Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Toilet troubles

 65788 Super Toilet Plunger
We are having toilet troubles at our house.  It's been going on for a while, and we were able to make it work with generous applications of the plunger, but it finally came to a head* a couple of months ago when one of our toilets refused to flush.

We took it apart and cleaned out the trap.  We poured water down the drain.  We poured water down that drain in copious amounts, and it went down ok, so we were sure it was the toilet itself that was the issue and not the waste pipe.

But then we put the toilet back and it's not wanting to flush again.  There is one more thing we need to try before giving up and calling the professionals, but at this point, it's not very useful to us.  Well, me specifically.  No one else seems to be having any trouble, as long as they're flushing only liquids (read: no TP...or anything else!).

On Monday, someone, who shall remain nameless, but I will say it wasn't me, broke one of the hinges that holds the seat onto another of our toilets.  It's still usable, but it's...shall we say...precarious.

We have another toilet, but that's our last one.  If anything happens to that one, we're plumb** outta luck.

Last night, my husband (I am not even joking.  I wish I was) said to me, "maybe we should buy a new toilet and I can use the old one for parts!"

I laughed.  Out loud.  Because, what?!

Now, I'll tell you, I wouldn't mind getting a new toilet or two, because then we'd have working, shiny clean potties in our house (because let's face it: at this point, after years of boys with less than perfect aim using these toilets, no amount of scrubbing will be able to get some of the crusty gunk off).  But there is no way.  Absolutely. No. Way.  That I'm going to let him keep the old one.

Unless he does this.
The end.

P.S. I think we're going to move the seat from the non-flushing toilet to the broken-hinge toilet.  It's not like anyone is using it over there anyway.  And Hubby's always wanted a urinal.

*Ha ha.  The toilet troubles came to a head.
** I know.  But I couldn't resist.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Menu plan for the week of March 28

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I brought my friendship bread starter out of stasis in the freezer.  It's doing great, enthusiastically bubbling away.  And guess what, y'all!  I actually handed some starter off to not one, but two friends last cycle!  So that means that, in the almost 2 years since I started this starter, I have given away a grand total of ... four?  Wow.  I am super friendly.  Day 10 is Thursday,  so I'll be baking.  I think I'll do one more cycle, then freeze my starters.  Unless any of you wants one?  Really, I'd love to share.  After all, I'm super friendly.

Here's what else we're eating this week:


  • Angel hair or zucchini noodles with meat sauce, grilled garlic toast, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Tacos, tortillas, taco toppings
  • BLTs, carrots, fresh fruit
  • Wild rice casserole, green beans, pears
  • Baked almond chicken fingers, carrots, salad
  • Pizza or zucchini crust pizza, salad
  • Fish or hamburgers, chips, fruit, carrots

Friday, March 25, 2016

Climbing hills

I climbed a hill yesterday.  It was a long hill.  It was a steep hill.  It was a long, steep hill.  It was the kind of hill that, just when you think you're reaching the top, you walk around a bend and realize the hill continues.

It was hard.  And there was a point, about halfway up, but not really, because of the hill continuing beyond the bend, when I wanted to stop and turn around.  I really did.  I did not want to climb that hill.  I really didn't.

But then I remembered what I did want.  I did want to walk a circuit around the river formerly known as Little Falls Lake.  And in order to do what I did want, I had to do something I didn't want.  Sure, I arranged my path to make it the easiest I could, but there were still obstacles in my path, including that hill.

So I continued.  I kept lifting up one foot and placing it in front of the other until I reached the top.

That's life.  In order to do what we really want, we have to do some things we don't.  And there will always be obstacles in our path.  Things that are hard.  In the face of obstacles it is so easy to forget our overall goal.  And if we let those things discourage and defeat us, we will never accomplish what we set out to do.  That's when we need to just do the next right thing.  We need to keep moving.  We need to take the next step, in faith, putting one foot in front of the other, not knowing if ultimately we will be successful, but knowing for certain that if we give up, we will not succeed.

whole staircase
My friends, what is the obstacle you're facing today?  How can you do the next right thing?  How can you take the next step?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wisdom from old me

I came across this post today.  My menu from a year ago.  It caught my eye, number one, because it had snowed, and we're staring down a snowy forecast for tonight into tomorrow, and number two, because I was planning to have chicken taco casserole this week last year, too.  In individual ramekins, which is a fantastic idea.

It's ok, and not conceited, for me to say that my own idea is a fantastic idea because I'm not really that person anymore.  So much has changed in this year, in me, in my family, in my home, in my community, in my nation, in my world.  So that idea that old me had, a year ago?  Fantastic.   I think I'll do that this year, too.

