Friday, November 30, 2012

Cookbook Challenge Complete!

In October I joined Uniflame's Cookbook Challenge and pledged to cook one recipe from Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals. I know, I aim high, huh? I knew I'd be out of town one week for Ireland and another for my Orlando business trip and then another week gone for Thanksgiving and leftovers, so I chose three recipes from the book and gave them a go. Her final link-up post is here.

Smoky Black Bean and Rice Stoup – I'm an idiot and didn't think that one cup of rice seemed like enough so I added two. So, this was basically a rice dish. The spices were good and I'd make it again, but next time I'll be patient and follow directions.

Leek-y Chicken and Couscous – Can you believe that this was the first time we've had couscous? I wasn't a huge fan of the texture but think this was because I made it too early and it dried out a bit. I was shocked at how much Scott liked this one, especially the couscous!

Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Tortellini – The winner! Now if I could have just convinced Elle that the spinach was not as menacing as she made it out to be. You can find the recipe on (with much simpler directions than Rachael Ray gives!).

I used to watch Rachael Ray's cooking show when I was in grad school and loved it but was never moved to make any of her recipes because the ingredient lists are so dang long. But if I was diligent about my prep-work planning throughout the week (like chopping up a bunch of onions ahead of time), the ingredient lists didn't seem quite so daunting come cooking time. I was also pleased that all of these recipes took me less than 30 minutes to prepare. Very easy! My last complaint about RR is one that I'll just have to continue to work through—the slang and cutsie names drive me crazy (I mean, why does it have to be a Sammy? (for sandwich)). Just call the recipe what it is!

Big thanks to Uniflame for hosting the challenge and giving me a kickstart on one of my 2013 Things which will be to focus on one cookbook a month. I will definitely be revisiting this cookbook in the future.

On another but related note, I wanted to let y'all know about the Foodie Reads Challenge hosted by Vicki from I'd Rather Be Reading At the Beach.

This was previously hosted by Margot, but she's passed the baton this year. The rules are pretty simple and you can set your limits how you'd like. Categories include Cookbooks, Memoirs/Biographies, Fiction, and Nonfiction. Since I no longer like to plan out my reading too far in advance (please ignore my penchant for readalongs), I'm committing low but really look forward to the challenge! I'm hoping to finally read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver and maybe some Michael Pollan. For now I'm going for Short-Order Cook.

Any Foodie books I MUST add to my list? 

Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  "Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs."  Hope you'll join the fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Art Forger - B.A. Shapiro

image from Algonquin
Title: The Art Forger
Author: B.A. Shapiro
Published: 2012 Pages: 355
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

In Short: Claire Roth makes her living reproducing famous paintings while waiting for the day when she can break through with her own artwork. She is finally offered an art showing of a lifetime at a well-known art gallery in Boston, but it comes with the price of forging a famous piece of artwork—the very same Degas that was stolen twenty five years prior in the infamous Gardner Museum Heist. Even as she hesitantly takes the commission, Claire can feel that things aren't quite right with uncovered treasure.

Why I Read It: I first learned of this one through the Algonquin Fall Catalog and was thrilled to receive it in the mail from Algonquin's publication staff.

Thoughts in General: The Art Forger has been receiving a tremendous amount of buzz, especially on twitter. While you won't find this review to be as raving as some of the others, I did enjoy The Art Forger and was pleased that it kept interest with its multi-layered plot and storyline structure. The story is told mostly through Claire's present day perspective, but there is also a story three years in the past that is told in snippets and always provides just enough to keep the reader wanting more. Interspersed between these alternating time-lines are (fictionalized) letters from Isabella Gardner to her niece; the letters add an additional layer of complexity and mystery to the current day plots. I personally love when books alternate between perspectives and time periods and this book was no exception.

Where this book fell flat for me, however, was in the writing style. And it wasn't any fault of the author or anything in particular that rubbed me the wrong way, but going into this book I expected chocolate soufflé and I received chocolate pudding. I'm not sure why I had the expectations that I did—perhaps because this one is touted as a literary mystery or maybe because I had just finished the very richly written The Secret History—but when you expect one thing and get another the product never seems to taste quite right. The Art Forger is very plot-driven but I wanted it to be a bit more character and writing-driven.

