Saturday, December 31, 2016

December Reading Receipt

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy!

Alas, December was a busy month.  I was shooting to read four books this month and only finished two.  I did make four kinds of cookies and candy though. 

This first was Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead.  This was so my kind of book.  Set in the competitive world of ballet, it had drama and beauty and mistakes and people who were not perfect.  I knew it was good when after reading five pages, I was ready to read anything else this author had written.

The second was Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. I got tired of waiting for it from the library for over a month, so I asked my husband to buy it for me for Christmas. This got a lot of hype after the election.  This is an excellent memoir and rang several bells for me, but frankly I don't really agree that it explains the results of the election, as I saw it billed in several places. That's pretty much all I want to say about that, Forrest Gump, since the last thing I want to do is get into a discussion about the election ON THE INTERNET.  No, thank you.  I've seen way too much of that this year and far too many people who are only too comfortable typing things into a comment box that they would never have the nerve to say to someone's face.   That being said, I think this is a book that everyone should read.

So that's it for 2016.  Stay tuned for my yearly update for my Facebook group 16 Book in 2016!

So This Was Christmas 2016

Christmas was great this year.  We were out of school on Wednesday, so thankfully we had some days to get ready.  We went to see Sing on Tuesday night since it wasn't a school night.  It was a $5 early even better!

The next night we had our annual viewing of the Grinch.  Everyone gets new Grinch pajamas for this night each year.

Thursday was baking day.  My favorite new thing this year were these bonbons.  O.M.G.  They will now be made every year.

We went to my parent's house Christmas Eve after Mass and opened presents there with my brother and his family.  I remember when I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant at the same time as me over 11 years ago.  I was so excited because I knew it meant my kids would have a cousin close to their ages to grow up with.  And that's just what has happened.

Christmas Day was a success.  As the kids get older, presents are getting smaller and easier to wrap.  Very few things have to be put together beforehand now.  While that makes it easier to be ready, I still think I would go back to when they were two and four given a choice.

Christmas Day was different this year.  Normally we just stay home and recuperate, but this year everyone came to our house for brunch.  This is actually possible now that we aren't up to 2 A.M. wrapping and putting things together.  And while I didn't get very many pictures of the people, I did manage to get pictures of the food.  Priorities.

Oh, and we weren't the only ones who received Cubs gear.

It was indeed a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What's Up, Wednesday? Post Thanksgiving/Pre-Christmas Edition

Thanksgiving was delightful and a much needed break for family time. 

My brothers and I were inspired to recreate an old family photo:

Apparently, not much has changed.

We saw Fantastic Beasts and put up all the Christmas decorations.  

Our elf also arrived that week.  I know I'm not fooling anyone with the elf anymore (especially when I accidentally texted a list of what we needed for the elf breakfast to the girl instead of my husband like I meant to), but it's still a tradition.  I don't think they minded a bit.  I also informed my daughter the elf will still be coming out when she is home from college one day.

It's been nice this year that our kids are now old enough to enjoy some Christmas movies that are a bit more sophisticated than a 30 minute version of Frosty the Snowman.  The girl and I watched one of my favorites, A Christmas Carol, (George C. Scott edition), and both kids watched Elf with us last weekend.

The girl had her Christmas dance recital this past weekend and both kids performed in their school program this week.  Bravo!

Only 4 more days 'til break!  Our administrators gifted us today with all kinds of holiday goodies.  Love! 

And speaking of feeling appreciated...I feel like I'm really behind on my Christmas shopping. But never fear!  I threw together a little something for the heroes of my holiday shopping list, UPS and FedEx.  Honestly, I don't know how I'd get this production together if it weren't for them!  I saw this idea on Instagram and was like, "Done!"  Here's to the unsung heroes!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Reading Receipt

This was the month of the Kindle for me.  I frequently stock up on amazing titles when they are on  sale for my Kindle.  Because I also use the library a lot, I sometimes forget about what I have waiting for me on my handy little reading device.  I've been waiting on a title from the library for longer than usual, so I turned to the Kindle this month, pleasantly surprised at what was waiting for me there.

Oh, and my number moved up to three this month!  This was partly due to the fact that I was sick one weekend and did nothing that Saturday except rest and read most of a whole book.  Said book was Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica.  This was the only Kubica book left for me to read and probably my favorite.  I liked the others, but I think I enjoyed this one a bit more than Don't You Cry, my previous favorite.

