Category Archives: books

Mundane Monday Musings

I like alliteration . . . can you tell?

This is going to be stream of consciousness, so be prepared.

Word of the week — myopic:

Myopic — lacking foresight or scope; “a short view of the problem”;

Why myopic?  I have just been struck by how we all live in our own little bubbles, and we seem to think that what happens in our bubble is the most important thing in the world.  Dwelling on life in the bubble keeps us from thinking about the big picture, keeps us from reaching out, keeps us from being kind and charitable to people outside our bubble.

New Diet

No.  I am not going on one and telling you all my weight-loss goals again.  But a friend told me about a diet her sister is on, and she said it is working.  Here’s a link.  My friend is thinking of trying it.  It is interesting to consider.

Book Recommendation

I haven’t read this yet, but the same friend with the dieting sister recommended it, and it is now on my list of books I would like to read this summer.   Him Her Him Again The End of Him is a clever title, and I love the cover.  So why wouldn’t I read it?


Easter was good this year in many ways.  We attended a lovely Maundy Thursday meal/service at the church where I work.  I spent the day Friday hanging out with the kids, and we attended the Good Friday service at our church in the evening.  Saturday was busy with Breakfast with Bunny at the church where I work and then a few hours of relaxing and egg dying before going to a bonfire for the evening with church friends.  For Easter Sunday, after worship we had just our family at home for a traditional Easter meal.  It was much less stressful than cooking for company or even going to someone else’s house (though I want to do one of these most years).  We then went to a park for a bit in the afternoon, and just hung out at home in the evening.  I am so thankful for the Hope of Resurrection in my life, and I am reminded that I really didn’t understand how significant this hope is until I was an adult. Sure, I knew about Christ rising from the dead, but I didn’t really get how important His resurrection is to my life, to my salvation, to my eternity. Christ is risen, indeed!

Some pictures to close . . .

Wassup Wednesday 11 – Veterans’ Day, 2009

In honor of Veterans’ Day, I am posting today’s poem from this book, Poem a Day.  I picked up my copy of this book for 25 cents at a thrift store.  I don’t read each day’s entry, but I do pick it up a few times a month.  I have enjoyed it as it provides me with a little literary thought to ponder now and again.

Gethsemane (1914 – 1918)

The Garden called Gethsemane

In Picardy, it was.

And there the people came to see

The English soldiers pass

We used to pass–we used to pass

Or halt, as it might be,

And ship our masks in case of gas

Beyond Gethsemane.

The Garden Called Gethsemane,

It held a pretty lass,

But all the time she talked to me

I prayed my cup might pass.

The officer sat on the chair,

The men lay on the grass,

And all the time we halted there

I prayed my cup might pass.

It didn’t pass–it didn’t pass–

It didn’t pass for me.

I drank it when we met the gas

beyond Gethsemane.

                             —Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)

The armistice ending the First World War was signed on 11 November 1918.  Kipling’s son John was killed in the Battle of Loos on 27 September 1915.





Wassup Wednesday – 8 — A little late

Beginning with a Book:  I started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright over last weekend. Chapter 1, “Putting the World To Rights,” talks about our longing for justice in the world.  To me, it seems Wright is talking about the void we all feel that there has to be something–someone who can straighten out the mess we’re in.  Of course, as Christians, that person is Jesus.  Wright talks of our need to be passionate about justice as Christ is.

So far, I am finding it compelling, though there is an underlying current that is a little off-setting to me.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but the rest of the book might balance out that feeling.  More to come.

I am still reading HP3, but I really will finish it this week!

Food:  We’re still low-carbing in a sense, but not with as much gusto.  My lagging creativity coupled with the expense of eating more meat and veggies is causing us to rethink.  So now, we are trying to limit our carb intake to supper time to allow for some pasta or bread.  We are also trying to keep our portions in control and continuing to not snack.

I am also trying to bake some bread that is more healthy and even a bit less expensive than the store-bought kind.  Some friends here told me about a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I haven’t actually seen the book yet, but I found some of the concepts at the Mother Earth News website, and I am trying it for the first time tonight.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  It certainly sounds like a good idea!


