Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Husband Gave Me Cheap Vodka for Valentine's Day

My husband gave me cheap vodka for Valentine's day.  Because nothing says, "I love you," like almost a gallon of cheap vodka.
Several weeks ago, he noticed that I had cheap vodka listed as a possible gift idea for me on our family's gift website.  He thought that was kind of strange, since I don't like alcohol, and I drink alcohol very infrequently.  I actually can't remember the last time I had a drink, I mean, aside from the sips I take of Hubby's beers every now and then to confirm that I still don't like it.

Near the beginning of February, he asked if I would like a gift for Valentine's day.  When I replied in the affirmative, he asked what, and I said vodka.
I'd already purchased the vanilla beans, you see.  And considering my underbuying tendency, and my hatred of shopping in general, I was dreading having to make another stop to buy alcohol (where we live, alcohol has to be sold in separate liquor stores--you won't find it in the grocery store, although pretty much every grocery store around has a liquor store right next to it.  It's still another stop, in my mind, anyway).

So Hubby bought vodka for me.  And that was the perfect way for him to show that he loves me, since my main love language is acts of service.  I love it when he puts gas in the vehicles, too.  I pretty easy to please, actually.
 You know what this means, right?  Yup.  I got the vanilla extract started last week.  It'll be ready in...oh, 4-6 months.  Or longer.  I mean, the longer it sits, the better it tastes, or so I've been told.

Apparently, Hubby was chatting with the senior high youth at our church about where he should buy cheap vodka.  Well, I think he was actually chatting with some of the leaders, but the kids happened to be there.  Because when I posted on Facebook that my husband had purchased cheap vodka for me for Valentine's day, both the minister to families with students and one of our pastors commented on the post, saying things like it was fun listening to the liters to quarts conversion, and oh, so that's what he was talking about.  With impressionable minors.  At least it was educational?
On Sunday, our pastor asked me if I was going to blog about it.  Yes.  Yes, I am.  I'll check back in in a few months.  

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that making vanilla extract was on my 9 for 2019 list.  Whoo hoo!  I'm well on my way to accomplishing  my goals.  Also, passive goals, like this one, are awesome.

For those of you wondering about particulars (there is a lot of varying and contradicting information online about the appropriate vanilla bean to alcohol ratio), I used 40 of these extract grade vanilla beans (the price has gone up since I bought mine, but I liked this seller, because he had the best price at the time, shipped quickly, and included a sample of whole cloves with my order) and 1.75 liters of cheap vodka.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Menu plan for the week of February 18

My main grocery store just switched its ad cycle.  Their ads used to run Sunday to Saturday.  Now the ads run Wednesday to Tuesday.  Adapting has been difficult for me.  Well, to be fair, it's only been a couple of weeks, but still, I'm struggling a little bit. 

It seems difficult because I would like to have Wednesday be my grocery and errand day.  I've been trying to transition for months now.  But my grocery day still remains Tuesday, or even *gasp* Monday most weeks, mostly because we run out of milk.  You're right.  I should buy more milk. I don't buy more milk because I like to be able to carry all of my groceries out to the car in one trip, so I don't have to bring the cart back.

Anyway, when I'm making my list, I'm hoping for Wednesday shopping, but I have to plan for Monday or Tuesday.  Which means writing down the things that I will purchase if I go Wednesday and the things I will purchase if I go Monday or Tuesday.  I shop the sales, see, and there are some things that I only buy when they're on sale, some things I buy because they're on sale.  And those things are different if I go Wednesday versus Tuesday.

I think what I need to do is just give up on Wednesday as my grocery day.  That way I just have to worry about one sales flyer per week.  It's just...I want it to be Wednesday.

My other main grocery store, the one I go to to get the things my main main grocery store doesn't carry, continues to run its sale cycle Sunday to Saturday.  But they like to complicate things by sometimes having fantastic sales that run Thursday through Saturday.  You may have noticed that none of those days is Tuesday, Wednesday, or even Monday.  This week is one of those weeks.  *Sigh*

So I'm grocery shopping on Monday (and buying at least 3 gallons of milk), then hoping to get out again Thursday or Friday for the fantastic deals.  We'll see how that goes...

