Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

A Trip Down Memory Lane March 23, 2022

This last week, I got to visit a place that is very special in my childhood memories. Jeremy has agreed to co-direct kids camp for our church network. He has directed/co-directed kids camps for our entire married life. Two summers without kids camp on our calendar has been strange. Now that COVID numbers are coming down and things are opening up, kids camp planning is back on. Jeremy had a camp tour this last Friday and he mentioned taking the boys along for the outing. I also asked to tagalong because kids camp this year is at the campground I attended as an elementary school student – Lake Retreat! Because it was a full camp tour, we got to look inside all the buildings and wander all over the campground. As we walked through the different spaces, I could remember which “cabins” I stayed in. I had memories of lining up outside the cafeteria, eating camp meals, messages in the chapel, and stories by the campfire. The camp is right on Lake Retreat and I remember how high the diving board seemed as a kid. The strangest thing was how small the camp felt to me as an adult. My childhood memory was of this huge, expansive campground. While the campground really isn’t small, it just wasn’t quite as large as my childhood memory made it seem. I guess the walk across camp felt longer for little legs decades ago. It was very special to visit a place for vivid in my memories.

While visiting camp was partially for nostalgia, I also had another purpose for tagging along. This is the first summer that Owen is old enough to attend. It’s crazy to think of him going off to camp. I wanted to get a glimpse of what camp might look for him. Could I picture him there? Owen and Graham both enjoyed the camp tour. It certainly inspired them to want to attend. One of the advantages of Owen visiting camp in advance is he can now picture where this new experience would take place. We’ve haven’t done overnight experiences beyond a night or two at a grandparents’ house. In the aftermath of a pandemic, we’re still processing if summer camp is a step we’re ready for. Seeing the camp in-person was helpful as we process our summer plans. It’s hard to believe that we have a kiddo that is old enough to be a camper!

Okay, visiting camp wasn’t the only highlight of the last week. I’ll try to hit the others quickly. On Thursday, we visited friends and saw quite a few trains on our journey to/from their home. The boys are still obsessed with trains, so it was a very good day! We met Jeremy for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (which I find funny since it was St. Patrick’s day). Friday night, I attended book club. I enjoy discussing books with other moms and my book recommendation list is super long now. On Saturday, we had a beaver walk up our driveway and into our front yard! We apparently live in a zoo or maybe Narnia. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and the boys got to do their favorite thing – flashlight tag in the yard. Sunday, our chickens got attacked by an eagle. We missed the drama but my parents saw it happen. A crow attacked the eagle and scared it off before it could harm our chickens. A big thank you to that crow! Between a beaver in the yard on Saturday and an eagle on Sunday… we seriously live in a zoo!

After a few days of activity, I’ve been enjoying some quieter days at home. I’m almost finished with the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on book seven and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It’s been fun to discuss the books with my friends (and hubby) who are fans. I’m often asked what I think about the books, but it’s also neat to hear what books, characters, and moments other readers like best. Oh, and the very important discussion of what Hogwarts house you think you’d be in! I’m torn between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but I’m leaning toward Hufflepuff. I’ll have to give my final HP thoughts at the end of the month in my book blog!

Well, that’s all for now! Until next time!

Watching for trains while waiting for Jeremy to arrive at the restaurant.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at Plaza Jalisco!
Past camper and potential future camper
Introducing the kids to carpet ball
Tripe stacked bunk beds!
Enjoying the lake
The beaver and the wildlife photographers
A visit to Dad’s office on Sunday to check out the sprouts in the Aerogarden
Learning about fossils in amber with gummy worms and orange Jell-O
Learning about weather in science
 

The Other Days March 16, 2022

It can be easy and exciting to write about the big adventures and outings. However, life is mostly made up of the “other” days. They might not be thrilling, but each ordinary day is an adventure all it’s own. With the future unknown, I am trying to intentionally savor these days at home. The last two years have greatly changed how we live our day-to-day lives. While many have rushed back to normal, we are trying to hold on to the benefits we’ve found in living differently.

Our mornings are spent at the dining room table doing school. We are one week away from the end of our 3rd quarter. The boys already have their 3rd quarter rewards selected and they are counting down the days until we can celebrate. It is very exciting to see the pages left in our school books dwindling. Some of our curriculum doesn’t end at exactly 180 days of lessons. A few books will be completed before we are officially finished with the school year. (When that happens, I supplement that subject with other worksheets/books.) It’s always a celebration when a textbook is completed. The finish line for the school year is in sight!

