3 Articles of Clothing I couldn't live without

1) Jeans.

Jeans are like sweatpants to me. I once heard someone say they don't like jeans because they aren't comfortable and I just had to blink at them. I couldn't come up with a response. Jeans are so comfortable. And warm. And pretty much kid-proof. I like skirts and wear them fairly regularly but I just can't imagine life without jeans.

2) Cardigans.

It was only a year or two ago when I discovered the joy of the cardigan. I have them in different colors so I can just toss them on over a tee-shirt or blouse and feel like I'm at least somewhat put together without having to think too much. I left one of my favorites on an airplane last summer  and it still hurts me. But it wasn't my favorite, that's my merino wool (don't have to wash a lot!) peachy pink colored one from Boden. I love it. You can even see my peg person wearing it here, along with a pair of jeans, or maybe a jean skirt. I probably wear it too often and I think everyone that sees me on a regular basis would instantly recognize it but too bad, it's lovely. I like my cardigans with a bit of fun, like cute buttons (my fav has really cute sparkly buttons that Lucy likes to hug) or ruffles or other embellishments. I actually need a few more so if you happen to spot any real cute cardigans around, let me know!

3) No-decisions shoes

I am not a shoe girl. I think I have probably 10 pairs of shoes total, including rain boot, snow boots, running shoes and my one pair of fancy shoes I wear once a year. I really like having one pair of go to shoes per season that I can grab without thinking for 90% of my shoe wearing needs. For the warmer months of the year, those are my black lucky brand ballet slippers. So comfy. When its cold, its a pair of boots. It used to be my black boots but they are 5 years old and were looking rough so I got a new pair of brown riding boots with some Christmas money. I love them. But then Craig threw out the suggestion of checking to see how much getting the soles fixed on my black ones would be. Turns out I got whole new soles for $35 and they re-blacked the suede so they look brand new. I love Craig. This is great news! And horrible news! I hate Craig (not true :-) I'm just seeing if y'all can name that recently discussed movie) Now I have two pairs of boots and I have to make a decision each day which ones to wear. It's stressful!

So that's me. I don't really put up a lot of pictures on the blog but if you ever want to imagine me, just think of jeans, a cardigan and a pair of shoes. The colors may change but not much else does. At least I know what I like.

What about you? What are the items of clothing you absolutely have to have in your closet?


3 Things I'm really bad about

1) Turning off things.

Lighting is probably the most frequently not-turned off item in our house although I am getting better. I blame growing up in a military house (with paid energy bills) for this as it never was a big deal and I even slept with the lights on as a teen. Craig's frugalness put a stop to that. I also forget to turn off the stove/oven and while it doesn't happen nearly as often, it's obviously a much bigger deal. It was my biggest tool to convince Craig we really needed to go with a gas stove top. It's much much harder to forget to turn off a gas top so that problem solved itself with the kitchen remodel. And I think it's been a good 6 six months since I've walked into the kitchen to make breakfast only to realize the oven is still on from dinner the night before.

2) Getting my hair cut

I can't seem to make this happen more than every 9 months. Each time I tell myself I will go more frequently and last time I even got side-swept bangs and really liked them and was going to go back to keep them. When was that? Oh, about 9 months ago. Maybe I'll make an appointment tomorrow.

3) Getting things before I get into bed

I take my daily medication right before I go to sleep. I have almost a year and half. So you'd think making sure I have a cup of water handy would be habit by now. No. If I do remember it, I normally have forgotten something else. Like taking my contacts out or grabbing my cell phone and putting in the nightstand so I'm not stumbling around at 6:45 trying to find it inside my purse in a dark hallway. Sometimes Craig is nice and gets things for me.


3 Places I Want to Visit

1) Europe. That counts as one place, right? Since it's my list it does. :-) I'd love to go back to where I was born in Germany, where my family is from in the area (not sure if that is mostly Germany or Austria/Hungary/Czech Rep.), Norway to see where Craig's family is from (as long as nobody asks me to eat lutefisk). I also want to explore more of England. The honeymoon was great and all but not nearly long enough. And Paris. And Rome. Florence. So many places, so little time (and money :-)

2) Israel/Jordan. I really want to do a Holy Lands tour someday. I've read about them. I've seen other people go. But it's not the same. I just think its got to be a life changing event. My best guess of what my initial reaction would be is - small. That just seems to be my first thought when I visit a place I've previous known about and imagined, whether its the Alamo or the dance halls at Bath, they always seem much smaller than I pictured. But small isn't bad and I want to know if I'm right or not.

