Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today marks the five year anniversary of mine and David's first date. 
Plus, our three year wedding anniversary. 
So, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite pictures from our wedding day,
which seems like forever ago and just yesterday.

Monday, July 29, 2013


You know how some books touch your soul a little bit?  Well, this book is one of those.  Moloka'i essentially follows the history of a small section of the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i becoming a leprous colony.  Alan Brennert weaves this historical fiction narrative through the life of Rachel Kalama.  In the beginning of the book, Rachel is a seven-year-old girl whose dreams and future are stolen away by a small rose-colored mark on the back of her leg.  Rachel is separated from her family and carted off to Moloka'i to live with other lepers forever.  This is, basically, a death sentence. 

I loved this book from beginning until end.  I loved Rachel and her resiliency, but her situation broke my heart at times.  I would highly, highly, highly recommend this one.  In fact, I had to run out and buy a copy just so that I could own it and reread it again at my leisure.

I may have mentioned before that David and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon.  One of the things we did was snorkling near Lana'i, which is a hop, skip and a jump from Moloka'i.  And David reminded me how, at the time, the leaders of our cruise expedition mentioned that it was an old leprous colony.  It's crazy to think that I saw this island and didn't think much of it then.  Now...all I can think is: wow. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Friday!

 I hope everyone has had a fantastic week thus far.  Here's a funny that I saw this week on Pinterest, and I think pretty well sums up social media (blogs included)!

This past week David harvested our carrots, let me tell you...we weren't expecting a crop this good! 

So, for the past week I've been trying to figure out what to make with all of these carrots.  I started out making one of my favorite meals, sausage risotto.  FYI, I don't add the broccolini anymore.  To make it a bigger veggie ratio I usually just up the tomato or carrot amounts.  So good.

In addition to the risotto, I loooove this recipe and am planning on making it really soon.  David calls them my alcoholic carrots, haha!  If you like cooked carrots as a delicious side, you must try these!

I just made some carrot cupcakes (new recipe, I'll let you guys know how it works out!) and then I shredded some extra carrots so that I can make some carrot cake pancakes in the morning (double yum!).

Will you look at these two faces?  I know neither are my little Molly, but these are two super sweet girls.  My parent's westie, Lacy, loves me best (seriously, she does, just ask my parents) and I got the pleasure of dog sitting for one of my besties.  Though, it would appear Penny doesn't like it when I try to read, haha!

Here's another random funny for you this week that soooo describes me...

And this last piece is just a little reminder to myself.  I got some news this week that I've been looking for and needing for a while.  And while the result was not in my original "plan," I sometimes need that reminder that God's plans are better than anything I could possibly dream up!

Have a fantastic weekend all!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Murder at the Manor

I know this is going to be shocking, but I'm going to review some more Agatha Christie books.  Can you read the sarcasm in that last sentence?  I know you must be thinking, "How many more Agatha Christie books is this girl gonna read?  Sheesh!"  Well, at least a few more.  And if I continue to enjoy them as much as I have been, I'll probably even buy some more copies than what I already managed to snag from my great-great aunt's book collection.

Murder at the Manor is a compilation of three Agatha Christie novels.  And get this, they all take place in a manor house.  Hmmm...wonder where they came up with the title?

First up, Crooked House.  A young man, Charles Hayword, has come back from war and wants to marry a young woman whom he pre-proposed to (he told her if he came back alive that he'd want to marry her), Sophia Leonides.  Sophia and all her family live in the same house (which she refers to as a little, crooked house) and one morning, Sophia's grandfather and lord of the manor, is discovered dead.  Sophia tells Charles they can't marry until the murderer is found and brought to long as the right person murdered her grandfather.  What an odd thing to say, am I right?  Well, Charles' father happens to be in the police force and the two men share different aspects of the case and end up solving the murder.  I will say that, of all the Agatha Christie novels I've read thus far, this one had the most twisted ending.

