Tag Archives: Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books I Discovered on Social Media

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

This week’s prompt had me doing some digging! The books I’m about to talk about come from many genres because I hang out with all sorts of writers. I discovered all of these books on Twitter, and I follow and interact with all of the authors often there.

I could have easily made this list much longer, but I tried to keep it short and sweet with a representative sample of books six of my buddies have written. A lot of them are Indie reads, so it’s great to give them more exposure.

Storytellers: A Novel by Bjørn Larssen.

I mentioned this friend of mine in a previous Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge post. He recently released a historical novel about a man who rescues an injured stranger and, as a result of that decision, slowly begins to uncover all sorts of secrets in his community.

I’ve really been enjoying the tiny bit of this book I’ve read so far, but everything I want to say about it might give you all spoilers. There is so much more going on in the plot than what the blurb reveals…in a good way!

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews.

Mimi is a lovely person. It’s always interesting to read her tweets and blog posts about her new historical romances, although I must confess that I haven’t had the time to read any of them quite yet.

How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO by Rachel Thompson

Search engine optimization is something I’ve been trying to get better at this year. This has been quite the informative little booklet so far.

The Lady of Dawnzantium: A Trace & Mikhail Story by Berthold Gambrel

Technically, this is a short story instead of a novel. It’s a humorous take on the sci-fi trope of exploring a faraway planet and discovering an alien there. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

 

The Letters by Satya Robyn.

This is another book written by a friend that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. I will be changing that soon! The story is about a woman who moves to a new home after a divorce and begins to receive some unusual letters from a young, pregnant woman that had been written fifty years previously. It seems to be a blend of women’s fiction and a mystery. Those two genres are always interesting to mix together.

Duality: Poems, Essays, and Reflections by Shykia Bell.

I snapped up a copy of this collection of poems and essays less than twelve hours ago. I can’t wait to read it!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: 10 Unusual Things About Me

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

It’s going to be so interesting to read how you all respond to this week’s prompt. This was one of the topics I was looking forward to the most out of the whole year!

1. I’ve Never Been Hospitalized

My mom had a (planned) home birth with me, so I wasn’t even hospitalized on the day of my birth. Home remedies and the occasional visit with a doctor for minor/temporary problems have been all the care I’ve required so far in life.

This is something that’s surprised more than one health care worker when they were taking my history. I have multiple relatives who lived or are living long, healthy lives while not necessarily following their doctor’s orders about exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, so I suspect some of my good luck with my health is due to genetics even though I try to take care of myself in general.

Photo credit: Peter Salanki from San Francisco, USA.

2. I’m Demisexual and Bisexual

Being demisexual means that I need to bond emotionally with someone before I become interested in escalating our relationship on a physical level. So I’ve been on dates with men and with women, but kissing and other things are reserved for folks I’ve gotten to know well.

3. I Have Unique Spatial Skills and a Not-Super-Accurate Sense of Direction

As much as I want to help, I may accidentally send you to the wrong place if you ask me for directions. You see, I use context clues like a big tree or that pretty, blue house on the corner as reminders of where to go next instead of remembering the name of that street or whether it’s north or south from my current location.

This system works well for me, but since it can be confusing for people who don’t live in my brain I try not to give directions to folks unless I’m sure I’m sending them in the right direction.

4. I’m an Animal Magnet

Animals love me, especially cats. The funny thing is, I’m terribly allergic to cats.  Maybe they’re so interested in me because I give them a lot of personal space instead of rushing over to pick them up and coo over them like a non-allergic person might do? All I want to do is avoid wheezing and sneezing, and all they want to do is be my new best friend. Ha!

5. I Started College Before Finishing High School

My high school had a dual-enrolment agreement with a few local colleges. I absolutely loved spending most of the day at college with adult classmates during my final year of high school. It was refreshing to meet so many other students who genuinely wanted to learn the stuff we were studying there. I’d heartily recommend this option to any high schooler who enjoys learning and has good time management skills.

6. I Was Homeschooled, and I Also Married a Fellow Homeschooler

This definitely wasn’t a requirement for dating me, but it was pretty neat to compare homeschooling experiences with my spouse when we first realized we had this in common. We both spent a lot of time visiting all sorts of museums, art galleries, and historical sites on homeschooling field trips. I still love learning and field trips to this day.

7. I Have a High Tolerance for Pain

Or at least that’s what a dentist told me once. Pain is such a subjective thing that it’s hard to imagine how my occasional experiences with it might be different from how others feel it.

8. I Like the Taste of Bitter and Spicy Vegetables

My grandmother sometimes makes an afternoon snack that consists of the following things:

  • White bread
  • Margarine
  • Thinly-sliced radishes

I believe she is at least partially responsible for the fact that I like eating radishes, spinach, and broccoli as an adult. Not every snack necessarily needs to be sweet.

