Friday, February 28, 2020

Random Thoughts with Scarlet

It's time for another round of Random Thoughts with Scarlet.  Enjoy!

One of the things I do on Fridays is declutter my email inbox.  I try to take action on everything that I've been keeping in there for the past week as reminders.  As I am typing this, it's Friday, and I'm going through those emails.  But the people keep sending me emails!  This is taking much longer than it ought to be taking.

I was right.  There are parallel Just Dance World Dance Floor universes, at least there were as of Wednesday.  I bought Just Dance 2020 because I knew that the price wouldn't go lower, at least until JD2021 comes out, and I figured I could then defer my decision about whether to open and use it or return it until later.

I got some good advice from AKD, who told me that generally people move on to the new edition of a game when they have beaten the old edition.  I suppose that beating Just Dance looks like getting a Megastar rating on every song.  I don't think I've quite reached that goal, but I have at least gotten 5 stars on each song.  The children encouraged me to move on to 2020, so I did (because in his encouragement, one of the children opened the game, rendering it unreturnable).

Anyway, there are separate World Dance Floors for 2019 and 2020, which makes me wonder if there are also World Dance Floors still going for previous years.

I didn't fall immediately in love with 2020, probably because I was so completely enamored of 2019 immediately.  No way could I replicate that excitement of dancing to my first song.  But it's growing on me.  I have a few songs that I love to dance to, and I'm sure I'll discover more favorites along the way.

In the end, I decided that I needed to try something new, and that I should continue to try something new.  I have heard that dancing is something that staves off dementia.  Dancing makes us use our brains and bodies in new ways, which creates new neural pathways, which apparently keeps the brain working well.  I had reached the point in the 2019 game where I was rarely surprised, almost always anticipating which moves came next.  Challenging myself to learn these new dances will, I hope, yield brain benefits.

I do have to say, however, that visiting the 2019 World Dance Floor is good for my ego... I'm a superstar over there.  Not so much on the 2020 WDF.

I made the mistake of telling my super-curly-haired boy that he shouldn't necessarily wash his hair every day, in the presence of my not-as-curly-haired boys.  I, myself, wash my hair once or twice a week, and my curls thank me.  The not-as-curly-haired boys seemed to have missed the whole curly-haired requirement, and my statement has caused one of my other children to decide to wash his hair just once a week, which is probably ok, and my other other child to decide to wash his hair... never.  Ugh.

I think--I hope--I've finally convinced the other other child that he should wash his hair more often than never, because he has washed his hair two days in a row now.  Please join me in crossing our fingers that he continues.  Who knew hygiene would be such a slog?

Monday, February 24, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 24

I don't know, y'all.  I just don't know.  Can one of you please tell me what to make this week?  No fish, no chicken thighs, no sugar, no "cream of" soups, no crock pot, and every cheesy thing has to be cheese-optional.  Bonus points if it's low in carbohydrates, or easily adaptable to be.

I am strongly leaning, almost horizontally leaning, toward making each person in this household choose, plan for, and execute supper at least once week, because I am so done.  I am empty of ideas.  The only reason I haven't already implemented this plan is that I fear it will dissolve into fend for yourself every night.  And I value family meals too much to let that happen.

OK.  Here's what I've got for this week, but next week, it's on you.  Drop your meal suggestions in the comments here or on Facebook, or if you read my blog via email, you can just hit reply.


  • Spaghetti/zoodles with meatballs (we're a little over halfway through our warehouse store bag of meatballs), garlic toast, oven roasted cauliflower
  • Pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit
  • Chicken bacon ranch sliders, green beans
  • Hot dogs or hamburgers, buns, chips, raw veggies
  • Tacos with taco toppings (enchiladas for Hubby, because I still have a bit of enchilada sauce in the freezer)
  • Creamy Smoked Sausage Mac (or cauli) and Cheese,(using half a bag of Gemelli, even though I kind of want to save it for pasta salad, which no one will eat) steamed broccoli
  • Grilled chicken, salad, mixed veggies, garlic toast

Friday, February 21, 2020


I made mayonnaise, y'all.

