Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Book Tally

This is for the last half of '09. For the first half see here.

Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Where Shall We Go For Dinner? by Tamasin Day-Lewis
Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson
Catching Fire By Richard Wrangham
Perfection by Julie Metz
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Scent of Shadows by Vicki Petterson
Firefly Lane By Kristin Hannah
Strange Brew Ed by PN Elrod
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? By Phillips K Dick
Rosemary And Rue- Seanan McGuire
From Hell- Alan Moore
A Year In The Merde-Stephen Clarke
Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov
Fluke By Christopher Moore
Food Matters By Mark Bittman
Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares
Little Bee-Chris Cleave
A Reliable Wife-Robert Goolrick
Wild Cards Ed by George RR Martin
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
Magic To The Bone by Devon Monk
Living Dead In Dallas By Charlene Harris
Dead Until Dark By Charlene Harris
Nemi by Lise Myhre
In Defense of Food By Michael Pollan
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
Pretty In Plaid by Jennifer Lancaster 
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (review coming next week)

30! Combine that with the first six months and that's 52 for the year. My goal was to read 100 books,  but 52 pretty good. I've read 10 of the 100 books on my Fill In The Gaps Challenge which makes me really happy. Only 90 more to go on that list.
I can't really pick a favorite from '09. I liked so many (The Wicked Lovely series, Little Bee, Best Friends Forever, Time Traveler's Wife, I Feel Bad About My Neck, The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, Revolutionary Road). 
I'm going to keep 100 books as my goal for next year. Hope I can get closer. I hope to read 40 off my Fill In The Gaps Challenge next year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Another Jack of Fables(Jack of Hearts) and Fables (The Good Prince) for Tai. And another book off of my Fill In The Gaps list,  The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy.

I joined Goodreads. If you are Goodreads too, friend me.
What did you get this week? 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pear Salad With Mixed Greens and Walnuts

For Christmas Eve supper I was asked to bring a salad. No other instructions but it be a salad. I took to the interwebs to find something yummy. I wanted it to be dairy free and have some fruit in it. And I found Pear Salad with Mixed Greens and Walnuts.

So easy to make. I made the dressing and chopped the pears ahead of time and let them chill in the fridge. I kept the dressing and pears separate from the salad greens until serving time.  I made no substitutions this time. I recommend it. It makes plenty for 5 hungry people.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Giveaway Time!

Recently I was contacted by the folks at CSN stores about a giveaway opportunity. Their stores are varied. Everything from living room and dining room furniture to sofas to home decor. They offered me the opportunity to give away this beautiful wall art:

It measures 27.5" H x 42" W x 2.875" D. I think it has endless possibilities. Plus it's multicolors would go with many different decors. It can be hung as it in the picture or rotated to be horizontal.

This giveaway is open to US residents.
To enter, leave a comment on this post, telling me as this year comes to a close, what's your favorite memory of 2009? And leave me an email address for me to contact you!

Giveaway will close 1/4/2010 at 5pm PST.  Good luck!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

MySpace Comments and Christmas MySpace Comments

I'll be making deviled eggs for our contribution for Christmas day dinner, so I'll be boiling eggs all day! If you have any great deviled egg recipes, send them my way.
It will be a quiet over the holiday weekend, but I am preparing plenty of goodies for you all. Look for a giveaway to announced on Monday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Santa brought a bunch of books!  Tai mentioned the other day how he missed reading the Fables series. So first we have Fables: The Dark Ages and Fables: War and Peace. I'd forgotten about Sign of The Zodiac series, so I got the next one, Touch of Twilight. And finally Divine Misdemeanors (the next in the Merry Gentry series) came in. Then to go along with the Fables series I got Tai 3 more of the Jack of Fables series (Turning Pages, Americana, and The Bad Prince). Lastly I read about Wasteland on Omnivoracious, so I got good books one & two.
So what did you get this week?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Christmas Ships

I've been trying to see the Christmas Ships for years. It's either too cold, too wet or I remember too late. But this year Jen made sure I remembered. In fact Pat and Jen even drove me and Tai to see them!
Here are my terrible pictures. If anyone has tips for taking pictures in the dark on a point and shoot, let me know!

