Five On Friday: Random Thoughts And Images

It’s been an odd week.  I’ve been having trouble focusing on my blog post writing.

Yesterday presented a terrible case of writer’s block for my tiny tip on a Thursday.  Everything I wrote just stunk. Sometimes, it’s best to just put posts like that aside for a bit.

Today, I pondered whether to even bother with a Five on Friday post.  Still having trouble focusing and not just on blog post writing either.

Seems so many things pull for our attention. Funny how the pull increases in an empty house. I’ve finally conceded to allow myself to be lazy today.  Still wanted to participate in the Five On Friday link up hosted by Tricky over at the F.A.S.T. blog.

Random Thoughts and Images It Will Be:

ONE:  A Botched Breakfast And Two Tiny Tomatoes

My plan was to have a simple scrambled egg for breakfast this morning. A little butter, a little salt, a little garlic?  Wait, who put the garlic where the pepper shaker belongs?  So much for simple.  A little Italian seasoning, a little Parmesan cheese, a couple chopped up tiny tomatoes, a sprinkling of bacon bits, and a bit of shredded cheddar cheese turned the egg into a not too bad omelette.

I found the two tiny tomatoes last night in the mess of tangled weeds we call a garden. We also had a slightly larger one not quite red enough to pick.

Behold the bounty of our garden!

I picked TWO green beans last week.  There are two jalapeno peppers that may be ready.  My husband’s okra has a few small pods growing.  Pretty cucumber flowers but no vegetables, we must have bought 2 different varieties in our plants.

If Armageddon happens (and it scares me how much less of a joke that seems recently), I don’t think our garden will sustain us for very long.  Although….edible weeds (Creeping Charlie) are taking over. Perhaps we’ll be okay after all.

TWO: Summer Seems To Be Fading Into Fall

Seems like I just put out this flag and yet, our weather doesn’t match the sentiments.  It’s been much cooler, the kids have gone back to school (just this week), and the acorns are already raining down on our back deck.  Where did my summer go? I have many friends and a few family members who love the next season but I would like to see a few more swimming pool friendly days. Today is not one of those days. It’s gloomy, overcast, and dark. Appears it might rain any minute.

Hope the high school football game marching band performance still happens and sure hope I don’t have to sit in the rain to watch the band!

THREE: The Coming Eclipse

I was actually both excited and relieved when asked to work the full day on Monday.  Originally, my schedule was only to fill in for a teacher a few hours in the late afternoon and was pondering what I’d do during the event.

Now, I get to be somewhere I love during the event. It should be interesting although all the constant warnings and talk about it have me a bit jittery.

I’ve seen lots of people making jokes about having the song Total Eclipse Of The Heart stuck in their heads.  For me, this Thomas Dolby number keeps popping into my head instead:

Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science from Mad Hatter on Vimeo.

Got to love the ’80s.  We’ll I may be a bit biased since I belong to that generation. (Does that make me old?)  I just told the kids on Wednesday afternoon, I don’t care what you think about the ’80s, there is no denying we had the best music and made the best movies. No argument from the teenager on that point.

Four: A Forced Park Visit

“I want to practice taking a photo of the sunset from that park over there and you guys need the fresh air.”  “Please don’t make me be the creepy lady with camera and no kids at the park.”

They finally begrudgingly and unhappily agreed to go with me to a local park a bit to the west of our house.  A park not in the best area,  just a good park to be aware of your surroundings.  Turns out not a great park to capture a sunset after all.  The photo I posted on Wednesday was my best one.  The search for a good sunset photo spot continues.

The park did have a lot of pretty elements to photograph although it was quite dirty.  Ugh, throw your trash away people…the walk to the trash bins is not that far from the playground. I cropped a lot of trash out of my photos. 

Five: Conversations With My Boys

So often I see different forms of media stressing the importance of talking to your kids about various issues.  Personally, I think it’s just as important to listen to them and hear their thoughts and opinions. It was probably one of the highlights of my summer when after work on Wednesday afternoon, I just sat and listened to the boys’ thoughts on many different subjects including education, politics, the environment, and procrastination.

