Friday, December 31, 2010

My Best of 2010: Fiction

Fiction is generally the topic I read the most of. It's not really on purpose, it is just what sounds good/interesting and what I fly through the most. I read a lot of really good books this year and cannot wait to read more by some of these authors that I read for the first time this year!


Minny, Miss Celia, Aibileen, and Yule May are maids employed by Skeeter's friends. Each woman cooks, cleans, and cares for her boss's children, suffering slights and insults silently and sharing household secrets only among themselves. In the wake of the Junior League push to create separate bathrooms for the domestic help within private homes, Skeeter contacts a New York book editor with an idea. Soon she's conducting clandestine meetings with "the help" to capture their stories for publication. It is a daring and foolhardy plan, one certain to endanger not only the positions but the lives of the very women whose stories she transcribes -- as well as her own.


It is not often that I will re-read a book or even entertain the idea of re-reading a book, but the way I flew through this book makes me want to revisit it and capture more of its absolute greatness. Most likely, the best book I read all year.



Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search. What he finds is a city with an underbelly far blacker than anyone could’ve imagined— and somewhere in the depths of it all, with the help of his only friend and a giant of a man with his own strange past, Johnny, at last, finds the terrible truth.
Detective Clyde Hunt has devoted an entire year to Alyssa’s case, and it shows: haunted and sleepless, he’s lost his wife and put his shield at risk. But he can’t put the case behind him—he won’t—and when another girl goes missing, the failures of the past year harden into iron determination. Refusing to lose another child, Hunt knows he has to break the rules to make the case; and maybe, just maybe, the missing girl will lead him to Alyssa...

This one really got me engulfed in the whodunnit, where is everybody and interested in the main character Johnny. Definitely recommend it to those who like thrillers/mysteries.



Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposeé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel. Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander's innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.


I am sooo glad I stuck with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because this book was completely worth it!!! It was super duper good and I really wish Larsson had not died before the series was completely finished. The 3 books that are included were great but I could use more Salander in my life!



Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.

For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.
As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

This is one of those books that makes you want these ladies to be your friends, you want to be in their writing group, you never want their story to end and you are hooked. It made me wish for neighborhood living, a neighborhood park and a close group of intelligent lady friends.




Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterwards is a testament to the power of a woman’s love and determination, and to the invisible line of hope and healing that connects one human being with another. Ultimately, in the hands of Anna Quindlen’s mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the the things we fear most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, to live a life we never dreamed we’d have to live but must be brave enough to try.

This was beautifully written and told and is heartbreakingly awful and good all at once. My first by Quindlen , but hopefully not my last.
What are some of the best fiction books you read in 2010?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Half-Baked

20 weeks. yea don't mind the not matching clothes. they are my house cleaning clothes! haha

How far along? 20 weeks.. half-way to our end date in May!!!
Weight gain/loss: down 3 pounds from my start weight. however, i have gone through a growt spurt. I gained about 3 pounds in a week. But I also got my appetitte back soo hopefully that all equals itself out!
Maternity clothes? mostly. I got a ton of cute stuff for Christmas and I am going shopping tomorrow. the only thing I am still kind of looking for are some white/black tank tops.
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? i like 9-10 hours a night, please and thank you.
Best moment this week? Telling our families we were having a girl!!!! And I bought her Christmas dress for next year and she has already been spoiled with presents from people!
Food cravings: chocolate
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Yup, i usually feel her consistently every day at different points now
What I miss? beeeeeer
What I'm looking forward to: buying more cute clothes, figuring out how i am going to decorate her room and registering for stuff.. oh and figuring out which freaking stroller i want.
Milestones: 20 weeks.. half-way there!! ooooooh oooooooh living on a prayer... (excuse the bon jovi hahaha)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I think this might be the best song ever...

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
there will be an answer
Let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

- The Beatles

Monday, December 27, 2010

Revolutionary Road

While reading this, I kept wondering, and the point of this book is? Am I supposed to feel sorry for someone here?? Will I want to watch the movie when I am done?

When I finished the answers to the above go something like this, "Everybody is awful." "I only feel sorry for their children." "I may watch it while doing other things."

To sum it up, disappointed. I guess I was hoping/thinking this was an awesome book and it was just ugh. I walk away feeling nothing but, thinking I should have just not read it.

Frank and April have less than ideal childhoods and then fall into a less than ideal marriage. They think way too highly of themselves and have the most controlled ridiculous fights ever. Really, nothing happens in this book to make sense for it to be a book. It is lacking a climax or action or something.

It's just a sad story of two sad people and it ends sadly.

Am I missing something??? If you liked this, why? What am I missing?

I read this as part of the you pick 'em I read 'em in 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

January Group Read is...

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve! (Sorry, I was going to post this last night but I fell asleep early... whoops!)

Back of the book: "I wonder this: If you take a woman and push her to the edge, how will she behave?" The question is posed by Jean, a photographer, who in 1995 arrives on Smuttynose Island, off the coast of Maine, to research a century -old crime. As she immerses herself in the details of the case - an outburst of passion that resulted in the deaths of two women - Jean herself enters precarious emotional territory. he suspicion that her husband is having an affair burgeons into jealousy and distrust, and ultimately propels Jean to the verge of actions she had not known herself capable of - actions with horrific consequences.
Everywhere hailed for its beauty and power, The Weight of Water takes us on an unforgettable journey through the farthest extremes of emotion.

Discussion #1 - January 7th over pages 1-64
Discussion #2 - January 14th over pages 65-135
Discussion # 3 - January 21st over pages 136- 191
Discussion #4 - January 28th over pages 191-end and the overall whole book discussion

I broke up the book into what I think are pretty decent chunks. It doesn't have named chapters so I broke it up by the pages in the book, but they are all the ends of chapters. If the book you get doesn't seem to jive with this, get a hold of me via email pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com and I we can figure it out if you are confused!

Also, if you are reading through and have questions you want me to post at the beginning of the discussion for everyone to talk about also email those to me by the Thursday night before the Friday discussion. I have added a new commenting system that should allow for people to respond to what others are saying.

Hopefully, it will be easy to get this one from the library because it came out in 1997! I am hoping that this new format will bring more life to the group read!

