Book Hangover

Reading is not for the faint of heart. If you have never had a book hangover you have never really read. FACT. Book Hangovers happen when you read a book so good, so stimulating, so emotionally involved, you can’t read for a while. Side effects of a book hangover include but are not limited too:
-Raised blood pressure/heart rate
-General brief periods of depression
-Unable to choose the next book to read
-Picking a new book and still not being able to start it
-Crying
-Getting emotional just talking about the book
-Unable to eat, do laundry, complete basic-need tasks because you are so engrossed reading or recovering from said book.
-When people ask “What’s wrong” you just can’t answer. They didn’t read the book. They wouldn’t understand.

Because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t crazy, I asked some of my reader friends to weigh in on this potentially emotional topic. The first, is one of my best friends Faith! She is also super adventurous-like move to Ohio from PA
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This is her book hangover blanket….it’s really just her favorite crazy cat lady blanket. Also classic Faith. As you can probably assume from this absurd picture, she’s hilarious. She is my spaghetti friend.

“Dude. let me just tell you that my book hangover happened over The Hunger Games right after I saw the second [movie], Catching Fire. It all began because I figured “Oh, these movies have been pretty awesome, I bet the books are better.” As per my experience with every Nicholas Sparks book evvvver. After FOUR days of finally getting through the whole series, I close my Nook and scream NO. NO. NO. NO. I was seriously disturbed for a good month or two until I came out of my coma of “OH MY GOD I HATE PEETA.” The second time I had a hangover, speaking of Nicholas Sparks, was over his book “Safe Haven”. . . I won’t spoil the ending, but something pretty unexpected happens (one of the characters turns out being a FREAKING GHOST) and you DO NOT even THINK of that until you read the ending chapters. Blew. My. Mind. I was so distraught that it legitimately affected my work life, my home life, and I just stayed in bed trying to grasp what life was. Oh and THEN I found out they were turning it into a movie. Less of a mind blower, but still awesome.”

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Next is my lovely friend Amanda. She just graduated with a degree in psychology. I should have asked her for an in-depth response on how the brain is stimulated while reading…yadda yadda. But, I did not. I allowed her to openly and freely answer without pretentious psychological lingo. Though she should make it her masters thesis or something. 😉

“Okay SO! I’ve experienced so many book hangovers, I should be attending book recovery twice a week! My most recent book hangover was when I finished The Selection Series. Now when I started this series I had NO interest in it and thought it was way too girly for my post apocalyptic, dystopian taste. I completely changed my opinion after reading the final installment “The One”. I tore through that book so fast and hard I felt dizzy at the last few pages! I was so sad when it ended I curled up on my bed (having not checked my phone in hours) and just sat. Thinking about every detail. I didn’t move for a solid hour. The next few days I had to go out of my way to not think about the book or the world it was set in. I eventually had to throw myself into another book to end the madness, which is what always happens. It’s my go-to strategy to end a hangover. Jumping into another book shimmy!! I’m still recovering from the Divergent Series book hangover… I’m not ready to talk about that yet. I’m talkin full on book comma! The struggle is alive and well.”

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Liv gets two pictures because I told her regardless of which one she prefer I use, I was going to use the picture of us dressed up as The Witches from Macbeth. We love literature so much, when ever we get the chance to dress up or make food to go with our presentations-we do. I’d also like to clarify, both of her parents are pastors. The girl has never had alcohol in her life! 😉

“I have had many book hangovers. I probably had my first hangover in 4th or 5th grade. I cannot for the life of me remember what book, but I remember it was about the Iditarod. I was sitting alone in a classroom being used as a storage room on top of a high stack of chairs. I bawled. I cried and whimpered, and died a little on the inside. And that is when I became a bookaholic. Not just an avid reader, but a full-blown bookaholic. I had to be drunk off of words, slurring the sentences, and tipsy while turning pages. I loved it. My most noteworthy hangover stupor was after “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak. The book was over 500 pages of hard reading, kind of like hard liquor, but worse. Because at the end of it you can’t breathe, you can’t think, you can’t pull yourself out of the pages. I am assuming that the ending of this book is like drinking liquor after beer…dreadful. I haven’t actually ever done that, but because the ending of this book was so miserable, I never will. I don’t drink, but I read. I am not sure which is worse.”