I never much liked mayo.  Looking back, that could be because I didn't realize that mayonnaise and "dressing" (think Miracle Whip), are not the same thing.  I definitely didn't like "dressing," and I still don't.  I probably assumed I didn't like mayo because I for sure didn't like "dressing." Did you know it has corn syrup in it?  Yuck. 

The turning point in my attitude toward mayo may have come when my aunt strongly suggested  that I try (read: didn't give me a choice and ordered for me) a hamburger topped with mayo and green olives, when I was out to lunch with her one day.  It was delicious.  Then came Whopper Wednesday when I was at school--Whoppers for $1, every Wednesday, complete with mayo.  It was a thing.  So good--the food and the memories.  Now, it's the Deluxe Butterburger from Culvers.  Mmmm.  Love them.  Kind of obsessed.

I still don't eat a whole lot of mayo, but it's an ingredient in a few of my favorite lunch prep items, and I do like to smear some on my hamburgers from time to time.  Always with olives, of course.

I've wanted to make my own ever since I discovered how simple mayonnaise is to make.  And I was planning to, the last time we ran out of store bought mayo.  But I forgot.

This time?  I didn't forget.

It was even easier than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty darn easy.  The hardest part was scraping the finished mayo out of the blender into the jar.* 

Now, there is a raw egg in there, which would make me nervous if I didn't have chickens--I doubt Toasty Crunch is gonna try to kill me by poisoning me with salmonella, since I bring her food.  If you don't have chickens, or think your chickens might try to poison you, you can use a pasteurized egg.** 

I used olive oil, because that's what I had, but next time, and there will be a next time, I will endeavor to use avocado oil.  In fact, I've already got avocado oil on my shopping list, because you never know when you're going to have a mayo emergency.

This is the recipe that I used.  Don't let the long list of ingredients (is 8 long?) intimidate you.  Really, all you need is oil, an egg, and acid.

Let me know if you try it!


*One more reason I (occasionally) wish I had an immersion blender.  I could have just made the mayo in the storage container, which would have eliminated the need to transfer, and would have resulted in less waste.

**I don't know how egg pasteurization works.  How do they pasteurize without cooking the egg?  I guess I'll have to find out, and I may or may not report back.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 17

Hello.  Every time I plan food for my family, I tell myself there's got to be an easier way.  There's got to be a way to just plan once and then never plan again, like a 4-6 week plan that just gets repeated over and over again.  For some reason, I can't do it, though.  I guess it seems too confining, too final.  Like these are the 28 or 42 meals that I will eat for the rest of my life.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait a minute.  Actually?  I would be very happy to eat even the same seven meals over and over again for the rest of my life.  So why do I have this huge mental block over this issue?  Oh yeah.  Because at least one member of the household would not be happy to repeat the same seven meals over and over.


Anyway, here's this week's plan.  And I'm gonna have to plan again next week.  And the week after that.  Forever and ever.


  • Pizza, salad
  • Hot dogs, buns, raw veggies
  • Chicken nuggets, green beans, fresh fruit
  • Taco casserole (using up some chilies in adobo that have been in the fridge for a while), salad
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, steamed broccoli
  • Nachos, guacamole


Monday, February 10, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 10

Hi friends.

This week, I'm slowly dipping my toe into the using-up-random-fridge-and-pantry-items pool.  I'm slowly dipping, partly because I'm afraid that pool is going to be cold (aka no one will want to eat what I make), and partly because there actually isn't a whole lot that I need to use up.

I made my pantry list weeks ago, but I just looked in the fridge today, and found...three...random items.  That's all.  About 1/4 c. turkey gravy, 1/2 c. salsa verde, and maybe 3/4 c. chilies in adobo.  We're using the gravy this week, along with a small amount of penne pasta from the cupboard that isn't enough for a meal on its own.

I found three open bags of marshmallows in our cupboard, which is typical.  Why do we open new marshmallows when we have an open bag?  I dunno. All I know is that they're there, and they're stuck together and gross (I mean, marshmallows are gross anyway, but when they're stuck together it's worse).  I'll be making cereal bars with those.  In an ironic twist, I also found unflavored gelatin in a cupboard, which I plan to use to make...marshmallows.  But not this week.  Maybe I'll wait until closer to s'more season.