And I hope EVERYONE has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

19 weeks

i've grown hahah

How far along? 19 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 5 pounds (that would be gaining 2 pounds in a week ha.. magically my appeite has totally reappeared...
Maternity clothes? pants yes.. tops i can still wear most of mine
Stretch marks? no
Sleep? pretty decent..
Best moment this week? having the anatomy scan and finding out everything looks great and we are having a girl!!!!!!!!!!!
Food cravings: sweet stuff and i am once again able to eat my favorite mexican food
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Yup, moving around like crazy the last few days!
What I miss? beer.. specifically killians
What I'm looking forward to: telling our families at christmas that we are having a girl!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Best of 2010: Memoirs

I really enjoy reading memoirs and I just haven't read as many as I would like. I keep adding more and more to my ever going TBR list but rarely get a chance to cross them off. Probably, because of my really strong desire to read all the books I have in my house so I can decide whether to keep them or pitch them. I have been on a self-imposed library ban since about August, otherwise I would never get through my own stack! I also have probably bought the least amount of books EVER this year. My wallet thanks me, but I feel slightly sick about the fact that I don't have some newer books. Okay, confessions of a bookaholic need to end and get on with the main show.

Morning Neurosis: The mostly true story of a girly trying to reconcile her rock n ‘ roll roots by Juliette Miranda

Is there life after music?
Juliette Miranda isn't quite sure. While living out her dreams in Los Angeles, she is forced to make an unexpected return to her hometown where she must struggle to save her relationships, and sanity, from the long shadows of her rock 'n' roll past.

Despite her best efforts, some issues refuse to stay locked in her closet. By recounting tales of her past - like the rock star boyfriend who sang more romantic songs to his dog than to her, or being abandoned in Jamaica by a drugged-out Jim Morrison wanna-be - Juliette hopes to understand her present.

Her chronicle reveals an open, passionately honest look at a girl whose life isn't turning out exactly as she hoped. Her morning neuroses become the vanguard to a broader story that incorporates her loving yet crazy family, indelible friendships, and career mishaps.

Lightly fictionalized to protect the identities of the not-so-innocent, Morning Neurosis is more than a kiss and tell. It's an intimate look into Miranda's real life experiences as she strives to find love, music ... and herself.


I flew through this story and made countless notes in a notepad as I read. Hilarious and
real.




"Ji-li's deeply moving story should be on the shelf of every person's library. Her courage in the face of adversity and her steadfast loyalty to her family are truly inspirational for young and old alike." --Nien Cheng (Author of A Life and Death in Shanghai)



This one is geared towards middle schoolers but I find the viewpoint of a young girl growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution just as relevant to adults as students. Eye opening and beautifully written.
What was your favorite memoir that you read in 2010?
Also, don't forget to vote in the January Group Read poll, which is on the sidebar!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

So, Twitter was all a flitter (har har) about these and I have been craving my Buckeye Bars lately, so I thought, what the heck? I can make these. I had the ingredients (sort of) and they seemed simple enough (true story) and who can resist a peanut buttery chocolately treat? Yeah, if you said I can, you are weird.

The recipe is adjusted from Mama Pea's recipe here. And before you read of all my adjustments just know that I am not vegan nor do I care to make my sweets healthy. So enter my de-healthifying of the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls.

My recipe:

• 1/2 c. margarine
• 3/4 c. extra crunchy peanut butter
• 1/2 c. brown sugar
• 3/4 c. powdered sugar
• 1/2 t. vanilla extract
• 1 t. baking powder
• 1/2 t. baking soda
• 3/4 t. salt
• 1 ½ cup flour
• 1 c. chocolate chips (plus the extras that fell out as i poured and the ones i used because the bag was almost empty)

Hubby was home and of course had to play around on our new camera (Nikon D3100) and watched as I made these and he called it my cooking show. I am kind of disappointed in some of the shots but, he was very eager to participate. The only photo I took was the last one of the finished product on my plate.

Using a mixer, beat margarine, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla until it's all mixed together. (Anyone else start freaking out at the beginning of mixing that it's not going to turn out correctly?)

I have a stand mixer, but have honestly used it once in the 3 years I have had it. Hubby has used it for wine making and meat purposes but it's downstairs and this old hand mixer works in a pinch.

In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and flours.



Add dry mixture to the mixer bowl a little at a time. Mix until a dough forms.



Add your chips.
Combine and chill dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form balls with the dough and place on cookie sheets. (And taste test if you are us!) Bake for 10 minutes.



Don't mind the messy stove whoops. Have the balls cool for about a minute and then move to a cooling rack. Or once again, taste test like we did and be careful of burning your fingers haha.


And enjoy! I had these with a big ole glass of milk and it was divine. These were pretty good and they satisfied by peanut butter/chocolate craving. However, I must have missed the amazzzzzzzzzing part, they were just okay. I will take my Buckeye Bars any day. But they are quick, easy and good.
(Poll is up on the side to pick a group read selection for January. It is open until around 6pm on the 23rd.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Those Christmas Angels

Okay, I think it is official. I can't read romance novels without rolling my eyes. I mean I haven't even read ONE in all of 2010 but I was looking at my list of things that I said I was going to cross off and knew it was going to be a quick read. Um yeah... well that it was, but seriously??? How did I spend years reading them??????

Oh I take that back, the Kristin Hannah book I read was a romance and that also made me roll my eyes but it had a little more depth it in... True whatever? anywhoooo back on topic.

So, Those Christmas Angels by Debbie Macomber. I will say in the past (summers in college) I would curl up with her books and read them in a night.. the ones that had to do with knitting. They at least didn't have women acting like fools, men like jackasses and still having people fall in love. Cuz THAT IS NOT THE WAY IT IS.

I'm sorry but if a man tries to throw his money at you and accuses you of being like all other women and having a 'price' and how much money and jewelry will it cost him for you to be there whenever he wants you???? YOU RUN. YOU DON'T LISTEN TO HIM AGAIN.

This book basically has a guy who has lost all his happiness and trust in the world because his fiancee left him for his dad which caused his parents divorce and his mother to be penniless. He has tons of money but is a jerk. Enter angels who are going to answer his mom's prayer and find him a wife by Christmas Eve and it is already December (yeah you can roll your eyes now too). So the angels come and they may or may not cause some things to happen to introduce stubborn tall SOLID (wtf is wrong with being athletic and tall and not a freaking petite blond) Julie. They start off yelling at each other and it doesn't get much better until it magically does and then oh my gosh they are falling in love... but this is too easy there must be problems..

yada yada yada... rolling of eyes.... rolling of eyes..

I'm sorry, but it is a Christmas miracle I finished it. It is extremely easy to read, but wow I would not want anyone thinking it is acceptable to be treated the way Roy treated Julie and still get the girl in the end. He needed years of THERAPY before he was ready for Julie on a month with an angels help.

Okay, I should stop now.

What Christmas themed books have you read this year?

(Those Christmas Angels was chosen from my You Pick Ten, and I read them in 2010)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

testing

this post is just a test to see if i successfully added intense debate to my blog... check out today's post about my favorite YA reads of 2010!