Next up, Ordeal by Innocence.  At the manor of Sunny Point a Rachel Argyle has been murdered and her son, Jacko, has been convicted and sent off the prison.  Not long after being locked up, Jacko dies in custody.  Jacko had always declared his innocence, but his alibi could never be proven.  Two years after the murder, a Dr. Arthur Calgary shows up and informs the family that he can, definitively, back up Jacko's alibi and that he's sorry it's taken so long to come around.  Dr. Calgary suffered from a particular incident where he was hospitalized and suffered some amnesia.  Therefore, he did not know about the murder or trial that followed, at least at the time.  Like Crooked House, the entire family lives under one, now the entire family must figure out who was the one that killed Rachel Argyle two years prior.  In classic fashion, I couldn't guess who the murderer was until the bitter end and, like always, it was a complete surprise.

And lastly, The Seven Dials Mystery.  I'll start off by saying that this one was my favorite of these three short novels.  In this book, a young group of the peerage is visiting an estate for a fun get-away.  In the group, there is a young man who likes to sleep in much, much, much later than everyone else.  The rest of the group decide to play a practical joke on this person, by setting up alarm clocks in his room and having each go off in succession at 6am.  Of course, being an Agatha Christie novel, he doesn't get upset or even wake up because he is murdered in the night.  Shortly after his murder, another member of the party is discovered on a country road, dying.  One thing the two men have in common is that they have either written or said something about "the seven dials" prior to their death.  I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it...and if you have yet to read an Agatha Christie, this would be an excellent one to start with!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heads in Beds

I'd been eyeballing Heads in Beds on my library app for a while.  This audiobook always had a super long wait-list and then, all of a sudden, it wasn't available for checkout anymore.  I kept it on my "wish list" for a while...then, randomly, it was available again.  I quickly checked it out before a long wait-list could be generated yet again.

I remember when this book first came out and Jacob Tomsky made the rounds of Good Morning America, the Today Show, etc., etc.  And the subtitle pretty well describes it: a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality.  I was really expecting more of a "do this, not that" book about how to act in a hotel so that staff don't do the equivalent of a waiter spitting in your food.  But, in all actuality this book is really just a memoir.  Tomsky does give an index in the very back, telling you some "do's and don'ts" that are quite helpful.  But, that's about the extent of it.

The first thing that I would say about this book before recommending it is this: cursing.  Wow...Jacob Tomsky really does like the "f" word.  If you listen to this in audio, don't have children present.  And if you're reading it and reading-age children are around, don't leave it open and available for them to see.  Because there's a lot of cursing in this, seriously, a TON.  If you can get past that, this is a pretty fun and interesting book.  Tomsky has an easy-to-read writing style and most all of his stories are either funny or entertaining.  This wasn't the best memoir I've ever read, but it most definitely wasn't the worst.  I give this book a solid three out of five stars and would recommend it to just about anyone...just be aware of the uncouth vocabulary.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Wednesday Letters

I hope everyone is currently having a splendid beginning to their week.  This past Friday was my book club's monthly gathering and we had a fantastic meeting.  One of the books I discussed and passed along on Friday was this one, The Wednesday Letters.  I had remembered my friend, Becky, reading this a while back and thinking it was really good.  Then, at one of the local library's book sales up here in Tulsa I picked up a copy for a steal.  Love it when that happens.

The premise of The Wednesday Letters is that there is an elderly couple, who owns a bed and breakfast, that happen to die on the same night while in their bedroom.  Once they are discovered two of the children come immediately and also proceed to contact the last sibling, a brother who has been estranged for the past few years.  There's an interesting reason for his estrangement that plays well into this plot... 

Before the three can come to terms with their parents' deaths they find a vast store of letters.  Letters and letters and letters everywhere in boxes after boxes.  What the three come to find out is that starting on their wedding night, the husband/father had written to his wife/their mother every single Wednesday for the duration of their marriage.  Some of the letters were sweet, some without much to report, some just scribbled on a napkin.