3) Kenya or somewhere in the Horn of Africa. I almost got to go as a teen when friend's of my dad where working for the embassy over there. But then they had to move back to the US suddenly and my dreams where shattered. Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic but Africa is still a continent I've never been to and someday that needs to change.


3 Things I Want to Learn (more of) Before I'm 40

Watercolor - I took classes in highschool but would love to learn more and actually paint some these days. Luckily, CM tends to promote the idea of drybrush watercolor painting as a part of nature study so I have a built in excuse. I even have my set of watercolors downstairs. Sometimes I get out a paintbrush for myself when the kids are painting but normally I'm too busy making sure Jonah doesn't dump his on his head. But I'm thinking sometime in the next 10 years, he'll drop that habit.

Ballet - Now, I am fully aware that I will never be a ballerina. But I took a couple of beginning adult classes right before I got pregnant with Lucy. They are so much fun. Because while it is good exercise, it's not like Zumba where people are there mostly to burn calories. And it's not because we want to become dancers because - ha! And while it's probably good for posture and balance and all that, we all knew the real reason we were there was to have fun. And we did. It was a great mix of ages and body shapes and we just wanted to dance and pretend we were 6. I've looked into classes here and there are a few but none that currently work with our schedules and such. But someday, I want to do more.

Sourdough - This is the one skill listen that I actually have a real shot at becoming proficient at because I am a fairly decent baker. But it always manages to elude me. I've tried before more than once. But I won't give up. It's just a little bit of yeast and lactobacilli, I can win, I know I can! Right now, I'm back on gluten to see how I handle it. If my next blood tests come back and I haven't taken a big dive downward, I might actually give it another try.


Top 3 Mini-series

I realized while making my top three movie list that I really like mini-series more than movies. There is just more time to really develop the characters the way I like them to be developed. Probably why I like k-dramas so much.

1) Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea - I was going to put this as a favorite movie but IMDB calls it a mini-series and I guess it is. I received the first 2-pack vhs set for Christmas when I was ten or so. And then the next day when the PX opened, my mom and I went and got the second. We had to see how it ended! It was one of the first things we watched when I came with baby Lucy to her house right after her diagnosis. I remember sitting on her bed with my mom, Lucy asleep right next to us, my sister-in-law on the other side as well all got choked up because we knew the "Mathew scene" was coming. That is a really great memory for me. At the time, I remember thinking how perfect it would be if it wasn't for the fact that we were all there because my mom was dying and how that ruined the moment. But looking back, it didn't ruin it. It was a glimpse of something that could have been and something I mourn (the generations of woman together) but it was also closure. A reminder of the incredible closeness I had with my mom. The shared memories and experiences of my childhood. That's probably one of the reasons I like k-dramas so much. Because it started as something she and I did together, at the time we didn't know a single other american speaking person who watched them but we didn't care. She's not here but I keep watching. I'm getting off track but to get back to Anne, this series is so well done. I recently re-read the whole series and I enjoyed them but this is really one of the few times that I can say I think the movies are as good, if not better, than the book. And certainly they more sentimental value for me. I now I realize I really need to get them on dvd.

2) North and South - So so good. I've talked about it a lot on this blog but that's not really the reason I won't go on and on about it here. It's just that if I do, I'll want to watch it again and then I'll want to re-read the book. It's a vicious cycle. At least I have youtube for now.

3) Pride and Prejudice - The gold standard when it comes to period mini-series. It's practically perfect. I don't really know what more I can say. If you disagree with me, you are wrong.


Top 3 Movies

This was a request from my "little" brother. And it's a surprisingly hard one. It helps that I'm NOT allowing myself to pick mini-series or dramas. But I really have 4 and I'm having a really hard time narrowing it down to three. That seems to be happening with a lot of these top 3. I guess I should have waiting to do this till I turned 40!

