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July 30, 2009


I'm preparing for a trip to Ireland in September: my aunt and I will be flying into Shannon and then renting a car and driving around. I'm trying to figure out where I want to go. Any recommendations for places to make sure we see, or popular destinations that you don't think are worth it?

Posted by Kat at 10:23 PM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2009

What's with Google Reader?

Okay, I sincerely hope that I am not the only one having this problem. Does anyone know how Google Reader decides how many unread items to keep? It seems like it used to keep them for about a month, but recently it's down to a week, or less. And if they just said "We will keep them for a week," then fine, I'd know how to manage my reading. But there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it - it will suddenly delete a few hours' worth of posts for no apparent reason. Or is there an apparent reason that I'm just not seeing? Maybe it has something to do with the ridiculous number of feeds to which I subscribe. Is there some magic number of unread posts under which I could be sure to keep my account to prevent these mysterious deletions? Or is it as arbitrary as it seems?

Posted by Kat at 06:22 AM | Comments (3)

July 21, 2009

Cooking with Laura

Over at Eat Close to Home, Em is starting a collaborative project designed to cook through the Little House Cookbook. Come join in! It looks like it will be loads of fun. I dug out my book and am definitely planning to take part - now to decide what to make . . .

Posted by Kat at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2009

Another New Widget...

I practically live in Google Reader, so I often come across things I want to share. I do some of that in the Daily Reading posts, but Google has recently improved some of the social aspects of Reader, so I figured I would try sharing things there as well. If my code worked correctly, you should now see a "Recommended Reading" box over to the right. It will show the last ten things I marked "Share." You can also read my shared items here, and if you use Google Reader you can "follow" me by searching on "Katie Welsh" or "katelinnea AT gmail DOT com" in the people search. Or, hey, you can get an RSS feed of the items here. I've only been using this feature for a few days, so I can't make any promises about content, but so far it's been a mix of news stories, recipes, cartoons, book reviews, etc.

Posted by Kat at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2009

A Saturday Breakfast Inspired by Food Blogs

Last weekend, Jack and Caitlin came for breakfast - I LOVE cooking breakfast - and I decided that it was a good opportunity to try out a few of those food blogger recipes I'm always bookmarking and never actually making. (I'm not the only one who does this, right?)

So I tried Pioneer Woman's Cheese Muffins:

Cheese Muffins

And Smitten Kitchen's Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples:

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples

As you can see, I had a little trouble getting the pancakes to cook evenly - Jack would say it's because of my weird pancake cooking methods, which I maintain are completely normal - but they were delicious anyway:

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

Close-up on the sauteed apples, which were good enough to just eat on their own:

Sauteed Apples

Yes, I left the peels on, partially because I'm lazy and partially because they taste good that way.

Posted by Kat at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2009

New Books Widget

I know my sidebars are horribly out of date, but that's one of those things that I sort of vaguely notice and then never seem to have time to do anything about. So. I'm going to try. I noticed this morning that Ezra Klein, one of my favorite policy bloggers, now has a little Amazon Widget showing what he's currently reading. So if it's good enough for Ezra, it's certainly good enough for me. You should see my new widget over on the right. I'm hoping that it will prod me into actually only reading a few books at a time and finishing them. We'll see.

I also rebuilt all the archives to make this show up everywhere and delete remnants of old things that had been deleted from my templates but were still showing up on some of the archive pages. Including, you know, my John Edwards banner from the primaries. Yeah. In doing this, I seem to have also messed up my Weather Pixie. Oops. I'll try to get that fixed when I'm updating other stuff tomorrow.

Posted by Kat at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: TBR

Today's question:

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

Mine are mixed in, for the most part. When I made that list of 50 books last week, though, I put most of them in fairly easy-to-access spots so I would be able to find them again without ripping apart the house.

(Yes, I've started one from that list. Hoping to finish it this weekend.)

Posted by Kat at 07:01 AM | Comments (2)

July 15, 2009

Daily Reading (7/15/09)

The Annotated White House Flickr Feed. Hilarious.
Politico's Washington Coup
Pride and Twitterverse Pride and Prejudice as it would appear on Twitter. Hilarious.
Why do Scandinavians write such great crime fiction?

