Friday, April 17, 2015

7 Quick Takes: What I've Been Watching

Joining in the taking of quick fun with our lovely host, Kelly...

I was going to title this one "Why You Should Watch What I'm Watching", but then I would have to convince you to watch these shows. 
And what if you hate the shows and that leads you to question my taste? 
Or, (even worse!), what if you love all of my suggestions and I have to come up with 7 more shows? 

Stop the insanity.

I don't know your life.

You do you. 

Here are 7 shows I've been enjoying (no pressure!)....

1) Drunk History. Holy wow. Kyle and I are only 2 episodes in, and we've pulled
muscles from laughing so hard. The basic premise is that the host (creator?) gets historians drunk and has them narrate a portion of history. He then gets pretty well-known actors to lip sync the narration and act out the story. It's insanely funny and really quite a creative idea. You can find it on Amazon Prime.

2) Friday Night Lights. When this show first debuted in 2006, I was taking a break from all TV, so I missed out on it. But, thanks to Netflix, I have discovered why people loved it so much. If anyone else was also living under a rock in 2006, let me sum it up for you by saying: Texas high school football, relationship drama, Connie Britton hair.

3) White Collar. Another Netflix recommendation that is perfect for when you want to watch something clever, yet not too heavy. The show revolves around an FBI agent who catches his archnemesis and then has him released into his custody to help solving white collar crimes. (Bonus: Kelly Kapowski is in it!)
Image result for white collar

4) The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ok, Netflix was having a really great day when it decided to start producing its own shows. Kimmy Schmidt is written and produced by the hilarious Tina Fey. Kimmy was kidnapped at 15 by the leader of a cult and kept in an underground bunker with 3 other women for 15 years. Then, they are rescued and this is where the show begins. Sounds scary and depressing, right? NOT AT ALL. It's written as a comedy, and, man, does it deliver. As the kids say: this show is on fleek! Image result for unbreakable kimmy schmidt

5) The Middle. I try to catch this one "live" every week on Wednesday nights on ABC. I started watching because I love Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), but I continued because it's funny, true-to-life, and has a truly talented cast. Image result for the middle

6) The Goldbergs. I'll be honest: this one is not gonna be for everyone. Kyle and I like to watch it (Wednesdays on ABC) because it's based on the true life family stories of the show's creator who grew up in the 80s. It's a little piece of nostalgia with a side of funny. Image result for the goldbergs

7) Mountain Men. I blame Kyle for this one. He got me hooked on this (both Amazon and Netflix have it) reality series. It focuses on 4 or 5 separate men who have chosen to live in various mountainous areas around the U.S. Im pretty sure we watch it to cheer for the 1 guy we sorta like, and to laugh at the rest of those idiots. Because, really? They are not the brightest bunch.
Image result for mountain men tv
Eustace is NOT the guy we cheer for...ever.
So, what about you? What are YOU watching? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WWRW: Another Guest Review Installation from The Year of the Sacketts

Linking up with the classy and sophisticated Jessica for this month's WWRW.

Kyle has graciously offered to guest blog once again! And I am happy to share with all of you his wit and intelligence:

2015 - the Year of the Sacketts continues...

If you remember from our last Post, this year we set the goal to read all of Louis L'Amour's novels about the fictional American frontier family, the Sacketts. Well, so far the year is off to an excellent start as we are nearing the end of the first quarter and I have completed 31.25% of my goal. This puts me 6% ahead of schedule! I am not sure if this What We Are Reading Wednesday blog offers any prizes but if they do I feel quite certain that I am a shoe in for whatever prize is offered. 

