March Book Review

March was a 5 stars month! I was hoping to include 1 more book in this writeup, but I still have 60 pages left, so it’ll be my first book of April! Lots of good ones this month.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. 5 stars. Seems like everyone is on the Dave Ramsey train these days, and I can see why! I’ve known of Dave Ramsey for quite some time, and I’ve read of his principles on his website. I’ve never listened to the radio show but Jeremiah is familiar with it. So, this is the first book of his that I’ve picked up! I started reading this book while waiting for G at swim practice and had it done 2 days later. I found the book to be kind of a ‘kick in the pants’ type of read that put things into perspective. It’s all about getting your ducks in a row with your money, making it go where you want it to go, and getting out of debt! I honestly wish I would have read this in high school, but that’s ancient history! 😉 It’s great advice and I would recommend it to anyone!

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis2. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. 5 stars. This was the sequel to the highly popular ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ from a few years back. I liked this book, but I liked the prequel even more!! This book was all about achieving your dreams, personal growth, being real with yourself, productivity….another kick in the pants type of book. There was a lot in here about how she runs her business, being real about how she handles 4 kids and a hugely successful business (spoiler: she has a LOT of help!) and her life in general. Between the 2 books by Hollis, I would highly recommend ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ and moderately recommend ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing’. Women who own their own business may find this even more captivating.

The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad3. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad. 5 stars. This book was a nonfiction story of a Western woman who lives with a family in Afghanistan for several months. She chronicles their life during and after the Taliban rule. Absolutely FASCINATING. The main character owns a book shop, has 2 wives that are over 30 years apart, several children and extended family that all live under one very small roof. Afghanistan is a scary place, and not just due to the Taliban. The women must wear burkas and be completely covered in public, are rarely allowed to have any business outside of the home, let alone a job or career, and have little to no say in whom they are married to. Besides being terribly interesting, this book was educational and gave what I presume to be an accurate account of modern day Afghanistan.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards4. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. 5 stars. A book that caught my eye in the library, this one was great as well! A fictitious story of twins born to a mother who was expecting a singleton. The son is born ‘normal’ and the daughter has Down’s syndrome. The story takes place in the 1960’s so the mother is unconscious when the babies are born. The father ships the daughter off before the mother sees her and tells her that they had twins, but the daughter has passed away, when actually she grows up living a full and very fruitful life across the country with a loving family. The book tells of their parallel lives, all the way into adulthood when…… You’ll have to read the book 🙂  I loved the pro-life message with the Down’s syndrome child and watching the story unfold of their lives. This book is also educational about changes in modern times of the rights of people with disabilities and how people with Down’s can be very productive members of society. I loved it.

Up next month, some Catholic reads about Saint Kateri, some fiction that I can get lost in, and possibly finishing one of the 3 current books that I have going!

Happy reading in April!

Tetris – OR – How to fit 4 girls’ stuff in 1 closet

I’m going to come right out and say that I’m extremely pleased with myself on this project. I spent almost nothing and made the space that was previously a disaster, now very functional. That being said, for many people this post will be a snoozefest, and that’s fine. For the handful of people that are striving organizing afficionados like myself, I think you will enjoy 🙂

So we now have 4 girls in one room. You can see the room setup HERE if you so wish. All of their stuff is housed in their small walk-in closet which measures 61 inches by 52 inches, is an odd shape and has steeply slanted ceilings.  Once Kateri made the transition to the crib, I wanted to get all of their things in once place to simplify things, which is always my goal in life. Of course I forgot to take a before shot, but I can tell you that it was nothing short of disaster.

Ta da! Here’s the view now:

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I scored that sweet mirror at goodwill for $4. It reminds me of something straight out of Snow White and it’s exactly what I was looking for! The girls love it and I’m hoping Ruth keeps her hands off of it. {right}

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I got an $8 tension rod from Menards and hung in on the wall on the left because it wasn’t a very long space and very shallow. I call that a good use of space. All the girls’ dresses hang here.

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I had one 3 drawer rolling cart and purchased another for $10 and took the wheels off both and put them on a short shelf that was already in their closet. Each (older) girl has 1 drawer for undies and 1 for socks. The green basket up top is allll the tights, all sizes because that’s easiest. The wicker basket is Kateri’s socks because they don’t take up much space…yet. I label all the things because that’s who I am 😉 The girls older girls put away all their own clothes so if they can read their name they know where stuff goes.

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The blue tote on the bottom is clothes that are in-betweens; too small for Amelia but not quite the right size for Ruth….you get the idea. I go through this bin alot since someone is constantly change sizes.

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On the right is a large industrial shelf that I bought years ago and has been in this closet since. It has 5 shelves and can hold a lot! Each girl has 3 bins. 1 for tops, 1 for bottoms, 1 for pj’s. I color coded them with the labels to match the drawers because it made me happy 😉 The very top shelf has random things…. a giant bin of 200 nerf darts, a bin of baby medicines, pacis, etc and a few empty storage containers that will find a home soon I’m sure.

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In the corner between the 2 shelves is where I house the bulk diapers and wipes that I keep stocked and a kid sized guitar that otherwise puts holes and dents in my walls if it’s let out.

And that’s it!

