Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cleaning hacks

One of my goals this school year...

Ha!  I say that as if I have more than one.  Goal that is.  It just sounds better than "my goal this school year".  Because honestly, who has this as their one and only goal in life?  Huh?  This girl, that's who.  Pathetic.  But at least I have a goal.  Anyway...

One of my goals this school year is to take back the house from entropy.  It's not that my house is excessively dirty or anything, but a certain...shall we my house cleaning technique (Ha! again.  As if I have a house cleaning technique...) has come to light.  At 11 years, this is the longest Hubby and I have lived in one location.  We lived in our previous homes for less than two years, four years, and six years.  And it turns out that dust and dirt and gunk and such don't really have a chance to build up all that much in less than two years, four years (without kids), and even in six years (with itty bitty kids), even if one has deficiencies in one's house cleaning technique.  But eleven?  Yup.  It's catching up with me.  So I'm taking it back, this year.

I started with a four week rotating schedule.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who needs a schedule to tell her what to clean when.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Please?  No?  Alllllrightythen, back to the post.

Kitchen, dusting, and vacuuming, along with laundry, are addressed on Mondays.  Wednesdays the bathrooms and laundry room get attention, along with the hard floors.  Friday is reserved for paper, calendar, and money.  It's a rotating schedule because different aspects are emphasized each week (and yes, I know this schedule does not cover everything, but it's a good start).

Know what I've found out?  Yes!  Cleaning is never ending.

And, it gets easier to clean the more often I do it.

Who knew?

Well, I guess I kind of knew, in theory, but apparently I didn't actually believe it, because I fought myself, hard, over this schedule thing (still do, some most days).  But here's the thing.  When you clean the seams of your glass-doored shower for the first time ever in eleven years, they're gonna be pretty gross.  And it's gonna take a bit of time and effort (and a toothbrush) to get them clean.  In fact, you might not even be able to get them clean all in one session.  But, listen.  There is no way they're gonna get that dirty and gross again in four weeks.  So when that job comes up again, you can do it faster and better than the last time.

Image source
Know what else I've found out?  Cleaning hacks, you know, the ones all over the internet?  Those things work.  Like, actually work.  I have been having so much fun with cleaning hacks, that I'm going to start sharing them with y'all.  Because I want you to have fun, too.  It's all about serving the public, friends.

So look for cleaning hack posts starting next week, and, in the meantime, I will try to remember to take before photos...

Happy cleaning, y'all!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 17

Y'all!  I am so tired!  I have heard that in general people are most tired during October.  Or maybe it was that people sleep the most in October.  It has something to do with the change in light and change in melatonin production.  Or something like that.  Unfortunately, in my case, it is not melatonin that is to blame, or at least not entirely.  I can't sleep.  Ugh.  I hate that.  And much the same way that people who don't have trouble getting to sleep can't understand those of us who do (you're tired?  Just go to sleep.  What do you mean you're too tired to go to sleep?  Just, you know, fall asleep.  As if), I don't understand how people can just...fall asleep.  At will.  I wish that was me.

So I find myself, at 7:30 p.m., so tired that I wish to go to bed.  Right then.  And the other people who live here are incredulous.  You're going to bed?  Right now?  Yes, yes I am.  Because I can't really hold my eyes open anymore.  They're slits, these eyes of mine, because they want to be closed but they need to be open.  I am going to bed.  But I'm not going to sleep because I can't.  Therefore, I will be walking around like a zombie again tomorrow, and my eyes will want to close even earlier.

I'm not sure how to get myself out of this pattern, but something's got to change soon, or I'll be going to bed as soon as I get up in the morning.

But you didn't come to hear about my sleep issues--you want to know about the food.  So here you go:


Thursday, October 13, 2016


There's something I've been praying about.  It's a something far away from me.  It's a something that I want to help.  I want to be there.  I want to support, listen, run errands, make meals, clean, keep company, inspire, encourage.  It feels like a crisis.  I want to get in there and do something.

