What’s On Your Nightstand: October Edition

What's On Your Nightstand? October Edition of Book Picks for H.A.G. | Hardly a GoddessLet’s talk about books!

Books I read:

The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny

This is the third in this Inspector Gamache series, and I am going to order the 4th, so stay tuned for the review on that one! It continues with Gamache and his sidekick detectives going to “Three Pines” – a most beucolic place, aside from all the murders(!)- to solve a case. What I love about the books is her characters. They are so interesting. I think I like a character, and then the flip side of their personality or something small that they do, sets me thinking they might be the murderer. They are all like this. Things are never what they seem, and it pulls you in and around the mystery in an intellectual and fun way. Loved it and highly recommend. But take note: you have to read the series in order though, because each one is based on the last.

I am still reading:

The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante

This is the 2nd in Elena Ferante’s series that chronicles the lives of 2 girls (now women), Lila and Elena. Lila is now married which is not all that she expected it to be in book one, and Elena finishing her studies, is figuring out her next steps. It is a quiet book, yet it pulls me along. It is just so nice not to have to worry over the characters, or the storyline as you do in a mystery, so it’s a good balance for my other reads this month. I am enjoying it, and it will continue throughout November, I am sure since it is  471 pages and I am on page 100. Agh, reading.

Books Listening to in October:

Dad’s Fat by Jim Gaffigan

I haven’t started it yet, but it is ON tap. I am so excited. I need a good laugh, and the thought of listening to him in the morning on the way to work sounds like a perfect way to start off the day. I love my audio books as they have totally helped me read more this year, and I am truly enjoying them as they make the commute SO much better!

What’s on my eBook reader?

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing, by Jennifer Weiner

Many of you have probably read books by her, but I surprisingly haven’t. Not one. But I will. After reading this memoir, I am so curious. She is so likable and funny.  There is heart-full and sadness and truth in this book about her childhood and self-image as it’s progressed through a tough adolescence to her great success and fame now. I think if her books are for women, then I should read them. I did see a movie made from one of her books and it was heart breakingly good: In Her Shoes, made way back in 2005 with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette (who is awesome). Definite “Chick-Flick” tear jerker and for that night where you want to just cry and laugh and aren’t sure what…That the one. So, long story, short…I am reviewing this one and you will read my full review a bit later.

What are my kids loving?

11 year old: 

The Harry Potter Series
, by J.K. Rowling.

Eating this UP! I pushed it and pushed it, and then she watched the movies. Ugh. But wait! Watching the movies made her want to read the books! Sort of like the Rick Riordan series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Awesome books that my 10 year old is now into.

10 year old:

Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo

Could be the cutest and best book ever. A super-squirrel has made his way into my heart, and just reading this book has made me hate squirrels so much less. They really are so smart, people. Which leads me to the boys picks:

6 year olds:

Those Darn Squirrels, by Adam Rubin

This book is fun-ny! My boys love shaking their fists and laughing at these clever squirrels. There are 2 more “Darn Squirrel” books and I can’t wait to get them for the boys.

So that is it. I may not be reading a ton, but I have been reading a ton of kids books, which has been fun. I don’t care how old my kids get, they always love picture books. The illustrations feed the story so thoroughly and are so key to the books enjoyment- there have been some great ones.

What’s on YOUR nightstand? Comment below to share– I am not a book snob, clearly, so bring it on! I love hearing what’s out there: good, bad or ugly!

Check out these nightstands at : 5 Minutes for MomBookDate, &  Booknificient on Thursday!

What are you reading and loving right now?

Taco Dip Pizza #SundaySupper

Taco Dip PizzaIf there’s one thing everything can agree on in my house, it’s pizza. Plain cheese usually rules the kid-table, but every once in a while I can sneak one new thing in for the adventurous eaters among us! This taco-dip pizza was a leftovers inspiration, and my oldest daughter absolutely loves it!

