August 31, 2012

August Book Club - Between The Lines

Thanks for joining Mrs. Jones and I for our monthly book club!  We are both so happy when we see that you read along and linked up with us.  :-)  Remember to vote for our September book in the upper left corner!  We'll be making the announcement on Monday. 

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

1. Did you like the book? Why/why not?
I love Jodi Picoult!  She has written some truly heart wrenching books.  This...was not one of them.  It was a great freshman effort by her daughter, with the backing of Jodi.

I like the book.  It was an entertaining and quick read!  It's interesting to think of the characters in a book as actors playing a role over and over again as each person reads a book. But it wasn't what I had expected.  I knew going into this that Between the Lines was a YA book.  However, I didn't expect that it would feel so targeted to a pre-teen audience. 

2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to them/ do they remind you of people you know?
This book is set going back and forth between a fairytale, so there's an a lot that you really shouldn't believe is "real".  I think that all girls feel the teen angst that Delilah does - it's just part of growing up.  It's easy to identify with feeling like an outsider or "uncool".

3. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
I hate to say this...but I really didn't like the end.  I won't spoil it for you, but the prospect of releasing Oliver from the book should not happen like that.  Even though they don't spell it out - I think the ending would have been heartbreaking and unfair to another character.

4. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
I just want to know what else she's working on.  I can't wait to read her next book, and I'd probably read her daughter's next book too...just to see if she's as talented as her mom.

5. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? If so, how/why?
There really isn't much character evolution through the book.  The characters stay true to themselves from start to finish.  I wish that there had been some character growth, it might have made certain parts more engaging.

August 30, 2012

Updates, Bullet Points and Whatnot...

I'm hauling out the bullet points...hang on, it's going to be a random post!
  • Meadow is getting better!  She's still on an assortment of meds, but I'm weaning off the pain pills.  Fingers crossed - she continues to get better and we don't have to battle the IVDD monster again for a long, long time.
  • Are mushrooms growing in your yard?  They are in mine!  Brady found one last Thursday and got really sick really quickly.  We went to our regular vet, who diagnosed him with mushroom toxicity and made me rush him to the emergency vet.  Lots of tests, pukies and a large vet bill later - I brought him home.  The boy is back to normal, just has a few more days of meds to protect his liver and kidneys from any residual side effects. {See...I knew fungus was bad!!}
  • Please tell me that I'm not the only one that can't wait until the election is over.  People are getting NASTY on Twitter and FaceBook!  I respect people's opinions...just wish that certain people thought before they spoke. Know where your candidate stands on issues that are important to you before you start the virtual mudslinging.  Or better yet - PLAY NICE!  Neither candidate is perfect.  You choose the one that you think will screw up the country the least... In related news - if you don't vote on election day, I don't want to hear you bitch for the next four years.
  • I've started trying to plan my fall TV viewing schedule.  Yikes, my TV/DVR is going to hate me!
  • Someone please remind me that leaving my knitting down where the twin terrors (aka Brady and Paisley) can reach it is a dumb idea.  :-)  I've only started the same cowl four times now!
  • My brother is winging his way down to Atlanta to see one of his Army buddies.  I'm so happy he's getting to go away for the weekend...but a little jealous.  I love his friend and wish I could see him (and his new puppy) too.
  • Time to start choosing September's book club selection.  The poll is in the top left corner... Vote please!  Oh, and if you read this month's book, link up with Mrs. Jones and I tomorrow!
  • Lack of responsiveness seems to be spreading like wildfire lately.  I have a handful of people that I keep following up with and they don't seem to like to respond to emails and/or voicemail.  How frustrating!  Has anyone else been experiencing this?!

OK...if you've made it to the end, you deserve a puppy picture! {Yep, these were already shared on Instagram, but you forgive me, right?!}

Paisley is learning how to drink from a straw.  Seriously.  Meadow does it all the time and is teaching her... Don't come to my house and think your drink is safe.
Brady, Paisley and Beckett are waiting for my parents to walk in the door.  Sure, they look calm...but this was taken about 30 seconds before they started barking and full-body wagging!

