Category Archives: Lists

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?

To Do List for This Weekend


I have a lot of things I would like to get done this weekend, now that I am finally feeling better. I have writing to catch up on, housecleaning, and outside projects. On top of this, we are having friends over tonight, and going to my parent’s house tomorrow night. If I don’t make a list, there is no way I am going to get to even half of what I want to do.

A note on my philosophy of list-making: I make a much bigger list than I am likely to be able to accomplish. I find that I don’t finish any list, no matter how many things I put on it, but I do usually get a majority of the tasks done, again, no matter how many things I put on it. So, I think of my to do lists as more of a wish list and forgive myself in advance for the items that don’t get checked off. It is better to have too many things on the list than to end up with some free time and no choices for how to fill it, anyway. Also, the kids will be helping with some of these tasks.


  • Vaccuum living room, family room, my room
  • Clear off dining room table
  • Clear off buffet
  • Go through the papers on my desk
  • Kitchen cleanup
    • Clear off table
    • Clean out refrigerator
    • Clean and organize top shelf of the pantry
  • Declutter bookshelves in living room
  • Spend some time cleaning overgrowth out of the creek
  • Cleaning bedrooms


  • Write two blog posts for this weekend
  • Plan next week’s blog posts
  • Review The Cult of Lego for Gaming Angels
  • Start looking at December conventions
  • Start tabulating gender breakout for Hugo Awards for Broad Universe statistics

Holiday planning

  • Plan Thanksgiving menu
  • Have kids write a Christmas wish list
  • Determine whether I will be able to make any gifts for Christmas presents this year
  • Talk to kids about what holiday events they would like to do this year

I also have a book to finish, and I think I am ready to start practicing another stitch in my crocheting practice, so it will be a busy weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

The Surprising Benefits of Being Busy


As I wrote yesterday’s post on finding time to read books, I got to thinking about time organization. I listed a lot of time-consuming things that I have been doing more of–home organization, cooking, writing, more social activities–and I realized that this was a lot to add into my schedule, and I haven’t even added in things like crocheting, yard work and some DIY projects I have taken on.

If you had asked me before I started really focusing on these things, I would have said I was already busy. After all, I did do some housecleaning and cooking, and I have a full time job and two busy kids. But as I started adding things to my schedule, a surprising thing happened; each time I added a task that I had been convinced I didn’t have time for, I discovered that I had no trouble working it into the schedule. One day I realized that I was now doing a long list of things I had previously said I could not fit into my schedule–not even one of them! Here are some things that helped me make the switch to being more productive:

  • Developing one habit at a time. Rather than trying to add every single thing I wanted to do into my day and getting burnt out really quickly, I concentrated on one thing at a time. Once that was a habit, it didn’t seem so overwhelming to add one more little thing.
  • Giving up perfectionism. It is better to do something than nothing, for just about any task. Forgiving myself in advance for making mistakes meant I could take things on without too much anxiety.
  • Learning to do a little bit at a time. Going through a clutter pile for 15 minutes a night may barely touch the job, but if I do it for a week, I can conquer most messes easily.
  • Learning to prioritize. While reading less books was an unintended consequence of trying to do more of other things I wanted to do, I am not at all sad about watching less TV. I never realized how much time I would spend mindlessly watching whatever was on to kill time. I still watch tv, but I make sure it is something I really want to watch, and I enjoy it more for the sense of reward I get from getting other things done first.
  • Enjoying the results of my labors. Having clean clothes all the time is so nice, it isn’t hard to keep my laundry routine going. Eating healthy delicious food every night and not worrying about the cost of eating out makes it easy to sit and do a menu each weekend. Getting some feedback from readers or even consulting my menus or lists on my blog makes me feel that the time I spend writing is useful.
  • Keeping the momentum going. When I am productive in one area of my life, I tend to be more productive in other areas. I am going along, getting stuff done, so I do a few things in other areas, too. I am sure that the medication I am taking for the ADD helps a lot with this one, but it is a nice feeling to get several things done on my ongoing list of To-Dos.
  • Planning ahead. If I have a lot of things I want to do, I can’t just wait for inspiration to strike, I need to have at least a rough plan of when I will get things done. I used to forget what I wanted to do a lot, getting to the end of a week or a weekend and then thinking of everything I could have done with my time. Now, I think ahead, what I would like to get done in the next day, week, month, sometimes even year. I rarely have time when I don’t know what to do with myself. I may decide not to do a particular task, but not because I have not even thought of it.
  • Applying the Do It Now principle. If I have something to do that takes less than 5 minutes, I just do it right away rather than letting things pile up for later. So, sorting the mail every day, taking glasses into the kitchen when I leave the living room, jotting down an outline for a blog post, or just writing down a quick to do list all get done when I think of them, and then I either don’t have to worry about them later, or I’ve already started a longer task.

