Friday, November 22, 2013

Easy Crockpot Turkey Chili

Here is a quick chile recipe I made tonight. I was going through the pantry to see what I could make with what I already had. Only a quick trip to buy some ground turkey and I was set. 

I browned the turkey in olive oil with some chopped onion, garlic and seasoning. (Cumin, paprika, italian seasoning, salt and pepper). 
Threw it in the crockpot with a can each of red kidney beans, white kidney beans, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I added more seasoning (same as above). 
Turned the crock pot on high and let it cook for three hours. 

I served it over white rice, like the hubby likes, with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Yummy! Made a nice warm meal, perfect for a chilly fall night. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review and GIVEAWAY: Winter at Death's Hotel by Kenneth Cameron

Winter at Death's Hotel by Kenneth Cameron
368 pages, paperback
Published August 2013, Sourcebooks Landmark

Source: ARC sent from publisher for review

So, here is a little something different to read if you enjoy Sherlock Holme's stories or anything Sherlock related. This seemed the perfect read right now considering the Sherlock Challenge and my anxious waiting for the next season of Sherlock to start again, and it was.

This was an interesting twist. Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife are in NYC to start an American book tour. On their first night, a woman is murdered and Louisa is intrigued by the mystery since the artist's sketch in the paper looks like a woman she saw in their hotel upon their arrival. While her husband continues on the book tour, Louisa stays back and starts investigating on her own. Not easy to do being a woman in 1896 and on crutches.

Part historical fiction and part murder mystery, Winter at Death's Hotel is entertaining and fun. A good mystery, interesting characters and a great backdrop- the gritty back alley's of NYC and the posh Hotel and guests where Louisa stays. All makings for a good late night read.


Would you like to read it? 

Great! Because I am having a GIVEAWAY.

All you have to do is leave me a comment and you will be entered to win a copy.  I would love to know your favorite murder mystery. Just be sure to do so before midnight PST on Sunday, December 1st. 

Good Luck!

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Handmade Christmas

An almost finished candy cane ornament.
For the past 10 years, my family has exchanged handmaid gifts in an attempt to limit the amount of money we all spend. I has been a tough year for some, but we still wanted the excitement of opening gifts. In years past, I have knit hats, made photo books and ornaments. This year is a mix of all of the above.
I started this Moderne log Cabin blanket in 2007! This may be the oldest WIP ever.Untitled
My plan is to finish projects, that have been sitting on needles for years, in time for Christmas. I have an unfinished lap blanket for the inlaws, a pair of gloves for my SIL, a cowl for my sister and some pottery at my ceramics class that need to be glazed. I am going to be busy this month. Ack! I only have one month left!!! Yes, a month. In Laws Christmas will be on the 21st!

Will you be making handmaid gifts this year?

Happy Crafting!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Toddler Tales: Finding time for Mom

Being a mom of a three year old, finding time for myself is often very difficult. Especially since the hubby travels for work. Breaks don't come until the little girl is in bed at 8pm. 

It is so important, though, to find some time to re-energize yourself when you can. Be it 5 minutes or 5 hours, even a little time helps. Makes you ready to engage fully with your little one. Makes you more patient, as well. 

So, if you can only get a few minutes here are some ideas...

Enjoy a cup of coffee inside while your child plays outside. Of course, keep a visual and only do if they have a safe enclosed space to play. 

Close the door when you go to the bathroom. If like me, I only do this when the hubby is around. Funny how this is relaxing. ;)

Silent reading time. The little girl and i each get a book and read quietly. I usually only get through a page or two, but that's more than if I didn't do it. 

Go for a walk. Most relaxing when the three year old is in the stroller. 

If you are lucky to get more time away, how about...

Go to a coffee shop and enjoy a latte and a book. 

Walk or hike. You always feel so much faster and lighter minus the Ergo or Bob. 

Take a nap. This is the best. Even just a 30m one is refreshing. 

