Amy Artisan

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Month: October 2016

Recently Read…the Summer & September List 

As fall is in full swing, it is time for a long overdue reading roundup. By Labor Day I reached my summer reading goal – 12 books. Between work travel on planes & a book filled September, I’ve now surpassed my reading challenge for 2016 – of course that doesn’t mean that my reading comes to a halt. Here, some brief reviews of the pages that filled my July and August and September reading moments.

Reading in Transit

July Reads
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – A summer read that has generated a lot of buzz and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. While I’ve seen a lot of comments about not reading this while flying, most of this was read on a plane for me.
  • The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr – A good narrative non-fiction that focuses on the journey to discover a long lost Caravaggio – The Taking of Christ. From dusty archives in a family compound in Italy to an art restorer in Ireland, a fascinating tale is told as clues come together to reveal the painting.
  • Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough – From under the Christmas tree. A fantastic look into the family life that shaped a young Teddy Roosevelt.
  • The 14th Colony by Steve Berry – The latest from a favorite action/thriller series. The premise this time involves a flaw in the Constitution and presidential succession act, an upcoming Inauguration Day, a Cold War era weapon and ex-KGB agents.
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – One that had been on my to read list for a while – I finally snapped it up – a fast & quirky read.
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – Just meh.
August Reads
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan – The second in a sweet series that chronicles a remote beach town in Wales through the life of a young baker.
  • Still Life by Louise Penny – Finally starting into this mystery series that seems to be mentioned a lot. I enjoyed the story and the characters being developed – I’m next in line for book 2 on my library Overdrive – I look forward to working through this series as they are available for checkout.
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald – Just meh. Another in the genre of stories that use a litany of books to help the cast of characters navigate through life.
September Reads
  • When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – Wow! From the first I read of this in The NY Times I was looking forward to reading this one. I waited through a long library overdrive list for this. It was a quick read for me – it grabbed me from the beginning and by the time I read his widows afterward the Kleenex were at hand.
  • I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – I’m wary of the “for fans of Gone Girl or Girl on a Train” tag for books – but the synopsis of this overrode the tag for me. And from the beginning this story drew me in. On a rainy street, a young boy is hit and killed by a speeding car that flees the scene. The story of who did it unfolds through the stories of several involved in the incident and the police who won’t let the case go.
  • The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton – a children’s Kindle freebie on 9/11, this is a short & clever story with a cast of animal characters to help children navigate through when bad things happen to see that there are plenty of people who care.
  • Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart – A fun tale (based on history) of a women in New Jersey that doesn’t fit the expected mold for who and how she should be in the early 1900s – a horse & buggy vs. car mashup in town leads her on an adventure as she seeks restitution for the damage to the family buggy. Before long she is roped into unofficial detective work by the local sheriff. This is turning into a series and I look forward to continuing the read.
  • Books 1 & 2 in the Sigma Force series by James Rollins: Sandstorm and Map of Bones -A new to me series in the action thriller genre that I enjoy. This time, the main characters are members of a covert team within the U.S. Defense Department – former special forces with advances studies and knowledge across a breadth of scientific topics. The stories involve international locals, history and science blended with myth to deliver the fast paced “can the world be saved” stories that remind me of the adventures found in the Cotton Malone, Dirk Pitt and Robert Langdon series.
  • Books 1 & 2 of the Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen: Her Royal Spyness and A Royal Pain – Pure fluff wrapped in an amateur detective who is the 34th in line to the crown (a penniless cousin of King George V) who stumbles into mysteries as she tries to make it on her own in 1930s London. I think I’ll work my way through this series via Overdrive when I need a quick and non-taxing read.

What are you reading these days?

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for the monthly QuickLit roundup.

Think, Write…Breakfast

For today, a writing prompt: Talk about your favorite breakfast.


When this prompt arrived in my inbox, I immediately started thinking of all the possible options to write about: vacation breakfasts, Chicago brunch memories, sunrise coffee & Egg McMuffin along the bay in Marinetts, a consulting job interview over cinnamon rolls at Ann Sathers on a Saturday morning, watching Transformers and eating oatmeal at Grandma’s on Saturday morning, Christmas Eve ebilskivers, and so many more…


Instead, recollections of a favorite Artisan Family tradition: Christmas morning breakfast.