In the meantime, here's what's on this week's menu.


  • Rice burgler, bread & butter, applesauce
  • Tacos
  • Pizza, salad
  • Moroccan chicken, couscous (or quinoa), vegetable medley
  • Brats or hot dogs, buns, oven fries, carrots, jello
  • Grilled pork chops, garlic toast, grilled green veggie
  • Oven fried (? anyone have a good recipe?) chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes & (possibly, if I feel like making it) gravy, green beans


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Easter Code: A 40-Day Journey to the Cross ~ A Review

Each two page spread in this booklet begins with a reflection on a theme followed by a "Code Word" and brief explanation for the reader to ponder, a "Passion Proclamation", which is a few verses from the Bible, and a short prayer.  The book contains 40 sections, for each of the days of Lent, plus readings for Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, an introduction, and a epilogue.

I like this book.  The devotionals are short, but powerful, and I appreciate the suggestion of a "Code Word" to keep the lesson in mind all day.  The size of the book, at around 4 by 6 inches, is perfect to tuck into a purse.

I was planning on using this book with our family for our after supper devotions during Lent, and I probably will do that, but the addition of the code word makes this book more appropriate for morning reading, so just keep that in mind if you are an evening devo person.

All proceeds from the book go to support Mission:Dignity, a fund that supports retired ministers who are living near the poverty level.

If you're looking for an easy to read devotional to add a little more meaning to your Lenten season, The Easter Code is a good choice.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Menu plan for the week of February 11

I canned black beans on Thursday.  That's one of the reasons I was lying to you last week about what we were going to eat.  When I can beans, I can as many loads as I can in one day.  Which is 4 (well, I could do 5, but I would have to get up earlier and stay up later, and I don't want to do that, especially since 4 loads of quarts requires 10 lbs of beans, which is a nice number of pounds of beans to can).

Anyway, the plan was to have Sunday night stew that day (I know.  On a Thursday.  What was I thinking?), but I recognized early on that I wasn't going to have the stove space available to simmer the stew for two hours.  So I made something in the slow cooker.  You guys.  It was so nice, after canning all day, in between sledding and shoveling off the temporary rink in the yard, to not have to worry about supper in the afternoon.

Our seasonal pond is huge and frozen this year.
It was all fun and games until someone got a split lip.
Don't worry.  It looked worse than it was.
Oh, and just so you know, when you're planning to can 20 quarts of something, it's important to make sure ahead of time that not only do you have enough jars and lids, but that you also have enough of the right kind of lids for the jars that you have available.  Or enough of the right kind of jars for the lids you have available.  I had 11 regular mouth lids and a bunch of wide mouth lids.  I also had 6 wide mouth jars and a bunch of regular mouth jars.  I actually emptied two wide mouth jars into the slow cooker, so then I was up to 19 jars and lids to use for black beans.  I still needed one more. 

Guess what I did, friends.  I reused a lid.  I know!  You're not supposed to do that!  It's not supposed to work; it's not safe.  But I figured if it didn't seal, I would just refrigerate or freeze that jar.  It was easier than canning all the rest of the beans, and just cooking the leftover quart on the stove and then storing them in the fridge or freezer.

But it worked!  In fact, all 20 of my jars sealed this time.  That might be a record.  But I did put that one jar in the cupboard to be used up first.  And I'll be buying regular mouth canning lids this week so I won't have to reuse anymore lids anytime soon.  You know, if I can get to the grocery store.  I'm thinking today might be my best chance.

Other things happened, too, and we ended up having what was on the menu only one night last week.  And it wasn't leftover night.  Hopefully this week, we'll be able to stick a little closer to our plan.  Here it is:



Friday, February 8, 2019

I made it out

Well, I made it out on Tuesday.  Just barely.  And then I almost didn't make it back.  If it had just been groceries that I was after, I probably would have talked myself into staying home, but I had two mystery shops due, scheduled in more optimistic, and less icy, times.  So I girded my loins put on my big girl pants, gunned the engine, and somehow made it to the road before gravity and ice took over.

