126 books in 2017

I read 90 books in 2016, so that means I read 38% more books in 2017! Want to see what I read?

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(I think that’s only 125 covers, but I remembered another book later that I forgot to record, but it was really a novella so it’s okay. Maybe I should say I read 125.5 books this year?)

In any case, this year I’m going to be more organized and instead of just saving screenshots of the covers (since 99% of the books I read are on my phone) I’ll use Goodreads like I should have all along. (I used Goodreads to generate these graphics, btw.) (You can follow me here, if you like.)

The books are shown in the order I read them in so you can see that sometimes I’ll find an author that I enjoy, and then read the crap out of whatever the library has. Some authors I devoured everything I could get my hands on either because I loved their books (Tana French, Jenny Han) or because I couldn’t find anything better to read (Nancy Thayer, Sarah Morgan.)

I read a lot of YA this year (Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, Geekerella.) I was surprised at how much better The Nightingale was than most of Kristen Hannah‘s other books, though many of them were very enjoyable. But I mean, what, did she take a writing class before writing that?

I also read a surprising (to me, when I look back over the year) number of memoirs. Probably the first half of Shrill was my favorite. I spent most of Cat Marnell’s book on edge and feeling very nervous for her.

You can also see that I read a lot of fluff (unapologetically) which probably explains why I can read 126 books in 365 days. I’m also happy to say I think I purchased only one of these books, and it was the aforementioned novella, and the proceeds went to charity. Libraries FTW!

High points:

Low points:

  • All the books that I know I read but can’t recall at all.
  • The two Danielle Steel books that are the books I am ashamed of reading. They were just so terrible. I get these from the library when desperate. But they’re the only two books I’m embarrassed for you to see here. I should have stopped reading three pages in.
  • The latter of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I read. I enjoyed the first one, but my enjoyment lessened the further I got into the series. They were kind of a slog to read, but I was desperate for more dark mysteries after I’d finished the Tana French books.
  • A book you won’t see listed – Into the Water. I just could not get into it. I hate not finishing books (see Danielle Steel, above), but life’s too short.

Overall, though, it was a good year for reading. On to 2018! I don’t have any quantity goals but I’d be happy to match 2017. I’m currently on book #8, so I’m on my way!

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Am organizational genius

The most adorable photo of my children will get a few dozen likes on FB, maybe some comments too. But within minutes of posting my new organizational system, I had scores of likes and tons of comments. So I am blogging about it for posterity.

Uniforms and laundry are a big thing in our house. For the last six years, I’ve stored the boys’ uniforms (everything from socks, undies, shirts, and shorts/pants) in a large round bin. No, I don’t fold their clothes. Please. Life is too short. Everything they wear to school goes in the big bin. It’s a mess. As they’ve gotten bigger, so have their clothes. (Shocking!) The bin is frequently overflowing, plus they’ll dig through it and leave a ring of questionably clean clothes around the perimeter of the bin. I never know what’s clean or what’s dirty, so I end up washing it all again just in case.

About a year or so ago, I bought a mesh shoe organizer and put it on the back of the bathroom door to store all those little things like washcloths, extra razors, my stash of Breathe-Right nose strips, multiple colors of hair dye, etc. It then occurred to me that maybe I could do this with the boys’ clothes. But the shoe organizer pockets are too small.

Amazon to the rescue! Found one with 15 large pockets. How perfect is that? Three kids, five days a week of uniforms. And only $8!

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Each pocket holds a pair of socks (matching, even!), undies, shirt, and shorts. The Friday pockets have spirit shirts because they can wear those on Fridays. Oliver gets pants because he prefers them. Fortunately, I have more than 15 shirts (uh, who knew?) and tons of socks and underpants so I only have to stock those once a week. Shorts and pants will have to be washed throughout the week, but now I can see at a glance what we need and how often I need to wash uniforms. And no more scrambling at the last minute for a pair of matching socks.

Granted, this will be easiest if you have triplets who are all the same size and if they wear uniforms but still, it can be modified to work for you.

