Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Salon 44: The Day Before


Happy Sunday! And Happy Easter! I hadn't planned on posting today because I was hoping somebunny would bring me a baby this weekend. But since we're halfway through Sunday morning and no babe, I figured I'd write one last post before I go silent for at least a few days.

Unless Little Miss Baby Billy Sue decides to make an appearance in the next 18 hours I'll be heading to the hospital around 4:30 am tomorrow to be induced. I really hoped she'd come before then, but as my mom reminded me this morning--this won't be the last that she doesn't do something I want her to do! ;)

So, the laundry's done, the house is as clean as it's going to get, my bags are packed, I've run every errand possible, we made our last Sunday breakfast together as a childless couple, and now all we need is that baby girl to stop procrastinating and make her appearance! It seems like a lifetime ago that I announced Baby Coming Easter, doesn't it?


In an effort to relax, I've started a new book. Nope, none of the ones on the "Books I'd LOVE to Read Right Now" list from last Sunday. Most of them are much too long and I fear that I wouldn't be able to get too far in without pooping out with exhaustion over the next several days/weeks.

Yesterday I started The Painted Veil and after two attempts to read the first page before falling fast asleep I finally made it to the 50 page mark last night. I'm enjoying it so far but have no idea where it's going (haven't read any plot summaries or even the back of the book--just know people really love it). The book is short so I'll probably stash The History of Love in my bag for the hospital just in case, but I suspect I won't be reading much!

I finished another book last week, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker, and I've started to write a review but I'm stuck. While I did enjoy much of the book I have some personal issues that I'm trying to work through. I haven't decided if I should stick those personal views in my post or not as they're pretty biased. Do you try to keep your personal opinions and baises out of your posts?

Anyway, that's about it! We're celebrating Easter this afternoon at my mom's house, so I've got to go make my Easter Hat for our Annual Easter Hat Contest.

Looking Back to Last Week
A Sunday Salon listing 10 Books I'd love to read *right now*
Wordless Wednesday with my Ham of a Husband
A Recipe for Chicken Saltimbocca. Easy and Delicious. Mmmm!

Looking Forward to Next Week
I suspect I'll be home from the hospital on Wednesday if all goes to plan. Wow--next time I blog I'll be a mom!! Can't promise how soon that'll be (that I blog), but hopefully I can check in at least once. Who knows after that--I suspect my world is about to be rocked. In a great way, I know. ;)

Happy Sunday and Happy Easter to you all! What are your plans for the day?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Saltimbocca for Two

Wellllllll...it doesn't have to be for two. It just happens that I was feeding two (Scott and myself) when I made this meal. I had some leftover prosciutto that I needed to cook up, so I googled Chicken Saltimbocca and modified a recipe from Williams Sonoma (more or less halved). Apparently Saltimbocca means "jump into the mouth" and oh my gosh is that what it did. I can't believe how easy and tasty this recipe was.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded to an even thickness
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (divided)
1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried sage
2 slices prosciutto (mine were long and thin enough to fold over)
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/3 cup dry white wine (used cooking wine)


Directions:
1. Trim fat from chicken and pound to about 1/2 inch thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper
2. Pour flour into a shallow bowl or plate and dredge each breast (both sides) in the flour
3. Melt 1/2 tbsp butter with the olive oil in a skillet and when melted and pan is hot add chicken
4. Sauté chicken on medium high heat until cooked through--about 4-5 minutes on each side
5. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle each breast evenly with sage (little goes a long way!)
6. Add prosciutto to each chicken breast and then grated mozzarella's on top of the prosciutto.
7. Cover the skillet and heat until cheese is melted. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm
8. Increase heat on skillet and add wine. Stir to scrape up the browned bits and cook until wine is reduced.
9. When wine is reduced, add remaining 1/2 tbsp butter until melted and spoon mixture over chicken
10. Freakin' enjoy. Looks like a lot of steps, but is pretty easy and yummmmmm.


