Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Here are some pictures from my family's Halloween Party last weekend.  I know I'm biased...but aren't they the cutest kids around.

Here they all are together...and then I got a few cute shots of them trick-or-treating.

Emmy was loving the whole experience 
and was definitely more willing to pose for the camera than Owen was.
Mathew was the perfect Peter Pan.

Sarah is really cute...but she definitely knows how to give a crusty.

And everyone knows that Snow White didn't go anywhere without her rubber ducky blanket.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funny Old Joseph

My little brother just turned 30...lucky boy!  He's pretty great....just never trust him anywhere near your nose.  Anyway, he recently posted something on his blog he wrote while in High School and it just reminded me how funny he is.  The link is:

Read his Mr. Smarty Pants can read the 6 quirky things post...but to be honest...the showering on one foot thing freaked me out a little...

Happy Birthday, Joseph!!  Love ya tons!

Monday, October 20, 2008

6 Quirky Things Tagged Me

Emily tagged me…this is a first for me…so, I guess I am supposed to share 6 quirky things about myself. The real challenge here will be narrowing it down, because…um…I have a lot of quirky stuff to pick from.

1.  Volume levels must be on even numbers or multiples of 5. 

There is really no way to make this one seem not weird….I’ve been told to never tell a guy about it until after more than 5 dates.  I don’t know what it is, but I just really hate those odd numbers…next time I buy a car stereo, I’m getting one that doesn’t use numbers to show volume levels…or someday I may crash because I was distracted by a 17 in the display….

2.  I hate sharing the hymn book and if I must share…just let me hold the thing.

So…if there are enough books around I don’t know why people think it’s rude if I don’t share…’cause I really don’t like to.  And then there is the whole thing where you are expected to hold half the book…it’s a lot easier to just have one person hold the book up…don’t ya think?

3.  I always have to be reading a book.

The minute I finish a book…I have to pick up another and slip my bookmark inside.  I just feel a little weird not reading something…so I go from one book to the next….immediately!!

4.  I hate people to help me clean up my kitchen.

I know it’s crazy and people never believe me…but if I invite you to dinner…and I say don’t worry about the dishes…I really mean…don’t worry about the dishes!  I am not sure, but I think that if I had a bigger kitchen I’d feel better about sharing my space and therefore my chores J.

5.  I hate crowds (especially the concert/sporting event kinds).

It’s like I can’t breath sometimes…all those people…pushing and shoving and you can’t get out!!!  You are trapped!!!  There is no escape!!!  This is when I do my deep breathing exercises and smile and pretend like I am in my happy place …  (Oh and I don’t let this one keep me from doing things I really want to do…I just thought I’d add that…I still go…I just have to prepare for it.)

6.  All the numbers on my treadmill make me workout longer.

This one is kind of like the first one…So, I’m on the treadmill running along and I don’t like to stop until I hit even numbers….but if I hit a good stopping point calories wise…I may not quite make it to a good stopping point distance wise….so I have to keep going…but by the time I hit a good distance…the calories are just a few shy of a nice even number….so I keep going and the cycle continues.  You’d think I’d be super skinny or something…and maybe I would be if I didn’t have to get to work…eventually, I just force myself to look away from the numbers in the display…stop the machine and turn it off before I can do anything about changing them. 

So please don’t judge me and stop being my friend because I am a little more weird than you thought I was…I tag….Shayla, Melanie, Jenn, Joseph, Cynthia, and Michaelynn.

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

New favorite book :).  Seriously!  This book was so good and can easily be recommended to anyone.  It's told as a series of letters surrounding Juliet, a young (32 years old) British journalist just after the end of World War II.  She starts corresponding with a group of endearing, hilarious and inspiring residents of Guernsey, a channel island that was occupied during almost the entire war.  

The whole thing is fantastic, but my favorite little portion is this:  (Juliet is complaining about her single status...I may be able to relate...) "...What's the matter with me?  Am I too particular?  I don't want to be married just to be married.  I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with."

Isn't that the best?  There is also a phrase describing what it's like to get completely sucked into a book...she describes it as "doing nothing...but move from bed to hammock to armchair..."  It just made me smile to envision, I love losing myself in an amazing book.  

Anyway, READ IT!!

Favorite Books

Good Books with small annotations and warnings:

Below is a list of some of my very most favorite books.  People are always asking me for suggestions, so here it is.  After each title, in parentheses, I will add letters as content warnings…I’m stealing them from the TV ratings, so: V – violence, L – language, S – sexual content, and I think that’s it.  I do warn that I haven’t read some of these in a long time, so I might not accurately remember what objectionable material might be in them…just stop reading them if you need to :) …not that they are all dirty books or anything, I just worry when giving suggestions…

Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Borrows; I LOVED this book.  I can, and do, recommend it to anyone.

