Thursday, February 11, 2016

What I have been reading.

January was a little all over the place with my reading. It was fun to read some books back in the world of Harry Potter, and a few books I thought I was going to hate I ended up loving. This is what I have been reading this month.

Etiquette and Espionage 

I wasn't sure what I was going to think of Etiquette and Espionage. I kind of thought it was going to be a ridiculous book, but I ended up really liking it and having a good time reading it.

Sophronia is not at all a proper lady, so when her parents decide to send her to finishing school she can't think of anything worse. With flyaway men, vampire teachers, mechanical dogs, Sophronia soon finds out this finishing school isn't anything like she imagined. They are teaching her etiquette, but also espionage.

It is a fun book. The characters and writing feel middle grade, but that doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable reading, even with the immaturity of the characters. This was such a fun universe to read about, set in the past, but with advancements we don't even have today, like robot servants and such. It was a fun combination of the paranormal – with vampires and werewolves – and the world of spies. I would recommend it to anybody who loves Steam Punk. I think I might read it out loud to my daughter next!

Silver in the Blood

Dacia and Lou are two pampered cousins in the late 1800s. While they have been raised in New York they have learned all about their Romanian heritage. When they turn 17, their families decide it is time for them to come to Romania to meet all their family and learn the family's terrible secret: the entire family are shape shifters and so are Dacia and Lou. They must now either accept their inheritance or fight against it.

I am really torn on this book. I really liked the last half of it, but the first half was really drawn out and slow. It took me ages to read the first part and then I read the last half in one sitting. I did like it, but the slowness makes me hesitant to want to read any sequels that may come. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is basically a dictionary of the animals in the universe of Harry Potter. While a dictionary is not normally fun reading, Harry Potter fans are going to love any venture that takes them back into that world. It makes me excited for the movie and also wonder how on Earth they are basing a movie on a dictionary. Although we all know JK is a wizard herself, so I am excited to see it.

Red Queen

In Mare Barrow's world everything is decided by the color of your blood. Red blood makes you a commoner to be used as cannon fodder in the war. Silver blood makes you noble and it also means you have powers – some read minds, some manipulate fire. Mare Barrow is different; she has red blood and a power. The silvers decide to hide her at the palace saying she is a long lost silver, but threaten her with her life if her blood is ever exposed.  I actually tried reading this book last year and couldn't get through it. I finished it this time and actually really liked it. A good dystopian read, even if it was slightly predictable. I don't buy into the hype this book gets, but overall I liked it enough to preorder the second one.

Quidditch Through The Ages

If I wasn't a Harry Potter fan I would have given up on this pretty dry book, but since I am a Harry Potter fan I DEVOURED all the nitty gritty details of Quidditch. So if you are die hard fan, this is for you. 


Ungifted is a fun middle grade book about Donovan, a thoroughly average trouble maker, who accidentally gets placed in the gifted school. He is in way above his head, but maybe he is just what the program needs. He learns more than he ever thought possible and teaches the truly gifted kids a few lessons of his own, but what is going to happen when the teachers discover he isn't truly gifted? Will he have to leave his friends and everything he has accomplished?

I recommend it to all middle schoolers and anybody that loves a fun and easy book and doesn't mind reading middle grade literature. 

The Princess in Black

Princess in Black book was my 7-year-old daughter's first read-out-loud book of the year. We read the first last year and loved it, so I bought the second for her. It is a fun book about a proper princess who secretly fights monsters as the princess in black. It is a easy-read chapter book with pictures on each page. My 7-year-old read it to me in one sitting and has read both books in the series multiple times by herself. I highly recommend it for young readers. My 7-year-old reads on a 4th grade level so it is probably perfect for 1st-3rdish graders.


Everybody in Fei's village is deaf. They have been that way for generations. They live high on the mountain top where they are slowly starving to death. They rely on the villages at the base of the mountain to send up food in exchange for the metals they mine, but slowly the metals are blinding the villagers, making it impossible to get the food they need to survive. It is too dangerous to climb down the mountain because they won't be able to hear rock slides that may come. Then one day Fei wakes up and can suddenly hear again. She is overwhelmed with her new sense, but knows she must do what she can to help her village.

To see more of what I am reading, make sure to follow me on Instagram. What have you been reading? 