The roads actually weren't all that bad.  In fact, once I got to the main road, it was completely dry.  It was just that first mile and a half that had me white-knuckling my steering wheel.  Of course, then it started snowing, much earlier than my weather app led me to believe it would.  Then the roads weren't dry.

I successfully completed the two shops, grabbing groceries in between at an Aldi I rarely frequent, and then I decided to go to Wal-mart.  I know, I know.  I generally avoid that place like the plague, but there are some things that Aldi just doesn't carry, like rutabagas.  And Wal-mart was the only grocery store that required right turns only. 

When I returned to my vehicle, it wouldn't start.  Not just wouldn't start, but I couldn't even turn the key.  It was just...stuck.  Now, this is something that happens with some regularity in the Saturn.  You know, the Saturn that is older than my adult child?  And when it happens in the Saturn, all you have to do is jiggle the steering wheel and the key will turn.

Didn't work. 

Checked the owners manual.  Nothing.

Called the Hubs to see if this had happened to him or if he had any suggestions.  On the way into a meeting, he started the car for me remotely, but in order to drive one needs to not only have the key, but also be able to turn the key to the run position.  No go.

Hubby called the dealership, which suggested jiggling the steering wheel while turning the key.  Nope.  Surely this was my punishment for shopping at Wal-mart.

Hubby drove home to get his key to try, then drove to the Wal-mart parking lot.  Meanwhile, I had been trying to turn the key every so often, just to see if the Yukon had changed its mind.  Nope. Nothing. Nada.

Until.  Hubby pulled up into the parking spot beside me.  I tried one more time, and the key turned; the vehicle started.

You guys.  I was annoyed.  The car not starting was not part of my plan for the day.  And it was just so random.  Why would it start just fine, every single time we asked it to, and then suddenly not?  And then just as suddenly decide to start again?  So inconvenient, and not just for me (thank you again for coming to my rescue, Hubby).

But you know what I decided?  It had to have been a God thing.  There was some reason that I needed to be stuck in that parking lot for over an hour.  I will probably never know what disaster was averted due to that little diversion, but I choose to believe my inconvenience was for my protection.  Even if it's not true, it's a lovely thought--a hug from God.

 Now, of course, I'm stuck here.  Forever.  Or until the ice melts.  Hubby tells me I need to just drive in the grass.  As if I could find the grass at this point.  And as if I have that much control over that hunk of metal and glass.  *Sigh*

And it turns out I was lying to you about what we were going to eat this week, even though I did manage to get out for groceries.  Sorry, friends.  Sometimes...things just don't work the way we thought they would.  But that's a story for another time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I Love You Funny Bunny: A Review

From the book jacket:
I love you, Funny Bunny, from your whiskers to your toes.
I love the way you hop around and wiggle your cute nose.
I love the way you make me laugh, then melt me with your smile.
And no one in this great big world can match your sense of style. 
With read-aloud rhymes and adorable illustrations, I Love You, Funny Bunny tugs at the heart and celebrates the special bond between a parent and child.  Cuddle up and share this book with the Funny Bunny in your life.
The book jacket kinda says it all.  This is such a sweet book, and the illustrations are lovely.  I love the rhyming cadence of the text and the loving bond between parent and child.  I definitely wish we'd had I Love You, Funny Bunny when my kiddos were in the picture book stage.  And even though my kids are 18. 15, and 11, I think I might just read this one tonight at bedtime, to a chorus of rolling eyes, I'm sure. 

The truth is, I do love my kiddos.  I tell them every day, but I think they absorb it more easily when it rhymes and has illustrations, when it has a rhythm.  Nobody's ever too old for that.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Menu plan for the week of February 4

I made a double batch of Bubby's favorite muffins the other day.  And as I was putting the dough into the muffin cups, I thought there was something a little off with them.  They seemed a little dryer than usual.  I attributed the dryness to forgetting the vanilla extract, because there was a lot going on in the kitchen just then.  Bubby was helping me, and I was helping Hubby with supper.  And there were a lot of dirty dishes that had piled up, because life.  And cluttered surfaces = cluttered brain, for me anyway.

