Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday 3/25! What Are You Reading?

We woke up to snow this morning! What happened to spring?? This is more snow than we've gotten all winter...and it's March 25. Crazy. We finally had to give up on our plans to go camping next weekend - though it will warm up a bit, the nights will just be too cold still.

I had a bit of a rough week - just experienced a flare-up of my chronic illness as a result of the over-exertion of attending a family funeral last weekend. Fortunately, I didn't have much scheduled so was able to rest when I needed to...and read!
  • Last week, I read The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, a Christmas gift from my husband. It was just as good as I'd heard! I was totally engrossed in the story and the characters. It is an emotionally powerful book, both on a personal level and on a global level.
  • Now, I am reading Ruins by Orson Scott Card, sequel to Pathfinder. Both books have made the rounds in our family! I worried I wouldn't remember enough of the complex story in Pathfinder, but within a chapter, I was completely absorbed by the story again - Card is an amazing writer.
  • I am still listening to Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel on audio, Flight Behavior. I had hoped to finish it by the end of the month, but that might be impossible with 2 weeks of spring break ahead (i.e. no alone-time!). I am really enjoying it.
  • My husband, Ken, is reading A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, a recent purchase of mine from the used book store. Neither of us has ever read it before!
  • Jamie, 18, is home from college for spring break and among other lazy delights, he is enjoying having some reading time! He is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, Book 5 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and loving it! He says he wants to re-read the first 4 books now (and he'll do it, too!).
  • Craig, 15, is reading When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka for his freshman lit class, a novel about the Japanese-American internment during World War II. He is actually enjoying this one! I definitely want to read it when he is done, since our neighborhood book group recently read its sort-of prequel, The Buddha is the Attic.
I reviewed two books last week:
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a highly recommended novel that I loved.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher, a teen/YA novel that explores the relationship between a kidnapper and his captive.

I also wrote a Weekend Cooking post this week.

What are you and your family reading this week?

(What are you reading Monday is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, with a kid/teen version hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.) 

The snow is beautiful this morning...but it's supposed to be spring!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Cooking 3/24

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

We had a nice variety of old favorites and new trials this week. Of course, we started out last Sunday (St. Patty's Day) with our traditional corned beef dinner and Irish soda bread. My dad and his wife were here for the weekend, so it was nice to share it with them. I always use this recipe from Cooking Light (of course!) - it has a maple syrup glaze on the corned beef that is delicious! My dad ate so much that I had to go out and buy another small corned beef the next day, to go with our left-over veggies! Always a big hit here.

I tried a new recipe this week, from a more recent issue of Cooking Light, Cheesy Mini Meat Loaves. They were delicious! Besides the gooey cheddar oozing out of the meat loaf, the other flavors in this unique recipe are tangy and tasty, especially the horseradish. My husband said there was one flavor he didn't like - I think it was probably the Dijon mustard, so I will try leaving that out next time. Otherwise, definitely a keeper. I served it with boiled parsley potatoes and broccoli.

We actually went out to a restaurant mid-week, a rare treat at our house.

Friday night, my younger son had a friend sleep over, and my older son came home from college for spring break, so we had a crowd-pleaser, my younger son's own recipe, Pasta ala Craig. He invented this recipe back in 5th grade, after being inspired by the Food Network chefs and tiring of the tedium of following other people's recipes (he always has had an independent streak!). Friends coming to our house loved this dish so much that it quickly made its way through their families, until he eventually printed copies for his entire 5th grade class! I've included his recipe below - it's simple and very kid-friendly but tasty.

Now that Jamie is home from college, I am focusing on his favorite meals. Last night we had Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Tomatillo Salsa, though I subbed catfish for the tilapia. To make this simple meal even simpler, I always use Trader Joe's Salsa Verde with some chopped cilantro added instead of making my own - yummy! We had roasted asparagus with it and a simple dish of sauteed sweet onion with black-eyed peas.

Tonight is Jamie's #1, all-time favorite, our own Red Beans & Rice recipe.

Hope you are enjoying some good food and cooking this week, too!
Pasta ala Craig

1 pound of pasta (we like whole grain Penne)
1 onion
1 bell pepper – red or green
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
32-oz. can of tomato sauce
Seasonings (to taste), such as:
Basil (fresh or dried)
Garlic powder
Grated cheeses (about 1 1/2 cups total):
Monterey Jack

Boil water and cook pasta according to instructions on box.

Chop onion and bell pepper. 

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, and cook ground meat until browned.  Add chopped onion and pepper and cook until tender.  Add minced garlic.

Add sauce to skillet and seasonings, to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Pour cooked and drained pasta into a large (9x11) baking pan.  Add meat sauce and stir until mixed.  Add cheeses on top.  Cook under broiler for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted (check frequently to avoid burning).

© 2009 Craig Jackson

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Snapshot 3/23

At Home with Books hosts Saturday Snapshot.

First day of spring this week! And the next morning...

 Not very spring-like, is it? And they are forecasting another rain/snow mix for tomorrow night. It is not looking good for the camping trip we have planned for Easter weekend. It's usually nice here by the end of March. Looks like Phil got it wrong on February 2.

This is the view off our back deck when I first woke up one morning last week - the photo doesn't do it justice, but I loved the glow of the first morning light among the trees:

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fiction Review: The Snow Child

Am I the last person on earth to read The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, the best-selling and highly acclaimed novel published last year? It’s quite possible, but the important thing is that I did finally get to it. This is one of those cases when I am grateful for book buzz because I don’t think I would have chosen this book on my own, and I would have missed out on an amazing reading experience.

In Alaska in 1920, Mabel and Jack are trying to eke out an existence with their small farm and the significant challenge of the long Alaskan winter. They moved away from their families on the East Coast after Mabel gave birth to a stillborn child and they were both mired in despair, hoping to make a fresh start in the new frontier. However, they are both still reeling from their loss and each trapped in his or her own loneliness and misery.

The first beautiful snowfall of winter inspires them, and they play together in the snow and forget their sorrows for one evening. They even build a small snowman in the early snow; because of its size, it reminds them of a child, so they carefully mold it to look like a little girl and add a scarf and mittens. The next morning, their snowchild is gone, but they spot a little girl running through the woods near their secluded cabin.

Though Jack takes a more logical approach to the child who runs wild through the trees and snow, Mabel is reminded of a Russian fairy tale her father used to read to her called The Snow Child, about a girl made out of snow who comes to life. Wherever she came from, the girl, named Faina, gradually becomes more comfortable around Mabel and Jack and spends more time at their cabin, until they come to think of her as a daughter.

I am not normally a fan of magical realism and probably wouldn’t have even picked this book up, if I hadn’t heard so many rave reviews of it. Despite its hints of magic (though logical explanations are often offered), it is also a very real story about struggling to survive in a beautiful yet violent environment and about a couple learning to love again after incomparable loss. It is about life, with all of its joys and sorrows, and about family and friendship. All of that is told against a backdrop of gorgeous, dangerous wilderness. I devoured this magical, engrossing story in big, hungry gulps of reading pleasure and never wanted it to end.

386 pages, Back Bay Books (Little, Brown & Co)

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Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Monday 3/18! What Are You Reading?

We had a long and tiring weekend here, but it was good to spend time with family. My dad and his wife spent the weekend with us, and we all went to my uncle's funeral on Saturday. So, we didn't have a lot of time for reading last week (or blogging), but we did fit in some good books:
  • I finished Crispin - The Cross of Lead by Avi. My husband and son were right - it was an excellent middle-grade novel!
  • I broke with tradition and read another kid/teen/YA novel instead of alternating with a grown-up book. Last night, I finished Stolen by Lucy Christopher, an award-winning YA novel from the perspective of a teen girl who's been abducted. This one didn't focus on abuse, as have other teen/YA abduction novels I've read, but on the relationship that develops between the kidnapper and his captive. An engrossing and unique story. I haven't decided what to read next yet.
  • I am still listening to Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel on audio, Flight Behavior, and enjoying it very much.
  • My husband, Ken, just finished Ruins by Orson Scott Card, sequel to Pathfinder. He said it was good, but he liked Pathfinder better. I'm next in line for this one!
  • Now, Ken has just started reading A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood which I recently bought at the local used bookstore. Neither of us has read this sci fi dystopian classic before.
  • Craig, 15, is reading When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka for his freshman lit class, a novel about the Japanese-American internment during World War II. Ironically, my own neighborhood book group just read the prequel to this book, The Buddha in the Attic, a few months ago, so I am looking forward to reading this one when he is finished with it.
  • Jamie, 18, didn't have time for pleasure reading last week because he's been so busy at college, but he is sick today, with a flare-up of his chronic illnesses, so he is planning to finally dive into A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, Book 5 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series today. A good book is the perfect antidote to a sick day in bed!
I wrote two new reviews last week:  
The House on Mango Street, a classic novel by Sandra Cisneros
Crispin - Cross of Lead by Avi, a middle-grade novel.

I also posted two lists:
Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List
Top Ten Kids/Teen Books on My Spring TBR List

Finally, I shared some good news, that two of my essays have been published in a new Chicken Soup book.

What are you and your family reading this week?

