Author Archives: Jean

Happy Homemaker Monday

Hope everyone had a great Easter.  We had a nice time hosting our traditional Easter brunch and visiting with family.  It was a bit rough getting back into the Monday routine this morning though.

Jumping straight into the categories this morning.

The Weather

Well, it rained pretty much all night Saturday making our yard a muddy mess for brunch yesterday.  The year before was snow.  I think I’m due dry, sunny, and warm weather for next Easter (which, by the way, is on April 1st, no fooling!).  Onto the weather we’re expecting this week:  great Spring day today, sunny & 70s, tomorrow, warmer and a slight chance of rain, warm and dry until the weekend when it cools off and is supposed to rain again.

On My Reading Pile

Pretty much the same books as the last few weeks.  I need to renew or return my pile of books about digital photography as I think they are all due back tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll take a little reading break today while I’m cleaning up from Easter brunch yesterday.

Movies or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

My husband and I watched the movie, Sully, about the airline pilot who landed the plane on the Hudson river.  We both thought the movie was very well done and not too long (rather refreshing).  We also finished up season 4 of The Americans.  Now, it’s sit around and wait for season 5 to come to Amazon.

On My TV

I’m not sure.  I think I’ll try to do more reading this week although I watched a couple of episodes of Fringe yesterday after brunch and might re-watch the episodes I own (impatience made me buy some when it was on Netflix and they hadn’t added season 4 or 5 yet) of it.   If my husband watches The Voice, I’ll probably watch some of that with him.

Menu

Another hard to plan menu week around here.  It’s school testing week so I feel compelled to at least try to put decent dinners on the table.  It’s also the week after Easter brunch so I have very little motivation to be in the kitchen.   Oh, and absolutely no desire to set foot in a grocery store! A complicated combination.

MONDAY:  Chicken Legs, Potatoes, Salad, Fruit left-over from brunch (this also goes in the boys’ lunches all week)

TUESDAY:  I’m going to play Bunco and leaving my husband in charge so probably brisket leftover from brunch, probably fried potatoes, and maybe fruit (doubtful)

WEDNESDAY: Tacos

THURSDAY:  Spicy lemon chicken (this is an old crock pot recipe that I have to find), vegetable rotini (probably all J will eat)

FRIDAY:  Leftovers, grilled cheese sandwiches, OUT, I have no idea

To-Do List

  1. Finish cleaning up from Easter brunch yesterday (I think I just have one round of dishes left to go in dishwasher and some to wash by hand)
  2. Laundry!!
  3. Take inventory of kids’ summer clothes, both boys seem to need shorts
  4. Work Tuesday
  5. Spend a bit more time blogging and visiting other blogs (I missed getting around to visit a lot of you last week)
  6. Clean the house (always)
  7. Maybe work Friday
  8. Check on library books/renew or return them
  9. Buy more cold medicine (G had an awful cold all last week)

Creating

Hoping to do a little landscaping in the front yard.  My sister gave me a butterfly bush yesterday and I need to figure out where I want to plant it.

Looking Around The House

We should have cleaned better before Easter brunch but it doesn’t look awful.

From The Camera 

The Easter bunny came to visit!

Part of the Easter brunch spread

What I’m Wearing Today

White tee-shirt with elementary school logo, black Capri pants, and tennis shoes.

Simple Pleasure

Being able to relax a bit in an empty and quiet house on a Monday morning after a busy weekend.

Quote For The Week

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  (Corinthians 5:7)

Comparison is the thief of joy (Theodore Roosevelt)

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Don’t forget to go visit Sandra and all the other bloggers in her Happy Homemaker Monday link up.

What do you have planned for your week?

 

 

 

 

Easter Brunch Menu Lists, Planning My Easter Brunch Menu

So just a quick post today to share my Easter Brunch menu lists.  Ever have one of those weeks where you have so much to do that you put it off.

I never have those kind of weeks.  Ha!  Add in the unexpected this week: a quick morning of work, a school assembly, and a sick high school student (not that sick but I still picked him up yesterday and let him stay home today).

Today, before I go run all the errands I should have done in small batches, I’ll share how I plan my menu.  Easter brunch is one of the few times I know I must make lists.  Normally, I despise making lists (not that I shouldn’t do it though…just want to think I can remember!).

My Easter Brunch Menu Lists:

The longest list is definitely the preliminary menu plan.

