Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Monday (#2) - January 25 - 31st

Insanity has once again claimed my house.  Our schedules are crazy!  But instead of stay focused on making my menu plans I let the chaos take me over and our mealtime has shown that lack of thought.  So here I am again, posting my meal plan and hoping that some organization will calm the storm and make part of our day relaxing.  Check out the menus posted at Menu Monday to get some more great ideas.

Monday -  Sweet and Sour chicken on rice
Tuesday -  Spaghetti with Alfredo or Meat Sauce
Wednesday - Beef Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Yorkshire Pudding
Thursday -  Pancakes
Friday - Beef Soup with Bread
Saturday - Leftover
Sunday - Turkey Dinner

Let's see if I can stay on track now........

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Windows into New Worlds

I was an only child growing up with my grandparents and even though life was good (even better than I realized after growing up) it was often lonely.  My grandfather was an immigrant from Norway.  He didn't have a huge education, but enjoyed life and all it had to offer.  My grandmother had to drop out of school at age 12 when her father disappeared.  Off to work she went to help support herself and her mother.  Both grandparents craved knowledge and books were like gold.

Just after I started grade one, I remember my grandfather saying he had something planned for me.  We walked down the street hand in hand and my excitement only grew bigger with each minute because I had no clue what he had in store for me.  We entered a large brick building downtown and I was hooked.  This was our local library.  Shelves upon shelves of books surrounded me.  My grandfather took me to the front desk and purchased my first library card - something I have never been without since that day.

He saw this as an opportunity.  A gift of knowledge! 

As the years past I couldn't get enough from that building and all it had to offer.  And over the years I graduated from Richard Scary and Enid Blyton to the Nancy Drew Series, to historical biographies to romance like Barbara Cartland.  I challenged the librarians often to order in books that they themselves deemed upfit for me to read (ie, I fought for 2 weeks to get them to order in East of Eden and finally won the battle and had victory when the librarian read it herself) 

My comfort with the library led me to work at the local library as a teenager and to later in life volunteer at my new town library.  I still get that overall warm feeling of being surrounded by "old" friends and "new".

Reading was something I took for granted until my daughter started to read herself.  It didn't come easy or natural for her.  I found it heartbreaking that she didn't share the same enthusiasm I did for the written word.  To her it was just a struggle she didn't want to have to deal with.   Only with the Twilight craze has she started to have moments of craving for books.  Who would of thought a vampire/werewolve flick would open her eyes to the possibilities.

Anyway....for 2010 I wish to open my eyes to new worlds, new challenges, and new experiences.  So in true form I am making lists of things I want to accomplish.  The book challenges online are vast.   And with great restraint I am limiting myself to 4. 

Nymeth from Things mean a lot here and  Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on have joined in to host Graphic Novels Challenge 2010   With my daughter's reading challenge, many teachers have guided her to read these types of books to ensure success and encourage excitement.  I have listened to her and her friends talk about characters and storylines and decided before I even knew about this challenge that this year I would explore this new world.

So - rules and guidelines:

The challenge starts on January 1st 2010 and ends on December 31st (but we don't mind you starting early.)

You don't have to make a list beforehand (but you can, of course! Lists are great because they give ideas to people who aren't sure what to read. And if you do make one, don't feel forced to stick to it!)

We simplified the levels of participation: you can be a Beginner (3 Comics or Graphic Novels), Intermediate (3-10) or an Expert (10+). You're more than free to adjust your level of participation after the challenge has begun.

There will be mini-challenges! Look for a post with more info on that soon.

Overlaps with other challenges are totally fine.

We also wanted to ask participants whether they'd rather post their reviews to the blog like we did for the past two years, or if we should post a monthly/bi-monthly Mr Linky where you'd enter your reviews like some other challenges do. We'd be fine with either option - just let us know in the comments which one you'd find more convenient, and we'll let the majority decide.

I have a list of 4 series that was recommended by some of Ms. S's friends.  Let's see what the year brings.

1.  The Record of a Fallen Vampire
2.  Vampire Knights
3.  Bleach
4.  Fullmetal Alchemist

The next book challenge was so created for me.  I love books but honestly my love affair with movies is just as strong if not stronger.  Read the book, see the movie is just an exciting concept.  Honestly keeping the books and movies separate and reviewing them as an entity of there own will be difficult but fun.

Here's how to join:

1. Select a challenge level:

Matinee: one book/movie

Double Feature: two books/movies

Saturday Movie Marathon: four books/movies

Film Festival: eight books/movies

Festival Jury Member: ten books/movies

2. Copy and paste the Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge button to your blog. (Optional. If you don't have a blog, you can still sign-up and play along. You can post reviews here.)

3. Sign up using Mr. Linky below. Please list your challenge level in a comment.

4. Get together a list of books/movies that you plan on reviewing. (Optional. You can just see what comes along during the year if you'd rather.)

I am going for the Festival Jury Member and have chosen the following as my list for the year.