Usually, you see, when I bake something, I take all of the ingredients out of the cupboard first, and line them up on the counter.  I put them away as I use them, and that way, I rarely forget an ingredient.  This time, there wasn't room, so I didn't (get the ingredients out all at once), and I did (forget).  The vanilla extract.  I figured it wouldn't make that much of a difference in the finished product, so I continued on.  I scooped the batter, and Bubby spooned the topping, and into the oven they went.

After they were baked, I tasted one, and it didn't taste quite the same as I remembered these muffins tasting.  It was about an hour later that I realized that I also forgot the sugar. Oy vey.  Nobody else noticed, though, so the moral of the story is you can put (a lot) less sugar in your muffins and no one will notice.

In other news, I don't think my kids are ever going to go to school again.  Last week we had a 7 day weekend due first to a teacher in-service day, then to the actual weekend, followed by snow, and finally record low windchills.  This week, we began with a day off due to icy road conditions, and the temperature continued to fall all day.  That's not a very good way to remove ice from roads.  Plus, we're supposed to be getting snow for the next 3 days (3-5" today), and we're not going above freezing for the foreseeable future.  Isn't that just great.  Ice with snow on top.

Hopefully, at some point I'll be able to get out of the driveway to buy food, so that I'm not lying to you when I say, here's what's on the menu this week:



What's on your menu this week?  And are kiddos in your neighborhood attending school?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Chicken Update

Hi friends.  I thought it was time for another chicken update.

In my last update, I reported that all of the Bigs (about 21 months old) were molting.  I am pleased to announce that all of them have regrown their feathers, and at least two of them, Rocky and Esther, have laid eggs since molting.  That isn't supposed to happen--they're supposed to wait until spring to start laying eggs again after a molt, but my chickens don't concern themselves too much with following rules.  We also had a stretch of warmer weather, which I'm sure helped with the egg situation, especially for Rocky.

Also laying right now are Littles (almost 11 months old), Hazel and Indigo.  Indigo's been laying all along, but Hazel took an extended break in December.  Hazel also had some missing feathers on her breast in early January, but has not gone through a full molt.  Koko was laying regularly up through early January, but hasn't laid an egg in weeks now.  I don't know why, although I have been seeing more Koko feathers than usual on the floor of the hen house.

I have been letting the girls out unsupervised for an hour or two before sunset every day.  There are fewer aerial predators around this time of year, and the girls have also gotten better at taking cover when they hear or see a predator.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw them make a break for the coop when they heard a hawk.  The hawk turned out to be a crow, but better safe than sorry when you're a chicken.  It's been really nice being able to let them out and know that they'll be ok.  Of course, now there's snow on the ground, so they're not venturing out as much.

A few weeks ago, I let the girls out, and when I went out to put them back in again, I noticed that someone had pooped on our deck.  Naughty girls.  So I got my poop scoop, went back to the deck, took care of business, and then walked back to the coop.  I got the girls in for the night, and then as I was walking back to the house, I noticed an egg on my path.  An egg!  On the path!  It hadn't been there as I had been walking back and forth, so someone (probably Hazel) laid an egg on the path on her way back to the hen house for the night.

Just in case you don't know, it actually takes a while for a hen to lay an egg.  My girls will hang out in the nest box for sometimes an hour or more, before the egg comes.  Eggs are not surprises.  But apparently this one was.  It had the same hazy coating on it as the ones I found in the run early on when the Littles first started laying.  So maybe that coating happens when eggs come faster, and maybe they do come as a surprise.

In deference to colder temperatures this week, I put the mama hen heating pad back into use, this time in the hen house.  I have it set to the lowest setting, and I turn it on when the overnight temperatures are -5°F or lower.  It's just there to take a little (tiny) bit of the chill off.  I also left it on during the day when the high temps stayed below -5°F this week, just so the girls had someplace to warm up during the day.  They didn't hang out with the heating pad all day, though.  They spent their time in the run, eating, scratching, and preening.  Honestly, the heat is more for my peace of mind than for the chickens' benefit.  As I say over and over, they do better with cold than with hot.  We had extended periods last winter when the temperature did not go above 0, and they were just fine.

