Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Classic, apparently....

Did not like this book one bit.
Many who reviewed it, loved it. I could not wait until I was done reading it.
The only positive thing I could say was that I loved Conrad's style of writing. He has a philosophical way in which he writes that I found enlightening. Not enough to read any more of his books.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pride and Prejudice

Classics are free on the kindle, so I downloaded this one, as recommended by my sister, Amy. While I enjoyed the story and was anxious to get to the part of the book where Darcy and Elizabeth finally get together, I am not so sure I can take these Victorian-era  books seriously. Too much time has passed, and things are so different now. I can't imagine courting a man for weeks and still refering to him as Mr. Darcy. I can't imagine accepting a proposal from a man whom I haven't even kissed. And nobody works! They all just have family money. They do nothing all day but wonder about the character of everyone around them.
The most ridiculous part for me is where Lydia runs away with the soldier. They must marry to prevent the family from shame. Really? Nowadays, you may not be so happy about your child running off with a soldier, but that is more out of concern for said child than your social appearance. It was difficult for me to relate to the scandal.
I also skimmed much of the dialogue. I found it excessively wordy. For this reason, I probably will not be reading any more of Austen's books.

Hunger Games pt 1

I read this last summer but I am still going to review it. Yeah, who hasn't read this book? It's amazing...dark, imaginative, enthralling, and different. I was disturbed by it, yet could not wait to find out what happened at the end. I was fascinated by the world Ms Collin's created here...numerous districts of oppressed people governed by the greedy capital. I was fascinated by the idea of the Games themselves. I could not possibly have imagined such a thing, and am in awe of those who can. I will be reading the third installment later this summer, probably when I am on vacation.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hunger Games, part 2

Last summer, at my kids' insistance, I read the first book in this series. I just finished this one last night. i FOUND it equally dark, disturbing, engrossing, and imaginative . The world created in the mind of Suzanne Collins is ingenious. The Hunger Games and it's rules, the Quarter Quell cards, the districts. I wonder how a mind can come up with such an idea. This is really a tale of politcal oppression, and the star characters are certainly oppressed. It can be difficult to read the troubles our hero and heroines must endure.  But it is always engrossing and never predictable. I will be reading the next book right away, hoping Katniss gets a break somewhere in her life and finds some happiness in her world. I know the districts are in full rebellion and she is seen as the catalyst. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Loved this one....

I started reading the hardcover CATCHING FIRE at home, which is dark and serious. So for the Kindle and my trips to the gym, I bought this one. I figured I needed something light and fluffy. I had already read a book by McQuestio, and liked the characters she creates. I noticed this was on sale on Amazon for 1.99 during the month of May and purchased it.
I always read the reviews on Amazon, and many readers thought it was too predictable. I didn't really. At first I thought the plot would be something from an ABC Family movie, but there were a few things I did not see coming. Intricate plots are not what I like about this reader anyway. It's the characters. I know all of them in real life....the lazy coworker, the pain-in-the-ass sister (although Mindy was an unusuallly awful sister!), the long-time friend who now has a baby and has no time for you. I loved the neighbors, too. The lead character, Lola, was quick to judge them, but they have interesting pasts and are not whAT SHE first sees.  I loved the storyline of the late Great Aunt, how Lola barely knew her or her history yet she inherited a house from her. She learns a bit about this Aunt, and herself, by reading diaries she left behind.
Even a thin plot can be interesting if the characters are this real and identifiable. I enjoyed this book immensly, especially compared to the rough, dark troubled life of Katniss Everdeen. McQuestion has one more book that I can read, perhaps this summer when I am on the beach!

A Charming tale of Adventure...

I started reading this book in high school, as it was very popular at the time. I never finished it, can't even remember any of it. I thouroughly enjoyed the tale, and I love how JRR Tolkein writes. The little Hobbit is an interesting, noble creature who lives in a very imaginative, fascinating world. He and his little band of elves set out on an adventure. They meet Eagle Kings, Wolves, a man who turns into a bear, a Gollum, whatever he was, dwarves, wizzards. Thier adventure is fast-paced, something exciting happens on every page.
 I suggested that my oldest daughter read this, and she enjoyed it so much, she bought the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy for us to read.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recipes from YUM

Some fall recipes I made recently, even though it is not fall

BAKED WINTER SQUASH- You can still get squash in the spring around here, particularly butternut and spaghetti. We love all squash!

Here is an easy way to prepare any squash.

Preheat oven to 400. place squash, cut sides up, on baking sheet with 1/4 c water on bottom. Bake about 40 minutes.
Add 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs honey to the center of each squash half and bake ten minutes more, until soft.


