Saturday, June 30, 2012

Weekend Links - June 30, 2012

The end of June already? How can that be?! (Please, no Kindergarten level explanations of how time works, if you please!)

Public service announcement: tomorrow is my Dad's birthday. Make plans accordingly. I've had my gift for simply weeks now. And I ordered it from...well, never mind. To give even a hint would be to give too much away.

On to the links!

1. I may have mentioned a time or two or a hundred that I love the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Here's a great post on Lessons from the Little House Series

2. Thought provoker: The Trouble with Bright Girls. One thing I've noticed both being a girl myself (albeit long, long ago...) and raising girls: we / they crave compliments and attention. We need to meet that need appropriately.

3. Here's a long one but I'm sure my fellow moms (even non-homeschooling ones) will identify and appreciate the encouragement: On Juggling Work and Homeschool.

4. I'm sharing this one because I need it: 10 Tips for Introverts at Conferences (Blogging or Otherwise).

5. This post lists some of my favorite movies and a few I haven't seen yet: Eight Favorite 1940s Movies for Fashion. I could watch Cover Girl, State Fair, Casablanca or The Philadelphia Story any day of the week, which, I suppose, is why I own all but the last. (P.S. Whether for that post or not, you really must visit the Wearing History blog. It's one of my favorites.)

6. Really enjoyed this one: If You're Frugal, You Don't Need to Earn as Much as Everyone Else. I love reminders that I'm not just pinching pennies for the fun of it (although I do enjoy the challenge): there's a purpose and a method to our madness. "Financial Freedom" isn't just a slogan to sell books.

7. Frugality will get you far, but we do actually have to make some money. Maybe some of us could try these ideas (or maybe this list will help us generate our own side business): Easy and Fun Ways to Earn Extra Income this Summer.

8. The Pixar movie Brave is on many family "to see" lists this Summer. I have some reservations. Frederica Matthewes-Green shared her review of Brave over at National Review. Since I expect we'll end up watching it at some point, I'm glad I read that review in order to be prepared to discuss some of the finer points with my girls.

9. Oh so many of the houses that Philip and I have looked at have or potentially have lead based paint. So it's no surprise that this post caught my eye: Learning How to Renovate Right Around Lead Paint.

10. This one makes my WW2 aficionado heart oh so happy: Bletchley Park's Derelict Huts to Be Rebuilt.

Pins of the Week:
Insane jealousy alert! How I love this restored card catalog:

You must read Lauren's post about finding and restoring this treasure. (Someone please reassure me that a vintage card catalog is in my future.)

These vintage posters tickled my fancy:

Wouldn't those look neat in a homeschool / play room ?

So what did you stumble on this week? Come on over to Vanderbilt Wife and share those links!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What's your favorite childhood snack that you still eat as an adult?
Hmm...if we're talking salty, junk food: maybe Pringles? I remember liking Cheese Balls (or puffs) when I was younger - the kind that came in a blue canister. I don't think they make those any more. I'm still a fan of Pringles though.

If we're talking any kind of snack: I have always loved fruit. We try to keep bananas on hand at all times (Miss Lili is a banana fan. 'Nana was actually one of her first words.) I love the summer because fruit is so affordable and fresh.

2. What food will you not eat the low fat version of?
Any of them! OK, let me clarify: if low fat is the only thing on offer, or if I were starving, or if a meteor destroyed all other food, sure, I'd eat it.

As those three things are rarely the case, I almost never eat low-fat foods. I think women have been sold a pack of lies about fat. (Both eating it and having any on their bodies.)

I buy whole fat milk. I cook with (and eat) real butter. We try to eat "real" food. This is just anecdotal evidence, but no one in my family has health problems, my children are not even remotely overweight, and we're happy.

3. What's your favorite way to cool off during the summer?
Swimming (or, more accurately, floating lazily)! My grandpa's pool is generally cool and refreshing.

Other than that: stay inside an air-conditioned building like, say, the library.

4. What's your favorite summer read?
That's a hard question. I guess if I was sitting at the beach or poolside my book of choice would be a mystery (paperback). If it gets too hot it's hard to concentrate on heavy reading so a few mysteries or vintage fiction ought to do the trick. I don't have one particular favorite that I read every summer. If this question is referring to books about summer I have no idea what my favorite would be. (Are there any summer specific books I'm forgetting about?)