Year of Wonders, People of the Book, & March by Geraldine Brooks (small amount of S & L); Brooks is a really amazing author.  Her books are well research, beautifully written, and I always enjoy reading them…Year of Wonders is the best.

Just David by Eleanor Porter; Very cheerful and lovely book, perfect for reading to little kids.

Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem  by Ester Rasband; Extremely insightful, little book.  I read it every few years and always learn something new.

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (V); A novelization of the Battle of Gettysburg.  This is such a powerful portrayal of the Civil War…a must read if you ever go to the actual battleground.

These Is My Words by Nancy Turner; I recommend this to anyone…it’s pretty close to the perfect book, funny, inspiring, educational, and a little romantic J.

Peace Like a River by Leaf Enger; So good!  I have never met anyone who didn’t enjoy this book.

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (S, L); A lot of language…but a lot of fun to read.


The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery; Just a fun, feel good kind of book with an endearing heroine.

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised a Nation by Cokie Roberts; A different take on the founding of our nation…plus, the authors kinda funny.

 The Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (V); Hosseini is a beautiful writer and he makes the Middle East come alive, but his stories are not without heartache and violence.  They can be hard to read, emotionally, but tell powerful stories.

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori) by Lian Hearn; The first in a trilogy of books set in a Japanese-like alternate history with magic and honor and inescapable destiny.  The first is the best..but the others are good, too.

Elantris & Mistborn (series) by Brandon Sanderson; Excellent fantastic fiction.  My favorite part of Sanderson’s books are the characters, they are flawed and believable.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; I just remember really liking this book…it has some amazing insights.

Going Postal & Making Money by Terry Pratchett; Funny fantasy.  I really enjoyed listening to these two books.  If you get a chance, the reader is really good.

Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker; Nonfiction on how to protect yourself from violence.  Every woman should read this book.

Conspiracy of Paper & Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss; Most of Liss’s stuff is really good…but I LOVE this series.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’m completely in love with the protagonist Benjamin Weaver.

Sunshine, Beauty,  & The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley; Anything by McKinley is really good.  Most of her stuff is YA, but Sunshine isn’t and I think it’s my favorite of her titles.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinesella (L, S); I can’t read her Shopoholic series because they make me nervous…but her other books are fun and Secret is my favorite.

Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum; The spy technology is a little dated, but this trilogy is really fun to read.  And don’t worry if you’ve seen the movie…other than the amnesia and some character names…they are totally different.

Ella Enchanted  by Gail Carson Levine; Another great audio book.  Her other books are good…but this one is by far her best.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Not everyone loves this book but I do.  It is so well written it took me forever to read because I didn’t want to miss a single phrase.

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons; Just a great story with wonderful characters.  The movie is pretty good, too.

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel; I like most of Kimmel’s books, but I really loved this autobiography.  Adorable stories of growing up in a small town.

Odd Thomas  by Dean Koontz (L, V); This series is so much fun.  Odd Thomas sees dead people and I adore him.  Technically, this is horrific fiction, but I don’t think it’s scary as much as it’s just supernatural.

Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (L, S); I don’t recommend this for everyone.  An amazing author with a brilliant story, but there is a lot of language and sex…so please be cautious.

Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint by Donald Spoto; Spoto is a really good biographer…but I loved this one more than his others.  It makes me want to know the truth behind this inspiring historical figure.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier; Wonderful suspense story!

Ender’s Game & Enchantment by Orson Scott Card; Card is an excellent writer and you can’t go wrong with almost anything he has written.  These are my two favorite.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson; A really sweet story.  James Patterson usually writes action/adventures, but I find it fascinating he could write this type of book so well.

Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, & The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas; I’ve left most classics off this list, but I LOVE Dumas.  If you don’t have time for a long epic novel…try The Black Tulip…it’s short and fun to read.

The Giver by Louis Lowry; A wonderful YA novel…and I don’t really read a lot of YA.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; No list of good books is complete without it.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; It’s my favorite Dickens book.

Power of One by Bryce Courtenay; I love read this book several times and I don’t repeat read unless I really love a book. Not everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it though…but I encourage you to give it a chance…sooo much better than the movie.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; Bryson is a really entertaining nonfiction writer and this is my favorite of what I have read.  It tells all about the history of the universe and the world we live in.

Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston; My favorite of the Pride and Prejudice continuations.  Totally light, fluffy reading, but it’s totally entertaining.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation  by Lauren Willig (S); One of my guilty pleasures…the French Revolution, spies and romance, a fun combination.

Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud; Fun YA fantasy.  I listened to these and LOVED the reader…the footnotes are my favorite.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (L, S); Another totally guilty pleasure.  She’s just really funny…but has a bit of a potty mouth.

The Chosen by Chiam Potok; It’s a fascinating look into the life of Hasidic Jews. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Review: Breaking Dawn

I don't really feel it necessary to tell you what this book is about.  But, the best part about having finished it is that it is all over and I do not need to read any more teenage angst vampire least for a while.  I actually liked this one more than the third...maybe because Bella wasn't quite as whiney and co-dependent as she was in the second and third in the series.  

Book Review: Making Money

This is the second book of Terry Pratchett’s that I have read, well listened to, and he totally cracks me up.  It’s the story of Moist von Lipwig, a reformed con artist, who has become bored with his work at the Ankh-Morpork post office.  His girlfriend is off mining for…something…and Moist decides he’d like to “make money” by taking over the Royal Mint.  The reader is really good and I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy at all.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have I Lost My Mind...And Am I Alone

This morning I went to grab a bowl for my breakfast and I went straight to the cupboard where my bowls were kept...over two years ago. Yes, I moved them....a long, long time ago and I still open that stupid cupboard several times a week when trying to grab dishes.

Now, to be perfectly honest...I can almost forgive myself...I mean, the dishes used to be there and I just go there out of habit. The problem is...I do the same kind of thing when I go to get a new dish towel. I have to open at least two drawers before I find them and I have ALWAYS kept them in the same place. WHY??? Am I nuts?...I better rephrase this behavior crazy?? Does anyone else out there forget constantly where things are....because if I'm really being honest...I open the wrong drawer when looking for socks, too.

Just wanted to share my self analysis...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recipe Review: Gingered Peach Crisp

I was in charge of dinner group this was only okay...but, I did use this really good recipe for peach crisp.  So if you have fresh peaches....I recommend...

Gingered Peach Crisp
24 gingersnaps, crushed
1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter, cut up
4 cups fresh peaches, pealed & sliced

Combine first 3 ingredients.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Arrange peaches in a lightly greased 8 inch square baking dish; sprinkle with gingersnap mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Movie Review: Ghost Town

I have been on the longest good movie drought of my life!  This summer's cinematic offerings...with the exception of "Batman"....was just horrible!  But, finally, with the arrival of fall, a good movie finally emerged. HALLELUJAH!! 

Ghost Town stars that British guy from the original Office and Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. There is some language but it's relatively clean and it was REALLY funny.  Hopefully, it wasn't funny because I was so desperate to be entertained....but at one point I was laughing so hard I could hardly breath.  And...don't tell anyone...but I got a little misty at the end because it was just that good!  I highly recommend!

Book Review: Hide & Seek


Wendy Aron had suffered from depression and low self-esteem for most of her life.  In this memoir she recounts how she began to overcome these obstacles.   The process seems to be kick-started when she discovers that her long time therapist may move away. Her resulting panic leads her to a series of self-help education classes and seminars which eventually empower her to move beyond her difficult childhood.

I had hoped this book would be a lot funnier than it was.  Don’t get me wrong, there were humorous moments and the book is well written and quick to read, but I didn’t feel I was entertained like I had been anticipating. That, I believe, is the danger of including the word “hilarious” in your subtitle….it builds an expectation which is very difficult to fulfill.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekly Websites

Almost every week I run into interesting websites that I like to pass along.  Here are this weeks discoveries.

First, a site of lists...   ...I went to look at a list of "disturbing novels"...none of which I have read...but I quickly moved on to "10 odd discontinued Olympic sports"  which included...tug of war, dueling pistols, solo synchronized swimming (which seems to be a contradiction in terms), and pigeon shooting...I think there are other hidden treasures on the site...anyway entertainment treasures...not really accurate information in some cases...

And then a little music video
"The Internet Overdose Song" ....totally cracked me up.

Well, that's it for this week...enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Last weekend I went with some friends to St. George.  The main event was seeing Les Miserables at Tuacahn...but other good times were had as well.  Other good times included a "short flat walk followed by a brief scramble."  Um....the brief scramble left me with nasty pit marks and a smiley wet spot around my neck...super attractive!!  (Which is why you won't see any pictures of me at the top of our little climb...I don't really feel like advertising or documenting my profusion of persperation.)  We had fun and here are some pictures.