Fun Finds From the Web

It’s Monday. It’s almost September, and I find myself clinging onto summer a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall/autumn. I am just not quite ready for it yet.

I started a new book this weekend, The Surrender Experiment  by Michael Singer. So far, so good. I’ll write a book review on it as soon I finish it. A book club friend of mine shared this with me: a quiz to find out what book you should read next.

My family enjoys Italian food very much. If you are ever in Salina, Ks, be sure to stop by Martinelli’s. It is consistently good, reasonably priced, and has great service. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Someone I am very close to has been taking great measures to make herself a priority. This quotation is for you!  (Via Amber Irvin, fb post)

I’ve been working on eating less and exercising more, so I probably won’t make this delicious looking chocolate sheet cake this week. However, I know it’s in my future, and I look forward to it!

I think we all know that gratitude equals happiness. Here is a quote and photo I love.

Here’s wishing everyone the best week possible. Find joy where you can, be thankful, and live the best life for you.


Friday Book Review

black ice

Black Ice falls under the young adult literature genre. It is a romantic thriller and a page turner.

Britt Pheiffer is a seventeen year old girl looking forward to hiking the Teton range in Wyoming over spring break. Having lost her mom at an early age, and depending on the males in her life to look after her, she is ready to prove herself.

As life goes, it’s not always that simple. Things get complicated rather quickly. She realizes her best friend, Korbie, is not going to be much of a hiker. Also, Korbie tells her that her older brother Calvin (Britt’s ex, whom she is not over) will be spending the week with them. And on the way up to the family cabin, an unexpected snow storm hits leaving the girls stranded until they come across a remote cabin occupied by two handsome, but somewhat suspicious guys.

Quickly, the girls are in danger. The two guys are fugitives from the law. Britt has to bluff her way and say she can lead them off the mountain. From this starts a wild journey of mystery, romance, thrills, and suspense.

The book is far-fetched and unrealistic at times, but it is still an enjoyable read. If you can remind yourself that this is a YA book, and let yourself enjoy it without thinking too deeply, it should be an enjoyable experience.

*Warning – the prologue is suspenseful and violent, but definitely pulls you in.

Funny and True

Here are a few things that I think are funny and are actually true. I have a strange sense of humor. I find things funny that probably no one else does; and often when everyone is laughing, I’m not, because to me it might not be funny. Hopefully, something I write today will tickle your funny bone.

I have a male friend who I recently got reconnected with. He and I were very good friends in high school. I showed him a couple of pictures of my kids, husband, and mom. Later in one of his texts he says, “In an age appropriate way, your mom is really hot.” (Background info. – my mom is almost 70, and she does take really good care of herself.). I reply, “Have you been drinking?” He says, “no, ha ha.”

This past summer when I was on my Alaskan trip with my close friend, Amy, she asked me one evening as it was getting late, “Tomi, may I ask you a personal question?” I braced myself and said, “well, sure.” She replied, “Do you whiten your teeth?” (Ha, ha…..I told her no, but sometimes I use whitening Listerine.)

My sister has a professional job in a big city and she recently told me that she was having one of those great days where she just felt super put together. She had on a starched, white button down shirt fresh from the dry cleaners, ankle length black slacks, and her straightened hair in a low pony tail. She went into the bathroom at work and caught a glimpse of herself and realized she looked like she was ready for her waitress job at a nice restaurant. Ha, ha…..

I love to laugh. We all know there is a ton of research out there on the healthy benefits of laughter. Check out this video a friend of mine posted on fb: Cockatoo loves Elvis video. It made me laugh.

You won’t believe this short clip that will put a big smile on your face.

I hope you are having a good day and that at least once, if not many times, you laugh. You deserve it.




Fun Finds From the Web

Monday! Mother Nature seems to know it’s time for school. It feels like fall already here in Kansas with cool mornings and evenings, and nice, bright sunny days. I love it.

I am planning to make this dish this week. It looks so good! Summer pasta with zucchini, ricotta, and basil.

