Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Today is Harry Potter author Jo Rowling's 42nd birthday!

Happy Birthday, Jo, and thanks for the incredible tale that is Harry Potter!

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Today is also Harry Potter's birthday! If he were a living being, he would be 27 years old!

Happy Birthday, Harry!

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Celebrate by reading a Harry Potter novel, seeing the latest film, and having a Harry Potter Party! (I am going to see the film again, this time at the IMAX!!)

For more information on Harry Potter, visit:
J.K. Rowling's Official Website
Mugglenet.com (You can find out what a Muggle is, if you don't already know)
Or any of the other HP sites on my sidebar.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Book Review: Letters From Pemberley

The second Jane Austen book I was sent and asked to review is Letters From Pemberley: the First Year by Jane Dawkins. (You can read my first review, of Old Friends and New Fancies, here.)

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As the title implies, Letters From Pemberley: the First Year is a series of twenty-five letters from the new Mrs. Darcy (aka Elizabeth Bennet) to her sister, the new Mrs. Bingley (aka Jane Bennet). Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that a letter played an important part in changing Elizabeth's feelings about Darcy, so Dawkins choice of letters as her medium fits quite well.

Dawkins described her work as "an old-fashioned patchwork quilt, where in place of the scraps of fabric . . . there is a line or a phrase or a sentence from one of Jane Austen's books or letters stitched alongside the lesser scraps" of Dawkins' work. She also took favorite characters from other Austen novels, gave them different names, and worked them into Lizzie's letters. It was very amusing to pick out who was who or which lines were from which books or letters (I even kept a little list! It is quite gratifying to figure these things out!).

I quite enjoyed Letters From Pemberley: the First Year and was glad that Dawkins did not feel the need to make Lizzie, Darcy, Jane, Bingley, Georgiana, and other characters new again. We read Jane Austen novels repeatedly because Jane created such realistic and fabulous characters. I think too often people try to "improve" upon them, which just cannot be done. Dawkins also understands this and wrote these letters in Lizzie Bennet Darcy's persona, not some other Lizzie's. I can easily imagine Jane having written these herself.

Lizzie is adjusting to life as mistress of Pemberley and wife of Mr. Darcy, attempting to develop a deeper relationship with Darcy's sister, Georgiana, and find her place in a higher level of society than she is used to living in. As much as her family drove her crazy on occasion, she misses being with them. Her letters to Jane describe her activities, her feelings, and her hopes.

Elizabeth and Jane are closest to each other out of the five Bennet daughters and their letters provide solace as they make their ways in their new lives. I can imagine doing the same with my sister (if she wrote letters).

I look forward to reading Letters From Pemberley: the First Year again (and figuring out more of Jane's lines!) and would recommend it to any Austen fan! You can find it at any bookstore. Do pick up a copy and let us know what you think!

Book Information: Letters from Pemberley: The First Year by Jane Dawkins (ISBN: 978-1-4022-0906-2; May 2007; $13.95 U.S./ $17.95 CAN; paperback)

My thanks to Cathy at Sourcebooks, Inc.!

I've Been Tagged

Kwizgiver has tagged me with a "Fours" meme!

Here are my answers:

Four jobs I have had or currently have in my life:
1. Substitute Teacher
2. Community Relations Office Assistant
3. Art Progam Assistant
4. College Basketball Team Manager

Four countries I have been to:
1. United States
2. Canada
Those are the only two I have been to, so I will add two I want to go to
3. England
4. Ireland

Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. The Lake
2. Hogwarts
3. London
4. The bookstore

Four foods I like to eat:
1. Pizza
2. Potatoes
3. Banoffee Pie
4. Popcorn

Four people that I would like to tag:
1. Miss Paula Her answers are here.
2. Dapoppins
3. Ms. Place Her answers are here.
4. JaneFan Her answers are here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thanks, Susie!

My goodness! I just went to my e-mail and found a message from Susie of SusiePie, who runs Bluebird Blogs, saying that I had won a free blog design valued at $70! I am so excited! I never really win anything, so this is a complete surprise! Susie had almost 400 comments on the Contest post and it is a complete miracle that she pulled my name out! The other winner is Brandie of A Journey of 1000 Stitches! Conratulations, Brandie!

Thank you, Susie!

