Friday, February 27, 2009


Since I joined several reading challenges for this year, I am a lot more aware of what other people are reading and it has made me curious about why people read and why they read what they read.

I read because I can't not read. I read whatever is in my line of vision: boxes, pamphlets, signs, magazines, newspapers, bumper stickers, Twitter feeds, etc. When I get a chance I read books, and compared to most people I read a lot of books.

The thing that I don't understand is the people who read tons of books, two, three, four times as many as I read, but they read romances. They read nothing other than what I call junk books. Really, I have nothing against junk books. Sometimes that's all my brain can take, but I try not to over do it. There are so many excellent books to read that it seems a shame to waste the time on the print equivalent of potato chips.

So, if you are a reader, what do you read? How do you decide what to read?

I have to be in the right mood for a particular book. Right now I'm in the middle of a major non-fiction streak, but I can feel it waning and I'm in the middle of a couple of books that may be set aside for a while so I can scratch the next mental itch. This makes reading library books difficult. What I'm in the mood for on Monday, may look totally uninteresting by Friday. Maybe this is part of my ADD? Does anyone else do this?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A few good reads

Thought I'd share a couple of good articles that I've read today. Kind of a mini carnival of common sense.

First, President Obama's constant misrepresentation of those who disagree with him is getting old. Already. Read Obama's Straw Men.

The Black Sphere posts Obama's War on Achievement. While you're at his blog read the last several postings. He's good.

Why does the stock market continue to drop?

Is this what we need from our president right now?

And if you're one of the envious out there who just wants those rich people to suffer, take a look at this from the WSJ. If you think raising taxes only on those who make over $250,000/year will pay for Obama's recreation of America...well, I don't even know what to say to you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pancakes tomorrow!

Don't forget to go get your free short stack of pancakes at IHOP tomorrow!

Here in Fort Wayne, when you make donations they will benefit A Hope Center.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tee-hee, indeed

My daughter cracks. Me. Up.

A good day

Today was a good day, even though I did almost nothing productive. Okay, yeah, I scrapbooked eight pages and wrote a book review for one of my reading challenges. Productive, I suppose, but not the most practical way to spend a Saturday.

After I came home from a hard day of scrappin', the boys made dinner and cleaned up the kitchen.
Ah, yes. Life is good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Check that off thelist

I have had one item on my to-do list that I have avoided mentioning because I have been feeling really guilty that it wasn't done. Today I crossed it off.

Patrick has a transcript and has applied to college.

For me, this is the hardest part of homeschooling. If we used a school-in-a-box curriculum it would be easy. If what we do from day to day looked more like traditional school, this would not be such an ordeal. But what we do looks nothing like school, so I have to take my kids' lives and their learning and quantify it. It's hard. I want to be accurate, neither overstating nor understating what the kids have learned.

But it's done. Although I would like to have had it done sooner, there really was no hurry. Patrick will be attending IPFW, and they take applications into the summer. We aren't filling out the Financial Aid Form, because we wouldn't qualify, so that was not a consideration. He will be living at home, so we don't need to worry about housing.

Now I just need to worry about paying for it.

And Jonathan is next.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ADD life

I'm in one of my extreme ADD phases right now. I always have to struggle a bit with focus, but at times--like now--it's really bad.

I have too many interests. I enjoy too many things. And of course, I have things I have to do. Right now, on top of the normal cooking, cleaning, etc., I have taxes to do. (Fair Tax, anyone?) The Bach Collegium Silent Auction is in two weeks and I am really struggling to get donations. I still haven't closed out last year's books at church.

I need to upload photos, go through photos on the computer, and place a snapfish order. I need to get my scrapbooking stuff consolidated into my office closet. I need to finish recovering my dining room chairs and painting my kitchen cupboards. I want to get the house ready to sell.

