Friday, April 26, 2013

Books to Read Before You Die (2013)

Last year I posted this list of Books to Read before you die and I wanted to update it for 2013. I read 11 books in 2012 including the Twilight Series and Hunger Games series. I loved both! However, I must say that my favorite of all of the books of 2012 was Jane Eyre. The Classics are "Classics" for a reason and I am discovering that the more and more that I read them.

Okay, here's the intro from before explaining where I got my list:

The BBC created a list of 100 books that everyone should read (from user submissions) They believe that most people will have read only 6 of the 100! What?! Well, I decided to create my own list. I actually read 21 of the  BBC list when I first created my list but felt there were some books not listed that should be on it. Here's my comprehensive list I created from google searches and Barnes and Noble's Classics. The list contains books that I have read and think everyone should read OR books that I want to read at some point. If you have any books that you think should be on here, let me know and I may add it.  

P.S. This list is mostly fiction and does not include personal growth books or straight non-fiction. I'd have way too many listed here if it did. :) Also, they are in NO PARTICULAR ORDER (from my perspective, if they were, the Bible would be Numero Uno!) Check back periodically for updates :) It'll take me a while to read all of these. If I read 10 a year then it'll take me a DECADE to finish this list! And I don't anticipate 10 a year :) But you never know...
How many have you read?

 I read 70! :)
Strikethrough- those books I've read in their entirety,
Italics- the ones I started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. (most likely I just read and excerpt, I generally don't start a book and not finish it)
* Asterisk- I have seen the movie (I know, it doesn't count but at least I know about the story for pop culture references)

What Am I Currently Reading???

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Books I Read in 2013 so far...

Uncle Tom's Cabin (AMAZING!)
The Great Gatsby ( can't wait to see Leonardo DiCaprio's new movie!)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Hobbit
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Books I Read in 2012
Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
The Hunger Games Trilogy: 
Hunger Games
Catching Fire
The Twilight Series (4 books):
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

The Bible

The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
2       Fellowship of the Ring*
3      The Two Towers*
4      Return of the King*

5 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte *

6 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone*
7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets*
8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban*

9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire*
10 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*
11 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince*
12 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows *

13 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *

14 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen *

15 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 

16 1984 - George Orwel

17 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens*

18 Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

19 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

20 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy *

21 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott *

22 Complete Works of Shakespeare:
               Romeo and Juliet*
               Much Ado About Nothing*
               A Mid Summer Night's Dream*

23 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

24 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

25 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

26 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

27 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger*

28 Middlemarch - George Eliot

29 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell*

30 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald*

31 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

32 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

33Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

34 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck*

35 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll*

36The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

37Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

38 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

Chronicles of Narnia - - CS Lewis
39        Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe*
40         Prince Caspian*
41         The Voyage of the Dawn Treader*
42        The Silver Chair
43         The Horse and His Boy
44         The Magician's Nephew
45         The Last Battle

46 Emma -Jane Austen*

47 Persuasion - Jane Austen

48 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

49 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

50 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

51Animal Farm - George Orwell

52 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

53 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

54 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

55 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

56 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery*

57 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

58 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

59 Lord of the Flies - William Golding*

60 Atonement - Ian McEwan*

61 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

62 Dune - Frank Herbert

63 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

64 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen*

65 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

66 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

67 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

68 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

69 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

70 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

71 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

72 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

73 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

74 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

75 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

76 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

77 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

78 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding*

79 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

80 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

81 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

82 Dracula - Bram Stoker 

83 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett*

84 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

85 Ulysses - James Joyce

86 The Inferno - Dante

87 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

88 Germinal - Emile Zola

89 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

90 Possession - AS Byatt

91 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens*

92 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

93 The Color Purple - Alice Walker*

94 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

95 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

96 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

97 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White*

98 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

99 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

100 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

101 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

102 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

103 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

104 Watership Down - Richard Adams

105 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

106 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

107 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas *

108 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

109 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

110 The Odyssey- Homer

111 The Iliad- Homer
112 Common Sense- Thomas Paine

113 Beowulf 

114 Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe

115 Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson

116 Bleak House- Charles Dickens

117 Grimm's Fairy Tales

118 Republic - Plato 

119 The Federalist- Alexander Hamilton

120 The Jungle- Upton Sinclair
121 A Thousand and One Arabian Nights- Anonymous

122 The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

123 Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
124 The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

