Monday, February 28, 2011

The good daughters

This was a moving well-written book that switched perspectives between Ruth and Dana, birthday sisters born on the same day in the same hospital. This bond (more or less forced by Ruth's mother Connie) keeps pulling them together randomly about once a year while they grow up and a bit more sporadically as they grow up.

Each chapter is a snippet of one of the girl's life at a certain time and then the next chapter is a snippet of the others around that same time period.

For two girls born on the same day in the same small town, they are quite different. Ruth is tall and skinny, an outcast in her family. Her mother and her sisters all seem to bond and get along but not with Ruth. No matter what she does her mother always makes her feel like an outsider or that her amazing art skills are just that amazing. Connie is quick to remind others of Ruth's sister's Snoopy drawing and how it was included in the paper before giving Ruth credit for her skill.

Dana has a complete helter skelter family life. She and her mother, father and brother move frequently and her dad is always hopeful is next idea will hit it big. Her mother Dana is an artist who buys every Barbie possible for Dana who only unwraps them when Ruth Plank comes to visit. At a very young age Dana realizes she likes other girls and that this isn't something other little girls find normal. She loves growing things and works hard to save money to put herself through college.

I will say that the 'problem' of the story was completely figured out by me by page 17 but it didn't make the journey of their tale any less interesting. I really enjoyed it and would read other books by this author.

Do you know someone who was born on the same day/same hospital as you?

I received this book from Crazy Book Tours and all thoughts and opinions are mine!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Comics

I don't generally read the comics but as I was browsing the Detroit Free Press today I saw this one and I just had to share it.

[ source ]
Thank you Mike Thompson. ;)
And I especially like how he says, "If you disagree with the idea that teachers are entitled to the benefits of a union, please feel free to employ the spelling, punctuation and writing skills you learned from teachers in the comment section of my blog." (source)
On a side note, does anyone else feel as though the people who comment on news articles never make any take them seriously with their LACK of common sense / grammar / punctuation.
And on a union note, I am not even a 100 percent gun-ho union person, nor am I current member of a union, but I do respect and stand up for theirs and others working rights. And the Wisconsin governor comes off as a douchebag who won't accept a legitimate compromise. But, that's neither here nor there.
Anyhoo, remember you got to where you are because of a hard-working teacher.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shanghai Girls - Discussion #4

This is the last discussion for our February Group Read, Shanghai Girls. Spoilers are a given. This encompasses the whole book, so if you've read it in the past or have read bits and pieces, jump on in to discuss!

My thoughts

I ended up liking this a lot more than I started to in the beginning. Though, I was irritated at some of the thoughts/ideas of the books but that just makes it a good book, it made me think and feel, right? I really don't even think I had a favorite character. They all let me down at one point. Pearl, because she just wouldn't stand up for herself and just live, May because she was so freaking spoiled and self-absorbed, Sam because he took the easy way out and Joy because she was an idiot. I also wasn't a fan of how it ended.

Questions from BookBrowse

1. Each sister believes that her parents loved the other sister more. Who is right about this? Why?

When they were fighting over this, I felt they both had favorable arguments about why the parents liked the other one better but I think as in many parent/child relationships they liked different parts about each girl the best.

2. Pearl says that parents die, husbands and children can leave, but sisters are for life. Does that end up being true for Pearl? If you have a sister, to what extent does the relationship between Pearl and May speak to your own experience? What's the difference between a relationship that's "just like sisters" and real sisters? Is there anything your sister could do that would cause an irreparable breach?

I can't really fathom this type of relationship that these sisters have. I would have been exasperated and done with May a long time ago.

3. There are times when it seems like outside forces conspire against Pearl—leaving China, working in the restaurant, not looking for a job after the war, and taking care of Vern. How much of what happens to Pearl is a product of her own decisions and choices?

I say 50-50.

4. The novel begins with Pearl saying, "I am not a person of importance." After Yen-yen dies, Pearl comments: "Her funeral is small. After all, she was not a person of importance, rather just a wife and mother." How do you react to comments like these?

