Organizing Ideas for the Rest of Us

Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Photos

Last week, we went trout fishing at Roaring River State Park in Cassville, Missouri and also took a day to drive down into Eureka Springs, Arkansas and over to the War Eagle Cavern on Beaver Lake near Rogers, Arkansas.  It was a nice, relaxing vacation that was of course, much too short.

My husband took the first photo:

Sunset over the Mark Twain National Forrest

Sunset over the Mark Twain National Forrest

Fishing on the banks of Roaring River

Fishing on the banks of Roaring River

The Spring at Roaring River

The Spring at Roaring River

A View of the Lodge (we didn't stay here but we did eat breakfast there one day)

A View of the Lodge (We didn’t stay here but we did eat breakfast there one day)

J took this photo from the window of the restaurant in the lodge.

J took this photo from the window of the restaurant in the lodge.

We all caught a few rainbow trout..

We all caught a few rainbow trout.

I also caught a bat?

I also caught a bat?

Entering War Eagle Cavern in Arkansas

Entering War Eagle Cavern in Arkansas

Beaver Lake in Arkansas

Beaver Lake in Arkansas 

The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I loved this sign!

I love this sign!

My Vacation Read

We had a chance to go out-of-town last week and I haven’t quite been able to get my head back into the blogging world.  So I’m going to try the Flylady “just jump in where you are” approach to my blog this week.  Since its Tuesday, that means that I need to write another post in my series of book reviews as I work on my goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks.

I missed posting a review last week of what I read the previous week since we left for our vacation on Tuesday and I was already behind on my blog posts.  So 2 weeks ago, I read Earthbound by Joe Haldeman as well as Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling.   J.K. Rowling’s book was of course, a small selection of Harry Potter related magical fairy tales.  I really enjoyed it and wished it were a bit longer.  If you’ve read the Harry Potter books and not read it as well, do yourself a favor and go ahead and read it.  Earthbound was actually the final book in a trilogy of novels although I did not realize that until I had already started reading it.  Fun and interesting science fiction that made me think a bit of the television series Revolution and wonder if perhaps the creators had read this book since it contained that element of no electricity.  However, that is really the main similarity between the two things.  I would like to go back and find the first two books at some point.

2 Weeks Worth of Reading

2 Weeks Worth of Reading

I may have picked up a different book to read on the way out-of-town and while staying in a different location had I thought about it a bit more.  Let’s just say all those strange noises you hear while sleeping in a different place were really magnified for me since I was reading World War Z by Max Brooks during our stay.  Hey, wait isn’t that a movie that stars Brad Pitt?  Yes.  Isn’t it based on the book?  I guess it is supposed to be based on the book.  However, I’ve added it to my collection of movies that they need to re-make.  I’m planning to watch it again since it is on Netflix but the only things I can recall the movie having in common with the book are the title and one scene where they have built a wall in Israel.  They could have made that movie so much better!

The book was amazing and yes, super creepy in a “Yikes, that could actually happen!” kind of way.   It has an after the war perspective with the main character going around the world interviewing survivors and getting their firsthand accounts of what they had experienced.   So although the book is fiction (thank goodness!), it reads a bit like non-fiction.   He covers every possibility of what might occur if we ever had to endure a Zombie war from the ways people survive (and do not survive) to the collapse and rebuilding on the governments around the world.  I love that Brooks doesn’t leave out the animals in this account.  Of course, the way some of the animals evolve during the war is about as scary as the zombie idea.  The only thing he leaves out is how to get to sleep if you happen to be reading it at night and start hearing strange noises outside the window.

Book Reviews: What I Read Last Week

Welcome to my very first in what I hope will be a series of book reviews every Tuesday.  When I started to journey to read 52 books in 52 weeks, I specifically said I wasn’t going to do some sort of book club on the blog.  I’m still not.  I’m just finding that I typically have a bit more to say about what I’ve read than I can reasonably fit into my Starting Successful on Monday planning posts.  I also realized as I was working on my update for this goal that I needed a more organized system for keeping track of what I had read.

Why not offer some brief book reviews of what I’ve read the previous week?  I decided I’d start sharing them every Tuesday on the blog.  Maybe it will help if you are looking for some new reading material.  If you’ve already read a book I review, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!

My plan is also to add a page that will be an ongoing listing of all the books I’ve read so that I won’t be scrambling at the end of the year to make a list and see just how close or far away from the goal I fell. I’m hoping it will also help my readers if they are trying to remember a certain book I was reviewing to simply have a page where all the books are listed.

On to the book reviews for the past 2 weeks (I would jump right in with last week but I really enjoyed the books I read the week leading up to July 4 and want to discuss them a bit).