125 Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rosmond 

126 The Simarillion - J.R.R. Tolkein

127 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

128 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

129 Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls

130 The Crucible Arthur Miller 

131 Quo Vadis Henry Seinkewicz*

132 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

133 Crime and Punishment- Fyodor Dostoevsky

134 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea- Jules Verne*
135 Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes
Twilight Series by Stephanie
136      Twilight*
137      New Moon*
138      Eclipse*
139      Breaking Dawn*
The Hunger Games Series:
140      The Hunger Games*
141      Catching Fire
142      Mockingjay
143 The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks*

The Left Behind Series: by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins
144 Left Behind
145 Tribulation Force
146 Nicolae
147 Soul Harvest
148 Appollyon
149 Assassins
150 The Indwelling
151The Mark
152 Desecration
153 The Remnant
154 Armageddon
155 Glorious Appearing

156 Rachel Did It - By E.L. Bailey

157 Tin Walls - By E.L. Bailey

158 Reunion: Ties of Blood- by Fianna Leighton

159 Utopia- Thomas More
160. One Thousand and One Nights

161. Mansfield Park-Jane Austen

162. Northanger Abbey

163. One flew over the cuckoos -by Ken Kesey

164. Metamorphosis- Franz Kafka

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

How to Create an Edging for Your Garden

Hey Y'all!
Mow-over flower bed edging. so much easier!
This image isn't mine, it's
the pin I found.

So last year my spring project (which my Prince Charming executed so wonderfully) was my step garden which I wanted in the hill in my back yard since it's the only spot that sun hits the majority of the day. If you haven't seen that yet then check it out by clicking this link STEP GARDEN . I LOVE it! Last year I planted asparagus and a bunch of herbs which are coming out quite nicely. I was able to use the rosemary all winter (which was awesome! especially when I make rosemary roasted potatoes). So this year, I decided I wanted to create a new flower bed in one spot in my yard but since there were no plants in my yard at all we had to start from scratch. Well, of course, I went online to do some research. Last year, my husband and his brother took out an EP Henry type stone wall on a job and kept the blocks so I knew I had them as an option. Then I found THIS PIN on pinterest and the wheels started turning.
Finally, I found a great video from This Old House (Love that magazine/show) which made it all sort of come together. They said to use an edger but because I'm one of the most impatient people ever and I didn't have one yet I used a flat shovel instead. :)

First I laid out my hose in the shape I wanted the garden to be. 

Then, taking the shovel I put the edge straight down and loosened then removed the soil. You can't tell from my picture, but I did go STRAIGHT into the soil. I'm actually on a hill. I would definitely encourage you to watch the video that I watched. It was very helpful.

Voila! Here's my newly edged garden outline! Now, since all of the soil in my backyard is actually clay we removed 4-6 inches deep and dumped it behind our shed...yeah, I'll have to clean up that mess later. Oh, and when I say 'we' I mean, I only loaded 5 half full wheel barrows and dumped it because that hill in my back yard is a BEAST! I was grunting and panting and realized I am so not strong! So my Prince Charming being the amazing husband that he is surprised me by paying a couple guys from work to dig and remove all the dirt while I was at work.  It took them more than 5 hours and they were exhausted. I'm such a lucky girl! :)

I placed the stones along the edge. I didn't use gravel underneath, which is what the pin on pinterest did, because again, I'm impatient. I may end up putting something underneath in the future to prevent weeds, but since my yard is the FARTHEST thing from level, I had to adjust each one. My goal is to have most of them level with the ground so when I mow (or should I say when Prince Charming mows) then we can just put the wheels on the blocks and get the grass all the way to the edge.

