Author Archives: Jean

Happy Homemaker Monday, A Mid-Summer Week

It’s a bit of an odd morning around here.  We should be in Oklahoma visiting family. However, my husband fell ill on Friday and we opted to stay home.

So instead of a scheduled post, I’m typing my planning post on Monday morning. Thankful as always to Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for the inspiration to plan!

Since I’ve already had two phone calls and three text this morning, let’s jump straight to the categories before more interruptions present themselves.

The Weather 

Stepped outside just a few minutes ago and felt the heat and humidity building. Good pool day on the horizon!  Temps in the low 90’s today and mid 90’s the rest of the week. Maybe a chance of rain on Saturday.

Right Now I Am

Sitting here in my pajamas and working on this post while trying to decide what to eat for breakfast. Leaning toward cinnamon toast. Already have a ton of tabs open on the computer as well.


Of all the things I need to do today and this week. My friend called me early this morning and clarified senior pictures for G are indeed this week. We’d have missed them had we been out-of-town. Still we need to figure out a time to go to Oklahoma for a much-needed visit.

On My Reading Pile

I’m 5 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads goal! However, I only finished one book last week: I’m Proud Of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers by Tim Madigan. Cried my way through a good portion of it. Not so much a biography as a study on friendship. Definitely, worth a read.

And I’ve started reading Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, And Never Giving Up by Elizabeth Smart. Again, not exactly an autobiography but rather a collection of motivational and inspiring stories.

On My TV

Still watching British HGTV type shows on Netflix. My go-to lately is Selling Houses With Sarah Beeny. Helping me to stay inspired to add the home feeling back around here.

Also watched a few movies over the holiday week: Coco, Independence Day, The Glass Castle, and most of Jurassic Park.

On The Menu This Week

Oh boy, do I ever lack inspiration this week! Nothing planned as I didn’t expect us to be here. A much-needed grocery store trip needs to happen soon.

MONDAY: Rotisserie Chicken and salad *Planning to take the boys swimming today*

TUESDAY: Steak bites, baked potatoes, salad *I work now 7:45-1* *G has senior portraits 3:45*

WEDNESDAY: Maybe Ribs in the crock pot, French Fries *Free day….she whispers…*

THURSDAY: Ham steaks, sweet potatoes, green beans *I work 7:45-3:45* *MNO rescheduled*

FRIDAY: OUT perhaps *I work 7:45-3:45* *Boys staying the night with their cousin*

On My To-Do List

  1. Every single thing from last week (wait, I did renew my library books)
  2. Figure out some activities for J especially for the week G’s at band camp & I work
  3. Get card to send grandpa, also birthday card for nephew
  4. Complete On-line Registration for back to school stuff (Yes, we have to do this in mid-July!)
  5. Work on blog posts for 30 Days of Summer Series!
  6. Thinking of sealing/staining the backyard deck in a blue shade

In The Craft Basket

So many ideas….but nothing to show.

Looking Forward To

Going swimming later today. Haven’t managed it all summer long!

Looking Around The House

Needs a good cleaning. Maybe I’ll start after this post.

From The Camera 

We walked to the pond at the end of our street (pictured above) and I picked myself a little bouquet of wildflowers.  Fourth of July Fun:

(He’s standing further back than it seems in the photo) 

My favorite fireworks shot. 

Quote For The Week

A bit long but I found this laminated bookmark in my library book and so clearly I must share it.

Interestingly, I’ve been missing my parents quite a bit lately and this little laminated bookmark reminds me of something my mother would keep.

(Sharing exactly as printed)  

How to Pray for Others:

  1. Be thankful for their faith and changed lives (Colossians 1:3)
  2. Ask God to help them know what He wants them to do. (Colossians 1:9)
  3. Ask God to give them deep spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9)
  4. Ask God to help them to live from Him (Colossians 1:10)
  5. Ask God to give them more knowledge of Himself (Colossians 1:10)
  6. Ask God to give them strength for endurance (Colossians 1:11)
  7. Ask God to fill them with joy, strength and thankfulness (Colossians 1:11)

Thank you for Praying


What’s on your agenda for this second week in July?


Young Bluejay

One day earlier last week before the Fourth festivities, I noticed an odd array of birds.

Sitting on the neighbor’s fence: A robin, two blue jays, and a grackle. Of course, I ran for my camera!

The grackle went through the lattice-work and flew down toward the overgrown yard.  

My focus went to the blue jays. I tried to sneak the backdoor open…and one startled and flew away.  One agreed to pose.   I realized I had a young blue jay in my camera sights. So striking! 

