Friday, August 29, 2014

Herpetologist Wanted

Funny Friday

Today’s post is August’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they've come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday Graphic.jpg

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Sanity Waiting to Happen.

5 - sanity waiting to happen.jpg

1. I know they're cold-blooded, but that means they need the opposite of freezing...

2. It's a good thing extreme temperatures kill Salmonella.

3. Does it really taste like chicken?

4. Good luck getting to your frozen fruits - that looks like a rattler.

5. This is TBG's reaction:

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Sharp Objects

As a late birthday present, the Davis County School District decided to take my kids back today - to school, that is!  Some of my sanity may return over the next 9 months... maybe.

Bigfoot pulled one off on me... again!  So while he watches Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, I will attempt to busy myself with other things, like this review.  Don't get me wrong; I'm as nerd as the next one.   But do you know how long those movies are?  Each?  TBG and I did a marathon once, when B and LMSP were babes - Longest. Day. Ever.  We didn't stop the movies except to make dinner - not even for potty breaks - and it still took all day!  Never. Again.  Anyhooo ---

Title:  Sharp Objects
Author:  Gillian Flynn
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Synopsis:  WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

About the Author:  About her bio.  It was so fun to read, I'm going to send you straight to the source!  Check it out here.  Also, in case you didn't know, all of her books have been optioned for the screen.  Gone Girl is set to come out in theaters in October 2014; same with Dark Places - earlier, in September.  Sharp Objects is going to be made into a TV drama series.  Yay.

First Impression:  Considering how Gone Girl ended, this should be epic, right?
This is not my first Gillian Flynn novel, but it is hers.  I read Gone Girl, her most recent, before reading her debut.  Maybe I should have read this one first, but if I had, I might not have picked up Gone Girl.  In retrospect, that's a good thing.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the main character, Camille.  She's a reckless, mentally unstable alcoholic who describes herself as a mediocre journalist, but turns amateur detective for the duration of this novel.  Oh.  And she has family issues.  How original.  The character development is thorough, but uninspired.

Also, beware the obtrusive and random use of big words.  Can anyone say "thesaurus"?

What's original is Flynn's penchant for building - and holding - suspense within a story line.  Wow!  When being fed tiny tidbits of information as the story progresses, it's like a dog with treats - you keep begging for more.  You won't be able to put it down.

And the plot twist... Well, I can't tell you.  You just have to trust me - the plot twist alone is worth every page and the large lexicon of this book.

Final Thoughts:  I think I expected too much from this book and came away disappointed.  You know the phrase "never judge a book by its cover"?  Well, I'd like to add to that - never judge a book by the ones you read before it.  You've been warned.

My Suggestion:  As far as mystery and suspense is concerned, this one delivers.  Just don't expect to like the characters.  This is one I will definitely recommend as a library read.

Star Rating:

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only

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Friday, August 22, 2014

It's My Party and I'll Fly if I Want To

Stop! Collaborate and listen.  It's Fly on the Wall time!  This week, 14 bloggers are opening their home to you, so you can see what happens when no one is supposed to be looking.  You flies are getting a peek, so wipe your feet at the door and come on in!

At the end of the post are the links to the other bloggers, so stop by and peek in their houses.  I'll be there, too!

Guess what.  It's my birthday.  I'm sooooooo old, I apparently used to ride dinosaurs to school.  I choose not to point out the flaw in B's logic.

(Like a Boss)

Here's a FF (fun fact): I was born 2 weeks late.  Yes.  Feel sorry for my birth mother.  I feel lucky - all my babies were born early.  They were awesome, even straight from the womb.

On a long stint in the restroom: 
TBG: What are you doing – pooping out the Titanic?
LS: Probably.
And later..:
B: I don't know!
I don't recommend trying to write a blog post while watching The Avengers. Too distracting {cough} Chris Hemsworth {cough}

You may not know this about me, but I have this crazy weird memory. I don't usually remember anything important – just random tidbits. This one time (at band camp - just kidding!), when we were still living at the trailer park, I woke up one morning with a song stuck in my head – some strange instrumental orchestra piece that wouldn't be on my iPod, at all – but I had heard it before.  So I spent all day trying to figure it out, because it was driving me crazy. Here comes the best part: I kept coming back to Lord of the Rings, which I hadn't watched in FOR-EV-ER and it isn't one of the more recognizable ones, so... what??  Turns out I was right – I looked up the soundtrack on iTunes and played every song from the movies until - sure enough - there it was!  Welcome to my brain; don't mind the mess.

