Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blog Hop #2

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I LOVED hopping all weekend last weeked!!!! I could not wait for this weekend to come I could hop around some more!

The Book Blog Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books!

"In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!"

This week's question:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

This is a loaded question for me...I read all over the place! 

I have a book on my Ipad, which I keep in my purse.  I spend a lot of time in the car waiting on kids so I try to read a chapter here and there whenever possible.  If I'm waiting at night, the Ipad is perfect! 

I listen to my audiobooks anytime I'm driving.  I always have one loaded and it takes me longer to finish them since I'm not on the road all that much right now, but I like having an audiobook to listen to when I'm all by myself...which is not often :) 

I like to read in bed, but I frequently go to sleep when I do that because, let's face it, I'm 42, have 3 kids and I am downright TIRED.  When I get still, my body thinks it's time to go to sleep :):) 

Probably my favorite spot to read when the weather is just a tad cool is a backyard lounge chair...I can watch the animals jump from tree to tree and the water in the pool soothes me.  It's probably the quietest place at my house...unless some kid is aggravating me ;)

I don't guess I really have an all around favorite place since so much depends on the circumstances of my reading and the format of the book. 
I have loved to read since I was a little girl and am just so glad to finally be back in a space of my life where I can finally read what I want again :):)

Come on over to Crazy for Books and HOP with me!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Book Review

I'm a book I always want to read the book before I see the t.v. or movie version of a story.
However, I stumbled upon the television series Dexter before I realized there was even a set of books before the series.

I debated on whether or not to read the books.
I read reviews that were mostly negative...and I couldn't decide what to do.
My oldest daughter is a t.v. Dexter addict and talked me into giving it a try.
She said, "Just get through the first one, Mom...If you don't like it, you won't have to read anymore."
I think she secretly just wanted me to preview it so she wouldn't have to.

Then, along came R.I.P V and gave me the perfect excuse to give the dark Dexter in print a try.

I'm glad I did.

The book Darkly Dreaming Dexter begins much the same as the t.v. show.  Orphaned at a young age and a witness to his own mother's violent murder, Dexter deals with an alter ego he calls "The Dark Passenger."  Dexter is a serial killer...BUT he's a good serial killer.

Ok, I know that sounds weird, but Dexter's stepfather Harry taught him how to channel his urges and use his killing for good...killing those who deserve to be killed...child molesters, murderers, become more human rather than a "monster."

Dexter pretends to live a normal life and holds down a job as an expert blood spatter analyst for Miami-Dade Police Department.  Dexter has a close relationship with his stepsister Deborah who is an officer for the same police department and a "relationship" of sorts with a woman named Rita.

After the first few chapters I was sinking deeply into dejavu depression...I was disappointed...
not long after that and once I relaxed and let the story flow, I realized just how different print Dexter is.

T.V. Dexter is almost loveable.
The viewer almost cheers t.v. Dexter on as he searches out, drugs and subsequently dismembers his victims.

Print Dexter is much more sinister...and even creepy.
I don't "like" print Dexter as much as I like t.v. Dexter.
He scares me and gives me goosebumps.
I don't dislike Print Dexter...I just don't trust him.
Pretty smart judgement of a serial killer, I think...even a "good" serial killer.

Print Dexter hears voices and has less control over his "urges" than t.v. Dexter.
There is one particular scene towards the end of Darkly Dreaming Dexter that is downright chilling.
Dexter has to make a decision...a hair raising decision about Deborah.
I wasn't sure he was going to make the right decision.
I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me if Dexter made the wrong decision.
I don't know if I could have handled it!

Print Dexter's relationship with Rita is really just a part of his mask.
He seems to work constantly at remaining somewhat sane.
It is this same almost insanity that makes Dexter hilarious at times.  He makes jokes out of things that most people wouldn't :

While the coffee brewed, I checked for the newspaper, more out of hope than expectation.  It was rare for the paper to arrive before six-thirty, and on Sundays it often came after eight.  It was another clear example of the disintegration of society that had so worried Harry.  Really, now: If you can't get me my newspaper on time, how can you expect me to refrain from killing people?
p. 170

In Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dexter's dreams connect him to a string of murders committed by the Ice Truck Killer.  Dexter follows the Ice Truck Killer partly out of respect for his artful display of body parts and partly to help Deborah finally earn her detective badge by solving the murders.  The surprises that sneak up on Dexter and Deborah before this case is over will leave even show watchers stunned. 

