read it & watch it: the hunger games

Writing this post feels a little silly, simply because The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is a worldwide phenomenon and hardly needs to be recommended to anyone at this point. However, since I neglected to discuss the series this summer when I finally read it for the first time, and since the movie was absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t resist the urge to chat about the series and all its forms with all of you!


Source: via Kelly on Pinterest



Let’s start from the beginning: the books. I’m not going to summarize the plots, since (1) you can find dozens of well-written synopsi elsewhere on the web and (2) I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. I wouldn’t call myself a diehard fan of the series – maybe more like avid. My level of admiration for The Hunger Games is nowhere near my Harry Potter devotion, but is definitely greater than my basic enjoyment of the Twilight saga. I couldn’t put the first book (The Hunger Games) down. I found the idea of a dystopian future interesting and the concept of the Hunger Games disturbing yet weirdly fascinating. All the characters are well-developed, revealing their humanity through both their strengths and weaknesses despite the troubling nature of their society. I really admire Katniss as a heroine, as she is smart, strong, independent, and caring. I also found the story itself to be particularly action-packed. I found the second book, Catching Fire, to be just as engaging and action-driven. I really liked the increasing complexity of the relationships between various characters and the growing questions about the society and its government. I still have trouble deciding which of the first two books I like more. I do know, at least after my initial reading of the series, that the third and final book, Mockingjay, was my least favorite (a sentiment several of my friends share). However, once I started to really think about it, I think it was because I was expecting Mockingjay’s action to be as driven by survival and manipulation as the first two books, where as it is actually much more driven by the political storyline of the trilogy. I think if I had known before reading it that Mockingjay‘s focus was going to be more political (for lack of a better word) than The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I would have enjoyed it more. Probably just as much! Overall, I was pretty satisfied with how everything played out and how Mockingjay ended. I’d really like to read the whole series over again sometime soon – I feel like it’s one of those series you enjoy more and more with each reading.


Source: via Kelly on Pinterest



Now: the movie. As I’ve noted, I enjoy most movies I see. This fact is especially true if the movie is based off of a book or some other story of which I am already a fan. The Hunger Games was no exception to this rule, though I truly feel the movie was an excellent adaptation of the book. Erin of Forever Young Adult summed it up especially well: “I thought it made a solid (though too long) movie from a book that spends a lot of time in the main character’s head.” (However, I disagree about the length. While it was a little over 2.5 hours, it didn’t drag.)

The movie was extremely well-casted. Jennifer Lawrence was just brillant. I can’t imagine another young actress who could play Katniss Everdeen as well as she did, especially considering how complex of a character Katniss starts off as and continues to become throughout the series. I was at first skeptical of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, but after seeing the movie, feel as though he is a perfect fit for the character and had great chemistry with all of his castmates. Gale Hawthorne, played by Liam Hemsworth, does not have that large of a role in the first installment of the series, so I don’t have much to say about Hemsworth’s performance other than it was pleasantly done. Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, and Woody Harrelson, as Effie Trinket, Cinna, and Haymitch Abernathy, respectively, were all impressive in their roles (especially Banks). I’m excited to see their performances as their characters develop further in the series. The young supporting cast members were also superb, particularly Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen (Katniss’s younger sister), Amandla Stenberg as Rue, and Alexander Ludwig as Cato. Oh, and it pretty much goes without saying that Donald Sutherland (as President Snow) and Stanley Tucci (as Caesar Flickerman) were excellent, per usual.


Source: via Kelly on Pinterest



Aside from the wonderful casting (which truly made the movie), I liked the overall atmosphere and style of the film (the cinematography, the score, the color palette, make-up, costume design, etc.), as it all contributed to how engaging the film was. The only complaint I had about the film was in regards to its handling of the love triangle between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. Without giving too much away for anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with the book or movie, I basically wish the movie could have portrayed Katniss’s inner monologue on the issue a bit more. I think it was portrayed pretty well considering there’s no narration in the movie (which would have been weird) and satisfyingly enough if you’ve already read the books, but I feel it may cause people who only see the movies to draw different conclusions about the love triangle than people who have read. I concede it’s a pretty strange point to be picky over, but as my friends and I discussed this week, there seems to be a consistent pattern in YA media in which a female protagonist has to be in love (or some sort of love triangle, apparently), and I think the books do a great job of making the romance issue a more complex, organic, and connected to the overall storyline than a basic teenage love story.

