Friday, November 30, 2012

My Favorite Christmas DIY Decoration


When I spied The Decorologist's book tree, sweet friends and readers, this bibliophile had to craft a beauty for our kitchen table. Stat. 

There are endless ideas of bookish crafts online, and I've been invited to crafty book parties, but very few refrain from maiming or killing the helpless little paper progeny. Believe me, they all were someone's baby.


I can't hurt books. Don't hate me. I'm not mad at you if you have personalized journals made from book covers or book pages shaped like a wreath. Over the summer my daughter and I tried to make her a personalized journal using a super smoochie horse book cover. But we just couldn't, sob, break it's spine.


Smoochie David McDreamy. His history is safe with me. If you have some of his books and are thinking about destroying them to make an airplane or paper bird, please send them my way. I'll send you back some faux snow and teensy ornamental figurines so you can make a holiday book tree. Swoony times infinity.


Hope your weekend is full of family and great reads. If you are nearby, please join us for Christmas in Davidson this weekend.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Present Of Presence


December is when I go berserk with writing lists. Gift budgets, dentist appointments, holiday parties, the positives and negatives of gifting Nick a snake, dry cleaning, my new improved fail-proof workout plan!, food shopping, school plays. I worry myself when I obsessively re-write the lists, wanting the items I've crossed off to disappear, so I can completely focus on the ones that remain. Weird, no? Here is the deal: this season of merriment stresses me out. 

I often feel like Charlie Brown directing a play he has no business directing, and am in need Linus to remind me of what is truly important.

Children remind us daily of meaningful moments. Warm hugs in the morning, cold milk in the cereal, and lots of reading together. I cherish my reading time, but never as much as I do when life is running down the street like the Gingerbread Man

Reading is a priceless gift of time shared; a present of presence.

xoxo Michele   


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Decorating With Books For Christmas

I'm in a bit of a slump. Not sure if it's the lack of writing for a week, the two and half cupcakes (bliss, pure bliss) my dear friend Christine made, the pound of Peppermint Bark (bellissimo, Cha Cha), or my disappointment with this movie last week. I wanted it to be the book. It wasn't.

So let's look at some photo inspiration, shall we?


I'm feeling better already. This afternoon I'll be hunting for old hardbacks at the library in blues and greens with a few accent colors. We have smoochie little resin figures and a small bird for the top. Grazie, Kristie Barnett.


This is dreamy times infinity. The library might not appreciate me breaking the spines of their borrowed beauty, so I'll use books that I find on their library sale table. 



I've been looking for a craft to do with the children, and this is perfection. They can choose their favorite verse and design a meaningful display.



The library shares swoon-worthy ideas that make the holiday season shine. How will you be decorating with books?

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Ideal Bookshelf


One of my favorite authors, Alice Ozma, brought to my attention the new book, My Ideal Bookshelf. Our library has it on order (and I've put one on hold) but currently I'm stalking their website and swooning over the bookshelves of Roseanne Cash and some book clubbers who wanted their favorites painted. You can borrow the book from your local library or buy as a gift. How about a custom painting of your own ideal bookshelf? I'm hoping my husband will see this post and think of surprising me for Christmas.


But just in case he doesn't, mine would look something like this:


Which authors would your ideal bookshelf include?

I'm taking a holiday this week from the internet, but I never take a break from reading or photography, so you can find me over at Instagram. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reading With My Hands


When Molly asked, have you done something today that scares you, she inspired me to boldly venture into the kitchen. Yes. I'm terrified of the kitchen. For reasons both real and imagined.


The real reasons are: 

My weight. My binary brain tells me the kitchen is the last place on earth I should be sharing space with, while also admonishing me that the family needs healthy meals to nourish them. I'm a compulsive eater to boot. See, there really is more to me than books. ;)

Creative Black Hole. I find the most encouraging cookbooks at the library and {occasionally} will rush into the galley with high hopes of creating a meal my family will swoon over for weeks, and they do. But most days (like, 360 days of the year) I stare into the fridge thinking, just let me be Tabitha and I swear I'll never ever ever ever ever ask for anything else again.

The imagined reasons are:

I'm not my MIL. My mother-in-law is a knockout. She looks like a Sophia Loren twin, and cooks like Giada. My hubby had her as his primary chef until he married me. The first breakfast I made for him was garlic eggs. He thought I was trying to kill him. I thought Italians liked garlic with everything. I've improved since that debacle, but not much. The idea that I have to be perfect in the kitchen seems ridiculous, but there it is.

