Happy Homemaker Monday and Menu Plan, Just Another Week

(Here I go again finishing a post started on Monday morning on a Tuesday morning…)

It feels like I blinked and our weekend is gone.  We actually crammed more into it than usual since we left late Friday afternoon and took a road trip to attend a family birthday party (grandpa’s 97!) and returned Sunday afternoon.

Despite trying to prepare before we left, I still feel like I’ve returned to a much too long to-do list.  I am fighting the strong desire to just climb back in bed and go back to sleep.  How can I make some motivation magic appear?

Maybe joining in with Sandra from Diary of A Stay At Home Mom and writing a Happy Homemaker Monday post will help.  I noticed she changed up a few of the categories.  Time to plan the week…

The Weather

It’s a bit unusual to say it in August but it was almost chilly this morning.  It feels like fall out there.  Forecast seems more like fall, highs in the low to mid 80s, chilly mornings, chances of rain, than dog days of summer.

On My Bedside Table

lotion, some of the kids’ artwork I moved from another location, a pair of socks that doesn’t fit J any longer, and stacks of books I’ve read but want to keep.  I usually charge my phone there as well.

On My TV

I’m giving Fringe a final watch before Netflix removes the series on September 11.  Boo, Netflix!  Hopefully, Amazon Prime will add it so I can still have access to my all-time favorite show.

Thinking and Pondering…

just wondering if we’ll ever get into the flow of back to school.  It seems it will probably be Christmas break before we’ve all adjusted.  Bedtime needs to change but I like to stay up later (by that, I sadly mean, 9:30 or 10) just like the boys.

Listening to…

the dishwasher and random noises from outside (it’s nice enough out there to have the windows open!!)

Favorite You Tube Video..

I’m not much of an on the computer video watcher.  I prefer to read the content which is somewhat out of vogue, I suppose.  I will usually click on and watch clips of Jimmy Fallon if they come up in my Facebook feed though…


I’m still stumbling around with my menu planning.  I’m going to blame some of it on the contents of our pantry still covering the kitchen table, doesn’t inspire me to cook.  Still going for simple this week.  Also, looking for exciting new ways to prepare the ever popular meals at our house called “I don’t know” and “I don’t care.”

MONDAY: hot dogs (turkey links), French fries, corn on the cob, no-bake cookies for dessert

TUESDAY: Tacos, taco soup if I get inspired.

WEDNESDAY: Chicken on the grill (hoping to do this in bulk so we have some ready to go food around here)

THURSDAY: Probably pizza since G needs has early evening band practice

FRIDAY:  Something easy, I still need to go to the store so maybe something will catch my eye tonight

To-Do List…

  1. Everything I didn’t do last week
  2. Grocery store and Sam’s Club
  3. Laundry
  4. Remember all the things I’m forgetting to list here

Looking Forward To…

Getting my haircut on Wednesday

What I Plan on Doing For Myself This Week…

See Above.  I also took a (rare thing for me to do) nap Monday afternoon.

Lesson Learned from the Past Few Days…

Sometimes there is no easy answer and not every problem has a solution especially when it comes to personal relationships if you are not one of the directly involved parties.

From the Camera


Thoughts for the Week



Hoping all of you reading this have a wonderful week ahead!




Waking Up: A Tiny Tip To Help, Lights Off, Lights On

Is waking up easy for you?

I’m not a morning person.  I live with two of the annoying (at times) creatures though.  My husband and teenager usually jump out of bed and are ready to cheerfully converse at the first sound of an alarm clock.

I will get up with my alarm clock.  Conversations between the cat and myself prior to coffee are acceptable.  Anything else?  Nope.

And that leaves my younger son.  School starts at a new, earlier time for him this year.  He doesn’t drink coffee (In fits of desperation, I have offered it.  He refused.).  Waking up is not exactly a joy for him.

We’re still searching for an effective alarm clock sound.  He so far sleeps through them all.  I’ve seriously debated getting this alarm clock for him but he thinks it would perhaps roll out of his room and could hurt someone.

It is possible although difficult to get the child out of bed.  I understand.  I don’t enjoy being awake at the crack of dawn myself.  Six am is not a delightful time.

