Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lemon Cookies

 Since it's Wednesdays, I should be blogging about books, but I am in a little bit of a reading slump and haven't read anything blogworthy.  I started Clockwork Princess last night, which isn't any literary masterpiece, but lots of fun.

 I had some friends that needed some treats, and I wanted to make them look special.  I used a paper sack, some scrapbook paper and  stole this super cute graphic from Sweetopia.

I searched Pinterest for a recipe that used lemon cake mix and I  stole one from Organized Island. They were yummy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

I only spent $1.25 for a goodbye gift for 22 kids!

 A few years ago a mom made end of the year wish bracelets for my son's class (here).  I loved the idea so much, that I stole the idea.  I raided by scrap pile and found some twine, so I only had to buy the star buttons. Since I had a coupon, I bought 25 star buttons for $1.25.  That makes them a grad total of 5 cents a piece!
You could even go all out and make them super fancy, if you don't have a million end-of-the school things to do. Since my life is crazy, I went with printing the saying out on my computer and gluing them to random scraps of card stock.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My 17 Favorite Books

Different books have meant different things to me in my life, but these books  (in no particular order) are my very favorite.

Mother-daughter relationships are complicated and beautiful. This tells the stories of 3 generations of women during WWII and I am charmed by it every time.

Jeannette Walls tells the story of her difficult childhood without whining and complaining, and if anyone has earned the right-it's her.

Such a great metaphor for life and love.
Harry Potter=book perfection.

It is beautifully written with wit and heart and tells the love story of a woman falling in love with a child.  Made me happy to be a mom.

Abuse, racism, and justice all told from the perspective of a child.  Literary genius.

Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different member of a missionary family in 1959 in the Belgian Congo.  If you have never read it, you really should.

A smartly funny fairy-tale satire. Don't skip the glossary at the back-it's the best part. 

Best coming of age story EVER! If you've read it, the part about the "bed of roses" makes me cry every time:)

Cinderella story in the pioneer west-it makes me cry too. Every little girl should be read this book aloud.

The story of how a mother raised 10 kids on 25 words or less.

How a senior devil teaches a junior devil the art of temptation.

Ever wonder how one of the most civilized and cultured countries readily followed Hitler?  This book, told from the perspective of a young dwarf, answers that question.

Coming of age tale set in 1687 Connecticut.

White girl writes about the lives of the black "help" in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi and it is amazing.

 While searching for their missing father, children learn how to "wrinkle time" so they can travel through space and time.

The grandfather of all Dystopian literature. 

There's my list-what's yours?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marriage Therapy

Pre-run: We joke that we look like the "before" models of an Adidas campaign. 

A little over a year ago, a friend invited us to join 5 other couples in running a relay marathon (Beach to Bay in Corpus, Christi) and so we started running together for the first time.   It's been great (except for the actual running part).  We have been surprised by the unexpected benefits of running together as a couple and now refer to our weekly runs as "marriage therapy". 

I googled it, but I couldn't find any studies of how running strengthened marriages, but here's what I've learned.  

1.  Running is awful (anyone who says otherwise is a big fat liar), and doing awful things together brings you closer and makes you feel more united.  

2.  It provides a great uninterrupted chance to chat.  

3. Taking care of yourself, is another way of telling your spouse you love them.  

4. You always feel better when it's over.
Self portrait-Action Shot

The race was last Saturday, and it was fun ( I don't know why, but it was).  We ran 4.69 miles in 47 minutes and 12 seconds. We play a little game where we give ourselves a point for every person we pass, and lose one for every person that passes us.  Our goal was 50 and we finished with 61 points!  It was also a bazillion degrees and neither of us collapsed from heat exhaustion, so we're calling it a win. 

Post run: I love this group of people!!!!!! 
 In lieu of scientific studies, here are 6 couples (5 of which hate running) that would all say running together makes our marriages stronger.  

Do you run together?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Good-bye Party-There's No Place Like Home

I am lucky enough to work with a group of ladies at church, whose job is to put on a monthly activity for the rest of the ladies at church.  Since we have 7 ladies moving this summer, we decided to do a good-bye dinner.  Because everything is better w/ a theme we chose Wizard of Oz.

Here's what a group of amazing women can do with a guest list of 40 women and a budget of $100.