5. What are you doing to stay cool in this awful heat?
Staying inside a lot. Helped to open my Grandpa's pool (See above). Eating light meals. And as a special treat, on a day when the temperature got up over 100 F, last night this was supper: milkshakes from UDF.

Yes, just milkshakes. (Anyone who wanted one made their own sandwich. Not very many of us wanted it.). I had the Orange Cream Freeze. It was fabulous, thanks for asking.

This post is linked to Five Question Friday at Five Crooked Halos.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - Learning to Read

I love today's question!
Margaret asks:
Who taught you to read?
That's an easy one: my Mom taught me to read.

As to how she did this, well, I remember some homemade phonics posters in our "school room". And I remember those little Abeka readers with an owl on them. She may have had some other tools and maybe she'll chime in here with what she used. Whatever it was I know I had a strong phonics background.

My memory's not the greatest so sometimes I feel like I've always been reading. (And my dad has been known to joke that I came out of the womb with a book.) That's obviously not true - I had to learn at some point - and I don't want to downplay how important it was that my mother took the time to teach me to read, and that she taught me well.

It used to baffle me when kids couldn't "sound out" something they were reading. To be honest, it still baffles me. (OK, that's all I'm going to say about that. I don't want to get too high on my soapbox.)

I can tell you something even more important than that: not only did my parents teach me to read, they taught me to love books.

Our house had books in every room. We talked about books. My parents each read aloud at different times. We went to the library once a week and checked out as many books as we were allowed to get. Books were favorite gifts. They encouraged me to buy my own books.

If you couldn't find me outside playing when I was a kid, you can be sure I was somewhere reading.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Words for Wednesday - One Thing at a Time

There is time enough for everything in the course of the day if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year if you will do two things at a time.
- Lord Chesterfield (Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield)

Which goes along with this quote:
Do one thing, and do it the best you can. - Harry Snyder
 Image source: I'm not sure where I found this originally. Here's one place that may be the image source

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - "Book-Alikes"

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life, or, as I put it in my blog title because I love a pun: "Book-Alikes"

I thought this was a great theme. Then I sat down with my little notebook and tried to make my list. Ten minutes later I decided to ask Philip for assistance.

"Do I remind you of any characters from any books?" He thought for a second.

"Well, I assume you already came up with Elizabeth Bennet," he said. I'm not kidding. That's the first thing he suggested.

I love that man.

I'm not sure I agree. (It feels just a little too braggadocios to claim resemblance to the ultimate heroine in English Literature.)

If I had to choose an Austen heroine whom I resemble I think I'd suggest these two:

1. Anne Eliot -Persuasion 
2. Elinor Dashwood -Sense and Sensibility

In childhood I think I was something like
3. Faith Meredith -Rainbow Valley, although more for her spirit than her looks (Faith is often described as a "beauty").

My dad is inextricably bound in my mind with
4. Almanzo Wilder -Farmer Boy

Part of that is because he used to read us the book but the other reason is I think he must have been something like that as a boy (minus the obsession with horses).

My oldest daughter is like
5. Jessie in The Boxcar Children books. She's practical and responsible and she loves a good mystery.

Our second daughter is something like:
6. Ramona in The Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary.

Our Sweet Pea definitely reminds us of this little piglet:
That's about all I could come up with. My family often describes people as like certain characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh books but I won't share those here. That could get kind of embarrassing.

So, how 'bout you? Do you recognize yourself in one of your favorite books?
This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links...if they're working. Opinions are my own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Christian or Not: Quality Writing Matters

Yesterday I happened to read - in our local Sunday paper, no less - a story about people who downloaded a book for free on Amazon only to discover that it was {gasp} Christian Fiction. Then those folks left nasty, one star reviews.

The story quoted Rachelle Gardner, which pleased me greatly because I read her blog about writing and publishing.

Gardner wrote a post way back in January of this year about the need for labeling Christian Fiction. You can see her post here: Should We Label Christian Fiction? The comments (at my last count there were 202) are also interesting and informative.

The news article I read yesterday was not the first I've thought about this subject. I've been saving links for a while now, trying to organize my thoughts on this topic. After all, I'm a wannabe writer. And I'm a voracious reader. These questions matter to me. If I'm a writer and a Christian, do I have to be a "Christian author"?