What the three children don't expect is that there is a huge family secret hidden within these letters.  And the revelation torments the three, but especially one particular sibling.  The rest of the book tidies up the loose ends nicely and even fixes that pesky estrangement problem for the lost brother. 

This one is a fast and easy read, making you feel good while not generally taxing your brain.  An excellent summer read and even a palate cleanser, if you will. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Elizabeth and Hazel

Every once in a while I run across a non-fiction book that is so interesting and so well written that I kinda want to shout it's glory from the rooftops.  Well, perhaps not literally.  But, figuratively?  You betcha!

Elizabeth and Hazel is the biography of the two young women pictured in the most famous photograph of desegregation following the ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka.

David Margolick does a superb job of researching each and every aspect of this story, from the girls' families to their favorite school subjects to the effects of this day (and every other day for the rest of that school year) on both girls.  Elizabeth suffers long after this photo is taken and is later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  At the same time, Hazel tries her hardest to repent and overcome the negative persona of her youth forever ingrained in everyone's minds from this photo.

One things that's interesting is that the two women became friends later in life.  Sadly, however, the stresses from friends and family on both sides put an enormous hardship on the friendship between the two women.  And today they have yet to re-establish that friendship again. 

I would highly, highly, highly recommend this book, though at times it can be pretty depressing.  There are certain aspects of the United States' past that are far from pretty, but still need telling.  And this story, gritty though it may be, is wonderfully written.  In fact, I read this book in less than two days because I was so entranced by it.  Five out of 5 stars from me!  Pick this one up!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Age of Desire

A while back, when I went to meet Kate Morton, the owner of the book store hosting the event recommended a number of books recently released.  The Age of Desire was one and when she described the book, I was intrigued.  I'm not a huge Edith Wharton fan and really hadn't read all that much of her works.  However, starting earlier this year I made a concerted effort to read The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth.  I really enjoyed the first, but not as much the latter two.  So, after reading her more famous works, I felt that I could then begin this book, which happens to fall under the interesting category of "biographical novel."  What's a biographical novel?  Well, it's takes a real person and real events within their life and is then written like a novel, complete with dialogue and certain instances that might make the plot more lively than real life perhaps was. 

The major premise of this book involves the love affair Edith Wharton has during her 40s.  Trapped in a sexless and somewhat loveless marriage, an opportunity arises that Wharton cannot bring herself to pass up.  This book also explores the relationship between Edith and her governess-turned-secretary, Anna Bahlmann.  Who happens to not approve of the affair between Edith and a certain Morton Fullerton.  In fact, towards the end of this novel, the relationship between Edith and Anna really takes center stage. 

This book was really slow going for me.  As in, the first 100-150 pages were a real snooze-fest.  Probably around page 140 I considered putting it down, but I decided to plow on through because I despise not finishing a book.  And I'm glad I did.  The book became much more interesting from then on.  It took me a little over a week to read this book (slow for me), but I would say the first 6 days were spent on the first 150 pages.

Another interesting thing about my experience in reading this book, I like it more the longer it's been since I've read it.  It's one that I've reflected back on...and looked up certain aspects to see if they're true...and have truly felt more fondly about the more I think on it.  Every once in a while I'll run into a book like this and I kind of enjoy that feeling of ponderous enjoyment.  Isn't that what reading is all about?  To think and expand one's mind?

I give this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars and would recommend it.  However, be prepared for a slow going of it, at least at first.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Banana Sheet Cake

I don't know about you guys, but it seems like I always have some overripe bananas in my kitchen.  David eats bananas like they're going out of style...not to mention, it's one of Molly's favorite "people foods" to eat.  The girl will give you the stare down the entire time you're eating one, she loves 'em so much. But, a lot of times it's just difficult to make it through an entire cluster of 'nanners (as my stepdad always calls them).

