Friday, October 30, 2015

Besty-Tacy (and Tib)

My life has been shaped and defined by a book series and fictional characters.  Is that weird?  I have memories of things that I haven't done, but I experienced them so vividly through these books that it feels like I lived them.

But really I think I'm not alone.  How many grown men and women are obsessed with Harry Potter?  Harry Potter is to them what Betsy is to me.  

Betsy is a character in the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.  The series starts with Betsy as a 5 year old and followers her life as she grows into a young woman and then eventually marries.  Betsy had two best friends named Tacy and Tib.  Betsy was the imaginative one, the creative one, the one always telling stories and coming up with adventures.  Tacy and Tib were the good spirited, obliging friends who were always up for whatever Betsy could come up with.  Betsy's childhood was light-hearted and carefree.  She and her friends would have daily picnics, put on neighborhood plays in their sheds, experiment in the kitchen, and most importantly, climb "the Big Hill."  As she grew older she and her friends would go ice skating, have bonfires, make fudge, and gather 'round the piano singing and dancing.  And don't forget about Sunday Night Lunch, which consisted of her father making sandwiches out of whatever happened to be left over in the kitchen from the week.

Maybe I always loved the Betsy books because I always wished my life could be like hers.  She had a group of friends who seemed so lovely, she lived in Minnesota where there are actually seasons, and she had so many fun things to do.  Meanwhile I grew up in a boring desert where there was nothing to do and no one to do it with.  

I also loved reading about the fashion and culture of a by-gone era.  Betsy lived at the turn of the century, when electricity was new and exciting, automobiles were only for the really wealthy, and makeup was just becoming suitable for regular folk.  It was a simpler time, full of new discoveries and inventions.

Betsy's life wasn't perfect.  She had boy drama, academic troubles, and illnesses just like the rest of us.  But that's what made her so relatable.  She lived 100 years before me, yet I could relate to her completely.  

What are your favorite books?  Do you think you'll give Betsy-Tacy (and Tib) a try?


The first four books in the series*:

The first two years of High School*:

The second two years of High School*:

After High School and Betsy gets married*:

*affiliate links

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Try the World || The Paris Box

Hi guys,

I'm back with another subscription box review.  My first subscription box experience was with Umba - you can read about it here.  Soon after I signed up for my first Umba box, I decided to give Try the World a go.  I guess I was just in subscription-box-mode.  Just like with Umba, I've been getting the Try the World emails and newsletters for awhile.  I can't remember where I first heard about the company, but it intrigued me.  I never ordered it because it was a little expensive for me - $39 per box (+shipping).  But they sent me a coupon code, so I thought, "Why not?"

What is Try the World?
"Every 2 months, receive a box from a new country - with 7 gourmet products curated by expert chefs." (from their website)  You basically get to try food from a different country.  A fun idea, in my opinion.

 Here is what I found in my first box, the Paris box:

So to recap, I received a few tea bags, mustard, fig jam, a small box of, like, 3 cookies, pork paté, salt, and the "mystery treat" was a tube of chestnut spread.  I held them in my hand so you can get an idea of the size.  Some of the items (tea and cookies) are very small amounts.  The mustard, salt, paté, and fig jam are decent sizes.  The chestnut spread will last a long time, because I won't eat it.  Peter will enjoy it though.  (The box itself is quite sturdy and cute, so I will probably find a use for it!)

My initial thoughts?  Not worth the price.  However, after talking it over with my husband, and after receiving another discount code, we decided we would give it another try.  The next box will be from another country, so hopefully there will be some cool discoveries.  This subscription is once every two months, so we won't get our next box until December.  Again, whatever I don't use from this or the Umba box I will give to my friends and family for Christmas gifts.  ;)

I have to admit, these subscription boxes are kind of fun.  But not great for the bank account.  As I mentioned before, I will give Umba and Try the World one more month before I decide if I will cancel my account.  

Do you think you would like this subscription?

I have a referral link to share with you guys today*, if you want to give Try the World a go.  You will get $15 off your first box.  Click on the link for $15 off your first box (and I get $15 credit toward the e-shop):

*This post is not sponsored.  Try the World has no idea who I am or that I have a blog.   Every new subscriber receives a referral link to share with friends.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Exciting Collaboration with my Dad!

I'm excited to announce that my dad and I are going into business together... kinda....

Ok here's the story:

My grandpa always loved making ceramics and pottery. I always loved sitting with him in his shop, painting extra pieces he had around. My dad has since carried on the artistic gene, and even though he's a math and history teacher, he still finds time to work with ceramics.

My dad gifted me a set of these hand-made ceramic nativity people, and I treasure it. As a child my favorite thing about Christmas was setting up the nativity scenes. My mom had a large collection of nativity scenes made up of a wide variety of materials - from painted wood to clear glass. I loved setting them up around the house, and I was very picky about how they should be arranged (Wise men must be in a group! Shepherds must be with the sheep! Cows - stop trying to eat the hay out of the manger!). Now as an adult my favorite Christmas decorations are nativity scenes. I hope to have a collection like my mom's someday.

So now my dad and I have teamed up to well his hand-made ceramic nativity sets on Etsy.  Each nativity scene is hand poured, fired, and glazed by my father. 

