Friday, January 30, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Home Again by Mariah Stewart
: July 27, 2010 by Ballantine Books
Series: The Chesapeake Diaries #2

There's just something about these books. No, they aren't necessary very good, and yes, you know exactly what to expect... but still you can't help but enjoy yourself with them.

As to this book cliched characters, the girl is a movie star and the boy is a vet. Obviously you know from the start that they're going to wind up together, but you still keep reading just to see how it will happen.

Dallas, the movie star, had a son, Cody, and I think out of everything in the book I enjoyed reading about their relationship the best.

I find that I don't have a lot to say about this, because really there's not a lot to comment on. Although I can't wait to read the next one in the series which is I believe about the ice cream shop owner!


Disclosure: I was provided this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cinnamon Rolling

Almost two weeks ago now I teased that I'd be sharing a recipe. Well, it's finally time to reveal! Not too surprising considering most of the recipes I seem to make, it's a Mix and Match Mama Bundt Cake, more specifically a Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake.

Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake
Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake
For the Cake

1 box of white cake mix
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
4 eggs
2 tablespoons cinnamon (divided)
(The original recipe called for double this amount, but I only had enough for 2 tablespoons total. Actually it didn't feel like anything was missing with this amount, and it's likely what I'd add the next time I make this as well.)
1 cup brown sugar
For the Frosting
1 cups powdered sugar
(I cut the amount of frosting in thirds since I've found Mix and Match Mama recipes tend to make far more frosting than I'd ever need... and I'm a frosting person!)
1 tablespoons milk

For the Cake

Step 1
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cake mix, puddings, oil, water, eggs, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
(I did find this to be a lot thicker than normal cake dough, which did make it quite a bit harder to mix together.)
Step 2
2. Combine the second tablespoon of cinnamon and brown sugar.
Step 3
3. In a prepped bundt cake pan, add in half of the cake batter.
Step 4
4. Top with sugar mixture.
(I would actually try to keep it away from the edges as much as possible since the places with too much filling didn't really want to come out of the pan.)
Step 5
5. Add in the remaining cake batter to the pan.
Step 6
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
Step 7
7. Invert onto serving platter to finish cooling.
(Again you can see how the cake didn't really want to exit the pan and wound up cracking. But that didn't change how delicious it was.)
For the Frosting
Step 8
8. Mix together milk and sugar till desired consistency, adding slightly more milk or sugar if necessary. Pour over warm cake.

Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake
Despite the fact the cake fell apart, it would up being incredibly awesome. But even more exciting, I had a bit of company in the kitchen.
Cooking Partner
This officially makes it our first mother/daughter baking adventure of I'm sure many to come.

Do you have a lot of memories baking or cooking with your parents growing up?

Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake
For the Cake

1 box of white cake mix
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
4 eggs
2 tablespoons cinnamon (divided)
1 cup brown sugar
For the Frosting
1 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoons milk

For the Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cake mix, puddings, oil, water, eggs, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
2. Combine the second tablespoon of cinnamon and brown sugar.
3. In a prepped bundt cake pan, add in half of the cake batter.
4. Top with sugar mixture.
5. Add in the remaining cake batter to the pan.
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
7. Invert onto serving platter to finish cooling.
8. Mix together milk and sugar till desired consistency, adding slightly more milk or sugar if necessary. Pour over warm cake.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mailbox Monday (104)

I had planned on sharing these books last week for Mailbox Monday. Then I never found the time to actually get a post written. I guess having a newborn will do that to you. But this week, I've actually made it happen.
Mailbox Monday
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
These books were all gifted to Elley from a family friend as a Christmas present. The one I'm most excited here would have to be The Cat in the Hat. And funny enough, I'm not sure if I actually remember ever reading Fox in Socks, but I guess that will be changing soon.

From Goodreads
Am I Pretty by Lindsey Jensen Berke
Reading this children's book about a girl who is told she can't play with a group of girls because she isn't pretty, I actually thought it was going to be a little cheesy. But I actually really appreciated where it wound up going. Plus I think the actual illustrations are pretty adorable as well.

Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy and Becky Hepinstall
For the only adult book of the bunch, is one about the Civil War. Like many others seem to be lately, this is about women who disguise themselves as men to fight in the war. I'm not sure why these books seem to be popular lately, but I'm excited to finally try one out.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, January 23, 2015

More From Magnus

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Bennan, & Maureen Johnson
: November 11th 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
I'm not normally a fan of short story collections, but being that this was Cassandra Clare, I couldn't really turn away. Yes, I'd much rather be ready a full novel from her, but I'll still take what I can get. Also, I do realize these have all been published previously as short e-stories, but since I'm still anti-e-reader, knew the only way I'd be able to read them was by buying them all packaged together.

The first story is "What Really Happened in Peru," and reading it made me realize just why I'm not a big fan of short stories. Nothing really seemed to happen in it. There just wasn't enough time to really develop a plot, and I just didn't quite see the point of it. Definitely not the way I'd want to start off a collection and reading it had me skeptical for the rest.

