Thursday, December 14, 2017

All the books of 2017 - part two

Part one is here


9. I haven't read any books with a 'magical' setting.

10. As with # 2, I don't keep track of pages, but probably Jacqueline Winspear's In This Grave Hour.

11. From the first minute I read about Magpie Murders, I knew I wanted to read it, and that I would love it. I bought it from The Book Depository in November 2016 and read it ten months later. That's a long wait for something I couldn't wait to read!

12. I didn't finish any series this year.

13. I definitely read more mysteries than any other genre. This year I've read a lot of old ones, which I love.

14. Don't know what my last read of the year will be.

15. Favorite reads, in no particular order, would be:
How Many Camels Are There in Holland? Dementia, ma, and me by Phyllida Law
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor
The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons
The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson
The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

This has been a fun little activity. I hope to write a follow-up to my Half a Year's Reading post here, but we'll see how the time goes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Today's picture and a Simenon quote


Outside the wind was still blowing from the north, and the daylight was uniformly cool and hard with, however, behind the massed cloud, a hint of yellow, which was like a promise of sunshine.

From the story, Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook
by Georges Simenon

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cookie Bars

Eleven years ago this month, when I'd been writing for just a couple weeks, I posted a recipe for Magic Cookie Bars. As delicious as they taste, I don't make them very often because they stick to the pan. They've cracked and broken as I've tried to remove them. But from watching the British cooking shows, The Great British Bake Off and The Big Family Cooking Showdown I've learned about parchment paper.


I've owned some for ages but used it for only a roasted potatoes dish. Why haven't I tried it for brownies, etc.? I have no idea.

This recipe is a variation on the one I posted. You may find it here. I chose to not use any nuts, and honestly we like the taste better.

First line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. I cut off the excess.


Melt 3/4 cup butter on low temperature.

While it is melting, put one packet of graham crackers


in a plastic bag and roll them out to make crumbs.


Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and put in pan. Pour over the top one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.


Mix together 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chips with 1 1/3 cups coconut. I've begun using Guittard because of the non-GMO lecithin and the fair trade cocoa. Plus, they are delicious. I'd only heard of Ghiradelli but this is another San Francisco company that has been around for ages.




Sprinkle the chips and coconut mixture on top of the condensed milk.


Bake in a pre-heated 350º f. oven for 25-30 minutes.

I made these for Hazel and Tom's 4th and 67th birthdays this year, and they were much loved by all!



Just to be sure they were good before posting the recipe, I made them a couple other times lately!!

To have some food fun, visit Weekend Cooking this week and every week!

Friday, December 8, 2017

All the Books of 2017

I saw this on a fellow blogger's instagram, and was immediately interested.


I thought I'd do a few days at a time.

1. My first book of the year was Dead Sand, the first in the Lewis Cole series by Brendan DuBois. I wrote a bit about this series here. I love these books. I love the way the author writes. Pure pleasure reading them.

2. I don't jot down the number of pages in the books I read so I'm not positive, but I think the Little Book of Hygge was probably the shortest.

3. I can't really answer in the 'best sequel' category because I read so many series books. I'm always reading a sequel it seems, and I like them all so much that I continue on.

4. My favorite cover is the book I'm reading right now.


It is a photograph done by Keystone-France/Gamma Rapho. It is such a beautiful view of Paris where this collection of Christmas stories is set.

5. Ah, new to me favorite authors. Such a good year for this category. Brendan DuBois, Natasha Solomons, Josephine Tey, and Basil Thomson.

6. A tie for beautifully written book - one fiction, The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons and one nonfiction, The Perfect Summer 1911, Just Before the Storm by Juliet Nicolson.

7. New favorite characters would have to be Lewis Cole and Inspector Richardson in the Brendan DuBois and Basil Thomson books.

8. I reread two books. Battles at Thrush Green by Miss Read and A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer. These are two of my all time favorite authors and it is always a joy to reread any of their books.

I'll come back and do the rest in a later post.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

She likes the vac!

I'm very happy with my new Shark vacuum!

1. Even though I thought I wanted bags, I'm loving the ease of emptying the bagless vacuum. I couldn't change the bag in my old one. It was too complicated for me, so Tom did it. Also, no more expense for bags. I usually used one+ every time I vacuumed.

2. Hose is softer and more pliable than my old one.

3. Controls are simple and clear, and not many of them. In fact, the whole design is simple.

4. Easy to change it from doing bare floors to rugs.

5. Much lighter to carry up the stairs.

6. It is noisy, but I expect it has to be to be able to pick up dirt. Suction is good.

So, a great success!


Monday, December 4, 2017

The chosen vacuum

This is what I ordered today after reading your comments, and reading many reviews on the internet. I'll report back when I've tried it out. It is still a minor miracle to me that I can click a button and in two days a new vacuum will arrive at Windy Poplars Farm.

Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister Vacuum (NR96)



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Back again asking for vacuum recommendations

I first asked you about vacuums 7 1/2 years ago! Here is the post. Then I bought one, which I wrote about here. Well, I can't tell you exactly how long that vac lasted but I do know that we've had three or four more since then.They break, they don't work, blah, blah, blah. I can't remember all the companies.

I am 7 1/2 years older and and more tired. I hate hauling out the vacuum and dragging it around for hours. I am not an everyday vacuum-er. I like to do it once a week and be done.

I want a light vacuum.

I want a quiet one.

I want bags. I've tried the bagless kind and emptying them was a huge mess.

I want a canister. I can't lift the uprights.

I have a yellow Labrador retriever - the 365/24/7 shedder! As long as we are healthy, this is the only breed we ever want despite that one little problem! So, I need a really tough vacuum.

I am willing to spend the big bucks if all my criteria are met.

Many commenters on the earlier post recommended Dyson, but I've read negative things about that brand, too. I expect there are new models that have come on the market. I've been all over the internet and have some ideas, but I would really like it if you could tell me what you have (and love and hate).

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. And sorry to bother you yet again!

If I sound agitated, that's because I am. Yet another vac went kaput today.