Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Slice of Life: The Cookie Trials

I wrote about try, my OLW for 2019 in this reflection early in December. But it wasn't until I was thinking about today's post that I realized how easily our OLW can creep into our daily activities. I'm actually closing out 2019 with my own cookie trials by trying new cookie recipes. Every year I bake the same tried-and-true cookies to share with family and friends, but this month I ventured off that path for my own Great Cookie Bake-Off.

I kicked off my cookie trials with a recipe for Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies clipped from a mailing and stashed in my drawer of recipes for years. I've been trying to replicate a favorite double chocolate cookie from The Bryant Corner Cafe for several years and this one comes very close. I took it to a cookie exchange earlier in the month. It's a keeper!

I tried Scrumptious Orange Bites yesterday. This recipe (torn from a 2012 Christmas Cookie magazine) combines dates, orange juice, orange zest, and butterscotch chips all in one delicious cookie. I'll be sharing them with some friends today. Too bad that my blogging buddies all live too far away for a New Year's Eve plate of cookies.

And today's trials? Part of my ongoing quest to replace the shortening with butter in two of my favorite cookies, Snickerdoodles & Molasses Crinkles. I've been trying for some time and somehow the results never match up in taste to my old, tried-and-true recipes with Crisco. I've already had one failed molasses cookie attempt this month. Fingers crossed that today's trials become tomorrow's blue ribbon winners!

And because I know some of you will ask . . . pics of the recipes!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Slice of Life: Favorite Books of 2019

Our yearly Christmas card includes favorite books, movies, TV, and events for the year. My favorite books for 2019 were An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott; The Line Tender by Kate Allen; Baking Day at Grandma's by Anika Denise; and A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy. 

And then because I have a tough time limiting my favorites to five books, I added a note to my book-loving friends with more favorites. And because I consider my fellow slicers and bloggers part of my community of book-loving friends, I'm including that note for each of you. 

Dear book loving friend,

This note was born when I realized that I left A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader off my list of favorite books for the year. If you haven’t read this beautiful book, stop now and request it from your local library. And then I fear that you may have the same response I did, “This is a book that I simply must own.” Even though I’m at that stage in life where I’m trying to get rid of things, once in a while a thing enters my life that I simply must own. This book deserved a place on my shelf and in my heart this year.

Another book I bought for myself this past year was Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver. Every single time I pick it up and read a poem or two or three, the words fill me with wonder. I’ll share three I loved this morning: “Mysteries, Yes” (p. 85), “Praying” (p. 131) and “When I Am Among the Trees” (p. 123).

And three more favorite picture books – The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry; Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus; and A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein.

Do let me know some of your favorite reads of 2019!

Warm wishes for a wonderful season of joy, light, rest, and of course, some time for reading.

Friday, December 6, 2019

SJFT: Try, My OLW for 2019

It's the first Thursday (acutally it's Friday 
and I'm a day late) of the month and time to show up 
with my friends for Spiritual Journey Thursday. 
Irene Latham at Live Your Poem is hosting this month
and asked us to reflect on our OLW for 2019. 

I usually write several OLW posts during the year, but I failed to do so this year. There's something that made me feel like I hadn't been trying hard enough each time I contemplated a post. So for this year-end reflection I've pulled a few quotes with try in them from some of my posts this past year.

"And when I make time to be still and listen, I feel fortified and more balanced. I feel more capable of stilling the distractions and of feeling the love of my Savior.  And it doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but I keep trying (and try is my OLW for 2019)."
SJFT post about balance

"I write about my One Little Word that I've chosen each year since 2013 - listen, savor, stretch, abide, nourish, and delight. And I write about it multiple times during the year as I try (my OLW for 2019) to remember it as a focus for my year."
"I write about celebrations. Our Celebrate This Week group doesn't gather weekly any more, but I still try to round up monthly celebrations in a post at the end of each month. Sometimes I fall behind and celebrate two months at once."
Answers written in response Lindy's question, "What do you write about on your blog?"

"And no, I won't get them all read, but it's fun to try. " On my post "Checked Out" in reference to the 39 books I had checked out of the library

"When you read about habit change, one of the truths that emerges is that it's easiest to change bit by bit, not leap by leap. Another one is that you change what you monitor. So I'm trying (ohhh, there's my OLW for this year) again to keep track of how often I hit my 10,000 steps goal for the day. And how am I keeping track? With stars on the monthly calendar in my planner. And how am I doing? Well, a quick look at July shows 13 stars. I only reached my weekly goal (4 days out of 7) one time. But I'll continue to monitor and I'm hopeful that next month will be better. " SJFT post about change

 'I write to try to figure out our world in all its complicated messiness." Slice of Life, Why I Write for National Day on Writing

And so, here I am, one day late, trying to write about my experiences with try. I've experienced a few successes. I've kept track of the days I reached 10,000 steps since July with stickers on the calendar in my planner - 13 times in July & I've done better every month since then with October's 16 times as my best month. I've managed to lose ten pounds this year by taking small steps toward behavior change which works so much better for my personality. And the best try has to be this past week when I finally managed to make a blog book. I've tried several times before and always gotten frustrated, but something about the 45% off Black Friday offer led to a dogged determination this time. As my dad used to say: "That makes twice I've done that, the first and the last." Let me know if you've had success in making blog books and what platform you used. Because mine took hours and hours and I still wasn't completely satisfied, but I decided it was good enough.

I'm already looking forward to a new word for 2020.  I think I know what it will be. But I have a few days of 2019 left to try to find the best word for this upcoming new year!