Sunday, April 28, 2013

What We Are Eating for Dinner this Week.

I planned out a delicious week and I'm pretty excited! As I am writing this, I even have our breakfasts for the week baking in the oven! Yummm.

Monday - Taco Salad

Tuesday - Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Broccoli and Baked Potato
I'm going to cook the pork in the crockpot all day with carrots, onions and garlic. Yum.

Wednesday - leftovers

Thursday - Out because we are going to the zoo!!!

Friday - Crockpot Hungarian Pot Roast
I found this recipe on pinterest and I am going to give it a shot!

The yummy smelling breakfast I am smelling is a batch of egg muffins.

Recipe is sweet and simple:

12 eggs
cut up veggies of whatever (I did orange pepper, onions, tomato)
some turkey deli meat
1 cup of cheese

Whisk the eggs, combine the rest and in a greased muffin in or use liners, pour until they are 2/3s full.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes!

What are your dinner plans for the week?

Friday, April 26, 2013

The End Of Your Life Book Club - Final Discussion

I may have giggled at the name of this post.  I have an inappropriate sense of humor. ;)

Um and confeession, while I have started and am liking this book, I am so not done.

1.  Does this book have a central theme? What is it?

2.  Will is amazed by his mother’s ability to continue her efforts to fund the library in Afghanistan even while facing a death sentence, until he realizes that “she used her emotions to motivate her and help her concentrate. The emphasis for her was always on doing what needed to be done. I had to learn this lesson while she was still there to teach me.” (page 194) Did Will learn? What makes you think so?

3. Why did Mary Anne become so intent on certain things happening: Obama’s election, David Rohde’s safe return? Will talks about his own “magical thinking” several times in the book—what form do you think Mary Anne’s took?

4. We’re all in the end-of-our-life book club, whether we acknowledge it or not; each book we read may well be the last, each conversation the final one.” (page 281) How did this realization affect Will’s final days with his mom?

5. After she dies, Will looks at Mary Anne’s copy of Daily Strength for Daily Needs, next to the bed. He believes this quote from John Ruskin was the last thing his mother ever read: “If you do not wish for His kingdom, don’t pray for it. But if you do, you must do more than pray for it; you must work for it.” (page 321) How did Mary Anne work for it throughout her life? Do you think Will found solace in this passage?

6. Several times in the book, Will talks about eBooks versus their physical counterparts. Why does he prefer one to the other? Does Mary Anne agree? If you read this book on an eReader, how do you think it affected your experience?

7. Which of the books discussed by Will and Mary Anne have you read? Which do you most want to read?

Have a great wekend!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

May's Group Read

is The Dinner by Herman Koch!

Description: An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives -- all over the course of one meal.

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

Discussions will be on the 17th and 31st.

Also, for some reason the poll has been acting up for the last two months.  I am proposing that instead of voting we all still give suggestions and then I will put them into in the order they were suggested and see what it picks. \

How does this sound? Any other suggestions? Who plans on joining?

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Ahhh.. I read this back in college and I remember at the time learning so much more from our class discussion than I had picked up when reading it alone.  I will be the first to admit I am not a close reader.  I don't always catch the symbolism/hidden meanings unless I know what I'm looking for.  So many hidden things in The Great Gatsby that make it such an interesting novel.

I'm sure most of us were forced into reading it at some point as required reading for some class.  Some enjoyed it, some detested it, some just did it to do it and some were just blech.  I rarely re-read, but this one was fun to re-read for our Books & Bars April book.

What was most fun, was meeting up at local establishment with the same name as the book. ;) We will also be catching the new movie when it comes out next month and I'm pretty excited  Hopefully, it won't be completely horrible since I rarely like movies made from books I like.

So, let's talk about the characters in The Great Gatsby...

