2019 Books

Here are the books I read in 2019:
I read more than I thought I did. Cool!
I like keeping it track of the books I read.

Insights from a Prophet's Life: Loved, Loved this one!
One of Sheri Dew's best. Not so much as a biography as just really great stories
about who our prophet is and great insights into our church. Highly reccommend.

The Forgotten Garden: A fun fiction book about the past and present with some mystery and romance. Also some fun mini fairytales mixed in the book to read too.

When Life Gives Your Pears: So Good, So good! I was down with pneumonia in the fall
for a 8 weeks+ My sister gifted this book for me to read. It was so great, real, faith-filled,
and humorous. It was one of the few things that helped me when I was so sick.

Crossing to Safety: A classic written by an author we all should get to know as much as Hemingway or CS Lewis. His writing style and way with words is very well done. I don't know if I loved the book as I read it, but I was intrigued enough to keep going. The ending surprised me and even though I didn't love the book while reading it, months later I still find myself thinking about the book, the characters and insight from the book. A great book for a book club discussion.

Educated: I didn't love this book as much as most of you did. I loved that she educated herself,
and escaped her extremely difficult family situation. Her writing was great, and I was hooked reading the whole book, it was hard to put it down, but as it got towards the end I felt sick to my stomach.
And the whole book left me feeling terrible.

Be Frank with Me: Was a fun fictional read about a famous author who had a famous book when she was in her early 20's and then because of her quick rise to fame and wealth went into seclusion. She had a son with some challenges and years later needed an assistant to help her with her son while she tried to write a new book for the first time in years. An fun, interesting read.

A Gentleman in Moscow: I tried, but couldn't finish this book. I just couldn't get into it, and didn't have the patience to keep trying. Did you like it?? I think I would like a movie version better.

The Great Bridge: Currently reading and liking, but it's long and detailed. We were in NYC this last summer and we walked the bridge so I wanted to learn more about it. This one may take me a long time to finish, but I'm willing to keep trying.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: This one I had high expectations. It was good, and I like their story.
But it's hard to know how much was fiction, or real to life. I did like that CS Lewis appeared to like her just the way she was, and it was interesting to note how much influence she had in his writing over the years. It has inspired me to read more CS Lewis books.

A Lion and A Lamb: In preparation for our family's summer trip to see the sacred grove, we read this book about Willard Bean who was called as a missionary with his new wife to help bring goodwill back between Latter-day Saints and the people of Palmyra in the early 1900's.
Their story was so great. Worth reading with your family as you prepare for the 200th birthday of The First Vision.

Insights from a Prophet's Life Russell M. NelsonThe Forgotten Garden[FORGOTTEN GARDEN][Paperback]
When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny PeopleCrossing to Safety (Modern Library Classics)Educated: A MemoirBe Frank With Me: A NovelA Gentleman in Moscow: A NovelThe Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis

A Lion and a Lamb: The true story of a young couple’s 24-year mission to return the LDS Church to its birthplace


Favorite Podcasts

Since I do have some time to myself during the day.
I find that I love listening to podcasts when I do the dishes, laundry, or other
household tasks that need something to keep your mind happy while you work.

I haven't liked audio books as much because I have to concentrate more.

I do love a good podcast though.  They fit my time frame better than
an hours long audio book.

Here are some I have enjoyed recently:

All In is a podcast from LDS Living magazine
They cover a lot of interesting people and topics in the gospel.
It's main focus is, Why are you 'All In' the gospel?

Listening to the Saints, a new book, on audio about
our Church History. I access this on the Church's library app.

As much as I like listening to the text of the The Saints,
I have also enjoyed the Mormon Channel's 20-30 min discussion of each
chapter of the Saints. They bring in experts to discuss a few more details
of the each chapter. It is not the same as listening to the actual Saints text.
Mormon Channels Saints Discussions Podcast

I also like listening to the Lisa Valentine Clark show on BYU Radio.
She covers lots of every day life topics with a little bit of humor.
If you click on an episode you can just listen to the subject you would
like or listen to the entire podcast, whatever you prefer.

