Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Sheet Cake (aka Texas Sheet Cake)

I'm back to cooking from the PW cookbook. It was book club night. What goes better with wine and books than chocolate decadence? So, I tried the chocolate sheet cake recipe.
Picture from the Pioneer Woman

I must say that making a cake from scratch is nothing I've ever tried before. This seemed easy enough so I figured I'd try it.

This recipe was easy peasy to make. It was also pretty yummy! This cake was good and the frosting wasn't too bad. It's the one thing I changed. The recipe calls for pecans, but since I wasn't sure if anyone had a nut allergy (our first book club meeting), I went with crushed pretzels instead of the nuts in the frosting. Oh my yum!!!

The problem I had with this recipe... It says it serves 18-20. I had 10 women plus myself (also a woman) eat this cake during book club. I had more than half left over! Like 3/4 was remaining. Lord knows I cannot have this cake in my house when I'm going to be home.. I will eat it. I will gain weight. I will be upset with myself for overindulging.   Maybe I cut the slices small, I don't know. It was a lot!

There was one other problem. When I poured the frosting onto the cake after pulling it out of the oven, the frosting dumped over the edges of the jelly roll pan and all over my gas range top.

If you venture to make this recipe, I recommend to make it for a group get together as it makes soooo much!

Oh, about the chocolate frosting dripping into the gas range drip pan... I thought I had cleaned it all up until I started to cook my quesadilla for dinner... Something was smelling funny and sweet and burny all at the same time. It certainly didn't smell like a quesadeilla. I checked and the last of the frosting that I hadn't gotten cleaned off the range was being burnt! Those things happen to the best of us and just make life interesting!

I'm joining up with Tasty Tuesday at 33 Shades of Green. Why don't you join me in checking out new recipes? Can I tell you the pancakes she has posted look divine???

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Teachable Moments

The other night, lil man decided he wanted to play with daddy's bank- which is broken right now. He took it over to the dining room table and proceeded to dump dirty coins all over it. He was sitting and practicing putting it back in the slot while I finished up dishes.

This was one of those nights that I didn't really feel like we needed a game like this. I would have been content to get out a puzzle, sit of the floor and build. Instead, I sat and watched him dump coins all over the table, chairs and floor. Of course, the dogs thought the coins were food and proceeded to sniff under my feet, annoying the heck out of me.

While I was sitting there, I thought, "Cheri! What are you thinking? This is an opportunity to teach lil man something." Having taught all day, there are times I don't want to teach. I simply want to be. This was one of those days but I sloughed off that feeling and proceeded to teach my son about coins. He already knows what a quarter is. I figured the other silver coins would be confusing- welcome, the lowly penny.

I showed E what a penny was and said it means 1 (no need for cents or anything- he's 2. That will come in time). I asked him to find me some pennies.

 I got some depth perception photography done & pretty good too! Sorry, I've been struggling with it for a while. Now I can continue my photo tutorial!

With all the coins on the table and a bunch of pennies, this could take all night... yep. I was a bad mom and thought that only to refuse it and push it out of my mind.  Let's find pennies!!!!

"Momma, I found one! Yay I did it!"

That's what he says when he does something right. Isn't he the cutest thing ever? I love it. Such enthusiasm and excitement should we all have!

Upon finding the pennies, he put them into the bank, like a good lil boy. Only he had to do so by saying: "It goes in there" while putting the penny into the bank deposit slot.

It goes in here.

We got everything put away and he decided to do it again. Oh boy! I was getting worn out. Time to make a new game out of this... just please don't put your fingers in your nose or mouth because they are germ filled at this point. What now?

I decided that he would have to give me the pennies in my hand. We did this for a minute when a moment struck. Duh, Cheri! Count them into groups of 10 and have him put them away. It gives us a chance to practice counting to 10- again. For some reason, he's struggling with 8, 9, 10. He's done it before without a problem, but now he likes to repeat 6 and 7 over and over. So, we proceeded to count pennies in groups of 10. It was very successful until he decided to fit 10 pennies in his hand only to have 4 fall out each time and he'd start over from 1. We'll get there one day. He's 2. He knows what the letters B, D, E are and will point them out whenever we see them. We're getting somewhere. Is he a genius, no, but he's learning and that's what I care about.

