Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Whimsy Wednesday...Prehistoric Era


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Weekend Reflections 2/24

Looking outside...it's cloudy and 30. We had snow this morning and there is a forecast for more this afternoon. We had 4 inches Thursday morning, which is the first snow since Christmas. It had been warm and I thought Spring was coming early. Weather in Idaho is funny sometimes.

Listening...to the family. We have a rare Saturday where everyone is home. The Doctor did see patients early this morning. We have a great room and all of us are here together. The Artist on his computer. The Boy is on the couch. The Doctor is preparing lunch. We get random commentary from whatever the boys are looking at or watching. Apparently The Artist might have plans on June 11, 2021 because that is when Jurassic World 3 is coming out.

Loving...time spent together. There is nothing better than being with my husband and sons. 

Thinking...that I probably should do some laundry, but I can easily push that same thought away.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru at the moment. We're going out to dinner tonight.

Wearing...long denim skirt, tan sweater, boots and a navy cardigan. 

Reading...I posted my February Wish List yesterday.

Today...this afternoon we are finally going to see Black Panther. As a family. These kind of days are good days. And, we're all pretty excited to see it.

Quoting..."The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows... compassion." ― Abraham Erskine to Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger

Feeling...tired, but then I'm always tired. 

My heart aches for those affected by the shootings on Valentine's Day. My heart hurts for the rhetoric that has followed. At a time when we should be coming together in support, we are more divided than ever. There is more hate than ever. And hate doesn't solve anything. It never has.

There is a middle ground. There are answers. But, they involve compromise. Those answers involve each side listening to the other side. Listening to listen. Not listening to answer and condemn. Neither side has the only solution. And someone who has thoughts and ideas that differ from yours? They're not completely wrong. Just like you're not completely right. Solutions and answers require letting go of political party loyalty. I am truly disgusted with all politicians over this. Politicians from both parties. I have always been disgusted with all lobbies and the fact that our government representatives can so easily be bought and because of that, they are unwilling to have honest, open dialogue.

My opinion is that we can't address only guns or gun control. We have to also address society and what causes people to find and obtain guns to harm other people. I believe both of these things go hand-in-hand. You can't address one, without addressing the other. To do so is hypocritical. If you want to ban or restrict a specific gun, then remove that gun from television shows and video games. Because desensitization is real. You can't make it look fun and easy to shoot on a video game or television show and then get angry when someone wants to have one for themselves. 

So those who want to have a real, honest dialogue about this? Listen. Really listen. You don't have to agree, but you can find a solution. It's out there. But, you're all so busy yelling over each other that you'll never find it.

Planning...this next week. The Artist is in the school play and it starts next weekend. So exciting. 

Gratitude...for a warm house, a fireplace and hugs. A snow day with all of us together is a good thing.

From my world... 




Truth. Why don't we all make an effort to be better at listening this next week?

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

5 Books I Want to Read...Recipes

I keep a wish list on Goodreads called "want to read". Currently, it's up to 3013. That is down one book from January. Yikes. It's time for a purge...

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.

The month of February is about as depressing as January. Yesterday, we had 4 inches of snow. We haven't had snow since Christmas. It took us 45 minutes to get to the office, a drive that normally takes about 20. It was slushy, icy and slick. So, what better than to just come home and cook or bake. I love recipes. I collect recipes and cookbooks. I still use printed or hand-written recipe cards. I realized that I had quite a few books on my list with "recipe" in the title. They're novels, not cookbooks. I love novels that include recipes.

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Sweet Shop of Dreams: A Novel with Recipes by Jenny Colgan

Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Soft chewy ones or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money...the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag...

Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian s sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong.

Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton s sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets.

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Kate Kerrigan

"They say there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but of course there is. A perfect marriage is where two people live together for most of their lives until death separates them.

"What there is no such thing as is an easy marriage. And when it comes to love, people have somehow come around to equating love with ease."

New York food writer Tressa returns from honeymoon worried that she has married her impossibly handsome new husband Dan out of late-thirties panic instead of love.

In 1930's Ireland, her grandmother, Bernadine, is married off to the local schoolteacher after her family are unable to raise a dowry for her to marry her true love, Michael.

During the first year of her marriage, Tressa distracts herself from her stay-or-go dilemma by working on her grandmother's recipes, searching for solace and answers through their preparation.

Through the stories of these two women Recipes for a Perfect Marriage challenges the modern ideal of romantic love as a given and ponders whether true love can really be learned.

The Forgotten Recipe by Amy Clipston

After losing her fiancé in a tragic accident, Veronica Fisher finds solace in the old recipes stored in her mother’s hope chest—and in a special visitor who comes to her bake stand to purchase her old-fashioned raspberry pies.

Veronica knows how lucky she is to be marrying her best friend. Seth Lapp is kind, hardworking, and handsome—but most importantly, he loves Veronica.

When an accident on the job steals Seth away from her, a heartbroken Veronica is certain she will never love—or be loved—again. Yet when she discovers a batch of forgotten recipes and opens a bake stand to sell her Mammi’s raspberry pies, Veronica picks up a regular customer who gives her heart pause.