Homeschooling has been an unexpected chapter in our family story. It’s been a good chapter, though. Our plans for school next year are still undecided. There is a chance that the boys will be back to public school in the fall. With that in mind, I’m doing my best to enjoy this homeschool season for all that it is. It’s not over yet and I want to make the most of it. Often that means putting thoughts (and, being real here, anxieties) about next year on hold for now. I don’t want to miss this current time at home pondering (or fretting over) future decisions.

After school, we have lunch and then quiet time. This used to be nap time, but the boys have long outgrown naps. Now they are allowed to play on their beds or read books during quiet time. While they might not sleep anymore, the down time is restorative. It reminds me of the “flat on bunk” time I used to have at kid’s camp when I was in elementary school. Sleep is optional, but rest isn’t. This quiet time is just as important for me as it is for the boys. I appreciate the break! I often use it to read, research (aka look things up on Amazon), contact friends (Marco Polo), and do “grown-up stuff” (like make dentist appointments).

When quiet time is over, it’s afternoon free time. If the weather is nice, we’ll walk to the mailbox. I usually start dinner prep while the boys play. LEGO Super Mario is still the toy of choice around here. If the boys have chores, they do them in the afternoon/evening free time. Some of their chores are emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, collecting eggs, and helping with the laundry. We have dinner when Jeremy gets home and then usually there is a little time to play on the Switch. Some days wrap up by watching a baking show in the hot tub.

These days can feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Wake up and repeat… again… and again. Despite the repetition, these are good days. The last two years have certainly been challenging, but they have also been a gift. This last week Washington State removed it’s mask mandate, so it really has been two years living in pandemic mode. While I don’t view the pandemic as over, I can recognize that things are changing. I don’t know what that means for the future, but I do know that I want to make the most of right now. I am so thankful to the small things that make these ordinary days special. We do have rocky moments (like the fights over LEGOS pieces – a real-life example from 11:30am today). I remind myself that these difficult moments are a chance for us to grow together. It might seem like sibling squabbles are a chance for the kids to learn, but these are growth moments for me as well. How will I respond? Is my attitude helping or hindering the situation? So yes, lots of learning together beyond our school time. These home days don’t make for the most interesting updates, but day-by-by, they are making for a pretty interesting life!

A special stop for fro-yo while running errands
Pizza Friday! This was our second time getting Mini Murph take-an-make kits. The boys love them!
My latest attempt at cake decorating. Used some new tools. Looking forward to trying again since I’m learning a lot through trial and error!
Getting some new dirt into Jeremy’s new raised beds
My latest used book acquisition with the last of my birthday money
A quick visit to Nana & Papa’s house where Owen got to be a firefighter and help put out a burn pile.
Jeremy’s birthday present arrived a little early! He requested (then purchased for himself) an Areogarden for his office at work. After 5 days, he already has sprouts popping up!
Time to make leprechaun traps!
Homemade pizookies for Pi Day on Monday
I had a migraine yesterday, so the boys joined Jeremy for an out-of-town errand and then an afternoon of helping at the church. Jeremy sent me this picture of Graham leading a “Bible study” in the church’s church classroom! Graham has been watching Jeremy in action on Sundays and it shows!
 

Hints of Spring March 9, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 12:29 pm

There are hints of spring all round these days. At the moment, the sun is shining bright and bringing me so much joy. There will be a walk to the mailbox, jumping on the trampoline, and drainage ditch exploration outside later today. Anytime we can spend the afternoon out in the sunshine, it’s a good day!

This weekend, Jeremy started a major project in his garden. He creatively built raised beds out of discarded building materials a few years ago. These raised beds were starting to break apart and a replacement was necessary. Jeremy had saved up for new raised beds and assembled them on Friday. It was supposed to be a sunny day, but the morning turned out to be showery. Because it was messy work, I would often find Jeremy sitting under our covered porch waiting out the weather. At one point when Owen was out helping him, they took shelter in the greenhouse. The new beds need some additional dirt and then they’ll be ready for spring planting.

While the boys worked outside in the mud, I worked inside on a chocolate cake. Owen mentioned earlier in the week that he hadn’t had cake in a while. It’s not too hard to talk me into baking. Especially chocolate cake. I decided after baking this cake, I would pick up some new baking tools. My cakes just never turn out to my hopeful standard. I purchased a cake level and a turntable online this week. They arrive tomorrow and I’m optimistic to make another cake soon to see if I can improve. The boys gave the chocolate cake rave reviews which were quite humorous. You can tell we’ve been watching baking shows as a family because they “judged” my cake as a “moist sponge with good texture and flavor.” Oh, the things these kids say!