Bottom Line: I still recommend The Art Forger as it is an entertaining read and provides a lot to think about in terms of what is art and what makes art or an artist's work valuable. However, I did contact my book club after finishing and told them that I wasn't sure that this would be the most discussion-worthy book. I think this one would have worked better for me had I not seen such incredibly high praise before reading. I do think it would make a fantastic and very visually stunning movie!

Anyway, you win some and you lose some. Was a good book--I just mentally had the bar set too high. Has that ever happened to you?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Who in the World Am I Reading With?

This month's Where in the World are you Reading is actually all about WHO you are reading with. Kelly is hosting and you still have a few days to submit your links, so join the fun! (think deadline to submit links is November 28th for the wrap-up on November 30th). If you're new to Where in the World Are You Reading, it's a monthly themed meme hosted by Lisa, Kelly, and myself. More details on the static page.

If you would have asked me two years ago who my reading companion was, I would have said MAGGIE! Oh how I miss Maggie. I never made mention of it on the blog because it was just too much at the time, but we had to put Maggie to sleep two Decembers ago when she was suffering from kidney failure. I had had her 10 years and I loved her so. If I was on the couch and needed someone to cuddle with I'd yell Maaaaaaaaaggie and she'd come running and jump up on my stomach. I miss her.

These days I've been trying to read more with Elle but she's busy! Her idea of reading is pulling ALL the books out of her little bin and playing. I'm not going to lie...her floor looks like this everyday except the day that I pick up the books to vacuum. 

What? The Doggies are upside down?'s "dah-hee." (She'll run after Lexi, our lab, screaming DAH-HEE! DAH-HEE! I've tried explaining that her name is Lexi but I also know that Ls are tough for babes to pronounce.)

But as much as I try (which honestly isn't often), I don't get much reading done with Elle around. She's way too interested in what mommy's doing. So, after she's gone to bed and all is quiet in the house...this is my real bookish companion: 

(yes that's Mockingjay on my nightstand. yes I'm still only halfway through)

Do you have a favorite reading companion? Join the fun and check out the other links as well--there are some fun answers/pictures this month!  December will be all about your Holiday Reading Escape (hosted by Lisa).

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today is November 20th. I have no idea what happened to the other 19 days in this month. And really, part of me wants to cry when I think about only having 10 days left in November and then 31 days in December and then it will be 2013. Except I've already been drafting my 2013 Things in my head and I am looking forward to that!

But back to November...where the heck did you go?  Last week I was in Orlando for a work conference and being out of town for a total of two weeks in the past month has left me feeling rather unorganized. I finally got the house mostly back in order this past weekend, but this blog, my bloghopping, and my email are all sorely suffering (who am I kidding...the email always suffers). I thought that we'd be staying in town for all of Thanksgiving weekend but turns out we'll be headed out to my in-laws' place on Wednesday night. It'll be a short trip, but still...

I have been doing things, though! And while I so badly and deeply would like to take some time to write some original posts, I'm sorry to say it's just not going to happen this week. I've come to realize most of my content lately has been because of various link-ups, but I hope you'll forgive me.

 Reading Front....

Bleak House Baby! I've actually decided that Bleak House will be my last book of 2013. I'll squeeze in one more book club book for this month (I'm Down by Mishna Wolff), but otherwise am done. I'm really enjoying Bleak House so far and have forgotten how Dickens makes me chuckle. I'm listening to the audio narrated by Simon Vance, which is fantastic, but I'm also reading and actually went back and re-read everything that I initially listened to. About 145 pages. Yup. There are just too many characters to keep up with--but now that I'm about a third of the way through listening is a little easier so I've picked it back up again.

Exercising Front....

I have worked out more in the past three weeks than I have in months. Ideally I think that I need to fit in another workout during the week to make five times, but if I'm honest with myself I'd say that ideally I wouldn't have to work out and could just be a skinny minny. I've been doing a combination of 30 Day Shred videos and Couch to 5K (trying to alternate every other day but have had to squeeze in some duel workouts on the weekend). Both of these programs are fine and they're great at jump-starting working out, but they won't do the job for me if I continue long-term. Working out 20 minutes a day is not going to give you the results that you'd like and I think that it's misleading for Jillian Michaels to tell you otherwise. So a lot of words to basically say that I'm really just working the habit-forming stage right now. It's really too bad that I stop working out because I do enjoy it and I love how it makes me feel. Ultimately it comes down to the time I need to find in order to get in a 30 minute workout. Boo. So next time I complain about not having the time--feel free to remind me how much I enjoy exercising.

