Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Weekend Reflections 1/30

Looking outside....it's overcast with a slight chance of snow although it rained most of yesterday.

Listening...to silence. The Doctor is at work. The boys are still asleep.

Loving...meds that help eliminate headaches and prevent them from going migraine.

Thinking...that I finished my binge watching. Agent Carter is all caught up and I've loved the new season so far. I adore shows that feature strong women. Daredevil was amazing and I think I'm going to watch it again before the new season starts in March.

In my kitchen...I am enjoying my morning cup of hot chocolate. Still thinking about what to do for dinner. Last night it was Shepherd's Pie.

Wearing...Red penguin pajama pants and a black turtleneck with black fuzzy socks. My standard winter wear. It keeps me warm.

Needing...to finish putting together my Sunday School lesson. I'm teaching the 13-14 year olds at church. And they still love chocolate and playing games: hangman and bingo are always incorporated into our lessons.

Reading...I finished A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meisser. Review goes up on Monday. Loved it.

Today...finish scanning some photos. Found some old ones that brought some laughs and tears. 

Hoping...that The Artist is over his sickness from yesterday. He missed school and was pretty miserable.

Planning...to do some laundry. It's never ending.

Gratitude...for a warm home full of love and laughter.

From my world... 

I love it when my fandoms come together!!

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, January 29, 2016

5 Books I want to Read

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2374. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least a 3 foot high stack of books I haven't read yet. My reading and reviewing dropped off significantly last year due to some health issues. No idea yet on what this new year will bring. But, my wish list is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

My friend Stephanie over at Layered Pages had the great idea for a wish list post and I thought it sounded like a terrific thing to do.

It was interesting to go back through my list and wonder why I had added a particular book. I think I may go through it and do a clean-up as many of them don't appeal to me at this point in my life. But, I went ahead and chose 5 books on my wish list to highlight as to why I want to read them.

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is my favorite Christmas song. It's not widely sung. I have one, one Christmas CD with that song on it. It is in our church hymn book and at the beginning of December, I eagerly wait each Sunday to see if the song is part of the service. 2014, we sang it on my birthday which was on a Sunday that year. 2015? Nothing. I know the music director and I think I'm going to talk to him this Christmas and request that we sing it!  At any rate, this book is about the story of how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came to write the song. I have this book in my TBR stack and even though Christmas is past, I want to read it.

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Um? Because it's Julie Klassen! I have loved pretty much everything I've read by her. This one came up on my radar and I missed getting a print copy, but I have it on my Kindle and yes, I will get to it eventually as well!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I have seen this book for several years now. I have friends who have read it and loved it. I even checked it out of the library a couple of months ago, but didn't get it read before it had to be returned. I'm not normally a teen/YA reader, but this one has consistently captured my attention and I want to get to it at some point.

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

It's Laura Frantz people! Of course I want to read everything she writes! Her Courting Morrow Little is pretty much in my top ten favorite list OF ALL TIME. I have this in my TBR stack and I just need to get to it.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

For someone with a BA in English, I have discovered that my "classics read" list is woefully lacking. I have also learned that some classics just don't hold up with time while others do. Robinson Crusoe has been on my list for awhile and I think it will be a library book at some point.

What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: It's a Mad Mad World, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

#CoverCrush: The Secrets of Midwives

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

This cover immediately caught my attention on Netgalley. The viewer's perspective of standing behind the bicycle, peering around the bend in the wall and watching the street scene provokes a feeling of secrecy. After reading The Secrets of Midwives, the purpose of the bicycle becomes more clear. The cover also refers to a time in the past; appropriate since the book follows three generations of women.

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Click over to see the gorgeous cover she shared along with A Bookaholic Swede!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How Do People Find My Blog, part 6

It's been 5 years since my last installment of How Do People Find My Blog. Sometimes, it's quite interesting, and even a bit confusing! So, sit back and laugh at some of the searches that have brought people to 2 Kids and Tired Books.

Screwed up people...Everyone is screwed up to some extent. 

If you don't bother me...I won't bother you? or I won't get angry? or How about you just give me some space and I'll do the same for you!

"Why kids love"...Kids just naturally love. They love people. They love their pets, their friends, their toys.

Mary Ingalls nude...Seriously? 'Cause, eww and you're not going to find anything like that here.

Before we go sequel...Man, I would love a sequel to Before We Go. I loved that movie. And while the ending was appropriate to the story, I am dying to know what Nick wrote on the back on the card and I so want Brooke to find her way back to him. 

