Friday, July 28, 2017

2017 July Bookmarks

*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for July was Paris for One & Other Stories by JoJo Moyes.

These are the books I read this month:

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall-- See my review here.

What We Read With The Kids:

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks--  We've never read this classic with the kids so we decided it was time.  My oldest, going into 7th grade, loved it and can't wait to read more in the series.  That's a win for me!  :-)

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White--  This is one of my personal favorites.  I could read this one over and over again.  Not only is it a great classic, but it also speaks to the value of hard work, integrity, and loyalty, among other life lessons.

Our suggested reading for July was Paris for One & Other Stories by JoJo Moyes-- 
I was looking for a little summer read for the month of July and this one was perfect.  I picked it up from the library on a Friday and had read the entire thing by the end of the weekend.  Paris for One is the longest story obviously with several other short stories at the end.  My favorite was Paris for One about a young woman who discovers she's not as timid as she once believed and in the process sees a whole new world open up.  Great read for the lazy days of summer.

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on Paris for One & Other Stories by JoJo Moyes.

Also don't forget to come back on August 25 as we discuss Loving Your Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk.

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I'm Cooking:

Well, last weekend, we were out of town, visiting family and hanging out at the coast.  So what do you eat at the coast?  Seafood...  And what's my addiction?  Fish and Chips!
Oh, I love fish and chips.  That's the first thing that popped out at me on the menu and it was so yummy!  Definitely well worth the calories!

Now that we're home, it's back to home cooking.  My favorite meal this week was taco salad.  I love making main dish salads for dinner during the summer.  And taco salad is always so flavorful and filling.

What I'm Loving:

It's been a lot of fun to start thinking about Josiah's birthday this year.  He wants a Moana party and I'm happy to oblige.  It's been fun to start the planning process.

What I'm Reading:

I just finished this month's bookmarks selection.  Super cute and an easy read for the summer.

What I'm Doing:

A bit of this and that... we've done some fishing and some hiking... the kids and I went to the lake this week and we've been swimming at the gym pool... we've been reading and creating a few projects...

What I'm Watching: 

Not much really... how sad is that... any suggestions?

What I'm Enjoying:

the lake... good books... sleeping in.... overnight oats... good read alouds...

What are you up to?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gathering the Threads {Review}

The third and final installment in the Amish of Summer Grove series, Gathering the Threads continues the story of Arianna Brenneman, caught between the English and Amish worlds.  After discovering she was switched at birth, Arianna is blackmailed into living with her English family for a year.  But when she convinces her English father to allow her to return to the Amish, Arianna discovers that she doesn't fit there like she used to.  Longing for the simple life that she knows, but conflicted by all she's learned, Arianna must discover who she is beyond all the labels.

Skyler Nash also finds herself struggling with the switch.  Now clean and sober, Skyler is afraid of what Arianna's return could mean for her.  Will the Brenneman family ask her to leave?  Will she be rejected again?  As she struggles to find her place in the family, Skyler continues to work the family business, but also look for her own path.

Can these two girls find their voice in a clash of cultures?  Or will the adjustment be too much?  And what about Quill, Rudy, and Jax?  Will Arianna's sister still work toward leaving the amish?  And will Celia continue to cope with her illness?  

With so many well developed characters, Gathering the Threads certainly doesn't lack for storylines.  While the majority of the book focuses on Skyler and Arianna, there are a variety of well-developed characters to keep the book going, showing the depth of this author.  This book in the series is particularly interesting because it brings up the conflicts between the two worlds and their way of thinking.  Woodsmall does this with such compassion for both sides that she's able to develop arguments without belittling either viewpoint.  

Gathering the Threads is a wonderful way to finish off the series.  I cannot recommend The Amish of Summer Grove series highly enough.  Very well done!

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy for this book for review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lydia's Spring Performance {6/24/17}

Lydia's Dance Performance for Spring 2017

Lyrical Performance:

Broadway Performance:

Acro Performance:

Ballet Performance:

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I'm Cooking:
It's cooled off a little bit here.  The A/C is actually getting a break once in awhile.  But we're really trying not to heat up the house too much.  So dinners have been super simple and light.  One of the meals we prepared this week was a chili lime fajita salad.  We seasoned some chicken and veggies with chili powder, cumin, lime, oil, etc and then cooked the fajita toppings.  We also prepared extra marinate as a dressing and served it on a bed of lettuce.  We kept ours pretty simple, but you could dress it up with tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, etc.  It was light and summery.

What I'm Loving:
I'll be honest... I'm loving sleeping in.  I'm a complete night owl, but being a homeschooler, I have to be up with the kids and tackling our day.  We can kind of do school on our own schedule, but the afternoons/evenings are filled with team practices, etc.  So I try to get us moving in the mornings. 

But over the summer, that all changes.  I get a chance to catch up on a ton of reading, watching TV, indulging my night owl tendencies, and sleeping in.

What I'm Reading:
Well, I started a review book, but I had to put it down.  It was just too much.  It's a book based on the French Revolution and right off the bat, it was just too graphic for me.  It's very rare for me to not finish a book, especially a review book.  So I'm really struggling to commit to it.  I haven't been able to pick it up the last couple of days.

What I'm Doing:
We've had a pretty quiet week around here.  Dance classes and workouts went on, but I think the kids were feeling tired like I was as well.  So we spent a lot of time at home this week: board games, baking, hide and seek, water balloons.... They had a lot of fun.

What I'm Watching: 
I'm back to watching Little People Big World.  It's interesting to see how this family has changed and evolved.  Sad at times, comforting at others.  I've been doing some binge watching!  :-)

What I'm Enjoying:
playing in the sprinkler... ice water... easy summer schedules... snuggling with my kids...
nights where everyone is at home... 

What are you up to?

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