My Best of 2010: YA

I definitely read more YA this year than I have any other year. I've read some really good books which kept me interested and I've read quite a few doozies. Here are my favorite of 2010.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier.On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Wow. Honestly recommend this to teenagers, parents and adults. Very moving and very well written.

Glass by Ellen Hopkins - Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go.
Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves -- her baby.

The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.

I really love Ellen Hopkins and the Crank trilogy. She really gets you into the mind of the drug abuser and you can see how it not only affects them but everyone else in their life.

Songs for a Teenage Nomad - Kim Culbertson -After living in twelve places in eight years with her drifting mother, fourteen-year-old Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Fearful of putting down roots anywhere, but armed with her song journal, she moves to her own sound track through a world that bounces her between the school drama crowd, a mysterious loner, and an unlikely boy who will become her first love. But it's the troubling truth she uncovers about her father that forces Calle to face the toughest choice of her young life.

My favorite part of this book was the different songs and the way they were incorporated into the main character's life.



Fallout - Ellen Hopkins
Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow’s five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.

Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she’s ever known crumbles, Autumn’s compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there’s more of Kristina in her than she’d like to believe. Summer doesn’t know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father’s girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother’s notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.

Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family’s story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person’s problem.


The final book in the Crank series is just as gut wrenching as the first two. Highly recommend it!


What were your favorite YA books that you read in 2010?
Don't forget to read about re-introducing the group read and suggest something for January!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

18 weeks and definitely a bump

I have three to share this week because I am that nice! ;)


This is Tuesday which was 17 weeks and 6 days.. some fabulous self-photography with my old camera
helloooooo boobies.. today at 18 weeks taken by my hubby with the new camera


and one of just the belly and the butt at 18 weeks


How far along? 18 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 7 pounds
Maternity clothes? i have one pair of dress pants and 1 pair of jeans and i live in them and sweatpants.. my bump isn't really big enough to keep maternity pants up (my jeans fall off me constantly) but my pants aren't comfy.. definitely growing though and will be buying more clothes soon..
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep? pretty much back to pre-pregnancy sleep.. which is give or take and i am no longer falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow
Best moment this week? having my midwife appt and hearing that my uterus is in the right spot and size and hearing the heartbeat again (150 beats per minute)
Food cravings: anything sweet
Gender: we find out next week!!! if you want to take a guess, leave it in the comments and i will let you know if you guessed your 50/50 shot correctly hahaha (i am thinking girl.. i honestly will only be shocked if i see a penis next week!)
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? yup, mostly at night
What I miss? I have dreamed of beer this week
What I'm looking forward to: Seeing my baby next week during the anatomy scan!!
Milestones: The baby got its first Christmas present this week. (a Nikon D3100) umm so yeah it is KIND of for mama and daddy hahaha

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Re-Introducing the Group Read

We've taken a 2 month break here on the Group Read and I've been thinking of ways to improve and re-introduce it for the near year.

I like how we all put in suggestions (how else do I learn about some pretty cool books) and that we all have a vote. I like discussing (wish more people participated) and I like when people write thought provoking guest-posts like when we read American Wife and Lisa and Kelly contributed some great posts!

So here are my ideas for 2011...

-Once a month put a post out asking for suggestions
- Once a month set up a poll to vote on suggestions
- Once a month post the winner

(so far that sounds the same...)

New idea:
I break up the book into so many chapters and once a week we read and discuss those chapters.
Can you read ahead? Sure just don't post any spoilers before we get there!

As always, if someone has questions they want asked or a guest post they want to share or if they want to post something on their own blog and have me link to it, I am all for it!

I think breaking the book up into sections will make us all a little more accountable and it will seem a little more doable and we can have more of a discussion of how it is come so far and where we see it going. I figure in the post that tells that month's selection I will also then post the schedule for what chapters will be talked about on what day and in each weekly post, add a reminder.

I am thinking Friday's will be a good day to do the weekly discussion because that way you have all weekend to chime in. If you have another day or suggestion you want to throw out please do! The only day that won't work for me is on Wednesday's because I post my baby growing update on those days. ;)

So what do you all think? Are you game? And better yet, what shall we read in January???

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'd Know You Anywhere

This was a really interesting book. Eliza is a stay-at-home mom and wife that has just recently relocated with her family to Maryland, near where she grew up. This move home brings memories of the year she was 15 forefront in her mind and in the minds of others.

When she was 15, Elizabeth Lerner was abducted and kept by Walter Bowman for close to 40 days. The whole relationship between Elizabeth and Walter is strange complex and a little weird. Elizabeth finally was found when they were pulled over by a state trooper for driving too slow.

Now that she is a mother herself she constantly worries about her children and how to make them feel safe. They have a security system that they religiously use, they never sleep with windows open and she constantly knows where they are. They have no idea what happened to their mother when she was 15 and Eliza would like to keep it that way.

However, Walter finds her and thinks Elizabeth may be his one way to avoid the death penalty, because his third appointment with death is quickly approaching and he will do anything to be spared his life. He finds Elizabeth and makes contact with her. Eliza responds because she knows Walter only gets more dangerous when he is ignored and she doesn't want her new identity/story exposed.

Overall, I enjoyed the book but there were some parts where I just think it was a little 'eh.' The build up for what Eliza remembers that night makes you think something HUUUGE and then you get to that part and you are like, uhhh what? Yeah, that was a bit of a disappointment. However, it was fascinating to see how they communicated and how Elizabeth has a 15 year old knew how to handle Walter to keep her safe. But it also made you wonder why she never ran away and why she was a little too forgiving and a little too willing to let Walter re-enter her life. But then again, she didn't want her children or her life to be disturbed.

This is definitely a book for those who like a little suspense but really isn't 'just a mystery' it shows how the characters are impacted by crime. You learn little back stories about secondary characters and even if they weren't a main player in the crime how they were affected.

What's the last book you read that was slightly related to real events?

I received this book from Crazy Book Tours, but all opinions/thoughts are mine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A few of my favorite quotations..

I figured after my rant last night, I needed something uplifting to lead me into the weekend. So, I am going to share some of my favorite quotes from someone that I have always looked up to and respected with his ability to turn the other cheek and use words instead of violence. Patience is something I lack and am always working on, as well as ways to better control and redirect the rage I feel for those mistreated.

