2019 Reading Challenge

Every year, our little Facebook book club does a reading challenge.  Below is the list for 2019.  I’ve already finished 3 categories due to a little unexpected time on my hands, though I don’t expect to keep up the pace.

I often do internet searches to find my next read.  My first completed book of 2019 was found during such a search on a list of “books you cannot put down”.  I knew nothing about it other than the title and that it was fiction.  The book is called All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  And, it absolutely belonged on that list.  I almost didn’t use it for our reading challenge, though, because how do you explain how good a book is that is about an 8-year-old and a 19-year-old falling in love and not sound like a total creeper?  And, to make matters worse, I put it in category #8 A Romance Novel……yeah….here is my book club submission:

8. A Romance Novel: Okay. This may be a stretch. I found this title on a list called “Books You Cannot Put Down”. And, they were right. I read it in three days, and for me, that is saying something. I almost exclusively do audiobooks because it takes me forever to get through an actual book book. ANYWAY. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is the story of 8-year-old Wavy, whose mother is a drug addict that usually can’t be bothered to take care of her, whose father cooks meth, and who is raising her little brother. One night, her presence on the road causes 19-year-old Kellan, an associate of her father’s, to wreck his motorcycle. This is the beginning of a long and complicated relationship that nobody truly understands but the two of them. If I had known the subject matter of this book beforehand, I probably would not have read it. BUT, it really is very well written and hard to put down and maybe not quite as creepy as it sounds…..I dunno….. 5 stars on Goodreads.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I know that all sounds horrible.  But, it’s a good book.  It just is.

The second book I finished this year was I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, which fulfilled category #2 A YA Fiction Novel.

2. A YA Fiction Book: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is about Skylar Evans’s attempt to escape tiny Creek View, California, and the life she’s living in abject poverty with her recovering addict mother. Only months away heading off to college, Josh Mitchell returns from Afghanistan with one leg missing, and all of her plans begin to slip through her fingers. 4 stars on Goodreads.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios — Reviews ...

And, my third of the year is The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.  I usually enjoy his novels, but this one wasn’t my favorite.  I can’t even say why exactly.  Probably I wasn’t in the mood for it.  That may have something to do with the way my new year started off (by getting fired from my job of 16+ years).  I put that book in category #13.

13.) A book by someone named John/Johnson or variant: The Rooster Bar by John Grisham is about four 3rd-year law school students who are drowning in debt and are facing the very real probability of unemployment after graduating from the third-tier law school, Foggy Bottom. Gordy can’t take the pressure and leaps off of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. But, before he does so, he lays out the details of a complex and wide-spread law school and student loan scheme that he has uncovered. The remaining three friends must decide what they’ll do with the information and how they are going to face their bleak futures. 3 stars on Goodreads.

Rooster Bar (Unabridged) (CD/Spoken Word) (John Grisham ...

If you’re a reader, please join our group!  The more the merrier!

On a totally random and completely unrelated note, I saw that they’re coming out with Jalapeno M&Ms?!?!  Sign me up!  **drool**

2019 Reading List

Level 1:
1.) A book with a red cover
2.) A YA fiction novel
3.) A book under 300 pages
4.) A book in a genre you normally wouldn’t choose
5.) A first book of a series
6.) A book that takes place during the summer
7.) A book whose title starts with the letter M
8.) A romance novel
9.) A book that has been turned into a TV Show or Movie
10.) A book with a title done in alliteration (example: Pride and Prejudice)
11.) A New York Time's Best Seller (Past or Present)
12.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 2:
13.) A book by someone named John/Johnson or variant
14.) A Fantasy novel
15.) A book with a color in the title
16.) A book recommended to you by someone else
17.) A detective novel
18.) A book with a number in the title
19.) A book about dragons
20.) A book published by Penguin Random House
21.) A book found on Project Gutenberg
22.) A book about an artist (fictional or real)
23.) A book that was published in 1999
24.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 3:
25.) Book 1 in a trilogy
26.) Book 2 in the same trilogy
27.) Book 3 in the same trilogy
28.) A book recommended by a friend on Social Media
29.) A book about a librarian/library
30.) A book about breaking a code or a treasure hunt
31.) A book by a Brandon/Branden or variant
32.) A book that takes place in a large city
33.) A book suggested by What Should I Read Next?
34.) A book that someone else doing this challenge is reading
35.) A book with exactly three words in the title
36.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 4:
37.) A book over 500 pages
38.) A book about time travel
39.) A book with a form of weather in the title
40.) A book published in 1969
41.) A book authored by a Catherine/Katherine or variant
42.) A book by an Anne/Ann/Annie or variant
43.) A book from Time's All-time top 100 book list
44.) A coming of age novel
45.) A book involving mythology
46.) A self-published book
47.) A book with the word dream in the title
48.) Free Space- Pick any book!

