Tuesday, December 30, 2008

58 books in 2008

I read 58 books for grown ups this year.

My favorite books of 2008 are...

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

Blue Heart Blessed by Susan Meissner

Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark

The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

The Healer's Heart by Diane M. Komp

A Minute before Friday by Jo Kadlecek

Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston

French by Heart by Rebecca S. Ramsey

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

This is the second time I read Revelations of a Single Woman and I have read Flabbergasted at least twice already... What are some great books that you read this year?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

random list

10 things that I have done in my life that I would probably do again (well maybe not #7).

1. Chaperone teenagers on a trip overseas (to Jamaica)
2. Been to a Buddhist monastery in Mongolia (with my sister)
3. Driven halfway across the country alone (Minnesota to California and back several times)
4. Travelled overseas alone (to England)
5. Read more than 70 books (for adults) in one year
6. Learned how to quilt
7. Made a bridesmaid dress and wore it (for my brother's wedding)
8. Walked on the Great Wall of China (with my sister)
9. Started a book club
10. Read through the entire Bible

What about you?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dewey

I have been light on the reading lately...it is due to the making of Christmas presents. But I did finish a book for adults...Dewey by Vicki Myron. It is the story of a kitten that is dropped in a book drop in Spencer, Iowa. Dewey ended up living at the Spencer Library for over fifteen years, and it tells about his life. It also tells the story of a relatively small town, and about Vicki, the librarian that became his primary caregiver. The book piqued my interest because it was about a library having a cat, which I had never heard of. If you like libraries, work in a library, or love cats, this is a story worth reading. I am not a cat person, so I was not interested in some of the story details. Anyone else read this? I saw it at Wal-mart and had to wait a couple of weeks to get it because it has a waiting list at the library.

Monday, December 22, 2008

three more

Marvin's Best Christmas Present Ever by Katherine Paterson is a book I picked up to read to my students. I like it because it is an I Can Read Book and the story has enough surprises in it to make the students pay attention. I will be looking for more books about Marvin.
N is for Navidad by Susan Middleton Elya and Merry Banks and illustrated by Joe Cepeda is a fun alphabet book. My English language learners enjoy it because each letter of the alphabet stands for a Spanish word having to do with Christmas. If you have ejoyed any other books by Elya, you will enjoy this one as well. Cepeda also does an excellent job with the illustrations.
Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff is a board book that focuses on counting. I enjoyed listening to my brother-in-law read it to his son because he added his own sound effects, which made me laugh. A beginning reader would also enjoy this book because the text is short and the pictures would help them figure out the more difficult words.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas books

Here are a couple Christmas books for children that you might enjoy.
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry is a book I found out about from my friend Linda. I got it from the library and was not disappointed. This is a book written in rhyme about Mr. Willowby's tree. It is too big, and he has to cut off the top. The top is given to Miss Adelaide, and she has the same problem. It is fun for children to try and guess how many times this will go on.
Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson is another great book to read to your children at Christmas. My friend Emili is a preschool teacher and recommended it to me. Mortimer is a mouse that lives in a cold and creepy place. He finds a great bed in the manger in the Nativity set in his house. He thinks it is great, but then learns who the manger really is for. There are great illustrations in this picture book. (Sorry, Amanda, the book depicts mice as nice creatures.)
Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh is also a great Christmas book. I am not a fan of Santa Claus stories, but this is one I really enjoy. Olive the dog is out before Christmas and begins to think that she is actually a reindeer because of a song she hears on the radio. So she reports to the North Pole. No one tells Olive that she isn't really a reindeer and she gets to help Santa and the real reindeer on Christmas Eve. If you like this one, you should also look for the story about Olive at Valentine's Day.
Anyone have any other great Christmas stories to recommend?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

when I grow up

I finally decided what I want to do when I grow up. I want to work at a job where I get paid to read lots and lots of books-children's books especially-and then recommend books to libraries, bookstores, or customers. My job would also include reading books with kids and doing other activities with them that promote reading, as well as helping parents understand how much reading to their own children is beneficial.
The good thing is that the jobs I have had for the past eleven years have allowed me to do some of this, but I don't get paid to just read books.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

