Happy Homemaker Monday and Menu Plan

It’s been a while since I’ve been up before 8:00a.m. with a quiet house all to myself and not needing to rush off to work.  Band camp started this week for my oldest son and I’m still debating whether or not I would like to just go back to bed.

I do need to get caught up on some computer things so I will use my time today to do that including writing my Happy Homemaker Monday post.  It may take a few more cups of coffee for coherent sentences…

The Weather This Week

Thankfully, not quite as hot and chances of rain.  It rained and thunder-stormed overnight which brought the temperatures down a bit.  We’ll have to wait and see how much it brings the humidity up though.  It’s supposed to be in the mid-high 80s all week with intermittent rain chances.

On My Reading Pile

I’m still working my way through Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.  All my library books came up overdue and I really wanted to read this so I went ahead and renewed it (and took the others back!).  I am finding it interesting and somewhat insightful.

When I took my library books back I also picked up a book that caught my eye in the young adult section.  Same But Different, Teen Life on the Autism Express.  It was a quick and interesting read.  The book is written by Holly Robinson Peete and her twins, one diagnosed with autism.  Each chapter alternates with a different twin’s viewpoint.

On My TV

I finished the series, Limitless on Netflix.  I was disappointed to read it had been cancelled by CBS as I really enjoyed it.  I also though read something about Netflix maybe giving it another season.  I hope so.

I tried returning to House Hunters but it seemed like all the couples were constantly arguing so I looked for something new.  I had heard good things about Fixer Upper so gave that one a try to now I am completely hooked!  Of course, it’s also a dangerous show to watch because now I want to fix our entire house right now.

Menu Plan

All last week, while the heat index was HOT, J kept asking me to make homemade potato chips and I kept saying, I’m not making anything that requires me having the oven on that long and especially not at that high a temperature!

I did promise to make them one night this week.  Honestly, I didn’t cook much at all last week.  It was just a week when cooking took too much effort.  I have to do better this week.

MONDAY:  Pork chops and oven baked potato chips

TUESDAY: Sliders, French Fries, watermelon

WEDNESDAY: The chicken I’ve had on the menu the last 2 weeks and still haven’t actually cooked.  Probably some sort of chicken in the crock pot.

THURSDAY:  Ham steaks and sweet potatoes

FRIDAY: Tacos or OUT

To-Do List

It’s one of those mornings where I want to do all the things and yet have the energy to do none of the things.  More coffee?

  1. Pay the rest of the bills (I was interrupted last week)
  2. Finish high school enrollment for G
  3. Go to the Dollar Tree for my body wash (completely out and sick of using the boys’ soap)
  4. Work with J to get his room in a bit of order
  5. Clean out the pantry especially the bottom shelf.  I mean actually CLEAN it as opposed to simply taking out the expired food but I probably need to do that as well.
  6. Catch up a bit on blog related things.
  7. Laundry (always)
  8. Do some kitchen prep work with fruits and veggies


Lots of ideas but nothing in progress.

Looking Around the House

Needs some organizing and of course, cleaning.  I have lots of projects I want to do.

From the Camera

Not much from a week with super high temperatures.  Phone pictures only.

Thursday I was able to get out with friends and go to an event called Third Thursdays held at the Nelson Art Gallery.  It was a lot of fun.  I snapped this picture of the fountain in the restaurant (note: it was not open during the event but you could go in and look at it still).

Fountain in the Rozzelle Court Restaurant

Fountain in the Rozzelle Court Restaurant at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum

Saturday night, my husband and I were out doing a bit of running around searching for some items for an upcoming short adventure/vacation and we saw this pretty rainbow.  Interestingly, it never rained by us until last night.

Rainbow before the rain

Rainbow before the rain

Thought for the Week

Not sure how I missed this section last week as I love quotes!  My favorite quote of the day e-mail shut down about 6 months ago and I’m still struggling to find a new one I like as well.

I’m open to suggestions but one thing I loved about the one that stopped was how they shared information about the source/author with each quote.  I’m not looking for whole inspiring stories, just an inspiring quote e-mailed to me each day.

Here’s my thought/quote for this week (I usually pull these from my words board on Pinterest):

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.  (Nelson Mandela)


Don’t forget to go check out all the links at Happy Homemaker Monday hosted by Sandra from Diary of a Stay At Home Mom.  The Menu Plan Monday is on summer hiatus until August 1st but I’d still encourage you to hop over to Laura’s site, I’m An Organized Junkie for lots of great ideas!

What’s on your agenda for the upcoming week?  More coffee?  I think that may be next on my agenda!