The asparagus was also wrapped in prosciutto, drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees. I didn't pay attention to how long it was in the oven. Maybe 15 minutes? (edited again: asparagus was a little overcooked--explanation in comments). But also yummmmmmm.

So...hope this Saltimbocca jumps into your mouth!



I tried this recipe as part of the Whip Up Something New Challenge, a challenge that encourages you to dig through your untried recipes and get cooking.  My cousin Michelle is hosting the challenge this month so be sure to pop by and see all the participants. I hope you'll join us from month to month!


Every 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!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Getting a Good Picture

Trying to get a good picture with Scott is like pulling teeth. And since I have approximately zero good pictures of us together during the pregnancy, I asked my mom to take some shots last Friday when we got together for dinner. The below is why I didn't bother having more "professional" pictures taken. What a ham sandwich that Scott is! I was laughing so hard that I was literally in tears. And in the end? An adorable picture of Scott and a defeated Trish. Ah well. And if you're wondering--these pictures mark 39 weeks.










Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Salon 43: Books I'd LOVE to Read Right Now


Hola!! Would you believe that I'm actually reading? Thanks to the Readathon last weekend I finished my current read and then later in the week finished another and have since started yet another! Pretty darn good considering two-thirds of my year's reads were finished in the past week (yes, that means my total is six--or something--might have lost count).

Anyway, a few weeks ago when I wrote my Confessions of a [Grumpy] Reader post I noted that sometimes I stare at my bookshelf and wish I could figure out a way that I could read several books at the same time. What books do I frequently gaze at wishing I could read them RIGHT NOW? Several. And the more I look, the more I see. You'll notice, though, not a lot of fluff below--which is what I've been reading. Think Little Miss Baby Billy Sue might want to be read any of these during late night feedings? Haha! Which have you read and recommend? Any to keep on the shelf a little longer?

The Stand - Stephen King
Honesty? Not sure why I want to read this other than I've always been intrigued. Pretty sure I haven't read a "scary" book since RL Stine's Fear Street Sagas used to keep me up as a teenager.


Possession - A.S. Byatt
Everyone seems to love this book. Think I saw the movie years ago and wasn't terribly interested in it (obvio if I can't remember if I saw the movie), but think I'll have better luck with the book.


Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
Love Margaret Atwood and haven't read anything by her in years. I've been wanting to read this one for a while but it always gets shelved for something else.


The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
Because I need to read a little non-fiction and this one seems pretty darn interesting/entertaining.


Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
I looooooooooooved Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close so I've been wanting to read this one. And just typing this reminds me I'd LOVE to read The History of Love by Nicole Krauss right now, too. Huh.


Skinny Legs and All - Tom Robbins
If I had to guess, I'd say it's been seven years since I last read Robbins. And the only blogger I've seen write about Robbins in my almost four years of blogging is Christina. Think we need a little more Robbins love around here!


Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
It's sitting right here on my desk. Actually, I bought it at the Texas Book Festival because I was going to get it signed by Verghese, but I ended out leaving early. Thought about returning the book, but it's another one everyone seems to love.


Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite authors even though none of his books are my favorite books. Does that make sense to anyone else? I always have to kind of work myself up to him, though. I've heard this one is his masterpiece but also incredibly gory.



Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
No real reason. It's on the shelf and I'd like to read some Yates.


Cider House Rules - John Irving
This one has been sitting on my shelf since 1998 or so. Thirteen years ago! Though, I think I probably have books that have been lingering for longer. I've started it and gotten quite far but timing was bad and I've never gone back. Really want to but not sure what's stopping me?


Sunday's Questions:
Which books would YOU love to read RIGHT NOW? What's stopping you from doing so?


Looking Back to Last Week
Only post of interest (ok, only post at all) last week was Thoughts On Slowing Down. Part of me thinks you guys like me better as a non-book blogger? I know, I know.