Level 5:
49.) A book on a banned book list
50.) The most recent book in a series you haven't finished
51.) A book that you judged by its cover (either positively or negatively)
52.) A book that takes place in your home state
53.) A book that takes place before 1965
54.) A biography
55.) A book you've previously abandoned
56.) A book about a real or fictional politician
57.) A book set in Asia
58.) A book with a tree or forest on the cover
59.) A book with the letter Z in the title 
60.) Free Space- Pick any book!

25 Food Questions Tag

Q1. What’s your favorite breakfast?

A:  I love making breakfast skillets with pan roasted potatoes, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and maybe a bit of jalapeno, breakfast sausage, and a fried egg (sunny side up) on top.

Q2. How do you drink your coffee?

A:  With a spoon of brown sugar and a splash of natural vanilla creamer.  There is a coffee store that I visit way too often called Coffee City USA.  My coffee cabinet currently has 5 bags of different flavored coffees.  My favorites are Jamaican Me Loco and White Russian.

Q3. What’s in your favorite sandwich?

A:  I love McAlister’s harvest chicken salad sandwiches on croissants and Newk’s pimiento cheese sandwiches.  I also love a good, heartburn-inducing Italian sandwich.

Q4. Soup or salad?

A:  If I’m eating out, salad.  If I’m cooking, soup.  I love making soups.  And, I love inviting people over on soup night.

Q5. No more sweets or no more savories?

A:  The old me would have chosen savories, but the older I get, the less my body can tolerate sugar.  This makes me endlessly sad, but what can you do?  So…no more sweets.  Sigh….

Q6. What’s your favorite cuisine?

A:  That is an almost impossible question.  But, I do think I could eat Mexican food just about every day and be happy.  So, maybe Mexican???

Q7. What’s your favorite food movie?

A:  I’m having trouble thinking of a “food movie”.  How about a “food book”?  And I wouldn’t even say it’s my favorite.  But, the question immediately made me think of The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morias.  I don’t know why, because I remember gagging repeatedly while reading that book…..

Q8. What’s your most guilty pleasure?

A:  Tiramisu……mmmmmmmmm……

Q9. The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was?

A:  I love food.  There have been numerous times when I thought what I was eating was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.  I can’t even begin to choose…..

Q10. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A:  My most used cookbook is a church cookbook that my grandmother gave to me when I got married.  I used it a lot pre-internet.

Q11. What’s your greatest inspiration source?

A:  Pinterest.  Period.

Q11. Cooking at home or going out for dinner?

A:  I need a healthy mix of both.  It is too easy to get burned out on one or the other.

Q12. High-end or low profile?

A:  Definitely low profile.  I’m a low maintenance kind of gal and would probably be too uncomfortable to enjoy myself at some fancy schmancy 5-star restaurant.

Q.13. What’s your favorite restaurant?

A:  I don’t have one.  I have favorite things to order at many restaurants.

Q14. I do my grocery shopping at?

A:  WalMart and Brookshires mostly.  But, I love Fresh.  I’ve been known to drive to the one an hour from my house just to window shop.

Q16. Coffee with Leonardo Dicaprio or Gordon Ramsey?

A:  How about with Benedict Cumberbatch or Michael Symon?

Q17. What should not be missing in your kitchen?

A:  A rice cooker.  I would never not burn rice without one.

Q18. What is your favorite snack?

A:  I really don’t snack that much.  Chili lime almonds are awesome, though….

Q19. What’s on your pizza?

A:  All veggies.  Or lots of pork.

Q20. What food do you really dislike?