Here's a post in response to Rachelle Gardner's (this one is by Mike Duran): Why We Should NOT Label Christian Fiction. I confess, I am not familiar with the "Novel Rocket" blog, but I may start reading it now. He makes some good points.

Here's where I stand on this:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Song - My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

My Shepherd will supply my need, Jehovah is His name,
In pastures fresh He makes me feed beside the living stream;
He brings my wandering spirit back when I forsake His way,
And leads me for His mercy's sake in paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death His presence is my stay,
One word of His supporting grace drives all my fears away;
His hand in site of all my foes doth still my table spread,
My cup with blessings overflows, His oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
Oh, may Thy house be my abode and all my work be praise;
There would I find a settled rest, while others come and go;*
No more a stranger nor a guest, but like a child at home.

By Isaac Watts

Our girls sing this as a special at church.
*We change the third line in the last stanza to "From God I cannot roam".

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Links - June 23, 2012

Just a few highlights (lowlights?) of my week:
  • our air conditioning went out
  •  twice
  • once when we had a house showing scheduled
  • the roofers and the insurance adjuster are still playing "Catch me if you can"
  • the showing went OK but the people pointed out (to their realtor) that they can get a bigger house for basically the same amount of money
  • which I know, because that is what we want to do (sigh)
  • we took a quick trip down to KY for a funeral visitation
  • which was actually a peaceful time and we got to spend time with family
  • but we're still sad for my Mamaw who just lost her last living sister
  • we celebrated our lowest key anniversary yet (13 years is just not that exciting, I suppose)
But, anyway, despite being Summer it was kind of a crazy week. We're trying to focus on the stuff we can fix (calling the roofers / insurance, again) instead of the things we can't (the house we wanted is already pending for someone else).

On to the links!

1. How to Stop Being Frustrated By Frugal Blog Posts. Most of the time, I feel like a Black-Belt frugalista but some frugal blogs still manage to make me feel inadequate. That post is good advice for how to stop that from happening.

2. Jimmie shared a list of Top Ten Public Domain Books for a Charlotte Mason Homeschool. It's a great list for reference whether you homeschool or not.

3. Great convicting post: A Wife of Humility, Avoiding Selfishness in Marriage. And here's a related post: Peace and Comfort.

4. Technology may come and go (and change. And get more powerful...) but our sin problem? That's Different, Yet the Same.

5. I don't have any children diagnosed with ADHD or ADD (although, honestly, I have my own suspicions about at least one of my children) but I could so identify with this post:
ADHD and Daughters and Moms and Mouthiness.

6. I know there are many women who would appreciate the advice and encouragement from this post:
What to Wear When You've Lost a B.r.e.a.s.t (just trying to protect myself from the worst of the spammers with that punctuated spelling, not because I'm a seventh grader at heart)

7. Obligatory UK post of the week: Pomp and Ceremony at the Trooping of the Colour Parade.

8. Bonus UK post of the week: Prince William turned 30 this week. Which means you'll probably want to look at this photo retrospective. (I suppose it's disloyal to say so, but wow, he peaked early.)

9. I agreed with this post (although not with all the content on that site, be warned!):
Most Internet Trolls are Probably Trolls in Real Life, Too.

10. Finally, you probably want to enter the giveaway my mom is hosting:
Summer Slump Slam Giveaway. You could win one of Philip's most recently published games AND the children's game Polly invented. (Plus, if you go over there, you can find out what Polly's real name is. Hint: it isn't Polly.)

Pins of the week:
Not much. But this made me lol:

So, what did you stumble on this week? Consider sharing your link post with Saturday Linky Love at Vanderbilt Wife.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What do you keep a stock pile of?
I have a modest grocery stockpile (I try to keep basic recipe staples on hand: beans, rice, dry pasta, cream soups, vegetables, fruit, etc.)

Other than that, I'd say I have a really spectacular book stockpile (seriously - you should see my "to be read" stack by my bed).

2. If Ben & Jerry asked you to invent an ice cream, what would it be?
I think they're doing just fine without me (Love that Phish Food!). Anything with chocolate, caramel, chunks of brownie, or cookie dough is A-okay with me.

3. How do you blow off steam?
Well, I'm not the type of person to punch stuff. And I generally don't throw objects around.