Hope you all enjoyed the amazing closet tour 😉

 

Friday Five: 3/1/19

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  1. Despite my best efforts, this little munchkin is growing up. I like having older kids a lot, but I also like having a baby. 6 months is my favorite baby age, and Kateri is 7 months today! She can sit on her own, is rocking to all 4’s and loves being entertained by her siblings. Here, Ruth is taking a turn at feeding her. She loves almost all foods and has 2.5 teeth. She slept all night in her crib last night, which is her first night out of the bassinet! She still likes to be swaddled, enjoys her exersaucer and playing on the floor with toys. BTW, this high chair is new for baby #5 and we. love. it. What’s so special about it? NOTHING. There is nothing special about it. It’s a molded piece of white plastic on 4 legs and a 1 piece molded plastic tray. No crevices, no pads, lightweight and easy to clean and cheap. A+++ in my book! (Thank you IKEA!!)Gabriel Respect award 2.JPG
  2. This kid. Talk about growing up! In the last week he’s improved his reading scores BIG TIME and is leading our family reading challenge with 20 books this year! He was awarded the ‘RESPECT’ towel award at his year end swim banquet for being a hard worker, pushing his teammates, getting faster and faster himself, and being dedicated to the team. To say I was a proud mama at the banquet was an understatement. Gabriel is such a cool kid and I really enjoy hanging out with him. 9 is a fun age.

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3. Go away winter. You’re dead to me. Our relationship has become quite strained. We are SO ready for spring! Our kids had 12 snow/cold days this year. 12! And 2 more built-in days off, so that makes 14, which if you can do math is almost 3 WEEKS OFF. Jeremiah was home a lot of the mornings with them and invented the ‘Frost Games’ of which are like an indoor Olympics with wadded up paper balls and various games, obstacle courses, etc. He commissioned a championship cup for the winner that will be filled with their favorite treat. My score is the lowest, but I believe Jeremiah, Lucy and Gabriel are all pretty tight for #1. No fair that I wasn’t even present for half of the games. I’ll keep you posted who wins, because I know you’ll all be dying to know. 😉

4. Lucy’s first communion in in 5 weeks. So we’ve been doing a lot of prep, or should I say Lucy has been insistent about doing a lot of prep. After hours and weeks of looking, we decided on her dress. It’s hanging in the laundry room and I think she goes in there daily to admire it. Think fluffy and tulle, just what she wanted. She’s also ecstatic about a tiara, veil, shoes and clip on earrings that she’s acquired for the momentous occasion. She designed her own invitation on canva and if you can’t tell, she’s quite excited.

5. Well, I’m off to host a booth at a career fair this afternoon with my mini-me’s. This weekend we are doing an exciting mix of taxes, sewing the holes Lucy put in her winter coat (I WILL make it last!), playing tetris in the girl’s closet to figure out how to fit 4 girls’ clothes in there, and taking a road trip in which I’ll also be trying out a new system for kid’s road trip snacks. Our life is riveting, ya’ll. Should be a good time!!!

February books 2019

I got 4 books in this month. Which isn’t bad, but for how many dang snow days we had, I feel like I should have read more, but having 5 kids in the house isn’t always conducive to reading constantly. Here’s my thoughts on reads from this month:

101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home by David Bordon

  1. 101 Thing you should do before your kids leave home by David Bordon. 4 stars.  This book seemed to be like one of those that you buy for a gift for a new parent or something, but I enjoyed it. It had 1 idea per page, and the author wrote about the task to do with your children, why he thinks it’s important, and a little bit of scripture/catechism to make it stick. I enjoyed reading the ideas and found it encouraging (?) that we have done some of the things on the list to make memories with our kids already. Maybe our kids will turn out ok after all! 😉 The ideas range from make a blanket fort to have a snow cone stand to ride in a hot air balloon to plant a family tree.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

2. Bear Town by Fredrik Backman. 4 stars.  I thoroughly enjoyed one of Backman’s other books A Man Called Ove and thought Bear Town may be comparable. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect but this book did not go where I thought it might. I thought it would be about a Mighty Ducks-type story where the underdog wins the hockey championship, but quickly I could see the writing on the wall that the R-word was going to be involved. And I’m not talking about R-ings or R-oses.I actually thought the story was waaaaay to drawn out and I kept thinking ‘Get to the point already! Enough about hockey!’. The story is set in the town called, you guessed it, Bear Town where hockey reigns supreme and the hockey players are the top dogs….no matter what they do to others. There were interesting character dynamics but it the story itself just took forever to get anywhere for me. It was ok, but not sure I’d recommend it.

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

3. Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. 4 stars.  I grabbed this off the library shelf because I recognized it as one on my to-read list and didn’t even really thumb through it until a few days later. The book can best be described as this: part coffee table picture book, part memoir, part cookbook. Reese talks a lot about her grandmother Dorothea and how her influence made Reese the person that she is today; her food, her wardrobe, and her manners, to name a few. This was a light read, cute and full of warm fuzzies. Her recipes look tasty, although I did not try any. All the pictures of Reese are beautiful and I suddenly want know more southern gals.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

4. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. 4 stars. The ENTIRE TIME that I was reading this book all I could hear was ‘..havana oo na na. My heart is in Havana, my heart is in Havana…oo na na.’  You’re welcome. I enjoyed this book. I would categorize this as historical fiction, which is in my top 3 genres for books. This book parallels the lives of Elisa and her granddaughter Marisol (both great names!) when Marisol returns to Cuba to spread her grandma’s ashes. This book really digs into the history and real turmoil going on in Cuba. I learned a lot about Cuba and it’s history. There’s also a good love story (or 2) mixed in. This took me awhile to get through and I just finished it yesterday! This book was tagged as a member of Reese’s book club, which I have just recently discovered, and look forward to reading more of this club’s books!

On to March! My to-read list includes but is not limited to: some Dave Ramsey, some recommended fiction, some Matthew Kelly Catholic lit as well as maybe some good Lent reads (?). Anyone have any good Lent devotionals or other books to recommend for the season?