Author Archives: Jean

Happy Homemaker Monday, President’s Day

A bit late with my post this week as I slept in a bit (holiday weekend) and then, ran to the store.

Our weird weather meant I had to make a choice between going this morning when it was warm and windy or waiting until afternoon when it’s supposed to be cold and rainy.

Even though it’s a bit late in the day, I still want to join in with Sandra, our host, for Happy Homemaker Monday.

Breakfast time…what is on the plate this morning…

Well past breakfast time now but I had a scrambled egg and toast.  The rest of them ate chocolate chip waffles (the freezer kind) while I was at the store.

On Today’s To-Do List

  1. Go to grocery store
  2. Write and publish this post
  3. Pay bills (or at least think about it)
  4. Clean out fridge
  5. Get the boys out of the house for 5 minutes

Currently Reading

I finished three books last week. Finished up with The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, really interesting. Then, I read Micro by Michael Creighton and James Preston (he finished it since unfortunately, Creighton passed away before doing so), then it came up on sale as an e-book so I read The Alchemist by Paul Coelho.  Found myself a bit surprised at the poor reviews for both over on Good Reads as I enjoyed both books (they are of very different genres) very much.

Today, I plan to simply work through my February magazines and maybe try to give a random library book choice, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle by Doreen Virtue, another chance.

On The TV Today

No idea. Not in much of a TV mood at the moment.

The Weather Outside Is

As strange as spotting a shopping cart on a frozen lake… Why? Who knows…J and I spotted this on the pond at the end of our street last Monday. I imagine it’s sunk or been retrieved by now.

The weather:  66 degrees when I woke up and now it’s in the low 43. Supposed to get colder all day and probably rain or thunderstorm today and tomorrow. No rain on Wednesday but most days this week are supposed to be either or cold or rainy.

On The Menu This Week

I’m going to try something I saw The Happy Homemaker in Texas do and share last week’s menu with what worked and what did not as well as this week’s plan. Maybe it will help make my menu planning go a bit more smoothly moving forward.

So here was our plan for last week:

MONDAY: Mango Chutney Chicken and Rice A BIG No on that one. When the teenager who loves chicken says no, you know it’s a failed recipe. We ended up having ham steaks and fried potatoes, leftover from the weekend.

TUESDAY: Pancakes.  My husband offered to make them so they were regular pancakes and a big hit with all of us.

WEDNESDAY: Steak bites, I tried to make these heart-shaped roasted potatoes that didn’t really work. The kids had mozzarella sticks.  For dessert, the boys had their candy and I had a fruit salad drizzled with a bit of honey. (I opted to try cooking the potatoes with the heart shapes cut out…let’s not talk about how long it takes to cut heart shapes out of potato slices…)  There is something about fresh fruit!

THURSDAY: Chicken Legs/OUT I ended up working a half-day so we had frozen pizza (I think I ate a salad maybe)

FRIDAY: Fish of some sort Husband came down with a bug so I just grabbed a Rotisserie chicken at the store instead

The boys and I did go out to a Chinese buffet on Saturday. Yesterday, we had Subway.

The plan for this week:

MONDAY: Tacos *no school for the boys* plus G is having friends stay over so lots of tacos…

TUESDAY:   If there are left-overs, probably taco salads  *I work 3:00 to 5:30 & have Bunco* *Boys are off school for teacher work day*

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti

THURSDAY: Pork Chops, Baked Sweet Potatoes *I work 1:30-4*

FRIDAY: Fish try 2

If I Have A Few Minutes To Myself, I Will

Read or play Pocket Camp Animal Crossing on my phone (OR go outside on the off-chance it’s nice enough out there)

What I’m Sewing, Knitting, Or Creating


New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try This Week

I made peanut butter granola using this recipe. It was so easy and good. I used maple syrup for the pour factor and because we were almost out of honey. I need to try it again using honey.

Favorite Photo From The Camera

On Valentine’s Day, we went out to breakfast (I much prefer going out to breakfast over lunch or dinner) and then drove around a couple local lakes in search of Trumpeter Swans that were supposedly in the area.  No luck with the swans.

We did stop by and visit the elk at the hoofed animal enclosure at Lake Jacomo though.

Think I better show you one more so you see that yes, there is indeed a fence between me and these lovely and huge elk!  There was just a spot where it was a bit lower so I could take better photos.

Quote For The Week

If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.  (Paul Coelho)


And now, it’s Monday night. We’ve had the tacos and I’m just finishing up this post. Looks like it’s going to be one of those fast weeks perhaps.

