Monday, October 31, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 31

Hi, everybody.  November this week.  That means...well, it means that November is happening this week.  Aaaaannnnd...that's all I've got.

In other news, I made Monster Munch the other day.  It was pretty good.

Monster Munch from Plain Chicken

Wow.  I guess I'm not feeling very chatty today.  On to the meals.



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Really Bad Girls of the Bible: A Review

In Really Bad Girls of the Bible: More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect Women, author Liz Curtis Higgs explores in-depth, the stories of eight bad girls from the Bible, including the Medium of En Dor, Bathsheba, and Tamar.  

Each of the eight chapters begins with a fictional, contemporary take on the story, followed by a verse by verse exploration of the story from the Bible, and finally a section on what we can learn from this particular bad girl.  The book also includes an introduction, a conclusion, discussion questions, and a chapter by chapter study guide.

I really enjoyed Ms. Higgs' conversational style.  The book was very easy to read--I felt like Ms. Higgs and I were chatting over coffee.  I also appreciated the in-depth look at some Biblical women that I'd never heard of.  Their stories help me better understand the overarching story of the Scriptures.  The fictional, contemporary introductions to the bad girls were very effective at drawing me in and peaking my interest.

Bottom line: this easy-to-read book would be an excellent choice for a women's Bible study, and will deepen your understanding of the Bible by providing vivid portraits of eight women in the Bible.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Let's see how y'all like Wednesday menu plans

I was not home on Sunday, which is when I usually write my weekly menu plan post, or Monday, which is when I usually publish my weekly menu plan post.  And then Tuesday got the better of me (it was very Monday-esque).  So here we are on Wednesday, and I'm sharing my family's menu plan.

I'm using up the last of the zucchini this week, finally.  And by last of the zucchini, I mean the last of the zucchini that I haven't yet frozen.  See, here's the problem with freezing zucchini.  Zucchini is so prolific that, by the time one navigates through the fresh zucchini season, one is typically all zucchini-ed out.

I mean, I made bread, and muffins, and noodles, and soup, and meatballs, and pizza crust.  I put zucchini in spaghetti sauce.  I skewered and grilled it.  I, and my family, ate a lot of zucchini this summer, but we still couldn't keep up with production.  So I froze the extra.  I have nineteen two cup portions of shredded zucchini in my freezer (maybe more?  I kind of lost count), which, you know, doesn't sound like a lot.  If we make muffins once a week, it'll only last about four months.

But we are not going to be making zucchini muffins once a week.  Because I have been making zucchini muffins once a week for the past four months.  I am done with zucchini.  Bring on the pumpkin, the bananas, the apples.  By the time I am ready to eat zucchini again, it is likely that there will be fresh zucchini available from my garden.

Anyway, due to the amount of zucchini already in my freezer, I am determined to use this one fresh.  Here we go!

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


One more thing.  I know the reason y'all love my menu posts is because I give you ideas and recipe links.  Well.  My friend Laura has put together a meal planning service called Simple Meals where she not only gives you ideas and recipes, but she gives you grocery lists and task sheets as well.  Every week.  For less than $1 per week.  That means you don't have to think at all if you don't want to!  

Meals fall into the categories of no thaw night, crockpot night, made ahead night, no trouble night, build it yourself night, and savor it night, with one night left free for leftovers, eating out, or preparing a family favorite.

Not sure what I'm talking about?  Click here to see a sample weekly menu.

Want to sign up or learn more?  Click here for a coupon code good for $10 off a yearly subscription (this is my referral link, which means if you sign up through this link, I will get a commission at no extra charge to you).  You'll also get over $60 worth of bonuses.

Don't worry--I'll still be posting menu plans every week (ish), but this is another great, low-cost option to save you time, money, and brain-power.  And I'm pretty sure Laura will be more consistent than me...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cleaning hacks

One of my goals this school year...

Ha!  I say that as if I have more than one.  Goal that is.  It just sounds better than "my goal this school year".  Because honestly, who has this as their one and only goal in life?  Huh?  This girl, that's who.  Pathetic.  But at least I have a goal.  Anyway...

