A Wednesday list...

1. Show of hands: how many of you made donuts out of canned biscuits as a kid? We used to do that occasionally, and I finally had a good reason Monday to get over my intimidation of frying things to give it a try. My kids' preschool had "Donuts with Dad" yesterday morning, and the littlest one is allergic to eggs; but I knew they would enjoy doing something like that with their Dad, so I felt motivated enough to try the biscuit donuts. They were yummy! The kids helped me sugar them -- half powdered sugar, half with cinnamon sugar -- and let me say it's a good thing I already needed to mop my floors. Cinnamon sugar was the preferred variety, and fortunately it was a nice enough day that I could open up my kitchen window to help clear out the fried food smell (the smell is fine while you're cooking, but I don't love old food smells in general).

2. I recently started watching the show Broadchurch on Netflix. The first season (the only one I've finished so far) follows the case of a murdered 11 year old boy in a small coastal town that's never had any kind of violent crime. I think it's really well done. I like the slow pace and the way they portray the suspicion that takes over the small community where everyone (thinks they) know everyone else's business.

3. My friend Heather recommended The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey a while back, and I finally got around to checking the first book out from the library (Leviathan Wakes) It's a big, fat science fiction book, and so far I'm enjoying it. The story itself is very political thriller. Science fiction isn't one of my go-to genres, but the past couple of years I've been more open to it because I've managed to find some books that I really connected with. Which confirms my theory that sometimes all you need is the right-for-you introduction to a particular genre. I think my introduction to the sci-fi genre was actually television and movies, it just took me a while to make the jump from Star Trek and Firefly to books.

4.I listened to a brand-new podcast today: 10 Things to Tell You. Today was the very first episode of the podcast, and the host - who is an avid reader - spent the episode answering a question she said a lot of people ask her: when do you read? What's really funny about that, is that a friend asked me the other day! Laura Tremain (the podcast host) offered a lot of ideas, but one I loved is her personal tip for developing the habit: setting a timer. She sets a timer for 20 minutes, and during that time all she does is read. Now, at this stage in her life she says she does that a couple of times a day, or she often reads past the time. But she also said that she's found that even if all she does is read for those 20 minutes a day, it's amazing how many books she ends up reading. And I'm guessing that the reason is honestly why setting a timer is often a suggested tactic in a lot of areas -- cleaning, exercising, writing, etc. -- because we so rarely focus on ONE THING for any length of time, that we forget how powerful focused energy can be. Anyway, I don't use a timer, but there are a couple of ways I make time to read. Sometimes, I read instead of watching t.v., and I usually at least a few minutes in bed. But as a stay-at-home mom with two preschoolers, there's one choice that has the biggest impact: I recognize that there will always be chores to do. There will always be something to clean or organize or DO. So I don't try to get it all done before "allowing" myself a reading break. If the kids are playing happily, and I've gotten one or two things done, I sit down in the room the kids are playing in (or on my screened porch if they're playing outside), and let myself read for a few minutes. It's not always for very long, but every little bit adds up. (I also give myself permission to quit a book that isn't working for me -- Laura Tremain mentions this too -- so I don't waste a lot of time trying to force my way through a book).

5. I've been thinking of my friends who are experiencing arctic weather today. I hope and pray you all have plenty of blankets, warm drinks, warm food, and that you can stay inside today!