Thursday, March 28, 2019

No.234: My Latest Reads // March

This post contains affiliate links.
P.S. I highly recommend Book Outlet!  Use my link to receive $10 off your first order of $25 or more.

#15. FORCE OF NATURE by Jane Harper
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No one saw the bushland swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you. (the very first line! p.1)

He thought of the hundreds of little things that had added up to go so wrong. Maybe hundreds of little things could add up to go right. (93%)

Another book from the library holds list!  Force of Nature is the second book in the Aaron Falk series and I couldn't put it down.  An engaging story with an ending I didn't predict.  I really liked this one!

#16. THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene
My Rating: ★★★☆

It is one of the strange discoveries a man can make that life, however you lead it, contains moments of exhilaration; there are always comparisons which can be made with worse times: even in danger and misery the pendulum swings. (p.59)

He felt only an immense disappointment because he had to go to God empty-handed, with nothing done at all.  It seemed to him, at that moment, that it would have been quite easy to have been a saint.  It would only have needed a little self-restraint and a little courage.  He felt like someone who has missed happiness by seconds at an appointed place.  He knew now that at the end there was only one thing that counted - to be a saint. (p.210)

We've had a copy of The Power and the Glory on our bookshelves for years - I think it may have been Mark's from high school! - so I decided to give it a shot.  The story is about a "whisky priest" who is on the run during a purging of Catholicism in Mexico.  I have such complicated feelings about this book...I know I'll be thinking about it for awhile.  3.5 stars.

#17. AND EVERY MORNING THE WAY GETS LONGER AND LONGER by Fredrik Backman
My Rating: ★★★★☆

“It's an awful thing to miss someone who's still here.” 

“What can we do to help Grandpa?"  The dad's tears dry on the boy's sweatshirt.
"We can walk down the road with him. We can keep him company.” 

And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is a novella and at less than 100 pages, easy to read in a single sitting.  It was a touching story about a grandfather with Alzheimer's, his grandson, and the way memories connect us together.  My grandmother had dementia, so this hit close to home.  Simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful.

#18. YOUR LABRADOR RETRIEVER PUPPY, MONTH BY MONTH by Terry Albert, Deb Eldredge, & Don and Barb Ironside
My Rating: ★★★★

This book has been a lifesaver for me as we prepare to bring home our new puppy in April!  I'm feeling much more prepared (and a little scared, hah!) about caring for and training this new member of our family.


#19. THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL DESIRE by Ralph Martin
My Rating: ★★★★☆

...what the spiritual journey is all about is uniting our will with God's will, wanting what He wants, loving what He loves, living a life that in all its aspects honors Him and gives Him glory. (p.153)

Did you pick a name from the Saint Name Generator earlier this year?  I got St. John of the Cross.  In years past, I've clicked and quickly forgotten my saint, but this year, I'm trying to be different!  As I browsed my religious books for writings by St. John of the Cross, I came across this book.  I've started it before and set it aside, but this time I quickly made my way through it.  My copy is now full of asterisks and underlined passages.  Isn't it always funny how a book can find you at just the right time?

____________________

MY READING IN NUMBERS FOR 2019
Books Read: 19
Pages Read: 5,793
Fiction: 12  //  Non-Fiction: 7
Kindle Books: 4  //  Paper Books: 15
Original 2019 books "to-read" total on Goodreads: 424 // Current "to-read" total: 432 (I'm going in the wrong direction, hah!)

Monday, March 25, 2019

No.233: Five Favorites for March

This post contains affiliate links.

1 // HABITAT FOR HUMANITY'S RESTORE
We're doing a little makeover in Sophie's room and I've been on the lookout for a desk.  I really wanted one that was solid wood, but finding one in our budget was tricky.  On a whim, I popped into our local Restore and oh.my.goodness.  This place is like a home improvement lover's dream!  They have everything: dressers, tables, lamps, kitchen cabinets, tile, even vintage windows.  The prices are so reasonable and sometimes better than prices I've seen at Goodwill!  Sophie picked out her favorite and I can't wait to paint it white to match the rest of her furniture.  In the meantime, she got right to work with the decorating, hah!

2 // CHEWY.COM
T-12 days before the new puppy arrives!  I've been checking the last items off the list by ordering from Chewy and I'm their new biggest fan.  When I comparison shop, the prices seem to always be the same or better and the shipping is crazy fast.  You can also get 3% back through ebates!  Win/win/win.