One of my goals this school year is to take back the house from entropy.  It's not that my house is excessively dirty or anything, but a certain...shall we my house cleaning technique (Ha! again.  As if I have a house cleaning technique...) has come to light.  At 11 years, this is the longest Hubby and I have lived in one location.  We lived in our previous homes for less than two years, four years, and six years.  And it turns out that dust and dirt and gunk and such don't really have a chance to build up all that much in less than two years, four years (without kids), and even in six years (with itty bitty kids), even if one has deficiencies in one's house cleaning technique.  But eleven?  Yup.  It's catching up with me.  So I'm taking it back, this year.

I started with a four week rotating schedule.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who needs a schedule to tell her what to clean when.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Please?  No?  Alllllrightythen, back to the post.

Kitchen, dusting, and vacuuming, along with laundry, are addressed on Mondays.  Wednesdays the bathrooms and laundry room get attention, along with the hard floors.  Friday is reserved for paper, calendar, and money.  It's a rotating schedule because different aspects are emphasized each week (and yes, I know this schedule does not cover everything, but it's a good start).

Know what I've found out?  Yes!  Cleaning is never ending.

And, it gets easier to clean the more often I do it.

Who knew?

Well, I guess I kind of knew, in theory, but apparently I didn't actually believe it, because I fought myself, hard, over this schedule thing (still do, some most days).  But here's the thing.  When you clean the seams of your glass-doored shower for the first time ever in eleven years, they're gonna be pretty gross.  And it's gonna take a bit of time and effort (and a toothbrush) to get them clean.  In fact, you might not even be able to get them clean all in one session.  But, listen.  There is no way they're gonna get that dirty and gross again in four weeks.  So when that job comes up again, you can do it faster and better than the last time.

Image source
Know what else I've found out?  Cleaning hacks, you know, the ones all over the internet?  Those things work.  Like, actually work.  I have been having so much fun with cleaning hacks, that I'm going to start sharing them with y'all.  Because I want you to have fun, too.  It's all about serving the public, friends.

So look for cleaning hack posts starting next week, and, in the meantime, I will try to remember to take before photos...

Happy cleaning, y'all!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 17

Y'all!  I am so tired!  I have heard that in general people are most tired during October.  Or maybe it was that people sleep the most in October.  It has something to do with the change in light and change in melatonin production.  Or something like that.  Unfortunately, in my case, it is not melatonin that is to blame, or at least not entirely.  I can't sleep.  Ugh.  I hate that.  And much the same way that people who don't have trouble getting to sleep can't understand those of us who do (you're tired?  Just go to sleep.  What do you mean you're too tired to go to sleep?  Just, you know, fall asleep.  As if), I don't understand how people can just...fall asleep.  At will.  I wish that was me.

So I find myself, at 7:30 p.m., so tired that I wish to go to bed.  Right then.  And the other people who live here are incredulous.  You're going to bed?  Right now?  Yes, yes I am.  Because I can't really hold my eyes open anymore.  They're slits, these eyes of mine, because they want to be closed but they need to be open.  I am going to bed.  But I'm not going to sleep because I can't.  Therefore, I will be walking around like a zombie again tomorrow, and my eyes will want to close even earlier.

I'm not sure how to get myself out of this pattern, but something's got to change soon, or I'll be going to bed as soon as I get up in the morning.

But you didn't come to hear about my sleep issues--you want to know about the food.  So here you go:


Thursday, October 13, 2016


There's something I've been praying about.  It's a something far away from me.  It's a something that I want to help.  I want to be there.  I want to support, listen, run errands, make meals, clean, keep company, inspire, encourage.  It feels like a crisis.  I want to get in there and do something.

I was talking to a friend about it, about how hard it is to be far away, how hard it is to not be able to do anything except pray.

My friend got this funny look on her face, and I knew immediately what she was thinking.

What more important thing can we humans do besides tap into the power of the living God?  What more helpful thing can we do than to knock at the throne room door until God moves?  Praying isn't just the only thing I can do, it is the most important thing I can do.

