Tag Archives: challenge

Pin It and Do It

PinitDoitMay2013My friend Trish of Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity created a Pinterest challenge, wherein participants actually do/make the things they’ve pinned. She’s been hosting the monthly challenge for a whole year now, but this is my first time to participate.

The Pin It and Do It challenge is open to everyone, so join in the fun!

I’m signing up at the Pinterested level, hoping to complete 4-7 pins.

I feel a little bit like I’m cheating, since this installment of the challenge runs for the month of May, and a couple pins I’ve already done (or at least started), but hey. She said it was OK, and she’s the host.

My first completed pin (for the challenge)

We (and by we I mean my husband, but I found the recipe) made these cookies last night. Chocolate chip cookies, but with browned butter, sea salt, and Nutella? How could they be bad, right?

And they’re not (bad). They’re actually really tasty. But they’re also complicated. And we’re not convinced that the Nutella actually adds to the experience, *gasp*! (We made some with and some without. They basically look the same, though, so you just get one one type pictured.)


I totally didn’t notice that Nutella seepage while taking the photos. Oops.

We did make a few modifications, of course. First, we subbed out the flour, to make them gluten free. I think that may be the cause of the giant-ness of them? They spread like crazy. And we didn’t have sea salt, we used kosher salt.

A cookie in hand is worth two?

Pictured here on my relatively large hand for scale.

Now excuse me while I go pin some things I have planned to make/do for A’s birthday party. I also have some projects I pinned months ago for my own birthday party that I’m planning to accomplish this month, too. Lots of party-related pinning and doing planned for this month, over here!

Mini-challenge winner (and my lily)

I loved seeing the results of all your paper folding! The winner of my mini-challenge is:

Shannon @ BooksDevoured, who got her kids involved in the fun, too! Together, they made a butterfly, a boat and a dog.

Congratulations, Shannon!!! Check the Readathon site for instructions on how to claim your prize.

Here’s what I made:

WordLily's Lily

Posed on the book the lily's crafted from.


Check the comments on my original post to see everyone else’s paper-folding fun!

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Readathon mini-challenge: Book origami!

Welcome, Readathon-ers!

From the moment I first encountered it, I’ve always been drawn to, fascinated by, all the fabulous art made from books or pages of books. It’s all so beautiful and bookish, don’t you agree?

But … I’m also scared to attempt it. I can’t hardly stand the thought of ripping into a book — any book — even an old review copy that I hated! Maybe you feel like me, or maybe destroying a book for the sake of art doesn’t bother you even a little bit. Either way, I think I’ve found a painless way to try my hand at book art.

Instead of cutting, we’re going to be folding today. Origami seems timely, given the recent devastating earthquakes in Japan, where the art originated.

Take the plunge with me now!

  1. Find an old book (if you’re still skittish, maybe start with an old phone book — who needs those in the internet age?) and
  2. rip into it.
  3. Do some paper folding, and
  4. share your creation.

To get you started, here are some sites with origami, paper-folding, tutorials. (Or maybe you have a book of ideas to hand already?)

OK, I think that’s plenty to go on for now.

I think I’m going to make a lily. Seems appropriate, somehow. 😀

Once you’ve posted photo(s) of your bookish creation on your blog, come back and leave me the direct link to your post in the comments below. I’ll be picking a winner (at random) once three hours have passed.

’10 Things Bloggers Should Not Do’: Bloggiesta mini-challenge

Welcome, fellow Bloggiesta-ers! 10 Things Bloggers Should Not Do is a guest post by Onibalusi Bamidele on Daily Blog Tips, and the content is beneficial for newbie bloggers and the more *ahem* experienced among us as well.

To entice you, a brief excerpt:

10. You Must Not Throw Mud Around
9. You Must Not Have An Unreadable/Unnavigable Site
8. You Must Not Ignore Networking
7. You Must Not Ignore SEO

Now, the challenge.

  1. Read the post, 10 Things Bloggers Should Not Do.
  2. Rate yourself (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being muy excellente) on each point. How are you doing?
  3. Brainstorm examples of what you can/will do to improve your ratings in those areas that could use improvement. And/or:
  4. If you feel you’re doing particularly great in one area, share examples of how you’ve reached such excellence.

Once you’ve done that, post it on your blog and come back here to leave a link, or at least share the highlights in a comment here.

On to a better blog! Happy Bloggiesta!

Edited to add: One of the many articles about search engine optimization (SEO) for blogs, from ProBlogger.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), 576 pages

The Book Thief is narrated by Death. It’s set in Germany, opening in 1939. Yes, that’s World War II. Liesel Meminger, at age 9, is taken (by her mother) to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family. On the journey, she steals her first book, even though she can’t yet read. She’s haunted by nightmares of her younger brother’s death.

Among other awards, The Book Thief was a Printz Honor Book in 2007.

I knew I was missing out by having not yet read this book. I started reading it in 2008, but it was during the read-a-thon, in the middle of the night, and I just wasn’t capable of reading a book narrated by Death in the middle of the night and still appreciating it. Alas, it’s taken me nearly two years to get back to it, but at least I finally have.

I found the voice of this book to be wholly unique. While most of the material wasn’t new to me (although a bit of the perspective I hadn’t read before), this was *not* just another Holocaust book. The writing is superb, achingly beautiful. (I feel like I use that phrase way too much …) I also found it quite interesting how most things are fully disclosed before they actually happen — the narrator “spoils” himself.

