Tag: Year in Review

Goodbye 2015. Hello 2016!!

Posted 31 January, 2016 by Trish in Life / 23 Comments


Happy 2016

What do you mean today is the last day of January?? Are you sure?  As I’m still transitioning to life with a newborn…and three kids, I thought about skipping this post when I didn’t get it up by the beginning of the month, but it’s tradition. Plus eventually life will smooth out and I’ll be able to think about more than when and what my children ate last.

When I look back at my list of things I wanted to do in 2015, I didn’t complete everything that I set out to do (I rarely do), but I’m pretty happy with the year and what I accomplished. I finished that dang Christmas quilt that I’ve been working on for years and I finished sewing all of my hexies together. I made two quilt tops for the (big) girls and made pretty substantial progress on a quilt top for a class I was taking. While I always wish I could spend more time in the craft room, I was able to steal quite a bit of time!

On the book front, I read the most books last year than in the past five–largely thanks to adding audiobooks back into the rotation since I went back to work. I wanted to read three books published before 1900 and I only read two that qualified but I did read two others that were published in 1900. So. It was a great reading year!

I had a lot of fun cooking from my cookbooks and even opened up a challenge until I decided to transform that into a crafty type challenge. Sadly neither took off the way that I hoped, but that’s the way of things. I’d like to do more cooking from cookbooks in 2016 as well as get back to Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff (to test out my new Instant Pot!) The “thing” that I continually (ahem) fail at is journaling. I really really would love to be a journaler, but I just don’t think I am. Maybe this year. Ha!!!! (Though I am totally intrigued by bullet journaling).


2016 Things

The things I want to do in 2016?

  • Read Lonesome Dove (for no other reason than it’s sitting on my shelf)
  • Read 36 books // Two books published before 1800 // Two books published before 1950
  • Finish Cara’s baby quilt, finish Elle and Evie’s quilts, finish the hexie quilt top (borders), and the Stitcher’s Garden top
  • Make two new recipes a month–ideally using my cookbooks/recipe scrapbook
  • Run a 10k (no really! I’ve had this on my list for years, but this IS the year I will do it!)
  • KonMari/Organize my house. I think I struggle with this one because it’s hard to measure completion–or is organization ever complete?
  • Get back into blogging. Like really. I’ve been struggling with this one lately–while you guys are so sweet to have stuck with me over the years, I feel like I don’t really know what I want my blogging purpose to be anymore. I LOVE blogging and I LOVE connecting, but it’s almost like I’ve forgotten how. Most of you will say not to worry, but it really has become such an integral part of my life over the past nine years.


I’d like to get into shape (in due time) and figure out some kind of jouraling that works for me. I’d like to be more mindful and be better about putting my phone away while I’m around my littles. I want to be more patient–with the littles, my husband, and myself. It’ll be a busy year, especially when Elle starts kindergarten in the fall (how the heck did that happen?!), but I know it’ll be a great year.

What are some of the things you’d like to do in 2016?




Tracking a Year of Meals

Posted 23 January, 2016 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 29 Comments

Tags: , ,

a year of meals


Near the end of 2014 I was reading Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Rosenstrach started keeping track of her nightly meals in 1998 and has kept up with her food diaries through meticulous journaling. I’m notorious for being a failure at keeping a journal, but I wondered if I could keep up with a monthly calendar of what we ate each night.

I printed out a blank calendar for the month and filled in each day with what we ate. I used different colors for when we dined away from home for a quick glimpse. While I didn’t keep track every single day of 2015, I ended up with a little over 300 days worth of data. Most of the lapses were when we went out of town, when I had my monthly sewing class and didn’t take care of dinner, or when we had dinner with friends (though I did track our dinners with family).

After I completed the year of meals, Scott jokingly asked me if I was going to put it into excel so I could run reports. Duh–genius! Oh the things I do when I’m on maternity leave and the baby won’t let me put her down. Ha! So…

Cooking vs Eating Out

The biggest surprise for me is that we only cooked 55% of the time. Though two thirds of the time if I count the days when we ate at home but had leftovers. As you can see, we dine out a lot (a big portion of this is actually take out that we eat at home) and we definitely want to do better for 2016–if not just for our waistlines but also for our wallet.



What We Ate

No big surprises here! We eat a ton of pasta and beef, specifically ground beef. And most of the soup category and half of the pasta also contains meat (spaghetti with meat sauce and beef stew are two favorites). Convenience category includes frozen pizza and mac and cheese–this category increased greatly near the end of my pregnancy. I was pleased that chicken ended up being about 15%, though I’d like to make this number a bit higher this year. I think half of that is rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (which I counted as eating in since the chicken cost less than it would cost to cook a regular chicken dish and we still made the sides).