But here's what really caught my eye in that year-ago post:'s never a waste of time to do something you love, something that fills you up and gives you a smidgen of joy.
Old me was talking about shoveling, which, you know, most people wouldn't associate with anything even approaching joy, but old me was really on to something.

So here's new me's challenge for you today: do what brings you joy, even if the world thinks you're foolish for doing it.

What brings you joy?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Although I generally don't, lately I've been checking my Spam filter.

Not that kind of spam, sillies.  The unwanted email kind.  

I do wonder what a Spam-of-the-weird-processed-food-kind filter would look like, though.  What do you think?

Anyway, I've been checking the email that my spam filter has caught for me and I noticed a new one.  I've been seeing the "Suspicious Activity on your Account" one for a while.  I always go, separately, not clicking the link in the email, to the site to check.  And there's never any suspicious activity.  But this morning there was an Order Pick-up Failure notice.  As in, I ordered something for in store pick-up, and they had notified me five times that it was available, but I never showed, and I needed to pick it up.  Now.  Except I had to click on a link to see what I had ordered and even at which location I needed to pick it up.

Unfortunately, these tactics must work, because the scammers keep using them.

Here's something interesting, if you're wondering why spam is called spam.  Might be true, but only the originators know for sure.

And in conclusion...for your Spam-y viewing pleasure...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Menu plan for the week of March 21

Happy Easter this week, y'all!  Here's what we're eating this week.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Our printer

I'm typing on a laptop right now--it's my main computer, used for most of my computing needs.  Since it's a laptop, and therefore portable, I will, from time to time, unplug and take it elsewhere to work.

When I decide to print something, I will click "print" and whatever it is will go to a queue to digitally wait until such time as the laptop is connected to the printer again.  Our wireless printer went caput, so we're using our "old" printer which requires a physical connection to print.

Quite often, AKD will be the one to turn the computer on after it's been away from its home for a while, and the printer will start making its noises and spitting out printed pages, which are often coupons or recipes.

And then AKD will tell me that the printer wants us to buy...oreos, or jellybeans, or Mars candy...or wants us to make...whatever delectable recipe has just magically appeared in our printer's tray.

The really fun part is, sometimes I forget what I've sent to the printer.  Then AKD and I are both surprised :)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

French Silk

My husband reads my blog.  Sometimes.  Usually.  He would say Always, but I'm not so sure.  Sometimes he skims, maybe.

Anyway, Monday was pi day, and I made mini cherry pies in ramekins for my pie-loving boys.  Also on Monday, my husband read my blog post (so he'd know what he was eating this week), and Hubby accused me of lying being mistaken about his request for French Silk pie.  That's a lot to have happen in one day.  Whew!

"I don't even know what French Silk pie is," he said, "why would I request something that I don't even know what it is?"

First of all, I don't know why he does approximately 53.8% of what he does.  Wait.  Maybe that percentage should be higher.

And second,  I know!  I know absolutely that my husband does not know what French Silk pie is!  That's why I was so surprised that he suggested it (in an off-the-cuff, throwaway comment, but it was a suggestion none-the-less).  That, and the fact that, if he did know what French Silk pie was, it would definitely not be anywhere near his first choice.

"I didn't get much pie," he said by way of explanation, as he was scooping out another bite of flaky, juicy cherry pie perfection.  Like, when he was growing up, he didn't get much pie.  I can see that.  And I'm so glad that we're avoiding that particular pitfall for our children.  Well, at least the one who is willing to eat pie.

Anyway, now Hubby does know what French Silk pie is, and he's not planning on suggesting that I make it anytime soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I neglected to mention, or plan for, the Ides of March in my "special holiday" menu plan on Monday.  Whoops.  Missed another "holiday."  What would you serve for an Ides of March party?  Caesar salad?  Blood oranges?  Things on skewers?

The good thing is, March has an Ides every year, so I get more chances.  The even better thing is, I can continue to ignore it if I wish.


Happy Ides Of March, Romans and countrymen(and everyone else)
The folks over at the radio station I listen to most are calling today John 3.16 day.  I like it.  Even though it doesn't involve food.

Locusts and wild honey, maybe?  I'm plumb out of locusts, but maybe I should whip up a batch of homemade "Clif" bars.  They have honey in them.  Or bread, I suppose.  Bread containing wild honey and locusts?


Whew, that was quite a night last night!  I'm not sure if I can continue to blame it on daylight savings, but Bubby has been having a heck of a time falling asleep this week.  Isn't it generally accepted that it takes 1 day per hour of time change to get a body back on schedule?  But here it is, four days in, and Bubby and I both are not sleeping (and not just because he's keeping me awake).  Last night, Bubby ended up sleeping in a sleeping bag on our bedroom floor.  At least he did fall asleep eventually--at 1:18 and 2:37 and 3:14 a.m., and every time in between, that was not a sure thing.