1 PACKAGE frozen raspberries
3/4 c sugar
1 orange
1 cin stick
3 whole eggs
2 TBS milk
4 OZ cream cheese, softened
8 slices bread

place rasperries, sugar, zest from orange, juice, and cin stick in a saucepan. bRING to boil and then reduce to simmer, cook until thickened, about 20-25 min. Remove from heat and cool.
Gently fold this into cream cheese.
Fill two pieces of bread with this mixture to make a sandwhich.
Heat a griddle and melt butter.
In a pie plate, add eggs,milk, juice, cinnamon and mix. Dip sandwhiches in in to soak.  pLACE on griddle and cook on each time until browned.
Sprinkle wiht powder sugar if desired.

WILD MUSHROOM RAGOUT- A good, easy, different thing to do with mushrooms.

1 garlic clove
fresh rosemary
2 c mixed wild mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS heavy cream

Melt butter with garlic and rosemary in skillet. Add SHROOMS aand cook for 8-10 min. until they are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream e.
and lemon juice
cook 2 more minutes until cream is absorbed.

What to do with a Turkey

 I made a roast turkey last week and was very pleased with how I used it. We ate the turkey one day, then I used leftovers to make a pot pie, and also a curry turkey salad. And I made some delicious gravy.

THE TURKEY- Usually, i just use a turkey bag and follow those directions. The turkey always turns out moist.

THE GRAVY- After roasting the turkey, keep all the juices in the bottom of the roaster (if you are using a turkey bag, you just pour it out into the pan)
Place the roasting pan on burners on top of the stove, medium heat. Scrape the pan to release any good bits off the bottom. Simmer, then add 4 TBS butter til melted.
Add 1/3 c flour and whisk continously for 1 minute.
Heat up four cups of turkey or chicken stock, and add to the pan, whisking for about 5-10 minutes until thick.
Season to taste.

FOR FUTURE RECIPES: Shred 2 cups of turkey for pot pie. Chop 2 cups for curry salad.

POT PIE- This was easy and delicious.

1 stick butter divided
2 carrots diced
1 TBS thyme, fresh, minced
salt and pepper
3/4 c frozen peas
2 c shredded leftover roast turkey
1/4 c flour
1 3/4 milk
store bought pie dough
1 egg lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425.
Place 1/4 c butter into saute pan and melt over med high heat. Saute carrotts for 4-6 min. Add some onion power, if you like. I don't use real onion in recipes because Holly doesnt like them, so I often use powder instead.
Add Thyme, salt and pepper
Fold in peas, continue to saute for 5 min.
Remove from heat, toss in a large bowl. Add turkey to the large bowl. Mix.

In Med saucepan, melt 1/4 c butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and whisk 3-4 minutes. Pour milk into this mixture and continue to whisk. Season with salt and pepper
, continue whisking 4-5 minute more until thickened. Remove from heat and fold into turkey-veg mixture.

You can make the pie different ways. I poured the turkey mixture into a casserole and covered with pie crust. I cut slits in the crust and brushed with an egg wash.

Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.


1/2 C MAYO
1/4 C dry white wine
1/4 c chutney
3 TBS curry powder (i actually use a little less)
2 cups cooked turkey (can use chicken also)

stir ins--golden raisins
             red onion, chopped
             chopped toasted pecans
flour tortillas or wraps

In a bowl, combine the salad ingredients(the first five) and chill for an hour.
In order to please my picky family, I allow each child to chose stir-ins. I love them all! MIX A portion of the salad with whatever stir ins you please. Place this in a wrap, add some lettuce if desired, roll and enjoy!!

And that's what you can do with a turkey!!! Three delicious meals .


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Long Way Home

Now this was a good book. It was about four woman who decided to embark on a road trip. They were new friends, not having known eachother long. I loved the characters. They were real people, with real problems. Jazzy was the one with psychic powers. Her abilities were very endearing and believable to me. She received a few signs from beyond the grave, which changed the course of the trip a little. All four women had issues to be worked out on the trip, and all four had their lives changed a little. It was a nice read, I enjoyed sharing the journey with these women. I look forward reading this author's other work. She has a few other novels that look interesting to me.
Hmmm...what to read next???

