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Top 10 Books of 2017

early sunset in Ft Langley 
I love reading all these "Top 10" lists of favorite books read throughout the year, so I'm adding my two cents.  I'm involved in a Book Club that I love with women from our church, a small group that meets every week and goes through a book every few months, my own list, books I'm reading aloud to the kids and  books I'm reading for educational purposes (think professional development). I took a look at all of those combined and this is what I got, in no particular order: 
The Problem of God by Mark Clark - I loved going through this academic apologetic book with my friends from church. It led us to great discussion, and good food for thought. I listen to Clark's sermons every week and so knew I'd probably love his writing style, too. If you have objections to Christianity, or are feeling confused about what to believe, this is a great primer. 
*You're Smarter Than You Think by Dr. Thomas Armstrong - I loved going th…
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December Titles // 2017

 a late December sunrise on the Ft Langley bridge
In the frenzy leading up to Christmas, I had planned quite a few field trips for the kids in the month of December so we could 'go easy' on the academics, but still put some school-hours in. I imagine I'm not alone in saying margin-time is slim to none. Over Christmas break, however, the kids and I finished 2 read-alouds, and I read 3 books, and I still have one week left. One was a short 70-page poetry book, but whatever. I'm also *nearly* done with two other books, which will just have to wait until January. Here's what I read in December:
Devotions by Mary Oliver - I'd been waiting on this ever since I heard about it via IG. Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets and this was a large anthology spanning nearly 6 decades of work. I loved it. Devotions is aptly named as so many of these poems are like prayers thanking God for nature. If you love soft, quiet poetry, that leans towards the natural world, you will …

November Titles // 2017

beautiful Fall day at Brae Island in Ft. Langley 
*Of Mess & Moxie by Jen Hatmaker - The newest Hatmaker book, I finished this in just a few days. This book has quite a few pep talks and 'you'll be okay' talks for younger women, and a few "How To" chapters that are absolutely hilarious regarding anything from potty training to Target shopping. It felt much less rant-y than her last book and if I'm being honest I read her books to keep up because a lot of Christian women follow her online. I don't always agree with her, nor do I find well-stewed spiritual meaty teaching, but can always appreciate humor that makes me snort-laugh when reading.

*More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levine - This book was pt. 2 of my continuing education on Charlotte Mason educational philosophy, and it didn't disappoint. It was much more in-depth as far as practical 'how-tos', complete with helpful book lists, and chapters that didn't just go over t…

Hikes with Kids // Admiralty Point and Burns Point // Belcarra Regional Park

 Lukka loves getting inside trees, ever since he was little!
This past weekend we got a rare dry November Saturday so we quickly chose a hiking trail we'd never done (Admiralty Point) in a place we love (Belcarra Regional Park) for an easy trail that did not disappoint! This trail is rated as easy and starts off in a public parking area near picnic tables and a decent bathroom. The trail is marked well and rated well, though others who've reviewed it have said otherwise, so check before you go.  a rare 'just us' photo
We hike at a quick pace, and I am often the slowest one. What I lack in swiftness I make up for in eagerness, since I am the one always dragging the family out on weekend hikes. The kids, however, must have had just enough time off from our last hike because they were practically running and jumping the entire trail, and I didn't hear nearly any complaint (until later) from my resident 'hater'.
beautiful view from Admiralty Point
This is a great…

October titles // 2017

cozy morning painting, fort building, and podcasts 
Oh, October. My favorite month of the year (minus the months I'm traveling, let's be real here) because the weather is cooler, and school + fun activities have coalesced into routine and the world outside is beautiful.  It's a great time to enjoy the outdoors when it's nice, and to cozy up with a book in comfy clothes when it's not-which is exactly what I did. Here's what I read in October:
*Whatever Happened to Justice? by Richard Mayburry - This is another Uncle Eric book I picked up at my local homeschool library and I really am quite fond of these. I am learning so much. I was very studious through my school career but do not remember learning almost any of this history/economics/philosophy so I'm really clamping onto it now. It's changing the way I see government, freedoms, and what's happening locally and that is always a good thing. If I continue to find these books, I will continue to read …

September Titles // 2017

not my built-in bookshelves...I wish!

This month was back-to-school and not terribly hard to fit in reading, surprisingly, just hard to get into the flow of reading. I was very distracted this month, and although felt I had a decent amount of margin, once your brain is worked up with go, go, go, it's hard to get into the quiet mindset of sitting down for an hour to immerse yourself without falling asleep! That happened to me on more than one occasion. 
This month I read a few quick little books, and the new Brene Brown title (!) I'd been waiting months for. Here's the list:
* Firstborn by Tosca Lee - Tosca Lee is an author from my hometown of Lincoln, NE, and I've loved her past biblical/historical fiction books that focus on a specific person in the bible. This is the second part of a purely historical fictional series set in present day Europe. It's fast-paced with high drama, but it's a fun little read. It's about the legacy of Elizabeth Bathory and the …

VASHON ISLAND // 2017

a lavender cart using the honor system
 My friend Susie and I tooled around a new-to-us place, Vashon Island in Puget Sound, this past weekend for a very quick (but very full!) girls' trip. Susie comes stateside once a year and I'm lucky to live close to her husband's family, so I often get a visit, too, though she's usually with her family in Nebraska. We had both heard about Vashon Island but had never been, and found really cheap accommodations through airbnb.com.

I read this article and this one in preparation and rented a car, while she communicated with our hostess. It worked out brilliantly. We headed down to the Faunterloy ferry in West Seattle and got there around noon, and although we had a bit of a wait going out, the price was so cheap! Something like $20 for the two of us and our car roundtrip. We had reservations at The Hardware Store for dinner that night and very little expectations for the rest of the time.

Lighthouse on Point Robinson 
I don't know…