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Baked Spaghetti Alfredo with Meatballs in Marinara

If it were up to my daughter we would have spaghetti every night. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with spaghetti. Except that it's kind of boring. Adding meatballs helps, but it's still just an ultra basic dish.

I'm more of an Alfredo fan. It's rich, creamy and so satisfying. But if I make Alfredo, my daughter won't eat it. Tired of battling out who gets their sauce of choice, I've found a solution: Baked Spaghetti Alfredo with Meatballs in Marinara.

It's a mouthful to say, but a delicious mouthful to eat.

This meal is really two meals in one. You prepare the spaghetti Alfredo, and then prepare the meatballs and marinara.

3-4 cups thin spaghetti, cooked
Alfredo sauce
   1 pint heavy cream
   2 tsp garlic, minced
   1/2 tsp salt
   1/2 tsp pepper
   4 oz cream cheese
   4 Tbsp butter
   2 cups shredded Parmesan

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce
Italian meatballs


  1. Prepare the thin spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. Prepare the Alfredo sauce by placing heavy cream, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the cream cheese (cut it into small pieces first) and butter. Use a whisk to combine until smooth.
  4. Just as the sauce begins to boil, add 2 cups Parmesan cheese. Use a whisk to stir until the cheese has melted and combined for a smooth Alfredo sauce.
  5. Combine the spaghetti and Alfredo sauce in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon the spaghetti/Alfredo mixture into each muffin cup. Pack down with a spoon and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with oregano.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to get some golden spots.
  8. Toward the end of baking, heat up marinara sauce and meatballs.
  9. Prepare the dish for serving by spooning marinara sauce on a plate. Add one or more baked spaghetti rounds, and top with meatballs.
This meal definitely takes some timing and preparation, but it's worth it. The baked spaghetti Alfredo is rich and full of texture since it has been baked and crisps up a little. The Alfredo mingles with the bright marinara for an explosion of flavor. And the meatballs add some needed protein to balance everything out.

It's a meal kids and adults can both agree should be made again.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Easy Sprinkle Oreo Pops

Pink and red have been every where in our house this month. We love adding a little bit of Valentine's Day love to all of our favorite treats and cookies are no exception. These Oreo pops are easy to make, and more fun than just a single cookie usually is! 

You will need: 

  • Popsicle sticks
  • white melting chocolate
  • Valentine's Day Sprinkles
  • Oreos or Jo Jos 

Add a stick to each cookie. You can either simply slide a stick up the middle, making sure to stop halfway so the cookie doesn't split apart, or you can split the cookie, add the stick and then use a small dab of melted chocolate to stick it back together again. 
Add a handful of white candy melts to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the melts and then microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted and stirs together easily.

Dip the each side of the of cookie pop in the chocolate and then immediately dip them in sprinkles. You can add chocolate and sprinkles to the edges too or just leave them on the sides. Allow the pops to set on a sheet of wax paper. When the chocolate and sprinkles are set, you can enjoy them right away or give them as Valentines. 

I wrap each Oreo pop in a cellophane bag and tie them with a piece of baker's twine to give as Valentines.  What is your favorite red treat?

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Monday, February 8, 2016

You are my Match Valentine with Free Printable

One of my very favorite treats in the whole world is chocolate covered pretzels. The combination of sweet and salty is just perfect. I took the inspiration of dipping pretzels and ran with it and came up with this darling printable and easy Valentine to pull together.

You will need: 

  • The Valentine Printable at the end of this post
  • Red Candy Melts
  • small cellophane bags
  • red baker's twine
  • scissors
  • a hole punch
  • pretzels

Add a handful of red candy melts to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the melts and then microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted and stirs together easily. Dip one end of each pretzel in the chocolate and lay on a piece of parchment paper to set.

Take a small cellophane bag and add a few of the pretzel matches to each one. Print the valentine found at the end of this post and cut them out. Use a hole punch to punch a hole in the valentine. Slip some twine through the hole and then use the twine to tie the bag with the pretzels in it. 
These darling matches are delicious and have a little chocolate without a sugar over load.

Printables in this post are for personal use and available to subscribers of Housewife Eclectic only. To use this printable, please SUBSCRIBE NOW.

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You Are My Match Valentine

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Layered Valentine's Jello

If there is one thing my kids get excited for each holiday, it is layered Jello. This fun and easy to make Jello looks impressive and my kids LOVE separating each layer and eating it. It is delicious and while it does take a little bit of time because each layer needs to set up, it couldn't be easier to make.

