Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tell Me: Taters for you?

I like my taters. A lot. At least when using the good ol' Russet. I mean seeing as how there are over 4000 varieties I really had to narrow it down for ya.

Baked, fried, mashed, au gratin , chips, scalloped, hash browned, etc and so on. There's a huge one out there that I just dont care for. Perhaps I just have never tried a good recipe. Potato salad and I just aren't friends. I think it has to do with the texture thing.

Tell Me: What's your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finger licken' good.

I've had a few people ask me about the books I've been reading recently. I picked these up at a book signing a couple of weeks ago where I got to meet each of the lovely three authors. I know each of them are doing a few more signings in the next little while so if you're interested you should check them out!

Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

I had assumptions about this book (just based on the knowledge that it was about woman who's husbands were deployed) that it'd be lots of heartache. I was pleasantly surprised when this book was instead about women connecting and befriending each other. I love the idea that women from different walks of life and in different stages (their kids are different ages, their concerns and problems are at different levels, they view/value things differently) can really bond together and become such a life line for each other. I really appreciate this book showing how important we can be in the lives of others and also the amazing difference a friendship can make.
Read more about the book (including the first three chapters!).

Buy it here:

Dangerous Connections by Julie Coulter Bellon

This is a suspense, drama, thriller with a sprinkling of romance. I liked the two main characters. Dr. Tyler (as I liked to call him) is sweet and endearing. Isabella is a kick-butt girl who can't give up figuring out what's happening. Fun take on mystery thriller. Plus it's set in France so if you enjoy a flavor of overseas experiences you'll like this.

Buy it here:

Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden

I've just recently discovered that I love regency romance novels. I adored this book from start to finish. The characters were endearing and I love a good lead man, which Harry did not disappoint. Don't worry though, this book wasn't too fluffy or anything. I really thought Sarah did a fabulous job making me care about the characters and want to be invested in what was happening. (Read more about the book here.)

Buy it here: 

This makes six books so far in March. I wonder if I can sneak in one or two more. This brings my total this year to 15 (February was rather slow with only four).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Freebie Friday: Photography Package!

I recently had a fabulous photo shoot with Susan of Susan Monson Photography. She is such a doll and I had a great outing with her getting some pictures for me to send out with my graduation announcement. Susan was kind enough to let me do a give away on my blog.

Here's the details of my photo shoot giveaway:

-FREE sitting fee
-FREE 15-20 edited images
-FREE copyright of the pictures
-Use them for whatever you'd like. Engagement, family, head shots, anything!
-Location: Utah County (but she's willing to travel to SLC if needed)

How to enter:

Additional entries:
(When you do any of the following please leave a separate comment for each.)

-become a follower of her blog Susan Monson Photography
-become a fan of her facebook fan page
-follower her on twitter @SSMPhotography
-tweet about this contest (1 entry per day you tweet)
(you can copy/paste this): @cranberryfries is giving away a free photo shoot from @SSMPhotography, details

-Contest will close April 4th, 2010.
-If you win and do not live in the area to use this package, you may give it to someone you know.
-Please make sure to either leave your email in your comment or make sure your profile is linked to your email so I can get in touch with you if you win.

*All images in this post were used with permission from SSM Photography blog.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tags & Awards

Victoria tagged me with the Beautiful Blogger Award

The rules of the award are: List seven things about yourself. Link back to the person that gave you the award. Pass the award on to seven bloggers.

1- I can not read musical notes.
2- I am the spider killer in my family. Seriously, my husband would rather close the door and leave the room, and let the spider run freely, before he'd attempt to get close enough to kill it.
3- It's easy for me to pass over ice cream and most chocolate, but put french fries in front of me, even if I've already eaten a full meal and my will power is gone.
4- If I ever go up or down a level in my house I always make sure to take my current book with me. You never know when you'll have a few minutes to spare.
5- I am in desperate need of new (read: stylish) shirts.
6- My birthday is in a week (and a day)! Attempting to start the celebration begins today.
7- I am rarely in asleep before midnight.

I'm passing this award on to
1+1=Fun (Shauna & Kayla)
L.T. Elliot
Amber Lynae

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Animate to Educate on Sesame Street

Sesame Street and Aniboom have teamed up to create a pretty awesome contest. Aniboom does some pretty amazing contests and is accompanied with some impressive prizes. This year my hubby, Tarl, created his own entry by animating these cute creatures and got my brother-in-law Chad to get some funky music to go with it. I must say, I love it.


