Formerly of Jenny Loves to Read Blog

Formerly of Jenny Loves to Read
I needed a reboot!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Why Hello There!

I said what's up Mommy?  Trying to get my nap on!

Hello friends!  What's up?  Hope you are well and that you had a fabulous summer.  And to echo everyone I come across lately, where the heck did summer go to?  It flew by and I find myself looking forward to hockey season.

My summers go quickly because of work.  A new group of trainees starts right after Memorial Day, class instruction until the end of July, and then Cut Day.  Teaching all day is a slog, and I don't know how teachers of grade school and high school do it.  August, I have to keep them busy, and this year my September is filled with lots of craziness due to an industry change taking place October 1.  I'm busy, scatter brained, and tired every night, but I do enjoy my job immensely.  I work with a great bunch women, and that's rare to find in my field.  Most women and the offices in my field are cray-cray.  I shit you not!  The stories I could tell....  Regardless, we have fun in the office and out.

As a matter fact, i'm traveling to New Orleans to present with my boss at our national convention; the weekend of Popaclypse.  I'm not religious, but the preparations for this visit are insane.  A fence, really?  Anyway, looking forward to partying my friend/Director and another coworker that weekend. Any suggestions for me in New Orleans?  We have Saturday night and Sunday relatively free.  Friday too, actually.

Let's see, what else.....knitting is going ok.  Trying to finish a sweater I've been working on since last year.  I keep putting it down because it made me angry, don't ask :)  Also trying to knit up my stock of wool so I can wear it before the big move in two years.  Yes, that is still happening.  would move sooner but due to work projects, realistically it's two years.  Besides, it's going to take us that long to coordinate such a move.  I may actually be done reading my stockpile of books by then too.

I've been going through what I have in hard copy, minus the 30 or so books i'll always keep, like Austen and other classics.  My reading has changed quite a bit since I started blogging about books. My tolerance for idiotic characters has become less, and my desire to read things outside of my usual has increased.  Hmm this sounds like a possible post later.

I can't think of much else to say.  Life is good, hubby, dog and I are awesome, and really what more could I ask for?

So what's new with you lately?  Looking forward to anything coming up soon?
Talk to you later :)

© Jenny Girl - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"

Monday, June 29, 2015

Inspiration Monday: Knitted Winter Hats

Hosted by Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity

It's June and 85 degrees outside so lets talk knit hats!  Over the winter, I went through my yarn stash, sorting out bits and bobs.  What pattern to knit with this yarn, what does this yarn want to be.  Lots of decisions.  I had been saving leftovers for hat projects.  Since I plan on being tropical in 2017, now is the time to knit and wear wool hats.

This first one is made from merino wool, so it's nice and squishy.  The pattern is called Tears of Bronze, so mine is Tears of Aqua Bronze.  (Ravelry link to my project page).

This should be good for windy, cold days in January.

This second one is also made from wool.  The burgundy yarn is leftover from a sweater and the blue from another hat I gave away.  This pattern is also free and called Escargot.  Mine is called the same.  (Link to my Ravelry project page.)

Not as squishy or warm, but it will work for early fall, or late winter.  Escargot came from a free online knitting publication called Knitty.  If you decide to start knitting or are curious I urge you to check Knitty out.

© Jenny Girl - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Review: An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd

#3 HF Challenge

From Goodreads:

World War I Battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s career is in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch, in this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.

 Home on leave, Bess Crawford is asked to accompany a wounded soldier confined to a wheelchair to Buckingham Palace, where he’s to be decorated by the King. The next morning when Bess goes to collect Wilkins, he has vanished. Both the Army and the nursing service hold Bess negligent for losing the war hero, and there will be an inquiry.

Then comes disturbing word from the Shropshire police, complicating the already difficult situation: Wilkins has been spotted, and he’s killed a man. If Bess is to save her own reputation, she must find Wilkins and uncover the truth. But the elusive soldier has disappeared again and even the Shropshire police have lost him. Suddenly, the moral implications of what has happened—that a patient in her charge has committed murder—become more important to Bess than her own future. She’s going to solve this mysterious puzzle, but righting an injustice and saving her honor may just cost Bess her life.