The chickens are fine, but some of the eggs have not been.  I didn't get to a couple until they had frozen and cracked.  No worries--I just thawed them, then scrambled them, shells and all, and fed them back to the chickens.  It was a win-win: I didn't have to waste an egg, and the girls got a yummy, warm snack on a bitterly cold day.

And I think that's all for now.  See ya next time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

God, I Know You're There by Bonnie Rickner Jensen: A Review

God, I Know You're There, by Bonnie Rickner Jensen, illustrated by Lucy Flemming, is a sweet board book about things that we can't necessarily touch or see, but that we know are there anyway: things like wind, stars, thunder, and God.  Each two page spread is beautifully illustrated, with a rhyme, like this:

Wind, I can't see you.
Still I know you're there.
I feel you dance across my face
And rustle through my hair.

The illustrations are sweet and whimsical, and relevant to each rhyme.  I loved that the characters were drawn to have different genders and ethnicities.  This book is a gentle way to explain the unexplainable to children.  It shows that some things are real and true, even if we can't explore them with our senses, even if we can only hold them in our hearts.  I really liked this book.

You may be wondering why I chose to review this particular book.  I mean, we are well beyond board-book days in our household.  Truthfully, I chose it because I knew it would be a quick and easy read, and I'd be able to get my review out without investing a lot of time.  I figured I'd give it to one of my girlfriends who has preschool aged children after I was done.  But now?  I think I'm going to keep it, for cuties who may visit someday.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

My Nine (goals) for 2019

I've narrowed it down, and now, today, 1/12 of the way through 2019, as promised, I'm ready to share my list of goals for this year.  I decided to go with nine, because 19 seems like way too many.  We won't talk about the fact that I accomplished 17 last year, and that 19 is only two more.  Nineteen sounds like sooooo much more than 17, or even 18.

Anyway, I've narrowed it down to 9, with the understanding that the others, the ones that didn't make the cut, may or may not happen, too.

So here, without further ado, is the list.

  • Plant sunflowers by the chicken coop--These will be multipurpose sunflowers.  They'll be pretty, provide shade, and provide food for the chickens.  The challenge will be keeping the girls from eating them before they get strong enough to withstand the chickens' pecking.

  • Make/install chicken swing--My sis said I should do this one, and I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing the girls enjoying it.  I hope they do enjoy it.

  • Make vanilla extract--Making vanilla (well, most extracts, really) extract is so easy--I'm looking forward to knocking this one out early.  

  • Cover a box that I store things in to make it pretty--I've been meaning to do this for years.  Even though it's a box that I use in our master bathroom, so hardly anyone ever sees it, it will make me happy to have a prettier receptacle.

  • Crochet or knit something, like a ponchoa blanketpurple scarves, or a hat -- I definitely want to expand my yarn-working skills.  It's always so much fun to crochet something, but then the next time I want to try I psych myself out, because I think it'll be difficult.

  • Four playdates with myself (Ikea, Hobby Lobby, downtown, Arboretum)--This is another one my sis said I should do.  And I think I should, too.  You know how some people go shopping for fun?  Yeah.  I do not.  And lately I've been avoiding shopping until absolutely necessary.  But I think I would find these particular expeditions to be inspiring, so I'm going to "make" myself go.

Aren't these dishcloths darling?
  • Replace dish cloths--I really like our dishcloths--they're cloth on one side, with a scrubby side on the other--but they kind of stink when they're wet, and feel almost slimy, too.  Yuck.  I did use some extra methods to try to get the ick out, and that seems to have worked, but now they're getting grungy again.  They're several years old, so it's time for some new ones.  Maybe I'll get some at Ikea!

  • Put together a traveling charger kit--You know, cords and wall chargers that are specifically designated for travel, kind of like my travel toiletries kit.  This way, I won't have to bother with remembering to grab my cords at the last minute when we travel.