Books Read June 3-July5

Book Reviews

City of Ember books

I actually read the entire City Of Ember series of books the week of July 4.  The series includes City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and The Diamond of Darkhold, all by Jeanne Duprau.   G thought I’d like this series since it reminded him a bit of the Divergent and Hunger Games series.  He was right.  Of the 3 series of dystopian youth novels, this was actually my favorite.  The characters were a bit more interesting and positive.  The third book in the series which is actually a prequel was my favorite based on the strong think for yourself theme underlying the main story.  The books also tie together a bit nicer than the other two series.  Apparently, they did make a movie of the first book which we’ve ordered via Netflix set to arrive this week.

Books Read July 6-July12

Book Reviews

What I Read Last Week

Last week, I slowed down a bit and only read 2 books.  The first book I read was Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth.  This was a quick read although very hard to put down.  It was interesting to read the stories from Four’s perspective.  I wish it had been a bit longer and I felt like the last chapter was pretty much her rough draft of Divergent‘s first chapter. It did leave me wishing I had bothered to see the Divergent movie and thinking I may like to re-read the books at some point.

After my foray into the young adult novels, I felt like returning to the world of grown-ups and looked for a book to help with that.  I found the book in the Dollar Tree, an autobiography by Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the G0-Go’s.  Lips Unsealed was an intriguing read that briefly discussed Carlisle’s rather unhappy childhood before going in full detail about the formation and ups and downs of the Go-Go’s and the explicit drug addiction problems she had most of her life as well as her attempts to sort out herself on the road to sobriety.  I admit that at one point that I told my husband they should re-title the book, “I did drugs during the ’80′s.”  However, once I got over my initial frustration of reading about the drug use of one of “my” 80′s bands, I found myself continually turning the pages and  hoping she would find happiness and sobriety.  It is definitely worth the read if you come across it.

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I believe I’ll be seeking some lighter fare to read this week.   Do you like to read book reviews?  Do they make a difference when you are seeking a book to read?

 

 

Back to a Basic Menu Plan

It’s time to return to a basic menu plan. This week I’m going to work through my fridge, freezer, and pantry and try to get back to the basics of menu planning simple, healthy meals for us all.   I’ve slid off into the land of not so good for us prepackaged convenience foods as well as fast food a bit too much and I know that it is affecting our attitudes as well as our energy levels (well, at least, I think it is impacting mine).  I even drank diet pop last week just because it came free with our Casey’s pizza.  YUCK.  I could definitely feel that as I felt more depressed on the days I drank it.  I am sure that wasn’t in my imagination.

I need to start seriously planning our dinner menus again so I’m going to simply put what I’m planning for the boys in parenthesis for the rest of the summer instead of making the lunches the focus of my menu plan.  I’m honestly so far out from menu planning that I feel as though I don’t know where to start.  Ever get like that?  However, here goes my attempt at a back to a basic menu plan.

mealplanmondayfruit

MONDAY:

Taco Salads   (We had scrambled eggs and French Toast sticks (box) for lunch.  It felt good to eat a little protein after our “healthy” breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts).   I don’t think I could put anything more fitting on a basic menu plan for us.

TUESDAY:

Individual ham slices, baked sweet potatoes (I have Bunco tonight!)  (I’m suddenly working all day so the boys will have sack lunches today.  Peanut butter sandwiches (crackers for J), chips, and a fruit.)

WEDNESDAY:

G will have pizza at youth and the rest of us will have chili lime drumsticks  (Lunches will be late and probably just leftover taco salad fixings)

THURSDAY:

BLT’s on biscuits and french fries or slider hamburgers on the grill depending… (Lunches will be pretzels, cheese slices, and fruit)

FRIDAY:

One pouch feast to hopefully go along with camping in the backyard, smore’s for dessert, of course.  This is a new one so hopefully, it will be fairly well-received.  (lunches will once again be late and so…honestly, I think I will pick up some already cooked ribs from Hy-Vee (they are good and cheap on the weekends!) so there will be another option if the one pouch feast turns out to be unpopular.)

***

My menu is admittedly simple this week as I try to get back to a basic menu plan that I actually follow instead of deciding that I don’t feel like cooking and heating up something out of a box or running out for fast food.  I’m also hoping to put together some simple snacks from our overflowing pantry as well.

As usual, I’m linking up over at Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura of I’m An Organizing Junkie where you can go see many different varieties of menu plans.  I dare you to go look at the post and not find just the tiniest spark of inspiration!

What’s cooking at your house this week?

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Start Monday and Hoping for Success

It is time for a fresh start.  I’ve not been planning my weeks or doing very good about planning (or following when I do plan) my menus all summer.  It was starting to show.  The house was (okay, it still is) a nightmare and our attitudes were not pretty.  I confess mine was probably the worst.