I'm also learning how to become an artist and especially like
learning about The Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint artists.
The podcast from the Zion Arts Society, I find really interesting.
Listening to an artist talk about painting for temples was a great one.


C.S. Lewis

I just finished reading, Becoming Mrs. Lewis

It was an interesting read. It didn't keep me up at night, and some parts were a little slow.
I read it over a couple of weeks. I did enjoy the book.
Then, I had to watch the movie Shadowlands
which tells the same story about C.S. Lewis and Joy,
starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

Now, I really want to read some C.S. Lewis books.
I've read some of the Chronicles of Narnia with my kids.
Our church leaders love to quote C.S. Lewis in their General Conference talks.
He has so many great quotes, and he understands Christianity.
But, I've never read any of his books before. I wasn't sure which book to start with.

Here is a great resource and list, to help me learn where to start.
I can't wait to begin. Especially after learning a little more about his life.

Happy Reading!



I enjoyed watching this movie on Amazon Prime

and listening to this forum with Bob Woodward, the reporter who uncoverd the truth about Nixon, and Elder Christofferson, who was a legal clerk for the judge who played a large role in bringing the truth of Nixon to the courts and the public, discussing truth and integrity.


The most interesting part to me was listening to Bob Woodward discuss the story of Pres. Ford pardoning Nixon. We don't always have all the facts and understanding of situations and decisions sometimes until years later.


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

There is a chef named Samin Nosrat. She is Iranian and lives in California. She worked as a chef for many years and then wrote this cookbook about these 4 elements of cooking:





Her concept is if you understand these 4 things you will become a better cook.

She has a show on Netflix too, with 4 episodes about each of these 4 elements.
I loved watching them over the weekend. My whole family seemed to enjoy the shows too.
You can go to saltfatacidheat.com for more info. too.

Her cookbook is sold out online right now, but I'm excited to get one when I can.

 This was a fun way for me to begin the new year. Happy Cooking!!
You can listen to her fun interview on NPR too.

She says,


2018 Year in Review

Our family did A LOT this past year. Here it goes:
Brandon lost his 1st tooth, Lindy earned her YW medallion and started teaching piano.
We got another brittany puppy named Copper after losing our first dog who was hit by a car.
Sadie won 1st place in a Valentine Contest.
She was also in 2 plays- Aladdin, and another about Idaho history.
Sadie started taking cheer.
Kyle went to state for his National History Day project, and he started driving.
Kyle started High School.
Lindy was in HS parking lot car accident.

Kyle started taking guitar lessons. Sadie started taking violin lessons. Brandon tried and stopped taking piano lessons. Tate played the Baritone.
Katie helped plan their stake girls camp, and read the Book of Mormon.
Lindy's formal dates were: Ryder, Luke and Brayden.

Brandon was in his school spelling bee.
Chris went to March Madness.
Lindy and Kyle started teaching swim lessons at our backyard pool.
Lindy got her Patriarchal Blessing.
Lindy, Kyle, and Tate went on a Pioneer Trek.
Kyle was in 2 High School sports at the same time, soccer and XC.
We watched a lot of soccer, XC, track, cheer for all the kids. 

Chris and Katie celebrated 20 years of marriage in Maui.
Grandpa Ricks celebrated his 95th b-day at a large family reunion at Camp Arrahwanna in OR.
2 cousins were born:Hazel and Kaylee, 2 cousins were baptized: Nathan and Hunter
Our family visited 3 National Parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier.

Church Changes:
Our church got a new prophet, Pres. Nelson.
The church made a lot of changes:
Ministering Assignments instead of Home and Visiting Teaching.
An Elders Quorum instead of a separate High Priest Group for the adult men.
2 hour church instead of 3 hour church.
Online mission calls, and sisters can wear pants.
Age changes to all the primary and youth. 11 year olds can go to the temple.
19 temples around the world were announced.
Emphasis on our name The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have been asked to use Jesus Christ name since it his church in calling our religion, instead of naming our church as the Mormons.


