Saturday, July 30, 2011

Too Good Not to Share

If it's true you are what you eat than my family will soon be summer squash. The zucchini and yellow squash have litterally taken over the garden. I had to cut a bunch back from covering my tomatoes and lettuce. While a lot of the branches are only producing flowers (which supposedly are delicious to eat too) we have a good amount of actual fruit (yes it's a fruit not a vegetable).

I have a lot of good green zucchini recipes - just last night I went crazy and made deep fried breaded zucchini and some yummy chocolate zucchini muffins. But I don't really have that many yellow squash recipes. So this morning I tried to look some up online. Then I said "the heck with it" and just made up my own. And let me tell you it's AMAZING.

Summer Squash and Potato Pancakes:

Ingredients:
1 medium squash shredded (don't peel)
1 medium potato shredded (you can peel but I didn't)
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c finely shredded cheese
chopped up green onion - maybe two tablespoons, I just did one stalk
salt, pepper, garlic

After shredding the potato and squash put them either in a clean dish towel or a fine mesh strainer and squeeze out as much water as possible. Mix everything together.

Heat a non-stick pan with some oil - use a good amount so it wont stick and so you'll get a nice brown - and spoon piles of the mixture in. Flatten slightly with your spatula, once they start to brown flip them and brown the other side. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degree. You can probably skip the baking and just cook them longer in the pan but I had bacon cooking in the oven so it was just easier to keep them warm that way.



Bon Appetit

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Growing things

Can you believe this:





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Grew up to be this:





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And that this:





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Grew up to be this:





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Now do you believe that this:





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Turned into this:




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Growing babies and growing veggies is so amazing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fishing

Over 4th of July weekend we took the girls on their first fishing trip. A good friend of Uncle's, Travis, is a big fisher and offered to take us. He provided all the necessary equipment and supplies.

So Sunday after church we all meet up at Cabella's. We had a little lunch, walked around and check out the giant store, and had a quick potty break.



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No home is complete without it's very own camo game duster!



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The girls LOVE "Mr. Travel".



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We drove out to Highland Glen Park. There's a small man made lake or you could say a large man made pond. Either way the state stocks it with fish and there are little piers you can fish off of. I know my kids well enough to know how it would go. "Please mom, take us fishing, we want to go fishing, fishing is our favorite... 5 mintues later... Mom can we go home now." Which is basically how it went. Travis got Tira set up with the first fishing pole and even before he had the next one ready to go she was done and complaining.

We were able to keep the little ones busy with fishing, feeding the ducks, and snacks.




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Worms for the humans:




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Uncle caught the first fish within 5 minutes of us arriving. Yai Yai caught the next one and I caught our final one.



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We lasted about 4 hours until Lanna had to go to the bathroom. I took her to the porta-potties where she took one look and said YUCK and refused to go. Then I took her into the bushes and told her to squat. She screamed and cried and refused to even try LOL. Finally we packed up at went home. It was lots of fun but probably something that's only going to be a once in a while activity.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Club #2 - Matched and Blue Plate

My second book club meeting was for the book Matched by Ally Condie.


After my first book club experience I was looking forward to discussing a book I actually liked (rather than seriously hated). This book has been compared to the Hunger Games - one of my all time favorite series. And I should have known - because I've done this before - that going into a book with high expectations is a mistake.

A side note: After seeing a tweet by the ever amazing Nina Badzin I'm going to try to be fair but not mean in my reviews. I don't think I mentioned this in the first post but if you're a writer, an aspiring writer, or dream of being a writer you really should follow Nina on twitter and subscribe to her blog.
On to the review. I don't know if it's because I read this with the thought that I will be discussing it for a book club in the back of my mind or if it really just wasn't up to my expectations but I felt extra critical of this book. Matched was slow. Very very slow. When I read a book I want to connect with my heroine and for the first 300 (out of 400) pages Cassia is dull; void of personality and character. I think a good author can build up the back story at the same time as she moves the plot along. IE I don't want 300 pages of back story and explanations. I found myself being easily distracted and having to go back and re-read paragraphs because while my eyes saw the words my mind didn't register the meaning. It just wasn't keeping my attention.

My second problem is that I don't consider myself well read. Yes I read a lot but I read a lot of fluff. And one of my literary pet peeves is when authors extensively use quotes and poetry that I recognize. There are so many amazing poems out there to choose from that when I see one in a book that I recognize I think the author was not motivated enough to search from something unknown and they took the easy way out. This stems from the fact that I don't usually recognize poetry quotes because of the actual poem but because they are quoted so often by others. Condie bases a large chunk of Matched on Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night. Who doesn't recognize the words "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Thirdly, I think Condie just tried too hard. She has a habit of repeating a sentence twice. She would take Cassia's thoughts and try to turn them into poetry. I understand she wants Cassia to be a poet and passionate but it felt forced - particularly during those first 300 pages when Cassia had no passion or personality.

But this reviwe is not all bad. After the first 300 pages Condie had me falling in love with Cassia and Ky, and even Xander and her parents. Finally everyone had fire and passion and emotions that I can connect with. I admit to crying on Trax and almost missing my stop because I was so into the story. If only she could have written like that from page 1 or even page 100. And that's where I feel like this book falls short of Tanya's standard of literary greatness. I have high hopes for the next two books. Hopefully Condie can keep the momentum and fire alive and not revert to Society dullness.

The meeting itself was GREAT! I had my doubts after the first meeting which only lasted 45 minutes, had very little discussion, and terrible food. This time we met at Blue Plate. The family took me there after my confirmation earlier this year so I knew I liked it. I'm sorry the conversation was so good that I forgot pictures. I got the corned beef and hash with eggs. True to the waiter's words the corned beef is made in house with the breakfast potatoes as the hash. They add shredded cheader cheese - which is good but unnecessary and oily. Next time I'll get it with poached eggs sans cheese. The portion is huge and I'm excited to eat it for breakfast.

Next Tuesday we're meeting at Chapin Cafe and reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I plan to take notes as I read and write up a few questions that I hope encourage better discussions and analysis of the book. Why yes I am a nerd.

Synopsis:
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.


Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.