  • Facts of life book--This goal, of course, is continued from last year.

Here are the ten additional goals that I would add if I was doing 19:

And here are the goals that didn't make the cut:
  • Make a grazing box for the chickens
  • Replace my screen protector
  • Replace my phone case

Monday, January 28, 2019

Menu plan for the week of January 28

Hello, friends.  Do you ever get so tired that you can't sleep?  Ugh.  I hate when that happens.  It seems so unfair.  I mean, I can understand being so not-tired that you can't sleep, but too tired?  It just doesn't make sense.

So, hey.  I'm exhausted.  And I can't sleep.  My tired condition is exacerbated by the fact that Hubby was out of town for two weeks.  Not only is parenting solo tiring, but I also have this annoying habit of staying up way too late when Hubby's out of town.  And then there's the whole post-Christmas slump.  Can I still consider that a factor almost 5 weeks later?

Sure.  Why not?

Anyway, Hubby's back, so I'm back to menu planning.  Here ya go:



Friday, January 25, 2019

How I do cards

I was out and about a couple of weeks ago, and I had a strong feeling that I needed to go to Dollar Tree before AKD went back to school.  So I stopped at Dollar Tree, but when I got inside and looked at my running Dollar Tree list (one hazard of watching Dollar Tree hauls on YouTube is they make you want to buy all the cute things.  So I make a list of all the cute things as I'm watching the hauls.  And usually, by the time I actually get to Dollar Tree, either the cute things are gone, or I've decided I don't want them after all, so it usually turns out ok), there wasn't anything on the list that couldn't have waited until after AKD left. 

And then I remembered.  Cards.  I needed to buy the cards so that AKD could sign them.  Or at least the ones between February and the beginning of May.

Here's the deal.  Sending cards is important to me.  I want my loved ones to know that I'm thinking of them, and I know how much I appreciate getting something in the mail that isn't a catalog or a bill.  But a couple of years ago, I wasn't sending cards.  I wasn't sending cards because it is such an ordeal to remember that someone's birthday or anniversary is coming up, then get to the store and chose a card, then bring it home, sign and stamp it, and actually get it into the mailbox.

OK, when I put it like that, it doesn't sound like so much of an ordeal.  But it totally is.  For me, anyway.  I hate shopping, and I am a notorious underbuyer.  If I don't absolutely need (and I do mean need) something, I talk myself out of buying it.  And it is very rare that I actually need to buy something right that second.  It can almost always wait a day or a week or forever.  Birthday cards?  I do not need.

So here's what I do.  I buy all of the birthday and anniversary cards for all of the family that I send such cards to all at once.  In one trip to the store.  I line the cards up on the floor in the card aisle to make sure I haven't missed any, and other customers walking by look at me funny.  Also, the cashier usually looks at me funny, as does the customer in line behind me who is buying only one card.

That's alotta cards!
Yes, it is an ordeal (and sometimes I forget which card is for which person by the time I get home), but it is only a once a year ordeal instead of a 20 times a year ordeal.  I would buy all of the other cards on that day too, like Mom's and Dad's day, Easter, etc, if they were available in January.

I address all of the cards, put the event date in the top right corner, and sort them in date order.
When I get home, I take about 15 minutes to address the cards and sort them in date order.  I write the date of the event in the upper right corner where the stamp will eventually cover it up, and then I put a reminder in my phone to post the first card a week before the first date.  When that reminder pops up, I get everybody to sign the card, stamp it, put it in the mail, and set a new reminder in my phone to post the next card.

Yes, it really was 4°F that day.
Yes, it is more work up front, but it saves so much time and effort throughout the year.  And it works, too.  We only missed one card this year, and that was because the recipient wasn't going to be home on his birthday and I didn't have the address where he would be and then I ran out of time before going out of town and forgot to bring it with me (we sent it late.  He probably thought it was weird, but that's OK).  This method also accomplishes my goal of letting loved ones know they're thought of.  They don't have to know that they were actually thought of in early January.  Well.  I guess they know now.

