Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 Books

I've finally documented and analyzed my reading from last year. A few interesting trends appear: I did A LOT of reading aloud to the children and this turned out to be my biggest category (15 books read aloud). Reading to the kids is one of my favorite things to do with them and I hope they will have fond memories of it when they grow up as I have of my parents reading to me in the evenings.

I was surprised at how few novels I read (11) and how many cookery books I read (9). I was also happy that I had read so many Christian books (12).

I suppose if you consider that the biggest category of books I read were children's books, that means I read fewer adult books than I have in many years. Since our year was a crazy, mixed up one anyway, that's okay. I did make my yearly goal if those are included and that made me happy after so much else going awry.

I did feel as if I read more books that I would highly recommend than I have in other years. Please check out the books listed with a ***. They are worth reading!!!

I always hope to read more "really good books" each year and think about goals for reading, etc. However, reading is my relaxation and so much of what I read gets ordered from the library on a whim after seeing it recommended elsewhere. I'm not sure I really want to stop that practice. However, I will always subtly try to "read richer".

Thanks to all of you who have recommended books this past year! I always enjoy seeing what others have been reading.


*****Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow -- top book of the year
Nancy Guthrie
Extremely good book on suffering and difficult times.
Highly recommend.

***Blessing Your Husband
Debra Evans
Great book with book lists at the end of each chapter! Don't let the cheesy title turn you off!

***Parenting Is Your Highest Calling and 8 Other Myths
Leslie Leyland Fields
A very good book covering such myths as: Good Parenting Leads to Happy Children, If You Find Parenting Difficult, You Must Not Be Following the right Plan, and You Will Always Feel Unconditional Love for your Child.
I would highly recommend this book.

***Pure Pleasure
Gary Thomas
Christians need to enjoy God's gifts to the fullest balanced with holiness
Highly recommend

Allan Harman
Good commentary

The Message of Philippians
JA Motyer
Easy reading commentary

A Mother's Heart
Joan Fleming
An older book but worth reading -- sort of a precurssor to Sally Clarkson

Makoto Fujimura
Essays about art and influencing culture. Good, but sometimes "refracted"

Holy Available
Gary Thomas
Good, but liked Pure Pleasure better. Holiness and the Christian life.

***Six Ways to Keep The Little in Your Girl
Danna Gresh
Such a great book on helping girls through their tween years

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty
Joni Eareckson Tada
Good book, especially if dealing with physical pain.

Singing the Gospel
Janet Spaulding
master's thesis on hymn singing in the 1850's to present

Blue River
Charles Major
The kids loved this book about a boy in Indiana during the pioneer days and his battles with bears

Alice of Old Vincennes
Maurice Thompson
Mostly historical account of late 1700's Vincennes. Enjoyed this historical fiction. Would be good for teens -- too long for grade school.

The Swiss Twins
Lucy F. Perkins
Sweet little story of life in Switzerland for children

Inemak: the Little Greenlander
Alice Alison Lide
Children's story of life in Greenland

Growing Up in Indiana
Thomas W. Kitchel
Indiana farmer's life in the 1920's

***Freedom's Light
Elizabeth O'Maley
Great kids book on the Underground Railroad in Indiana

***The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Elizabeth George Speare
Great children's book on colonial Connecticut. We all enjoyed it.

Mary Blair Immel
Great story for kids of a boy captured in Civil War and brought to Camp Morton in Indianapolis

***Stopping to Home
Lea Wait
Lovely book about an 11 year old girl in Wiscasset, Maine in 1806. The children and I really enjoyed it.

***Johnny Tremain
Elizabeth Forbes
Wow, did I love this book! set in Boston in 1774 and the hero is a young silversmith apprentice.

***Misty of Chicateague
Marguerite Henry
My first time to read this children's classic

Faraway Summer
Johanna Hurwitz
Story of a NYC girl going to Jericho, VT for summer vacation. (Children's)

***Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catherine Carey Logan
Mary Pope Osborne
Historical novel of a Pennsylvania Quaker girl captured by the Lenape Indians. Good but a bit too heavy on the boy interest and obviously quite PC about the Indian religion.

Miss Hickory
Carolyn S. Bailey
Interesting nature stories from New Hampshire

***Carry on Mr. Bowditch
Jean Lee Latham
Fantastic biography for children of Nathaniel Bowditch.

Digging to America
Anne Tyler
Interesting novel about two families that adopt children. One family is American and the other American-Iranian. Deals with issues of fitting into a cultureThe Bears of

***The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley
Very fun, easy read crime novel. Heroine is 11 years old but still found it a page-turner

The Landlady's Master
George MacDonald
Endearing story but strange theology. Not McDonald's best.

Rosina Lippi
Interesting snippets of life in a small Austrian town over 40 years in the 20th century and from different people's lives in the same town.

The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters
Set in England in the early 1950's. Really enjoyed it but it turned out to be about a ghost....not exactly my genre but it was fascinating discussing it with some friends

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde
An interesting and somewhat depressing story of what a depraved life looks like

The Writing Circle
Corinne Dermas
Interest-keeping book about a writing group. I felt it was very well written, some strange things, a clear portrayal of a woman's selfishness ruining lives.

