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Pies and Prejudice

PIES AND PREJUDICEWhen I was at the library the other day I picked up Pies and Prejudice, by Ellery Adams. This is written by the same author who wrote the Secret, Book & Scone Society, that I reviewed here.

Pies and Prejudice is the first book in a series set in Georgia.

Ella Mae LaFaye feels like nothing else could go wrong with her life. Seven years ago she left her home in Havenwood, Georgia to move to New York with her husband Slone. There she went to culinary school, in hopes of opening her own pie shop. She never finished that degree and never wants to go back to NY ever again!

Not knowing where else to turn, she returned to her mother’s home in Georgia. There she is surrounded by Reba, her mom’s housekeeper and Ella Mae’s confidant and constant companion, and her three aunts. Growing up Ella Mae felt more connect to these 4 amazing women than her own mother. Will she be able to stay under the same roof as her mother now? What will she do next in her life? Well her mother and aunts have just the answer to that…. open a pie shop in Havenwood.

But as life seems to be going right now, life isn’t so simple as opening a shop, Charmed Pie Shop, and going on with life. Is there something special about her pies beyond the fact that they taste scrumptious? Will she rekindle the flame she had for her childhood crush? What about the rivalry with her childhood bully? Will everything come to an end when her rolling pin is found at a murder scene? Read and find out.

I really enjoyed the mystery and food connection Adams creates. She even includes recipes at the back of the book! The characters go back and forth between feeling real and being part of an imaginary realm. There is a whole magical element to this story that swings between feeling like a gimic to adding a fun and creative element to the story.

I will pick up the second book in the series Peach Pies and Alibis to see what other adventures Ella Mae and her crazy and loving band of relatives, friends and nemisis can conjure up.

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book · life · reviews · Uncategorized

Star Girl and Mockingbird book reviews

This summer the boys and I got library cards. We have been going to the library every week. Each week Blake gets 7-9 books and Colby gets 5-7 books. I have been picking up 2 books each week. I am always shocked to see that we have plowed through the books and are ready to return them the next week.

The last two weeks Colby has been choosing books off a list we found of books for children who liked the Wonder series. He asked me to read one last week and one this week.

Book - Stargirl by Jerry SpinelliLast week he had me read Star Girl, by Jerry Spinneli. Star Girl is written about how a school deals with “The new girl” who starts school for the first time. Leo tells the story of how Star Girl changes Mica High from the first day she arrived. Star Girl did not look, act or even think like anyone else in the school. Is it good to be THAT different? Can the positive energy and unique desire to be happy all the time, that is Star Girl, bring about a change in the culture of a whole school, or at least a few of the students there?

I really enjoyed this story and so did Colby. I believe in some ways he could relate to Star Girl. He was just the new kid and he too is very emotional, passionate and always wants people to be happy. Now don’t get me wrong he doesn’t dress crazy, or call himself a unique name, or go out of his way to feel that different, but he knows his personality draws people in and makes them happy.  This is a YA book and one that is a good read for teen and tweens. The story is written from the voice of Leo and how he reacts to Star Girl. Both male and female readers can relate to this story.Book - Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Colby and I both plowed through the book Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine yesterday. It’s not that the book was super short, it was just that good. Caitlin is in the fifth grade. She is bight, a gifted reader and a talented artist. Caitlin also has Asperger’s syndrome. Before, her brother Devon helped her negotiate how to fit into a world that makes little to no sense to her. But, then the unspeakable happened. Devon was killed in a school shooting. Her father doesn’t no know to deal with his own emotions never mind those of his daughter. The school counselor tries to help Caitlin see that with a little guidance she can understand empathy and then understand how to help herself and so many other people in her life that are hurting after this tragedy.

This book is a good ready for anyone! It was an interesting look into the thought process of a child with Asperger’s. I have taught children with this and I could relate. I have know children with his and see how they just don’t fit in even when they don’t realize they don’t fit in. They see the world through their own set of eyes. This book did an excellent job of showing how important it is to see each person for their strengths and that if you just step back and look at the person for their strengths and not the aspects of why they don’t fit in you may see you have more in common than you realize.

