April 30, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Strawberry & Moscato Granita

Ah, Tuesday.  The yummiest day of the week...at least, that's what I think.  I'd like to thank you all again for continuing to share your delicious recipes and for supporting each other by dropping by your fellow participant's blogs to share the comment love.  :-)


Strawberry & Moscato Granita

2 1/2 pints strawberries (hulled)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 (750 ml) bottle Moscato (or your favorite wine)

In a medium sauce pan, combine the strawberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, allowing sugar to dissolve. Take off heat and allow to cool to room temperature then transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Stir in wine.

Pour out into shallow pan (I find that a 1 quart or larger TupperWare/GladWare container works well) and pop it into the freezer. Pull the container out every half hour and stir with a fork. Make sure the scrape the sides and bottom so everything freezes evenly.

Such an easy, yummy treat as summer approaches! *Remember, this is supposed to be grainy/full of ice crystals; like adult version of a stick-less Popsicle!*

What's cooking in your kitchen?

April 29, 2012

May Book Club Book

Have you linked up your review of our April book - The Next Always?  You should!  I want to know what you thought of it!
Now, it's time for our May book.  Drumroll please......

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto.  I've heard that this is not your ordinary love story.  I can't wait to read it!

April 27, 2012

April Book Club - The Next Always

It's book club time! I love that people are reading and talking about the same book as me.  :-)  This month we read:

Meet the Montgomery brothers – Beckett, Ryder, and Owen – as they bring an intimate bed-and-breakfast to life in their hometown.

The historic hotel in Boonsboro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, the changing of hands, and even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major face lift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen…

I have to say that I love Nora Roberts.  She is such a great writer, and continues to come up with stories that are engaging and believable (well, mostly!).

1. Did you like the book? Why/why not?
I really enjoyed the book.  In classic Nora Roberts style, she set up characters for the whole trilogy in the beginning of this book.  It took a few minutes to get everyone straight - there are just so many people in this book! The only thing I didn't REALLY like about the book was that I couldn't tell who's point of view the story was coming from at times.  Most books have a few narrators but this one had many.

2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to them/ do they remind you of people you know?
I can certainly relate to the loving, teasing relationship that you see with the two sets of brothers - Beckett, Owen & Ryder and Liam, Harry & Murphy, as well as the concept of going home to recoup/start over after losing your husband to the war.  The only character that I struggled to find believable was Sam.  His infatuation with Clare went from a little uncomfortable to scary VERY quickly. I will say that while others might not appreciate the small part the ghost played in the story - I did!

3. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
I enjoyed the story from start to finish.  You have to know that with Nora Roberts that you're going to get a happy ending.  I do wish that the book had set up the next one in the series a little - well, maybe just to indicate which woman (Avery or Hope) Owen and Ryder are going to be matched with. 

4. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
I would ask her where she finds the inspiration for her books!

5. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? If so, how/why?
I do like that you see the evolution of Beckett's love for Clare.  From the beginning, you know that he's been in love with her since she was 15.  The book really showed the change from loving who she used to be to who she is now. 

Link up and tell me what you thought!

April 26, 2012

3 on Thursday - Dream Cities

Time for another rousing round of 3 on Thursday!!  Thanks to all you lovely ladies who have joined in and embraced the new linky venture that Andrea and I have put forth. :-)  We both appreciate it and hope you're having some fun!  If you have suggestions for topics, let us know!  Who knows...there may even be a little surprise for a topic that you submit and we use.
This week's topic:
Sometimes it's fun to envision packing up and moving to a new city/state. Where are three places that you'd consider living?

3 on Thursday

At least once a month, I think about packing up and starting over.  Is that weird? No, right?!?! {Lie and tell me I'm normal, people!}


I would choose Edinburgh, Scotland.  I have a love affair with Great Britain and Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities in the world.  It has all the modern conveniences but all of the old world charm with a good smattering of British aristocracy and history. The people are friendly, have amazing accents and the views just can't be beaten.

Then there's San Diego, CA.  Sure, people say that California is one big earthquake from falling off the face of the Earth...but eh, whatever.  Part of why I love San Diego is nostalgia.  My dad's parents lived there for years and I have wonderful memories of the summer I turned five - jumping on the trampoline in their backyard, hanging out at the beach and watching ships come in {Grandpa was Coast Guard, so there were a LOT of ships}.  Of course, as an adult I can really appreciate the climate of San Diego too.  It doesn't get to hot or too cold and it's always sunny. I feel most at ease when I'm near the water.

My third choice would probably be Washington D.C.  How can you not love all those cherry blossoms, the Smithsonian museums or wonderful monuments?!  Oh...I guess it's pretty cool to know the national laws and such are passed there and it's home of the President too!

Quick reminder: Please remember that this is a “few rules” linky, so please post about the weekly topic in order to link up. Be sure to link to your specific blog post and not your blog. Finally - please do us a favor and visit some of the other ladies to see their answers!

 Come on, link up and tell Andrea and I where you'd like to live!

April 25, 2012

Brain Dump

Ladies, it's my first time back in school in a LONG time.  I've let a few things drop and I apologize!
First... This week's "3 on Thursday" question is: Sometimes it's fun to envision packing up and moving to a new city/state.  Where are three places that you'd consider living?

Second... If you participated in the Flip Flop Swap, please link up your post.  We all want to see those pretty flops!

Third... This Friday is Book Club!  I hope everyone is almost done with "The Next Always" by Nora Roberts.

Fourth...I totally slacked (again, I'm very very sorry) and didn't give you all a long list for the May Book Club selection.  In the top left is the monthly poll.  I recycled our runner up books from the past few months.

Fifth...I've almost settled on a new blog name.  It will either be "Weiner Tales/Tails" or "Isn't Life Weinderful".  Any feedback is appreciated!

Last... Look at my little Meadow.  She loves to climb into the laundry basket.  :-)

April 23, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

It's only been one day of class, and I've already been sucked into being the one to spearhead "snack time" for out group. Heeheehee...suckers!  Oh, wait.  Maybe I'm the sucker. Eh, whatever.  I'm using this opportunity to feed the group breakfast cookies.

Fairly quick to make and healthier than a standard cookie!


 Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup golden raisins (or dark chocolate chips)
3 cups Cheerios

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in water, egg, and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour until combined. Beat in as much of the rolled oats as you can with mixer. Stir in any remaining rolled oats. Stir in raisins and oat cereal.

Drop dough by large spoonfuls (and I mean BIG) about 3 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Flip Flop Swap Reveal

Thank you to you lovely ladies who participated in this years flip flop swap!  I didn't hear anyone screaming or telling me that they're missing flip flops...so we're going to say that is was more successful than last year!

I was paired with Colletta of Colletta's Kitchen Sink. She has two adorable daughters, a great sense of humor and participates in some really fun link-ups! 

Colletta was a VERY generous swap partner!

I got these really cute flip flops!  I can't wait to show these off!

Flip flop oven mitts! Sooo cute! And how did she know I needed a new pair?! :-)

And a new book! I'll be reading this ASAP!

My fellow swappers, please link up and show us what you got from your partner!

April 20, 2012


The times, they are a-changin'.  In good ways, of course!
I didn't talk too much about my last company, but most of you know that:
A. They're a Fortune 500 medical company.
B. We parted ways last Summer...and not under wonderful circumstances.
C. They sucked the life out of me for the seven and a half years I was there.

Really, I didn't realize how unhappy I was until I was gone.  Don't get me wrong - there are some absolutely amazing people there.  People who made me smile, and I very much hope I get to work with again someday. But there were some folks that I'm thankful I never have to see again.

And, that's all I'm going to say about that.

What being on the outside of the medical word made me realize is that I want to work on the INSIDE of the medical world. 

Monday I take my first step in making that happen.  I'll be doing a one month program to become a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant)/HHA (Home Health Aide), then in the fall of 2013 I plan to go through an LPN program.


I've told you that I've been volunteering with a dachshund rescue, right?! Right!  Well, I've been given the opportunity to adopt a new puppy.  Which, it goes without saying, I said "yes" to immediately.

There are nine puppies in the litter, and I get 4th choice.

Her name is Destiny.

His name is Brady.

I was told to pick a few pups just in case adopters 1-3 pick my first choice.  These are two of my choices.  And, yes....I will be asking you for input on names once I know which little love I'm getting!!


If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed this already, but I am seriously considering changing my blog name.

Unfortunately...I don't know to what.  A few ideas are "Life is Wien-derful", "Isn't Life Wien-derful" and "Ahead of the Pack".  I could really use your creativity and ideas.  Lay 'em on me!

April 19, 2012

3 on Thursday - Favorite Books

It's Thursday!  Time for another awesome edition of "3 on Thursday"!

3 on Thursday

This week's topic:
"What three books are most important to you/do you re-read most frequently?"

Let me start by saying that I've always been a reader.  I blame my mom.  First grade teachers always have the best books!

We all love Dr. Seuss, right?  Well...this is one of his lesser known books (at least I've never had any friends who have heard of this book...much less read it) and I simply adore it.  I guess I should also point out the irony of a hardcore insomniac choosing a kids book about sleep... Nah, let's not go there.  :-)

"When you put out your light,
Then the number will be
Ninety-nine zillion
Nine trillion and three.

Good night."

My freshman year of high school I fell in love with this book.  So well written, so scary, thought provoking!  Amazingly, I like scary books...but abhor scary movies.