So, if I'm nervous, upset, or just keyed up...I talk. A lot. Loudly. (Philip would probably also add that I tickle him but that's not really my fault since it seems I am married to the MOST TICKLISH MAN EVER.)

Sometimes when I'm upset I clean. This does not happen often enough. 

4. What would you do if you had an hour to yourself anywhere within a ten mile radius of your kids, no hubby, just you?
  • Take a nap. 
  • Go to the library and read magazines. 
  • Browse at our local thrift store.
But take a nap is definitely first on that list.

5. When you were 16, what was your curfew in the summertime?
Midnight. My curfew - with a few notable exceptions (Thanks, Mom & Dad!) - was midnight right up until the day before I married my Prince Charming.

And, to be honest, I can't remember very many times when Philip and I have been out later than midnight after we got married. It's happened a few times, but it's rare. I love to stay up late, it's just I like to be in my home, in my pajamas, doing whatever it is I want to be doing.

Now that I'm a parent, I can see that my parents were very generous with me. (Even though it is unfair that my little brother has a later curfew than I did)  Nothing positive happens after midnight for a teenager.

I have no idea what curfew will be for our girls. Philip and I will have to have many a long talk about it.  Fortunately, our oldest is only ten. If she's out late, it's with us.

How about you? Did you have a curfew? Or a good, positive way to blow off steam?  Do share!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

The question of the week is:
Do you have a favorite quote from a book?
And my answer is: yes. So, so, so many.

I recently shared 10 Favorite Book Quotes from novels. And you can always find more by pushing the "Quotables" label under this post.

Today I'm going to share the most recent quote written in my Commonplace book*:
Honest intention will not cure faulty practice.
That's a quote from this book:

John Buchan wrote the Richard Hannay spy novels but Witch Wood is not one of them. This is a book about religious civil war in Scotland. Think that sounds dull? It isn't. And if you're willing to wade through some fairly thick Scots dialect, I'd highly recommend this book to you.

*Never heard of a commonplace book? Here's a post that explains what mine is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Words for Wednesday - On Interior Design

There is an art to interior design, but there's also an art to living. What a space looks like matters, but how you live in that space matters more. - Marni Jameson

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thirteen Years

This is my beloved and this is my friend...Song of Solomon 5:16

I was recently reading a biography and the writer quoted this statement by Mary Todd Lincoln from a letter she wrote after her husband's death:

He was...from my eighteenth year – Always – lover - husband - father & all all to me 
– Truly my all.
Mary Todd Lincoln about her husband Abraham.

That sounds just about right to me.

Happy 13th Anniversary, Philip! (Truly my all.)

(I've shared one of our favorite wedding pictures above. All our grandparents were able to be with us on our wedding day, a blessing we took for granted at the time. We've since learned how rare and special a blessing it was.)

Previous anniversary posts here, here, here, here and here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

This May Be a Metaphor For Something...

...but I'm not sure what, exactly.

Every year I make my way Downtown to the Big Main Library for the Huge Book Sale. (Yes, the capitals are necessary, even if it makes this post look A. A. Milne-ish) Most years Philip and I go together. We generally avoid taking children, if we can find a willing sitter.

No sitter this year. In face, we were the sitters (for Fen & His Sister). I hated to miss Bag Day (the day you buy bags for $10 each and fill them with as many books & other items as you possibly can. After so many years experience, I don't think anyone is better than I at filling those bags!) so my husband (and this is one reason why I call him "Prince Charming") suggested I go without him and take Polly with me.

This meant that I would have to drive Downtown and get a parking space and wait in line and fill my bags and get those bags back to the car and drive back home. But for him it meant staying home with 5 (count 'em!) children age 7 and under.

Probably needless to say, I took him up on his offer.

The trip was mostly uneventful, although I do have a story about what happened while we were waiting for the library doors to open. (The sale is popular so a line forms outside long before the library opens.) Perhaps I'll share that story another time. (And if I don't, someone remind me, because it's a good story.)

Anyhoodle, Polly and I conquered the Bag Day Sale like the book loving people we are. But there's another aspect of the Library Sale: they also sell massive amounts of DVDs, CDs, records, audio books, etc. The tables with the CDs are the most popular. (Well, the DVD tables might be the most popular but I don't fight my way to them. There are very few movies I'm interested in owning.)

