Author Archives: Jean

Five on Friday: My Kitchen Table

My mother once told me the kitchen was the heart of the home.  And I should make sure to get a home with a big kitchen because everyone always gathers in the kitchen.

I have found the first sentence to be true.  Too bad I didn’t follow her advice.  Our kitchen is quite small.  However, we make it work.

Our kitchen table is a small wooden table my brother gave me when I moved into my apartment.  His family was moving on to a larger table and he no longer needed it.  It was a good sturdy table for an empty apartment.

The leaf was very seldom if ever used.  It was simply a round table that sat under a framed print of Picasso’s “Bouquet of Peace” which I learned as “Hand with Flowers.”

My husband actually hung the print on the wall for me when we were dating.  Somewhere I may have a picture of the table in those days but searching for it would send me down a rabbit hole from which I might never emerge.

I honestly can’t remember when it became the kitchen table for our home here.  Perhaps from the moment I moved in here.  The seldom if ever used leaf is now a permanent fixture in the table so our family of four fits comfortably.

The Picasso print has long been passed on to a nephew (it wasn’t my husband’s style).  The table now sits under a drawing J made in the 2nd or 3 grade.

This is what our humble kitchen table looked like last night:

When I set my mini goals on Tuesday, one was to keep the kitchen table clear and eat dinner there each night.   For today’s Five on Friday (hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog, go check it out!), I thought I’d share about my struggle to keep my kitchen table clear all week.

Please forgive some of the blurrier photos, they were snapped in a hurry without the best light most days (and today’s yet another rainy day…better be seeing lots of May flowers!)

Five Views of the kitchen table:


This is how it often looks after the morning rush of making lunches and getting everyone out the door during the week. 


After I cleared it off on Tuesday.  Thought maybe a black and white copy would help with my lighting issues. 


After a mid-week grocery run on Wednesday.  I usually only go to the store on Sunday nights or Monday mornings but sometimes I forget things.  I may have been hungry when I made this grocery store run..


The start of setting the table for dinner on Wednesday evening. 


I was doing better yesterday as it looked like this after the morning lunch making rush:

One of the lilies in the bouquet did this yesterday.

I thought a cheery new table-cloth would keep me inspired to keep the table clean.  Finally, in regard to the second part of my mini goal, we have had dinner at the table all week!  Unfortunately, not always at the same time.  The carrots were a tough sell but I probably also put too many on his plate.

Now, I need to go and clear off the table from the morning lunch making rush which morphed into a “I can’t find a pencil for school” rush from the table.

Do you find it a struggle to keep your kitchen table clear of stuff?

Frosting Cinnamon Rolls

Hey, how about writing a post about frosting cinnamon rolls while on a sugar detox.  That’ll be fun.

frosting cinnamon rolls

Let me just apologize now for all the references to the sugar detox but it’s on my brain this week.  I have the headache to prove it!   I can’t even imagine if I’d have gone cold turkey and cut it out completely.

Just these tiny steps have been a bit hard.  Tomorrow, we’re supposed to not eat any packaged foods containing sugar so I’m thankful to be working a few hours.  Hopefully, I won’t be too cranky.

In the mean time, I’m coping by pinning way too many desserts I’ll probably never make over on my Pinterest boards.  I also thought it would be a fun week to share my tiny tip for frosting cinnamon rolls.  As you can see from the photo up there, we’re all about the Pillsbury brand around here.

I’ve just never had great luck making them from scratch.  G and I do love the Sister Schubert cinnamon rolls in the metal pan but unfortunately, we’re the only two.  I’ll try not to focus on the fact that some of those are in my freezer (forgot to make them on Easter) while I give you my tiny tip for frosting the Pillsbury rolls.

How To Frost Cinnamon Rolls:

This tip is for those of you who can’t stand dry cinnamon rolls.  You know that kind you buy at the store that are beautifully frosted on top and a sad, dry disappointment underneath.  The Pillsbury ones can get that way as well.  Frosting them my way helps avoid that disappointment.

One time my husband burned a batch of cinnamon rolls and we had double frosting.  THAT really made them good.  However, that’s not the tip.

The easy steps for adding the frosting:

  1. While they are still hot, put a tiny dab of frosting in the middle of each roll (like the photo above) so it will sink down into the middle layers.
  2. Let sit for a second or two
  3. Go back and frost the cinnamon rolls with the remaining icing

One thing to note is don’t put too big a dab of frosting in the middle of each roll or you will run out of frosting before you get to all the rolls.

What kind of cinnamon rolls do you like?


Sharing My Flowers For A Dreary Day

Just a short, mostly picture oriented post today.  Since I was in the Trader Joe’s neighborhood on Monday, I had stop in and pick up a few things.  One of those things was a bouquet of flowers for the kitchen table.

Sharing my flowers for a dreary day:

After all the flowers I planted outside over the weekend, I wanted a few to enjoy inside as well. Does anyone know what those weird spiny looking flowers are called? I’m not sure what I did wrong on this photo but one of the reasons I did buy this bouquet was because I thought the red rose added more interest to it.  Yesterday afternoon I decided the vase I put the flowers in was way too small and just didn’t look right.  So, I changed it.  Hey, see that clean kitchen table in the photo above?  The flowers make for good incentive!  Here’s another view of the flowers in their new vase: Even the rose is happier in its new vase.  

These flowers are helping to brighten up the kitchen on dreary, rainy, and cold!? day around here.  They are also helping inspire me to keep our table clear.

What aren’t they doing?  They aren’t doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or cooking dinner.  They are also not helping with this crazy afternoon craving for chocolate.

Note to self: Do not put clean kitchen on the to-do list the same week you plan to also do a sugar detox challenge.  Especially, one very soon after Easter when extra candy is still in surplus.  So far, I haven’t caved to the chocolate bars but the temptation is real.


