Book Review: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

This book was recommended to me by one of my FB friends. I went to the library to get it and it has been checked out for months! Finally, I went at the beginning of this month and it was there. I was a little nervous reading it because I had been waiting a while to get my hands on it and naturally did not want my waiting to be in vain. It wasn't. This book was wonderful. It was not a thriller where you were on the edge of your seat with your stomach in knots but it was definitely a page-turner nonetheless. It is told from the perspective of an eleven year old boy who has grown up. There is a strong theme of family and what that looks like and what it means deep down. I love family themes as I am close to my family and love to hear, read and watch about other families. I will give  you a basic gist of the story. Ruben, the main character, is a young boy growing up up north with his father, big brother, Davy and little sister, Swede. There are some local bullies and they have threatened Ruben's family however Davy handles the situation. Because of Davy's actions he is now in trouble and on the run. Ruben is torn deciding what is truly right - loyalty to his brother or being compliant with the law. 
Enger is a wonderful writer who focuses on so much more than just the basic plot. He explores the true meaning of family and the trials of growing up. I feel this book is timeless. It is relevant now and will be relevant for many, many years to come. 
The only thing I did not like about this book was the parallel Enger included. Swede, the younger sister, is an epic poetry writer with a passion for the wild west. Enger uses her on-going western poem to parallel with his current story. I didn't like it. I didn't think it was very relevant and was a weak attempt at doing such. Despite this minor detail I still loved this book.
I recommend reading this book especially if you love To Kill a Mockingbird. Please let me know if you read it and what you think! Enjoy!

This book was located in the Christian Fiction section of my library, which I thought was wierd, but if you're looking for it you might want to start there.


Discount Decals: Decorating on a Dime

Do you like how I used the letter "D" in my title? Delightful, right? Well, this post is not about alliteration it is about my latest decorating venture which I must say I am very pleased with. AW & I live in an apartment, which you most likely know since I think about 2 1/2 people read this, but anyways...apartment life has its benefits but it also has restrictions such as decorating. We are blessed to have an updated apartment with new light fixtures and fresh off-white paint and most importantly NEW APPLIANCES!!! And as nice as off-white paint is compared to the mentally un-stimulating stark white it is still drab. I am sure we could paint however we would have to re-paint before moving and all of that effort is not worth it when we only signed a 12-mos. lease. While wandering around Jo-Ann's on my mod podge adventure I came across these pretty decals for walls. They had all different designs in different colors and metallics. I instantly became super-psyched however, by the very real grace of God alone, I resisted purchasing them as one pack was $14.99! Last week there was a 50% off coupon for Jo-Ann's in the paper! This was a big deal as they are usually only 40%. I took my proudly clipped 50% coupon to the store made a bee line for the decals and began the hunt for the perfect one! AW was along on this trip, unfortunately for him, and was the "decal holder". As I pulled out any decal that I liked I handed them to him then he so lovingly held them up for me as I chose the perfect one. He really is the best even without being my designated decal dealer (more alliteration, I'm on a roll!). I finally decided on a pack of 12 swirly gold tree-esque shaped decals and as I went to put up the others I noticed to my delight a little paper sign with black type that said "70% OFF DECALS"!!!! Now, granted this did mean I could no longer use my coupon but who cares?? This was even better! I then decided to get a "W" to add to the swirly gold tree mix. I was even more super-psyched than when I had originally found them! The Lord is sweet to give us little pleasures, as such, in life. After dinner I cut out the decals I wanted to use and started putting them up. Ok, let's take a serious time-out. I don't think I explained why these are so great for apartment dwellers, they peel right off the wall when it's time to move! I know, it's great! Time-in: so, I did a test run by putting one up above my sink and it looked great so I put up my own little design of swirly gold trees & the "W" in the living room. I have the pictures to prove it! I must say that since they do peel off I am a little nervous as to how long they will last. So far so good but it's only been a week. Also, I didn't put any up in the bathroom where there is a lot of steamy water because I am too afraid that they wouldn't last. If you have used them in your bathroom let me know if my hypothesis is correct or if they actually stay. In the end, I am very happy with the outcome and hope that I do not have to retract this post about decals and their delightfulness! Enjoy the pictures!


The Sweeter Side of Life

If there is one thing that AW loves it is SWEETS! Any sweet, brownies, cookies, ice cream, you name it, he's a man and he will eat it. I usually bake Ghiradelli chocolate chip brownies once a week (I have to buy the big box at Costco). I decided to branch out and try new sweets and to make them from scratch. My first project was a cheesecake. This is the ultimate AW sweet! Instead of a traditional chocolate grooms cake at our wedding, AW had cheesecakes and it was a hit! I got the recipe from the Philadelphia cream cheese dessert book. It was so EASY to make and it was DELICIOUS! I followed the directions to a "T" but when it came out it had a mushroom shape to it. The top was all cracked and larger than the rest of the cake but when I "unsprung" my spring form pan to let it cool it settled a little but was still cracked looking. I chopped up fresh Publix strawberries and we had dessert for days!

My next project was my own birthday cake. I love strawberry cake! My wedding cake was strawberry. I went online to find the perfect homemade strawberry cake recipe but to my dismay almost everyone of those recipes called for a box white cake and strawberry gelatin to make a strawberry cake. I found a blog where someone had slightly altered a Paula Deen recipe into the best strawberry cake ever! I got to actually puree fresh Publix strawberries and mixed them in with the batter. I also made the cream cheese frosting and it was all so fabulous! I made a test cake first and then I made my actual birthday cake however I was running low on supplies and time so the actual birthday cake didn't come out nearly as delicious as the first one, sad day! But it was absolutely fabulous and if you love strawberry cake then you should definitely use this recipe! I forgot to take a picture of the final product but AW took some pictures of the process! Enjoy! PLEASE let me know if you try either one of these recipes and what you think!