Friday, November 30, 2018

18 for 2018 update (November)

Y'all!  I almost forgot to write this post!  In fact, I had a post all set to go up today (now you'll have to wait until Wednesday to discover the fate of this year's Thanksgiving turkey carcass) before I remembered that there was something more pressing to discuss. 

I told my phone to remind me on the 4th Thursday of every month to write the 18 for 2018 update post, but this month, the 4th Thursday was not the last Thursday.  So my phone reminded me, but the reminder was not quite as relevant as it is in other months.  I left the reminder where it was, but it disappeared after a few days.  I suppose my phone figured if I hadn't done it yet, I wasn't going to do it, so it was no use keeping that reminder front and center anymore.  And even though it was still on my calendar, it was out of (immediate) sight.  Which made it out of (immediate) mind.

Thankfully, something brought it back to mind, so you do not have to wonder any longer about whether or not I've made any progress on my goals.

Well, you do have to wonder just a little longer, because I haven't told you yet.

But I will.  Any second now.

OK.  Here I go.

The thing that brought the update post back to mind was completing one of the goals.  Yay me! 

I posted my Christmas cards yesterday.  I even managed to write a mini Christmas newsletter (I had to recycle a past writing, but you all have probably forgotten it by now anyway, right?)  Cross goal number 18 off the list.

The other day, I realized that someone to whom I wasn't planning on sending a card was expecting a Christmas card from us, so I need to tell you this: if you sent us a Christmas card last year, your card went out in yesterday's mail.  That's your reward for sticking with us and sending us greetings year after year even when my brain was too ... anxious? depressed? overwhelmed? ... to let me reciprocate.  I really appreciate you thinking of us, and we were thinking of you, too.

Anyone else, we do have extra cards, so maybe you'll get one, too.  Let's see what happens, shall we?

(and urg.  I just remembered that I was going to send out some extra pictures with some of those cards.  Whoops.  Guess some of you will be getting even more actual in-the-mailbox mail that-is-not-junk-mail-or-a-bill.  Yay, you!)

We can cross goal number 8 (purging paper) off the list, too, because I decided I was done.  I don't remember where I left off, and it's not readily apparent, so I decided not to continue.  I stuck the file folder that I picked up off the floor in October back in the file cabinet and called it good.

That leaves goal number 9: create a household binder/legacy box.  I honestly think that if I meant to make a legacy box, as described by Dave Ramsey, I would have done it by now.  I've thought a lot about what I want to include, and in what format, but haven't actually made any steps toward pulling anything together. 

Let's face it, friends.  This is an overwhelming task.  This is putting all of the information that someone might need to step into my shoes into one place.  Plus all the information one might need to take care of me or my family if I become debilitated.  Hubby thinks it needs recipes in it, for george's sake.  So he knows where the snickerdoodle recipe is (in his defense, he would need to know that if he wanted to step into my shoes).

This is also an incomplete-able task.  Even if I do (when I do) manage to get all of the information in one place, the information is going to become outdated.  This is what we call a never-ending task.  Kind of like laundry.  Or dishes.  Or, really, any and all housekeeping tasks.  I'm going to have to keep going back to update.  I should be used to this by now.

Yup.  It's overwhelming and will never be done. 

So let's break it down. 

And let's also give myself grace because it will always be a work in progress, so it is ok for it not to be perfect in the first iteration.  In fact, it is impossible for this thing to be perfect in its first iteration.

Here we go.

  • By December 7, I will have written down a list of what I want to include, and have an idea of how I want to format it.
  • By December 14, I will have begun gathering information and organizing it.  I will also have made a list of any supplies that I need to purchase (that would be page protectors).
  • By December 19, I will have obtained any additional supplies.
  • By December 21, I will give myself permission to call this goal done, regardless of whether I feel like it's really done or not, because it will never *actually* be done.
  • By December 31, I will have informed all relevant parties where to find the binder and what to do with it.
Friends, I am gasping to the finish on these goals.  But I am going to finish.

How are you doing on your 2018 goals?