I will be reading the next book in this series.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday at the Library

Ahhhh, Nancy...I'm still lovin' the vocabulary...and I think I've noticed my youngest actually using bigger words...?? or maybe I'm just dreaming??
Last night she was having trouble settling down for bed...when I mentioned that she really needed to go to sleep, she said,
"I'm trying, Mommy...but I'm really distracted."

Nancy spends so much time on decorating her book report cover that she actually forgets to spend time with the BOOK...Ahem...I know quite a few students who seem to have this same disease...

However, as a lover of books, Nancy is devastated when she has trouble with the actual report part of her presentation. 
Nancy's lovely teacher, Mrs. Glass, gives her a 2nd shot at the book report and she wows her classmate audience.
And learns an important lesson...that I wish she'd share with my Comp I classes.

Please do not miss the comfy reading chair on the cover of this Nancy book...It is covered with book covers!!
Oh my!

This book reminds me of several favorite rhythm, songy books I've enjoyed with all three of my girls....The Napping House, I Went Walking...etc...

except it's about a little cat and his mom...and trying to get up in the morning.
very very youngest could read this one out loud and I let her...

We enjoyed this one because of the cats, but it is really written for a younger child.

I've heard of these "Stinky Face" books but this is the first time we've ever read one.
The storyline reminded me a lot of the classic Runaway Bunny...the child in this story asks his mom what she would do if he had all these animal, yucky faces and made all these monster noises...of course, the mommy will love him anyway.

I wasn't as fond of this one.
We'll stick with the Bunny.

A classic.
Ah, Dr. Seuss, a timeless book of rhymes and silly pictures...what kid doesn't love these books?
There's even a fish who drives a car!
My youngest is so proud that she can read most of these takes a little while but she's so proud of herself when we finish.

Lovin' our library time... :)


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Fictional Crushes


I know I said I was going to post teasers on Tuesdays...but I found this much cooler meme while I was hopping around this past weekend!  It's over on Broke and Bookish's blog and is called Top Ten Tuesday!!  Today's theme is Top Ten Fictional Crushes. 

Here we go!!

1.  Edward - Breaking Dawn - I'm sorry; I truly am, but good grief sappy as it is, this hundreds of years old man loves this young woman. She is his soul mate, he loves her just the way she is, and he will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. 

2.  Jean Claude - Guilty Pleasures - sorry again - Jean Claude can have anyone he wants, anytime he wants, whatever way he wants...ahem, cough, cough...and he wants Anita.  He knows that she would not die while he is trying to save her...because she would simply save herself...and he likes that.  Swoon.

3. Dracula - oh my, my 3rd is Halloween, you know.  Yes, he's evil, yes, he's the undead, yes, he's dangerous...but he's intelligent, dark, brooding, has manners, knows what he wants and takes it...heavens, I feel faint.

4. Morelli and Ranger - One for the Money - I've been told as I get further into this series that I will choose one over the other.  We'll see. 

5. Professor Bear - Little Women - a smart older man who finds it refreshing to be around a strong woman who speaks her mind and doesn't quite fit the traditional feminine role.  Refreshing.

6. Penn Cage - Quiet Game - a widower, Penn devotes himself to his law practice but is an ever present father in his daughter's life.  Nothing sexier than a father who loves his children.

7. Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird - again, a father of a motherless child...oh my, another incredibly smart man who takes on an almost impossible task in order to do what's right...a man unafraid of losing his reputation and living his life so that his children will be stronger. 

8. Father Tim - At Home in Mitford - from vampires to widowers to priests...hmmmm?  Father Tim is so comfy...I don't really know if it's Father Tim I have a crush on or Mitford.  But, there's something about an older man who marries late in life and knows how to treat a woman with sensitivity, love and honor.

9.  Bill - Dead Until Dark - I'm sorry all you Team Eric folks...I like the original...and I'm not giving up hope that eventually Sookie will come back to where she belongs.  Another man who loves a woman but is willing to let her go if that is what she wishes.  Gallantry is not dead yet,, oh, maybe it is dead...?

