20 Books of Summer 2020

I am weary of my usual activities. Social media. puzzles, new recipes, and crafting have lost their appeal as a free time activity. So now is a great time to read, especially since we are still SIPing.
The 20 Books of Summer Challenge starts June 1st and runs through September 1st.

While the graphic and title of the challenge is “20 books of Summer,” you can bend the rules to fit you.

  • Want to read 15 books? Fine.
  • 10 Books? That’s okay, too.
  • 5 books or some other number? Do what fits you.

Because I am a super achiever, I’ll shoot to read the 20 books over 13 weeks.

I was just going to leave all the 20 choices blank and fill them in as I go along. But I changed my mind. A lot of the fun is choosing the books.

Mind you, I reserve the right to pick different books.

Does this challenge interest you?  If yes, go to this link and sign up. If you are going to read for this challenge, what book will you start with?

Here is my tentative list. All books are from my home library. I want to clean off my shelves. Reading through this list should help!

  1. 7 Men and Their Secrets of Greatness by Eric Metaxas
  2. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  3. The Carbohydrate Addict’s Lifespan Program by Dr. Richard Heller
  4. Cat O” Nine Tales by Jeffrey Archer
  5. The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum
  6. Danger in the Shadows by Dee Henderson
  7. Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes
  8. Feeding the Empty heart by Barbara McFarland
  9. The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer
  10. The Heart of the Gospel by Bernie A Van De Walle
  11. Helping People Through Grief by Delores Kuenning
  12. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
  13. Longevity Rules: How to Age Well Into the Future by various authors of essays
  14. Murder Carries a Torch by Anne George
  15. A New Kind of Leader by Reggie Joiner
  16. The Practice of Prayer by Robert Warren
  17. Sanctification by Samuel Stoesz
  18. Sand and Stars by Ruth Stull
  19. Twelve Red Herrings by Jeffrey Archer
  20. Wild Grows the Heather in Devon by Michael Phillips

#20booksofsummer20

HAPPY SUMMER!
WHOOOHOO!!!

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Seven Tips for Working with Marshmallow Fondant

I bake for #Cake4Kids. This is a non-profit group that bakes birthday cakes for underserved children. You don’t have to be a professional baker to join. I wasn’t. It has been fun and rewarding to learn new skills. Right now, I am learning how to make fondant. I’ve tried it four times now. And I still have issues. I will keep at this until I am proficient and so that it doesn’t take me all day!

I used the marshmallow fondant recipe from Gemma at Bigger Bolder Baker. 

Gemma lists the following ingredients for her fondant  . . .

  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  • 2-3 Tbsp water (if it is humid use the 2 Tbsp)
  • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar

I made these superhero toppers for cupcakes.

You basically put the marshmallows in a greased microwave-safe bowl. Cook for one minute and stir until all the lumps are smooth. You might need to add another 20-30 seconds.

I still need to learn more tips. But below are things I’ve learned to make working with fondant easier. None of these ideas are mind-blowing. But, hopefully, they will help you if you are new to this technique. Please, share what has worked for you.

I had fun makig these
bugs out of fondant for a #Cake4Kids group birthday party.

My Seven Tips

  1. Wear an apron. The first couple of times I did not use an apron when making fondant. Big mistake. I got powdered sugar and cocoa powder all over my shirt. It is so much easier to wash my apron than have to change AND wash my shirt. (I used cocoa powder twice when making black fondant.)
  2. Get parchment paper. Even though many recipes said I could use the counter or cutting board to knead and roll the fondant, the fondant stuck every time. Parchment paper is what I had the best success with.
  3. Tape down the paper. I am new to this fondant making, and maybe there is a better way to keep the parchment paper from slipping. Until I taped down the sides, the paper would not stay flat and in place. I even reverse rolled the paper to get the curl out; it didn’t make that much of a difference.
  4. Grease well. Grease the bowl, spatula, hands, and really anything that comes into contact with the fondant. Crisco was suggested. Once I used a flavored olive oil (Blood orange) because I wanted to fill the cupcake with orange curd.
  5. Use marshmallow crème. The last time I made fondant, I ran out of marshmallows because I couldn’t get my fondant the correct grey. I ended up putting in too much coloring. It turned brown; I’ve no idea how I did that. So I wanted to start over and all I had was marshmallow crème. It worked just fine.
  6. Mix in the bowl. Per the typical instructions, I put 3/4ths of the powdered super into the melted marshmallow mixture until it bound together. Then I poured it onto the parchment-covered counter and kneaded in the rest of the sugar. The problem is every time it was a sticky mess. This last time I made fondant, I watched a video where you mixed all of it in the bowl. I still had some difficulty, but I liked this method better. I hate getting icky-gooey-sticky. I will try this a couple more times and then see what I think.
  7. Store leftovers properly. Roll your fondant into a ball or log and coat with white vegetable shortening. Wrap it with plastic wrap. Then store it in an airtight container or ziplock bags. Keep on a shelf or cupboard away from direct sunlight.