Tired kids...Well, mine are in high school and busy. They also tend to stay up too late and get up early. Hence, they're always tired. But, it doesn't seem to affect them like it does me.

my favorite winter activity...Staying inside where it's warm. Drinking a cup of hot chocolate, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket snuggling with The Doctor in front of the fireplace. Sheer heaven.

tired of playing monopoly...Not at our house. Monopoly is a serious thing and The Brother's favorite game. He is quite ruthless.

lenora mattingly weber...One of the favored authors of my childhood. She wrote Don't Call Me Katie Rosea story first published in 1964 which is one of my all time favorite books.

catherine woolley...Another favored author from my childhood. She wrote a series that started with A Room for Cathy, first published in 1956, about two sisters. I loved it. I checked it out of the library so many times. 

shoe perch of kairos...No freaking clue what that is or why the search brought you to my blog.

when the moon is low ending...Hated that ending so much. I actually compared the ebook with the print book because I thought my ebook was missing some pages. Seriously, a cop out ending all in the name of being literary.

You can see other installments of How do People Find My Blog here: Part 5, Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, Part 1.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekend Reflections 1/23

Looking outside....it's overcast with a chance of rain, but it's warmed up into the 40s. Almost balmy. Well except for the wind. The wind kind of takes away the balmy part...

Listening...to Sound of Silence by Disturbed. I literally cannot get enough of this song. 

Loving...that The Boy got accepted to his first and second choices for college. Weird to think I have a child old enough to do this. I'm not ready for him to leave home!

Thinking...that boys' rooms need cleaning.

In my kitchen...I have a new microwave and a new garbage disposal. I love having a husband and sons who are able to fix and repair and install.

Wearing...BSU pajama pants and a black turtleneck with black fuzzy socks. My standard winter wear.

Needing...to take down the outside Christmas lights. They're still up. They still turn on at night. HOA hasn't complained yet, but knowing how they are if the trash cans are left out 5 minutes after the truck has left, I'm sure they are writing a letter at this moment.

Reading...I'm still supposed to read A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meisser. I haven't really read anything of note this week.

Today...depends. There are things I should do and things I could do. Only time will show what actually happens.

Hoping...to finish my binge watching of Agent Carter because the new season premiered this week. I'm not even that much of a television person. I can't watch a season in two days. I can do maybe two episodes in a sitting. I did finish my binge watching of Daredevil. Wow. That is a brilliant show. Fantastic writing, acting, everything. Wow. Just wow!

Planning...to having some friends over for dinner. Always nice to get together.

Gratitude...for blog friends who are supportive and encouraging.

From my world... 

A darling little library The Doctor and I found in McCall last October. The next time I go back I want to take some of my books and donate them.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Пятница Ponderings: That Song

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian
Like you, I often have thoughts I ponder over and that mull about in my head. They ruminate and sometimes coalesce into something concrete. I have been doing the occasional pondering post over on my cooking blog, but sometimes I think they would work well here. I don't speak a foreign language, but I did take Russian classes in college (not that I remember a lot of it) and since Friday in Russian is Пятница and starts with a P like ponder, it worked as a name. Perhaps Пятница Ponderings could be come a regular thing here. Who knows?


Sometimes there are songs that just resonate and touch you in ways you don't understand. Before I heard this song, I didn't know who Disturbed was. A friend shared this video on Facebook and because I had always liked the original Simon & Garfunkel song, I listened to it. Oh. My. Goodness. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I love it better than the original.

I walked out into the living room and asked The Boy, "Do you listen to Heavy Metal?" (I knew he did.) He looked at me like I was nuts and the following conversation ensued.

Boy: "Yeah. Why do you ask?"
Mom: "I just heard the most amazing song by a band called, Disturbed."
Boy (looking at me like I was crazy.) "Sound of Silence? Yeah, JB found that one. It's awesome."
Mom: "It's brilliant. I can't get enough of it. That guy's voice is gorgeous. What else have they done?"
Boy: "You really don't want to hear some of their other stuff. Trust me."

Turns out he was right. I listened to a couple of other songs and they really weren't my thing. But, this? This is amazing and I literally cannot get enough of it. I have listened to it over and over the last week. Perhaps it's what I've been going through in life these last couple of weeks. I don't know. But this version of this song is beautiful. Haunting.

And for the record, I don't know why he thought it was crazy that I liked this song. I've raised my boys to like 70s and 80s music and that includes bands like Queen, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Guns & Roses, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Poison, Meatloaf, etc. (The Artist knew all the words to Rag Doll by the time he was 6. Not sure if that's a parenting win or a parenting failure...)

It's always fun to shock and surprise your kids.

This post has been shared at Beautifully CreativePin Me LinkyNo Rules,What to Do Weekends, Pinworthy ProjectsThe Gathering Spot, Wicked Awesome WednesdayInspire Me WednesdayWednesday ShowcaseCreative MusterShare Your Cup Thursday,Coffee and Conversation,Brilliant Blog PostsLovely Little Link Party,Simple and Sweet FridayYou're Gonna Love It,

Thursday, January 21, 2016

#CoverCrush: The Girl from the Train

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

As soon as I saw the cover on Netgalley for The Girl on the Train by Irma Joubert, I had to know what the book was about. I loved the evocative nature of the cover; a young girl running away from a train toward a light in the mist. It just spoke to me.

