Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I've Been Reading

Wild by Cheryl Strayed - As a kid when I thought of running away it was always to the woods I would want to go. This memoir of the authors time solo on the Pacific Crest Trail was a good way for me to get my independent nature fix without having to actually go through it all.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran- This is a rant on feminism and the modern woman. I didn’t agree with her on a couple of points but I was laughing so hard at I didn’t care. A hilarious read if you have an appreciation for British humor.

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese- I saw many reviews for this and none piqued my interest until one of the girls in book club chose it. I’m so glad she did. It made me laugh, cry, and sometimes made me feel uncomfortable.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snicker Doodle Blondies

My picture does not do these beauties justice. They have the cinnamon taste of the classic snicker doodle cookie but are soft and chewy. You can find the recipe here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How I Save Money- Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast

I get it if oatmeal just isn’t your thing, but not only does this meal help your pocket book it is great for your waist line too. I use 1/3 cup of oats for my morning meal which is less than ten cents per bowl.It is also a great way to use up fruit that isn’t going to get eaten before it goes bad. When berries or bananas are on their last day, I throw them in the freezer. Then I add them to my oats before I bake them. Joy the Baker’s Recipe got me started on the baked version of oatmeal. I unusually do a simpler version in the morning; oats, a dash of baking powder, milk, fruit, and just a little bit of brown sugar.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How I Save Money - The Library

My library saves me hundreds of dollars a year. I read too much to justify purchasing books. It is a great place to take the kids and adds some new material to our nightly story time. Even my husband who isn’t much of reader has gotten into books on CD. He spends a lot of time in the car and the stories make the time fly by.

I order my books ahead of time online through the libraries website and they call me when they are ready for pick up. That way if I’m in a hurry I can be in and out in minutes. My library also has eBooks that I download to my Kindle Fire. This usually means I have to wait for the latest and greatest stuff, but the list of books I want to read is long so I can usually find something available.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are great, but they do take rising time and mine never seem to come out just right. Biscuits I have mastered so when I happen upon this recipe from Joythe Baker I had to try it. They have the texture of a biscuit with the flavor of a cinnamon roll.  They are delightful with Saturday morning coffee.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Five Things Friday

1)They’ve captured live video of a giant squid. Isn’t it crazy that it took us this long to actually document an animal of this size? It makes my head spin thinking of all the things we don’t know and haven’t seen.

 2)My DVR is capturing all the bad reality TV that has started again. I love The Biggest Loser. The physical changes are amazing, but why I really watch for is the inspiration you get from watching people finally believe they are capable of doing anything they put their mind to. We need to be reminded of this in a world where so many things still need to be changed.

 3)I like the new containers for my plants I bought at IKEA. The price point was good and these are classics that can work in every room of my house.
4)I don’t know if I’m excited about this, but I’m always wondered what things would be different for my children growing up then they were for me. I’m starting to believe they will never work with a computer mouse and they will think of it like a rotary phone. Do you think everything will move to touch screen in the next ten years?

 5) This mild January weather is really working for me. Sunny and above freezing is the best I can ask for from a Minnesota winter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ham Potato Soup

This soup has been in the rotation for years. Milk based soups often separate when frozen. If you are picky just make enough for one night. It doesn’t stop me.  I double the recipe and freeze most of it. I say a slightly imperfect homemade lunch is better than anything I can buy in our lunch room. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

What I've Been Reading Lately

 I like to keep my book reviews to just a few sentences. Below are a few books I've enjoyed reading lately.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I loved the mix of storytelling and biology lesson. I picked it for our next book club since I think it will raise some interesting discussion.

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan
This was a fast read about two families, one black, one white living in Mississippi during the 40s. I can’t rave about it like my friends have, but I have to admit I had a hard time putting it down.

 The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner
I love historical fiction and often feel a little burned out with the Tudors, but the twist in the story line kept it fresh for me.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Everyone Gets A Checkup

I can't actually take credit for this photo, but I was the one who saw the moment and had Neal who was closer to the camera take the picture.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I See My True Colors Shining Through

I hinted in my last post that our house is a bit stark and I would really love to give it that homey feel. (This may be understating the situation.) Well we have made a huge step in that direction. Most of the main floor has been painted with new colors. Living with someone else’s colors and d├ęcor has been driving me nuts and I’m so glad we finally did something about it. I was absolutely paralyzed when it came to choosing colors. I just didn’t have the talent to pull together colors that would work with our wood floors, counter tops, and finishings. Lucky for me I have a friend who is an interior decorator and was willing to save me from my fear. She helped me find colors I liked, worked together and worked with what we currently had. Once I made up my mind the rest actually happened quickly. The colors we choose were Versatile Grey for the living room and entry way, Serious Grey for the kitchen, and Stratton Blue for the Dining Room. It feels a little more like my home now.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It’s So Hard To Say Good Bye To Christmas Decorations

Notice I said decorations. The holiday shopping and the busy schedule are stressful for this introvert but I will miss the decorations. I don’t like clutter and I keep my house very plain. I’m slowly trying to decorate, but after a year in the new house it is still pretty empty. Putting up our Christmas decorations makes our house feel more personal. More like our home.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How To Make A New Year Resolution You Can Keep

So I know that New Years is a time to make goals for moving forward, but sometimes I don’t think we give ourselves credit for what we accomplished. Here are a few things I had on my to do list that actually got done this year.

1) Took a hot air balloon ride.
2) Started regularly using my own bags at the grocery store
3) Took a photography class
4) Adopted two cats
5) Tried over 40 new recipes

OK now I’m ready to look ahead. I’m actually not a big New Year’s Resolution kind of person, but I do keep a list of things I want to accomplish. I try keeping my list specific and to things I can actually do. Having it on the list and a deadline really works for me. The list is also made up of 90% fun things, or at least things that are fun in my dorky little world. These accomplishments help me feel like I’m learning and growing as a person. The list is also flexible. If something on it no longer fits in my life it comes off and is replaced by something that does fit. Here are a few things I would like to check off my list for 2013.

1) Make a family photo album. I’ve done an ok job of keeping up with the albums of the kids, but I really want to pull together something about all of us.
2) Learn how to can something preferably tomatoes.
3) Read or listen to at least 30 books.
4) Post every week on this blog.
5) Make chicken stock

 I’m really looking forward to 2013 and excited about all the things I will be able to do. This will be the first year I won’t be pregnant or breast feeding since 2008! With all the extra sleep I’m hoping to have the energy to be more present in my life.