I do want to give a big giant shout out to Joy, Kristi, Belle, and MJ for their support on twitter. Knowing that these ladies are working through the same exercises that I am and making time where they can find it has been a huge inspiration. And did you know that Joy hosts a weekly round-up called Reader's Workouts? If you enjoy working out you might find some great support from other bloggers!

Sewing/Quilting Front....

The area of my 2012 Things that has been a complete fail this year is the quilting area. I did finish the quilt tops for Scott's quilt but I haven't quilted them together yet and at this point it doesn't look like it'll happen before Christmas. Again. But in a huge effort not to make this part of my life a total fail, I've pulled out all my Christmas scraps and have been slowly working on making the blocks for my Christmas quilt. You'll remember that I started this quilt as part of a Virtual Quilting Bee last year, so I did not make all of these blocks (picture only shows a tiny fraction of the blocks). I figure I'm about halfway through and won't finish by Christmas but I'm making a vow not to start any other sewing machine projects until it's done.

Like how I said sewing machine projects? Well, that's cuz I don't want to exclude my hexy project which I'm very excited about! In case you missed my I'm Hexed post, I've talked Lisa into hosting a hexalong! The things I love about this project? It's long-winded, doesn't have any deadlines or time frames, and I can sit my butt on the couch and do it. I've even considered taking hexes to bed with me but decided against it (at that time). I'm also planning on taking them with me this weekend when we head to Coleman because I'm sure I can knock out several dozen in the car!

So, that's pretty much it. I haven't been doing a ton of cooking lately. Or really hardly any. I haven't made any more progress on Hawaii or Ireland pictures. Do you ever feel like if you could just get organized than things would run so much more smoothly? I keep thinking this but it keeps on not happening. I'm a big proponent of the belief that if you really want to do something you can find the time, but at the end of the day it all comes down to prioritizing and choosing. Some days this really sucks. Although I guess I'd rather have too many interests than not enough?

Wow. I didn't mean to write so much.  Here, I'll sum it up for you: I'm reading and enjoying Bleak House, exercising four times a week, and trying to squeeze in sewing during spare moments. And Thursday is Thanksgiving and then the following weekend we'll be in December. Let's all scream together: Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!

Tell me what you're doing for Thanksgiving? Don't live in the states? about the thing you're trying to cram into the rest of 2012!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Pie - Family Favorite

Someone asked recently if anyone had a pumpkin pie recipe that didn't call for corn syrup because she was having trouble finding one. What?! Pumpkin pie with corn syrup?! No thank you. Actually, I'm sure it would be tasty, but really?

My mom has been making this pumpkin pie recipe for years--for every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don't know where the recipe originates but I believe she got it from one of those holiday recipe booklets at the check-out line. It's a no-fail recipe for us and has always pleased. There are a lot of spices, which I love, but you can probably amend them as you like.

Pumpkin Pie

1 package (15 oz) refrigerated pie crust, divided (or crust for 9 inch dish plus extra for leaves)
1 can (16 oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 cup half and half
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt

Golden Leaves:
1 refrigerated pie crust, reserved from pie
½ cup half and half
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 425º. Roll 1 pie crust on floured surface into 10-inch circle and place into 9-inch pie dish. Trim edges. The remaining pie crust will be used for the Golden Leaves.

Combine remaining ingredients except Golden Leaves. Pour into Crust.

Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350º. Bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. **Note that recipe calls for these times but we usually cook for 10-15 minutes longer.**  Garnish with Golden Leaves after pie has cooled. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Golden Leaves Directions:

Roll pastry on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out leaf shapes (about 2 inches wide and 2 ½ inches long). Mark veins in leaves with tip of knife. Roll pastry scraps into rope ¼-inch thick. Cut into 2- to 3- inch pieces and twist to make tendrils.

