Mar 4, 2013

first sun = first hike

We usually try to have some fun plans for our Saturdays because, quite frankly, if we don't plan ahead we tend to spend the entire day watching DVDs and playing video games. Sometimes that is just the ticket, but usually is just leaves us feeling a little empty. Last Saturday we made a plan to have a leisurely morning, and then go see Rise of the Guardians at the dollar theater which Lara has been asking us to go see because she has a crush on Jack Frost (oh I remember the days I got crushes on animated characters! Prince Eric, anyone?).
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After the movie we would maybe grab some lunch, in case we weren't maxed out on popcorn, and attend the Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration at the library. But when we exited the theater we were nearly blinded by the brightest sun we've seen all year, and some very agreeable temperatures, so we made a spontaneous family decision to go check out the Waterfall Trail and try and hike it as far as the snow and Elliot's little legs permitted. That turned out to be a good hour, during which we all removed jackets, got soaking wet feet, threw about a million snow balls, and enjoyed beautiful views. Because the Waterfall Trail is quite broad and only slopes slightly for the first two thirds or so, it was very doable despite still being completely covered in snow. That said, be careful on the descent because slipping and sliding is nearly inevitable, as Sander found out first hand. Nothing cures a sore and wet bum like some Farr's Fresh ice cream though!
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Mar 2, 2013

and then I made some balls

Pinterest provides women with the biggest challenge fathomable: to pick and choose from an endless, envious sea of available, supposedly tried and tested, wildly different, ohmigosh-totally-life-changing recipes, arts+crafts, outfits, hairdos and ways to decorate your house pretty much to death. I actually think a lot of the challenge lies in seeing the reality behind all of this apparent beauty: a bunch of utterly human, struggling, hard working (well, maybe not the ones who pin a thousand items a day) women, who are already beautiful. I guess I shouldn't exclude the occasional man braving the glittery estrogen waves of the Pinterest waters, but really, they are as of yet too few and far between to dwell on.

So. I am one of these women. And I have a little mantra I recite every time I head on over to what has become my third most visited website in record time (the only 2 above it being my email account, and Facebook). I tell myself something I read in a study a while back. The study was performed by a Pinterestress much like myself, only I suspect slightly more intelligent, organized and eloquent. She researched why women don't fall into a pit of self loathing each time they visit Pinterest. Why women don't become completely and utterly overwhelmed with all the things they want to do but will never in 77 lives have enough time to complete (at least not if they don't want their attempts turning up amongst the quite hilarious Pinterest failures featuring the subtext "nailed it"). It is because looking at beautiful things in a browsing fashion calms the female mind.

There you go, it's therapeutic. It helps us produce serotonin. It's like having a good gab with your besties, getting a relaxing massage, eating a decadent piece of dark chocolate, or (most accurately) window shopping for an afternoon. Only there's nobody there to interrupt you. See the appeal? Definitely start worrying if you have replaced all of the above with your pinning, though.

Anyway, this was a rather long winded intro to get to the point of why I started writing this blog post. One afternoon a few weeks ago, I recited my mantra (I am going to calm my mind for a few) and came across balls. Brownie balls that don't require baking. Or flour! Or sugar!! OR GREASE?!!?! The previous pinstress promised, with that lunatic excitement that seems privy to Pinterest, that 'ohmigosh these will totally change your life!!', at which point I was about as skeptic as I could be. So I decided to give them a try.

May I present to you the results of my endeavors.
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Were I to pin these I would add the words 'ohmigosh these taste kind of like brownies though not completely but kind of like brownies that are a little off but not in a ridiculously bad way but still enough to keep them sitting in the fridge for a week untouched'. Yeah, I hear punctuation is not allowed on Pinterest.

In case this little rant inspired you to come check out what this Pinterest hoopla is all about and (dare I say it?) make some balls of your own... may I suggest you click on my Pinterest link in the sidebar, and allow me the pleasure of becoming your faithful follower?

Mar 1, 2013

kinda owning the book challenge

Remember that book resolution I made? I hinted at how it's been going a few days ago when I mentioned one of the reasons I hadn't been blogging as much was because the books I was reading were just so addictive...
And so here we are, on the first day of March, another season nearly over and 2013 speeding by as years tend to do the older you become and the busier life gets.. and I am well into my 10th book of the year. I thought that called for a little recap, so here you go!