two alphabet books

I came across two alphabet books lately that might be fun for you to look at. The first, 26 Big Things Small Hands Can Do by Coleen Paratore, is a great alphabet book for preschoolers and beginning readers. The illustrations, by Mike Reed, are colorful and depict children doing the very things that small hands can do. This book's positive message encourages children to look out for others besides themselves.
The second book is Hooray for Minnesota Winters by Paul Lowrie and Bret Nicholaus. This book is written in rhyme and finds something about Minnesota winters that starts with each letter of the alphabet. On the bottom of each page are weather facts about Minnesota winters. This book is for adults as much as for children, as children would probably be uninterested in all those facts. If you grew up in Minnesota, it will make you smile at the positive and negative aspects of the winter here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! The photo is from a turkey making contest we had at work. The art and music teachers worked together to make the above turkey and won first place. Have a great holiday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

a Christmas idea

I realize it is not yet December yet, but there are plenty of things around us reminding us Christmas is coming. This is an idea about reading and Christmas. You need 24 (or 25) Christmas books. Then what you do is wrap each book individually and set them on a bookshelf. Beginning December 1, your child can choose a book to open and then for you to read aloud. Most kids would LOVE the idea of opening a different present each day, and this could be done instead of a traditional advent calendar. I found this idea in a book a while back, but unfortunately do not know the source. If anyone else does, I would love to know. If you are looking for some ideas for Christmas books, look at my post here from last Christmas. I am doing a modified form of this with two of my classes at school.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

books, books, books

My sisters and I talk often about books(see their blogs here and here). Children's books, novels, quilt books, cookbooks...you name it, it has probably been brought up. So has the topic of writing books. I have written one-it was a project for one of my classes in my senior year of college. My nephews love it because it is about when I was little and growing up on the farm. I think if I was going to write a book it would be a picture book or a book on how to spend less money though a novel wouldn't be out of the question. If you were writing a book, what would it be about?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

happy November

Happy November! Some things I like about November are Thanksgiving, sweater weather, and this year daylight savings time. I get an extra hour on Saturday night to sleep. What do you like about November?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver is the second novel I have read by her. It is defintely a book that kept me interested in the storyline and wondering what would happen next. Taylor lives in Kentucky and decides she wants to get out of the small town she lives in. Once she saves up some money, she leaves for some destination in the west. In Oklahoma she ends up acquiring a toddler from a stranger. She continues on and ends up in Tuscon, Arizona because her car cannot go on. Taylor makes some new friends and learns a lot about life in another place. I would recommend this book because it is a quick read but also makes you think. A book club would have plenty to discuss after reading this as well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Shape of Mercy

Susan Meissner's newest book is The Shape of Mercy. This book is contemporary fiction, but also deals with the Salem Witch Trials that happened in the 1600's. Lauren Durough lives in California and is a rich girl attending a state school. She decides to get a job, but does not get any job, but a job transcribing a journal of Mercy Hayworth for the journal's owner, Abigail Boyles. Mercy lived in the Salem area during the time of the Salem Witch Trials.
I enjoyed reading the story because Meissner keeps you wondering what will happen and how what happens will change Lauren. She does a good job weaving a story from this century with the story of Mercy Hayworth. This also made me wonder more about the Salem Witch Trials as mostly I have just heard about them in passing and I don't remember if we talked about them in American history. This would be a good book for a book club to read, though it does jump back and forth from present to past, which I know my sister does not like. I will likely read it again sometime, and I think it is one of Meissner's better books. If I had to choose my favorites of Susan Meissner's, it might be a tie between this one and Blue Heart Blessed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

French by Heart

French by Heart by Rebecca S. Ramsey was not a book on my to read list, but when I stumbled across it at the library, I figured it looked good enough to read. I wasn't disappointed, as there were parts of it that made me laugh, and I think Rebecca did a good job depicting her life in France. She and her husband Todd moved to France because of her husband's job with Michelin with two school age children and her almost one year old son. They are from South Carolina, and spent four years living in a not well known city in France. Her neighbor Madame Mallet is a character that shows up in many chapters as Rebecca tries to navigate life in France. She finds some new interests-Joan of Arc, Lourdes, and statues of the Virgin Mary. Anyone that has lived overseas might like reading about the adventures and challenges the Ramsey's faced, but you might also enjoy this book if you have been to France or studied French in high school or college.
While I was reading, it made me think that maybe I would like to live overseas for a while. Or at least visit France even though I know no French.

