Halfway Through The Year: Checking My 18 in 2018 List

It’s June!  June signals the halfway point of the year. Can you believe we’re there?

Thought I should check in on my list of 18 things I wanted to do this year…

My 18 Items For 2018 Update:

  1. Read (at least) 18 books: I’ve read 9 of them. Plus given myself permission to take one book I just couldn’t make it through off the list!
  2. Lose 18 pounds: Yeah, ongoing struggle with this one.
  3. Get a new kitchen table: Not yet
  4. Guard my heart from negativity and drama (sorry, I know it’s vague): Work in progress
  5. Clean out the basement: Um…should probably get start on this one
  6. Clean out the inside of the computer desk: See number 5
  7. Add another garden area to the front yard: Lots of ideas, might wait until fall and use bulbs
  8. Buy fresh flowers for the table once a month: Doing pretty good with this one

    Grocery store flowers!

  9. Post a Happy Homemaker Monday post every week: Another good one!
  10. Do one thing each month to get ready for next Christmas: I’m still a last-minute shopper
  11. Complete a sugar-free challenge: Did this around lent, need to try again
  12. Join in the monthly weekly Facebook group photography challenges at Live, Snap, LoveNot very good at keeping up with them and definitely not brave enough to post my challenge pictures yet
  13. Go on a fun summer vacation, maybe a return to Colorado or South Dakota: Visited Duluth, Minnesota! Post about our fun trip coming maybe tomorrow or Friday.
  14. Make our house feel like a home again (vague again, I know…): My focus for the rest of the summer
  15. Walk in another 5K: Hoping to find something in the fall
  16. Clean my email inbox out monthly (prefer weekly but I’m being realistic): Been keeping up with this in spurts. After letting it pile up to over 1000 e-mails, I’ve been more inclined to delete things regularly
  17. Get rid of 18 things we don’t love/use each month (4-5 things a week): Falling a bit short
  18. Go on at least 2 nature walks/outdoor bird-watching adventures a month: I thought I’d do better in this category. Need to start actually making plans to do these

Did you make a list of items for the year? Are you making progress?






Happy Homemaker Monday, Back In Town

Still starting this on Sunday night as I have to be out the door early tomorrow. Day one of Driver’s Education for G. Long overdue.

Let’s just get straight to the categories again.

(Don’t forget to go check out the blog of our host, Sandra. You can find her and the rest of the wonderful HHM participants over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom)

The Weather

Hot! Low 90s all week unless the local weatherman mumbling about 100+ tomorrow is right. A slight chance of thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday. A bit different from up in Minnesota.

Of course, I still stepped outside this afternoon and said, “Oh, it’s not too bad out here.” The heat and humidity don’t get to me too much but the mosquitoes count is 100% so I didn’t stay outside too long.

Right Now I Am

Sitting in the A/C and working on this post. Half-listening to a program about the planet Earth and the whir of a fan we keep running back here.


Since we took our vacation early this year, I’d like to spend the rest of the summer focusing on making the house a bit more of a relaxing place that feels a bit more like a resort (hotel room didn’t seem like the right word there…).  I’d like to find a way to bring that first day of vacation-clean into our home.

On My Reading Pile

Finished one called The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent. Didn’t care for it. Right now, I have just a few pages left in Live Lagom: Balance Living, The Swedish Way by Anna Brones.  And a stack of books about Minnesota, waiting for a library return.

On My TV

Mostly watched Chopped reruns in the hotel room at night. Over the weekend, I did catch up on Sherlock via Netflix. Need a new series to watch but nothing’s grabbing my attention. Probably because it’s summer and I feel like I need to be doing things other than staring at the TV.

Something Interesting I Watched

My husband watched a little bit of a show about undercover agents infiltrating the Hell’s Angels and it caught my eye. Think it may have been an episode of Deep Undercover (maybe that’ll be my next Netflix series).

What I Found While Surfing The Net

A trailer for Wreck It Ralph 2! Despite being skeptical, I think it actually looks pretty good.

And this funny take on the coming sequels to Legally Blonde and Top Gun…”32-year-old spoiler alert,” my favorite line in the article.

