Bloggiesta: Starting Line!

Natasha at Maw Books is hosting Bloggiesta, an awesome event that allows book bloggers to catch up on all the little blog maintenance that we’ve been neglecting throughout the year.

According to Natasha, Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon. It started yesterday and ends Sunday. I’m getting a late start since we were driving home from New Mexico.

Here’s my To Do list:

  1. Organize my Google Reader
  2. Get caught up on past book reviews
  3. Make a list of ARCs to request
  4. Prepare contest info
  5. Add a copyright notice to blog
  6. Add BlogFest and Got Books? buttons to blog

I’ll post updates on my progress throughout the event.

Thanks for looking, and ole!

Getting Our Ducks in a Row…

Yesterday, I posted about our trip to the Albuquerque zoo.
Before we left, we stopped by the duck pond so the babies could feed the duckies.
There were lots of duckies.
River attracted quite a few as she threw the little food pellets into the water.
This guy stuck around for quite a while.
Jet and Hyrum attracted their own friend.
This ducky got all their pellets.
He seriously would not leave Jet alone.
I think River had a lot of fun feeding the ducks.
Soon, though, it was time to leave.
But not before River chased down a few duckies.
Luckily, they were too fast for her.
Thanks for looking!

A Trip to the Zoo…

Yesterday, we decided to take the kiddos to the Albuquerque Zoo.
That’s River, Nanna, Jet and Hyrum.
We got a wagon to cart them around in. 
Of course, River wanted to pull Hyrum around for a bit. 
Our first stop was to see the chimpanzees. 
Hyrum and River was amazed by the “munkees.”
River thought that the rhinos were “ephunts”. It was super-cute.
She liked the fluffy ostrich.
Hyrum thought it was pretty cool, too.
And then we got to the giraffes.
River thought the giraffes were cool.
But *this* is what she was really excited to see — the elephants.
She really wanted to play with the “babee ephunt”…
Doesn’t she look excited?
Hyrum was pretty excited, too.
He had the most fun watching the seals swim in their tank.
River thought they were pretty neat, too.
I love how the water reflects off of their faces. :)
Our last stop of the trip was the duck pond to feed the duckies. I took so many photos, though, that I’ll post them in a separate post tomorrow.
To be continued…
On our trip to the Albuquerque Zoo, we saw giraffes and monkeys and elephants…Oh my!

Book Blogger Hop

Woohoo! It’s Friday!
That means it’s time for the Book Blogger Hop from Crazy-For-Books.
If you’re here from the Hop, welcome! I’m always excited to have new readers stop by my blog.
Be sure to say hello, so I can visit you, too!
I’ve been in New Mexico the past week visiting my sister, so I really don’t have a creative post for you guys today. My apologies! I’ll just have to come up with a super-awesome post for next Friday.
I do want to tell you about two exciting events that I’m participating in.
Got Books? is an event to celebrate book bloggers round the world by shining a light on their efforts, spreading the word about their sites for future follows on your reading rounds, and have a little contest fun along the way!

There will be giveaways hosted on *each* participating blog — including mine! — during the event.

It will take place July 23-24 and it will be a lot of fun!

You can sign up here.



BlogFest is a blog run of sorts. A list of participating blogs will be provided, each offering a fantastic giveaway for readers to enter. Each blog will link to another, pulling readers through the fantastic party we’ll have set up for them!

It will take place Sept. 10-12.

You can sign up here.


That is one thing that is super-awesome about the world of blogging — it is a vast network that connects us all! It is so fun to meet new bloggers and connect with them.

I hope you all have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for looking!

Up in the Mountains

It is beautiful here in New Mexico.
Jet took us up to Pajarito Mountain so I could take some photos.
Of course, there was not a lot of skiing going on up there.
The aspen trees around the lodge were beautiful.
There were green trees *everywhere*.
I could have spent hours hiking here.
You know, if my body was in shape adjusted to the high elevation.
It’s amazing how many trees there are.
The road we took to the mountain was very steep and curvy.
This view is of the land that was burned in wildfires several years ago.
See how the land is scorched?
You drive across this bridge to get into Los Alamos. 
You just don’t get this kind of view in Dallas, Texas.
Thanks for looking!

