February 2013

I am reading the (amazing, life-changing, wow, must-read) “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Coveyf or the third? fourth? time with my Mastermind Business Group. The book reminded me that taking time to rejuvenate is key to a fulfilled life and the ability to keep going. That was just what I needed to read this week. So, in keeping with that theme, I only opened my laptop twice this weekend – both times to work on the Soap Queen blog (this is pretty much a record; I took my laptop on my honeymoon!).

February 2013

That left a lot of time to cook (shiitake mushroom stir-fry, yam and bean empinadas, blueberry compote with french toast), make green juice (with the cutest helper ever) and spend time with family. My husband’s fiberglass engineering company (FSE) just moved to a new location so a few of my team and I went and scavenged some of the desks and tables left behind. The frugal start-up girl in me loves a good deal (or free) and will go the extra mile to find it.

February 2013

Pregnancy is moving right along. I’m over 6.5 months along now and we are starting to get really serious about names. We have a whole list but so far, we haven’t found ‘the one.’ We still have a few months though so are trusting the process. Overall, this pregnancy has been easier than Jamisen’s, for which I am extremely thankful (because as anyone that has been pregnant can attest to, it’s not a walk in the park no matter how good your pregnancy is going). I’ve officially started waddling and working out has reached a bit of a slow crawl (or walk). No doubt, the waddling, the interrupted sleep, and a tap-dancing-on-the bladder is all worth it for a healthy little baby girl to join our family.


Jamisen is very interested in the baby – constantly saying “Baby, baby”, patting my belly and sharing his ‘binky’ by putting it up against my belly. We all hope this giving, loving attitude lasts past May! =) I hope you had a fantastic weekend. I’d love to hear what you’re reading that you are absolutely loving. I am looking for a new fiction book. I’m down to my last one on my Nook and need one to really capture my attention.

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  1. laurie says

    Well, I am going to thank everyone for the long list I’m going to the library with tomorrow!
    and yes ! The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh…

    and the Moonspinners !!! I read that in high school, I think ! Wonderful !
    If we’re going back that far, how ’bout ‘ Mrs Mike ‘

    and boy am I proud of you for spending time with the little guy, AnnMarie!!!
    seriously doesn’t get any better than that…he won’t even know what a laptop is FOR when he grows up to be a confident secure generous,open hearted man and he’ll grow up that way because you spent time with him…!and he will FLY

  2. says

    I just finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed – a bittersweet story about the adventures of a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone from Southern California to the Bridge of the Gods. Very inspiring to say the least

  3. says

    Lovely pictures, all of them.

    For a good fiction read, I’d suggest anything by Mary Stewart. They aren’t new books, but she is an excellent writer and they have me riveted from start to finish. The Ivy Tree and The Moonspinners are two of my favorites.

  4. says

    I love taking time off! I make a point of it every weekend to close the laptops, hide the iPad, and put away my phone. It’s so freeing and I find I get so much more done.

    It’s not fiction but reads like it, Don’t Sing at the Table by Adriana Trigiani was one of the most beautiful books I’ve read. It’s her memoirs about her grandmother’s and stories of times spent with them. Laughed, cried, everything in between.

    Also, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was wonderful. At times, very sad, but it’s told from the perspective of the dog and makes for such a unique read.

  5. Susan Prendergast says

    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    Right now reading (audio, which is essential in this case, as with My Korean Deli) The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Muriel Barbery), which is very different, so the words are so sumptuous, I am green with envy.

  6. LeighAnn says

    I second the suggestion for Gone Girl. I couldn’t put it down.
    Also The Light Between Oceans – we just read it for our Book Club and everyone liked it – it caused lots of good discussion about the decisions made by the characters.

    • Anne-Marie says

      I have a sample of Light Between Oceans but haven’t really started it yet.

      Gone Girl was insane, wasn’t it? The ending! I thought about it for weeks …

  7. Michele says

    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – just about finished with the book and it has been a great read! A lot of unexpected twists.

