And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay, only kind of completely different. My Mom posted today on Facebook that she was challenging herself to read 200 books this year, and on New Year’s Day I saw a girlfriend suggest doing a “90’s Music Fitness Plan” and she means that in a “I’m Gonna Be” kind of way. You know the song I mean –

When I wake up… 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who wakes up next to you 
When I go out… 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who goes along with you 
If I get drunk… 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who gets drunk next you 
And if I heaver 
Yea I know I’m going to be I’m going to be that man who’s heavering to you 

But I would walk 500 miles 
And I would walk 500 more 
Just to be that man who walk a thousand miles to fall down at your door 

It got me thinking. I need to challenge myself, to prove myself to Me, and to actually set goals, because without them I just kind of flail along without a stated purpose.
So, here are my challenges/goals for 2014:
Read 100 books. (I love to read, but the last few years I’ve been reading in fits and starts, instead of reading enough for real enjoyment. I think this last year I may have read 25-30 books.) I have already finished book number one.
Walk a thousand miles. On one hand that sounds like a lot, and on another it sounds like nothing. I’ve done the math. I know how many miles a day I need to walk. And no, I’m not counting my normal “steps” in a day. Only my mileage walked with purpose is going to count.
Finish one knit project a month. Even if it’s just a dishcloth. One project a month. I would like to knit my first pair of socks before this summer starts.
Finish one sewing project a month. Again, even if it’s just putting a button back on something, or repairing an item, it counts. I’ve already done this one for January. The Hubby’s Carhartt coat lost a sleeve cuff snap, and I don’t have the equipment to replace one of those big snaps. So, at Hubby’s request, I just tacked the cuff together. Done. In addition to the already completed project, I have 5 small projects to do, it’s just a matter of getting my butt in gear and getting them done. I imagine I can have them finished in a day or two, if I can get the gumption.
That’s it. I don’t want to call them “Resolutions” because that word has such negative connotations. It sounds like it belongs in a competition. Instead, this is me challenging myself. I’m my only competition here. I’ll keep y’all posted.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Anybody else freezing? We sure are. I am so thankful for our home and our furnace today. I’ve had an interesting week. The Hubby left Sunday for work, and I didn’t expect to see him until tonight. He was able to come home on New Year’s Eve, no one was open on New Year’s Day so he was able to hang around. Unfortunately on New Year’s Day he hit one of the two patches of ice in our driveway and pulled a cartoon move and landed flat on his back. Yeouch! He ended up being able to be home the rest of the week to recover. Poor guy. So we’ve hung out, enjoying each other’s company. We watched some Ancient Aliens, the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and today we watched America Decoded….well, he did, I listened mostly. I took the Christmas tree down, and packed away all the decorations. Except I just remembered the miniature ornaments in the dining room in one of my milk glass pedestal bowls AND the little lighted wreath on my kitchen door. Oops. Oh well. I got some furniture moved around in our foyer, my giant cedar chest made by my Dad moved into it’s new temporary home, where the Christmas tree was. (I am not exaggerating about the chest being a giant, it’s probably 22 inches high, 18 inches wide and 36 inches long.) Hopefully before my birthday, it’ll be in it’s permanent home in the guest room/craft room. I’m going to store our extra linens in it, then protect the top and use it as my cutting table. I figure with the size it is, that might be a perfect use for it. I also managed to get the rug & coffee table put back where it goes (it weighs a TON), I had to have help. I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished. Even if I didn’t get much done craft project wise. Oh well. No pressure, right?

The kiddos come home tomorrow, and bless my folks they are going to bring them all the way home. I’m excited to see all of them. It’s been so quiet here. I’m beginning to think that if the weather forecast holds true, they might get an extra day off school. The high here on Monday is supposed to be -6!!!!!! That’s cold.

Any how, that’s what’s up here. Just hanging out, trying to stay warm and trying to stay busy.

