Category Archives: Lists

Update on My Vacation List

A couple of weeks ago, I made a long list of things I would like to get done by 1/3/12. My vacation was actually from December 17th through the 26th, but I wanted to give myself a bit of extra time to get things done. My kids are at their dad’s this week, and I have the long weekend still to get a few more things done. I am glad, too, because while I did get a lot of things done, there are a lot left to do.

Items that are complete

  • Finish a crafting project for the kids–1 project x 3; my two children plus their little brother–this was the 3 tied fleece blankets
  • Make magnets to give as gifts
  • Hang out with my friend Andrea–twice!
  • Buy clementines for the 4th grade class party
  • Help out on the day of the party
  • Declutter my dining room (again)
    • Organize desk–technically, I just shoved most of the stop on top of the desk down on the shelves, but it does look a lot better…
    • Clear off buffet
    • Clear off table
    • Clear off tray
  • Finish last minute Christmas shopping
  • Host my family for Christmas Eve
  • Finish decorating the Christmas tree
  • Wrap presents

Things I did a bit of work on, but did not complete

  • Post here 3 times per week–actually, if you count the weekly fitbit stats that were auto-posted the first week, I did this one (and I did three actual posts this week, four counting this one!)
  • Help the girl clean out the kitchen–the kitchen looks much better, but still needs some decluttering on the table
  • Catch up on Gaming Angels work–I did write a post and do a bit of editing, but not caught up yet
  • Hit 10,000 steps on my pedometer every day (starting today–I only made it to 8727 yesterday)–I did pretty good on this except for a couple of days; I only topped 10,000 steps 3 days, but I was over 9,000 on six additional days
  • Have the children clean their rooms–the girl did go in and do a (very) small amount of cleaning, but there is more work for her to do

Things I haven’t done that are definitely on the list for this weekend

  • Finish statistics on gender breakdown of nominees and winners of Hugo Awards for Broad Universe
  • Get back to that fiction project I abandoned a few months ago–I have done a bit of thinking about this; I want to do some diagramming, maybe one of those cluster diagrams, to get some ideas straight
  • Develop a good writing routine–I am not talking about a writing habit, but a routine that puts me in the writing mode; I probably won’t get this entirely done this weekend, but I want to think about it a bit
  • Finish crocheting a hat for my daughter (she already knows about this one)
  • Declutter the bookshelves in the living room
  • Take the kids to see the Winter Wonderland lights–this is still a bit iffy, but we could try for Sunday night

Things that probably won’t get done (although who knows, it could happen!)

  • Do a little bit of baking/candy making
  • Put together the shelves I bought for my closet something like 6 months ago
I also did some things that weren’t on the list, like a lot of laundry, some vacuuming and carpet cleaning, and hanging out with the kiddoes, but I am trying to focus a bit more on what I had planned this time.

What did you get done over the holidays? Are you ready for the new year?

Vacation List


If we count from yesterday, I have 10 days off work! 10 days! That sounds like a lot, right? If only it were enough to do everything I want to do. I was talking about this on Facebook, and a friend and I decided to have a friendly competition to see who could get the most done between now and the end of the year. Well, she actually said completing the most things off of our lists, but I generally do vacation lists like this:

  • Make a big list
  • Do a bunch of things
  • Notice how little overlap there is between these two sets of tasks

Come to think of it, I do weekend lists this way, too. Things that don’t get marked completed off of one list usually get carried over to future lists and finished eventually, but sometimes they hang out for a good long time before I even start doing them. This time I am hoping to end up with a completed task list that more closely matches the to do list I am starting out with.

I cannot detail all of my items until after Christmas, in case my daughter reads this post, but here are the items I would like to get done (not necessarily in this order):

  • Finish crocheting a hat for my daughter (she already knows about this one)
  • Finish another crafting project for the kids–1 project x 3; my two children plus their little brother
  • Make magnets to give as gifts
  • Hang out with my friend Andrea
  • Buy clementines for the 4th grade class party
  • Help out on the day of the party
  • Catch up on Gaming Angels work
  • Finish statistics on gender breakdown of nominees and winners of Hugo Awards for Broad Universe
  • Hit 10,000 steps on my pedometer every day (starting today–I only made it to 8727 yesterday)
  • Declutter my dining room (again)
    • Organize desk
    • Clear off buffet
    • Clear off table
    • Clear off tray
  • Finish last minute Christmas shopping
  • Host my family for Christmas Eve
  • Post here 3 times per week
  • Help the girl clean out the kitchen
  • Have the children clean their rooms
  • Put together the shelves I bought for my closet something like 6 months ago
  • Declutter the bookshelves in the living room
  • Take the kids to see the Winter Wonderland lights
  • Finish decorating the Christmas tree
  • Wrap presents
  • Do a little bit of baking/candy making
  • Get back to that fiction project I abandoned a few months ago
  • Develop a good writing routine

Now, if past list making attempts are any guide, I will get a lot of things done this vacation and end of year period. Whether they match the things on this list or not remains to be seen. I know several of them will, because I salted the list with things I know will happen–I will go to the 4th grade holiday party, and my family is coming over on Christmas Eve whether I am ready for not, for instance. Also, my son is dying to decorate the tree, and so am I really. I was holding off to see if I could get some replacement fuses for the light strings that are out on the prelit tree, but I won’t be able to do that before Wednesday at the earliest, and that is too long to wait!

