I cleaned up a little downstairs so I could start scanning pictures. Above is my scanning station.

My grandmother and great-grandmother cared a lot about pictures and documents demonstrating family history. There are a bunch of binders full of it – which will eventually disintegrate, so my “job” is to digitize it. I’m scanning the pictures in as JPEGs and the printed documents as PDFs and JPEGs. PDFs are searchable by text so you can find what you’re looking for.

I started using to research my husband’s family and my own. I really like their mobile app too. I remember using Family Tree Maker when I was in high school and technology has sure come a long way.


Reading Corner


My mom bought the letters for me to nail up on the wall. I’m in hopes that they will stay on the wall and not wander all over the house by means of tiny feet.

I got the bookcase for free, family estate stuff (I’m not sure if that’s how you say stuff like that.)

I sorted the books by board books, library books, big books, and Orthodox books. There’s a basket of coloring books and crayons.

The John Deere tractor is one of my husbands toys when he was growing up. It’s a nice bookend, right? It’s pretty heavy.

Maybe I’ll add more blankets and pillows later. What do you think?

Reading a Good Book Outside



The weather lately has been wonderful. It feels pretty awesome to be outside (except for the inevitable muddy shoes… and pants). I love reading while watching the kids play outside. I’m reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It’s a really entertaining read also very informative. One new goal for this year, kind of inspired by this book and others I’ve read is that I’m going to try to reduce our family’s meat intake so I can buy an organic chicken and make it last. We already do two days vegan, and one other main meal meatless.

The Hobbit: Book and Movie

*Spoiler Alert*

I just finished reading The Hobbit last night. I have seen all the movies. I think though that if I had read the book first I would be rather disappointed and not like the movies so much. I’m usually a book purist when it comes to film adaptations. For instance, I really prefer the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice instead of the new Kiera Knightly one. I think that both book and movie have their merits here. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the movies.

For the movies I did like all the parts of the movie that weren’t in the book. The one thing though I wish they hadn’t done is the use of Orcs in the films. There is no character in the book that is an orc, and they could have used a goblin instead, though goblins are more terrible to look at as they have depicted them.

Legolas and Tauriel do not come into the book. However, I did like the little romance between Kili and Tauriel. Radagast only is mentioned a couple times and doesn’t come into the book at all. Thorin’s death in the book is much less dramatic in the book than in the movie. The end of the battle in the movie drew tears on my part. I suppose the movie had much more romance in a way to die than the book did. I did like how the movies went more into individual dwarves than the book. I liked the depth of character of Balin, though he must have an extraordinary long life. In the book he and Gandalf come to visit Bilbo long after their quest is over. Evidently Dain, the cousin that Thorin called upon to help takes over as King Under the Mountain after Thorin’s death.

It wasn’t clear to me why the movie left out some of the stuff in the book, while adding so much that wasn’t there. You’d think that they’d take the whole book and then add stuff. There are plenty of Hobbit purists out there and they’ve written plenty of articles about differences and the merits of each. These are my thoughts. I hope that more people read the book because of the movie.

Books in 2014

Now that Christmas is done, I have less knitting projects to post. I still have two projects I’m working on. Flip-flap fair isle mittens for my mom, and a scarf for my husband.

I have read more books this year than I have in a long time. I read 27 books (11774 pages) this past year. Most of that is probably due to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I am so very hooked on that series. I binged on that. It is so good. After I finished that series, I decided that I should read more.

The one that started it all!

Here’s a list of books that I read this year and some of my thoughts on them.

1.The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love with More Than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal Ideas by Laura Fuentes

There were so many good ideas in this book. I need to buy it. It has a list of all the recipes in the back of the book, you can mark whether or not the kids liked it, what you need to change in the recipe, etc. Pretty awesome.

2.The Joy of Hobby Farming: Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life by Michael Levatino

The more I read about farming, the more I want to do it and I figure the more I read about it, the better educated I will be when it comes time to purchase some land and animals.