The theme of school shooting plays a back plot in this book. It is not discussed in great details, but more deals with how this effects those left behind. The purpose seemed to be to connect a variety of characters to the same tragedy. This is something that is being addressed in schools on a regular basis, and helping children see how the shooting effects more than just the victims themselves may help children see this act in a new light as well.  (this is also a YA story)

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1st blogoversary

I was looking at my memories on Facebook and realized that one year ago today I started blogging again. You can read my first post here.

I started this blog as a way to write about our move. There was so much changing in our lives that I wanted a place to just put my thoughts down. I find that when I blog about something it helps me work things out in my head.

I often keep my blog light and rambling. It is a quick peek into the lives of our family. I enjoy sharing the adventures of my sons, the books I’ve read, and recipes that I’ve made. I truly enjoy the followers who comment on my blog and feel that I have found a place in the blogging community.

I will continue to blog until it feels more like work than fun. But, for now I’m enjoying the ride.

So, my fun blogging friends… here’s my question for you. What posts do you enjoy reading? What would you like to see more of in the year to come? I feel like I have been posting more recipes and book reviews lately. Do you like that or would you rather more of my rambles?  Let me know… I blog for me, but I like to keep my readers happy too!

family · food · through my camera lens · Uncategorized

Meatballs and weekday sauce

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When I was growing up, it seemed like a majority of the friends my brother and I had were Italian. We on the other hand do not have a drop of Italian blood in us. But that never stopped us from enjoying Italian foods! I love anything in red sauce, who doesn’t? I would be very happy if you gave me a bowl of red sauce and a loaf of Italian bread… yum!

Well last night we decided to have meatballs. We had purchased a french baguette at the store on Monday and we didn’t want it to go stale before it was consumed. Blake told me over the weekend he wanted to help with the cooking this week, so I had shown him Alton Brown’s Chicken Parmesan Balls recipe. We decided this would be the meatballs we make this time around. I typically make the meatballs from this recipe anytime I make meatballs. P1080320

The boys decided they would both help make dinner. Blake helped make the meatballs. He measured and mixed and then formed the meatballs while I cooked them in the cast iron skillet. Colby made the sauce almost completely on his own.

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Chicken Turkey Parm Balls

  • 3 oz panko bread crumbs
  • 4 oz parm cheese (I used a combination of parm and asiago since I didn’t have enough parm)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix (dried herbs not salad dressing)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 oz of fresh mozzarella
  • weekday spaghetti sauce (see below)
  • Heat oven to 400
  1. mix 1/2 oz of panko and 1 oz parm cheese in a small bowl and set aside
  2. combine chicken, egg, 1 Tbsp oil, bread crumbs, parm cheese, basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt in a large bowl. (use your hands it’s your best kitchen tool!)
  3. use cookie scoop to create equal size balls
  4. heat 1 Tbps oil in pan.
  5. brown balls in the pan, work in batches and do not over crowd the pan. remove to paper towel lined pan/plate as you go.
  6. put balls into baking dish and cover with weekday sauce. sprinkle on reserved panko and cheese. top with fresh motzarella
  7. bake for 10 min or until the cheese is melted.
  8. serve however you want (in a roll, on pasta, just on a plate, eat it right out the pan…?)

Weeknight sauce

  • EVOO
  • 6 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning (herbs not salad dressing mix)
  • 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
  1. heat oil in the pan (enough to coat the bottom of the pan
  2. add crushed garlic
  3. add remaining herbs
  4. heat until the garlic is starting to brown around the edges, making sure to continue to break up garlic if you didn’t chop it up
  5. add in the whole can of tomatoes
  6. let cook 5 min or so then begin breaking up the tomatoes (Colby used the wooden spoon then I used a potato masher) to the consistency you like your sauce

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This was really good. The boys did find the sauce a bit spicy. I think next time I’ll use 1/2 or 1/4 tsp of the red pepper flakes. I enjoyed the texture, taste and mouthfeel of these meatballs. I would make them bigger next time if I was making them for the subs. I tend to choose to make my meatballs smaller so I know they cook through and they also do not need as much binder then. I will certainly be making both the meatballs and sauce again since everyone enjoyed them.

