Monday, December 10, 2018

You, Me and a Cup of Tea

It's been a long time since I've done a post about tea... which is ironic as my blog title has much to do with tea. When I first put this blog together I had no idea really what it would be about. The main concept in my head though was I would write about books, movies, tea, whatever really and you could enjoy a cup of tea while reading my blog. Thus.... You, Me and a Cup of Tea. So if you aren't enjoying a cup of tea while reading my blog you'v ruined it's message! đŸ˜‰
The cold of the fall and winter months always put me in the mood for a good hot cup of tea. Like myself, my husband has an obsession for buying tea. We have a big basket full of boxes of tea sitting by our Keurig. Honestly, we buy more than we drink. In the winter though we catch up a bit as our tea drinking and tea buying come to a middle.
Recently my church had a English Breakfast for the women's Christmas party. During it we had a book exchange. Everyone brought a wrapped book and we opened them and stole them white elephant gift style. It was tons of fun. As we opened each book the lady who had given it would explain why she had given that particular book. It was wonderful learning why the ladies brought that book and why it was special to them. There was such wide variety of books, which was delightful.
I ended up stealing my book because it was about tea so I couldn't resist! The book I got is called If Teacups Could Talk by Emilie Barnes (with gorgeous paintings by Sandy Lynham Clough). I'm only partway through it so far but I'm loving the cozy atmosphere of it as it talks about the long tradition of taking the time to sit down and drink a cup of tea just by yourself, with a friend or at a party. It's definitely getting me in the mood for drinking lots of tea.
One of my friends got a book (that I almost stole from them!) called I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel. The title immediately intrigued me and made me want to read it. So I borrowed it from her and could not put it down! I binged it in one afternoon! It's a delightful little book written by a book lover for book lovers. I'm apparently very out of the loop but apparently Anne Bogel is a pretty big name in the blogging world. She blogs at Modern Mrs Darcy and also has a podcast What Should I Read Next. Check them out and check this book out! It's given me a renewed fervor for reading and is a new favorite.
One thing that Bogel talks about in her book is how books find us at just the right times in life and I think her book found me at just the right time. I've been in a reading slump for a few months now and her book has invigorated me love of reading and reminded me why I love it so much. I can't wait to dive back in to the reading world.
So right now I'm looking forward to diving back into the reading world with a cup of tea in one hand and a good book in the other.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review- War and Peace

For the Classics Club I read Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace.
Synopsis from Goodreads: War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrew Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. As Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
How do you even begin to review a novel like War and Peace?!?! One of the longest books in literature and widely considered one of the most daunting, it seems like no easy task to "just put down a few thoughts". There's so much going on in the story so many different little plot points. There's a handful of main characters that the story focuses on and you come to love, pity and sometimes hate them. My personal favorites were Pierre and Natasha. There were no perfect characters. Everyone had flaws.  Each character was so human. War and Peace is a story about life. It covers, war, family, love and death. This book covers years and the characters grow up and mature in front of your eyes. The backdrop is the napoleonic wars, which overshadow the book. Sometimes Tolstoy took a break from the story to just talk about the war.... something I often found tedious but I probably overreacted to it because I just wanted to find out what happened to the characters.
I really don't know what else to say about it that hasn't already been said. I found it beautifully compelling and it definitely makes me want to read more Russian literature.
I'd also like to give a plug for the app Serial App. It has lots of books on it (mostly classics I think) and it gives you a "serial" of a book every day. It helps with reading really long books like War and Peace.
I'd really like to a film version of this now to see how it translates to screen. I'm thinking of checking out the Audrey Hepburn version and the Lily James version. An7 recommendations?
Overall I'm so glad I finally read War and Peace. I would definitely recommend it if you're interested in Russian literature!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Little Life, A Little Hobbit

It's been a looooong time since I've posted. I don't feel like I've had a lot to say and I've been busy/lazy so I haven't been very active in the blogosphere. I haven't been reading too much either, except for to our precious little Hobbit. With that in mind, this post will mostly be about life and baby.
On our family vacation to North Carolina this summer.
I've found that even though I'm working only one day a week since having our little Hobbit I am busier then I ever was. Part of that is definitely just having a baby it part of it is also that I find myself with all of this free time I never had before and I keep trying to fill it up with all the things I've wanted to do and haven't been able to and I go a little overboard. I'm able to get together with my friends a little bit more, be involved in a women's bible study and I take our Hobbit to baby story time at the library. I'm not the best time manager in my life though so that's probably a big part of my issues. Oftentimes I feel overwhelmed and I've discovered a messy kitchen is often the cause and a clean kitchen can make me feel less overwhelmed. Getting places takes longer and is so much more involved with a baby. I have to budget so much more time than I ever did before. Every moment with our little Hobbit is worth it though.




