In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by The Story Siren.
It’s a chance for book bloggers to display the books they purchased or received for review each week.
This week, I decided to do my first ever vlog to show you the goodies I got:
Featured Books:Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Matched by Ally Condie
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Nightshade by Andrea CremerI think it was a good haul.

I know the video is kind of dark and bad quality, but hopefully I can use my Flip video camera from now on to make better videos.

So, what was in your mailbox this week?

Chasing Rainbows

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The other day, The Nerd and I were coming home from grocery shopping and there was the most beautiful rainbow I’d ever seen in the sky.
It went *all the way* across the sky. The perfect rainbow.
Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me.
So, we rushed home and my obliging husband patiently waiting in the car as I bolted inside and grabbed it.
Then, we took off down the highway in search of the perfect rainbow.
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Isn’t he a cutie? He’s had a haircut since this was taken.
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You can just *barely* see the rainbow out the window.
You know what I learned? Our eyes can see the rainbow just fine.
A camera lens on the other hand, does not pick it up so well.
I wonder what I was doing wrong…
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We finally found at least part of the rainbow.
The Nerd pulled over on the side of the road so I could snap some photos.
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It was such a beautiful sight.
I’m still working on making my photos reflect the beauty of the world around me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this work in progress.
At least it wasn’t a *double* rainbow.
I may have flipped out if that happened. Kind of like this guy:
Well, except for the fact that I’m not on acid. Stay clean, kids!

Thanks for looking!

Sometimes, I take The Nerd on wild goose chases. Like the time we searched for the perfect rainbow. See the results here.

Life

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I had a *great* day yesterday.
The Nerd and I headed south to Austin for the Maggie Stiefvater book signing.
Maggie sent me a tweet in Hungarian.
It was really cool.
And THANK YOU all for the wonderful birthday wishes. I have the best readers ever.
I also found out that I’m not *going* home on Sunday.
There is a workshop that I need to attend in Austin next week for my job, so The Nerd is just dropping me off there on his way back north.I’m going to get to learn about convergent media and online newspapers.

As a former journalist, this is going to be a very interesting workshop, and I think I’ll learn lots.

I’m really looking forward to it.
So now, I’m sitting in the New Braunfels Public Library writing posts I’d put off so they can automatically run next week.
I apologize in advance for the lack of variety. For right now, we’re going with one post a day. Keep things simple.
I just wanted to give you all a heads up that I will try my darndest to post about the Maggie signing (she was so cool!) and our river adventure and the books I’m reading in a timely manner.
Maybe next month?
Haha.
Anyway, thanks for looking and thanks for supporting me.
This blog means more to me that any of you know. It’s truly my place to “get away.”
Happy Friday!

Mixed Berry Granola

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This weekend, we’re going camping.
So, I wanted to make something fun to snack on while we’re out in the hot sun. What better than granola?
It’s healthy and this version is very flavorful. I love the nuts and dried fruit in it.
It’s the perfect camping snack!
Mixed Berry Granola
Adapted from: The New York Times
Ingredients:
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3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped, dry mixed berries
Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
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Mix together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.
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Be sure to crumble any clumps of brown sugar.
Spread the mixture in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes.
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The granola will be golden when it’s done.
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Stir in the mixed berries.
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Doesn’t it look yummy?
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You can put it in Mason jars for storage. Or in a large Ziploc bag to take camping.
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Enjoy!
Need a light, healthy snack this summer? Try homemade mixed berry granola. So yummy!

A Quarter of a Century

Today is my birthday.
Happy birthday to me.
I am 25 years old today. 
That’s a quarter of a century.
It’s 300 months.
There are many milestones I thought I’d achieve by the time I turned 25.
Graduate from college? Check.
Get married? Check.
Have a good job? Check.
Own a home? Not so much.
Have a baby? Not quite yet.
Still working on a few of those milestones.
It’s a work in progress.
I imagine that’s how it’s always going to be.
But for now, I’m content to live my life.
I’m not the same little girl I once was.
Thank God for that. :)

