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Stacy’s challenges

James Patterson Master Class Challenge – 5 lessons in.

James Patterson Master Class Challenge – 5 lessons in.

I’m not sure where to start in these MasterClass posts.  You can see the instructors on the homepage and the FAQ here.  Before I signed up for the yearly deal I did look around at a few reviews and  they were generally positive, although the most common complaint was customer service.  I found this interesting article from last spring that said the A List instructors make $100,000 plus a percentage of the generated money for the their class.  It seems that James Patterson was one of the first instructors.

So, for the Patterson class I paid $90 for 22 lessons with the thriller bestseller.  The $90 gives me access for as long as I want it for all of the lessons, worksheets, interactive comment section for each lesson and suggested assignment and a Hub for the people in the class to have different questions and topics happening at once with different threads.  It’s as interactive as you want it to be.  The instructors even have office hours where they answer direct questions from students.  At this point I don’t know how often that happens, but I have seen the clips (just haven’t clicked on any yet).

I’ve watched the first 5 lessons and have carved out a little writing time for myself every day that we’re home.  I’m coming up with 200 word story ideas right now and trying to do three a night.  It’s been fun because there is no pressure that they be something I’m going to use and I’m able to sort of focus on the lessons and hone in on the idea and story aspect.  The first five lessons covered Passion + Habit, Raw Ideas, Plot, and Research.

IMG_2451This is from page one of the lesson 5 worksheet. I print them out and use the space provided to take a few notes while listening or even from the comments section.  There was a great discussion on one of the first lessons about the best writing software to use and that was coming from the other students.  The lessons are short.  around 10-13 minutes each, so they are easy to fit into your schedule.

More in a few days.  Is there anything you’d like to know?

James Patterson Teaches Writing Master Class Challenge

James Patterson Teaches Writing Master Class Challenge

I love the 30 day challenges, even when I fail to complete them.  Having a goal to focus on every month has been motivating and fun, but coming up with ones that I want to do is a challenge all on its own.  Last summer I signed up for a Master Class with James Patterson during one of my challenges, but I never started.  And then Master Class sent me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  I paid $90 for the pass to Patterson’s class that I could use whenever I wanted, no expiration date.  Then I received an email offering me the rest of the classes for only $90 for a whole year!  I looked at the site again and found 30 experts in their fields so I decided to start taking the Patterson class and see what it was all about.  I watched the first 4 (of 22) lessons, did the daily writing, and read through some of the conversation threads.  Is James Patterson my favorite author?  Nope. I checked and found out that I haven’t read a Patterson book since 2011.  But what I found when I listened to the short videos by Patterson was that I was inspired by a man who had gotten to the very top of his field.

So, I signed up.  I’ll be doing Patterson this month.  In January Jason and I will be doing the Documentary a Day challenge together again and in September I’ll be doing my third Book a Day Challenge (hopefully with a few of you!).  In between I’ll be doing Master Classes and learning from the likes of Steve Martin, Gordon Ramsay, Dr. Jane Goodall, Judy Blume, Bob Woodward and so many others.  I may even let you guys pick for me a couple of months!

I’ll be back with some details about the class, right now I have about five minutes to finish this and then I’m booked til Monday.  Have any of you tried a Master Class? Are you curious?  Stay tuned 🙂

Pinterest Challenge ends with barely a whimper

Pinterest Challenge ends with barely a whimper

Ok, I think I made it halfway with this challenge, about 15 pins.  I had major trouble accessing Pinterest and my pins for days on end and it just became too frustrating to work around so I gave up.  Before I did quit some really nice things happened.  Three of the pins ended up being so, so useful.  Day one was cleaning my office.  Remember the pics?

IMG_2148 IMG_2150 IMG_2151 IMG_2152Embarrassing.  Wanna see how that pin has my office looking today?

IMG_2404 IMG_2405 IMG_2406 IMG_2407So much better!

