Sunday, November 3, 2013

And it's all small stuff.

It's been well over a year since I've written a real blog post.  I'm warming up my writing muscles by sharing some thoughts about some stuff I enjoy.

 1.  Biscoff Spread.  Biscoff brags that it is the "airline cookie," but I haven't seen a Biscoff cookie on a plane in years.  Not that I am a frequent flyer.  The cookies themselves are, at best, okay.  The spread though?  Amazing!  Best snack ever (besides a Super Pretzel) is a sliced apple--sweet or tart--dipped in Biscoff spread.  Or, sometimes, a spoon dipped into the jar is the perfect mini-dessert.  Seconds?  Please use a fresh spoon.  Biscoff should be in the aisle with the peanut butter, though I am pretty sure it is a nut-free item.  I've purchased it at Wal-Mart and Cost Plus World Market.  Between $3 and $4 a jar.

 2 & 3.  Here's  two-fer.  I have three indoor/outdoor rugs from Ballard Designs.  One in my foyer, one under the kitchen table (the blue and white chevron seen in photo), and one in living room (but only temporarily).  In my high traffic and transition-from-outdoors foyer, I have a grey and black indoor/outdoor with a cool pattern.  Hides dirt like a dream.  The one in the kitchen shows dirt a bit more (due to those cream stripes), but it is very easy to scrub it clean.  These rugs are not comfortable.  You don't want your kids lying on them to watch television or wrestling on them (major rug burn would result), but they are durable and quite affordable for certain areas of the home.

My other "design" tip for you is laminated fabric.  I found the fabric pictured above at Hobby Lobby.  I bought enough to recover six chairs (on my own, NTB) and then some for less than $40.  This fabric is ideal for my kitchen (except for not matching the rug AT ALL) because it can be easily wiped clean.  The only assault this fabric cannot withstand would be permanent marker (have dodged that bullet so far) and aggressively used ballpoint pen (now on three of our six chairs, thanks to my artistic daughter).  Still, a perfect and practical pick-me-up for kitchen chairs.

 4.  I was shopping at Kohl's with a 30% off coupon and doing that thing where I pretend that 30% off means practically free.  I tossed these shoes that you do not have to tie in my cart on a whim and you know what?  Best purchase this entire Fall.  It's just so convenient to be able to slip them on and off.  I don't know how they'd handle during a run or hard core workout (no opportunity to conduct that sort of test with this shoe wearer), but I've worn them comfortably on a brisk walk.  I also love that on the days when I play tennis, I can quickly change into these shoes afterward so as not to be seen in public (off the court) in my big, white, senior citizen-esque tennis shoes.

5.  Years ago when I had more time, I used to enumerate the ways that Chicagoland's Jewel grocery chain was inferior to Kroger, the grocery chain of my heart.  But does Kroger carry Cinnamon Scented Ponderosa Pine Cones in a large bag that costs only $4.99?  I actually can't answer that.  I do know that three years running, I have purchased a huge bag (or two) of these cinnamon pine cones at Jewel.  The cinnamon scent is intense, but in a very good way.  I am pleased to report that this year's pine cones are smaller in size, which makes it easier to arrange them in a decorative manner.  Much to my hubby's dismay, I have not tossed the now-less-potent pine cones of previous years.  With all my spare time, I will surely turn to Pinterest to find inspiration for some pine cone crafts.  

6.  I am usually ambivalent/negative regarding healthy-ish bars of any kind.  These KIND bars were on sale at Jewel 10/$10 so I gambled.  Now, I'm a huge fan.  Tasty and satisfying.  NOT a meal replacement (let's not get crazy), but good for a snack or maybe half of a bar for breakfast dessert (that is a real thing).  I like the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew and the Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter ones the best.

 7.  I bought these Snapea Crisps at Costco.  My daughter and I both enjoy this salty, low calorie snack.  Only negative?  They leave a greasy residue on your fingertips.  Best to enjoy with a napkin, baby wipe, or handwashing facility at the ready.

8.  Years ago when I posted regularly on this blog and had tens and tens of readers, I often mentioned my love of basil and of cardinals.  Here's a summer photo of two of my favorites together.  I bought the basil plants and the cardinal at Home Depot.  My kids kept moving the cardinal around so that it wasn't always hovering above the basil as I had intended.  Whenever I spotted it, it made me smile.

That's all I have.  I hope to post again between now and fourteen months from now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Booking It, 2013

I'll be tracking my reading again this year:  title, author, format, and narrator (when applicable).

If I ever get around to starting the book blog I've been planning in my head for several years, I'll let you know.

Until then, check the Booksburgh tab in the lefthand column of this blog.  I update this list throughout the year.  Please share book recommendations in the comments!

August Folly by Angela Thirkell
(audiobook, narrated by Wanda McCaddon)

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
(audiobook, narrated by Hope Davis)

The Brandons by Angela Thirkell
(audiobook, narrated by Nadia May)

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
(audiobook, narrated by Holter Graham)

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
(library book)

The Good House by Ann Leary
(audiobook, narrated by Mary Beth Hurt)

Truth in Advertising by John Kenney
(audiobook, narrated by Robert Petkoff)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
(paperback, advance reader copy won in a giveaway!!)