Sometimes you just have to take one for the team and let the credits roll at the end of a movie - you know, so the kids can have a five minute mini dance party in your living room.  Even when the song sucks.  Like at the end of The Lego Movie.  (Everything is NOT awesome - just saying)
We were talking about Lord of the Rings, since recently B has been tricking me into watching them and we were discussing the potential of the actors making an appearance at Salt Lake ComicCon.  LMSP mentioned Sméagol (Gollum) and asked how we would feel if he showed up.  I told her that Sméagol was a CGI and only voiced by an actor.  She then asked me what CGI meant.  I'm failing as a nerd parent.

LMSP has now done something no one else in our family of 5 has done (yet) - she dropped her phone in the toilet. At Target. When it was in her pocket.  She is now being called Toilet Phone.
**UPDATE:  TP (Toilet Phone) has been upgraded early.  The only way we could swing it was for me to get an early upgrade to an iPhone 5 C... and LMSP to take over my old phone - an iPhone 4.  That's right.  My 11 year old has an iPhone.           

This  ↓↓↓  sums it up nicely.

Toodles, little flies!  Until next time, this fly is signing off.

Baking In A Tornado

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1)

It's amazing how great minds think - alike, that is.  How cliché.  However, I'd like to think I have a great mind, muddled and confused though it may be, and I know there are many great minds out there; some of them are even friends of mine.

Like my bloggy friend Michele, from Follow Me Home. . . - she recommended this book to me and, amazingly enough, it was already in my collection.  So, Shellybean - this one's for you!

Title:  Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1)
Author:  Neal Shusterman
Genre:  Teen Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis:  The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

About the Author:  To be honest, I didn't read his whole bio.  It was grandiose.  Started writing at a young age - yeah, me too.  Had great schooling - good for you; allow me to clap.  So successful and special and, well, cocky.  Winner of this, that, and everything else.  Blah blah blah.  Did he write that or his publisher?  You want to read it, you can find it here - just don't let the inflated ego ruin the writing, which is excellent.

First Impression:  Wow.  Tackling the debate on pro-life versus pro-choice - sure, why not?  It's not like reality has any solutions for that one.  What have you got?
Despite my biting sarcasm, I did enjoy the book.  I'm one of those people who sees both sides of the argument, so I don't choose sides, for the most part.  Shusterman didn't, really, either, in the controversy of life vs choice.  Instead, there is a concession on both sides:  abortion is illegal (score one for pro-life), but when a child comes of age at 13, the parents can choose to "unwind" them, but only until that time which they are legally an adult, age 18 (score one for pro-choice).  Unwinding is a process in which every part of the child in question is dissected and donated.  Every part - so the child never actually "dies" (again, score one for pro-life).

There are three central characters: Connor, the male lead; Risa, the female lead; and Lev, the incidental character with main character potential.  Each voice is distinct.  Oh.  Did I forget to mention that each chapter is told from a different POV?  Don't worry, it's easy to follow.  All the characters intersect and their stories intertwine.

I'm finding that I enjoy reading books that are based off the male perspective.  It's refreshing, after growing up reading books from a female protagonists POV, to see things from the other side.  However, Shusterman's technique is so flawless, the characters have a tendency to become androgynous.  It's what allows the story flow seamlessly, since the perspective switches between male and female views.

In my eyes, the only thing keeping me from giving this a five-star review is the politics.  I hate politics.  Like I said, I can see every side of a situation and I wasn't pleased with the way certain things were handled.  Funny enough, it wasn't because of the author, per say - it was the characters fault - which, I guess, in turn makes it the author's fault... never mind.  That was the whole point: to make me feel something, to take a side.  I didn't appreciate it.  This quote sums it up for me: "Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either."  -Aesop

Final Thoughts:  I can't wait to continue the series. The characters are amazing, well-voiced, and solidly conceived.  Plus the whole premise of the series is intriguing.  I'm afraid, so much so, it may provide someone, somewhere down the line, a blueprint to the future of mankind - an illogical attempt to solve the unsolvable.  Science says, not in my lifetime.

My Suggestion:  Give it a read, even if you're not into science fiction.  I know that throws some people off, but trust me when I say it's more fiction than science.

Star Rating:

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this review and all opinions contained herein are my own and in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of people or sites I may reference.  This is intended for entertainment purposes only.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Chai-Spiced Buns w/ Honey-Infused Icing

It's another Friday, so you know what that means!  Blogging Challenge!  This week is Use Your Words, where participating bloggers pick 4 - 6 words or short phrases for someone else to use in a post.  The blogger must use each word/phrase at least once and each post will be unique, as each blogger gets their own set of words.  

