Monday, December 2, 2019

Menu plan for the week of December 2

Are we ready to think about food again, yet?  I mean, I am almost always ready to think about food--it's one of my favorite pastimes--but are you all ready?

Well, ready or not, here I go!

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



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Chicken update and tree hunting

Busy week, probably for all of us, so please enjoy these lovely photos.

 Here's my favorite (and only) lap chicken, Esther, pretending to be a flamingo.  It's always easy to get good pictures of Esther, number one because she's beautiful, and second because she likes hanging out with me.  Her muff and beard are growing back.

 Finally, Toasty Crunch is molting.  She's looking even more spotted than this today, and she's growing those feathers back.

 Indigo and Rocky are laying eggs.  I really thought they wouldn't be laying at this point, due to molt and lack of light.  But I'm not going to complain about receiving eggs.

 Koko is clever and inquisitive.  She has finally started losing feathers.

 I growled, "smile," at them.  And they did.
 Tree huggers.
 Timber!  Bubby didn't give anyone else a turn.

Friday, November 22, 2019

We need one of each: Random Thoughts with Scarlet

Speaking of Just Dance...ok, we weren't.  Just go with me, here.

Y'all!  Not only did I finish 1st in three different songs the other day, I also finished first in a tournament (which is three songs in a row--highest cumulative score wins).  Eek!  My theory is that all the really good dancers have moved on to Just Dance 2020, but that doesn't make me any less geeked when I see my name on top of the leader board. 

So if the really good dancers have moved on, does that mean that there's another World Dance Floor out there, where all the really good dancers are dancing to 2020 songs?  How long will my 2019 World Dance Floor continue to exist?  Dunno.  I'll keep you posted.


People!  Rocky laid an egg.  What. Is. Going. On?  I am not prepared for these already-molted chickens to lay eggs again until spring(ish).  I am not complaining, because eggs are delicious; I'm surprised.


Speaking of chickens, I could spend hours looking at chicken breeds online.  I know that I could, because I do.  Some of them have feathers on their feet and/or legs!  Some of them have crests, muffs, or beards!  Some of them have five toes!  Five!  Some of them lay blue eggs, or chocolate brown eggs, or pink eggs!  Pink!  They're all so wonderful--I'll take one of each, please.


Speaking of wanting one of each, the other day Hubby said we needed more chickens.  I couldn't agree more.  We're gonna need a bigger coop.


I've mentioned that I've distilled my Warm Me Up Sausage Quiche down to the four essential ingredients, and I try to always have those four ingredients in the house.  I almost always have those ingredients, but they're not always in usable form--the sausage is raw and frozen and the cheese is ungrated, in blocks.  Well, yesterday I decided to cook a bunch of sausage and grate a bunch of cheese, so now I have three bags of cheese and sausage in the freezer all measured out and ready to be made into quiche (along with a baked quiche in the fridge).  I'm so excited to have streamlined the quiche process even more!  Batch cooking to the rescue!

Here's my current recipe:

  • Mix together 6 eggs, slightly beaten, 8 oz shredded cheese (I usually use sharp cheddar), 6 oz breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled (about 8 oz raw), and one 7 oz can diced green chilies.
  • Pour into a greased 9" square baking pan and bake in a preheated 400°F oven, for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer jiggly.

The Just Dance 2019 World Dance Floor still exists.  In addition to all of the accolades mentioned above, I've become Dancer of the Week for three songs!  That means that I achieved the highest score for each of those songs in the past seven days.  Of course, my titles were short-lived, but it was super exciting to see my name up there.


I've been making lots of Cricut projects, but I haven't been very good at taking pictures of them.  Whoops.  Here are a few of the projects you haven't seen yet:
 This is actually a reversible sign.  I took the "gather" picture before I put the frame on.

 I love these pantry labels.  Side note: who else has four or more different types of flour in their pantry?  I actually have six, but only four of them are in labelable containers.

