Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Legacy of Cain

Ooooh, doesn't that sound thrilling??

Well, I am cheating a bit with this, as it is another re-read. But. Here's the dealio.

I ran off to NE Texas (remember, the Cabin?) without going to the library! I know! I couldn't believe it myself. I really don't know what was wrong with me. I have a list of books to read too!

Anyway, I have left a few books to read here and two of these are books by Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone and The Legacy of Cain. You might have also heard of The Woman in White. These are all really enjoyable books.
Legacy of Cain (Pocket Classics)
My favorite by Collins

Collins was one of the first of the mystery writers. Although these novels were written in the 1800s and are not "bloody" or gratuitously violent, they are, in my humble opinion, fairly suspenseful. With quite a few twists and turns, and differing viewpoints, you are not quite sure what is going on 'til the end.

The Legacy of Cain is the story of two girls - one is the daughter of a murderess and the other of a minister and his wife. The couple adopt the first one and raise her, never telling her, nor anyone else, of her past.

The two grow up together and love each other like sisters...UNTIL...a MAN enters the picture! It's interesting to see how their jealousies play out. How far will each go to defeat her rival? Will their mothers' traits affect their actions now? have to read it to find out.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"..a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought"--Byron

Thanks to Lesa, the only book reviews I'll be doing the next year involve a thirteen book series which I'm sure you all know about and if you don't, go here to see how excited she was about book thirteen. If you want to buy them all, go here.
Disclaimer: Don't blame me if you want nothing more than to lock yourself in your closet with a flashlight and a stack of books for the foreseeable future.   Great books.  I can hardly stand to be here long enough to post this because while I am posting this, I could be reading!  
Still, somethings need bookish peers to appreciate.  I thought this one was one of them... and may I just say:

Would you?
If you would and but need some more inspiration: Take a look at this post by LotusReads

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hay-ulp! A Shopping Dilemma!

Hay-ulp! Hay-ulp! Remember little ol' Penelope Pitstop? Rich vacuous southern belle always in peril.  My East Texas Piney Woods roots qualify me as Southern but I'm way too rough around the edges for belle-dom.  Vacuous? Hmm, better plead the fifth on that one. Rich? Definitely not. Peril? Not at the moment--  but I hope you can hay-ulp little ol' me with a shopping dilemma...

I recently won a CSN Store gift certificate from the lovely Jillian  that must be used by December 31.  My plan was to purchase my little boy a bookcase which would free up at least one shelf each from three family bookcases. CSN offers a wide selection of bookcases for children BUT I really want the fun of searching through thrift/junk stores for the perfect bookcase that can be refurbished in some funky cool way.  I'll know it when I see it and maybe it will even have a drawer or two.

So what to buy instead? How about kitchen toys! Here are my two choices:

A German clay roaster! I've always wanted to try one of these. Wonder if I could make tandoori chicken in it?   Do any of you have pro/con experience with clay cooking to sway me one way or the other?  I mainly roast in the winter but not weekly so it would see infrequent use and take up precious storage space.  But I've always wanted one and it would only cost about $10 with the gift certificate.


Melmac mixing bowls! Just perfect for my yellow accented kitchen.  I've been looking for a set of yellow lightweight mixing bowls for everyday use-- and believe me they would be used almost every day!  The price doesn't quite use up the gift certificate so one of the following would round out the order...

Rachel Ray's Bubble and Brown ramekins--  Love the shape!

Baby Batter bowl-- Isn't it cute!

Emile Henry mini pie dish-- Oh, this is even cuter!

Microplane zester! This is the most amazing gadget ever!  I have one already but it doesn't have a happy yellow handle. Silly, I know, but I do love happy yellow handles! And my old one can be passed on to a friend...

So what is your opinion?  An experimental possibly seldom used clay roaster to further my culinary adventures or happy frequently used yellow mixing bowls? If you vote yellow, which little extra should round out the order?

CSN is a new online shopping experience for me-- I will report on the ordering process and shipping/packaging. 

If you would like a chance to win a CSN gift certificate, Mystica and Booksploring are both running giveways right now! These are December giveways so hurry over to enter! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Sneaky Chef

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals
I reordered this book through Amazon the other day. The first one was destroyed in a stomach virus related incident. Let us move on, shall we?

I was eager to get back into the "eating right" thing because we have been hit hard by a barrage of colds, flus, coughs, and ear and throat infections. So the easiest thing to do, after washing our hands until they are raw, is to eat right. Because of so much going on, I admit, I have been slack. We are not big junk food eaters, but we still weren't eating optimally.