Saturday was a beautiful day and the boys practically lived outside! They checked trail cameras with Jeremy near our property in morning. They spent the afternoon outside playing with cousins at Nana & Papa’s house. At dinner with friends, they built natural boats (thinks leaves and sticks) and raced them down a backyard creek. At Nana & Papa’s house, the adults played board games for a few hours. Jeremy and I learned a new game called Dixit. It’s a picture game and reminded me of Apples to Apples but with images. Jeremy won the first round. I won the second. (I don’t win often, so I felt it deserved mentioning here.) We’ve now spent two Saturdays in a row playing games. Fun times! After an afternoon of gameplay, we went to dinner with family friends. My friend recently borrowed my Enneagram books and was excited to talk with me about the Enneagram after dinner. I adore the Enneagram and will happily talk about it with anyone for as long as they are willing! It was such a treat!

This coming weekend is my least favorite of the year with the time change. I’m not a fan of springing ahead and losing an hour of sleep, but I know it will mean light later into the evening. As the weather improves, we’ll have more playtime outside after dinner. Afternoon walks can become evening walks. I do look forward to the sun setting after 7:00pm. Jeremy has tulips and daffodils making an appearance in the yard. His miniature bulbs have flowered first. They make the back deck feel so friendly! I love seeing hints of spring popping up all around. A new season is on the horizon. I’m a ready to greet it and see what it brings.

Sheltering in the greenhouse during a shower
My weekend baking project!
Painting rocks in children’s church to remember to trust God.
Sunday afternoon reading. Three readers stuffed on a loveseat. Love when the kids seek out these quiet moments with me.
Nothing quite like jumping on the trampoline on a sunny day!
First time reading Harry Potter. I realize I’m a little bit late to the game. I finally decided to see what all the hype is about.
Spring vibes on the back deck!
 

Farewell February, Hello March! March 1, 2022

I logically know that February is a short month, but it always surprises me when it’s over. Now that it’s officially March, I finally took down the construction paper hearts I had on the walls around our house. I’m still using our snowflake dishes since we did have (a trace) snow on the ground less than a week ago. All things winter are making way for all things spring. February was such a fun month. It’s hard to see it go, but I have high hopes for March!

We wrapped up February with some exciting activities. On Friday, I hosted a book club at my house. This was the first “group” I’ve hosted in almost two years. I was nervous, but this was a good group to dust off my hospitality skills with. My friend led the book club, so all I had to do was open my home and participate. I love the set-up of this book club! I mentioned it in my last post, but I’ll share it again. Instead of everyone reading the same book, each lady comes with a book to talk about. It could be any book – something she read long ago, recently read, is currently reading, or hopes to read in the future. This structure means anyone can participate without feeling guilty about not finishing the book or not liking it. I shared my two top picks for February and enjoyed hearing about what everyone else was reading. (See my February book post here)

As an avid reader and blogger, it’s no surprise words are how I relate to the world. My husband got me hooked on playing Wordle this month. I was resistant at first because it’s trendy. After a few times of “helping” Jeremy with his words, I had to play for myself. I will admit that I’ve had to look up the meaning of a few words while playing this game (tacit? swill?). Now I find Wordle words throughout my books and each time I come across one, I chuckle. Anyone else jump on the Wordle bandwagon? It’s addicting! I’m thankful there is only one word a day or I might have a problem!

Speaking of games, my forever friend, Maggie, and her family come over for a game day on Saturday. Maggie’s family is very into games and they brought an assortment to share with us. Jeremy loves games and is very good at catching on to new games. We played a few shorter games before settling into playing Wingspan. Maggie and I were a team for the first game and then Maggie acted as my consultant for the second game. I now feel somewhat confident I could play on my own next time! We don’t often have marathon game days, so it was fun to do something out of the ordinary. Especially since it was super rainy on Saturday, a day spent playing inside was just right!

Now that it’s March, my kids are counting down to St. Patrick’s Day. They decorated their windows with gel clings today from Grandma and they are actively planning their leprechaun traps. I often hear about what they will wish for if/when they catch a leprechaun. March is a big month for Jeremy has he prepares for the Easter season. It’s also Jeremy’s birthday month. We’ll make sure he celebrates well! I’ll try to forget that Daylight Savings begins in March and just focus on the fact that spring is coming soon! I’m sure no matter how the month unfolds, it will be an adventure!

