Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: More Colorful Crochet



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday's: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 59 OF Sandra Brown's Mean Streak:

"I hike. Gorgeous scenery up here. Sometimes I camp, but I prefer my bed to a sleeping bag on the ground."

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon

The Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon begins next week on November 24th. It runs until November 30th, so one full week. I am excited to participate. Since it is a week-long read-a-thon that means it should be peaceful and fairly laid back. And most of all, FUN! So, what are the details of the Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon? In a nutshell, read. It is not required that you read Christmas or holiday themed books but it would be nice to read at least one, even if it is simply a children’s book – probably with your kids.

If you’d like to check in during the week on Twitter, the hashtag is #CSreadathon. Also, it is not necessary to have a blog in order to participate. You can check in via GoodReads, Twitter or Facebook.

For more information and to sign up for the Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon visit Seasonsof Reading. And don’t forget, have FUN with your reading. I know I will as I will be diving into my Christmas books – for myself and with my kids.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The 5th Annual Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

I do not know what the heck was up with my blog yesterday but I am glad it is fixed today. I have to tell you about something I am so excited about! The 5th Annual Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge! It takes place at The Christmas Spirit from November 24, 2014 through January 6, 2015. As a little side note here - 2015 feels and looks really odd to me. Anyway, the challenge is so much fun and I really look forward to participating in it each year! It's fun, it's easy and there are multiple levels for participation. For example, read so many books, watch Christmas/Holiday movies and there is even a level for reading Christmas children's books this year! As a mom of two young children this is right up my alley! I'm even going to do an Advent calendar that relates to kids Christmas books. That's another post for another day, though.

My participation levels will be (I grabbed these straight from The Christmas Spirit blog):

  --Christmas Tree:  read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!) Yes, I am a Christmas book fanatic! I want to read Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright for sure. I will also read A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree. Others that I will read will depend on what's available at the library or on sale at Barnes and Noble.

--Fa La La La Films:  watch a bunch or a few Christmas movies...it's up to you! My family LOVES Christmas movies. I know for sure that we will watch White Christmas (this one is my favorite!), Home Alone (my kids LOVE this one so much and laugh their heads off every single time they see it), Elf (we all, including my husband, can watch this one over and over and over again), The Polar Express (another amazing movie we all love. It's not just 'I believe' in our house - it's WE believe!) and A Christmas Story (another family favorite. 'You'll shoot your eye out kid). I know there are more but these are the first ones I always think of for the reasons stated.

--Visions of Sugar Plums:  read books with your children this season and share what you read: I am so excited about the addition of this level for this year! My kids are bookworms just like me! We LOVE going to the library and loading up on books all year but there is something so extra special about getting Christmas books and then sitting around and reading them together. We love The Polar Express, Olivia Helps with Christmas, Angelina's Christmas and Pinkalicious Christmas to name a few.

Come and join this super fun challenge if you wish. It just adds to the fun and togetherness of this time of year.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Technical Difficulties

I'm not sure what is going on with my blog but it is all messed up. The pictures are missing, the background is different than anything I've ever chosen. The picture behind the header isn't even there. Hopefully this problem will be fixed soon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Crochet Works in Progress

So, in addition to writing and reading a lot, I crochet. I LOVE YARN! Truly, I do. I love choosing colors. I love seeing the yarn turn into something. I would say that I definitely have an addiction to yarn and crocheting. It's relaxing to me. Well, most of the time it is relaxing to me. There are times (like this time of the year) when I know I have over extended myself. It doesn't matter that I swear to myself I won't do it again because I do. Right now I have several works in progress. A few of them (and one in particular) have deadlines. The particular one I'm referring to is coming up. I'll be okay and everything will get done but I have definitely bitten off a lot this time. It's just that I see so many gorgeous things that I want to make and I just can't help but start a new one. I need to get over it though and try to finish things before starting something new. Sigh.

Anyway, would you like to see some of what I have been working one? I hope the answer is yes because here they are:

This will be an adorable little bird when it is done.

A blanket for my husband and I.

These blocks are going to be turned into an afghan for my younger daughter's bed.
 
 

 
This will be an afghan for my older daughter's bed. She wanted something in rainbow colors. She chose the design, too.
 
PLUS, there is the item with the looming deadline. I can't put a picture of that one until it is done and received by the person it is intended for. She might read this post and I don't want her to see what I am making for her. :)




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful

One of our local radio stations started playing Christmas music today. This is not a bad thing. In fact, my family and I love this time of year and that includes the Christmas music. And since my children have been asking me when the Christmas music was going to start since before Halloween – I was extra thrilled to be able to let them hear it today. Hearing White Christmas (my favorite), Do They Know It’s Christmas (another favorite), Sleigh Bells and Frosty the Snowman got me to wondering about something.

