Dec 30, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ December

  1. Third Degree by Greg Iles ~ First Warren Shields finds out he has an inoperable brain tumor and will die at 37. All he wants is to provide for his wife (Laurel) and two kids. Then in an attempt to warn him that his partner is framing him for Medicare Fraud, Nell sends an email telling him to look for something hidden in his home and he discovers his wife in cheating on him. When Laurel refuses to tell him her lover's name he snaps and holds his family hostage. Meanwhile the lover rethinks his decision to stay with his wife and kids and makes a desperate attempt to save Laurel. Terrible book the one decent person in the whole book dies while the cheaters get to live happily ever after, after destroying his life.
  2. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts ~ Book Three in the Bride Quartet. Laurel convinces Del he should stop treating her like his sister.
  3. Don't Blink by James Patterson & Howard Roughan - Nick Daniels will do anything in order to report THE TRUTH. So when he is conveniently seated next to mob lawyer Vincent Marcozza when Torenzi kills him, he is elated to discover he has Torenzi's whispered words on tape naming mob boss Eddie Pinero as the man who ordered the hit on tape. But then he starts to wonder if his being there and getting "the evidence" on tape wasn't just a little too convenient. Now somebody wants him dead before he finds out the answer. Can he stay alive longer enough to get the story.
  4. The Sister by Poppy Adams - I didn't care for this book. The story is told from 70 year old Ginny's point of view. When her sister Vivi returns to the ancestral home after a absence of almost 50 years Ginny begins to recall things from their past. One gets a sense right away that there is something not right with Ginny (In an online discussion group several people speculated Ginny had Asperger's Syndrome from the information provided in the book). There is her obsession with time, her lack of emotion, the way she refers to her parents by their first names (Clive and Maude), Maude's belief that Ginny was responsible for Vivi's fall from the bell tower (a fall that destroyed Vivi's ability to have children), Maude's accusation that Ginny ruined Maude's life, as well as  the mysterious Dr Moyse's interest in Ginny. Once Vivi returns home she seems determined to tell Ginny some family secret and asserts their parents had no right to keep Ginny's condition from her. Finally forced to confront the way her sister used her to have a baby and then forgot the baby when it didn't survive Ginny poisons Vivi. The narrative is disjointed and none of the questions (Did Ginny push Vivi off the bell tower? Who killed Maude? What is wrong with Ginny) raised are answered.
  5. The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson - you can read my book review here. I highly recommend this book. (Non-Fiction)
  6. Cross Fire by James Patterson - Alex Cross and Bree Stone say I do. Kyle Craig is loose and out to kill Alex. Agent Max Siegel works closely with Alex to bring down the Numbers Killer as well as the Patriot Snipers. Fast paced, the only question is will Kyle Craig succeed in his quest to kill Alex. After all he is closer then even Alex imagines. 
  7. Nightshade by Nora Roberts - Colt Nightshade is looking for his friends daughter who is being held by some unsavory characters who make "adult movies". His best shot at finding Liz is to work with detective Althea Grayson, but will she cooperate. 
  8. Night Moves by Nora Roberts - Ry Piasecki carries Natalie Fletcher through a burning building but can he mend her broken heart.
  9. Road of the Patriarch by R. A. Salvatore - After winning Artemis Entreri's  heart Calihye attempts to kill him. Jarlaxle's plots gets himself, Entreri and the dwarf Athrogate banished from the Bloodstone Lands. Artemis returns to his childhood home and confronts is past. Artemis chooses to part company with Jarlaxle and Athrogate and to return to Calimport and Dwahvel.
  10. Turning Angel by Greg Iles - When Husband Stealing S*** Kate Townsend is murdered Penn Gage sets out to prove his childhood friend isn't the killer even though he was having an affair with the underage girl. Unfortunately for Penn the real killer is willing to kill again and again to keep his secret.
  11. Tripwire by Lee Child - A dying Leon Garber promises the Hobies he will find out what happened to their son who disappeared in Vietnam. Running out of time he hires a detective to find Reacher. But Victor Truman Hobie doesn't want to be found and he is willing to kill to keep his identity a secret. But Reacher is willing to die to save Jodi Garber (Leon's daughter).
  12. Daniel X Demons and Druids by James Patterson (Young Adult/Teen) - well there weren't any Druids in the book. But Daniel did travel back in time and meet the young boy Arthur (you know King Arthur) and Merlin (who is another alien from Daniel's planet). Merlin & Daniel join forces to defeat Beta. Who knew Stonehenge would prove so useful. Daniel's usual pals are behaving a bit unusual to Daniel's surprise.  Hints that future books will reveal what is going on with Dana and Willy.

Dec 29, 2010

Alasandra's Easy Christmas Cookies

These are perfect for making with young children.

2 (16 oz) packages Candiquick Vanilla
1 package Oreo Cool Mint Cookies (green centers)
5 peppermint candy canes crushed

Following directions on Candiquick package melt one of the Candiquick packages then add half of the crushed candy canes to mixture and stir well. Dip one cookie at a time into melted Candiquick until completely covered and place on wax paper until Candiquick hardens. Repeat with the next package of Candiquick.

You can melt both packages at the same time but you have to work really fast to prevent the Candiquick from getting too hard.

Alasandra's Bayou Bake

1 package 8 oz. cream cheese (light), cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb. cooked gumbo shrimp
2 cans (6 oz) crab meat, drained
1 can heart healthy cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup brown rice
1 jar (4 1/2 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup butter flavored crackers crushed (about 24)

In a small saucepan cook and stir the cream cheese and butter over low heat until melted and smooth; set aside.

In a large skillet mix together the shrimp, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, garlic and pepper add the reserved cream cheese mixture.

Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over mixture and top with cracker crumbs Bake uncovered at 350 for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Alasandra's Turkey Bundles

1 package turkey breast cutlets (4 to a package)
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 slices smoked mozzarella cheese
1 can of sliced pears (light)
1/2 cups boysenberry preserves
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

On wax paper roll a pastry sheet out cut in half and place 1 turkey cutlet in the middle of each half. Top with cheese and with a  pear slice and seal pastry. Repeat.

Place bundles on a greased baking sheet seam side down. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a meat thermometer reads 170.

I a small sauce pan combine preserves and vinegar. Cook on low heat stirring constantly  until preserves or melted. Serve with bundles.

Makes four

Alasandra's Turkey Cutlets with Pecan Crust

1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons Chipotle Mustard
2/3 cups dry bread crumbs
2/3 cup ground pecans
1 package turkey breast cutlets
1/4 cup olive oil

Place flour in shallow bowl.

Whisk eggs and mustard together in another shallow bowl.

Mix bread crumbs and pecans together in another shallow bowl. Coat cutlets in flour, then egg mixture then pecan mixture place in the skillet with heated oil and fry for 5 minutes on each side on medium heat or until juices run clear.

Serves four.