  8. Heather says

    I’m usually into series and because I’m in the car so much going to or from work I usually listen instead of read books, but here are a few of my favorites that I’ve listened to recently:

    Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

    A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

    The All Soul’s Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (just a warning that the third one isn’t out yet)

    I second Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    • Anne-Marie says

      Oh, Beautiful Ruins … I have that one but haven’t been able to get into it (despite it making so many best seller lists). It sounds like I should give that one another go at it.

      I love Audible too! If you haven’t hit up the Ken Follett series (his latest trilogy – only 2 of them are out), you would love it. They’re like 30 hours long, each of them! =)

      I have the first of the Deborah Harkness trilogy but haven’t gotten to it yet (it’s on Audible) so will queue that one up next.

  9. says

    Jamisen is growing up so fast! He’s adorable. Glad that you are feeling good so far with your second pregnancy. I just finished a beautiful book called “The Orchardist” by Amanda Coplin. It’s about a reclusive orchardist who takes in two pregnant teenaged girls who have run away from a brothel at the turn of the 20th century. Loved it!

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thank you for the book suggestion. I just added it to my Nook. So many great suggestions in all the comments. I’ll be reading for years on them! =)

      Jamisen is positively huge. I can’t even remember his baby phase now so it will be fun to have a new little one in the house again =)

  10. says

    Jamisen will be the perfect big brother, I can feel it! Oh sure, there’ll be some lapses, but that’s normal. But he’ll still be perfect. :)

    I’m currently reading an MG book which you probably won’t care about…LOL!…but the best book I’d read in the past year was Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. As you probably know, they consulted her for the Lincoln movie.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’m familiar with that book having watched the movie – and wasn’t it made famous b/c Obama read it prior to his first term?

  11. says

    I just finished “Where Did You Go Bernadette” by Maria Semple. One of the funniest, best written, thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. Run, don’t walk, to get this book. Now I’m on to the latest Flavia DeLuce book, but if you haven’t read any of these unusual mysteries, start with “Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.” Loved it.

    • Anne-Marie says

      I love, love, loved that book! Our book club just read it last month. It was hilarious!

      Have not read ANY of the Flavia DeLuce books. Going to go add that one right now. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Thank you =)

  12. says

    I wish I could recommend a good fiction book but right now I’m into the E-Myth.:)
    As always thanks for your great posts!

    • Anne-Marie says

      I love, love, love that book. Michael Gerber came and spoke to a biz conference I was at last fall and he was great (though interestingly enough, swore a lot from the stage which I found a wee bit off putting). It’s a great book. Nice work investing in yourself and your business with it.

  13. Vicki says

    I just reread (for something like the fifth time) Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a mesmerizing story about a circus created and maintained by “old” magic. Personally, I think the book itself is magic because I find something new in it each time I read it!

    • Anne-Marie says

      I am listening to that one on right now. I’m not very far into it but they’re setting up the plot really beautifully right now.

  14. mokie says

    In honor of frugal self-starting women, how about Terry Pratchett’s “The Wee Free Men,” about a practical young heroine who shoulders a tough job (rescuing her brother from Fairyland) because it needs done? It’s a bit lightweight, but a fun and fast read.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Oh that’s funny! That’s what the gal at the book store recommended so I actually purchased that one but haven’t started it yet. Thanks for the rec!

  15. Tera says

    How cute! Well I read off the wall stuff, but my fav is Breathers: A zombie love story. really funny. I also love anything by Christopher Moore.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Added it to my Nook sample library. I adore Christopher Moore so I’m looking forward to exploring a new author with that same type of satire bent.

      If you haven’t delved into Carl Hiassan, you definitely would love his work if you’re a Christopher Moore fan.

  16. says

    Love the pictures, A-M! He is just so darn cute. =) Currently I’m reading a great homesteading/homemaking book called Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place by Sharon Astyk. I’m totally loving it!

