July 21, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday July 21 2014

Good morning! Ah, it's another gorgeous day in New England. We have had a very mild summer so far and I am not complaining (even if it means the pool doesn't get used). I am once again joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday. See her blog for more!

Breakfast Time - What's On the Plate This Morning
Thanks to the results of this year's physical, it is time to finally get serious about my health. So this morning I had half of a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and am still nursing my smoothie made with mixed frozen fruit and water.

On Today's To Do List
Mostly grocery shopping. We are trying to save some money on the grocery bill with a lot of the kids gone this summer, but I do need to buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. I think I will start soaking and cleaning my boys' bedding - taking my time since they won't be home until Saturday.

Currently Reading
Have you joined Kindle Unlimited? I am so excited about this. They give you the first month free, and I am taking advantage, and am reading The Bloodletter's Daughter by Linday Lafferty.

On the TV Today

The Weather Outside Is
Perfect. It is 72 degrees and sunny. The humidity isn't too bad - 68%.

On the Menu This Week
Healthy. Dinners will consist of grilled meat with a large salad or rice and beans with dark green vegetables. 

If I Have a Few Minutes to Myself I Will
Finish reading my book! 

New Recipe
Last night I made brown rice (plain, no salt or butter) and added cooked collard greens, black beans, and canned tomatoes. It was actually pretty good. One thing I have found is that once I give up sugar and fats, I start to appreciate the taste of real foods.

In the Garden
My husband takes care of that. We did have one tomato so far. There is nothing better than garden grown tomatoes!

Favorite Photo From the Camera
Did I share this one already? Hopefully not.

Homemaking Tip
Send your kids away for the summer and enjoy your clean house! Ha, ha, just kidding. I miss my kids tremendously and admit I've been a little bored, but I do appreciate that the house stays clean!

Visiting With Blogging Friends
There really are not many blogs that I follow - many that I used to have stopped blogging. Sandra's is the only one I read with regularity. However, a friend reference the following blog on Facebook and I thought it worth bookmarking and exploring later:

Praying for
My kids. Always.

Bible Verse
Matthew 22:  36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
 38 This is the first and great commandment.
 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Sometimes when I go to church, there seems to be a theme to the messages and lessons I hear. Yesterday's theme was about not judging others. Here is the thing, I felt very judgy yesterday, but I also know why. It has taken me years to learn this lesson: when I have been neglecting my spirit, I can tell by the way I feel about others. When my spirit is fully nourished, I feel love towards my fellow men and women. So, I instead of giving in to the thoughts and feelings, I try to use it as a reminder that I need to get back to my relationship with God.

Have a great week!

July 15, 2014

Homemaking Meme

Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom tagged me for this meme. I haven't done one of these in so long. Let me start by explaining that I like being a SAHM, but homemaking itself is not my forte! As  you will see by my answers, lol.

Aprons - Y/N If Y what does your favorite look like? Not usually. I have one, and it is a boring hunter green men's grilling apron that doesn't really fit me.

Baking - Favorite thing to bake? Cookies and brownies. I have been doing that since my childhood.

Clothesline - Y/N We are not allowed to have one in our neighborhood.

Donuts - Have you ever made them? No. I am not big on frying anything, plus we live in the land of Dunkin Donuts!

Everyday - One homemaking thing you do everyday? Laundry, dishes, making the bed.

Freezer - Do you have a separate deep freeze? We have an ice cream freezer that is about 75 years old that came from my husband's uncle. We have been offered a regular freezer a couple of times but my husband won't give it up!

Garbage Disposal - Y/N LOL, we have one under the sink that is not hooked up. 

Handbook - What is your favorite homemaking resource? The internet.

Ironing - Love it or hate it? HATE IT and refuse to do it.

Junk drawer- Y/N - Where is it? I have a few of them! In the kitchen and in the dining room and in the basement and in my bedroom. Pretty much in any room that has a drawer.

Kitchen - Color and decorating scheme? Our walls are a boring off white, but there isn't much wall space anyway. The counters are dark green and the cabinets are natural maple. We have one stainless steal appliance - the dishwasher - because it was just replaced. Our stove and fridge are off white, which you cannot even get anymore.

Love - What is your favorite part of homemaking? Having my kids come in the house raving about the smell of something I am cooking.

Mop - Y/N Yes. The days of getting on my hands and knees are over.

Nylons - Wash by hand or in washing machine? I don't wash anything by hand. I will hang them up to dry though. Actually, I usually leave them on top of my dryer while the rest of the load is running and they dry very quickly.