I am sure that I could make further refinements to this list, but I am not even up to 1000 steps yet and it is nearly noon, plus I have craft projects to do. Stay tuned for progress!

It’s the Most Craziest Time of the Year!


Pity my poor children–I am forever changing song lyrics to match what is going on in my life at any given moment. Grammar doesn’t matter (!), the right number of syllables is what I am going for. I find it fun, and I think they do sometimes as well, but mostly they are glad I do most of my song re-writing at home, with no further audience than their captive selves. It sure does provide some stress relief, though, especially when I find that I have too many things to do.

I am far from the only one who is super busy this time of year. Work, home, kids’ school activities–all of these are full of holiday or end of year tasks that need to be done as soon as possible. My challenge, like everyone, is to fit in the things I want to do while still doing everything I think I should do.

This weekend, my children will be at their dad’s house, which would normally mean a lot of time to get things done. However, this is also the weekend of the school production of Pirates of Penzance, where my daughter will be the best singing and dancing Daughter ever, and I am going to both shows. On the other hand, I am totally broke, so I won’t be able to go shopping, which leaves more time for Christmas crafts and housecleaning. Yay for the first one, not so much on the cleaning…

I did make some choices to minimize the amount of time I need to spend getting ready for the holidays. I like to start with a big goal and then adjust down to something sane. Here are some ways that I have tried to bring expectations in line with reality:

  • I decided that December 1st is to early to set a goal of crocheting hats for everyone on my Christmas list, and I am going to make some cute magnets instead. They are fun and take WAY less time to make.
  • I have (OBVIOUSLY) spent less time writing posts here. I hate to lose the momentum I gained with NaBloPoMo, but I just don’t have the same kind of time now. I will spend more time here after the holidays.
  • I started a list of all the things I wanted to do but just ran out of time to fit into my schedule. This mainly applies to handmade gifts. I will need to start earlier next year if I want to make a lot of gifts. If I am at least keeping a list so that I can make a plan for next year, I don’t feel guilty about not getting to everything this year.
  • I am limiting the indoor decorating. At least until I declutter a bit, it just looks like more clutter sitting out.
  • I am not doing Christmas baking or candy making. I think. I am off next week, so I may have a last minute change of plans on this one. (I have my eye on this gluten-free fruitcake!)

At the same time I am ratcheting back many of my expectations to a more reasonable level, I also managed to add a few things that I am very proud of:

  • I decorated outside this year! It isn’t a lot–a few oversized ornaments, a metal penguin stake, a Chistmas tree by the front door made of lights and an upside down tomato cage–but it is more than I have ever done, and it looks very festive. It makes me smile whenever I come home, or even look out the window.
  • I did make some gifts, and I will finish up a few more before Christmas actually hits. For the past few years, I have thought about how awesome it would be to make some presents, but beyond a bit of baking and some mint liqueur making, not actually made anything. I may be making less than I originally thought I would this year, but I am glad that I am making presents at all!
  • I have tentative plans to take the kids to the Winter Wonderland at a nearby park. At only $9, it won’t break the bank, but I think we will all enjoy it!

Overall, I feel that we are getting the important stuff done this year without too much craziness. I do need to plan a Christmas Eve meal and finish some making and wrapping, but I think it is manageable. How are you doing with holiday prep?

Menu, Week of 12/11

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, so I went over to his house and cooked dinner. He bought the lamb chops, and I brought all of the sides, including nearly the last of the tomatoes from my garden. I am trying to make as much food from the freezer and pantry this week as possible, again–Christmas time plus brake repair on the van equals not much more money for groceries!

Sunday: Lamb chops baked over brown rice and quinoa with fresh tomato slices, steamed broccoli and yellow squash

Image credit:

Monday: Quick sausage and tomato casserole, brown rice, broccoli

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Black bean chili, cornbread

Thursday: Chicken tikka masala, brown rice/quinoa, tomato cucumber salad

Friday: My daughter is performing in her school’s musical, so we will need something really fast. I am thinking leftovers.

