Friday Book Review


My mom believes, as a general rule, people are cooks or bakers. She loves to bake, and I love it when she bakes. We all do.

This is a delightful book curated by the editors of Food52. The introduction states:

In this book, you’ll find the kind of recipes that you know will provide delicious results without occupying your entire day, that you can make on a weeknight and enjoy for days after, and that are more fun than stressful and more satisfying than frustrating. These recipes come from old neighborhood cookbooks, from scribbled recipe cards stored in grandparents’ kitchens, from bake sales of years past, and from friends whose desserts were the stars of every potluck.

The book contains sixty recipes. The layout is lovely and simple. There is a photograph of the dish on one side and the ingredients and directions on the other. I love the simplicity and beauty of this book.

More Info

Author Bio.  

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Know Yourself

Yesterday was my birthday. It was such a wonderful day. I had a goal, and that was to have a day where I was able to do just the things I wanted. I got up early and read my bible lesson and did an easy feel-good yoga practice. I took my son to his gifted program, I washed the car, I got a pedicure, and picked up cheesecake for dessert tonight. My son and I ate breakfast burritos for lunch (lunch!).  We got our favourite drinks at Sonic, too. We picked up cheap Mexican for dinner. No cooking dinner (yay!). I took him back to regular school. I built a fire. I sat with my dog. I read and I wrote. I received texts from friends and family wishing me a happy birthday. I read posts from Facebook friends. I even received a call from my ex-husband wishing me a happy birthday.

All such simple pleasures and all gave me joy. It made me think how I wish everyone the same thing for their birthdays: to spend it how they would like. Maybe one person would like to go on a big trip. Maybe another would like to dress up and go out on the town. Maybe someone wants his or her birthday to go by unnoticed. It doesn’t matter; only we know what makes us happy.

I think that’s the important thing: to know ourselves. And, to be true to that knowledge.

p.s. *Disclaimer – I was lucky because my birthday just happened to fall on the only day this week where I don’t have obligations/work outside of our family/home.


Fun Finds From the Web

Good morning! Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was busy, but wonderful at the same time. It’s now Monday morning, and I kind of wish it was Sunday. Not yesterday, it was a busy, full day; but the kind of Sunday where you don’t have hardly anything going on. But, that’s okay. Today is going to be a very good day. My main focus will be to do one thing at a time. This will be a challenge, but I will do my best. I also plan to take deep breaths, simplify, prioritize, and keep aware of all I have to be thankful for.

Here are some fun finds that I have come across recently:

Sometimes I have to make myself go to museums. Once I am there, I find I  am usually very happy. Check out these 18 Unusual Museums Worth Traveling For.

I love the photos in this article from Upworthy.  Take a moment to check them out. It put a big smile on my face and a certain calmness in my heart.

Recently I read that to save time it’s wise to move all your most used apps (icons) to your home screen of your electronic device. I did this (okay, my 13 year old did it for me!), but I have a simple article that illustrates how to do it. It is a time saver. I am enjoying having all the apps I use the most on my main screen of my phone.

For awhile now I have been following a blog called Assortment/on living less. Check out her recent post. She is a gifted writer and I enjoy her photos. She has a wonderful way of looking at the world around her.

I have to say I agree with this article: Want to Keep Your Mind Sharp? Try Cocoa. Or Sex.

Here’s to a good week for all of us!

Friday Book Review

fool me twice

I started reading this book with no former knowledge of Jesse Stone (the main character); Robert B. Parker (a prolific writer, including the Spenser detective series that featured Chief Jesse Stone); and Michael Brandman (an award-winning producer and cowriter of Robert B. Parker).

The novel starts off with Jesse Stone witnessing a car crash. The accident involves an entitled, spoiled teenage girl who acts very disrespectful towards Jesse even though she was the cause of the accident. (She was texting while driving.) It’s easy to tell she will be one of the main characters in the novel.

Next, the reader is introduced to Marisol Hinton, Hollywood’s newest starlet who will be coming to Jesse Stone’s town, Paradise, to film a movie. She has recently filed for divorce from her husband who is a struggling actor and meth addict. He was abusive to her while they were married and is now seeking revenge because they signed a prenup and she is wealthy, while he has little resources.

The third theme running through the book is a mystery surrounding utility hikes in Paradise. There is a whole story and drama behind what is happening on the surface.

There is also some romance going on. Jesse is quickly involved with Frankie Greenberg, the line producer of the film being shot in Paradise.

