Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Third Quarter Reading

This quarter was a huge reading quarter for us (me personally and me and the kids) - both in actual books read and books listened to. No better time to read than the summer!

Books I Read

Books I Listened to


1. Still Me by Jojo Moyes. Louisa Clark has just arrived in New York City ready to embrace her new adventure while keeping her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across the ocean, but of course she finds that is easier said than done. After loving Me Before You, but kind of slogging through After You, I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. I would rate it right up there with Me Before You - I loved it!

2. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. The lives of four young neighbors weave together in unexpected ways in this book that won the Newberry Medal for 2018. I only needed a book that was nominated for an award in 2018 for my reading challenge, but I decided I wanted to read an actual winner. This one reminded me of Walk Two Moons which was also a Newberry Winner and a favorite of mine from my childhood.


3. Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. Sylvie and Dan have been married for 10 years and are so happy together until at their yearly physicals their doctor tells them they will probably both live long lives - meaning they could be married for another 68 years. Suddenly they begin to panic and decide to plan surprises for each other to keep their marriage fresh. This goes terribly wrong and things are looking pretty bad for the couple until a real surprise is revealed that changes everything. After liking the first few Sophie Kinsella books I read years ago, I suddenly decided they were just too stupid and I hadn't read any more of her books until I heard this one compared to Liane Moriarty and then you know I had to read it. I was regretting my decision to start it because the beginning was really stupid and I almost gave up, but then suddenly it became very good and I understood the Liane Moriarty comparison.

4. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. Rachel is always the good girl and is always outshined by her best friend, Darcy, who seems to get everything she wants. But things change when on her 30th birthday, she discovers she has feelings for Darcy's fiancé and amazingly he has feelings for her too. I was almost immediately sucked in by this book and couldn't wait to see how it turned out.

5. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Rachel exposes twenty lies that hold us back from living joyful and productive lives and then convinces you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be. I feel like EVERYONE read this book this summer and I'm not sure I loved it quite as much as everyone else did, but I enjoyed listening to it.

6. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Ove is a cranky old man who has about the saddest backstory you can imagine. He spends his days trying to kill himself, but seems to always be interrupted in his attempts. I needed a book in translation for my reading challenge and was uninspired by all the books on that list until I came to this one that was also one of two books chosen for our August book club. It's such a sad story, but somehow it's told in a way that makes you laugh and think fondly of all the cranky old men in your life.


7. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin. Marion has a secret she's carefully kept hidden for 18 years. That secret suddenly shows up on her doorstep in the form of an 18 year old girl who she gave up for adoption days after she was born. I've heard that this is Emily Giffin's least popular book which isn't surprising to me, but it definitely wasn't terrible either.

Books I Read to Corbyn and Peyton

What Was Hurricane Katrina by Robin Koontz. This book talks about Hurricane Katrina on a level kids can understand and enjoy. Since Rog served his mission in Louisiana and was an AP during Hurricane Katrina (meaning he had a lot to do with the evacuation of missionaries and other logistics), I figured the kids should have some sort of an understanding about it.

Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan and Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion by R.A. Spratt. These books remind me a lot of Mary Poppins where each chapter is about a different adventure that Nanny Piggins takes the kids on. Corbyn and Peyton both love them!

Changes for Josefina by Valerie Tripp. The last book in the Josefina series. Tia Dolores announces she is planning to leave the rancho and Josefina must change her mind.

Meet Felicity by Valerie Tripp. Felicity is a 9 year old girl living in Williamsburg in 1774 (just as the colonists are getting ready to declare independence from England and start the Revolutionary War). In this book, Felicity falls in love with a mistreated horse and saves him from his owner.

Books We Listened to in the Car

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. A fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square and orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The mysterious answer (An elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a remarkable chain of events. 

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. This is a story about a mouse who falls in love with a princess named Pea. I missed the beginning of this one and never could get into it, but the kids enjoyed it.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment because her mother is too embarrassed by Ada's clubfoot to let her outside. When her little brother, Jamie, is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. I had read this one before, but it was fun to listen to it again with Rog and the kids.

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. When Ada's clubfoot is finally surgically fixed, she knows that she's not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. Now as the war rages on, she has to figure out who she really is. I hadn't read this one before and it was a good conclusion to the first book.