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
Martin Luther King Jr.
(If only, more people met the world/day with love instead of hate)

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King Jr.
(he sure was one smart man)

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. MLK, Jr. (word)

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
Martin Luther King Jr. (easy to say, hard to manage)

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King Jr. (I wish I was as smart as him)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King Jr. (This I take seriously)

and which leads me to one of my all-time favorite quotes by another wise wise man.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
-Elie Wiesel


Who do you look up to for words of wisdom and that has possibly a little more grace than yourself to handle situations when anger and rage are all that you can focus on?

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Livid

I am livid.

I am a firm believer in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I support freedom of speech to almost ridiculous lengths. I feel everyone should be able to express themselves and their ideas. However, I also do not have to agree with what filth they spew and can also say my own piece. And I also think that everyone should use some common sense before they open their mouth, but we don't always get what we want.

But there is a fine freaking line when you start attacking INNOCENT people. Especially, innocent people who are DECEASED and can not speak back to you. How cowardly is that?

I also know there is a fine fine line between what counts as hate speech and what is not. To belittle people who have made a life in public service be that military or politics or various causes, is vile.

If you have a problem with someone and how they are living their life, tell them face to face when they are living and breathing. Do not cowardly picket at a funeral. Do you really think you will change their friends and families feelings? But really, how is someone else’s life choices ANY CONCERN OF YOURS? These very people you admonish and declare are in hell would do anything for you, you piece of scum.

It’s people like you that give religious people/groups BAD names and further keep people from reaching out and joining a church or getting involved.

It makes my heart ache for those poor children who no longer have a parent, who on one of the worst days of their lives, have to know that you piece of cowardly garbage dared to desecrate their mother or father’s memory with foolish lies and crap.

If I believed in hell, I would hope that when you get there you have a line of picketers waiting for you to inform you of what a worthless piece of human waste you are.

(If you don’t know who I am referring to, consider yourself lucky. If you do know, I refuse to use their name on this site and will delete your comment if you use it in your comments because I will not promote them.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

17 weeks

Sorry no picture this week. Too busy today with working and tutoring. Super tired.

How far along? 17 weeks holy moly!
Weight gain/loss: down 6 pounds
Maternity clothes? starting to move into the pants. slowly.
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep? Been fabulous, then last night I woke up at 4 am and apparently my body decided it was a grand time to be awake for awhile. the 6:15 alarm was not fun.
Best moment this week? Defintely feeling the baby give me little taps! Especially, after my almost nightly bowl of ice cream!
Food cravings: sweets
Gender: we soon shall now! (hopefully) dear baby, do not be shy.
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Yup, mostly at night but I did feel some this afternoon
What I miss? liquor
What I'm looking forward to: My next appointment on Tuesday!
Milestones: feeling the baby move!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Questions brought to you by Chelsea

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
I very rarely go to Starbucks but in the past I have ordered a french vanilla cap and most recently a Peppermint Mocha.

2. Where is your favorite place to eat breakfast?
a little diner in the town I grew up in

3. Are you on Twitter? Why or why not?
Yes, I did it for more blog publicity this summer/boredom/I like to meet fun people on the internet and I love people who overshare.

4. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Love Actually and Elf

5. Are you a good gift giver?
I think I am, but I think it also helps when people actually give you some sort of hint at things they want.

6. Do you like your handwriting? Bonus points for posting a picture.
Mine is horrible. I always got a N for Needs Improvement in elementary school. THE HORROR.

7. Is your signature legible? Bonus points for posting a picture.
No. I scribble and I spell my name wrong when I do so. haha

8. Have you ever been to New York during Christmas season?
I have never been to New York.

9. Are there any items that you are completely brand loyal?
Jelly is the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

10. Who is your favorite public speaker?
I enjoyed Isabel Allende when she spoke at my college.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things

1. I just realized I threw away my flash drive. It had been sitting in my leaf shaped bowl in safe keeping. (Why it wasn't in my office, I don't know). I just was thinking about making a Christmas post about last year in DK and realized um, idiot here threw it away in the garbage the other day!!!!! I am so angry at myself because I did not double safe everything. Especially, my lesson plans and some worksheets. The good news? It is still outside in the garbage. The bad news? Um, this pregnant lady does NOT want to go dumpster picking for the damn flash drive. Ughhhhhhhhhh.

2. I hate pale baby pink. I mean I find it hideous. I will never buy your baby girl baby pink clothes. I like hot pink. I hate how people seem to think I will get over it and love it if this child is a girl. UM NO. It is ugly. If you insist on purchasing it for my child, expect it to be returned and I will use it to buy diapers or a nicer outfit. I really don't see how 'sticking it' to me is going to work. I decide what is going on my child and it won't be that crappy pink. And yes, I will be grateful for any and all gifts I get for my kid, but for those who know about my hatred of pale pink and do it anyway to be funny? Think again. It's going back.

3. In teaching, I get so irritated when I come across the kids that you just KNOW are allowed to get away with things. When they repeatedly ask you the same thing over and over when you give the EXACT same answer over and over. It is so obvious they are used to someone giving in. Sorry bucko, I say what I mean and if you want to play the stubborn game, I win every time. Oh and crocodile fake tears? Really not working. Especially, if you are a 5TH GRADE BOY.

What is pulling your chain today?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

16 weeks!

yeah please forgive that my clothes don't match. i threw on a different shirt so you could see better than if i was till wearing my sweatshirt! oh and i am NOT as wide as the christmas tree it is just the angle my husband took the picture hahahaha. and yes those are my 70s curtains in the background. i feel as though i should take a booby shot because they are huge. maybe next week.


How far along? 16 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 6
Maternity clothes? starting to try them on and rotate them in. pants are getting uncomfortable and my boobs are making some shirts impossible
Stretch marks? No
Sleep? i like to enjoy 9 hours a night please and thank you
Best moment this week? going to the baby's and my first OSU vs. UofM game
Food cravings: anything sweet
Sex: I had a ridiculous dream where just KNEW it was a girl and then A was late for the anatomy scan and we had to wait and then the doctor (not our midwife) was mean to us and didn't have time to help us find out if it was a boy or girl. So I went all crazy and demanded that we just buy girl stuff anyway because I KNEW it was a girl. Then enter last night where I was shocked in my dream to find out it was actually a boy. My bet is still on a girl. haha
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? A few different nights I have thought so.
What I miss? not crying at everything.
What I'm looking forward to: my anataomy scan in just a few more weeks!!!!!!
Milestones: I believe hitting 4 months pregnant is quite the milestone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ohio State vs. Michigan

This is a game I have grown up ITCHING to attend. I've begged, pleaded, offered anything for my mom to let me use her ticket to attend THE GAME. The biggest rivalry in college football. 2006, I would have given ANYTHING to be in that stadium #1 vs. #2 with sooo many implications and PERFECT weather. Alas, I spent it outside the Holiday Inn watching it at Hineygate with a few hundred of my fellow Buckeye fans. While, that was a fun environment, I am sooo jealous of everyone who made it into that stadium that day.