My Thoughts:

Historical mysteries usually never fail to disappoint, but this one had hits and misses.  It's the sixth in a series but that didn't diminish the story.  If anything I would like to go back to the beginning.  I think this one was the inevitable stinker in the series.  Every series has one.

The story takes place during WWI in England, so the historical detail is rich.  The story piqued my interest in researching nursing service during the war.  These women not only carried out extremely difficult tasks, but were saintly, and treated as such.  The uniform commanded respect, and it was given.  Bess was a lovely heroine with a rich background.  She was a delight and I fell for her right away.

The letdown for me was the story/mystery.  Seemed simple enough, but felt like it became complicated yet boring instead of filled with suspense.  Most time was spent driving between villages in England, and it was quite boring for me.  It didn't have the thrill of the chase at all.  Once the punch line came, I was like meh, whatever.  If it wasn't for Bess and the historical aspects, I would have given up.

I also want to pint out, the mood of England during the war.  I think the novel captures it wonderfully.  England lost many of its young men, others were shell shocked, and the populace was beaten.  But those always stood by their men and country.  The English take everything in stride. Keep calm and carry on indeed!

Read for Amy's Historical Fiction Challenge

© Jenny Girl - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mad Men Reading Challenge from Coffee and a Book Chick

I tried to watch Mad Men when it first started and I couldn't get into it.  Not my thing.  However, I can't say no to a reading challenge, so when my friend Natalie from Coffee and a Book Chick said she was doing a challenge with the books that were seen in the series, I said sure why not?  I tried this with LOST and had some success.    So here are the details from Natalie's blog:

The Mad Men Reading Challenge details:
  1. ENJOY.
  2. Sign up below. If you write an announcement post, link it up.
  3. Pick books from the NYPL list here and here and here.
  4. Read the book or listen to the audiobook.
  5. Write a review.
  6. Add the graphic from this post to your write-up.
  7. Every time you review a book from the list, add it to the Linky on the designated site:
  8. If you select books that weren't read on the Mad Men show, but were published (or were popular) during 1960 - 1968, just make a note of it in your post.
  9. Feel free to post about a movie or television show from that time period - the intent of this challenge is to celebrate the time and to say good-by to Mad Men.
  10. ENJOY!
As you can see the challenge is very wide open: either books seen on the show or books published during the time period of the show.  Easy peasy, right?

Come and join us!  It should be fun :)

© Jenny Girl - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"

Thursday, May 7, 2015

For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick

#2 HF Challenge Read

From Goodreads:
A captivating story of a mother's love stretched to breaking and a knight determined to rebuild his life with the royal mistress, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best. Based on a true story never before told and impeccably researched, this is a testament to the power of sacrifice and the strength of love. 

When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court to settle an inheritance, he meets Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. In Roger, Ida sees a chance for lasting love, but their decision to marry carries an agonizing price. It's a breathtaking novel of making choices, not giving up, and coping with the terrible shifting whims of the king.

My Thoughts:

I have a like not like relationship with Chadwick.  Some of her stories I devour and others, I just put to the side.  This one falls in the really like pile.  Chadwick is historian first when it comes to her writing and For the King's Favor is true to this recipe.

King's Favor tells the story of both Ida and Roger from the beginning: their upbringing, trials and tribulations, and how they came to be at court and eventually find one another.  Luckily Henry II adores Ida and lets her choose her own husband in Roger, after he is finished with her of course. Although to be fair, Henry doesn't appear to be as heinous as most kings are.  In any case, the second half of the book is Ida and Roger's story of love and rebuilding Roger's inheritance as well as staying on Henry's good side.  The time frame is 1150-1183 and this is a very tumultuous time in England.

Once Henry dies, his sons John and Richard the Lionhearted, who loves to go crusade and get himself captured, squabble over the kingdom.   All of which is paid for by their noble subjects, including Roger and Ida.  They manage to weather the storms, have a great relationship, raise wonderful children, and really have the best in life.

Chadwick weaves real historical detail and accuracy into all her novels.  The political machinations, relationships at court, everything is brought to life.  There is some romance but really that is a side note.  Chadwick makes history interesting, and For the King's Favor holds up her tradition of great story telling.