It must be sad to see yourself that way.

5. Near the end of Shanghai Girls, May argues that Pearl and Sam have withdrawn into a world of fear and isolation, not taking advantage of the opportunities open to them. Do you agree with May that much of Pearl's sadness and isolation is self-imposed? Why or why not?

I think it is a mix of some self-imposed and some of the world around her/others. Also, like in any situation people become familiar with what they know/where they are and what not. Change is hard.

Thanks for participating in another group read! I love hearing other people's opinions about books and checking out books I normally wouldn't. Next month's book is In the Woods by Tana French and we will be discussing the first 6 chapters next Friday! If you would like to guest post/compile questions ahead of time send me an email by Thursday and I will include it in Friday's post. Or, if you want to discuss a certain aspect I always have space for guest posts throughout the week! ;) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

28 Weeks

Sorry about the blurry pic. I had my hubby take it this morning cuz I knew I would want to put my pjs on as soon as I got home (and I did haha) but he did not have patience so the pictures were all blurry. And I meant to take a new one myself and then came home exhausted and fell into my pjs and onto the couch whoops.

How far along? 28 weeks
Weight gain/loss: +6
Maternity clothes? I can still wear some regular shirts and comfy pants but it is mostly maternity.
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep? When I fall asleep I am dead to the world
Food cravings: Anything sweet
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? She is kicking away as I type
What I miss? I really need a margarita or a Corona
What I'm looking forward to: Getting the dresser in mail and setting it up

We did get our travel system, extra car seat base and our pack n play in the mail this week! My husband's parents got them for us as our shower gift. They are still in the boxes downstairs. Don't really know what to do with them yet hahaha.

[ Source ]
Here is a picture of our Travel System. It is the Chicco Cortina in Fuego. The carseat goes up to 30 pounds woo woo and the stroller goes up to 50. I really like it and it closes up nice and compact and is not bulky like so many people seem to complain about travel systems.

Sadly, I did not pass my Glucose Screen so I have to take the 3 hour test. I just missed the cutoff so I really am not worried, just irritated I have to take the time to go do it and pay for more tests. wooo funnnnnnn. not.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

March Group Read is...

In the Woods by Tana French! We had a tie but using In the Woods came out victorious!

A 12-year-old girl is found murdered at an archaeological site at the center of a controversial highway construction project. Katy Devlin was a popular girl who had recently been accepted to the Royal Ballet School; her father is an outspoken opponent of the new roadway. But what haunts Detective Rob Ryan about this case is its location: the quiet town of Knocknaree, Ireland -- in the very woods where he used to play as a child.

Twenty years ago, a young Rob and his two best friends went into the woods, chasing each other, playing in a castle of ruins. But they didn't return to their homes at sunset. A search party was dispatched to canvas the woods, finding only a catatonic Rob clawing at a tree, his clothing ripped, his shoes filled with blood.

Detective Ryan has always guarded this secret of his past, but the recent murder forces him to reveal it to his new partner, drawing them closer together in the search for the perpetrator. Is there a connection between Rob's childhood trauma and Katy Devlin's murder? And is Detective Ryan prepared to confront the secrets that lie deep in those woods? Suspects abound in this fast-paced mystery -- a stunning debut that examines the complexities of the human mind and the cost of discovering the truth.