I'd been pureeing cauliflower and adding it to their mac n cheese. Two eat it, one does not. The two that eat it are the two I worry the most about. MUAHAAHAAHAAHAA (evil laugh).

But I needed to take it up a notch because they wouldn't eat mac n cheese every day, plus cauliflower is not the only veggie needed. I decided to make the Choc-ful Donuts/Choc-ful Cupcakes.

Purple Puree. Mmmm!

The ingredients that boost these are spinach, blueberries, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour.

Donuts in front, cupcakes in back. Chocolaty!
Nico loves donuts, Lucas loves cupcakes, and Nina loves chocolate. Got all the bases covered!

Berry icing - made with berry juice, powdered milk and sugar.
The verdict? The kids loved them. All is good in the Land of Insanity.

What I like about this book is that it is fairly easy to use and fairly honest about what our expectations should be regarding children and their tastes. Lapine suggests making purees of the veggies used in her recipes and freezing them. This will help a lot down the line as you want to make something quickly or try something new, and it's easier to hide it from the kids!

The recipes are old favorites. I've tried the mac n cheese, the pizza, the cupcakes, and the quesadillas. Not bad. Personally, I don't like some of the flavors, but my kids didn't seem to notice anything different, and that's the main thing, right?

I prefer this book to Deceptively Delicious, which is very similar in ideas. As I mentioned, Lapine is more realistic with regard to children. I felt like I was being lectured by Jessica Seinfeld and felt a bit of "holier than thou" attitude in her book. Also some of Seinfeld's recipes seemed a bit complicated for my busy schedule and my kids' tastes. I made the chicken nuggets and they didn't go over well. (I will be trying them again - sometimes kids just decide to be finicky).

I am a big believer in picking your battles. Fighting over veggies and having your kids force themselves to gag is not my idea of a fun evening together (Nico even made himself vomit when he had to eat a quarter of an inch of a green bean. Good times.)

Anyway, this book is a great peacemaker in our family. And keeps my level of guilt down.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Package Deal

Well, hello blogging world. I'm Izzy Rose, nice to see you again! Yes, I have been very busy doing large amounts of nothing, and feeling guilty about it. Finally, I have a book worth reading about! (Please excuse my punniness)

Fashion Illustration Step by Step by Loreto Binvingnat Streeter and Chindy Wayne not only shows simple-to-follow instructions for a very basic outfit, but includes many different ways you could draw it, including realistic, digital and watercolour. This gives those who read it the opportunity to distinguish themselves as an illustrator, and to experiment with texture and colour. Plus, for those who aren't exactly artists, the illustration methods are set out from easiest to hardest. Early Christmas present, I think yes.

My drawing skills will be incredibly superior in fashion class next year, and I have another fashion book for my increasing collection. The package deal, you may ask?

That's me. Reader, blogger (sometimes!), student, photographer, budding fashion illustrator and designer.

Good Will Hunting... For Books!

Have you ever checked the Goodwill Store for books? Take a few minutes to run in for a quick peruse the next time you are tootling around town, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. 

Check out my crazy good haul from Friday's Goodwill hunting! The sole goal of this visit was books so not a lagniappe find but sure didn't expect to find so many. Yippee!  And in case you are wondering,  I completely blocked out my towering TBR mountain and lack of shelf space.   

What a deal! Seven books in good to new condition for $4.91
 My picks:

Jane Eyre-- Not the most attractive cover but I've been wanting to reread it for awhile.   And it is a Norton Critical Edition, whatever that is... 

War and Peace-- Oops, no more excuses for putting off reading this one and it is another Norton Critical Edition. Still don't know what that signifies but I'm feeling quite snooty in a bookish sort of way.

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume-- A historical romance. Hmm, haven't been able to finish one of these in ten years but had a sudden hankering...   (A big ol' ;o) at Tracy and Leslie)

The Devil Wears Prada-- Anyone read this?  I liked the movie...

The Color Purple--   Another that I've been meaning to read someday since I absolutely loved the movie and the book is my baby brother's favorite reread.

Alexandria Link--  Love thrillers! Especially science or history thrillers. This one involves the lost Library of Alexandria and a shocking revelation that could alter modern geopolitics. Oooo, makes me shiver in anticipation.

The Songs of Distant Earth-- Love me some sci-fi too!

Some Goodwills have a musty selection so can't promise your local store is a biblio-goldmine but do check it out!  

Monday, December 6, 2010


Good book? Check. 

Weekend in the country? Check, check.

Kiddos ocupados?