Here's it is with all the stones in place and dug out. You can see along the house the dirt is darker. We ended up getting about 2 1/2 yards of good topsoil to fill in the new garden. Now I just have to wait for all the plants I ordered on to arrive....I can't wait!! 

More updates to come....

Monday, April 8, 2013

We Love Our Shamzee!

So a few weeks ago, we received this Shamzee pillow cover and let me just 3 year old was immediately IN LOVE! She actually said "Mommy, I LOVE THIS! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!" There are 6 unique Shamzees and we happened to get the Lady Bug (it's PINK of course). The Shamzee "gobbles up a pillow to make a super cozy comfy friend." That's not all it gobbles up in my house. One morning I woke up to find my daughter's Shamzee had eaten 3 books, a doll, play jewelry, some polly pockets and Strawberry Shortcakes and about 3 other of her toys. AND she SLEPT on it! Ow! I don't know how she did it, but she slept all night on all that and didn't miss a wink! It's machine washable and fits any standard pillow. We've had it for a month now and she still loves it! Now Princess6 wants one...

To order YOUR OWN go to the Shamzee website:

Shamzee is also on Facebook and Twitter.

*Disclaimer: I received this product as compensation for a review but all opinions are my own [and my kids':) ]

Saturday, April 6, 2013

You Want to See This!! really...I think you'll LOVE this small Etsy shop! One of my best friend's mom just opened an etsy shop where she sells the most adorable primitve items that she MADE BY HAND! If you love that style, then you'll love these! I helped her get set up and one of the items she listed even has vintage lace which was handmade by her aunt..Seriously! How cool is that?? So what are you waiting for! Go Check it out please! She's super sweet and extremely crafty! So head on over to:


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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Garlic & Lemon Hummus with toasted pita chips

For Easter last weekend, I decided to make some appetizers to bring over to my in-laws' house for Easter dinner. And since I love hummus, but not everyone loves my spicy Chipotle Pepper Hummus, I decided to make a garlicky batch. Now, keep in mind, you can cut the garlic WAAYY back if you are not a huge fan and then you'll have regular hummus and it'll be delicious too...but I LOVE garlic so, yeah, there are 6 cloves in this bad boy. Not for the faint of heart..or smell... so if you're sweetie doesn't like that, you may need some mints...or a bath...because it'll be coming out of your 

(Disclaimer: I just regurgitated the pics from my Chipotle Pepper Hummus because you make it the same way except you add more garlic and lemon juice and don't add the peppers)


1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and liquid reserved
1/4 cup reserved liquid 
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoon Olive oil
6 cloves garlic minced
2 Tablespoons Tahini paste
salt and pepper (to taste)

For Pita Chips:
1 bag of pita bread (whole)
olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid.

2. In a food processor, add all of the ingredients except the garlic.

3. Use a garlic press for the garlic, this way you wont have big chunks of garlic and it will be distributed more evenly. If you don't love garlic, then only put 2 cloves in.

4. Process for a few minutes until smooth. I let it run for several minutes because I didn't like it too grainy so I made sure it was nice and smooth.

5. If it's too thick, add a little more of the reserved liquid till it reaches your desired consistency.

6. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, veggies or whatever you desire.

For Toasted Pita Chips:
(Sorry, I didn't take pics of this..will update it next time I make them)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. 
2. Cut all the slices of pita bread in half. 
3. Then cut each half into triangular quarters.
4. Carefully peel each triangle apart. (will make two chips)
5. Layer in a single layer onto 3 baking sheets smooth side down. (Can do one at a time but will take three times as long:) )
6. Brush each chip with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
7. Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes or until toasted.

SERVE WITH THE HUMMUS....Look at those chips!! They were absolutely delicious!

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