Reading Is My Jam: 2016 Wrap-Up and 2017 Goals

Last year my reading goals were to:

I generally use goodreads  to track my reading throughout the year and just barely squeaked in with 52 books by the end of December. I don’t record everything I read there, though, so I read quite a few more than 52 in reality.

I read three of four from my shelf, which is more than I’ve done in the past, but nowhere near what I planned to do, especially since my to-read shelves are getting out of control. So that was pretty much a fail.

And here are the final totals on the challenges I worked on:

Several books are listed on both challenges, especially where there was overlap, but I came pretty close. In the end I didn’t read anything that had previously been banned, couldn’t find one written in the decade I was born (did anything good come out of the seventies, yall?), and pretty much just forgot about the one I should have read in school. Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with what I accomplished last year. (I wouldn’t, however, recommend all of the books I have listed. Several were kind of awful and a few I had to really skim over parts of, etc.)

My favorites from 2016 were:

The Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kent – about the Salem witch trials, which I find myself morbidly fascinated with

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Books – also set in the 1600’s about a minister’s daughter who befriends a Wampanoag boy

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – about a sea disaster in WWII that I’d never heard of – this one was super fascinating

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – my current favorite parenting book, which I already wrote about here


My goals for 2017 are much simpler: read the majority of the books on my to-read shelf. I’ve got to get them cleared off, especially since I have no more room to add new titles until I do. I rarely keep books after I read them unless I’m sure I’ll want to re-read them or read them with my girls at some point.

I’ve started collecting favorite quotes from books I really enjoyed so I’ll have something to look back on after I no longer own the book.
I know I’m a big-time nerd, but I really enjoy looking back to see my favorite moments/quotes/advice from a book.

Anybody else have reading goals for 2017? I love talking books so please share with me if you do.


Friday Finds: Mixed Media Love

So if you know me at all you know that Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc. are some of my favorite places on earth. I adore paints and pretty paper products and glitter. In fact, I’ve accumulated so much crafty goodness that I’ve made myself stop buying new stuff until I can use up a lot of what I already have.

And that was going well until I saw this display at Michaels….

I’ve never really gotten much into mixed media because…well, it’s kind of weird. But this line by Jane Davenport just made my heart happy.  For one thing, TRAVELERS NOTEBOOKS, which are my favorite way of documenting, ever, and I can’t ever find them in stores. (I bought the plain canvas one so I can decorate it myself. Not much into mermaids.) And also, check out these awesome watercolor pens and paint markers.

(Don’t pay full price though, be sure to use a coupon.)

But you want to know what’s sad? I haven’t had a chance to even open any of this stuff yet. Such a busy week, peoples. Can’t wait to play with my new goodies. Be sure to run to Michaels if you like mixed media art supplies! (I would recommend you run there anyway, cause there’s got to be something you need. Right?)

Tuesday Letter (the first of 2017!)

Dear 2017, you’re only a few weeks old, but you’ve already kind of been a jerk. Let’s do better, all right? Dear self, why, oh WHY, would you teach your kids the “greasy grimy gopher guts” song? How stupid are you? Do you hate yourself? WHY?! Dear Ang, BEST. SURPRISE. EVER. (One more week!) Dear self, now that you know how to run the miter saw and have built exactly one headboard (with a ton of help from the Jerm) I feel like you should go into the furniture building business.  Dear Jerm, thank you for all the help and being patient with me and my projects. Especially when they come with faulty instructions.

Friday Finds: All About the Valentines

Friday again, and even though I didn’t get to my two other posts this week (one of which was ready and I forgot to hit publish – nice going, me), well, baby steps, right?

I know I say this pretty much annually, but I adore Valentines Day stuff and it just gets cuter every year. Walmart is not my favorite place on earth, but around February every year I have to admit that they do V-day right. I mean, check out the adorableness this year.

That towel pretty much made my heart do this:


And all joking aside, I kind of lived by the whole fries before guys motto for most of my 20’s. And those plates and napkins just need to come home with me. It doesn’t even have to be Valentines Day for me to want to use this stuff. My girls and I can find plenty of uses for pretty decorations and party supplies all year round. 😉

How about you guys? Loving the Valentine goodies or wishing it were over already? You can be my friend either way. 😀


Friday Finds: Secondhand Goodness

Funny thing, how months can pass by so quickly. Right? I feel a little sheepish cause I keep saying that I’m going to get back to a regular blogging schedule and then I drop off the face of the earth again. (Plus I just like the word sheepish so I wanted to use it.)