Exercise: All of my efforts this year have been a failure on the exercise front.  So I started a much more reasonable walking program this week that I might actually stick to.  It is based on the program in this book: The Complete Guide to Walking.

Kids:  Regular season games of football end this weekend.  W00-hoo!  It sounds like the post-season will end within 2 weeks.  Can I hear an Amen!?

And, in honor of Nevin’s upcoming 12th birthday on Tuesday, I leave you with this photo:

Wassup Wednesday – 7

So here it is Wednesday again . . .

Pictures: From our church’s harvest party

News: Tonight, Mark and I surgically removed a red plastic peg from Charis’s ear.  It took bribery to get her to remain still enough to put the tweezers far enough into her ear to get a decent grip on the thing, but hurray, no trip to the ER was necessary!  The whole shenanigan happened just when I was about to head out the door to take Calvin to football practice, so we managed to get a night off from practice because at that point we weren’t sure whether we would be home or at the ER.  So the incident did have a silver lining. 🙂  The peg game was thrown away after the procedure was complete!

Kids: Football is over in 2 – 3 weeks (playoffs make the schedule a bit uncertain).  Calvin has started practice with a homeschool basketball team, so there will be some crossover.  We are committed to the idea of having him be playing a sport all the time to keep him occupied.  You know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right?  Nevin opted out of basketball because it would prevent him from playing indoor soccer that starts later in the year.  Charis also hopes to play indoor soccer this year.

Evangeline’s first concert with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale is the second Sunday in November.  Then her choir will perform with the Nutcracker at the Fabulous Fox Theater the first weekend in December and with the St Louis Brass at Catherdral Basilica the third week in December.  It is really exciting that she’ll have exposure to such great cultural events.

Inside Cathedral Basilica

Little ol’ Me:  I am on book 3 of the Harry Potter books.  I think I’ll finish soon.  I have also started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright.  I’ll let you know what I think as I read more.

I am mostly feeling torn or unfocused.  Homeschooling is going fine in the sense that the kids are learning what they need to know.  However, I need to be better at focusing on them and less focused on how I might solve all our family’s problems somehow through endless internet searches.  So if you are ever praying for me, pray that God would keep me on the task at hand with less worry about the future.  He is in control–thankfully, I’m am not responsible for everything.

We also have some house projects that must be completed.  I am not sure how this will happen, but we need to make some real plans and “get ‘er done.”

Day is Done: Hump Day is over.  Enjoy your Thursday and your weekend!

Wassup Wednesday – 6

News: I got a new-to-me ipod nano.  It arrived in today’s mail.  I have been playing around with it, but it will take me a while to figure it all out.  Already Nevin showed me how the volume control works.  I think of myself as technologically savvy, and here I am one of those parents who needs to have her kid show how something works.

Fun: Homeschool field trip to the Magic House this past Monday.  The Magic House is one of St Louis’s great family-friendly attractions, and it was a lot of fun to visit again.  We had enough homeschool families from our church present to divide the kids up into age groups, making it a manageable visit for everyone.  Here are couple shots of Evangeline enjoying her time there.  Her friend’s older sister took the pics.


 Books: Reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  It is as fun as the others, and I am anxioius to move on so I can finish the whole series.

I picked up a Barbara Kingsolver book, Prodigal Summer, at Goodwill, this time for 35 cents!  I am looking forward to reading it because I really liked her book The Poisonwood Bible.  I’ll let you know what I think of this one.

Something cool: My friend, Lindy, uses the Grocery Game website to save money on groceries.  I have never been a coupon person, but Lindy’s family eats for practically nothing!  I am not sure if I am going to be able to work this system or not, but I am going to give it some serious consideration.  I do think that St Louis grocery stores are not as prone to doubling coupons, so maybe coupons won’t be as effective here.  Plus, I usually shop at Aldi where the prices are low to begin with and they don’t take coupons.  But if I can save more by using coupons at the regular stores, I’ll give it a try.  Anyone else have thoughts re: pros and cons of couponing.

That’s all for now . . .

Wasup Wednesdays – 5

News:   Had strep throat over the weekend and a houseguest.  This is not the best combination, as even though the guest was really Mark’s guest, I felt bad I couldn’t be more “hostessy.”  Thankfully, I went to urgent care on Sunday, tested positive for strep, and the appropriate antibiotics were prescribed.  Tonight, I feel no soreness in my throat.  It is just a little dry.  So I think I am officially “over it!”