1) While You Were Sleeping - Best Rom-Com ever. It's just great. I actually haven't watched this since my mom passed away. It was her movie. I remember the first time we watched it though. And there are so many quotes from it that became a part of our family culture growing up. I don't think we had a meal containing mashed potatoes at home without someone saying "these mashed potatoes are so creamy" and another chiming in to add "Mary mashed 'em." When I moved out, we started watching it at Thanksgiving. I tried to watch it this Thanksgiving but I wasn't ready. Maybe next year.

2) Much Ado About Nothing - Sign no more, ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever. One foot in sea and one on shore, to one thing constant never. Then sign no so but let them go and be you blight and bonny, converting all yours sounds of woe into HEY NONNY NONNY! 

This was a high school favorite. My BFF and I watched it almost every day the summer I was 13. We could pretty much quote the whole thing and often did. When we'd want to go somewhere together, probably the bathroom because isn't that where all teen girls congregate together, we'd say "Lady, would you walkabout with your friend?" And we had nicknames for the boys we knew based on the characters. Attractive + Jerk = Don Jon, Not attractive + Jerk = Borachio (pronounced exactly the same way Dogberry/Michael Keaton did). I guess Attractive + Nice would have been Claudio, and Attractive + Funny would have been Benedict, but I don't remember using either of those. Maybe the boys around us were slim pickings? Ha! Man were we dorky but still, good memories. And still a good movie! Shakespeare is timeless!

3) Emma - Another favorite from high school. It's probably not the most accurately done version and I know some say that Gweneth Paltrow is a little too unlikeable as Emma but I adore her and this movie. It was one of my earliest introductions to Jane Austen and Emma is still my favorite of her books. Sadly, none of my current pets is named after an Emma character but that's really only because I've used most of the names up. I suppose I could have a old cat named Ms. Bates or maybe a really boring pet (bunny?) named Jane but I think we'll just have to leave it as complete with my past Cat named Mr. Knightley, dog named Emma and fish named Frank. But back to the movie, Craig and I watched/re-watched it recently and its still just as clever and funny as I remember it being.

Runner-Up: Return To Me. Similar in style to While You Were Sleeping. I love the extended casts of both. And the music in this one is a lot of fun.


The three things I would tell the my 20-year old self

1) You won't regret those hard choices.

 Ten years ago I was trying to decide what to do with my life. Do I pursue vet school and that dream that I'd had for years? What about grad school? Won't I regret not going for it when its so close and I know I'd be good at it? Or am I going to be willing to admit that all those goals are really my second choice, my back-ups if I don't get what I really want - to be a SAHM mom. I knew what I really wanted but was so worried that I'd regret it. I don't. Not ever, really. And I've had several chances since then to change my mind, offers for grad school, for other jobs that would put me on more of a career path. And I turned them down without hesitation. Now I know. I got exactly what I wanted and I found it is the perfect job for me. Every true interest and passion of mine is still a part of my life. Plus I get to spend all day serving my three favorite people in the world. So no regrets. I just wish I hadn't wasted so much time worrying about it.

2) You'll survive.

Oh man. These next 10 years are going to be way MORE than you expect. The good's gonna be really great but the bad's gonna be really bad too. You aren't even going to see it coming most of the time. You'll worry your faith can't take it. It can. Just take one step at a time. God won't let you go. You'll wonder how you can still be alive with your heart being in tiny pieces. But you will be. And then, when you least expect it, you'll have one of those moments when you know everything is going to be okay. Not here, not on this earth. But someday. And you'll know that He'll be with you until you get there. And there is some really great stuff waiting for you along the road so enjoy it. You can do this.

3) Read your Bible. Memorize more of your bible.

 I did both fairly regularly and I'm glad I did. But those periods of time when I slacked off on that, I struggled. But when you are in God's word daily and really putting it into your heart and soul by memory, you can't help but be filled with his grace. If you ever find yourself trying to convince yourself that you are too busy or you can't manage it - RE-PRIORITIZE. Find another way to get God's word into your mind and soul. Listen to it. Memorize one small verse and keep saying it over and over again. Aim high and challenge yourself. Just do it!