I still haven't gotten around to baking bread or sewing the aprons that I've had fabric and patterns for for over a year. I have 15 library books checked out and two months worth of magazines to read. I need to sew the buttons back onto my London Fog coat. (They weren't sewn on, sew they've all popped off. I have a pile of stuff to eBay.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yummy mushroom chicken

Tonight's dinner was wonderful. I tried to recreate the flavor of a chicken dish that we had from On My Thyme. What I came up with was close.

First, I rubbed the bottom of a 9X13 stone baking dish with olive oil. I rolled four lightly-salted large boneless, skinless chicken breasts in Italian bread crumbs and laid them in the pan. Melted two tablespoons of butter and drizzled over the chicken. Topped the chicken with 16 oz. of sliced fresh mushrooms. Poured 1 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup sherry over the mushrooms. I laid slices of monterey jack cheese over the top. I think that when we had the dish from OMT, it was provolone, but Jack was what I had.

Baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes. The time was a guess and would vary with the thickness of the chicken breasts.

I served it with brown rice, olive bread, and a salad.

It was simple and absolutely delicious. I think that next time I would use a little more broth and sherry, because the pan juice was soooo good with the rice and the bread. We were scraping the pan trying to get every little bit.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I should never have gone to etsy

While browsing all of the lovely, quirky, adorable, or baffling hand-crafted items on etsy, I made a dangerous discovery. My favorite designer of scrapbooking paper also designs fabric.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Hold me back.

Blog fog

As anyone who reads my blog often can see, I've been a bit blocked.

I've had a hard time writing about much of anything. I've been in a funk because of what is going on politically. I'm feeling overwhelmed by all of the work I have to do on my house if I want to sell it. I'm feeling like I should be doing better at contributing to our household income. I haven't been cooking enough. My brain has felt cloudy. I just haven't felt like writing.

But things are turning around. I'm planning my garden. I've sold several things on eBay, which is two plusses: a plus in the decluttering column and a plus in the income column. I cooked dinner tonight and have dinners planned for the rest of this week. I have a week without a lot of outside commitments, so I should be able to make some progress.

I made myself a promise that I am going to blog every day, to keep the fog at bay.

Another book list

This is another list of books that is going around on Facebook. The introduction states, "apparently the BBC reckons most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here." Some of the list seems to come from the BBC's Big Read list of 100 favorite books in Britain, although not completely and not in entirely the same order.

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X +
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X +
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
Running total: 9

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier X
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
Running total: 15

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens *
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy *
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky X
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X
Running total:21

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy*
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (some)
34 Emma - Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen X
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini X
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X
Running total: 27

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X+
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez *
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving X+
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins*
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X+
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
Running total: 33

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens *
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Running total: 35

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas *
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville X
Running total: 38

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson *
75 Ulysses - James Joyce X
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome X
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray X+
80 Possession - AS Byatt
Running total: 44

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle some
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Running total: 48

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams X
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo *

How many have you read? 53, with a couple of "somes" to collections of books. I've also started several of the books: Possession, The Lovely Bones, Lolita, but couldn't get into them.

If anyone feels like doing this one your blog--or on Facebook--consider yourself tagged.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I've been feeling a bit stuck in a rut with my cooking for the past few weeks. I've been really busy and I spent a couple of weeks not feeling the best. I just seem to have gotten out of the groove.

Tonight I decided to do something about it. I spent some time with The Pioneer Woman. I browsed through issues of Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Cook's. I'm hoping to manage some time to cook tomorrow, but, realistically, I probably won't have much time for several days. But when I do, I'm ready to go.

I have a couple of recipes that I am dying to try now: French Onion Soup, which Pioneer Woman makes look so easy, and chicken breasts stuffed with artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper and fontina. I also saw a chicken tikka masala that looks doable, and--because it's an America's Test Kitchens recipe--should be good. And then there's the Banoffee Pie recipe that I saw tonight. Yum.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You're no Lincoln

If you could use a little historically-related levity, check out the Obamasburg Address.