Dec 26, 2010

My Review of Butterfly Meadow Bunny Sugar

Originally submitted at CSN Stores
This sweet-as-can-be bunny doubles as a sugar bowl. Sculpted flowers, painted by hand, decorate the bowl.
Features:
  • Bunny sugar bowl
  • Butterfly Meadow collection
  • Crafted of fine porcelain
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Overall dimensions: ...

Cute Gift
By Alasandra from Ocean Springs, MS on 12/13/2010
5out of 5
I gave this as a gift to my Mother and she loves it. It is very cute and unique and will go with a wide variety of China patterns. She likes to decorate for Easter and this has become a favorite piece. I recently got her the matching creamer.

Dec 15, 2010

Cooking With Alasandra ~ Jonathan’s Pumpkin Cookies

Combine & Set Aside:
4 cups self -rising flour
2 cups oatmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream:
1 ½ cups softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups brown sugar

Add:
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin

Add flour & oatmeal mixture, mix well after adding each ingredient. Drop by rounded teaspoon on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Makes 8-10 dozen 2” cookies. Top with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. box of confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

Beat cream cheese until very soft. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat until mixture is smooth and of good spreading consistency. Use original cream cheese only.

Alasandra's Cream Cheese Walnut cookies

1 cup sugar
3 oz. cream cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed beat sugar with butter and cream cheese until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until creamy about 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in vanilla. With spoon stir in flour and walnuts just until blended.

With lightly floured hands roll dought into 1 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on un-greased large cookie sheet ( I line mine with wax paper or use my stoneware) With floured fingertips flatten balls into 1 1/4 inch rounds.

Bake cookies 14 minutes until golden. Let cookies remain on cookie sheet on wire rack 2 minutes to cool slightly. Store cookies in tightly covered container up to 2 weeks. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Makes a great Christmas Gift

Sean's Birthday ~ Salmon and Shrimp with Garlic Rice

5 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
1/2 teaspoon ground Cajun Mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
minced garlic
2 cups chicken broth

In a large saucepan melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add 1 cup cheese, mustard, dill and cayenne; stir until cheese is melted. Remove from the heat; stir in shrimp.

Pat salmon dry; place in a greased 12 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Pour shrimp mixture over salmon. Top with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until fish flakes.

Meanwhile in a saucepan saute garlic in remaining butter until tender. Add broth bring to a boil add rice and cook according to package directions. Yield 6 servings.

Dec 13, 2010

My Review of Hummingbird Nature Hook

Originally submitted at CSN Stores


Garden accent items are second to none. The handcrafted detail and durable paints make these items decorative and functional, lasting a lifetime. Add a touch of elegance to any patio or garden by choosing one of the many designs and items available.


Unique Gift Brings Smiles
By Alasandra from Ocean Springs, MS on 12/13/2010
5out of 5
I ordered 4 of the Hummingbird Nature Hooks to hang on the Hummingbird Cottage. They are very attractive and add a unique touch. I am very thankful I had the opportunity to review this product.
The Hummingbird Nature Hook
thumbnail
Tags: Picture of Product, Using Product
The Hummingbird Cottage
thumbnail
Tags: Using Product
Visit Flowers on Friday to see my original review of this product and more pictures of the Hummingbird Cottage.

My Review of Cornerstone Wall Lantern in White

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

Features:
  • One light wall lantern
  • Cornerstone collection
  • White finish
  • Clear seed glass shade
  • Transitional style
  • For outdoor use
  • Assembly required


Specifications:
  • Nuvo provides one year warranty

You Light Up My Life
By Alasandra from Ocean Springs, MS on 12/13/2010
5out of 5
I purchased 4 of these lights to go on the exterior of my house and they have really improved the house's appearance. They look attractive and provide good lighting. According to my husband they were easy to install. I received a credit toward the purchase of this product.
The House Looks So Much Better
thumbnail
Tags: Using Product
You can read my in depth review and see better pictures of this product at my post CSN Stores to The Rescue.

My Review of Butterfly Meadow Kitten Cookie Jar

Originally submitted at CSN Stores
A sculpted kitty forms the lid atop this charming cookie jar. The bottom bears a sculpted tulip motif.
Features:
  • Kitten cookie jar
  • Butterfly Meadow collection
  • Crafted of fine porcelain
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Overall dimensions: 11...

Gorgeous Cookie Jar
By Alasandra from Ocean Springs, MS on 12/13/2010
5out of 5
I have added it to my cookie jar collection and I have to say it is my very favorite. It is a really pretty cookie jar and with it's pretty pastel colors it is sure to look good in every home. I was given the opportunity to review this product.
You can see the Butterfly Meadow Kitten Cookie Jar as well as additional cookie jars in my collection here.

Dec 11, 2010

Lagniappe Restaurant in Ocean Springs

I had the chance to attend a Christmas Party at Lagniappe. The Restaurant is inside an old house and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The food was delicious. They had a lovely buffet. My favorite dish was the.............

Father George's  "Favorite Seafood Sin" This is our most popular dish, named for a local pastor who adores it!A combination of shrimp, crabmeat and crawfish tails in a SPICY cheddarcheese sauce on top of a thin layer of pasta and baked to perfection

It was really yummy and I would love to have it again soon. I also enjoyed the very cute and extremely tasty red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting. I am hoping to have the opportunity to eat there again in the near future. I meet Patsy and she is really sweet and works overtime to make sure everything is very "special". I had a lovely time.

Nov 30, 2010

Baked Turkey with Rice

4 turkey breast
1 cup instant rice
1 cup broth (low sodium)
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt)

Put one cup rice in bottom of dish then add broth, put turkey breast on top. Top with diced tomatoes. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake ~ Heart Healthy

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
1 cup wheat bran cereal buds
1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

Topping
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with 1 teaspoon oil. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon puls 2 teaspoons oil, 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, cereal, pumpkin, and vanilla. Let stand for 15 minutes so the cereal softens. Stir in the egg substitute.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl stir together the remaining cake ingredients. Add the bran mixture, stirring just to moisten and blend in the dry ingredients. Spoon into the cake pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely about 1 hour. Turn out onto plate. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Cut into 12 wedges.

