Thursday, March 18, 2010

Truth is Stranger than Fiction Challenge - Completed

Finally finished my first book for the Truth is Stranger than Fiction Challenge. I have until February 28, 2011 to read six nonfiction books.

2. WAR - Sebastian Junger - finished July 20
3. With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa - E.B. Sledge - finished Aug 18
4. Too Late to Say Goodbye - Ann Rule - finished Sept 27
5. unSweetined - Jodie Sweetin -  finished Oct 26
6. Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero - Marco Martinez - finished Jan 23, 2011

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hogwarts Reading Challenge

Who knew there were so many different reading challenges out there? The Hogwarts Reading Challenge overlaps with my other ones so I decided to do it too. You get a point for each book you read that fits into one of the categories based on classes given at Hogwarts. The points go towards your house and whichever one has the most wins the House Cup.

The Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor. It's nice to know that I am worthy of being in the same house as Harry Potter.

Defence Against the Dark Arts - read any book that has defence (defense), dark, and/or arts in the title; read any book about self defense, war, history of war/martial arts, murder mysteries

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer - Nathaniel Fick (history of war - Iraq/Afghanistan) - finished March 18
Deception - Jonathan Kellerman (murder mystery) - finished April 17
The Burning Wire - Jeffery Deaver (murder mystery) - finished June 24
Broken - Karin Slaughter (murder mystery) - finished July 6
Private - James Patterson (murder mystery) - finished July 10
WAR - Sebastian Junger (history of war - Afghanistan) - finished July 20
Live to Tell - Lisa Gardner (murder mystery) - finished July 27
Caught - Harlan Coben (murder mystery) - finished August 2
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa - E.B. Sledge (history of war - WWII) - finished Aug 18
Lost Light - Michael Connelly (murder mystery) - finished Aug 27
The Postcard Killers - James Patterson (murder mystery) - finished Aug 31
Too Late to Say Goodbye - Ann Rule  (true crime murder mystery) - finished Sept 27
Don't Blink - James Patterson (murder mystery) - finished Oct 8
Cross Fire - James Patterson (murder mystery) - finished Dec 4
The Narrows - Michael Connelly (murder mystery) - finished Dec 12

Muggle Studies - nearly any book works here; what better way to understand Muggles than to read what they read

Think Twice - Lisa Scottoline - finished April 2
Daughters of Eve - Lois Duncan - finished May 1
Exquisite Corpse - Poppy Z Brite - finished June 5
Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard - finished June 11
Princess Mia - Meg Cabot - finished June 30
Ice Cold - Tess Gerritsen - finished July 14
Damaged - Alex Kava - finished Aug 7
unSweetined - Jodie Sweetin -  finished Oct 26
Edge - Jeffery Deaver - finished Nov 23

Care of Magical Creatures - read any book that has magical or creatures in the title or is about supernatural creatures

The Fury - LJ Smith (vampires) - finished March 25
Dark Reunion - LJ Smith (vampires) - finished March 29
Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz (vampires) - finished May 11
Masquerade - Melissa de la Cruz (vampires) -  finished September 10

Revelations - Melissa de la Cruz (vampires) - finished September 30
Wicked Appetite - Janet Evanovich (Unmentionables) - finished Oct 16
Fallen - Lauren Kate (angels) - finished Nov 14

Divination - read any book that has divine in the title; any book about psychics, psychic abilities, tarot reading, etc.

The Dark Divine - Bree Despain - finished April 12

Arithmancy - read any book that has arithmancy in the title, any book that has a number in the title or is about math/numbers

Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich - finished July 3

Friday, March 5, 2010

Courtesy of F Minus comics

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my step
The curl of my lips
I'm a woman phenomenally
Phenomenal woman
That's me

-Maya Angelou

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

365 Project

I'm not the world's greatest photographer and I don't have a cool camera (Sony Cybershot 6 megapixels), but I decided to do a 365 project. The point is to collect photos documenting one year of your life and posting one every day. To start off, I took a picture of the dinner I made tonight.

Picture courtesy of my 365 project

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best Picture Nominees

Since 2006, I've seen at least three of the five Academy Award for Best Picture nominees. Since there's ten this year, there's a much bigger selection to choose from. After reading the descriptions, I want to see 4/5 of them. That's a little better ratio than earlier years.

Avatar - my first ever 3D movie. It was pretty awesome and I watched it in great company :)
The Blind Side - somewhat sappy, but it was a cute movie
District 9
An Education - nvr heard of it before, but the description sounds good
The Hurt Locker - have this one at home .. I heart Jeremy Renner
Inglorious Basterds
Precious - read the book, just waiting for it be released March 10
A Serious Man - the description sold me on this one too
Up - this one's a maybe .. everyone says it's a cute movie
Up in the Air - this one was a maybe too, but who doesn't like George Clooney

Monday, March 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

On the third Thursday of every month, we have a birthday party at work. I decided to make peanut butter chocolate chip cupcakes since I already had all the ingredients. The first time I made these was in December for a welcome home/Christmas present for the Marine.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (makes 12)


1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an extra mixer on medium speed, beat butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until smooth and light in color, about one minute. Scrape down sides as needed. Mix in egg and vanilla. Beat for one minute or until smooth.

On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until flour is incorporated and batter is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill each cup to about 1/3 inch below the top. Bake just until tops feel firm and are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Cool cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on wire rack.

To top them off, I bought Pillsbury chocolate frosting. Apparently, that's not allowed in your carry on baggage and given the option, I did not want to frost the cupcakes in the middle of the airport. I think they tasted absolutely delicious without the frosting so I chose to serve them the same way at work.