You can freeze bananas, did you know that?  Once they start to go about half brown, that's when I throw mine in the freezer.  It's usually only one or two, not enough to really do anything with.  But, worth saving.  Most of the time I wait until I have about 6 or so in the freezer, then I make a couple of banana bread loaves.  I love my banana bread recipe (click here for it), but sometimes we get sick of banana bread...believe it or not.

The following recipe was one that was given to me at one of my wedding showers; a kitchen themed shower where everyone brought a kitchen item and included a recipe that utilized said item.  I got a lot of fantastic recipes this way, and this one is no exception.  This cake is divine and soooo easy.

Banana Sheet Cake

Prepare a yellow cake mix per package directions except reduce the water by 1/4 cup.

Add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and 2-3 bananas.

Bake in a sheet cake pan (that was my gift!) per cake mix instructions.


Cream together - 3 oz. cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.


OMG, this cake is indescribably good.  Every time I make it David always makes appreciative grunting noises while he's consuming it (needless to say, it's a Dave's Fave).  Then, he usually says, "Ahhhh, yea, I remember this recipe.  Good stuff."  Try it, you won't regret it! (And you'll use up those pesky browning bananas languishing on your counter!)

Monday, July 15, 2013

The 5th Wave

I'm a little behind on my book reviews (when am I not?), but today I'm going to go a little out of order and share a book that I juuuust an hour ago.  Seriously.  The 5th Wave.  This book has been getting a bit of hype and when you look at the reviews people tend to absolutely love it or be completely and totally disappointed.  Apparently, those that are disappointed have read previous work by this author (that I'd never heard of before this book) and say this book can't even compare to his other stuff.  Well, alrighty then.  This book was recommended to me by my good friend, Nicole.  And she's a pretty darn good judge of character when it comes to books (no pun intended), so I decided to pick it up.

The main premise of this book involves aliens coming to Earth and essentially attempting to decimate all of humanity.  With each "wave" more people are killed and it becomes more and more difficult for the survivors to...well...survive.  The story begins around the end of the 4th wave and mainly follows Cassie, a teenage girl.  It seems like all YA has a teen heroine anymore, am I right?  Anyway, the story follows her and, in separate instances, her brother Sammy, her high school crush Ben and a teenage boy named Evan, who she meets during her journey.

So, where do I rank with all of these reviewers out there?  I'm with Nicole, in saying that this is one of the best YA novels I've read in a while.  It was on par with Insurgent/Divergent and the Hunger Games trilogy.  It also has a bit of that The Host feel to it.  Now, if you haven't read or didn't like any of those books that I've just mentioned, then this probably isn't for you.  But, if you do like them...go and pick this one up!

P.S. This is going to be a trilogy, like most YA books anymore.  Surprised?  I'm not.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Closet Clean-up

Do you remember when I did this?

I blogged about how I wanted to clean up our closet and purge any superfluous items...which, when you have a pack-rat husband that can be challenging.

Honestly, David and I have both found ourselves wearing items simply so they could be laundered and rehung up the "right" way.  But, at least in my case, I found that when I was wearing something like this I decided there was a definitive reason I didn't wear it that often...hence, it got thrown in the donate pile after being laundered. 

I can proudly say that after summer began and we thinned out the winter clothes that didn't get worn, we have a bit more closet space available and quite a few more hangers.

Molly's pretty impressed with the donation bags.

Now, we'll just have to do it all over again at the end of summer.

Jury's still out on whether or not I'll do this again next year since the main purpose is currently being served (more space and hangers!).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The World Without Us

The World Without Us is a book I borrowed from one of my book club friends and I suppose you might call it an imaginative social reporting experiment.  The main idea is that if, for some random reason, tomorrow, all of a sudden, there were no more humans.  Nothing else on the planet would be affected by whatever our demise was caused by, including plants, animals, insects, waterways, etc.  How soon would the world revert to however it was before us?  Or how would it adapt? 