Looking Forward to Next Week
Um, Hi. I'd like to have that baby this week. Actual due date is Saturday the 23rd. Easter is Sunday and I'm kind of thinking if I'm not at the hospital we'll head to my mom's (a mile from my house) for our Annual Easter Hat Contest and Easter Egg Hunt. If I am in the hospital I told the gang they just need to wear their hats up to see me. So anyway, who knows about posting. I promise to keep you posted, though, if Little Miss Baby Billy Sue does arrive. Even if just to announce...

You do you have going on today and this week?

Yahoo Sunday!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts On Slowing Down

It's official. I waddle. I've actually waddled in some fashion or another for several weeks, but now I don't even bother to bend my legs when I walk. I'm one of those people you pray you don't get stuck walking behind because when you dart past her you're afraid you'll appear rushed and rude. At least this is how I used to feel when I would madly rush around someone and speed walk off.

See I'm the type of person who is constantly going 90 miles an hour. My desk is a nightmare at work because I have so many different projects going at once and my desk is a nightmare at home because I can't find the time to slow down and clean it. I always have to be busy, when I shop I power shop--in and out of the store as fast as I can, I try to cram as many things in my day as possible, as many pages read as possible, as many chores as possible until I poop out with exhaustion.

Until I stopped being able to move as fast. The past couple of months I've been forced to slow down. At first this was incredibly frustrating to me, but then I realized that the world just keeps moving on the same as it ever did and ever will. Nothing bad will happen if the laundry sits in the dryer for a few extra days (like it has been since Sunday), the world won't end if I don't read at least 50 pages every day, if I don't bloghop for a few weeks maybe my stats and comments will go down but the people who count will stay with me, if dinner doesn't get cooked from scratch we won't starve, and if I walk slowly through Target I'll still get everything on my list finished sooner or later. The work will wait, certainly.

And you know what? I kind of like being slow. And when I say slow, I mean sloooooow. Like a turtle who might have had a little bit too much to drink slow. It's been wonderful and novel not letting the little things stress me out and get me wound up. The other day my mom came over to plant my front garden beds with flowers and all I could literally physically manage was to pull up a chair and watch. (I love you mom, thank you for making my garden beautiful! You're right--I do think about you every time I pull into the driveway and see those hidden flowers).

How awesome to simply stop and smell the roses, so to speak, instead of glancing at the beauty and rushing on past.


I'm not sure that my relaxed attitude will continue once there is a screaming baby whom I'm trying to comfort, but for now at least, slowing down has been a joy.

What about you? Do you try to cram in all in or are you smart enough to realize you can only handle what you can handle?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Salon 42: Readathon End of Event Meme


Well, Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon has been over for an hour, but I've just gotten back up out of bed. I did wake up around 4 for my usual relief and snack and I was so tempted to get on twitter and start cheering away again and maybe finish the 60 pages I have left in my book, but...I crawled back into bed.

This was my Sixth readathon (really, only six?) and I loved it just as I've loved every other. It wasn't as productive as readathons in the past, but I'll cut myself some slack and count the 16.5 hours as a success for me. After all, that baby girl did as I told her to and didn't come early like Scott was convinced she would! As everyone mentioned, it would have made for a memorable readathon and a very literate baby, but I was glad to have my last hurrah yesterday.  If you're wondering, "What is she talking about?!" My first baby is due on just two weeks.

So what do those final numbers look like for me?

TOTALS:
363 pages read
405 minutes reading
1 Books Finished: Notes from the Underbelly. Laugh out loud funny!
100 minutes blogging
405 minutes cheerleading
10,000,000 Exclamation Points
6 mini-challenges: Intro, Where in the World, Oldies but Goodies; Book Club Recommendations; In Other Words; Mid-Event Survey
Food: Coffee and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Yogurt, Cajun Seafood Pasta, Ice Cream, Sweet Potato Chips, Cantelope
1 Prize!!!! Georgette Heyer Prize Pack. You're Jeal. I know.
1 Vlog (at a very pregnant 38 weeks)

Somewhere I lost some time, but I'm sure it was part of the million restroom breaks, trying to get comfortable, chatting with my husband and father-in-law (who, if you're wondering was totally indifferent to me reading all day), and watching the below video with Scott, his dad, brother, and nephew.