Too Time Consuming. Even as a write this, I know how crazy it sounds. The actual time spent in the kitchen cooking is short compared to the constant what's for dinner playlist repeating in my head. 

What if the answer to enjoying meal preparation is found in changing the way I view the kitchen?


As I was reading Molly's post, I discovered an exciting idea (I'm paraphrasing her words here): the stronger I get in the kitchen, the less scary it will be. 

Where do I feel safe? Oh, sweet readers, you know.

It can be a library, and I can read with my hands. The pots and pans, the ingredients ~ they tell a new story every time I open the oven door.


I'll let you know how it goes. Bringing young children into the kitchen with me is also a stress reliever. I don't feel judged, or alone. We are learning together, and sharing strength is a joyful way to combat what scares you.

I'm also learning about swoony Instagram and would love for you to follow me. 


xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Bad, And Yours Too


True story: history isn't top of my mind when conversing with my children. The absolute smoochieness of Harry in One Direction, her upcoming role as Ms. Hannigan in the play Annie, the importance of un-cluttering your bedroom so you'll have clean underwear ~ these are constant chitchats I have with Arielle. We are so busy living right now, in the rush of present day, that history can seem so, old news, unnecessary, b-orrrr-ing.

 
But I have a secret I'd love to share with you. David McDreamy. He has the power to make you swoon over history.


 
David's audio books are perfect for upcoming holiday car rides: this and this are our family faves. On a trip to visit relatives in New Jersey, Nick shushed us during the battle of Dorchester Heights - every detail was critical. 




You know how I recommend borrowing the beauty of books from the library rather than buying? I own almost all of David McCullough's books. And movies.


I buy them second hand from the library sale table. I give them to neighbors and friends and anyone crazy enough to ask me, who is your favorite author? 



There are no excuses for not knowing and sharing American history with your children when you have David as your guide. Do you have a favorite? Please share.

You can watch and read David McCullough's complete interview on 60 Minutes here.

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Williams Sonoma: Thanksgiving Entertaining


I couldn't wait until Thanksgiving to make some yummy-goodness from the Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining cookbook.


We added some of the children's Halloween candy - and pretzels. I'm nutty for chocolate and pretzels.

I'm thankful for the library, and chocolate, and a family to share this plate of love with. I'm also thankful for all of you, sweet readers. 

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Molly's Pilgrim


We discovered Molly's Pilgrim at the library last week. I love it when new (to me and the children) books inspire crafting afternoons. And an incredible revelation of the roots of our American Thanksgiving celebration.


This precious four year old asked me to read Molly's story five times. And then she crafted a pilgrim girl for Arielle. A clothespin body, a rubber ball for the head, red felt and bandana fabric for the clothes, yarn for the hair. While her hands were working her mind was flying to Molly's classroom. Books are magic, I tell you.


All these years I've been like Elizabeth in the story, thinking that Thanksgiving was something the pilgrims just thought up.


Now that we know the true meaning behind Thanksgiving, we put Tikvah Means Hope and Sukkot Treasure Hunt on hold at the library.

Here is a bookmark to print and share with your children.


Molly's Pilgrim is a beautiful reminder to be a blessing to the many modern pilgrims in our midst. 


My heart is thankful for the endless journey of meaningful learning
 joyously shared by the library.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Perpetual Thanksgiving: Dr. Paul Farmer


Every season of life creates an opportunity to experience a fresh idea of what enjoyment truly means. As I enter this season of Thanksgiving, my thoughts of gratitude and appreciation turn toward extraordinary people I have met at the library, beginning with the librarians. They in turn have introduced me to heroes like Dr. Paul Farmer, who has dedicated his life to fighting medical injustice in the poorest countries on earth. 

Mountains Beyond Mountains is a life changing read. As Dr. Farmer explains it, meaningful enjoyment can be found in misery, because light is meant to shine in darkness. That is where the real magic happens. Many of the daily messages we receive through the media, well meaning friends and family, even our own instincts, are often the antithesis of real pleasure or purpose.

I'm sharing this bookmark, and hope you're inspired to read his personal mission of serving and caring for the poor. The library has book club kits if you are interested in reading Mountains Beyond Mountains for your next book club.




Dr. Farmer's mother read Cry The Beloved Country (another life changing read) to him when he was young. It was my favorite read aloud with Nicholas this year. 


