Tag Archives: bookclub

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Granola Bars


I made granola bars again.  I’m not sure why I am so into granola bars, but I am.  I wish I could tell you how to make these, but they are 95% this recipe (but with peanut butter) and 5% this recipe (millet).  I served them with bacon and eggs and the boys seemed to love them.  I think I planned to take them camping, but I forgot to pack them (along with the butter, coffee and various snacks). They did come in handy as an afternoon snack mid-week when we were completely out of food.  In other news, there are 4 left and it’s been a week.  I can’t tell if this means they aren’t that great or, since I am storing them in the fridge, it’s an out of sight out of mind situation.   Luke seems to love them when they are offered. He doesn’t seek them out.

Granola bars aren’t super photogenic, and the lighting in my house is not ideal, especially after dinner on a Thursday night.  I decided to photograph them with a stack of books because it’s been a while since I did that and… I am about to reach an exciting book milestone.  The Boulder Library does an optional reading history which I LOVE. It’s a list of all the books I have checked out since October 1, 2005.  I looked at it this morning and I was at 988.  Then I checked out two more books and I am still at 988 so I am not 100% sure how it works, maybe there is some batch process that runs at night?  Regardless, I think something exciting should happen when I hit 1000.  Maybe I could plan an entire day of drinking coffee while lying in the couch, reading.  Or, I could read at a fancy coffee shop, or maybe even at a bar.  Obviously reading would have to be a part of it.  Maybe I’ll also pay off my fine.  I know, it sounds so exciting!!  The real question is – should I plan to check out a special book for my 1000th book? Or just let it be random? What book should I check out?  10 or 12 books to go, will I reach 1000 before the end of the year? That picture up there doesn’t even show all the books I have currently checked out, so I think I’ll make it.


Fancy Breakfast Friday: Pan Dulce


Luke had pan dulce in his Spanish class as part of their Día de los Muertos celebration so he put in a Fancy Breakfast Friday request.  I have never made pan dulce, nor did I know how to say it, so I went with the King Arthur Flour recipe. In retrospect, I should have considered a couple recipes, maybe one with a prettier topping, because these didn’t turn out like the pan dulce at la pastelería.   (Or should I say la panadería?  There’s been some debate here this morning.)  There’s that point in the recipe where it says, “Just before baking, use a pan dulce cutter to press a pattern into the topping.” That’s when you give up on looks and hope that it tastes good.

I followed the recipe to step 9 the night before and then left them in the fridge over night. In the morning, they had until the oven was warmed up to rise on the counter and then they were cooked.

As I was prepping the dough the night before Luke asked what I was doing and I told him that I was making pan dulce with a “ch” sound and he got the sweetest smile on his face.  I thought it meant, “Wow what a great and loving Mom I have.”  But when he said, “Uh.  It’s pronounced Pan Dulce” I realized it was a smile of “You dummy.”  That’s OK, if anyone appreciates Fancy Breakfast Friday, it’s Luke.

Instead of halving the recipe and then making smaller portions, as I have been doing lately, I accidentally made the whole thing, and came up with 8 instead of 10.  They were huge.  Jack almost missed the bus because it took him so long to eat his.

I took a picture with the book I read last week too, The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan.  It’s a little book about a good man.  Each chapter is from the perspective of a different character.  I read about it in the New York Times Book Review where Tana French recommended it, and Tana French had been recommended to me by my Aunt Linda, so I knew I had to read it.



Book Club: Summer Reading Check in!


How is everyone’s summer reading coming along?  Have you read anything amazing or trashy or trashy/amazing or educational or fun?  Have you checked off all your summer fun activities?

We have done a lot of fun things, but we have less than 2 weeks until school starts and I haven’t taken Jack to Dinosaur Ridge yet.  That was the one thing I told myself I would do this summer.  Time flies!

One thing we learned this summer is that you can grow chia on your chia pet with seeds from costco.   Question asked and answered!  That was some investigative research right there.

I have also read a lot of books.  I procrastinated Barkskins forever, because I didn’t want to start it and have it take the rest of the summer and leave me no time for anything else.  Makes sense to play 2048 on my phone instead, right?  So dumb.  But once I got into it, it was so good and tragic.  The 4 pages of family tree worried me when I noticed them while trying to figure out how many pages I was up against, but after I got a generation or two into the story, they were a necessity.  Recommend.IMG_0405

This is Lucy posing in front of the books and magazines I just unpacked from our camping vacation. I had also planned to read a bunch of books on my kindle app, but that didn’t work out for two reasons.  The first was that moths were flying into my screen when I tried to read at night, and moths are horrible creatures that freak me out to death.  The second reason was that Luke brought only one book and read it on the first day.  So I just let him read e-books for the rest of the trip because I am a mom and I make sacrifices.  My favorite vacation read was Fangirl, and not just because it was recommended to me by my sister at 2:30 am at a bar on an island with a sandy floor while we were sitting on a swing.  What happens in Put in Bay stays, etc, etc unless it’s a book discussion and that must be shared with the world.

