Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Obligation Plant

Do you have any Obligation Plants?  These are the plants that you don't really want, but that you feel an obligation to keep alive for whatever reason.

I've had several throughout the years, mostly those plant baskets that people send for funerals.  They don't want to send flowers, because flowers die.  Cut flowers are so ephemeral.  They want to give a long-lasting memorial to the person who passed away.  But they don't want it in their house.  They want me to take it home and care for it in perpetuity.    

Guess what?  I don't need an increasingly straggly and forlorn looking plant to remind me of my loved one.  I just don't.

My current Obligation Plant was given to us by the kids' elementary school, as a good-bye remembrance as our youngest aged out of the school.


It's a nice enough plant.  It's just that we don't really have a good place to put it, where it will both get enough light, and not get knocked off of its perch.  The obvious choice is the kitchen window sill.  It's wider than all the others, and, as an east-facing window, does get some light.  But the Obligation Plant's place on the sill was recently supplanted by a yummy smelling fall candle.

I don't want it.  But it's alive, and I can't just let it die.  That would be cruel.  

And so, the Obligation Plant moves from place to place in our home, always in the way, while my resentment toward it grows.  

I'm sure there are those who appreciate the gesture, the gift of the plant, who either cheerfully keep the plant alive, or let it die a peaceful death and then chuck it, with no feelings of angst or remorse.  But I'm not one of those.  To me, this plant is clutter.  And clutter is my nemesis.  But I also feel a sense of obligation to the plant.

It is absolutely not the Obligation Plant's fault, that it was placed here, in our home.  How can I sentence it to a premature death?  I can't.  And that's the problem.

So, for now, the Obligation Plant remains, until such a time as I can get rid of it, one way or another.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Menu plan for the week of October 14

I've gotten a lot done today.  Like, way more than my standard three to-do items.  But one thing I haven't done, yet, is post my menu plan.  Mostly because I'm a little afraid my laptop is going to burst into flames.  Hubby thinks I'm kidding when I say he should back it up, but I am totally not kidding.  So in the interest of not making my laptop burn to a crisp, I'm going to keep this short and sweet...Ish.

This is the last official week of football for both of my kiddos.  Of course, the fact that it's the official last week doesn't, in fact, mean that football is going to be over for either of them.  The older one's team is probably going to play at least one playoff game, and the younger one is going to be part of an all 6th grade team next week, culminating in a game against another community's 6th graders on Saturday.

Anyway, it's the last official week of football, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to go back to actually planning meals when football is done.  I'm serious, y'all.  I can't remember what we like to eat anymore.  I can't remember how to actually plan seven suppers a week.  It's so weird.  This week, I planned six, and I'm fairly confident that we will actually eat 4-5 of those.  But it was hard, man.  So difficult.

Anyway, here's what I've got for this week.  Keep tuned to see if I am able to ramp up the planning again.

Supper:

Monday, September 30, 2019

Molt Watch 2019 and 9 for 2019 September update

It's Monday, which means it's time for a menu post.  But it's also the last day of September, which means it's time for a 9 for 2019 update (you guys.  I just discovered that I never did an August update.  It's ok, though, because August was pretty similar to July in that I didn't do any goal-work in either).  So I'm going to update y'all on the chickens.  Makes sense, right?  Oh, ok, I'll also tell you which, if any, goals I worked on this month.

It's molt season around here.  Chickens do this silly thing where they lose their feathers and regrow them right as it's getting cold.  Last year, we definitely had daytime temps below freezing while the girls didn't have feathers.  This year, the girls started earlier, and seem to be completing their molts faster.  At least Esther did.  It is so much more sensible to lose one's feathers when it is 80°F and regrow them by the time it's 60°F.  Another thing that's different this year is Esther has started laying again after her molt.  Last year the girls didn't start laying again until almost spring.

Here's what's happening now:

Finished molting, laying eggs (but her lovely beard has not regrown): Esther

Growing feathers, not laying eggs: Rocky

Active molt, feathers everywhere, not laying eggs: Indigo

Molting, losing feathers, but still laying eggs: Toasty Crunch

Not molting, and laying eggs: Koko

In other news, there really isn't any other chicken news.  They're just busy doing their thing, and I'm just busy enjoying them.

So...on to the goal update.  In September, I ...

... decided to pretend that HomeGoods is the arboretum in order to get my playdates goal one step closer to completion.  There were pumpkins and flowers and other plant-type things everywhere, so it's kind of close, and I kind of wanted to go to the arboretum in the spring, which is in the past (and future), so...

Y'all!  Do you have a HomeGoods store near you?  If so, why did you not tell me how amazing they are?  Like seriously.  I think I might like HomeGoods even better than Fleet Farm, and you can't even get chicken feed there.  You have got to go there.  It was so inspiring!  And, in all honesty, the whole point of the playdates goal was to expose myself to inspiring new experiences.  Check.