I was talking to a friend about it, about how hard it is to be far away, how hard it is to not be able to do anything except pray.

My friend got this funny look on her face, and I knew immediately what she was thinking.

What more important thing can we humans do besides tap into the power of the living God?  What more helpful thing can we do than to knock at the throne room door until God moves?  Praying isn't just the only thing I can do, it is the most important thing I can do.

(There's a video here--if you're reading via email, you'll have to click through to the post to view the video)

Ah, but in my human-ness, I want to be in control.  Me.  How ridiculous is that, in the face of the truth--that God is God and I am not?  For some reason, doing something, giving me the illusion of being in control, makes me feel more secure than surrendering to the reality that God is in control.  As if I, imperfect and flawed and human, could ever make more of an impact than the Ruler of the universe.  

Creator God, forgive me my presumptions.  Forgive me for losing sight of your sovereignty, for looking inward instead of out, toward you.  Lord, I humbly ask you to move, and I thank and praise you that the victory is already yours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It must be the age

It must be the age.  When MC was in 3rd grade, he left a lot of jackets at school.  Now Bubby is in 3rd grade, and he has two jackets that he alternately leaves at school.  Maybe AKD did the same thing, although if he did, I have no written record of it.  There was a period of time when I would always find something of ours in the lost and found at school, even if I wasn't aware that we were missing something.

Luckily, I've been picking Bubby up after school often enough this fall (due to those crazy two evenings a week) that I've always been able to grab the one that's at school out of the lost and found before he leaves the other one there.  Consequently, he hasn't had to go jacket-less to school yet.

I know what the problem is.  It's cold when he goes to school in the morning, and then, because he has it, he wears his coat out to recess.  At recess, he plays hard, gets warm, and takes off his jacket.  And then promptly forgets about it, until the next morning.

In fact, I grabbed a jacket out of the lost and found yesterday.  Bubby looked a bit chagrined as I plucked it from the pile, as if he hadn't realized he'd left it again.  This morning, there were no jackets on Bubby's hook.  "Um, Bubby, did you leave your jacket at school yesterday?" I gently queried.  Indeed he had (the one I had taken from the lost and found was still in the truck).

Oh, the irony of taking the jacket out of the lost and found and leaving the other one, the one he had worn that day, at school.  You can be sure that before we leave school today (yes, yes, it's a busy week.  Thanks for asking.  Four times, I'm picking that kid up at school this week, and possibly dropping him off once), I will do my best to ensure that we have two jackets.  If I remember, that is.  Maybe I can't blame the age.  Maybe my kiddos are just destined to be forgetful based on the mama portion of their chromosomes.

This morning, Bubby wore a hat to school.  "Especially since my hair is wet, mom," he told me.  Isn't it supposed to be the mom who tells the kid to wear a hat because his hair is wet?  Yup, I am wondering if the hat's going to come home today (I know it'll get here eventually).  It does fit nicely into his backpack, so at least there's that.

And now for some gratuitous random pictures of that forgetful kid, not wearing a jacket.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 10

I'm busy watching football, so no cutesy commentary today.  Just the menu.  Here ya go.



Saturday, October 8, 2016


One of my kiddos was invited to something via electronic invitation.  When I got the invitation in my email inbox, I clicked the link to take me to the invitation, but since we had talked about possibly not being around that day, I did not RSVP.  This morning, after having discussed the matter and deciding that yes, the kiddo would be around to attend the thing, I clicked on the link to take me to the invitation again.  And again.  And again.  Because this time, I got, instead of the invitation, an error message.  Then again, and again.

Now I know that the most likely explanation is that this particular invitation website is experiencing technical difficulties.  But do you know where my mind went first?  My mind told me that my kiddo had been uninvited.  That the mama had invited more people than could be accommodated, and the number she could include had already responded, so my kiddo was out.  Or worse, that my kiddo was invited mistakenly in the first place--that this mama had never meant to invite him.

Why does my brain do that?  Seriously.  It's (most likely) just a website glitch.  But I take it personally.