Nov 28, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ November

  1. Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman - See my in depth book review here.
  2. The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell -  Uhtred breaks his oath to King Alfred and returns to the Northumbrian coast. Allied with his "brother" Ragnar he plans to reclaim Bebbanburg (the home his uncle stole from him) after "stealing" sufficient treasure to hire men to fight for him. But Brida (Ragnar's wife) encourages the Danes to attack Alfred. Summoned by AEthelflaed (Alfred's daughter) who he also swore an oath to, Uhtred leaves the Danes and returns to Mercia to fight for the Saxons.  There Uhtred discovers Haesten betrayed the Danes. Haesten told Alfred of the planned Danish attack in order to draw Alfred's armies away from Mercia. When all appears to be lost Alfred sends Steapa and Prince Edward with an army to help Uhtred defeat Haesten. Will Alfred allow his daughter to stay with Uhtred? 
  3. Family Ties by Danielle Steel - Annie Ferguson was just getting started as an architect, she had a new apartment and a boyfriend. Then her sister and brother-in-law die in a plane crash and she winds up raising their three kids. Annie's boyfriend dumps her and she devotes herself to raising the kids and working. Katie gets involved with a Muslim boy and travels to Iran with him to meet his family. Things seem to be going well until they try to leave. Ted becomes involved with an older woman who tries to trap him into a marriage he doesn't want. And Liz is commitment shy until she meets the right guy. Now Annie has a shot and her own romance but will the kids problems come between her and Tom? 
  4. Legacy by Danielle Steel - Brigitte Nicholson gets dumped by her boyfriend and laid off from her job all in the same week. At loose ends she agrees to do some research on her family tree for her Mother and discovers a Sioux Indian amongst all the French aristocrats. 
  5. Big Girl by Danielle Steel - Victoria feels like the ugly duckling in her family of swans. As soon as she can she leaves the nest and heads to the east coast. She has the job of her dreams as a teacher but her family constantly puts her down. Now she is headed home for her sister's fairytale wedding with her dream guy in tow, will her family convince him that she isn't good enough. 
  6. Indulgence in Death by J. D. Robb - Two privileged rich guys think it's their right to kill those inferior to them for sport. Can Eve put them away before they add her to their list of kills.
  7. The Fort by Bernard Cornwell - An account of the British defense of Fort George on Penobscot Bay in the summer of 1779.  Learn more about (British) John Moore, Paul Revere, Peleg Wadsworth and (British) General Francis McLean. 
  8.  Promise of the Witch-King by R. A. Salvatore ~ Jarlaxle plots to rule Vaasa and Artemis Entreri falls in love.
  9. Deep Storm by Lincoln Child - Dr. Crane is asked to visit an oil platform in order to diagnose a bizarre medical condition spreading through the rig. But he discovers that the rig is merely "window dressing" to hide the excavation of an ancient site. A site whose discovery may destroy the world as we know it. 
  10. Reborn by F. Paul Wilson ~ Glacken is going by the name Gaston Veilleur now. Veilleur senses Rasalom's presence nearby and also senses the presence of a group trying to stop Rasalom. When "The Chosen" discover that Jim Stevens is a clone of Dr. Roderick Hanley they decide he is the Antichrist and determine to stop him. Veilleur is more concerned that Jim was cloned at the approximate time of Rasalom's death, but that he hasn't sensed him until now. "The Chosen" harass Jim until he falls to his death, but discover the true evil is growing inside Jim's wife Carol. When "The Chosen" kidnap her and try to force her to have an abortion her father-in-law, Jonah Stevens persuades her to leave town with him and go on the run to keep the baby safe.

Nov 27, 2010

Alasandra ~ Movie Review

Megamind is a really CUTE movie suitable for the whole family. There is something for everyone; witty repartee, romance, things blowing up ................

Great movie to enjoy on a first date or with your family.

Nov 19, 2010

Dogs in Deadly Crossfire

Excerpt from Dogs in Deadly Crossfire.

Last year, for example, a local news station in Oklahoma aired security-camera footage of a police officer pulling into driveway of dog owner Tammy Christopher—just to ask for directions. In the video, Christopher's Wheaten terrier runs out from the house, and it's difficult to tell whether the dog is charging the officer or bounding out to greet him. But the officer was on the dog's property. And instead of merely getting back into his car, he pulled out his gun and shot the dog dead. The officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Police have recently killed pets while merely questioning neighbors about a crime in the area, cutting across private property while in pursuit of a suspect, and after responding to a false burglar alarm. It doesn't matter if your dog is loose or leashed, or if you've posted "Beware of Dog Warnings." Last August in Colorado Springs, police entered a woman's house after her children let them in to look for a fugitive. The children locked the family dog in the bathroom with their mother, who was showering, and warned the police that the dog was defensive. The police opened the bathroom door anyway, the dog bit one of them, and they shot and killed it, inches from where the woman was showering. The fugitive wasn't in the home, and the owner said she's never heard of him. 

If dangerous dogs are so common, one would expect to find frequent reports of vicious attacks on meter readers, postal workers, firemen, and delivery workers. But according to a spokesman from the United States Postal Service, serious dog attacks on mail carriers are vanishingly rare. Bites do happen, but postal workers are given training on how to distract dogs with toys, subdue them with voice commands, or, at worst, incapacitate them with Mace. Mail carriers are shown a two-hour video and given instruction on how to recognize and read a dog's body language, how to differentiate between aggressive charging and playful bounding, and how to tell a truly dangerous dog from a merely territorial one.  

Even during highly charged police raids on houses guarded by aggressive dogs, it's hard to see how shooting them is the best option. A grazing shot will only make the dog angrier. A miss imperils other officers and innocent bystanders. During a terribly tragic drug raid in Lima, Ohio, last year, an officer shot and killed the suspect's two pit bulls shortly after the drug team entered the house. Another officer mistook the shots for hostile fire, and sprayed bullets into a bedroom, where a 26-year-old unarmed woman named Tarika Wilson had dropped to her knees, as ordered, while holding her 1-year-old son. Wilson died, the infant lost a hand.

Please read the whole article here. Law abiding citizens and their pets are being put at terrible risk by these overzealous police officers. We must enact laws that protect us and our pets from these government thugs.

Nov 18, 2010

UNTIL SHE WAS DEAD

The Girl was taller and heavier then most girls her age. With her raven hair and big brown eyes her striking appearance drew lots of comments. Mute since birth she often had trouble communicating with people and preferred to spend most of her time with her family inside their home or in their fenced in back yard where she felt safe.

One day The Girl accidentally got locked out of her home when her parents were away. Some children came along and chased her into the road. A neighbor concerned she would be hit by a car called the police. When the police got there the children were gone and The Girl was sitting in her driveway waiting for her parents to return. The police assumed she didn't live there since she was locked out and ordered her to "GO HOME".  The girl desperately tried to tell them she was HOME, but the more she tried to communicate with them the angrier they got at her. A neighbor who lived two doors down told the police The Girl didn't live in their neighborhood, so the police used this LIE to redouble their efforts to drive The Girl from her home. The police tasered The Girl. The Girl had never known such agony and had no clue why the police were angry at her for being in her own yard. Scared she ran as fast as she could. At first she stayed close to the road but the police followed her in their cars and tasered her again. She desperately tried to find somewhere to hide from these ruthless men. She saw an open gate and darted into a nice lady's backyard. The lady realizing The Girl was frightened closed the gate to keep her safe inside her yard until she could discover where The Girl lived. A policeman came by and asked the lady if she had seen The Girl. When the lady replied The Girl was in her backyard with her the police opened the gate without permission and SHOT The Girl. The Girl screamed in pain and the police shot her three more times UNTIL SHE WAS DEAD.