Take time for yourself, at least once a day and you'll be ready to tackle the rest if your day with a little more patience. A 3 year old standing in the coffee table won't seem as scary. ;)

Moms, do you have other ideas for ways to get time for yourself? I would love to hear them. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Blast and Giveaway: Drowning by Rachel Firasek

About the Author:

Rachel Firasek spends her days daydreaming of stories and her nights putting the ideas to ink. She has spent a dull life following the rules, meeting deadlines, and toeing the line, but in her made up worlds, she can let the wild side loose. Her wonderful husband and three children support her love of the written word and only ask for the occasional American Idol or Swamp People quality hour.

She has a philosophy about love. It must devastate or it isn't truly worth loving. She hopes that you all find your devastating love and cling to it with all your heart!
 Her latest book is the new adult contemporary romance, Drowning.
Visit her website

Connect & Socialize with Rachel!


About the Book:

Title: Drowning
Author: Rachel Firasek
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

"I dare you." 

Those words would change adrenaline junkie, Alice Harrison's life forever. She's a party girl that doesn't believe in love until she meets a man that only writes about it.

Seth James escaped his overbearing father and moved into one of the James family's vacant condos, hoping to create the music he loves in peace. But the fragile calm he's envisioned shatters when a tiny woman with a world full of energy bounces out of the elevator and nearly takes him out.

 With the patience of a saint, Seth seeks the dark that keeps Alice from enjoying life. He challenges her to exorcise the demons in her past in order to discover the true meaning of love. But when the walls fall down, the hidden deceptions will bare the ugly truth about a woman drowning in sorrow and a man who may not know how to be her hero.

 Purchase your copy at AMAZON.


Book Excerpt:

He tucks a hand into the waistband of my shorts and drags me into the hall, pulling my door shut behind me. “Where did you get that?” His gaze lingers on the small bump decorating my forehead.

I reach up and touch the sore knot. “Oh, I fell.”

“How?” He raises his free hand and traces the swelling.

I don’t even feel the careful prodding. No, my concentration is solely focused on the fingers tucked inside my shorts and only inches away from becoming way too familiar with me. “Um…I was doing yoga when you guys came down the hall.”

 “And?” He tugs me closer. His thumb rakes a small path below my belly button.

Oh my. “Uh…I fell out of…of…my pose and banged my head on the floor.”
His eyes darken and those beautiful lips part. I want to snake my tongue across the bottom one to find out if it is as soft as it looks.

He winces and lowers his eyes to mine. “So this is my fault?”

 I grab onto his wondering hand and pull it free of my shorts. If I didn’t, I’d be asking him for a wallgasm in less than two minutes. Random teasing and fleeing was a no go for me now. “No. It was an accident. Lighten up, G.”

“I don’t want to cause you pain.” 

Wow, that feels like a loaded proclamation. “Okay. Well, keep the noise down and we should be good.”

He drops the hand that had been rubbing away my bruise. Funny, I’d totally forgotten it. “I don’t want to cause you pain. It’s a personal thing.” A deep shudder races over him, and for some reason, I don’t think he is with me anymore.

“You didn’t. I’m fine.” I lift a hand and cup the side of his face, bringing his gaze to mine. It is the gentlest moment I’ve ever had with a man, and we’ve just met. “I’m not sure what this is, G., but I think I should go inside.”

He glances down the corridor, takes a deep breath, and nods. “Yes, you should.”


Pump Up Your Book and Rachel Firasek are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 5 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

607 pages, paperback
Published September 1998, Vintage

Source: borrowed from a friend

It is not very often that a book completely draws me in to its world so thoroughly. This was one I read slowly and made last for awhile and it wasn't because of how long it was, but because I wanted to really read everything and make sure I didn't miss a thing. Every word, every look from a character, and each of their stories seemed to have hidden meanings. 

The story at first seems pretty straightforward and simple…man loses cat, man searches for cat, loses wife, then finds cat. It is so not that simple, of course. The man, Toru Okada, comes across a multitude of interesting characters during his search, each with a story to tell. 

Dreamlike and otherworldly, this book has made its way onto my favorites list. I loved its Kubrick-esque feel. It was so different than anything I have read before. I can't wait to find out how the others in my book group felt about it. I am thinking no one enjoyed it as much as I did.

Have you read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle? What did you think about it?

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.