Monday, May 18, 2020


I'm sad today.  I am weary and worn.  I feel inadequate, so less-than, practically worthless.  I know.  It'll pass.  But today?  Today is rough.



  • Taco pasta salad--this is lunch for the adults who like/don't mind eating pasta
  • Some kind of muffins that people who live here like, but not like so much that they eat the entire batch in less than 2 days.
  • Some kind of cookies that people who live here like, but not like so much that they eat the entire batch in less than 2 days.  Bonus points if it's also a kind of cookie that I don't like.
  • Cheeseburger soup?  I'm concerned about ground beef supply, and it seems indulgent to use a couple of pounds of our limited supply just to make lunch for myself.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Strawberry Fluff: a recipe

The other day AKD mentioned that he thought it would be good to have strawberry fluff: like green stuff, which some people call Waldorf salad, or caramel apple salad, but with strawberries.  My personal strawberries aren't ready yet (I saw a few flowers the other day), but somebody's are, because I've been seeing them for cheap at my grocery store...or, more accurately, in my grocery store's sales flyer.

So I decided to look online for a strawberry fluff recipe.  And I found a few, but they all contained cream cheese, which sounded delicious to me, but was a no-go for AKD.  So I had to make my own recipe.

All of the people (who tried it) liked it.  Strawberry fluff won't replace caramel apple salad or green stuff in our menu plans, but we will definitely be adding it to the rotation.

In the tradition of green stuff, strawberry fluff is light and slightly sweet, with just a little bit of crunch, a perfect summer side dish or dessert when strawberries are in season.  Here's the recipe.

Strawberry Fluff
  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 pkg (3 oz) strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and chopped, about 2 cups
  • 1 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts (optional. Substitute pecans, pistachios, cashews, or macadamia nuts if desired)
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) whipped dairy topping, thawed
  • (optional) crushed pretzels for garnish
Mix together crushed pineapple with juice, strawberry flavored gelatin, and instant pudding mix.  Add strawberries, marshmallows, and nuts, and stir to combine.  Fold in whipped dairy topping.  Top with additional whole or chopped nuts, if desired, or top with crushed pretzels just before serving.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Menu plan for the week of May 11

Hi friends.  It's May, which means we've got May flowers, right? 

Well, we do have some tulips that are blooming, but that's about it for us.  It's been unseasonably cold the past couple of days, which has me wanting to curl up by the fire with a book.  It's been kind of hard for me to believe that it's May the past couple of days.  It's sort of like when we went to Hawaii, and I had to keep reminding myself that yes, we were in the US, and yes, it was still winter.  Yes, it is May.

Meal planning was difficult this week.  I mean, when is it not?  But it seemed like even more of a slog this time.  The funny thing about that was I actually only had one blank spot to fill on the calendar.

The kids made breakfast for me yesterday, and later on in the day, one of them said to me, "I think it's hard to cook for other people."  Yup.  Sure is.

Anyway, here's what's on the menu this week:


  • Bacon ranch meatloaf, mashed potato (that's right--one mashed potato, because that's all we have), green beans
  • Tacos, Strawberry fluff (we're making this one up as we go along)
  • Chicken bundles, green beans
  • Italian Sausage sheet pan meal, applesauce
  • Hamburgers, buns, carrots
  • Pizza, salad
  • Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes (hopefully we'll have more potatoes by then), grilled broccoli

Friday, May 8, 2020

One week chick update

When last we spoke (about chicks), I wasn't getting any (chicks), at least not that day.  I had been assured that my Blue Cochin and Cream Legbar would be coming at the end of May, and that my California White, along with my bonus Speckled Sussex and Americana, would be coming the next week.

Imagine my surprise when I actually did get a call the next week, saying my chicks were in, and would I like to come pick them up at 1 p.m.?

So I picked up my California White and my two bonus chicks, and asked about the other chicks that were supposed to come at the end of the month.  Yes, they were still supposed to arrive.  Yes, the hatchery guaranteed they'd come.

In the week that they've been with us, the Minis, as we've chosen to call them, have settled in nicely.

This is Charlotte, the California White.
Charlotte is the loudest of the three, and is possibly the ring leader?  It's a little too soon to tell.  She is definitely plotting an escape, and I think she'll be capable of it before we know it.  Charlotte was the first to perch on the little roost, and she spends a lot of time there gazing longingly at the open top of the brooder.

This is Buttercup, the Speckled Sussex.
Buttercup likes to peck at Charlotte's feet when Charlotte is on the roost.  Buttercup is also super fast, zipping around the brooder, seemingly at random.  When I took the Minis out for their photo shoot, Buttercup decided to spend the whole time trying to dust bathe on the towel (I'm going to go get the girl a dust bath as soon as I'm done typing).  I took a short video, but I guess I must have deleted it accidentally when I was deciding which photos to show y'all.  That makes me sad.

