Friday, March 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Welcome Company Girls!)

Welcome Company Girls! Come in and take a load off. Help yourself to iced tea and lemon cookies because I'm in a decidedly spring state of mind today.

No matter how many great explanations I read about how we don't need to spring clean anymore, there's still something about the warmer weather and sunshine that makes me want to open the windows, air everything out, knock down the cobwebs, dust, declutter and scrub everything down. Perhaps I should go lay down until the feeling goes away. Or not.

My spring fever isn't limited to indoors, either. I'm ready for green, growing things again. I'm currently trying to decide what I want to grow this year in the planters on either side of my front steps. I'm taking inspiration from Katherine's $50 landscape scheme. I love seeing what others can do on a shoestring! My scheme is complicated by the fact that my front yard is on the north side of the house and most of the yard is in full shade all day. What do you have growing on the north side of your house?

As much as I want to go play in the dirt, I'm resisting. While my heart and mind firmly say "spring and sunshine", the weatherman is saying "snow and cold". What's up with that? This is Texas, not Minnesota or some other frozen northern clime. My apologies to those who live in those more frozen areas who are still staring at the cold white stuff outside instead of green grass and wild plum trees in bloom and think I'm a whiner. Sorry.

 The sewing bug is catching up to me too. I'm starting to think about sewing kitchen curtains and making a spring quilt for my bed and some spring dresses and skirts. So far I haven't gotten past thinking about it, but I am thinking about it.

 We've been enjoying our foray into trying out new recipes. We've added several recipes to our normal lineup. However, I found myself growing restless and avoiding the cookbook and couldn't figure out why. It hit me last night. I've been trying all the recipes that are different from what we usually eat and I'm suffering a serious withdrawal from Mexican food. I may have to stop and make some enchiladas or something and then get back to the new stuff. Maybe I'll check out some of the Mexican food recipes in the cookbook. I've been avoiding them because I don't really NEED any new Mexican food recipes. But you never know...

We have a busy week coming up and a busy month ahead. We have the usual church and school and house stuff to deal with plus several upcoming youth events. With all the craziness to come, I finally reached the conclusion that we don't have a slow season. I have so many things I keep putting off until things slow down and they never really do. This is my life and I'm learning to deal with it.

Speaking of dealing with it, I'll be helping out with a funeral dinner at the church on Saturday. This is bringing up a lot of memories and feelings. My mother and grandfather both died around this time of year.  I was so blessed by all the folks that rallied around us during our time of grief and shock. Now it's time to pay it forward. What kindness has been shown to you that you could pay forward sometime soon?

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, whether it's filled with sunshine or slush!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's a Sickness, Really

I have caught a bug. I am thoroughly infected with the challenge bug, reading challenges in particular.  I have already joined a few, but I just found a whole new batch that I want to join, so here goes.

First, there's the Clover, Bee and Reverie Poetry Reading Challenge. There are 4 levels of participation. I plan to do the Couplet level which is only two books.

Next up is the Time Travel Reading Challenge. I'm planning to read three time travel books to fulfill this one. I'll be doing my own time traveling as I do the Revisit Your Childhood Favorites Challenge. I will be reading five of my faves from childhood. Another form of traveling I'm doing is a bit of globe hopping via The Aussie Author Challenge. I am doing the Tourist level and reading three books written by authors from the Land Down Under.

I'm also planning to do some mystery challenges. First, there's the MysteryReaderCafe Reading Challenge. For this one you have to join the Yahoo group. It requires reading four books that fit within specific parameters. Another mystery reading challenge is The Marple Poirot Holmes Challenge. For this one, the participant must read two Miss Marple mysteries, two Hercule Poirot mysteries, and two Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

A non-fiction challenge is in the mix too. I'm reading ten books for the Christian Non-Fiction Challenge 2010.  I have plenty of books in my TBR (To Be Read) stack that qualify. I'll also sneak a few in on a couple of other challenges, like the E-Book Reading Challenge 2010. I'm trying the highest level, 20 e-books, ironically enough known as "Obsessed".

Just for even more fun, I have a couple of challenges that are on the quirky side. The first one is the ThemeQuest Reading Challenge. I'm jumping in on the lowest level, Theme Thing. I'll be reading 5 books, on the theme of my choosing, which is Peace. Last year was very un-peaceful, so I thought this would be an appropriate theme for the year.

Next up is the What's In A Name 3. For this challenge you read one book in each of the following categories: 1. A book with a food in the title, 2. A book with a body of water in the title, 3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title, 4. A book with a plant in the title, 5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title, 6. A book with a music term in the title.

To brighten things up, there's the Colorful Reading Challenge. This one requires that you read nine books with a different color in each book's title. A really fun challenge is the TwentyTen Challenge, reading twenty books in ten categories in 2010. Check it out.

Whew. That's a lot. On the other hand, many of the books required for these challenges overlap the ones I'm already in. There are also some cool challenges coming soon, you might be interested in. A few of the ones on the horizon:

March 20-June 20  Spring Reading Thing 2010 at Calapidder Days. (I love this blog!)
April 2010 to March 2011  World Party Reading Challenge
April 10th  The 24 Hour Readathon
May1- September 30 Non-Fiction Five Challenge

A great place to find new challenges (and a major cause of my current affliction) is A Novel Challenge. It's a blog totally devoted guessed it...reading challenges. Take a look and you'll see that in spite of all the challenges I'm doing, I'm hardly scratching the surface of all the challenges out there.

If you are a reader, there's probably a reading challenge out there for you. Jump on board one of more of these or some other one and be sure and leave a comment and tell me which one or ones you're doing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Food for Thought

"Educating the mind without educating the soul is no education at all."

Quirky Quote

"Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken."
-- Oscar Wilde.