3 // PARMESAN CRISPS
Spring is in the air and I'm trying to break my winter hibernation habits with some new ones.  Lately, I've been eating a big salad everyday for lunch.  Mark found these parmesan crisps for me at the store and I love them!  They give the crunch of croutons without the carbs, but full disclosure: I usually add in both.

4 // PERSON OF INTEREST
When Mark is away on business, I tend to stay up late watching Netflix shows until I can't keep my eyes open.  #scaredycat  This month, I started watching Person of Interest because it was crime-related without being too too scary.  The first few episodes were decent (I could multi-task while watching it) but by the end of the first season, I was hooked!

5 // SOPHIE'S DETANGLER 
This detangler has been a life-saver this month.  Sophie's hair tangles easily and there have more than a few tears.  Now she tolerates my brushing with a little less trepidation.  And bonus: there aren't any weird ingredients.  (I bought mine on Grove Collaborative - that free starter set was just too good to pass up!  You can use my link to get it too!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

No.232: 40 Days of Lenten Soups


As a family, we're planning to eat a lot of soup during Lent this year.  We have a few exceptions (a rare date night, two of the boys' feasts days and an occasional Sunday dinner), but the rest of the week will have soup on the menu for dinner.  I'm hoping this simpler menu will help us appreciate the true spirit of Lent.  Below are the soups (and some recipes!) for the first two weeks:

Ash Wednesday: Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup & grocery store baguettes

Thursday: Beef Stew 
INGREDIENTS // 2lb stew beef, onions chopped, celery chopped, carrots peeled and chopped, mini red potatoes, 28oz. can whole tomatoes, 1.5tsp. Italian seasoning, 3 cups beef broth, 2 bay leaves, frozen peas, salt and pepper, and 0.5 cup flour
DIRECTIONS // Lightly brown the stew meat in batches in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Dump tomatoes and their juices into the slow cooker and mash them a little.  Add onions, celery, carrots and potatoes.  (The amounts of these depends on who I'm feeding and how much I have in my refrigerator.  In my house, it's generally the more, the merrier!)  Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the vegetables and then add beef and drippings.  Pour 2.5 cups beef broth over all, stir quickly, add bay leaves and cover.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  20 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas (about 1 cup) and salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, whisk the last 0.5 cup of broth with the flour to make a smooth paste.  Stir into stew and cook until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and enjoy!
Friday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup & store-bought baguettes

Saturday (Week 89): Mark and I went on a date!  We had burgers and the kids had pizza at their grandparents  

First Sunday of Lent: leftovers

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup & homemade cheddar biscuits


Wednesday: Ember Days. leftovers

Thursday: Clean-Eating Chili & tortilla chips

Friday: Ember Days. Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
INGREDIENTS // 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice, 1 cup each of finely diced celery, carrots and onions, 1tsp. oregano, 1T. basil, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 1.5 cups warm half and half, salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS // Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil and bay leaf into a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the roux: melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour.  Whisk constantly for 5 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup of hot soup until smooth.  Stir the roux back into the slow cooker, then add Parmesan, warmed half and half and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook on low for another 15-30 minutes until read to serve.
Saturday (Week 90): Ember Days. leftovers

Second Sunday of Lent: Spaghetti and Meatballs (not at all St. Patrick's Day-appropriate, but one of the kids requested it so on the menu it went!)


Tuesday: J's feast day! tacos and chocolate chip cookies


How is your Lent going so far?  What is your favorite soup?  I'd love to hear your favorites!

Monday, March 18, 2019

No.231: Intentions for the End of March


The next few weeks are going to be crazy - it's crunch time before the new puppy comes! 

