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2014 Reading Recap

It’s once again that time when I look back over my reading goals and see how I did for the year. SPOILER ALERT….I didn’t make my goals for sure but I did make some decent effort so that counts for something, right?

First off let’s take a look at my goals for last year and see how I did:

  1. Read 50 books – I didn’t get close and I have an excuse…life!
  2. Read 15 Non-Fiction books – close but didn’t happen…it will happen next year
  3. Read classics – still didn’t happen and probably won’t in 2015 either so it’s coming off the list of goals

Let’s take a look at some of the stats:

  • Total Books: 28 – 1 more than last year!
  • Non-Fiction: 12
  • Fiction: 16
  • Shortest: None…probably Charis
  • Longest: The Liberator
  • Least Favorite(s): Nothing really stuck out as awful
  • Favorite(s): Charis and The Liberator
  • Average books per week: .53

And now for the actual list:

1. The Chase by DiAnn Mills

2. The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

3. Digitalis by Ronie Kendig

4. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

5. When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

6. Fight by Preston Sprinkle

7. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

8. Unspoken by Dee Henderson

9. The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown

10. Damn Few by Rorke Denver

11. Trapped by Irene Hannon

12. Fearless by Eric Blehm

13. Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow

14. Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib

15. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Khalig

16. Charis by Preston Spinkle

17. For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

18. Undetected by Dee Henderson

19. Submerged by Dani Pettrey

20. Brothers Forever by Tom Manion and Tom Sileo

21. The Liberator by Alex Kershaw

22. Vanished by Irene Hannon

23. No Where to Turn by Lynette Eason

24. Firewall by DiAnn Mills

25. No one to Trust by Lynette Eason

26. Out of Control by Mary Connealy

27. Shattered by Dani Pettrey

28. One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War by Bing West

And that’s it. Not as good as I would like, but also not as bad as  I expected. This year threw a few curve balls so that I’ve even read this much is rather amazing. There’s always next year to improve.

Now it’s time for some goals for 2014:

  1. Read 30 books – I want to challenge myself to do better than last year, but still want my goals to be attainable.
  2. Read 20 non-fiction books
  3. Read more books that I don’t necessarily agree with or that challenge my beliefs

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2013 Reading Recap

Quick Disclaimer….this has been written since January, but thanks to technical difficulties it is just now posting.

It’s once again that time when I look back over my reading goals and see how I did for the year. Hard to believe is already been over a year since the last time I wrote one of these posts.

First off let’s take a look at my goals for last year and see how I did:

  1. Read 50 books – I didn’t get close; I blame hanging out with friends for this one J
  2. Read 15 Non-Fiction books – DONE…with one to spare!
  3. Read classics – specifically I’m thinking some Shakespeare and Vanity Fair (which are on my shelf!)…I dropped the ball on this one – again

Let’s take a look at some of the stats:

  • Total Books: 27
  • Non-Fiction: 16
  • Fiction: 11
  • Shortest: Undaunted by Christine Caine
  • Longest: Either No way Out or The Boys in the Boat
  • Least Favorite(s): Wild and The Long Walk Home
  • Favorite(s): No Way Out, Seabiscuit, and The Boys in the Boat
  • Average books per week: .52

And now for the actual list:

1. No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan by Mitch Weiss and Kevin Maurer

2. The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

3. Bad Company by Jack Higgins

4. Dark Justice by Jack Higgins

5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

6. Bloom by Kelle Hampton

7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

8. An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff

9. Damascus Countdown by Joel Rosenberg

10. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

11. Enemy of Mine by Brad Taylor

12. You Saved Me, Too by Susan Kushner Resnick

13. Greater by Steven Furtick

14. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

15. Living with Honor: A Memoir by America’s First Living Medal of Honor Recipient Since the Vietnam War by Salvatore Giunta

16. Coming Home by Karen Kingsbury

17. Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

18. The Last Man by Vince Flynn

19. Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

20. The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

21. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

22. Mud, Sweat, and Tears by Bear Grylls

23. The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian

24. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

25. Nightshade by Ronie Kendig

26. The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows by Brian Castner

27. Undaunted by Christine Caine

Overall, I’m really happy about this list this year 60% of the books I read this year were non-fiction; that’s a 30% increase over last year when only 30% of the books I read were non-fiction. Also, the quality of my reading this year was still up there. I didn’t read as many books, but the books I read were bigger and more difficult. I read books that I didn’t agree with, books, that made me cry, books that made me want to go on an adventure, and books that challenged me to really live what I believe.