I once again divided the book up into 4 sections for 4 different discussions. If while you are reading, you would wish to make a guest post about anything in the book, let me know. If you have questions/things you want included in the post on Friday, email me sometime the day before so I can add it in. I have the large print edition of In the Woods because it was the only copy left at my library, so I will be off page wise from most of you. I broke it up by the chapters. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

In the Woods Discussion 1 – Prologue through the end of Chap 6 – March 4th
In the Woods Discussion 2 – Chapter 7 through the end of Chap 11 – March 11th
In the Woods Discussion 3 – Chapter 12 through the end of Chap 19 – March 18th
In the Woods Discussion 4 – Chapter 20 through the end of the book – March 25th

I really think this will be a good read. I have heard many positive reviews of it and am interested to get reading. Hopefully, it is easy for everyone to get a copy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Mac & Cheese with Smoked Sausage

Friday I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. I kind of felt like cheesy pasta and I knew I needed to include meat SOMEHOW or my husband wouldn't know what to do with himself. I had some Eckrich Smoked Sausage in my freezer and I was googling pasta recipes to use with it when I decided a homemade mac and cheese would be delicious with the added sausage. I went to allrecipes and looked over their mac and cheese recipes because I'm still not sold on any one homemade mac and cheese recipe and used this one as a base for what I was about to make.

• 16 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
• 1 pound Eckrich Sausage
• 2 cups shredded Mild Cheddar cheese
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 3 cups milk
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• Crushed ritz crackers
• paprika
• Onion powder
• Garlic powder
• Salt and pepper

First, I preheated the oven to 350 and cooked the pasta as directed.

I cut up the sausage and removed most of the skin from it. Then I followed the directions on the sausage package and cooked it in a covered pan for about 8 minutes in 2/3 cup water.

Meanwhile, I was working on the sauce. In a saucepan, I melted the butter and then added in the flour. Stirred it really well and slowly added in the 3 cups of milk. Make sure the heat is on medium heat or it will take FOREVER to warm up. I made the mistake of lowering the temp after I melted the butter and it was driving me crazy waiting on the milk to warm up enough to melt the cheese. Speaking of the cheese... After I stirred in the milk I slowly stirred in the cheese, one cup at a time. Then I added salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika to the mix.

Then in a greased casserole pan I poured in the noodles and the sausage and mixed it up. After the mixture thickened up I stirred it in with the noodles and sausage. Then on top I crushed Ritz Crackers to form a bread crumb layer and sprinkled more cheese and some paprika on top. Then I threw it in the oven for 25 minutes and when I pulled it out it looked like this.

Verdict? It was delicious!!!!!! Very very yummy and gave us lots of leftovers. I really liked how creamy it was. Definitely would try to use different cheeses next time, but of course I just used what I had as per usual. Sharp cheddar would probably be delicious in it. Very very yummy!

What kinds of cheese do you like to put in homemade mac and cheese?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shanghai Girls - Discussion #3

This Discussion covers the chapters from Eating Bitterness to Find Gold through the end of The Air of this World. There will most likely be spoilers and anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. I am reading the large print edition so my page numbers will most likely be different than yours.

Quick Recap

China City burns down and the Louie family loses money and has to rebuild. Also, Sam and Pearl learn more about each and how to trust one another. It is revealed that Sam is a paper son and with a few conversations with Yen-Yen, Pearl realizes Old Man Louie is not who he says he is either. May continues to be a spoiled rotten brat and begins working in film and gets Joy to work with her as well. Pearl miraculously gets pregnant but sadly loses the baby.

My thoughts

I was very disappointed but not surprised when Pearl was given the role in the film and May 'stole' it from her. It really angers me that they continue to give in to May and no one just says no, get over yourself.

I also find all the racism against other people mildly amusing and also irritating that people were and still are so stupid when it comes to people looking different/being from different countries. We all were new at one time or another people, maybe you and I personally have been here forever but at one point it was YOUR ancestors being ridiculed, denied opportunities and being discriminated against.

Questions from BookBrowse

1. Shanghai Girls makes a powerful statement about the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants to the United States. Were you surprised about any of the details related to this theme in the novel?

2. There are times when it seems like outside forces conspire against Pearl—leaving China, working in the restaurant, not looking for a job after the war, and taking care of Vern. How much of what happens to Pearl is a product of her own decisions and choices?

3. Pearl encounters a lot of racism, but she also holds many racist views herself. Is she a product of her time? Do her attitudes change during the course of the story?

