Recent Reads 5: May’s Books

May felt like a busy month with Ellis’ first birthday and a trip to Oklahoma, so I kept last month’s books easy and enjoyable!

Tuesdays with Morrie

I read Tuesdays with Morrie about ten years ago and really enjoyed it. It’s one of those books that should probably be required reading for basically all humanity. The premise of the book is that the author discovers that his favorite college professor has late-stage ALS and reunites with him for a series of conversations/lessons about life (which take place on Tuesdays…hence, the title). Throughout the book, I was constantly challenged to reconsider what I spend my time on and to not take each day for granted. This is such a good book that is both short and easy to read. I would definitely recommend this one!

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

After being reminded of how much I loved Tuesdays with Morrie, I had to re-read the other Mitch Albom book that I own! The Five People You Meet in Heaven is fictional (unlike Tuesdays with Morrie). However, like Tuesdays with Morrie, this is both an impactful and easy read. This book is about Eddie, a man who has been through his fair share of hard times. The book follows Eddie’s journey through heaven after an accident at the amusement park where he works. Heaven definitely isn’t what he expected, but as he meets with five different people whom he impacted or who impacted him during his life, the beauty of the connectedness of humanity is unfolded. Although not quite as personally challenging as Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven sets the stage for introspection. I would highly recommend this book!

First Birthday Recap: Part I

Ellis had his first birthday last month and we had a wonderful time celebrating his first year of life both here in Texas and with family in Oklahoma! 

Birthday Prep

There were a few things that I wanted to do/complete before Ellis’ first birthday that ended up being a lot of fun to work on during nap times and in the evenings. First on the list, send out birthday invitations to our family members.

We didn’t actually throw an official party, but I still wanted to make invitations (#overexcitedmom)! I had a lot of fun working on different lettering styles and trying out different ways of making the dots. I was really happy with how they turned out! Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Baby!

It is hard to believe that one year ago, on this day, Mr. Torres and I were in the process of meeting our sweet baby Ellis. He has changed our lives in so many ways. My days are composed of more playtime than productivity. Sleeping in means not having to get up until 6:30am. It feels like we eat dinner so early that it’s still the afternoon. And the biggest trip we’ve taken in the last year has been to Oklahoma. Yes, things are different and it hasn’t always been an easy (or pretty) journey, but the last year has redefined us as individuals, as husband and wife, and as best friends. 

For every way that our lives have changed, Team Torres is better (and a whole lot cuter) now that we’re a team of three.

Happiest of birthdays to our dearest Ellis.

 

Five for Friday: Winning the Tomato War

1  After doing some research, I’m pretty sure that our tomatoes are being eaten by mockingbirds. Apparently they have quite the taste for tomatoes OR they get really thirsty and then ravage tomatoes just for the moisture. It depends on which website you look at. Either way, I have tried to address both of these issues. First, I put out a couple of bird baths. Hopefully this will help if we have any thirsty birds hanging out in our yard. Second, as soon as a tomato starts to get a little bit red, I put it in a ziploc baggie with the corners cut off (to allow for condensation to escape). It seems strange, but I think it’s working!

2  I was working in the yard a bit yesterday evening and look what I discovered in my compost pile! What a lovely surprise! Continue reading

Our Weekend Getaway: Cabamping in Hempstead

Mr. Torres and I love to travel. Loooooooove it. 

It was actually the very first thing that we had a conversation about when we first met (Mr. Torres had just been to Machu Picchu and it was at the top of my wish list). And it could probably be considered our top (only???) hobby before having Ellis. 

Needless to say, having a baby has definitely affected how often we have been able to take trips and our destinations. Instead of spending time exploring Europe or having adventures in South America, we’ve been spending our vacations visiting family in Oklahoma. Definitely not complaining about visiting family (love you guys!), but sometimes we just miss experiencing new places! 

So, in an effort to get out of the house and take a (mini) vacation, we decided to rent a cabin (hence cabamping…cabin camping:D) about an hour outside of Houston to spend a few days at. 

We left the house around 2 o’clock pm on Friday hoping that Ellis would nap in the car. Success! By the time he woke up, we were pulling into the Blue Bell visitor center and ice cream parlor in Brenham, TX.