These are delicate pieces of art. They would make lovely gifts. We also hope to add some more ceramic pieces in the near future - he has some beautiful pots and vases that he's been working on.

If you are interested in getting one of these nativity scenes for yourself or as a gift, check out our new Etsy shop.  We are called "DaddyDaughterCeramic":

Do you love nativity scenes as much as I do?


Thursday, October 22, 2015

We carveded some pumpkinses


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Would you rather || Travel Theme

Wow I'm on a roll this month!  I thought I'd have to take a break from my blog, due to my crazy-busy schedule and the fact that I've had writers blog, but I've actually found a lot of things to post about!  Thanks for continuing to follow along!

When I first read this post by Camila, I immediately knew I wanted to do it on my blog.  Peter and I have been talking about our next vacation (we can't yet agree on a destination...) and we've discussed these very same questions.  For the most part, we agree with each other!

Would you rather...

Travel or focus on your career at the age of 25?
Well I'm past 25 by now... when I was 25 I was focused on my Master's degree, which I suppose was taking a step in the direction of my career.  But soon after I got my Master's, I moved overseas, so I supposed I accomplished both.  

Have a $10,000 budget for a holiday and fly first class for $5,000 and stay in mediocre accommodation, or spend $1,000 on economy and stay in luxury accommodation?
Peter and I agree - fly economy and splurge on accommodation and trip events, all the way!!!  Flights aren't too bad these days, especially if you have a tv screen built in.  Not to say that 14 hour flights are comfortable, but luxury hotels for a week are worth it!

Never take the train or never take an airplane again?
Train.  Most of the places I want to go necessitate an airplane...

Stay in a palm hut along the seashore for seven days or stay in a log cabin in the woods for one month?
Peter surprised me with his answer.  I definitely thought he would choose the log cabin.  This is something we've always disagreed on.  I love the ocean and he loves the woods.  But he actually chose the beach for this one.  His reasoning - it would get boring in the woods for a month.

Be left behind in the bush on an African safari or be left behind in the water on a scuba trip?
OMG neither.  Good grief.  But if I had to choose I would say safari.  Smaller area for them to search for me, more places to find shelter and sustenance, and drowning to death has always been my biggest phobia.  

Have an awesome job in a mediocre city or a mediocre job in an awesome city?
This is tricky.  I've actually lived out both of these scenarios.  I think I choose awesome job in a mediocre city.  Because you spend so much of your time at your job, you should at least enjoy it.  Plus if it's super duper awesome then you should get great vacation times to travel to other awesome places.

Be able to teleport to places you’ve already been or only be able to teleport to places you’ve never been before?
I have no idea.  Would I be able to choose the destination?  Would I be able to teleport back whenever I want???  Too many variables.  Can't answer.

Be stuck on a seven-hour delay, or turn up at the airport and realize your flight is tomorrow?
It depends.  Currently the airport is a 3 hour drive from my house.  So it almost wouldn't be worth it to drive home and then drive back again if I got there a day early.  So there's the added expense of all that driving or having to stay in a hotel.  And I do really like airports, although delays are somewhat anxiety-inducing.  Hmm.  I guess it would depend on how close I live to the airport.  

Be able to play every musical instrument that you touch or speak every language that you hear?
You would think that, being a musician, I would pick the first option.  But the fact is, because I am a musician it's very easy for me to learn new instruments.  I can pick up an instrument and make music with it, even if I've never played it before.  So I think I would choose the latter.  I've always been fascinated with languages and would love to be able to speak them without having to learn them first!

Travel along the ocean floor or take a trip to outer space?
I've recently developed claustrophobia, so I don't really like either of these options...  If I had to choose though I would go with the ocean.  Outer space kinda freaks me out.

Travel back in time to meet your ancestors or forward to meet your descendants?
Back in time.

Have in-flight WiFi but no legroom (like, zero inches) or in-flight legroom but no WiFi?
I would rather have legroom.  I mostly try to sleep on flights anyway, so I don't think I'd use the WiFi very much.

Be able to eat anything and any quantity of food with no negative health effects or be refreshed and well rested after only three hours of sleep?
Food.  Always food.

Wow, those were thought provoking.  I'd love to read your answers!  Answer in the comments or leave a link to your "Would you rather" blog post.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Guest post on Adventitious Violet

Today I'm happy to be guest posting over at  I've been following Camila's blog for awhile now and really feel like we are friends.  Camila is originally from Canada and now lives in Scotland with her British boyfriend.  She has traveled around the world from Europe, to Africa, to South America, and shares her travel stories on her blog.  She also blogs about many other things, such as her daily life, and most recently her Great British Bake Off Bake-Along.  Go check out her blog; I'm sure you'll love it.

Today on Camila's blog (Adventitious Violet) I'm posting about a topic that I've been asked about a lot - Should you move overseas your first year of marriage?  And more specifically - Should you travel with your significant other?  Head on over to to read about my thoughts on the subject.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Style Favorites || Through the decades

I love watching old movies and admiring their style and fashion sense.  The women were so feminine and classy...


From The Metropolitan Museum of Art
From Flickr
From Marie Claire
From Marie Claire


From VintagePrecious
From Christies
From We Heart It


From Marie Claire
From Marie Claire
From My Big Fat Vintage Life
From Flickr
From Wander World Wonderlust

I think the 60s are my favorite.  What about you?