Agnes Grey
Anne Bronte
My first Bronte read. Sweet novel about a governess who marries a pastor. Too predictable. Appreciated the many Christian references.

***Queen Hereafter
Susan Fraser King
Historical novel about Margaret Queen of Scotland around 1066AD -- very enjoyable and not overly sensualized

An Irish Country Christmas

Patrick Taylor
#3 in a favorite series of an Irish country doctor in the 1960's

Crossing Oceans
Gina Holmes
Quick read novel about a single mother dying of cancer and needing to find the right place for her daughter. Easy read but shallow and not much depth or development.

The Diary of a Farmer's Wife 1796-1797
Anne Hughes
Interesting diary of a middle class housewife in 18th century England

A Table in the Tarn
Orlando Martin
Part memoir of starting a French B&B and part cookbook. Very nicely designed but recipes are too complicated. Was somewhat dissappointed.

The Sharper the Knife, The less You Cry
Kathleen Flinn
Entertaining (for a foodie) memoir about attending the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris

***Eating History
Andrew F Smith
30 turning points in the making of American Cuisine. Too me forever to get through this but it was interesting and enjoyable

Well Preserved

Joan Hassol
Part recipe book, part memoir about making jam on the east coast

The Cook & The Gardener
Amanda Hesser
"A year of recipes and writings from the French Countryside": sweet and enjoyable

Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages
Anne Mendelson
Extremely informative history and chemistry of milk, including recipes

***Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking
Kate Colquhoun
Fascinating history of Britain by tracing the developments in eating habits over the centuries.

Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft
Good advice on cooking in short snippets. Wish I could remember them all....

Sweater Quest
Adrienne Martini
Fun knit read about knitting an Alice Starmore sweater

Knitting Around
Elizabeth Zimmerman
My first introduction to EZ, the knitting legend. Memoir plus patterns.

Shop Your Closet
Melanie Fascitelli
Tips on organizing your wardrobe. Not extremely impressive.

Things Good Mothers Know
Alexandra Stoddard
Pure Alexandra Stoddard, but I do enjoy reading her now and then

Friday, January 28, 2011

Purse Love

I'm so happy with my new purse. I've been dreaming about the sweater it's made from for a long time -- it's been sitting in the stash for at least a year and a half. I was getting more and more desperate for a purse as the one I was using was falling apart. A few hours in the sewing area and I had my new one!

This time I tried adding some stiff interfacing on recommendation from a friend. It made such a nice difference. And, I can change the color of the flower to go with a different season. Hopefully it will last a long time!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January Knitting Tea

It's taken me nearly a month to post these pictures from a "knitting tea" we had with our good friend at the beginning of January.

It is our tradition to get together sometime after Christmas for our "holiday" tea. Christina kindly hosted us this year.

It was a busy tea with six little children making noise and adding to the conversation.

We often exchange gifts and this year, lo, and behold, we'd all made them! I made a tea cozy, Christina knitted a shawl, and our friend knitted us both cowls.

Each gift particularly suited the recipient.

I LOVE this cowl. It's so soft, and beautiful, and nice and snug around my neck. (Apparently the pattern is from Knitty, in case you are wondering.)

Lots of books were read by the children, including Laura's newest.

Mom showed up sporting her Christmas gift -- the socks Christina knitted.

Grandma helped to quiet the children a bit.

We ended up with a whole room full of reading children.

Of course there was plenty of tea and many goodies.

And eventually the little one zonked out.

A lovely afternoon was had by all.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Newest Bookworm

Laura is the newest bookworm around here. Every night she sits with Michael in bed and reads her books while Michael reads his (well, in this picture he's reading his Mac). It's so cute how into books Laura is already. I guess it's a good thing since last time I counted there were 21 bookshelves in this house.

The snow continues here -- we don't have all that much, just a few inches, but we have freezing cold weather and no thaw in sight. Silly me was using the garage for a second fridge when the garage door got left open for hours and my produce froze. UGH! At least most of it was salvaged and, compared to what could have happened, the lettuce and greens were a small loss.

It's almost the end of January and I still have not posted my 2010 books! I better get on the ball this week!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Patches and Billy Bones

Last week I took some time to do a few projects with the kids. James decided he wanted to make a cat like the cat Daddy had when he was a boy. Thus, here is Patches:

I suggested a fish to Andrew, since I had seen one recently on another blog. Out came Billy Bones:
We're receiving more snow here! I think snow in winter is our new normal! Otherwise we are keeping busy with company, school, and chores.

Laura has had two long appointments at Riley this week. Fortunately, most of the news is good and everyone is very pleased with how her heart is functioning. She's being weaned off the two heart meds! She'll continue to have regular checkups and we pray that her cardiomyopathy will remain stable and not worsen over the years. That is the only concern as far as her heart goes, but as I understand it, the chance of it worsening is there, but only slight.

Everyone is also pleased that Laura is nearly 14 pounds now and catching up on her development! We have to keep up with the round the clock feeds and not let her go more than 6 hours between feeds, so that is a bit tiresome, but understandable. We're just waiting for the date for her nasal cyst surgery and the only "bad" news is they want a g-tube (direct port to stomach) inserted at that point so she can keep up with her feeds post-surgery.

