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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Books I've Read: November 2014

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  I read a paper copy of this one from the library.  This was supposedly a book that makes everyone cry, so I figured as a very hormonal pregnant woman I didn't stand a chance, but I read it anyways.  And I didn't cry.  So apparently I'm heartless.  It was an okay story, although some things were pretty predictable, but I didn't necessarily think it was anything too special.  That being said, I'll probably still rent the movie at some point, because I really want to see the crazy author dude.  He was my favorite character by far.
Say Goodbye To Survival Mode by Crystal Paine.  I read this on my Kindle.  I don't remember if I bought it on sale, or if it was a free one at some point.  I have way too many unread books on my Kindle.

This book has a lot of helpful tips about creating margin in your life, breathing room so you can not stress out/burn out, and a lot about setting your priorities and goals and then living toward those.  It's all good stuff in theory, but I don't think it's necessarily as easy to implement as it's presented in the book.  Still, it was good for me to actually formulate a list of my priorities, and to try to work towards things that line up with those.  I'm pretty sure I'll be in "survival mode" for the next several months anyways, but it will be good to revisit this book once I'm not there any more.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I had bought a paper copy of this one awhile back and finally got around to reading it.  I'm a sucker for books that say "for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent" because I liked those.  This one was actually a pretty good story, with lots of interesting characters and plot lines.  I got to the end and I was still really confused, but since it's the first in a trilogy, I'll allow it.  About the only thing I didn't like was the made up slang.  If you're going to have a character cuss, just do it.  "Shuck it" is just kind of dumb.  But hey, there's a movie out this year (did it come out already?), so something else for me to watch at some point!

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner.  Since I was intrigued by the first one, I immediately ordered the other two books in the trilogy from the library, and I was lucky enough to get them within a week.  Score!  The second book wasn't quite as exciting as the first one.  I didn't necessarily like the new characters, and until I get an explanation for the betrayal, I feel kind of like Thomas.  I accept it as part of the story, but I'm not happy about it.  I'm hoping the third book wraps everything up nicely, because this one just brought more questions about how this whole world works and the purpose for everything.

The Death Cure by James Dashner. This review will have spoilers, because I don't have a vague way to say things about this book.  So this book was full of more problems for Thomas and the other main characters. They have the worst luck.  I assumed since it was called "the death cure" that they would find a cure, especially since that was what they had been working on the whole trilogy.  And then the ending happened.  There's no cure, so this group of people escapes to some paradise and the rest of humanity will eventually kill each other off.  What?

So. The first book in the trilogy was action packed and I liked it.  It went downhill from there. Too bad, because this started out as a really well thought out dystopian world, which is better than most.

Book total for this month: 5 books read. Total this year: 28 books read. I may or may not have a books post next month. We'll see how the month goes...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Iron Craft Challenge #23: Cozy

It's been awhile since I participated in an Iron Craft challenge.  Things have been pretty crazy around here.  But this one fit perfectly with something I needed to get done anyways.  Matthew needed mittens.  And it has snowed a few times now here in Wisconsin, so I figured I should probably get this done.  

If I've learned anything about kids and mittens over the past 5 years, it's that mittens need to be easy to put on (no straps, velcro, buttons, etc.) and it's best if it doesn't matter which one goes on which hand.  The less for me to do, the better.  Especially when I'll be bundling up a five year old, a three year old, a one year old, and a baby this winter.  I don't have time to figure out which hand is which.
I traced Matthew's hand on a piece of paper, and then drew a seam allowance around that.  I cut out my pattern, and then each hand on two colors of leftover fleece from a different project - red for the inside, Cars for the outside.  Matthew picked the colors.  I didn't even attempt to get the Cars pictures lined up pretty, because I didn't want to.  The kid doesn't care.

I hand sewed the four layers together for each mitten, except for the bottom, obviously.  I flipped them right side out and he tried them on.  They fit, but the wrist area was pretty loose.  So I grabbed some elastic from Hobby Lobby (on sale!) and sewed a strip of that in each one as well.  I've never worked with elastic before, and I was still hand sewing, so it could have been better, but they're done!
I think he likes them.  They're definitely handmade, and there's a few things I learned for next time, but overall, they turned out really well.  And aside from the 50 cent elastic, they were free!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What I'm Reading...

This is going to be my last "What I'm Reading..." post for awhile.  If she's not here beforehand, baby Elizabeth is scheduled to be evicted on Wednesday.  And we're moving to Iowa next month.  So...let's just say that I'll probably be back next year. But on the plus side, I finished pretty much everything on my "before Elizabeth" list!

The 10 Commandments Of A Family Road Trip.  This post had me hooked at "this road trip may be a vacation for your kids, but it isn't for you." (Simple Homeschool)

10 Things I Gained When I Gave Up All My Stuff.  (Becoming Minimalist)

10 Tips For Managing Sensory Play. (Apparently I was on a "10" kick this week)  Sensory play is important but makes me cringe. (The Measured Mom)

5 Tips For Reading Middle Grade Novels With Your Kids.  I have definitely seen this with some of the read-alouds we've done already.  Stuart Little was too descriptive for being our very first one.  James and the Giant Peach was phenomenal. (Simple Homeschool)

The Art Of Keeping A Journal.  I used to journal, and I sometimes miss it. (The Art Of Simple)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What I'm Reading...

On Friday, the boys learned about cleaning the toilets.  They chose this instead of "regular school", and it seemed like a good substitute to me, because it means I didn't have to do it!