And then, mama came along and off they both flew high in the trees leaving only the little robin on the fence.  Not much of a week for bird watching as most of the evening skies filled with fireworks and loud booms. And I worked quite a bit before and after the holiday.

Other birds I spotted this week: lots of grackles and robins, the blue jays, cardinals, a blue heron flying over the pond at the end of the street, a mockingbird sitting in a tree on the playground at work, a random killdeer in a parking lot, and a few sparrows.

Oh, and in case you wondered, baby blue jays vocals are just as loud and possibly louder than the adult birds. Can’t miss them!

Linking this post up with The Bird Depot hosted by Anni of I’d Rather B Birdin’.

Sometimes Summer Bugs Me: Link Up #3 For 30 Days of Summer

Even though summer’s my favorite, sometimes it still bugs me.  Literally.

Once the heat arrives, so do these obnoxious little bugs pictured above. They leave a disgusting trail of little black specks on my favorite front porch sitting area. And this year, they decimated my rose-bush!

Am I the only one battling the Japanese beetles? And I have news for the Farmer’s Almanac and numerous other on-line sources: Box wood bushes do not repel them!  Come visit our bushes and watch the swarm. YUCK!

Geraniums are a mixed blessing. Apparently, they both attract them and harm the nasty little things. Did I mention the bugs give off a quite disgusting odor? For about a month, I’ve walked by my geraniums commenting: Wow, those are sure stinky plants this year!

Except, my geraniums were fine and not overly stinky. The bugs put out a scent to attract others. Ugh. And why, I won’t buy the traps. I have enough of these beetles, thanks.  The only beetles I want to trap (and then let go) are lightning bugs.

After spraying dish soap water without any success, I found some answers.

Nature To The Rescue!

I knew these little shell spiders were my favorites for a reason! Guess what I found in this web? Yep, lots of tiny Japanese beetles. You are welcome in our yard anytime, little spider.

This morning, I noticed a neighborhood of 3 spiders with 2 webs between the box wood bushes and one in my flower garden area. Hopefully, they’ll focus on ridding the yard of those nasty pests.

I also recently read paper wasps are natural predators of the Japanese beetles as well. While I’m still not a fan of wasps, the tiny tidbit of information makes me a bit more tolerant.

Another Random Use For Essential Oils

After spending too much time reading about how to eradicate the world of Japanese beetles, I decided to spray my bushes with my Thieves cleaning spray. I sort of did it on a whim to see if it would help.  Cinnamon is a primary ingredient.

So far after spraying my rose-bush and box wood bushes with it, I do think I’m seeing fewer of the gross bugs.  I may have sprayed a few beetles directly to make sure they were unhappy with the scent.

Between myself and the spiders I think we may win back the yard!

Just in case we need reinforcements, I’m open to suggestions for dealing with these summer pests.

Our 3rd Link Up in the 30 Days of Summer Blogging Series Follows

Remember you can link up as many times as you’d like (just make sure your posts relate to summer) and our link ups last until the next Wednesday.

Fourth of July Traditions, Past and Present

Maybe as a kid I had a different favorite holiday. However, I don’t remember any holiday but this one being my favorite.

Why is the Fourth of July my favorite holiday? 

  • It happens during my favorite season (summer!)
  • For the most part, it’s a low-stress holiday (no extra shopping except for fireworks)
  • I love fireworks!
  • There’s always good food!
  • I get to see my family!
  • There are lots of things to do but not so much as to feel as though you’ve missed out if you skip it

I thought it would be fun to write a post about Fourth of July traditions. Reflecting back on the being a kid during this holiday to what I do now. An Independence Day through the years post if you’ll indulge me.

My Fourth of July Holidays as a kid

I’m pretty sure the food from this holiday might be why it became my favorite. My mom made barbecued chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, and later, a cake mix lemon cake I loved.

My dad took us each year to Blue Springs, MO  to buy fireworks. And we’d get “the tour” of the area as he grew up there.  His dad’s house (I never knew my grandfather as he died long before my arrival) and farm set on an area now occupied by the police station.

While the cooking happened in the kitchen, I along with perhaps my older brother or a friend as I grew older, spent my time outside worrying my parents as I set off my small collection of fireworks.

Later in the afternoon, we’d get in the car and head out to Aunt Thelma’s house, she lived in the country with plenty of space to explore as well as worry my parents with more fireworks. I vaguely remember walking to check out “the pond.”  And of course, there were fireworks from all the cousins (and my own family) at night. And lots of great food including my mom’s contributions.

