Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mindless Weekend Rambling: Family Quirks & Traditions

Welcome to my new blog event called Mindless Weekend Rambling where I will ramble on and on aimlessly about all the junk rolling around in my brain. Occasionally I might rant and rave about something that is bothering me or question the sanity of it all, or maybe choose to discuss my to do list or plans that I am making or maybe share something new I learned. The only thing I can guarantee is that it will be totally off the cuff. I hope you will bear with me and maybe get a laugh or two in the process.
So by the time you read this I will be surrounded by part of my mom's side of the family and I am so excited because of what happens when we all get together.
Let's chat about odd family traditions . . .
Well first I want to talk about my Dad's side of the family which is smaller and tends to be a lot tamer. Generally when that side of my family gets together it is at my Grandparent's house and we have this obsession with food.  In particular breakfast, ice cream and popcorn. 
Usually at least one or two days when we are there we have breakfast at 'Grandpa's House' which is just a fire pit on their extra lot that is surrounded by trees. We all pitch in to cook a massive breakfast over that fire pit in good old cast iron skillets of potatoes, sausage, eggs and toast. It is pure gluttony and you feel like you don't need to eat for another month by the time you are done.
See here is a picture of Hubby (several years ago) getting his first lesson of cooking at Grandpa's House
Dinner time is totally different. Come to think of it I don't think I have ever had a true dinner at their house. Sometimes we had a taco chip dip, but that probably doesn't count.  Anyway instead dinner is all about ice cream and popcorn. Because you didn't eat enough at breakfast you now get to eat at least 1/4 gallon if not a 1/2 gallon of ice cream followed by an old gallon ice cream bucket filled with popcorn. And this happens every night! You should have seen my Hubby the first time he came for a visit with me and went shopping with my Grandma.  She asked him to go pick out some ice cream and when he came back with on single half gallon for a week visit she just shook her head and lead the way to the freezers and proceeded to fill half the cart with ice cream.  Hubby was shocked and couldn't get over the fact that we would be eating all that ice cream (he now reserves the ice cream eating for our visits because he knows he will eat enough to last him for at least a year).
Now while my Dad's side of the family is all happy, warm, mealtime memories my Mom's side of the family is all about competition . . .
My Mom's family is huge and every last one of us is competitive, but especially so when it comes to playing cards. It gets darn right brutal (there have been times when people have walked away with bruises and a broken finger or two).
Do you see that look in his eyes? (One of my Uncles)
Anyway we play this game called Peanuts, most people have never heard of it but it is kind of a cross between solitare and speed. It is set up similar to solitare, red on black counting down in for spaces and aces go up top. You have a pile of ten cards you need to clear to stop the game. Anyone can play off anyone else's aces up top. If you have good players that are familiar the game really flies.  Anyway if you want to know the full rules and scoring system just let me know. 
So we play this game all the time when we are together as a family and because our family is so big we normally play in partners (there isn't a table big enough for all of us).   Brace yourself for a little bragging here . . .  I am so darn good and whip them all so bad at this game they have taken away my partner, I am now the only family member who has to play the game alone. And you know what? I still whip them at Peanuts!
(see them all partnered up and my stack all by its lonesome?)
So anyway, one of my cousins I haven't seen in years started talking smack a month ago and now I am preparing to school him properly this weekend HAHAHA!
So now you know that if you come to visit, I will feed you a ridiculous amount of food and then beat you into the ground with card games!
What do you do when your extended families get together? Any odd traditions or quirks?


Friday, April 11, 2014

Bedtime Story: Thank You for Your Service by Linda Rosenberry

Synopsis: "Thank You For Your Service teaches children the importance of a simple thank you. It is our goal for children to learn to honor and respect members of the Armed Forces. This book will show them ways to express their thankfulness for the service and sacrifices these men, women and their families make everyday."

My Review: I purchased this book for Munchkin to prepare for a trip to see several family members who are in various branches of the military. I thought it was a fun book and I liked how a lot of the military members were pictured in every day situations. There was also a fun activity in the back of the book and a link for an audio of the book. I however find the little girl who was narrating the story a little odd, she had a hat on the whole time that reminded me of something that would be worn in France instead of the US, I would have liked to see her pictured a little more as what you would expect of a typical American girl (if that makes sense). Munchkin was a little young for the book but he seemed to really enjoy it (he had been throwing a temper tantrum when I started and calmed right down by the third page).
My Rating: It is a great introduction to branches of the military and being respectful but the illustrations threw me off a bit.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

After Dark Review of Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai

 have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)
Synopsis: "Ensnaring the ultimate bad boy has its risks…and its rewards.

It’s not easy being Hades. Constantly guarding his world against other meddling and ambitious deities is stressful work. So when a naked goddess falls directly into his lap, along with the news that he has to shelter her for the indefinite future, he is less than thrilled. Particularly since he can’t help but lust after the beautiful female.