A:  I don’t usually like to eat Chinese food out.  Nor will I eat McDonald’s.  Olives are also a no.

Q21. What’s the one food you refuse to share?

A:  I’m not a stingy jackwagon….

Q22. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A:  Nothing too weird.  I’ve had shark.  I’ve had a pear and arugula pizza.  That was pretty weird, but not bad….

Q23. What’s on your food bucket list?

A:  A Drivers, Dive-Ins, and Dives road trip.  It would have to include the mushroom cobbler from Brick & Fire Bistro in Eureka, California.

Q24. I couldn’t live without eating?

A:  Fresh veggies.

Q25. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

A:  Mexican food.  Ha!  Is that too vague?

A Song Tag. Again.

This is a song tag I found here, and only slightly altered it.

I like doing these when I have nothing else to write about.  🙂  And, since I’m obnoxious, I am going to TRY to give 3 answers to each category.

And here we go……………….

 A Song You Like With a Color in The Title:

Gold – Sir Sly, Blue Jeans – Lana del Rey, Silver Lining – Rilo Kiley

A Song That Reminds You of Summertime: 

Say Hey – Michael Franti & Spearhead, Woman Woman – AWOLNATION, Little Things – Bush

The first two because of the overall sound of them — upbeat and feel good-ish.  The last because it reminds me of the summer of ’96, which was the most epic of my teenage years.

A Song That Reminds You of Someone You Would Rather Forget About:

I can’t think of any song or any person that I would rather forget about.  Everyone comes into your life for a reason.

A Song That Needs to Be Played LOUD:

Let’s Go – Trick Daddy featuring Twista & Lil Jon, I Get It – Chevelle, Beat It – Fall Out Boy featuring John Mayer

A Song That Makes You Want to Dance:

Best Friend – Sofi Tukker featuring NERVO, The Knocks, & Alise Ueno, Dance Off – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Idris Elba, Bust a Move – Young MC

A Song to Drive to: 

Asleep at the Wheel – Bloodhound Gang, Holding Onto You – Twenty One Pilots, Intergalactic – Beastie Boys

A Song That Makes You Happy:

Stolen Dance – Milky Chance, Stuck in the Middle With You – Stealers Wheel, Something Beautiful – NEEDTOBREATHE

A Song That Makes You Sad:

Vera/Bring the Boys Back Home – Pink Floyd, Brick – Ben Folds Five, The Test – The Classic Crime

A Song That You Never Get Tired of:

Pepper – Butthole Surfers, The Cave – Mumford & Sons, Sail – AWOLNATION

A Song That You Like With A Number In The title:

Seven Bridges Road – Eagles, Acoustic #3 – Goo Goo Dolls, 3 am – Matchbox 20

A song from your preteen years:

Buttermilk Biscuits – Sir Mix-a-Lot, The Devil Came Up to Michigan – KMC KRU, Parents Just Don’t Understand – DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

One of Your Favorite 80’s Songs: 

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) – Eurythmics, In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins, Batdance – Prince

A Song That is a Cover By Another Artist:

Come Together – Gary Clark, Jr (Beatles), Radioactive – Daughtry (Imagine Dragons), Where Did You Sleep Last Night? – Nirvana (Leadbelly)

One of Your Favorite Classical Songs:

West Texas – Wyman Meinzer, Hedwig’s Theme – John Williams, Wake Me Up – 2Cellos

A Song That Makes You Think About Life:

Praise You in This Storm – Casting Crowns, Believe – Mumford & Sons, Beautiful – Eminem

A Song from Your Birth Year

Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two – Pink Floyd, Another One Bites the Dust – Queen, You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC

Another Brick in the Wall, Part II was released in 1979 but was still on the Billboard charts in 1980.  So, I’m counting it.  So, there….

