August 26, 2016

friday favorites #28: week of august 26, 2016

Two weeks down, how many to go? These first days of school have been brutal. I cannot remember a time when the beginning of school was so stressful and complicated. I think we've made it, though--today actually felt like a normal work day, not a crazy we've-just-gotten-back-to-school-and-everyone-needs-something-from-me day. Hooray!

Here are a few things I've been enjoying recently:

1. BrainDead
"Previously on BrainDead!" are four (three?) of my favorite words this summer. I remember seeing commercials for the show before it premiered, and I thought it looked stupid. How wrong I was!

BrainDead asks this question: What if the fighting and utter inability to accomplish anything in Washington was actually caused by space bugs that were taking over people's brains?

Though this trailer doesn't give you the full scope of how fun BrainDead actually is, it's closer than any of the other trailers I found.

Hands down, BrainDead is my favorite show of the summer. While I enjoyed the pilot, you have to give it at least two episodes to decide if you're in or not...because it's in episode two that the hilarious recap songs begin. (You can read the story behind the songs--and watch the song from episode two--here, and you can watch all the songs--please, only if you've watched the show!--here.)

BrainDead is a 13-episode series currently airing on CBS, and the previous week's episode is available through Amazon Prime each Thursday. If you're looking for something different and quirky, check it out!

2. Yellow & Purple Wax Beans
While I have been loving my green beans this summer, I haven't gotten too many. (I'll need a bigger garden next year!) Today, a coworker brought in these yellow and purple wax beans. I ended up bringing home a plastic sack full of them because I was the last person in the office tonight, so I brought everything that was left. They are so tasty!!!

Unfortunately, they lose that gorgeous purple color when they're cooked, but they still taste great.

3. Hastings' Going Out of Business Sale
A couple weeks ago, I went out to dinner with a friend. She mentioned that we should stop at Hastings, a local bookstore chain, before we returned to Central City. Hastings is closing soon, and everything is on sale. We spent about an hour going through the used movies, and we both came out with way more than we needed!
Why yes, I did just get rid of more than 50 movies. So why not buy more???
A couple days later, I went back with several family members ... and I found more stuff! My absolute favorite finds are these two books:

Much Ado About Nothing is my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, and this is a very cool illustrated version. And I couldn't pass up Melissa Rycroft's book--it cost me all of $3, and I can't wait to read her take on her experience with The Bachelor!

4. Momentum

This is a web app that I just found out about this week, and I'm absolutely loving it! It's an extension that you can add to Chrome that pops up each time you open a new tab. The image varies, but it never fails to relax me. It's also a great way to keep track of my "to do" list for the day.

5. If Ever I Would Leave You by Susan May Warren
Believe it or not, I actually haven't been doing much reading lately. The Olympics, coupled with the beginning of school, kept me from doing much reading this month. (Don't even ask about the state of my book for the MMD Reading Challenge. It's not even funny.) If Ever I Would Leave You is a quick read, though--I ended up reading it in a couple hours one evening--and it's everything I've come to expect from something written by Susan May Warren, featuring strong characters, romantic chemistry, and realistic conflict. (See my review.)

If you haven't read a Susan May Warren book yet, this novella is a great place to start--especially because it's free!

As usual, I'm linking up with Erika, Christina, and Karli. What are some things you've been enjoying this week?

August 21, 2016

35 before 35: #28

I am now past my 35th birthday (how did that happen?), but I did this prior to my birthday ... I just didn't get it written up until now.

#28: Grow my own herbs herb

So I haven't technically fulfilled this goal, as I grew one herb: cilantro. But I also grew green beans, tomatoes, and carrots. So I'm going to count it. Here are some pics of my first-ever gardening attempt!

Not a great picture, I know, but here from bottom to top we have carrots, green beans, and cilantro.

My cilantro was ready way before anything else. I also tired of it quickly and let it go to seed.

But first, I made cilantro salt for use in Mexican cooking!

And now I also have a handful of coriander seeds to do something with. I think I'll need to look up a few recipes!

Now on to the veggies! My beans are almost finished, but my tomato plants are still (slowly) producing tomatoes, and my carrots are still growing.
Both Isis the cat and Skarra are obsessed with the green beans. Every time I pick beans, I give them one to play with. Hammond is always completely unamused.

Overall, I've loved my garden! There's definitely a difference between gardening by choice and gardening by force (a la my childhood). I'm already thinking about next year's garden, which needs to be much larger!

See all of my 35 before 35 posts, where you'll see that I didn't even come close to my goal ... but that's OK!

August 4, 2016

read with us: a book published before we were born

We had ... virtually no success this month. Susan and Val finished reading their June books, and Becky and Steph chose the same book to read, but neither of them finished it. Here's hoping for a better August! Even though no one finished a new book for this month's challenge, Susan and Becky have updates on what they did read. (See all of our other updates here.)

Susan says: This month, I finished reading The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. This is such a terrific book, and the second half was a fantastic finish to the first part of the book that I read last month.

I loved how it described Marcellus' travels seeking the truth about Jesus, the robe, and the increasing numbers of his followers. These people were convinced that Jesus was now alive, despite Marcellus' first-hand knowledge that he was truly dead on the cross. His interactions with people who had witnessed Jesus' miracles during his lifetime eventually convinced him that Jesus is God and indeed living. He became a dedicated Christ-follower who impacted many people living in the sphere of his influence. Many of the characters in this book were mentioned in the Biblical accounts, and it was interesting to see how the author wove these actual historical figures into the story line.
The experience of rereading this book after many years have passed was so good! I remember how it moved me so many years ago and was again impacted by it. I highly recommend this book.  5 stars.

Becky says: When Steph and I discovered we both had chosen A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich, we decided to take it along on our road trip to Indiana and Nashville and read it aloud to each other.

A Lantern in Her Hand is the story of prairie wife Abbie Mackenzie Deal. As a child in Iowa, Abbie dreamed of becoming a famous singer. Her dreams changed when she fell in love with childhood friend Will Deal, and they moved to Nebraska to make a life for themselves.

I had always been very hesitant to read this book because of the truly terrible TV film adaptation A Mother's Gift. Steph was completely obsessed with this movie when she was a kid, and I finally hid the video tape and told her it was broken. (Or maybe I told her it was lost. Either way, I hid it and lied about it.)

Anyway, we started our road trip, and I started reading aloud. We were stunned to discover that the book was set in Nebraska! We were also pleasantly surprised by Bess Streeter Aldrich's writing style. The book has so many touches of humor thrown in!

We only made it to Chapter 9, and neither of us read any more after the trip--but I definitely want to finish it, and I know Steph does, too.

If you've read any of these books, we'd love to know your thoughts! Be sure to join us again at the end of the month--we're reading books that intimidate us. 

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