Enter this year. Out of the blue, my mom called up and asked if I would want to go to the Michigan game with my dad. UM HECK YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Basically, she swears she was going to let my brother and I take a turn at least once to go and decided since I was pregnant she would let me decide if I wanted to go now or wait until later so I could drink hahaha. I chose now because really, will she hold up this promise in the future? Will the Buckeyes continue their 7 year domination? (I hope so.) But I took the sure thing and this past weekend I headed down to Columbus with my dad to watch our Buckeyes BEAT THE FREAKING WOLVERWEENIES!!!!!!
pre-game teams are on the field warming up

The Best Damn Band in the Land performing Script Ohio

It was soooooo cold. And probably at the end of winter I won't feel that way but it had not been cold at all and then BAM. No time for the body to adjust, so the weather is the reason I blame my lack of photos that I would have probably taken if I had wanted to risk taking my gloves off anymore!!! My dad took some too, but I haven't gotten his yet. I also am a bit mad, because I couldn't really see through my camera when I was taking video/photos and so when I was recording Script Ohio I cut it off right before the dotting of the I!! But I did get some photos.




So, did this epic battle live up to my childhood dreams? Yes, and no. Going in, I knew Ohio State was going to win, I could only pray that it would be an absolute stomping to make it super enjoyable. Heck, if OSU would have lost I probably would have had a heart attack, Michigan sucks that bad right now. But, U of M lived up to my expectations. Denard Robinson did not play the entire game, their defense was horrid and Michigan still sucks. Oh and my favorite part? Getting to hear around 100,000 people join in and sing "I Don't Give a Damn For The Whole State of Michigan." LOVED. Wish I would have recorded it. It could have been warmer and it could have been more competitive.

the last few seconds winding down


the team celebrating on the field
In the end, I am THRILLED that my Buckeyes have won 6 straight Big Ten Championships and have beaten Michigan a record 7 TIMES IN A ROW!!!!! Now, if only I could convince my mom to use her ticket every year...

the final score!!!!!!!!!!

GO BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

15 weeks

Sorry, no picture this week. I feel like crap and do not feel the need to put on a bra or find a good mirror to try to get a shot.

How far along? 15 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 7 pounds
Maternity clothes? No, but I am wearing them tomorrow so I can eat and expand and not feel uncomforable
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? is glorious
Food cravings: peppermint ice cream and mashed potatoes
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? I've thought I've felt things a few different times at night..
What I miss? good drugs. i've had horrid sinus headaches which have led to tenison headaches which have led to my back in knots and my jaws clenched. no funnnnnnn
What I'm looking forward to: eating the buckeye bars that I still need to make for tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What are your plans for the holidays? Do you travel at Thanksgiving? If you celebrate Christmas, do you travel then, too?

Spending Thanksgiving with my husband's grandma and his LARGE extended family. Christmas is always spread over both Eve and Day now that we are married. Eve /doing things with his side / Day with mine. No more than 25 minutes of travel for either holiday.

2. How do you make the plans for the holiday? If you have a significant other, how do you decide which family to visit?

Well my husband's mom's side which is large, always celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas on Thanksgiving so we did that with them. This year we are doing Thanksgiving but Christmas in December now because his grandma just had heart surgery, so that adds in another holiday thing. blah. But it worked that his family always did Christmas on Christmas Eve night and mine always did it on Christmas Day. So that was easy. Last year we did do two Thanksgiving's because my parents stay in state now that my dad's parents are dead.

3. Do you have your Thanksgiving meal at lunch or later in the day?
1:oo on his side and on my side and even my dad's side ate at 1.. kinda weird

4. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

When I was young (before high school) we always went to Ohio for the long weekend and mom and I always went shopping together the next day. Then in high school we stayed in town because of sports and then when I got to college and I started dating my husband I started spending it with his family so no real traditions because they kept changing. But I do sorely miss my grandma's stuffing.

5. After a big meal do you lounge around or get up and take a walk?

Usually we lounge, read the ads for the next day, depending on the weather we may go outside and play football/soccer and eventually we do Christmas (typically). I used to go on walks in Ohio. Not on the farm.

6. Do you shop on “Black Friday” or do you avoid it?
I love going to people watch. Never really find a deal that I need. Plus it is fun to start singing, "It's the most wonderful timeeeeeeeeeeeeee of the year." When people get stupid. Or hide things that people are looking for. That's fun too.

7. When do you usually finish your Christmas shopping?

Um usually the week of Christmas. Doesn't matter how early I start I still keep shopping and finding things to buy.

8. Do you and your significant other exchange gifts? Is there a budget?

We do and we never did until we got married. We haven't discussed this year, but I am thinking it will be smaller and that we may just do stocking presents. I don't want too much and I don't need anything, just cute things for my baby!

9. When do you decorate for the holidays?

Usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving. But since I am going to Columbus to watch my Buckeyes clobber the Wolverweenies this Saturday, I had my husband put the tree up last night and will be decorating tomorrow in between baking.

10. Do you go “all out” with the decor or do you keep it simple?

Pretty simple because I am cheap and I hate putting up and taking down stuff. But I LOVE Christmas stuff. Especially snowmen things.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Red Scarf Girl

"Ji-li's deeply moving story should be on the shelf of every person's library. Her courage in the face of adversity and her steadfast loyalty to her family are truly inspirational for young and old alike." --Nien Cheng (Author of A Life and Death in Shanghai)

It is very rare that I love a book so much and just have nothing to say. I think it's probably because I don't want to chance ruining the good job the author did. ;) I quickly read through Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution this past week. I was subbing in a 7th grade English room and this was the book they were reading.

Ji-Li's story is about how her and her 'black' family lived during the time of the Cultural Revolution in China. I found it very intriguing and the 7th graders and I had great conversations. They were engaged and seemed to be really into it. I honestly, did not hear any whining/complaining about it, which for junior high kids is quite the feat!

The book's main focus is on Ji-Li's junior high period. Ages 12-14. It talks of how she goes from a star well-respected student to being made fun of and forced into 'study sessions' to try to tell secrets about her 'rightest' father.

I would recommend this book for adults and teens alike. It gives a first-hand account of a time period in China that most people in the US do not study / know much about.