Nov 15, 2010

Dinning with Alasandra

After our Dr's appointment Hubby took me to Newk's Express Cafe.  While we waited for my medicine to be ready to pick up. This time I tried the Lobster Crab Bisque. They should really consider serving it with sour dough bread or at least some sort of bread. It was OK, but nothing to get excited about. I won't be getting it again.

Nov 13, 2010

Dinning with Alasandra

I enjoyed breakfast at Phoenicia's with a friend before my hair & nail appointment. The service is great, they kept my coffee cup full and the coffee was GOOD to the last drop. I enjoyed a feta cheese & spinach omelet, Asiago Grits (delicious, I could have eaten more of them), and toast. I hope I get to go back soon as there are plenty more things on the menu I want to try.

Oct 27, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ October

  1. Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child ~ A group of scientist find an ancient animal encased in ice while studying Global Warming at the foot of Mount Fear.. Soon the media descends on Fear Base and plans are made to thaw the animal for further study, but then the mysterious animal disappears out of a locked box and people start dying. Evan Marshall will make a desperate trip to the Inuit Camp in order to get answers from the shaman and he, the scientist and soldiers will make an effort to stop the killing machine while a desperate group will flee across the ice in an 18 wheeler.  
  2. The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. ~ A very interesting read that explains why boys and men behave the way they do. There is actually a hormone that promotes monogamy.  
  3. The Enemy by Lee Child - Even though this is the eighth Reacher novel the events predate the previous novels. Reacher is still an MP in this book.  The book begins with two-star General Kramer dying of a heart attack in a seedy motel room during sex with someone he shouldn't have been having sex with. Now his briefcase is missing and the hunt is on for Kramer's sex partner. An agenda Kramer was carrying in his briefcase can cause a lot of trouble for a lot of people. And while Kramer died due to natural causes the murder rate starts mounting while Reacher is order not to investigate an order Reacher is honor bound to disobey (Personal note: Reacher's Mother & Brother are in this novel).
  4. The Keep by F. Paul Wilson ~ Repairman Jack Fans will recognize the two main characters in the book. World War II is in progress and Captain Klaus Woermann has been sent to Kinu Pass, Romania with orders to fortify THE KEEP. A mysterious structure that has been empty for centuries but that someone pays the locals to maintain, while forbidding anyone to sleep inside THE KEEP.  Greedy soldiers under Woermann's command open a chamber they believe will lead them to hidden treasure but it leads them to a hideous death instead. With his men being killed by "something" Captain Woermann sends for help and SS Major Kaempffer arrives. He plans to kill 10 villagers a day until the gruesome murders stop but is convinced that whatever is killing the soldiers doesn't care about the villagers and the only way to stop it is to uncover the secrets of THE KEEP. The Jewish Professor Theodor Cuza who is crippled from scleroderma and his daughter Magda are brought to THE KEEP. They are shown some valuable and ancient books that deal with evil and the Professor claims the secret to THE KEEP must lay inside them and promises to get to work translating them. That night he meets Molasar (Rasalom backwards) and believes him to be a vampire. Molasar pretends to be afraid of crosses causing Cuza to question his Jewish beliefs. Magda is sent to the village inn to stay due to the unrest her presence causes amongst the soldiers and she meets Glenn (Glaeken) and falls in love with him. Wounded and near death Glenn tells Magda the truth about Molasar and warns her she must prevent her Father (whom Rasalom cured) from carrying the hilt Glaeken used to imprison Rasalom out of THE KEEP.
  5. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory ~ Margaret Beaufort plots to put her son Henry Tudor on the throne, while piously pretending it is the "will of God".
  6. The Two Swords by R. A. Salvatore - Fender is captured by the Kaer'lic and Tos'un Armgo when Dagna and a band of dwarves set out with Galen Firth for Nesme. Drizzt strikes a deal with Gerti in order to rescue Sunrise.Delly Curtie comes under the spell of Khazid'hea and leaves for the North after giving Wulfgar's daughter away. Pikel and Ivan follow Delly, but are unable to prevent her death. They see Drizzt and tell him his friends are alive. Drizzt takes Khazid'hea and and sets out to kill Obould.
  7. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Braun ~ Jim Qwilleran gets stuck reporting on decorating. He features Mr Tait's jade collection shortly before it is stolen and Mrs Tait suffers a fatal heart attack, during the robbery. Koko as usual solves the case and gets Yum Yum (the former Mrs Tait's cat)  for a partner. If you didn't love Qwilleran before his compassion for Yum Yum is sure to win you over.
  8. Die Trying by Lee Child ~ Jack Reacher sees a pretty woman struggling with her dry cleaning and a crutch and stops to help. Which leads to them both being kidnapped by White Supremacist and taken to their headquarters in Montana. My favorite part of the book was when Reacher refused to shoot the dogs that had been sent to kill him, as he felt it was morally wrong to shoot dogs that were not acting from free choice.

