Thursday, August 25, 2016

It's Raining Holds!

Yesterday was the real first day of school for us.  The first day when all three kids were out of the house, at school, all day.  Summer was great, but it was time.  My plan for the past few weeks had been to treat myself to Liane Moriarty's Truly Madly Guilty on the first day of school. With rain most of the day, it would have been the perfect day to curl up and read, except it was still humid as hell outside so not exactly blanket and book conditions.   Instead, I felt energized (and frankly thrilled) to be alone in my own home and took the opportunity to get the house tidied up (a bit), crank on laundry, and eat lunch alone while watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend on Netflix.  I also ate ten homemade (but not by me) turtles ... for which I don't feel even a little truly, madly guilty.  

Plus, I am in another "when it rains, it pours" library hold situation.  Four holds in three days.  I need to attack this pile first!  Maybe later today ... after the Costco run I've avoided for two months, after more laundry, and on and on.  Let's take a look at what's waiting ...
 Runaway Wife by Elizabeth Birkelund -- Sounds fun and breezy, plus it's set in the Swiss Alps.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer -- Some of Amy Schumer's humor is out of my comfort zone, but I find her smart and funny and real.  We'll see what I think of this book.

Siracusa by Delia Ephron and The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close -- I've enjoyed previous books by both authors and am eager to read these two books, especially The Hopefuls.  Both books have been endorsed by Sarah of Sarah's Bookshelves, if you want to check out her mini-reviews.

Thank you, Elmhurst Public Library for ordering all the hottest new books and for having an easy-to-use hold and pick-up system!

What's in your stack?  What's in your hold queue?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Snackshots -- July & August

I've neglected to post Snackshots for the past few months.  You can rest assured that I've been snacking like a champion, which tends to be how I roll in the summer. 

My mom brought a Costco-sized box of Tate's chocolate chip cookies to Hilton Head for our large family vacation.  They lasted about twenty-four hours.  Even though I have limited my gluten intake over the past three years, I sampled a couple and found them ... completely delightful.

I was thrilled to find the gluten-free Tate's cookies at Jungle Jim's International Market.

These gluten-free Tate's cookies are ... just as delightful. 

Lucky I don't live near Jungle Jim's and won't be able to replenish any time soon.

And, because you might be curious, I am not gluten intolerant.  However, I began experimenting with gluten-free living several years ago and found that I was more clear-headed and less HANGRY when I avoided gluten.  Basically, what happens when I eat foods with gluten is that those foods make me want to eat more and more and more of those foods.  I was very strict for the first eighteen months or so.  Now, I have some gluten here and there without feeling like an powerless carboholic (you know, the kind of person who would name a blog "books and carbs").  I know some people are very eye-rolly on this topic.  I never pretend to have a gluten allergy and don't ask/expect others to make special accommodations for what is, for me, a preference and not a health issue.

One last thing ... the snackshot above features my cookie, a cold Diet Coke, and a great book on my kindle -- heavenly tableau!  The book was Katja Millay's The Sea of Tranquility.  Hated the cover and the title, but I really enjoyed the book.  A great YA read with interesting characters and a perfect balance of heft and hope.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Milestone: Family Audiobooks

The kids and I do several road trips throughout the year, driving five hours to Ohio to visit my family.  Typically, the audiobook situation on these trips is as follows:  I listen to my audiobook on my ipod through my left ear bud only, leaving my right ear free to hear the screeching and squabbling of my kids and whatever DVD they have chosen.  Is this legal?  I don't know, but I think a sane driver is a safe driver.  Audiobooks keep me sane.

On an earlier trip to Ohio this summer, the kids finally agreed to a whole-van audiobook listening experience.
We listened to Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great.  These books were read by the author and, to be honest, I didn't love the narration, but the kids and I both really enjoyed the listening experience anyway.  I had read both books multiple times as a girl and it was really fun to revisit them with my kids.  We laughed at Fudge and shared our thoughts on Sheila.  "Why does she brag and lie so much?" was an insight from my middle guy.  Positive experience.  These books were good choices because they were short.  It was satisfying to finish a whole book on one leg of a car trip, with breaks taken between CDs.
A couple weeks after the Judy Blume listening fest, we were on a road trip to Indiana with my husband at the wheel.  Surprise of all surprises, he agreed to a family audiobook and actually seemed to enjoy it.  I have been reading Beverly Cleary's Ramona books aloud to my youngest two (though the oldest has joined us many times) so we listened the next book up for us, Ramona Forever.  Stockard Channing was a great narrator, and the story of Ramona, her father's job search, her aunt's wedding, and her friend Howie's grandmother made our 3.5 hour journey go quickly. 

The only tricky part about family audiobooking was that our GPS would "talk over" the narration when we were receiving guidance.  Our CD player does not have a pause button (at least that I could find), but I found that if I just turned the audio off, that we would be at the same spot on the CD when I turned it back on. 

On our road trip last week, they chose DVDs and squabbling again, but I think we do have more family audiobooking in our future.  Any recommendations?