Monday, January 28, 2013

When in Rome...

Today is my birthday. And while many women of a certain age may try to keep that on the down low, not me. I knew it would be party central! Thats how things are done in preschool. And when in Rome, you should do as the Romans do!

When I got there, there was a happy birthday note in my box from a school age girl that left for school before I got there. Then when I walked into my class, they all jumped out and yelled happy birthday, then sang to me :) I got a gift from my boss, along with flowers and a cupcake. My coworker made me a cake and gave me a handful of dark chocolate candy bars (she knows me well!). The class all drew me happy birthday pictures, then several of them also painted me pics after I got there. I got hugs galore (maybe the best part). After the school agers got back, they made brownies and gave me one, sang to me, and gave me a card.

I love working with these people and kiddos <3

Now, off to dinner with my girlie and a friend. Perfect ending to a good day :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Homespun scarf

Well, I finally finished the scarf for my boss. I think my stitches were looser than the pattern meant, as it was called a "one skein scarf" and it only used about half. Maybe it just meant it wasn't more than a skein. Oh well. It is still a pretty scarf. The pattern was also for a standard scarf, and Boss asked for an infinity (circular) one. So I stitched the ends together when I finished. Voila!

You can find the pattern here:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge book review, part 1

As I mentioned, I have joined a couple regency-themed reading challenges through This one is to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of "Pride and Prejudice."

I only recently read "Pride and Prejudice" for the first time. And then I started collecting sequels and variations. At the end of this challenge I may reread "Pride and Prejudice," but for now, I will work on the reviews of other books.

This review is of the book "Georgiana Darcy's Diary" by Anna Elliott. It is written in diary format, starting when Georgiana is 18. It chronicles her Aunt de Bough trying to foist her off to eligible bachelors, and her feeling toward her cousin, Edward Fitzwilliam.

It was a nice read. Being diary form, we were only aware of Georgiana's thoughts and feelings, and how she perceived Edward's actions. It opens at the initial defeat of Napoleon, and Georgiana is hoping Edward is alive and well, although she has not heard from him since he left Pemberley over a year ago.

He does arrive home, but seems a little unlike himself after experiencing the horrors of war. After much trial and tribulation, they finally come to an understanding and a potential HEA. That is where the book ends. Their story continues in "Pemberley to Waterloo: Georgiana Darcy's Diary, Volume 2." And that, my friends, is a review for a different day!

I enjoyed this book, though my diary entries are never as interesting! There was a matchmaking aunt (though her interests were more dynastic than emotional), caring family, an assortment of eligible bachelors, and misinformation. I would give it 4 of 5 stars.

A Regency Book Review, part 1

As I mentioned before, I am participating in a Regency Romance reading challenge through The featured author is Candice Hern.

I had previously read her book "A Proper Companion" some time ago as a free selection on my Kindle from Amazon (currently priced at $2.99). But because of the reading challenge, I reread it to freshen it in my mind.

Synopsis: A noble-born young woman in an impoverished state chooses to become a governess/companion rather than go to her estranged family as a poor relation. As a spinster aged companion to a dowager countess, she enters London society and becomes entangled in the life of the current earl, and encounters her long estranged family.

Thoughts: Mainly because I had read it before, it seemed a little predictable. Obviously, we knew Emily and Robert would have a HEA. Her family was an interesting addition to the typical romance story. It was an enjoyable read both times I read it. There are the requisite bad guys, the insufferable upstarts, matchmaking grandmamas, and lovelorn young people. I would recommend it to others who enjoy regency romance stories. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I look forward to reading the next two in the "Regency Rake Trilogy," as we met some of the characters in this book.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge

Well, Laurel Ann Nattress of has done it again. I am joining another reading challenge. At least I have enough books on my Kindle for this one already! I have a few reimaginings of "Pride and Prejudice," and some sequels. Although I may see about getting a movie or two to add to my list :)

I am going to commit to neophyte (1-4 items), but may be able to accomplish disciple (5-8). But since I am also participation in the Candice Hern challenge, I don't want to overcommit myself, as there are already many other books on my TBR list!

