Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Animal Treat Cookbook: Biscuits Pour Animaux by Cassandra Bouclé

Genre: Pet Cookbook
Language: French
81 p.
Publisher: Alter Real Editions
Published: Feb. 2, 18
Source: From Publisher for review
Stores (French resources): Amazon Fr, Publisher Website

Des recettes 100% bio, faciles et économiques, pour chats, chiens et rongeurs. 
Vous trouverez dans cet ouvrage des recettes de biscuits faciles et rapides à faire. Le livre se veut pratique : à chaque page, sa recette, avec la liste des ingrédients et des conseils pratiques. Les recettes peuvent être modifiées selon les goûts de votre animal, ou selon de sa santé. S'il doit éviter les biscuits sucrés ou salés, vous pouvez changer les ingrédients. 
Ce livre de recettes est pensé pour les animaux, mais aussi pour leurs maîtres, qui doivent prendre plaisir à cuisiner, que ce soit pour leur chien, leur chat, leur lapin ou leurs autres rongeurs.
Bon appétit !
English Translation:
100% organic, easy and economical recipes for cats, dogs and rodents.

In this book you will find easy and quick cookie recipes. The book is practical: on each page, the recipe, the list of ingredients and practical advice. The recipes can be modified according to the tastes of your pet, or according to his health. If it should avoid sweet or savory cookies, you can change the ingredients.

This recipe book is designed for animals, but also for their masters, who enjoy cooking, whether for their dog, cat, rabbit or other rodents.

Enjoy your meal!
My thoughts:

I got a note from Melliane from Between Dreams and Reality Blog about a interesting treat cookbook. The only thing... it was in French. Since it was a cookbook I figured I could translate it well enough (with a bit of bad Google translate... LOL) to make some treats. It worked out well.

The book also consulted with a veterinarian to make sure the treats were nutritious and well suited for the various animals in the book. There is a section for dogs, cats, and rodents. It wouldn't be hard to convert some of these treats for horses if you know your horse. The recipes are simple, easy to follow and my dogs found delicious. My only problem was translating the recipe amounts since America usually uses cups instead of grams and ml. However, with a few grams to cups translations on the web according to product and I was able to get it done.
Dog treats and monster pup waiting for it to fall...

I did use gluten free all purpose flour for the treats but I'm not sure it is as necessary to do so elsewhere. I have talked to many people who have gluten problems in the US but not in Europe. So these treats became gluten free. I also substituted the rice milk for plain water since so little was used. The treats were made in ball form (as the meat scrap ones suggested) for ease in making it. These small substitutions worked!
The big pup letting me know the cat isn't getting this...

I made the Dumplings with Meat Scraps, Cheese Bites, and Biscuits with Apple. My dogs LOVED the meat scrap ones as well as the cheese bites. The split was with the apple ones. My pup loved them and my big boy was a bit lukewarm about it. He is a bit on the picky side (not too bad) and he still ate a few which is a big deal to me.

I also thought I'd make the Diced Tuna treats for cats and perhaps see if my neighbor would give some to her cat. It never made it over there. My dogs loved that one so much as well. There was nothing in it that a dog couldn't have in those treats so they gobbled those treats up. In fact, my malamute that I had would have LOVED them as those breed of dogs tend to love fish. In fact, I often treated her with fish. The tuna I used was the healthiest I could find and the fish could easily be substituted with salmon (which I may try later as I feel better about salmon).

To sum it all up, I really liked this cookbook. The recipes are easy enough to make and also make substitutions when needed. You could also use these recipes to make your own tailored to your pets tastes. I give this one 5 stars (and I'm very picky about what my animals eat). I think my pups also give it 4 paws (they don't have 5 paws.. obviously! LOL) which is their highest rating. For the US peeps, this one is well worth translating with a little help from the web. The book is also filled with very cute animal pics waiting for their treats.

