Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fruit Milkshake = YUM!!!!!!!

I've been thinking about making smoothies again lately since I lived on them in September/October but for some reason I just couldn't get motivated. Then I started thinking about ice cream and decided hmmmm... maybe I could make a 'smoothie' with ice cream. Okay, yeah we know those are called milkshakes but I mean with fruit it makes it all better, right?? ;) Introducing my Kiwi/Banana/Strawberry Milkshake Ingredients 1 kiwi 3 strawberries (all i had) half-banana (already had one cut up from earlier) 1/2 cup milk 1 heaping cup of ice cream First, I cut up all the fruit and this is what I got. If I wasn't just using up ingredients I would have used lots more strawberries and probably a whole banana to thicken it up a bit more, but a half was also fine.
Then I measured out a 1/2 cup of milk.

Yeah, this is a 1/2 cup but I put two of these in the blender. Wasn't about to get out the cup when I already was using the half-cup!
I put the fruit, the milk and the ice cream in the blender and...

Tada!!! Yummmmm. It was really good. I wouldn't recommend using more than 1 kiwi because it was the perfect tart extra, but more than that might make it a tad weird. As it was, the black spots from the kiwi kinda looked odd in the milkshake haha. Also, depending on how thick you like your milkshakes you might want to use less milk. I think I would cut it to maybe a 1/4 cup to make it thicker.

Perfect mid-day treat!

What are your favorite fruits to mix with ice cream?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

33 weeks!!!!

Today at 33 weeks!! All dressed up to go to a dinner for my husband's company tonight.. fun times!

The Skip Hop diaper bag I ended up buying.. Slightly disappointed because the photo I saw when ordering was the charcoal dot one, which I liked better.. but this one is okay too!

a view of half the closet.. like the pink paint in the closet? the bedroom used to be that color when we moved in.. and there used to be ORANGE shag carpet on top of that flooring! a view of the crib.. and the very old vacuum because the very nice one I got as a wedding gift broke and we never got it fixed.. it is awaiting a new storage spot.. the clothes in the crib have been put in the tubs that you could kind of see in the other photo and stacked in the closet. the only stuff left in the crib are newborn - 0-3 month sizes that I am going to wash after my baby shower
this is the view from the door when you walk in.. my glider my hubby got me, the dresser from CSN stores from my parents, the rug from Target that I got when I was a sophomore in college, and the owl wall art is from Target and probably going to hang on the wall by the glider. and we are waiting for nicer weather to wash the blinds. they are gross.

this is baby and me on my birthday on Saturday!!! lovely DQ Reese's ice cream cake!

How far along? 33 weeks.. holy shiz!

Weight gain/loss: up 9 pounds

Maternity clothes? same ole story as before..

Stretch marks? sadly, I think I may have sprouted my 1st one over the last week. Which would not be surprising seeing as how I feel like I doubled in size over the last week. but I can't get a good look cuz it is underneath the belly... but sadly I think it is one.

Sleep? The last two nights, my surefire sleep on my side has not worked. I've ended up on my back and being on my back wakes me up because I can't breathe! Then my back hurts when I do wake up.. I feel like I need my own king size bed!

Best moment this week? celebrating my birthday with friends and fam and getting more baby room stuff organized..

Food cravings: the last two days I've wanted Mexican.. but i haven't had it.

Gender: Girl

Belly button in or out? In

Movement? all the time.. but she has been a little quiet today.. probably from her partying all day yesterday!

What I miss? I reaaalllllly wanted a cherry wheat or a Killian's this weekend or an Amber Bock when we were out celebrating with our friends. I would have ordered one or sipped my husband's but we were with his aunt and uncle who I don't think would have liked that. But let's just say.. dark beer!!

What I'm looking forward to: A little getaway we are taking this weekend. We are going to hit up some restaurants that are featured on Man vs. Food and Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins. We are also going to try to hit up Whole Foods in Ann Arbor and perhaps a Trader Joe's in the Detroit area. We are also hoping to try some Coney dogs in Detroit and maybe hop across the bridge and visit Windsor. We might also check out the Holocaust Museum.

Milestones: umm I am pretty sure being 33 weeks is a milestone. ahhhhhhh

I feel so bad this poor girl has no name. We seem to add names and delete names but our list doesn't seem to fixate on one. I will be convinced of one and then think of reasons no. Or My husband doesn't say he loves anything so it's hard.

Here are some of our finalists what do you think?