(There's a video here--if you're reading via email, you'll have to click through to the post to view the video)

Ah, but in my human-ness, I want to be in control.  Me.  How ridiculous is that, in the face of the truth--that God is God and I am not?  For some reason, doing something, giving me the illusion of being in control, makes me feel more secure than surrendering to the reality that God is in control.  As if I, imperfect and flawed and human, could ever make more of an impact than the Ruler of the universe.  

Creator God, forgive me my presumptions.  Forgive me for losing sight of your sovereignty, for looking inward instead of out, toward you.  Lord, I humbly ask you to move, and I thank and praise you that the victory is already yours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It must be the age

It must be the age.  When MC was in 3rd grade, he left a lot of jackets at school.  Now Bubby is in 3rd grade, and he has two jackets that he alternately leaves at school.  Maybe AKD did the same thing, although if he did, I have no written record of it.  There was a period of time when I would always find something of ours in the lost and found at school, even if I wasn't aware that we were missing something.

Luckily, I've been picking Bubby up after school often enough this fall (due to those crazy two evenings a week) that I've always been able to grab the one that's at school out of the lost and found before he leaves the other one there.  Consequently, he hasn't had to go jacket-less to school yet.

I know what the problem is.  It's cold when he goes to school in the morning, and then, because he has it, he wears his coat out to recess.  At recess, he plays hard, gets warm, and takes off his jacket.  And then promptly forgets about it, until the next morning.

In fact, I grabbed a jacket out of the lost and found yesterday.  Bubby looked a bit chagrined as I plucked it from the pile, as if he hadn't realized he'd left it again.  This morning, there were no jackets on Bubby's hook.  "Um, Bubby, did you leave your jacket at school yesterday?" I gently queried.  Indeed he had (the one I had taken from the lost and found was still in the truck).

Oh, the irony of taking the jacket out of the lost and found and leaving the other one, the one he had worn that day, at school.  You can be sure that before we leave school today (yes, yes, it's a busy week.  Thanks for asking.  Four times, I'm picking that kid up at school this week, and possibly dropping him off once), I will do my best to ensure that we have two jackets.  If I remember, that is.  Maybe I can't blame the age.  Maybe my kiddos are just destined to be forgetful based on the mama portion of their chromosomes.

This morning, Bubby wore a hat to school.  "Especially since my hair is wet, mom," he told me.  Isn't it supposed to be the mom who tells the kid to wear a hat because his hair is wet?  Yup, I am wondering if the hat's going to come home today (I know it'll get here eventually).  It does fit nicely into his backpack, so at least there's that.

And now for some gratuitous random pictures of that forgetful kid, not wearing a jacket.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 10

I'm busy watching football, so no cutesy commentary today.  Just the menu.  Here ya go.



Saturday, October 8, 2016


One of my kiddos was invited to something via electronic invitation.  When I got the invitation in my email inbox, I clicked the link to take me to the invitation, but since we had talked about possibly not being around that day, I did not RSVP.  This morning, after having discussed the matter and deciding that yes, the kiddo would be around to attend the thing, I clicked on the link to take me to the invitation again.  And again.  And again.  Because this time, I got, instead of the invitation, an error message.  Then again, and again.

Now I know that the most likely explanation is that this particular invitation website is experiencing technical difficulties.  But do you know where my mind went first?  My mind told me that my kiddo had been uninvited.  That the mama had invited more people than could be accommodated, and the number she could include had already responded, so my kiddo was out.  Or worse, that my kiddo was invited mistakenly in the first place--that this mama had never meant to invite him.

Why does my brain do that?  Seriously.  It's (most likely) just a website glitch.  But I take it personally.

Right now I'm reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and it's a good thing I am.  'Cause here's the subtitle: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.  I'm only a few chapters in, but already the book has challenged me to be aware of how my perceptions, which may or may not have any basis in reality, affect my feelings, which in turn affect my attitudes, which in turn affect my actions.  Good stuff.  It's so easy, and I am so quick, to immediately assume the worst--but life would be a lot easier if my default was to assume the best.  Of others and myself.