2018 Favorite Things

My favorite post of the year

Before I list my favorite things I wanted to share with you
some of my favorite ways to enjoy the holiday season by serving.

Just put in your zip code and opportunities will be listed for your community.
It is a helpful resource for helping after natural disasters too. Hurricanes, Fires, etc.

Light the World campaign that they put on each December season.
It's a great way to serve your home, family, community, and others globally.
Check out their website for how to involve your home and family this season.

Onto some of my favorite things from 2018:

1.Tillamook Ice Cream in White Chocolate Peppermint Bark. So Yummy!
2. A 2 cup measuring cup. This is so fun to have. Especially for all you bakers out there.
3. This KitchenAid chopper. It's the perfect size appliance. Not big at all. Easy to put in the dishwasher too. Chops up veggies, nuts, etc. I use it almost daily. I love it.
4. Larger size popcorn kernels. This is great for making popcorn recipes this time of year.
Sara Wells from Our Best Bites got me onto this. Try it with their Peppermint Bark Popcorn recipe.
5. These Spatulas. They are heat resistant and dishwasher safe, and they work so well when you're stirring, cooking, and baking. I can't live without them. They are 1 piece. My older spatulas kept coming apart, staining, and melting if I left them on hot surfaces.

1. Sherpa Hoodies for my kids. My boys especially love them. They refuse to wear coats to school or outside. We have 20 degree and under weather in Idaho. But they'll wear these.  They are extra thick because of the sherpa inside. You can find them at Wal Mart, Old Navy, Land's End, etc.
2. Cover Your Assets card game and Telestrations. Both fun games, that everyone enjoys.
If you need more games ideas, Mel from Mel's Kitchen Cafe does a fabulous game list every year.
Her blog is a favorite of mine for recipes and her annual family game post.
3. Penny Boards. My kids have enjoyed using these. They are smaller than other skateboards.
4. Simple Modern water bottles. They come in all sizes and colors. They are the same as HydroFlasks, just more affordable. They keep your drinks hot or cold no matter the temps. outside. The con is you must wash them by hand. My kids who are in sports love these.

1.  Loreal Burgundy Mascara. I LOVE, LOVE this mascara.
The color is fun, but it's more brown. Don't worry you won't have pink or purple eyelashes.
It just makes me happy every time I use it.
I think it works with every hair and skin color. It does smudge by the end of the day. I tend to wear it for nights out, or when I need make up for a couple of hours.
2. Cream eye shadows. I love them. It's easy to just pick a color and swoop it over my whole eye lid.
I just use my index finger to apply. Cream eye shadows simplify the everyday make up look, quickly and easily. Revlon has the drug store pricing, Bobbi Brown is the splurge price.
3. Jockey Bralette. I don't like sports bras. They are always uncomfortable, and I can never get out of them. I also get tired of other bra straps falling off my shoulders, This bralette from Jockey has been great. It is comfortable, and I no longer deal with annoying bra straps. Get one and try it out. If you like it, get more.
4. I'm not ready for an apple watch. I'm trying to do less social media. But I still like having a watch on my wrist for telling time, and for a piece of jewelry. I wanted a white watch that was semi-water proof. I picked this Caravelle one our for my birthday and I LOVE it. My teenage daughter who is fashion conscious told me to get a larger watch. She said small watches are for old ladies. I took her up on it, and I'm glad I did.
5. I love fresh flowers from Trader Joe's They are affordable usually under $5 and seasonal.
 1. We like using VidAngel. You can set filters on your movies or tv shows through amazon, netflix, etc. to take out inappropriate scenes, swearing, violence, etc. It's been helpful when my teens wanted to watch The Office, or Stranger Things. I worry less when they use VidAngel. I like it too. I DON'T think it's a free for all to watch everything. There are still DARK, inappropriate movies and tv shows that should still be avoided even with filters. There is a monthly $10 fee. But it's worth it for my family at this time. You can try it free for a month, and cancel at anytime.
2. Mailed DVD's. My sister got me onto this again. We used this service years ago, before Red Box and streaming. But Red Box never had the new releases we wanted, Amazon rental prices are too high, and Netflix streaming rarely had new releases we wanted to see. So back to mailed DVD's it is. You can keep the DVD's as long as you need, and the library is surprisingly large. There are different price points to fit your budget. Our mail is exciting again!

