Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date 

This week was a rough one. Even now, as I sit here, I feel slightly ill. My extended family had some health emergencies, nothing serious thank goodness, but they kept me on my toes! But it's my little guy causing me worry. He was born 7 weeks early, and tiny. He is still tiny. The doctors are not happy with his growth rate and weight gain, and told us that in five weeks they are going to reevaluate his weight, and if he hasn't gained any, they want to put in a gastric feeding tube. This destroys me. I of course want my child to be healthy and grow and get everything he needs, but I don't want to destroy his growing relationship with eating and food either. He loves eating actual food - he hates drinking. This is the whole problem with his weight gain. He likes to help feed himself, and he just doesn't have a huge appetite. He is not intaking enough calories per day though. We can't force him to eat, although that compulsion is hard to quelch with this feeding tube looming over me. I don't know what to do. I don't know enough about g-tubes to even know if it is as big of a deal as it is in my head. I do know it is another surgery, and my guy has already had two surgeries, both within the first 2 months of his life. If anyone has any experience with any of this, I would love to hear about it. 

With all of this going on, my reading time has been sparse or related to finding high calorie foods my son will eat. However, I have gotten some in - but just a tiny bit.

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck: I am just a wee bit into this book but I am really enjoying it so far, honestly. I now want to own my own team of mules! They are pretty fascinating creatures, believe it or not. 

Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking: I just started this as well - it is a nice reprieve from the trail. Lol. I love it, but then, I love this series.

Posted Last Week

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Coloring Book Review: Whatever is Lovely

Title: Whatever is Lovely - A coloring book for reflection and worship
Source: Blogging for Books

Since the trend of adult coloring books became popular, I have wanted one. I loved coloring when I was a little girl. My mom said I would happily sit and color for hours and hours when I was a kid, and I wondered if it would hold the same magic for me now.

One thing I am short on is time these days. Between taking care of W. and all the other myriad things that make up my day, by the end of the night I am burnt. Tired. Exhausted. I usually flop on the couch in my most comfortable jams and veg away to television. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy that too. But a few times this week I also colored while the television was on, and I found on those nights, I slept better. Easier. I usually fall out pretty quickly, but wake up a lot too. I figure I will do this forever now, wanting to check on the boy, but I did feel more at peace than I had for a while.

I loved the illustrations and quotations on every page of this book. The quotations themselves are from the bible, or from inspirational writers and bloggers, and even hymns. I am not super familiar with bible verses so I am learning as I flip through and color too. The reverse side of every coloring page is the bible verse or quotation in its entirety, along with the credited author or source.  I used the nifty Crayola twistable crayons that my husband put in my stocking this Christmas, and I liked those too!

My first colored page. I chose this one because this is something I try to remind myself every day. W. has some complications due to his prematurity, and I spend a lot of time worrying about the little guy. I need to really focus on today, and try not to worry about the future.

I am doing this one next, because I like rabbits and forests. Lol. The quote itself is from a favorite hymn of fisherman from northern England around 1880, and is based on Psam 32:7. 

Something we all need to remember, this is from blogger Emily P. Freeman, at She also has written a book entitled Simply Tuesday, which I have not read but may soon be reading.

Once you color a page, if you are so inspired you can link up to the instagram for this coloring book using the specific hashtag #whateverislovely (also good for Twitter, Facebook, etc). Another cool feature - this coloring book has a link to a playlist on Spotify. I am loving the social media incorporation, social media nerd that I am.

Overall, I love this coloring book! I didn't quite feel like I did when I was a kid, but I did feel like I could sit and color for hours if I could have. The illustrations and quotes were definitely peaceful and reminded me to be mindful, and to slow down - not everything is a race to the end of the day. I definitely recommend this coloring book to anyone who is wanting to give this new hobby a go, or to anyone who is already enjoying this popular new trend.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What Wyatt's Reading - Groundhog Day Edition

The other week Wyatt and I were reading a slew of snow books. Then that giant snow storm hit the East Coast and I decided enough snow! We were moving on - at least temporarily. 