Next up was The One-in-a-Million Boy.  I heard of this one on a podcast I listen to.  It was on sale for Kindle shortly after that, so I couldn't resist.  This book was one of those rare little gems with a hard-to-summarize plot.  An eleven year old, never-named boy who loves lists and the Guinness Book of World Records meets a one hundred plus year old woman, Ona Victus, through the Boy Scouts.  We get to hear the story of her life and the story of the boy's parents as well.  It was both funny and sad with very likeable characters.  I was especially fond of the sections of the monologue the boy tapes of Ona telling her own story.

I finished The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood tonight.  This was a super bargain for only 99 cents.  Having read Oryx and Crake a couple of years ago, I knew I was getting an unbelievable deal from a dark wizard of a writer. Seriously, what must it be like to have an imagination's like Atwood's?  Quite disturbing, I would think.  This was a trip down a long, scary path.  Atwood is a master of dystopian fiction.  After reading one of her books, I always crave something lighter to shake the heebie-jeebies off my psyche.  Not sure what that will be next, but it's bound to be lighter than this one was.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up, Wednesday? Thankgiving Eve Edition

Ahhhhh...Thanksgiving Eve - The day before Thanksgiving, or as I like to call it "The One Day a Year I Use The Attachments On My Vacuum". 

Seriously though, I am so happy to have this day off.  It's something my school district started last year and is so awesome.  I got to sleep in this morning (thanks to my husband who got the kids up for their half day of school) and didn't have to kill myself trying to cook everything in a few hours and then clean the house.  I had some good help this year too.  The girl asked if she could help cook, and it made things a lot easier on me.  The boy is really a great gopher at this point in his career because he is so quick with his young legs.

We started our break off right last night with dinner at Steak and Shake.

When we picked the kids up at 11:30 today, we hit Panera for lunch.  The boy has long been a fan of their chicken noodle soup and loves to dip his baguette in it.  A revelation came to Dan to get him to try a chicken noodle soup bread bowl.  He was a fan. 

 We ordered pizza tonight because I am a big believer in not cooking at all on Thanksgiving Eve if you are cooking the meal the next day for 17 people.  

We took a break at 7:00 because this:

is a tradition.  After that it was time to bust out the aforementioned vacuum attachments.  How do those ceiling fans get so gross?  I really hate cleaning, but I love Thanksgiving.  Hope yours is a good one!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

What's Up, Wednesday? : Sunday Edition (No, I'm Not Kidding.)

It's been a long time (August, to be exact) since I've done one of these posts that I used to do regularly. The more time that passed, the more reluctant I was to do one because I was so behind.  But no more!  I miss doing this, so I'm going to bite the nail and get back to it with one gigantic super happy fun post.

Okay, that might have been a bit of an overstatement.  But I am going to get back to it.

First of all, THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  This was me.  Me and Kris Bryant.  But we're both celebrating the last out that preceded the Cubs winning the World Series.

No, that is not an overuse of the exclamation point in the above paragraph. This was big and obviously not just big for me-big for a lot of people.  (You might remember that I predicted this in a previous post here.) Since then, I've been a bit at loose ends, not sure to what to do with myself.  Just FYI, I do know that I actually had nothing to do with the winning of the World Series, so I should not feel like I suddenly have nothing to do.  But I did watch every possible inning I could this season and would not change that for anything.  I should probably end up doing another post about this to try and attempt to explain what it meant to me.

Second of all: Work
I find myself elated and exhausted.  How can that be?  I don't know.  But it be, man.  It be.  If you want to find out what you're made of, make a work change.  And it's extremely important to find out what you're made of from time to time. 

Third of all... Halloween.  We've done trunk or treat since my kids were little. That worked great for a number of years when they were too small to walk very far or the weather was cold or rainy.  This year, we tried walking around our neighborhood, not sure how that would go since we've never done it.  It was awesome!  There were lots of people with their lights on this year, the weather was perfect, and the kids got a "buttload" (my son's word) of candy.

My Halloween decorations are second in the number of Rubbermaid tubs only to Christmas.  I like it that way.

This was also the year I decided to introduce my daughter to Young Frankenstein with the irreplaceable Gene Wilder passing away just weeks before.  I watched this movie a million times growing up (thanks to the free HBO we had for three years), but it had been a long time since I'd seen it.  For $10, the DVD arrived in two days from Amazon Prime.  It has lost NONE of its charm and laughs in the interim years. 

We had a wonderful day at a nearby pumpkin patch. It was a busy month, and I almost thought we might have to skip it. I didn't know if the kids would really miss it as they get older.  We made it the weekend just before Halloween, and I'm so glad we did.  I would have missed it for sure.

Here's to What's Up, Wednesday.  Welcome back, my friend.  I just realized as I scrolled through my camera roll I could have skipped all the words and just posted this picture to get you all caught up: