Monday, January 01, 2018

Books Read in 2017

Rather than post the complete list of books I read in 2017, I decided to just give an overview and highlight some of the best ones I read.

I read a total of 37 books this year, and I made an effort to read more broadly than I usually do. I read 5 classics, including 1984, My Antonia, Brave New World, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Murder on the Orient Express. Some of these books were disturbing and some were painfully boring, but I do think I benefited from reading them and have found many references to each of them in other books I read.

I also made an effort to read some books that exposed me to different cultures that I was unfamiliar with. Here are a few highlights in that category:
  • The Girl With Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee - Is a very interesting autobiography about a girl who defected from North Korea. This was probably one of the best books I read all year, and I highly recommend it.
  • A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley - This is another autobiography about a boy who lived in India and got separated from his family and eventually was adopted by a family in Australia. Much of the book chronicles how he found his birth family in an age and a country without a lot of computer access.
  • A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park - This book taught me how much I take clean drinking water for granted and what a huge impact it can have on a community.
  • Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste - This book gives you an idea of the atmosphere in a crucial time in the history of Ethiopia.
The last category of books I wanted to highlight are books that just make you think. These books have some good elements and bad elements in them, but they all made me think, which is a good thing.
Finally, I want to commend audio books to you. If you are thinking you don't have time to read, I would say I felt the same way. For the last few years, I have read most of my books through audio books that I listened to while getting ready in the morning or driving to and from work. You might be surprised at how much time you have time to listen rather than read.

So, what about you? Did you read any good books this year?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Apple Spice Cookie Sticks - 2017 Gift Mix

This year's gift mix is a cookie flavored with apple pie spice. The icing for these cookies have a little bit of applesauce in it, which gives it even more of an apple pie flavor. They are a really yummy cookie!

My packaging this year came from Dollar Tree. I was able to order these in packages of 36 and have them delivered free to my local Dollar Tree. Aren't they cute? I split the mix into 3 parts: the brown sugar, the rest of the cookie mix, and the glaze mix. So each of the 3 bags pictured below go in each mix.

As usual, I made 108 of them, so here is the pic of all the bags done and a picture of the mixes once they were put in the containers.

If you want the recipe, you can download a printable version here. There is also a gluten free version here. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Books Read in 2016

This year I listened to quite a few audio books. My car has blue tooth audio and I have unlimited data, so I was able to check out audio books from the library and get free ones from Christian Audio and listen to them in the car on the way to work. I also listened to them as I walked, which was nice. I can't really listen to non-fiction as easily as I can fiction, so you'll notice most of the audio books are fiction or biography.

Here is the complete list of books I read in 2016. I will be clearing out the sidebar and starting fresh for 2017, but I want to keep previous years' lists so I am putting it into a post.

January (0)
February (1)
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John Vol. 1 by J.C. Ryle
March (2)
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John Vol. 2 by J.C. Ryle
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
April (1)
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John Vol. 3 by J.C. Ryle
May (1)
The True Christian's Love for the Unseen Christ by Thomas Vincent
June (1)
Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies
July (1)
Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney
August (3)
The Help (audio book) by Kathryn Stockett
Thr3e (audio book) by Ted Dekker
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith (audio book) by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
September (5)
Crime and Punishment (audio book) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Boo (audio book) by Rene Gutteridge
The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph (audio book) by David Ring
The Pilgrim's Progress: Retold for the Modern Reader (audio book) by John Bunyan
Relentless (Dominion Trilogy Book #1) by Robin Parrish
October (1)
Growing Up Amish: A Memoir (audio book) by Ira Wagler
November (1)
Out of the Silent Planet (audio book) by C.S. Lewis
December (1)
New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

Nonfiction total: 10 (including 3 biographies/memoirs)
Fiction total:8
Total books: 18

What did you read this year? What were your favorites?

Friday, December 09, 2016

Soft Vanilla Cookies - 2016 Gift Mix

For our gift mix this year, I recreated a cookie from my childhood.

These cookies are a real labor of love. My grandmother used to make these when I was little, and they were my favorite cookies. (I called them "soft vanilla wafers" back then.) Unfortunately, she was one of those cooks who didn’t measure anything or use a recipe, so the recipe died with her. It has taken me a decade to replicate the recipe, but these are really close to hers. The texture is just about perfect. They are so yummy! :)

For the packaging, I found some cute tins at Dollar Tree.

Here are some pics of my assembly in process. I made 100 regular mixes and 7 gluten-free ones. This year's mix has 2 bags: one with the flour and other ingredients and one with the sugar so you can cream the sugar with the butter.

I also included a gluten-free, sugar-free option in the recipe this year. To print out the recipe click here.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did as a child!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bubble Theory - The THM Three Hour Rule Explained

A lot of folks are confused by the "3-hour rule" in THM, so I thought I would show you an easy way to understand it. First, let's clear up a few misconceptions.

The 3-hour rule does NOT mean you have to eat every 3 hours, whether you're hungry or not.

The 3-hour rule does NOT mean you can't eat anything until 3 hours after a meal.

So what DOES the 3-hour rule mean?

Since I'm a visual learner, I thought I would show you a picture of how I like to think about it (See Example 1 below.). Let's say I eat breakfast at 6:00 am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6:00 pm. The "bubbles" in the diagram below represent each meal and the 3-hour window around each meal. So, basically, if I eat a snack during one of these "bubbles," I have to have the same fuel as the meal in that bubble or have a FP snack (FP snacks can be eaten anytime. They are immune to the "bubbles."). So if I wanted a snack at 10:00 am, for example, it doesn't matter what fuel I had for breakfast, because it's been more than 3 hours since breakfast. It DOES matter what fuel I plan to eat for lunch, though. If I plan to eat an S lunch, I should eat an S snack. Make sense?

So also in this example, if I wanted to eat a snack at 2:00pm, I would need to have the same fuel that I had for lunch. But if I had my snack at 4:00 pm, I would need to have the same fuel I plan to eat at dinner.

Please note that I don't HAVE to eat a snack at all. Nothing in THM requires me to eat every 3 hours or at any specific times.

Example 1

Now let's make it a little more difficult. What if I eat my breakfast at 7:00 am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5:00 pm? Then the bubbles will look like Example 2 below and overlap. So if I wanted to eat a snack at 9:30 am, I would have to be careful about the fuel I had for breakfast AND what I plan to eat at lunch. If I had an E breakfast but I plan to eat an S lunch, a snack at 9:30 would need to be a FP so that it wouldn't interfere with either "bubble." But if I had an S breakfast and plan to eat an S lunch, I could have an S snack at 9:30 if I wanted one.
Example 2

I hope this clears up confusion and doesn't make it more confusing. Like I said, I'm a visual learner/thinker. If this confuses you, just pretend you never read it... :)

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