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Archive for February, 2013

Writing Wednesday: Changing Things Up

So, remember how in my goals post I said I was simplifying things for this round? Yeah. I guess I’m not so good at being simple. Or at least not on keeping my focus on just one project. I had just been focusing on brainstorming and outlining for right now. But, we were coming home from a trip on Saturday and suddenly I got an idea for the WiP I’ve been working on and off with since September. I’ve battled with it pretty much from the beginning and in January had pretty much decided to shelve it. The idea I got was actually for a scene towards the end, but it was the kick in the butt I needed to work on what comes before that too. Along with that I decided to print out the second story in my Inner Demons series, (which ended up being more complicated than I expected, with trying to get number of pages to print down and then having to organize it all when it printed out of order) and work on editing it now. So, I will have new goals for the rest of the round. Will post them at the end of this.

  • Send Slow Revenge to Beta Readers – still haven’t sent it to any, but did put out some feelers for any one who would want to read it.
  • Brainstorm new ideas for Western novella, Stained Snow – I finished the last of the back stories last Thursday. Unless I feel the need to dig into a side character at some point. But, even if I do, it should be shorter than the main ones I did.
  • Start outlining Stained Snow – I started working through the snowflake method on Thursday. I’m on step 6 now, which is the last one I do. There are two more after it, I think, but I’ve found they really don’t work for my process. I should be able to finish it today or tomorrow. Then, I’ll be working on the rest of my outlining process. Hoping to be done with it the first week of March at the latest and then I can start writing.
  • Read 20 books – I finished Writing with a Heavy Heart last Wednesday and Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund on Friday. I read Medusa’s Desire by E.B. Black over the weekend and started Shift by M.R. Merrick on Monday. I’m about 50% through it right now. I’m up to 21 books for the years and 16 for this round. Shouldn’t have a problem finishing 4 more before the end of the round.
  • Workout for 30 minutes/5 days a week – I’ve walked on the treadmill 4 days in the last week. And walked around the Fire Expo in Pittsburgh for a couple hours on Saturday.
  • Track calories every weekday – I’ve been doing a little better with this over the last week as well as getting better with controlling my snacking. It’s still something I need to work on though.

Now for my new goals for the rest of this round:

  • Send Slow Revenge to Beta Readers
  • Finish outlining Stained Snow
  • Finish 1st draft of Flames of Redemption
  • Edit Healing the Heart
  • Work all edits on Healing the Heart into computer copy
  • Write at least 5k on Stained Snow
  • Brainstorm ideas for #3 in Inner Demons series
  • Back stories for #3

Crafty Tuesday: Finishing the Month’s Projects

I didn’t post last week. We had to take my daughter into the doctor(she ended up having strep), but I still could have managed a post. Just didn’t feel I had much to write about. So, I saved it all for this week. 🙂


Easy Knit Mittens:

These were the ones I was making for my son. Fit him a lot better than the other ones I had made. And I got the hole at the base of the thumb sewn up, which I hadn’t done with the other ones.

Reading Mitts:

This was a pattern I found over at ravelry. I’ve made some other fingerless mitts before, but this was the first time I’ve done them on double point needles. The other pattern are just knit on two straight needles then sew up the sides, leaving a hole for the thumb.

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In Progress:

Right now, I’m working on a beret with a 1×1 rib brim. I haven’t made too much progress on it so far, just have the ribbing for the brim done. Should be able to have it finished by the end of the month though.

Coming Up:

Nothing planned right now. Once I have this beret done, that will be everything I had planned for the month. I’ll figure out March’s projects Thursday night probably.

Writing Wednesday: Fast Week

Almost forgot today was Wednesday. My daughter didn’t have school on Monday. And yesterday, her neck still didn’t seem much better so we took her back up to the doctor. Only to find out that she has strep throat! She wasn’t complaining about a sore throat, didn’t have a very high fever, didn’t have the rash she got last time, was still eating and drinking just fine. So none of the signs that she was sick. Except for the fact that her lymph glands were swollen. And they had been a little bit when we had her in before, but we attributed that to the fact that we thought she had a cold. Well, they were so swollen the PA decided to do a throat swab and it came back positive for strep. Otherwise we wouldn’t have known. So, she’s home from school again today.