I’ve also been using the meal planning pin for 3 weeks and I LOVE IT!  It makes things so much easier!  I’ve only been making one trip to the store a week which is amazing since it was 2-3 times before AND I’m trying new recipes!  So glad I took the time to set this up.

Also G’s chore chart has been a success.  We have been taking lots of little trips and that will continue for a bit, and it’s easier when we’re on the same schedule every week.

For these three pins alone the challenge was worth it.  There were two others that I didn’t post about but were equally great.  I found this pin which was a great idea for what to do with G’s train postcards.  So we started with this IMG_2262We’ve added more since then and it’s been fun.  We also tried this  great muffin recipe.  We’ve made these zucchini carrot muffins several times since.  We don’t put the icing on it. IMG_2251

Even though the 30 day challenge was a fail I do feel like we won with the five things I listed.

I’ll be doing something a bit different with the challenges starting tomorrow.  Come back and see!  I may even let you participate 🙂

Pinterest Challenge – Veterans Day

Pinterest Challenge – Veterans Day

G is a product of generations of veterans.  His dad, his grandpas, two of his great grandfathers and numerous other family members past and present all spent time serving our country in the military.  Jason’s time in the Navy actually put us in the same place at the same time over 21 years ago.

I found this pin which was perfect for this challenge and for Veterans Day.  G got a video recorder for his birthday and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for him to do his first interviews.  Last night he interviewed Dad and this morning his Grandpa.  Last night with Dad he didn’t look up from the paper and cut him off one time when his answer got too long, and then they watched the video of the interview on the television so he could see himself on the big screen.  Today with his grandpa was better.  He looked up after he asked every question and waited for the full answer before moving on.  I was proud of him.  And proud to have so many veterans in G’s life to show him true bravery and service.

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Pinterest Challenge – Books and Shepherd’s Pie

Pinterest Challenge – Books and Shepherd’s Pie

Yesterday, I had very little time so I found a few pins with Thanksgiving books for kids and reserved as many as I could at our library.  I’m guessing I’ll have a pretty big pile waiting for me in the next few days.

Tonight I tried a new recipe that I found for Shepherd’s Pie.  I love the website this is pinned from.  It clearly marks every recipes with all the different allergies on the side.  It’s wonderful!  I had to substitute peas for carrots and pork for beef, but we all loved it.  I’m having lots of success with these Pinterest recipes.

I made the potatoes and the meet/veggies combo and G put them together.  He loved licking his fingers and the spoon.  Potatoes never go to waste in this house.

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Pinterest Challenge- Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

Pinterest Challenge- Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

I tried a new recipe tonight and G loved it (Jason liked it too).  No one in the house likes coconut, but when I’m so limited in what I can cook, I decided to give it a shot.  This pin stood out to me because it looked like something my guys would eat and it incorporated a few new ingredients in the daily diet.

As for anyone who has made chicken meatballs, they are not nearly as soft and juicy as beef, but the sauce helped with that.  Also, in my pics you may notice purple in the meatballs and those are most likely the purple carrot and the red onion.  Click on the link to get the full recipe.  From start to finish this took me about 40 minutes.

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When I served them I put the sauce on the bottom of the plate so they could control how much they wanted, but they both liked it, so I’ll mix them next time.  Also, next time I’ll serve them over rice.  We had leftovers from last night as an appetizer so we didn’t need a full meal.  This is one I’d put in the rotation once a month.

Pinterest Challenge – Chore List

Pinterest Challenge – Chore List

G has never had a set list  of chores and as I was looking at some of my pins I realized that I missed the boat on this years ago.  There are chore ideas for 2 year olds!  I looked around for some good starters and decided on 7, since he’s 7, and found a great printable chart on this pin.  These are all easily doable for him but I wanted to start with something achievable, so he could be successful.  I told him if he had 40 stickers by the end of the week he’d earn $2.  We’ll see what happens this week and see if I have to adjust.