Learning about igneous rock using chocolate – melted chocolate like lava hardens and creates a solid. Science is sweet!
Jeremy took the boys bowling on Friday night while I hosted the book club. I love the updates he sent me! Bowling with Owen is a lot like bowling with Tigger. The kid has bounce!
Graham was all about the fun and the food!
Making fish puppets in science!
Decorating for St. Patrick’s Day while wearing Christmas pajamas…
Always hopeful that this is the year he’ll catch a leprechaun!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – February 2022 February 28, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 1:02 pm

Bookish Thoughts for February

February book mail! I’m currently reading Good Enough as a daily devotional and I’m hoping to read Raising Critical Thinkers in March.

I’m living in a sweet spot with Christmas and birthday books filling my to-be-read pile. Not to mention, I’m notorious for stocking up on library books and borrowing from friends. 2022 has been a year of plenty to read and I love always having a new book to grab. This month was also the kick-off of the book club my friend organized. We had our first meeting on Friday and my list of book recommendations grew considerably! This book club is unique because instead of everyone reading the same book, each mom comes with a book to talk about (any book she wants). It was very interesting to hear what others enjoy reading and talking about books just happens to be one of my favorite pastimes!

In February, I completed the works of Roseanna M. White. I had read a majority of her books already, but not her Biblical Fiction. I will admit that I enjoy her British/American Fiction way more than her Biblical Fiction. Her Biblical works were some of her first books and you can tell that her writing style as changed with time. A Stray Drop of Blood and A Soft Breath of Wind reminded me of The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Personally, I found the cultural treatment of women and slaves to be a bit too intense for me (even though I know it was accurate to the times). I would recommend her other works without hesitation, but I would probably give a disclaimer to anyone interested in her Biblical Fiction.

Final bookish thought, I’ve started following some of my favorite others on Instagram and through their newsletters this last month. While I love hearing about new releases, I’m wondering if ignorance might be bliss. I’ve seen four cover reveals this month and, of course, all of the books will be released many, many months in the future. I know this is strategic for marketing, but I am seriously impatient. I’m starting to wonder if it’s best to be pleasantly surprise by a new release after it’s out or to know about a book in advance and be ready to pounce right when it’s released. What do you think?

Top Picks for February

Non-Fiction: At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor by Carey Nieuwhof. This book is best suited for those in leadership or business, but I found it so practical for personal/home life. I’m all about healthy boundaries and living a life that validates your priorities. In a world that is overwhelmed, overcommitted, and stressed out, this book offers tools to shaping a life you love. My biggest takeaway was that most people have 3-5 hours were their energy is at it’s best. How you use your best hours greatly impacts your day. I honestly thought most people had 8 hours of peak energy and I was just a low energy person. This book normalized how I view my daily energy and gave me insight into why I structure my days the way I do. I could see myself returning to this book as a resource in future seasons as my commitments change.
Fiction: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I’ve now read four books by Sepetys and each one has been so eye-opening. I read Between Shades of Gray in January and I liked it better than Salt to the Sea, but I wanted to highlight this author specifically this month. Salt to the Sea is a companion novel to Between Shades of Gray, so I recommend reading Between Shades of Gray first. I will warn that these books are intense. Sepetys writes about history that is often glossed over or commonly unknown. Salt to the Sea is about a maritime tragedy greater than the Titanic or the Lusitania. It’s a piece of WWII history that I’d never heard of which is shocking due to it’s magnitude. I appreciate Sepetys determination to share hard truths while walking the fine line of not being overly graphic. Her books have haunted me long after I finished them, but they have also left me with hope as her characters build meaningful lives in the wake of tragedy. I have one more of her books to read and then I will have completed her works! I’m enjoying the challenge of reading entire collections by my favorite authors.

The Book List for February
 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 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – 5 stars
  • 8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligences by Kathy Koch PhD – 4 stars
  • Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace by John Mark Comer – 4 stars
  • Space at the Table: Conversations between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son by Brad Harper and Drew Harper – 4 stars
  • At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor by Carey Nieuwhof – 5 stars
  • Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown M.D. with Christopher Vaughan – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Falling for Your Best Friend by Emma St. Clair (Love Clichés Series) (Rom-Com) – 4 stars
  • Falling for Your Enemy by Emma St. Clair (Love Clichés Series) (Rom-Com) – 3 stars
  • The Twelve Holidates by Emma St. Clair (Love Clichés Series) (Rom-Com) – 4 stars
  • Royally (Re)arranged by Emma St. Clair (Rom-Com) – 3 stars
  • Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journey by Sharon Garlough Brown (Sensible Shoes Series) (Christian Fiction) – 3 stars
  • The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons (Friendship Fiction) – 3 stars
  • I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (YA Historical Fiction) – 4 stars
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (YA WWII Fiction) – 4 stars
  • A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna M. White (Biblical Fiction) – 3 stars
  • A Soft Breath of Wind by Roseanna M. White (Biblical Fiction) – 3 stars
  • Giver of Wonders by Roseanna M. White (Biblical Fiction) – 4 stars
  • Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White (Biblical Fiction) – 3 stars
  • A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle (Children’s/YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle (Children’s/YA Sci-Fi) – 4 stars
 

