Monday, February 05, 2018

Podcasts I Watch: Knitting

This is the final blog post on my favorite podcasts and I'm ending with knitting.  Unlike the other podcasts I enjoy, these are in video and are all found on You Tube.

Bookish Stitcher Podcast - This is what started knitting podcasts for me.  Jeannette discusses what she is knitting and what she is 2 favorite things!!

Yarn Hoarder Podcast - I've been watching this one from the beginning.  The hostess, Amber, is local to me and generously honest about her knitting.  I've learned so many tips and tricks from watching her and have become much more relaxed with my knitting.

Geeky Girls Knit Podcast - This is a mother-daughter duo.  I am a fan of their designs and love to hear about what they are reading, watching and listening to. 

Daizie Knits Podcast -  Another podcaster that is local to me, Jennifer is an inspiration, on screen and off. Her podcast is short and sweet and I love being able to sneak an episode into my busy day.

Grocery Girls Podcast - These ladies are crazy! Canadian sister-duo, these ladies are an absolute hoot!

Knitting ExPat Podcast - Mina and her family are an English family currently living in New York.  Mina is my favorite sock pattern designer and it is fun getting glimpses of their lives, travels and little daughter Layla. 

I think that covers the "regulars".  Every once in a while I watch something else, but these generally keep me busy. 


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Books I Am Reading - Week of Jan. 20 - Jan. 27

I'm not a monagamous knitter and I'm not a monagamous reader either.  I have multiple books going at a time. Here is what I was enjoying last week:

Cahokia is my current non-fiction history selection.  It's very informative, and has me planning a field trip to Cahokia this spring.

II Peter - This is what our Sunday School class is reading and I finished it last week.

The Choice is Yours - This is my Bible study book.  I try to read a few chapters each week.

The World by Laura Ingalls Wilder - This was my impulse pick-up at the library Saturday.  I didn't need another book, but this one is very good, mainly a botanical survey of the areas that Laura and her family lived.  Although botany isn't really my thing, the historical bits of my favorite stories make it very interesting.

I hope my selections encourage you to pick up a book and that you enjoy it!

***This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Podcasts I Love: History

Have you decided that I'm crazy as the day is long, listening to all those paranormal/conspiracy theory podcasts?

Maybe you think I've gone over to the dark side with all the true crime podcasts?

Let's broaden your definition of me just a little more. 

I was a history major in college and I've loved to know all about what-used-to-be for as long as I can remember.  That continues.  Here is an extensive list of history podcasts that I listen to.

Back Story - This one is almost political.  The hosts take items that are in the headlines now and dig out the history behind it. 

Chasing Earhart - The host of this podcast is compiling an extensive list of Amelia Earhart enthusiasts and researchers.  All the angles of her disappearance over the Pacific are explored and I understand that there will be a documentary in the future.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - This is like taking a history class in college.  The host takes a topic and presents it thoroughly, usually an episode is 5 or 6 hours long.  The episodes don't come out very often, but its an all-day treat when they drop.

Futility Closet - Although each topic is just skimmed over (maybe 15-20 minutes per topic) the hosts make it interesting.  Each episode is ended with a critical thinking puzzle that you can to work on with one of the hosts. 

Historical Figures - Another short podcasts that covers the people that made history.

Nerds on History - They haven't published anything in a while.  Waiting patiently..............

Omnibus - These guys take the premise that there has been some kind of civilization ending disaster and the people of the future have discovered and are listening to their podcast from some kind of archive.  They cover odd historical bits.  The way they present the podcast takes some getting used to (because they mention future beings when I'm not from the future lol), but the things that they cover are fascinating.

Malcolm Gladwell: Revisionist History - He hasn't published in a while, but if memory serves me right he is a British gentleman that goes over how history is rewritten to serve the needs of a culture.  I think this is a timely podcast seeing how history is trying to be rewritten in our culture.

Stuff You Missed in History Class - One of the first podcasts I started listening to.  Each episode is approximately 30 minutes and brings up an event or person that might have been missed in a typical history class.  Its a FUN podcast and probably my favorite.

The Gentleman Nerds - I haven't seen anything from them in a while.

The History Chicks - I consider this a nice middle ground between SYMHC and HardCore History.  Usually an episode is 1-2 hours.  I love their in-depth research (I just finished the episode on the last Hawaiian Queen - which interestingly enough was the topic of one of the first biographies I ever read, in 3rd or 4th grade).  Probably my 2nd favorite history podcast.

I've listened to some others over the last couple years.  Some were dry, some were poorly researched (and it was obvious).  So far, these are the ones in my que.  I love learning and this is one way that I can do it from my home.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Podcasts I Love : True Crime

As promised, here are some more of my favorite podcasts.  This week's topic is True Crime.

Cults:  Each week a cult is discussed.

Serial Killers:  New serial killer every week.  Short and very informative.

Sworn:  The host is a retired law enforcement officer.  Most of the cases are based around Atlanta, Georgia (I assume that is where he worked or lives).  He takes a very analytical approach to the cases that he presents.

The Serial Killer Podcast:  The host is Norwegian.  I could listen to him talk about toilet paper.  But the content is good too.

Sometimes the topics overlap on each podcast, but it is interesting to get a different take on such "famous" criminals....some I've never heard of.

Probably not for the faint of heart, many descriptions are very graphic. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Podcasts: Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Etc.

As most of you know, I'm a stay at home mom.  I also homeschool 2 of our 4 children right now and am keeper of 2 grandbabies.  My husband works a lot of hours and has his own hobbies that take him away from home, so I am alone, or alone with children most of each day. 

I'm an introvert, so really the alone doesn't bother me.  The steady diet of PBS, shopkins and XBox does. 

