Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shopping List #3


Signups for PiBoIdMo begin today. Check out the line-up of amazing contributors, and don't miss a single day of Pre-PiBo posts October 26-31. (After you've copied today's shopping list, of course.)

Thanks to Tara Lazar, contributor-wrangler extraordinaire 


Below you'll find the link to a Google doc shopping list for the week of October 28. It covers the ingredients for the last two make ahead-meals for November. Don't forget to check the list of basic kitchen staples found here. You'll need some of these for Tuesday's recipes.

On Tuesday, I'll post how to make and freeze these meals for the busy days of PiBoIdMo. If you like, you can buy double the ingredients. You can make two batches: one to freeze for November, and one to eat now.

Bonus! I've included a link to homemade chicken fingers from America's Test Kitchen. These are delicious, and can be made ahead of time and frozen. However, I am opting out this year, using frozen, premade, store-bought chicken fingers from Tyson. It's your choice.

The numbers in [] indicate which day the food will be used. That way, if you have eliminated any items from the Master Menu, you'll be able to cross those groceries off the list.


Shopping Prep, Oct 28
Shopping List
Week of Oct. 27

Note: The numbers in [brackets] correspond to the dates on the meal planning calendar.

Dry Goods
beef bullion [25]

Canned / Bottled Goods
Soy Sauce [19]
honey [19]
1 jar spaghetti sauce [25]
32 oz whole, peeled tomatoes [25]
4 oz can mushrooms [25]

Produce
red bell pepper [19]
garlic [19]

Meats
8 boneless chicken breasts or thighs (approximately 4 lbs) [19]
1.5 lbs ground beef [25]
½ cup pepperoni [25]

Easy Peasy!

If you missed it, Here's
How To Starve During PiBoIdMo
How Not To Starve During PiBoIdMo

Make sense? Have questions? Contact me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

PPBF: The Midnight Library

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Midnight Library
Written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
ages 3-6

Themes:
Libraries, Spooky, Helpers

Opening:
"Once there was a library that opened only at night. A little librarian worked there with her three assistant owls."

Synopsis:
The midnight Library keeps unusual hours. It opens when the sun goes down. The librarian does her best to accommodate her strange assortment of patrons including a fox, a wolf, a dog, some cats, a dawdling tortoise, and a band of noisy squirrels. The little librarian manages to find a solution for everyone's needs, as most librarians do. She even finds time to read a "bedtime" story to her sleepy owl companions as the sun rises.

What I Love:
The illustrator has created a following with her wildly popular Ghosts in the House! I have to confess, that is not one of my favorite books. But a book about a library is irresistible, and the initial concept caught my attention, too. I loved watching the patrons milling around in the stacks. I smiled at the little librarian's helpful suggestions. I found the spare text heartwarming, with plenty of kid-appeal.

Kohara's graphic prints give the library the right touch of quirkiness. The bright colors will be a hit with the preschool crowd, but adults will find them equally hard to resist. Maybe I'm just nostalgic (the black on neon reminds me of the 60's classic Happiness is a Warm Puppy.)

Bonus:

from Art Of Domesticity
1. Julie Danielson offers an additional sneak-peek into the stunning illustrations of The Midnight Library.
2. TeachingBooks.net has some teacher resources available for The Midnight Library as well as Kohara's Here Comes Jack Frost and Ghosts in the House!
3. These toilet paper roll owl ornaments aren't quite like the library assistants in the book, but their clever design and bright colors evoke the same playfulness.
Thanks to JustJENN
4. Try your hand at a haunted gingerbread house or library like the one from JustJennRecipes.
5. Why not help your local library organize a Library Card Drive? Offer author storytime or signed bookplates to direct more traffic to you favorite branch.
6. In keeping with the spirit of the art, teach your preschoolers easy printmaking techniques from Blissfully Domestic, InnerChildFun, or TinkerLab
7. Look for these other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.




Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Catherine



Reviewed by Beth
Reviewed by Vivian




For more night-time escapades
Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for October 24, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Will PiBoIdMo Do for You?

2014 logo courtesy Vin Vogel

What will PiBoIdMo do for you?

It will push you out of your comfort zone.

As a picture book writer, you have to generate new ideas. When the ideas don't come, you mine your old notebooks for something to write about. You take a walk to clear your head and discover new characters in your neighborhood. You resort to random word generators, writing prompts, memory maps, and old photos. 30 days of brainstorming will drive you to all of these methods, and beyond . . . and that's when the good stuff comes.