While listening I did take the opportunity to remind them of a few things:

  • Critical thinking is important
  • The media is not a huge solitary monster sitting in a corner plotting against everything
  • Their grandfather (my dad) fought in WWII against evils that should never return and side by side with people who weren’t allowed in the same restaurants with him
  • Showing Empathy and Compassion to others does not mean everyone is becoming “too sensitive”


So much for writer’s block on this almost one thousand word rambling and random post.  How has your week gone?





Another Summer Break Ends Today

The boys’ summer break ends today.

summer break

Tomorrow I’ll be sending off a 7th grader and high school junior to start yet another school year.

I laughed a bit when this memory popped up on my face book feed this morning:

I asked the boys what they wanted to do on the last day of Summer Vacation.  Answer: STAY HOME!

I have no doubt the answer today will be similar if not the same.

How We’re Spending The Last Day of Summer Break:

Currently:  The boys are still sleeping. It’s not quite 10:00a.m.  Should make for an interesting morning tomorrow when they have to leave the house at about 7:10a.m. and 7:30a.m.  I just don’t have the heart to wake them up today.

Honestly, I’m only awake and moving thanks to an early morning ornery cat (6:00a.m.), followed by an 8:15a.m. call from a teacher asking me to work. I’ve decided to make chocolate chip muffins, from a mix, before waking the boys. I figure a special breakfast today will taste better than a half-awake serving tomorrow.

How We’ll Spend Today:

J will probably be on every screen he can find bouncing around the house. My grand plans to find a place to take him swimming fell through a bit with the weather although I may still push for it later in the afternoon/evening hours. Perhaps we’ll just get out the water balloons.  I definitely will insist he spends some time out in the daylight so he’ll (maybe) go to sleep easier tonight.

G plans to spend the day doing his AP summer homework. You know the things the teachers assign back in May to be ready on the first day of school.  I don’t judge as that’s exactly how I did things as a high school student although I don’t recall any of this “summer homework” nonsense.  Do kids that actually do this stuff before the last week of summer exist?

I conceded to go work for just a couple of hours this afternoon.  I will have to take a minute during that time to call the middle school as J’s schedule needed adjustment and the 7th grade principal (really liked her based on our phone call!) gave me quite specific directions on what to do about it.  I’m quite certain they will be okay with that, a reason I do love working there.  It will be interesting should I need to do it, to see if I can get from my work to the middle school in the 30 minutes I’ve allotted myself!

Other minor tasks for the day:  Change the sheets on the boys’ beds, have them make sure they have all the school supplies ready to go, laundry check! (hopefully, avoiding the scary cricket residing in the basement), and a bit of house tidying.

How We’ll Spend Tonight:

Eating dinner, double-checking that all is ready for tomorrow, possibly soothing a bit of nerves and negativity (if you are one of those people who have kids that like to return to school, consider yourself lucky!), attempting to convince everyone to go to bed at a decent time.

Happy New School Year!


Happy Homemaker Monday, Back To School Week

I’m actually getting a jump on this post by starting it on Saturday!

I anticipate it taking all weekend to finish.

This is back to school week for the boys and I guess, for me.  Somehow, I find myself working the first two days of preschool and part of the last few days of freedom for my boys.  The boys don’t actually return to school until Thursday.

Our week does, however, return to school year busy with a bang starting today (Saturday) with the parent preview of the marching band performance.

In addition to working Monday afternoon, I’m spending the morning taking the car for much overdue service. Tuesday will find me working again. Wednesday may be a free day (she whispers). Thursday will find my boys starting 7th and 11th grades plus an evening band practice for G. Friday will be the first official football game and band performance of the new school year.  Saturday, we will all take a breath (hopefully!).