Before and After

I’ve been getting lots of compliments on the photos I posted yesterday of my niece, River.
Yes, folks, the girl has a pair of bloomers on her head.
I thought I’d take a moment (we’re getting ready to leave for the zoo) to show you the before and after photos.
I got a “real” camera for Christmas and have been playing with it learning to use it ever since.
One thing I quickly discovered is that a good camera can take good pictures, but it takes some photo editing to make them *great.*
Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) shot:
It’s a little dark and the colors really aren’t very vibrant.
So, I used Photoshop CS3 and the Pioneer Woman Actions to give it a little boost.
First, I ran the “Fresh and Colorful” action. I run this on practically every one of my photos.
Then, I gave it a little “Boost.”
For the final touch, I had to do something with her *eyes*. Aren’t they gorgeous? PW’s “Bring On the Eyes” action is perfect for giving them a little sparkle.
Seriously, guys, these actions have changed my life.
I’m going to link up this post with the Before & After meme on Pixel Perfect.
Go check out all the cool shots other photographers have taken.

Thanks for looking!

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Remember back in February when my niece moved to Denver?
During her last weekend in Texas, we made these Rolo Pretzel Turtles together.
I don’t know why I never posted this, but as I’m in New Mexico this week, I thought it would be a good post from way back when.
These are so much fun to make — you can have your kids help!
And the chocolately carmel goodness of the Rolo candies is *fabulous* combined with the saltiness of the pretzels.
Rolo Pretzel Turtles
Salted mini pretzels
Individually-wrapped Rolo chocolate candies
Pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lay the pretzels in a single layer on a foil-covered, flat baking sheet. 
You don’t want them touching each other. Give ‘em a little room.
Unwrap the Rolo candies. 
A few may be sacrificed during this process to satisfy hungry babies. That’s ok.
When you’re ready to move on, grab a Rolo and place it on top of a pretzel.
Repeat until all each pretzel has a Rolo.
I like to think of them as little top hats.
Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the Rolo candies are just beginning to melt.
Take ‘em out of the oven and push a pecan half on top.
Or an M&M.
Be adventurous.
Sometimes, I squiggle a little white chocolate on the top.
I felt rebellious that day.
(PS – Be sure to eat any left over candies. We don’t want those to go to waste!)

Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book for quite a while.
I loved The Twilight Saga and I was so excited to have the chance to be in that world again.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer is written from the perspective of a newborn vampire that is part of the army that attacks the Cullen family in Eclipse.
Bree played a very small roll in Eclipse and I was curious to see how Stephenie Meyer would develop this minor character.
It was disturbing at first to see through the eyes of an actual newborn — the thirst, the disregard for human life, the disconnect from that previous world.
I think that Stephenie Meyer did a good job of showing us how the newborns viewed Seattle as their playground, and the humans they encountered as simply food.
I now understand why the newborns followed Riley so blindly, and the conversations in Eclipse make a lot more sense.
I really felt for Bree and I thought she would have made an excellent addition to the Cullen family, if Jane had spared her life.
I wonder if Stephenie Meyer will expound upon some of the new characters she introduced in this book. I would love to see what happened to them.
This was by no means a great literary feat, but I enjoyed getting to see the Twilight world from a different angle.
You can read this novella in its entirety online until July 5 here.
Or, you can order it from Amazon here.

Just Playin’

Last night, we got a fun surprise.
My niece, River, came to visit!
This morning, after she woke up, Nanna went through her clothes.
And River found these bloomers.
Of course, she had to put them on her head.
She didn’t quite understand why I was intent on taking her picture.
I think this look epitomizes her personality.
She’s thinking: “Reenie, whatchyou doin’?”
Or something like that.
She found one of Jet’s candles and was pretending to blow it out.
So cute!

Halloween Projects