Wordless Wednesday – 022

August 27, 2014 Photos 4


Not especially recent, but they are still around and getting big! Plus, we had a surprise! One is a boy! I need to take a new picture. And show some eggs!

More Wordless Wednesday fun here.




Top Ten Tuesday – Books. Gotta Have Them. Need them RIGHT NOW.

August 26, 2014 Books 7

I have to limit myself to ten???? Okay…here goes! Sorry for the stripped down post, but, you know, TIME!

The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs – OMG what a creepy cover.

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville – I must have the jones for reading creepiness.

The Witch: and other tales re-told by Jean Thompson – Seriously.

Vixen by Rosie Garland – I don’t even remember why I want to read this one, I JUST MUST HAVE IT.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg – I just love her.

The Graveyard Book, all three graphic novels by Neil Gaiman – BECAUSE IT’S MY MOST FAVORITE BOOK EVER AND IT’S NOW A GRAPHIC NOVEL??????

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss – the man? That title? That whole world? Finding out more about AURI? YES PLEASE.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – BECAUSE I LOVE HER.

The rumored new Tiffany Aching by Terry Pratchett – Because it’s more Tiffany Aching????

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – Such a long wait!!!!!! T.T

That’s my top ten must have RIGHT NOW of right now, because it could change in 5 minutes. What are you looking forward to?



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

August 25, 2014 Books, Meme 5

Ho! Hey! It’s Monday! Again! And I’m here to report on my reading adventures for the week!

So, I don’t know if you heard, but I started a new job last week. There were a couple of hang ups and I didn’t get to start until Thursday. So, what did I do in the meantime?

I wish I could say it was read! You know, cause, BOUT OF BOOKS 11!!!

And I did set out too. But I picked two difficult books and, well, I felt guilty sitting on my tail at home, not getting PAID, doing nothing. So, yeah, I did other things like CLEAN and COOK and stuff. By the time I got to work Thursday, I hadn’t finished one book.

Then I finished Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and dude, it was like someone flipped a switch. I couldn’t get enough words, sentences, stories!! Only problem was, I wanted them FAST and I didn’t have the TIME. What does a girl do when that happens?

She turns to graphic novels!

And boy, did I turn to graphic novels. I read: Lumberjanes 1-4 by Noelle Stevenson, Displacement by Lucy Knisley, and Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire. These helped me get through Sweetness #9 because DUDE. I was JUST FEELING THE SWEETNESS. I’m almost 99.9% sure it was me, not the book. I just have that little 0.1% feeling that maybe it wasn’t. I need other opinions. And time to think on it.

So, what am I reading NOW? I’m still chugging through Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. I can only take it at bits at a time because if I didn’t my heart would explode. I’m listening to Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, which the only thing I can say to that is what the HECK took me so long? And, well, I’m still looking for a third book. I started Isla and the Happily Ever After because I’ve been waiting FOREVER for it and yeah, I think it’s my third book. I just decided.

Obviously, my posting is going to be a bit sporadic and weird until I get this new job and free time thing figured out. HOPEFULLY I won’t be posting at the end of the day a lot. *sigh* We’ll see.

So, what are you reading? What’s good up in your world?

Happy Reading!


Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.




Weekend Cooking – Vanilla Blackberry Jam Ice Cream

August 24, 2014 Weekend Cooking 9

photo 1


Recently, a friend gave me an ice cream maker. He said he had one he found at a thrift store for a couple bucks and never used it, so he just gave it to me. I can’t believe it took 36 years on this Earth for me to obtain an ice cream maker. It’s at least 30 years too late.

I am in love! Because of this recipe!

For my very first time making ice cream EVER, I knew I had to keep to my sensibilities. The more unusual, the better. I love odd combinations of flavors, things that don’t sound like they would be good together, or like something few people try, or just plain ODD. In looking for recipes, I came across this recipe for Vanilla Blackberry Jam Ice Cream.

I knew it was the one. And dude. Was. I. Right.

photo 2

Whenever I making something, the first time I go by the recipe. I didn’t deviate from that course with this. The only way I’ll deviate now is to try different flavor combinations. The ice cream itself was PERFECT! The vanilla and blackberry together were DELICIOUS. The family ate about half of it and we froze the rest. The next day it was even more perfect because it was exactly like what you get at the store (out of the machine, it was like soft serve). I’m so glad I started out with this recipe. My confidence is HIGH now people. Next, mint chocolate chip!

