Monday, May 28, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Maple Glazed Ham

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Crockpot Cooking - Katrina Roets - Maple Glazed Ham

Tired of ham yet? I sure hope not because both this week and next week are all about different types of yummy, sweet glazes! Mix it up! This one goes perfectly sliced and served alongside some pancakes or eggs or waffles or ....well, you get the idea!

Maple Glazed Ham:

Ingredients:
7-8 pound bone-in spiral-cut ham
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all natural maple syrup
2 cups pineapple juice

Directions: 
Unwrap and place ham into your crock pot, flat side down. Rub brown sugar on all sides. Pour on maple syrup and pineapple juice. 

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If possible, baste ham with collected juice from the bottom of the crock an hour or so before serving. When cooking is done, remove carefully and let it rest on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Slice, serve, enjoy!




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Friday, May 25, 2018

Where Did the Time Go?

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I've been looking at my screen for probably ten minutes, trying to find the words to say what's in my heart this morning. This morning of my oldest son's high school graduation. I never imagined that I'd be one of those moms who had to fight tears just seeing her son in his cap and gown, but here I am. I am totally one of those moms and I'm not ashamed to admit that.

You see, just over 18 years ago, when my tiny 5 pound 6 ounce baby boy came into this world, I never thought the years would fly by as fast as they have. It feels as if I just closed my eyes for a moment and here we are. When I was a young mom, I'd chuckle to myself when people would tell me this would happen. How could 18 years go by in the blink of an eye? Yet somehow they have.

I've watched this tiny baby grow up into a young man who is taller than I am. I've watched him take on every challenge life has handed him head on. I've watched him make friends and then realize that not everyone will be nice to you. I've sat back and watched while he dealt with bullying because he needed to know how to advocate for himself, even though I wanted to go up to the kids and shake them. I've watched him make what I think will be lifelong connections. I've watched him go from one grade level to the next, watched him make that transition to high school, and now I get to watch him graduate with a diploma.

When he was younger, I was warned that him graduating with a diploma might not be possible. His disabilities may prevent it. Instead, I watched him work hard. I watched as he would go over things and then go over them even more to try to do his best. I watched as he took his love of sports that he couldn't play and turn it into 4 varsity letters for managing the very sports that he loves. Ben will never be one to be happy sitting on the sidelines. He's a fighter. He's a hard worker. He's one great guy and I'm so proud to be his mom.

I don't know how this...

Ben Roets - Katrina Roets - Graduation 2018
Ben at an Early On party.
went to this...

Ben joined the Varsity Football team in 2016!



and now to this...

Ben is graduating!
Ben at the 2018 Senior Breakfast.
But somehow it's happened and while 18 years is, in theory, a long time, I wouldn't go back and change one single moment of being his mom. Congratulations, Ben! I hope you know just how proud of you I am.

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Book Review: Gods of Fear

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All things come to an end, even for immortals.

The Reverend was the key to defeating the usurper Wendell, that's what the dead had said. Now Christopher and Kyle must cross the vast wastelands that are North America to find him, unaware the goddess Shiva has sensed their presence and sent out her army to stop them while giving the mad Emperor back his mind in the process.

On the run and desperate for revenge, old friends become enemies, alliances are formed, and mutants abound as Christopher searches for his one hope for redemption.

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Well, that's it folks. The end of this trilogy has come! I can't believe it any more than you can but let's get to the review, shall we?

The Good:

This book kept me on my toes more often than not. The author has a vivid imagination which translates to the page incredibly well. This book brought in even more characters and each one added a new dimension to what was already a series that I was enjoying.

The Bad:

Good question. I'm really not coming up with anything off the top of my head. There were a few typos/grammar things but not enough that it took me out of the story. I'm only mentioning it because I feel as if I ought to put something into this category!

The Summary:

All in all, this entire series was an enjoyable read once I adjusted to the gore level. This series does stand on its own but there's enough there that it could easily spawn a second trilogy. I hope that it does. If you're into vampires, horror, and interesting plots, I can easily recommend this book and this series. Just don't wait too long between books or, if you're like me, you'll get a bit sketchy as to who the characters are at first. 





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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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wordsmith Wednesday: Let's Get Digital

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Life With Katie - Book Review - Let's Get Digital
I love the simplicity and colors of this cover!
Learn how to publish your work like a pro and start building your audience with the most comprehensive and up-to-date self-publishing guide on the market today. Packed with practical, actionable advice, Let's Get Digital delivers the very latest best practices on publishing your work and finding readers.

· Boost your writing career with marketing strategies that are proven to sell more books.
· Get expert tips on platform building, blogging and social media.
· Discover which approaches are best for selling fiction vs. non-fiction.
· Implement powerful ways to make your ebooks more discoverable.
· Increase your visibility by optimizing keywords and categories.
· Weigh the pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited, and find out exactly how to tweak your promotional plans depending on whether you stay exclusive to Amazon or opt for wider distribution.