The end! Yay! Woo!

Things I’m loving right now

Just want to share the love.

The boys are so, so messy at eating. The floor under the kitchen table is constantly covered in a layer of crumbs. Instead of getting a dog, I picked up this stick vac. I’m not about to spend hundreds of dollars on a Dyson, but this one is great! It’s cordless (first priority), has attachments for getting nooks and crannies (and stairs, which also constantly need vacuuming) and you can pull out the handheld part.

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Sadly, not my kitchen nor my hair.

Next up: these sandals. George and I are going to be doing a lot of walking and hiking when we go to England and I wanted something that would be comfy, but that I’d wear again. Now, my toes will probably freeze, but oh well. You can’t win ’em all. I took them on a 3.5 mile walk this morning and no blisters or anything.

I can’t believe I bought Tevas.

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The Lose It app. I did WW for a while, and I got sick of paying so much for it when it wasn’t doing me much good (I’ll blame them, shall I?) I thought it would be a nice change of pace to just count calories. It’s interesting to see what percentage of my calories end up being carbs/fat/protein. Let’s just say I am working on lowering the carb percentage by a bit and raising the protein. Bring on the almonds!

It also syncs with Runkeeper, which I use to keep track of exercise, and my fitbit. Fun!

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What I really like about it is that you can scan foods and it actually has them in their database. Even totally random stuff from Costco like…

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These delicious wontons. Buy them now. So yum. I just heat them up in chicken broth or throw them in the microwave. I’m sure they’re even tastier fried, but I haven’t tried that yet.

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Wednesday (day 3)

I’d planned for my gym schedule to be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, but I went this morning instead of tomorrow. I’m having dinner with work people tonight and I am pretty sure I’ll want to “sleep in” (you know, til 6:30) tomorrow morning.

My Achilles tendon (or something at the back of my left ankle) was a little sore yesterday so I decided to cross train today. My gym got some of those old-school stair climbers (like tiny escalators) so I spent a bit of time on that (14 minutes climbing stairs is a long time!) and then did some strength training, then got on the elliptical for a little while (booorrrring) and then more strength training.

Okay, enough of that. Other things I’ve been meaning to write about:

– 2/3 of the boys had their first sleepover last week! Big milestone, and especially since Miles actually made it through the night. I was pretty shocked. Linus chose not to stay, though. It was kind of fun having one kid. It was very quiet.

– I’m reading this book right now. It’s set in Baton Rouge, and it takes place in 1991, when the main character is 16. I grew up in Baton Rouge, and I was 16 in 1991, so it’s kind of fascinating. Some of the setting is fictional, but enough of it is not to keep me enthralled.

When people ask me if I’m from here (New Orleans), I always have a hard time answering. Baton Rouge is a totally different world from New Orleans, and it’s so hard to describe. But this book nailed it.

You have to understand. When people think of Louisiana, they think exclusively of New Orleans. We are okay with that. New Orleans has the culture, the allure. They are The Big Easy. The Crescent City. The Birthplace of Jazz. The people of Baton Rouge don’t even have accents. Our parades, when compared to New Orleans, are amateur hour. Even our most raucous bars close at two o’clock in the morning. Theirs don’t close down at all. So, whenever people in Baton Rouge feel wild, we drive the sixty miles to New Orleans. We stay in upscale hotels and spend gobs of money. We drink beer on the street and make bad decisions. We take wrong turns at intersections and feel perpetually lost, and when we wake up in the morning, regretful and satisfied, we go back home saying, “It’s a fun place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

From My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

Well, I guess I did decide to live here, but growing up, I never had any desire to. Anyway, if you’re looking for a good read, I recommend you pick this up. (Even though I haven’t finished it yet.)

– I ended up signing up for that race on Sunday. I really really hope it’s cool and overcast. Hmmph.