Go watch it. And if you wouldn't mind, vote for it! (PS If you would like to vote, you have to create a simple account—I believe to help protect from fluff votes. But even viewing it helps so go take a look.)

Watch more cool animation and creative cartoons at Aniboom

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cardtable Playhouse

After making a playhouse for my sister-in-law, my mom and I started making three more, for me and my two sisters families. Today we finished the one for my kids. We changed it up a bit to personalize it some. Here is what we did! (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)

You might have noticed hands sticking out of the mailbox in that first photo. We thought it'd be fun for them to be able to put in real mail. The flag is also on Velcro so they can stand it up or lay it down. The windows have ribbon down both sides of them so they can roll them up and tie them in place.

My 4 year old has affectionately been calling this her puppet show house because when they use the one at my moms house they do a puppet show out the windows. They're so thrilled to finally have their own card table playhouse!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Postcard

(Photo taken by me in Monticello, Virginia in October of 2008)

(Ok I hardly ever break the 'rules' of Wordless Wednesday but seriously, can I just say how hard it was to capture a shot without tourists walking around in it.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Random Ramblings

I finished school a few months ago but my university only does the whole 'walking' thing in April and August. Which means I'll be participating in April. Which means I've received some kind gifts for graduation from my parents and grandparents. I've been debating what to do with the cash. Buy a new fabulous camera? Get myself a pretty netbook? Go on a trip? It's enough to possibly send me on a trip (not enough to send my husband, but thats ok cause he's not a fan of traveling right now.) I'm thinking about a girls trip. To New York City! (I've been there once, about 11 years ago, for three short days.) Now I just need to find people who will go with me. Anyone?
Or better yet, what do you think I should do with a small chunk of change?

I've noticed that when I go to the gym I like to know exactly what it is I'm going to be doing. I hate walking in and standing there just looking around. I either decide the night before or sit in the car and deliberate on what's gonna go down.

I haven't updated my family blog since November. That really isnt like me but every time I sit down to blog I remember I have a bunch of friends to check in with and then update my CF blog. Today I'm finally updating my family blog. Only because I've told myself I can't read a book until I do at least 10 posts. Hmmm.

While I was getting ready this morning my son was playing in the bathroom sink. I didnt realize but the water was hot. He filled up his cup and held it out to me and said, 'blow on it momma!' Made me kinda giggle.

My 'normal make-up routine' is bugging me. I've decided I'm not using the right colors at all and my face looks washed out. Someone save me from myself. I have no knowledge in this area and really need help.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cool Daddy Rat

I got to meet the adorable Kristyn Crow author of Cool Daddy Rat (and other picture books) at the book event I went to last month.

Kristyn gave me this book to review and I was so excited to read it to my kids. I gathered them all up on my bed and told them I had a fun new story to show them. My six year old wanted to check out the cover and read the title, author and illustrator for everyone. (In kindergarten, our fun school librarian taught the kids all about the parts of a book). I told my kids I actually got to meet Kristyn! They thought that was awesome especially I opened it up to see it was actually signed for us too! (Honestly I never realized how much kids get a kick out of meeting authors just like I do. But they do!)

During the story:
2 y/o: Laughed every time I read the silly sounding word parts.
4 y/o: Loved looking at and pointing out the pictures and laughed when her brother laughed.
6 y/o: Told me it was a cool story and wanted to read it on her own again. She liked the way the words sounded.

Then I took it to our weekly music group where at the end we have snack and read a story. It was my turn to bring a book and this months theme was "Silly" and it was the perfect opportunity to read it again! The kids there range in age from 0-4. My kids would start laughing every time I read the words crazy which would get the other kids to start laughing too. Some even tried to immitate the word sounds like zoo zat, rat tat, yow, and zooby.

The Cranberryfries family LOVED this book!
This is such a fabulous book! It was fun, as the reader, to get really animated about the words and try to read them with a lot of inflection and pizazz. On amazon you can check out the first page in the book and see what I mean. The rhythm of the book is so great not only for the kids but for the adults too!

Cool Daddy Rat has gotten a lot of awards including "Blue Ribbon Book" for 2008 by the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Additions to my Nightstand

Looking for a new book to read? Or three?