This is Guacamole, the Americana.
She is so fluffy!  Guac is the biggest, and also the calmest, of this group of chicks.  She seems pretty laid back.

Unfortunately, Guacamole has developed a cross beak. 
See how her bottom beak doesn't line up with the top?  This can be caused by weak genetics or improper incubation temperature or just bad luck.  A cross beak makes it difficult for a chicken to eat or drink, and because of that, it can be a fatal condition.  There's nothing that can be done about the cross beak, unfortunately.  Nothing will make it better.  So far, she's eating and drinking well, and if she does start to have a problem, there are some things we can do for her to make eating and drinking easier, but her future is uncertain.

I got another call from the feed store yesterday.  Apparently, all of the Cream Legbars are sold out for the season.  And the Blue Cochins are all spoken for.  Yup, the very same ones that the hatchery guaranteed would be available at the end of May.  Would I like an olive egger and a light brahma?  Yeah.  No.  No more chicks for us this year.  Maybe we'll try again next year.  Or not.  Although I think a lot of hatcheries have been having trouble keeping up with demand, and it's not the feed store's fault, I don't think I'll order chicks through this particular feed store again.  I'll go with a store that orders from a larger hatchery.

What a strange and disappointing chick season.  Of the three chicks I ordered, I actually received one, and of the three chicks I received, one has a potentially fatal condition.  Ugh.

Nonetheless, I am happy to have the chicks that I do, for as long as they're with me. And, on the bright side, chick care has become a lot less complicated now that we're not getting a second set of chicks four weeks later.

So that's that.  And those are the Minis. And that's all for now.  Take care, friends.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Bread Machine English Muffins

Yup.  I made English muffins, friends.  Finally.

I saved a recipe, printed from some website, for years, intending to make English muffins.  I bought muffin 2013 (thank you, Amazon, for keeping track of that for me).  I almost got rid of those muffin rings while decluttering my kitchen too many times to count.  It took a pandemic for me to finally make the English muffins.

It turns out, English muffins are super easy to make, even if you don't have muffin rings.  With just a few ingredients and some patience, you too can make fresh, delicious English muffins in a few hours. I used my bread machine to mix, knead, and raise these, but you can definitely do these things by hand if you don't have a bread machine.

Here's the recipe:
English Muffins
adapted from here
1 c. milk
3 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
3 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. yeast
cornmeal (for dusting)

  • Add ingredients, except for cornmeal, to bread machine in the order listed.
  • Start the dough cycle.  After about 5 minutes, lift the bread machine lid to check on the ingredients.  If needed, scrape down sides.  If the dough seems too dry, add water, 1 t at a time until it comes together.  If the dough seems too wet, add flour 1 t at a time.
  • When the dough cycle is complete, on a surface lightly dusted with cornmeal, pat the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick, and cut into rounds using a cup, a biscuit cutter, a muffin, ring, or even a tuna can.  You can gather up scraps and cut more rounds, for a total of 8-10.  Alternately, divide the dough into 8 equal portions, and pat each portion into rounds about half an inch thick, then dip both sides in cornmeal.
  • Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet or electric griddle over medium-low heat.
  • Cook the muffins, until they are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  • Cut with a serrated knife and serve warm.  Any extras can be frozen, and heated in the toaster or microwave.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Cricut brag post

I definitely go through periods of time where it seems impossible to do anything creative, and the advent of our state's stay at home order seemed like one of those times.  So here I was thinking that I had done hardly any Cricuting in the past few months, but in the midst of the impossible, I've been able to find pockets of inspiration.  I was planning on making this Cricut brag post part of a Random Thoughts with Scarlet post, but I've done enough projects since my last Cricut brag post in February that you're getting a whole separate post.

Here they are, in reverse chronological order.

 I made this sign for my aunt--it's an inside joke between her and my uncle.  It's pretty rustic, but I love the way it turned out.

 I made this sign for a friend whose female kitten keeps attacking my friend's husband when he tries to enter my friend's office.  I figured my friend's husband needed a sign to remind him to stay out, because he keeps going in there, despite Elf the kitten's insistence to the contrary.

 I kind of flinch when people refer to what's happening right now as being quarantined, because we (most of us) are not quarantined.  If we were quarantined, we wouldn't be able to go anywhere at all.  Nowhere.  Not the grocery store.  Not to pick up take-out.  Not to go for a walk.  Nowhere.

But this is what the customer wanted.  And when the customer is a high school senior whose k12 school career is ending nothing like she expected it to go, I'm willing to flinch a little.

 Hubby's cousin welcomed a new little one, so I made a onesie.  So sweet.

 Bunnies for Easter.

 Carrots for the bunnies.

 I'm hoping this holds true for this year.

These projects were completed before our state ordered us to stay home.
 This one might look familiar.  I made a similar sign for a silent auction.  This one is for my brother and sis.  Actually, I'm not sure my brother even knows about it, so maybe it's just for my sis.

 I made this sign for a friend of mine who has two grown children.

