Categories
daybook family fun

Daybook: January 28th 2019

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Outside My Window: It’s still snowing. It’s been snowing since like 9pm last night and it seems to have no plans of stopping. The kids were ecstatic to get a snow day today and we’ve been making the most of it with all of the board games, a bit of video game time and watching last season’s America’s Got Talent together. We might have even more of this in store this week as there are some horrifically freezing cold temperatures predicted in the next couple of days. Fuuunnnnnn….

I Am Hearing: a Sims baby cooing on the television. I’m trying really hard to be a cool mom so I decided to write in my blog and let them have some YouTube / Video Game time instead of demanding they hang out with me 24/7.

I am Thinking: about all of our upcoming plans for the week and wondering which ones are going to get rescheduled for the weather and just in general trying to accept that I have no control over how this all pans out. It’s, in theory, a very busy week but if The Weather Gods have it their way it might just be even yet more board games and video games.

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51gwhvro6+lI am Reading: a few things right now. I’ve been reading Book One of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes collection, one of my son’s all time favorite things. This has made for nice leisurely reading that I can pick up and put down, although the book itself is massive and a bit heavy. I’m also reading Don’t You Forget About Me by Liz Tipping on my kindle. I just started this one but so far I’m enjoying it. It’s a fairy light read, a British romantic comedy where the main character is hoping to rewrite her high school history at her upcoming reunion.

I am Hoping: the roads are relatively clear when my husband comes home from work tonight. I really don’t have a great reason to fret as our town is good about plowing and my husband drives a four wheel drive pickup and is a good driver. But I’m me, so I’m going to worry anyway.

Weekend Update: We had a nice weekend. I went to a friend’s house on Saturday night for a Mom’s Game Night and had so much fun. We played several games and also spent a lot of time just being goofy and singing along to old songs together. It’s kind of awesome getting to spend time with “your people” – I’m glad I’ve found some great friends here. Last night our good friends came over for dinner with their new baby and that was a lot of fun, too. The kids loved getting to play with their eldest daughter who is 2 1/2 and I got to spend a good bit of time holding the wee little bairn so all was right with the world.

Plans For The Week: Ha! I guess it depends on Mother Nature but we have Spirit Week at school in theory, the big pep rally on Friday and my daughter is cheering on the basketball game on Friday. There’s an Aladdin viewing party at the school this week to get the school psyched for this year’s school play. I have a dentist appointment to either go to or reschedule. And in theory the Mom Friends and I are going to play Team Trivia this week, too.

Picture Thought:

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She’s got School Spirit even on a Snow Day | Celebrating Pajama Day at home!
Categories
arts & crafts

Teaching myself how to watercolor.

I have not historically been a very artistic person. But after a few fun nights out with friends at those Paint and Sip events, I have started dabbling in other mediums. The most recent has been watercolors or more specifically watercolor brush pens.

I’m still not at a place where I feel super confident with the craft, but I can see improvement slowly but surely and more importantly I’m still having fun with it.

A few of the things I’ve learned:

  • Paper thickness is super important. Non-watercolor paper will definitely curl and warp after it gets wet.
  • The watercolor pens blend better than the pencils or at least take less water to blend. The colors are also deeper.
  • If the paper starts to pill, it’s getting too wet.
  • Fineliner markers work great for small details.
  • The watercolor brush pens I have do not work great for handlettering.

Here are some of my recent masterpieces. They’d probably be more impressive if I lied and said my 9 year old made them.

One of these days I’m going to buy some actual watercolors and see how they compare. What kind of hobbies are you doing these days?

Categories
family fun games

5 Favorites for Family Game Night.

We love to play board games in our family. With the kids or as a couples night or game night with friends. Our collection of games has become massive over the years. We’ve discovered a few new favorites in the last couple of years and I thought I’d take a minute to share with you 5 of our favorite games to play for family game nights.

We currently have a 12 year old and 9 year old who both love board games. My husband likes a good amount of strategy in a game and prefers when the game can run at a quick pace. I like a game where I feel like luck will play into the game enough that I stand a chance against my husband – and I love a fun movie tie-in.

Here are 5 of our current favorites that the whole family loves:

61naxwntbelHarry Potter Munchkin 

We’ve pretty much never met a Munchkin game that we didn’t enjoy and this Harry Potter themed one is no exception. It’s a Deluxe Munchkin which means it comes with a game board and little character markers for each player to move from Level 1 to Level 10. The overall game play is pretty similar to classic Munchkin but you get to pick your Hogwarts House and gather potions and fight death eaters.


