:: Currently ::

READING

Just finished a book one of my students has to read for my class. Inspired by What should I read next, the fabulous podcast of Anne Bogel, I let my students make a list of three things they have loved reading/watching and one element they really can’t stand. Based on that, I handpicked three French books that are fairly recent (so untranslated, which is key), that might spark their attention and let them choose one of them to read. I am reading along with them so we can have a genuine book talk as their oral exam. So far I’ve read three out of seven and enjoyed them all. Even more: I could imagine asking them specific questions on their reading experience. I’m totally giddy about it now and glad I could update my French reading list with three recent lovelies that leave plenty to discuss.

Right now, I’m diving into Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. A few years ago I read her Temeraire series and was hooked. I also thoroughly enjoyed Uprooted, so I’m confident this will be once again a great read. I’m very enthusiastic about the fact that it’s loosely based on a known fairy tale (Rumpelstiltskin). I love literary connections!

watching

Not much, as usual. With soccer on television, I’m not very tempted either. But my husband finished the second season of Westworld and that was one of those series I’ve mostly seen from the corner of my eyes because it really spoke to me. Quite complicated though (that’s probably my own fault, refusing to drop the book while I was watching anyway).

listening

Podcasts mostly. I’ve been looking for some French ones that could spark my attention, but I don’t really know where to start. I am charmed by the slightly geeky Relife. Big part of the fun is the interaction between the two hosts. I think that is what my favorite podcasts have in common: interaction. I tried some individual ones and it felt more like a monologue to me and that wasn’t keeping me interested (especially not if I had the impression of an all too well prepared as in: completely written and then read aloud text.)

And you? What are you reading/listening/watching? I’m always open to suggestions, especially of podcasts to check out!

:: Quick Lit May ::

While I had the project to work on a book blog in my mother tongue, I don’t seem able to really commit, mainly because it’s hard to find the time and the inner peace needed for some uninterrupted reading. I don’t have problems with reading small chunks, but larger blocks of time help a lot to make some progress.
The last few weeks were all about short chapters and a few pages here and there. I didn’t finish many books, but I have been reading quite often. Let me show you:

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On my e-reader I downloaded Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I’m still reading it, and while I think it will be very hard to implement much of it into my daily life, it gave me a lot to ponder. I’m only three chapters in and I finally had the urge to clean out the room of our toddler girl. I did the same thing for the preschooler in the house and I already see great improvement: he goes to his room more often for some independent play. I’m highlighting while reading and I’m sure to come back to give a more in-depth review of this book and the lessons I took from it, once finished. If you can’t wait and are interested: Meagan from Whole Family Rhythms has a series in which she discusses the book chapter by chapter.

 

quicklitmaynovels

I finished two novels this month. One is actually a secret – an author asked to read it and give my honest opinion (I still have to make time to give my feedback) . While I was hesitant at first and thought his story could use some decent editing, his use of short chapters pulled me into his narrative and I ended up finding it an enjoyable read (it’s a heavy subject though).

 

The second one is The Truth by Michael Palin. I randomly picked it up from a library shelf and I am glad I did. It was maybe slightly predictable but I appreciated this story about a man, plain midlife crisis, trying to live up to his once big ideals, hoping there is still enough left of them to make the right decisions.

 

I still have De Ommegang, the newest one of Jan Van Aken on my bedside table. He’s a Dutch historical fiction writer (as far as I know his work has not been translated). There is some reading progress but it is a slow read and I’m not sure yet if I will finish it.
A book I abandoned although I was really eager to read it, is Over oude wegen (on ancient roads, also untranslated) by Mathijs Deen. I was expecting more fictional storytelling on a historical canvas, but got a bit disappointed. I guess it’s not a bad book, it’s just not what I was hoping it would be.

quicklitmaypreschooler

Lately I’ve been enjoying rereading one of my own favorites as a child with my boy: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. I sometimes have to adapt the vocabulary a little while reading and some of the stereotypes make me shiver now. We both love it as a bedtime story book and I’m proud to tell that my son requested it himself!

Our current favorite picture book is also a reread: Guess how much I love you by Sam Mc Bratney and Anita Jeram. My boy read it at school for Mother’s Day and all children got a copy as a present. Even if it’s everywhere and completely commercialized now, I still love the beautiful heartwarming story about the little rabbit and his father.

