Oct 052016
 

Updated for 2016…

NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task and when you have work and house to run as well it can seem almost impossible. With some preparation, you can make November run more smoothly.

I’ve looked at a few prep lists for NaNo and noticed that mine was a little different. I decided to share it in hopes it helps someone else. I’m actually posting this in plenty of time this year!

Plan all meals for the month of November. Make sure to keep the next two in mind while making your November menu and consider doing a search for quick meal ideas. You can find what I did last year here: Freezer Meals

If you search Google for printable menus and freezer inventory, you’ll find a plethora of templates that you can print or edit and print to help keep yourself organized. I’m hoping to have some custom printables for next year, but making something like that isn’t really my forte. I might have to enlist some help. wink, wink, nudge, nudge 

Freeze leftovers for easy meals in November. My FoodSaver is one of my best friends all year round, but it’s particularly helpful for stocking up on meals for November. The bags are more compact than plastic containers, so you can fit more in your freezer. Freezing meals in plastic containers makes things handier, but make sure to cover the food with plastic wrap to help deter frost.

Dust off that crock pot. Your crock pot can be a time saver and is for more than just making a roast. There are quite a few crock pot/slow cooker recipes posted to help get you started.  I also have some one skillet/pan and one pot recipes, too. Jumping on the freezer meals bandwagon is helpful, too.

Detail clean the house. I have spring-cleaning and then NaNo cleaning. If the house is freshly detailed, those quick room cleanups go even faster. Besides, a super clean house can make you feel more comfortable with putting things off for a day or two so you have more time to write. 15-minute cleanups can help you feel more comfortable with leaving the deep cleaning until later.

These tips allow for a quick cleaning or maintenace cleaning inbetween more thorough cleanings. Find out how to clean any room in 15 minutes or less.

Source: 15 Minute Cleanups for Every Room of Your Home

Schedule blog posts. If you have a blog, write a few blog posts in October and schedule them to post in November to squeeze out a little more writing time. Unless you’re doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) as well. I don’t know if scheduled posts are cheating, but it doesn’t seem sporting to me.

Learn your software. I made the mistake of installing new software to use while in the middle of  NaNo. I spent more time trying to learn the new software than I did writing for several days. I use Scrivener when I write and while it’s pretty intuitive, I’d still hate to walk into it cold at any point during NaNo. I can’t recommend Scrivener highly enough, but I’ll save that for another post. Check it out, though. Just give yourself enough time to learn it if you decide to get it. You can always import your work into Scrivener later and in the last few years, there has been a discount coupon for Scrivener if you complete your 50,000. Doesn’t mean there will be this year, but there could be.

Jot down notes or make an outline. While there are many people who can sit down to a blank screen and just start typing, I’m not always one of them. Faced with a deadline, I feel more comfortable with some kind of direction in mind. Doesn’t mean that my characters don’t wander off script and I wind up with a different story than I planned, but it helps keep me from running into that brick wall called writer’s block.

Do any research needed ahead of time. Frantically researching while trying to finish NaNo can be a word count killer. I didn’t finish more than once because I didn’t get all my research done.

Fill out your calendar with appointments and obligations. Make note of these. What days are you not going to be able to write? If there are five days in November that you cannot see a way to fit writing in for whatever reason, adjust your daily word count accordingly and aim for that.

Let your friends and family know what you’re doing. They might scoff, but knowing ahead of time can ward off an explanation later. Listening to the scoffing while you’re doing NaNo not only takes time away from writing but could also damage your flow with negativity and drama you don’t need.

Make a playlist. A playlist of music that fits your genre or in some way fosters your creativity can help drown distraction and put you in the mood to write. Use headphones for best results. 

I use music I own, Pandora and playlists on YouTube depending on my mood. YouTube less so. I’d be tempted to watch, but there are plenty of audio only playlists, too.

Here’s one of my favorite YouTube playlists when I need some creepy background music. Not audio only, but I hide it behind other windows until I forget there’s video.

For those of you participating this year, write like the wind! I’d love to hear/read how you’re doing so feel free to comment on a post, contact me or drop me an email.  Feel free to add me as a friend on the NaNoWriMo website, too!

Oct 032016
 

One of the gifts we brought up to the hospital for our new grandson, Alistair, was this amazing quilt my mother (great-Mammaw) made for him. One of the nurses happened to be in the room when I pulled it out of the bag and she stopped what she was doing to come take a look. The nurse oo’ed and aww’ed, read all the words and helped me hold it up in front of our daughter so she could see the whole thing. The nurse commented on how beautiful it was and my hubby said, “Yeah, her mom is incredibly talented.” The nurse agreed and so did our daughter.