Daisy - Such a horrible horrible girl.  So shallow.  I really feel that as a girl, she must have loved Gatsby fiercely, but only like a teenager girl can blindly love someone she really hasn't spent time with.  When it came to picking him or her husband she would have maybe gone with him (yay, he's rich) until she found out HOW he made his money.  Regardless, I think Gatsby would have treated her better and been a better 'partner' than her stupid evil husband.

Gatsby - Ahh.. I feel for him, but he's also kind of a stalker.  He buys a house where he can SEE the light at the end of the dock of a girl who he was in love with over a decade ago and whom he's structured his life after so he can win her even though she's married?? Yeah... money can't buy everything old sport.

Nick - One of the most unreliable narrators in any book written.  He so isn't as good and kind and helping as he tries to make himself out to be.  He treats Jordan like crap.  He treats his 'fiance' out west like crap and should have done more to save Gatsby and well so much more.

Tom - A douche.  Seriously.  I get that it was a different time period, but he had his own apartment to screw his girlfriend and yet, how dare Daisy act on her feelings??? And way to just get rid of your competition in such a cruel spiteful evil way. 

I like this book and really want to spend more time this summer reading more of Fitzgerald's stuff and perhaps re-reading, Ragtime.  Did you read The Great Gatsby? Anything else by Fitzgerald? What other books set in the 1920s do you recommend?

Don't forget to vote on the side bar for May's Group Read!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Little Children

I read this book by Tom Perrotta last month and enjoyed it.  I didn't loooove it, because it was kind of a darker book about emotions and parents in a suburb and a pedophile was involved.  Also, the ending left me wanting a bit more.  However, I'd definitely recommend it.  It's an interesting look into suburbia and how different people react to life situations.

Sarah is married to Richard and is a feminist trapped in a suburban stay at home mom's life.  She doesn't feel like she fits in with the other mothers and her marriage is a bit shaky.  Richard is on his second marriage and repeating his mistakes from his first.

Todd, is known around the playground as "The Prom King," and is a stay at home dad while his wife works.  He is supposed to be studying to pass the bar exam but since he has already failed twice he isn't too keen on studying and feels like maybe he doesn't really want to be a lawyer.

Mary Ann, is the ring leader of the mothers and thinks she knows everything and has life alllll figured out.  She has everything planned to the minute, even her sex life.  Her and Sarah butt heads a few times over infidelity issues and parenting choices.

Ronnie, is a pedophile who was recently released from prison and is driving the community crazy, especially Larry a retired cop who is obsessed with him to the point he harasses and stalks him!

It's a dark look at suburbia and all the mundane day to day things that go on.  There is a lot of irony written in and there aren't really any characters you will love, but it does keep you interested.

I will say the ending had me thinking it would end in a different way and I think perhaps I'd like the ending in my head rather than the blech ending it had.  But, it kind of went with the mundane lives of the characters anyway.

Have you read anything by Tom Perrotta?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Stolen from Lisa ;)

Current Book - I'm currently a few pages into Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, a few pages into The End of Your Life Book Club and a few hundred into Bedroom Stories which is a collection of short stories.  It's a book I grab when I'm in the basement with a few extra minutes or walking on the treadmill.
Current Drink - Crystal Light Peach Tea yummm

Current Excitement - Hopefully a zoo trip on Thursday and books & bars on Friday to discuss The Great Gatsby!

Current Love - Sun! I saw it on Tuesday!!!!!!!

Currently Pondering - What my job will be in the fall. 

Current Mood - Tired.  Toddlers and preschoolers are exhausting
Current Outfit - I've been wearing a gray cardigan with a fuschia colored shirt and dark jeans a lot lately.
Current Peeve - That my preschoolers are in a naughty phase and I'm pretty exasperated by it.
Current Song - Boys Around Here by Blake SHelton.  I love him.

Current Triumph - My kid is pretty darn independent and that was a goal of mine.
Current TV Show - Mad Men is back!!! And THE VOICE!!  I spend a lot of time watching DVRed tv each night while multi-tasking.