Check check check!

Ahhhh. Think I am ready to read.

When I go to North East Texas, I usually end up staying in the "cabin". It's a mobile home. But I have decided it shall henceforth be named, "THE CABIN".

And since I do not leave said cabin very often (snakes), I stock up on books to read from the library. 

I stay up late, read while babies are napping, and occasionally, when the weather is cool enough to keep the pythons and cobras away, but warm enough for me to soak in the sun...

...I take my books outside and lay down on a blanket near the pine trees.

I look forward to this weekend, because I don't have to do anything. No one calls or emails me (although they could) because they know I'm in "vacation mode". Therefore I am of no benefit to them!

Sometimes it is nice to be useless!

While I was there, I read two fun mysteries (I love light mysteries's daaaarrrrk and spooooky).

Murder with Peacocks (Meg Langslow Mysteries)

The first was the latest in a series by Donna Andrews.
Very funny. My favorite was the very first in the series (pictured), just because every character is so surprising. By the time you've read a few they are expected, although no less entertaining.

The amateur sleuth is an artist/blacksmith. She has a very large and involved family that keeps stumbling over bodies, and frustrates the local police.

Antiques Roadkill: A Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery

The second book I read is also part of a series, by Barbara Allen.
In this series, the heroine is a recent divorcee.
She and her diabetic shih tzu move back in with her mother, 
and end up begrudgingly solving murders.

If you are looking for something light or humorous, give these a try!
You might just enjoy them!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Book pretty. Wish list.

Words are nice,
but sometimes, what's called for is pretty and that needs no words:

wish list:

and just because we can all dream about heaven..
A Stairway, though they called it "Bibliophile Porn.
I sort of like it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Journals to gift

Recently here at Mrs Baja we have been talking about gifts, and I am revisiting
an idea I had last year.

For Christmas last year I wrote my thoughts, rules, if you like, for my girls in a beautiful Korean notebook that my mother gave us.

Time has proven them to be still popular. My little one, Dellylu, recently told me, 'When I'm old, like when I carry a handbag, I'm gonna carry my rule book in there.' Not a bad endorsement for a year-old gift.

Some of the 'rules' I will add to their books include;

If it starts with, ‘No offense but…’ then it’s better left unsaid.

Never leave your friend until she is safely inside her house, or has started her car.

Learn how to make one good meal for entertaining, and always have those ingredients on hand.

So, I have found a couple of likely journals at Amazon you could use to make a gift for someone you love, if you like. They are just beautiful, and maybe now would be a good time to start a journal for yourself. I know some of us Mrs BG contributors are inveterate journal keepers.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Russian literature

...uh.. no.  
I tried. Not hard, but I did try.  Russian shopping?  Yes. Yes.  I tried. I succeeded and I had company.    
     When I was in Texas a few weeks ago, my sister, my daughter and I all went on an international outing for the day in Houston. Texas gets a bad rap sometimes. What with Enron, ex-presidents that shall remain nameless, strip malls, big hair, etc. the reputation isn't entirely undeserved but there's another side and it's an interesting one.   
    The first stop we made was to the Russian General Store.   The store is on the small side with deli counters lining the walls and of course there is a great deal of Russian food that would be comforting if you're Russian and that far away from home, but all sorts of things were packed onto the shelves.
Soaps: Smell like дом! ("home" to the rest of us..)
     They had everyone covered.    Can you imagine what it must be like to be in a strange country and need to feed your baby?   I thought this was odd at first.  American grocery store shelves are full of baby formula, but if I'm a Russian mother with a baby, these cans represent one less thing I need to worry about because people I know have used them and lived to become adults.  Who knows what they put in that American stuff?  I'd have a point.

     In the very back of the store was something that would delight any Russian book worms heart, a book shop. I was busy buying shiny things, but Leslie spotted it behind a counter and a curtain that had been pulled to one side.  None of us were sure if we were allowed back there, but it didn't stop us.  Ugly Americans are ugly Americans in America too.  We did ask if it was okay when the shop keeper came to make sure we weren't getting too much out of hand.  Good call on her part. We're rowdy.  I regret to say I neglected to photograph the large collection of contemporary fiction in my haste to get back to my more shallow pursuit of shiny things, but here is a bit of what we found:
 Note: This is not Tolstoy.

The Classics, and not just the Russian ones.

The Queen's Necklace, Dumas.  I asked.
Do all places have far flung surprises?  Arm chair travel anyone?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kindle Children’s Books

I never knew that my kids were dumb. Up until now I had thought them to be pretty clever, but then I browsed the children's Kindle book selection. There are some serious gaps in their reading. Enough with the Allison Miranda series and the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and pft on the L'Engle collection. My kids are reading drivel, I tell you!