The CDs are not sorted, they are simply piled in huge cardboard boxes. Some are stacked on tables. Any semblance of order quickly breaks down as people rush to grab a good spot around these tables. (Polly and I appreciated our relative thinness at this point.)

So, anyway, you basically just pick up big stacks of CDs, scan the titles and put what interests you in your bag. There's not a lot of time to think (thoughts like, "Do we already have this at home?) or to check if the cases actually hold the CD they're supposed to be holding.

All that to say, we didn't really evaluate our new to us CDs until Polly and I were back home. Philip and I sorted through the stacks (I didn't count but I'd say we brought home 50-75 CDs).

One CD I had eagerly grabbed was this one:

So imagine how bereft I felt when I opened the case to find...nothing.  (OK, bereft is not the word I originally used. I believe I shouted something along the lines of "Cheated!")

That was the CD I was most looking forward to adding to our collection. (And I am not exaggerating. I was very excited when I found it in one of the cardboard boxes at The Sale.)

It turned out that was the only case missing its disc.

We were checking all the cases at this point. The very next case I opened (and, alas, I do not remember what CD it was) contained the CD it was supposed to hold (I think it might have been a classical music CD) and this:

(Not the case, just the disc, you understand).

At first I was a little annoyed. This would be a cooler story if that case had contained the desired Emma soundtrack as a bonus. And it wasn't like it was an artist I adore like Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra or even Harry Connick, Jr. But still...a bonus disc is a bonus disc.

So that's my Maybe a Metaphor:
Sometimes, you get an empty case.
And sometimes, when you least expect it, you get a Bonus Michael Bublé.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Songs - This Is My Father's World

This is my Father's world
And to my listening ears,
All nature sings and round me rings,
The music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hand, the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world,
The birds, their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their maker's praise.

This is my Father's world,
He shines in all that's fair.
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world,
Oh let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father's world,
The battle is not done.
Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied
And earth and heaven be one.

Lyrics by Maltbie Babcock

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, my husband, my grandpas, my father-in-law, and my brothers-in-law! My girls are blessed to be surrounded by some of the best fathers God ever created.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend Links - June 16, 2012

1. I always thought the saying about "people who live in glass houses..." was just a saying. But, no, apparently some folks really do live in glass houses. (I'm guessing they don't have laundry piles like mine and they must own stock in Windex.)

2. As a wannabe writer, I found this post by Rachelle Gardner instructive: 7 Bad Habits of Successful Authors.

3. I would hope that none of my readers can identify with this post (sadly, living in Cincinnati, I sort-of could): How to Tell if Your City is Dying.

4. I don't have any sons (well, scratch that, more accurate statement: I don't have any sons living on Earth with me) but if I did I would try to bear this advice in mind: How to Talk to Little Boys. (Or, How to Get Boys to Read and Why That is Important.)

5. Short post, lots of conviction: Because We Want To.

6. I love posts by Karen Andreola and this is no exception: Rosy Cheeked and Resourceful (An Article on Play).

7. Tired of the same-old, same-old with your belts? Here are 12 Awesome Ways to Knot a Belt.

8. Here's a fashion post for those of us in the "short of stature" club: E is for Elongation.

9. The Museum of the Confederacy is sharing these photos in the hopes that someone will recognize an ancestor. Well? See anyone you know?

10. You might want to check out these Secret Social Skills Successful People Know.

Just for fun:
11. After 115 Years Together Tortoises Go Their Separate Ways. Hey, they gave it a good shot.  
(Please know that I am not making light of the current marriage / divorce problem among humans. This is about tortoises, not people. Maybe we should tell people, "Sure, you can divorce. You just have to be together 115 years first.")

Pins of the week:
My girls would go nuts for this:

And I think my girls would like this project too:

All I have to say about this is an enthusiastic "A-MEN!"

Call me old fashioned, but I think legibility is a goal for which we all ought to strive.

So - did you stumble on any thought provoking posts this week? Pin anything delicious or beautiful? Please consider sharing!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. Would you grow your hair out to donate it?
Theoretically, yes I would. My hair isn't color treated or permed, so I think it would serve nicely. In actuality: I've considered it several times but never actually gone through with it. My hair used to be thick and grow extremely quickly. Emphasis on "used to". I lean toward shorter hairstyles these days.

