Life Lately

On going Paleo:

So far, so good.  We’re concentrating on breakfasts and dinners at the moment, and I’m already tired of eating scrambled eggs, so I’m trying to find breakfasts that don’t use eggs at all.  I’m also trying to find Paleo snack foods, since I eat lunch at 11:00 and dinner isn’t until 6:00.  My handy-dandy book says that I shouldn’t be snacking, but I don’t know who can go a whole 7 hours without being hungry.  I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins and they were delicious.  Next up are these Banana Breakfast Cookies and this Grain-Free German Apple Pancake.

My biggest realization so far?  How much grains and dairy I actually eat.   I was deluded into thinking that I was actually eating semi-healthy, and it turns out I so was not.  So if anything, going Paleo for 75% of the day is forcing me to up my veggie intake by about 23o32489384%.

On Adoption:

Our homestudy was approved!  And we’ve been matched with a few different sibling groups!  So far nothing has worked out, but I’m hopeful that this will be the month*

*I know I say that every month, but it’s because it’s true.  I really hope today will be the day, this week will be the week, and this month will be the month.

On the job:

Seventh graders are hard work.  Really.  I mean, I didn’t think it’d be easy, but their raging hormones and the fact that I’m a substitute and not their “real teacher” is driving me up the wall.  Some days I want to cry because I feel like a failure, other days I shout for joy because I finally got one of the too-cool-for-school kids to actually show interest and participate in an activity.  Mostly though I feel like repeatedly banging my head against the wall.

On books:

I’ve been re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  I started with Mockingjay, I finished The Hunger Games yesterday, and I started Catching Fire today.  I also reread Insurgent because it was on my teacher’s desk and I didn’t have anything else to do at the moment.

On the weekends:

I’m wicked busy over here with a mountain of a to-do list of things that I just have to have ready before future children arrive on our doorstep.  Which could be any day.  My sweet, cute, nesting phase of getting the house prim and proper and cute so that my children will love it and us has become a Clean All The Things! marathon to get my mind off of the fact that we have no children and any day they will be here.

I hosted a wedding shower for a sweet, new friend a couple weekends ago, and of all the parties I’ve thrown I really think this was my best yet.  It was cute and simple and she absolutely loved it.  Also, you can find that tissue tassel banner in the shop.

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On the shop:

If you didn’t see today’s earlier announcement, new things are up in the shop.  And we’ll be participating in a giveaway today/tomorrow.  So watch out for it so you can win something fun!

On the blog:

I’m taking a much more lax approach at this blog.  No more worrying about when I’m posting or having all seven days filled or having stuff up by 8am.  No more trying to develop content or revolving my life around the blog or checking my stats daily or working at it like it’s a job.  Instead, I’m trying to just go with the flow, and when I want to write, I write.  When I want to do more of a blog, it’s more of a blog-like post.  And when I don’t want to look at this dashboard at all, I don’t.  It’s a win win for us all, I think.

#FridayReads: The Giver

Okay, let me admit something to you right now.

I have never read The Giver.

I know.  You’re shocked.  It’s a dirty secret I’ve kept my entire life, too ashamed to even tell my husband.  And when I realized my short term sub assignment was happening right in the middle of them reading the book, I decided it was probably time to come clean.  {I know this feels sarcasm, but really it’s not.  My husband went around for days after I told him that I was reading it for just the first time muttering, “I can’t believe, I just can’t believe.”}

ANYWAY.  I read it.  Quickly.  And you know what?  I was unimpressively impressed.

So it’s about a boy who lives in this society who promotes Sameness.  Everyone looks the same, acts the same, and follows the same rules.  Adults have to apply to obtain a spouse, and then that family unit has to apply to obtain children who are birthed from designated Birthmothers.  At the age of twelve, all the children are given their assignment, and Jonas, the protagonist, is assigned the job of The Receiver of Memory.  So he goes to the current Receiver–who becomes The Giver–and slowly has all the world’s memories transferred onto him.  And then obviously, and predictably, Jonas wants to change the society.

And when I was finished I was just.so.mad.

There are so many YA books/series that have stolen this plot! The poor Hunger Games trilogy will be viewed in a new way.  Divergent is no longer so “unique.” And don’t even get me started on my dearly beloved Matched Trilogy, which probably violated The Giver‘s plotline worst of all.