Good Times & Games February 23, 2022

I want to take a moment to say thank to those of you who read this blog and journey alongside my family. These posts feel like writing letters to a friend and it has been so meaningful for me to have this space to share. Especially over the last few years as the world turned upside down and our daily life got smaller, these blogs are proof (mostly to myself) that we are holding on, making it day by day, finding joy despite the trials of a pandemic. As we move toward spring, the world is shifting again. With pandemic restrictions changing in our area, I’m intrigued to see how the future unfolds. While my mind is often pondering what’s next, I am praying that I can stay grounded in the present and enjoy the time that I currently have – right here, right now.

This last week was full of good times and games! We hosted both a play date and a family dinner at our house. Both families we invited over had all boys and our house was filled with wild things running about. There was much laughter and shenanigans. The boys were thrilled to have their friends over and it made my heart happy to see all the smiles. For me personally, it was also nice to catch up with the parents and have adult conversation, even if it was hard to hear at times or was interrupted. Friend time for my kiddos also means friend time for myself. Yay!

Games! So many games this week! On Thursday, Jeremy surprised us by coming home from work with a Nintendo Switch. It was an anonymous and extremely generous gift to our family. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Words cannot even express the excitement our kids felt when Jeremy revealed the box. Friday morning we went on a mission to buy a game and another set of controllers. Over the long weekend, Jeremy and the boys worked on passing levels and battling bosses in hopes of saving Princess Peach. The Super Mario obsession in our house as definitely increased.

On Saturday, Nana and Papa invited us to join them for glow-in-the-dark golf with some of the cousins. We love cousin time! And surprisingly, for glow golf being a local activity, we had never been before. It was a win-win – time with family and a fun outing! I’m not a great golfer (mini golf or otherwise), but this glow golf course was right up my alley. I completed a majority of the holes in three strokes instead of my usual six or more. It was very good for my confidence! After we wrapped up golf, Nana and Papa treated the kids to a few arcade games in the lobby. They loved every moment of the outing.

Saturday night after bedtime, Graham came out of his room saying he wanted to talk. It turns out that he was very sad that the Olympics were ending. We enjoyed watching the Olympics in the evenings as a family. We cheered for Team USA. We marveled at the skill of the athletes. When explaining that the Winter Olympics happen every four years, the kids got wide-eyed. Four years feels like a lifetime right now. Telling them that the Summer Olympics would happen in just two years didn’t help ease the disappointment much. We made sure to watch the closing ceremonies as a family on Sunday. Part of me is slightly glad the games are over – only for the fact that the boys were starting to do more stunts off the furniture in the living room. Watching all the airborne athletes was inspiring them a little too much! Now we’re back to baking shows. The current family show is season two of Zumbo’s Just Desserts.

In closing, I will mention that after almost two years of watching church online, the boys and I returned to church in-person on Sunday. With case numbers going down and our family being fully vaccinated/boosted, it seemed like it was a good time to re-engage with this community. The boys and I enjoyed being a part of children’s church with “Pastor Jeremy” (aka Daddy/Hubby). We are excited to be at church as a family again.

Okay, that concludes all the major and minor life updates for the time being!

Learning to play Super Mario Bros
Good times golfing!
Wrapping up glow golf!
Arcade time
Back at children’s church! The boys did a great job participating and they were thrilled to come home with special treats.
Sunday mac & cheese tradition is still going strong!
When Amazon sends a box that is big enough to fit two kids!

 

February Fun! February 16, 2022

This last week was full of fun! I love holidays and any reason to celebrate. Valentine’s Day definitely was celebrated over the course of the week as well as on Monday. Jeremy surprised me with a 4-pack of pizzas from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago as a Valentine’s gift. Such a special and thoughtful treat! The pizzas arrived last Wednesday and I made one that evening. I couldn’t wait until Valentine’s day! The package came with dry ice to keep the pizzas frozen, which meant our evening was spent playing with dry ice. The kids had a blast! It was just as exciting as the pizzas in the package.