So, back to groups of 10. This took us FOREVER.... okay, not really as we'd still be doing this. It took a while and I was okay because he was learning and was I really doing anything? No. It did end up being quite fun and reminded me to take advantage of those teachable moments no matter how tired I am!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Work in Progress Part 2

As you know, I've been working away in my dining room and my 2012 goals... It's quite the project, but a fun one at that. Anyone who knows me that everything is always on a super tight budget. I thrift, garage sale, tag sale, coupon, have been known to check out what's on the curb, and taken hand-me-downs.  With this new color in the dining room, I was fearful that I wouldn't have ANYTHING to go with it and would have to go buy new stuff.

Enter shopping at home. Ever try this? I don't mean watching Home Shopping Network or QVC (anyone know what that stands for? I don't and am too lazy to look it up- even though I would have found it by the time I finish typing this run-on sentence) or shopping online. I mean going through all the stuff tucked away in the attic, basement, crawl space, wherever and seeing what you have.

I ventured down to the basement. Since we redid it in the summer (see this and this), it's pretty bare down there, so there wasn't much to choose from (insert frown). As I came up the steps from the basement, I saw the mess that is our cubby hole.
Anyone want to come clean this mess out? Me either.

In it were three wooden shadow boxes. Yes! I can use those. I may need to paint them in the future, but they work for now- just to get something up to see what my thoughts are with this paint.

I then grabbed the picture that inspired the room.  I love it. Don't know why, but I'm thankful for the winery that had this picture and was so willing to sell it to me- and the hubby who surprised me with it. I think I only drooled 2 hours over it, gazing longingly at it throughout the time with friends, old and new. 

 Last, as hubby was putting things up on this wonderful plaster walls that I cannot seem to work with. Yes, my confession, I'm not good with a drill to hang things on the wall. There's another confession in there that I'll write about one day when I can admit to the mistake I made. While working he lovingly asked if there was anything else I needed to hang. I said no. Ten minutes later, I said "Wait!" I needed to check the attic.

I dug around and dug around. I ended up finding "Sunflowers" by Monet hiding in the attic closet behind a big indoor inflatable jumper. I dug it out (and practically ended up buried in the plastic mess that is my son's favorite exercise activity). Hubby is not a fan of this painting. I will admit, I'm a little over it too, but it works. Once again, hubby got out the drill and measured, leveled then hung my picture.

The next day (tonight actually), while cooking dinner, I looked up to find a garage sale vase I bought in bright blue for 10 cents. I figured I'd give it a few days in court. So, it sits in there too.

I did find one other tray I want to hang on the wall in a pretty teal/green color. I just have to get the hanger thing to hang it. (I'm usually a picture girl, but I'm branching out).

There are still things to do in this room... Like, take care of the very large bare wall that is the focal point, choose a paint color for the trim and paint it. Why do I hate these spaces? I need new curtains and I may venture to get a new rug that my work better with the room.... but I could save this expense if I just love everything the way it is and if need be, repaint to a less "in your face"/daring color.  For the time being it stays, stains and all.
Yes curtains, but I want a loong storage bench here. We've looked everywhere. Thinking the comforter/drop cloth could be a dog bed in cute cloth while we figure out the bench idea.... The dogs like using it for a bed right now, but it sure could be cuter. I didn't put it away because I wanted them to sleep there instead of on the black chair that they constantly get dirty.

The barren wall.... the empty space between molding and baseboard is 10 1/2 ft x 8 ft. That's a lot of space to figure out what to do with. Maybe some cool stands on either side of the fish tank.... Gotta thrift for them...

The wall standing off to the side... with the chair rail and crown molding that needs painted... what color? who knows...

Overall, I now have a little to work with in this crazy bright room that I think I'm starting to love.

Linking up with The Nester's IDHTBPTBB party... Check out what others are doing/have done.  My computer is acting up so when you click the link, look for the party on Feb. 20. It doesn't have to be perfect- apparently neither does my computer... Praise God!

Tasty Tuesday: Seasoned Oyster crackers

In our house, there is a clear favorite as a snack: Seasoned oyster crackers. I can make these and in a day they are gone. Thank goodness they are simple, cheap and quick to make. Those are some staples for most things in our house. What I love is that they are great for my little guy who has allergies. He can eat these with no problem!