Christmas coffee in a new mug from our excellent family camp adventure

Christmas coffee in a new mug from our excellent family camp adventure

We ease into Christmas – Mom is normally the first one up & gets the coffee going and finishes prepping the orange rolls to go in the oven. Once we are all up and have a mug of coffee in hand, we open our stocking – all sorts of goodies in & around our needlepoint stockings that Artisan Dad has stitched over the years.

After the stockings, we gather around the table for a simple (and quick) breakfast of scrambled eggs and Mom’s amazing orange rolls. And of course, more coffee. When done, we quickly clear the table and refill our coffee mugs before heading back to to the living room.

Then, we open presents. Instead of a free for all, we have always passed out presents and taken turns opening gifts. At some point, we pause again for more coffee. In recent years, the role of “hand out gifts” has moved from Dad to me. There are normally stacks of books under the tree for us – we have learned that we put them at the very bottom of the gift pile so they are opened last – otherwise, we would be lost to books before the gifts are all unwrapped.

Time passes quickly & slowly on Christmas morning – before we know it, it is late morning – the reusable fabric gift bags are folded in a stack to be used again next year; there is maybe one small bag of gift wrap trash; new clothes are tried on; new books are cracked open – Christmas day continues.


What is the best breakfast that you ever had? What made it the best? 

Joining Carole and Kat in the newly launched Think, Write, Thursday prompt.

Recently…September 2016

Ah, SEPTEMBER…a month filled with…one last heat wave…moments of fall creeping in…busy work days (and a pause to celebrate)…the return of football…a bit of travel…and more…these are the things that filled my SEPTEMBER days…


Reading…lots! While I didn’t get a reading round-up shared this month, I’ve achieved my summer reading challenge and continued on. It looks like I got through 9 books in September, including: When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi; I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh; Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart; starting into the Sigma Force series by James Rollins; starting into the Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen and more…

Watching…(small screen)…diving back into some favorite shows and trying out some new ones as the fall season starts…since I saw the first ad, I was looking forward to Designated Survivor and so far it hasn’t disappointed…

Day One

Celebrating…September started with a huge milestone on the work project that has filled my time (& travel) in recent months…our site celebration hit just the right notes to mark the occasion…

A milkshake was the perfect post root canal lunch on a Saturday...

A milkshake was the perfect post root canal lunch on a Saturday…

Sitting…in way too many dentists chairs for the month…cleaning and x-rays…a root canal to start a Saturday…part one of some crown work…

Crafting…not too much…basically a few rows of knitting…


Cooking…all sorts of things: a perfect farm fresh succotash…my go-to Shepherd’s Pie…a new creation – Broccoli & Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake…wilted spinach & pear salad with soft eggs…a quick pull together of Buffalo Chicken, Spinach & Cheese Tortellini Bake…roasted garlic & tomatoes for all sorts of goodness…

Iced coffee & a cupcake to end an impromptu al fresco lunch on a Friday

Iced coffee & a cupcake to end an impromptu al fresco lunch on a Friday

Sipping…it was still an “iced” beverage month…a new iced tea in rotation is Coconut Green Tea…


Traveling…for work…a few days in Milwaukee…beautiful lake & sunrise views from the hotel room to start the days…productive working sessions…delightful meals with colleagues to end the days…

Never too old for a Daddy Date

Never too old for a Daddy Date

Traveling…through the ‘Ville on the way back from the work trip…including a Thursday afternoon Daddy Date to see Sully in the theater…a fun dinner with Rebecca & some of her friends in Senoia…meeting up with PA friends at the original Chick-fil-A Dwarf House on Saturday as they arrived in GA to celebrate a 13th birthday with a mother-daughter weekend of hiking…taco salad and chocolate cake with our pastor and his wife on Saturday…


Marching…into the high school football stadium with the band for Friday Night Lights…it was the 50th anniversary celebration of our high school marching band so Rebecca & I joined up with band friends, our band directors and so many other alums to celebrate…we all marched in with the current band & some alumni played as we all were on the field for the pre-game event…it was a fun evening catching up with friends and remembering such a great part of our high school experience…this fall has been 25 years (!!!) since my last time marching…

Looking ahead…ah, fall! I’m not sure of what work travel might pop up in October…planning for a long weekend hosting the girlies…time to get the fireplace ready for cooler weather…more warm beverages coming into the routine…fall flavors in cooking…the changing of the trees…hand-knit season returning….

What filled your September days?

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly What I’m Into Round-up.


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