A New Recipe from a New Blog

Actually the blog isn't new, just new to me. It is called Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes and can be found here. Definitely don't be fooled into thinking these are a bunch of uninteresting or tasteless recipes. These recipes are yummy! My new favorite is titled Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice. I'm not sure how Chipotle's rice actually tastes but this knock off is quite good. Plus it is very easy to make. I cooked it on my stove top and didn't burn a single grain of rice and none of it stuck to the bottom of the pan--I can't get that to happen even in a rice cooker. The blog is definitely worth browsing. It has lots of very good recipes and a really nice variety as well.

And just in case you still aren't paying attention: USA 2 Spain 0. That is huge people because Spain ranked no. 1 in the world and the US is, well, not. Next match is Sunday for the championship.


Aprilynne Pike

I've just spent the last hour listening to author Aprilynne Pike speak about her experiences as an author. You remember I told you to go read her book Wings right? Well I now even more highly recommend that you go and pick up her book. She is funny, smart, well spoken, and an all-around really nice person. How do I know that she is an all-around really nice person? Because I watched her interact for about an hour with some really, really awkward teenagers who quite possibly believe that they are vampires or faeries or that they do possess magical powers (or at least aren't afraid of acting out the possibility of having and using said powers in public) and she didn't once roll her eyes or make any sort of a disparaging remarks or motions. I rolled my eyes and sighed loudly several times just watching/listening to these teens (not that all of them were awkward I spoke to at least 3 who definitely fit in the realm of normal). I guess I am not an all-around nice person.


USA Soccer

For those of you who weren't paying attention, the US smacked Egypt around yesterday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

p.s. I heart no. 10


Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears

I discovered chocolate covered cinnamon bears yesterday and am in heaven. It may be a little premature but I think I'm ready to declare them my new favorite food. Now I just need to find a place within 5 miles of me that sells them--or maybe that is not such a good idea.

Note to those 7 individuals who have asked me to drive them to the airport over the next several weeks: 1 bag of chocolate covered cinnamon bears would just about cover my fee;)

Picture here.


The Graveyard Book

I also should have mentioned this book yesterday because I loved it as well.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a fabulous read for teens about an toddler whose family is murdered in the first chapter but who escapes the same fate by wandering into a local graveyard. In the graveyard he is adopted, raised and protected by its ghostly residents. The story follows the young boy as he grows up moving between the worlds of the dead and the living. Fascinating, clever, and a quick to read.


What I've Been Reading

I thought I'd share with you a few of the books that I've read lately that I thought were amazing or that I thought you might enjoy reading. Before I do, though, I'd like to just say a word about who I am recommending these books to: adults. That is not to say they are inappropriate for teenagers to read (two of the books on my list today are teen or young adult books). It is just that I do not choose to decide for you what books are or are not appropriate for your teenager. Okay? Okay.

So now on to teen book no. 1:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike. This recommend is for those of you who loved the Twilight series. You remember that series, right? Teenage girl moves to a new city, feels out of place, starts to make new friends, discovers a whole world of vampires and wolves that she didn't know existed, and has to decide between two incredible guys. In Wings, a teenage girl moves to a new city, feels out of place, starts to make new friends, discovers a whole world of faeries and trolls she didn't know existed, and falls in love with two incredible guys. But you really shouldn't let the similarities discourage you because they really are two distinct stories--Wings is much less edgy and bloody than Twilight--and I did find it to be thoroughly entertaining and simply a joy to read. It is the first of four novels and I'll return for the rest of them. Read a review by Janssen at Everyday Reading here. Also when you do read this book could you please explain the title to me because I don't get it.

Teen book no. 2:

On the Jellicoe Road by Malina Marchetta. Taylor Markham is the new leader of a secret underground community at her boarding school in a small town in Australia that participates in territory wars between the school, the town's teens (townies), and a group of cadets that camp nearby. While negotiating land ownership or the return of captured students her own world begins to fall apart with the disappearance of her guardian Hannah who has been looking after her since her own mother abandoned her. It is through her current relationships with fellow students, townies, and one particular cadet that she discovers the links to her past and the past of her parents. Stunning, stunning book with an ending that had me holding my breath in suspense, gasping (out loud) in surprise, and crying in sadness and happiness. This book now has a place on my all-time favorite books list.

Book no. 3:

Fine Old High Priests by Donald Smurthwaite. In this touching story an LDS man in his 70s, spends the night sitting beside the hospital bed of a long-time friend who is dying of cancer. Throughout the night he recalls the building of their friendship and the many life lessons they have learned with and from each other. Don't think that just because of the title or the fact that it is about a man dying of cancer that this book is sad or dry. This is a beautifully written book that is light and funny while being at the same time wise and insightful. This one is also on my all-time favorite books list.