Here ya go:

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

3/4 c. oilive oil (I actually cut this to about 1/2 c.
1 packets Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 pkg oyster crackers (one of the greatest things to top soup in my book)
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Place everything in a brown grocery bag (or bowl if you so choose). Shake well to ensure everything gets nice and coated. If going with a bowl, stir well until coated. Pour into a storage container. Enjoy!

Literally a 5 minute recipe (including measuring and gather goods). So wonderful and enjoyed by all!

These make great gifts too. Just put in a decorative tin or jar with a label and the recipient will thank you forever....

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Work in Progress...

Remember those 2012 goals I have? I do. I'm chipping away slowly but surely. I'm certain that some will not get done, however there is one big one I want to finish by the end of this year.... okay, most of the way... the dining room.

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to paint. I had to get somewhere with all the painting that needs done in the house. I don't want to spend the entire summer painting when I could be at the zoo, pool, amusement park, or anywhere else little man would like to go. I looked at the 2 prospects: hallway leading upstairs (lots of trim work) or the dining room (that I've been bothered by for 5 years). I chose.... the dining room!!!

I don't know what came over me. Maybe it's that I hadn't really slept much in 2 nights. Maybe it was the sense that I wanted to get something done over my 4 day weekend. I don't know. I just figured I needed something to show for my 4 days off and painting the dining room would have to be it.

I didn't have much idea what color I wanted. I had pinned a bunch of colors, but I chose none of them. I didn't even bother to review them prior to heading to the store. I simply grabbed the pic I loved from the winery (that hubby surprised me with) and went to the store to find a color to match. Therein lies the problem.

This picture is infused with lots of color goodness- greens, yellows, tans, browns, blacks. It's totally fun and I love it. While looking at the pic, I chose to go with this brilliant yellow-green color that is far more yellow than green, by the way.  This is a far cry from the mauve and tan I had going on. Mind you, I have decor that goes with mauve and tan... not vibrant yellow and green.

Why did I chose this color you ask... I just wanted to do something drastic and different. Boy is it ever! I was thinking, "Gosh, it would be fun to try to mesh modern with classic/vintage (the rest of the house)". I may have also lost my mind or just been overconfident.  Whatever it was, I chose the brightest of the 3 colors I was looking at. Should have gone with the more muted, but what's done is done and I'll be able to change it after spring break if it doesn't grow on me once I start piecing things in there.

So, I painted and painted for 5 hours in my dining room- while hubby cleaned the fish tank and lil man leaned against freshly painted walls, attempted to help daddy with emptying water from the tank only to get dirty tank water on the floor (not a lot, but some), and tried to help mom with the painting. All while saying how "purdy" everything looked. When he saw it finished, he told me it was like a school bus. Yep... although I feel more like I'm sitting in the middle of a lemon while the walls serenade me with "Good Day Sunshine". It's all good. It's paint. It's not terribly expensive and can very easily be changed... with a lot of time and effort!

Before painting- after spackling, removing art, curtains, and decor and starting the taping process.

Before- entry to living room.

Before- opposite side toward living room.

small wall... maybe plate wall???? If I can find some I like

middle of the night... the transformation

Holy brightness Batman!!! Yes, I know... the rug doesn't go now... UGH!

New glimpse into the entry from living room....

Natural lighting in the morning. So need to paint that molding...

Looks almost white here....
So, it isn't beautiful or perfect yet. It won't be for a while and I'm okay with that. Those with SAD, feel free to stop in for a dose of vitamin D from my walls!

I'm thinking I may like it once I paint the molding and chair rail. See those spots on the chair rail? Why would I bother taping off when I know I have to paint them because of all the old paint on there- some of it a glaze.  I'm only painting the molding near the ceiling and the chair rail. I refuse to paint the beautiful oak baseboards and door jambs. REFUSE despite how many people tell me white would be gorgeous. I know it would, but with 2 dogs and a 2 year-old, I'd be cleaning and painting constantly. No thank you. I'm too lazy for that!

Now, I'm sitting here, looking at the old decor wondering what to do with it as it really fits no where right now and what in the heck I'm going to do to try to make this work (teal??? aqua??? plum?? fuschia???). Really, I don't care at this juncture. I'm gonna let it grow on me over the next 6 weeks. If it doesn't, you know what I'll be doing over spring break!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Finding treasures

Friday I had the day off work. It was needed after conference night. That's always a long night. I had decided earlier in the week that lil man would be dropped off at the sitter around 10 or so and I'd pick him up at 3. I needed some mommy time. Can anyone relate?