Sep 29, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ September

  1. Echo Burning by Lee Child (A Jack Reacher Novel) - I love the Aloysius X. L. Pendergast novels Lincoln Child (Lee Child's brother) wrote with Douglass Preston so when I saw the Jack Reacher series mentioned on one of my friends blogs I moved Child to the top of my reading list. Reacher hitches a ride with Carmen Greer only to discover she is hoping he will kill her abusive husband for her, when Sloop (the husband) gets out of prison. He refuses but does teach her how to shoot the gun she bought and sticks around to help her run if she wants. Then Sloop winds up dead while Reacher is being escorted off the ranch by Texas Rangers and Carmen is the chief suspect. But Reacher knows there is no way that she made the shot so he has to figure out why she is confessing to a crime she didn't commit then prove her innocent.
  2. America's Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis - Learn about Fort Caroline built by the French in the 1560s. Phillip II of Spain sent Admiral Pedro Menendez to remove the French from Fort Caroline (Florida) in 1565. Find out more about Hannah Emerson Dustin (Haverhill, Massachusetts - March 1697), Thomas Morton (School of Atheism), John Endecott, King Philip aka Metacom, Mary Rowlandson, Anne Hutchinson, Eunice Williams and Mary Dyer.
  3. Fever Dream by Preston & Child - Aloysius Pendergast discovers that the tragic hunting accident that claimed his wife's life twelve years ago was in fact murder. With the help of Vinnie D'Agosta Pendergast sets out to discover who killed his wife and why, but when they get to close to the truth a mysterious shooter starts tying up lose ends. When a bullet puts Vinnie out of commission his girlfriend Laura Hayward steps in to help and discovers she enjoys Pendergast's method of doing things. The book ends with Pendergast and Hayward discovering WHY Helen Pendergast was killed, but the identity of the mysterious shooter is still supposedly unknown to them, which means Pendergast may be walking into a trap when he accepts the invitation of the killer (I will have to way until the next book to see, but I suspect that Pendergast is beginning to suspect the killer not much gets past him). Constance has returned to the States and has been locked up in a mental ward, she supposedly threw her baby overboard when traveling by ship back to America. 
  4. The Postcard Killers by James Patterson & Liza Marklund - Jacob Kanon is determined to find who killed his daughter and her husband in Rome. With the help of a Swedish Reporter he'll see the killers brought to justice or die trying. 
  5. Hangman by Faye Kellerman (A Decker/Lazarus Novel) - For those of you familiar with the series you'll recognize Chris Whitman (aka Chris Donatti professional killer) and his wife Terry McLaughlin who reenter Decker's life. Terry supposedly wants Decker to chaperon a discussion between her and Chris about a separation. But when Terry disappears shortly after the discussion Decker has to wonder if she just played him in order to get her son with Chris, Gabe into his  home while she disappears with a lover or if Chris killed her. If taking care of Gabe isn't complicated enough a nurse is also found swinging from the rafters at a construction site and before Decker can find her killer her friends start turning up dead.
  6. Impact by Douglas Preston - It all begins when Abby Straw "borrows" her Father's lobster boat in order to find a meteorite that landed on a nearby island. Meanwhile Wyman Ford (Preston fans will recognize the name from previous books) has been sent to Cambodia to get information on a mine that radioactive gemstones are coming from. The information he discovers in Cambodia leads him to Mark Corso an ex technician with NPF who was fired because he knew to much about the gamma rays emitting from Deimos.  Now a mole inside NPF wants the three dead, can they survive long enough to save Earth from the Deimos Machine?
  7. Killing Floor by Lee Child ~ Jack Reacher is passing through Margrave, Georgia when he is arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Jack isn't too worried as he can prove he was miles away at the time, as soon as he is cleared he plans to leave town. Then he discovers the murdered man was his brother Joe who was investigating a crime in Margrave. With the help of Roscoe and Finley, Jack sets out to bring down his brothers killers.
  8. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown - Brown first introduced Dodge Hanley in her book Smash Cut, in Tough Customer the crusty PI is out to save his daughter from a deranged madman and he is willing to die to do it. The question is does he love Caroline King enough to live.
  9. The Cat Who Turned On and Off by Lilian Jackson Braun - KoKo and Yum Yum (two lovable Siamese) help Qwilleran solve two murders in Junktown, that the police have ruled accidental.
  10. The Cat Who Saw Red by Lilian Jackson Braun - Qwilleran moves into Maus Haus after being assigned to write a gourmet column. Not long after moving into Maus Haus his ex fiancee Joy Graham gives him a sob story about wanting to leave her husband and he writes her a check for $750 and then she disappears in the middle of the night. Qwilleran suspects Joy's husband has something to do with her disappearance but he has no proof that she isn't in Florida like her husband claims. Then the houseboy William disappears. It's not until Qwilleran stumbles on the secret to Dan's remarkable red glaze with KoKo's help that the mystery is solved and thanks to Yum Yum Dan's attempt to silence Qwilleran is foiled. 
  11. The Lone Drow by R.A. Salvatore ~ Drizzt still believes all his friends died at Shallows, he continues hunting orcs and teams up with  a pair of surface elves Innovindil and Tarathiel. Meanwhile his friends have made it back to Mithral Hall where they must fight to survive the orc invasion.

Sep 17, 2010

Dining with Alasandra ~ Leo's

I meet a friend for lunch yesterday at Leo's Wood Fired Pizza. The court yard is charming, unfortunately it was too warm to sit in the courtyard at noon. I love dining outdoors. The interior was nice though it had pictures of famous movie stars like Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley and Rosalind Russell.

I had the Crawfish Pie. The crust was great and the pizza was big enough for at least two people. I brought some home for Youngest to eat for supper. While I found the pizza tasty they were a little stingy with the crawfish.

Sep 6, 2010

Dinning with Alasandra

We ate at Newk's before eldest headed back to college. I had the Pesto Chicken. A grilled chicken breast, with pesto sauce, roasted red and yellow bell peppers and goat cheese. Loved the goat cheese, and the bread was yummy but I found the sandwich to be a little heavy on the pesto.

Aug 31, 2010

Aug 28, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ August

  1. Bastion of Darkness by R. A. Salvatore - Del returns to save his daughter. Belexus finds a way to defeat the undead Hollis Mitchell and Rhiannon defeats Morgan Thalasi once and for all.
  2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - Great book, full of lots of interesting tidbits about Washington D.C.. Robert Langdon's friend and mentor is kidnapped and he must decipher the Masonic Pyramid to get him back. 
  3. Earth is Not alone by John Knapp II (See Book Review) Thumbs down in my opinion, I am sorry I wasted my time reading it. Frankly I think the book belongs in the dustbin.
  4. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton - Enjoyable Read. Captain Charles Hunter makes a daring raid on Matanceros, survives hurricanes, cannibals and a kraken only to discover that Port Royal is under the control of a deadly enemy. With help from his crew he escapes and delivers justice to those who betrayed him.
  5. Mortal Fear by Greg Iles - Great book! Harper Cole has a secret that could destroy his marriage, but when he uses the secret to lure a psychopath that has been stalking women online into the open, someone close to him will die. Can he clear his best friends name and stop the psychopath before he and his wife becomes the next victims.
  6. The Touch by F. Paul Wilson - Alan Bulmer is an old fashion doctor who believes in healing people, he even makes house calls. His life is changed forever when a dying derelict touches him and passes on Dat-tay-vao (the ability to heal any illness at certain times of the day). Unfortunately the ability to heal comes with a price every time he heals someone a part of his brain is destroyed. Will his love for the Widow Nash and her autistic son led him to destroy himself in order to cure Jeffy?
  7. The Thousand Orcs by R. A. Salvatore (Book I The Hunter's Blade Trilogy) - The Companions & Bruenor's dwarven army set out for Mithral Hall, where Bruenor will be crowned King, again. They stop by the rival city of Mirabar where they find they are unwelcome by the human inhabitants of the city. Continuing on their way they find Nikwillig and Tred, two dwarves from Citadel Felbarr whose trading party was wiped out by giants and orcs. Nikwillig and a small body of dwarves continue on to Mithral Hall to prepare for an orc attack. While King Bruenor and the rest head to warn the human city of Shallows of the orc activity. They are warmly welcomed by the inhabits of Shallows and their wizard but before they can prepare a thousand orcs and ten frost giants attack the city. Drizzt & Guenhwyvar leave their friends behind to stop the giants' attack on the city. Regis sneaks off to go get help and Wulfgar, Catti-brie, King Bruenor and the remaining soldiers attempt to defend the city. When all hope is lost and the city is falling Regis arrives with reinforcements. They manage to rescue the survivors but must leave immediately before Drizzt can rejoin them. Believing themselves to be surrounded by orcs, they are relived to discover Torgar Hammerstriker with a host of dwarves from Mirabar who were on their way to Mithral Hall in the hopes of finding a new home amongst their kin.
  8. Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott - a very disturbing book. It weaves seventeenth century murders in with modern day ones.  The book revolves around a book being written by Elizabeth Vogelsang about Newton at the time of her death and the secrets the ghostwriter Lydia uncovers.  
  9. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - I love her books and it has been a long time since I have read one.  The book opens with Elizabeth Woodville a young widow with two boys (The Grey Boys) standing by the roadside in hopes of catching the eye of King Edward IV. Their attraction is instantaneous and they secretly marry. After he secures the crown he brings her to London and has her crowned Queen. They have a number of children including two boys of their own Edward (Prince of Wales) & Richard as well as Princess Elizabeth (their eldest daughter).  King Edward puts down a number of rebellions including one by his brother George the Duke of Clarence and Warwick. Just when it looks as if the Royal Family & England will know peace King Edward takes a cold and dies. Richard takes Edward (Prince of Wales) into his custody and imprisons him in the Tower of London, and has himself crowned King. Queen Elizabeth takes her other children and goes into sanctuary. She first schemes with the Duke of Buckingham and Margaret Beaufort (Henry Tudor's Mother) to overthrow Richard but then fearing they will double cross her and take Edward's thrown for Henry she accepts Richard's rule as King. Her daughter falls in love with her Uncle Richard and they have plans to marry. Queen Elizabeth believes that Buckingham and Margaret Beaufort had her son Edward and the young boy with him in the tower killed. Queen Elizabeth's youngest son Richard has been sent into hiding. At the end of the book King Richard has promised to name his nephew Richard as his heir and Queen Elizabeth is considering bringing him out of hiding.
  10. The Search by Nora Roberts ~ Excellent book I couldn't put it down. Fiona and Simon are a cute and funny couple.  When Simon's Mother gives him a puppy (Jaws) he needs dog trainer Fiona to save the day.  Fiona is being stalked by a serial killer so her life is just a tad complicated, but it's nothing Simon can't handle, even though she isn't his type.

