I've never been a big movie-watcher. I would never put a movie on by choice, I would always pick a tv-show. So it's no surprise I hadn't seen Fargo before. My husband loves watching movies and watches a ton without me, so I had thought he would've watched it already, but he hadn't, so we made a cozy evening of it.
I figured, since this is apparently a must-watch movie for wintertime, that it would be a story to warm yourself up to. Something romantic or family-oriented. Boy, was I wrong, huh!
When I read the back of DVD case, it said it was about a kidnapping gone wrong, murder and a pregnant detective trying to figure everything out. So I thought, a mystery thriller or something. Wrong again!
In the end I did like the movie. It was just weird enough to still be funny and the accents are awesome! Happy I did watch it!
We celebrated Christmas Day with a couple of our closest friends. The four of us don't have a lot of family left, so a few years ago we decided to get together for Christmas and celebrate together. Now, years later, she's the godmother of my daughter and I'm godmother of her son. So it definitely feels like family.
When we drove home from their house at night, our daughter fell asleep in the car. So we decided to drive around for a bit, enjoy the quiet streets, the cold outside while we were cozy and warm inside the car and all the great holiday decorations we saw. Some neighbourhoods go all out, which was really fun to see. We even got some inspiration for our yard next year.
I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was mainly just looking around and enjoying the view, but here are some photos I snapped
Back Cover Blurb
"An enduring American classic, Oliver La Farge's Pulitzer Prize winning first novel capures the essence of the Southwest in 1915. At a ceremonial dance, the young, earnest silversmith Laughing Boy falls in love with Slim Girl, a beautiful but elusive "American"-educated Navajo. As they experience all of the joys and uncertainties of first love, the couple must face a changing way of life and its tragic consequences."
I don't know if it is because I live in Europe and have never heard much about the Native American culture, but I really feel the first half of the book was lost on me. I did find it interesting to learn more about the lifestyle, but pages and pages of conversations that I couldn't really follow made it very hard for me to really get into the book. I did like the second part of the book, where it becomes more a love story than just a picture of the Native American life. There was one part in particular that I found refreshing. In a lot of books that depict a love story, there is this one chapter where someone does something wrong (which in this book was something réálly wrong) and then it completely blows up because they don't just talk to eachother. And then they don't speak for another 6 chapters, before everything turns out fine in the end. That doesn't happen here. Something bad happens and they just sit around and talk to eachother about it. Of course there is a small shooting-an-arrow-in-her-leg thing that I don't really understand, but hey, you have to have some drama, right?
The ending, again, was great. When I started the book I didn't think I would care much about how it ended, because I didn't have a connection to the characters, but little by little the story drew me in. This is yet another book from the list that I've read that, in my (humble) opinion didn't start great but ended beautifully. I'm starting to sense a pattern here!
Favorite Character(s): Jesting Squaw's Son
First sentence: "He was riding the hundred miles from T'o Tlakai to Tsé Lani to attend a dance, or rather, for the horse-racing that would come afterwards."
Page Count: 193
When I was a kid, I used to love puzzles. But I just didn't make any time for it once I got older. Now that I have a daughter who loves puzzling as well, I get to do it a bit more often, but they're always just 40 piece-puzzles, with cartoon characters on them.
So I figured for this Bucket List Item, I'd pick out a puzzle for me alone. My husband watches a ton of tv shows that I don't like, so I figured I'd use this time to finish the puzzle. What surprised me a bit was how hard it was to find a winter-themed puzzle for adults! I did manage to find this one though:
I wanted to make this puzzle on the dining room table but I couldn't leave it there for days, and since the puzzle was too big to finish in one sitting, I had to find a solution. So I found this:
It's a puzzle mat! You can roll it open, make your puzzle on it and then when you're done for the day, just roll it back up and put it away. This is probably something everyone knows about already, but I hadn't heard of it until I found it and I thought it was great!
I ended up working on the puzzle for about 4 days before I finished it. And I've already gotten another puzzle as a Christmas present, so I guess I can just keep going!
Back Cover Blurb
"Banned in Boston when it was first published in 1928. 'Scarlet Sister Mary' is the story of a sexy, independent and outspoken woman who lives to please herself. Abandoned by her husband, the heroine takes many lovers, loses her firstborn son, and eventually 'finds peace' as a church member, although she refuses to give up her love charm and her gold hoop earrings."
This book about life on a plantation shortly after the end of slavery drew me in rather quickly. It mainly follows the life of Mary, who in the beginning of the book is just a teenage girl but ends up a woman who has had quite a life. The thing I like most about Mary is that she doesn't hide who she really is. She does some things you might not agree with, but she does them because she wants to and because she doesn't care what anyone else thinks. You've got to love that! It's also great to read a story about a strong single mom, especially seeing as this was published almost 90 years ago. The other characters are all very unique and make Mary's story even more interesting and just when you think you know where the story is going, it takes a complete turn and something happens that you did not see coming.