Preheat oven to 400º. Lay pastry leaves on bottom of inverted flat-bottomed ovenproof bowl so that leaves will have curved shape (may also be placed on ungreased baking sheet). Brush leaves and tendrils with half and half and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Do you have a favorite pie at Thanksgiving time? We usually also make this apple pie and perhaps a pecan as well. Or cherry. know, we love pie. :)


Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  "Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs."  Hope you'll join the fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pin it and Do It: Pinterest Challenge Link Up

The special holiday edition of Pin it and Do it starts today! And don't worry--your pins don't have to be holiday related--you can still count the workouts, organizational, clothing outfits, recipes, crafts, or anything else that you've pinned...and done.  There wasn't an official sign-up, but if you missed the informational post, please visit it for some details. Jump in at any time!!

To refresh--here are the most important details:

The Details:
1. To participate you will choose your level and then make (or do) that amount of pins during Nov 15-Dec 31, 2012. Challenge ends December 31st. Links must be submitted by January 4th.
2. Report back on your Pin It and Do It success. Ideally this will come in the form of a blog or tumblr post. Or you can post about it on Facebook if you don’t have a blog or tumblr. Or create a board on Pinterest for this challenge. You can create multiple updates, a few updates, or one update. Whatever is best for you.
3. Anyone is welcome to join at any time. If you need an invite to Pinterest, let me know your email address and I’ll send an invite.

The Levels:
Timid Pinner: 1-3 Pins
Pinterested: 4-7 Pins
Pin Obsessed: 8+ Pins

Important Tidbits:
In the linky below, make sure you link to your permanent url so people can easily find your post--please also include your project. In your blog updates, please link to the pin or actual web address somewhere so that those interested can have access to what you're doing (and give credit where credit is due). Here's my example from last round and all the links from the others. Also If you need help with any of this, please let me know. Don't forget to leave a comment to let us know how you're doing!

Example: Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity (Holiday Advent)
[note...linky below is for final projects only...there isn't a sign-up this time around]

To be included in the wrap-up post, please link your posts and/or wrap-up by Friday January 4th.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm Hexed. Or A New Sewing Project

Because Lisa loves me (and she REALLY wants me to make a hex quilt with her), she drafted up a wonderful tutorial for paper piecing hexes. Then we started a chat on twitter and people said they wanted to join! (#hexchat). Then Lisa made a Flickr group. And now we officially have a hexalong. :)

Now, the thing I love about these hexes is that I can sit there and make them while I watch brainless TV with Scott. Because they're handsewn! This is also the thing that scares me about them. But I've promised Lisa I'd give it a shot.

Have you ever done any handsewing? If you're interested in quilting but are afraid of the machine, why not take some baby stitches and join us?

I know...crazy, right? I figure I need about 600-1,000 of these little puppies. I'm avoiding the math...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holiday Pin it Do it coming soon...

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey I provided last week about Pin it and Do it. I was thrilled that over 30 people provided feedback! About half of you said you'd like to see Pin it and Do it once a quarter (the rest were divided between every other month and monthly), so that will be the plan for 2013.

The other day on twitter, however, Ms. Bookalicious Pam said she neeeeeeded a holiday Pin it and Do it. Others quickly piped in and things snowballed from there. In a very good and enthusiastic way.

So, get your engines started because the next round of Pin it and Do it will start on Thursday November 15th. I'll be out of town this week on business and since there's a short turn around I'm not doing an official sign-up this time.  If you write up a intro post, feel free to link it in the comments below. 

Pin It and Do It: A Pinteresting Challenge

The Details:
1. To participate you will choose your level and then make (or do) that amount of pins during Nov 15-Dec 31, 2012. Challenge ends December 31st.
2. Report back on your Pin It and Do It success. On November 15th I'll post a linky for you to link up. Ideally this will come in the form of a blog or tumblr post. Or you can post about it on Facebook or Flickr if you don’t have a blog or tumblr. Or create a board on Pinterest for this challenge. If none of the above, report your success in the Wrap-Up Post comments.
3. Anyone is welcome to join. If you need an invite to Pinterest, let me know your email address and I’ll send an invite.

The Levels:
Timid Pinner: 1-3 Pins
Pinterested: 4-7 Pins
Pin Obsessed: 8+ Pins

Some Pinterest Etiquette and Courtesies:
--If you create a pin from a post, make sure you are pinning the true URL of the post and not the main website so folks can easily find the link again.
--If you embed a pinned picture on your own blog, make it clear that it is not your original picture--a link back to the original blog post is always appreciated.