I actually forgot to tell my mother what happened. Bad me!

I love it that the quilt is different, but matches the quilt she made for Zander, our first grandson. The words are so cute!

Sep 302016
 

After making our own pizzas, we rarely order it anymore. Besides being able to tailor the toppings to our liking, we can also tailor make the sauce and the crust.

So far, I’ve made plain crust, Italian garlic cheese crust, and garlic sundried tomato crust. I’ve only made two sauces so far; a tomato-based pizza sauce and a creamy garlic sauce.

We usually pile our pizzas high with kale, which cooks down considerably. That’s why in the picture posted before baking, the pizza is very tall. I’m sure we’ll try other toppings soon, but I was having fun playing with the crust and sauce.

I didn’t take a picture of the dough itself, but it just looked like dough. Nothing exciting, but I do wish I’d taken a picture of the sundried tomato dough.

This recipe is the plain dough. You can modify it and make it your own, but always follow the directions that come with your bread machine.

Bread Machine Pizza Dough
Makes one 16 inch pizza crust.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 cups flour
  5. 2 teaspoons yeast
  6. 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
Instructions
  1. Follow the instructions that came with your bread machine for dough.
  2. Place dough on floured surface, spray with a little olive oil to keep it damp and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle 15-16 inch pizza pan with corn meal and shape dough so it spreads to the edges of the pan.
  4. Add favorite pizza toppings and bake at 475 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until done.
Notes
  1. Honey makes the dough fluffier, but it isn't needed. With the honey, the crust turns out more like a deep dish pizza and without, the crust is more like a regular crust.
  2. My pizza pan is only 12 inches and I still use this recipe. The crust is just thicker, but cooks in about 25 to 30 minutes. The cheese is very brown in places, but we like it that way.
Adapted from West Bend Recipes
Adapted from West Bend Recipes
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/

Sep 282016
 

Sometimes there’s a better word or a more precise word for looks like or seems like. I know there are times I forget the subtleties of certain words or the word itself is hidden under mental whiteout for some reason. That’s when these types of lists come in handy for me.

Also, in an effort to increase my vocabulary, even if I know that a word means looks like or seems like I look it up to remind myself of the exact meaning of the word. A word with a closer meaning might be better than the word I used.

For instance, if I said something mirrors another I would be implying that they accurately resemble each other. Whereas if I said something mimics another I would be implying that they closely resemble each other. If I meant to say that they were close but not necessarily exact, mimic would be the better word choice.

seems

linestorm writing

Sep 262016
 

Apparently, I forgot to post this one. This is the baby quilt my mom made for my grandson, Zander. I love that all the fabrics used in the quilt are fabrics she used to make clothes for my daughter when she was a baby.

I still have all the clothes, except the clothes Zander could wear, and even a couple of outfits she made for me when I was a baby.

I don’t have any pictures of the second quilt she made for Zander, but it was a really cute Simba and Nala quilt. She gave it to him for Christmas and I forgot my camera. 🙁

Zander's Baby Quilt

Sep 252016
 

I’m always finding a new Dragonlance book that I haven’t read. I’m actually finding them on my own bookshelf, which is just weird. I’d wonder if the books were busy making new books behind my back, now I’m trying not to picture it, if they were my books. I think my husband sneaks a new one into the collection from time to time just to mess with me.

If you’re just starting to read the Dragonlance books or are wanting to start reading them, Dragonlance Nexus has a suggested reading order that I agree with. The suggested order is;

The Chronicles Trilogy,
The Legends Trilogy,
The Lost Chronicles Trilogy,
then The Second Generation,
Dragons of Summer Flame,
Dragons of a New Age trilogy
and The Dhamon Saga trilogy.

Dragonlance Nexus goes on from there and explains why you should read the books in that order.

The War of the Lance is long over. The seasons come and go as the pendulum of the world swings. Now it is summer, a hot parched summer such as no one on Krynn has ever known. And an uneasy balance light and dark begins to shift.
 
Distraught by a grievous loss, the young mage Palin Majere seeks to enter the Abyss in search of his lost uncle, the infamous archmage Raistlin.
 
Elsewhere, the Dark Queen has found new champions. Devoted followers, loyal to the death, the Knights of Takhisis follow her vision to victory. And a dark paladin, Steel Brightblade, rides to attack the High Clerist’s Tower, the fortress his father died defending.
 
And on a small Island, the mysterious Irda capture an ancient artifact and use it to ensure their own safety. Usha, the child of the Irda, arrives in Palanthas claiming that she is Raistlin’s daughter.
 