My Cricut project list just keeps growing, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Menu plan for the week of November 18

I bought a turkey.  It is difficult to resist purchasing a turkey at this time of year, when they're such a good price.  Unfortunately, all of the good-price turkeys at my store were around 16 pounds, which is kind of a big turkey, especially when you're a family of five (one of whom lives elsewhere most of the year).  Oh, it's not a big turkey for us to eat.  No, that's not a problem.  It's a big turkey to store in our starter freezer.  So, yeah.  I have a freezer full of turkey, currently.

Speaking of that family member who lives elsewhere most of the year, he'll be home on Friday.  I think he told us Friday.  That's why the menu takes a sudden AKD-centric turn later in the week.  I love feeding that boy man.

Speaking of feeding people, Hubby was talking with some teenagers and they revealed to him that not everyone eats supper with their family most nights.  Or any night.  At least one of these teenagers said that every night is fend-for-yourself night in their house.  That just makes me so sad.  Those families are missing out on precious time together.  I get it, though.  People are so busy.  And it is so tiresome to have to cook every day.  Not just the cooking part, of course, but the planning part.  It's difficult.  As much as I angst*, though, I can never stop.  I just love our family meal times too much.

How about you?  Do you eat meals together as a family?


  • Pepperoni rolls (this is something we were introduced to in West Virginia (I associate them with our friend Paula, for some reason), basically biscuits stuffed with pepperoni.  So good), raw veggies
  • Nachos, guacamole, taco toppings
  • Sausage egg biscuits/English muffins, fresh fruit
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, chips, green beans
  • Beef barbacoa (from the freezer), tortillas, guacamole, taco toppings
  • Shepherd's pie, rolls, applesauce
  • Peppered steak with portabello mushrooms, mashed potatoes, grilled green veggie


  • Cookies.  It has been far too long since we have had cookies in our house
  • Muffins.  Ditto on the muffins (although far too long, in the case of muffins, is about 4 days)
  • Taco bean soup.  I eat it for lunch every day, and supper some days.
  • Warm me up sausage quiche.  Modified down to the 4 essential ingredients.

* How d'ya like that verbing, eh?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Why are black olives sold in cans? Random thoughts with Scarlet

I keep having random thoughts that I want to share with y'all.  None of them warrant a post all on their own, so I decided to just start a post, add to it whenever I think of something I want to share, and then publish it at some point.  Maybe Friday.  We'll see.


I bought green olives the other day.  I almost always have black olives in the house, but I don't buy green olives very often.  As I was perusing the shelf, it occurred to me, for the first time ever, that green olives are almost always sold in glass jars, while black olives are almost always sold in cans.  I would really appreciate it if black olives were sold in jars, because then I wouldn't have to transfer them from their can to another container, which inevitably leaks in my refrigerator drawer, to store them.

So I googled it: why are black olives not sold in jars?  And I found an answer that was kind of a non-answer, about jarred black olives causing botulism in the early 20th century.  It's a non-answer, because by now, the world has figured out how to jar low-acid foods safely.  So why is this still common practice?  I don't know.

The good news is, due to my musings, I have finally realized that I don't have to put my black olives into plastic containers to store them in the fridge--I can put them in glass mason jars.  Which are much less likely to spill, and also make me much happier.


I am loving having sugar scrub in my shower!  The current iteration is peppermint: 1 c. granulated sugar + 1/3 c. coconut oil + 1 T peppermint extract (you could use several drops of peppermint essential oil instead).  I use it on my elbows, knees, ankles, and feet almost every day, and I can definitely tell the difference when I don't use it for a while.  No more rough, dry skin for me!


In a surprise turn of events, Indigo has started laying eggs again.  It is so strange, considering that she wasn't laying eggs regularly before she molted, and then she molted (which slows down or halts egg production), and then the days got shorter (which also slows down or halts egg production).


In other chicken news, Toasty Crunch has entered the feathers-fly-everywhere-whenever-she-shakes-her-body-or-flaps-her-wings stage of molting.  There are feathers everywhere.  I really wish she had lost her feathers with the others, because it is cold right now.  It is legitimately January weather, and she's losing feathers.  Silly chicken.  And then there's Koko, who hasn't even started her molt.


