Archive for February, 2016

Before I started seeing lots of posts regarding reading challenges for the new year, I read this post from my friend Lauren.  She had read 27 books in 2015 and wrote a detailed review of each!  #thingstoaspireto

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I had already identified reading as one of the things I had let slide in 2015 that I wanted to get back on my plate.  I’m far too ENFP-ish to commit to just one plan or strategy, but with a new Kindle Fire and gift card in hand, I got started!

Today, I thought I’d take a page out of Lauren’s book (#punintended) and answer some basic questions.

When do you find time to read?

I certainly haven’t found an uninterrupted hour of concentration and reflection.  So good news, that’s not a prerequisite for trying this out!

I try to keep my Kindle charged and close by.

Sometimes, we got ready a little earlier than I thought we would in the morning so I squeeze a few pages in.

Yesterday, I had an unexpected 20 minutes waiting in the car.

And most nights, I try to take 15-30 minutes before bed.  Though I do recommend reading with caution if you’re using your Kindle.  I thought I might have chipped a tooth when I fell asleep holding it and it cracked me in the face.  Yeah.  Finishing that chapter was not worth it.

How do you choose the books you read?

Friends social media recommendations.


Whatever is on Kindle Daily Deals.

If the cover looks fun.

You should know that I feel no compulsion to finish a book if I’m not enjoying it.  I feel like this helps me to be willing to start a lot more books.  Less pressure, you know?

Have you always been a reader?

Yes.  Books are friends.

As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to open presents that were books until everything else was opened and people were going home because as soon as I had my hands on a book that I wanted, I was done.

Reading with Leo

Hoping my boys will be readers some day too.

But after being in school forever (and not being able to free read) and then having kiddos, I just got out of the habit.  It takes way more concentration to read a chapter of a memoir at night than to watch another episode on Netflix.  Here’s hoping 2016 gets me back to my reading self.

So, my challenge doesn’t have a number to it.  Or a specific genre.  Or really any guidelines other than giving myself over to reading more intentionally this year.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading!

And how to prevent future Kindle facial injuries.


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It all started with an attempt to help out a fellow grad student unload a moving van.

Thankfully the timing to start an amazing, encouraging friendship was a lot better than our timing to help (they already had the van unloaded).

Ashley and her family have been a blessing to our lives in countless ways, but why not a top ten list?!


10. She’s an amazing listener.

9. She’s always down for El Azteca.

8. She’s been my Zumba buddy since before Zumba was even a thing.

7. She’s an awesome mom and I was able to watch her for years before I was a mom myself.


How was E ever so small?!

6. She snorts when she laughs.

5. She’s equally down for watching a musical, science fiction flick, or the latest chick flick.

4. She may not drink coffee, but is always down for a long afternoon or late night of catching up (see #10).

3. She’s the ideal balance of following instructions/being logical to my “eh, looks about right!” when it comes to crafternoons.

2. She’s got all sorts of mad skills when it comes to growing green things.  Which is important considering this next fact.

This girl always has SOLID baking recipes.  And cause she comes from such generous stock (turns out this recipe comes from her mom), I get to share her Killer Brownie recipe with you all!


As my co-worker says, there’s food for the stomach and there’s food for the soul.

These brownies are definitely yoga-pants-wearing (you’re going to want elastic), girlfriend-inviting-over, soul food.

Killer Brownies (recipe from Carol Spencer & Ashley Buller)

1/2 C melted margarine or butter
2 T cocoa
2 eggs
1 C sugar
3/4 C flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 C  broken nuts (optional)
Mix all together and bake in a greased 9×9 pan at 350 for 25-30 minutes (don’t overbake). When done, remove from oven and cover with a single layer of small marshmallows.
Let sit while making frosting.
Boil together 1/4 C margarine or butter and 1/2 C brown sugar for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 2 T milk. Stir.
Add 1 C sifted powdered sugar.
While still warm, drizzle over the brownies.
Let sit until cool and frosting will harden.
There you have it!
You know why they are called killer brownies?
Okay, I don’t know the real reason.
But my reason is that they will end, destroy, dare I say–annihilate–any intentions you had of giving up sweets in 2016. 🙂


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