HomeGoods is in the same family of stores as TJ Maxx (which I don't particularly like) and Marshalls (which I also don't like) and Sierra Trading (which I kind of like, but I can't imagine actually going to a brick and mortar store, because it just doesn't seem right after years of shopping the newsprint catalogs), and it's all about Home.  I went there specifically looking for pillows, and I found some and bought them*!  I also found some gorgeous glass pumpkins that I did not buy, but that I can't stop thinking about.  I'm gonna have to go back.

So anyway, I've got 1 1/4 goals left to go in 2019: completing the Facts of Life book, and walking around downtown.  Think I can do it?  I guess we'll find out.

***********

* This is a huge deal for me, because for years I have avoided throw pillows because I knew that my people would, well, throw them.  On the floor.  And that I would have to pick them up and put them back where they belonged.  And that they would get thrown again.  But I wanted throw pillows because they're such an easy and inexpensive way to refresh decor and make a space look pulled together.  But I avoided them because I'm insecure about home decor matters--I know what I like when I see it, but I feel like I just can't pull it together myself.  But I did it!  I bought pillows, and I put them on my couches, and they look good!  And then I texted a friend to ask if she thought the one long pillow on the love seat was weird, because insecurity. 

And, by the way, thank you, friend, for being the kind of friend that I feel comfortable showing my insecurity to.  And also thank you for having good taste.  Love you.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Menu plan (ha!) for the week of September 23

Friends, it's another week, and I have another menu plan to share with you.  I would say I don't know why I bother, but I do know.  It's so, just in case we happen to be able to connect as a family at supper time, I both know what to make for us to eat, and have the ingredients available.  But it's hard, friends.  Y'all who are in three-sport (or one sport, year-round) families, man.  Do you ever eat together?  We're averaging actually making and eating the planned meal about twice a week.  And that's including weekends, y'all.

Remember how I planned for the whole month of September all at once?  Well, it's October next week, and I'm staring at an empty menu calendar, seriously contemplating leaving it empty.  Because why?

Oh, right.  That's why.  Up there.

Here's the plan for the week, as futile as it is:

  • Tacos
  • Waffles
  • Chicken korma with rice (ha!  Like that's going to happen)
  • Fend for yourself (well, that's our one guaranteed plan for the week)
  • Stromboli (not gonna happen)
  • Brats or hot dogs, buns, jello, chips, raw veg, fruit
  • Grilled chicken over romaine with grilled broccoli (I hope)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mama's Mop Bucket

I have someone working in my house today.  I don't really know what to do when people are working in my house.  Should I stand there and watch them the whole time?  Leave them in peace to do their job?  Check in with them every few minutes or every half hour?  Yeah.  I don't know these things.  Mostly, I want to just let them do their thing, but I worry that that's not what I'm supposed to do.  So today I'm blogging, and hoping that I am exhibiting appropriate, and not antisocial, behavior.

I haven't been using my Cricut much lately.  This time, it's not because I don't know how to move forward, but because I have so many ideas in my head.  My brain is full to bursting of fun projects.  And the fun projects won't stay still long enough for me grab hold of one.
I did do this, in honor of school drop-off.  That's AKD's school mascot on my toes. 
I'm due for new toe decals, but everything I want to do is orange, and I don't have any orange vinyl.

So I wrote them down***, and tomorrow I will write a list of supplies that I need for those projects, and possibly even order them, and then I will have both the inspiration and the supplies available to me when I feel an urge to Cricut.

Today (after I blog and then check in with my tile person, who is doing a fabulous job, by the way), I'm going to work on my bucket. 

Was it here or on social media that I mentioned my mop bucket disappears?  It does. 

See, the problem is, I had a designated mop bucket, but our mop bucket is stored upside down on a high shelf that is not quite wide enough for it, and the mop bucket fell, opening a crack in the bottom that rendered it useless for mopping.

So I commandeered one of the many 5 gallon buckets that we have in our possession, and I said, henceforth, this bucket shall be the mopping bucket.  OK, maybe I didn't actually say it, but I definitely thought it.  And that's the problem.  I didn't tell anyone that this previously up-for-grabs use-for-anything bucket was now the mop bucket.  So it disappears from time to time.  Most recently, I think Hubby used it to get a rabbit out of one of our window wells (yes.  This is an actual thing that happens.  Rabbits need rescuing).

I decided I'd had enough of hunting down my mop bucket every time I wanted to mop.  I mean, I don't ever actually want to mop, and having to hunt down the bucket every time just made it that much more likely that I wouldn't mop.  Ever.*

So I bought a new bucket**, and now that I can make personalized labels, I'm gonna.

Here's what I've got so far.
I still have to put the three little emphasis lines on each side of TOUCH.  Those things are called flourishes, just in case you need some.  And I might play with font and spacing a little more.


So, my friends, maybe next week I'll be back to bragging about Cricut projects.  Until then, love ya.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 
*We have a spray mop, which does not require a bucket, and I do like using it, but sometimes you just need to actually mop, you know?  With an actual mop and an actual bucket.

**If you are wondering how to get printed words or logos off of buckets, acetone.  Regular nail polish remover doesn't work--you have to get the 100% acetone nail polish remover.  It's like magic.  And $0.99 at Target.