Oven - Do you use the window to check on things or do you open the door? I usually open the door.

Pizza - What do you put on yours? Do you mean what do I order over the phone? LOL. My husband and I like veggie pizza, my kids like bacon.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? READ!!!

Recipe Card Box - Y/N Yes

Style of house Center hall colonial.

Tablecloth and napkins - Y/N Tablecloth for the dining room, placemats for the kitchen. Paper napkins. I tried cloth napkins but the kids don't cooperate too well with those. Once it is just my husband and I, we may make the switch to cloth.

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland? It is actually organized!

Vacuum -  How many times per week? The same room?! Once a week. We have central vac with a kick plate in the kitchen, so any large items get swept up in between vacuums.

Wash - How many loads per week? Twelve or more, but that includes my kids' loads which they do themselves.

X's - Do you make a daily to do list and check it off as you do things? Not daily, but I am a list maker.

Yard - Y/N - Who does what? My  husband takes care of the yard, including the flowers. I am arthritic so it is hard for me to do the necessary bending to take care of a garden.

Zzz's - What is the last homemaking task you do for the day before you go to bed? The last homemaking task of the night is cleaning up the dinner dishes, but the last things I do before going to bed are turning off the lights, checking the doors, and crating the dog.

That's it! If you read this then TAG, your are it!

July 14, 2014

Clean Out the Freezer Recipes

This may be something I will never want to refer back to, ha ha, but if nothing else, maybe it will fuel some future inspiration. We went camping with a bunch of teenagers (most of them boys) and spent a lot of money on food. This week all of my sons are away, which leaves just me, my husband, and my daughter. So, the only thing I will buy this week for groceries will be some fruit, veggies, milk, and ice cream (the staples, lol). The dinner meals will be a collection of concoctions made from stuff around the house. Hoping I might find a gem in the midst.

Day 1: pasta with breakfast sausage and kale. Sound horrible, I know, but once I made it with frozen chopped spinach and it was good enough for me to write down on an index card (my system before this blog came into fruition). I don't have any spinach, fresh or frozen, but I do have a bag of chopped kale. My husband will be on board, he eats a salad with kale every day for lunch. I will be the one that has to choke it down, but hopefully that won't be the case. We have tons of breakfast sausage left over from camping, so we haven't seen the last of it! BTW, my daughter will fend for herself with some other goodies we have in the pantry and freezer.

Day 2: Daughter is having a sleepover birthday party, so we will buy pizza for her and her guests, but my husband and I will be having soup made with sausage, kale, beans, carrots, and celery. And some biscuits. This soup turned out really good, but I forgot about the beans! I added instant mashed potatoes to thicken the broth. I could have thickened it with the beans if I was thinking.

Day 3: We have some collard greens in the freezer too, bacon, and possibly some canned black eyed peas - oh, the possibilities!)

Day 4: By now my daughter may have run away... we have tons of canned soup in our storage pantry, leftover from hurricanes and other storms that took away our electricity. It's probably time to use some of them up, so I will start with those, then throw in some chicken from the freezer.

Day 5: Will have to see what is left, oh, never mind, it is my daughter's birthday, can't do that to her on her birthday. We will see what she wants. I am guessing it will be lasagna.

Happy Homemaker Monday July 14 2014

Good morning! We went camping this weekend. It was a 5+ hour drive and we had 8 teenagers with us, which meant both my husband and I had to drive in separate cars. I am still recovering! It was a nice few days though, we had gorgeous weather, and it did wonders to renew my spirit. So it was all worth it. Plus I loved the questioning looks when people saw us with all of those kids!

So now it is on to Happy Homemaker Monday! I love to participate because I love taking the time to put some perspective in my life, look at the small but beautiful things around me, and appreciate them all. Thank you, Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom, for bringing this meme to us. See her for more Happy Homemaker Monday!

As I Look Outside My Window
I am not sitting in my usual spot at the kitchen table, so my back is turned from my sliding glass doors, lol. As I look outside my front window I see an empty, overturned recycling bin, which means they have already picked up (must have been while I was in the shower because I did not hear them). I also see lots of green from the trees across the street and the pinks and purples from our hanging flower basket on our front porch. I love all of the green, it makes me feel so blessed to live on this beautiful planet in this beautiful country.