Jason Huyard was with Seth when he lost his life—a memory that haunts him still. So when he seeks out the grieving fiancée to convey his condolences, the last thing he expects—or wants—is to fall in love. Nonetheless, Jason soon finds himself visiting Veronica’s bake stand every week . . . and it’s for more than the raspberry pies.

Now, as Veronica’s heart thaws, Jason can’t bring himself to tell her he was there when Seth died. Can he ever reveal where he was on the day her life derailed? Or will his secret rob them of the second chance at love they both want?

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

The bestselling, beloved author of The Charm Bracelet spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

The Recipe by Candace Calvert

In this heartwarming romance novella by Candace Calvert, hospital dietary assistant Aimee Curran is determined to win the Vegan Valentine Bake-Off to prove she’s finally found her calling. But while caring for one of her patients—the elderly grandmother of a handsome CSI photographer—Aimee begins to question where she belongs.

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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 CourtFlashlight Commentary and A Literary Vacation.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

#CoverCrush: Vanity Fare


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.


Cookies and reading? Add in a cup of hot chocolate and I'm there. I love the tag line: "A novel of lattes, literature, and love." Seriously, how can you go wrong with that? I'm off to bake some cookies before The Artist gets home from school.

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 SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#CoverCrush: The Light in the Ruins


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.


The light in this cover is fascinating. Almost as if it's trying to brighten up a muted, hazy world. Why? Is it a world at war? A woman sits in a window, or stands in the doorway, watching her soldier leave. Is it for the first time? The last time? 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 Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

#CoverCrush: little black dress


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.


What woman doesn't love a little black dress? Add a strand of pearls and you are retro! I love the colors here: the bright green with the black. Who is this woman? Is she getting ready to go out or has she come home and is now undressing for the night? 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 Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

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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Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
2/5 Stars
7/2011

"Liked it, didn't love it. I never really connected with Sandy and I found her to be selfish, shallow and whiny. All she cared about was herself and selling her house. There was no compassion for her husband or children, only disdain for the fact that they didn't do things the way or as fast as she wanted them to.

The narrative was conversational and the staging tips were fun and added an interesting note. There were moments of laugh out loud funny humor, but overall the story was shallow and felt unfinished. When Sandy meets Naomi, there was an opportunity for added depth, but Sandy simply gives her a makeover and job. Naomi's story is also never actually concluded, but pushed aside for the girlfriends-band-together-to-make-a-man-miserable ending.

A light, fluffy, humorous beach read. Nothing more. Perfect for an afternoon escape where you don't want to concentrate on anything."

Not sure I missed anything by not remembering it. I do like the cover.


Before Versailles 
by Karleen Koen
7/2011
2/5 Stars

"This wasn't an easy book to read. It seems to be well researched and is a fictionalized account about the first 4 months of the reign of King Louis XIV of France and has all the makings of a great novel. It's a story full of mystery, adultery and intrigue and the French court was lavish and decadent.

There is a cast of characters listing in the front, but I still had a hard time keeping people straight and I think it's because the POV didn't stay with one particular person. It was hard to find a connection with either Louise or Louis. Honestly, I ultimately didn't like the characters or the book. But, I can pretty much guarantee that mine will probably be one of the only negative reviews on the tour. This book is one that has received high marks on Goodreads and Amazon and fans of historical fiction should enjoy it."

I remember being disappointed in this one, but I don't remember anything about it.


The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Ybarro
3/5 Stars
7/2011

"I liked it as a light escape read, nothing more. Charlotte annoyed me so much with her over the top antics that I nearly put the book down a couple of times. Yes, there was humorous repartee and I liked Alex, but the whole premise was a stretch for me. The Christian elements are light and while prayer is discussed as important, no one ever actually prays or attends church.

I wish that publishers would indicate when a book is part of a series. This one, apparently, is the third in a trilogy and there were times when I felt lost and didn't understand some references and that was most likely because I haven't read the first two books.

This is one of those novels that ardent fans of historical Christian fiction will love. They will praise it and adore it for the humor and the banter. For me, it was an entertaining diversion, nothing stellar."

Meh.

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

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Weekend Reflections 2/3

Looking outside...it's overcast, but about 48. We may hit 60 today as our high. It's the beginning of February. We haven't had snow since Christmas and not a lot of rain. Weird weather. My sister in North Carolina and friends in Texas have had colder weather and more snow that we have had in Idaho.

Listening...to the dishwasher running. The boys are still asleep. The Doctor is working on fixing the washing machine.

Loving...time with family. It is precious. 

Thinking...I finally saw The Greatest Showman. Last weekend with my cousin and this week with The Artist. Yesterday for one of my Пятница Ponderings, I wrote about my experience seeing the film with The Artist. I appreciated the message that every person has value. I adored the music. I can't get enough of the soundtrack. I want to see it again.

In my kitchen...Crio Bru. Not sure what we're doing for dinner tonight.

Wearing...black long-sleeved t-shirt, fuzzy yellow minion jammies and pink fuzzy socks.

Reading...I should just take this category off the reflections post. But, this week I had a review for The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard. I read it last year, but the book is actually being published this coming week. Run, don't walk and grab a copy to read.