I heard of a book signing happening in Utah. Here's the details:

Triple Book Launch!
Friday March 12
Deseret Book at University Village in Orem

Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

Dangerous Connections by Julie Bellon

Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah Miller Eden

Monday, March 8, 2010

The One With the Name

The one thats for Victoria (and literally about 4 months late). I adore this lady and all her wisdom and humor! She asked (as have many of you) for the story behind the name. Here ya go.

When I was younger I always thought it was cool to have a nickname. A lot of the guy friends I knew in highschool went by nicknames (even if it was just by me or between friends). I always thought I didn't have one but trying to think back I realize I have actually had a few.

A few of my favorite:
Senorita Sexy Pants (from the boy next door)
Kiddo (from a friend just 13 mo older than me)
Fish (from my boyfriend, now hubby)
Sprtygal (my first ever email address from like 8th grade.)
SirBoobieX (sounds like a sexy knight right?)

....and then there was Cranberry Fries.
I went by Sprtygal on the few forums that I joined. And while that is a fun and great name, I just dont feel like I am as sporty as I was in highschool when I created the name. Plus with the face paced social world I wanted to come up with a name that was memorable. One night while thinking of all the things that make me unique and different and something that I might tell people when introducing myself I had a thought.

The Cranberry:
I once mentioned to my sister-in-law about how I'm always drinking Cranberry Juice and she looked at me and said, "for fun??" I wasn't sure what she was talking about. Of course. Then she told me that in any flavor she really just doesnt like the stuff. I told her not only do I like it, it was my ambrosia! Seriously people, there is nothing better than some pebbled ice and Cranberry juice. Oh heaven.

Oops. Not that Fry.

The Fries:
Ever since I was little I have had a thing for fries. I remember once my sister and I threw a rootbeer fry party. She got her love of rootbeer in several different varieties and I got my love of french fries from several different eating establishments. Then we had them in taste testing cups for people to try to guess the brand of the rootbeer and the restaurant of the french fries. Or how about the time when we moved when I was 11 and now was just two blocks away from a Wendy's. Sure it was across a major busy street but I'd walk over there, all by my little girl self, every once in a while, just to order a biggie fry and eat it. But I was determined to get my fries. Or the time when my hubby and I stopped on the way to our own wedding reception to grab some dinner and fries. Yes I've always loved my french fries.

So basically after that long story, here's the short: One day I thought, "Hey Cranberry Fries sounds neat."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saying hi. Right back atcha.

I'm not ignoring you. I really am grateful for your comments. I try to respond to most comments left on my blog by email (check below) but if I click on your name when you leave a comment and I can't get to your blog or to your email I dont know how else to tell you hi and return the favor for stopping by.

Remember a while ago when I sorta told you how to enable your email? Well I decided to do my own since many people are new and I think a lot of people dont use my links. (Even though I go to all the effort to highlight, copy, paste, link, etc etc, haha.)

Here ya go:

On your dashboard, edit your profile

Just check the little box. Super simple. (If however you dont want to use the email you currently have set up, you can change it by scrolling down just four more lines. (As stated on the dashboard page, changing the email address there will NOT change the address you use to sign in.)

Don't let your hard work go to waste. Save it, Scotty!

Wala. Now people can get in touch with you. (Super handy if you're entering contests or visiting new blogs.)

If you're wondering why I dont make it easy and just comment on my own comments it's because I haven't figured out the glitch yet to keep my name from appearing over there in my top commenters box.---->

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ta-da. A plentiful week for my readers.

My books make me happy contest giving away Read, Remember, Recommend winner is comment #5 Kristie!

Winner of my "review some books and save the world" contest is comment #1 Barbaloot! (Pick a book from the picture. Candy Shop War and Fablehaven are both signed.)

Congratulations ladies! Send me an email and I'll get the books sent out this week.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rainbow Brite

You know how little girls sometimes have little kitchens to play with? Well I dont know why but when I was younger my parents got me a Rainbow Brite dishwasher. It stood about 3 feet tall and basically had a door to open. I loved it! I remember a specific instance when I was about six years old we had a friend coming to stay with us and my parents put me and my sisters in one room and he was going to sleep in my room. Well heaven forbid, a man in my room, so I did the logical thing any girl would do. I hid my underwear in my Rainbow Brite dishwasher. Safe and sound. My sisters still tease me about this some 20 years later. (This picture is one I had to smoosh together since I couldn't find any images of what I actually had.)