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Outtakes from a Marriage by Ann Leary
(library book)

Love Is a Canoe by Ben Schrank
(library book)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
(audiobook, narrated by Caroline Lee)

Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio
(audiobook, narrated by Leslie Carroll)

Juliet in August by Dianne Warren
(audiobook, narrated by Cassandra Campbell)

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
(audiobook, narrated by Catherine Taber)

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
(library book)

News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh
(audiobook, narrated by Therese Plummer, Alexander Cendese, Cynthia Darlow, Christian Baskous)

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne
(library book)

Provincial Daughter by R.M. Dashwood

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

When It Happens to You:  A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald

Beach Colors by Shelley Noble

Skinny:  A Novel by Diana Spechler

The Smart One by Jennifer Close
(library book)

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
(audiobook, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra)

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
(audiobook, narrated by Adenrele Ojo and Pamella D'Pella)

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
(library book)

The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
(audiobook, narrated by Caroline Lennon)

Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie
(audiobook, narrated by Angela Dawe)

Good Kids by Benjamin Nugent
(library book)

Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer
(audiobook, narrated by Barbara Leigh-Hunt)

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
(audiobook, narrated by Ruth Ozeki)

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
(audiobook, narrated by Graeme Malcolm)

The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman
(library book)

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
(audiobook, narrated by Kathleen McInerney)  

Tempest-tost:  The Salterton Trilogy, Book 1 by Robertson Davies
(audiobook, narrated by Frederick Davidson)

Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel
(audiobook, narrated by Bernadette Dunne)

Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood
(audiobook, narrated by Stephanie Daniel)

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
(audiobook, narrated by Amy Rubinate)

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand
(audiobook, narrated by Therese Plummer)

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
(audiobook, narrated by XE Sands)

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen
(ebook, read on phone)

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Joyland by Stephen King

The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam

The Cuckoo's Calling by Roberth Galbraith
(audiobook, narrated by Robert Glenister)

Drinking Closer to Home by Jessica Anya Blau
(ebook, read on phone)

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
(audiobook, narrated by Lynn Chen)

& Sons by David Gilbert
(audiobook, narrated by George Newbern)

Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
(ebook, read on phone)

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews
(ebooks, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, CDs downloaded to ipod)

Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Kates Shulman
(ebook, read on phone)

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
(audiobook, narrated by Rebecca Lowman, listened to on Playaway from library)

Instructions for a Heat Wave by Maggie O'Farrell
(library book)

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons
(audiobook, narrated by James Adams)

The Writing Class by Jincy Willett

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
(audiobook, narrated by Alice Rosengard)

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
(library book)

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Mason
(audiobook, narrated by Suzy Jackson)

Amy Falls Down: A Novel by Jincy Willett
(library book)

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
(audiobook, narrated by Steven Boyer)

Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
(library book)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
(audiobook, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caulfield)

Pride and Prejudice* by Jane Austen
(audiobook, narrated by Flo Gibson)

The Hive by Gill Hornby
(audiobook, narrated by Karen Cass)

Transatlantic by Colum McCann
(audiobook, narrated by Geraldine Hughes)

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
(audiobook, narrated by Emily Janice Card)

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
(library book)

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab
(audiobook, narrated by Rupert Degas)

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Circle by Dave Eggers
(audiobook, narrated by Dion Graham)

Stay Close by Harlan Coben
(audiobook, narrated by Scott Brick)

Return to Oakpine by Ron Carlson
(audiobook, narrated by David Aaron Baker)  

Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
(audiobook, narrated by Katherine Kellgren)

A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer
(library book)

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
(audiobook, narrated by Fannie Flagg)

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
(audiobook, narrated by Katherine Kellgren)

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood
(audiobook, narrated by Tavia Gilbert)

Heft by Liz Moore
(audiobook, narrated by Kirby Heyborne & Keith Szarabajka)

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

Stay by Allie Larkin
(audiobook, narrated by Julia Whelan)

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro

The Commitment by Dan Savage
(audiobook, narrated by Paul Michael Garcia)

The Dinner Diaries:  Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World by Betsy Block

Below Stairs:  The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell
(library book)

Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell
(library book)

Wheat Belly by William Davis
(audiobook, narrated by Tom Weiner)

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems by Rhoda Janzen
(library book)

You Must Go and Win by Alina Simone
(audiobook, narrated by Alina Simone)

Elsewhere: A Memoir by Richard Russo

Give Me Everything You Have:  On Being Stalked by James Lasdun
(library book)

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
(audiobook, narrated by Laura Vanderkam)

I Can't Complain:  (All Too) Personal Essays by Elinor Lipman
(library book)

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls:  Essays, Etc. by David Sedaris
(library book)

My Misspent Youth:  Essays by Meghan Daum
(ebook, Readmill app on iphone)

She Matters:  A Life in Friendships by Susan Sonnenberg

Blue Plate Special:  An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen

After Visiting Friends:  A Son's Story by Michael Hainey

Call the Midwife:  A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
(audiobook, narrated by Nicola Barber)

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
(library book)

"You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth" and Other Things You'll Only Hear from Your Friends in the Powder Room by Leslie Marinelli (and many other female bloggers)

Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
(audiobook, narrated by the author)

Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin: A Memoir by Nicole Hardy
(library book)

Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son by Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez
(audiobook, narrated by the authors)

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins
(audiobook, narrated by William Dufris)

You're Not Pretty Enough by Jennifer Tress

* indicates a re-read.

Unless otherwise noted, all audiobooks are through and listened to on my phone or iPod.  All ebooks are from the Kindle store.

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