A song that you think everybody should listen to:

What It’s Like – Everlast, Be As You Are – Mike Posner, Simple Man – Shinedown

A song by an artist no longer living:

Numb – Linkin Park, No Rain – Blind Melon, Ode to My Family – The Cranberries

A Song That Breaks Your Heart:

Skin – Alexz Johnson, Piece by Piece – Kelly Clarkson, Hate Me – Blue October

A song by an artist with a voice that you love:

No Light, No Light – Florence + the Machine, Way Down We Go – Kaleo, Sound of Silence – Disturbed

A song that you remember from your childhood:

El Shaddai – Amy Grant, They’re Coming to Take Me Away – Napoleon XIV, Joy to the World – Three Dog Night

A song that reminds you of yourself:

Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger, Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) – The Offspring, Imperfection – Saving Jane

A song that you recognize immediately from the intro:

Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, One – Metallica




“Old” is Relative

I am the Safety Manager at my job.  So, it probably doesn’t make much sense that when the refinery located less than two miles from my office caught fire today, I hopped in a truck and rode over there to see what I could see.  Sometimes nosiness is a stronger reaction than self-preservation.  I did, very responsibly I might add, get on the horn with my drivers and tell them to get the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of there.  At least nobody else’s blown-up body would be on my conscience.  🙂  Luckily, it was a small fire, and nobody was hurt.  There is never a boring day at my job.  Ever.

Though I am much happier at my new job, I still feel like all I do is work.  Time is flying by at an alarming rate.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder how in the world someone as young as me can have that many wrinkles.  And then, I have to be the bearer of bad news and tell myself that I am actually NOT that young and remind myself that several of my friends are GRANDPARENTS.  That’s GRANDparents.  With a GRAND.  As in gray hair and early bedtimes and jars of orange marmalade on their tables.  There is NO WAY that the people I graduated from school with–still cool, energetic, fun, stylish people–are grandparents.  But then, maybe we’re not so “cool” (as evidenced by my use of the word cool), nor as energetic as we once were, nor as fun, and, in my case anyway, maybe not so stylish.  Sigh……

But, that’s okay.  I am determined to enjoy all the time that God is granting me here in this life.  The Hubs and I did go see 2Cellos in Austin again a few weeks ago.  I was slightly less excited this time than last because this year was the “Score Tour”.  And, though 2Cellos are extremely talented, and everything they play is amazing, I thought there was no way that it would be as good a show.  They did start out playing several movie scores.  After four or five, one of them got on the mic and told us not to worry because they would only play one more “slow song”.  **insert excited grin here**  The scores were amazing, but 2Cellos are at their very best when they are rocking out.  And, they absolutely did not disappoint.  And their drummer!  That kid is WILDLY talented.  His name is Dusan Kranjc, and his playing was stunning.  You could feel his drumbeats reverberating through your entire body.  I have no idea how he played like he did throughout the entire show, but I guess that could be said about Luka and Stjepan as well.  I can’t wait to see them again.

Anyway.  I hope all of you are enjoying your God-given time as well.  I hope you remember that each day is a gift.  I have to remind myself sometimes, but it absolutely is.  Seize each day.  Love others.  Be kind.  You know…all that advice that either makes me sound like I spend too much time on inspirational Pinterest boards or that I have life figured out.  😉  But seriously…….

Song of the Day:

Mombasa by 2Cellos with Dusan Kranjc

Book of the Day:

See the source image

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber.  I am just about finished with this audio book.  I didn’t have much hope at first, but it has definitely grown on me.  Lady Darby was married to an anatomist who forced her to illustrate the anatomy book he was writing.  In Scotland in the 1800s, her participation in these autopsies is deemed “unnatural” and has made her the focus of nasty rumors.  Following the death of her husband, she flees to her sister’s castle, where she finds herself caught up in a murder mystery.  Because of her past, she becomes everyone’s prime suspect and is forced to assist in the investigation to help prove her innocence.  So far, so good.  I have been looking forward to my commute each morning and afternoon so I can listen to it.

Recipe of the Day:

Dill Pickle Soup via Noble Pig.  I was skeptical, but this falls under my theory that if a recipe sounds really nasty, it’s probably pretty good.  Why else would anyone make it?  And, this was pretty durn tasty!


  • 5-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (smaller dice)
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickles (smaller dice ~ about 3 large whole dills)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups dill pickle juice*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • sliced dill pickles
  • fresh dill
  • black pepper


  • In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk sour cream mixture (2 Tablespoons at a time) into soup. (This will also break up some of your potatoes which is okay. You might see some initial little balls of flour form, but between the whisking and boiling all will disappear. Don’t panic.)
  • Add pickle juice, Old Bay, salt (*see below), pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.
  • *All pickle juice is not created equal. Some is saltier than others. Taste your soup after adding the pickle juice and final seasonings. It’s possible you will not need any salt or would prefer more or less.