Five on Friday: You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream…

For Ice Cream!  We’ve been under a heat advisory all week and so ice cream has been on our menu and a choice for snacks a lot this week.  It’s not a bad benefit of the excessive heat, a true excuse to eat ice cream every single day!

I’m once again joining in with Amy from Love Made My Home and her Five on Friday except in true rebel fashion, I’m finishing my post on Saturday morning.  It’s just what happens when you have to play tug of war with the computer on these excessively hot days.

Here are five times and kinds of ice cream we ate this week…



I really only buy one brand of ice cream.  I’m an ice cream snob I suppose although not so much of one that if I’m at your house and you offer me ice cream, I’ll refuse if it isn’t my brand.  I just won’t buy another brand.  Even though I bought this flavor (or these 3 flavors?) to give us some variety, can you guess the least favorite in this house?


Apparently, strawberry ice cream is not a favorite around here.

Apparently, strawberry ice cream is not a favorite around here.


Tuesday, we went to the local pool for a bit in the afternoon.  It was a bit disappointing for J since the water slides were down for maintenance.  On our way home, I decided we’d try out the new snow-cone place that has a drive-thru!


This is what you get when you ask the tween to take a photo of his snow cone, accidental selfie with the car interior!

This is what you get when you ask the tween to take a photo of his snow cone, accidental selfie with the car interior!


Gumball from the bottom of my snow cone!

The surprise gumball at the bottom of our snow cones really saved the day!  The snow cones although a bit pricey were also pretty tasty!  The boys both picked blue raspberry for their snow cones while I went with my new favorite flavor for everything, mango.


Awhile back at the store, I had found myself unable to say no to this impulse purchase:

Sometimes, I really miss the 80s!

Sometimes, I really miss the 80s!

These used to be one of my favorite frozen treats back in the 1980s.  At some point, they basically disappeared from the store shelves.  Nostalgia took over when I saw this kit and I had been waiting for the perfect time to share this love with my kids.

We made the chocolate ones on Wednesday.  Turns out they aren’t as good as the ones in my memories.  Neither of my boys were big fans.  I had always favored the vanilla ones so I didn’t care much for them either.  Perhaps sometime we’ll give the vanilla ones a try.


Thursday,  I insisted my boys leave the house once again and go with me to go get frozen yogurt.  It really wasn’t a huge argument although they were a bit annoyed when I insisted on taking a picture of our treats before we left (I’m going to use that as my excuse for this being a less than stellar photo…I’m using the heat as my excuse on the rest of them!).

Frozen yogurt!

Frozen yogurt!

J was a bit upset that they weren’t offering his favorite flavor of cake batter and almost didn’t get any at all.  I’m not going to say he takes after me in his ideas that if he can’t have exactly what he wants, he’s willing to do without but his initial resolve did seem a little too familiar.

G was happy though because his favorite is peanut butter and that was there.  J ended up with cookies and cream which did not measure up to what he wanted although he ate it all.  I went with a cherry flavor which was okay but I’d have preferred cake batter as well.  It’s been my favorite flavor for a long time.  I’ll have to just make us some homemade cake batter ice cream next time.


While none of us are huge fans of strawberry ice cream, ice cream with fresh strawberries and whipped cream proved to be a hit for dessert on Friday night!

Vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream

Vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream

We also may or may not have enjoyed Bomb Pops, what I think of as the quintessential summer treat, many times during the course of the summer heat this past week included.  I also now think of them as incredibly hard to photograph as well.  I may or may not have pondered this while enjoying one.

What’s your favorite frozen treat for summer?

I should probably really end my post by confessing the truth (no, we really did eat that much ice cream this week!) that our family is typically a lot more salty than sweet.  I was just telling my boys on Monday that someone needs to come up with a potato chip store and offer different flavors of single serving of potato chips.  We’d be in there almost every day as long as we could afford it!



Tiny Tip on A Thursday: The Best Time to Visit the Pool

This is another one of those tiny bits of wisdom I wish I could take the credit for simply knowing.  However, it’s a tip a friend gave me long ago when my boys were quite young.   tinytip

It actually may not work for you right now if your children are younger and set in a very rigorous napping schedule.  However, file this one in the back of your mind for your upcoming days with older children.  The ones who you will eventually sleep in during the summer mornings into the early summer afternoons.

We haven’t been to the pool as much as I would like this summer since our favorite local neighborhood one shut down operations.  It’s left us with the local public “water park” pool as our closest option.

While we have lots of options, I do much better if we go to the place closest to home as do my boys.  We tend to be very spur of the moment on our pool trips and the other options don’t really lend themselves well to that luxury.  The local pool has a couple of water slides plus a lazy river so while we miss our plain rectangle of a pool, it’s not a complete bummer to visit there.