9. I Keep a Digital Dream Journal

This is a pretty recent habit, but I’m enjoying the process of writing down all of the dreams I can remember. It’s interesting to go back and look for themes in them.

Lately, I’ve been having a ton of dreams about being back in school and studying for a dreaded biology exam on the anatomy of frogs and other various small creatures.  I wonder when people become too old for those sorts of dreams? My fingers are crossed that one of you will tell me it definitely stops at age X for everyone. Ha!

10. I’m the Only Person in Toronto Who Likes Pigeons

Yes, this is a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s based on the fact that pigeons have been nicknamed “sky rats” here and many people truly dislike them. I think they’re interesting creatures, and I enjoy watching them navigate our busy city and figure out where the safe places are to hang out, roost, and find food. Pigeons need to learn these skills quickly to survive city life, and in general they’re thriving here. That’s admirable in my opinion.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters I Never Want to Meet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

My answer to this week’s prompt is going to be much shorter than it was last week for the recipes topic.

I’m the sort of reader who tries to find the good in every character I read about or watch in a show so there aren’t a lot of them that I truly wouldn’t want to spend time with under any circumstances.

With that being said, I was able to come up with five answers for this question.

Lord Voldemort

Voldemort. He’s honestly kind of self-explanatory. Who’d want to hang out with someone who would put a death curse on a baby among many other terrible deeds? No, thank you. There are plenty of other Potterverse characters who would be much more pleasant to meet.

Reavers. For anyone who hasn’t watched the sci-fi television series Firefly, these creatures were the violent antagonists in that  universe. If they stumbled across your ship, you were doomed to a painful death. I refrained from sharing a picture of them in this post because I know that some of you fellow participants really dislike horror stuff, and they’re not exactly cuddly-looking bad guys. If you want to see what they look like anyway, click here.

Sheldon Cooper as an adult and as a child.

Sheldon Cooper. This character is part of the reason why I stopped watching The Big Bang Theory so soon after starting it.  It’s one thing to set rigid rules for how you live your own life, but forcing others to follow them is something I have little patience for in real life as well as in fiction. I don’t think he and I would get along at all despite sharing many common geeky interests.

Pete Campbell

Pete Campbell. Pete was a smug and abusive character on the 1960s period drama Mad Men. He got away with the violent, awful things he did because of how manipulative and superficially charming he was to people who hadn’t gotten to know them yet. Anyone who scratched below that thin veneer, though, would know that he’s not someone anyone should be spending time with…especially alone.

Serena Joy. Anyone who has followed this blog for the past few years probably remembers the many references I’ve made to The Handmaid’s Tale TV show and book. There are many frightening villains in this universe, but I’d argue that Serena is the worst because of how unpredictable and volatile she is. One minute, she’ll act like your best friend, and the next she’ll begin hitting you for no reason at all. Scary stuff!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Comfort Foods and Recipes and Whys, Oh My!

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

This week’s topic is “Favourite Comfort Foods & Why (& Recipes),” so of course I just had to play around with the wording of it a little in the title of this post in order to sneak in a reference to The Wizard of Oz. I will now proceed to answer the prompt (mostly) seriously.

Both of my parents grew up in the Mennonite community and have the same general ethnic origins: German and French.

In fact, all of the ancestors we’ve traced so far came from the Alsace-Lorraine area that was sometimes part of Germany and sometimes part of France depending on which century you’re looking at.

If your ancestors ever so much as glanced at that corner of the globe, we are probably third cousins or something.  Ha!

All of the recipes I’m about to share were either printed in the Mennonite Community Cookbook that I’ve attached a photo of to this post or written on the blank pages of that cookbook.

To the best of my knowledge, they are all traditional German-Mennonite dishes for people from that group who live in Midwest portions of the United States.

 

This is what ground cherries look like. Photo credit: Pen Waggener.

Ground Cherry Pie 

If you happen to live in North America, your best best for finding ground cherries would be at your local farmer’s market during the summer or autumn. They’re a tomato-like fruit that’s less sweet than most other fruits. I sure think they taste good in a pie.

My grandmother makes this pie often. I think happy thoughts about her every time I eat it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup of ground cherries (rinsed off and with their husks removed)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mini tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Yellow food colouring (as much as desired)
  • A pie shell

Directions

Begin by boiling the water. Add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, and allow the water to go back up to a boil before adding the next ingredient.

After you’ve added as much food colouring as desired, pour the mixture into a pie shell. Add the top crust (if desired), and then bake your pie at 400 F for 15 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 350 F and bake for another thirty minutes. It should have a consistency similar to other fruit pies when it’s finished. Serves 6-8.

Kartoffle Kloesse (Potato Dumplings)

I don’t have a picture of this recipe, but it’s something one of my grandmothers used to make. It’s delicious.