What about Thanksgiving?

Why do we basically finish Halloween and jump straight into Christmas? And honestly, around here, Christmas is making its appearance even before Halloween. As I’ve stated, my family and I love Christmas. However, I think people in general need to slow down and enjoy this entire season. Thanksgiving is important in our family and not just because of the food. Although, hello delicious food. It’s just that I grew up – and fortunately, so did my husband – being taught to be thankful for the little things as well as the big all through the year. Yes, we put some extra emphasis on Thanksgiving Day but that was (and is) part of the fun. So in our house, with our children, my husband and I are going to take the time to be thankful.

At the beginning of October I found an awesome tutorial on creating a ThankfulGarland. I bookmarked it with the intention of having it ready to go at the beginning of November. Then the end of October arrived and with it Halloween and prepping for National Novel Writing Month. I’m sad to say that I forgot about prepping the Thankful Garland. Well, I found my bookmarked activity today. At first I was a little bummed because we are late getting started with it. Then I decided late wasn’t going to be an issue. I am going to make a Thankful Garland for my family. Then, for the two weeks until Thanksgiving (and the day of) we are going to write something we are thankful for. Also, in the same vain, I am going to post a little something that I am thankful for each day.

So, beginning right now: I am extremely Thankful for my husband and our daughters. I love them with all of my heart and love being a family.

Will you join me in making a Thankful Garland for your family? Or even blogging about what you are thankful for?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday's: Festive in Death by J.D. Robb (part 2)

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week (for the second time although I am loving this book. I've just been SO busy) is from pages 160 & 161 of J.D. Robb's Festive in Death:

"Do you wrap my gifts yourself?"

He finished pulling on the sweater, shook back his hair, eyed her. "Isn't that what elves are for? Why would I put good, enterprising elves out of work?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Peaceful

I thought I might be stressed out trying to do both National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month at the same time. I admit that I have had my moments of stress but overall, not so much. What I am finding is that I am feeling very peaceful and accomplished about both undertakings. I haven’t missed a single day of writing (THANK YOU WriteChain!) or blogging. And, in fact, if the evening goes well I will make the fifty-thousand words for NaNoWriMo at the Write-In I am going to attend tonight. So, not only am I feeling peaceful, I am also excited! This is the fastest I have ever reached the 50k mark. I think I mentioned in a post last week that I am aiming for one-hundred thousand words this November. I reached that goal last November but was on a challenge and therefore not planned out at all. For something this enormous, I work better with a plan. By plan, I mean having a goal each day as to word count. I’ve set it up so that I would hit the 50k today, then write three-thousand, five hundred words per day for the next ten days and one-thousand, seven hundred for the last ten days of November. That will put me right at (possibly a tiny bit over) the 100k mark. I set it up this way so that by the time my kids are out of school for their Thanksgiving vacation – I will be back to an almost normal writing schedule. When they are home I like to spend as much time with them as possible. So yes, I am feeling happy and peaceful. I hope and pray this continues.

I have even been crocheting and reading still! I started a new blanket project which I will tell you about in a blog post later in the week.

How are you doing with your November goals?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some Days I Don't Feel Like Writing

I think I sometimes give the impression that it’s no big deal to me to write every day. Well, if I have given anyone that idea please accept my apology. It’s true that I do write every day and have for over a year, fourteen months now. It’s also true that I will continue to write on a daily basis. However, it is not always an easy thing for me to accomplish. Some days are so cram packed with things I have to do that I wonder where I’ll find the time to sit down, open my manuscript, concentrate (this is big for me on the bad days) and actually write. The thing is though, even when my day is so very full, I can still find fifteen or even thirty minutes to sit down and write. Most of the time on these days I can manage to get a lot of things done quicker than I thought I would and actually have forty-five minutes to an hour to write. And that’s really all I need to reach my personal word count for the day.

Let’s talk about the days I just don’t want to write. Fortunately, they are few and far between, but this kind of day does exist for me. Today has been one such day. I wanted to sleep in (I did). I wanted to crochet (I did). I wanted to hang out with my kids. I’ve been doing this, too. I wanted to read (I did). I have not felt like opening my manuscript and parking my butt in my chair to write. I did it anyway, and I’m happier having done so. I chose to do it because I’m committed to my writing. I’m committed to keeping my WriteChain intact. Ultimately, I choose to write because I love it and I can’t imagine my life without the characters I create. It’s just that some days I struggle to actually continue their stories. However, once I’ve begun, I’m happy about it again.
 
How about you? Are there days you struggle to get things done – even when they are things you love to do?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Am in the Mood to Read...