What do you remember from junior high?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Cards

Okay, I’m pretty cheesy when it comes to things related to Christmas. Maybe cheesy, isn’t the right word, maybe in love with traditions and how things always are. I’m a creature of comfort. Since the husband and I got married, we have always done photo cards. The first year, we used a picture from our wedding, but ever since we have used a picture of us wearing our Ohio State / Michigan shirts. This year, we don’t have a photo like that unless we fake posed for one and we don’t really feel like it. So, we almost thought about doing regular holiday cards. But, I just can’t break from our little holiday card tradition. Next year, we will have our new baby to splash across the cards and I am super stoked about continuing photo cards with our kids to share with our family and friends.

Enter Shutterfly. I will confess, I have never used Shutterfly before, and have just recently looked at their website when I was looking for a different company/better deal to make our family calendar. But then I found out on Twitter about the Shutterfly Blogger Holiday Card Promotion and was like well if this isn’t a sign I don’t know what is! So yes, I am receiving 50 free cards in exchange for this post, but come on there is some super cute stuff to buy there!


I know it is going to be hard to pick which design to use, but here are three of my favorites!



This one is probably my favorite and looks almost identical to the background from last year.


I usually like to have Merry Christmas on my cards, but I would make an exception on this one because depending on the picture I choose to use the background would look really good with it.


On this one, I really like the ornaments and the green and red.

As you can tell, I like to have only one main picture be the focus and then minimal stuff on the side. Probably when I am a crazy mom I will pick a collage because I won't be able to pick just one picture of my cute child! ;)

Here are some more Holiday Cards to pick from.

I also think this is a pretty cute Invitation for a holiday party! I love SNOWMEN!!!!!


More Invitations can be found here.
Shutterfly also has cute address labels, gift tags, and personalized photo gifts. (There are some adorable shots of babies in ornaments!!)
Now that I have spent the last few days drooling over this stuff I may be Christmas shopping off of here or planning future projects to showcase my child!
What kind of holiday cards do you send?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know


Heather Sellers is a far stronger person than I will ever be. The fact she survived childhood with two dysfunctional, some may say crazy, parents is astounding.

Her father drank too much and was unstable. Her mother was obsessive and overly worried. Her mother was a picture of paranoia and her father just kind of let it be.

She spent most of her early life shuttling between homes when one got worse than the other. Which meant she also changed schools a lot. But her mother also had her switch schools occasionally because she was worried about people knowing too much information or the unseen people who always followed them. She barely escaped away to college and eve then, her crazy parents interfered and showed up.

Most perplexing in her life was how strangers would approach her and talk like they were friends. Or when everyone looked vaguely familiar but she could not place them. She lost friends because they thought she snubbed them in public. Or most embarrassing, she did not alert a friend that the people her friend was talking about were right behind her!

At first she thought she was mentally ill, especially after a run-in with a former boyfriend who inquired about her schizophrenic mother. Uh what??? Her mom was a schizophrenic??? How could she not have known? Was she crazy as well???

This prompted her to start researching and begin questioning. Who knew? Her dad wasn't telling any secrets. Was there a family history? Her mom never really let them see her family. Was she schizophrenic too?

Finally, she discovered the answer prosopagnosia. Face blindness. Heather could not remember people's faces. She used context clues to figure out who they were.

Face blindness is an extremely rare condition that not many people know about. Sellers has struggled to educate herself and others on the topic.

I really enjoyed the book. Her storytelling is fascinating and I enjoyed the changing time periods.

I wold recommend this book to others, especially if you like and enjoyed Jeannette Wells memoir, The Glass Castle.

Thanks to Lydia Hirt from G.P. Putnam's Sons / Riverhead for providing me this book to review. All opinions and thoughts are mine.


What is your favorite memoir? Have you ever heard of face blindness before?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

14 weeks and growing...


today at 14 weeks! I look way bigger than I think I look. Perhaps I was just that fat before hand? I notice a difference but I swear I don't look that big to myself but looking at this picture I look huge! haha
How far along? 14 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 6
Maternity clothes? Not yet, but the cords that I wore today were a lot more snug than they were last week when I wore them. I sense they will be in my near future!
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? Sleep has been fabulous and I have actually made it 5 hour stretches with out waking up at night to pee!!
Best moment this week? Going to the doctor and hearing the heartbeat again! It was going away fast and strong about 155 bpm. Plus, I got schedule our appointment for our anatomy scan where we will hopefully find out that our baby is growing on schedule and if it has boy parts or girl parts!! My blood pressure which is usually great was even better than before, my bloodwork came back great and overall things were awesome!
Food cravings: mashed potatoes and gravy!!!
Gender: We both think it is a girl because we have always wanted a boy so much haha.
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? I'm sure it is not, but sometime at night I think it is. I'm sure when it happens regularly I'll know!
What I miss? Really wanted a Clamato Bud Light while tailgating last week. My dad's looked sooo good! Typically, light beer this pregnancy has not been a desire, but that Clamato juice looked good! I have also wanted margaritas like crazy!
What I'm looking forward to: Seeing family over Thanksgiving and our anatomy scan!
Milestones: By all accounts I am totally into 2nd trimester!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things That Irritate Me (just a small portion)

When people ask other people for their opinion (ESPECIALLY in a public forum) and do not get the answer they want they get all bent out of shape. Get over it. You asked and people told you what they think. Not everyone thinks the same as you. If you only want to hear POSITIVE things, it isn't happening unless you find the forum for whatever it is you desire to hear positive things on.

If you ask me about your potential child's name and I say it sounds like a hooker name to me, that is the truth! I am not going to say oh it's okay. No, it has a definite connotation in my head, so sure as heck I am going to tell you what it is. A blogger got a little upset with my comment on her post a few months ago because she was asking opinions if a bag was cute or not and I said I thought it was ugly. She actually went off on me for being mean and said if I didn't have anything nice to say, don't say it. Um. what? You asked what we thought about it???? It was ugly. I told you. Just like I tell my mother that purses she picks out or shirts she points out are ugly. Then the best was when her bloggy cohorts all ganged up and called me such a meanie. It was a day of pure hysterics for me. Seriously, get your panties out of a wad and realize not everyone likes the same things you do. When you post it on the Internet it is fair game. But all those clicks I get from people who get angry, are also awesome so thanks for the traffic! ;)

Another thing that irritates me is when people post EVERY freaking detail of their life in their facebook status. Yes, I am very sad for you that you are having a miscarriage. No, I nor your hundreds of other friends need to or WANT to hear about you passing your fetus. Hourly updates not needed. And for all that is holy, if you are going to link to your blog that you write about said incident, would you please at least research trying to conceive and fertility so you don't sound like a moron? And PLEASE stop blaming the doctors for doing their dang job.

Also, pets are not kids. Do not compare your puppy to my unborn child. They will not be cousins and no it is not like having a baby. No I will not be purchasing it a Christmas gift and no it is NOT welcome at my home. It is a pet.