Favorite Meals

Ask the girls what they want for dinner and 9 times out of 10 it’s Bowtie Pasta. I make this a lot when Scott is out of town–sadly with plain jarred sauce.  Tacos is the second highest request, which is funny because I don’t think we cooked tacos at all before this year. Scott’s number one request is Spaghetti and his second two are Brats (which we eat with caramelized onions) and Salisbury Steak. I definitely want to note that Spaghetti and Beef Stew are two meals that we make big batches of and then freeze. I can usually get four meals out of my Meaty Spaghetti Sauce and three out of Beef Stew.

I don’t have a favorite meal, which makes the dinner time question “what do you want for dinner” a tough one. I’ll eat nearly anything (except spam and beans), so I try to make dishes that I know will make everyone else happy.

what we ate

Where We Ate Out

Pei Wei and a local Mexican restaurant are the two favorites. Burgers means In-n-Out–another favorite. We used to frequent the “pizza joint” quite a bit, but they stopped selling ice cream from a freezer chest and the girls lost interest. Ha! Pei Wei and In-n-Out are places were we order take out and eat at home; the Mexican and Pizza Joints are places were we eat out with the kids–we have no qualms about eating out with the kids, but we do like to choose places where the noise level is already high enough that we don’t have people staring if someone is unruly.

dining out


I’ve already started my calendar for 2016 and it’ll be interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two years. I have a feeling we’ll be eating away from home less with three kiddos and since my dad moved away that will cut down on some of our family dinners (we are very spoiled with having family close by!).

I hope to make a bigger variety of meals in 2016–we sometimes get stuck in comfort zones and I don’t want the girls to become too particular. I think they’re good eaters but they do scoff at different foods which makes eating out difficult when food doesn’t taste like mommy’s. Last week we cooked steak and it took a lot of “I don’t like that!” before they finally tried their bites and ate it all up.

If you took a look at your Year of Meals, what trends do you think you’d find?





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!



Best of Reading for 2015

Posted 17 January, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 25 Comments


2015 End of Year Book Survey

So below is my 2015 Year in Reading. Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner has yet again provided us with the questions. Any links I have to book posts will be down at the bottom.

Best of Reading in 2015

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

tiny beautiful things

I wouldn’t have expected my first book read to be my favorite, but hands down Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. In terms of audio, both Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Everything I Never Told You were fantastic.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

My biggest disappointment was The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto. I just didn’t get it. Oh, and Armada by Ernest Cline. So bummed after loving Ready Player One.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While it did not change my life, I still think about the principle of bringing joy to your life and letting go of the things that don’t spark joy.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015?

Tiny Beautiful Things–Read it, read it now! I also talked up The Life-Changing Magic quite a bit.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Oooh, I actually read a series book this year! In the Woods by Tana French. I look forward to more of the Dublin Murder Squad…eventually. I also read Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4).

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

I’ll be eagerly awaiting whatever Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You) writes next!

Everything i never told you

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t typically read post-apocalyptic books, but I really enjoyed A Gift Upon the Shore by MK Wren.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

This one is for you Lisa–In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel. This could also count as a genre I don’t typically read–romance. It was definitely just what I needed at the time!

In the Midnight Rain

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Again, I’m not big on re-reading, but I’ll definitely be reading Tiny Beautiful Things again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

This is one of the bummers about reading ebooks/listening to audiobooks–I don’t notice covers as much as I used to. Hausfrau is a lovely cover but I haven’t read the book.

Hausfrau cover

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Bernadette from Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. Also Shadow from American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

Tiny Beautiful Things

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

Tiny Beautiful Things #brokenrecord

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen! And Dracula by Bram Stoker.



15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

“Be brave enough to break your own heart” – Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (149 page)

Longest: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (928 pages, 45 hours)

Outlander GIF

(I will use this GIF every chance I get!!)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

Ha! The Walmart Effect by Charles Fishman. I will never think about Walmart the same way.

18. OTP of the Year
(OTP = one true pairing — don’t worry, I had to look it up, too)

Jamie and Claire forever and ever and ever. Also, Serena and Pemberton from Serena–what a hellish match!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Elinor and Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. Because sisters are the best.

Sense and Sensibility

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

This is a tough question! But I haven’t mentioned Stephen King yet so I’ll go with Salem’s Lot or Pet Sematary. Really liked both!


21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo. Thanks Bryan! I enjoyed it!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Blue Reynard from In the Midnight Rain. This might be the one time when I wish that I could visualize characters!

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

I only read three…so I’m going to go with That’s Not English by Erin Moore–fun nonfiction!