August 27, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Chicken Bruschetta

I know I said this last week - but THANK YOU for all the kind words of encouragement and prayers for Meadow.  She continues to heal and sends you all doxie kisses.  :-)  Right now, she isn't my own little patient.  Apparently, there are mushrooms growing in my yard and Brady found one.  He got REALLY sick, really quickly and was diagnosed with mushroom toxicity. {See, I knew I disliked mushrooms for a reason!} He's pretty much back to normal now, just taking some meds to protect his kidney/liver.


OK...on to the food!  I love, love, love bruschetta.  I've found that putting it on chicken instead of toasted french/italian bread makes a pretty good meal!

Chicken Bruschetta

4 chicken breasts (about a pound)
1/4 cup of sun dried tomato salad dressing
1-2 large tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped OR
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a large storage bag, marinate your chicken breast in salad dressing.  {Depending how strong of a flavor you want, it can be between 30 minutes or 8 hours.}

In a 9x13 casserole pan, bake your chicken at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Evenly distribute the mozzarella, tomatoes and basil over each chicken breast and finish cooking for approximately 10 minutes.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Suggest A Book!

Happy Monday!  The lovely Mrs. Jones and I will have a poll up in the next few days for September's book club selection.  If you have any ideas/suggestions on what we should read in September, please let us know!

Quick reminder - this month we are reading:

Between the Lines

There's still time to read and link up with us this Friday!

August 22, 2012

A Pupdate on Meadow...

I know that some of you don't view dogs as fur-kids the way I do, so I won't take any offense if you skip this post.  :-)

Now, on the the pupdate...

We're hanging in.  We've spoken to multiple vets at my regular practice and at the emergency practice.  Everyone is quite confident that we can get Meadow to heal using non-surgical means.  HURRAY!

Our biggest hurdle is pain management.  She is now on a sedative, two pain relievers, a stomach acid reducer (pain pills are NOT easy on the tummy) and an anti-inflammatory.  Because she's so uncomfortable, we aren't sleeping and she refuses to be put down.  To say that my arms hurt from carrying her 24/7 is an understatement.

This morning I did crate her so I could start some laundry.  She immediately started yanking on the bars and got both her upper and lower jaws stuck in the bars.  I got her out in a matter of seconds - but she has a bump on her muzzle and upper right lip.  I feel like a horrible mom...

Despite all of this - she does seem to be healing.  We're now up to 3-4 steps before she crosses her back legs and the ataxia takes over.  PROGRESS!

While she heals, I'm accepting all offers of chocolate, coffee and wine.  Not necessarily in that order.  :-)

August 20, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Strawberry Lemon Bars

First, a huge THANK YOU to all of you that have sent Meadow your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery!  Your comments and good thoughts have meant so much to me. I'll do an update post on her tomorrow (hopefully).

I'm all about the bar cookie lately.  Most of the bar cookie recipes mix up quickly, clean up fairly easily and are just plain yummy. :-)


Strawberry Lemon Bars

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer cream sugar and butter together.  Mix in egg, lemon juice and zest.  Slowly add in flour mixture. Fold in diced strawberries by hand.

Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with foil.  Press dough into the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Let the bars cool before cutting and glazing.

1 cup of confectioners sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Whisk together and pour over cut and cooled bars.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

August 17, 2012

Prayers For Meadow

Hi everyone.  I'm hoping that you can send my little Meadow some good thoughts/prayers.

She has "gone down in the back".  That's dachshund speak for exhibiting signs of IVDD - a disk problem that is common with my little loves and other long-bodied dogs.

Wednesday my parents came over to visit and she kind of slid off the couch.  No injury - but I think that's what ultimately sparked the IVDD.  An hour or so later, she had one stumble step and quickly recovered.  At midnight potty time, she started going downhill quickly.  I rushed her to the vet around 3:30- 4 o'clock.