The last 3 things I've watched on youtube

1) The latest (last?) episode of Classic Alice. Insert girly squeal! And to think I almost missed it because I thought the previous week's was the last before a break! I do hope they meet their kickstarter goal.

2) East & West. A modern update on North and South! It's newer but so far I'm loving Maggie, her dad and the Richard Armitage jokes. I'm still not sure about how they are handling the factory worker part of the story but I'll withhold judgement - for now.

3) K-pop videos, it isn't always easy to find my favorite k-pop songs on Spotify and I can't really run out to target to buy the cd. I have a few bands I like but I mostly listen to OSTs. Here are a few from tonight's clean-up time (I happen to think K-pop makes for an ideal cleaning/cooking background).

But I don't only listen to soundtracks. Here is an Orange Caramel song because they are just so much fun, AKMU for some sibling cuteness, then a few G-Dragon songs. Because I feel like I'm never not in the mood for G-Dragon. And then I'll force myself to stop.


My Top 3 Guilty Pleasures

  • Sweets and Treats and all things sugary. I know it's bad for me. I don't care. I love sweets. Chocolate especially but I won't turn down a good fruit based dessert either. Or Ice Cream. Or caramel. Or cookies. The only dessert I won't eat is something coffee flavored. I don't do coffee. I used to dislike coconut but I've gotten over that which opened up a whole new world of desserts.  I eat healthfully the vast majority of the time. Homemade foods. No dyes, no artificial flavors, no preservatives. That's fine. I don't even think of that as a hardship. But don't take my desserts away from me. To quote my cousin from back when she was around Lucy's age "A day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine." From the mouths of babes. 

  • Baths/Long Hot Showers. This really shouldn't be a guilty pleasure except I prefer them at around early evening. I don't like to go to bed with really wet hair and I have a lot of very long thick hair so it takes hours for it to dry. And morning showers have to be quick because who knows what trouble Jonah will get in during the few minutes he is unsupervised. Which means the best time is around 6pm,  right at that crazy time of day when the kids are using up their last bits of energy and have lost all self-control. It's pretty much a luvs commercial. And I totally abandoned Craig and escape to the bathroom. There is often yelling and screaming and gnashing of teeth and on a really bad day some little fingertips reaching under the bathroom door. But too bad, Calgon  homemade organic soap from etsy, take me away!
  • K-Dramas/K-pop. I know, you all are shocked.I don't hide my love of K-dramas around here but I really don't like the idea of watching a lot of tv. And when I look at the list of dramas I've watched (knowing it is incomplete - I really need to do an new reviews post) and think about how many hours I've spent watching K-dramas, I do cringe. But I can't give them up. And K-pop doesn't waste my time because I mostly listen to it while cooking dinner, it is a bit quirky. Luckily the kids are not embarrassed to see me dancing and semi-singing along to k-pop, at least right now. It won't be long though - but will I care? 
  • Runner Up - Books. We try to be budget and space conscious around here which means we don't buy a lot of stuff. Except books. I use the library but a lot of what I want just isn't what they have and I pretty much never decide to do without a book that I want, whether its for me or the kids. I buy used and get a lot of classics free for the kindle but I also buy A LOT of books. And I can't really think of a time when I didn't have at least a dozen books on my "to buy soon" list. But I couldn't include it in my actual top 3 because I don't feel even a little bit guilty about this. What else is money for if not to buy books?
So what are your guilty pleasures?



I'm turning 30 shortly and I thought it would be fun to make this blog even more about me than it normally is until then with some top 3 lists. 10 top three lists actually. To make 30 things about me, not including my love of math. That one is a bonus.

Of course, I didn't actually think of this until yesterday so I don't have all my topics laid out and it might not get done in time for my actual birthday. This is why I won't ever be a professional blogger. But I think it will be fun and informative. Two other things I happen to like. Hope you enjoy...and if you have any top three list ideas, let me know. I aim to please.


And we're off

Anyone else having freakishly lovely weather for January? The kids and I are making up for the last few weeks' drought of outdoor time. Thursday we went to the nature center and spent the morning hiking. Saturday the whole family went to a local park, hiked around the lake there exploring the ice on the frozen lake and listened to me rant about how the playground there is not at all toddler-friendly*. Then today we got up early enough to try something new - Elephant Rock State Park. We're up to 8.5 hrs outside this year. Woo-hoo!