The novel moves quickly with short sentences and short chapters. At times it was interesting and entertaining, and then I would find myself questioning the lack of detail and how realistic the situation really was.

I’m not sorry I read it, but I don’t know if I’ll read anymore from this author. I might try some of Robert B. Parker’s work. He has written 70 books.


Losing Perspective

Recently two experiences made me think about how our perceptions often frame our outlook. Last week I was driving home from a bigger city about 25 minutes away from where I live. My son and I were at a four way stop and the guy beside me took off rather quickly, so I let him take the lead.  We were all going down the highway, probably 70 mph, and suddenly I realized I needed to hit the brakes fairly solid to come to an almost complete stop. My son and I watched as the car two ahead of us made a left hand turn off the highway. The car in front of us slammed his hand down on the horn and then flipped the other driver the bird. Will (age 11) and I looked at each other, mouths agape, and then started laughing. Wow! That was interesting. We didn’t quite know what to think. The first driver did need to turn, but coming to a stop on the highway isn’t the best plan. The second driver was obviously dealing with a little road rage.

We talked about the situation a little while. Wondering what the first driver could have done differently and wondering what the second driver had going on in his own life to make him react so strongly. Was he running late for something? Did he have some major stress he was dealing with in his life?

The second experience was at a youth football play off game this past Sunday. Another mom alerted me to a woman a few rows down on the bleacher we were sitting on. At first I heard her say aloud, “Let all the boys play.” Then a few minutes went on and she got a little louder, calling out specific coaches and saying how everyone should play. By the fourth quarter she was pretty wound up. My friend who I was sitting by started getting a little uncomfortable. Her husband is the head coach and she didn’t want a confrontation. I hoped it wasn’t heading that way, but it was. By the time the last minute of the game was running this woman (a grandma to two fourth grade boys) was in a full rage. She confronted the coaches in front of all the players and demanded a refund for the money they had paid at the beginning of the season. My son and I quickly escaped the drama and went to our car. Will did tell me that the coaches were explaining to her what the situation was. There were several reasons not every player was playing in the playoffs. Some didn’t come to practices, some never listened or worked hard, and some were just too little and the coaches didn’t want them getting hurt since the opposing team were still playing their starters.

Both of these experiences made my think about how we perceive things and then act based on those perceptions. My guess is that in both of these situations there was a loss of perspective. Perhaps a lashing out because of other things going on in each of these individuals’ lives. I’ll never know; but one thing I do know: I don’t want to lose perspective. Sometimes we just need to step back, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture. And, if possible, not overreact when things don’t go our way.

Fun Finds From the Web

Monday! Breezy, cool, and sunny her in the part of Kansas I live in. It’s a beautiful day.

I like to listen to music when I work out. This morning I put on Brett Aldridge’s song Lose My Mind. It’s number one on the country charts right now. It has a catchy beat and it’s fun to run to.

It was a busy week last week, and “taco Tuesday” was on Wednesday. Here is a great find: Wonderful Taco Recipes To Try At Home.

I got some good news last week. I have been accepted to be a contributor for Lifehack. I am super excited about this! I haven’t decided yet what to write about, but I have a few ideas I’m running through my mind.

Most of you are probably already familiar with this app., but it’s one of my favorite apps.: MapMyRun. I use it when I walk, run, or bike. It tells me when I’ve hit each mile. It’s motivating and helps me keep on track.

I love gum, and I found this article quite interesting. “The Cognitive Benefits of Chewing Gum.”

Yesterday my son and I were heading back from a football game in Hoxie and we drove by Cedar Bluff Lake. Check out these pictures we took. They have no filters; this is how it looked. Although in person, it was even more lovely. Lovely is great word: I hope you all have a lovely week!!!

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Friday Book Review

immortal life henrietta lacks

I have seen this book on many recommended book lists and I knew it was a best seller, but I didn’t know much regarding what the book was really about.

It is definitely a well written and well researched book. It took the author a decade to research and write this book. I am in awe of her dedication to this endeavor.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is about a woman named Henrietta Lacks whom the world didn’t know personally but her cells, named HeLa, become known worldwide in the field of  Science and Medicine.  The front of the book reads, “Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and a multimillion-dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children found out. Their lives would never be the same.”

To me it seemed the book was divided into the story of the cells and the story of the person behind the cells. I think readers could easily become engrossed in one or the other or both. I personally liked the human and personal side of the story. The fact that this book is nonfiction made it all the more interesting.