Important Note: Make sure to note the original pin wherever you complete your wrap-up (or if you do progress reports) to give the originator credit and make the pin easy for others to find.

Off you go my little lovelies---start scouring your Pinterest boards for those awesome things you want to do in the next 45 days.

Yay!!! Happy Pinning and Doing!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Title: The Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt
Narrator: Donna Tartt
Published: 1992  Pages: 559
Audio Duration: 22 hours; 8 min
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3/5

In Short: (I cheat and use Amazon) "A group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill."

Why I Read It: The Secret History was selected as the October book club pick at A Real Bookstore. We basically throw out titles and mutually agree. Incidentally, The Secret History is one of the top sellers at this bookstore.

Thoughts in General: There are a lot of things to like about The Secret History. It has a deliciously moody atmosphere and attention to academia that are both perfect for the autumn season and the writing is rich without being heavy. The characters are well-drawn but also provide just the right amount of mystique to keep the reader curious and attentive. Even though Bunny's death is made apparent in the first pages, the novel's plot unravels until the end of the novel.

All of these things are elements that I crave when I'm reading and at the beginning of this book I felt all of the promise. Until I turned on the audio. As soon as I started listening to the book I realized how terrible and unforgiving the characters are. They were shallow and despicable and had no redeeming qualities. And the book plodded on and on and on. But when I was reading I fell into the writing and was able to forgive all of these shortcomings. More and more, however, I felt annoyed with the characters and the book was beyond being saved in my good opinion.

Bottom Line: The Secret History is certainly a compelling story but it could have benefited from one hundred less pages and a big giant reality check for the characters who lived in lala-land. In the end it just wasn't believable (was it supposed to be?) and while I did enjoy many aspects of the book (mostly the mood and mystique), looking back I can only seem to see the negatives (the deplorable characters and their actions). In book club we barely discussed the book at all—some couldn't even finish it. But…lots of people really love this book. In a few words? Ennui over the top.

However, I do think The Secret History would make a great movie. I totally picture Michael Gladis from Mad Men as Henry.

A Note on the Audio: When I realized I wasn't going to make it through the book before book club, I downloaded the audiobook from audible. The Secret History is narrated by the author, Donna Tartt, and I strongly urge you not to listen to the audiobook if you plan on experiencing this book. Put very plainly, Tartt's southern accent is all wrong for these characters—most of whom are northerners—and her tone inflection makes the characters sound scornful and callous. The narration greatly affected my reading of the novel.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this one if you've read it!

If you haven't read The Secret History, is there a book that you've listened to on audio that ruined the book for you?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

October Pin it and Do It - Round Up Post

October Pin it and Do it was a HUGE success. The amount of pins you guys completed are astounding. I really hope that you'll take some time to visit some of these links to see the awesomeness for yourself and maybe get a few ideas of your own!!

Chrisbookarama took to the spirit of the season with a Crochet Pumpkin Pie which is not edible and Pumpkin Molasses Cookies and Pumpkin Muffins  which are both very edible. Then she made some Ward 8 and created the cutest little Vampire) Still not to be exhausted, Chris made some Crockpot Applesauce and some more crochet with these awesome Boot cuffs.

Kelly from Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons also created a variety of things. First up, several DYI Halloween Decorations BOO! picture frames and Spooky Hand And Foot Prints . She also made these delicious Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos. Back to Halloween, Kelly created a Pinspired Halloween Party and a cute Glitter Spider Web Craft.

Tami from Just One More Thing created a small portable ironing board (love this idea!) and a fall candle decoration. Tami also skipped ahead to Christmas and made several awesome Stocking Stuffers, and journal covers. She also made Pumpkin Pie Dip and Banana Oat Breakfast cookies and some really awesome paper crafts. See her Wrap Up for all links in one place.

Kaye from The Road Goes Ever Ever On completed several miscellaneous pins as well as a great pumpkins garden art and many pumpkin recipes. She also made an adorable baby skirt and a very cozy chennille quilt. Finally, she made a cute little Angry Birds Halloween costume.