So, in our first blog on this topic we were introduced to the Sackett family by way of Barnabas Sackett in the novel Sackett's Land. In To The Far Blue Mountains, we continue to read about his adventures in settling the frontier in a very wild new land.  Barnabas, his wife Abigail, and their group of comrades settles in the area of Shooting Creek, NC. Barnabas and his mates quickly earn the respect of the local Indian tribes for their fighting skills as well as their trade. Barnabas fled England to the New World looking for a land where he could raise a family and where his children could be free to blaze their own trails, away from the rigid class system of England. Barnabas and Abigail have four sons (Kin Ring, Yance, Jubal, and Brian) and one daughter (Noelle) and in this way the mighty Sackett clan is born.

Following the death of Barnabas, the tale continues with his sons Kin Ring and Yance in The Warriors Path. In a tale similar to the kidnapping of the daughter of Daniel Boone, a pair of young women are kidnapped and the girls parents send a plea to the Sacketts to come to the rescue. The younger girl is the sister to Yance's wife, and in a recurring theme throughout the series when one Sackett is in trouble the rest will come running. Kin Ring and Yance set out to New England to pick up the trail, and quickly learn the kidnapper are not Indians but rather slave traders. With the skills of men raised in the woods, the Sacketts quickly hunt down the kidnappers but the adventure continues as Kin Ring tracks the villains to colonial Jamaica. The action is non-stop as the Sacketts work to bring the villains to justice. The books are works of historical fiction, so again they seek to bring in real life occurrences and characters such as Samuel Maverick to lend credence to the tale. The writing is highly stylized and entertaining. I recommend these books to left- and right-handed readers alike as I think all readers will find something to love. 

And, check back again for reviews of the next few books in the series.

Friday, March 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes: Too! Much! Fun!

Joining Kelly this week...

I have been having way too much fun lately.

WAY too much fun.

But, it can't be all bad because I've found lots of good things to share with you!

1) Gratiae Cosmetics.  Don't pull "a Mary Kate" and get suckered into a package "deal" at a mall kiosk, but do order some of these products on Amazon. My favorites are the exfoliating salt scrub, the body butter, and the facial peel.

2) Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups. 

Nuff said.

3) Will turned 3 this past weekend and three of his gifts were a themed set. 
We gave him this book:

Along with this costume:

And this costume:

So far, it's been a hit with all family members.

4) Kyle also had a birthday on last Friday. We got him a new waffle iron. 

I promise there wasn't a selfish motivation behind that purchase. ;)

5) We have some of the greatest friends. For Kyle's birthday, we took him to a Fish Fry at a local Irish Pub. And quite a few of our friends and their families joined us. We had the best 3 hours eating, drinking, and laughing hysterically. It was a great way to celebrate Kyle's birthday AND beat the winter doldrums.

6) We have the greatest kids, too. Some seasons it's easier to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Lately, Kyle and I have both been graced with that kind of season. We have spent more than a few evenings marveling over the beautiful qualities that are unique to each of our 7 kids. And, it's clear that these qualities are God-given gifts, not anything that we can credit to awesome parenting.
We have seen older kids cement their relationships with each other, with the promise of lifelong friendships. We have seen them model grace and generosity for their younger siblings -- some days, they are doing a better job of that than we are. We have seen younger kids show a genuine concern for and tenderness towards family members who were feeling upset or ill.
God has been so good to us in allowing us to be their parents. 

7) In the near future, Kyle and I have the rare opportunity to sneak away alone for a couple of days, and we couldn't do it without the help and cooperation of my parents and siblings. They are so good to see the value in a couple spending a little time renewing their relationship and being generous enough to take on the care and crazy schedule of so many kids. I hope that, one day, Kyle and I can be generous enough to return the favor, as well as pay it forward to our own kids.

Well, we have one month left of Lent, and I hope you're all being more penitential than I! ;)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WWRW: Guest post!

Linking up with DJ Jazzy J for this month's WWRW!

Since I haven't been reading a lot lately, I asked my brilliant, handsome, and well-read husband Kyle (of vlogging fame) to write a guest post for me. 

And he actually complied!