After I chow down on that, I might try these 7 Moves That Tighten and Tone –Fast!

This is a must read. I really enjoyed this article from Psychology Today, Learning Not to Lash Out.

Check this out: 24 Great Novels Enjoyed by US Presidents.

I enjoyed this: We’re at our best when we can think clearly. Here are 5 ways to help get there.

Have a great week!!

Friday Book Review

If you lived here..I am certain of two things: 1) If I lived in Haines, Alaska, the author, Heather Lende, would know my name; and 2) We would be friends.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I bought this book from a Juneau bookstore on my trip in June. On the outside of the book is a little label that says, “Signed by the Author.” I thought the book looked neat, so I bought it. Very glad I did.

This kind of book is one of my favorite genres – part memoir, part nonfiction, part essay, and part storytelling. Lende is a gifted writer who has the ability to paint a vivid picture of life in a small Alaskan town. If you are familiar with the 90s tv hit Northern Exposure,  just imagine that show coming to life in book form. It’s that entertaining, but this is real. Real people, real circumstances, and real life.

Lende starts of her book by saying, “I have lived in Haines, Alaska, all of my adult life but there are still times, especially winter evenings when the setting sun washes over the white mountaintops, the sky turns a deep blue, and the water is whipped into whitecaps by the north wind, that I can’t believe my good fortune. It’s so wild and beautiful that all I can do is walk outside my house and stare…..I turn around and look back at my house–our youngest children moving in front of the lighted windows, the teenagers doing homework at the table, my husband, Chip, reading by the woodstove–and my heart swells in my chest like a balloon.”

She is an obituary writer for her local paper. This work takes her out into the community and ;places her in all kinds of circumstances. These experiences are part of her book, as well as all of the lessons she learns along the way about life and human nature.

It’s just a delightful book. It’s real. I appreciate her insights and her ability to share her own and others’ lives. I highly recommend If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name.

Fun Finds From the Web

It’s Monday; it’s mid August. Would anyone like to explain how this happened? It feels like someone pushed the fast forward button. I even heard someone this weekend say how many days there are until Christmas. Please. Stop.

Anyway, I found some fun links I would like to share.

I enjoyed this article Why I Travel Alone by Janice Holly Booth. The article was on the website Life Reimagined.

I wonder what you think of when I say money? If you felt even a tinge of stress, you might want to read 9 Stress-Reducing Truths About Money (via Becoming Minimalist).

Yesterday I had fun with one of my daughters doing some online quizzes. One was to see what style of learner we are, and one was to find out our highest character attributes. Check them out – it’s fun!

I found this article quite thought provoking: Why You Should Stop Trying To Have All The Answers  (via Life Reimagined)

I made these chocolate no bake cookies yesterday. They were delicious! I saw the recipe on Chef in Training’s fb page.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday Book Review

the gift of failureRecently, I was granted access to an e-galley: The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. This book is thought provoking, somewhat controversial, and potentially life changing. Here’s my review~

I am very thankful to have read this book! It’s life changing. Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and parent. Her book comes from her firsthand experiences as a parent and a teacher.  She has also done a lot of research for this book that explains that sometimes the best gift we can give our children is to allow them to have their own experiences.

The book is divided into three parts: 1) Failure: A Most Valuable Parenting Tool; 2) Learning From Failure: Teaching Kids To Turn Mistakes Into Success; and 3) Succeeding At School: Learning From Failure Is A Team Effort.

This book is full of advice, anecdotes, research, and just plain common sense when it comes to raising our children. Lahey states, “The road ahead is theirs, not ours, and as tempted as we may be to pave the way for them so that we can live vicariously through their successes, it’s time to let them live their own lives, to unravel our own priorities and needs from theirs.” She also asserts, “Failure and rejection are a part of the learning process, particularly when we butt up against our comfort zones, but it’s amazing what can happen once we break through that zone and glimpse the possibilities beyond.”