Right Now I Am
Thinking about breakfast! I just came downstairs and haven't had anything but water so far and I am starting to feel it! But I am content to sit here for a little while longer in the quiet morning. I have just one child home with me this week - my daughter, and she is guaranteed to sleep in for a long time.

Thinking and Pondering
Do you know what is a beautiful state? New York. We often think of the city when we hear that name, but there is so much more to it than just the city! And the rest of the state is so different. It has a lot of what I enjoy in New England: lots of trees and hills. But it also has a lot of flat land and rolling hills. The finger lakes are beautiful, and Niagara Falls is simply breathtaking. It is a perfect place to camp.

On My Bedside Table
Oh, it is getting a little messy. Last night I had my two Kindles, some books, and a few other things. I just finished reading The Round House by Louis Erdrich and really enjoyed it. Now it is on to La Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.

On My TV This Week
Nothing planned.

Listening To
The hum of the air conditioner, which is drowning out the sound of the washing machine.

On the Menu for This Week
There is only three of us home this week. My oldest son is on a road trip with his band, heading to Michigan to record. My other two sons are working at a boy scout camp. We spent a lot of money feeding 8-10 teenagers for a few days, so we are going to eat up the odds and ends in our freezer to save some money this week. I will have to buy produce and milk, but that's about it. Tonight we will have pasta with leftover sausage from the camping trip. Tomorrow night, however, my daughter is having a sleepover birthday party which probably means pizza.

On My To Do List
Clean, clean, clean! I have more teenagers coming over tomorrow night. The floors are dirty from campers coming and going... so it is vacuuming, floor mopping, and bathroom cleaning today and tomorrow, and a necessary trip to the store for groceries and party supplies.

Happening This Week
It is a week of errands - dentist appointment for me tomorrow, daughter's sleepover, dog's vet checkup, cat's vet checkup, some bookkeeping work.

My Simple Pleasure
This summer I have really enjoyed reading about different cultures. Opposites Attack was a cute romance set in France. There was so much talk about the food (it even included recipes) and the French countryside, it made me want to go and visit. The Round House was about crime and revenge, but it was also about North Dakota Native Americans and their culture and mistreatment by the government. Now I am reading La Lacuna and that takes place in Mexico. I feel a bit like I am getting to travel to different places, and learning a lot along the way.

Looking Around the House
I see some clean things that need to be put away: a pile of towels that go downstairs, a pile of plastic containers that need to be put in a cabinet, but that requires some sorting out, which is why I haven't done it yet! Two cans of baked beans that were not used on our trip that need to go downstairs in the storage pantry. And lots of water bottles also left over from camping that will not fit in our fridge.

From the Camera
Meanwhile, while we were camping, my oldest was living his dream. His band was selected to play at Warped Tour (if you have teenagers, you may know what this is). When the tour comes to an area, they select some local bands to play, and his was one of them. That means playing for a LOT of people. He said it went well and they played better than ever. It is not my dream for him, but he is his own person and I have to let him be. Part of being a mom. Still, I am happy for him because I know it meant a lot.

Prayer List
My kids, which includes all of those you see above.

Bible Verse
2 John 1:5-6: And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we found from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye shall walk in it."

Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone made this a priority in their lives? I am trying. This needs to be a priority for me too. In general I think I follow this, but on a daily basis, I need lots of improvement.

Have a great week!

July 7, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday July 7 2014

Good morning! Half of the year is over already, can you believe it? Speaking of half, I hit the half of a century mark on Saturday. Time goes by so fast, it's hard to believe I've been around that long! Anyway, thanks to Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom for hosting Happy Homemaker Monday. Please stop by and see her for more HHM posts.

As I Look Outside My Window
I see lots and lots of sun! Right now it is 9:15 am and 73 degrees with 71% humidity. Anyone who lives in a humid environment knows how important that number is. Here in New England the humidity level varies and makes a huge difference in our comfort levels. We have a tired out saying: it's not the heat, it's the humidity!

Right Now I Am
Sitting at my kitchen table, I've already had my breakfast and I am procrastinating emptying the dishwasher, mostly because I crave my quiet time before the others wake up. It's not that I don't love my children and I do love being around them, but it can be hard to concentrate or not be interrupted once they are hanging around. Two of my boys are working at scout camp, so there are only two with me now.

Thinking and Pondering
People have been asking me the inevitable question do I feel older? The answer is no, I actually feel younger! The reason is because my doctor switched my diuretic and it has made a huge difference in how I feel. So I am happy to say that I feel younger at 50 than I did at 49 (but not at 40)!