Thank goodness for Amazon pointing this out. Otherwise they might have faced dire consequences in their academic future.

They are not reading Homer's Iliad! And they have not started on the Jane Austen canon, either. We are reading Emma, why not them?

According to Amazon, Dostoevsky is appropriate reading for little ones. Since Crime and Punishment is part of their everyday lives, see. Like they do the wrong thing and get grounded or a detention.

It's a huge oversight, but I don't believe even the school's Senior Curriculum has War and Peace, even though Amazon considers it a children's book.

Our long summer holiday is coming up and I may have to take back those fun books with attractive covers that I've set aside for Christmas and get my little girls something a bit weightier.

That's it! We are starting with Tolstoy!

Uh Oh... Airline Travel Restrictions for Bookworms!

Did that get your attention? Don't worry, bookworms can still fly but we might all need to get e-readers! Check out number five in this list of personal items allowed in the carry-on policy for United-- bookworms get their own mention.   
The following personal items are not counted toward your one bag and one personal item limit:

Assistive devices (canes, crutches, etc.
Child safety seats for ticketed children
Infant restraint devices (infant seat with or without stroller, front pouch or back carrier)
Outer garments (coats, hats, etc.)
Reading material (a reasonable amount)
Umbrellas (one per passenger)
Food and beverages to be consumed onboard

Hahaha-- too funny! Bookworms do lug too many books!!  But dang, what is a reasonable amount?  Maybe taking my nine hundred page tome isn't the best idea but I could sure do some damage with that baby if the air marshall requires back-up! Whack Whack-- thud!................ I'm back... I'm back... Just drifted off on a gratifying flight of fancy! 

Two hours left to choose my reasonable amount of reading material-- Oh, the pressure-- and Oh, the agony of leaving behind my current hefty read.  What to take... hmm... maybe a couple of paperbacks from my TBR--- that sounds worthy and reasonable... but which ones?!

By the way, my last flight was in 2004 and I had the most horrendously difficult but hilarious (in retrospect) time getting on the plane-- really it was worth of a Seinfeld episode.  

My adventures involved an expired drivers license; a wild taxi ride to a DMV;  a race to get through check-in and security; and of course, wouldn't you know it--- getting singled out for  the super security check pat down. Yep, little ol' me-- guess I did look half crazy and mighty suspicious by that time!! They even pawed through my picnic bag of bacon sandwiches and garden tomatoes! Ooo.. scary tomatoes! Guess I could've been masterminding a food fight. ;o)

This time, I have been checking and double-checking travel requirements and carry-on policies-- and renewing my driver's license!! Yep, expired again-- just happened to be at the DMV this week to renew car tags and checked my license on spec... whew!

 So if you see any airport ruckus on the news, I hope and pray that it isn't me!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Library Lagniappe!

Every trip to the library results in a lagniappe: a benefit, a treat, a little unexpected something extra.
Wednesday night, I sat in the library finishing the last ten pages of Emma thirty minutes before closing time.  Why? Well, it was overdue after multiple check outs and I really needed to return it. (and pay my fine)

Have you ever tried to read an Austen novel under pressure? It is not easy, let me tell you. Ten pages of an Austen novel is like reading fifty or more pages of my usual fluff.  First, I tried to finish at the barbeque restaurant. Silly me--  Emma is just too highbrow for barbeque. 

The peace and quiet of the library did the trick though with time to spare. With Emma returned safely, what to read next? One of my TBR books at home? No, of course not, I grabbed the fifth Percy Jackson for an easy fun read. Then glanced at the case of new books... just in case... and there was my lagniappe!!

SQUEE!!! The thirteen book in the Wheel of Time Series came out and I didn't even know it! Woot! Woot!
At this particular juncture (the beginning of a busy holiday week), I absolutely do not need to be obsessively reading a nine hundred page book but no way could I leave it there. For goodness sake, some slow reading Wheel of Time geek fan might come along and then who knows how long it would take to get my greedy little paws on it. 

Naturally, in my excitement, I couldn't locate my library card-- then realised with dread that I didn't have my library card. Yikes! That is what changing purses will do for you! Before panic set it, Lola the Librarian came to the rescue by checking it out to me on her card. Whew! 

I love the fifty-two page prologue of this book! I love lagniappes! And I love Lola the Librarian!

Have any books sneaked up on you lately?
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