So now I’m so mad that I didn’t know all these books stemmed from this one that set before it.  My blissful ignorance has been shattered.  And I am so very torn up about it.

But really though, I thought that The Giver should’ve been about 80 pages longer.  Maybe that’s because I’m used to reading these long, drawn out series that are becoming so popular, but I have to agree with my students that the little action and all the details can make for a boring read.  I devoured it in a weekend because I was desperate to know more, but there wasn’t any more to know.  And I hated the ending.  Where did he go?  What happened to his community? Why aren’t there more details???  How could Lois Lowry do such a thing to me?!

Or, did Lowry really get it right all along?  I mean, after all, she did stop when she’s ahead.  And probably the best cliff hanger of all time.

And now I can jump on the hate train and bash all this nonsense about how the trailer for the movie doesn’t look anything like the book (while I secretly harbor intense opinions about how I think the movie will actually be a lot better than the book).

The Frosts go on an adventure.

It’s an adventure for a few reasons.

One, it’s going to be hard and probably feel like an uphill battle.
Two, it’s going to (hopefully) “change our lives.”
Three, we’re wicked boring people and this is about how exciting it gets here in the house.  Because adopting children isn’t exciting enough.  #sarcasm

So our adventure came about in a few different ways.  I first saw Carmel’s post on this book ages ago.  I’m reading more non-fiction, and this was my first NF food book. I read Food Matters about three years ago, and highly recommend it.  But I’ve been wanting to read more about this whole Paleo thing anyway.  The husband and I are trying to get healthy (isn’t everybody??) and I’ve been feeling like God is calling me to my kitchen.  And on the advice of my awesome MIL, I’m trying to throw myself into things that are not motherhood related, because I’m just not sure how much longer I can be patient about the whole thing.

We were at said MIL’s house this weekend, and guess what she just happened to have sitting on her coffee table?  And guess what adventure her and FIL have been going on lately?  So she sent me off with the book, I’ve read it in a day and a half, and I think I might be a believer.

Can God call you to read a health book?  and put it into your hands?  and then inspire you to change your entire diet?

Well, I’m pretty sure God could do whatever He wants.  But regardless of whether or not this is God ordained, I think there’s too many coincidences to really ignore.

So here’s to a new adventure.  One which I hope helps to spur us on to a healthier lifestyle, one that we can impart to future childrens.  An adventure that will help me to start pulling back the layers of gluttony that are apparent in my food choices in hopes that this sin might be revealed to me in other areas of my life as well so that I may begin to address it there as well.

And because I’m going to be changing up things in the food department, I won’t have any choice but to spend more time in my kitchen.

What new adventures are you going on?

#FridayReads: A very interesting plot & a personal giveaway

I’m officially part of BookLook Bloggers, and I’ve finally had a chance to finish the book they sent me a while ago.  (I promise I read it all guys!  Things have just been really stupid crazy over here.)  From what I gather, I think most (if not all) of the books are part of HarperCollins’s Christian publishing brand.  Which completely makes sense if you start reading the titles they have.

I will be completely honest with you.  I HATE Christian fiction.  I mean, there are some quality books out there, sure, but about 98% of the time the books are stupid, have bad writing, faulty plot lines, and are in general just bad bad bad.  But I didn’t know that’s what these books were.  I thought I had picked a non-Christian book.  But I didn’t.  I picked Stranger Things by Erin Healy.

I won’t go as far as saying that Erin Healy redeemed the entire Christian-fiction genre.  But I will whole-heartedly admit that this book superseded my expectations and made me think that there could be hope for the genre after all.

Okay, without further ado, my review.

In a nutshell, the book is about human trafficking.  Which caught me off guard, because who writes a book about that?  I mean, who writes a book about human trafficking that doesn’t come off as sordid or seedy?  Erin Healy does.  And she does it very well, I might add.

Serena Diaz is a high school Biology teacher who is accused of molesting one of her students, Brock Anderson.  Her parents have run a safe house for trafficked girls for about 30 years, so it’s sort of ironic that she would be accused of doing the opposite of what they’re trying to end.  She is also accused of being involved in the human trafficking movement by the Fire Followers, an organization whose entire intent is to rescue trafficked girls.  She has no idea that when she enters the school building one morning that her entire life is going to change in an instant.  (I tried to find a less cliched way of saying that, but I couldn’t.)

