Friday, December 4, 2015

Book Recommendations for December!

I know, I know....it's been too long! But I am back with some book recommendations for that book lover in your life (just in time for Christmas)!

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read. I just think it's so important to start kids at a small age of loving to read. I have a tub of all my childhood books. Many of them are from my great-grandma. She would get me a new book for my birthday, Christmas or special occasion. Many kids today are always on their phone and need a quick fix for their attention spans. However, a kid that reads can spend countless hours in fantasy lands, learning a new hobby, or having an adventure!

For the adult book fans, I have some new books that I really enjoyed!

Fever Series- Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

I started this book and was like where is this going?! But I kept reading and I ended up really enjoying the series. 
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I enjoy fantasy books that just keep you guessing and this series really did that! It had mystery, adventure, heartbreak, romance, and more!

Here is the book's description:

MacKayla Lane's life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she's your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks...until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death--a cryptic message on Mac's cell phone--Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister's killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed--a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae....

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister's death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane--an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women--closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac's true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book--because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands....


Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

I really enjoy books by this author. She has an entire series of books that are spin-offs on the fairy tales we all know and love. The stories are told in a way that is different from how you originally heard the stories. This is the newest one I have read, but I would recommend all her books!

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This book is about finding yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin, and maybe along the way you might find happiness and love! 

Here is the book's description:

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself "Lord Colin" is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.
The House of Night Series- Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast
I am not completely done with this series, but it definitely keeps you wanting to read. It pulls you in from the beginning!
This is another young adult fantasy series. I just can't seem to get enough of those! This was a recommendation on Goodreads for me, so I decided to give it a try!
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I love trying to figure out who is the good guy, who is the bad guy, and how is Zoey going to stop them? This series keeps you guessing as it twists, turns and flips around! This book encompasses teenage friendships, love, action, adventure and mystery. It's a must read!
Here is the book's description:
The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire—that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends. 
I hope if you are looking for a new read, that you will check out these book series!
Until next time,
Kara

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Catching Up....

Wow the holidays are just around the corner! I am looking forward to eating at Thanksgiving. I LOVE turkey!!!

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? I am almost done! Now I just need to get to wrapping!

I was in my college roommate's wedding last weekend. Here are a couple pictures of the Hubby and I. Isn't he just the cutest?!? I got super lucky!


I am super pumped for the week. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 comes out. We are going to see it on Thursday with my sister. I CANNOT WAIT!!!

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I have been excited all week when I see commercials for it! 

We have been busy battling a roof leak, so hopefully our roofer will be out this week to fix it. If the weather would just cooperate, it would make it so much easier.

I hope your week is going great so far!

Until next time,


Kara


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Some of My Favorite Blogs!

Wow, sorry for being absent for so long! I haven't been feeling 100% so I have been taking it easy in the crafting and cooking department.

I am currently trying to figure out my sewing machine. I have got it threaded and now just need to figure out the rest! HAHA, wish me luck there!

I'm back today with some of my favorite blogs to read and follow. These blogs really inspired me to share my own ideas and story.

The Brown-Eyed Baker
Wow, this girl can cook! She has a new recipe about every day and they all look delicious. She also shares pictures of her two golden retrievers and son, Joseph.

Her recipes range from rich chocolate cakes to homemade casseroles! You just never know what she will be posting!

Cookies and Cups
I love this blog. She has expanded this year and started incorporating savory dishes in her blog. However, she founded her blog on her love of buttercream. 

Shelly has an upcoming cookbook that is coming out and it looks awesome! If you like sweet treats, she is a wealth of knowledge!

I also love her because I won last years Creative Cookie Competition with my Hogwarts Worthy Butterbeer Cookies, you can see my post here or Shelly's try at my recipe here!

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Kristan is another blogger that I love to read. She loves dessert and posts the yummiest (is that a proper word?) looking food. I have tried several of her recipes and loved them.

She also has book, clothing, and make-up recommendation posts. I just love her funny, witty personality! She is a mom who keeps it real. 


She also helped throw the Creative Cookie Competition last year and she recreated my recipe here!

Sally's Baking Addiction
This blog is full of all kinds of recipes. Sally gives expert instructions behind all her recipes along with the science behind things! She's currently on a book tour for her new cookbook.

Sawdust & Embryos
This is a DIY blog. I find Beth and her husband, Nick, hilarious and ambitious. They created their blog to help earn income with they were struggling with infertility and trying to find ways to raise extra income for treatments. They can build something out of nothing, which I am extremely jealous over!

I follow all these blogs on a regular basis and love to read about what they are coming up with next. I wish I could have a tenth of creative juices that they all spit out! (kind of a gross analogy, sorry!)

Hopefully, I can build my blog to represent a little of what each of these ladies do, but I am happy just sharing my love of baking, crafting, and living life!

Until next time,

Kara

Friday, October 23, 2015

It's Friday!