Vicki from Zig Zagging Thru Life was busy in the kitchen! She made Parmesean Pork RoastTaco Salad and Crock Pot Lasagna.

Patty from A Tale of Three Cities also did a lot of her pins via cooking. She made beef enchiladasApple Cheesecake bars, and a delicious sounding Beef enchilada soup. See more in her wrap-up post.

Joanna @ Create Your World made Cookies! A no-butter chocolate chip cookies. Mmmm!

Caitlin from The Siren's Tale had a variety of different things she accomplished this month. First, Baked Autumn Donuts then these awesome Halloween / Fall Coffee Filter Flowers. She also made Crockpot Sesame Chicken and Baked Apple Streusel and finally Halloween decorative bowls.

Teri from Henninsen Happenings made some pillowcases for her grandaughter!

Three Under Two from Lit and Laundry put together a Pininspired Halloween Village (which of course I adore). She also created some pumpkin recipes and a Halloween quilt.

Amanda from A Patchwork of Books first made some Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Pies. She also made Crockpot Applesauce and Sweet Potato quinoa Chili. Outside of the kitchen she was crafty making a Melted Snowman ornament for Christmas.

Hanna from Hakkingdom got her computer fixed recently so she was excited to join us again for Pin it Do it. She was very crafty this past month making Illustrated shopping bagDIY Christmas ornamentsDIY pine cone ball and a felt house. Don't miss her wrap-up post!

Erin from Paperback Stash got into the October mood with some yummy Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

Linda from Silly Little Mischief always outdoes herself in the kitchen. This past month she made Nikujaga (Meat and Potatoes), Peanut Butter Fudge Pretzel BrowniesChocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel CookiesNo Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Easy Thai Coconut Soup with Lemongrass!

Sara from Wordy Evidence, who calls Pinterest "a beautiful thing" made six pins in October! Cute Halloween invites, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Frittata, Painted Stairs, and more!!

JoAnn from Lakeside Musing had a Pinteresting Week where she made Hoisin and Sesame Seed Shrimp, Easy Honey-Beer Chicken, Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls, Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk cake, and Baked Code with Boursin Herb Cheese. Check out her 'Pinteresting' Week for the links and pictures. One word...OMG.

Gricel from things she said made a leaf art project as well as healthy pumpkin muffins. I'm loving all the pumpkin recipes this time around!

Kimberly from Inspirefly is a brand new blogger! For the Pinterest challenge she found several different pins to help her stay organized around the house.

Cynni from She Likes Bento finished four pins for the Pinterest challenge! She made three yummy recipes and a kitchen tip. Her recipes include a tortilla tart, vegetable omelet, and a Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna. Yum!!!

Larissa @ Like People and Butterflies not only made a Pumpkin Spice Cake, but it's a vegan cake, too!

Kailana from The Written World chose to take advantage of her camera in October. Her pins are Pictures for Photo-A-Day and her Day-to-Day journal.

Amour and Renee at Love Notes Restyle Studio hit Pin Obsessed status in October! Check out their wrap-up including lots of restylings--bibs, onsies, SPOONS!!  Lots of cool things.

Kristi from Kristi Loves Books completed three pins this month which you can find in her wrap-up posts. She tried a Zucchini au Gratin, Tomato Basil and Cheddar Soup, and Banana, Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Muffins.

Debi from Still With Nothing of Importance definitely pinned and then did this month! She made several crafts including Black Out Poetry Card and did some cooking including veggie broth, rice pudding and soup. She couldn't share some of the crafts because they're gifts so I can't wait to see what they are.

Joy Weese Moll from Joy's Book Blog used Pinterest in order to plan her trip to Arkansas! She did 12 out of the 21 things she planned to do. Awesome!

Lisa from Books.Lists.Life made several different pins and wrote about them in her Wrap Up Post--including some crescent roll desserts, a beautiful embroidery, a million jumping jacks (ok so 300), and a few recipes.

Lisa from Lit and Life once again uses her pinboards to organize her travels (I love how she does this!). She outlines several of the places she pinned for her trip to Missouri.

Me!! This wasn't my best month but I did manage to make four  food pins and I bought a pinned quilt pattern. I also created these little oreo mummies right at the last second!