And these are just a few things that irritate me..... What irks you?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Self-Promotion among other things

IT IS FRIDAY!!!!!! Which really means little in my world of substitute teaching when I feel like it, but I am leaving for Columbus in less than an hour with my dad to enjoy a nice Big Ten football weekend.. OSU vs. PSU!!! Woo Woo!

First, the lovely Jess is featuring me over at her place, Taking it One Step at a Time for Follow Friday! So go check it out and learn more about me and check Jess's blog and the adorable pictures of her son!

And hello to you, if this is your first time stopping by!

Second, I think I am finally getting a baby bump. It's not sucking in. ;) It's still not pretty but it is something that is just not belly fat! I will definitely plan on picture taking for this Wednesday's update!

Third, (tried to spell that with a Fhird haha) I am reading You Don't Look like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers and it is fabulous!!! I am hoping to finish it between the ride down to C-bus and down time this weekend!

Fourth, did I mention I am going to Columbus???? I am so pumped. OSU football, good tailgating, friends I only see during the fall and I get to go shopping!!! (for a cute little onesie for the baby that it's father may or may not kill me over, silly wolverine fan he is!)

Fifth, Fruit Smoothies are amazing. I have been making a ton lately and they are fab. Some concoctions I have had this week have been

-strawberry yogurt
-strawberries
-frozen raspberries
- banana
- ice
- tangerine juice (someone, ahem me, didn't read the label and got this instead of orange juice whoops)

and then yesterday I had the same recipe but added in pineapple!!! i had been adding in milk but was getting waaaay too much dairy in my diet and felt like poo so I eliminated the milk from the smoothie.

I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Any big plans? Reading anything good? Let me know!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cleopatra

Description: Her palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way the supple personality has been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life


Very rarely do I pick up a book and not finish it. Mainly, because I only read things that appeal to me. However, my attempt at reading Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, failed miserably by page 15.

I really wanted to learn more about her and the time period but the writing was so dry and the names confused me because I could not frankly stay engaged. I'm sad to report this and would love to know if someone was able to read it all or farther than me and share some insight.

I received this book from Crazy Book Tours. All opinions are mine.

Have you read any books on Cleopatra? Watched any movies? What was the last book you read that you just had to put down?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

13 weeks

How far along? 13 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 6 pounds
Maternity clothes? no, but it is close. today's pants had to be hair tyed to work. it seems my pants that come up higher are not good at the moment but the lower rise ones are fine. my mom did buy me a pair of maternity pants this week and they will be definitely be worn to thanksgiving, who knows when i will bust into them for real. i have determined that i will just be buying regular shirts that are empire waist for as long as possible. not a huge fan of maternity tops.
Stretch marks? No
Sleep? last night i was exhausted but didn't seem to sleep a lot.. hopefully that isn't a new trend
Food cravings: salad/veggies, smoothies...
Gender: really thinking it is a girl
Movement? The last couple of nights I swear I feel something, but I have no idea.
What I miss? Being rational 24/7
What I'm looking forward to: my appt next week and hopefully finding out when I will find out if we are having a boy or a girl!

I would love to start sharing belly photos but I really don't want to just take them of me being fat. I am thinking next week I may have one to show!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Water for Elephants Discussion


questions ganked from here

1. Water for Elephants moves between a story about a circus and a story about an old man in a nursing home. How do the chapters about the older Jacob enrich the story about Jacob’s adventure with the circus? How would the novel be different if Gruen had only written about the younger Jacob, keeping the story linear and never describing Jacob’s life as an old man?

2. Did the chapters about the nursing home change how you think about older people? In what ways are the doctors and nurses condescending? How is Rosemary different? How do you treat older people?


3. In chapter two, the twenty-three year old Jacob starts his story by telling us he is a virgin. From the cooch tent to the erections the older Jacob gets when being bathed, sexuality is woven into the whole story. Why do you think Gruen added these details? What role does sexuality play in Water for Elephants?

4.When you first read the Prologue, who did you think murdered the man? Were you surprised by who the actual murderer was?

5. In what ways is Water for Elephants a survival story? A love story? An adventure?


Here is a link to an interview with the author Sara Gruen


Who read it? Who started it? Who never cracked the cover?


(I never cracked the cover, I did carry it in my bag with me for half the month.. haha whoops)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

12 weeks whoaaaaa

How far along? 12 weeks
Weight gain/loss: I don't know our bathroom is a bit under construction at the moment and I haven't had access to my scale since last Thursday or so haha..
Maternity clothes? not really but getting close to wanting some comfy pants
Stretch marks? no
Sleep? It's hard to get comfy at night but I am out like a log as long as I am not peeing!
Food cravings: Chocolate
Gender: I'm kind of starting to think it is a girl
Belly button in or out? In
What I miss? Alcohol.. i would kill for a big ole drunk fest this weekend.. it is a year from the worst week ever when my grandpa died and then my grandma.. and to add to that lovely fun week, my grandma's sister died yesterday. this is a freaking fabulous week. i would like to be numb so that i can stop being a crying mess.
What I'm looking forward to: my appt in 2 weeks

In blog news, nobody suggested anything until Kelly felt bad and suggested something for the November group read on Monday. So I am making the executive decision that we are taking November off and we may just be on a permenant lull or temporary.

Also, I never read the October Group Read but I will post discussion questions tomorrow. I suck at this too haha.

Friday, October 29, 2010

November Group Read

It's that time of month again, we need to pick something to read as a group! Leave suggestions in the comments and I will start a poll on the side bar on Monday.

Have a fabulous Halloween weekend!! I am going to see the musical production of The Sound of Music tonight and I am super pumped. It will be my 3rd time seeing it and I love ittttttt! No real big plans besides relaxing and hanging out with family. Oh and eventually purchasing candy for the 1 trick or treater myself. 3 bags should cover it!

Any big Halloween plans? Dressing up? Don't forget to suggest a book!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fallout - Ellen Hopkins


Fallout is the third and final book in a series focusing on Kristina aka Bree who is an addict. Fallout is different from the first two, Crank and Glass, have Kristina as a narrator and are set in when she is a teenager just beginning her addiction to the Monster (meth); but Fallout follows her 3 oldest children Hunter, Autumn and Summer about 19 years later.

I really liked getting to hear the kids perspectives about their "mother" and how their lives were affected and shaped because of Kristina's drug use.

