#Readathon — Hour Five Approaches

Update time! Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and GoodReads!

Pages Read: 103

Currently Reading: The War of the Worlds by H G Wells

Books Finished: 0

What’s Up Next: maybe some poetry or a graphic novel

Snacks Eaten: Kashi bar for breakfast, 3 cups of coffee, water, half a dark chocolate bar, hummus and baby carrots

Monday Raised for the Ferst Foundation: $7.15

Mini-challenges completed? 3

Miscellaneous info and oddities: I’m getting ready to co-host for a few hours, find me over at 24hourreadathon.com!

Illustration of the Hour:

War of the Worlds by H G Wells, Illustrated by Edward Gorey

War of the Worlds by H G Wells, Illustrated by Edward Gorey

 

 

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge: Coffee or Tea?

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A coffee-fueled “shelfie” from the April 2014 readathon. Although I enjoy tea, I am definitely #TeamTrollope.

“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?”, asks Septimus Harding the hero of Anthony Trollope’s novel The Warden. However, author C.S. Lewis states, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” I lean a bit more on the coffee side, but tea is delicious as well. How about you? Coffee? Or Tea?
Take a picture of your preferred beverage and share on your platform of choice (blog, Twitter, Instagram, etc) with #TeamTrollope for coffee and #TeamCSLewis for tea. Leave a link to your photo in the comments section of this post. This is important; it must be a photo, it must have either #TeamTrollope or #TeamCSLewis, and it must be linked in the comments. I’ll see who gets the most tags and I will randomly pick a winner from the WINNING TEAM. The winner will receive an appropriate hot beverage gift (i.e. something coffee or tea related).

Engage!

 

******* We have a winner! Congrats, Shauna! You win a Starbucks giftcard. Email me at amanda(dot)l(dot)addison(at)gmail(dot)com and I will mail it out. ******

Read-a-thon: Opening Meme

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I am so excited for Read-a-thon to begin! My snacks are assembled, my book piles complete, coffee is brewing, and I am ready to go!

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Gainesville, GA!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to volume six of Joe Hill’s Locke and Key and the creepy YA book The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Tonight I’m making spinach artichoke dip in the crockpot. I also have some Endangered Species chocolate and plenty of coffee.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! This read-a-thon is unique. First of all it the first time I’ve done a “theme” for the day. With the exception of the graphic novels, everything I’m reading today is illustrated by Edward Gorey. Next, I’m reading for charity today. The Ferst Foundation sends books, once a month, to children ages 0-5 who are from low-income Georgia homes. Only $36 provides books to a child for an entire year. I have a system worked out for donating based on what I read and my read-a-thon particiaption. I’ll be updating periodically on how much money I’ve raised.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I’ve put more planning and thought into this read-a-thon. I’ve made a schedule and I’ve drafted some templates for posts. Maybe this will help me accomplish more? We shall see!

And we’re off!!!

Twas the Night before Read-a-thon…

girlreading

I’m about to shower and watch some mindless television before I go to bed. I should really go to bed now, but I’m like a kid on Christmas eve; I am so excited there is no way I can go to sleep right away.

I think I’m all set for tomorrow…

My book pile is assembled…

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my snacks are gathered (for the most part)…

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my charity reading details are set up…

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hurrah!

Now all I have left to do is pack-up my stuff tomorrow (I’m disappearing to the library for most of the day) and make up a cheer and I am good to go.

Happy Read-a-thon to all!

Weekend Cooking: My Menu System

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A few weeks ago Trish posted about her meal planning woes and Heather recently posted her weekly meal plan. I thought I’d share my meal plan system I’ve been using since September with only minor tweaking.

First let me say that I’ve tried every sort of trick to get healthy meals on the table, on the cheap, using foods we love, for minimal costs for AGES. I’ve tried freezer meals, but the upfront time and cost and the storage I need makes this impractical (small apartment fridge, yo). I’ve tried settling in with my cookbooks, grocery ads, and coupons and doing weekly meals, but the time suck was amazing. I would paw through cookbooks, copy ingredients, and clip coupons and it took about 2.5 to 3 hours A WEEK to do things this way. Ugh.

