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 →
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…
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 →
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 →
Another month, a new season… and our latest list of places, projects, pups and pleasures that pumped us up!
Our book selection this month is The Rent Collector, by Cameron Wright. The story takes place in a community that lives in (and scrapes a living from) the refuse of a Cambodian waste dump. It describes the unexpected relationship that unfolds between an uneducated young mother and the dreaded woman known as the “rent collector”. The novel itself is heartwarming and inspiring, but the larger historical backdrop was also riveting. Many of the characters are loosely based on real people that the author’s son met while filming a documentary about life in this municipal waste dump. We also learned horrifying details about the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia. It’s something of a perfect trifecta when a book combines vivid world-building, great character development, and enough historical fact to make it educational as well as enjoyable! Two thumbs up!
Favorite Local Restaurant
With the chicks back at college, we’ve been rediscovering all the empty nesting habits we’d set aside for the summer. When it comes to meals, that means extremely light fare most weeknights, with the occasional date night or dinner out with friends thrown in on Continue reading →
Oh where has the summer gone? Our last Cheep Trill was in Apriland our most recent Chirp was June’s Crafting for a Cause. As is probably the case for many of you, summertime has been busy! Between having the kids home from college, vacations, visits to and from friends and family, etc… these days of summer are just flying by. Now we are in the midst of packing the kids up to head back to school again! But we’re taking a moment to breathe, and celebrate ten favorite things from the past few months…
Our favorite book for the summer was The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah. Set in the 1970s in the wilderness of Alaska, this book could put a chill down your spine on the hottest summer day. We loved the descriptions of living off the grid, surviving the dark, cruel Alaskan winters, and a community that pulls together to help each other in times of trouble. More disturbing were the family’s constant battles with the father’s violent temper and PTSD from his days as a Vietnam POW. The writing beautifully captured Alaska in all its fearsome glory – as Continue reading →