Book no. 4:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Henry, a Chinese-American, has recently lost his wife to cancer when the discovery of suitcases belonging to Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII stirs up emotions and memories of when he was a child and of his Japanese-American friend Kieko. The novel moves back and forth between the 1980s and the 1940s to tell the tale of this friendship and of difficult family relationships that are to be overcome, endured, and sometimes enjoyed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and then handed it to my mom who thoroughly enjoyed it.


Check out these so very cute gift tags. Do you love them? Well they can be yours for the amazing price of free. All you need do is head here for the free download.

Download and picture courtesy Whisker Graphics

Walking in the Rain

So last week ended off with a bit more rain but now appears to have disappeared completely. Before it did disappear, though, I took one final walk in the rain with my iPod and discovered a few new songs. Is your iPod like mine? Meaning, do you have hundreds of songs that you may not have ever listened to or that you might have listened to once, then downloaded, and then forgot about it completely? That is my iPod. Well while I was out walking in the rain I thought I would rediscover some of my Jazz titles (rain and jazz just seem to go together) and came across this beauty:

The voice, the piano, the violin! So hauntingly beautiful.


Rainy Day Movies

It has been unusually cool (in the 70s) and rainy here (Utah) for the past several days and it has been absolutely wonderful. I miss the rain. I once lived in Northern Ireland and it would rain there nearly once a day (no exaggeration). I had to take my umbrella with me everywhere because it was likely to rain even on nice sunny-looking days. It rained so often that I would buy a new umbrella ever 2-3 months just because of wear and tear. I miss the rain. But for the past few days I've had the rain back in my life. In addition to prompting me to take long, enjoyable walks in the rain (lasts night's walk perhaps had a bit too much rain) it has prompted the watching of some of my favorite rainy day movies (cozy little movies that induce silly grinning while I am wrapped up in a blanket with hot chocolate).

Here are a few of my favorites:

One Fine Day--one of the ultimate rainy day movies because the movie begins and ends with a rainy day and George is so absolutely charming and cute. (Plus the size of the cell phones is hilarious)

Singing in the Rain--another natural pick for the list as it too involves rain. My favorite part (apart from Gene Kelly singing in the rain) is Donald O'Connor's 'Make them Laugh' routine. Love it!

The Mirror Has Two Faces--I love this love story and the opera music at the end gets me every time.

Crossing Delancey--lovely story set in lovely New York City. I haven't seen this one for years and years but it has been on my mind all week.

Return to Me--Every time I see this one (which admittedly is a lot cause I love me a good sappy love story) it makes me want to go out an find a family-run Irish-Italian restaurant that serves ravioli and cabbage on the same plate.

So what are some of your picks?


Happy Monday!!!

I'm not actually really feeling the Happy Monday vibe, but I am trying the mind over matter bit and trying to have a good attitude.

Mostly though I am wishing that I owned this cookbook:

I've tried a couple of burger recipes (his basic burger has revolutionized my basic burger making--simple things like salt, pepper, and a brushing of canola oil--and a milkshake and I am very happy with all results. Very Yummy.


To-Read Pile

This is what my to-read pile looked like for one brief moment. I must say it was a bit odd to look to the pile and see nothing. That is not to say that I didn't have anything to read. I am right in the middle of reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer and that is a lengthy book so not having a book sitting over in my to-read pile should not have left me feeling as lost as it actually did.

This is also not to say that I didn't know what I was going to read next because my to-read pile is an entirely different thing than my to-read list (which I keep track of over at GoodReads). In fact while my to-read pile was briefly empty (some might say under control), my to-read pile is anything but. A couple of months ago I was looking at said list and decided that having 49 books on my to-read list is entirely too much and so I began to more diligently (and more quickly) work my way through them. I had, at the time, thought that keeping it at or below 40 books was slightly more reasonable. Eventually I made it to that point. I briefly (very briefly) even had it down to 35 and was just beginning to think that 30 was a much more reasonable number than 40. I have now just about given up on that number of 30 (except for secretly in the back of my mind) because there are just too many excellent books being written.

