Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

What I’ve Been Reading – September 2022 September 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 8:25 am

Bookish Thoughts for September

The September Book Haul

September was a glorious book month! I had fun money to spend so, of course, new books were added to my home library. Two of my favorite authors had new releases which I pre-ordered for signed copies. I’m apparently that reader now. I picked up The Giver Quartet after reading the series this month and watching the movie on Netflix. I can see myself reading the books again and passing them along to my boys when they are older. I purchased Mr. Malcom’s List – both the book and the movie. I borrowed the book a few years ago from a friend and enjoyed it. I wanted to read it again before watching the movie.

I’m just a few books away from reaching my updated reading goal for 2022. I’m currently at 194 books. Three of those books I’ve read twice this year, so I will have read to 203 in order to get 200 different books read this calendar. I’m curious what my total for 2022 will end up being! I was telling my husband that I don’t plan to read as intensely after 2022. I would like to re-watch a few TV shows in 2023. He started laughing at me saying no one says “watching more television” is their goal for the future. We all know that if I read less next year, I will still read a lot! No worries there!

Apparently signed copies are my new thing!
Occasionally, I enjoy a book and movie comparison.

Top Picks for September

Fiction: Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning by Sally Clarkson. I appreciate Sally Clarkson as a resource for not only homeschool moms, but also as an inspiration for the spaces we create in our homes and the way we raise wholehearted children. She is full of grace and encouragement. Her words are soul-stirring and bring out the hopeful best in me. This book took a while to read because I started it at the busiest time of my month, but it was worth every page I could sneak in here and there. This is one I’m sure to add to my home collection eventually!
Non-Fiction: Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay. I read this book last September and gave it 4 stars. I read it again this month and decided to bump it up to 5 stars. It has so many things I love in it! The main character is smart and well-read. She had a rough childhood and found survival in books. There is so much compassion, intrigue, and literary goodness in this book. It rose to the top this month!
I couldn’t pick just one book this month! I’m adding The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber to my top picks this month. Originally, I gave the book 3 stars after the first reading. I was so surprised by the ending that I read the whole book again in the same week to catch elements I missed the first time through. Upon a second reading, I changed my opinion to 4 stars. The end of this book is such a doozy. I’m still reeling! I can’t stop thinking about what comes next in book three of the series!

Book List for September
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Wild + Free Book Club: 28 Activities to Make Books Come Alive by Ainsley Arment – 4 stars
  • Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley – 4 stars
  • Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning by Sally Clarkson – 4 stars
  • Raising Emotionally Strong Boys: Tools Your Son Can Build On for Life by David Thomas – 4 stars
  • Adventuring Together: How to Create Connections and Make Lasting Memories with Your Kids by Greta Eskridge – 4 stars

Non-Fiction:

  • How to Kiss Your Best Friend by Jenny Proctor (Sweet Rom-Com) – 3 starrs
  • Just One Chance by Jenny Proctor (Sweet Rom-Com) – 3 stars
  • Her Last First Date by Jenny Proctor (Sweet Rom-Com) – 3 stars
  • The Christmas Letters by Jenny Proctor (Sweet Rom-Com) – 4 stars
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (Animal Fiction) – 2 stars
  • Maude: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane (YA Historical Fiction) – 4 stars
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • Messenger by Lois Lowry (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • Son by Lois Lowry (YA Sci-Fi)- 4 stars
  • Worthy of Legend by Roseanna M. White (Historical Fiction) – 4 stars
  • The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber (YA Fantasy) – 4 stars
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (Literary Fiction) – 5 stars
  • Mr. Malcom’s List by Suzanne Allain (Historical Fiction) – 4 stars
  • Miss Lattimore’s Letters by Suzanne Allain (Historical Fiction) – 3 stars
 

What I’ve Been Reading – August 2022 August 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 7:39 pm