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Last but not least my friend Emily, the only one to not got o school with us. Her boyfriend Jake is Eric’s roommate. We’re best friends by association. It helps that she loves books just as much as I do.

“My first book hangover was after reading the Harry Potter series. When I was roughly 7 or 8, my mother read “The Sorcerer’s Stone” to me in a full British accent. I will never forget how she had perfected Hagrid’s Scottish drawl in every word. After that, I never had the drive to read the books on my own as a child. Maybe it was the nostalgia of my mom reading the first book to me, or my own lack of desire to continue the series, but when I was 20 I read the series again, after watching all of the movies. That was when I first experienced my first true “book hangover.” I could have been diagnosed clinically depressed when I shut the 7th book for the first time. Now, for anyone who is a die-hard HP fan, you’re not a true fan until you’ve read all of the books. The movies are brilliant, but they’re only a band-aid to what these books will do to you. This series has changed me. I have now consecutively read the books three times over, and will undoubtedly start them again later this year. When I read these books I become so engrossed in them that I feel as if I’m a third-person-viewer living at Hogwarts. Saying that I have an obsession with everything that is Harry Potter would be a grave understatement. When I finish the series I feel empty, as if all of my previous happiness has gone, and my only detox is to watch all of the movies. Harry Potter will always be a part of my life. ‘Always.'”

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And for my own.

My first book hangover was in 4th grade. I read “Tudor Rose” a book on Elizabeth I. It was part of the Royal Diary Series done by the same people who do the Dear America’s. At the end of each book is historical info on the princess portrayed in the book. As I read on about the life of Elizabeth I and her family I couldn’t contain myself. Not only did this give my a hangover that left me in an awe inspired stupor, it also gave me my passion. Unlike most of my book hangovers I dove head first into everything and anything I could find on the Tudors and Elizabeth I. I am now an English major with a concentration in English Literature. That book hangover set the course of my life and who I am today. Most of my hangovers are as I described in the very beginning of this post.

As you can see, Book Hangovers do exist. They happen all of the time. It is an affliction we all deal with in our own way. And, as many who have dependencies, addictions or are just straight up masochist, we continue to read. We search high and low in the hopes of finding books that rock our worlds. That leave us dazed, confused and hungry for more. We continue to torture ourselves with the pain, pleasure, depression and satisfaction of reading JUST. ONE. MORE. PAGE.

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84 Ribbons- Paddy Eger

I have joined the Net Galley world! I’m love with it! Check it out!

84 Ribbons was my first accepted book request. I can honestly say it was an absolute pleasure reading this book!

84 Ribbons is about 17 year old, Washington State native Marta traveling to Billings, Montana to fulfill her dreams as a professional ballerina. While there she makes life long friendships, finds love, looses herself and begins the journey of finding out who she is. As a child she figured that it would take her 84 worn pointe shoe ribbons for her to be ready to dance her first solo piece professionally. The story takes you through her many trials and tribulations in an attempt to meet this goal.

There are 3 things that this book contained that I personally thoroughly enjoyed.

1. Ballet. I myself danced a number of years as a child. Though I stopped taking lessons I continued to dance in school musicals. I have always been fascinated and enjoyed the world of ballet. Paddy did an exquisite job of helping her readers enter the prestigious ballet world. The physical and mental struggles as a dancer as well as the interpersonal struggles that can occur when stakes are high and everyone is vying for their place center stage.

2. It’s a time period piece. I know the late 50s really weren’t that long ago as far as time period pieces go HOWEVER it did make an impact on the overall feeling of the book. Everything from the cars to the fashion were subtly mentioned. 84 Ribbons could have easily been written from a current point in time. I thoroughly appreciated the bit of extra time and effort into making it a time period piece.