And now I must go get my little pumpkin dressed for the day.....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Michael's New Book

Michael's most recent book, Singing the Songs of Jesus, is finally for sale here in America! (It was published in the UK.) You can find it here on Amazon.
Here is a blurb about the book from the publisher:

The Psalms were composed for singing. In Old and New Testament times, and throughout Church history, congregations sung Psalms. Despite renewed interest in Psalmody, few books explain how the Psalms function as hymns for Christ-centred worship.Singing the Songs of Jesus fills that gap without shying away from difficulties, like the doubts and curses of the Psalms. This study shows why the Psalms are suited for Christian praise and how to use them for powerful and relevant worship. (Photo from Amazon)

Michael also participated in the writing of Sing a New Song, a compilation of essays on psalm singing. It can be found for sale here.
Publisher's Description: The book of Psalms occupies a unique place in Scripture, being both the Word from God and words to God from His people. Unfortunately, psalm singing no longer plays an integral part of worship in most evangelical churches. In this book, thirteen well-respected scholars urge the church to rediscover the treasure of the Psalms as they examine the history of psalm singing in the church, present biblical reasons for the liturgical practice, and articulate the practical value it provides us today.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time to Say Hello

Life has been so busy here that I haven't been able to post, and I am missing that. I decided to make some felt flowers this week for my first order in, maybe, 9 months (can that be true?). So, that has consumed my spare time and left me wondering if I actually have time for crafting at that level just now......

I spent some time with the children crafting this week and have some cute things to post. We've also gotten hooked watching the Edwardian Farm episodes on youtube. Lots to learn about life 100 years ago.

Laura keeps us busy with her 6-7 feeds a day. Michael gets up at 5 a.m. and I stay up until past midnight. Between medications, table food feedings, and exercises, I think I could have a full-time job just being her mom. :)

Tonight I've been trying to figure out how to deal with the new 50-book limit on each of our library cards. Just a year ago it was 120 book limit and then this year it was 75. I have four cards for our family, but that is a limit of only 200 and when I went online tonight I realized it might just be trouble if I tried to request any valentine books......hmmmm....better get James to the library pronto to obtain his card.

I should get back to finishing my flowers......I hope to pop in a bit more frequently next week.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Family Christmas, Finally

After two postponements, due to sickness, we finally had our family Christmas after church last Sunday afternoon.

Christina and JK hosted us, and despite the tragic end of their Christmas tree, their house was still very festive looking.

The table looked so pretty and Christina had plaids everywhere:

Lunch was delicious: beef bourguignon, with salad, fruit, and bread.

There were some presents to be exchanged afterward, which is the favorite part of the children:

Christina showered mom with socks: 2 knitted pairs and 2 bought pairs.

The kids had to play with their toys right away and the parents enjoyed visiting.

Then it was time for the arrival of the Christmas pudding, properly set alight.

The silly pudding wouldn't quit burning and we finally had to blow it out.

We had a surprise guest: our pastor from Scotland, whom the children and I haven't seen in five years. It was so nice to visit with him, hear news of all our friends, and reacquaint the children with the first minister most of them ever knew.

And now Christmas is nearly packed away and January is being fully embraced. It's become one of my favorite months: I love the quiet days to stay home and craft, ambition to get organized, the winter skies, and the promise of new beginnings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January Wedding

We had a wedding to attend on the first of January. Emily did the flowers, so we got to be part of the excitement for a few days. I love the smell the flowers bring to the house, and the thought of all the creativity going into such a special event.

Here are the flower girl buckets:

The wedding colors were red for the bridesmaids, white for the bride and flower girls, black for the groomsmen and silver accents.

Emily always does such a nice job (in my opinion anyway):

The bouquets were so pretty.

And the bride's bouquet was quite stunning!

Here they are in the garage, all ready to head to the wedding:

One of the bridesmaids hanging onto the bouquets after the ceremony:

And the happy couple!
Everyone rejoiced for this lovely couple who not only looked beautiful on the outside but have beautiful, godly hearts on the inside.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Laura at 8 Months

Laura turned 8 months last week. She's had two weeks without any bumps in the road and has thus made so much progress! The best news is that she sits up now on her own.

She's into banging toys together, making clicking noises, saying mama, dada, and has finally remembered how to roll over.

The best fun is playing with her siblings and I am amazed at how much interest each of the boys takes in her. It's natural for Rachel, but interesting to see that even David just loves playing with her.

We took her NG tube out on Friday to change it and haven't put in a new one yet! It's nice not to see that tube on her face and so far she's been taking her bottles, albeit with quite a bit of prodding. We've even begun solid foods again and she's quite excited about them!

She is the joy of our lives!

Thank you all for your continued prayers on Laura's behalf. We still don't have a date for her next surgery. We're told anytime in the next 6-12 weeks. I am happy for any extra time for her to catch up on her weight and development. She weighed in at 12 pounds 11 ounces today, which is good, although it could be better.