Bookish Thoughts for August

August has been a fun mix of books. I enjoyed re-reading The Secrets of the Isles series in anticipation of the release of the third book coming out in September (Worthy of Legend). I made this series my top pick for fiction in August, but I will admit it felt like cheating. I chose To Treasure an Heiress as my top pick when it was released in January 2022. There are obviously no rules to this book blog, but using the same book in the same calendar year felt like a concession. No clue why I have made up rules, but I do… Something about my Enneagram Type 1 personality… I explored the Renegades series by Marissa Meyers which had strong X-Men vibes. Not my usual reading, but it’s nice to mix it up. Elizabeth Bard’s memoirs took me on a journey through France and French cooking. That felt out of the norm for me, but it was interesting to explore something new with her. I really enjoyed The Bodyguard by Katherine Center. It seemed like all my friends got a copy before me and my wait at the library felt like an eternity (okay, two months, but you know, forever). One of my favorite authors, Emma St. Clair, did a surprise release with another author, Jenny Proctor. After reading Eloise and the Grump Next Door, I decided to renew my Kindle Unlimited account and binge read Jenny’s books. I enjoy sweet rom-coms. I may have given up watching Hallmark movies in 2022, but I’m pretty much reading the book equivalent these days. It definitely made for fun, light-hearted, summer reading!

Top Picks for August

Non-Fiction: This Beautiful Truth: How God’s Goodness Breaks into Our Darkness by Sarah Clarkson. This book was amazing! I appreciated Sarah’s honesty about her walk with mental illness and the brokenness she struggles with (both inside her and in this world). She has a way with words that sweeps you up in her story. It’s an incredibly vulnerable book and I admire her for writing it. While being completely honest about her struggles, she shares how God has shown up in her life and brings His goodness and light into the darkest places. I loved it! This is a library book that I will add to my home collection!
Fiction: I already shared in my bookish thoughts that The Series of the Isles series was my top pick. Why? British Historical fiction. Romance. Pirate Treasure Hunts. Yep. All good reasons. Specifically, To Treasure an Heiress makes me smile. I love Theo! He cracks me up! Reading these books again has me on the edge of my seat for the final installment. I can’t wait for Worthy of Legend to arrive in my mailbox soon.

Book List for August
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • This Beautiful Truth: How God’s Goodness Breaks into Our Darkness by Sarah Clarkson – 5 stars
  • Chosing Us: Marriage and Mutual Flourishing in a World of Difference by Gail Song Bantum & Brian Bantum – 3 stars
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear – 3 stars
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard – 3 stars
  • Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard – 3 stars
  • No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson PH.D. – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White (The Secret of the Isles Series) – 4 stars
  • To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White (The Secret of the Isles Series) – 4 stars
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyers (Renegades Series) – 3 stars
  • Archenemies by Marissa Meyers (Renegades Series) – 3 stars
  • Super Nova by Marissa Meyers (Renegades Series) – 3 stars
  • What You Wish For By Katherine Center (Contemporary Romance) – 3 stars
  • The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (Contemporary Romance) – 4 stars
  • I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones (YA Rom Com) – 3 stars
  • A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (Children’s Historical Fiction) – 4 stars
  • Eloise and the Grump Next Door by Emma St. Clair & Jenny Proctor – 3 stars
  • Love Redesigned by Jenny Proctor (Some Kind of Love Series) – 3 stars
  • Love Unexpected by Jenny Proctor (Some Kind of Love Series) – 3 stars
  • Love Off-Limits by Jenny Proctor (Some Kind of Love Series) – 3 stars
  • Love in Bloom by Jenny Proctor (Some Kind of Love Series) – 3 stars
 

What I’ve Been Reading – July 2022 July 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 11:00 am

Bookish Thoughts & Top Picks for July

A representation of some of the books I enjoyed most this month!