***My (somewhat cryptic) list. You can see why it was impossible to actually do any of the things until I got them out of my head and on to paper:

  • bucket
  • all you need is love...and cookies
  • pumpkin & boo pillows
  • fall/Christmas truck
  • nativity frame (shadow box)
  • be STILL/nativity
  • Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly
  • pumpkin 
  • Love is
  • toilet tray
  • last name 
  • chicken feed
  • fall/winter welcome sign
  • glitter earrings
  • pallet wall
  • frame for B
  • pantry labels 
  • Sunday is for Jesus and football
  • 4x4 pumpkins
  • Caution: boys live here

Monday, September 16, 2019

Menu plan for the week of September 16

Good news, friends!  I have obtained more pint jars, so I will be able to continue canning the green beans that continue to grow in the garden.  The jars were on sale at the "Save More Money" store, but the shelf was empty, so I made the nice lady go look in the back to see if they had any more.  And they did!  And I got to go in the back, too!  Yay me!  I also have enough additional lemon cucumbers to make another pint+ of pickles, for which I now have a jar (I just don't have the vinegar, but that is easily remedied)!  Yay, me again!  I just love jars, don't you?

But feel free to send jars anyway, friends, because these will be full soon enough.  And jars.  I <3 them.

We picked apples this weekend.  They're pretty small this year, maybe because it was a cooler than normal summer, but most likely because we have failed to prune our apple trees properly.  That's ok, because we're #feedingthewildlife with many of the small ones, and aside from the 6 or so pounds that I need to make caramel apple jam (oooh.  I should make sure I have enough half pint jars for the two batches I'm planning...), we're giving the rest to a friend.  That's right, friends.  We are making zero applesauce this year.  Kinda sad, but also ok, because making applesauce in canning quantities is a lot of work.

I don't know why I'm bothering with a menu plan at this time of year y'all, because we rarely actually make what's on the menu.  I guess it's because it's such a habit at this point, and if by some miracle we do end up eating supper together, I'll know what to make.  Nevertheless, here it is:

Supper:

  • Tacos
  • Waffles
  • Chicken Korma over rice
  • Fend for yourself
  • Pizza
  • Hamburgers
  • Grilled steak with mashed potatoes and grilled veggies


Other:

Friday, September 13, 2019

Last Garden Update?

Friends, I was hoping to get a garden update to y'all this week, with fresh pictures, but it's been raining.  A lot.  So you're getting week-old pictures of some things, and no pictures at all of others.  This could be the last garden update for this summer, because the only things still growing are the pole beans and the lemon cucumbers. 


Remember how I said I wanted to have enough pole beans to make canning them worthwhile?  Well, I got enough, and then some.  I already have 24 pints canned, with another pint in the freezer, and I just picked enough yesterday for at least another 5 pints, plus I canned 2 pints of dilly beans.  And they're still coming.  Whatever creature decided to kill about half of my bean plants was, it turns out, an angel sent from heaven, because if all of those beans had been allowed to live...well, I'm just glad I didn't find out what would have happened.


When I canned the dilly beans, I also made pickles from my lemon cucumbers.  Y'all, I still don't know how to tell when those things are ripe, but I do know they taste pretty good.  And I also know there are more of those coming, too.

The lemon cucumbers made themselves comfortable among the black-eyed susans.

Friends.  I had exactly the right amount of brine for the pickles and dilly beans.  I mean exactly.  I used every drop, and it's a good thing, too, because I discovered after I started cutting everything and preparing jars, that I didn't have any more vinegar.

OK, it's not exactly true that the beans and cukes are the only things still growing in the garden.  The flowers are also still producing.  I am loving cutting zinnias to bring inside.

 They're so pretty.  The marigolds and nasturtiums are still going strong, too.

 All of the sunflower plants are taller than me  now, and one of them is almost taller than the coop.  We have a mix of these burgundy blooms, along with yellow.  Seeing those sunflowers makes me happy.
Toasty and Koko photobombing.  (Remember, this pic is from a week or so ago, back when it was sunny--the plants are taller and more blooms are open now)

I pulled out the zucchini and patty pan squash because they were straggly and sad and done.  I got one last patty pan and one last zucchini (but then I set the zucchini down by the chicken coop and forgot to pick it up again.  I saw the last little pecked bit of it this morning.  Whoops).  
The watermelon has given up, but I haven't had the heart to pull it out yet, poor thing.  Next year, there will be watermelons.  Maybe.

I pulled enough ripe tomatoes off the vines to make a batch of salsa (plus tacos and BLTs), then I topped the plants, and left them out to see if any of the unripe tomatoes will ripen on the vine.  

The tomato plants are looking pretty sad, too, but it doesn't take any extra effort on my part to just leave them to do their thing, so why not?

In other news, I pulled this beauty out of a box of jars Beav-erly gave me a few years ago, from her mom.  It's a tall, skinny pint jar, and they don't make 'em like this anymore.

I squealed when I saw it, because it's a beauty, and you all know how I feel about jars. 

