Friday, April 18, 2014

What I’ve Been Reading #47 and April Literary Junkies

This week I finished one book. I thought I’d get to read more, but I didn’t!

Between Sisters was the 5th or 6th novel by Kristin Hannah that I’ve read. The strange thing was, while I was reading it, I kept thinking I’d read it previously, maybe years ago, before I started keeping track of the books I’d read. I think maybe it just reminded me of another book, but the feeling that I’d already read it was kind of annoying! Although not the cause of the feeling, I do realize that Kristin Hannah likes to repeat certain themes in her books – close relationships between women, difficulty in those relationships, and illnesses that make characters face mortality. “Years ago, Meghann Dontess made a terrible choice that cost her everything, including the love of her sister, Claire. Now, Meghann is a highly successful attorney who doesn’t believe in intimacy–until she meets the one man who can change her mind. Claire Cavenaugh has fallen in love for the first time in her life. As her wedding day approaches, she prepares to face her strong-willed older sister. Reunited after more than two decades apart, these two women who believe they have nothing in common will try to become what they never were: a family. Tender, funny, bittersweet, and moving, Between Sisters skillfully explores the profound joys and sorrows shared by sisters, the mistakes made in the name of love, and the promise of redemption– all beautifully told by acclaimed author Kristin Hannah.” Luckily, this book didn’t make me cry, but I did smile at parts. It was nice to read about Meghann and Claire and how they mended their relationship.


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1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it!

I am currently reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.

2. Divergent, Hunger Games, or Twilight. Which do you prefer and why? (If you've never read them which do you think you'd prefer?)

I’ve read all three series completely, and my favorite is the Hunger Games. It’s the most exciting, well-written, and good throughout. I like Divergent, but by the third book I wasn’t as into it anymore. I enjoyed Twilight, but it’s not as well-written as the other two series.

3. TV Series Based on Books – they start out very close to the book to draw in the fans but then will start to separate themselves by changing things and adding characters. What are you thoughts on this?

I haven’t really watched many TV series based on books, only The Lying Game, which was cancelled. I never read the books either. I don’t watch Game of Thrones – I hear it’s great, but I’m not sure I’d like it! My feeling is that unless the book series has years worth of books, the TV series will have to diverge from the books in order to continue on.

4. You’ve just been recruited to help a movie studio bring your favorite book to the big screen. What’s the movie and who are you choosing to play the main characters?

My favorite book is already a movie. (The Time Traveler’s Wife). I find it difficult to think about actors to represent characters!

5. Going back to the above question, do you keep it word for word the same or do you use this chance to change little things you thought would make the book better?

Probably I would change things, but I’m not really good at making those decisions!

6. After you finish a physical copy of a book do you keep it for a reread, put it on a shelf to collect dust, donate it to Goodwill, or do you just not purchase physical copies of books?

Depends on the book! If I loved it, I keep it. If I liked it, I might share it with friends or pass it on in a swap.

Have you been reading anything good lately?


    

FTC Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Giveaway

Although it’s been a little while since I last did this, I am excited to re-introduce some of my favorite blog friends and to offer a giveaway sponsored by them. These are bloggers who support my blog and myself, so please check them out if you get a chance!

Janine
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? I am looking forward to finally being able to spend more time outdoors with nicer, warmer weather and no more snow!

Janine is giving away: 200 x 200 Ad Space on her blog.

Lanaya
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? Wait Spring? I think we may have missed ours already. It's already hot in Arizona! So .. one thing I'm looking forward to? Definitely dipping in our cool pool within the next month! Swim time and tanning baby!

Lanaya is giving away: 150 x 150 Ad Space on her blog.

Tamar
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? Getting out now that the long (cold) winter is over. I haven't been on an adventure around Boston in too long!

Tamar is giving away: Moonstruck Chocolate from Oregon

Dani
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? Playing in the park and using our grill more - we have lots of recipes we want to try on the grill this year!

