February 12, 2016

Turtle power! Fueled by pizza, coffee, and toddler kisses. #FridayFeed #amwriting #parenting

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

Words. Wrote 'em. This week has been about my characters being all: I know you have this plotted and whatnot, but we've gotten together and decided to ditch your plan.

To that I say: Coolio. Love when my characters assert their own opinions. The plot itself hasn't changed but certain threads have. YAY twists.

Since this is my first middle grade (MG) novel, I've done quite a bit of research on how it's different from young adult (YA). I also learned that average word count (WC) for a MG is between 20k and 55k words. The sweet spot being about 35k words.

However, for fantasy MG the WC can go as high as 75k. For perspective: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was about 77k words.

Some rules are meant to be broken. Amirite?

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

Lukey got his FIRST haircut. So, we attempted to cut it at home. Yeah, well, that went over like a lead balloon. Kinda terrifying holding a pair of sharp scissors next to a spazzing toddler's eyeballs. EEK. Got the bangs/fringes cut, crookedly I might add, and then Hubs and I were all: professional appointment required. The place we went to was really neat (Pigtails and Crewcuts). Very kid-friendly and not as crazy expensive as I thought it'd be. There's a bunch of locations, so take a look if you are in need of this type of establishment. 

Other than that, been a normal, busy week.

Oooh, for Valentine's Day, Hubs and I are going to see Deadpool (sans toddler, of course). WOOT.

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . .

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness)

Took a stroll through Wholefoods on Thursday. Cool store. Well lit, clean aisles, pretty decor, soothing musing, kinda pricey. Like, would make me double my 75$ per week grocery budget to shop there on a regular. So, yeah. Back to purgatory, erm, Walmart...

National Pizza Day (9 February) was this week. Did you have your pie?? You know I did.

BONUS: My local RWA chapter is having our annual conference on 5 March in Williamsburg, VA. So if you can make it, come on out. More info here.

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Selling my firstborn to pay the Wholefoods bill . . . karen

February 9, 2016

How to freeze herbs...and get away with it. #TryItTuesday #allthethings

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

You can freeze that?

I know, right? Do you buy a GIANT bunch of cilantro, parsley, etc and only need to use PART of it? And then, do you throw away the rest and feel like you've just wasted herbs AND money?

Duude. I just asked all the questions. 

The answer for me is YES. I get so annoyed when I only need a little bit of herbage and have to buy a ton. Plus, it seems to go bad so quickly. Which makes me go, GRRR.

But, fear not, I've found the answer.

I was skeptical at first. Now, I'm all about this freezing herbs thing.

Today's product: Ice Trays* (You remember those, right?)
*more like, what's inside the ice trays rather than the ice trays themselves

Where to find: Pretty much anywhere... I actually bought my ice trays* at Walmart. (Not Amazon, can you believe it?) *herbs sold separately

Average cost: $0.99 to $3.99 (at Walmart)

Lasts: Probably forever?

Karen's rating: 

I've frozen cilantro and parsley (in separate ice trays) and have had great results with both.

A quick How To:
wash herbs
chop them
put the chopped herbs in the ice trays
fill with water (or olive oil, or butter, but I'm cheap, so WATER)
 freeze overnight
pop them out and into labeled freezer bags for later use


More How To and additional info for your reading pleasure.

If you'd rather not go to the trouble (I don't find it to be much trouble though), there are actually pre-made frozen herbs you can purchase. The basil one I may try soon, because I find fresh basil to be a bit over-priced.

Freezing herbs has been super helpful for me. Their taste isn't quite as strong as fresh herbs, but I've solved that problem by just adding two herb-cubes instead of one to whatever I'm cooking.
I've also found if I thaw a cube overnight, I can drain/rinse it and use the herbs just as I would the fresh variety. AKA, garnish or salsa or whatnot.

Heard of this? Done it before? What say you?


Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews*
*Reviews are my own opinions, I am not paid to promote any items.


When life hands you lemons, freeze them . . . karen

February 8, 2016

Motivation. Need some? Five tips for finding motivation to write. #writeon #amwriting

Monday Motivation . . . Writerly things and stuff.

Let's do this.

1) Write naked. Just not at Starbucks. Unless it's in a nudist community. Basically, whatever seems to be working. Do it.

2) Same Time. Same Place. There's something kind of reassuring about routine. Whether it's pajamas and tea in your fave recliner or the corner table at your local coffee shop after ten espresso shots, routine can inspire. It's like a trigger: sit, sip, write. Repeat. Trick your brain into giving your hands the words.