The Underworld isn’t the first place Persephone would pick for a vacation—who in their right mind would choose a dark palace over sunshine and flowers? Yet from Hades’s first touch, the dark, sexy ruler fascinates her and has her thinking a fling might be just the thing to while away her confinement.

But trust each other? Not a chance. Until the day comes that Persephone must leave…and they realize that trusting each other is the only way they’ll ever meet again.

Warning: Contains an arrogant god, a stubborn goddess, horny deity nookie and enough supernatural friction to set the Underworld on fire."

My Review: I have a love for retellings of the myth of Hades and Persephone! This one started out very abruptly, I kept turning back to the cover page in case my kindle had skipped a page, or looking for a list of previous books in a series. Once I got over that and just pushed ahead in the story I rather enjoyed it. I loved reading Hades' inner turmoil and thoughts, he cracked me up! The intimate scenes were definitely steamy and hot and did seem to take over the story a little but that seems to be the author's style. I still really enjoyed this one, and it was a short enough read to get through in a night.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this new (and more explicit) version of Hades and Persephone.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag (probably would have been Four paws if it hadn't been for the beginning).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review of Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Synopsis: "The Witch Hunters have come for Brusenna, for she is the last. All the others have been captured by the Dark Witch. And without their magical songs to control nature, the world is dying.

Though young and untrained, Brusenna must succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find the Dark Witch. Fight her. Defeat her. If Brusenna fails, there will be nothing left to save—for the Witches, for mankind, or for the young Guardian who has committed his life to protecting hers."

My Review: This story really captured my attention quickly. You can't help but feel for Brusenna and struggle through all her hardships with her. I loved Joshen, he is everything a hero should be, he is brave, loyal, and fearless and most of all completely in love with Senna. While I really enjoyed a lot of the adventure and interactions between the characters, it seemed like there were just too many obstacles to overcome. Things were repeatedly thrown in Senna's way and even after she accomplished her goal when you would have liked to give her a break she still had to fight her way through. All of these battles and hardships resulted in her being almost too perfect and being able to fix everything.
My Rating: I enjoyed the story and loved the characters but it just got a little too drawn out. I am a little nervous to read the next book.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and Stump Wag.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review of Gifted Hunter by Nicholas A. Rose

Synopsis: "The thief turned killer, the determined young bounty hunter, the City Guard who want him to fail.
Sallis ti Ath is in Marka, driven to make a name for himself and be the best bounty hunter. The city's wealthy are plagued by a series of thefts and now the thief has committed murder.

Sallis claims he will succeed where all others have failed and swears to bring the thief to face justice. But the young bounty hunter quickly learns that, not only do some want to see him fall, but there is much more to his commission than he realized."

My Review: As I suspected this second novella in the series was easier to understand and follow than the first. I really like Sallis even though he is far more mature than his years account for. I also enjoyed the story line and the stance he takes on justice. I think this is a series I will continue to follow because I have really grown to care for Sallis.
My Rating: I enjoyed this installment to the series, however I would like to have a full length novel as opposed to a novella. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, April 7, 2014

What's for Dinner this Week? (1)

What's for Dinner This Week is a little insight into my life for you every Monday night. I carefully plan out meals for the week ahead of time and do my shopping over the weekend.  So I wanted to start sharing with you one of the recipes or dinners I am most looking forward to each week.
I stand here in someone else's house trying to figure out what to cook. They have been kind enough to open their home to me, Hubby and the Munchkin during our vacation and I thought it would be nice to have dinner waiting for them when they get home from work.  The issue? They are Vegan, I have never cooked for a vegan before and am kind of worried about screwing something up! I have cooked for Celiacs (gluten free), people who have some thing call Diverticulitus (? something about not processing seeds/corn), Lactose intolerant friends, vegetarian (but still eat fish & cheese) and a whole other slew of special dietary requirements but never Vegan.
We are definitely not vegan, we are the complete opposite of vegan! So originally I was thinking that my husband makes this unbelievable vegetarian lasagna and make some garlic bread to go with it. But then I got to thinking, there is a lot of cheese in the lasagna, not to mention eggs in the pasta. Oh gosh, there are eggs in the bread and butter on the bread. So that option was thrown out.  So other than a Minestrone soup or a salad the only other idea I could come up with is Risotto!
Thank goodness I have this unbelievable Risotto cookbook!
Honestly, this was the best cookbook I have ever bought! I have become really good at making Risotto and our friends and family all love that.  So back to my dinner plans.  So I am thinking depending on what I can find in their pantry or what I can find in the store, I will go with a primavera risotto with lots of hearty veggies (have you ever had an asparagus risotto? YUM). 
Do you have any special diets you have to cook for? Do you find it difficult to make food for someone else? What is on your plate for dinner this week?

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
Possessed by Desire by Elizabeth Naughton (After Dark)
Foodie Babies Wear Bibs by Michelle Sinclair Colman (Bedtime Story)
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #2 by Heather Nuhfer (Graphic Novel)

Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Track Record
Doms of Dark Haven
Gifted Avenger
Hi, Koo!

