It’s been awhile, so here is the latest round of My Favorite Things!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine–Quite possibly my favorite TV of all time, although it took me a long while to get to that point. But now I love it, especially Vic Fontaine and Klingon episodes.
Friends–My favorite comedy. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched through that show. We have the whole series on DVD, complete with collectible case, and I can just watch them over and over again. To some extent, it really feels like Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe *are* my friends (don’t worry, I know they’re fictional!).
Babylon 5–Although I don’t enjoy this show as much as I used to, I think it’s one of the best told stories on TV, especially the first four seasons.
Firefly–Is is a western? Is it sci-fi? Does it even matter? I’m just sad that it didn’t even make a full season; it was such a good show.
Mad About You–I loved watching Paul and Jamie, especially in the early seasons. To be honest, I started watching it because I knew my older cousins did, and I wanted to be cool like them, but I soon discovered I liked it on it’s own merit. It would be nice if Warner Brothers (I think that’s right) would decide to put more of the seasons out on DVD.
I Love Lucy–Right up there with Friends as far as best comedy shows, and it has the added bonus of being appropriate viewing for my children. I can’t believe a show that’s been around for as long as I Love Lucy has can still be so relevant and so funny, and yet it is. Groundbreaking, too, so it also gets historical bonus points. And the recent release of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour as the last seasons of I Love Lucy almost deserves it’s own spot on the list–who can *not* like Lucy hunting uranium with Fred MacMurray, hanging around Sun Valley with Fernando Lamas, and getting into a snowball fight with Danny Thomas?
The Cosby Show–I haven’t watched it regularly for quite awhile, but it’s another show I can watch with my children, and appreciate both it’s funny and serious moments (occasionally at the same time–remember when they buried Rudy’s goldfish?).
Scrubs–Another great comedy; I love watching the doctors and nurses of Sacred Heart at work. Although I’m a little disappointed that we watched the “finale” this year, only to have it renewed last minute for the fall, I am curious to see where the new direction takes them, and I will be cautiously watching.
E.R.–An obvious love of medical shows, here–sometimes, you don’t want the comedic perspective, and E.R. is great for those times.
Gilmore Girls–I will be the first to say that I hated how the show ended, and I found more to dislike about the characters in the last few seasons, but I still think it was a good, solid show that managed to *not* glamorize teen pregnancy, and showed a strong mother/daughter relationship.
What About Brian–Even though it was only on for a year, I really got hooked. I found the characters to be likable and real, and like Firefly, I wish it had gotten more of a chance to develop itself.
24–Anytime I want to sweat profusely and have heart palpitations, I just have to see what kind of (bad) day Jack Bauer is having.
This Old House–I loved watching Bob Vila as a kid, and I love the new format now.
Back when we had cable, I loved watching…
What Not to Wear–In my top three favorite shows, without a doubt. I loved watching Stacy and Clinton perform makeovers. Yes, the 360 mirror was grueling, and yes, they could be harsh, but the end results were always fantastic. I learned so much about fashion from watching (not that I do a lot with that knowledge being at home with the children all day), and I loved looking at the pretty clothes!
How Do I Look–Another fashion show similar to What Not to Wear, this became a favorite of mine when recovering in the hospital following the births of my third and fourth children.
Christmas Castles–It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen this show, but it used to be on HGTV every year at Christmastime. It showcased famous mansions all over the country, from the Biltmore estate to the Pabst mansion, decked out in their Christmas finery. So beautiful!
House Hunters–I always loved this one on HGTV, and I took special interest in it when we were first considering buying a home. You can learn a lot just by watching other people walk through houses.
My guilty pleasure TV show…
The Golden Girls–I watched the re-runs of this show in college all the time, and I even caught a run-through of the spin-off, Golden Palace, a few years ago. I don’t care how much older than me those ladies were, they were funny!
And, speaking of guilty pleasures, my favorite soap opera…
One Life to Live–I know I shouldn’t watch soap operas, and I usually don’t, but when I do feel the need to be completely mindless, One Life to Live is always the show I turn to. I started watching it on and off right after Turkey was born, and while I have gone for almost two years at a time without watching, eventually, I always come back to see what is happening in Llanview.
And, the jury is still out on…
Castle–I really liked what I saw of it last season, and I’m hoping it really picks up steam in the fall. It has the potential to be great in a Murder She Wrote/Matlock (yes, I like both of those, too) kind of way.
What do you say in a moment like this.
When you cant find the words to tell it like it is.
Just close your eyes and let your heart lead the way.
Oh what do you say. What Do You Say by Reba McEntire
Please let me take a moment to brag on Turkey and Bunny.
Today was their last day of Kindergarten!