Today...some writing, some working, some planning. The laundry, however, is finished.

Quoting...

"However big, however small
Let me be part of it all, 
Share your dreams with me 
You may be right, you may be wrong 
But say that you'll bring me along 
To the world you see 
To the world I close my eyes to see.
Every night I lie in bed 
The brightest colors fill my head 
A million dreams are keeping me awake 
A million dreams, a million dreams 
I think of what the world could be 
A vision of the one I see 
A million dreams is all it's gonna take 
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make."

-- A Million Dreams, The Greatest Showman

Feeling...tired, but I'm always tired. Reflective. I've been reflective a lot this week. 

No insurance rants today. I actually had a call with a Blue Cross representative that was coherent and he was able to give me answers that were helpful and productive. That was a blessing this week. For us and the patient. UHC, on the other hand, still holds the award for "Least Effective Insurance Company".

Planning...this next week. Tomorrow we are having dinner at The Dower House (Grandma's) to watch the Superbowl. I only watch it for the commercials.

The Artist is in the school play and has rehearsals every day after school. We really need a third car to manage schedules. Yesterday, he texted to say he was done. I gathered my purse and keys and walked into the garage, only to discover that it was empty. Somehow we'd all missed the memo that I was going to need a car to pick him up from school. The Boy had taken one car to work and The Doctor took the other one. 

Fortunately my sister saved the day and picked up the Artist and brought him home.

Gratitude...for my husband. For his love, his insight and his acceptance. 

From my world... 



I met my cousin in Twin Falls last weekend and we just had a girls only overnight. So fun to catch up and just relax. The falls were gorgeous. There is not usually this much water at this time of year, but it was beautiful. It was also deserted and cold with snow flurries. The water roaring over the falls was loud and if you closed your eyes, it was almost like being at the ocean. I could have stood there all day.

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

Friday, February 2, 2018

Пятница Ponderings: The Value of a Person

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian

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The Greatest Showman

I'm usually late to the party when it comes to movies. I've seen so much written about The Greatest Showman, but just hadn't gotten around to going. I had a girl's weekend with my cousin and we saw it last Friday night. It was awesome. Even with the crazy girl sitting on the same row, a few seats down, who was high on something and had obviously seen the film enough to sing along.


I loved it. The Doctor and I were out Saturday night to pick up my mom from the airport and three stores later (including what was probably the sketchiest Wal-Mart I've ever been in) we found the soundtrack. The Doctor is allergic to musicals and he loves the soundtrack.

The Artist wanted to see it and so he and I went Monday night. Even with the rude people who sat right in front of us after having cleaned out the concession stand, and rocked their seats and ate loudly, he loved it. (We moved down the row to be away from them.) He reacted to the fun scenes and the heartwarming ones. At one point, he had his hands over his face murmuring, "Don't do it. Don't do it."


We had a great discussion on the way home.

On the way out I asked, "What was your favorite part?" He replied, "All of it. That was awesome. I think it's my new favorite movie of all time." I said, "Even more than your Godzilla and Pacific Rim movies?" His reply? "I think so."


That's huge. But, he also loves music and he is taking Theater this year and is in the school play. And he continued, "That movie made me feel so...I don't know. I haven't felt this way in a long time." As we talked, he was able to vocalize that he felt joy. That the music was so uplifting and happy. He said, "So much of today's music is depressing and about sex and drugs...and not so much about rock and roll actually...but this was happy. So much of the happy music we hear is about Christ and this wasn't religious, but it was happy. It makes me feel like, I don't know." I said, "Like you can do anything?" His eyes lit up and he said, "Yes! That's it!"

He enjoyed most of the music and said, "I really liked, 'This is Me'. That was so good." I asked him what he thought it meant and he said, "That you should be proud of who you are and not try and hide it." We talked and I told him that I thought one of the film's main messages was that every person has value. He agreed.


There is much in this world that is good, but there is also much that isn't. Our youth especially, are bombarded every day with negativity whether it be from social media, music, television, or the school bus.

The Artist is already someone who sees the good in people. He held the door for people leaving the theater, even the rude people we had to move away from. They were still rude and didn't even say, "Thank you" like everyone else did, but he didn't do it for kudos, he did it because it was kind. And he is a considerate person. I am incredibly proud of the man he is becoming.


But, he still has his doubts and insecurities like we all do. So I was grateful to see a film that was inspiring and uplifting and to watch him find the joy in it.

Oh, I get that the real P.T. Barnum was nothing like the man portrayed here. But, honestly? I don't care. We go to the theater, whether it be stage or film, to escape and to be entertained. If we come away inspired and enlightened, it's even better. So, I don't care if this film is biographical or fictional. I care that it had a positive impression on my son.

This week I am grateful for a film that made my son feel good about himself.

Have you seen The Greatest Showman? What did you think?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

#CoverCrush: Back Home at Firefly Lake


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 cozy couch, with a pillow, blanket and cup of cocoa. What else could you want on a cold February morning? This cover captured my attention as soon as I saw it. I have no idea the genre. I just know I love the scene on the cover.

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 SwedeLayered PagesA Literary VacationOf Quills and Vellum.