This is one of those books that is extremely interesting and has a lot of fantastic points...but, it's not a big page-turner.  I almost always had to have another book (or two) to read alongside it.  The reason being, it's extremely dense and fact-driven...therefore, I could only read 20-30 pages in one sitting.  Weisman really did his homework in all aspects of research for this book.  Towards the beginning, describing how quickly cities would break down, he uses the New York City subway system as an example and talks with the major city employees that currently work to keep the city from flooding  FYI, New York City would flood in two days, in case you were wondering.

One of the biggest things I was affected by, through reading this book, I read about 1/4 of the way in.  Weisman is talking about the cesspool of garbage swirling around in the sea.  And one of the major problems is plastic.  This is no news flash to anyone who's ever watched a nighttime major news network; they all like to spotlight this problem from time to time.  However, one small thing he discusses is body scrubs.  There's a lot of companies that still use organic material as the little "scrubbies" and that's fantastic...but, the vast majority of body care companies have gone plastic.  That's right, those little beads in your scrubs are teeny, tiny balls of plastic...going down your drain...into the rivers and lake systems...flowing down and out, eventually, into the sea.  The problem is that small sea creatures (read: plankton) think these are food and eat, how healthy is that for them?  It's not, it's actually very destructive.  So, I went and looked in my shower and checked out the ingredient list on my favorite scrub product that shall remain nameless (FYI, Weisman says to look for polyethylene or some variant of that) and lo and might need to click on the pic to blow up the text...but, there it is right there for all to see: polyethylene.

Needless to say, I'll be finding a new organic body scrub STAT. 

Other interesting facts that I learned from this book?  The mosquito population would become unreal.  Humans perform so many anti-mosquito measures every single day and if that suddenly stopped...population boom.  Also, the domestic house cat population would explode simply because they've been carted around to virtually every corner of the earth.  Plus, their hunting instinct has not been bred out of them unlike many other domesticated animals.  This would also heavily affect the bird populations worldwide, causing them to dwindle.

Hmmm...what else...oh yes, the house you're currently living in right now?  The longest it would last before becoming completely wild animal infested and falling into extreme disrepair?  Max of 50 years.

Needless to say, this book taught me a lot.  And it's all from a "non-experiment" or what you might call "an imaginative report."  But, there are a lot of good points throughout...even if the idea is truly morbid.  Who wants to think about the entire human race all of a sudden disappearing?

I really enjoyed this book, even though it was quite dry and extremely dense.  If you decide to pick it up, do not expect it to be a quick read even though it appears quite short.  I gave it a solid 4 (out of 5) stars and would recommend it...though perhaps it's not for everyone.  If you've read this review and thought it sounded interesting... definitely go for it.  If you've read this review and thought that while it might sound interesting, but you're not sure if you want to pick it's probably not for you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Repost: Blueberries and Cream Pie

Today I thought I'd do something that I've never done before.  A repost!  It's interesting to look at some of the statistics for my blog from time to time.  You know, statistics was my favorite subject way back when in college, which might explain why I'm that weirdo that thinks it's interesting.  Anyway, I'm surprised sometimes to see what the most viewed posts on this blog can be.  One that has consistently been getting views again and again, ever since I posted it back in September, is this one.

The last time I went to the grocery story I happened to pick up some blueberries, enough to make this pie yet again.  So I did!  And I thought I'd re-share with you this delicious recipe that you guys seem to really like!

Check it...we've already almost eaten half of it...

Blueberries and Cream Pie
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels

3 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crumb Topping
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg (about 1/16th teaspoon)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and flour. Add in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Put the blueberries on the bottom of the crust. 

Pour the filling over the blueberries.

Now make the crumb topping. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.  Pour the melted unsalted butter into the bowl and mix everything together.  Add in the flour and mix until the ingredients form a crumble topping.

Crumble the crumb topping over the pie. 

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Let the pie cool before cutting into slices.