I’m combining my Bookish Thoughts and Top Picks this month. July has been a different reading month, so this blog will be a little different than my usual. For the first time in 2022, I let myself re-read books. I have a huge “To Be Read” pile this year. I haven’t let myself re-read books, not when there are so many new books calling my name. But… Illness hit our house and I needed to simplify my reading life. I wanted to get lost in a story and not have to put any thought into how it was going to end. I finally finished The Glenbrooke Series which I started last year and stopped midway through. Robin Jones Gunn is my ultimate comfort reading author. I re-read Roseanna M. White’s British Historical Fiction because it’s my favorite of her writings. I plan to re-read her The Secrets of the Isles Series in August in preparation for the final book of the series being released in September (Worthy of Lengend). I re-read Sweet Right Here by Jenny B. Jones before her next A Lost Story Bookshop release at the end of August (First to Fall). I re-read The Caraval Series and Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber to refresh myself before The Ballad of Never After releases in September. I’m so excited for new books coming my way soon! I didn’t love being sick this month, but I did take advantage of the extra down time. Books and the characters in them become dear friends to me. Revisiting my “friends” felt like a sweet treat!

The Book List for July
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Waymaker: Finding the Way to the Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of by Ann Voskamp – 4 stars
  • 8 Great Smarts for Homeschoolers: A Guide to Teaching Based on Your Child’s Unique Strengths by Tina Hollenbeck – 4 stars
  • The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds by Kathy Keller/The Gospel Coalition – 4 Stars
  • The New City Catechism for Kids by The Gospel Coalition – 5 stars

Fiction:

  • Unfailing Love (When Hope Calls Series) by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan – 3 stars
  • Clouds (The Glenbrooke Series) by Robin Jones Gunn – 5 stars
  • Waterfalls (The Glenbrooke Series) by Robin Jones Gunn – 5 stars
  • Woodlands (The Glenbrooke Series) by Robin Jones Gunn – 5 stars
  • Wildflowers (The Glenbrooke Series) by Robin Jones Gunn – 5 stars
  • Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. White – 5 stars
  • The Lost Heiress (The Ladies of the Manor Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • The Reluctant Duchess (The Ladies of the Manor Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • A Lady Unrivaled (The Ladies of the Manor Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • The Number of Love (The Codebreakers Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • On Wings of Devotion (The Codebreakers Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers Series) by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
  • There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones – 5 stars
  • Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • His Mistletoe Miracle (Sugar Creek Christmas Series) by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • A Sugar Creek Christmas (Sugar Creek Christmas Series) by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • Her Holiday Husband (Sugar Creek Christmas Series) by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • Sweet Right Here (A Lost Story Bookshop Novel) by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • Caraval (The Caraval Series) by Stephanie Garber – 4 stars
  • Legendary (The Caraval Series) by Stephanie Garber – 3 stars
  • Finale (The Caraval Series) by Stephanie Garber – 3 stars
  • Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber – 4 stars
  • Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana by Angela Ruth Strong – 4 stars
  • Finding Love in Park City, Utah by Angela Ruth Strong – 4 stars
  • Being Love in Eureka, California by Angela Ruth Strong – 4 stars
 

Quiet Recovery July 15, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 5:45 pm

I debated not posting an update this week. 14 days at home hasn’t produced any exciting stories to share. Thankfully, I am on my last day of needing to take precautions after COVID. I hope to rejoin the world this weekend. I’m also grateful that Jeremy and I experienced fairly mild COVID symptoms. The boys tested negative numerous times and never had any symptoms. We are fairly confident at this point that they avoided the germs.

What does one do for two weeks at home while recovering from illness? My answer should be no surprise – read! I’ve finished 18 novels so far this month. All, but one, are books that I’ve read before. I let myself get lost in stories I already know the ending to. Definitely comfort reading. I took two days off from my usual walks and that was hard for me. I’m addicted to getting 10,000 steps. I’m back to walking an hour a day. I enjoy getting outside in the fresh air and going for a stroll. Quarantine baking has also become a thing in our house again. I made a second cake at Owen’s request and some frozen cinnamon rolls for Graham. Jeremy would say his recovery plan involved plenty of Parks and Recreation since we subscribed to Peacock for the month.