  • Send Slow Revenge to Beta Readers – no comment. Not sure why I’m finding it so hard to reach out and ask for readers for this.
  • Brainstorm new ideas for western novella, Stained Snow – Still working on back stories. I finally finished the antagonist’s back story last night. It turned out a lot longer than I was expecting. I thought the protagonist’s was long at 7 pages. This one was 17 pages long. He had a lot to say. And most of it seemed to be how everything that happened to him wasn’t his fault, but usually his brother’s. I have at least one more to write and I’m really not expecting it to be nearly as long. Over the past week, I’ve written 15 pages. My goal was at least 10. So we’re good here.
  • Start outlining Stained Snow – will get to this once back stories are finished.
  • Read 20 books – I finished reading Katie Jenning’s A Life Earthbound last Wednesday and started the fourth in the series, Of Water and Madness later that day. And finished it on Thursday. I also read Dry Spell by Angela Wallace, Beyond the Waters of the World(novella) by Ruth Nestvold, A Dark Grave by J.A. Souders and Deadly Hearts by S.M. Reine. These last two were both short stories. Yesterday I started Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund. I am about 20% through it right now. And I’ve been working my way through Writing With a Heavy Heart by Denise Jaden. Almost finished with it now.
  • Workout for 30 minutes a day/5 days a week – I worked out on the Wii Wednesday and walked on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. Haven’t gotten my walk in yet, but hoping to do it if the kids take naps after lunch. Or at least when my son takes his.
  • Track calories every weekday – didn’t do good with this at all last week but have been doing better the last couple days. At least with keeping track of everything. Staying within my calories not so well since I lowered them because I’ve just been standing still the last several weeks. I was maintaining, but I’d like to lose about 10-15 lbs.

Writing Wednesday: Working Through Back Story

Again, I feel like I didn’t get a whole lot done even though I have been working steadily. I think part of it is because I’m eager to start working on this story. But, I know I need to do this work before I get started.

  • Send Slow Revenge to Beta Readers -really need to have my butt kicked with this one. So, obviously, that means I’ve done nothing with this.
  • Brainstorm new ideas for Western novella, Stained Snow – Still working through back stories. I finally finished the protagonist’s on Monday. It ended up being about 7 pages long. Hadn’t expected it to be so long. I started the antagonist’s yesterday and it’s already 3 pages long. The two intersect a bit, since they are brothers. But, they both offer a different perspective about the same events. trying to get about 2 pages a day written on these. Hoping to have this one done tomorrow.
  • Start outlining Stained Snow – Hoping to be able to get started on this next week.
  • Read 20 books – I finished reading Echo in the Bone last Thursday. I really enjoyed it, even though there were times when I skimmed because it felt like there was too much detail. But, I’m still looking forward to reading the next book, which is supposed to come out later this year. I started Death on Beacon Hill Thursday night. This is the third book in P.B. Ryan’s Nell Sweeney mystery series. I really like these books, and I finished this one on Saturday. And started to read Katie Jennings’, A Life Earthbound. This is the third book in her Dryad Quartet. I am almost finished reading this one. And I have the last one waiting for me to read.
    I also downloaded Writing with a Heavy Heart: Using Grief and Loss to to Stretch Your Fiction. I’m about halfway through this.
  • Workout for 30 minutes/5 days a week – not doing too well with this over the last week. Didn’t workout Thursday, Friday, or Monday. I really have no excuse for Thursday. Friday morning we took my daughter in to the doctor because she could not straighten her neck or turn her head. Turns out she was having muscle spasms that were locking her neck up. We’re still dealing with that, but it is getting better. There was a two hour delay for the school Monday, which means she has no school since she only goes in the morning. But, we were able to get back to our normal routine yesterday. So, I got a walk in on the treadmill yesterday and worked out with the Wii this morning.
  • Track calories every weekday – this has not been going too well either. And my husband made some beef jerky yesterday, which isn’t helping any. Definitely since I’m not exactly sure how to measure that.