3. It was relatable. Again, this book could have been written from a current time point of view. I think removing it from now made it more relatable. One of those moments where you realize that in many cases, people struggle and succeed today just as people decades ago. One of the big focuses of the book is weight issues. As ballerinas it is their job to be thin, toned and beautiful. No one wants to watch a fat dancer on stage. What’s more is Paddy Eger did not shy away from the realities of such struggles, but took them head on. I loved “watching” the relationship between Marta and Steve blossom. The friendship between Marta and her two best friends Bartley and Lynne was reminiscent of my own friendships. The relationship between Marta and her mother was one very near and dear to my heart, being that my mother and I are best friends. 🙂

Overall I would definitely recommend this book. It was a relatively easy read. I know a number of my students that would enjoy this book. I can’t wait to read the next 2 installments of the series as it follows Marta and Lynne on their continuing journies!

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Pocket Chicken and Potatoes With Green Beans

When it is in the 90s the last thing you want to do is turn the oven on in the house. Even with the AC on full blast the oven is a bad idea. But the taste of the grill isn’t always wanted every day of the week. Here is my way around both problems.

Ingredients-

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Parsley

1/2 cup onion

2 garlic cloves

Butter

Pakricka

1. Thaw chicken breasts.

2. Pull out 2 large pieces of foil and make the shape of a plus sign. Spray with non-stick spray and drizzle some olive oil to keep the meat from sticking.

3. Finely chop your onion and garlic, kind of mix them up in the same bowl

4. Place about a quarter of the onion and garlic on the top piece of foil

5. Season each chicken breast on underside and place on top of onion and garlic.

6. Season the top side of the chicken and spread the rest of the onion and garlic on top.

7. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and add small pads of butter on top of each breast.

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8. Wrap the chicken up nice and tight!

DO NOT POKE HOLES! The whole point of this is to partially steam the chicken. It stays nice and moist this way.

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9. Turn the grill on High and place the pockets on the grill. Our grill at that point cooks at about 400.

10. Cook for 10 minutes, go out and turn the pocket. Cook for another 10 minutes.

11. Turn the grill down to Medium for 15-20 minutes.

12. You can pull them out just to add a few grill marks or remove them from the pocket and place on a plate to serve.

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Serve with fresh veggies!

I was super excited to make the potatoes! It finally gave me a chance to use the ones we dug out a few days ago!

Ingredients:

Potatoes

Olive Oil

Butter

Garlic

Rosemary

Onion

Parsely

1. If needed, cut potatoes. I used a lot of our smaller ones that only needed cut in half or not at all!

2. Lay out 2 piece of foil just like the chicken. Spray with non-stick spray

3. Add potatoes to the center

4. Drizzle with olive oil, seasonings and herbs

5. Top with a few pads of butter

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6. Wrap up nice and tight. DO NOT POKE HOLES!

Cook along side the chicken- see directions above and below

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7. Turn the grill on High and place the pockets on the grill. Our grill at that point cooks at about 400.

8. Cook for 10 minutes, go out and turn the chicken pocket, FLIP the potato pocket. Cook for another 10 minutes.

9. Turn the grill down to Medium for 15-20 minutes.

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And last, but not least, actually my favorite part- THE GREEN BEANS!

Tonight was our first night of having our green beans FRESH out of the garden! Absolutely, hands down, favorite and best thing about having the garden!!! Traipsing through the green bean forest is quite fun as well!

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Green Beans

Garlic Clove

1 Tablespoon Butter

Olive Oil

Minced Onion

1. Blanch/cook your green beans to desired level of crunch! We like ours a bit on the crispy side still!

2. While the beans are cooking, finely mince garlic and mince onion (or use the dried stuff)

3.. Drain water and put beans back into pot.

4. Add butter, a squirt of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, and 1/2 tablespoon of onion.

5. On medium-high heat melt the butter and keep everything moving as to not burn it.

6. Once the beans start to show signs of frying and the garlic and onion are thoroughly infused, remove from heat.

That is one yummy, fresh, flavorful summer dinner!

