Archive from March, 2016
Mar 30, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on If My Second Girl Were Older

If My Second Girl Were Older

It took me longer to read Red Butterfly than it should have, because Easter.  (And a sick and teething one-year-old.)  I finally finished it last night, however, and I can’t help feeling that the time it took to read it made the book more meaningful to me.

Red Butterfly is the story of Kara, an American Chinese girl who ultimately becomes a Chinese-American.  It is also a story of different kinds of love, of different levels of sacrifice, and of different ways of being brave.  Reading it more slowly gave me time to ponder how those differences worked together in different people, and what that meant for Kara’s future.  The book didn’t end the way I initially wanted it to, but by the time I finished it, I was glad of it.  Adoption can be complicated, and Kara’s situation didn’t end perfectly, but it ended well.

I actually checked this out on my 9-year-old’s library card, thinking I’d read it and pass it along to her; after finishing it, I opted just to return it instead.  Kara’s situation would have frustrated her, I think, and a fair portion of the book would have been emotionally beyond her.  My second girlie, on the other hand, LOVES the emotionally complex.  She loves listening to Patricia Polacco’s books (many of which are impossible for me to read aloud without crying), wonders aloud about what would happen if her future husband died (she “doesn’t want to raise children by herself”), and is currently adoring a picture book about the life (and death) of Anna Pavlova.  If she were 9-plus, she’d probably love this one.

Bottom line?  There’s a lot going on emotionally in this book, but it’s ultimately an impressive read.

Give it a try.

Red Butterfly

New From: $6.00 USD In Stock

Mar 28, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Graphic Novel #5

Graphic Novel #5

Yes, my daughter’s genre report on a comic book is ancient history by now, but I finally got around to reading the last contender of the 5 she chose from.  Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales:  One Dead Spy was actually kind of a riot; there was amusing banter all the way through, and it served up a slice of American history with impressive accuracy and a great deal of humor.  Graphic novels may not be my thing, but I’m hard pressed to imagine a better way to have done what Nathan Hale (the author, not the spy) did. My daughter enjoyed it as well, so if you want an adventurous graphic novel that entertains and teaches simultaneously–and who wouldn’t?–this book is for you.


Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy

New From: $7.47 USD In Stock

Mar 26, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Today was a rough day, I have to say–I stayed up too late, which made the sick, teething, fussy baby who won’t sleep much that much harder.  On the other hand, we had a truly successful family night last night about the meaning of Easter, and we did our baskets this morning so we can focus more on the Savior tomorrow.  (Also, I confess, because we have 8:30 church.)  And, since I’m really trying to go to bed earlier tonight, I’m leaving you with an Easter message:


Enjoy, and I hope you feel blessed this Easter!

Mar 24, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Miserable


I missed a post–I’m sorry!  I really meant to just post something brief, but my poor baby girl is miserable, and so I’ve been distracted.  She is, of course, teething, which is an agonizing process in and of itself in this house; teeth bulge, clearly delineated and white, just below the gums, for days and weeks. (Sometimes months.)  My girlie doesn’t want to eat much, and she’s waking up in the middle of the night when her Ibuprofen wears off, and UGH.

It’s not just the teething, though.  She can’t seem to shake the ear infection she’s had all month, either, and that prompts more waking at night, more eating problems, and some drinking ones to boot.  (We’re on our third antibiotic for that.)  And THEN she came down with an ugly cold, complete with a cough that makes me wince and a nose that produces scary stuff on a fairly constant basis.  This ALSO prompts more waking at night, more eating problems, and more drinking problems.  She is therefore usually in pain, usually a bit hungry, and waking multiple times every night.  Which is why I haven’t finished the verse novel I thought I might finish by now OR tried one of the new recipes I’ve been looking at (OR gotten a good night’s sleep in who knows how long…).  When one of those things happens, I shall post again!

Mar 20, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Is 6 Stars an Option?

Is 6 Stars an Option?

I want it to be, because seriously, I loved Counting by 7s that much.  My friend Andrea picked it for book club, and while it looked good, the size put me off for a bit.  (It’s a stage of life problem.)  I finally went for it, however, and OH.  MY.  GOSH.

I loved it.  I was SURPRISED by it, both by the book itself and by how very much I loved it.  Not many authors can take a scene of heart-wrenching tragedy (that is not hyperbole, by the way) and interject laugh-out-loud comic relief without detracting from the poignancy of the moment; Holly Goldberg Sloan, however, can.  And does.

What is it about, you ask?  Well, 12-year-old (or thereabouts) Willow is a genius whose parents are killed in a car crash at the beginning of the novel.  That sounds like a depressing premise, right?  And yet–this is an uplifting book.  AND a funny one.  Willow’s transition to her new reality–one she helps shape in surprising ways–makes for a story you don’t want to miss.  I’m not sure I can easily tell you more than that.

Bottom line?  Buy this book.

Buy it now.

It’s THAT worth it.

Counting by 7s

New From: $5.00 USD In Stock

Mar 18, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Family and Friends

Family and Friends

Today, my amazing aunt watched my one-year-old so that I could take my three-year-old into the doctor without his sister crawling around, licking everything, and picking up the latest virus going around during his appointment.

My neighbor kept an eye on my son while she was gardening because he wanted to go outside and play with HER son, and I was feeding his baby sister.

