Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Camera Giveaway!!!

About two years ago, my wonderful Canon camera died a sudden and final death. It wasn't mostly dead, it was the kind of dead where you start looking for loose change.

Since then, I've had a tiny point-and-shoot camera, which has done the job tolerably well, but is (after a trip to Europe) considerably dented/falling apart.

So when I found a chance to enter a drawing for a new, wonderful, SLR camera, I jumped on it!

Thus, this post, which, rumor has it, will give me 50 extra entry points.

Plus, you know, this picture is something beautiful I'd want to put on pinterest, anyway. :)

Best Local Wedding Photographers
Courtesy of: SnapKnot - Find Local Wedding Photographers

Have a photographic Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hello, hello! Guess what day it is? Not hump day (unfortunately), but Monday, which means I have 31 more minutes to upload a post.

The only problem is, the post I was going to share today isn't finished being written is, uh, experiencing technical difficulties loading words onto the page, and had to be postponed. Thus, I am here to tell tell you...whatever pops into my head to say at 11:31 at night! (2 minutes have apparently flown by since I first began to ramble.)

So what do I care to say at such a late hour? That summer is flying by waaaay too quickly, but - provided we get to keep the fantastic weather - dad has been working hard to convince me that fall is certainly a good thing coming.

Step one in this campaign was that we finally have one of these puppies for our 1800-2700 pounds of apples we get each year:

See how you can crush and press the apples at the same time? Plus, it apparently improves the quantity by quite a bit, and also, you know, we don't have to rent one anymore and lug it back and forth. My mouth is watering for cider and my hands are itching to once again compete with Charae for the best cider-pressing team!

Step two in Father's Fabulous Fall campaign was that, quite unexpectedly, we were confronted with the fact that he can make killer apple pie. I'm talking seriously amazing. And I never knew it in all my born days!

I guess you could say that, here in the Evergreen State, fall is synonymous with apple abundance ~ thus, much as I love the warmth and the sunshine, Father's campaign has been successful, and I am looking forward with great anticipation to the coming months.

14 minutes left.


Oh! I can tell you my Chick Fil A story! Back in July, when I was road tripping home from Branson with my grandparents, we happened to be going through a part of the country where there were several - you guessed it - Chick Fil As! Having never been to one, but supporting what the restaurant has stood for, we stopped there for lunch one day, with fantastic consequences.

Rolling out of the restaurant later....

Papa and I ordered a sandwich; grandma ordered a salad, and papa added a sundae to his meal. I toyed with the idea of ordering fries, too, since...I really like fries, but decided against it. Only to have cashier (who we think was a manager) ask me (upon finding it was my first time at a Chick Fil A), "Do you hate french fries?" "Um, no. I love them," was my confused answer. "Well, then," he informed me, beginning to punch a secret code of buttons on his register, "I'm going to give you a complimentary fry, because you have to try this sauce with them," (handing me a stack of sauces). "Ok - cool! Thanks!" I decided I'd gotten a pretty sweet deal. Little did I know, it was just the beginning.

"You know," he paused before ringing up our total, "you really need to try our chicken sauce, too, so I'm going to give you a complimentary chicken. No - two. One fried and one grilled. You'll love this sauce," (handing me another stack). "Wow...thank you," was all I could manage now, wondering how in the world I was going to eat all of this.

"And," he added, warming to his theme, "two cookies!"

By now, I was chuckling so hard, I could hardly manage a "thank-you."

"You know," his exuberance waning, "Chick Fil A was originally from Georgia, so I'm going to give you," (beginning to go crazy on the buttons again) "a Georgia peach milkshake as well!"

At this point, I think my eyes popped out of my head. How could he give me all this free food? How could I possibly eat it all?

Is this a normal amount of food for 3 people???

I cannot believe all this food
Took me a while to finish everything... :p
And now, my dears, it is 12:10. So I'm late anyway. Would have been on time...or at least closer to on time, except for the internet skipped out on me for a while.

So, since we're here, I might as well wish you a happy Tuesday!!
And ask if you can taste the apple pies yet.
And advise you to tell the cashier if it's your first time at Chick Fil A.

