Friday, July 29, 2016

Game Review: Punderdome

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From the daughter-father duo that created Brooklyn's beloved live pun competition comes Punderdome, the "Punderful card game [that] will replace Cards Against Humanity at your next party" (Mashable.com).

One part game, one part conversation starter, you don't need to be a pun master to master Punderdome: the goal is to make bad jokes and have fun along the way.

A player (the prompter for that round) draws two prompt cards from the deck, and then reads the prompts to the rest of the group, who have 90 seconds to create a single, groan-worthy pun that combines the two prompts.  

When time is up, pun makers share their puns with the prompter, who awards the prompt cards to the player whose pun he or she likes best. The winner then draws the next pair of prompt cards and the process repeats. Players win by obtaining 10 pairs of cards.

Every Game Set Comes With:
·         200 double-sided cards (100 White and 100 Green)
·         2 Mystery Envelopes with fill-in prize slips
·         2 80-page pads for drafting puns
·         1 instruction card and 1 pun example card
·         A stu-PUN-dous time for 3 or more players

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When I saw this game, I was super excited. Who doesn't love a good pun? Okay, I know there are people but as someone who has multiple friends who are pun masters, I thought this would be great. Sadly, not so much.

If you play by the rules, you're given 90 seconds to take two topics and make a pun out of them. I'm afraid that most of our brains just didn't work that fast. We quickly discovered that it was a lot more fun to toss the rule book to the side and to just see what we could come up with.

Final thoughts? If you're a pun master, you may love this game. If you're not, this one is going to be a tough draw. It advertises itself as a replacement for Cards Against Humanity. Sadly, it's just wrong. I will say though that the packaging is lovely...which really feels like me just coming up with something nice to say.

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I was given a copy of this game for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Crockpot Monday: BBQ Chicken and Cornbread Casserole

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BBQ Chicken & Cornbread Casserole:

Ingredients:
1 pound of cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks (optional.)
1 red onion, diced (optional)
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (18 oz)
1/4 cup hot water

Cornbread topping:

If you use a mix, follow the directions (minus the oil or butter)
Otherwise, mix together:

3/4 cup corn meal
1.25 cups of flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

Spray the inside of your stoneware with cooking spray. Cut up the chicken and sweet potato, and add to the crockpot. Add the corn and the contents of the barbecue sauce bottle Add 1/4 cup of hot water to the bottle, shake, and pour that in, too. Mix well with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. Spread the topping on top of  the chicken mixture.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Book Review: The Cantaloupe Thief

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Branigan Powers knows a good story when she sees one—and the ten-year-old cold case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Resnick was stabbed in her home after she let it slip that she was planning to change her will. There are plenty of suspects in the death of the matriarch of the town's founding family, but the killer has never been caught.

Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story. She knows the town's homeless community might have seen something; she also knows that the local cops wouldn't have thought of questioning these often-invisible people. There's a big problem, though: as Branigan starts digging, the homeless start dying. When her twin brother, a long-time addict, gets involved, the consequences of her investigation may hit a little too close to home.

Set in the fictional small town of Grambling, Georgia, The Cantaloupe Thief is the first in a new mystery series by Deb Richardson-Moore. The author is herself a former journalist and works extensively with the homeless, lending weight to the portrayal of a believable and engaging whodunit.

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What happens when your allergies wake you up in intense pain at 1:30am and it takes forever for pain medications to kick in? You pick up the closest book and you start reading...and in this case, you keep reading until the bendadryl has you nearly comatose and then the next day you pick the book right back up and finish it. That's what happened with this book.

I am incredibly impressed that this is that author's first mystery novel because the mystery is part of what kept me reading right up until the last page. I honestly had no idea who had done it. My favorite part of this book? The author uses her story to remind us all to take better care of the people around us and that nobody is invisible. We all have worth. It's easy to forget what others are going through, but we need to be aware.

What else can I say about this book? It had just the right blend of mystery, tugging on the heart strings, social consciousness, and honest to goodness good old fashioned enjoyable reading. From what I've found out, this is only the author's second book, but I certainly hope that it isn't her last. It would be a downright shame not to make this a series!


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Balsamic Chicken

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Balsamic Chicken:

Ingredients:
4-6 boneless skinless frozen chicken thighs
1 whole head of garlic
2 zucchinis
2 yellow squash
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Directions:

Salt and pepper your chicken pieces. Place the chicken into the crockpot. Wash and cut all of your vegetables and put into a mixing bowl. Peel the head of garlic, but keep the cloves intact. Toss the vegetables and garlic with balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Add the vegetables to your crockpot.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is delicious served over something like quinoa.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: Like a River From Its Course

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An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hopeThe city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little--known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Fuhrer's plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

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It's rare that a book reaches out, grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go. This book does just that. Told from four points of view, this book shows you a side of war that they don't teach you sitting in a classroom. Don't get me wrong. Dates, locations, names of the major players are important, but this book shows what war really is. It shows the personal side, how it affected the average person and how those average people survived.

This is a book that every history student should be made to read. I laughed, cried, mourned, and celebrated with each of the characters. I was picking this book up every free moment that I had and I won't lie when I say that this book changed me and put me in touch with a time that happened before I was born. When time passes, we become disconnected. This book reconnects people with what was truly a terrible time. I cannot recommend this book enough.


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Apricot Barbecue Wings

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Apricot Barbecue Wings:

Ingredients:
3 pounds chicken wings
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 (18-ounce) jar apricot preserve
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Directions:

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Spread the wings out on a large cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. This browns the skin nicely.

Put the hot wings into your cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, apricot preserve, dry mustard, and Tabasco sauce.  Pour over top of the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through but still attached to the bone.


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Monday, July 4, 2016

Crockpot Monday: French Toast Bake

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Ingredients:

1 whole loaf of bread (raisin bread is fantastic, but choose your favorite)
1 dozen eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups of milk
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, or other desired nuts (optional. I did not use nuts this time.)

Directions:

This is a larger recipe so you may need to use a 6 quart crockpot. If you don’t have one, you may need to scale back the recipe.

Grease the inside of your crockpot very well with butter, shortening, or cooking spray. Slice your bread into large slices (if it's already sliced, just dump it in) and place the bread into the crockpot.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla together. Pour on top of the bread.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is done when the bread has soaked up all of the liquid and the egg has cooked (you can tell because you'll see bits of cooked egg stuck to the bread).

If after 8 hours, everything looks done, but there is still liquid in your crockpot, take the lid off and let it cook for a bit without it.




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