( I <3 them. ) 

Unfortunately, I discovered it because I am out of pint jars.  Completely.  This one was at the bottom of the stack.  Which is unfortunate, because I still have all of those beans that I picked yesterday, and all of those beans that are still out there waiting to be picked.  Have y'all ever grown beans?  They mature so fast.  I mean, I picked them clean, and I bet if I go out again 2 days from now I'll be able to pick another ice cream bucket-full.  Crazy prolific.  If you haven't had much luck with beans, try pole beans.

And then there's the apples.  They're small this year, and we don't have very many (darn acrobatic deer), but I bet they're close to ripe.  I still have some half pint jars, so I can definitely get some caramel apple jam done.

And...I think that's it.  Let me know if I forgot anything.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Menu plan for the week of September 9

Hi friends.  One week of school down; 36ish to go.  Like magic, my brain is feeling calmer, even though the craziness of football season continues.  Yay.  I think.  Maybe I shouldn't say that.  Maybe I just jinxed myself.  Ooops.

The pole beans and lemon cucumbers are still coming (I'm planning on getting a garden update to you this week, so stay tuned), so I'm hoping to get some pickles and dilly beans canned this week.  I'm almost out of pint jars, so this will probably be the last of the bean canning for this year, and I don't know if we'll be doing any applesauce (gasp!).  We still have a bunch from last year, and we just don't eat as much applesauce as we used to.  Plus, you know, the jar situation.  So, if anybody wants some apples, let me know.

Speaking of apples, I've got another batch of apple cider vinegar brewing.  I probably should have started it four months ago, but at the time it didn't seem like I would need to.  Ooops.  The trouble with making apple cider vinegar is, it's not instantaneous.  It takes a while.  Like, months.  So you can't just notice, oh, I'm down to my last half cup of vinegar, and make some more before you run out.  Anyway, it looks different this time because I used apple juice and homemade ACV instead of sugar water and apple scraps, and I'm a little afraid. 

Don't worry, though.  I'll get over it.  In the meantime, I bought some ACV.  I didn't know that ACV could taste so different from other ACV, and I definitely didn't know that my homemade ACV tasted so much better.  Is it the apples?  The acidity?  The process?  Don't know.  But I do know that I (and the chickens) think homemade is best.

On to the menu plan.  Which I changed, by the way.  We decided that Thursday was a much better day to fend for ourselves, which means tacos moved to Mondays and sandwiches moved to Tuesday, except when we're having waffles.  Oh, and when Hubby goes on a business trip.  So.  Here it is.

Supper:

  • Tacos
  • BLTs
  • Pizza
  • Fend for yourself
  • Calzone
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, raw veggies and fruit, jello, chips
  • Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, Brussles sprouts
Other:
  • Dilly beans and dill pickles (different recipes, but they're both going in the canner at the same time, because I don't have enough of either to do a full load)
  • Chocolate chip graham muffins
  • Something else that I'm super excited to make, but can't think of just this minute.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Menu plan for the week of September 2

Hey.  It's September, and all our kiddos are back to school today.  I'm hoping (*fingers crossed*) that my brain will calm down a bit now that we've got the daily routine of school.  I mean, it's still gonna be super busy, but hopefully it'll feel less overwhelming.

I actually have meals planned for the entire month already.  I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to buy all of the groceries at once, or whether that would just be too much to handle.  I always worry that I'm missing things when I make my grocery list, so making a grocery list for a month at a time would, I'm sure, quadruple that feeling. 

The way I was able to plan meals for the month was by assigning a type of meal to each day of the week, and also, lots of repeats.  Mondays are fend for yourself or meals that don't get made during the previous week.  Tuesdays are for tacos, of course; Wednesday, I'll be using the slow cooker, and on Thursday it's sandwiches.  Fridays are for pizza, Saturdays are hamburgers or hot dogs and brats, and Sundays we'll be grilling something.  If it works well for us, I might just repeat in October, which will bring us to the end of football season.  And after football season, meals are easier.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

  • Fend for yourself
  • Tacos 
  • Chicken tikka masala (I found a "simmering sauce" at Aldi.  It's gonna simmer in the slow cooker), rice, green beans
  • Turkey bacon ranch wraps, raw veggies
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, jello, chips, raw veggies and fruit
  • Grilled chicken with romaine salad, grilled green veggie
Other:

Monday, August 26, 2019

It's been a while since we've had a chicken update

It's just as well I didn't post a menu plan last week, since we actually ate the meals on the menu plan once during the week.  Just once.  This is such a busy time of year for us.  One day I counted, and I made six trips to town and back (that's 13 trip segments) getting people and desserts where they needed to go.  I suspect that I would be appalled if I counted how many miles I have driven just between our house and town in the past two weeks.  That's why I haven't counted.  It's all worth it, though (I think), especially the desserts.  And once school starts, it'll probably be an average of one trip to town per day, hallelujah.

I'm not going to do a menu plan this week, either, but I thought I would talk about chickens.  We have them, you know.

Where should I begin?  The last update was on the Bigs' 2nd birthday in May, so I guess I'll start then.

