Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

Celia Park meets her former high school crush, Ty Porter, after one of his bull riding events in Las Vegas. Sparks fly in a whirlwind vacation romance that ends with a wedding at one of the city’s chapels. Celia is devastated to learn the next morning that Ty loves someone else he’s dated for two years.

Five and half years later, Ty hasn’t contacted Celia—about a divorce or anything else. She has a good reason to contact him but can’t trust the man who broke her heart. How can she trust him not to break the heart of his daughter, a little girl he doesn’t know exists?

A trip to Las Vegas with friends for a bachelor party takes him by the old chapel where he married Celia. He hates the way things ended. Despises himself for the way he treated her. They are still married. He needs to contact her.

But when he does, sparks fly—the angry kind … especially when he meets Addie, the daughter he never knew he had. Celia should have told him.

The story has several surprising turns that kept my interest. I loved Addie and Ty. After a while, I was frustrated with Celia’s continued lack of trust despite Ty proving himself as dependable and trustworthy over and over again. I felt that part dragged on a bit.

Interesting secondary characters added to the plot. Forgiveness is the underlying theme. I enjoyed the story.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Christianbook.com

Boiled Eggs

From deviled eggs to coloring eggs, I’ve boiled hundreds of eggs in my lifetime and I suspect you’ve made your share as well. However, I learned a couple of useful tips from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Perhaps these will also be helpful to you.

Firstly, for any boiled egg, piercing the large end of the egg before cooking releases the pressure that can crack the shell. You can pierce this with an egg piercer or use a needle. I don’t own an egg piercer so I used a needle.

Unfortunately, the hard-boiled egg still cracked a little.

Secondly, adding the egg to the water varies between soft-boiled, medium-boiled, and hard-boiled eggs. I had always placed the eggs in cold water and then turned on the burner.

Thirdly, fill the kettle with enough water to cover the egg.

 

For soft-boiled eggs—Wait until the water is gently simmering to add the egg on a tablespoon. The recipe calls for cooking the egg 3 – 4 minutes for softly-set whites and runny yolks. I cooked mine for 3½ minutes and then submerged it in cold water to halt the cooking process. It was very hard to peel against the very soft egg whites and the yolk quickly ran over the plate.

For coddled or medium-boiled eggs—Wait until the water is gently boiling to add the egg on a tablespoon. The recipe calls for cooking the egg 4 – 5 minutes for firm opaque whites and soft yolks. I cooked mine for 4½ minutes and then submerged it in cold water to halt the cooking process. It was still hard to peel against the soft egg whites and the yolk was runny not soft.

For hard-boiled eggs—Place the egg in enough water to cover it and then bring it to a boil. Simmer for 12 minutes. Immediately submerge it in cold water. Overcooked eggs, though fine to eat, develop an unappetizing dark ring that diners will see instead of a pretty yellow yolk. As noted above, piercing the shell didn’t prevent small cracks on this one yet it peeled easily. It gave the firm yolks and whites that signify a hard-boiled egg.

For my taste and preference, I’d cook the medium-boiled eggs about a minute longer and it’d be just about perfect.

Enjoy!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

 

Milton Hershey

Milton Hershey was born in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, in 1857. A few years later, the Civil War started. He heard cannons from miles away at the Battle of Gettysburg.

His parents separated when he was ten. Five years later he became an apprentice for Joseph Royer, a candy maker in Lancaster. He learned to make fudge, peppermint, and caramels and loved being a confectioner.

At nineteen, he borrowed $150 from his aunt and opened a candy business. Though he worked hard, the business failed.

He moved to Denver where he worked for candy maker who used fresh milk to make caramel, furthering his skills. Milton then opened a business in Chicago. It failed. A new business he started in New York failed. He returned to Lancaster in 1883 and launched the Lancaster Caramel Company. This one was a success.

Ten years later, The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago educated him about making chocolate. He then established Hershey Chocolate Company and focused on a recipe for milk chocolate that was delicious and affordable. In 1900, he sold Lancaster Caramel Company for $1,000,000 to focus on the chocolate.

Hershey built a new candy factory in Derry Church, Pennsylvania, that opened in 1905. There were plenty of dairy farms in the area to supply milk for the chocolate. Yet his factory workers needed a place to live so he built houses, churches, schools, parks, and a post office to establish a new town—Hershey.

Learning from past failures, Hershey focused on one product—a milk chocolate candy bar. His factory made many of them and sold them at prices everyone could afford.

Unable to have children, Milton and his wife, Catherine, established the Hershey Industrial School for orphaned boys. Catherine died in 1915. Three years later, long before his death in 1945, Milton transferred his ownership in Hershey Chocolate Company to Hershey Trust, which funded the school.

When the Great Depression settled over the country, Hershey put his fellow townsmen to work by constructing new offices for his company, a hotel, and a community building. While the rest of the country struggled to make ends meet, the town of Hershey thrived.

World War II started a few years later. Hershey sent chocolate bars (Ration D Bars and Tropical Chocolate Bars) to our military.

Hershey’s giving spirit still lives on. Today Hershey Industrial School, now known as Milton Hershey School, also includes girls. Around 1,900 girls and boys attend annually.