But thankfully the next story took a turn for the better. As a historical fiction fan I really enjoyed "The Runaway Queen" which was about Marie Antoinette. I may not be an expert on the French Revolution, but from what I've read, it seemed historically accurate. I don't necessarily think it was necessary to building Magnus' character and the world of Shadowhunters, but it was still a lot of fun.

From there we got into the stories involving the characters from Clare's other trilogies. There were a few on Magnus and Alex's relationship, and while the were enjoyable, I liked the others more. The chapter on Raphael, which I had been looking forward too, definitely lived up to my expectations. And I really loved the stories that took place around The Infernal Devices trilogy, both with Will's father and Will and Tessa's children.

But my favorites of them all had to be the ones involving Jocelyn Fray. There were two, one that shows Valentine's rise to power and another with a baby Clary. These I think these, more than the others, really helped flesh out the Shadowhunter world. It was pretty awesome to be able to actual see moments we had referenced in the book before, but this time be able to see how they actually played out.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection, and I don't just mean as a collection of short stories. I wouldn't necessarily list it as my favorite of Clare's but do think if you've read all her others, you'd regret not picking up this one as well.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Project 365: Days 14 Through 20

So I haven't quite managed to get in a post all week long. But I am at least getting my weekly photos up. That's a win, right?
One Color Lunch
January 14, 2015 - 14/365: One Color Lunch. Chicken, roasted garlic, pita chips, and cheese.
Falling Apart
January 15, 2015 - 15/365: I'm rereading the Little House books, and my copies are literally falling apart. These books were actually my mom's originally, so they're likely from the 80s or so, and it's amazing they've made it so long. But this may be the last time I'm able to read these versions.
Pad Thai
January 16, 2015 - 16/365: Pad Thai for dinner.
Starring Off
January 17, 2015 - 17/365: Starring Off.
January 18, 2015 - Sliders for Dinner. The patties the boy made were so delicious and had some type of maple syrup glace to them. Honestly, just the patties by themselves would have been awesome.
Blueberry Pancakes
January 19, 2015 - 19/265: Finally some cooking from me! Blueberry Pancakes for Breakfast.
Playing with the Giraffe
January 20, 2015 - 20/365: Playing With Her Giraffe. This is pretty much my current favorite picture. But really, you have to agree it's pretty awesome, right?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Seven Natural Laws for Breastfeeding Mothers

Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett
: December 1, 2010 by New Harbinger Publications
First Published: September 15, 2005
I almost sat down to write this review while in labor waiting to leave for the hospital. But then decided my last few moments at home without a baby could be better spend. (I guess I'm not that dedicated of a blogger.) In a way it's probably better this way, now that I'm able to give my point of view from the other side, where I've actually been able to apply its advice.

Like many parenting books I've read so far, this feels quite repetitive. But again, I'm sure it's that way intentionally to get its point across. So much of what is in here reads a bit like common sense. After all, it's hard to establish breastfeeding if you're not spending time with a baby or if you don't make a point to actually feed them.

But even with these criticisms I still found it quite helpful. There was a lactation consultant in the hospital that did come visit me, but at that point we had pretty much figured it out, due in some parts to this book I'm sure. Much of the advice I received at the hospital I found myself nodding my head to, since I had already read about it myself. Plus there were a few tricks in the book no one mentioned to me that have already been helpful.

At the time that I'm writing this review, our baby is only a week old, but so far breastfeeding seems to be going really well. In some ways you could attribute this to the book, or it just could be a lot of luck, but whatever the reason, it seems to be working. Hopefully we're able to continue it through the next year, but who knows. All I know is that we've gotten off to a strong start and again while I wouldn't give the book complete credit for that, I have to imagine it's helped.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Project 365: Days 8 Through 13

Another week into the year, means another week of daily photos!
Through the Crib
January 8, 2015 - 8/365: Through the Crib Slats
Starbucks in PJs
January 9, 2015 - 9/365: Starbucks in PJs
Smoked Salmon Benny
January 10, 2015 - 10/365: Smoked Salmon Benny at Another Broken Egg Cafe. Although actually I still regret this decision and wish I had gone with pancakes or French toast or something else sweet instead.
Golden Globe Predictions
January 11, 2015 - 11/365: Golden Globe Predictions. These were actually pretty miserable (everything you can see here was wrong!), so it's probably a good thing I didn't share them in full.
All Together
January 12, 2015 - 12/365: Baking. More on this to come, of course!
January 13 - 13/365: Only half asleep.