On My Bedside Table
This is kind of a joke for me because I have been having trouble sleeping in my bed for various reasons. Usually I spend half of the night in it and the other half in a chair in my living room. Last night I never made it up to the bed, so I don't even remember what is on my bedside table, lol! But I will tell you what I am reading: Teach Ye Diligently by Boyd K Packer and Angela's Ashes, which is really sad but I am really enjoying it.

On My TV This Week
Who knows, but we watched the second Hobbit movie this past weekend. I have been having a hankering for The Lord of the Rings but my watching partner is away...

Listening To
The sound of the air conditioner.

On The Menu for This Week
I am trying to keep track of my menu for the month, but this week is not worth it. We are going camping Thursday to Sunday so I want quick, easy meals this week, but not pizza, we have had so much of it lately!

Monday - pasta, salad, bread
Tuesday - grilled chicken, macaroni salad, corn on the cob
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday - hot dogs and hamburgers at campsite
Friday - eating out
Saturday - not sure yet
Sunday - pancakes and bacon maybe since we will be getting back that day

On My To Do List
Vacuum, dust, bathrooms, mop, plan food for camping, pack everything, laundry, get blood drawn. This is not just today's list, but leading up to leaving for camping.

Happening This Week
I think I already told you that! I will add that we will be taking two cars, driving 6 hours, and bringing seven teenagers with us. There are about six families plus extras that are coming.

My Simple Pleasure
Chatting with my kids about ordinary things.

Homemaking Tips
Drawing a blank here.

Looking Around the House
There are a few things on the kitchen counters that need to be put away, but for the most part it is neat. It helps when half of your kids are not around!

From the Camera
We had a visitor the other day.

Prayer List
My kids, in-laws, a friend's son.

Bible Verse
Matthew 5:16 "Let  your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

In this day of doubt, unbelief, and even hatred against religion and faith, it seems ever more important to let our faith be shown. I don't think of this as preaching to people, but letting our love, joy, and faith shine like a light, that others may see it and be lead out of the darkness. I hope I can be that kind of light for others.

Have a great week!

June 30, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday June 30 2014

Good afternoon! Yes, I am running a bit late. I had a physical this morning and a bookkeeping job to complete. But now, time for some fun! See Sandra at Diary of a Stay-at-Home Mom for more Happy Homemaker Monday!

As I Look Outside My Window
It was really comfortable outside this morning, but my son just came in and told me it is hot now. I am sitting comfortably in my air conditioned kitchen, so I wouldn't know otherwise! It cannot be too hot, however, because our one window air conditioner is able to handle the job.

Right Now I Am
Sucking on sour candy to get my salivary glands working because they are swollen. This first happened to me a couple of years ago, and I went to the ER because I thought I was having an allergic reaction. But lately it has started swelling almost whenever I eat. My doctor said it could be because I had dental work recently and some particles could have gotten into the gland and clogged it, so I have to eat sour things to get the glands working and hope that it cleans itself out. Joy.

Thinking and Pondering
How many stinking medical problems I have, but I will not go into it here. People have gone through much worse.

On My Bedside Table
My Kindle and a library book! It's summer, time for the library! I just finished Catherine Cookson's The Glass Virgin. It was okay, but I wasn't enamored with it, so I don't think I will read anymore of her works right now. Next is either All Quiet on the Western Front, The Bell Jar, Angela's Ashes, or The Hare With Amber Eyes.

On My TV This Week
I just turned in my cable box, so no more of that! We have a Mohu Leaf antennae, but we really never watch tv. I would rather read!

Listening To
My son and his girlfriend talking in the living room. No, I am not eavesdropping, lol!

On the Menu For This Week
You can find my menu here, but I have not updated it. Two of my kids are working at a boy scout camp and are only home on Saturdays for dinner. My oldest isn't around for dinner often, and my daughter has numerous graduation parties and get togethers, so she is often gone too. I am trying to eat healthier so I plan on making a lot of salads and throwing something on the grill. I can throw a baked potato in the microwave for my husband.

On My To Do List
I housed some girls at church for a special activity so I gave my house a good cleaning last week! Now it is just the usual to maintain it: dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms. Hoping to clean a few windows too, and I still need to go through closets and cabinets and purge, purge, purge!

Happening This Week
It is a bit slower now that school is out, thank goodness, we need the break!
Monday - physical - done
Tuesday - call ear, nose, and throat doctor and rheumatologist for appointments
Wednesday - take son to doctor for physical
Thursday - nothing!
Friday - nothing!
Saturday - dinner out with family to celebrate my 50th birthday!
Sunday - church

What I Am Creating
a mess!