My 18 for 2018
  1. ** Make oyster shell and grit dispensers for the chickens
  2. ** Plant a garden
  3. Can jalapenos-
  4. Have everyone in the household take the love languages quiz
  5. Go on a date with each of my boys (AKD, MC, Bubby)
  6. ** Send friend mail 8 6 4 times
  7. Obtain and begin using a to-do notebook
  8. ** Purge file cabinet and create paper organization system
  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
  11. ** Buy desk task light
  12. Buy phone charging cords for each of our vehicles
  13. Make a chicken sign--
  14. Take a class through community education or a local craft store
  15. ** Finish valances for master bedroom.
  16. Crochet messy bun hat
  17. ** Get the boys' picture taken
  18. Send Christmas cards in 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bread Machine Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Hi friends.  I figured it was time to share my go-to roll recipe with you, since it shows up so often in my menu plan posts.  It's been a long time since I've been to Texas Roadhouse, so I don't know exactly how close these come to their rolls, but I do know that they are pretty darn delicious. 

We use these as hamburger buns, and also serve them anytime a meal calls for rolls.  I've made them smaller to use as slider buns, and I've made them oblong to use for hot dogs or subs.  It does require a bit more effort to make these than it does to just buy buns or rolls, but that effort is more than worthwhile.

Bread Machine Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls

(To print this recipe, click here)

Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 1 1/2 T melted butter
  • 1 c milk, scalded, then cooled
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 c flour (I use 2 c white whole wheat + 1 1/2 c bread flour)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t yeast
  1. Add ingredients to bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. For me, it's wet ingredients first, then dry ingredients, with the yeast on top. (And yes, you do want to scald the milk. Something about proteins and enzymes)
  2. Set bread machine to the dough cycle and start. Don't forget to check back after about 5 minutes to make sure everything's mixing correctly. Scrape down the sides, and add water if the dough is too dry, or flour if the dough is too wet.
  3. When the dough cycle is complete, punch down and turn out dough onto a floured surface. Cut into 12 even-sized pieces. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. When the resting period is done, shape into rolls and arrange in a greased 9x13" pan.
  5. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise until double. The length of time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen, but I generally let them rise for 30-60 minutes.
  6. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Baste with melted butter, if desired (I never do).

For the authentic Texas Roadhouse experience, serve with Cinnamon Honey Butter.
Mix together 1/2 c. softened butter, 1/4 c. powdered sugar, 1/4 c. honey, and 1 t. cinnamon.
Powered by Recipage

Monday, November 26, 2018

Menu plan for the week of November 26

I continue to struggle with meal planning.  Why is this so hard?  For as many years as I've been planning meals, one would think I'd be better at it by now.  Ugh. 

For December, I've adopted a common strategy among meal planners: assign a type of cuisine to each weeknight to guide planning.  Sundays will be soup, Mondays sheet pan suppers, tacos on Tuesday, Wednesday will be fend for yourself, casseroles (hot dish for all you Minnesotans) on Thursday,  Friday is pizza night, and Saturday we'll grill.

The only problem with this, of course, is that my kiddos don't like soup, or sheet pan dinners, or casseroles.  Whoops.  Oh well.  I'm sure they'll be fine.

Your turn: if you were to assign meal types to each evening, what meal types would you choose?

Here's your weekly menu plan inspiration.

  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, Brussels sprouts
  • Nachos with taco toppings and guacamole
  • Fend for yourself
  • Taco pasta bake, green beans
  • Pizza, salad
  • Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Zuppa Toscana

  • Hard boiled eggs (I actually steam them, and they peel so easily)
  • Canned pinto beans (my Sam's Club no longer carries dry black beans.  I'm sad about it)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Chicken update

Hi friends.  I know you've been waiting for another chicken update, so here ya go.  Before we get started, I think it's important for you to know that I've crafted several clever anecdotes to share with you over the past several weeks, but now that I'm actually sitting down to blog, I can't think of a one.  So, unfortunately, no cleverness for you today.

The Bigs are all in various stages of molt.

Rocky has grown most of her feathers back and looks almost normal--we're just waiting on the tail feathers.  She might have even laid an egg the other day.  I got one that was pale, and definitely wasn't Koko-shaped and didn't look Indigo-shaped, either.  On that note, it also didn't look Rocky-shaped, which is why I say she might have laid an egg.  Who knows?

