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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Books I've Read: February 2015

The Loyalty of Pawns by Theron Couch.  I received a copy of this book for free from a Goodreads giveaway.  Last April.  I'm trying to do better about reading free books right away.  This was one I was catching up on.  I wanted to like this book.  The description sounded interesting enough that I entered the giveaway for it, after all.  But I didn't really like it.

The premise is a near-dystopian future in which corporations have just as much, if not more, control of things as the government.  One such corporation has a project in the works that involves growing human soldiers programmed simply to fight.  I wish the author had gone more into the science behind these.  It really seemed like he didn't flesh out the idea at all.  Even if you're not going to describe it all for the reader, you as author should know all the background in your head, because it comes through in the writing.  How did they create these?  What would they do after the mission?  When [slight spoiler] Nicole actually starts to think for herself, why did that happen?  Would that happen with all of them?  None of this was addressed ever.

Each chapter started with a snippet from some news media report or interview.  I *think* this was a way to show the difference between what was actually happening, and what was presented to the public, but I didn't really get that until the end, so it didn't work too well if that was the point.

I didn't get a connection to any of the characters.  I got a sense of who I was supposed to be rooting for by the end, but I wasn't necessarily rooting for anyone.  And at the beginning, there were a lot of characters to remember.  This was the only book I made it through this month.  I'm a busy mom of four.  When I pick up a book, I'm hoping for memorable characters, or at least characters that are distinguishable from one another.  I had issues keeping them straight for the first half or so.

And finally, there were at least 4 typos.  I hate typos in a book.  That's why you have editors.  Overall, I give this 2 out of 5 stars.  I wanted to like it, but I didn't.

Total books read this month: 1. Total books read this year: 3. I'm going to have to step it up if I want to hit my goal of 30 for the year...

Friday, February 27, 2015

How To Clean Greasy Residue Off Of Pans

Let me preface this by saying that there are two groups of people who will read this post.  First, the people who think this is a great trick and want to try it immediately.  Second, those who wonder why I would even care about cleaning the bottoms of my pans in the first place.  To you, I say, because they look so pretty when they're nice and clean.  You can continue to think I'm crazy.  I'm okay with that...

I was doing dishes last night, and noticed the bottom of my muffin pans are seriously gross.  Greasy residue all over gross.  I tried scratching a bit with my fingernail and it came off, but who wants to do that? Not me. 
But I had an idea.  Baking soda to the rescue!  I dumped some on there and let it sit for a minute.
And then I grabbed one of those random sample toothbrushes that don't seem like they quite clean your teeth very well, and I got to scrubbing.
Just a few minutes later, the bottom of the pan was clean!  The toothbrush was not...If shiny pretty pans make you happy, try this trick today!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recipe: Matthew's Soup

Earlier this week, we had Matthew's soup for dinner.  He came up with a list of ingredients, and I helped with the amounts.  It was similar to a few different soups we've had in the past, but the combination was all his idea, and he was very proud of the result.  Also, this kid doesn't always willingly eat all his veggies, and he gobbled down the whole bowl!  If that's not an argument for getting kids in the kitchen, I don't know what is.


  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a large stock pot.  Heat to boiling, then lower to medium low heat and simmer about 40 minutes, until barley is cooked through and carrots are tender.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Goals February 22-28

This pretty girl hit 3 months this week! She is growing up so fast!

Last Week's Goals:

  • Go to the library. Done! I am disappointed that they have a 90 day probationary period where you can only check out 3 books per card though.
  • Call the school and find out about kindergarten round up/open house.  Done! They usually have an open house but don't have a specific date scheduled yet. So I guess we wait a bit on that one.
  • Schedule dentist appointments for the three bigger kids. Not done, but I did get a recommendation for a good kid dentist so hopefully I can schedule those on Monday.
  • Do yoga 3 times. I was a slacker again this week.
This Week's Goals: (these are all things I consider fun but I don't always make the time for them, so hopefully I can this week!)
  • Do Iron Craft Challenge #4 project, something spring-y.
  • Finish reading The Loyalty of Pawns.
  • Catch up on my blog reading.
  • Bake brownies or bars that are Hannah friendly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Iron Craft Challenge #3: Something New

This time the challenge was to try something new.  I had plans of trying to crochet something, but apparently in the last craft supplies purge I finally got rid of the crochet hook I had never used.  So that was out.

So this time I let Jonah and Matthew take over and try something new.  I gave them each a plastic canvas rectangle and showed them how to stitch.  They picked the colors from my massive yarn stash.  They actually caught on pretty quickly.  I was impressed.  They've worked on these on and off for the past week or so.  I see presents for Grandma in their future...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Goals February 15-21

The boys had a lot of fun making Valentine's Day cards for several family members and friends this week!

Last Week's Goals:
  • Do Iron Craft Challenge #3, to try something new. I was going to try crocheting, but somewhere along the line I got rid of my crochet hook.  So I let the boys try something new instead (more on Tuesday).
  • Do something special for Jesse for Valentine's Day.  We had a "date night in" after the kids went to bed.
  • Send out valentines from the kids to their grandparents and a few friends. Done!
  • Pass my USPS test and hope for an interview. I passed!
  • Do yoga 3 times. I didn't do yoga even once. Finding a time to do it has been really challenging.
This Week's Goals:
  • Go to the library! We haven't been there yet, but I'd like to check it out, and also see what sort of online hold system they have (my current favorite part of any library).
  • Find out if the local school has any sort of kindergarten round-up, or if we can sit in on a day. Plus find out starting dates and whatnot in case we decide to go that route with Jonah next year.
  • Schedule dentist appointments for the three big kids.
  • Do yoga 3 times.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekly Goals February 8-14

I tried to make yogurt in the crockpot but it didn't turn out. Hopefully it will next time!

Last Week's Goals (which I mostly bombed):
  • Start working on the family 2014 photo book on Shutterfly. Does checking to see what freebie codes I have count? I think I'm more dreading how long it will take to upload all the pictures with our slow internet.
  • Finish unpacking our dresser, hanging a few pictures in the boys' room, putting diaper boxes in the closet. Not done.
  • Do yoga 4 times. I did yoga twice.
  • Finish Brick by Brick and start reading another book.  I did, and I started reading The Loyalty of Pawns by Theron Couch.
This Week's Goals:
  • Do Iron Craft Challenge #3 project, to try something new.  I think I'm going to attempt to crochet.
  • Do something special for Jesse for Valentine's Day.
  • Send out Valentines from the kids to their grandparents and a few friends.
  • Pass my USPS test and hope for an interview!
  • Do yoga 3 times.