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Showing posts from May, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend

Super deck and the new grill got a lot of use this weekend. There was a soccer tournament, a birthday party and get-together at a friend's house -- but it was all about spending time in the beautiful backyard. And all the chores therein, of course.

Audiobook Review: Finishing School Series

Audiobook: Finishing School Series
Author: Gail Carriger
Read by: Moira Quirk
Genre: YA, Steampunk, Delightful!

I know I've talked about this YA Steampunk series before ... but I finished the last book in the series and I'm excited to recommend them.

These books, and Carriger as an author, just fits into my book-genre wheelhouse. There's action with a tiny bit of romance and a lot of Victorian-era charm and mischief. Sophronia is an excellent heroine of the series, as she's smart and funny yet still misses some things the reader finds rather obvious. And her band of friends are just as fantastic and well-rounded.

In this story, her teacher's secrets are revealed and her school explodes. And she finally comes clean about her feelings for Soap. And let's not forget the end of the Picklemen.

The audiobook is especially delightful, because the Moira Quirk, the narrator, does such an excellent job at all the accents.

Victorian England would have been more fun with werw…

Newest Cookbooks - Round Up

Thanks to some gift certificates for my birthday I was able to increase my growing cookbook library. This time, I've picked up some food blogger books and Gwyneth's latest.

If ever I'm in need of a mini-vacation to the French countryside Mimi Thorisson and her Manger blog provide it. Her large (and growing) family, ancient home and thoughtful posts take me away. Her husband's textured images provide all I need to dive in to taste the food, feel the breeze and walk through her kitchen. This book has been on my wish list for months and I finally broke down. This is more of a good read than a recipe book, as I'm not sure I am adventurous enough to attempt the French dishes. Maybe.

And speaking of French cooking, I got Clotilde's book from Chocolate & Zucchini food blog. She's in Paris and her recipes are all about simple dishes from The French Market. Lots of yummy-looking veggies.

Deb Perelman is a food blogger from Brooklyn and the dishes she creates in h…

The Dream House

I have this reoccurring dream about a house. It's old and huge and needs a ton of rehab. And we're either buying it or we're just moving in.

From the front yard, it looks like it's set in a lush, dark green jungle and just off a main road. The busy main road makes me nervous about the girls playing out front. The back of the house is right on the beach, with sand on the back porch, and tall, rocky cliffs crowding in on both sides. It's windy and the sand and ocean stretch out forever. There are usually a crowd of boats and surfers in the water. In one dream, a storm rolled in with large waves and rain. In another, we built a huge water slide from the roof straight into the sea and Alice was too scared to ride down it.

Some dreams take place only inside the house, and I find myself wandering around the decaying rooms and thinking of all the work needed. Sometimes, I pick a room and clean it up, paint it and move into it. (Yes, I'm doing housework in my dreams!) …

Lilacs in Bloom

There's nothing that tells me it's Spring more than the scent of lilacs in my house. 
Growing up, we had a large lilac bush in our backyard and every year my Mom cut an enormous bouquet of flowers for the dining room table that you could smell in every corner of the house. 
Don't you love how some scents remind you of childhood memories? 
These days I cut lilacs from a house up the street with a long row of lilacs -- as my attempts to grow them in our yard have been unsuccessful. (I swear the owner doesn't mind.) 
Happy Spring -- despite the frost warnings this week. 

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Blues and Greens for the Master Bedroom

The time has come. My master bedrooms has been neglected since we moved in four years ago and the time has come to pump up the style.

As usual, we'll start with the walls -- the mint green has to go. While I'll admit the color isn't horrible, there are scuffs and chips all over the 10-year-old (maybe older) paint job.

I started this month by haunting the hardware stores in the area, gathering attractive paint chips, and putting samples up on the wall. Here's the current color choices with my favorite-ever duvet that will inspire the whole decorating effort.

That dark blue option is called "Everard" from Benjamin Moore. Finding it made the Ace Hardware paint guy a little nuts because I discovered it on this (lovely) blog but apparently it is no longer an available chip. But they finally found it and the sample looks pretty close to the blue in the duvet.

I think a nice dark blue will give the room a warm, relaxed feeling perfect for sleeping.

But before I comm…

Books Read ... So Far This Year

At the beginning of the year I started a pile of all the books I've read in 2016 .... and it's fast becoming a little source of pride.

I read a LOT of books. And, of course, this stack doesn't reflect the many audiobooks I listen to on my commute and dozens of ebooks I read on my Kindle.

To be honest, I'm usually reading three stories at any given time -- across all those mediums. And it's only when a book is truly amazing do I halt all other reading.

Here are a few quickie reviews: 

The Night Circus: The best book I read on this pile -- but only by a slim margin. It wasn't an exciting page-turner but more of a very slow build and a magical payoff at the end. I bought the book years ago but ended up listening to this on audiobook with the very wonderful Jim Dale narrating.

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates: This is an action-y series about a secret society that runs the world and the girl who can bring it all down ... or save us all. Or something like that. I…

Looking Ahead to the Summer

This summer is going to be bananas!

I've been working through calendars and laying out plans for our summer months and it's starting to scare me.

Let's review what's on the way:
Dave has a week-long conference downtown and a European trip -- back to back. That's two weeks of single-parenting!I have a work conference for four days in Denver A week later, we're flying out for a week-long camp on the east coastThe day after we get back, Dave and I are getting a couples weekend in Las Vegas A week later my in-laws are visiting, with possibly my sister-in-law and her familyAnd my sister and her adorable daughters may also be coming for a visit around that same time. Not to mention the mix of day camps I scheduled for the kids. Some weeks they'll be in our town, others they'll be near my office.  All wonderful, exciting events I am looking forward to, but it will make our summer -- our short, wonderful summer -- just fly by.

School is out in one month!!! Get r…

The Many Silly Faces of Alice

Every family has a ham ... quick to make silly faces or tell a joke ... Alice is ours:

Happy 12th Wedding Anniversary!

So 12 years ago I was getting married to my best friend. And while the day wasn't the perfect, candy-coated day I had dreamed about until it was a distorted fantasy -- it ended perfectly. Together.

Life is better when you've got a teammate, best friend, co-conspirator and adoring husband to spend it with every day. "Wherever you are is home."