Leaning towards Elizabeth or June for middle names. But of course nothing is concrete.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Mephisto Club

I bet ya'll are getting sick of me and my ramblings about Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isle series. Good news? I'm almost completely caught up in the series. Only 2 more books to go! ;) Her newest in the series, The Silent Girl, comes out July 5th! The Mephisto Club is probably the grossest, creepiest and most interesting installment so far. Dismemberment, Satanic symbols, glimpses of Rome and Siena, the Devil tracking down his prey. Very interesting. It kind of reminded me of The Divinci Code and Angels and Demons. Basically, on Christmas Eve Rizzoli is called to a scene where a young woman has been dismembered and there are creepy Satanic symbols written on her walls and a weird ritual on the kitchen floor. Fast forward a few weeks and ANOTHER body is found outside a retired history professors house where he is hosting a dinner party for a very peculiar group of people. The Mephisto Foundation is a group of people who are pretty well off and are interested in tracking down the evil in the world. Its roots go waaaaaaaaaay back to ancient times and many mentions of times before Christianity are mentioned as well as Adam's third son Seth. I found all of this information very fascinating. Anyway, long story short. This group of people get on Rizzoli's nerves (and she gets on mine for being holier than thou and hard-headed) and try to help solve her case. Lots of blood and gore and plenty of mystery. Definitely recommend this series if you haven't checked it out yet! What fiction books with historical references have you enjoyed?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pizza Casserole

I bought egg noodles awhile ago for a disaster of a turkey meatball recipe (gag) and wanted to finish using them up. I also didn't have any meat thawed and needed a dinner recipe that may include some meat, cuz ya know it's not a meal if there isn't any meat. (rolls eyes at hubby) Enter Pizza Casserole.

Ingredients (based off this recipe)

about 16 ounces of egg noodles

pizza sauce (i used about half of an empty jar and half of a full jar so about 1 jar haha)

small onion

chopped pepperoni chopped

4 slices salami chopped

1 Roma tomato chopped

whatever cheese you want to use (i used a mix of Monterrey jack, mild cheddar and cheddar)


Italian seasoning

First, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

While the noodles were cooking, I chopped up the tomato, pepperoni, salami and onions.

When the noodles were done, I drained them and put them back into the pan and poured about half a jar of pizza sauce in with it and mixed it around. I also added the seasonings at this point.

Then in a 13 by 9 greased baking dish I put the noodles down and covered them with more sauce. About another half jar.

Then I layered down the toppings. I didn't really do this in any particular order just spaced out everything.

Covered it with cheese and put it in the oven for 18 minutes.

And out it came! Yum!

Verdict? I really liked the salami flavor and the tomatoes! If my hubby liked olives I would have added those and if we would have had some green pepper I would have thrown that in too. Yummy, easy and lots of leftovers!

Friday, March 25, 2011

In the Woods - Discussion #4

Welcome to our last discussion of In the Woods by Tana French. This covers the whole book with an emphasis Chapter 20 through the end. Spoilers will most likely happen. Any and all are welcome to contribute!

My thoughts
I'm a disappointed in the 'detective' and 'police' work that was done by both Ryan and Maddox. I think I was also a little disappointed in Maddox for falling for Ryan and then into bed with the other. Like she was so the anti-stereotype to begin with and then in last part of the book she falls into it faster than a dress comes of on prom night. (yeah you can groan at that) I am also mad that Rosalind played them all so well and that in the end she got off. Her poor father.

Lines I Liked
pg.745 "You had as good a chance as I did. I told you everything I saw, as I saw it at the time. And if that was in itself deceptive, remember, I told you that, too: I warned you, right from the beginning, that I lie."

pg. 763 "She informed me, matter-of-factly, that she was old enough to know the difference between intriguing and fucked up. "You should go for younger women," she advised me. "They can't always tell."

A word from Tana French
Q. In connection with her own near-molestation as a child, your detective Cassie Maddox observes that children find it almost impossible to resist the promise of marvels—the possibility of entering a magical world. Do you really think adults are all that different? Aren't most of us continually both ennobled and victimized by our willingness to believe and search for the fantastic?
I think that leap of belief, that capacity to respond to the mysterious unseen and unknown, is one of the most incredible human abilities—and how you respond to the unknown is one of the defining choices that make you what you are. That's a recurring thread in the book: how the different characters react when they have the chance to make that leap into an unknown world that could transform their lives forever, for better or for worse. Cassie, as in that childhood story, is willing to take huge risks for the chance of marvels. Rob isn't: every time he has the opportunity to take that leap, he runs as fast and as far as he can, and in the end that destroys him. On the other hand, there's one character who is destroyed—perhaps even more thoroughly—by his willingness to make that commitment to the unknown. Our ability to believe in marvels is an amazing thing; it's a crucial part of what makes us human, it's a crucial part of what makes life wonderful—but, like anything so important, it's dangerous and it doesn't come with guarantees.

Questions from Penguin
1. After sleeping together, Ryan and Cassie cease to be friends. Why do you think the experience of physical intimacy is so damaging to their relationship? Are there other reasons why their friendship falls apart?

2. How convincing is French's explanation of the motivating forces that lead to Katy's murder—forces that come close to a definition of pure evil? Are such events and motivations ever truly explicable?

3. Do you have your own theories about the mysteries that remain unsolved at the end of In the Woods? What are they?

4. What were your thoughts and emotions upon finishing In the Woods? If this book affected you differently from other mysteries you have read, why do you think this was true?

Thanks for participating in our March Group Read!! We always welcome conversation. Join us back in April for Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Rizzoli & Isles installment number 5 does not disappoint! I think I enjoyed this one even more than Body Double. I would totally be digging into the next one already, but our roads are horrible so there aren't any impromptu trips to the library in my near future.