School:  No. 1 son visited a local Christian high school for 8th grade visitation.  He was thrilled with the place.  Now, we are praying for a miracle that we will be able to send him there next year.  Honestly, we are praying that Mark will continue to get business and that if needed, I would be able to get a real job that pays decently by the time next school year roles around.

No. 2 son kicked into gear today and finished all his school work for the week.  I have wondered how long it would take him to realize that homeschooling would be easy for him.  Now he is free to read all the other books he wants to read until Monday.  BONUS: He thinks he’s just having fun, and he doesn’t even realize he is still learning something.  🙂

Eldest Daughter is still distracted by the things of life outside school work like her DS, riding her bike with  the neighbor kids, “writing songs,” getting her ears pierced, etc.   She has to think about all these things a lot.  Then she has to ask me questions about them.  She will get her work done . . . it will just take a while.

Wee Girl, otherwise known as Sweet Petunia, is improving in reading.  I started using a simpler phonics curriculum (Phonics Pathways), and she likes it.  She also still does lessons in Explode the Code everyday, and I think the writing and practicing of the different words in each exercise is making a difference.  Finally,  I was encouraged by a veteran homeschooling mom from church who told me that her older girls (19 and 16) were not fluid readers until 3rd grade.  They both eventually became fine students/readers.

I also finally dug out some of my old homeschool books, and I found all my “Five in A Row” books.  I plan to start using some lessons from them to incorporate a little “art” and other unit study elements for the girls.

Simon seems to be feeling better.  Yay!

Books:  I finished the second Harry Potter book a few weeks back, and I thought for sure we had the paper back of book 3 laying around.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it.  So I requested book 3 from the library.  I am looking forward to reading it.

I also picked up a McCall Smith book (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) for 70 cents from Goodwill.  I had to return the ones I started to the library before I finished, so I am looking forward to reading this one at my leisure.

Finally, I am re-reading Anne of Green Gables–out loud to the girls some and ahead on my own.  It is just a decadent little pleasure for me to read Anne again.

Thankful that football season is half over.  I can’t wait to have our lives back to normal and to rid my house of the horrid lockerroom smell currently residing here.  Ew . . . Gross . . . Disgusting  No words can describe the awful odor eminating from my basement.  Febreeze and air freshner are not enough, but we’re trying to make use of these tools to get us through to the end of October.  What will I do with my evenings when there’s no football practice?

Wasup Wednesdays?

So some of my fellow bloggers are doing “cool” regular blog posts each week, so I decided I could do that too.  Maybe I will stick with it, unlike the now defunct “Tuesday Tunes” of my blog’s ancient history.  Having “Wasup Wednesdays?” also does not limit my subject  matter.  This is good because it allows anything to be included in my post.  This is bad because it allows anything to be included in my post!

This Wednesday at Chez Horne:

School is on the agenda.  Hopefully, it will be a better day than Tuesday in terms of student motivation. The boys need to work on a demonstration presentation for their drama class tomorrow.  There is also a need to work on monologues for drama by all four.  They like drama–but it is less fun when there is actual work involved.

Football is also a part of the plan for today.  (I know, you think, isn’t it always on the agenda in some fashion or another?)  Only Calvin practices tonight, so we only need to go to one location.  It’s a relatively easy night on the football schedule.

Wednesday Update:

Last personal post (2 posts and practically a month ago), I reported my weight loss and exercise plan.  The dieting part has gone great.  I can’t report on poundage lost because, as you may or may not remember, I am not getting on the scale at this point.  But I can see a change in my face and feel a change in the waistline of my pants, so something is working.  I have stayed pretty close to the plan for most of the past 4+weeks, and I am finding it pretty doable.  I also really like keeping my bloodsugar level stable because I haven’t had one of those in hypoglycemic-like episodes since I started.  I am still struggling with the exercise bit, but I will make it work.  I am determined.