Vanilla Blackberry Jam Ice Cream


  • 14-oz can low fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam or preserves, divided


  1. Combine sweetened condensed milk, cream, and half and half in a large bowl. Add vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of the jam to the milk mixture. Whisk until completely combined.
  2. Pour milk/cream mixture into your ice cream maker.
  3. Meanwhile, while ice cream is churning, heat the remaining jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until jam is thin and liquid-like. Drizzle the thinned jam into the ice cream maker five minutes before the churning is complete.
  4. Transfer thickened ice cream to a freezable container and freeze overnight.

Thank you Amanda, from Amanda’s Cooking for the FANTASTIC recipe. What flavor combinations do you think would work together? After the mint chocolate chip, I’m thinking ginger peach…..

weekendcookingWeekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads every weekend.  It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.



East of Eden by John Steinbeck, read by Richard Poe

August 23, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 1


I missed the second check in because I was behind, so I’m combining 2 and 3 into my review of this epic EPIC book.

Questions from Part 2:

1. What do you think of the characters’ growth and/or change in this section? Specifically, Adam, Cathy/Kate, and Lee have all had some big things happen.

I kind of wanted to slap Adam, punch Cathy, and hug Lee.

2. Lee is quickly becoming an important and insightful character. What do you think of his insights and his thoughts on language and his ethnicity?

I LOOOOOOVE LEE. I love everything about Lee and his story. I love the examinations of race and religion and even family through Lee. Through Lee (on the Trask side of the story), I feel we truly see what family can be. It isn’t always blood that ties us together.

3. The Cain and Abel and the importance of narrative continues to take on more prominence. How so?

4. How do you perceive Samuel now that he’s gone? Was he just a device for delivering advice?

I MISS HIM!!!!! He was a device for delivering advice, but he also helped further the story. Without him, those boys would have NEVER had names. And he’s the one who lead Adam to Cathy the evil b!tch.

5. Cathy/Kate…expound. There will probably be one of these at every checkpoint because OMGthatwoman.

That sums it up pretty well I think; OMGthatwoman.

Questions from Part 3:

1. What do you think of the twins since they’ve grown up quite a bit? They seem to take after both Adam and Charles. How do you explain that? My book club had fun with some theories recently.

Can I just say I adore Cal? BECAUSE I ADORE CAL. Because Cal is like, the ONLY, balanced character in this book. Unlike Adam and Aron, he’s not all good, and unlike Charles and Cathy, he’s not all bad. And he doesn’t really seem to want to embrace either ideal!

2. Any surprises in this section? Lee, Dessie and Tom, Adam’s business dealings? Just some ideas. :)

Adam’s business dealings were a surprise because I was all WTF are you doing Adam? It came out of left field and left right field. And then, poor Cal, went and made that money for Adam and WHAT DID THAT JERK DO but throw in back in his face? I never saw what Cal did as particularly bad. That’s just business.

Aron’s turn was surprising too. It almost felt like suicide.

3. Ugh, Kathy/Cate. Is there anything redeemable about this woman?

Oh hell no. There is no redeeming that woman. I don’t know if she thought leaving her money to JUST ARON was a good enough apology, in her misguided demented little diseased brain, but oh hell no. Not good enough.

Further Thoughts:

My further thoughts are for the audio. If you ever consider reading this book, I highly recommend the audio. Richard Poe was amazing. He really brought the book alive and dude, I don’t know if I would have made it without him.

For more insights on East of Eden, please see the collected posts over at The Estella Society. And join us for the next read, coming soon!



A More Diverse Universe!

August 20, 2014 Reading Challenges 9


Earlier in the week, I mentioned Aarti’s fantastic annual event, A More Diverse Universe. Today, I’m back with my reading list! Need to know about A More Diverse Universe?

For those who have not heard about #Diversiverse before, it’s a very simple challenge.  For those of you who have participated in the past, it’s even easier this year.  The criteria are as follows:
  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the last two weeks of September (September 14th – 27th) 

Yay! More Diversiverse and more Diversity! Here are the books I hope to read:

16171272From the bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.

Over the ensuing months, Henry—whom Brown nicknames Little Onion—conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859—one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.


170436One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. 

A true literary wonder, Hurston’s masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published – perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a reread for me. It’s probably been 10 years or more since I first read it and my life experiences have changed me immeasurably since then. I want to see how I experience now, as a MORE grownup person than I was then.

