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What I Was Up to This Month–April

May 1, 2014

While at the beginning of April, the end of the school year feels far away, by the end of the month, I know it is approaching.  The pace seems to get kicked up a notch and without fail, April ends and I am in awe of how fast it went.

IMG_2232There was rock busting and camping.

I started leading a math group two days a week.  For thirty minutes each time, I get to teach seven third graders math extensions.  I’m having a blast coming up with activities–like Krypto (an order of operations math game), geometry and Wassily Kandisky’s art work, and currently the Fibonacci sequence and it’s connection to nature and geometry.  I get to do some of my favorite parts of teaching without the stress of a teaching job.  It’s a pretty sweet gig.


Easter was in April this year, with it came our third (fourth??) annual Good Friday strawberry picking venture.


IMG_2390My dad came to visit because the Memphis Redbirds were in town.  Isaac, my dad and I went to pick strawberries again one day, because evidently canning 30 jars of freezer jam, and freezing ten pints of strawberries isn’t enough.


Someday turned five!!  what a landmark number to turn!!  After a family birthday celebration on his actual birthday, we headed to go bowling with five of his preschool friends the Saturday after his birthday.  My kids are now all five and older.  For a long time, I thought that would never happen.  Now, I am just trying to savor the moments I have with this little squirt before he heads to kindergarten in the fall.


Baseball and soccer were going strong.  Swim team practices started at the end of the month, which left me juggling quite a few things.



I was shocked that I read less books than normal.  Don’t know why I should be shocked by that.  Evening exhausted set in frequently (and my novels this month were rather long and slow-reading).

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (who is more commonly known as J.K. Rowling).  I liked this book ok.  The Cuckoo’s Calling is a mystery novel set mostly in London.  My only complaint with the book was the length.  I think Rowling could have had a much stronger novel with only half the words.  The pace was too slow, and unlike most mystery novels, it wasn’t until the last 150 pages (it’s a long, long book, like all her other books) that I finally got into it.  Up to that point, I could have laid it down, never picked it up again, and have been fine.  We read this book for our book club.

Parenting A Struggling Reader by Susan Hall and Louisa Moats, Ed.D.  This has been one of my favorite books on dyslexia.   Other than Proust and the Squid, this would be the one I would recommend to other parents who were wondering if there child had a reading problem and what they should do about it.

Evensong by Gail Goodwin.  I loved this book.  I found this recommendation on someone else’s link up to Leigh Kramer.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  At the beginning of the month, I thought I’d read both The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, since Daring Greatly was the SheLoves Book Club choice of the month.  However, I didn’t quite make it through both.  I started with The Gifts of Imperfection because I read Daring Greatly back in January. I still do want to read Daring Greatly again, it’s sitting on my to read stack.  I liked The Gifts of Imperfection.  I noticed which ones I areas of wholehearted living I struggle with. I also thought of my kids a lot as I read.  How can I raise wholehearted children who are able to take healthy risks without worrying about what others may think?  My only complaint is that I wish there was more help for me implementing her areas of wholeheartedness.  She talked about the ways that she worked on each one, but I had a hard time connecting those to myself.  I am looking forward to reading Daring Greatly again.

Soil and Sacrament by Fred Bahnson.  I found this book via Leigh Kramer’s link up a couple of months ago.  As soon as my library reserve came available, I dug into it.  A few days after I started it, I learned it was June’s SheLoves book club pick.  I was already hooked though, so I kept reading, with the intention of reading it again in June.  I loved this book and found that it paired nicely with Micha Boyett’s Found which I had finished just before I started this.  After reading the same morning prayer in Found, Evensong, and Soil and Sacrament, I think I am going to take the hint and tape it to my coffee maker like I contemplated at one time.  I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to start reading it again.  I was also thrilled to see that for a while, Bahnson went to a Mennonite church in North Carolina (yay Mennonites!).

The Alchemy of Teaching by Jeremiah Conway.  I must admit, when I ordered this book from Amazon, I thought I was getting something different.  As I read the first chapter, I debated returning this book.  I had thought I was getting a philosophy of teaching type of book—the teaching being elementary kids of course, because are there any other kind of teachers (just kidding, I’m not quite that self-centered–almost, but not quite).  However, I stuck with it, because I’d bought the thing.  I’m glad I did.  While it wasn’t what I expected, the transformation of lives (of both learner and teacher) which occurs when true teaching happens no matter the level–elementary, middle, high school, or collegiate levels.


