Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Time To Read

We hope to make it into the library tomorrow evening to validate week two of the kids' summer reading log.

Pumpkin's favorite book this past week was Clifford's Family by Norman Bridwell.  Emily Elizabeth and Clifford venture into the city to see Clifford's family.  They visit his brother, two sisters, mom and dad at various locations with various responsibilities in life.  The Clifford books are always a draw for my kids.  Who wouldn't love a big red dog????

Princess liked I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems.  It is a funny book about how Gerald the Elephant broke his trunk.  He tells Piggie his story, which includes Hippo, Rhino, and BIG Hippo's sister.  Oh and don't forget the piano!  Definitely a funny kids story that gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

I read my third book of the month ~ All The Tea In China by Jane Orcutt.  I was wondering down the isle at the library and the title caught my attention.  The picture of a lady holding a sword also drew me in.  Hmmmmm. . . . what could this book be about?  Adventure, dreams, determination, and finding one's self along the way.

The year is 1814, and the main character Isabella Goodrich is on the verge of becoming a spinster.  Since she has lost all hopes of finding a good match within English high society, her dreams nudge her towards doing something with meaning.  Then she mets Phineas Snowe, whom talks of being a missionary in China.  The light bulb comes on and Isabella decides that her purpose in life is going to China to work in the mission field.  Unfortunately, Snowe declines to take her to China.  So she stows away on the ship bound for Canton, China.  Will Isabella spend the whole journey in hiding?  Is Phineas Snowe really who he says he is?  What is going to happen?

To be honest the first few chapters did not hold my interest very much, but once the story went to sea it became a whole lot more interesting.  I was pleasantly surprised and the differences of the social classes were definitely interesting.  Oh, did I mention that Isabella had been trained by a master swordsman?  So there are even a few sword fights within the pages of the book.  It was also interesting to read about the differences between the expectations of the roles of women in the two different countries featured in the book.  This is the first book that I have read by Jane Orcutt.

Next book up is . . . . . . The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O'Neal, which I am really looking forward too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Last Leg

I have been contemplating this evening. . . 

Two things really. . . 

One- my watch that my mom gave me over 16 years ago is on its last leg . . . 

~ I remember circling the picture of the watch in a local store's annual Christmas catalog.
~ I remember that my mom gave me the watch as a Christmas present in high school.
~ I wear my watch every day (I have the tan line to prove it). 
~ I wore the watch when I went to college.
~ I wore the watch when I met my husband.
~ I wore the watch as I walked to my grad classes the morning of 9/11.
~ I wore the watch to my brother's wedding.
~ I wore the watch when I got married.
~ I wore the watch when my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
~ I wore the watch the day my dear country church closed its doors.
~ I wore the watch when we were timing how often to feed the kids as babies. 
~ I wore the watch to my sister's wedding.
~ I wore the watch when my mom was diagnosed with cancer.
~ I was wearing the watch when my grandpa died.
~ I was wearing the watch when my mom died.
~ My watch has a lot of sentimental value and has seen me through a lot of life's events.
~ I took it to the jeweler today since it has been trouble keeping time, sadly it is not the battery.
~ I really do not want it to go kaput. 
~ The thought of looking for a replacement is sad.

Two- someone I knew was having an awful rough day and he said "It won't matter 100 years from now." . . .

It gets one to thinking how the things that seem big to us are really insignificant. I do believe that God has everything planned out, but the little details will not matter down the road.  What wisdom is found in those words.  It goes hand in hand with the saying "Don't sweat the small stuff."  I guess sometimes that is easy to forget.  Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the here and now instead of looking at the large picture.  May be I should remind myself more often, "It won't matter 100 years from now."

Well better turn in for the evening.  Hopefully tomorrow's thoughts will be brighter.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let’s Get Started

Oh my!  Time sure does get by fast.  I meant to post last night about the two books that I read, but I got drawn into PBS last night watching Les Miserables.  I have loved the songs "Castle in the Clouds" and "Do You Hear the People Sing?" ever since I saw it on stage during my college years.  Amazing!!!!! 

Anyway without further adieu, here are the books that I have been reading.

Since the beginning of June I read two really good books by Nancy Moser.  When I requested them at the library I thought that they were stand alone works, but they are connected to one another.  By some miracle I actually read them in order. 

The first book was Masquerade and follows English heiress Charlotte Gleason and her lady’s maid Dora Connors from Wiltshire, England to New York City in the year 1886.  The Victorian era is definitely fascinating to read about.  Basically the story is about Charlotte being set to New York to marry an American heir, whom she has never met.  Not being one to follow the whims of society, she hatches a plan to switch places with Dora once they cross the ocean.  This story is about appreciating what you have, learning how to be humble, and following your heart.  The story does not quite end up as you would expect, but it is very delightful and ultimately a perfect ending.

The second book was An Unlikely Suitor and follows Italian immigrant and dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli and New York socialite Rowena Langdon.  Lucy and her family were supporting characters in Masquerade and it was great to see their story continue.  The year is 1895, nine years after the setting in the first book.  Rowena meets Lucy while trying on dresses for the fall ball season and Lucy has an ingenuous idea to help disguise the fact Rowena she had suffered a disabling injury years earlier.  This story is about break social boundaries, following your dreams, and looking at what is on the inside.  I really enjoyed reading this story and wondering what the characters would do next and how they would overcome a jam in the road.  

I would definitely recommend reading these wonderful books!  What is on my upcoming list?   The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O'Neal and Marduk's Tablet: What If The Legend Is True? by T.L. Higley.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sigh . . . . . . .

This summer has already been quite busy and it has just begun.  I have a feeling that it is going to be one of those "Take One Day At A Time" summers.  

This past week was basically crazy for me.  I was so exhausted that I did not want to do much after I got home in the evenings.  Unfortunately the above normal exhaustion cause my immune system to crash, so I have been a bit under the weather since Wednesday and Pumpkin follow suit in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday.  Initially we thought that both Pumpkin and I were suffering from allergies, but Pumpkin had a fever Friday evening so it looks like we both got summer colds.  

This past week, I was also trying to prepare more meals at home to help our budget a bit.  We did pretty good for the most part.  Thursday night I was so puny that could barely lift my head, so hubby ran out and picked up some pizza.  Hubby only complained once about the lunch options; he did not like grapes in the egg salad sandwiches that I made for lunch on Monday.  So scratch the grapes for the upcoming week. Ha ha ha ha ha!

The kids and I also worked on reading books for the summer reading program.  Pumpkin and Princess had a goal to listen to five books to reach the first week's goal.  I looked over the adult summer reading pamphlet and have decided to not participate this summer.  They do have prizes for the summer reading program, but it will be based on who reads the most books (which is not attainable for me to do).  So for my own personal goal this summer, I would like to read five books in June and five books in July.

Pumpkin has been drawn to the book Art & Max by David Wiesner.  He likes to flip through the pages and look at the pictures.  The book is about two lizards in the desert.  One is a painter and the other one wants to paint.  Through a series of funny bloopers they both learn more about themselves and each other.  Sometimes the unexpected is more delightful than staying within the lines.

Princess liked The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse by Eric Carle.  This a cute and simple book.  Princess was able to help me read this book by telling me the animal and color of the animal on each page that we turned.  It starts with "I am an artist" and then goes on to see creative animals in a variety of non expected colors.  I think this book allows children to see that they can use their imagination to create and color objects however they see fit.

I have also worked on my summer reading list . . . but . . . you will have to check back in a few hours for that post.