Bloggy Note:
Today is also Rare Disease Day. I had planned to do something better than a note today, but my plans have been laughed at a lot lately. So, please take the time and go HERE to the official website to learn why it is important to fund these diseases and disorders. One treatment or cure can lead to other more common diseases and disorders to be cured as well.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Really Late Craft Post: What I Made Over the Holidays

With all the craziness that happened over the holiday season, I did get a few things done. Nothing like I planned, but well... I guess you do get laughed at if you plan. 

One I did get done was for my sweet 90 yr old friend. 
These are done in the hoop on the embroidery machine. This one is from Lovely Leaf Applique (Etsy store) and the small tag was from Buggalena Embroidery. I made the large pouch with a D ring attached to the ribbon on the side and made the wristlet strap on my regular sewing machine. The smaller pouch just has a swivel hook on the end of the ribbon. All this was done with scrap fabric!

The next one I got done was a towel for a cousin who just got married.
 The embroidery file was from Hoop Mama Designs (and was free during the season but is no more but available for purchase at her website). The towel was a microfiber towel. Blue and Yellow (or gold in this case) taken from the colors of her wedding.

A couple of other projects rounds it out...

Eye mask:
This was actually a play mask from Ohana Applique Designs but changed it quite a bit for my eye mask. I flipped the eyes to look closed (a little bit more wrangling than that, but you get the idea) and then made the front from felt and quilting fabric and the back was made with satin. It is then filled with smooth tiny beads for a cooling and relaxing feel. 

Trinket tray
I don't know the designer for the tray (I got it free) but the letter design at the bottom of the tray is from Designs by JuJu. It can be unsnapped flat or partially snapped for a partial tray or fully snapped for a full, but small tray.

I made myself some pattern weights. The top two were from Buggalena Designs. It was made differently than I did as it required you to use non-fray fabric, but I thought that if I flipped it a bit while making it I could make it out of quilting cotton and have no raw edges. The one that says Pins is also a pin cushion. All have metal washers (get at a farm store) to create the weight. The 3 underneath are smaller and I used other designs I had on hand. The back is foldover elastic (which is part of the original design) to keep things in place and to give something to hold onto. FYI, I used unicorns, peacock feathers and star wars characters since you probably can't see them clearly. The horn on the unicorn is iridescent scale vinyl and the ears are glitter vinyl. 

So have you been crafty lately?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Entertainment Post: Netflix Series

It has been a while since I did one of these. With everything happening I did slack off from watching and binging but I'm slowing getting back to it. I did watch some of these before the holiday season so yea, some of this is probably old for some of you and you may have already seen many of these. Some of these series are actually quite short.

The Magicians S2
I wasn't sure about this one as I found the first season uneven, but I really enjoyed S2 and think the storyline came together better as well as the character development. I'm currently watching on SYFY channel for S3 as it comes out. So, if you didn't like S1, try S2 (but do watch in order).

Of course I saw Stranger Things S2
I also had my mom totally addicted to it and she couldn't wait for this season to come out (*little evil laugh*). Still love Wynona's character as supportive and "don't mess with my kid" mom. You also need to see this one for Steve! What a change! I didn't quite like the side-plot for Seven but I understand that was a failed attempt at a offshoot series. It didn't quite work and the season wasn't quite as tight as the first one. Still enjoyable. I also liked the ending but for a series that is continuing, it felt odd to me. As if the ending was with S2. Still, I did like how it came together. If you haven't seen it yet, don't skip S1.

The Defenders
Yea, I do like the Marvel Universe on Netflix and while this isn't my fave, I was happy to see Jessica Jones and Luke Cage together.. sorta. The weakest link is still the Iron Fist, but hopefully they will start to flesh out his character a bit more. Even though this has gotten lukewarm reviews it is still fun to watch.

Alias Grace
This one really peaked my interest. It did take me a couple of episodes to get into it and then I was hooked. However, the ending was so frustrating. For those of you who don't mind open endings where you don't get definitive answers, this is for you. For me, it was quite frustrating. I do get the creative angle to that ending, but GAH! LOL No, I'm not telling what it is in case you want to see it for yourself. Seriously, it was creative but frustrating.