On The Menu This Week

Back to the reality of having to cook (and clean up) dinner each night! Did I mention I’ve been on a grocery store strike? It’s been an interesting weekend…

Last week:





FRIDAY: Ham steaks, potatoes, biscuits, and fried apples (We had the frozen pizza at lunch)

SATURDAY: My husband and I had salads topped with bacon, J fell asleep at 5 (!), and G went out with friends

SUNDAY: Fried crappie (fish), french fries for lunch and then, on our own at dinner (I had Lucky Charms, J had deli ham, My husband heated prepackaged tamales, and G went out with friends again)

Now..time for a real meal plan:

MONDAY: Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Salad (LUNCH: mozzarella sticks,salad) *G has Driver’s Ed from 8-10a.m.*

TUESDAY: Spaghetti  (LUNCH: Chicken/Cheese Quesadillas, Fruit) *G has Driver’s Ed from 8-noon*

WEDNESDAY: Pancakes and Bacon (Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti) *G has Driver’s Ed 8-12*

THURSDAY: Hamburgers (Lunch: Something Quick, maybe PBJ’s) *G has Driver’s Ed 8-12* *I work 1-6*

FRIDAY: OUT or maybe we’ll actually make the steak from 2 weeks ago *G has Driver’s Ed 8-12* *I work 1-6*

All subject to change after I finally go to the grocery store.

On My To Do List

  1. Definitely, Go to the store!
  2. Follow the Flylady missions
  3. Go to the library
  4. Make a list of summer (and beyond) projects for the house
  5. Still need to do those returns…blah, even went to Target once already and FORGOT my stuff

In The Craft Basket

Lots of project ideas, nothing tangible though

Looking Forward To

Joining Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth And Home on a joint blogging adventure. Look for more details about our 30 Days of Summer series, including Thursday linkups, coming soon. We’re hoping a few of you might want to join in our fun and blog about all things summer with us!

Looking Around The House

Cleaning is going to be a BIG priority this week. AND next.

From The Camera

This little Swallow Tail Stopped by to see us off on our journey north last Sunday morning. J walking along the shore of Lake Superior taking in the waves. And…saving the best for last, I was able to meet Carrie from Northwoods Scrapbook It was so fun meeting a friend from blogland in real life! Left wishing she lived closer so we could get together again.

Quote For The Week

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. (William Butler Yeats)


Time to actually spend some time cleaning the house (bathrooms first, ugh) instead of simply thinking about it. Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Bird Watching On Vacation

I love watching for birds while traveling on vacation.

Of course, snapping a picture out the window of a car moving at 70 miles per hour doesn’t work.  So, while I spotted 3 pheasants in the fields of Iowa, no pictures of them.

Perhaps a funny story about my sighting instead?

Me, gazing out window: I think I just saw 2 prairie chickens!!

Husband, driving: You probably saw pheasants.

Me: Well, they looked like chickens and had some red on them.

Husband: Male pheasants have a red ring.

Me: Looks up the birds on the bird app.  Prairie chickens aren’t a choice.  Stubborn as I am though…went ahead and googled “prairie chicken pictures”

Me, a few minutes later: Yep, I saw pheasants.

(And apparently, I need some prairie chicken identification skills).

A few more minutes pass….and…

Me: I saw another pheasant!

Now…on to…

Birds spotted in the Duluth, Minnesota Area:

Lots of Seagulls! And loons…harder to photograph as they seemed to always be flying over head or a way out in the waters…


Now, I’ll need some help as I forgot my bird books and the phone signal didn’t want to cooperate much.

Spotted these in the lake near Two Harbors, Minnesota: And found this pretty bird diving under the waters of the Gooseberry Falls State Park:

Along the shores of a smaller Minnesota lake:

Red-winged Blackbirds

Let’s pretend abstract photos were my intention here…

And flying overhead:

In addition to the many seagulls and occasional loons I spotted flying overhead, I also spotted geese. Fairly certain they were Canada geese. ****

Also spotted but not pictured because they were mostly sighted from the car:  turkey vultures, tons more red-winged blackbirds along our route, pretty sure a bald eagle flew over the car near a lake just outside of St. Paul, blue herons, robins, and sparrows.

(And while not bird-watching related, I also spotted 30 different state license plates plus 1 Canada plate!)

Since we’ve been home, I’ve mostly noticed grackles (think the nest in our front Maple tree belongs to them), robins, sparrows, and I’ve heard the cooing of a dove though I’ve not seen it.

Linking up my post with The Bird D’Pot hosted by Anni from I’d Rather B Birdin’. Be sure to check out her site for lots of beautiful bird pictures!


Five On Friday: Lake Superior

Ever go on vacation and feel like perhaps you’ve found your second home?

We spent most of this week in Duluth, Minnesota.  As soon as we arrived, love at first sight!

I’ll be posting more about our vacation (and how I met a fellow blogger in person!) next week but for today’s Five on Friday, I simply want to share the beauty of the big lake with you.

