Saturday, January 31, 2015

#EmptyShelf 2015

Last year John Acuff started an "empty shelf" at the beginning of the year, then filled it with the books he read throughout the year.  Like many others, I loved the idea, but really only read ebooks... so I tried a digital version, here on my blog.  I didn't keep up with it - but I left the post up thinking sometime this year I might go back and finish it.  

For 2015 I'm starting again -  I'll stick to just text links without pics for those books that were not my favorites, that might make it simpler.  

5 Stars - Books I Recommend to Everyone 

4 Stars - Good reads, solid favorites
Confessions Of A Prayer Slacker - Diane Moody
Queen Of Hearts - Rhys Bowen (Royal Spyness #8)
No Biz Like Showbiz (Lexi Carmichael Mystery #4)

No Test for the Wicked (Lexi Carmichael Mystery #5)by Julie Moffett
A Wedding On Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

3 Stars - A Good Read, I liked it but not enough to really recommend it
Kissing In Action (Lexi Graves Mysteries #7) by Camilla Chafer
Gator Bait (Miss Fortune Mystery, #5) by Jana Deleon
Landline by Rainbow Rowell

2 Stars - I didn't necessarily hate it, but I was severely disappointed.  (These usually end up being series books that I keep reading, even though they really aren't good anymore)

Throw in the Trowel (A Flower Shop Mystery #15) by Kate Collins
The Best Yes by Lysa Teukherst

1 Star - Ugh.  Yuck.  
Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker
The Girl On The Train  by Paula Hawkins (I hated Gone Girl too.  For this type of book done WELL, try The Good Girl by Mary Kubica)


We first had this at a street festival, when the kids were little - and since then I have seen it served a football game concession stands.  It's so simple to make, and it's really a cheap meal - I usually serve it with hot sausage sandwiches. I do not usually make it look purple, but last night I used purple cabbage and a purple onion, and voila - it's purple.  :-)  Purple is not my favorite color for anything but food.  Purple potatoes, purple string beans, purple tomatoes, purple carrots..  there is something about growing purple food that makes me happy.

This is a typical Haluska Recipe:
1 stick of butter (some websites even say "margarine".  Run from those sites.  )
1 16 oz bag of egg noodles
1/2 an onion, sliced thin
1 small head of cabbage, sliced thin
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook the egg pasta, drain and set aside
Melt the butter in a large skillet or pan, large enough to hold the chopped cabbage.
Saute the cabbage and the onion in the butter until glossy and tender.
 Add salt and pepper.
 Cover and let the cabbage mixture simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
Mix the pasta and the cabbage & onion together
Serve - optional, serve with sour cream

How I Make Haluska
1 16 ounce bag egg noodles
1 sweet onion sliced thin
cabbage sliced thin
1 to 1 1/2 cups of butter
chicken broth (maybe a cup?  I just mix a little Tones Chicken base with some water.  Tones is $4.28 a tub at Sam's club, and I use both the beef & chicken a LOT around here)
Salt & Pepper
Put water for the pasta on to boil, slice the onion thin
Put a stick of butter in a skillet to melt on low heat
Start slicing the cabbage
Add the pasta to the water once it is boiling, cook it
Add the onion to the skillet with the butter
Keep slicing cabbage.  I used about 3/4 of a small head of cabbage this time.  Fill the skillet to heaping - it will cook down.
once the onion is cooked, add the cabbage on top of the onion, then add more butter.
Saute for a bit
Add some chicken broth - 1/ a cup or so to start, then put the lid on the skillet and let it cook on a low heat
Drain the noodles
Once the cabbage mixture has cooked down to "clear and translucent", toss with the noodles.
Note - purple cabbage doesn't become quite clear and translucent.  Just cook the cabbage until it is obviously cooked and not crunchy.
Then sometimes I add more melted butter.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Authors

As I was cleaning up my goodreads account today, I decided to make a list of my favorite authors, with links, to check when they have new books coming out.  (You'd think there'd be an app for that?  one that automatically notifies me when my favorite authors have new books?  )  I always have more books on my to read pile than I could possibly read in one life time, yet I keep adding...

These are some of my favorites: (List Forever In Progress)

Mystery/Thriller (My favorite Genre)

James Patterson (NOT all of his - but I love some of his series with other authors)
    The Womens Murder Club
     Michael Bennet
     NYPD Red
     Private Series

Harlen Coben (I love his books so much that I am rationing them out, saving them for when I "need" a good read)

Patricia Cornwell (her latest was horrible unfortunately..  but I keep reading.)