You can check out Discussion 1 and Discussion 2 by clicking on the links. Also, next Friday will be the last Discussion and cover from Fear through the end. Don't forget to vote in the sidebar for next month's pick. If anyone would like to guest post on anything about Shanghai Girls or share thoughts to be included in next weeks post email me by next Thursday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

OMG these were delicious and super easy!!! Yay..

1 – 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425.

First, I peeled and cleaned 2 sweet potatoes. This was a PERFECT amount for the two of us.

Then I cut them into strips.

Then I put them in a resealable plastic bag. Poured in the olive oil, cinnamon, paprika and salt. Then I shook it all around and made sure all the fries were coated. Then threw them on a baking sheet in a single layer. I put them in the oven and turned them every 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes cook time.

They looked/tasted/smelled delicious!!!!!
Verdict?- definitely doing again! super easy and good.

What is your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?
Poll is up for the March Group Read!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

27 weeks!

Sorry, no pic again this week. I came home from tutoring and immediately hopped into a hot bath so I kind of forgot.. whoops.

How far along? 27 weeks
Weight gain/loss: +5
Maternity clothes? same as before.. all pants that are worn of the house besides sweats..more maternity tops are making their appearance
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? only comfortable on my sides but my vertigo makes side sleeping iffy and my back hurts if i lay in one position too times
Best moment this week? getting a bunch of clothes from my mom's friend and hearing that she is measuring on target and scheduling my next ultrasound
Food cravings: anything sweet
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Yup a lot
What I miss? being comfortable and being able to walk without my innards feeling as though they may fall out
What I'm looking forward to: taking my glucose screening test and other tests to get that out of the way

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ways People Annoy Me Today

1. By calling Valentine's Day a Hallmark holiday. Great. So you don't like celebrating it because at one point you were single or alone and it irritated you. Doesn't make it a Hallmark Holiday.

2. Complaining about not having a valentine. Seriously? What I think is even stupider is referring to people as a 'my valentine.' Yeah, too corny for me.

3. "I don't want/need a holiday to show someone I love them/get them a gift." So you don't celebrate Christmas or their birthday's either???

4. The thought that someone puts their foot in their mouth when they call something trashy. Nope, just stating their opinion. Too bad you fall under that topic/judgment. Should they have to apologize for a general comment? No. Not everyone agrees, as I am sure not everyone agrees with my opinions. That is what makes the world go round.

5. The thought that someone needs to be a born again Christian when they die. Yes, because a lifetime of helping others and being a good person should just be negated because they don't fit into your born again Christian slot. Makes absolutely no fucking sense to me.

Obviously, I'm in a pissy mood today and oh wow I am one of those 'lucky' people who has a 'valentine' and am half of a couple that makes people vomit cuz ewww they love each other. Or perhaps one would say I was a hormonal pregnant lady. I just say I am having a horrible day and you should not cross my path.

What's pissing you off today?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

March Group Read Suggestions

Alright ladies, it is that time of month again! Time to pick a new book that we can discuss and hopefully enjoy!

Books we have already read..
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Leave a suggestion or 2 in the comments before Feb. 17th when I will add a poll for everyone to vote! Just a thought but March is Women's History Month, Dr. Seuss's birthday, St. Patrick's Day, March Madness and the start of baseball if you want to think of any books around those themes, or not! ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shanghai Girls Discussion #2

This Discussion covers the chapters from Eating Wind and Tasting Waves through the end of Scents of Home. There will most likely be spoilers and anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. I am reading the large print edition so my page numbers will most likely be different than yours.

Quick Recap

In this section, we read about the harrowing journey May and Pearl encounter leaving China for San Francisco. Also, we read about the discrimination and racism that new Chinese immigrants face in America. Pearl makes a huge sacrifice for her sister and Old Man Louie is not as rich as he makes himself out to be when he visits China.