Reading about the history of the company was interesting, but what we really enjoyed was the ice cream parlor! Big scoops of ice cream were just $1! Continue reading

Five for Friday: It’s May!

1  I know I sound like a broken record, but I cannot get over the fact that this boy turns 1 in ten days. Ten days! All I can do is shake my head.

2  We finally saw the movie Hidden Figures and it is soooo good. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely should! I wish I could have been alive during the space race!

3  Tomatooooooes!

4  I’m super annoyed at something (birds, raccoon, our neighbor…I just don’t know), because THREE of our tomatoes have been eaten before I picked them. It’s the saddest thing to be patiently watching a tomato and waiting for it to get to the perfect level of ripeness only to go out to the garden one morning to find its remains lying on the ground. Something has to be done! 

5  We’re taking a mini family vacation this weekend. We’re staying in a cabin about an hour outside of Houston. I’m calling it cabamping…cabin camping:D and it should be a nice little break from the norm. I’m nervous about Ellis’ sleep, but oh well. We’ll survive!

Have you seen Hidden Figures? What did you think?  

Angel Biscuits

Nom-Rating: **** (4/5)

It’s hard to believe that Easter has come and gone and we’re full speed ahead to summer! Of course, we’ve been in summer mode for weeks down here in Houston. Summer basically started back in February:/

I hope your Easter was as wonderful as ours! It really is a beautiful time of year! There is so much happiness found in the hope and joy that comes from living this life with Jesus! 

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Recent Reads 4: February’s Books

I mentioned in my last Recent Reads post that I have a goal of reading two books each month. I got a little behind in January and only read one book (The Road to Little Dribbling), but made up for it by reading three in February. Here they are!

Recent Reads

ARC OF JUSTICE

I started out February with Arc of Justice which was for a book club that I joined this year. We have only met once and it went pretty well, so I’m excited to see how our group evolves as the year progresses! 

This book is pretty heavy. It was definitely written by a researcher who felt like it was necessary to include EVERYTHING that was found during research for the book. Sometimes the added information was interesting, but sometimes it just slogged the plot down.

This book is set (mostly) in the 1920s and explores the progression of residential segregation. I’m going to be honest with you, history is definitely one of those subjects that I kind of just sailed through in school. And by sailed I mean I didn’t really pay attention, did all the work as fast as I could, and mainly spent lots of time staring at the clock. History CLASS isn’t really my thing, but just history in and of itself is pretty interesting. I learned a ton about racism and the journey that our country took out of slavery and into Jim Crow and it was honestly very educational. And long. This book took awhile to get through.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this one as I wasn’t very familiar with racism and residential segregation in the 20s. However, it’s not really one that I would recommend as just a good book for anyone. I feel like you might need to have an interest in history to enjoy this one. 

PARENTING WITH LOVE AND LOGIC

Parenting with Love and Logic is one that I knew I would enjoy. I always used Love and Logic principles in my classroom as a middle and upper school science teacher and rarely ever had disciple problems. The techniques are a bit different for parents, but I really feel like they will work well for Mr. Torres and I as Ellis gets older! 

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is interested in trying out some different parenting techniques!

LOST IN MY OWN BACKYARD

And lastly, Lost in my own Backyard is a book that I’ve had in my bookshelf for who knows how long and I’ve just never taken the time to read it. It’s a small book about some of the features and hikes in Yellowstone National Park. I wasn’t a huge fan of the author’s writing style…it seemed a bit pretentious, but I’m a sucker for travel writing and especially travel writing about camping and backpacking:) 

Tim Cahill takes his readers through some of Yellowstone’s lesser known areas in hopes of encouraging all of us to get out and explore our own backyards…aka our national parks. After finishing this little book, I was ready to plan our trip to Yellowstone! 

Overall, I would recommend this one and I’ll most likely be checking out some other titles by this author:)

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Matcha Muffins

I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with a new-to-me ingredient lately…

Matcha powder!!

But, as with every new/special ingredient, I’m always a little bit hesitant to use it. I don’t want to waste it! Or use it on a recipe that I don’t love! Or use it up too quickly and not appreciate it! You’d think I had the last known container of matcha powder in the world:D
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