As we all know, I like to brag on myself. And I realized that I bragged on myself about the scarves I made for Christmas --
Side story: I made all those scarves and then realized this week that I have been wearing around a scarf with holes in it. So I started on one that I am actually going to keep for myself.
Back to bragging. I bragged about the scarves, but not about my other cute-sie project.
I saw this idea somewhere (I'd give credit, but I can't find it!), and decided it would be perfect for the thank you gifts that I needed. I didn't have to buy a whole lot of stuff that I would never use up and they are cute.
I bought a big can of metal cookie cutters at Jo-Ann's for about $10. There were 40 cookie cutters of all shapes and multiple sizes.
Then I bought a couple of bags of those candy chocolate disks and a two pack of squeezy bottles.
All I had to do was put the cookie cutters on parchment paper. Heat up the chocolates to melt them. Put the chocolate in the squeezy bottle and squeeze it into the cookie cutter.
Then I decorated with white chocolate and M&Ms.
And when the chocolate was completely set, I put them into cute little bags with a ribbon and tag and finished it off with a Christmas tree ornament.
I feel like everything is breaking. As I'm writing this, I'm knocking on wood, hoping that I don't jinx myself into something more catastrophic.
It all started when I returned to the middle. I did the house walk-through, making sure it was ok in my absence, and found water on the bathroom floor. I've checked and checked and tinkered and tested and it's not leaking now. Heather tells me the toilet was sulking. I have decided that it's the temperature difference.
The next day the headlight on my car burned out. In high school, my younger sister developed a theory that you need a boyfriend who can help you out with your various needs. And if it takes a different boyfriend to cover different areas, that is just fine. So her philosophy included a car boyfriend (able and willing to fix all car problems), a computer boyfriend, a cooking boyfriend (to cook you fancy meals), etc.
So I had discovered already, early in December, that I am completely incapable of changing my own headlight. I called my car boyfriend. He says that to change the headlights they expect you to have tiny hands and a gorilla grip. We've already talked about my hands, tiny yes, gorilla grip, no. But he was able to replace the lightbulb in less than five minutes.
This weekend my glasses broke. Yeah, I don't really wear them except for first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, but it's annoying when they are broken.
Yay for Lenscrafters and their fix-everything-no-questions-asked policy. The glasses are fixed. And even prettied up a bit.
Then my kitchen sink clogged and started leaking underneath.
With my dad's coaching, I was able to stop the leak for a night. The next day I tried to use it again. The same thing happened, so I called a plumber. The kitchen sink is fixed!
This started as a little bit of a whine. But everything is fixed and I'm grateful for people around me who will fix stuff for me.
Did you see that Jamie Ford commented on my book review? I felt famous! Ok, so I'm not and he is, but a famous person read something I wrote! It's so exciting.
Of course when I realized that I read books by authors that are alive and they could possibly see what I write about them I thought that maybe I should tone it down and not be critical.
But then what's the point of a review, right?
So on to the latest batch.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
Plot: A 30-something woman finds out her grandmother had a sister when she is asked to care for the great-aunt. More discoveries about the family's ... not super happy past ensue.
Review: I enjoyed this. There was a lot of back and forth between the past and present and it was interesting to see the way that Esme, the great-aunt, was raised. As a family drama, it is very understandable because all the emotions are so normal. It is a sad story, but very compelling.
The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
Plot: Two half sisters go to a house in the Hamptons that their aunt has left to them in her will. The sisters have to figure out how to be around each other, and they both work on the Hamptons' social scene. There's also a little mystery involved.
Review: When I started the book, I didn't have a feel for what type of book it would be. It turns out that is because it has a little bit of everything. Family drama, mystery, romance, parties, etc. The characters were what drove this book, they were fun and eccentric and cool to hang out with.
Recommend: Yes, mostly to people who are good with flowery, flowing language (which in my opinion made this a nice read too).
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Plot: A single mother and her daughter immigrate from Hong Kong to New York. The book is told from the daughter Ah-Kim's point of view as she begins elementary school and grows up in a new country.
Review: I loved the book. I was seriously disappointed in Ah-Kim at the end. I will say that I think that is part of what makes books so good. If I cared enough to be that upset about it, it means it was a really good book.