Current Wish-List -  New flipflops, summer clothes and running shoes

Currently Delaying - Taking away my kids night time pacifier.  I'm holding out til her 2nd birthday/my summer vacation.  As it is now she only gets it while sleeping and I'm weaning her down from needing three in her crib to 2 of them and then we will be at just one and then when she's 2 it has to go to other babies because 2 year olds don't use pacifiers! ;)  Hopefully, she is receptive to this hahahaha.

What's one of your currents?  Don't forget yesterday's post on suggesting a read for May!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Suggestions for May

Well, as I was writing the title I typed May instead of April.  Whoops.  Time is flying by me and I feel like a tool because I say that every month but it's the freaking truth! Life is so busy and crazy and tiring right now.  I have lots of posts that sound good when I'm in the shower at night but I never seem to get them typed out.  Hopefully, this summer.  I also have about 3 book reviews that never made it here.  Ooops.. SO without further rambling...

Books we have already read....

The End of Your Life Book Club
Still Alice 
The Song Remains the Same
Those Who Save Us
We Are All Welcome Here
Gone Girl
Prisoner of Tehran
The Wednesday Sisters
Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
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

What do you want to read in May? I will put a poll up on Friday! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

The End of Your Life Book Club - Discussion 1

In full disclosure, I haven't started reading yet. Well, I take that back, yesterday I read the first paragraph. Umm yeah.. Sooo... I figure that I'm the only one reading it because you've all read it already, I'm not thinking I will have any spoiler ending type questions except for myself. I'll get on that reading thing this weekend. Though, I do need to re-read Gatsby for Books & Bars and Case Histories by Kate Atkinson for another group. I think I may have over extended myself.

1. Why does Mary Anne always read a book’s ending first? How does this reflect her character?

2. Throughout the book, Will talks about books as symbols and sources of hope. How has reading books served a similar function for you?

3. How does religious belief help Mary Anne? How do you think it might have helped Will?

4 Mary Anne underlined a passage in Seventy Verses on Emptiness, which resonated with Will: “Permanent is not; impermanent is not; a self is not; not a self [is not]; clean is not; not clean is not; happy is not; suffering is not.” Why did this strike both of them as significant? What do you think it means?

5. Mary Anne especially liked a passage from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson: “When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you. So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation?” (page 96) Why do you think this moved her so much? What did it mean to Will?

Have a good weekend! I'm hoping to catch up soon!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In a Small Town


The shotgun blast catches Detective Matthew Longo by surprise. His world unravels into a nightmare that seemingly won't end. Murder, rapes, pedophiles, the small town of Hutchville, N.Y. is changing. It is up to him to make a difference. While partner Donny Mello is in Italy attending a funeral for a family member who is connected, to say the least, a beautiful F.B.I. agent waits to question him about his family business. Can Matt keep from answering the Agents questions? More importantly, can he hide a potentially career-ending secret from his community, his brother, and most especially Agent Cynthia Shyler?

My Thoughts: Eh.  I got this book to review honestly and I honestly did not care for it.  I had to force myself to finish it.  I was appalled that the author felt the need to describe a rape victim as a beautiful young woman.  It was unneeded.  An ugly young woman doesn't deserve to be raped either.  Poor word choices and if the main character, Matt Longo, instantly felt something again I might have had to throw the book.  I can see that it was a first book and I applaud anyone for writing a book, but it just wasn't the book for me.  I felt the plot lacked, the writing lacked and it was just not right.  Especially the relationship with the FBI agent.  Just didn't do it for me.

I do have a copy to give away.  To enter just leave a comment on this post and I will randomly draw a winner on Monday, April 15th!

About the Author:
The author is a retired and highly decorated police detective who worked for an affluent community within the State of New York. He has worked with numerous police agencies at the local, county, state and federal levels on various investigative assignments. He currently resides in New York with his wife and three children.

Disclaimer - I received this book from Partners in Crime Tours.  Al thoughts and opinions are my own.