Books I’ve Recently Read – Nonfiction!

Posted 3 May, 2017 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 18 Comments

Tags: ,

Books I've Recently Read

 

We meet again! While blogging hasn’t been high on my to do list over the past couple of months, I have been enjoying books. Now that I’m working every day, I’ve added audiobooks back into my rotation…for the days that I’m not listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (yes, still). I’m only in the car about 40 minutes a day, but every so often I’ll put on my earbuds while cooking dinner (if I’m not in charge of any littles) or while cleaning up around the house for some bonus listening time.

Below are three books that I listened to late last year…that all happen to be nonfiction. Nonfiction is definitely my go-to on audio–I find that I can usually get into the book more quickly than listening to fiction where it’ll take me hours to be invested (ahem Lonesome Dove ahem). For better or worse, it also doesn’t seem so detrimental to my experience if I zone out a few times here and there, though I think that I tend to stay more focused on nonfiction than fiction on audio. My mind doesn’t wander quite as much.

 

isaac's storm book cover

Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson

Audio Narrator: Richard Davidson | Audio Duration: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Published: 1999 | Pages: 323 | Genre: Nonfiction/History
On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: In 1900 a hurricane swept over Galveston Island (in Texas) and killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people. Isaac’s Storm follows Isaac Cline, the Weather Service Director, and how he and others failed to recognize the danger of the city as the hurricane approached from the Caribbean. Because this happened over a century ago, this event has always felt so far away in history but Larson put a human face on the disaster by including many first hand accounts from the days leading up to the hurricane to the weeks after.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: Audio was a great format for Isaac’s Storm. Richard Davidson’s narration reminded me a lot of Edward Herrmann’s narrations and I had to keep checking to make sure it wasn’t him (Herrmann did narrate the abridged version). I wasn’t quite as captivated by this book as I was The Devil and the White City, but it was still a fascinating listen. After listening, I found myself scouring the internet for pictures of Galveston before and after the hurricane. I had no idea that Galveston was such an up and coming city in the 1800s. Sadly the hurricane had a great affect on its status as a major gulf port.

 

h is for hawk book cover

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Audio Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Published: 2014 | Pages: 300 | Genre: Memoir

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: In short, H is for Hawk is about Macdonald’s journey through grief after her father’s passing and her relationship with her hawk Mabel whom she trains during that time. The book is part reflection on her emotions and existence after her father’s death and part field guide on what it takes to train a hawk. She also throws in some biographical information on the author TH White (The Sword in the Stone) and his experience with training goshawks.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: H is for Hawk is one of the most amazing audios I’ve listened to, even though the actual subject wasn’t always interesting to me. I don’t know how else to explain that and I realize how ridiculous it sounds. Macdonald’s voice was like a salve and I soaked in it.  I’d listen to it again…but it’s one of those that I can’t automatically recommend because the subject doesn’t seem universally interesting? But please give it a try, and if it feels a little slow at first just let her words wash over you. The writing is gorgeous.

 

As You Wish Book Cover

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Audio Narrator: Elwes and other cast | Audio Duration:  7 hrs and 1 min
Published: 2014 | Pages: 259 | Genre: Memoir

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: Cary Elwes, who plays Westley in the classic movie The Princess Bride, reminisces about the making of film. He brings in the remembrances of other cast members to provide a full picture. He starts with the the failed productions and conceptions of The Princess Bride to how the cast was put together, to how the film became a surprise cult classic.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: I smiled from ear to ear while I was listening to As You Wish. I loved hearing all the tidbits and gossip surrounding the production and actors/actresses. It was fun to learn that Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally pinned as The Giant (later went to Andre the Giant) and that Elwes and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo) took very serious swordfighting lessons to make their scenes as authentic as possible. And so much more. If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, you must listen to this book. The paper copy is great and has pictures, but you won’t regret choosing audio for this one.

 

*Amazon and Indiebound links are affiliate. If you purchase anything through those links, I will receive a small commission which will help support this blog. Thank you!

 

If I didn’t think your eyes were starting to glaze over, I’d also include little write-ups for The Happiness Project (which I’ve now listened to twice) and Evicted (which was so eye-opening). Maybe next time. ;)

Have you listened to anything fabulous lately??