My tiny tip on this Thursday is for something simple that helps me wake up (and seems to help my younger son a bit as well).    waking up

Turn on all the lights!  To fully wake myself up, I turn on the lights in each room I will be in during the morning rush of getting ready.  My husband does not do this and often turns the lights off when I walk out of the room.

I may or may not have a secret suspicion the husband and older son are vampires as it would explain the ability to get up while it is still dark outside, function in the dark, mostly avoid the light while playing video games…Hmm.

I finally had to explain to my husband how leaving the lights on in the morning (I don’t, usually, leave them on all day) was one of my helps for waking myself up in the mornings.  I think the light triggers the “day” part of my brain and so I start to feel more awake.

I’ll also sometimes go stand outside once the daylight arrives.

What tricks and tips do you have for waking up?  Or are you one of those morning people like my husband and oldest son (it’s okay, we can still be friends)?

Surviving The School Year with Older Kids, A Few Tips

Surviving the school year with older kids (middle school and high school age) is a bit different.  Our elementary years officially ended last year.  I thought I might be sad.  I was fine though.  When it is time to move on, you just know it.

When my oldest started middle school, it was a bit scary and intimidating to me.  I wondered if he wanted to go to summer school to learn the building.  His response:  “The building is a big rectangle, I think I’ll be able to figure it out.”  That was one of those moments when I knew my oldest would be okay.

Again, when he started high school, I found it scary and bit intimidating.  He did take a summer class but not out of fear so much as to get a credit (P.E.) out-of-the-way.  He was okay.  Me?  I’m still trying to figure out the parking lot one year later.  At least, I knew where I was going during enrollment.

My youngest started middle school and it was okay.  It wasn’t scary or intimidating to me at all, perhaps because it is now a 6th grade center or the red tape for simple tasks was keeping me too annoyed to be afraid.  His big brother helped by giving advice and alleviating fears.

Our school year started 2 days ago.  Other than a minor misunderstanding by J that meant he didn’t get on the bus to come home, it started off pretty well.  I’m sure some of our successful start to this year comes from the foundation of tips I’ve collected during the time my two kids have attended school.

Note: These aren’t all my very own tips, some are from wonderful friends who’ve shared their wisdom with me.  Some of these tips may work for elementary years or are important to establish in the elementary years if possible.

I’m tired so I’m just going to do a bullet list for these.   surviving the school year with older kids

Surviving the School Year With Older Kids

  • Make yourself some friends!  This is a good one to start while your kids are in elementary school.  Your kids need them but you’ll need them as well!

  • A friend gave me this advice and I count it as the best starting middle school advice out there. Buy 2 sets of P.E. Clothes.  It’s worth the investment especially if you don’t like to do laundry or you have a slightly forgetful kid.

  • Middle school students lose things, often.  My oldest lost a personalized towel when he was in the 6th grade.  How do you lose a giant, personalized towel?  I have no idea.  Sometimes they find things.  Often, not.  We never found the towel.

  • Be prepared to be shocked financially.  Everything costs more in middle school and high school.  Yearbook prices in elementary school are pocket change, in middle school, they are the cost of a decent lunch out, and in high school, they are equivalent to a fun and frivolous Target shopping trip (or 3).

  • Learn to maneuver the school district web site. Follow your kids’ schools on all social media…you’ll discover most of your information this way.

  • If possible, sign up to have the daily bulletin or announcements sent via e-mail.  Kids in middle school and high school tend to be very selective and last-minute about sharing information.  My oldest often complained he couldn’t hear the middle school announcements as well.

  • Find and embrace your sense of humor!  You will need it.  Often.  Better to laugh than to cry (see above tip about middle school and high school kids sharing important information in a very last-minute fashion)

  • Do NOT, repeat do NOT buy all the school supplies on the lists for the middle school.  If you are staring at a list and wondering why anyone would need say 12 spiral notebooks (an actual amount on our list one year), it’s because they don’t need 12 spiral notebooks.  My child brought home 6 or 7 spiral notebooks that year.  Save your money and wait to see what the teachers would actually like your children to have in class.

  • There is not a high school school supply list.  Send your kid with a notebook, paper, and a pencil or pen.  Then, get used to the idea that you’ll probably make a minimum of 10 trips for various and possibly obscure school supplies the first 2 weeks.