So, Indigo wasn't feeling well.  She was moping around and not laying eggs.  Since then, she's perked up, and is back to laying, although she isn't laying very regularly, and her shells are pretty fragile.  She might be laying more than I'm aware of, because she is prone to laying rubber (shell-free) eggs, and I found evidence of one in the hen house a week or so ago.  She was laying so many rubber eggs that for a while the others would follow her around pecking at her vent, waiting for the rubber egg to come out.  One day I let the girls out and then noticed that Indigo had a ruptured egg membrane sticking out of her vent--the others got to and ate the egg before it was even out.

Also not laying regularly, or at all, is Esther.  She hasn't laid since August 1.  She's molting.  It's about a month earlier than last year, so I was caught off guard, but this is a more sensible time of year to lose one's feathers.


And rounding out our roster of non-layers is Rocky.  I think she must be heading into a molt, too, although I haven't noticed any of her feathers missing or on the ground.  Yet.

So if you've been paying attention, you will realize that we only have two chickens who are laying with any regularity these days.  That is not enough to keep up with our consumption, especially with AKD still at home.  I've been buying eggs for a couple of weeks now, and I'm contemplating whether I want to add a few more girls to our flock in the spring.  I wasn't planning on it, but now I'm not sure. 

I felt like six was a really good number, based on egg production and feeder/waterer capacity, and five was actually a good number of chickens when they were all laying regularly.  In fact, we almost couldn't keep up with them when they were all laying regularly.  Chickens can live for a long time if they're well cared for, although their egg laying drops off tremendously at around three years of age.  Our max capacity is around 8 (although I would not be opposed to squeezing a couple more in), and we have to get at least three at a time.  And we all know that there will be no old-age culling around here.

I'm also reluctant to go through the acclimation process again, unless we can come up with a secure grow-out pen for the chicks.  I lost so much sleep over chicken integration when the Bigs and Littles needed to be in the same coop, but the Littles were still so little.

We'll see, I guess.  I've got time to contemplate.

Toasty and Koko are still laying, and they are doing well.  Toasty is still at the top of the pecking order and Koko is at the bottom.  Since we lost Hazel, Toasty seems to have lost her desire to be a rooster--I haven't seen her mount any of the others for a while.


I've been letting the girls out to free range for 2-3 hours at the end of the day most days.  They seem to be very attentive to the sky and have been avoiding aerial predators thus far.  It's funny.  If I go out to the coop early in the day, the girls might line up to greet me, but for the most part, they don't pay me much attention.  But if I go out anytime after about 5:30 p.m., they start pacing in front of the door, hopping over each other when they get in each others' way.  The girls can tell time, and they know they're going to be let out.

Oh, those silly birds have brought so much joy and laughter into my life.  I'm grateful to have them.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Another thing that annoys me

Or maybe it just puzzles me?  I guess it depends on my mood when the situation presents itself.

So, as you may know, I am a member of a couple of Cricut Facebook groups.  Because I'm just a teensy bit obsessed.  The same questions tend to be asked over and over in these Facebook groups, and sometimes I shake my head and scroll past, because if you are a member of one of these groups for more than 5 minutes, you will have already seen the answer to your question, and sometimes I attempt to give a useful answer.

But here is one I do not understand.  Someone will post a picture of something she has already made, something that was specifically requested by a customer and is personalized for that customer.  And that someone will ask, "how much would you charge for this?"

.
.
.
.
.

Um.

Isn't that something that you should have discussed, and agreed upon, with the customer before you started working on their personalized project that you are never, ever going to be able to sell to someone else if the customer decides she doesn't want to pay the price you set?

I don't get it.  I really don't.

* * * * *
Speaking of Cricut, you may have noticed I didn't post a brag post last week.  Or this week.  That's because I was stuck.  I'm still kind of a little mentally stuck.  I've got this shadow box that I told you about.


I thought this was the perfect blank for my Throw Kindness Like Confetti sign.  I mean, there's "confetti" right in there.


So I took it apart and took the word off the glass (Hubby didn't even bat an eye when I asked him where the razor blades were), and I painted the backdrop with about 80 bajillion coats to cover those words, ending with a lovely ombre effect.

But then I couldn't decide whether I wanted to just put the same (blue) sequins back in, or put multi-colored sequins in, or put actual confetti in.

And yes, I absolutely could have cut and applied the vinyl words while I was deciding, but I couldn't.  I just...couldn't.  That happens to me sometimes.  I just get stuck and can't move forward, and not only with creative endeavors.

So here's what I did.  The other day, when practice was changed, yet again, leaving us with a morning when all of us were home (except the Hubby), I made a list of chores, and told everyone to choose 5.  One of those chores was "help mom decide on confetti."  And MC, my child who has the most difficulty with decision making, claimed it. 

He, without hesitation, told me I should use the multi-colored sequins.  I was kind of shocked, to be honest, not about the decision itself, but by the confidence and authority with which it was made.  I wish all of MC's decisions could be like this.

And I...remained in my inertia.  Maybe today will be the day.

* * * * *
And in the same vein, let me tell you about a couple of projects I've done in the past few weeks.

(Can we just stop to acknowledge and appreciate how beautiful this background is?  I love this view)

I made football earrings!  Aren't they cute?  I don't even wear earrings (although I did get one in the other day, and I'm sure I could have gotten the other one in if I had been looking in a mirror)!  So if you want some football earrings, let me know (yes, I am willing to ship these)!