Monday, July 8, 2013


After taking my super-long hiatus from blogging, I mentioned in my come-back post how one of my favorite reads during that time was Roses by Leila Meacham.  Well, within the past year Meacham came out with her newest book, Tumbleweeds.  This one was in high demand in our book club because almost all the girls had loved Roses so much.  Roses has been compared to Gone With the Wind...well, the setting fits (the south), but I think that's pretty much where the similarities ended.  But, I did love it and was excited to read Tumbleweeds.

The main premise surrounds Cathy Benson, who is recently orphaned, moving into a small Texas town that is (unsurprisingly) focused on the local football team.  Her grandmother asks the two star young men of the high school football team (John and Trey Don/TD) to "watch over" Cathy so that she settles right in.  The three become practically inseparable throughout the rest of their schooling, right up until it's time to set off for college.  Two  life-changing events occur, effectively ostracizing one of the teens from the other two.  Forty years later, the three come back together in their small town to discuss what went awry.  Is it too little too late?

So, what did I think?  Honestly, I felt like I was re-reading Roses.  There's a love triangle amongst the three and one of the game-changers is quite similar to the plot in Roses.  I would say that Meacham definitely has a style of writing.  And if I'd read Tumbleweeds first, I would probably love it like I do Roses...but, when you've read both it's hard to see major differences amongst the stories.  And that bothered me.  When I pick up a new book, I want a new story.  I give this one a solid 3 stars and I would definitely recommend Leila Meacham.  If you haven't read either, I'd recommend picking up one or the other.  If you've read Roses...I'd probably recommend Tumbleweeds, but just don't expect anything too different.  You'll probably be able to guess a lot of what happens.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July/Independence Day!  Some of you might be aware of the fact that my husband is a bit of a pyromaniac this time of year.  It doesn't help that he has a friend/co-worker who's even more of a fireworks freak.  While David will be setting off his stash later on this weekend, we got to see a fantastic fireworks display on Wednesday night, courtesy of David's friend.  I didn't take any pictures of the actual show because, let's face facts...fireworks do NOT normally photograph well.  And I wasn't about to focus on getting a good shot, while missing half the show.  This was super intense, we were super close (and a part of me was scared the whole time), and it was super awesome.  Just look at all those fireworks!!

Because David was home all day yesterday, I decided to go all out for lunch and try a new recipe that I found on Pinterest (shocking, I know).  Boy was this a winner!  I mixed up the recipe just a tidbit, which I've outlined below.  But, here's the original blog post that I worked from: just click here.

Spicy Sausage Pasta
adapted from Kevin & Amanda: Delicious Recipes to Spice Up Your Dinner Rotation

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus a little more)
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (4.5 oz) can of chopped green chilies
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Make sure all the pasta is submerged, so you may need to add more chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese.  Serve and enjoy!!

P.S. I think this may be a new Dave's Fave!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Craftastic Catch-Up

Today I thought I'd give you guys a quick catch-up on what's been happenin' in my craft room.  I've kinda been on a table runner kick lately.  I whipped this one up to match some pillows (that currently reside on our couch) my mom made me a while back.  These squares are from the same charm pack(s) and it's the same pattern as the one I showed you a few weeks ago (for that post, click here).  This one is not perfect, but I feel like I did a better job in some aspects than the one previously.  I'd like to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough to make this pattern and sell it in my Etsy shop, but I just don't think I'm there yet. (I'm kind of a perfectionist, in case you haven't already gathered that.)

Next up, another table runner pattern I've been experimenting with.  I love how this pattern has a chevron-y feel and how the colors fade from one to another.  Not all of my points match up perfectly, but I'm happy enough with it for myself!

I used a jelly roll for this particular pattern and when I got done, I noticed that I had enough left over to make a second.  My mom loved how it turned out and said she wanted the second one!  I cut and arranged all the pieces and let her make any final adjustments before I began sewing them all together.  I'm a lot happier with how this one turned out.  The points are more even and the colors look fantastic.  Can't wait to give this one to her!