This thriller includes the scary labor/delivery experience Detective Rizzoli goes through to get her beautiful baby born. A mysterious hostage taker has Jane and others corralled into a waiting room at the hospital while everyone tries to figure out how the lady who used to be 'dead' got into this predicament. [ Yeah, a not 'dead' body shows up at the ME's office! ]

The information that Rizzoli, Agent Dean and other co-workers learn is frightening and dangerous and even a new infant won't keep Jane from participating.

I must say I do have a few complaints with Jane's reaction to motherhood and breast feeding. I know it is part of who her character is (brash non-maternal and job focused), but she seriously was making some uneducated comments that were a tad annoying. She wasn't really TRYING to be a mother, more just resenting that the baby had made her change so much. (Not to say that this isn't a perfectly fine reaction to somewhat resent your life not being your own anymore, but it was all in the context of the book.) She also took a flight out of town 2 weeks after the baby was born and was self-expressing milk in a bathroom because she didn't know what to do with her milk. Um perhaps get a pump? I mean, seriously it was a bit annoying that and her simple oh I will just use formula to get this kid to stop crying instead of trying other soothing methods was aggravating. However, I think with how the book ends that Jane's take on motherhood may be changing in the next book.

Also, fair warning but this book focuses a lot of the illegal sex trade industry in our country and there are some pretty vile/descriptive scenes that portray older men having sex with very young girls. It will make you angry and uncomfortable but is definitely worth the read.

When was the last time something in a book irritated you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

32 weeks and April's Group Read

First, holy cow! 8 weeks left???????? I am sick with a head cold/ sinus crap and it is a snow day in these parts so I am not getting dressed today. No pictures. But I can tell you, I pretty much look the same as last week ha.

How far along? 32 weeks
Weight gain/loss: up 7 pounds
Maternity clothes? my shirts that i wear in public are almost 100 percent maternity now because of the belly
Stretch marks? none yet. woo
Sleep? i sleep fine, as long as i fall asleep
Best moment this week? FINALLY finding a diaper bag that wasn't going to cost me 80 bucks and is still attractive! I got the Skip Hop Studio Diaper Tote bag off of Amazon. It was on sale and I had an additional 15 dollars off with coupon codes!
Food cravings: sweet tea
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? all the time.. she sure likes to stretch out
What I miss? having control of my emotions
What I'm looking forward to: My baby shower so I can re-evaluate what we need!

now on to book club news....

April Group Read Selection is Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore!

From goodreads
This Washington novel is authored by Kristin Gore, the daughter of former vice president Al Gore. Sammy's Hill, her first novel, is set near Daddy's old stomping grounds. Its heroine, hardworking, lovestruck Samantha Joyce, earns her daily bread as the domestic policy adviser to a reformist senator. Political scandals and rumors of sexual infidelity loom large in this educated romp through the political swamps of the Potomac.

Discussions over Sammy's Hill will be:

Discussion 1 – Beg of book to Roadshow pg. 110 on April 8th
Discussion 2 – Roadshow through Faded Luster pg. 204 on April 15th
Discussion 3 – Faded Luster through Breathe in Deep, It’s all Fresh Air pg. 299 on April 22nd
Discussion 4 – Breathe in Deep, It’s all Fresh Air through the end on April 29th

I will be contacting some of you who offered to write up a guest post for one of the discussions soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Body Double

Rizzoli & Isles are back together for their 4th book with quite the case to solve. Dr. Isles is returning from a trip to Paris when she encounters the police and a colleague from the medical examiner's office AT HER HOUSE!

There is a beautiful woman who has been killed in front of Maura's house, but the most disturbing thing? She looks just like Maura.

In this action packed book they need to figure out who this mystery woman is and why do they look alike, who killed her, did the person mean to kill Maura, and who is Maura's birth mother and what kind of person is Maura's birth mother?

I love this series. I love the characters of Rizzoli and Isles. I love the minor characters. I love the mysteries that are plausible. I love that they are set in Boston. It makes me want to take a trip to the east coast so so so bad.

My only complaints? Sometimes I can't stand to read the gruesome descriptions of the autopsies that Maura performs. But they are written very well. Did you Tess Gerritsen is a doc?

I stayed up until 1 am last night finishing this and am going to start the 5th book in the series, Vanish today. Why I waited months in between to continue reading this is beyond me. I really liked the show Rizzoli & Isles on TNT this past summer and hope it comes back this summer. I think Angie Harmon has Rizzoli is AWESOME. Mainly because I love Angie in practically every role she has played. Including, her stints on Law & Order and The Women's Murder Club. Sasha Alexander makes an awesome Dr. Isles, minus that in the book she has black hair and on the show it is red. Oh well, I like her as a red head better.

Do you have a favorite book/series that has turned into a tv show/movie that you love just as much?

Monday, March 21, 2011

To The Power of Three

This is the second book by Laura Lippman that I've read and while I am not a gushing fan of hers, I do enjoy her mystery writing.