Did you know that after Dorothy went back to Kansas, the Tin Man opened up a potato bar?  
I failed to get a picture of the tin-foil wrapped baked-potatoes and the "toronado" (sour cream).  I also made a "Great and Wonderful Salad (aka spinach salad) that also didn't get photographed.  I dug through the toolbox to find spare bolts and screws to make the little signs.    We also had melted witch punch made my Amber at Mule and Nag.  (We normally call it Yoda Soda at my house full of boys).
It is a tragedy of epic proportions that I didn't snap another pick of the dessert table fully loaded with the full rainbow of 500 cupcakes.  We had orange creamsicle, key lime, pina colada, PB chocolate, and red velvet -all amazing.
I did manage to snap a pic of the "table legs" I stole from here. The wicked witch is apparently having some water retention issues.
 I made them from an old pair of shoes I sprayed w/ glitter paint and old soccer socks that I stuffed w/ grocery bags and striped white.
I don't know if these turned out exactly as I envisioned, but we here's our table decor spotlighting HEART, BRAINS, and COURAGE.

I did about a 2 minute devotional on the things I've learned from the Wizard of Oz:
It’s better to be a good witch than a bad witch

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable

 There’s no place like home (our eternal home).

Do not confuse courage with wisdom.

Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?

That all it takes is one little girl to destroy wickedness.

You’ve always had the power to find your way home.

And finally,
A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.

Life is a journey, and just like in the movie, it is only possible with the help of good friends as they share their brains, courage, and mostly their hearts with us. 

Ahead of time, we assigned someone to spotlight each lady that was moving and how she had been an example of courage, heart, and brains.  There may have been a few tears.

We gave them each a twix bar covered w/ the wrappers that I made: (pdf here)

To finish off the night 2 woman sang the song "For Good" from Wicked and everyone got to leave w/ a bookmark with the lyrics.

It was an OZ-SOME night!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesdays-Nothing Good

It was  a hectic week and so I just went for something mindless.  They also ended up being not great.

London is a girl who only "remembers" the future.  Her brain resets each night and anything she did not write down is lost to her.  The concept was a little hard to wrap my brain around and so the book lost some points there.  My biggest complaint is that it just stops just about the point the big mystery is going to be revealed.

2 out of 5 stars   

Ronnie is forced to leave New York and spend the summer in North Carolina with her father.  She spends the summer protecting an endangered turtle's nest and falling in love with a local boy.  It's about as good as you'd expect a book written especially with Miley Cyrus in mind.  
Anyone see the movie?  

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

So now I'm looking for something at least 4 stars.  Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Have you ever heard of Choffy?  My good friend Susan is a distributor and I will let her tell you all about it:

Looking for a healthy and delicious chocolate drink?

Healthful and simply delicious Choffy is something for you to sip into! Choffy is 100% ground and roasted cacao beans.

I found Choffy this summer when I was looking for a "soda in the morning alternative". It has 20 calories, 3 carb, 0 sugars, 0 fats, and 0 chemicals. Choffy has Theobromine which is the gentle long lasting stimulant that gives you a lift without the crash and addiction of caffeine. Choffy is full of antioxidants; one 8 oz cup has as much as 2 cups of bluberries! I brew my morning cup of "cho" by boiling water, steeping the grounds in a french press for 10 minutes, and then adding creamer and sugar. I also enjoy Choffy after dinner when I want to avoid a calorie filled chocolate dessert. 

To learn even more healthful benefits or to order your own bag of Choffy go to

If you would like to try a sample of Choffy, LIKE our facebook page,
Choffy: Crazy4chocolate- Susan Davis!  Private message us your contact information and we will send you one.

What I'm Reading Wednesday's-The Lunar Chronicles

When I tried to describe the plot of these to my husband, it  sounded so ridiculous, he thought I was kidding, but here it is:

Cinder is a young mechanical protege cyborg living in post-apocalyptic Beijing.   She meets the handsome prince when he asks for his help repairing his android.  Of course, there is a little romance and he even invites her to attend the royal ball. 

Scarlet is a young women trying to find her missing grandmother with the help of a man named Wolf in the same post-apocalyptic world as Cinder, but in France.

I told you they sounded ridiculous, but I actually really enjoyed them both and am looking forward to the next one.  I love Meyer's retelling of the classic story tales of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, and it was fun to see how she would interpret various aspects of the story.  They won't change your life, but are lots of fun.

Mommy Warning: Fairly clean PG rated
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Easiest way ever to "frost" a cupcake

My daughter invited about 20 of her closest friends over to celebrate her 15th b-day.  Since she didn't invite boys, I knew those girls would eat A LOT!