We officially made it through the work week! YAY! I am pumped for a free weekend of nothing to do.

Did you see Adele is coming out with a new album? I just love her... I can't wait to hear it. Here is a single she released from the upcoming album called 25. The song is Hello. It is awesome!



Hopefully you have a great weekend!


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Until next time,

Kara

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Triple Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Hubby had a pitch-in lunch at school on Friday. I decided to make my traditional chocolate chip cookies and then throw a non-traditional cookie in the mix.

I made a triple chocolate- chocolate chip cookie! These were super rich, but good!

If you are up for something different and you're a chocoholic, give this a try!



Triple Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies  

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup of white chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375° F.

Then combine your flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set it to the side. Beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. 

Add in your eggs  and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add in flour mixture. Stir in your chocolate chips and white chocolate chips with a wooden spoon to avoid breaking the chips apart. 

Then drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased baking sheets. I like to add a few chocolate chips to the top of the cookies before baking. This just makes for a prettier cookie!

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are puffed. Make sure not to over bake. These are a dark cookie, so you will not be able to judge it based on being brown! 

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

These are a yummy cookie to add into your line-up!

Until next time,

Kara

This recipe was inspired by Double-Chocolate Dream Cookies

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Recommendations for October

Here are some recent books that I enjoyed.

Mythos Academy Series- by Jennifer Estep

I really enjoyed reading this young adult series. It incorporates action, adventure, romance, mythology, and mystery all into one high school! It's an easy read that keeps you wanting to know more. 

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PLUS, it helped me answer a recent mythology Jeopardy question...Can we say invaluable information?!?

First Frost is the first book in the series. Here is the description:

I am Gwen Frost, and I have a Gypsy gift. It's called psychometry – that's a fancy way of saying that I see images in my head and get flashes of other people's memories off almost everything I touch, even guys.
My gift makes me kind of nosy. Okay, okay, maybe a lot nosy—to the point of obsession sometimes. I want to know everything about everyone around me. But even I don't want to know the secrets my friend Paige is hiding or the terrible loss that will send me to a new school – Mythos Academy, where the teachers aren't preparing us for the SATs, but to battle Reapers of Chaos. Now I have no friends and no idea how my gift fits in with all these warrior whiz kids. The only thing I do know is that my life is never, ever going to be the same...
The Bourbon Kings- by J.R. Ward
I love J.R. Ward. I have read and recommended her two previous series, The Fallen Angels and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
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I really love her writing and the way she incorporates a ton of characters and story lines within one plot.
This book has scandal, love, lies, and family issues. Who doesn't love someone else's family drama?!?
Here is the description:
For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly's head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane's beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.
The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires- by Molly Harper
I just recommended Molly Harper's other series Jane Jameson
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This book is a spin-off of that series. It still has all the same characters, but the focus shifts to another character's life. 
I really enjoyed reading this fun romance!
Here is the description:
"The thing to remember about a 'stray' vampire is that there is probably a good reason he is friendless, alone, and wounded. Approach with caution." 
Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow's only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she'd like. Running their daylight errands—from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled Faux Type O—gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vamps. Her rules are strict; relationships are purely business, not friendship—and certainly not anything more. Then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and her quiet life turns upside down.
 
Cal—who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris thought vampires were sexy—offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place. And even though he's imperious, unfriendly, and doesn't seem to understand the difference between "employee" and "servant," she agrees. But as they search for who wants him permanently dead, Iris is breaking more and more of her own rules . . . particularly those about nudity. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire?
Hopefully this will give you a few good ideas for books this month! 
It's starting to get cool here in Indiana, so it's almost time to get a good book, a heavy blanket, something warm to drink and to hunker down for Indiana's cold weather!
Until next time,
Kara

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall Break in Las Vegas

I am officially back to the land of the working people. P.S. I hate it. Can't we just always be on vacation? No? Okay, well I guess I'll just tell you what we did while we were on vacation.

We just got back from 7 nights in Las Vegas. Don't get me wrong, Vegas is still our city, but 7 nights was a little long. Our butts dragged all the way home!

We packed in a ton in the week we were there!

I always love being in Vegas during March Madness or during football season. Everyone is so pumped to cheer on their teams. Our football gear is always a huge hit!


We saw Nathan Burton's comedy magic show. It was awesome, we really enjoyed it. We got our tickets on Groupon.com for $10 each! You can't beat that!

We saw Zarkana at the Aria Hotel & Casino. 


Wow, this hotel is gorgeous and Zarkana was AWESOME. It was one of our favorites!



We also saw Love at the Mirage. The music was good, but it wasn't our favorite show. 


It didn't have the WOW factor that I feel like most Cirque shows have. If you loved the Beatles, you would love this show.


We love the MYVegas app. We got our Zarkana and Love tickets for free. Plus we got 2 free buffets from all the station casinos. This allowed us to visit some more places we had never been to, plus get free food! That's a win-win!