Your Turn . . .  Please, share your fondant making tips. . . . Is there any tip from above that you’ll try? . . . Do you have any questions?

Related Posts . . .

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Kindness is Becoming an Organ Donor


Kindness is attentive, considerate, friendly, and thoughtful. Kindness sees a need and fills it. Sometimes that need is commonplace like delivering a meal or writing a letter. Sometimes it requires more of a conscious effort like becoming an organ donor.

Becoming an organ takes more conscious effort because you have to think about death. Your death. And that is not a popular topic to dwell on.

There is a huge need for organs. Sure, it might sound creepy, but it is kind

113,000 people are on the organ donor transplant waiting list in the US according to July 2019 statistics. 20 people die each day before receiving a transplant. Only 36,528 transplants were done in 2018. There is clearly a lack of organs.

95% of adults agree with organ donation, but only 58% have signed up.

Did you know that one donor can save eight lives?

I live in California and so am interested in California stats. The following info came from the DMV.CA.Gov site:

  • More than 21,000 Californians are waiting for a second chance at life.
  • About 20% of those nationwide waiting for an organ transplant are Californians

Go here for more nationwide stats. 

Sign up today.

  1. Driver’s License. It is easy to sign-up for this when you apply for or renew your driver’s license (or identification card).
  2. Health App. You can sign up via the health app on your iPhone.
  3. State Donor Registry. It is easy and quick to register with your state’s donor registry. 
  4. Tell your family. Make sure you tell your family, your wishes. Talk to them even if they are resistant to the idea.

Read this book: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadaversby Mary Roach. This book shows scientific contributions and ways cadaver research has impacted modern life.

Along with cadavers, the protagonists of Roach’s book are the doctors, technicians, and environmentalists who labor over decaying flesh for larger causes. Underlying the eleven chapters of Roach’s book is her clear-eyed belief that, despite the perceived indignity of dismemberment, the fate of cadavers may be better than that of corpses. In its usefulness for organ donation, science, and the environment, a cadaver is a “superhero.” Quote taken from ENotes.Com

Here is a video review of the book.

If you want you to donate your whole body, you’ll need to go to a local hospital to fill out extensive papers  That is something I want to do as I think we don’t need more coffins  I will not be in my body after I die  I like the idea of being helpful, even after I pass from this earth.

Your Turn . . . Are you an organ donor? If not, why not? … Have you thought about being a whole-body donor?

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

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Kindness is Hosting a Card Making Workshop

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) for this Kindness series.

I just used two of my “praying for you” cards today – cards that I made at the workshop you gave us. And it felt like a real gift to be able to send these folks a handmade card. Thanks again for leading that workshop. And thanks for helping us make such awesome cards.”

I recently sent the above message to my friend, Gillian, who is on the Women’s Ministry Team at my church and is also a Stampin’ Up Demonstrator.

Gillian said, “I always tell people that card making is a two-part process. We get the joy of making something ourselves, sometimes with our friends. Then we brighten someone else’s day by gifting them with our handmade card.”

Most women I know like the idea of crafting. But many are insecure about their ability and so don’t make time in their schedule to do this at home.

Kindness is attentive, considerate, friendly, and thoughtful. And kindness sees a need and fills it.

A need we saw at our church was a card-making workshop. We had one last year which was well-received. And we will have one this year. Soon each attendee can have the two-fold blessing of creating something and then gifting that to someone else.

Kindness is Hosting a Card Making Workshop.

My Landing Page for This series . . . Sprinkling Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Your Turn . . . 

  • Do you like making cards? Come join our class.
  • When was the last time you recieved a handmade card? How did it make you feel?
  • What need do you see that you could fill?

Related Posts . . .

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

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Kindness is Planting a Tree

Kindness is doing something that is thoughtful and beneficial. Taking care of our planet by planting trees falls into that category.