10. Sirius Black - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Another dark, convicted, brooding character...I'm not sure what this list says about my choice in men ;)

Needless to say, my husband would be more like Penn Cage or Atticus Finch...except that I'm still alive :):)


Monday, October 18, 2010

Magazine Monday - "Everyday with Rachael Ray"

"Everyday with Rachael Ray" is obviously a magazine from the Food Network star Rachael Ray who is usually on the cover of every issue (actually I can't think of an issue that she wasn't on the cover of).

Please excuse the rip on the cover of my October issue...I pulled off the sticky address tab and it left a mess. 

I like to watch Rachael on t.v. when I can catch the show...which is not very often.
But, I like to watch her skills and processes more than the actual dishes she makes most of the time. 
Her skills are not those of someone who has been trained at Culinary School...because she wasn't.
She is a self-trained cook, which makes her show a little more enticing to someone (most of us) who've also never been to Culinary School.
Rachael grew up working in her family's restaurant/grocery store business, and everything she knows came from those experiences.

I've learned from Rachael to use a garbage bowl of some kind...or simply just throw things away as I go.  Rachael will even slow down and show you how to chop something...over and over and over again.
And, who has never heard of EVOO?
I own a couple of her cookbooks; there are not enough pictures in them for my taste.
That's probably why I like her magazine best of all. 

Rachael starts out each issue with a "letter from the editor" style intro.
This intro is written in Rachael's own words, her personality very obviously embedded in the intro.
I like this because it shows me that Rachael obviously still has a lot to do with her magazine.

One of my favorite sections of the magazine is called Take 5...Rachael and her creative team make recipes each month with only 5 ingredients. That's definitely something this busy mom can get into.
In the October issue, Rachael even had the first special section on Take 5's...including breakfast, lunch and supper (Can you tell where I'm from?)

Another fun section is the Taste Test section...Rachael takes 5-6 of the most well known products for the same kind of dish and compares them...not just her opinion of course.  But, the opinions are very specific in their reasons and the group of testers chooses a winner in the end.

Sign me up for the next ice cream treat tasting!

Anyone who watches Rachael knows that she's a pet lover...especially dogs. 
Now, I'm a cat lover, but I also have a soft spot for just about any animal out there. 
(Remember I'm the well educated woman who has a baby squirrel living in my house).
Rachael has a section called Pet Friendly where she discusses interesting pet snacks and meals that are also healthy for your dogs as well as pretty easy to make. 
Honestly, I've never made one of these recipes, but I love reading about them and seeing all the pictures of the various kinds of dogs featured each month.

Of course there are the 30 minute meals...
Duh, right?

and each month Rachael takes the dishes prepared for the magazine and organizes them into meals for a week, including grocery list, prices, etc.

Whether or not you are going to make the recipes in magazine, you can still find something in this section on organizing and making the most with your groceries and for the best money.

My most favorite section of the magazine, however, is the celebrity refrigerator.
I really can't explain to you why I love's so silly to want to peek inside someone's refrigerator!!
The celebrity is pictured standing beside his/her refrigerator and Rachael interviews him/her on the right side of the page.
She asks about specific items that catch her attention in the refrigerator as well as other questions about the person's eating/cooking habits.

 October's celebrity is Brooke Burke.
Holy Moly!
Brooke has a HUGE refrigerator!
She has 4 kids so there are some Hot Pockets in there as well as the adult stuff...I think that's neat :)

my favorite refrigerator so far...
Drumroll please....
Oh, be still my heart, last month's fridge belonged to none other than Stephen Moyer!
True Blood!!

This is actually the refrigerator in his on the set trailer....but still...
French's mustard and CANDY bars!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend Cooking - Church Suppers

Each Wednesday night my church hosts a Wednesday Night Supper.  Different groups, Sunday School classes etc. take turns serving supper.  The money, after expenses, goes to a need chosen by the group serving and is advertised in our Sunday bulletin; once a month we also have a Pot-Luck Supper where everyone brings their favorite dishes. 
As a mother of two youths, the mother of one of the youth representatives on our Missions Committee, 2 children's Sunday School classes, my own SS class, the Head of My Household's SS class, and my Women's Group, I find myself cooking something for church quite often.