There you have it, my 2018 Favorite Things.
For more favorite things go to 320 Sycamore,
she did a week long post of blogger's favorite things.


Easy Thanksgiving/Fall TableScape

Here is an easy way to put together a Thanksgiving TableScape.

1. Lay down a light colored table runner.

2. Add garland from your local craft store in the middle of it.
You could use some branches from your yard too.

3. Add some small fall decor items, pumpkins, pine cones, apples, fruit, etc.
You could also use real fruit here too.

4. Add 2 candle holders at the end of the table runner.

5. Add your plates, cups, silverware, and fabric napkins.

6. Not pictured but fun to add, are a name place card of some kind.

 I love this table runner from Target. It washes up well, and doesn't wrinkle to much.
A garland idea  and small metallic pumpkin gourds from Hobby Lobby.
Gold Candle Holders and Candles from Target.

Other Thanksgiving TableScape Inspirations:

Emily Clark
Fancy Farmgirls 
Jones Design Company


Breakfast Game Changer

I was at stake girls camp a couple weeks ago.
We had an AMAZING camp cook and staff.
One morning they made french toast with this buttermilk syrup
for the older girls and leaders up at camp.

In all my years of livin' I had never had this syrup before.
I asked the camp cook for the recipe, and she said the recipe from
Oh, Sweet Basil's blog is the best. Adding the baking soda at the end, helps to finish
the syrup properly. I couldn't wait to come home and make it.

I made the recipe this morning. My life will never be the same.
It's an easy recipe and takes french toast to a whole new level.
We may eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the rest of the summer.
You can use this syrup for all your favorites: pancakes, waffles, crepes, french toast, etc.

Happy Syrup Making!  Buttermilk Syrup from Oh, Sweet Basil

Buttermilk Syrup ohsweetbasil.com pancakes, waffles, breakfast, brunch

Photo credit: Oh, Sweet Basil Blog


A Family Update

Summer 2016 

I'm using an old family photo from 2016 to update you on our family in 2018.
That about describes my being able to keep up with our family.

Everything is moving FAST and BUSY,
and I can't keep up.

Chris had a birthday this week.
I won't tell you his age.
Just that he is approaching the BIG FIVE-O too quickly.
He stays busy keeping up with our kids sports
and with his dental practice.
He doesn't complain much,
and goes with the flow most of the time.
He wishes he could exercise more.
He loves snow and water skiing.
These two things keep him happy,
especially if we do them together as a family.
He serves in the Sun. School Presidency.

I'm fine, I think.
I feel tired and overwhelmed.
I eat ice cream,
and search for good, quality TV
shows to watch when the house is quiet. 
Which it rarely is.
I teach in Relief Society once a month.
I like being a Relief Society teacher.
I have also been asked to help plan stake girls camp
for this summer with other adult sisters.

Mothering Lindy
has proven to be stressful for me. 
I think it might have to do with being 16 and boys.
She plays the piano AMAZING,
and has been doing more performances.
I think she has straight A's,
but I don't keep up with her academics.
So I'm not sure.
She drives and has already had her 1st car accident.
More stress for me.
She is great runner,
and keeps improving on her High School
XC and track teams.
She loves fashion and is talented at it.

Kyle is 14.
He has a group of friends from middle school
that he likes to hang out with from time to time.
Sometimes this means girls too.
But he just acts whatever about it.
I think he is starting to grow a mustache.
His voice hasn't changed yet.
Sometimes he get a little performance anxiety
in relation to school sports.
We are aware of it and keep an eye on it.
He also excels in school but doesn't like to do extra work.
He gets by doing the bare minimum.
He plays on a year round soccer team and runs for his school too.
We're not sure what sport he will focus on in H.S. for next year.
He is athletic and likes to play video games.
Church dances are not his favorite thing.