Kathy Reichs (her latest was actually one of her best.)

Jeffery Deaver
   Lincoln Rhyme Series

Lisa Gardner 
    D D Warren

My all time favorite - The Nero Wolf Series by Rex Stout

Comedic Private Eyes/"Mysteries"  (Mystery?  Romance?  No idea what category these should be!)

Janet Evanovich (not a fan of her strictly romance, but love her "mysteries")
      Stephanie Plum
       Fox & Hare

Camilla Chafer - actually these have been annoying me quite a bit, but I still read them all...  Fluff.
       Lexi Graves Series

Julie Moffet
       Lexi Carmichael Series

Lisa Lutz - Spellman Files Series

Not Comedic - but Female PI - 

Sue Grafton - Kinsey Milhone Series 

Sara Paretsky - V I Warshawski

Marcia Muller - Sharon McCone

General Fiction:

Kate Morton (sort of mysteries? Sometimes Historical. So so far I've loved everything I've read by her)

Liane Moriarity   

Richard Paul Evans (Loved The Walk Series)

Debbie Macomber 
     Blossom Street Series
     Cedar Cove Series

Donna Ball - 
    Ladybug Farm

Kristin Hannah

Sara Gruen

Historically Based 

David McCollough

Jeffery Archer - The Clifton Chronicles

Cozy Mysteries:

Rhys Bowen - Her Royal Spyness (she has other series I want to read too!)

Dianne Mott Davidson (No good website?)

Marta Perry  - Local Author, often amish themed

Kate Collins - Flower Shop Mysteries

Joanne Fluke - Hannah Swensen Novels


Jerry Jenkins (I Saul, Empires End....)

Jennie Allen - devotional/Christian Living

Karen Ehman devotional/Christian Living

My husbands Favorites:

Lee Child
Stuart Woods
David Balducci

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Getting Organized for January 2015

2014 was so busy it was almost a blur.  I say almost, because we thoroughly enjoyed every second of it - but from our oldest son's wedding in September to our youngest sons football season (with a major injury) combined with homeschooling, two surgeries (one for that football injury, another for my husband ) countless doctors appointments, teaching our daughter how to drive, hosting Thanksgiving, making home made christmas presents, a week in South Carolina with my husband for our anniversary, immediately followed by 5 different family Christmas gatherings...

I feel like I haven't had a "normal" week since sometime back in June.  We still have a couple of Christmas gatherings yet this season, but I'm starting to look at my goals and plans for 2015.  A quick look at google play for "new" productivity apps made it abundantly clear that what I am using isn't the problem- I have great apps already.  It's that I simply am not using them.  Here are my favorites:

Google Calendar for my schedule
Daily Success App for repeating Daily Chores
DoIt.IM for my to do list (where I have categories for 1, 3, & 5 - I try to limit myself to 9 chores a day.  1 most important, 3 secondary, and 5 "if I have time" chores.   On my 3 category every day is the days house chore - so on Monday the first chore under 3 will be bedrooms & bathrooms, on Tuesdays it's Kitchen & Laundry Room, etc.  The Decluttering Challenge for January will probably be a second entry under 3 - but it may go to the 5 category, depending on the day...
Out Of Milk - My shopping List app
Our Groceries - My husbands To Do List, syncs between our phones so I can add items to it as needed.

I will probably add a note here, using Mobisle Notes, with my goals & resolutions.  We'll see.  :-)   Maybe a Bucket List for 2015 too?

Health & Fitness
  I love the monthly work out calendars from Sisterhood of The Shrinking Jeans -  I'm going to be doing both the squats and push ups in January.  You can join the event here -

There are a a lot more fitness calendars here -  I'm waiting on the challenge from Shinking Jeans - I just wish they announced a bit earlier.

I'm officially at my highest weight ever at the end of 2014.  I'm also in the worst shape I've ever been - I was out of breath walking down our lane yesterday.  That's 1/4 of a mile.  I never did complete the Zombie 5k app last year.  I loved it - I just didn't prioritize it.  Right now there is no way I could run for 1 minute, let alone pick up where I left off.  I think I will do a couch to 5k type program in a month or two, but for January, I just need to walk.  I have a fitbit, and will plan to get at least 10k steps a day, but it won't happen unless I put on some sneakers and go for a walk each day. 