HT: Spunky
Got this picture from Twitter. Fell in love.

Books and more books

Saw this on Facebook, but decided to do it on my blog instead. I'm not sure where the list came from, but it's books, so I'll go for it.

X means I read it.
S means I started it.
A number means the number I've read in the series.

[X]Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
[X]The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury)
[X]Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
[X]Ender's Shadow (Orson Scott Card)
[]House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski)
[3]The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
[S]The Hobbit (Tolkien)
[S]The Silmarillion (Tolkien)
[]Dune (Frank Herbert )
[X]Beowulf (unknown)
[]The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Laurence Sterne)
[2]The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
[X]Till We Have Faces (CS Lewis)
[X]Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
[X]Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
[4]Twilight series (Stephenie Meyer)
[7]Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
[]Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
[x]Let Freedom Ring (Sean Hannity)
[x]Deliver Us from Evil (Sean Hannity)
[]Who's Looking Out For You? (Bill O'Reilly)
[]The Forgotten Man (Amity Shlaes)
[X]Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
[X]Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll)
[X]Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
[x]Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
[x]Great Expectation (Charles Dickens)
[x]The Adventures of Oliver Twist (Charles Dickens)
[x]A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
[]David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
[]A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
[]War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
[X]Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)
[X]Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
[X]The Prince and the Pauper (Mark Twain)
[X]Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
[X]The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
[6]Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
[2]Any Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
[]The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)
[X]War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
[X]Time Machine (H.G. Wells)
[X]The Invisible Man (H.G. Wells)
[]Journey to the Center of the Earth (Jules Verne)
[]20,000 leagues under the sea (Jules Verne)
[]From the Earth to the Moon (Jules Verne)
[X]Around the World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne)
[X]Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling)
[X]Treasure Island (R.L. Stevenson)
[]Kidnapped (R.L. Stevenson)
[X]Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (R.L. Stevenson)
[X]Animal Farm (George Orwell)
[]The Princess Bride (S. Morgenstern/William Goldman)
[]The Princess and the Goblin (George Macdonald)
[]At the Back of the North Wind (George Macdonald)
[]the Club of Queer Trades (G.K. Chesterton)
[2]any Father Brown (G.K. Chesterton)
[]Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry)
[X]The World of Pooh (A.A. Milne)
[]The Never Ending Story (Ende)
[X]The Grapes of Wrath (SteinBECK) (Steinbeck, and EW.)
[X]The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
[S]For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway)
[]The Once and Future King (T.H. White)
[X]The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame)
[4]A Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle) [I AM COUNTING THIS AS A SERIES OKAY] [OKAY.]
[X]Watership Down (Richard Adams)
[]The Plague Dogs (Richard Adams)
[X]1984 (George Orwell)
[X]Brave New World ( Aldous Huxley)
[4]Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler)
[]Artemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer)
[X]Betsy-Tacy (Maud Hart Lovelace)
[]Inkheart trilogy (Cornelia Funke)
[X]Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine)
[X]Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Patterson)
[X]To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
[]Great Gilly Hopkins (Katherine Patterson) (Stupid book.)
[]All Creatures Great and Small (James Herriot) [ALSO A SERIES]
[]Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh)
[X]Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen)
[]The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man (Lloyd Alexander)
[]The Prydain Chronicles (Lloyd Alexander)
[X]Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)
[]Dracula (Bram Stoker)
[]Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)
[all]any Agatha Christie (just count 'em up)
[X]A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
[S]The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
[X]The House of Mirth ( Edith Wharton)
[X]The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Emmuska Orczy)
[X]Captain Blood ( Rafael Sabatini)
[]Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
[X]Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
[X]Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)
[X]The Magnificent Ambersons (Booth Tarkington)
[ALL]Peter Wimsey mysteries (Dorothy Sayers)
[10+]Any P.G. Wodehouse
[X]Sarum (Edward Rutherfurd)
[X]Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
[X]The Metamorphoses (Ovid)
[]The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka) (PARTS, IN GERMAN)
[X]Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare)
[ALL] all other Shakespeare (just count 'em)
[]The King of Elfland's Daughter (Lord Dunsany)
[]The Char-Woman's Shadow (Lord Dunsany)
[]Wonder Tales (Lord Dunsany)
[]The Worm Ouroboros (ER Eddison)
[]Mistress of Mistresses (ER Eddison)
[]Lud-in-the-Mist (Hope Mirrlees)
[]Jurgen (James Branch Cabell)
[]Something About Eve: A Comedy of Fig-Leaves (James Branch Cabell)
[]The Silver Stallion (James Branch Cabell)
[]The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Robert E. Howard)
[]The Bloody Crown of Conan (Robert E. Howard)
[]The Conquering Sword of Conan (Robert E. Howard)
[]Savage Tales of Solomon Kane (Robert E. Howard)
[]The Well at the World's End (William Gibson)
[X]Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
[X]Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)
[X]The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck) (SO GROSS)
[X]Peter Pan (James Barrie)
[]The Search for Delicious (Natalie Babbitt)
[X]All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarch)
[]M.A.S.H. (Richard Hooker)
[6]The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
[X]Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
[]2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C. Clarke)
[]The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia C. Wrede)
[X]The Pushcart War (Jean Merrill)

