Friday, May 27, 2016

What I Enjoyed This Week

I always enjoy this cutie's smile!

Whew!  This week has been busy!  My children and I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at a Classical Conversations Practicum which was 45 minutes away.  Practicum is for parents whose children are in CC or who are interested in CC.  The tutors receive their training there, and that is how CC is able to keep its standards so high.

Anyway, I attended my required training while my oldest four children attended camp.  They had a great time learning, not just playing, which I really appreciate.  I kept Hannah with me, and that made things a little difficult since she just really wanted her bed to sleep in.  :(  Both of us were exhausted when we arrived home every evening.  :)

Then yesterday was Sarah Beth's birthday.  John took the day off, and he took her and Daniel shooting and swimming (at different times).  Sarah Beth wanted to shop at Hobby Lobby for her birthday, and she wanted John to take her, so they disappeared after supper for  a while.

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:
  • Spending time with some of my CC friends whom I hadn't seen in a while.
  • Seeing women whom I hadn't seen since last year's practicum.  While we may not remember each others' names, we do remember each other.  It was fun catching up with them again.
  • Several women offered to help with Hannah, women I had never met or even seen before this practicum.  It was wonderfully refreshing!  Honestly, it felt like what church is supposed to be: a supportive family.  Our presenter even held Hannah for an hour while lecturing!  :)
  • Meeting new friends at practicum.  Sarah Beth made a new friend, and we discovered that they live fairly close.  We plan to have them over soon.
  • Being home!  My household chores were neglected while we were at practicum, so it was nice to be able to stay home yesterday and start getting caught up.
  • Having John home yesterday and seeing him do things with our children.
  • Rolo Fudge Brownies.  Sarah Beth didn't want a cake for her birthday; she wanted this dessert. Yum!
What did you enjoy this week?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Happy Tenth Birthday, Sarah Beth!

A tenth birthday is a big deal!  Double digits!  We're excited to celebrate this milestone with Sarah Beth today.

One of the big things that happened with Sarah Beth this year was that she got glasses.  I don't think I recounted that story on my blog, so I will now.  She was having trouble seeing long distances, so I took her to see an ophthalmologist.   One of her eyes can see pretty normally, but the other one can't see the "big E."  Her doctor said that she is very lucky -- we know that's not the case; it's all God's grace -- because most people with eyes like that, their brains turn off the bad eye so they don't see out of it at all.  However, Sarah Beth's still worked.  If it hadn't, I think she would have had to wear an eye patch on her good eye to make the bad one work.  We're so grateful to God that she didn't have to do that!

Sarah Beth is a great help with her younger brother and sisters, and she loves to spend time outdoors.

We enjoy seeing our little girl is turning into a young woman, although it does seem to be happening too quickly.  :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

In Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson, state detective Evie Blackwell travels to a small town in Illinois to investigate a couple of cold cases:  the murders of a family and a child's disappearance.  While there, she meets and works with the town's sheriff and his family as they reinvestigate these crimes.

I enjoy the idea of reinvestigating cold cases and bringing the perpetrators to justice, so I figured I would appreciate this book.  And I did.  I liked how the police officers from different jurisdictions worked together to solve the crimes.  I liked the characters.  But halfway through the book, I realized there was something I didn't like:  there was too much conversation.  It seemed like all the characters ever did was talk.  One conversation lasted for twenty pages!  There is very little action in this book which is okay, but it makes the book a little flat.  Don't get me wrong, the book was very interesting; it just was missing something.

My other problem with this book was that there wasn't any conflict between the characters.  All of the Thane brothers and their parents got along great; there wasn't any tension between the state police and the local police.  Along with that, everyone was wise about decision making.  Each person knew exactly what to do when, how to treat the victims, and no one ever questioned their advice and counsel.  It was a little too perfect.

Dee Henderson can write a really good book, and I really did enjoy this one.  But it just seemed to lack a couple of things that would have made it better.

I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, May 20, 2016

What I Enjoyed The Last Two Weeks

I always enjoy seeing my older children loving on my youngest!