 I made this sign for a friend.  It's something her youngest kiddo said when he was 5 or 6 years old.  I love this idea!  Did your kiddo say cute things when they were young?

One of our pastors shared that in a meeting, she had been asked what her word of the year was.  Not having really thought about it before, she sort of panicked and said the first word that came to mind.  It's not a bad word, and I hope it's been a good guide for her in 2020.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Menu plan for the week of May 4

It's May 4th today, or, as one of my kiddos keeps reminding me, May the Fourth.  I got nothin' special for today.  Except maybe today is the day we finish my Star Wars goal.  Except our library has started circulating materials again, and I'm on the list, so maybe not.  There's nothing special as far as food goes, though.  If you were having special food for May the Fourth day, what would you have?

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


  • Cheesy mini burgers, rice, broccoli
  • Nachos, guacamole
  • Breakfast pizza
  • Spaghetti, green beans, garlic toast
  • Hot dogs, buns, jello, chips, carrots
  • Chicken basil burgers, buns, asparagus
  • Fend for yourself


  • Mexican quinoa with grilled chicken

Friday, May 1, 2020

15/20 for 2020

I feel like I need to slow down, y'all.  We're just 1/3 of the way through the year, and already 3/4 of my 20 goals have been completed.  At this rate, I'm going to overshoot my goal of completing twenty goals this year.  I do know, from past experience, that I will be less likely to complete goals during the summer and during the last few months of the year, so maybe it's good that I'm this far in already.

Anyway, here are the first fifteen of my 20 for 2020 goals:
  1. Make sauerkraut
  2. Grow an amaryllis
  3. Drink tea.
  4. Make cloth napkins for more seasons.
  5. Track something.
  6. Buy a statement necklace.
  7. Make a box to sit on our toilet tank.  
  8. Make a particular wooden sign for a friend.
  9. Make mayonnaise.
  10. Make maple syrup.  
  11. Watch the Star Wars movies in timeline order.  I don't think I had ever seen any of them besides Episodes IV, V, and VI.  That is a travesty.  
  12. Start seeds indoors
  13. Make a reusable bag out of a chicken feed sack.  Don't look too closely at my stitches, because they're not pretty, but I love my new chicken bag.  Based on this goal, you might assume that I also accomplished the "obtain a working sewing machine" goal.  That's kind of true, but it's also kind of not true, since I feel like it could stop working at any time, and also, it's not working well (see: don't look too closely at my stitches).  
  14. Finish or decide to abandon that darn puzzle.  This is one of those COVID-19 hidden blessings.  No way would we have finished this puzzle without our state's Safer at Home order.  We've had it, and it's been in progress, for 5 or 6 years.  There are 1000 "random-cut" pieces, and because they don't necessarily all lock into place with each other, we couldn't even tell if we had the entire outer edge done.  It was a very frustrating experience, and now I know to avoid "random-cut" puzzles at all costs.  Too late, I realized that I should have taken a photo every day to show the progress.  Oh well.  Here it is, finished (except for one piece that has been lost to the universe.  I feel like that's pretty darn good for sitting out where wild children congregate for 5 or so years).  
  15. Make a cast iron skillet handle cover.  Cast iron skillets are excellent for cooking because they heat so evenly.  Unfortunately, the even heat means the handle gets hot, too, which is why I wanted a cover.  This was more difficult than I anticipated, and it didn't turn out exactly how I pictured it, but I managed.   

Here are some goals I plan to work on in May:
  1. Make and install towel hooks/shelf in the bathroom.  I wonder how many more months I will intend to work on this goal.  It does seem a bit pointless to work on it right now because then I'll have to store it for months while I first brood chicks, and then paint the bathroom. 
  2. Wash outside windows
  3. Plant something new.  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'm also growing a new to me watermelon and beets for the first time.  So fun!

And here is the list of potential goals, which is finally decreasing in length:
  1. Crochet a cowl
  2. Crochet a poncho
  3. Make reusable food wrap
  4. Make a pretty apron (I would have to find a pattern I like first.  Also, a sewing machine)
  5. Make lip balm
  6. Make soap
  7. Make a console table/thing to keep the step stool from dinging our wall.
  8. Make a frame for the B
  9. String art
  10. Install pallet wall
  11. 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).
  12. 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).
  13. 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).
  14. Hang the W (MC made a beautiful wooden W sign that needs hanging).
  15. Repair moose pillows
  16. Log 50 activities on Strava
  17. Can apple pie filling
  18. Remove a popcorn ceiling
  19. Wash outside windows
  20. Grow and can pickles
  21. Obtain a working sewing machine
  22. 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.
  23. New floor.  It's time.  It's past time.
  24. Plant something new .  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'm also growing a new to me watermelon and beets for the first time.  So fun!
  25. Stencil a welcome mat.  Because our storm door opens outward and is very close to the porch surface, we won't be able to actually use the welcome mat at our own house, but I really want to try the technique.
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