3) Set a daily goal. Doesn't matter what it is. Ten words or ten pages. Anything is better than nothing. Basic physics, right? Words in motion stay in motion. Something like that.

4) Share your goals. Try it on social networks. Tell your friends and followers that you're going to write three thousand words today--that's wayyy more than I usually write, but there are prolific peeps out there. And then update them. I bet it'll make you at least write something, even if you don't reach the goal. Accountability, man. Give it a go. Also, try group support, like 1k1hr on Twitter. Or if you're really brave, write or die can force the words out of you.

5) Give yourself permission to write badly. It's hard. I know. But, it's the first draft. There's always draft ten or twelve to worry about typos, alliteration, and tying up plot threads. Words--even ones that are a hot mess--can be fixed. A blank page can't.


Bonus inspiration.

Want some more motivation? Who doesn't? Check out my other Monday posts.


On the writing island . . . karen

February 5, 2016

Words, toddlers, and zombies. My week in a nutshell. #FridayFeed #amwriting

Friday Feed . . . Doing things and stuff.

Call me Karen. (writing words)

Words. Words are happening, peoples. I'm only a thousand shiny new ones away from the HALFWAY mark on my middle grade work-in-progress. Holy WOW. The words have not been super easy this week, but they've definitely been steady. To make certain I get between 800-1000 words per day, I've been writing at 6:30am before the kiddo wakes up. Again whilst the kiddo naps. And if I haven't met my word count, I write after he goes to bed. 

This manuscript, man. I'm in love.

Luke, I am your mother. (kiddo corner)

Been a fun week--except for a mild case of puking, more on that in a minute. Monday was all the gorgeous and waaaarm. Went to the park, but Lukey wasn't having any of that outdoors crap (crazy boy). So we went to the gym instead--where he gets to play with little kids, unplug the water-fountain, and walk around like a zombie.

Tuesday we had story time at the library, and omigosh, Lukey was all over the place. lol Wednesday we had a playdate in Williamsburg with our good friend Judith and her littlest (Ps. click that link to browse her super cool eBay clothing shop).

Thursday was a rain-in kinda day. Mainly just tried to recover from puking the night before. I dunno what it is, but I swear I pick up some kind of puking disease every other time I go to the gym. Do people not wash their freaking hands??

I digress. Feeling much better. Today we have another playdate. Wherein I don't have to cook. Yay. Saturday the Hubs will be watching Lukey, whilst I eat some brains. Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, baby! 

Few super cute things the kiddo is doing at 16 months: squealing like a stuck hog during his sleep, signing 'all done' when he's had enough to eat, poking his finger really hard on the table when he wants more food, and knocking on the window to make cars drive by.

Pix for your viewing pleasure . . . 

Just keep swimming. (all the randomness) 

So, a long, long time ago. Back in the year 2011, I watched two episodes of Grimm and was all: no, thanks. Well, five years later--and considering they're still making new episodes--I decided to give it another try. What was wrong with Past Karen?? Present Karen is massively intrigued by this show. Let the binge-fest continue. 

BONUS: My local RWA chapter is having our annual conference on 5 March in Williamsburg, VA. So if you can make it, come on out. More info here.

Enjoy my Friday Feed? Here's more to delight you.


Colors of the rainbow are very good to know . . . karen

February 2, 2016

There's a disposable for that? Huh. What'll they think of next?! #TryItTuesday #mommylife

Try It Tuesday . . . Wherein I review things and stuff.

Tired of sore milk, veggie stains--just kidding, toddlers don't eat those--and unidentifiable meat stench partying in your diaper bag until you get home to wash that cloth bib?

Now you don't have to. 

There's a disposable for that.

Today's product: Munchkin Disposable Bibs

Where to find: Um, Amazon. Duh. However, if you feel like leaving the house, Babies R Us has them cheaper.

Average cost: $5.99 to $8.00 (24 to 36 per box)

Lasts: One bib will last the duration of a meal, unless the toddler yanks so hard that it rips (thankfully, not happened with my toddler yet)

Karen's rating: 

These bibs are the schzit, man. I just happened to discover them by happy accident whilst meandering in a Babies R us--sans toddler. If I used them every day it'd get kinda pricey, but I use these for travel, day trips, or playdates. They are seriously awesome. Once the kid finishes eating, just throw the bib away. No putting a crusty cloth bib in a baggie to take home and wash later. 

Makes my life easier! 

Heard of them? Used them? What say you?


Wanna see more red balloons go by? Thought so. Check out my previous reviews*
*Reviews are my own opinions, I am not paid to promote any items.


Drinking--uh, coffee--at 10AM . . . karen