It is a JOY for me to listen to Scott watching Top Gear (the UK version). I never hear him laugh so hard--almost like a little girl, and I admit the show is pretty damn funny. But it's also just a very well done production. I'll watch with him if I have nothing else going on.



Anyway, just some comic relief. ;)

End of Event Meme:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
The toughest hour was actually hour 16 when I knew I needed to get to bed but just didn't want to. I felt like I was literally leaving the readathon kicking and screaming. But now--even though I still have that slight hangover feeling--I'm glad I walked away when I did.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie; Stardust; Looking for Alaska; Really--anything short, YA, or a Graphic Novel.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
My suggestions all fall within the cheer realm. Bottom line? We need our FANTASTIC head-cheerleader. Jill--in my very best Wayne and Garth: We're not worthy, we're not worthy. You were truly missed.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The readathon itself ran pretty smoothly. The hosts did a fantastic job. Give yourselves big pats on the back. And Vasilly--you rock, girl.

5. How many books did you read?
One and a half

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Finished Notes from the Underbelly by Risa Green and most of Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Loved both!

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
N/A

8. Which did you enjoy least?
N/A

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Pre-write some cheers that you can copy and paste BUT also leave some sort of personal response. Use the beginning and mid-event memes to find active participants. Jump to links from Twitter. In the wee hours if the hosts can ask active participants to leave comments on the update posts, it'll help see who's still awake. Use as many damn !!! as it takes. ;-) And remember, you are so valued and important to the readathon.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I'm not sure how future readathons will go with me as LMBBS will be six months in October and a year next April. Scott told me that he's more than capable of watching baby for the day when I mentioned this might be my last 'thon. Could just squeeze that boy to death! I hope to continue readathoning--but will probably do as I did yesterday. Equal reading and cheering for two-thirds of the event.

Dear Dewey: Did you ever think that you'd be bringing together 500 people around the world to share this thing that you started all those years ago? I know at this point those who knew you are much much less than those who don't, but your spirit is still with us. Thank you--we are indebted to you.

Happy Sunday everyone!! I'm going to go crawl back in bed with Naomi and Ely. ;) What are your plans??

Cheers!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Readathon Update #4: Hours 13-16


Readathon Update for Hours 13-16

Pages:  92 - Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Time: 100 minutes

TOTALS:
363 pages read
405 minutes reading
1 Books Finished: Notes from the Underbelly. Laugh out loud funny!
100 minutes blogging
385 minutes cheerleading
1,000,000 Exclamation Points
6 mini-challenges: Intro, Where in the World, Oldies but Goodies; Book Club Recommendations; In Other Words; Mid-Event Survey
Food: Coffee and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Yogurt, Cajun Seafood Pasta, Ice Cream, Sweet Potato Chips, Cantelope
1 Prize!!!! Georgette Heyer Prize Pack. You're Jeal. I know.
1 Vlog



I'm feeling pretty good, but I've got to get Little Miss Baby Billy Sue to sleep. Wish I could stay up and cheer and maybe even finish my book, but I also don't want to push it either.

It's been a fabulous Readathon, as always.  Dewey--you'll never be forgotten.

Many happy reading wishes to you all. Let me know if you're still awake and how you're doing!

What will keep you going through the wee hours?

Readathon Update #3: Hours 9-12 HALFWAY!


Readathon Update for Hours 9-12 

Pages:  72 - Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Time: 80 minutes

TOTALS:
261 pages read
305 minutes reading
1 Books Finished: Notes from the Underbelly. Laugh out loud funny!
80 minutes blogging
285 minutes cheerleading
10,000 Exclamation Points
6 mini-challenges: Intro, Where in the World, Oldies but Goodies; Book Club Recommendations; In Other Words; Mid-Event Survey
Food: Coffee and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Yogurt, Cajun Seafood Pasta, Ice Cream, Sweet Potato Chips
1 Prize!!!! Georgette Heyer Prize Pack. You're Jeal. I know.
1 Vlog

Naomi and Ely AND Sweet Potato Chips!