On Thursday, I promised to take the kids to the park after school. I thought it would be cloudy, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be foggy/misty. The park was damp but mostly empty as a result. The kids got super wet despite the towel I brought along to dry things off. My mom joined us for this outing and after the park we took off for the library. Mom treated us to a fast food lunch on our way home. It was a fun morning out and about – even if it was chilly and damp. Those of us in the PNW don’t let a little wet and chill keep us inside (okay, some time it does, but not all the time).

After a wet morning on Thursday, the skies cleared. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were beautiful. False spring as it is known around here. I enjoyed walking outside each day to get my steps in and my daily dose of vitamin D. Jeremy spent his days doing yard projects and the boys happily worked alongside him. When they weren’t tagging along with projects, they were in the drainage ditch near our house building dams. I’m so thankful the sun came out and we all got to appreciate the great outdoors!

Super Bowl Sunday was a highlight of the weekend. I’m not super into football, but the food is usually what gets my attention. My parents picked up a family meal from Olive Garden so our Super Bowl food consisted of lasagna, salad, and breadsticks. There were chips to munch on and Costco bakery items for dessert. I made some Valentine themed sugar cookies and contributed them to the game day goodies. Jeremy and my dad watched the game in one room while the boys played video games in the other room. After halftime, I excused myself to head home for some quiet time. The sunset on my walk home was lovely and really the best part of the evening (or maybe it was a tie with the breadsticks).

Our Valentine’s day celebration on Monday was fairly simple. We got the boys special boxes with Hershey Kisses inside. We picked up Power-Up Packs for their LEGO Super Mario characters. The fire suit makes a little flower appear on Mario and Luigio. It was fun take on chocolates and flowers for our little Valentines. I made mini bundt cakes for dessert and Jeremy picked up a heartbreaker pizza from Papa Murphy’s. Cheese pizza from Papa Murphy’s is definitely our boys’ love language. We had a bottle of sparkling cider left over from the holidays and we enjoyed our meal by candlelight. Nothing too fancy, but lots of fun!

Between the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and a three-day weekend coming up, February is full of fun! After an unusually quiet month in January, February seems to be a step in the direction of good times and community. The pandemic has given me fresh insight into into how much fun the little celebrations can be. I don’t take the small things for granted quite as much. They bring so much joy to our daily life!

The very best kind of frozen pizza! And the fact that it’s heart shaped makes it even better!
Fun with dry ice and dish soap. When the bubbles popped it would release the steam from the dry ice. Super cool!
Park Time!
My little monkey
Valentine crafting
Valentine baking
Super Bowl Sunday Sunset
Flowers and chocolates for the boys!
All the Valentine vibes
Another day, another heart shaped pizza!
Dinner by candlelight! It wasn’t dark outside yet, but it was still fun.
 

Friends, Family, and Neighbors February 8, 2022

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 2:49 pm

For almost two years now, our lives have been scaled back, especially socially. Our circles are smaller these days. I sometimes grieve the “good old days” while simultaneously seeing the benefits of our current choices. This week was a good example of the blessing of community. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. Even if our community is smaller, it is still good!

Friends: This weekend, I had lunch dates with both of my forever friends, Christa and Maggie! Words can’t adequately describe how life-giving these friendships are to me. The range of topics we cover in a lunch date is always fascinating. At some point, we might be near tears with the intensity of the conversation and then at other moments, we are laughing a bit too loudly (or at least, I am). Getting to see both of them in one weekend was amazing!

Family: Our families are such a source of support, friendship, and love in our lives. My parents will invite the boys down to play video games a few times a month. They often do this on Wednesdays (when Jeremy is at church), so I am completely alone for about an hour. As an introvert, that one hour of solitude fills my soul in a way very few things can.
This weekend, Jeremy’s parents offered the boys a spur of the moment sleepover. Not only did the boys have a great adventure, but Jeremy and I are were equally excited for uninterrupted time together. Jeremy was kind and drove me up to my lunch date in Tacoma on Saturday. Not only did we get to have that extra time together, but he also knows that I don’t love driving and he wanted to bless me. He is seriously the sweetest! (Side note: between the lunch dates and time with my hubby, I probably used two months worth of words in two days. So much talking, so much fun!)

Neighbors: Our friends moved in just down the road over the holidays. We visited them yesterday at their developing homestead and got the update on their building plans. When we drive by, we often comment on how things are progressing with their property. We are thrilled to have friends right down the road since we live in a rural setting (any visit to a friend’s house usually requires a 20+ minute drive). We were walking to the mailbox when these friends drove by the other week. It’s so nice to have a familiar face to smile and wave at! It’s a joy to welcome them to the neighborhood!