I finished a little contemporary novel called Jemima J.  I enjoyed it as brain candy.  I don’t recommend it because there are parts that weren’t very edifying.  But if you are someone who appreciates the humor of Bridget Jones’s Diary, you might enjoy this.  I bought it at the Salvation Army for 25 cents, so I can definitely say it was worth what I paid for it!

I, at long last, am nearly finished with the first Harry Potter book.  I restarted it about 3 weeks ago, and I would be finished if it weren’t for reading the above “mind candy” book and that pesky little school year having to start.  I love Harry Potter, and I have listened to almost all the books on cd over the years when the kids weren’t old enough to read the books.  I just hadn’t made time to read them myself.  Book 2 is waiting patiently on my bedstand for me to finish book 1, and that I shall do.

I also picked up something new to me at  the library–books by Alexander McCall Smith. One begins a series called the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and the other begins a series called 44 Scotland Street.  I have just dipped into both of these, so I am curious is anyone else has read them or has an opinion about them.

Now I must forge ahead into my Wednesday, or nothing will happen . . .

Are you really reading those books?

I was just checking out my list of books that I am supposedly reading on the ole sidebar.  And, I see I need to change these out.  To be honest, I have been reading the same books for months without getting very far.  It seems every time I sit down long enough to read anything, I start to fall asleep.  Hmmm . . .  I am hoping to remedy this over the Christmas holiday.

But what happened to those books I have on the sidebar?

1.  Keeping the World Away This is a book by Margaret Forster that I picked up from the library.  I thought I would enjoy it because I had really liked Forster’s novel, Lady’s Maid, a fictional biograpy of the maid of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  I guess the possible story of painter Gwen John did not have a strong enough appeal to me since I had never heard of her until I picked up this book.  So when the 2-week loan period at the library ended, this book went back to the library shelf.

2. Parenting Today’s Adolescent  I am still trying to read this one, but I guess I’ve been too busy trying to parent my own adolescent to spend much time reading about it.

3. The Solace of Leaving Early This is another book I picked up at the library because I read and enjoyed another work by the same author.  Haven Kimmel wrote A Girl Named Zippy, which is a quirky, funny memoir about the author’s upbringing in rural Indiana.  It is one of my favorite books.  Solace is well-written, and it has elements of Kimmel’s voice, but it is much darker.  So once again, when thw 2 week loan period was over, I returned Solace to the library.  But I like Haven Kimmel enough to give it another try . . . maybe very soon.

In the next couple days I’ll change out my reading list with what I am really reading.  Until then, maybe some of my cast offs will appeal to you, and you can convince me to read them.

Life in Cranford

I just finished the little novel, Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I took a long time to finish it after getting halfway through on our cruise the last week of July, but this is not because it is a poorly written or uninteresting book.  I just meandered through it a few pages a day because life got busy with school starting and work stuff and appliances breaking down.  But this morning, I had a little time to myself, and I finished the last 2 chapters.  I can’t recommend this book enough to all you Jane Austen fans out there.  If you like Jane, you’ll like the worlds that Eliabeth Gaskell creates.

Cranford is a small English town inhabited mostly by women.  There are men associated with the town, but they are not on the scene very much.  Gaskell paints a very comfortable picture of country living in England in the late 1800s with characters that you want to know and emulate in your life.  The 2 main characters are Miss Matty and her regular companion, Miss Mary Smith, who serves as the narrator.   The book is very much character driven, with each chapter revealing something about the town’s women through short vignettes of the events and goings on in Cranford.  Gaskell’s narrative has a pleasant ending that makes the reader appreciate Miss Matty even more and that demonstrates the benefits of living a meaningful quiet life being kind to those around you.

Annie Barlow told me there is a BBC dvd series based on this book a few months back.  I am anxiously awaiting an opportunity to watch them now that I’ve finished the book.

And the Books Go On

I was able to get back to the library Wednesday and checked out Belong to Me again.  I wasn’t feeling great yesterday, so I used that as an excuse/opportunity to finish it.  I enjoyed the story and the author’s ability to draw me in to the community she created.  This isn’t a recommendation, so if you decide to read it, don’t blame me if the morals, etc., are offensive to you.  However, if you like contemporary television dramas, you will probably like this book.

I might write more about this book later, but I might not.  For now, let’s just say I did ok with picking this book based on the cover.