I also made a decal for MC's water bottle with his number cut out of a football, and his name.  I'm planning on doing the same (times two and minus the name) for my water bottle as soon as Bubby gets his number.

I made some stickers to stick to my finished projects with my craft email and phone number on it.  You know, just in case someone wants to get ahold of me to make something for them.

And Bubby and I made a sign for his buddy's birthday.  It felt a little strange, but Bubby assured me that that is what he wanted to give his friend, so we went with it.

I don't really have any imminent projects at the moment, well, besides the kindness shadow box.  I have a couple of ideas floating in and out of my head, but no immediate plans.  So hey, hit me up if you have an idea for something I should make.

And tune in next time for more thoughts that are flitting through my brain.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

This is going to be all over the place

Hi friends.  I've had a lot of thoughts running through my head lately, and just your luck--you get to hear about them.  Yay!  So this post is going to be a little all over the place, because that's how my brain is right now.  All. Over. the Place.

The other day I was feeling annoyed because a change in practice schedule meant that I needed to have two people in two places at once.  But then I remembered that three and four years ago, it would have been three people and four places, with one of those places being a half hour drive away. 

That's when I realized that the real reason I'm annoyed is because the schedule seems so uncertain.  We got a paper schedule in June.  And I made plans based on that schedule.  And then I looked at the online schedule and it's different.  Like, completely different.  And sometimes, the online schedule is not only different from the paper schedule, but it contradicts itself.  Like, it'll say practice is at this time at this place and it will say practice is at this time at that place.  Same time; different places.  Oh, and I would say that probably about 10% of practices so far have actually been at a time and place and day that was on one of the schedules.

I realize that plans change--that it's unreasonable to expect that a schedule published in June would be exactly adhered to in August.  But it seems to me like it would be easy to communicate changes in a timely manner.  Like maybe a weekly email saying here's the schedule for this week--we'll let you know if anything changes.  So that if I, for instance, schedule a photography session on a Wednesday when there isn't practice, and then it turns out there actually is practice, I can let the photographer know more than 4 hours in advance that we're not going to make it.

As it stands, I have no idea today what the proposed schedule is for tomorrow.  My life does not revolve around this sport (although heaven knows, it does, for some parents).  I need to do things other than getting my kid to and from practices at random times each day, and it would make life so. much. easier if I knew when I would be able to fit those other things in.  Ugh.

I think the problem is, the coaches, they've been doing this forever.  They probably even have some reason for scheduling practices when they do.  But they don't realize that, for at least half of us, this is our first time.  We don't know why.  And even for those of us for whom it is not the first time, it is certainly not our 15th or 8th or 22nd.

Annoyed.  I try really hard to be a go with the flow person, but in my heart, I am a person who really, really likes to have a plan, and who really, really dislikes not having a plan.  It is easier for me (still not easy, but easier) to change plans than it is to not have a plan in the first place.  And it is (obviously, because I've been going on about this for a couple of hundred words now) really difficult for me to deal with not knowing if there even is a plan.

Just tell me the plan!  Please.  As soon as possible.  So I can react accordingly.

Fortunately, with school beginning soon, they can't really change the schedule too much.  I'm looking forward to that.

Well.  Would you look at that?  That seems like it's long enough to be its own blog post.  Turns out this post is not going to be all over the place.  That seems a little bit of false advertising.

Thank you for forgiving me.  I'll make it up to you tomorrow, or maybe next week, or next month, when I share one or more additional random thoughts with you! Don't you just love how specific I am?!  It's a plan.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Menu plan for the week of August 12

Hi friends.  I'm taking life day by day.  I'm reminded of Lisa from Organize365.com.  She talks about how she divides her year into 3 parts: September - December, January - April, and May-August.  For those of us who have school-aged children, it makes sense.  Even for those who don't, it makes a certain kind of sense.  I mean, January is obvious--it's the beginning of a new year.  May is the beginning of summer, which has a different vibe from the rest of the year, and it seems like lots of things, not just school, start up in September.  So Lisa divides her year into these three parts, and she says she always starts the year-part super organized, and ends it super disorganized.  She says it's just the nature of life.  That is definitely how I'm feeling right now.  Disorganized.

I'm probably actually more organized than I feel, but my brain feels haphazard and scattered.  I feel like I must be missing things.  Important things.  And that bothers me.  I hate missing things*.  I'm feeling ok about it, though, because I figure if I do miss something, I wouldn't be the first mama to do that.   Plus, I've got my eye on the prize of September.  I will magically feel more organized and more in control once that calendar flip occurs. *snigger*

Both of the football players are in practice this week, for a total of 5 evenings at supper time.  So I've begun the annual ponderance of meals that are portable and/or can be eaten in shifts.  As always, please share if you have ideas for me!