The summer will be deadly. But for whom, only the swing of the pendulum will tell.

Summary from Amazon.com

Sep 232016
 

We used to have a fast food restaurant near us called Spaghetti Jack’s. I’m not sure when it closed, but it was quite a few years ago. I wasn’t fond of most of their entrees, but they had an Italian Sub that my husband and I loved. Over the years, my husband has complained about craving the Italian Sub, so I finally broke down and tried to recreate it.

Working from distant memory, this is what I came up with. I know my memory is skewed, but it’s pretty close to what I remember the Spaghetti Jack’s sub tasting like.

I think the Bolillo roll works the best for this recipe. It’s like a sponge that soaks up the juices without becoming a soggy mess. Any large roll or bun will do, but I highly suggest the Bolillo roll.

Baked Italian Sub
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Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 medium tomato
  2. 1 Tablespoon Zesty Italian dressing
  3. 1 Bolillo Roll or Hoagie Bun
  4. 1 slice Pastrami
  5. 1 slice Prosciutto
  6. 2 large slices Genoa salami
  7. 6-8 slices Pepperoni
  8. 1 slice Provolone
  9. 1 slice Mozzarella
  10. Spray Olive Oil (optional)
  11. pinch of garlic powder
  12. pinch of Italian seasoning
  13. 1/4-1/3 cup shredded lettuce
Instructions
  1. Dice tomato and place in small bowl. Add Zesty Italian dressing, stir and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cut and remove center of roll or bun.
  4. Add slices of meats and top with cheese slices. Spray cheese and top of roll or bun lightly with olive oil (optional). Sprinkle with garlic and Italian seasoning.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is hot and melted.
  6. Remove from oven and top with as much lettuce and tomatoes as you can fit in the top. Spoon about a teaspoon of the Italian dressing from the tomatoes on top.
Notes
  1. The center of the roll or bun is good sprayed with olive oil, seasoned with garlic and Italian seasoning, then fried on the stove or baked in the oven.
  2. You can use the large slices of Genoa salami or the smaller ones that are about the size of pepperoni. Use about 4 of the pepperoni size Genoa salami since they are usually thicker cut than pepperoni.
  3. Duplicate as many times as you need. I usually make them 4 at a time. I leave the lettuce and tomato off two of them and reheat them in the toaster oven, oven or microwave depending on my level of laziness. Then, I add the lettuce and tomato. The bread gets a little chewy in the microwave, but it still tastes yummy.
Adapted from Spaghetti Jack's Italian Sub
Adapted from Spaghetti Jack's Italian Sub
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Baked Italian Sub

Sep 112016
 

I wish all books that are part of a series at least had a series number on the cover or spine or something. I’m enjoying the book, but I feel like I’ve missed a lot not reading the other books first. It’s like stepping in on season five of a TV show. Yeah, they might recap some things but you still feel a behind and maybe even a little lost. Most of all, if you’re really enjoying it, you feel like you missed out. I feel like I missed out.

I’m getting a very Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel from this book sans the “Buffy” style humor. I think it’s not so much the story itself that reminds me of Buffy, but the terminology and mythos. The story feels like it’s set in a similar world to the Buffyverse.

So, if you liked Buffy, you’ll probably enjoy this series.

Jack McShane: lover, killer, seducer, family man, and vampire. In the shadows of Savannah, with its hip nightspots and moss-draped oak trees, Jack is trying to save humankind from a threat it doesn’t know it faces: an explosion of the otherworldly, the weird, the wanton, and the wicked.

Tourists are heading to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day–and Jack is racing through tunnels below the city to the edge of Hell itself to hold off a plot posed by the double-dead and demented. But Jack must also hold off his own desire for Connie Jones, the beautiful cop he turned into a vampire slayer. Connie, her blood running hotter than she can handle, can’t imagine the games that Jack is playing with her body and her mind, or that the other monster she’s falling in love with is all part of his devious plan.

Welcome to the world of Jack McShane, a blue-eyed vampire who knows how crazy things can get–once you get a little taste for blood.

Summary from Amazon.com

Sep 052016
 

Poor Alistair squeezed his little eyes shut when I turned up the light so I could take a couple pictures. I was quick, but he was already asleep again before I turned the light back off.

He was perfectly happy all swaddled in his blankets. He only woke up and became upset when his mommy was changing his clothes for the professional photographers to take his picture. “Leave me alone!” was very plain in cries.

I don’t know how he is now that he’s home, but in the hospital, he was a sleeper like his mommy was.

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