1. Paper Towns - John Green.
I tend to get excited about books based on the people recommending them, and this is a prime example of that. I was watching one of the infectious Julia Nunes' YouTube videos, when at the end she had the most adorable over excited rant that included her love for all things John Green. Having never heard of the good man (turns out I had actually read numerous quotes from his works in various places, not realizing what they were from) I felt compelled to research his writings and see if any of them happened to be available at the library. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got my hands on Paper Towns. For some reason this year is featuring a lot of Young Adult novels, and I blame this book for that trend. No actually, I blame Perks of Being A Wallflower which I read at the close of 2012... these books are as insightful, eloquent and as exciting as any piece of literature, and should therefore not be overlooked. That said... my next reading choice was:

2. The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka.
Um, wow. Disturbing much? Very interesting, fascinating and nearly impossible to put down... but I hope you have a strong stomach when it comes to bugs should you ever decide to give this one a go. Luckily it's also quite short, so it's not like you've lost 2 weeks of your life should you decide you hate it.

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon.
And the prize for longest book title goes to... Here's another Young Adult novel, about an autistic boy who finds his neighbor's murdered dog, consequently decides he's going to find out whodunnit, and write a book about it. Quite the process for someone with his challenges - this book is funny, tender, and it teaches without being preachy. Extremely well written in the language of this inquisitive, bright and completely honest young boy.

4. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy.
My introduction to the work of mr. McCarthy. Actually I saw The Road on DVD before I read this.. so maybe that was my introduction, but since Cormac McCarthy's stories don't come alive until you read the breathtakingly prose this man just shakes out of his sleeve (is that a Dutchism?), I'm going to count All the Pretty Horses. I mean, I'm counting this book as my - oh you get it. You would think that a book which consists of 75% descriptions of countryside and horses wouldn't hold your interest for long, but trust me, McCarthy makes you feel as if the countryside is a character in itself, and a very colorful one at that. Oh just read it, honestly, the stunning language will transport you. And don't even think about watching the movie first.. I saw it after reading the book and my goodness, not even kinda close!

5. The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs - Jack Gantos.
Young Adult. Funny. Offbeat, and just off. What more can I say? I'll recommend you just give this one a try if you can handle the weird and strange, and leave it at that.

6. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Euginedes.
Wonderfully written, mysterious, and so very tragic. I'll admit I suffered from lack of closure after finishing this one, but the joy is in the journey, not the destination. This book definitely takes you on one very fascinating journey, and I loved every second of it.

7. Night Shift - Stephen King.
Ah I love Stephen King, and I love the occasional collection of short stories, so this was bound to happen sooner rather than later. It didn't disappoint either - every story seemed creepier than the last and I certainly enjoyed some epic chills down my spine. I was sorry to turn the final page, but not too sorry because when I told a good friend I was reading this, he asked me if I knew about Stephen King's son...

8. Horns - Joe Hill.
Joe Hill is indeed the son of the iconic Stephen King, and had the guts to follow in his father's footsteps, and boy, am I ever glad he did! This book was sooo good. It was dark, hilarious, completely fascinating, mysterious... I had serious trouble putting it down. It's a murder mystery meet battle between good and evil. And I mean evil in its most recognizable form: that of the devil. Can't wait to get my hands on his debut novel 'Heart Shaped Box', which I hear is even better.

9. Wonder - R.J. Palacio.
I picked this one up at the library (have i mentioned how much I love the library? Cause it's getting to the point where Sander is getting jealous of my new found romance..) after being asked to attend my church ward's February book club meeting. Well, I got the book, tore through it in about a day and a half.... and forgot to attend the club meeting. Whoops! I'm really glad I found this little gem though. It's about August, a young boy who, because of a genetic anomaly, was born with a horribly deformed face. At the start of the book his parents tell him they would like him to start attending an actual school instead of having another year of home schooling, and August is understandably terrified. That's all I'll say about what happens because you really have to take this emotional roller coaster yourself. Maybe it touched me just that bit more because I experienced more than my fair share of bullying when I was that age... there were several moments where I had to dab at my eyes and blow my nose before being able to continue on reading. PS, this is another Young Adult novel.

I'd tell you what #10 is but since I'm only about halfway through it I'll leave it a mystery until the next book update!

I would reaaally love to hear what you've been reading, and what your thoughts on these books are if you've read any of them! Mainly, I'm always, ALWAYS looking for new tips. So share away please, don't be shy!

Also, here are two pictures of Max in a furry hat.

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