A bonfire on the beach.
The largest ship. I love the way the light shines on the water.
An impromptu picture of me and Tai. Jen took this and she made the ship look great.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Decor

Also titled the one where Linda breaks her own rules.

For the last 6 years I haven't had a tree. I love real trees but hate the needles. I didn't want a fake tree since it wasn't what I really wanted. I rather have nothing than something I don't want. But this year I really wanted to display ornaments. I wanted an ornament tree.

But I couldn't find one in the stores that I liked so I was going to make one using manzanita branches.

But the one day I had planned to make and buy the tree I couldn't find the right branches. I decided to let that idea go until I could get the right branches. But I still wanted to display ornaments. Oh what to do.
So I bought a fake tree:

Yes, it's purple. I wanted to make sure if I was buying a fake tree I wanted no mistake that it was fake. The card holder is something I bought years ago at Hallmark. I love displaying our holiday cards there. And then we have my electric menorah. I got it as a gift a few years ago. My other menorahs are still hidden in a box somewhere.
I'm already for the holidays now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tree Dressing

When I took out my ornaments to dress our tree, I discovered we were seriously lacking in ornaments. I had only kept those I really liked and let Dad take the others to the Goodwill. We didn't have family heirloom ornaments. Mom liked to buy different things and she would most do one color. She liked white and gold for a very long time. And she had a thing for birds for a while.
Our tree isn't very big but I need a few more ornaments before I feel like it's dressed and ready for it's blog debut. I choose some ornaments to show you what I'll be out looking for this week:

Like my mother, I like to go for one or two colors too. I think silver is a great color for the holidays so I'm trying to stick to silver ornaments. In fact most of our current ornaments are silver. I'm hoping to find a few holiday sales this week and get things on the cheap!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Yeah we got stuff this week! First I got the second in the Gardella Vampire Series, Rises The Night. My review of the first book is on the Fill In The Gaps Blog.  Then I found Geektastic while looking for The Good Neighbors series on our library's website.  And Staci mentioned The Good Neighbors so I picked up the first 2 volumes.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Award Post

I've been awarded 2 awards recently. I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge them and pass them on.

I got the Sugar Doll award from Rachel! She's the Sugar Doll. Always so helpful with my home decorating questions.

The rules are that I need to share 10 interesting facts about myself and then pass this award along to 10 other bloggers. And in copying Rachel, I thought this might be more fun if I posted 10 interesting (or humorous) facts about me that have to do with Christmas or this time of year!

1. As a kid I had an obsession with Cabbage Patch Dolls.  I carried mine everywhere. I desperately wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid Diaper bag:

I asked for one 3 years in a row and never got one. Years later I asked my mom why I never got one. She thought I was kidding. She didn't think I really wanted one. I guess she thought it wasn't as essential as I thought it was.
2. Growing up we always had a real tree but this year I bought an artificial tree. I always said I never would but I changed my mind. Look for a post soon about our tree.
3. Last year our friends invited us to a Christmas Eve mass at a non-denominational church. I'm not a church goer but they said it would be fun. They weren't kidding. I can't wait to go back this year.
4. I love holiday movies. From classics like It's A Wonderful Life to cult favorites like A Christmas Story.
5. I can't sing to save my life but I love to sing Christmas carols. Tai and I will turn on Christmas songs and sing along!
6. This is my current favorite Christmas song:

Jeff introduced us to Straight No Chaser and I'm digging their Christmas album.
7. When I was growing up we would spend Christmas with my maternal grandmother. We always made tamales for Christmas. I remember my mom, my grandma, my brother all cooking the meat, spreading the masa, and folding the tamales. Dad would sneak a plate of the pork and a loaf of white bread and we would make sandwiches in the dining room.
8. My grandmother had a musical strand of Christmas lights. When I was a kid I thought it was something special that they only had in Houston. I would sit for hours and listen to the songs.
9. When I would come home from college, I purposely bought tickets that would bring back to Seattle at night in the winter. The view from the plane over Seattle looked like Christmas. The city all light up, the Space Needle with the tree on top, makes me incredibly happy.
10. Tai and I go a friend's house Christmas day where we have a white elephant exchange. There's always a few really good gifts in there (a Magic Bullet, a yogurt machine, etc). I always hope to wind up with something really good. Cross your fingers for me this year.