Crafty Tuesday: Mittens, Monkey Hat, & Pencil Case


Easy Knit Mittens:

I was working on these last week. But, I hadn’t gotten too far since I kept making mistakes. I finally finished them the other day. They fit my daughter almost perfect


Monkey Hat:

I was working on this one last week. had finished the body of the hat at that point. I did get the earflaps done and the ties. And then I had to do the ears ans sew them on. I don’t think I got those sewn on in quite the right place though. the head looks very asymmetrical.


Pencil Case:

I started this one toward the end of last week, Friday I think. And I just finished it last night. Had to adapt the pattern for the ties a bit. Doing it as instructed, they weren’t even close to long enough to reach around it and actually tie. So, instead of two, I made 4. and joined them at the center of the back.


In Progress:

Easy Crochet Bag:

I was finally able to get to the store and get the yarn I needed to finish this project. That was yesterday. So, I just picked it back up today. I don’t have a whole lot more to go on it, so it will be finished some time this week.

Easy Knit Mittens:

Yes, this is also under finished projects. Have it here too because I started another pair of these for my son. I finished seaming the sides of the first one this morning and started the cuff for it. I should be finished with it by tomorrow or Thursday.

Coming Up:

Plans may change(mostly if I get orders for something else), but right now I’m planning on working on some reading mitts when I finish my son’s mittens. And once I finish the crochet bag, I don’t have any other planned crochet projects for the month. So, I’ll be working on some more afghan blocks. Either until I have enough to sew together into a blanket or until the end of the month.

Writing Wednesday: Brainstorming

Feel like I haven’t really gotten much done in the last week. I know it’s not really true, but when I’m not in the middle of actually writing, I have a harder time keeping track of progress, so it’s harder for me to see just how much I’m getting done. Just have to remind myself that this is just as important a stage as the writing.

  • Send Slow Revenge to Beta Readers – haven’t got anywhere on this. Need to put some more feelers out.
  • Brainstorm new ideas for western novella, Stained Snow – have made good progress here. did some mind maps of ideas on Thursday and Friday. This week I’ve been working on character back stories. Still on the first one, but hoping to finish it soon.
  • Start outlining Stained Snow – not quite to this point yet.
  • Read 20 books- Still working on reading Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone. I’m on page 847/1149. I should be able to have it finished by the end of this week. Then back to novels of more reasonable lengths. 🙂
  • Workout for 30 minutes 5 days a week – Have been able to manage this. Thursday: Walk on the treadmill, Friday: Cardio boxing on Wii & shoveled snow, Monday: Cardio boxing on Wii & shoveled snow, Tuesday: treadmill, & more cardio boxing today.
  • Track calories every weekday: So-so success with this one. I usually do good up until lunch. Then, after lunch, I struggle with snacking. Sometimes I combat this by chewing gum, but other times I just feel like I have to get up and get something else to eat. Some times I do better than others

Crafty Tuesday: More new hats

I have finished working on two hat projects in the last week and started two new projects, one of these another hat. I don’t know why, but it seems most of the patterns I find that I like and think I can do, are hat patterns.


Soft Berry Hat:

This is the one from Lion Brand Yarn. That I used Lily sugar n cream yarn instead of the Lion Brand organic cotton it called for. It took me about 8.5 hours to finish an adult sized hat.

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Best Baby Cloche:

This was a crochet pattern I found on ravelry. It was my first time attempting to crochet a hat. And I think it turned out looking nice. It was a pretty quick project. Only took about 3 hours to finish. Actually only a little over 2 hours for the hat. Then, I had a little trouble with getting the flower started.


In Progress:

Easy Knit Mittens:

This is another pattern from Lion Brand Yarn. It requires a bulky weight yarn. I figured I could make a pair for both of the kids. Starting on my daughter’s first since she’s outside more during the cold. Plus one of the mittens I made her last year is falling apart. I’ve been having a little bit of trouble with the start of it, but that has more to do with me not paying attention than anything else. First I forgot to cast on the right number of stitches for the pattern size. Did the smaller amount instead. Then, when I realized that(after I had the cuff done), I casted them back on…onto the wrong needles(you start it on the smaller needles and then switch to larger ones). I realized that after only about half a dozen rows. So, I had to rip them back out. I now have it started again and am back to the point where I realized I was using the wrong needles. Hopefully now I can stop making stupid mistakes.