And that's just for starters...

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My apologies that it's been a couple of weeks since my last Wordsmith Wednesday post. Life in the last month of the school year is crazy! Now...let's talk about this book...

This author was one that I kept seeing being mentioned as someone to check out, so I did just that! When I went on my "oh my gosh how am I going to be an author" book buying spree, I picked up this title from Amazon. Let's see how it broke down...

The Good:

There is a ton of information packed into this book. I have pages and pages and pages of notes that I know that I'm going to be reading over on a regular basis. The book is a lengthy one but one that excited me. I really felt as if I were learning things and this kept me going back to it every opportunity that I had. Mr. Gaughran lays everything out in terms that anyone can follow along with. He's down to earth and realistic with the amount of work that needs to happen and I appreciate that.

The Bad:

Links. I know that this is an e-book, but I really don't like to be reading along and suddenly coming across a link within the text. If the information is important, it should be included within the text. My Kindle is old and doesn't like opening links and when it does cooperate, flipping between that link and back to the book is a bit of a pain. After all, my Kindle doesn't have alt-tab that I can use. I would have preferred a list of links in the back of the book and have it left at that. I should point out that there was a resource section so this was done in part.

I also found the third part (other authors who have made it) to feel outdated. The authors all had their success about eight years ago when the market wasn't nearly as swamped as it is now. I would love to see this section updated with authors who have found their way in the past couple of years.

The Summary:

If you're serious about becoming a self-published author, this is a book that you need to pick up and spend many hours pouring over its pages. Like I said, I'm going to be going back over my notes because there was just so much information packed in that I want to be sure to absorb as much of it as possible. I can guarantee that as I prepare my next book for publishing, I'll be using the checklists that I made and hey, I might even get brave enough to get that mailing list set up soon!






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Monday, May 21, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Honey Glazed Ham

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Crockpot Cooking - Katrina Roets - Honey Glazed Ham

Ham...ham makes some of the yummiest sandwiches that I know and as we wrap up baseball season for the year, I've been looking for something delicious to pack in our baseball bag. Don't save this just for sandwiches though! Use it for a delicious, easy dinner!

Honey Glazed Ham:

Ingredients:
5-7 pound bone-in ham 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1/4 cup honey 
1/4 cup butter, melted 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 Tablespoon brown sugar 
2 teaspoons ground thyme 

Directions:

Unwrap ham and place into slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, butter, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and thyme. Pour mixture evenly over the ham. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until heated through.  

Serve with your favorite sides and then turn those leftovers, if there are any, into other delicious creations!





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Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Review: The Birth of Death

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Book Review - Katrina Roets - The Birth of Death
Book 2 in the Blood Gods Trilogy Christopher Von Calistein knew that if he was to defeat the usurper Wendell he would have to look to his past for guidance, a nagging voice in the back of his mind insisted it was so. Using a spell taught to him long ago he watched as the world around him was consumed by a plague mankind was unprepared for. Saw the young woman he had fallen in love with named Aurora grieve his passing, unmindful that he yet lived in undeath. Turned by the shadowy figure called The Beast who had haunted their every step . He felt the joy course through his body again as he watched his past self stalk his family one by one, changing them to be as he was. Then the real horror had begun as Christopher realized that to save his new race they must lead an army of those they preyed upon against the humans who had started it all. For the former rulers of the world had discovered a way to destroy their creations in the form of a being trapped inside an ancient mausoleum whose blood is the stuff of life and death, and whose existence Christopher had never suspected could be the key to destroying Wendall and his undead empire.

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It took me a bit, but I finally made time to read book 2 in this series! I'm glad that I did. Let me tell you why...

The Good:

Another story that grabs you from the first page and keeps you reading to the last. I found the entire story fascinating which is just what an origin story should be. It should not only walk you through the entire backstory but make you eager to jump back to the current time to see what's going to happen next.

The Bad:

I'm going to get nitpicky simply because there isn't a whole lot that I didn't like. There were some grammatical errors but most likely not enough that it would pull the average reader away from the story. Other than that, well, it's violent and if you have a vivid imagination, gory. That really isn't surprising though for a book about vampires, right?

The Summary:

All in all, another really good book by Ian Totten. I have the third book in the series and I'm already looking forward to breaking out my ancient Kindle and giving it a read! 






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Monday, May 14, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Greek Spiced Ribs

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Crock Pot Cooking - Katrina Roets - Greek Spiced Ribs

I love ribs. I don't think there's anything about ribs that I don't like, unless it's when they're all gone. For me, they're one of those foods that once it gets warm outside, I start thinking about them. I can't wait to get this recipe back into my crock pot!