Dani is giving away: ad space on her blog.

Shoshanah
blog | twitter | pinterest

What are you most looking forward to this fall season? After this crazy winter, in Louisiana even where we had our share of snow days, I'm looking forward to warmth! But especially a perfect warm day where I can lay out in the backyard in a bathing suit and read a good book!

Shoshanah is giving away: ad space on her blog.

Breenah
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? Taking my daughter to the park.

Holly
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? Planting my herb garden that my husband finally created for me!

Breanna
blog | twitter | facebook | pinterest | instagram

What are you most looking forward to this spring season? Enjoying the sunshine! Wearing dresses, sandals, keeping the windows open, taking walks around the lake. LOVE SPRING!

And now for the giveaway! The prize will be ad space (perfect for blogs or businesses!) on 4 awesome blogs, yummy chocolate from Oregon, and I will add in a $5 Starbucks gift card from me! Enter using the rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


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(This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.)
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Passover School Projects

The below post was written prior to the tragic events that took place in Overland Park, KS yesterday afternoon. Gabbie was at her dance class get together at the Jewish Community Center when I heard that there had been a shooting there. I had a few minutes of pure panic in which I emailed her dance teacher, tried to confirm the news was true, contacted my husband who was working out at the gym at the time, and finally received a note from her dance teacher that the kids were doing just fine. Dave headed directly to the JCC and picked up Gabbie, who had been in lock down – the dance classes actually performed for the others who were there waiting to be allowed to leave! We are all a bit shaken, but physically ok. The shooting was allegedly an anti-Jewish hate crime, something we never would have expected to occur here or anywhere else, but as we know these things do occur in our world. Three people were killed – at least two of whom weren’t even Jewish, and who happen to be related to one of Dave’s co-workers. Thank you to everyone who thought of us and reached out to make sure we were ok. May we only hear good news from now on.


(Some of this info is copied from my Passover post from last year!)

Passover is starting tonight! It continues until next Tuesday night. I will not be online this week on Tuesday or Wednesday (until night time) and next week on Monday or Tuesday (until night time). Passover is definitely one of the more well known Jewish holidays. It is observed to remember the Jewish people’s Exodus from slavery in Egypt.

The most significant observance related to Passover involves avoiding chametz (leaven; sounds like "hum it's" with that Scottish “ch”) throughout the holiday. This commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise. It is also a symbolic way of removing the "puffiness" (arrogance, pride) from our souls.

Chametz includes anything made from the five major grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt) that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after first coming into contact with water. Orthodox Jews of Ashkenazic (Eastern European) background also avoid rice, corn, peanuts, legumes (beans) and some other foods as if they were chametz. All of these items are commonly used to make bread, or are grown and processed near chametz, thus use of them was prohibited to avoid any confusion or cross-contamination. Such additional items are referred to as “kitniyot.”

The grain product we eat during Pesach is called matzah. Matzah is unleavened bread, made simply from flour and water and cooked very quickly. This is the bread that the Jews made for their flight from Egypt. We have come up with many inventive ways to use matzah; it is available in a variety of textures for cooking: matzah flour (finely ground for cakes and cookies), matzah meal (coarsely ground, used as a bread crumb substitute), matzah farfel (little chunks, a noodle or crouton substitute), and full-sized matzah (sheets about 8 inch square, a bread substitute).

- jewfaq.org

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This is Simon’s seder plate. “On the first two nights of Passover, we have a special family meal filled with ritual to remind us of the significance of the holiday. This meal is called a seder, from a Hebrew root word meaning “order,” because there is a specific set of information that must be discussed in a specific order.” The bowl is meant for the salt water, which reminds us of the tears of the Jewish slaves in Egypt.

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Simon colored this card for us, and made a Matzah puppet.

The following are pages from Simon’s Hagaddah – the special book that we use at the Passover Seders.

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This is Zachary’s pillowcase. On the Seder night we recline on pillows, to remind us that once we were slaves, but now we are free.