Thinking spring, I scoured the library for as many groundhog day books as I could. Or before Wyatt decided he was done with the library. 

Most of the ones I picked up were super cute!


Groundhog's Day Off by Robb Pearlman: No one likes to be taken advantage of, and in this book, Groundhog is tired of feeling like people only are interested in his weather prediction, but not him. So he takes off, leaving a mess in his wake. I thought this one was pretty fun.

Go To Sleep, Groundhog by Judy Cox: This one was my favorite, and Wyatt seemed to really enjoy the illustrations! Groundhog can't sleep, and his insomnia allows him to experience the fall and winter holidays he usually misses. Adorable, with rich colors. A keeper!

Groundhog Stays Up Late by Margery Cuyler: In this one, Groundhog is a bit of a brat. This book is a bit like the ant and the grasshopper, and Groundhog is the grasshopper, playing when he should be getting ready for winter. Will he learn his lesson?

Groundhog's Dilemma by Kristen Remanar: This one is cute, but it made me think of politics! Lol. Maybe because it is an election year. Groundhog is full of false promises to get people to like him and give him things, like a spot on the baseball team and yummy desserts. He has to come clean in the end though - it can only be spring or winter, not both! 

Gregory's Shadow by Don Freeman: The author of Corduroy! Apparently this was his last book. It was cute - an oldie but goodie!

So what is your prediction? Will the groundhog see his shadow? Are we in for more winter or is spring around the corner?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date 

It's been another crazy week. School, baby, just life in general has me running like a wild woman. Good thing there is that cup of mint tea at the end of the night. Or red wine, depending on the day. 

Wyatt and I have been reading snow books together for two weeks, celebrating how much we (I) love it. However, in the wake of Blizzard Jonas, we are switching our gears. This week I checked out a ton of Groundhog Day books instead - will he see his shadow, or won't he? I hope that everyone in the path of this blizzard was safe and secure. It was a big one. We had family in New Jersey for work, and she is still snowed in to her hotel. Safe, but stuck.

Despite all that, I managed to get some good reading time in! Yay!

Read Last Week:


The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard: I love love love her books! I am so thankful I was able to read an advanced copy - I hate waiting!

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins: I am so close to being finished with this book that I am calling it done. I loved it - as long as the ending doesn't suck!

Of Moose and Men - This was a DNF. I just couldn't get into it; I felt like the examples were forced, and disjointed. I wanted to like it, but just didn't. :(

Reading This Week:


Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking: The third in the Kanin Chronicles- I am excited to read it!

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson: This one looks pretty neat as well!

Long-Term Read:

The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck: I have been wanting to read this for forever! I know it is going to take me a hundred years, so this will be something I am reading while reading alongside other books.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

A little Frost, a few stars, and a Saturday afternoon

I haven't been to the planetarium since I was a kid. Our high school had one but we didn't really have a teacher to operate it, so I think we only used it once. But that one time was pretty awesome. 

There is something about a night sky - that inky blackness that envelopes you, the depth of the quiet surrounding you, that makes you feel both alive and how very small you are within the universe. A planetarium is great at replicating this - the darkness, the hush. 

This past Saturday my husband, brother, sister-in-law, and I all took advantage of a free program being offered at the local college all about the winter constellations in the northern hemisphere.

We somehow lucked out and were the only people who attended, which was very cool. It was just the four of us and the volunteer running the program. I always love this. Maybe I am a loner or isolationist, but I like it. I felt like it was our own private show - I guess because it kind of was!

Set against Robert Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" the program opened with a poetry I wasn't expecting. The lines of the poem were still lingering in the air, when the stars began to brighten in the darkness, and I was transported to every summer evening up north, where the stars are more visible. The best part about this was, we were learning about winter constellations. I don't usually view the winter stars, I can't bear the cold to go out and find them.   This was a warm way for us to learn about the winter sky!

We saw Orion, with his belt and his shield. 
We saw his dog, Canis Major and also Canis Minor.
We saw Taurus the Bull, the Gemini Twins, the big bear Ursa Major, and a few major, bright stars and planets too.