Easter Brunch

The main brunch table

I start by asking my family what they want on the brunch table and then start the list.  If you are curious, here are the items my family requested:

G: pigs in a blanket.  UM, we usually don’t have those at Easter brunch but it seemed like a nice change so I okayed it.  Then, I found out he meant sausage pinwheels so we’ll have both.

J: chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate chip muffins.  An easy answer from him.

My husband: brisket, rolls, and of course, “candy” bacon (aka caramelized bacon twists).

Then, I think about what was a success last year, what leftovers we had, and of course, what things I like!

One thing I added last year that I plan to “make” again was to fill some pastry shells with lemon curd.

The next step I follow when making my menu plan list is to look through my pantry and cupboard to see what we already have on hand that might turn into an Easter brunch table item.  As someone who tends to be a bit over ambitious about what I plan to bake at other holidays, I tend to have a fun selection of things available.

Menu ideas coming from the things I have on hand:

Cherry pie filling:  cherry pie bars (my husband really likes the Pillsbury cherry turnovers so I’m trying to make something similar to those but in an easy form!)

Can of pumpkin:  pumpkin muffins (I have a nephew who likes these)

Cinnamon Bread:  I try not to have breakfast for dinner the week before Easter brunch so I’m thinking of trying to make a French Toast Casserole with this item.

Sugar cookie mix:  Sugar cookies for table decoration (and to eat) or maybe some sort of sugar cookie truffle

Jar of Marshmallow Fluff:  Easy one…fruit dip mixing it with a block of cream cheese

Other items I mulling over finding a recipe to use: a German chocolate cake mix (usually make chocolate pumpkin muffins with it), sweetened condensed milk, mini ice cream cones, peanut butter, pistachios, and sunflower seeds.

The last step in making my Easter Brunch menu list is to think about the family I know will be here.  I try to remember what they’ve commented on and liked in the past.  I always like to try include things I know certain family members like to see.  Plus, I consider how many kids will be here.

Things I put on the list for various family members:

Cappuccino muffins, white chocolate chip triple berry muffins, lots of bacon (of course!), pumpkin muffins, some sort of veggie Quiche, and a hash brown bake.

Finally, I make a preliminary menu list.  The list is often also overly ambitious but it gets me started on making brunch.  I’ll start cooking tonight (sometimes I have it together enough to have done more of this ahead of time but not this year) and cook all day tomorrow and Saturday.  I always try to do the majority of the muffins on Saturday so they are as fresh as possible.

The menu list:

If you are curious about any of these recipes, I try to keep most of them on my Ideas For Easter Brunch Pinterest Board.

I went ahead and included links to the ones I know I have on my Pinterest board.

Oh and since this is usually Tiny Tip Thursday, here’s a tiny tip for you:  If you buy candy to decorate your Easter table, hide it from your teenager unless you want to make a second trip!  SIGH.

Are you hosting Easter this year?  What’s on your menu?

 

 

 

Happy Homemaker Monday, Hippity Hop Hop

Easter’s on its way!  Can you believe it is next Sunday?  This week will be all about getting ready for my traditional Easter brunch.

I’m happy for the motivation Happy Homemaker Mondays give me to plan my weeks! Many thanks to Sandra from Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for hosting this wonderful link up each week.

I have lots to do today and this week so straight to the categories:

The Weather

Beautiful spring weather has finally arrived! It’s supposed to be in the upper 60s/lower 70s today and most the week.  Chances of thunderstorms through the weekend though.  I’m hoping not on Sunday!

On My Reading Pile

I’m still slowly working my way through 40 Ways To Look At JFK by Gretchen Rubin but I did pick up another James Rollins book.  Sadly, I’m struggling to get into this one.

The big news really though is that on J’s reading pile is a book he chose to read instead of doing other things for most the weekend (I picked it up on Thursday and he’ll probably be done with it today).  J said Michael Vey, The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans was on par with Harry Potter.  That’s high praise coming from my reluctant reader.

Movies Or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

The Americans new seasons were on Amazon so I started working my way through season 4 of that.

We also watched Independence Day, Resurgence.  Very glad not to have paid money to watch that one in the theater.  My husband summed it up best when he said, “I can’t decided whether they tried to hard with that one or didn’t try hard enough.”  Either way, we both thought it was awful. 

