New Books

I went to a great theological conference over the weekend. I got to have time outside the house and a break from my motherly duties.

Of course, my church body’s publishing house had a table selling books at the conference. I came home with a few new books that I have had interest in for a little while, and now my Summer reading stack is bigger.

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Most of the books are about 200 pages or less, so those should be quick reads. Only one is more than 300 pages, but it’s fiction, so it should still be a quick read.

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The theme among my books at this point is they are all Lutheran. Oh well, so am I.

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Finally Had Some Time

So those who follow my blog may get a ton of notifications about new posts today. And some of those posts may seem odd, because they are all out of order. Well, I figured out the issue of the auto-posting between Goodreads (where I keep track of what I’m currently reading or want to read) and WordPress.So I am posting the book reviews with the date of when I finished the book. This way I can look back and see what I was reading and when, too.

I like to cross-blog my book reviews, especially for some of the newer fiction that I would like to see continue (like the Lois Lane series by Gwenda Bond), and also for the independently published books that I’ve read (like from Louisa Koch and Ray Keating). I hope that my reviews are useful for some of you, and that maybe you’ll take an interest in a book that you may have never heard of otherwise. That’s actually how I got an interest in the Lois Lane series and the Pastor Stephen Grant series. I read a review of the first book in each series in WORLD Magazine, and they sounded interesting to me.

So bear with me today, please! I hope I won’t have to do this again. 🙂

Summer Reading

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We are wrapping up the bulk of our school year this week. We are finishing our math books and our language program, which will leave us with just science and history to complete. I am getting ready to tackle a stack of books that I otherwise have not been able to get to yet.

Part of the reason I have not read my goal of one or two books per month so far this year is that I have been trying to catch up on reading our magazines that we are subscribed to. We get WORLD Magazine, Salvo, Answers, Missouri Conservationist, and StLZoo. Thankfully three of those are quarterly, but WORLD comes every two weeks, so I can get behind if I don’t want to read to myself after all the reading with the children for school.

On my list are Root of All Evil? and An Advent for Religious Liberty by Ray Keating. I read his first novel in this series Warrior Monk a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Also on my list are Being Lutheran by A. Trevor Sutton, The Saving Truth: Doctrine for Laypeople by Kurt E. Marquart, Double Down by Gwenda Bond, and Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen. The latter two I have been waiting for from the library. Not sure in what order I will attempt to tackle these. That will probably depend on the library books, since they are new and others will be waiting for me to finish them.

Of course, I would also love to read some of the classics on our home shelf like Jane Eyre and The Count of Monte Cristo. What is on your reading list?image

Mini Quilt

My oldest son asked me to make a quilt for his plush lion toy. I’ve been wanting to improve my quilting skills so I figured a mini quilt would be a perfect way to do that. I don’t need a bunch of bed quilts, and those are difficult to work through my sewing machine and take a long time, but we can always use more doll/toy blankets!

My son and I looked through a book of block patterns and chose one that would work with rainbow colored fabrics, which is what he wanted. I had the right color fabrics from a fat quarter bundle that my mom got me for Christmas in 2012. It is the Home Front collection from my favorite fabric shop Connecting Threads. CT is exclusively online and designs their own fabrics, so everything is pretty much limited edition but it is also about half the price of other quilt shops. Because I don’t have much money to spend on my hobbies I can get so much more from CT than I would be able to get elsewhere.

So we picked our block design and fabrics and I set to work. The design my son chose used what are called flying geese, so the design is made up almost entirely of triangles. I used the Omnigrid Fons & Porter Half & Quarter Ruler. I bought it a few months ago for a quilt block swap in which I am participating this year. I have used it so many times already because I love it. With some simple math thinking of how long one side of your triangle needs to be one can avoid cutting squares into half square triangles or quarter square triangles. You can cut a strip of fabric to the width as stated on the ruler and then cut each triangle. I have used the ruler for flying geese and for other designs and it has made those projects very easy.

