Reading More: Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death

A copy of Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger was made available to me by the publisher at no charge to me through NetGalley. The opinions are my own.

From Amazon.

Everyone knows that Rose Kaplan makes the best matzoh ball soup around—she’s a regular matzoh ball maven—so it’s no surprise at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors when, once again, Mrs. K wins the honor of preparing the beloved dish for the Home’s seder on the first night of Passover.

But when Bertha Finkelstein is discovered facedown in her bowl of soup, her death puts a bit of a pall on the rest of the seder. And things go really meshugge when it comes out that Bertha choked on a diamond earring earlier stolen from resident Daisy Goldfarb. Suddenly Mrs. K is the prime suspect in the police investigation of both theft and murder. Oy vey—it’s a recipe for disaster, unless Rose and her dear friend Ida can summon up the chutzpah to face down the police and solve the mystery themselves.

Ida and Mrs. K are on the case!

Told through Ida’s bubbe like narrative, this story was a bissel nosh for the brain. It wasn’t a great book, but it was a cute story peppered with Yiddish and charming exchanges. I found many of the resolutions too convenient and far-fetched, but it was good for a road trip or late night read.

Is this a book you’d be interested in reading? What do you like to read when you want some bubblegum for your brain?

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Frank said…#95

This is part of the Frank said feature. You can see more here.

Frank was going to McDonald’s for some breakfast and as he was leaving we had the following exchange.

Frank: I’ll be back shortly.
Me: Okay babe.
Frank: If I do not return, avenge me!
Me: [bewildered] And just who am I to avenge you to?
Frank: [rolls eyes] Ronald McDonald.

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Thursday Three – Things to share


Hungover puppy.
Definitely how we used to feel after Lance’s birthday

Howdy ho. I have to make this quick so I can finish weaving tails and get packing for a work trip tomorrow. I didn’t look closely enough at the calendar when I agreed to everything this week so I’m a little all over the place. I’m also a little sad because when this posts, it’s actually Lance’s birthday and I miss him.  I’m totally getting a gf cupcake if I can later to celebrate. Maybe a cocktail too. I’ll have to see how the trip to Lake Placid goes!

Just a few other things to share today:

  1. Frank and I are officially hosting our first Thanksgiving! I’ve done turkey dinners, helped with Thanksgiving before, but this is the first time it’ll be me. Well Daddy-O is bringing lasagna because it’s delicious and why not? Now to figure out what else to make…
  2. I’m officially down 1.4lbs since I last shared. That’s almost halfway to my first 3lb increment. I was down more but yesterday wasn’t my best food, salt and water day and it’s only “official” on Thursdays. I am also cumulatively down 1.5 inches (over 8 total measurements). I’m drinking an insane amount of water, and keeping track of everything in myfitnesspal.
  3. My boss shared a new site and ap with me and I love, Love, LOVE! the concept. It’s called Dyne and they describe themselves as “DYNE is a community marketplace that connects members by making local, sustainable meals convenient. DYNE effortlessly brings hosts and guests together through their shared interest in authentic, home cooked food.” Basically it’s an app for people who want to cook for people who want to eat and to make a little money off it maybe. If you want to cook, you post your menu and price, and someone who wants to eat can see it and pay to join you.  People get rated on both sides and you can look at their profile before you agree. People who cook take care of everything and people who eat don’t have to do anything other than pay and show up. Think of it like a gastro-matching site.
    I think this is a super fun idea and would love for it to take off around here but don’t know that it would yet. Right now it’s only in Seattle, but I could see it getting big in lots of places.

So what’s new with you? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Would you try something like Dyne if it came to your area? Would you cook or eat?

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A productive weekend, photos, and a question for you


It’s hard to tell, but we climbed in our giant pile of leaves.
It was fricken bright out there

Although the pool is open again, I am not teaching this session. I have a lot of reasons why I’m taking a break, but the biggest one is that I just don’t feel like it when I have lots of other things going on. Look at me taking something off my plate and letting someone else take care of it! I call that personal growth. Go me!

I’ve been plugging along on the whole crafting thing, but with one week to go, I threw the crafting into overdrive because I’m not anywhere near where I think I should be for it. I alternate between excitement and anxiety that it’ll be a huge failure. I’m excited to do this and ridiculously nervous that one of two things will happen: a) that everyone will hate my work, think it’s too expensive or just ignore me or b) that it’ll be a huge hit and I will run out (seriously unlikely, I know)  I have a feeling it’ll be somewhere in the middle.


By the really pretty lake before his race.

I took a few breaks for things like food, leaf raking and flower bed clean out (9 bags later the front is done, we won’t talk about the back yard), Frank to run the After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon and I did a bunch of food prep for the week including pasta sauce, steel cut oatmeal, and cooking down some berries that were getting a little iffy looking but made an awesome strawberry sauce.