Posted by Kat at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2009

Review: Love and Peaches

Love and Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre: YA
Pages: 243
Rating: 7.8

This is the third (and last?) in the Peaches series (so named for the peach orchard at the center of the series), and it wasn't as good as the second, which wasn't as good as the first. But it was a quick read and I like finishing series, so whatever. These are follow the model of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants et al. - a group of teen girls who seem very different on the surface end up helping each other deal with various Big Issues and Important Lessons as they grow up. I had a harder time warming to the girls in this series - they just didn't seem real enough. And there's a slight mystical element that seemed kind of unnecessary. But I shouldn't be so negative - they're a decent read, just nothing wildly special. If you (or a girl you know) love the Traveling Pants and want more in that vein, give this series a try. The first is Peaches.

Posted by Kat at 07:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2009

Review: A People's History of Christianity

A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story: A History of the Grassroots Movements in Christianity that Preserved Jesus's Message of Social Justice for 2,000 Years and Their Impact on the Church Today by Diana Butler Bass
Genre: Religion, history
Pages: 353
Rating: 7.5

The basic premise of this book as that the current "progressive" or "generative" Christianity movement is not as new as people think it is, and that churches and believers today lose something by not having a better sense of their history. Bass sets out to rescue some of this lesser-known history and relate it to today. She discusses many figures and movements who were interesting or important but have been obscured or just neglected by the "official" narrative of church history. As with virtually all books of history that strive to provide a specific message for today, this book suffers a bit from having its information molded into place for its message. Bass also tends to jump around a lot - the sections are roughly chronological but the chapters alternate between religious practice and social justice, and each chapter starts with an anecdote from Bass's own life before jumping back to its historical topic. I'm sure the latter format was designed to make it easier for readers to relate to the book, but I just found it distracting. All that said, though, there was some really good information here, and Bass is a pretty clear writer, so if you're interested in church history, I'd give this one a read.

Posted by Kat at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2009

Quote of the Day

"It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book." - Maureen Corrigan

Posted by Kat at 06:08 PM | Comments (3)

Unread Books

Over at Toddled Dredge, there's a new meme (sort of) about the books we have sitting on our shelves, unread. Now, it would take me all day to list all my unread books (I love used book sales!), but I'm going to pick 50 to list here, and try to read them (or admit that I'll never read them and give them away) by not this coming birthday but the next one (7/31/10). To make things interesting, I grabbed only books that happened to be in my living room (where there are no bookcases but still seem to be books, always) and my dining room (where there are actually two bookcases). This has tilted the list toward non-fiction, and specifically history, but ah well. Are there any on my list that you particularly loved or hated? Let me know!

1. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
2. The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table-Hop Like a Pro (Almost) by Adam D. Roberts
3. Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
4. The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside by Amanda Hesser
5. Persuasion by Jane Austen
6. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
7. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
8. Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce
9. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti
10. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller
11. Living Witness by Jane Haddam
12. The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King
13. Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan
14. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
15. "A Problem from Hell:" America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
16. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
17. The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England by Antonia Fraser
18. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman
19. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong
20. Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir
21. An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray
22. A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
23. Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats by Matthew Yglesias
24. In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton
25. Daughters of Britannia: The Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives by Katie Hickman
26. The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal
27. Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution by Simon Schama
28. Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe by Thomas Cahill
29. Bachelor Girl: The Secret History of Single Women in the Twentieth Century by Betsy Israel
30. Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women's Alliances in Early Modern Europe edited by Susan Frye and Karen Robertson
31. Deadlock: The Inside Story of America's Closest Election by the Political Staff of the Washington Post
32. John Adams by David McCullough
33. A New World: An Epic of Colonial America from the Founding of Jamestown to the Fall of Quebec by Arthur Quinn
34. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle
35. Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother by James A. Connor
36. The Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman F. Cantor
37. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki
38. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
39. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
40. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
41. Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft by Lyndall Gordon
42. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
43. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
44. Cheating at Solitaire by Jane Haddam
45. On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson: TV News' First Woman Star by John Dickerson
46. L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon by Leon Gorman
47. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind by George Lakoff
48. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
49. The Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789-1837 by Ben Wilson
50. American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever

Posted by Kat at 10:23 AM | Comments (8)

July 05, 2009

More on butter tarts...

A few people have asked for the recipe, but I don't want to share it without permission. I got it from Beck, and I just found this one on her recipe blog. But it's a little different from the one she sent me. So. I've asked her which version is the preferable one, and I'll let you know what I hear.

Posted by Kat at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Posted by Kat at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2009

Butter Tarts!

