Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Weekend Reflections 9/30

Looking outside...it's drizzly, but clearing.

Listening...to LDS General Conference. I love General Conference.

Loving...the family together, watching and listening to conference. I love our time together.

Thinking...that I'm tired. I'm always tired. Ms. Snark is quiet this morning.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru now and I'm not sure about dinner. That seems to be my standard answer.

Wearing...purple pajamas.

Reading...what's that again? 

Today...some laundry in between conference sessions. The Artist has to mow lawns. He may need to wait until Monday.

Quoting...“ "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect--then you need to get out." -- Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, Superintendent, USAFA

Feeling...I posted this on my Instagram account this week and it reflects where my thoughts have been this week.

I went to a funeral today for a beautiful young woman. I knew her from church and her husband has been one of my son's youth leaders. In fact, I excused JB from school today, at his request, so that he could attend the funeral as well, because he loves Jake. JoAnna was 27 and far too young. She had valiantly fought cancer and was recovering well from a liver transplant. But, the outcomes from trial and illness that we want, aren't always what happen.

As I sat in the church today, I listened. I listened as people talked about her life and her goodness and kindness. Her humor and her love. And I reflected and wondered, "what will people say at my funeral? Probably that I was snarky. But, I hope for better. And if I hope for better, I need to be better. I need to be more like JoAnna; to have less judgment and more compassion; less snark and more kindness. It was a privilege to be there today. It was a privilege to provide food for the family luncheon after the burial. It was a privilege to know this sweet woman and learn from her example.


Planning...for the upcoming week.

Gratitude...for so much.

From my world... 


Watch. Listen. Learn.
Dialogue and discussion is important. Listen to hear, not to correct or condemn. Treat people with dignity and respect. Be kind. Do good. Love is a verb.
That is all.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, September 29, 2017

5 Books I Want to Read...Chocolate

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 2877. Yeah. I also have several stacks of books tucked against walls throughout my house. Each is probably at least 3 feet high of books I haven't read yet. I periodically go through my list and purge it, but it still is not slowing down. Nor are the books that keep appearing on my Kindle. They're all still on my wish list, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

Each month I highlight 5 books I want to read. I don't set out to plan themes, but somehow patterns creep into my viewing.

This month it's Chocolate and specifically books about the history of chocolate. God bless the first person who ever looked at a cocoa bean and said, "Let's chop this up and add sugar to it."

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A Brief History of Chocolate by Steve Berry and Phil Norman

An illustrated guide to chocolate that every self-respecting chocoholic should read.

Do you remember when a Snickers was a Marathon? And when you could burst in to a sweet shop and ask for ‘an Oliver Twist, two Tiffins and a Big Wig, please!’ and keep a straight face? Those were the good days: when a Dairy Milk bar was 22p and you’d never seen anything as big as a Wagon Wheel.

Revisit some of your forgotten favourites and current addictions, as Steve Berry and Phil Norman take you on a tour of cocoa’s finest moments. Fully illustrated with hundreds of wrappers, ads and pack shots, A Brief History of Chocolate brings together research from the archives, factories and warehouses of some of the leading chocolate manufacturers in the country to create a book that is packed full of fascinating historical research…

… and lots and lots of chocolate.

Warning: may contain nuts

A Brief History of Chocolate originally featured in The Great British Tuck Shop, the ultimate book of sweetie nostalgia.

The True History of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe

This delightful and best-selling tale of one of the world's favorite foods draws upon botany, archaeology, and culinary history to present a complete and accurate history of chocolate.

The story begins some 3,000 years ago in the jungles of Mexico and Central America with the chocolate tree, Theobroma Cacao, and the complex processes necessary to transform its bitter seeds into what is now known as chocolate. This was centuries before chocolate was consumed in generally unsweetened liquid form and used as currency by the Maya, and the Aztecs after them. The Spanish conquest of Central America introduced chocolate to Europe, where it first became the drink of kings and aristocrats and then was popularized in coffeehouses. Industrialization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made chocolate a food for the masses, and now, in our own time, it has become once again a luxury item.