My random thoughts

I find it horrible how the pirates treated their own people. Obviously they were all hurting and I just don't understand how people can treat others that poorly. But I guess it was a carry over from how the rich treated the poor in Shanghai anyway. Situations reversed. Still not cool.

Very scary to think of being checked for diseases in a new country where you don't know the language. And, when they are wearing what you think is the color of death. Way to be on the ball there USA.

Pearl is too nice. I would KILL May and would NOT take the baby. What an idiot. Both of them.

Interesting that the rickshaw drivers in China City are Mexicans wearing silk pajamas.

pg. 261 "But it's because I'm a woman that I dare to go." YAY FINALLY SOME BACKBONE RETURNS TO PEARL!!!

My questions

What if anything do you think is wrong with Vern?

-I think he is just uber spoiled and slightly mentally handicapped.

Would you make the sacrifice for your sister that Pearl made for May?

- Hell no.

Where do you think Sam disappears to?

- English classes?

Do you think May and Pearl will ever be able to escape?

- Not Pearl.

What do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Thoughts? Next Friday we will discuss
Eating Bitterness to Find Gold through the end of The Air of this World.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sing You Home

Once again Jodi Picoult is able to use controversial topics (same sex marriage, IVF, when an embryo becomes a person etc.) and make the reader think, as well as feel, for those being wronged.

I liked Sing You Home much better than the last of Picoult's books I've read (House Rules/ Harvesting the Heart). I put it on par with my liking of Salem Falls and Plain Truth. My faves by her are The Pact and Nineteen Minutes. It has the typical medical issues, courtroom drama and is told by different points of view.

Picoult has written Zoe Baxter as a very likable main character. She has an honorable career as a music therapist where she helps burn victims, dementia patients and many other vulnerable and hurting people. Max, her counterpart, has his moments, but he is the typical spineless character who grows up through the novel. Also, his conversion into the church is so eye-roll worthy to me and not because it is done poorly but because I just don't understand when people undergo those type of oh I almost died and have been doing terrible things like relapsing into my alcoholic stupor but yay God!

The subject matter is controversial and I would warn my friends suffering through infertility about picking up the book. Infant loss is also mentioned which can also be upsetting to some. Personally, as being pregnant those aspects of the book did not upset me.

I found the same-sex marriage issue was handled in a respectful accurate manner (from what I know). Unless, of course, you are as close minded and stupid as the Eternal Glory Church or the likes of Hannity /Rush who are mentioned in the book.

I found I laughed, I cried and I said heck yes, that guy is an idiot and you go girl. So it is a winner. This would make a fabulous book club book and invokes a LOT of questions. However, it could also make a lot of book clubs split down the middle and it could get ugly.

Some complaints, I was sad there wasn't any follow up with her elderly patient Mr. Docker. In one section Max's brother's name, Reid, is spelled differently than the rest of the book (could be an ARC thing), I couldn't stand the attorney referring to the embryos as pre-born children and I was sad that my ARC copy did not include teh CD that is supposed to accompany the novel. I am sure that will be a great addition. Also, obviously it is fiction but the issues were real, but the timeline on everything was a bit insane. I mean Zoe loses a baby, divorces and becomes a lesbian within 6 months?

I most definitely recommend this book, it is fairly predictable with a few surprises. Overall, it is a fascinating look into the same-sex marriage debate and why the heck anyone cares who others sleep with. (But heck we do love our gossip mags, so I suppose that helps answer why some people think a person's personal sex life is important to anyone NOT in the relationship. But really who cares??) Sorry, I could rant all day.

In other words, check it out when it comes out March 1st. ;)

I received an ARC copy from Crazy Book Tours all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

26 weeks.. yikes

Sorry, no pic this week. Today has been a rough/emotional day and I can't muster the happiness to take the photo. ( no worries it's not about me, just a well respected man i know)

How far along? 26 weeks
Weight gain/loss: plus 3
Maternity clothes? still can wear a few reg shirts.
Stretch marks? no
Sleep? is fabulous
Best moment this week? setting up the crib and glider and buying a canvas wall hanging for her room!
Food cravings: i am not discriminating this week
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? tons
What I miss? not being ruled by hormones
What I'm looking forward to: going to BRU and Target to register this week..