Lastly, Anne with an E
I admit I had a bit of trouble with this one at the very beginning, but it didn't last long. It was my fault and I kept my ideal Anne with the Megan Fellows version. Even with my trepidation, the series really caught my attention in the end and I eagerly await the second season.

Okay, now that I've listed a few, do you have any to recommend? Also, I'm not remiss in seeing what day I posted this one on... 
...let the jokes commence! 💘


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Genre: Political Science
320 p.
Publisher: Crown
Published: 1/16/18
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Affiliate Link:

A bracing, revelatory look at the demise of liberal democracies around the world--and a road map for rescuing our own
Donald Trump's presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we'd be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang--in a revolution or military coup--but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one. 
Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die--and how ours can be saved.
My thoughts:

No matter what you think about US politics right now, I do think there is a resurgence in learning about the political process and what these people in office can and can't do or even what they should or shouldn't do (if not in legal terms). This book does a good job at explaining a bit of that from lessons in the past in terms of what is happening today. Unfortunately I've seen some people dismiss this book without even a cursory read because it does criticize Donald Trump and his rise to becoming the current US president. While it does criticize the man and what he has done, it also brings a historical viewpoint in politics I have not read in quite a while. The book isn't just about Donald Trump even though he is the reason the book was written.

I think the most one word review I've seen about this book is depressing. While that aspect is present in the book, it is also hopeful. We get lessons from democracies that have perished but also those that were threatened and survived and became stronger. The US has had several threatening instances to our democracy and some were successful and corrected in later years which made it stronger and some gone uncorrected or partially corrected which has diminished our democracy. The book also shows what specific ideas were put in place by the founding fathers to prevent demagogues, those who use popular prejudices and false claims, from taking charge. Some ideas were explained in a historical context (ideas that eluded me like the electoral college) as to why they were put in place and also why those ideas failed in recent times. It also delivers a road map in how authoritarian figures come to power by examples of the past and how closely that map is followed in the present. It isn't a one sided book but well rounded as it shows how no one side (liberal or conservative) is immune to the danger of an authoritarian figure. Also, be assured, it shows how the authoritarian figures were subverted either before or after that person came to power.

So while I do see that aspects of this book are depressing I also see hope within the pages. I think it also helps to see that the tiny actions of "no" within the party in power might make a difference if it starts to grow. This book really helped me see that as a bit more positive than I had before (not much but I'll take what I can get). There is so much more I want to say as this book has really made me think. If you want to know a bit more about how democracies win or fail this is the book for you. It is, I think, better than the more tabloid book out there (no names and admittedly I haven't read it because there is nothing to back his claims) as it is a well written and a well documented thesis on how democracies die and also live.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Series: The Hazel Wood #1
368 p.
Published: 1/30/18
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Amazon Affiliate Link:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.” 
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
My thoughts:

I didn't know what to expect with this book but dark fairy tale is something I do gravitate toward. I was not disappointed and really found the tale to be inventive and unusual. I did see some things that felt like retellings, but it really felt like something new.

I admit it took me a while to get used to Alice and really like her. Part of the problem is that it took a long while to get to Alice's true origin story. Even though that was frustrating in part, you also knew that when you got the story it would have to be close to the end and that it would bring all the elements together. I also was a bit frustrated with not knowing all the fairy tales we encountered. Like the stories were dangled just out of reach and I wish it came with a companion book of the fairy tales. Tales I know would be hard to read as the ones we got to know were dark as if the Grimm brothers took an even darker turn with their tales.

What kept me going was the mystery I was determined to solve and that I really started to like Alice. I really wanted a win for her and I wasn't sure this story would end on a positive note. I won't tell you if it does end well, but I will say that the story felt complete (despite it being the first in the series) and not everything ended in how most stories end. I'm extremely curious to where the author will take the next book.

I give this story 4 stars. Despite the problems I had in the plot, it was very readable and I also found it very unique. I also think that some of the problems with the plot were intentional. It mirrors Alice who is messy and dark and who we learn about as she learns about herself. There is great character growth in this book.