Anyway, I truly AM going to attempt (key word, peoples) to get back to blogging more than once every few months. I’m trying to set myself some clear parameters so maybe I won’t feel so overwhelmed with it all the time and consequently not do anything at all. Cause not writing makes me sad.

I thought I’d try something new where I share a few fun items each week. I love to shop (unless it’s grocery shopping – BLECH!) and I always enjoy seeing the treasures other bloggers find so I figured it might be fun to try around here.

I’ve recently started doing a little more frequent secondhand shopping, which I’ve always enjoyed but rarely took the time to do until the last few months. Part of the problem was that I hadn’t found any shops that I cared much for and part of the problem was time/how far away they all seemed to be. I recently discovered a little shop that’s only a few miles from my house that I just adore – they always have interesting stuff, they keep the shop clean (kind of important – right?), and their prices are super reasonable. I’ve found loads of books, name-brand clothing for the girls (and even some items for myself, which I’ve desperately needed), and household items there.

On my latest trip everything in the store was half-off (even furniture!) and I found this gorgeous quilt for under $5. It was dirty when I found it, but a good, hot wash took care of that and although there are a few super tiny spots on the back that didn’t come out they’re barely noticeable. I don’t understand why anyone would throw out a handmade quilt. Don’t they know how much work goes into those things?! I’m totally going to assume a sweet little granny made this one and think kind thoughts about her when I use it.

Mad loves it…she’s always trying to slink off to her room with it.

That same day I also found a frame that will fit a baby photo of Susannah’s that I’ve been unable to hang for…9 years now. The photo is a really weird size, 10×20, and I’ve looked just about everywhere for a frame that will fit it without any luck. Having one custom made was way too expensive so I was pretty happy when I found this sucker the other day. I’ve learned to carry a little measuring tape around in my purse because they come in handy more often than you might expect. Speaking of which, I’ve since lost mine and need to remember to pick one up. It’s probably for sale at the thrift store because I think I left it there. 😀

Anyway, I took out the super ugly painting that was inside of the frame and although the fit wasn’t perfect, it was close enough to work. I duct taped the whole thing back together on the back, but who’ll ever see it?


Have you found anything good a secondhand shop lately? Tell me in the comments – I’d love to hear about your bargains!

Tuesday Letter – the “Let’s All Breathe a Sigh of Relief” Edition


Dear election day, surely the rest of the country is as glad you’re here as I am. Now the ads and ridiculousness and fighting and hatred won’t be daily ruining my life anymore. I mean, nothing will be resolved and everyone will still hate everyone else, but at least now I won’t have to hear about it every second of every day. I even voted, which is why I’m sitting here feeling faintly sick to my stomach right now. Dear America, how on earth, out of all the millions of people in this country, did we end up with the two most obnoxious candidates of all time to choose between? Dear identical silver Nissan Altimas that whipped around either side of me on the freeway at the exact same time, how very Twighlight Zone-esque of you. Like I need more proof that the world’s gone mad. Dear autumn, I didn’t have to use the AC in my car for the very first time this week. Congratulations, you’re a real boy now.


Tuesday Letter


Dear Michel on Gilmore Girls, you’re pretty much my sarcasm hero. Dear fellow homeschooling moms (or teachers of any sort), please help a girl out and tell me what you found useful for….reluctant (which is an extremely nice way of putting it) spellers. I’m using Spelling Workout right now, but it just doesn’t seem to be working for one of my girls.  HELLLLP!! Dear Texas, please, please give it a rest with the 90 degree October days. We’re all sobbing into our pumpkin spice lattes down here (not that I drink them, but whatevs). Dear self, you know how you promised yourself that you’d really and truly make a dent in your fabric and paper stash before buying new supplies? YOU CAN’T GO TO JOANNS and keep your promise. You know this about yourself, so Just. Don’t. Do. It.