My Current Reading Pile

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to read 36 books. There was no rhyme or reason why I picked that number. But since I am usually reading 3-4 books at a time, it seemed like 36 books in one year would be a good goal.

If you want to see what books I have finished reading so far, be sure to check out my Goodreads account. This is where I keep track of books I have read and what I want to read.

My Current Reading Pile

Here is my current reading and to be read pile of books. Once I have finished this pile, it should get me a whole lot closer to my reading goal for the year.

Have you read any of these books? And what books are you reading this year?

A Special Birthday Mailing

This past weekend, someone pretty special to us had her 19th birthday.

We have known this young lady for almost 8 years.

I am the only one in our family who has met her.

She lives approximately 3,665 miles from us on another continent.

Over the last 8 years, we have exchanged a lot of letters back and forth.

Who is this young lady?

Lina, our Compassion sponsored child

This is Lina! Our Compassion sponsored child who lives in Colombia.

So what is the special birthday mailing I sent to her?

Since we have received photo updates of her over the past 8 years, plus I have photos from my trip to Colombia 3 years ago, I created this photo page using Canva:

Lina's Special Birthday Mailing

I used the online letter writing tool in my Compassion account to send a birthday card to Lina. Then I uploaded this image to the card as a full page photo. I sure hope she enjoys seeing how much she has grown over the past 8 years!

If you sponsor Compassion children, what special things do you like to send to your sponsored child for their birthday?

Planning our Italian Vacation

In December of 2016, my husband and I began talking about possibly going to Italy. At first, Kevin was not too keen on the idea. But then when he remembered all the art that we could see there, and all the amazing food they have in Italy, he quickly changed his mind!

We still weren't sure if an actual trip to Italy would happen, but when our friend shared about some inexpensive fares to Rome, we had to look into making the trip a possibility!

Lindsey and her husband have been to Europe four times in the last 5 years! They love to help people who have a tight budget make their European travel dreams possible. So we contacted Ciao Bella Vacations to help us get started with the planning process.

I highly recommend contacting Lindsey if you are thinking about traveling to Europe. She had us answer a lot of questions to help us plan our trip. She booked all of our Airbnb's, our flights, and most of our trains. She even suggested many additional activities for each of the three locations we would be visiting during our trip. And she provided us with a lot of great travel tips, especially since this would be our first time traveling to Europe.

Our selfie at Pompeii

We are both hoping that our first trip to Italy will not be our last!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?

Stay tuned...I will be sharing more about our trip in upcoming posts!

Us vs. Them

There are times when I wonder why I even have a blog.

Math was my favorite subject in school.

English was not.

When you write papers about your point of view on something and the teacher marks you down because it doesn't fit with his/her point of view, how can that be fair?

Since this is my blog, I can write things and share things here that are my point of view and never have to worry about what grade I will receive. And honestly, I really never have to worry about what others may think about my point of view either. Because this is my blog.

But one thing I wrote today I feel needs to be shared with a larger audience:

The root problem of all in the world is sin

There is currently an assembly bill being considered in the California Assembly that is attacking the rights of homeschool families in our state.

What concerns me is the 'Us vs. Them' arguments being tossed around when we start to feel attacked.

'They' are not perfect.

'We' are not perfect.

No legislation is going to make anyone perfect.

And verbally attacking anyone on social media is not a solution to any of the major issues we have in our state or in this country.

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments." - 1 John 5:2

Bringing a bit of Italy home to our table

After spending ten days in Italy last month, all I want to do now is learn to make homemade pasta, cappuccinos, croissants, and authentic Pasta e Fagioli.

If anyone has the most amazing recipes for any of these, please feel free to pass them along!

Over the past few years, I have made a Pasta e Fagioli recipe, but when I ordered it for dinner one night in Orvieto, the recipe I make looks nothing like this:

Pasta e Fagioli in Orvieto Italy

It was cold in Italy and all I wanted was a bowl of soup for dinner. This was so amazing! Rather than being tomato based like I was used to at home, this was more like a white bean soup filled with homemade pasta.

So I began to search the internet for a recipe that might be similar and I was happy to find one and made sure to add it to one of my Pinterest boards.

This week, I added the ingredients to my grocery list:

Ingredients for Pasta e Fagioli

Today was the day to give the recipe a try:

Homemade Pasta e Fagioli

This recipe came together pretty quickly. Since I have not tried to make homemade pasta yet, this is probably as close as I am going to get to the soup I had in that restaurant in Orvieto.

Have you ever tried Pasta e Fagioli like this?