Right now I'm reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and it's a good thing I am.  'Cause here's the subtitle: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.  I'm only a few chapters in, but already the book has challenged me to be aware of how my perceptions, which may or may not have any basis in reality, affect my feelings, which in turn affect my attitudes, which in turn affect my actions.  Good stuff.  It's so easy, and I am so quick, to immediately assume the worst--but life would be a lot easier if my default was to assume the best.  Of others and myself.

I emailed the mama to accept the invitation, and I hope to high heaven that it really is just a glitch.  In the meantime, I keep repeating to myself, "it's just a glitch, it's just a glitch, it's just a glitch."  Maybe if I tell myself enough times, I'll believe it.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Losing Daylight

It is appalling to me how quickly we are losing daylight around here.  You too?  I mean, it happens every year, at approximately the same rate, so one would think that I would be expecting it, and therefore, be not appalled.  But I am.  One month ago, on September 7, the sun set at 7:36 p.m.  Today, it'll set at 6:39 p.m.  Here, I'll do the math for you.  That's almost an hour.  In one month (OK, that's not really math, but whatever).  That's not counting the daylight we've lost on the other end, which doesn't seem to bother me as much--probably because I'm mostly still in bed when we're not getting that sunlight.

The other day, Bubby came home from school and told me that his teacher had asked the class if the sun rises and sets at the same time each day.  Bubby continues to insist that it does, despite myriad evidence to the contrary.  When I point out to him that it used to be light out when we were driving home from football practice, and now it is not, he stubbornly insists that the sun rises and sets at the same time every day, and even if it doesn't, it should.

The dark is the hardest part of winter for me.  Not because I don't like the dark--I think it's actually kind of cozy--but because I can't see to drive in the dark as well anymore.  I can blame it on the car's headlights (and it's true--they're not very bright (which is not necessarily a commentary on their intelligence)), but the truth of the matter is, I'm getting older, my eyes included.  That's kind of a hard truth to confront, every now and then, when I realize that various of my parts don't work like they used to.  The good news is, once we hit Christmas (actually, a few days before Christmas), the days start getting longer again.  And Christmas is only 79 days away.  Although I suppose some of y'all might not consider that news to be good, exactly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bare Feet

I misplaced one of my slippers.  And by I misplaced, I mean one of my children misplaced.  So my feet look like this:

I have one bare foot and one bear foot.  (My bear foot has only four toes.  It must have lost the other one in the course of some terribly exciting adventure, on which I was not invited).  It is my policy, when one of my slippers is missing, to walk around with one slipper on until I find the other one, so the one doesn't disappear in the meantime.

And that is why I haven't been able to do housework today.  Because I only have one slipper, and I can't stand on the kitchen floor, which is uncarpeted, with no foot covering.  Socks won't work in this situation, obviously.  I also can't do housework because I am distraught over the missingness of one of my favorite slippers.  Who can work in such conditions?

Perhaps the real reason I cannot get up off the couch to do anything even approaching productiveness at this time is that the clean-dish-putting-away fairy seems to have taken a vacation concurrent with my husband being out of town 15 of the last 17 days (don't worry.  He'll be back for a whole day before taking off again).  Talk about poor timing.  I mean, I can function with one or the other of them missing, but both?  At the same time?  It's not pretty.

I was doing well--keeping up, anyway.  And then my slipper went missing.

Oh well, as a wise friend once told me, the housework will be there tomorrow.

And as I replied to my wise friend, yes it will, and that's part of the problem.


P.S. When I had done enough cleaning-up-of-piles to realize that my missing slipper was, in fact, not under any of said piles, I had a moment of mama-brilliance and looked behind the couch.  It was there.  I also found a cheez-it wrapper back there, which I didn't even realize was missing.  So, you know, sometimes, if you look in the right place, you find things you don't expect.  Life lessons.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Menu plan for the week of October 3

Friends, I don't know what to say.  I'm hardly blogging at all these days, just these menu posts, and I'm having a heck of a time even getting these done, as evidenced by the fact that this one is being published after supper on Monday.  It's not that I'm terribly busy, although I am busy.  I'm just not feeling it.  It's a cyclical thing, this sharing my story, and right now, I'm at a low ebb in the story-sharing-ness.