The kids have handled the extra time at home fairly well. We’ve been back to a somewhat normal home schedule this week. I dropped the boys off at church on Sunday so they could participate with Monumental VBA. I felt a bit self-conscience driving in my mask with the windows down, but I was still technically in isolation on Sunday. I didn’t want to spread anything to the boys. Jeremy met us in the parking lot to take them in. They also joined Jeremy for church on Wednesday night. To win the Dad-of-the-Year award, he took them fishing last night and they are out scouting tonight. I’ve appreciated the extra quiet time at home… to read… and bake… and walk… And that sums up life! We did a little bit of summer school this week as well, so it hasn’t been all play. But mostly, play.

One highlight of the past week was Jeremy and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary! Obviously, our plans changed and it was a quiet day around the house. Jeremy’s parents were kind and brought us take-out so we could have an extra special dinner. We’ll have to make up for the missed celebration another time. I joked that there is no one I would would rather “isolate” with more than Jeremy. He is my favorite person and best friend. I can’t say I wanted to have the bonding experience of sharing COVID, but we handled it well. We make a good team and I’m so grateful for the life we get to share together (germs and all).

Well, like I said, my guys are out in the woods having an adventure… I’m going to spend my evening at home with a book and maybe go for a walk. Totally predictable. We’ll see what next week holds now that the great COVID adventure is behind us.

This is how I isolate while sick…
Thankful I felt well enough to walk while recovering.
It might be a dusty, gravel driveway, but it’s one of my happy places.
Flashback to 16 years go!
Owen and Amy’s July reads:
Owen has been reading quite a bit during this quiet time at home. I took this picture on Wednesday and he has already added 2 more books to this stack. You can add 9 books to my stack on the right. 7 eBooks and 2 more books that I finished after taking this photo.
 

What I’ve Been Reading – June 2022 June 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 8:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for June

Amazon had a book sale this month! Buy three for the price of two! I picked up our own copy of The Lost Words, as well as a book of poetry I plan to use for school this fall and a book about raising boys. Love getting book mail!

My non-fiction reading outweighed my fiction reading by far this month. That almost never happens! Jeremy brought home three books from work to get my feedback on. The weight of the topics this month overwhelmed my mind at times. Part of the reason I read so much non-fiction was my fiction options were low this month. Throughout the month, I wished I could set aside the non-fiction and get lost in a story instead. My fiction reading this month was solidly in the 3 star camp. There were elements to each book that I really enjoyed, but there were also elements that I didn’t enjoy. This meant that each book got an average rating. Overall, the 4 star non-fiction books listed below were the highlights of my month! I’m really hoping I can up my fiction game in July because that is truly where my bookworm heart is happiest.

Top Picks for June

Non-Fiction:
The Spiritually Vibrant Home: The Power of Messy Prayers, Loud Tables, and Open Doors by Don Everts. This book is based on Barna research (I’m a huge fan of Barna research – insert nerd emoji here). I love books full of stats, charts, and data. I enjoyed how Everts unpacked the research and applied it alongside the families in his church. This book affirmed many elements of faith we are already fostering in our home, but also inspired me to keep being intentional within the walls of our home and also in our communities.
Fiction:
Akin to Anne by L.M. Montgomery. If you’ve followed my blog for while, you know my love for L.M.M. This collection of short stories centers on orphans and the lonely finding connection and family. The tales are classic L.M.M. and I enjoyed slipping back in time to another world. These short stories were published over many years and were not originally published together. Many elements of the stories repeat themselves and can feel a bit redundant when read in a short period of time. I would recommend reading this book slowly and spread out so each story can stand on its own and not be compared with the others.