My Simple Pleasure
A good laugh

Homemaking Tips
I've got nothing today.

Looking Around the House
It is amazing how quickly stuff accumulates! The island and table in the kitchen need attention.

From the Camera
My wonderful neighbor got this shot of my daughter.

Prayer List
My kids, in-laws, and me.

Bible Verse
I love the writings of John. John 7:17:

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

I love this principle, because I know that it is true. When we keep His commandments, we will know that it is the right thing to do, but often the Lord expects us to try it first before we receive a witness. Acting first is putting our faith into action.

Have a great week!

June 16, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday June 16 2014

Good morning! Hope you all enjoyed your Father's Day, however you spent it. We had a delicious dinner out with my father and mother in-law, gave my husband a homemade card, and that's about it! It was an enjoyable day spent with my family.

Thank you, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for hosting Happy Homemaker Monday! Let's get to it.

As I Look Outside My Window
Oh, it is a beautiful day! Can all of the summer be like this please? The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the air is cool and crisp, and the days are warm. After a week of rain we are being rewarded.

Right Now I Am
Kicking myself because my daughter just left for school and I forgot to tell her to take my car. Oh well, I had wanted to take her car for an oil change and cleaning and then for my HUGE grocery run, but instead I will take my van. At least it needs all of those things too. Cannot wait to get the pollen out of the cars!

Thinking and Pondering
Last time I posted I was worried about my washing machine. That is fixed but now my dishwasher is doing the same. This time we may just buy another one. We have had this one for 15 years and it is wearing out. My husband wants us to buy cheap for now, and really I do not need a lot of bells and whistles, I only use one setting as it is, but it can be hard when you see all that is available! The good thing about the dishwasher is that if it breaks before we replace it, it is not a big deal to wash everything by hand. My mom always washes her dishes by hand and then uses her dishwasher as a drying rack. Now that's an idea!

On My Bedside Table
I started reading the Harry Potter series again because it isn't summer without Harry Potter.

On My TV
Finally saw Mean Girls after hearing about it from my kids for so long.

Listening to
Just the sounds of the appliances. All have left for school or work except my oldest who is still sleeping.

On the Menu for This Week
You can find my menu here. Lots of grilling this week!

On My To Do List
Today I have to finish up a bookkeeping job, get an oil change/car cleaning, the bank, a major grocery run, one load of laundry to fold and put away, and another load to do start to finish.

Happening This Week
This is the last week of school for us, which means finals are this week, which means short days and lots of driving because one of my kids doesn't have to be there for every final. It is also a week of errands because two boys are working at scout camp all summer and that starts this Sunday. It is also a week of getting their room really, really clean. Fortunately all of the after school events are done, and the latest they will be home is 11:30. Friday is my daughter's graduation, Saturday is our neighbor's graduation party, Sunday is rest and relaxation, because next Monday we are off to Cambridge for my daughter's college orientation. We go for the day but she gets to stay over. We haven't worked out if we are going to stay up there or come home and go back to get her the next day (5 hours round trip).

My Simple Pleasure
Going to the library, which I only do during the summer. I love my Kindle and the ease of carrying it around, but going to the library is like going to the bookstore, only you don't have to pay for the books! Cannot wait to go!

Homemaking Tips
I have shared this before, but not recently. For cleaning up stains on the carpet I use seltzer water, white rags, and a little elbow grease. The bubbles help raise the stain, and it is only water so there is no residual chemicals that attract dirt and form a new stain 6 months later like everything else I have tried. It works wonderfully.

Looking Around the House
There is cleaning to be done but it can be done in stages. There is always stuff to put away, which I will work on today. Today groceries are a priority because we are out of a lot of things. Tomorrow I will tackle the bathrooms and the rest of the week I will continue tackling a major purge of stuff, one closet/cabinet at a time, plus a major vacuum of the boys' room after they have dealt with all of their stuff.

From the Camera
What my husband misses most from when our kids were little.

My Prayer List
My kids, mom, and in-laws.

Bible Verse
Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

It is so easy to forget God when we get busy, and I have been guilty of that many times. However, I know that when I begin to neglect Him and my spirit, I will find myself in a place I do not want to be and wondering how did I get here? So, I am making a concerted effort to do exactly what the Lord tells us to do in Matthew 6:33: put Him first!

Have a great week!