Aug 20, 2010

Great LTE on Net Neutrality

Let the FCC regulate the ‘neutrality’ of the Internet 

I read Mr. Jose Marquez’s letter of Aug. 9 (“‘Net Neutrality’ rules are wolves in sheep’s clothing”) on the subject of net neutrality with astonishment that someone who had taken the time in New York to write a letter to the Sun Herald could be so unfortunately mistaken.

Network neutrality is the principle that the Internet should remain the way it is now — Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T shouldn’t discriminate (by, for example, slowing down or cutting off access) in providing Web access to different Web sites or Web services.That’s it!

As an aside, much of the infrastructure that ISPs own was paid for with government subsidies.

You and I pay an ISP money monthly to get access to the Internet at a certain speed and for a certain amount of data transfer, or bandwidth.Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook and everyone else who provides a Web site or other service also pays an ISP commensurate to their usage.

Larger companies like Google are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bandwidth costs, and have often themselves bought up miles and miles of “dark fiber” — cable that had already been laid, but wasn’t being used. Thousands of miles of these unused cables are still out there.

The Internet is getting along fine right now providing YouTube and other streaming video services to millions. Even if it weren’t, ISPs are sitting on billions of dollars in profit and are being offered more subsidies to expand their infrastructure. They’d like to increase that profit by instead restricting access — imagine a model where companies must pay more money to get into the “Basic Internet” package, and you must pay more money for the “Internet Plus” package to see the Web sites that couldn’t afford that.

The courts say the FCC has the authority to regulate this, and they should.

JONATHAN ALAWINE
Ocean Springs

Aug 16, 2010

Old Irish bones may yield murderous secrets in Pa

The brothers have long hypothesized that many of the workers succumbed to cholera, a bacterial infection spread by contaminated water or food. The disease was rampant at the time, and had a typical mortality rate of 40 percent to 60 percent.

The other immigrants, they surmise, were killed by vigilantes because of anti-Irish prejudice, tension between affluent residents and poor transient workers, or intense fear of cholera - or a combination of all three.

Old Irish bones may yield murderous secrets in Pa. - Nation Wire - SunHerald.com

Aug 14, 2010

Alasandra's Garden

I love the Mexican Petunias. 



 I think yellow is a very cheerful color. Yellow flowers always make me smile.

The insects like my yellow buttercup shrub.

Does anyone know what the insects on the leaves are?



The Thyme is blooming.

Foxgloves

The red is a Texas Star Hibiscus and the pink is a Chinese Hibiscus

The beginning of my Cottage Garden. The flowerbeds will eventually be rocked up like the flowerbed in the front yard. If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see the roses. They were gifts from my parents and are suppose to have pink and red blooms.

Aug 11, 2010

Aug. 11 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Letters - SunHerald.com

Nice to know someone else with a brain lives in Mississippi

America’s wall of separation actually protects religion

I’m so weary of letters extolling the incorrect views that this nation is a Christian nation and has been from its inception. Read your history! Most immigrants to this country were not religious. The Founding Fathers were mostly Deists and Freemasons. 

Many conservative religious activists try to rewrite history, but their claims simply don’t hold to the historical evidence. Nowhere in the Constitution do you find the word “God.” It is a secular document, meant to be that way to avoid the inherent problems with theocracy that had been evidenced in Europe for centuries. Thomas Jefferson interpreted the First Amendment in 1802 in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, calling it a “wall of separation between church and State.” Madison wrote that “Strongly guarded … is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution.” 
The wall of separation actually protects religion. There are more churches in the U.S. than fast-food establishments. Keeping religion separate allows atheists and religious groups to practice their beliefs without government intervention.

As the young nation began to delve into international affairs, few foreign nations knew about its intentions. In the 1700s the U.S. sent a letter called the “Treaty of peace and friendship between the U.S. of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary.” It stated, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; … it is declared that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” 

The words “In God We Trust” on money and “One Nation Under God” in the pledge of allegiance were placed by congressmen who were followers of the radical fringe group “The Family” founded by Abraham Vereide. They owned the now-infamous townhouse on “C” Street in Washington.

I was raised as a Christian, before that word became a name for a radical view of the scriptures. As a Christian I firmly believe in that wall of separation. We only have to look to Iran to see how a theocracy comports itself in the world. 

CAROL STROHMETZ
Bay St. Louis

Aug. 11 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Letters - SunHerald.com

Aug 6, 2010

Banana Ice Cream

2 cups sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk
6 cups whole (I use fat free/skim) milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Flavoring
3 bananas mashed

Mix all ingredients blending well, pour into freezer can of a 1 gallon freezer and freeze well.

Book Review ~ Earth is Not Alone by John Knapp II

The Emryss Chronicles

Since this book is targeted for teens I asked my boys if they would like to read it. My 19 year old took a pass, but my 21 year old read it and and pronounced it passable.

