Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Monthly Medley: April 2019

I have an article - about the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston - in this month's issue of Texas Living Magazine. It was truly an honor to learn and then write about these exceptionally valiant and skilled members of the United States Armed Forces, and I look forward to visiting the museum with Will and Hallie later this summer.

In April I read Ruth Ware's fourth psychological thriller, The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Like Ware's previous three stories, Mrs. Westaway twists and turns from the first page to the last. Unlike Ware's previous three stories, Mrs. Westaway's gut-punch surprise ending was somewhat difficult to follow - I had to backtrack more than once to make sure I fully understood the unfolding plot. That said, I still recommend this and Ware's other three books - once I finished the first chapter I couldn't put it down!

We've had little time for watching this month, but we did try out and enjoy the British nature documentary Our Planet on Netflix.

By the time I get everyone to bed, finish working, and settle down onto the couch or into bed myself, I lack the energy and focus required to start a new television show or follow new storylines on shows with which I'm already familiar. So I watch Friends. It is my all-time favorite show, about my all-time favorite characters, and it makes me feel happy. Anyone else? What's your go-to show on nights when your brain simply can't handle new and complex?

Listening To
In April I started listening to Cold, a podcast about the 2009 disappearance of Susan Powell. When Susan went missing 10 years ago, I was a sleep-deprived mother of a toddler and an infant, with two jobs at the Red Cross and a husband in graduate school. Needless to say, I spent little time watching television (except while feeding Hallie in the middle of the night) or on social media and therefore didn't know any details about the case. I had heard just enough back then, however, to be intrigued when I came across this podcast at the beginning of the month. Thus far the podcast has been extremely well done, and I plan to continue listening through to the end of this season's 18-episode arc.

This cat hair towel seems ridiculous and unnecessary, but it looks adorable and does a remarkably good job drying Hallie's hair. I consider it well worth the $14 I paid for a two-pack!

I usually overwear my athletic shoes. (Until last week, the pair I wore to the gym every day had multiple holes near my toes and in the heels.) The problem is that I prefer Mizunos, and they are typically both expensive and difficult to find; stores like DSW, which carry 60+ pairs of Nikes, carry zero pairs of Mizunos. My solution is to regularly check Amazon, and when I find a pair I like that are also in my size and come with a price tag below $70 (which only happens once - maybe twice - a year), I click "order". A couple of weeks ago the stars aligned and I found a great pair. It's wonderful not to see my pinky toes sticking out the size of my shoes anymore!

I can't use it quite yet, at least not officially, but I LOVE my new Simplified Planner from Emily Ley. I tried the weekly version a few years ago and wasn't a fan, but the way I take notes, make lists, and track events/activities has changed since then and I think this daily version will work for me now. And it's SO pretty...

I also can't wait to use my new Pilot pens, also from Emily Ley. (Yes, I could technically use these now, but I'm holding off until I can also use the planner, since they go so well together.)

It's a little embarrassing to admit that after nearly 30 years of cake decorating I just now figured out a technique to make filling my frosting bags easier and neater. In case you can't tell from the picture, I put the prepped frosting bag upside down in a similarly-sized cup, spooned the frosting into the bag, and then tapped the cup on the counter to gradually shift the frosting down in the bag. So easy. So neat.

I somehow forgot to share in March's Monthly Medley two delicious desserts I made at the end of the month. I took both to a dance event and watched as every single morsel disappeared within just a few minutes.
  • I wanted to make a cookie that would appeal (even more so than cookies in general) to kids, and I had a hefty stash of sprinkles on hand thanks to a friend. I started searching the internet, and when I came across these Sprinkle Cookies I knew I'd found the perfect dessert for that day. Per usual, I cut the sugar, this time by half. No one missed it in the slightest!
  • I used this Andes Mint Cupcake as my guide, but I tweaked both the cupcake and frosting recipes a bit. For the cupcakes, I cut both sugars to about 1/3 c. and added 1 T. of mint extract. (You could make any chocolate cupcake and mint extract here - you don't need to use this specific recipe.) For the frosting, I added 8 oz. of cream cheese and 1 t. of vanilla extract and used milk instead of heavy cream. If you like mint, this dessert is for you!

Feeling Good About

Farewell, April! 

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