Some of my problem was with the entropy of every day life–I resented the time it takes to just stay where you are. Cleaning, eating every day, even exercise, when done just to be exercising (as opposed to doing physical activity you enjoy) don’t move you forward in life, they just keep you from falling behind. I hated the time spent on this sort of activity. I had to learn to embrace it, and also to realize that this sort of thing doesn’t take away from what you want to do if you learn to manage your life correctly. What a freeing concept!

Have you done anything to add more into your day?

Things I Have Done Today, and Things I Would Still Like To Do

I am finally feeling better today, and can get a few things done. I have a lot of things backed up though, from all the time that I was just not feeling up to it all. I want to make sure I don’t forget it all, and also see if I am trying to pack too much into this one day, so it is list time again.First, things I have already done (for the sense of accomplishment):

Now, what I would like to do still:

  • #FeministSF chat moderation
  • Finish GA post
  • Clean up the menu, type it up, schedule it to post tomorrow
  • Empty all trash and recycling and take the bins to the curb
  • Go to Trader Joe’s
  • Wash dishes
  • Clear off dining room table and buffet
  • Repot mums on front porch into a more sturdy pot
  • Cook dinner
  • Make some cole slaw for weekly lunches
  • Put together shelves I bought for my closet

That doesn’t look too ambitious, does it? I also want to read some more blogs from my fellow NaBloPoMo-ers, and I am thinking about taking on a new organizing challenge, so I am doing some thinking about that.

Am I the only one who finds weekends more exhausting that the workweek?

To Do List 8/7/11

  • Housekeeping
    • Clear off dining room table
    • Girl to finish cleaning kitchen
    • Laundry
    • Vaccum living room, family room rug, bedroom rug
    • Help boy clean his room
    • Assemble closet shelving thing and put shoes away more neatly
    • Bathrooms–with boy’s help
    • Send girl out to weed creek
    • Make menu/grocery list for the week
    • Take some things to good will
  • Writing stuff
    • Review blog categories–how do they work, set them up
    • Plan gaming angels posts
    • Review story outline, start first draft
    • Attend feministsf chat on Twitter
    • Work on women in SF statistics
  • Friend stuff
    • Figure out what I did with Barb’s Magic Jack number, so I can call her in Australia! For Free! Magic Jack is cool!

Too much? Maybe, but this is what I would like to get done today. Some of it is just starting things–for instance, I doubt I will finish setting up blog categories today, but I would like to at least figure out how to do it and do some planning. Vacuuming could be moved to tomorrow, if necessary. I need to make a better weekly list to make sure that things get done around here, but this will be a nice start. We need the house clean before school starts, so we can get back on schedule.

The Twitter chat may seem like a big time suck in a busy day, but I did this for the first time last week, and it was awesome! Talking to other people about a topic forces me to think things through and become more clear, which I like. Also, I get to meet cool people, so that is good. It is a nice fun thing to put on my list, too. I like things that I really enjoy and that recharge me while at the same time helping me to improve my writing indirectly.