What about you? Any lovely book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Click over to see the gorgeous cover she shared. A Bookaholic Swede and Layered Pages have lovely ones as well.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Photograph...Review

About the book:
He studied the picture more closely, finding it curious that the young woman looked so boldly into the camera while wearing a white prayer Kapp shaped like a heart--the characteristic head covering for the Lancaster County Old Order Amish.

Why would a devout girl have her picture taken?

When her sister Lily disappears only months after their widowed mother's passing, Eva Esch fears she has been wooed away from the People. Yet Lily's disappearance isn't Eva's only concern: She and her sisters must relocate once their older brother takes over the family farmhouse. Then Jed Stutzman, an Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Eden Valley with a photo of a Plain young woman. Eva feels powerfully drawn to the charming stranger--but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . .

Beverly Lewis is my favorite Amish author and I was going through my stacks of books and scheduling books/posts and realized that I read this and forgot to write the review.

Eva and her sisters live in their family home after the deaths of their parents. Eva earns extra money selling sweets in her little shop. The girls' overbearing brother wants to move in with his family and push the girls out. In the midst of this, youngest sister Lily runs away.

Newcomer Jed finds a book left on a train and in it, a photo of Lily. As he reads the book and the notes left in the margins by another reader, he imagines the writer to have been Lily. When he meets Eva, he discovers differently.

I enjoy the depth that Beverly brings to her characters. There is usually some sort of conflict between the Amish world and it's English opposite, but Beverly is always respectful. I don't behind to understand the nuances of the Amish faith, but it facinates me.

Thanks to Bethany House and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Beverly Lewis here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 9/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekend Reflections 1/16

Looking outside....it's cold and snowing. Has been for the past three days.

Listening...to silence. Slow Saturday mornings are the best. The Doctor isn't working this morning. It's nice.

Loving...good peopleFamily and friends who are loving and supportive whether it's just every day or in a time of need.

Thinking...that I'm still stunned about the death of Alan Rickman. Every death is sad, but it's not often that I shed tears over celebrities. But Alan Rickman? That one hurt my heart. Not only was he an incredibly talented actor, he was a good man. And his work touched generations. I will remember him for many fantastic roles, but mostly for being Colonel Brandon.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate that I heated on the stove top because our microwave has been dead for a week. It's made me think a lot about what I really can and can't live without in my kitchen. I wrote about it on Friday: Пятница Ponderings  #firstworldproblems

Wearing...Red penguin pajama pants and a black turtleneck with rainbow fuzzy socks. (Don't knock the look, my feet are warm.)

Needing...to take down the outside Christmas lights. They're still up. But with the snow, they may stay up. I guess I could turn off the timer. But, The Boy says that they, "should stay up all year because Christmas lights make the world prettier and the world needs to be prettier". Who am I to argue with that logic? At least until the snow is gone for a day.

Reading...I was supposed to read A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meisser for Thursday's Book Club, but I didn't get it read and I didn't get to Book Club because this week has been emotionally draining.

Today...we have a work dinner. Hmmm. 

Hoping...that the microwave gets replaced. That's the plan anyway.

Planning...to watch The Martian this evening as a family. I saw it last week with my sister (it was at the dollar theater) and I loved it. I picked up the DVD on Tuesday and everyone wants to see it. The Doctor read the book this week and loved it.

Gratitude...for medical care and a pediatric cardiologist who has taken a personal interest in my son and his health situation. We are facing some unknowns and this man is absolutely amazing. 

From my world... 

My sister has a thing for Captain America and his alter ego Chris Evans. (Really, who doesn't?) I saw this poster while walking in Dillards with my Mom and sent it to her as a text with the words, "Found your boy at Dillards". We got a good laugh out of it when she replied, "I'd let him make me feel guilty".

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Martian...Review

About the book:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark's not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.

In the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to see the film and in order to do that, I had to read the book first! Wow. I'm so glad I did. I could not put this down. The science was beyond me, totally and completely. I didn't even try to understand it. What I did enjoy were the relationships and the interplay. I loved Mark's logs and his perspective of the situation. Alternating that with the experiences and perspectives of his crew and Mission Control/NASA was fascinating. Even though I had an idea how the book ended, I was still riveted. Seriously, my husband and boys would want my attention and all I wanted was to get back to my book!

Mark's ingenuity and perseverance was just incredible. His crew's decision to rescue him, defying NASA; and those back on Earth determined to bring him home gave the story an authentic intensity.

Andy Weir grew up in my hometown and graduated from the rival high school about 5 years after me. His parents worked at the same national laboratory where I worked for 18 years. We were in different fields/departments. Andy worked at the other national laboratory across the street. Awesome coincidences and ones that just made me even more enamored of the book.