  • Another well-kept secret, school supplies aren’t only in the school supply aisles.  I actually found G’s lunchbox in the camping and cooler aisle.  It’s held up much better than some of the ones from the “school supply” aisle.  Don’t forget to check out the office supply aisles as well, sometimes they have the same items in a quieter setting than the loud, overcrowded back to school aisles.

  • Even though I still love all the character themed supplies, cute kittens on a spiral? Okay.  Surviving the school year with older kids means embracing everything “plain.”  The trade-off is that plain tends to be much cheaper which is good since you need the extra money to pay for yearbooks and activity fees.

  • If your child participates in a sport or activity with outdoor practices in the afternoons, don’t forget the sunscreen!

I can actually summarize these tips for surviving the school year down to just three things you’ll need:

  1. Money, and lots of it!

  2. A sense of humor, a good one!

  3. Great detective skills for uncovering “secret” information (Ha! See #2)

I’m sure there are tips I’m missing here.  If you have older kids, what would you add to this list?  And if you have younger kids, don’t worry…the older kids will be a lot less scary when your kids reach these ages.

Happy Homemaker Monday and Menu Plan, Busy Here We Come

One look at my calendar this week and I know the busy season has officially begun.  Is 8:30a.m. to early to say, “I need a nap!”?

This morning started a bit rough with sleepy kids (and adults!), a last-minute request for my
“autograph” on school papers, and a slight school supply meltdown.  Is it too early to count the days until Christmas break?

Hoping to get enough time (and inspiration) to post more than just once this week. Time to plan my week.  As always, getting my inspirations from Sandra and her Happy Homemaker Monday post.

The Weather

It’s a beautiful morning but I have to go look and see what they say the rest of the week holds…

Sunny with highs in the mid to upper 80s all week.  I approve.

Right Now

I am waiting for the office supply store to open so I can continue my hunt for the ever elusive graph paper lined composition notebook.  Apparently, composition notebooks are the new “in” thing.  Graph paper lined ones are a bit harder to find though.


about all I need to do this week and how I’m not really in the mood to do any of it at this particular moment.

On My Reading Pile

Aside from a bunch of overdue library books, the book I’m actually reading:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I’ve already read the books but joined a book club that is rereading them.

On the TV

The Olympics still.


I’m struggling with this one today.  I need a plan, nothing sounds good, I work until 6 two nights this week which means the husband will be in charge, and I have no ideas.

MONDAY:  It ended up being a long day and since I went into work earlier than planned,  we just had frozen pizza

TUESDAY:  BLT’s and sweet potato fries

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad

THURSDAY: I have no idea


To Do List for Today and the Rest of the Week

Today:  Find graph lined composition notebook, clean out J’s dresser of shirts that do not fit him and maybe get him a couple new shirts, work

Rest of the Week:  Bunco, Curriculum Night at the Middle School, Get information about renting J’s instrument of choice, Get Birthday card, Double check that all band and school dates are in my calendar, Win war with sugar ants in pantry (I hope!), Work, Clean off this desk

Craft Basket

I don’t even have a basket.

Looking Forward To

Visiting with out-of-town family this weekend

Looking Around the House

It’s not terrible, needs cleaned as usual.  Kitchen table is covered with pantry contents because of the ants.

and now it’s Tuesday as I try to finish this post, busy week already.

From the Camera

This happened last week, exciting since we have usually mowed over and forgotten about our gardening efforts by now.

A cucumber!

A cucumber!

Pokemon Go may not be a favorite of everyone but it gets us outside a bit more.  We walked around one of the local parks for a bit after lunch last Tuesday.

Pretty park but too many geese, watch your step!

Pretty park

This also happened last Wednesday:



Thoughts for the Week


What kind of week do you have planned?


Happy Homemaker Monday: Back to School Week

Missed putting up a Happy Homemaker Monday post last week.  We were on a rather soggy camping expedition.  I much prefer 5 star hotel expeditions.  Actually, I’m good with 1-2 star hotel expeditions.

It was an attempt at a last hurrah before school started up again.  Today given the choice of activities, both boys opted to have yet another, “lazy day.”  SIGH.  While I still think it is much too early this year, I may possibly be ready for school to go ahead and start.

