Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
As for me, I did *not* refuse to pick out all of the sticker burrs from Georgie’s fur last week after he and Kaylee escaped the backyard. Not me. I would *never* just take my fluffy puppy to the groomers and tell them to shave him to spare myself hours of sticker burr duty.
And now, the poor dog does *not* look like a cross between a baby fawn (with his super skinny long legs) and a hyena (with his satellite ears that are way too big for his little bitty head). Poor little man. I’m planning a blog post to show off his new ‘do.
I also have *not* made my poor husband hole up with me at my parents’ house for the last week. Not me. I would *never* insist that we stay here so I don’t have to be alone every, single day while he works ridiculous amounts of overtime.
And I did *not* talk my mom and sister-in-law into attending the Twilight Trilogy screening on Tuesday night. Not me. I would *never* want to spend seven hours watching Edward Cullen and wishing I was Bella Swan. Oh James, why don’t you sparkle in the sun??
Finally, I did *not* cook and bake every day last week using the excuse that I needed things to post on the blog. Not me. I have a lot more restraint than that. Although, you probably won’t have much restraint when you try the chocolate chip cookie recipe I’m going to post in the next few days. Can you say yummy?
Sorry for the photoless post today, y’all. But honestly, my feet are so sore from standing and cooking and baking and I’m too lazy to try to figure out a photo for this post.
Hope everyone has a great Monday!
Happy Not Me!

In My Mailbox

It’s time for In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren.
This weekly event is a chance to see what books we have all acquired each week.
As usual, all of my books were purchased by yours truly from the bookstore.
I am keeping these authors in business! :)


I am totally drawn in by this cover! And the werewolf mythology in this story is intriguing — on your 16th birthday you find out if you’re a werewolf? Talk about puberty gone wrong.

Ok, I have to admit: I was sold by the jacket copy on this one:”Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.”

Who *doesn’t* want to read about a warrior who could rival Chuck Norris?

Count me in!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

I love, love, love this cover. Can you tell I’m a cover girl? Hehe.

I also am excited to read about a girl who fights werewolves, and isn’t one herself. This is such a unique idea out in this world of vampires and werewolves; I can’t wait to get to it!

Well, what did you all get this week?

Happy Sunday!


If there is one thing this baby girl loves, it’s taking a bath.
So we knew that she would have a *lot* of fun with a “kitty swim pool” aka a kiddie swimming pool.
You know, those big plastic tubs you see at the front of Wal-Mart each summer?
We brought that bad boy home and filled it up with the water hose.
Man, we sound like a bunch of rednecks, huh?
My pride can take it — she had a blast.
The water was cold at first.
Her daddy splashed some water on her to get her acclimated.
They had fun squirting the doggies with her bath toys.
Hey, those come in handy in the swimming pool, too!
Pretty soon, she was splashing us.
She was having a great time getting her mommy and Nanna wet.
Reenie couldn’t come too close ’cause she had the expensive camera.
One of her bath toys is a big, floating Dora the Explorer doll. It has detachable scuba fins.
She tried to put the fins on her feet.
They didn’t fit.
That was ok, though.
She got over it.
She liked pretending she was swimming, kicking the water up with her feet.
At one point, Lilu (Andy and Alex’s labradoodle) decided to go swimming.
Ok, ok — she was coerced.
It was a good, fun day of swimming.
This is my favorite photo of the day. It was taken before all the wetness.
Like my photos? They were shot was my brand, spanking new Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens.It’s my newest toy.

I love how it’s fast enough to capture the little droplets of water in many of my photos.

Thanks so much for looking.

Happy summer!


One way to beat the summer heat (and keep nieces entertained): A “kitty” pool in the back yard.

Pasta Salad

One of my favorite things about summer is pasta salad.
It’s yummy and tasty and the perfect summer dish for when it’s too hot to turn on the stove.
This recipe is fresh and crisp.
Pasta Salad
1 package of colored spiral pasta
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
2 cucumbers
3 small tomatoes
1 bottle of Italian dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to the package directions until it’s al dente.
Rinse and set aside to cool.
Isn’t it pretty and colorful?
Dice the cucumbers…
Green bell peppers…
Red bell peppers…
And tomatoes.
Throw the veggies in a bowl and stir ‘em up.
Add in the noodles and mix well.
Coat the all the noodles and veggies with dressing.
Add salt and pepper.

Friday Finds (2)

Happy Friday!
It’s time for another Friday Finds, where I show you some of the giveaways and contests I’ve found throughout the blogosphere.
If you know of a giveaway or contest that I should feature, e-mail me.
Win a pre-order of Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, an anthology that explores the epic debate of which mythological creature is better.
Win a signed ARC of Ascendant and a paperback copy of Rampant by Diana Peterfreund, the primers for Team Unicorn.
All contests end 6/27.
Win a pre-order of Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, an anthology that explores the epic debate of which mythological creature is better.
Pam is giving away two Maggie Stiefvater prize packs:
*Signed* Shiver paperback and *signed* Linger hardback
*Signed* Lament and *signed* Ballad
Contest ends July 31.
Win one of three prize packs:
*Signed* Shiver paperback and *signed* Linger hardback
Shiver hardback with doodles inside from Maggie Stiefvater herself
*Signed* Lament and *signed* Ballad
Contest ends July 20.
Finally, if you are here from The Book Blogger Hop, welcome!
I love new followers!
Follow my blog, and I’ll be sure to come by yours and follow you, too!
You can check out Crazy For Books to see the list of bloggers and visit their blogs, too!
Thanks for looking!