Our time at home has been and still is meaningful. So much of our life happens under this roof and it is a good life. Whether is homeschooling in the morning, eating together in the evening, or watching a show (currently the Olympics) in the hot tub before bed, our family has enjoyed this extra time together thanks to pandemic life. But equally, we love our people and we are thankful for our community. It’s a delight to do life alongside our friends, family, and neighbors!

Late night snuggles with an 8 year old who should have been asleep…
Owen likes to bring toys to the table if they fit with the lesson.
Meeting Nana & Papa’s new neighbor! Big cow!
Yes, we just had a playdate together, but… it’s been months since we had a mom lunch date!
Helping Grandpa with a project! At least Jeremy was… I’m not sure about the boys. I think they might have just gone over for treats.
 

Birthday Baking, Books, & Boosters February 1, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 5:48 pm

I had fun thinking of the alliterations I could use for this post. Like bestie birthday brownie baking, books, and boosters. That title felt a bit long, so I shortened it a smidge. I love a good alliteration, especially if it sums up my week so well.

The week has some highlights. One being a book swap with a friend. About once a month, we swap books from our home libraries. I love it! It’s fun to talk about the books we share as well as catch up on life. This time I was able to make the book swap while Jeremy watched our boys. It was such a special treat! Kid-free/mom-friend/book-time is amazing!

The other major highlight of the week was my forever friend, Maggie, came down with her kiddos for a birthday celebration. Maggie and I share a birthday month, so we played up celebrating us! I haven’t done a ton of baking this month, but I made up for it one day. I made chocolate chip cookies, a brownie cake, and brownies without frosting for our time together. Maggie and I have been friends since we were 16 and I love that we are still celebrating birthdays together at 36. Her friendship is such a gift! It’s also fun that our kiddos are becoming buddies. Maggie and I have sacrificed a bit our friend time to have more family outings over the last few months. While our conversation is often interrupted, it’s a joy to watch our kids play together. On this particular play date, the kids thought they saw an “X” in the yard, so they started to dig for treasure… by our septic! Luckily, I clued into their plan before anything degusting was unearthed! There were lots of giggles when I explained they wouldn’t be finding treasure in that certain spot in our yard.

Other than the book swap and the birthday play date, our week has been pretty low-key. Jeremy got his booster on Thursday and the side effects gave him an off and on fever all weekend. We all did our best to be quiet and keep a restful vibe around the house for Jeremy’s sake. On Friday, I took the boys on an errand to the library and to get Papa Murphy’s pizza. There is nothing quite like stocking up on pizza and letting it be at least 3+ meals over the weekend. As a special treat for being quiet, I got the boys Mini Murphs. They are take and make pizza kits with personal sized pizzas. The boys loved the experience of assembling their own pizzas and declared them the best pizza they’ve ever eaten. Owen now thinks he is qualified to work at Papa Murphy’s. He just might be right.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, all the extra time at home has created plenty of reading time. I’m loving my new Kindle Paperwhite. At one point this last month, I picked up a paperback with small font and immediately wished I could make the font bigger like on my Kindle. This is 36, folks. I’ve also had a lot of fun pre-ordering books. I have new releases arriving in February, April, and May. I need to find a new release to order in March so I can create my own book of the month vibe. In case you are wondering what books I’ve pre-ordered, here’s the list:

  • Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie – Release Date: February 15
  • I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist – Release Date: April 22
  • Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White – Release Date: May TBD

Okay, I should wrap this up. My hubby is home from work. We’re having orange chicken tonight in honor of Chinese New Year. No recipe to share here. It’s the boxed stuff from Costco. Tasty, though, and it’s a staple in our meal rotation. We’ll walk to the mailbox afterwards to get some fresh air and daily steps. Simple times, but good!

Fun fact: I put this birthday banner up for every birthday celebrated at our house (unless it’s the boys’ birthday party when I go with a themed one just for them). I’m a big fan of birthday décor.
My version of a brownie cake! Happy Birthday Month!
Silly kids! Or should I say pirates!
Super excited to make their own pizzas!
I got up and someone stole my reading spot!!!
 

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

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 1:21 pm

I hit a personal record for books read in a month this January! It was the perfect combination of plenty of time at home and plenty of books to choose from. It also helps that most of the books I read took only 3-4 hours to complete. While my list is heavy on fiction, there is some non-fiction thrown in for diversity. Sharing just my rating of the books is going to be very hard. I have so many words about books! So. many. words. Okay, I will share a few words, but not all the words. I’m trying to scale back.