What I learned from this book is: that we can be overparenting without even realizing it; we aren’t giving our kids enough credit; our kids are more capable than we realize; and, failure can be a positive experience when we learn and grow from it.

I highly recommend this book.

Time Alone

I spent the day with my son yesterday, and I observed he was a little restless. He wanted to get some friends together but they were busy. We talked about various things he felt like doing, and then he asked me if he could build a hammock in the backyard. I said, “sure” and he headed out with a bunch of duck tape. (Don’t ask).

Later I went out to see how things were going and he seemed quite content and happy to be working on his project. This got me thinking about how things change as our lives go on. I remember being a little younger than him and being kind of restless and lonely when I was playing outside by myself one day. I really wanted some friends to come by so we could do something. Anything. I was a tomboy and I loved being outside, but not really by myself. What fun was that?

Well, skip ahead several decades, and now I find myself loving being alone. Craving it and not always getting enough of it. Last year I came upon this essay written by Oprah Winfrey and it resonated with me. I’d like to share it with you. This is from the October, 2014 issue of O magazine:

Most people would be surprised to know how much time I spend alone.  Not lonely. Just alone. With myself.

It’s become a running joke between Gayle and me, ever since our infamous cross-country road trip in 2006, when I put on headphones to “be alone with my thoughts.” Sometimes when she calls, she’ll say, “Whatcha doin? Being alone with your thoughts?”

Yes, I often am. I crave silence. It’s how I balance out the volume that’s necessary to run a network and a magazine and remain somewhat sociable.

What makes me me is being able to return to stillness. Like now: sitting and hearing nothing but the undercurrent hum of my house.

I could be this way for days–fully present. No TV. No radio. No iPod. Nothing to distract me from the words I’m writing on this page.

In my youth, I’d find it odd to be at a party surrounded by loud music and dancing and laughing, and suddenly think, I’ve had enough. I’d rather be home. I often said yes to events I didn’t want to attend, because who would say no to the big-deal happening of the moment, whatever it might be?

I didn’t want to “miss anything.”

Now I know for sure: The only thing you shouldn’t miss is what matters to you.

What I used to consider a quirk, I now fully accept as a part of being true to myself. And I hope you do the same.



Fun Finds From the Web

It’s back to school time for most, and it’s that time of year for all of us to transition into a new season. New seasons bring new clothes to the mind. I am always trying to simplify my life and I saw this video the other day that I thought was useful. How to create a capsule wardrobe (and simplify your life). Although this video is pertaining to women, men can do the same thing. My husband has always kept a simple wardrobe. I was impressed when I first met him. Less stuff is just less hassle.

Speaking of clothes, have you heard of Stitch Fix? I really want to try this! I haven’t yet because 1) I don’t know if my lifestyle justifies it; 2) I’m fairly frugal; and 3) I want to keep my closet spacious (if I love everything they send, will I end up with too many clothes?) I think too much. I should probably just try it.

I have never ordered from the company American Stationery, but I would like to. They have really lovely products. They have items for: her, him, kids, teens, teachers, newlyweds, etc.

We sort of live in the middle of nowhere, and I do order online at times; however, I never thought about having the kids order their school supplies online. I’m super excited! I told them they had to go through the old school supplies we have first and then what we don’t already have they can order online. I was thinking to keep it even simpler, they can each have their own order. Amazon ships free for orders over $35. This will be so easy because the supplies can go straight from the Amazon package to their backpacks. Yippee!!

If you live in Kansas or you ever plan to visit, check this out: Most People Don’t Know That These 10 Small Towns in Kansas Have AMAZING Restaurants.

Hope you enjoy these links and have a great week!

p.s. From Happsters

On Writing

I love to learn, and I read a lot. I subscribe to Eleanor Brown’s blog The Writers’ Table. I think she is terrific. She offers workshops, webinars, and teleclasses. I participated in one of her free webinars, and I enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. If you are interested in writing or know someone who is, check out her blog. I particularly liked her recent post Looking for Directions.

Happy learning, reading, and writing to you all!