However, hot + summer mostly equals CROWDED.  We don’t like crowds.  And we especially don’t like crowds at the pool.  The pool opens at 11:00a.m.  We have never been there that early (well, maybe one time when J went to a friend’s birthday party).

The best pool time is to arrive at about 2:30-3:00p.m and stay until 5:30-6:00p.m.

The people who have been there since it opened are leaving and going home to put younger kids down for afternoon naps and get dinner started.  It clears out rather quickly.

Sometimes, when we first arrive, lawn chairs are hard to find but we usually always find a couple (not like we sit and lounge in them anyway.  For us, they are simply stuff holders.) of chairs in the middle area.  However, usually soon after we are there, the chairs start to empty as the crowd packs up to go home.

I think the most peaceful pool time is from 4:00p.m. until a little after 5:00p.m.  I’ve noticed it is a bit of a transition time.  After 5:00p.m., the new wave of pool goers begin to arrive.  We usually leave between 5:30 and 6:00p.m.

Dinner does sometimes get shuffled around (read turn into ordering pizza) on pool days but when the weather is as hot as we’ve had this week, I’m not cooking that much anyway.

Bonus tip;  If it is super hot, leave your sandals or flip-flops on while walking between areas, that concrete burns!

What is your favorite time to visit a pool?

Happy Homemaker Monday and Meal Plan

I worked a full-time schedule at preschool last week covering for another teacher’s vacation.  I love being there but I also miss being here and working on my blog.  Still haven’t quite figured out how to manage both things at the same time.

I work again this morning but I don’t have to go in until 9:15 as opposed to last week’s 7:45a.m. start each day.  Then, I am (whispering this very softly) free for the week so far.

I think I have just enough time this morning to write this post and then, hopefully, come visit and catch up with some of you later tonight and tomorrow.

On to the Happy Homemaker Monday post…thanks to Sandra from Diary of A Stay at Home Mom for the Happy Homemaker Monday post link up and Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie for the Menu Plan Monday post link up (I really need to get over there and find some fresh dinner ideas for us!).

The Weather This Week

HOT! HOT! HOT! We’re under a heat advisory today starting, I think, at 1p.m. until 7p.m. and the temperature is just supposed to go up all week..99, 100!  Heat indexes in the triple digits.  The rain we were supposed to maybe get last night apparently went north of us.  Good thing I watered the garden.

On My Reading Pile

Since I’m a week behind, and worked last week, not much.  I did read the rest of the books in The Giver quartet two weeks ago.  I really wasn’t a huge fan of The Giver and hadn’t bothered looking for the rest of the books until I watched the movie on Netflix.  I thought the rest of the books were much better and more interesting than the first one.  I think The Messenger was my favorite.

For this week, I’ll tackle my Gretchen Rubin book plus the Chuck Grossart e-book I downloaded called The Phoenix Descent.  His book The Gemini Effect had been one of my Amazon Prime free Kindle books one month and I really enjoyed it so when this new book (to me) came up as a suggestion, I went ahead and bought it.

On My TV

I’ve been watching the series, Limitless on Netflix.  I had watched a few episodes on regular TV and then, lost interest but found it got better once I had no time to watch it.  I do like when Netflix adds series like this so I can play catch up and see shows I may have missed.

Menu Plan


With the weather, our meals are not going to be anything too exotic or hard or that needs to spend much time in an oven.

MONDAY:  Kielbasa sausage and potatoes (hot dogs for the boys), salad

TUESDAY: chicken legs in the crock pot, cucumber slices, rice?  (I have Bunco!)

WEDNESDAY: Pancakes and bacon or maybe French Toast

THURSDAY:  Spaghetti and salad (I am going out with friends)


To-Do List

I am so far behind I don’t even know where to begin with things….most important five are…

  1. Pay Bills!
  2. Go to Grocery Store!
  3. Go to Sam’s Club and make sure we are stocked on water (G has band camp next week plus my husband is doing some outside work this week)
  4. Make the boys leave the house and do something fun.  Yes, forcing my kids to have fun is actually an item on this week’s to-do list.
  5. Double check dates for back to school enrollment and make sure I have the right paperwork


Nothing.  I’ve decided to put the Room A Week Re-Do Challenge on hold until school starts so we can cram as much fun into the end of our summer as possible.  (School starts super early for us, August 11th!)

Looking Around the House

It doesn’t look awful but I am planning to spend some time cleaning it this week.  We’re also dealing with a bit of a fruit fly invasion (one “joy” of summer I could do without) and I’m hoping to see less of the little things now that I’ve put two fruit fly traps into action.