 
 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge. 
~ Proverbs 29:7
 
A life of perpetual thanksgiving is found in appreciation of our individual purpose and gratitude for those that have shared theirs to help others.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mayflower


My children love to hear about the day they were born. Arielle savors each detail of how her name was chosen and the meaning behind it. John-John's eyes brighten with the mention that his 18 month old sister declared he was her baby upon meeting him for the first time. Nicholas ponders the gift of his birth and how it transformed our story of a couple into the mysterious, magical love of a family. 

They love to hear about the day I married their father. Photo albums are an important part of the story, but my voice, my words, my narration ~ they have the power to build a living biography so strong in their imagination that they believe they remember the day from a personal experience. Those stories root, bond, connect us as a family. They not only answer the whys, but they ask us to keep adding to that beautiful story that began at a baseball game in the spring of 1997.


Mayflower answers the questions we have about the birth of our nation in breathless detail. And once it becomes a part of your living history, it will be asking you to add to the story of our country. That is what great reads do - they remind us, educate us, strengthen us on our collective history, and encourage us to add our own memoir to the story. The season of Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on our family story and revitalize a spirit of gratitude and sharing.

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Read Well ~ Live Well: Antigone


"Your wisdom appealed to one world ~ mine, another."
                                                                                                              ~ Antigone (Sophocles)

I'll admit it. When Edie named Antigone as the next book for her Read Well ~ Live Well Book Club, my heart was stone cold sober. Sophocles? My friends are all swooning over Gone Girl and Killing Kennedy. Sophocles? 

Come join me over at Edie's online library. It's a delicious slice of heaven. And there's a free bookmark waiting for you.

Oh, and because it is a super-short play, you'll still have plenty of time to read Gone Girl (loved the first 200 pages, the rest was pretty much meh).
 
xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Vote


In 1776, "we the people" could vote, as long as "we" were white men that owned land. If you were a white man that owned land, but were Jewish, Catholic, or Quaker ~ so sorry, no votey for you. Check back with us in about seventy-five years. If you were non-white, you had to wait until the 1870's. Women had to wait until the 1920's. Today, if you are 18, you only have to wait about 20 minutes in line.

I'm taking my children with me to vote. Then we're walking to Ben and Jerry's for some ice cream. And picking up this book from the library. Tonight's dinner will include a few brewskis, compliments of Sam Adams. We'll watch election coverage while playing chess and finishing up homework. 

Our vote matters ~ at the polls, and through the peeps of our children. It is counted by ballots, and the boys and girls who want to be just like us. See you at the polls.

xoxo Michele


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jerusalem, By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi


Thanksgiving takes us to the table, doesn't it? When I was growing up, the mere mention of the word would make my mouth water. Now that I'm older responsible for cooking the meal, it's a bit more complicated. I find comfort in the words of Wendell Berry, and I'm (slowly) learning gratitude that my hands were created to prepare God's blessed bounty for my family and friends. 


This year I'm pairing Yotam's cookbook with our Thanksgiving menu. We'll still feast on turkey and stuffing, but the side dishes and several desserts are from recipes featured in this smoochie love letter of a cookbook.


Yotam's website and blog have shaped my ideas of how the nourishment of our home should look, taste, and be savored. Imagine an ancient city on your plate, and sharing it with your family. Bringing home his beauty from the library is a gift both at the table and in our nightly reading. We can experience the flavor of the food and feast on the knowledge of the cultures that brought us these ingredients.

Our oldest son helps tend a community garden at school, and his delight as he walks through the front door every Friday afternoon with his harvest is contagious. Sharing the mystery of God's simple abundance with our family is something to consume, discuss, and ponder; especially during this season of thanksgiving.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Unsung Superheroes


Have you hugged a librarian lately? Did you know you can embrace them in smooches without embarrassing yourself ~ or them (some aren't down with hugging. I've learned this the hard way).

The easiest way to show appreciation for librarians is to use your library

We are taking it a step further this weekend and running in the Friends Of The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Rock & Read 5K. If you're in the area, please join us! You can register at the event.

We read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last year in book club. If you haven't picked it up, now is a great time of year to borrow this beauty from the library.

Have a wonderful weekend.

xoxo Michele 

If you happened to miss The Avett Brothers on Jimmy Kimmel last night, I've got a treat for you. Brooklyn, and the entire upper/mid East Coast - you continue to be in the forefront of our hearts and prayers.

 


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.