This book raises so many questions about ethics, medicine, research, race, education, and all of our futures. It’s definitely a thought provoking book.

More Info.

Author Bio.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Fun Finds From the Web

Wow, what a weekend! I love October, but it never ceases to be a busy month. Just this weekend, we had a Homecoming parade, crowning, and football game on Friday. And then on Saturday a league volleyball tournament an hour away and a wedding, dinner, and dance two hours in the other direction that night. Sunday was family day. We went to see my oldest daughter who lives about 45 minutes away and then watched a movie, ate out, and went grocery shopping for the week.

Now it’s Monday, and it’s a beautiful day. It’s catch up day for all of us before another busy week.

I found this recipe and I think it looks really good. It’s the perfect time of year to make it: Sautéed Cinnamon Apples.

I’m a sap, and I know it. Check out this video and see if it puts a smile on your face like it did mine.

I loved this piece from Upworthy. It just takes a minute – Check it out. Wouldn’t life be sweeter if we always thought of others and did our best to inspire and uplift?

I am a fan of essay writing.  This is a great find for anyone who has to write an essay: How to Become an Essay Writing Guru Using These 15 Websites.

If you are stumped for what to make for dinners this week, check out Weekly Menu Plan #17 from RecipeGirl.

This week I hope you take a few moments to breathe deeply and take in all the beauty around you that fall brings. To me, there is something about fall that is calming. It’s hard to put into words because it is more of a feeling than tangible things. I do love the weather, landscape, holidays, and events, but I like the way it makes me feel. I just love autumn.

Have a great week!


Friday Book Review

at the water's edge

I was interested in reading this book because I loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Plus, I have to say the cover is gorgeous. I  know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but a beautiful cover doesn’t hurt one bit.

The prologue starts with a sad scene in Scotland set in 1942. Chapter one starts with three young Americans being driven in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. Madeline (Maddie) Hyde, her husband, Ellis, and his best friend Hank (Henry Winston Boyd the fourth) are off on an adventure to try to film the Loch Ness Monster. Their journey is already off to a rough start. Maddie becomes aware that Ellis and Hank seem to be oblivious to the fact that there is a war going on, and she is still terribly sick and half starved from the horrible ship ride across the Atlantic. They arrive at a rustic inn in the middle of the night. They are soon aware they are far away from America and the privileged and sheltered life they are used to.

As the novel unfolds, Ellis and Hank behave how they always have: privileged, spoiled, entitled, and oblivious to anything that doesn’t serve them. Maddie, who is left alone at the inn most of the time, starts seeing the world with new eyes. At this point, the story starts gathering momentum. The characters in the novel become real and the story becomes one that is hard to put down.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It started off a little slow and then I could hardly put it down. The next day I was still thinking about it and was actually kind of sad that the book was finished. And, I think I might have fallen a bit in love with one of the characters. Just a really good book, all-in-all.

Happy Realization

I was talking to my mom recently and she was saying if she would have seen that it was National Daughters’ Day she would have posted a photo on Facebook and made a comment about how when we were in Chicago the bellhop asked who was in charge and she turned around and saw that all three of us had our hands up in the air. For her, this was a proud mom moment.

I can certainly relate having daughters of my own. This applies to sons as well. We want to nurture our children, demonstrate our love for them, and have them know that we believe in them. We want them to be independent and to believe in themselves.  But, how do we accomplish this? Parenting is so easy and so hard at the same time. How do we know when to get involved and when to let our kids work it out for themselves?

I have a brother-in-law who is a successful lawyer. He has two brothers and they both have successful careers as well. I asked one of them one time what their parents did to raise such successful adults. He laughed and said, “Boy Scouts?” Then said, “I think they just got out of our way.” This made an impression on me.

We are all trying to get it right. We will do some things well and other times we will make mistakes. I have read several times that it is actually good to make mistakes and admit them in front of our children. I felt relief when I read this. I remember several years ago I was talking to my mom on the phone and she said if there was one thing she wished she would have taught us kids it was that it’s okay to make mistakes. I found myself inwardly cringing. I realized that I didn’t think it was okay. I don’t like making mistakes. But somehow her telling me this gave me a sense of relief. I will make mistakes. We all will. But how encouraging to know that we can learn from them and we can be great role models for our kids. We make mistakes, we admit it, and we learn from them.

It is fun to watch our children grow and become more independent. Maybe we can take some advice from the band 38 Special, “Just hold on loosely but don’t let go…..”