And for Amanda, yes, I did like the book. In fact, it might be one of the choices that I bring for book club when it is my turn to bring books. I think that Ramsey is working on a book that tells how life for their family was when they returned to the States.

Monday, September 22, 2008

moving

I am in my new place-a rental house. It took about two hours to relocate nearly all of my belongings. It included one van load, two pickup truck loads, and two trailer loads. So far, I am glad that I now have a garage for my car to live in, a washer and dryer in the basement to use, and only three steps to my front door. It is going to be an adjustment to not have as many closets (my old apartment had seven), but overall I have more space. My bedroom and kitchen are organized, but I have about a half dozen boxes with odds and ends that need to be sorted and stored-photos, letters, and other random items. A couple more perks of the apartment-I live one and a half blocks closer to work (it is now two and a half blocks instead of four), I have a three season porch and a backyard, and it is on a quieter street. Thanks to Cathy, Leland, Marcia, Joel, Bill, Snookie and Vi for all their help.
If you are a relative, you may be getting a note in the mail shortly with my new address (if you haven't already). My phone number has not changed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What I made this summer

This is a little girl dress I made. It is from Simplicity pattern 9602 and this is the newborn size, though from experience I think it would fit a nine month old. I love the seersucker fabric.

This is a dress for a two year old. It is Simplicity pattern 5118. I made another one like this for my friend's two year old daughter and it was bright blue and white checked.
My new purse. It didn't take long to sew and the fabric is leftover from my heart quilt I made this spring.
A simple pillowcase.

A zipper pouch that I made with the help of my sister.


This is the quilt that I made in June. It is a small twin size that I am keeping for myself.

I also made several tote bags (two for my own groceries and one for my aunt), some napkins, and a simple backpack for my niece Mariah's birthday.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Same Kind of Different As Me

This book got on my reading list because my friend Cyd recommended it. We both read a lot, though I read a lot more fiction than she does. This book,
Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, tells the story of a unique friendship. Ron Hall and Denver Moore live in Fort Worth, Texas, but in very different circumstances. When they cross paths, both of their lives change in ways that they never could have predicted. Not a fairy tale by any means, but a book that will make you think and wonder what kind of impact your life is making on others.

Friday, August 22, 2008

what I read this summer

Here are the books that I read this summer.
  • Skid by Rene Gutteridge
  • Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
  • Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin
  • Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
  • The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman
  • Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury
  • A Mile in My Flip-Flops by Melody Carlson
  • Coming Unglued by Rebecca Seitz
  • A Minute Before Friday by Jo Kadlecek
  • Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck
  • Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • Where the River Ends by Charles Martin
  • Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston
  • A Delirious Summer by Ray Blackston
  • Lost in Rooville by Ray Blackston

My overall favorites were A Minute Before Friday, and Revelations of a Single Woman and the Ray Blackston books.

Has anyone read any of these books? What did you read this summer?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Shack



The Shack by William Young is the book my book club chose to read for our August meeting. The book is worth reading, though it isn't easy to read. I would recommend reading it slowly since there is so much content in it. It sort of felt like reading a sermon, though all Young's ideas about God are probably not accurate. My initial reaction when I finished is that I liked the book, but now I am not sure. Anyone else read it?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sweet Caroline



Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck takes place in Beaufort, South Carolina. Caroline is the main character who has stayed in Beaufort after high school doing various things. Now she has the opportunity to move to Barcelona, Spain. But she inherits the Frogmore Cafe, has the attention of JD Rand, a sheriff deputy, plus her old friend Mitch O'Neal comes back to town. Sometimes decisions aren't easy, and all these things make it hard to figure out what to do.
This book I read in a day (I am on summer vacation) and enjoyed. It wasn't the best book I read, and at the end I wondered if the author would write a sequel because in some ways the story doesn't seem finished.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Oliver Jeffers

It is always fun for me to discover new authors of children's books. I discovered Oliver Jeffers at Cherry Street Books in Alexandria. He wrote a book called The Incredible Book Eating Boy. Of course, any book about books piques my interest, and this one was not a disappointment. The story is about Henry, a boy who loves books. He loves books because he loves to eat them. He eats them voraciously until he gets sick. A fun story that my nephews and I enjoyed, so I looked for the other two books that were mentioned on the book jacket. These two books are both about the same boy (he is never given a name) and the stories are simple, but I believe that they would appeal to both preschoolers and younger elementary students. How to Catch a Star is about a boy who wants a star who wants a friend. He finally gets a star, though not in the way he expected.
Lost and Found is about the boy finding a penguin. When he finds the penguin, the boy decides he needs to help it get where it belongs. As the boy does this, he realizes something unexpected and ends up with a new friend.