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays: Things I Could Do Without

1. Negative Wind-Chill/Snow – Seriously? It should not be allowed to be BELOW zero nor should snow still be gracing my front yard/porch/roof/driveway. I am a Christmas Day loving snow girl only.

2. Decaf Coffee – What is the point? This is like non-alcoholic beer or wine.

3. People who go on and on about not doing a popular thing – Be this reading Harry Potter / Twilight, watching the Super Bowl (really you only need to tell twitter/fb ONCE you aren’t watching you don’t get 23432434 bonus points for every gosh darn status/tweet update, not watching the President speak (way to promote not being involved in government) or whatever it seriously drives me bananas. Do you want an effin’ cookie?

4. The Bachelor – Really? Just stop. Real relationships take more work, honesty and a lot less drama.

5. Junk Mail – It just goes straight to the garbage, why bother wasting the time/paper? I don’t even read/open it!

6. People who can’t just answer a question without imputing unneeded information – Gee thanks, NEVER thought of those NEW ideas myself. :::eyeroll:::

7. Wet Socks – I dread them in the winter. I usually do pretty good hopping around and avoiding it, but when I get wet socks, I am not happy.

8. Static-y Hair – Ughh…

9. Dry skin – I hate the feeling of my hands, feet, arms, legs. There is just not enough lotion in the world.

10. Cleaning the House – I would so hire a maid in 2 seconds if I had a full-time job. I hate cleaning. Dusting? Ugh. Cleaning the toilet? Ugh. Washing the mirror 24332 times a week because my husband spits his toothpaste on it? AHHHHHHH….

What can you do without?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Henry Ford Museum

I visited the Henry Ford Museum last month and had a blast! I was a chaperone so I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wanted, nor did I get to see everything, but I saw enough to want to go back and to shout from the rooftops how much the museum rocks.

love this quote! (from the Liberty and Justice for all exhbit!)

I mean in one day I saw, the limo JFK was riding in when he was shot, the chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot, the bus Rosa Parks made famous and much much more! Sadly, I missed the Washington Camp Bed. Dang teenagers!

the front view of JFK's limo

the blood stain just gets me.. LINCOLN SAT IN THAT CHAIR THAT IS HIS BLOOD.. oh my gosh my inner nerd is still gushing about this

the bus Rosa Parks made famous and I SAT ON IT!!!!!!! ahhh... serious i was in history nerd heaven!

I think my favorite exhibit was the For Liberty and Justice for all. So moving and informative. I'm only sad I was with kids who didn't fully appreciate everything we were seeing and could only catch glances at some things myself. It's amazing to think how far women's rights have come in the last 100 years and how thankful I am to those women who came before me. Also, how sad that it took us until 2007 to have the first Woman Speaker of the House and until 2008 to have an African-American president. Heck, we still haven't had a female president! Let's get on it America!

i mainly took this picture of an old song book because it made me think of my sweet grandma who would have loved this museum as much as I did.. this was near the Lincoln chair


even more powerful.. feminist me would not have survived!

I also really liked the Made in America Exhibit but could have spent more time reading up on more interesting tidbits! It was fun to read about the different generations and what came about during each one.

I also thought seeing the Presidential Limousines was pretty neat! Teddy Roosevelt's was pretty sweet and totally made me imagine a tree lined dirt road and being driven by horses, but not as sweet as seeing JFK's. It really shows how much technology and safety measures have increased through the years.

Sadly, I completely missed the Heroes of the Sky exhibit, but we just ran out of time! We also didn't get to see the special George Washington Carver exhibit they had either.

The only thing I could have skipped was the Dymaxion House. Pretty lame and not worth our limited time in my opinion.