INTENTIONS FOR THE END OF MARCH

  • complete T25 Alpha Weeks 3 & 4
  • finish Easter baskets
  • get the big boys to the barber and buzz the little ones at home
  • give my split ends a trim (maybe watch a Youtube video or two?)
  • finish buying the last few things before our new puppy arrives
  • puppy proof the first floor 
  • find a vet
  • go through the millions of recipe printouts and organize (part of 100LT #10)
  • organize the junk drawers
  • make a list of spring clothing needs for the kids
  • clean out and vacuum the car
  • paint S's room (100LT #69)
  • check out the Restore for a dresser and/or desk 
  • get estimates for resealing the driveway

        PREVIOUS INTENTIONS

        If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, be sure to click over to see what I checked off the list!
        • create a regular routine of working out with D (we're going to do T25 together!)
        • replace burnt out recessed lighting bulbs in the living room and kitchen
        • declutter and organize the school closet
        • introduce a little Shakespeare into our homeschool (we read Macbeth)
        • plan something art-related to do with the kids
        • play dominoes or cards after dinner as a family
        • go on a date!
        • send a package, just because
        • paint S's room (100LT #69)
        • start peeking around for a new dresser on yardsale sites or CL (no luck yet)
        • research costs for resealing the driveway (now to get some quotes!)
        • start a compost pile (this blog post was really helpful)
        • bake bread (revisited this post to get back into the routine)

        Thursday, March 14, 2019

        No.230: Artisan Soaps Around the United States

        This post contains affiliate links.

        I admit ahead of time that this is such a random post, but hear me out!  I've recently ordered a few soaps online and have since been fascinated with the entire soap-making process.  I definitely don't have time to learn the skill right now, so I'm happy to support the little businesses who do.

        Here are three reasons why you should try artisan soap:
        1. Bars of soap seem to last much longer than body wash, so your financial commitment is less in the long-run.  
        2. You "miss out" on all the junky ingredients that some of the commercial soaps contain.  Yay for healthier living!
        3. You're supporting a small business and that money helps them pay their mortgage, keep their farm running or put food on their table.  
        I live in Virginia, but you probably don't, so I went on a little rabbit trail and found soap artisans in 31 different states!  If you have a favorite company in a state I missed, please let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list.
        ___________________________________

        ALABAMA // Black Sheep Bath Co.
        Specializing in soaps, lotions, bath bombs, scrubs, and Spa Day gift sets
        I love the colorful swirls of these chunky soaps!  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Sunrise

        ALASKA // Glacier Valley Soap Company
        Specializing in all natural soaps made with Alaska spring water
        I really respect the mission of this company.  From the website: "Glacier Valley Soap Company STARTS with the goal of being good for what goes down the drain and ultimately ends up in our drinking water sources and the waters from which we collect our seafood - salmon, halibut, shrimp and other goodies. It’s just an added bonus that the soaps are luxurious, a treat to use, and good for your skin too!"

        ARIZONA // Pie Town Soap Co.
        Specializing in fine handmade soap, natural bath & body and aromatherapy
        I've never been to Arizona, but I sure would love to try her line of Sedona soaps, made with Sedona Vortex red earth!

        ARKANSAS //  Cadron Creek Soapworks
        Specializing in handmade olive oil castile soap

        CALIFORNIA // Borden Acres
        Specializing in handmade goat's milk bath products
        I love how all of the soaps are packaged in 100% compostable seed boxes, so you can plant them and grow flowers!  Such a fun touch.

        CONNECTICUT // Herd Supply Co.
        This company makes cold process soap with a twist: their soaps feature milk from East Friesian and Dorset sheep!  "My dad and I hand milk the sheep every year after the lambs are born and use the milk in all of the soap recipes."

        FLORIDA // Simple Bliss Bath Co.
        Specializing in handcrafted bath & body products
        I love Jamie's mix of fun, whimsical bars and more useful, utilitarian ones.  She even has one for babies!

        GEORGIA // Normal Soap Company
        Specializing in natural soap and body products, handmade in Athens, GA
        Kevin and Jessica learned to make soap as a date activity and haven't looked back since!  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Georgia Peach

        HAWAII // Kopa Kauai
        Specializing in tropically-inspired soaps handmade on Kauai
        Oh my goodness, these soaps are awesome.  She has scents that just scream Hawaii - lychee, mango, papaya passion and more!  I want to order them all.

        IDAHO // Ego Soap Company
        Specializing in natural and handcrafted men's grooming products
        This soap shop is just for the guys.  I appreciate the care they've taken with their products, right down to the packaging.  Adding "Fortitude" to my list for my boys and husband.  

        IOWA // Thumbprint Soap
        This shop's name comes "from the notion that no two bars of soap are exactly the same, just like snowflakes or fingerprints."  Love that!  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Spanish Fly

        KENTUCKY // Rock Bottom Soap Co.
        Specializing in handmade goat milk soap & natural products
        Amy has been able to put her chemistry minor to work as she tinkers with different scents and soap-making techniques.  Together with her hard-working goats, they create an incredible product.  I love the packaging too!    