One of my favourites so far!
Favorite Character(s): Mary, Keepsie and Budda Ben.
First sentence: "The black people who live in the Quarters at the Blue Brook Plantation believe they are far the best black people living on the whole 'neck', as they call that long, narrow, rich strip of land lying between the sea on one side and the river with its swamps and deserted rice-fields on the other."
Page Count: 345
Although I love the idea of sending out Christmas cards, we usually don't get around to it. And on the years we do end up sending them, we usually pick a more "modern" print. So this was a fun change.
I hadn't heard of Currier and Ives before I started with this, so I had no idea what to expect. I googled some of their work and I loved the prints right away though. There is something cozy and warm about them. It gives an instant Christmas feeling.
Now, to actually find Currier and Ives Christmas cards that would be available for shipment to Europe, that was the hard part. Luckily, I found the website FineArtAmerica , which turned out to be great. Lots of choices and flawless delivery. We ended up picking the print "Bringing Home The Logs".
Once they were delivered, I wrote and sent them out to our friends and family. Another (small) Christmas Bucket List item I loved!
Back Cover Blurb
"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."
My thoughts: This story started out great, when a very important bridge in Peru breaks while there are five people on it. It then goes into the lives of the people who were on the bridge. I figured we would get to see of each person how their life led up to being on that bridge at that exact time, but sadly, it didn't. They did focus on one person at a time, but it just felt like snippets of their life were being told, with no relation to what happens on the bridge. I felt like there was a lot more that could've been done with this book. The fact that it is only 121 pages long, and yet it took me almost 2 weeks to finish it, is saying something as well! Maybe I'm missing something, but I wouldn't recommend this book at all.
Favorite Character(s): Absolutely no one
First sentence: "On Friday noon, July, the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below."
Page Count: 121
This item is one I got to check off on the same day we went to pick out our own Christmas tree. The park that we visited allowed everyone to cut down their own Christmas tree. So we brought a (small) saw and I got to cut it down myself! We let our daughter cut down her tree herself as well (with some help from my husband) and she couldn't have been prouder!
Back Cover Blurb
"Sabine Callendar had fled from the stifling propriety of Durham, New England twenty years ago. With a failed marriage behind her and an eighteen year old daughter to present to society, everyone is surprised to find that Sabine has returned, not as the pitiable and broken creature they expected, but as a strong and assured individual with an uncanny ability to see through the postures and pretenses of the society that oppressed her a girl. With her bold independence and forthright nature, Sabine challenges the social arder and becomes a catalyst for changes in the lives fo the people around her. "
My thoughts: When I started this book, I figured it would be about Sabine Callendar and her return to the family she once left behind. However, it turned out Sabine was more of a side character. The story revolves mainly about Olivia, a woman who married a man from a wealthy family and had a daughter with him, but didn't find happiness in the marriage. She finds herself interested in another man and the Sabine character just tries to play a hand in the whole thing. I loved the vibe this book had. Although it does tackle some unhappy subjects, it had a warm feeling about it, which made it easy to get into the story. Another good one!
Favorite Character(s): Olivia
First sentence: "There was a ball in the old Pentland house, because for the first time in nearly forty years there was a young girl in the family to be introduced to the polite world of Boston and to the elect who had been asked to come on from New York and Philadelphia."
Page Count: 303
When I was about 6 or 7 years old, my parents bought a fake Christmas tree because they didn't like cleaning up the needles left by a real one. They managed to find one that looks great and is very easy to put together. When I went and moved in with my (now husband-)boyfriend, I got to take it with me. So we've been using this one for many years now, but the idea of going out and picking up a tree ourselves sounded fun! So we decided to go out and get one to put in our backyard.
I didn't find a lot of tree farms in our neighbourhood, but I found the next best thing!
"De Hoge Veluwe National Park" in The Netherlands, allows people to cut down their own tree during one weekend of the year. It was a two hour drive to get there, so we rented a room nearby and made a trip out of it.
When we got to the park, we had to pay a fee to enter and take our car with us and then it was a short 10 minute drive to the spot where we had to be. There were miles and miles of Christmas trees to be seen. Not an easy choice to make! We looked around and found one we really liked. We thought we only got to pick the one tree, but it turned out that you could also cut down a small tree for every child, so our daughter got to pick one out as well, which she loved!
There was also a stall present that sold warm drinks and soup, for when you were done picking out your tree. We took a seat around the bonfire and had a hot cocoa.
Such a great outing, we're even thinking of driving the two hours again next year!