Categories
books & reading nightstand

Nightstand: November 2011

So it’s mere days before Thanksgiving, which is exciting in it’s own right, but it also means that it’s time for me to fill you in on my nightstand! Haven’t done this before? The fabulous ladies at 5 Minutes for Books ask us each month which books we are reading, read recently or plan to read soon – basically this amounts to “What’s on your nightstand right now?” Get it?

When we last nightstanded, I was reading The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent – the story of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. (description from goodreads.com)

I have to say I really kind of adored that book, although it was slow reading at times, it really kept me hooked and the story was just fascinating, though heart breaking. I definitely recommend it!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen SimonsonAfter finishing The Heretic’s Daughter, I had planned to read our November book club pick, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. This is the story of Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, [who] is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags, to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance…

But after about three chapters (or 40 pages or so) I honestly couldn’t read anymore. It is not often that I will put down a book after only a few chapters, but lately I have been thinking that my time is too precious to read books I’m not enjoying. And I wasn’t enjoying this one at all. The book was intended, I think, to be a fairly light-hearted satire, but I found the main character so annoyingly cynical that I couldn’t read it without rolling my eyes at him. I don’t know if the book would have gotten better or if I was being too hard on it. I’d guess there are people who loved it and would enjoy it. But I honestly don’t think I was going to be one of them.

My only reason for reading the book would have been because it was a book club pick and normally I’d give myself a harder time and make myself read it anyway, but I decided to go easy on myself this once because my nightstand is kind of overwhelming me at the moment with books to read and truthfully? There was one book in particular beckoning to me. It’s been sitting there patiently for months, picked up in between books just long enough to read a chapter or so, giggle to myself and then move on to my next mandatory read. Well this month it said, “Um, Jen, knock it off and read me already. You’re gonna love it!”

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen LancasterAnd I totally am! What book am I finally digging into and adoring something fierce? Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. It’s basically the funniest book about dieting that you’ll ever read and I think I especially love it because (especially when it comes to food and dieting) Jen Lancaster and I are kind of kindred spirits. It’s like reading my own thoughts on paper except then sometimes SHE goes to the gym or starts a diet or loses weight and I’m all, “Oh, hey, wait for me!”

I’m kind of hoping that this will be a book that motivates me to finally kick my ass and start eating better and exercising (I’m already trying) and that she doesn’t end the book with, “And then I gave up, who are we kidding, really?” We’ll see…. Either way, as far as book choices go, I’m glad I made this one because I now go to bed at night eager to read!!!!! Instead of “Oh yeah… that book….. Maybe I’m tired?”

So what am I going to read NEXT? Man, guys, I have no idea… There are kind of a million positions I’m being pulled in, but here are some of my ideas:

  • Attempting Wicked by Gregory Maguire again and then possibly reading the rest of the Oz series by him.
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave which I keep hearing is some kind of fantastic
  • Some more funny books like Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin or Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
  • Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi has also been waiting patiently for me for awhile…
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde looks really good – I love his Thursday Next series.
  • And then let’s not even talk about all the OTHER books I own but haven’t read yet and guys, what about the books I WANT to buy? What if I get books for Christmas? If you don’t hear from me for awhile, you’ll know that my TBR pile finally fell over and buried me.

What are you reading right now?

Categories
family fun memes & carnivals photography

WW: Snow Day

For more wordless fun go to Wordless Wednesday and 5 Minutes For Mom.

Categories
memes & carnivals

Ignoring Life: Choosing to Meme

There are probably a million productive things I should be doing right now, especially now that the whole family seems All Better – I could be cleaning the living room, doing more laundry, attacking the kitchen a bit more thoroughly – or even catching up on my reading. So of course you know what I’m going to do instead. A meme.

My bestie @ Red Knows How just did the 4 Things Meme which I’m pretty sure I’ve done a couple of times, but for some reason I always feel like filling it out anyway, so I’m going to go ahead and humor myself, because, dude I’m not sick anymore. I deserve like a medal or something for surviving this past week – or at least a meme, right?

Four Places I go over and over again:

  1. Trader Joes
  2. Target
  3. Walmart
  4. Stop and Shop

I know, I lead a highly fascinating life. I decided not to go all lame and list all the rooms in my apartment even though that’s pretty much where I spend the majority of my time these days. I seriously don’t get out much and it’s kind of sad.

Four People Who email me regularly:

  1. my husband (we email a lot)
  2. my bestie Ange
  3. my mother (we pretty much only communicate online)
  4. um me? I email myself a lot – is that weird?