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

  • Alice Springs chicken (Outback copycat?  I've never heard of it, but it looked really good), broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Fend for yourself
  • Meat sauce with angel hair or zoodles, green beans, garlic toast
  • Club sandwiches, carrots
  • Shepherd's pie, applesauce, bread & butter
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, jello, carrots, chips
  • Grilled pork chops, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes and gravy

Other:
I don't know.  I barely had enough brain power to come up with supper ideas, and I'm not in any way confident that I'll make all, or even most, of those.

* Never mind the fact that I haven't missed anything yet.  I feel like I must be, which creates a constant low level on anxiety.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

This week's Cricut brag post

Look at those cute pudgy toes :)
 The chickens fell off my toenails, so I decided to do bears.  Except I cut them a little too big.  I measured, I promise.  Not sure where I went wrong.  Remind me to set the largest dimension at no more than 1/2 inch from now on, 'kay?  Also, what should I put on my toenails next time?

I finally obtained a canvas to try the reverse canvas technique.  Basically, you tear the canvas off, finish the frame (I stained this one, but you could paint it), decorate the canvas (lots of people use heat transfer vinyl, but I used regular permanent vinyl and ran a hot iron over it to get it to adhere better), and then reattach the canvas to the back of the frame.
Canvas, walnut stain, silver gray and sky blue permanent vinyl
I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  I love the colors and the fonts and the sentiment, and the friend for whom I made it.  I definitely need to make more with that gorgeous silver gray color (and the blue, too).

 black apple barrel paint on a pine board, silver gray oracal 651
 Speaking of that gorgeous silver gray color, this is a sign my friend asked me to make so she could give it as a housewarming gift.

I decided to go for it on the chicken mandala.  I'm not going to say I wasn't intimidated.

It turned out not to be as difficult as I'd feared.  I lost a few of the small pieces in weeding, but they were all around the edge, so their absence wasn't very noticeable.  I was also very frustrated by the depth of the cut--the cut depth made it very difficult to get the small pieces of vinyl off their backing and on to the transfer paper, but with a lot of painstaking effort, I finally got it.

Sky blue apple barrel paint on a pine board, black EV51 permanent vinyl
Anyway, it was worth the angst, because I love it, and I'm sure the girls will appreciate some new decor.   

Here's my next project.  Can you guess what it will be?

I'll give you a hint.  Also, that paint was a royal pain to get off the glass.  All worth it, though...

If you'd like to talk to me about a custom sign or mug or anything else, really, feel free to email me.  I'm definitely willing to ship!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Garden Update, week 8

I feel like my garden is so far behind this year!  Probably because it is.  I didn't plant until June--I would blame the unusually cool weather we had in May and early June, but the actual reason is I just didn't get to it.

Anyway, not much is happening in the garden, but it's still fun to go out and see what's new.

Most exciting this week (for me, anyway) was the emergence of female patty pan squash flowers.

 This is a picture before the flower was even fertilized.  The ovary is huge!  I'm really looking forward to harvesting and eating these fruits.

 Our sunflowers continue to grow.  The tallest one is almost taller than me, now (photo bomb by Koko and Toasty).

 You can see the immature, unfertilized seeds in the seed head.  Well, you can't, but if you were here, looking at it in person, you could.

 A couple of the zinnias have bloomed.  Remind me that we need more zinnias next year.

 I fed Hubby a nasturtium the other day.  He was skeptical, but he ate it.

 The big beefs continue to grow, and the yellow spots continue to spread.  I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to harvest some (hopefully most) of these!

 We have a watermelon, shown here nestled against a strawberry leaf.  So exciting!  Then again, we've had watermelons before, but they've never made it to harvest.  There were another two, and I was so happy to see them, until I noticed that the vine they were on had been bitten off the plant.  So sad.

 Something also bit through quite a few of my pole bean plants, about 6 inches up from the ground.  The purple beans haven't been affected (so far), so hopefully we'll get quite a few beans still.  It is strange, though.  Based on the number of flowers I've been seeing, I would think we would have lots and lots of beans by now.

I thought my itty bitty baby lemon cucumbers had a touch of blossom end rot, so I gave them a bit of supplemental calcium.  Now I'm thinking maybe that's just the way they look after they're fertilized, with the spent bloom covering the whole blossom end.  In any case, the calcium won't do any harm. 

And I think that's it.  What's growing in your garden?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Perfect

Have you been waiting for this week's Cricut brag post?  I don't have one.  I thought I was going to be too busy to Cricut last week, but it turns out I was actually too busy to Cricut this week.  I do have something sorta Cricut related to talk about, though.

I'm a member of a couple of Cricut Facebook groups.  It's a lot of people asking for advice on projects they're doing, wondering where to get a certain svg or font, and showing off their finished products.  Almost every one of the brag posts starts with something like, "I know it's not perfect, but..."

It's starting to bother me.  A lot.  Even though I think I've done it myself.  Because of course it's not perfect.  Being humans, it is beyond our ability to do anything perfectly.  We're not God.  When did we decide that it's not ok to be proud of something unless it's perfect?  When did we decide that perfection is necessary? 

Almost inevitably, someone (or many someones) will comment that they love it, that they didn't even notice the perceived imperfection.  Because that's what we do.  We are our own worst critics, not willing to accept anything less than perfection in ourselves and apologizing for what we consider to be mistakes, but we see the beauty and value in others' imperfect work.

