"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Place to Hang Your Hat

I know it's dumb, but I finally got around to putting up some coat hooks in our entryway:

My favorite feature is the small set of hooks that it just the right height for Pepper to use for her jacket and superhero capes. Now we don't have to trip over all the jackets and hats or throw them over the nearest piece of furniture as soon as we get home. I'd love to dress it up more, but first, I'm all about the functionality. Now, I've got to figure out a storage solution for those dang shoes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Giver

For our most recent Literary Club read, we savored The Giver, by Lois Lowry:

This Newberry Award winner is one of my favorites, and as such, I've revisited this treasure about 5 times so far in my little life. Admittedly, much of the symbolism and discussion topics aren't as veiled, but I chalk that up to the adolescent literature genre. We had a riveting discussion, and some of our topics included:
  • A utopian society founded on all the good governing principals, and even with the best intentions for equality, health, safety, manners, peace, and wholesome work is passive and dystopiac in nature.
  • This novel as read through an atonement and Christian lens lends an interesting perspective.
  • The ways in which mothers and nurturers are separated as two different roles and the ways each role is valued
  • False vs. true emotions, memories, relationships, existence
  • Technology vs. simplicity
  • The significance of a name
Have you read this book? What is your favorite part about it?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Farm Country

We took our little sprout to see some farm animals, and it was a major hit!

We fed some cute baby goats that hopped all the livelong day, and we fed some not-so-cute and very flatulent old goats and ewes...though, let's not try to judge...those poor things were incredibly pregnant, so they probably couldn't even help it.

We talked to every animal we saw, sang E-I-E-I-O to the horses, and went back to visit the milk cow several times because she was our very favorite. The animal farm was designed just for kids, so it was naturally a huge hit with our toddler. This will be a repeat venue for sure.

We love to take Pepper to all sorts of places, where she can learn her little brains out and expand her ever-growing world. Do you have any other toddler-friendly places you suggest we take her?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Secret Life of Bees

We reviewed The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd for our literature group:

Some of our favorite topics of discussion were:
  • inner fire, flames, heat
  • healing: grief, holding others' sorrow, pain, and depression, love
  • ritual: sacredness in daily activities, manna, worship
  • honey and bees: uses and properties of honey, functionality and members of a hive, characteristics of each type of bee in a hive (industrious, sweet, a sisterhood)
  • female deity: mother of thousands, queen
  • Respect for life: rebirth, death, resurrection
This is probably one of my all-time favorites because of its strong and gentle female characters, and the respect and love shown to all things in the earth. Also, the racially-charged plot is about a million times better than some of the other facetious books I've read recently. Have you read this book yet? Do tell!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tulip Festival

I've been dreaming about attending the Tulip Festival for years, and this year, we finally made it happen!

I wasn't at all disappointed, and I would love to make this a regular springtime event. Colors were bursting around every corner, and strolling through the gorgeously manicured gardens was so good for our spirits! What happy things does your family do in the spring?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Mormon Tabernacle Inquirer

So, my dear friend and reading buddy handed me this book, and with a wry look on her face told me to enjoy:

It turns out that this tongue-in-cheek nonsense was just what I needed to lighten up a little bit! I even took this book to work to read on my breaks and had a difficult time explaining myself when people asked why I was laughing so loudly.

Seriously. I laughed huge belly laughs out loud every time I opened this book. If you share in the joy and sometimes ridiculousness that is the Latter-Day Saint faith, I highly recommend this, but only if you can step back and giggle at yourself for a second.

Has anyone else read this tabloid-style novel yet? If so, what did you think?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Half Marathon

Kirk recently completed his first half marathon, and we couldn't be prouder. We roused the baby bumpkins from her dreamy slumbers and dragged her along in her PJs to cheer Kirk on and watch him race:

You can see more about his race (in Kirk's very own words!) as well as additional photos here.

This is just a little peek into the supporter's side of a race. There's a lot of anticipation, but the wee one stuck it out and didn't even lose patience once through all that waiting. She was even well-behaved despite the early hours and learned such necessary race jargon such as "Go! Go! Go!" and "Push it! Push it!"

Those who know me well are doubtless aware of my aversion to mornings, especially the ridiculous pre-sun hours of the day. However, it's those very dreadful mornings that rejuvenate and energize me the most! I feel like I get so much done on days like that, and this was one such day.

Yes or no: mornings. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fresh Flowers

The word I picked for myself at the beginning of the year was "fresh," and I've been focusing on bringing the fresh air into our home by always having flowers to brighten up our space:

These simple flowers are all from our yard (or neighbor's...shhh, don't tell them I'm the Midnight Pruner!) but even though they're not the fanciest, they sure have lifted my spirits. Do you have a favorite springtime flower you've brought indoors?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Rent Collector

I recently read The Rent Collector, by Camron Wright. While it is interesting and a feel-good story about walking in someone's shoes, I felt like the points and themes were forced. It is a discourse on literature in the guise of a story. However, I feel the following points of discussion are still worth addressing:
  • eastern vs. western perspective
  • kindness, mercy, empathy and success as a consequence of education
  • getting to know someone before judging
Have you read this book before? If so, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I recently enjoyed reading March, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Geraldine Brooks. I love the way this story de-glamorizes the Civil War, which I feel is far enough removed from our immediate history that the humanity behind the struggle has been forgotten.

This is the story of Little Women from the perspective of the absent father, and themes include:
  • education: styles, motivation, subjects
  • benevolence and duty, obligation to family and community
  • ownership: domination/ subordination, masters, slavery
  • miscommunication despite best intentions