Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Days

When you're a teacher, typically you dream of summer as your time off. Even though the reality is not always that way. Luckily, I'm still on my "mandatory" two weeks off from school-- before slowly starting to do prep-work for the fall. 

lots and lots of ends
For those of you who have made granny squares before, you know what I mean by ends, ends and more ends. I work in phases for my grannies-- crochet a whole bunch at once, then weave in a whole bunch of ends at once. It may not be the best method, but it is the one that works for me. As you can tell from above, I'm on the massive amounts of end-weaving stage. My Kindle is hiding in the background, but I'm not reading anything new. But you can check out my brief unofficial review of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, my latest finished read. 

can you resist?
These sunny summer days are my temporary adjustment to being a SAHM. The munchkin and I are still figuring out our schedule, but I'm not crazy yet. We think he's teething, which is making everyone edgy, but hopefully something will break soon.

What are you up to on these sunny summer days?
Ginny's link-up here.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Russian History Again

I grew up in the aftermath of the Anna Anderson conspiracy, if you will. I watched Anastasia when I was younger, and read some children's historical fiction about her. I even took a Russian history course in college, I was that interested in the story. So when The Secret Daughter of the Tsar popped up on my radar, I naturally was interested.
Anna Anderson and Grand Duchess Anastasia, from website linked above. 

This fiction novel by Jennifer Laam follows the lives of three women during three very different eras. Lena, Charlotte, and Veronica are all connected to the supposed fifth daughter of Tsar Nicolaus II and Alexandra. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale that Laam wove so carefully, staying up late at last one night to keep reading. Fiction has not ben doing it for me lately, so this was a lovely change. Having read up on the Romanovs quite a bit myself, I caught on to some of the connections early on. However, there was still a surprise at the end.

I really connected with the three main characters on different levels-- Charlotte, who wanted to protect her son; Lena, who simply wanted a better life; and Veronica, a struggling history professor, hoping to get tenure and have her book published.

I would definitely recommend this book, as it was griping and relatively accurate where it needed to be. It has been really hard for me to find a good historical fiction book that doesn't have at least one scene of either brutal violence or descriptive sex (or a combination) and this book avoided both of those (for the most part). I believe if a story is compelling enough, it really doesn't need either of those things to further the plot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Keeping Busy, Staying Joyful

One of the last days
Books I was reading

Finished Grannies

Little guy helping me read my new book
Progress on the Monochrome Sunny Spread

Busy would accurately describe my last few weeks of school. Collecting the final papers, grading exams, cleaning up my classroom, not to mention everything happening at home. My husband is on the final leg of his schooling this year, which has him doing 36 hours of clinicals plus 2 shifts at work. So all three of us are adjusting to a new schedule. Luckily, my husband brilliantly suggested that I do no school work until I've been done for at least 2 weeks. So crafting and cooking and cleaning and reading new books are the only things for me to do. Plus baby wrangling. All fun stuff. Still very busy. But onto my crafting and reading.

I jumped on the bandwagon and read Marie Kondo's book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Other than her new-age/zen ideas about talking to your possessions, I felt like she had some solidly applicable advice. This blog gives a great review on keeping one's faith in perspective while still using some of Kondo's advice. Overall, the idea of joy that Kondo talks about really struck me, and that's what I'm apply the most to my life.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus was a book I had heard about while listening to Catholic radio on the drive home from work. This was the second time I had checked it out from the library, and I still didn't finish it. The perspective of the author is fascinating, and I'm hoping I can get it again-- third time's the charm, right?

My new novel is The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, and I haven't started it yet. Hope to get a start today.

Working on a granny square swap for the next few weeks, so pics of my grannies will be popping up here and there.
Making a monochrome gray "Sunny Spread" for a gift for a friend, and am just starting to square up the circles.
Also, I'm the crazy one who is thinking ahead to Christmas already, and I have 5 bigger projects tumbling around in my brain for gifts. A new nephew arrived in early April, and he never got a gift from me, and there's another new one coming mid-November, so baby blankets for sure. :)

Happy life, busy life.
What are you all up to?

Ginny's yarn along link up