I picked up this book during a trip to England and literally devoured it on a train ride to Edinburgh.  Such a great example of how one small mistake can change the course of your life.  Oh, and the movie was almost as good as the book!

Honorable mentions to:
Harry Potter (the whole series)
Nora Roberts books
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Sense and Sensability by Jane Austen

Quick reminder: Please remember that this is a  “few rules” linky, so please post about the weekly topic in order to link up. Be sure to link to your specific blog post and not your blog. Finally - please do us a favor and visit some of the other ladies to see their answers!

And swing by and see my other half in this fun link-up, Andrea!

April 18, 2012

Dear (Fill in the Blank)

I've seen a few lovely bloggers do this lately (namely Andrea and Michelle), and knowing how much the love me (trust me, they do!) - I'm going to steal their idea.  :-)

Dear GMAC Mortgage
I don't appreciate having to spend two hours on the phone with you - to find out that you applied my March payment to pay my quarterly property taxes instead of taking it from my escrow account.  I mean, that's what an escrow account is for, right?!?!  Just checking!  And, NO, I will not make a "double payment" to fix YOUR mistake - MOVE IT FROM MY ESCROW ACCOUNT. Making me pay a "late payment" fee to apply money to the right place isn't cool either in case you're wondering.

A homeowner who understands accounting better than you...and may call the Better Business Bureau


Dear eBay
You kinda made my day when you helped me find Dansko clogs for $20.

My feet


If you don't start delivering my mail on a more consistent basis, I will be camping out EVERY. SINGLE. DAY to complain to the Postmaster.  Oh, and not delivering the mail is kinda like stealing it.

A woman who knows her stuff is missing


Dear Crazy Lady
No, your family DOES NOT own my house.  Please stop taking pictures of it, sitting in your car along my fence line and & staring and walking through my yard.  Next time, I will call the police.

Someone who is a little freaked out


Dear DVR
Please keep up with all my crazy viewing habits.  It's April and we're in the home stretch.  I promise you'll get a break during the summer.

The fool paying Comcast a fortune


Dear Sonic
Please open a restaurant near me.  I'm tired of people taunting me with their Route 44 sweet tea or other happy hour treats. I want one too! :-)

The girl who got addicted in TX, but lives in MA

April 16, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Mexican Pasta Salad

The combo of Marathon Monday (a state holiday) and icky heat (really...90 degrees in Boston in April is NOT nice!) meant that I got to pull out one of my favorite summer pasta salads.  I have no clue where I found this...or really, where my mom found this recipe, but I absolutely love it.I haven't said this in a while - and it always bears repeating.  THANK YOU for continuing to link up your fabulous recipes each week.  I love poking  through, finding new, delicious recipes and leaving you some comment love.  I really hope that you're each showing each other the food love too.


Mexican Pasta Salad
1 box bowtie pasta
1 pint container of cherry tomatoes
1/2 block (approx 4 oz.) of Pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese
3-4 stalks of scallions

Prepare bowtie pasta using box instructions. Strain, rinse to cool and strain pasta again. Chop scallions fine; cut cherry tomatoes into halves (or quarters if they are large) and cut cheese into little 1/4 inch squares.

In a smaller bowl, mix 1/2 cup mayo and 1/3 cup salsa. (If you use a chunky salsa, you may need more).  Combine above dressing with all other ingredients, mixing well.

Chill for a few hours and serve.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

April 12, 2012

3 on Thursday - Spring Must-Haves

Thanks to everyone that participated with Andrea and I for our first "3 on Thursday" last week!  We both hope you had as much fun as we did.

3 on Thursday

Please remember that this is a  “few rules” linky, so please post about the weekly topic in order to link up. Be sure to link to your specific blog post and not your blog. Finally - please do us a favor and visit some of the other ladies to see their answers!

This week's question:
Share what three of your Spring "must haves" are.   Do you always get a new pair of sandals?   Splurge on the newest seasonal fashions?  Is it not Spring without a pedicure or highlights?

When Spring rolls around - I need a fresh pedicure.  I do home pedicures during the winter...and relish the first "pro" pedi when it's time to unpack the sandals.  :-)

Putting together my garden is definitely a cornerstone of my Spring calendar.  I'm a huge geek about it - but choosing what to grow each year is a major debate.

My signature Spring/Summer drink.  You've all had an Arnold Palmer, right? (half iced tea, half lemonade)  Well, I happen to think mine is a better version. I combine Raspberry Pomegranate iced tea (Stash brand, if you're interested) and either home made or Newman's Own lemonade.  So yummy!

What are you're Spring must haves?  Link up and tell us!

April 11, 2012

Flip Flop Swap Partners


It's swap partner day! 