 Esther is mostly done losing feathers and is growing them back.  Her itty bitty feathers are so cute!  As you can see, she has one tail feather left to lose.  Esther definitely did not lay an egg the other day.

 You can't tell by looking at her, but you can tell by looking at the ground in the run and the floor of the hen house--Toasty has entered molt.  I'm concerned, because it's closer to the end of November than the beginning, and our temperatures have been well below normal (and less face it--our normal November temps are not that warm), but there's not a whole lot I can do, so I'm just observing for now.

One of the things I can do, and have, is switch the girls to a feed with a higher protein content.  Feathers are pretty much all protein, so growing feathers requires protein.  I've also been giving them high protein snacks, and I've been sharing a little bacon and beef fat with them from time to time.  It's not good to give them a whole lot, because their little digestive systems can't handle a lot, but since fat is harder to metabolize, it also makes the chickens warmer (humans, too.  If you're too cold, eat fat).

 Ah Hazel.  She's such a puff-ball.  When it's cold out and she fluffs up her feathers to keep warm, she looks like a turkey.  Hazel hasn't been laying very many eggs lately.  I'm hoping it's just the cold and the lack of light affecting production, rather than something more heinous. 

 Koko.  She's so smart.  Koko's at the bottom of the pecking order, so she's gotten really good at getting food and water when the others are less likely to go after her.  Like, for instance, when I'm distracting the others by standing at the door.

 And here's Indigo, standing on the roost on one leg.  It was colder that day, so she was keeping her other foot warm. 

Koko and Indigo are the only chickens who are laying eggs right now.  Usually we get just one egg a day, which is definitely not enough to keep up with consumption, especially since Bubby has decided he likes eggs now, and AKD is currently in residence--we could very easily go through more than a dozen eggs a day (and I look forward to being able to do that when production increases in the spring).  I actually had to buy eggs the other day, and I'm thinking I should have gotten more (yes, I do know that if we add a light and/or heat to the coop we will get more eggs, but I tend to agree with Lisa, of Fresh Eggs Daily, that the girls deserve a break in the winter, so no light or heat for us).

 I am really glad that we got the plastic put up on the outside of the coop a couple of weekends ago.  It was so warm that weekend (like, mid to high 40s) that I felt kind of silly putting it up, but then it snowed days later, and the run stayed nice and dry.  We lined most of the coop, not necessarily to keep the chickens warm, although the clear plastic does create a slightly warmer micro-climate on sunny days, but mostly to keep the snow out.  It provides a nice wind break for the girls, too.

 The chickens are not really fans of snow.  This was their first time out in snow for the season and they were back in within 5 to 10 minutes.

I've been letting the girls out for about an hour each day before sunset, which is great when the ground isn't frozen, but when it is, there isn't much in the way of fresh vegetation or bugs to find.  The girls do still enjoy getting out for a bit, though, and I enjoy not having to worry about them being carried away by hawks, because most hawks migrate.

You guys!  I've been picking out my next chickens, even though I can't get any more chickens.  Well, I could get two more, based on the amount of space we have, and if I was willing to let them free range, we could get more.  But no!  I cannot get any more chickens.  I just can't.  But there's plenty of room on the roost.  We could definitely get at least four more in there.  No.  Just no.  But chickens!  I never thought that I would be so affected by chicken math.  I feel so conflicted.  But I'm staying strong.  No more chickens until at least three of these are no longer with us.  In the meantime, I dream...

(and I entered to win a $100 gift certificate to a hatchery, which I will *have* to use if I win.  In which case, we'll be needing a bigger coop)

Here's my list:

  • Cream Legbar.  They lay blue eggs, y'all.  Blue!  And they have a feathered crest!
  • California White or Austra White.  I was planning on getting a CW this spring, but we bumped her for Hazel.  CWs and AWs are white with black polka dots!  And we need a white egg layer.
  • Maran.  Marans lay dark chocolate brown eggs.  And they have feathered legs!
  • Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.  These birds are just so pretty.
  • And Bubby thinks we need some Silkies.  Silkies are just so fluffy!  And they have black skin and blue earlobes!  And y'all!  They have five toes!  They're not very good egg layers, but they are so darn cute!
I have a problem, y'all.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Menu plan for the week of November 19

Hi friends.  It's a big food week, y'all.  Thanksgiving.  Looking forward to spending our day with family, football, Frisbee, and fantastic food.