2. What song makes you think of summer?
Oooh, what a great question! These are the first 3 that came to mind:
3. Are you a flip flops or sandals kind of person?
Flip flops. My girls say that my goal is to own Old Navy flips in every color. (Colors I currently own: black, brown, navy, white, aqua, dark green) I'd love a red pair. And a pink pair. And I could really use a new black pair 'cause mine are pretty worn out.

4. Favorite summer treat (i.e. ice cream, snow cones, etc)?
Probably ice cream. We love to take our girls to some of the nearby ice cream options, "Creamy Whips". Snow cones are traditional at one of our summer family reunions. Watermelon is de rigueur at most summer family gatherings. But anyway, back to those Creamy Whips. My favorite thing to get is vanilla ice cream with Reece's Pieces candy (kind of like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen). And no, Reece's cups are not an acceptable substitute.

5. Do you do something special for the father of your children?
I'm sure he'd say that I make every day special for him. {cough} But enough about that, I presume this question is really about the upcoming "Father's Day" holiday. I help our girls pick out a card and gift. Sometimes we do something sentimental, although, frankly, my husband was never thrilled with the "kids' handprints on a t-shirt" type of gift so we don't do that any more. I can't be more specific because my husband and my dad have been known to read this blog on occasion.

How 'bout you? Share your answers in the comments or write your own post and then head on over to My Little Life to share it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Question of the day:
Have you ever bought a book, started reading it and then realized you have already read it? If so, how far did you get? (Can you tell this happened to me for the first time ever this week!?!)
Well, I rarely buy books. (And when I do it's usually at a library sale or thrift store.) But this has happened to me with library books.

I've been reading happily along and suddenly realize that I know exactly what happens at the end, who the bad guy is, why he did it, and how the detective is going to solve it.

Even I am not usually that good. So I conclude that I've read it before.

Whether I continue reading or not depends on how much I enjoyed it the first time.

What about you? Ever been excited to read a book only to discover that you've already done so?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Words for Wednesday

There is nothing easy about good mothering. 
It can be back breaking, heart wrenching and anxiety producing. 
And that's just the morning. - Stephen & Janet Bly

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weekend Links - June 9, 2012

Yesterday: Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law (The Fantastic Father of Fen)!
Today: Happy Birthday to my Papaw!
Tomorrow: Happy Birthday to my Fabulous Nephew Fen!

We love a good birthday week around here! Now on to our regularly scheduled link-age.

1. I enjoyed this list of 10 Jaw Dropping Homes in Bizarre Places. In our current atmosphere of "Please, Lord, help us sell our house so we can buy one of the many other much LARGER homes in our price range", I've got houses, homes, and square footage on my mind constantly.

2. News to me: Isn't Really A Link Shortener Anymore.

3. I don't really need another social media / website / time suck in my life right now. But I Heart Organizing had a whole post about Olioboard which piqued my interest. I'm resisting it. For now.

4. I've never professed to be a fan of our current president or his administration. But I did find this excuse note funny.

5. Another worry put to rest: How Do We Know Time Travelers Aren't Constantly Changing the Past? Rest easy, they're not.

6. The Jubilee is over now so I'll probably be slowing down on the Queen Elizabeth links. But, then again, the Olympics are in London this year. So... Anyway, here's a fascinating post with pictures of the queen. Particularly poignant are the pictures Prince Philip took of his wife just hours after her father passed away. (Warning: side bar on that site may not be family friendly)

And don't miss the pictures of Queen Elizabeth on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for her Golden Jubilee, her Silver Jubilee, her coronation, and her grandfather's Silver Jubilee.

7. I enjoyed this post by Janie about Laid-Back Homeschooling.

8. This seems to be a growing problem among Christian / homeschooling / crunchy / food bloggers: The Dark Side of Healthy Eating: Diagnosing 'Orthorexia' Eating Disorders. The comments on that post are interesting too (both good-interesting and bad-interesting).

9. This explains only one reason why, when my beloved and I began dating, I encouraged him to shave off his goatee: Scientists Prove a Goatee Makes You Look Evil.

10. This could come in handy: How to Clean Silver (the frugal and non-toxic way!).

Pins of the week:
I love this dresser. Love it. I would marry it. (OK, no I wouldn't. But I think you get the idea.)