A few weeks ago I received some CD's from MomSelect to review with my kids. I let my six year old have a go at it first and she loved it. She could easily navigate the games and puzzles by herself and we all had a good time listening to the theme song and dancing along.

You can find a bunch of games, activities, coloring pages, animatinos and more at And the actual dolls are coming back out to stores. Target and Toys R' Us I believe have them in stores right now.

*I received a CD promotional pack through MomSelect and Hallmark.

Tell Me (cause it's Tuesday): Sick day for fun!

My poor daughter got strep throat a few weeks ago. Although she wasn't too dissapointed because she got that really yummy bubble gum tasting medicine. Did you ever have that as a kid? Oh I can still remember it! So a few days she was doing ok and then again with the symptoms.

So the weekend passes and I run all three of my kids into the doctor. Turns out, the doctor thinks she gave it to her siblings who in turn gave it right back to her. I've been lining them up at night for medicine shots. At least it's good tasting though.

Oh and then hubby says his throat tickles. He's got what they had plus a few other obnoxious symptoms so he spent the week sleeping and hacking up all sorts of lungs.

Miraculously I steered clear of getting anything at all and was just able to take care of them all without feeling cruddy myself. (Isn't it the worst when you still have to be 'normal' when you feel like junk?)

Whenever anyone checked in to see how we were all doing I kept saying, "It's the best sick days I've ever had." Not that it was crazy fun mind you, I actually didn't go or do a whole lot last week, but at least I didnt feel sick. So I gots me to wonderin'...

Tell Me: If you had a 'sick day' but really you didnt feel miserable, what would you do with your day? No normal responsibilities folks. C'mon pull out the big guns.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Books Make Me Happy (Win a book)

I started out the weekend being utterly sad I couldn't make it on my planned girls-trip out of town to attend a fabulous murder mystery party. (Everyone, besides me, in my family got sick earlier this week.) However after remembering I'd had another invitation to another fabulous party I quickly realized the weekend could still be awesome.

Saturday I hung out at the Utah Book Blogger/Author social that Natasha from Maw Books put together. Oh my goodness. What a party!!

It's always amazing to me when a group of people, with similar interest, gather together and an immediate, tangible connection is formed. Book people are great people folks!

I sat at a table with other bloggers Jenni Elyse, Catie, and some wonderful authors Bree Despain, Sydney Salter, Emily Wing Smith, Brodi Ashton and Ann Bowen. We were laughing so hard and so loud I'm pretty sure the other folks in the establishment were hoping we'd hurry with our dinners and leave. Sadly for them (fantastically fun for us) we were there for three hours.

After dinner we had a book exchange. Numbers were drawn randomly and the books were assigned numbers. Mine was called first and I won Water for Elephants (by Sara Gruen). Shannon Hale came over and told me, despite a few scenes to be careful of, it is a marvelous book.

James Dashner came over to crack a few jokes about all us ladies being silly. And with a wave of his hand included whomever else wanted to be included. I was terribly flattered when he remembered my name.

I chatted for a while with picture book author, Kristyn Crow about a fantastic event coming up later this year. I'm definitely going to have more details coming soon. I'm so excited I've been biting my nails all day (ok not literally but it's just that exciting!).

I meant to stop by Josi Kilpack's table but was a little shy to go say hi. Turns out I guess I am still a bit nervous. I've enjoyed following her books progresses on twitter.

Friend Jenni won Jeleta Clegg's book and she was so kind to come over and visit with us and also sign the book. It sounds fascintating and I can't wait to hear what Jenni thinks of it.

After meeting Jean Reagen I remember seeing her picture and book on a blog tour this year.

I didnt get to visit much with Ann Cannon but I'm taking my kids to the library this week so we can see a few of her books!

Rachelle Rogers Knight was kind enough to give everyone one of her literary journals. She told me she loves to read award winning books and thought it'd be fun to put this together. In fact, knowing how much my readers like to win things, she even gave me a brand spakin new book to give to one of you! (All you gotta do to win is comment.)

Of course the folks I'm gonna have to get to know in cyberspace since there just wasn't enough time to visit longer: Sueysays (It's all about books), michellewitte, One Literature Nut, Karey Shane, Kim (Good Clean Reads)

Thanks Natasha for a wonderful, uplifting evening!