Has anyone else seen any of these books?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Flabbergasted

If you are looking for a book to read on your summer vacation, I would recommend Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston. This is a book that I have read already and plan to read again this summer. The story is about Jay Jarvis and he just moved to Greenville, South Carolina. He wants to make friends and in his attempt to do that starts going to church. Blackston does a great job writing the story. Parts of it made me laugh, and the characters are unique and likable. There are two more books after this one-A Delirious Summer and Lost in Rooville. I like the first book best, but they are all good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Five Love Languages for Singles

The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman is a good book to read. It would be something to read and discuss with a friend or a group of people, but even if no one you know is reading it, I would still recommend it. The purpose is to help people understand more about relationships and loving people. Chapman's premise is that there are five ways that people feel loved-words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch-and if you know how the people around you feel loved, you can focus on those things to insure that they are getting the message you want them to. Parts of the book make me realize if I am more proactive in my relationships with family and friends, they can improve and become more live giving instead of frustrating.


I was telling my friend a little bit about the book and she asked if love languages are different for single people, but I said no, that the book and the examples in it are geared toward singles. Other books on the five love languages are The Five Love Languages (for married couples), The Five Love Languages of Children, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, and The Love Languages of God, all by Gary Chapman. Click here to learn more about any of these books.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Simple Sewing

If you are interested in doing some sewing projects for around the house, Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter might be a book you should look at. If you have sewed much at all these would be projects that you probably would not have much trouble completing. Each project is given a rating as to the difficulty which can help you decide if it is something you want to tackle. There are different kinds of bags, including several kinds of totes and a simple backpack. There are also kitchen projects like aprons and potholders. A few other projects are a checkbook cover, a draft snake, and pillowcases. I think that I am going to try making a backpack for my niece Mariah's birthday and a tote bag or two for some friends that don't sew.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

I like the Fourth of July. It is great to celebrate the birth of our country. I like the American flag and fireworks. I like the Fourth of July because it is my birthday. It is also my sister's birthday. She was born when I was two. Other people that were born on July 4 include twins Ann Landers and Abby VanBuren (the columnists) and President Calvin Coolidge. There are also two other people that live in town that share my birthday-Harley and Connor. Do you know anyone else that was on July 4?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wrapped in Rain

Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin is the book our book club read for this month. This is the fifth book that I have read by Charles Martin, and though not my favorite one, definitely one worth reading. The beginning of the story is slow, but if you stick with reading the book, I don't think that you will be disappointed. It is a story of love, family, and forgiveness. The characters are well developed. Parts of it were sad, but parts were funny and I had to chuckle at a few of the things that characters did. Someone in book club thought that it would make a good movie and I would tend to agree.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer A User's Guide

Summer, A User's Guide by Suzanne Brown is a fun book to look at. If you love summer, you will enjoy this book. There are great photographs, recipes, and instructions for a variety of things. It is seperated into different sections including
  • the summer house and garden
  • the great outdoors
  • games, indoors and out
  • the summer table
  • for kids
  • how to fix or cure just about anything
One recipe that I want to try is for dulce de leche-an ice cream topping. If you want to know more about the author, click here to see her blog. There is also a website that is about her book here.
Looking through this book makes me wish that I could spend the summer at the ocean or at a lake cabin with a bunch of friends.

Coming soon-my 100th post and a giveaway.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