Here's the twist: no one knows who got their words, until now!  At the bottom of the post, you'll find the links to all the other blogs featuring the challenge.  Make sure you stop over and see what all the fuss is about!

baking in a tornado

My words are: philosophy, cinnamon buns, shower gel, infuse, joy, generous  
Submitted by: Confessions of a part-time working mom (thanks, Tamara!)

I have this philosophy that so many good ideas begin in the bathroom.  Not in a weird, gross way - it's a thinking platform.  I'll get up to use the toilet and remember things I needed to tell TBG.  He thinks it's hilarious!  Hey, you have to take the ideas however, whenever, and wherever they come to you, right?

What do you think of when you think of cinnamon, just as a spice?  Just off the top of my head, I think pumpkin, apple cider, apple pie, and horchata... but nothing jumped out at me, so I headed to the "think tank".

I had an idea that I could do a recipe (or describe the time a hairstylist gave me a Princess Leia hairdo for my uncle's wedding.  I wish I was kidding.  Over 200 bobby pins - just saying), but I didn't want to do plain cinnamon rolls.  As delicious as they are, there are more than a fair share of recipes on the Internet and I don't want to get lost in the search. 

Also, I can cheat - a little.  I have a bread machine to do most of the work for me.

I was mulling over my words (and trying to remember where I put my bread machine) while soaping myself up with shower gel the other night, trying to think how it would all come together.  Sometimes it comes together easy; other times, not so much.  I mean, how to you write something that includes shower gel and cinnamon buns, unless your shower gel smells like a cinnamon bun (in which case I would not be allowed to buy it; I am not edible, despite what TBG thinks).

Anyhooo ---

Cinnamon.  Cinn-a-mon.  Chai.  Ding ding ding - we have a winner!  Cinnamon is used in chai tea.  Duh.  Thus the flavor palette was conceived.  But what goes with chai tea, besides milk?  This is when the shower gel came into play (not literally - ewww).  My kids' bath soap was sitting on the edge of the bath and it happens to be a shea butter - honey blend.  Honey!  Yesssss.

My brain has decided to be generous with the ideas recently, for which I am grateful.  And nothing fills a morning with more joy than homemade cinnamon buns.  Hee hee - buns.  No, that wasn't the first time I giggled - just the first time I let you know I giggled.

Awww... did you think I was forgetting a word?  Nope.  I plan to infuse the traditional cream cheese with honey.  Full circle.  Boo-yah!  Now, for the recipe:

Chai-Spiced Buns w/ Honey-Infused Icing

Shopping List:

  • 1 C milk, room temp/warm
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/3 C butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 C bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C granulated white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast (active dry yeast)
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp allspice 
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, clear (if possible)
  • 1/2 C honey, more or less, to taste and consistency
To Make:
  1. Put ingredients into bread machine in the order listed.  If you do not have a bread machine, go here for a basic sweet roll recipe from Food Network.  *please note that the ingredients and directions for the handmade dough are different and you'll want to follow the directions over there - for the dough only
  2. Set machine to dough setting - should take about 1 hour 30 minutes.  Nothing to do but wait at this point.
  3. When it has finished its cycle, plop dough out onto a floured surface.  Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together brown sugar and spices in a small bowl.  Cover and set aside.  Butter/spray a 9x13 baking dish.
  5. After the 10 minutes, roll dough out with a rolling pin until it is roughly a 10x16 rectangle.  Spread softened butter onto the surface of the dough.
  6. Sprinkle and spread out sugar/spice mix over buttered surface.
  7. Starting with the long side, roll dough tightly into a pinwheel.  Using a sharp knife, cut pieces from the end that are roughly 1-2 inches thick.  Place pinwheels in buttered dish.  (I had enough for 5 rows of 3)

Preheat oven to 400°F
  1. If baking same day, wait 30 minutes to allow dough to double in size.  If baking the next day, cover dish and place in fridge; take out 30 minutes before baking, to allow the dough to rise. (I found the best way to do this is heat oven to lowest temp setting, then turn it off and place rolls inside)
  2. The minimum recommended baking time is 15 minutes, but if you find the rolls haven't cooked thoroughly, you can leave them in for a total 20-23 minutes.  To avoid over browning of tops, once they have reached the golden color we're looking for, take out and tent a sheet of tinfoil over the dish for the remainder of baking.
  3. While the rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and honey. Spread over warm rolls before serving. 

Om nom nom.  Happy Breakfast!

My heart goes out to Stacy Sews and Schools.  She is unable to participate in today's challenge for personal reasons.  My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Stacy.

For those who are able to participate, here are their links.  Go check them out - one of them has MY words!

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