Tate plays the Banjo.
He is interesting, curious, creative,
and is the kind of person to change the world for the better.
I think he will too.
He is always discovering a new skill weekly and monthly.
Once he gets it down, he goes to the next one.
This month it's back flips.
He does well in school, but can't always hear the teacher's
directions because he is focused on whatever new skill
or thing he is thinking about or creating.
His mind wanders.
We call it inattentive ADHD.
It hasn't proven to be much of a problem,
just something to understand about him.
He runs track for the middle school too.

Sadie, Sadie.
She can be pleasant, helpful and kind.
She can also be grumpy, moody, and anxious.
This has also taken parenting to new levels
of HARD.
She regularly meets with a counselor to help her
but in the tough moments,
it is still often her and I trying to
calm her down.
She turns 10 this week.
She likes to sing, dance and perform.
She is interested in the theatre.
She likes to play on her soccer team.

Brandon is our caboose.
He loves school and learning.
He enjoys reading,
and picked up on it quickly.
He thrives on learning math too.
He can be quiet,
but has recently taken to talking
A LOT at home.
Telling us all kinds of things.
He seems to appreciate being
in our backyard with our new dog Copper.
He likes having a buddy outside with him.
He likes to run and play soccer as well.

 I really missing blogging more often.
I feel bad that life has gotten too busy to record
our family life.
I rely on Instagram to help with that.
I hope you are all well and surviving too.
I know you each have unique challenges
and you are each enduring as best you can.


That time our family got a Dog

Last year in January, as some of you many know,
our family got a Brittany puppy.

We named him Blazer.

I have 3 boys, AND we have an acre yard, AND my husband grew up with dogs,
AND we don't have babies or toddlers anymore, AND it all seemed like a good idea.

I had never had a dog before. I hadn't grow up having pets at all,
except for the occasional pet fish.

My husband assured me you just keep him in the backyard.
It seemed easy enough.
His dogs, when he was a boy, roamed their unfenced yard and their small town.
When they went on vacation they left out extra dog food.

It turns out, as you might suspect,
having a dog, especially a puppy, requires quite a bit of time, work, and money.
I had done my research, so I knew a bit what I was getting into.
But, you can't really know until you actually have a dog
in your house to REALLY KNOW.

It was very hard for me and stressful.
My youngest was still in half day kindergarten last year.
I wanted some time when my son was at school to get caught up on things.
Like load the dishwasher or fold a load of laundry in some peace and quiet.
When you have a dog or puppy you give up some of your time.
I was also looking forward to this school year
when all 5 of my kids were gone during the day,
to finally get some things done that I had neglected for years.
It was hard for me to turn around and have a dog looking at me for time and attention.
I felt some resentment.

Blazer had some great qualities.
He could spend most of his time out in the yard happily.
He rarely barked, he didn't smell much, and shed very little.
My children and husband really enjoyed him.
He adapted to each of their needs.
That was the magic of it.
He was a playmate and friend to Brandon.
He was a quiet, calm listener to Sadie.
He wrestled and acted crazy right along with Tate.
He watched the sunsets with Lindy, after she had a long day at school or work.
He played football out back when Kyle had his friends over.
He was a companion to Chris when he worked in the yard.

But, he also had some bad qualities:
He was excited about other people, and could get jumpy.
He was a little stubborn and at times hard to train.
He was a BAD leash walker, and wasn't great at coming when called.
I was too nervous to leave him with friends or family, because of his excitability.

We tried training him in the summer. But it didn't go that well, because
it took more time that I was willing to give. It was hard for me to have him in the house.
I never trained him quite right to be in the house.
I panicked on cold, wet, rainy days to know what to do with him.

Then, on a Dec. afternoon, when Lindy had some high school friends over in our home,
he snuck out the front door, when one of her friends came to the door.
He ran away out of our neighborhood, onto a busy street, where he was hit by a car.
He died instantly.
My 14 year old saw it. It devastated him, and the rest of my kids.