Here's a tip: I buy my cards at Dollar Tree, because there they cost $1.  Some of them are even 50¢.  And they're Hallmark cards, y'all!  I don't even want to think about buying 20 cards all at once at $4-5 a pop.  And the folks I'm sending cards to don't care.  In this case, it really is the thought that counts, not the price tag.

Here's another tip: The cost to post a first class letter is going up 5¢ on Sunday, so get to the Post Office today or tomorrow to buy some Forever stamps if you're running low.
Dude.  They have Hotwheels stamps. 

So that's it.  That's how I do cards.  Do you send birthday and anniversary cards?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

19 for 2019 Reveal

Hi friends.  Today I'm bringing you the long awaited 19 for 2019 goal list.

Or am I?

Nope.  I'm not.

But I am sharing my list of possibles with you.  I'm still not sure if I'll do nineteen or nine--I'm definitely leaning toward nine.  You all can help me refine my choices.  Let me know your top 5.  And whether you think I should do 9 or 19.

I announced my 2018 goals on January 26, so I'm right on schedule for this year.  It's that free trial month, you know...

Here's what I might do in 2019:

So what do you think?  Which are your favorites?  How many should I take on this year?  I'll refine and report back next week!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Menu plan for the week of January 21

Let's give this a try, friends.  Here's the menu plan for this week.


  • Chicken chili verde, tortillas, taco type toppings
  • Fend for yourself/leftovers
  • Hot dogs, buns, chips, jello, green beans
  • Pizza, chopped salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, grilled green vegetable
  • Crockpot BBQ chicken, toasted buns, coleslaw, roasted green beans
  • Peppered steak with portobello mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, grilled green vegetables


Friday, January 18, 2019

Chicken Devos and the World Dance Floor

I've developed a new morning routine in the past couple of months.

First thing after I wake up in the morning, I stay in bed as long as possible.  It's a great way to start the day.  You should try it.  When I absolutely have to get out of bed, I do.  After that, I make sure Bubby at least has the opportunity to eat something, then Bubby and I head out to the bus stop.

By the way friends, something that is saving my life these days is alarms.  I set an alarm to tell me when to make sure Bubby is awake.  I set an alarm to remind me to ask him if he's hungry.  I set an alarm to tell us to head out the door to the bus.  I also have night time alarms.  If you are having trouble remembering to do something on a daily basis, set an alarm.  On most devices, you can name alarms, so you don't even have to remember what the alarm is for.

Anyway, after Bubby gets on the bus, I walk back to the house, grab my Bible and prayer journal, and head out to the chicken coop.  Sometimes I let the girls out, sometimes I don't, but I always pull up a chair and make myself comfortable.

It was 8°F that morning.
 At this point, you probably have lots of questions.  Or maybe just one question: why?  I started doing devotions with the chickens at the end of November, because I had been hearing, from multiple sources, that early morning exposure to natural light is an important factor in keeping circadian rhythms intact.  And circadian rhythms have an impact on seasonal depression, or lack of thereof.

For the past several years, I've noticed that the darkness of November and December get to me.  In not a good way.  So I figured I'd give early morning natural light a try.  At the same time, I've struggled for years to make Bible study a daily habit.  I've gone through study spurts through the years, but it never sticks long term.  So I decided to combine Bible study with natural light and throw in some (therapy) chickens for good measure. 

In the winter.

So that's why I bundle up every weekday morning and head out to read to the chickens.  I'm not sure how much natural light I'm actually getting, since it's usually cloudy, but whatever.  I think it's helping.  And the girls love hanging out with me.  The feeling is mutual.

After about 20-30 minutes of devotion and prayer with the chickens, I head inside and grab my water bottle.  And then I head to the World Dance Floor.

You guys.  I am just a teensy weensy bit obsessed with Just Dance.  My kiddos gave me the 2019 Xbox One edition, but it doesn't matter.  I bet I'd be enamored with any of them.  I thought I would have fun with it, but I didn't think I'd be dancing for an hour or two every day while the kids are in school.