        LOUISIANA // Sweet Olive Soapworks
        Soapmaking runs in Emily's family - she learned the tricks of the trade from her grandmother!  Bonus: her packaging is incredible and would make great gifts.

        MAINE // Rocky Top Soap Shop
        Specializing in unscented soaps and balms
        According to Tony, "I use a variety of plant based oils and butters in my formulations. No pre made bases and absolutely no animal fats are used. All the additives are naturally derived and most are edible. The colorants are teas, coffee, botanicals, purees, juices and clays. The exfoliants include things like corn meal and poppy seeds.  There are no fillers, chemicals or preservatives added to any of the soaps. This makes the ingredients lists read more like a recipe for dinner than a chemical concoction you shouldn’t put on your skin."  Love that!

        MICHIGAN // Little Flower Soap Co.
        Specializing in handmade, natural soap, spa gift sets & shower favors
        We used to carry Holly's soaps in our Big White Farmhouse shop and they were always a hit!  Her packaging is beautiful.

        MISSOURI // Saco Valley Farm
        Specializing in luxury handmade goat milk soaps, lotion bars & more
        Melissa has a huge selection of scents in her shop - over 30!  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Oatmeal Milk & Honey

        MONTANA // b.simply
        Specializing in handcrafted bath and body products
        Amber set out to create a soap that was "super hydrating and perfect for Montana's dry climate."  I love the simplicity of her soaps and can't wait to try the White Tea & Ginger scent.

        NEBRASKA // Wildwood Goat Milk Soap
        Specializing in goat milk soap and Nebraska handcrafted products
        The owners of this shop are a mother-daughter team who were inspired by their family’s generational farm wives.  The goat's milk that they use for their soaps come from their own Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats from their farm!  How cool is that?

        NEW HAMPSHIRE // Maple Bee Products
        Specializing in cold processed soaps and more
        Maple Bee's soaps are so colorful!  Tons of combinations and cute designs, like this Strawberry Milkshake.  Wouldn't they make great gifts?

        NEW YORK // Gilded Olive Apothecary
        Valerie says, "I fell in love with The Great Gatsby in Mr. DeCarlo's eighth grade english class. I've held a place in my heart for Art Deco and the beautiful styles of the 1920's ever since."  These soaps are perfect for someone who loves that literary classic!

        NORTH CAROLINA // Clean Line Soap Company
        Specializing in goat milk soap, buttery bath bombs & more
        I've ordered from Clean Line Soap before and had a really great experience.  I can't wait to try the Honeysuckle scent next.

        NORTH DAKOTA // Kindak Co.
        Specializing in homemade cold process soap & soy wax melts
        With names like Warm Flannel, Prairie Rose, and Off the Grid, these soaps will surely make you feel part of North Dakota too.  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Lake Nights

        OHIO // Blip and Branch
        The owners of Blip And Branch are a husband and wife team!  So many great options; I love this heart-shaped one.

        OREGON // 5R Farm Soap
        Specializing in natural soaps, lotions, and more!
        The story behind the name: "We named the property 5R Farm, after the five chickens that inspired us to make our dream of moving to the country a reality. It wasn't long before we built a large chicken coop and expanded our chicken flock to 30 chickens, including several roosters. We added bees to the farm in 2013 and added turkeys in 2015. When I'm not making soap, lotion, or candles you can usually find me tending to our growing menagerie, up in the garden, or canning in the kitchen."  

        PENNSYLVANIA // Shady Nook Bee Farms
        Jill sources all of her wax and honey from her own hives!  Favorite scent I'm excited to try: French Green Clay

        RHODE ISLAND // The Blue Sister
        Specializing in vegan artisan soaps and slathers
        "From sandy beaches to lush green campgrounds, from sweet fruit orchards to aromatic gardens, all soaps are artistically designed with both aesthetics and the senses in mind."  This is exactly the vibe I felt as I scrolled through The Blue Sister's soaps!