What I hate about the book is that Healy uses about 50 different viewpoints to tell the story.  (Not really.  More like 8.)  So it’s really hard to set it down and pick up a few days later, because you have to remember who’s telling the story and what time frame they’re in at the moment.  I also hate the weight that a plot like this one has, because it doesn’t make for an easy read.  The plot moves quickly, there’s a lot of suspense, but when you’re reading about something so heavy you just need to get a break from it sometimes.

That being said, with all the things this book juggles–intricate plotlines, numerous viewpoints, a huge cast of characters–Healy handles it all with finesse.  Not once does she drop the ball or forget a detail and it doesn’t end so suddenly you can’t figure out how we got there.  The plot line continually moves along and pushes forward to an very non-contrite ending.  Albeit a predictably happy one.  (Happy in the sense that everyone is fine, although there are definitely life issues everyone needs to work out.)

I’d probably gives this three gold stars, a thumbs up, and five smiley faces.  And a wish that this would someday be a movie (because I think Hollywood would actually do good with this one).

And I liked it enough that I’d like to give you my copy for you to read!  All you need to do to enter this mini-giveaway is one (or both!) of two things:

1.  Share this review on Facebook or Instagram
2. Comment below with your favorite Christian fiction book.

I’ll pick a winner next Tuesday and send the book to your mailbox.

Happy weekend!

#FridayReads: The one you’ve all been waiting for.

Okay, so YOU probably haven’t been waiting for this review.  But I’ve certainly been waiting a very long time to finish this series and post my thoughts.

Oh dear, dear Veronica Roth.  You are amazing.  And you suck so terribly.  But alas, so amazing.

What I love most about the series is that the entire trilogy is one long story.  None of them can stand alone.  With The Hunger Games, the first book is awesome, but you can’t read the second without the third and vice versa.  With Harry Potter, each book has a beginning and and end, but yet they’re all connected.  Even with The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, there’s a beginning and end to each book, but you still can’t’ read the second without the third.  Not so with Divergent.  You can’t read one without the other without the other.  And she weaves such a beautiful story throughout.

There are a bazillion different things I could write about.  Like I could post the summary, but chances are you’ve already read it and don’t care.  Or you haven’t read it and won’t read this post in case there are spoilers.  I could compare this book to The Hunger Games trilogy.  But I’m guessing you could find a million of those posts all over the interwebs.  I could also write about the this whole Utopian/post-apocalyptic theme that’s running in YA literature.  But that’s another post for another time (and another website.

Instead, what I’m going to write about are the characters.
Because, oh man, these characters.

I’ve written before about how I’ve found the best characters in 21st century literature.  But I’m going to have to amend that statement by saying that Celia and Marco are the best characters in ADULT literature.  Because I have learned that Tris and Four are the best characters in YA literature.


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First, I have to commend the author on the amazing job she did on making an entire dystopian world so very real.  The second I started reading I felt like I was Beatrice, I was living in her city, and I would’ve left Abnegation to go to Dauntless, too.  And then throughout her entire initiation process I felt like I was also a Dauntless initiate.  And I cried at the end of Divergent–which made my students look at me weird–and I audibly gasped aloud saying, “OH EM GEE” at the end of Insurgent–which also made those students look at me weird–and I bawled my eyes out at the end of Allegiant–which made the husband roll his eyes.

What I love about Tris and Four are their chemistry.  But not they’re lovey-dovey, can’t live without each other, let me stroke your jawline chemistry.  More their motivations for leaving Abnegation and their determination at being Dauntless, and their sense of protecting each other and their loved ones.  They’re insightful, well-rounded, well-developed characters hardened by their past, their present, and their future.  They take on the world just the two of them because that’s the only one they have and the only one they trust. (And for good reason.  There are some whacked out characters in this series.)  The two of them steam off the page and tell their story in front of my eyes.

Divergent movie Tris Dauntless jump

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But even if Tris and Four weren’t so steamy, their individual characters would be just as palpable.  It’s a case where the two are certainly better together, but even a story about just one of them would get me reeling and wanting more.  They’re strong and mature and don’t take things lightly.  They’re also a little juxtaposed throughout the story.  Tris wants to leave Abnegation in order that she might figure out who she is.  Four has spent so long ignoring his old life that he has created a persona of himself, and it isn’t until he finds Tris that he realizes he hasn’t grieved his past and that he doesn’t know himself as well as he thought.

