Book Club Starter Basket

Chirped by Tina

After a long hiatus, we’re back with a new post! Our empty nests aren’t so empty these days, what with husbands and one of the nestlings back underfoot. Our routines are all akimbo, and it’s harder to meet up in person… But we’re zooming as I type, and we’re motivated, because this post is time sensitive! Hopefully this will jumpstart a return to a more regular schedule of blogging. We’ve got plenty of ideas starting to pile up from all our time at home!

Cass and I have put together a couple of “Book Club in a Basket” ¹ raffle items in the past for the Christopher Court Foundation. Those baskets revolved around food, drink and props related to the featured book – to add a little spice to a club meeting! For 2020, the challenge was to assemble a basket that’s more friendly to virtual gatherings. What better way to safely reconnect with friends and family than by hosting a video chat to discuss a terrific novel? We set to work creating a “Book Club Starter Basket” to benefit a local non-profit organization called the Penn Foundation.² It’s our attempt to take the Continue reading

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March’s Cheep Trills – 10 Ways to Keep Busy at Home

Chirped by Cass and Tina

We hope that all of you and your family and friends are doing well during this crazy time. So many of us had to adjust our work, school and lifestyles due to this virus. This month’s Cheep Trills post details how we are keeping busy at home in this new norm. We have listed five things we are doing for others, and five things we are doing for ourselves.

For Others:

Homemade Masks

Homemade MasksTina and her crafting groups have been researching and sewing homemade cloth masks for health care and other essential workers, as well as friends and family. There is some research that questions the utility of cloth masks. However, healthcare and safety specialists that they’ve talked to say that at the very least, the homemade masks:

  1. physically remind people not to touch their faces,
  2. visually remind people to give each other a wide berth, and
  3. protect other people from the bulk of any cough or sneeze that the wearer might project into the air.

If you want to join the cause, check online for local Mask Makers groups – we have a really well-organized Facebook group near us: Mask Makers of Doylestown, PA, but there are others out there. Ours has a porch pick-up/drop-off spot where you can donate materials, grab more supplies, or drop off finished masks. Also check out this Continue reading

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February’s Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass and Tina

Oh February! Even though it had an extra day this year, it still seemed to fly by. The weather didn’t help, being very mild, warm and wet here in PA – hurrying us along towards spring. Our shortest month did, however, yield some efficient days of crafting, blogging and catching up. We squeezed a lot in! Here are our top ten favorites from this productive month…

Favorite Books

February’s choices for both book clubs had mixed reviews from our members. Cass’s book club read Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood. It describes a mother in the ’70s trying to save her daughter (born with Downs Syndrome) from a cruel institution and manipulative in-laws. The novel is based loosely on a 1971 exposé of horrific care inside a Massachusetts “school for the feeble-minded”. A guest speaker came to talk about her adult son, who has severe autism. The writing was good, the discussion interesting. Some of us were dubious about how quickly Lucy adapted and rebounded from her first two neglected years. But hey, kids are resilient, right? Continue reading

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After the Holidays Cheep Trills

Chirped by Cass and Tina

The holidays have come and gone, along with the college boys, and we are back and resettling into our empty nest routines. Time to compile a top ten list of cheep trills from our long hiatus!

Favorite Book

Cheep Trills - Favorite BookIf you’ve never ventured into the genre of post-apocalyptic fiction, A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, by C. A. Fletcher, is a perfect place to dabble your toes. I can also heartily recommend the Audible version, voiced by the author himself. Fletcher does a fantastic job of narrating, and you know you’re getting all the right nuances when the writer is also the story teller. Plus, it’s a terrific story, at least as stories of what happens after the apocalypse go. It’s easy to be transported to this future landscape, a hundred years or more after most of the world’s population has died of old age. It’s a world Continue reading

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October’s Cheep Trills, 2019

Chirped by Tina and Cass

October has come and gone, and time has flown by like the leaves from the trees in our backyards! It’s been a busy month, but we’re taking a moment to appreciate another top ten list of the whos, whats, and wheres that lit the candles in our jack-o’-lanterns last month!

Favorite Book of the Month

A perfect book for October, Something in the Water, by Catherine Steadman was an edge-of-your-seat mystery thriller. I (Tina) listened to it in the car on Audible over the course of several long trips. Don’t be alarmed that it’s read by the author – Steadman is also an actress, and a fantastic narrator! Told in the first person, with a lot of reality-checking, self-doubting questions directed at the reader (“Well that’s what you do? …Isn’t it?”) I was totally captivated. Yes, I was cringing and yelling at the main character for some of her questionable choices, but when she was scared, I was gripping the steering wheel tight. As a book club book, it can lead to some interesting “what would YOU do in that situation?” discussions, too. And it hooks you from the first paragraph: “Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age…” It’s possible that it’s even better as an audio book than as a traditional book, because you get all the nuances the author/narrator intended? Might not be high literature, but it sure was entertaining!

Favorite Local Restaurant

Our favorite restaurant of the month is Slate Bleu in Doylestown, PA. This cozy French bistro has an amazing variety of creative small plates and an extensive beer and wine Continue reading

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