Author Archives: Jean

Happy Homemaker Monday, Farewell To February

We’re on our second day of sunshine this morning. I’m seeing more robins in the yard. Feeling a bit restless.  Could it be spring is on its way?

First, we must get through the last Monday in February. Glad to link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for these posts. Makes planning Mondays fun.

On to the categories…

Breakfast time…what is on the plate this morning…

Big breakfast to see if I’d do a bit better with the no refined sugar thing today: 2 egg omelette with red peppers and Parmesan cheese plus 2 slices of pumpernickel toast and of course, coffee. Glad I’m the only one home because I browned my eggs a bit more than I intended (sounds nicer than almost burned them, yes?)

On Today’s To-Do List

Mostly the usual…

  1. Write and publish this post
  2. Clean out the fridge
  3. Go to the grocery store
  4. Call about getting car serviced
  5. Clean rest of house/maybe make a spring cleaning plan
  6. Get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Currently Reading

Despite renewing all my library books, I picked up a book off my own shelf and am now in the middle of reading Raising A Responsible Child: How To Prepare Your Child For Today’s Complex World by Dr. Don C. Dinkmeyer Sr. and Dr. Gary McKay.  It’s insightful.

I also have the Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle book sitting there but I’m stalled on reading it AGAIN. Just doesn’t do it for me. Might be time to call it on that one.

On The TV Today

Probably not too much. I was bad on Friday and watched the entire season 2 of The Magicians on Netflix. Time for a TV break although my husband may have said something about The Voice starting again…if that’s tonight, I might watch it with him. And of course, I’ll watch The Flash on Tuesday night.

The Weather Outside Is…

SUNNY! And yes, I’m shouting it. Sunny and getting warmer! Perfect after a week of rainy cloudy skies.  Of course, the rainy, cloudy skies return mid-week but then leave for the weekend and no icy nonsense in the forecast.

On The Menu This Week

No grilling during the ice storm!

Struggling for ideas this week so let’s look at how last week went first:

MONDAY: Tacos.  We did follow this plan! We also had yellow rice with the tacos.  Extra taco meat is in the freezer.

TUESDAY: We were all here, no work or Bunco for me because of the weather.  Instead of left-overs we had spaghetti.

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti We had fried pork chops and baked sweet potatoes

THURSDAY: Pork Chops We ordered pizza

FRIDAY: Fish We all had left-overs. I did get my fish fix on Saturday night though when we had fish and oven-fried potato chips! 

The plan for this week:

MONDAY:  Chicken Enchilada Casserole (left-over tacos or rotisserie chicken for my husband and J)

TUESDAY: French Toast and bacon per request (I’ll probably have a salad with left-over rotisserie chicken)

WEDNESDAY:   Slow cooker broccoli beef, rice

THURSDAY: Kielbasa, green beans, and new potatoes in the crock pot. Ham steaks for the boys. (Maybe fried okra as well),

FRIDAY:  Probably frozen pizza or OUT or left-overs

Still not entirely happy with the above plan, probably going to change it after I go grocery shopping…moving on…

If I Have A Few Minutes To Myself I Will…

Go somewhere to look for a bit of bright spring decor for the house.

What I’m Knitting, Sewing, Or Creating…

Just dreaming of new garden spaces right now.

New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try This Week

I tried these honey pumpkin muffins yesterday and they were good but a little sweet.  Think they’d be perfect with a cream cheese filling or maybe some dark chocolate chips (I did leave out the toasted pecans simply because I didn’t have any).  They take a lot of honey though (my poor little bear went from full to barely anything after making them). You’d need to either rob a bank or a beehive to make them on a regular basis.  Still it was nice to have a muffin choice that didn’t call for anything too weird while being refined sugar-free.

Favorite Photos From The Camera

Icy most of last week, then sunny skies yesterday…

Quote For The Week

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.  (Interesting info on this being incorrectly attributed to C.S. Lewis can be found here)


What’s on your agenda this week as we move into March?


Ice, Ice, Birdie

We’ve had nothing but rain, freezing rain, and now more rain this week.  So all my birding activities were out the window (quite literally) this week.

Good thing the birds didn’t seem to mind our ice-glazed deck.  I hope they appreciated the fresh seed on top of the frozen seed.  

The Birds On My Deck:

This little dark-eyed junco seems content.

