Musings From MommyLand

Because sometimes there is more to Mommy…

A Mexican Twist on Stuffed Peppers

I enjoy stuffed peppers, but they certainly aren’t my favorite food.  However, my husband likes them a bit more than I, so I try to get them into the meal plan at least every couple of months.  This past week I had decided it was time to make them and when I told my husband he said that he had recently come across a recipe for mexican stuffed peppers.  I was intrigued.  I love mexican food and the chance to spice up something that I can usually take or leave got me a little excited.  I could have gone online and found a recipe to get me started…but I decided to sort of wing it instead and I have to say that I really enjoyed the results and will probably be adding these to the rotation a bit more often.

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Book List for the 1916 Easter Uprising

So here is my annotated bibliography if you will, for my last post on the Easter Uprising.  I have read all of these and added a blurb about some of my favorites.  If you want to read more about the Uprising and/or the people involved, hopefully this list will give you a starting point.

1.)  Poems of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood edited by Padraic Colum and Edward J. O’Brien

This book is fun to read because it is the poetry of Padraic Pearse, Joseph Plunkett, and Thomas MacDonagh.  They were definitely writing their poetry to try and inspire nationalism among the Irish people.

2.)  1916: The Easter Rising by Tim Pat Coogan

Tim Pat Coogan is a noted Irish historian and this book gives a great in-depth look at everything from the events leading up to the Uprising, to the actual fighting, to the aftermath and executions of the leaders.  If you want a good overview of the Easter Uprising this is a great book to pick up.

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Sunday, Bloody Sunday…or Monday As It Were.

I bet I can name 7  people you have never heard of, but who changed history…

  1. Padraic Pearse
  2. James Connolly
  3. Eamonn Ceannt
  4. Thomas MacDonagh
  5. Joseph Plunket
  6. Thomas Clark
  7. Sean MacDiarmada

…unless you are Irish.

97 years ago yesterday (yes, I know, I am a day late getting this post out), the above seven men led a small force of men in rebellion against the British.  This rebellion was small and quite ineffective, but it did lay a foundation for the revolution and civil war just a few years later which would finally lead to Ireland’s independence from Great Britain.

I first should say that this post comes from months of research I did as a graduate student to write a paper on the legacy of the leaders of the Easter Uprising.  Being the anniversary of the rising, well, it gives me a chance to dust off the old paper and share some of my favorite research with you all.  Among the laughter and good times of Easter, this is why I send up a little thought to a small group of men who gave their lives for a cause they believed in that much. Read the rest of this entry »

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When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

A couple of days ago I went out in our backyard to push my kids on their swing-set and I got my first smell of lilacs of the season.  As the scent hit my nose I found myself closing my eyes for a moment and letting all the good memories that smell invokes wash over me.  I know…this sounds rather fanciful and like something that belongs in a book rather than something that happens in real life but, I swear it is true.  The smell of lilacs always brings to mind warm spring days spent at my grandparents house as a little kid.  My grandparents lived in an oasis of nature a midst a busy city and had more lilac bushes surrounding their house than I could even count.  It may be one of those things from your youth that you romanticize a bit in your head, but even if that is the case, I still enjoy it immensely.
I think that I can honestly say the scent of lilacs may be my favorite smell ever.  I even joked in my banana bread recipe post that if the love potion made in the 5th Harry Potter book were presented in front of me, I would smell lilacs and banana bread.
I thought I would also share this stanza from the Walt Whitman poem…the name of which I borrowed for my post title.  The stanza I share is the third and while the poem is quite long and quite deep, these lines are the ones that speak the most to me.
“In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.”
So, what are your favorite smells?  I am curious to know.  And, since lilacs in bloom mean spring is upon us, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Spring!
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goodreads…A Fun Place for Book Lovers!

As I was getting things together to start my RITA reading challenge, I decided that I wanted to incorporate goodreads to help with reviews and in keeping track of everything I was reading.  Of course in deciding this, I realized that not everybody might be familiar with it so maybe I should give a little introduction.

I came across goodreads a few years back and while I signed up for it, I didn’t really start using until just the past six months or so.  goodreads is a social media outlet for book lovers.  You might be thinking, oh right, just what we all need…more social media.  Well, this one is a little different.  My Facebook friends list and my goodreads friends list don’t have a lot in common.  I enjoy the social aspect of this because all the people on here are people who are bibliophiles like myself.  We all share a passion and love for books.

While I enjoy the social aspect, I actually use it for more practical/organizational reasons.  I love having a place to log what I have read and what I thought about it.  I keep a book journal too, but I reserve that more for the books I really enjoyed because of space.  With goodreads, I can log as many books as I want good or bad.  And then, based on what and how I rate, goodreads generates a recommended reading list.  I do like this feature and have found several new books from here.

However, what I most enjoy about goodreads is its mobile app.  This has become a go to place for me when I am in a book store.  I used to have a list of books I had heard good things about and wanted to read, but I never seemed to have this with me when I was in a store.  So then it just became a game of hit and miss.  Does the blurb on the back sound interesting?  Have I heard of the author before?  How do the first few pages read?  But, with the goodreads app on my phone, I can read real people reviews of books I am considering buying and by adding books I want to read to my “To Read” list, I always have my list with me when I am in a store.  No more guessing games…or less of them anyways.

For my RITA challenge I will be using goodreads quite a bit.

This is my profile pic...so you know you have found me.