The Book List for June
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non Fiction:

  • The Whole Brained Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. & Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. – 4 stars
  • Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin – 4 stars
  • The Spiritually Vibrant Home: The Power of Messy Prayers, Loud Tables, and Open Doors by Don Everts – 4 stars
  • Biblical Worldview: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Shape the Worldview of the Next Generation by Dr. Josh Mulvihill – 3 stars
  • Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words Are Vanishing–and How We Can Revive Them by Jonathan Merritt – 4 stars
  • Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie – 4 stars
  • On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior – 3 stars
  • Morning Time: A Liturgy of Love by Cindy Rollins – 3 stars
  • The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs by Peter Enns – 4 stars
  • 50 Things Every Child Needs to Know Before Leaving Home: Raising Children to Godly Adults by Dr. Josh Mulvihill & Jen Mulvihill – 3 stars
  • Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends by Mark A Yarhouse, PsyD – 3 stars
  • Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown PhD, MSW – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Akin to Anne by L.M. Montgomery (collection of short stories) – 3 stars
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette (contemporary, family fiction) by Maria Semple – 3 stars
  • The Keeper of Lost Things (contemporary, British fiction) by Ruth Hogan- 3 stars
  • The Bluff by Emma St. Clair (small town, rom com) – 3 stars
  • By the Book (Meant to Be #2 – Modern Beauty & the Beast) by Jasmine Guillory – 3 stars
  • If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be #1 – Modern Cinderella) by Julie Murphy – 3 stars
 

Summer Mode June 1, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 1:09 pm

We’re officially in summer mode, even if the weather here in the PNW doesn’t agree. May was more like March in our corner of Washington State. It’s a bit disappointing, but we’re rolling with it. Memorial Day weekend is often called the unofficial start of summer and I’ve always viewed it as such. The weather might not cooperate, but we’re still claiming summer mode no matter what!

Since we finished school last Wednesday, we took a long weekend before starting our summer routine. On Thursday, the boys spent the afternoon with Jeremy while I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning. I’m not sure why I thought going to the dentist on our first day off from school was a good idea. It was a very anti-climatic way to start our break. The boys were super sweet and surprised me with a thank you gift for teaching them this last year. Jeremy took them to store where they picked out orange roses and a maple bar for me. According to the internet (which we all know is super reliable), orange roses stand for joy. They offer sincere gratitude and happiness. I’m positive my kids didn’t have this symbolism in mind when they made their selection, but I’ll take it!

The rest of holiday weekend was a mix of resting and socializing. We had friends over for dinner on Saturday. We made burgers and hot dogs inside since it was raining. The weather wasn’t going to stop the BBQ food vides. After church on Sunday, we took a drive to visit family. The kids played with cousins while the adults played games. It was a good way to pass yet another rainy day. Both Saturday and Sunday, the kids played outside regardless of the rain. They weren’t letting the weather get in the way of fun. Monday, we met Nana and Papa for breakfast at a favorite restaurant. My big goal for Memorial Day weekend was to finish The Return of the King. I was excited to complete the epic Lord of the Rings series by my self-imposed deadline (Jeremy likes to poke fun at my “deadlines”).

Now we’re on our summer schedule. Our days start very similar to the school year. We see Jeremy off to work, start a load of laundry, and do a little schoolwork. The workload is quick and fun. Just a little something to keep their brains engaged, but not feel like a burden. The kids are enjoying the extra free time and so am I! Because we’ve had two dry days, I’ve walked mid-morning which feels like a treat. Usually, I don’t have time to walk until late afternoon or evening. Our summer schedule looks like fairly free weekdays and mostly full weekends. It’s amazing how the summer calendar filled in with adventures. Yesterday, I wrote out our summer bucket list on the white board in our kitchen. It will be fun to start checking off the activities. Hooray for summer mode!

Flowers and thank you cards! Such a sweet appreciation gift!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – May 2022 May 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:50 am

Bookish Thoughts for May

My book list for May is down in comparison to prior months. I blame this on realizing halfway through May there was an entire season of Call the Midwife on the PBS app that I wanted to watch before it expired. My priorities shifted from books for a while.

I finally tackled my 2022 reading goal of reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time. I learned that The Hobbit is considered a children’s book. I read it considerably faster than I expected. I also learned the next books aren’t actually a trilogy, but six books published in three. If I could count TLOTR for each individual book, I could have three more books added to my monthly total… Oh well! My thoughts on TLOTR? There were times it was a bit too wordy for me. Tolkien is famous for the in-depth world he created in Middle-Earth. Occasionally, the details were too much for me. I wanted the story to move faster. The Hobbit and The Return of the King were my favorites. At the end of The Return of the King, many couples get together and get married. I’m not a huge fan of battles, but give me a love story and a happily ever after any day! I enjoyed how Tolkien concluded the whole tale in the final book.