In any case, I can’t wait to see the next installments of the film series! I expect I’ll be visiting the theater another time or two in the next few weeks in attempt to tide myself over ; )


Have you read The Hunger Games series? What did you think of it? Did you like the movie?




bake it: chewy bars



Chewy bars are a family favorite. I can remember my mom making them for family picnics, school functions, birthdays, and other occasions for as long as I can remember. They’re truly delicious and I don’t know why I never thought to share them on Beagle & Bear before! So, to kick off the new site, here’s one of my all-time favorite recipes:



CHEWY BARS (from Sue Dunson, according to my mom’s handwritten recipe card!)


  • 3/4 cup white Karo
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups Special K cereal
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips


  • Large heavy saucepan
  • 9 x 13 inch plan (glass or metal, your preference, although metal is easier for removing the bars when they’re done)
  • Appropriate measuring cups and spoons
  • Large, durable mixing spoon
  • Small or medium rubber spatula



1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Put white Karo, white sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla in saucepan.

3. Heat and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes). DO NOT boil. (See below, it looks like it is starting to boil. That’s because I hadn’t made this recipe in a long time, I stopped stirring to take the photo, it started boiling, and I freaked out. But then I just stirred it and it was fine.)


4. Stir in Special K cereal.











5. Once the initial mixture and the cereal are thoroughly mixed, spread evenly in pan. You can use a spoon if you’d like, but clean hands are easiest.











6. Sprinkle chocolate and butterscotch chips over the cereal base. Try not to let either type be too clustered in any one area.











7. Put pan in warm oven for a few minutes.

8. When chips are glistening (4-6 minutes), take pan out of oven.

9. Use rubber spatula to spread melted chocolate and butterscotch chips over the cereal base (if the chips are chunky and not spreading easily, put the pan back in the oven for a few more minutes and keep an eye on it).










10. Once the melted chips are spread easily, set pan out to cool. Putting the pan in the refrigerator helps the bars solidify better so it’s easier to cut them. However, if you’d prefer to have gooier bars, then letting them cool in room temperature is your best bet.











11. Cut up and enjoy!












welcome to the new and improved beagle & bear!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to Beagle & Bear at its new location and in its new format! Dan, the amazing man that he is, has always supported my interest in and efforts at blogging, and generously set me up with this domain and switched the blog over to WordPress. I am very excited about all the opportunities and possibilities awaiting the new and improved Beagle & Bear, and hope you are, too!

If you’re a regular follower of the blog, please make sure to change your bookmark from the old location at Blogger to our new location here. And if you’re a regular follower or a newcomer, be sure to look around! The left sidebar has links to Beagle & Bear elsewhere on the web, as well as the archive. The top navigation bar provides links to the various pages on the new Beagle & Bear: the new about page, changed contact information and updated policies, recommended reads such as blogs and favorite websites, and a list of regularly featured series. There is also handy search bar that allows you to search the site easily.

Please note that in posts created before March 26, 2012, some links within the posts may direct you back to a past post at Beagle & Bear’s old Blogger location. Any such post can also be found here on Beagle & Bear’s new site if you search for it by title or by one of the categories under which it is filed. Eventually these links will be fixed so they will direct you to the past post here on the new site instead. Your patience during this transition period is greatly appreciated : )

So again – welcome! Have a look around and let me know what you think. 


watch it: 21 jump street

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Notable Cast Members:

Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ice Cube, Rob Riggle, Ellie Kemper, DeRay Davis

Overall Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (rating rationale)