Just know I love you, friends.  I love spending time with you in this space.  I have all kinds of ideas swirling around in my cute little noggin, they're just not coming out.  Not to worry--I'll be back at it soon-ish.  Maybe.

By the way, my overcompensation last week?  I made every single one of my suppers and every one of my breakfast/lunch/others.  Surprised?  I sure am :)  'Twas a lofty goal, to be sure.  Care to place wagers on how this week will go?

In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week (we had the cheesy mini burgers tonight and they were yummy):


Basil chicken burgers from Krausnic Kitchen

Peanut Butter Caramel Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars |
A-maze-bars (she calls them something else) from Mom on Timeout

Monday, September 26, 2016

Menu plan for the week of September 26

Whenever you see multiple repeats from the previous week in my menu plan, you know that we experienced menu plan breakdown the previous week.  Not that that happened last week, or anything.  OK, maybe it did.  But everyone ate.  Every day.  Multiple times per day, even.  And just when I was thinking we had those crazy days down.

On the bright side, the fact that I didn't make several of our planned meals last week means I've got a very light grocery shopping trip ahead of me this week. Which, of course, leaves room in my cart and in the budget to make things like cowboy candy.  A local girlfriend, by posting about this delicacy on Facebook, has convinced me that I need to make it, too. I know.  It sounds super strange, but I just have to.

The menu plan breakdown last week also means this week's menu plan is super easy to make.

Here it is:

Supper (in no particular order...or actually, in the order they were in last week):
Cheesy Mini-Burgers Image 1
Cheesy Mini Burgers from Kraft

Breakfast/lunch/other (obviously, a menu plan breakdown makes me want to over-compensate):
Easy canning project Candied Jalapenos from
Candied Jalapenos, aka Cowboy Candyfrom Foodie with Family

Monday, September 19, 2016

Menu plan for the week of September 19

Right now, as this is published, I am on my way back home after spending the weekend at a family wedding.  I left the boys at home because AKD had a race--his first of the season--and everybody had school.  Well, except Hubby, but somebody's gotta work around here.  Because, you know, food and teenagers, and clothing and housing and stuff.  And work, he did.  He didn't have to deal with any of the super crazy days solo (although that was the original plan), but he still had to schlep kids around for four days.  Bravo, Hubby, you made it!  At least, I assume you will/did, as I am typing this, a week in advance.

Anyway, I don't know what's for supper today--hopefully something good.  As for the rest of the week?  I've got a plan.  Here goes...

Almond Chicken Tenders from Hip2Save



Monday, September 12, 2016

Menu plan for the week of September 12

I know, I know.  Last week, on that so very Mondayish Tuesday, I told y'all I doubted there would be a menu post this week.  But later in the week, I was reminded just how much you depend on (is "depend on" too strongly worded?  Perhaps "anticipate" would be better?) the weekly inspiration afforded by these words on a screen (with links!).  I get that.  And I'm here for you, friends.

I'm doing some freezer cooking this week, despite the fact that my freezer is full.  That's right.  I've got 48 (that's forty-eight) pounds of ground turkey in my freezer, the one that my favorite brother in law lovingly refers to as my "starter freezer," right now, along will a lot of other stuff.  And somehow, my brain thinks it's a great idea to add more.  Oh, brain...

Yeah.  I've never been all that great with spatial analysis.