A friend had found a great infinity scarf/cowl at GAP on clearance. I wanted to pick one up and the closest GAP was in Hudson along Main Street at the infamous (in our area) First and Main shopping center.

I love this area and drive by every morning and evening on my commute. I've always wanted to stop in, but the joy of getting to my lil man after work prevents me from doing so. This was my opportunity to stop in and walk along the sidewalk to peer in all the wonderful quaint shops who's displays I stare at longingly daily. Especially the Grey Colt, which I could never afford, but who doesn't like to pretend.

I headed up and hit GAP first. I knew what I wanted and didn't plan on an extensive stay there. As I was ambulating toward GAP, I saw a truly adorable quirky store display. I couldn't tell you then what the store's name was- simply that I loved some of what I saw. Refocusing on my purpose (the scarf), I scuttled over to GAP grabbed up my goods and headed to search for that quaint place again.

I must admit that I was a little intimidated about going in. Something about small shops that makes me feel like I must purchase something. I know I don't have to but I just feel that way at times- especially when you walk in to see the beautiful things I saw. All handmade. All glorious. Then this fantastic woman appears to greet me. She is radiant and sweet. She was so eager to share with me what her store was about. This store: Janet Rhodes, is a fair trade store. How cool!

Don't know about fair trade stores? Essentially, they sell goods made by people in a variety of countries. All items in the stores are "created and sold through a trading system that is fair and equitable for all- the producer, the vendor, the store owner and the consumer." Fair trade helps ensure that there is a fair wage for the designer/creator, safe working conditions, no child workers (all workers are a proper age for work), and the products are eco-friendly.

I spent about 45 minutes in here just looking around and hearing the stories behind some of the pieces. Yes, the pieces have stories! Who doesn't love a good story? Obviously, most of you know that I love reading and I love stories, so imagine how much time I would spend in here just asking to hear about something I found interesting. Yep, that was my Friday!

I went to the back of the store where all these little origami cranes were hanging from the ceiling (cool, huh?). It was truly beautiful as all were colored differently and with different patterns. I asked what was going on back there. Janet informed me of the great opportunities for children to come to her shop on certain days of the month to learn about a culture, find it on the map, and then make something from there or color something from that culture. Could this be any better???

Janet is one of the nicest, cheeriest people I've met. Definitely a kindred spirit. She had products from Guatemala, Uganda, South Africa, etc. There were also local artists. Oh, how I loved hearing about the little boy (11 years old) whose family is struggling with medical bills. He told his mom he was going to start his own business. He is now selling truly unique bracelets in Janet's shop and doing well! Another woman is selling adorable button jewelry and feels she doesn't have much talent. If you saw what she's making, you'd think otherwise.  The stories are amazing. The store is amazing. Janet is amazing.

Because of time, I forced myself to leave Janet's store. I walked away with a cute bracelet made in Guatemala (a favorite culture of mine is the Mayan/Latin American culture). More than that, I walked out feeling good about my small purchase, my time spent, and this treasure of a store. I will visit again. I actually want to go back NOW. It was a great use of my time in my opinion. I just loved this place and had to share with you.

I am in no way being compensated for this write up. I simply told Janet I loved her shop so much I had to share with people. She was excited. For a glimpse of Janet's store online (in person is better, but if you can't make it and want to support this great cause), visit:  You'll be glad you took the time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Shredded Pork

How appropriate that on Valentine's Day I'm cooking from the cookbook I love?  Yet again, I'm cooking from The Pioneer Woman Cookbook. I know, I know... I promise I'll move on next week. Promise. I'm sure I'll be back again to her cookbook, but I will take a break for a week. I think I'm gaining about a pound a week eating PW style.

Back to the spicy shredded pork recipe. This is simple and easy. I cooked it in a crock pot instead of a dutch oven as she recommends. It's just easier that way during the week. It turned out beautifully.

The flavor was subtle yet good. I really liked it because it's versatile. This recipe doesn't need to stay with pulled pork sandwiches as with barbecued pulled pork. You could easily switch it up into enchiladas, soups, whatever you would like. I like this option that I can make it and not have to be locked into sandwiches for the next day... or three.