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*Locals: Bee Tree Park? What happened! It used to be a great toddler-friendly park but not now. Makes me so mad. All three slides are massive and you have to climb up two stories to get to them. The swings are pretty much the only thing either kid can use.


Happy 8th aniversary (+3 days).

Our 8th Anniversary was Tuesday. It was Tuesday and I was sick so we are celebrating today. We are going out to eat dinner tonigh, just us, the first time since Lucy was born. So we aren't the poster child for date nights but we've still managed to do more than just survive.

8 years. We've had to take the sickness and health, good times and bad, joy and sorrow part really literally. But I wouldn't change it. I love the life I've created with this man.

And now that we've made it this far, I feel confident in offering this song up as a promise to you, Craig.

English lyrics are here. I'm partial to the "We are like Coffee and Doughnut. Giving me happiness you are my special" line. So romantic :-) "I will become the small chair when you become tired from walking" also fits us well if you are the one singing. 


The "Keeping" of Habits

The majority of the new years resolutions I mentioned back here involved keeping in some form. "Keeping" being the idea of recording, on paper, in a way that is meaningful to you, the truth, beauty and goodness that has been inspiring you lately. It could be quotes in a commonplace book, flowers drawn in a nature notebook, french verbs in a language notebook (what, french is beautiful!) or names on a timechart.

I love keeping, both the idea of it and the actual practice. Maybe it seems silly to specify both of those things but there are some other things that I love the idea of, but then I do it and it falls flat (like having a wonderful home binder with pretty forms for every occasion :-) ) This keeping isn't like that, this really does feed my soul and inspire me. And who doesn't need some inspiration when stuck in a small house with two energetic kids in bitter cold January? Ahem. So I love keeping. I've slowly started different forms after reading The Living Page last year but these are also resolutions for a reason, I need a bit of help making the keeping become habitual, hence the resolutions and my plan for what I'm calling, meta-keeping.

I'm decided to take the "Don't expect what you don't inspect" parenting advice and apply it to myself and will be tracking my resolutions in my bullet journal. I started a bullet journal back in December and so far, I'm loving it. It's very similar to what I've done that has worked in the past but just slightly more organized. And my brother got me a lovely moleskin journal to start the new year with which is even more incentive. While there are lots of different bullet journal tweaks (just search pinterest - or don't, you'll eat up hours :-), most of my bullet journal is exactly what that video shows. But I did want to share my resolution pages.

The four resolutions I'm really tracking here are
  • Commonplace (2 entries per week) - my timechart is tucked into my commonplace book so while I'm not logging anything, the only time I don't update it is when it isn't handy. I just hate stopping my reading and getting out of my nice warm bed to go get it so if I'm updating my commonplace, then the timechart shouldn't be an issue. It's only been a few weeks but this is already working. More than once I've underlined or highlighted something that I wanted to include and right as I'm convincing myself that I'll add it later even thought that means I'll forget where it is and never get around to it, I stop and do it right then (or as soon as I can sneak away from a sleeping Jonah if I'm reading while waiting for him to fall asleep). 
  • If I get a BOC for my birthday (HINT HINT kind and generous husband of mine. Follow this link, Leather please!) then I'll keep it with my commonplace too and may or may not feel the need to log entries. I don't think I'll have a problem once I get over the fear of "ruining" my book but that's all conjecture. I've got space to add boxes if I need to.
  • Exercise - self explanatory and not really about keeping
  • French (1 check for every 10 Duolingo points IF my french notebook is updated with any new information) And yes. I've already missed a check box. In my defense, we were all sick last week.

  • 1000 hrs outdoor - I'll be tallying the time on my daily page but adding it at the end of the week to my chart.  This is very sad right now too but again, the sickness. But today no noses were running and it was not bitterly cold so we went to the nature center for a hike and then played outside in the afternoon so once week three is over, that will go up to at least of 2 hrs! 2 down, 998 to go :-)
And the bottom left of the first picture shows the space I left for monthly check-ins for me to just write a bit about how I'm doing and what I think I need to re-prioritize. I could have made a one big chart but I really wanted to keep them separate so I could focus on each as a individual habit instead of a big "how to make MacKenzie a better person" type of chart. That's not my goal.