Josie, Kat and Perri have been inseparable since the third grade until the start of senior year when Perri stops talking to Kat and directs everyone to ask her why they are no longer friends, only for Kat to respond, ask Perri. Not even Josie knows why the rift started, only that she can't bare to lose Kat too.

The book starts with a girl preparing to take a gun to school. The next thing we know we are dropped into a high school in early June that is bustling, getting ready for the end of the year and graduation when a shooting takes place in the girls room. Shot? Kat, Perri and Josie. Only one is conscious and talking.

The book goes back and forth between present time and back into snippets from the past 10 years of friendship. From the beginning in third grade, to middle school dramas to early high school woes to college worries and the present time.

In the end, the community will be and is shocked by the outcome of what appeared to be an isolated singular incident between three friends.

My only complaints would be the bogging down of sooo many characters and minor characters and information that sometimes was a little irritating when you really wanted to know why the heck the girl brought the gun to school and what exactly happened in the bathroom!
Who is your favorite mystery writer?
Don't forget to vote for the April Group Read, poll closes tomorrow!

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the Woods - Discussion #3

Welcome back to the third discussion on In the Woods by Tana French! Any and all are welcome to comment this is focused on chapter 12 through the end of chapter 19 but anything through the beginning is fair game. There most likely will be spoilers.

My thoughts
This last section has made me really not like Detective Ryan. He is all creepy and psycho and completely stupid when it comes to his relationship with Cassie. Not to mention I am STILL pissed about him not telling who he is and how he shouldn't be on this case. (Yes, I take these things seriously.) I did find it kind of cute that Sam really was so innocent to his uncle's underhanded dealings. I mean that phone call was shocking, but really? Politicians do sleazy things all the time, it's the profession. And I am a LITTLE perturbed that there was no follow up with Damien about the track suit guy after Rosalind had Jessica say she saw him too, because umm hellooo odd? But that is just one of the many reasons Ryan shouldn't be on the case and why he should SHARE everything with Cassie.

Lines that struck me
pg. 539 " If she had hurt me, I could have forgiven her without even having to think about it; but I couldn't forgive her for being hurt." (UGHHH JACKASS!)

pg. 573 "I'm not sure why this, out of all the possibilities, should be my most closely guarded secret. I think the truth is this: I have always wondered whether this was was the reason I was left behind, that day in the wood. Because I was fat; because I couldn't run fast enough; because, newly heavy and awkward, my balance shattered, I was afraid to jump off the castle wall. Sometimes I think about the sly, flickering line that separates being spared from being rejected." (And there he goes making me feel slightly bad for his poor 12 year old self!)

Info from the Author
Q. Having lost the companionship of his two vanished friends Jamie and Peter, Rob Ryan grows up to form another triumvirate with Cassie and Sam. Do you see Rob as sometimes striving more to repeat the past than to salvage and redeem it?
I think we all have unfinished patterns in our lives, patterns that we can't move beyond until we find a way to complete them. The pattern that was branded onto Rob's mind when he was twelve—the two loved and lost friends—is one of these: he comes back to it almost involuntarily. Once he's there, he can't or won't do anything to change the pattern—he's only dimly aware that changing it is even an option—and so he almost deliberately wrecks the triumvirate with Cassie and Sam, because that's the only thing he knows how to do with it. For him, the past and the present coexist: his past defines his present completely.

Q. What are some of your other thoughts about the psychological makeup of Rob Ryan? And what sources did you draw upon—psychiatric research, your experience as an actor, etc.—to bring his character into focus?
My wonderful editor, Kendra Harpster, once told me that Rob is the kind of guy whom you know you shouldn't get involved with; you know he's trouble; you know he's too badly damaged for a healthy relationship—but you want to get involved anyway. I think we've all known guys like that.
No psychiatric research—at least not for Rob, although I did a lot of research on psychopathology in order to make the killer as real as possible. Rob is messed up in a fairly individual way; I'm not sure it has an official diagnosis! For Rob, my main resource was probably my experience as an actor. For a long time now, it's been my job to create a three-dimensional character out of words on a page, and (touch wood) send the audience home feeling as if that character is a real person whom they actually know. A lot of people have told me that they feel that way about the characters in In the Woods, and it's the best compliment anyone can give me. When someone says that, I know I've done my job.

Discussion Questions from Penguin
1. Imagine that you are Ryan's therapist. With what aspects of his personality would you most want to help him come to terms? Do you think there would be any way to lead him out of ìt he woods?

2. The loss or absence of stable families is a recurring motif in In the Woods. How do French's characters, particularly Ryan, attempt to compensate for this absence?

Our next and last discussion on In the Woods will be next Friday, March 25th and cover Chapter 20 through the end of the book. Thanks for participating again! If you have anything you would like to share, please feel free to comment and talk back and forth between each other!

Also, the poll is up for April. Make a selection by March 22nd!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

31 weeks!

ahhh so cute! that would be her little arms up by her face rubbing her eyes! (just like daddy haha)

and my sweet precious girl with her cheeks!!! see the tufts of hair?? ahhh.. love her lips.. i think they look like mine when i was a babe!

and here is the outside picture of me.. ;) 31 weeks today! holy cow!