I’ve been using My Reading Life: A Book Journal by Anne Bogel. One of the suggestions she made for reading more is to read the complete works of a favorite author. I decided to do this with Jenny B. Jones this month. This led to me reading her murder mysterious series (a new genre for me) as well her YA series. I appreciate Jenny B. Jones’s southern sass and hilarious supporting characters! Her books are always a fun read. I hope to use this same approach by completing the works of Roseanna M. White in the near future.

A new-to-me author this month was Emma St. Clair. Jenny B. Jones recommended her new release and I was intrigued. I’m currently working my way through her Love Cliché series (I know the title sounds ridiculous, but I love clean rom-coms). They are laugh out loud funny and a PG version of a Hallmark movie. I hit the rom-com genre pretty hard in January and I’m not even a little bit sorry. Anne Bogel recommends you read what you love and I love love!

Top Picks for January

  • Non-Fiction: Single, Gay, Christian by Gregory Coles. I discovered this book after reading People To Be Love by Preston Sprinkle and researching pastoral position papers on The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender. While the topic makes me a bit uncomfortable, I want to learn more. Coles story is well-written and vulnerable. It was a short, but impactful read. I would recommend it anyone looking to hear a personal story behind what might be considered a hot topic. Through the same research, I discovered Space at the Table: Conversations between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son by Brad & Drew Harper. Brad Harper is a professor at Multnomah University where I went to college for two years. Small world! I hope to read Brad and Drew’s story in February.
  • Fiction: To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White. I love historical fiction! The reason I picked this new release as my number one choice was partially because of the bonus content beyond the book. White offered a book scavenger hunt where you had to search for answers inside the book to unlock a secret page on her website with bonus content. Such fun! I’ve enjoyed learning about the English Isles of Scilly through White’s works. I can wait for the final installment in this series, especially since I got a sneak peek of the first two chapters on the secret page. My runner up for fiction would be A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This book had so many feels! It was sad, sweet, and hilarious. I loved watching the sense of community develop between Grumpy Ove and his eccentric neighbors.

The Book List for January

Since I’ve started using Goodreads again, I will use their rating scale. 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 Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas – 4 stars
  • Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity by Gregory Coles – 5 stars
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally by Peter Scazzero – 4 stars
  • Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode–and into a Life of Connection and Joy by Aundi Kolber – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • In a Holidaze by Christiana Lauren (holiday romance) – 2 stars
  • Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones (Enchanted Events Series) (murder mystery) – 3 stars
  • Royally in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones (Enchanted Events Series) (murder mystery) – 3 stars
  • Fanatically in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones (Enchanted Events Series) (murder mystery) – 3 stars
  • To Treasure an Heiress by Roseanna M. White (The Secrets of Isles Series) (historical fiction) – 4 stars
  • Short Stories: A Mixtape by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • Wild Heart Summer by Jenny B. Jones (rom-com) – 3 stars
  • So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones (A Charmed Life Series) (YA mystery) – 3 stars
  • I’m So Sure by Jenny B. Jones (A Charmed Life Series) (YA mystery) – 3 stars
  • So Over My Head by Jenny B. Jones (A Charmed Life Series) (YA mystery) – 3 stars
  • In Between by Jenny B. Jones (A Katie Parker Production) (YA rom-com) – 3 stars
  • On The Loose by Jenny B. Jones (A Katie Parker Production) (YA rom-com) – 3 stars
  • The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones (A Katie Parker Production) (YA rom-com) – 3 stars
  • Something to Believe In by Jenny B. Jones (A Katie Parker Production) (rom-com) – 4 stars
  • Can’t Let You Go by Jenny B. Jones (A Katie Parker Production) (rom-com) – 4 stars
  • Forever Your Girl by Jenny B. Jones (A Katie Parker Production) (rom-com) – 4 stars
  • Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones (contemporary fiction) – 4 stars
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (humorous/friendship fiction) – 4 stars
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (YA historical fiction) – 4 stars
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – (Children/Youth Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • The Buy-In by Emma St. Clair (Graham Brothers Series) (rom-com) – 3 stars
  • Falling For Your Best Friend’s Twin by Emma St. Clair (Love Clichés Series) (rom-com) – 3 stars
  • Falling for Boss by Emma St. Clair (Love Clichés Series) (rom-com) – 3 stars
  • Falling for Your Fake Fiancée by Emma St. Clair (Love Clichés Series) (rom-com) – 3 stars