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Throw the Dog a Bone

We love ALL of our critters and spoil them absolutely rotten. Most people don’t really pay attention to what is in dog treats at their local pet store, because if the pet store is selling it, it can’t really be bad for them right? Kinda like, if the grocery store is selling it, it can’t be bad for us humans, RIGHT!? Home made dog treats are so easy and most people have all of the ingredients to make their fluffy friends a swell treat and they don’t even realize it. Again, most dog treat recipes can be altered and personalized to what you have and your dogs taste buds. Carrots, beef or chicken stock, and apples are just a few doggy favorites that can easily be added into most recipes. This is what we used.

2 tablespoons plain applesauce (3 tablespoons if you want softer treats) I used 3

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat/all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup rolled oats

Dash of Cinnamon

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. The mix is more on the dry side. I added a teaspoon of water to make sure mine was moist enough. A bit more applesauce could have been used as well.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, glass or knife, cut out what ever shapes you’d like your treats to be in.

*I just pulled out some dough, rolled it in my hand and pressed it a bit flat. No need to get the counter all messy!*

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5. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet at 325 for 15-20 minutes.

Let cool and toss a few to your loving pooch. I have a feeling ours won’t last very long….

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They were obviously super excited to try them!

PS- These treats are just as good for humans as pets. Just a thought. Because really, if you won’t eat it, how can you expect your dog too as well? 😉 And now adorable pictures of them all because, THEY’RE JUST TOO CUTE!

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Early Harvest and Storage Prep

The last of the potatoes are in! I’ve gotten a number of inquires from friends asking what I do to the potatoes after  we pull them out of the ground. Really, what do I do to the fruits and veggies in general.

If they are a ground plant like potatoes I first collect them in a colander. Then I rinse the mud/dirt off.

Once this is done I put the plug in the sink and fill it with warm water and about 1 cup of vinegar. With the potatoes still in the colander I put the whole thing in the sink and kind of swish them around with my hands. I let them sit for 5-10 minutes, pull the plug, rinse with water and let dry.

I usually just put paper towels under the colander and let them air dry. Place in a cool, dry place until ready to use them!

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For green beans, the process is a bit different! I collect in a colander and rinse them with water just like the potatoes.

I then throw them in a pot of boiling water for a minute or so just to blanche them. This helps clean them and gives them a nice bright green color!

I strain, let dry and cool a bit, and throw them in a freezer bag or container. Then, they are ready to make at any time!

Strawberries are tricky. I have yet to find the best secret to having them keep. I still don’t quite get how you can buy them in the grocery store, stick them in the fridge and they last a week. After we pluck ours, it’s a race against the clock to eat them before they get mushy and shriveled. If anyone has any tips on that I would LOVE them! As of right now, if we are not going to eat them right away I simply rinse the dirt off of them, and throw them in a freezer container. This way I’ll at least have a shot to cook with them, add them to ice cream or something!

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On the flip side, out pumpkin has its first blossoms and our tomato plants are fervently popping new little maters every day! I will probably be making my first jars of sauce by the end of July! 😀

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Our watermelon plants are slowly starting to creep out as well!

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I love this time of the season when everything is really starting to take hold and burst with growth!

New Additions

Eric had a brilliant idea. Our girls love roosting together in a row and the balusters we set up aren’t too long. So he put an old hockey stick for them. GENIUS! Of course they weren’t hanging out on it when I went out to take pictures.

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Our gardens have some new additions as well! We have our first baby beans starting to burst through!

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Eric’s tomato plant was the first of them to have a mater bud.

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And the strawberries are coming in strong!

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I plucked a few before work. I meant to take pictures of them but uhhh oops! They were delicious!

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Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men was probably one of the shortest books you ever read in high school. You are probably reading this for one of 3 reasons. 1. You are a fan and like to see how other people feel about the book. 2. You are getting ready to reread it after a span of time since you read it in high school. 3. You have never read the book because you are either still in high school or went to a high school with a poor English department. Yes, those are fightin’ words. No student should make it through high school without reading this book.