© Jenny Girl - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inspiration Monday: Workout Ideas

Inspiration Monday is hosted by Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity.
I think Trish got side tracked with her two adorable little girls, so there is no link up this week. However, I am posting anyway and encourage you to do the same.   Trish will catch us next time!

My inspiration this week is workout ideas.  It's the beginning of May and whether you want to lose weight, try something new, or just get moving, now is as good a tome as any.  There are plenty of free workout videos on YouTube, but picking one can be challenging.  If you're new to fitness or it's been a while I recommend you start slow.  If you're experienced and looking for something new, I'll give you a harder option later on.

Full disclosure: I work out in the mornings for 30 minutes only.  That's all I can spare.  I also try to walk for 30 minutes at lunch.  Two morning outs of the week I walk the dog, so no workouts those days.  Please don't think I'm some fitness nut because I'm not.  I enjoy it, and feel better when I do it.  I also like variety because I can;t do the same thing day in and day out.  So I use some of the channels i mention below and set up a schedule for myself.  I work out in the basement and drink coffee while doing so.  Oh and water too.

For you newbies or beginners try JessicaSmithTV

She has tons of free videos, she is pleasant, encouraging, and seems real and down to earth.  Her main routine is different types of walking videos, and there is something for everyone.  Jessica has plenty of variety, like yoga, pilates, and barre routines.  You can sign up for her newsletter at her website:
Jessica Smith TV

For 2015 Jessica started the year out with a video series titled Fit in 15.  For four weeks every day was a different 15 video for you to do.  If you had more time, you can do 2 or more.  But if you're just getting back into things you may prefer the shorter workouts first.  She also posts links to other suggested workouts on her site.

I've never had a bad workout on her site and several favorited that I like to go to quickly.

If you're looking for more of a challenge, I recommend Fitness Blender

I recently discovered they have a separate website too, where you can sign up and pay for more personalized or wight loss help.  I stick with their Youtube channel for now.  Their videos do not feature music, so I play some in the background, because I need music in the morning.

Their workouts are pretty tough so I recommend getting in the habit first and then checking out their site.  Even their beginner workouts have me gasping, but that's a good thing.

Both Jessica Smith and Fitness Blender show good form throughout their moves, good pace, are encouraging, and sweating along with you.  It's not pretty people who look pretty the whole time.  You see them struggle too.  They also have videos where they answer questions about fitness, or cardio vs. weights etc.

You can't go wrong with either one, so I hope I have inspired you to give one of them a try!

© Jenny Girl - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"

Monday, April 6, 2015

Inspiration Monday: Zucchini Noodles

Welcome to my inaugural post for Inspiration Mondays created by Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Bit of Insanity.  Basically it's a reworking of her Pin-It and do It challenge without the Pinterest angle.  Every first and third Monday you post about something you created or did, like try a new recipe, a new workout, arts and crafts, anything that inspires you and that may inspire others.
Create your post and then link up at Trishs's place.

For this post I will tell you about my experiment with zucchini noodles.  Yes, these seem to be all the rage, healthier than pasta, and healthier for you.  I will try anything so, I bought 2 zucchinis and julienne peeler and off I went. There is a spiralizer device you can purchase for $30-40, but I figured i would see if I like these noodles first.

First you run the julienne peeler down the zucchini on each side until you hit the seed core.  Place your noodles into a colander and salt them to sweat the water out, otherwise your dish will be watery. I did the colander thing, and then put them on paper towels in a 200 degree oven to really sweat the crap out of them. Afterwards, I squeezed the last remaining drops if water, which was a lot, and decided to cook them.

I thought something tasty for my first time would be a good idea, so I made a garlic and olive oil saute, threw the noodles in a sauteed for a bit.  I adore garlic and olive oil with pasta.  Just in case, I also threw in a splash of tomato sauce.

Well, this is how they turned out:

They look watery but they were not.  The texture was ok, but the taste.....not my thing.  Not my vegetarian friend's thing either.  I rather have my zucchini fried with horseradish sauce on the side.  But hey at least I tried it.  I may try other noodle type things with my peeler, but I'm glad I didn't run out and buy that device.

Have you tried zucchini noodles before?  How did they turn out?  Did you like them?  Have a no fail recipe for me?

Please stop by Trish's blog and see what others are posting about!

© Jenny - 2015 "All Rights Reserved"