I need to get back to using myfitness pal too.

At the beginning of each month I check here to see what the free audiobook is - these are great for when I am walking.

Bible Reading:

Although Tecarta is my favorite bible reading app, you can't beat the plans on YouVersion.
In the month of January, they are doing a 21 day challenge.  "To help you keep inspired, anytime between January 1 and January 21, if you tweet which Plan you’re reading during the Challenge — with the hashtag #BibleFor21 — you’ll be entered to win one of the following: a YouVersion prize pack*, an iPad mini, OR an Android Nexus 7 tablet!"

2014 was the first year in a long time that I did NOT completely read the bible cover to cover in one year.  That's not  something I want to repeat.  I know I want to use something through youversion, I'm just trying to decide if I want to go chronological, cover to cover, or some other method, this year.  Two sites with a variety of Reading Plan Options - 

Good Morning Girls is also doing a "Read Through The Bible With Us" challenge - but  I don't think they will complete the bible in one year  -

24 Bible Verses to Memorize & Study in 2015 - Free Download

Also from the same Site:

This is some of my notes from an EXCELLENT Sunday School Class this morning on New Years Resolutions.  The verses are definitely ones I want to ponder frequently in 2015:
(I use a Samsung Note 2 - so I take a picture of the whiteboard in our classroom, then write my notes right on the photo, in SNote)

Cleaning The House

I'm looking forward to the Clutter Free Challenge from Clean Mama.  There are a few on here that won't work for me, that I will substitute other areas for.  I need to add each of these into 

My main plan is to get back to my cleaning routine, which has been seriously lacking around here for a very long time.  

Mondays - Bedrooms & Bathrooms
Tuesdays - Kitchen & Laundry Room
Wednesday - Errands
Thursday - Hall & Paperwork
Friday - Living Room & Dining Room

The kids have had no chores, and no real expectations, since last summer. Which is ridiculous.  There are 4 adults and 1 17 year old living in this house - and I should not be spending so much time cleaning up behind them.  I need to assign them days to cook too - they should be learning how to plan and prepare meals as well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Printing Monograms on Burlap

I'm so amazed at how easy this was, and how well it turned out.  It's not a pillow yet - but at the moment I'm too busy trying to see how many things I can print on burlap to settle down and sew the pillow together.  :-)

After my little living room rearrangement, I have been looking for an accent pillow, but haven't found anything I loved.

Then I saw something like this on groupon.  I think it was groupon - I am not even sure.  But it was something like this:
Wouldn't that make a great accent pillow?

So I googled how I'd monogram burlap, expecting ideas involving stencils and paint.

No.  Even better.  I found where someone had simply attached burlap to card stock using spray adhesive, and ran it through their printer.  Their PRINTER!!

Could it really be that simple?

Before the burlap craze hit, I found burlap coffee bags at Surplus City in Williamsport (my favorite store.  Ever.) for 25 cents each  I bought a few of them having no idea what I'd do with them, but loving them.  I was glad I had them when we were using our garage for the wedding rehearsal dinner here at the house.. I used them for curtains, to cover garage windows that were broken.  Burlap bags and drop cloths saved the day on that last minute change of plans...
Anyway, I cut a piece from one of them today, and then since I didn't have spray adhesive, I coated the card stock in glue from a glue stick, then used a cold iron to press it tight. 
Then I remembered that I am sort of graphically challenged.  I had no idea how I would come up with the monogram I had in my head...  so once again google to the rescue, and I found this tutorial:   She walks you through it step by step in Pic Monkey.  So simple that even I could do this.  :-)

Instead of creating thin black rectangles, I just used the option to add a black border (color one) when I made the rectangle across the monogram letter.

Choosing fonts took me a long time.  I finally settled on:
Backspace for the Initial
De Walpergen Pica for our name
EcuyuerDAX for the Est.

Next I attempted to place my card stock topped in burlap in the printer - and it wouldn't fit.    The card stock was wider than my paper feed.  Ok, trim it down a bit more.

Under my printer settings I unchecked the box "fit to page" and I chose the 8x10, instead of 8.5 x 11.5 option.  I didn't want this to print too close to the edge.  I could have placed the graphic in a word document and resized it with larger margins that way too, then printed from there.

I hit print - and got the message "out of paper".  Uh huh, I figured, this was too good to be true... so I hit "ok" and this came spitting out of the printer.  I'm amazed!  The cardstock peeled easily off the back.