Hunter, the oldest at 19, was adopted by his grandparents (Kristina's mom and step-dad) when he was 3 and has been raised mostly by them besides the brief period when he was born and under 2 when Kristina tried to play mom. He is now 19 and in college getting a degree in communication. He has dabbled in drugs but won't touch meth because he has seen what it has done to Kristina, who he has contact with but no relationship. He has a girlfriend but cheats on her and is struggling with who is father is even after all of this time.

Autumn doesn't even know who her mother is. She has been raised by grandpa and her Aunt Cora because her dad Trey has been in and out of prison her whole life. She has OCD and doesn't know how to interact with boys and sleeps with her boyfriend without protection. She starts drinking when her Aunt Cora meets someone and moves out and gets married. Her dad recently out of prison shows up at her aunt's wedding and family secrets start being revealed.


Summer knows her mother and occasionally talks to her on the phone but she lives with her father or when he is jail/prison she is in foster care. Her beginning years were spent with her paternal grandparents and that was the best period of her life until her grandpa died and her grandma couldn't take care of her anymore. Since then she has been abused, bounced around from home to home and despite all of this is really smart. She does get in a relationship with a guy who is controlling and addicted to drugs.


Summer and Hunter both talk about Kristina's other two children, Donald and David who are younger and still live with Kristina. All of the kids have issues and want to know why their mother can't take care of them and help them and be what they want. But it all comes down to meth is addicting and it kills your brain piece by piece and it turns you into someone else entirely. Kristina can't care for them how they want, she can't love them how they want and she won't ever be able to because her emotions and brain have been screwed over by meth for the last 20 years.


I really enjoyed this series and I am sad to see it end. I would really like another follow-up or a little more extra at the end instead of hanging on, hoping all those lives could turn out semi-normal. It also makes me want to know more about the real Kristina, who the book is based on and how her life and that of her children are from her addiction.


Definitely recommend this entire series to anyone. Ellen Hopkins writing is unique and fresh and very relevant to teens today.


I received this book from Around the World Tours. All comments are mine and mine alone.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

11 weeks


a picture of us from my SILs wedding 2 weeks ago
How far along? 11 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 4
Maternity clothes? I've been wearing a few shirts to bed/lounge around in. Love hand-me downs from friends!
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep? Around 10-11 hours a night if I don't have to set an alarm. The peeing is annoying though. If my bladder is the tiniest bit full I wake up and have to go or I can't fall back asleep. The other night, I went to bed at 10:30 went to the bathroom beforehand. Went again at 11:09, AGAIN at 11:21, AGAIN at 11:32 and then AGAIN at 1:30 and again at 3:30 ughhhhh. Good news is that I usually fall right back asleep!
Best moment this week? Probably getting huge bag of maternity clothes from my friend.
Food cravings: oranges and bagels with veggie cream cheese
Belly button in or out? In
What I miss? wine. I had dreams about it the last 2 nights.
What I'm looking forward to: Finish cleaning out our office and then moving our spare bed into it and then cleaning out/doing major work in that room!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Taken from Chelsea...

1. What is your favorite decor item in your house?
hmm maybe my candle holders that are on the wall? i have like no decor haahah

2. What is your favorite hair product?
umm i don't usually use any. cuz i hate doing hair.

3. Are you a good dancer?
Better than some, worse than others.

4. You get some good news, who’s the first person you call?
Probably my mom or my husband.

5. Would you rather take pictures, or be in pictures?
take the pictures. i hate how fat i am in photos now.

6. What is your shoe style?
cheap, black and comfortable

7. How often do you eat out?
now that i am pregnant a lot more than normal. i can't stand the smell of food in the house! it is much better to do at a restaurant or take out

8. If someone has food in their teeth, do you tell them?
depends on who it is

9. Do you fold your underwear?
nope they are all flung in the drawer

10. Milk, dark, or white chocolate?
all??? haha

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tutored -

About: Wendy Anderson and Hakiam Powell are at opposite ends of the spectrum—the social spectrum, the financial spectrum, the opportunity spectrum, you name it. Wendy lives in an all-white suburb of Philadelphia, where she’s always felt like the only chip in the cookie. Her dad, who fought his way out of the ghetto, doesn’t want her mingling with “those people.” In fact, all Wendy’s life, her father has told her how terrible “those people” are. He even objects to Wendy’s plan to attend a historically black college. But Wendy feels that her race is more than just the color of her skin, and she takes a job tutoring at an inner-city community center to get a more diverse perspective on life.

Hakiam has never lived in one place for more than a couple of years. When he aged out of foster care in Ohio, he hopped a bus to Philly to start over, but now he’s broke, stuck taking care of his cousin’s premature baby for no pay, and finding it harder than ever to stay out of trouble. When he meets Wendy at the tutoring center, he thinks she’s an uppity snob—she can’t possibly understand his life. But as he gets to know her better, he sees a softer side. And eventually—much to the chagrin of Wendy’s father and Hakiam’s cousin—they begin a rocky, but ultimately enlightening, romance.

This edgy story about a star-crossed couple features strong African American characters and sparkles with smart, quirky dialogue and fresh observations on social pressures and black-on-black prejudice.


This book was a very quick read and told of Wendy and Hakiam meeting and relating to each other from their very different upbringings. However, it lacked depth and ended abruptly and there were some story lines that needed to be closed up before it could just end with the happy for now ending.

I liked Wendy and Hakiam's characters and thought they were well written. Leesa (Hakiam's cousin) also fit into a stereotypical role and was interesting and aggravating to read about.

The author does make you feel for Malikia (Leesa's neglected daughter) and it makes you wonder how Hakiam is going to pull himself out of the ghetto or will he?

But it was mostly just bleh. Didn't keep me on the end of my seat, did not appear edgy at all and ended with quite possibly the stupidest ending possible. It needed to go on for a little longer.

I received this book from Around the World Tours. All opinions are mine

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10 weeks!

I know.. I know.. I've been a bad bad bad blogger. But I have been soooo tired. However, I shall soon have a ton of book reviews today! I've got a TON in the mail this week. Like 4. Eeek. I have a ton of reading ahead of me tomorrow!

I do come with a gift though! I have a picture of my baby!!! I had my first appointment this week and I got to hear the heartbeat and got a surprise ultrasound!!! ;)


How far along? 10weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 2
Maternity clothes? not yet
Stretch marks? None yet, but my belly is expanding
Sleep? Is grand but even though I am exhausted I can't seem to take naps.. I lay around with my eyes closed but I can't fall asleep. But I sleep good at night minus my 3 plus pee breaks.
Best moment this week? hearing the heartbeat and seeing the baby!!
Food cravings: none
Gender: Alien ;)
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Nope
What I miss? wine and not being exhausted all the time
Milestones: We announced to the world we are having a baby!