Book Review: Old Friends and New Fancies

At the end of June, I received an e-mail from Cathy, of SourceBooks, Inc., a publishing company, asking if I would like to receive a couple of Jane Austen-ish books and review them on this blog. I first wrote about these books here.

The first book I read is actually the first Jane Austen sequel, written by Sybil G. Brinton and published in 1914. Old Friends and New Fancies has just been re-published for our reading pleasure. This novel is subtitled "An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen." That's right: novels---plural.

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Brinton cleverly used characters from Jane Austen's six finished novels in her story, easily creating acquaintances, friendships, and even romances. Most of our old favorites are included and a good number of characters who remained unattached at the end of their novels play large roles. Brinton focused mainly on Colonel Fitzwilliam, Kitty Bennet, and Georgiana Darcy from Pride and Prejudice; Tom Bertram, Mary Crawford, and William Price from Mansfield Park; and James Morland from Northanger Abbey. Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, Mr. and Mrs. Bingley, Captain and Mrs. Wentworth, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ferrars, Mr. and Mrs. Knightley, and numerous other characters make large and small appearances. The setting is mainly Bath, Pemberley, and the Bingleys' estate. Who wouldn't want to go back to Pemberley?

I quite enjoyed reading Old Friends and New Fancies, not least because I was able to meet some of my favorite characters again and visit beloved places such as the Darcys' estate. In the past, I have been wary of reading Jane Austen sequels for fear that the author has taken liberties with the characters and made them behave as they would not. Rest assured, Brinton did no such thing. Her writing style is rather similar to Jane's and I was always delighted to read lines that sounded so like the great Jane's own. For instance, this exchange between Mr. and Mrs. Darcy seems right in line with what Jane might have written:

Mr. Darcy: ". . . we have got into shocking ways since my wife married into the family."
Mrs. Darcy: "On the contrary, I think I have educated you all admirably."
Or this exchange between the irasible Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Elizabeth Darcy:

Elizabeth: "We have all been enjoying your piece so much. It must be delightful to be able to play like that. My aunt is such a lover of music that she cannot hide her enthusiasm."
"And why should I hide it, may I ask?" demanded Lady Catherine. "My judgment has often been of great service to young amateurs, among whom you might include yourself, Elizabeth."
"Yes, I know," replied Elizabeth, good-humouredly . . ."
That is just how I imagine Elizabeth would get along with Lady Catherine, once Elizabeth had established herself as Mr. Darcy's wife and mistress of Pemberley, and made it clear to Lady Catherine that she would not be trifled with.

Old Friends and New Fancies is full of delightful little moments that remind the reader of Jane's beloved novels. It is amusing to try to figure out who will end up with whom!

I am glad to have read Old Friends and New Fancies and would recommend it to any Jane Austen fan. I hope you will pick up a copy at any bookstore and let us know what you think.

Book Information: Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen by Sybil G. Brinton (ISBN: 978-1-4022-0888-1; July 2007; $14.95 U.S./$19.95 CAN; Paperback)

My thanks to Cathy at Sourcebooks, Inc.!

You can also find more Jane Austen inspired books by visiting AustenFans.com.

In the next few days I will post another review about the second book Cathy sent me: Letters From Pemberley: the First Year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Cool HP Prize!

Win Signed Harry Potter book

Come vote for my harry potter review

Any Harry Potter readers out there? Well, if you review Deathly Hallows, you could win a signed first edition of Sorcerer’s Stone, some Harry Potter movie tickets, or… wait for it… a broomstick. You know you’re reading it, so you might as well win some stuff and share it with me.

The review with the most votes wins, so please vote for me (if you haven't written your own review, of course!):

Vote for my Harry Potter review

Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy 18th!!!

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe turns 18 today.


Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Thank you for doing such an excellent job playing Harry!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Absolutely Brilliant

I am completely blown away. It was more wonderful, terrible, superb, horrible, brilliant than I ever imagined it could be. I don't even know what to write yet.

All I can say at this moment is, if you haven't read the Harry Potter books, go get Book 1 now and get started. If you haven't bought Deathly Hallows yet, go do it!

And read. These books are absolutely brilliant.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Book

I won't be back until late Sunday or Monday, at the latest.

Goodbye and Happy Reading!

Friday, July 20, 2007

HP Party Time!