But I am jumping ahead.  This week over 50 (!) bloggers are sharing their best pizza recipes. So if Taco-Dip Pizza is not your thing….then you have over 49 other recipes to try!  Do you like thin and crispy crust? Or thick and chewy?They’re all here! My Taco-Dip Pizza is just one of many options for you to choose from- and it’s a meatless option!

It is so easy to make as a dinner, but I also think changing up your normal dip to bring to parties would be fun!

In 5 easy steps, here’s what to do:

  1. Stretch the dough
  2. Spread the refried beans
  3. Spread the cream cheese mixed with sour cream and taco seasoning
  4. Layer on the salsa
  5. Add the cheese and hot peppers


Here you go:


If you love taco -dip, you will love this yummy pizza!

Taco Dip Pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Take your favorite taco-dip and put it in pizza form with this delicious combination that can be a meal or an appetizer that you will love!


  • 1 bag of premade dough from the store (or your fave)
  • ½ can of vegetarian/fat-free refried beans
  • ¼ cup low-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 TBSP taco seasoning
  • ½ cup red salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar/mozzarella mix cheese
  • *Optional Toppers: Scallions, pickled jalapeno peppers


  1. Preheat the oven to 400*.
  2. Spray a rimmed sheet pan with non stick spray.
  3. Stretch your dough onto the pan.
  4. Place in the oven to pre-bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and spread the refried beans in a thin layer.
  6. In a small bowl mix the cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning until combined. Spread this on top of the bean layer.
  7. Next, spread a layer of the salsa.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the salsa layer.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes on the lowest rack to get a crisp crust.
  10. Remove and sprinkle with optional toppers: chopped scallions or pickled jalapeno peppers
  11. Cut and serve with extra salsa for dipping if desired..
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

Thank you to the Event host: Coleen Hill of The Red Headed Baker






Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

This post is also linked with Meatless Monday with Sarah at A Whisk and 2 Wands, and Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner.

Purgatory Chasm: A Massachusetts Gem for Families

I have to post about this before the beautiful fall leaves are all fallen! This is peak season in the Northeast and the trees are amazingly beautiful!

If you live in Massachusetts or within an hour drive, I highly recommend Purgatory Chasm as a park to not miss out on! I have known about it ever since I moved to Massachusetts- echemm- quite some time ago, and had never gone!  I pass this place almost every day on my way to work, and still had never gone…Until I did. And now I think I will go all the time.

purgatory chasm fun with kids

The chasm is a path with rocks and nooks and caves to scamper in and out and over. It is challenging enough for grown-ups and easy enough that with assistance, my 6 year old boys could do it. It is NOT for elderly or impaired walkers in any way. For those people, there are easier trails at the park as well as scenic areas to appreciate the view and walking.purgatory chasm fun with kids

We took the hike through all sorts of fun craggle and crevices. It then goes around a loop that winds over the chasm and you can see down into it. It is super fun and challenging too. After our hike, we had to give sustenance to the weary, by way of ice-cream. Of course. How do you think I got my kids to actually get in the car to go on a hike? I bribed them, just like you would have, faced with two tweens and twin 6 year olds. And literally, this is a quote, what my daughter, the queen-tween, said:

This is pretty fun mom. I thought when you said ‘hike’ it would be boring. But this place is fun.

Whaaat?! Ahhhh! Did you hear that?! Fun?! I felt that feeling, you get when all things are good and right. It was awesome. I am so going to take this kid hiking again. She was happy. And outside. And it’s free. All was well.purgatory chasm fun with kids

Of course the day of hiking, followed by ice cream also included mini-golf and animals and a jumpy house, of which we didn’t partake (the animals or mini-golf).  There is only so much fun one mom can take, and honestly none of it sounded as good as the hike and ice cream.purgatory chasm fun with kids

This is a great local spot that is worth a day trip if you can. Bring a picnic, and then go get ice-cream at the West End Creamery. And do it soon, before all the leaves have gone. I plan to go once more before the end of October to try the corn maze at the West End Creamery after our hike at the chasm….and of course more ice cream! Have fun!