I'm *so* organized…

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This is another post where I admit just how ridiculous I am.
You see that calendar up there?
That’s a magnetic dry-erase calendar on the front of our refrigerator.
You see, I like things to be organized.
I didn’t say things in my life *are* organized, just that I *like* for them to be.
Well, I bought that calendar about two years ago so that we could keep up with all of the events going on in our lives.
Places to be.
Things to do.
People to see.
You know the drill.
But doesn’t anything seem off about that calendar?
Here, have another look:
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Is it just me, or is Thanksgiving on the 25th this year?
That’s right!
This calendar has not been updated since last Thanksgiving.
Oh yes. I’ve got everything in order.
And, in case you were curious, here’s the *other* side of the fridge:
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I love me a cute beagle puppy belly! :)
So, what minor details have you overlooked lately?
Thanks for reading!
Something seems *off* about this calendar…click here to find out what *minor* detail I overlooked.

Pecan Pie Cookies

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I’m always looking for a little something different to serve at our holiday meals.
Pie is such a traditional dessert — you can’t have Thanksgiving without pie. But pie-ish cookies? Now *that’s* something I’d like to try!
The Nerd is not a huge fan of pecan pie. But he really liked these cookies. I think they’re going to become a holiday staple!

I got 12 cookies out of this recipe. So, if you want more than a dozen, you’ll probably want to double the ingredients. 

Pecan Pie Cookies
Ingredients:
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 c dark corn syrup
1 large egg, separated
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp dark corn syrup
3/4 c finely chopped pecans
Directions:
Beat 1/4 c butter and sugar at medium high speed with a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 c corn syrup and egg yolk and mix well.
Gradually stir in the flour until combined. Chill for one hour.
Meanwhile, melt 3 Tbsp butter in a small sauce pan. Stir in powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp corn syrup.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and remove from heat. Stir in pecans and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for six minutes.

You may have to flatten the balls with a spoon after the first round of baking.
Top each smashed cookie with 1 tsp of pecan mixture.
Return to oven and bake for 8-10 minutes more, until golden brown.
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Cool completely and enjoy!
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Looking for more fall recipes? Look no further!

 

 

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

As you probably already know, I am a *huge* fan of dystopian fiction.

So when I first heard about The Unidentified by Rae Mariz, I was excited for a different kind of dystopian.

It sounded like such an interesting premise, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Kid knows her school’s corporate sponsors not-so-secretly monitor her friendships and activities for market research. It’s all a part of the Game; the alternative education system designed to use the addictive kick from video games to encourage academic learning. Everyday, a captive audience of students ages 13-17 enter the nationwide chain store-like Game locations to play.

When a group calling themselves The Unidentified simulates a suicide to protest the power structure of their school, Kid’s investigation into their pranks attracts unwanted attention from the sponsors. As Kid finds out she doesn’t have rights to her ideas, her privacy, or identity, she and her friends look for a way to revolt in a place where all acts of rebellion are just spun into the next new ad campaign.”

— Description from GoodReads 

Kid is a really great character. She is just kind of there in the Game — she’s not obsessed with branding. She doesn’t wear the latest clothes. All she cares about is making her music, the one thing that defines her.

 And, really, that’s kind of a good way to describe this book. There was *so* much that could have been done with this story. But instead, it’s just kind of there.

I wanted The Unidentified to be an edgy, gritty look at consumerism. I was expecting something amazing and stellar and totally different than anything else out there in the YA genre.

I guess I kind of set myself up to be disappointed.

There really wasn’t a whole lot of suspense. It wasn’t hard for Kid to figure out who the Unidentified are in the school. And when she did, she didn’t really do anything with the knowledge.

The Unidentified didn’t really do a whole lot. It wasn’t this revolutionary group that changed a whole lot of anything. In the end, their big “act of rebellion” was kind of anticlimactic.

And I didn’t really even get how the Game was plausible. I mean, it was supposed to be school, but they never went to classes. They got occasional text messages that asked questions and increased their rank, but how is that a replacement for education? Maybe I misunderstood the purpose of the game. I don’t know.

The book was permeated with references to products. It seemed a little forced. There were registered trademark symbols following each reference to a trademarked item.

Don’t get me wrong. This was definitely an alright book. It just wasn’t phenomenal.

It was an easy, fast read. I read it in a day. And it was interesting. But not earth-shattering.

I would recommend this story to readers with an interest in dystopian fiction who are looking for a fast, easy read.

Happy Reading!

Cake Pops! Winner

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I had so much fun with this contest you guys!
There were 66 entrants and 247 entries.
I used the super-awesome web program my brother developed for my contest to calculate the winner. It is ah-mazing.
And the winner of the *signed* copy of Cake Pops! by Bakerella is…
I’ve e-mailed Lydia and she has already responded with her shipping information, so I’ll get the book sent out this week!
Enjoy your book, Lydia.
Thanks so much to everyone who entered!
Have a great Monday!

Happy Birthday River!

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My adorable niece, River, turned two years old on Nov. 1.
With our busy schedules, this past weekend was the first time we could get together to have her birthday party.
It was so much fun!
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It was Wonder Pets themed.
Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, We’re on Our Way…
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I made a bunch of food and we decorated with red, blue and yellow.
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We had cupcakes and a veggie tray to go with the jalapeno popper dip. Recipe to come.
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Is this not the coolest cake that you’ve ever seen? I did not make this, but I wish I was that good.
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I did make these sugar cookie pops, though.
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And colored candies to go with the theme.
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We played games with the kids from River’s church group.
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They got to decorate the Wonder Pets with different clothes.
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River had so much fun.
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Her daddy taught her to blow the party favors.
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I’m not even sure what these things are called. But isn’t she cute?
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Here’s River and her mommy.

Alex did such a great job with the party — she planned the perfect event! :)

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River’s favorite part was when we lit the candles and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
She was singing and dancing and having a great time.
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Happy Birthday River!
The Wonder Pets saved the day at my niece’s 2nd birthday party!


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