Night Film: A Novel

It’s been a couple of days since my last post.  No excuses for this post being late, except I got caught up in a good book.  I borrowed a copy of “Night Film: A Novel” by Marisha Pessl from my library.  A little fact about me, I do judge a book by it’s cover.  I’m terrible at that.  I also usually read trashy historical romance novels.  They’re my kryptonite.  However I made a deal with my kids this summer, they read something other than Diary of whatever and other popular books steered towards the upper elementary school ages, and I’ll read something not historically romantic.  It’s a win win.

So anyway, I saw a pin on pinterest that included this book and thought I would try it.  Here’s the description of the book, taken from Amazon:

“On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.”


Lovely, isn’t it?  The book sucked me in.  The only time when I put it down was when life need attention.  It took me 3 days to read this book, finally finishing at 12:30am this morning, only because I felt like a quitter if I considered putting it down to sleep so close to the ending.  The ending was written in a true Cordova style, leaving unanswered possibilities as to what happens next.

i give it 4 stars.  It is long (I’m a fast reader, usually finishing a novel in a few hours, this one took me a few days), the ending isn’t what I would have expected, and there’s a lot of details.  Those are the cons.  The pros: it keeps you interested.  I love that I felt like part of the team when the articles and such popped in.  It gave me more background into the mystery of Stanislas Cordova

It’s an excellent read.  I recommend it. 


I borrowed and read this book for my own pleasure, and have written this review mainly as someone who is telling a friend.  I have not received any sort of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. 

I’m back with a bit of a plan

A few weeks back the family and I were heading out fishing and I told my husband about a story idea I had.  He loves hearing about my story ideas, but then we usually go back to our life, the story fizzling out of our thoughts and dying.  I’m not one to finish a project very often when I start, for example this awesome blog, it fizzled out after a few posts.  But this time was different.  My husband, after hearing this story idea, encouraged me to start writing it.  Which I did start writing it.  Then it got pushed to the side for a bit while I started writing another short story I had pop into my head.  That too sadly has been pushed to the side while life goes on.

However, I’ve found myself with the writing bug again, and have decided to start blogging, just for the purpose of getting into the habit of writing.  My life is not that interesting, and we’re pretty broke at the moment, so there isn’t going to be any awesome projects that I can just go pick up what I don’t have and start doing it.  This blog will end up being another one of those Mommy blogs probably, with recipes I’ve tried and other mommy blog paraphernalia.  That’s just sad, however, since I am not one of those Mom’s.  My house is a mess, my kids are a mess, my life itself is messy. 

The purpose for me is to write, consistently, so then I can continue and maybe even finish that short story, then the larger story.  So if you have any suggestions, please feel free to tell me. 

Chili Paleo Style

I”m back!  Boy the end of the year was hectic.  Christmas, New Years, my kids being off from school for a week in a half for the holidays, and the kids catching the flu bug.   I tell ya, I wasn’t happy about that one.  Normally we don’t get the flu bug, I don’t really believe in it, but this year the doc talked me into it, being as Mitchell is just a baby and all.  Then this nasty version of influenza B starts going around, hear it was a mutated strain, not covered under the vaccine, yada yada yada.  Long story short, my kids all got sick, Becca the worst, Mitch was miserable, Janie wasn’t so bad, just a day or two under the weather.  Jason got a head cold with fever, and I had a bit of a sinus issue going on.

Big things have happened.  I signed up for a weight loss challenge, yay me!  Got lots to lose and this will be my year, yessiree bob!  Also, have become a recent Paleo convert.  Now, you’re probably think, Amanda, what in tar-nation is Paleo (okay, probably not that exactly, but close enough)?  Paleo is a lifestyle diet (diet meaning food, not diet like I’ll eat nothing but salad, lose 30 pounds, have one piece of bread and balloon up to fifty more).  It’s also known as the caveman diet.  Basically, if you can hunt it, catch it, forage it, you can eat it.  And I love it!

I found this lovely wonderful recipe on Multiply Delicious.  I had been reading about the lifestyle for a little while, searched the word Paleo on Pinterest, and found  her there.  She does an awesome description on Paleo, and has some wonderful recipes.


I took the picture as I was putting the leftovers away, we don’t eat out of glad ware containers.

Chili, Paleo Style

(on a side note, this is kid approved!  Totally blew my mind, thought my kids were going to hate it!)

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or bacon grease)

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced, or 1Tbsp minced garlic

1 pound grass-fed beef (I just used hamburger, it was what I had)

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoons cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano (didn’t add the oregano, I was all out)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (didn’t add this, my kids don’t like spicy and I thought it was getting to be a bit much)

1 zucchini, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (with the juice)

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 avocado, diced (optional)

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add oil to heat.  Add diced onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onion are translucent.  Add beef and break up into crumbles as it cooks.  Cook beef until no longer pink in color.  Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, oregano, sea salt, cayenne pepper, diced zucchini, diced carrots, diced sweet potato, can of crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add cilantro and stir to incorporate.