I will need to get a few groceries, but not too much. One thing I want to make sure to do this week is have more fruit smoothies for breakfast–we are skimping on the fruit and veggies, and this is a great way to get those extra nutrients in at the start of the day. We make our smoothies with orange juice, bananas, frozen fruit, vanilla and a bit of kale from the garden. For kids’ lunches, I will need to pick up some lunch meat and bread, and possibly some applesauce cups, but we should have plenty of other snacks for them to take.

Grocery list:
plain soy yogurt
frozen spinach
orange juice
vanilla soy milk
applesauce cups

This post will be linked to–head over there for lots of great menu ideas!

Menu, Week of 12/5


Quick planning, easy meals this week.

Monday: Pork and Tomatillo Stew
I didn’t make this last week, but I did get the pork out of the freezer, so I need to make it now. Also, I am using some of the tomatillos from the garden!

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes on lettuce leaves, sweet potato fries
A friend is coming over to practice crafts for the crafting party, so this should be relatively quick and easy.

Wednesday: some kind of chicken risotto
I will be winging this recipe. I am guessing there will be some kale in there, since I have that growing outside still. If it turns out well, I’ll post a recipe.

Thursday: Quick sausage and tomato casserole, brown rice, broccoli
The broccoli is still growing out in the garden, too!

Friday: pizza (with chickpea flour flatbread crust and Daiya dairy-free cheese)
Pizza, because I want the kids to love me, ;).

Saturday is the kids crafting party so I am not sure what we will do that night.

This post will be linked up on for Menu Planning Monday.

Versatile Blogger Award

A few weeks ago, Rae from ChiSpeak, nominated me for the Versatile Blog Award. I am so honored, because she is an awesome writer. Thank you, Rae!Definitely go check out her blog; if she didn’t already have this award, I would be nominating her for sure.I am particularly honored because I am the only person that Rae nominated. Of course, that is partly for the same reason I have put off writing this post–so many blogs are focused on one topic. I didn’t think I would be able to come up with very many blogs to nominate myself. I had an easier time than I thought I would though. I didn’t come up with 15, but here are 8 great blogs that are definitely worth your reading time:

1. In Mandyland – I found this one through crafting, I think, but I love reading all that Mandy has to say. She is going through a divorce and I can relate from when I was in that newly separated stage, but she is doing it with a lot more grace than I did, I have to say. Not that I was terrible, Mandy is just doing so well. Also: awesome crafty stuff
2. Wonder Woman I’m Not – I believe I found Liz through Menu Planning Monday, but her blog is so much more than that. She is doing a lot of the same things I am doing with my blog–trying to figure out how to fit everything into a busy life, all the things that need doing PLUS the things we want to do. Very inspirational!
3. Dark Side of the Fridge – This is the blog that is finally motivating me to take the plunge into 101 Things in 1001 Days. I have seen this on other blogs, but ToyLady makes it look so doable. For instance, when the original 1001 days passed and she hadn’t done all of the things, she just added 500 more days. Oh hey, that’s right–it’s her project, she can do it however she wants. I can do that!
4. The Omnium Gathering – This is a new blog, but check out this list of topics–Rachelle definitely has the idea of a versatile blog down! Her writing is beautiful, too; I look forward to seeing her blog grow.
5. 2 Girls. 2 Cats. 1 Big apple. – I found this blog through crafting links, and Lissa definitely has some beautiful knitting to share; when I get crocheting down and move to add knitting to my crafty repertoire, I will be coming here for ideas and tips. But she also has adorable cats and interesting musings on life in general, which make for some great reading.
6. Shakespeare I Ain’t – I found Cyndy when I was writing about the WSJ article on dark themes in YA–she had a great alternative view of the controversy. I didn’t entirely agree with everything she said, but I appreciated seeing another viewpoint that brought up a very real problem with finding a book recommendation for a particular kid. I find all of her writing to be nuanced in this way, and I love reading it!
7. Razing Mayhem – Monique recently joined our writing team at Gaming Angels, where she is a wonderful addition to the team, and I love her personal blog too. She has some very cute kids and wonderful photography skills.
8. Girl in a Cape – Jessi is another great addition to our Gaming Angels team, and a fantastic writer. She writes for a couple of other sites, too, so this personal blog is just that–personal. I love this kind of blog, really, where interesting people talk about their lives. Jessi does it very well.