Our computer wasn't working correctly last week, so this post tells what I've enjoyed for the past two weeks.
  • A computer that works!  :)
  • When John took our computer into Houston last Friday to get it looked at, all four of our older children wanted to go, too, so they could spend some of their own money at the Lego store.  That left me at home alone with Hannah, and I must say that I enjoyed the peace and quiet.  :)
  • Our children's cavities.  No, not the actual cavities.  But I set up the appointments for Daniel, Rachel, and Mary on separate days, so I was able to spend some time with each child after his appointment.  I think they enjoyed it; I know that I did!
  • A wonderful, available babysitter.  Without C, I would not have been able to do what I did last week with the dentist appointments.  I was even able to leave Hannah home.
  • Our last week of school.  Yes, today is our last day!  Whoohoo!
What have you enjoyed this week?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: Deal Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Dead Wake:  The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson does exactly what the title says:  it tells the story of the Lusitania as it made its final voyage from New York to Britain.  During World War I, the United States tried to remain neutral and not become involved.  When a German U-Boat sank the Lusitania and killed many American on board, the United States was brought slowly into the war.

Larson obviously did an extraordinary amount of research for this book.  He tells the stories of many of the passengers and crew, giving you a sense of what they did and how they felt about traveling aboard the premier ship in the world.  With much backstory about the ship and her passengers, the reader gets a wonderful feel for how it must have been like to travel this ship -- and then to be torpedoed.  How terrifying!  Using survivors' accounts, Larson paints a vivid picture of this last trip of the Lusitania from the boarding, to the travel, to the sinking, and finally to the rescue and the aftermath.

I really enjoyed reading this book -- the first two-thirds, anyway.  Once the torpedo hit, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much because the author was able to capture what it was like to be aboard when it happened.  Weaving different passengers' stories together along with several of the crew and even the U-Boat captain, Larson does an excellent job retelling this story.

I want to thank Blogging for Books for my review copy, but my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Review: Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul by Ruth Soukup

Having read several books on decluttering my home, I think this one is the best, and it is definitely my favorite.  The author does not just give practical tips for clearing out the overabundance of stuff in our homes; she also shows how to deal with other things that clutter our lives.  From relationships that steal our joy to creating balance (getting enough rest!), she deals with almost everything that fills our lives unnecessarily.

I especially enjoyed that the author is a Christian, so she takes a Christian outlook on everything.  The last chapter is even one about how Jesus Himself has done the most decluttering for us already by taking away our sins.

If you're overwhelmed with life right now and don't know where to start, this book could be a lifesaver for you.  Or if you just need a little fine-tuning, this book could be a great help.  I plan to keep it and reread it occasionally to make sure that I stay on the right track.

I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May Goals

I love seeing my children playing together!

April was a busy month!  We still had CC on Mondays, but we also had swimming lessons two evenings a week:  Monday and Wednesday.  I'm not sure how we made it through Mondays except that John was a big help with the swimming lessons.  :)

I celebrated my birthday, too.  John took the day off to stay home with the older children while I drove to Houston to shop a consignment sale with and for Hannah.  I also arranged to have lunch with a friend.  It was a fun but tiring day!

Hannah is doing wonderfully, and I hate to say it, but she gets easier every day.  I feel like I'm almost ready to get back into doing things "normally," things like going out with friends occasionally, exercising, and actually cooking supper instead of thawing it from the freezer.  :)

Since I really didn't have any goals for April, I'll jump right into my goals for May, especially since I just couldn't get motivated to start exercising on the treadmill.  :)
  • Exercise on the treadmill four times a week.  I've still got some baby weight to lose, and there is a 5K I'm tentatively planning to run in December.  I actually started last week, and I'm doing great!
  • Make Over Your Mornings.  I started this course last week by Money Saving Mom's Crystal Paine, and I've enjoyed it.  I haven't learned much -- yet, but it has reinforced the things that I already do.
  • Finish our school year well.  Our last day of school is May 20th, and I can tell that it's going to be hard to keep going strong for the last two weeks.  ;)
What goals do you have?  How are you doing with them?