Monday, January 29, 2018

Menu plan for the week of January 29

Hi friends.  I'm back.  On Monday, with side dishes.  Whoohoo!  But without witty banter.  Oh well.  You come for the meal inspiration, not the wit.

Here it is:


  • Shepherd's pie, rolls, applesauce
  • Meat sauce (make extra to freeze) with angel hair, garlic toast, green beans
  • Pancakes, eggs, bacon, peaches
  • Grilled chicken, salad, grilled asparagus
  • Hamburgers, buns, oven fries, grilled broccoli
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, chips, cooked carrots
  • Nachos with taco toppings, and of course, guacamole
  • Beef stroganoff (I'll be posting my recipe this week--stay tuned), green beans, pears
What's on your menu this week?

Friday, January 26, 2018

18 for 2018

Hey friends.  Here it is, January 26, and I'm just now getting around to articulating my goals* for 2018.  They've been rolling around in my head for long enough.  It's time to get them out onto paper.  Or screen.  Whatever.

*Remember: I don't do resolutions for the new year; I do goals.

I'm operating under this theory this year:

I've decided my 2018 will start 
on February 1st;
January is a free trial month.

I like to listen to podcasts while I'm cooking or cleaning, and one of my favorites is Happier with Gretchen Ruben.  Inspired by a listener, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth decided to make a list of 18 things they wanted to accomplish in 2018 (you can listen to the podcast, and check out Gretchen and Elizabeth's lists, here).

When I first heard about it, I loved the idea, but I thought 18 was probably too many for me.  I decided I would make a list of 8 things to accomplish in 2018, but as I was thinking of things I wanted to do, I kind of got on a roll, and ended up with 18.  Actually, I keep thinking of things, so I'm at more like 25 now, which is most definitely too many.

Here's my top 18 for 2018:

  1. ** Make oyster shell and grit dispensers for the chickens
  2. ** Plant a garden--with tomatoes and jalapenos
  3. Can jalapenos--they don't necessarily have to be the ones I grow
  4. Have everyone in the household take the love languages quiz--we could do this on Valentine's Day, but since it's also Ash Wednesday this year, I don't think that's gonna happen...
  5. Go on a date with each of my boys
  6. ** Send friend mail 8 6 times (if you'd like to receive friend mail from me, use the contact link above to give me your address--unfortunately, you need to live farther than 50 miles away from me for this one)
  7. Obtain and begin using a to-do notebook--this has already been so useful!  I have a running to-do list now, instead of having to start fresh every day.  It's a lot more difficult to misplace than a random piece of paper.
  8. ** Purge file cabinet and create paper organization system--Ugh!  We have so.much.paper.  Half of me wants to get rid of it all.  The other half is afraid I'll shred something we'll need later.
  9. ** Create a household binder/legacy box--I think my boys would be lost if something happened to me.
  10. Delete saved electronic mystery shop screen shots and receipts--yep, I've got every screen shot and almost every receipt from every mystery shop I've done in the past four years.  It's a lot.
  11. ** Buy desk task light--I've already tried once this year, but I didn't like it, so I need to try again.
  12. Buy phone charging cords for each of our vehicles--I told Hubby I was going to do this, and he was like, but we have charging cords in all the vehicles, don't we?  Well, yes, we do...for his phone, but not for AKD's and mine.
  13. Make a chicken sign--It's going to have the silhouette of a chicken, and say something along the lines of, "Danger: Dinosaur Area."
  14. Take a class through community education or a local craft store--I used to do this fairly often, but somewhere along the line, I stopped.
  15. ** Finish valances for master bedroom.  I've only had the material for...3 years? 4?  A long time.
  16. Crochet messy bun hat or Arm knit scarf
  17. ** Get the boys' picture taken--the place I used to take them to closed, so I need to find a new photographer.
  18. Send Christmas cards in 2018
You may notice that some of my 18 items are crossed off.  That's because I did them already.  Whoohoo!  Yay me!  You may also notice that some of the items are double asterisked.  Those are the eight that I would have chosen, if I had only chosen eight.  I figure as long as I get those done, anything else is bonus.  And, since I've already done two of the non-asterisked things, I'm already in bonus points!  Yay me, again!