There is moderate profanity, but much less than I was led to expect and it didn't distract from the story at all. Honestly, I loved Mark's snarky, slightly salty sense of humor. He'd fit in well with my family.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here, which is what I did so The Doctor can read it. He's a huge space fan and knows all about the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo missions, etc., to the point that he can critique the movies. I can't wait for his perspective on the science and plausibility of this book.

Loved the film. I thought it was a terrific book to film adaptation.

Read 1/16

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weekend Reflections 1/9

Looking outside....it's cold. It's been freezing, literally, all week. Currently about 20 degrees.

Listening...to silence. Slow Saturday mornings are the best.

Loving...the new soft, cuddly blanket that my Mom gave me for Christmas.

Thinking...that I'm tired.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate that I heated on the stove top because our microwave died. We have one to install, it just hasn't been done yet. #firstworldproblems

Wearing...BSU pajama pants and a gray turtleneck with black slippers.

Needing...to take down the outside Christmas lights. Inside Christmas is all put away.

Reading...I just finished The Martian. Review will be posted next week. Loved it!

Today...it is The Artist's birthday weekend. Family dinner at Nonna's tomorrow with more presents, cake and fun.

Hoping...that the sun will be out today. Winter sunshine is the best!

Planning...to see The Martian this evening with my sister.

Gratitude...for the fantastic family doctor and amazing pediatric cardiologist who care for my son.

From my world... 

I love seeing the tree branches outlined in frost. It's just gorgeous and so surreal on a quiet, cold morning.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, January 8, 2016

All the Light We Cannot See...Review

About the book:
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

I really should write my reviews immediately after having read a book. It's so much harder to go back and remember thoughts and insights. I've contemplated taking notes while I read, but just never get around to it.

World War 2 as a literary setting just fascinates me. Especially coming from an American perspective. Our perspective is so different because the war never physically touched our country. Pearl Harbor, yes, but Pearl Harbor was so far away from the mainland. It affected our country because of our men and women who fought in that war and we had coastal blackouts and rationing, etc., but America as a whole wasn't bombed and we never felt those actual, physical effects. Our first real registered attacks came with 9/11. So reading about the European war experiences is compelling. We ask ourselves what would we have done? How would bombings and occupations affected us? Would we resist because it was right by choice or by pressure? And the answer is that we don't know.

In reading this book, similar questions come to mind. Should I help with the resistance? Should I simply go into hiding? Do I help this person when this war says they're my enemy?

The narration of the story moves between the perspectives of Marie-Laure and Werner as well as jumping back and forth between time lines. We get peeks into the future, but it's not until the story wraps up that we see how it all comes together. Normally that might frustrate me, but it worked here.

The prose is gorgeous. The writing lyrical. Marie-Laure was a remarkable character; so strong and resourceful. The history of the Brittany occupation was previously unfamiliar to me.

One main question remains unanswered and that was frustrating although the discussion and speculation that decision promotes was good. But, just as the book's title infers, we don't see the whole story at once or even at all. There are still secrets and knowledge unknown.

Our book club read All the Light We Cannot See for our December gathering. It was universally recommended.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Calling all authors!! The Maiden’s Court is looking for guest post submissions.

Heather is looking to reinvigorate a signature series that she has featured at The Maiden’s Court with her own original content for several years and help you get the word out about your book at the same time.

Do you have a historical event/person/argument in your WIP or new release that can be viewed from two different perspectives? Maybe a battle (Norman Conquest from perspective of Saxons and Normans) or a pretender to the throne (Was he Perkin Warbeck or the Duke of York?). Submit your idea for a guest post for the Two Sides to Every Story feature via email to dolleygurl@hotmail.com! All that is asked is that the historical topic you choose be discussed from two different perspectives – any time period or part of the world is fine! When the post goes live on The Maiden’s Court, it will also share any pertinent links you would like as well as highlight your release.

For an excellent example of a previous Two Sides guest post, check out this one written for The Maiden's Court by Piers Alexander on William of Orange vs. James II.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Wrap-Up

I think I read 38 books this year. That is definitely the lowest number since I started reviewing. I've had some vision issues that affected my reading and I just got burned out on reviewing for deadlines. I don't know what 2016 holds for me in regards to reading and blogging. We will just see how it unfolds.

Favorites for the year...


Secrets of a Charmed Life
A Memory of Violets


Beyond All Dreams
The Dandelion Field


Ryder: Bird of Prey
Before We Go



The Girl on the Train
Chocolate Beach

This year I did my first film review, Before We Go only because I loved it, not because it was solicited. I also became part of a new book club that has been very enjoyable. New friendships are forming and we've had some great book discussions.

Thank you for continuing to visit and comment. May you discover many new books in 2016!

What about you? Any favorites or not so favorites from 2015?