On to the meals!
Cheesy ham & bacon potato casserole from Sweet Basil


  • Zesty salsa?  Maybe?  I have some ripe tomatoes, and I need to do something with them.  My boys seem to think we don't have enough salsa to last until next tomato harvest...
  • Chocolate chip zucchini muffins (yes, we still have zucchini coming, not to mention all that shredded zucchini in the freezer.  Good thing the boys love these muffins)
  • Taco bean soup

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Celebrate Recovery 365 Daily Devotional: A Review

Celebrate Recovery is a Bible-based ministry that helps people overcome their hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  Celebrate Recovery 365 Daily Devotional is a companion volume to this program, which aims to support folks in giving up their addictions.  I wanted to read this devotional because I, like many, have some destructive habits that I would like to break.

Written by Celebrate Recovery founder, John Baker, along with Johnny Baker and Mac Owen, this book contains 365 short, one page devotionals, consisting of a 1-3 verse snippet of scripture, a 2-3 paragraph meditation, and a 1-2 sentence prayer.  Each page takes just a couple of minutes to read.

As promised, the book is definitely geared toward recovery from addiction.  The devotions easy to read.  They are hopeful and true.  As with any devotional, the power comes from connecting, daily, with God's word.  The pages of this book do a great job reminding readers that nothing is impossible for God, even overcoming deep seated addictions.

I wasn't able to connect to the readings the way I thought I would, however.  I think it's probably because of the male perspective and tone of the writing.  All three of the authors are male, so while readers do get slightly different perspectives, they are all still male.

Bottom line: This is an excellent resource for keeping Christians on track with their recovery, especially those who are going through the Celebrate Recovery program, but it would have benefitted from a female perspective.

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

Punderdome: A Review

I love puns--the cheesier, the better.  You might have noticed that about me.  My oldest boy shares my love of puns, so it was with great anticipation that we opened Punderdome--A Card Game for Pun Lovers.
Punderdome is based on the renowned live game show.  The renowned live game show that I had never heard of.  So...just in case you've never heard of it either, here's a clip.

Warning for sensitive viewers--adult topics.

In this clip, contestants are alternately coming up with as many TV show puns as they can.

In Punderdome the card game, the Prompter draws two prompt cards, then at least two contestants have a set amount of time to come up with one pun that combines the two prompt cards.  The prompter then chooses his favorite pun, and that punster receives the points for that round.  There's also a speed round, which rewards the winner by giving them extra time to come up with a winning pun in the following round.

The game includes 200 double-sided cards (100 White and 100 Green), 2 Mystery Envelopes with fill-in prize slips, 2 80-page pads for drafting puns, 1 instruction card and 1 pun example card, all in a sturdy box.  The box and cards are good quality, and the directions are clear and easy to understand.  The pads of paper are pretty small (2.5 x 3.5 inches), so I would suggest using a small dry erase board for brainstorming, as I saw in a few of the Punderdome clips I watched.

AKD and I opened the box and eagerly read the instructions.  Then we dutifully drew two cards, read them out...and stared blankly at each other.  I don't remember what those two prompts were, but both of us were at a complete loss as to how to incorporate them into one pun.  Maybe we're not good thinking on our feet, but I feel like this game is much too difficult if played according to the directions.  It was disappointing, because we had great hopes for this game.

I do think we could still have fun with Punderdome, especially adding additional pun-lovers to the mix (Hubby's family is full of 'em).  I would definitely play in teams, and I would allow puns based on just one of the prompts, with extra credit for combining the two.

Bottom line: while this game has great potential, it's just too difficult.

I received this game for free from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Mondayish Tuesday menu post


Yes, well, here I am on this Mondayish Tuesday afternoon.  Haven't gotten a whole lot done today, and I have a headache.  In an effort to feel like I've accomplished something today (something besides making the bed, which, I will admit, is not nothing), I've decided to share our menu plan for the week.

I know.  It's not Monday, it's not even Friday, and it's no longer "summer" (and by no longer summer I mean after-labor-day-and-the-kids-have-started-school-so-summer-is-over), so I can't use summer's sporadicity as an excuse.  I just...didn't post the menu yet.  And I'm warning you now, I'm probably not going to post one next week, either.  But I've got ya covered (albeit a little late) for this week.  Without further ado, this weeks' menu:

What's on your menu this week?

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