We are about to leave for the Harry Potter Party! In a little over 3 hours, we will have our Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Friday's Feast

{Featured Flickr Feast by in2jazz}

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest) how much do enjoy watching sports on television?
Probably a 8 1/2. I love watching baseball, Midnight Madness, and occasional other things.

If you could completely memorize any one work of fiction, which one would you pick?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, my favorite (but Persuasion would be a close second!)

What is your favorite breakfast food?
French Toast, especially from Ferguson's or the overnight kind I make.

Main Course
Name something fun you can do for less than $10.00.
Browse a bookstore and buy a book from the bargain book section (or two, possibly).

How long does it usually take you to fall asleep?
It depends on whether I have a lot going on or a lot in my head, how tired I am, and how much I want to keep reading. I try not to look at the clock because then I freak myself out!

More feasts here!

Thursday Thirteen #12

I'm a little late this week, but I wanted to do an HP TT and I barely have time because I am getting ready for a Harry Potter Party!

Thirteen Questions Hopefully Answered in
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

1. Is Harry's scar a horcrux? Or is Harry?
2. Who kills He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (aka Lord Voldemort)? I think it has to be Harry.
3. Is Dumbledore really dead? (I have a secret theory that he is, in fact, a Phoenix, so he can die and be reborn. How else could have have created the Sorcerer's Stone with Nicholas Flamel all those hundreds of years ago? And I have more evidence. Let's see if it is true or just a crazy notion!).
4. Is Snape good or evil? I think he's good now.
5. Will Aunt Petunia play a big part and some how help Harry? I think she will be involved in some way. The books have been building up to that.
6. Will Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts and graduate?
7. Which two main characters die? Rowling said at least two main characters die, but she also said it wasn't a bloodbath.
8. Is Percy Weasley under the Imperius Curse? Or is he just a pompous A$$?
9. Will the Giants and Centaurs join the Order of the Phoenix side against Voldemort or remain apart (or will the Giants go with Voldemort?)?
10. What happened to Dumbledore's hand? I don't think he ever got the chance to tell Harry in HBP.
11. Will Harry & Ginny, Ron & Hermione, respectively, end up together? I hope so!
12. Will Harry become an Auror?
13. Perhaps most importantly: Does Harry live (and remain "The-Boy-Who-Lived") or does he die? I think he lives.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Rowling Says Goodbye To Harry

Very nice article about JK Rowling and her thoughts on finishing, as well as background on the rise of the series.

AP: Rowling bids her boy wizard goodbye

Thursday, July 19, 2007

JK Rowling's Plea

To all Harry Potter fans:

From her website:

JULY 18th

We are almost there! As launch night looms, let's all, please, ignore the misinformation popping up on the web and in the press on the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'd like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to reading the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know EVERYTHING!
Please, keep the plot a secret! Don't spoil it for others who have been waiting years for answers.

For HP fans, this month's "Wizard of the Month" is Godric Gryffindor!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Want to Play Quidditch?

This sounds like fun!

Reuters: U.S. college students seek the magic of Quidditch---

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Stephen Dewey knows he lacks the magic to play Quidditch quite like they do in the Harry Potter novels but he does all he can to create an authentic experience for fans of the teenage wizard.

Dewey, a student at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, organizes the campus Quidditch club of about 40 Potter devotees imitating the aerial game of the book series.

Although Bucknell has not played its first official game -- that is expected in September -- Dewey's club has received $150 from the college to buy supplies, including hula hoops and a volleyball that stands in for the fictional "quaffle."

Also on the equipment list are the brooms on which J.K. Rowling's Quidditch players fly around during games and which Bucknell players are required to hold between their legs.

"I wanted to emulate the magical nature you find in Harry Potter books," said Dewey, 20, a student of music and education. But he admits he has to make concessions to reality. "A lot of that you can't really replicate exactly because we are not witches and wizards."
They use the Quaffle, Bludgers, even the Snitch, and, sometimes, costumes. Sounds like fabulous fun!

Dewey said he's received "some puzzled looks" when recruiting but that even the skeptics want to know more. He suspects they are secretly Harry Potter fans.

"They are usually curious to know how I could make this into a playing game," he said. "Running around on brooms does appeal to a surprising number of college students."