rain, rhubarb, and rice

Rain
It is the first week of my summer vacation and it is supposed to rain off and on at least through Friday. It is not all bad, since we haven't gotten a ton of rain this spring. But I can't go on a long bike ride without wondering if I will get wet. I just got a new bike yesterday-it's blue and the first brand new bike I have ever owned.
Rhubarb
I was at dad's yesterday and got a bunch of rhubarb. I am going to make rhubarb jam using a recipe that came from home-don't know the origin. It is my kind of recipe (only four ingredients and short instructions).
Rhubarb Jam
5 cups cut up rhubarb
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 3-ounce strawberry jello
Cook rhubarb, sugar and water til rhubarb is done. Add jello and stir well.
I am going to make a double batch of this later today.
Rice
I found a fun website (compliments of Susan Meissner's blog) that lets you test your word knowledge and donate rice to the UN World Food Program at the same time. You can find it at www.freerice.com.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is a good book to read. It is an account of how Greg Mortenson started many schools in Pakistan to educate the girls in that country. Here in the United States, I think we don't realize how fortunate we are that all people get to attend school. In Pakistan there are many places that school is not an option. Girls are even less likely to attend school. Mortenson has spent more than ten years trying to make schools more accessible. The difficulties that he encountered and the sacrifices he has made tell much about his passion for this. It is amazing what kind of difference a person with a passion for helping others can make in our world. If you want to know more about this book or Mortenson's work, look at the website for the book at http://www.threecupsoftea.com/. Adventurers and educators should read this book. It would also make a great book to read for a book club. Has anyone read this?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Whispers of the Bayou

Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark is this month's book club choice. It is a mystery that is set primarily in Louisiana. Miranda spent the first five years of her life in Louisiana, then moved to New York to live with her aunt. In the story she is 32 years old and suddenly called to return to her childhood home. Miranda ends up going and learns much about the first years of her life, which she had forgotten up to that point. I don't read many mysteries, but this book had me hooked shortly after I began reading it. The surprises start early in the story, and it was filled with more surprises that made me keep wondering what was going to happen as I read. Even if reading mysteries isn't your favorite thing you would likely enjoy this story.

Friday, May 2, 2008

quilt of hearts



Here is my latest project. It is one of the reasons that I have not finished a book lately. It is May here in Minnesota, but with a weather forecast indicating we might get snow AGAIN tonight, it is also nice to have a new quilt to cover up with when I am reading. The quilt may get many days of use before it warms up for good and my apartment becomes sweltering.


Thanks to Cathy for taking a picture of the quilt so I could put it on my blog. Also to Amanda for drawing the heart shapes for my pattern and Anita for helping choose the backing.

Monday, March 31, 2008

weekend, in six parts

Part 1-Nacho Libre
I went to Alexandria to pick up a few things and then went to visit my friend Jenny. Her son was excited to show me many of his library books about cars. After the kids went to bed we watched the movie Nacho Libre. The movie is a bit quirky, but if you like the Napoleon Dynamite movie, you might like this one.Part 2-Lots of Hearts
On Saturday, I sewed 120 hearts onto the blocks that I am making for my next quilt. I sewed 70 red hearts on white six and a half inch unfinished squares. Then I sewed 50 more smaller pink hearts on top of the red hearts, too. I did the last 20 on Sunday night, so now I have 70 blocks to put together to make the top.
Part 3-Beauty Shop
My friend and coworker called on Saturday night and invited me to visit. So I drove up to see her. I had the priviledge of getting my hair done by a three and half year old and seeing part of her favorite movie, Annie.
Part 4-How to Not Be Found at Church
I decided to sit on the opposite side in church on Sunday-I also happened to have a dress on and my hair put up in a clip. Anyway, on Sunday night I was talking to my friend on the phone. She asked me where I was on Sunday morning. I told her I was there, and she didn't believe me. I proceeded to tell her who I sat by and more details from the service. I realized that you can actually hide in church if you change just a few things-location being the primary factor.
Part 5-Birthday Party
We had chocolate cake and chocolate chip ice cream at the farm on Sunday afternoon for Wayne's birthday. After we were done eating Mark asked that we play Scrabble. He is only six, but he stuck with the whole game, despite the long time it takes for us to play a game.
Part 6-Sobieski
I went to visit my grandma on the way home. She thinks that the quilt (click here to see some pictures) Amanda made for her is beautiful.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blue Heart Blessed

