Sunday, June 26, 2011


10.                  Go camping in our new tent.

We had the best weekend!  We went camping with our friends the Herdens at Amicalola Falls in North Ga.  Thanks to the Joys, we received a new tent like two Christmases ago, a bigger tent that we have really wanted to try.  But, when we have gone camping and needed a tent in the time since, it has been a combination that just needed our smaller tent.  So, this was one of my goals this year, to go camping and use that great new tent! 

I am attaching a picture below.  It is not very flattering of me, as I am too close to the camera and look like The Attack of the Giant Woman woman, but it was still a very fun moment and a great memory.  We enjoyed walking/hiking/climbing the area around the falls, then went tubing in Blue Ridge.  It was really a fun time and Jen said we needed to make it an annual tradition.  The best part was just sitting around the fire eating hot dogs and s'mores and having fun with everyone.

Also, happy 17th anniversary to Jen and Ralph!  Who knew that they'd be spending that special day with 5 kids and 2 extra grownups on a campout?  Glad they chose to share that time with us!  Thanks for a great weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

So behind...!

Hello, and welcome to my blog.  At least, that is how I am feeling - like I need to reintroduce myself.  The last few weeks have been nuts.  Chalk it up to the month of Mayhem.  So, I realize I have not updated my books or miles since APRIL!  So, this post is on the books I've read in April and May - there are a lot!

26.  Read 50 books or more.


39.  The Blessing of a B Minus by Wendy Mogel
The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers
I loved Mogel's previous book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.  It is one of my two most favorite parenting books, along with Hal Runkel's ScreamFree Parenting.  As the mom of a rising middle schooler, I felt this new one geared toward parenting teens put me ahead of the curve.  I also bought it for my sister in law Kelly for Hanukkah, another reason I felt excited about reading it.  But, I found very little new in these pages.  I found myself skipping forward and internally saying, "yeah, yeah, I got it."  Maybe my kids are too young yet and it didn't feel applicable, but my gut feeling is that this just wasn't as good as the first book.  I do heartily recommend Skinned Knee, though.  Go get that one instead!

40.  Love Wins by Rob Bell
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Loved it.  Loved it.  Loved it.  This book was not even on the shelf yet and causing tremendous controversy.  I have found that anything that gets traditional church blood boiling is worth looking into.  Rob Bell made the cover of Time and about 10 other magazines, and I saw him on several mainline talk shows and news channels.  But best yet, I saw him in person with my friends Lisa, Alison, and Patty.  We heard him speak at a small church in Atlanta.  Also, got to witness the protestors outside, etc. etc.  This book is very logical, and in that regard varies a little from his past books that feel more heart centered - but that is what I love about Bell.  He makes good solid tradition, research, and language into relevant material.  I am grateful - despite what many might say to the contrary. 

41.  Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly
I thought this book, written by the author of Ella Enchanted and other great books, would be geared to adult writers.  But wonderful news - it was geared toward children who write.  I  loved it, and passed on this treasure to both my children.  Great, fast read.  Love the way it is written and could go back to it again and again for inspiration.

42.  The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousin's War)
Great chaser to her book The White Queen from the year before.  I got this one from my sister for my birthday but just had a chance to get to it.  Always enjoy Gregory's work, and these two do work from before Henry VIII and the time of the Tudors - instead, exploring the royal beginnings of the Tudors.  Fascinating, as usual.  May I recommend getting a genealogy chart before diving in?

43.  Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
My daughter bought this at the book fair this year and then asked me to read it.  It came on recommendation of our media specialist Lindsay Waddell.  All I can say is WOW.  A tough read, but inspiring.  But - wanna see something weird?  Just saw this book written up for review -
Long Drive Home: A Novel
I have NEVER ever, ever seen a book with the exact same cover image.  Isn't that weird?


44.    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel
I CANNOT BELIEVE  how good the reviews are on this book.  I suggested it for our book club, and I feel ashamed by that.  So weird, so weird, and the author takes this subject matter WAY to seriously.  Despite my love of Harry Potter and Twilight - listen up folks, vampires are not actually real. 

45.  Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton
Soul Surfer - Movie Tie-In: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
Bailey and I enjoyed the movie so much - we are big fans of Anna Sophia Robb.  Bailey then asked to have the book for her birthday, which my mom bought for her.  I loved getting more insight into the story, and also the photographs in the book, as well as some updated information on the family's experience with the movie.  But - as many of these kind of books are, it is not incredibly well written.  Still, I find Bethany Hamilton very inspiring.  Her story is amazing, even if her book isn't.

46.  gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
Gods in Alabama
I tried, I really did.  But I just could. not. choke. this. down.  I can't take one more book with a Southern character that is all whacked out.  Ugh.  Awful. 

47.  The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
The Name of this Book Is Secret (Secret Series)
Okay, I also can't take one more book that has a review on it that compares it to Harry Potter.  Double ugh.  This one is no where close.  The kids and I read it together, and it is okay, but I was glad to be done with it.  It took us forever to read - and I think it was mainly due to it just not being that interesting.  Sheesh.

48.  Ape House by Sara Gruen
Ape House: A Novel
Water for Elephants it is not - but interesting on a very different scale.  Worth a look - unpacks a fascinating subject, and brings some creative characters along - including the apes.

49.  Matched by Ally Condie 
Matched (Matched (Paperback - Trilogy))
Listen up Hunger Games fans everywhere - this is a fun, fast read with a flair of Katniss Everdeen.  I read it in about 16 hours at the beach and couldn't put it down.  It isn't life changing for the reader per se - but is life changing for the characters, and has some great lines and insights to boot.  Not sure I like the ending, but it was engaging enough for me to look heartily forward to the next one. 

Lots of pages down and only 1 book until I meet my goal - so I'm almost there with time to spare!  Be back soon with April and May miles.