Plot Summary: Schmidt (Jonah Hill) has his brains going for him. Jenko (Channing Tatum) has his braun. At the police academy, the two set aside differences from high school and join forces to help each other become police officers. In the process, they also become best friends and partners. After screwing up their first attempt at a major arrest, the deputy chief (played by Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman) reassigns them to an undercover operation located at 21 Jump Street. The two prepare to go undercover at a local high school in order to stop the spread of a dangerous new drug (while living with Schmidt’s parents in the house he grew up in). However, they accidentally mix up their newly assigned identities, and Schmidt, who was an academic outsider in high school, gets in with the popular crowd, while Jenko, who was an all-around jock unconcerned with learning, makes friends with the nerds. Add in the fact that their police work is not always top-dollar, and you get some hilarious, action-packed entertainment.
Personal Thoughts: I loved this movie! It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in awhile – definitely the funniest since Bridesmaids. I know I usually like most movies I review, but I claim it’s not that I like everything and it’s more that I am just good at spending my time on movies I like…although most people tell me it’s the first option. I know I’m not alone on my 21 Jump Street opinion, though! Dan thought this movie was hilarious and worth seeing in theaters, as did a few other people with whom I discussed the film. That being said, if you enjoy movies like Superbad, Stepbrothers, Pineapple Express, Your Highness, etc., then you will probably enjoy 21 Jump Street. If you didn’t like at least one of those movies, you may not like 21 Jump Street. If you can’t handle violence, you might not like 21 Jump Street (or at least will need to avert your eyes for a few moments). A lot of my favorite movies are ones like the four mentioned above, and I am excellent at averting my eyes at any violence that gets to me, so I did enjoy this movie! Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have an excellent rapport as weirdly-matched best friends, display awesome comedic chops, and nicely play the “serious” moments without any cheesiness. The supporting cast is superb, especially Dave Franco and Ice Cube. The story is a bit off-kilter, but just grounded enough. If you’re looking for a movie to crack you up while also blowing stuff up, 21 Jump Street has got you covered.

weekly gems

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day : )

a letter to those who are hurting

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

A lot has happened these past couple weeks that have reminded about how blessed my life is and how much I love everyone in it. The Chardon High School shooting was in the northeast Ohio area, and while I didn’t know anyone involved, it moved me deeply as an educator. Three students from BGSU, my alma mater, passed away in a car crash at the beginning of spring break – making it six students this year that the university has lost. I hear of other losses, of health problems, of pain, among people I am close to or people that I have once met. It all breaks my heart. But at the same time, it makes me stand up straighter. It makes me take a pause and a deep breath. Then it makes me keep going. It makes me go forward trying to be stronger than before, motivated to make the most of the abilities, opportunities, and love in my life. It makes me want to do all I can to make others’ lives easier.

The frequency of tragedy does not ease its pain. It does not make it more understandable to me. I will never understand how one second someone can be here and the next second, they’re gone. I will never understand why great people, who treat others with warmth and work hard, go through such trials. When I first lost someone very dear to me very suddenly, during college, I felt broken. I remember, shortly after learning the news, I went to the church just off campus that I attended, which was unlocked and open 24 hours. I sat in the dark. I cried. I lit a candle. I prayed and cried. I went home. I cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next day and looked at the window. People were walking to class. I somehow got dressed and ready. I went to the union to get much-needed coffee. People were studying. People were laughing. I didn’t understand how the world could keep moving forward when it felt like it should be standing still.

I know people who are loved are lost everyday. I know people receive terrible health news or diagnosis everyday. I know people are hurt and taken advantage of and neglected everyday. I have known all this for quite some time. For some reason, I have been feeling the truth of it more and more lately. It sits heavily in my heart. I just wanted to say, if you are going through pain, if you feel broken, if you don’t understand why the world isn’t standing still, you’re not alone. I won’t say it’s okay. It’s not okay. But I promise: you’re not alone.

weekly gems

use it: cool stuff round-up

Lately I’ve been trying to stay better hydrated in order to have more energy, and I’ve taken to drinking my water with a ton of ice. Sometimes I wish there was a way to make the ice water a bit more interesting. Conveniently enough, every now and then while perusing Pinterest, Tumblr, or the web in general, I come across some products that are just plain neat. Over time I’ve found a bunch of fun ice cube trays and molds. Here are my favorites:

Duh-dun. Duh-dun. Duh-dun-duh-dun-duh-dun…

LEGO my ice cubes!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest


“Babushka” dolls – love!

Ice cubes that can doggie paddle!

Rubber duckie, you’re the one!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

And my FAVORITE one…Han Solo in carbonite!

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

Would you use fun ice cube trays? Which of these do you like, or are there different ones from around the web that you enjoy?