1.  Angela's Ashes
2.  Angels and Demons
3.  DaVinci Code
4.  Anna Karenina
5.  The Color Purple
6.  The Green Mile
7.  My Sister's Keeper
8.  Great Expectations
9.  The Handmaid's Tale
10.  The Time Traveler's Wife

The A to Z Challenge 2010 is a godsend because no previous lists are required.  If you are reading, you are participating.  This works well for me because with my volunteering at the local library, I am putting books back onto the shelves and often bring home many "treasures" I wouldn't have known about otherwise.

January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.

How does this reading challenge work? Choose the option that works best for you...

Authors -- Read alphabetically by author. Commit to 26 books.

Titles -- Read alphabetically by title. Commit to 26 books.

Authors & Titles -- Commit to reading 52 books

I have decided to do both books and authors

And finally the challenge I do each year - To Be Read Challenge 2010 (TBR)
I have piles of books to read in my craft room and lists of books that I wish to read in my reading book.

For this challenge you should…

** Pick 12 books – one for each month of the year - that you’ve been wanting to read (that have been on your “To Be Read” list) for 6 months or longer, but haven’t gotten around to.

** OPTIONAL: Create a list of 12 “Alternates” (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn’t grab you at the time)

** Then, starting January 1, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31. )
By the end of the year you should’ve knocked 12 books off of your TBR list! (of course, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have added *at LEAST* 12 more to the ever-growing pile by then! LOL).

The good news is, though, that you’ll be making some progress! ;o)

Additional rules/guidelines for this challenge:

* the challenge is to read 12 TBR books in 12 months — you can read those all in one month if you want, or one a month, or however you wanna do it.

* you should have a list posted somewhere for others to see

* you CANNOT change your list after January 1st, of the current year!!!

* you can create an Alternates list of MAXIMUM 12 books, if you want, in order to have options to choose from (you can read these in place of books on your original list).

* audiobooks and e-books ARE allowed

* re-reads are NOT allowed, as they aren’t TRUE “TBRs”

* you CAN overlap with other challenges

* OPTIONAL: you can join the Yahoo! Group created for participants of the TBR Challenge, if you want to have a place to keep your list, or just to share with others about how you’re doing!

My list......
1.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker
2.  The Stand by Stephen King
3.  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
4.  Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
5.  The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
6.  The Silver Wedding by Maeve Binchy
7.  Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom
8.  The Adventures of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
9.  The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin
10.  Beloved by Toni Morrison
11.  Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
12.  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I am looking forward to the year and the challenges ahead.  Let's see how things go.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Menu Monday (#1)...January 4 - January 10

It is time to start the new year getting back to basics.  Having a menu makes life so much easier, especially with my dear daughter's busy schedule.  I am hoping to utilize things I already have in my pantry and freezer - clean out the old to make way for the new.  Also, I am looking forward to reading everyone else's creative menu ideas.

This week we are having.........

Monday - Pasta with sauce
Tuesday - Ham with scalloped potatoes
Wednesday - Pancakes
Thursday - Turkey soup and buns
Friday -  Hamburgers with home fries
Saturday - Out to friends ( I bring dessert - lefsa)
Sunday -  Turkey and fixings

Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Year......A New Beginning!

With 2010 fastly approaching all I could think about was what it all meant.  A new year!  A new beginning!  A fresh start!  A blank page!  Starting over! Making improvements!  Revising past mistakes!  These are all positive ways of viewing a new year.  With that mentality we make lists upon lists of things we want to change and we make resolutions that many of us have full intentions of keeping.  But as the days, weeks and even months flow past, we fall back into those past habits that didn't serve us very well in the past year or years. 

Does our enthusiasm for change and a fresh start overtake us with such vigor that we set ourselves up for failure before we even have begun.  I know only from my own personal experience that these words are so true.  I make HUGE lists of changes.  I want to lose weight...and not just 5 or 10 lbs but I set myself up to lose 40 - 50 lbs in 4 months.  I plan on eating better.  But in that quest to make healthy meals I forget that I am a creature of habit and love my junk food.  Deprivation from that vise completely is never a good thing for me.  I plan on improving myself by reading self-help and self-improvement books, but my list is so large that I might finish 3 books before I crave some "fluff" to indulge in.  I plan on....I plan on....I plan on. 

My intensions are always good but in the back of my mind I have already seen myself fail and so I think a part of me already has decided what the future will bring.  Disappointment in failing to meet my ideal goals, turns me to food, which in turn makes me depressed, which in turn has me sitting on the couch feeding my face and not accomplishing anything.  It is a vicious cycle!

So this year I have decided I have one and only one resolution...and that is to just enjoy life and write atleast once weekly in my personal blog .  If I lose weight....great!  If I read a self-improving or enlightening book...awesome!  If I try a new experience....terrific!  But if I just accomplish that one resolution of being the person I already am and being happy with the direction I am heading then 2010 will be a complete success!

Here is to a new year...a new beginning....a new (relaxed) me :-)