Four of my favorite Places to eat (apart from home):

  1. Applebees – this is a staple for me and the hubby – we love ourselves some Applebees
  2. Subway – our ‘fast food’ of choice – I’ve been a frequent Subway-goer for as long as I can remember
  3. Olive Garden – we almost never go here, but dh proposed to me there and I love it every time we go
  4. Wendys – the actual fast food, the only one dh and I both agree on – we’re always happy with the food and you can’t beat the price

Four places I’d rather be now:

  1. perusing a bookstore
  2. on vacation (preferably somewhere warm, I’ll agree with Ange, Disney sounds nice
  3. living in a house (if it were the house of my dreams, that wouldn’t suck)
  4. really, anywhere but here would be nice…

Four favorite TV shows:

  1. Grey’s Anatomy
  2. Bones
  3. Fringe
  4. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

And there really are so many more: Sarah Connor Chronicles, Privileged, How I Met Your Mother, America’s Next Top Model, Ugly Betty…

Four movies I could watch over and over again:

  1. Curious George
  2. Shrek 1
  3. Shrek 2
  4. Shrek 3

Oh wait, those are the movies I do watch over and over and over….

Four people I’m tagging:

I’m kind of over this whole tagging thing, sorry – but if you are reading this, saying, “Pick me, choose me, love me,” well then by all means go for it!

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Playing Catch Up

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So I’m still feeling a bit out of sorts but I want to dive back in a bit with my blogging, because dudes I’ve missed you all! I’m not quite up to another full length post (I’ll try to post this week’s Bump Report soon) which really makes Aloha Friday perfect, doesn’t it? So my question this week is:

What have I missed?

I feel like I dropped off the planet and missed a week of your lives (not to mention the real world) and I’ll confess I pressed that awful Mark All As Read button. I know I’ll never truly catch up.

But if there is something important going on, some great post you wrote, or some news event or hot celebrity gossip that has happened since say Tuesday – fill me in.

What have I missed?

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Help Momma Buy A New Camera

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So I might have mentioned that a certain camera has recently caught my eye. Truth be told, two certain cameras have caught my eye – and while the prettiness of one has me swooning, I still can’t quite decide – see there’s this cute little Canon PowerShot SD1100IS that makes the color brown look chic and sophisticated – it has 8 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom. I know the zoom is kind of like, “okay, whatever,” but it’s tiny and fits in your pocket so I can whip it out anywhere and grab that cute little moment. The shutter speed is like leaps and bounds better than my current point and shoot and the pictures are crisper and clearer. And as for the potentially weak zoom I say – we have a Nikon D40 – if we think we’ll need a 10x optical zoom or whatever we’re covered – this is for birthday parties and trips to the park, where lugging around a gigantic SLR looks kind of silly and weighs on you. I love that big bulky Nikon but we’ve missed a lot of photo ops because neither DH or I felt like lugging it around and being stuck behind the thing. That isn’t really an issue with a point and shoot – particularly a tiny 4.5 ounce one. And did I mention it’s pretty?

Enter the Canon Powershot SX110IS. My brother-in-law recently bought this camera and apparently it was so wow-worthy that his incessantly cool aunt went out and bought herself one, too. This little beauty has 9 megapixels with that coveted 10 optical zoom. And it’s only like $30 more. I know – how could this be a tough choice. Well for one – cute brownie up there has a tiny little view finder in addition to the LCD screen – that used to mean something – maybe it doesn’t now but there it is. Also brownie is smaller. BIL’s camera is twice as heavy at 8.6 ounces, which is granted nothing compared to the 1.6 pounds of our Nikon D40, but still – when we get this I’ll be lugging an infant and chasing after a three year old and not sleeping much. Every ounce counts I think. Or maybe not. For me the real thing is the size of the camera over the weight – Brownie is slim and compact and can probably fit anywhere with ease. BIL’s camera is a bit bigger but it’s also more shapely and will not fit in a pocket or my over-stuffed pocket book – at least not easily. I don’t want to be carrying around another thing – it has to fit in something we’re already carrying or I’m going to leave it at home. Anyway, so here’s BIL’s camera so you can see it to compare:

It’s kind of funny because this is a look that usually sits really well with me – it kind of has that real camera vibe that I usually admire. I’ve never been into the slim-line cameras, always wanted some meat to hold onto. But then again it wasn’t that long ago that carrying a camera around was hardly a big deal as I wasn’t likely to be carrying anything else. Those days are gone. And suddenly that slimline camera is looking down right sexy. But is it really practical? I think I need an outside opinion. So folks if you wouldn’t mind, could you answer one of the following questions:

  • If you own either of these cameras, please let me know what you think of it.
  • If you own a similar small camera that you are in love with – tell me all about it!
  • If neither applies, tell me, which camera would you pick in my situation? Brownie or BIL?
Categories
books & reading memes & carnivals

Teaser Tuesday: Home by Julie Andrews

teasertuesdays2

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My Tuesday Teaser is:

Little by little I began to join their act more often – not every night, but when it was convenient, and gradually I became aware of what it felt like to be behind the footlights looking out into the black auditorium with the spotlight on me. I rather enjoyed it.

from Home: A Memoir Of My Early Years by Julie Andrews

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

WW: Flourless Chocolate Birthday Cake

We ate my birthday cake one night early just because. It was divine. I got the recipe here.

For more wordless fun head to the WW Blog or 5 Minutes for Mom!

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Dreaming Of A Rich Christmas

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Alright, so far this month I’ve asked you about Christmas movies, Christmas music and what gifts you are looking forward to giving this Christmas. But now with my birthday only FIVE days away (Christmas Eve) I’m feeling a bit less selfless today you could say – I think now’s the time to talk about the getting. And since most of us moms probably aren’t expecting to get the creme de la creme of Christmas gifts (am I the only one who expects to be a bit jipped what with the economy and all – I focused on getting my son and husband happy but didn’t specifically ask for anything myself for Christmas or my birthday – because, well, the things I want, I know nobody else could afford either. I’m sure I’ll get some yummy candy, maybe a sweater and a calendar – and hopefully some gift cards – love those) but for today, let’s dream a bit, shall we? Of White Christmases with Very Rich Santa Clauses who fill our stockings and put presents under our tree FOR US – and then hands us the plate of cookies that we slaved over, and says with a twinkle in his eye, “Mother, I’m sure you deserve these more than I do!” And after he rinses the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher with care, he’ll fly off in his sleigh into the night and call, “Merry Christmas Mrs. Mother, don’t forget the lights!” Or maybe he’ll turn those off for us, too, I haven’t decided. But I’m getting slightly off topic so I’ll go ahead and jump to my question now:

If you could ask for anything for Christmas, money and time are no object, Santa is stinking filthy rich and LOVES you because you’ve been VERY good this year – what would you ask for?

I’m trying to decide between a new car or a house!

How about you?

Categories
blog-related memes & carnivals

A Look Under The Hood

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a look under the hood and make sure things are still working – and that things aren’t too messy or emptier than you remembered. Jen @ Stuff Jen Says did just that for her blog, sharing all sorts of valuable statistics of her findings. I decided that I have nothing better to do and thus I’m taking a look under my hood, too – here’s how mommablogsalot checked out:

According to my WordPress Stats:

  • This my 448th post – 52 more posts until I hit the 500 mark!
  • I’ve received 2,137 legitimate comments and 980 spam comments. My spam blocker has a 99.388% accuracy rating – pretty swell, huh?
  • Mommablogsalot has gotten 5,297 visitors – my busiest day was October 16 with 200 visitors.
  • The highest all-time search term which has led people to my blog is “Niagara Falls” with 416 hits, which is sad since I’ve still never been.
  • The highest all-time referrer is Jessica @ Farm Fresh which is pretty self explanatory given that she’s the mastermind behind the hugely popular It’s Real Life meme.

Typealyzer analyzes a blog to determine its writing personality. Results for Mommablogsalot are:

ESFP – The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead – they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation – qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Typealizer says that when I’m writing in my blog I’m likely using the feeling and sensing (SF) part of my brain and very little thinking or intuition (NT) part – I guess I’ve never solved mathematic equations on here or anything but I still think that’s a bit harsh.

My blog’s readability (the level of education required to understand it) is:

blog readability test

Gender Analyzer says:

We have strong indicators that http://www.mommablogsalot.com is written by a woman (100%).

My blog is rated:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Based on the presence of the following word(s):

  • crappy (1x)

How much money is my blog worth?

This seems to be marginally debatable:

Cubestat says that my blog is worth $1,436.64 (can I get that in cash?). They also tell me that I get an average of 656 page views per day and that I could generate a daily ad revenue of $1.97.

Website Outlook gave me a slightly better “offer,” estimating that my blog is worth $1,613.30, adding that I get an average of 735 daily page views and could therefore generate a daily ad revenue of $2.21.

All in all, I’d say things look good, if a bit boring – maybe it’s time to spice things up?