{Books Lately} February 2018

Books Lately | The Open Home

The cold winter months have really fuelled my reading of late as snuggling up with a good book when the weather outside is so cold and blustery is a wonderfully comforting feeling. I usually read a lot more non-fiction than I do fiction, but I’ve had so much fun with fiction over the last couple of months that I’ve set myself the goal of reading one fiction book per month throughout 2018.

Here are some of the fiction books I’ve been reading lately:


A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensBooks Lately January 2018 | The Open Home

Having watched The Muppets version of A Christmas Carol religiously on Christmas Eve for over a decade I decided it was high time I actually read the original book, this copy of which we’ve had sat unread for far too many years. The work of Charles Dickens has always felt a little intimidating to me as I tend to picture incredibly thick books filled with lofty words set against the back drop of bleak Victorian England. A Christmas Carol is a great introduction to the works of Dickens. Firstly, because it’s not too thick. Secondly, because it’s not too bleak and thirdly, because most of us are quite familiar with the festive story the parts with the occasional lofty words are understandable. The illustrations by P.J. Lynch in this publication of the book also entice you to keep reading and there is definitely more to the story than the TV adaptations can include. I felt these extra snippets added a lot of depth and back story to Scrooge’s character and felt a lot more empathy for how the young man became the “miserable, bitter old miser” we often remember him as.


Books Lately January 2018 | The Open HomeLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

Historical fiction may be my favourite reading genre but somehow it has taken me 30 years to discover the gem that is Little Women. Set during the American Civil War of 1861-1865 this once wealthy family now finds itself rather poor and with Mr March away on the battle field, Mrs March and the two eldest daughters are working to support the family. Jo, our protagonist along with her sisters Meg, Beth & Amy befriend a new neighbour, Laurie and the first part of the book follows their childhood games and war time struggles. The second part of the book follows the various adventures of the sisters as they come of age and find their place in the world. It’s not all love, marriage and babies though, although those do make up some very sweet parts of the story. The book is also full of some very relatable character struggles, as well as the presence of fear, the pain of rejection, and the heartbreak of loss. I think as a mother of just girls this book appealed to me all the more and the scenes of sisterly love, squabbles and unity were particularly sweet to me. I was pretty much hooked from chapter one and in fact a word of warning: Do not read this book when sat in the Departure Lounge of an airport, you may get so wrapped up in the story that you almost miss your flight!


Books Lately January 2018 | The Open HomeA Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely, more so now that I am reading it again with my church Core Group. Francine Rivers is well known for her historical fiction with Christian themes, but the stories from this book are actually based on the real women in the Bible that were woven into the genealogy of Jesus; Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and of course, Mary the mother of Jesus. I love how the author can bring so much life and context to even the shortest of passages in the Bible. She really helps you to read the Bible in the culture and context in which it was set, enabling you to rethink the familiar stories you thought you knew so well. I highly recommend this book, as well as Sons of Encouragement by the same author, which is written in a similar style. Both books come with discussion questions at the end of each novella to help you to dig deeper and unpack the stories more.


 

What have you been reading lately?

{January Gratitudes}

Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For nose scrunching sweetness and the bravery of toddlers.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For frolicking foam and a beach close to home.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For Mama’s little helper and a snail mailer in the making.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For sunshine on a grey day and the first signs of Spring.
Gratitudes January 2018 | The Open Home
For faith that can move mountains.

 

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during January, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

{Daughter Diaries} #45

Daughter Diaries 45 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, January is proving to be a cold and blustery kind of month, but whilst others are hibernating indoors away from the elements you are eager to continue exploring nature together, “just us!” I love you enthusiasm for learning, your wonder of nature and especially your need to refuel with hot chocolate. A girl after my own heart that’s for sure! Dear Bubbles, I’m afraid age comes to us all. You were reluctant to turn three last month, but now that the shock and denial is wearing off you appear to be embracing your new age with real gusto. Being three is not all that bad after all, you finally get to go to play school, will soon start swimming lessons with Daddy and can now also watch The Jungle Book! Wow, you must be a big girl. Dearest Daughters, may this year bring you lots of adventures and many happy memories.