Harriet Spies Again by Louise Fitzhugh. Harriet M. Welsch has just received the best news of her eleventh year—Ole Golly is coming back! But the circumstances of Ole Golly's return remain unclear. Where is George Waldenstein? Then she overhears Ole Golly saying she's innocent—but innocent of what? I remember reading Harriet the Spy as a child, but couldn't remember if I had read this one. Then as we were listening to it, I figured out (remembered?) the secret and was so excited to get to the end and hear the kid's reaction. If possible, this one is even better than the first!

The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker. Princess Emeralda isn't exactly an ideal princess. Her laugh is like a donkey's bray rather than tinkling bells, she trips over her own feet and she does NOT like Prince Jorge, whom her mother hopes she will marry. But if Emma ever thought of escaping her life, she never expected it to happen by turning into a frog! Continually finding new books to listen to with the kids is not always an easy task. So when I found this series (with 9 books!), I was overjoyed. 

Dragon's Breath by E.D. Baker. When Emma's grandmother refuses to change Grassina's heartthrob Haywood back from being an otter, Emma and Prince Eadric are charged with gathering the ingredients needed to lift the curse.

Once Upon a Curse by E.D. Baker. Emma is anxious to marry Eadric, but first she must undo the family curse that threatens to turn her into an evil hag after her upcoming 16th birthday.

No Place for Magic by E.D. Baker. Emma and Eadric are finally ready to get married, but Eadric's parents are not so sure about having a witch in the family! 

Usually after a quarter like this one, I lose steam and have a terrible quarter of reading. Being almost a month into the next quarter already, I can happily say that at least so far, that has not been the case! Here's to another great quarter of reading at the Phillips' house!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

RS Garden Party

Since we had just done a nice, big Relief Society dinner for Christmas, we thought we could do something a little simpler for the Relief Society birthday celebration in March. We decided on a garden party theme to celebrate the arrival of spring which was just around the corner. 

For decorations I painted some Mason jars in various spring colors and filled them with tulips from Costco.

(I also pulled out some of my spring flower decorations and we used those in various places around the room.)

Rog had learned from home teaching that Brother and Sister Jensen (a former member of the stake presidency and his wife) had a beautiful garden, so we asked them to give some gardening tips and talk about the spiritual lessons we can learn from gardening.

Then we had some refreshments and let the sisters visit with each other.

The Italian soda bar was a big hit last year and I had straws to use up, so we did that again.

For some "healthy" refreshments we had fruit salsa with cinnamon chips, garden bruschetta, and veggie sticks in dip.

For dessert I made flower cupcakes.

And a sister who was helping on the committee made a fruit tart and a few other dessert options.

We had a table set up for the sisters to plant some flower seeds in terra cotta pots.

I ordered them from the Dollar Tree and they were only 50 cents a pot! I printed off a quote from Gene R. Cook about gardening to go on them and tie it all together.

I finally had figured out how to effectively use my activities committee chair and we had assembled a committee of volunteers to help, so this was definitely the easiest activity I was in charge of. Unfortunately (as I mentioned in this post) a few weeks before this activity my committee chair was released, but she stepped up and helped anyway. I was worried about who we were going to get to replace her until a few weeks after this activity we had another ward boundary change and we were moved to a different ward (and then it wasn't my problem anymore).

Friday, October 5, 2018

Flashback Friday - February 2017

We were at the mall for something and stopped in the Disney section at JCPenney just to look for a minute. Logan decided he needed one of each of Mickey's friends. He didn't get them that night, but he collected them slowly over the months that followed for Valentine's Day, his birthday, Easter... 

Back when I was posting on Instagram for Just In Time Quilts, I posted this picture and it got more likes than anything I had ever posted before (or after). 

This was the caption: We love to see our quilts in your homes! This quilt top was lovingly pieced by a 90 year old mother for her son using her treadle sewing machine. Dixie had the pleasure of finishing it up. What a special project to be a part of! #justintimequilts #machinequilting #preservingmemories 

(I think it was the #preservingmemories hashtag that earned it so many likes. It was the top picture in that hashtag for awhile and our phones were blowing up with notifications for over a week.)

Bundled up to run in the rain. I actually found that I don't mind getting wet and I rarely ever wear this rain shield.

I took Peyton to a Pinkalicious party at the library. She got to decorate fairy wings...

Color a cupcake, and make a necklace.