I find Knapp's switching between the past and present annoying. Also he refers to Jonas Harwell as Michael Hammond Jr's Step-Father which is INCORRECTA STEP-Parent is someone who is married to one of your biological parents. The only way Jonas Harwell would be Michael's Step-Father would have been for him to be married to Michael's Mother, which he wasn't. Jonas Harwell is Michael's adopted Dad. He adopted Michael after his parents were killed in a car crash that also claimed the life of Jonas' wife. Also the adoption seems a bit POINTLESS as Michael lives with his Great-Aunt.

Dr Jonas Harwell is the preacher at Grace Missionary Alliance Church (the plot is frequently interrupted by a sermon or prayer from him), besides adopting Michael he is also the legal guardian of  Triana Simms (Alien). Both Michael and Triana have Marvin Cample (Atheist) for a teacher. The book opens with Mr Cample accusing Michael & Triana of cheating due to them both turning in similar folktales from Emryss. At this point Mr. Cample doesn't know Triana is an Alien, much less that Emryss actually exist. A secondary plot involves the Earth being hit be an electronic magnetic pulse frying all the electronic gadgets on earth. The United States is living under a barter economy.

The folktales they turned in are shared in their entirety and are rather enjoyable. In fact for me they were the most enjoyable part of the book.

The character development stinks. I never felt a connection with any of the characters and could have cared less what happened to them.

If you want to be preached at and told how wonderful Christianity is this book is for you. If you want an enjoyable read I recommend you look elsewhere.

Aug 2, 2010

Serendipity

Serendipity is a propensity for making fortuitous discoveries while looking for something unrelated.

Mrs Ann over at Zoolatry made a lovey banner for Charybdis' blog. I was looking for a bluish-gray color for the background color to go with the banner when I stumbled on the hex code for quartz. Thinking it was the bluish-gray I was looking for I used it for the background. Turns out it was more of a lavender color. Since I had chores to do and a Hubby around to remind me that I couldn't play with hex codes all day I left it up and ........................I decided I REALLY LIKE IT with the banner. Turns out the banner has some lavender and purple in it that I didn't notice until I used the quartz for the background color. It also brings out the greenish leaves in the pink rose dividers.

I needed new towels for the Master Bathroom and I was TIRED of PINK. First I thought of going with green, but wasn't having any luck matching the green ( soft apple green) in the shower curtain and accessories. Then I thought of going with the purple but couldn't find a match for it either. I wound up going with Desert Gold and am pleased with the results. I'll probably buy some additional washcloths next month as we don't seem to have enough.

Jul 31, 2010

Alasandra's Reading List ~ July

  1. Ground Zero by F. Paul Wilson - Jack's childhood friend Weezy is targeted by "The One" as she suspects that there was a sinister plot behind "The Twin Towers" being destroyed on September 11th. With Jacks help she discovers that The Towers had to be destroyed so The Order could dig up the first column and create the Fhinntmanchca, whose sole purpose is to destroy The Lady. Can Jack save The Lady.
  2. A River in The Sky by Elizabeth Peters - Well the editor found another lost manuscript so this book takes place before they discover Sethos is Emerson's half-brother and before Ramses and Nefret marry and produce children. Ramses is working in Samaria with Reisner when a British operative makes contact with him. After he finds the operative dead he attempts to reach Jerusalem but is waylaid by Mansur and Frau von Eine. When Ramses fails to turn up David sets off to find him and finds himself waylaid by the duo too. Ramses & David escape. Meanwhile Emerson and Peabody have this hands full with Major Morley and his con artist sidekick Plato Panagopolous treasure hunters who are looking for the Ark of the Covenant.
  3. The Witch's Daughter by R.A. Salvatore - Rhiannon (the daughter of the Emerald Witch & Del) is an adult now.  For her birthday she asks to visit the lands outside Avalon and Brielle arranges for Andovar and Belexus to take Rhiannon with them to Pallendara. Before they reach Pallendara, the combined Morgan Thalasi-Martin Reinheiser thing (The Black Warlock) raises and army of talons and sets off to conquer the world.  The three friends must help hold the army at bay until help can arrive and The Black Warlock can be defeated.  But before he can be stopped The Black Warlock raises the wraith of Hollis Mitchell. Will anyone be able to stop the evil Mitchell's insatiable hunger for revenge.
  4. Frankenstein Lost Souls by Dean Koontz - this is a cliffhanger and you will have to wait until Spring 2011 for the next book. Deucalion's intuition tells him that Victor is alive. He goes to San Fransisco to consult with Michael & Carson about where to look for Victor, when they get a call from Erica Five, she has spotted Victor in Rainbow Falls, Montana. The trio head to Rainbow Falls to stop Victor. Nummy ( a 30 year old retarded boy) is in jail for his protection and his cell mate is Mr. Lyss (a burglar) when the first batch of old humans are brought in for processing by A Builder. After seeing what is going on Mr. Lyss breaks them out of jail. They manage to destroy three of the cocoons (future Builders) in a house they have broken into. They are attempting to flee town but the Replica Police have road blocks around the town. Bryce ( an elderly western writer in the hospital with chest pains) and Travis (a young boy in the hospital for severe allergies to chlorine) realize something is amiss. After seeing one patient clubbed to death after attempting to leave the hospital by the front door they make a daring roof top escape and seek refuge at  Colonel Sully York's. Denise Benedetto (an elementary school teacher who has been replicated) manages to escape long enough to meet Carson & Michael at a dinner and beg them to save her "baby", before the Replica Police take her away. Getting her address from the waitress Carson & Michael kill the Replica Denise and have Deucalion take her daughter to Erica. Victor's planned slaughter at the roadhouse goes amiss when the Churchgoers manage to break out. (to be continued).
  5. Born of Fire by Sherrilyn Kenyon ~Sheridan Wade has spent a life time paying for his Father's crimes. Wanted for crimes he didn't commit and unable to clear his name without facing the Mother who abandoned him,  he is determined to trust no one. Seax Shahara Dagan has sworn to bring him to justice but discovers the "real man" behind the mask. Will she choose love or duty?
  6. The Spine of the World by R.A. Salvatore - Wulfgar is falsely accused of plotting to kill Captain Deudermont. Tortured and fixing to be executed Wulfgar and Morik are fixing to be executed when Captain Deudermont insist that they be pardoned. Expelled from Luskan Morik and Wulfgar set out for The Spine of the World, and set themselves up as highwaymen. Falsely accused of rape by Meralda, Wulfgar is captured by a wizard, and brought before Meralda's husband (Lord Feringal) for punishment. Wulfgar refuses to betray Meralda's secret and escapes with Meralda's help. Wulfgar decides to turn his life around and stops drinking, fearing for Meralda's safety he returns and claims her babe as his own.
  7. Spandau Phoenix by Greg Iles - When prisoner # 7 dies a German Soldier stumbles upon his diary and uncovers a plot to destroy Israel. With the help of his father and a mysterious Jewish Agent can he save his wife and stop a madman. This is an old favorite of mine and the ending still makes me cry.
  8. Born of Ice by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Merjack (the grandson of Syn's old enemy) is determined to capture Devyn (Syn & Shahara's son). Merjack blackmails Alix Garran into fabricating evidence against Devyn but Devyn comes up with a plan to turn the tables on the tyrant. Then Paden (Syn's son) enters the picture.
  9. Sea of Swords by R. A. Salvatore - Wulfgar joins forces with Bruenor, Catti-brie, Regis and Drizzt to regain Aegis-Fang. Le'lorinel plots to kill Drizzt.
I have been asked to do a Book Review of Earth is Not Alone by John Knapp II, which I am reading now. The review should be posted shortly.

