Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Staying at home

There have been some big changes in our household.  At the moment, I'm staying home with Alex for awhile.  The good news: more time for crafts! The bad news: no money for them! I do have a few projects for which I already had the materials needed, so hopefully I can work on those and other cheap projects in the next few weeks. 

I have been experimenting more in the kitchen, which doesn't take much for me. I've always loved to cook, but haven't ever been much of a baker. I have been working to change that.

A few weeks ago, I made a beer bread.  It was OK, but not a recipe I would make again. It came out much more cakey than I generally like my bread.

I used a recipe from CD kitchen which called for flour, baking soda,, butter, beer, salt and a touch of sugar.  It really was a simple recipe to make, but like I said, it turned out more like a cake with a crust.  

Today, I'm making my amazing brown sugar pork chops.  These chops are the perfect mix of sweet and salty. They can be made with any kind of pork chop, but we generally buy the thin chops which are 10 for $10 at Hy-Vee!
Season the chops with salt and pepper.  Then put a pad of butter on top of each chop and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (until the chops are 165 on a meat thermometer).  The butter and brown sugar will mix together to form a great sauce.  Serve with your favorite side dish!

I got that recipe from an anchor at 10/11 news in Lincoln, where I served as a producer for a little more than a year.  I've sworn by it ever since and shared it as often as I can.  It truly is an inspired way to make pork chops.

Now, for what I'm reading this week.  Being home, I have a lot more time to read, so it's more like what am I not reading.  I'm focusing on finishing a great book about love, courage and acceptance, though.  

I have been obsessed with the show Sister Wives for a couple of years now.  I've recently realized the show may have started about the true polygamous relationship in which Kody and his four wives find themselves, but the show really is about acceptance.  

This book is about how the four ended up together and the struggles they've had along with the triumphs in their lives.  The struggles they endure are rarely different than those most monogamous marriages experience.  Sure, he has 26 (26!!!!) kids and four wives, but each of their relationships is separate and distinct.  

I know some find him sleazy or creepy, but when I take each of the relationships in its own regard, he's not different from my husband or yours.  

I highly recommend the book.  It's a little longer than most of the books I read, and more in-depth so a one day reading just is not going to happen with this book.  It's a fascinating book, though. 

As far as what I'm watching, don't ask.  If I hear the Caillou theme song one more time this week, I might scream.  And I know far more about the family in Good Luck, Charlie than any 29-year-old should EVER know.

Until next time, what are you reading? Any book recommendations? Do you have craft ideas for kids? Leave a comment and I'll post photos when A and I use the recommendation!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

National Chick Lit Month

Wow. I can't believe it's been almost a month since I posted last!

I've been working on this entry for a few days in my mind, but finally tonight, it's time to just get it all out there.

I told everyone who would listen about May being National Chick Lit Month. I spent almost the entire month reading. I read so much I barely even cooked!

I know many of my readers are women and I wanted to share with you some of the better books I read (and some unknowns that were fantastic!)

The Bro-Magnet was a fascinating tale of a guy's guy who couldn't find a girl. I won't ruin the ending, but he gets the girl.

My Big Fake Irish Life, written by Caitlin McKenna, was one of the last I read in my month of Chick Lit (which actually started around Easter, but who's counting?). This tale of a struggling actress trying to find her footing in L.A. was funny and the underlying themes of recreating oneself is widely appealing.  Linda (or Meghan as she renames herself) is a witty character who struggles between her American Life and her acted "Irish" life.  As a character, she's easily likeable and creates a web which is heart-breaking.

I feel obligated to write about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I technically read this "mommy porn" book before national chick lit month began, but for weeks, I couldn't get the characters out of my head. I wanted to know more about Ana and Christian. I wanted to know why they acted or thought they way they did. One of the "extras" in the electronic version of the final book was the first few chapters of the first book written from Christian's perspective. Even having read this entire series in about four days, I'd happily read all three books again from Christian's perspective.

I read both Kissed in Paris and Sleeping with Paris this month. While these books are technically a series, the character in each book is new. There are cameos of the previous book's leading character.  Truly a fascinating way to create a series of books.

The Pastor's Wife was quite possibly my favorite book I read during National Chick Lit Month. This book was well-written with a theme of acceptance and growth and was free on (I read all my books on my Kindle fire, or my iphone's kindle app.) As a member of a tight-knit congregation at church, I felt for the main character in her struggles to fit in with a group who didn't understand her or who she was.  This is a must read!

I started reading Kyra Davis' Sophie Katz mysteries when I was pregnant with A.  I couldn't put them down when I was pregnant and when I found she'd recently released a new novel, I couldn't put it down either. I have the rest of this series in paperback, but this on the Kindle. It's the kind of book I can read a hundred times and find something new each time. I have and do recommend this entire series to anyone looking for a character to love and hate at the same time. Her inability to listen when people say "stop" really lies with me as I have very similar tendencies.

In the six weeks after I started reading the Shades of Grey series, I read 26 books, all chick lit.  I have another 10 I've purchased (or downloaded for free) that I haven't gotten to, but I had some books on the backburner in May I'm working through before I go back to Chick Lit.

I have about a million things I could write about right now, but since I spent the last month reading, I have a backlog of blog entries I need to write. Until then, keep the pages turning!