That's Not English

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This was the book that I had hoped The Stand by King would be.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Truly a laugh-out-loud delight. Sidenote: I’m currently watching and loving Parks and Recreation. Why did I wait so long to watch?!

yes please audio

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Tiny Beautiful Things. That might be the only one! I need some tearjerkers for this year.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Blankets by Craig Thompson. Loved this graphic memoir so much!


28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Such a beautiful book! (I’m trying to come up with answers other than Tiny Beautiful Things)

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstratch–it’s actually a cookbook but has a pretty significant memoir undertone. I read it like a book and loved it!

Dinner: A Love Story

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. Talk about a story to get your blood boiling. Not an easy read but definitely worthwhile.



 So What Did I Read in 2015?

  1. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (paper)
  2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (audio)
  3. No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi (audio)
  4. Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstratch (paper)
  5. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (ebook)
  6. Bayou by Jeremy Love (graphic novel)
  7. Over Easy by Mimi Pond (graphic memoir)
  8. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (graphic novel)
  9. March: Book One by John Lewis (graphic memoir)
  10. Fables in Exile by Bill Willingham (graphic novel)
  11. An Age of License by Lucy Knisley (graphic memoir)
  12. Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin (ebook)
  13. Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet (graphic novel)
  14. Blankets by Craig Thompson (graphic memoir)
  15. That’s Not English by Erin Moore (ebook)
  16. The Know-it-All by A.J. Jacobs (audio)
  17. Pet Sematary by Stephen King (ebook)
  18. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (audio)
  19. On Immunity by Eula Biss (audio)
  20. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion(paper)
  21. The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum (audio)
  22. The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto (paper)
  23. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (paper)
  24. An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (ebook)
  25. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (audio)
  26. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (paper)
  27. Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audio)
  28. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (paper)
  29. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (paper)
  30. In the Woods by Tana French (audio)
  31. Misery by Stephen King (paper)
  32. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (ebook)
  33. Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins (audio)
  34. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (paper)
  35. Armada by Ernest Cline (audio)
  36. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (dual)
  37. In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel (ebook)
  38. A Gift Upon the Shore by MK Wren (audio)
  39. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (ebook)
  40. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (audio)
  41. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (paper)
  42. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (audio)
  43. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (ebook)
  44. Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (ebook)
  45. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (dual)
  46. Flight by Sherman Alexie (paper)
  47. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (paper)
  48. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (audio)
  49. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (dual)
  50. Dracula by Bram Stoker (dual)
  51. The Walmart Effect by Charles Fishman (audio)
  52. All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior (ebook)
  53. 10% Happier by Dan Harris (dual)
  54. Serena by Ron Rash (ebook)

2015 Reading Stats Charts(kept track with Tally Track App)

While I did have a couple of reading goals for 2015, there are two that I kept my eye on–reading 33% from my shelves (since I read mostly my own books, this means books that I owned prior to the new year) and reading more diverse authors (either POC or translated works). I ended up with 35% books owned before 2015 and 20% diverse authors. For 2016 I’d like to do even better than this! The only goal I totally abandoned was the reading of three parenting books. Meh. :)

Overall it was a great reading year. I have no idea what 2016 will bring–I’ll be home for a good portion of the year with Cara, but I’ll eventually go back to the office and I have a feeling that life with three littles will be quite the adventure! Just taking it a day at a time!



Some linky linkies. In case you’re wondering about my 2014 Reading Year2013 Reading Year2012 Reading Year2011 Reading Year (or my pretend 2011 reading year), or even my 2010 Reading Year.

 How was your 2015 Reading Year? What were your favorites?






Goodbye 2014. Hello 2015!!

Posted 1 January, 2015 by Trish in Life / 28 Comments


happy 2015

Happy 2015!! To be honest, I’m ready to be done with 2014 and ring in the new year. Not that 2014 wasn’t a good year–it was! But there’s just something about January 1 that feels so new and promising. Unlike other years in the past, though, I haven’t really given a lot of thought as to what I’d like to accomplish in 2015. Likely more of the same as the past two years. They’ve both been great years and I just want more! Though without the pressure! I’ve been really good the past couple of years of letting go of the self-inflicted pressure. I guess that’s what happens with you have two little ones underfoot and sometimes you’re too damn tired for the details?


How did my 2014 shape up? You can find a summary of the Things I wanted to accomplish in 2014 on last year’s post. I won’t go into the things I didn’t do…because why beat ourselves up?

Travel: Lots of camping including a long distance trip to New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona; California for my sister’s wedding; Toronto for my grandparents’ anniversary; Pennsylvania to beat the Texas summer heat; New Mexico for Christmas. I feel like I’m missing something here. It was a great year for travel and the girls did spectacularly!