    Jul 23, 2010

    Zucchini & Cheese Bread

    • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese shredded ( 1 cup)
    • 2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 medium red pepper, finely chopped ( I substituted a banana pepper)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 zucchini, shredded
    • 3 green onions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup milk ( may need to add additional milk if mixture appears dry - I put in 1 cup)
    Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9" x 9" baking pan.

    Mix Cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Combine flour, sugar and black pepper. Stir zucchini, red pepper and green onions into flour mixture.  Add beaten eggs, milk and oil, stir until evenly moistened.

    Spoon batter into pan and spread evenly. May sprinkle top with additional cheese if desired.

    Bake bread 50 to 55 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread 5 minutes. Invert bread onto large plate. Makes 16 servings.

    Flowers on Friday

    Jul 19, 2010

    Musings on Monday

    The Butterfly Garden.



    Popcorn Tree down by the pond.

    Front flower bed.

    Jul 18, 2010

    Flowers for a Rainy Day

    It is raining today, so I thought I would share some of my flowers with you. This is a close up of my Catmint blooming.

    Devil's Trumpet (Datura). I grew this one from seed.

    Foxglove, I am really pleased with the way it reseeded itself, and am transplanting some to other beds.

    Pineapple Sage

    Chamomile 



    Basil

    We finally got the roses planted in the Rose Garden.

    Some sort of succulent. I don't know it's name.

    Jul 17, 2010

    Basil & Roses


    Basil

    I know you aren't really suppose to let the herbs flower if you are going to use them in cooking, but I can't resist letting at least some of the herbs flower.

    Nice delicate rose. I am planting the bush this rosebud came off in my rose garden.

    Playing around with the camera. Didn't exactly get the effect I was aiming for.

    Jul 1, 2010

    Alasandra's Reading list ~ June

    1. Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie reviewed at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog.
    2. By the Sword by F. Paul Wilson- Jack teams up with Glaeken ( glad I finally meet the guy) to retrieve a katana and Rasalom regains control of Dawn and her baby. Glaeken & Jack also stop the Black Wind from destroying New York and Jack learns more of the Secret History of the World.
    3. Servant of the Shard by R. A. Salvatore - After tricking Drizzt into giving him the Crystal Shard in the previous book Jarlaxle starts making mistakes. Realizing the Shard is manipulating Jarlaxle, Artemis Entreri determines to steal the Shard from him and take it to Cadderly to be destroyed. Unfortunately Jarlaxle's lieutenants in Bregan D'aerthe plot to overthrow him and take the Shard. After outwitting them Jarlaxle & Entreri reach Cadderly and take it to a Red Dragon's lair in order to destroy it. Before it can be destroyed Bregan D'aerthe attacks. Artemis saves Danica while Jarlaxle destroys the Shard. Jarlaxle turns Bregan D'aerthe over to Kimmuriel so he can stay on the surface with Artemis Entreri. (Entreri still believes he killed Drizzt).
    4. Breathless by Dean Koontz - Grady and his Irish Wolfhound Merlin discover two strange animals in the woods, who follow them home. Tom Bigger returns to his parents old home in time to save the life of a young woman and her son from a hired killer and Henry realizes he can't live with murdering his own brother in order to assume his identity.
    5. Echoes of the Fourth Magic by R. A. Salvatore - The survivors of The Unicorn find themselves in the future on a Earth that has been destroyed by a nuclear holocaust. Angelic beings saved 4 adults and trained them as wizards to care for the children of the holocaust. The first mutation of man, the Talons are a wicked race serving Morgan Thalasi's  (one of the 4 adults) designs for power. The second mutation of man were Elves, due to their experience with the Talons the Humans (Calvans) treated them harshly and drove them into exile. Now Jeff "Del" DelGuidice has to teach the Elves and the Calvans to get along before the New Earth is engulfed in constant wars between the two.
    6. Trixie's Guide to A Happy Life by Trixie Koontz, Dog as told to Dean Koontz - Very cute. This is a great book to read if you need cheering up.
    7. Frankenstein ~ dead and alive by Dean Koontz - Book 3 in the Frankenstein trilogy. Victor Helios' New Race is experiencing a break down in their programs and killing the Old Race in New Orleans. Erika Five and Jocko are determined to escape from Victor.  Deucalion, Carson O'Connor and Michael Maddison are determined to foil Victor's plans and end his life. But can Victor really be stopped.
    8. Relentless by Dean Koontz ~ Milo and Lassie (an Australian Shepard mix that Milo rescued from a shelter) save Milo's parents from a diabolical book critic.
    9. a big little life A Memoir of a Joyful Dog by Dean Koontz (aka Trixie's Dad) ~ The inspirational story of how one dog (Trixie) changed her family's life and the wonderful difference she is still making in the lives of so many, even though she has gone to the Rainbow Bridge.  The Dean, Gerda and Trixie Koontz Campus of CCI as well as the Trixie Fund which helps to pay catastrophic medical bills for the dogs of people with disabilities.  
    10. Ceremony of the Innocent by Taylor Caldwell - A simple housemaid Ellen is loved by two men. Jeremy Porter whose realism will cost him his life and Francis Porter whose idealism will betray him. Through the years Ellen's insistence on "loving & trusting" the wrong people will lead to her destruction.

    Jun 30, 2010

    Alasandra's Grilled Chicken Salad Pita

    3/4 lb. grilled chicken cubed
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1 cup golden raises
    2/3 cup chopped mango (dried)
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    1 tablespoon mayonnaise ( fat free with olive oil)
    2 tsp minced fresh tarragon ( or half a teaspoon dried)
    pita bread (whole wheat)
    1 cup fresh baby spinach

    Mix first 8 ingredients together. Place spinach in pita and top with chicken mixture . 

    Alasandra's Garden

    The Lantana is blooming.

    Wildflowers, I don't know their name but think they are some sort of grass.

    Catmint. It is blooming now and just gorgeous.

    Canna Lillies, they are in the greenhouse and REALLY need to be moved.



    Yarrow and Stokes Aster



    Herman's Pride. So far the ones I planted in the Whiskers Bed are doing OK.