While this may sound like a burden, it is not to me.

When we first moved to our church, it was in the kitchen with a group of women that I realized this was our home.
These groups in the kitchen have sustained us in our church for the last 14 years, through 3 pastors and who knows how many other people.  We take care of our own...and of everyone else...these ladies are like my sisters and my great is an incredible experience every time we cook together.

This is my friend Sandi who grew up in our church and buried her own mother here after a long battle with cancer.  She has two teenage daughters and we frequently bend each other's ears.  Sandi is a tireless, non-complaining member of our church who ALWAYS has something positive to say...You can't help but be positive when you're around Sandi.

Sandi's sister-in-law Belinda is cutting one of the many pans of Mrs. Mildred's and Nanny's meat loaf...we pack em in when we serve...everybody knows it will be a good homecooked meal.
Belinda is an outstanding cook...we all get excited to find out what Belinda's bringing...most folks would kill for her potato salad.
I guess that's not really a very churchy attitude, is it??

This is Mrs. Mildred...tireless but getting tired...she never misses a meal unless she's ill...she cooks the meatloaf and oversees what the rest of us do with a kind but firm hand.  I do whatever Mrs. Mildred tells me to...gladly :)

This is Jeannie and she's always in charge of mashed potatoes :)
Her goal is to make sure that we never run out!!
Most of the time she succeeds like a pro!
Jeannie also has two daughters...both who are in college...I check with Jeannie very often on whether or not what my kids are doing is normal.
Jeannie is pretty laid back and keeps me calm.

Paula is slicing the honored position for suppers and a closely watched one.
Paula's family also grew up in our church; she married and moved away but after a messy divorce came back home to the comfort of home. 
Paula has a dry sense of humor and keeps me snorting with her honest comments about anything and everything.  She is prim and proper at the same time and even lives in the same 103 year old house we lived in before we built the house we live in now.
She and I got into a bidding war at a Relay for Life auction over some original wooden frames from "our" house; I finally caved when she reminded me that the house was hers and her wonderful new husband's now.

Man! She knows how to fight!

Mrs. Pat's bread...mmmmmmmmm
Mrs. Pat supplies bread for communion and for every possible feeding that occurs within our church.  After church all the little children follow us into the kitchen to haggle over whatever is left :) 
You know you've done something good when Mrs. Pat brings you your own personal loaf of her homemade bread.
For some reason she brings the Head of My Household more loaves than me?
Can't imagine why ;)

Frieda is Mrs. Mildred's daughter...three generations of their family are members of our church...we actually have several families like that...I love to hear the old stories of my friends when they were kids and even the older stories of our church when it first started...seeing pictures of the original building and the changes that have been made over the years.

Frieda is an attorney in our town, and she is smart as a whip and tough as a good way, of course :)
I love it when she and Mrs. Mildred are in the kitchen at the same time...I can just imagine what it was like when they were both younger.  Even as an older adult woman herself, Frieda bows to her mother's wishes and respects her every comment.  She protects her mother as well.  When Mrs. Mildred pushes it too much, Frieda takes over.
So cool....

Ahhh, Mrs. Nancy...I call her Nanny because that's what her grandchildren call her...she makes every single newborn child in our church a blanket.
Every. Single. One.
I have gotten into other bidding war 2 years in a row over quilts she made for our Relay for Life auctions each December...

I won those.
(Cue Rocky theme song)

Marlo is the newest member of our group and is the marketing director of our college.  A busy mom as well, she frequently gets salad duty...I surprised her here as she was opening her bags of lettuce.

These ladies create the heart and soul of our church...from generation to generation, this is what our small town and small church is all about.


My menu plan for this week:

Sunday - grilled hamburgers and PW's potato skins

Monday - Wild Rice and Chicken casserole

Tuesday - PW's pot roast

Wednesday - Last minute Lasagna

Thursday - Chicken Parmesan

Friday - Pork Loin sliders

Saturday - Soup (keeping my fingers crossed that it will be cool enough)