Head over to Joyous Lessons for her Keeping Company Link-up to see other ways of keeping. 


I hereby resolve...

I think I've finally gotten my resolutions/goals for the year all settled. They are pretty straightforward and basic. No groundbreaking lifestyle changes.

But first, let's see how I did with last year's.

1) Read 50 books. I read 121. I'm not including this as a resolution for next year but I did set my goodreads goal for 75. That seems low but I'm tackling quite a few longer and/or harder books and I don't want to feel rushed.

2) Keep a commonplace book. I did and really enjoyed it but my entries were sporadic. I'd do a bunch then slack off. I need to make it a more consistent habit so this one makes a reappearance below.

3) Exercise 2x a week. I did okay. I did exercise until the spring but then I started to feel bad afterwards. Not, the tired and sore but still glad I did it kind of bad, but really bad - headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations bad. So I stopped. Then in reading about Hashimotos and thyroid issues,  I learned how exercise can be a trigger and its really easy to overdue it, especially if you have other hormone issues (which I did but didn't know it at the time). So even though I was only doing mild cardio, my body just couldn't handle it. Over the summer and fall we did lots of walking and that was great. I always feel refreshed after a nice walk.

4) Get Chickens. Chickens have been gotten.

5) Work on my cooking skills. Yes, but not the in the way I had planned. The part about less grains really came true when I had to give up gluten. I wasn't able to do as much fun experimental cooking as I wanted. I did do experimental stuff but its a lot less fun when its forced on you because of dietary restrictions. I did get pretty good and eggs (Lucy will actually request "mommy eggs not daddy eggs please" which is 180 from last year) and soup and some other staples. And I make a mean brussel sprout now. I'm hoping to give gluten a try again real so that will open up some more fun cooking options.

So overall, I'd say I did pretty good.

1) Memorize Philippians, Re-memorize James. I'm leading a Sunday School class on Phillipians starting this Sunday and its really hitting home so I thought I'd try memorizing it. It's only 4 chapters so about the same as James which I did 2 years ago. I also need to refresh myself on James more than I have been. No point in putting in the work to memorize something if I'm only going to forget it later. But going through it once or twice a month should be enough.

2) Keep Commonplace Book, 2+ entries/week - Nothing new, just building up better habits

3) French, 30 Duolingo pts week (until August?) and maintain french notebook - That's barely anything so I hope I do much more but I should be able to do even that much on a busy week. I might start Lucy with Speaking French with Ms. Mason and Francois in August in which case I might drop Duolingo but I haven't decided. The french notebook will stay either way. I love my little french notebook.

4) Track my outdoor time. Aim for 1000 hrs. That's a lot and I don't think I will actually reach it. But I'm going to see what we get to. Of course, its been a bitterly cold week so I've been outside about 5 minutes a day - just long enough to let the chickens out and switch water when its frozen. I don't even get the mail unless I'm driving somewhere. But come March, I now that will change.

5) Exercise, 1x/wk - This is walking. In the winter, Craig will pick the kids up after swimming lessons so I can stay and walk around the track. It's just as much about giving me some quiet time to think and listen to podcasts in peace* as much as the walking part. Later on it will probably involve more outside walking but hopefully I can still find some quiet time for me too.

6) Pray nightly, with Craig when possible - More habit building. I'm kinda sad that I even need to put this as a resolution but hopefully I won't next year.

7) Purge/Organize Books (library thing?) - A small house and two children means that decluttering is a constant thing around here but overall, most of the house is under control. The last remaining stuff in the basement has being organized and sent to the attic. All that remains is piles and piles of books. Bookcases shelved two books deep, laundry baskets full (because they used to be on shelves that aren't up right now), and then more stacks just sitting on the floor because there is no where else. When we finally get the carpet put down in the basement and the shelves go up, I want to be very selective at what goes in and if I'm feeling pretty optimistic, I'd love to actually catalog it with an app like librarything or something similar so I know what I have. If I don't do that all now, chances are it will never happen.