Serve chili with diced avocado.

Makes about 6-8 servings

Coffee Filter Wreath

I must say I like this one.  It was cheap, easy, and really pretty when I was done.

While there were quite a few pictures up, this was really the only tutorial I found.  Liz at Recaptured Charm did a wonderful job showing how this wreath was made, that I had no problems with mine.

I bought a pack of foam pipe covers from Walmart for wreath forms.  I bought a pack of coffee filters from the dollar store.  I already had the glue gun and glue sticks.

First I formed the wreath with duct tape.  Not the prettiest job, but no one is going to see it.


Then I started folding the coffee filters, waiting for the glue to warm up.


Then around the wreath they go.  Ended up with about 5 rows, with stuffing in holes here and there.  Fluff it up, put a ribbon on the back, put an old bow I got from Grandma on the front, and hung it up.


All together it took me a few hours, probably less if I wasn’t interrupted so much (my interruptions made me take a few days here and there).

All together my cost was less than $2 for one wreath.  A+

Teething Biscuits

Thank you Lish at Imprintalish for writing up this wonderful recipe.  Seriously.  I have a ton of baby food (Mr Mitchell is helping us with our regular food in addition to) to use up, and I need to find things for him to chew on during the day.




1 cup flour
1 cup dry infant cereal
1 jar of baby food
2 tsp seasoning (which is optional, I left it out)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water

Mix it up, roll it out, cut it up, bake at 425 F on a greased cookie sheet 10 minutes or so.

I decided to use Applesauce, Chicken in Broth, and Carrots (all separate batches, just in case you were going ewww).  Made carrots first.  While mixing it up, I didn’t follow the recipe and added another jar.  Big mistake, had to add a bunch more oatmeal to get it back to consistency.  Read the directions!


Mr. Mitchell’s first bite was like “what?”.  But he ate it, along with a few more throughout the day.

Next day I made a batch of chicken.  He has a problem eating the meats, and I have all these jars, so I was hoping for a chicken biscuit (in which my sister lovingly pointed out sounded like the dog biscuits she makes, thanks).  Made it, baked it, cooled it, served it.


I do believe Mr. Mitchell likes it.  Also, the way he went after it, he may like it better than the carrot (of course I didn’t screw up the recipe like I did carrot).


If y’all are probably wondering about the applesauce, my girls served it to him with his dinner, so haven’t gotten to make it.  But it should be a success also.

Sharpie Plates, Sort Of

So I’ve been seeing a ton of posts featuring white dinnerware and sharpie markers, making super cute designs on them, baking for half an hour, and voila!, instant decorative plate that is food safe and hand wash only.

sharpie mugs

Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess showcased this tutorial, using regular black sharpie markers and dollar store mugs.

I was going to try it.  But then I started digging, (I was looking for cool designs I could put on mine for Christmas) when I started coming across posts debunking this method.  I guess the sharpie washes off, as shown here.

The trick is not regular markers, but their special oil based paint pens.  Since no one in my little backwoods town carries them, and I really didn’t want to special order them, I just bought some paints for glass and ceramics.

And because any good project cannot be done with my children’s help, I let them go at it.


My supplies.


Mugs for their teachers.  The angle is bad, but they have best teachers painted on them.


My husband told them he wanted mugs for him and me, and let them have at it.  Then they wanted to do a plate.  I’m pretty sure those are flowers on the plate and mugs.


Here is the plate I did.  I’m going to use it for a Christmas present, maybe have some cookies on it, and when the cookies are gone, surprise, a very pretty plate underneath.

Painted them, and baked them for half an hour.  Hopefully the paint is set, but will be testing the Joy plate in the sink, just to see if it will hold.  I really hope so.

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

I like trying new recipes, especially when they look super yummy.  This one did just that.

potato soup2_thumb[2]

Can’t tell me this doesn’t look good.  Team Carroll at Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour featured this a while back, and I finally got around to trying it.


I threw everything in but the cream cheese.  I didn’t have any cream of chicken soup, so I did a mixture of flour, broth, and butter for substitute.  Let it cook for about 7 hours, adding the cream cheese in very small chunks an hour and a half before serving.  The cream cheese is added when super soft (I left it out all day to make sure of it) and it is supposed to melt in the soup, making it all creamy.


It didn’t.  You can see in this picture the cream cheese totally didn’t melt, at all, didn’t blend, makes it look pretty yucky in fact.  That wasn’t going to stop us however, and I dished up bowls with promises of pizza if all went wrong.


Added toppings of bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese, and I even added broccoli to mine, we took the first bite, and, surprise, we loved it!

Next time I may forgo the cream cheese, and just add sour cream, because that gave it the look of creaminess I was searching for.  I may also cook it longer, the potatoes were a little hard yet.  They were soft enough to eat, but not mushy soft either.

I give this recipe a B-.  Good flavor, easy to make, but problems with not melting cream cheese, and hard potatoes.