Now it’s time for some goals for 2014:

  1. Read 30 books – I want to challenge myself to do better than last year, but still want my goals to be attainable.
  2. Read 20 non-fiction books
  3. Read more books that I don’t necessarily agree with or that challenge my beliefs
  4. Read those classics that are still sitting on my bookshelf!

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Sweet Home Virginia….

Nope doesn’t sound quite sound right does it? I realized that yesterday was my 2nd anniversary here in Virginia and this year I actually feel like I officially belong here. At the one year mark I still didn’t feel like a Virginian, but this year is different – this year it’s home. I spent the evening looking back over the last two years and was amazed at everything that has changed.

Back in August of 2011, I got in a car with a trailer filled with everything and drove 1,000 miles to a city where I knew 3 people and had no job and no prospect of one. Considering I’m not naturally comfortable with change and I’m never a risk taker this still amazes me! Those first six months were not the easiest months that I’ve ever experienced. I had no job, no money, and lots of time to worry – not the best combination for an OCD planner (I did have the cleanest house I’ve lived in though!) I had the privilege of getting to watch my cousins grow up some, and got to know their parents as adults. I spent some quality time in the library applying for jobs, and read an impressive number of books. I experienced my first Christmas alone and without a real tree – although my spray painted sticks with ornaments will always be a sweet memory. I started working through a temp agency and spent a few months working in the most interesting environment I’ve ever been in.

By August of 2012, I hit my one year mark in Virginia, but still didn’t quite feel like this was home. It was definitely the kind of year that should have made me feel like a permanent resident, but I guess the roots hadn’t had time to grow in deep and strong. God blessed me with a job that while it wasn’t perfect, it was in the perfect industry. I sat at the front desk and had plenty of time to look up new recipes and perfected my baking skills even more. I learned to swing dance, laughed a lot, did a couple of puzzles, moved into a condo, learned to love the beach, visited DC with the parents, spent time with family, started running, found an amazing church, and got to go home for the first time since the move.

Since last August, I’ve started a new job, considered major life purchases, rented cars and taken my own vacations, ran 13.1 miles for fun, and realized an unorganized house isn’t the worst thing in life – especially when it’s messy because you’re investing your time in people. I’ve met some awesome people, eaten at some good restaurants, lived through some stress, and generally found that the roots have gotten a lot deeper than they were a year ago. I’ve learned that family doesn’t have to be related, eating an entire pound of brussel sprouts over two days isn’t the wisest decision you’ll ever make, and that while it’s not the greatest solution – cookies can solve a lot of problems. A few months back, I took a trip down to CLT and got to visit with some friends. It was a great trip and just what I needed to clear my head, but the best part about it was that I realized how much I missed Virginia. I missed the industrial feel of the area, I missed the crazy weather, I missed the people, but if we’re being honest here (and I am) I did not miss the traffic!
So to celebrate these 2 crazy years and in anticipation of what the next one holds, I’m having a slice of pie and taking a deep breath after visiting the DMV! Yep….it only took me 2 years declare residency. Oops.

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Happy Birthday Oreo!

Oreo cookies actually turned 100 today! So in their honor I thought I would share a picture of my favorite dessert that I make using oreos. Yummy!

And here’s the links to a few other good Oreo desserts:

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Cookies and Creme Cheesecake Cupcakes

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National Sweet Potato Day

In my news reading today I learned that Feb. 22 is National Sweet Potato Day. Since I hail from an area that grows great sweet potatoes (and myriad other varities of potatoes) I decided to share a fact from the article. If you want the other facts you’ll have to look up the Mobile Press Register to get them.

Here’s my favorite fact:

  • George Washington Carver helped to develop the primary adhesive used for postage stamps from the mucilage(sticky film) from sweet potatoes.