Time to work on the Sunday night part of my Happy Homemaker Monday post. Don’t forget to check out the wonderful blogs linked up over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom.

The Weather This Week

It’s very dark this Monday morning  but no rain is in the forecast until after midnight.  Highs in the mid-80s all week, quite nice for August.  Big chance of thunderstorms on Wednesday but looks like they’ve changed the rest of the week to have minimal chances.

Right Now I Am

Drinking coffee, finishing up this post, and wondering why the fan in our bedroom seems so noisy.  I noticed it last night.  I’m also wondering how the weekend went by so fast. 

Where did the weekend go?

On My Reading Pile

Hey, I read a book! It’s been much too long.  P.S. From Paris by Marc Levy was a romantic tale with a few twists along the way.  Not something I’d typically pick for my Kindle First selection (one of my favorite perks of having an Amazon Prime account) but I really enjoyed it.

Now, I really must add paying what are probably exorbitant library fees to my to-do list so I can get back to some serious reading.

Movies or Shows I Watched This Weekend

I’m trying to stretch out Madam Secretary since I’m already on season 3 and so I started in on The Great British Baking Show.  May or may not have watched the entire first season of that in 2 days and may or may not have pondered getting the ingredients to make one of those Victoria’s sandwich cakes while grocery shopping last night.

On My TV

Probably just the two shows listed above.

My Menu For The Week

Not exactly exciting stuff…once the fall weather hits, I anticipate being a bit more inspired to plan meals.  Our meals usually end up looking more like this in the summer, no matter what I plan:

No lettuce, so cucumbers had to stand in and no clear table either, so this little corner had to do.

Also, going to link up my menu to Menu Plan Monday, a great place hosted by Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie to get a bit of meal planning inspiration.

MONDAY: Chicken Legs *I work until 4:30*

TUESDAY: Hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, watermelon *I work until 4:30*

WEDNESDAY: Tacos *Is it really going to be a free day?*

THURSDAY: Frozen pizza? *First day of school* *G has evening band practice*

FRIDAY: We usually have Subway on Football game Friday nights (Leftovers for anyone not wanting Subway)

On My To-Do List

  1. Go to grocery store
  2. Take car to get oil change and tires rotated (this morning)
  3. Try, try, try again with the Fly lady missions
  4. Clean out freezer
  5. Finish up project in J’s room
  6. Get us, YAWN!, back on a proper schedule
  7. Renew teenager’s driving permit, he’s not quite ready for a license test
  8. Renew car tags
  9. Write a few blog posts
  10. Go somewhere and practice with camera
  11. Get myself some new tennis shoes (this needs to be a higher priority on the list)

What I Am Creating

A corner in J’s room where he can practice his baritone.  Forgot to take a before picture. I’ll try to remember to share an after at least.

Looking Around The House

Not sparkling, not disgusting.  Looks like an office store supply fairy visited as we’re getting ready for back to school.

From The Camera

I saw quite a few butterflies yesterday including a few Monarchs, my favorite kind.  One of the Monarch butterflies even stopped briefly at my front porch garden area. I was very excited. Hoping to see more and maybe get a picture of one.

This little yellow guy was on the begonias but I scared him off to the front porch when I came around with the camera.

What I’m Wearing Today

I’m in my pajamas right now but will change into a short-sleeved blue top with gold sparkly dots and navy Capri pants after I shower.

Simple Pleasure (s)

Three for this week just because…

When our house unexpectedly becomes the teenage hang out for G’s high school friends and they decide to hang out in the upstairs living room as opposed to the basement. It’s so fun to hear tidbits of their conversations as I’m passing through. They are all great friends and great kids.

Random and unexpected hugs from the boys.

When a neighbor/friend texts me unexpectedly after taking J on an outing to say how polite and how they think he is such a great kid.

Quote For The Week

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.  (Aristotle)


What’s on your agenda for the week?

Five On Friday: Waiting

This has been a week of waiting.