Friends, I implore you: please, treat yourself as you would treat a friend.  When you speak to yourself, be kind and supportive and loving.  Don't expect something from yourself that you would consider unreasonable to expect in someone else.


Speaking of imperfect, I finally obtained a canvas for this reverse canvas and I tore it apart and cut the vinyl.  I'm waiting on stain for the frame, and to tell the truth, I'm a little intimidated by the transfer.  I've heard (from my Cricut FB groups) that it can be difficult to get vinyl to stick to canvas.

But I think my friend is going to love it, and I love it, too.  Already.  I definitely need to add some more of that silver-gray vinyl to my next vinyl order--it's gorgeous.

And in other news, I've received my first paid Cricut commission: a wooden sign.  Yay!  That'll be in next week's brag post :)

Oh, and let me know if you want me to make this welcome mat for you--I'll do it for cost (probably around $15).  I really want to make one, but because of our storm door, we can't have a thick mat like this at our front door.

Source

If you'd like to talk to me about a custom sign or mug or anything else, really, feel free to email me.  I'm definitely willing to ship!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

9 for 2019 July update

Hi friends.  It's the last day of July, which means it's time for another 9 for 2019 update.  So.  Here we go.
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I did nothing. 

At all. 

In July.

OK, that's not entirely true.  I did do things in July, just nothing on my goal list.  If you want, you can go back and read the June update.  You know, if you're feeling cheated, gypped, deprived, snookered.

And guess what?  I'm not going to do anything in August, either.  So maybe bookmark that June update so you can read it again at the end of August and be totally up to speed on how I'm doing on my goals.

In the meantime, here is a gratuitous picture.


How are you doing on your goals?

Monday, July 29, 2019

Menu plan for the week of July 29

July 29, y'all.  That means almost August.  And you know what happens in August, right?  Yup.  Football practice.  Two-a-day for a while.  And football practice means our summer is effectively over.

OK, not really, but it is a little more difficult to go on family fun adventures when one of the family is practicing all morning, then has to go back at 6, and another family member practices at 5:30.  On the positive side, summer being practically over means the hot is almost over.

You might notice pasties on the menu again this week.  Yeah.  We didn't get to them two weeks ago, because our oven decided to stop working.  So this week, pasties with turkey gravy for sure.  Still need to use up the evaporated milk and candy canes (not necessarily together), though.

The oven situation made us break our muffin streak, so bakery style double chocolate muffins are back on the menu this week, along with the ah-maze-bars that we've been dreaming of but unable to bake.  It is so good to have an oven.

Supper:
  • Meat sauce with angel hair or zoodles, green beans, garlic toast
  • Chicken tacos (in the crock pot), guacamole and taco toppings
  • Pasties, turkey gravy, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Fend for yourself
  • Pizza, salad
  • Beef k-bobs with grilled veggies and fresh fruit
  • Grilled steak with portabello wine sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli, cake

Other:

Thursday, July 25, 2019

This week's Cricut brag post

I gotta tell you, friends.  When I pushed "publish" on last week's brag post, I didn't think there was going to be a brag post this week.  I knew I was going to be super busy in the week in between and didn't think I'd get around to making anything in the meantime.

I was wrong.

I made this mug, and I'm so happy with how it turned out.
This is black EV51 on a dollar tree mug. You might remember from this post that it was supposed to say
ALL I NEED IS
a little bit of
COFFEE
and
A WHOLE LOT OF 
JESUS,
but the little letters were too little and it didn't cut or weed right.  But this works, too.  AKD saw it and said, "not for you, I'm guessing?"  No, not for me, because mine would say chocolate instead of coffee.  Incidentally, the reverse canvas with this saying is still in the works.  I attempted, but failed, to obtain a canvas on Friday, or you'd probably be seeing it now.

On Saturday, I made this sign.  My friend chose the design on the left, but that's OK.  It looks good, too.  I like how you can see the grain of the wood through the black paint.
AKD saw this one and said, "also not for you, I'm guessing?"  He is correct.  It's perfect for my friend, though.  This is white Oracal 651 on a pine board, painted with black Apple Barrel acrylic paint ('cause I'm not cool enough to use chalk paint).

Also on Saturday, I made this sign.

When AKD saw this one, he said, "ah.  This one could be for you."  But it's not.  It's for a friend, or actually, more accurately, a friend of a friend.

I went with possibly-older-than-our-marriage walnut stain on a pine board.  I used Oramask 813 for the stencil and white Apple Barrel acrylic paint.  And by the way, I think the possibly-older-than-our-marriage walnut stain is gone, or at least what's left is too gummy to be useful, so I'll have to get some definitely-younger-than-our-marriage walnut stain for future projects.  It makes me kind of sad.

It seems like a strange thing, that I would make this time consuming project for someone I hardly know, and very rarely see, but what can I say?  I felt compelled.  And I'm glad I got it done so I will be able to hand-deliver it.   I know she'll love it.

So that's all for this week.  Maybe I'll get that canvas done in the next week.  See you next time.
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