It’s literally about 100 pages and takes a few hours to read. I read this my Sophomore year of high school and loved it then. My English teacher Mr. K was so excited to have a student that would debate and argue with him. I was in a basic, college prep class so participation was usually on the lower end. I, just the year before had had to go through the trauma of putting down our beloved English Springer Spaniel Ashley because she was suffering from stomach cancer. The theme of euthanasia is the hardest theme of the book to grasp. To come to terms with. Other themes like friendship, fraternity, and the American dream also permeate through the pages.

This past semester in my Secondary English Curriculum class we had to do unit plans. These unit plans were on Of Mice and Men. I also had to do one for The Canterbury Tales in my Writing Process class. The picture below does not quite do this unit plan justice. The unit handout gives you an idea of what all I had to create as far as extra handouts and the lesson plans themselves. It was longer than the book itself- honest to goodness.

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Obviously, I myself had to reread the book for this class. I had to look at it from a different perspective. I had to ask myself teacher questions like “What could be focused on in this section?” “What is the importance of this quote?” “How would students react to this part?” Catch my drift?

I put a TON of work into this project. I also reread the book twice while working on it. I thoroughly enjoy this book. This time period of American history is one of my favorites. Also, that English teacher that I mentioned above- he presented it in a way that made me LOVE IT. I wanted to learn, I wanted to read, and he inspired me to write a unit plan that gave my students the chance to interact and get as much out of those 107 pages as I had as a student.

To speak to those 3 kinds of people I referenced towards the beginning:

1. I’m not a huge fan of John Steinbeck. I’m sorry. Grapes of Wrath is still sitting on my self not even a quarter of the way read. BUT, he captured a moment in time, and addressed some very real issues in America then and issues that still drip through society today. I enjoy this book for so many reasons. One of them is that though it is short, it can pack a serious punch depending on who and how it is being read.

2. Students and adults alike could get something out of this book. It’s one of those books where, if read more than once with a few years in-between, each time it is read, new lessons and things stick out. For example, when I read it in high school, the big deal was euthanasia. As a college student reading it, I pay more attention to the relationships and interpersonal interactions that take place on the ranch. As a teacher I see how it all can be relative in the past, in the present and in the future.

3. If you are still in high school and just getting ready to begin- I know assigned books are a drag. I spent most of my high school and collegiate career putting assigned readings and books on the back burner because they are NEVER really that good. This one is, trust me. It’s all in what you make of it. See point #2 above. If you have graduated and STILL have not read this book. I am sorry. Truly, I am. If you were forced to read something like Huckleberry Finn but NOT Of Mice and Men at some point in your academic career, that is the fault of the department. Again, I will reference point 2 above.

Yes, this was the third time since February that I have read Of Mice and Men this year. It is my fourth time over all. It takes me about 2 hours to knock out depending on how in-depth I am reading and what I am expecting to get out of it this time around. Part of my unit plan was giving the students made up scenarios that people at that time may have faced. These ranged from farmers, single guys with no prospects, families on the coast wanting a new life, and one very similar to the situation of George and Lenny. The purpose of the exercise is to engage the students in the emotion. To get their wheels turning.

What would I do? What would I have done? I ask myself these questions a number of times throughout the reading. What would I have done had someone’s aunt asked me to take care of their mentally handicapped nephew? What would I do if my dreams suddenly had the potential to actually come to fruition after years of hardship and thinking it would only ever be a dream? What would I have done if I was in Lenny’s position? Candy? Slim? Curly’s wife?

Regardless of whether you are a 1, 2 or 3, I challenge you to really READ Of Mice and Men. Don’t just let the words and sentences float by. Stop now and again and answer those questions. Do some research into the time period. If you were placed in the same situation today would you make the same choices as the characters in the book? If you were placed in the same situation during the same time period of the book, do you think you would make the same choices then?

American literature classic. Everyone should read this book at least once, if not twice in their life time.

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If you would like more info on my Unit Plan: Handouts, Worksheets, ETC feel free to ask!

Fresh Strawberry Blueberry Lemonade

IT’S HAPPENING! The strawberries are coming in!