It has been an interesting journey over the last year–it was almost exactly a year ago that we made the shocking decision to homeschool. Frankly, there are times when I am still surprised that we are doing this. I had no idea what to expect when we started this adventure–would Turkey and Bunny learn well? Listen to me? Be able to accomplish all the things they needed to do? Would they like homeschooling? Would I? There were so many unknowns stretching out in front of me on that day last September when they had their first day of school, and yet here we are, at the end of our school year.
Let me just say that they both far exceeded my expectations. From how quickly they both picked up reading, to Bunny’s almost frightening abilities with geography, to Turkey’s precise printing that puts my own to shame, they both excelled in their first year of school. I got to observe many interesting things about them, some of which were no surprise (Turkey is a very precise color-er, from crayon selection to staying in the lines, while Bunny doesn’t take even a moment to contemplate color choice before scribbling across a picture–nothing new there!), and some which shocked me (their abilities in the areas of memory work and learning the Six Chief Parts of the Catechism blew even me away!).
I also discovered that they are almost completely different people when we enter our schoolroom–more respectful to me, far more polite to one another. They also listen better and follow directions with less trouble when we’re in school. I know that for children who go away to school, whether public or private, they often display far different behavior from what they exhibit in the home, but I didn’t expect to see that dichotomy within my own home, as we transitioned from playroom to schoolroom.
So, I count this year as a success. I still consider myself to be doing this on a year-by-year basis–if things ever really turn south, for whatever reason, including me not doing an adequate job of teaching them, or them losing respect for me as teacher, I will consider enrolling them in the public school. For now, though, I think it’s safe to say that this is working out just fine, and we’ll be staring First Grade in our little schoolroom come August.
My only real goal in homeschooling this first year was teaching Turkey and Bunny to read. Yes, there were lots of other things I was hoping they would learn, but first and foremost, I needed them to be able to read at the end of kindergarten. I even told Ryan that if I didn’t accomplish that one task, that I really thought we should send them to the public school next year. It’s such and important building block, and I thought that my success (or failure) at teaching such a basic skill would set the tone for future successes (or failures) in our homeschooling adventure.
Well, I’ve know for awhile that they had caught on OK–well enough that I considered my goal accomplished, and didn’t need to worry about whether or not to continue homeschooling next year. But it struck me the other day–they’re *really* reading. Not just three letter, consonant-vowel-consonant words, but longer, harder words. Sure, they still stumble, and make mistakes, and need my help, but they have way surpassed what my expectations for learning to read were.
Two weeks ago was my birthday. The only thing I really wanted to do was go to Ted Drewes for custard at some point over the weekend. No fancy dinners for me, no extravagant gifts, I just really wanted some custard (it’s a St. Louis thing).
So, on Saturday, we planned to go out, run a few errands, and then treat everyone to a nice frozen treat. But, we ended up getting a later start than we had planned. So, I came up with the perfect solution–custard for dinner!
Yes, I’ll admit that by that point, I wasn’t really interested in cooking dinner. But it also sounded like a really fun, crazy thing to do on a Saturday. I’m sure Ryan thought I was crazy for suggesting it, and I thought my children’s eyes were going to drop out of their heads when I told them what was for dinner. But, we almost never go out for ice cream, and we never, ever eat it for dinner (OK, there was one other time, the night before we moved into our house, but the children were too young to remember it).
So, we had a really fun time, and, I think, made a really special memory. I’m hoping that when they’re older, they’ll look back and remember the time that mom let everyone eat ice cream for dinner. It’s an evening I know I won’t forget!
While the world is busy reeling over the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, my family mourns the loss of our own icon–my Auntie Carol.
She has been the matriarch of our family for pretty much as long as I can remember. If you needed an answer to just about anything, she was the one who could come up with an answer, whether for her own daughters, for my mother (her sister), or for me.
Almost 20 years ago she had a liver transplant, which saved and (obviously) extended her life. Ironically, it was, in the end, the transplant that took her–yesterday, while she was undergoing surgery to repair an unrelated aortic aneurysm, the blood vessels surrounding the liver, which were weak (I guess from the long-ago transplant), began to tear. The doctors, including the hospital’s transplant team, tried to repair the damaged vessels, but I guess there’s only so many times those can be stitched together.
The world feels smaller to me today, somehow. While I rejoice with her that she is with our Lord, our family will always feel her loss.
Although the Sisterchicks series of books by Robin Jones Gunn has been around for a while now, I had never read one before Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes, and I quickly realized how little I knew about the books, so I have to address the series in general before I can talk about this book in particular.
First of all, I was worried that because I hadn’t read the first seven books, I wouldn’t be able to get into them, that I wouldn’t be familiar with the history. As it turns out, that isn’t a problem. After a little research, I came to realize that each book is about a different pair of friends, and the books aren’t dependant on each other at all. That makes this the perfect series to pick up partway (or a long way, like me!) in, because you don’t have to worry about not knowing the characters or their stories–it’s all new with each new book.