My friend’s husband willingly watched my one- and three-year-olds so that I could help with the birthday party my six-year-old was attending.  (My daughter said it was the best birthday party she’d ever been to.)

My carpool friend picked my 9-year-old up for a church activity for me.

AND my fabulous in-laws came down from Davis County to watch my kiddos so that my husband and I could attend a free event my cousin invited us to.  They even brought some cousins along for my kiddos to play with.  (The event was entitled “Death by Chocolate,” by the way.)

I am blessed.

Mar 16, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Brackets


You know what I love about March Madness?  Even though I know VERY little about current college basketball or its relevant statistics, I’ve got as much of a chance of doing well (or not so well!) with my bracket as anyone else–because anything can happen.  That’s what makes it fun, even when I don’t spend a lot of time watching the actual games.  Some years I tank, some years I scrape by, and one memorable year actually saw me winning it all (among my in-laws, anyway).  This year I’ve got Kansas edging out Utah in the final game.  Who did you pick?

Mar 14, 2016 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

Not My Favorite Weekend

It is anyone’s favorite weekend?  Of course, I suppose if you live in Arizona (is that the only state that doesn’t do Daylight Savings Time?), it could be.  I have yet, however, to meet the person who truly enjoys the act of springing forward.  (Many who enjoy the effect, yes, but the springing forward itself?  Not so much.)  Certainly I find it even more objectionable as a parent than I did before my oldest was born, and it wasn’t my favorite even then.  Add a sick/teething/not sleeping well baby and a 3-1/2-year-old boy recovering from strep, throw 8:30 church into the mix (yes, that’s AM), and it really wasn’t a great weekend at all.  (And did I mention that my daughter’s first Show Choir rehearsal was at 7:15 this morning?  Who planned THAT?)  On the other hand, it’s OVER, and I at least got a keeper recipe out of the deal.  After most of a day’s worth of screaming at EVERYONE over EVERYTHING from my son, an easy meal was a must, so I decided to indulge a bit and try these Apple Coffee Cake Muffins, because streusel.  (It makes everything better.)

Now, I’d like to say I followed the recipe without deviation, but really, how often does that happen?  My changes weren’t biggies, though.  I was forced to be a little scant on the apples because I thought I had more than one right up until the last minute and my neighbors didn’t have any to spare; I’d have chosen to be generous if I could.  I subbed whole wheat flour in for half a cup of the flour, and I threw in a generous half teaspoon of nutmeg with the cinnamon (because that’s how I roll).  I also filled the muffin cups pretty full, because I don’t mind a bit of spilling over; even then, this recipe made 18 muffins.  And, of course, we ate them warm.

Because streusel.

If you’re wondering how they went over, well, we had 1 of 18 left by the end of dinnertime, and even that one disappeared rather mysteriously after the kiddos went to bed.  (I’m sure I don’t know anything about that.)

They were definitely one of the (few) highlights of the weekend.

Mar 12, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on The Taste of Spring

The Taste of Spring

Once upon a time, when my friend Andrea and I used to cook together on a regular basis, we decided to try this Asparagus Leek Chowder when asparagus was in season (not to mention leeks!).  Our kids ate something else for lunch and then played while we fixed this for ourselves–they were young enough that feeding them soup wasn’t worth the effort–and oh, the joy of it!  It’s creamy, it’s delicately flavorful, it’s swimming with veggies, and it really does, as another friend told me, taste like spring.

The best part is that it’s relatively easy, especially if you buy your mushrooms sliced.  It comes together quickly and makes an amazing lunch.  (Honestly, it makes an amazing anything, and writing about it is making me want to finish off the leftovers in the fridge right now.)  I substitute evaporated milk for the half-and-half, or at least a cup and a half of it (that’s one can) topped off with regular milk.  I also leave out the pimientos.  They’re not my thing, but even if you like them, they don’t really fit with this; they would just obscure the loveliness of the other flavors involved.  Other than that, I follow the recipe, and it’s always incredible.

Bottom line?  Go buy asparagus, leeks, and mushrooms, and go to town!

Mar 10, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on It Depends on What You’re Looking For

It Depends on What You’re Looking For

Tonight I finally tried the recipe I printed off several days ago; taking my son to the pediatrician yesterday evening for a (positive) strep test kind of derailed my plans yesterday, and my hubby took the girls to a “benefit the school with your order” night at Zupa’s on Tuesday.  Tonight, then, was the night for this Mexican Chicken Alfredo.

Yes, you got that right.  Yes, I know it’s an odd combination.  On the other hand, it sounded easy, I had the ingredients, and I thought it might appeal to my children.  And did it?, you ask.


I got mostly thumbs middle from the crew, except for the baby (she seemed to be a fan).  And honestly, it was about a thumbs middle for me, too.  I like strong flavors–I always have–and I’ve found that the problem with melding two together is that there is generally not enough of either for my taste.  It tastes like, well, neither one thing nor the other.  This was not a bad dinner, mind you, but it felt–generic, a creamy-ish chicken pasta dish without a clear standout flavor.  If everyone had loved it, I’d probably keep it around and make it again–easy is happy–but thumbs middle isn’t a strong enough reaction for me to bother.  (Also, it has jarred alfredo in it.  I’m not a big fan of jarred alfredo, although I keep it around for one recipe that is super easy AND loved.)

Note:  If you prefer a milder flavor, this might go well for you.  All I’m saying is that whether or not you should try it yourself depends on what you’re looking for.