I found a (dead) moth in the neck of my water bottle the other day.  How did it get there, and how long had it been there?  IdontknowIdontknowIdontknow!  But I didn't notice it (because I was drinking (water) while driving) until the water was half gone!  Ewww!  Please excuse me while I brush my teeth (again) and gargle with high proof alcohol (again).


Eek!  I got my first 1st place finish on the World Dance Floor!  And it was on my sis' favorite song (or at least her favorite the last time I knew her favorite).  So exciting and gratifying.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A New Morning Routine

Earlier this year, I told you about my new morning routine, which consisted of getting Bubby on the bus, then doing devotions with the chickens, followed by Just Dancing.  I loved that routine, and it worked perfectly for me, for a lot of reasons.

And then this school year happened.  Bubby catches the bus much earlier, and it isn't light out at that time.  I could grab my headlamp along with my Bible and prayer journal, but since the point of doing devos outside with the chickens is to get exposure to early morning sunlight, that would kind of defeat the purpose.

So I was waiting until it was light out to go out, which was about an hour and a half after everyone had left the house for the day.  I started doing other things, and I ended up not actually reading or visiting the chickens most days, which led to not Just Dancing, either.

It made me sad, but I wasn't sure what to do.  The school district is not going to adjust the bus schedule based on my needs.

I wasn't sure what to do, that is, until yesterday.  Why not, I thought to myself, reverse?  Why not start Just Dancing as soon as the others clear out in the morning, in the basement, where it doesn't matter whether or not it's light out, and then go out and read with the chickens?

Y'all.  Why did it take me this long to figure this out?

So we're back in business, friends--morning routine: exercise, God-time, and early morning light exposure--back on track.

Speaking of Just Dance, the 2020 version came out last week.  I wonder how long it'll be until the World Dance Floor switches over to the 2020 songs.  And will I still be able to access the World Dance Floor with my 2019 game after that happens?  I hope so.  At least I think I hope so.  Maybe I'll feel differently when I start not knowing the songs, and not being able to practice them on demand.  I'll let you know what happens.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Menu plan for the week of November 11

Friends!  Did you figure out something to eat yesterday?  I mean, I know y'all rely on my menu plan wisdom to feed yourselves and your families, and I failed you. 

So...better late than never?  Hmm.  That one's kind of like "it's the thought that counts," which is a phrase with which I take issue.  Anyway.  Here is this week's menu plan, a day late (it's a very parenthetical menu plan.  I've taken the liberty of italicizing the parentheticals so it's (hopefully) easier to see the actual menu items). 


  • Chicken Alfredo (found the Alfredo sauce in the cupboard--Hubby asked me to buy some for him when the kids and I went out of town, and he didn't use it.  The chicken was already cooked and diced in the freezer) with fancy noodles (I bought these to use for a pasta salad when we had guests recently, and we ended up not using them), green beans (from the garden)
  • Cauliflower (from the freezer--I used half a head for a recipe and froze the rest) and Kielbasa (also from the freezer.  I probably bought it for a recipe and never used it) stir fry, asparagus (leftover from the weekend)
  • Nachos with guacamole (from the freezer.  I've been making it without tomatoes and freezing it.  I used to just freeze the avocados because tomatoes don't thaw well, but then I realized that I can add fresh tomatoes to thawed everything else that is the goodness of guacamole), taco toppings
  • Sunday night stew (I'm putting this here, because it's on the menu plan, but I'm pretty sure we're not going to eat it on Thursday because of the after-school schedule.  But just because we can't eat it doesn't mean you can't.  If it does get made this week, it will include tomato paste from the freezer--don't you just hate it when you need a tablespoon or two for a recipe, but you have to buy the whole can?  Two things you can do: scoop the extra out by tablespoons on to wax or parchment paper or a silicone mat, freeze, then store in a bag in the freezer until you need it, or buy tomato paste in a tube, and store the extra in your fridge) and mashed potatoes (leftover from Sunday.  If you don't like leftover mashed potatoes because the texture changes, try adding extra butter and milk or cream to them as you're reheating them).
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, fresh veggies and fruits
  • Grilled chicken, salad, raw veggies