Second of all, I totally didn’t get that the books are centered around traveling. Now that I’ve look at all the titles, it’s glaringly obvious, but I didn’t realize it when I saw the books individually here and there. The unique settings in each book help to reassure the reader that she’s not missing pieces of information.
I was also a little concerned about reading them because, let’s face it, the main characters are old enough to be my mother. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, and really feeling for the characters.
Enough about the series in general, though–on to Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes!
Summer Finely and her pastor-husband Wayne have always taught their children “we do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do.” But when she receives an abnormal reading on a mammogram, Summer decides to throw caution to the wind and fly to Holland to visit her life-long pen pal, Noelle, whom she’s never actually met, but who she feels as close to as a sister.
Summer asks her husband to allow her to stay in denial about the potential medical crisis looming over her head, and he reluctantly agrees, so she sets off, travel book in hand, eager to get to know Noelle, worried about embarrassing herself in a strange land, and anxious to see the fields of tulips in bloom.
As she and Noelle explore Holland, they share secrets and heartaches, and form a closer bond from their shared experiences. Uncertain of what the future holds, one thing is certain–Summer and Noelle have their faith, their families, and their friendship to hold onto.
I really enjoyed this book–it’s interesting to read about life in other countries, the characters were instantly likable, and they were dealing with real problems and experiences. I barely even noticed the age difference between myself and the main characters (although, I imagine if I revisit the book in 15 years or so, I may find it even more meaningful). Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes has made me want to read the rest of the Sisterchicks novels, and now I know I don’t even have to worry about reading them in any particular order!
I really wanted to like Saints in Limbo by River Jordan, but to be honest, I just couldn’t get into it. The prologue (which I’m generally not a fan of in books, anyway–just get right to the point!), didn’t draw me in, and the characters did not gain my sympathy from the beginning (or at all, for that matter). That best I can do is share a short summary of the book–perhaps it will be more appealing to other audiences than it was to me.
Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.
When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object’s ability to take her into her memories–a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world’s hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it’s possible to be unmoored from the past’s deep roots and find a reason to hope again.
Stealing Home by Allison Pittman is a pretty unique book in terms of setting and plot.
It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant.
I don’t think I’ve seen too many books about a baseball player that take place around the turn of the 20th century. Maybe I’m just overlooking a genre of book, but I really enjoyed this, both because of the characters, and because of the unique subject matter. I especially enjoyed the small town of Picksville–it really seemed like the kind of place you’d want to visit and take in a ball game.
Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.
That’s when sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity. He bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.
Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.
Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.
Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?
It wasn’t necessarily the happiest book I ever read, but it is enjoyable and thought-provoking!
I think someone needs to share this truth with Bunny.
On Sunday, as it was the last day of “regular” Sunday school for the year, before summer Sunday school starts, Turkey and Bunny came home not only with their regular lesson papers (including a cut-out of the Tree of Life mentioned in Revelation), but with leftover stickers from random lessons used over the last year. They were very excited about this–what child doesn’t love stickers?
Turkey is rather particular about where he puts his stickers (shocking!), but Bunny will slap hers down anywhere, without stopping to see if they match a particular page, or if they’re supposed to be placed in a certain spot. So, she took some of her random stickers and plastered them all over the Tree of Life.
This is not a fruit-bearing tree. No, instead, she placed stickers of nickels all over it. I know she knows what a nickel is, but she obviously missed the irony of what she had done.
The irony was not lost on me, however, and I laughed out loud when I saw her “money tree!”
It actually grows quite well this year!
I have actual radishes this time around–last year, I planted seeds, and they sprouted, but I never got to the radish stage. The herbs are growing well (although the cilantro has pretty much lived out it’s life span already!) and we’ve already used fresh basil and cilantro in meals. I have lots of squash blossoms and jalepeño flowers, but no actual fruits of those yet. And the carrot leaves are just beginning to peek through. Not bad for having been planted just over a month ago!
The onions and garlic have been interesting. The garlic grew really nice, and I thought it was “done,” so I pulled it, and it came out looking like a loose bunch of green onions. I’m assuming it wasn’t quite ready to be picked, but it appears to still be usable, so I’ll just chalk that up to a learning experience. The red onions were growing well, but I’m pretty sure that our resident rabbit, who I’ve seen a few times, (once in the garden bed, sniffing around the garlic), is eating the tops, because I’ve found lots of bulbs with the tops mysteriously down right to ground level.
The tomatoes are doing the best. And by the best, I mean producing at an alarming rate. It was finally dry enough for me to really inspect them the other day–I knew there had been lots of flowers, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to look for actual tomatoes. Well, I started finding them, and I got curious, so I counted, and there are approximately 45 tomatoes growing out there right now!!! And that’s just the first growth cycle of the summer. I hope they do well, and keep growing at this rate–there’s nothing I like better in the summer than a fresh tomato sprinkled with salt, or a nice BLT, or some homemade pico de gallo.
Gardening is a lot of work, but the rewards certainly make it worth it!