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

2. How many books have you read so far?
One full book. Hurrah! Notes from the Underbelly by Risa Green

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I hope to finish current book...!

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
No special arrangements. Just lots of coaxing to Little Miss Billy Sue. Scott's still convinced I'm going into labor tonight!
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
My in-laws are visiting but Scott has graciously kept them occupied. Not sure how things will go when they get back for the evening.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How many participants! Even as a long-time veteran it's still shocking.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
More organized cheering. Hate to say it, but...

8. What would you do differently if you were to do this again next year?
Got the routine down pat!

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Yes. It's hard on my back to sit at the computer especially. And feet tend to swell. I know, TMI for you new visitors. ;)

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Short and easy books. Don't get discouraged by numbers. Celebrate the small victories. And more than anything else, have FUN!!

But tell me, lovies...what is YOUR favorite thing about today so far??

Readathon Update #2: Hours 5-8


Readathon Update for Hours 5-8

Pages:  102 - Notes from the Underbelly by Risa Green
Time: 125 minutes

TOTALS:
189 pages read
225 minutes reading
1 Books Finished: Notes from the Underbelly. Laugh out loud funny!
45? minutes blogging
175? minutes cheerleading
1,000 Exclamation Points
4 mini-challenges: Intro, Where in the World, Oldies but Goodies; Book Club Recommendations
Food: Coffee and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Yogurt, Cajun Seafood Pasta!
1 Prize!!!! Georgette Heyer Prize Pack. You're Jeal. I know.
1 Vlog

Excited about finishing my first book, reading outside, and getting some grub in the tub (um, tummy, not literally tub).

Laugh out loud funny is just what I needed!
Warm but breezy outside!
Trees I was reading under. So peaceful!

Tell me, how goes it? What's your highlight so far?

Readathon Update #1: Hours 1-4


Readathon Update for Hours 1-4

Pages:  87 - Notes from the Underbelly
Time: 100 minutes

TOTALS:
87 pages read
100 minutes reading
0 Books Finished
30? minutes blogging
110? minutes cheerleading
100 Exclamation Points
3 mini-challenges: intro, Where in the World, Oldies but Goodies
Food: Coffee and Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 Prize!!!! Georgette Heyer Prize Pack. You're Jeal. I know.
1 Vlog

A very very comfy place to read:


YAHOO READATHON!!

How goes it for you? What's your favorite thing about today so far?

Readathon 2011 KickOff and Vlog

video

Some apologies for not splicing the video beginning and end. Should have figured it out the day before. Should figure out Youtube but I'm lazy. ;) 

INTRODUCTION MEME

Where are you reading from today?
McKinney, Texas! (north Dallas)

3 facts about me …
1. I'm 38 weeks pregnant
2. My fingers nails are painted hot orange for the first time ever
3. I can't wait until tonight when I can indulge in ice cream

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
About half a dozen? I'll be happy just to finish one book today!

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Um, to not have this baby!! No goals, just fun. Hope to make it until 10:00 pm (around hour 16).

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
Create a routine early on. Once you have a routine things go much more smoothly. And if you're struggling with your book, ditch it!




A few notes about today:
**I'll probably be updating with a new post every 3-4 hours. If there's a mini-challenge that strikes my fancy I'll maybe edit the previous post.
**I will not be responding to comments on my blog today. I'll sometimes email a response or respond in my next post.
**I will not be subscribing to follow up comments today. You can email me if you'd like! :)
**I not be reading/commenting on non-readathon posts. Sorry. :(
**And I BEG of you--Kill your Word Verification!



YAY READATHON!!!!!!!!

Readathon, Readathon, Readathon!

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