I’ve enrolled my 2 boys in 2 schools and waited in numerous lines within the schools to do so.  It’s an annual thing.

We took two additional trips to the high school Wednesday for my teenager to wait on a counselor to see about changing a course.  In between our trips, I waited in a much too long drive-thru line at McDonald’s before losing my patience.  City living benefits, 2 McDonald’s locations within a 5 mile radius.

  1. J spent time waiting for the bus on Thursday for 7th grade orientation.  I brought out the camera while I kept a close but not too close eye on the corner.  The bus took awhile. Even our little gray cat grey a bit impatient. waiting waiting


    Where’s the bus?

    The bus did finally arrive.  J’s 3 hour orientation went fine (no doubts about it not doing so) other than him arriving home with news they placed him in the wrong math class. So, now there is more waiting for a returned phone call.

  2.  Interesting story about this shell spider who waited patiently for this meal of flies. This is the second shell spider to grace the area in front of our porch.  I took the first one to work with me and worried when I captured him that he looked a bit well, dead.  Not long after, I found this smaller little shell spider in his or perhaps I should say her  place.  Charlotte’s Web in real life! Except our little spider never wrote any messages to a pig or the cat (as far as I know).

  3. I spent some time wondering if these clouds would bring us yet more rain…                                                                                                                                                        

    They didn’t during the day and early evening hours but the dampness of the front porch this morning makes me think the overnight hours saw a few raindrops.

  4. Waited until National S’mores Day arrived to pull these from the cabinet.  Then, we just had to wait for the fire.  waiting


    This was a fun way to finally get rid of some storm debris

    waiting waiting

  5.  And I waited for the sun to go down as well as a busy bat to fly into view and be still long enough for a photo.  No luck with the sunset or the bat!

    The blurry blob toward the center is my busy bat, hopefully he was busy eating mosquitoes!

    What things have had you waiting this week?  Don’t forget to check out the Five on Friday link up, hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog!




Display, Store, Or Give Away

For today’s Tiny Tip On A Thursday, I thought I’d share a true tale about helping J clean his room.

Last week I helped J clean up a corner of his room.

He started out on his own. His bed became a catchall.

The living room couch became his sleeping quarters for two nights while we waited for him to finish the job.

We gave him yet another nudge. The words of frustration spilled from his lips:

“I don’t know where to put any of that crap.”

The nicest words? No. Do you use the nicest of words when you are frustrated? Yeah, me either.

Sadly, I heard an echo of familiarity in the words.  And a call for help.  So I told him we would work together on the floor and the bed.

We started with a trash bag. A lot of last year’s schoolwork went into it (sorry, teachers) as did a broken binder.

I realized he needed a desk organizer (or in J’s case, a table organizer as he’s currently using his dad’s camping table as a desk. One problem at a time.). And, of course, more space.

He agreed, in a bittersweet moment for me, we could store all the loose Lego’s  in the basement.  We could also put his Lego table and chairs down there to make room for a place to store and practice his baritone (bonus tip: always try to talk your kids into the flute if space is an issue ;)).

The already put together Lego’s displayed all over his room?  Those are staying put for now. We have a long way to go but we did make progress.   Display, store, or give away

A lot of progress came from my asking him a simple question about various items: Do you want display, store, or give away?  Thankfully, my youngest son is easy about trash being trash.

This is my twist on the 3 box strategy of organizing and purging you see on a lot of sites.  Most will advise you to get three boxes or bags and label them with keep, give-away, and throw-away.

The idea of course is that you have a use in mind for everything you plan to keep. A great strategy but 12 is a tough age.  Let’s all cringe together when I say it’s “in be Tween.”  Not quite a child but not quite ready to let go of all their toys either.

Somehow, asking display, store, or give away softens the blow.

In the interest of full disclosure, we’re still slowly working on his room but we’re making progress!

We bought 3 storage tubs and a new trash can for his room yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll have more to share about this current organizing project soon.

What tips do you have for helping kids to clean their rooms?





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