This is Susan Meissner's newest book. I read it in one Saturday (my sister cannot believe I do this, but I live alone.) Daisy was jilted by her fiance ten days before their planned wedding. This has caused some good things and bad things...she now runs a shop called Something Blue in Minneapolis, but she also is wondering why it happened. I enjoyed this story because of the characters- most of whom live in the same apartment building Daisy lives in with her friends-Max, Rosalina and Mario, Father Laurent, her aunt, and her mother. It is also fun to read a book that references places I have been to or are familiar with (parts of the Twin Cities). This story is much more lighthearted book than many of Meissner's other books, which I was glad about. In fact, if you like this book you could also look at Meissner's blog about the book at Blue Heart Blessed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

fun times

My shower curtain is great. I made it several years ago and bought towels to match it. But the best thing about my shower curtain is it helps when children (my niece and nephews) are over to visit. Six of my seven nieces and nephews were over on Friday night and they wanted to play hide and seek. That works well in my two bedroom apartment since I have seven closets and not too many things. So the kids hid in some of the closets, behind furniture, under blankets and pillows, and in cupboards. Z. hid in the bathtub once (behind the shower curtain), and it took awhile for him to be found. After awhile, even little A wanted to hide in one of the closets.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saving Levi

I heard about Saving Levi by Lisa Misraje Bentley from my friend-her sister had given it to her to read. It looked interesting, and so I requested it from the library. It is the story of a boy, Levi, who was abandoned in China because he had been badly burned. He was rescued and proceeded to change a whole family's life. It is a short book that is definitely worth reading.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

book club

Last year I started a book club...not sure why it took me so long to do that since I have been an avid reader since second or third grade. We have been meeting a little over a year, with a break in the summer and for Christmas. Anyway, the books that we have read so far are

  • The End of the Spear by Steve Saint
  • Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
  • One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
  • Angry Housewives Eating BonBons by Lorna Landvik
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Scrap Everything by Leslie Gould
  • In An Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff
  • A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
  • Hamilton Heir by Valerie Hansen
  • Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

The two books that I like the best are The End of the Spear and Like Dandelion Dust. As you can see by the titles, the book have been a mix of fiction and nonfiction. I think in May it will be my turn to bring the books. Does anyone have a recommendation for a book that would be good for a book club? Has anyone read any of the books that our book club has read?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Quiet Strength


Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy is the book our book club is reading for our March meeting. Although I am not into football, I had heard some about Tony Dungy and even watched part of the Super Bowl when the Colts played in it in 2007. The book talks a lot about his coaching, but that is natural since it has been such a large part of his life. Reading this book can give you something to think about regarding how you want to live your life. It would be interesting to people that are interested in football, but also to people who are leaders in any type of job.

For the giveaway, elyse and Amanda are the winners. I will be getting the cards to you soon-I may have to make a couple so I have enough to give away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sky Blue

Sky Blue by Travis Thrasher was a book that surprised me. I have read a few other books by Thrasher and this seemed to be written in a different style. As I was reading, I almost gave up...even when I was two thirds through. It is worth reading to the end.
It is the story of Colin Scott set in the present day, primarily Chicago. He is an agent in the publishing world, and his world seems to be slowly crumbling. It doesn't continue to just crumble, though, but fall apart and he doesn't deal well with the difficulties. I would recommend it and I think that because of the unpredictable nature of the book a book club might have fun discussing it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

weekend

I made cards this weekend at Amanda's. Here are four of them. I made 16 of the orange one for April's card exchange.

I also tried rag curlers (see my previous post) with good results, though my hair ended up kind of frizzy. Having some natural curl does help. I think with some adjustment I could find some good results. Sleeping on rag curlers isn't like sleeping on the hard plastic ones I did as a kindergartener.
For leap year, I am going to give away some handmade cards...though not the ones that are posted. If you want to win, you need to leave a comment on one of my February posts. One comment per post will be entered into the drawing. Each winner (there will be two) will get five handmade cards. The contest runs til February 29, and on that day I hope to post the names of the winners. This contest is open to residents of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life

The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life by Jennifer Worick is the latest book I finished reading. There are directions on how to do a variety of things at home or around the home or farm. It includes five categories of activities according to location-the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the parlor, and the barn and beyond. The directions are not lengthy for any of the projects, so if you are unfamiliar with the task, it might not be explicit enough. Other projects seemed to be explained in enough detail for an average person to understand. A few examples of the projects included are making dandelion greens, embroider towels, braid a rag rug, learn to waltz, and pan for gold. This book would be good gift for anyone who is interested in homemade things or anyone that loved the Little House in the Prairie series. There are a few thing that I would think about trying- make a brine turkey, braid a rag rug and make & use rag curlers. There are also things that I do not want to try-ice fishing and grooming a horse.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

6 things

Things that I would like to learn how to do
  1. Stipple a quilt. For those who are not quilters, this is a kind of quilting that requires meandering. My quilting has been limited to straight lines.
  2. Play the piano. I think this is something I would like to do...but I have never had any music lessons and don't know how it would go.
  3. Play tennis. Maybe because this guy that liked me in college did. My friend Sarah plays, too, but she lives in California and is too far away to give me lessons.
  4. Be content. That may take the rest of my life.
  5. Swing dance. My dad might not be impressed with that one, but my friend knows how and loves it. It would be good exercise too.
  6. Speak Spanish well. So I could have a conversation with native Spanish speakers. It would help me in my job, as all my students' parents are Spanish speaking.