Back on Track



It’s me….

So, it’s been ages since I’ve written.  The last few times y’all heard from me, my life was in a sort of state of limbo.  I’m happy to announce that things have improved.  I was able to escape that horribly toxic environment that I was working in.  I started a new job about two months ago, and I love it.  There is so much less drama.  Though the work can be stressful, everyone is laid back, and we all get along very well.  All around, I am so much happier.  The Hubs’ work is still sporadic, but business is picking up.  I am still trusting the Lord with all of it.  We’ve had a few things happen with our home that almost sent me over the edge, but I am placing it all in His hands as well.  Ah, the Joys of Home Ownership.

The other blogging project that I have been working on, has slowed down.  Neither my friend nor I have had as much time to round up contributors.  I really hope to get back into that.  I truly found it rewarding.  (If anyone has a story they’d like to contribute….hint hint hint……)

Did any of you make any New Years resolutions?  I didn’t.  I had decided a while back to make a conscious effort to be happy.  Period.  It wasn’t a New Years resolution.  It was a life resolution.  And, so far, so good!  🙂

We started a new reading challenge at the beginning of the year.  I am ashamed to say that I did not successfully finish the 2017 challenge.  **hangs head**  But, it’s a new year and a new reading list.  This go ’round should be fun.  I came up with a new format that should be interesting.  I think it has thrown some of the members off, but once they start putting books into categories, I think they will get into it.  If anyone cares to join, you are more than welcome!

To all of those who are under a winter weather advisory….stay warm & fuzzy!  For those of us who are not at all used to this level of cold….bless our hearts!  😉

Book of the day:

See the source image

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.  Claire Scott thinks that she has a storybook life and marriage until her husband is murdered in front of her.  After the funeral, she discovers that she did not know her husband AT ALL.  This book is graphic and brutal, but is a very good read.  4 stars on Goodreads.

Song of the day:

&Run by Sir Sly.

Heavy as the setting sun / oh, I’m counting all the numbers between zero and one / happy but a little lost / well, I don’t know what I don’t know / so I’ll kick my shoes off and run.

Recipe of the day:

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup via Chelsea’s Messy Apron
  • 1 can (10 ounces) green enchilada sauce
  • 1 can white beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 cans (4 ounces EACH) diced fire-roasted green chiles
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) diced tomatoes optional
  • 4 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro optional
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened
  • Pick your favorite add-ins: pepper-jack cheese, sour cream, fresh lime, additional cilantro


  1. In a large crockpot, pour in the green enchilada sauce, drained and rinsed white beans, drained and rinsed black beans, and fat-trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts.
  2. Add the undrained diced fire-roasted green chiles, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, about 1 teaspoon salt, about 1/4 teaspoon pepper, coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, and chicken broth or stock.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or high for 3-5 hours or until the chicken easily shreds.
  4. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and place in another bowl. Add softened cream cheese into the crockpot.
  5. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes or until the cream cheese melts completely and is easily stirred into the soup. Remove the chicken and transfer to a bowl. Briskly whisk to get the cheese completely incorporated.
  6. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and then add back into the soup.
  7. Serve with desired toppings. I love a big handful of pepper-jack cheese, fat-free sour cream, a wedge of lime, and some cilantro!

Goodreads Book Tag

I haven’t posted on this account in ages.  But, I saw on my active blog that there is a Goodreads Book Tag.  As someone who uses Goodreads all the time, I knew I had to participate.

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Image result for blue highways william heat

Blue Highways:  A Journey Into America by William Least Heat-Moon

What are you currently reading?

I am reading two books at the moment.

Image result for witness to a trial john grishamImage result for the twelve justin cronin

On my Kindle, I am reading Witness to a Trial by John Grisham.  I needed a book and its prequel for this year’s reading challenge, and I finished The Whistler earlier this year.  (It was great btw.)  And at work, I am listening to The Twelve by Justin Cronin.  It is book two of The Passage series, which is a post apocalyptic series.  The series was recommended to me by a cousin, and I really liked the first one.  I believe there are four books total.