(What are you reading Monday is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, with a kid/teen version hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fiction Review: The House on Mango Street

-->When my son was assigned The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros for his freshman lit class, I decided I would read it when he finished. Not only do I like to read what my kids read in their literature classes, but this one was one of the books the girls read in The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumaker, a teen novel I enjoyed last summer. When my son missed a month of school recently and needed some help catching up, I read the novel so I could provide some guidance to him. Besides wanting to help my son, I really enjoyed this brief and unique novel.

The main character, Esperanza, is a teen Hispanic girl living in Chicago with her family. They have moved into their first house, a small red house on Mango Street. Esperanza struggles with the same issues as any teen girl – friends, family, school, feeling self-conscious, and wondering what the rest of her life will be like – but she is also dealing with issues unique to families living in poverty. She worries about what the other kids at school will think of her limited wardrobe and what will become of another girl on her street whose father hits her and all sorts of other issues not familiar to most middle class kids. She makes plans to escape this life and this street, to live in a house all by herself and live a life different from the difficult one her own family leads.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this slim novel was the same thing my 15-year old son didn’t like: its unique format. Esperanza tells her story in a series of distinct vignettes that slowly yield the details of her life, her thoughts, and her dreams. My son found this confusing and said he prefers a story that is told chronologically, but I enjoyed seeing the puzzle pieces gradually come together. Another aspect of the format that makes it somewhat confusing is the author’s lack of quotation marks, something my son and I both agreed we didn’t like!

This engaging and distinctive novel is a quick read. Each chapter is brief, sometimes only a few paragraphs long. The reader gradually comes to know Esperanza through the details of her life on Mango Street and to root for her to achieve her goals and stay safe and find her way in the world.  Reading the author’s introduction (in the 25th anniversary edition we had) is further enlightening, as we discover that much of the novel is autobiographical. I enjoyed The House on Mango Street very much and was glad to have a chance to read it sooner rather than later.

110 pages, Vintage Contemporaries

This book takes place in Chicago, IL, and counts toward my Books I Should Have Read Challenge.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List

It's Tuesday and that means it's Top Ten day over at The Broke and the Bookish. Today's topic? Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List! I actually made two Top Ten lists, one here and one over at Great Books for Kids and Teens. I probably won't manage to read all 20 this spring, but it gives me something to shoot for! These were easy lists to make because I have soooo many books waiting to be read on TBR shelves, in piles, and in baskets!

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List:
  • The Dream by Harry Bernstein, sequel to his first memoir, The Invisible Wall, which I loved.
  • Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho, a Christmas gift (if I ever find time to work on my blogs!)
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, a novel I am dying to read!
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a leftover from my 2012 TBR list.
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, a book I have wanted to read for ages and perfect for my Books I Should Have Read Challenge.
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Agawa, another good one for the Books I Should Have Read Challenge.
  • In the Woods by Tana French, because my husband loved it.
  • The Yokota Officer's Club by Sara Bird, for my neighborhood book group in April.
  • American Pastoral by Philip Roth, for my neighborhood book group in May - and will also count toward my Books I Should Have Read Challenge.
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, for my other book group.
What are you looking forward to reading this spring?

Two of My Essays Published Today

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood was released today, including two of my own essays!

The essay "A Gun in Every Gourd" is about my two young sons' fascination with weaponry, which I found totally incomprehensible! The second essay, "Tales from the Road," tells the story of a brief business trip I went on, starting with my initial elation at being free from parenting responsibilities to my happily returning home to my chaotic life.

Of course, there are many other wonderful essays in this collection by other authors. If you are a parent, check it out!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Monday 3/11! What Are You Reading?

Ah, Monday, and life is returning to normal, finally. Our youngest son is back to school, after a month out due to illnesses and surgery, so I am blissfully alone in a quiet house, with no tutoring responsibilities! We had a very nice weekend with gorgeous weather here. I can tell spring is coming because my allergies are going crazy. Between that and Spring Forward, I am dragging this morning!