Our little Hobbit is now six months. She amazes me everyday and I still have trouble sometimes believing she's mine. She's crawling, sitting up and pulling up. I'm scared but excited to see what she does next. She's very determined and stubborn. Right now we are learning "no" as she tries to get in to everything. Since our theme for her nursery (and obviously her nickname) was "Hobbit" we were given a lot of items that went with that theme. I've loved using them for photo props for her monthly pictures. 








One of the hardest parts of being a new mom has been figuring out breastfeeding. It's certainly not as simple as seasoned moms make it look but what I've learned fro those seasoned moms was it was not easy for them when they started out and sometimes even now it's not easy. I'm so blessed though that we are six months strong with our journey. 
I love watching TV shows while nursing. I have sped through Gilmore Girls (so many thoughts about this show... not sure if I wasted my time or not) and Agents of Shield, caught up with Call the Midwife, have one season of Daredevil down and right now I'm watching Brooklyn 99. It's been fun to watch shows that I had never gotten around to yet. Then Brian and I watch shows together too. We honestly watch too many shows at the same time. We recently finished our rewatch of The Office. We're watching Arrested Development, Seinfield, Frasier and Star Trek: Next Generation (this is all Brian's idea... I am not a Trekkie but he is). All of those are shows that Brian has already watched but it's my first time watching them. We also recently finished White Collar, which was a first time watch for both of us. 
We have made it to the movies a couple times sine having our little Hobbit. The first time we did Avengers: Infinity War and dinner and Brian's parents watched her. The next time we did the drive in, which was fun as ti was a first for both of us. Since it was the drive in we were able to take her. That worked out really well except we were out super late! At the drive in we got to Watch Incredibles 2 and Ant Man and the Wasp. 


We had a Reformation Day party this past weekend, which seems appropriate to mention since today is Reformation Day. We've never had so many people in our house before!  It was crazy but tons of fun. It was a beautiful time of unity as we had people from four different local churches represented. Now we just need to get around to watching the Luther movie! 





On a final note. I just want to give a huge shout out to my husband. He has been my rock in this journey through motherhood. He's so incredibly patient and sweet and I don't know how I would do it without him. As my luck would have it, Abby seems to be infatuated with him. How could she help it though? He's amazing!


So what's going in y'all's lives?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Reality

At some point reality has to set in and I think it's finally set in for me. Back in 2014 I set up my Classics Club list and made a goal to finish my list of books by January 2019. Due to some lazy reading, pregnancy and baby I've fallen behind enough so that I just am not going to make that goal. 2020 is a nice even number though right? So my new goal for my Classics Club is January 2020. I've realized recently that I have gotten so bogged down in my Classics Club list that I haven't been taking the time to enjoy some lighter reads. Just last week I sat down and re-read The Blue Castle for my book club and it was such a wonderful reading experience. I think I need to have more reading times like that. If I read one chunky classic after another of course I'm not going to want to read as much. I need breaks. I still love my classics and I always will but just reading classics isn't healthy. I want to enjoy reading again.


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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book Review- Just So Stories

For the Back to the Classics Challenge I re-read Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Kipling's own drawings, with their long, funny captions, illustrate his hilarious explanations of How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Armadillo Happened, and other animal How's. He began inventing these stories in his American wife's hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont, to amuse his eldest daughter--and they have served ever since as a source of laughter for children everywhere.
I read this one for book club but I was so excited to read it as I hadn't read it since I was a kid and the version I read was a kid's version so I was excited to get the "real" version. Just So Stories is full of fun little stories about how different animals got their different characteristics... for example how the elephant got its trunk, which was one of my favorite stories. It also had a story about how the written language came about. The stories are fun and witty. The pictures are great and their captions are even better! It was great to revisit this collection of short stories. It had been a long time since I'd read any Kipling (since Jungle Book year and years ago) but it's prompted me to start Kim, which I'm enjoying so far. I look forward to reading more of his books.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

It's Monday! Lazy Reading

I haven't put out an It's Monday post in quite a while now! Honestly I've barely been reading recently.  I was doing a lot of reading while nursing but of late I've been watching Netflix instead. I'm throughly ashamed of myself! I really need to get back in a groove as I still have over twenty books left on my Classics Club list and only until January to read them. I know it won't be the end of the world if I finish them after my deadline but I'd really like to.
So here's what's been up in my reading world in the last few weeks.