Milton and Catherine Hershey left a lasting legacy in the town that bears their name. Had he given up after those many early failures, jobs for countless people wouldn’t have been available, a town wouldn’t exist, and a school for orphaned boys wouldn’t have opened.

What an inspiration to persevere in the face of difficulties … and perhaps help a neighbor along the way.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Biography.com Editors. “Milton Hershey Biography,” The Biography.com, 2020/01/02 https://www.biography.com/business-figure/milton-hershey.

Nelson, Ken. “Biography for Kids: Milton Hershey.” Ducksters, Technological Solutions, Inc. (TSI), www.ducksters.com/biography/entrepreneurs/milton_hershey.php. Accessed 2 January 2020.

“Who was Milton Hershey?” The Hershey Story, 2020/01/02 https://hersheystory.org/milton-hershey-history/

 

My Boyfriends’ Dogs by Dandi Daley Mackall

Bailey Daley, a sophomore in high school, is desperate for a boyfriend. She also loves dogs. The dogs seem to find her—boyfriends have alluded her so far.

Her best friend, Amber, doesn’t have a boyfriend either and her single mom is too busy stopping at every garage sale to look for a husband.

Bailey’s desperation blinds her to red flags in her dating relationships yet each one brings a new dog into her life. She figures that a guy with a dog must be the right boyfriend for her.

Wrong. A series of relationships each leave her with a new dog. When will she find Mr. Right?

This YA novel is engaging with lovable characters. The main character makes bad choices at times as the reader spots the red flags long before she does. An entertaining read with a surprise ending.

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Between Us Girls by Sally John

Book 1 of Family of the Heart Series

There are a lot of characters in this book. The story is told in the viewpoint of several of them, making it initially difficult to bond with them or understand how they all fit together.

A tornado destroys Jasmyn Allbright’s Illinois home and everything she owns. She makes some big decisions too soon that turn folks in her home town against her.

She takes a vacation in sunny California where her rental car is stolen with everything she owns inside the car.

Little does she know how fortunate she is to have her possessions stolen outside the Casa de Vida Cottages. The owner, Liv McAlister, gives her a temporary home and takes her under her wing.

As Jasmyn’s heart becomes entangled with the residents, Illinois still keeps calling her back. Should she stay or should she go?

Once my interest was snagged, I couldn’t put the book down for long. So many of the characters tugged at my heart that I had to know what happened next.

So happy to learn that this book is a series! I want to see what happens next. Well-written book by a new-to-me author.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Christianbook.com

Storing Eggs

Have you ever thrown away leftover egg whites because a pie or cake recipe required only yolks? Or have egg yolks ended up in the garbage because you only needed egg whites to make meringue?

That’s happened to me as well.

I found some guidelines in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook for storing eggs that have been separated.

Uncooked yolks may be stored in the fridge for 2 – 3 days. Cover them a thin layer of cold water. Cover the bowl with plastic until ready to use in a sauce. You may also add the yolks when cooking scrambled eggs to enrich the flavor.

Leftover egg whites will last a few days in the fridge if stored in a covered container.

Unbeaten egg whites can be frozen.

When freezing egg yolks or whole eggs that have been removed from the shell, salt or sugar must be added. If saving the eggs for a dessert, add sugar, using 1 teaspoon per 6 yolks. When the frozen eggs will be used in egg dishes or sauces, add ½ teaspoon of salt per 6 yolks.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Revised by Cunningham, Marion and Laber, Jeri. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1983.

 

 

Hershey’s Chocolate World

Last summer I spent a day with a few family members in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My chocolate-loving heart loved this place!

Many activities are geared to families with children but, as an adult, I found some fun things to do too.

Families will love the Create Your Own Candy Bar, Hershey’s Unwrapped (A Chocolate Tasting Journey,) and The 4D Chocolate Movie.

Everyone will enjoy Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, where guests learn how the delicious chocolate is made.

I especially enjoyed the old-fashioned feel of Trolley Tours. We had a great tour guide as we traveled through some significant locations in Hershey and learned Milton Hershey’s inspiring story.

If your plans take you there during the lunch hour, Hershey’s Kitchens Food Hall serves sandwiches, salads, pizza, baked potatoes, soup, double chocolate s’mores, and milkshakes. There is also a bakery.

I loved shopping at the Hershey’s Store for all things chocolate! I’ve purchased Christmas gifts there and, of course, candy bars. And Valentine’s Day is coming. 😊

It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon on vacation.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

“Things To Do in Hershey’s,” The Hershey Company, 2020/01/02 https://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/en_us/home.html.

 

 

Poverty, Puberty, & Patriotism by Ruth Kibler Peck

The author became a teenager during the difficult years of World War II. She gives a candid picture of life for a poor Ohio family who do their best to support their country at war.

From the shock of the Pearl Harbor bombing to the horror of the German concentration camps, the reader will see how the news affected one small family and their neighbors.

The military needed rubber so children collected old tires, boots, and garden hoses that they toted in wagons to collection points. Next the children went door-to-door asking for unneeded metal items that were dragged to the curb for pickup.

The author navigates readers through rationing. A ration book was provided to every family for foods such as butter, eggs, meat, sugar, and canned goods.

Great book and an easy read for anyone interested in life in America during the 1940s!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Amazon