2011 classics challenge books & reading

Eleven Classics in 2011: February Check-in

Eleven Classics in 2011 @

Another month has come and gone, so I’m checking in with the progress of my little self-imposed reading challenge. Can you believe it’s almost March already?

I am disappointed to report that I didn’t read any classics this month. Review books simply overwhelmed me, along with my book club pick for the month, there was no time. So as much as I’d like to get back to reading Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen after I finish my current read, I’ve decided to commit myself to reading a classic next, probably in a couple of days. The question is – what classic to read next? I honestly cannot make up my mind.

Why not put it to vote?

Online Surveys

Here are the classics that I read in January for anyone interested, it was a glorious month of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery!

Have you read any classics this month?


Daybook: February 28th

Would anybody care for a baby smoothie?


Outside my window: It’s a fairly pretty day, sunny with a high of 32 predicted. Tomorrow we have a predicted high of 39 and this makes me probably a little too giddy. I cannot believe that February is nearly over, March beginning tomorrow and then before we know it, it will be Spring, April, my son will turn 5 years old and *knock on wood* we’ll be buying our first house! I cannot wait!

coloring with the kiddos

This weekend: was fairly low key, a lot of lounging around the apartment coloring and playing with toys, though we did go to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese for one of the little girls across the hall. Those girls are such little sweeties and it was nice to see them again, as it’s been a crazy couple weeks and we’ve had less play dates lately than usual. I’m hoping this week we’ll get back into the swing of things with stomach bugs well out of the way!

these shoes were made for walking, and that's just what I'll do!We also: finally went for a walk yesterday before dinner. It was glorious and while I wouldn’t call it warm weather, it was finally bearable and the breeze and fresh air felt wonderful, along with the great feeling of finally getting a workout in my favorite way – good old fashioned walking. We walked about 1.5 miles and plan to continue to do so daily, barring any horrific weather.

I’m reading: Friendship Bread by Darien Gee and starting to like it a lot more. After the initial shock of realization about the tragedy described in the book (one character is suffering from the death of her son 5 years before the book begins) I decided that I really needed to finish the book so that I could get to the “happy ending” and I have to say it gets easier to read about as you go and the story is worth it. I’m about 2/3rds through and enjoying it a lot.

Things you should click:

One last pictures to share before I go: I now have two kids interested in photography. This cute toy camera has been getting a lot of bumps and bangs and love thumps from both children lately. Soon I’ll be posting 365 pictures by them!

the budding photographer

family fun motherhood photography

Cause for Celebration.

To infinity and beyond!

It’s been a long, long, winding, hair pulling road, this potty training business. We started too soon and life obstacles made a long race much longer. There were small successes and big ones and then just for good measure, a few backslides into lazy. I’m not even sure I want to say we are out of the woods yet, but this week MM achieved a small goal we’d set for him a couple of weeks ago when said backslide began. Three #2s in a row, no accidents. Even more impressive? He managed this feat in spite of the stomach bug from hell.

To celebrate we finally cashed in some gift cards my mom sent for Christmas at Walmart. MM painstakingly picked out Buzz Lightyear after a lot of humming and hawing, along with that awesome set of crayons that I mentioned in my Aloha Friday post. He’s been making due with dollar store crayons for a couple of months now and the *only* thing I liked about those crayons was the fact that they came in a plastic case. A cheap plastic case that didn’t let the crayons stand up quite straight. The crappy crayons. It was time for an upgrade, but I fell in love with the idea of plastic crayon cases and shelled out 15 big ones to get the world’s most awesome crayon set.

These crayons are so awesome that even the little temporary cover that came with them was quickly doubled as  hat, providing even more entertainment.

the cool cat in the hat

You know I like randomly re-purposing stuff. And silliness. And taking silly pictures of my kids re-purposing stuff.

Of course while we were at the store we had to pick up BB’s present, too. Even though she doesn’t poop in the potty, we figured she’s been doing a pretty good job being a baby toddler, plus we really like buying her stuff.

her first doll house

Especially awesome stuff like her very first doll house that is actually age appropriate and not me completely jumping the gun.

Doll Baby and Doll Daddy talk to each other from adjoining rooms

Can we talk about her hair for a minute?

the adorable, it kills me

Seriously. These gorgeous long, blond locks make me swoon like a love sick school girl. They are actually long enough to put into pig tails now and this time she didn’t even scream at me.

a view from behind

She didn’t really pay much attention to me either, but you know, I’m used to that.

setting the table

Speaking of doll houses (sorry, I’m not very good at segues, clearly) MM is pretty smitten with this new toy, too. I’m a big advocate for letting boys and girls play with toys from both “typical gender” themes. He is free to play with dolls and drink from the occasional pink cup. If she wants a BB Gun, well, I’d probably say no to both kids, but I suppose a nerf gun is okay. And the day she refuses to wear dresses, pig tails or anything pink, I have to say I won’t be surprised. That’s why I’m getting it all in now while I can.

a very efficient dinner

And in case you didn’t notice, why yes Doll Baby is sitting on the potty at the dinner table. There are only two chairs, so clearly improvisations had to be made.