ONE: Overview of Duluth from the travel center atop skyline drive

I made an “unauthorized by the family” stop as we entered the city on Sunday evening.  A sweeping view of the city of Duluth and the lake made us anxious to get closer. Well, perhaps I was anxious to get closer. The rest of them were simply hungry, I think.

TWO: Lake Superior From The Lake Walk On A Sunny Monday Morning

We stayed right in Canal Park and the Lake Walk and the lake itself were simply steps from our hotel.  I got right out there with my camera

THREE: Watching The Ships Arrive!

While our ship never came in, it was fun watching the other ships arrive and depart. 

FOUR: Exploring The North Shore

Trying to wrap my head around the idea we were actually driving east while exploring the north shore of the lake left my head a little muddled. However, the beauty of the lake helped provide a quick recovery. Two Harbors Area: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park:

We skipped going into the Lighthouse opting to instead visit the park and view it from the shore.

FIVE: Sailboats on Lake Superior

Tuesday evening, the winds picked up and the waves were amazing. Those pictures, all on my phone. It’s a bit of a project to get phone pictures to the computer. So, we’ll save those for next time and instead I’ll leave you with “my” sailboats.

After the rain on Wednesday morning moved out, the day became simply picture perfect. Apparently, also a perfect day to take out a sailboat onto the big lake.  *********

Quick, I need reminded about the winters in those parts. I simply did not want to leave such a beautiful place.

In addition to already missing the scenery, it turns out housekeeping isn’t coming to knock on the door to our home any time soon either.  Back to reality! I want to go back to Duluth!




Happy Homemaker Monday, Early Weekend Edition

Cheating a bit with this week’s post and working on it over the weekend.

We’re (hopefully) enjoying our vacation today but I still want to stick to my goal of publishing a Happy Homemaker Monday post for each week in 2018. Even when it’s not a full week, it helps to have a bit of a plan.

Straight to the categories…

The Weather

Hot and steamy, upper 80s and low 90s. Typical of June for this area. We may or may not need sweatshirts and jackets for the early mornings and evenings on our vacation.

Right Now I Am

Listening to my son and his friend play video games and wondering whether to offer them breakfast or lunch as they just woke up a little before 1p.m. Teenagers!


Mostly about our upcoming trip and the too many errands for the time I allotted. Also, about a possible upcoming blog series Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home and I have been discussing. Excited for it! And finally, about what to have for lunch because I’m hungry.

On My Reading Pile

Pretty proud of the my reading progress. Finished reading The Second Lives of Honest Men by John Cameron. Enjoyed it. Also, read Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner AND in one day finished my free Amazon Prime May Kindle selection, Matchmaking For Beginners by Maddie Dawson.

I’m back on track with Good-reads! You can see my reviews of the books on my profile over there if interested. Time to get back to the library.

On My TV

I’ve been mostly reading but I did finish up the second season of Riverdale on Netflix. It’s a fun show if you don’t take it too seriously. I described it to my husband as “Dynasty meets Scooby Doo”. It’s actually based on the Archie comics which I don’t recall as being so dark but maybe they were. Probably not a lot TV watching again this week.

Something Interesting I Watched

The people waiting in line at two separate banks. Always fun to people watch!

What I Found While Surfing The Net

This pizza equation worked really well for me last Tuesday evening. Of course, if you want leftover pizza, order an extra one or two!  We had exactly 3 slices left so the equation worked but my plan to feed the teenagers pizza for breakfast/lunch the next day did not.

The Pizza Equation

On The Menu This Week

Didn’t do so good with it again last week…

MONDAY: Flat Iron Steaks We had hamburgers


WEDNESDAY: Copycat Chik-Fil-A We had McDonalds

THURSDAY: Ham Steaks We had tacos

FRIDAY: It ended up being an On Your Own night as we’d already had both hamburgers and pizza

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about it too much this week…





FRIDAY: No idea, probably something easy like frozen pizza

On My To-Do List

  1. Relax
  2. Have fun with family
  3. Rest
  4. Take pictures

In The Craft Basket

Nothing again this week

Looking Forward To

Spending time with my family and going on adventures plus not worrying about dinner for a few days, ha!

Looking Around The House

My husband cleaned the kitchen so it doesn’t look too bad. The rest of it needs a bit of work as always.

From The Camera

Quote For The Week

Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times. (Asian proverb)


Hope your Monday is off to a magical start! And, don’t forget to visit our host, Sandra, over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom!




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...