  • Cookie butter cups (a gift for someone(s) special)
  • Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Muffins (I've been loving the silicone muffin liners that I received as a gift this summer.  They're reusable, so there are fewer paper liners making their way to the landfill from our household)
  • Bread (I think we're going to run out before my next shopping trip, which is ok, because homemade tastes better, anyway)
  • Warm me up sausage quiche (I have further modified this recipe down to its essence.  Four ingredients, which I endeavor to always have on hand.  I bought 48 cans of diced green chilis last week, so hopefully that'll last us for a while)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Menu plan for the week of November 4

Did y'all notice it's a new month now?  It is.  We're four days in now.

Did you also notice that I didn't post a 9 for 2019 update?  Yup.  I didn't.  I did think about it on Thursday, and then again on Friday, and again on Saturday, but I didn't do it.  I didn't do it, because, once again, I made no progress on my goals this month.  I had planned to execute my final playdate with myself, walking downtown and visiting shops, on a Friday in October.  The weather was gorgeous that day: sunny and around 55°F.  What I had neglected to remember, though, was that the kiddos didn't have school that day.  So I ended up not going.  And, yeah.  No progress on the FofL book, either.  You're not surprised, are you?

So yeah.  I'm a failure.  Let's move on. 

This week, I searched my freezer, fridge, and pantry for items that need to be used up, and planned my menu around those items.  Know what I found?  That's right: I found evaporated milk.  The same evaporated milk that you've been hearing about for (what feels like) years now.  Here's the kicker.  I thought I had used that evaporated milk for something, and I bought more last week for a pumpkin pie!  Yeah.  I did (at least I actually used the evaporated milk that I bought to make the pie).  I'm gonna use that can of evaporated milk as a substitute for heavy cream in the Alfredo Chicken Casserole this week.  I don't want to.  I mean, I really would rather have heavy cream in my casserole, because heavy cream is yummy.  But desperate times call for desperate substitutions.

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

  • Leftover pulled meats from the freezer (there are two containers.  I'm pretty sure one is pork and the other is chicken, but I don't know how they're seasoned.  Hopefully the fam will eat 'em up), buns or tortillas, green beans
  • Alfredo chicken casserole, rolls, applesauce
  • Corn dogs, chicken tenders, and French toast sticks (again from the freezer.  We don't have enough of any of them to make a meal, so together it is), raw veggies and fruits
  • Meat sauce (leftover) with angel hair, garlic toast (from the freezer!), green beans
  • Salsa verde chicken, tossed salad
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, jello, grilled veggie
  • Steak, mashed potatoes, asparagus


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

So Judge-y

I try not to be judgmental.  In the past several years I've really taken to heart the notion that my job is to love everybody and it's God's job to judge--God will figure out anything that needs to be figured out.  It's not my place to decide that someone is less or more worthy than anyone else.  You could say that judging people is above my pay grade, because I am not God.  (And thank God for that).


I mean, there's the whole judge not, lest you be judged, and ... take the plank out of your own eye before pointing out the speck in another's, and ... he who is without sin, throw the first stone, and ... the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love others.  All of those things, and more, lead me to the conclusion that I have no business judging anyone.

Y'all.  We all are guilty, and we all deserve to be judged, but not by each other.  From each other we deserve love and compassion and an effort to be kind to each other.  And I try really hard to live that out in my life.  I've always been pretty good at creating alternate realities and seeing other perspectives, so it's not too difficult for me to imagine that people have good reasons for what they do and say.  Or, at least, reasons.  Reasonable reasons.  I've also come to realize that, no matter how put together we look on the outside, nobody's life is perfect, and all of us are struggling with something.  Which makes it easier for me empathize, which makes it easier to be compassionate, which makes it easier to love.

But there is one area in which I struggle, and that is this: I judge people for being judgmental.