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


  • Cheesy mini burgers, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, green beans
  • Tacos
  • Spaghetti (and a small amount of penne) and meatballs, garlic toast, broccoli
  • Kielbasa and cauliflower stir fry, applesauce, corn
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hamburgers, buns, chips, grilled asparagus
  • Ribeye steak with portabello mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli


Friday, February 7, 2020

6/20 for 2020

So, I guess I'm not making a final list this year?  Or, rather, I am making a final list, but it won't be complete until much later in the year.  It's a list in slow motion.

I like it better this way.  If I made a list at the beginning of the year, inevitably, I would end up changing my mind about wanting to do at least one of the things by the end of the year.  But I would still feel obligated to do it, because it's on the list.  And that would create angst.  No good.

Hope you don't mind (but don't really care if you do, because it's my list, and my goals).

Alright, here are the first six (of twenty) goals for 2020:

  1. Make sauerkraut. I did it!  Truthfully, it still tastes like salty cabbage to me, or at least it did when I put it in the refrigerator--I haven't eaten any since.
  2. Grow an amaryllis. I think I need to change this goal to: attempt to grow an amaryllis.  I don't know if it's too cold by the window or I've been giving it too much water, but I've got zero growth.  I moved it away from the window to the tiny piece of countertop between the fridge and the stove.  It's warmer there.
  3. Drink tea.  I did it!  I drank tea.  And I'm going to do it again.
  4. Make cloth napkins for more seasons.  Valentine's napkins, so far.  I was hoping to find something flowery or springy or Eastery, too, but all of the ones I liked had prominent white in the patterns.  It's all fun and games until someone wipes taco juice on a white napkin.  I'll keep looking.  We already had fall/Thanksgiving and Christmas/winter napkins, along with a generic, anytime pattern, and a summery pattern.
  5. Track something.  I added this to the list, and I started tracking two somethings, because I'm an overachiever like that.  And then I realized that I already track something (egg production).  Winning!
  6. Buy a statement necklace. A friend of mine hosted a Trades of Hope party, and I found the necklace I've been looking for for the past 3 years, made by an artisan in India.  Yay!

Like last month, I thought I'd share a few goals that I am leaning strongly toward completing.  They are not the same as last month's!
  1. Light an outdoor tree.  I have lights of two sizes, purchased on clearance.  I could probably use some more small lights, and I definitely need an extension cord, 'cause I don't think Hubby wants to give up one of his for several months while we're waiting for the snow to melt.
  2. Obtain a working sewing machine.  I ordered a part.  I'm hoping it will solve the problem.  If not, there's always Craigslist to find a new-to-me machine.
  3. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank OR make and install floating shelves above the toilet.  I'm leaning toward the box.  I can always add shelves later.  Now...what Cricut-cut phrase should I put on the box?  Any ideas?'s the list of possible goals.  Like the Cricut project list, it seems to be growing.
  1. Crochet a cowl
  2. Crochet a poncho
  3. Make a reusable bag out of a chicken feed sack (this, and the other sewing-related potential goals, are complicated by the fact that my kiddo just declared my sewing machine officially not-worth-fixing.  I am definitely not up for handsewing this, or anything, in 2020).
  4. Make reusable food wrap
  5. Make a pretty apron (I would have to find a pattern I like first.  Also, a sewing machine)
  6. Make lip balm
  7. Make soap
  8. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank OR make and install floating shelves above the toilet (this goal is made more complicated by the fact that I'm not sure which I would prefer.  I mean, I like the wreath that's above our toilet (which means no shelves), but it has definitely seen better days (which means shelves would give me an excuse to get rid of the wreath).
  9. Make a console table/thing to keep the step stool from dinging our wall.
  10. Make a frame for the B
  11. String art
  12. Install pallet wall
  13. Install gallery wall (we had a gallery wall, but there was just something off about it.  I was never happy with it.  Too symmetrical, maybe.  Or the frames were too close together.  Or maybe too big or too small in scale for the wall.  So I'm afraid to try again, lest I not like it again.  I think a gallery would look better on the wall we're intending to palletisize (absolutely a word), but I don't know if I will want to cover up so much of that wall).
  14. Light an outdoor tree (there is a sledding hill between our house and the tree I want to light, so I'm not sure it'll work.  Either there will be an extension cord that we will have to avoid while sledding, or the lights will have to be solar or battery powered, which, of course, would drive up the cost of this project).
  15. Go to a movie by myself (not sure what's coming in 2020, but there's bound to be at least one movie that I want to see, but no one else in my family wants to see).
  16. Hang the W (MC made a beautiful wooden W sign that needs hanging).
  17. Repair moose pillows
  18. Log 50 activities on Strava
  19. Finish or decide to abandon that darn puzzle
  20. Make maple syrup
  21. Can apple pie filling
  22. Remove a popcorn ceiling
  23. Wash outside windows
  24. Make a particular wooden sign for a friend
  25. Grow and can pickles
  26. Obtain a working sewing machine
  27. Make and install towel hooks/shelf in the bathroom.  I have the hooks.  I think I probably have the wood (I need to go through the stack of pallet wood to see if I have a combination of sizes that will add up to the size I want).  It needs to happen.  Now it's just a question of how long it'll take for me to actually take action.
  28. New floor.  It's time.  It's past time.
  29. Make mayonnaise 
  30. & 30. Plant something new and start seeds indoors.  I ordered some seeds!  And they've been shipped!  Imagine a fruit that looks like, and has the texture of, a granny smith apple, but tastes like honeydew.  That's what I'm growing!  And starting indoors.  I also grabbed a small watermelon and a beet variety.  So fun!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Cricut Brag Post