A Matter of Honor

Sometimes, I like a good page-turner. A book with something happening on every page. I have read most of Dan Brown's books, and find them to be entertaining reads, especially when traveling. So I selected this book based on the good reviews it received on Amazon.
I hated it. I could care less what happened to the lead character. I could not muster up any interest in the plot. The characters were very flat....there was no drama attached to the plotline, really, just action. I kept looking at the bottom of my Kindle, the part where it tells me how long I have left to go. That is not a good sign.
Now that I am done, i don't believe I will read this author again. He has a million books out there, but this one was a waste of my time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blue Straggler- Kathy Lynn Harris

This is another first-time author, and I really can't wait to read what's next!!
I loved this book.
It's just a story of a girl going through some big slump in her life. She takes off on a whim after losing her job, and meets new, interesting characters in a small, faraway town.
The characters are all just people in a town, folks I think I know. They seem so real to me. They all are described as real people, there are no ''imperfect beauties" or perfect people. They are all every day folks.
The main character actually thinks how I think...sarcastic, funny. I loved the real humor of this book. Not stuff meant to be funny, just the funny things that happen in every day life.
I can relate to Bailey so much. She screws up and then makes fun of herself for it, even if she's regretful. She has a best freind who is in love with her. She drinks to much on a few occasions and can even get a little slutty. But this is not how she wants to be, and she struggles to make something more of herself. She also has a family with imperfect, but good, members, just like any family I know!!! The ''golden child'' brother really hit home!!!
I loved this adventure. I will most likely read it again.

On the Island- Tracey Garvis Graves

I started reading a lot recently, mostly since I joined Planet Fitness and ride the stationery bike. It is so relaxing for me. I do about 45 minutes on the bike and just read. Work up a sweat, too!
This is the first book I chose to read.
The book can be divided into two parts...the island part and the post-rescue part. I love the island part. The heroine ends up stranded on a dessert island for three years with her teenage student. I love the characters, how they interact with eachother, how they manage to survive, how they end up depending on eachother and loving eachother. It all makes sense.
The most interesting thing about the romance is that these two would NEVER, in a million years, be with eachother in the real world. Too big a difference in age and level of maturity. But on the island, they were the only two people in the world. All other factors did not matter.
The couple get rescued, and the story continues on how the couple deals with going back to a normal life. I was not as happy with this part, but it was still a great read. The boy, TJ, is so much more mature than other twenty-year-olds, which makes sense because of all he had been through in his life. Anna has issues with being thirteen years older, noticing how young girls gape when they see him with her.
I wish there was more attention paid to how they adjust to life in general after the island episode.
Some things did not make sense....the lawsuit, why Anna couldn't get a job. But all in all, i liked it and I really cared what happened.
THis is a first-time author. I look forward to reading her next book...I believe one is coming out in the fall.

My Scraps and More May challenges

My Scraps and More also has monthly challenges. I have done one of these....the stash challenge. I used three different ribbons on this page. Two of them paper ribbon, and a little thin ribbon for my flower.

My Scraps and More challege 2, sketch

This is the sketch for challenge 2...Pretty in Pink

Challenge 3 was to use tearing on your page, which I did here on this Aquatica map. I love to include park maps on my pages! What a great souvenir.

Challenge 7- use a group of flowers. I used many flowers from Mambi on this page


Challenge 13 is a bingo challenge. My squares were lace, border punch, ribbon and 2 pattern papers. And here is my page, of hte lovely Miranda on the sea carousel.

And that's it for now! I am working on another sketch right now. Almost done with SeaWorld pages!

My Scraps and More

Here are a few pages for the MOther's day crop and My scraps and more....

challenge 1- was to use the acronym "Mother" when picking items for your page! I did this one of me and the girls eating at Denny's before our Florida vacation. This is, after all, where the vacation all began!

I used:

Orange paper
Handwritten journaling
Eating Utensils
Round shapes


I did this cute one for two challenges.
The color challenge at Color Me Scrappy,
and the May sketch challenge at Ces't Magnifique.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Here are some I did for the Calendar Girls challenge at Two Peas.

TOUCH is a scraplift from my Bookmarks page. I need to locate the original..

 Underwater Viewing is a lift....
 Are We There Yet is for teh card challenge....use border punches on your page. I love the new Creative Memories Border System. I used the Picket Fence insert here.
 And the Perfect Vacation is for the stash challenge, use kits! I used a Mambi kit for this one.

Things on the cat front

Things are not good.
I got rid of all the kittens from the last litter...all are in good homes. Kiki went back to her home.
I have Shy Guy, my adult male.
I now have Ruby and her four kittens. They are all so adorable.....I will have to post photos later.
Then some tiny 2-week old kittens were found in a garage. We are trying to get Ruby to nurse them. She does it sometimes, but she also lets them starve sometimes. I tried to supplement them with a bottle today, to no avail. I am afraid these kittens might die.
There are no alternatives, however. We don't have enough foster care people to take care of everything. My theory is, they were going to die without us. Now they still may die, but they have a chance. Come on Ruby!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


dID NOT finish my 2peas Calendar Girl monthly challenges. I did not win the two I did at FLYING UNICORNS!