3. Let it Rot!: The Gardener’s Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell

I’d say this is a good resource book to have on the shelf if you can’t figure out why your compost pile isn’t working like you want it to. I think the biggest struggle for me and my compost pile right now is putting enough brown materials in it. I have bunches of vegetable scraps, but not so much of anything else.

4. Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food by Wendell Berry

Reading this book is enough to make anyone who has the smallest interest in farming or food production want to run off and purchase a farm.

5. The Call of the Farm by Rochelle Bilow

This book started off really good, but it kind of turned into a love story, not that that’s bad, but I wanted more farm details in it. I did read it rather quickly. I think the author is a good writer.

6. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander, #8) by Diana Gabaldon*

I waited for over a month on my library’s wait list for this book. It was well worth the wait. I think that during that wait I thought about what was going to be resolved from the previous book almost every day.

7. The Guru, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios by Dionysios Farasiotis

This book is by far the best Orthodox book I have read in a long time. It was in a very conversational style, and was more like a biography than anything else. I read it very quickly, I’m very interested in the topic here. It deals with demonic possession, hinduism, witchcraft, and how to escape those things.

8. An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7) by Diana Gabaldon*

This novel is set during the beginnings of the American Revolution. Both sides are represented. So good and definitely a cliffhanger ending.

9. Harvest: Field Notes from a Far-Flung Pursuit of Real Food by Max Watman

This book was interesting because it dealt with food in a more realistic manner than the idealistic organic typical foodie. He shared failures and successes.

10. A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6) by Diana Gabaldon*

You just have to read it.

11. Family Life (Spiritual Counsels, #4) by Paisios of Mount Athos

I highly recommend reading this book and re-reading it. I need to buy it. Elder Paisios goes through young people figuring out what they’re going to do with their life (going to college, what to study, etc.) and getting married, raising children, and taking care of elderly parents. It will cause you to question the way you do things. It has changed my life.

12. The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5) by Diana Gabaldon*

On the eve of the American Revolution

13. The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins

I believe I wrote about this book in a previous post. But suffice it to say that you can tell Mr. Jenkins has a protestant paradigm that taints the way he sees and writes about Catholic and Orthodox Christians (though I’ll have to give him kudos for even mentioning Orthodoxy).

14.  Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) by Diana Gabaldon*

Read it.

15. Voyager (Outlander, #3) by Diana Gabaldon*

This was was a bit harder to get through than the others, but it’s worth it.

16. Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster W. Cline

Has some really good ideas, but somewhat hard to implement with toddlers who can’t converse with you.

17. Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) by Diana Gabaldon*


18. Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Diana Gabaldon*

I got hooked on this series by listening to a podcast from craftsy that they had with Diana Gabaldon because evidently Jamie Fraser knows how to knit. Little did I know that it would become a series that I couldn’t put down.

19. The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski

This is a history of fashion, mostly it’s practical and functional uses and how clothes were made. It’s made me think a lot more about what I wear. In the past year, I have worn more skirts. I only have one pair of jeans and the rest are skirts, though I bought myself a pair of leggings so I could wear skirts in the winter and not freeze.

20. The Handmade Marketplace: How To Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, And Online by Kari Chapin

I took notes on this one. I’m just starting to sell my hand knits. I don’t think it will turn into a full-time income, but it helps a little. By the way, if you want something knitted, I will happily quote you a price.

21. United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement by Kurt B. Reighley*

This book went through various new movements within american agriculture and pop culture. It was rather informative and I hadn’t heard of some of them. Entertaining.

22. Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us by Christine Gross-Loh*

I found some things that I would like to implement in this book, but somehow I think that maybe the culture outside of us will have more influence than we would like.

23. 8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil

I took notes on this one too. Some of the things he mentions are not hard to do, others are like ‘yeah, right’. One thing he recommended was to have a news fast. Don’t let all the negativity of the news and/or social media get to you. Just turn it off. I already do a version of that.

24. A Man is His Faith: Ivan Kireyevsky and Orthodox Christianity by Alexey Young

My husband got this book on interlibrary loan from the University. It was a short book, but really good. Ivan Kireyevsky was a lay person who had a very wide influence in Russia. Good person to know about.

