Memorial Day Recipe Round-Up

Happy Memorial Day!

I thought I’d post a few of my favorite recipes that would be the perfect addition to your Memorial Day cook-out.

Enjoy!

Star-Spangled Sugar Cookies

Star-Spangled Sugar Cookies

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Steak Kabobs

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Pasta Salad

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Mojo Beef Kabobs

What are you cooking today?

Chills and Thrills Teen Book Tour, Allen, Texas

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This weekend, we had the chance to attend the Chills and Thrills Teen Book Tour at a Real Bookstore in Allen, Texas.

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As you well know, I am *addicted* to book events, and couldn’t pass this one up!

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This is Tera Lynn Childs, author of Forgive my Fins and Sweet Venom.

Tera told us all about Sweet Venom, to be released this fall, about a set of monster-hunting triplets. Doesn’t that sound awesome?

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Next was Tracy Deebs, author of Tempest Rising and Zero Day.

Zero Day sounds fantastic — a dystopian retelling of Pandora’s Box, where the main character opens an e-mail attachment and brings about technological Armageddon. It is set to release in 2012.

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And lastly, Jennifer Archer, author of Through Her Eyes. This ghost story sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to dig into it!

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Here’s me and Tera. She was super-fun and I am now dying to read Sweet Venom.

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And here’s me, Tracy and Jennifer. They were also lots of fun. It was neat to meet authors from our home state.

Of course, I couldn’t leave without getting signed copies to give away to you guys!

There will be three winners.

Winner #1 will receive a *signed* hardcover copy of Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs. Winner #2 will receive a *signed* hardcover copy of Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs. Winner #3 will receive a *signed* hardcover copy of Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer.

The Rules:

Only one entry per person.

The contest is open to US and Canada residents only.

You *must* be a follower of my blog to enter. To become a follower, just click the “Join this Site” button on the right side of your screen and sign in with your Google, Twitter or Open ID account.

If you are a new follower, you will receive 1 entry.

If you were a follower prior to the start of this contest, you will receive 2 entries.

Fill out the form below to enter. Do not leave your entry in the comments.

If you have any questions, you can consult my contest policy.

Increase Your Chances:

Complete the following tasks to increase your chances to win!

+1 – Become a fan of The Nerd’s Wife on Facebook.
+1 – Follow me on Twitter.
+2 – Tweet about this contest. Sample tweet: Chills and Thrills Giveaway from @thenerdswife: http://su.pr/8l82RJ Signed copies of Forgive My Fins, Tempest Rising and Through Her Eyes!

 

 

Contest Ends Monday, June 6 at 11:59 p.m.

Thanks for looking!

 

Please Welcome…

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Our very own little nerdling!

I have been *dying* to tell you guys this news.

The Nerd was hell-bent on keeping the whole thing a secret for as long as possible, but circumstances have forced us to reevaluate that decision.

Right now, at this very moment, I’m 8 weeks pregnant.

The little one is due on December 28, 2011. A Christmas miracle!

As you can tell, I’ve been MIA the past few weeks. Morning sickness and general blah have taken over my life. And we’ve had a rough go the last week or so.

I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can tell you everything that’s been going on and share this emotional roller-coaster with you.

We found out the news after my trip to Seaside, Florida last month. We went to my OB to confirm with an ultrasound at 6 weeks. Everything checked out great and the baby’s heart rate was 113 bpm. All the measurements lined up and everything was wonderful.

A week later, I had some worrisome spotting and called my doctor to find out what I should do. They had me come in for another ultrasound — I was 7 weeks at the time. All the measurements checked out great, but the baby’s heart rate had slowed to 97 bpm.

The doctor told me that this is not a good sign and that I could be miscarrying the baby. So, I went home, cried, called my parents, cried some more, got a Blessing from my father and prayed that Heavenly Father would take care of things as He sees fit.

That was a hard week for me. I planned on telling you then — but I just couldn’t bring myself to. What if I went back to the doctor and got bad news? No, I needed to wait until after I saw the doctor again at 8 weeks.

And I’m so glad I did!

We had our 8-week appointment yesterday. It was wonderful!

The baby’s heart rate was 167 bpm — very, very good! And all the measurements checked out. No signs of miscarrying.

Hallelujah!

I feel at peace right now, which is why I can finally share this crazy journey with you. I have had no more bleeding, which is good, and all of my pregnancy symptoms are still very much present.

So, I’m taking the achey feet and morning sickness and crazy cravings as a sign that everything is going according to plan.

My wonderful boss was kind enough to let me take it easy last week at work. He has been so supportive through this whole ordeal and I feel very lucky to work for such a great man.

Our families have been so supportive and caring, and I am grateful for them, too. It’s amazing how when things get tough, the people you love step in and make all the difference in the world.

I was so wracked with grief, so upset and so negative about our situation. But in stepped our loved ones, who comforted me and stood by me and told me that no matter what, we would get through this and our baby would be in a great place. I truly believe that and I am so thankful to them for reminding me.