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Pinterest Challenge – Easy Peasy Egg Muffins

Pinterest Challenge – Easy Peasy Egg Muffins

Finding foods that I can make and serve all week is a goal.  When I saw this pin with egg muffins that would keep five days in the fridge I was in.  It turns out that these are super easy and a great way to get G involved.  I prepped the ingredients and G did the rest.

He put some red peppers and spinach in each cup.  I poured egg on it.  G then topped them with bacon and Daiya cheese.  Into the oven they went at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

IMG_2197IMG_2201IMG_2206IMG_2209The verdict?  A win!  Gage ate two when they came out of the oven and I had one.  The pin claims they will be just as good cold, but I’m skeptical.  We’ll see in the morning.

The recipe says 12 eggs, but that was way too many.  Seven of my eggs were fairly large, but I still had a lot left.

So, here’s an update on the menu planning pin.  I spent some time finding some new recipes and ideas and finished planning this week. I even made recipe cards for those that I didn’t automatically know and I plan on keeping them in the back of the notebook.  I think this a system than can work for me, but I’ll let you know after a week 🙂

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Pinterest Challenge – Borax to the rescue!

Pinterest Challenge – Borax to the rescue!

I’d planned on trying a new recipe today, but G had a friend come over and then Ohio State was on (I really should have skipped this) and I didn’t get to the grocery store.  So, I browsed Pinterest and thought why not make some homemade household cleaners?  I looked at a few pins and realized I didn’t have a few of the ingredients that made the good stuff.  So, I pooled all of my natural cleaners together to see what I could come up with.  The giant box of Borax was making a real target of itself so I looked for Borax pins.  Who knew there would be so many?!?!  I read through some and they all generally shared information so I’ll choose the two I used here and here.

There are MANY ways to use Borax (sodium tetraborate) and I tried 5.

  1. G still has some accidents at night so getting his bed clean is important.  Borax to the rescue!  Wet, rub in Borax with a towel and let dry.  Vacuum powder off.  It seemed to do the trick.
  2. To get the mold or mildew odor out of the washing machine, put 2 cups of Borax in water and let soak before washing normally.
  3. Get the odor out of the garbage cans (I will be doing this for our big can we take to the curb tomorrow).  Put water in Borax to cover bottom of can and soak.  Rinse and dry.  Sprinkle Borax in the bottom to keep fresh.
  4. Freshen the garbage disposal by pouring 2 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let soak for 1 hour before rinsing with warm water.
  5. I have a white shirt with some stains that I’d given up on so tried to rub in the Borax and let soak before washing normally.  1 tablespoon Borax with 2 water.  I just pulled it out of the dryer and it looks like it took care of the two small ones, but the larger one is still there.  I might give it a second try tomorrow.

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What have you used Borax for?

 

Pinterest Challenge- Meal Planning

Pinterest Challenge- Meal Planning

Those of you who have known us for at least the last few years know that G has dietary challenges.  His diet is a moving target that changes drastically too often.  Once I get a handle on what we’re doing to heal him, something forces us to change.  Breakfast and lunch we all eat something different during the week and I try to cook us all three the same thing for dinner.  I am terrible at planning!  I get a little busy or lazy and start relying on the same easy foods that may or may not be best for Gage.  I’ve been wanting to try something more structured so I looked around on Pinterest and found lots of ideas.  I decided to go with this pin because I liked the idea of having a bunch of ideas on post-it notes that I could move around so that I didn’t have to reinvent the whole thing each week.  I also liked that it came with printable templates and that I had a folder with pocket protectors that I could use.  The only thing I purchased were the post-its.

I spent an hour and 15 minutes and I got the bare bones set up.  I set it up for 4 weeks.  I filled it in with basic ideas, not specific recipes.  I need to spend the next few days filling up the Ideas pages!  I’m sure I’ll be using Pinterest for this and when I do I’ll give you an update on how I’m using the new planner.  I’m excited about it.  I hope it will save me time, money and stress.

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