On Super Bowl Sunday we had boundary changes in our stake and our family was moved to the Happy Valley ward with about 4 other active families in our neighborhood. Coincidentally we had invited 2 of those families (Yates and Willes) over to watch the Super Bowl with us that night. 

Being moved to that ward (even though it ended up being only for a short time), was a huge blessing to us. We made many friends (who we are still friends with despite being in different wards now) and Rog and I both served in callings that we loved (YM 2nd counselor and RS 2nd counselor). 

Cute laundry helpers. 

Corbyn and Peyton started running their miles for the kid marathon they did in May. It was kind of a disaster at first because Peyton needed to learn how to pace herself (she's a sprinter). She cried the whole way home because Corbyn beat her.

Playgroup at the mall play area.

On the way home from that playgroup we got rear-ended. Our car got pretty beat up, but thank goodness the three of us in the car were ok!

There was a huge backup of cars waiting to be repaired from the especially snowy winter we had (and the Oregon drivers who don't know how to drive in the snow), so we had to tape up the part that was hanging down (it was dragging on the ground as I drove around town) until they could get us in to repair it. Keeping it classy!

Corbyn's class had a date with mom. I got to come have lunch with him and then we made these heart boxes.

Our neighbor, Erin, watched Peyton and Logan for me. Cute girls! 

Apparently Logan loved playing with the Connect 4.

Rog had been planning a snow caving activity for the scouts, so even though we weren't in the ward anymore and he had been released, he still had to go.

I don't think they did it exactly right and they froze that night!

While he was gone I finished up this Disney bulletin board.

I took a closeup of these two pictures because it's just too good. On the left is Corbyn with my dad and on the right is Logan with my dad - they are both about the same age and in practically the same pose. Logan's head is bigger, but other than that, twins! Also, that's Corbyn with Buzz in the bottom left, but it could totally be Logan now. Everyone says Logan is Rog's mini me, but I just see Corbyn (and I don't remember too many people saying Corbyn looked like Rog). 

We got home from running errands and apparently Logan was starving because he started eating some cereal from breakfast out of the sink. 😂

We decorated sugar cookies for Valentine's Day.

And Peyton practiced writing her name on all her valentines.

She gave one of her valentines to her dance teacher the day before Valentine's Day.

For breakfast I made us Cream Cheese-Stuffed Lemon French Toast with Strawberries on Valentine's Day.

I made Corbyn a heart sandwich for lunch.

Our new ward had a playgroup party on Valentine's Day. It was perfect timing because otherwise Peyton and Logan wouldn't have had any reason to make valentines.

Peyton handed out Valentine S'more kits.

And Logan handed out Goldfish valentines.

At school, Corbyn handed out Kool-Aid valentines.

We don't do big Valentine's Day gifts, just a little something in our valentine mailboxes. Corbyn got these Disney Infinity characters (that I bought on clearance because they were discontinuing Disney Infinity).

I had to go look up what Peyton got in our finances since I didn't have a picture of it. She got the Tangled Little People set. (By this point she wasn't playing with them anymore, but we were still collecting all the Little People Princess stuff.)

Logan got Pluto (pictured below) and a Disney Baby I Love You This Much! book.

3 Valentine cuties + Pluto.

I made this Baked Fontina Spaghetti (recipe calls for mushrooms, but we leave those out) for dinner for the first time. It has become a favorite for me and Rog (although the kids don't love it).

I just love this picture of these two looking out the peep hole. Also, I think that was one of the first times I did Peyton's hair in two French braids like that.

Sunday family game time and movie cuddling.

Logan was falling asleep as we pulled into our driveway, so I pulled him out and he fell asleep on the kitchen floor as I was trying to quickly make him lunch. 😂

Playing with Peyton's hair before bed one night I made up this new braid.

Since she wasn't in preschool, Peyton loved going to story time at Barne's and Noble. 

Watching a show in the playroom under the stairs.

On Mardi Gras we always have jambalaya and beignets. This year we did a pre-Mardi Gras meal on Sunday and I tried making gumbo for the first time.

I also made my first King Cake.

We had Kevan and Krislyn over to have some King Cake with us and Krislyn was the "winner" finding the first baby. Then we rigged it, so Corbyn and Peyton both got a baby too.

For FHE we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores with some leftover supplies from making Peyton's Valentine s'more kits.

Then on Mardi Gras we surprised our neighbors with beignets and Mardi Gras beads.

It was fun to deliver them and share some Mardi Gras cheer!

And that was our February.