Basically, if you are in the Detroit area you should check it out! It was sweet. But don't bother going to PizzaPapalis they were rude, pizza sucked and not worth it!

(all adoring and non-adoring opinions are that of my own, paid by none..)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shanghai Girls - Discussion #1

Thanks for participating in our February Group Read, Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See. This discussion is through the end of the chapter called Soaring Through the Night Sky. There will be spoilers involved so you have been warned. Also note that I am reading the large print version so my page numbers may be different than the version you are reading.

Quick Recap
Pearl and May are two very spoiled Chinese sisters who have grown up in a very privileged setting in 1920-1930s Shanghai. The beginning of the book is set in 1937 and while we are reading the Japanese have attacked the Chinese. Pearl and May's world is turned upside down when they find out their weasel of a father has gambled away all of their money and they are to marry the sons of a rich Chinese American man to make up for it. Basically, they get married but then rebel and all hell breaks loose.

My thoughts
pg. 19 "We pay him, cross the street, step around a dead baby left on the sidewalk, find another rickshaw puller who has a license for the French Concession ..."

Uh what excuse me? DEAD BABY ON THE SIDEWALK????

furthermore... later on they discuss more dead babies being left on the sidewalk by the poor refuges.. I can't handle the complete lack of care/respect to newborns that they show. No wonder some kill daughters to try again for a son. ughh.

pg. 51 "Finally, its time for us to retire to our respective bridal chambers. My father whispers in my ear, "You know what you need to do. Once it's done, all this will be over."

Oh my good lord. What an asshole of a father!!!!!

Others Thoughts
Zelfgezien submitted the following to our discussion
What stuck me in this first part was the relation between Pearl and her parents. In the first chapter she describes how they’re placed around the square table in a way that both Baba and Ma are as close as possible to May, while a little before that she tells us that normally families have a round table “so they’ll always be whole and connected”. During these first hundred pages, details remind me of this weird relationship between parents and children in a negative way, until the raping scene.
I want to talk about this little part: “I reach out and grab her hand. How can I describe the look that passes between us? We’re a mother and a daughter being raped repeatedly, for all we know until we both die. I see in her eyes my birth, the endless tragedies of mother love, a total absence of hope, and than somewhere deep, deep in those liquid pools a fierceness I’ve never seen before.”
Personally, when I first read this little paragraph, I immediately forgave Ma for the faults and wrong decisions she made. For, in some way, I already knew Ma would die and Pearl would live, and that this was somehow there last chance to forgive each other. The problem is that this ‘forgiving Ma’ was just my direct response to the story, but it’s not literally said in the text that Pearl forgives her. So I was wondering what the other opinions are about this idea of forgiving & about this little paragraph.

I also think the family relationship is very weird and if Pearl can be a reliable narrator because it is obvious she feels slighted and that the world revolves around her younger sister. I think the mother did redeem herself there a bit toward the end but it was all very weird.

So, far I am liking the book but the descriptions of Shanghai are making me skim some paragraphs.

Question from me
1. What do you think of Pearl's "feelings" and her relationship with Z.G.?

Discussion Questions from BookBrowse
1. Pearl is a Dragon and May is a Sheep. Do you think the two sisters are true to their birth signs in their actions in Shanghai Girls? (I know it is just the beginning but what have you noticed so far? I think it will be interesting to keep these definitions in mind throughout the book)

What do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Thoughts? Next Friday we will discuss Eating Wind and Tasting Leaves through the end of Scents of Home.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicken Cheese Enchiladas

A couple months ago I was at my parents and my dad made some chicken cheese enchiladas and they were excellent. It got me thinking, this isn't hard I should make some. The key? My husband cooked a full (small) chicken for Sunday night dinner and we used the leftovers for the enchiladas. Sooo much easier than cooking the chicken and then shredding it and it had the flavor of the beer and the rub he used the day before. This recipe is based off of this one from

- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 can (4.5 ounces) green chilies
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 can nacho cheese soup (Campbell's)
- 1/2 cup salsa
- chili powder
- 1/2 of a small onion
- 6 tortilla shells
- shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

First, mix the soup and the milk together in a small bowl.