So, most of you know now that I was out of town the last third of the month which means that I haven't visited many of these posts yet. Eeeep! Now you know where I'll be today! I really really hope that you'll take a few minutes to hop around to some of these awesome posts as well.

Finally, I would LOVE if you would take a minute to answer a few questions. I'm contemplating making the challenge a monthly thing but if I do that then I don't think I can keep up with these wrap-ups. Also, would you guys get tired of it if it was every month? We had great success in May and October but not so much in August.

Friday, November 2, 2012


First let's start with giveaway winner shall we? Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to stop by this past weekend and enter my giveaway. Probably wasn't the best idea for me to do this while out of town as I'm still swimming in emails and there's absolutely no hope I'll be able to return the visit for everyone who came by, but wow! Thank you guys! It's always so much fun to see which books you'd choose and which books you love that I've read. Seriously varied answers! Although I think Night Circus was the most sought after book.

There were 101 entrants and when I took out the people who didn't have an email or didn't answer both questions, there were 78 entries. 

Hey Look! Ireland in the background! And me sitting in the wrong spot of the car. Let me tell you that this never became natural and the left side of the car took some scratches from hedges...   Ok, so pictures have all been edited (which I think might be more I can say about Hawaii?)...just gotta decide which to share. I know, I'm lame. But honestly, after I've sat in front of a computer all damn day, I just don't wanna do it in the evenings. Need better solution, like mental blogging. Think it and there it posts. Right?

It was so great to come home to the chickpea this week. Scott and I had a great "adult" trip but boy did we miss her--and I think she missed us too. I have a work trip in a week and I'm heartsick over having to leave again. Elle was sick for the first part of the week and then yesterday had to endure her 18 month shots, but I think she had a pretty awesome time trick-or-treating. Also, I'm just as shocked as you are at how light her hair is. I think even though summer is over it's still getting lighter!

Ugh. My heart.

I've been receiving a lot of anonymous comments lately. I don't think that they actually post to the blog, so hopefully they aren't bothersome to you. I honestly just don't get what the spammers are trying to accomplish--especially when there's no link. But one of my favorites recently was a comment that all of my other commenters seem to be brain dead. No, I'm not joking.

So, I've started Couch to 5K and 30 Day Shred this week. Kristi and Joy are keeping me accountable for 30 Day Shred and MJ is keeping me accountable for the C25K. Wanna join me??? I'm tired of carrying this extra 10 pounds around my gut. I lost most of the baby weight but then gained some of it back. Truthfully I haven't been working very hard because part of me thinks there's no point when I'll just get fat again when pregnant. But...since I'm not pregnant yet I can't continue to use this excuse.

Which brings me to another point which I've toyed about mentioning or not mentioning for a while. Yes, I thought I'd be pregnant by now. Is this something taboo to talk about? That I'm trying? Society (or parts of it) says No because what if it takes a long time or what if something happens? But what if something does happen? Or what if nothing happens? Then am I stuck in silence? And then I think that I shouldn't air my laundry out here, but after having a miserable time through one miscarriage I'm of the general opinion that women should be more open so that we can help each other. But how do we start that dialog? Lisa shared this post with me and it's been on my mind a lot lately.

At 7:00 am on October 31st, I was able to squeeze in one more pin...   They're not the best looking but for 7 in the morning...whatever. :) And am I the only one who has trouble with melted chocolate? I need someone to show me how!  Even though they aren't the most gourmet and I was too lazy to mess with photography to take a good picture, they received many compliments at work. I think that's because most of the partakers aren't on Pinterest.

I really really really want to write you guys up a wrap-up post, but dang ya'll! There are 62 entries!!! Y'all rocked it this month and I know there were some others who participated but didn't get a chance to blog it. You guys are seriously awesome.

Lastly, to appease your bookish appetites...  I have started listening to Bleak House. I'm going to have to re-read everything I've listened to, I'm sure. But Simon Vance does have a dreamy voice! I'm also about to start Fight Club for my work book club. I recently finished The Secret History which I did not like as much as I hoped (I know I know!!) and The Art Forger which was good but not as fantastic as some make it out to be. In a perfect world I would review all of these, but in a perfect world I also would have blogged about Europe three years ago (and now you're all gasping at the fact that trip was so long ago).

Thank you for listening to my random rambles today.   What random rambles do you have to share?

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