October Reading (and November preview)

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (audio version on commutes with Sarah)… I know, you’re probably thinking, again? But I wanted to experience this one through Sarah’s eyes, and it was so beautiful the second time. The audio expired before we had a chance to finish the last chapter, so I checked out a library copy and finished it with her. We were both in tears by the end. She was mad at the ending at first, but we kept talking about it and she realized the beauty of the story. (Although she still says she would have changed the end.)

The Child by Fiona Barton, I loved this one and truly did not guess the ending. I listened to the audio version, and I have to admit, I wish the cast of voices were just a tad more unique. There are many characters and if you listen in short blips the way I do, it might take a minute to orient yourself in the story again. The characters were so real and I loved the way the story fit together ultimately. I would highly recommend this one.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti was another one that I thought was a unique and beautiful story. Lizzie has a very unique imagination and family, (which isn’t celebrated in any high school peer group, anywhere) and uses it as an excuse to isolate herself. When a girl in town goes missing, Lizzie tests several theories of her disappearance and finds more about herself in the process. It’s mildly thrilling and I honestly didn’t guess the ending- although as it ended- I thought I should have known. Anyone who has imagined or actually dared to not “fit in” will identify with elements of Lizzie’s character. Great, quick read.

I also reread a couple of Harry Potter’s- Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, because why not? It was the illustrated version of Chamber of Secrets, and it was wonderful to flip through with my 11-year old aspiring artist.

We listened to about half of The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron and I listened to about half of Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. We weren’t disappointed when those titles expired before we were finished. I might try Modern Lovers again in print.

I’m picking up the pace in November. The time change has curtailed our outside playtime after dinner, and we have taken several car trips, so I’m reading more. In the stack:
Beyond the Bright Sea Lauren Wolk
The Widow Fiona Barton
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix JK Rowling (why stop now?)
Drums of Autumn Diana Gabaldon
Into the Water Paula Hawkins
Sing Unburied Sing Jesmyn Ward
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel (since I get to meet her!)
Turtles all the Way Down John Green
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Benjamin Alire Saenz

What’s in your stack?

(Photo of the pup, because he’s my favorite reading buddy)

❤️

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New Recipes

These colder days bring a renewed energy to get creative in the kitchen for me, but this energy is tempered by my kids -especially because they aren’t always open to new flavors.

Not sure if this resonates, but I need familiar ingredients that are filling- comfort food at its most basic! (eggs, potato, cheese, pork, pie dough), and it needs to be simple enough that it can be made on a weeknight. The kids love to help and I want to encourage it.

I am going to search through these cookbooks that are new at my library for inspiration to try to get some ideas for next month. Tonight, we scrapped the idea on my calendar in favor of breakfast for dinner, which is so comforting on this chilly and damp day!

❤️

 

 

My November Dinner Plan

This month I am trying out something different.

I decided to give each day of the week a theme according to the time and effort I have for cooking dinner.

Then I filled in a month’s worth of dinners so the Saturday grocery list is easy to compile, and a good starting point if I wanted to buy some food items in bulk.

  • Sunday: Roast Something
  • Monday: Beans-Soup Night
  • Tuesday: Salad Night
  • Wednesday: Out
  • Thursday: Quick Grill
  • Friday: Leftovers-Pizza
  • Saturday: Pasta

november meal planI am sure we will adjust slightly as the month bears on us, but it made my heart happy to have a plan.

How do you meal plan?

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On the Needles

I would love to showcase a finished object, but can’t manage to stay focused long enough to complete anything! Here are 3 of the pieces I am currently working:

IMG_4377Cashmere Cowl

IMG_4378.JPGBrown Hat

IMG_4379.JPGLog Cabin Baby Blanket

Maybe if I renamed them something more creative, it would be more exciting to finish?

❤️

 

A Slow Cooker Secret

I have been reading One-Pan Wonders, a Cook’s Country publication that I borrowed from my library, and I wanted to share this tip that I found in the Saffron Chicken Stew recipe (which was delicious, by the way!).

Microwave the diced onions with your aromatics to brighten the flavors, before adding to the slow cooker.

So simple and punchy, and for just 3-5 minutes in the microwave, those onions with a little oil and spice bring a tremendous amount of rich flavor.

The weather has turned cooler this week, and I have made both Beef Stew and Chili in my slow cooker this week, and they were extra delicious with this small recipe tweak.

Hope you are having a deliciously cozy fall week as well!

❤️

September Reading

September was a light reading month for me. Sometimes my attention drifts and centers around crafting or cooking, rather than reading in all my spare moments, but this month it was more centered around rest. So a little laziness and giving ourselves a little mental break is necessary sometimes too!

Here’s what I did read:

  • Code Name Verity Elizabeth Wein, centers around two young women fighting for the Allied cause in WWII. When Verity is captured by the Gestapo, the novel details her imprisonment and rescue as details of the friendship are revealed. It’s one you won’t want to put down, and I would recommend for both teen and adult readers.
  • Storm Donna Jo Napoli, gave a different perspective on the Noah’s Ark story that Christians everywhere are so familiar with. I stumbled on it while checking out some Noah’s Ark books for the girls (I like to check out companion books to what the kids are studying in Sunday School and regular school). Originally I thought Sarah might like it, but in my opinion it’s better suited for an older teen reader. A stowaway on the ark who battles the storm, with the loss and seclusion that comes with her situation, looks in on Noah and his family and their purpose.
  • All the Bright Places Jennifer Nevin, was a tough read about a teen battling bi-polar disease. I struggled because I recognized early on the problem, and while I know some cases of bi-polar are not so obvious, I just could not believe that any of the adult characters could not have intervened. I hope and pray that my eyes are open for my kids and their friends.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them JK Rowling, I listened to the audio version, which was really interesting, but I would think the illustrated version would also be truly awesome.
  • Rump Liesl Shurtliff, was a school commute audiobook, and it was good but didn’t capture our hearts enough to finish before it was returned. I asked Sarah if she wanted me to check it out again so we could finish and she wasn’t interested.

2 other wonderful read-y things to note:
My sister’s Christmas gift to me arrived and I am blown away. It’s the quarterly book box from The Strand. So many goodies including Sing, Unburied, Sing which I am starting tonight! If you have someone on your Christmas list that loves books, this would be an excellent choice.

Emily St. John Mandel is doing a meet and greet in November due to our Library’s hosting a group read of her novel (and a favorite of mine!) Station Eleven. I am so excited to attend and report back. (And hopefully get my sister’s copy of Station Eleven signed- she loves her as much as I do.

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Listening

On the drop-off commute with the 11 year old:

Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk

Quick car trips with both girls:

Circle Round podcast

Wow in the World podcast (old favorite episodes only, they are taking a break to create new content)

Long walks & “me” time:

The Child, Fiona Barton

(books on loan from my local library, listening through the free Overdrive app)

Do you have any suggestions for me?

❤️