How far along? 31 weeks
Weight gain/loss: up 7
Maternity clothes? for the most part
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? -is fabulous and i could take a nap right now
Best moment this week? Seeing our girl via ultrasound today! Definitely still a girl.. and she has the cutest cheeks ever! and little tufts of hair! ahhhh...
Food cravings: anything sweet
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? all the time!
What I miss? feeling like i had control of my eating habits haha
What I'm looking forward to: finishing up her room
Milestones: starting appts every 2 weeks now!

Good news today! Passed the 3 hour, placenta has moved (woo!), baby girl is head down and she is gorgeous! Oh and I had a Shamrock Shake because we both did so well at our appointments today! ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dreams for my Daughter

For her to have the confidence to stand up and speak for herself and others, but to have the grace to do so with integrity.

To think for herself and research why she believes in whatever she is passionate for.

To never feel inferior to her peers and resort to name calling to increase her standing.

To never be be afraid to try new things, but have the sense to be weary of the possible consequences.

To appreciate the beauty and simplicity of a warm sunny day.

To love unconditionally.

To believe that nothing is impossible.

To know that every action and reaction I make or have is in her best interests.

Not to be ashamed if her laugh is a little too loud, her jokes fall on flat ears or her ideas ridiculed. What matters the most is trying again after being beaten.

To appreciate good tasting food and ignore those who harp on calories and her figure.

To live, laugh and love the hell out of life each and every day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

April Group Read Suggestions

Books we have already read..
In the Woods
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 two before March 17th (Happy St. Patty's Day!) and I shall include them in our poll!

For next month, I am wanting to do something a bit different, let me know how you feel about this in the comments. I was thinking that instead of me writing up EVERY Friday's main post, that at least for one post a month, someone else who is participating in the read could do a guest post, so that way we can have a different perspective leading the conversation? I would be willing to let anyone who volunteered pick which ever discussion would work the best for them, as long as they could have the guest post done and to me by 7pm the Thursday before. Heck, I would even welcome more than one volunteer if I got that and share, I'm not too picky. ;)

I have been thinking, and I know May is going to be insane for me and I am already pre-planning posts for then, so I would realllllly love if you don't feel up for it in April, that if in May you could do so that would be fab.

Just let me know what ya think... ;) Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the Woods - Discussion # 2

Welcome back to the 2nd discussion over In the Woods by Tana French. This discussion covers from chapter 7 through the end of chapter 11, but anything from the beginning of the book til chapter 12 is fine. Spoilers should be expected. Anyone and everyone is welcome.

My thoughts
I really liked how these chapters picked up a bit and we got more into the investigation. It's quite scary how downhill Detective Ryan's mind seems to be going as he gets further into the investigation and it still irks me that he hasn't said anything nor has anyone outed him. Bad for business. Also, I am not impressed that he keeps some things from his talk with Rosalind from Cassie. It's like he is trying to protect Rosalind by not revealing her crazy. Cassie also seems to be keeping some things from Ryan, which is probably good since his mental capacity is so iffy.

Lines I Liked
pg. 320 "Want to read my door-to-door reports for me instead? O' Gorman structures sentences like George Bush; most of the time I haven't a clue what he's on about."

pg. 382 "Strange though it may seem, I had only just understood up there on the stand with the flare of panic in MacSharry's eyes, that I was falling apart. I hadn't been aware that I was sleeping less than usual and drinking more, that I was snappy and distracted and possibly sort of seeing things but no specific incident had seemed particularly ominous or alarming in itself."

From the Author [ Source ]
Q. To tell the story of In the Woods, you have transgendered your voice; you speak to us through the male persona of Rob Ryan. Why did you opt for a male narrator, and did you encounter any particular challenges in adopting a masculine perspective?
Almost as soon as I thought of the basic premise of the book, the character of Rob Ryan came into my head: intelligent, sarcastic, secretive, proud, too badly damaged to be honest either with himself or with his readers—and male. It was never a conscious choice; that's just how he popped up.

I didn't run into any particular difficulties to do with writing from a male perspective. I've always had a lot of good male friends, which may have helped. What was much more difficult was writing from the perspective of someone as deeply messed up as Rob Ryan. His friends' disappearance and his loss of memory have sent cracks straight across his mind: he's unable to trust anything either around him or within him. At the point when the book begins, he's more or less functional ñ good at his job, sustaining at least one close friendship, basically happy—but as the case draws him back towards his past, those cracks widen and his mind starts to disintegrate. Trying to see the events of the book from that increasingly skewed perspective was an immense challenge.
Q. American readers who have a quaint vision of Ireland as a place of Old World traditions may be surprised to find that many of the cultural references in your novel come from distinctly American sources like The Simpsons and Sex and the City. Any comments on the prominence of these Americanisms, either in your writing or in Irish life itself?
There's always been a huge amount of cultural interplay between the United States and Ireland. For a long time now, it's been very difficult to write truthfully about Ireland without including some American cultural references—for people my parents' age, for example, watching cowboy films or dancing to Elvis were often defining experiences. The Irish historically have had an enormous appetite for every form of culture, and such a small country can't produce enough to meet that demand, so people here soak up American TV shows, films, books, and music. Transposed into an Irish context, those become part of our culture, too—they become part of that interplay. Take The Commitments: Roddy Doyle transposed very American music to a Dublin context to create an intensely Irish book, which then went back to America both in book form and in movie form.
I think it's probably impossible to have satellite TV and the Internet and still be quaint and Old World; that demands a level of cultural isolation that just doesn't exist here. When I referenced The Simpsons, for example, I wasn't even thinking of it as an American reference, because it's omnipresent here as well: everyone's watched it, everyone knows it, its catchphrases have become part of the language. The reality of Irish culture today is that it's not wholly indigenous; it's a fusion of homegrown elements and imported stuff, and it's all the richer for that.