While Curtis was out enjoying a killer Austin City Limits show (their first hall of fame inductees show–including Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Emmy Lou Harris, and Lyle Lovett, some of which were on the stage at the.same.time!), I watched a movie.  I loved Philomena.  It was the right part serious and sad and hopeful.  While it wasn’t no Austin City Limits show, it made for a nice quiet evening.  I think that was it for movies.


We are watching Chuck again on Netflix.  Curtis mostly watches, I watch occasionally.  We’re on Season 2.  I don’t think I love it as much the second time around as the first.  I feel sorry for Chuck.   I also enjoy watching The Chew on Mondays while I fold laundry.


I bought The Garden by the Liturgists for Holy Week.  It’s both music and spoken word.  Other than that, I’ve been listening to my old standbys.


After Madeleine and my dentist appointments, we went out for lunch to the new location of Noble Pig.  I was proud of my girl when she went for the Beef Tongue sandwich (and liked it!).  I love Noble Pig, any location, especially their pickled veggies.  Isaac and I tried In-N-Out Burgers for the first time ever.  Isaac was very unimpressed with their shakes.  They were ok–my favorite thing was their toasted buns.  I’m not quite sure what the big deal is about them though–any of our Austin chains, like PTerry’s and Mighty Fine, have better burgers than they do (as we left I heard one guy tell someone entering to skip In-N-Out and just go to Whataburger instead).  Isaac and I also went Verts Kebap a couple of time (a local chain that is best described as a cross between gyros and Chipotle type burritos).  Not a terribly exciting eating month…sad face.

Cooking wise, I’ve been switching into either simple, fast or make ahead mode.  We enjoyed Smitten Kitchen’s tiny meatballs with pasta (kinda like a baked mac and cheese with not so tiny–in our case–meatballs).  We’ve been eating more sandwiches then I’d like to admit.  My goal for the upcoming month is to figure out how to keep up with our crazy after school schedule without being a frequent flyer at Freebirds.  I’ve been cooking a lot off my food blog and off my Pinterest boards.  My major accomplishes was making my Italian Easter Bread again this year (it makes incredible toast in the days after easter) and a Strawberry Marscapone Tart.  For Isaac’s birthday, I made my mom’s chocolate cake recipe with Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Frosting.  For his party, I tried Martha Stewart’s S’mores cupcakes (renamed by me) with King Arthur Flour’s Easy Marshmallow Icing.  I loved the cupcakes, but not so much the icing.  I’m still looking for a good marshmallow icing.

I’m Linking up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into again this month.  (My main source of book recommendations)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason permalink
    May 2, 2014 7:48 am

    I have a marshmallow frosting recipe for you… I’ll message you.

    • May 2, 2014 9:44 am

      Jason, you rock!! Thank you! I was hoping I might procure a recipe through this! 🙂

  2. May 2, 2014 9:48 am

    Great post! 🙂 So glad you are reading along with the Red Couch book club selections! Though I read Daring Greatly for the discussion post I wrote (I’d love for you to weigh in on the book in the comments section), I’m now going back and reading it slowly. There’s so much to digest. I’m going through Gifts of Imperfection right now, and taking Brene Brown’s art journaling e-course on it. I feel like she breaks down techniques from GOI in this class well. (It makes me wonder what her next book will be.) And isn’t Soil & Sacrament wonderful?? I read it last year, and it was one of my absolute favorites of the year. I’m excited to discuss it at SheLoves. I loved listening to The Garden during Holy Week too. Thanks for recommending the John McMillan album – I’ve been listening to it today. I also have The Cuckoo’s Calling checked out from the library, and was considering just turning it back into the library without reading it, but you’re convincing me to at least give it a try. (It does seems slow).

    • May 2, 2014 3:12 pm

      The e-course sounds interesting. I’ll need to check into that. Daring Greatly is definitely a book that needs to be read a few times through. I can’t wait to read Soil and Sacrament again in June. I’ve really been loving the SheLoves book selections–I don’t think I’ve read a book they’ve suggested yet that I haven’t been glad I’ve read. (I can’t say I “enjoyed” Behind the Beautiful Forevers, but I’ve been very thankful that I read it).

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