Recommend: Yes, absolutely.
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Plot: A young man returns from war, becomes a gardener at the King's palace, discovers a mystery, and saves the King's 12 daughters from a curse. It's a re-telling of the fairy tale "The 12 Dancing Princesses."
Review: It was a cute, young adult book. It was a fun, light read, but there was not a lot of depth or character development.
Recommend: If you are on a plane or at the beach and just want something light and quick, this is a good option.
Maze Runner by James Dashner
Plot: A young man wakes up to find himself in an elevator. When the elevator arrives he discovers he is in a maze with a lot of other teenage boys. They have a weird society where everyone works and they try to solve the maze that surrounds their living area.
Review: This is very end-of-the-world-ish. The maze is set up as a test of these young people which makes the book very similar to The Hunger Games. But it's not that good. Thomas spends the entire book very confused and then all the action happens in the last 20 pages. The book is the first of a trilogy, and it feels like it was just lengthened in order to make a trilogy possible.
Recommend: No. I won't be continuing to read the rest of the trilogy, so I can't recommend it.
The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Plot: A young girl, Lily -- the Apothecary's daughter -- longs for a life outside her father's shop and her small town. She is invited to London by her aunt and uncle, and cuts some ties as she goes. Then she is forced back to the small town by her father's illness and is forced to decide what her role will be.
Review: I found myself in the Atlanta airport and I had finished my book. I clicked through the others that were on my Kindle and started reading one. I quickly realized I did not want to read that one, so I clicked to the Amazon store in search of something else. This was in the top 10 free books.
On to the review. It is basically a romance novel. Very formulaic, very predictable, the characters are not developed, and so it is really hard to care.
Recommend: No. If you are looking for a super fast plane read, read the Princess at the Midnight Ball.
This past week North Carolina had an ice storm. Naturally this shut everything down. So Kim was home for the day. We slept in, ate a leisurely breakfast, and then decided we should walk over to Harris Teeter and get a movie from the Redbox.
When we decided on this course of action, I didn't realize that Kim meant immediately.
I went and got dressed, in no rush whatsoever, and came back downstairs to find Kim in her coat and hat, tapping her foot.
And so we set off.
The neighborhood sidewalk was treacherous. But once we got out to the main road the sidewalk had been cleared. The ice thickened again though when we got to the Harris Teeter parking lot, and then I saw that the sidewalk in front of the store had been treated.
As we walked out of the store, movie in hand, I saw a shopping cart filled with boxes of table salt that all had the top of the box cut completely off.
"Wait," I said to Kim. "Do you think? ... I think they used table salt to salt the sidewalk!"
We inspected the boxes, all completely empty, then inspected the sidewalk.
Sure enough there was a pile around the edge that was clearly wet salt.
Kim promptly developed a theory: The workers all arrived in the morning and gathered for the morning meeting. The manager was pleased that everyone was able to make it, but expressed a lot of concern about the state of the parking lot. "No one has come to treat the parking lot or the sidewalks. What are we going to do if a customer gets hurt?"
A bagger, a teenager complete with baggy pants, flips his Justin Bieber hair out of his face and said, "Dude, we've got salt."
I have a younger sister who is in high school. Sometimes my middle siblings will tell her (the youngest) that she has life so good and when they were kids it was so hard.
I'm not so sure that is true.
I've decided one of the hardest things about being the youngest and having siblings that are twelve and fourteen years older that you is that said older siblings force her to sit through the things that they enjoy.
Allow me to explain.
Last night, Kim and I were watching TV. Somehow I actually got control of the remote and noticed that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was playing on two different channels. And so I made the comment that Buffy was on a lot.
Kim said, "Is that a TV show or a movie?"
And I said, "Both." And then I launched into a lengthy explanation of why there is both a movie and a TV show.
Kim had never seen either, even though my parents own the movie (on VHS), and so I waxed eloquent on how much Heather and I loved Buffy when we were teenagers.
So then we watched it.
Seriously, I know exactly why we loved that movie.
Kim laughed through the whole thing. She thought it was ridiculous.
It's hard being the youngest. ... And one of the oldest.