Setting Mini Goals For The Week

Thought I’d try something a little different this week by setting 5 mini goals for myself.  I can’t call them weekly goals or I’ll rebel against the whole idea.    mini goals Plus, I need some things to keep me busy while I attempt this sugar detox thing.  Thank goodness it seems to be a reasonable one where I don’t have to immediately stop eating all sugar.   Overall, I did okay with it yesterday.  Fruit is okay.  I just wish the leftover Easter candy would quit screaming at me from the cabinet.Here are my five mini goals for the week:

  1. Keep the kitchen table cleared off and have dinner at it each night.  We’ve strayed away from eating dinner at the table, probably because it’s been covered with so much stuff.

  2. Blog every day this week.  I need to break out of my Monday and Friday (sometimes) only rut.

  3. Complete all the items on yesterday’s to-do list.  It’s embarrassing how often I don’t do all the things on the list.  There’s usually not a good reason either.  I just don’t do them even after putting them on the list.

  4. Make the bed every day.  I usually do this especially if I’m doing laundry.  Putting clean laundry on an unmade bed (my husband will do this) is a pet peeve of mine.  I just plan to be intentional about making sure I make the bed this week.

  5. Finish my library books and take them back to the library!  I’m giving myself until Sunday on this one.

Have you set any goals this week?  How do you keep yourself motivated.

Also, have you ever competed a sugar detox challenge?  Any tips or advice for me?

And finally, anyone else out there with a rebellious personality where it takes all your self-control to not rebel against completing goals even when you are the one who set them in the first place?


Happy Homemaker Monday,

Ever have those Sunday nights where everyone in the family just pretends it’s a 3 day weekend?  That was our Sunday night last night.  We just weren’t quite ready for the weekend to end I guess.

Monday came though.  It came just the same.  Interestingly, even the non-morning people weren’t terribly grouchy this morning.  They (I mean me) may need naps later though.

Time to get on with the business of planning this last week of April!

The Weather

Today is supposed to be warm and windy.  Highs in the 70s most the week except on days it might thunderstorm (then, it drops to the 50s): Wed, Fri, and Sat.  I’ll take it.  I am loving these warm, windy, and sunny spring days.

On My Reading Pile

I renewed my library books but sadly, I didn’t do much reading outside of working my way through a bunch of my April magazines. I need to make reading more of a personal priority.

Movies or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

After finishing up season 2 of Better Call Saul on Friday night, I didn’t watch anything the rest of the weekend really.  Spent most of it outside (and at the grocery store and playing Monkey City on my phone with J).   My husband and I are split on Better Call Saul.  I love the slow, subtle storytelling pace of the show but he can’t stand it.

On My TV

The Flash is new on Tuesday night and I have a Netflix movie to watch (Jackie).  Maybe The Voice but it’s not “have to see” TV for me.


Another rough week to menu plan.  I know this is going to be a thing as the weather gets nicer.

Of course, a full week of snacking on Easter candy hasn’t helped any of our appetites either.  I actually signed myself up for a 5 day sugar detox challenge.  Wish me luck on this one!

Trying to get us turned back around to “real” food this week.  Of course, I’m also trying to clear out the pantry (AGAIN) so we’ll see how it all works out.

MONDAY:  pork chops, potatoes, iceberg lettuce wedge salad *car to dealership for service*

TUESDAY: steak bites (special request from husband), baked potatoes, asparagus, (grilled cheese sandwiches for kids)

WEDNESDAY: Spicy lemon chicken, veggie rotini (carry over from last week)

THURSDAY:  Fish (may try to make this orange shrimp for my husband and myself), probably fish sticks for the boys *coffee with a friend in a.m.*

FRIDAY: chicken enchiladas (special request from G), tacos for the rest of them *I work just the afternoon*

To-Do List

  1. Take car to dealer for routine service
  2. Fill the pepper shaker so I can quit pouring pepper out of the big container (You would think I’d have done this after the first time I enjoyed? “peppered” eggs for breakfast but no…)
  3. Confirm Thursday plans
  4. Clean kitchen
  5. Take care of poor houseplants in need of re-potting
  6. Make list of my summer “unavailable” dates for work
  7. Get G registered to take ACT in June
  8. Make master to-do list of house (inside and out) projects
  9. Make list of 3 choices for Mother’s Day weekend activities to give to husband and kids
  10. Pay bills?


Working on landscaping and adding a small flower garden in the front yard.

Close up of the flowers in my hanging basket

The start of the garden area with the butterfly bush my sister gave me on Easter plus my hanging basket.

Think I may need to add some of those fairy gardens around the area.  The boys won’t care but they look so fun that I think I need one.  Maybe in this pot of lavender on the front porch?  We bought some marigolds for the garden but I decided a few needed to go in this pot by the front door (still working on my spring refresh from a few weeks ago). 

Looking Around The House

Same old. Same old.  Need to clean the kitchens and bathrooms, clean off kitchen table, etc.

From The Camera 

Yesterday’s progress on the flower garden area.  I have some summer bulbs planted and was super excited to find a milkweed plant at the local hardware store.

Still a work in progress.

What I’m Wearing Today

Blue Black Hills/South Dakota Tee-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes.

Simple Pleasure

Driving.  I don’t mean just to the grocery store or work but I do enjoy a longer car journey and noticing new things along the way.

Quote For The Week

 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3-4)

Also, I noticed this bumper sticker on my way back from the car dealership: Got Jesus? It’s hell without him.  (Thought it was pretty clever).


Have a great week & don’t forget to check out all the other great blogs linked up to Happy Homemaker Monday hosted by Sandra from Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom!




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