J’s attitude had to have been tied with mine or a very close second.  Then, we did something simple.  We started cleaning his bedroom.   We cleaned up the Lego’s strewn across the floor that had been blocking his dresser.  He cleared off his small dresser and organized the top.  I hung some posters we found mixed among the clutter and in a Pokemon book.  It wasn’t perfect but the first time since the end of school, I felt like I could breathe in there.  I think he did as well.  He actually spent time working on Lego’s and his attitude had brightened considerably.  It was the catalyst for our fresh start!

It’s sort of funny because a fresh start for me actually means a return to the basics including the Starting Successful on Mondays blog posts, an idea originated over at Felicia’s Red Door Life.

Weekly Planning

Scripture of the week:

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds

(Proverbs 27:23)

*I confess with all the bad attitudes (mine included) floating around this place, I’ve been ignoring my family a bit.  It’s time to give them some more attention (whether they act like they want the attention or not).

Focus of the week:

Making a fresh start and taking actions to make it happen.  That sounds so much better than I am going to clean the house, doesn’t it?

The Weather this week:

It is supposed to cool down and be in the high 70′s during the day and mid-50′s at night.  I’m hoping to talk my husband in to setting up the tent so the boys can have a backyard camp out one night during the cool weather.

Currently:

I’ve just returned from picking the boys up from a sleepover at their cousin’s house and we are all doing our own thing as we eat breakfast (I picked up Krispy Kreme donuts for them, so much for a fresh start on the healthy eating!).  The attitudes this morning could really only be described as “tired and grumpy.”  Hopefully, that will change sometime this afternoon.

To-Do List:

This is an area that I have really been neglecting!  Time to start holding myself accountable to actually getting things done.  I’m going day by day with it again as that seemed to work rather nicely when I did it in the past.

MONDAY:

Today is my only day completely off work this week so my list for today is a bit longer.  Get back into the habit of writing planning blog posts (in process) and make a menu plan that we will follow.  Do some laundry!  Spend 15 minutes cleaning each room of the house.  Since it is game day, have J go through the games in his closet and see if we can clear a few out of there.  We may play some as we work although I’m pretty sure our days of playing Rhino Rampage are finished.  If it doesn’t pour down rain, have the kids pick up sticks in the backyard and mow the lawn.  It’s pouring!  Go to the grocery store.

TUESDAY:

I work from 2-5p.m. and it’s Bunco night for me!  Go to Target and get some Ticky Tack (I’m not sure the official name of the blue junk that is used to hang posters.).   Put together a “while mom is at work” box for the boys.  I feel a blog post about that coming sometime in the future.

WEDNESDAY:

I work 8-1 and 2-5 so basically all day.  G also has youth at church from 6-9.   Make sure the boys have easy options for breakfast and lunch.   In fresh start style, leave the boys a schedule of activities and chores to follow for when I’m at work.  Find the boys a Redbox movie to watch while I’m working on Thursday.

THURSDAY:

I work 8-1 and 2:30-4:15 so basically another all day adventure for the boys.  Make sure I leave them a schedule of activities and chores to follow while I’m at work.

Friday:

I only work from 8-1.  Bring back Follow Through Friday posts on the blog.  I’ve missed them and I apparently do need them to keep on track.  Do the 3 things on the list.  G may be having a friend spend the night so I will see if my husband will set the tent up for a  backyard camp out.

**Bonus to-do list items:  After this week, there is exactly one month (geez, where did summer go?) left before school starts so I need to be sure and protect my time with the boys for the next month and not take on any full day subbing jobs.  Ideally, I’d like to not work at all until school starts.  Make my husband get out his calendar and mark off specific dates for a vacation (this will have to happen in August) and narrow down some locations.

What I Read Last Week:

I’m trying something new with my fresh start and adding a blog post to the daily line up called Book Reviews:  What I Read Last Week.   It will be posted on Tuesdays.

From the Camera:

My 2 favorite Fourth of July photos:

Kryptonite!

Kryptonite!

Watching the Fireworks

Watching the Fireworks

I also accomplished a huge “bucket list” goal last week of getting the kids to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum on day the inside was actually open!  I still didn’t take any inside pictures although they’ve changed policy and now allow it flash and all.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it (I think I heard the flash damages the art speech too many times in my life to change my thinking).  The outside was still my favorite place anyway.

Fresh Start

Reflecting Pool

Fresh Start

View from steps near the front of the gallery

On the blog:

I’m going to try having a very loose blogging schedule for the next few weeks.  Mondays will be starting successful and menu planning posts.  Tuesdays will be book reviews.  Wednesdays and Thursdays will be open to whatever I feel like posting those days and Fridays will once again be Follow Through Friday posts although probably not as a link-up this time.

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Pretty much just another typical summer week around here.  What is on your agenda for the week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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