I have added all books in the category I am reading at the moment to my “Currently Reading”list.  You all can see this list on the widget on the right side toolbar on my blog page.  I will leave all the books up on this list until I have finished them all and then I will put up the new list.  In addition to this, I will write reviews for the individual books on there while doing only a large category review on here.  I thought it would be a good way to mix a couple of the things I love.

Feel free to friend me on there that way I can see what you are reading too!

Happy Reading!

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Recipe Time: Better Than Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls

So perhaps I am being a bit big headed with the name of my recipe, but I truly believe that in many cases, you can take what you love from a restaurant and make it at home so that it tastes better and is better for you.  Does this always apply?  No, of course not…I will never be able to replicate the delicious gravy that goes over the mashed potatoes and chicken fried steak at one of our local restaurants, but when it comes to something a little more simple such as the Chipotle Burrito Bowl, I absolutely think that you can make a tasty version right in your own kitchen.

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My RITA Reading Challenge

Stefanie Sloane...finalist in both Regency Historical Romance and Best First Book.

I haven’t really shown it through my reviews here, but the bulk of my reading usually involves romance novels.  I didn’t used to be quite so vocal about this because well, romance gets a bad wrap and I didn’t want to be judged for reading them.  Today, mostly I am older and just don’t care anymore and I have also realized that romance novels are THE biggest selling genre out there, so I have company.  No, I am not exaggerating.  Last year, the sale of romance novels totaled $1.38 billion…the most of any other genre with the nearest competitor more than a half a billion dollars behind.

Eloisa James...a finalist in Best Regency Historical Romance

Let me just say, there is no bodice ripping, no weak females who need a man to save them, no wishy-washy flimsy plot lines.  As with any genre, some books are better than others, but these aren’t the books from the ’80s that spawned all the negative stereotypes.  Are they predictable?  To an extent.  I always know in the end, the hero and heroine will end up together, but the how they get there part varies wildly and is where the entertainment lies.  This is a great article I have found from the Yale Herald that gives some insight into the modern romance novel.

Lately, I have been searching for some good romance reads, but trying a new author can be such a hit or miss process.  This is how I came to develop the RITA Reading Challenge.  Perhaps I should explain what a RITA is. The short answer…it is like the Oscar of the romance writing world.  Every year, the Romance Writers of America— RWA– take nominations and then narrow down the field to the best of each sub-genre within the romance field.  Then, at their annual conference, this year on July 28th, they announce the winners.

Tessa Dare...finalist in Best Regency Romance.

The goal I have set forth, is to read all the books in as many categories as possible before the actual awards in July.  With these finalists being the best of the best, hopefully I will find a new author or two to continue reading.  Here is the list of nominations.  I know I won’t get through every category, but hopefully I will get through quite a few.  I will update along the way as I finish categories with my opinions and picks for the winners and then we will see how well I did when the RWA announces their winners in July.  Feel free to join me in the challenge and share your progress here too.

Happy Reading!

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Checking In: Easter Goal Met!

It was the beginning of February when I decided that life needed to change and that I needed to move losing weight to the top of my to do list.  It took me a few weeks to really get going, but once I did, I realized that smaller goals in addition to my larger goal would help keep me going and give me things to strive towards along the way.  I even put reminders in my iphone to pop up on specific days asking me if I met my goal.

The first goal I set was to lose 15 pounds by Easter.  And yesterday, I was ecstatic when I got on the scale and had achieved this goal.  At 324, I am down 16 pounds.  It has seemed a little slow going at times, and I have found myself wondering if I am doing enough more than a few times .  Luckily at those times, I have my husband to remind me that we aren’t on the Biggest Loser and 10+ pounds a weeks isn’t really realistic.    So I keep going, proud of every pound that comes off.

My next goal is to lose 25 more pounds –down to 300–by the middle of May when I am making a trip back to WV to visit my family.  This goal may be a little out of reach…losing 5 pounds a week for the next 5 weeks…but, I will keep working towards it anyways and try to remember to be happy with the pounds that do come off.

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Craft Time: Weekly Menu Planner

Well I am finally back.  I think that my brain took a little hiatus after Family History week last week…which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way and hope you did as well.

So, six years ago I thought nothing of planning meals only a day ahead and going to the grocery store every day.  Fast forward and enter two small children…today, the thought of going to the grocery store with the kids makes me break out in hives and gives me a nervous twitch.  Yes, it is in fact that bad.  So, a couple of years ago, I learned the value of weekly meal planning and only one trip a week to the grocery store.  I have tried lots of variations to help keep me on track, but the one I am about to share with you here is by far my favorite.  It is cute and functional and prominent enough that my husband cannot say “I wish you would have told me what we were having for dinner tonight because that is what I went out and had for lunch today” any more.

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Family History Week Wrap Up: Book Reviews

So, the time has come to wrap up family history week and as I look back over the posts, I have to say that I pretty happy with how everything turned out.  I hope you all enjoyed this week and were able to pick up some good tips and/or fun things to do.

To end the week, I have three books I thought may be helpful as you write your story or search for your roots.  The three I have picked out have been really helpful to me and provide some great tips and insight into writing and researching.

The first book is Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History by Megan Smolenyak.  I picked up this book about a year and half ago when I first started getting into genealogy.  It has the same title as the NBC show, and while they are connected, the book doesn’t really mention celebrities.  What it does do is give some really great tips for researching your ancestors.  This book is one of the best I have seen for basics.  If you are an experienced researcher and have been looking into your family tree for quite a while, this may not be the book for you.  But, if you are just getting started, you will find some great pointers to help you get going in the right direction.

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