Lots of great reading this past week:
  • I finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and absolutely loved it. It was just as good as everyone said - a well-written, engrossing, magical story. I never wanted it to end!
  • I am now reading Crispin - The Cross of Lead by Avi, a favorite middle-grade novel of my husband and son which has been gathering dust on my TBR shelf for years! They were right, as usual - it is excellent.
  • I am still listening to Flight Behavior on audio, Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel. I am finding it hard to put aside now. Maybe that will motivate me to take a walk today!
  • My husband, Ken, finished The Dark Hour by Robin Burcell, a suspense novel set in Amsterdam. He said it was a very complex story, but I think he liked it.
  • Now, Ken is reading Ruins by Orson Scott Card, the teen/YA sequel to Pathfinder, which he, I, and our older son all loved. I am next in line for this one!
  • Jamie, 18, has been busy with his second semester at college and hasn't had much reading time. He was home yesterday and told me he has finally given up on a novel that wasn't capturing his attention. He's got a bad cold and will probably need to rest a lot this week, so he's planning to start A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, Book 5 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. He blew through the first four books during last year's summer vacation, so he is really looking forward to this one!
  • Craig, 15, is fully occupied with a month's worth of make-up work in seven different classes!
I wrote two reviews last week: The Invisible Wall, a fascinating memoir by Harry Bernstein and The Dark Side of Nowhere, a teen novel by Neal Schusterman. I also posted my Books Read in February summary - I fit a lot of reading into a short month!

What are you and your family reading this week?

(What are you reading Monday is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, with a kid/teen version hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Snapshot Saturday 3/9

At Home with Books hosts Saturday Snapshot.

Well, we finally got our snow yesterday morning:

And a couple of hours later, it was gone!

Today it's supposed to be 55 degrees! I guess that is it for the winter. What a pathetic winter we've had! I suppose I should be happy (especially since our back-up furnace broke this week), but it just doesn't seem like winter to me without snow.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Books Read in February

For such a short month, February seemed to go on and on. Our month started out well, with our annual Mardi Gras celebration, but went downhill after that, with our youngest son out of school for an entire month, due to several illnesses and knee surgery. He went in today for the first time, so hopefully the worst is behind us now. Reading-wise, I spent a lot of time at home taking care of him and read quite a bit:
  • In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood, nonfiction essays about science fiction (Canada)
  • The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein, memoir (England)
  • Wildwood by Colin Meloy, middle-grade fantasy audio book (Oregon)

  • The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Schusterman, middle-grade/teen novel (Oklahoma)
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, classic novel (Illinois)

So, I read 8 books last month, which is a lot for me! It was also quite a mix - three nonfiction (one of those a memoir) and five novels. Four of those were adult books, two teen books, and two middle-grade - a nice variety. My favorite book of the month? Oh, it is always so hard to choose. I think Redfield Farm was my favorite - I raved about it so much that most of my extended family is now reading it!

2013 Reading ChallengesI added 5 new states and 2 countries to my Where Are You Reading 2013 Challenge (see locations above). I read 2 more books for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge (mostly new books this month). I finally finished the audio book I started months ago for the Audio Book Challenge. And I read 1 book (The House on Mango Street) for the Books I Should Have Read Challenge - hurray!

What were your favorite books read in February?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Memoir Review: The Invisible Wall

During a recent It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Discussion, my cousin mentioned that she was reading a memoir called The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein and was really enjoying it. I told her I love memoirs but hadn’t heard of this one. A week later, I was pleased and surprised to receive a package in the mail from her, containing both this memoir and its sequel! My library book group was discussing memoirs the next week, so her timing was perfect, and I started it right away. I loved every page and can’t wait to read the sequel.

Harry Bernstein’s fascinating memoir is about the first twelve years of his life, spent in a small mill town in England in the 1910’s with his mother, father, and siblings. Harry’s father earns some money as a tailor but spends it all on alcohol. He is silent and sullen or angry during the rare times he is at home. Their home life is difficult and they are very poor, but Harry’s mother works hard to hold things together for the family.

This memoir isn’t just about Harry’s family, though. It’s also about the street he lived on and all of his neighbors. The invisible wall of the title runs right down the center of their cobblestone street, with Christian families on one side of the street and Jewish families, including Harry’s, on the other. The Jewish fathers all worked in the local tailor shops, and the Christian men all worked in the mill. They were friendly toward one another and helped each other when tragedy struck, but otherwise the families each stayed on their own side of the street.

Life continues that way until Harry discovers that his sister is in love with a Christian boy. The consequences are unthinkable; according to his mother, if a Jewish girl marries a Christian, she will be dead to the family. Being close to his sister and knowing the secret, Harry is in the middle, struggling between wanting his sister to be happy and knowing his mother’s strict moral code. World War I brings additional challenges, as many of the boys on both sides of the street go to war.

The memoir is engaging from the first page to the last. Harry recalls his childhood with a warm voice, and the details of his life and the mores of the era are fascinating. Parts of his story reminded me of Angela's Ashes, particularly the details of being a young child amidst so much poverty in the UK. Incredibly, Harry began writing this memoir when he was 93 years old! He went on to write two more, and I can’t wait to read the next one, The Dream.