We were also able to go to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium. 


It was really neat to see all the animals! 





We got to see the divers trying to get a tiger shark to go into a separate holding tank to get examined by the vet! We also got this free from MYVegas!

We stayed at the Gold Coast for 4 nights and the Golden Gate hotel for 3 nights.



We enjoyed both places, but I really like staying downtown, this is our room at the Golden Gate. We upgraded to a suite. 

We went bowling, watched The Martian in 3D (can you say awesome?!?) and The Intern. Oh yeah and we also got massages! 


Plus add in all the walking we did. We were busy people! Here are some of the random pictures from the week!










One of the best things to watch in Vegas is the fountain show at the Belliago. Here is a clip of one of the shows we watched this time!

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We sucked in the gambling department this trip, but we can't always be winners, right? That's my story at least!

Until next time, 

Kara

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Update

Wow, September has came and gone already!

We celebrate a lot of family birthdays in September. Mine, my Dad's, and the Hubby's are all within a week of each other.

We celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. The Hubby surprised me with some pretty flowers!



Fall is here and of course Indiana weather can't decide between summer and fall temperatures. The week started off in the 80's and the low this weekend will be 44... really?!?



We went to the local orchard this weekend and got pumpkins and apple cider! It was packed!

The Hubby has been trying to teach me how to play chess. Can we just say it is a frustrating game? I am not good at thinking ahead on strategy or figuring out why he is doing what he is doing... if I can ever check-mate him, I will be amazed!



I saw this article on Facebook and loved it. People really do not understand how a small, insignificant question can break your heart every time. 

I am also 2-1 in my Fantasy Football league... I am riding on Peyton Manning's coat tails. Can we say still the greatest? 

Well here is to October!




Until next time,

Kara

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy 4 Year Anniversary

Today is our anniversary! We have been married for 4 years. I cannot believe that 4 years has passed by already.

We have been together for 8 1/2 years and I couldn't imagine my life any different.

I love the Winnie the Pooh quote, " If you live to be 100, I want to live to be 100 minus a day so that I would never have to live a day without you."

I was so lucky to find my other half.

Since we have been together for so long, I put together some of my favorite memories we have shared!


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Happy Anniversary!

Love always,

Kara

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

One of my favorite actresses is Mindy Kaling. I think she is hilarious, beautiful, real, and a great role model. She has taken control of her career and doesn't let anyone tell her she can't do something. 

I found this quote by her and I totally agree!

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So many kids today, boys or girls, really base their self worth on what others think about them. What they don't realize is that in the scheme of things, those people in high school are a speck of sand in the lifetime they plan to live. 

I saw a quote somewhere that stated, the friends you have in high school were your friends because you saw them five days a week. I completely agree. It is rare to hold on to a few good friends, because most of the time those relationships are relationships of convenience.

High school isn't an easy place to be, but if you get through it so many wonderful things await beyond that. 

September is suicide awareness month. I really just wish so many people truly saw things clearly before they do something as rash as taking their own life. Something that seems impossible today, will cause you to look back and become stronger for it.

Life truly gets better.

Until next time,

Kara

Friday, September 18, 2015

Happy Friday!

WE MADE IT! Whew, I'm so glad Friday is here.

I'm in a good mood today because the Broncos won last night AND Peyton did great! If they would just let him throw the ball and not bother with all this running nonsense, they would be just fine.

Hopefully, the rest of my fantasy football team will perform this week. I need to get a win!

We had a great time last night. I went golfing with the Hubby. Well he golfed and I caddied for him. Really I just am keeping him company and probably being annoying most of the time by asking him, are you sure you want to use that club?

Oh well an annoying caddie is better than no caddie!


We will be busy with golf sectional this weekend. I am hoping the weather holds out, we are supposed to get some rain!

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I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Until next time,

Kara

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bacon-Ranch Dip

Football season is finally here. In our house this means soup, snacks, fantasy teams and afternoon naps (for me at least). 

Let's not discuss how mad I am at Peyton Manning... I just don't think he realizes how important he is to my fantasy team and how he under-performed this week. C'mon Manning!

At least my food is always good during football season, even if my players aren't playing well. 

Since I'm on the low-carb diet, it's hard for me to eat a lot of dip without chips, so I decided to turn one of my low-carb wraps into chips, so I can eat this dip. Because it is heavenly good!


Bacon-Ranch Dip
1 container of sour cream
1 packet of dry ranch seasoning
1 bag of real bacon bits
1 cup of shredded cheese, I like the mixed bag kinds

This is a easy recipe that is just so good! You just need to throw all these ingredients into a bowl and mix them up. Store in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving!

You could add some green onions for a little more flavor, but the Hubby doesn't like them, so I left them out!

You can serve this with crackers or chips! It's the perfect dip to snack on all Sunday long!

Until next time,

Kara