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Luckily, my mom is brilliant. She’s used an index card system for ages and it inspired me to create my own system.

The Set-Up:

  1. First, I bought some index cards, a plastic card box, and some dividers.
  2. Next I spent a weekend or so making ingredient cards. I took an index card and wrote the title of the recipe, the page number and cookbook, and then simply listed ingredients NOT directions. For recipes not in cookbooks I wrote “file” in the upper right-hand corner and this refers to my recipe notebook where I keep recipes I’ve collected over the years. This part was a bit time intensive, but can easily be done while watching TV.
  3. I divided my cards into categories 1) casseroles and bakes, 2) pasta, 3) quinoa/rice/grains, 4) tofu/beans, 5) veggie sides, 6) curries/chilis/stews, and 7) soups. I place the cards behind the corresponding divider in alphabetical order.
  4. I drafted a “template” for my meal plan on an index card and placed it in the front of the box.

wpid-cam01809.jpgWeekly Meal Planning:

Once a week I make my meal plan. I take out a card that correspond with the daily meal themes for the next week — for example Tuesday is pasta day — and put it in a little stack. I really only need four recipes for the week. Since all the ingredients are listed on the card I can look for a recipe feature sweet potatoes for when my Dad blesses us with seven pounds of sweet potatoes from his garden (happened this week). If I know something is on sale I can look for that as well. When I have my four recipes selected I make a grocery list of the items I need that I don’t have on hand.

Easy Meals:

I pick four recipes to make for the week because our weekends are kind of crazy. We get home an hour later on Friday, I work on Saturday, and on Sunday we have our small group meeting for church and that is usually a potluck. I know that I will probably not be able to cook those days. On Saturday nights we’ve been putting the kids to bed and then ordering takeout or pizza and watching a movie for a “home” date. Saturday evenings Sam usually makes spaghetti or frozen pizza for the kids while I’m at work. I have a list — in my head — of easy meals that we can make on Friday – Sunday nights:

  1. leftovers
  2. breakfast for dinner (eggs and toast or pancakes)
  3. frozen veggie burgers and tater tots (or soy dogs)
  4. tomato soup and grilled cheese
  5. soft tacos with black beans and veggies
  6. frozen pizza or pizza rolls
  7. spaghetti
  8. “chikn” (fake chicken) nuggets and mac’n’cheese

Honestly I figure if the kids are eating four healthy, mostly vegan meals a week I am winning. The other three days I don’t worry too much about it. I decide what easy meals I will make based on what’s on sale at the grocery store. For example, last week Campbell’s Tomato soup was on sale at Kroger 10 for $10. I have plenty of soup so we will certainly be having grilled cheese and soup sometime next week.

Grocery List:

After writing down ingredients from the cards and checking the sale papers for easy meal items, I do a quick check for other needed items. I check the fridge for yogurt, milk, and condiments. I check our pantry area for things like coffee, baking items, granola bars, oatmeal, etc…. Then I check for non-food items like cat litter, laundry detergent, and diapers. Lastly, I check my digital coupons on my Kroger app and take a peek at my coupon box for any coupons I can use.

Last Step:

My last step is to hop onto Nature’s Garden Express to create my weekly produce box. I typically plan meals on Thursday and do my box order and my grocery shopping on Friday. The box is created on Friday and delivered on Tuesday. I check Nature’s Garden Express and make exchanges for anything I need. The box is pre-determined, but I can make five exchanges so I may swap out the kale for the butternut squash I need for a recipe. I mark the produce for Tuesday night – Thursday night recipes that I’m able to get via Nature’s Garden Express off of my shopping list.

Shopping Day:

I shop and (because I’m not trying to shop for a crazed, mish-mash of meals) I end up buying less and that gives me more money to stock up on Manager’s Specials, clearance items, and really good sales on pantry staples.