Taste of Home recipes

I have been making things from a 'taste of home" Best of cookbook and so far am keeping four recipes to remake...Nutty Chicken, Cheesy Chicken Chowder, Italian beef sandwhiches and Red Pepper Hummus.


onion powder
3 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
12 oz beer

Hoagie buns
Provolone cheese

In a slow cooker, and roast and all other ingredients except buns and cheese. Cover, cook on low 6 hours.
Make sandwhiches!!

Roast was delicious and very simple. I used Labatts beer.
I served leftover roast with gravy and biscuits the following day.

tHIS recipe is just for me, to keep on hand if I need an appetizer. It is good!!

2 large red peppers
2 cans chick pea
1/3 c fresh lemon jcc
3 1 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper

Crackers for dipping, or pita breads.

Broil red peppers: cut in half. Lay skin side up on a cookie sheets, coated with oil spray, Broil close to the top of the boiler til skins are black about ten min.
PUT peppers and all other ingreds in a food processer until blended.

Kitty update

Elton is gone to a new home. Katrina also went to a forever home, after spending nine months here with us!! I am happy with the pairing of Katrina and her owner, they are a made for eachother!! Makes it easier to say goodbye!
Now all i have are Kiki and Shy Guy. Kiki will be here two more weeks before she returns home. Shy Guy needs a home. I don't know if I have any pictures of him, but I think he needs a name change. Shy Guy isn't very marketable. He is not very shy anymore.
We are getting a litter right after Easter!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MORE 2PEAS and flying unicorn challenges

The third 2peas challenge is the stash challenge...using up small embellishments.
I also am doing a challenge at the Unicorn in which you have to use a black and white photo.

I kept this page simple because i LOVE this picture of HOGWARTS. i took it myself, and edited it in Picasa  and love the way it turned out.
So here is a photo, a fancy font on the Winter WOnderland cartridge, and some rhinestones to frame it all up.


I went to a weekend crop last weekend and worked on my vacation pictures from Orlando.
So I am officially back into scrapbook contests! I always start with my girls at 2 Peas. There are 8 CALENDAR GIRL challenges for  March, and I need to complete at least FOUR of them to count in the drawing. I sure love winning scrap supplies! Have not won anything in quite a while. Plus it helps me get things done, inspires me to make more interesting pages, and the social aspect of the Calendar girls is a plus. They are great people.
 First up isthe scraplift challenge ..we are lifting Michelle Mostert over at 2peas. I was inspired by the color and elements of her
"Home Sweet Home" page and thought it would be perfect to lift for my airport pictures.

Here is her link

and my lift of it:

  IT IS hard to see, but I used a light blue square ink block to blot on the white paper as a sky-like background.  I used Creative Memories doodle template for the dashes, and Creative Mem.'s Traveler Cricut cartridge for the die cuts. Add a little blue and red pen, and it's done.
I developed many vacation photos into wallet-size , different for me. It allows me to put more photos on a page. I kinda like how wallets look on this page.

The next challenge is a sketch. I chose a 2 page sketch and turned it into a one-pager, as i rarely do two pages.

I am also doing some challenges at Flying Unicorn and this will be submitted for a challenge using three frilly trims. I like the addition of lacy trim on a pool page. Not something I would normally do, and it makes THIS swimming page stand out from my many other swimming pages. This is why I like challenges!

Elton and Kiki

I have in my possession two new fosters, Elton and Kiki. Kiki is the tiniest mother cat I have ever seen. There is nothing to her. She's so small and skinny, it's hard to beleive she just had a litter of kittens! My job is to fatten her up a bit before she is spayed and returns to her owners.  She is very friendly, but noisy.,,,spent all night meowing. I think I will lock her and her son up in the bathroom at nights. That would also give Katrina and Shy Guy more room to breathe, as Kiki likes to chase them.
Her baby, Elton, is so darn cute! He was the runt of the litter and is adopted already, he also just needs to gain some wieght. Last night, he was bouncing all over the place. He has spent most of today just sleeping. I have not had this active a kitten in quite some time. This should be a fun two weeks!


