Life is more fun when you RAWR!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Report: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

As promised I moved right from The Girl Who Played With Fire to the final book of the trilogy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. "Hornet's Nest" picks up right where "Fire" leaves off.  However, where "Fire" is an action packed page-turner, "Hornet's Nest" is more a spy, intrigue novel.  It's rather slow and there are about 1000 different characters, most of them in law enforcement.  I almost had to do a trusty character chart to keep up with who was police, who was with Sapo, who was with "The Section" and who was in the mob.  I also found this book to be much more predictable.  Even the "surprises" were things I saw coming a mile away.  There is an entire Berger side plot that amounts to almost nothing.  I kept wondering where it was going and there were 10,000 more interesting directions it could have gone but for me the Berger plot was a gigantic flop.

That said, the ending of the trilogy came together quite beautifully and despite being more intrigue than action I stayed up until well after 3am to finish. (Darn those Kindle dots - you never really know how much of the book you have left)

I do feel really invested in the characters and I feel like they were all written quite consistently which I appreciate.

Unfortunately Stieg Larsson passed away while writing the 4th book.  It was written but not entirely edited and revised.  If his estate does publish the 4th book I will, of course continue to read on Wasp's adventures!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bean Bags

After a long sewing inspiration drought I finally found a fun little project that inspired me to get back at it.

I chose to make my bean bags without the "tags" because, frankly, I don't like those taggy things.  They look like invitations for trouble wrapped all over a kid's favorite toy.   

Other than that, I pretty well followed her instructions, doing the appliqués first.  What's awesome about these bean bags are you can use those little bits of fabric that you love so much and hoped to find a use for in the future.  You can also do a lot of great mixing, matching and coordinating.

I actually sized and centered my "top" fabrics after doing the appliqué.  No real reason I guess, other than I was anxious to get sewing.

The finished  products are fantastic.  I love how they turned out and I love how fun, easy and yet personal these bean bags are as both a project and a gift.

I filled two of the bean bags with beans.  The other I filled with rice and in the future I'll likely fill all of my bean bags with rice.  They're softer that way and can be put in the freezer or microwave as a "boo boo bag" as needed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

More of the same this week.  Gym, swim lessons, afternoons at the pool.  How I wish anyone in this family liked crock-pot meals as Jennifer suggested.  Unfortunately the only person to hate a crock-pot meal more than me is my husband.  He also hates casseroles - something I really don't understand.

Monday: grilled chicken alfredo, salad
Tuesday:  vegetable curry over rice (maybe some shrimp in the curry, we'll see)
Wednesday: sausage, rice, peppers & onions
Thursday: Spaghetti and Meat sauce, green beans, salad
Friday: Shrimp and grits
Saturday: steak, grilled veggies, rice
Sunday:  burgers and fries

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sucks to your Asth-mar!

I've had asthma since I was just eight-years-old.  I took medicine for it for just a little while and have had a rarely-used rescue inhaler around ever since.  On the off-chance that I have a flare it's usually stress or allergy induced.
I'm having a major flare this weekend which I'm guessing is hot-weather and heavy-exercise induced.
We took today as a down-day but I plan to be back on the treadmill tomorrow.  Why is it that when you exercise you're not instantly thin and healthy?
In the mean time I have spent time getting crafty again (finally!).  I'm going to work on a fancy-schmancy blog with pictures to post on Wednesday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Time to plan out our family meals for the week.  Dinner is getting to be sort of challenging since we're spending so many afternoons at the pool, getting home when it's dinner time and everyone is sort of out of their minds with hunger and fatigue.  I've been trying to make dinners ahead as much as possible but this week I'm going to plan for lots of dinners that I can throw together within 15 or so minutes of getting home or cook ahead and serve cold (which my husband will not be happy about since he likes a hot dinner)

Monday:  Hamburgers and Fries (we were going to have this Sunday as per usual but picked up hot and                ready pizza our way home from the pool instead)
Tuesday: haystacks.  I can make the rice ahead and reheat it, simmer the chicken all afternoon and cut up the veggies ahead so we're all ready to go.
Wednesday: chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, green beans.  Okay, so this isn't so easy to make ahead.
Thursday: Spaghetti bake.  I can cook it all during Andy's nap and then put it in the oven and set the oven timer to turn on 30 minutes before we get home.
Friday: pizza.  (I can pre cook the dough and add toppings so it goes straight into the oven when we get home)
Saturday:  Steak, rice, grilled veggies (we usually hit the pool in the morning)
Sunday: hamburgers and fries.

