Saturday Summary

SaturdaySummary

Here is this week’s summary!

Monday: Reviewed Anna and the Swallow Man

Wednesday: Tried Hello Fresh Again

Friday: Week 36 and Some Technical Difficulties

How was your week?

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Hello Fresh Update

I ended up using my little credit from my first foray into this meal delivery service to try another week of Hello Fresh.  Actually, I did this last month, but I didn’t actually have time to write about it then.

Anyway.

This time I had no problem with food allergy contaminants, so these meals were rated based on my actual impression of them.

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The first was a Carolina Barbecue chicken with mac n’ cheese and green beans.  I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.  The chicken was okay.  The mac n’ cheese was spicy.  And the green beans were pretty standard.  Although, one tip I got from this meal was to boil the pasta and throw the green beans in while it was cooking.  It didn’t affect the taste pasta, and it was nice to not use an extra pot!  I think boiling the green beans in the pasta water did add a bit of something extra which was nice.

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The second meal was the Tuscan-spiced Shrimp and Orzo, which I rated 3 out of 5 stars.  And this is one of the reasons I really like using the Hello Fresh delivery.  Turns out, I don’t really like orzo.  I’m not a fan of the texture.  The shrimp and tomatoes were okay, but it just really wasn’t my preference.  I’m glad I learned this through Hello Fresh so I don’t still have a bag of Orzo in my pantry.

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But the last meal was a 5 out of 5 home run!  It was Caprese Steak with Roasted Potatoes.  In fact, I made this meal again, purchasing the ingredients on my own.  I never thought to put a Caprese salad on a steak, though I have eaten feta on steak before, which is delish!  Really, anything Caprese will probably be a win for me.

I’m not really planning on ordering again until maybe some time in mid to late summer.  Since the baby is coming, I just don’t know how that will fit into the crazy chaos and transitions that are coming.  But I will be interested to know how it would work with a baby around.  One of the first people I watched on YouTube that did Hello Fresh videos had the toddler and baby chaos and still managed not to burn or overcook things.  This gives me a bit of hope.  I guess we shall see!

By the way, I do have code that can get you $40 off your first box if you want to try it for yourself.

https://www.hellofresh.com?c=KATYVEN&utm_source=raf-share&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=clipboard

Anna and the Swallow Man: A Review

Anna and the Swallow ManAnna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book for Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 12, 2018). The story takes place mostly in Poland from the perspective of a girl named Anna. At the beginning of the story, she is 7 years old when her father, an academic professor, leaves for work one day and is taken by the Nazis to an internment camp. The friend that he leaves Anna with is unable to care for her, so she finds herself on the streets where she meets a mysterious man she calls the Swallow Man. She follows him outside of the city and that’s where the adventure begins.
It’s written in the 3rd person, though it is all from the perspective of this little girl. There are only a few times that the author breaks that fourth wall to explain something, such as the fate of her father early in the story. Other than that, we are only privy to her knowledge of the world around her, which is limited by what she understands.
The story covers several years of the travels of Anna and the Swallow Man, so she does grow up throughout the story. The writing doesn’t change, really, to reflect that, though the conversations and interactions with others do as she physically matures. Also, her perspective of the Swallow Man changes throughout the story as she grows up, and we do see some transformation that both of these characters go through on this adventure.
The plot is pretty fast moving. They interact with various parts of the war and witness several of the well-known Holocaust events, but a lot of it is again taken from the perspective of a young girl. She refers to these factories and encampments that keep popping up that the Swallow Man tends to avoid, but concentration camps are never really named that in their travels. So, having some basic knowledge of the Holocaust can help pick up on a few of these clues.

There wasn’t really any profanity that stood out, but the book did have some adult themes. As Anna’s body matures, there are implications from some of the men they encounter that suggest how womanly she had become. Also, there is a scene towards the end where she has to undress in front of a man in order to obtain something she needs. While there was no touching, the whole scene made me feel uncomfortable.
Also, there is a lot of violence and death. None of it was particularly graphic, most of the violence was done off screen, but there is a lot of death, which considering it was World War II and the Holocaust in Poland, it’s too be expected. It was interesting how Anna interprets the death that is happening around her.

I think, overall, it’s an excellent but hard read. It’s the kind of story that starts out quite light and calm and evolves into quite a dark story by the end.  Not normally a book I would pick up, but definitely a good read for this particular time of the year.

DFS: Week 35 and Some Anxiety Rears Its Ugly Head

I know that I’ve been anxious through most of this pregnancy, but this week just seemed to hit a peak.  The place I struggle with it the most, which I mention a little bit in my video is putting this nursery together.  There are so many memories I have of working on registries and the nursery in my other pregnancies, and I think that kind of tipped the scale this week.  I can literally walk into the nursery, look at everything in there, and experience a complete creativity block having no idea what I want it to look like.  I know it will come together eventually, so I’m just taking it one step at a time.

Mint Herb Kit Update

So, not much happened this weekend.  Since it’s busy season, Michael had to work on Saturday, which left the pups and me to chill at home.  And Sunday was fairly calm as well.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to give an update on the Mint Herb Kit that I started earlier this year.

So after I put the kit together, once there were the tiniest sprouts poking through the dirt, I had to change out the water which included adding a tsp of the included plant food to two cups of water.

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Now, the sprouts have sprouted, and they are starting to look like tiny mint leaves.  I’m so excited.  I’m looking forward to some fresh mint this summer.  I love putting it in my water.  It’s so refreshing.  Plus, I just love the smell as well.  Of course, I still can’t smell mint on these tiny leaves just yet, but I hope I will soon!

Do you have any recent project updates?  What are you looking forward to this summer?