Monday, May 29, 2017

Book o' the Month: Under the Wide and Starry Sky


Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a novel by Nancy Horan about the lives of Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson and her husband, Robert Louis.  Yes, R.L.S., that Stevenson, the one who wrote Treasure Island and Kidnapped which many of us had to read in school.  Which many of us were lucky enough to read in school!

What I enjoyed most about this book was discovering the course their lives took and how they eventually ended up in Samoa, Fanny living out her final days near Santa Barbara, CA.

I will also be reading another book soon on the same subject, Stevenson's Treasure by Mark Wiederanders.

With school out in a week, I am going to need good books to escape to...

Book o' Last Month: Farmer Boy

Andrew and I got through the second book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, Farmer Boy.  We loved it!  This book is about the early life (ages 8-10) of Almanzo Wilder, Laura's future husband.  He lived a much more stable and affluent lifestyle compared to Laura.  His father was a farmer who also raised horses, among other things.  His parents were firm and frugal, but also kind and generous.

This book was fascinating!  We learned many many things about life on a farm.  We are also continuing to watch the TV series.  We are on season four right now--Hubby and I seeing many episodes for the first time, and no wonder.  Probably the ones which are a bit on the odd side  (see "My Ellen") weren't aired as reruns.

Now were are back with Laura and the gang, reading On the Banks of Plum Creek.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book o' Last Month: Little House on the Prairie


Andrew and I finished the second book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, Little House on the Prairie.  I think that these books should be on reading lists for boys as well as girls.  There is so much good stuff in here about the nuts and bolts of pioneer life!  Building a house, constructing a chimney, laying a split log floor, digging a well, and...Indians.

Which brings me to another point.  I find the discussion of the Native Americans, the Osage, in this book fascinating.  The way they are characterized and described, is of it's time, but also somewhat progressive.  Ma is clearly afraid of the Indians, while Pa has more of a live and let live attitude.  Laura has a child's inquisitive curiosity.

Reading this book resulted in many internet searches about places and names in this book, from the African American Dr. Tan, to Independence, Kansas, to Soldat du Chene.  I even came across a paper discussing the book in relation to attitudes about the Osage, which was very interesting.  What's more, there were many opportunities for Andrew and I to discuss what happened to the native peoples of America.  At nine years old, he has many questions.

Next up, Farmer Boy, which we have requested from the library and are still waiting on.

And...the whole family is half way through season two of the TV show--which provides lots of material for family discussion.  We don't go to church, but I feel that my kids get lessons in morality with almost every episode!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Book o' the Month: Little House in the Big Woods

I think I started reading this book back in fourth grade, but never finished.  James and the Giant Peach was more my thing back then.  But now?  Now I am wondering, what took me so long?!

I LOVE it!  And nine-year-old Andrew loves it!  In fact, we are on to Little House on the Prairie and plan to read the entire series.

AND...we have been watching the TV series.  As a family.  Even the surly almost-thirteen-year-old can't get enough of it.  Hubby and I loved watching as kids and now we get to share it with our kids.  Too much fun, I tell you.

I have actually been on a prairie sort of binge lately.  Think:  Gunne Sax and Holly Hobbie.  But more on that later!

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Curator


Another of the many things I did not know would happen upon becoming a parent:  I am now a curator.

The closets are stuffed, under the beds are packed, the hallways are lined...with stuff.  In the busyness, craziness, and exhaustion of mothering small children things have not been, shall we say, sorted properly.  Schoolwork, artwork, toys, craft supplies, etc., etc., etc.

And it is my job to go through it all, piece by piece, and make decisions.  Keep or toss.  Recycle or upcycle.  Take a photo and let go.  Save.

Daunting.  And a little sad.

We have been in our rented house almost eleven years now (we never planned on renting for so long!) and so much has happened and so quickly.

What to save?  Every small bit holds a memory.  An anchor to the fleeting moments of my kids' childhood.

So I edit and create the collection.  It is a work in progress.  With no end in site.

(The Pucci Pups above did not make the cut.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spare Tire Crochet


Is this not completely awesome?  Not my car, but if I ever have one with the spare tire on the back, I am totally doing this!

Hello, Vertigo!


A week ago, I was going to write a post called, Hello, January!

But then I got vertigo and everything stopped.

EXCEPT THE SPINNING OF MY HEAD.

About fifteen years ago, when I was a teacher, before I had kids, I had a case of vertigo.  Hubby took me to the ER because it was scary and I kept vomiting.  The doctor told me it was probably viral and would clear up on it's own.  In fact, he had just experienced the same illness, himself.  So, I went home and stayed on the couch for a week.  Then I went to work and a mom actually stayed the whole day to help, er watch me, because I was still woozy.

It's been ten days now and I am better, but not recovered.  It is very frustrating.  The best thing about having vertigo is that about all I can do is stay home and watch period dramas--at least since I have been able to watch TV again.  The worst thing, besides the discomfort, is that I couldn't take care of my family for several days and had to rely on Hubby to pick up the slack (poor guy!).  This week I'm able to drive (though it gives me a headache) and do my usual chores and errands, but it is not fun.

I remember from the last time that it took a while to feel fully normal (ha!) again, so I guess I know the drill.  But geez.  It sure reminds me to not take good health for granted.

Have you ever had vertigo?  Please commiserate (er comment) below!

DISCLAIMER:  If you experience vertigo, do what I did and CALL A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL right away.  S/he will need to rule out stroke and other frightening conditions, or have you call 911!

Happy new year.  (Maybe tomorrow I will watch this apropos film again starring my classic movie star boyfriend.)