And I got this award from Tara and Jennifer. I met these 2 lovely ladies when we were blogging brides. I'm so glad they both are still blogging. I love to hear about their lives!

Ok- here's the award rules:

List 10 things that make you happy, try to do at least one of them today, and tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day. For those 10 bloggers who get the award, you then link back to my blog and create your makes you happy list.

1. Tai, my most amazing husband. So thankful for him everyday!
2. My dad. He's such a great man and I'm so lucky he's my daddy.
3. Good music.
4. A great comedy.
5. A book that sucks me in and is hard to put down.
6. My iPhone. I love being able to access the internet and get my mail.
7. Getting packages. I love opening boxes. It's like Christmas everyday even if I know what's in it.
8. Blogging and my blog friends.
9. Eating a great meal with friends.
10. Shopping. I love finding deals. The thrill of the hunt gets me everytime!

Alright both of these awards go to:

Peanut Butter Fingers
Blodeuedd of The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Staci from Life In The Thumb
Jessica of How Sweet It Is
The Simple, Sweet & Silly Sophisticate
Tiffany of All That Blooms
Jennifer of Not Just Another Jennifer
Erin from The Ups & Downs of Being Me
Etta of Adventures in Holy Matrimony
Hannah of The New Black

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mashed Potato Pot Pie

Last week, I was looking for something to make with the ground beef I had in the fridge. I found this recipe for Ground Beef Pot Pie. But I didn't have pie crust. I did have mashed potatoes.

I followed the recipe just substituted the mashed potatoes for the pie crust. Ok, I added peas too. It was delicious. And it made so much food. It would be great for a potluck. Definitely a great comfort food meal on a cold night!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shoe Racks

At our old place I kept our shoes in an over the door show holder like this one:

But we only have 2 doors in our new place besides the front door. And neither seem to be best door to use.

We received these as wedding presents. I was very excited to put them together but they don't seem to hold anything and our shoes quickly became a mess.

I bought these a few years ago from Ikea, but I couldn't get my big shoes into them without quashing them.

 I think this might be the next thing I'll try. We won't need the space under the bed for anything else. Anyone try an under the bed shoe storage?

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's gotten chilly around here again. And I didn't learn from last time and buy myself some warmer clothes. So here's what I should be wearing now.

Untitled by honeylin featuring Old Navy

Lots of my favorite color, purple! I'll be out buying some of these this weekend!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Wafers

For our annual holiday baking day, I knew I was going to sugar cookies. But plain sugar cookies, how blah? I was flipping through my December issue of Real Simple and came across 10 ideas for sugar cookie dough. Saved! I choose 2 of their recipes, but am highlighting just one of them today.
I made the sugar cookies, dipped them in chocolate and sprinkled crushed peppermint sticks over the chocolate part. Here's the real recipe. Quick, simple and a hit. If you need to make cookies quickly for an event I highly recommend these.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yummy Donuts!

Over the weekend we went to visit our friends, Jill and Jamie. we cajoled them into taking a trip to Frost since they live a lot closer than we do. Jamie agreed that Frost donuts would be a good compliment to the steaks we were having for lunch, so we grabbed a 1/2 dozen.

Our stash of donuts.

I was very excited since they had their Smoky Bacon Maple Bars when we were there. I had to try one this time. Both Tai and I really liked it. I didn't think I would like bacon on my maple bar but the flavor was nothing but yum.