The second edition draws on recent research and genetic analysis to update the information on the origins of the chocolate tree and early use by the Maya and others, and there is a new section on the medical and nutritional benefits of chocolate.

The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars by Joël Glenn Brenner

Corporate candy giants Milton Hershey and Forrest Mars built business empires out of one of the world's most magical, sought-after substances: chocolate. In The Emperors of Chocolate, Joël Glenn Brenner--the first person to ever gain access to the highly secretive companies of Hershey and Mars--spins a unique story that takes us inside a world as mysterious as Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Packed with flavorful stories and outrageous characters that give the true scoop on this real-life candyland, The Emperors of Chocolate is a delectable read for business buffs and chocoholics alike. Start reading and you'll soon be hungry for more.

Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage by Louis E. Grivetti and Howard-Yana Shapiro

Chocolate. We all love it, but how much do we really know about it? In addition to pleasing palates since ancient times, chocolate has played an integral role in culture, society, religion, medicine, and economic development across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

In 1998, the Chocolate History Group was formed by the University of California, Davis, and Mars, Incorporated to document the fascinating story and history of chocolate. This book features fifty-seven essays representing research activities and contributions from more than 100 members of the group. These contributors draw from their backgrounds in such diverse fields as anthropology, archaeology, biochemistry, culinary arts, gender studies, engineering, history, linguistics, nutrition, and paleography. The result is an unparalleled, scholarly examination of chocolate, beginning with ancient pre-Columbian civilizations and ending with twenty-first-century reports.

Here is a sampling of some of the fascinating topics explored inside the book:

Ancient gods and Christian celebrations: chocolate and religion

Chocolate and the Boston smallpox epidemic of 1764

Chocolate pots: reflections of cultures, values, and times

Pirates, prizes, and profits: cocoa and early American east coast trade

Blood, conflict, and faith: chocolate in the southeast and southwest borderlands of North America

Chocolate in France: evolution of a luxury product

Development of concept maps and the chocolate research portal

Not only does this book offer careful documentation, it also features new and previously unpublished information and interpretations of chocolate history. Moreover, it offers a wealth of unusual and interesting facts and folklore about one of the world's favorite foods.

Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

A self-professed candyfreak, Steve Almond set out in search of a much-loved candy from his childhood and found himself on a tour of the small candy companies that are persevering in a marketplace where big corporations dominate.

From the Twin Bing to the Idaho Spud, the Valomilk to the Abba-Zaba, and discontinued bars such as the Caravelle, Marathon, and Choco-Lite, Almond uncovers a trove of singular candy bars made by unsung heroes working in old-fashioned factories to produce something they love. And in true candyfreak fashion, Almond lusciously describes the rich tastes that he has loved since childhood and continues to crave today. Steve Almond has written a comic but ultimately bittersweet story of how he grew up on candy-and how, for better and worse, the candy industry has grown up, too.

Candyfreak is the delicious story of one man's lifelong obsession with candy and his quest to discover its origins in America.

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What about you? What books are on your "want to read/wish" list?

5 Books I want to Read is a monthly meme started by Stephanie at Layered Pages. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their wish lists look like, you can do that here: A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

#CoverCrush: We Were Strangers Once


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


A couple standing under a New York bridge. Muted colors on what is likely a spring day. What are they watching? Are they waiting for something? Have they just paused on a quiet walk? Who are they? What is their story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekend Reflections 9/23

Looking outside...it's sunny but cold. 34 degrees at 10:15. I am loving it. The fireplace is on. The high parts of Idaho are already receiving snow and Eastern Idaho has a winter storm warning. In September! I'm sure we will have another wave of warm weather before fall really sets in, but I am loving these cooler temps.

Listening...to The Boy and The Doctor working on the car. The fireplace is going. The Artist is asleep.

Loving...the cooler weather. Bliss. Absolute bliss. I wore long sleeves and put on a scarf yesterday. 