Martha Stewart made hers homemade, but I just used a box mix.  After I baked the cupcakes, I stuck a marshmallow on top of each and stuck them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.  I used the back of spoon to flatten them.

I may never frost another cupcake again.  Thanks Martha:)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday-Code Name Verity

Out of fear of over-hyping this book, I will try to keep all gushing under control and won't tell you how very much I loved it. 

It is the story of an unlikely friendship. Maddie is a working class Jew and Julie is from a wealthy Scottish aristocratic family. They meet as female members of the WAAF in WWII.  The Nazis shoot their plane down and one is captured and held as a POW.  The story is actually her written confession to the Nazis and it is smart, funny, heroic, and tragic, and chocked full of literary allusions. If Lorelei Gilmore was ever a Nazi POW, this would be her story and I loved every single page.


Quotes I like:

"Don't you think it makes them stronger when you give them someone to despise? They look at me sniveling in the corner and think, "Mon Dieu.  Don't ever let me be like her".

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend."

"I have heard a good many people say that is (the war) is leveling hte British class system. Leveling is prehaps too strong a word, but it is certainly mixing us up a bit." 

"You know, I speak German because I love German.  What good was a degree in German literature going to do me?  I was reading it because I loved it.  Deutschland, das Land der Dicther und Denker, land of poets and thinkers.  And now I will never even see Germany, unless they send me to Ravensbrueck-I will never see Berlin, or Cologne, or Dresden-or the Black Forest, the Rhine Valley, the blue Danube. I hate you, Adolf Hitler, you selfish wee beastie of a man, keeping Germany all to yourself. YOU RUIN EVERYTHING. "

  I've actually lived in Germany for 11 years and adored the beauty,culture, food (really big fan of the food), the history and feel the exactly the same away about the Nazis.  How could one country produce Beethoven, Saurbraten, beautiful castles, kinder Eggs big soft pretzels, and Hitler? We all agree Nazis were evil, but even though Hitler died 30 years before I was even born, I take what he did to Germany a little personally

Winston Churchill said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” 

Mommy warnings: It's about WWII, so there is some violence, but I didn't find it overly graphic.  There is some language.
Have you read it?  What's the best book you've read lately?

This would be great for book club-here's some questions (Some of them from here.  WARNING: Don't read them until after you read the book or it will spoil it.
  1. Why is SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden keeping "Verity" alive and imprisoned at the Château de Bordeaux? Why do you think he is willing to give her so much time to write her confession?

  2. At the beginning of Code Name Verity, "Verity" starts her confessional story from Maddie's perspective rather than her own. Why? Were you surprised when she reaveals herself.  
  3. In "Kittyhawk," part two of the book, the author changes narrators from "Verity" to Maddie. Does this change your expectations of what's going to happen? Does having two narrators detract from the story or strengthen it? Why?
  4. Throughout the book, the author makes a number of allusions and refers to a good many poets and authors. What are some of the most significant allusions? How do you think these literary and historical influences help deepen your understanding of the characters? Did it remind anyone else of the Gilmore Girls?

  5. How well do we really get to know Julie ("Verity")? What of her confession is "true"? She ends her confession by repeating and repeating "I have told the truth." What truths has she shared?

  6. What are your impressions of Anna Engel? Is she a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

  7. Maddie makes a life-or-death choice that you will probably never have to face. Given a similar bond of friendship, what would you do if you were in a situation that required you to hurt someone you loved?

  8. If you were Julie's mother, how would you have reacted to Maddie's choice?
  9. Would a romance between Jamie and Maddie work out?
  10. If you were living at France at the time, would you have been a member of the resistance?  Would it make a difference if you had children?
  11. SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden has a daughter very similar to Julie that he supposedly loves.  How do you think torturing Julie effects him?  Is is an evil sadist or just following orders?
  12. Through-out the book, both girls list and then change their 10 fears.  What are some of your fears and have they changed since you were a teenager?
  13. "I have heard a good many people say that is (the war) is leveling the British class system. Leveling is perhaps too strong a word, but it is certainly mixing us up a bit." (p. 119) thoughts?
  14. Julie could endure every manner of torture, but could not deal with being called "Brittish".  Do you think it was an act?  
  15. How could the same family produce Etienne and a large part of the local resitance?

Tons of great stuff about the book  (inculding the fact that the author is a pilot herself) here