Honestly, we all (myself) need the structure the school year provides.  Time to get back into a bit more structured routine.  I’m glad Sandy hosts these Happy Homemaker Monday posts which are fun for me to write and take some of the dreariness out of weekly planning.

On to this week’s post…

The Weather…

Rather gloomy day out there today.  It was actually pretty nice over the weekend with temperatures in the 80s.  It was supposed to rain but it looks like they really lowered our chances of that.  The rest of the week is supposed to be mostly in the low 90s with a chance for more rain on Friday.  Happy to see they are calling for sunny and 92 on Thursday, our first back to school day.

Right Now I Am…

We just finished breakfast (the boys had French Toast Sticks and I had a scrambled egg and toast).  J is playing X-Box in the basement and G wandered away to do his own thing.  Still chuckling that I thought G was saying his brother wanted an amoeba.  Clearly, I need to keep drinking the coffee this morning.  He said ambiio, not amoeba.


About all the things I need to do this week and trying not to get overwhelmed.  And about how I’m determined to be more organized (especially in our home) this school year.

On My Reading Pile…

I’ve been working my way through Smart But Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare.  It focuses on executive skills and function and improving those.   Quizzes help identify both your and your child’s executive skill strengths and weaknesses.  They also describe how tension might arise from having different strengths than your child as well as having similar weaknesses.

One quote from early in the book that I found incredibly helpful as just a reminder to myself was the following:

As we said in Chapter 1, a rapid period of brain development begins at around 11 or 12-the beginning of middle school in  most school systems. In the early stages, development in uneven and unpredictable. That means more support, rather than less, is critical. Think about how children learn to ride a bike.  At the point where the training wheels are removed, they need more guidance, encouragement, and support from parents than they did when they were riding around with training wheels.  The onset of adolescence, and the brain growth that accompanies this stage, requires the same thing.

I think I’ll definitely be trying some of the ideas in the book during the school year.

On My TV…

The Olympics, of course!

On the Menu…

I really need to get back into meal planning and cooking actual dinners with real food.  I’ve been pretty lax with it this summer and we’ve eaten out a lot more often than we needed to be.

I did cook last night!

I did cook last night!

Summer is not a good meal planning season for me.  I admit I do prefer fall for planning and cooking meals.  I will definitely be hopping over and getting ideas from the Menu Plan Monday link up hosted by Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie.

MONDAY:  I just put a roast in the crock pot!

TUESDAY:  G has band practice so it will need to be something quick.  Probably Frozen pizza and salad.

WEDNESDAY:  School starts the next day so it needs to be something everyone will like and eat without complaint.  Pork Chops and baked potatoes.

THURSDAY:  First day of school and I know we’re all going to be tired.  Homemade Chik-Fil-A sandwiches and sweet potato fries.

FRIDAY:  Hot dogs, chips, fruit or veggie of some sort

On My To-Do List Today and This Week…

TODAY:  finish this post, go to Aldi’s and pick up blueberries plus a few other items, regular grocery store for lunch stuff for my husband and the boys, clean the house up a bit,

THIS WEEK: take J to climb Mt. Everest  to get a haircut, finish my book, make sure boys have decent clothes for school, get to Target or somewhere for shampoo/conditioner/medicine cabinet supplies, go to Sam’s Club, mow the lawn, laundry, hopefully do one more fun thing with the kids before school starts, clean out a pantry shelf (or 2), make sure all the band practice dates and events for G are in the calendar, add all the school dates (days off, events, etc) to calendar.

In the Craft Basket…


Looking Forward to This Week…

A bit of alone time when the boys go back to school.

Looking Around the House…

Not sure why I’m sitting here instead of picking up a bit.  The kitchen table (my nemesis!) is in serious need of attention.

From the Camera…

First one from our camping adventure since I missed last week:

Deer at Bennett Springs State Park

Deer at Bennett Springs State Park

And now one from this past weekend where I may or may not have become fed up enough that I went to the zoo by myself…



Thoughts for the Week…

One of my favorites for back to school week:

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.              (Miles Kington)


Is it back to school time for you?  What is on your agenda for the week?

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