I'll try to update y'all on how I'm doing once a month.  In the meantime, what are your goals for this year?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Menu plan for the week of January 22

Hi friends.

Sorry I'm a day late with the menu plan.  I usually write these on Sunday evenings, but it was just so cozy sitting on the couch under a blanket watching football, that I couldn't bring myself to go get my laptop.  And then after watching football it didn't really feel like life was worth living, so...

OK, that's not true, but it was a devastating loss for my team, and I didn't feel like typing, and I told myself I'd do it in the morning.  And then in the morning, my bed was really cozy, and then the kids kept asking me to help them with things, and now, here we are, finally getting to the menu plan sometime on Monday afternoon.

I have to tell you, I'm definitely out of practice in the meal-planning arena.  It was so, so nice to not plan these past few weeks.  But, all good things come to an end.  I'm easing back into meal planning by just planning main dishes.  Rest assured, there will be vegetables--they're just not on the list.

Here it is:




Friday, January 19, 2018

Declutter Challenge

Hi, friends, and happy Friday.  I promise my 2018 goals are coming.  Soon.  Ish.  Next week?  But in the meantime...

I signed up for a Six Week Declutter Challenge through Our Home Made Easy.  I am all about decluttering, and I am all about someone else telling me what to do (when it comes to clutter and cleaning), and it was free, so why not?

By the way, if you're all about someone else telling you what to declutter, you can still sign up.  You can jump in any time, and she'll just start you off at week 1.

Y'all.  It's been kind of useless.  Well.  I mean, I did go through our pencil and pen drawer (y'all.  We don't have a junk drawer) and throw out all the pens that didn't work and the pencils that annoyed me.  And I went through our "pantry" (we don't have a pantry) and found some food that, if I'm honest, we will never eat.  Two things.  Both of which were free.  But for the most part?  I've already decluttered the spaces that Brittany is telling me I need to take 15 minutes to go through. 

Today, the challenge is "adult stuffed animals," which is what Brittany calls blankets and throw pillows in the living room.  I don't think I need to declutter any of my three blankets or two pillows.  Yesterday, it was "what's in your drawers?"  Brittany said:
Today is all about opening ALL the drawers and cabinets in your living & dining room. Quickly move through the cabinets and toss any items that are no longer useful. If you don't love something, but it does have some value for someone else, place it in a donation box!
I have, um, zero drawers and two small cabinets in my dining and living rooms.  And guess what?  We went through those two small cabinets (they're not even cabinets, but ok), the day before, when we were supposed to go through our remotes and DVDs.

So the question here is, why do I still feel like I need to declutter, when clearly (at least according to Brittany's "challenges"), I do not?

The answer that I keep coming up with is, I feel like I need to declutter because I actually do need to declutter. 

But is that true?  Or am I delusional?

I guess I'll just keep reading Brittany's emails over the next 4 weeks, and hopefully I'll figure it out.  I might keep you posted.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Menu plan for the week of January 15

Hi friends.

Know what?  Getting supper on the table is so much easier when one is using processed convenience foods.  And bonus, no one complains about the food (at least, not in my house).  I liked last week so much, I'm going to do it again this week.  Whoohoo!

Of course, I don't want to serve processed foods to my family forever, because that's kind of gross.  I guess the key is to make real food just as convenient as processed food.  Any suggestions?  Yeah. Freezer cooking, batch cooking, meal prep.  I don't have the energy.  But maybe I will, after another week of not actually cooking.

I decided to make cookie butter cups this week.  Like peanut butter cups, but with cookie butter.  'Cause, remember when I said that cookie butter would taste good that way?  I thought about just shipping the leftover cookie butter to my sis ('cause she likes it, and I'm unlikely to eat the whole jar), but then I thought, why not make cookie butter cups, first?  So, yup.  That's happening.  And then I'll send the leftover cookie butter and some cookie butter cups to my sis.  I'm so lucky to have someone to send cookies and other treats to :)

Welp, I guess that's all for now.  I'll probably have an actual menu next week.  Probably.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Progress on (2017) goals: Year-end Trader Joe's Purchases

So here it is, 2018, and I'm sure you're wondering how my 2017 goals turned out.