I mentioned my love for butter tarts in my Canada Day post the other day. I was introduced to them by a Canadian friend who brought some to a party we both attended in Ohio. (Ah, for the days of $30 flights...) She didn't have a recipe, though, and of course you can't buy them around here, so after that one taste I was butter tart-less. Until! This week a lovely Canadian sent me a recipe, so I tried it out:

Butter Tarts!

They're not the prettiest things ever, but boy do they taste good. As Rachel pointed out, they're sort of like mini pecan pies without any pecans. I cheated and used prefab pie crust, and it was a bit too thick, so next time I'm going to do it all from scratch. (I was just too tired last night.) And the great thing about them is that they only use ingredients that you'd normally have around the house anyway. (Assuming that, like me, you consider real maple syrup to be a staple. And assuming that, unlike me, you're not mysteriously out of flour and eggs.) I listened to Canadian music (mostly Alanis Morissette) while making them, which I personally believe adds to their authenticity.

And now I have something new and different to bring to my family for Canada Day the Fourth of July!

Posted by Kat at 09:53 AM | Comments (1)

July 02, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Celebrities?

Today's Question:
Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?

I don't make a point of reading them or anything, but I've read a few. Shirley Temple's was great, as was Kristin Chenoweth's. (Review of that one coming soon.) For years, I said "Patti Boyd should write a memoir!" because hey, she was married to George Harrison and Eric Clapton. And then she did write one, and I still haven't read it. Ah well.

Nonexistent memoirs I'd like to read (in alphabetical order): Christiane Amanpour, Nancy Pelosi (oh, wait, she does have one), Aaron Sorkin, Bradley Whitford... umm. That list was much shorter than I expected, but I can't think of anyone else off the top of my head, except for people who are known for being writers, and generally when a writer writes a memoir, I don't think of it as a "celebrity memoir." I'm sure there are others I'm just not thinking of.

Posted by Kat at 12:39 PM | Comments (5)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge (Updated 7/2)

(I'm going to bump this to the top whenever I add to it.)

Hey, why not? Might as well jump in to the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge. I'm going for the third level: 50 library books finished in 2009. I'll add to this post as I read. (Date in parentheses is the date I finished the book.)

1. Mia by Laurence Yep (1/11)
2. High Five by Janet Evanovich (1/11)
3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (1/18)
4. Bravo, Mia! by Laurence Yep (2/28)
5. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White (3/25)
6. What I Know Now edited by Ellyn Spragins (4/3)
7. 3 Willows by Ann Brashares (4/24)
8. Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas (4/25)
9. A People's History of Christianity by Diana Butler Bass (5/3)
10. Love and Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson (5/3)
11. Catcher by Peter Morris (5/5)
12. Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett (5/7)
13. Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs (5/10)
14. Wish You Were Here by Lani Diane Rich (5/12)
15. Unbuttoned edited by Dana Sullivan and Maureen Connolly (5/16)
16. The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi (5/17)
17. Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang (5/21)
18. Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb (5/21)
19. A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth (5/25)
20. The Matters at Mansfield by Carrie Bebris (5/28)
21. Resilience by Elizabeth Edwards (5/30)
22. Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman (5/31)
23. Vision in White by Nora Roberts (6/3)
24. In the World But Not of It by Brett Grainger (6/5)
25. March Violets by Philip Kerr (6/14)
26. Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs (6/27)
27. Masterpiece of Murder by Mary Kruger (6/28)
28. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (7/1)

Posted by Kat at 06:55 AM | Comments (3)

July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Whee, it's Canada Day! I'm not Canadian, but I've found that many good things are. A random, non-comprehensive, not-in-any-particular-order list of Canadian things (and people) I like:

1. Yarn Harlot
2. The health care system
3. Koigu
4. Knitty
5. butter tarts
6. Moxy Fruvous, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, Rufus Wainwright, Barenaked Ladies
7. L.M. Montgomery
8. Nathan Fillion, Matthew Perry, Christopher Plummer
9. Frog and Toad Are Still Friends
10. Donna Moss (briefly) and Robin Scherbatsky
11. Avonlea and many of its fine actors/writers/crew
12. Patrick Carpentier and Paul Tracy
13. Kurt Browning, Brian Orser, and Sale and Pelletier
14. Gun control

I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but I have to get ready for work...

Posted by Kat at 07:43 AM | Comments (2)

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