303 pages, Ballantine Books


Monday, March 04, 2013

It's Monday 3/4! What Are You Reading?

Well, I had hoped that life would be back to normal today, with my son back to school after missing 4 of the past 5 weeks, but alas, I am still not alone in the house. He is definitely doing better and was able to work on some make-up work this weekend, so we are thrilled to see him finally perking up. But we tried waking him at 7:00 and again at 8:30 this morning, but he is still too wiped out to get up. One more day at home, then hopefully, he will be able to start some partial days back at school tomorrow.

So, he and I had another long week of being homebound, but the mood here improved dramatically when he started to feel better on the weekend. He did sleep most mornings, so I was able to do a little more writing last week. And we fit in plenty of reading:
  • I finished The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Schusterman, one of my all-time favorite YA authors. This quick, fast-paced novel was filled with surprises!
  • In order to help my son with his make-up work, I next read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, his assigned book for freshman lit. Despite Craig's complaints about this classic novel, I really enjoyed it! I actually liked the author's unique method of telling a story through short vignettes. And my approach really worked - I was able to help Craig finish his reading log by typing his responses for him and helping him to interpret some of the more ambiguous chapters.
  • I am now reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a Christmas gift from my husband. I really wanted to get to this highly acclaimed novel while it was still winter, even though we haven't had any snow this year! I'm enjoying it so far.
  • I am still listening to Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver's latest novel, on audio. I felt well enough to take four walks last week, so I was able to squeeze in some audio book time with my iPod!
  • My husband is still reading The Dark Hour by Robin Burcell, a thriller set in Amsterdam. He says the plot is very complex, with a lot of characters, but he is enjoying it.
  • And, of course, my son finished The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cosneros last week. His older brother had a very busy week in college with two exams, so I don't think he's had any time for pleasure reading.
I wrote two reviews last week: Redfield Farm: A Novel of the Underground Railroad by Judith Redline Coopey, an excellent novel my whole book group enjoyed, and The Far West, conclusion to the teen/YA Frontier Magic trilogy by Patricia C. Wrede. I also linked to some excellent new recipes we tried this week on my Weekend Cooking post.

What are you and your family reading this week?

(What are you reading Monday is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, with a kid/teen version hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Weekend Cooking 3/3

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

After several weeks of limping by with left-overs, take-out, Trader Joe's, and old stand-bys, I finally got back to more imaginative and fun cooking this week. Most of the recipes I used this week were from Cooking Light (as usual!), a mix of old favorites and new trials. I have a long list of new recipes I've been wanting to try.

I tried two new recipes this week, and they were both excellent! One weeknight, we had the uber-flavorful Spicy Shrimp with Udon Noodles. I loved this meal! I think it is one of my new favorites. My husband and son thought it was just a little too spicy, so next time I will cut back a bit on the curry paste and chili oil (which was optional anyway). Definitely a keeper.

Last night, I made Smothered Chicken and Barley, but it's an older Cooking Light recipe and is not online. It involved searing skinless chicken thighs coated with a spice mixture, then adding broth, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and barley to the pan and simmering until the liquid was absorbed. I added frozen corn at the end for a little more color and flavor. It was delicious, and we all liked it, even Craig's friend who was visiting. I really need to remember to take pictures when I cook, but by the time a dish is finished, I am ready to eat!

We also had some old favorite recipes this week, including Pan-Seared Tilapia with Citrus Vinaigrette, accompanied by a very good couscous recipe that appeared with it and roasted asparagus. This was a tasty meal. It was the first time I tried the couscous recipe, and I liked it much better than the premade couscous mixes we usually buy. This was a quick meal and simple to make, though we discovered we definitely need a new nonstick skillet!

And tonight, I am making my sons' favorite soup, Pasta e Fagioli. This is a quick, low-fat version that our family loves. I add sliced carrots and chopped baby spinach to the soup to up the veggie content. I want to make a quick bread or biscuit recipe to go along with it - still considering some old favorites and some new recipes for that.

So, all in all, a week full of fun cooking and delicious meals! I hope you have enjoyed your food this week, too!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Saturday Snapshot 3/2

At Home with Books hosts Saturday Snapshot.

Today's photo looks like a pretty still life, but it has more significance than that. It's a representation of the kindness of our friends. We have had a really rough month, with my son struggling with infections, recovery from knee surgery, and a bad flare-up of his chronic illness. But we are blessed with kind and thoughtful friends. One brought over a bag of goodies for my son, to cheer him up. And a neighbor brought these beautiful flowers and a loaf of homemade bread - and, yes, it tasted as good as it looks! Many others have called to see how he is doing. We are grateful for such wonderful friends.

Hope you are having a great weekend!