I also took a nap when I realized I was in danger of poking myself in the eye with my crochet hook as I nodded off into the wrister I was working on. Crafting can be dangerous and I’m sure no one wants a previously drool covered item.


See? Giant piles of leaves.
Ignore the brown spot on the lawn behind me.
That was from the hot water tank weekend.

While I was crafting, I half watched a couple of movies and a bunch of crap that I can’t recall right now. The first was Expecting Amish which was about as awesome as Jesse McCartney and the Lifetime Movie Chanel could make it and the other was the Time Traveler’s Wife which I did not find exceptional in any way other than being sad. It was alright, but I’m glad I didn’t read that book.

Also while crafting, I started thinking about questions to ask my next person for an Interesting People post. I’ve selected my friend Joe who writes professionally about hockey. If you have anything you’d like to ask a professional hockey/sports writer, let me know and I’ll try to include them in the list.

That’s about all the productivity to report for now, did you have a productive weekend?



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Frank said…#94

This is part of the Frank said feature. You can see more here.

I’d heard the deck door open and since its not particularly nice out I asked Frank why he’d gone out. This was his answer.

Me: What’d you go outside for?
Frank: I had to yell at a squirrel.
Me: Ahh what was it doing?
Frank: Barking, growling and convulsing at me. I wanted it to stop and go away.
Me: I see
Frank: So I went Ahhhhhhhhhhhh [demonstrates]  and it RAN!
Me: Good job sweetie
Frank: Yes.

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Thursday Three: Things to report.

Why hello there.  Did you enjoy yesterday’s post about Chris and Wheel of Fortune? I had a lot of fun with it and have some more interesting people coming up soon. But today for a little Thursday Three, I thought I’d bring you some snippets of semi newsworthy events.

  1. I’m pleased to report that nor Frank nor I have slipped in to a sugar coma after the lack of trick or treaters and the abundance of full sized candy bars that we have. (I don’t know if I mentioned it, but Frank really wanted to be THAT house and hand out full sized candy bars and I agreed. We were so very excited to see all the kids in costumes and the looks of glee on their little faces when they got a full sized treat. But we only got about 10 or so.) (I didn’t really eat much candy after the weekend. See point 3)
  2. We’re closing in on the Court is Crafty craft show and of course I’m no were near where I’d like to be, but it’ll be okay. I’ve been working my little fingers off and have some cool new things to show for it! Photos to come.
  3.  I finally looked at pictures from my cousin’s wedding and to say I’m less than pleased with myself is an understatement. I know my pants were getting a bit snug again, but I didn’t know it was that bad. I know I’m more than a number on a scale or how I look, but I’m really not comfortable in my own skin and that’s important too. I’m three days into a new myfitnesspal regimen and going strong! Well, yesterday was basically a food shit show, but today’s a new day and I logged in. (You can follow me as BakingSuit there if you’d like to be supportive. If you don’t want to be supportive but still follow me over there, you’re an evil person and I think there’s a spot in Hell for you. It’s not the spot by me.) I’ve made a little tracker to check in with because I like visual reminders. I’m not actually down a full pound, it rounds which is encouraging.  The above number is an ambitious goal, but I’m going to think of it as 3lb increments and hopefully it’ll be easier to stomach.

So, that’s what I have to report today. What do you have to report? Good things? Bad things? Links I should read? New sites to check out? Questions? Comments? Concerns? Winning lottery numbers?


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Interesting People: Wheel of Fortune Contestant

chris wheel of fortune

Photo provided by Wheel of Fortune and Chris

“You know some interesting people, don’t you?” I was asked by an ex after running into some of my friends. Why yes, I do know lots of interesting people and generally, I’m open to meeting more.

I’d thought I’d share a little bit about some of the interesting people in my life with you.

Today I’d like to introduce my step-bro, Chris. Can I take a second and tell you how much I adore him? He brings so many good things to my life. His sense of humor, his laugh, his general enthusiasm and his love of family are all things I really like about him.

While he’s an interesting guy for many more reasons, recently he was on Wheel of Fortune so I thought I’d pick his brain about his experience.

So Chris, how did you come to be on Wheel of Fortune? I know there’s an application process and auditions, but was it a whim? Did you win/lose a bet?

Wheel of Fortune does most of it’s casting with the “Wheel Mobile” which is a big truck that travels the country for casting calls. Back in December, Wheel announced that they were coming to South Florida for 2 days. The process is very random – everyone’s name is entered into the GOLDEN DRUM and if your name is picked, they bring you on stage for a quick interview and to solve a fake puzzle. By luck, my name was called and next thing I knew I was on stage completing my interview. I thought it went well but you really never know. They tell you that if you don’t hear back in the next 4-5 months, you probably won’t hear back at all.