We also learned about light pollution. The volunteer had me turn on my phone during the program, just me. and aim it up like I was using it. The difference was immediate, just from my one phone. It was sad how the light from my cell could eradicate stars, just like that.

Actually, right now in the southern sky, if you look on a clear morning when it is still dark, there are five planets in a single, straight line. The will be this way until Feb. 20th.

I really enjoyed our hour at the planetarium. It was only an hour, free, and very interesting! They have a spring constellation program as well, that I am looking forward to. That one is entitled "Nothing Gold Can Stay."

We followed the stars up with hot pizza, beer and adult conversation before heading back and collecting our babies. I can't wait to take my little guy to the planetarium one day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: The Final Tap by Amanda Flower

Title: The Final Tap (Living History Museum Mystery)
Author: Amanda Flower
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

March on Barton Farm can only mean one thing: maple sugar season. To combat the winter slump, resilient director Kelsey Cambridge organizes a Maple Sugar Festival, complete with school visits, pancake breakfasts, and tree tapping classes. Kelsey hires curmudgeonly maple sugar expert Dr. Conrad Beeson to teach the classes, despite misgivings over his unpleasant demeanor. It's a decision she ends up regretting when, before the first tree can be tapped for sap, Dr. Beeson turns up dead.

The maple sugar expert's death threatens to shut down not only the Maple Sugar Festival, but also Barton Farm itself. Kelsey must solve Dr. Beeson's murder to escape the increasingly sticky situation.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this easy going mystery. It is not too complicated or crazy, and I enjoyed the backdrop of Barton Farm, the Living History Museum mentioned in the series title. Main character Kelsey and her son Hayden actually live on the farm in a small cottage, and Kelsey is in charge of the day to day running of the museum. Which sounds awesome! I sort of wish someone would pay me to do that. I am a fan of all things history. Although, I would like the post to not include as much murder and mystery as it seems Kelsey gets!

The central mystery itself was pretty good - I never figured out who did it until it was revealed. My Scooby Gang instincts were off this time, I guess. This is the second book in the series, and although I didn't read the first one, it didn't seem to matter.

I also loved the whole maple sugaring aspect. I learned a few new facts! One new fact I learned was how important maple sugar was to the North during the Civil War. Being cut off from their sugar supply in the south, northerners had to turn to good old maple sugar to sweeten their dishes.

Overall, this was a fun book. I enjoyed the world that Flower created, and I will definitely be headed back to Barton Farm soon to find out what Kelsey and the gang are up to now. Not a super intense read, but definitely a cozy little mystery to snuggle up with.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date 

Saturday my husband and I had a date afternoon. We went out with my brother and sister-in-law, without the babies. Billy and I do not do this nearly enough, and we really need to start at least once a week doing something just the two of us. I missed my little partner in crime, but I really had a great time hanging out being just an adult. We took advantage of a program the local college is hosting, all about winter stars in their planetarium. I plan on posting a little bit about this later in the week. But we had a great time in the planetarium and then followed it up with a beer and pizza. 

Read Last Week:

The Final Tap by Amanda Flower: I received this from NetGalley - it was an enjoyable little mystery! Review this week.

Reading This Week:


Of Moose and Men: Lost and Found in Alaska: I didn't get to this last week with my classes starting and all - all that other reading! - but I am looking forward to beginning it this week.

The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard: I have loved everything DeBoard has written, and so far this book is not disappointing! I am halfway through and don't want to put it down!


Bones, The Shannara Chronicles and we just added the Shadowhunters television show to the list. The Shannara Chronicles is based on a series by Terry Brooks, while the Shadowhunters is based on Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. My husband and I are debating which series is better - both are slightly cheesily done, but I prefer Shadowhunters while he likes the Shannara series better. Despite the production quality, they are both pretty entertaining. We are also deciding if we want to watch To Make a Murderer. Everyone is talking about it, and my brother and sis-in-law said it is worth watching. So we might begin that this week too. 

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