I was a little excited my time with the dog had come to an end.
And relieved that the experience was over.
But as the days wore on, I realized how much the dog
had meant to each of my kids and husband.
Blazer calmed them, he stabilized them.
I confess they didn't spend hours with him,
but they each gave him 10-20 min. a day.
Those 10-20 min mattered to my kids.
The dog also helped with kids spend less time on screens.

I began praying to know what to do. The kids were praying.
I began searching daily for local shelter dogs online, and even visiting some.
I couldn't believe I was spending my free time looking for another dog.
I sat in a Relief Society lesson, recently, and as we were discussing the Latter-Days,
and the challenges associated with that.
The spirit confirmed to me in a powerful way that a dog
is what my kids need to help them endure these last days.

I hit a lot of dead ends with trying to find the right shelter dog. Nothing was working out.
It's not even easy to get a shelter dog, and there's no time to think about it.
You often had to decide that day, that very minute. The good shelter dogs go fast.
The requirements for adopting a dog were actually quite strict.
Like we needed to have another dog,
or our kids needed to be ages 10 and up,
or it could only be kept inside,
and lots of behavior issues that would take more time and training then I could handle.

I discovered there was a litter of Brittany puppies available in our state.
Our family really enjoyed the Brittany. 
The more I got information about possibly getting one, the more things felt right and began to fall into place. I panicked a time or too, but I couldn't believe how much the spirit calmed me, and reminded me that this was an answer to our family prayers.

We got our new puppy last weekend. I am at peace with it.
There are parts of it that are hard again. But, I feel more committed to training,
and putting in the time. My family benefits a great deal from having him,
and I am much less resentful of the time to work with him. It is time well spent.

I don't think having a dog is the right solution for every family.
There is a time and season to it all.
Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.
Here we go again.


What's SAVING me right now, February 2018

Modern Mrs. Darcy,
likes to do a post about some things that are saving her right now.
She invites us to do the same.
I love this idea, especially in the winter.

Here's what's saving me right now:

KitchenAid KFC3516 3.5 Mini Food Processor
My Red Kitchen Aid food chopper, that I got for Christmas.
It really makes food preparing so much easier, and it's easy to disassemble and throw in the dishwasher when I'm done choppin'.

The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them
I have a 9 year old daughter struggling with the world around her.
Her socks, the temperature, her homework, her brothers, EVERYTHING.
This book is helping me understand her better, and quite frankly helping me survive right now.

These Paper Mate flair pens are helping me survive the doldrums of the paperwork to run a family.
Not quite a marker, but WAY better than a ball point pen, no smearing so far, and great colors.
I highly recommend. "You need me to fill out another form? Sure! as long as I can use this pen!"

Blue Sky Calendar Planners at Target. I still can't do the digital app calendars. These planners save me every day, week, and all year. They are affordable, and I like the designs to choose from.

I can't get Enough of this song, Never Enough from the Greatest Showman movie soundtrack.
I just might listen to it every day, on repeat.

Image result for victoria on pbs
I've been watching Victoria on PBS masterpiece. This has been a great series.
The actors who play the Queen, and the Prince are dating in real life. I always like that.
Season 1 was last year and now there is Season 2.
You can watch this on PBS or Amazon Prime.


I tried listening to Audio Books in 2017 . . .

I tried using Audible this past year.
Honestly, I didn't like it that much.
I'm mostly home during the day, by myself, since my youngest is in 1st grade.
I would put on an audible book to listen to, while I did interesting things like the laundry.
But, I would move from room to room too much.
I would miss important parts as I left the room.
I never quite knew what was going on in the story.
I'm not a big fan of using headphones while having an iphone in my pocket.
In the end, I discovered I still just like reading in a book.

Here's what I tried listening to on Audible:

I recommend both of these!

Amy Snow is a fun mystery set in England in the 1800's. Great if you love all the Jane Austen stuff.

How to Win Friends, is just a good read for learning to get along with people.
I find I need this skill most with my own children and family.

Here's what I read in 2017 the old fashioned way -
Out of a Book:
Wonder was a great book that I read to my 9 year old. We both loved it.
The whole family saw the movie and it was great movie we all enjoyed together.