91bwcejdq7l._sl1500_Bears vs. Babies 

We love to break this one out when we have extended family in town because describing the premise of the game to someone new never gets old. You are building a Bear Army to defeat an Army of Monster Babies. It’s pretty easy to learn and has just enough strategy involved to keep everyone happy. The illustrations on the cards are adorable and irreverent and sometimes a little gross which makes the kids laugh a lot.

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71eqcvslvbl._sl1000_Forbidden Island

We’ve loved this game for years and it continues to be my favorite cooperative game to play with the kids. Everyone is working together to save four ancient relics from an island which is slowly flooding. You have to gather all four relics and get off the island while you still can. As the game goes on and various areas get flooded, the stakes are raised and things get harder – but you can adjust the difficulty level depending on the ages of the people playing or their experience with the game.


81fcxwi6sil._sx679_Stranger Things Monopoly

I’ve got to be honest, Monopoly is not always my top choice for game night. My husband runs that board like it’s his job and most of the time I know I’m losing before I’ve made it around the board twice. But I really love this Stranger Things edition. The game pieces are so cute and the pricing for property (or forts) is so nostalgia. Also I won my first game of Monopoly ever playing this edition so it gets a special pass in my book. For the most part this is just your classic Monopoly game though.


510yltad3ulCentury Golem Edition

I just found out that we can rent board games from my local library and they even seem to be in good condition! I checked this one out last weekend and, I have to say, I really enjoyed it. The initial set up and explanation of the game rules took some time but the game wasn’t too hard to play once we really got going.

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I really liked how quick each turn was – this meant that the game moved along pretty smoothly without my youngest kid getting distracted between turns and needing to remind them whose turn it was. You spend the game collecting and trading various diamonds to create Golems – whoever earns enough points through Golems, diamonds and coins wins. Fairly straight forward once you get past the set up.


What are some of your favorite board games?

Categories
books & reading

19 Books I’d Like To Read This Year.

51Kpt34RjTLWell we’re 21 days into the new year and so far I’ve only finished one book, Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster (so good!). But I’m dabbling in a few books right now and have a lot of books on my horizon for 2019.

I’m planning on joining Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2019 Reading Challenge this year. She always has the best reading prompts and this year’s feels more inspirational / guiding ideas than restrictive categories. I’m not looking for homework here, just some ideas to help guide my own reading choices.

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I thought I’d take a page from Anne’s blog and list some of the books that I’m interested in reading for each category.

A Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read

Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon | This one has been sitting on my nightstand for a few months now, always one or two books below my top choice. I hope to relieve it of it’s always a bridesmaid status soon.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | I probably mention this book every year. Maybe 2019 will be the year I finally get around to this one.

A Book About a Topic That Fascinates You

Becoming by Michelle Obama | Like most of the women I know, Michelle Obama is one of my favorite people. She fascinates me and I’m really looking forward to finishing this (I read the first chapter shortly after Christmas).

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson | This is a book about the history of the English language, written with Bryson’s usual wit apparently. This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a few years and I think now’s as good a time as any.

A Book in the Backlist of a Favorite Author

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | I finished Anna and the French Kiss last month and was obsessed!! This book tells the love story of one of the side characters from AATFK.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer | I’ve been meaning to read this new series by Meyer for awhile. I loved The Lunar Chronicles series and have fangirled about it incessantly. This one seems to be really popular, too.

A Book Recommended By Someone With Great Taste

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith | I think everyone I know loves this series and by all rights, I’m probably going to love it also. But I really didn’t enjoy JK Rowling’s other non Harry Potter book, The Casual Vacancy, so I’ve been putting it off stubbornly. But I want to give it a shot this year as lots of people with great taste have vouched for this.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas | This could also work as a backlist title. A lot of my friends have been telling me that this one is even better than Throne of Glass. Which one did you like better?

Three Books By The Same Author

We got three books by Eva Ibbotson for Christmas from my aunt who has the best taste in books. I don’t know if we’ll dig into them as read alouds or just pass them around the family.

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson

The Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson

A Book You Chose For the Cover

Like Anne, I’m going to leave this category blank as I think it should be a spur of the moment whim kind of book.

A Book By An Author Who Is New To You

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy | I just saw this one mentioned on a blog recently – or maybe Instagram. I’m majorly intrigued and the book has solid reviews.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor | I’ve heard this is the best Alice in Wonderland reimagining out there and I love me a good reimagining.

Note: These two books are the only ones on my list that I don’t already own. I am trying to make an effort this year to read books I have already purchased.

A Book in Translation

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli | This was originally written in Italian and I’ve been meaning to read it anyway.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi | This is a graphic memoir that I’ve had on my bookshelf for awhile. It was originally written in French.

