Monday, December 28, 2009

Music to My Ears

Okay, my latest music purchases are quite diverse...Country, Hard Rock, Indie Rock, Pop Rock, and Alternative.  Time to become acquainted with it all.  Cool! 
  • Carrie Underwood - Cowboy Casanova
  • Shinedown - If You Only Knew
  • Snow Patrol - Hands Open
  • John Mayer - Who Says
  • Keaton Simons - Grim Reaper
  • John Mayer - Who Says
  • Band of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey*
  • Dashboard Confessional - Alter the Ending (Deluxe Edition)* and Dusk and Summer*
*denotes entire album

What say you?  What are you listening to these days?

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Wish Come True - A Family History Blessing

Many years ago I heard a rumor through the family grapevine.  I was told that my cousin, Vivian, had a photograph of John CARVALHO (her grandfather and my 2nd great-grandfather), and that that photograph was probably the only one of him in existence. I asked for a copy, no, I begged for a copy. More than once. The years passed...

Then yesterday, Christmas Eve, a miracle! A Christmas card from Vivian.  The envelope not sealed! Inside was a lovely greeting and the photograph of John, but it's not only of John. His wife, Maria, is also in the photograph. Hallelujah! I am blessed. I am so thankful to Vivian for sharing this precious memory.  

I give you my 2nd great-grandparents, João Germano CARVALHO and Maria das Mercês de MATTOS at their Kainehe Homestead (near Kukaiau Ranch) on the Island of Hawaii in the late 1920's...

(click to see larger BEFORE image)

(click to see larger AFTER image)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lizzie in the Snow - Round Two (Video)

The second snow storm since adopting Lizzie and she still adores the white stuff. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Recipe: 5 Minute Vegan Chicken, Rice, and Veggie Stir Fry

Hunger and limited ingredients led this mother to invent a quick and easy vegan meal. I love the veggie starter mixes and found that our local supermarket has started carrying it again after they'd discontinued it many months ago. Even after nearly a year in my freezer, the "chickenless" strips were great after defrosting. The ready rice is a tasty blend of brown rice, veggies, and lentils. I found this to be very flavorful, and of course, fast!


Olive Oil Spray
Approx 1/2 cup Frozen Veggie Starter Mix (onion, bell pepper, celery, and parsley)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Trader Joe's Chickenless Strips
1 pkg. (8.5 oz.) Uncle Ben's Ready Whole Grain Vegetable Harvest Rice


Heat the Ready Rice in the microwave according to package directions. Remove and let stand in the bag.

Preheat a small skillet. Spray with olive oil cooking spray. Sauté veggies on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the Chickenless Strips and continue cooking on medium for 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Top the rice with the finished strips and veggies.

Servings:  approximately 2

Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review: Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux

Title: Lavender Morning
Series: Edilean #1
Author: Jude Deveraux
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Published: 03/31/2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance


Jocelyn Minton is a woman torn between two worlds. Her mother grew up attending private schools and afternoon teas, but she married the local handyman. After her mother died when Joce was only five years old, her father remarried into his own class, and Joce became an outsider -- until she met Edilean Harcourt. Although she was sixty years Joce's senior, Miss Edi was a kindred soul who understood her like no one else ever had.

When Miss Edi passes away, she leaves Joce all her worldly possessions, including an eighteenth-century house and a letter with clues to a mystery that began in 1941. In the letter, Miss Edi also mentions that she has found the perfect man for Joce -- a handsome young lawyer. Joce is shocked to learn that the mystery, the house, and the future love of her life are all in Edilean, a small town in Virginia that Miss Edi never told her about. Hurt that the woman who meant so much to her kept so many secrets, Jocelyn moves to this tight-knit village in an attempt to understand the legacy that has been left to her. As she begins to dig into Miss Edi's mystery, she soon discovers some shocking surprises about her family's history and her own future -- and she meets a man with his own mysterious past.


I enjoyed a great many books by Jude Deveraux in the '90s, which may have led to my unrealistic expectations for this book based on the synopsis. I felt that the integrity of the characters was greatly implied, but not generally warranted by their words and/or actions. I thought the characters shallow and rather uninteresting. I didn't care for the dialogue for the most part and felt the unraveling of the big mystery to be uninteresting. What a shame!