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What I’m Up To-March 2014 Edition

March 31, 2014

Spring has come to the AusTex.   We made our annual spring trip to the garden center and bought some color for our brown beds.  We also picked out our vegetable plants for our small raised bed garden.  Isaac and Madeleine each chose their own plants as well–Isaac brought home a strawberry plant and Madeleine selected marigolds.    IMG_2105



Spring Break comes in March as well.  We stayed in Austin and found special things to do, like our favorite playground ever.


Curtis worked on the great deck rearranging. Moving deck furniture meant we needed to end the zipline elsewhere, so he spent a weekend building a platform. The kids love it and use it as their quiet spot when they need one (only one kid will fit!).


We trekked for the fourth time to family camp!  We first attended family camp in the early years of it’s existence (we think we may have been there for one of their first camps).  It had been four years since we’d been back so it was interesting to see how it changed has changed in the past 6 years.  We will not be waiting 4 years to attend again!  The kids loved riding in the back of the truck as we drove up the river to get to our camp.


Isaac loved rock climbing.  He scampered up the thirty foot climbing wall just like he was spiderman (who happened to be on his t-shirt) twice!  As usual for Isaac, his climb was accompanied by sound effects and lots of cheering himself on.


I also climbed the medium wall!  It was only my second time climbing, so I felt quite pleased with myself.  I’m not as young as I once was.  My legs were sore for the day after.



Found by Micha Boyett.  I loved Micha’s book.  I identified strongly with her description of struggling to find time to pray after the birth of her children.  Parts of her book almost brought me to tears because it hit so closely to home.  Whenever I sit down to write about this book though, I find myself at loss for words.  I may need to reread it before I am really ready to write about it.  I’ve started my sharing my collection of found grace on Friday’s.

Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight.  I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t dislike it either.  I found myself skimming the beginning and the end, and felt it was a little repetitive.  However, I really agreed with his premise–it is impossible to take every thing in the Bible literally.  Without realizing it, we all apply filters and pick and choose what we believe and follow and the parts we don’t.

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now by Walter Brueggeman.  This was a short book, but not a fast read.  It took a bit of time for me to switch reading gears to academic to read Brueggeman. Brueggeman suggests that the Sabbath is so much more than an Old Testament day of rest.  The Sabbath is stating that all are equal in the eyes of God (because the Sabbath was for everyone–not just the rich).  The Sabbath was also an alternative to the Egyptian model of production, the model of scarcity (we never have enough), and the anxiety producing society the Israelites were a part of prior to their Exodus.  Brueggeman correlates the ancient Egyptian culture to our current culture and says that we too need to break away from a society of competition to a society of neighborliness.  I really want to write more about this book at some point.  It was quite thought provoking.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.  This was the SheLoves book selection of the month.  While the book reads like fiction, it is nonfiction, which I became acutely aware of halfway through.  I kept hoping things would clean up neatly like in novels–the characters would rise above and live a better, more stable life.  However, this book takes place in a slum of Mumbai, India.  I knew I couldn’t hope for the resolution of a novel.  This book challenged me and my North American lifestyle and thought patterns (What can I do to help “save” them?  How can I fix the corruption?)  It wasn’t a book about North American influence and fixing though.  It was a book about being present with the struggles of the people by being made aware of them.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.  This was our neighborhood book club choice of the month.  While it had some good points and the writing was wonderful, I didn’t enjoy this book, nor would I recommend it.

Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, MD.  Part of my dyslexia education reading.  At times this book read a little too much like propaganda (No Child Left Behind is wonderful!!  Open Court curriculum is the best!!  Whole language is evil!!), but I was still able to find some helpful ideas to do with my struggling reader.  Not my favorite dyslexia book (maybe my least favorite of the ones I’ve read so far).

Pie by Sarah Weeks.  This was the book I read along with Madeleine this month.  I loved So B. It by the same author and wasn’t disappointed with this book.  This book was delightful and had the wonderful theme of doing what you are good at, not trying to be other people.  I scoured the internet afterwards for the elusive pie crust recipe Weeks teases us with the entire book.  Just so you know, this is a fictional book and the pie crust recipe is also fictional.  While there are actual pie recipes throughout the book, you need to use your own favorite pie crust recipe. Coincidentally, Madeleine finished reading this book on 3-13, so we celebrated pi day (3.14) the following day with Shenandoah Valley Style Peanut Butter Pie.

New Under the Sun by Kevin Major.  Meh.  I was excited when I found this book at the library.  It promised me a book on Newfoundland–with teases of history and culture of the area.  Instead I found a book about a man writing about a grown woman and explaining what the grown woman was like.  It was too heavy on sex (and a bit unbelievable from a woman’s perspective–I get tired of men writing about how women experience sex).  It reminded me again that I am a bit of a prude and that I should go off of book recommendations rather than picking random books up at the library.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.  This was a book recommendation I found on someone’s link up to Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into.  Another lesson on taking recommendations.  I really enjoyed this book.  I liked his name choices (Daffy and Feely as nicknames for Daphne and Ophelia) and that his main character was a middle school aged girl with a rampant curiosity and love of chemistry.  I am looking forward to reading another book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series.


The girls and I ate at Salty Sow, which we did in fact, find too salty.  The big two and I ate at Zocalo for our spring break excursion IMG_1915and we all loved it, as usual.  I also went with a friend to The Steeping Room and that was as fabulous as usual.  We ate authentic Chinese food from Asia Cafe, which was strange but delightful.  The seasonings were wonderful—enough but not so overpowering we couldn’t taste the incredible smoky richness of the black mushrooms.  We went to Michi Ramen with Curtis’s dad and stepmom for a rainy Saturday, post museum lunch.  I also had to try Whole Foods Texas Ramen and now I don’t ever need to eat that again

I made a double batch of Mint Chocolate Cookies (I couldn’t find mint chips, so I used Andes Mint pieces), which were devoured quickly.  In our CSA box, we are getting lots of lettuce.  We’re enjoying Taco Salad, Nicoise Salad, and Bun Chay.  We’ve also been slammed with cabbage.  This season’s favorite cabbage salad is Cabbage Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing.  It’s been a good eating month, because there’s also been Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja and my very own recipe for Gemilli Pasta with Wilted Kale and Sausage.  For Fat Tuesday we had sausage with Sweet Onion Marmalade (and man was that sweet onion marmalade good!), along with chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (I made just the frosting at the bottom of the recipe and used my mom’s chocolate cake recipe).

Movies and TV:

It was a sad movie and TV month.  I watched children’s movies.  We discovered a sweet animated movie called A Monster in Paris.  We love the soundtrack as much as the movie.  Curtis started watching Chuck again, way back in the beginning.  I watch sporadically now–once he gets to the later seasons and episodes I’ve never seen I’ll watch more.

Once again, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 1, 2014 8:10 pm

    So glad you enjoyed Found and that Behind the Beautiful Forevers got you thinking. I can’t wait for my CSA to start back up again!

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