Banned Books Week 2013

This year, Banned Books Week is September 22-28. As many of you may or may not know, Banned Books Week celebrates controversial books that are or have been banned in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Some books may be challenged because of:  racism, sexual content, offensive language, drugs, and violence. One of the books on the challenged book list of 2012 is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I read this book this book back in March, and loved it. You can check out my review here. Although the book is very sad, it’s a must read for teenagers, both guys and gals.

JAYASHER

Help Jay Asher celebrate Banned Books Week by participating in a Literary Google + Hangout on September 24, 2013 at 3 PM EST. During this time you will be able to ask the author questions. You can also enter to win copies of his books: Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us.

Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and other legendary banned books. Spread the word and enjoy your freedom to read!

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Kindle Deal: Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table by Jenny Rosenstrach

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE this Kindle deal. For the month of September you can get Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table by Jenny Rosenstrach for only $2.99 (normally $29.99). I have had this book on my wish list on Amazon for sometime now. It’s a memoir/cookbook and I’m kind of obsessed with the whole concept. This is one book I will be reading on my tablet because I do not have a Kindle Fire (not that I want one because I hate having a backlight when I am reading.) Unfortunately, my tablet isn’t in Korea with me, so I’ll have to wait until I get back to the States to read it.

Book description from Amazon:

Inspired by her beloved blog, dinneralovestory.com, Jenny Rosenstrach’s Dinner: A Love Story is many wonderful things: a memoir, a love story, a practical how-to guide for strengthening family bonds by making the most of dinnertime, and a compendium of magnificent, palate-pleasing recipes.

Fans of “Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond, Jessica Seinfeld, Amanda Hesser, Real Simple, and former readers of Cookie magazine will revel in these delectable dishes, and in the unforgettable story of Jenny’s transformation from enthusiastic kitchen novice to family dinnertime doyenne.

If you love cooking and you love having making memories at the dinner table, this is the cookbook for you. I grew up eating dinner with my family at the table, every single night. These days, that’s a rare event. Many people watch TV during dinner or eat at separate times. My family made it a goal to sit down and TALK. Talk about the day; talk about everything and anything. This is my goal as a wife and one day a mother. I want to live the way I grew up, making memories during dinner. Go ahead and buy Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table and start making your own memories with it, maybe you’ll even end up writing your own cookbook.

Book Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

lifenextSamantha Reed has lived next door to the Garrett’s for ten years, but has never spoken to any of them. One day, Jase Garrett, one of the many Garrett children, climbs up to Samantha’s roof.  Just like that, her world is turned upside down. Samantha falls in love with Jase, his crazy family, and their life next door. It seems like the perfect boy/girl next door fairy tale, except Samantha’s mother doesn’t like the Garrett’s. Mrs. Reed is a State Senator and likes everything to be perfect; the Garrett’s are chaotic and the furthest thing from perfect. Samantha finds herself living a double life: one with the Garrett’s and one as the Senator’s daughter.

I really fell in love with this book. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is a perfect end of the summer read.  I was instantly consumed into Samantha’s life and her summer of romance with her first true love: Jase Garrett. Even though they have lived next to each other for ten years, they might as well have lived on different sides of the train tracks: Samantha goes to private school and Jase goes to public school. This is another novel that can be compared to a modern day Romeo and Juliet. The Garrett’s were forbidden territory for the Reed’s even though they lived less than 100 yards away.

I loved that this novel was set in the summer because when you’re a teenager, summer romances feel so much deeper than other romances. Summer romances, much like summer, seem to never have an ending. Both Samantha and Jase spent much of their time together, when they both were not working. Jase works with his dad at his hardware shop, and even though Samantha doesn’t need the money, she works two jobs, one as a waitress and one as a lifeguard. Samantha also helps out the Garrett’s when they need a babysitter.

Jase’s little brother George is the cutest little boy character ever written for contemporary literature. He is so innocent, yet so smart. Everyone has to constantly distract George from his “worst case scenario” situations that he comes up with. He is so sensitive and watches the discovery channel way too much. One character that I couldn’t stand was Clay, Samantha’s mom’s boyfriend. He works with her on her political campaign. He is arrogant, rude, and condescending. I kind of wanted to scream at him through the pages of the book.

