{More Catch-Up} R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

I’ll be honest here: as a pre-teen (because “tween” did not exist in the late 80s), I was a Christopher Pike girl. Chain Letter got me hooked. But my husband has a crazy love for R.L. Stine that didn’t start until he was in college. It’s a long story involving his band, someone’s girlfriend and R.L. Stine’s book The Girlfriend. We had a huge box of Fear Street novels in our attic, our boys both enjoyed the “Goosebumps” series, and Laura likes watching the likewise-named TV show on Netflix. So the excitement level at our house when I learned that R.L. Stine was coming to Rhinebeck was seriously off the hook.

At first, Drew hemmed and hawed a little. I love going to author events. Sometimes, though, the reality of who that author is can disappoint. There can be an attitude that shatters your image of how awesome they are. But I convinced him 🙂 So after the Sheep & Wool festival back in October, we headed over to Oblong Books for this super-cool Halloween event! R.L. Stine is rebooting “Fear Street” and has been making the rounds to promote his new book.

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

I’ve been to a lot of signings in my day, but this was certainly one of my favorites. Stine didn’t just read from his new book and answer a couple questions. He told stories. Stories about growing up. Stories about how he thought of book titles. He took tons of questions from kids in the audience. He connected with everyone there. And not only that, but he was willing to sign anything that people brought up. Sometimes there’s a limit, sometimes it’s just the author’s latest work. But R.L. Stine signed a stack of books for us (including some really old twist-a-plots that Noah adores).

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

Drew told him the story involving his band, his friend’s girlfriend, and the book. Mr. Stine seemed amused.

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

The kids had such a great time, and what a thrill to meet such a prolific writer! 

R.L. Stine at Oblong Books

Thanks, R.L. Stine and Oblong for hosting an event that my kids (and husband!) will remember for a long time!

bunny hat sneak peek

I’m so close to finishing up my bunny set! I just have to crochet the inset for the ears and then sew everything up. This has been a really frustrating project to get right. I read and combined and changed around so many different patterns that at this point I feel like it’s my own design. (I mean, let’s get real here – how unique is a basic hat and diaper cover?) Since I have to make 9 more of these, by the time I’m done I just may write up the pattern to share with you all. (Unless I’m totally sick of them by that point, LOL!)

You may notice my book in the background. Today I’m linking up with the Yarn Along hosted by Ginny at Small Things. She invites her readers to share a project and their current read. Drew gave me a copy of A Flight of Angels for Christmas after we met Rebecca Guay (the artist behind this beautiful work) at NY ComicCon in the fall. She is an amazing fantasy artist and we had no idea who she was until then, but when we started looking through our Magic cards, we found a few that she illustrated!

Hopefully I’ll finish up both of these tonight!

books, books, books

$5 = library sale score

I love my library! I love it lots and lots and I use it like crazy: books, movies, knit night, summer camp, and of course many great conversations. So when the annual book sale rolls around, I can’t help myself. The books are all so cheap that there’s no way I could possibly buy enough to equal the value I get from this place. Plus, the topics cover everything under the sun. There were business management and resume guides (maybe appealing to people looking for accounts executive jobs), spirituality books, art books, yoga books, and of course lots and lots of fiction.

We went Saturday and all five of us picked up some books (well, I chose a few books for Laura — she didn’t exactly pick them out herself, although I am confident she will love Olivia and Olivia Saves the Circus).

Anyway, yesterday was “Bag Day.” You pay $5 and get a big shopping bag, and then fill it with as many books as you want. Looking at that photo I’d say we did all right! Jake went with me and half of those books are his, LOL… I think the pièce de résistance for me was the 2009 Writer’s Market. I’ve been considering purchasing the new one, but can’t really justify it at the moment. Right now I can barely keep with the (downsized by design) amount of writing work I have. Adding more to my plate isn’t a great idea at the moment, but I wanted an idea of what markets are out there. But finding it right there on the table? And a relatively recent edition? Yes, yes, yes! It was like a sign. There were a few other writing books I picked up, so maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. Or at least offer a little encouragement.

Yes. I do indeed love the library book sale 🙂

cookbook review: the indian slow cooker by anupy singla

While searching for Indian recipes last December, I stumbled upon a new book entitled The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla. Anupy is the author of the blog Indian as Apple Pie. I’d never read her blog before, but as I looked through it I became more and more interested in this book. As you know, I love Indian food. I craved it constantly when I was pregnant with Laura (who incidentally loves it as well), and I make quite a few Indian and Indian-inspired recipes in my kitchen.

But putting my slow cooker to use to make mouth-watering Indian dishes — and healthy ones at that — seemed almost too good to be true! No, there’s no need for diet pills when you’re cooking with fresh veggies, beans, and heart-healthy oils.

The first recipe I made was “Dhuli Moong Dal – Simplest of Simple Yellow Lentils” (p. 55). Being new to cooking lentils, they still weren’t simple enough for me at first! I followed the recipe and let it cook for several hours. When I checked on my dal, I saw that the lentils weren’t cooking down at all. They were still quite hard. After doing a little research, I attribute this to adding salt at the start of cooking. So I poured out my lentils into a large pot and cranked the heat on the stove. This quick-fix worked quite well and my dish was saved! The result was delicious. Per the author’s suggestion, I topped it with a bit of butter, which made the dish extra-delicious. Don’t you want a bowl of this?

Dhuli Moong Dal - Simplest of Simple Yellow Lentils

Sunday I decided to try making her recipe for “Aloo Gobi – Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes” (p. 91). I halved the recipe and it turned out perfect! In an ideal world with extra time, I would probably saute the potatoes first to give them a little more texture, but even without doing so it was delicious. And the whole point of the book is simplifying cooking: chop, drop, and go.

Aloo Gobi - Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

Laura gobbled up both these dishes. She absolutely loves rice and lentils, so that didn’t surprise me. But the aloo gobi was quite spicy and she still devoured a dish. I’m really looking forward tor trying out more of these recipes, especially the Split Chickpea Curry, Dry Spiced Dal, Goan Black-Eyed Peas, Spicy Punjabi Eggplant with Potatoes, Minced Lamb with Peas, and Lamb Biryani.

I wish that the book had the nutritional information for the dishes, but it’s not that hard to figure it out. The book was tough to find when I was originally looking for it. It was out of stock at my local Barnes & Noble and Amazon didn’t have it, either. Thank goodness for Oblong Books! I checked their inventory online and was able to drive over that night and buy it. I don’t purchase a lot of cookbooks, but this is one I’m happy to have in my library.

2011 goals: personal

4.

These are all the silly, selfish little goals that I’d like to meet in 2011. The world won’t end if I give up on any of these, but they also are the most fun to think about.

  • Read more books. Unless you count cookbooks, I didn’t do a whole lot of reading last year. Yes, I read my monthly comic books, but I need to start reading more. I’m not going to set down a specific number. Instead, I plan to keep track of the books I’ve read here on the blog. Again — by writing it down, I’m holding myself accountable.
  • Give myself a weekly manicure. My hands and nails look horrible on a daily basis. Something has to be done about this embarrassing situation.
  • Use up the yarn stash. I have a lot of yarn. No, it’s not as much as a lot of knitters I know, but for me it’s quite a lot. So I’d like to use up the bits and pieces in a “stash-ghan” and finish up some other projects that I’ve printed out and stare at on a daily basis.
  • See old friends. Time passes really fast when you have kids. Before you know it, five or six years go by without seeing close friends. It’s such a shame and I hope I can make plans to make it right!

And so, those are the areas where I want to concentrate. If I end the year keeping up with just a few of them, I’ll be really happy!