Genius reuse of an old file cabinet:

And, just for fun, this little bit of truth:

Did you read anything interesting this week? Pin anything gorgeous or tasty? Do share in the comments! (Or join the fun over at Vanderbilt Wife so we can all see your post!)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. Did you do anything special for your kids on the last day of school? Or did you parents do anything special for you?
Nope. We haven't had our last day of school. Polly finished her 5th grade Math and started the next book immediately. We still have some Science and History to finish up and Tigger hasn't finished her 2nd grade Math yet. We're doing a modified year round schedule right now.

I don't remember anything super special when I was a kid either although I do know my mom was as happy to be done with a year of school as we were.

2. What's your favorite summer tradition with your children?
Two family occasions come to mind: Memorial Day with my paternal grandparents (and extended family) and July 4th with my maternal grandparents.
Other than those, I love the simple things: catching lightning bugs and keeping them in a jar, going swimming, going to church camp.

3. What was your favorite thing to do during the summer as a kid?
Swim, stay up late, visit my grandparents. Now that I think about it, those are still my favorite things to do in the summer.

4. How old were you when you were married? Were you a Bridezilla?
I was the ripe old age of 18 when we married. (Way back in 1999. Our thirteenth anniversary is June 19.) I knew what I wanted but I hope I wasn't a Bridezilla about it. I think the worst thing I put everyone through was stringing up {millions of} lights in our church gymnasium. That and the fact that I wanted a candlelight wedding on the longest day of the year.

5. What is your favorite girl name? (I'm needing suggestions.)
My favorite girls names are my daughters' names. But, as I do not share those on this blog, here are a few more that I've always liked (and that we - most likely - won't be using):
1. Eowyn. (Yes, it's from Lord of the Rings. I still think it's a sweet name.)
2. Anna
3. Juliet
4. Tessa (or Tess)
5. Elinor

How 'bout you? What's your favorite summer tradition?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - Secondary Characters

The question of the day at Booking Through Thursday:
Favorite secondary characters? (Note the plural)
The first thing that came to mind is all the wonderful characters L. M. Montgomery sprinkles through every book and story she wrote. The Anne books without Marilla, Diana, Jane, Ruby, Stella, Priscilla, Aunt Jimsie, Phil, Leslie (although I might argue that Leslie was co-heroine of Anne's House of Dreams), Mrs. Rachel Lynde, Miss Cornelia, Captain Jim or Susan Baker wouldn't be nearly so rich (And that list was really just the tip of the iceberg!)

Dickens was a master at populating his books with fabulous characters (and those amazing names!). Can you imagine David Copperfield without the {relatively} minor character Barkis? (Yes, I must repeat his famous line: "Barkis is willin'.")

Little Dorrit wouldn't be as good without Pancks or Affery Flintwinch.

Pride and Prejudice needs Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner. Persuasion has to have Captain Benwick. (I also love Mrs. Croft in that book. Someone needs to write an "Admiral and Mrs. Croft" parallel book to Persuasion.)

Those are just a few favorites. As you might expect, I have many. {wink}

The best secondary characters have their own flavor. They have memorable speech patterns or ways of turning a phrase. They do not blend into the background of the story, unless that is what they need to do. They are not just "Mary Sue" types (although Dickens wrote a few like that: all good or all bad, very little nuance, especially in his earlier works). You might say that the best supporting characters don't know they're supporting characters.

What about you? Do you have any favorites?
The book image above is an Amazon Affiliate link. Action taken with that link could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Words for Wednesday

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, 
you will command the attention of the world. - George Washington Carver

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Rewind

Today at the Broke and the Bookish they're encouraging us to choose a past topic to blog about. I chose this one:

Top Ten Books I Read Because of Another Blogger

Books Recommended at the blog Ordo Amoris
1.Witch Wood- this book, recently finished, was unlike anything I had read before
2. The Guns of August - another from Ordo Amoris that I thoroughly enjoyed. (Devoured might be a better word than enjoyed.)
3. The Ian Rutledge mystery series. The first book is:  A Test of Wills

Books Recommended by the blog The Common Room
4.How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books
5.Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Revised Edition
6. Books by Jean Kerr

Books Recommended by the blog Mental Multivitamin
7.The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
8.Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
9.The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Another blog, Darling Petunia, introduced me to the authors D.E. Stevenson and Elizabeth Cadell, among others. I always get a few new books for my to-be read stack or my library holds list after I read any of the above blogs.