It has been a minute (or two, or millions) since I last posted a Cricut brag post.  I kind of lost my way there for a little while.  December is hard.  I've come to the conclusion that any Christmas Cricut items need to be completed by mid-November.  Which means we might be celebrating Cricut Christmas in July this year.

Anyway, here are some Cricut creations you haven't seen yet, in reverse chronological order.

 I am in love with that buffalo plaid!  It was a pain to weed, though.  Can you spot the vinyl I missed while I was weeding?

 What can I say?  I love snow.

 I, um, wish I had a half bath, mostly so that I could display this sign.  This is a silent auction donation.

 Have you heard?  I'm letting things live on my counter now.  But only yummy or beautiful things.  I set up a hot cocoa station for the fam, and of course it needed a sign, so they'd know what it was.

 See?  Yummy or beautiful.  My friend gave me this beautiful jar, and I knew right away that it needed to have pink flowers in it.

 This was a gift.  It's totally a lie, but...yeah.

I made this shirt for Bubby.  Mostly because I felt like he needed another Christmas gift, but also because he likes climbing.

Yup, it's been that long since I bragged about Cricut.  This thankful sign is on the reverse side of the boo sign.

Not shown (because I couldn't bring myself to take pictures, because it was early January): I made some stickers for AKD's water bottle.  They turned out pretty cool.  And I also made some decals for his "Goon Squad."  Yup.  That's what they call themselves.

What's coming up for me and the Cricut, you ask?  I've got three gifts in the works, so I can't share those, but I'm really excited about them.  I also have a commission to do for a friend, and this morning, Bubby asked me to make him another climbing shirt.  And then there's my running list of projects that only seems to get longer, never shorter.

Y'all.  I feel so blessed to be able to create beauty in the world.  Such a joy.  Thanks for sharing it with me.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Menu plan for the week of February 3

February already?  What?  I need to get going.

On what do I need to get going?  Not sure.  Just ... something.

Following the trend from last week, it's all about convenience again this week.  I did make a list of random pantry items to use up, so I'll be ready when I decide I'm ready to cook again.

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


  • Pizza
  • Take-out
  • Mini corndogs
  • Fend for yourself
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Hamburgers, buns, jello, raw veggies, chips
  • Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, grilled veggie
Not sure.  I'm sure there'll be something, though.
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