On My TV

If I have free time during the day, I’ll probably watch an episode or two of The Americans.  Really though with Easter brunch on the horizon and the boys off school Friday, I don’t expect to watch too much TV this week.

Menu

I’m focused on Easter Brunch but I guess we still need to eat dinner this week.  My plan is to try to keep it simple.  The weeks before and after Easter are two of the hardest for me to menu plan.

MONDAY:  Pork Chops

TUESDAY: Spaghetti, Salad

WEDNESDAY:  Ham steak (carry over), mac and cheese

THURSDAY:  Chicken

FRIDAY:  I’ll be prepping for Easter brunch so it will probably be something OUT

To-Do List

  1. Not get overwhelmed by all the stuff on the list
  2. Take permission form up to middle school so J can go to assembly at elementary school (Due Today)
  3. Make a plan for getting the house cleaned by Sunday
  4. Plan Easter Brunch (look for blog post on this one)
  5. Check ACT registration dates for G (he’s taking a class that requires it next year)
  6. Go back to Dollar Tree for things I forgot on Friday (plastic silverware)
  7. Go to Target
  8. Figure out what the Easter bunny plans to do for the boys for the holiday
  9. Figure out what I’m forgetting to put on the list

Creating

Working on creating an Easter Brunch menu

Looking Around The House

It’s surprisingly not in terrible condition but it’s not exactly company ready either.

From The Camera

I guess I absorbed a tiny bit of the knowledge in all the digital photo books. The way these pictures turned out made me happy.  While I’m still not sure what metering actually is, I now know that if I use the close-up setting on the camera to use a smaller metering number as well.

Ladybug, Ladybug

Ants at work

What I’m Wearing Today

Green tee-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes

Simple Pleasure

Just being outside and enjoying nature

Quote For The Week

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts  (Eleanor Roosevelt)

 

 

Five On Friday: Spring Refresh

After 13 straight days of rain, THIRTEEN, the sun came out on Wednesday afternoon.  It even decided to stick around for yesterday, today, and I hear maybe most of the weekend.

This poor wind flower has hardly been opened up with all the rain. I think it’s enjoying the sun right along with the rest of us!

This was a rather odd week with the boys returning to school after spring break.  I worked a pretty full week, also.  Three whole days!  Well, maybe a half-day yesterday but it felt like a whole day.

It seemed strange to be off today and have everybody else off to work and school.  My original plan was to give the house a good cleaning.  Of course, I happened on a meme on Facebook that said something about it being “don’t do any housework day” and while I’m not sure of the accuracy, I didn’t want to take any chances and miss my chance to celebrate that one.

Instead of cleaning, I ran a few errands and picked up a few things to give the house a bit of a spring refresh.  I’m still not done but I’m sharing my progress for today’s Five on Friday, hosted by the F.A.S.T blog.

Spring Refresh:

INSIDE:

ONE:  A new mat for the kitchen floor!  This just caught my eye when I was out shopping today and I’ve wanted something like this as opposed to a rug for a long time so I went ahead.

This mat just had such a cheerful feeling to it.

TWO:  A slight Front Door Do Over.  I finally got around to ordering a curtain to block the little window in it.  It didn’t bother me much when the sun came blaring in to our house but the gaming boys found it annoying.  My husband’s solution had been to place a towel with clips on the curtain bar.  It was not a very pretty look.  Problem is now solved.

I’m hoping the wrinkles will fall out but it still looks better than a towel!

OUTSIDE:

THREE:  I also found something to put on the front door in place of my winter wreath.  It’s not the most glamorous craft project but I thought it turned out cute and it was low-cost since I only used $4 to put it together.  Have to love The Dollar Tree!

I like my new simple front door “wreath”

FOUR:   A new cushion for the bench on the front porch.  It took a lot of self-control to get one “plain” that I knew my husband would think looked good as opposed to a fun outlandishly designed cushion.

The cat has already tested it and approves of her new warm weather napping spot.

FIVE: A new welcome mat as well!  The old one is not in terrible shape so it may go to the back door. 

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My plan is to use this sunny weekend to continue with my spring refresh focusing on the outside.  I need to clean up the yard a bit, get some flowers out there (I was very tempted by some hanging baskets at the store where I bought the cushion but opted to hold off and check a few other places), and maybe fix the porch rail a certain little gray cat has been using as a scratching post.

An area in need of clean up. 

I need to add some new flowers here.

What kinds of spring projects do you have planned?