Quilting/Crafting: I finished Scott and Evie’s quilts. I’m almost done with a secret project. I’m working on sewing my hexies together. I’m taking a 14-month long quilting class. My crafting room is nicely organized (or it was anyway).

Books/Blogging: 51 books this year! Lots of diversity. Tackled the two I wanted to for this year (Possession and Drood…latter which was a DNF). Several readalongs. More or less consistently blogging.

Cooking: Operation Use My Cookbooks is in progress, slowly slowly working on Operation use My Kitchen Stuff. Meh. Cooking often takes a backseat these days.

And of course lots and lots of cuddles with the girls (and my lovey). While there are lots of things on my 2014 list that I didn’t quite do, I don’t feel sorry or guilty for one second.


2015 Things



  • Finish Christmas Quilt. Before Christmas 2015. Sigh. Finish up Hexie top. Start lap quilt for the girls (bonus points if I can do one for each…though if there is another baby in 2015 (which there is NOT yet), this will get tossed in favor of a new baby quilt).
  • Read/Listen to 30 books. Aim low, my friends!
  • Read 3 books published before 1900. I read zero last year!
  • Continue with Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff.
  • Use My Cookbooks – focus on one cookbook a month
  • Organize–like really declutter and organize–one room a month (or more)
  • Run a 10K race
  • Journal. Freaking freaking freak freak freak. I really love the way that Amanda from Fig and Thistle keeps a journal with prompts and I might try something like this on Sunday mornings. I won’t cry myself to sleep if it doesn’t work, though.
  • Continue to write and blog about all types of topics. With more consistency.
  • Double my production at work.

Drop 10 pounds. Get up earlier. Eat healthier. Be more patient. Breathe. You know, the usual suspects. Most importantly, though, recognize my limits and stick to them. Remember the most important parts of my life. Take time for myself. Don’t sweat the little things.

What is on your plate for 2015? What are you looking forward most to tackling? Which thing will be the most challenging for you?

Happy Happy New Year!



Best of Reading for 2014

Best of Reading for 2014

It’s that time of year ago–the one to take a look back at my reading for 2014. I read more books this year than I have in years (thanks to a small increase in audio from last year and lots of graphic novels), but I wasn’t absolutely blown away by any single book. I guess 2014 was the year of quantity over quality. Bummer, huh? So below is my 2014 Year in Reading. Jamie from […]

Posted 28 December, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook / 49 Comments

Top Ten Books of 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014

2014 was a pretty good reading year for me if you look at numbers alone. I’m set to finish at 52 books for the year–I haven’t hit the 50 book mark since 2009! My goal for the year was 24 and thanks to graphic novels and audiobooks, I was able to bump up my numbers without trying. While I do keep track of how many books I read in a year, I’ve long since stopped […]

Posted 16 December, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook / 31 Comments

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014!!

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014!!

I’m not the only one who is in total denial that it’s 2014, right? Although 2014 still seems a bit innocuous compared to the idea of 2015. Does that freak anyone else out? Ok, I’m sure you haven’t had quite enough coffee yet for these types of conversations. I hope you all had a very happy New Year’s Eve. 2013 was a bit of a transition year. I knew going into the new year that […]

Posted 1 January, 2014 by Trish in Blogging Thoughts, Life / 54 Comments

Best of Reading for 2013

Best of Reading for 2013

Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner has offered up the 4th  Annual End of the Year Book Survey. And I answered her questions (ok, so I copied my questions from last year so if mine are a tiny bit different…oops!).  While 2013 was not quite what I expected it would be in terms of the things I would accomplish, it was an awesome reading year. At the time of typing this I’ve finished 42 books […]

Posted 29 December, 2013 by Trish in Reading Nook / 35 Comments

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013!!

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013!!

Happy New Year! 2012. What a year! All in all it was a really great year–of course there are always ups and downs in a year but I can’t help but look back at the past twelve months with pleasure at all the things I accomplished and all the fun experiences I had with my family. I’m not going to relist all of my 2012 Things for you here because my list for 2013 is […]

Posted 1 January, 2013 by Trish in Blogging Thoughts, Life / 35 Comments

Best of Reading for 2012

Best of Reading for 2012

Hi. I’ve missed you. I hope you had a lovely holiday and have a happy New Year. Ok. Going into 2012, I had three bookish things that I wanted to accomplish this year. I’m thrilled to say that I’ve successfully completed (and exceeded) those three things!  “What things?” you ask. Read/listen to 24 books, Read The Stand, and find a book club. I read/listened to 37 books, finished The Stand and then read IT (and […]

Posted 30 December, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook / 33 Comments