Dead Wake: a review

Recently I received a free copy of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania to read and review. I was thrilled to read another book by Erik Larson; ever since reading Devil in the White City, I have devoured everything he has written. Dead Wake, happily, did not disappoint! Larson clearly did painstaking research and it shows; from the contents of Lusitania passengers' luggage and their outfits to the thoughts of the submarine captain, the story comes alive in the details. We meet individual passengers, hear their backstory and then must wait to see who lives and who dies. As Larson takes you from the doomed ship to the hunting submarine, it is easy to get lost in the thriller and start to hope for a different outcome for the passengers of the Lusitania. In the end though, the story comes full circle as we read the aftermath of the sinking, on a personal and global scale.This book did what good historical narratives ought to do, it made me want to learn more about World War I and the events surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania. If you want to learn more about the sinking of the Lusitania than the few facts you learned long ago in History 101, pick up Dead Wake- you won't be able to put it down, even with the foregone conclusion ahead of you.


UPDATE: black gold: cold press iced coffee

UPDATE SUMMER 2014: this recipe makes ready to drink iced coffee, NOT a concentrate. for a concentrate, simply follow the same procedure but use 1/3 cup coffee beans (whole) to 1 1/2 cups of water.

i'm putting my coffee snob hat back on today to teach you about a little secret: cold press iced coffee. iced coffee gets a bad name for itself, with its watered down wimpy taste, but not cold press. it's magical, smooth and delicious. black gold. cold press coffee is brewed cold for a long period of time so it's never hot and never needs ice. this is the way caribou makes their iced coffee and it's a trade secret i've never forgotten!

the cast of characters: 
(will make one gallon)
6 oz coffee
1 gallon cold water
metal filter
giant spoon
plastic wrap
2 (1) gallon pitchers

the process:
first tip: make this at night. it's going to brew for 12 hours so if you start at night it will be ready in the morning (and NOT the middle of the night)

weigh out your coffee. i use my trusty postal scale. add a jar or bowl and then zero out the scale. 

you'll need six ounces of coffee. aren't those beans just beautiful? 

set your grinder to coarse and grind up your beans. 
same grind you would use for french press. (french press...cold press...get it?) 

you'll end up with big beautiful coarse pieces of coffee. dump the coffee into your one gallon pitcher. 
add enough water to cover the grinds & stir the mixture. fill the pitcher with water. you want to make sure the water goes all the way to the one gallon line, so the coffee will come to the very top of the pitcher. 

cover the mixture & set it out on your counter for 12-16 hours.
less than 12 hours and the coffee won't have its full flavor.
more than 16 and it will start to taste bitter.
this does not need to be refrigerated but shouldn't be left in the sun. 

wait patiently for 12-16 hours. 
if you're smarter than me you'll make this at night and spend most of that time happily asleep. i was not so smart, so i had to strain my coffee at 2:00am. i'm sorry for the terrible pictures!

after 12 hours, a lot of the coffee will have floated to the top. use a giant spoon and remove as much of it as you can. once you touch the mound of grinds with the spoon, they will start to settle back to the bottom, so you only have one shot to get as much as you can!

pour the rest of your sludgy mixture through a metal coffee filter into your second one gallon pitcher. 

(a strainer lined with a paper filter will work but the end result won't be nearly as delicious. if your coffee maker didn't come with one of these guys in it, go out and spend the $3. you won't be sorry.)
this part is tricky to photograph and do all at the same time and since this was 2:00 am my usual photographer was fast asleep! i also didn't yet own two one gallon pitchers so there was a lot of container shuffling. basically a giant mess. 

here it is in all its glory! cold press iced coffee. store it in an airtight container (caribou uses this one and we do too!) in your fridge & enjoy! 

cold press iced coffee tastes best when enjoyed black. drunk from a mason jar. with a green straw.
also delicious: half & half and a little bit of white chocolate syrup. 

linked up here & here!


Easter Printables

it's spring break here in the woods, so things have been slow at church. on a particularly slow day earlier this week i decided to play around with some text for the cover of our Easter Sunday bulletin.
once i had something i loved i couldn't stop and created two versions and multiple colorways and now i've decided to share them with you!

the first is the lyrics to my favorite Easter hymn, Christ the Lord is Risen Today. 

the second is the verse we had our Fun Club kids memorize last week, Matthew 28:6. 

oh and a chalkboard version just for fun! 

so here they are for you!  click the links below for the pdfs in each colorway. you can also right click and save the picture files in this post, but there are more options with the pdfs. 
they are all 8.5 x11 paper. the chalkboard will print out at a full 8x10 and the colorful text can be trimmed to either 8 x10 or 5 x7. 

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Matthew 28:6 PDFs available here:

i printed out a set of these for the office at church and set for home plus a few to give as quick Easter gifts with some delicious chocolate bunnies. (sidenote: have you seen those commercials about giving toys for Easter instead of chocolate? i find them odd. i will be eating chocolate bunnies on Sunday...)

so print them out, hang them in your home or your office and celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!
Happy Easter friends!

pardon our dust

it's been too, too long since anything showed up over here on the blog. life has been crazy (working three jobs will do that) and the blog wasn't high on the priority list. but things have settled down a bit and i have some fun things in store for the shop(s) in the near future so i thought i'd come back to this little space. but since i'm here i'm planning on freshening things up a little bit. so i'll be back soon with something fun, hopefully an easter printable (or eight...) by the end of the day!