You will need:

  • A large tub of sour cream
  • 3 small boxes of red Jello, you can do all one flavor or different flavors of red
  • whipped cream

Dissolve your first box of Jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Separate the Jello in half, into two bowls. Add two tablespoons of cold water to one and then put that bowl of Jello that you added the water to, into a clear 8x8 pan. Place the pan flat in the fridge and allow to set for 30 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add 1/3 of a cup of sour cream to the other bowl of Jello that has been sitting on your counter. Mix until well combined. I use a whisk to get it really well mixed. After the 30 minutes have passed and the Jello in the fridge has set up, pull the pan of Jello out and pout the bowl of Jello with the sour cream in it over top the set Jello. Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Repeat until you have all 6 layers. When you have all of your layers, add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each slice. You can make it with as many or as few layers as you want. I think it looks best with 6-10 layers. Make sure the pan is as flat as possible when you put it in the fridge so your layers don't end up crooked. 

This Jello recipe does take a few hours to put together, but I just do it on a day I plan to be home and then it is pretty darn simple! 

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Marvel Universe LIVE! Winner and Discount Information

The winner of tickets to opening night of   Marvel Universe Live is C. Richins. If you didn't win read below on how to get discount tickets to the show. 

Marvel Universe LIVE! Debuts in Salt Lake
First Ever Action-Packed Arena Tour February 11–14, 2016
Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new groundbreaking level, with a mind-blowing stunt show unlike anything experienced before! Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and the Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk and more) plus menacing villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza debuting in Utah for the first time ever playing February 11th – 14th at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
marvel group shot
Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel icons together on one awesome quest.  The Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.
marvel post
Feel the energy and excitement with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and stunning video projections that completely immerse the audience into the epic action and story.  Nearly two years in the making, Marvel Universe LIVE! is being hailed as the most technically advanced and innovative live touring shows ever (in the more than 40 year history of Feld Entertainment). Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance…the fate of the Universe depends on it!

My 7-year-old is a HUGE Captain America fan and she is so excited she can hardly stand it. I am pretty sure she is going to end up dressed liked Cap for the night, because why wouldn't you?! Will you be joining us for the show?
WHEN:           Thursday, February 11  – Sunday, February 14
  • Thursday, Feb. 11  –  7:00 PM 
  • Friday, Feb. 12  –   7:00 PM – Kids discount available for $15 a ticket.
  • Saturday, Feb. 13  –  11:00 AM3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, Feb. 14  –  1:00 PM & 5:00 PM
WHERE:         Vivint Smart Home Arena – 301 S Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
TICKETS:    Prices range from $25, $35, $50 (VIP) and $65 (Gold Circle)
                        Kids (ages 2-12) tickets available for only $15 each on select performances*
(kids discount only valid for Fri 7pm, Sat 7pm and Sun 5pm shows on select seating)
Opening Night special discount tickets available for $15 for select seating*
                                                *not valid for premium VIP/Gold Circle levels
Tickets are available for purchase online at, charge by phone at 800-325-SEAT or in-person at the Vivint Arena Box Office.
*Tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees. 

Discount Code!!

Use code MOM to get $5 off at  This code is only good on the $25 tickets (brings them down to $20).  And is valid online only.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Will Zoo Be Mine? Valentine with Free Printable

If there is one thing that keeps my kids busy, it is animal figures. I keep a small bag of them in my purse at all times and when we get stuck somewhere, I pull them out and the kids are thrilled. My kids love the little animals so much, I thought they would make the perfect little valentine!

For This Valentine You Will Need:

  • The printable (Link at the bottom of this post)
  • small animal figures
  • Baker's Twine
  • a hole punch

Print and cut out the printable Valentine. Have your child address them. Punch a hole on either side of the the valentine. Slide baker's twine through both holes and tie the small animal to the front of the card. 

I was able to find a small bag of animals at the dollar store, which made this valentine super affordable to make. I think the kids are going to love getting a little animal instead of just another sucker. 

Do your kids love little animals as much as mine? 

Printables in this post are for personal use and available to subscribers of Housewife Eclectic only. To use this printable, please SUBSCRIBE NOW.

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Once you have subscribed, click the links below to download the printables.
Will Zoo Be Mine? Valentine with Free Printable 
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