Several years ago, some ladies from my church and I went camping at Smudea campground in Northern California.. One of the activities was to plant seedling trees. It was a meaningful time for all of us. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to plant more trees.

I don’t think you can have too many trees in any city.

My city is having a tree planting event on Saturday, March 28. My daughter and I are going. Want to join us? The details are below

March 28 — Cordova Meadows Neighborhood & Taylor Park Planting

Saturday, March 28 8:45A – 12:00P

Join us in planting trees in the Cordova Meadows area of Rancho Cordova! The trees we plant will improve mental health, create more breathable air, and reduce negative health outcomes such as asthma and cardiac disease!

Go here for more information.

Your Turn . . . Have you ever planted seedling trees? … Been to a tree planting party? … Do you know the song about Johnny Appleseed?

Related Posts …

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

My Landing Page for This series . . . Sprinkling Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth wrote a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

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Kindness is Calling Someone by Their Name

Scroll down for the Landing Page information  (aka Table of Contents) for this Kindness series.

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”   Dale Carnegie.

If a name tag is present, I will call a nurse, wait staff, or a receptionist by their name. I think calling them by their name acknowledges them and shows respect.

I like name tags. Wearing a nametag makes me feel more connected because if others are wearing one as well, we have the option of calling each other by name. There is less awkwardness. I want the person I am addressing to know I believe they are important. Using a person’s name has that power.

Using a person’s name is thoughtful, attentive, considerate, and friendly. In short, it is kind.

In the past two years, the people at my church have been wearing nametags. This has allowed me to learn the names of many people. Seeing that visual reinforcement week-after-week is helpful since I am a visual learner.

I believe others also find this a useful way to learn names. Regular attenders are not the only ones who benefit. Newcomers are also impacted. We can greet each other by name. I believe this adds to the friendliness of our church.

Calling folks by their name is, indeed, a kind thing to do.

Your Turn . . .

  • Do you call people you see on a regular basis by their name?
  • How do you feel when someone calls you by your name?

Related Posts . . . 

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

 

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Kindness is Taking Time to Notice

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) for this Kindness series.

Kindness Is easy, or at least it can be.

“Our Mission is to educate and inspire people to choose kindness,” Kindness.org.

I belong to the community at Kindness.org.  I recently received an email that asked, “How much would it COST YOU to perform the following acts (in terms of money, time, effort, etc) on a 7-point scale (1 + Very Little, 7 = Very Much)?

They listed about 50 acts. I have shared some of them below. And some ideas are mine. Look at the list and rate them from 1-7.

  • ___ Bake a cake for someone’s birthday.
  • ___ Call your mom.
  • ___ Don’t write an angry internet comment.
  • ___ Each time you buy a new piece of clothing, donate one item to someone in need.
  • ___ Frame a friend’s favorite lyric or quote in a nice frame.
  • ___Give someone the right-of-way on your commute.
  • ___ Hold the elevator.
  • ___ If you spill sugar or creamer on the counter at a coffee shop, wipe it up.
  • ___ Leave extra quarters in the laundry room.
  • ___ Say “Thank you” to a janitor or anyone else who provides a service for you.
  • ___ Send a stressed-out mom some chocolate.
  • ___ Smile when you feel like scowling.
  • ___Tell your siblings how much you appreciate them.
  • ___ When everyone around you is gossiping about someone, be the one to butt in with something nice
  • ___ When you hear that negative discouraging voice in your head, cut yourself some slack.
  • ___ While you are out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
  • ___ While you are out, give an encouraging word or smile to a parent who is having a hard time with their child’s behavior.
  • ___ Write a family member a list of 10 things you like about them.
  • ___ Write a letter to a sick child or an elderly person.

When I took the kindness survey from Kindness.org, I was surprised by some of the action items. They were so simple. And yet, I never thought to do them. And a lot of the items would NOT take a lot of my time, energy, or money.

Kind actions for me to do are all around. There are easy ones, too.

I just need to take the time to look.

Let’s take advantage of those “easy” ones. They still count as being impactful. Can you imagine what our families, faith institutions, and cities would be like if everyone did one extra kindness a week?

Your Turn . . .

  • Check out the website Kindness.Org for ideas and how you can be part of the kindness revolution.
  • Which of the above examples did you connect with?
  • What “easy” action would you add to this list?
  • Were you surprised by your scores?
  • What will you do because of this post?

Related Posts  . . . 

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

 

. at . 1 comment

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60 Acts of Kindness, Intentional & Random to do my 60th year

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019

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