Thinking...that the internets are an interesting place. Sitting behind a keyboard gives people a sense of power. It's so easy to read something and assume it actually affects you. One person sharing an opinion isn't an attack on you. One person sharing a post on Facebook that might inspire them, but makes you uncomfortable, isn't an attack on you.

A book reviewer who posts an opinion about book pricing? It's not an attack on you as an author. It's simply an opinion.

Seriously people. Just because you read a post or see something that you might not agree with doesn't mean you need to comment. Sometimes it's just best to walk away.

And authors who like to argue with reviewers or criticize them for their opinions or reviews? We talk. We make note of your online behavior and your treatment of those who read or don't read your books.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru now and I'm not sure about dinner.

Wearing...fuzzy Minion jammies, black turtleneck and slippers.

Reading...what's that again? 

Today...some laundry. Some billing for the office. Fixing the heater in the Buick. Running to the store.

The Artist has lawns to mow later, but probably only for a few more weeks.

Quoting...“Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read. If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people. I can walk into a bookshop and point out a number of books that I find very unattractive in what they say. But it doesn't occur to me to burn the bookshop down. If you don't like a book, read another book. If you start reading a book and you decide you don't like it, nobody is telling you to finish it. To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.” ― Salman Rushdie

Feeling...I find it curious that kneeling in sports is so offensive. To the right, those who kneel during the national anthem is offensive. To the left, those who kneel in prayer before or after a game or touchdown is offensive.

To all of you? Everyone has the right to kneel, whether in prayer or in protest. You don't have to like it, but you should accept it. It's not personally directed at you. And if you think it's ok to kneel in protest, but not in prayer? You're wrong. And if you think it's ok to kneel in prayer, but not protest, you're wrong too.

Personally, I think everyone should take their hat off during the national anthem, when sitting at a table or in prayer. But, I'm not going to freak out if you don't. So if you want to kneel? Kneel. Just let someone else kneel the way they want to if it's different than yours.

Be kind, do good. Love is a verb.

Planning...there is always something on the horizon. There is always something to work for and look forward to.

Gratitude...for scarves and sweaters. For good friends and good conversation. For sunshine and rain because both are needed. For snuggles and hand-holding. For hugs and forehead kisses from sons who are taller than I am.

From my world... 



Best. Sign. Ever. Seen at My Father's Place in McCall, Idaho last weekend. I love it!

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#CoverCrush: Left to Chance


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


Pretty dresses. Just hanging on a portable rack. Is it a dress shop? Is it a hotel? Perhaps someone is getting married or needs a dress for an event? I love the bright white and the soft muted blues, greens and purples. Who is the woman who will wear this dress and what is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Whimsy Wednesday: Just be able to read...


How nice it would be to just sit in a field and be able to read with a light breeze in the air rustling the pages of your book.

Source.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekend Reflections 9/16

Looking outside...it's sunny but cool. Blessedly cool. Currently 48 with a projected high of 67. I am in heaven.  

Listening...to The Artist and The Doctor in the office together talking. The Boy worked late and is still asleep.

Loving...the cooler weather. Bliss. Absolute bliss.

Thinking...that I'm not thinking. 

In my kitchen...We are going out to dinner with friends, which means the boys likely get pizza. 

Wearing...black skirt, tan shirt and green SWEATER!!!!!

Reading...what's that again? 

Today...some laundry. Some billing for the office. The Doctor is taking the boys to get haircuts later. I'm thinking about a nap.

This morning we went and helped clean our church building. We have the opportunity to that a couple of times a year. It's always early on a Saturday, but it's a privilege to serve and I love serving with people I know and like.

The Artist has lawns to mow later, once the morning dew has dried on the lawns.

Quoting...“I am Groot". -- Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy

Feeling...Tired. 

I am so tired of politics. I am so tired of people looking for ways to be offended. I am tired of the media spinning news and misleading headlines. Why is it that we focus on the negative? Why is it that we always look to complain? Why is it that we look to find fault?

Look for the good in the world, in other people. Don't assume there is an angle. Don't take offense when there is likely none meant.

Be kind, do good. Love is a verb.

Planning...there is always something on the horizon. There is always something to work for and look forward to.