Return to Aggieland

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Last weekend, I got to return to College Station to teach at a workshop for my job.
As I’ve mentioned before, The Nerd and I both attended Texas A&M University.
There is just something wonderful about Aggieland.
There are always pennies at Sully’s feet.
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The Century Tree stands tall and strong.
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Its sprawling branches touch the ground, always covered with moss and underbrush.
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The Century Tree is a sign of love and commitment. This was the first time The Nerd and I visited it since we’ve gotten married.
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Of course, we had to swing by the Association of Former Students…
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…to see this: A *giant* Aggie Ring.
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The Nerd could stand inside it. It was *huge*.
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Made by Balfour. Smile.
It was a such great trip. I hope you enjoyed sharing the sights with me.
Thanks for looking!
There’s just something special about Aggieland. Come take a walk with me and see the sights.

Waiting on Wednesday: Matched

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
 One of my favorite books growing up was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I had never read anything like it before. It was dystopian before dystopian was cool.
So when I read the description of Matched by Ally Condie, I *knew* that I would love this book.
From Amazon.com:
“Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate…until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.”

Isn’t the cover beautiful?
It will be released on Nov. 30, 2010.What are you waiting on this week?

Dr Pepper Brownies

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As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, The Nerd is a *HUGE* fan of Dr Pepper.
And, I’ll admit, I like it, too.
So when I found this recipe for brownies made with the Nectar of the Gods, I *knew* this was something I needed to try.
These brownies are moist and chewy. The icing is divine.
You may need to pop them in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit to harden them up. Otherwise, they just fall apart when you cut them.
At least mine did.
And I was certainly ok with that. They were super-yummy.
Dr Pepper Brownies
Source: Cooks.com
Brownie Ingredients:
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1 c butter
1 c Dr Pepper
2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
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Heat the butter and Dr Pepper until melted. Don’t boil it.
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In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
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In a medium bowl, mix together the buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla.
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Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry mixture.
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And stir together.
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Add the Dr Pepper mixture and mix well.
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Bake in a greased 18 x 12 inch baking dish for 25-30 minutes.
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Don’t they look yummy?
But I think they need a little something else…
Icing Ingredients:
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1/2 c butter
6 tbsp Dr Pepper
3 tbsp cocoa
1 lb powdered sugar
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Bring the butter, Dr Pepper and cocoa to a boil.
Mix in the powdered sugar.
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Pour over the cooled brownies and cut into squares to serve.
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Enjoy!
A splash of Dr Pepper makes these brownies moist and chewy. A dash of cinnamon makes them tasty and not-too-rich. Yum!

Wolves of Mercy Falls Winners

Three days ago, I launched a contest for *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.
The contest was live for 48 hours.
I dubbed it the “Wolves of Mercy Falls” giveaway and set it on its way.
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I had no idea what I was in for.
Over the course of *two* days, 162 people entered the giveaway.
Those entrants tweeted, Facebooked and howled their way to 501 entries.
How *amazing* is that?
And, this lowly little blog went from 280-something followers to 420 followers! 
Seriously, you guys rock!
Now comes the fun part — naming the winners!
To determine the winners, I made a spreadsheet with each entrant’s name listed one time for each of their entries. So, if you had six entries, your name was listed six times in the spreadsheet.
Then, I mixed the names up by sorting them randomly.
Finally, I used Random.org’s random number generator to come up with two numbers between 1 and 501.

Winner #1 is Tiffany!
Congrats, Tiffany! You will receive *signed* copies of Shiver and Linger, purchased by me for this giveaway.

Winner #2 is Reena!
Congrats, Reena! You will receive a copy of Linger, provided by Scholastic.
I’ve e-mailed both winners. They have 48 hours to respond and claim their prizes.
I had a TON of fun participating in the Got Books? Event. 
I hope you guys enjoyed all of the giveaways from the participating blogs.

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com
A *HUGE* thanks to GMR and The 1st Daughter for hosting this amazing event!
And thanks again to Scholastic for providing a book for this giveaway, and allowing me to participate in Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger Blog Tour.
Finally, thanks to everyone who entered! I am humbled by the response and I appreciate you all so much!


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