What was the last book you marked as TBR?

I don’t mark books as TBR on Goodreads because I never really know what I’ll be reading next.  I do, however, keeps books on my wish list on the online library that I use.

What book do you plan to read next?

Do you use the star rating system?

Yes I do.  However, I often wonder why I rated a book the way I did.  It’s really subjective and depends on mood, how good or bad recent reads have been, etc.

Are you doing a 2017 reading challenge?

I am.  This is the third year that I have participated in a reading challenge.  In fact, I created a reading challenge Facebook page with my cousin, and this is the second year of that.  Last year, I finished with one day to spare in the year!  This year is looking rather doubtful, but I’m not giving up yet.  My problem is that I read and read and read without much focus put on my challenge list.

Do you have a wishlist?

Yes.  The online library I use allows you to place books on a wish list.  This comes in handy if you already have the 10 books the site limits you to already on hold.

What book do you plan to buy next?

I almost never buy books.  I know that a lot of people probably consider that sacrilege or something, but it’s true.  Why spend money on books when I can borrow them from the library and then return them?  I very seldom re-read books.  I would, however, like to own a copy of The Fault in Our Stars.

Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.


“Power, time, gravity, love. The forces that really kick ass are all invisible.” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas


“A grace is a thing you get from God. You use it to make a better world or not use it. You have to choose.” “Like your art,” I said, “like your beautiful drawings.” He said, “like your pancakes.” – Dean Koontz, Brother Odd


“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy….” – Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Who are your favorite authors?


I didn’t even know this was a feature on Goodreads!  According to the site, my most-read authors are:  Janet Evanovich (21), James Patterson (19), John Grisham (18), and Stephen King (17).  I don’t know if I would call any of these my “favorites”, though.

Have you joined any groups?



Do you use Goodreads? What are your favorite and least favorite things about it? Are there any cool bookish websites like Goodreads that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!


I’m still alive. In case you were wondering.

Hello, neglected readers.  I am sorry that I have been away for so long.  As usual, I started a project (this and one other blog) and then got distracted and left them shivering and alone and utterly abandoned.

I have been working on another blogging project, however.  This one with a friend.  It was her idea.  And, it has been quite successful and rewarding.  I really hope that we are helping people.  That’s our goal anyway.  http://theinnerviewweb.wordpress.com, if you’re interested.  We are always looking for contributors, btw.  Please reach out to me if you have a story to tell.  Anonymously or not!

Also, The Hubs’s new work project has been picking up speed.  And, we’ve had a lot going on in the home front:  another garage sale, family visits, family reunions, fantasy football draft parties, visits to my grandma, craft projects, road trips, etc etc etc.  Time is flying by at an alarming rate.

Our 20th wedding anniversary, which has forever seemed in the distant future, is only a month away now!  Goodness!  I can’t even wrap my head around being married that long.  But, we have.  The Hubs and I took a selfie Saturday evening while out to dinner with friends.  I almost gasped when I saw it.  We look….**insert tense, dark music leading up to a horrific reveal here**….middle aged!  Surely we don’t actually look like that in normal, everyday life.  SURELY I would have noticed…..

A small portion of my out-of-state in-laws recently left after a two-week visit.  That is always an ordeal.  The Hubs’s family is just so friggin’ massive.  We hosted a retirement party for my mother-in-law.  It was mostly local family that attended, and I would guesstimate that there were 50-70 people there.  We decorated for two hours.  Cooked for two days.  Planned for two weeks.  It was exhausting.  But, she had a good time, and that’s all that matters.  My right eye has finally stopped twitching.  (I kid….I kid….)

Anywho.  So, that’s my excuse for not blogging recently.  And, I guess that my 100 Day Song Challenge is a gigantic failure.  I’ll never catch up on that.  Oh well…..

Hope you are happy and peaceful and enjoying life.

Song of the Day

Numb by Linkin Park.  This is in honor of Chester Bennington, who committed suicide last week.  So.  Sad.  Suicide is NEVER the answer.  It breaks my heart to hear of anyone doing it…….