On the Anniversary of Her Death

One hundred ninety years ago today, 18 July 1817, Jane Austen died. She was only 41 years old. The world lost a brilliant novelist. Thankfully, we still have her brilliant novels:

Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Northanger Abbey
Mansfield Park

What better way to honor Jane than by reading her delightful novels today? I highly recommend any of them, though my favorites are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.

Ms. Place posted this tribute at Jane Austen's World.

Requiscat in Pace, Jane!

Vote for Jane: Pt. 4

Jane Austen fans, head over to The Book Mine Set and vote for Jane once again. She beat Kurt Vonnegut last week. In this week's Great Wednesday Compare, she is up against Dr. Suess . . . and he seems to be winning.

While I admit Dr. Suess wrote excellent books, they are not something that most adults read on a regular basis, unless to their children. Jane Austen is, as one commenter wrote, "a life-long companion." So go vote for Jane!

voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (July 24th)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Warning: Harry Potter Spoilers Online!

Apparently, someone has posted scans of every page of the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so be very careful when you read any Harry Potter posts this week! You might accidentally see something you don't want to! I will not be posting spoilers or anything on here until after next week, so this site is safe. :) (More here---completely safe, just a warning about this).

In fact, I think I will hardly be online this week. I am actually quite afraid of someone spoiling it for me!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Next Food Network Star: Vote for Amy!

The only reality tv show I watch is really more of a competition: The Next Food Network Star. There is only one episode left, next Sunday night, 22 July, at 9pm.

There are two competitors left, Amy (my favorite since the beginning!) and Rory. You can vote twice a day until Tuesday July 17 at 9am/8c, once a day online and again with your cell phone. Read the rules, see videos of the contestants, and vote here.

Vote for Amy!

Photo: Food Network

She's a stay-at-home mother and attended culinary school in France. She is "The Gourmet Next Door" and is very relatable. I think she will be perfect for the Food Network because is she organized, down-to-earth, friendly, cute, smart, knowledgable, and the FN doesn't really have a French show. You can read Amy's MySpace page here.

So, go vote for Amy! Don't forget to watch the finale next Sunday, 22 July, at 9pm!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Must See for HP!

Click here to see "Must-See Sights for Harry Potter Fans."

We all have questions which will hopefully be answered when Book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out at midnight on 20 July 2007. Here are some which I have wondered about. What questions do you hope are answered in DH?

Vote for Jane, Pt. 3

Jane Austen fans, head back over to The Book Mine Set and cast your vote for Jane Austen. This week she is up against Kurt Vonnegut. I, of course, voted for dearest Jane.

vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (July 17th)
Vote Jane!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just Got Home . . .

. . . and will write more about OotP tomorrow or sometime this week. It wasn't quite what I expected and hoped for . . .

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Time to Wait In Line!

We are about to leave to go wait in line (we are probably a bit late!) to get into the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! We are taking some things to keep us occupied in line: a copy of the novel, some books containing "useless information" (they belong to my sister), and some cards.

I am so excited to see this movie and cannot believe we will we watching it in less than 4 hours! Have a lovely evening! I will no doubt post about it (very briefly) after we get home.


Join the DA!

Zero Days To Go!

Wow, looking at the HP Movie 5 Countdown above, I cannot believe it is less than a day until the movie premieres! My sister, Aunt Carol, and I have our tickets already and will be in Auditorium 1 for the 11:59pm showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is my favorite of the so-far-released six books.

Visit the official movie website and go see the film!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Save Harry!

There is a possiblity that Harry Potter dies in the 7th book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is due out at midnight, 20 July 2007. I hope he doesn't . . . and so do many others.

Reuters: Potter fans beg Rowling to "Save Harry!"---

LONDON (Reuters) - Thousands of Harry Potter fans have signed a petition urging J.K. Rowling to keep writing novels about the boy wizard after she admitted she could "never say never" to more books.

The "Save Harry!" petition calls on Rowling to reverse her decision to end the bestselling series with the seventh and final installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

"Millions, perhaps billions of us, love reading his adventures and we never want them to end," says the online petition, launched on Monday at www.saveharrypotter.co.uk.
But what does Rowling think?

"I think that Harry's story comes to quite a clear end in book seven," she told the BBC at the weekend. "But I have always said that I wouldn't say never.

"I can't say I will never write another book about that world, just because I think: 'What do I know, in 10 years' time I might want to return to it'. But I think it is unlikely."
A glimmer of hope!

