Thursday, January 23, 2014


Wow! It is COLD here in Central Ohio. I really don't remember a year with such sustained cold temperatures in January. It's not even February yet and we're all already longing for Spring.

We've been doing lots of school work.... learning about Ancient Rome, trying to master multiplication tables and cursive handwriting, and reading A LOT! I am cherishing our read aloud time more than ever, knowing that the boys won't always love snuggling with me on the couch and begging for "just one more chapter."

Interestingly, Adam and I both are suffering today from what I call a "book hangover." It's that empty feeling when you finish a book that you REALLY enjoyed. You want to go back into that world and stay there longer.... but you have to face unfinished chores instead. ;)

The book that Adam is missing is a read-aloud that we all really enjoyed. It's our book for next week's book club meeting, Frindle by Andrew Clements. It's a great story about a precocious fifth grader who invents a new word for "pen." I really appreciate how the author created a story that is funny and touching and also explains the process of how words are "invented" and become part of our language. For book club, we are making up our own words and we will be learning dictionary skills.

I just finished reading Longbourn by Jo Baker. This is a great read for all my fellow Downton Abbey fans! The author weaves a story about what life may have been like for the men and women "below stairs" in Jane Austen's story Pride and Prejudice. I haven't found a real page-turner like this one for a while. I've been up late several nights this past week, just reading "one more chapter."

Besides schooling and reading, I've been cooking. I've tried a few new winter recipes that have been big hits here. Jon has been raving about the Turkey Pumpkin Chili which we first tasted at a friend's house recently and then I made this week. And we all enjoyed a yummy Chicken Pot Pies tonight. I have to admit, though, that I am not one who really enjoys cooking as a hobby. When I finished the pot pies tonight (I made some to freeze and give to a friend having a baby soon) I was beat. I told Jon I'm done with cooking until at least Monday. Thank God he's a leftover man!

The boys continue to love the Nabi tablets they received for Christmas. We've been discovering more and more cool things they can do, especially for school. We've loaded several Math apps and now they're writing their own stories and illustrating them several ways (including with pictures they take with the Nabi).  They are also now big Minecraft fans. Adam's been building Ancient Rome in his "world."

Thankfully, we still have a stack of Christmas gifts that we haven't broken into. (Thanks so much generous family members!) This weekend we're going to get into some of the big Lego sets.... and probably play new board games too.

We have been getting out of the house some. Ray's playing basketball and Adam is taking karate again. They both are in Cub Scouts. What we miss most is just being able to get outside and run around a bit. Right now all three "boys" are downstairs playing Wii Fit.... anything to get some exercise these days.

Tax season has begun. Jon's starting to work longer hours. He twisted his back this week and has been quite sore, but other than that we're all ready for the madness to begin.

And then there's these two silly cats ----

They spend most of their time curled up like this on the futon (which they now apparently think is theirs). And Mari, our foam-eating daredevil, has taken to darting out the front door every time it opens and rolling around on the cold concrete porch.

So that's an update from the Arctic! I hope you're staying warm wherever you are.

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