Recipe of the Day

Strawberry Jam-Filled White Chocolate Mousse Mirror Glaze Cake via http://www.casuable.com.  The Hubs and I tried to make this for his mom’s party.  It.  Was.  A.  Disaster.  In the end, we served a bowl of “cake salad”.  It was hideous, but very very tasty.  Sigh….


White Chocolate Mousse

  • 8 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  •  cups heavy cream (for the eggs)
  •  cups white chocolate (over 30% cocoa butter)
  • 2 cups heavy cream chilled (for whipping)

Mirror Glaze

  • 300 milliliters water
  •  cups sugar
  • 1 14- ounce can sweeten condensed milk
  • 15 gelatin sheets
  • 26 ounces white chocolate chopped (over 30% cocoa butter)
  • Gel food coloring of choice

Mirror Glaze Cake

  • 1 recipe White Chocolate Mousse
  • 18 ounces strawberry jam seedless
  • 2 round vanilla cakes prepared with box instructions and trimmed to 1 cm thick
  • 1 recipe Mirror Glaze


White Chocolate Mousse

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with a hand mixer until frothy and airy, then mix in the sugar slowly. Beat until lemon-colored and fluffy.
  2. Heat the cream in a pot over medium heat until steaming but not boiling, then slowly mix in half of the cream with the eggs – being sure to not cook the eggs by pouring too much cream inside before it’s mixed.
  3. Pour the warm creamy egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the cream and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon without dripping off too much.
  4. Mix in the white chocolate until smooth, then transfer the mix to a bowl and press cling film into the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill completely.
  5. Once the white chocolate mixture is set, beat the cold cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks. Be careful not to overmix, it’s safer to undermix than the over mix.
  6. Carefully fold in the white chocolate mixture into the cream, a little at a time, until folded in completely. Set aside for later use.

Mirror Glaze

  1. Boil the water, sugar, and condensed milk in a pot for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  2. Bloom the gelatin in 8 cups of cold water for 5 minutes, then wring the gelatin sheets of excess water and mix into the sugar mixture.
  3. Pour the liquid over the chocolate, letting it sit for 2-3 minutes to allow the chocolate to soften.
  4. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the chocolate and the liquid, making sure that you are not blending in air bubbles by lifting up the blender too high. It’s okay to go slow, just make sure it’s all blended with as little bubbles as possible, which will show up in the final product.
  5. Sieve the mix into a large jug or vertical container to remove any excess bubbles. If there are still bubbles, continue to sieve back and forth. A trick to remove air bubbles from the surface is to manually pop them with a toothpick or to press cling film into the surface and remove the bubbles.
  6. Separate the glaze into different containers and color them to your desire. We used red and white for this cake. Blend the coloring with the glaze until the color is distributed evenly, then cover each container with the cling film, pressing the film into the glaze to ensure that there is no skin when you are ready to use the glaze.
  7. When you are ready to use the glaze, make sure each one is around 90-96°F, then pour the colored glazes back into one container. Swirl them if you’d like, then glaze your cake!

Mirror Glaze Cake

  1. Spread the jam evenly into the bottom of a round 8-inch cake pan, then place one of the cake rounds on top. Freeze completely.
  2. In a 9-inch by 3-inch silicone round cake mold, pour ⅔ of the chocolate mousse then tap the mold on the table to release any air bubbles.
  3. Place the frozen cake & jam disc on top of the mousse, jam-side down. Press the cake down slightly, then cover it with the rest of the mousse. Place the 2nd cake round on top, pressing down until the mousse rises to the level of the cake. Carefully transfer to a freezer and freeze overnight. It is vital that the cake is 100% frozen through.
  4. Place a can on top of a baking sheet, then carefully unmold the cake onto the can. Make sure to work quickly and that the glaze is already prepared.

Book of the Day

Image result for a painted house john grisham

A Painted House by John Grisham.  I just finished this one today.  I love books set in the ’50s.  I think it’s because my parents were born in the ’50s.  Life seemed so much simpler back then.  It definitely was harder, but there was no social media.  People lived slower.  They seemed to have more values and treat people kinder.  This book tells the story of 7-year-old Luke and his family, who are cotton farmers in rural Arkansas.  I really enjoyed it.