I also tried a salted caramel donut. It was so good. I could have eaten a box of those.  Tai also tried the lemon bismark which he loved (and did not share). There's a raspberry bismark waiting for me for breakfast. Yum!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Review-Strange Brew ed by PN Elrod

Publishers Weekly

Anthologist Elrod (My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding) taps into the urban fantasy craze with a mixed bag of wizardry, mystery and glamour. The best include Patricia Briggs's wistful "Seeing Eye," wherein blind witch Wendy Moira Keller helps werewolf Tom Franklin search for his missing brother, and Jim Butcher's funny "Last Call," which finds wizard Harry Dresden hot on the tail of Meditrina Bassarid, a wicked wine-loving maenad who wreaks havoc in a Chicago bar. In Rachel Caine's romantic "Death Warmed Over," Holly Anne Caldwell, a resurrection witch, falls in love with Andrew Toland, a corpse from 1875, while Elrod's "Hecate's Golden Eye" tells of a 1937 hunt for a curious family gem. Though not particularly groundbreaking, these tales will easily keep paranormal mystery fans entertained. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

If you are looking for a book to get someone who has never read urban fantasy, this is the book. It's a great trial run at books about vampires, werewolves, magic, and other things that go bump in the night. Patricia Brigg's "Seeing Eye" was definitely my favorite. I'll be looking for her other books in the future. Tai's read some of the Dresden series and likes it. After reading "Last Call", I see why. Dresden is funny and his adventures are action packed. The stories were short, quick reads but engaging. Highly recommended. 
Others who read Strange Brew and reviewed it on their blogs: Kellen's Book Blog, I Read Good, and The Farmer's Daughter's Bookshelf.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pictures of Our New Place

We're still in the process of putting things away but I wanted to share some photos of when we first moved in.

Here's the kitchen. I'm so excited about my pantry and spice rack in the door! I know I'll get a great deal of use from that!

Here are some terrible photos of the empty living room. The couch went up against the left wall and our huge television went against the right wall.

I'm so excited about our ceiling fan in the dining room. I've never had a ceiling fan but always wanted one. 
 A washer and dryer in our unit! I haven't had a washer and dryer in the place I lived in since I lived with my folks. It's so nice and I'm enjoying the convenience.

Pictures of our huge bedroom. The pictures don't do it justice. We have so much room. Our bedroom furniture fit in there (bed, dresser, sweater chest) with half the room empty. I want to put a recliner in there!

This is the master bath. At the end of the "hall" is the toilet and shower.

And a "guest" bath near the front door! Two bathrooms. I'm so lucky.

An our own outdoor patio. This is was really a selling point for me. This is totally private. There is no need for someone to walk by or through our patio area. It's all ours to the fence. It's the length of the entire apartment! I know we'll enjoy grilling out there in the summer time!
As we decorate I'll show you my progress. Right now it's a jumble of boxes. I don't know where to put things!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Alright let's back to it. We're pretty much settled, still have some boxes laying around. Our cable got hooked up today so we're very happy.
First we have Lost Girls by Alan Moore. It was one of those that caught my eye. And then 3 Astro City Books (Astrocity: The Dark Age, Life In The Big City, Confessions) which were recommended by a friend. We were talking graphic novels and he mentioned the Astrocity series which neither Tai or I have ever read.
I finished From Hell and posted my review on the Fill In The Gaps. Look for a review of Strange Brew, an anthology of urban fantasy, later this week.
And if you are reading this on a feed reader, pop on over and take a look at my new layout. Let me know what you think.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Holiday Wish List

Since it's now December I can share things my holiday wish list. As I tell Tai anything he doesn't get me for Christmas, he can get me for my birthday (Jan) or Valentine's Day.

I'm still hoping that I can learn to sew. Tai thinks it's a lofty goal but I'd still like to try. Maybe take some classes too.


I'd like to improve my picture taking. I think I'm getting better with taking pictures with my point and shoot but there's a lot of things I feel I can't do without a DSLR. Probably cause I read too many photographer blogs.

We need an Xbox 360 to complete our video game console collection. I love fighting games and Tekken is one of my favorites to play at the arcade.
What's on your wish list?