….Christmas Books! I know it is only the 8th of November but I have already read one short Christmas story (Yours for Christmas by Susan Mallery). I am currently reading Festive in Death by J.D. Robb. Granted, the second isn’t a ‘Christmas book’ per se but it is set during the days leading up to Christmas and there are descriptions of twinkling lights, and joy and nightmare shopping trips into over-crowded places. You know, all the things we love (and some that we don’t) about the holidays in December. Now I have an almost overwhelming urge to read more books that are set during Christmas – even though it’s only November.

The book I really have a hankering to read is Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright. I really thought we owned that book but I can’t seem to find it on our shelves. Knowing me, I gave it away to someone to read because I loved it so much and wanted to share it. So, I went to the library today to check it out and someone already has it. For a moment I was bummed but then I perked up because hey, someone is reading a great book. Plus, I am apparently not the only who wants to start reading Christmas books this early in the season. So yay!

I did get a few Christmas books, though. I had to – it’s the main reason I went to the library. I got The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. This was one of my grandma’s favorite books so I know it must to be good. I got a couple of others by this same author. I also got a few romance books set during Christmas. One is called A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree. The name and the cover itself made me grin. Then I read the blurb on the back cover and it just had to come home with me.

Is anyone else in the mood to start reading Christmas or other holiday themed books? What are some of your favorites? Oh, and my husband shocked me this evening. He suggested that we start decorating for Christmas. I usually have to practically beg him to get the Christmas decorations down for our daughters and I to decorate. I truly thought he was yanking my chain but he wasn’t. He’s completely on board to get started with the lights and other non-tree decorations around our home. I can’t wait!

Friday, November 7, 2014

End of Week Recap

This is the end of week one for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written nearly 35,000 words and by the end of the night will have reached at least that much – as that’s my goal. I’m happy, so, so, happy that the words are flowing so agreeably. However, there has been a tradeoff this week with other things. Let’s see, I let the dishes go, I let the laundry go, I let my sleep go. A couple of days ago by husband let me know he wasn’t so happy with this so I cleaned up our house and did some laundry. I did more laundry today – although it isn’t folded yet. But hey, at least it’s clean and dry. Also today, my body said, don’t be stupid and shut down to make me sleep for a good long time. Now I feel so much better than I did last night. And I am re-thinking my ‘let it go’ (no, that’s not meant to refer to Frozen) attitude. I’ve decided that it’s more important to me to keep everything running smoothly for my family and myself than it is to reach 100,000 words by the end of this month. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try because of course I am. It just won’t be at the expense of my family or my own sleep – and therefore health.

Also this week, I have managed to post each day for the blogging challenge National Blog Posting Month. I really want to keep this up and I hope that I manage to do so. Of course, yesterday I made a ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post and it was Thursday. Oops. I also completely spaced going to Bible Study yesterday. Again, oops and another part of the reason I have to give myself a break and aim for the 100k but not to the exclusion of all else.

I just read about a CAL (Crochet-a-Long) that the wonderful Lucy at Attic24 is casually hosting through November and December and possibly into January, if necessary. I really want to do this CAL. For one thing, the blanket she’s created for the CAL is gorgeous but it will also be easy enough to do with all of the other things going on at this time of year. So, I will be joining in on that and posting the progress of my blanket once a week. She’s posting her progress on Sunday’s. So I think I’ll do the same.

How has your week gone? If you are participating in NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo how has the first week been? Has it gone the way you’d hoped it would or has it been better? Hopefully it hasn’t been worse but if so, tell me about that, too.

Finally, I am going to a write-in (a group of writer’s hammering out words together for NaNoWriMo) tomorrow at Ikea. Yes, Ikea. Apparently this is a thing in Sweden. So my region here in Southern California is going to give it a go. I’m a little freaked out about it but excited at the same time. Plus, there’s the reward of meatballs at the end. I’m so going to get some!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

National Blog Posting Month 2014

What is National Blog Posting Month, you ask? Well, quite simply, it's committing to create a blog post everyday during November. I know it seems insane that I would take this on in addition to doing NaNoWriMo but really, what's one more challenge? I'm already in a hyper writing mode so I may as well add to my blog as well. Plus, I've had a lot of ideas running through my head for blog posts - things I want to share, things I want to ask about? And of course, there will probably be the posts that sound slightly sleep deprived and rambling. That's me in November, though. Since I've already written these first few days of the month I am committing to NaBloPoMo. Is anyone else doing this? Have you done it before? I've written posts for an entire month before but never during Novemeber while pounding away at NaNoWriMo at the same time. This should be an interesting month writing-wise and in blog land. I'll just thank you for reading right now.