Gratitude...for cooler weather and sweaters. For sons who kiss my forehead and give me random hugs in the kitchen. For laughing together. For my family. They are my world. 

From my world... 



The Doctor's birthday is tomorrow. There is so much I appreciate about him. The Boy helped me change up our hanging Scrabble board to reflect him.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Childhood Favorites...Tisha

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

I loved Tisha when I read it as a teenager. I wanted to be a teacher after I read it. That goal didn't last long, but my appreciation for the story did.


Anne Hobbs is a wonderful heroine. She goes to Alaska in the 1920s to teach school and as she tries to befriend the people of Chicken, Alaska (what a funky name) she finds that the white people don't like it when others of their kind mix with the Indians. Anne befriends and teaches the Indian children and falls in love with an Indian man. Her strength and character are amazing.

The children couldn't pronounce "teacher" so it came out as "tisha".

I love stories about strong women. And stories based on fact and real-life women are the best.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

#CoverCrush: The 9:45 to Bletchley


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


Stark black and white with red. It doesn't get much more classic than that. The font and the clothing style give it a definite vintage feel--likely some time during World War 2. The title gives that away as well, because Bletchley figured strongly during the war. Who is the woman? Why is she looking back at the soldier? What is her story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's CourtFlashlight CommentaryA Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Hope Chest


I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.


When I was a teenager, hope chests were something a teenage girl was given in preparation for her getting married and leaving home. It was a place or her to keep the items she had collected to help furnish her future home. Some of my friends had them, some didn't. I didn't and neither did my sisters. But the idea is sweet.

This gorgeous cover shows pretty linens with an old iron key. Is the key to the hope chest? Is it to something else? To whom does the chest belong? Who are the two girls walking along the top of the page? What is the story?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, indieBRAG, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Books I Have Forgotten

Each month I revisit some of my past reviews. One of the reasons I started this book blog was to remember what books I have read. My memory isn't the greatest anymore and I found that I would read a book and then not remember if I liked it or what it was even about.

Maybe one of these will prompt you to seek out an older, but amazing book. Or, if you've read one of these and your review was different, please share!

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The Sugarless Plum by Zippora Karz
3/5 Stars
1/2010

"This was a memoir I thoroughly enjoyed. I love ballet and while it's not a "tell all" book, the insiders look into the world of the New York City Ballet was fascinating. Zippora's account of the perseverance it took to become a prima ballerina is inspiring: the hard work and hours of practice; the pressure to not only excel, but succeed to the expectations of greats like George Balanchine."

I don't remember anything about this and if I liked it so much, I wonder why it received only 3 stars?

The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
9/2011
3/5 Stars

"Beautifully lyrical, but with moderate, unnecessary profanity. While this isn't necessarily a book that I would re-read, it's a compelling story about life and family heartbreak and how tragedy has the ability to both bring us together and divide us forever. "

I have no memory of this one.
Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie
4/5 Stars
9/2011

"This is an exciting, entertaining story with a charming heroine and handsome hero. While I found myself annoyed at times with Kendra's instant ability to jump to the wrong conclusions, I admired her gumption. And with evil villains and scoundrels, Dorian was the perfect hero, always rushing to the rescue. Along the way, though, they both learn the importance of God and family."

Apparently I enjoyed it.

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What about you? What are some of the books you've read in previous years?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Weekend Reflections 9/2

Looking outside...it's sunny with a smoky haze from fires burning in Montana. Current temp is 72 with a projected high of 97. I'm so ready for fall.

Listening...to the boys watching Guardians of the Galaxy. The Doctor is taking a nap, because he was up late last night and then up uber early this morning for the Balloon Classic.

Loving...that school has started and The Artist is doing well. Junior year is fun because he gets to take lots of electives. He has Theater, Theater-tech, Photography and Art, in addition to English, Seminary and Library Aide. 

Thinking...that I will likely go watch the movie with the boys. 

In my kitchen...I think we'll do Shepherd's Pie for dinner. I only put the potatoes on half of it and then it's fairly Keto friendly for The Doctor. I'm having a Crio Bru right now. Love that stuff.