It's simple, light, delicious. I say try it! Perfect blend of spices. It's now the pork I go to instead of bbq simply because I can freeze leftovers to use in another recipe. I love being able to make life easier later... Don't you?

Image from here

I'm linking up to 33 Shades of Green- Tasty Tuesday! Join me!

Monday, February 13, 2012

February Check-up

I decided to revisit my 2012 goals to see if I have many any progress. I figure I'll share it with you! My wonderful readers...

Get organized- working on it. Mail and jewelry conquered. Working on the junk drawers soon.
Read my Bible daily - try reading the whole thing in a year.- Currently using my Bible app to do a read the Bible in a year plan. I've been reading daily. One night I fell asleep and one night I lost wifi while reading.

New mudroom
Paint office
Dining room- redo – paint, curtains, wall shelves???, decor
New kitchen floor (bamboo)

Make jewelry organizer
Paint furniture (desk, dressers)

Create a toddler calendar with picture cards for important things (library time, etc.)
Create a toddler "helper" board with lil man's "chores"
Save a little more every month
Update my resume- started but no where near finished.

Work on scrapbook- started. I'm doing a page a month or when I can.

Craft party every month- going strong.

Have a garage sale
Upload, share, and save pictures once a month- I did this in Jan. Let's hope I keep it up.

Start a book club that meets monthly- Book club is started! Now to maintain.

How are you doing on your goals for 2012? Have you been keeping track of what they were? I can say I would have lost sight without this blog!

Friday, February 10, 2012

You're Good Enough!

I can't help it. This week I've just noticed so much of the attitude of people comparing themselves to others or feeling like they are less than because of what others say or actions they take or vice versa. When will we learn that we are good enough and able to be loved enough just as we are? I'm not saying we don't need to grow and develop and learn new things, but just enjoy where you are and who you are for this minute. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in what everyone is doing and how they are making time for various activities that you can't fit into your schedule or what have you. You do what makes you happy and what you can get done based on your family's needs. That's what's most important- taking care of your family to the best of your ability and making sure to show them you love them.

I just find that in parenting/being a mom, women seem to be competing with each other to see who's kid's doing what and who can get the most done. I'm sure people think that way of me at times- especially by comments I hear "how do you do it all?". Maybe that's meant to be a compliment. I don't know. Really, I'm just a mom to a toddler who likes to cook to show my family I love them and I do my best with everything else. Actually, my house at times is cluttered and needs a little pick up. Right now, I have a toy vacuum on the floor with a pair of slippers and dirty sock. I could take 30 seconds now to clean it up, but I want to write. Maybe that's me making a poor choice to some of you. To me, it's something I'll do in a few minutes. It's not life threatening (until I walk down the steps in the middle of the night and trip over the toy vacuum only to bump my head on the corner of our Ikea chair and get knocked out- slight exaggeration there). If something is not life threatening, it can wait a minute.
Just this week alone, I have been compared with other teachers, other parents; my son compared with other kids. Friends have felt like they were being compared to others and because of comments like they were not good enough. I'm just over it. Let just be who we are and enjoy each other and our differences.

This topic has been bothering me for over a week- maybe it's because of stress in my life or the book "Me I Am" that lil man checked out from the library. I'm trying to let it go, but I'm just sick of feeling like if I didn't have my son signing at 7 months, I was failing. If I don't have extravagant lesson plans for my students involving tons of technology and hands on, I'm not a good enough teacher. There is always so much competition in everything we do. It seems like we're always competing with each other to try to be equal or one up (usually)each other. When will we learn to love each other and what each brings to the table, learn from it and make ourselves better from there. Please don't ask me if I have x done or is lil man is doing x if you are going to judge me by it. Know that I'm doing the best I can with what I have at this minute and that makes me good enough for this minute. It makes you good enough too.

BTW, I know I'm probably exaggerating on this a little because sometimes people are just curious as a self-validation or what have you. I get that. I just have seen enough in the past few weeks to throw me over the edge! I'm holding on by a thread!

You are good enough! We can't all be the same. God says that in the Bible. Each of us has a different purpose so just enjoy who you were made to be- growing in grace daily- and enjoy those around you for who they are as they grow in grace daily.

