Friday, May 27, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol. 142

I'm back, Kelly! I'm back!


Thank goodness it's Friday/I can't believe it's Friday already!!We 
I'm completely ready to be locked in a room by myself for the duration of the weekend.
Am I the only one who feels like that by Friday? 5 kids x infinite number of asked questions per day + small amount of patience = dead by Friday.


We've been busy around here though which is how whole weeks go by without me being able to blog even a tiny bit. Last weekend was the long weekend up here and it was my birthday and Gemma's birthday so we had some great friends come up and spend the weekend at our house with their 3 babies. The only problem was it rained most of the 3 days so we basically were in a house with 8 kids for 3 days straight. Oh, and one started vomiting at midnight on the night of my birthday. But we made it and it actually wasn't too bad, and we had a pretty good time! I feel like we levelled up somehow in parenting. I also got to smoke cigars every night and drink great scotch so it was a really memorable birthday weekend!


Requisit "I can't believe my baby is so old" take.
She's 9.
How did this happen???
I vividly remember her being born yesterday. And now she's a big kid!!
I'll just be over here crying for a while...


We wrapped up school last week as most of the kids finished up their curriculum programs. I was pretty proud we ended up finishing so early in the year and didn't have things drag out too badly. They're still little enough that there isn't a big workload when it comes to sit-down work, and we will definitely be reading a ton during the summer, plus I think I'm going to let them think workbooks are fun and keep letting them do those when they feel like it, so basically we're just stopping the daily stress of me thinking I have to get a long list of school done a day - but that feels wonderful.


In breaking news - I finally bought prescription sunglasses. At the ripe old age of 31 I thought it was time to be an adult and finally get real sunglasses. I don't know what exactly I've been waiting for because I loovve glasses. And I occasionally go out in the sun. I hit up good ol' Firmoo for some cheap ones that I won't feel horrible about if some child comes by and destroys them mercilessly.


I've been meaning to mention this sweet new children's book that I was sent a review copy of, Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb: Jonah and Jesus by Maura Roan McKeegan. It's a wonderfully illustrated telling of the story of Jonah alongside the life of Christ with some beautiful writing. I was really impressed with how well the two stories were brought together, it's a great way to start exposing our kids to thinking about the Bible more wholly while being a great book to read. I especially appreciated Ted Schleunderfritz's illustrations because he's been a favourite illustrator of mine from his work in Gilbert! Magazine. Well worth picking up for your kids! 


The weather has finally turned rainy in the last week and we had been in desperate need of rain so it's really welcome. I also love rain so I won't complain at all! We've had showers off and on for a couple days now and it's storming right now so all the kids ran into the house and are hiding in the basement. But everything's so lush and green it's the best time of year! I'll be outside working out, er, I mean, drinking wine outdoors this weekend, hope you guys have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately

Back with some quick reviews of what I've read lately - I'm starting to shift into what feels like some summer reading already so hopefully next time I'll have more easy, breezy books for you!

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The third in the charming Flavia de Luce mystery series, this entry was just as delightful as the first two. Flavia is just a wonderfully readable character. Especially since she's a child solving mysteries around her idyllic English village you'd think it would be easy for the main character to become saccharine and annoying. But it's just a fun pleasure reading these quirky whodunnits.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

I've been meaning to read Robert Galbraith's (aka J.K. Rowling) detective novels for a while now and somehow expected them to be dark and dreary. But Rowling's skill as a writer floats across every page. Private investigator Cormoran Strike sets out to solve the high profile murder of a supermodel with a well paced plot, great sidekick, and the perfect setup to an awesome Masterpiece Mystery series. After reading this book I realized that Rowling is a master at characterization, I fell in love with the cross-examinations because each character had such a unique voice that was perfectly presented. I didn't even want to solve the mystery, I  just wanted to keep meeting new people through the eyes of the indefatigable, intelligent, yet troubled detective, Cormoran Strike. It's a novel that really stands on it's own regardless of genre, but as a detective novel I thought it was first rate!

The End of the House of Alard by Sheila Kaye-Smith

Remember how I was on a Sheila Kaye-Smith kick? She's a little known early 20th century pastoral novelist and contemporary of G.K. Chesterton. Her books are out of print but, oh, how I wish they weren't because I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes Downton Abbey. This is a fascinating novel about the aristocratic Alard family, their romantic and spiritual entanglements, and the changing face of British society. Kaye-Smith is a really astute writer when it comes to portraying realistic characters and spiritual struggle, in this novel a variety of characters come face-to-face with spiritual truths yet choose different paths which proves fascinating. I feel like this book is best described as Downton Abbey meets Brideshead Revisited. Highly recommended if you can find a second hand copy on Amazon or Ebay!

Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

I love Tsh Oxenreider. I think her's was the first blog I discovered, the first I followed, and still follow today. I enjoy her writing and felt this book presented a lot of new material that has never been on her blog before, but I think because I am pretty much coming from exactly where she's coming from, that this just didn't bowl me over. I already am on board with everything she writes about when it comes to living simply, I feel like I am her choir. But for anyone who hasn't a clue what living simply means or entails this would be the perfect starting point.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Omigoodness, the third book in Marilynne Robinson's trilogy set in Gilead and I loved this novel in a completely different way than I loved the previous two. I find it just amazing how Robinson can so perfectly inhabit and write from a different person's inner life so effortlessly. It's really a joy to become part of Lila's life while reading this book. Lila is different from her husband John Ames, but just as alive on the page. I really don't want to say anything more because reading it is so rewarding and I feel like each and every reading will be different than another's experience. To sum up, I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. And I reserve 5 stars for books by Chesterton, Jane Austen, and Evelyn Waugh.