I was really confused about Samantha’s best friend, Nan. I hate how she is so self-centered and can’t see that she has issues. She likes to blame all of her problems on her dysfunctional family, especially her brother Tim, and doesn’t look at her herself as having her own set of problems. I didn’t like how their relationship was left at the end of the book; it left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

This is a great YA book that would also be interesting to many adults. It’s a great beach read and a good book to read on those last lazy days of summer. I can’t wait to read other novels by Huntley Fitzpatrick. Her debut novel, My Life Next Door is an A in my mind. Her next novel, What I Thought Was True, is due out in 2014.

Top 10 Pumpkin Pinterest Finds

cupcakeOnce again, my love for Pinterest can not be denied. Pinterest is so great because you can organize all of your favorite web pages on one site; unlike bookmarks on your web browser where everything seems to become jumbled together. I currently am house hunting and have a board just for houses, it’s so convenient.

Here are my favorite fall finds, of course they’re all pumpkin related because I LOVE PUMPKIN SEASON!!!

recipe girlRecipe Girl has a fantastic pumpkin spice latte recipe. I am dying to try it! I love the step-by-step photos. Our Starbucks here in Korea doesn’t have pumpkin spice (SO SAD!) so I have to get creative this fall!

crockpotOn the same note, here is a crock pot recipe for a batch of pumpkin spice lattes. I am going to make it for our fall girls potluck party! Thanks Crock Pot Girls!

prettygoodfoodThis pumpkin coffee cake looks delish.  Thanks to Pretty Good Food for posting it! The brown sugar topping sounds delectable.

soupA few years ago, I made Rachael Ray’s pumpkin soup and it was awful, it was literally just pumpkin and corn; my husband will not let me live this down. This year, I am going to try this recipe for curried pumpkin vegetable soup , via Live Better America. Hopefully we don’t have to go out to eat again after I make it, which is what we had to do last time I tried to make pumpkin soup!

coffee cakeI made this coffee cake with oat topping last year and it was to die for. I will definitely be making it for our fall potluck. Check out all of the other great recipes at Good Thymes and Good Food.

2-Ingredient-Pumpkin-Brownies-RecipeI have talked about my love for the blog Six Sister’s Stuff before. Here is a super easy pumpkin brownie recipe. ALL you need is a can of pumpkin and a brownie mix, NOTHING ELSE. I made them a few weeks ago and they turned out great! They are really gooey in the middle, just the way I like my brownies. I would add some pumpkin spice to the batter to make it taste a little more pumpkin, if that’s what you’re into, which I am!

cupcakeI also love this two ingredient recipe, all you need is a can of pumpkin and a yellow cake mix, NOTHING ELSE. I would also add pumpkin spice to this recipe, to boost the flavor a bit. I made these for a pinterest party that turned out to be a surprise Birthday party for me! Boy was I surprised! Everyone enjoyed the muffins! I made cream cheese icing for the top from this recipe.

sconeThe cream cheese recipe (above) is for Starbucks pumpkin muffins (they’re on the top of my list of things to eat when I go back to the States.) Here is a recipe for Starbucks pumpkin scones, another one of my favorite fall treats. Love the step-by- step photos from Swedish Prairie (her blog has moved and has been renamed).

ourbestbitesHere is a healthy pumpkin recipe for you. Pumpkin, no matter how you use it, is a really good source of protein. This recipe is for chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Thanks to Our Best Bites for step-by-step photos. I will be making this bread this weekend.

pancakes I love pancakes and I love pumpkin, so why not put the two together for the best breakfast ever, pumpkin pancakes. This is a skinny version for pumpkin pancakes. These pictures make me want to make these pancakes right now, thanks to The Recipe Critic. I can not wait to have these.