For your reading pleasure, I give you my beloved's review of Sackett's Land:

2015 - The Year of the Sacketts

In case you are not familiar with Louis L'Amour's work, the Sacketts are a fictional family who emigrated from England to America in the 1620's and then proceeded over to continue a western migration across America over the next 250 years.  Over the course of about 18 books, L'Amour tells the story of the settlement of America, life on the frontier, and the continuous push to the West.  I have read several of these novels over the years, but in 2015 I set the goal to read the complete saga, in order, from start to finish.  The books are good, short reads perfect for a weekend - and most importantly, in paperback form they fit perfectly in the back pocket of your jeans!  Over the years these books have been made into TV Mini-series and even several films.

Sackett's Land begins the story of this fictional family in 1620's England with the introduction of Barnabas Sackett, a free man with a small patch of land who through a series of events finds himself drawn to the New World.  Set against the background of class struggles, the novel tries to delve into the motivation that would cause certain people to pack up and emigrate to an unknown land while others remain content in their homeland.  There is plenty of action and adventure with pirates, Indians, battles, escapes, and sea battles.  The author does tend to repeat himself quite a bit, but all in all it is a good book.  L'Amour brings in historical characters and events and uses them as the backdrop for Barnabas and his friends who make the journey and eventually settle in America.  The reader is led from the English countryside to 17th century London, across the Atlantic to the Carolina coast with Barnabas and his friends always fighting for justice and sticking up for each other.

Stay tuned for further reviews of To The Far Blue Mountains which continues the adventures of Barnabas as he settles in America with his wife begins to build up a life in the wilderness, and The Warrior's Pathwhich starts the tales of their children, particularly Kin Ring Sackett.

Monday, January 5, 2015


If you haven't already done so, please check out Jen Fulwiler's Saint's Name Generator and choose your patron saint for this year!

It's 2015! 
Happy New Year!! 
How is this possible?!?

It's true what they say about time speeding up as you grow older. In fact, I think that if you add in some kids, the trajectory increases. 
My Crazy Y2K Baby!

The fact that I can say things like "15 years ago, I was expecting our 3rd child." signifies that I am officially geriatric. Which means that I had ---FINALLY!-- better get my act together.

In fact, a couple of years ago I matured enough to stop poking fun at people who chose a word of the year for themselves and I asked the Holy Spirit ("HS") to help me focus on a word that would help me improve during the coming year. (Those of you who knew me in high school will have already passed out from the shock of this, so....thanks for reading!)

I, also, jumped on the bandwagon for Saint of the Year because who does NOT need some extra intercessors sitting at the Throne of God? Not this girl!

The Saint thing was made easy by using the Saint Generator. Last year, I received St. John Bosco on my first try, and that dude was PERFECT for my 2014. (He's probably taking a well-earned heavenly nap right now) My first result for 2015 was St. Guntramnus, the patron saint of divorced people and reformed murderers.
When I told Kyle he said "yeah. Choose another one.". 

So....St. Charles Borromeo is the lucky winner!! And, among other things, he's the patron saint of spiritual direction which is something I desperately need. It's also tricky to find a good spiritual director, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Moving on to the Word of 2015...

In past years, it was really hard to quiet my head and my heart enough to hear the whisperings of the HS. This past Advent, I spent a lot of time tuning out the "extra" noise and more time focused on preparing my heart and my home for the Infant. And, on the Third Day of Christmas, the HS gave to me: Beauty!

This one was loud and clear. I need to look for beauty --God's beauty-- in all things. His design is perfect and beautiful. It is just that my human imperfections make it very difficult to see a lot of the time.

Especially (gulp), the ways that God made me beautiful. Inside and out. In truth, that is the one aspect of this that scares me the most. But, it's not me trying alone. I am asking for God's help to try. And, as a very helpful priest told me the other day: His graces are there even if I fail in the trying.

So, what saints and/or words are part of your 2015? 
I'll pray for you. Will you please pray for me?