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And here we are, suddenly in April. How did that happen? Honestly, I haven’t had much to write about (other than what has already been written) here anyway, so it’s probably good I’m squishing three months into one post. There was the super blue blood moon in late January and I had the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat in early February, but other than being incredibly busy (what else is new?), not a whole lot has been happening. Next week we’re going on a road trip, the longest we’ve been on since the pre-kids days, down to Arizona. We’ll be stopping to see the Grand Canyon as well as the Meteor Crater on the way and hopefully adding a few more Junior Ranger badges to B’s collection (as well as getting C her first!).
In the end of the first quarter I was into….
In January, I finished Orphan Train just after the turn of the year, which I thought was setting an excellent pace for my goal of 36 books this year (as opposed to 44 last year). It was good and left enough suspense to keep it interesting without being too easy to guess. It was also very sad at parts, but that wasn’t much of a surprise. In fact, I think given the topic, it could’ve been a lot worse.
I also finished Sense and Sensibility for the Back to the Classics Challenge. About a million years ago (maybe around 1996 or 1997), a friend of mine gave me the VHS tape of the 1995 film version of S&S. I was delighted, naturally, until a few minutes in when a 1-800 number kept scrolling across the bottom of the screen letting me know I could get a non-ad version of this title by calling this number! I never ended up doing that but still got plenty of use out of the tape. As a result, I kept picturing Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in their respective Dashwood sister roles all while I was reading this. Not my favorite Austen, but still a good read.
In February…well….friends, I got sucked into the world of Harry Potter, where I’ve been living ever since in terms of books. I grew up in a religious environment that highly frowned on the series, so instead of diving in with the other 90% of the world who read each book as they were released, I sat it out. Later on, E and I rented the first few movies, but really had no idea what was going on so we found them kind of boring. Then, last fall, at my monthly Charlotte Mason book group, one of the other moms found out I had never read any of these books and handed me the first one with the admonishment that I really needed to. The series was also suggested in Honey for a Child’s Heart, which finally convinced me that my soul would probably be okay if I chose to read these books.
So, when life was particularly busy and stressful, I needed something fluffy and pulled it off the shelf. In February, I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In March it was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (I was able to get a free 30-day trial to Kindle Unlimited which reduced these 700+ page books to the size of my Kindle, something for which my wrist is thanking me.) I love the depth of the characters in the books, and while I’m not wild about Hermione in the movies, I love Hermione in the books. Also, we share a birthday! She was made to be my literary friend. 🙂
B and I also finished Shoeshine Girl and The Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said. We also listened to the Librivox recordings of The Adventures of Unc’ Billy Possum and The Adventures of Mr. Mocker during a day trip we took up to Wyoming to visit a friend a few weeks ago. Right now we’re working on A Nest for Celeste (which is giving me a very negative view of John James Audubon).
I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Mindfulness (I started this in January and had every intention of reading it in 8 weeks 😒), Orlando (started in February – I’m woefully behind in the Back to the Classics Challenge), and Formation of Character with my book club.
If you’d like to follow along with my book reading adventures, you can find me on Goodreads.
We managed a few movies in the last few months, but as usual, I can’t remember all of them. I know Thor: Ragnarok was one of them as the rave reviews about how funny it was intrigued me and I usually like the Marvel movies, so we rented it when it was released. Ironically, we just started Viking Tales this term for B’s AO Year 1 and I now picture Chris Helmsworth whenever Thor is mentioned. It felt a little too much like Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 to me…. not that I didn’t like G&G (I did), but it was weird seeing that style in this movie.
I’ve also been watching the Harry Potter movies as I finish the books. I now realize why we found them so boring – SO MUCH is left out, especially as the story progresses, and a lot is even changed. Not for the good, in my opinion, especially the (cranky and loud) changes made to Dumbledore (I’m definitely a fan of Richard Harris over Michael Gambon). ☹️
For TV, it’s just been most of our usuals… The Middle, The Goldbergs, The Last Man on Earth, and we added A.P. Bio (the design and typography in the opening credits is beautiful for such a goofy show). We also started watching The Man in the High Castle (also with beautiful – albeit creepy – opening credits!) which has been really intriguing. It’s interesting to me (not to mention a good thing) that swastikas are not seen in the marketing materials for this show at all (at least not that I’ve seen) as I had no idea it was about the real Nazi Party. I thought it was just a made-up fascist group that resembled them.
Last week, Meg and I resumed our Monday-night PBS dates and are watching the new season of Call the Midwife “together” (with the aid of messenger). I’m thankful for friends who are tech-savvy and like the same shows I do. 🙂
Wildway Grain-Free Granola. This stuff is so addictive. I discovered it a few weeks ago when I was looking for a grain-free ceral alternative for E who is sick of eggs for breakfast. Bonus: I can get it through Amazon Subscribe and Save for quite a bit cheaper than at the local store! My favorite flavor is apple cinnamon.
Herbamare. This was recommended in one of my favorite cookbooks and I finally decided to pick it up one day after being resistant for a while (plain old salt is fine for me!). I’m hooked, especially with my scrambled eggs in the morning. It’s soo tasty.
Audible. A few months back, I started checking out Audible’s daily deals. I don’t have a membership to Audible as I don’t listen to audiobooks enough anymore to warrant it, but they do have some amazing deals sometimes and you don’t have to have a membership to get them. It’s been especially awesome for the kids, for whom I’ve picked up The House at Pooh Corner for $2.03, The Jesus Storybook Bible for $2.03, Winnie-the-Pooh (with Stephen Fry and Judi Dench!) for $4.10, The Peter Rabbit Collection for $.72 (and it’s still available for this price!), and several others right in the $2 to $4 range. They’ve come in very hand on road trips and for C to listen to while B and I are doing school things. I’ve also noticed that sometimes if you pick up the Kindle version of a book, you can add on the Audible version and the combined price is cheaper than it would be if you bought the Audible version alone (as is the case with this version of The Wind in the Willows). (And if you use the link at left, you get 2 free books with a 30-day free trial!)
On the Blog.
In the Shop.
I’ve added a few things to the shop over the last few months despite the busy-ness going on. I really love designing these….it’s a nice little creative outlet.
We’re making the transition to spring birds right now and getting a little more variety. Our winter juncos have nearly stopped coming to the feeders altogether and the primary birds we’re getting now are house finches, a few mountain chickadees, and collared doves. The scrub-jays haven’t been coming around quite as often, probably because I took the peanut feeder down in favor of a woodpecker feeder in hopes that the many northern flickers who are banging their way on roof gutters across the neighborhood would stop by.
I cleaned out the boxes so we’re also ready for nesting season. I thought we had a pair of mountain bluebirds who were interested in moving in, but I haven’t seen them in several days so I don’t think they’ll be sticking around. I’m still hopeful, though, that we’ll get a pair and if not, maybe another tree swallow pair later on as we did last year.
I saw our first robin just a few weeks ago and they’ve been hopping around the yard ever since. April 15th is hummingbird day and I’m ready for all the others to come as well!
And there you have the state of me. 🙂