This one didn’t seem put off by the ice either.  These little snow birds earned my respect.  Squirrels don’t seem to faze them and they can really hold their own against the other birds.  I have noticed they seem a bit mean at times though.  Chasing off my other little song birds like this white-throated sparrow and his kin.

Right after I snapped this, a different dark-eyed junco chased my sparrow away for a bit. Thankfully, my little sparrow returned to pose for me a bit longer.

(Not the most in focus photo but I love the pose so I shared it anyway.) Here’s one that’s a bit better. I’ve become a bit smitten with these little sparrows. We all need a little dab of yellow in the middle of winter (or year-round), I think.

The yucky weather brought all types of birds to the deck although I’m afraid I was a bit too slow to get decent captures of many of them.

Even the robin stopped by to take a glance at the wares offered on our deck! This is the best I managed before he decided ice or no ice, he could do better than my meager offerings.

Other birds spotted on the back deck this week:

Bluejays, The red-bellied woodpecker, the nuthatch, sparrows, cardinals, and of course, that annoying fur-covered bird family of squirrels.

Birds spotted other places:

A small brown warbler of some sort on a tree in the front (on Sunday before the weather arrived), a few doves flying and on the wires in the front again. Starlings and crows (not together). The hawk making a few circles quite a few blocks away. More robins near my work and some geese flying overhead.

Also spotted, someone growing weary of all this attention bestowed upon the birds:

What birds did you spot this week? Also, if you see some sunshine, could you send it this way, please?

Joining in with The Bird Depot, hosted by Anni of I’d Rather B Birdin’.



Five On Friday: Random Tales From An Icy Week

Happy Friday! I missed posting a Five on Friday last week, the winter blahs found me and I didn’t do much of anything last week.  Funny since the weather was anything but blah last week.

This week, however, truly winter weather arrived in the form of much freezing rain. Thankfully, in small batches, so schools closed but by the afternoons the main roads were fine and power stayed put.

My boys went to school today, the first and last day of the school week after being home.  I am home today but worked a couple of days this week as my work only closed on Tuesday (and of course, President’s Day on Monday).

Let’s start this Five on Friday with a few tales from my days at preschool:


Does he look like a pirate to you?  Yesterday so the afternoon Pre-K class made George Washington Bag puppets. Click here to see the link on Pinterest of the actual project where he’s wearing a hat.

The  project proved a big success with the kids who loved the  paper sack puppets.  I overheard one little girl declare: Look at my pirate!

Pirate? President? President and pirate, suppose it’s possible.


“Don’t call me that!” he said to me with great insult and indignation.

And what exactly did this bird-brained teacher call the child?

Capable.  I said he was capable of doing what we asked.  Oh, such nerve to call him something like that. (Note: Upon realizing he didn’t know what the word meant, I quickly explained it and that it was not a bad thing.)


Funk you up….Funk you up….(I stop and listen carefully because funk does not sound quite like funk and more like another not so nice word…oh, it’s that song!).

Later another teacher, what is she saying?  No, she’s not saying that. She’s singing a song.  (Sometimes it’s helpful to have teenagers who make you listen to something other than oldies station once in a while…)

Is it any wonder why I miss my work on days when I’m at home?

Speaking of being at home…


I’ve done my best as a summer loving person to embrace this winter.  However, now that my boys have had a few snow ice days home from school, let’s bring on spring! I’m ready!

My plan today is to spend some time packing up the little Valentine’s Day decor I put out as well as the snowmen and perhaps do a bit of early spring cleaning if my motivation holds. I’m also tempted to drive out to Trader Joe’s and pick up some of the tulips from the ad special. We never had enough snow to build a real snowman but I did have a few of the indoor variety.


My boys were off school both on Monday for the holiday and again on Tuesday for a scheduled teacher work day. My oldest had a few friends stay the night.  I thought I’d be a nice mom (for a change) and buy some soda while at the store.  The new Mountain Dew Ice soda (the one advertised during the Super Bowl) was on sale.

I took the photo this morning.  I bought this soda on Monday morning. We had 3 teenage boys spend the night on Monday. My two teenage sons have been home from school all week with the exception of today.  The 2 store brand sodas I purchased disappeared by Tuesday evening. This stuff? Not touched.

Did I taste it? Yes, I took a small taste of it.  If stale Sprite is to your liking, come get it. You can have it.


Don’t forget to check out the F.A.S.T. blog, and see what our host and the other participants in the link up shared this week!

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’.



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