Signature

Divider

Right Now I Am… [4.20.2017]

Posted 20 April, 2017 by Trish in Life / 28 Comments

Tags: ,

Right Now I Am...

 

Has it really been since JANUARY when my last post published? Seriously? Another three months gone? I was chatting with some friends on twitter this morning about how I miss blogging and catching up. Sometimes blogging/chatting/etc feels so frivolous when compared to everything else that’s going in the country and the world, but I think frivolous is just what I need right now.

What’s been going on since my last update? The biggest is a major home remodel. For years we’ve talked about moving to a new home, but with house prices soaring in the DFW area (and our love for our current house/location), we decided to just put the money into where we currently are.

A three week home renovation project turned into two plus months. We’ve been put out of the house a lot and most of our stuff is in boxes or the garage–neither of which has been easy with three little kids. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and fingers crossed we’ll have most of our furniture back in the house by the end of this week. To say that this has uprooted our lives is a bit of an understatement.

Home Reno

 

What else? My little Cara Bo-Beara needs ear tubes, scheduled for today, and I have to have half my thyroid removed. Not a big deal…when I went in for my annual gyn visit, my midwife found a lump on my throat. Turns out it’s a thyroid nodule, which is fairly common. I’ve been putting off the surgery until our remodel is finished.

And to keep from writing an entire novel of a post, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Reading: In February I did my usual #ComicsFebruary reading. I had a lot of fun with Princeless, Captain Marvel, Lumberjanes, and of course Saga. Most recently I finally made it through Lonesome Dove and flew through The Hate U Give. It’s been a great reading year so far! (links are affiliate)

Hate U Give

 

Listening To: Moana! Make way, make way. I can’t seem to get enough of the Moana soundtrack. On the bookish front, I spent weeeeeeks listening to Lonesome Dove and am almost finished the Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (see article from The New Yorker for a taste).

Watching: Since we haven’t had a couch, I haven’t watched anything in months. Makes for more reading time, though! Any suggestions on a show to binge watch? I prefer older shows so that we don’t have to wait for new episodes!

Good Enough Picture

 

Eating: Wayyyyyyyyy too much take-out and junk food! Although I just had my first ear of corn for the season and it was pretty tasty!

Making: I am thisclose to finishing Cara’s baby quilt. Technically it IS finished, but I need to add the tag. Before the home reno I was also working on her Christmas stocking, and I also started another quilt top. Lately if I’m not reading, I’m in the craft room.

Quilting Progress

 

Planning: Summer trips! We are definitely headed to Moab and Zion (in Utah). Hopefully with a camper.

Feeling: Incredibly unsettled. Honestly ever since the election. I really need to find some familiar footing and focus on getting back into a groove with life. I was telling my husband this morning that I’ve almost forgotten what normal life feels like.

Elle P

 

Loving: Cara kisses, Evie hugs, and Elle hand-holding. It’s amazing how restorative a good snuggle can be.

 

Wanting: To wean Cara. It’s been 16 months. I am beyond done. And the guilt is ridiculous, considering it’s been 16 months. But ugh my baby! I have mentioned she’s my last baby, right? Kills me.

Bo Bear

 

Thinking: It’s about high time I dust off this blogging space and get back to it. Thankfully my bullet journal has given me some space to keep track of my life, but blogging is one way that I make time for myself and I need to honor that!

Looking Forward To: Order. And a little time to KonMari the crap out of my house. :)

I would love to hear what YOU are listening to, reading, watching, eating, making, planning, feeling, loving, wanting, thinking, and looking forward to.

Ok–I think I need to keep up the momentum. What do you want to hear more about? What I’ve been reading? What I’ve been crafting? Thoughts on my mommy body? And update on the girls? How my Once a Month Cooking went (six months ago…ha!)? Anything else?

Thanks for listening. xoxo

Signature

Divider

Well Hello

Posted 25 January, 2017 by Trish in Life / 39 Comments

Tags:

Hello Wave

It’s been a while. 16 weeks? Or something. A while. I think my longest break in the decade I’ve been blogging.