What would you like to learn to do?

edit: I forgot to add to my list that I would like to learn how to swim. Yes, I live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. My students find it difficult to believe that their teacher cannot swim.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I Love to Read

Okay, that much is obvious by my blog, but it is I love to read month at school. I like I love to read month because it is all about reading. At school we started the day by the whole student body going to the gyms and spending twenty minutes reading. I could start every morning like that without a problem. In fact, when I taught fourth grade in California, our first fifteen to twenty minutes was our silent reading time.
So now I have a challenge for you. Read 10 pages a day from any book. If you do that, you would be able to finish a medium length book in the month of February. The second challenge is for those of you with children. Read to them each day for 10 minutes.
My personal challenge is to read at least one children's book in Spanish each day. It is one thing I do to improve my reading skills in Spanish each year while I am encouraging my students to improve their reading skills in English.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

cold, cold, cold

I realize that I live in Minnesota, but it is COLD. SO COLD. Below zero with wind.My face hurt after walking home four blocks in the wind. It is supposed to be even colder tomorrow. And then it should warm up. I am thankful that it is not a long cold stretch, but would not mind missing this part of winter here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Searching for Eternity

Searching for Eternity by Elizabeth Musser is a novel about Emile de Bonnery. He suddenly has to move from France to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1960's. He is a thirteen year old who is struggling to fit into life there, though he would rather be in France. It is a story of loss, hope, love, and letting go. It spans three decades-taking part in the 60's, 70's and 80's. I enjoyed reading this book by Musser. Her descriptions of both France and Atlanta are done well. The characters are likable but not perfect. I would recommend this to people that are interested in history or current events.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

When Crickets Cry

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin is the book I finished reading on Thursday. It is the story of Reese and Annie. Reese is living in Georgia, trying to forget the pain from his past and living away from all the people (except his brother-in-law) that once knew him. Then he meets the little girl, Annie, and slowly he comes to grips with what has happened and how he can continue to live.
At first this book reminded me in part of the movie A Walk to Remember. Maybe because of the southern setting as much as anything else. It was a good book, though sad at times, and thankfully somewhat unpredictable. I like Martin's writing because of the way he tells the story, uses quotes from well known authors, and how he reveals only part of the story at a time. The story jumps from present to the past, but not in a way that is confusing to the reader, and he makes you wonder for awhile instead of giving all the information at one time.
When I first finished reading it, I wasn't sure that I liked it as well as I thought I might, but I would recommend it to others.
One thing that might bog people down is the medical terminology that is a part of the story, but it does add credibility and understanding to the story.
This book was worth reading and would be a good book for a book club because of the depth of the story. I liked it but still find that my favorite book by Martin that I have read so far is Chasing Fireflies.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

full house

Yesterday afternoon and evening I had company in the form of three little people-Z, P, and A. I called my dad and brothers to tell them that they could come over and visit. Later Dad, Wayne, Tim AND M & M came. So there was a full and loud apartment. We stayed up later than Z, P, and A usually do and had fun. We weren't too quiet this morning, either, so we might have woken up my landlady (she lives downstairs) or my neighbors that do tend to sleep in on Saturdays.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

resolutions

I make New Year's resolutions. One of my friends said her resolution is to make no more of them. I have found them useful because when I write something down, it more often gets done. Some of mine from 2007 were to finish my blue and yellow quilt, read through the Bible, start a book club, and move. I did the first three of those, the last one-move-is now on my list for the upcoming year. Two new goals that I have for this year are to visit a state or country I have not been to and to memorize a couple of chapters of the Bible. Any suggestions on a place I should visit? I have been to almost all of the western U.S.A. so I would have to either go to the south or the east coast. What about ideas of what chapter to memorize?