For Bubby, it's not just a disruption to his inner clock that's disturbing his sleep rhythm.  He's also experiencing fear of an unspecified nature.  Like, he's scared to tears, but not sure why.  And that scares me.  Because irrational fear is not only impossible to reason away, it is also crossing into territories that I don't want to visit, alone, or with any of my children or my husband.

I'm trying, and mostly succeeding, not to panic, but panic resides closer to the surface in a sleep deprived landscape.  Fortunately, we have the assurance of God's unfailing love to chase away the darkness--the fear, the hurt, the confusion, the panic, the anxiety.  Here's praying for a sleep-filled and fear-free night, tonight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Meat Sauce for Canning

I ended up doing both yesterday.  Both canning and freezing the meat sauce for spaghetti.  I sextupled the meat and octupled everything else.

And apparently octupled is an actual word.

AKD came home and said, "it smells like spaghetti," and it did.  So good.  Tomato...garlic..oregano...  Mmm!

I octupled and sextupled because I was concerned that my usual sextupled recipe wouldn't yield enough for a full canner load plus supper.  Also?  This sauce is very meaty--it could stand a little more sauciness.

Turns out I was wrong about the yield (I blame the head space), which is why I ended up doing both.  I canned a full load (which is five, in my "little" canner) of quarts, and had enough left over to freeze another two quarts, as well as having enough for our evening meal and a little left over from that.  I did think about doing a second, partial load, or canning some in half-pints or pints for AKD, so he wouldn't have to open a whole quart when he got the hankering for spaghetti, but decided freezing would be both easier and less time consuming.

So...we're all set for spaghetti sauce around here for a while.  I seriously love cooking once and getting eight meals for my trouble.  The fact that most of it is self-stable is an added bonus.

If you'd like to can some spaghetti sauce too, just sextuple or octuple or however-many-tuples-you-want the recipe.  Pack in hot jars and pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure: pints for 60 minutes or quarts for 75 minutes.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Menu plan for the week of March 14

Happy Pie er Pi Day!

Hi everyone.  Lots of "holidays" this week.  You know, the kind of holidays some parents (usually the mamas) live for, and others dread?  I'm somewhere in between. I celebrate, sometimes, and other times just let them go.  First up is pi day, 3.14.  That's today!  My pie-loving boys (and there are only two of them) have requested cherry, pumpkin, apple, and French silk.  French silk?  Seriously?   Methinks it's been too long since those boys had pie.  Next is St. Patrick's Day, when everyone sorta pretends to be Irish.  Finally, the first day of spring, or, more cryptically, the vernal equinox, happens this week.  I'm sure there are more--I'm just not in the mood to look 'em up.  Do you celebrate any of these?

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

Spinach Muffins |

  • Large batch spaghetti sauce--I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to can or freeze the extra.  I'd better decide soon, though, because I'm making it this afternoon!
  • Spinach muffins--these are bright green, and I'm told you can't taste the spinach.  There's a chocolate version, too, which obviously, I have to make soon, but I love the bright green color for St. Patrick's Day.
  • Granola
  • Spaghetti squash breakfast cups--I'm using up the last of the spaghetti squash from the freezer.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Menu plan for the week of March 7

Hi everybody!  Are you feeling as springy where you are as we are over here?  It's spring break for my kiddos this week.  At least the weather matches this year.

And since it's spring break, I'm taking care of chickens again.  I am so thankful to be able to borrow our friends' chickens from time to time--so much nicer than having our own ... and having to clean their coop!

When I was thinking about how to use eggs this week, I decided it was finally time to bring Shirley back from her sabbatical.  She's been sleeping in the freezer since 2014, so out she comes this week.  She's capable of using 9 eggs in one fell swoop.  As for baking, I'll for sure be doing double chocolate, and I will probably do lemon poppy chia seed, but other than those, I'm open for suggestions.

Speaking of bringing old friends back, I'm tapping a tree or two this year to make my very own maple-ish syrup.  This time, I'm canning it in half-pint jars, though.  Click here to take a look at how our syrup making went the first time.

Aside from eggs and Shirley and syrup, we'll probably eat something this week, although since it is spring break, our plans are sort of ... fluid.  Here are some things we may or may not get around to eating this week.

  • Tacos, tortillas, taco toppings
  • Cheesy mini burgers, brown rice, salad, green beans
  • Pizza
  • Hamburgers with or without buns, chips, carrots
  • Grilled pork chops, grilled green veggie
  • Spaghetti or spaghetti squash with meatballs, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Pancakes, fresh fruit
  • Warm me up sausage quiche

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