As promised:
Rowling said some characters will die in the last book, but wouldn't say if the boy wizard is among them: "It's not a bloodbath, but it's more than two," she said.
I am sure that I will cry when I read next weekend (can you believe it?). Rowling "broke down in tears during the completion of her final book" in the series.

You can sign the petition to "Save Harry!" here.

One thing I am worried about---terrified even---is some absolute idiot driving past the bookstore as we all leave that night and shouting spoilers. After Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out and I finished reading it, I found a horrid little video online. Some dreadful guy got the book, looked at who died, and drove past a line outside a bookstore shouting the information while videotaping it. People started shrieking. I think I will if that happens. :) Seriously, though.

And I am glad to know I am not the only one worried about this.

Now, as the July 21 release of the seventh and final book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," approaches, fans who have waited the better part of a decade to find out the ultimate fate of Harry, his friends and his nemeses are taking no chances.

But how far do they have to go? Must they close their eyes, cover their ears and scream, "LALALALALALALA?"

Pretty much.

In fact, if you want to get in touch with a rabid Harry Potter fan on the weekend of July 21-22, you might be out of luck. Readers are planning media blackouts — no computers, no cell phones, no TV, no radio. And if that's not enough, they're threatening to get physical.

"I'll beat the crap out of the person who spoils it for me," Pritthish Chakraborty wrote in an e-mail. Chakraborty, 17, who runs a fan Web site, Harry Potter Beyond, in his native Bangladesh, was spoiled two years ago when a "friend" sent a picture message to his cell phone of the page describing Dumbledore's death.

Many fans don't want to give up the excitement and camaraderie of a midnight release party, but they know they're putting themselves at risk.

"We advise people — I know this is terrible — to bring headphones to the book release and put them on as they leave the store so they're not subject to the idiot across the street screaming the end to them," said Melissa Anelli, webmaster of The Leaky Cauldron, a prominent Harry Potter fan site.

Some excellent advice. I won't be on the internet around that time, until I finish reading it.

When do you plan to get Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

Are you worried about people spoiling it for you?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Vote for Jane! Pt. 2

The Book Mine Set's Great Wednesday Compare is between the excellent and elegant Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame.

I, of course, have voted for Jane Austen. I confess I have not read many of Montgomery's books, though I have seen the films and show based on them. Jane is my favorite and I don't think I could ever vote against her. Plus, I have to wonder if L.M. Montgomery would have written without Jane Austen leading the charge many, many years before (alright, perhaps that's a stretch, but still . . . ). Frankly, Anne of Green Gables (what is her last name?), as fabulous a character as she is, simply cannot compare with Elizabeth Bennet.

Make your choice and visit here to vote. The instructions are as follows:

vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (July 10th)
Vote Jane!

Let's go, Janeites!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #100 (My #11)

First of all, Happy Independence Day!

Thirteen Thursday Thirteens!

As this is the 100th edition of Thursday Thirteen, most people are linking to 13 of their favorite TT's or other people's TT's. As I haven't done 13 yet (and can't possibly pick others, I have decided to list mine and a couple of ideas for lists. So, here we go:

1. Thirteen Things about Lady Jane---25 May 2006
2. Some of Lady Jane's Favorite Poets
---1 June 2006
3. Thirteen Things about Old Glory---15 June 2006
4. Thirteen Things about In Loving Memory of Dani---22 June 2006
5. Thirteen Things about Summertime!---30 June 2006
6. Thirteen Things I Love About Pirates of the Caribbean---6 July 2006
7. Summer Recipes---13 July 2006
8. BOOKS I HAVE AT THE LAKE---27 July 2006
9. Josh Groban Style---2 November 2006, some of my favorite Josh Groban songs
10. Thirteen Things: For My Sister---21 June 2007
11. Thirteen Blogs/Websites I Visit Daily---28 June 2007
12. My Thirteen Favorite Literary Characters
13. Thirteen Books I Plan To Read (Can you tell I like books?)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

I am going out to the lake for a few days, but I could not leave without wishing our beloved nation a happy birthday. We are blessed to live in the most wonderful place in the history of the earth. Every day here is a precious gift from God.

We must remember to thank our most excellent military for their service and sacrifices. We would not be here without their blood, sweat, tears, and, sometimes, lives. Thank you to those who served in our military, those who serve in our military, and those who will serve in our military. God bless you all.