In April, I finally got the email that I had made it to the next round of auditions. Myself and about 65 others all had to go to a conference room in Miami for the next round. Again, the whole process was so quick. Everyone in the room gets called upon to do some fake-spinning and fake-solving of puzzles. They are really watching you to ensure that you can call letters loudly and clap/smile insanely. The more clapping and smiling the better! They also give you a test with 16 half-filled out puzzles. The time for the test FLIES by- I think I may have gotten 8 of them complete.

They then cut down the room to about the top 25 for more fake-spinning, fake-solving, a fake Pat Sajak interview and a ton more clapping/smiling. From here, they send you all home with the knowledge that a handful will actually be on the show. They contact you by mail and if you don’t get a letter in 2 weeks, you will not get one at all.

Luckily for me, I had to travel for work for about 2 weeks and wasn’t home to check the mail neurotically. About two days after I got home, I checked the mail and can you believe it…a letter from Wheel! The letter said that I made the show and that they would contact me at some point over the next 18 MONTHS with my air date. They only give you 2-3 week notice for taping so you have to be ready to drop everything!

What kind of prep work did you do to get ready for the show?

I did a fair amount of studying for “Final Wheel”. My friends would pull up old answers, give me RSTLNE and then I would pick 3 contestants and a vowel. I was hitting those about 75% and getting a good rhythm for which letters I liked (Big H fan). Alas, I never got to put those skills to the test.

Pat Sajak always appears to be drunk. Does he smell like whiskey? And how much makeup does he really wear?

Pat was awesome!! No smell of Whiskey for me…he smelled great! Not sure how much makeup he wears but I can confirm that I had it caked on, and they keep adding more and more during every commercial break!

Does Pat seem like he’s one fake laugh away from going on a cursing rampage?

I could see that…it seems like Halloween Week in particular is stressful for him. There are extra sound effects (ex: cats screeching) that seem to set him off.

How does Vanna look up close?

I didn’t get as much Vanna close-up time as I did Pat but we did have one cool moment. Earlier in the day, myself and the whole week’s worth of contestants were in the back room practicing a promo that we had to tape. We each had to do a, “Hi, I’m so and so and watch me on Wheel of Fortune on ABC10″ or whatever your local affiliate was. Each member was standing up one by one to read their promos and then out of nowhere Vanna jumps in and starts reading hers! The room went nuts, everyone screaming and fainting and fanning themselves as if Obama has walked in. She was without makeup, hair pulled back and in sweats but still looked gorgeous!

A reader asks, how heavy is the Wheel?

Pretty heavy! I had hoped to get a “feel” of the wheel to be a good spinner but that was not to be.

A reader asks, were you afraid you were going to do something like one of these guys did?

Absolutely. That was the #1 salutation my fellow contestants and I said to each other, “Good luck – don’t become a Youtube sensation!”

What was the most nerve wracking part? The most fun part?

My taping was the 5th and final of the day so there was a lot of waiting and hanging around. I really wasn’t too nervous until the 4th taping when it really got real. But once the show started, it all happens so fast and was such a blur that it was impossible to really be nervous. That said, I think all contestants say that the “Pat interview” at the start of the show is the scariest part. I guess winning money was the funnest part LOL!

Which in your opinion was better? The actual turning letters or the push button screen?

I’m ok with the push-buttons and I love it when Vanna misses and has to press one again.

Are you disappointment that the Wheel of Fortune showcase shopping segments are no longer part of the show?

Haha that’s before my time a little bit. I’m just thankful I didn’t miss Pat or Vanna.

Thank you, Chris for answering our questions! If you have one for him about his time on Wheel of Fortune leave them in the comments below and I’ll see if he’ll answer more.

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Reading More: Gracefully Grayson and The Red Book of Primrose House

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky and The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate were  made available to me by their publishers at no charge to me through NetGalley. The opinions are my own.

I’ve been reading like a fiend lately because of all the goodies publishers have been making availible to me through NetGalley so I have two reviews for you today. I’ll only link to the summaries and try to keep things brief.

First up! Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

I liked the story of Grayson (biologically male) identifying himself as a girl and being part of his journey to express himself as such. From questioning himself and his feelings to taking a big risk and slowly letting his inner girl out, it was a well written, sincere narrative of a child facing his family, classmates and the world as his true self.

I loved that he explored his identity through theater and find people who didn’t care that he was different. It was refreshing to see that he had support from several adults and friends instead of being told that he was wrong wrong wrong!

You should read this book regardless of how you feel about the topic of gender expression/identity. Be forewarned that Grayson’s journey was not an easy one and that he was picked on and shunned by classmates and family.