What is on your agenda for the week ahead?

Dreaming Of Spring

Are you dreaming of spring?

Early last week I spotted a robin near the front yard.  Can you tell it was a cold day?

A robin dreaming of spring…

I noticed the robins don’t ever seem to visit my bird seed supplies. They’re waiting patiently for the ground to thaw and yield up big juicy worms, I guess.  My wait for the ground to thaw and yield up green grass and flowers is not as patient as February slowly passes.

Our Carolina Wren watches for spring to ride in on the wind…

Our weather confuses this one. On warmer days, he’ll pop his head out and glance about looking for the signs of spring. On colder ones, he mostly stays hidden although one day he did chatter at me quite annoyed with our endless winter (mild by many standards but not mild enough for his liking).  He’s another one who ignores my bird-seed offerings.

A slow week for birding around here…

I ran out of bird-seed and didn’t get a chance to get to the store (not because of weather) until Friday.  The squirrel was quite happy to gorge himself on seed once again.  A cardinal and a little sparrow managed to get a turn at least.  I’ve noticed a snowbird hangs out while the squirrel is eating, cleaning up his crumbs.

On Valentine’s Day, I talked my husband into driving over to a pair of local lakes where Trumpeter Swans were supposed to be hanging around. No luck.

We did see plenty of ducks and seagulls (not pictured)…

Other birds spotted this week:

Bluejays, more sparrows and snowbirds, the neighborhood hawk circling a block over, a hawk watching the lake roads, the red-bellied woodpecker, and a few cardinals.

Hopefully, soon spring will arrive with a few more birds and better weather to sit out and watch them.

What birds did you spot last week? Are you dreaming of spring?

Joining in the bird depot link up hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather Be Birdin’.



Happy Homemaker Monday, Valentine’s Week

Happy Valentine’s Day on Wednesday! Happy Chinese New Year on Friday!

Not sure how much time I’ll have to be on the computer tomorrow so I’m putting my Happy Homemaker Monday post together on Sunday evening. I do enjoy writing these posts as I feel like they give my weeks a bit more structure.  Plus it’s fun to look back on all of them at the end of the year.

Red category headings today in honor of Valentine’s Day and The Chinese New Year.

The Weather

Weird, as always.  It’s 30 degrees right now, after yesterday’s cold 14 degree, sleet then snow but not enough to look pretty day.  By Wednesday, our predicted high is 60 degrees (I see a Valentine’s Day hike in my future!) before dropping back to 32 degrees on Friday. No snow or anything else predicted this week.

As I Look Outside My Window

It’s dark so let me share this phone photo from last week of the sunrise reflecting in our front window. 

Right Now I Am

Sitting at the desk in our bedroom, working on this post, listening to the Olympics on television.

Thinking And Pondering

How to reach my youngest son. Sometimes, even though he’s super smart, he just doesn’t get things. Thinking we need to be spending more time together as a family. Lately, we’ve become really bad at just going our own ways.  I know some of that is natural but I think we’ve let it become a bit too much. Pondering how to accomplish that and how to minimize the fussing it’s likely to create (especially from my oldest son).

On My Bedside Table

Clothes to put away, lotion, stack of books

On My TV

Not too much, the Olympics here and there.  Will most likely watch The Flash on Tuesday night.

On The Menu This Week

MONDAY: Mango Chutney Chicken and Rice (sounds fancy but I just found a bottle of Mango Chutney in a cabinet that I plan to pour over some chicken in the crock pot)

TUESDAY: Pancakes, what else? I plan to make these Rosa Parks peanut butter pancakes

And now, the menu gets tricky because I’ve decided to give up refined sugar for the duration of Lent. Lent starts on Valentine’s Day so that’s not the best timing, huh?

WEDNESDAY: (Valentine’s Day!)  Steak bites, baked potatoes, salad

THURSDAY: Chicken legs, salad *J has a band concert so it may also be OUT*

FRIDAY: Fish of some sort *G has pep band* (We’ll plan to have Chinese food on Saturday so G can join us as he needs to eat early on pep band nights)

On My To-Do List

  1. Gather items for charity truck coming on Friday
  2. Plan an outing for this coming weekend
  3. Take 3 photos every day
  4. Prep fruits and veggies for the week
  5. Check deadline for signing G up for ACT (and other school things)
  6. All the things that I’m forgetting to add to this list
  7. Take the kids to get Valentine’s Day cards for their dad

What I Am Sewing, Knitting, or Creating

Really need to find a project so I have something exciting to put here instead of my standard answer of nothing.