I needed more, but as most moms know, its hard to find time to sit down and consume entertainment.  I am a knitter, so if I'm sitting, I'm knitting.  I listen to TV but don't actually watch it.

I love to read so I discovered audiobooks a few years ago.  I can listen while I'm doing almost everything except school with the kids.  There are times however, when I want smaller doses of entertainment.  That's when I discovered podcasts.  Most episodes are 30-90 minutes long.  That's perfect for when I don't have the time to organize an intricate plot line or historical timeline in my head. 

Over the course of the next few blog posts I am going to share the podcasts that I listen to.  I've tried to break them down into relevant categories.  I listen on Apple Podcasts (I'm an apple girl), but I'm told there are other listening options.  The exception to this is knitting vlogs and they are all found on YouTube.

Today's category is Sci-Fi, Paranormal and other hard to categorize podcasts.

Astonishing Legends  - This is one of my favorites.  The episodes are 1-2 hours long, although there may be more than 1 part to a topic.  I just finished listening to the 3 parts of the Yeti episode.  I love how Scott and Forrest give you all the angles on a topic.  I feel like they make it relevent for the skeptic as well as the believer.  Each episode is well researched and you can feel the enthusiasm they have for their topic.

Stuff They Don't Want You to Know  -  This podcast delves into conspiracy theory topics.  Again, good for skeptics and believers.  These guys also have a show about the Georgia Guidestones on Amazon Prime that is good.

Lore  -  Short, creepy stories or legends.  There is also a Lore show on Amazon Prime that is good

Unexplained  -  Also short, creepy stories. 

I'll be back later this week with my choices for crime podcasts.  Have a good week.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Harry Potter

What was I doing on June 26, 1997?  Hmmmmm......

Oh yeah,

I was 8 months pregnant with our first son and just moved to a new home, my husband had a new job and we were trying to get settled in.

What makes this date significant?

That's the day Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released by JK Rowling.

Now, we all know I'm a reader, so how long did it take me to get my hands on a copy?  About 20 years.


I was a new mother as those books started coming out and although I heard ALL about them from everywhere I just wasn't interested.  I barely read "young adult" books when I was a young adult, why would I be interested in reading them now??

But I watched the movies, right?

Nope.  Sure didn't.  That was November 14, 2001.

I had son #2.  9/11/2001 was still very fresh for me and I basically watched news 24/7.  When it came out on DVD I remember that my husband rented it, but I still wasn't interested.

Boy, was I late to the game.

My friend had been urging me to give them a try and with my newfound love of audiobooks, I decided that I had nothing to lose.

I fell in love.  JK Rowlings is a fantastic author.  Really.  I zipped through all 7 books (on audio) and was really sad last week when I finished the series.  Harry Potter isn't just a kids book, its a saga about growing up, good vs evil and character making the difference in a multitude of situations.  So, if you haven't given them a listen, I urge you too.

And if you haven't started listening to audiobooks, why not?  I'm telling you, without audiobooks or podcasts I would be lost.  I listen while I am cooking, cleaning, driving and knitting.  Audiobooks have taken a significant spot in my entertainment time.  I'm grateful for the convenience and encourage you to "take back" a little of your time with an auditory experience that you won't regret.

**This post contains affiliate links

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Recipe of the Week: Lasagna My Way

I'm hoping to begin sharing some of our family's favorite recipes.  Today, I will begin with one that is much loved.  I did however forget to take pictures last time I made it, but I think the process is fairly straight forward so here we go......

I cook from my pantry so all acceptable substitutions will be listed.  I rarely make this exactly the same every time.  We don't live in town and have a fairly strict grocery budget so I don't just run to the store if I am out of something.

1/2-1 lb of ground beef, sausage or a combination of the two
1-2 pints homemade pizza sauce (1-2 pint of tomato sauce seasoned with basil or 1 jar store-bought pizza sauce thinned down a little bit - homemade pizza sauce is thinner than store bought)
Seasonings (basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley)
1 cup Ricotta cheese  (you can use cottage cheese in a pinch but I don't think its as good)
1 egg
6 lasagna noodles - par boiled (I let them finish cooking in the oven)
1-2 bags of mozzarella cheese (I don't measure cheese, maybe 3 cups?)

Set the meat to cooking if it isn't already (this is a great use for extra meat from previous meals).  Boil water in a big pot and add lasagna noodles.  Boil them for approximately 5 minutes.

Add sauce to meat.  I start with 1 pint of sauce, adding more if it doesn't look like there will be enough.  Add seasonings to taste, don't be skimpy.

Add 1 egg to ricotta cheese and a good pinch of parsley.  Combine, set aside.

Drain noodles.

Put a 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of 8x8 baking dish.  Then layer with 2-3 noodles.  Top with more sauce, a few spoons of ricotta (roughly 1/3 of mixture) and a handful of cheese.  Noodles, sauce, ricotta, cheese......noodles, sauce, ricotta, cheese.  I use extra cheese on the top layer.  If you didn't use all your sauce, pour it on now.  If you felt your quantity of sauce was skimpy, add some of the reserved.  Remember that your noodles will finish cooking in the oven so they need some liquid.  A 1/4 c water will also suffice.

At this point the whole thing can be put in the fridge or freezer to bake later.  Otherwise, pop it into a 350 degree oven.  If the oven wasn't preheated just plan on cooking it a little longer.  I bake it until the cheese starts to brown, usually 45-60 mins.

Remove from oven and let set 5 mins before serving.  Feeds 4-5 people.

I try to find time to make French bread or breadsticks and a salad would go great with this, but we rarely have one.  My mom always made green beans with lasagna but my people don't eat green beans.

If there are leftovers, they are very good re-heated.