Wearing...denim skirt and tan shirt. No shoes.

Reading...what's that again? 

Today...some laundry. Some billing for the office. Picking up a birthday gift for my niece.

This morning we went over to The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. It was early, and still dark when we left, but so worth it to see the balloons launch. My cousin and her family met us there. So many beautiful colors and designs and it was stunning to see 30+ balloons all rise at the same time. Just breathtaking. And so many pleasant people out with their families.

Quoting...“Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” ― Daryn Kagan

Feeling...Tired. 

I've had to deal with healthcare organizations this week and it's been incredibly disheartening. "Yes, we made a clerical error that will cost you an extra $300+ this month, and I am so very sorry, but we can't change it." I appreciate that you "escalated it as far as I could" and I believe you when you say, "I am so sorry", but that doesn't help me in this moment. You escalated it to people who sit in their little gilded offices and don't care about the people they are, in theory, supposed to help. 

How do you work for a healthcare company and still have ethics and morals and care about others? I honestly don't think it's possible if all you do is sit in an office. Doctors and nurses on the front lines? Yeah, they see the people and they care. You sheltered people in your pretty offices have no freaking clue. You just care about money.

I'm also heartsick for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. It's so devastating. I am frustrated at those who insist on politicizing natural disasters. It doesn't matter what kind of shoes the first lady wore to get on the plane and any reporter who made it into a story just drove home the idea that journalists are biased and not to be trusted. 

It doesn't matter that a man of one race rescued a woman of a different race. What matters? What matters is that the south was hit with a devastating hurricane. There are people who lost everything. And the important thing is that communities and people came together to help and serve each other, which is what good people do. 

We don't need to point out the assumed political party of those responders. We don't need to post pictures and make obvious comments on the race of those helping and those being helped. Who cares? Seriously. Who cares? What difference does it make? It should make no difference.

The best thing to come out of this is what I expected. America is great. America is full of great people who may disagree politically, but who can still get along and look past any perceived differences and only see their fellow men and women. Not everything is as it is portrayed by the media, by relatively few people who give peaceful protesters a bad name. 

With this disaster, America proved again that we are strong when we work together, and America proved that journalists and loud mouths on social media don't try to show that strength as a rule. They just want to sow discord and improve ratings to further their twisted agendas. On both sides.

Planning...plans for the upcoming week. Plans for business opportunities. 

Gratitude...for air conditioning, for family, for time together. For friends. For good people in this world who outnumber the bad.


From my world... 



I think this will become a new, annual tradition.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Trimming the TBR

Today there were 2879 books on my To-Read list in Goodreads. Last time I purged, I end up with 2831, so obviously I added more...

This time around I purged a bunch of homemaking, home living books.


It's All Too Much and Open Heart, Open Home


The Hidden Art of Homemaking and Keeping House


A Life That Says Welcome and The Art of Romantic Living


For the Family's Sake and Passionate Housewives Desperate for God


Practicing Hospitality and Manners Made Easy


Made from Scratch and Simply Living Smart


Making Work at Home Work and Making a Family Home


Organized Simplicity and An Everlasting Meal


Living Well, Spending Less and The Life Giving Home

These 18 books are about housekeeping, homemaking, family life and simplifying. I don't remember adding many of them to my list. I'm sure they are all good in their own way. I find humor in books that teach you how to simplify. Really? You need a book to tell you how to get rid of clutter or things you don't use or need?

A couple of these books talk about how to be a hospitable host. Really? Think about the places you've stayed and how you felt or were treated. Do that or don't do that. Be kind. Provide your guests with a comfortable place to sleep and clean towels.

If you like flowers, pick up a bouquet the next time you shop. Stick them in a vase on your table. Easy peasy. It doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate.

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I ended this purge with 2825 books and obviously I didn't list every single book that I deleted here. I'd like to say that it's progress, but let's be honest. I'll be adding more, we all know it!

What about you? How many books are on your TBR? Do you ever go through and clean it out?