We're home and on "crate rest".  However, Meadow HATES the crate, so I'm holding her at all times.  Hopefully, with the cocktail of medications that she's been put on and me as her personal pillow, she'll be back to normal soon.

Hug your pups (and kittehs) for me!

August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Nap Edition (And A Poll)

Yep, it's a collection of my sweet snuggly pups.  As you can see - my dogs love my couch and my bed as much as I do.

I swear Beckett smiles every time I call him a pillow hog!

Meadow knows she's pretty.

Brady and Paisley.  She sleeps on her back most of the time. WEIRDO! :-)

Group snuggle!

Brady snores.  Like a semi rolling through the house...

Alrighty, dog mommas.  I think I want to host a pet related toy/treat swap in late September/early October.  Would you participate?  I'm putting up a poll.  Please vote in the next week.  :-)  Once I know for sure if the swap will happen, details will follow!

August 13, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Naan

It has been H-O-T {and grossly humid} this summer.  I don't know about you...but for me, that means less time in the kitchen and more time consuming salads and finger foods.  During the summer, I love hummus and pita chips.  However, if you're looking for a less crunchy - but equally yummy option to pita chips, I like naan.  It is so easy and pretty healthy too.



4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain greek yogurt
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir in the yogurt and oil till the dough is too stiff for a spoon, then knead it in the bowl till it holds together well, adding more flour if necessary.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and continue kneading for about 5 minutes till the dough feels smooth and elastic.  Form the dough into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel, to rest for an hour or longer.
Take the dough out and cut it into 10 equal pieces. Form each into a ball and press the balls flat into round discs.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle to medium and heat your oven to about 500.
Take 1 piece of dough at a time and roll it out on a floured surface till it is about 8-10 inches across and less than 1/4 inch thick.

Lay it on the hot griddle and cook it over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes (I don't think mine took that long). It will puff up in places or all over, and there will be some blackish-brown spots on the bottom.  Slide a spatula under the naan and transfer it to the oven, directly onto the rack, for a minute or two, just till it finishes puffing up into a balloon and begins to color lightly on top. Remove naan from the oven and brush it lightly with melted butter if you like.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

You Did WHAT?!

Happy Monday!  I've had a few weird experiences this weekend.  Nothing earth shattering...just...WEIRD!
I've recently gotten involved with secret shopping.  It's easy, doesn't take too long and you earn a few bucks!  Sounds like fun, right?!

Friday I got an assignment for an area grocery chain.  As I'm walking into the store, it starts down pouring. No biggie.  So I look around and there are no carriages. An associate is loitering by the door, so I mention that I'm looking for a grocery cart.  Her response?  "If you want a cart, go back outside and find one."!  Seriously!

I later see the same associate in the bakery department, and watch as she opens a tub of store brand cookies, takes one, and re-closes the tub! I was horrified!

Of course, I report this during my secret shopping survey.  Which resulted in a 20 minute phone call with the company I "work" for.  *sigh* Who knows if they'll tell me the outcome...but I almost don't want to know.


Sunday I locked myself out of the house (with all the dogs and my Kindle) for just over an hour and a half.  Hi, my name is Cole and I'm an idiot.

At first, it was funny.  Then I realized that I didn't have my cell phone with me...and my only hope for a spare key was that either my parents or brother get on FaceBook so I can chat with them. {Bless my Kindle Fire and good wireless reception.}

By the time I broke in (and yes, I did have to break into my house), the dogs were whining and scratching at the door to get in. I was tearing up because it was really humid out and my asthma was bothering me... We were ALL thirsty! Not my finest hour (and a half)!

Sooo...who can recommend a good hide-a-key or number lock in case I do something stupid like this again? :-)

August 10, 2012

Notes From Beckett's Crate - Dear Puppies...

Hi, Iz me.  Beckett!  Momma says I've been a good boy (duh!), so I can "borrow" her blog.  Here'z my little letter to the new-ish puppies.

