Musings From MommyLand

Because sometimes there is more to Mommy…

NaNoWriMo…Or, The Day I Took Leave of My Senses

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a blog post from someone I follow and they were talking about their preparations for NaNoWriMo.  For those of who may not know, this is not some sort of doomsday event (wait, is it?).  It stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November.  During this month, more than 300,000 participants sit down at their computers/typewriters/notepads and attempt to bang out a 50,000 word (about 175 pages) novel.  It sounds crazy right?

I have never participated in NaNoWriMo before…had never even heard of it before about 6 months ago — but, the idea really struck a chord with me.  I have been saying I am going to write a book since I was in college (almost 10 years…yikes!).  It is even on my bucket list, but I have never gotten further than a couple of chapters.  I have more ideas than I know what to do with written down in random notebooks or word documents so maybe I should take one of those ideas and really run with it finally.

The problem was, when I started thinking about doing it, all that came into my head were the reasons it was ridiculous to even think about attempting this.  I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and this is reason enough to call the whole thing off, but I also have a new Etsy shop I am trying to make successful, and November is so busy with family birthdays and anniversaries, AND we are having some major home issues at the moment (literally I think our house hates us and is seeing if it can break us and I will stop there or I might start crying).  So many reasons not to…always so many reasons not to do it.

And that is when the epiphany hit.  There are always, always going to be reasons why I don’t have time unless I just sit down and set some time aside.  So I went over to the official NaNoWriMo website and signed up and over the last week I have picked out the idea I am going to turn into my first novel and have been working on some character development and plotting in preparation for Thursday when I can officially start writing.   I have a new little widget on my sidebar so you can see the progress I am making and I will post updates periodically.  Hopefully this will help keep me on track.

I may not hit the 50,000 word mark but, I am going to set aside at least a little time each day to write and by November 30th, I will be that much closer to complete novel.  Anyone out there participating this year?  Anyone a veteran of this event with some good advice?


Wisemen, Music Legends, and Mr. Darcy Oh My!

The past couple of weeks have been filled with frantic painting of small little wooden men and women to get some new stock/ideas in my Etsy Shop in time for Christmas.  When I first did this as a craft project for/with my kids, I never imagined just how far it would go.  Anyways, I am really excited about all of the listings I rolled out today and wanted to share here.  You can check out all the new stuff here at Makings From Mommyland.

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A Beautiful Fall Dessert: Apple Pie Cake

About a month ago I was looking for some new recipes for side dishes and deserts to go with Jay’s smoking (meats people!  Smoking meats!) obsession and I came across what people were calling apple dump cake.  I read about 3 lines into the recipe and realized that this was almost the exact same recipe I use for what is a family Thanksgiving tradition called pumpkin pie cake.

So, I did what I usually do and stopped reading the recipe and decided I could figure it out on my own and while it doesn’t always turn out right when I do this, this time was a big win.  And I have to say, I am glad I didn’t follow the recipe because when I went back to it, I saw that it had called for canned apple pie filling while I used fresh apples and if you decide to give this a try, you should definitely go fresh as well.

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Book Review: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought what better time to put up a review of a vampire book.  So here it is…a spoiler free review of “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova.

Jay got this book for me almost 5 years ago and I while I gave it a go shortly after this, I only made it about 4 chapters before it was relegated back to the “to read” pile.  The title really excited me (I was in the first blush of pursuing my graduate degree in history), but when I realized that it was a vampire novel, well those have never really been my thing.  I am more of a happy ending kind of girl.  Fast forward five years…Wow, my “to read” pile is literally like 5 feet tall.  If I don’t start reading some of these rather than adding to it by buying more books it could become a concussion hazard.  So a couple of months ago, I picked “The Historian” back up and I have to say, I am really glad that I did.

As I said, I don’t read a lot of vampire/dracula books…ok, none really…so I can’t really make a comparison  in mythology/approach to any other books, but it does seem like this one had a unique direction in that it brought history (Dracula and his connection to history) to the forefront (hence the title).

I am not going to lie, this is a large book and the first probably 10 chapters or so are pretty slow.  But, if you tough it out (what I didn’t do the first go around), you won’t be sorry you did.  I am not saying this the the best book I have ever read, but I did enjoy it.  And the reason I enjoyed as much as I did has to be because of the world travel and archive digging.  I am sucker for far away lands and this book definitely has that.  London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Budapest all play prominently into the story and Kostovo does a good job of really taking you along for the ride.  And the archive/library digging in each place, well my four year old could write about that and I would probably enjoy it.  I am sort of a sucker for a musty dusty location chock full of documents and books hundreds of years old -even if it is only fiction.  And I also quite enjoyed Kostova’s discussion about Vlad the Impaler’s history which serves as the backbone of the plot.  I can’t say Medieval Eastern Europe was something I studied a great deal of so I can’t speak to the accuracy, but whether it was accurate or not, it was fascinating to read.

I have read mixed reviews of this book and there are things on each side with which I agree.  As I said before, it isn’t the best book I have ever read -probably not even in my top 20 or 30 – BUT, a book doesn’t have to be the best book ever to be entertaining and I am glad that I gave it another shot.    Let me put it this way, I stayed up until 2 am one weekend night to finish the last chapters which, if you have kids, you know that that in and of itself is a glowing recommendation.

Have you read this book?  What did you think of it?

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My First Etsy Sale!

A couple of weeks ago I put up a post about painting peg people and how I had enjoyed doing this so much that I was going to try and sell some of them on Etsy.  Shortly after this, I put this same info up on my personal facebook page and was overwhelmed by the support I got from my friends and family. They all seemed to love the idea and have been so kind in sharing my link in different places.  I even got a couple of orders from them.

In the midst of all of this I also got my first Etsy order!  I couldn’t even believe how excited I got when I saw the message pop up on my phone.

My first Etsy Sale! Painted and ready to ship.

I love painting these little guys and am so happy to get to share them with other people!  I have made so many of them for my kids that my husband has accused me of cheating on him with peg people…ah well, he will get used to it eventually.

Anyways, I just wanted to put a big thank you out there for everyone who has given encouragement, shared my shop page, taken a look at my etsy listings, or placed an order with me.  THANKS SO MUCH!