Or maybe this whole stomach bug really is taking over our lives.

aloha friday

Aloha Friday: Coloring Corner

We recently got our (almost 5 year old) son, MM, a really awesome set of crayons. I wanted something with a plastic case instead of cardboard so it would hold up better, and it had to be Crayola – I think we can all agree, this is a must – and I have to say I’m pretty thrilled with what we got.

pick a color, any color!

He’s been in coloring heaven ever since, loving his beautiful new crayons in every color he can imagine.

So my Aloha Friday question this week is:

What is your favorite color?

aloha friday @ an island life

Take it easy today with Kailani @ An Island Life.

First time participating? It’s easy!

Write a post with a simple question, then link up here.

Click on the links for other participating bloggers.

Say, “Aloha!” ; answer their question ; make bloggy friends!

arts & crafts motherhood

Living in the Moment.

Welcome to our playhouse. on 365 Project

Sometimes I’m distracted by the future. I start a lot of statements with the word “when” – “When we have a house, I will do [this] more.” “When the kids are older we should do [this].” That kind of thing.

I also like to get caught up in new projects. Like this adorable idea from Artful Parent to make an Under the Table Playhouse. I love this idea. I covet her creativity. I want to do this. But let’s be realistic. It took me months after buying the fabric to getting around to making Dolly, and I swore like a sailor most of the time I was making her. I love projects but I’m not always terrific at follow through. So I might make this playhouse for my kids, but I might not. And if I do, it might not be anytime soon.

In the meantime, I took some advice from my mom and grabbed a bed sheet, some blankets, books and a flashlight – and I made the heart of this project come alive in minutes. And the kids of course ate up the whole idea and have been running in and out of the tent / fort  / playhouse ever since. And I spent / sewed nothing and didn’t even swear once. Jean @ Artful Parent even comments that “…We’re always draping sheets and tablecloths over tables and chairs to create forts and playhouses.” Even her fit of creative genius stemmed from simple play, from enjoying the ordinary days and the extraordinary ones. It’s just a little lesson I seem to force myself into learning a lot.


motherhood op ed

when your family is sick.

the calm in the storm. on 365 ProjectWhen you are trapped in a small apartment with one sick husband and two sick children, you don’t know whether to be grateful that you still seem to have held onto your own good health or apprehensive about the certain doom which must await you.

Watching a yucky stomach bug make the people you love miserable means that you second guess every bite that you consume, knowing that your healthy body is in fact probably a ticking time bomb, and you find yourself eating a strict diet consisting of things you’ll regret a little bit less later. Somehow you still manage to gain five pounds.

When you are the lone healthy person in a family of sickos, it means that your role as Caretaker and Mommy Supreme must kick into overdrive. There will be more baths taken during The Sickness than your kids have had all year. You’ll find that three sets of sheets for your four year old’s twin bed aren’t actually enough to get through one night and you’ll cross your fingers and pray while you clean stuffed animals, baby dolls and other toys that were tucked into bed with them so sweetly before the nightmare began, hoping they’ll survive to be snuggled another night.

When you’re kids have been sick for three days and you think you’ve washed every article of clothing, every set of sheets, blankets and towels that your apartment has, they’ll throw up once more for good measure, forcing you to track down anything else that might conceivably be dirty so that you can wash the one lone set of pajamas that were soiled. You’re hands will by now be dry and cracking from excessive hand washing, bath giving and laundry prepping. Your sanity hanging on by a thread.

When you finally go to sleep after a long day of tending to your poor sweet babies, you’ll find yourself unable to actually sleep because between keeping one ear carefully trained on the door for sounds of sick children, you’ll be listening carefully to the sounds of your own body, questioning every gurgle and grimace that your body makes that you wouldn’t normally worry about or even audibly hear. You wonder, “Will this be the last minute before the sickness overtakes me, too? Will my husband be healthy before I’m wiped out so he can take care of me or will we all just roll around in agony together and hope for the best?”

When you’re family has been sick all weekend and all Monday, too, you’ll find the highlight of your day – the one lone moment of calm and peace in the storm – lasts about as long as one warm mug of chai tea. Drink up, momma. You’ll be back on duty soon.


books & reading nightstand

Nightstand: February

What's On Your Nightstand @ 5 Minutes for BooksIt’s time once again, bloggy friends, for my monthly Nightstand post, part of a book blogging carnival hosted by 5 Minutes for Books. ‘

Since we last nightstanded together I’ve read the following books:

  1. Deep Down True by Juliette Fay Finished January 31, 2011 – I really enjoyed this book. Despite a lot of content that I can’t personally relate to, the characters and plot were so well written and realistic that I found I could relate to them anyway. I really liked the idea of Dana, the main character learning to be LESS nice. I know a few doormats like myself, who could sometimes stand to learn that lesson. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry and root for a happy ending. – full review
  2. Saltwater Taffy by Eric Delabarre Finished February 7, 2011 – I have mixed feelings on this book and cannot decide if the problem lies with the book or with the fact that I’m not exactly it’s target audience. Told from the POV of a 13 year old boy in the 70′s who embarks on a treasure hunt with 5 of his friends, this book is littered with life lessons and a whole lot of baseball! Having never been a 13 year old boy and having no interest in baseball, it was often hard to relate to and I found the characters more annoying than likable – but again this could have more to do with my demographic than the book. (full review coming soon)
  3. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire Finished February 16, 2011 – I enjoyed reading this imaginative interpretation of Cinderella. Maguire’s writing style is gritty, descriptive without being flowery. His story is somewhat dark in some regards, but humorous and enjoyable to read. I did not love this book. The writing style is unique but verges on tedious. The story was interesting though and overall I liked it. – full review

Friendship Bread by Darien GeeRight now I’m reading Friendship Bread by Darien Gee, which I’m enjoying though the subject matter is a good bit more serious than I’d bargained for as one of the characters is struggling  with the death of a child – I know, not the lightest of topics for an overly paranoid mommy.

But there are several characters that the book revolves around and each are well written, fully fleshed out and the story is enjoyable – and frankly now that I’ve read this far, I think for my sanity, I’ll need to read it through to it’s “happy ending” so I can sleep again at night!

When I finish Friendship Bread I plan to read:

    1. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen which I started this month but had to temporarily put down so I could focus on some review books. I adore Anna Godbersen though and I’m very anxious to get back to this book which takes place in the roaring 20’s!
    2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – my bookclub’s pick for March, a historical fiction, mystery book which looks very interesting.
    3. Some classic work of literature for my Classics Challenge – any suggestions? What was your favorite ‘classic’ read?

      What are you reading right now?

      arts & crafts family fun motherhood

      Meet Dolly: A Most Fabulous Doll.

      BB with Dolly

      I mentioned in my Daybook entry that we finally finished Dolly this weekend. I first stumbled upon the pattern for this beautiful doll at hart + sew, where Stacy shows the beautiful suitcase / doll house and pretty doll clothes that she’d made for her dolly, using a template by Emily at The Black Apple, which was featured at Martha Stewart because hello, such a fantastic pattern, am I right?

      Unfortunately being able to admire pretty patterns and pick out pretty fabrics, doesn’t make me a gifted seamstress. In fact, I appear to be the opposite of this and found myself frequently whining “I don’t want to doooooo this anymore,” as the sewing machine gave me grief after grief, probably because I’m inept. Luckily, my husband is far more talented and patient and helped me finish the doll anyway. I’d say the workload was 15% effort and 85% swearing on my end and 100% awesomeness on his end.

      admiring her lovey with her daddy

      The biggest pain in the butt for me with this project was the lovely golden felt which eventually after much swearing became her hair. Felt does not like to be sewn, at least by my hands. It sucked. Also, while sewing in a straight line is fairly straight forward, sewing curves mostly eludes me. There must be some easy obvious way to do it, but mostly for me it was just more swearing and making pouting faces at my husband.

      thanking her daddy for her dolly

      He’s a keeper.

      And in the end, the doll was finished. Though we found a small hole in the leg last night that needs to be mended, but shhhhh in the end the doll was finished, the girl was happy, the doll was adorable and action shots were taken…

      look at the doll dance


      Daybook: February 21st

      not too thrilled with what's outside the window


      Outside my window: It’s kind of wet and dreary and drizzly and slushy and ten million other reasons to stay indoors at all costs.

      This weekend: the poor little miss had a stomach bug so we spent much of the weekend indoors, biding time, attending to the yuck. Luckily she didn’t seem too distraught about the whole thing and kept busy with the work of play.

      cute pony tail alert!

      what doesn't everyone watch tv while sitting in a laundry basket on a chair?

      The worst seems to have finally passed though with minimal fuss and we spent our time trapped indoors getting caught up on projects, like this pretty doll that I bought fabric to make forever and a moon or two ago.

      Meet Dolly.

      this is Dolly

      We also: managed to get a few errands done early before we realized the sick was so sickly. Love this picture of MM and BB driving a shopping cart car together. That BB is quite an aggressive driver.

      watch your toes!

      I’m reading: Friendship Bread by Darien Gee. It’s… interesting. The plot is much heavier than I anticipated and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle the unraveling of certain stories, but it’s well written and enjoyable when it’s not making me think, “Oh my god, please don’t make me read about this awful thing!” So yeah… I’ll let you know how I feel when (if) I finish it.

      Things you should click:

      One three last pictures to share before I go: Time for your next adorable BB pictures fix! I took these pictures in the car while waiting for the hubby…

      such a stinkin cutie