So 7 Resolutions. That's not too crazy and most aren't new but just expanding on or tweaking habits so I think it's pretty reasonable. And I'm also planning on tracking my progress which should help.

*So many moms recommend podcasts for keeping their mind engaged while doing chores around the house. How do they do this? My kids are way too loud! I've listened to a podcast while getting a cavity filled without problems so it isn't like I can't work with a bit of noise but when they play, they play loudly.


Challenge Accepted!

The very same day I published my list of to-be read in 2015 books, I stumble upon this Classic Reading Challenge through Joyous Lessons. So of course, I'm in! I'm not sure if I'll get all 12 done, but I'm pretty sure I can get at least six categories pretty easily. Here are the categories with my best guess of what I'll read for it.  Works will be marked off as completed.

1.  A 19th Century Classic -- any book published between 1800 and 1899.
A Tale of Two Cities

2.  A 20th Century Classic -- any book published between 1900 and 1965.  

Cold Comfort Farm

3.  A Classic by a Woman Author

The Glimpses of the Moon

4.  A Classic in Translation

Kristin Lavransdattar

5.  A Very Long Classic Novel -- a single work of 500 pages or longer.  


6.  A Classic Novella -- any work shorter than 250 pages.  

The Europeans

7.  A Classic with a Person's Name in the Title.  


8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic.  

Three Men in a Boat

9.  A Forgotten Classic.  

The Shuttle

10.  A Nonfiction Classic. 

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness/ The Small Woman

11.  A Classic Children's Book.  

Understood Betsy

12.  A Classic Play.  



Peg people!

I'm so excited to show these off to y'all. I wish I had a good excuse for waiting until now like not wanting to ruin the Christmas surprise but neither of the recipients is old enough to get on the computer themselves. The reality is that I barely finished them in time to wrap them up. And I started way back in November. It's not that they are hard or even that they take a lot of time. I just did a lot of them and quickly found it worked best to do a bit, let it dry, and then add more details. Trying to rush things never ended well. But they really are easy and inexpensive gifts. I bought a whole bunch of blank wooden peg people from here and using some acrylic paint and triple thick, ended up with this:

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Our family

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A royal family, complete with baby twins because Lucy is oddly obsessed with twins these days. 

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Some pirates and a "penguin." There is another pirate who was off getting into mischief while this picture was taken. And obviously, that "penguin" is actually a parrot but someone accidentally called it a penguin and despite the fact that said person immediately corrected him/herself, Jonah refuses to call it anything but a penguin now. But "penguin" is Jonah's favorite peg of them all.

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Some knights and a couple community helpers. 

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Some extra princesses and fairies. I didn't get a shot of the back but the difference is in the presence or absence of wings. In reality, the difference is that I started with these girls and I accidentally got paint smudges on the back of a couple before I learned the "one color, let dry" lesson and had to cover my mistakes with wings. But alls well that ends well. And I think they ended pretty well. All but the biggest blank pegs come in packs of 10 so I still have quite a few left. I'm just trying to decide what I want to tackle next - The Ingalls Family? A couple dragons? A few fairy tale sets? A couple Doctors and their companions*? Decisions, decisions. 

*Funny story. I was searching pinterest for boy hair peg doll styles and found a picture with a couple different male dolls. I was starting to copy the hair of one when I noticed it seemed familiar. It was totally David Tennant/The Doctor in peg doll form! So it goes to show you that no matter what form you put him in, ten has great hair.


Mother's Daybook - 1st week of January

Reading - All my new reads! Well, not all at this very moment, but a good portion of them. Still loving Norms and Nobility although I'm taking it very slowly. Middlemarch is still a bit of work to pick up but I am going to persevere.

Playing - Marrying Mr. Darcy. This was Craig's Christmas present to me and its a really great game, and not just for Austen fans like myself. Craig and I played a couples times just the two of us (yes, a good two person game, those are hard to find!) and then we played with my family when they came. I can't say that my younger brother is a big fan of Jane Austen but he seemed to enjoy the game as much as the rest of us.