Beautiful Christmas, Come and Gone

I hope all of you had a wonderful and merry Christmas! We sure did. Our first Christmas in our first non-rental home! It was perfect. My parents came down on Monday, and just left this morning. We had a nice visit. We relaxed, and cooked, we ate, and we enjoyed each other’s company. I miss the rest of the family (on all sides) but so enjoy the relaxed pace. Now, my parents are gone, and took my kids with them. It is so quiet here. The Hubby and I how have a few days to ourselves, before he goes back to work.  The “mommy-cation” is going to be spectacular. I am going to sit around and craft…I’m going to try to wear out my sewing machine needle and some knitting needles.  I’m going to watch a ton of Netflix…may restart Downton Abbey before the new season starts, and watch more Land Girls. Yes, I love British t.v. I’m probably also going to spend too much time wrapped up in my new Chenille 1940’s style winter-weight robe. Who needs to get dressed when you don’t have kids to drive around or cook for? Ha! 

So, belated Merry Christmas, and blessings to you in the coming New Year!

 

Well, Well, Well…Where Have I Been?!?!?

So, I feel off the bloggy wagon. Life has been in an uproar for us, just like all of you. Since last I blogged, we’ve purchased our very first home and have completely moved in, our kiddos got settled into a new school year, including our first high schooler, our eldest started guitar lessons, we’ve been going to art classes (although, not regularly since the move), and just trying to get life back to “normal” after the move. We have purchases a farmhouse built in 1929, an American Foursquare, with so much of the original trim & woodwork. We are so happy & comfortable here. We were doubly blessed that the children were able to stay in their school district.

So, I’ve been asked a few times what has gotten in the way of my blogging. Honestly, I felt like, for a while, I just didn’t have anything to share. I wasn’t crafting, I wasn’t really cooking good meals, then we began the moving process…that filled up the entire month of October. November was dedicated into getting truly settled, back into our routines, and then we had my folks down for Thanksgiving. I want to say I was busy, busy, busy, but in reality, I just wasn’t motivated, motivated, motivated to write. Now, I’m crafting, cooking and being a good little Suzy Homemaker, again. Hopefully in the next month, I’ll be able to share some fun projects with you, AND announce that I’ve been able to move into my craft/guest room. Currently, I haven’t moved anything into that room, while I wait for my Hubby to have the time to strip the floor. We have what appears to be original pine plank on the second floor, so we pulled up a very old orange carpet from that room, and soon my sewing machines will take up residence. Lord willing, that will be before the first of the year. The Hubby says he’s going to work on it during the next week or so.

So…I’ve been here. Just all wrapped up in life.

Manicure of the Week and A “Political” Suggestion

So, how about a new feature? Manicure of the week. What do you think? We’ll try it for a few weeks and see how it goes. This is today’s mani. The polish is L.A. Colors in Tease, from Dollar General, purchased for $2 or less. My base and topcoat are L’oreal, because that’s what I have, and have been using the same two bottles for many years (I’m going to have to replace them soon). I really wish I had started this last week when I had a red & black “French” manicure. I’ll do that one again as the weather turns cooler. For now, I picked my color to reflect the last fun, sunny few weeks of summer. Pay no attention to the big ol’ smudge in my pinky finger.

image

Also, I wanted to report back on my homemade wipes – they work great! Only the container was a fail!

Happy weekend, everyone. Enjoy your Sabbath day (for those who do celebrate a Sabbath.) Take time to enjoy time with your loved ones.

Oh, if I might encourage those of you who think a company supporting the laws of the area they do business in, to visit a Starbucks tomorrow, and keep some gun control supporters from politicizing & making an example of a business who chooses to stay NEUTRAL! A mom’s group demanding “common sense” gun control is attempting to make an example out of Starbucks, and calling for a boycott tomorrow. (Per the Huffington Post.) It’s a shame really. Companies have a right to set their own rules, in accordance with federal, state and local laws. Duh.

Spatial Relations Are NOT My Forte!