Have you been wondering what I've been crocheting lately?  Well, I found this super cute pattern on Ravelry and decided to give it a go.  I love the bumpy look and it was super easy, just took some time.  I'd have shown you what it looks like on, but it's a tiny bit too small for me...most of the people in my family have big heads, myself included.  I'll be making this one again, though probably with the next size hook up.  Be lookin' for this one and more on my Etsy shop coming this fall!

OK, so I tried a chevron pattern for a white and yellow (gender neutral) baby blanket.  And it was working out beautifully...but, I made the classic mistake that many (especially beginner) crocheters do...I didn't count my stitches for every single stinkin' row.  By the time I was 14 rows in I realized that I had been (accidentally) decreasing every so often.  Somehow, not sure where I messed up.  I was 6 stitches in difference from the bottom row and the last row I had worked.  So, I let the darn thing sit for a while.  I'd put just enough effort into it that I was pretty myself for not knowing any better.

So, what does someone like me do to rectify this?  I've started pulling it out and have begun another patterned baby blanket (and adding in pink).  I'll definitely try the chevron again, but I need to step away from it for a while. 

By the way, I love how this pattern is turning out!  You know I'll be posting more pics once it's finished!

Oh yea, and Happy Independence Day Eve!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

I have never watched The Office nor have I ever really paid attention to who Mindy Kaling was/is.  So, really and truly, the only reason I picked this book up was because it was moving it's way around my book club.  And I didn't even take it, my library had it in audio (read by Mindy herself, extra bonus!).  Oh yea, and I needed a non-fiction book for my weirdo rotation (did ya think I'd given up on that rotation since my last 4 reviews have all been fiction?  Haha!).

This book is basically a semi-autobiography with some well placed humor.  I'll admit that there were parts where I think Kaling tried a little too hard for a chuckle, but overall this was a nice, breezy book.  It's quite short and I really enjoyed hearing some of her "concerns."  I also agreed with a lot of her paradigms, one being her discussion about "being skinny."  She talked about how it's important to her, but not as important as other things in her life...therefore, her weight is going to fluctuate and oh well.  I say, "right on."

I'd recommend this one if you're looking for a light, fun summer read.  You'll laugh a little and enjoy certain aspects of her philosophies.  I gave this book a solid 3 stars (out of 5).

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution Update

Earlier this year I shared how one of my new year's resolutions was to read all the books I currently own by the end of 2013.  I started out with 53 and considering that I've read approximately 100 books each year for the past couple, I thought this would be doable if challenging.  After all, I still have my book club books plus any new books I'd discover this year.  And I can tell you that this resolution has not stopped me from buying new books...that's an addiction that just can't be much as my husband wishes it could be.

Well, in some ways I'm doing well and not so well.  I'm well on my way to having read 100 books, total, again this year.  However, thus far (as of June 30th) I've only read 20 of my books.  To be caught up, I would have needed to read 26.5 halfway through the year.  Oops.  Oh well, at least my goal is still within a reachable range!

I've already decided to "re-up" this resolution again next year...listing all the new books I've purchased within this calendar year to be read within the 2014 year.  I'm also toying with the idea of adding a book club resolution that I've already halfway started.  You see, I tend to borrow books and then hold on to them for a few months before finally getting around to reading them, then passing them further along our club.  I have a relatively strict "first borrowed, first read" rule, which keeps these books moving pretty well.  And I've even started trying to be the last one to get a popular book, so that at least I'm not holding up anyone else who wants to read said book.  I decided to mark with tabs which books I take at each book club meeting.  In a perfect world I'd return each borrowed book the following month...but, this isn't a perfect world and I know that.  I'm going to aim for a max borrowing period of 3 months starting next year.  We'll see!

Cross you fingers that all my 53 will be read by December 31st!


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