Currently Reading:

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein - PB - on Page 138 of 310
Perfect Match by Kristin Higgins - PB - on Page 243 of 441
Knightmare by Deborah Valentine - Kindle- 4%
Taking Stock by Scott Bartlett - Kindle - 5%
Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis - Audio - 8%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Lest the Dew Rust Them by Michael Drakich (Requested Review)
My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin (Requested Review)


I was totally swamped this week! By the time you read this I will be happily (we hope anyway) on a family vacation, our first since Munchkin came along. So while I did get a little reading done, it was mostly crunch time both at work and at home.  If you happen to follow me on Twitter (@EasternSunset9) you may have spotted my little shopping spree.  I am so excited about the over 30 new books I have and can't wait to read them all and share with you. That means I need to really finish up with some commitments and other books I have already started first.

So what did you all think of my first Crafty Times post yesterday? I will have a couple more this month and will check back with you to see if you want me to continue. And tonight will be my first What's for Dinner This Week post, so check it out and let me know what you think of that too!

Oh and did you guys spot my accomplishment last week? I finally got my Archive list all done! I have some formatting issues to clear up and need to double check that all the links are up at the end of the month but I am counting as updated and done! I just realize now how many books I never posted reviews for, guess over the next year or two I will be going back to re-read some and give them proper reviews (heck I need to go back and read some of those series anyway for the next books).

I am really ready for spring and my absolute favorite flower and scent is Lilacs so when I found Lilacs in Bloom in this Etsy Shop I had to have it.  Pictures just do not do this polish color justice, it is too beautiful and perfect for spring coming up on Easter!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Crafty Times (1)

Crafty Times is a new thing I am trying on the blog where I can share some of the art and crafts I have created (you can too of course). I really dabble in a wide variety of crafts and hope you can find something that sparks your interest or inspires you!
This being my first Crafty Times post I figured I would just introduce you to some of the things I dabble in, even though some of you may have spotted some posts throughout the years. I haven't had a lot of time since Munchkin became a part of our lives to get much time for my art and crafts, but am making it a point to fit it into my life and schedule since I enjoy it so much.
A few years ago I went through a phase where I was really into making wine charms.  I could sit down at my craft desk and make 30 - 40 charms a night. Of course now I have a box full of charms that I need to list for sale but no time to do it, but I still get that itch every once in a while to make more.
I made this set during a Nanowrimo break one year and call them Revise and Edit, it includes a feather pen & inkwell, typewriter, notebook paper, laptop computer, pen and a book.
This set is called Night Sky, I had a variety of silver stars and decided they needed a background of black beads.
I made a few of these sets of charms and donated them for auction for Distinguished Doberman Rescue, the rescue we adopted Niko from and volunteer for, they were a big hit and I need to track down more Doberman charms to make more sets!
A craft I grew up making and have rediscovered now that I am an adult is Scherenschnitte.  It is a form of paper cutting, I used to use tiny scissors to cut everything out but haven't been able to find a pair as good as the ones my mom has, so I have resorted to using an exacto knife.
Here are a set of Panda Bear Cards
I also trade Scherenschnitte with a friend of mine in Germany, she loves tigers so I made this one for her.
I also make a series of Christmas Cards each year (in limited amounts). My favorites were the Winter Birds. I have actually gone so far as to decide that is my Christmas decorating theme.
I have also dabbled a little in drawing and painting with various mediums.
I loved this bookmark I made as a Christmas gift exchange of the My Little Pony Glory looking at the Christmas Star.
I seem to prefer My Little Ponies as we have Zecora and Zig Zag bumping noses
At one point I got fairly good at pencil sketches of horses
At one point I decided to give oil pastels a try

With the art, came the new wonderful world of ATCs. I can't wait to get back into making these little tiny gems of creativity.
By far my most product art and craft was the Custom My Little Pony. I made so many of these it is hard to decide which ones to share with all of you.  Sadly since Munchkin has joined the family haven't had the time to even attempt to start a pony. Hopefully someday when he is able to entertain himself a little or even craft along side me I can get back into the world of ponies!
The last custom I created was back in December 2012, her name is Tanny.
The previous Christmas I made this lovely pair, Night Fall and Morning Light. Morning Light is quite possibly my favorite that I have ever made.
The little Toy Story Alien I made in 2010 might be one of the more unique ponies I have made.
I even made a couple of book themed ponies, Thursday Next was a big one (yes I even made the book she is coming out off and she attaches to that spot with a magnet).

When we found out that Little Munchkin was coming along my art forms altered a little.  I did a few paintings for his room (of course it had to be Dr. Seuss themed).
And then I had to make a set for my Niece's room who's theme was Precious Moments Noah's Ark
So there you have it, a little glimpse at the arts and crafts from the past (believe me there is a lot more but don't want to overwhelm you). Now you can follow how my art develops and changes moving forward.  I hope some of this has inspired you because looking back at my pictures has really inspired me to get back to it.