Friday, April 28, 2017

What I Read March 2017

Once again, I did a lot of reading in March, and I read some good and some really bad books. But most importantly I was entertained while nursing a toddler! That's what really matters.

In the Meh Book Category:

I read Mimus my Lilli Thal. I am not sure where this book went wrong. For one, it's strangely dark but the main character seems oblivious to the darkness. His inability to be very much upset over his predicament annoyed me. Also, the book was all about miming. And crazy kings. It just does not seem feasible to me that whole nations would go along with crazy tyrannical bloody kings!

The Doldrums is a middle grade book I read. It's interesting, but one thing that annoys me about many middle grade books is that evil characters are just mindlessly evil and oppressive to the shining main character. We need to overcome that trope. I also found the three kid's misadventures highly skeptical, and odd.

Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas was a real let down. It meandered here and there and was so so so long and drawn out. I really was hooked from the first two chapters but by the middle I was just confused and bored, to be honest. The ending was cliche and not exciting in the least bit. None of the questions and mystery's were really answered.  I was disappointed.

In the YAY Category:

You know when you read a book and it's a good book because the writing is amazing? That would be Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. This book was just good because the writing picked me up like a lazy river and gently carried me away.

Another book I really enjoyed was How To Train Your Dragon. Now, I have seen the movie and I expected them to be at least a little alike. But HTTYD the book and HTTYD the movie are SO DIFFERENT. First of all, in the book they don't ride dragons. Most dragons are small like dogs! And Toothless is not a nice dragon. He's a whiny, tiny curmudgeon who basically makes Hiccup's life more difficult, not less. But the book is so cute, and witty, and well done! Also, Hiccup has a friend in the book named Fishlegs who is my favorite character of all times! Hiccup does something really nice for him in the second (or was it third) chapter that stole my heart. So, thoughts: read the book, don't watch the movie. Or don't think of the movie even as related to the book.

My favorite book that I read this month was The Unbound by Victoria Schwab. This is a sequel to another book I read called The Archive by the same author that was also amazing. Most of the people who reviewed her second installment on goodreads didn't like it. I don't know why. I LOVED it. It's very dark, a lot darker read than I usually partake of, and it's...gritty and hard in a psychological way... but it was a good book. Only thing I didn't like was the love triangle that seemed kinda forced and like the author just added it because she thought it should be there in her young adult book, or something. But I still gave it five stars because woah. I loved it. I plan to pick up more books by Schwab...just because this one was that good. Also, the cover art. Swoon.

I also really liked The Poe Estate. This is the third book in the Grimm Legacy, and if you remember I was not a fan of the second one--but the third one was amazing. I highly recommend it. It has non-cheesy and semi-creepy ghosts and a lot of literature tie-ins to Poe and other authors that I enjoyed. I also was pleased that this book didn't follow the "person comes to work at the Library and stumbles upon an adventure" arc that the first two did. Change is nice.

Honorable Mentions:

I also read How to be a Pirate and How to Speak Dragonese, books two and three in the the HTTYD series. I'm listening to them on tape, and they are read by David Tennet and yes, it is amazing to hear the tenth doctor read me a story, that is all I'll say about that. Also he does Toothless' voice perfectly. Per-FECT-ly. I highly recommend the audio books for these!

I also liked Gateway by Sharon Shinn. I really love her writing, but her love stories are getting a little dull. She creates these amazing worlds and then fills her novel with...instalove? No thanks, so it's just an honorable mention.

What did you read this month? To see these and other books I read, check out my goodreads here. Also, I am always open to book suggestions!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paleo AIP Meatballs

I made meatballs for a friend. She is loosely following the AIP paleo diet, so I just made up a recipe for some yummy meatballs for her and her two kids. This is what I did!

You Will Need: (Makes about 60 1tbsp-sized meatballs)
  1. One Large Zucchini, grated (also called a Courgette) 
  2. One carrot, first layer pealed off and grated 
  3. 1 pound of beef and 1 pound of your favorite sausage. I use 80/20 beef.
  4. a handful of chopped green onions (I used about 8 individual stalks chopped)
  5. 1/4th cup coconut aminos
  6. 1 teaspoon fresh grated / minced ginger
  7. 1/4th teaspoon ginger
  8. 1.5 teaspoon arrowroot starch (or flour)  
  9. A dash of salt and pepper to taste (I usually put in a pinch of each)
If you are just paleo and not aip, feel free to add 1 egg to this.I've made it with and without the egg lots of times. It's fine without the egg but I like it with, as well.


Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Combine all the of the above and mix well. Using a tablespoon, make round balls and place on a baking tray sprayed with coconut oil or covered in parchment paper. I space mine about 1/2 inch apart. I bake them in the over for 30 minutes, and always use a thermometer to check  that the meatball gets above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Makes about 60 meatballs, depending on how small/large you make them. I used a tablespoon to scoop it out to make sure they were even.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Managing Motherhood

One of the things I've been learning about motherhood is that not a path. You'd think it would be linear, right? Infant to baby to toddler to kid to teen to adult. And I suppose the overarching milestones of motherhood are a bit linear--but the day to day stuff? It's a mud puddle. A meandering cesspool. A indiscernible mess.

Have you ever tried to manage a mud puddle? Or clean it? It's impossible, you just make more mud. That's how I feel about myself sometimes when I try to manage or control my toddler. It's counter productive--I just make a bigger mess, a larger pit, more chaotic problem.

But yet there is something human, something primal in me that makes me want to control everything as a mother. I'm not talking about instilling values and morals in my kid. I'm talking about making sure he doesn't touch things that he shouldn't, or make to big of a mess, or throw things, or step out of my preconceived boundaries that I've placed on him. And on myself.

I mean, the guilt I feel is directly proportional to the satisfaction of getting the dishes done on time--or not getting them done. Hence the guilt factor. Or, I'll get the dishes done but not the floor cleaned, and still have guilt. Sometimes I rush from task to task in some kind of mommy frenzy, all my energy and thoughts bent on getting things done.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes I turn motherhood into having all my ducks in a row. And motherhood is nothing about lining up the ducks. Sure, it looks nice and feels good to have all the things checked off my list, but is it sustainable? Emotionally and physically? And why, I ask myself, do I feel so much angst when I didn't get the last thing done? Shouldn't it be enough to have gotten almost all the way there?

Mommyhood isn't a freight train. I don't have to go 500 miles an hour. I don't even have to go 25 miles an hour. It's okay to go 1 mile an hour sometimes. Or even zero.

I'm learning to slow down. To stop and look around at the mess and appreciate the things that made it messy. My kid, or my husband, or myself cooking---this creates disorder in my usually orderly environment. And then I order it up again, a revolving queue for the next day's activates. Every day I make plans for the next, and the next, and the next...

Managing motherhood is hard. It's a balance. Maybe even an art. Right now I'm in the mess of it, and it doesn't look very artistic to me at all. I'm looking for that sweet spot--the spot where the dishes are done and my kid is loved and my soul is filled with time alone and time with my husband, and time with God.

It's like searching for the holy grail in a sea of misanthropy.  

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