Escape Artists

If you hadn’t noticed, our dogs are like our children.
I post about them all the time.
You probably get tired of it.
But I hope not.
Yesterday, we got a scare that no pet parent should ever have to endure.
Our dogs escaped the backyard and made a run for it.
Of course, we were inside and had no idea they’d gotten out.
When we did, we drove all around the neighborhood searching for them. 
I was panicking.
James was freaking out.
It had been an hour an we still hadn’t found them.
Seriously, I was panicking.
And then, all of a sudden, there they were, just trotting down the street back toward home.
Covered in dirt and sticker burrs.
Looking like they were having the time of their lives.
They ran up to the car, jumped in and we headed home.
Our babies found.
I cannot describe the emotional turmoil I was going through.
Would we be able to find them?
What if they were hit by a car?
What if we never see them again?
And the relief when we finally spotted them? 
Incredible. Filling. Instantaneous.
Can you see the relief in James’ face?
Kaylee was exhausted. She immediately took a nap on the cold tile floor.
Silly, silly puppies.
I’m so glad they’re home.

Way Back When…

Next week, Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster novel, Eclipse, will be released on the silver screen.
Throngs of teenage girls will crowd movie theaters across the country, hoping to get a glimpse of Taylor Lautner’s abs.
Ok, ok. Not only teenage girls. Perhaps teenage girls, twenty-somethings, and pretty much any female.
Judging by the screen time his abs got in New Moon, I’m sure there will be many, many chances for us all.
But once upon a time, Taylor Lautner, who plays werewolf Jacob Black in the movie adaptations of the best-selling Twilight Saga, was a normal teenager.
He attended high school and even posed for features in the yearbook.
A few months ago, I got my hands on a copy of his 2008 yearbook — he was a sophomore.
Can you pick him out from the masses of sophomores?
That’s him, spiky hair and all.
The book features a spread on popular fashion among the students.
Taylor is one of four students featured, along with a faculty member.
Even back then, he had that confident, not-quite-cocky stance we’ve all come to know and love in Jacob Black.
He appears on only two pages in the book — his portrait page and the fashion spread.
Wasn’t he such a cutie?
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad he grew up…
Photos courtesy of The Valencia High School Voyager, Volume 14, 2008.

Blackberry Cobbler

Well, we had lots of blackberries left over from our adventure.
So, what better to make than good ol’ fashioned blackberry cobbler?
This cobbler has a hint of cinnamon and sugar. It’s delicious!
Blackberry Cobbler
For the filling:
30 oz (about 3 1/2 cups) of blackberries
1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar (depending on tartness of the berries)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the crust:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 tsp
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put filling ingredients in a pie dish.
Stir together, coating the berries.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit releases its juices and the edges start to bubble.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/4 cup of sugar.
Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter and vanilla.
Stir together the cinnamon and 2 tsp sugar.
When the topping is ready, pull it out of the oven.
Stir together the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture until just combined, making sure there are no pockets of flour left.
Pinch off eight equal pieces of the biscuit dough. I set mine out on plates (two aren’t pictured) to make sure they were all the same size.
Place on top of the filling, about 1/2 inch apart. 
The dough will spread out as it bakes.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top.
Bake another 15-20 minutes, until the filling is hot and the biscuits are cooked through and golden brown.

No-Bake Blackberry Cheese Pie

Yesterday, I gave you some tips on how to pick fresh, ripe blackberries.
Today, I’m going to give you a sweet summer recipe that uses up those fresh berries.
This cheese cake recipe could be used with any berry, really. In fact, the original recipe called for gooseberries. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a gooseberry. I don’t know what they look like.
So, we’ll use blackberries today. You could use raspberries or blueberries or even that canned cherry pie filling if you wanted.
The possibilities are endless.
No-Bake Blackberry Cheese Pie
Source: Out Here magazine, Spring 2010 issue
 1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup blackberries 
1 1/2 sticks margarine
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz. Cool Whip
 Mix cornstarch, water, blackberries and 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan.
 Cook on medium heat until thickened. Cool.
 Meanwhile, crush the graham crackers to make crumbs.
Add in butter and mix well.
Press into a pie dish or 9×13 baking dish.
Mix cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups sugar and vanilla.
Fold in Cool Whip for a light, fluffy mixture.
Take your crust…
…and spread half the cream cheese mixture over it.
Next, layer all the cooled berry mixture on top of the cream cheese layer.
Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture.
Garnish with fresh berries or graham cracker crumbs.
Enjoy! Protection Status