Monday, August 25, 2014

books for preteen girls

There's a tricky side to being a voracious reader: people end up asking you for recommended reading lists. I'm one of those people that blanks as soon as anyone asks me for recommendations. :( It helps to sit at a computer and leisurely come up with a list as titles come to you. Goodreads helps too. ;) 

Anyway, I thought I'd share a list I compiled a while ago for a friend. These books I think would appeal most to preteen girls. Some are quick reads and some take longer, but I love all of them. :) Of course, unless you're reading the Bible, all literature will have flaws, so I won't pretend these are perfect. I'm a fan of at least reviewing what your child is reading, if you don't have the time to read the book yourself first. Never take someone's word for it, and never judge a book by its cover. (Unless the author is Nicholas Sparks or Stephenie Meyer. :P)

The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Indian Captive by Lois Lenski (and anything else by her)
The Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott
The Dear America series
The Sarah, Plain and Tall series by Patricia MacLachlan
I am Regina by Sally Keehn
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (and anything else by him)
Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
The Heidi series by Johanna Spyri and Charles Tritten
The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry (and anything else by her)
The Prairie River series by Kristiana Gregory
Hidden Rainbow by Christmas Carol Kauffman
The Grandma's Attic series by Arleta Richardson
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard
The Borrowers series by Mary Norton
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Du Bois
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stuart
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Got any faves that should be added?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chili in July



Okay so maybe chili isn't the usual thing people make in the dead of summer. Do I care? No. I needed something with a good bit of iron in it since I'm still avoiding the prenatals containing iron. Found this recipe on Pinterest, and it appealed to me because 1) it's made in the Crockpot (no hot kitchen!) 2) the ingredients list was easy and affordable, and 3) it wasn't overly spicy. 

This is cooking right now for dinner. It cooks for 8 hours, which for me is a perfect amount, since it doesn't require me putting it together around lunchtime or during teaching hours. It's a new fave of Chris's and mine, so I thought I'd share it. 

P.S. - Anybody know what happens when you substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce? I don't know how I missed that while making my shopping list. :{ At least it's a Crockpot recipe. ;)

Monday, July 28, 2014

another peek


His face! We got to see his face this past Thursday! I had scheduled this appointment because the doctors wanted to double-check his growth and measurements. Everything looked good, and by the measurements they concluded that I was 26w1d pregnant and still due on October 29th. 

Chris was able to go with me again this visit, which ended up being super fun because we saw him sucking on his fingers vigorously (first pic), and then sticking his tongue in and out again and again (second pic - he's on his side and his mouth is WIDE open). When the doctor came in to wrap everything up, the first thing she said was, "Ooh! Chubby cheeks!" :) 

This week was somewhat an important one, as Chris and I decided to change plans and do a home birth. I am beyond excited, and am thankful it's still legal in this rule-happy state. One thing that helped me make this decision was the documentary The Business of Being Born. This was recommended by a friend, and I have to say it was one of the most informative and honest films I've seen. I highly recommend it to women who are considering different birth options. (Warning: the documentary is graphic and does contain brief but very strong language.) 

Now that I'm in the third trimester (oh my word!), I feel like a switch has been flipped and suddenly I'm getting next to no sleep. :( Poor Chris somehow manages to sleep amid my tossing and turning and sighing. If I look dead next time you see me, it's because simply changing a pillow isn't doing the trick anymore. :P 

We are getting more and more excited as October gets closer. I'm thankful it really hasn't felt like forever, or that pregnancy is unbearable (so far). Now I'm off to my glucose test. woohoo. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

they're watching

"If Christians lived according to their faith, there would be no more Hindus left in India." ~ Muhatma Gandhi

"Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian." ~ D. L. Moody

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

last night's surprise dinner


Here's a little cooking tip my mom never taught me: There's a little sandwich of time between 2-4 PM when you can make a brand new dinner recipe without fear, because if it doesn't turn out, you have time to throw it all away, take out the garbage, and spray air freshener everywhere before the husband gets home and no one knows a thing. Or, if it turns out to be spectacular, you throw it in Pyrex and into the fridge, clean up all the dishes, and voila, dinner's ready at 6 and no more work is left to be done. 

Thankfully, last night's dinner ended up in the latter category. 

Minus all the dishes being done. But I digress. 

While I don't eat shrimp "naked" (that means anything without breading isn't an option), I like the smell of shrimp and garlic and tomatoes and all that wonderfulness. I was really scared making this recipe because I've never cooked shrimp before in my life. After intense Googling, it sounded like walking a tightrope: undercook it and everyone will die of bacteria-related causes; overcook it and no one will be able to get it down their goozle pipe because of its tasteless rubber texture. GIMME A BREAK. I decided to make it anyway. (See first paragraph.)

You can find the recipe along with Natasha's beautiful tutorial photos here. I used chili powder instead of chili flakes because I didn't have any, and neither did Meijer. I also used a cup of chicken broth instead of dry white wine. (I won't judge you if you cook with alcohol. It all cooks out anyway. *cough sarcasm cough*) 

I think this would be best served over angel hair pasta. Make sure you wash your strainer out immediately after draining all the pasta, however. (See third paragraph.) 

So let me tell you how the story ended. I hesitantly made the recipe knowing that if I botched it, it was like throwing $18 into the garbage because that's how much a pound of shrimp costs these days. No pressure. The sauce was easy and smelled great. I dumped the angel hair into the hot water right when Chris got in the door. He walked up to me as I was stirring the sauce with the (cooked?) shrimp in it and said, "Is that...shrimp??" I nodded, and the next words out of his mouth were: "I love you!" SO, just saying, this could make your husband (or boyfriend or family or cat) REALLY happy so just go ahead and make it. The end.


Monday, June 16, 2014

It's a BOY!

Shoot. I forgot to update my little Blogger friends. Anyway, yes, on Thursday we found out that we're expecting a baby boy! Chris and I were just about 100% sure it was a boy, so it wasn't a surprise. :) 

We're keeping the name under wraps for now, but here are some pictures. The little stinker wouldn't let us see his face, but I'm hoping when I go for another scan in 5 weeks he'll cooperate!

He has Chris's delts. lol

His little ear, which can already hear!

His perfect foot. When he's born I'll still check for all his toes. ;)



Saturday, May 31, 2014

20 weeks

Today I am approximately halfway to meeting my baby, and only 11 days from knowing whether it's a son or a daughter. :) People say it flies by, but time is doing nothing but steadily dripping for me right now. I am staying occupied, however, with constant preparation. This is the third weekend I've hit every garage sale I can find looking for baby stuff. I've come home with everything from chunky books to bassinets to Bumbo seats to those dated Fisher Price toys...yeah. My little closet over at my family's is already filling up. But oh my word it's so FUN. I have been blessed to find many unbelievable deals on very nice things I'll be able to use several times over. 

Thank you for continuing to check on me and see how I'm feeling. :) The support and kindness that has been shown to me and Baby has already been humbling and overwhelming. I'm not feeling sick anymore these days, but I do get bad headaches now and again which I'm offsetting by eating constantly, drinking SmartWater (THANK YOU, Coca-Cola!! :P) and sometimes drinking Pepsi (yes, my midwife said it's okay). I still can't feel Baby move, but I got to hear its heartbeat last checkup so I know its still in there havin' a ball! 

Believe me, June 11th can't get here soon enough, but I promise to let you know if it's a boy or a girl when the time comes. :) I. can't. wait.