Finished in the last few weeks

  • The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
  • The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audiobook) 
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (book club pick)

Currently Reading 

  • Kim by Rudyard Kipling (audiobook)
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • God Is by Mark Jones 
I need to finish some of these before I start anything new I think. I do have a Classics Club spin coming up I'll be participating in that I'll start something new for but that should be it for right now.

And to wrap up here's a few pictures of my little time stealer.





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Classics Club Spin July 2018

Another Classics Club Spin which I desperately need to compete in because I'm falling dreadfully behind in my list. Cause I'm lazy I just took the books from my last list, took out what I've started/finished since and then replaced those. So it's pretty much the same with just a few subtractions and additions. And that last sentence sounded very mathematical. Dear me!
Anyways be sure to check out the challenge HERE. It's always lots of fun. If you aren't yet a part of the Classics Club what are you even doing? Join now! They've recently been doing some revamping and are still in the process so it's going to be even bigger and better! What better time to join in the fun!?
  1. Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P.L. Travers
  2. Mary Poppins and the House Next Door by P.L. Travers
  3. The 39 Steps by John Buchan 
  4. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson 
  5. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  6. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  8. Cyarno de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  9. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  10. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
  11. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  12. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  13. The Red and the Black by Stendhal 
  14. The Epic of Gilgamesh 
  15. Richard III by William Shakespeare 
  16. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
  17. Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
  18. They Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charle Dickens 
  19. The Tempest by William Shakespeare 
  20. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare 
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Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Monday! I Baptize Thee a Hobbit!

These past couple weeks I've been reading a lot and I'm almost caught up to be on track with my Goodreads goal to complete 50 books this year! The year is not over yet and there's many more books  to be read! I can't wait! I'd left a lot of my scary Classics Club books until the end but I'm actually enjoying a lot of them!
Our little Hobbit was baptized this past Sunday. It was a beautiful covenant celebration with the church and family. As a classic procrastinator I finished her baptism gown and cardigan the night before her baptism!

Our little Hobbit in her baptism gown.

Currently Reading

  • The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  • The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audiobook) 
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Finished Recently 

  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 

Coming Soon

  • Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare 
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (book club pick!)
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Book Review- The Portrait of a Lady

For the Classics Club I read Henry James novel The Portrait of a Lady.
Synopsis from Goodreads: When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy Aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. She then finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond, who, beneath his veneer of charm and cultivation, is cruelty itself. A story of intense poignancy, Isabel's tale of love and betrayal still resonates with modern audiences.
I didn't know anything about The Portrait of a Lady before I read it so had no idea what to expect. I ended up enjoying it though hand I hope to read more of Henry James in the future. I'm surprised I did enjoy it though as it did not have a happy ending and most of the characters left a lot to be desired.
You are immediately drawn to the protagonist, Isabel. She is kindhearted and independent. Her cousin  Ralph convince his father to leave her the majority of his fortune on his death. This causes her independent spirit to have independent means. Unfortunately she is taken in by the conniving Gilbert Osmond who she marries. What ensues is a miserable marriage, which becomes more and more miserable as the story unfolds. Before attaining the fortune Isabel turned down two offers of marriage. I wasn't terribly fond of Caspar Goodwood, Isabel's American suitor. He's horribly pushy and annoying. I did like Lord Warburton, Isabel's English suitor, for the most part but he had some issues as well. Overall though my favorite suitor was not even really her suitor... her cousin Ralph. You know he loves her, though the story is not quite clear if he loves her as a cousin or as a lover. His selflessness truly makes him the best character in the story.
The most despicable character in the story is clearly Gilbert Osmond. He's narcissistic, controlling and cruel. He takes this out the most on Isabel but he also is horrible to his sweet and submissive daughter Pansy. I hated him and while I'll never be a fan of divorce I was begging Isabel to leave him.
There's even more interesting characters in the story that I don't have the time to cover. Henry James truly created a fascinating story especially in his characters but also in his plot that will surprise you as it unfolds.
Even though there isn't a happy ending I would definitely recommend this book.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

It's Monday! Road Trip with a Baby

Over Memorial Day weekend we went up to Minnesota to introduce our little Hobbit to family. It was a great trip but quite the experience with a baby. You've never road tripped until you've road tripped with a baby. It takes ten times longer! Thankfully she does travel pretty well and mostly sleeps in between feedings. It did give me a little more time to read though as thankfully she does sleep well in the car. Thank goodness I'm having the time to read because the Classics Club deadline is approaching faster then I'd like!

Currently Reading

  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
  • The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (audiobook)
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Recently Finished

  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (book club pick)
  • The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  • Intensity by Dean Koontz
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (FINALLY!!!!)

Coming Soon

  • Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
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