25. Organic Gardening For The 21st Century by John Fedor

Good resource and inspiration for things to think about.

26. To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife by Caitlin Flanagan

This was an entertaining read. Some things I could relate to, others I could not, but if you want a light read, try it.

27. Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit : the lives and counsels of contemporary elders of Greece by Middleton, Herman

This book is a compilation of the lives of Elders and their selected writings. We read it in the Women’s Faith and Growth meetings at my Church. I loved it and the conversations it inspired. I started reading more books about and by Elder Paisios. That information has changed my life.

I love the printed book. The smell and feel of the pages. It’s wonderful. I love libraries. Thank God for libraries!

My goal is to read 50 books in 2015. Here’s hoping I don’t fall off the bandwagon. You can follow me on goodreads.

I moved the bookshelves

IMG_0100.JPGSo after I found this… I told them to put the books away.

IMG_0101.JPGThis is what that looks like…

IMG_0102.JPGThen I went upstairs to put one kid up for a nap, and it turned out like this….

So after the umpteenth time of this happening, I moved the bookshelves up the stairs to my bedroom. According to my iPhone I have climbed 25 floors today.

IMG_0105.JPGNow the books are organized by type… though not by author or some series… my husband seems to remind me. I think I’ll leave it like that so my husband has something to tease me about… other than dirty kitchen floors, dirty dishes in the sink and all the other chores that I can’t seem to get done. He’s the best. He doesn’t mention it. 🙂

The Great and Holy War

I majored in history in college and I guess you could say I was mostly interested in religious history. This is the type of book I’m interested in. I don’t exactly have the same paradigm as the author, but you never really hear about the religious side of, well, anything really. I’m in the middle of this book, but I’m looking forward to finishing it.

I’m hooked on Outlander

Ever since I was acquainted with the Outlander series, I’ve been hooked. I was apprehensive upon starting the second book, as usually second books and second movies in a series are usually not as good as the first one. Oh my gosh, was I wrong. I’ve been voraciously reading these books. I’m on book 4: Drums of Autumn, I honestly would sit all day and read. I can’t get enough of this story! Maybe this is why I haven’t posted recently. All my time is spent reading. I probably have neglected my household cleaning chores. Oops.

This is probably the first time I’ve actually read a piece of modern fiction. I’m usually a classic fiction type of person… you know… Jane Austen, Henry James, Fyodor Dostoevsky, etc. – old books, and a non-fiction type person.

The last time I read a book this quickly was after graduating with my undergraduate degree – Crime and Punishment.

There are a few things I’m a little bit embarrassed about. I’ve never read a harlequin romance novel, and I don’t plan on starting to, but there are quite a few selections of what I would probably consider R or X rated reading. When I first started reading it, I’m sure my face was a bit red, but I guess I’ve got used to it. I’m a big historical romance person. When I was in high school I read a bunch of Lori Wick and Jeanette Oke books, Christian romance novels… someone once said they are Christian porn. haha.

I love all the historical details, things you wouldn’t normally think of, like what you used for toilet paper. I’m in awe of Gabaldon’s research abilities. I’m incredibly fascinated by the medicinal usage of herbs in the 18th century, at least described in the books. There’s a wealth of information there, not to mention a story that is so appealing that all you want to do all day is sit and read, to the detriment of anything else you have to do in your life.


I was listening to a podcast on Craftsy the other day. It was basically an interview with Diana Gabaldon about her novels and writing process.

I love reading and I always think it’s a good idea to read modern fiction instead of just you know Jane Austen-esque era classic fiction, non-fiction crafty or parenting books. This is the first one that I’ve kind of been excited to read recently. My husband bought me the first book tonight. We went out to eat and then went to Barnes and Noble to get the Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake at the Starbucks inside. We don’t have a Cheesecake Factory in this city. 😦

There are two other series that I have my eyes on: Lois Lowry’s books, The Giver (which I read when I was younger, and still own it), Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son (which I haven’t read yet, but really look forward to)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children  series- I have no real great reason why I want to read this except the picture on the front looks interesting.


What are you reading?

Feel free to find me on Goodreads.