What about you? Do you have a favorite blog for book suggestions?
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Books of 2012 - May

1. All the Kaiser's Men. Non-fiction by Ian Passingham. Thoroughly engrossing read about the German soldiers on the Western Front during the First World War. My only complaint about this book is that the size made it awkward to hold. The edition I had was paperback but oversize, though not too thick.

2. Game of Thrones. Fiction by George R. R. Martin. You may have heard of this as a series on TV. I was interested to see what had caused all the buzz. This fantasy series is brutal, crude, dismal, and worse and yet, compelling. I can't say I recommend it (and from what I've heard and read I certainly will not be watching the series) but it is a fascinating world Martin has created.

3. Crooked Adam. Fiction by D.E. Stevenson. WW2 era fiction. I suppose this was Stevenson's attempt at a spy novel but it doesn't quite work. It feels like the author "cheats" a few times and the ending is abrupt.

4. The Great War and Modern Memory. Non-fiction by Paul Fussell.This is part literary criticism and part history and at times I didn't know what to make of it. (As I told my husband, "I think it must be sort of tragic to be a literary critic and never able to simply read a poem again.") Towards the end he discusses some truly reprehensible books, the very descriptions of which made me feel a bit ill. In one of those strange convergences, this author passed away eleven days after I finished this book. One of the National Review authors wrote a post about Fussell and linked to his obituary.

5. Writing Down the Bones. Non-fiction by Natalie Goldberg. Some helpful advice here but a dependence on mysticism (based on the Buddhism of the author) causes me to caution you against this one. (If you want an inspiring writing book, I recommend If You Want To Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spiritby Brenda Ueland.)

6. The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas. Non-fiction by Jonah Goldberg. (Yes, I realize both #5 and #6 on this list were written by authors with the last name Goldberg. As Babs and Buster Bunny used to say, "No relation.")This book is not as scholarly as the author's previous work Liberal Fascism (which is a book I highly recommend). This book deals with those phrases and ideas that, at first glance, seem to make sense but on further inspection just do not add up. (Things like "violence never solved anything.") No sacred cow is safe from Goldberg. (My apologies for the cliche!)

7. The Attenbury Emeralds. Fiction by Jill Paton Walsh. Lord Peter Wimsey / Harriet Vane series mystery. This one made me kind of sad. Our hero (and heroine) is getting older. In post-war England, life is changing. The Wimsey's are changing. I'd rather they didn't. (But, alas, that is not how life, nor book series, works.)

8. To Marry an English Lord. Non-fiction by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace. This book is almost encyclopedic in its information (and I mean that as a compliment). If you are interested in finding out why American heiresses became sought after wives after the US Civil War this book will explain it. Great pictures, great sidebars and lots of documentation. Fascinating stuff.

9. The Idle Parent. Non-fiction by Tom Hodgkinson. I'm a fan of the basic philosophy behind this book (relax, stop feeling guilty about not spending a boatload of money, don't be a helicopter parent) but I am not a fan of this author. He is anti-capitalist and anti-religion. (One of his bugbears is "The Puritans" and, to quote a favorite movie, "You keeping using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.") His goal of letting his children run free range so he can nurse his hangover is not, to my mind, admirable. I think we need an antidote to the current trend of overparenting and we certainly need to stop underestimating what our children are capable of doing for themselves but I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this author or his manifesto as that antidote.

10. Witch Wood. Fiction by John Buchan. I don't think I've ever read another book like this one. Set in 17th century Scotland, it was an amazing journey to a time and place which I knew very little about. The Scots dialect style that the author uses is sometimes difficult but I eventually got into a good rhythm and could hardly put this down. Excellent examination of "Grace vs. Works" that I did not expect in a secular book. (This book was originally published in the 1920s) If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought about it.

11. A Clash of Kings. Fiction by George R. R. Martin. Once again, can't really say I recommend this series. (See #2 above for why. This book is more of the same, possibly worse.)

Totals for May:
Fiction: 5

Read anything good in May? Do share in the comments!
Book covers in this post are Amazon Affiliate links. Actions taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.