I was thinking of throwing in Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I read the first few pages in the bookstore the other day and WHOA.) if I can get it from the library.

I also have other books I’m thinking of throwing in, but these are the two I definitely want to get to (cause I own them!). Do you have any books you’d recommend?








It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

August 18, 2014 Books, Meme 2


Do I sound excited? For a Monday? Yeah, I thought so. I don’t get to start today like planned, dang HR department and their forms, so I get a couple days off before starting my job. It’s okay, I’ll take them.

Bout of Books starts today!!!! I’ll be reading the day away, while doing some neglected chores. Bah.

Exciting news!


A More Diverse Universe

One of my most favorite things in the blogging world and Aarti just made it even better because it is longer!


It’s time to sign up to participate in A More Diverse Universe!  Thanks to the glorious talents of Sandstone78, we have loads of buttons and banners for you to use wherever you would like.  Use any of the ones you see on this post and go crazy!

For those who have not heard about #Diversiverse before, it’s a very simple challenge.  For those of you who have participated in the past, it’s even easier this year.  The criteria are as follows:

  • Read and review one book

  • Written by a person of color

  • During the last two weeks of September (September 14th – 27th) 

I’m going to be going through my shelves to find a few books to read.  A few have already come to mind. Come on, click the link above and join in!

Happy reading!


Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.




Bout of Books 11

August 14, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 8


Y’all! It’s that time again! You know I can’t miss a good readathon. Assuming I’m of sound mind to read next week, here’s my pool. Plus maybe a couple others. You know how I roll.

I’ve already started Gutenberg’s Apprentice, so that will probably be my main book, but, as I do when I’m reading loooooong books (and yo, this book is SUPER LONG), I’ll be going back and forth between it and another. I’m already reading Tiny Beautiful Things as well, so that will be my starting go-between. I definitely want to hit up Sweet Tooth, to get Andi OFF MY BACK ALREADY, and figure Sweetness #9 will be a good followup to that. I’m still digging the nonfic, so I threw It Looked Different on the Model to stir things up a bit. Lastly, RIP starts NEXT WEEK, so I threw in something that looks a wee bit spooky; The Supernatural Enhancements. All in all, I think this is a good mix of books and dude. I CANNOT WAIT. Join me?


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team





Top Ten Tuesday – To Read or Not to Read?

August 12, 2014 Meme 16

August 12: Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read (books you may have bought but aren’t sure if you are into it anymore, books you wanted to read but heard mixed things about, hyped books you aren’t sure about — basically any book that has you going, “TO READ OR NOT TO READ?”


World War Z by Max Brooks – One of the few books my husband has actually read, and I can’t seem to make myself read it. No matter how many times he tells me I should.

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser – I took an Olde English class in college and the professor I had read some of the Faerie Queene. In the olde English. It was so gorgeous. And I wanted to read it because it sounded so gorgeous! And then I looked at the text.

The Martian by Andy Weir – So many reviews had me dying to read it that I bought it right away. And now I can’t seem to pick it up!


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I know, I know. But I’ve TRIED. I just can’t get into it. I will try again. I promise…..

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield – I love love LOVE The Thirteenth Tale. I wanted to love this one just as much, but dude. I just can’t get into it.

Anything else by Gillian Flynn – I seem to be one of the few who did NOT love Gone Girl. Thanks to that book, I never want to read anything by her again.


 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Uh uh. Nope. Just can’t do it. I’ve tried and it’s just too bleak and depressing.

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – These books just scare the crap out of me.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman – With all the hype over the show, I entertained the idea of reading this, then watching it, but then I figured out; I just don’t care.

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset – I read the first of the three books in this series, and enjoyed it, but somehow have never picked up the other two. 

How about you? Are there any books you just can’t seem to bring yourself to read? 

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

August 11, 2014 Books, Meme 8

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OMG Y’all. I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it. I’m so excited; I CAN’T EVEN READ.

I start a new job next Monday. At a university. I’m so excited. Seriously.


I did manage to finish The Paper Magician last week. I enjoyed it very much. This week, I’ve been puttering through East of Eden (THAT CATHY! GRRR.) and I started Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga, the last in Jasper Dent trilogy. When I sit down and read it, it holds my attention, but then my mind wanders and it’s all over. I just can’t concentrate for long.

I’m so nervous and excited and worried and, well, just being typical Heather. Hopefully I’ll settle down soon, but I doubt it.


Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.