Questions from Penguin
1. How does Ryan's experience In the Woods at the age of twelve affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insights?

2. The plan to build the new motorway, trampling as it does on a past that some regard as sacred, is an outrage to the archaeologists who are trying to preserve an ancient legacy. How does this conflict fit thematically with Ryan's own contradictory desires to unearth and to pave over his past?

Questions from me
3. So far in your reading, who do you think killed Katharine Devlin?

4. What do you think happened to Detective Ryan and his friends in the Wood all those years ago?

Thanks for once again participating in a group read discussion! Our third discussion on In the Woods will take place next Friday and will cover Chapter 12 through the end of Chapter 19.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Posts You Need to Check Out

I read a wide variety of blogs. When I started this one, it was mainly to cover my reading habits because I was overloading my other private blog with too many book posts. Then I started venturing off 'just' book topics. Now it is a random blog, but I don't share too many personal details but I have multiple interests that I sometimes share. And these interests lead to random blogs. So I decided to share some posts made in the last week from some of the many lovely bloggers that I follow, so you can also bask in their awesomeness and the random that is my various interests.

So in no particular order some of my favorite reads of the past week:

To Monetize or Not by the lovely Not Super. . . Just Mom
- She brings up a good point about bloggers and ads and why others rake other the coals for trying to make a buck.

Dear World. Signed, A Teacher by the lovely Dream As Big As the Sky
- She says about everything I think/feel about the way people treat teachers and how discouraging it all is

teaching isn't just my job, it's my job by the lovely Sluiter Nation
- She discusses the wonderful gift of reading and the awesomeness that is RIF.

I'm tired of thinking about weight by the lovely Charmingly Chandler
- She talks about how hard it is to get back out there and how daunting the dang Couch to 5k can be for those who are NOT runners.

Please check out these lovely ladies and their blogs and just maybe you will make yourself some new friends this week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

30 Weeks

How far along? 30 weeks! 10 more left.. holy crap.
Weight gain/loss: up 6
Maternity clothes? my tshirts are getting more snug but they still work
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? is fabulous..
Best moment this week? getting our dresser all assembled! now i need to clean up the floor and start putting clothes in the drawers!
Food cravings: anything sweet
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? all the time! my belly moves. it gets uncomfortable when she decides to punch my bladder
What I miss? breathing deeply
What I'm looking forward to: getting my plastic containers from my mom so i can organize the clothes we have so far and get clothes more organized! and our ultrasound next Wednesday.

I haven't heard back from the midwife's office about my 3 hour glucose screening so I am going to assume I passed! Woot! I didn't get a picture today because I felt I just looked massively fat instead of pregnant. It definitely is all in the clothes you wear! I need cuter ones!

Quick Poll... Lila (lie-la) or Lilia (lil-ee-ah) ?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Name Style.. brought to you bv Chelsea!

1. How did your parents decide on your name?
My mom always had loved the name and informed my dad if I was a girl that would be what my name was. Oh and my middle name at birth was her grandma's name.

2. Do your initials (First, Middle, Last) spell out anything fun/funny?
They are now END. And I find it fun.

3. Did you take your middle name from childhood or did you take your maiden name as your middle name? (If unmarried, what do you plan to do?)
My middle name is my maiden name and it is kind of long and most people comment on it, but it's my name and if I could go back I wouldn't have changed my name when I got married.

4. Are you or will you name your children thematically (ie. same first letter, all of same origin…)
Probably not.

5. Did you decide on baby names as a little girl? Did you stick to them or change your mind?
I have changed my favorite names waaaay too many times. But I do not like any of the same ones anymore.

6. Does your family have any names that have been passed down through generations?
Elizabeth, Leslie and Emmons

7. Do you look at the meaning of the name or just the name itself?
Not really.

8. Do you name pets with human names (Sally, Henry) or with pet names (Fluffy, Mr. Bo Bo)?
I don't do pets.

9. Are there any names that you have an affinity or dislike for based on a childhood experience/someone you once knew?
Uh yes. Faaaar too many names have been X'd out because of former students/people.