Did you make any Golden Globe predictions? If so, how accurate were you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

1 Month Update

Elley, you are one month old!
1 Month Old
January 11th
You are 8 lbs 7 ozs (26th%ile) and have a head circumfrence of 36.5 cm (35th%ile). In terms of height, it looks like you shrunk since you're now measuring 19.29" (2%ile) compared to the 20.5" they measured at the hospital. Of course, it seems unlikely that you shrunk, but more that someone measured wrong. After all, babies aren't the best at listening to directions to stretch out their legs.
Tiny Toes
Tiny Toes, January 1st
You're wearing newborn diapers still, or at least you were till we used the last one this morning (which at the time I'm writing this is January 13, 2 days after your actual 1 month birthday). But we do have size 1 for you instead, and did try one out yesterday to make sure they fit. Although actual the majority of your days are spent in your Bumgenius diapers, which your wearing all the way snapped.
January 1st
You're starting to slowly outgrown your newborn clothes. The actual sleepers with feet have been finished for a while because you're too long. You are still able to fit into a few newborn onesies, although only as long as you're not wearing a cloth diaper, which means you'll basically sleep in them since we use disposables at night.
Our First LSU Game
Watching the LSU Game, December 30th
You got to watch your first LSU game. Although you weren't very happy during it, which considering the outcome isn't that surprising.
Geaux Tigers
So you can at least (somewhat)see her LSU onesie, December 30
You had your first walk, which again you weren't very happy with.
First Walk
Not Happy, January 6th
You did finally calm down just after the first corner. We didn't see a person for most of the walk, except at our last corner there were a bunch of kids playing and as soon as you got near them you started screaming again, I'm sure just to make us look bad.
Finally Calm
The Little Bit of Calm, January 6th
You had your first bath, although it didn't last long since you decided to use the water as a toilet almost immediately. And I mean the kind that's easy to see. But we have managed 2 baths since then that have been far more successful.
First Bath
First Bath, January 5
You've managed to roll over. Five times actually! Which considering that most babies don't manage till that around 4 months is quite impressive. I'm not quite sure you actually know what you're doing, but instead you just thrash around on your stomach enough where you wind up on your back.
Head Up
Practicing to Roll Over, January 9th
You got to meet your godmother, who flew out to visit for a weekend.
The 3 Girls
You, Me, and Your Godmother, January 10th
While she was here you got to experience another big first, your first time instead a Starbucks. (They do still have holiday flavors, but holiday treats are gone. Which does mean I had only a single slice of gingerbread loaf, which thankfully your dad brought me in the hospital the day you were born.)
1st Starbucks Run
First Starbucks Trip, January 9th
You are still a pretty easy baby, and you're sleeping longer at night. There's been a few times now when I've feed you around 7, put you to sleep, and you've slept till 2am! Of course, I need to start going to sleep earlier to take better advantage of it.
January 10th
In general, you are still pretty good during the morning. Yes, you do want to be rocked to sleep then (compared to nighttime when you'll basically fall asleep on your own), but you don't fight sleep too much.
Not Having This
Still January 10th
Normally the afternoons, from 4 to 7 or so, are definitely your witching hour. You fight sleep then, and can't decide what it is you want to make you happy, although I wouldn't be surprised if this awake time is a lot of the reason you sleep so well at night.
What's Up
January 4th
You've definitely had an eventful first month, but while I'm sorry to say the months ahead won't have nearly as many holidays in them, there's still a lot to look forward to. I can't wait to see your little personality come out! Or as a much closer reality, I can't wait to see an actual smile which I've heard will happen in the next month. Definitely a lot too look forward to with you!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back to Graze-ing

I made a point to share my first four Graze boxes on the blog. But then never got around the sharing the next two, for somewhat legitimate reasons though.
My Monthly Graze Box
My September box arrived just before I found out about my gestational diabetes, which meant I couldn't eat most of the snacks. I eventually did, but by that time it had been forever since the box arrived and I had my first snack, so it seemed silly to blog about.
My Graze Box
As for my November box, I actually took it to the hospital with me. It was actually perfect for that, and I ate the whole thing within the 48 hour-ish stay. But I was a little distracted at the time, for good reason, and for that reason never took pictures of the individual snacks nor did I have time to really write about it.
But when my December box arrived, all holiday decked out, I decided this time I was going to get back to blogging it.
First up was Salted Fudge and Peanut Cookie which included salted peanuts, redskin peanuts, vanilla fudge, and mini chocolate cookies.
I think this may have been my favorite mix in the box. Not only was it delicious tasting, it felt like such a clever idea.
Next up were Booster Seeds which included golden flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
This was probably my lest favorite of the box. Not that they were bad, but more a little boring. I will say there were a ton of seeds, and that while I normally have no problem eating a box in one sitting this one lasted for a few.
Booster Seeds
Third up was Coco Paradise including Belgian milk chocolate, coconut, and cranberries.
This one was again delicious and one I'd gladly eat again. The only reason why I wouldn't list it as my favorite is because it's something you could likely find somewhere else, not nearly as inspired as the fudge and peanut box.
Last up was Smokey Chipotle Dip with rosemary breadsticks.
This one was only kind of average. I wasn't a huge fan of the actual dip, but did like the actual breadsticks.
Overall I would definitely say this was a good box. And actually I think right now is the perfect time for me to be getting my boxes. After all, I'm home all day, barely leaving the house, perfect time to have snacks delivered, right?

If you want to try out graze you can sign up here to get your 1st and 5th box free! This post is not sponsored by Graze, however if you sign up using my referral link I'll receive $1 off my next box. All opinions expressed are my own.