Kim (email: kissess4u7ataoldotcom) & Kristin @ And I Said Yes
Michelle @ Stuttering Shell & Jess @Pretty Physicist
Janna @ Happiness Is A Journey & Mrs.Jones @Keeping Up With the Joneses
Nichole @Yeung Mother Hubbard & Holly @ Wicked Chaos
Colletta @Colletta's Kitchen Sink & Me

A quick reminder of the rules:
  • The flip-flops should be in the $10-$20 range (excluding shipping)
  • Everyone should ship their swap buddy a package by Monday, April 16th
  • I'm asking everyone to link up their swap reveal on Monday, April 23th.

If for ANY reason you can't get your package out on time - please let both me and your swap partner know!

Please reach out to your swap partner/drop by their blog(s) to get to know them, as well as determine their shoe size and shipping address.  :-)

Happy Swapping!  I can't wait to see what you all got!

April 09, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Carrot Cake Dog Muffins

You all know how much I adore my pups.  I'm kinda obsessed...and I'm not about to apologize.  Life has been even more dog-centric than usual.  Both my parents and I have applications in with a rescue group to adopt new dogs.  Please keep your fingers (or paws for my awesome dog blog folks) crossed for us!
Anyway, the prospect of adding to the herd has prompted me to sort through some of their treat recipes - so this week, TATT is going to the dogs.  :-)


Carrot Cake Dog Muffins

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2  cup grated chopped parsley
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup grated carrot

In a large bowl, mix your eggs, milk, oil and peanut butter.  Add the remaining ingredients slowly - leaving the carrot and parsley for last.

In a 350 degree oven, bake your muffins for 20-25 minutes (or 12-15 minutes for mini-muffins).  Once cooled, keep in an air tight container and freeze any portions you won't use in 5-7 days.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Spring-y Things

Happy Monday!  Was the Easter bunny nice to everyone?

A HUGE thanks to everyone that participated in our very first edition of 3 on Thursday! 

3 on Thursday

This week's question:
Share what three of you Spring "must haves" are.  Do you always get a new pair of sandals?  Splurge on the newest seasonal fashions? Is it not Spring without a pedicure or highlights?

*Shameless plug: You still have time to sign up for my flip-flop swap!*

And, Meadow would like to say "Hi!"...

Hai.  I iz cute.  Yes?!

April 07, 2012

Happy Easter!

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend full of family, friends and maybe an Easter egg roll or two (&the resulting candy, of course).  :-)

I will share that I almost ran over the Easter bunny at the local garden center this morning.  It's nobody's (or nobunny's) fault, per se.  The poor thing is in a full body costume and stepped into traffic!  Everything is fine...but it sure got my adrenaline pumping for a few minutes! You know what I thought in that split second?!  Not "OMG, I'm going to run over the Easter bunny!", but "OMG, my *dogs* are going to see me run over the Easter bunny!".  Yes, I'm weird.

Happy Easter!!

*You still have time to sign up for my 2nd Annual flip flop swap!  Click here!

April 05, 2012

3 on Thursday - Lottery Winnings

Welcome to our first "3 on Thursday"!!  If you didn't see the announcement that Andrea and I put out on Monday - this is going to be a weekly link-up that we co-host.  I'm so very happy to be sharing this experience with Andrea. She is AWESOME!  Anywho, each week we'll ask a question.  Sometimes serious, sometimes silly, sometimes totally weird.
Please join in!  Leave us a comment, link-up and visit a few other people that participated! :-)

3 on Thursday

Our first question:
With the recent MegaMillions hoopla, there's been a lot of dreaming about what we'd do with all that money. What are three things on your "if I won the lottery" list?
I'm going on vacation! It's been three years since my last real vacation...and this girl has serious wanderlust!  Of course, I want to bring my friends and family with me (at least some of them!), so maybe a cruise?  Or just letting them join me in shifts as I visit Italy, Germany, the UK and end at Disney!

My house is getting fixed.  You all know that I call my house the "money pit", right?  I mean...it was built in 1890.  I don't expect it to be anywhere close to perfect!

It has some amazing woodwork that I want to feature, but the prior owners did some bad (and that's putting it nicely) work on this house that will take a major overhaul to undo. Just the thought of electric outlets in the bathroom or kitchen that doesn't look 40 years old makes me giddy with anticipation!

Adoption...both human and canine. I've been volunteering with Furever Dachshund Rescue for about a month now and am seriously considering adding a rescued pup or two to my little herd.  Both Meadow and Beckett are a little slow to warm up to new people, but adapt really well to new animals right away. 

There are so many kids out there that need homes.  I have a home and lots of love to give. I really think that I'd make a good mom! If I'm having trouble finding Mr. Right, why do I need to put my dream of being a mom on hold?!

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