Q1 2017 Books

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These are the books I’ve read in the last few months. I’ve been reading actual books from and Kindle books. But I’m always reading several books at once.


2016 Year in Review

What I Read

This year I read 44 books (9,876 pages). And I read the Bible cover to cover 3 times.

Here are a few of my favorite books from 2016…
The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken
Living Beyond Your Capacity by Paul Chappell
Seoul Man by Frank Ahrens
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

And here are a few of my favorite blog posts from 2016…

Debugging Dysthymia: Overcoming Chronic Fatigue
Some of my Favorite Things
Help Your Guests Overcome Fear at Church
An Airstream Hammock
My Non-Endorsement, Election-Season Gut-Check
Love God. Serve Others. Tacos.
Yoga Pants. A New Kind of Modern Vanity.
Take On Winter Like a Boss!

What I Listened To

I listened to 36 audiobooks in 2016.  A couple of my favorites were…
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius by Kristine Barnett

I listened to a couple of sermons that were practical and helpful by Sam Gipp…
Till I Come Give Attendance to Reading
Intercessory Prayer

Where I Traveled

I really didn’t do any travelling this year, except for a couple of day trips.
Sandpoint, Idaho, was a day trip destination a couple times. It is one of my favorite places to visit and hope to spend a day there again soon.
I also took a quick trip to Missioula, Montana. It had been many years since I had been to Montana and I had been wanting to go there. I got to go on the opening day of the farmers markets and it was really fun to see.

What I Bought

I bought a sewing machine (at a yard sale) for $25. I haven’t gotten around to using it yet, but I want to do that this year.

I bought most of my groceries at Grocery Outlet. I don’t know if I actually saved any money by doing this, but it is definitely a different way of grocery shopping that involves more “shopping” and less of gathering items from a list. The items they carry is always changing.

I bought a camera, I had been shopping around for awhile and finally settled on a camera that wasn’t expensive. I’ve been happy with it and enjoyed taking some pictures with it this year. I hope to spend more time learning photography this next year.

I bought lots of cookbooks at thrift stores and estate sales this year. I kept finding the cookbooks that I’ve always wanted to have a copy of. I don’t think I paid more than $2 for any of them.

I also added some more hymnals to my collection. But best of all I found the hymnal that they use at the church I went to as a child.

I also bought a new car. Well, actually a used SUV.

I went to 4 weddings this year. Between shower gifts and wedding gifts I spent a lot of time planning personal and meaningful gifts that were not too expensive.

I bought a lot of things at the Etailz sales this year. Many of these things have made great gifts throughout the year.

What I Learned

I memorized the book of Colossians.  I did my own version of this memory program.

I did some more chalk painting and learned some tricks to make that easier.

I started learning to play the tin whistle. This is something I’m going to focus on more in 2017, but I got an early start on it.

Things I Made

I made beeswax candles for the first time. Since I have all the supplies now, I’ve been wanting to make some more.

I made DIY makeup. It actually turned out really good and I feel pretty good about DIY deodorant, toothpaste, and now makeup.

Pictures I Took

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of 2016.

Onion blossom

Harrison Peak, Idaho

Chimney Rock, Idaho

My Garden

Spokane Farmers’ Market Flowers

Fourth of July Fireworks

Pirate Ship at Priest Lake

Zinnea in my garden

Winter Squash at the Spokane Farmers’ Market

Also, the Spokane Farmers Market Facebook page which I manage now has over 10,000 fans.

What I Cooked

I used my cast iron pans a lot this year.

I made a variation of this recipe many times this year.

I did a lot of cannning this year. And gave jams and preserves for Christmas presents.

I cooked a lot with produce from the garden. It was prolific this year and had an abundance of chard and kale!

Some of my Favorite Things

I really liked my Kindle Fire (can’t believe this was only $40), my Contigo AUTOSEAL mug, and my chainmail cast iron cleaner, and Norwex cleaning cloths.
Amazon Prime free shipping is pretty great, plus movies and books.
Hoopla, I finally got on board with this, and think it’s one of the great benefits of having a library card. I get most of my audiobooks from Hoopla.
Bullet Journal is still awesome. I have one at work. And one at home.