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


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Less Than Perfect: A Review

From the back of the book:
What can the Bible's most flawed men and women reveal about who God is and how he reaches out to less-than-perfect people?  Bestselling author Ann Spangler takes us beyond cardboard cutouts of 38 biblical characters to reveal real people with many of the same dreams, temptations, and weaknesses we have. 
Whether considering the murderous Herodias, the scheming Jacob, or the doubting Sarah, Spangler approaches both familiar and lesser-known characters with fresh eyes, bringing them to life for modern readers by including key cultural and historical insights.  As you learn more about the people who are part of your spiritual family tree, you'll discover why God loves to use imperfect people to tell his perfect story of redemption.  Designed for individual reading or small group study.  

Each of the thirty chapters in the book begins with a Bible verse or two, followed by a retelling of the story in the author's words.  Next, there is a section called "The Times," in which the author conveys a bit of historical context to the story, followed by "The Takeaway," in which the author poses a few questions suitable for reflection or discussion.

I appreciated the historical context provided by each "The Times" section.  I think modern Christ followers miss so much as we read scripture because we don't understand the cultural norms of the times.  I found the reflection questions in "The Takeaway" to be thought-provoking, and useful in finding a way to apply lessons from the story to modern life.

At the same time, I found it very difficult to get into this book.  I was expecting something along the lines of Liz Curtis Higgs' Bad Girls of the Bible, and this is not that.  When the introduction said that the relevant stories would be told in the author's own words, I expected modern retellings, but that wasn't what I got.  I was also annoyed by the fact that the first two chapters were about Adam...and Eve... using the same story.  It felt redundant and, frankly, I was bored.  I think that first story, repeated, along with my erroneous expectations, ruined the book for me.  There is goodness to be found in the pages of this book, but I wasn't able to appreciate it.  And that's my fault, not the author's.

I received this book for free from the publisher through Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Menu plan for the week of November 12

Hi friends.  We finished last week on track after a slight derailment midweek due to Hubby's last minute business trip.  That's a good thing.  But I'm also a little sad about it because that meant I had to come up with all new ideas for this week.  Well, I suppose I could have repeated, but I don't think the kiddos would be too happy about that.

I realized something after AKD left home for college this fall.  I realized I needed to start freezing meats and other freezer meals in smaller quantities.  I mean, I realized ahead of time that I would have to do that, but I didn't realize how early I would have to start doing it.  We have had months of extra hamburgers (because I would freeze them in quantities of five), and pork chops (also frozen in quantities of five), and chicken, and steak, and stew meat.

And now, he's coming back.  So the hamburgers, and pork chops, and steak, and chicken, and stew meat are frozen (solid) in too small quantities.

Anyway, AKD will be home for a week surrounding Thanksgiving, and some of his favorites will be back on the menu this week and next.  I've missed him.

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



Monday, November 5, 2018

Menu plan for the week of November 5

November already, friends. 

I guess that's all I have to say about that.

I realized, last week, that it's possible my youngest kiddo, who is now 11 years old, has never eaten lasagna.  Someone mentioned lasagna to him, and he was like, what is that?!  I think by the time Bubby came along, our oldest had already discovered his aversion to cheese, and due to that aversion, somewhere along the line I stopped making lasagna. 

What kind of parent am I, that my kids' lasagna education has to come from the streets?

I just don't know anymore.  In the grand scheme of things, perhaps it isn't important.  But lasagna is one of those things that everyone experiences at some point.  Well, everyone except for my kiddo.  It's something that defines us as Americans.  Sort of.  I mean, have you ever heard of someone not even knowing what the stuff is?

Anyway, of course my kid's lack of lasagna education has caused me to second guess just about everything.  What else haven't exposed my kids to?  What else have I inadvertently missed telling them about?

Yeah, so...lasagna is not on the menu this week.  But other things are.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...