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The following are a few pages of Zachary’s Hagaddah.

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This is a placemat that Gabbie made. It depicts some of the blessings said during the Seder.

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Gabbie brought home a Hagaddah as well as a supplemental packet with all the things she has learned about the holiday. As you can see, as they get older, what they bring home from school becomes more advanced!

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We also have a bin full of the kids’ projects from years’ past, so it should be fun this year to use their items, both new and old! If you are celebrating, have a nice holiday!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scandal Sunday #21–Flesh and Blood

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Season 3 Episode 17 appealed to me more than Episode 16 did. Last week’s episode was too depressing for me; this week was better, with some cute and funny moments as well as a lot of thrills that helped make things more exciting than sad. I have a friend who is a sports writer and he told me how he was so excited to use the word “penultimate” for the 2nd to last game of the season. In that vein, here are my thoughts on the penultimate episode of Scandal Season 3. [SPOILERS!]

First, the funny moments:

Jake revealed in front the president that Olivia slept with him in order to hack into his phone. I actually said “NOO!” out loud!

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Olivia assured Fitz she knows that Sally doesn’t have the NAACP vote because she’s black.

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Olivia instructed Fitz on his Spanish accent. Ok this wasn’t funny as much as it was cute.

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Harrison tried to call Rowan / Eli “Papa Pope.” This is funny because the fandom refers to him as Papa Pope.

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And finally, when Fitz sneaks out of the White House, disregarding Olivia begging him to stay put because she thought there was a bomb where he was headed:

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Now, the main story as headed into the finale involves two main threads. First, Mellie seems to want a paternity test to find out if her son Jerry is Fitz’s son, or if he was conceived due to the rape at the hands of Fitz’s father. Mellie asked the White House doctor about getting a paternity test and Leo Bergen found out. He then facilitated the test for his own gain, hoping it would help Sally to win the presidency. When Olivia confronted Mellie about wanting the test done, Mellie said she wants to ruin Fitz, and she also stated that she wants to free herself from Big Jerry. Hence, Olivia realized what actually happened to Mellie and arranged for the test to come back that Jerry is Fitz’s son. However, she offered that if Mellie actually wanted to know, she would get the correct test results. I am not positive, but I think Mellie may have received the correct test results, and now she still needs to decide whether to tell Fitz.

Second, obviously is the bomb that is set to go off in the finale next week. Although the team thought the bomb was at Defiance High School where Fitz was speaking, it turns out it’s actually at the church where a funeral for a Senator is about to be held. In attendance there are Sally and Leo, as well as Andrew. Fitz is supposed to be there too but at the moment, he isn’t. The question remains as to why exactly Olivia’s mother wants to kill the president. The story involving Olivia and her parents is very interesting, as her mother doesn’t seem to care that her husband has a gun to her lover’s head, and he proceeds to kill him when she won’t reveal the location of the bomb. Olivia takes this to mean that her mother doesn’t love anyone and she wonders if things would be easier if she didn’t care about anyone. (However, at this point she tells Jake she actually loves Fitz. I seriously need her to say that to Fitz!!) Olivia’s mother then goes on to almost kill Olivia’s father, leaving Olivia sobbing over him bleeding out on the floor when she finds him after returning from Ohio.

So leftover for next week: Is Jerry Fitz’s son or not, and will Mellie tell Fitz the truth? What will Fitz think about her holding back what happened to her for 15 years? Will Sally be killed in the explosion? If so, will Fitz win the election by default? Will someone else run against him instead of Sally? We don’t even know who Sally was planning to be her VP, so I’m thinking if someone else ran, Fitz would win. But will he feel like he won because he deserved to win? Will Olivia’s father survive? And why does her mother want to kill the president? Is Olivia really done with Jake this time? Will she be afraid that Fitz is at the church and when she finds out he wasn’t there, will she tell him she loves him? Will the cliffhangers for next season be huge? How will I make it through the summer hiatus?