Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why Reading Feels Good Again and Some Random Memories from a Childhood Bookworm

It has been quite a while since picking up the written word. I've been spending a lot of time in front of a screen lately, either computer or television. I watch my shows or obsess a bit too much over Facebook, reddit, or Pinterest. I am a complete and utter nerd or geek or whatever the heck you want to call it. I watch anime even though I am a 28 year old mother of two. (I don't exactly fit the profile of the overweight neckbeard-type that you'd expect to watch that kind of thing. But I'll speak more on that another time.) I think it is a way to avoid reality sometimes. Those screens allow you to completely zone out.

Either way, let's rewind to Black Friday, that consumer driven day after Thanksgiving that companies will do anything to get you to spend your hard earned dollar. I fell into Amazon's Black Friday trap of "Kindles only $49 this weekend only!" or something along those lines. I bought a Kindle Paperwhite for about $20 or $30 off the original price. Around $99ish I believe. I am a complete cheapskate, so this was a bit of an abnormal purchase for me. I filled the thing up with some classic novels that are free because they don't fall under current copyright laws or something along those lines. I attempted to start reading "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, but my brain almost imploded after just a few pages. I will set that one aside for another time, or at least until I've gotten used to reading again.

There was a time in the past when I wasn't afraid to pick up a book way over my reading level. I remember the first time I did just that. I think I was in second or third grade. The books at my elementary school library were color coded for each grade level or reading level. I was poking around in the bookcase with the fifth grade books, and found a pretty book with a girl riding a dolphin on the cover. It was "A Ring of Endless Light" by Madeleine L'Engle. It was way over my current level, and there were A LOT of pages. I checked it out anyway. I remember trying to read the book that night, and only understanding some of it. The words were long and confusing, but I got the general gist of the story. I loved it. I was able to brag to my teachers and friends that I had read a hard book all the way through. It made me feel smart and a bit better than my peers, and to my third grade ego this felt good.

Thus began my love affair with books. I had an almost insatiable craving to read as I got older. I remember a particular instance during Summer vacation after I was in seventh grade. We had gone to the library the day before, and I had checked out a large stack of YA books of different genres and sizes. I mostly had an affinity to fantasy and adventure. I can't remember how many I checked out, but it had to have been about 8-10 different books. I charged through all of them in one day. When my mom got home that night, she was partly annoyed and impressed that I wanted to go to the library again for a new stack of reading material. I had gotten to the point to where I had achieved quite an impressive speed in my ability to read.

I was the one in my high school classes that got into trouble by my teachers because instead of paying attention to the lessons my face was obscured by some random novel. I kind of miss those days and those stories that I read. I got married right after high school. Then I had children about a year after that. Nowadays, I have two children, the average stay at home wife. Well, maybe not that average. I homeschool my oldest, a little seven year old computer gamer named Kaleb. He isn't even remotely interested in reading. It breaks my heart a bit. But it is honestly probably my fault that he's not interested. I hardly read anymore, and children learn what they observe. And that is where the guilt comes in. So, I bought a Kindle and two days ago, bought a trilogy of books for super cheap on the Kindle store. I began to read a fantasy novel called "The Mistborn Trilogy" by Brian Sanderson. It is bringing back all that nostalgia from when I was younger, and read books like normal people drink water.

I haven't finished it yet, and I'm nowhere near as fast a reader as I was back in my high school days, but damn it feels good to read a book again. Even if I have changed from reading a traditional ink and paper novel to the new technology of an e-reader. So here's to new stories, new books, and new adventures.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sleeping Fox Drawing

A drawing I spent about 2-ish hours working on. Sketched in pencil, then inked over with art pens.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Red Zentangle ATCs for Swap

I created this series of ATCs for a swap at the ATCs for All forums.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Creamy Hashbrown Casserole

This recipe is a perfect Thanksgiving side or a brunch main course. Creamy and cheesy everyone will love it.
1 package frozen shredded hashbrowns (1 lb. 10 oz.)
1 finely chopped onion
1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10.5 oz.) can condensed cheddar soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (separated)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees grease a 9 x 13-inch pan
2. Combine all the ingredients except for one cup of cheddar cheese.
3. Spread the hash brown mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes.
4. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the casserole and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
5. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Advent Paper Chain

This is what I've been up to today: an advent calendar paper chain. On the back of each paper chain link there is a Christmas activity for us to do like baking sugar cookies, watching a Christmas movie, or making homemade ornaments. I got the printable sign from The Tom Kat Studio and the printable paper chain links from The Paper Mama. Both printables are free!

  1. Go buy our annual "special ornament" from Hobby Lobby.
  2. Decorate the Christmas tree.
  3.  Make paper snowflakes.
  4. Make homemade Christmas ornaments.
  5. Build a (paper) snowman.
  6. Have a Christmas music dance party!
  7. Make a nativity.
  8. Eat a candy cane
  9. Write a letter to Santa Claus.
  10. Check out some Christmas books from the library.
  11. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  12. Christmas coloring pages.
  13. (My sister-in-law's birthday) Make a birthday card for her.
  14. (My birthday) Make a birthday cake.
  15. (A cousin's wedding) Drive out of town.
  16. Make Christmas cards for friends.
  17. Play some board games as a family.
  18. Read the Christmas story in the Bible.
  19. Sing Christmas carols.
  20. Make homemade hot cocoa with marshmallows and whipped cream.
  21. Pop popcorn and watch Christmas movies.
  22. Bake Christmas cookies and other treats.
  23. Decorate cookies and gingerbread houses.
  24. Read "It was the Night Before Christmas."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Save Money with Homemade Laundry Soap

A lot of people I know might balk at the idea of making your own laundry detergent, but if you hang out on Pinterest as much as I do, you'll have noticed that there are a lot of people who do this. But it is surprisingly easy and will save you money.

Here is my recipe for laundry soap:

Dry Laundry Soap Recipe
2 cups Arm and Hammer washing soda
2 cups 2 Mule Team Borax
1 cup baking soda
1 bar of Fels-Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soap, finely grated with a cheese grater
Mix together and store in a Ziploc bag or sealed container of your choice.  Keep in a cool, dry place. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load of laundry.  Use an additional tablespoon for larger loads or heavily soiled clothing.