Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Review: Daughtry - Break The Spell

If you've read some of my other posts, or you know me,  you probably know I'm a huge Daughtry fan. Naturally I was very excited for their new album. I have "Crawling Back To You" set as my ring tone and the sneak peek of "Renegade" had me chomping at the bit to hear more. Well I finally got the chance and here's exactly what I think in a song by song analysis. I have the Deluxe Edition so the last 4 songs are bonus tracks.

1. "Renegade" - This is my absolute favorite song on the album. It's high energy enough to have me dancing around my kitchen before I've even had coffee. Listening to it makes me picture the guys hood sliding across some bad ass car before tearing off down the highway in a cloud of  dust.

2. "Crawling Back To You" - A solid song. It's catchy enough to have listeners singing along without being annoying. Good choice for a single.

3. "Outta My Head" - You may have a hard time getting this one out of your head. It'll have you bopping along 10 seconds in.

4. "Start Of Something Good" - This song slows things down, but not to syrupy speeds. It's a sweet song that manages to avoid being too sappy.

5. "Crazy" - This one has a decent rhythm. The subject matter could have potentially been heavy, but paired with this music it turns out well.

6. "Break The Spell" - Obviously this is the title track and there's a slightly heavier expectation paced on a song that titles an album. Honestly, it's a good song, but not the best on the album and not the one I would have chosen as the title. I'm sure Daughtry had their reasons for doing so however.

7. "We're Not Gonna Fall" - Inspirational in a way that anyone in a long term relationship can relate to and set to non-sappy music.

8. "Gone Too Soon" - Heart breaking lyrically. Have a tissue nearby. It's a touching tribute but may be hard for some people to listen to.

9. "Losing My Mind" - This one highlights Chris's vocal abilities and range which I loved. Otherwise, it's another good one.

10. "Rescue Me" - I can easily picture this as a TV theme song. A new version of Baywatch perhaps. And I mean that in a good way.

11. "Louder Than Ever" - This one reminds me of "Summer Of '69" by Bryan Adams with it's riffs and remembrances of a time past. I like it.

12. "Spaceship" - It's ok. Not my favorite song of theirs.

Bonus Tracks

13. "Who's They" -  The song and lyrics start well but don't live up to their potential.

14. "Maybe We're Already Gone" - Starts ok, but goes downhill. It's kind of depressing and it doesn't really seem like the band itself was  really into this one.

15. "Everything But Me" - This one gets a little sappy, but it's sweet.

16. "Lullaby" - This one brought tears to my eyes. It's a sweet song sung by a Daddy to his babies and the emotion is obvious. It just makes you go "Aww".

Overall it's a good album and it gets the Sugar and Snapshots Seal Of Approval.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Loss Of Jewelle

Last week the world lost a very special lady. Her name was Jewelle and she was one of the kindest, strongest, most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Jewelle was a customer at the cafe my husband used to own. She and my husband would talk every time she came in and they just fell in love with each other. She began calling him her son and telling everyone that she had adopted him. When I came along, it wasn't long before she adopted me as well.

You couldn't help but love Jewelle. She was such a caring person with a sense of humor that never failed to make us smile. She was a woman with strong faith in her own religion but she was open minded about others' beliefs. Jewelle suffered from health problems but I never once saw them get her down. After one bout of illness she instructed me that when she passed we were not to mourn her. She requested that instead we celebrate and dance down the aisle at her funeral because she would be in a better place.

When Jewelle cared about you, you knew it. I will never forget the moment when I knew it. There was a particularly hateful woman who would come into the cafe nearly every morning. She was always rude and surly towards me and normally I just roll my eyes and ignore her. But, that year I had lost my great-grandmother and on her first birthday after she had passed I was naturally more emotional than usual. This woman comes in and starts in on me and it just got to me that day. As I stood in the bathroom crying my eyes out, in walks Jewelle. She comforts me as I tell her what happened and says she knows just who the lady is. Jewelle slammed the bathroom door open and stalked out muttering about how she was going to "kick somebody's ass". I found out later that she did indeed give that woman a piece of her mind.

When my husband and I got married, Jewelle was one of our biggest supporters. When we discovered we were expecting our first child, Jewelle was as thrilled as we were. And so she became Grandma Jewelle. And a proud Grandma she was. When we discovered baby #2 was on the way, Jewelle was one of the first people we told. She was at the hospital when our second son was born and that meant more to us than she ever knew. My boys adored their Grandma Jewelle and it saddens me that my daughter will never get to know her.

Sadly, despite our best intentions, life sometimes gets in the way and "We should go see"s turn into "Too late to go see"s. Then you're left with regrets and guilt and "We should have"s. But, even when we didn't see her, Jewelle was frequently in our thoughts and she was always loved. I hope she knows that.

Jewelle leaves behind two biological children and their spouses and families as well as countless other family members, both related by blood and 'adopted'. There are many many people who will mourn and miss her. Jasmine, Duane, if you're reading this, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Babies Grow

And they grow fast! This weekend we're celebrating our baby girl's first birthday. And like most Mamas I'm having a hard time believing a whole year has gone by already. A year ago we were anxiously awaiting any sign that she would soon be making her appearance. And now... well, now she's walking and talking and she's so sweet and so smart that she just blows us away. Yes, we felt the same way about our boys. But, I think this time around it tugs at our heart strings a little more because she is probably our last biological child and therefore probably the last baby we will raise from birth.

It's truly amazing how in just a year babies go from being these tiny, helpless little people that merely sleep, eat and poop to these less tiny, mobile, babbling, laughing, exploring, still poopng little people. But as wonderful as it is, it's also a little tear inducing. See, what Mamas know is that after that first year time seems to move even faster. These little people quickly go from being our snuggly little babies to being pre-school aged kids who become more independent every day. And of course that's a good thing, but Mamas still get teary eyed over the speed at which it happens.

But, you can't stop the inevitable, so this weekend we'll eat some cake and smile as we celebrate a year of life and accomplishments. Happy Birthday baby girl!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sugared Brownie Bites

My kids put in a request for chocolate cookies and after some experminenting the result was a cross between a cookie and a brownie and full of yummy. The kids gulped them down. Enjoy!

You Need:

1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 stick of butter (softened)
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tablespoons of milk
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 2/3 cups of flour
1/2 bag of chocolate chips
2/3 cup of powdeed sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375. Pour the 2/3 cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add vanilla and milk and blend. Mix in cocoa and baking powder and blend well. Slowly add in the flour. Add the chocolate chips last. Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place on a well greased cookie sheet. There is some spreading but you can easily fit a dozen on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, careful not to over bake or they will get hard. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough for you to hande them. Dip the tops of each cookie into the powdered sugar then place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!