Oh boy! I am not very good at judging spatial relations. I tried my hand at homemade cleansing wipes today, with the plan to reuse a previous store-bought wipe container. I bought a package of pick-a-size paper towels, cut them in half, and pulled out the cardboard in the middle. No problem. (Except you shouldn’t be a mouth breather while sawing a roll of paper towels in half – cough, cough, gag.) I pulled a towel up through the center, and smushed the roll all together to slip it down in the wipe container. Guess what?!? It’s too tight of a fit to pull out any more towels, and I can’t get the roll back out. *sigh* So, I took the other half and popped them into an empty ice cream bucket (there was only a half-inch or so of extra space all the way around), and dumped in my solution, and clapped the lid on. I’ll report back tomorrow and tell you how they clean…

The solution I use is just equal amounts vinegar and water with a little dribble of blue Dawn dish soap. It’s the same ingredients I use to clean the toilet, the tub, the sink, almost everything, just in different proportions.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to sacrifice my plastic wipe container to get my paper towels back. Oh well…I’ll know better next time.

Travel Food Success and A Failure

So, we’ve been home for two weeks, and I’ve not even thought about my blog! Shame on me. It’s time to share how our vacation dining went. As you may remember, we tried something new this trip. We’ve never cooked on the road before, so after much planning, list making, and last-minute prep (because I’m a terrible procrastinator) we embarked with 2 coolers full of perishables, and a basket full of non-perishables (this includes our prep items, and plates and what-not). In our coolers, I had made saline ice blocks, in gallon jugs…1/4 c. of salt per gallon, and they were still frozen on day 5.

This is a rundown of our foods in the cooler:

  • homemade hummus
  • cut veggies
  • fruit
  • boiled eggs
  • Grilled Veggie & Hummus roll-ups (we found that these got soggy very quickly, and the two we had left on day two of the trip were kind of gross)
  • Roast Beef Wraps (made with Muenster, not blue cheese)
  • Pimento Cheese BLTs on Sourdough – this was actually separated into the components so that nothing got soggy and included pre-cooked turkey bacon, and yes, I made homemade pimento cheese
  • Meatloaf and Red potatoes freezer meal ( I swapped the rosemary for oregano, since we aren’t big rosemary fans.)
  • Cheesy Chicken & Rice freezer meal (the rice was cooked and frozen ahead of time as well and I took the soup in the can)
  • Steak sandwiches on baguettes (with mayo & Dijon mustard…and then Bug added hummus to hers)

Non-Perishables:

  • pita chips
  • Zapp’s Voodoo chips and Sweet Potato chips (which the Hubby brought home from LA or TX, YUM!!)
  • Nuts
  • Granola bars
  • gum
  • and everyone got a theater box of their favorite candy
  • peanut butter
  • sourdough bread
  • peanut butter fudge
  • quick & dirty…I mean easy chocolate fudge
  • brownies

So, we had great success with everything, except for the packed that I packed the chicken too tight in the bag, and it ended up breaking, so we lost a crock pot meal.. 😦  So we ended up with only one crock pot meal. The meatloaf was delicious, but didn’t hold together, it ended up being like loose meat. We liked it enough I’ll have to play with the recipe here at home to see if we can get it to hold together. We lost a few items out of the big “frozen food” cooler but they were almost gone, and only out of safety sake. We didn’t want to risk anything having been cross contaminated by the broken chicken bag. The chicken was still frozen, but the water in the cooler from condensation was our cross contamination concern.

We picked a hotel that served a decent hot breakfast, not just continental, since we have growing kids. We had eggs, waffles, biscuits, gravy, plus an assortment of continental-style breakfast items. Our total food cost on the road (I am not counting the grocery cost for the food I packed) was less than a hundred dollars, we bought dinner on the drive home, because of problem with the chicken fiasco, and we spent $20 bucks at the Gettysburg reenactment for Ye Olde Funnel Cakes (as the reenactor who gave us directions called it, and we are still giggling over 2 weeks later) and giant snow cones. It was so blinking hot on the day we were at the reenactment the snow cones were too good to pass up. Yes, we paid $4 bucks each for a 16-20 cup full of shaved ice and flavoring, but it was a relief. And the boost from the funnel cake carbs and sugar helped deal with the traffic of 150,000 people converging on just a few acres. Going into the reenactment, we traveled 6 miles in 2+ hours. It was nuts, but it was worth it.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! Although, I certainly wouldn’t pack the freezer bags so tight.