Well, in October, I tried Trader Joes Cocoa Glazed Roasted Almonds.

You may recall that I had planned to make my own cocoa roasted almonds, but I never got around to it.  So when I saw these at TJs, I decided to give them a try.  I really liked them.  They were chocolaty, but not too sweet.  Now that I have tried the TJs version, I'm thinking I'm more likely to make them myself.

In November, I finally tried TJs famous cookie butter.

It's a "deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits."  I thought it was pretty good, although I doubt I will be buying any more of it.  It did taste gingerbreadish--spicy and sweet.  It's best consumed in small quantities, and I bet it would taste really good with chocolate, a la Reese's peanut butter cups.

In December, I bought Trader Joe's Chocolate Coconut Almonds.

These were really delicious.  They consisted of an almond, enrobed in a layer of coconut infused white chocolate, and the whole thing was dipped in dark chocolate.  It tasted like an almond joy bar, with a more favorable almond to coconut to chocolate ratio.

For better or for worse, I found these at Aldi the other day:

They taste about the same (that is to say, they are really yummy), and cost a little bit less per ounce.  The danger is that I go to Aldi every week, versus once a month (and less now that I don't have this goal anymore) for Trader Joe's. Uffda.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know the TJs goal is complete.  Stay tuned for my 2018 goals.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Eight month chicken update

Hey everybody.  The girls have been with us for eight months.  Eight!

There's not much to report.  The girls weathered our recent cold snap just fine.  We had temps down to -17°F, and a couple of days where the temp didn't get above 0.  I closed the pop door at night, but other than that, the girls just went about as normal.

We're currently experiencing a heat wave, and I let the girls out.  They've been cooped up so long, they didn't even mind the snow.  Of course, within minutes of being outside, we saw a hawk swooping nearby, so that ended quickly.

Toasty is still giving us an egg almost every day.  Rocky and Esther are still not laying.  I looked up the amount of daylight we had on the last day that Rocky laid, and we will have the same amount of daylight again in several days, so maybe she will lay again then.  Of course, there are so many factors affecting egg production, so I'm not holding my breath.

In other news, we humans have been enjoying the snow, although we wish there were more.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Non-menu plan for the week of January 8

I had to do a double-take as I was typing that title.  January 8?  Um, how did that happen?  Wasn't it just new year's eve yesterday?  I feel like I'm so behind on this whole new year thing.  Like, wasn't I supposed to make goals?  Wasn't I supposed to set up new and better systems for all the things?  Wasn't I supposed to feel more ready?


Hi.  Did you miss me?  It's all right if you didn't even notice I was gone.  I mean, these past couple of weeks have been kind of a blur, right?  Why would you notice?

We had visitors the last few days of winter break, and it was just so lovely to have them.  Low-key and loud, relaxing and renewing.

I've decided I'm done cooking for a bit, partly due to having to plan and cook for our recent guests, and partly due to having to plan and cook for my family every. single. day.  So it's processed and convenience foods for us this week.   Maybe next week, too.  Hooray for us!

I have it in mind that I want to make granola and yogurt this week, so I'll obtain the ingredients, and maybe I will make them, or maybe I won't.

Oh!  I promised I'd tell you what additional treats I made.  I made no bake chocolate peanut butter bars (actually, these were made several times) and snickerdoodles.  And I got Buckwheat's cookies out to her last week.  I'm still on the look-out for clearance mini snickers to finish up that dough.  I suspect I shall be waiting a while.  I suspect I shall be waiting a while for the little cookies as well.  Maybe Hubby has finally realized that they're not really worth the effort required.  Or maybe he's hoping I'll crack and make them myself.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.

In the meantime, what's on your menu this week?
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