Gracefully Grayson was great, but lets switch gears to an entirely different sort of book and talk about The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate.

Oh goodness this book was slow to get started, but I am not an avid British gardener or one generally interested in what goes into one. Once the characters started being developed in more detail it helped the plot along, but to me, the “who done it?” aspect of this was rather apparent and while the character development through examining each person was nice, some of it felt forced in just to make the book longer.

That said, I’d liked the story and would be interested in reading more about Pru, her adventures, and her fellow, Christopher, in future books. I hope they sort out the living situation. They make a cute couple.

I have lots more books to review and read. I’m excited to keep reading.

If you’d like to read one of these let me know and I’ll send you a copy (if more than one person wants one, I’ll pick at random and let you know.)

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Five on Friday: Random thoughts from this week

imageI’m feeling scattered today. I know, what else is new? Actually it was a pretty good week for me focus wise! And sleep wise, but that’s a whole other matter. I jotted down a few things that I wanted to blog about this week but when I sat down to do it, they ideas floated away.

Instead, I’ll share my notes/thoughts that I’ve had this week. I promise there’s almost no rhyme or reason to them.

  1. My pool looks really sad and lonely without any water in it. Okay so it’s not MY pool, it’s the pool I work at, but after 5+ years I feel like it’s mine. I took that photo last night when Daddy-O and I met for some family cardio. It dawns on me that I’m so much better at getting a workout in when someone else is there to meet me. I’ll cancel on myself, but not on someone else. I also got some funny looks from some of the women up there. I think it was that they were trying to place me because they usually see me in a bathing suit, not a tshirt and shorts. Or maybe they didn’t like that I was putting a little sass in my elliptical time. Who knows.
  2. Arctic Grape Ice Breakers Ice Cubes are spot on for any one who loved Grape Bubblicious bubblegum.  (Me! No shame about it here. Purple flavor rocks.)
  3. It makes me sad that the yoga studios in this area seem to have something against people who work “normal” hours. I can find exactly 3 yoga classes to attend before work. (I looked at the online schedules that were posted for the many studios/gyms that would be feasible for me to get to in the morning.) Most of them start after 8:30 or 9am. I realize there are bunch of retired people and stay at home moms or people who don’t work regular hours, but I think the studios or gyms would find themselves with a lot more coin in their pockets if they’d do a 6:30am class once or twice a week. I try to go to the one at my gym as often as I can and it’s really well attended so I have a feeling others would be too.
  4. Sunday I’m headed to Lancaster PA! I don’t know that anyone else would be particularly excited about such an exotic location, but my cousin is getting married on Monday so Momma and I are making the trek down. We might even hit up the outlets. (Nine West, Converse, and Fossil, I’m looking at you!) I’ll report back.
  5. If you have a sense of humor about religion (or aren’t a member of a Christian denomination) then you might find this Twitter to be funny. HolyBookofBible has such gems hbobtweets

It made me laugh, that’s for sure.

That’s it for now. Did you have any fun random thoughts this week?

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Reading More: The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

A copy of The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power and illustrated by Kathleen Rietz was made available to me by the publisher at no charge to me through NetGalley. The opinions are my own.


photo from Amazon

Can I tell you what a lovely day it was when I figured out I could look through NetGalley’s sections and request books that weren’t sent to me? Can I also tell you it was an accident? A super happy accident, but an accident none the less.

This accident brought me to the The ABCs of Yoga for Kids and I am delighted.

Aren’t happy accidents the best? Especially with free books…some of the free books aren’t so good.

From the Amazon,

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids uses the alphabet, rhyming vignettes, and colorful illustrations to introduce children to yoga in a kid-friendly way. Each of the fifty-six different poses featured in the book delightfully promote flexibility, strength, and coordination while encouraging children to incorporate healthy activity into their daily lives. Yoga is a noncompetitive form of exercise, suitable for children (and adults) of all ages and athletic abilities. Any activity for young children is important because the nation, including our youth, is under siege by obesity, stress, and diseases like diabetes, which stem from poor diet and lack of exercise. Yoga for young kids will create good habits and a foundation for well-being. Children have a lot of fun learning new positions, new letters, and new ideas. This book will delight and bring joy to the early yoga practitioner.

I don’t know about the promise of good habits and a foundation for well-being with one book, but if you can get a kiddo interested in something healthy that’s new, then that’s a good thing.

This book was super cute! The illustrations were beautiful photos, the description of each pose was done as a cute poem and overall I enjoyed it.

Some of the rhyming felt a little forced and I could probably come up with other poses for some of the letters, but if your little one is interested in yoga, this seems like a good place to start.

Is this a book you and your kids would be interested in?

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