I’ve missed you. I really have. I’ve missed this space and have felt a little bit of a hole within me since my last post.

Everyday I’ve thought about starting up a post. And everyday I’ve found an excuse to not get it done.

Work is busy. I’m tired. It’s a pain to add pictures. Where do I start? Does anyone even care anymore? You know, the usual.

Blogging has felt a little frivolous since the election. Everything does. I’m exhausted. I tried to stay off-line. It didn’t work. I need to stop reading the news.

Parenting is challenging these days. While there is lots of good going on, there are also lots of struggles.

Reading has been excellent. In fact, I’ve been spending most of my free time with books lately. It’s been nice.

I started a new habit a week ago of getting up earlier to do yoga every morning (with Adriene). Is a week a habit?

Sweet Cara turned one. She’s walking and babbling and is still my favorite snuggler.

Evie at three and a half is a firecracker and still makes us laugh every day. And roll our eyes.

Elle has taken to reading and works really hard to make those connections. I’m so proud of her.

Me…I’ve been really unfocused the past several months. I’m trying to find my footing. Trying to find ease.

Some days this works better than others. You know how it goes.

I’m hoping that if I publish this little post, the next post will be easier to write.

With three littles it’s easy to get lost in the hubbub of mothering, but I need to remember to take time for me as well.

It’s time to get those fingers cracking again!

And look. 300+ words in 5 minutes. I can do this.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way…I’m off to figure out what to write next.

virtual hugs

Alright! So…what have you been up to the past 16 weeks?

XO

Signature

Divider

Prepping for Once a Month Cooking

Posted 1 October, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 27 Comments

Tags: ,

 

make-ahead-meals

 

For the month of October (OMG it’s October!), I’m undertaking a crazy experiment. The plan is to prep as many meals as I can this coming weekend to use for the month. Once a month cooking!

How did I get started on this path? I was checking out a book in the cooking section of the library when I came across Fix, Freeze, Feast and Once-a-Month Cooking (OAMC). I also grabbed Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead and started researching. At first I thought “NO WAY this is insane!” but the more I thought about it and the more I researched, it started to feel really doable.

I’ll outline the different books in a separate post, but there seems to be different camps when it comes to OAMC. The first method, from Once-a-Month Cooking, is to prep single meals for every day of the month (or a two week block, if preferred) using set menus and a specific prep plan. Each meal is different so by the end of your prep day the freezer should be full of 15-30 meals.

The second method, outlined in Fix, Freeze, Feast, focuses on making meals in bulk–using the large meat trays from warehouse stores (Sam’s and Costco). Each recipe yields 3-4 different meals for the freezer. Another book I have, Don’t Panic- Dinner’s in the Freezer, uses this same method with different ingredient tables for multiples of 2 and 3.

I’ve decided to take an approach in between these two methods. I am leery of cooking 3-4 meals of a recipe I’ve never tried before only to have it be something that my family will not eat. A lot of those Pinterest “make 50 crockpot meals in a day!” type recipes rely on making several bags of the same meal. I would hate for that food to go to waste. On the other hand, making 30 individual meals seems crazy, especially if I’m using someone else’s recipe (like the official Once A Month Meals website, which has paid plans).

The Plan

The most daunting part of the planning process is coming up with a month’s meal plan. I’m terrible at meal planning as it is but generally only like to plan out two months and allow for lots of wiggle room. Planning for an entire month seems like a lot of commitment! But one of the least favorite parts of my day is trying to figure out what to cook for dinner. Hopefully this will help.

I started by taking stock of what’s already in my freezer. I already have one jar of homemade spaghetti meat sauce, pork bolognese, and pulled pork in the freezer. I also have a lot of uncooked meat–meatballs, steak, pork chops, brats, and salmon. Between these items, I already have several meals in the bag.

Once I had a handle of what I already have in the freezer, I made a list of meals I tend to make every single freaking month (those people I live with are creatures of habit). Tacos, salisbury steak, enchiladas, manicotti, rice and beans, fried rice, teriyaki chicken, chicken piccata. Are any of these meals that I can make ahead? In many cases yes!