Greek Spiced Ribs:

Ingredients:
4 pounds pork spareribs 
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon anise
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 
4 whole cloves 
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup orange juice

Directions:

Place ribs into crock pot. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar with all of the ground spices. Rub this mixture the best you can on all sides of the ribs. Throw in the whole peppercorns and cloves. Drizzle on the honey, and add orange juice.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

So, so good!




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Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Cat Show Princess

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Cat detectives Buckley and Bogey have barely advertised their new detective agency on the Internet when they receive a secretive email from a cat who claims she is in danger. Of course, the cat doesn't give any details, like who she is or what kind of danger she's in. Instead she mysteriously signs her name as P.A. and says she'll be at the St. Gertrude Cat Show on the weekend. To investigate, Buckley and Bogey soon find themselves at that very cat show. And, as part of their cover, Buckley enters the Cutest Family Pet Competition and Bogey enters the Agility Competition. Before they know it, they come nose-to-nose with a real, live Princess. One who even wears a diamond collar! That's when the boys uncover a case they can dig their claws in to, especially when they find evidence of a cat burglar stealing jewelry from the pet parents. But the boys really get their fur ruffled when they discover that P.A. is definitely in danger, and before long, so are they . . . Holy Catnip!

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If you've been following along, you'll know that I have fallen in love with this series of books. I'm so bummed that there are only four. These cats have become friends that when I'm having a bad day, I go to and spend time with them. In this book, they're at it again with more adventures, more friends, and just plain more awesome.

I honestly cannot say enough good about these books. I love them. Since the first time I read one, I've gotten to know the author and she's as lovely as the kitties that she writes about. Plus, she posts pictures of the real Buckley and Bogey plus her other wonderful cats. She loves cats as much as I do and that's a good thing.

If you're looking for a light mystery to lose yourself in, these are a great choice. If you know a middle reader, these are a great introduction to the mystery genre. If you like books, cats, adventures, or any combination of those, please check these out!



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Monday, May 7, 2018

Crockpot Monday: Dry Rub Pork

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Crockpot Cooking - Katrina Roets - Dry Rub Pork

I can't believe that I'm about to say this, but my oldest's last day of high school is in a mere 11 days. It doesn't seem possible that he's 18 and about to graduate. One of our big discussions around here has been what to serve at his open house. He wanted a dessert bar, but his stepmother wouldn't hear of it. So, she's going with hot dogs and the like along with a cake. Should be tasty...but I'm a tiny bit sad that they aren't going with the open house staple of pulled pork. What's a girl to do? Pull out her own tasty recipes for pork and dive right in!

Dry Rub Pork:

Ingredients:
1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
3 to 4 pounds pork roast (butt/shoulder)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground corriander
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 2 limes, for serving (optional) 

Directions: 

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the onion rings into the bottom of your cooker, spreading them apart. Place the pork directly on top. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and all dry spices to create a rub. Using your fingers, rub this all over the meat, flipping a few times to ensure good coverage.

Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat has lost shape and pulls apart easily with a large fork.

Serve over a bed of rice or quinoa, or stuff into pita pockets, lettuce leaves, etc. Squeeze lime over top if desired.


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Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks

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Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next case hits a little too close to home. Because someone has been breaking into houses and stealing all the Christmas presents! And the first two robberies even took place in their very own neighborhood. Holy Catnip! Of course, the boys leap in on all fours to investigate right away. Then it isn't long before they realize they are dealing with some real criminal masterminds, since these burglars know exactly how to cover their tracks. Plus, the crooks have the whole town of St. Gertrude on edge and they're threatening to ruin Christmas for everyone. But figuring out the identity of the Christmas Crooks isn't the only mystery around. After all, Buckley had just been adopted from the cat shelter this year, and this was the first he'd ever heard about Christmas. And he quickly finds out there is a lot to learn! From Christmas trees to Santa Claus, and jingle bells to the birth of baby Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas is a mystery to him. But he and Bogey can't really enjoy any of it until the Christmas Crooks are caught. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick these Christmas Crooks have set their sights on the boys' house, too! And the burglars are headed straight for their door. Holy Mackerel!

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I usually try to break down reviews into the good and the bad, but honestly, when it comes to Buckley and Bogey, there really isn't any bad. They're the perfect books to curl up with, along with your own cat, and spend an afternoon or evening just diving into. I can't get enough of all of the individual characters in these books. Every single cat has their own personality and their own way of doing things. It's very much like every cat that I have ever known. The stories draw me in, every time, and before I know it, I've spent hours reading and have zero regrets for doing so.

If you like mysteries or know a middle reader who does, these are the perfect choice. Honestly, I'm just going to stop writing because I'm just going to continue raving about how great these books are and I don't want the author to waste any more time reading this, if she does, because I'm hoping that she's writing more!



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