– Last week, I got a box from HelloFresh. It’s one of those companies that’s cropping up that sends you the ingredients for meals and the recipe cards, and all you have to do is put them together. I got three meals, two of which were excellent (the third was good, but not outstanding.) We had a pasta bolognese one night, squash with quinoa another night, and chicken and potatoes another night. (The first two were the excellent ones.) (No, the boys didn’t eat this.) (Actually, George didn’t eat the squash one either. More for me!)

Anyway, I loved that I can make these again, because none of the ingredients were particularly unusual. It wasn’t like I’d have to buy from that company, you know? Just some more meal ideas.

If you want to try it and get $40 off your first box, you can use this referral code: R7KT4K (Yeah, it’s not cheap, but great for special meals, and the portion sizes mean you have enough for leftovers.)

Monday morning things

I wanted to blog about a few things that don’t really merit a post of their own.

I baked a king cake!

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, and finally got around to it this weekend. I used the recipe in this blog post. [Please ignore the line, “(Pronounced Nawlins in case you don’t want to sound like a fool)” because that is absolutely, 100% untrue. Please don’t ever say “Nawlins” in my presence.]

The only changes I’d make next time are:

1. Three strands instead of two. It was very puffy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there was definitely a higher ratio of bread: filling than I’d prefer.

2. Get a real baby, not a LEGO minifigure that I sterilized. Though it made for a hilarious photo. I crack myself up.

You're going to put me WHERE?
You’re going to put me WHERE?

3. Get the colored sugar to sprinkle on top. I colored the icing instead, but sugar would be prettier sprinkled on top of the icing (not in lieu of.)

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I was really happy with how it came out, though. So yum! And P was really happy to get the “baby.”

Hair product recommendation

Saturday night, I went with some friends to a walking parade, Chewbacchus. I think you can imagine what the theme was. I looked all over the house for the Princess Leia wig I had at one point, but then I remembered that I have long dark brown hair. No wig needed, just a Pinterest tutorial!

Worked like a charm, and I was so enamored with the bun-making technique, that I went and bought a hair donut thingy yesterday from Ulta.

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Oliver’s writing

Oliver had his writing journal from English class in his backpack and HOLY COW it was a treasure trove of cute. I can’t wait to get my hands on Miles’s and Linus’s. My favorite entry was the one that said, “Today I will inoy my dad.”

My birthday ring

For my 40th birthday, George gave me a box.

Inside the box, which jingled intriguingly, was a set of thick, copper rings. The paper he handed me along with the box informed me that my gift was a custom-made ring from the local jeweler (and friend) Lil.

After a series of appointments (okay, that makes it sound more dramatic than it was – really two visits to her studio) where we discussed various options, my ring was made!

All done!

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The spinny rings have the boys’ names on them, and the inside has a little message from George, as well as the boys’ birthdate.

The spinning rings are great for someone who already likes to fiddle with her rings when bored or nervous. (Me!)

My new spinny ring!

A post shared by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

 

Marvelous.

Last night I took the boys to see the Marvel Universe Live! show. When I was offered the tickets (because, disclaimer: I was given the tickets, but all opinions are mine in this post), I wasn’t sure the boys would be too into it, since they’d largely left their superhero phase behind. (I mean, despite the fact that Oliver was Hulk for Halloween last year.)

But when I told them two days prior to the show that we were going, they pretty much lost their shit. They were so excited. That excitement didn’t wear off, either, as you can see.

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Before the show, we were given access to a special pre-party for bloggers where the boys got to take photos in the superheroes’ gear. Pretty cool.

We also got to load up on snacks and stay out of the cold for a while, which was nice.

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After the pre-party, we got our seats and I very reluctantly paid a fortune for popcorn and cotton candy. It kills me to think of it, but at least my tickets were free. But still. How do these people sleep at night? Okay. Get over it, Pam.

The show itself was actually very cool. The special effects were great (there was real fire!) and the boys were literally on the edge of their seats. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that. I have to say, Spiderman was my favorite – he was a gymnast or something, and was really fun to watch.

As soon as the show was over, the boys were begging to go again. So if your kids are into superheroes at all and this show is coming to your area, I would definitely recommend it.