A Book Outside Your (Genre) Comfort Zone

Artemis by Andy Weir | This one isn’t a huge stretch but it’s a little more sci fi and a little less fantasy than I usually lean. I enjoyed watching The Martian though and my husband liked the book so I thought I’d try reading this one.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King | This is one of my husband’s favorite books but it’s outside of my comfort zone in regards to sheer length and also the fact that it’s written by Stephen King. I don’t think it necessarily qualifies as horror, but it’s written by the king of horror novels.

A Book Published Before You Were Born

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie | This was Agatha Christie’s first Poirot mystery and it was written in 1916. I really liked Murder on the Orient Express so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde | I love Wilde’s humorous works and I’ve always wanted to read this more serious book. Honestly it’s weird that I haven’t read it already.

I make no promise that these will be the books I’ll read this year, but as of right now they are my top choices.

What book are you most looking forward to reading this year?

Categories
daybook family fun

Daybook: January 14th 2019

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Outside My Window: it’s one of those days that feels even colder than it is. It was supposedly up to the 30’s today but it pretty much felt like 7 degrees all day to me. I guess I probably need to buckle up and brace myself for the rest of this winter, but apparently I like to complain about it every day like it’s something new that’s never happened before.

I Am Hearing: my son doing homework on his laptop while my daughter stomps around her room loudly so that we all know she is BORED and HAS NOTHING TO DO. Also listening to the traffic on our street, hoping to hear the dulcet sound of my husband’s truck pulling up the driveway.

I am Thinking: about summer because that’s what winter does to me. Rather than dwell on the fact that it’s cold and life is busy, I’m planning camping trips, possible weekends to visit the ren faire and our summer vacation plans. I’ve also been thinking about what I want the regular days of summer to look like this year. I’m considering saying sayonara to the whole summer day camp thing because honestly I think I might be over it. Am I crazy? We’d still do swim lessons, but I’m thinking if my kids want to go to an “art camp” that I could just do art with them instead.

I am Reading:  I’m still reading Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster but there’s a very good chance that I’ll finish the book tonight (finally). I’m also listening to This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips on audio right now.

I am Hoping: that my son isn’t up all night with homework. Monday’s are kind of our trying to be in eight places at once night and the end result is that it feels like homework time will never end. Would it be rude of me to watch Jeopardy while he’s in the next room doing math problems?

Weekend Update: We picked up books at the library for the kids’ various research projects (Titanic for him; Elizabeth Blackwell for her). My husband installed new smoke detectors that talk to each other in unison like the Ood. We went to a friend’s house for dinner and a game night. Probably other stuff happened, too.

Plans For The Week: Babysitting my friend’s toddler so they can squeeze in one more date night before the new baby comes. My daughter’s first time cheering during a school basketball game. PTO meeting. Trivia =) . And a long weekend to look forward to.

Picture Thought:

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Categories
family fun mama kat's writers workshop tv

5 TV Shows I’m Binging Right Now.

I’m not watching many new shows right now. Blame it on the lack of cable or the lack of exciting things on network television or maybe I’m just old or something. Not sure. Most of the shows we’re watching now are old news to everyone else. Which is kind of great, because those shows are perfect for binge watching.

If you are looking for a new show to OMG over – or even better, an old show to say “What took me so long?” here are some of the ones I’m loving right now.

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Veep | You probably already know about Veep – like I said, none of these shows are new. But just in case you aren’t familiar: This is a 30 minute comedy on HBO that I stream on Amazon Prime. It stars Julia Louise Dreyfus as the sweary, imperfect, and kind of awesome Vice President of America. I really just started watching this one, I’m still on Season 1, but so far so good.

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The X-Files | It’s almost ridiculous that I never watched this show before a few months ago, but here we are dealing with that reality. My husband and I are making our way through this one rather slowly as we seem to suffer for nights where we have enough time to watch a one hour drama. But it’s so worth the wait! A very young Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny is everything I need in life. The entire freaking show is available to stream on Hulu and we definitely have our work cut out for us.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | This might be the smartest show on television so it’s absurd that I only just finished the first season. For some reason it keeps getting buried on my Amazon Prime queue and again, it’s another hour long show. I’m bad at keeping up with those. But if you haven’t checked out this show by Amy Sherman Palladino, you need to fix that immediately.

