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What I was Up To: February

March 2, 2013

IMG_1119I know some people say February is the longest month.  I think it’s the shortest (and it is with just 28 days)!  I have no idea where the month has gone.  Here’s what I’ve been doing the past month.

Reading:  As usual, I have about five books going at once.  I am almost finished (still–have been almost finished for most of February) with Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal Son.  I’ve really learned a lot from that book.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I can still find new things in an very familiar Bible story.  I’m also about halfway through Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo.  Way back in high school at a youth convention, I heard Campolo talked and loved him.  Since then, I have strayed a bit from the evangelistic, come-to-Jesus scene.  In Red Letter Revolution, I am gaining more and more respect for Claiborne and feeling refreshed by Campolo.  The book reminds me that Christianity is alive and vibrant.  It takes me back to the words of Christ and the reminder that is how we need to build our lives.  Also on my book shelf is my daily reading with Joan Chittister’s Breath of the Soul.

In non-religious writing books, I am reading Stephen Krashen’s book, Explorations in Language Acquistion and Use.  This has been my first professional book I’ve read in over five years and I am loving it!  I heard him speak at my children’s school in the beginning of February and was enthralled.  As I started studying for my ESL test, I saw his name referenced over and over, including the study instructions to “always pick Krashen.”  I decided I need to go to the source.  It’s been fun contemplating how I can use his research in my classroom if I ever go back to teaching.

I am also reading aloud, How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse by Cressida Crowell to Madeleine and John.  This is the fourth book in the How to Train Your Dragon series.  As with all the rest, I am really enjoying it, as are the kids.  I love all the jokes Crowell slips in when naming things.  For example, the Hysterics tribe, who are considered crazy because they believe the earth is round, has a boat named the American Dream that they want to sail to America to find the Vegetable Whose Name They Dare Not Say (a potato, in case you were wondering).  Hilarious and a great kid read aloud (however, it does lead to conversations about appropriate and inappropriate words as one character is named Baggybums and another is Big Boobied Bertha).  It manages kids’ humor while not being disrespectful to adults.

Music:  No new music this month–just enjoying my cold winter’s day music of Mumford and Sons’ Babel, Conspirare’s Requiem, and Gorecki’s Miserere.  March will bring new music with the release of Milk Carton Kids new album (whom I have just discovered and love!).

Movies:  Movies have mostly consisted of what’s on Netflix (nothing) and iTunes.  We watched Moonrise Kingdom last weekend and really enjoyed it.  It was a sweet, strange movie.  We also watched the Oscar and discovered we watched four or five Oscar nominated movies–including Moonrise Kingdom, Wreck it Ralph, and Skyfall over the past year.   Yep.  We’re pathetic at watching movies these days.

TV:  Downton Abbey, of course, like half of the US, I suspect.  I didn’t mind how the season ended, because I didn’t love the character they did away with.  I have no problem watching next year, nor am I mad at the actor for leaving the show.  Didn’t shed a tear over the whole thing, which is pretty amazing for me.  The other show I regularly watch is Castle.  I loved the new character they introduced last week and the implications that it has for the show.


Food:  Ramen–I ate at two new ramen places last month.  One was awesome, one was not.  I loved Ramen Tatsu-Ya.  I didn’t even care that we had to stand in line for 35 minutes before we even got into the restaurant.  I am salivating just remembering it.  The other place was Michi Ramen, also relatively new.  Didn’t love that one.  It was ok.  I may eat there again, just because they’re open for lunch, unlike Ramen Tatsu-Ya.  However, it ranks third on my ramen list, behind Kome as well.

I’ve been cooking a lot out of the book Maggie (the dog) gave me for Christmas.  Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi is full of Jewish and Palestinian recipes.  I’ve made four or five things from there and all have been repeatable, except for a barley/farro  risotto I made.  I love their falafel recipe and  chicken recipes.  Falafel….mmm…..

I’ve also been making a bunch of cakes and cupcakes.  Strawberry Cupcakes for Madeleine’s Valentine’s Day Party at school, two three layer chocolate cakes with dark chocolate mousse filling and chocolate icing, and chocolate cupcakes decorated by characters from How To Train Your Dragon books for John’s birthday party.  I’m a bit relieved I’m not making another cake until the end of March or April.

Also:  We had John’s birthday party at the park, complete with a dragon piñata, homemade catapults, a treasure hunt with buried treasure, and the aforementioned cupcakes.  Whew.  It’s been a busy month, as most months are.  We’ve entered birthday season at the N house, with a kid’s birthday every other month through June.

For the first time, ever, I thought I’d link up with Hopeful Leigh for her What I’m Into monthly roundup.  It’s pretty fun to check out other people’s links for book ideas, etc, especially now since I’ve joined a book club in my neighborhood (more on that next month….).

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2013 11:03 am

    Shane Claiborne’s books have been on my To Read list for ages. I’ve read a little bit of Tony Campolo, another author I want to read more of. I find it so interesting you didn’t care for that particular Downton Abbey character. I was a fan and found the ending to be horrifying. But I have to admit, it really opens season 4 up to a lot of possibilities.

    Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into!

  2. March 3, 2013 1:50 pm

    This is the first of Claiborne’s books I’ve read. I am definitely interested in reading some of his other books in the future.
    I know I am one of the five people who aren’t totally put out by the end of Downton Abbey, Season 3. I was getting tired of that relationship—I never got over Sybil’s death though, I think I was a bit disengaged for the remainder of the season.

  3. March 3, 2013 6:50 pm

    Here in Australia we are only halfway through Downton Abbey season 3 but I literally couldn’t be online ever without seeing all the spoilers! Not really bothered though, I am so disengaged it’s not funny; have been pretty well since the season 2 premiere!

    • March 3, 2013 8:40 pm

      That may have been part of my problem too—I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I looked at wikipedia to find out the answer. Why can’t they just show it everywhere at the same time???!


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