Here is the list I am going to choose from:
"His Good Opinion: A Mr. Darcy Novel" by Nancy Kelley
"One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy" by Diana J. Oaks
"A Pemberley Medley (A Pride and Prejudice Variation)" by Abigail Reynolds (this is a collection of five short stories)

"Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued" by Anna Elliott
"Pemberley to Waterloo: Georgiana Darcy's Diary, Volume 2" by Anna Elliott
"Charlotte - Pride and Prejudice Continues" by Karen Aminadra
"Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice" by Jennifer Becton
"Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice" by Jennifer Becton

Of course, there is always "Pride and Prejudice" to read again. I also have a book titled "All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year-long Journey with Jane" by Amy Smith. It is not a "Pride and Prejudice" variation. Rather, it is a memoir of a woman that travelled to Latin America with a box of Spanish language Jane Austen books to conduct a traveling book club. It sounds interesting, and if I get a chance, I will write it up, too!

So here is to a year of reading!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crockpot cranberry pork roast

Just a quick note about what I made for dinner last Thursday, and have had left overs for dinner twice. It is Crock Pot Cranberry Pork Roast. I found it on Pinterest from the site I will put a link to her site below, and just mention the few modifications I had to make.

When I first found the recipe last month, it sounded good, so I bought a can of cranberry sauce in anticipation :) Last week, when the tasty bug bit, I couldn't afford the pork loin roast she used. So I bought 2 pork shoulder blade steaks that weighed about 2.5 pounds. Not as lean, but cheaper by a couple dollars a pound.

I didn't brown the meat as suggested in the recipe, and only cooked it on low...for 9ish hours. A girl has to go to work, ya know? When we came home, it smelled yummy. M (who now wants to be referred to as Cupcake, after seeing some other blogs with kidonyms) wanted rice, so we did the first night. It. Was. Yummy. But I happened to have some left over mashed taters, so that is what I have been eating the left overs with. I like that even better!

So here is the link. Try it and enjoy!

Bread pudding for brunch

After perusing a cookbook about crockpot spoon breads and desserts a couple weeks ago, I thought it might be yummy to have cinnamon bread pudding for breakfast on a day with no plans. That day was today, and the no plans thing turned out to be a good thing.

I originally found the recipe in a cookbook I got for free on my kindle. While searching Pinterest for other breakfast bread pudding possibilities, I found the exact same recipe on the sight, although it was called cinnamon raisin bread pudding. That was the only difference. All the ingredients were the same. I am a little disappointed in my free cookbook :( Plagiarism is not ok. I put a lot of recipes I find other places on here, but I do my best to somehow credit the source (my linky skills are lacking, but I do try).

So, to get back to Mr. Food. I remember watching Mr. Food on my local ABC news when I was growing up. I also have a favorite (tho not often remembered) soup recipe that I know I got from him. I searched for it on the site just to make sure. But back to bread pudding. Instead of a cinnamon raisin bread, I used a yummy cinnamon swirl bread from my local grocery store bakery. It has lots of thin layers bursting with sweet cinnamony goodness. I used about 3/4 of the loaf, as the recipe calls for a one pound loaf, and the one I bought was 1.3 pounds. Mostly, I cut it into thick slices which i weighed to find a pound, then into cubes (sort tried falling apart). I then put as many into my crockpot as would fit, which ended up being just shy of a pound (14.5 ounces) as my crockpot was 2.5qt rather than the 4qt called for. I don't know if that contributed to my other problem or not.

The recipe said to cook on low for 2 hours, or until the center was set. Well, at the end of two hours, when I pulled the edges in, there was still a bunch of juicy custard liquid. So I put the lid back on and turned it up to high for 30 minutes. When I went back it was all nice and puffed up, and not juicy. Then it was to cool for 30 minutes out of the base. While serving, I found some nearly burnt parts around the bottom edge. Possibly from the 30 minutes on high.

But over all, it was very tasty, even if later than planned. It was almost too sweet for me, tho. Not sure if I may try leaving all or some of the brown sugar out if I make it again, as the bread was very sweet itself. And if I had done it the way I had intended, I would have had all the bread cut up the night before, so all I had to do was assemble it this morning. That also added to the lateness of breakfast.

Here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Bread Pudding in the Crock Pot

3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream (I used 2 cups whole milk instead of milk and cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (1-pound) cinnamon-raisin bread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I omitted these)
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in milk and next 3 ingredients. Add bread cubes, stirring until moistened. Stir in butterscotch chips and pecans. Pour into a lightly greased 4-quart round slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW setting 2 hours or until center is set. Carefully remove slow cooker insert from heat element. Let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Serve pudding warm with whipped cream, if desired.