How long does this take?

From the minute I open the card box up to the creation of the grocery list takes fifteen to thirty minutes. That includes picking my recipes, writing my plan for the week, making a grocery list, going through the shopping ad, checking my digital coupons, and checking for fridge, pantry, and non-food items needed. BAM!

Do I like it?

Hell to the yes! If I decide to try a new recipe a few times a month it is so easy to add it to my cooking repertoire. Let me know how you plan your meals; do you have something that works for you?

Photo Friday: Charity Book Sale

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Today I met up with my good friend, Melissa, for coffee, Thai food, and book shopping.

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I restrained myself and only filled one box.

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There were gobs of books and people.

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I found a vintage Aquaman book for Sam.

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I hit the Barbara Pym jackpot! I was so afraid Melissa would mug me.

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Whoot! Historical fiction!

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A few must-haves…

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… and a groovy Wilkie Collins to round out my purchases.

Welcome to the Sausage Fest: A Review of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

readerly rambles

A few weeks ago the blogosphere was filled with posts bemoaning blog malaise. Folks were exhausted, bored, and frustrated with blogging. I made my peace with blogging several years ago, but I still struggle with self-doubt and feeling like I could always be doing more. I have so many ideas and very little time to write. Also, I need to be doing things to write about: reading, baking, crafting, going places. If I spend all my free time writing or blogging then I run out of material or resort to bored naval-gazing and no one wants that. How in heavens name do people find the time to create?

Enter Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. This book is comprised of brief entries about the daily and creative habits of famous writers, artists, dancers, scientists and inventors. Gleaned from biographies, letters, and diaries this book offers an inspiring look at how people make the time to create. Some have firm schedules (W.H. Auden), others superstitions habits (Truman Capote), and still others are decidedly weird (Thomas Wolfe liked to diddle himself before writing…ewww). I started tabbing the book when I noticed three recurring things with many of the subjects: waking early, daily exercise, and coffee. The green tabs are exercise, yellow is coffee, and pink/purple represent waking early. Blue tabs are just my favorite interesting quirks and facts.

wpid-wp-1412600249026.jpgI certainly give this book five stars for how interesting it is and the level of research it must have taken to assemble the over 150 different “daily rituals” into one volume.

HOWEVER…

This book absolutely pissed me off and I haven’t sworn at a book in quite a long time. This book is a freaking sausage fest. There are over 150 creators profiled in this book and only 26 women are represented. What. the. f*ck? There are also very few people of color or from non-American/European countries and nearly everyone in the book is well-off. Thanks for letting me know how hard it is to be a white, privileged, American man and I am so glad you found the time to create.

You will see loads of women on the pages of Daily Rituals. They’re fixing bowls of cornflakes, reading aloud to frustrated authors, editing shit drafts, typing entire novels written on index cards (hello, Mrs. Nabokov), tending children, or simply working to pay the bills. The interesting nature of the entries was marred by the exclusiveness of the artists and creators featured.

Mr. Currey could have saved this book in one of two ways:

  1. My least favorite way would be to talk about it. I just re-read the introduction and he states he, “…tried to provide examples of how a variety of brilliant and successful people have confronted many of the same challenges [finding time to create]“. A simple paragraph recognizing the book was skewed towards men would have gone a long way. He could have talked about class, gender, and race — even briefly — and detailed how it was easier to find privileged or male examples in diaries, letters, and biographies.
  2. The best remedy would have been for Mr. Currey to work a bit harder and find more women, people of color, and working class examples. The stuff is out there if only one would look. I would have especially liked some mothers featured. I know that everyone doesn’t chose to be a mother, but out of the women represented I think less than five mentioned children or household duties.

For inclusiveness I give this book one star meaning the book averages about three stars. In his introduction Currey hopes “that readers will find it [the book] encouraging rather than depressing”. Alas, I left this book depressed at the short-sightedness of the work and angry it was a catalog of the “struggles” wealthy, white men face. Boo, freaking, hoo.