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
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