.

The winner is Kati!

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