My Simple Pleasure

I think I’ve mentioned it before but I just love watching and photographing birds.

Lesson Learned The Past Week

Parenting is hard (already knew it).

From The Camera


Chocolate cake with white icing, the traditional birthday cake for my husband

New garden flag. I think I can leave it up all of February, don’t you?

Paw prints in our small dusting of snow

Prayer List

My youngest son as he made some less than desirable choices last week.  He’s struggling a bit and so naturally we are as well (Honestly, we could use some prayers for the wisdom to guide both our boys).

All those who are still struggling with the nasty flu (and other viruses) still circulating.

Quote For The Week

Saw this on a bumper sticker:

Mind your own biscuits and your life will be gravy.

Thought it was funny and true.

Also, this caught my eye over on Pinterest:

Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path. (unknown)


Don’t forget to check out Sandra’s blog, Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom, where lots of other fabulous bloggers link up for Happy Homemaker Monday.


Crows And My Returning Backyard Birds

My birds came back! I think maybe our ping-pong weather might be playing a part in their comings and goings.

Busted bird-feeder or not, I’ve still been sprinkling bird seed on the deck railings. And yelling at the squirrels.

I spotted so many birds this week I’m not even sure where to start. Let’s start with the birds I see fly over head often but seldom do they hang out in our trees.


As I left to pick up my son from school, I heard them first and then, spotted about 6 or 7 crows sitting in the next door neighbor’s oak tree.  They were still hanging out upon our return so I hurried and grabbed the camera.  Getting a group shot proved difficult.

This fellow though hung around a bit after the others flew to their next destination.

What you looking at?

Another crow waited patiently across the street for this fellow to finish looking at the crazy camera lady.  Then, grew tired off waiting. And with a few final, caw-caws, they flew off together to meet up with the gang.


Don’t you know crows are bad luck, asked my son as I was hurrying to grab my camera. I’ve never heard that.  However, if they are, I’m going to think doves bring good luck and we had a few of them come hang out around here as well.

First, this Eurasian Collared-Dove made an appearance early in the week. (Excuse the blurry photos, it was a cold morning when I was trying to get these!) Later, I glanced out the front windows and saw this sight sitting on the wires across the street. Can you tell it was a bit cold and windy on this day? There were five doves in total but I couldn’t determine the type although I lean toward thinking they were Mourning Doves. The one sitting above sat alone a bit apart from the others.


The Dark-Eyed Junco returned first. House finches followed. I even spotted a White-throated sparrow waiting his turn! Then, the Bluejays arrived. So did a busy Nuthatch.  Hard to catch with the camera but I finally managed a not quite so blurry one of the busy bird. ****

Not a bad week for bird-watching considering I didn’t get out and hike anywhere special. The birds all came to me this week!

Other birds spotted but not captured on camera this week: my Carolina Wren (fussing at me about the weather!), Chickadees, Cardinals, Starlings, A Downy Woodpecker (he came to the bird seed and claimed his spot right away), A Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Sea Gulls (flying over head while driving), Pigeons, The Red-Tailed Hawk (just once a block over), Robins, and a few sparrows.

What birds did you notice this week?

Linking up with the Bird Depot, hosted by Anni from I’d Rather B Birdin’. Go and visit for some truly amazing bird photos!

Five on Friday: Random Camera Practice

Last week, I barely touched my camera.  So, this week I made a goal to take three pictures a day. I thought I’d go ahead and share a few of them for this week’s Five on Friday.


I actually added another cheap grocery store bouquet to one already in the vase. The super cold temperature outside meant they had to wrap them in tissue and cellophane paper (stapled together) so the flowers wouldn’t go into shock outside.


Big talk of a snow day meant I rushed out to get my errands done and have food on hand for when the boys would be home from school for a day. Teenagers eat. A lot. Don’t worry, we do subside on more than Cheetos and chips around here. Our snow day did not happen but most the food disappeared during the week.


I think our lack of a proper snowstorm led to my intense desire to be sitting on the porch watching the birds, smelling the lavender, and feeling the warm spring or summer breezes. 


If only staying outside (and not freezing!) to photograph this sunrise all morning had been an option, I’d have stayed.  I wish I could have shared the even better view I had of this one as I drove my oldest son to school. However, safety first. Photographing and driving do not mix.



Time to wrap up this post and start on taking my three pictures for today.  Don’t forget to hop over to the F.A.S.T. blog and visit the other bloggers participating in Five on Friday!

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