What I got done this weekend

  • Blog redesign (technically, I started this Thursday, but it was something I have been meaning to do for a while now, and I did more work on it this weekend, so I want it on my accomplishment list)
  • Wrote a blog post on cultural attitudes toward fathering
  • Massive refrigerator purge—I could not believe how old some of those condiments were! Or, how much room I had to put my groceries away
  • Wiped down fridge shelves
  • Made a menu ( I only went through Thursday, because the weekend will be a daddy weekend, and I expect I will have leftovers to get me through Friday)
    • Saturday: Cheese pizza, Italian sausage pizza, sloppy joes pizza, baby carrots, sliced red bell peppers, mini cucumbers, sugar snap peas (S had two friends over for a sleepover, hence the three pizzas)
    • Sunday: Stir-fried quinoa, pan seared cod (cooked with some of the Island teriyaki sauce I used in the quinoa), steamed sweet potatoes
    • Monday: The girl is making Chickpea Noodle Soup from Veganomicon, I will probably make a salad for my mother and me
    • Tuesday: Lima Bean and Brussels sprouts curry, with either brown rice or quinoa, depending on my mood
    • Wednesday: Chickpea Cutlets, a frozen potato/green bean/mushroom mix I got from Trader Joe’s, steamed broccoli
    • Thursday: Scallop Risotto, salad
    • Lunch stuff: Muffalletta sandwich (from Veganomicon again), light and sassy slaw with maple sesame tempeh
  • Bought all the groceries, except the scallops, which I will get closer to the actual day I use them, and eggplant, which was inexplicably absent from both grocery stores where I went to shop
  • Put away all the groceries—easy in my cleared out fridge, a bit of a jigsaw puzzle in my freezer, which needs its own clearing session
  • Cleared out the area behind my couch in the living room; in theory, this is a launching pad for things that need to go to the car, or that will be donated when someone calls up and offers to take stuff off my hands, and even come to my house to do it, in practice, it is that plus whatever the kids dump there, and stuff rarely makes it out to the car
  • Attacked the bathtub, got a lot of caulk stripped, thought I was done, but I will be doing a bit more stripping today before recaulking
  • 4 loads of laundry
  • The girl trimmed the ornamental grasses, and we all helped bag up the resulting straw, or take it to the compost pile out back—about half went into bags, and half on the compost pile—I am not convinced this straw actually breaks down in a timely manner, but I didn’t have enough bags to put it all at the curb 
  • Both the girl and I did dishes, but there are somehow still lots of dirty dishes; stupid entropy
  • Made cappuccino chip muffins from Vegan Brunch; they were very popular, and are almost all gone now
  • The boy cleared sections of the family room floor underneath the couch and the chaise; his normal cleaning style is to shove things under furniture in the hopes that I won’t see them, so there was some corrective action needed
  • The girl spent a lot of time re-cleaning the family room after the sleepover; the girls stayed in there because of the fold out couch, the tv, and the ability to stay up far too late by not being in the room right next to mine
  • Cleaned the downstairs half bath
  • Finished a book (Unnatural Causes, by P.D. James)

Looking over this list, it looks like a lot, but not as much as I thought it would be. I feel compelled to add that last weekend, I finally got new batteries for my cordless phones, a task I had been needing to do for literally months, just to convey the sort of catching up on responsibilities I have been doing lately. But really, I was busy all weekend, and so was the girl. The boy is only 8, he can only tolerate so much busy-ness, but he did work, too. The girl owed me extra chores, thanks to her habit of putting away only some food when she is sent into the kitchen to clean up (as I tell her, when we eat it, it is food, when I throw it away, it is money), and I feel like she delivered. It just kills me how much time it takes just to stay standing still in house cleaning, much less get ahead.

Some lists


Things I would like to do with my free time

  1. Read a lot
  2. Write a lot more (than I do now)
  3. Spend time with my children
  4. Spend time with my friends and extended family
  5. Keep up with all my social media (Twitter, Facebook, email)
  6. Learn to crochet and really start to make things
  7. Learn to draw and paint 
  8. Learn to preserve my garden produce 

Things I actually do with my free time

  1. Read a lot, less than at some (obsessional) times, but more than when I was trying to stay current with Twitter
  2. Try to skim through my social media and not miss the big stuff (lately–I used to try to keep up all the time)
  3. Spend time with children, friends, family
  4. Watch TV
  5. Think about the garden 

What I can do to change my second list to more closely align with the first

  1. Realize I cannot do everything I want and prioritize
  2. Keep reading
  3. Plan ahead with friends and family, and fun outings for the children
  4. Keep with the skimming of the social media
  5. Make a regular time to write, and stick to it
  6. Carry a notebook in my purse so that I could write at any time when I unexpectedly have some down time
  7. Consider getting a small notebook computer for myself
  8. See if the girl would like to learn crocheting with me (bonus, crocheting can be done while watching TV!)
  9. Consider taping all tv shows during the week for watching on the weekends