 

 

 

 

Happy Homemaker Monday, Another Rainy Monday

Today is our last official day of spring break and we woke up to more rain! When I say we, I actually mean my husband and myself.  The boys are still sleeping.  So much for a “let’s get up at the normal time and readjust to the school schedule” idea.

I think I’ll just go ahead and move right into my Happy Homemaker Monday post.  Be sure to check out our host Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for lots of great stuff!

The Weather

Rain, rain, and more rain to start our week.  I think it is supposed to clear away by Thursday or Friday.  At least it’s not super cold, it’s in the upper 50s most the week and the rain is the steady down pour kind we do need for this time of year.

On My Reading Pile

I finished reading The Seventh Plague by James Rollins last week.  Definitely plan on looking for my of his books. Currently, I’m working my way through Forty Ways To Look At JFK by Gretchen Rubin as well as a stack of “how to” books on digital photography.

Movies Or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

Last night I stayed up way too late watching the rest of a movie my husband had pulled up on Netflix before promptly falling asleep.  It was called DeJa Vu  On Friday, I had the wild idea to just watch the beginning and end of each season of The X-Files before Netflix removed the series.  I almost made it before I had to skip ahead to the very last episode.

Finally, I watched a bit of The Final Four basketball games.  I used to always watch these games with my dad so I knew without a doubt which teams he would have been cheering on to win.  It’s definitely going to be, “Go, Zags!” around here tonight (Well, I’ll be saying it.  Sadly, the rest of my family is not interested in watching.)

On My TV

I really don’t know.  The Flash is on hiatus until sometime in April so there’s not really anything pressing I want to see plus I’m back to a busy work schedule this week (could have worked today but opted to say no).

Menu

We ate so poorly over this spring break!  I really have to do better with this and get us back to a better balance of real food versus crap that comes from a box or eating out.

I’m going to link up my menu with Laura from I’m An Organizing Junkie and her Menu Plan Mondays.  There are always great ideas to be found over there!

MONDAY: Grilled chicken legs,

TUESDAY: Ham Steaks, Cinnamon, Butter, & Brown Sugar Carrots

WEDNESDAY:  Chili (carryover from last week…probably the last time I’ll put it on the menu for a while)

THURSDAY:  Chicken enchiladas (for G & myself not sure what my husband & J will eat yet…maybe mini tacos and yellow rice)

FRIDAY:  BLT’s

To Do List

  1. Go to the grocery store
  2. Still need to go to The Dollar Tree
  3. Pay rest of the bills I found under a magazine on the table
  4. Clearly, clean up the house a bit better
  5. Still need to sign J up for summer school, I keep putting this off.
  6. Plan my menu for Easter Brunch

Creating

Trying to teach myself to create better photos.  Wish my eyes didn’t glaze over every time I tried to read the “how-to” books.  Might have to try taking notes on them or something.

Happening This Week

  • Kansas City Royals home opener is today which is why all my headings are blue! Hopefully, they don’t get rained out and no, we aren’t going although I wish we were.
  • I work Tuesday through Thursday (so far).  Also, I need to confirm whether they want me to plan on full days again or to stick with the half-days.
  • The boys go back to school.  Tomorrow is going to be painful for all of us, I think.
  • J may or may not have coding club after school on Wednesday.  He doesn’t know.
  • Mom’s Night Out for me.  Looking forward to catching up with everyone!

Looking Around The House

The bathrooms and floors need most the attention.  Oh, and as usual, I need to clean off the kitchen table.

From The Camera

We managed to get the kids out of the house for just a bit on Saturday.  We went to the Prairie Fire Museum over in Kansas.  I wish my husband would have consulted me a bit before just buying the tickets as we paid for parts clearly suited for much younger children.

The building was beautiful though.  I had to wait for a wedding party to finish their photos with the building as a backdrop before I could get out there and snap a few pictures.  I imagine this would look twice as stunning on a sunny day.  From another angle:

What I’m Wearing Today

Pajamas!  I still need to hop in the shower and get ready for the day.  Wanted to get this post finished first though.

Simple Pleasure

Discovering new places and new things.  Something I don’t do nearly enough.

Quote For The Week

There was a small wetlands area behind the museum.  I would have loved to have checked it out more except my family was getting rather impatient.  However, I stumbled on this sign and loved the quote on it:  ************

What’s on your agenda for the week?

 

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