Interesting book list. I bet it was made by a homeschooler.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Audacity of deceit

President Obama seems to have learned well this lesson, perfected by the left over the past eight years: If you lie about history and events enough, the lie becomes the truth as far as most people are concerned.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A lesson learned

Bethany was briefly interviewed by a reporter. You'll have to read about her experience.

I have been interviewed by reporters four times. Every single one of them has taken my words and twisted them to fit her agenda. Even when I was careful to be very, very clear.


Why would President Obama be trying to take the census away from the Commerce Department?

Here's an idea. Can you say power grab? This argument against it is from a former census director.

This guy is brazen.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Time flies

It does. When I'm working and listening to Issues, Etc., time flies.

I am trying to get my office cleaned out so that I can get my scrapbooking stuff moved up here and organized. So I have spent several hours going through old paperwork: sorting, trashing, putting in the shred pile. I've managed to clear out one huge Rubbermaid box worth of paper and several smaller things. Old tax records that need to stay around are now in the basement.

Normally this feels like drudgery, but Todd Wilken and his guests have been keeping me company. Thanks guys!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hypocrisy watch

I'm sorry. I will post something upbeat later. But I despise hypocrisy.

I love The Black Sphere.

I really would like an Obama fan to defend this. Have you ever heard one of them honestly address the issues of Fannie/Freddie, Franklin Raines, Chris Dodd, etc. ? I haven't.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Seventeen and counting

I was challenged by a drive-by commenter on a post in which I called President Obama a hypocrite. I stand by that. He is a hypocrite.

Did anyone besides me see his big no-lobbyists-in-this-administration speech? It was all show. He has already exempted 17 lobbyists from the rule. And as this story notes, you won't hear that in the American media. It was left to the Times of India to cover what is really happening in our government.

We can add a second tax cheat to his cabinet when Tom Daschle is confirmed. (Oh, yeah, by the way Daschle is a lobbyist and so is his wife.)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Scrapping haven

I've been making plans to turn my office into a combination scrapbooking room/office. I've been looking at storage options and trying to figure out how I could configure things. Now that we're thinking about moving, it may not happen in this house, but I want a workable srapbooking area in my next house it not here.

So, I've been looking at ideas on line. This page has lots of different rooms. I love this one, although my color choices would be different. I would probably go with a beach-y color scheme. Here are some more.

I have a feeling when It comes down to it and I finally get to set up my scrapping space, I'll probably give Emily a call. She has the organizing gift. I seem to be missing that gene.