        SOUTH CAROLINA // Old Whaling Company
        Specializing in handmade bar soaps, bath bombs, body butter and scrubs
        I LOVE the packaging of this soap company.  Favorite scent I'm excited to try: Coastal Calm

        TENNESSEE // Free Reign Farm
        Specializing in natural goat milk soap, salves, and wood wick candles
        I loved the story behind this company: "Foster care is all about healing and when a new mom to three foster babies went looking for natural solutions to their skin and allergy problems, she stumbled upon products that changed everything...We are still involved in foster care and our company raises awareness for kids in foster care. We also donate to a foster care support agency and a humanitarian agency supporting kids in need. Partner with us in offering hope to those who need it most!"

        TEXAS // Foster Gardens Bath Co.
        Specializing in handcrafted soap & artisan skincare
        The colors of these soaps are just gorgeous!  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Garden Mint

        VIRGINIA // Wildwood Williamsburg
        "Wildwood Farm is a local small-scale farm started by a young married couple, James & Paige Ewell. Wildwood produces handcrafted goat milk soaps made with its raw goat milk, essential oils, herbs from the Wildwood Farm garden, and beeswax from Wildwood bees." So cool!

        WASHINGTON // Sweet River Soap Co.
        Specializing in handcrafted goats milk soaps and apothecary
        Soaps made with goat milk are so luxurious.  Favorite scent I can't wait to try: Black Raspberry Vanilla

        Friday, March 8, 2019

        No.229: Lent 2019 with Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen


        For Lent this year, I'm reading through Fulton Sheen's Life of Christ.  At this point in my life, I'm very prone to distraction and wandering thoughts (I have too many "tabs" open in my brain at all times!)  and reading this book will hopefully keep my mind focused as I contemplate all the pieces of Christ.  Sharing my plan below in case it's helpful for someone else someday:

        Quick note: Chapter 2 is abnormally long (around 40 pages) so I started my reading on Monday and broke the two chapters up between those first three days.  The rest of the plan looks to be much more reasonable for daily reading.

        Ash Wednesday // Ch.1+2: The Only Person Ever Pre-announced & Early Life of Christ
        Thursday // Ch.3: The Three Short Cuts from the Cross
        Friday // Ch.4: The Lamb of God
        Saturday // Ch.5: The Beginning of "The Hour"
        First Sunday of Lent // Ch.6+7: The Temple of His Body & Nicodemus, the Serpent, and the Cross
        Monday // Ch.8: Savior of the World
        Tuesday // Ch.9: The First Public Announcement of His Death
        Wednesday //  Ch.10+11: The Choosing of the Twelve & Beatitudes
        Thursday // Ch.12: The Intruder Who Was a Woman
        Friday // Ch.13: The Man Who Lost His Head
        Saturday // Ch.14: The Bread of Life
        Second Sunday of Lent // Ch.15+16: The Refusal to Be a Bread King & Purity and Property
        Monday // Ch.17: Our Lord's Testimony Concerning Himself
        Tuesday // Ch.18: Transfiguration
        Wednesday // Ch.19+20: The Three Quarrelings & The Attempted Arrest at the Feast of Tabernacles
        Thursday // Ch.21: Only the Innocent May Condemn
        Friday // Ch.22: The Good Shepherd
        Saturday // Ch.23: The Son of Man
        Third Sunday of Lent // Ch.24+25: Caesar or God & His Hour Had Not Yet Come
        Monday // Ch.26: The Mightiest Arrow in the Diving Quiver
        Tuesday // Ch.27: More than a Teacher
        Wednesday // Ch.28+29: The Pagans and the Cross & The Growing Opposition
        Thursday // Ch.30: The Fox and the Hen
        Friday // Ch.31: The Resurrection That Prepared His Death
        Saturday // Ch.32: The Woman Who Dimly Foresaw His Death
        Fourth Sunday of Lent // Ch.33+34: Entrance into Jerusalem & The Visit of the Greeks
        Monday // Ch.35: The King's Son Marked for Death
        Tuesday // Ch.36: The Last Supper
        Wednesday // Ch.37+38: The Servant of Servants & Judas
        Thursday // Ch.39: The Divine Lover's Farewell
        Friday // Ch.40: Our Lord's "My Father"
        Saturday // Ch 41: The Agony in the Garden
        Fifth Sunday of Lent // Ch.42+43: The Kiss That Blistered & The Religious Trial
        Monday // Ch.44: The Denials of Peter
        Tuesday // Ch.45: Trail Before Pilate
        Wednesday // Ch.46+47: At the Bottom of the List & Second Trail Before Pilate
        Thursday // Ch.48: The Crucifixion
        Friday // Ch.49: The Seven Words from the Cross
        Saturday // Ch.50: Seven Words to the Cross
        Palm Sunday // Ch.51+52: The Rending of the Veil of the Temple & The Piercing of the Side
        Monday // Ch.53: The Night Friends of Christ
        Tuesday // Ch.54: The Earth's Most Serious Wound - the Empty Tomb
        Wednesday // Ch.55+56: The Doors Being Closed & Fingers, Hands, and Nails
        Holy Thursday // Ch.57+58: Love as the Condition of Authority & The Divine Mandate
        Good Friday // Ch.59+60: Last Appearance in Jersusalem & Repentance
        Holy Saturday // Ch.61+62: The Ascension & Christ Takes on a New Body
        Easter!