Favorite Quote of the Year

“Prayer is not the least we can do; it is the greatest we can do”  -Paul Chappell

Lettuce Bowl


Have you ever made a lettuce bowl? I decided to make a lettuce bowl by reusing a plastic food container with Eco Compost and my favorite Rocky Top Lettuce mix from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Unfortunately, because the windows are tinted where I was trying to grow this lettuce it got spindly and didn’t end up working out. BUT this method did work great with spinach seeds. And I was able to plant those little spinach plants into the garden.

I have always had GREAT luck with Rocky Top Lettuce Mix from Baker Creek. I put down a layer of compost on the ground and then sprinkle the seed on top. Lettuce needs light to germinate, so I don’t cover the seeds with dirt.  I keep the ground moist and usually harvest the lettuce as baby greens. I have had huge yields from this lettuce seed. And I have planted it in the garden again this year.


Prime Pantry Review

I decided to get an Amazon Prime Pantry box when I got some credits from Amazon to try it. I ended up getting about $20 in credits from Amazon that I used toward my Prime Pantry box.

I ordered personal care items, home items, and groceries.

I checked and double checked most of the items to make sure it was a good price. For some of the items they were significantly cheaper than I typically spend, some were about the same, and some were slightly more. Some of the things I originally had in my cart were much more expensive than I could get at a normal store, so I changed to a different brand that had a better price, or just removed the item from my cart.

I filled my box almost to 100%, so I didn’t know how big to expect the box to be. I knew that since I had ordered 24 rolls of toilet paper and 6 rolls of paper towels it would probably be pretty big.

The box showed up on the day they said it would. It was large and weighed 33 pounds. I was really impressed with the packaging. When you opened the flaps the side flaps had handles for carrying. Everything was packaged efficiently. They did a great job of packing it. Nothing was damaged even though I flipped the package up on it’s side for awhile. There were some air packing bubbles at the top, but mostly everything was snuggly placed together.

On all the perishable foods the dates were far out, which I appreciated. The only thing that was a little disappointing was the size of the paper towel rolls. I ordered a 6 pack of paper towels, and I must normally get extra large rolls, because the regular size rolls seemed really small to me.

I stocked up on personal care items and home items for probably 4-6 months, so Prime Pantry definitely isn’t something I would be doing on a regular basis. I basically tried it because of the novelty of trying something new, and because I had the credits from Amazon.

If I want a grocery box, I would typically use Azure Standard. Which my family does once a month.

Because of how efficiently the box is packed I think Prime Pantry would be excellent for a family vacation. If you ordered a Prime Pantry box before you left it would probably take about ¼ of the space as if you had the same items loose and in grocery bags to pack.

Here is an idea of some of the things you could put in your Prime Pantry box if you If you ordered all of your non-perishable food items (chips, nuts, condiments, napkins, sunscreen,  etc), and other things you might need (foil, plastic wrap, zip-locs, napkins etc) it would be a really great way to pack for a vacation.

What you could “pack” in a Prime Pantry box for a week long vacation at a vacation rental:

  • Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonaise
  • Chips
  • Other Snacks
  • Cookies
  • Drinks
  • Napkins
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Sunscreen
  • And more…

Eek I have a Whole Coconut

P1000079I got an Organic fruit & veggie box from Azure Standard and it had a whole brown coconut in it. It was a pretty cool novelty, until I realized I didn’t know exactly what to do with it. So I googled it of course. I found a pretty helpful post from Food 52. And then later I looked in “Joy of Cooking” and found out how to open and use a whole coconut. Now I knew how to open it, but I still had to decide what to do with it.

I made about 4 cups of coconut milk.

I used the coconut milk to make a sweet potato curry. It was delicious. I didn’t use a recipe, but it went something like this.

Heat oil in a large cast iron enamel pot and then put in 4-5 cloves of minced garlic until just brown, add 1 chicken breast and cook partially. Add in 5 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped, 1 large red onion cut into thin wedges, 2-3 Tablespoons of red curry paste, 2 Tablespoons of grated fresh ginger, 4 cups of coconut milk, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 30+ minutes until sweet potatoes are soft. Serve over rice with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Cracking and peeling a coconut is a lot of work. Definitely not something I would too all too often, but it did result in delicious coconut milk.