Dear Paisley and Brady,
You is cute.  I givez you dat.  And you fun...most of da time.  I totally 'spected to have to be all assertive and stuffs to get you both to fall in line. Fanks for not making me do that.

I would like to set some ground rules though...
  1. MY TOYS! I'll share some of dem...but not all of dem. AND not all at the same time.
  2. Meadow is our alpha (I mean, after da momma).  Only she is allowed to try and lead me around by the ears.
  3. Please don't put your teefs on our blankies.  They iz fuzzy and warm...and I'd cry if you ruined them.
  4. Trying to burrow under the fence isn't funny.  It freaks out da momma and now she has Uncle JC and Grampy-paws coming tomorrow to help her brainstorm on how to reinforce da fence.
  5. Momma's shoes aren't chew toys.  Trust me.  I learned dat the hard way.
  6. Da mailman IS our enemy (which momma agrees with), but the FedEx guy is our friend.
  7. Practice your "puppy dog eyes". Dey will get you ANYTHING you want.

Brady, I realize dat you is humiliated by wearin' a girly collar. Paisley eat-ed your nice blue one right off your neck.  Momma pwomises dat you'll get a handsome replacement.  So stop giving us da stink-eye.

Da Management Beckett

August 08, 2012

Book Club & 3 on Thursday

Howdy!  It's that time again... Mrs. Jones and I are announcing the August book club selection.  We promise (or I promise on behalf of both of us) that we'll be more organized next month and you all will have more time to vote on the book.  Please email one of us or leave us a comment if you have any book suggestions.

This month, we'll be reading:

Between the Lines

A few of you rather astute lovelies noticed that there wasn't a 3 on Thursday post last week.  Last week the topic was "should we keep this linky going".  My post didn't go up as scheduled...and quite frankly - I forgot about it.

Which means, I'm asking you now.  Do you enjoy 3 on Thursday?  Do you always skip it when Andrea and I post it?  We both really enjoy it - but we only want to continue if you do too, and if you'd consider joining in the fun from time to time.  Until we make real decision, we'll be taking a hiatus for a few weeks.

August 06, 2012

Blog Star - Hi, I'm Cole

Mrs. Monologues
The fabulous Mrs. Monologues and her co-hosts are leading their monthly round of Blog Star.  I slacked last month and didn't link-up...but I'm ready this time around!

A little bit about me:

  • I'm a dog momma.  I have four miniature dachshunds.  Here are my girls - Meadow and Paisley.
  • Don't stand between me and my caffeine.  I'm not picky though... I'll accept any offers of Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Mary Lou's News (a local chain) and Honey Dew.
  • I love to cook, and have a weekly recipe link-up (Tuesdays at the Table).
  • I'm an insomniac.  So, if you can't sleep - come find me on twitter. :-)
  • It's uncommon that I don't read 2-3 books a week.  Any good recommendations, gang?!
I hope to see you again!

Tuesdays At The Table - Nutella Waffles

I've been on a breakfast kick lately.  Perhaps, it's the desire to do something fun after an insomnia-filled night that gets me moving.... Maybe it's that it's been so hot and humid lately, that I realize if I don't cook in the morning - I'm not cooking. {Period}
Either way - I love a good waffle and have been having some fun playing with perfecting it.  This just might be a winner!


Nutella Waffles

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, separated
1-1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup Nutella
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, milk, Nutella and butter; stir mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.

Serve! {I like to top them with sliced bananas and strawberries.}

What's cooking in your kitchen?

August 05, 2012

Olympic Fever

Sorry I've been missing everyone.  I've totally gotten sucked in by the Olympics.  Not just the gymnastics and swimming either... the sports I'd NEVER ordinarily watch - track, biking, tennis, etc.
Is anyone else finding themselves getting sucked in too?  I swear, I only mean to watch about 10 minutes, but *oops* hours go by.

I'll be back tomorrow with a real post.  But now, I need to go watch more gymnastics!

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