No, not a recipe, but a cat!
Puddin' was a friendly Siamese cat who was taken away from his owners while they were being investigated for animal cruelty. We had him for two weeks while this investigation was going on.
The owners took him to the vets to be spayed. The vets discovered the animals balls tied together with a rubberband, all infected.
The District Attorney was contacted and the Humane Society had temporary custody of the cat. Turns out, the owners were just being stupid. They 'heard' rubberbanding was a good way to stop spraying, and did not intend to harm the cat. Their other cat was happy and healthy. Pudding was also a very friendly, happy, healthy looking cat. So ultimately, he was returned to the family.

I had to give him antibiotics for about a week. He did not get along well with my other two fosters, so he lived in my large bedroom. He did love it up there. Every time i walked in, he was sitting on one of the window sills sunning himself. Then he would roll over in front of me so I could rub his bellly!

Chicken Chowder

Long time, no post! Been busy.

Here is a great recipe....easy, everyone liked it, and it uses leftover chicken.

First, roast a small chicken for one day's dinner. Shred the leftovers and freeze to make this soup. It takes 2 cups.

3 c chicken broth
2 c diced potatoes
1 c dices carrotts
1 c diced cellery
onion powder
1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour
2 c milk
2 c, or 8 oz, shredded mild cheddar
2 c cooked diced or shredded chicken

In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat. Add potato, carrots, celery, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer - min or until vegies are tender
Meanwhile, melt butter in med. saucepan. Add flour and stir until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, bring to boil over med. heat, and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add this mixture to broth. Add chicken to broth.
Cook and stir until heated thru.

TIPS- I altered this recipe for my families taste. Real onion can be used instead of powder. You can use stronger cheese. The cheesiness of this soup is very subtle, which i like. My oldest hates cheese and she had three bowls!! But a sharp cheddar would yield a stronger taste.

I did a little 'precooking' days before. I shredded the 2 cups of cheese in one bag and stored it. In another bag, I filled with the chopped carrots, celery, and onion, salt and pepper. Of course, I already had the 2 cupss of shredded chicken in the freezer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

food log 3

1. roasted pork loin
    ice cream sandwhich cookies
2. chicken sausage
    sauteed zuchini
    roasted asparagus.

food log 2

1.lemon pasta with pancetta and squash
2. horseradish mashed potatoes
    garlic paste burger patties
3. crispy chicken
4. black bean and beef chilli
5. linguine with clam sauce (can)
6. lime stripe bass
7. sausage and pepper pizza


GARLIC PASTE BURGERS...Just add garlic paste to your burger meat before cooking. Juices em up a little.

..Miranda LOVES couscous, so I always have it on hand. They all LOVE this simple chicken:

   1 large egg
   1 tsp cumin
   1 c panko
   4 boneless chicken breasts
    olive oil

    In med bowl, whisk egg and cumin. Dip chicken into egg mix, then Panko.
   in large skillet, heat oil. Cook chick. ten min. or until crisp.

   A simple fish dish.

   4 bass filets
   1 lime

   season fish with salt and pep. rub lime zest on them. Heat oil in skillet, cook about 3 min a side until done.

     Ground sausage, sweet italian < lb
      olive oil
      yel or red bell pep
      pizza dough
     3/4 c pizza sauce or marinara sauce
     8 oz mozz
     freshly grated parm

    preheat oven to 500. cook sausage in skillet until done.
   remove sausage, then cook peppers in skillet along with black pep.
    roll dough out and place on slightly oiled pan or pizza stone.
   spread sauce on dough, scatter half the mozz over dough and top with sausage, rest of mozz.
    sprinkle with parmesan.
    bake about 10 min. until cheese is melted and crust is browned and crusty

ROAST PORK LOIN....Follow directions on "how to cook meat" for this. Fabulous!

    BUY THin crispy cookies and sandwhich ice cream in between two of them to make sandwhiches. Keep in freezer and eat whenever desired. I used ginger snaps and coffee ice cream. Many possibilities.

    Grill the sausages on the GEORGE,
sautee thinly sliced zuchinni in a skillet and roast asp. ..follow internet for directions.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

beef, black bean chili

An easy but good, quick chilli great for weekend afternoons or dinners.,,Holly loved it

2 TBS cannola oil
onion powder
2 tsp garlic paste
1 lb ground beef
1 can (14.5) roasted spicy tomato sauce
1 can black beans (15 oz) drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

In large saucepan, heat oil on med high heat. Add onion powder and garlic paste, cook one minute,
Add beef, cook til no longer pink
Add rest of ingreds. bring to boil and reduce heat, simmer for ten minutes
serve with toppings such as shredded cheese, avacado chunks, chopped red onion, sour cream.