The block I made was 15″ x 15″. I wanted the blanket to be a little bigger so I added a 2.5″ border. The finished quilt top was about 20″ x 20″, so I couldn’t just use a fat quarter (18″ x 22″) for the backing. DSCF8701I decided to make a striped backing using some of the same fabrics I used in the front. I have decided that a pieced backing is much more interesting, can save money in fabric, and makes the finished quilt more versatile because it is two-sided.DSCF8702

For the quilting I used black thread so it would be easily visible and also matches the background fabric. I used a few different decorative stitches that are preset in my sewing machine for the inner part of the design. On the border I decided to try free motion quilting. I’d never done it before, so I was just a little afraid, but it actually wasn’t too difficult on such a small project. I will definitely try again on another project without fear.

I finished up the hand sewing required yesterday. The binding is best completed by machine sewing it to the front then folding it over and hand sewing it to the back. Overall, the whole quilt only took a few hours and I was able to complete it over the course of 4 days. As soon as I finished it the kids had fun running around with it. It was a little tough seeing them treat something that I hand crafted with care as just any of their other toys, but I did make it for them. They are very happy with it, and so am I.DSCF8706

Review: Intentional Walk: An Inside Look at the Faith That Drives the St. Louis Cardinals

Intentional Walk: An Inside Look at the Faith That Drives the St. Louis Cardinals
Intentional Walk: An Inside Look at the Faith That Drives the St. Louis Cardinals by Rob Rains
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book provided an interesting look into what keeps some of the members of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team focused and grounded. Many of the players on the team are Christians and therefore help to lead the team in knowing what is truly important in life, playing your best, and performing both baseball and life with class.

I enjoyed learning some about the players and their personal lives. I have a new appreciation for how great of a team we have in St. Louis, not only because we’ve got good men on our team, but because they have developed a specific culture in their clubhouse that exudes good sportsmanship on the field and good relationships off the field.

View all my reviews

World Series Loss

So the Cardinals did not win the World Series last night. The Boston Red Sox were victorious. However, if we were going to lose to any other team in baseball this year it was going to be the Boston Red Sox. This year’s World Series matchup was between the two best teams in the major leagues.

The Red Sox are certainly deserving of their win. They played very well. This is not to say that the Cardinals did not play well, but we certainly left a lot of men on base without bringing them home. At least we didn’t let the Red Sox sweep us like they did in 2004. The Red Sox won the first game, the Cardinals won the next two games, and then the Red Sox won from there.

This was a World Series of interesting occurrences and some strange things. The second game, the game the Cardinals won in Boston, ended with an obstruction call. Allen Craig tripped over the Red Sox’s third baseman on his way to home plate and the umpire awarded him the run even though he had been tagged out by the catcher. In game four, the Red Sox got their final out to win the game with a pick-off at first base. Kolten Wong had a lead off the base, and instead of pitching to the batter the pitcher threw to his first baseman and Wong couldn’t get back in time. No other World Series games had ever ended in either of the ways these two games ended.

Another interesting piece of history, the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Series at Fenway Park since 1918. This is not to say that they had not played and won World Series games at Fenway since 1918, but that they had not completed a World Series at their home stadium since then. In 2004, when they won their first World Series since 1918, they swept the Cardinals and won the Series at Busch Stadium. Last night, they were able to celebrate with their own fans as they won their third World Series victory in the past 10 years. So much for the curse of the Bambino. They have nothing to complain about anymore.

All in all, I’m okay with which team won last night. The Red Sox played very well, and they were certainly deserving of their win. Although it would be nice if the Cardinals would work on their batting skills in the off-season and in spring training for next year.

Cardinals Baseball

I am a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. I grew up and currently reside in St. Louis county, so it comes with the territory. I like to say that you can’t live in St. Louis for any long period of time without becoming a Cardinals fan. It’s kind of contagious!

Last night the Cardinals won game 6 of the National League Championship Series which is sending them to the World Series. This will be their 19th World Series and hopefully they’ll win their 12th World Series this year.World Series Bound

Last night’s game was just a great game of baseball. Our players were working well as a team and managed to put forth great pitching, great hitting, great running, and great catching. Carlos Beltran had the best catch of the night with a near-diving catch in right-field for an out. The NLCS MVP award went to Michael Wacha, a 22 year old rookie pitcher who pitched a great game. The final score was 9-0, which was unusual for the series. We fans really couldn’t have asked for a better game or a better team!