 

book · life · reviews · Uncategorized

Beach Rental book review and rambles

Happy Friday Eve!

This has been such a strange week for me. I posted a bit about it yesterday. On top of all the crazy busy of the boys’ schedules, Richard had 2 days of meetings. For his job when they have these big meetings where people travel in from other states it means full days of meetings followed up by dinner and/or drinks. This means he leaves the house at 7:20am to drive the boys to the bus stop and then didn’t arrive home until around 10pm. I’m not sure how he does it! At least it’s done now, and everything went as smoothly as he hoped it would.

I just finished reading another book on my Kindle Paperwhite E-reader . One of the biggest perks of reading on the Kindle is the free books I can get with out prime membership. On Monday, I posted about Coming to Rosemont: The First Novel in the Rosemont Series which I also got for free. I guess this is another bonus to having a prime membership even if the price is going up! I love the free shipping, we have a Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player which is ALWAYS on playing music in the background of our life. I had to laugh yesterday listening to the boys request music on Alexa, we went from We Didn’t Start the Fire to Laughter In The Rain then Wake Me up Before You Go-Go. My sons have always had an eclectic variety of music they listen to, but it just seems to shine through more lately. Some of their favorite stations to listen to are Pop For Cooking, ’70s Light Pop Perfection, ’80s Pop for Runners and those are just a few that they pick. I find it crazy that they know the names of the songs as well as who sings the song. Me, well I could sing the whole song for you but couldn’t fathom to tell you the facts about the song. Oh well, guess I’ll never go on a music game show, but they can!

Today I finished reading Beach Rental (Large Print) (Emerald Isle, NC Stories) (Volume 1), but Grace Greene. I felt like I read this book really fast, but that maybe because I’m finally back to only reading one book at a time. I read all three of the Harry Potter books one after the other and then I was reading a book and an e-book at the same time while adjusting to reading on the Kindle. Beach Rental was the first book in forever that I read both during the day and at night. So I felt like I flew through the book. I was able to get this book free through my prime membership, notice a trend her?

Juli Cooke’s life has never been easy. She bounced around in the foster care system as a child and has worked hard as an adult to keep her nose clean and a roof over her head. She works at a grocery store during the day and picks up jobs with caters at night for extra cash.

One night while working as a server for a lavish party, her life takes a very unexpected twist. She meets Ben Bradshaw at that party and he turns her life on its ear with the proposal of marriage. Ben is dying and realizes he wants someone in his life to keep him company. He offers Juli a financial freedom for her friendship, that may or may not turn into more over time. Juli agrees with this arrangement, but finds more opposition from Ben’s family than she was prepared to deal with. Ben’s cousin and business partner Luke, noticed Juli at the same party and had a preconceived notion of who she was and what her motives really were. When Ben’s sudden death changes everything, Juli and Luke are forced to work together to settle the estate and so much more.

Read what happens in this unique love story that shows that often times love pops up in the most unusual places.

** This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement**

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March is a month of milestones

As the month of March comes to an end I was looking at my insights/stats on my blog. I just reached 100 followers! Thank you to everyone who follows my blog. I am glad you are long for the journey.

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The month of March found me with the highest number of site view with 1.1K views just in March, this is crazy to me. I began this blog last June and had 24 views. This month found me with an average of 35 views a day. Thank you to everyone who stopped in to see what is on my mind each day. I love sharing these rambles, reviews, and photos with everyone. In 2018, I have already surpassed the number of likes I had for all of 2017 as well as the number of comments.

Thank you for helping me reach these milestones. I look forward to moving forward with my blog and continuing this journey with you my followers.

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food · through my camera lens · Uncategorized

Scones and Rolls

This week we have things going on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. I hate when things are scheduled for around 6pm because it makes dinner hard. The boys get home from school a little before 4pm. We aim for an 8pm bedtime. This means that they need to complete homework and have dinner before we leave for the event. So for these days this week we have simplified dinners.