How I Stopped Yelling At My Kids..And How It's Changed Our Home and also 9 Practical Ways To Yell Less And Love More were great reminders this week of something that I've been trying to work on (and failing a lot).  (Money Saving Mom)

The Gift Of Resentment.  We have some days that go really well, and other days that certain parts of school are such a struggle.  We are definitely still finding our way, but maybe I just need to let some of it go. (Simple Homeschool)

Killer Uno: The Best Non-Drinking Game Ever.  This sounds fun! (Offbeat Home & Life)

The Rhythm Of The Season.  I liked the style and the message of this whole post. (The Art Of Simple)

Reminders.  I don't have a ton of these, although one of my favorites is still my "Sing in the Rain" wall hanging I made at the beginning of this year. (Holy Hen House)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November Goals

I'm trying to go easy on myself this month, because it's baby month!


  • Clean the two bathrooms.  Because of my pregnancy pain and mobility issues, this hasn't happened as often as it should. But I'm hoping to get one really good deep clean of both of them in this month.
  • Finish at least one set of plastic canvas letters (pictured in this post) for Christmas presents.  I'm up to the letter Q as of writing this.  Each letter takes 45-60 minutes, so it's quite the project.
  • Finish reading two books.  This will meet my reading goal of 25 books for the year.
  • Have a baby! 
  • Make "My name is" laminated traceable cards for the boys for school so they can learn to write their names.
  • Finish making the lower case bottle cap letters. I've had the last 9 caps saved for a few weeks and just haven't sat down to do them.
I've also been working more on decluttering and organizing things around the house, finishing little projects, and basically wrapping up as much as I can before Elizabeth is born.  I want to keep doing that too...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Menu Plan November 1-15

I feel like I just did a menu plan and it's already a new month.  Maybe it's because grocery shopping is so much more of a pain now with my sciatic nerve issues that it just takes me that much longer to recover.  I should only need to do it two more times before baby is here though!

Saturday, November 1
Breakfast: Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars (these were actually really bland, which is too bad, because they sounded good!)
Lunch: Chicken and Black Beans with Mexi Rice
Dinner: Chicken Pepper Potato Bake

Sunday, November 2
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Leftover Rice Bowls
Dinner: Tilapia, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Monday, November 3
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Soups from the Freezer, Sandwiches
Dinner: Sour Cream Ground Turkey Casserole (with gluten-free noodles)

Tuesday, November 4
Breakfast: Yogurt and Homemade Granola
Lunch: Cobb Salads
Dinner: Ham and Bean Soup, Biscuits

Wednesday, November 5
Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon, Sweet Potatoes
Lunch: Cobb Salads
Dinner: Ham and Bean Soup, Biscuits

Thursday, November 6
Breakfast: Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: White Chicken Chili
Dinner: Southwest Frittata

Friday, November 7
Breakfast: Blueberry Orange Muffins
Lunch: White Chicken Chili
Dinner: Chicken and Mushrooms, Maple Glazed Carrots

Saturday, November 8
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Chicken Mini Pepper Nachos
Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Sunday, November 9
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: PB&J or Turkey Sandwiches
Dinner: Stuffed Peppers

Monday, November 10
Breakfast: Winter Squash Hash and Eggs
Lunch: Hot Dogs, Carrots, Applesauce (Jesse will be at a meeting all day so easy lunch for the rest of us!)
Dinner: Jesse's birthday dinner - BBQ Pork Ribs, Potato Wedges, Corn, Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Tuesday, November 11
Breakfast: Squash Hash and Eggs
Lunch: Ham and Split Pea Soup
Dinner: Oatmeal Pancakes, Applesauce

Wednesday, November 12
Breakfast: Yogurt and Homemade Granola
Lunch: BLTs
Dinner: Ground Turkey and Pinto Bean Tacos on Homemade Tortillas

Thursday, November 13
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Baked Potatoes with Bacon, Broccoli, and Mozzarella
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas on Homemade Tortillas

Friday, November 14
Breakfast: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Lunch: Coconut Chicken Soup
Dinner: Cheeseburgers, Sweet Potato Fries

Saturday, Novembr 15
Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon, Toast
Lunch: Coconut Chicken Soup
Dinner: Fish Fillets, Potatoes, Green Beans

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What I'm Reading...

I love this little girl's smile!

Three Kinds Of Expectations.  Expectations are one of those things that Jesse and I talk about fairly often, and it really helps to know what someone else is thinking. (The Art Of Simple)

The Empty Container. "If [life] were an empty container, with limited space, what would you put in it?" (Zen Habits)

Self-Care For The Highly Sensitive Parent.  I'm not completely "highly sensitive", but there are a lot of things that apply to me.  I know I do much better if I have some calm time to myself each day. (Simple Homeschool)

Updated Beliefs. Food for thought... (The Minimalists)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Goals Update

October has flown by!  I didn't make a lot of progress on some of these goals, but I also think part of my problem was that they weren't all very specific and trackable.


  • Have patience with all of my children.  Work in progress, but the days I'm more aware of it, I usually do better.
  • Figure out where to put clothes for baby Elizabeth.  I didn't do this yet, but the bin of 0-3 month clothes is organized and easily accessible, so at least I'll be able to pull them out of there.
  • Read three books for fun. I finished two and am in the middle of two more.
  • Keep myself on self-imposed partial bed-rest.  I'm surviving.  I can accomplish a lot sitting down, and I'm working on being better about asking for help.  Just a few more weeks!
  • Finish color-coding some of my organ music.  I have one section left, which will hopefully get done this week.
  • Make a plan for freezer meals for after Elizabeth is born.  No plan, because our freezer is really full right now with bacon and applesauce.  
  • Stay under budget!  We were doing well for the first half of the month.  The second half not so much.  We went over.