    • Anne-Marie says

      Just added it to my Nook sample library – thanks! We’re looking for a house with a yard and my goal is to have a garden and maybe chickens. I’m tired of paying $3 for organic kale and $5 for cage free vegetarian fed eggs =) I’m a frugal gal!

  17. says

    Sometimes when I read your blog, I see myself in what you write and it can cause me to pause. Your comment about only opening your laptop twice this weekend caught my eye. My question was immediately, “How many hours was that laptop open?” . 😛

    When I’m trying to enforce less work, sometimes I’ll only allow myself to use the ipad because it’s all about consuming – not creating. This normally results in me spending a whole lot less time on the ipad than I would on my laptop or desktop.

    I went a week this summer without accessing a computer. I flew out to NY and took a week long cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America. When I got back home and opened up a computer, it was like it was Christmas.

    Anyway, here I am online when I just sat down at the computer to look up Elder flower herb. I bought a bunch of different types of medicinal herbs which makes them easier to learn by having them close at hand. I pick a new one or two a week to infuse in soaping oils or for other products…

    Current reading:
    Strange Brew by PN Elrod. Short stories collection with a supernatural bent.
    Taste What You’re Missing: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good by Barb Stuckey.

    Grats on the pregnancy going easier this time.

    • Anne-Marie says

      My to-do list can be never ending so when I open the laptop, it’s a rabbit hole of “one more email, one more blog post, one more FB post” etc… I really need to be disciplined and the nice thing about a family is that I really genuinely *want* to be disciplined. I love spending time with my little guy so it’s easy to turn off the laptop when he’s awake. It’s when he’s asleep that I find that pull back to the laptop coming back … baby steps, right?

      Thanks for the book rec. I added ‘Taste What You’re Missing’ to my Nook sample library =)

  18. says

    Glad to hear your pregnancy is going so well! Jamisen is getting so big! It’s good you’re taking some time to relax and re-focus, good for you! That’s hard foor many of us to do.

    I have a friend who’s an author and you might like his book, A Thousand Sleepless Nights, by Michael King. It’s a heart felt story.

    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

    • Anne-Marie says

      I definitely notice that my energy levels are flagging again. But, home stretch. 83 days (not that I’m counting!) til we meet this little baby girl =)

      I just added that sample to my Nook. Thanks for the suggestion.

  19. says

    I’m re-reading my Harry Potter again (I can’t help it, I’m hooked) and then I think I will re-read the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts). I love these books and I’m a sucker for a mystery!

    • Anne-Marie says

      Oooooh, Harry Potter. My husband and I read that series together when we first started dating. I cannot wait to read it to Jamisen (and his sister) when they get older. I probably need to wait until they’re what, 8 and 10?

  20. says

    Hi Anne-Marie,

    Have you read Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver yet? I thought it was lovely… Also, not a fiction – but a great memoir about farming and CSAs – The Dirty Life (Kristin Kimball). Two of my favourite latest reads…

    • Anne-Marie says

      I’ve read quite a few of her books but not that one. I’ve got a sample in my Nook right now.

      We subscribe to two CSA’s (we eat a lot of veggies in this house!) so I will add that one to my Nook sample list as well. Thanks for the suggestions.

  21. Leah says

    Have you read Marilynne Robinson’s novel “Housekeeping”? Thought about it after reading your blog post about your growing baby girl. A novel about women, set in Idaho. Haunting and beautiful. I had to read it for my American lit PhD quals, and although I was incredibly tired of reading, I couldn’t put it down. I stored the name ‘Sylvie’ for any potential pregnancies! 😉

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thanks for the suggestion. I just ordered a sample of it on my Nook! =)

      One of my good friends is named ‘Sylvie'; it would be a great name for a little girl =)

    • Anne-Marie says

      We’ve been reading ‘Baby Comes Home’ type books to him to try to prepare him and we talk about the baby a lot but I know he’s not going to understand what it means to his little world until his sister is here. That said, he exhibits so many kind characteristics on the playground (helping kids pick up toys, not taking things etc…) that I am hoping it bodes well for all of us in May =)