What’s your favourite Disney Film? Our girls have only seen 5, but The Aristocats is a favourite around here.

Paddington Bear Tea Party

Paddington Bear Tea Party | The Open HomePaddington Bear Tea Party | The Open HomeThe Open Home 936The Open Home 931The Open Home 934The Open Home 932

Somewhere in the the middle of the year we acquired some sweet Paddington Bear books. The illustrations by R.W. Alley were so sweet that we couldn’t help but fall in love with the sweet Peruvian bear, so a Paddington Bear theme it had to be for Bubbles’ 3rd Birthday party.

The invitations were simple luggage labels a nod to the label worn by Paddington himself on his long journey from darkest Peru. I then opted for a London packed theme with lots of red, white and blue, complete with iconic buses, black cabs and train station vibes.

As my girls LOVE chocolate cake, I usually opt for a simple chocolate fudge cake for their birthday cakes, but I couldn’t resist making a “Marmalade Sandwich”, which is of course is Paddington Bear’s all time favourite food. I also found inspiration for this cake on Pinterest, but instead used my Granny Doreen’s sponge cake recipe as it’s always a winner. The cake was basically a square Victoria sponge, with the top cut off to make it look like a sandwich. It was then lathered with cream and orange curd instead of the usual strawberry jam and it was very yummy, if I do say so myself!

What was the last party you went to?

{December Gratitudes}

Gratitudes December 2017 | The Open Home
For joy, unspeakable joy, rises in my soul, never lets me go.
Gratitudes December 2017 | The Open Home
For the sweet anticipation of Christmas.
Gratitudes December 2017 | The Open Home
For homemade favourites and the smell of Christmas.
Gratitudes December 2017 | The Open Home
For family learning and hands on grannies.
Gratitudes December 2017 | The Open Home
For robins and sparrows and blue tits and black birds and all the regular visitors to our garden.
Gratitudes December 2017 | The Open Home
For sweet souls, cheeky laughs and the joy of raising girls.

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during December, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

Bubbles Turns Three!

Bubbles Turns Three! | The Open Home

I love singing sweetly, prancing in my tutu, dressing up like a tiger cub, birdwatching, plane spotting, star gazing, binge reading, Peter Rabbit, Pooh Bear, Paddington Bear, bears in general, hide and seek with Daddy, cuddles with Mummy, gardening, tea parties, making dens with my big sister, nature walks through Candie Gardens, playing in Saumarez “Samuel” Park, stomping through leaves, splashing in puddles, rock pooling, collecting the post, being cheeky, giving kisses, and raucous belly laughs!

My favourite toys are my bear called Bear, toy animals, tiger dressing up clothes, and my dolls, Matilda and Ingrid.

My favourite books are The Dolls House Fairy, Bear & Mouse books, Beatrix Potter’s Tales and Paddington Bear.

My favourite foods are potatoes, sweet corn, baked beans, more potatoes, broccoli and chocolate cake!

——

For more posts about our sweet Bubbles, click {HERE}.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Mama loves you.

{Daughter Diaries} #44

Daughter Diaries 44 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, at 4 years old you have yet to ask for anything for Christmas, the possibility of simply getting presents seems to be exciting enough for you. Just for the record you girls will be getting some gifts, but not because you’re less naughty than nice – we’re not keeping a list, nor checking it twice! – but because we love you just as you are. Dear Bubbles, waiting can be hard, especially when you’re waiting for your Daddy Man to finish work and come watch Christmas movies. Mummy Lady may be your “Best” when it comes to cuddles and comfort, but Daddy is clearly way more fun. Dearest Daughters, may your days be merry and bright, even if your Christmas is not very white.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie? Ours is Arthur Christmas.