We must also remember to thank the families of those who serve in the military. Their dedication, sacrifices, and love allow our military men and women to fight on for freedom. Thank you to all the wives, husbands, parents, sisters, brothers, children, cousins, grandparents, and friends of our military. God bless you all.

Thank you to President Bush. Thank you to Vice-President Cheney. Thank you to the House of Representatives. Thank you to the U.S. Senate. Thank you to our Supreme Court and our other judges.

Thank you to all members of our government at the federal, state, and local levels. Thank you, as well, to our police and fire crews. They keep us safe and save lives every day.

Thank you to all who chose to exercise their rights by voting. We keep this country running, for better or for worse. Thank you to all who chose to exercise their freedom of religion---in a peaceful manner. Thank you to all who chose to exercise their right to bear arms---in a peaceful manner (until we must fight the good fight). Thank you to all who protect Life.

Thank you to our Founding Fathers, for creating this wonderful, beautiful nation. I hope it never vanishes from the face of the earth. Thank you for having the courage to sign a piece of paper that changed the world for good---for the best.

Thank you, my fellow Americans, for being here and making our economy run. For going to work every day. For raising families. For going to church. For loving this country. Let's keep America America.

Read the Declaration of Independence here.

Happy Birthday, America! Long may you live!

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans! May God bless us all!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Fourth of July Feast!

Tomorrow my family, some friends, and I will head out to the lake for Independence Day. It promises to be a hot holiday, perfect for a dip in the lake. Today we are busy preparing our Fourth of July Feast.

We will be serving:

  • Crudites with Dip---Including carrots, celery, broccoli.
  • Hamburgers, Hot Dogs
  • My mother's fantastic Potato Salad---Simple=good.
  • Green Salad
  • Bruschetta with Tomato-Garlic Topping
  • Chips
  • My friend Roz will probably bring her Spinach Dip
  • Berry Cakes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream---A recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine. I don't think we will do the whipped cream, as it would probably be difficult to make at the lake and keep cool. Instead, I will probably mix a bit of cinnamon into some fluffy white frosting I got. The picture looks delicious! We got blueberries and raspberries.
  • S'mores
Last year I made RR's Grilled Chicken with Fireworks Sauce and it was really, really good! It was hard to decide what kind of chicken to make this year, but I thought I would try the Spicy-Honey.

You can see the rest of the RR Magazine Fourth of July Feast
here, including more yummy recipes and some simple decorating tips.

What are you having for your Fourth of July Feast?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"The most perfect refreshment"

Early Bird has this quote up on her blog, but since I am re-reading Mansfield Park and came across it again, I just have to post it!

"I shall soon be rested," said Fanny; "to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment."

  • Jane Austen
    Mansfield Park
    Chapter IX, pg. 77
  • And I thought I would post this picture that my pen-pal in England (he's American) "Gentleman Jay" sent, which he took in
    Alresford. Beautiful, isn't it?

    I want to sit and gaze upon it. This week is supposed to be hot (but not as hot as Iraq---so say a prayer for our soldiers!).

    Plus, He's Tall!

    Usually, my favorite actors (aka "celebrity crushes") are British and, some how, about 6 years older than I am. I have finally developed a crush on an American and he's only a year and a half older. :) (I usually don't confess these sorts of things . . . )

    Currently, my "celebrity crush" is John Krasinski who plays "Jim Halpert" on NBC's hilarious show The Office.

    He's funny, cute, and tall with lovely eyes and brown hair (I have always liked dark hair). Did I mention he's funny? Oh, and he was going to be an English teacher (I am a History/English teacher). Plus, did I mention he's tall? (I'm 5'11.)

    The Office is absolutely hilarious and I really can't get enough of it. My friend Roz recommended I watch it earlier this year and I am so glad I did.

    John stars with Mandy Moore in License to Wed starting Tuesday, 3 July. I think Roz, my sister Trisha, Roz's sister Esther, and I will be going some time this week (the four of us grew up together and have known each other for over 20 years).

    Do you watch The Office?

    Very cute interview with John here and a couple of articles here and here.

    Lots more great stuff at Office Tally.

    A couple of my favorite photos (click on a photo to enlarge it):

    John 1 John 2
    John 4 John 3
    John 5