Even though it took me longer to get through TLOTR than I expected, I was still able to reach my another reading goal for 2022. I reached my 100 books read goal this month. Apparently, I set my yearly reading goal a bit low. So now, I’m hoping for 200 in 2022. We’ll see if I can pull it off! My reading goals for 2022 were to read 100 books and read Harry Potter and TLOTR for the first time. Now that I’ve completed all my goals, I guess it’s time to make some new ones.

I read the books through Kindle Unlimited so I could make the font larger (I’ve reached granny status), but I also purchased them as future reading for the boys.

Top Picks for May

Non-Fiction: The Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally & Sarah Clarkson. These authors are quite popular with my homeschool-mom friends. I’ve started reading their works and I’m finding I enjoy them as well. The Life-Giving Home is formatted to be read over the course of the year with each month highlighting a certain theme. I borrowed this from the library, so I couldn’t read it on that timeline. Also, I’m not a fan of drawing books out. I want to read them all at once instead of over many months. I still gleaned a lot from this book even though I disregarded the format. It was interesting to read Sally’s perspective looking back on the home life they created and Sarah’s perspective from being raised in their home. This book is an excellent resource for family values and the environments we create in our spaces.
Fiction: The When Hope Calls series by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan. I discovered this series through Goodreads. I was delighted to see my library had the first two books and the third (and I’m guessing final book) will be released in June. I’ve read all of Oke’s When Calls the Heart books and I’ve watched both When Calls the Heart and When Hope Calls as Hallmark Channel shows. When Hope Calls was only so-so as a television show. The books are a loose companion to the show and in my opinion, the books were so much better (as is usually the case). This series opened my eyes to a part of history I had been unaware of before (the plight of home children brought over from England to Canada). I love it when I learn from historical fiction. I’m now anxiously awaiting the next installment.

The Book List for May
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • The Life-Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally & Sarah Clarkson – 4 stars
  • Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want by Maria Goff – 4 stars
  • Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson – 4 stars
  • Wholehearted Faith by Rachel Held Evans with Jeff Chu – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • And Every Day the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman (Family/Illness) – 3 stars
  • The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman (Family/Illness) – 3 stars
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings #0) (Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings #1) (Fantasy) by J.R.R. Tolkien – 3 stars
  • The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings #2) (Fantasy) by J.R.R. Tolkien – 3 stars
  • The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings #3) (Fantasy) by J.R.R. Tolkien – 3 stars
  • Unyielding Hope (When Hope Calls #1) (Historical) by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan – 3 stars
  • Sustaining Faith (When Hope Calls #2) (Historical) by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan – 4 stars
This cute sticker came in an Usborne Books & More order I made recently. Even though the order was for the kids, I’m keeping the sticker for myself.
 

Summer is Coming?! May 18, 2022

We’ve been experiencing a May that feels very much like a March in our part of the PNW. When I look at the calendar, I see summer is coming. Then I look out the window and the weather doesn’t seem to agree. The cool and showery weather has distracted me from the fact that summer is right around the corner. Slowly, my mind is turning toward summer and I’m starting to get excited!

We are about to wrap-up our school year this week. We use an assortment of 36 week curriculums from September through May. The kids have been enthusiastically completing books all month. Next week, Owen will have his first year-end assessment. I took the CAT as a homeschooler in middle school so I’m familiar with it, but things have changed in the decades since I was a student. It will be a new adventure for both Owen and I. I’m looking forward to having testing finished because that will feel like the true end of the school year for me.

As we wrap-up the school year, the kids are already pulling out their summer books and asking when we can start them. I’m thankful for willing students who love to learn (even over the summer). We do a lighter version of school over the summer. We do this because we have the time and it adds structure to our days. I’m mindful of the “summer slide” and summer school helps to prevent learning loss. A little bit of school on the days we’re home keeps the brain engaged (and we have fun with it).