The characters, the bookish elements, the writing — all excellent. A gorgeous book with a heinous setting. I say setting because war is not really what the book is about. It’s a backdrop, sure, and hardly a page goes by without mention of it, but the book is about Liesel, about words.

My only complaint (and it’s a small one): The prologue doesn’t really fit the book. After I’d read the prologue, I was sort of dreading this book. But once I got past that, the story sucked me in and the pages flew by.

Although this book was first published in just 2006, I’d call it a classic. This is a book that will endure. If you haven’t read it yet, why not? Sure, it’s not exactly short, but it’s also a young adult book, so the pages fly by (well, the fact that it’s a great story helps that, too). You have no excuse. Read it.

I definitely want to read more of Zusak’s work — I’m particularly intrigued by his I Am the Messenger.

About the author
Markus Zusak lives in Sydney, Australia. Read an interview with Zusak at the Random House website.

Other reviews
Filling My Patch of Sky
Maw Books
So Many Books
At Home with Books
In the Shadow of Mt. TBR
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
A Chair, a Fireplace & and Tea Cozy
My Two Blessings
The Book Lady’s Blog

Still want more reviews? Check out the Book Blogs Search Engine.

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I checked this book out from the library. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

My impetus for finally picking this book up was the Social Justice Challenge; the January theme has been religious freedom. It’s certainly not a stretch to see how this book fits that theme.

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang translated by Bao Pu, Renee Chiang, and Adi Ignatius (Simon & Schuster, May 19, 2009), 336 pages

Zhao Ziyang was China’s premier during the Tiananmen Square protests. He acted to prevent the massacre and was forcibly removed from power — and lived the rest of his life under house arrest — because of his actions. He was also instrumental in choreographing and instituting economic reform in the years leading up to what he calls the July Fourth incident. Zhao grew to believe that continued economic reforms and success required political reforms and further openness from the government, in addition to a free press.

In these secret journals, which he recorded around 2000, he not only recounts these events and his economic and political strategies and actions, he also addresses misconceptions and misinformation and accepts responsibility for his own mistakes. The journals were uncovered after Zhao’s death in 2005.

I haven’t read a book that had the word bourgeois in it so many times in a very long time, certainly not since college. I was struck by the huge challenge attempting reforms and instituting a free market would be where the other leaders don’t speak freely to each other.

I was glad for an excuse to learn more about this period of China’s history. I don’t remember the Tiananmen Square massacre (I was still a child), although I’ve heard them referenced probably ever since they first happened.

For a book about economics and politics, I really enjoyed this book. The writing is not overly academic (I’m guessing the conversational tone is because the book is translated from oral journals.) but rather quite approachable. My love for all things China may have smoothed my path through the book, though.

I would have loved to read more about the (notably absent from this book) cultural and religious elements of the story. I would also have loved to read about leading up to and during/after the Beijing Olympics.

I read this book as part of a collaborative effort on the part of many bloggers to collective read and review all 50 of the books Newsweek listed as Books of our Times. The list as a whole was daunting, so we split it up! Great idea, Amy! All 50 books were claimed pretty quickly, and many of the titles have more than one person reviewing them.

The epilogue argues that the China portrayed in this book is today’s China. Whether that’s the case or not, this book is certainly relevant to us, today. China is growing so quickly, in so many sectors. We must pay attention.

See other reviews of books from the Newsweek list.

Other reviews
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I checked this book out from the library.

Social Justice Challenge

The 2010 Social Justice Challenge is more than a reading challenge. As Amy said in the challenge’s introductory post:

“Reading opens new worlds to us and can sometimes expose the injustice in our own. We have all been powerfully moved by the injustice we have learned about in books and decided we wanted to host a reading project that would encourage us to learn more about these issues in the world.”

This is the crux of why we — Natasha, Amy and I — are hosting this, the Social Justice Challenge.

What is it? Each month has a different theme:

January • Religious Freedom
February • Water
March • Domestic Violence & Child Abuse
April • Hunger
May • AIDS Crisis
June • Genocide
July • Poverty
August • Illiteracy and Education
September • Modern Day Slavery
October • Homelessness & Refugees
November • Women’s Rights
December • Child Soldiers & Children in War

And each month, in addition to reading selections, we’re also challenging participants to take action, to do something to counteract the injustice we’ve been learning about and highlighting that month.

Why am I a part of the Social Justice Challenge? Well, this is why: I am passionate about social justice. I try to live intentionally, conscious of how my choices and actions impact others. My heart is broken by the pain of others, by the injustice in this world.

Join us! Check out the challenge site, which has tons of resources about the individual themes (with more to come!) (and while you’re there, subscribe!), and subscribe to the challenge Twitter account @read4justice.

Trending on Twitter mini-challenge winner

deweys-readathonbuttonWell, that wasn’t too hard, was it? 🙂 Since #readathon was already trending when my read-a-thon mini-challenge started, we had an advantage. The highest I saw the #hashtag get was Number 5 on the list; think we can get it higher than that, at some point today? It’s such a rush, isn’t it?

The winner of my mini-challenge is Kathrin of Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic! Congratulations, Kathrin! I’ll be emailing you shortly.