And bid you good night.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Watch-It Wednesday: Multilinguist Disney

Hello, hello! Guess what? Beginning this coming Monday, I think I'll be back to a regular posting schedule -- gotta be excited about that. :p

But in the meantime, a friend told me about this video and - all comments about the actual song aside - it pretty much hit #1 on my youtube videos for the last...while. :) I LOVE getting to hear all the different languages! Which one is your favorite?

Have a multilingual Wednesday! :D

Thursday, July 31, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! The Grand Finale

Thus we come to the final day of the "30 Day Book Challenge" (in quotations, of course. because.)! It has been quite fun for me to review old favorites and hear of yours - thanks for bearing with my obsession. :)

Our final four questions for today are (drum roll, please):

Day 27: What is your favorite genre?
I'm not a great fan of science fiction, self-help, or how-to books. Oh, or vampire stories. Aside from these genres, I pretty much like 'em all. Historical fiction, fairy tales, Christian philosophy/theology - these are probably my top three.

Day 28: What is the first book you can remember reading on your own?
Elsie's Holiday at Roselands. The memory of reading this book is distinctly etched in my mind. I was laying on the sofa, having hurt my ankle, and reading of little Elsie, hurting her ankle, and was suddenly filled with a warm and fuzzy kinship for the similar plights in which we two found ourselves. I remember noticing the cover of the book - the first time I really took the time to notice the cover since I had begun to read in earnest - and thinking it would always be special to me. It is. :)

Day 29: Who is an author you wish was more well-known?
This is another "all of them" question for me. True, Dickens and Austen are well-known, but in name only, and because of the movie adaptation of the their books rather than because people really know them. Most people today are all over the story of Pride and Prejudice, but few know of what I am talking if I bemoan Jane Austen's infuriating tendency toward microscopic denouements. Oliver is known everywhere as a book descrying the plight of a little orphan boy, but nods of understanding are rare when I mention Dickens' elaborate descriptions and similes. Even the well-known authors are unknown.

But if I were to quit soliloquizing, I would say, practically, G.K. Chesterton, Elias Boudinot, Anthony Esolen, and Rosemary Sutcliff. In that order. It would also be cool if people knew who Stratford Caldecott is, but as I have yet to actually read his books, I feel slightly unqualified to mention him.

Yes, that was more than one author. Congrats to the mathematicians who caught that.

Day 30: Which book are you reading right now?
Image result for our mutual friend
Speaking of Dickens...Our Mutual Friend is at my bedside right now. Although I have already watched the movie (whoops), this delightful tale is living up to every expectation in all the complex layers of Dickens settings and characters. It's going to be a favorite, I know already.

And that, my dear friends, wraps up our 30 Day Book Challenge! Thank you so much for coming along for the ride. Do comment and tell me your answers to these questions, if you care to share! I would especially be interested in knowing your favorite unknown authors!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Catching Up...

Well, this didn't quite shape up correctly toward the end, did it? I began so that my 30th day would be the last day of July...and by Jove I'll finish tomorrow. Meaning, of course, that I'm about to answer four of my daily questions right now, and an identical number tomorrow. Nothing like making deadlines by the skin of your teeth!

Day 23: What is a book you once hated, but now love? Why?
I have no answer for this question, and I blame it entirely upon the fact that I am terribly stubborn. I do not think I have ever, ever given a second chance to a book I disliked. There are a few that come to mind that I think I may like a bit better if they were given a another read-through...well, there is one, at least. But with so many good books in the world, I have never had the time to have my mind changed on the "bad" ones. Boring answer, I'm afraid.

Day 24: What is your favorite series?
As any self-respecting Lewis fan would answer: Narnia! Not only for the great imagination of the stories, or the heart-resonating analogies, or the way Lewis has of describing the indescribable, but also for the memories of all the years dad read the series to us - over and over until the paperbacks fell to pieces - at the dinner table, screeching for Lasaraleene's lines or pausing to allow us to contemplate a truth.

Day 25: What is the nerdiest book you've ever read?
I don't read science fiction (besides, of course, C.S.Lewis' space trilogy - but that was still not really in the "nerd" category), I've never read a "how-to" book, and even nerdy subjects in my sphere (analyzing chord progressions, music theory, etc) have always been learned verbally or kinesthetically, not by reading. 

Given these considerations, I would say, simply, that I've never read a nerdy book. 