 

 

quicklitmaytoddler

The youngest kid in the house is loving her books lately. I’ve drastically reduced the pile of books in the living room and now she has a few favorites left that she loves to bring us (that includes me, my husband and her big brother, who takes his job very seriously!). Because she knows them well, she starts using some of the words in it herself and my heart always swells with pride. I love it, those first steps in verbal communication! She’s really fond of the story of Max and his pacifier by Barbro Lindgren and Eva Eriksson (I can’t find that one in English though, but it is a series and I think in English the main character is called Sam), but also a word book with her favorite clown (Bumba, a rather loud and annoying television character here in Belgium. It’s supposed to be educational but it uses made-up words all the time. The thing is: the kids love it. Adore it. *sigh*) and a lovely little book by Fleur van der Weel that tells the day of the cute cat Piep.

 

What have you been reading lately?

Reflections on Sunday #8

Just before the new week starts, I like to go through the old one. Our family life in little snippets, plus some great finds from around the web. Have a great Sunday!

 

cuddling and playing inside
cuddling on the bed – playing inside

Last week was rather rainy and grey. It involved much time inside and while that’s appreciated once in a while, Little Boy isn’t made to spend the days between walls. Luckily there were a lot of cuddles on the bed, and he rediscovered his workman’s gear. He has been playing with it the whole week!

 

 

baby elephant soap bubbles
visiting baby elephant Qiyo (photo credit: http://www.planckendael.be/nl/kai-mook-grote-zus-0) – bubbles

Sunbeams had to be enjoyed. Even a cloudy sky was signal to go out. Our trip to the Zoo made us meet the recently born cute-as-a-button baby elephant. And in our own garden, it was trying to fight the weeds in the lawn (it’s completely useless, but I find it therapeutic) and making soap bubbles. They are this summer’s discovery and Little Boy is getting quite good at it!

 

 

instagram songsofhome pictures
I’m on instagram as @songsofhome now!

I have been playing around a little on Instagram, and created an account for my blog. Participating in prompt challenges here and there. (#fmsphotoaday is my favorite) Mainly being completely in awe of what people manage to shoot. There are some very talented people in this world!

 

 

redcurrant jelly blueberry muffins
playing around in the kitchen – redcurrant jelly and blueberry muffins

I’ve been making redcurrant jelly and blueberry muffins. More on te redcurrant jelly later, I hope to turn it into an interesting post. Of course, I always think of those things when season’s almost over, but hey, I have my jelly!

 

 

library books
“War” was a really good read – picking up some more!

Reading around, finished a good novel (It’s in German and has been translated in Dutch, not in English. The link is to a book review in Dutch on the site of the author) and then went straight to the library to pick up some more goodness. They recently installed self-scan desks and changed there household rules. No you can take 15 materials on one card, without having to pay for any of it. You can keep those for 3 weeks (or longer, you can manage your accounts online). Penalties for being late went up, but everything else has become cheaper (read: free). I love it and I’m splurging on children’s movies and CD’s.

 

 

interesting reads

 

Some good reads on the web too. Being home alone often lately with Little Boy, there were three posts that particularly resonated with me.

 

  • I came across this one before, but now I can totally see the point in it. Calling it ‘babysitting’ when my husband cares for Little Boy is something I have made myself guilty of right from the start (especially the first few months) and it doesn’t do justice to me nor my husband. Thinking that way creates patterns that are hard to break.  If we would decide a second child would complete our family, it’s something that I will keep in mind.

 

  • Another thing I will keep in mind, is this beautiful and honest post. It’s about the comments and reactions a little girl with a severe skin condition gets. Children can be really straight-forward, and sometimes brutally rude too (albeit not always with that intention), but the way we respond to that behavior as a parent can make a whole lot of difference. I love the advice the author is giving here, and some specific examples. I know I will need them one day

 

  • And as much as I love my kid, I appreciate nap times. So even if it’s not very polite to smile when someone’s having an embarrassing moment, I think it’s completely justified when she shares it with the world herself. Plus it’s a fun read. Plus it’s totally recognizable. At least I’m not feeling alone anymore. Never trust a jellyfish, but go ahead and read her stories.

 

How was your week? If you have any great finds to share, please do so in the comments. Have a nice Sunday!