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All of that tender loving care popping buds, rearranging shoots, weeding, watering and loving has paid off! To read more about taking care of these precious plants check out Root and Shoot. The buds on the plants are everywhere! The strawberries are coming in so S L O W L Y right now that we are only getting a few at a time.  What is a girl to do!? Well, they’re not lemons but I make lemonade! Pink lemonade that is!

Ingredients-

Strawberries

Blueberries

Pink Lemonade mix

1. In a large pitcher muddle cleaned and sliced strawberries with blueberries.

2. Add in pink lemonade mix and fill pitcher. I usually start with some warm water to help dissolve the powder then switch to cool. Give a good stir.

Throw in some ice, and serve in a mason jar with a good book!

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For those of you who like to make homemade lemonade, I’ve got you covered.

4 cups of water

2-3 cups of sugar depending on how sweet you like it

3 cups of lemon juice- a lot of lemons

1. Juice as many lemons as it takes to get 3 cups of lemon juice. You may need to strain after to remove pulp if you have that problem.

2. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and water on medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved

3. In a pitcher muddle strawberries and blueberries.

4. Pour the lemon juice and sugar water over the fruit

5. Stir well and refrigerate until cool.

As with the other recipe, throw in some ice cubes, serve in a mason jar and pair with a good book!

ENJOY!

Soft, Fluffy Sugar Cookies

Yes, I already have a sugar cookie recipe. See HERE. No, they are not the same. Why? Because my brother is a prickly cactus.  The goober graduated high school and his party is this weekend.

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My last first day, senior year of high school, his first day of freshman year and then obviously his graduation. 🙂

He requested sugar cookies like you buy at the grocery store with that super sugary awesome frosting. Mom was going to buy them but OF COURSE I couldn’t let that happen. In true Anna fashion I looked up about 8 different soft, fluffy sugar cookie recipes, looked at the similarities and differences and went for it. I created my own kinda recipe. So far this method hasn’t failed me yet. These were super easy and at 9:30pm when I decided to make the dough so I could just make the cookies in the morning, I had all of the ingredients in the fridge and pantry to whip them up easily.

Ingredients-

2 sticks butter

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Directions-

1. Cream butter, sugar, sour cream and vanilla

2. Add in 3 eggs

3. Slowly add in flour, baking powder and salt

4. Mix only until dry ingredients are combined. DO NOT OVER MIX! I have a tendency to want to whip everything up thinking it will make it extra fluffy when really it can make it tough and dense. These are supposed to be FLUFFY. Just mix until there are no more pockets of flour.

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5. Make a cross with two piece of intersecting plastic wrap. Plop the dough in the middle and wrap it.

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6. Let refrigerate over-night or at least an hour.

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Pre-heat oven to 350. You have one of two options here. You can roll out the dough 1/2 of and inch thick and use a round cookie cutter or glass to get your desired shape OR you can simple take a large scooper, and gently smoosh down a bit as I did below.

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*I wrote this post between the night I made the dough and the next day when I actually made the cookies. Something I totally didn’t think about that I’m now sharing as an easy tip. Form the dough into a log an inch or so in diameter and THEN wrap and refrigerate it. After it has chilled you can use a serrated knife to just cut medallions about half of an inch thick and plop them down! This takes away having to scoop and press down! It’s done for you already.*

Cook 11-12 minutes. You do not necessarily want the cookies to get brown. There is no brown sugar in the recipe, and the ones you see in the store aren’t brown around the edges are they? NO!

Remove and cool on cookie sheet. Once cool slather on that yummy frosting- recipe found below.

6-8 cups powdered sugar (based on desired viscosity, sweetness etc)

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 stick of butter

3-8 tablespoons milk/heavy whipping cream (based on desired viscosity)

Food coloring- optional

Sprinkles/Jimmies- Necessary

1. Cream butter with vanilla.

2. Slowly add powdered sugar. It will be really dry

3. Add milk/heavy whipping cream until the frosting is at your desired thickness

4. Add food coloring at this point if you so desire.

5. Whip the frosting until it is smooth and fluffy

6. With a small spatula or knife slather on a nice thick layer of frosting

7. Top with jimmies

This will make a lot of frosting, but this recipe makes a lot of cookies and you need to put a healthy amount on each cookie. All of that frosting is totally necessary.