Crochet Monkey Hat:

This is another pattern from Ravelry. I have the main part of the hat finished after only an hour and a half. One thing about crochet, it does seem to be quicker than knitting. I still have to do the earflaps and the monkey ears.


Coming Up:

After I finish this pair of mittens, I’ll be starting on another pair. I don’t expect that to be finished before next Tuesday. I’ll probably be finished with the monkey hat either today or tomorrow though. And after that, since I probably still won’t have the yarn to finish the crochet bag I started last month, I’ll be working on a Roll-up Pencil Case(which I’ll actually probably use for my hooks).

Family Friday: Potty Training & Report Cards

I’m sure these two topics don’t seem to have a lot to do with each other. Except that in this house they’re taking place at the same time. And are examples of how much my kids are growing in their respective ways.

A few months ago, we bought Nathan some of the Gerber training pants. The ones that are like regular underwear, just a bit thicker. At the time, we tried them for a couple days. But, he just wasn’t getting it. So, I put them in his drawer and figured we’d come back to it later. And I assumed that later would be in the spring or summer when he could run around in just the underwear. Well, we were sitting in the living room Monday morning and Cory asked him, “Nate, when are you going to wear big boy undies?” Just offhand, but Nathan ran into his bedroom and got a pair and brought them out to put on. And he’s been wearing them ever since. Not without accident, of course. But with a lot more success than I expected. He’s been peeing on his potty all week, and today we had even more progress. He stayed dry all through the morning. While we were eating lunch, he ran off then came back, waving his hand in front of his face and going “ew”, usually a sign he’s pooped. He hadn’t though, but he sat on the potty and went on there. I was so excited.

It seriously took forever for my daughter to train(okay, not forever. just seemed like it). But, I remember being so stressed out and thinking she would never get it. Was dreading that again this time around. But, as with everything else, he seems to be the exact opposite of her. 🙂

As for Hayleigh, she brought home her second “report card” of the year. If everyone remembers, she started k-4 last year and we decided to keep her back another year instead of sending her on to Kindergarten. We had a few reasons for this, mainly her age(her birthday is in August and she was one of the youngest in the class), her lack of social skills, and her motor skill delays. I’ve had some doubts about whether we made the right decision or not, occasionally wishing we had sent her on. But, I know it was the right one.

Anyways, back to the report card. When we got the first one of the year and had the parent-teacher conference, her teachers said she was doing better than last year, but still didn’t really interact with the other kids. She’d work/play beside them, which was an improvement over last year. Well, on this report card, her “interacts with others” went from needs improvement” to satisfactory. All her math skills were perfect(as they were last time), her literacy was pretty much there, which was recognizing all the capital and lower case letters(knows all of them) and recognizing letter sounds(she got 24/26). Writing her name even went from needs improvement to satisfactory. And there was a nice note from her teachers on the back of the report card. She makes me so proud, and I realize keeping her back was probably the best decision.


She definitely has an interest in reading! She brought home three books we ordered from the Scholastic flyer a few weeks ago(one of them she wanted to get for her brother), and started reading them almost as soon as she was home. The one, Tooth Trouble, she needed help with some of the words. The other one, If You Give a Dog a Doughnut, she read by herself without any help from me. I asked her if she had read it before or if her teachers had read it to her, and she said no. I asked that because she will sometimes memorize a story even after just a few readings, so I don’t always know if she’s reading it or reciting it.

And as to the last comment: we’ve always known she was a perfectionist, even as early as two. She didn’t walk until she was sure she could do it right(about 17 months). I think the reason she didn’t talk for so long was in part because she was afraid she wouldn’t do it right. If she writes a letter or number wrong, she gets frustrated very easily because it’s not perfect.

I can’t believe how fast these two kids are growing up.

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