I think most people could argue that this book is all about mindsets and points of views and what happens when one group of people think themselves higher than another.  It could almost be a reflection of today’s society.  And I’d agree with those people.  But I think more than that this is a book about identity–another common YA lit theme–about how events and people shape who you are and how your choices can define you.

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And that ending, oh my gosh that ending.  It was so wrong and perfect all at the same time.  I loved what she wrote and hated that she did it.  It was so appropriate and just reinforced the entire theme of making choices that will define you as a person, that no one is ever who you think they are, and that it takes more than just one person to tell a story.

If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, DON’T!  At least, don’t start until you have access to all three books.  I started it before Allegiant was published, and then was number 110394320 in line at the library to get it after it came out and it drove me bonkers.  So if you don’t plan on purchasing all three right away, then wait until you can get it easily at the library.  Because once you start, I promise you won’t want to finish.

#FridayReads: A cute & random find

It’s been a while, but here’s a #FridayReads for your Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been looking for escape literature lately.  Not the amazing writing kind that takes me to different places.  The chick lit, predictable kind that gets me swept up in the story and allows me to forget where I am.

I stumbled upon Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee and was pleasantly surprised.

After reading the first two pages, I figured out the plot. Spoiler Alert:  when the husband dies, his soul is transported into the dog’s body and Emily adopts him.  Yeah, super corny, right?

But that’s what chick lit basically is, corny and predictable.  But Lee did a great job not making the soul-in-a-dog plot too over the top and ridiculous.  This book even had some depth to it.

Emily works as an editor at a publishing company.  After her husband, Sandy, dies she realizes there had been a lot of lies about her marriage and her life in general.  She struggles with her loss and with realizing all the lies Sandy kept from her.  When her sister comes to visit, bringing news about their mother–a woman activist who raised two almost opposite daughters–she realizes that most of what she thought about her sister, her mother, and her life with them was not what she thought it was either.  As she tries to get past the loss of Sandy and the lies she’s discovering, she realizes she has to get past her emotional baggage, too.

Meanwhile, Sandy is in the dog’s body, Einstein, and he gets to tell his side of the story, too.  (That’s probably the weirdest part.)  He’s all mad that he’s a dog and this mysterious old man who tells him if he helps his wife he’ll become some sort of awesome soul or something.  So Einstein tries to help his wife to get back on her feet.

It’s a book about self-discovery and new starts.  I may not read it again, but I enjoyed the story well enough. It kept me entertained on a dull, sub day at the high school.

#FridayReads: A random yet interesting find

I’ve been pulling books off at random at the library lately, hoping for a good one.  Mostly I’ve been getting duds, but this one was a win in such a big way.

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I’ve been obsessed with Anne Frank’s story ever since I read her Diary when I was about 13 or so.  It was probably the book I most frequently checked out of the library until I got my own copy.  My dad found the 1959 movie based on the book at his school library and brought it home one day.  I think I’ve read the book and watched the movie about twice a year since.  The husband still can’t understand why we own the book and movie and what my fascination with it.  I don’t really understand it myself.  I think it must how World War II is romanticized in a very real, non-fiction sort of way.

As much as I love the book, I always wondered about the other characters and what happens after the diary ends.  For example, Anne lived such a big life in that tiny attic, what were the others thinking and feeling and doing?  Were they writing diaries?   What were their life dreams and big goals for when they got out?  And when the Nazis found them and took them to the camps, what happened there?

Apparently I’m not the only one who has ever wondered this, because Jillian Cantor basically has answered all my questions with her book Margot.

This is the story of Margie Franklin, who is really Margot Frank, after the war is over and she has fled to Pennsylvania and created a new life for herself.  The book opens the day the movie premieres.  How weird would that be to be so well-known yet never quite famous and then to see yourself on the big screen?

What I liked most about the book was the inner struggle with Margot to accept what has happened to her and to learn how to merge who she was with who she is now.  I think Cantor does an excellent job with keeping the main storyline moving while fully developing Margot’s character.Even if you don’t care for this piece of history, this is definitely a must-read.