I do have a mild sense of panic about two books I still need to read, and I kind of should have had them done by yesterday.  One is the 4th book in the Neapolitan Series, because I borrowed them from a friend who was gone for the summer and I think she’s back. But worse than that, she read Queen of the Night at my recommendation this spring, and I hadn’t read it yet and I owe it to her to also read it.  But I procrastinated and now I am out of time.  She’s back from Sweden!  Maybe if I promise to read it by the end of the year?

What was your favorite summer read?  I think mine are:


But here is the complete list of books I have read so far this summer:

Fangirl -Rainbow Rowell
Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner
I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1) – Pittacus Lore
Eligible (The Austen Project #4) – Curtis Sittenfeld
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) – Sylvain Neuvel
LaRose – Louise Erdrich
Barkskins – Annie Proulx
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3) – Elena Ferrante
The Girls – Emma Cline
Liar & Spy – Rebecca Stead
The Round House – Louise Erdrich
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
Maestra – L.S. Hilton

I’m feeling too lazy to link everything today, but you should be able to get more info from my goodreads account, and that is linked in the sidebar.

Please enjoy another perspective on my chia pet and have a great last few days of summer!


Book Club



Today is Independent Bookstore Day – all these books are linked to Indiebound, and I get a small percentage if you purchase books via this link.  I will not be offended if you get them from your local bookstore or the library!

I was obsessed with the Tournament of Books for the first part of the year, reading a lot of great books and finding many that I just had to abandon.  At the end of the tournament there are always posts and comments about contenders for next year.  I immediately ordered several from the library and they have been rolling in.  Of course as soon as I picked up the first book at the library I thought, “Ugh. Am I ready for a BOOK?”  I kind of felt like something lighter  and easier than a contender for best book of 2016.  Isn’t that a weird thought?  I wasn’t in the mood to read something GOOD – capital letters required.  But then I read the inside flap and it said, “…comes home to find his wife killed…”  And I was like, SOLD!  Of course, then I thought something was really wrong with me.  I spent all afternoon yesterday reading All Things Cease to Appear, and then texting people to recommend it.  It starts with a murder, and you start off trying to figure out who did it.  Then you start to learn… so much more about the characters.  Could not put it down.

Here are a few others I  have loved so far this year:

The Turner House – This is a book about a family in Detroit.  Read this if you like characters or if you are in a family.

Our Souls At Night – Love story between two old people.  Read this if you think you may get old.

The Tsar of Love and Techno – When I was describing this to Dave I said, “I really loved this, but at first it seemed like some of the chapters didn’t fit in.  The style wasn’t totally cohesive.  In the end, I felt like all the chapters worked together as a whole, but I had to get halfway through it before I felt that way.”  A couple weeks later I learned that this was a book of short stories, and I felt really, really, really dumb.  Knowing it’s a book of short stories, I have nothing against it now.  I have had it on my mind a lot since I have been reading about the anniversary of Chernobyl.  This takes place in Siberia and Chechnya, but there are parallels.

Ongoingness – Read this if you are someone obsessed with writing a diary.

My Brilliant Friend – This is the first in a series of four books about a small town in Italy.  Nothing and everything happens in this book.  Read this when you have time to avoid everything else in your life because I found it hard to put down.

As usual, I have been reading a lot of YA books as well.

I read the fourth book in the Lunar Series – Winter.  This was actually really really good.  It seems like a “guilty pleasure” a little, but really it was just a pleasure.  Read this series if you like fairy tales with strong female characters who can rule the world.  Don’t read if you aren’t open to cyborgs and aliens.  (Don’t limit yourself.)  Start with Cinder and go from there.

Jack and I heard Kwame Alexander on NPR and I loved the way he talked about poetry and boys – this statement stuck with me:

“I think that so often we think of boys as just wanting to be a part of sports, but when you get on a sports team and you really get in that huddle and you get on the court with these boys, or you get on the pitch, it’s all about family and friendship and love and rivalry and it’s extremely emotional.”

Luke and Jack and I were reading The Crossover at bedtime, taking turns with each poem and it was really great.  Right up until the point that the boys figured out how it was going to end.  I offered to let them read it on their own, but they decided to just let me read the end on my own and tell them if they had it right.  They did, and I don’t mind that they didn’t want to finish it – reading half a book of poetry with your mom is better than nothing.

Jack and I are now reading The BFG, which we are loving.  I wanted to make him read a page and then I would read a page, but that isn’t working for this book because of all the made up words.  I actually find it kind of exhausting to read it out loud, but I think it’s better to read it out loud, or listed to an audio version because the way the BFG talks is really, really funny.

What are you reading?