From the Camera

On Friday night, J went with us to the marina at a local lake where you can feed the fish.  G was staying the night with a friend.  J wasn’t enthused at first but he had fun once we were there.

The Carp!

The Carp!

Sunset at the lake

Sunset at the lake


I was taken with these little birds...

I was taken with these little birds…


So hopefully, we’ll have a not so busy but very hot week around here.  What’s on the agenda for your upcoming week?


Five on Friday: Random Things From This Week

Why are the shorter weeks always the ones that feel the longest?  I only worked one day the entire week and here I sit on Friday feeling as if I had worked a full schedule.

I have enjoyed joining in for the Five on Friday hosted by Amy over at Love Made My Home so much the past couple of weeks that I decided to do it again this week.  Here are my random five for this week.


We celebrated the Fourth of July on Monday (Please ignore the July 5th time stamp on the photos.  I couldn’t resist a photo of the American flag hanging attached to the tree.


I also couldn’t resist a really good deal on this 800 shot Saturn missile when we were fireworks shopping.  It was a splurge but well worth it as I’ve always wanted to get one of these.  Fourth of July is my favorite holidays and while I don’t really set the fireworks off myself anymore, I do enjoy buying them.


I also enjoy watching them especially the larger ones.  I think though they are very hard to capture without an advanced camera and advanced skill.  Neither of which I possess.  I tried various settings to get good photos before getting admonished by my husband to put the camera away and just watch the fireworks.  I did sneak this final photo though…


Long lost photos.  Earlier this week J took an older digital camera out of G’s room (with permission) and discovered it simply needed to be charged.  Somehow, he found the charger to it in the desk back here and charged it.  It works fine.  Today, I had him pull the SD card so we could see the photos from it on a slightly larger screen.

Most were blurry photos of random items shot by G at age 10 but I did smile at the first ones of the our Colorado Springs vacation back in 2010.

I remember we loved the Garden of the Gods so much we visited twice during our stay.  It was a wonderful place to take in scenery, explore, and best of all it was free!


Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

I think he took these photos on our last day and I do like this second out the window one as we were most likely leaving for home.  I can recall saying I’d love to live there until my husband reminded me, oh yeah, they do winter bigger and colder in that state.


Somewhere in Colorado Springs, Colorado


The new dishwasher came today and my husband is installing it right now!  I’m very excited to no longer wash dishes by hand each night.  It was getting a bit tedious.

We did make it through our dishwasher free period without buying paper plates.  No comment on whether we ate out a bit more…

I grew up without a dishwasher and we didn’t have one when we were first married.  However, they are certainly a handy device in a family of four!

There is something soothing about a sink full of dish soap suds

There is something soothing about a sink full of dish soap suds

A rather expensive drying rack

A rather expensive drying rack

The beautiful new dishwasher

The beautiful new dishwasher


Attempting to learn how to take better photos.  I use a very basic camera when I’m not using my phone camera.  I only just recently discovered it had “scene settings” which I now try to use instead of “auto.”  Blogging has made me want to be better at taking photos.

While browsing Pinterest one night, I stumbled across this Free 7 Day Beginners Boot Camp Photography E-mail course from Live Snap Love.  I’m on day 2 and have already learned so much!

I was inspired to take this photo of this rose bloom from above after reading the first lesson:

I didn't think our rose bush would ever bloom but was surprised by this today

I didn’t think our rose-bush would ever bloom but was surprised by this today


Bird watching and a missed photo opportunity.

J and I were out in the backyard this morning (perhaps early afternoon?) when all the smaller song birds in the front yard started squealing and squawking.  I worried for a moment that perhaps our cat had helped herself to a “chicken dinner” but then I glanced up and spotted it.

A large Cooper’s Hawk was sitting in a high branch (I could see it over the roof) of the maple in the front yard.  It’s quite common to see them sitting along the highways around here but not so much in a tree in your front yard.

I happened to have the camera in my hand but had yet to set it up and was trying to show J where it was in the tree when it took flight.  We watched it fly up the road and possibly to a neighbor’s tree but lost sight.

I was disappointed to not get a photo but still excited to have seen such a cool bird right in our front yard!  My disappointment was soothed a little when I was able to catch this photo of a black and white nut hatch in another tree later in the afternoon.


My Black and White Nuthatch high in the tree

My Black and White Nut hatch high in the tree

Those are my five for this short week that felt long.  It even looks like I just may manage to link my post up on a proper Friday as well.  Am I the only one who has thought it felt like a Saturday all day?


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