Book Review: Instinctive Parenting

It was a rough week in our home a few weeks back. The lil man just was a mess. I felt like I knew nothing about parenting and just needed more help than anyone could give. How did I solve this? By goig to my friendly local library, of course!

I really wanted the Supernanny book, but it's always out. I may have to breakdown and just put it on reserve. Instead, I ended up with Instinctive Parenting and a few others just to glance through. The only one I really took the time to look at and read was Instinctive Parenting. I'm not sure why. It just seemed like me.
Image via

If only I'd known that this was not a traditional parenting book with fix-it easy solutions... or any solutions... This book is simply a journal of what the author, Ada Calhoun, has gone through with her son, Oliver. Could you learn something from it? Sure. I took a few things away, but it's not a true parenting book.

I actually had to laugh when I was reading it in several locations, but primarily in the school chapter. I guess it was hilarious to me because at the time I was reading this, I had just finished discussing preschool and such with the hubs the week before. Then, I had a few people ask me about what preschool I was sending my son to. Huh? I don't think we are for a few reasons, but that doesn't mean I'm less of a parent. Thank you, Ms. Calhoun for helping me feel okay about my decisions.

Essentially, this book just states to do what is best for you and your family so long as it doesn't cause harm to anyone. Whereever you live is fine, what you have is fine, what you wear is fine, whether or not your child goes to daycare or preschool is fine. It's about what works for your family. Her experiences help to see what works for her family and she clearly states that what works for one may not work for others. Because of this, I found this to be freeing! No need for more guilt for what I'm doing or not doing or have done. It's what works for our family and we're happy with it so that's what matters. Did I need a book to tell me that? No, but reading someone else's ventures was quite fun! If you want a light read that's somewhat entertaining (though at times slightly annoying), pick it up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Spaghetti

Have I told you how much I love The Pioneer Woman and her blog and her cookbook? Yeah, kinda wanna be her bestie. I mean, living on a ranch and cooking and cowboys and horses... horses? Yes!!! I could even have chickens if I wanted out there. Which, for the record, I do want chickens and have for about 7-8 years.

Yet, I digress... Back to the recipe review. This past week, I decided to try the Chicken Spaghetti recipe from Mrs. Ree Drummond.
Image from here

She calls for a fryer chicken cut up and boiled so you can use the broth for cooking the spaghetti and add left over broth to the casserole. I had made a chicken in the crock pot earlier and simply used the left over cut up chicken. I had more than enough and we had been eating on the chicken for 2 days in soup and as a meal. I simply used the left over meat and some broth I had to make this recipe.

This recipe was easy to make and very very tasty. My husband bit into it and said, "Wow, honey. This is good." A few minutes later, I heard that it was really good. Then I tasted it and practically fell over in love with the flavors in this recipe. It is amazing! So delicious.

If you make a full recipe, please beware that it makes a lot! I made the recipe as it was called (with the exception of the chicken/broth). I used the correct amount of ingredients. It says it serves 6-8. I would say that's with generous portion sizes. Use a very large bowl for mixing. I barely had enough room in my big mixing bowl. It was overflowing. Because it made so much, I split it into two 8x8 pans. I baked one and froze the other. Isn't it great when you find recipes like this that make it easy to do that (and the pans in the back of the cabinet to freeze with)?

Some things I liked about this:
- I could easily use left over chicken or a rotisserie on those busy nights to make this.
- It's versatile. I could easily use up left over veggies in this recipe. Whatever is in the fridge would be good in it.
- It's superbly tasty.
- It's freezable.

Should you try it? ABSOLUTELY! This week even. Fabulous and amazing. Click the link above and here for the recipe.

I borrowed the picture from PW's website. I didn't think about taking a pic until it was almost gone. Those things happen!

I'm joining up with 33 Shades of Green's Tasty Tuesday. Pop on over and see if there are any other recipes you want to try.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Here I am... writing a review on this super popular book/series. I've had this copy for about a year waiting to read it. I was so excited to delve into this book only to waste a month of my life trying to work my way through it. Now during that month, I spent a few days not reading and some I was only able to read 5-10 minutes since I went back to work and had tons of meetings and such to prepare for. It should also be noted, I attempted to read this 2 other times prior to this. My motivation for getting through it- I wanted to see the movie but I don't read a book after seeing the movie.
Image via

This book is not an easy read. The plot with Harriet's disappearance was good. That's the only reason I stuck with the book. The subplot of the magazine and finicial corruption case was horrid-maybe a strong word- umm boring. The difficulty lies in the dryness of the first 100-150 pages and last 90 pages. The other problem is the language/translation issues from Swedish to English.