It will challenge you to be present.

Life can get in the way of writing. The business of writing can get in the way of writing. Sometimes we're just too busy to notice the ideas around us. The noise of our lives makes it difficult to hear the ideas whispering in our heads. But the subconscious challenge of an idea-a-day will make the listening more urgent. It will spur you to be present, on the lookout for the ideas all around and within.



It will wake you up in the middle of the night.

By about day 16, I am waking up at 3 AM to scribble ideas into my bedside notebook. The ideas which come during the day are usually safe or logical. The ideas that come in the night are often surprisingly fresh. My brain has had time to put together the various pieces of my conscious thought and effortlessly mingled them in my unconscious dreams.



It will give you permission to get messy.

Desperation to reach your goal may drive you to explore untapped idea mines. You may experiment with bathroom humor, talking animals, scientific non-fiction, taboo subjects, or preschool concepts. Or sheer momentum may catapult you past your limits. Idea blossoms into idea, until you find yourself far from the story seed where you began. Either way, sooner or later you'll realize PiBoIdMo is a time to free yourself from the restraints of your inner critic. There are no mistakes in brainstorming, so let your imagination run wild.



It will initiate you into the world's most giving community.

Whether you read Tara's blog posts in the morning and let the suggestions simmer, or you keep in touch on the FaceBook page throughout the day, you'll find writers just like you. Writers who struggle, and fear, and obsess. You'll find tips for the dry spells. You'll see people rally around one another like supporters at a marathon. You'll get a peek at the ordinary hearts of the extraordinary people which make up the kidlit community. And you will belong.



What will PiBoIdMo do for you? It will surprise you, because you will surprise yourself.

What are you waiting for? Sign ups begin October 25th at TaraLazar.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Writers' Menu Recipes Day 12 and Day 18

It's time for the next two recipes for my November Writers' Menu. Follow the recipes, freeze the results, and you'll have the next two meals prepped and ready for November. You'll find the grocery lists here if you missed them. Remember, you can cook a double batch: one to eat now, and one to freeze for next month. We're halfway there!

The next two recipes are Day 12 Italian Unstuffed Shells and Day 18 Slow Cooker Pot Roast. I've shared printable docs here



Italian Unstuffed Shells
Ingredients
  • 2 cups medium pasta shells (uncooked)
  • 1/2 pound Italian bulk sausage or ground beef
  • 20 ounces pasta sauce
  • 3 ounces cream cheese spread
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)*
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* According to Martha Stewart, substitute 1/3 the amount of dried herbs for fresh. In this case, that would be 4 tsp dried Basil. I used only 2 tsp and was happy with the result.


Instructions (via OnceAMonthMeals)
  1. Cook pasta as directed on package, in salted boiling water. 
  2. Meanwhile, brown ground beef or sausage until no longer pink. Drain. 
  3. Add to pasta sauce. Set aside. 
  4. Whisk cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in large bowl until well blended. 
  5. Drain pasta. Add pasta and basil; stir gently until pasta is evenly coated. 
  6. Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom a greased 8×8 baking dishes. Cover with pasta mixture and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. 
  7. Cover with foil. 
  8. Label  "Day 12" and write the following directions. Freeze.

    Thaw in fridge. Bake at 375 degrees F covered, 40 to 45 min. or until heated through, uncovering after 30 min.



Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound chuck roast
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 ounce package of dry onion soup mix


On cooking day, throw in some chopped carrots, potatoes, and onion to make a complete meal.

Instructions (via Living Well Spending Less)
  1. In bowl, whisk together soups, soup mix, water, wine and broth.
  2. Using a Sharpie, label the bag "Day 18" and write cooking directions:

  3. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. 
    Cook in crock pot on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
    Add chopped carrots, red potatoes, and onion to the crock pot after 2 hours.

  4. Add roast and marinade to bag.
  5. Freeze.

Congratulations! Now go write something! Come back next Saturday for the next shopping list and Tuesday, October 28 to prep the last two frozen meals.
If you haven't prepped for Day 3 and Day 5, you'll find directions here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Patience + Passion = Success

"Success comes to people who work hard and study their craft, who are patient, passionate about what they do, willing to take risks, and persistent in revising and submitting their work."
_Mira Reisberg*

Museum Miasta bookplate by Gladys Munoz


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shopping List # 2

November means busy days are ahead. It's Picture Book Month, for starters, a time to celebrate kid lit and promote literacy.