Tonight we are heading to the first HOA meeting for our new neighborhood. Richard’s goal is to come home and have dinner before we have to leave. So, I pulled leftover ribs out of the freezer. I decided to toss them into the crock pot this morning and let them do their thing. If I remember correctly, when we made these ribs the first time they were a rolls1bit dry. I put them in the crock pot with more BBQ sauce, Worcestershire and soy sauce. I let them cook on low and then warm all day long. I wanted something to go with them, so I decided to bake rolls. We made these last week and they were soooo good. So I popped another batch into the breadmaker.

While the breadmaker was mixing and rising my roll dough I decided to make scones. When Blake was in kindergarten we talked about moving to Seattle, WA. We went out there on vacation to look at possible jobs and living places. This move didn’t work out for our family, but we had a great trip. Every day in the hotel we stayed in they had fresh scones. I came home swearing that I was going to learn to bake scones. I tried a few times and never felt they lived up to the expectation. I often get scones when we are out and about, but I haven’t tried baking scones for a while.

scones3It seemed like in the last week or so I saw scones everywhere. I saw them on multiple shows that I watched on food network as well as on blogs. AJ on a Petite Slice of Life, encouraged me to try baking scones again after a comment I made on her post. So, today I did! I made strawberry blackberry scones. I feel like if I’m going to jump in, might as well jump in with both feet. I found a recipe from King Arthur Flour that sounded good enough to try.

They are really good. They are flaky, yet not falling apart. They have a good flavor, yet are dense and light all at the same time. I guess they are contradiction of flavors, but it works.

So now I know what I’ll be having tomorrow for breakfast with my coffee!

family · life · Uncategorized

Sleep… who needs sleep?

And just like that the sun is gone and the rain is back. Today I drove up to the boys school for the third day in a row. I helped with the set up of the book fair. Next week, I’ll be there helping out with that a few days. When I drove to school, it was overcast. When I left school, it was raining, but a light misty rain. Just before the boys would get home from school the mist turned to real rain. It’s crazy that the yard is already flooded. I guess we didn’t have enough days of sun to dry out just yet. I’m sure there will be more flooding over the next few days.

Last night the boys didn’t go to the playground because it was threatening rain at that time. We decided to meet up with Richard at the gym instead. Colby is really starting to enjoy the time in the gym and is working on running, sit-ups and push-ups. Blake did some circuit training and then played Wii. Richard and I did a bit of cardio, flat bench, and then worked on lower body. I did a lot of kettle bell exercises. Let me tell you, kettle bells will get you sweating if you do it right. I had hope that the workout would help me get a good night sleep, but that wasn’t in the cards.

 

Has anyone read the book Lilac Girls? That is the book I’m reading now. I’m finding it very hard to read emotionally. This book is set during WWII and it delves into a lot of the dark side of that war. While I know a lot of what happened, to read about it from the prospective of someone who is living through it makes it that much more real. The story has two characters who interact with each other in a concentration camp, one a prisoner and the other a doctor. I have been having trouble sleeping at night and while I’m not thinking or dreaming about the book, I wonder if this is disturbing my sleep in some ways? Hmmm I may need to get a second book and read Lilac Girls during the day and something a lot lighter at bedtime.

 

 

book · Education · Uncategorized

Thank You, Mr. Falker– book review

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Today and tomorrow, I’m heading to the boys school for Read Across America Week. I’m reading to their classes. I decided to read a picture book or two. I picked Thank You, Mr. Falker since Blake’s class is reading Fish in a Tree. Both books are about dealing with reading issues. Colby’s class recently read about dyslexia as well. I’m taking a few other books with me as well. I was originally going to bring a chapter book, but it seemed strange to read a part of a chapter book, but not the whole one.

I can only hope that the kids enjoy this book. I don’t want them to think it’s young because it is a picture book. These books are written kids in 3rd-5th grade. The main character is a 5th grader. So often we forget that there are picture books made for older children. Patricia Pollacco writes many books that are geared towards an older child audience. The story of Thank You, Mr. Falker is her story. the story of how she learned to read in the 5th grade. How she learned she has dyslexia and how to live with it instead of letting it decide how she lives.

Thursday, I’m back at the boys school to help set up their book fair. I love that I can go help out at the boys school and especially when I can do something to help out the teachers.

** contains links, please read my disclosure statement**