In a slightly bigger bowl, mix the chicken, green chilies, salsa, onion, 2 tablespoons of the nacho/milk mixture and the chili powder.

Then I put some of the soup mixture on the bottom of the pan. Note, this WAS NOT ENOUGH. I would either grease and put soup on the bottom or put a lot more soup on the bottom then I did.

Then in each individual shell I put the chicken mixture, topped it with some shredded cheese and then rolled them up.

Oh sooo pretty.

Even prettier!!! Dump the soup mixture on top and spread it around. Then put it in the oven COVERED with foil for about 25 minutes and then take it out and sprinkle some more shredded cheese, put it back in the oven until it is melted.

Yummmmmmm.. Deliciousness!!! The shells were sooo juicy and soft and yum yum yum. The only down fall was the fact that I really need more sauce on the bottom so getting them out was not so fun, but delicious all the same.

After I put the enchiladas in the oven I made Rice a Roni Spanish Rice to serve with it.. YUMMMMMM. (I don't use tomato sauce, I use salsa. yummmm!)

Verdict? Amazing. My husband gave it a 2 thumbs up and so did I. Definitely going to be our go to chicken dish the day after we cook a full chicken from now on!!
What is your favorite type of enchilada?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

25 Weeks.. size of an eggplant??

How far along? 25 weeks
Weight gain/loss: today I weighed exactly the same as the day I found out i was pregnant.. I have no idea how this is possible because of the amount of food that I have been piling in this week.. I am CONSTANTLY hungry.
Maternity clothes? all pants that go out of the house and most shirts that go out of the house but i can still wear a few of my long sleeve shirts but they are creeping up.
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep? I woke up with vertigo on Monday so sleep has been slightly uncomfortable this week. I can only really comfortably sleep wedged on my left side with my head only tilted a little bit or the world really feels like it is spinning out of control. Though I have been less tired this week so that has been nice.
Best moment this week? I love watching her move my belly. It is hilarious.
Food cravings: none really but my taste for super spicy food has returned so that has been awesome.. i have had cheesy chicken enchiladas w/spanish rice monday and then last night at my parents enchilada casserole in the crockpot with spanish rice.. yummm. today? Chili and grilled cheese!
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Pretty much anytime I am sitting she is a wiggling!
What I miss? I kind of want to drink an entire bottle of wine and get super silly.
What I'm looking forward to: Working more on her room this weekend. We've got the built in's off the walls and the paint touched up so now we need to assemble the crib and glider!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January At A Glance

Books Read

1. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan (Jan. 2nd)
2. The Weight of Water – Anita Shreve (Jan. 17th)
3. Sizzling Sixteen – Janet Evanovich (Jan. 18th)
4. Absolute Power – David Baldacci (Jan. 25th)

None of these really were OMG awesome reads, but I will say Sizzling Sixteen was a perfect quick funny read and Absolute Power was very interesting, but kind of on the long side.

Currently Reading: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and Baby Bargains

Movies Watched
Ocean's Eleven
A Beautiful Mind

Neither of these were new to me and I even own Ocean's Eleven but Saturday night seemed like a night of movies for us! (As you can tell, we don't watch a lot of films in this household!)

What I Want To See: True Grit, Rabbit Hole and Country Strong

Favorite Photos

This is from the Liberty and Justice for All Exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum. I went there last week and have some other pictures I am meaning to share.

This is also from the Henry Ford Museum and this is the chair that President Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot. How freaking awesome is that? (Yes, I am a history nerd). I can't believe that you can see the blood stains!!!

Favorite Recipes
Cheesy Enchiladas!! (recipe coming soon)
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Baked Potato Soup and I made a new recipe this weekend based off of this Pampered Chef recipe and it is TO DIE FOR!!!!

What were your favorite parts of January?