Friday, October 21, 2016


By Beatrice Ojakangas
Published by University of Minnesota Press

Beatrice Ojakangas, the oldest of ten children, came by it naturally—the cooking but also the pluck and perseverance that she's served up with her renowned Scandinavian dishes over the years. In the wake of the Moose Lake fires and famine of 1918, Ojakangas tells us in this delightful memoir-cum-cookbook, her grandfather sent for a Finnish mail-order bride—and got one who’d trained as a chef. 
Ojakangas’s stories, are, unsurprisingly, steeped in food lore: tales of cardamom and rye, baking salt cake at the age of five on a wood-burning stove, growing up on venison, making egg rolls for Chun King, and sending off a Pillsbury Bake Off–winning recipe without ever making it. And from here, how those early roots flourished through hard work and dedication to a successful (but never easy) career in food writing and a much wider world, from working for pizza roll king Jeno Paulucci to researching food traditions in Finland and appearing with Julia Child and Martha Stewart—all without ever leaving behind the lessons learned on the farm. As she says, “first you have to start with good ingredients and a good idea.”
Chock-full of recipes, anecdotes, and a kind humor that bring to vivid life the Finnish culture of northern Minnesota as well as the wider culinary world, Homemade delivers the savory and the sweet in equal measures and casts a warm light on a rich slice of the country’s cooking heritage.

Wow. I am completely enthralled by this cookbook/memoir from Beatrice Ojakangas' kitchen. She talks about her family's life and history in between recipes and it's just put together so beautifully. I really appreciated how Beatrice went in depth on each of her recipes explaining everything so that even my husband, who can barely cook boxed macaroni and cheese, could understand. I wish there would have been pictures of the finished product but I enjoyed looking at her family photos.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend Homemade for any kitchen. The recipes are easy to follow and Beatrice's story is a wonderful accompaniment. This would be a perfect Christmas gift in my opinion. The receiver can not only curl up on the couch planning the family dinner but enjoy a little memoir and history to go with it. Thank you to Netgalley, University of Minnesota Press and Beatrice Ojakangas for a wonderful cookbook and story to read.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fifty Nifty Facts About Cats

By J. M. Chapman and S. M. Davis
Published by Valpine Press

Cats have lived with humans for almost ten thousand years, and in that time we’ve learned a lot about our furry friends. Did you know cats have a dominant paw? That cat spit causes allergies? That cats shouldn’t drink coffee? Discover these nifty facts and many more in this delightfully colorful, picture-packed exploration of America’s most popular pet!

Are you a crazy cat person or just have a love of cats? Even if you just like quick and factual reads this is the perfect book for either. This is the first book about cats that I enjoyed. I have two holy terrors myself and it's nice to learn about them and know more. We've had cats for years but I never knew some of the facts listed like how cats can drink salt water because their kidneys can filter out the salt. Did you also know that cat's saliva can cause allergies? I actually knew this one because I am allergic to cat saliva, I break out in hives if they lick me or if I pick up a cat after they just bathed.

The pictures are the perfect accompany to the facts the authors laid out. Every time I turned a page I kept saying "aww" or "aren't you so cute?" It amazes me how the photographer was able to capture some of those pictures. I can not get my kittens to sit still long enough for a decent picture let alone trying to recreate some of those pictures. There is also a happy mix of informative and silly facts.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this book to all cat lovers. If you have kitties you should have this book. Even if you don't have kitties but love cute pictures and fun facts you will love this book. Thank you to Netgalley, Valpine press and authors Chapman and Davis for this enjoyable read in exchange for an honest review.

Bookmark DIY: Duct Tape Bookmark Corner

This is a super easy super quick diy bookmark. I made it in under 3 minutes and used items I had around the house. 

All you need are scissors, duct tape and a used envelope. I'm using junk mail envelopes because I have plenty. 

First I held up the envelope to the duct tape to judge where to cut so the corner has some excess tape on top. The only part of the corner you want meeting the edge of the duct tape is opening.

Make a small cut where you want to start. Don't mind my foot hahaha.

Cut the edge off the envelope, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Judge how long the tape needs to be.

Lay the envelope corner on the duct tape lining the bottom's edge together. Like I said earlier, leave a little space at the top so the other side has something to stick to.

Cut a 2nd piece of duct tape for the other side of the bookmark. You don't have to use the same design tape if you don't want to. You can have different sides. It would make things more fun.

Make sure the bottom can still open up.

Cut the excess tape away on both sides.

Just make sure when you cut the tape away that you do not cut right up against the envelope corner. Leave a little bit of room so the corner still stays intact and the duct tape is sticking to itself just past the outside corner lines. As you can see mine is not a perfect triangle but it doesn't need to be which is perfect because I suck at cutting out perfect triangles.

Slip it on the corner of the page you want to save.

It will hang out of the book a little but that just makes it easier to find.

And there you have it. Cute easy bookmarks that are fun to make.

What designs did you use? Did you tweak the design and use bubble scissors or add embellishments?
Add you pictures in the comments. Hope you enjoyed!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Christmas at the Dog and Duck

Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton. Working shifts at The Dog and Duck and running her own doggy-day-care business, Ellie’s looking for a much simpler way of life and a good old fashioned Christmas.
But Little Leyton’s landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie’s ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding, has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie’s heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life’s looking a whole lot more complicated…
Can Ellie juggle her emotions and commitments in time to celebrate Christmas?

When I first read the summary I thought this was going to be an adorable Christmas story about a woman and animals she worked with in a pet related business called the Dog and Duck. I got part of it right. This is a story about Ellie who returned home to Little Leyton to stay. She is working at the Dog and Duck pub and running her own dog walking business.

I expected there to be more of a Christmas atmosphere in the book since Christmas is in the title. The tale spans over a year and Christmas really comes to play in at the end.

With that being said I very much enjoyed this read. It was an adorable and fun love story. The ending was my favorite part and I can't give anything away but it made me happy.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend Christmas at the Dog and Duck to any readers who enjoy fun romantic stories. Thank you to Netgalley, Aria publishing and the wonderful author, Jill Steeples. I will enjoy reading more of her books.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By Ace Collins
Published by Abingdon Press
Release date of October 4th, 2016

From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas.

This book really makes it the most wonderful time of the year with a full month of scripture and history and gift ideas. This would be a perfect early Christmas gift for your Christian family or friends. I would consider it the adult version of the advent calendar with history, new treats or gift ideas to discover the countdown to Christmas AND a few days more till New Year's. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I have a friend who is a Pastor and I think I found his Christmas gift. I'll have to give it early so he doesn't miss a day. 

Ace Collins did an amazing job and obviously a lot of hard work researching for this book. I loved that there was a little bit of everything in this book and cannot wait to try some recipes. 

Thank you for this experience Netgalley, Abingdon Press and Ace Collins for a wonderful devotional.