Joining Modern Mrs. Darcy with Quick Lit again this month! 

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol. 141

Say hi to Kelly


Firstly, if you could spare a quick prayer for my province and the incredible disaster of the Fort McMurray forest fire of this week we'd be grateful! The fire has done serious damage to the city, destroyed over one thousand structures, and has forced the evacuation of the entire city of upwards of 90,000 people. Please pray for all those who have lost everything, and everyone who has been displaced because it may be weeks until they're able to get back to their homes. Only rain will be able to stop the fire, and there's not much in the forecast. It's just an unbelievable disaster and I feel just awful for everyone. It's really my worst nightmare so I'm trying not to let my mind journey to crazy town and that the fire might travel another 200 miles to where we live. But I am pretty crazy...


I just stopped cleaning my windows to write this post. It's my most dreaded cleaning task. I'm almost positive I've blogged about this every single time I ever wash windows because it's such a giant deal to me. And why? It's really not horrible, and the end result of amazing windows is so rewarding! Yet still, I dread. 
Just wanted to let that be documented for posterity. 


The weather has been unbelievably warm (hence the extreme fire situation) and we were as hot this week as we typically are in July. The kids were in bathing suits slip n sliding for crying out loud! It's just so weird. Last year at this time there was still snow on the ground. But the green leaves on the trees already feels so, so, good after making it through the winter. 


I'm about to repaint a kid's room and it's tiny but needs bookshelves. I want some wall shelves because that's really the only space we have, any good ideas? Just good ol' Ikea? Will I somehow make them look stupid? I'm going to delve into Pinterest soon to investigate. I basically just avoid Pinterest now. Which seems odd because I used to love it so much. I don't know how out relationship got so complicated. 


I think we're are going to be able to wrap up most of our schoolwork by the end of May. Which feels good, but we really never completely "stop" doing school around here. We'll be finished up most of the curriculum type work, but we'll still continue our reading, art, and probably some math workbooks because my children seem to have a bizarre love for workbooks. But the official "school" will wrap up nicely I think. It will at least allow me to be a little lazier and not be in constant "make shit happen" mode. Although, I might just be stuck in that mode.


I got a new phone! I used my broken screened phone for almost 4 months and I think I was going a little blind. I'm not completely spoiled with technology and just thought I'd mention it. 


I'm beat. I'm ready for Friday. I need a drink. So pretend this take is your alcoholic beverage. And I've gotta go find some kids. 
Happy Weekend!

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thank Goodness We're Living in the Golden Age of Television

I feel like I've been writing lately about things that really stink here in our current time in history. Politics, the news, Donald Trump, etc. etc, etc.

But you know what makes things a tiny bit better? What makes living in this day and age a treat? The fact that we're living in the Golden Age of Television, people!

We've got streaming, on demand viewing of whole series of television shows. The shows themselves have production values that easily rival movies and sometimes surpass them. We are getting great British tv on this side of the pond like never before! It's a great time to be alive!

This week on the podcast we chatted about some of the shows we've most enjoyed lately but I thought I'd touch on a couple more that you might like to check out, or might not, so here goes!

Better Call Saul

I'm a Better Call Saul evangelist. I know it's not as flashy or dramatic or violent as it's older brother Breaking Bad, but the quality of storytelling is just brilliant. I feel that this show is really a story told almost in the form of a novel, where there is a big overarching plot, but that it's told in very specific tightly written episodes. It explores the characters in depth and brings them to live so vividly. I honestly feel like the characters are real people and am strongly emotionally attached to them. As the show continues now after the completion of the second season, it's clear that it's a very nuanced telling of the story of the Prodigal Son from different aspects which only adds to the enjoyment of the show. Please watch it!


I know there are approximately 3.4 million superhero shows/movies out there and it really is ridiculous to ask you to care about another one, but Daredevil is really the most Catholic superhero out there who routinely struggles with big issues in a Catholic way. This show is violent and adult, but it also is well written and acted and is worth a watch even if you don't usually go in for the superhero show. The second season recently aired on Netflix and this is a satisfying show to binge watch.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I was a big fan of the first season of Kimmy, and although I felt that the second season dipped into morally relativistic territory unnecessarily, it was still pretty hilarious. It's a completely zany sense of humour surrounding a girl who lived the past 15 years in the bunker of a crazy cult leader who is now trying to make a new life for herself in New York. The story itself works great surprisingly, but it might not be everyone's brand of humour.


I don't just watch hilariously frivolous comedies! This 4 part documentary series airing on Netflix by author Michael Pollan is beautifully done. It's visually stunning and really brings the importance of our food and what it means to humanity to light in a very watchable way but with none of the pretensions and condescension other food documentaries are rife with. Really recommend this one!

Home Fires

I also mentioned this BBC miniseries that also aired on Masterpiece this past fall on the podcast but I thought I should mention it again because I found it a really cozy British series very similar to Foyle's War. It tells the stories of the women of a small town during the beginning of the Second World War. The women of the community are members of the Women's Institute and make efforts towards the war in different ways, but also support each other in such a difficult time. By the third episode I really appreciated how it told the stories wholly from the women's perspectives. Their various marriages, how it felt to support a family alone while their husbands were gone, what it meant to have a son called up, dealing with the changes in their own community. The acting is great and there are only a couple hokey storylines - promise!

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