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My brother’s favorite color is green so I dyed the frosting a nice light green as to not dye everyone’s mouths green as well. There is just a little bit of crunch from the bottom but the rest of the cookie is nice and soft.

This recipe yielded 4-5 dozen. There’s a bit of a discrepancy from taste testing the dough and eating a few as they finished. 😉

Dracula- Bram Stoker

I do not like vampires. I do not watch Vampire Diaries, I detest the Twilight Series. I read them all AND have seen all of the movies. Still dislike them. I am totally not into that whole Sy-Fy thing. Pride and Prejudice Zombies still makes me shiver. I chalk this up to being way too into history for my own good. But I love Dracula. And I’m not just talking about Jonathan Rhys Meyers pretending to be Dracula, though I was quite upset when I found out it was canceled 😦

Dracula was written by Irish author Bram Stoker in 1897. Hollywood has put Dracula on the map as one of the most infamous villains ever. Sometimes he is tragic, sometimes he is all evil, sometimes you can’t even get through the movie because he is so cheesy it’s hilarious. His story has been taken and twisted and morph so many time and in so many ways- and yet so few people actually read Dracula. Not many people take the time to find out where the monster came from.

I took the time. It took me forever because I read more than one book at once but I took the time. Again, I’m soooo not into the whole vampire thing, but I have 3 copies of the book and I’m trying to make my way through the classics. Every English teacher should read as many classics as possible.

It took me a bit to get into. I have found that writing from that particular time period are a bit on the tough side for me to grasp. Jane Austen took me forever to get down. But I can read EME (Early Modern English) like I was born doing it my whole life.

I liked how it was written from so many point of views in different forms. Sometimes it was a letter, other times it was like reading a diary. It bounced around from character to character so that the reader can get a full understanding and view point of what is happening throughout the story. Some people have difficulty reading a book like that trying to keep up with the characters and who is speaking at what time- I LOVE IT! I find that it helps push the story along for me. When one narrative ends, I find myself pushing through the next trying to find out what happens next. As I’ve discussed previously, I get very attached to my characters-the books themselves really. While I am reading a book it is like I am walking through it with them. I walked with Mina as she traveled with Dracula, I felt the emotions of poor Lucy.

I could never read this book at night before I went to bed. For some people, like my mother, reading puts them to sleep. For some people, like me- it wakes me up. My heart gets pumping, my mind goes 100 miles a minute asking questions, “What is going to happen next?” “Who is she going to say yes too!?” “I hope this doesn’t happen, OH GOD IT’S HAPPENING,” “What would I do if I was in that situation?” I also hate scary things so this was a day time read only for me.

By the end of it, I was lost in the world of Dracula. I was sad, I was angry, I was happy, I was relieved, I felt all sorts of emotions. The book was nothing like the cheesy movies with Dracula walking around saying “I’m going to suck your blood.” It was nothing like the vampires from other works of literature, TV shows and movies. And I loved it. Every page. Every time I thought my heart would stop. Every time I wanted to throw the book. Every time the characters did exactly what I told them not too. It was fantastic. What is not fantastic is how Hollywood has destroyed the idea of the vampire and Dracula. Seriously, there should be a prison for people who destroy things like this.

Dracula has become one of my favorite classics, and I’m glad I have multiple copies.  I highly suggest reading it, it’s a great summer read. Many people THINK they know the story of Dracula. I challenge those of you reading this to read it for yourself, or reread it perhaps. Learn about the monster who inspired authors, producers, writers, and actors; even if they have bastardized his story a bit along the way.

auction-dracula

I love how the first edition of Dracula is bright yellow. It’s almost like Bram Stoker wanted people to think it was going to be a bright and cheery book. HAHAHAHA

PS- Search Google Images for “Dracula” the pictures are hilarious. So is looking up “Dracula Book,” seeing how the cover has changed over the decades, and how Dracula has had more than one makeover over the centuries.