I emailed the mama to accept the invitation, and I hope to high heaven that it really is just a glitch.  In the meantime, I keep repeating to myself, "it's just a glitch, it's just a glitch, it's just a glitch."  Maybe if I tell myself enough times, I'll believe it.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Losing Daylight

It is appalling to me how quickly we are losing daylight around here.  You too?  I mean, it happens every year, at approximately the same rate, so one would think that I would be expecting it, and therefore, be not appalled.  But I am.  One month ago, on September 7, the sun set at 7:36 p.m.  Today, it'll set at 6:39 p.m.  Here, I'll do the math for you.  That's almost an hour.  In one month (OK, that's not really math, but whatever).  That's not counting the daylight we've lost on the other end, which doesn't seem to bother me as much--probably because I'm mostly still in bed when we're not getting that sunlight.

The other day, Bubby came home from school and told me that his teacher had asked the class if the sun rises and sets at the same time each day.  Bubby continues to insist that it does, despite myriad evidence to the contrary.  When I point out to him that it used to be light out when we were driving home from football practice, and now it is not, he stubbornly insists that the sun rises and sets at the same time every day, and even if it doesn't, it should.

The dark is the hardest part of winter for me.  Not because I don't like the dark--I think it's actually kind of cozy--but because I can't see to drive in the dark as well anymore.  I can blame it on the car's headlights (and it's true--they're not very bright (which is not necessarily a commentary on their intelligence)), but the truth of the matter is, I'm getting older, my eyes included.  That's kind of a hard truth to confront, every now and then, when I realize that various of my parts don't work like they used to.  The good news is, once we hit Christmas (actually, a few days before Christmas), the days start getting longer again.  And Christmas is only 79 days away.  Although I suppose some of y'all might not consider that news to be good, exactly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bare Feet

I misplaced one of my slippers.  And by I misplaced, I mean one of my children misplaced.  So my feet look like this:

I have one bare foot and one bear foot.  (My bear foot has only four toes.  It must have lost the other one in the course of some terribly exciting adventure, on which I was not invited).  It is my policy, when one of my slippers is missing, to walk around with one slipper on until I find the other one, so the one doesn't disappear in the meantime.

And that is why I haven't been able to do housework today.  Because I only have one slipper, and I can't stand on the kitchen floor, which is uncarpeted, with no foot covering.  Socks won't work in this situation, obviously.  I also can't do housework because I am distraught over the missingness of one of my favorite slippers.  Who can work in such conditions?

Perhaps the real reason I cannot get up off the couch to do anything even approaching productiveness at this time is that the clean-dish-putting-away fairy seems to have taken a vacation concurrent with my husband being out of town 15 of the last 17 days (don't worry.  He'll be back for a whole day before taking off again).  Talk about poor timing.  I mean, I can function with one or the other of them missing, but both?  At the same time?  It's not pretty.

I was doing well--keeping up, anyway.  And then my slipper went missing.

Oh well, as a wise friend once told me, the housework will be there tomorrow.

And as I replied to my wise friend, yes it will, and that's part of the problem.


P.S. When I had done enough cleaning-up-of-piles to realize that my missing slipper was, in fact, not under any of said piles, I had a moment of mama-brilliance and looked behind the couch.  It was there.  I also found a cheez-it wrapper back there, which I didn't even realize was missing.  So, you know, sometimes, if you look in the right place, you find things you don't expect.  Life lessons.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 3

Friends, I don't know what to say.  I'm hardly blogging at all these days, just these menu posts, and I'm having a heck of a time even getting these done, as evidenced by the fact that this one is being published after supper on Monday.  It's not that I'm terribly busy, although I am busy.  I'm just not feeling it.  It's a cyclical thing, this sharing my story, and right now, I'm at a low ebb in the story-sharing-ness.

Just know I love you, friends.  I love spending time with you in this space.  I have all kinds of ideas swirling around in my cute little noggin, they're just not coming out.  Not to worry--I'll be back at it soon-ish.  Maybe.

By the way, my overcompensation last week?  I made every single one of my suppers and every one of my breakfast/lunch/others.  Surprised?  I sure am :)  'Twas a lofty goal, to be sure.  Care to place wagers on how this week will go?

In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week (we had the cheesy mini burgers tonight and they were yummy):


Basil chicken burgers from Krausnic Kitchen

Peanut Butter Caramel Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars |
A-maze-bars (she calls them something else) from Mom on Timeout
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