Some caution: there are parts of this novel that are X rated- very X- rated.

My recommendation: see the movie instead of spending time on the book. If you like to read things like financial corruption, missing people, serial killers, mystery, and unsolved cases, try it. If you can't get into it, see the movie.

Will I try the second in the series? Yes, but if I don't like it after 50 pages, it's going in the garage sale/giveaway pile. I don't like to spend time reading something I don't enjoy. 50 pages usually does it for me- I can tell if I'll like it or not. If I'm not liking a book in 50 pages, I stop reading it. I don't like to feel like I've wasted time reading something I'm not going to like when I could read something else that I will. 

Will I see the movie? I no longer have an interest, so, no.

Since reading this, I've started 2 books: The Forgotten Garden (book club pick I started this morning) and Instinctive Parenting. I'll be reviewing Instinctive Parenting soon!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What's up, Doc?

I used to love Buggs Bunny and his "What's up, Doc?" I miss those days of Saturday morning cartoons. Lately, I've been so busy just living life, adjusting to work after a tonsillectomy and with a sinus infection, and just trying to manage everything. It gets to be a bit much I must admit. That's why lately, I'm taking a new stand. I'm doing what is most important to me.

So, I haven't really blogged much and that's because I just don't know about the future of this blog and I'm just living life. I'm not sure about it and I'm not sure how I'll fit in things that are blogworthy. Maybe it's because I've been feeling overwhelmed by a lot and dealing with surgery and a sickness for the past 5 weeks or that people think I'm an expert on things I'm just trying out.  Who knows.

Anyway, here's what I've been up to while I've been away (i.e. not really blogging about much and less than 3 times a week).

-One day after work, I took lil man to the zoo then to the park on the way home. It's important to know that the zoo is small and we were there for 30-45 minutes because it closed on us. It's also key to know the park is 1/4 mile from my house. We were there for 25 minutes. I'm no super mom- just a mom enjoying a 50 degree sunshiny day with my kiddo.

-Sled riding on one of the days when we had snow... It lasted all of 2 days before we hit 45 and 50 degrees... No complaining here.

-Baking and cooking with lil man. It's our favorite time together- making stuff in the kitchen. He's a great helper and helps with unloading the dishwasher every night. He gets upset if I've mixed ingredients while he's chosen to play (despite the fact that I asked if he wanted to help and he said no he wanted to play). This is by far my favorite time with him. I love cooking with him in the kitchen (okay, when he's not climbing up the cabinets or emptying them.... ALL over the downstairs).
He made the pancakes you see on the griddle.

making brownies

Adding water

adding oil or maybe that's eggs.

Stir Stir

All done!

-Working. Yep. It's been a busy few weeks being back after a month off (winter break and 2 weeks for tonsillectomy).

-Reading when I can.

Really, I'm not up to much that I would normally blog about - crafts and trying to get organized. I'm just being human and enjoying the little things in life. Isn't that what it's all about?

Oh, don't ask about house cleaning. That's not on the top of my list right now! After a month with my lil one, I'm focused on him and spending time with him when I get home from work. Dishes get done and that's about it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Craft Party - T-shirt necklace

One of the 2012 goals was to have a craft party every month. In January, I rounded up some gals who could make it and we made t-shirt necklaces. We had a GREAT time making these.

They are simple, easy, cheap and fun. We experimented with design and crafted a different necklace amongst each of us. So fun. Of course, we had appetizers/finger foods and desserts to eat as well because no night of gals gathering can go without food!

Check out the fun we had!

Yes, I was eating and hubby shot the picture at just the right time. Thanks, babe.

Each one is different! Love it!
What I loved about this craft: so easy to personalize! My necklace is 2 lengths - shorter braided strands and longer tubed strands, Amanda on the right has just a tube necklace with a knot wrap- cute! Amy in gray made tube strands, but made braided knot wrapping and Kasey made long braids.

Love the diversity and the fun in this. Each one took about half an hour. Good times and great fun!