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The Good Place | We’re actually rewatching this one from the beginning with the kids because my oldest asked about it and we decided they were just barely old enough to watch it with us. I won’t lie, there is some occasional language and content that makes me think that my nine year old should not be in the room. On the plus side, it’s usually as an example of what Bad Behavior looks like. But I wouldn’t recommend it for watching with your kids unless you really think your kids can handle it and you’re up for the explanations and discussions that will ensue. But I definitely recommend it as a show in general. It is so smart, and so funny, and the cast is incredible. And for what it’s worth, my kids both love it. You can stream the first two seasons on Netflix and the current season is available on Hulu.

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Doctor Who | We just finished the current season which I personally loved. A lot of Dr. Who fans are apparently not as in love. I will admit, it feels like a departure from the normal tone of Doctor Who, with very few references to seasons and aliens and baddies past. This makes it a great place for new people to jump in though. Still, we loved the new season, especially my daughter who has found a new role model in this new regeneration of The Doctor. We are also rewatching the older episodes with the kids, at least all of the ones streaming on Prime. We watched all of the 9th Doctor and are about halfway through Number 10. If I play my cards right, I’ll never have to be not watching Doctor Who.



What are you watching these days?

mama kat workshop

I’m link up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop today. All the cool kids are doing it, so

Categories
daybook

Daybook: January 7th, 2019

 

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Remember Monday “daybook” posts? I used to do them a lot but fell out of the practice. My friend Jean over at Working Momma 247 just posted one and I felt all kinds of back in the day blogging about it so I decided to play along on my blog, too! Let’s harken back to the ye old days of blogging in 2010 (so retro), shall we?

Outside My Window: it’s finally stopped raining but it’s still kind of damp and chilly. It was in the 40’s again today though so I suppose I should count my blessings that it’s light coat and a sweater weather instead of squall parka weather… for now.

I Am Hearing: parents chattering and kids making karate shouts and my daughter narrating her homework progress to me as I type this. We’re at our second after school activity for the night and still have my oldest’s homework and the eating of dinner to go when we leave here. Still we’re nearing the finish line of a very busy afternoon and look at me blogging like a multitasking pro with a laptop and stuff.

49690827_10101716518295786_6550858727459651584_oI am Thinking: about all of the travel plans for the coming year that I need to finalize and all of the every day grown up stuff I need to get done also. Then there’s that pesky desire to spend time on creative pursuits like my current work in fiction progress and also I’m dabbling with watercolors now for funsies and well rounded life goals. Also apparently people exercise?

I am Reading: Enders Game by Orson Scott Card on my kindle and still kind of not quite getting into it. I hear such good things though so I’m soldiering on and waiting for the plot to really grab me. On my nightstand I’m still reading Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster. Love her and I find the short essays perfect for nighttime reading where I have a tendency to be sporadic and less than attentive.

I am Hoping: that dinner tastes good tonight. I’ve got this low carb Zuppa Toscana soup cooking in my slow cooker – we love this soup at Olive Garden and I’m hoping the recipe does the original justice despite the changes made for a low carb diet. Tis the season, huh? Either way, I’m glad that dinner will be waiting for us at the end of this busy day.

Weekend Update: Dan and I went on a lovely afternoon date on Saturday thanks to my BFF who offered to babysit. We went to a wine bar and tried a few samples and glasses of different wines and shared a cheese plate. Then we went next door to the coffee and yarn store to browse yarn and have a cup of tea. We played a couple games of cribbage later that night – I was really out of practice but managed to win one of the games we played. Yesterday I had coffee with friends, one of whom has been living in India as an expat for several years now so it’s always exciting when we can get together.

Plans For The Week: Coffee with a school mom, trivia with the girls, BB’s first after school art class, a dentist appointment, lunch at hubby’s office, a school geography bee and a game night over the weekend are just a few of the things we’ll be getting up to this week.

Picture Thought:

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life on the weekend looks like this.
Categories
family fun

Hello 2019! Non resolutions for a new year

We’re four days into the new year and the internet is officially brimming with resolutions, diet plans, budget overhauls and every change you need to make NOW to be the Best Version of You.

But I think you are already pretty awesome. Honestly, you’re killing it. I’m not saying you are perfect because we’re all living our truth here. I know there’s probably even something you’d like to change and that’s cool. But don’t forget to take stock of what’s already awesome.

This year I want to embrace all of the good stuff that makes my life awesome and say nah to the rest of it. Or at least not dwell on the lame stuff that isn’t bringing me joy.

So I say yes to more writing, more tea, more date nights, more walks, more FUN. I want to draw more (or at least doodle more), paint more, read more great books, travel more, hang out with great friends more and maybe learn how to make homemade crackers.

But honestly as long as I can look back on this year and say, “that was fun” or even “good effort”; that will be enough for me. Because my life is already pretty great – just like yours.