I listed out 30 days of the month and started filling in the blanks–first with the stuff I had on hand and next with some of our family favorites. I ended up with a list of about 24 meals. I’m leaving some wiggle room for eating out (or take-out) for special treats or dinner with family. Or even just leftovers. If I make lasagna, chances are we’ll be eating it for two nights.

24 meals. Is that doable? Am I insane? And how do I prep these meals? My pork chops are already frozen, so I can’t really prepare them at this point but I can assemble the spices I would use for particular meals. Do I cook the meatloaf before or after freezing? Should I freeze the sauce for the salisbury steak or just make it the day of? Will breaded chicken really freeze well?

Ultimately will prepping all of my meals ahead of time save time?

One of the things that seems to take me a lot of time each evening is chopping vegetables for our sides. While I can’t do this all at the beginning of the month, I’m going to try to do as much nightly prep as I can on Sundays. I usually hate doing stuff like this on Sunday, but I’m beginning to see this as a case of making the time now to save it later.

I’ll report back at the end of the month and let you know how it has gone. And if you have any tips I would LOVE to hear them in the comments. Do you have a favorites that seem to freeze well? Anything that you avoid freezing?

What tips and tricks have you adopted to help your nightly cooking go much more smoothly?

 

Signature

 

 

 

Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

Divider

Unlatched by Jennifer Grayson

Unlatched by Jennifer Grayson

    Title: Unlatched: The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy Author: Jennifer Grayson Published: 2016 Pages: 336 | Genre: Nonfiction Rating: Breastfeeding. It’s complicated! On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads My sister asked me the other day at what age I thought it was inappropriate for a child to still be nursing. Had I not just finished Unlatched, I don’t know what my answer would have been. The short answer […]

Posted 28 September, 2016 by Trish in Mommyhood, Reading Nook, Review / 10 Comments
Divider

Assigned Kiddo Reading Time

Assigned Kiddo Reading Time

Happy Sunday! Here we are a month into Kindergarten. Can you believe it? This past week it was college week at school and so I explained that when Elle turned 18 and finished high school she would/could go to college. She cried that she didn’t want to go to college and leave home. Me either baby girl. Me either. Thankfully we don’t have to think about that for many more years! But yes I know…it’ll be […]

Posted 25 September, 2016 by Trish in Mommyhood, Reading Nook / 25 Comments
Divider

A Freezer Full of Salmon

A Freezer Full of Salmon

    I currently have a freezer full of salmon. We aren’t big fish eaters. I like just fine but the other three eaters in my house don’t care for it. Last year I think I cooked salmon three times and it was a fight to get the girls to eat every bite. I’ve never cooked other kinds of fish. Gasp!! So when my brother-in-law told me that he was going on a fishing trip […]

Posted 23 September, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 25 Comments
Divider

Tuesday Snoozeday Rambles

Tuesday Snoozeday Rambles

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is an audio freebie and I thought about sharing some of my favorite albums when I was in high school (hello Counting Crows and Tori Amos) or albums that I’ve bought recently rather than just the single (Lumineers and Hozier). But you know what? I just feel like rambling on a bit about the goings on in life lately. Y’all don’t mind do you? Remember when Elle used to call Taco […]

Posted 20 September, 2016 by Trish in Life / 8 Comments
Divider

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Judging a Book By Its Cover

    One of the most ubiquitous rules of reading is Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover. Raise your hand if you don’t abide by this rule. It’s ok–it’s one that I continually break as well. As I very rarely read jacket covers or the back of a book before I start it, when I’m browsing books at the store the only thing I have to go on is the cover and perhaps word of […]

Posted 18 September, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 21 Comments
Divider

Ten Awesome Nonfiction Audiobooks

Ten Awesome Nonfiction Audiobooks

    Want to hear a secret? I love listening to nonfiction on audio. It’s my favorite way to digest the genre. The other part of this secret is that I prefer listening to nonfiction than fiction books on audio. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (from The Broke and the Bookish) is Top Ten All Time Favorite Books of X Genre. Gah it’s so tough to break down favorites, isn’t it? I’ve shared some of my […]

Posted 13 September, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 17 Comments
Divider