Anyone else make a summer bucket list? I started making mine this month! I have a few local historical sites and nature trails I hope we can visit this summer. I’m also hoping we can make it to the zoo. We’ll try to have a month of swimming lessons in the mix. Vacation Bible Adventure will happen on Sundays this year and the whole family is excited for the theme – Monumental. This will be Owen’s first year to attend an overnight summer camp! If the weather corporates, we’ll set-up the pool in the backyard soon. We love hosting playdates with family and friends! So much good summer fun awaits us!

The calendar says summer is coming, now if only the weather would get on board! With less than two weeks left in May, I’m dreaming of sunny days filled with adventure and a change of pace. It’s all right around the corner!

My Mother’s Day Book Haul! Books are my love language!
We had quite few peanut butter eggs left over from Easter so I turned them into a no-bake peanut butter cup pie. Yum!
Saturday was a beautiful day in the PNW! Our boys took friends on an adventure to our nearby beaver dam. They love giving guided nature tours!
A small glimpse of summer days to come! Nothing quite like kids running barefoot in the backyard!
 

Thoughts on Mothering in this Season May 11, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 4:02 pm

We had a quiet Mother’s Day weekend as Jeremy continued to regain his stamina after fighting pneumonia. Our plans for the weekend changed so Jeremy could continue to rest. While I do love a good adventure to celebrate Mother’s Day, I also enjoy time at home. A quieter weekend was fine by me.

In my Mother’s Day Instagram post, I mentioned coming to motherhood with almost no knowledge of little boys. Growing up with just a sister, little boys have always been a mystery to me, even after years of observing them in children’s ministry before parenthood. Somehow God saw it fit to give me two boys and the adventurous life of a boy mom. Owen and Graham have given me quite the education on the ways and workings of little men. It’s been a fantasticating experience and I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

I’m the first to admit that the baby and toddler years were sweet, but not necessarily my favorite seasons of parenthood. I have many fond memories of my boys as littles, but I was in survival mode most of the time. Each new stage of development has been exciting step forward. I especially appreciated moving into the preschool years and then the elementary school days. We aren’t to the tweens/teens yet, but I have have a feeling these middle childhood years are a sweet spot. I’m loving these not quite little, but not quite big boys. They still love to cuddle and be near their mama. They still want to tell me everything (in great detail). I’m doing my best to savor this season. I know moms who have great relationships with their tween/teen boys so I’m taking notes and studying even now.

The last two years of mothering have certainly been different than I expected. The pandemic nudged our family in the direction of homeschooling. I often wondered about homeschooling, but without the pandemic, I would have never taken the plunge. It turns out that homeschooling has been an amazing choice for our family. We’ve enjoyed the last two years so much that we are contemplating continuing next year. As an introvert, I do wish for a bit more peace and quiet in my life. My boys seem to come with loud as their default setting, but the noise and interruptions have been worth it. I could write a whole post on our homeschooling family structure and why I love it so much. Bottom line, I love doing life together. I enjoy learning together, playing together, reading together, adventuring together. (I also enjoy our daily “quiet time” when we take a break from being together – a must for this introvert ). I have the honor/responsibility of modeling our family values throughout the day and I get a front row seat to what the boys are learning and enjoying. It’s not, by any means, a perfect life. Sibling squabbles are real, the kids rarely cheer for chores, and lots of time at home means lots of time to make “creative” messes. Life might not be perfect, but it is good.

Motherhood hasn’t been easy, but it has been a joy. I am thankful for the opportunity to be home with my family. My mothering is in partnership with Jeremy and I am so glad we get to this child-raising gig together. I love how the boys take after their father. All my men are outdoorsy and this stretches me to keep up with them. Through the boys, I’ve learned to appreciate going on a hike or spending an afternoon outside. Hopefully, through me, they’ve learned to appreciate baked goods and good books. We are shaping and influencing each other. We are creating a family culture. It’s hard work (some days more than others), but I’m grateful it’s my work in this season.