Ugh!  I don't want to, but I do.  I see or hear something (that I judge to be) judgmental, and it just sets my teeth on edge.  How dare they?  How dare they judge another person when God has extended so much grace in their lives?

And then I stop, and realize.  I've done it again.  I am doing the very thing that I am criticizing someone else for doing.  How dare I?  It's definitely a plank in my eye, and I'm not sure how to get it out.

I guess all I can say is I'm working on it.  With God's help, I'm working on it, because this not-judging, I can't do that without God's supernatural intervention.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Menu plan for the week of October 28

Hello, friends.

The football seasons are officially over, although one kiddo will have at least one more obligation to the team.  It is Hubby's opinion that they're allowed to practice for another week past the end of their season, but no one has informed us of the coaches' intention as of yet, so we really don't know what our evenings will look like this week.

So...does anyone have any menu planning tips for me?  I feel like I used to be good at this, or at least adequate.  Now?  It feels really, really difficult.  Maybe I can find a helpful blogger to do my menu planning for me?  My current plan is to just look in the cupboards, fridge, and freezers to see if the food we currently have on hand sparks ideas.  That, and making sure there are tacos, hamburgers, and hot dogs on the menu every week. 

I'm kidding. 

Sort of.

Anyway, here is this week's offering.  I hope you find it inspiring.  And feel free to let me know what you're eating this week.


  • Meat sauce with angel hair pasta or zucchini noodles, green beans
  • Hamburgers, buns, mashed potatoes, carrots
  • Fend for yourself
  • Nachos with guacamole
  • Pizza or stromboli, salad
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, jello, corn (Hubby has requested on the cob--we'll see what I can find)
  • Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, grilled veggie


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I know the plans

Has anyone around here heard of Jeremiah 29:11? 

It goes a little something like this:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, is comforting Judah, telling God's people that after Babylon takes them into exile, which God will allow because of Judah's disobedience, God will deliver them.  God will not forget them.  God has a plan for them.

But even though these words were written at a specific time, in a specific situation, to a specific people, lots of folks, including me, take comfort in this verse.  God, we reason, has a plan for me, too, a good plan.  A plan that we don't always (or ever) understand, but a plan nonetheless.

This verse is a popular one to give out on plaques and paperweights and bookmarks and journals for graduations and confirmations.  It's an appropriate verse to give to someone just starting out in adulthood.  We recite this verse, implying that even though the young adult doesn't necessarily have a plan, God does.  I pray this verse over my boys often, willing it to be true, even though I can't necessarily see the way from here to there.

I recently realized that I've kind of always thought of this verse as a young-person verse, as if God had a plan for more mature adults, in the past, when they were younger, but now that they're 40 or 60 or 80, God's good plan is no longer relevant and true.  But what's true for a recent graduate is also true for me, and what's true for me is also true for the new retiree, and what's true for the new retiree is also true for the person near the end of life.  God still has a plan.  A good plan.  For hope.  For a future.  Whether it is the first day of your life, or the last, or anywhere in between, in each moment, God is working out that good plan for your life.

God has a habit of using the unlikeliest of people to do God's work.  And I think that includes the very young and the very old.  As long as we have breath, there's work to be done.  God has a plan to give you hope and a future, even if you're old, even if you're young, even if you feel useless.  God has not forgotten you.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Last youth football menu plan

Hi friends.  It's the last week of football for Bubby, and I went wild, planning a meal for every day this week.  Oh, silly, silly me.  Oh well, it'll give me a good head-start for next week, when it's likely we'll be able to eat as a family at least 5 times.  I love watching my kiddos do something they love.  And I also love spending time with them.

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


  • Herbed chicken and wild rice, green beans
  • Nachos, guacamole
  • Pizza, salad
  • Chicken tenders, raw veggies, fruit
  • Out to eat
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, chips, raw veggies
  • Grilled bone-in chicken, garlic toast, salad


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.


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:


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


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.


  • 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
  • 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:


  • 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

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?"



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.
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