        Thursday, March 7, 2019

        No.228: New Habits, Little by Little: Cooking at Home (February & Early March 2019)


        What a month!  We suffered through a family-wide stomach flu, ate too many dinners out and didn't try many new recipes, but some months are like that.  Looking forward to March and getting into a better routine.  (Adding in a few extra days of meals in March because I'll be documenting our meals during Lent a little differently.)


        Week 83 (cont.):
        Friday, February 1: cheese pizzas

        Week 84:
        Saturday, February 2: leftovers
        Sunday, February 3: after attending the Latin Mass, we picked up BBQ from our favorite local spot
        Monday, February 4: breakfast for dinner - crepes
        Tuesday, February 5: Mark's birthday! steak for Mark and homemade bacon cheeseburgers for the rest of us
        Wednesday, February 6: garlic-parmesan sausage and veggies
        Thursday, February 7: arroz con pollo
        Friday, February 8: a stomach bug hits the house, so those still healthy just ate leftovers and cereal

        Week 85:
        Saturday, February 9: my turn with the stomach bug - the others were on their own for dinner!
        Sunday, February 10: the stomach bug continues - the ones who felt up to it had brats and potatoes
        Monday, February 11: gyros
        Tuesday, February 12: Refrigerator Clean-Out Night
        Wednesday, February 13: double decker tacos
        Thursday, February 14: Valentine's Day! we surprised the kids with a dinner out at Chick-fil-A
        Friday, February 15: Mark's homemade cheese and veggie pizzas

        Week 86:
        Saturday, February 16: tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
        Sunday, February 17: roast beef sandwiches
        Monday, February 18: french onion meatballs and mashed potatoes
        Tuesday, February 19: breakfast for dinner - eggs, bacon, and Mark's homemade biscuits
        Wednesday, February 20: cheese quesadillas with chips and salsa
        Thursday, February 21: out for burgers
        Friday, February 22: shrimp fried rice and frozen egg rolls

        Week 87:
        Saturday, February 23: we picked up pizza from a local place while out running errands (a new place for us and SO good!)
        Sunday, February 24: top round roast sandwiches
        Monday, February 25: chicken pot pie soup with homemade biscuits
        Tuesday: February 26: roasted chicken with potatoes, onions and carrots (using my go-to recipe from Dinner: A Love Story)
        Wednesday, February 27: mini meatloaves with potatoes and green beans
        Thursday, February 28: the chicken went bad (#mealplanningfail), so we went out for pizza instead
        Friday, March 1: vegetable egg rolls

        Week 88:
        Saturday, March 2: out in town to pick up a kid and run errands, so we got Chick-fil-a before heading home
        Sunday, March 3: gyros
        Monday, March 4: breakfast for dinner - mini pancakes
        Tuesday, March 5: Fat Tuesday! pepperoni and supreme pizzas

        Tuesday, March 5, 2019

        No.227: TBR Tuesday // Trying Something New

        This post contains affiliate links.

        Trying something new for March!  I've never pre-picked my reading choices before, but I know it's a popular idea.  My method has always been to browse my books and see what jumps out.  I've rarely fallen into a reading slump this way, but I'm thinking it may be fun to change things up.  I can't promise that I will stick to this pile, but I'm going to try!  Here's what I've picked out to read in March:

        FOR LENT // Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen
        For Lent this year, I have decided to read through Archbishop Sheen's Life of Christ.  I divided up the chapters to last me until Holy Saturday, so I'll only really get halfway before the end of March.  (I have a post about my reading plan coming soon.)