And here’s a little sweet potato quote or two:

  • What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.
    A. A. Milne
  • “A man who can cook a baked sweet potato is the kind of man you should keep around”~Maya Angelou 

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Reading Recap for 2011 and some goals for 2012

So back in January of 2011 I decided to write down every book that I read so that I could keep up with it for my own personal knowledge and gratification. Along the way I actually amazed myself with how much I was reading. In fact, at times it even got difficult to keep enough books on hand for myself to read. Anyways, I thought I’d recap what I’ve read and start fresh on my 2012 list. I’ve also put together some reading goals for this year, some of which are concrete and some of which are not. Here we go!

Number of books read = 64

Fiction books = 55

Non-fiction books = 9 (This is a lot higher than I expected! – My mother should be proud)

Shortest Book = Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Longest Book = I have no clue but none of them were short!

Least favorite book = A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor

Favorite Book = Not sure but I really liked Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor

Average books per week = 1.23 books

Any other questions about my 2011 reading?????

The 2011 list:

  1. London Refrain by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  2. Paris Encore by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  3. The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg
  4. Peace by Jeff Nesbitt
  5. The Gabon Virus by Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, M.D.
  6. Luke’s Passage by Max Davis
  7. The Breaking Point by Karen Ball
  8. Don’t Look Back by Lynette Eason
  9. Term Limits by Vince Flynn
  10. Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
  11. The Third Option by Vince Flynn
  12. Separation of Power by Vince Flynn
  13. Executive Power by Vince Flynn
  14. Memorial Day by Vince Flynn
  15. Life Support by Robert Whitlow
  16. Life Everlasting by Robert Whitlow
  17. Heaven if for real by Todd Burpo
  18. Surrendered and Untamed by Jason Clark
  19. Christy by Catherine
  20. Intervention by Terri Blackstock
  21. Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills
  22. Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon
  23. Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
  24. Leaving by Karen Kingsbury
  25. Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn
  26. Act of Treason by Vince Flynn
  27. Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn
  28. A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason
  29. Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn
  30. The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
  31. Pursuit of Honor by Vince Flynn
  32. In Sheep’s Clothing by Susan May Warren
  33. Sands of Time by Susan May Warren
  34. Swinging On A Star by Janice Thompson
  35. Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
  36. The Perfect Match by Susan May Warren
  37. Path of the Assassin by Brad Thor
  38. State of the Union by Brad Thor
  39. Blowback by Brad Thor
  40. Takedown by Brad Thor
  41. The First Commandment by Brad Thor
  42. The Last Patriot by Brad Thor
  43. The Apostle by Brad Thor
  44. Foreign Influence by Brad Thor
  45. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
  46. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  47. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
  48. The Athena Project by Brad Thor
  49. Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond AKA The Pioneer Woman
  50. A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor
  51. Those in Peril by Wilber Smith
  52. Gideon’s War by Howard Gordan
  53. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
  54. The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw
  55. Learning by Karen Kingsbury
  56. Full Black by Vince Flynn
  57. The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
  58. Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley
  59. Ninth Witness by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  60. Tenth Stone by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  61. Lion of Babylon by David Bunn
  62. All In by Gene Chizik
  63. Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy
  64. Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg

Reading Goals for 2012:

  1. Read 50 books – I lowered the number since I started a full time job!
  2. Read 6 non-fiction books – I think I’ll be upping this number since 2011 was much higher than I antipated!
  3. Read some classics and read the books on my shelf that I’ve never read

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db: Frasier

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

I’m late again, but late is better than never these days. In my defense I couldn’t really post till late last night anyways because I just finished making my frasier yesterday and didn’t taste it till late last night. Can we say just how awesome this thing was. A perfect summery dessert that wasn’t too sugary or heavy on the stomach. I pretty much loved this challenge and will definitely be using this recipe again in the future. My only change was not to use almond paste on top because I don’t care for it, but other than that change I stuck to the given recipe. For something that looked complicated it was surprisingly easy and everything turned out well. I’ll be posting pics later tonight when I can get them off of my camera.

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