Snapshot: 9:20am

Oliver has this morning all figured out. He requests a little music (today it is daft punk's "One More Time"),* we spell out words, dance, ride the scooter, and read. Good times.

*If you are at all worried about Ollie listening to techno beats, Chopin has also been in the mix of the many tunes we listen to lately.


Book Review: The Brenner Assignment: the Untold Story of the Most daring Spy Mission of World War II

The more I read WWII books, the more I realize how crazy, miserable, astonishing, and awful war is. Horrendous is a good word, although I know one word cannot sum war up properly.

Members of the OSS (the precursor to today's CIA), spies, did some wild things, to say the least. This book describes the mission of the brave lot who worked in the Italian mountains to blow bridges and tunnels that were essential to the German's supply route. Surviving day after day behind enemy lines, in the cold and constantly on the run from the enemy, these men suffered but outlasted the enemy and did the impossible.

While this tale is incredibly amazing, the book lacked the speed I thought it was going to offer. Slow at times, but very well researched, this book would be one I suggest for someone who has read a lot of WWII books and would like some more. Still, I always enjoy these books because they remind me how strong the human spirit is and how amazing people can do very big things.

For now, I am taking a break from the war stories. I need some more light-hearted stuff.


Bakin' Time!

Man it's cold (below 20 degrees F).  Last year, we were in DC and the winter was mild.  I don't think we ever broke out our big coats or ever really had the heat running (thank goodness for apartment insulation and ambient heat from the other tenants, we never needed to).  Not this winter.  Coats, hats, and many layers.  Plus, lots o' central heat.  This also means baking is key.  Gotta love starting up the oven and making the house warm and filling it with delicious aroma.  I tell you, I think of baking something every morning.  But I hold back, or else, well, we'd have a calorie problem on our hands.

On Sunday I wanted to make muffins, and Oliver requested chocolate chips.  Add berries and oatmeal, and some muffins were whipped up and  just what the baking lady ordered.  Jess came home from work Monday evening and asked if there were any left.  The answer was no.  We made 12.  See how we could potentially have a calorie problem around here?

See here for the recipe.


Holiday sum up

I've been through all my Christmas photos, and I think I only got one decent pic of us all.  Here we are holding our matching "tube sock" stockings.  We were fans.  They could hold lots of great goodies.

We really had a great holiday with the usual family gatherings, conversation, and jokes.  We also continued the tradition of the film festival.  Oliver and Jess were stars!  They did a great job starring in a silent film called "The Actor," inspired by the 2012  movie, "The Artist."  It was a lot of fun putting together.  These guys are naturals.  Below is the magazine cover we used in the film.

And there you have it.  Time is flying by and before I know it, the snow will be melting and flowers blooming.  But before that happens, baking time reigns.  More on that later :)


Happy 2013 + Book Review for last year

Whew! Our holidays went by so fast and we've really had a great time. Photos and a report to come. Happy 2013 to all!

But for now, I do my book summary for 2012. Now, I've read only a few books, not all of which I can remember, and I did some cook book and magazine reading this year. So, without any further excuses or ado, my ratings of the seven books (yep, that's 7 books) I recall reading in 2012, with my ranking from 1 -4.
1 = poor,
2 = okay,
3 = I liked it,
4 = I'd buy it for my library

Heaven is Here = 3
Devil at My Heels = 3
Steve Jobs = 3
Endurance: Shakleton's Incredible Voyage = 4
The Secret Life of Bees = 3
Crossing to Safety = 3
Uncle Tungsten = 2

I would recommend reading any of the 3s or 4 up there.

And now for 2013. I am currently reading a WWII spy book called The Brenner Assignment and the cookbook, Jacques Pepin's New Complete Techniques.