Here's hoping everyone has a fun, productive, organized week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Report: The Girl Who Played With Fire

Thank you Jennifer for making me feel better about not getting into Anna Karenina.  I moved on to the second book in Stieg Larsson's trilogy:  The Girl Who Played With Fire.  I devoured the book in 3 days but mostly in one sitting.  And for the first time in a really long time I was so wrapped up in the story that I had to skip ahead, avoiding more tedious parts of the story to find out what was happening.  I'm certain that I missed small details but I don't regret it, the story was exciting and I wasn't waiting around through research while they found Salander, I needed to know post haste what she was up to.  I even found myself about to shout out loud at the book "JUST TYPE HER A MESSAGE IN YOUR COMPUTER!" (and he did - about 100 pages after I thought of it!).
Anyway, I was obviously super interested in this book.  It is an incredibly well-written thriller, much more captivating than the first of the series which took me quite a while to become interested in.   I really enjoyed how Larsson expanded on a lot of the interpersonal relationships and filled in a lot of Salander's past.
Of course, my next book is the final book of the trilogy.  I expect I'll read that one pretty quickly too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Streetlight 5K

First 5k of 2011 is in the record books!
Wow, what exactly was I thinking?  I'm on week three of the "Couch to 5K" training application on my iPhone.  So why did I think I'd just zip through this one tonight?  I guess because at "Race for the Cure" there are so many people and a lot of them walk the 3.1 miles.  A much smaller, city-sponsored race is for people who, well, race.  Where were the slow, heavyset people who were out there to try and have fun, get a t-shirt and work on fitness?  Oh, I guess I was the only one.  Nice.
So, I didn't finish dead last.  I was in the bottom 10.  Easily.  My final time wasn't too shabby though at 49:57.  I mean, come on, I struggle to run 5.0 miles per hour for 3 minutes on the treadmill at the gym.  I was hoping to finish at 47 and thinking there would be a lot of 20-minute-milers walking.  Nope.  None.  Gah!
I will say that 3/4 of a mile into the race BOTH of my feet went numb.  By 2 miles my right leg was numb from my foot to almost my knee.  I'll be going for a shoe assessment and fitting post haste as I'm going to keep doing these 5ks.  I think I could have easily been 2 or 3 minutes faster if my feet weren't totally numb for most of the race.
Long-term goal: I'd like to do a 34 - 36 minute 5k.  Short term I'd like to improve my time with each race even if it's just by a second.  There is a run at our zoo that's in August then the Race for the Cure again in October and tons of runs around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I want to keep at it because I genuinely do feel better being active and these races are great motivation.
So Monday morning I'll be back at the gym, slogging away on the treadmill doing my C25K training.  I'll just get to do it wearing my new race shirt.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I sat at my sewing machine for 45 minutes tonight.  I drifted between three projects.  Two skirts and cloth napkins.  I ended up hating all of the projects.  Totally scrapped one skirt.  The other is about to be scrapped.  The cloth napkins - ugh - those are all folding seams and ironing.  Very little sewing.  I've lost my sewing motivation ever since Megan moved away. 
But it's not just a lack of sewing motivation.  I've tried to muddle through Anna Karenina but can't get involved, thus I'm behind on my 12 books goal.
I've been so focused on making sure I hit the gym, eat right and take the boys swimming as often as possible that by the time the boys are in bed and the house is clean I'm just pooped.
I think I want to start another quilt.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Here we go!  Another super busy week coming up.  I'm going for easy and healthy this week.

Here's what we're having:

Monday:  grilled chicken and corn with rice
Tuesday: Pasta alfredo with more of above grilled chicken, salad, steamed squash
Wednesday: ground beef and veggies over rice
Thursday: tostadas (going for a nachos bar sort of thing with beans and chicken or make it vegetarian)
Friday: grilled chicken with pasta salad and grilled veggies
Saturday: possibly take out??
Sunday: hamburgers and fries

It's heavy on the chicken because I just bought a TON at Sams but it should all be a tasty treat!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday weigh-in

Have you missed my weigh-in reports?
Yea, well, I hate the scale.
This week.  -1.8 lbs.
But I'm still gigantic, so let's not get excited.
Let's get excited, instead, that we've joined a gym!  We joined initially for their pools, which are outdoor and awesome.  I don't really know how to do summer without a pool and so I've been incredibly happy.  When we joined I made it very clear to the family that I was joining for the pool and that the fact that they have gym equipment was nice but I just wasn't going to use it.
Well, they also have 2 hours of free child care and I've got those 5K and 10K goals.
So I've been exercising for more than an hour every day. 
Yep, that's right.
I'm feeling really good too.
I've signed up for a 5k next week and I think I'll do one at our local zoo in August then I'll do Race for the Cure in October.  I'm struggling to find a local 10k, but we'll see.
Today I took a "gentle" yoga class.
I am officially less flexible than a super overweight elderly man.
The class was weird, it was taught by Gail Simmons' twin sister and the girl on the mat next to me looked just like my mom's cousin.  Weird.  Not sure if I'll do that class again but maybe.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you're all enjoying friends and family and good food and good times.
We are back from visiting my husband's family in Massachusetts (hence no menu plan last week).  We drove 14+ hours yesterday, got home just after 10 last night and this morning we hit the ground running.  I've made my plan and trekked to the grocery store. 

Monday:  Kebabs (meat, veggies, mushrooms) over rice
Tuesday: chicken haystacks
Wednesday: chicken tacos
Thursday: shrimp and grits
Friday: homemade pizza
Saturday; spaghetti
Sunday: leftovers

Our summer travels are over so now we're down to enjoying the pool, fun reading projects and let's of adventures!
Are you done traveling for the summer or do you have road-adventures waiting?