It’s amazing to me how one little moment can change your life so drastically. You can’t *feel* the presence of that little life inside you, but you know it’s there. And you love it so, so much.

We still have a ways to go until we’re out of the first trimester. But I am happy and hopeful for a bright future.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

 

Sunset on the Beach

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Last week when I was at Seaside, some friends asked me to take some photos of their families at the beach.

The perfect time for photo-taking at the beach? Sunset, of course!

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You may remember Addy — the girl with the awesome water cannon?

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Here’s Addy and her mom.

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Addy was such a great model. She did everything I asked her to do.

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Including crazy things like jumping high in the air.

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Look at her cute painted toes!

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And then, of course, she had to kick down the sand castle!

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The next family was absolutely beautiful. They had a darling little boy and an adorable little girl.

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We got some good ones of their family, but I really like this one of them walking toward the sunset.

Thanks for looking!

 

Sand and Sun in Seaside, Florida

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Last week, I was teaching at a yearbook workshop in Seaside, Florida.

The area is so beautiful and the beach is so fun that after our sessions each day, we hit the beach.

I have such a hard job.

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The weather was beautiful and most of the days were bright and sunny.

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My friend, Morgan (you may remember her shotgun wedding), played in the sand with Addy, another co-worker’s daughter.

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Addy was fearless and loved to go play in the waves.

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She and Morgan had such a fun time.

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Addy had this awesome foam cannon that you could fill with water and squirt at people. Don’t you just love her little goggles all fogged up? Too cute!

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She had a blast (literally!) shooting Clif.

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But when Morgan got her turn with the cannon, Addy was outta there!

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Oh, how the tables have turned!

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Don’t you just love lazy afternoons at the beach?

Don’t worry — I’ve got lots more photos to share from the week! (You wouldn’t expect anything less, right??)

What’s your favorite thing about the beach?

 

 

Secrets Teaser Tour

 

 

“Reputation, Reputation, Reputation.

You’re a student at the most prestigious university in the country, and you’ve been tapped for the most elite social club. You’ve made it!

Now Don’t Blow It!

Callie Andrews triumphed during her first semester at Harvard: she made incomparable friends, found the perfect boyfriend, and received invitations to the most exclusive secret societies. But she may have ruined every-thing with one ill-fated night. Now she’s keeping secrets from everyone, including…

 

Clint
the upperclassman who’s too good to be true

Vanessa
the best friend turned backstabber

Gregory
the guy who’s a total(ly hot) mistake

and Lexi
the social queen who wants to bring Callie down.

But Callie didn’t get into Harvard by giving up, and she isn’t about to now. Besides, she’s not the only one with something to hide. …”

The sequel to last year’s scandalously awesome debut, The Ivy by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur, will be released on May 31. If you read my review, you know that I was dying when I finished the last page — that cliffhanger ending gets you every time!

Well now, the lovely ladies who penned this addicting tale have decided to tease us poor readers even more! I’m glad to be part of the Secrets Teaser Tour this month.

Here’s a sneak peek at Secrets:

“Eh?” As usual OK was a hundred and ten percent hopeless when it came to taking a hint. “Those two,” Callie said, spelling it out as she watched Lexi try to peer over Gregory’s shoulder while he selected a name. “They aren’t dating, are they?”

 

EEk! I can’t wait!

If you’re like me…and *dying* to read this, you can pre-order Secrets on Amazon.

Or, you can head over to the other Secrets Teaser Tour participants:

April 25 – Ivy Website
April 26 – Bookalicio.us
April 27 – Bloody Bookaholic
April 28 – Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm
April 29 – Truth Be Told
May 3 – Book Vixen
May 4 – The Nerd’s Wife
May 5 – Bookwormygirl
May 6 – Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf
May 9 – La Femme Readers
May 10 – Ivy Website

Happy reading!

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.”

–Description from GoodReads

Divergent by Veronica Roth is an intense, fast-paced book about bravery and choosing who you want to be. When I first received this book for review, I read it in one day. Then, I reread it just so I could experience it all over again.

It’s THAT good.

This book reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins — not because of a similar plot, but because of the action and the character development and the way the book made me feel. I really connected with Tris – trying to live the life she knows she should, while trying to understand the part of her that doesn’t quite fit.

The plot development is phenomenal — I had no idea what was coming. And the ending — wow. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

I really enjoyed the realism that the gritty, future version of Chicago brought to the story. Hearing the names of buildings I know from our world renamed to fit in Tris’ world connected me to the story even more.

This is the must-read book of 2011. It has everything you’d expect of a great debut: deeply evolved characters, emotional roller-coasters and a plot that has you turning the pages faster and faster just to find out what happens.

This book hits store shelves today — and you should go pick up a copy as soon as you can.

Divergent by Veronica Roth is available from Amazon.

**Disclaimer** An Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. It did not affect my review in any way.

 




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