...and then, I think about all the times I begin to describe almost any book I'm reading (barring fictional books) to someone who unsuspectingly asks, "What book is that?" Almost without fail (I can count the exceptions on one hand), the eyes glaze over, an impatient wiggle of hand or foot commences, and as my voice slowly fades away with their attention, they inform me, "that's a bit too deep for me," or "I can't really focus in books like that," or "I just read fiction."

Given these considerations, I would say, simply, that all I read is nerdy books.

Day 26: What is your favorite kind of nonfiction book?
Ahhh, what a fitting follow-up question. I love books that make you think...that analyze and identify ideologies, philosophies, and mentalities - where people stand, and how they arrived at their conclusions. Would you call that Christian philosophy? But I don't think it could be limited to just one genre like that...

Would love to hear your answers to any and all of these questions! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 21-22: Disturbing

Day 21: What is the most disturbing book you've ever read?

It was many years ago that I began this book. I cannot remember which friend lent it to me, but I was old enough that my parents did not think a "children's book" on World War II was a bad thing for me to read. As awful as it is, everyone needs to know that history. Jacob's Rescue is about a Jewish boy, Jacob, living with a Polish family in Poland during World War II. I never finished it. While it was quite the well-written story, it was simply too well-told for the younger me. At one point in the book, the oldest son of the family with which Jacob is staying darts outside and is promptly shot by a Nazi hiding on the roof. When the author describes, through young Jacob's eyes, the father gathering the blood-soaked dead body of his son in his arms and weeping inconsolably, I almost threw up (and, as a matter of fact, did a short time later). The only other time I have been so disturbed was several years later, reading another WWII historical fiction about the concentration camps. Words cannot describe what a dark, evil history that is...

Day 22: What is a book you once loved, but don't anymore (and why)?
I am trying to think of books over which I went crazy, only to discover once I had calmed down that they weren't quite as amazing as I had previously thought. I suppose the first several books of the Thoroughbred series could apply here...

Up through about book 7ish, I still like these books, in general. When I was younger, I positively devoured them, loving the story of a girl with her horse, racing the Triple Crown, etc. Reading back over them a few years later, I discovered all sorts of things in the books which I hadn't even noticed before. Some attitudes were suddenly more defiant, there were more flirtatious, boyfriend-girlfriend relationships (mostly as you progressed into the later series) - and I had not even noticed them! That said, I still have the first 7 tucked away in my childhood-books-box; while they were not as good as I had thought the first time through, they are, still, the story of a girl amongst horses, and I like them. :)

What about you? What disturbing books should I avoid? Is there a book that you were crazy about, only to discover later you didn't care for it so much?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

30 Day Book Challenge! Days 19-20: Birthdays and More...

Do you what today is?? On this very day, 9 years ago, mum was at the hospital, mid-surgery, and Megan and Madeline- our very own M&Ms - were making their entrance into the world! Of course, we celebrated in proper twin-style: pizza, brownie-cheesecake-layer-cake, and way too many giggles!

The dresses from yours truly :)
 Please note the slightly befuddled faces in the next two pictures...

The Twinkles' bedroom has been, heretofore, a mess. When they were wee ones, they didn't want to have separate beds, so they have had only one mattress in the bunk bed for years...but as young ladies of 9, they have outgrown the share-a-bed idea. Hence, a birthday present from mum & dad that was confusedly received in small packages of plastic shapes, wires, and metal clips...

Happy birthday to the Twinkles!!


Oh yes, and I have those book challenge questions today, too, don't I?

Day 19: What is a book that you think is woefully underrated?
Easy answer. Little Dorrit, That Hideous Strength, The Ordinary Princess, The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Twelfth Imam, Wuthering Heights...I'm trying to make a point here. Pretty much all the books I like are woefully underrated.

Day 20: What is the environment in which you most enjoy reading?
Anywhere both quiet and pretty. Usually, this is my room. My first choice is always to read out of doors, but...the "quiet" factor is often compromised by wee siblings who also love the beautiful outside. :) I like to be comfortable, to not dread looking up while considering a part I just read (which if the room is awfully messy, etc, is the case), and to not be tempted to listen in on other conversations while I'm reading.

Where do you like to read?