10. What are some of your favorite names? Why?
Girls: Anna, Lydia, Isla, Lilia, June, Nora
Boys: Cael, Lucas, Conner, Finn, Bennett, Callan, Emmett

I love names.. and it is very hard for us to come up with one for our daughter that is for sure!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spicy Chicken & Cheese Pasta

I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon trying to find something that was easy and matched what I wanted, which was a nice marinated/spicy chicken with pasta and cheese. I kept finding things that either required ingredients I didn't have or things that didn't sound good or right. So, I came up with my own, loosely based on this recipe and the random others I saw and decided to throw ingredients in. We had it for dinner tonight and it was fabulous!


- Box of whole wheat rotini pasta (I used Healthy Harvest and it was delicious)
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut in small cubes (seasoned with basil, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cracked red pepper)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ small onion (I would use more next time)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk (I used 2 percent)
- 2 cups shredded Monterrey Cheddar Cheese (about.. I measured out 1 cup for the sauce and just spread out a bunch on the top before I put it in the oven)
- ½ cup Mozzarella Cheese
- Parm cheese, salt and pepper to taste/look
- Handful of fresh spinach (I definitely would use more next time.. didn't seem like a lot when it had cooked)

First, I got the pasta cooking via its directions and preheated the oven to 350. I also greased a casserole pan. Then I took the chicken bite size pieces that I had sitting in the seasonings and put it in a pan with EVOO.

I cooked up the chicken and while it was going I also cut up the onion, garlic and got the spinach ready.
When the chicken was done cooking I dumped it into a bowl to sit.

Then in the same pan, I melted 2 tablespoons butter.

When that melted I cooked the onion and garlic and a few random spinach leaves that fell in, whoops. I let that cook for about a minute.

Then I added 2 tablespoons flour. Mixed the flour around and then poured in 1 cup milk. After that was well stirred and warm, I poured in 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 cup Monterrey cheddar cheese and sprinkled parm cheese on top. Kept it on the burner until it was all melted.

In the mean time, I poured the spinach in with the pasta for the last minute the pasta boiled and then drained it.

Then I mixed the chicken with the sauce and then the chicken/sauce with the pasta. I added some salt and pepper on top.

Then I poured it into the casserole pan and topped it with more Monterrey cheddar cheese/parm cheese and some paprika on top. Then put it in the oven for 20 minutes.


Verdict? It was fabulous and I would repeat again. I would probably had a sauce/liquid to the marinade of the chicken next time, and the additions I added with the ingredients, but it tasted great! Would have been awesome with some garlic bread.

Friday, March 4, 2011

In the Woods - Discussion #1

I have recently moved sites. If you don't have the new site in your google reader/favorites it is If you are still using the old link to get here, your comments will most likely not show up on the blog. I get them in my email but they are not appearing on the screen. So please make sure you update your settings!

Welcome to our March Group Read! Today is our first discussion on In the Woods by Tana French. Since we are discussing the book, be prepared for spoilers! Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate, even if you read this ages ago. We love to talk and exchange ideas. This discussion goes over the beginning of the book through the end of Chapter 6. Oh, and I have the large print edition so my page numbers may differ from yours!

Watch the Book Trailer

My thoughts
I am really liking it, but every now and then the narrator either loses me in random thought or I am not always so sure that I like the narrator's tone. I don't really know how to explain it but it sometimes seems off, and I am not sure if it is because of the woman writing the man role or a cultural thing or the main character is that weird. There have been some parts where I have laughed out loud and share a line or two with my husband and others were I am engrossed and don't want to get up. I love this genre of book though, I am a mystery/crime reader and watcher junkie!

Line I Liked
pg. 39 - "If it hadn't been for Cassie, I think I might have ended up turning into that detective on Law & Order, the one who has ulcers and thinks everything is a government conspiracy."

Something that Irks/Bothers Me
I am finding it very hard to believe that NO ONE knows he is the little boy from the previous case in the Knocknaree Wood, also the fact that he gets Cassie to cover up for him. Their jobs both could be affected if it comes out and even if he 'thinks' he isn't contaminating the case he is. I think it needed to come out to make this a little more believable but then again I am a fan of believable fiction ha.

An excerpt from an interview with Tana French (relating to my it bothers me part)
Q. To tell the story of In the Woods, you have transgendered your voice; you speak to us through the male persona of Rob Ryan. Why did you opt for a male narrator, and did you encounter any particular challenges in adopting a masculine perspective?
Almost as soon as I thought of the basic premise of the book, the character of Rob Ryan came into my head: intelligent, sarcastic, secretive, proud, too badly damaged to be honest either with himself or with his readers—and male. It was never a conscious choice; that's just how he popped up.
I didn't run into any particular difficulties to do with writing from a male perspective. I've always had a lot of good male friends, which may have helped. What was much more difficult was writing from the perspective of someone as deeply messed up as Rob Ryan. His friends' disappearance and his loss of memory have sent cracks straight across his mind: he's unable to trust anything either around him or within him. At the point when the book begins, he's more or less functional ñ good at his job, sustaining at least one close friendship, basically happy—but as the case draws him back towards his past, those cracks widen and his mind starts to disintegrate. Trying to see the events of the book from that increasingly skewed perspective was an immense challenge.