Rebecca is a classic I really enjoyed. My mom is named Rebecca,
and she showed me the Alfred Hitchcock movie when I was a kid. I remembered enjoying
the movie and I had always wanted to read the classic. I'm so glad I did.
This is a love story mystery.

Mr. Rochester is a must read if you love Jane Eyre.
It tells his story from when he was a young boy, to meeting Jane.

Jane Eyre I have loved the movie versions for years. Why did I wait 30+ years to read this classic?
I LOVED, LOVED it. She is probably my favorite heroine and character of all time.

The Lost City of Z I saw the recent movie about this, and was so intrigued and curious as to what happened to this famous explorer. When I was at the library, and found this non-fiction book that tells more of the story and details I had to read it. I loved it too. It was a nice change from the other novels that can be more popular to read. It was a fairly quick read. It read easily and moved the true story along as the author went back in modern time to retrace Percy Fawcett's last steps before he disappeared with his son and son's friend.

The Magnolia Story I honestly enjoyed reading about the early years of Chip and Jo, the balance they give each other, and their humble beginnings. I thought is was a quick, inspirational read. I always get good marriage advice from them.

My Story Elizabeth Smart This was a great read too, that I highly recommend. The tender mercies that were given her at crucial times during her ordeal were inspiring. It was good for me to hear more of her story to have a better understanding for her and others that have been through similar ordeals.

Women of the Book of Mormon This is a short, fast read that gives amazing insights into the few women named and mentioned in the Book of Mormon. I loved it!! Especially as we have been challenged to read and study the Book of Mormon more, I think this is a great book to give us a fun incentive  to read it more and give us new stories to understand from the Book of Mormon. Excellent!

Here's some of the books I'm hoping to read in 2018:

Candle in the Darkness
The House Girl
An Unseen Angel
Where the Light Falls
Nothing to Envy
Man's Search for Meaning
Uncle Tom's Cabin
The Story of My Life and Helen Keller: A Life
Hope Heals
Murder on the Orient Express
How Will You Measure Your Life
The Great Bridge
Code Girls

I also get good book recommendations from these blogs,
Modern Mrs. Darcy and Emily A Clark


How To Survive the Holidays

Here are some of my tips for surviving the Holidays:

It will make you smile and feel good and it's realistic too.
For example, one of the pages says,
"Calling the Season what it really is - Cold and Flu Season."

Do watch the movie Elf at least once with your family.
 Also, watch some Cheesy Romantic Holiday Hallmark Movies too.
There are lots to choose from on Neflix, Amazon prime,
and a Hallmark TV channel app too.

Sip some Hot Chocolate.
If you aren't exercising regularly.
Start now. Don't wait until 2018.
Walking, Running, Biking, etc.
Ask your friends what they do to exercise.
See if you can join them.
Look into different classes, and gyms near you.
Lots of communities have city rec exercise classes
that are more affordable than gyms.
Look for something you can start now.
It's more important than making homemade ornaments.

Follow the #LightTheWorld Calendar.
It is a nice way to bring
the true Meaning of Christmas
into your home.
Don't overdue it though.
You can feel overwhelmed quickly if you try to do it all.
Just pick 5 of your favorite ideas.

The New Era magazine has the best, simple ideas for each day.
The Friend magazine has a star advent you can use too!
Light the World

Use Facebook, Instagram, and Social Media less this Month.
Everyone's traditions, homes, ideas, fashion, pictures, etc.
will look AMAZING and you might start to feel bad or overwhelmed.
Most of it is edited, and dare I say, maybe even a bit Fake.
Just use social media a little less this season and bake these cookies instead.
These cookies are really easy to make.
No refrigerating dough ahead of time.
No rolling out sugar cookie dough.
No messy flour.
No cutting out cookies.
Cutting out sugar cookies always sounds fun,
until you are in the middle of a huge flour mess
with too many children in your kitchen.
No having to frost either.

Take one thing (or more)
off your December to do list this year.
Maybe it's cards, or matching pj's, or
gingerbread houses, or homemade presents or ornaments, etc.

Good Luck,
Ready or Not Here Comes December!