You heard me.  An hour or two.

And I had never heard of probably 75% of the songs before I got the game.  And I am not a natural or graceful dancer.  But it is just. so. fun.

And it's good for me, too.  You laugh, but I am definitely sweating and achieving my target heart rate when I'm Just Dancing.

Players can dance on their own, or in groups of up to 6 dancers, but there's also something called the World Dance Floor, where people from around the world are all dancing to the same song at the same time.  And competing, I guess.  But I don't pay too much attention to the scores.  I just dance.  Like nobody's watching.  Because nobody is.  I'm pretty sure vigorous exercise helps with circadian rhythms, too.

And that's my new morning routine.  Oh.  After the World Dance Floor, I head to the kitchen for breakfast, usually a one egg omelet with crumbled bacon and melted cheddar cheese, and then I hit the shower.

I am loving the spiritual, emotional, and physical boost that comes from following my morning routine.  It's a little unconventional, but who can argue with results?  And those endorphins.

So tell me: what's your morning routine like?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

18 for 2018 Wrap-up

Hey.  Sorry to leave you hanging, y'all.  I did mean to post a final update on my 2018 goals before the end of the year, but then life happened.  I started to feel overwhelmed in mid-December and decided to cease with the goals to make life feel more manageable.  So that's the first lesson.  These goals were for me, and when they were making life more stressful, it was ok for me to abandon postpone them.  The only person I needed to impress was me, and I am super impressed with my ability to let those expectations go and be ok with it.

So...I did not finish that final 2018 goal.  Even though I gave myself permission to call it done on December 21 regardless of how much I actually got done.  I got the list done, and I did begin gathering information, but I got caught up in format.  All along I was thinking that this would be an actual physical binder, mostly because I prefer reading on paper, but also because it seems like a pain to have to turn on a device in order to make changes.  But when I got right down to it, I realized it made much more sense to make this thing digital.  And then I was stuck on whether I wanted it to be digital on my hard drive or a jump drive, or digital ...out there... in the ether.  I prefer ...out there... but wonder about security.  So that goal's been deferred for now.

But y'all!  I am so impressed that I completed 17 other goals.  That is definitely something to be proud of.  And I am so thankful that I made the list in the first place.  Some of the goals were things that I had wanted to accomplish for years.  Years, y'all.  And the list finally provided the little bit of inspiration that I needed to get those things done.

You may be wondering if I'm going to be setting any goals for 2019.  Stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, here's a look back at some of the things I accomplished in 2018.

1. Make Oyster Shell & Grit Dispensers
2. Plant a Garden with tomatoes and jalapenos
3. Can Jalapenos

4. Have everyone in the household take the love languages quiz.
5. Go on a date with each of my boys
6. Send friend mail 8 times
7. Begin Using To-Do notebook

8. Purge file cabinet and create paper organization system
9. Create a household binder/legacy box
10. Delete saved electronic mystery shop screen shots and receipts
11. Buy Desk Task Light

12. Buy phone charging cords for each of our vehicles
13. Make a Chicken Sign
14. Take a Class through a craft store

15. Finish Valences
16. Crochet a Messy Bun Hat
17. Get the kids' pictures taken
18. Send Christmas Cards

Monday, January 14, 2019

Menu plan for the week of January 14. Well, sorta.

Hi friends.  Did you wonder where I was?  No?  Well, alrighty then.  I'll tell ya anyway.

We went to Colorado for Christmas.  Isn't that fun?  This was our view from the outdoor ice skating rink.  And then we came home and people visited us.  And then the kiddos went back to school but the people were still visiting.  And then they left, but since I'd just spent 16 days in close proximity to other people, I was exhausted.

It's the second full week of 2019, and I'm already taking a week off from meal planning.  This does not bode well for this year in menu planning.  But it is what it is.  No plan this week.  I know.  Super disappointing.  Since I don't want to let you down, I've decided to share last week's menu with you.

So here ya go--here's what we ate last week:

Maybe I'll be able to come up with something new next week.  Wish me luck!
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