Questions from Penguin
(Obviously, some of the questions I picked can only be answered through where we have read, but I think they are still relevant)

1. How does Ryan's experience In the Woods at the age of twelve affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insights?
2. Ryan states that he both craves truth and tells lies. How reliable to you find him as a narrator? In what ways does the theme of truth and misrepresentation lie at the heart of In the Woods?

Have a question you want to ask? Line you want to share? Thoughts? Love it? Hate? Share and discuss in the comments! Next week we will discuss Chap 7 through the end of Chapter 11. If you want to share your info to put in the main post, email it to me by Thursday evening. If you want to do a guest post/something extra with the book, have at it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

29 weeks!!

29 weeks. HOLY BELLY. I was looking at the pictures my hubby took and I was like NO WAY am I that big and he was like ummm E look at you, you are. I may have pouted! (isn't my apron the cutest?? It is from Anna Carrie Baby )

How far along? 29 weeks
Weight gain/loss: 6 pounds
Maternity clothes? mostly, still can wear some shirts
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep? No issues, I sleep the same about every night but I do wake up and roll over but fall back asleep often.. not much different than before!
Best moment this week? We got the dresser in the mail! So excited to get it up!
Food cravings: anything sweet
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? all the time! as i typed this she gave a little kick :::hi blog!:::: (yes i did that annoying thing where i talked for my kid.. ughh)
What I miss? having the energy/want to work out! oh and beer lots and lots and lots of beer.
What I'm looking forward to: Getting the dresser up this weekend and then finalizing the placement of the glider/dresser and then getting the picture and decals up on the wall that we have already!
Milestones: Well we have passed 28 weeks where survival rates are around 85 percent. Scary to think I could have a baby anyyyy day. Eeek!

I took the 3 hour glucose test today and that was freaking miserable. I couldn't eat from like 9 last night until 11 am this morning. I had blood drawn at 7:50, had to chug the orange drink, blood drawn at 8:50, 9:50 and 10:50. The 7:50 to 8:50 hour was BRUTAL. I thought I would vomit and felt soo fidgety and weird. Hopefully I passed because I do not want to deal with GD! The 16th is our next appointment and we will have another ultrasound to check out my placenta and hope that it has moved so our darling daughter has an exit strategy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February At A Glance

Books Read
5. Sing You Home – Jodi Picoult (Feb. 10th)
6. Shanghai Girls – Lisa See (Feb. 18th)
7. The good daughters – Joyce Maynard (Feb. 24th)

A very good reading month! I enjoyed all three. I don't even know if I could pick a favorite because I liked all of them. And don't forget that Sing You Home comes out today!

Currently Reading: In the Woods by Tana French and am enjoying it! Join us Friday for our first group read discussion!

Movies Watched
No Strings Attached
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I LOOOOVED No Strings Attached. It was hilarious! And I adore Natalie Portman who is pretty darn funny in this movie. Also, Ashton Kutcher? Finally, growing up and appealing to me. Fear and Loathing? Horrendous movie! My hubby and I rented it for free via his Best Buy Rewards program and it was quite honestly the worst couple of hours of my life. Definitely, not what I was expecting.

What I want to See: Rabbit Hole (still!), The Kings Speech and I cannot wait until Hangover 2 comes out!

Favorite Photos

We had a TON of snow at the beginning of the month. It was soo deep and soo heavy that I didn't even venture out until we had been plowed out and my husband did a quick shovel. This is taken from my basement door haha.

This picture is super dark but I love the shape of my belly in it. This was one of my 25 week photos.

Favorite Recipes
Homemade Mac & Cheese with Eckrich Sausage
Sweet Potato Fries

This month in the kitchen I definitely was the 'semi-homemade' cook, which is why I didn't have nearly as many recipes. I used a lot of frozen sides/main dishes and did a lot of veggies/salads and fruit on the sides. For example, last night we had Gortons Fish Tenders, pineapple, a salad and my husband had leftover baked beans and cottage cheese and I had leftover cheesy rice from another meal. Another new fan favorite? Using Tyson Anytizer Boneless Buffalo Wings and throwing it into a salad we make... Yummmmm. I think the fact that my sciatica flares up when I stand too long in the kitchen has been thwarting my cooking endeavors. Or the fact that not many things 'sound' good when I am planning dinner.

And a grocery shopping/meal planning update
I know at the beginning of the year I talked about how I wanted to meal plan and grocery shop accordingly not to waste food. Well, I had already been cutting coupons and worked that into the mix. I have since given up full out meal planning and instead am basing purchases off of my coupons/store sales. I have started going shopping once a week and am STILL saving more money than I was before. We always have food in the house and yes the pantry is sort of overflowing with canned soup (which is an easy to grab lunch for my husband) and I have a stock up on toilet paper/lotion but, this will help me this summer with the baby. I am really enjoying it, even if it does take me most of my Sunday to read the paper, cut the coupons, look over couponing blogs/store ads and make my list. Well worth it, and it gets us out of food ruts by constantly trying new things/cheap things.

What were your favorite parts of February?