Check out my most recent post for the Mama Bear Dares blog here! In a nutshell, it's about how making other people happy makes us happy, and how when we care for others, we care for ourselves. Oh, and cupcakes.
I finished Six Wakes - one of the books I referred to last month - and while I think I enjoyed it, I can say with absolute certainty that despite my best efforts, I still don't love the science fiction genre.
At Will's recommendation, I popped bookmarks into a couple of books I recently started in favor of The Giver by Lois Lowry. I never read it as a tween/teen (its intended audience), and while the content and reading level were more appropriate for someone 25 years younger than me, I found the storyline engaging and enjoyed sharing the experience with Will.
Based on what I quickly skimmed through online, The Giver seems to have gained both supporters and detractors. Personally, I found this quote by Natalie Babbitt of The Washington Post an accurate description of the story:
The story has been told before in a variety of forms—Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind—but not, to my knowledge, for children. It's well worth telling, especially by a writer of Lowry's great skill. If it is exceedingly fragile—if, in other words, some situations do not survive that well-known suspension of disbelief—well, so be it. The Giver has things to say that cannot be said too often, and I hope there will be many, many young people who will be willing to listen.
I have Lowry's companion novel, Gathering Blue, ready and waiting on my nightstand...
After finally finishing Friends last month, I spent May catching up on the Netflix shows I'd "back-burnered" during my time with Ross, Rachel, and the gang. I wrapped up Drop Dead Diva - a favorite of mine for the last couple of years - and caught up on the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I tried My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at the recommendation of a friend, but found the main character just a little too crazy for my taste. And last but not least, I returned to Arrested Development, and decided - almost 20 years late - to try The West Wing.
On the movie front, the only film we watched this month was Trolls. Hallie loved it, and while I enjoyed the music, I partially checked out after only 20 minutes in favor of working on this blog post.
From The Center for Investigative Reporting, the Reveal Podcast (along with the Reveal website, public radio program, and social networks) is where the organization's award-winning journalists share their stories. They "hold the powerful accountable and reveal government fraud and waste of taxpayer funds, human rights violations, environmental degradation and threats to public safety... (they) consistently shine a bright light on injustice and protect the most vulnerable in our society". I have only listened to two episodes - the first two of three pilot episodes - thus far, but both have drawn me in and left me wanting more.
A few weeks back I posted a couple of pictures of Hallie's upcycled sari butterfly wings. They are truly gorgeous and she LOVES them, so much so that I wanted to share the link in case anyone is in need of a birthday or holiday gift for a little girl in your life. Check them out here!
Also in a previous post I shared a picture of myself wearing a charcoal face mask. I am fallen for this particular mask, and if you too are in need of a skin softening and detoxifying facial treatment, let me know and I'll hook you up with my distributor for Lemongrass Spa!
For the first time ever I clicked on a Facebook ad with the intention of purchasing the advertised item. It was this shirt that read, "There is no Planet B", and while I LOVE the message (hence the clicking on a Facebook ad for the first time), the shirt's quality is poor at best. I can't/won't wear it because the material is thick and scratchy - not to mention that the shirt doesn't fit right - but I am now on a mission to find a local company that can recreate it for me on a higher quality, better fitting shirt.
Recently my mom told me about a "trick" she'd used to keep her tulips standing upright in their vase for a longer period of time. Tom had brought me tulips on a Friday, but because we accidentally left them in the refrigerator for 48 hours, when we finally put them in water they drooped at 90 degree angles over the side of the vase. I dropped a penny into the water, and 12 hours later...standing at attention. Amazing!
This silly little tape dispenser changed my life. In my experience, disposable tape dispensers break easily, don't always work quite right (making them difficult for my little tape tearer - Hallie - to operate), and are mildly dangerous. I bought this dispenser on a whim after I dropped a box of disposable dispensers and every single one broke. My aggravation quickly subsided when I realized how wrapping presents and various other projects around the house would be much easier from that day forward.
I just ordered a couple of new swimsuit tops from Lands End, but because they haven't arrived yet, I can't weigh in on either just yet. I have had good luck with Lands End swimsuit bottoms in the past, so I have high hopes for their swimsuit tops!
Sadly, few new recipes made it onto our plates this month. I made a couple of fun kinds of cupcakes for parties, but for dinner, I had to stick to tried, true, fast, and easy. With the arrival of summer, however, I have lots of salad recipes I'd like to try, plans to marinate and grill different kinds of meat, and - of course - loads of cookies to bake.
- I made these lemonade cupcakes for Hallie's last Mini Company rehearsal. I decorated them with homemade lemon cream cheese frosting, candied lemon wedges, and yellow and white chevron straws so they looked like little glasses of lemonade. (I made my frosting by mixing two sticks of butter, one block of cream cheese, approximately three tablespoons of lemon juice, and four cups of powdered sugar until smooth. It was light, fluffy, and tangy and went perfectly with the lemon cupcakes.)
- And I made watermelon cupcakes for our annual Happy Summer party. I didn't follow a recipe for these: I used food coloring to turn white cupcakes red, added miniature chocolate chips to the batter before baking, frosted the cupcakes with a green buttercream icing, and topped each cupcake with a watermelon candy. (At the advice of Will and Hallie, I didn't attempt to give the cupcakes a watermelon flavor, just a watermelon look.)
What's new, good, and/or interesting in your life this month? Please share!