Having 38 (current number) books on my to-read list requires something of a system because, you see, nearly all of the books on this list are rather popular right now. This means that I can't merely walk into my local library and grab my sought-after book off the shelf. I have to request the book and then wait for the sometimes dozens of people (once it was over 100) ahead of me on the list to read and return the book first. This is where my system comes in (okay so it is not a real system in that there are no rules or specific steps but it is something that I am conscience of). When placing books on hold I first look to see how long the waiting list is and how many copies exist at my library. What I am trying to determine here is the approximate time frame it will take for these books to make it to my home. I don't want five 400-page books to come home all at once and I don't want my to-read pile to be empty.

In addition to trying to pace the time in which books become available to me I also want to make sure that I have a good mix of genre. Even too much of a good thing can be little bit bad so I try to mix up my historical fictions with my vampire books and my teen angst books with my flying through time and space books. For this purpose I suppose it is a good thing that there are 39 different books to choose from.

All in all, the process often makes me feel a bit like an athletic coach at
BYU trying to figure out how many scholarship she has, who is leaving on LDS missions and hence freeing up a scholarship for 2 years, and when will they be coming home, etc. I suppose this is why I love checking my library holds so much--it is also a bit like fantasy baseball: I want to see how my picks are performing and if I've timed it all correctly as to assure optimal reading pleasure. And when it is done right it makes me very happy.

Where do I get my "picks" from? Well, I'm glad you asked since apart from explaining my system this is the real reason for this post. I have two excellent resources (actually there are far more than 2 that I pull from, but there are 2 that give me picks on a regular basis):

1. MBC over at
Slanted. Not only does she keep a running list of books she is currently reading on her sidebar, but she will occasionally do a post of recommendations (click on her "What I'm Reading" label to see these) and I have always found her to be exactly right on with her recommendations--also she is the one who introduced me to the books of Connie Willis so I will love her forever. She has also opened my eyes to the wonderful world of poetry. Here is a portion of the latest poem she recently shared on her blog:

"The Letter" by Amy Lowell in Essential Pleasures.
I am tired, Beloved, of chafing my heart against
The want of you;
Of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
And I scald alone, here, under the fire
Of the great moon.

2. Janssen over at
Everyday Reading who is prolific at reading and writing up excellent book reviews. Plus if you leave a comment on her blog with a question in it she will email you the answer because she is such a lovely, lovely person (and definitely someone I wish I knew). Don't be too concerned if you head there right now and don't see any book reviews up this is not normal just click to see her older posts or browse her archive and you will be well satisfied. Janssen, I must say, is entirely and solely responsible for my to-read list being at 39 and not 30 right now. Also click here for some excellent recipes that she loves.

So now that I've waxed long on my overly long to-read list, do you have any recommendations for me (I love reading just about anything)? {Especially you
Science Teacher Mommy who has also never lead me astray?}


Be Healthy List

You know how I love me a list, right? Well here is a new one to help you keep track of what you are eating and when you are exercising from the fab Christa Baca. Check out the details here (it is a FREE download).

Also, check out
this download (also from Christa) if you are looking for a fun way to ask your significant other out on a date. I kind of picture it attached to a red helium balloon.


Free Float Night at Sonic

Wednesday, June 3rd 8pm-midnight (while supplies last).
Click here for the proof in writing.

5 Quirks

I was tagged months and months and months ago and never did get around to it (so sorry). In fact it has been so long that I'm not entirely sure of the rules of the tag and I have such a raging headache right now that I don't really feel up to searching for it. So I'm making my best guess that it was a list of 5 quirks.

So here goes:

1. I always look right first when crossing the street. This is a habit I picked up in London and Belfast that I just haven't brought myself to break. Luckily I haven't been killed yet.

2. I HATE nuts in otherwise delicious food such as cookies, brownies, and breads. I used to say that I hate nuts altogether but I recently discovered that I really enjoy cashews. This makes me wonder what other nuts I may also like. Definitely don't like almonds or walnuts, though.

3. I hate the word "gesture." I hate it in print (it is in print an awful lot) and I hate it when it is spoken out loud. I don't really know why this is, it just is. I absolutely love the word "throat." Go ahead say that one out loud. And I love saying "Train to Potevka" with a slight Russian accent.

4. I absolutely love looking at my library account to see how the things I've placed on hold are moving along--really! I try to limit the number of times I look at my account in a week but sometimes I will wake up on days that I know that I get to look and the first thing I think is 'I get to look at my library account today'. This probably solidifies me as a sad, pathetic person, but I just really don't care.

5. If I were given the choice between seeing a baseball game and going to the opera (or ballet or symphony) I really don't know which one I would choose.

I would really love to know what some of your quirks are so leave a comment or consider yourself tagged and create your own list on your blog.