Ingredients

  • 6 boiled potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • a little salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Croutons

Directions

Grate 6 boiled potatoes . Add eggs, salt, and flour. Beat this mixture until fluffy. Roll it into balls with 2-3 croutons in the centre of each ball. Dump the balls into gently boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain well and serve. A little sour cream on the side of your plate would do wonders with this dish if you’re so inclined.

Photo credit: Windell Oskay.

Soft Pretzels

I strangely couldn’t find any of the photos I’ve taken of my own soft pretzels over the years, so I grabbed one off the Internet. You could even make them in fancy ampersand shapes if you wanted to!

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

Directions

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the flour.

Add in the flour one cup at a time. You might need as few as three cups of it.

Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets.

In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake in preheated oven until browned, about 8 minutes. Serves 12.

 

 

Bonus Recipe – Dandelion Salad

 I found this recipe in the cookbook mentioned above, and I know have ancestors who ate whatever they could find when food/money was scarce based on certain family legends. To be fair, that hasn’t happened in a few generations so this doesn’t quite count as a comfort meal.  I’d like to try it someday, though! Have any of you ever eaten dandelions or other wild greens?

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped dandelion
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs
  • 3 slices bacon

Dressing

  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups milk or water

Directions

Wash and chop dandelions

Cut bacon into pieces and fry until crisp

Remove bacon from drippings

To make dressing, stir together the dry ingredients, add egg, vinegar, and water. Stir until well blended.

Cook dandelions in bacon drippings until thickened and cool slightly.

Pour dressing over dandelions and mix lightly. Garnish with sliced or chopped eggs and the crips bacon. Serves 6.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favorite Websites and Blogs

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

I don’t listen to any podcasts, so all of the items on this week’s list will either be blogs or websites. Long and Short Reviews is already a given answer to this question, of course, so I’ll focus on other sites I love to visit.

And I included a few amusing gifs today for the sheer joy of it.

Snopes.com. Story time! When I was a kid, a classmate frightened me with the story of what happens when you say Bloody Mary three times while looking into a mirror in a dark room. It was a relief to discover Snopes a few years later and realize just how many urban legends had no truth to them at all.

A Hundred Years Ago. In 1911, a teenage girl began writing a diary about her life on the family farm. Her granddaughter, Sheryl Lazarus, started a blog in 2011 that shared all of those diary entries exactly a century after they were written. The diary stuff all ended in late 2014, but Sheryl has continued updating her site with recipes, newspaper clippings, and other fascinating historical stuff from the World War I era.

Nutrition Action. I love learning about the latest news on nutrition. This site shares unbiased, scientific information on food, supplements, and many different types of diets.

 

Geekologie. This blog is about the scientific study of all sorts of geeky and quirky things. If there’s a question about what’s really happening in a picture or video, they do their best to figure it out while cracking a few jokes along the way

Longreads. Read this site if you’re interested in long-form articles about current events, science & nature, sports, technology, sociology, or other serious topics.

Humans of New York. Every post on this blog is a different interview with an ordinary person. Some of the interview subjects lived through terrible things like civil wars. Others might share stories about what it’s like to have a specific, incurable disease or what their deepest fear is. I love getting to know so much about their lives.

Bird and Moon. I follow so many comic strip sites that I could have made this post about nothing but that topic. This is one of my favourites hidden treasures in this genre. I hope it becomes as popular as xkcd someday.

. This blog is written by a friend of mine who lives in Amsterdam and dreams of living in Iceland. He’s the first blacksmith I’ve ever known, and I find his posts on that topic mesmerizing. If you have any interest at all in history, blacksmithing, or writing, you should definitely check him out.

NASA. Science is such an interesting topic in general. My ears perk up even more if we’re talking about something like astronomy or space exploration, and NASA’s official tumblr site is full of cool stuff on those topics. If you ever meet me in person, mention this topic and I’ll talk your ears off about it if you want me to.

I’ll end this post with one final gif just for fun.

How many of the sites I mentioned do you all visit? I can’t wait to see what you all recommend in your responses to this week’s prompt!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters I’d Like to Meet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. All of the characters I’ll be talking about this week are from TV shows. I’m starting with the oldest show and ending with the most current one. Let’s see if any of you were or are also fans of them! Lucy Lawless as Xena My family didn’t have cable… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Hobby and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.  I talk about my love of reading and writing all of the time this blog, so I’m going to branch out and talk about some of the other stuff in this world that makes me happy. Oh, and I’m bending the rules and talking about two different topics because… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Fictional Worlds I’d Rather Not Visit

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Now that you all know about the fictional places I would like to visit, it’s time to take the opposite approach to this question. Here is my list of places I’ve read about in stories but would never want to see for myself. To see how everyone else responded… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What to Read to Learn About Canadian History

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. To the best of my knowledge, I’m currently the only Canadian who participates in the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge. (If I’m wrong about that, please do speak up!)  I thought it would be interesting to share some of my favourite books about our history with everyone else. Let’s begin… Read More