Watching - Uhm, Jane Austen movies! While playing the game, Craig must have noticed that I seemed to get some of the jokes of the card more than he did and was naturally curious so casually mentioned he might be willing to watch the movie. I don't think he expected me to demand he follow through quite as quickly as I did but really, he should have seen that coming. We went with the 2005 (Keira Knightley) version since I own that and doesn't require quite the commitment that the 1995 BBC mini-series, that I also own, does. Then we watched Emma (1996 - Gwyneth Paltrow). Not sure what I'll force upon him next.

I also finally got around to watching Mom's Day Out. It's not going to win an Oscar but I did find it hilarious. I watched it when Craig was out for the evening and I kept wishing he was there. Laughing at a parenting thing is more fun with your co-parent.

Eating - Cabbage and Bananas! Not together of course, that would be gross. But I'm starting to add in,  one at a time, all those foods (except gluten) that I took out last May and those are two I've gotten to so far.

Resolving - I was about to say I felt abnormally resolve-y this year but then I saw my post from last January and I said the same thing then. I guess I just like making New Years Resolutions. Which, considering my personality, really shouldn't surprise me but for some reason still does. Maybe because its seems like such a normal things to do and I find I rarely do normal things. They still aren't all worked out but I'm almost there and I want to go back and look at last years too.

Planning and Preparing - Table Time. This was our favorite part of last year but then it got dropped this fall. But back in November I listened to several Circe Talks, most importantly The Long Haul: Morning Time by Cindy Rollins, and it really motivated me to try again. Because this is a habit I want to keep going for the long haul. So I planned a Christmas specific table time arrangement for December and not so shockingly, we loved it. I was able to see a bit easier what was working and what wasn't. So I've regrouped a bit and we are trying again. The only issue we might have is that we did a chocolate advent calendar at our table time so now Jonah seems to think we get candy each time and he'll be needing to lose that idea quickly.

Doing - Our regular routine. It was a fun few weeks of celebration but it really feels good to get the kids back into their regular rhythm. I think the post-grandpa recovery period has ended and things (read - behavior and attitudes!) will start to improve more and more as we get back in the swing of things. This morning we are working on the thank you notes and the letter K and this afternoon is swimming lessons. 


Words from a Commonplace book

There's nothing you can't prove if your outlook is only sufficiently limited.
 ~  Whose Body, pg 9

 She seldom did wrong, in her own opinion, because the moment she entertained an idea it at once became right, her vanity serving as a pair of blinders to keep her from seeing the truth.
~  Mother Carey's Chickens

His revision of language and his ignorance of history afford him the comfortable delusion of not having to look back to get his bearings. ~ Norms and Nobility, pg 2

I decided to finally copy my saved, highlighted and underlined quotes into my somewhat neglected Commonplace book and noticed a theme. The first two are my last entries before the neglect began, the last the first I added today. I  hope this isn't God speaking to me about an issue with my character!

Christmas Pictures

I, as usual, do a horrible job document Christmas in photos. Eat year I tell myself I'll do better but we just have too much fun to stop and take any good pictures. But here are a few

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Lucy: All the Laura and Mary Books!? Can we start reading them again right now?

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Me: Jonah, it's a dinosaur costume. Your cousins made it for you!
Jonah: No, I a dragon. I eat you!
Me: Ouch. Let's just pretend to bite please.

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The only photographic proof of our day after Christmas hike - mom photo fail.  And I didn't get any of my homemade gluten-free Christmas stollen.

Note to future self: I used this yeast free Martha Stewart Recipe but used my own gluten free flour blend, bourbon instead of run, different dried fruits, fresh orange zest instead of candied lemon zest, cottage cheese instead of ricotta, different spices and I left out the almond zest and increased the vanilla. I also shaped it into smaller loaves and couldn't roll it out because the gluten free flour makes a much loosed dough. So really not that recipe at all since I changed literally everything but the eggs, butter and baking powder but it was very yummy anyway and even being gf was much better than the store bought stuff I normally use. I hope to be eating gluten next Christmas but I will be sticking with making my own for sure. But either way, stollen Christmas morning is my German sided tradition.

But Craig can't let the Norwegien side down and this year he got actual Lefse making equipement so the battle of the heritages is heating up!


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I know we actually have more from our "second Christmas" but those are on Craig's phone so this will have to do for now.