        MYSTERY // The Likeness by Tana French 
        Can't wait to dive into the next book in the Dublin Murder Squad series!

        MEMOIR // My Life in France by Julia Child
        I found a copy of My Life in France at the thrift store - for $1, woo!  I've always been a little fascinated by Julia Child, so I'm excited to read about her life.

        MODERN CLASSIC // The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene 
        I started with this one on March 1st and am already almost halfway through.  So far, I would describe The Power and the Glory as really sad.  Even though it was written in 1940, I'm finding it really thought-provoking, especially with the current crisis in the Church right now.

        MEDICAL NON-FICTION // Complications by Atul Gawande
        I have so much respect for the honesty of this surgeon.  Looking forward to this one!  (Also available at Book Outlet here.)


        Do you make a monthly TBR list?  What's on yours for March?

        Monday, March 4, 2019

        No.226: Intentions for the Beginning of March


        Things are feeling a little...stale around here lately.  Maybe it's the weather that teases us with visions of spring before diving back into freezing sleet and snow.  Maybe it's the emotional roller-coaster of home repairs and insurance claims.  Maybe it's the daily - boring - routine of just "doing the next assignment" in our schoolbooks.  Whatever the reason, I need to bring a little life back into our everyday!  March seems like the right month to shake things up a little.


        INTENTIONS FOR THE BEGINNING OF MARCH

        • create a regular routine of working out with D (we're going to do T25 together!)
        • replace burnt out recessed lighting bulbs in the living room and kitchen
        • declutter and organize the school closet
        • introduce a little Shakespeare into our homeschool
        • plan something art-related to do with the kids
        • play dominoes or cards after dinner as a family
        • go on a date!
        • send a package, just because (100LT #20)
        • paint S's room (100LT #69)
        • start peeking around for a new dresser on yardsale sites or CL
        • research costs for resealing the driveway (get quotes?)
        • start a compost pile (100LT #85)
        • bake bread

              PREVIOUS INTENTIONS

              If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, be sure to click over to see what I checked off the list!
              • write those letters!
              • order new moisturizer (I ordered this one)
              • make bone broth
              • start a compost pile (this keeps getting pushed off because of the crazy weather)
              • start making shopping/to-do lists for dog needs (SO much to learn and buy!)
              • add five new pieces to my Poshmark closet
              • decide what I want to read for Lent (blog post coming soon)
              • celebrate our 100th day of school in a special way (we had a big snow/ice storm, so we made fresh snow cream!)
              • introduce a little Shakespeare into our homeschool
              • research costs for resealing the driveway (get quotes?)

              Friday, March 1, 2019

              No.225: What I Learned in February


              1 // THE STOMACH FLU IS THE WORST.
              Enough said.

              2 // I AM NOW KNOWLEDGEABLE IN SEA-FARING TERMS.
              I read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle this month and got a crash course on ship terms like bowsprit, foresail, forecastle, etc.  So the next time I find myself on a ship, I'll know what they're talking about, hah!

              3 // I'M ON A TEA KICK.
              When I was sick, I found myself rejecting coffee and turning to tea.  I've wanted to decrease my caffeine consumption for awhile - like a true addict, if I veered in any way from my normal amounts, I would pay for it the next day with awful headaches.  I'm now down to just one morning cup and I drink non-caffeinated tea the rest of the day.  My current favorite is peach passion with just a teeny bit of honey.  And another bonus: I'm probably more hydrated than ever!

              4 // WE HAVE ACIDIC WATER.
              When we started finding silt coming out of our faucets, we had someone come look at our well.  He did a test and found that we have acidic water, which I guess isn't great for the longevity of pipes?  (This was proven when we later discovered a rusted hole in our kitchen sink pipe!)  The repairman installed a soda ash system which should help.

              5 // I PREFER TO READ PHYSICAL BOOKS VS. ON MY KINDLE.
              Last year, I put myself on a book-buying ban and with the exception of a handful of Goodwill finds, I stuck to it.  Instead, I read a ton of e-books from the library, which was great and free and easy to get without having to make the trip to the library (which is small and not close by).  BUT.  After spending some of my Christmas money on physical books, I'm realizing that I love the physical option so much more.  The smell of a new book (even if it's used), the way the paper feels in my hand, having to turn the pages...I love it so much more.


              One year ago: 
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