Move over Nescafe, Starbucks has landed in Epcot

starbucksdisneyBesides family and friends, two things I love most in this world are Disney and Starbucks. When those two come together, Rosie is one happy gal. Earlier this year, the first Starbucks in Disney World opened in Magic Kingdom. I was never a die hard Main Street Bakery fan, not because I didn’t like it but because I never really went there, so the news didn’t break my nostolgic heart. What it did do, is make me leap for job because Nescafe coffee makes me want to gag.

Whenever we fly into Orlando, our last stop before Disney Magical Express is the crappy Starbucks they have at the airport. I really do hate airport Starbucks’, but I always know this is my last chance to get a decent cup of coffee, so I suck it up and hope they don’t mess up my order. Once, I ordered an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte and they forgot to put the esspresso in…really guys? To know that I don’t have to say goodbye, at the airport anymore, to my beloved coffee is truely a dream come true. (No really, it is.)

Most of you know that I worked at Starbucks for 4 1/2 years. It had its good days and bad days, but mostly good days with delcious coffee and fantastic baked goods. With that being said, I would go back and work at Starbucks in a heartbeat. I would have worked  in the one in Korea, but they don’t hire Americans at the one on post. (I know…I have nothing more to say about that. They also don’t have decaf which will never stop blowing my mind, so it’s probably better that I don’t work there.) If I could work at the Starbucks IN Disney World, wow, I don’t know if I could ever contain my excitement. I’m already so passionate about both entities seperately, but together…sigh, it’s truely magical. I would never say no to picking up an extra shift. I would open and close the store all day, every day, and go on Peter Pan during my half hour break (while eating a Dole Pinapple Whip).

Not only am I obsessed with Starbucks on a normal day to day basis, but my obsession has heightened since moving to Korea. The options here stink. The baked goods are not the same (I want my cake pops and lemon loaf) and they don’t even have cinnimon dolce or pumpkin spice. It’s pretty hard to go from having these items non-stop for 4 1/2 years to not having them at all.

When I heard about Starbucks moving into Magic Kingdom, we weren’t planning on going to Disney until next August (this is still a posibility but not as likely) and I didn’t think I’d be able to walk down Main Street USA with my coffee as soon as I would have liked. Now, since we going this December, I can walk down Main Street USA, looking at Christmas lights in MK, AND watch Illuminations in Epcot, when it’s chilly, with my Pumpkin Spice Latte (which happens to be 10 years old this year!) It really is music to my ears, I’m addicted to Starbucks and I blame the company for this problem. I know it’s overpriced but I love it, and it tastes 13937509 times better than Nescafe. I would refuse to drink Nescafe when we were there and bring my own VIA (Starbucks) packets with me to get my caffine fix in the AM. (Nescafe is like brown water, it’s gross.) Haters may be hating, but I’m so excited to have my two favorite “brands” branded together, the cups make me squeel with joy. Not going to lie, I may spend more time in the Starbucks’ than in the gift shops. (Once again, not kidding.)

Confession: I’m obsessed with Disney blogs

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2010

Once again, it’s a new month. HELLO SEPTEMBER! (Seriously, where did August go?!) Just like the end of last month, I am slacking on the updates. I don’t know what it is about the end of the month, maybe it’s a summer thing, but I have been lazy when it comes to end of the month blogging. This time though, I have an actual excuse: I’m obsessed with Disney blogs.

Last week, as I was taking the dog out, I had an outrageous idea. I thought to myself,  “Wouldn’t it be awesome to go to Disney for a few days while Jim is on leave?” We are planning to leave Korea around mid November and we are not planning on reporting to Maryland until the second week in December; that gives us about a month to do whatever the heck we want to do! I thought, why not go to The Most Magical Place on Earth and start celebrating Christmas early?

Two years ago, Jim was in Korea for Christmas, while I was spending our first Christmas as husband and wife back in the States. Last year, our “first” married Christmas together was spent in Korea and to be honest, it was hard to get into the Christmas spirit. We missed our families, we couldn’t drive around and look at Christmas lights, and I didn’t have a radio station to put on in the car so that we could listen to non-stop Christmas music from before Thanksgiving until after New Years Day. I had already warned Jim that this year was going to be non-stop Christmas cheer. Little did we know, at the time, that this meant going to visit my favorite place on earth, Disney World.

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