Okay, now for 7 things about me:

1. I have the two best kids on the planet. Sorry, other parents.
2. I also have a pretty great dog, except that she is a chewer. We met her by surprise at an event where Stray Rescue was sitting out in front of Whole Foods with some of the dogs available for adoption. I wasn’t looking for a dog, and I didn’t decide I wanted A dog that day; I fell in love with THIS dog. Having a dog is just as big a pain in the @$$ as I thought it would be, but I do love her, so I am glad to have her.
3. I have ADHD, and I take medication for it. This has literally changed my life–I was doing okay before I started taking the medication, but since I have started it (generic Adderall, in case you are wondering), my life has improved in many ways–I get more done and I am far less anxious. Coping skills are helpful, but sometimes medication is necessary.
4. I want to live a simple life, but I find it hard to do sometimes. Where do you draw a line? I love technology, and I couldn’t imagine doing without it, but what is too much? Also, how do you distinguish between things that are unnecessary and things that reduce your stress by taking a bit of the load off of your back?
5. I always wanted to grow up to be a writer, but sometime in my mid-20s, I just stopped writing very much. There were many reasons, but once you stop, inertia makes it hard to start again. I started back up recently thanks to a conversation with my kids. They asked what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was a kid. When I said “A writer,” without any hesitation, they said “But you can still do that.” Wow, they are smart kids, :).
6. I am tremendously proud of having bought my own house. That’s why I don’t know if I will ever be able to quit my day job and write full time; the mortgage is not cheap.
7. I am a feminist. This means two things to me–there shouldn’t be limits on what I can do because I am a woman, but also that traditionally female things are not inferior to traditionally male things. I definitely think there is a place for trailblazers in traditionally male pursuits like science and engineering, but I would like to see more value added to traditionally female pursuits. Like, painting portraits is art, because men have done it more, but quilting is “just” a craft. That’s just silly to me.

Versatile Blogger Award. The Rules:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
1. Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
2. Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy.
3. Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Starting to Plan for Thanksgiving


I go a little crazy at Thanksgiving time. I love to cook for people, and I tend to cook for my family on the day itself, then do another meal with friends soon after.  I make an insanely huge amount of food, too.

This year, I am thinking about skipping the friend Thanksgiving meal. I do love it, but I may be taking on too many things for the holiday season. I need to ask the kids what they think and do a small poll of my friends to see if they will be available on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I have taken on so many other things, though, I am not sure about taking on a full day of cooking. I am not sure about skipping it, either, though, because it makes me sad to think about missing it.

Regardless, I need to do some planning about the upcoming Thanksgiving time, both food-wise and time-wise. I am taking some time off leading up to the big day, plus the day after, so I want to make sure I am using the time wisely. I will be off this Friday, and every day except Tuesday next week, but I will be working at home on Tuesday, so I could do some baking, in theory. I like to spread the cooking out for a few days so that I am not running around like crazy on the day itself, especially since I like to do a late lunch-time meal. I also want to make sure I use my time off wisely to do some other tasks. So this is another post of lists.

Food for Thanksgiving day (subject to change after I consult my family—or not)

  • Dill dip and rye bread with veggies
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Butternut squash risotto (or possibly cornbread stuffing)
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Turkey
  • Steamed green beans
  • Tropical sweet potato casserole

I have no idea how I am going to do the turkey. I am not sure I have ever made a full turkey, between a spotty history of vegetarianism and just having other people make it (my ex-husband or my dad, usually.) However, the boy is excited to make the turkey this year, so I said we would. My dad did offer to come over and do it on the BBQ grill, though, and I may take him up on that.

I am thinking about doing the risotto instead of my usual stuffing this year for a couple of reasons. First, I have been experimenting with going wheat free lately, and I am thinking it is going well. I have eaten wheat a few times and felt that I was having symptoms related to that, although I have not been systematic about it. A much bigger factor, though, is that I am the only one who likes the stuffing I usually make. I love it, and eat enough to make up for everyone else, but I am thinking I may be better off going to the risotto that I know at least 4 of the 6 of us love. I am considering trying out a cornbread stuffing recipe though, so we’ll see.

I am not sure what to do about dessert this year. I might do a crustless pumpkin cheesecake, or some kind of pudding. This gluten free and dairy free pumpkin pudding looks good. I may have to try that out this weekend to taste test.

Things I can make ahead

  • Dill Dip
  • Cranberry sauce
  • The pumpkin pudding up to baking
  • All the chopping
  • Roasting the butternut squash

Writing Tasks I would like to do in my time off

  • Complete Gaming Angels Holiday Guide
  • Complete The Cult of Lego review
  • Posts for ever day
    • Another budget set up post
    • List of gifts to make
    • Menus
    • <More planning needed here>
  • December Convention post for Gaming Angels
  • A few other Gaming Angels things—featured web magazine, featured web comic, talk to other Pulp Angels team members for ideas and schedules

 Crafts I want to work on

Does this seem like too much? I hope not, because I haven’t even gotten to cleaning and reading and gift shopping.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?