Then for picture book authors, there's Picture Book Idea Month, a 30-day crash course in brainstorming and fostering ideas ideal for the 32 page story.

Writers of more hefty page counts can participate in National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in four weeks is the norm with this group.

For three years running, illustrator Linda Silvestri has hosted Sketch A Day Month. Artists of all skill levels sketch and post faithfully (or not) for the 30 days of November. (Just in case you needed more to do during the holiday season.)

So no matter which challenges you've set for yourself, you need a break from the kitchen to squeeze in a bit more writing time. That's why I've organized this Writers' Menu. No one should have to live on Ramen noodles and Frosted Flakes for 30 days straight.




Below you'll find the link to a Google doc shopping list for the week of October 20. It covers the ingredients for the next two make ahead-meals for November. Don't forget to check the list of basic kitchen staples found here. You'll need some of these for Tuesday's recipes.

Once A Month Meals Unstuffed Shells
On Tuesday, I'll post how to make and freeze these meals for the busy days of November. If you like, you can buy double the ingredients. You can make two batches: one to freeze for November, and one to eat now. Both recipes originally made enough for two meals. For the purposes of the Writers' Menu, I have cut them down to one.

The numbers in [] indicate which day the food will be used. That way, if you have eliminated any items from the Master Menu, you'll be able to cross those groceries off the list.


Shopping Prep, Oct 20
Shopping List

Dry Goods
2 cups medium pasta shells [12]
1 pkg dry onion soup mix [18]
Canned Goods
20 oz Spaghetti sauce [12]
1 can cream of celery soup [18]
1 can cream of mushroom soup [18]
1 cup chicken broth [18]
1 cup red cooking wine [18]
Produce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional) [12]
Meats
1/2 pound Italian bulk sausage or ground beef [12]
3.5 lb chuck roast [18]
Dairy
3 oz Cream cheese spread [12]
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese [12]
3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese [12]

Friday, October 17, 2014

PPBF: Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Founding Mothers, the picture book
Founding Mothers: 
Remembering the Ladies
Written by Cokie Roberts
Illustrated by Diane Goode
Harper Collins, 2014
non-fiction, grades 2-7
40 pp

Themes:
Non-fiction, Historical, Women

Opening of the first mini biography:
Eliza Lucas was only sixteen years old when her father went off to fight for England against Spain and left her in charge of three plantations in South Carolina.

and from the conclusion:

"The women here are taking a station in society which is not known elsewhere," wrote journalist Margaret Bayard Smith after she had lived in Washington for several years. She rejoiced in the fact that the new Capitol City was a place where women were taken seriously "in the court, in the representative hall, as well as in the drawing room."

Synopsis:
This non-fiction picture book contains a short timeline of events from 1765 to 1815 and 18 mini biographies highlighting the achievements of early American women. The text is engaging, drawing the reader in with fascinating tidbits from history. The witty illustrations evoke the style of the times. The book also includes excerpts of actual correspondence and valuable links for further research.

A spread about American poet, Phyllis Wheatley


What I Love:
Cokie Roberts has distilled the lives of these courageous women into bite-sized pieces, perfect for picture book audiences and beyond. Diane Goode has outdone herself with her  meticulous research, authentic penmanship, and colonial embellishments, even going so far as to reproduce the ladies' signatures. The endpapers alone are worth the cover price.


Bonus:

Have you been to the Library of Congress?
1. The Gettysburg Colonial Project has more information on what it meant to be a woman in the 18th Century.
2. I found a quiz among the Early American handwriting archives from the Reed Digital Collections.
3. Visit Colonial Williamsburg in person or online to learn more about our country's founding.
4. You'll find recipes for Johnny Cakes, Hobnob cookies, or succotash, plus Colonial games, crafts, and more at the teachers' site Kid Activities.
5. Delve into the many resources at the Library of Congress.
6. Look for these other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.


4 Founding Fathers,
Reviewed by Vivian
Another book by Diane 
The story of Ida Lewis
Reviewed by Jarm




Another biography
Women who effect change
Reviewed by Kelly



Revolutionary Americans
Reviewed by Julie



Founding Mothers,
Cokie's adult biography


















Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for October 17, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.