Fourth of July With My Family Before Our Own Kids Arrived

Once Aunt Thelma passed away, my different family members hosted Fourth of July, usually one of my brothers.  My brothers were firefighters which always made the holiday um, interesting and exciting. Still does. Choosing the Fourth of July as a family event to bring my (not yet) husband around to meet family certainly was a test. Lucky he stayed, I think.

After my husband and I married, we alternated holidays. Smaller family with a smaller gathering followed by simply going somewhere to view a display didn’t do much for me. (Not that there’s anything at all wrong with it.) At some point, I quit sharing this holiday. We see his family quite a bit more than mine (easier with fewer people) so I think it’s fair.

And Now, My Favorite Holiday Traditions With My Own Kids

We still go to my family’s gathering most of the time.  J loves this holiday possibly even more than I do. Mainly, he’s quite the fireworks expert. And can discuss the best brand to get, value, and pretty much everything else about them. G, however, lists this one as his least favorite holiday (and that’s okay).

At some point, we started decorating cookies for the Fourth of July but the boys started to outgrow that one. And I always watch my favorite Fourth of July movie every year: Independence Day! (Stay away from that  remake unless you favor stink bombs). We also visit the Fireworks stands on the Fourth to check out the discounts.

If you live in the US, do you enjoy this holiday? What are some of your Fourth of July traditions?


Happy Homemaker Monday, The Saturday Afternoon Edition

Whoa…starting the weekly planning a little early over here. Somehow the coming week is not on par to be a slow holiday week.

I work Monday, Tuesday, and Friday next week. Then, right in the middle there’s my favorite holiday, Independence Day (aka The Fourth of July). Plus, we may be taking an unexpected trip out-of-town later this week.

Saturday weekly planning it is! I’ll be linking up this post with Sandra, our host, over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom later on Monday (today if I did all the scheduling of the posts things right).

The Weather 

Still hot although there’s a chance of rain tomorrow and things today (Saturday) aren’t too bad (though my phone says it feels like 105 out there). Low to mid 90’s for the rest of the week including the holiday.

Right Now I Am

Wondering if the rain predicted for tomorrow might be arriving a bit early. Keep thinking I hear the rumble of thunder and it looks hazy out but the noise could easily be fireworks.


Way too much on my mind. What’s that thing about a mind being like a browser with all the tabs open. Just a few of my “mind tabs” this afternoon: possibly finding a craft for the preschool kids for Monday and Tuesday, what we’re going to have for dinner, the blister on the back of my foot (wore the wrong shoes to work yesterday), the health of my husband’s grandfather (the prognosis is not good), the Fourth of July, writing posts for this blog, cleaning the house, laundry, and…AND just too much.

On My Reading Pile

Maybe I’ll quiet all those thoughts and just pick up one of my books after I finish this post. Maybe I’ll start The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

Last weekend/week, I finished three books.  I finally finished Life Moves Pretty Fast :The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Don’t Learn Them From Movies Anymore)  by Hadley Freeman. As well as The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson and Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble. You can find my reviews on Goodreads if interested.

On My TV

Not sure what I’ll get around to watching this week. Hoping if I watch movies on Netflix, I’ll make better choices than the horrible Singularity I picked last night.

On The Menu This Week

Holiday week, trying to save a bit on the summer spending, and full days working, means it’s going to be a super simple menu around here.

MONDAY:  Pork chops and sweet potatoes *I work 9-5:30*

TUESDAY: Tacos *I work 9-5:30* *MNO*

WEDNESDAY: Frozen pizza, Crunch Coleslaw *Fourth of July*

THURSDAY: Still craving the BLT’s or steak (no, we still haven’t cooked it!)

FRIDAY: Leftovers *I work 9-5:30*

On My To-Do List

  1. Go to grocery store (Sunday)
  2. Clean house/Laundry
  3. Renew library books/return finished books
  4. Make sure everything is written on calendar (turns out sometimes they do look at it!)
  5. Get outside welcome mat for back door

In The Craft Basket

Not much. May look for a Fourth of July craft to attempt with the preschool kids this week.

Looking Forward To

Spending time with family on the Fourth of July.

Looking Around The House

I think I need to pick a space and just focus on getting that area clean each week. However, as I look around the house, I have no idea where to start. Maybe I’ll focus on the living room since it’s an easy room to clean/keep clean (sometimes).

From The Camera

We said goodbye to Toys R Us:

And J and I had snow cones, one to cross off the summer bucket list (Pro tip: Don’t try to eat snow cones on a 100+ degree day while the teenager is driving unless you want to clean the car interior in the same weather. Lesson learned.)

Quote For The Week

More calendar wisdom…




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