The boys attempted to sleep in their forts last week. Owen made it to 9:30pm and Graham made it to 1:00am. Both decided their beds were more comfortable and relocated.
The vibe of our weekend… Owen birdwatching, me reading. Very exciting times at our house.
Took my first dive into Tolkien this weekend. Just like Harry Potter, I decided to find out for myself why The Lord of the Rings books are beloved by so many.
Mother’s Day Photoshoot
Jeremy played with some of the portrait settings on my phone. This was a fun one.
Mama & Owen
Mama & Graham
Marking art at co-op with oil pastels
The fire alarm accidentally got pulled at co-op so we got a visit from the local fire station.
I usually keep the front of our fridge bare, but at the moment it’s covered in Mother’s Day cards, end of curriculum awards, co-op art, and an orthodontist referral that keeps getting put off. This sums up our life pretty well right now.
 

What I’ve Been Reading – April 2022 April 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 9:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for April

April was a month full of good books! The bonus of extra time at home is extra time to read! You’ll notice lots of 4 stars on my book list. You’ll also notice that my non-fiction to fiction ratio is fairly even this month (which is extremely rare). Here are some highlights of the month… Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the first play I’ve read (since long forgotten high school days). It took me a while to get into the format, but I eventually got the hang out of it and really enjoyed the story. I added two new special books to my home library. I pre-ordered both Shauna Niequist and Roseanna M. White’s new releases. I got the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition of I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet for the bonus chapter on writing. Shadowed Loyalty is a signed copy which is a first for me (and such a treat)! Both were excellent reads and worth the wait. I read on some of my favorite topics this month from the Enneagram to parenting to memoirs. I also read some of my favorite authors this month – Ian Morgan Cron, Bob Goff, Shauna Niequist, Jenny B. Jones, Emma St. Clair, and Roseanna M. White. It felt like a month spent with good friends!

My two extra special additions to my home library!

Top Picks for April

Non-Fiction: Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley. This book came recommend by a wise friend! She has pointed me toward many a good book. It took a while for me to get a copy at the library, but it was worth the wait. In fact, this book is on my short list of books I want to purchase next. I get asked for parenting book recommendations frequently and this book will be on my list now! It was practical and relatable. These habits might seem common sense or even small, but they set the tone and foundation for our families. I liked that the chapters ended with an overview, deeper application, and further reading recommendations. Any book that recommends more books is a winner! Non-fiction runners-up this month are The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self by Ian Morgan Cron and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist.
Fiction: Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price. I read the first book in this Jane Austen Murder Mystery Series last spring (Pride and Premeditation). I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t an instant favorite. I came across Sense and Second-Degree Murder as a new release and I thought since I read the first book, I might as well read the second (I’m a sucker for a series). This book was better than the first in my opinion. I read it over Easter weekend and I kept wanting to sneak in more reading sessions despite my busy schedule. I just had to know what happened next! These books are loosely based on the classics and loaded with girl power. Elinor wants to be a chemist. Marianne is training under her father to be an investigator. In P&P, Lizzie is training under her father to be a lawyer. Something about these ladies’ not letting society hold them back from their dream professions just makes me happy. Runner-ups for fiction are Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany.

The Book List for April
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage by Beth & Jeff McCord – 3 stars
  • The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self by Ian Morgan Cron – 4 stars
  • Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie – 4 stars
  • Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley – 4 stars
  • Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – 4 stars
  • Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan – 3 stars
  • I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist – 4 stars
  • Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It by Bob Goff – 4 stars
  • Wild and Free Nature: 25 Outdoor Adventures for Kids to Explore, Discover, and Awaken Their Curiosity by Ainsley Arment – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – 3 stars
  • Falling Sommerset by Jenny B. Jones – 3 stars
  • Falling For Your Brother’s Best Friend by Emma St. Clair – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany – 4 stars
  • The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle – 3 stars
  • Dragons in the Water by Madeleine L’Engle – 3 stars
  • A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L’Engle – 1 star
  • Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price – 4 stars
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir – 3 stars
  • Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars